Weigh In Wednesday: Week 31

Well it’s no surprise that I didn’t lose any weight this week, and in fact it’s surprising I only gained a half pound. I ate like I was auditioning for a job as the host on a new show on the Food Channel. In the course of one week, I dined at three top-notch restaurants in Fernandina Beach and then added a trip to the Food Truck Wars in St. Augustine.

Food trucks and weight loss?
Food trucks and weight loss?

Over five hours of bike riding and four hours of walking prevented this from being a weight gain disaster!

As much as I hate to think about starting back to work, I know that in eleven days I’ll be back on my regular work schedule and back to a more reasonable eating pattern. That should facilitate getting in the losing mode once again. I’ll try to maintain my weight for the next week and a half and then it’ll be time to kick in to the weight loss gear.

Turtle Talk

Last weekend we attempted to complete #10 on our list of 13 in 13. After studying the information posted on the Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch website, we drove to Fernandina Beach on Friday and checked out the nests around Main Beach Park. We decided on this part of the beach based on the number of nests, dates eggs were laid in the nests, and our ability to ride bikes on this stretch of the beach. Riding bikes enabled us to cover more than three miles of beach in our search for hatchlings.

Friday evening we surveyed the nests taking note of which ones were most likely to hatch, and then on Saturday before sunrise, we rode from south of Main Street Park to Fort Clinch in search of newly hatched sea turtles making their way to the ocean.

We found eggs shells. We spied turtle tracks. We did not see any hatchlings. We were too late.

We noted the location of nests likely to hatch in the next few weeks so we can make a return trip for another attempt.

While we failed to see hatching sea turtles, we enjoyed riding bikes on the beach.

We witnessed a gorgeous sunrise.

Best of all, we spent the day with Sarah.beachpic

And we have a excuse for another trip to the beach.





Eat Breakfast

I know you started the day with breakfast as a child. Every morning we all gathered around the table before work or school and ate our morning meal together. On weekdays, we ate simply…cereal, juice, toast, fruit…but we ate. A quick trip to Tas-T-O for donuts or Publix for danish changed up our routine on occasion, and the weekends always meant scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, waffles, or omelets thanks to your Dad. It’s no wonder I love breakfast. I hope you’ve continued the habit of eating breakfast every day. It really is the perfect way to start the morning.

Breakfast has been making news this week! You may have read or heard some of the headlines:
Skipping breakfast may have serious health consequences (New York WPIX)
Skipping breakfast linked to increased risk of heart attack (Forbes)
Why you should eat breakfast (Time and Yahoo News)
Avoid these 5 breakfast mistakes (U.S. News World Report)
No breakfast? You may have raised your risk of heart attack (Hamiiton Report)
Regular morning meal may help regulate body’s metabolism (Daily Mail)
All the more reason to eat breakfast!
It seems every newspaper, Internet news source, radio station, and television station reported on breakfast this week. The American Heart Association published a study by Harvard that’s caused breakfast to make front page news. According to the study, skipping the first meal of the day may lead to obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes as well as increase the risk of a heart attack.
In addition to the Harvard study you may have heard “experts” providing tips on choosing the right foods for breakfast. Some of the suggestions from nutritionist Keri Gans:

  • Eat protein – milk, eggs, 100% whole-grain toast, especially with peanut butter
  • Eat fiber – at least 5g of fiber in your cereal (the more sugar in your cereal, the hungrier you’ll be later)
  • Eat some fat (just don’t get carried away) – yogurt or nuts are good sources of fat
  • Eat enough food – consume 300-400 calories to avoid overeating later
  • Eat something – even if you don’t follow these guidelines, you still need to eat something for breakfast since any breakfast is better than none at all.

Another finding of the study: eating right before bedtime significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease. I guess the message is to eat earlier in the day, starting with breakfast for better health.
Eat your breakfast!


On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.


Where is my well?

Where does the Spirit dwell?

Why don’t you lift the ache from my heart?

Why don’t you take my cold, clammy hands

            And make them warm and useful?

You’ve done that in the past, you know.

Why do you leave me alone?

Is it that I’m tough and can handle it –


Is it that pride is closing you out?


Bettie Lou died in February, 2010 from Alzheimer’s disease. We’ve organized a team to participate in this year’s Memory Walk on Saturday, September 7th to raise funds for research and awareness of Alzheimer’s in her honor. If you would like to donate, please visit Team B. Lou.

They’re Hatching!

Ten years ago we participated in a turtle walk in Brevard County and watched a loggerhead turtle deposit more than 100 eggs in the nest she prepared. For over an hour we watched her drop the eggs, cover the nest, and then lumber back to the Atlantic where she finally managed to swim away from the curious onlookers.loggerhead

One of my goals for this summer (and another of the items on the 13 in 13 list) is to witness sea turtles emerging from their nest. Thousands of nests have been built with tens of thousands eggs waiting to hatch. Since nesting began in early May and the average incubation period is 55 days, turtles are emerging along the coast of Florida.

While the Atlantic coast between Brevard and Broward counties contain the largest concentration of nests, we’re headed to Amelia Island for our first attempt this summer. The website for Amelia Island Sea Turtle Watch details a nest summary which includes the date created, location, and excavation information. They’re hatching!

Hope to see this soon!
Hope to see this soon!

With a little luck we’ll witness the hatchlings emerge from their nests. I’ll keep you posted!

River Ratz


The best thing about cycling: lunch! We’ve starting exploring bike trails around the state this summer. It’s great to get outside between rain storms and get a little exercise. It’s also a terrific way to see different, out-of-the-way parts of the state; but what I’ve enjoyed most is finding local restaurants where we can cool off and eat lunch.

The last two weeks we’ve ridden portions of the Withlacoochee Trail. Our first ride ended at the trail head in Inverness so we tried the Deco Cafe on the courthouse square. Soups, salads, and sandwiches are found on the menu as well as a selection of beer and wine. We ordered a turkey wrap and a roast beef panini but passed on alcohol; however, we did splurge on a slice of orange cake.

Definitely worth a return trip!

On our second ride from Nobleton to Floral City, eating lunch at River Ratz made the eighteen mile ride worth while. Located on the river at the Nobleton Outpost, River Ratz Cafe serves shrimp, wings, burgers, and a variety of sandwiches. I enjoyed every bite of my hamburger and John found a Philly cheese steak sandwich he’ll come back for again.

River Ratz Cafe’s hours vary and  they’re closed on Monday and Tuesday so it may be a good idea to call ahead if eating there is your sole reason for a trip to Nobleton. It won’t take much to convince me to ride the Withlacoochee Trail so long as lunch is part of any future trip!

Weigh In Wednesday: Week 30

IMG_0478I’ve developed a love hate relationship with mowing the grass. I hate it when the starter cord jerks my arm. I hate that my hands feel numb at the end of the job. I hate how my shoes and socks are stained green. I hate getting scratched by the thorns on the bushes along the back fence. But despite all the things I hate about mowing the grass, I love the calories I burn doing this job. When I finish mowing, I grab my phone and log exercise in the Lose It app. One hour of mowing equals 351 calories. Even after eating bacon and eggs for breakfast, I’ve burned more calories than I’ve consumed. That’s a good way to start the day. So all things considered, I love mowing the grass!IMG_0910

No weight loss this week, but no weight gain either. Maybe I need to start a lawn business!

9 Down; 4 To Go

We’ve checked off another item from our 13 in 13 list. We applied for passports. Although we don’t have plans to travel out of the country this year, we set a goal to at least get our passports this summer so we’ll be ready.

It’s unlikely we’ll actually use our them before next summer when we’re planning to spend a few days in Canada following a vacation in New England, but I’d sure hate to miss an opportunity to go to Greece or Australia or Costa Rica because I’ve put off getting a passport.

The application process was fairly painless. We just needed our birth certificates, driver’s licenses, and application form DS-11 which can be completed online at the website of the U.S. Department of State. We located an office in The Villages which processed the applications for both of us in less than thirty minutes. They even took the required pictures. Now for the bad news: the cost. The application had to be accompanied by a check for $110. In addition, a $25 execution fee and a $9 fee for the photograph made the total cost of the passport $144 per person. We decided against the passport card since that required another fee of $30.

I’m looking forward to getting my money’s worth out of my new passport.

By the way, it was raining…I think we’re batting a thousand on facing weather challenges when completing 13 in 13 list items!

Count Your Blessings

I remember several years ago watching Oprah and her guest introduced the idea of keeping a gratitude journal. Her message was simple –  write in a journal every day five things for which you are grateful. Then throughout the season, Oprah talked about her gratitude journal and how it had changed her life. I remember thinking this was a bunch of nonsense – not the idea that each of us have many things for which we should be grateful, but that each day we should make time to write down five things in a journal dedicated to gratefulness.

blessingsI’m still not convinced of the need to keep a gratitude journal, but I do think I, like most, take for granted the many blessings in my life. I think I’ve become more aware of these blessings due to the hardships I see others facing. Friends dealing with the serious illnesses of family members, the many people in Ocala looking for jobs, students I teach dealing with the challenges of raising children while going to school and still living as a child themselves in the homes of their parents. And of course if you watch any world news you see people suffering through natural disasters or wars or famine. It’s hard to imagine the hardships others face on a daily basis. Since volunteering at the Tuesday morning outreach program at church, I’ve met many who struggle daily and remembering their stories helps me think about my own blessings.

In the World Geography class I teach there’s an activity called A Village of 100 People. It takes the world’s population of seven billion and shrinks it to 100 to help students see the ratios and the make up of the people of the world. For example, 57 of the 100 would be Asian and 52 would be women, but some of the statistics are pretty shocking: 80 would live in substandard housing, 70 would be unable to read, 50 would suffer from malnutrition, 1 would have a college education, and 1 would own a computer-unbelievable. Statistics like these help me realize I live a truly blessed life.

Hopefully, you’ll take some time to count your blessings. If you go back to the idea of thinking of five things for which you’re grateful every day, you should always be able to name a few basics: your health, your family, your friends (of course, there are more if you name each of these people individually), your job, your home, good food, a comfortable bed, and some days a sigh with “I made it through the day!” But, there are many other things as well. So take time to count your blessings. I’ve found this to be a good way to end the day. When I lay down in bed, I close my eyes, take a few deep breaths to start unwinding and think of things for which I’m thankful. Even though I usually name the basics, I also think of things which brought a smile to my face during the day and I can’t think of a better way to end the day.

I’m certainly blessed to be your mom so without much effort I name three blessings each night. Life is good!  Count your blessings!


Write, Produce, and Direct


I Need a New Writer

I need a new writer for my life.

Only a dull author would create a

Today the same as yesterday.

I’m tired of being a bit player in this little drama.

I want to be in control – for good or bad.

I’ll become writer, producer, and director.

I can’t wait to read the reviews.

On Sunday’s I’m posting poetry written by my mother-in-law, Bettie Lou. Writing poetry was a form of therapy after losing her husband and then her youngest son in 1985.