Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Techie Tuesday

After two years of lurking and scoping out and researching, last week I purchased and received my Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker.  As a personal trainer/Pilates/Pilates Reformer trainer, I try to keep up with the latest gadgets and fads that come along.  As a woman who loves techie toys and working out, I was especially curious about the Fitbit One.  

Well, I have not been disappointed.  Since purchasing and wearing the Fitbit One, I have found it much easier to track my steps, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed.  Now I've used free websites to do my food journaling, so that wasn't a big selling feature for me with the Fitbit One. But... one of the features that I was particularly interested in was the sleep tracking mode.  I found out that I'm actually only getting about 5 1/2 hours of sleep a night, and I wake up on average three times a night!  That's about six percent of the total population of my age bracket, and certainly (no surprise here) NOT in the recommended range of sleep!  I should be shooting for at LEAST seven hours a night.  

You clip the Fitbit One to your belt or bra and it syncs very easily to your computer or tablet or smartphone (free apps available).  I recommend clipping it to the inside of your bra - just set it and forget it - it's very comfortable and you won't even know it's there.  At night I wear it on my wrist in a very comfortable wrist band.  There is no montly fee for the basic dashboard website, but I did plop down the extra $49 for the premium one-year account because I felt as a trainer I need to really understand more about details of the reports, and I wanted more details in tracking my sleep patterns.  (... necessary for the average user unless you are a detail freak like me.)

It's all a fairly easy process and the return on investment is definitely worth it.  I'm not getting any $$$ for writing this, but I am putting it as my featured product for awhile here - so please click on the link in the left column to check it out on Amazon (best prices) if you're thinking of getting one for yourself.  It runs about $98... not the cheapest tool in the shed, but I do think it's worth the money.  Several of my clients have already been using Fitbit One, and now that I'm on the bandwagon, I'm recommending it from now on!  

So click on over to Amazon and check out the write-up and reviews.  It's a serious product for the person who want to get serious about tracking their daily health.  


Memorial Day Monday

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild Women help.

One of my favorite shows is the Food Network’s “The Pioneer Woman” with Ree Drummond.  She also is one of my favorite bloggers and photographers.  She also lives in Oklahoma.  Thankfully, the cattle/horse ranch she and her family live on was spared by the storms, but as you can imagine, the whole state (and we as a nation) are still stunned.  I went on her blog today and she listed some assistance sites where you could help.  I encourage you to visit one of these and give from the heart.  I’ve copied them below.

Wild women stick together.  We share our laughter, our tears, our resources and our strength.  Reach out today and exercise your help others muscles today.

God bless you,

UPDATE: NewsOK has a great page of many local organizations and drop-off centers. Check these if you live in Oklahoma! NewsOK: How to Help Tornado Victims
Salvation Army
Supporters are encouraged to give online at www.SalvationArmyUSA.org or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). You can also text the word “STORM” to 80888 to make a $10 donation through your mobile phone; to confirm your gift, respond with the word “Yes.”
Samaritan’s Purse
Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a team to Moore, Oklahoma and will respond to the current needs in any way they can.
Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, in partnership with Oklahoma Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, is asking that the public support all rescue, recovery and disaster relief efforts with donations of cash to your favorite responding charity. Financial donations will allow disaster relief agencies to purchase whatever items are deemed necessary without resulting in the additional burden of securing warehouse space and volunteers to work donated product.
To make a tax deductible donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, go to www.regionalfoodbank.org or call 604-7111 or text FOOD to 32333 to give $10 to relief efforts.
Feeding America
Feeding America will deliver truckloads of food, water and supplies to impacted areas through its network of more than 200 food banks and 61,000 agencies. The organization’s food banks will also set up additional dropoff sites.
Convoy of Hope
International humanitarian relief organization Convoy of Hope is responding to the Moore, Okla. area this morning. Immediately after the devastating tornadoes struck, a Convoy of Hope assessment team was in the area and tractor-trailers were loaded with emergency supplies at Convoy of Hope’s World Distribution Center in Springfield, Missouri.
Those wishing to make a contribution to the OKC and Midwest tornado relief efforts can make a secure online contribution by visiting: http://www.convoyofhope.org. To place a $10 donation on your cellular bill, text the word CONVOY to 50555. Standard text and data rates apply.
UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief)
100% of Oklahoma-directed donations will go toward relief efforts.
American Red Cross
People who wish to make a donation can support American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps provide food, shelter and emotional support to those affected by disasters like the recent tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas as well as disasters big and small throughout the United States by visiting redcross.org, dialing 1-800-REDCROSS or texting REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
Central OK Humane Society (For the pets left homeless and injured.)
Currently greatest need is financial donations to help treat and house lost and injured animals. Current in-kind needs are: Towels, paper towels, bleach, gloves, and crates. All donations can be taken to either Central Park Dog Daycare location (2905 NW 70th and 5420 N. Classen Blvd.) Pet food donations may be taken there as well.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tally It Thursday

Here's something to consider next time you reach for a snack!  Let's say you grab a bag of pretzels that are 200 calories. It's not high in fat, you think it's relatively low in calories for a snack.  Okay, both true.  However, consider that if you ate an extra 200 calories a day for a year - at the end of that year you would be almost 21 pounds heavier!  Yup, read it and weep... 200 calories a day times 365 days a year = 73,000 calories.  Divide that by 3,500, the number of calories in one pound.  You come up with 20.85 pounds.  

Now even if you grab a 50 calorie snack (that little mini-brownie on the conference table, a tasting as you cook, etc.) four times during the course of a day, you're still bringing in that same 200 calories a day. Far too often we are unintentional when we eat -- we grab a bite here, taste a little there, steal a morstle there, pop a piece of chocolate there.  In and of themselves, there's nothing wrong with any of those things. The problem begins when we mindlessly eat and aren't aware of our caloric intake.  This is one of the reasons people who keep food journals have double the success rate in weight loss as those who don't track their calories.  It's about becoming mindful and intentional about what we are eating each day.  Not obsessive, but just knowing  what we're taking in to ensure that it's less than what we're burning.

While surfing Pinterest I found this interesting photo of some things that are 200 calories that is a great visual aid.  By the way, one gram = 0.035274 oz, so for example, 73 grams of french fries = 2.57 oz, which is a small fries. 

On the bright side, if you eliminate 200 calories a day through both eliminating some calories AND burning some calories (say you drop 100 calories a day from your food and burn 100 calories a day from exercise), you can lose 20 pounds in a year!!!

So, I hope this will help you make some more deliberate and premeditated choices when reaching for that next snack or meal.  It's the little things in life!  Exercise your "on purpose" eating muscle today.


Wild Woman Wednesday

She's sleeping well because she read this article!!!
Wild women often have sleep issues.  Either we neglect it and sacrifice it, or when we finally get to bed we can’t turn off our brains to get to sleep, or we wake up in the middle of the night, brains still whirring and can’t get back to sleep.  Unlike the flowers that gently fold their petals as the sun goes down to rest their beautiful heads, we lie with eyes wide open staring at the ceiling, contemplating everything from how can we be responsible for world peace to what will I make for lunch tomorrow.  

Personally, I tend to get what I call the “Sunday Night Sleep Factor”, where I inevitably find myself annoyingly awake at 2am on Sunday into Monday, and just as I finally drift off to sleep, I am jolted out of bed by the screaming of the alarm clock welcoming me to a new morning with all the nails-on-the-blackboard auditory horror of Howard’s mother as she screams at him (from the Big Bang Theory).  "Lin-ddaaaaaahhhhh – GET UP!!!!!"  Ugh – like a jagged lightning bolt right down the spine… is it any wonder Mondays have such a bad reputation?!?!?  There I am on the floor with a major case of bed head, wondering where I am, what day is it, where the night went and how can I get back into bed and squeeze in just a few more precious minutes of the illusive butterfly of sleep???  (Ah, maybe that’s why that drug company uses a butterfly for their sleep aid ads.)  Truly, today’s women suffer from the sleep poverty.

Today I’d like to share with you an article from Prevention Magazine that offers some tips on ways to sleep better at night.  My hope is that one or two of these tips will enable you to find a better sleep for yourself this week.  It’s one of the best beauty regimes going, improves your health and makes the world a bit brighter each day.  (Oh, and #17 does NOT include hairy husbands!)  So before you go out and spend a ton of money on a bed that has numbers or gel or moves in 52 different positions (although investing in a good bed is a great idea), try some of these ideas first.  Say it with me…. “Now I lay me down to sleep…” zzzzz

“There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience.”  ~ John Wooden

Blessings and sweet dreams,

Find the article HERE

20 Ways To Sleep Better Every Night
All-natural, sound-sleep secrets tailored to your nightly needs
By Teresa Dumain

Sound slumber results in increased energy and productivity, improved heart and immune system health, a better mood, even a longer life. And hey, you just feel so much better after a satisfying 8 hours of rest. But chances are, you're not getting it. "Sleep issues are epidemic among women today," says Michael Breus, PhD, clinical psychologist and author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan.

Not surprisingly, women tend to get less sleep than men do overall, says Marianne Legato, MD, FACP, director of the Partnership for Gender-Specific Medicine at Columbia University. Even if you don't have children, levels of sleep-promoting estrogen sink regularly during menstruation and then permanently in menopause. And symptoms related to both—cramps, headaches, hot flashes, and night sweats—also disrupt slumber.

But experts agree that these biological facts don't mean that sleep deprivation has to be your destiny. "Feeling tired should never be considered normal," says Dr. Breus. Yet there are no stock sleep solutions, either: Finding out what works for you takes some trial and error, but it's well worth it, says Lawrence Epstein, MD, chief medical officer of Sleep HealthCenters. "Sleep is a basic biological necessity—just like eating—and it has an impact on every aspect of your health and your life," he notes.

1. Set a sleep schedule—and stick with it
If you do only one thing to improve your sleep, this is it, says Dr. Breus: Go to bed at the same time every night and get up at the same time every morning—even on weekends. A regular sleep routine keeps your biological clock steady so you rest better. Exposure to a regular pattern of light and dark helps, so stay in sync by opening the blinds or going outside right after you wake up.

2. Keep a sleep diary
To help you understand how your habits affect your rest, track your sleep every day for at least 2 weeks. Write down not only what's obviously sleep related—what time you go to bed, how long it takes you to fall asleep, how many times you wake up during the night, how you feel in the morning—but also factors like what you ate close to bedtime and what exercise you got. Comparing your daily activities with your nightly sleep patterns can show you where you need to make changes. For a sample sleep diary, go to sleepdoctor.com.

3. Stop smoking
Reason number 1,001: Nicotine is a stimulant, so it prevents you from falling asleep. Plus, many smokers experience withdrawal pangs at night. Smokers are 4 times more likely not to feel as well rested after a night's sleep than nonsmokers, studies show, and smoking exacerbates sleep apnea and other breathing disorders, which can also stop you from getting a good night's rest. Don't worry that quitting will keep you up nights too: That effect passes in about 3 nights, says Lisa Shives, MD, sleep expert and founder of Northshore Sleep Medicine.

4. Review your medications
Beta-blockers (prescribed for high blood pressure) may cause insomnia; so can SSRIs (a class of antidepressants that includes Prozac and Zoloft). And that's just the beginning. Write down every drug and supplement you take, and have your doctor evaluate how they may be affecting your sleep.

5. Exercise, but not within 4 hours of bedtime
Working out—especially cardio—improves the length and quality of your sleep, says Dr. Shives. That said, 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise keeps your body temperature elevated for about 4 hours, inhibiting sleep. When your body begins to cool down, however, it signals your brain to release sleep-inducing melatonin, so then you'll get drowsy.

6. Cut caffeine after 2 pm
That means coffee, tea, and cola. Caffeine is a stimulant that stays in your system for about 8 hours, so if you have a cappuccino after dinner, come bedtime, it'll either prevent your brain from entering deep sleep or stop you from falling asleep altogether.

7. Write down your woes
"The number one sleep complaint I hear? 'I can't turn off my mind,'" says Dr. Breus. To quiet that wakeful worrying, every night jot down your top concerns—say, I have to call my insurer to dispute that denied claim, which will take forever, and how can I spend all that time on the phone when work is so busy? Then write down the steps you can take to solve the problem—I'm going to look up the numbers before breakfast, refuse to stay on hold for more than three minutes, and send e-mails tomorrow night if I can't get through—or even I can't do anything about this tonight, so I'll worry about it tomorrow. Once your concerns are converted into some kind of action plan, you'll rest easier.

8. Take time to wind down
"Sleep is not an on-off switch," says Dr. Breus. "It's more like slowly easing your foot off the gas." Give your body time to transition from your active day to bedtime drowsiness by setting a timer for an hour before bed and divvying up the time as follows:
  • ·  First 20 minutes: Prep for tomorrow (pack your bag, set out your clothes).
  • ·  Next 20: Take care of personal hygiene (brush your teeth, moisturize your face).
  • ·  Last 20: Relax in bed, reading with a small, low-wattage book light or practicing deep breathing.

9. Sip milk, not a martini
A few hours after drinking, alcohol levels in your blood start to drop, which signals your body to wake up. It takes an average person about an hour to metabolize one drink, so if you have two glasses of wine with dinner, finish your last sip at least 2 hours before bed.

10. Snack on cheese and crackers
The ideal nighttime nosh combines carbohydrates and either calcium or a protein that contains the amino acid tryptophan— studies show that both of these combos boost serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that helps you feel calm. Enjoy your snack about an hour before bedtime so that the amino acids have time to reach your brain.  Some good choices:
  • ·  one piece of whole grain toast with a slice of low-fat cheese or turkey
  • ·  a banana with 1 teaspoon of peanut butter
  • ·  whole grain cereal and fat-free milk
  • ·  fruit and low-fat yogurt

11. Listen to a bedtime story
Load a familiar audiobook on your iPod—one that you know well, so it doesn't engage you but distracts your attention until you drift off to sleep, suggests Dr. Shives. Relaxing music works well, too.

12. Stay cool...
Experts usually recommend setting your bedroom thermostat between 65° and 75°F—a good guideline, but pay attention to how you actually feel under the covers. Slipping between cool sheets helps trigger a drop in your body temperature. That shift signals the body to produce melatonin, which induces sleep. That's why it's also a good idea to take a warm bath or hot shower before going to bed: Both temporarily raise your body temperature, after which it gradually lowers in the cooler air, cueing your body to feel sleepy. But for optimal rest, once you've settled in to bed, you shouldn't feel cold or hot—but just right.

13. ...especially if you're menopausal
During menopause, 75% of women suffer from hot flashes, and just over 20% have night sweats or hot flashes that trouble their sleep. Consider turning on a fan or the AC to cool and circulate the air. Just go low gradually: Your body loses some ability to regulate its temperature during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, so overchilling your environment—down to 60°F, for instance—will backfire.

14. Spray a sleep-inducing scent
Certain smells, such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang, activate the alpha wave activity in the back of your brain, which leads to relaxation and helps you sleep more soundly. Mix a few drops of essential oil and water in a spray bottle and give your pillowcase a spritz.

15. Turn on the white noise
Sound machines designed to help you sleep produce a low-level soothing noise. These can help you tune out barking dogs, the TV downstairs, or any other disturbances so you can fall asleep and stay asleep.

16. Eliminate sneaky light sources
"Light is a powerful signal to your brain to be awake," explains Dr. Shives. Even the glow from your laptop, iPad, smart phone, or any other electronics on your nightstand may pass through your closed eyelids and retinas into your hypothalamus—the part of your brain that controls sleep. This delays your brain's release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. Thus, the darker your room is, the more soundly you'll sleep.

17. Consider kicking out furry bedmates
Cats can be active in the late-night and early morning hours, and dogs may scratch, sniff, and snore you awake. More than half of people who sleep with their pets say the animals disturb their slumber, according to a survey from the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center. "But if your pet is a good, sound sleeper and snuggling up with him is comforting and soothing, it's fine to let him stay put," advises Dr. Shives.

18. Check your pillow position
The perfect prop for your head will keep your spine and neck in a straight line to avoid tension or cramps that can prevent you from falling asleep. Ask your spouse to check the alignment of your head and neck when you're in your starting sleep position. If your neck is flexed back or raised, get a pillow that lets you sleep in a better-aligned position. And if you're a stomach sleeper, consider using either no pillow or a very flat one to help keep your neck and spine straight.

19. Breathe deeply
This technique helps reduce your heart rate and blood pressure, releases endorphins, and relaxes your body, priming you for sleep. Inhale for 5 seconds, pause for 3, then exhale to a count of 5. Start with 8 repetitions; gradually increase to 15. To see if you're doing it right, says Dr. Breus, buy a bottle of children's bubbles, breathe in through your belly, and blow through the wand. The smooth and steady breath that you use to blow a bubble successfully should be what you strive for when you're trying to get to sleep.

20. Stay put if you wake up
"The textbook advice is that if you can't fall back asleep in fifteen minutes, get out of bed," says Dr. Shives. "But I ask my patients, 'How do you feel in bed?' If they're not fretting or anxious, I tell them to stay there, in the dark, and do some deep breathing or visualization." But if lying in bed pushes your stress buttons, get up and do something quiet and relaxing (in dim light), such as gentle yoga or massaging your feet until you feel sleepy again.

Published November 2011, Prevention | Updated January 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tasty Tuesday

Photo by Gina Homokla - www.skinnytaste.com

Oh, have I got a healthy, budget-friendly and mouth-wateringly terrific recipe for you today!  It is so simple to make and can be made ahead of time, and then it’s still good for leftovers (if there’s any left).  

I found it on a great website I surf regularly called www.skinnytaste.com by Gina Homolka.  It’s Lemon Asparagus Couscous Salad with Tomatoes.  I made it on Sunday and served it with my Mother’s Day brunch and it was just sooooo yummy and easy.  Then I packed some up for lunch the next day. 

This website not only has some wonderful recipes, but the photography is beautiful as well, a feast for the eyes as well as the tummy!  You can also take any leftover veggies, chicken, fish… whatever… and toss it with some couscous for another “bonus meal”! 

Exercise your inner Julia Child (or in this case, Gina Homolka) today and dish yourself up some of this recipe!!


Monday Musings

There is construction work being done near the office building, and it’s been fascinating to watch as the earth is so easily and gracefully moved about by a small machine being operated by an even smaller worker.  Ah, that we could only hire a team like this to shovel away all our troubles!  Interestingly, I watched as they built, brick by brick, a drainage well to catch the overflow when the storms hit.  Seems, however, that they had an unexpected squall of their own before one cloud rose in the sky, because this morning two quintessential big and burly hard hats are now using jackhammers and sledgehammers to break the well apart.  My guess?  It wasn’t measured twice, cut once, as the saying goes.  Perhaps it didn’t meet codes and standards, or was placed incorrectly, or was too big or small.  For whatever reason, all that hard work is now being torn down so it can be redone correctly.

How often in my life I’ve had to break down what I have created – from something as benign as a craft project to breaking down my pride to apologize to someone I’ve wronged as I sought to rebuild the relationship.  I find that, especially when I’m hurried and stressed out, I don’t take time to think clearly and slowly and plan out what I’m about to do, and in my scrambling I find I have made errors or left something out or done the job just halfway and must wipe the slate clean and start all over again.  Or I get tired and overloaded and do/say things that put stress and strain in my relationships.  Frankly, I hate this, as it only makes me frustrated and angry with myself for not having done it right the first time – can you spell perfectionist?

While things like this are bound to happen (can you spell repress the perfectionist?), something I’m striving for (continually) is to build some margin into my schedule so that I’m not always running around like a chicken with my head cut off (as my Grandmom used to say).  Sometimes that means I have to say no to certain invitations or requests or things I’d like to do, and as I’ve said before, the hardest thing is not choosing the good from the bad, but choosing the best from the good.  So many interesting and fun things, so little time! 

I’ve previously recommended the book “Margins” by Richard Swenson, which addresses one form of boundaries, and this month I’m recommending the books “Boundaries” by Henry Cloud and John Townsend, which helps you build these borders into more relational issues.  You can click to the left column to see more and purchase these books, which I believe are both must reads for everyone!  Hopefully these will help you build your own wells only once, in the right spot and just perfectly.  

Hmmm… do you think I should get these books and hand them to the guys outside working on that well?  Maybe not… they are wielding a LOT of power in those muscle-driven hammers and they don’t look all that happy.  Perhaps I should just bring them a couple of cold bottles of water, yes?

Exercise your “NO” muscles this week, and build some margin and boundaries into your life!

Coach Linda

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Think About It Tuesday

A colleague of mine passed away yesterday.  It was in the office, and without warning.  One minute he was here working on a project... fifteen minutes later I stood watching as medics did everything they could to revive him... but he was gone.  He was a sweet and gentle man who always had a smile and pleasant words when you passed him in the hallway.  He even played Santa at the last several holiday parties.  I am still numb.

It is always hard to lose someone in your life, but it seems especially difficult when it comes suddenly.  There is no time to prepare, to make plans, to brace yourself for the tsunami of emotions that will inevitable follow along with the changes.  It just engulfs you, pulls you under until your lungs are ready to burst with lack of breath.  There are no words, just swirling pain drawing you down into the darkness.

I write today to try and make something good out of all this, to use it somehow fro the positive.  All I can think to do is to honor him by saying to anyone reading – this is a cold smack in the face wake-up call reminder that life is short, there is no guarantee of even the next five minutes.  WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  

Say the I love you that you’ve been holding back.  Give of yourself without hesitation.  Forgive the wrongs and the people who have done them to you, and forgive yourself.  TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY!  Embrace each moment of your day.  Do the things you’ve been saying you’ll get to someday… because someday isn’t on the calendar.  Release the fear and get on with the living of your one and only life.  Stop worrying about what might be and regretting what you can’t change and living in the past and 


It is so fleeting.  Stop wasting your days in analysis paralysis when you could be living your dream.  Stop settling and spending your precious moments on what will not satisfy!!!  What would you do if you knew you could not fail?  I know you just thought of something – begin pursuing it today.  Pray.  Ask.  Seek.  Find.

Today, in memory of my colleague, lift your face to the warmth of the sun, take a deep breath and thank God you can.  Then MOVE ON in the journey with a bold new CONFIDENCE and RESOLVE and PASSION… for such a time as this!

"You gain strength, experience and confidence by every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you cannot do." ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Love and blessings,

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Saturday Surprise


Make a wish into the sky 
Don’t analyze it nor ask why 
Wish into now - reach out and grasp 
What's done is done - dead in the past 
Wish not for then, of sad regrets 
But wish for what is unseen yet 
Wish for your now and future days 
Wish free and deep and be amazed 
At what may come and blessings more 
For joyous whens so close in store 
So wish away with all your might 
And watch as wishes then take flight  

Poem and photography by Linda Bush

Friday, May 3, 2013

Frugal Friday

The other night I was sitting with my Mom having a nice chat and talking about the yard, gardening, landscape and general backyard and curb appeal.  We were also lamenting over the cost involved in getting all those beautiful flats of flowers and veggies and the vast array of all things beautiful – not to even begin to think about the costs of water features like fountains and little fish ponds!  Seriously, you could just about spend your mortgage in outside features, and being one who loves being outdoors as much as possible, the temptation for discontent when I look out my back door grows faster and stronger than poison ivy and leaves my spirit itching for more.  Not a good thing.

In keeping with yesterday’s post on herb gardening, I thought I’d continue the theme this Frugal Friday and provide you with some economical resources as you begin this season’s landscaping and backyard agricultural endeavors!

First, be sure to get together with your friends and see what plants and seedlings you might be able to trade from what you already have in your gardens.  See what your local garden centers have, especially in their clearance areas – once the season is in full bloom (yes, pun intended) you may be able to get some REAL bargains.  Think of it as day-old bread, only day-old blossoms that might need a little TLC (and a lot of MiracleGrow).  

My number one penny-polishing tip is to buy perennials whenever possible.  While it’s nice to splash some color around with annuals during the summer months, using plants that come up year-after-year makes a LOT more $ent$!  Spring flower bulbs can often be purchased in the summer at a discounted rate, and they will multiply and spread.  You can also hunt around in your local dollar store of choice for seed packs. 

Here are a few sites I found, but scout around in Google as well:

Penniless Parenting – Frugal Gardening

8 Tips for Frugal Gardening From an Old Pro (very sweet)

The Shoestring Gardener (ebook review)

A Frugal Gardening Forum

The Micro Gardener

Frugal Gardening 101

And if you type in “frugal gardening “ on Pinterest there’s tons of ideas – try this link, if it doesn’t work just type it in:  

I particularly liked using the Christmas rope lights to make a heat mat for starting seeds!!  I have some old rope lights somewhere in the basement and now there’s a reason to root them out and use them.

Please be sure to email me or comment here are your own ideas for saving money in the garden and yard!  Share your frugal wealth with the group!!!

In the meantime as I build my dream yard one plant at a time, I think I’ll try to be happy with admiring all the Pinterest images and water my creativity with MiracleGrow in the hopes that I can magically figure out how to design and build all those ideas for outdoor change with nothing more than spare change!!!

Have a blessed weekend!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thyme to Till Thursday

When I think of a soothing, healing and calm/peace-inducing time of renewal for me, it’s working in the garden, especially my herb garden.  Digging around with my hands in the soil, smelling the fresh earth as I turn it over as I prep the beds, the sensual and heady scent of the herbal mixtures swirling around my head… it’s just a little bit of heaven for me.  I love watching them grow from baby buds to beautiful and strong plants with their leaves and flowers and stems rising up to the sun. 

It's also a perfect time to be alone with my thoughts, weeding out my life in my head as I tug away the weeds in the garden.  Somehow pulling and cleaning away those nasty critters physically help me do the same in my brain.  Use this time to reflect, to meditate and pray as well.  Tending the garden of my soul and spirit while the birds serenade me as I work the earth... ahhhhh... 

Whenever I garden my grandmother comes to mind, a woman who could grow anything!  She taught me so much about gardening and knew how to plant daffodils so they would be sure to bloom on my birthday in early April.  Because of Grandmom, I have a deep love affair with flowers and herbs (and birds and nature).  She taught me how to grow and harvest lavender and make it into little lacy sachets that we’d tuck away in my lingerie drawer.  She used to cut the stems and place them in the top of a cardboard shirt box, and place them under the bed until they dried.  I even smile now as I write this, remembering the stalks so neatly placed next to one another in their drying rows, patiently hiding in the cool darkness until it was time to remove their grey-purple heads and place them into the hand-stitched lace pockets.  Later on I also learned how to make lavender wands that could be hung in the closets.

Because I don’t like to take medications unless absolutely, 100% necessary I have studied much over the years about alternative medicines, using herbs for healing.  Of course, I also love to use fresh herbs when cooking as well.  It is beyond satisfying to be in the middle of creating a sumptuous meal for friends and have the blessing of scooting out back to my herb garden to gather just the right herbs to add to the various dishes – from mocktail/cocktails to the appetizer, to the main dish and tea/desserts.  From taste to the beauty of a well-placed garnish, you can’t go wrong with fresh herbs.  Even when I lived in tiny apartments, I was able to always have a planter of herbs on the kitchen window sill, or in a container on the front porch or patio.  That’s one of the wonderful things as well – you don’t need a lot of space or money to have these luscious and lovely friends around you!  They feed the body and the soul!

I’d like to share with you today two websites that I came across recently about herbs.  One will give you information on herbs that can be used for medical purposes (always remember to CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR FIRST), and then a fun site that recommends “Happy Hour” herbs!  Just click HERE for medicinal, and HERE for happy hour.

Now that May is here and we’ve passed, for the most part here in New Jersey, the chance of frost, it’s a good time to try your hand at growing a few of your favorites.  Exercise your inner gardener muscles, and give it a try – it’s such a fun, fulfilling and enjoyable hobby that can be shared with friends.  And please write me or comment here and share your experience with herbs, your favorite herbs and recipes!!!

And you can bet that this weekend these hands will be digging around in my herb bed!!  I can’t wait!!!


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wild Woman Wednesday

Wild Women like to pamper themselves when they can, and we don’t like to spend a small fortune doing it!  I love me some spa girly stuff whenever I’m able – mani pedis, massage, hair, nails, facials, wax, whatever… I love it all.  I hate the price tag that goes with it, however. 

So… I do a lot of things for myself at home, and that’s why I designed and teach a seminar called “The Secret Spa in Your Kitchen” that shows lots of secrets to making bath, body, and pampered girly stuff right in your very own kitchen at a fraction (and I do mean cents on the dollar) of the price you pay in department stores.  From time to time on Wild Woman Wednesdays, especially now that it’s getting warmer and we will be showing toes and skin more, I will be sharing some of my magical recipes.

Today, however, as I was feeding my pinterest addiction (follow me at kre8tv4Him), I came across a wonderful little blog posting called “27 Nail Hacks for the Perfect DIY Manicure.”  It truly is a ton of terrific tips to ensure a salon-quality manicure.  It comes from BuzzFeed DIY and here’s the link:  

Before you run off to that salon to pay $15-20 for a polish change (seriously????), check out this website and you will find everything you need to do a bang-up job on your nails at home.  You’ll save enough to buy yourself some new summer polish colors and toss a bit in your mad money savings jar.  Yes, stay financially fit at the same time and put those pennies away.  Remember, Wild Women are also amazingly frugal.

I’m off to give myself a mani pedi – I have been in a kind of a funk today, and just like they recommended in the funny movie Legally Blonde, the best thing for a funk is a mani pedi!  Exercise your mani pedi beautiful fingers and toes today!