To Blaze a Trail

On our last day, we decided it would be a good idea to take an early morning hike.

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It was worth taking a time out from time to time.

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Hey ~ Hey!

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Sisters are special and having them for nieces is extra special.

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Another spot to note…

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What happens when we reach a locked gate? Find a way around…

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And when you reach an old car, naturally, you stop to capture the moment.

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Some run ahead…

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While I capture the moment.

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After our cool spring morning walk, we girls hit up Starbucks for a nice treat.

And to wrap up our day, we could not think of a better way to end our day, than to enjoy dinner by the beach.

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A great time was had by all…

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And there is something to be said about our evening visit around the campfire.

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What a great way to spend one on one time with the girls.

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And that concludes spring break, 2015.

Blessings – Debbie

5/52 – Small

Small “was” my assignment for last week. Sorry, I did not get the post up. However, I want to continue with my little project of posting, so I figured a few days late would be just fine.

I’m into my second full week of hiking. And I just love it! But it did not start out well.

I’ll explain. On my first day back to hiking 5 miles, I gained a small blister. On the tiniest little toe of mine. How nice is that? Isn’t it crazy how one tiny thing can throw a wrench into our best plans? And yes, I hobbled nearly 2 miles home that day.

But look out, I was well prepared with a band-aid the next day. Don’t you know, I developed another little tiny blister on my other little toe. Now I had matching blisters. And feeling pretty discouraged, as I thought I had good hiking shoes.

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The next day I took a time out. Gathered my shoes and a clean pair of socks to pay a visit to the local shoe store.

So I’m in my car, half way down my street, when I see my sweet neighbors daughter jogging.

So I stopped the car. Waited for her to reach me. Put down my window and the sweet lady stopped. I said hello to the nice lady and explained to her my situation and showed her my hiking shoes and asked if she had any recommendations on the type of shoe I should have for the hills.

She said all I needed to hear. She simply said “you need a good pair of running shoes and I don’t think you will ever have trouble with blisters again”. She went on to explain that she wears running shoes for everything.

And so I was off to hunt down a good pair of shoes.

After trying on 9 or so pair, I found just the ones that made happy feet. Mind you, I had two fresh blisters and no band-aids on at the time of trying on shoes. And I walked around and around the store with no trouble at all. It was a really good sign that they were meant for me.

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And I’ve walked and hiking the hills and valleys happily ever after. Cheers for happy feet and to hiking band-aid free! I’m telling you, I will never forget the kindness of that gal as she was my angel that day. Running shoes is where it’s at peeps, trust me.

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But for my small shot, I thought this little family of empty snail shells on my little trowel would be much prettier than blisters.

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I’m having a much better week and happy to report those small blister trials are last weeks troubles.

Blessings – Debbie

Summertime

Is For…

  • Enjoying nice long days
  • Dinner on the patio
  • Firing up the grill for things like shrimp, chicken and burgers…

I cleaned up a mess of these guys for dinner last evening.

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  • Finding my way to bed somewhere around 9PM and waking sometime around 5:30AM. I love my waking hours in the light and sleeping when it’s dark.
  • Changing nail polish every 4 or so days. This was the color applied yesterday.

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  • Enjoying sunset hikes with the hubs. Images taken this week with my cell.

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  • Bumping into Neighbors – It’s fun to bump into neighbors (on our way home) on these summer sunset hikes. They were interested in seeing the progress in our backyard, so we had them over + she brought us a nice sack of fresh fruit from their garden. We shared tomato plants + red pepper plants with them.

We’ve had several neighbors check out the place this week.

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  • No AC needed for the month of June – Loving our cool So Cal breeze
  • Fresh produce from the garden
  • The hubs planted pumpkin over the weekend – Here’s what it looked like yesterday.

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Here’s what it looks like this morning. We are big fans of these little greenhouse type trays to start plants. We pick them up from Home Depot.

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  • Beverages and visits on the patio
  • Reading good books – This month, the book club is reading “The Art Forger by Barbara A. Shapiro – two thumbs up = I’m loving it! It’s where my nose will be a good chunk of today.

Happy Summertime, Everyone!

Blessings – Debbie

Happy Feet

For years, I’ve questioned if my feet would ever be happy while hiking.

For years (when hiking) there is always a visit with band-aids. It seems several toes require additional TLC.

I have “not so nice toes” that like to mess with the toes nearby. As the nail will cut toes next to them, from the friction and pounding when going downhill. And because my toes are not nice to each other.

It’s a sad day when I’m a couple of miles out when I realize – A) I forgot the band-aids today or – B) The band-aid is slipping off and beyond use.

Then is the part when I hobble with a bit of frustration. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Perhaps that is one reason why I’ve given up long daily hikes.

But you know? The answer came like a beautiful lightbulb moment. It’s the day I was talking with my friend (Beth). It’s the moment she told me about toesocks, of all things.

And the thought of combining my feet with toesocks was perfect, like bread and butter.

So I ran over to the shopping mall with high expectations. I searched high and low in every shoe store of the three story mall. And not one store had what I was looking for. What a let-down.

But then, just like that, I thought about our favorite place in the wide world to shop. AMAZON! Of course, they have everything. Don’t they?

I found this brand with high reviews and decided to make the plunge.

The order was placed Friday evening, and this pair was in our box yesterday afternoon. And I wore them all evening.

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Later in the evening, the hubs asked “how do you like them?” I replied “so far so good, but I need to put some miles on them for the full review.”

And miles, oh the miles did I put on this pair of nifty socks today.

But I must say, it took me a little longer getting out the door than I wanted. I was skeptical. Worried – I don’t know if that that’s the right word. But something caused me to drag my butt.

          Images below – Shot with the cell phone this morning.

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But I started out the front door and did not look back.

And before long, all I wanted to do is walk. Climb. Take it all in. And pray my feet would be happy for once.

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As I reached the 1 mile mark, I had happy feet! And I had a brief inner challenge at that point to see if I could stretch for a 5 mile hike in the hood.

So I kept walking and walking. And the socks seemed to be holding up their end of the deal.

Stats for Today:

Distance 5.20 miles – Average speed – 2.7 MPH – Total Time (including the stops for pictures along the way) – 01:54:15 – Total Ascent/Descent (FT) – 837/844

I have Happy Feet, folks! And this my friends, makes me so very happy.

On that note, I think the pavement is going to be seeing a lot of me in the weeks and months to come.

Blessings – Debbie

Keep Calm and Blog On

That’s what one tells them-self, when said person is a bit more than two weeks behind on the blog.

When one needs to keep calm, it never hurts to have an extra cup of coffee. So I did.

And with this post, I thought it would be nice to say a few blurbs of what’s been going on around here. Sprinkled with a smattering of photos, to keep things real.

Things like – Taking an image of our hard work, what a beautiful wood pile. The hubs did the chopping and I did the stacking. A great big cheers to having that job finished and we will celebrate with many a fire in the fire-pit in the coming days/years.

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We started hiking the hood again.

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I especially love hiking, just before sunset with the hubs.

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I’m back to painting the walls in the house.

Do you know that Christmas music has filled the space in our home, going on 3 weeks? I admit, this is a first. I really don’t know what’s into me, but Christmas is in the air and I feel it. And I’m shopping for a new Christmas tree. I think I found just the one. This is not a non-sequitur people. It has everything to do with painting, as it truly filled the air with every brushstroke and roll of paint with the roller.

Below – A finished image of the family room. The paint color is Behr – Summer Bliss

Don’t mind the stuff on the window ledges, I didn’t have everything back in place when I took this image.

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After painting a couple of days in the family room, I took a two-day rest. And I read for two days. The great news = I finished the book for my book club meeting this month.

Fry – Who knew goldfish/fish young were called fry? And that they hatch a brownish color? And they can take up to a year to develop color? And they can change color up until they have fully matured? I’m pretty jazzed with the little yellow and black guy who is changing color before our eyes. And it’s hard to believe that some of the little ones look pretty close to 3″ in size already. I knew none of the above going into this, but it’s a joy learning as we go…

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And one day while sitting at the edge of the pond, the reflection begged to be captured.

Speaking of the pond – The fountain sprung a leak and water was seeping out (a little drop at a time). Thankful for a good pond guy who was able to repair the leak for us last week.

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Speaking of repairs – The washing machine broke last Thursday.

The best load for the washer to break = the last load. The load you debate even throwing in the wash. You know, a few sweaters that would be nice to have fresh for our cool San Diego nights. I was feeling a bit smug (Thursday evening) to have all the clothes put away and the ironing all up to snuff.

And it’s still in need of some tender loving care. But I have hopes that the appliance man will have things under control tomorrow. Fingers crossed…

I have to put in a big plug-in for the St Louis Cardinals, the hubs hometown and team since childhood. The hubs predicted (before the playoff series) that they would nail it in 6, in honor of #6. What do you know, he was right on the money! We’re looking forward to our Cards in the World Series!

We helped our friends do a little moving down here from LA over the last two weekends. And we enjoyed a nice dinner with them last weekend.

Snapped this guy on one of my little outdoor garden jaunts.

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The garden is one of my favorite places to relax.

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Let there be birthday cake! Red velvet birthday cake. I whipped this guy up over the weekend.

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Our daughter came for a visit (down from LA) and it was her birthday. I couldn’t think of any other cake to bake, than her favorite red velvet.

And I decorated her card with fingernail polish. It’s my new favorite way to decorate the envelope.

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 Twas a big celebration weekend of whining and dining.

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I spent a bit of time in the garden this morning. Remember? One of my favorite ways to relax.

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And shot several images.

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 And sipped on coffee.

And spent some time on the phone with my pop.

And I’ve been really good about staying out of the leftover ice cream. I call that a big accomplishment.

And I’m ever thankful we sent “ALL” the leftover cake with Kristy. Lord knows I would have a hard time staying out of that.

And I feel blessed getting this new week started off on the right foot.

Blessings – Debbie

Where Is My Camera

Pretty much, that’s the question I ask when I don’t have it when I need it.  So the cell phone had to do for today.

It was a beautiful Thursday morning for a hike with “the girls”.  The sun was shining, the flowers bloomed and conversation flowed from one harmonious stream of thought to the next.

Somebody discovered this impressive Dragon Fruit or pitaya (flowering fruit) cactus.  It’s impressive because it only blooms during the night and only lasts a day.  I learned that in full production, these guys can have up to 4-6 blooming cycles per year.  It was pretty exciting to catch it on our hike this morning.  Where’s my camera when I need it?  Perhaps there is a lesson in there somewhere.

Onward and upward to Starbucks we walked.  The light that awaited was an iced mocha, topped with whip cream.  I can’t imagine the goodness any other way.

It was a nice place to rest and the camaraderie in our circle of friends is priceless.

Once we were back to the comfort of our neighborhood, I had the privilege of visiting with my neighbor Rhonda.  We also put our heads together on a task she is working on.  I hope I’m able to help her out.

I also enjoyed the labor of love in the landscape surrounding her home.  Each twist and turn is pleasing to the eye of the beholder.

This passion fruit vine frames her patio.  It’s hard to express the beauty as I don’t have a picture other than this.  But it’s remarkable and noteworthy.  Where was my camera?  Let’s not talk about that right now.

The vista or “the scenic view” from her patio is magnificent.

Thursday is a special day of the week.  A time to connect with neighbors and friends, which turns our day into extraordinary.  I consider myself blessed.

Blessings – Debbie

When Girls Get Together

It’s a great day when girls get together.  And this was one of those days.

We hiked…

Many thanks to Terrell for the idea this week!

What a pretty place.

We stopped for pictures.  What a beautiful mommy/daughter moment…

…friends need pix to remember too…

…it turned into a photo shoot…

…fun times were had by all…

…I gotta tell ya, a smile does a heart good…

…and so does coffee by the water…

…we enjoyed our visit…

…and the view…

…and hiked some more…

…we spied cuteness.  I had to take a pic.

When all was said and done, a few of us thought it necessary to have a little lunch outing to top off our day.  My salad from Nordstrom Cafe.

Would you like to know something really neat?  I got to ride in an electric car for the very first time!  I’m still thinking “how cool is that?!”  The first thing I recall is how quiet it was when she started it.  Many thanks to Rhonda for such a sweet ride!  P.S.  How cool is my edit job on the license plate?

I give this day a “100%” thumbs up.

Blessings – Debbie

When the Sun Goes Down

It commands attention.  It’s hard not to sit and watch the sky as it changes color.  So last evening, I found myself taking in the last bit of sunshine.

But lately, there is something that drives me nuts when the sun goes down.  I’m learning that I’m not as young as I once was.  I can’t stay up with the hubs like I used to.  Last evening I turned into a pumpkin before 9 pm!  And I hate that!  I do!  I also hate the word hate but I really do hate not being able to stay up with him.

I think I managed to hang out with the hubs until midnight once last week.  And it was a big deal.  And I was able to sleep in with him last Saturday morning.  And that was a big deal.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a brilliant idea.  Yes, I would take an afternoon nap and sail thru the night with the hubs.  I had it all planned out.  We would stay up late, sip coffee and watch movies.  While the idea was great and the afternoon nap was wonderful, the plan failed.  And I hate that too.

One of these days I’ll be able to go the distance with him.  I just wish it could be every day.

But let me tell you, this morning was a big hit.  It’s so easy to jump out of bed with a full tank of rest and energy.  I was ready bright and early to hit the trail with the neighbor girls.  Today was the first day for me to join the group (there were 7 of us today) for a weekly hike to Starbucks.  I’m already looking forward to next week.

Can you believe I didn’t so much as take a picture this morning?  The moments passed.  The conversations were great and…well?  It could not possibly get any better than that for a Thursday morning.

I’m already looking forward to seeing this great group of gals next week and the week after that and…It just does a heart good.

Blessings – Debbie

The Blessings

Don’t you just love a good experience when the blessings fall?

This morning, while on my hike, I received one of those beautiful showers of blessings.

As you know, I am passionate about exercise.  And today the neatest thing happened.  I ran into my neighbor (Rhonda), the gal I met months ago.  She’s the one who was traveling to Panama and Spain for hiking trips.  Yeah, she’s pretty amazing.

Photo from the hubs and my sunset hike this past weekend.

Anyway, I bumped into Rhonda again on my hike today.  I’m so glad I did!

She has a group of neighbor gals who meet at her house once a week for a 3.25 mi hike to Starbucks.  And I was invited to join the group. I can’t wait!  New friends, a hike and Starbucks – Oh Joy!

She also hosts some sort of class once a week in her home (on the deck overlooking the lake and mountains) where the instructor comes in.  I think she said Tai Chi?  I hope to start that group this week as well.  I’ve never done Tai Chi but she said, no worries come on over.

There are so many wonderful perks and blessings all in one.  I don’t have to get into my car and drive for anything, she’s my neighbor!  I adore her and connect with her.  I look forward to meeting more neighbors and making new friends.

The gals also meet at 7pm at her house every night for an hour or so hike.  Since I prefer spending my evenings with the hubs, I don’t think this is something I would be interested in.  But I think this is awesome to have such a great group in the hood.

Where it stands now, my heart is overflowing with joy at the thought of connecting at least once a week for exercise, fellowship and Starbucks.

I’m so thankful for the blessings that came my way today.

Photo from my hike this morning.

Blessings – Debbie

My Very Own Personal Trainer

Top o the morning to you!  It’s such a pretty day and I’m looking forward to a lot of fun this weekend with the hubs.

Today is my day to do the finishing touches on the house, laundry and food shopping, as tomorrow is hubby’s Friday off.  I could go for these nice long weekends every week, but I gladly take these every other Friday off work weeks.

This gives a good idea of what we were up to last evening.  And many thanks to hubby for nailing this amazing set on Craigslist for a steal.

He was set on rubber ends and he didn’t stop until he found just what he was looking for.  I also love that the set came with this dandy double-decker 5′ long rack.  He’s looking to add heavier weights for himself in the future.

This set came from a gym that went under.  *sad*  But we’re happy to take over this commercial gym equipment.  🙂

The adjustable seated incline bench was a major bonus as we went to pick up the dumbbells and there was a bench too!

I’m happy as a clam following hubby’s instructions.  I don’t think this line-up was part of the instruction for today.  But who doesn’t like a line-up?

So last evening, he had me lifting in sets of 20 with the 3 pound weights.  He showed me several ways to lift for all the different arm and shoulder muscles.

He’s well aware of how my upper body could be out of commission for days if I were to hit it hard.  I love the way my baby rolls, always looking out for me.

So today I woke and didn’t so much as feel a teensy muscle ache.

He bumped it up for me today, but just a little.

I’m so in love my trainer!  He’s the BEST!

Blessings – Debbie

What I Consider a VIP

Good afternoon!  It’s that kind of afternoon when all feels right with the world.  Birds are chirping, it’s such a pretty day and after the pool man leaves, I may go soak in the sunshine (with my 30 sunblock) for a spell.

These pictures have nothing to do with this post, but they were taken during my stroll in the garden this morning.

It’s also an exciting day because hubby and I are looking to pick up a dumbbell set complete with a rack this evening.  I wonder how sore my arms will feel in the morning?

We’ve come such a long way in the last 9 months and it’s only getting better on the health front.

Although, Pinterest is killing me with all the things I find that need pinning.  Truth be told, most of the sweet/not so healthy things I pin, I think about using around the holidays or special parties/events.

Speaking of holidays, I’m happy to report that we haven’t baked anything since last Christmas.  I’m pretty impressed.

That’s not to say we haven’t had our sweet tooth taken care of every now and then.  And there is no shame allowed when we agree to a sweet treat/unhealthy meal fix.  In doing those things, we’ve found that our bodies are so forgiving after the splurge.  And we find that sometimes it’s just good for the soul to get it out of the system.

To celebrate every pound down as a (VIP) Very Important Pound, is huge.  Each pound down is a victory, worthy of celebration!

Blessings – Debbie

A Walk in the Fog

Good Day!  It’s been a rather enjoyable morning and day here in the neighborhood.

The day started off with a dense layer of fog and the temps were just a little chilly at 58 on the bare arms.  But by late morning the sun was shining and melted both the fog and chill right away.

My chilly hike started here.

Once I start truckin’ the hills, the chill soon wore off.

And I’m on my way thru another successful week of exercise and eating for my health.

I adore my neighbor’s yard.  Especially now that those climbing roses are in full bloom.

My hike ended on a high as I met some more friendly neighbors.  We even stopped for a nice little visit.  I just love mornings like this.

After my hike and shower, I fixed my newly cut hair and took a few pix such that I can remember the day and the cut.

I love this style, it’s so easy to blow dry and go.  I also think it’s going to be a fun summer cut.

Now on to a few afternoon chores as I’m trying to get the home ready for the weekend.  Tomorrow is hubby’s Friday off.

With that I leave into the weekend with a happy heart and so much to be thankful for.

Blessings – Debbie

The Flower Fields of Carlsbad, CA

As morning coffee was sipped, the thought came to me of getting out and doing something today.  I had a couple of thoughts A – Drive up to the mountains for a peak at the snow or B – Drive to The Flower Fields.

It turned into a short tug-of-war.  The strings of my heart tugged towards the flowers, a place where I could roam.  50 acres of flowers, it sounded wonderful.

The question when I arrived was, which way to turn.

The path along the way was perfection.

And the flowers were strikingly beautiful.

Beautiful flowers, stretching as far as the eye could see.

There were rides – Hello there sir!

And I was happy as a clam to be in the midst of it all.

What a jolly man.

So jolly.  And what a treat to see the pacific ocean from this spot too.

I like how this guy waved when he noticed the camera.

Be still my heart…The color of Carlsbad is amazing.

How many petals can a flower have?

I’d like to think that for every flower, there’s a smile.

The sweet pea maze is so cool.  There was every color imaginable climbing the fence.

Twas fun!

Hey, another tractor – What a great team of men and women working such that visitors could have a great experience.  And what a cool way to see the flowers.  I opted to stay on foot.  I got to stop and enjoy the flowers when I wanted + get my exercise.

Known for their 50 acres of flowers, I’m impressed with all the amazing things they do to make their fields shine.

Today made my 2nd annual trip to the fields.  I’m thinking this will turn into an annual tradition for years to come.

My heart is full and running over with joy.

Blessings – Debbie

Winter and Spring and A Surprise Visitor is in the Kitchen

Good Afternoon!  I hope all is well in your world.  It’s been one of those, what shall I say, frigid blustery last three days.  But this morning was a new day and So Cal was back to beautiful springtime weather.

While I’m a lover of snow with all of its beauty, it was fun enjoying it from a bit of a distance.  Like today, the mountains in the distance are topped with snow.

We can still see a teeny bit on the tops of these guys.

But here in our world, it’s beautiful springtime.  And my morning hike was nothing short of amazing.

After my hike, I made a visit with the orange tree out back.  I think these guys will be added to smoothies in the very near future.

And then, one of the highlights of my afternoon.  Allow me to say, It’s not something most would get excited about.  But for me, It was over the top amazing and hit the spot.  That is, a piece of rye toast (lightly toasted) with a medium – hard (not too medium, not too hard) boiled egg.

Rye bread, it has to me my favorite bread ever.  And why is it that I never buy it?  If I think back over the last 10 + years, I would have to say it never once entered our home.  We have our  moments with bread.  A loaf could mold before we finish it.  Hubby is not a rye bread fan and I normally could take bread or leave it.  Perhaps I feared overeating bread if I brought the rye in.  Or it’s possible I didn’t want/need the butter on a nice hot slab of rye toast.  For whatever reason, I just never bought it.

But today, it made a grand entrance into the kitchen.  An entrance that is sure to wow me more than once in the days to come.

I have gained control over my old eating habits.  Butter was not an option, nor did I miss it.  I had just one slice and already thinking its what’s for breakfast tomorrow.

It has to be the best food reconnection ever.  And if it’s up to me, it won’t remain visitor status for long.  I plan for it to reside in the kitchen for years to come.

With that, my day is complete and looking forward to my evening with the hubs.

Blessings – Debbie

The Little Things

The little things in life are well-known for bringing a great amount of pleasure.  Sometimes we need to pause and take a moment to reflect on these things.

Since our move, I longed for my good hiking shoes.  They were “packed/lost” in one of the boxes in the garage and I had no clue where to begin looking.  Leave it to hubby to have a good sense to know precisely the box to check first.

My feet were jumping for joy during and after my hike this morning.  It’s the little things that mean so much.

It was a nice 5.27 mile hike with an elevation gain of 2,219′.

I met a brand new neighbor while on my journey.  Her name is Rhonda.  We stopped and visited in front of her home.  When she learned that I hike each day, she said, “we should hike together sometime.”

I learned that she takes hiking serious.  As a matter of fact, she will be hiking in Europe soon!  We exchanged information and plan to make a hike date.

She also said “We have drinks on the patio every night, you’re welcome to join us anytime.”

If you were to ask me, It’s all about the little things that make a day great.

Now on to a few more little things around the house this afternoon.

Blessings – Debbie