Handmade Loofah Soap

I promised a post about the outcome of my Loofah harvest.
If you have been following my blog then you know I grew a small loofah garden this past summer. Loofah is a natural sponge. It grows on a vine and in the same family as the gourd. They grow large and dry out in the Fall. Once they skin is hard and dry, you peel it off to reveal a loofah sponge ready to remove seeds, rinse and use. 


My harvest was small. I had many loofahs appear but never reached maturity. I blame it mostly on the size of the trellis I had it to climb. They need a lot of space to spread. I was a little disappointed. I wanted to have an abundance of sponges to share, but it didn’t happen. 

I found a way to share the small harvest of loofahs with friends by cutting them into pieces and making them into soaps (not my friends, my loofahs). For Christmas I was able to give each neighbor a couple homemade loofah soaps and a set of my crochet washcloths as gifts. They also received homemade cookies. 


The process was easy. 
I first had to find a a silicon soap mold which I ordered off ebay. Then headed out to Hobby Lobby for some melt and pour soap. I chose the natural goat milk soap base. I have never made soap before. I could never accept the process of buying soap to make soap. It just doesn’t make since to me. 
But I did it anyway.


I placed a cut of loofah into the molds. Then I melted the soap and added a drop of fragrance. I used some soap fragrance but you can use essential oils just as well. I poured the melted soap over the loofah in the mold. I actually only filled the molds half way as I failed to get enough soap. I refused to buy anymore and made due with what I had. Once the soaps dried, I popped them out of the mold and they were ready for use.


My husband was my guinea pig. He used one for a week in the shower. He said he liked how soft it made his skin and liked the scrubby texture of the loofah. 

I want to grow more loofah this year on a bigger trellis. They were fun to watch grow and attracted lots of friendly bees. 

If you would like to grow loofah this summer, I have a few packs of loofah seeds for sale if you would like to purchase them from my  Etsy shop or contact me via email or contact form. 
The money made from these will go toward my garden fund.

My Christmas Run Down

Wow, I am just now settling down to catch a breath after a busy Christmas. My daughter came in on Monday and left today. We did a lot of cooking and baking.

A few weeks ago I found this little cookie cutter at a thrift store. It was still in the box and had a sugar cookie recipe attached.

Since I was looking for a good sugar cookie recipe, I was tickled to find this little charm. Face it, we all need cookie cutters in the house. Could you imagine how happy the world would be if everyone baked cookies at the same time? Think about that.

We wanted to make colorful Christmas cookies like you see in pictures. I have never been good at making homemade icing, much less, cookie icing. 
After searching around on Pinterest, we found the perfect cookie icing and began mixing. After a couple hours, we had a batch of cookies. We boxed them up and handed them out to neighbors. Don’t worry, we kept a small batch. 


The cookies were easy to make and the icing was easy to make. Applying the icing to the cookies was another story. I do not think I want to ever frost a cookie again in my life. We had a bigger mess than a kindergarten class on craft day.

We also made sausage balls for breakfast. I made them this time using pimiento cheese instead of the usual sharp shredded cheese. They were delicious. 

Christmas Eve we headed to my Mom and Dads for family time, food and more sweets. Mom always makes a fruit cake. It is a favorite and we all make sure to take a piece home when we leave. I mean, just look at all that fruit and nut goodness.


My daughter and I wore matching pajamas to mom and dads Christmas eve and made everyone laugh. 


It was fun and it just sorta gave us that childhood feeling again. 

Christmas morning, we enjoyed watching our girl open her gifts. It’s just like when she was little. She will run down the hall and into the living room to see what Santa brought. He was able to get everything on her list this year. I will miss Christmas mornings like this when she gets married one day and starts her own family and traditions. Until them, I will suck up ever moment. Did I mention shes 28? 

Now It’s the day after Christmas. Our daughter has already left to go back to her uptown apartment and we spent the evening taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations.We are quick to do this so we can get the house back in order in time for our New Years feast we prepare each year for all the family.

Do you take your Christmas decorations down early or leave them up until January?




Christmas Eve Eve

Happy Christmas Eve Eve. Is everyone ready for Christmas? I am. Christmas shopping was completed a week ago and now it’s time for baking. I have lots to things to make by Christmas. I have cooking to prepare for and goodies to make for neighbors and family.

Not sure how much baking I will get done today so I started on a few things yesterday. 
My daughter will be coming home this morning and staying through Christmas. She still has to work half the day. She can work from here since she has the privilege of working remote a couple days a week. The fun will start in a little while. 

Before anything, I have a mandatory meeting with the unemployment office today. I have to take proof that I have been searching for jobs while drawing my little 200.00 unemployment check. I’m not gonna complain though. It buys groceries. I have worked everyday since I turned sixteen. That’s 34 years and I have never been unemployed before. Now I have to prove I have been searching for work the past 6 weeks. Well, I have a long list, plus two papers they gave me full of places I have applied for with no avail. So, yes, I have proof. I think people that are capable of working but choose to live off the Government should have to do this too. But that’s none off my business.
I have gotten word from some employers that they will not be interviewing until the first of the year. Fingers crossed something gives. I need to work not only for the money but for my health and sanity. 

Anyway back to baking....

I made some of my Italian Biscotti. This is an all time favorite. We like to dip them into our all day morning coffee. They are so easy to make. I’m not sure why I only decide to make them at Christmas. 


This batch was made using vanilla flavoring with only a touch of anise and lightly dipped in chocolate. They are the perfect sweetness.

This year I also decided to make “Italian Crescent Cookies”. 


These are made using butter, flour, sugar and walnuts made into little crescent shapes and rolled in powder sugar. I love anything with powder sugar. I will break a diet over powder sugar. It’s my weakness. 

I have cookie dough made and in the refrigerator waiting on my daughter to arrive. We will be rolling out the dough and cutting into Christmas shapes before decorating them. A lot of these cookies will be given away. I hope they turn out pretty. I usually struggle with icing them. 

What is a Christmas favorite you or someone else makes each year?


Friday Bowl- Banana Berry

I remember when I was small, my mom would make me a bowl of bananas and strawberries topped with sugar and cream. It was such a soothing late night snack. This bowl bring back those memories. 

Banana Berry Yogurt Bowl


2/3 Cup -Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2- Banana
1/2- Kiwi
2 Medium- Strawberries
2 Tablespoon- Oat& Honey Granola

224 Calories- 18 g Protein


πŸ“πŸŒπŸ‰πŸŠπŸ’πŸπŸ…πŸˆ

I have decided to reserve each Friday to share some of my creative food bowls. I have been eating these at least 4 times a week and I feel great. They are easy, healthy and fun. This is part of my new "Clean Eating" Plan. Wish me Luck.

Two Ingredient Pretzel Bites

Who likes a good pretzel? If you are like me, you can hardly go to the mall without wanting one of those big warm soft pretzels. Am I right? I like them smothered in butter and salt or rolled in cinnamon and sugar. They fall next in line behind Krispy Kreme hot donuts.

Pretzels can be fattening if you don't take it easy, and well, I can’t take it easy. 
So today I am going to share with you these delicious pretzel bites that I made using only two ingredients. These are also easier on the diet. You could possibly even call them healthy. 


It took about 20 minutes to make these from start to finish and not much longer to make them disappear. We could not stop munching on these things. 
The best thing is they are super easy to make.


1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt.
1 Cup self rising Flour. 
* Make a dough and place on a floured surface.
*Divide dough in quarters and roll each out into rope shapes.
*Cut into bite size pieces.
Boil 1/2 Cup Water and add 1 Tablespoon Baking Soda.
* Dip each piece in the soda water and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
* Bake 425 for 10 min or until lightly brown.
Melt Butter.
* Brush each piece with melted butter
* Sprinkle with course salt 
* Enjoy

Do these taste like those big warm pretzels from the mall? 
NO.
They are just as good but in a different way.
The ones at the mall are made with yeast bread and are.......
Ok just forget about those mall pretzels, these two ingredient pretzels are a crowd pleaser and you can avoid the calories. 

How do you like your pretzels? 
I like them with salt, but will sometimes dip them in Mustard.

Original recipe can be found at the thegunnysack.com  





Friday Bowl- Bread Bowl with Nutrisystem

Today's Friday bowl has a different twist. I am sharing how I took the Nutrisystem “ChockFul of Veggie Chili” and added it to a hollowed out bread bowl.

I like Chili but I can not eat it without some sort of bread. I grabbed a roll from the grocery store deli and scooped out most of the inside to eliminate calories leaving the shell as a bowl. You can do this with other chilis or soups for a fun delicious meal.

Nutrisystem ChockFul of Veggies Chili 


I lost 50 lbs on Nutrisystem and feel great. I have been able to maintain my weight loss now for four years by using the nutritional knowledge Nutrisystem has taught me. 
You can read my full journey HERE

Start Nutrisystem now and get 50% off using my link below.
Https://www.nutrisystem.com/Lisa50

Expect to lose 1-2 lbs per week

Hat and Mittens

I have had a lot of time on my hands lately. I spend my mornings working out, reading blogs, and applying for jobs. Sometimes after lunch, we will go out a little while and run a few errands just to get out of the house. I can hardly wait to go grocery shopping once a week as it gives me a reason to put on a bra and jeans. Cabin fever is setting in.

One thing I have been enjoying is crocheting and watching Hallmark movies. 
The other day, I entered a giveaway on Instagram and won a skein of Yarn Bee SugarWheel Yarn. I would not usually buy this particular type of yarn myself as it has wool in it and wool makes me break out and itch. This yarn was a wool/ acrylic blend that fade in and out with colors of gray. It was easy to work with. I am now a fan and didn’t suffer any allergic reactions. 


With the yarn I won, I created this cute adult size hat using my favorite stitch called the lemon peel stitch (also called the grit stitch). It consist of a single stitch followed by a double stitch throughout. I love this stitch because it works up fast and has a chunky puff texture. I am currently working on a blanket using the same stitch. 

We have some little elf shoes on a string that we put on the tree every year. One of my daughters favorite things to do is make them the last ornament on the tree. Nick doesn't care to help us decorate the tree, but we always hand him the little elf shoes and he turns around backwards and throws the shoes on the tree. We choose to leave them where they land no matter how wonky they hang. It always makes us laugh. Now my daughter wants a set to throw on her own tree each year. I could not find another set likes ours so I figured I would make her something equivalent. I crocheted her this set of tiny mittens.

She can now make a wish and throw them on her tree like we always do with the elf shoes. 
They were so fun to make, I decided to make a couple more for friends. 

I have also been trying to learn to knit. I am not having any luck. As far as I can get is a few rows before I mess up and don’t know how to fix it unless I start over. I really would love to learn to knit but I have given up trying for a while.

Note: Crochet and Knit are two different things. Crochet uses one hook needle and knitting uses two long pointed needles. Knitting to me has a softer and prettier texture. 

Natures Christmas

I have been feeling pretty bummed that I have not gotten to go anywhere to see magnificent Christmas lights or Christmas towns this year. I love Christmas time and want to suck up every little light, Christmas carol and excited child I come across. But I’m alone on that. I have to get my thrills from riding around neighborhoods and admiring someones creativity here and there. My husband just doesn’t get in the Christmas mood like I wish he would. It makes the season rather humbug. Things perk up around Christmas Eve though and the mood changes a little. It’s ok. Christmas is not really all about that anyway.

The other day, we headed outside to rake leaves for the 2nd time this season. I threw on my worn out (Elmer Fudd) boots and headed outside. The sun was out and the temperatures were in the 50’s. Perfect for a little fresh air and yard work. I ended up raking a pile of leaves that lined the curb at the road. The leaf sucker truck will come by in a few days and suck them away. 


As I was raking, I had to stop for a moment and admire nature. Here I am pouting about not getting to ride miles down the road to sit in traffic for hours just to see commercial Christmas lights when all I had to do was look around where I was standing. I noticed that Nature itself provides it’s own Christmas show. I began to smile and my attitude began to change. God is my favorite artist. 

I spent a few moments looking up into the pine tree that leaned over our property line. The leaves were evergreen and smell of pine filled the air as the tiny pine cones held their posture. “That’s a Christmas tree”, I uttered under my breath. 


Evergreen trees are traditionally used as Christmas trees as a symbol of undying life. 

As I worked my way across the yard, I noticed the neighbors large holly tree at the corner of our yard. This was Mr. H’s tree. He and his wife both passed away this Summer. He always kept the tree trimmed back so it was rather large and unshaped this year. It was beautiful. I did not see a flawed leave and the berries were perfectly in their place. “This was a Christmas wreath”, I thought. The berries were like lights as they glistened in the sun.  


Holly is a traditional Christmas decoration as the sharp leaves represent the crown of thorns and the berries symbolized drops of blood of Jesus. Made into a wreath it symbolizes unending life. 

Nick was out for his morning walk and came across a tree that each year is full of reachable Mistletoe. He snatched a piece and walked in the door with a big grin on his face. 


This too symbolizes “Life that does not die”. However, the story behind mistletoe is mythological and believed to have mystical powers. This is where we get the “kissing under the mistletoe” rule. I like it. 

I would have never noticed the natural beauty of Christmas around me if I were still working every single day in an office like I had for the past 26 years. Though I have been stressed about finding a new job, I try to enjoy the beauty and find the blessing of the days I have without one. 

Friday Bowl- Chocolate Pomegranate

The produce isle was full of Pomegranates. They were in large tubs sitting across from the cranberries. I just learned that Pomegranate is a Christmas fruit. No wonder I had trouble finding them during the summer. 

I love a good Pomegranate. Put it with some chocolate and you create a sweet combination. 

Chocolate Pomegranate Yogurt Bowl


2/3 Cup Triple Zero Chocolate nonfat Greek Yogurt
2 Tablespoon- Pomegranate Seeds (raw)
1 Tablespoon- Natures Promise Pumpkin Seed Flax Granola
1/2 Tablespoon- Mini semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips.

224 Calories- 17 g Protein


πŸ“πŸŒπŸ‰πŸŠπŸ’πŸπŸ…πŸˆ

I have decided to reserve each Friday to share some of my creative food bowls. I have been eating these at least 3 times a week and I feel great. They are easy, healthy and fun. This is part of my new "Clean Eating" Plan. Wish me Luck.

Easy Air Fryer Crab Cakes

Today I would like to share with you these delicious crab cakes. This is one of my favorite air fryer recipes and can be whipped up in just minutes making them a great last minute meal.


“Don’t worry mister crab, these are made with imitation crab meat”. 


I have been making these at least once a month. They make up quick and easy and have been a table pleasure. If you do not have an air fryer, I assume you can bake them in the oven just the same. I honestly do not know. I have rarely used my oven since getting an air fryer. I absolutely love that thing. 

Now, head to the store and grab these simple ingredients:
  • 8 oz pack of imitation crab meat ( chunks or shreds. I doesn’t matter. Your gonna chop it anyway).
  • 1/3 cup of bread crumbs ( I used two pieces of hard toasted wheat bread).
  • 1/2 cup green pepper (finely diced).
  • 1 egg.
  • 1/4 cup mayo.
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon.
  • Cooking oil. 
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning ( or any other seafood seasoning).
-Chop the crab meat fine (I added it to my food chopper for best results).
-Mix all ingredients together and form patties. 
-Place patties in air fryer and spray with oil. 
-Cook for 10 minutes on 380 degrees (I flipped once but optional).


Enjoy on a bun as a sandwich or alone with a meal. 
You can add other ingredients to your liking such as red peppers, onions, etc.
Makes 4-6 patties. Refrigerate left overs. 


Belated Thanksgiving

I just realized I didn’t make a Thanksgiving post. Heck, I’m behind on any kind of post actually.  It’s just been a little crazy around here.

So with that being said, “I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving.

My daughter came in to spend the whole weekend with us. She loves going to bed and waking up in “her room” on holidays. Thanksgiving morning is usually filled with the aroma of a hot breakfast waiting for her. Not this time.
She wanted to do a 5K Turkey run at 8:00 in the morning in Belmont. I decided last minute to join in. Since we have never ran a 5k together, I figured this would be the perfect mother/daughter work out.

Proceeds went to the “Catherine's house”. Catherine's House serves women and children facing homelessness due to a variety of circumstances such as: domestic violence, un/underemployment, the shortage of affordable housing, unexpected tragedies, and the lack of a support network. 


I ate a Nutrisystem Cinnamon Roll. She ate a banana. Then we threw on our running gear and headed out the door. We ended up with a good parking spot and made it to the registration tent ahead of time. There I ran into a couple friends and we all were hyped up to run. 
Well, they were. I was not prepared to run 3 miles but I pushed through and finished. Unfortunately, I did not finish in my record time. I was behind by two minutes. I can’t run the whole time, so I walk some and run some. If I had only ran for three more minutes, I would have beat my time. My daughter on the other hand beat her goal time and was 10 minutes ahead of me. It was fun and its always a proud feeling when you cross that finish line. 

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to cook anything for Thanksgiving dinner. I made a cranberry salad to take to Moms. She always has a big Thanksgiving feast and everyone brings a dish on top of that. We had plenty and lots of left overs. 
Later that evening, we had dinner number two at my brother in laws.

Here are two brothers working in the kitchen. 


I over ate that day and stayed in a Turkey coma all weekend. 

Now its time to start a fresh week.



Friday Bowl- Pepino

I have been trying new fruits and veggies lately. One fruit I have learned to like is the Pepino Melon. It's a small acorn shaped melon with sort of a unique taste. I say it taste between a honey due melon and a pear. I added a couple more toppings to make a delicious and healthy breakfast that is low in calories and will not leave me feeling hungry. 

Pepino Melon Bowl


1/2 Cup- Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1/2- Pepino Melon
Blueberries
1 Tablespoon-Big Boss Blueberry Walnut Granola

139 Calories- 12g Protein


πŸ“πŸŒπŸ‰πŸŠπŸ’πŸπŸ…πŸˆ

I have decided to reserve each Friday to share some of my creative food bowls. I have been eating these at least 3 times a week and I feel great. They are easy, healthy and fun. This is part of my new "Clean Eating" Plan. Wish me Luck.

A Night at the Museum

Are you a fan of museums? We have a Natural History museum here in town. I enjoy visiting it but rarely go. I remember in my school days, we would take field trips to the museum. I was not interested in those days as I found it to be boring. It also ended with homework.


My brother invited us to an evening event at the museum. It was for employees of the police department and their families. My brother is a retired city police officer and now works part time in another area of the police department just for fun. I felt special that he invited me and Nick out of anyone else in the family.

When we arrived, we were greeted then headed to a banquet room where we enjoyed a meal with dessert. It was casual and wasn’t on any time schedule. We had the run of the museum and could do as we wished for 3 hours. Eating is what we chose to do first. (Of course).

After eating, we headed to a planetarium show. The last time I have been to one of these shows was in Middle school, seriously. I never found it worth paying for to see. As we entered the planetarium, It was a big dome with a slanted floor. I never remember it being like that before. This really messed with my vertigo. I had to sit with my eyes closed until the lights went off and the show started. It was a spectacular 3-D show about sky, water and air. Yea, boring but the effects were great and the technology has come along way since middle school.


Next, we walked around the museum looking at the stuffed animals, dinosaurs, and other interesting things about natural history. They even had an area of live animals such as snakes, spiders, birds, turtles, fish and opossums. Yes, they were pretty gross but interesting all the same. There was a snake in there that could eat a human. It was huge!

Later, we stepped into a room where I thought would be a live Indian show. I mean, that’s what they kept announcing over the intercom. I suggested we all go watch it. I was so excited. I love watching Indians. Instead it was just an informational session, led by an employee, on how they used bones and skins of deer to survive. [yawn]. We were stuck and couldn't leave. I’ll never live that one down.

It was nice to get out and do something a little different for a change. I wish I had taken more pictures but there was no way of capturing all we saw.  It was a great night at the museum.

Luminance Skin Care

Have you ever used a skin care that felt so good that you couldn’t wait to use it again? That’s how I feel when I use Luminance skin care.

I received a sample in the mail and thought it would be just another face cleansing product. It was more. I fell in love with these products after the 3rd day of using it. I would have said first day but I always give it couple days just to make sure how my skin reacts to it. It also takes a couple days to get a true opinion. 


This sample kit came with a delicate cleaner, rosewater toner, and a deep hydrating moisturizer. Each are made with a list of good ingredients and all products are organic, vegan and non-synthetic. 

At the end of the day is when I prefer to wash my face. This is when I experienced the Luminance Delicate Face Cleanser. 


This face cleaner is PH balanced and excellent for all skin types. I could smell the tingling aroma of Tangerine. Just a small amount is added for the scent. Rosemary seed extract is added as an antioxidant along with other natural oils. My face feels clean and my skin feels rejuvenated. 

After washing my face I spritzed on the Luminance Rosewater Toner


I have to admit that I have never used a toner other than micellar water. This toner is PH balanced and made with 100% pure filter rose water. I loved the sweet smell of the rosewater and it made my face feel so fresh. I noticed almost immediately that any redness in my skin had disappeared. 



This moisturizer is great for sensitive or mature skin. Get this: “It works as a collagen to help skin retain moisture and regain elasticity”. Now that’s what I like! It is also a great moisturizer if you are in cold climates where your skin goes up against the dry and cold temperatures.

I wake up in the mornings with my face feeling soft, fresh and clean without feeling greasy or weighed down. I think my skin feels tighter too. 

I can actually feel results using these products and that’s what makes me excited to keep using it. I plan to order some of the other products to try such as hair care, eye creams and more. 

If you are looking for A great skin care, you can get a free sample of these three products by visiting their site. You just need to pay shipping. 
All products are alcohol free, non-toxic, and no animal testing or animal products are used. 



I am not affiliated, paid or asked by Luminance skin care for this post. 
I simply loved my experience and wanted to share my personal and honest review.




Friday Bowl- Worlds Finest Chocolate Bar

If you are wondering what to do with those Worlds Finest Chocolate candy bars that you couldn’t resist buying from that cute little school kid. 
I have a solution. Eat them all, but save a square to add to the top of your yogurt. 

You can keep the girl scout cookies. I can hardly wait for those fund raiser candy bars to come around every year. 

World Finest Chocolate Bar Yogurt Bowl


1/2 Cup- Fage 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
1 Square- World Finest Chocolate Bar (grated)
2 Tablespoons- Natures Promise Pumpkin Seed Flax Granola
1/2 Cup- Raspberries

190 Calories- 16g Protein


πŸ“πŸŒπŸ‰πŸŠπŸ’πŸπŸ…πŸˆ

I have decided to reserve each Friday to share some of my creative food bowls. I have been eating these at least 3 times a week and I feel great. They are easy, healthy and fun. This is part of my new "Clean Eating" Plan. Wish me Luck.

Cleaning Away Summer

It was was beautiful day with temperatures in the high 60’s. I have been itching to go outside. I do not like going outside in weather colder than my age. It was a perfect day to get out.

Looking out the windows I noticed the yard was covered in a blanket of leaves from our huge Dogwood tree. The branches were bare so it was a good time to clean up the yard. Though that is the only tree we have in the back yard, there are neighboring trees that frame our property. We get all the leaves.

Nick asked if I would like to go out and help him rake leaves. “Sure!” I said with excitement. This would be perfect to help me overcome this cabin fever. I threw on some old jeans, boots and garden gloves and headed outside. 

“Here are two rakes you can use”.He said. “I will be on the mower sucking up the Pin Oak leaves while you rake the larger leaves in a pile”.

We spent three hours cleaning up the yard. I raked while he mowed. It felt good to do some laboring work. It was a great work out. I also cut back our butterfly bush in the front yard. It was still holding on to it’s leaves, but I knew it would be shedding them soon. This time last year it was already bare. We have had a warmer than normal Fall this year. 

Today I am sore and my hands are slightly blistered. My yard is groomed and there are no more signs of Summer. Now we sit and wait on the cold weather and frost in the weeks to come. 


It’s a new week

It’s Monday again. It’s been 5 weeks since I was let go from my job. It is not a good feeling (Previous post here). There is only so much you can do sitting at home. I spent two weeks taking some online CEU courses and renewed my Phlebotomy certificate.

Now I spend most of my days online looking for jobs. I am comfortable sitting behind a computer all day because thats all I'm used to. I have to say though that I have really enjoyed the time I have gotten to spend all day with my husband. With my severance pay, I was able to go ahead a pay my December health insurance. I paid my car off back in July so I do not have that hanging over me anymore. Thank God! I have Christmas money set aside too, So I think I’m good until next year.

Knowing a check is no longer coming in is scary! 
I have my moments. I will have feelings of panic off and on. I wake up in the middle of the night and sometime find myself in tears as my husband sleeps soundly beside me. I know he worries too. I say a little prayer and I can usually fall back to sleep. 
And then there are moments I feel happy and relieved to be away from the atmosphere I was working in. I loved the job I did and did it well, but It feels good to be away from the vulgar language, the smell of cigarettes, and the little 12 x 12 room I sat in all day long. This was my life for 26 years. Now Im free.


This is a new week and I will make new goals. I will continue my job searching. I actually had a couple friends send me a message letting me know places they work that may be hiring. This gave me a little hope at the time was feeling really hopeless. I hope to hear back from someone soon. 

My eating habits have been bad too. I guess between stress and boredom I want to eat the house down. Though I am still holding my weight loss, I don’t feel all that good. If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen some of the foods I have encountered. It is definitely not in my diet plan. In my defense, I don’t eat all of what I photograph. I’m usually stuffed after a couple bites. 

For example. We tried two new restaurants this weekend. One was in a little town of Belmont. Where I grew up. It was called Casa Vieja . It is a little Mexican restaurant that used to be an Italian restaurant. I ordered two tacos and Nick had a salad with grilled beef. It’s the nacho and dip before hand that is bad. 


The food was good. It was not as good as some of the other places we have been to but we are willing to give it another try. 

Sunday night we decided to try a new BBQ restaurant called The Smoke Pit. The food here was delicious! 
We both ordered a bbq sandwich on toast with a side of fries. 


They piled the meat high. I was full after eating the meat that fell out of the bread onto the plate. I have enough leftover for anther meal. 

It’s a new week. I will be settling back down to the simple and healthy foods so I can keep my weight down. This will also make me feel better inside and out. It’s amazing how bad fattening foods can make you feel after your used to eating lite and healthy. I think my body is craving carrots right now. 

It’s a new week. It will be a good week, I just know it. I will get myself back together and have a better attitude. Gods got me. 



Friday Bowl- Papaya

I just tried Papaya for the first time. It has a mild melon taste. Papaya is good for your eyes and has a lot of other health benefits. The inside consist of seeds in the middle that you scoop out before you slice it up. They say the seeds taste like pepper and can be dried and added to recipes. I read that after I threw my seeds away. This Papaya was not too sweet but perfect combined with other toppings on this yogurt bowl. 

Papaya Yogurt Bowl


3/4 Cup- Fage 0% Plain Yogurt
1/4- Pomegranate Seeds (raw)
2 Tablespoons- Natures Promise Pumpkin Seed Flax Granola
1/4 Cup Blueberries
1/2 Cup Papaya
176 Calories- 16g Protein


πŸ“πŸŒπŸ‰πŸŠπŸ’πŸπŸ…πŸˆ

I have decided to reserve each Friday to share some of my creative food bowls. I have been eating these at least 3 times a week and I feel great. They are easy, healthy and fun. This is part of my new "Clean Eating" Plan. Wish me Luck.

Loofah Reveal

At the beginning of spring I mentioned growing some loofah plants. Now let me introduce you to my loofahs!
Loofah is a natural sponge that grows on a vine. You can actually eat loofah when they are young but once they mature, the inside turns into an all purpose sponge.
You thought all sponges come from the sea, didn’t ya? 


I started off with four loofah plant. These little twigs fought each other in my window seal until the ground was warm enough to plant outside.

    

Nick built me a little trellis and a planter box in an area where they would get lots of direct sun. I wanted to plant them directly in the ground but for unknown reasons, he was against it. So a planter box it was. I could hardly wait to watch them grow.


Once I transplanted them into the soil, they must have gotten soil shocked because two of them died (They are known to do this). This left me with only two vines, but I figured that was enough for a trial run. It was fun seeing these plants finally take off and climb the trellis. They grew beautiful flowers that attracted some cute bees. 
I have always been afraid of bees, but not these. I somehow felt a friendship with these little stingers. They were working for me so I had to respect them. We got along great. 

I learned there are male and female flowers. The male flowers grow in clusters while the female flowers grow between the branches. 

   

The female flowers have to be pollinated to produce fruit. A loofah is ready to harvest once it turns yellow and the skin starts to loosen. They house hundreds of seeds that can be planted the next year. 


I read that just one vine will give you up to 20 loofahs. That was not my case. I was rather disappointed in my harvest this year. I only got six loofahs off two plants. Though I had many start to grow, they simply were eaten by some kind of critter or dried up and died before maturing. I plan to give it another shot next year and have a larger trellis and deeper dirt. I hope to plant them in the ground next year instead of a box. 

What next? I plan to cut them into pieces and make loofah soaps something like in this.... 


Below is a video showing the timeline of my loofahs. Hope you enjoy