Wednesday, November 30, 2011

New Pup "Chanel" -Lessons Learned

"Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck."-Dali Lama

I decided that I wanted a small "purse" sized dog. Something small like the lady had that I saw on the Southwest flight home--she carried the puppy in a sort of fashionable sling, it was so adorable!! My precious Bobbi, long hair 9 yr old pastel calico cat,  had to be put down with a lymphoma a few weeks ago. So I was hoping to get a persian kitten, or a purse sized puppy.

I looked online at various breeders. Thinking I wanted a yorkie, shih-tzu, or miniture poodle. Every one was very kind, and the puppies looked adorable! I began to wonder if there might be something at one of the shelters that would be small. When I clicked on the local shelter's link there was a space for a 3 yr old Shih-Poodle! (Shih-Tzu/Poodle), but no photo since it was just brought in.

                "OH I am SO excited, I thought to myself. This is the perfect purse dog for me!!!"

Since it was Thanksgiving Day we had to wait until Friday to go and get her. Sight unseen. I was at the door when they opened at 10 am. Cash in hand. Waiting. There were lots of other people there at the door too. So maybe they wanted "My Dog". I dashed through the doors asking about the pup, going back to the kennels, looking for her.....she wasn't there! I asked the desk again. Noone knew her. Then one worker said: "Oh, yes. She is at the vet and groomers." Thank goodness! Can we wait? I asked. Well it may not be until the end of the day. Well can I get her then? (Still sight unseen). Well you need to put down a deposit, and then we will keep her for you. "YES!"

I read over her sheet. "Overweight!" It said she was "Overweight, never exercised-ever!" Well how overweight can a "Purse dog" be? Right?

They closed at 4pm. I was back at 3:30pm to pick her up. New leash, new collar :)

When I first laid eyes on her my first reaction was to giggle. She was short. She was Round. She was not a "Purse Dog". She was a "Meatball". I heard "She weighs a little more than we thought: 26 lbs!" I smiled. You can visit with her and decide they told me.

I put on her new collar, the leash-and said I weigh a little more than I thought too. We will get in shape together! Oh are you sure. Yes, I'm sure. I paid. We went home to walk.

Chanel the 26 lb Shih-Poo gets her coat when she smells my coffee brewing. She wants me to walk even if I want to sit back down to watch the news. We have walked at least twice a day since Black Friday. (She was my Black Friday 2011 Purchase from the Shelter.)

We are getting fit together, one step at a time. Love what you have, who you are. Begin where you are at one step at a time.....

Friday, November 18, 2011

Jet Lag*Holidays*Weddings and More!

Jet lag. Going from the west coast to the east coast offered us the opportunity to experience jet lag. It's going to take a little bit for me to get back on track. We came home to a cold house, the first thing I did was light a candle, and turn on the heat.

When you first arrive home after being away it is both a welcoming feeling, and a sense of dread all at the same time. For me, I kind of got used to having someone make my bed and empty out the trash daily. (To which now those are my duties-and ones that I haven't kept up with since arriving home.) We need to get back into the routines of cash only spending, building up the emergency fund once again, and cooking from scratch. With the holidays right on my heels it is necessary to step it up some. No more sitting cozily under the blanket next to the fire every night. Time to sing carols, make gifts, bake, and decorate with a flurry! My in-laws will arrive in the middle of next week for Thanksgiving. My daughter is cooking for the first time at her apartment-I've been assigned mashed potatoes and green bean casserole. Looking forward to it.

...But before we get to next week. I'm a bridesmaid in a dear friend's wedding tomorrow. I ate a little bit much, and things not normally eaten, while I was away. SO, my dress is a little snug. (good grief) We are decorating the venue this morning and then having the rehearsal and dinner this evening at the Country Club. The bride's dress is gorgeous and her shoes look like Cinderella's slippers, not glass, but a sparkling, shimmering silver that appears like glass.

Fitness: Working towards goals. Still jogging. Have slacked off on drinking water.

Frugality: Off track while traveling. Planning to get back on today-Payday. Cash in envelopes.

Food: Menu planning for Sunday through Friday. Replenishing items at the grocery store for meals.

Fun: Laughing at the mishaps-Car broke down on the way home from the airport (300+ repair bill), Neighbor's dogs ripped through our trash cans making a mess, front load washer is leaking (hoping it is just a hose)...bridesmaid's dress is a little snug, hope I can get it zippered. Did I mention that I am smiling." Laughter is the best medicine." Oh....and the port for the SD card was now I need to find the USB chord to upload photos :)

Enjoy the Holiday preparations. Do only one at a time. Enjoy the process. Blessings~

Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 Days Until Thanksgiving

There are 10 days left until Thanksgiving is here. 11 until the day after-"Black Friday"-the day that we are told to shop, early and much! Will you be out in the stores? Online looking for bargains in your pjs-cup of coffee by your side? Or will you not get caught up in it at all?

We are on vacation, well really we needed to come to Arizona to look at property that my husband inherited near Lake Mead. We were able to get airfare using only loyalty points. The total cost for 3 round trip tickets was $15 for the fee. (NO baggage costs). The hotels that we stayed at cost us only approx $96 TOTAL for 7 nights using loyalty points. We love Southwest and Priority Club. I will have to write a post on how we did this, it took some planning and patience but it can be done. Food was strategically planned so that breakfast was offered at the hotels, and we ate a late lunch around 3pm daily, then only snacks in the evening. In one town we found a Fantastic quality steak and shrimp dinner for $7.77 which included mashed potatoes and salad! With 3 of us traveling this came to under $25 for the whole day!

It dawned on me today, while in Laguana Beach window shopping, that Thanksgiving is only 10 days away. The Christmas decorations in the shore front windows were the giveaway. It immediately brought me back to reality, the couple of dishes that I'd left in the sink at home, the stack of clothes on the corner of my bed that I had decided not to bring along. The artificial tree in the back room that needs to be brought out and decorated,  the wreaths that need made, the homemade gifts that need finished....the cookies that need baked. It will get done. I'm kind of looking forward to it. I hope it snows. I'll play Frank, Dean and Judy music and find myself in the holiday spirit.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy the season in all of it's glory!


* MS Clipart used above

Monday, November 7, 2011

Join the Blog and Receive Updates

"Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing" --Thomas Edison
We are taking a Face Book Hiatus. Sometimes it is necessary to take a break from the constant feed of ideas, projects and recipes in order to actually do them, instead of just reading about how to do them. The holidays are approaching at a fast pace, and it's time to use our inspirational pins from Pinterest, favorite blogs, and magazines and apply them to our homes. We will still be here on the Blog. Once a day posting, Once a day responding.

Many of you have emailed to ask where the Facebook feed went? I wanted you to know that I take Facebook and information hiatus every so often.  It is something that I do to regroup, recharge, and Tie up the crafts and projects that had been left undone.

Here's how you can join the blog:
  • Email: Go to the left side of the page under the Live Feed there is a place to sign up for email updates.
  • Twitter: If you have a Twitter account we are  @abundancefrugal
Under the e-mail update link on the blog page on the left are Face Book and Twitter Share Buttons. If you like a particular blog post here please feel free to share it on your FB page or Twitter feed by clicking the Button. I hope you will join in the conversation by posting in the comments section. I will try to post in the mornings and respond in the evenings.

Here are today's Abundance: Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun plans:

Abundance- Today I am thankful for the beautiful weather, family and friends, and the ability to share.

Frugality- Traveling on a budget. Learning how to be more with less. Continuing to unplug electrical appliances around the house to save electricity. Insulating a window in the library that is drafty. Finishing 4 wreaths that are in progress.

Food- Today is once again left over day. Going through the cupboards to use what is there so there is no waste. Considering a pasta dish.

Fitness- Couch to 5k plan. Decided that my fitness level puts me at week 6. Jogging and biking outside  in the great fall weather.

Fun- Beginning crafts, cookie baking, and decorating.

Life is such a fun adventure. Every day we are blessed with a new 24 hours. How will you spend them in a positive way? Pray, Live, and Laugh. Blessings~

The Blog website address for Abundance: Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun is:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Abundance: Food, Frugality, Fitness and Fun

        "Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected."-Steve Jobs
                                                                      Photo Taken by Tammy Bennett NYC

Habits become what they are because we do the same small thing over and over again. I think that each habit is started with a thought. If you think you can save $1,000, walk 10 miles, or create an innovative product it would have begun with a thoughtful commitment.

                                                              * * *
Food: It has been an uneventful week for the grocery store, we have not run out of food in the deep freezer. I have filled in a couple of times with items that were needed in order to make a complete meal- I also purchased  6 lbs of deli meat on steep sale. Cooking from scratch saves time, money and is healthier.

Using leftovers is SO Important. I like to call it "re-inventing". Voila casserole was born out of using up what was left in the refrigerator instead of letting it go to waste. We gathered everything that was leftover, still good, and able to be put together in a creative way to make a meal.

Breadcrumbs-Made from 1 bagel, 2 heels of bread, and an english muffin
Deli Meat-Roast Beef, Turkey and Chicken
1 Small Eggplant-Sliced
3 Medium onions-Sliced
1 clove of garlic-minced
4 medium potatoes sliced
Cheddar shredded
Mozzarella Shredded
Sour cream
Organic Butter

Learning that exercise is an important part of life in order to feel energetic and healthy is a priceless lesson I've learned. So is realizing that sometimes raking leaves can be just as strenuous as going for a jog. Moving and accomplishing a chore at the same time is a great thing! We bagged 22 bags of leaves over the last two days. That is a lot of leaves! You could feel the back muscles, hamstrings, and waist working and stretching with every scoop that was gathered.

The Couch to 5K program has been great for me. It allows for beginning from where you are and progressing from that point. I did discover that week 6 is about where I'm conditioned from previous workouts. So I have decided that I'm going to begin where I'm at. (I can easily go beyond a mile at this point, and see no reason not to start on week 6, knowing I can always walk :) The plan is to do a local 5k or maybe even a 10k by late June.

I have been saving Coca Cola caps and codes for about 6 months now. Normally I enter sweepstakes in hope of winning a Kitchen Aid. However, the points were racking up quickly since others were donating their unwanted caps to me. So today I went online and entered each number towards points. Then I redeemed them for a present for someone special for Christmas (in case they are reading, I can't say who or what ;) If you go to My Coke Rewards online you will see what I mean. Dasani water is included too. Even if you are not a soda drinker, others at work, the co-op, or relatives may not want their caps. It's worth it. :)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fitness is a CHOICE!

                         "Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task." ~William James

I'm sitting here, just after a 3mile jog (jogged 2, walked 1). I am no longer in shape, not the shape that I used to be in when I was, well younger. That is no excuse for sitting in my comfy chair, using the excuse that I won't ever have the 25 year old energy back. IT is NOT. I'm using this space today to try and explain exactly how this middle-ager is feeling not 2 minutes after the jog.

Sweaty, this qualifies as "sweat" not "perspiration" heart rate is elevated, legs are tinging, and the cold air breathed in gives that strange taste....

Besides that, I FEEL FANTASTIC! My energy is elevated, my focus for the day seems ordered, and I strangely wish to do it again :) Not for calories burned, although that would be great too, but for the way it makes me feel.

It didn't take me long to fit it in. More thought put into it, than the actual jog itself. Join us on the Facebook page and share your jogging /exercise routine or jot it down here in the blog comments.

Note* I did go to the doctor to be sure I was clear to exercise, it would be a great idea to do that if you haven't :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Anyway"....Because Attitude Predicts your Altitude.~

Ever been around someone whose priorities are different than yours? My years of being a stay at home mom have given me a lot of experience with this....but wait before you think that I'm taking a side.....My experience of being a working mom, outside of the home, has given me an equal dose of the "opinions". 

The focus for today is "opinions". What works for me, may not necessarily work for you, or your family. Quite frankly, this blog began on paper as my own personal journey of discovering what works for myself and our family--and I'm truthfully enjoying the journey. Most days I feel gratified by my ability to volunteer, work-out, cook nourishing food, bake, and blog. We all have seasons of our lives, we need to listen to those rhythms. I think that having an understanding that the steps along the journey are unique to you is important.

It is, after all, our very own attitude, that will predict our altitude... My Grandmother wrote me a poignant Poem on a piece of poster board long ago when the kids were small, my enthusiasm was great and my persistence was not marred by "opinion." Here is what she copied in her own handwriting:

The Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.-- This has been attributed to both Charles Swindoll and Mother Theresa

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


In the early morning I clicked on the television while going to the kitchen to make coffee. What appeared before me was a skin cream commercial that promised to make me look 15 years younger. “Nice!” I could hear it from the kitchen, as I was thinking about the reason for being up so early….i.e.  Going to the gym to work out. So naturally I listened on how my skin could look great too!

Wow, it’s only $39.95! Marked down a lot! And there are BONUS Gifts INCLUDED!” STOP!” “ STOP!” Says my good sense. So I quickly turned it off. I got my coffee and proceed to the master bathroom to finish getting ready. I slowly opened the chest above the sink….and what should appear but several (not a few) unopened, and ½ used bottles of various “promises”. 

Now I don’t have a daily regimen of using these creams and lotions-just normal ivory soap and water. They just sit in the cabinet waiting. Why, you might ask? They are all free to me! (Well they weren’t originally free) I paid a lot more than $39.95 for them, when I was working full time outside of the house.  SO what is it, within us, that has us thinking that the “new” products are “better”? As I thought on it more…I started to think, maybe moisturize, drink water, and use natural cleansers…would be cheaper and  more reasonable.

But, how easily I was convinced. Seriously, maybe it was the time of day (super early), or maybe I just liked the promises from the gorgeous person…whatever it was… I caught myself. Decided to look in the cabinet and use what I have, and use the already purchased faithfully, first!

 I’m admittedly shocked at just HOW Much I already had. (The photo doesn’t include those items that were out of date, that I tossed).

I’m going to spend some time looking for natural alternatives for beauty regimen items. I am going to use up the ones that I currently have on hand….then if needed, after I’ve searched for better methods, have empty containers of current cosmetics….I’ll buy another promise, maybe…maybe not...