Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wellness Wednesday - "It is Well with My Soul" Edition

Am I the only one that makes monumental decisions on the day they become unwell?

Unwell is what my mom and aunt's called 'that time of the month'.

I should never make decisions on those days, but alas -

I have.

I've decided what I want to be when I grow up.

Wait for it ...

Wait for it.....

The same thing I am now.


Aunt extraordinaire.
A good friend.
A silly blogger.
A gardener.
A beekeeper.
Chicken whisperer.

Imagine that.

I've been looking and looking, and here it was in front of me all this time.

I just read a quote yesterday that I wish I could find again now - but this is it paraphrased, and I've no idea who to give the credit to for this -

"It's a good thing the world is round - because when you leave your back door in pursuit of happiness, you wind up coming back to your door to find it."

It is well with my soul you's guys.
It is well.

(please note this is due to change at any moment because of hormones)

And that is my wellness tip for the day.

Pursue your peace.
Realize that enough, truly is sometimes enough.
Give yourself room and time to find yourself - and when you do find yourself, for God's sake don't go comparing yourself to someone else!

I believe you can eat all the healthy food in the world, exercise your behind off, but until you have that internal peace -
you won't truly be healthy.

I'm still fighing the good fight.
Realized that in four more pounds, I'll be down 100lbs from my highest weight back in 1990.


I'm rediscovering who I am in a butter-less world.
Never knew I could live so long without bacon coursing through my veins.

I'm seeing muscle definition in my shoulders and biceps.
I look in the mirror a lot.

It's all so very worth it!

Sunday, August 28, 2011


Ladies - I'm giddy.
As in, I may need an adult diaper or two.

It's that magical time of year - the BoyChild is back in school (I don't want to talk about it!) and I'm feeling like tearing the house apart - stick by stick and sanitizing it.

I've got me mops and me brushes!

Tomorrow I start.
I've blocked the entire week out - I've said no to everyone and everything.

It begins.
I know I think I'm going to get way more done that I really will.

I'm pulling a Grandma Clampett and setting the matresses and furniture outside to 'air'.
Law. - I'm serious.

I want to scrub, shine, wax, and restore order.
When the inside is done, I want to do the outside -
Painting, pruning, digging, repairing.


I don't know.

The furnace kicks on soon and everything will be covered in a layer of dust - but I'm just feeling that coolness in the air - and something internal is telling me to get the nest ready for the long winter's rest.

I'm revamping my weekly schedule for Fall/Winter.


I'm flipping giddy.

You know that feeling when everything is clean, in order, in it's place - you know you don't have a bunch of clutter sitting around?

Ya, me neither.

But I want to.
: -)

Is it something I ate or is anyone else feeling like this?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worth Sqwauking About....

The weather in NW Indiana is positively glorious!
I'm beyond excited.
The humidity is gone!
Everyone around here is excited.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wellness Wednesday - The Emotions Edition

I'm an emotional eater.

And, I'm quite emotional.
But, I think you've figured that out about me, haven't you?
Food pushes my emotional buttons - and they are all happy buttons.
Buttons of love, comfort, safety and happiness.

Without food - I felt comfortless.
It didn't feel good.
At all.

I started this new way of eating to lose weight.
I'm sticking with it because I feel so much better.

Mentally, emotionally and physically.

If I knew I wouldn't lose another pound, I'd still eat this way.

When I first stripped processed foods out of my life, I felt as though a love affair ended.
I missed the food - but I missed the love I felt from it more.
Rather sick, isn't it?

Food was an abusive lover.
He left me 95lbs overweight, fatigued, aching and with borderline high blood pressure.
It was high time I broke up with him for good.

As in any abusive relationships, sometimes we are left with the scars.
One of my scars was emotional eating to cope.
And I'm almost giggling - cause gals - it's not like I have a lot to 'cope' with.
My life is pretty stinkin' quiet.

A great example of my coping behaviors is this -

This past Sunday morning, I was simmering two quarts of beeswax with a little water to purify the wax.
I have no idea how, but I knocked the pan off the stove.
The hot wax splattered on my foot, my calf (I'm fine), and completely covered the front of my stove and a really large patch of the hardwood floor in the kitchen.
The wax splattered the island and the fridge too.
It was a monumental mess.

My first thought?
"Bring me to Dairy Queen!"
I used to say that to my dad all the time.
If I had been alone, and Glenco weren't here to stop me - I'd have gone to DQ and ordered an assortment of treats to calm my nerve.

I'd still have to come home and clean up a mess.
But I just wanted to 'check out' for a while.

I didn't go to Dairy Queen, but I was in a horrendous mood for about three hours while I worked through the emotions of WANTING to go to Dairy Queen.

You do know you can't dwell on things you can't have, right?
I choose to dwell on the things I don't miss, instead of the things I miss.

I don't miss weighing 250lbs.
I don't miss feeling like absolute crap.
I don't miss having really low self esteem because of my weight.
I don't miss hurting all over.
I don't miss size 22 jeans.

And that's where this guy comes in.
I know I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again -
this program works -
it addresses the emotional issues.
There's personal contact with Certified Wellness Coaches.

Coach talked me through Sunday via emails.

Every time I successfully have a day where I don't turn to food to soothe myself, I feel like it's a giant step forward.

Each time I tell myself it's OK to feel an uncomfortable emotion, without stuffing it down with Cheetos - I'm a day closer to freedom.

And the journey to freedom all starts with one step today.
Join me?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Nothing Makes Me Happier Than...

My garden in the wee hours of the morning.
The earlier the better.

The traffic is quiet -

the temps are cool -

the girls are busy looking for bugs - but placid -

The bees have already had their breakfast - and are out gathering lunch -

The day is fresh - with no mistakes -

Although I've been known to sleep in a time or two -

I can't bare the thought of missing these quiet morning moments.

You can smell it in the garden - summer is ending -

Get up extra early tomorrow and get outside as soon as it's light.

A peaceful, magical world awaits you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Traumatization at Local Poultry Auction...

I did the unthinkable.
I sold roosters.

Actually, I guess for me - the unthinkable would have been to cook them.

Last night, under the cloak of darkness, we abducted the birds and put them into some ramshackle cages that Glenco built.

I shall forever be haunted by the blood curdling scream one of them let out as I snatched it.

25 years ago, I worked in Chicago, wore high heels and nylons and painted my fingernails.
Today - I abduct poultry in the night.

This morning I noticed that one of  the buggers had gotten out of the cage.
They were ramshackly after all.
With the help of a fishing net and a neighbor - I got him back in the cage.

Into the Heep we all went.

There was quite an assortment at the auction today - and it's a good thing I didn't have cash in hand - or I may have brought home Buddy a few more sister wives (hens).
And then there was a stunning bantam rooster.

I felt rather proud of my birds - they looked healthy and bright eyed in comparison to many a fowl at the show.

isn't the duck head sticking out of the cardboard box a riot?

The excitement was building as the auctioneer got closer and closer to us -


I saw the Chinese man that was wearing swimming trunks, rubber boots and a t-shirt.

I didn't photograph him - seemed wrong to -

but here's his truck.

See that lift gate?
He was THROWING in birds there.
And rabbits.

My heart sank, I wanted to take my birds and run.
I wanted to say 'YOU can't buy my birds'.

I thought I had just done a terrible awful by bringing my birds there.

Traumatization was setting in.
Big time.
I almost hurled.

I've seen this before at the poultry auctions, and maybe I'm just a light-weight city girl - maybe just cause I like to put diapers on my chickens and have them in the house - name them, kiss them, wash and blow dry them, and make up life stories for them - maybe it's just me - but some people just simply manhandle the birds there.

Tears me up.

Luckily - a nice couple bought one of my Jersey Giants.
I asked them right away what their intentions were with my bird.
They were a bit surprised.
They assured me they had a harem of hens at home awaiting his free-ranging arrival.
I kissed him on the head (the rooster that is) and thanked them for their purchase.

The second black giant was up - an outspoken man with a long white beard bought him, and again - I asked him - 'what are your intentions?'
"I have 20 hens that need sex".
Well - ok, then.
Another kiss on the comb goodbye.

The last two were sold to a young man that spoke broken English.
He handled the birds so gently, that I felt that he either didn't want to bruise his dinner - or in fact he was going to be kind to my birds. 
 He smiled nicely as he handed me back the ramshackle cages.

Upon arriving home $34 richer, I noticed how incredibly quiet the yard was.
I didn't much like it.

Buddy's still here.

I only have 11 hens - so Buddy's in his sister wife heaven.
I could have kept all five roosters if I would have gotten about 4 more dozen hens - which I was willing to do...
But certain people around here that shall remain nameless - you know - the ones that don't cotton to goats and milk cows - or me doing the Demolition Derby at the fair...

'They' ixnayed my four dozen hens.

In the famous words of my mother...

"they law, I can't have anything"

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Pink Chicken Strikes Again!

Sometimes being hyper frugal is a big fat bore.
It's depressing and you feel like the odd man out.

You feel like a pauper when other friends are out eating in restaurants, and you opt to stay home because you can eat for a week for the price of one meal out.

Other times -
you walk around like a rooster, gloating over your cleverness, and doing native Indian war cries at the cash registers.

I've been running a gamut of both emotions lately - but wait until you see this last score....

I'ze just gotta gloat.

I've never liked shopping for clothes, eva.
I'm bootylicious with a tiny waist, and it makes clothes shopping difficult.
Plus, most times I just looked like a watermelon with a dress on - so, there ya go.

Behold what the Pink Chicken brought home for about $4.00 this week!
You probably can't see in the picture, but there is a pair of Tommy Hilfiger jeans (my fav!).

Behind these jeans is a pair of bright orange Columbia hiking shorts.
I shan't be shot in the woods by a hunter.

It just looks like a wrinkled up mess doesn't it?

It was 'Bag Sale' day at the resale shop.
I even bought a bag of jeans - just to make rugs out of!

Please refer to the clever remark up top.

Does shopping resale stores for clothing freak you out?
It did me at first.
Nothing a good laundering can't fix.
You just have to be picky, and careful, and not think into things too much - like, did someone die in these jeans?
Do not go there, or you'll be paying full price in a heartbeat.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Easy Teriyaki Meatballs

Here's what we had for supper tonight.
Teriyaki Meatballs
Cauliflower 'Rice' (not pictured-it's just steamed cauliflower, chopped fine)
Cucumbers (of course)
Sliced tomatoes from the garden.

A few of you had asked what Glenco eats.

He eats what I eat at supper, but traditionally has a sandwich for lunch, and he still loves his potato chips.  He's eaten a banana for breakfast everyday for the last 28 years. I kid you not.
He's lost 18lbs since I've changed my way of eating, shopping and cooking.
He loves how he feels.

Here's the recipe for the meatballs. I used ground sirloin tonight - next time I'll try it with ground turkey breast. They were so flavorful!

1# ground sirloin, or ground turkey breast
1/3 cup of teriyaki sauce (I used Organicville Island Teriyaki Sauce-it's quite clean, found at regular grocery store)
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
1 T freshly chopped ginger root
2 teas. garlic powder
6 T oatmeal
1 egg white

Mix all the above together, and form into 8 meatballs. Place on baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes at 350*. (I made mine ahead, and had them ready to go right in the oven - oh so convenient)
These are surely going in my recipe file. We all really enjoyed them!

Nutrition info: 16 gr carbohydrates, 28 gr protein, 7 gr fat (would be MUCH lower in fat using turkey breast, and I bet just as tasty)

I'm sharing daily recipes on my new Facebook page
Eating Clean with the CoopKeeper

I hope that the 'like' button over there works from here - if it doesn't - please let me know!
Would love to see you there!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wellness Wednesday - The Cucumber Chronicles...

Before I delve into the fascinating world of what I eat, when I eat it and all things cucumber -

Mirjana wanted you to know how touched she was my your prayers and thoughts.
I'll see her again tomorrow.
She does not have a blog - but Jaimie does - a pox upon me for not sharing it yesterday.
I can think of nothing 'funner' than to hitch up the Squirrel to the Heep and do a cross country tour with a few chickens in tow.
How I would love to meet you all and hear your stories.

But for now - you shall hear mine.

And my story today is about cucumbers, and how I'm smitten with their cylindrical goodness.
I eat one everyday - sliced, with the skin - lightly salted with my fancy pink Himalayan salt and a bit of fresh crushed pepper.

Cucumbers are now known to contain  antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties -helping prevent cardiovascular disease as well as several cancer types, including breast, uterine, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
Eat your cucumbers.

I shall shout it from the rooftops from here to eternity - I believe that your fork is the greatest weapon in building your health, or destroying it.

I've struggled with my weight forever.
I have precious few pictures of me thin, or average at best.
It's been the thorn in my flesh - and oh how much flesh there was for that thorn.

Here's me at my heaviest - nearly 300lbs - hiding behind a freshly planted magnolia tree at Glen's 40th birthday.

Here are a few others - the glasses and clothes should giveaway what year it was!

sweet Lord

Glen's a handsome cuss isn't it?
I imagine my weight has embarrassed him on more than one occasion.

And here's one I found of me and my mom at my wedding shower in 1983.
Still one of my favorite pics, we resemble each other so.

I often wonder how this journey is going to be any different from any other that I've been on - I've lost the weight twice before, and gained it back, plus some.

What seems different to me now can be summed up in two words.
Gratitude and acceptance.

Acceptance that this is 'my struggle'.
We all have something.
Acceptance that it just is what it is, that I just don't feel well when I eat processed foods.
Acceptance that I'm possibly never going to be 'fixed' and will always have to guard my mouth carefully.
And I'm OK with that - most of the times - sometimes I still have my temper tantrums and think that 'life isn't fair, why can Sally have the Twinkies and I can't?'

Grateful that I found a program that works.
Grateful for my Coach.
Grateful for all of you.
Grateful that I'm learning how food truly affects the human body.
Grateful for the journey.
The joy is in the journey - not the destination.

I want you to know that I still struggle.
I want you to  know that at times I pace the floor, praying for strength to stay out of the kitchen.
I want you to know that sometimes I fail.
I want you to know it's not easy, but it's worth it.
I want you to know that you can do it too.
I want you to know that you shouldn't wait until you 'feel' like doing it - that the wanting to do it will come after you start doing it.

Did I feel like working out at 248lbs?
No sir.
I kept my cellphone handy for a call to 911.
No joke.

Do I jump out of bed and feel so excited to do squats now and eat super clean?
I still want pancakes and syrup many a morning.

But I pause and think of how emotionally painful it's been to be the fattest girl in the room,  how physically painful it's been at times to just get off the floor.
I'm done.
So done.

Basically, if a food has a label - I don't eat it.
I'm not 100% on that - but it's my guideline.
I'm still human.

I'll close with this - my favorite recipe for breakfast - I've shared it before, but I'll share it again.
I eat it just about every morning with two cups of fresh fruit. 
If I don't eat this - I eat four egg whites with one yolk and a bunch of veggies mixed in and scrambled.
I find eating the same thing for breakfast - going on autopilot with it, pretty helpful for me. 
It's a no brainer.
Surprisingly, I don't get tired of it.

The Coop Keeper's Eating Clean Breakfast Sausage

1 lb of ground turkey BREAST
6 T oatmeal
2 egg whites
1/3 cup finely chopped onion
1 T fresh sage, chopped (you can substitute dried ground to taste - maybe 1 teas)
3 T fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 t. pepper
1/2 salt

I mix this all together, and form four patties out of it.  It keeps in the fridge since I eat one patty every day.  I spray a hot skillet with Pam Olive Oil spray.
You can pre-cook them all and microwave them.  (I did that when we went camping, and it was fine).  Or you can make a ginormous batch and freeze them.
Aaron, the Boychild loves this sausage!

I just started using the Breakfast Sausage spice from The Spice House and I won't go back now - it's utterly, ridiculously delicious.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Nothing Makes Me Happier....

...than meeting 'you's guys'.
(see that's what I really say - but I usually type y'all - I'm from Chicago, y'all!)

About ten days or so ago - I had the immense pleasure of meeting TWO of you's guys.

Meet Mirjana.
(don't fuss at me for posting this picture Mirjana - you are beautiful in and out)

She's been a long time blog reader - and actually one of my first commenters.
She lives locally, but right when we planned on meeting - sweet Mirjana was diagnosed with breast cancer, and has been battling it since.
Please remember her in your prayers.

She is the lovliest thing.
She served us turkish coffee.

and spread before us a feast fit for kings...

she absolutely adores Aaron and calls him 'her beautiful angel' regularly.

She painted this picture for me - I'm not kidding.

I find myself trying to pin 'one word' on people I meet - and if I chose a word for Mirjana it would be courage.

Now - I'd like y'all to meet Jaimie.
Great name, eh?

Jaimie and I have been emailing back'erds and forth for a while -
She came here in March and met me -
and I finally made it to her pad.

Behold the cutest house on the planet.

It's a Sears kit house.
600 sq. feet of fabulousness.
I want it.

Jaimie - another sweetheart.
She exudes this peaceful feeling that you just like being around.

and she weaves -

I know, right?
You's guys are so cool.

We walked around her neighborhood to a gluten free cafe - as in there wasn't a strand of gluten to be found....

and I ate a sandwich and an oatmeal cookie!
It was divine.

My word for Jaimie is peace.

I just want to take this time to thank each and every stinkin' one of you's guys for the kindness, support, and encouragement you've shown me.

I've met quite a few of ya now, and I can truly say - I have made 'real life' friends with so many.
I'm truly grateful for the time you spend here reading this drivel, and taking the time to comment.

I continue to shake my head in wonder 'what have I done to deserve all this?'