HGTV Dream Home Preparations

HGTV Dream Home 2013 Kiawah, South Carolina
HGTV Dream Home 2013 Kiawah, South Carolina

I feel lucky. I registered twice daily throughout the sweepstakes period for a chance to win the HGTV Dream Home located in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. Now it’s time to announce the winner.

I anticipate today to be a busy one. I’m expecting the HGTV Dream Home 2013 ambush team to arrive today or within the next couple of days since according to the HGTV website the Grand Prize Winner of this year’s Dream Home will be contacted by phone, e-mail, in writing, or in person via an “ambush style” visit at the Grand Prize Winner’s home on or about February 28-March 4. Since the website mentions the possibility of the visit being filmed or recorded, I’ll be ready.

Breakfast dishes in the dishwasher, house cleaned, front door and entrance ready, grass mowed…ready for guests. I can’t say I’m anxious to be on camera, but that’s the price you pay for winning a prize package valued at over $2,000,000.

You can watch the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway 2013 special on March 15, 2013, at 7 pm ET to see our new home.

I’ve also penciled in “Winner Weekend” on my calendar on April 25th-28th, an all expense paid trip to Kiawah Island to check out the Dream Home in person.


Weigh In Wednesday – Week 9

LoseItlogoIt’s official, I’ve lost ten pounds since the beginning of the year following the simple steps I’ve included in my daily routine to monitor my eating and exercise habits. Being more aware of my habits regarding food and exercise allows me to make better decisions and with the exception of using the ice each evening, the other changes are becoming routine:

1. Logging food and exercise on Lose It.

2. Drinking more water.

3. Exercising at least 210 minutes per week.

4. Eliminating soda.

5. Taking a multivitamin.

This week’s plan – eat more slowly. I remember my mom saying that eating more slowly allows your body time to fill full. She suggested putting your fork down after every bite in an effort to slow down. Just this week, I read an article, Retro Diet Tricks  in the February issue of Health. It looked back at slimming down through the ages and found wisdom behind much of the advice of days gone by. The article highlights the benefits of such advice as eating cottage cheese, grapefruit, and even baked potatoes; as well as going back to eating three meals a day. So I’ll try a retro diet trick this week. I’ll put my fork down between bites. Eating more slowly can’t hurt!

Granny Update

Granny wearing her jewelry before playing kickball.
Granny wearing her jewelry before playing kickball.

John received the strangest call this afternoon from the Assisted Living Facility where his mom lived. They called to let him know they found a ring that belonged to his mom locked in their safe. Today, on the third anniversary of her death…after I wrote about her love of jewelry yesterday…too strange!


I think she approves of us wearing jewelry in her memory today.


Neighbor Campaign Wrap Up

heartOver a month ago, the American Heart Association’s Dear Neighbor campaign kicked off their fund-raising effort in which individuals send notes to their neighbors asking for contributions to support their projects. As I wrap up this fund raising effort, I thought I’d share the Get Healthy with Life’s Simple 7 included in the Dear Neighbor fund raising letter provided by the American Heart Association.



Get Healthy with Life’s Simple 7

1. Get Active. Get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times per week.

2. Control Cholesterol. The American Heart Association recommends the following: Eat healthy foods that are low in cholesterol, trans fats, and saturated fats. A diet high in fiber also helps keep cholesterol levels controlled.

3. Eat Better. A healthy diet is one of your best weapons for fighting cardiovascular disease.

4. Manage Blood Pressure. High blood pressure is the single most significant risk factor for heart disease.

5. Lose Weight. If you have too much fat – especially if a lot of it is at your waist – you’re at higher risk for such health problems as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and diabetes.

6. Reduce Blood Sugar. When you reduce excessive sugars, you are giving yourself the best chance for a healthy life.

7. Stop Smoking. Smoking damages your entire circulatory system, and increases your risk for coronary heart disease, hardened arteries, aneurysm, and blood clots.

If you were not contacted by the Dear Neighbor campaign and wish to make a contribution, visit their website and look for the giving tab.

Be Like Granny

Granny loved her jewelry. She loved bracelets, rings, earrings, and necklaces; and she enjoyed wearing it. Today I want to encourage you to be like Granny by wearing your jewelry as well.

Whether it was a ring made from the sapphires she mined in North Carolina or diamond earrings, Granny wore her jewelry to work, to meetings, to church, and just around the house. I heard her say she felt naked without any jewelry. In fact, one time we flew down to visit Granny for the weekend and were driving to Lighthouse Point to visit my parents when she suddenly realized that she had forgotten to put on her earrings. She insisted that we stop at the mall on the way so she could buy a pair of earrings. I assured her that my parents would not notice if she wasn’t wearing earrings, but  she wouldn’t be comfortable without them so we stopped at the Pompano Fashion Square a couple of miles from my parent’s house so she could purchase a pair of gold earrings; and she was right. She immediately became more relaxed as soon as she put them on.

If you look back at pictures of Granny you’ll notice she’s always wearing a necklace…usually a gold chain but sometimes one with a stone or pearls. Even when she moved into an assisted living facility Granny wore her jewelry. She greeted us on every visit not only adorned in her standard jewelry but with additional pins. It brought her great joy everyday.


Many people suggested that we not let her keep it when she moved…warning it would be lost or stolen; and they were right. Eventually she was no longer able to put in the earrings and they eventually disappeared. Later other pieces were missing, but we weren’t about to take it from her. Remember, she told us years earlier that she felt naked without it. We knew she was more relaxed and confident when she wore her jewelry. Moving out of her home was the time she most needed the security of a gold chain.

I know there are risks when you wear gold or silver or pearls or diamonds in public; but why buy jewelry if you don’t wear it? Wear it to work. Wear it on a date. Wear it when shopping. Wear it around the house. Of course, you need to take it off when you sleep or shower or swim or exercise but wear your jewelry often.

I haven’t always done this, but my Granny was a lot like your Granny in this respect. She too wore her jewelry…a diamond necklace…everyday. She wore it even though she spent most days at home where no one saw it simply because she enjoyed it; and I’ve let that necklace sit in the jewelry box for safe keeping for more than thirty years. Yes, it’s safe; but no one has seen it or enjoyed it. That doesn’t make sense.

In remembrance of Granny I’d like for you to proudly wear your jewelry tomorrow on the third anniversary of her death. Wear the good stuff and maybe you’ll decide to wear it more often…not just on special occasions but just because.

Don’t stash away your favorite jewelry in a jewelry box or safe. Enjoy it. Wear it. Be like Granny.



It’s Game Time

stoneage2I’ve always loved to play games. As a child, I’d list Clue, The Game of Life, and Battleship among my favorites. We spent many hours during the summer and school vacations playing games, and I can’t remember a Christmas in which at least one game didn’t appear under the Christmas tree.

During my teenage years the titles of the games changed. I passed my time trying to fit an x, z, or q on a triple word square to earn extra points in Scrabble or I carefully selected the three cards I’d pass in Hearts to insure that I didn’t let someone make a run and capture all 26 points. My dad, brother, and unsuspecting friends played cards for hours on end. It wasn’t unusual for my mom to go to bed with a whole house full of teenagers playing cards or games on the dining room table just outside her bedroom door.

Trival Pursuit and Backgammon provided entertainment during the next phase of life; and we frequently spread these games out on the picnic table of campsites as we passed our time on camping trips competing with one another between hikes, bike rides, or boating.

Yes, thanks...I'll play No Thanks again!
Yes, thanks…I’ll play No Thanks again!

Most recently, my son-in-law, Jon has introduced me to a whole new world of games that I never knew existed. I thought I loved games, but the games I played came from Target or Toys R Us. Jon, not only loves games, but he knows games, he researches games, he purchases games at locations other than the traditional places I shop so he has an arsenal of different, interesting games. When he and Meghan visit I can count on a weekend of gaming…not that crazy video gaming…but a weekend of board games. We play games for two, three, or four; but on weekends when a crowd comes to town he brings games for more.

This weekend we started playing a card game, No Thanks, which is described as a “press your luck” game. I proved to be a dismal failure on my first attempt coming in a distant last while Meghan took the victory. Nevertheless, I’ll give it another shot. I’m not one who must win to enjoy a good game.

Stone Age
I claimed the Stone Age title this weekend – 114 points!

Next, we played Stone Age, a worker placement game, in which I found more success. This was my second attempt at this game so I was able to develop a strategy that enabled me to rack up enough victory points to overtake my competition. It had been a long dry spell for me so it felt good to finally get a win.

Meghan and Jon played another worker placement game, Agricola, in which Meghan pulled out a one point victory…a first on this game.

Meghan's on a roll this weekend - 2 wins!
Meghan’s on a roll this weekend – 2 wins!

I’m looking forward to what the final day of their visit will bring. The game bag’s been unpacked…let the game’s begin!

Great variety of games...not those found at Target!
Great variety of games…not those found at Target! Thanks Jon for revitalizing my love of games!

Quotes of the Week

I can’t remember when I’ve heard or seen so many quotes that made my scramble for paper and pencil. I thought I’d share what I thought were the best quotes of the week.

From Danielle Belton, editor at large of Clutch Magazine, in an interview on the NPR program, Tell Me More, in response to the Beyonce interview with Oprah this week:

I always think if my parents had been more Joe Jackson like and instead of like giving me books and saying you’re going to go to college…wait…you can sing, and write, and dance. We’ll slap some tap shoes on you and you’re going to make us some money.

Maybe I’d be in her situation.

Major General John Borling, author of Taps on the Wall: Poems from the Hanoi Hilton when asked by Bob Edwards about how he and the other prisoners of war coped with their situation:

Some of the guys were pessimists. They thought we were going to be killed and that they wouldn’t return our bodies to our families; but some of us were optimists. We thought they’d return our bodies after they killed us.

When I heard this quote attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte on the radio this week, it reminded me of how much I want those crazy badges on the Lose It app. You’d think losing the weight would be enough:

A person will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

On the sign in front of First United Methodist Church of Ocala:

Practice Random Acts of Love

A quote from the song Better Together by Jack Johnson spoken by the groom in a wedding video I saw online:

Love is the answer to most of the questions in my heart.


Senior Discount?

On January 26th, my college roommate, Barbara, posted the following status update on her Facebook page:

Friend my age and I were given senior citizen tickets at movie theater tonight without asking our ages. We were hoping the age for the discount was 55, but it wasn’t 🙁  Some savings aren’t worth it!


I chuckled when I read this and thought, who cares? You got a break on those overpriced movie tickets.

Well, I’ve changed my mind. John and I went to The Rialto Theater in The Villages on Wednesday to see Zero Dark Thirty and we were given the senior discount. I agree with Barbara. Some savings aren’t worth it!

One of Barbara’s friends commented on her status: Use the money you saved and buy some sexy underwear.

That may be good advice!

Thanks Mom and Happy Birthday

My mom celebrated her birthday yesterday and while I drove home from her house I started thinking about her advice to me. When I first began writing Mom’s Monday Memo, it was in response to my daughters inability to recall any advice I’d given them. The realization that I hadn’t clearly shared any “words of wisdom” inspired me to write weekly to help them remember those lessons I thought I’d provided throughout the years.

However, when they asked about the most important advice from my mom, I realized that I also drew a blank…not because there were no lessons, but it’s much more difficult to put those life lessons into words than I expected. Yesterday, her birthday made me think about my daughter’s question again; and I realized, like me, she shared lots of daily advice. But the one thing that I had the biggest impact on me was the lessons on organization.

Mom is the definition of organization. She believes in a place for everything and everything in its place. Our house was always picture perfect. Even the “junk drawer” as she called it was orderly.

She taught me the importance of lists. Lists to plan homework assignments or projects, lists of items to pack for vacation, lists of chores to be completed. I most remember writing grocery lists. While she would look through the cabinets and refrigerator I recorded the items on the list. We wrote the list in the order items were found in the grocery…aisle by aisle…a huge time saver. In addition, we estimated the cost of each item on the list to determine how much money would be needed. It was a game to see how close we’d be to the actual cost of the week’s grocery bill and it wasn’t unusual for us to be off by only a dollar or two on a bill in excess of $100.

When a senior in high school I observed another example of mom’s organization skills. She created folders for each college application with all of the required elements as well as a file for all of the financial aid information. Even though the college process was not as complicated in the 70s as it is today, she organized a system to insure we didn’t miss deadlines. This system served me well as a high school student, and it also served me well as the parent some 25 years later. (I even added color coded files to help stay organized through this college application process.)

Finally, when I think of my mom’s advice, I hear these words:

Always look both ways.

You can’t be too careful. (I found this super confusing…”too careful”??? but I finally figured it out.)

Don’t wish your life away. (These words seem more appropriate each day and in fact, I said this to a co-worker earlier in the week.)

Happy birthday, mom and thanks. I don’t practice that – a place for everything and everything in its place – but organization serves me well.


Weigh In Wednesday – Week 8

LoseItlogoA long weekend makes good eating habits and exercise more difficult. My wonderful husband cooks big breakfasts every morning. Then the coconut cake from Valentine’s Day, strawberry shortcake, and brownies tempt even the best intentions. I love long weekends, but I need to learn to exercise better self-control if I plan to lose weight.

All things considered, I’m pleased that I didn’t gain weight this week; but if I want to have an excuse to buy some new clothes to enjoy a Spring Break camping trip I better get serious the next couple of weeks.

This week’s plan: add a daily vitamin.  According to an article in the February edition of Health, taking a multivitamin at lunch can actually boost energy.

Looking forward to earning the Goal Achieved badge on Lose It!