food, Tuesday Truth

Tuesday Truths!

First off, I am so very pleased to have been asked by Christina @crazymamarunner to tell my story about why I chose to run a marathon.  I was highlighted on her blog this week, and you can read the story HERE .  I found my eyes welling with tears as I read what she wrote, and re-read what I submitted to her.  Please take a moment to check it out!!

Secondly, as most of you know I have struggled with my running this and last winter.  Initially due to the artic blast we received far too early this winter, and ultimately ending with a nasty cut on my thumb Christmas day…in case you missed it, the story is HERE .  For the first couple weeks my thumb throbbed so terribly I could barely sleep, and hardly fathom running.  Along with this lack of motivation came laziness and poor eating.  Woops.  I fell in to that trap. Darn it all to H E double hockey sticks.  Yeah…I went there.  LOL


But this weekend despite crazy work hours and schedule I decided since my hubby was leaving at O dark 30 to travel this morning, I would run on the dreadmill tonight after work.  I told my family, and posted on my FB fan page to hold myself accountable.  I NEEDED to run at least 2 miles.

In stepped my friend Maria from @Runningflaps FB fan page.  We made a virtual date, and I was so giddy to have ‘someone’ to run with even if it was virtually.  I picked up my youngest from after school care and headed home.  And as I pulled on my shorts and tank that was just a bit too tight for my comfort I found myself cringing.  I shook it off, and headed down stairs to the mill.  I decided to take some of my followers advice and turned on Netflix, season one of Grey’s Anatomy.  I started slow, and found myself wanting to give up.  And this I received THIS text:


I made it two miles, and although they weren’t pretty miles, I didn’t give up. I feel like I am starting from square one, but I am at least starting.  It’s truly amazing what a month+ can do for your endurance…or should I say how it KILLS your endurance.

Pretty much how I feel...LOL
Pretty much how I feel…LOL

So I ran 2 miles, and although it was tough I finished.

Ugly, but done!
Ugly, but done!

Day 13 of the AB challenge is done, and I am realizing quick I need to get myself in to gear for next month when my “real” training starts.  Darn my passion and love for food at times like these.  Give me ALL. The. Veggies and someone take away my quinoa chips…PLZ.  #alwayshungry

So tonight’s Truth is this:

Don’t give up, no matter the obstacles, what the scale says, or how your clothes fit.  Keep movin’ forward, and the pieces will fall in to place!

❤ Michelle



Weekend wrap up

I don’t have a lot to report this weekend.

I worked both Saturday and Sunday, and despite 95% of my weekend being pretty darn good, the nurse that chewed my butt for THEIR lack of planning sorta sunk in, and hit me hard as the weekend wrapped up.  Somehow, it’s my problem that they failed to finish their competency paperwork in a timely manner, therefore locking them out of the testing they needed to perform.  Yet anyone who works in healthcare knows that it’s ALL about rules, regulations, and proper training to keep our patients safe.

Yet I don’t have a BSN in my signature block, so this nurse decided to let me have it.  I kept my composure on the phone, apologizing profusely for a whole lot of nothing that I did wrong, and hung up the phone in tears.  I chose to let this drain my joy…but only briefly.  I drove home in silence, and after my 30 minute commute I was calm and welcomed by my family.  Life was good again.  I dropped my purse on the counter, gave hugs to my youngest who had spent the night at her friend’s house the night before and poured myself in to my welcoming bed.  I slept for TWO hours, and it was glorious.

I woke up to my hubby and youngest cooking our traditional Sunday Supper.  A dinner I normally always prepare.  But they stepped in and saved the day.

Check it out:

Cabbage salad with cilantro dressing, paired with a yummy passion fruit cocktail!
Cabbage salad with cilantro dressing, paired with a yummy passion fruit cocktail!
Marinated steak served over a mango sauce, along with roasted potatoes and mushrooms, YUM!
Marinated steak served over a mango sauce, along with roasted potatoes and mushrooms, YUM!

I finished the night with day 11 of my ab challenge, a hot shower, and time spent in front of the fire.  Tomorrow I have at least a 16 hour work day on deck, so I will postpone my first run of 2015 until Tuesday.

Lastly I was featured on one of my favorite blogs today!  You can see it here!

My goal?  2 miles on the treadmill.  Who wants to join me? What’s your favorite running songs?  I need to update my play list!

Have a great week, Movers!

❤ Michelle

food, Three things, Thursday


Three Things Thursday!

Ok, so my Three things Thursday post is going to go a little like this:

1. I’ve been at my current job for nearly 10 months now.  I’m finally settling in, feeling more comfortable, and really making connections with my staff, peers, and Pathology staff.  I’d been told a pay raise was in the works, as my annual merit raise was pennies since I was only with the hospital technically one quarter of last year (June 30th ends the fiscal year for our hospital).  Today when checking my pay stub, I saw that my raise kicked in and I smiled.  It’s not huge, but it made me feel really good that my hard work is recognized.  YAY. Every little bit counts!

Pic credit:
Pic credit:

2. Today marks the 2 week anniversary of my self mutilation – aka Christmas injury.  You can read about it here: I am happy to report that for the first time in 2 weeks, I was able to take a REAL shower without my uber bandaged thumb.  The wound is healing NICELY, I am able to cook again, and am looking forward to RUNNING next week!!!  Tonight is the first time I have a regular Band-Aid on the wound, but will probably add more padding when I leave the house-just for safety purposes.  It’s still very tender, hasn’t closed completely quite yet and is still very bruised.  But…it gets better every day, and soon I’ll be back it all with full force, despite lacking a slice of my digit LOL!!


3. We are currently experiencing Polar Vortex #2 with our 3rd day in a row of a crazy artic blast.  Temps have plummeted, schools closed, and winds are blowing at top speeds. I also just found out that I’ll be back on single Mom duty for the next month and a half while my husband travels off and on… SOOOO….What does that mean?

COMFORT FOOD!!!!  Here’s my take on a healthy beef stroganoff:

What you’ll need:

1 lb of beef chuck roast, cubed, and seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.  Place in a bowl, and sprinkle a 1/8 cup of flour (I used gluten free, Namaste brand-my fav!!) Set aside.

1 can of low fat golden mushroom soup/1 cup of low sodium beef stock.

1 white onion, diced

3 gloves of garlic, minced

2 cups of mushrooms, chopped (I used Shitake, but any brand will do)

2 tablespoons of low fat sour cream (add this at the VERY end)

4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce

Thyme, chives, and parsley-pinch of each

1 cup of gluten free rice (or the rice/pasta of your choosing), cooked to package directions

Preheat your wide sauce pan with EVOO at medium to high heat. Cook your beef until golden on each side-do not cook through.  Remove from the pan, and drain the grease.  Add a touch more oil, and sauté your onions, garlic, and mushrooms for 5-7 minutes until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.

prep work!
prep work!

Add back in the beef, and increase the heat just a touch.  In a separate bowl, add the mushroom soup and stock and mix well.  Pour over your meat.  Add 4-5 splashes of Worcestershire  sauce.  Season by adding the Thyme, Parsley, and Chives.  Lower the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes (I use this time to cook my rice).  Add in the sour cream in the last 2 minutes, stir well and get ready to plate. Taste for seasoning, serve, and enjoy!!!

Fancy?  Nope..Yummy?  You bet!
Fancy? Nope..Yummy? You bet!


Time for 3 questions!!!

How do you handle recognition/raises at work?  Is it frigid where you live?  What’s your favorite comfort food?


Keep Movin’ forward, y’all!

❤ Michelle



Chef on the mend

Tonight is an exciting night for me…
Why, you ask?
First, I came home from work to find my house without heat, so what did I do?  I fired up the stove of course, and prepared a hearty seafood chowder!  This recipe isn’t exact, but here’s what you’ll need to make this amazing chowder in less than 45 minutes:
Seafood Chowder:
1 large pasta/stew pot
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 potato, diced
1 cup of frozen corn, or fresh if it’s in season (add this the last 10 minutes if frozen to avoid overcooking)
Crushed red pepper flakes to taste
1 can of crushed tomatoes
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of black beans (may omit)
2 green onions sliced at an angle for garnish
2-3 cups of stock-low sodium!
Seasoning: Cajun spice, chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, oregano, and kosher salt and pepper-to taste.
1 back 0f 20 count large shrimp, remove the tail, cut in 3 pieces and place in a separate bowel.  Add the juice of half of a lemon,  Cajun seasoning, salt, and pepper and let marinate.  (You will add the shrimp the final 10 minutes as they are precooked).
Drizzle your pot with EVOO and add all the veggies (minus the corn) and sauté for about 7 minutes until just slightly tender.  Add your tomatoes, stock, and beans and season to taste.  Let simmer for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop.
Let it simmer, at least 30 minutes and don't forget to taste before serving!
Let it simmer, at least 30 minutes and don’t forget to taste before serving!
In the last 10 minutes add your corn and shrimp to heat through entirely.
Garnish was sliced green onions, and serve!
I can't tell you how good it feels to be cooking again.  I've mastered cooking with a bandaged thumb!
I can’t tell you how good it feels to be cooking again. I’ve mastered cooking with a bandaged thumb!
Second, tonight marks the 3rd season of MasterChef junior season premier of course!  (MasterChef/MasterChef junior being literally the ONLY shows I have watched on television in the past year or so).
Wait…before you get all judgy with “reality TV is all scripted,” and stuff…Wait. 
Still waiting?  Thanks…this truly is important to me!!!
I agree, these shows do have the hint of irritating hidden advertisement and drama nestled inside each episode.  I won’t even try to say it’s truly “real” in regards to actual reality.  I mean, really…how many people would have access to a pantry like THAT to choose ingredients from?!?  I’d be in heaven…lol
photo from
photo from
BUT…having been on the other side of the show nearly, well not really nearly, I see this particular series in a different light. 😉
For behind even the most dramatic Chef down to the sweetest home junior cook. both share one common theme that is near and dear to me and that, is a PASSION FOR FOOD.  Good food, creative food…homecooked food with a touch of flare and big pinch of passion.
Although I won’t be America’s next MasterChef, I know how it feels to want something THAT bad.  To have dreams THAT big, achievable or not..
And THAT…is reality.
Oh, and the hubby saved the day by fixing the heat and I finished day 6 of my AB challenge!  SCORE!
Keep Movin’ Forward, y’all!  And don’t forget to smile!
❤ Michelle

Gravitational pull

As of late, the dreary, cold, and bleak winter days have left me with little motivation to run.  In fact, I only ran once last week and probably because I put it out there for all to see in order to hold myself accountable.  I’m just not feeling it again this winter.  Although our temps are actually quite manageable, leaving for work in the dark, and driving home from work again in the dark DRAINS me.  Ultimately, winter blues suck. That. IS. ALL.   My hubby and I DID sign up for a 5K on Sunday called the Underground Polar Express, where ALL proceeds go to Suicide Prevention/awareness, a cause that touches my heart.  Check it out…

So I’ve really continued to pour myself into my cooking.  (HAHA, see what I did there?) I’ve kept on with my studying recipes, techniques, and experimenting with different dishes.  I have spent the better part of 2014 actually writing out my recipes, and pray I can get my E-book/Cookbook in the works next year.  Why?

Well, because I know I meant to do something OTHER than work in a hospital.  A job I didn’t choose for myself…But it’s been a good job for the last 24 years, and for that I am grateful.  I think I am just at a point in my life where I KNOW I need to be doing something I LOVE.  All the signs are there…pulling at me in a million directions.  I just need to find my “IN” so to speak.  I need someone else, other than my amazing family and friends SEE that I have a gift when it comes to creating food and say, “Hey…I think we could use talent like yours, let us mentor you…”

So yeah…that call hasn’t come yet.  So I keep putting myself out there on social media, posting my recipes, my dreams, my goals…PRAYING someone out there will see the fire I have in my soul.

Sure…I love to run, and it’s a part of my life that I wouldn’t trade.

But I LOVE to cook.  I love to create….to plate…to make my food not only pretty, but amazingly tasty too…

Even more…I love when someone takes a bite of my food, closes their eyes, and sighs in appreciation.  PURE. BLISS.
Last night while watching the “Hundred foot journey” it hit me like a ton of bricks.  The opening scene shows the main character, Hassan, as a young boy in small food market.  There were dozens of people crowded around to buy some sea urchin.  The merchant saw the crowd of screaming potential buyers, but he watched young Hassan pick up a single sea urchin, close his eyes, and deeply breathed in the fresh scent.  He sighed, and took a small bite and smile.  The merchant immediately sold the entire lot of sea urchin to Hassan and his Mother.  Because he “GOT IT.”  He recognized the beauty of the product, with the smells, the sight, and the taste of the food.  And it hit me…THIS is what I do.  I LOVE food. Good food.  Fresh food.  CREATING food.

Later on, as an adult Hassan made the 5 staple sauces of the French for his Chef friend. They can be found here:

credit to
credit to

He starts cooking with her, and asks her if she thinks he is a real Chef, not just a cook.  “Yes!!” She replies, in which my husband turned to me telling me he thinks I am real Chef…of course, I nearly cried.  If you haven’t seen this movie, I recommend it highly.

At the end of the day, we have to provide for our families, often times doing jobs we don’t love.  But as I’ve told my husband, “You just watch…ONE day I’ll make my mark on this world, and it’s going to be amazing.

Until then, I’ll keep movin’ forward.

❤ Michelle


Orange Chicken recipe…who needs take out?

I’ve been trying to expand my normal mid-week meals, so decided to try a version of Orange Chicken after doing some research.  As most of you know, I never strictly follow recipes, more so use them as guidelines.

Here’s my version of Orange Chicken, made easy…


Cube 6 chicken thighs-I prefer the thigh as the flavor of the meat is richer.  You can use the breast, but I find it tends to dry out.

Next, separate 4 eggs, keeping only the whites.  Place them in a bowl large enough to hold your cubed chicken.

Whisk in a couple tablespoons of corn starch until the mixture becomes frothy…Add in your chicken and coat well.  Season with salt and pepper, mix again, and set aside while you prepare the Orange sauce.

Orange Sauce:

In a sauce pan combine the following ingredients:

The juice of 2 oranges, along with a teaspoon of the zest (**set the zest aside to add at the end)

Soy sauce-I use low sodium/gluten free but feel free to use your favorite…1/4 cup give or take.

1 cup of stock, whatever you have on hand

A couple splashes of rice wine vinegar

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

1 clove of garlic, minced (or use a micro plane, MUCH easier)

1 teaspoon of minced ginger (use that micro plane again, trust me!)

1 teaspoon of honey

A splash of sesame oil-don’t forget this, as it really adds depth to the sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

**Have a small cup of water with cornstarch mixed in to add at the end, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer.  This will help thicken the glaze.  Just before serving add in your reserved orange zest.

While your sauce is simmering, heat a wide/deep pan with oil.  I used avocado oil as I love the flavor it adds, but use your favorite frying oil.  Fry the chicken in batches, making sure not to crowd the pan.  Brown the chicken on each side, cooking through evenly.  Drain on a paper towel lined plate and finish with a pinch of salt.

To serve, place a cup of your favorite rice or noodles in the bottom of a deep bowl.  Add your favorite veggies (I used steamed broccoli and shredded carrots)

Spoon your orange glaze over just before serving (this helps keep the crunch to the chicken), and garnish with scallions and sesame seeds.

Dinner is served!  I love the fact that my family prefers this type of food over take out any day of the week!

Orange Chicken served over jasmine rice with steamed veggies...YUM
Orange Chicken served over jasmine rice with steamed veggies…YUM

This was (as cooking always is) some much needed therapy after a stressful day!

What’s your favorite meal to prepare during the week?  Do you prefer home cooked or take out food?

Keep Movin’ forward gang,


food, goals

Weekend wrap up

I’ll admit I needed a couple extra days off after the last few weeks of work.  But…I have a job, and for that I am thankful.  The much needed break called for me to take the day after Thanksgiving off, which I am SOOO glad I did.  I don’t have a lot of time saved up, but this added day left me extra time to decorate for Christmas, clean, and scrub areas of my house that were completely neglected lately.

Yet this can bring stress too…you know, the kind of stress where you feel there just isn’t enough time in the day.  I spent Thanksgiving with my family which was just wonderful, but the chores were calling my  name.  Saturday I got up and cleaned like a crazy women…I shopped for groceries for the week, and found myself TIRED.  But I got a text from a friend inviting me out for drinks Saturday night and I JUMPED at the chance.  It was a simple two hours of laughter and fun, but just what I needed to add extra charge to my batteries.  And I saw THIS as I was getting ready…God had his paintbrush out, for sure…

What a perfect sunset!
What a perfect sunset!

I was so recharged last night, I put myself out there in my running group on Facebook, requesting a partner in crime for a run this morning.  My goal was 4-6 miles, with no pace in mind.  Karen, from raised her hand, and I felt so very blessed she wanted to run with me.  So this morning we met up, and despite tummy issues I was able to get 5 miles in!  My farthest distance since the half marathon the beginning of this month.  It always amazes me the bond runners have.  I don’t know her well outside of running, but there she was to support my slow run.

Sole sisters and shoe twins!
Sole sisters and shoe twins!
We did it!
We did it!

I came home, showered, and promptly sat down on the couch to watch Football.  Who won?  Not sure…I was just happy to relax.  I even let myself take a cat nap on my recliner for an hour.  Sheer. And utter…BLISS.

But, it IS Sunday, so Sunday Supper needed to be prepared.  This has become so important to me as a busy working Mom, to make time at least ONE day per week to have a NICE sit down meal.  So tonight we had pork roast that was seasoned with my own homemade rub of rosemary, thyme, onion powder, crushed red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.  I grinded all of the spices in my mill, and rubbed generously on the pork.  I seared the pork on all sides, then transferred to the oven to roast at 375 degrees for just over an hour.

To accompany the roast, I made my cranberry/red wine reduction sauce.  The recipe is simple.  One bag of fresh cranberries, poured into a sauce pot.  Add half a bottle of GOOD red wine, (I used a good Cab), brown sugar, one shallot, salt, pepper, and a couple sprigs of thyme.  Cook down by half, and puree with an emulsion blender. Strain, and add a pat of butter (the real stuff) and let simmer.

Our sides included Brussels spouts and shitake mushroom risotto.

For the Brussels sprouts I first cubed a 1/4 cup of pork belly and browned.  They are also known as lardons, and this was my first time making them.  My best tip is to make sure you brown them, and drain off all the grease.   Set aside, and add in 1/4 cup of shallots, one clove of garlic both finely chopped and sauté for just a few minutes.  Add in your Brussels sprouts, and cook for about 20 minutes.  Add in your drained lardons for the last couple minutes.  DELISH.


For the risotto, I wanted to highlight the mushrooms.  I  chopped 1/2 a cup of shitake mushrooms, one shallot, and 2 cloves of garlic.  In a separate sauce pan I had 4 cups of veggie stock with 2 bay leaves on low heat.  Take a wide sauce pan and drizzle with evoo and one pat of butter.  Add in your veggies, and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  Add in one cup of good Arborio rice and stir for 2 minutes.  Slowly add in your chicken stock, one ladle at a time, cooking slowly.  Continue to add in the chicken stock until your rice is cooked al dente.  Garnish with parsley and Grana padono cheese.

I drizzled the final dish with black truffle oil.  YUM!
I drizzled the final dish with black truffle oil. YUM!

And so we plate….here is this week’s Sunday Supper.

Dinner, is, served!
Dinner, is, served!

With that, I leave you with a smile, a ready palate, and passion that is unending.  Keep Movin!

❤ Michelle




A little lost…

After having spent last weekend with my husband celebrating our ten year anniversary, I found myself quickly slapped in the face with the reality of work, life, etc. I don’t hide the fact that my job is just a job, and not a passion.  I don’t hide things very well.  And it all hit me like a ton of bricks this past week.

I didn’t want to run. Wait…I don’t want to run.  Major issue.  But I have literally NO motivation or desire.  Dropping temps with snow and ice have left my heart…well…cold.  My running shoes have sat dormant minus a couple dreadmill runs that were honestly terrible.

Last weekend I spent the weekend with my husband, cooking, drinking wine, and enjoying good food.  And I felt the pull…I want to be a Chef.  I love to create food. It’s my one GO TO place no matter the weather, time constraints, or stress.  I love…to cook. I may not be a Chef…but I have that desire.

So here’s a few pics of last week since I’ve been absent.

our first cooking class!
our first cooking class!
bacon wrapped dates
bacon wrapped dates
stuffed pork chops, YUM
stuffed pork chops, YUM
homemade meatballs with spaghetti
homemade meatballs with spaghetti
My happy place
My happy place

So with my November goals falling short, I will push forward with writing, cooking, and working out as often as possible.  Thank you all for your unending support.  May this winter funk end, soon!


food, goals

Fell off the wagon…

Sometimes life gets in the way of our best intentions and this week that very thing happened in my household.  Life stressors and crappy weather won over the goals I had set for myself.

Fitness wise, I managed several walks, and 2 strength training sessions, but a bruised toe nail kept me from running, and all I can do is chalk it up to a bad week.  I’m human.  As I watched everyone posting “snow runs” this week I had to slap the envy away…I hate the cold, snow and winter.  I want to embrace it and the beauty of a fresh snowfall…but instead, I embraced an extra glass or two of wine, LOL.

Decluttering wise, I did manage to really clean my house well yesterday, as well as food shop for healthy eats…I cleaned out my fridge which is always a great feeling.

Tonight, I decided Sunday Supper would be a healthful, Spanish inspired meal filled with summer dishes of gazpacho and pan seared Ahi tuna.  Winter denial at it’s best?  You betcha…

I started the gazpacho at around noon today to allow it ample time to chill in the fridge.

And while cooking, I watched my kids enjoy the first snow fall of the year.  I can’t express the happiness I get from watching them play…together.

I totally took this picture, from inside the warmth of my kitchen...does that make me a bad Mom? lol
I totally took this picture, from inside the warmth of my kitchen…does that make me a bad Mom? lol


1st part-

Place all of these ingredients in a large bowl:

6 vine ripe tomatoes, boiled for 1 minute and peeled/seeded, then chopped finely

1 large cucumber, diced

1 red pepper, diced

3 cloves of garlic, minced

2 green onions, just the white parts, diced

Salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, cayenne pepper to taste

This just screams summer, and I love it during these bitter cold days!
This just screams summer, and I love it during these bitter cold days!

2nd part:

Get out your blender next:

Add in 2 cups of cherry tomatoes

Splash of Worcestershire sauce

Splash of balsamic vinegar

The juice and zest of half of a lime

Glug of extra virgin olive oil

Blend until liquefied


Strain well, getting rid of all the seeds
Strain well, getting rid of all the seeds

Add the mixture back into your blender, and add in the diced veggies, pulse a few times to your desired consistency

To make a yummy garnish, take cucumber rolls and let them sit in rice wine vinegar for about 30 minutes.  Drain and rinse, and you’ve got a beautiful, elegant garnish for your gazpacho.

No, this isn't a cocktail, LOL
No, this isn’t a cocktail, LOL

Ahi tuna:

Next, while this was chilling in the fridge, I prepared the Ahi tuna.  I made a simple marinade of lime juice, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, saffron, salt, pepper, and cilantro.  Whisk in some extra virgin olive oil, and pour over your tuna steaks.  Marinate in the fridge for one hour, allowing yourself time to have the fish sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.  Pan sear for about 2 minutes in a screaming hot pan that has EVOO in it, and flip only once.  Set aside to plate.

I made sautéed spinach and mushrooms for a side dish, along with roasted baby Yukon potatoes.  It was a win all around, and healthy to boot.

Doesn't get much better than this!
Doesn’t get much better than this!

The key is to have the center still pink, as this cut of tuna is just divine. Cooking it well done would take away from the beauty of this fish.

Perfection on a plate, if I do say so myself.
Perfection on a plate, if I do say so myself.

So my goals this week, are to make more time for working out, and eating lower fat/higher protein meals.

What is on your agenda this week?  Any tips on staying motivated in the winter months when it’s too cold to get outside for a run?

Have a great week, Movers!

❤ Michelle


dedication, food, goals

Surgery and smiles, and some shrimp too…My nearly Wordless Wednesday post

I finished this hump day with a quick dready run.  I didn’t want to run (bite my tongue, I know) but needed to keep moving…


During the work week meals are usually prepared within less than an hour.  This shrimp dish, prepared with a marinara sauce bought from my favorite local Italian market to which I added – sautéed garlic, onions, carrots, mushrooms, and celery along with added oregano, parsley, basil and crushed red pepper flakes was a WIN.  I served it over rice pasta, and it truly was a hit.  I love how the simplest yet healthy meals can make my family happy.  Who needs take out?


My daughter came to me last week in tears.  Her BFF had an injury…”Mommy, can you fix him?” She asked with tears in her eyes.  Sigh…I am not crafty AT ALL.  But I went to Hobby Lobby on my day off and purchased stuffing and a sewing kit.  “Yes, baby…Mommy can fix him.” Sigh…please, Lord.  Let this work…

THIS face...
THIS face…

So after dinner, we got our instruments ready, and our “transplant material” aka stuffing, laid out.  It was time for surgery.

The entry wound was located…and after finding an additional wound I knew we had to be careful…so every so slowly we stuffed, packed, and made sure each piece of stuffing we transplanting was in the correct place.

entry wound number one...
entry wound number one…
let the transplants begin!
let the transplants begin!

And after spending 15 minutes trying to thread the needle…we had great success.  It was time to start closing the wound.

Don't worry, no one was hurt!
Don’t worry, no one was hurt!

After 30 minutes of preparation and dedication, Pink Bear was himself again.  And my youngest daughter found her smile…

Mommy!  He's good as new!
Mommy! He’s good as new!

I can now rightfully say my resume has broadened…adding in the fact that I am now a Mom, a wife, a friend, a photographer, a Chef, a housekeeper, a maid, a lab supervisor, a runner, a mover, a shaker, and yes…a surgeon.  To stuffed animals only, LOL.

Today I left the stressors of life behind me…and I nurtured the needs of my kids. Today, my youngest needed me.  And who doesn’t feel good being needed?

At the end of the day, I made time for me, my family, and with that my heart is full.  My decluttering for the day included not feeding into negativity although it was tough…

What have you done lately to ‘step outside of your box?’  Do you believe in decluttering both mentally and physically?

Day 5 and I am still on track for my November goals.  YAY!  How are you doing?

❤ Michelle