Art Commission update: Eiffel Tower Silhouette

eiffel tower photo

Completed Installation!  Wish the photo quality was better but I was so focused on the paint, brushes, and other supplies that I forgot my camera… so my phone is all I had :)

Next Up:  Commission for a Begnal Tiger on a wood surface.  I’m thinking about painting with stains.  Never used stain as a medium before but I up for the challenge!

Almost 3 weeks?!

I can’t believe its been almost 3 weeks since I’ve shared here.  So much is happening these days I have just lost track of time.  First, I’m happy to report that I have been hiking a few other times since my last post and I’m loving it!  I plan to go again Tuesday to a new location – thought I would give our local botanical gardens a try.  The gardens itself of course are lovely, but there is also a pretty extensive moderate difficulty trail system that surrounds it.  So that should be fun!

Second, I unfortunately never completed another fast (yet).  At this point, with my crazy work schedule and the holidays just around the corner, I guess this will be a New Year’s fast.  I have definitely fallen behind in the eating healthy aspect of my life.  I haven’t juiced in almost a week and I have included things like chips and salsa, cereal, and cream cheese back into my diet.  I know, not the end of the world, but definitely a set back for me.  I plan to make a yummy fresh cranberry and orange juice as soon as I finish this post!

Oh, and that third goal… the art commissions… well, that deadline has been extended as well.  At least one of them is on schedule to be completed by the end of the week.

Its been so difficult finding time the last few weeks.  Have I mentioned before what I do for a living?  I’m a social worker – well, not by degree, but by position.  I work with families who are involved with DFCS, DJJ, or that have mental illness or substance abuse issues.  I am not a therapist.  I teach skills for children and adults – coping skills, parenting skills, life skills, etc.  I also do a tremendous amount of case management, administrative duties for our agency, and other miscellaneous things.  For example, this weekend I have/will spend multiple hours observing and caring for a preemie newborn at the hospital because the child’s custody has been removed from their biological parents and needs a caregiver 24/7 until it can be released to go home with a foster parent.  As a result of all of this, there are times where I have physical time, but emotionally/mentally I am drained and it’s been difficult for me to stay focused on the things I want and need when I’m not working.

So, this leads to a fourth goal (yes, as if there’s not enough on my plate!) – to find balance in my life to ensure that work does not continue to overtake me.  I owe it to myself and hubby to get back to a place where I’m engaged and interactive and can focus on things that have nothing to do with work.  This is going to be difficult while that little one is still in the hospital.  However, even though this is goal #4, it is my priority at this time.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to share!

1st Hiking Goal Met!

I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed walking through the woods!  There are really no words to how I feel when I am in a wilderness (or ocean) environment… if I were to try I guess some words that come to mind are: peace, beauty, calm, free.    The smells the sounds the sights, pure joy to me.

My hike occurred at Fort Yargo State Park in Georgia and was completed in two parts.  The first was 1.3+ miles and began on a paved walkway that took a turn through the woods following a creek.  The scenery was beautiful and there were a lots of birds in the underbrush, but the terrain was more of a ‘nature trail’ to me so I decided to increase the challenge on another trail.

The second part was another 1.3+ mile trail and this one was more ‘hiking’ with uneven terrain, rocks, roots, steep inclines and descents, and even a small area of (small) boulders.  Harder, but just as enjoyable.  I cannot wait to go again tomorrow!

Relapse… & New Goals

The past couple weeks have not been the most productive for me in terms of a healthy lifestyle.  I have done minimal physical activity and my eating/juicing habits have waned.  My mood has been… blah… and I believe this has a lot to do with my food intake.  And then there was this week, where twice I have sat down at a table with delicious homemade food and the food won.  Although I did keep to my “no seconds” rule I set for myself, I have indulged in sweet potato casseroles, biscuits, dressing, honey glazed ham, and a small variety of desserts.  Though I do not have a regretful personality, as I sit here with a still bloated feeling after dinner three hours ago… some different choices would have sufficed.

So, there are 30 days until the next “set” of family gatherings that will yet again include way too much food, and until that time I am focusing on a Reboot again.  Tomorrow I will begin reducing the amount of processed foods over the next three days in preparation for another seven-day juice fast.  I am hoping that this weaning period will lessen my withdrawal symptoms (though not too bad the first go-round) once the actual fast begins.

Seven day juice fast.  That’s my second goal.

First goal:  Hiking.  I had every intent to go hiking last weekend, however, hubby ended up misunderstanding our plans and scheduled a jam session with his band instead… so no hiking for me because I didn’t want to go alone.  And here we are a week later.  So, tomorrow I am going hiking.  Hubby will be working :(  but I am going anyway.  I have been feeling a little… for lack of a better word… lost since I woke up yesterday morning and I can’t quite figure out what’s going on.  So I am hopeful that a little hike in the quiet woods will not only provide some much needed excercise but also allow for a mind-washing :-)

And my last short-term goal:  Art.  I have three art commissions I have been strategizing on for a while now and I think I have everything planned out to begin the actual creating process.  My goal is to complete all three by Dec 25th.  I will post pictures as I they are completed.

Breakfast Juices for Fall

Here are a couple yummy breakfast juices to get the day started:

Carrot-Apple-Orange Juice  (Pictured)
3 large carrots
2 navel oranges (rind removed)
3 medium sweet apples
1 medium cucumber
taste is sweet-citrus

Orange-Cranberry-Spinach Juice
2 navel oranges (rind removed)
1 cup fresh organic cranberries
3/4 cup spinach
2 medium sweet apples
1 medium carrot
1 medium cucumber
taste is tangy-sweet

The Perfect Fall Juice
3 small sweet potatoes*
3 medium sweet apples
ground cinnamon to taste**
taste: imagine liquid pumpkin-spice pie!

*The smaller and smoother the sweet potato,
the sweeter they are!
** Can also subtitute nutmeg, or use both

Combine, juice, and drink!  Each recipe make approx 18-25 ounces.

Reminder:  fruit juices are high in sugars and calories – they are good sugars and good calories because the are natural, however, if you have trouble regulating your blood sugar or are drinking juices to lose weight, be sure that you only drink a high fruit content juice only once a day.  The majority of your juices should be 60-80% vegetables.  And, of course, those vegetable should be varied in order to get a maximun nutritional intake.

Sweet-Tart Juice

Another amazing juice combination:

2 Oranges
8-10 Strawberries
2 Kiwi

Remove the rinds, leaves, etc.  Slice and juice in you favorite masticating juicer (actually, any juicer or evern blender would work, but if you want you enzymes in tact… masticating is the way to go!).  Pour into galss with or without ice, and enjoy.  Slightly tart and sweet taste – exactly what you would expect from these ingredients!

Ready to Hike again!

As a younger version of myself, you couldn’t keep me away from the outdoors. Hiking, camping, rock climbing, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaing, you name it – if it was outdoors then I was in.  It has been almost a year since I was on a horse. Over a year since I have gone camping.  I did go canoeing this year but it was only a day trip and before that I think the last multi-day canoe trip we took was in Virginia… 2010?  Sea kayaking, ha, over 5 years easy.  I can’t even remember the last time I went rock climbing or done any real hiking.  Although I am always longing to be on or near any kind of water, it’s the hiking that I’m, missing the most these days.

Last weekend I purchased some hiking boots.  By the end of next weekend, I plan to have some dirt on them!  They are KEEN mid-boots and waterproof.  I like the knobby soles but they are a little stiffer that I’m used to (not much bend to the sole), so it may take some getting used to.  There’s also more padding/support around the ankle, which I think I am going to like.  I cannot begin to describe how much I am looking forward to being in the middle of the woods, no pavement, no motorized vehicles, no power lines, just boots on ground and nature all around!

Free to Breathe 5K/1M

After a night out and finally getting to bed around 12:45 am, I woke up less than 6 hours later and completed my first official benefit walk.  Now granted I did not complete the full 5K (though hubby did a great job running his first 5K race this morning – 7th in his age group!), I did however complete the 1M walk.  Of course the 1M course turned out to be 1.23 miles but this actually made the finish line even sweeter.

You may think 1.23 miles is not much, but for someone who is not really a walker/runner (as far as excercise goes), I was sure it was going to be treacherous!  To my surprise it was not. I didn’t even break a sweat!  At first the weather was pretty darn cold, but once the sun burned through the fog and we began the walk, it was actually pretty perfect in my opinion.  There were some mild inclines and declines and once we got to the section around the lake, the scenery was beautiful.  Near the end I had a weird muscular pain in my right hip that I have never felt before, but otherwise I felt great.  I really enjoyed the morning and I believe another 5K is in my near future… maybe even the full 5K next time!

Cycling

This is my new favorite excercise.  Well, it’s kind of a love-hate thing.  If I’m honest, I’m really not very good at it haha.  BUT two rides ago I began to recognize improvement – baby steps, but still improvement.  When I fist started riding for excercise a few weeks ago, it was painful.  My legs burned, my lungs gasped, my shoulders hurt, even my elbows and hands ached.  Sadly, a mile seemed like an endless nightmare.

I learned to ride a bike as a child.  This consisted of up and down the driveway or back and forth at our dead-end street – maybe a couple of times a month…. for maybe a year.  Add in a few short bike rides every couple of years during family vacations around the flat or soft rolling terrain of beach towns, and that’s pretty much the extent of my cycling experience.  Recent history?  Well, I could count on one hand the number of times I have ridden a bike in the past 20 years or more.  So, when I say “I learned how to ride a bike”, what I mean is, I can ride OK in the easiest of situations.

These days, I feel like I’m really learning to ride a bike.  I have not tackled any ‘extreme’ by definition terrain, distances, etc but with my background I am tackling situations that are more challenging each time: so far relatively gentle hills, road cycling (a little scary….), and a mountain bike trail (wow!).  I even learned this week that I have been working harder than needed because my seat position was too low; who knew?!  Fortunately, I have a very experienced hubby who is eager to share his knowledge and is encouraging to my learning curve, despite the occasional laughter ;-)

Completely unrelated bonus photo… this is Grey Cat (she has other names as well, though not as appropriate to post here, lol).  She was so focused on getting my attention while I was trying to take a full shot of my bike – she kept getting in the way, so I guess she won!

Working on an Upgrade

I really enjoy this blog host. However, I wish they would allow pages to have multiple posts; they don’t, which is why you have to click a link on my category page to get related blog posts under that topic. I don’t guess that’s too bad, but I’m not a fan of the ‘randomness’ of this home page; a product of the limitation of this blog host. SO… I’m currently using my creativity to work on a new format that will be more organized and user friendly! If any bloggers out there have any experiences with other hosts that you are happy with, I’d be interested in hearing about it!