CHALLENGE #9 – A VIDEO BLOG

Well, having never done a video blog before I was very unsure of what to do.  And since I wasn’t really that into sitting in front of a video camera and talking to you all.. I made a video of photos.   Our challenge this week was to make a video and share with you the things we have done to improve our health and lessons we have learned along the way.

 

Earth day .. every day

Happy Earth Day!

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970 … after U.S. Senator Nelson witnessed the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. On the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. And so became an annual event.

Earth day .. should be every day. We all can take steps to help our earth.. to leave this earth a better place for our kids, grandkids .. their kids. Be a good ancestor! Think ahead, what are YOU leaving for our future generations?

In our home we do our best to teach our kids to be conscious of the impact they have on this earth. We each have to do our part.

Trim your Waste …. We recycle anything that can be recycled (and nowadays there are more and more opportunities to recycle).

recycle

We use reusable bags when shopping. Think about it… when you grocery shop, on average how many bags do you use? Let’s say 5? How often do you shop? Twice a month? More?… So if you used reusable bags for the entire year you alone could avoid using at least 120 plastic bags!

green bags

Shop local or grow your own food. I love when it’s Farm Market season. We will buy our berries in large quantities and freeze them for the year. You can find jams, veggies, fruit all sorts of goodies at our local farm market shop local

Plant your own food. Don’t have room in your yard/condo? Why not check out a local community garden. Only a 5 min drive away from us is Maples Discovery Garden you can rent a plot from them and start growing your own herbs/veggies etc.  My friend Ginger and her family have a plot there, they have inspired our family to look into renting a plot and growing our veggies/herbs etc. as well!

Not only are you eating local you are also then increasing the number of plant based meals you consume! And who can’t use more green in your life! (spinach or kale salad anyone?)… and you just can’t beat fresh herbs!

And if you want a glass of wine at dinner… there are so many local wineries and even breweries for you to sample from.

Carpool when possible. Often in our household we are pulled in so many directions with little time between activities or activities at the same time in different cities, we do our best to arrange for car-pooling. Not only does it help schedule wise, it also helps the environment.

Unplug and power down unneeded electronic devices and appliances. Chargers, computer peripherals, home entertainment devices and other appliances can all be unplugged when not in use. This can help reduce your utilities bill and carbon emissions simultaneously. This morning when I left for work, I shut down my computer (it won’t be used all day and often I am in the bad habit of leaving it on… all the time!), I unplugged the toaster oven, microwave, cell phone chargers (those tend to get left in the wall even without the phone attached)…

Disconnect and Reconnect… if you have teenagers in your house, you know they love their phones, electronics etc. (we have 2 teens and they are attached to their phones – okay, so am I!) Even our 2 year old loves the iPad etc. So disconnect, leave the phone, the TV, the iPad grab the kids, family, friends … and go outside… play, go for a walk, enjoy nature! If you go for a walk bring along a garbage bag and pick up any garbage along the way.

I encourage you to make one positive change for our earth today and every day…

the secret to getting healthier…

yup.. I’ve figured it out! Work your ass off and then work some more... ! That’s right, no pill, no 2 week diet, no magic soup, no specific workout routine… none of that will get you there if you aren’t ready to take it on yourself and get YOURSELF there!

Exercise: walk, run, bike, swim, dance, lift weights, join a gym, take a belly dancing class, go to yoga, get a DVD, find a wii/xbox game … whatever it is… do IT. Scared to try something? just go and try it! who care’s if you aren’t perfect (uhh Angie? yeah I’m talking to you!) whatever you do, you are doing more than the person sitting on the couch saying “I wish I could lose weight/get fit/be skinnier”. Leaving that fear at the door has been awesome. I’ve gone on my own (big step for me!) to classes/activities. I’ve done belly dancing class, pole dancing, yoga, Zumba, HIIT, meditation classes, bootcamps, run clubs, water aerobics, played hockey …. just go for it! You never know what you may fall in love with!

Eat: yup, eat to lose weight. Don’t starve yourself! Don’t try a fad diet (as tempting as all those “after” photos look) Eat, enjoy, be creative, try new food/recipes. Take a nutrition course, take cooking glasses.. use google to your advantage. Prep food ahead of time, plan meals, don’t grocery shop in a rush when you are starved and have a kid hanging off your arm (although at times that can’t be avoided!)

I enjoyed my 3 day Dr. Oz cleanse, and actually it made me aware of the way some foods were affecting me (once I started eating some of the regular foods I eat again). For example, I’m a popcorn addict. I had some popcorn after my 3 day cleanse and 1. I got bloated 2. I got a killer migraine 3. my joints got achey. Years ago I did an allergy challenge diet… I’ve been very lax on foods that I was “sensitive” to. Yes certain foods I MUST avoid (eggs) due to severe allergies, but all the other stuff I just knew I’d deal with these reactions and left it at that. Last week, those reactions to just eating popcorn reminded me that, it’s no longer worth it – I don’t want to have those reactions. It’s not worth headaches, looking 8 months pregnant, stomach aches, sore joints (yes, food CAN and will do that to you).

Be consistent: for the past few months I wake up each day and (most days) reset my thinking. I don’t have an “all or nothing” attitude the way I used to. OR if I do, I’ve learned to recognize and correct it as best as I possibly can. i.e. I had a healthy breakfast but then I went to Starbucks for lunch and had a latte and some other high calorie nothing food.. it doesn’t mean the rest of my day is shot. It means the next meal will be healthy. It means I will go for a walk, go to yoga… OR just accept that yes I ate that food and I enjoyed it. So now, I ask myself – will I actually enjoy this, is it worth it?

Accept yourself now. Look at yourself. Be thankful for who you are now. Yup, I’m heavier than I want to be. However, I’m pretty sure that the people around me really could care less. They don’t like me for the weight I am or my clothing size... they like me for me. Yes, I can get whiney when my back is hurting so bad I can barely walk. But then I remember I can walk…. there’s others that can’t – that would do anything to just walk. Be thankful for what you have now. Take pride in the person you are right this very moment!

Plan ahead & make a date with yourself &/or friends: One thing that I’ve done for the past 2 months is sit down and map out all the hockey, badminton, ultimate, track and field, gymnastics dates and times and then work around that schedule and find time for me to fit in fitness. Right now fitness consists of yoga and walking (with a slight jog added in when my back is feeling okay). If it’s 6:30am or 8:30pm I make it happen. Some days I do miss it, some days just don’t go as planned. Again, it’s not the end of the world. Move on..

Yes you will get “stuck”, you may have a bad week/day … you might not want to drag yourself out of bed. Do you remember how good it feels to finish that workout? Do you remember how much healthier you feel when you eat well? Is that worth it? To me it is! Get up early to exercise, or after the kids have gone to bed. There’s so many days I want to lay on the couch in the quiet after our 3 kids are in bed. Go do that late yoga session, or take 30 mins to walk or do weights. A strong positive mental attitude will get you over those moments when it seems like nothing is working. And we all know there will be days like that, because that’s how life rolls.. it’s how you deal with it that makes the difference! I tend to only focus on my weight (the number).. I’ve stopped that. I look at things I’ve accomplished that I could never have done 6 months ago, 2 months ago, last week…. I’ve progressed. My number may not have gone down on the scale, but I FEEL better, I FEEL healthier… I am stronger, my balance is better…. celebrate every little positive thing on this journey called LIFE!

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Dr. Oz 3 day Cleanse / Detox

Today I started Dr. Oz’s 3 day Detox/Cleanse. So far .. all is good. Granted ……. it IS day 1, and it’s only 3pm (ohhh!! time for my “snack drink”). So far the only thing I miss is my coffee. I’m doing this Wednesday – Friday because 1. I’m not in the office those days (to my co-workers you are welcome!) and 2. the rest of my family is at school or work all day so they won’t have to deal with me if I get ummmm slightly “hangry” (they have told me is when I get hungry – I get angry!)

I enjoyed the breakfast and lunch smoothies, maybe because they consist of things I would normally put in a smoothie anyways? Even our toddler drank the lunchtime smoothie with me and she gulped it down! (okay so I took a little artistic license with lunchtime) I forgot to buy lime, so I added a chunk of fresh ginger & some avocado (negleted to put the coconut oil in). Also I can’t have too much almond (hives, tightness in chest) so I used unsweetened coconut milk. I’m wondering how dinner will be? I’ve never put cayenne in a smoothie before!!

I’m drinking lots of water, and thankfully I have a lot of ginger root & lemons here because that’s how I’m flavouring my water (also with fresh mint leaves) makes drinking water that much easier!

 

So this is the gung-ho me talking on day one – ask me again tomorrow how things are going?!

4_055_3DayDetox

 

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A Few of my Favourite things…

Okay come on … admit it.. you just started singing didn’t you?  When I hear “my favourite things” I suddenly want to run in a field in Austria whilst twirling my dress made out of curtains …. annnnnd back to reality!

The challenge this week for us GreenFighters is to share with you some of our favourite things, and so… I present to you, my favourite things… NOW try not to sing!

Raindrops when running & making me hustle
20lb dumbbells and feeling my muscle
Great tunes on iPods making me sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Cream in my coffee and crisp juicy apples
Winning at negative tough mental battles
Cold dreary weather turning to spring
These are a few of my favourite things

Fresh Breakfast smoothies to drink in the morning
Feeling my healthy body transforming
40 degree heat and yoga and stretching 
These are a few of my favourite things

When the day’s tough, when there’s no zing
When I’m feeling sad
I remind myself of my favourite things 
And then I don’t feel so bad

hot yoga

hot yoga

I have really enjoyed discovering Hot Yoga at Oxygen in Walnut Grove, they have a great variety of hot yoga classes and I have found that while I’m recuperating my back (and still wanting to stay active and healthy) this has been a great solution.

I’ve signed up for a full year and don’t plan to stop!  I’ve been doing 3-5 classes a week, the instructors are so awesome there & always offer help in modifying for my injuries etc.  If you’ve ever considered giving Hot Yoga a try, I really recommend it.

I love my running shoes, my favourite shoes so far, the bright colours on a rainy day (have you looked outside today?) make me smile.  I love lacing them up and heading outside for a walk.  I’ve accepted that for now, I can’t push myself to run and I am IMG_4512(somewhat) okay with that.  I have gone running a few times in the past couple weeks and have definitely paid for it later on in the day.  So for now, I walk.

My smoothies are another favourite thing, I can throw any combo of fruit and veggies in there with some protein and I have a delicious meal ready to be enjoyed

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

cranberry & veggies w/ chocolate protein powder

My favourite meals are salads, again being able to throw such a variety of foods in … okay.. it excites me.  The other day I had a craving, I wasn’t sure what for but I wanted something kinda sweet.  I came up with a citrus salad with goat cheese and shaved dark chocolate… can you say YUMMM????

Citrus Salad

Orange
Grapefruit
Avocado
Boursin Cracked Pepper & Cranberry cheese
shaved dark chocolate

citrus salad with goat cheese and avocado

Another favourite thing… okay well PERSON is my awesome trainer Andrea.  She has a boutique studio for women in Cloverdale.  Anyone intimidated to go to a gym, or wanting more than just an on-your-own gym workout – go see Andrea.  Even though, at the moment I’m unable to do the HIIT classes, TRX classes or weight lifting, Andrea remains to be a wonderful supportive inspiration and I hope that I will be back training at Life Designs Fitness Studio very soon!

I love getting creative in the kitchen and trying new meals….. what are some of YOUR favourite things on your health & fitness journey?

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In Store Challenge #2 & Inspiration

Saturday was another in-store challenge for us Greenfighters. We were collecting donations for the Canadian Cancer Society & providing Daffodil pins for those that donated.  There is a prize for the GreenFighter that sold the most pins, and one of my fellow fighters has stated that if she is the winner she will be shaving her head!  Her story, along with all the other fighters’ is inspiring.  Each of us is doing this for a very special reason and I have to give a shout-out to all my fellow GreenFighters … you are ALL doing an amazing job! And keeping so many people inspired.

I love reading about their progress, or their ups and downs.. because, really… that’s life!   They have all put themselves out there and shared so much  – keep up the great work.  We are all winners in this one!

My Saturday started out early, 6:30am taking my son to the hockey rink and then meeting up for coffee with a friend & heading out to Fort Langley to photograph some amazing women that meet every Saturday morning and Wednesday evening as part of Abreast In A Boat, a Dragon boat team of breast cancer survivors.

Inspiring to say the least, these warrior women are out there paddling together and sharing a special bond.

What an awesome way to start the day!

I then headed off to Kin’s Market at Guildford for some Cancer Fundraising.  Met and chatted with some wonderful people (and a friendly bearded dragon!). We had delicious fruit samples, kids activity books, baloons etc.  for all to enjoy.

Finished off my day by going to a Canucks game.  All in all a great Saturday!

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my back … it hurts

I’ve been telling my Dr. this for months and months now… stretching, exercise, X-rays … nothing

Today I got my CT scan results.  

Lots of medical words that I’m going to have to look up… (I got her to print report for me)

Basically :

  • A disc bulge at L3-4 that flattens the anterior thecal sac
  • A moderate circumferential disc bulge at L4-5 that indents the anterior thecal sac
  • Early spinal canal stenosis
  • A disc bulge at L5-S1 .. greater on left … contacting my S1nerve root
  • Mild spondylosis

So now… on to an MRI

Dr. told me to lose weight (insert cynical laugh here!) ummmm YES, that IS what I’ve been attempting to do for 6 months!  Why I’ve come to you repeatedly asking “what’s wrong” “something isn’t right”.  The answer:  don’t eat late at night, cut your carbs.  BIG SIGHHHH  

And work on my core, once again .. I’ve been doing this for months.  Not that I expect instant results, but I’d hope something would have happened (in the weight loss department) by now.  And the pain? It doesn’t get any better.

At the very least, I know that all those times that I’m in tears trying to walk up the stairs, or that I feel like I’m really OLD when I get up out of bed in the morning… barely able to take a few steps at first.  They aren’t in my head, I’m not dreaming up pain.  I know why Advil etc. does nothing.  I just “grin and bear it”.  Pain is constant, some days way worse than others.  However, life goes on – there’s other people out there dealing with more pain and sickness than this…  and so … I grit my teeth and keep going.  It’s not the end of the world!  Hopefully there will be more information once I get my MRI.

I do my exercises that my physiotherapist gave me, I do yoga, I stretch, I workout, I lift weights, I do cardio, I log my food, I eat my veggies, I drink my water, I rarely drink alcohol, I rarely eat packaged foods, I pay attention to what I’m eating, I take my vitamins … is that not enough? One day it will all come together right? And the pounds will drop?

I’ll keep lacing up my shoes, I’ll keep eating well, going to yoga, exercising, walking  – I’ll continue to make my body better and healthier!

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A pledge of allegiance to my body

Yesterday I had to weigh myself and prep a blog (set to be posted for tomorrow)

As part of our challenge, we are required to have progress check-ins and this one was to share our weight and waist measurements.

It left me ….. Unhappy, depressed and frustrated with myself and my body and saying some not so great things about myself.

I found this pledge today (noted below) and it seemed to come at a perfect time!

I think many people spend too much energy focusing on negatives about their bodies and their own self image. I know for me it is a daily stress and I am never happy.

It is time to change! It is time to get rid of all that negativity and embrace life and embrace ourselves no matter what point in our life journey we are at ! It’s time to know we ARE good enough. And for me, it just time to friggin accept me and love me!

So to all you people out there that question yourselves or your body image … You are amazing the way you are. Love yourself and find the positives in each and every day!
…….

I have decided that it is my desire and conscious CHOICE to walk through each step of this journey ahead of me by honoring and respecting the body given to me.

My Body Pledge of Allegiance:

Today, I vow to start loving my body – no matter how I am feeling, how I look, and wherever I am in my journey.

I promise to stop the self- criticism, negative self talk, and to be present in each moment to stop and acknowledge my negative thoughts, and how I am feeling. This will help me realize that almost everything my inner critic says is not true, and to change my beliefs.

I pledge to never again to participate in a barrage of bashing of myself. This includes picking myself apart when I make an error in judgment or a mistake – no matter how big or small.

I promise to begin treating my body with respect by feeding it what it needs, and taking care of it so it can function as efficiently as it can – no matter what my age.

I promise to recognize that I can only ask so much of my body, and that it deserves to sleep and rest in order to prepare for the next day, and I will honor by giving it at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

I promise not to consciously or unconsciously compare my body to others.

I promise not to be influenced by the media, or the fashion industry in what makes a woman beautiful, or the right size. I know that the media does not set the standards for beauty or my self esteem, and is there only to further their own agendas, and line their pocketbooks.

I vow that I will no longer let the scale or a certain size define me.

I promise to recognize that all body types can be beautiful – including mine.

I pledge to recognize my strengths, achievements, and attractiveness. I will affirm to myself every day that I am wonderful just as I am in that moment.

I promise not to criticize myself, punish myself, or feel guilty when I make a mistake. I am human, not perfect; I know that my mistakes are a way to help me learn, which then helps me become stronger.

I pledge to be true to myself and others because it is who I wish to be.

I promise to stand up, and speak up for myself and others when I hear something harmful or emotionally demeaning said. We all deserve the respect and love of others.

I vow that I will remember that I deserve to love myself right here and right now – in every moment.

Today, and every day from here forward, these are my choices!

Here is where I found the pledge: http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5267578

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Holidays, a time to relax or a time to exercise?

Exercise or Relax?  In Hawaii… hmmmm?  Maybe a combo?

I knew in the back of my mind that the day we returned from holidays was the day I had to do my “official mid-way weigh in” for Kin’s Green Fighters… this stayed with me the entire trip – I couldn’t let it go.  My weight has constantly gone up for the past 6+ months and I’m not exactly enjoying that fact.  However I did NOT let it deter me from having a fantastic family holiday.

I did do active things on holiday… snorkelling, swimming, body surfing, walking, being conscious of what I ate (most of the time!), tennis, pickle ball…. it was a great holiday!  I even got to read TWO novels, I miss reading and it was awesome to have some quiet time to read. I did bring my purple exercise band… apparently rubber does deteriorate over time, because I broke the band and it snapped a good one on my foot! OUCH!

As for the weight thing… you will have to wait until Friday to get the dirt on that one (we can’t post until then)

I do know that I need to continue with my workouts at home, I will keep going to Hot Yoga and go on more walks… perhaps even a jog?  I haven’t been able to take a full stride without an excessive amount of pain for the past 8 months or so.  I finally had a CT scan just before we left for holidays & I’m hoping that this will give me some answers as to why I’m in so much pain.  I have sciatica, and I’ve dealt with that for 16 years, but this is even worse and it gets quite frustrating feeling limited to what I can do for exercise.  I know if I do anything that entails too much jumping, or longer strides (tennis, jogging etc) I pay for it later that day or I just can’t even do it at all because my body revolts.

So far Hot Yoga and weight training have saved me, when I’m able to be in control of what my body does I can usually modify to make it work.  My trainer offers alternatives to certain exercises if my back is really bothering me on a certain day as well.

And so, I do the best I can.  I stay conscious of what I eat and I try to keep up with exercise and being active as often as possible.

Now it’s back to reality.. a one day “break” and then we are off to the cabin to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 13th birthday.  She’s bringing 3 friends with her.  So it will be me and 6 kids…. wish me luck!

 

Everyday I’m Chauffeuring …….. (definitely not shuffling)

Yesterday I had a “day off” … the plan:

Morning

  • Make a fun breakfast for little E
  • Dishes
  • complete my upcoming 2 challenges for Kin’s GreenFighters (St. Patty’s day & Easter Challenges – as we are away on holiday)
  • Laundry
  • organize packing for holiday

Afternoon

  • Make lunch
  • Dishes
  • More Laundry
  • clean bathrooms & vacuum
  • older kids get home & then off to their hockey games

Evening

  • Finish up laundry & packing
  • more cleaning house
  • dinner
  • bed before 10pm (HA!)

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THE REALITY!

Morning started off somewhat as planned.  Dishes got done, I made a fun healthy pancake breakfast for E (albeit in a rush)  

E loves her special Easter Pancake

E loves her special Easter Pancake

…. (oatmeal cottage cheese pancakes, you will get the recipe at Easter!).  I started a load of laundry and sat down to do some blogging, while distractedly adding to my list of “what to pack”. And of course the odd distraction from the 2 year old (that never happens right?!).   I set up my couple projects for the Easter Blog and get ready to take photos….

  • She was too quiet!
  • She decided to “Help you packing Mum!” …. so I tidy up that messTWICE!…
    clean for 5 mins

    clean for 5 mins

    …..we recently got rid of her dresser as we are re-doing her room, and so her clothes are in boxes right now – easily accessible

  • “mum it raining out I need blella”  … I walk into living room she has changed her clothes (totally normal, when home she goes through 5 outfits a day!) she’s dressed herself (backwards) and is dancing with an umbrella

    I need a blella

    I need a blella

  • try to sit E down to watch a bit of a movie and distract her so I can get my housework/challenges done

    PLEASE sit & watch TV for more than 2 mins

    PLEASE sit & watch TV for more than 2 mins

  • Phone beeps it’s the familiar “text tone” for son:  “not enough drivers for field trip can you come to school”  His Gr. 10 Spanish class was to go to the local Mexican Restaurant as a field trip and speak only Spanish
    need drivers ASAP

    need drivers ASAP

    How do you say No?.. It would mean they couldn’t go on the field trip

  • dress E in some clothes fit for our rainy day

    rainy day in March

    rainy day in March

 

  • Go pick up students at school… WAIT … there really aren’t enough drivers……………. “mom can you make 2 trips?” ………………………. And so I do, drop off at restaurant, back to school, back to restaurant…
  • Okay well while I’m out I’ll pop by my Aunt & Uncle’s for a little visit.  E starts to fall asleep in the car. We arrive at Aunt & Uncle’s “I close my eyes I sleep mum”.  I have a quick visit on the front porch.  E is fast asleep in the car.

    I close my eyes and sleep mum

    I close my eyes and sleep mum

  • Arrive home.  Unload child, PRAY she stays asleep  – NOPE!
  • go for a  walk in the rain

    rainy day walk

    rainy day walk

  • get back home
  • Attempt to start up with blog where I left off

TEXT: “mom can u come back & pick up 1st group” 

  • back to restaurant – get kids, drop at school.
  • rush home – attempt to feed E lunch (LATE!)
  • throw more laundry on
  • dishes
  • finish blog

Oldest daughter “Mom I have hockey evals”… RIGHT! …… EAT…. QUICK!!!!

Son: I can get a ride home BUT can you drive me to ball hockey” (same time … different hockey rink, other part of town)

Thank god C was home from work  in time so I didn’t have to load little E into the car!  SUCH a relief! … a quick “HI” at the door as we pass by each other

  • Drive to daughters hockey
  • drop her off
  • take son to his hockey
  • turn around go get daughter
  • cancel yoga as I wasn’t going to make it in time

HOME!

  • dinner
  • dishes
  • finish writing packing list
  • start packing

A fairly normal busy day – things rarely go as planned.  I’m sure many of your households are like this as well!… it’s nothing new for families to be busy!

WHAT I LEARNED

I didn’t eat when I should have, I forgot to drink water until about 3:30, I let the TV babysit E for a while … I didn’t get exercise in, I didn’t get to bed by 10pm.  I won’t call this day a “failure”.  It wasn’t.  I DID have healthy food when I ate (few bites of E’s healthy pancake, a quinoa salad, turkey avocado lettuce wraps).  So that’s a bonus, this healthy eating challenge is really helping me not just “give in and give up” and reach for junk.  My son and his classmates were able to go on their field trip, I was able to have a quick visit with my Aunt & Uncle, I got SOME packing done, both kids got to their respective hockey rinks on time. I got my blogs done for the challenges.  So, instead of dwelling on the negative (yup I tend to do that!) I looked at the positives that happened.  No, it wasn’t a “perfect” day – but in reality, no day can possibly be.  There’s always something thrown in, and that is what makes life fun (okay and frustrating & hectic at times too!)  And so bring on the next challenging day, I’ve learned from this one and will be even more prepared next time (I hope!) 

OH NO……… She’s quiet again! …… signing off!

is it too early to have a glass of my favourite wine?

Satruna Island Family Winery

Satruna Island Family Winery