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Sunday, January 31, 2010

And the Tile Project Continues....

This weekend I had the opportunity to glaze my tiles. I still have some side panels to do, but these will be the center tiles. Now on to the firing process!!!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gratitude Friday - Creativity

Thank God for the gift of Creativity!!! Without it, I couldn't be happy. It doesn't happen all the time this creative burst of energy, but when it does, it creates a calm in me that cannot be described. I have always had this side of me, and I have done many creative things in my life - from sewing, to embroidering, stencilling, home decorating, photography, and tile designing!! And I definitely know which things I can do well, and which I have absolutely no talent for (like drawing and flower arranging!!!) I go in spurts with these activities and many I don't enjoy doing anymore (like sewing and embroidering)...but the important thing for me is having an outlet to create SOMETHING! These times allow me to relax and to escape into my own little world for awhile. There's nothing wrong with my real world, but I find out that when I allow myself these times to create, I am calmer and more focused on everything. And I am blessed that my family understands this about me and they give me the time and encouragement to do MY thing!

Right now, I am in the tile decorating mode! I am designing tiles for three end tables, and I am having a ball! I only wish that I had more time to dedicate to it because I have the desire to work on it all the time. In fact, I would be working on it right now if I had more than 15 minutes of free time :(

This is the point I am at right now: I have designed my tiles and have outlined them with black wax resist. The next step will be to fill in the glazes. Once that is done, the tiles will be fired in the kiln with the result (hopefully) being brightly color glazed tiles which will be set onto the table.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Diet Update

Well, it's been a full week on the 2-week boot camp jump start version of the Mediterranean diet - and I have lost an amazing 9.5 pounds!!! I know that most of it is water loss, but I can already feel myself being smaller. The diet has given me some excellent recipes! The flavors are all so well blended and the dishes are filled with lots of good tastes. I would love to be able to enjoy a glass of wine with each dinner, but for these first 2 weeks, that is restricted. That's OK - I can live without wine for a little while. The cravings for capuccino's and other sweets has gone completely away. I think that was the purpose of this 2 week severe restriction on certain things. Next week we will begin the maintenance phase where we can slowly incorporate back into our diet certain things like dairy, wine, and fruit. Even though I have LOTS more weight to lose, I am going to go on the maintenance plan for a few weeks and see what happens on that. If I continue losing weight, I may just stay on that. But if the weight doesn't seem to decrease, I will do another 2 weeks on boot camp. By alternating the different phases of the diet, I hope to continue losing weight without feeling deprived. I realize it's going to take a lot of time to lose the weight that I slowly accumulated over the years, but I am confident that I can do it. And with such wonderful recipes, how can I go wrong?

Here is one of my favorite recipes:

Broiled Chicken

1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 T. chopped parsley
1 T. chopped herbs like sage, oregano, or thyme
1/4 c. olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon 1 T. red wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Add 2 chicken legs and thighs and coat the chicken with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Preheat the broiler.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place it on a broiler pan. Broil it for 30 minutes. Turn it over and broil for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove the skin and squeeze another 1/2 lemon onto it before serving.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Every year, I always have a New Year's Resolution which I vow to keep. But, alas, they don't usually last for more than a week :( But this year, I am determined to stick to it. Beginning Tuesday, I am starting on the Mediterranean Prescription Diet by Dr. Acquista and planning on going to the gym 3 times per week as well as doing other physical activity on my off days. Since I turned 50 this year, I have noticed that my body is not as agile as it once was. Of course this lack of agility has crept up slowly, but I can feel myself not jumping up as quickly as I used to and being a bit slower to get moving. The lack of exercise and the increased weight surely has contributed to this...and I DON'T LIKE IT one bit!!! So, I have made a promise to myself that things are going to change!! I bought Dr. Acquista's book and began reading all about his "prescription" for losing weight. Since Mediterranean cuisine is pleasing to my palate (and it very well should be since I grew up with these flavors all my life), I thought it might be a good way to try to lose some weight. He begins with a 2 week "tough love" boot camp where you pretty much just eat fish, lean chicken, and LOTS of vegetables. No wine, pasta, bread (except for one slice of whole grain bread at breakfast), juice or fruit is allowed...My husband is going to join me in this effort which will make cooking a lot easier. My plan is to make a double dose for dinner so that we can eat the left overs for lunch the next day. I have already set out my meal plans for the whole week and did my shopping for it, too. I am actually looking forward to experimenting with all these new recipes!!! And I hope to also lose lots of weight. I will try to keep my progress posted here and let you know about the trials and tribulations which I'm sure to face!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Murder Mystery Party celebrating 2010!!

Last night, we decided to host a Murder Mystery dinner party to help us usher in the New Year. It was a huge success and loads of fun to play! We all dressed the part and acted silly trying to portray our character!! That was really the best part of playing the game. The accusations were flying around the room and our creative juices were flowing!! The setting for the story was during the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940. All 8 guests were invited to board a train leaving Paris for Southern France. But sometime during the train ride, a murder occurred, and we were all suspects!!! Our job was to figure out who did it! Through a series of clues revealed periodically during the evening, we threw accusations at each other trying to be the super sleuth to solve the mystery.

Could it be Belinda, couturière extraordinaire?

Or The Duke (the swashbuckler)?

Of course, it could also be Wey, an RAF officer shot down during a mission over France because he mistook a cow pasture for a military runway...

Or Barbra, the heiress to a perfume empire...

But then again, Mary (quite contrary), the prize winning reporter, may have had a reason...

As well as Mal, whose ubiquitous profession as an "importer/exporter" raised lots of eyebrows....

And Princess Idelle's idle chatter led to lots of speculation...

While Khover's business dealings between Paris and Berlin were always a mystery.

All the characters had a motive for committing the murder, but only one DID it....

Sadly, none of us figured it out, but that didn't really matter as the process was more fun than the solution!!

Gratitude Friday - Happy New Year

Today, being the first day of a new year and a new decade, brings with it lots of hope for a bright future for all!! I wish for all my readers, family and friends, a year filled with joy, happiness, and health :) I am always grateful for the sincerity and kindness of others, and strive to give that of myself as well! Happy 2010!!

And this message from George wishing all the marvelous women in this world a Happy New Year will always put a smile on my face!!