Sunday, January 29, 2012

Minimize- What Clothing to Keep- The List

Minimize What Clothing to Keep- The List.
I have asked myself what clothing, and how much, do I really need to keep in order to function fabulously? I’ve gone through my closets (twice). Each time there have been multitudes of items tossed. Still I have too much. Even though I can hang everything up, it is still too much. What do I love to wear? Do you find yourself wearing the same items over and over again? I do. Even if I accessorize with different scarves, earrings, or necklaces I still reach for the same garments over and over again.
So I’m not going to choose which garments will remain in my mind right now—but I’m going to instead decide just how many of each I really need to keep. Then later this evening I’m going to go to the room and eliminate. I’m only allowing myself that many items to keep. I will have to <gulp> choose.
To Keep:
1.       Underwear- 12 pair.

2.       Blouses- 5

3.       Knee highs/trouser socks-  12 pair

4.       Jeans-5 GREAT pairs

5.       Khaki pants-2 Great Pair

6.       Black Dress pants-2 Great Pair

7.       T-shirts-8 (just b/c I won’t be able to decide, so it is between 5 and 10 )

8.       Dresses- 2

9.       Suits- 4

10.   Blazers/Dress Jackets- 10 (These are my favorite item, besides shoes.
**Nothing changes an outfit quicker than a different blazer and scarf.

11.   Workout clothes- No Limit!!! Just not ratty.

12.   Bras- 5 great bras. Toss the rest!

13.   PJ’s – 5 pair of PJs. Toss the rest!

14.   Shoes know no limits—not ready to go there yet ;)

Wish me well. I’m going in this evening. Limiting to the numbers will be hard at first. However, it will make decisions on what to wear, even that much easier in the end.
**Remember: When you bring in another item in a category, OUT goes the old. Remember to bless others if your cast off is still wearable and fashionable. There are those who do not even have the items on our limited list. Oh and if you have cute shoes in size 9.5 medium, send them my way…..that category for me is limitless J

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From There to Here

"Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don't count on harvesting golden delicious."
--Bill Meyer Baseball Manager

This blog has been in existence since sometime in August, 2011. At that point I had 12 wonderful chickens that I'd raised from baby peeps. We'd gathered eggs daily, and enjoyed the farm fresh abundance. We had no cockapoo pup, named CHANEL. I was 7 lbs heavier, and had only just begun to workout again--this after having a sit down at a desk experience for several years. I was cooking from scratch, but was not watching calories at all. Our finances were okay, but I wanted a bigger emergency fund.

Today, about 6 months later (going from memory so please forgive), Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun has kept me moving forward with my goals.

  • Wanting less stuff to confuse my choices is a great goal. I have accomplished this to some degree. Eliminated coffee cups, closet clothes, and small appliances. I still have a way to go.
  • Emergency Fund was taken down by Christmas and Vacation in November. It needs attention.
  • We have been on a pre-packaged food plan since December. My husband reached his goal weight. I have lost 7lbs of the 20 lb goal--I have 6 weeks to lose 13lbs more.
  • We did not watch calories before, we just cooked from scratch, or not. We just ate. I would like to use the Ration Plan from the 1940's diet (or the Depression eating plan) that I have been reading about. It rations (portions) food, cooks from scratch, and is cost effective. The link is on the Abundance: Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun FB Page. I will post it on the web site as well.
  • This is where I think I have most improved. From a couch potato, to teaching 6 fitness classes a week--plus M-W-F morning workouts on the treadmill.
  • I at first used the Couch to 5K program:
  • I then ran my first 5K on New Years Eve.
  • Beginning the Blog was a lot of fun-meeting great people, learning new ideas, and supporting the Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun principles.
  • Entering contests. There is always that excitement that one might win a trip, a gift card, or a book
  • Taking Staycations around our neighborhood doesn't cost much, or anything.
These are just some of the improvements that have taken place over the last 6 months of blogging. It is helpful to know where you were, where you are, and where you are going :)

How are you doing? What choices towards improvement have you made over the last 6 months?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Make from Scratch: Store and Save.

I went to our back guest room this morning. We keep all of our stockpile of shampoos, body washes, shaving creams, etc. They were all purchased for $0 - $1 a piece. Mostly free from CVS, Kmart, and Rite-Aid.  I have not needed any of those items, including toilet tissue for nearly 6 months! It's true. I almost forget how to accomplish the coupon matching...almost. It is time to stockpile once again. Cutting the coupons, and gathering the store flyers to find the best deals and incentives--i.e. Free Gas Card, Extra $ off for buying certain items, etc.

As I began searching the grocery store circulars, it dawned on me just how many of the items listed on the pages that could be made from scratch- for a fraction of the cost! Even the laundry detergent could be made from scratch for a huge savings!(We have done this in the past-must get back to it!) Start to think of what ingredients go into the items on the grocery shelves.

Then buy those original ingredient items:

Flour, Sugar, Butter, Rice, Vegetables, Fruits, Dairy, Grains, Beans, Spices, Herbs, Cocoa, Condiments, Meats, Fish, Cornmeal, Coffee Beans. 

You could make nearly everything with these staples. I liken it to a primary source or a secondary source--which do you subscribe to? Would you rather read an original, and create your own interpretation- or have it fed to you, even if it means that it doesn't resemble the original? You know what I'm saying? An apple is an original from the tree. A fried apple pie, from a fast food chain, is a far cry from the "original".

I'm beginning to "get" the idea of original food sources to stock the pantry with. We are thinking about getting our own grain mill. This way the flour is fresh, and from a variety of healthy grains, when making homemade bread, pasta, crackers and cereal.

Pack the pantry with originals, but don't waste what is alreay there. Use it up. Get creative. Then to the store for the staples, to create wholesome food from scratch. Enjoy. ~

P.S. Don't forget to visit our friends on Twitter hashtag #SundaySupper where they believe in the value of the Sunday family meal around the table.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Meal made for #Sunday Supper

SUNDAY SUPPER- CELEBRATION of Weight Loss and Kitchen Aid Mixer Inauguration

I began to use my Twitter account. I will admit to not knowing exactly how it all works yet, but I was RT during an episode of #AmericanPickers, and have been trying to figure it all out since. The HashTag #SundaySupper is one of my favorites.

Those who tweet #SundaySupper believe in bringing the meal back as a staple of family life. I would agree. An every evening family dinner would be even better, but shouldn't we take at least one day a week to come together in conversation as a family around the table?

Since the Pre-packaged plan has been the way of things around here for weeks, we have taken our food on the run-and not around the table.

However, last Sunday I cooked. I baked. It was not as healthy as I would have liked, but since my husband lost his 16 lbs, it was celebratory, and it was what he requested. I made a London Broil Roast with caramelized onions, red skinned mashed potatoes (made in the new Kitchen Aid), green bean casserole, and bread from the oven. Chocolate chip cookie muffins (own invention) were prepared beforehand (the first item ever made in my brand new Kitchen Aid).  Now this is not healthy eating. It is not how I plan to feed my family from here on out. This was a christening of the Kitchen Aid, and a "What would you like for me to make, since you lost 16lbs, meal?"  I will go to the grocery store this weekend and we will begin the transition to the new eating goals laid out yesterday. I firmly believe if it is not in the house (unhealthy food ingredients) then we will not eat it! (How could we?) :)

The following are the step by step photographs of the Kitchen Aid Christening and Celebratory Weight loss Meal. Inspired by the TWITTER #SundaySupper Feed. Enjoy your Sunday Supper!!

London Broil Roast

Onions and Roast on the Stovetop

Green Bean Casserole

Red Skinned Potatoes

#SundaySupper Mostly Finished- Just need to whip the potatoes

Brand New Kitchen Aid

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in Muffin Tins

Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins

I've been looking for healthier ingredient replacements for chocolate chip cookies. Is that even possible?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Food, Fitness and Fun. How to go from diet to real food after goals are reached?

I have a Goal: Lose 20 lbs in 9 weeks. This is week 3 of 9. I have lost 5 lbs. That is not too bad. (Could be better) One thing is for certain, I am getting in the best shape of my life. Teaching group fitness classes was a "good thing" to do. It means I HAVE to be at the gym at certain times or risk letting other people down.

Now food is the issue. We have been on a pre-packaged weight loss plan since before Christmas. My husband weighed in today and he lost 16 lbs! He is satisfied. He's reached his goal, and is ready to move back to homecooked meals. I have decided to not weigh myself until after the entire 9 weeks are up. The last I knew I had lost 5lbs. Either way we need to wean ourselves off of the pre-packaged food plan towards whole-clean food.  My husband is ready now. (I will complete the 9 weeks. We are in week 3 of 9.)

** The following are just personal opinions for our family. These are not coming from a nutritionist, just a mom. Please take your family's dietary needs into consideration, and consult a nutritionist/family doctor before making any changes to your fitness or dietary routines.

Here are our areas of focus:
  • Water intake- Keep choosing water. It's cleansing and necessary. Drink enough daily.
  • Raw food gone mobile- Vegetables, nuts, and fruit. Pack it in the purse, and car to avoid the drive thru syndrome i.e. I'm starving and going through the drive thru because I deserve it.
  • Clean Food- Food in its purest form- Fresh made whole grain pasta topped with grilled veggies, and shrimp instead of fatty sausage or beef. Make everything from scratch from wholesome ingredients. I'm organizing my recipes and making ingredient substitutions on index cards for the grocery store.
  • Purchasing smaller plates and bowls. One of the biggest changes that the prepackaged plan taught us was portion control. This is an important change. Moderation is necessary.
  • Fiber- Dietary fiber is going to be monitored. Are we getting enough?
  • Low sodium/Low Cholesterol/ Low Sugar: When cooking from scratch use seasonings that fill with flavor but leave out the Salt, Cholesterol and Sugar. Just don't put it into the recipe.
  • Frequent eating- Several small meals and snacks 5-6 times a day. It can be a low fat yogurt, fruit, small salad, card size of protein, oatmeal, cereal, plate of pasta....etc. Personally, I want a lot more squashes on hand: Speghetti Squash, Acorn Squash, Butternut Squash, Zuchinni...just so versatile and delicious.
So that is the overview of the plan. It will become more detailed after the grocery store this weekend. I will begin to take photos of recipes that I'm creating. Look for them in future posts.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Minimizing: Self and Stuff

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit."--Aristotle

I want to minimize.
                        To reduce.
                                        Stuff and Self.

This is my pep talk to me. It is easy to sit and think about doing a scale down of the closets and hips, but it is quite another to actually do it! I have been sitting here sipping coffee having wonderful conversation, taking notes and making lists all morning long.....all the while the day awaits.

Do List. (Doesn't that sound much more powerful than "To Do"?)

1. Finish the bedroom closets. Be brave. Empty more than two boxes. Get it (gulp) ALL done. Especially those items that no longer fit, or those that don't make me feel like a million bucks. Just Chuck it! or Donate it! Today is the day. Don't say: "Well I might need this for....or when..." GONE!

2.Sit down with spouse to go over budget. Get him on board. Get it Done. $400 savings goal.

3.Break out the brand new KitchenAid. Find a recipe and make something. Why is it just sitting there lonely on the counter with the instructions in the bowl? I wanted it so badly, but there it just sits.

3. Exercise-Light jog. Then pampering and rest. Yes, it is work to actually take the time to soak your feet, paint your nails, or put the heating pad on your shoulders.

"Do it"

"We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit."--Aristotle

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Answer.

                                     Why Do you Write?

A Question that was asked recently. I've been giving it a lot of thought. At first it shook me up, like, I don't know why I write? Further, why am I writing, in the sense of, maybe I shouldn't be..

I came up with some ideas that mattered to me: Food, Fitness, and Fun. Then I asked, how do I want to live? With Abundance, was the answer. So I took my journals online, and named the hastily thrown together blog- Abundance: Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun.

That was all of the more thought that was put into it. Then while online I began to learn from other like minded Frugal friends, or those who were raising chickens, beginning exercise programs, or attending fun events for free. This gave me a sense of understanding and support. Learning new information about living with less, being on a budget, eating healthy delicious food while having fun is amazing! So I continued.

Today, in addition to those reasons above, I write because I think I've formed a habit. You know our habits, those things that we repeatedly do over and over that become who we are. If we eat right, exercise and budget we will be healthy, wealthy and wise. Habits can be good. We all know the bad ones that we sometimes read about or may even experience in our own world. However, making a choice, a singular decision, opens the door to a new habit.

I write because it keeps me accountable, on track. I don't have it all together, and all of my goals are not met. We are human, so I would imagine, that we will continue to strive towards attaining all of our goals--But we can live abundantly right now.

I write. There doesn't have to be a reason. Sometimes it feels great to be enjoying the present moment. Having enough =Abundance.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Laughter. Choose to do it.

"Humor helps us to think out of the box. The average child laughs about 400 times per day, the average adult laughs only 15 times per day. What happened to the other 385 laughs?"-- USA Today

Laughter. How often do you do it? Is it spontaneous, or forced. I'm a firm believer that you can't be sad, and glad, at the same time. Neither can you be mad, and happy, at the same time. Isn't it interesting that we have a choice no matter our circumstances. Choose to laugh!

Finances: We saved our first $20 in an envelope towards Hawaii 2013. A conscious choice to go. A visible commitment. A tangible 20. The amount will only get larger and larger from here.

Fitness: Exercising 6 times a week is surely going to improve the fitness level. One could get discouraged at the amount of weight loss that is actually taking place. However, to stop when you have lost 4 lbs is ridiculous. Just like the $20 saved towards a goal, 4lbs lost is something, the poundage will continue to come off 1 pound at a time if perseverance is involved. After all it is 1/5 of the amount I want to lose. That is not all bad.

Food: The Nutrisystem plan is really working for my husband. 13 lbs lost since starting the plan. It has been nice to not to have to really cook. Just heat and serve. On the other hand, I like to cook. The house smells terrific and it is a warm cozy feeling when the stove has a big pot of soup, and the bread is rising. I've decided that my son should still experience this in spite of the fact that my husband and myself will not be eating any. It will be harder to not try some...but turkey sandwiches, hot pockets and fish sticks are not what I feel that he should be eating. So we start the cooking, baking and using the brand new Kitchen Aid today. We will see just how strong the willpower is...I'll let you know.

It's mid week. Wednesday. Embrace it, and laugh 400 times.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Food, Fitness and Fun


We have taken the Nutrisystem challenge. At first I ate only the three meals that came with the plan, plus the 2 daily snacks that were in included. However after a few weeks of diligently following this regime my husband lost 13 lbs and I was stalled at 4lbs. What is wrong with that picture?

So I contacted the company, and they told me I wasn't eating enough! Not enough? I thought restricted calories would be better, not worse! So I had to eat 5-6 times a day. I have yet to eat all of the food that the nutrisystem plan suggests. I keep trying daily, but I have, so far, fallen short.  The 3 meals are no problem, they are very delicious for the most part too! The water intake is a little short, I should be drinking more. It is the vegetables, dairy and protein that are an issue. I need to try and fit those in, when they are prescribed to keep my metabolism running high, says nutrisystem. So this week (yesterday) I did well. I checked everything off, except for 2 items. Time will tell. In week 2 of 9 weeks of exercise to lose 20 lbs. I feel terrific! Just haven't lost any more than 4 lbs.


This has been an AWESEOME year of exercise so far! I began with a New Year's Eve Resolution run. The 5 K had me feeling that I could do that again, and improve my time too! So signing up for another in February I will continue to run daily. Yesterday, I ran with the dog. She made it 2 miles!!! This is a pup that couldn't run more than 5 minutes on Black Friday. Today she is holding her own after 25 minutes!!! She is getting in great shape, and i feel so good about it! She still looks a little bit like a meatball, but her collar is getting loose. So I know she is losing some. I am adding a 5:30 am workout 3 times a week to boost my metabolism in the morning. The Couch to 5 K program sure jump started me on my way--I sure recommend giving it a try.


Everyone is excited about the trip to Hawaii in 2013. Using Southwest Airlines and Priority Club Rewards points to fund the majority of the trip, it is encouraging to know that we can use the program for items that are perpetual to earn even more points towards travel. Even home electric earns points. Still trying to figure out who the partners with the loyalty programs are. Hoping to add those that we already use, like internet, cable and other utilities. We don't want to spend more to get points, but it would be foolish to not earn points for those items that we are already using.

January 2012 is a good month. Staying on focus is always the challenge. However, it sure has been effortless and a lot of fun this New Year! Hope you are having a similar time of it ~

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Enjoying where you are, on the way to where you're going."

"Monday Monday, so good to me,
 Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be
 Oh Monday morning, Monday morning couldn't guarantee
 That Monday evening you would still be here with me." --Mamas and Papas

Fitness. It is the number one goal. 20 lbs lost in 9 weeks is the mantra.

I have begun teaching group fitness classes at a local gym. It is something that I have done in the past, but not for a very, very long time. After running in the New Year's Eve Resolution 5K and signing up for another 5K in early Feb, I thought I would maximize on the momentum and teach a group fitness class.

Mondays and Wednesdays I teach two- 1 hour long classes. Last week was the first week. I sure was sore on Friday. Today, Monday, I feel fantastic! Ready to give it another go this evening. Plus we have added 2 more classes this week for a total of 4! Educators and students from the local high school were interested in that 4pm time slot. It should be a lot of fun!!

 I'm still applying, and interviewing, for what has been termed by those nearest and dear: "Real jobs".  My background is in higher education. I've been an adjunct professor, worked within student affairs, and as an academic adviser. However, I sure am enjoying where I am, on the way to where I'm going.

Blessings, on a Terrific Monday! Here's to the start of a fantastic work week.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Identifying witht the Shepherd.

Yesterday was the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings). We took down our Christmas Tree. It is always sad when it doesn't snow at least once when the tree is up. Onward to Valentine's Day, and St. Patrick's Day!! Spring will be here before you know it! (....and it will be time for Florida weather)

Yesterday morning, at church, my 83 year old grandmother by my side, I looked into the manger scene like I have done for over 40 years. The same characters, the same images defined. "Who do you relate to?" I asked myself.  I still have the same response after all of these years.

"The Shepherd". The shepherd in our church's manger scene wears a colorful hat, vest and has sheep at his feet. The shepherd is the same after all of these years. He even has an instrument in his arms. I've never really personally related to the 3 kings bearing gifts, or even the holy family in the barn. I sometimes wish to be the king, or savior, but I'm beginning to understand that those are not my calling. They are not, or I would have related to them from the time of my youth.

I welcome the shepherd image. He is a leader, but not responsible for saving the world, only for the flock that he has been entrusted. I'd never noticed it before, but the shepherd was looking in the same direction as the 3 kings. Even though their paths, and eyes, don't cross...the shepard and the kings are both looking in the SAME direction, the savior, the Christ child. It makes sense doesn't it? As long as we are moving forward according to our purpose, having the best of material things doesn't much matter.

I think we should stop trying so hard to be something that we are not--and instead just be. Be the person that you were created to be. Stop and Be, and the doing won't be so hard.

Embrace the shepherd, or king. But just be happy being you.

HAPPY New Year! Here's to a life on purpose--Teaching another week of fitness classes at the gym, so excited!!

Frugality Vs. Fun. Does it have to be" Either" "Or"?

Frugality: It feels GREAT to save! It feels GREAT to get a bargain! Having an abundance to share is even better!

Fun: Vacations, Dinner out, Outdoor adventure, Long drives and conversation, Shopping....etc. Costs money $.

Now I don't know about you, but sometimes Frugality takes a back seat to Fun. This isn't my ideal, this isn't even my intention, ever. However, it happens-and it happened this weekend. We can afford to take $150-$200 a week to spend frivolously, without serious consequence. However, is that a great idea? NO!

So why does it happen? Someone says: "Hey let' can fill in the blank with: Shopping, Dinner out, Day trip on a full tank of gas ($55)...etc." I'm feeling guilty for spending. Guilt because I could have saved that $150. I could have paid down debt, built the emergency fund, or saved for vacation. All of the bills are paid, we still have money in our accounts, but we could have put money away.  What was I thinking?

Have you ever wanted your money back after spending frivolously on silly things that leave you with nothing to show for it? I am apparently not on my own plan. It is UNCOOL. I need to get with the program.

My fitness goals are on track.
My weight loss goals are on track.
My minimizing stuff goals are on track

I feel abundance in my life, we do not lack for anything--BUT, spending, just to have fun frivolously, when I could have saved, shared or invested is silly. Just silly. It's time to get with the program.

Writing my short term savings goal here:
"I will save $400 for the household emergency fund by February 3rd." Amen.

Friday, January 6, 2012


I Love new beginnings!! Don't you? Isn't it fun to have 365 days to fill! My mind has been busy dreaming and planning for the year ahead! I think it is going to be a miraculous year! A Year of new opportunities, friendships and goals met. Discovering what our purpose is can be the most fun ever! It doesn't have to be confusing or dull--just begin where you are.

Look around you. Look at your home, family, friends, work--they are all blessings. Often times we are so busy getting to where we are going that we forget to stop and look around at where we are at. Don't take this new year for granted. (Or the people who are in it with you) You have 365 (well 359 now) days to fulfill your dreams, reach your goals and become who God created you to be!

ABUNDANCE: Frugality, Food, Fitness and Fun are my focus areas. Life is Abundant!

Frugality: Use Cash and not credit/debit

Food: Continue to use portion control to lose the remains of 20 lbs- weight loss

Fitness: Run the second 5K race and improve my time

Fun: Figure out how to go to HAWAII in 2013 for NEARLY Free.

What are your 2012 Goals? Have you written them down?

Blessings in this NEW YEAR~