Archive | August, 2012
28 Aug



Exercise – What Is Your Favorite Way to Exercise?

28 Aug

Yoga Pose

When I first started going to a health club, I took every exercise class that was available. I enjoyed learning step routines, Pilates, circuit training, Yoga, toning with weights and toning with stretch bands, abdominal workouts on a ball or a weighted ball or using a kettle bell. And there was always the track for walking or running. My favorite though was and still is kickboxing. Kickboxing can get your heart rate up. It’s a great cardio workout. If you combine the kickboxing moves with weights or use weighted gloves, you get the double bonus of cardio and strength training.


Jump rope

Home Gym

Over time, I purchased exercise clothing such as the correct shoes, running pants, stretch bicycle shorts which I wore for exercise classes, a gym bag, a lock for my locker, a steel water bottle to replace the now defunct plastic water bottle, weights, stretch bands, resistance tubes, ankle and wrist weights, jump ropes, glove weights, exercise balls, mats, exercise DVDs, and workout music tapes for my exercise routine at home when I couldn’t get to the health club. Whew!

Mat & exercise ball


New Exercise Classes

Exercise classes are always evolving. Today there are Zumba classes and it has become very popular. Cycling classes are popular too.  Recently, my health club added a kickboxing class but it is a separate class from the classes that are included in your signup package. They charge $70 for the kickboxing class! In my previous gym memberships at other clubs, kickboxing was always included. The Parks Department offers kickboxing classes for free and those classes are packed!


Senior Citizen Classes

Water aerobics classes are popular with the older generation and are sometimes referred to as Aqua classes or Arthritis Aqua classes.

Aqua Class


Low Impact – High Intensity

These days I go for the low impact exercise. That’s not so easy to find. If you like to work out at home with exercise DVDs, many of them require a lot of jumping which is high impact. The older you are, the more risky this type of exercise is for you. After thoroughly searching countless exercise DVDs, I found two that are low impact but get my heart rate up. Learn more here.

What is your favorite exercise?


Super Sweet Award Opening

26 Aug

As I mentioned in my last post, if there was a blogger who declined their Super Sweet Award, I would post it on my blog. Consequently, there has been one blogger who declined.  So if you are interested and feel that your blog deserves this award, please respond to this post.  After reviewing your blog I will post the new blog nominated.

Thank you for your participation.

Super Sweet Award

25 Aug

I’ve been nominated by Grandma Nancy for the Super Sweet Award.


She is the wonderful person who nominated me.

I remember when I received my first nomination for an award. I knew nothing about blog awards and I thought that if I was nominated that I would have to compete with other nominees and that there would only be one winner out of all the nominees. (Imagine what a trip it must be to live in my head!) Fortunately, this community is less complicated than that.

The Rules for the “Super Sweet Award” :

1. Give credit to the person who chose to nominate you.

2. Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

3. Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen (13) blogs.

Super Sweet questions:

1. Cookies or Cake? 

    I like both. Mmmmmm!

2. Chocolate or Vanilla?

    Chocolate alone; Vanilla on pie. I also like Spumoni (Italian ice cream with fruit and nuts.)

3. What is your favorite sweet treat?

     European chocolates. Or, Panattone (Italian cake). Or an Eclair (filled with custard only; no cream for this girl); or a Napoleon (filled with custard only).

4. When do you crave sweet things the most?

    When I’m watching TV.

5.   If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be?

Cutie Petutie? I have no idea. Sugar dumpling? Honey bunny? Obviously I’m not sweet.

Baker’s Dozen Nominees:

Check out these great blogs!!

My addition to this award:

I left word with these winning bloggers that if they didn’t want their award to contact me. If I receive any declining bloggers, I will post an opening for a nominee(s). At that time, if you are a blogger who feels worthy of this award and have been overlooked, reply to that post. The most worthy of those I hear from will receive the award(s).

Congratulations to the winners!

Beautiful Blogger Award

25 Aug

Eunice of Living and Lovin has awarded me the Beautiful Blogger Award.

Thanks so much!

Here are the rules!

1. Add the image of the award to your blog post.

2. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their blog.

3. Post seven interesting things about myself.

4.  Nominate other bloggers who I feel deserve the award and let them know about the nomination.

Seven interesting things about myself? I think I said all the interesting things about myself when I won my other awards. What about a compromise? I like music, who doesn’t? Here are seven songs that are in keeping with the theme “Beautiful” as in Beautiful Blogger Award.

1. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) by John Lennon – a touching, beautiful tribute to his son, Sean.

2. You Are So Beautiful To Me by Joe Cocker – doesn’t need to be explained.

3. You’re Beautiful by James Blunt – a crush on a beauty from afar.

4. Beautiful by Christina Aguilera – giving positive affirmations to oneself.

5. Beautiful Day by U2 – don’t let a beautiful day get away from you.

6. Most Beautiful Girl by Charlie Rich – remorseful dude is sorry and wants his girl back.

7. Everything is Beautiful by Ray Stevens – no exceptions for this guy, EVERYTHING is beautiful or, what life must be like on drugs.
And the nominees are:
















Congratulations on your award! If you see your name here before I contact you, feel free to follow the directions and claim your award.

Garden Art

23 Aug

I have four pieces of garden art in my vegetable garden. The first one is a red butterfly and it’s the biggest one. The center of the butterfly is a red ball which looks like it represents the earth. It rotates. I can’t tell you how many times I mistook it for a tomato.

Butterfly Garden Art

The second piece is what I call a Darning Needle or some people call a Dragon Fly. I never saw a white one. Maybe this is an albino. The wings move.

Darning Needle Garden Art

The third piece is some kind of freaked out yellow bird or perhaps a chicken. I took nine photos of it and all of them look unfocused so I give up.  UPDATE: I took another shot at it today from above. This one is the best. You can see its goofy feet. Maybe its face was painted on unfocused. The wings and the legs move. I selected it as the Featured Post. Click on the Home menu to take a gander.

The fourth one is the oldest and my favorite. It’s a toucan bird. Its wings are propellers. Sometimes, depending on the wind direction, one will go one way and the other will go the other way. They make a noise that I can hear inside the house so I know when it’s windy outside.

Toucan Bird Garden Art

Garden art may not scare away the cats or the birds like they’re supposed to but they add gaiety to my garden. They amuse me and anything that is amusing is good for your health.

Trees in My Garden – Part II (and Butterflies)

17 Aug

After all the welcome rain we had yesterday, today is a beautiful, sunny day. I went out back to take more photos of my trees. Here is my Silver Maple. She’s a tall one isn’t she?  

Silver Maple with two trunks.

This is a better shot of my Austrian White Pine (below). I didn’t chop off the top in the photo and I think its green color shows up better in this photo.Austrian White Pine

This is a photo (below) I took a few years ago. There were a pair of them near each other. This butterfly is called a “Buckeye Butterfly.” The “eyes” protect it some from predators. Unfortunately not from lawnmowers.

OK, let’s throw in my Orange Daylillies  on this post too. Like most of the plants that grow in my garden, they have a mind of their own and as soon as I turn my back, they proliferate like rabbits!You may have to click on the “Home” menu to see these because I delegated them to the “Featured Image” location.

One hot summer, I dug them all up. (These were planted by the previous owner and the color orange does not go with the blue theme I prefer. ) It was so much fun trying to root up all the tubers. (NOT!) These are about as insistent and persistent as my Silver Maple.  Hmmm, and they’re right next to each other too. I wonder if there is something in the soil in that area that has something to do with their determination. You can’t imagine how much vinegar and salt I’ve poured over there to kill weeds and mulberry trees that are out of control. It did work on the mulberry trees but it hasn’t effected anything else over there. It’s a jungle out there!

Oh, and since we (we?) got on the subject of butterflies, I found two of them excitedly flitting around my sage plant. Do you see them? They’re hard to see. We (we?) call them “Cabbage Butterflies” in these parts. That’s all for today.

So, what does this have to do with Your Good Health? Everything. Gardening reduces your blood pressure. Being a part of nature is relaxing. Try it, you’ll like it.


Trees in My Garden

15 Aug

I’ve been living in my house for 15 years. During that time, I’ve planted a few trees, bushes, flowers, vines, vegetables, and herbs. The birds have done their share of “planting” too.

White Pine when it was a baby

This is what my White Pine looked like when I first planted it. It was about 3′ tall.  I bought it at Meijer where I get most of my plants.

I can’t tell from the photo if I started my vegetable garden or not. It doesn’t look like it.

You can see that I planted the tree a safe distance away from my house. Or, at least it appears that way.

Now, many years later, this is what my White Pine looks like. It’s not a baby anymore! It produces many pine cones.

White Pine “baby” is all grown up and still growing!

My vegetable garden has been in place for many years now too and the White Pine provided needed shade for it this summer. Even though this summer was a hot one and broke records, my house was not nearly as warm as it had been in years past. I think my trees have kept my property cooler. My once gigantic backyard now dwarfs in comparison to my trees!


Austrian White Pine

With a name like Austrian White Pine (above) you would think this tree would be very photogenic. I had to take 5 shots of it and I’m still not happy with the results. I ended up chopping the top off in the photo. I’ll try to get a better shot. But you can see the shape of the pine needles and the bushiness of the shape of the branches. It’s a very dark green which doesn’t quite show in the photo. It produces pine cones too. Austrian White Pines are slow growers.

You know, I didn’t take a shot of my Silver Maple, a tree that the birds “planted.” I just took a look at my backyard now and the tree is casting a good amount of shade on my house which I never realized before. This is the reason my bedroom is much cooler. When I saw this tree growing as a baby, I tried to hack it down. All that did was create two trunks. This was a very determined tree. It has gotten very tall and is now spreading out. I’m glad I didn’t kill it. I’ll get a photo of it soon to include here.

I’m also very proud of my Colorado Blue Spruce below. You can really appreciate the blue color of this spruce in contrast to my neighbor’s green tree behind it.

To learn more about my trees and to learn the Top 6 Reasons You Need Trees in Your Yard click this link.

Colorado Blue Spruce – love the blue

Calcium, Vitamin D and Panne Cotta: All Important to Good Health

9 Aug

Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin

Ever since we were young, our moms told us to drink our milk. So we drank it. As we got older, we learned that we needed even more calcium, up to 1200 mg of calcium for those of us over 50. But nature plays a cruel trick on us because as we age, we become more lactose intolerant making it difficult to accomplish the goal of 1200 mg of calcium a day. It isn’t fair!

Fortunately, there are other ways to get that calcium beside drinking milk.

Plus, we also need to be concerned about our body absorbing the calcium. Certain medications and foods make our bodies expel calcium. How do we know what foods help our bodies to absorb calcium? And, what about Vitamin D? How do we get this essential vitamin? I answer these questions and more in this article link.

Did you hear what Marcella said? Why no! Tell me, what did she say?

Panne Cotta – a delicious way to get more calcium

Here is an Italian recipe called Panne Cotta. It means “cooked cream.” I got the recipe from one of my favorite cookbooks, “Great Taste – Low Fat Italian Cooking.” Their version is a lowfat version so they don’t use cream. They called their recipe, “Latte Cotta” which means “cooked milk.”  Sprinkled on the top of the dessert is crushed amaretti cookies. I did one better. Why use sweet cookies that contain sugar and are added useless calories? Instead I crushed walnuts as a topping which contains omega-3, an important necessary nutrient and tastes delicious in this dessert.

Then, on top of the nuts I thinly sliced bananas, which are high in potassium – good for your heart. I substituted milk too with powdered milk. Yes, powdered milk. It’s just as good if not better than regular bottled milk. Why is it better? It’s better because you can add an extra tablespoon of the powered milk and not notice the difference. This is one trick to help you get more calcium.

But nutrition aside, this is a dessert to die for! I wasn’t expecting it to taste so good. It’s excellent if I do say so myself and I’m pretty critical of my own cooking. It’s good enough for company. It looks like pudding but has the consistency of a gelatin (Jello) dessert. When you pile the thinly sliced bananas on top, they look like whipped cream topping as you can see from the photo. I highly recommend this dessert.



1 envelope unflavored gelatin

2 ¼ cups low-fat (1%) milk (or, use my suggestion: powdered milk. Follow instructions on the box.)

¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup boiling water

½ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I used light brown)

1/8 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

chopped walnuts for sprinkling

bananas for slicing

In a small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over ¼ cup of the milk and let stand until softened, about 3 minutes. In another small bowl, combine the cocoa powder and cinnamon. Gradually add the boiling water to the cocoa mixture, whisking until smooth and no lumps remain. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 2 cups milk, the brown sugar, and salt. Whisk in the cocoa mixture until well combined. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer, whisk in the gelatin mixture, and remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla.

Divide the mixture among four 6-ounce dessert dishes. (I used large wine glasses.) Chill until set, about 2 hours. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Slice bananas on top when ready to serve.

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