May 21, 2023 – Craft therapy: I love making these cards

I finally got my card making mojo back. I love making these layered cards. The first one is made with a photo I took of Nanday Parakeets at the Celery Fields in Sarasota, FL. I have a new paper craft obsession,

Have you been crafting? Cooking? Share your favorite hobby.

Thanks for reading!


May 19, 2023 – Book Review – Mango Murder by Angela K. Ryan

On May 19, 2023, Angela K. Ryan released her highly anticipated novel, Mango Murder. It is the 7th book in the Seaside Ice Cream Shop Mysteries. When Anna, the owner of Bella’s Dream ice cream parlor in Seagull Cove, decides to hold a tropical-themed ice cream party to help the community make it through the rest of the cold winter, she doesn’t anticipate murder.

After the Tropical Ice Cream Party, a local teacher is found murdered. Anna needs to find out who killed her after leaving her ice cream shop. Was it the rival teacher vying for the same vice principle job, the two teachers who are bending the rules by dating each other, the principle, or another community member with a grudge?

While trying to find out who done it, Anna is also trying to help woman, Heather, who has amnesia after a car accident. Is Heather a victim or a criminal?

Anna is also trying to help her sister, Bella, try to figure out the mystery she is involved in that has her in hiding.

The captivating story, plot, and strong relatable characters make this book a must-read. If you are looking for a clean, lighthearted mystery, then Mango Murder is the perfect choice. It is sure to keep you turning pages until the satisfying end.

You can order your copy at Amazon or from your local independent book store. Don’t forget to check the authors other books as well.

Thanks for reading.

May 16, 2023 – My week drinking Golden Milk

Back in March, I was feeling physically and mentally exhausted. The stress of dealing with the aftermath of a category 5 hurricane had damaged my psyche. Between eating unhealthy food due to dealing with an unusable kitchen sink and having to sleep in an old queen sized bed, my body was rebelling. It was time to do something.

After a lot of research, I decided to try Golden Milk. What is Golden Milk? It is a drink made of warm milk of your choosing, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, black pepper, and dried coconut milk. I had heard that turmeric was good for inflammation. I thought about taking turmeric pills but decided I didn’t want to go that route. I found an organic Golden Milk mix on Amazon and decided to give it a try.

Day 1: The bag of Golden Milk arrived Wednesday, May 10, 2023. I was so excited to try it. That evening, I warmed up 1 cup of cow’s milk in the microwave for one minute. I added a teaspoon of the golden powder, stirred it and sat down to sip by drink. While I wouldn’t describe it as delicious, I wouldn’t say it was disgusting. It needed just a little something to make it more enjoyable. If all goes well, I will try added maple syrup to it as suggested.

About half an hour after drinking it, I was so relaxed and ready for bed. I went to bed without taking the Tylenol Arthritis and Advil that had become a daily thing for me. I slept like a baby and woke up feeling great. I actually woke up before my alarm went off and, instead of waiting for my legs to feel good enough to walk, I got up and made a pot of coffee. No hitting snooze. I was up and at ’em.

That first day I was able to go up the stairs at work for the first time in ages and I did it without having to stop part of the way up. I didn’t only do it ONCE, I went up the stairs TWICE that day. Amazing.

Day 2: This evening I added a tsp of maple syrup to the Golden Milk. It was an improvement but still not how I wanted it to taste. It went down smoothly and, just as the first night, I was relaxed and ready for bed in half an hour. I slept like a baby again.

The next morning I woke up, still feeling better than I was. However, I was muscle sore due to pushing myself too hard and using muscles I hadn’t used in a while. I did take an Advil and after being up for a while and getting the muscles warmed up, I was much better. Even with the little bit of morning achey muscles, still an improvement over how I felt in the morning before Golden Milk entered my life.

Day 3: This evening I added a squirt of agave and a splash of vanilla extract to my Golden Milk. YES! This is how I will be making it from now on. Once I finish my regular milk I will switch to unsweetened vanilla almond milk and I won’t need the vanilla. Drank my delicious latte and once I was relaxed, I went to bed. I know you are expecting me to say I slept like a baby and I will, but not the way I first meant it. Did you know that this turmeric has diuretic qualities? Yes, I encountered the I will call the wee wee hours. I lost count of how many times, but it was a lot. Just like a baby. LOL

The next morning I woke up feeling great. I looked down and, much to my surprise, my feet and ankles were no longer puffy. I weighted myself and I lost six pounds. Yes, I said six pounds.

Day 4: Had my latte and went to bed, sleeping really well.

The next morning, I had a sinus headache but the rest of me felt fantastic. Took an Advil and that went away quickly. I made sure to drink lots of water so I didn’t get dehydrated due to the diuretic actions.

As for how I am feeling today: One a scale of 1 to 10, my arthritis and muscle pain is a 2. A week ago it was any where from an 8 to a 10. My ankles and feet no longer look like the stay puffed marshmallow man. I wore pants haven’t worn since before the pandemic. I feel fantastic.

Day 5: Had a great nights sleep after drinking my yummy latte. Woke up refreshed and went for a walk down on Charlotte Harbor. I didn’t need to stop and take a break. I even walked up the slight incline near the Spirit of Punta Gorda statue. I’m down another 4 pounds! I’ve only taken Tylenol Arthritis once since I started this. I’ve taken Advil twice. I haven’t needed to take Claritin either. I’m looking forward to continuing this stuff.

Day 6: Had my latte and slept well last night. Got up at 6:30 am this morning. Weighed myself and I was up two pounds, but that’s ok. I’ll lose it again.

It is Monday of my Staycation. I made coffee and started cleaning. Cleaned the refrigerator. Cleaned out some cabinets and took the items we no longer wanted to Good Will. I had a nice lunch and now it is time to take a break. More reports to come.

Day 7: I woke up feeling pretty good. Had a relaxing day. It is almost time to make my 7th cup of golden milk. It is funny how this has so quickly become an evening ritual. Once I feel that it’s time to meditate and get ready for bed, I get happy and look forward to that golden deliciousness.

Went for a nice walk around the block tonight. Did the whole thing without stopping. I’ve almost made my step bet goal for the day. I have 300 steps to go. After I finish that two week program, I’ll write about my experience.

What a great way to end my week of drinking Golden Milk.

My conclusion: After 7 days of Golden Milk I feel like a new woman. My arthritis is so much better. I’m sleeping great. My appetite and food cravings are so much improved. Digestion has settled. My skin is improving. My mood has improved and I’m feeling less stressed.

This was my experience with Golden Milk. Yours may or may not be similar. Please check with your physician if you plan on trying Golden Milk. Wishing you well.

Thanks for reading.

May 10, 2023 – Wellness Wednesday! Mental Health Awareness Month

Photo by Madison Inouye on

As many of you may know, May is Mental Health Awareness month. I have always been a believer that people need to take care of their mental health as well as their physical health. In fact, poor mental health can affect your physical health. Depression and stress can cause stomach pain, back pain, headaches, and other unexplained aches and pains.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five Americans will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Mental health conditions are common and can affect anyone, regardless of age, race, or gender. About 1 in 25 U.S. adults lives with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression.

Making mental health a priority every day is possible in several ways. Here are some tips to help you get started.

Take Breaks – It is essential to give yourself time and space to heal mentally. Try taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness and relaxation. This will help you to regulate your emotions and reduce stress.

Photo by Leeloo Thefirst on

Some favorite mindfulness practices that I use every day are:

  • Breathing exercises – There are many different mindfulness breathing exercises. I like to practice 4 – 4 – 4 breathing. Breathe in to the count of four. Hold it for a count of four and then exhale to the count of four. Do this for two to five minutes and check in with yourself to see if you are less stressed after you are done. There are other breathing exercises you can check out. Just Google mindful breathing exercises.
  • Grounding – Breathe gently. Find five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Using this technique when you are anxious will help calm you are reduce your feelings of anxiety. Here is an example – right now I see five things – my pen, my coffee cup, my keyboard, the sun in the window, and a tape dispenser. Four things I can touch – my soft sweater, my feet on the ground, the chair under me, and the air conditioning blowing on my neck. Three things I can hear – people talking in the conference room, a truck horn outside, and the phone ringing. Two things I can smell – my coffee, my perfume. One thing I can taste – the French vanilla creamer in my coffee.

Set Goals – Setting goals and working towards them is a great way to help manage mental health. Goals provide a sense of purpose and give you something to focus on when life feels overwhelming. Journaling is one method you can use to set your goals.

Exercise Regularly – Exercise is an important part of maintaining a healthy mental state. It releases endorphins, which help to improve your mood and reduce stress.

Connect with Others – Social interaction is key for mental health. Talk to friends and family, join a support group, or find an online community. Talking and connecting with others can help to establish healthy relationships and reduce feelings of loneliness. This is one area of mental health care that a lot of people struggled with during the pandemic shut down. With all of the restrictions, it was hard to gather together and share that connection.

Prioritize Self Care– Make time to do things that make you feel good. This could be listening to music, going for a walk, reading a book, or engaging in a creative activity. Being mindful of your mental health and actively taking steps to nourish it is one of the most important things you can do.

Get enough sleep – Sleep is essential for your body to repair and replenish itself. Try to ensure you get seven to nine hours of good quality sleep each night. This will help to reduce stress and fatigue and make you feel more energized and motivated.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek professional help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s okay to reach out for help. There are many mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists specialized in certain areas, such as addiction, depression, anxiety, or trauma.

When it comes to mental health, professional help can prove beneficial in a number of ways. Mental health professionals can give you insight into your own behaviors and thoughts and make connections that you may not be able to see. They can also provide you with tools and strategies to help you manage your mental health in the long run.

Seeking professional help is not a sign of weakness, but rather an act of courage. It takes tremendous strength to own up to one’s mental health struggles and to find the help needed to handle them. Reaching out for help is a sign of self-love, as it shows that you are willing to do whatever needs to be done in order to take care of your own mental health.

I am not a mental health professional. All of this is based on my own experiences. For more information: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Mental Health America and or reach out to your health provider.

I hope you are well and thanks for reading.

May 3, 2023 – Remembering my Mom.

Today is my Mom’s birthday. She passed away two years ago on April 29, 2021.

Me and my Mom a long time ago

Last year was her death day and birthday were hard for me. Lots of sadness and crying. This year I decided to celebrate my Mom and remember all of the good things.

On Saturday, April 29, 2023, two years after her death, I wanted to honor her creativity by trying to teach finger crocheting at our local library. Mom loved to knit. I still have the yellow and brown blanket she knit for me when I was a baby. Over the years, I have darned holes in the blanket but it is still in great condition. I will keep it forever.

Mom also created beautiful counted cross stitch pictures. She once cross stitched a hummingbird on what looks like nylon mesh to me. Isn’t it beautiful?

Mom’s cross stitch hummingbird

For Mom’s birthday, I had planned on having one of the meals I remember having a lot when we were kids. TUNA RABBITS. What is a tuna rabbit? You take tuna salad and put in on a plate. That is the rabbits head. Place a good scoop of macaroni and cheese and put it on the plate next to the tuna salad. That is the rabbit’s body. Dill pickle spears make the ears and olives make the eyes. I loved having tuna rabbits. I will make some this weekend.

Tonight, when I go to bed, I am going to read The Pokey Little Puppy. This is the story Mom used to read to me and my three brothers all the time. I have my well loved copy of this Little Golden Book and I think it is going to be a new tradition.

My Mom was kind, gentle, and could bake a chocolate chip cookie that you will remember forever. I miss her but, this year I mostly want to remember all the good times we had as a family.

Me and Mom at Ameriflora Festival in Columbus, OH – 1992

Thanks for all the good memories, Mom.

Thanks to my Dad too.

Thanks to my brothers.

Thanks to my extended family as well.

Thanks for reading.

May 2, 2023 -One Bar S’mores taste test

It’s time for another protein bar taste test. I’ve enjoyed the One Bars. I found a new flavor – S’mores! Who doesn’t love s’mores??? Looks yummy!

So, let’s take a look at the macros – 210 calories, 7 grams fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 180 mg sodium, 25 grams carbohydrates, 8 grams fiber, 1 gram sugars, 20 grams protein. Not bad.

Let’s open up the package.

DELICIOUS!!!!! Good texture. Not too sweet. I could almost smell the campfire.

Have you tried the S’mores One Bar? Do you have another favorite flavor?

Thanks for reading.

April 25, 2023 – Robert Irvine’s Fit Crunch Bar

My friend gave me this bar to try. She kind of liked it and wanted to know my thoughts.

Cross section

The cross section made me excited to eat the bar.

The macros – 190 calories per bar, 8 g fat, 200 mg Sodium, 14 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 16 G protein. Not horrible but not the best.

Now for the taste. It was DELICIOUS! However, it was not filling. A Snickers holds me over better but also has worse macros. I think I would eat one of these bars occasionally as a treat.

Have you tried them? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

April 22, 2023 – Becoming frugal

If you are like me, money isn’t going as far as it used to. Between the pandemic, supply chain problems, grocery prices, trying to deal with the aftermath of a Cat. 5 hurricane – our wallets are getting hit hard.

Photo by Nicola Barts on

A few weeks ago I started researching how we could eat healthy for less. I’m now challenging myself to find ways to cut food costs yet still eat nutritious food. I’m going to add the tips, tricks, and recipes to This Life so you can use them too.

First thing I had to do was stop being a food snob. Yes, I love Publix. Their bakery bread is the best grocery store bread where I live. However, their prices can get a little steep. So, we have started shopping at Walmart and, my new favorite, Aldi.

My next change was to stop ordering DoorDash and Seamless. Since the hurricane, our kitchen sink has been messed up. Doing dishes has become more of a chore due to having to keep two buckets under the sink and dump them after we do dishes. It just seemed easier and less messy to order delivery and not need to wash dishes. Now, doing that once in a while isn’t bad, but 3-5 times a week for six months is. I priced the cost of food delivery and what it cost to buy and pick up. A breakfast taco from Dunkin is $2.99 at the restaurant. If you order through DoorDash, it is $4.48. That is $1.49 more! That doesn’t count the delivery cost and the driver tip. Needless to say, no more DoorDash.

Grocery delivery became so helpful during the pandemic. Unfortunately, it became more of a lazy thing for me. Who wants to go to the store and be around people??? YUCK. Thanks to pandemic isolation, I’ve become more antisocial. However the cost of the convenience is too high. That, too, has been cancelled.

So, we are doing a lot or research now on frugal recipes and which stores have better pricing. Stay tuned for recipes, tips, and tricks on how to be frugal. If you have any tips, tricks, and/or recipes, please share in the comments below.

Thanks for reading.

April 15, 2023 – Think! high protein bar taste test

If you know me, you k no ow I love lemon flavored EVERYTHING! I had really high hopes for the Lemon Delight Think! Bars.

Lemon Delight Think! Bar macros

First, the macros. A little higher in calories than I would have liked and I was disappointed that there was NO FIBER at all.

Cross section

So, was the taste worth the calories and lack of fiber?

In my opinion, no. The texture was weird and there was not enough lemon flavor for me. To me, it was like eating a sawdust bar that was dunked in lemon water. Keep in mind, this is just my opinion.

This is a bar that I won’t be trying again. That doesn’t mean you won’t like it. If you have tried it and like it, good. Maybe you can share your thoughts on what you like in the comments.

What healthy bar or treat should I try next?

Thanks for reading.