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Monthly Archives: March 2016

WOW – 30 Day Cleanse Challenge

WOW – 30 Day Cleanse Challenge

WOW! It has been quite a time since I have done a “challenge”! As we are starting the 2nd quarter of 2016 I realize that I may not be quite on track for some of my goals.  By doing a challenge, and making it public, and bringing a few friends along with me…I know I will be successful!

Starting tomorrow, April 1, (no foolin’) I am personally doing a 30 day whole life cleanse. What is a whole life cleanse? I am cleansing my mind, body, spirit, environment (maybe some pieces, but those are a good starting point). I would love to have YOU join me on this exciting journey!

Tomorrow, I will share my 30 day goals on each of the areas I am cleansing. As always, this is a no judgement zone. Do as much or as little as you want, share your own goals, or keep them to yourself. Whatever you get out of this challenge is a win!

Rest when you’re weary. Refresh and renew yourself, your body, your mind, your spirit. Then get back to work. ~ Ralph Marston

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Posted by on March 31, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Balance Busy with (Spring) Breaks 6

Balance Busy with (Spring) Breaks 6

We had planned a full day of sightseeing in New Jersey and Pennsylvania (primarily Philadelphia) on Saturday. Upon hearing of some incoming snow, we decided to change our plans a little bit and shorten our day, to get us on the road and closer to home before we ended up stranded on the East Coast. We headed off to Camden, New Jersey. We took a little detour to an area just across from the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard to view the ships docked there. We could see the aircraft carrier John F Kennedy, and many other ships. We stood on the sight of a ferry landing, that had burned down. It was a cold, grey day; which seemed appropriate for viewing the ships in what could be their last resting place.

Onward to Camden to see the USS New Jersey. I had wanted to visit her as much as The Hubs had. Not only had we visited her sister ship, USS Iowa, in Los Angeles a few years ago, but my uncle had served aboard her during the Vietnam War. We took a guided tour of this magnificent old ship, whose original teak decks are still (barely) intact. Knowing that the USS New Jersey is the most decorated battleship of all time, and that she served actively during WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf was incredible! To walk in the footsteps of so many brave young men was emotionally stirring. This was a truly memorable experience.

From there we decided to head toward Independence Hall and Liberty Bell Center. As we were making our way, it started to snow. We made another decision to drive by, but not stop Liberty Bell Center and Independence Hall. The one stop The Hubs was not going to cancel in Philadelphia was the Cheese Steak stop. His mouth had been watering all day thinking about a real Cheese Steak. He navigated me toward the famous Geno’s and Pat’s locations, on opposite corners of the same street. We quickly switched roles; he jumped in the driver’s seat (there was no way I was going to drive around the narrow one way streets of Philly while he stood in line for sandwiches). We chose which location by the length of the line. I grabbed Daughter Number Four and we jumped into the line at Geno’s Steaks. We stood in line for about 30 minutes, which I appreciated and enjoyed. We got to experience some of the local culture, we got to learn the system and how to order, and we got to watch as tubs of sliced steak was being brought from a separate location to the hub of the Cheese Steak Experience. What an experience it was. When it was my turn at the sandwich window (you had to order your fries and drinks at the next window) I knew how to order 5 steaks; 2 with provolone, 3 with whiz, all with onion. BAM! I got my sandwiches and moved to the fry window. I got 1 with whiz, 1 plain, and a coupla cokes. I’m so glad I had to wait in line… to learn a bit of the lingo. I would have been a lost cause otherwise. D4 and I grabbed our goods and ran for the car as we saw The Hubs making another pass by. We jumped in the car and he drove down to the Naval Shipyard Philadelphia. We enjoyed our fries and shared a sandwich as we walked around looking at some marvelous old US Navy Ships and hearing stories of when The Hubs was stationed here during his service. As the snow started to fall harder we got back in the car and back on the road.

We drove to somewhere in Ohio before calling it a night. We enjoyed some more Cheese Steaks (as someone who does not eat red meat as a rule, and having broken that rule already on this trip, I have to admit I enjoyed my Cheese Steak) and some hot tea. It had been another long, full day of travel, history, and memories.

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Balance Busy with (Spring) Breaks 5

Balance Busy with (Spring) Breaks 5

Our last day in Washington, D.C. was a tourist day. We didn’t hurry around, and we didn’t drive to the Navy Yard. We took our time getting ready and hopped on the Metro to take us to Arlington National Cemetery. We spent several hours meandering among various memorials: visiting the resting place of President John F. Kennedy and his family, reverently viewing the Eternal Flame. We experienced the Changing of The Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. We walked to and through the Robert E Lee house, aka the Arlington House. It was a very solemn part of our trip, but the one part that the four of us all agree was one of our favorite parts.

From there, we walked toward the Metro Line. The Hubs and I joked how close the National Mall looked and that we could walk over the Potomac and be right there. The children seemed mortified at the idea. We laughed some more and decided it would be a great adventure. So, we walked from Arlington National Cemetery to the Lincoln Memorial. We did take a brief pause at a concession kiosk for waters (and a coffee). The Hubs pointed out I could have beer or wine, but at $8 per I thought I’d best stick with the coffee. We headed over to the Lincoln Memorial and up the stairs of the iconic building. It was interesting. I had thought it would be a more touching moment, like the National Cemetery. The pushing crowds and picture takers removed some of the solemnity.082

While on the National Mall we saw the Korean War Memorial, the Washington Monument, The World War II Memorial, and the Vietnam Memorial. They were all very touching. It definitely instills a sense of honor and pride to visit.101

We chose to forgo seeing the rest of the memorials and monuments to try and see a few other sights in DC. On our way out of the area toward the museums we passed for a 2nd time on our trip, The Lockkeepers House. We had passed it previously and were intrigued by it; this time we stopped and read the information about it. I’m sure thousands of people pass by this landmark and don’t even stop. It was one of our favorites. https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/wash/dc34.htm

As we continued to make our way toward the National Archives to see The Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and The Declaration of Independence. Upon our arrival we were saddened to see the long line. We would have waited in line patiently, had it not been for the throngs of high school aged children in front of us who were behaving much like high school aged children can. We chose to save our sanity and head on. We stopped at a food kiosk in the area near the Smithsonian Institution. It was a nice break before we headed back to The Metro and then back to our apartment.

When we arrived back at our apartment The Hubs and girls wanted to know if we had beat our earlier record for miles walked. Yes; we did. We walked 26820 steps, or 11 miles. Wow! What a day.130

The evening was spent readying our bags and belongings to head out the next morning, on the final leg of our break.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Balance Busy with (Spring) breaks 4

Balance Busy with (Spring) breaks 4

Wednesday was our big rest day! We had heard a little bit on Monday and Tuesday about some problems with The Metro. There had been a fire on one of the lines just a few days earlier. I even got a text message from my mother Tuesday night letting us know that the Metro in DC was going to be closed all day Wednesday to check all of the electrical. The Hubs decided that he and D3 would work longer that day. D4 and I did some cleaning around the apartment. We read some history about Washington, DC and talked about what we had seen on our trip. We took a short walk around the area and found a beautiful park that we walked around. We spent the rest of the day resting and sharing some family time in our little apartment. Considering that it was close to 80 degrees that day, it was a great day to stay around our base.

Thursday started the same as Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We drove to the Navy Yard. The Hubs and D3 got out at the Visitor’s Center. D4 and I did, too. The Hubs and D3 went in and got their day pass. D4 and I turned in a Visitor’s Application for Entrance, to get cleared for admittance onto the Navy Yard. After about 10 minutes of waiting (while they ran our background check). We were cleared for the day! We drove back to the apartment. We were going to meet up with the other 2 in the early afternoon.

When we wakled back to the Navy Yard, D4 and I (with our pass in hand) walked on and met up with the others. We grabbed lunch at a food truck and walked to the National Museum of the United States Navy. It covered the history of the US Navy from the earliest days. We saw pieces from the original ships of our Navy, the frigate USS Constellation, artifacts from the Merrimac, and the front panel of Admiral Dewey’s ship from theSpanish-American war; the Cruiser USS Olympia. We later got to see her docked in Philadelphia. The girls got to sit in the seats of a quad 40 mm bofors anti-aircraft gun. We saw early diving suits and submarines, and D3 got to sit inside of a part of a submarine.  One of the curators came over and talked to us about some of the exhibits. He was very passionate about the museum and the exhibits. On our way out of the museum, Daughter Number 3 exclaimed that this was the best museum she had ever been to and that she loved it.038

After we left, we went back to our apartment for a rest. After a short rest, D4 and I asked The Hubs if he wanted to see the little park we had found. He agreed that another short walk would be fine. We walked to the park and sat and watched dogs play, babies in strollers, and enjoyed the cherry blossoms. We walked back toward our apartment. The Hubs said that a block past our apartment was a Marine Barracks, and an area of shops and restaurants called Barracks Row. We walked over to grab a cup of coffee and ended up at a restaurant called Ted’s Bulletin. It was a diner style restaurant reminiscent of the 1930’s. We enjoyed some American classics including milkshakes, Ted’s Tarts (homemade poptarts), breakfast foods, burgers, Reuben’s, homemade French fries, and good beer.teds bulletin reuben

teds breakfast with ted's tart

ted's burger

 

Once we had finished our overabundant dinner we walked back to the apartment and settled in for a relaxing evening. The morsels we had just eaten made us all sleepy and happy.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Balance Busy With (Spring) Breaks 3

Balance Busy With (Spring) Breaks 3

Tuesday started out much the same as Monday. I drove The Hubs and D3 to the Navy Yard. D4 jumped into the front seat to talk me through the construction and ensure that we did NOT end up on any highway adventures. She did an amazing job. In no less than 6 minutes, we were back safely to our apartment.

I had some work to do, and we straightened up the apartment and had a light breakfast. One of the exciting parts of staying in the neighborhood we’re staying in (for me) is that it is about 2 blocks from the childhood home of John Philip Sousa. (Band Geek alert) I was thrilled; D4…not so much. On the same street was Christ Church Washington Parish, opened in 1806. It is still an active parish, and currently being renovated. After we toured Sousa’s neighborhood we continued our walk over to an area pharmacy to pick up a few items. We took a different route back, enjoying the beautiful houses and discussing how much this neighborhood reminded us of Dublin, Ireland.

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Yes, a pink house!

When The Hubs and D3 got home we told them about our awesome walk, and we decided as a group to take the Metro to see the sights today. D4 was a little bit concerned about the Metro and had many questions. We assured her this would be as safe or safer than Mommy driving in DC. She agreed. Besides, she really wanted to see The White House.

We made our short walk to the Metro, taking The Hubs and D3 past the Sousa house Christ Church. They were much more excited about it than Daughter Number Four had been. It was a nice walk to the Metro and a short ride to our stop. D4 handled it very well, considering she had never been on a subway before, and doesn’t remember being on any train larger than the train at our local zoo.

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Christ Church Washington Parrish

We walked toward the White House, but the roads were closed off due to something that was happening at the White House. We took the opportunity to walk around the area, and even got to pet a Park Services horse named Big Mac.6614

We finally got to see the White House. We walked around to the other side and sat and people watched. We rode the Metro back to our stop and then walked back to the apartment. After a short rest we resumed our sight-seeing and walked to the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail, on the back of the Navy Yard. It was a lovely stroll and we saw the USS Barry (DD-993). On our way back we stopped in a grocery store and picked up dinner. We walked back to our apartment, weary and rewarded from our day.6636

I whipped up dinner when we got back, and we enjoyed some spaghetti and meatballs along with an assortment of olives and baguette we had picked up. Oh, and wine. We enjoyed the wine.

The crew was definitely ready for bed after our day of sight-seeing and enjoying our morsels; especially when I told them we had logged 10 miles by foot that day. It had definitely been a long day. Did I mention we enjoyed the wine?

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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WOW ~ Time, or Energy Management…

WOW ~ Time, or Energy Management…

Time Management is one of those elusive phrases that seem like the key to everything might be found if we could only tap into the magic of time management. I have come leaps and bounds from where I was 2 or 3 years ago in the area of time management. I have read books, listened to multiple audio recordings, and took an audio class that lasted something like 10 weeks – all to learn more about managing my time.

What I am going to share with you today may come as a surprise to you. The key (the magic) of time management is simple. Quit wasting time. Or more importantly, quit wasting energy! After the hours of time that I have put into finding out how to manage my time, I recently discovered that it is more about managing how I spend my energy than how I manage my time.

I recommend that everyone do a personal time study. Write down everything you do every day for one week. Everything. Every 5 minutes of time that you spend for 1 week. Start now, start with today. Every cup of coffee you pour, every potty break, every email, every text message, every TV show, every everything. The first thing this does is holds you accountable to yourself for your time. The first time I did this I could not believe all of the inane crap that I was doing. Watching TV. Catching up on Facebook and other Social Media (Pinterest much?). Inane. So, I stopped doing much of that inane crap.

Here’s where the (magic) happens… I stumbled upon this within the last month and it has really changed how I think about MY time. It is not about time management, rather energy management. When you look at your time study, decide if the things that you spent your time doing are really worth your energy. As we get older our energy starts to diminish. Yes, I am still energetic. I’m sure you are, too. My mother, at her age, is still energetic. Compare that to a 15 year-old. Or a 2 year-old. Or, think back 10 years. We may have 24 hours in a day, but lose steam after only a few hours. I used to get 4 hours of sleep a night (in my 20’s) and function fabulously. I require 7 now. I need more time to re-charge my energy batteries. Even then, my energy levels aren’t quite as high consistently as they were 20 years ago.

So, use your diminished energy to do the things that really mean something and bring added value to your life. If you are trying to reach a goal spend your energy moving you toward that goal. Use all of your time effectively and efficiently. As we all know, the technology we have today is so portable we can work almost anywhere. I listen to educational and motivational CDs in the car, I take my iPhone with me if I have to take a potty break so that I can check my email during time that is otherwise wasted. Take note cards to the Doctors office so during the 2 hours that you have to wait in the waiting room to see the Doctor you can do something constructive or worthwhile, like write a handwritten note to a friend or loved one.

And what is a man without energy? Nothing.  Nothing at all. ~Mark Twain

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Balance Busy with (Spring) Break 2

Balance Busy with (Spring) Break 2

Monday morning came, and it was time for The Hubs to go do his research. The Navy Yard is a 4 minute drive from where we’re staying, which is one of the main reasons The Hubs chose this location to stay. The plan was that I would drive him and Daughter Number Three, who is helping with his research, to the Visitors Center at the Yard and then drive myself and Daughter Number Four the four minutes back to the apartment. The best laid plans…

I got The Hubs and D3 to The Navy Yard. D4 and I pulled back out, headed out the way we were supposed to and found ourselves in road construction. So, we turned on the GPS on my phone and soon found myself on a major DC highway at 9am on a Monday morning. The GPS took me down to a business district, looped me through the streets of DC and back onto a big highway. Thank goodness there was a large truck getting onto the highway at the same time. I just snuck right in behind it, made my way to the farthest right lane (the onramp was the farthest left) and made my way back to our apartment. We just sat there the rest of the morning, very glad that we did not have to go anywhere else, and that we had made it safely through our adventure.

We relayed the adventure to The Hubs and D3 when they got home from doing their research around noon. He gave me a little smirk and asked if I was ready to drive some more. So, I got behind the wheel and he navigated us down to see The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. We found a parking garage, and managed to get completely lost – in a parking garage. We switched drivers so The Hubs could get us unlost and he found a parking space right by the exit. What a guy.

We walked to The Air and Space Museum, waited in line, dumped our pockets contents and other belongings into the bin to run through the X-Ray scanner, went through the metal detector, and re-claimed our belongings. As a group, the four of us had different ideas of what would be good to see. We all deferred to The Hubs to navigate us through. There were some very exciting and interesting exhibits. I personally liked The Wright Brothers exhibit almost as much as everything else combined. D4 was not overly impressed by the museum. D3 liked the old airplanes, WWII era.

When we left there we went to the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. My 3 companions were less than impressed. The most exciting piece for them was Warhol’s Monroe’s Lips. To be honest, some of the pieces were very odd. The wood pieces nailed together with what appeared to be an Action Figure of some sort hanging off of it… could have been made by D3 in the backyard with some scraps we have from rebuilding after the flood. I’m just sayin’. The number one takeaway for me is that my own art is better than I had believed it to be, and I am renewed in my passion to create!

When we left the museum we went to look for a snack before heading back out for more sight-seeing. We ended up at Oyamel, a Mexican restaurant. It served tapas and small plates. As a group we were feeling adventurous. We tried the guacamole, made table side. It was amazing. I tried some tacos; mushroom and fish on homemade tortillas. The girls had enchiladas. The Hubs decided to be  very adventurous. He tried a quesadilla de chicharrones (pork belly), and the Chapulines taco (grasshopper). I don’t think he will try Chapulines again, but he can say he has tried grasshopper at least once! The experience was a good one for the girls. They will definitely have something to talk about!

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Guacamole

tacos oyamel

Chapulines on left

After dinner we made our way back to the parking garage, stopping in a Starbucks so The Hubs could get a coffee. He didn’t let on that it was to wash the taste of grasshoppers out of his mouth, but we all knew it was!

We enjoyed the rest of the evening relaxing in our apartment and laughing about our adventure. We enjoyed trying most of our new morsels, and I would recommend the experience at Oyamel Cocina; but probably not the Chapulines.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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