Happy Anniversary!!!

It was one year ago today that I smoked my last cigarette!  Wooo Hooo, can I get an Amen?

This is the thing, I’ve stopped smoking many times before January 4, 2016 but never had I quit.  I now understand the difference.  I can honestly say that I will never smoke another cigarette.

It wasn’t easy quitting, as a matter of fact it was very hard.  See, those cigarettes had been my best friends for a long long long time.  They were always there for me, for the good times and the bad.

It came down to one thing…  I had to want to quit more than I wanted to smoke.  I say that because even now I still sometimes get a craving but it passes quickly.

I had a mantra that I would say out loud when I got one of those cravings and it was “It’s NOT an option”  and it truly wasn’t an option.  I was quitting the cigarettes so smoking was not an option.

Savings:  Each week I put the money I would’ve spent on cigarettes into a jar.  I knew if I didn’t separate and put that money aside that it would get absorbed into other spending categories.  I wanted to be able to see and physically touch the money for motivation.

Weight gain:  Well honestly I didn’t worry about it, and yes in the past year I’ve gained three pounds.  I don’t know if I can even blame that on the smokes.

Triggers:  being in the car was a huge trigger for me.  A good friend suggested audio books to keep my mind occupied rather than thinking about smoking.  What a game changer that was!  I was thinking about someone elses story instead of mine.  This was a huge part in the success of quitting.

Cravings:  I found that hard cinnamon candy worked well for my cravings.  I suppose it was the little bit of burn from the candy that I liked.  It also helped that it was right after Christmas and I had a big bag of it.

Anxiety:  There was definitely some anxiety associated with quitting smoking and we just did the best we could to recognize what and why it was and moved past it.  I had another dear friend tell me that she used to bake bread and give it away while she was quitting smoking.  It was the kneading and punching the dough that gave her some relief from the anxiety of quitting.  What a clever idea, and she had the wonderful smell of bread baking filling her kitchen.

Talk About It:  Talk openly about your effort to quit.  Seek motivation from others, and if those others don’t motivate you then find different people that do.  Trust me, for all the cravings and desire you have to smoke a cigarette there is a smoker out there buying a pack of cigarettes wishing that they weren’t.

I thought I loved every cigarette I smoked.  I really thought I enjoyed smoking.  But honestly I only liked the first couple of draws and then it seemed like the cigarette smoked me.

Quitting smoking was one of the best things the Z Man and I did for ourselves and I’m very proud that we have kicked those nasty cigarettes to the curb.

Perhaps you are in the midst of quitting something right now.  Just remember to take it easy on yourself, be kind to yourself and remind yourself why you truly want to quit.  It won’t be easy, buy you are strong enough and you are worth the effort.

You can do it, I know you can and I am right here cheering you on, friend!

Or, perhaps you’ve already quit and have kicked it for even longer than we have, I’d love to hear your story too.

Take care,


Ps.  Here is what we did with my quit smoking money.  Football Baby!





2017 Resolutions

It’s almost that time of year again.  A time of reflection and a time of new beginning.  A new slate, a new piece of fresh, clean, crisp, bright white paper to start writing on using your best pen and best handwriting.  Can you smell the freshness of it?

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the changes I’d like to implement in my life for 2017 and my thoughts keep leaning toward peace, forgiveness, pleasure and beauty.

Those thoughts leave me interested in learning to let go of everything that I have no control over.   And, if I really break that down further I have to ask myself, what do I really have control over?   Nothing.

So in realizing that in truth, I have control over nothing, except for my actions or perhaps my reactions, this is what I’ve come up with.



Letting go of………

  • the hurt feelings
  • the regrets
  • the wish I had done this or that back then
  • the I wasn’t treated right
  • the I wish I hadn’t done that
  • the I did the best I could
  • the I’m not good enough


There is a reason the days of the past are called the “good old days” and I’m sure that I’ve never seen “I wish I had worked one more day” engraved on a headstone.

For a long time now I’ve been trying to be uber conservative and frugal and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, until it becomes extreme and you realize that your happiness isn’t being considered in that frugal conservative process.

Now, I’m not saying I’m going to start spending money willy nilly or not continue to make mindful frugal decisions.  As a matter of fact I intend to become even more detailed in tracking our finances and expenses because retirement is a year closer and we need to be ready.

What I’m saying is I want to find a balance.  I’m not going to quickly pass on the fun, the events or opportunities for pleasure simply because I don’t want to spend the money.  I’m not going to make money the ultimate reason for doing or not doing….


  • I’m going to plant the flowers even though we can’t eat them
  • I’m going to buy the great pair of shoes because I just love them
  • I’m going to buy the red lipstick
  • I’m going to get my hair done
  • I’m going to do my Yoga
  • I’m going to wear out those new exercise shoes
  • I’m going to eat the chocolate cake and the ice cream
  • I’m going to dress myself in my style, not just for my comfort
  • I’m going to give thought to my wants to understand why I want…..

While I was succesful in 2016 with quitting smoking and quitting a 20 year use of Prilosec, which I am extremely happy about.  2016 was still a bit of a crappy year.  I’m not going to whine about it, because nobody likes a whiner.  I’m just going to say that I had a lot of illness and injury and even battled with a bit of depression.  With all of that, I lost sight of what is most important to me.

I am loved by the most amazing Man and I am completely head over heals in love with him.  He is the love of my life and all he wants is for me to be happy.   It took us a long time to find each other and I don’t intend to waste one more single minute on anything less important and EVERYTHING is less important than my husband.

What about you, do you have any resolutions you want to share.  I’d love to hear about them.


wedding pic 1












Clean Food, Is It?

Choosing a clean food diet is a personal choice.  It is a choice that I made to help with my digestive issues, and I’m 100% sure that it has helped me stop the Prilosec.

The Z Man and I are not 100% clean food people, we are probably more around the 75% range.  But it is a conscious effort for us because we want to know what we are putting in our bodies.  Still there are times we backslide a bit.  We are human.  But honestly when we do eat something out of the norm for us, more often than not we immediately regret it and wish we hadn’t.

Sometimes even the healthy choices can be deceiving.  For example during the busy summer months when I was working 6 days a week I would sometimes swing by the grocery store for a bag salad to have for my lunch.

  1. An entire bag salad complete with croutons, dressings, fruit, nuts (you get the idea) is $3.00 whereas a salad from a restaurant would run around $7.00
  2. Choosing a salad for lunch IS a healthier choice than restaurant food and most certainly healthier than any drive thru food.
  3. A bag salad is quick and easy, just dump in a bowl and eat which is very convenient.

Take a look at these pictures of what actually comes in a bag (caesar) salad.



Take another look at the ingredient list for this bag salad in the second picture.  YIKES!!!!!!!!!!!!

Granted that the unwanted ingredients are mostly in the dressing and croutons, but even the cheese has unwanted, unclean ingredients.

That is why I make my own dressing.


A simple but great basic salad dressing is:

  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a jar and shake to blend.  Done!

Then you don’t have all those unnecessary and unwanted ingredients in your salad, and you are eating clean.

The basics of a clean food diet for us is

  • Five or less ingredients on the label.
  • No unpronounceable ingredients.  If I can’t say it and don’t know what it is then I don’t want to eat it.
  • Natural sugars such as raw honey and pure maple syrup.
  • Cook real food – think of it as what your grandmother or great grandmother cooked and put on the table.
  • Cook your own food so you know what’s in it even if you have to do weekly or bi weekly meal prepping.
  • Read ingredient labels, read all ingredient labels even on the simple items.  Trust me, you’ll be surprised!
  • No meals received through a drive through window.

Like I said earlier, eating clean is a personal choice and one I’m glad I’ve made for me and the Z Man.

And if you decide to try it, then I hope these few tips will help you get started.  Just remember, it’s not about being perfect it’s just about being comfortable with your choices.

Till next time,




Smoother Times Ahead

In a continued effort to heal my digestive system and my leaky gut from years of taking proton pump inhibitors (prilosec), I’ve decided to add smoothies into my diet.

This is the thing, I’ve tried smoothies in the past and did not like them.  It was a texture issue for me.  My blender was not strong enough to blend the smoothie well and drinking a drink that has small chunks of kale and spinach is not pleasing at all.

So, I bit the bullet and bought myself this….  I bought it at Walmart for $89.00


I am so pleased with this blender.  In a matter of seconds it completely blends all the ingredients perfectly.  Now I can actually enjoy smoothies instead of trying to choke them down because they are good for me.

I went ahead and did some smoothie prep for the week…  right now I’m putting a baby kale and spinach mix, a frozen mix of cherries, strawberries, blueberries and grapes, banana, ground flax seed, turmeric, L Glutamine, protein bone broth and I’m using raw milk for my liquid.  The banana adds a nice sweetness to the smoothie, but a squeeze of honey helps too.



I did cook some pumpkin from the garden in the pressure cooker that I will freeze in ice cube trays so I can add those to my smoothies too.  I’m thinking something like a pumpkin pie flavor using pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, my homemade yogurt and some honey or pure maple syrup, and of course the greens, ground flax, ground turmeric and L Glutamine.

I had some coupons that were set to expire this week so off to the grocery store I went.  I kept my side blinders on and stuck to my list.  I spent $33.43 and here is what I bought.



I also stopped to pick up some avocados that are on sale right now and some cucumber and tomatoes for my jar salads.  I spent $19.91


I’ve got to accept the fact that my digestive system requires somewhat of a special diet of fresh and organic as much as possible, good fats, very limited amounts of wheat and smaller meal portions with 5 – 6 small meals a day instead of 3 larger meals.  Because of this it’s very important for me to plan and prep healthy meals and snacks.

It’s also important for me to track my spending to keep it in check.   My total for this week is $53.34 and I’m well stocked up so I’m not planning any additional spending this week.

And by the way, have you notice the cost of nuts, especially almonds.  Crazy expensive!  Which is why you don’t see any in my grocery pictures.  😉

Do you have any smoothie suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Till next time,