Archive for the ‘costumes’ Category

I’m doing the 30 Day Vegan workshop, and each week there is a weekly check-in.  Thought I’d do this as a way to keep track of my progress during the workshop. 

Energy and Vitality
I’m tired, but I think that’s from not getting full nights of sleep and from being pulled in too many directions (caregiving, homeschooling, and parenting) as well as some stressful events that happened this week.

Chewing and Digestion
Not noticing anything different with chewing or digestion.

Ran out of hot chocolate which I miss.  The variety of salads and fresh vegetables is crowding out the need for less healthy food.

Broccoli Tomato Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Hair and Skin
I have clear skin this week which is nice.  Also started putting on Watkins night cream and Watkins Rejuvenating Foot Cream (the peppermint kind).  What a difference!  My skin is super soft now.  I think the creams combined with the fact that I’m drinking more water is making an impact. This week, I’m going to fill one of the glass pitchers with water and add some slices of limes, lemons, and oranges in the refrigerator.

Body Shape
Not noticing a difference.  However, when I cleaned out my closet, I did donate some clothes that were too big for me and were essentially shapeless pieces of fabric that were meant to hide one’s body. Figure there’s no point in keeping clothes that don’t make me feel good about myself.

Posture and Breathing
Have been having lots of problems with breathing due to asthma going into the week.  Got new tubing and a mouth piece/medicine holder for my nebulizer.  Have done several treatments and my breathing seems to be a bit better now.  I am still coughing on and off. 

My sister took my mom to the doctor yesterday, and she has pneumonia.  My dad is still coughing, and I’m going to take him to the doctor on Wednesday when I see him next.  Am hoping that I don’t have the same thing they do since I was around my dad earlier in the month when he was coughing…though I did get a pneumonia shot this fall when I got my flu shot.

Mood and Emotions
By mid-week, I was feeling good about cleaning my closet, trying new recipes, and “re-claiming” my life.

On Wednesday, I called 911 for my mom who had fallen.  Based on what my dad was describing, I thought she was dying.  Waited for 25 minutes from a call back from 911.  They got her back up and into bed. 

Good news on Wednesday was that Olivia’s opthamologist said her near-sightedness has improved slightly.  She also doesn’t have to go back to the daily patching program or eye medicine to prevent her lashes from scratching her cornea.

On Thursday, Sophia and I went to the optometrist.  I found out I have the beginning stages of macular degeneration (the dry kind) and Sophia can only see 20″ in front of her face.  A major growth spurt radically changed her vision within the past year.  The optometrist said that her eyes most likely will get worse throughout the remainder of her growing years. 

Sophia’s vision is correctable by glasses which is good.  For me, thankfully, this type of macular degeneration progresses slowly so I will have time to getting use to a gradual decrease of vision loss until only the peripheral vision is left.

So my mood and emotions this week…up and down…at best.  Stressful…to say the least.

Relating to Others
I’m friendly to people at appointments and in public (that’s the same as usual, though).  I did a bit of catching up with emails and correspondence. 

Enjoyed spending time with Sophia and Olivia – homeschooling and doing errands; and seeing them play together.  They were playing “dress up” and creating different costumes for one another.  This is one that Sophia put together for Olivia to wear:

As for going out some place with friends and having fun…I don’t remember the last time I did that.  That’s something that I’d like to do.  Maybe once the weather gets warmer it will be easier to get together with friends.  I hope so.  Some days can feel rather isolating and overwhelming in ways.

Most Nourishing Food
For breakfast, the most nourishing food I ate this week was an English muffin with super chunky honey peanut butter.  Also made a smoothie another day that had three types of fruit, dairy-free yogurt, and orange juice.  Very good! 

Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges,
Toasted Sesame Seeds, and Peanuts

For lunch, I made a pasta salad with mandarin oranges, toasted sesame seeds, and peanuts.  The homemade dressing for the salad was delicious and adds a lot of flavor to the salad the longer it is refrigerated. 

For dinner, the girls and I made homemade pizza – including the crust.  Mine had pizza sauce with Italian seasoning that I added, mushrooms (without salt), sun-dried tomatoes, green peppers, and onions.  We may do another pizza dinner soon.

Special Person I Appreciate and Why
My dad is the special person I appreciate.  Although he has Alzheimer’s Disease, he handles his losses with grace.  He tries to the best of his ability.  His love for nature, birds, writing, reading, and spirituality are all important things in my own life.  His influence – and impact – are reflected daily in me.

Dad by Lake Superior
Dad in Grand Marais on a
Trip We Took in September 2010

Biggest Challenge
Lack of time to get everything done that I would like to do.  It seems like there are so many things on my “to do” list, but not enough time in the day.  I do the most important – and critical – things and hope to eventually get to the things that are either equally important and/or things I simply would love to do.

Greatest Accomplishment
Cleaning my closet as part of the Project Simplify challenge was a huge mood-lifter!  It was definitely a way to take care of and focus on myself.  More about the project and what I did is HERE.

Most Fun I Had
On Wednesday, Sophia, Olivia, and I went to Goodwill and River Market Co-op.  I found several beautiful 100% cashmere sweaters at Goodwill that I can use in crafting.  I’ve already felted them and am thinking about what to create from them.  At the co-op, the girls picked out some snack food they wanted and I got the ingredients for making some natural bath and homecare products.

I Got Clear That I Really Want To
Start eating healthy again and continue to simplify my home/life.  It seems like I’m in a reactionary state right now – especially given so many factors I can’t control.  I need to find some areas that I can control (in a healthy way).

Other Thoughts
I re-focused the goal of the 30-Day Vegan workshop to 30-Day Vegetarian/Vegan workshop because that’s a more realistic and long-term goal for me.  I’ve already had to make some major long-term modifications to the way I cook given Sophia’s dairy allergy.  Having a blend of vegetarian and vegan meals each week is attainable and something that the girls and I have easily transitioned to this week.  It’s nice to see how excited they are about eating some of the new healthy recipes and food. 

I had a bouquet of flowers that I divided up into different smaller vases this week.  We’ve been putting them around the house in different spots which has been nice.  Having fresh flowers – the colors and scent – has been such an uplifting thing to look at.
Next Week I Plan To

During the upcoming week, I want to try more recipes and use the menu for the week that I planned on Saturday.  I’m also going to tackle another area for Project Simplify.  Also plan to do the 30 Days to Simplify Your Life that is HERE.
Also want to get my taxes to my accountant; get recommended vitamins and prescription sunglasses for macular degeneration; and start growing some vegetable and herb seeds indoors.  I’d like to have a larger vegetable, fruit, and herb garden this year so we can eat more produce this summer as well as can/preserve it for winter use.

Most important: take time to create something new.  This past week, I made two new window stars that are hanging in my bedroom. Every time I look up and see the pretty colors…and then look over to the base with the pink and lavender flowers…it helps brighten my mood.


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The girls are on Week 7 of their 52 Weeks of Giving program.  Each week, they are doing a different type of community service or donation of their time and skills.  This past week, the girls shared their voices as they sang at two church services on the day before Valentine’s Day.

Sophia and Olivia in their outfits for singing

The girls in the children’s choir all were asked to wear white shirts and pull their hair up into a ponytail or pigtails (for a 1950s look). The choir director’s wife had made matching skirts for all the girls – pink ones with a heart on the front. In the center of the heart she had embroidered on her sewing machine each girl’s name.

The girls sang to over 150 people during the first service;
and even more people during the second service.

The children sang a song to the tune of “Rock Around the Clock;” and they all did a nice job singing.  People were smiling as they watched the children sing.  The choir not only sings at church, but they go out into the community and has performed at nursing homes and a church in northern Wisconsin (where the choir director’s son is a pastor). 

Around the holidays, the children all sign cards to seniors who may be spending the day alone (the person’s spouse has died), is recovering from an illness, or needs cheering up.  The choir did this for Valentine’s Day and will be doing this again at Easter. 

The girls have been involved with the children’s choir for over three years now, and look forward to going to practice each week.  They perform almost monthly during the school year, and have a break during the summer.  The final performance for this season is on Mother’s Day.

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St. Lucia Day
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

For the past several years, we’ve celebrated St. Lucia Day. I had not heard of St. Lucia Day until the girls began singing in the church choir. They learned a couple of songs that they sing each year at the service closest to St. Lucia Day (December 13th). This year, the Sunday closest to that was the 12th.

Unfortunately, this year the girls couldn’t sing because of huge snowstorm. The driveway had drifts that went higher than the tires of the SUV. It wasn’t until 4:30 in the afternoon that the driveway was plowed.

Despite not being able to sing, we celebrated in a small way at home by making Lucia buns and Swedish meatballs. The girls tried on the white dress and wreath of “candles” as well as the Starboy hat. It’s fun to see each year how much the girls have grown and how the dress and hat compares to the previous year.

St. Lucia Day is generally associated with Sweden, but many other countries celebrate this day as well. In traditional celebrations, Saint Lucy comes as a young woman with lights and sweets. It is one of the few saint days observed in Scandinavia. In some forms, a procession is headed by one girl wearing a crown of candles (or lights), while others in the procession hold only a single candle each.

The cone-shaped hat decorated with golden stars would typically be worn by boys in a traditional celebration. They would be called stjärngossar (star boys).

A traditional kind of bun, Lussekatt (“St. Lucia Bun”), is made with saffron and eaten on this day. A substitue to saffron (which we used) is cardamom and a few drops of yellow food coloring.

St. Lucia was a young Christian girl who was martyred, killed for her faith, in 304 AD. The most common story told about St. Lucia is that she would secretly bring food to the persecuted Christians in Rome, who lived in hiding in the catacombs under the city. She would wear candles on her head so she had both her hands free to carry things. Lucy means ‘light’ so this is a very appropriate name.

The girls eating Swedish meatballs and Lucia buns on St. Lucia Day.

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{this moment} – A Friday ritual (inspired by soulemama). A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor, and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments.

Wishing everyone a lovely weekend!

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Ready to Go Home
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

Sophia and Olivia are with Bailey (the black pony) and Hoss (the brown miniature horse). They and their horses are dressed up after competing in the Costume Class at their first miniature horse and pony show.

In addition to the Costume Class, they competed in a lead-line class for children 12 and under. Hoss did a jumping competition and jumped over all the jumps with the exception of one (the one that all the miniature horses couldn’t do). Bailey also did an obstacle course.

Sophia won two red ribbons (2nd place) and Olivia won a third place and fourth place. They were happy to have won ribbons and completed their first show.

It was a long day…started at 10 and didn’t end until after 5. It was a hot, sunny day in the 80s. We were all ready to go home by the end of the day.

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