Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bulgur & Quinoa Blend...and today's spices

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New find at the Superstore!  Been wanting
to try bulgur for a while, so figured this was
a good way :)  It was good!
Nutritional info...figuring out points for
cooked portion made me cranky, so
I just used quinoa in my tracker (it is the
same points as bulgur)

Today's spices over rainbow trout
The finished product!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I think I'm a chip fiend!

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First the chipster chips and now pita chips in the oven :)  Once again, spices were used.  One pita cut into 8 pieces with a pizza cutter and then each pita triangle separated into two.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Spray pita with a bit of cooking spray and then season as desired (see photo for my preference).  Place in a preheated oven (400 degrees) for 4-7 minutes - watch them CAREFULLY as they burn quickly.  I literally sit on a stool in front of my oven and watch them :)  Serve with salsa or any dips you like.  Yummy!  You can also make these with cinnamon or other sweet options and serve with fruit salsa or just eat on their own.  Nice and crispy!

The secret ingredient

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Here are the spices I used tonight for my chili.  Mostly Epicure spices, but threw in some Chipotle Chili Powder for good measure.  The one on top of the Guacamole Dip Mix is crushed chili :) 

I have no real recipe for my chili - I just throw in whatever I have on hand.  Tonight I used a pound of extra lean ground turkey, peppers (yellow, red and orange), zucchini (yellow and green), onions, mushrooms, black beans, chickpeas, diced tomatoes and Hunts spaghetti sauce.  When I was just about finished, I decided to add a secret ingredient.  Only I had a brain fart and added the WRONG secret ingredient :)  I meant to add cocoa powder, which I have used before.  For some reason, my hands reached for...wait for it......cinnamon!!  The results were great!  This is the best batch of chili yet!  Cinnamon (just a few dashes) is going to be a regular ingredient in my chili from now on.

Chipster update:

Last night I had the girls overnight for a sleepover and we used the Chipster again with regular potatoes.  I bought baking potatoes this time.  One potato (about 10 oz raw) sliced up to enough chips for the three of us.  We tried them with popcorn seasoning (ketchup, BBQ and white cheddar...sometimes mixed!) and I also tried some with just sea salt.  I have to say the sea salt was my fav.  They turned super crispy!  I wish I could figure out how to make them and keep them crispy overnight...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The great spice challenge!

Pin It This week's topic at Weight Watchers was about spicing things the kitchen :)  Our leader challenged us to try something new/creative using various spices.  I have no idea what I'm going to do...I NEVER use any spices... haha, yeah right!  I think I'm the Queen of Spices.  I don't tend to use "regular" spices (oregano, "regular" garlic, etc.) though.  I like to buy blends of spices, like the ones from Epicure.  I tend to buy the Epicure dips quite a bit and use them as spices rather than fattening dips.  My favorite dip has to be the guacamole one.  Love this on roasted potatoes and other roasted veggies.  My favorite "regular" spice has to be Chipotle Chili Powder, which I put on just about anything!

I am going to try and post a new photo each day this week showing a different idea using spices.  Today I made some rhubarb apple sauce and used the Epicure Apple Pie Spice.  This is great over Greek yogurt, ice cream or frozen yogurt or just on its own.  You could add some jell-o powder mix and turn it into jam and, depending on your Weight Watchers theory of using the recipe builder for fruit-only based recipes, you might call this zero points (some folks believe in putting all recipes in the recipe builder, resulting in fruit and veggies "costing" points; others believe that if they are using all zero point foods, the recipe should be zero points...I will let you decide which school of thought you subscribe to).

Maintenance Week 3 Update:

Today concluded my third week of maintenance.  I actually had trouble eating all of my points this week.  My aim was to stick with the 4 extra daily points, but some days it ended up being only 3. I also only used about 18 of my weekly points when I usually use almost all of them.  The result of these circumstances was a 2 pound loss!  I am now 1.3 pounds under my goal weight.  This week was an extremely stressful/emotional week (all will be fine, I'm sure) and I had less appetite than usual.  I'm sure that contributed to my 2 pound loss this week :)

My two girlies are coming for a sleepover tonight (nieces), so I must go get ready for them.  I'm wondering where one might find a movie rental place these days???

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What will I Chipster next?!

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I was so excited when I got home last night and had a message from Shannon that my Epicure Chipster was in!!!  I may have mentioned that I won a half-price item when I went to Shannon's open house a couple of weeks ago.  I figured this was the perfect opportunity to try out the Chipster before my own Epicure party in June.  Shannon kindly delivered my new toy to me first thing this morning and I've been Chipstering away ever since :)

Here is what I made:

Apple Chips

Regular Potato Chips (Red, White & Blue in honour of my American cousins...well, really because they were the only ones I had in the house!)

Sweet Potato Chips

Overall I am very pleased with my new Chipster.  I did not have the Epicure Ceramic Slicer to slice my fruit/veggies, just my old Starfrit one that's seen better days.  I will very likely get the Epicure one at my party in June.  I've seen Shannon's in action and it slices very, very thin.  PLUS, it's much more compact than my old dinosaur! 

Apple Chips - Took a bit longer to cook than the others and didn't really crisp up as I'd expected, but the taste is amazing!  I'll make them again for sure, but will just know not to expect crispy chips.  I sprinkled cinnamon on some, left some plain and put apple pie spice on some.  I think that these would be fine just plain to be honest.  The flavour of the apple comes out quite nicely.

Red, White & Blue Potato Chips - I am a bit disappointed with these ones.  I think my problem was that I only had a small bag of tiny, bitty potatoes in the house and those are what I used.  They were really too small to slice thin enough, so some of them are not really crispy.  I will try again with a real potato once I've been to the grocery store.  I topped these with the Epicure Red Garlic Sansel that I use on everything :)

Sweet Potato Chips - It's official.  I am in love.  I tried these plain and with cinnamon.  Can't choose a favourite way.  I have to say that these turned out the best of all three chips I made today.  They crisp up nicely (beware, they shrink significantly, unlike the others, which remained pretty much the same) and had a super flavour to them.

So that's it Chipster experience.  I'll have to ask Google for some more ideas and I'm sure Shannon will have some ideas at my party next month.

If you work with me, go to the gym with me or go to WW with me...chances are I'll be bringing samples sometime soon!!

Friend Makin' Monday: Three things

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here and at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Three Things

1. Three of your favorite movies:
  • The Proposal
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off
  • Any Pixar movie :)
2. Three of your favorite things to drink:
  • Coffee
  • Water
  • Milk
3. Three of your favorite songs:
  • Brown Eyed Girl
  • Hello
  • Any traditional Christmas carol
4. Three people who have recently been a positive influence on your life (outside of your family):
  • My Weight Watchers leader, Fiona
  • My Zumba/Step instructor, Cynthia
  • My entire WW class, Zumba class, and Step class, my co-workers and friends.  I can't pick just one person from any of these groups.  After hitting goal 2 weeks ago, the support I have received and the positive comments have been outstanding and have had such an impact on my life.
5. Three things you to do keep yourself entertained:
  • Read
  • Workout
  • Blog
6. Three things you’re attracted to in the opposite sex:
  • Sense of humour
  • Tall :)
  • Treats his Mom/Sister well
7. Three things you love about yourself:
  • I'm determined
  • I work hard
  • Ummm, I hate this question...leaving it at 2 things
8. The last three people who text messaged you:
  • Amanda
  • Empire Theatres (movie ticket came by text)
  • Karen
9. Three things you’re looking forward to this week:
  • Zumba
  • Friday
  • Saturday
10. Three wishes specifically for yourself…What are they? (Be selfish, and be honest.)
  • Travel the world
  • Get married / have a family
  • Reach lifetime status at WW (4 weeks to go!)
11. Three of your favorite quotes:
  • Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Albert Einstein
  • It's not easy being green. Kermit the Frog
  • People who don't think probably don't have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that's blown into their heads by mistake.  Winnie the Pooh
12. Three of your biggest fears:
  • Disappointing people
  • Re-gaining my weight
  • Never finding true love
13. Three of your favorite TV shows:
  • Bones
  • Criminal Minds
  • The Big Bang Theory
14. Three of your favorite things to purchase when you’re shopping.
  • Shoes
  • Workout clothes (I'm addicted to the novelty t-shirts at Old Navy!)
  • Bath and body products (body wash, shampoo, etc.)
15. Three things that you enjoyed last week:
  • Coffee / shopping date with Treena
  • Brunch with Alanna and Tanya #2
  • Walk with Cynthia
16. Three things that you always have in your bag or close to you if you’re not a purse kind of person. 
  • Blackberry
  • Purel (or other hand sanitizer)
  • Gum
17. Three types of food that you wouldn’t want to give up.
  • Thai food
  • Chocolate
  • Anything lemon
18. Three things you do to enjoy burning calories:
  • Step aerobics
  • Zumba
  • Walking and (sometimes) running/jogging
19.  Three things you dislike about blogging:
  • SPAM comments
  • When I make typos and don't notice til after I publish :(
  • Running out of ideas
20.  Three ways blogging has changed your life:

  • It has forced me to be honest about my journey to lose over 120 pounds
  • It has kept me accountable to my audience (both of you! lol just kidding)
  • It has brought other bloggers into my life who have been a huge inspiration/influence on this journey
Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments, and have a happy Monday!

Monday, May 21, 2012


Pin It A friend of mine introduced me to these yummy flatbreads when we were shopping in New York state a couple years ago.  Up until now, we've only been able to get them in the US, but they've recently started popping up here in Halifax!  So exciting :)  They make great pizza crusts and are cheaper (and tastier) than the LaTortilla Factory tortillas that I usually use.  To celebrate this new (Canadian) find, along with the Hormel Turkey Pepperoni Mom and Dad brought me back from the US last month, I made PIZZA!!  Topping today's pizza is Bull's Eye Chipotle BBQ sauce, turkey pepperoni, a bit of roasted turkey, onions, peppers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, yellow zucchini, Parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese.  Baked @ 450 for 10 minutes.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A picture (or 3) is worth a thousand words....

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Maintenance: Week 2 and my WW Article

Pin It Yesterday concluded my second week of maintenance.  For week two I only added four extra points+ vs the six I added in week one.  Thankfully I was down 0.3lbs of the 1.5lbs that I gained last week.  I am still 0.7lbs over goal (but well within the 2lb radius).  I think this week I will try only three extra points+ and see if I can get that 0.7lbs off.  It's been a rough several days lately, but I did manage to keep on track and not turn to food when I was stressed (which was most of the week), so that's an improvement over my "old life".

I know I mentioned briefly (eons ago) that I was considering submitting my weight loss story to the Weight Watchers magazine.  I decided last week, after some coaxing from my fellow WW-ers, that I will do this.  I did start writing the story several months ago, but of course it did not have a conclusion until just recently :)  I have a couple of great friends who are going to review it for me (I tend to ramble...and then forget important details!) before I submit it.  Not sure if it will ever get published, but least I tried, right?  I think there are two ways to get your story published - on the Weight Watchers website or in the magazine itself.  How cool would that be to get in the real magazine?!  Just could say you "knew me when..." haha.  I'll keep you posted if I hear anything back from them.

Shameful to say, I've been up for 2 hours and all I've done is drink coffee and play on the computer.  Must go get ready to meet some fabulous ladies for brunch at Cora's :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Much better!

Pin It Ok, second time's a charm!  Mom brought me some rhubarb from her garden yesterday, so I decided to make some rhubarb sauce (or stewed rhubarb).  I had some apples that needed using up too, so decided to throw 'em in.  Rhubarb is one of those foods that I've just learned recently that I liked, so I wasn't sure what exactly to do with it...

Wash 'em up

Chop 'em and throw 'em in a pot

throw in some splenda and cinnamon
Cook til everything is soft and then mash
Serve over whatever you like
This is Greek yogurt :)

Much better than the other recipe I tried tonight!  This one even looks pretty :)

My intentions were good

Pin It but I think this recipe needs work...
What is this, you might ask?  It would be barbecued butternut squash (oh and quinoa and chicken, but I'm sure you can actually recognize those!)

I had this brilliant idea to BBQ my butternut squash tonight...why not?  Ok, so as you can see it does not look pretty.  I think I would make this again, but I need to find a different approach.  I brushed the squash with a mixture of raspberry balsamic vinegar and sugar free syrup (pancake-type) before grilling (I also brushed this on my chicken for good measure...yummmm).  The squash took quite a while to cook and ended up blackened (as you can see) on the outside, but was still quite firm on the inside.  The taste was good overall, but...a bit dry.  I'll do more research on this and will try again before the summer is over.  I am wondering if I should have left the skin on and simply cut it in half and placed flesh-side down on the BBQ...anyone tried this before?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

So I guess this is normal

Pin It Maintenance Update

Today marked my first weigh-in at goal/on maintenance.  Last week when they increased my points by 6 points+, I was terrified!  Especially when I was told "if you gain more than three pounds, then we will decrease your extra points+"....GAIN THREE POUNDS?!  HUH??  Do they know how long it takes me to lose three pounds??  But, being the good little Weight Watcher that I am, I obeyed.  And I gained.  Not three pounds, only a pound and a half (thankfully!).  We agreed I would decrease my additional points by two this week and we'll see how that goes.  I guess it's normal do fluctuate a bit on maintenance.  So, while disappointed with a gain, I am not down about it.  I enjoyed my week (fear of maintenance aside) as an "at goal" WW member.  I have received so much encouragement this week and so many kind and wonderful comments - how could I not enjoy the week?? 

I have decided (somewhat) what I will do with my extra points.  I am going to try adding them to breakfast mostly.  I also decided to have a tad more red meat (I'm usually a fish/chicken kinda girl).  Bought myself two little steaks to BBQ tonight (yay for leftovers tomorrow!).  I am going to try making more of the overnight oats that I made last week - they are higher in points than my usual breakfast, but hey...I have four points to work with, right?!  :)  I know the idea is to use these extra points for healthy foods and what better way to use them than to add them to the most important meal of the day.


Tonight I made myself a berry banana split....cut up banana, mixed berries, a tablespoon of Greek yogurt, ultra low fat Cool Whip and two tablespoons of sugar free chocolate syrup...have a look!
Special Thanks!

Special thank you to my friend and WW guru, Fiona for my Reaching Goal/Losing over 100 pounds gift!!  This is the Savvy Ring from Lia Sophia that I've had my eye on.  I'm not much for jewellery, but I do like simple rings.  This one's a bit big, so I'm wearing it on my middle finger for now while I wait for the smaller ring to arrive.  I have to say, I LOVE IT!  I've gotten compliments on it already today :)

Happy Mothers' Day

Tomorrow is Mothers' Day (at least in Canada/US...I think the UK was earlier in the Spring?)  I wish all of you Mothers, Grandmothers and future Mothers a fantastic day!  I am so thankful to have a Mother as wonderful as mine.  Tomorrow my family is coming over for coffee/tea (Keurig!!) and dessert.  I am serving fresh cut up fruit with fruit dip (Cool Whip & fat free yogurt mixed together) and I also picked up some pretty meringue cookies.  Looking forward to seeing everyone!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday: Q&A

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If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: (and at my blog too!) so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Q & A

1. What’s the most obnoxious word/phrase you use on a regular basis? One I find myself saying a lot and it bugs even me is "It is what it is"...sounds very dismissive...hmm
2. What’s the most memorable bumper sticker you’ve ever seen? I don't notice a lot of bumper stickers, but I always get a kick out of the ones that say that their kid and their money go to such and such a school :)
3. Share one pet peeve that causes you more grief than it should. It bothers me when cashiers don't thank me.  I know it's silly.  I always thank THEM, but in the "olden days" I remember the cashier always thanked you (for coming in, for shopping there, whatever).  I find most of the time these days, I'm lucky if they tell me my total!  The grocery stores are the I've started going to the self-serve least then I can only complain about my own service ;-)
4. What are your thoughts on re-gifting presents?  So long as you're careful I think it's fine (don't re-gift to the same person or even within the same circle...make sure ALL tags are removed!)
5. What was your biggest accomplishment this week?  I reached my goal at Weight Watchers - 125.1 pounds lost in 31 on maintenance!
6. What’s the title of the last movie you watched? Can't Buy Me Love (yeah, an old one for sure!)
7. If you could only choose one, would you rather have a full-time cleaning person or a full-time chef? Full time cleaning person FOR SURE.  I like to up after, not so much.
8. Do you enjoy shopping for clothes, or do you dread it? I love it now!
9. What’s your favorite sport to play/watch? NONE!
10. If you could have coffee with anyone today who would you choose? My friend Ann in England or one of my friends in Ontario.  I miss my friends who live far away.

Now it’s your turn.  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments.  Happy Monday Friends…Thanks for being here.

Don't judge a book by its cover

Pin It or my breakfast by the fact that it looks a bit gross :)

I finally made the Overnight, No-Cook Refrigerator Oats last night that I've been meaning to make ever since my friend Renee sent me the link.

Points-wise, these recipes are higher than my normal breakfast, that I am on maintenance (did I happen to mention I reached GOAL on Saturday?? ;-) I have an additional 6 points+ to play with each day.  The intention is to spend these points on healthy foods...and what could be more healthy than this?!

I made the peanut butter/banana option and left out the honey.  Let me tell you, it was AMAZING!  I was hesitant at first - not of the chia seeds (had these before), but of not cooking my oats...seemed odd to me!  The only thing disappointing about this breakfast...was the fact that I used up the last of my Greek yogurt and have no immediate plans to get to Costco for more!!  The only thing I might do differently is maybe add a touch more milk (oh, I forgot to tell you that I used 1/3 cup of oats, which is my standard serving for breakfast...maybe that's why I needed more liquid).  I may also try making it with unsweetened almond milk...hmm, maybe tonight I'll use all milk and no yogurt and see how it tastes.  I'll let ya know :)

Now for the supper was a very delicious food day...I should have taken a photo of my Pete's ToGoGo salad at lunchtime too...sadly, I did not.

I am ever so grateful that my brother and my dad fixed my BBQ yesterday!!  It started working funny at the end of last summer, so I haven't used it since then and I was starting to get envious of my neighbours and their BBQd suppers every night...thought I was going to have to start knocking on doors for supper invites!

Tonight for supper I cooked an entire tray of chicken seasoned with Epicure's Souvlaki Seasoning (to eat throughout the week, not all tonight!), a sweet potato (when you BBQ these whole , you need not add butter or anything to 'em as-is and they are yummy!) and a foil packet of chopped veggies (peppers, red onions, zucchini and (finally!) eggplant) with a bit of safflower oil and various spices.

Today is day three of maintenance and the first day I haven't used my 6 extra points+ (yet!)...over the weekend it was easy as I had things going on that revolved around food :)  If I gain (GASP!) on Saturday, then they reduce my extra points accordingly...

Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baked Apple with Greek Yogurt

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I needed to have more fruit or veggies to finish off my day, plus I needed to get my dairy in, so I came up with this concoction:

Baked Apple with Greek Yogurt

Cut up apples (don't peel) many as you'll eat...I used two tiny ones :)

Place apple on a foil-lined cookie sheet, sprinkle with splenda and cinnamon (to taste)

Broil for 12-15 minutes (careful they don't burn)

Remove from the oven and dump the apples into a cereal bowl and top with Greek yogurt.  Sprinkle with more cinnamon (or Epicure pumpkin pie spice like I did) and a splash of vanilla.  Voila!  It was DELISH!!!  And depending on your yogurt, could be as low as 2 Points+! (just adding the ingredients to my tracker...if entered into the recipe builder, the N.I. for the apple would be used, resulting in a higher points+ value).

Tonight I am going to throw some Overnight, no-cook refrigerator oats in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow....fingers crossed that they turn out!

Saturday Zumba is Coming!

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Posting this for the benefit of those of you who are not in Facebook, but may be interested in a weekend Zumba class.

If you live in or around the Halifax area (or are visiting), my friend Cynthia is starting Saturday afternoon Zumba classes at Maritime Dance Academy (Wedgewood Plaza on the Kearney Lake Road) this coming Saturday (May 12th) at 4:30pm.

Cost is $10 (tax included) and when you attend 8 classes, the 9th class is FREE!

For more information, please visit Cynthia's Facebook Page: or email her  Come out and join the party!!!

Class size is limited, so please reserve your spot early!!

Never tried Zumba before???  Believe me...if I CAN DO IT, so can you.  I have no rhythm, can't dance...I can barely stand on my own two feet at times...but I CAN Zumba!  Give it a try :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012


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I can't believe the day has finally arrived.  Thirty-one months in the making and I have finally reached GOAL!!  I am actually 0.5 lbs UNDER my goal!  The excitement of the day has been so overwhelming that I don't quite know what to do next and am not quite sure what I'm going to write here forgive me for rambling!

I weighed in this morning at home (as always) before going to WW and I was expecting to be .2 away from goal...then I weighed in again before I left home and was AT goal.  I was SO shocked to see the number on the scale that did show up...0.5 under!  Wow.  I think I'm still in shock.  I went to post my update on Facebook as I always do and before I hit Send on my Blackberry, I nearly went up to the scales to ask them if they were really SURE about that number :)  Somehow it doesn't feel real.

The response from my WW group was so amazing - not that I'm surprised - they are an amazing group of inspiring people who are so supportive of me (and of everyone else!).  I actually got a standing ovation!!!  Never had one of those before :)  Fiona made me come to the front:
My hands were still shaking (hence the offensive stance of my crossed arms :)  I finally got my Goal star:
And now I have six weeks of maintenance until I become a FREE LIFETIME MEMBER of Weight Watchers.  Within that six weeks they teach you how to maintain.  You had some points back into your daily target (scary!) and if you gain more than two pounds you back off a bit, if you lose, you add a bit more (or something like that).  At the end of the six weeks I have to be within two pounds of my original goal weight.  Thankfully....I've done a fab job of maintaining my weight these past few months, so I should be a pro ;-)  haha

I'd like to thank the Academy....

I am absolutely blown away by the comments on Facebook and the emails I have received in the past few hours.  You people are SO supportive and I appreciate you all so much.  I certainly could not have done this without your support.  As much as Facebook and email can be a colossal waste of time, Facebook in particular has been an essential tool for me in this journey.  About 75 pounds ago I began posting my losses (and gains!) every Saturday morning from my WW meeting.  The support and encouragement that has come from these posts has been amazing.  When I'm up, you cheer me up and encourage me to keep going.  When I'm down, you cheer me on and encourage me to have another great week.  I've discovered that, while I did not join WW with a friend/buddy, I have had the friend/buddy support of all of you...and I have made some wonderful friends/buddies AT my meeting :)  Thank YOU.

Ok, that's all I can write right now...not sure what I'm going to do today...soak it all in maybe?  Usually Saturday is my cleaning/grocery day...but I was off yesterday afternoon and so that's all done....ahhhhh


PS - my blog reached over 40,000 hits this week too!!!!