Now It’s Apparently Called Homesteading

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Recently I have been watching a lot of homesteading youtube videos. I am learning some new things but most of it is review. When we started growing our own food and raising animals back in the ’00s (nauties), we were doing it as a method of survival. We had a little cushion by tapping into the retirement fund, but after 2008 we were on our own.

Back then as I far as I could find they called what we had a hobby farm. Except it isn’t really hobby if you are doing to survive. Homesteading was not a term that ever came up in conversations I had with other farmers at the local markets. Maybe because we were in the Midwest and not out west or in the Pacific Northwest. Now the term seems to be everywhere for those who are working on creating a sustainable lifestyle.

I am just musing here because I find in interesting that most of the people I have come across and enjoy listening to have been doing since about the same time that we started. You tube wasn’t as big of a thing back then. I know that may be hard to believe, but we were reading blogs not watching you tube videos, when we had questions. We also utilized our library cards and checked out books and if they had really valuable information we saved up and bought them.

Photo by cottonbro on

So just in case you find yourself in need of learning how to survive by growing your own food, raising your own meat, gathering water, and many other survival skills. There are books out there if things go bad before you have decided you need to know how to do this stuff.

If you don’t wait that long, these are the people I am following who I find to have very good hands-on practical knowledge. They all sell courses, but they also offer some things that can get you started for free.

Off Grid with Doug and Stacey

Homesteading Family

Melissa K Norris Modern Homesteading

I hope you find this helpful. Take care and have a blessed Sunday!



It’s been a while…


It has been a bit since I have posted. My journey to a healthier more fit body is still progressing. Like everyone I have had my ups and downs but I am happy to report that I have lost 17 lbs! I have been managing to maintain a pretty even weight since I switched to an intermittent fasting program. It has a more Catholic feel to it as it allows me to make sure I can fast until after Mass even on Sundays.

I have been struggling for the past two weeks to be motivated to do my workouts. I still get them done, but the struggle is there. I know that a lot of people have this problem so I wanted to share to help you understand that this is normal. We get into routines and sometimes we just don’t want to do it. Push through, offer it up, remember why you started this change…all valid motivators to keep going.

On a totally different front – I have been knitting like crazy lately. I think it is the cold weather. 🙂 I have several projects on needles. I finished a dishcloth this past week. It is something I have been wanting to make but it has taken me a while to find a pattern that was complicated enough to have a neat finished look but easy enough to get done quickly. I purchased Retro Kitchen Knits from and I really like the styles in it. I will be casting on the towels next.

I have a baby hat and a sweater also on needles. No promises but I will try to share those soon.

What are you doing these days? Making any spring plans as we all hunker down and try to stay warm? Drop me a comment and let me know what you are doing.



Happy Easter!

Hyacinths 002Trellises 005Yard in spring 001So it has been a bit.  I just finished up my workout program.  I am definitely much stronger than when I started.  I am going back to a program that I really enjoy and I am lifting heavier which feels great!  My favorite program in Beachbody at this time is 21 Day Fix Real Time.  I am going to follow it the way it has been set up which means things rotate workout wise.  She switches the days of the exercises up each week.  We will see how that goes.

I am surprised at how motivated I am not only to do this program but to get back on track with my nutrition after Easter Sunday.  My body definitely prefers the veggies, fruit, protein then carb eating plan.  This morning I had scrambled eggs with pan fried zucchini, peppers, & onions.  It was delicious!

I also pushed myself not just with heavier weights but also with the moves.  Doing the regular move and only switching to the modifier when I could not keep good form.  That was truly empowering.  A great way to measure the change in my body over time.

I am currently happy with my weight so I have switched to a maintenance plan but not the full step up.  I find that what I am actually consuming is one step not two steps up from what I was eating to cut weight.  I will let you know how that works over the course of the next three weeks.  I just needed to give myself permission to eat more for now and like I said I am happy with the scale number at the moment.  I am planning to shave off more inches in my next round of cutting back on intake.  My core is still not where I want it to be and I think my legs could be more muscular as well.

The 21 Day Fix is my interim for the next couple of weeks.  When I am ready, I plan to go into another weight lifting/interval program.  This is what I am planning to use to shave off those inches at my waist that I want to work on.

I hope that you all staying healthy.  Hang in there!  I sure hope we see the other side of this soon.  I pray that the governments will back off completely on the controls that they have put in place.

Take care and my God keep you all in His Loving Arms!



P. S These are pictures of spring around our house.  Excited to have trellises in for the grapes.


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LentI have spent the last two weeks quite discouraged with my fitness journey.  I am pretty sure I mentioned last week that I was not making any progress.

Enter Lent:  As a Catholic we are obliged to fast on certain days of the year.  Traditionally, we have fasted all through Lent and have observed partial abstinence all through Lent.  Today we are only obligated to Fast and Abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and then abstain on all the Fridays of Lent.

I observe the traditional teachings as best as I can during Lent.  That means that my family only eats meat at dinner Monday through Thursday and we fast to the best of abilities all through Lent.  On all Fridays of Lent we completely abstain from meat and I try very hard to fast.  By fast we mean eating two small meals which don’t equal the large meal and no snacks.  There are exceptions which my husband and son observe due to the type of physical work they do each day.  They are not obliged to fast in the same way or at all if they can’t.

So Lent began this past Wednesday and I have been working hard to follow my plan.  I am also trying to keep my protein intake up because of the type of workout I am doing.  I am lifting weights and hoping to build muscle.  I am definitely building strength.  In order to build muscle I need to make sure that I am getting enough protein.  This means that my small meals need to be protein dense and I have done well this week.  I know that it will be a challenge to keep up through Lent, so I will do my best to keep you posted.

As a result of the two days of fasting (Ash Wednesday and Friday), plus the other things I am fasting from I have lost 3 pounds!  Yay!  I also this week purchased a more accurate digital scale.  I was getting so frustrated that I wanted to do something that would give me a shot at seeing small steps of progress.  So far, the scale is working out great!  It is very accurate and easy to read.

So the perseverance is paying off.  I am sticking to my plan and should be done with this program by Easter.  Then I will move on to the next program.  I have not chosen it yet but I am looking at a few different ones.

Are you doing anything to observe Lent?  Drop me a note in the comments and let me know what you are doing.

May we all take this time of preparation to reflect on how much Our Lord loves us…enough to die on the Cross.





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Ash Wednesday 2

My fitness program is moving along.  Unfortunately, the scale is not.  I will take measurements tomorrow.  Not sure that has changed much either.  I think things are looking better, but I may be imagining things.

My plan is to just keep pushing through working each week to get better at my nutrition intake.  That shouldn’t be hard since Lent starts this week.  I have not quite figured out how to fast on the days that I will need to fast.  I think I might be able to drink a shake for my snacks, especially since my protein intake will be decreased as well.

My family practices some of the old traditions which by medieval standards are pretty lax.  So we observe partial abstinence throughout Lent, Fast & abstinence on Fridays, and if we are not doing hard physical labor than we do our best to fast every day except Sunday.  So no meat at breakfast and lunch for the whole of Lent and we work to eat two small meals that don’t equal the one big meal we eat each day.  With my workout schedule I am not sure how well I will be able to observe the fasting part.  So, I will need to offer up some other sacrifice instead.

Tomorrow I plan to work on my Lenten plan.  We are having 40 hours adoration in preparation for Lent so I will plan to participate in that and perhaps get some insights in what I may be able to do.

My exercise program for the next month is lifting heavier so that I fail between 6 to 8 reps.  This is pretty intense.  I started this phase this week.  We were given a break on Friday but next week it is full on Push for the next three weeks.  I am glad that my recovery and evening rebuild supplements arrived yesterday.  These are both designed to help with muscle soreness, i.e. help the body recover faster so the soreness does not last as long.  I will let you know if it works.

That’s all for now.  Just wanted to make sure I posted more often.

What are your plans for Lent?

Take Care!




First, let me apologize for the lack of posts.  The holidays came and I just got out of the habit.  I have continued my journey to a fitter healther me.  I did not give up on that I just did not have time to post about here.

Things are going pretty well.  I have started a different workout program.  So I don’t know if I have mentioned it before but I am using Beachbody programs.  While I have been gone from here, I purchased two things.  A new workout dvd set called ChaLEAN Extreme which a low impact weight training program.  I also purchased the Ultimate Fix program which a food program.  It works on training you to take in a balance amount of nutrients in the right amount.

I am focusing on improving my nutrition because even my doctor said to me at my check up that losing weight in the core happens in the kitchen more than anywhere else.  That is why I purchased the Ultimate Fix program because I really wanted to figure out my nutrition in a balanced non diet way.  It is working!  In the month of January I have lost 2 lbs so far.  From October to December I lost 8 lbs! perseverance2

I know this last 10 lbs are going to take more dedication to eating healthy, having fun with my workouts, and cutting down on my substitutions.  But you know what?  I know I can do this!

I was just looking through some pictures I have been taking to chronicle for myself how I am doing.  All those people – coaches, trainers, nutritionists – they are right to encourage us to take pictures and take measurements.  Don’t just step on the scale.  That number is such a small part of what change really looks like.  On those weeks while I haven’t posted, that I did not see a change in the scale, I may have seen a measurement or two or three go down.  Some times neither the scale nor the measurements changed, but I felt lighter and better!

I will post a picture that I am currently using to track my changes. Our coach challenged us to pick out an outfit that we don’t fit into all that well right now.  Put it on and snap a picture.  Then snap a picture every week.  I did not think it would be a big deal and I had the perfect dress in mind.  Just as a reality check these pictures are actually two weeks apart not just one because I was out of town.  It is still neat to see the change and to have others recognize it as well.

Comparison week 1 - week 3 Not there yet, but making progress.  It has really helped that my husband is joining me on this journey.  He is using a different program but we are both eating healthier. He does the grocery shopping so it is great to have him on board!  We have older children still at home so they are kind of being forced to eat better because there are not too many unhealthy choices in the house.  My husband still buys them chips, but thankfully that has never been a challenge for me.

This past week my greatest accomplishment was making up my morning snack, my lunch and my afternoon snack.  When I started this program, I struggled to eat the six times a day they were saying that I should eat.  Going through the videos in Ultimate Fix has really helped me to understand the reasons behind eating this way.  Plus muscle burns fat…the more muscle I gain the easier it is getting to eat every two to three hours.  I am actually hungry so planning for those snacks has really helped me to stay on track.

I know that I sound like I am tooting my own horn in all this but I know as a Catholic that I have received a lot of grace from God to accomplish this.  I have the opportunity (and I take it) to go to confession every week.  This helps me to gain the graces I need to overcome my habitual sins.  This week work was particularly hard and frustrating.  I prayed a lot!  On my worst day, I had received the grace and aid to remember that walking is a great way for me to relieve stress.  So that day, instead of grabbing a bunch of chocolate, I took the dog for a walk after work.

My practice of perseverance isn’t just with my food choices or my exercising.  It is also something I practice in my prayer life.  I have a good morning prayer routine, but have struggled – always it seems – for a good evening prayer routine.  It is improving, but still needs work…and I will keep working at it because I know and see how persevering through the hard parts can end with wonderful results.

I thank you for your patience in my lack of posting.  I hope that this encourages some of you to stick with those resolutions or maybe give yourself some goals to reach for.

Thanks so much for stopping by!



Follow Through

I strained my shoulder this week in and was concerned that swimming would be difficult the next day.  That was not the case though, I am very happy to report.  Swimming actually helped the knots to work themselves out faster than they ever had before.  Unfortunately, I strained the same muscles or created the same knots today.  I have a nice tool to work out those kinks as no one in my household is willing to rub my shoulders.  For some reason they think that I just have two hard rocks in my shoulders. (insert emoji if possible; create link for the tool).

I am feeling really good.  I like the results that I can actually see in the mirror and in my clothes.  I put on a wool vest that I don’t believe I have zipped up in YEARS!  I was able to comfortably zip it up yesterday.  It felt great and made the work, pain, food changes worth it.

This is the longest I have managed to stick with a program.  I used this program (link) when I was working at getting in shape for my daughter’s wedding but I was not all in.  This meant that after the event I quit.  I never really got the hang of the food system and it just felt like I was doing a lot of work but making no progress.  Now, I am really committed to changing my lifestyle.  That makes it easier to work on changing how I eat – not just what I am putting in but how much.

Remembering that in the Catholic tradition there are days we are asked to fast and regularly abstain.  I know what that feels like and I also know how to tie this challenge to benefit others – the souls in purgatory for instance.  Adding a spiritual component to the sacrifices being made throughout this lifestyle change,  strengthens my resolve when I want to quit or cheat.  It means offering up the pain in my shoulder in reparation for my past sins.  The challenge of finding a way to get enough protein on Fridays when I am asked to abstain from meat every week.

Made it another week

I lost another pound and 1 1/2 inches.  I was surprised that I lost the pound.  I am trying to stick to the plan, but life interrupts and wine gets bought and then….carbs get consumed – wine is a carb. 😦

I have been working out everyday though and make it through most of the day on plan.  I guess that it working.  I am trying at the moment to focus on the fact that I have lost six pounds and not that I have 14 more to go.  I remind myself often that shedding weight slowly is the best way to keep it off.  I want to be able to maintain this fitness level for the rest of my life so no rush.  This is supposed to be habit forming…. and on and on I go.  Some days that works better than others.  It does help though.

My husband dislikes the little pep talks the trainers do during the workout.  He finds it grating.  I ignore them for the most part except when I am having a hard day.  Then I use those repetitive things like – What are you doing this for?  What do you want to see in the mirror?  You can do this, just stick with it.  On a hard day those things actually help me not just get through the workout, but also to make healthy food choices.  To grab the portion container and pay attention to not just what I am putting into my body, but how much.

I was looking at a dress online yesterday.  It is a flannel pattern that I have always loved.  I used to have a really comfy cut skirt in that pattern many years ago.  I looked at their sizing chart.  I looked at the measurements and saw what I need my waist to be in order to match what the rest of my measurements are on their way toward.  I have a lot more work to do, but I actually think I can get there.  In the past I would have looked at it and decided that there was no way I would get there and quit.  Now, I just tell myself if I keep working then by next year I just might make it there.

So what keeps you motivated?  Is it helpful to have a workout buddy?  Someone who is working toward similar goals.  Someone you can check in with to see how their doing and let them know how you are doing?

The program I am using has a coach component.  This is the person you touch base with regularly.  The person to ask if things don’t seem to be working well or to just get a high five from which is surprisingly helpful.  I also check in with my daughter daily.  We are both working on losing both pounds and inches.  We discuss what is working and what is not; our good days and our bad days.

More News on the Lifestyle Change

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pumpkins on a table
Photo by Anna Tukhfatullina Food Photographer/Stylist on

I apparently forgot to hit post for my last update.  I had a stall week where nothing changed so I pushed through and worked hard to stick to the food part of the program.  That worked!  I have lost another 3 lbs.  I measure myself tomorrow to see if there is any more progress there as well.

I am definitely feeling the change which helps to bypass the wrong food choices. I am also just slugging down more water instead of eating any food at all. Drinking the amount of suggested water is getting easier because I am a lot more thirsty.

I am slipping less and less off the food plan.  I try to be strict with myself but you know there will always be days where you just really need some comfort food or just a nice glass of wine. I usually end with with two days of slightly less diligence.  I know that is why I stall out in the loss department. I am continuing to workout six days a week.  I was going to try another double up workout week last week, but I didn’t.  I am pushing myself harder in the workouts.  I increased my weights and am really pushing to do the regular exercises and not the modified ones. I think that is the other reason that I made progress this week.

So what do I mean by feeling a change?  I am feeling muscles that I have never used.  I like it even though why I am feeling it is because they are sore. It really does help motivate me to grab a small handful of nuts instead of the piece of bread on the counter.  I really don’t want to add back what I have worked so hard to burn off.

This coming week I think my call word will be – perseverance. I need to just keep plugging along doing the exercises and keeping track of my food intake.  My birthday is this week so my plan is to keep things in moderation on that day.  Stop before I am full.  Remember that it is okay to be just satisfied – i. e. no longer ravenous.

As we approach Thanksgiving with ALL of the food that gets put on the table for that feast, that week the call word will be moderation, moderation, moderation.  A little of this and LITTLE of that.  Plus we have days to consume it.  It does not need to be done all in one sitting.

Thank you for stopping by and checking in on my progress.  Drop me a comment about what you struggle with either with food, daily habits, or staying motivate to exercise.

Have a great week!




Making Progress

blue tape measuring on clear glass square weighing scale
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This is on of those rate weeks when starting a new routine – a significant amount of progress was made.  I did the responsible thing and went to the doctor for a routine check-up.  I am doing really well, plus I found out that I had lost 2 lbs! My most recent weigh in was at the YMCA where my husband, son and I swim laps twice a week.  Yay!! My blood pressure was really good too.

The doctor answered some questions I had about some anomalies in my abdomen.  What I learned was that we are not really symmetrical and fat likes to mass in the abdomen. All good things to know as it actually motivated me to work harder attacking that fat both in the kitchen and in my workouts. I have also promised myself to only check on my weight every three weeks because that’s the cycle of the workout program I am using.

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The other bit of progress showed up today when I did my weekly measurements. I have lost 4 1/4″! This is in a week!  Whoo-hoo!  I lost most of it in my abdomen plus a bit in my thighs.  I am very pleased with these results.  Interesting how my focus was on food intake this week and such great progress was made.  I did do my workouts, but I missed Thursday.

This coming the, I am going to work even harder to plan out my meals and follow the program in the kitchen.  I am also going to work harder to make sure that I workout every day.  I would like to post a calendar of my workouts so I can stay motivated and on track.  They will be a little different than what is called for but it should still work out okay.

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The other thing I need to do this week is make appointments for those yearly exams – mammogram and colonoscopy. Not fun, but necessary.

The last thing I want to mention today is something that has really helped in this change of lifestyle.  My husband is also doing a program to lose weight and get fit.  We are using two different programs, but the food is pretty much the same. It really does help to have and be that support for each other.

pilgrimage imageI am hoping that in the next year or two we can save up and go on a pilgrimage together. It is something that my husband would not even consider a few months ago.

I would love to hear how you are doing. Are you struggling?  How do you stay motivated? Do you have someone in your corner cheering you on?

Thanks for checking in with me!