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Thanksgiving ~ Ooops!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I haven't gotten around to taking the time to blog since Thanksgiving. My son stayed the whole vacation and I was enjoying my time with him. We took Stella on some short walks and on the really gorgeous day, we went on a 3 mile hike through the nature preserve. This is up and down hills on uneven trails, over and under logs, etc. I have always like hiking and am still a hiker; more so than my son. When we got home, I was energized and he fell asleep on the couch! A little smile to self ~ not too bad for the 60 year old.

I did take time to get to the gym a couple of times for water aerobics, swim laps, and use the cardio machines. But for the most part, I didn't get enough exercise and, while I THOUGHT I did really well on the Thanksgiving food front, it wasn't as good as I believed. I weighed myself today and was up 2 pounds. I am not overly concerned about it, as long as I don't trend upwards through the winter months. I think those 2 pounds will come off when I get back into the rhythm of exercise and get back to my usual diet.

On the fun front:

In July before we went on vacation, I bought 2 ukeleles at a garage sale, a small blue one that I thought children in my class might learn how to play, and what I think is a tenor uke - a larger wooden one for me to learn to play. Between vacation, my head injury, and the start of the school year, I did not take time to learn how to tune them or chord formations. I finally got around to that over break. The children love having the little blue uke. I have been teaching the children who are interested in guitar, guitar lessons, but the uke is great for children who need to start on an instrument that is easier for small hands to form the chords.

I'll try to remember to get a photo of the cute blue uke and post it.

Have a great Wednesday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IUHRYTR 11/30/2010 11:37PM

    Try saying "cute blue uke" three times fast. emoticon I am always impressed at your creativity with your students. Your concern for them shines brightly through all of the activities you share with them. The small uke was a great idea for tiny hands. -- Lou

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KJE_3001 11/30/2010 10:02PM

    Two pounds seems to be the magic number - everyone I know seemed to gain 2 pounds over Thanksgiving! Maybe there needs to be a Spark Team called "Losing the Thanksgiving 2"!

Anyways, I'm glad you enjoyed your time with your son and enjoyed brining a new instrument to your kids.

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LMB-ESQ 11/30/2010 8:49PM

    Not to worry... that two pounds will come off in no time! It's always an ego boost to know you can outdo one of your kids, isn't it? emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 11/30/2010 6:53PM

    Not to worry -- two pounds is within a normal "variation" kind of range -- and you're onto it!!

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MCGS62 11/30/2010 6:44PM

    emoticon Ikeep forgetting to resubscribe

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MCGS62 11/30/2010 6:41PM

    I beat you! I beat you !!
I was up by 7 lbs---------------------or is this like golf

tip toe through the tulips !!

Comment edited on: 11/30/2010 6:42:42 PM

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/30/2010 6:38PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Nice to have the kdis back from college for the holidays!

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The Day After

Friday, November 26, 2010

Well, if there is a day after pill for Thanksgiving, it is exercise, and that is just what I have planned for today. A date with the gym!

Actually, I did pretty well with Thanksgiving dinner for two reasons that have, sadly, very little to do with self restraint.

One was that I cooked the entire meal. I love to cook and I love to cook healthy. While I often cook vegetarian, I do not make a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner - this is a holiday where I cannot give up the 'Norman Rockwell' family tradition. Turkey, side dishes, a fire crackling in the fireplace, and a naughty dog looking for opportunities to snatch a piece of turkey.

Two was that there were only 3 of us, my husband, one of our sons, and me so this year there wasn't a houseful of people bringing rich desserts and side dishes. It was bittersweet this way. This was our first Thanksgiving since Glenna, my mother-in-law, died and our second since my parents died. This year we decided just to have a cozy, quiet and personal Thanksgiving - the three of us enjoying each other's company.

I bought an organic turkey from one of my students who raises turkeys for 4-H, and brined it the night before.

For side dishes I included baked sweet potatoes (not a sweet casserole - just the sweet potatoes), baked potato for my husband and son, steamed brussels sprouts with a little salt and lime juice, and a cranberry orange relish.

The two calorie extravagant dishes I prepared were the stuffing and a pie.

I made my own bread cubes out of pugliese bread from the bakery, lightly sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and rosemary and dried them slowly in the oven. To these I added chopped onion, celery, a little more rosemary, and warm organic chicken broth. It was cooked in the turkey, so I know it had a higher fat content than if I had baked it separately.

My son adores pecan pie, so I made one for our dinner. However, I did make the following adjustments and it came out delicious; whole wheat crust, 1/2 the sugar called for, and 1/2 the butter.

Here's that baby before going into the oven.

I make pecan pie twice a year - Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I'm not too concerned about my occasional indulgence. I love pie and wish it were one of the basic food groups. Sadly, it isn't. My self restraint was eating only one slice.

Stella absolutely adores Jesse. Whenever he is here, she is velcro poodle with him. She and Jesse watched "Ice Age' for giggles while dinner was cooking.

I love the way she sits with her rear on the couch and her front feet on the floor.

Well, off the computer and out to the gym for me. Have a great Friday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DELAPIS 11/29/2010 3:04AM

    Your pie looks absolutely delicious, and I love the picture of Stella with your son! I'm glad you had a nice Thanksgiving. Zoey and I had eight people this year, and almost everyone pitched in and cooked. We, of course, had way too much food, but a happy time was had by all.

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TKADEEPBREATH 11/28/2010 2:58PM

    Time with family is always good to me, no matter what drama the day might bring. I can handle it. Better to have them on whatever terms than not at all . . . I always say (unconditional love works for me . . . lol).

Keep up the good work!! Love, jan

Comment edited on: 11/28/2010 3:05:30 PM

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OLDERDANDRT 11/27/2010 7:50PM

    Sounds like you had a fabulous Thanksgiving!! Stella looks totally thankful!!!
Good for you getting to the gym! I helped DH, DS and DD clean out one of our storage buildings! Now as good a workout as I needed, but a workout jsut the same!
I guess I restrained myself, too.....only 1 piece of pumpking pie, but plan to make one this weekend since we got NO leftovers this year. DD has a family of 4 to feed, so we leave it all at her house. hehe


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TISHTOES 11/27/2010 5:01PM

    Nice blog. How busy is the gym today? Does it look like January 2nd? haha!

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STARLASUE 11/27/2010 7:07AM

    Love the pic of your son and Stella.My son'sdogsdoit theother way round. They stand on the floor and lay their upper bodies across the couch. Especially Sasha - it looks so funny but she can stay that way for the longest time.

I made my dressing with whole grain bread cubes. I had mashed squash instead of potatoes. And my desserts and cranberry salad were made with Splenda. I didn't pig out either which is a good thing! But I did eat more than usual and am feelign it. :-D

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This year I made grilled yams and pineapple. Sliced the yams and sprayed them with cooking spray, likewise pineapple slices. Grilled until the yams were soft and pineapple was nicely marked. I peeled the skin from the yams and cut both ingredients into small cubes. I took about 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice left over and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Heated that up until it disolved and poured over the mix. It was great. I hope you try it.

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MARY1313 11/26/2010 11:50PM

    Loved the pictures. April does the same thing while sitting even though she is tiny. I put a pillow on the couch and she puts her butt on it and then lets her paws rest on the couch. It is so funny looking.

I'm like you, everyone in my world is gone except my kids and one brother in Las Vegas. So son and girl friend came and we grilled steaks, had salad and baked sweet potato for me and regular potatoes for them. It was nice,


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MCGS62 11/26/2010 10:26PM

    The pie looks delicious!!
can I order one for christmas.

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IUHRYTR 11/26/2010 8:35PM

    A cozy family time sounds delightful. Love the picture, especially Stella's red bow accents. -- Lou

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LUNADRAGON 11/26/2010 7:50PM

    Cute Stella, my cat used to sit like that on stairs.

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WATERMELLEN 11/26/2010 7:40PM

    That pie looks so good: and I LOVE the Stella picture (as always!!)

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KJE_3001 11/26/2010 12:28PM

    Mmmm, I love a good pecan pie and yours looks delicious! It sounds like you had a nice, calm Thanksgiving. Enjoy your exercise today!

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MY_LIFE_NOW 11/26/2010 9:09AM

    Happy you enjoyed your quiet day..the pecan pie sure looks yummy..and the size of that velcro dog is unbelieveable...too funny

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LAGREBE 11/26/2010 9:01AM

    I love Stella's posture: a yogi!
Have a great day at the gym! I might meet you there, at least in the locker room (I am in the pool!)

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SPOOKYTHECAT 11/26/2010 8:52AM

    So cute, my daughter Loves dogs~ she would be a Velcro kid to the poodle!
Happy day after TG, emoticon

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0309COOKIE 11/26/2010 8:47AM

    Aaawww, Stella looks so pretty!

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LMB-ESQ 11/26/2010 8:47AM

    Nice, quiet Thanksgiving.... that's what ours was too. I way overate, but that's okay, right back on track today. Velcro poodle sure looks happy up there on the couch! Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

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BECKYR16 11/26/2010 8:44AM

    Very nice! Happy Thanksgiving.

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It Wasn't Me ..... Honest!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stella has discovered my egg bowl where I put the eggs to be washed when I bring them in. She doesn't hurt them, she just carries them around the house.

Do you detect a little guilt in that face?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARLASUE 11/24/2010 12:21PM


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DEBBIE_J 11/23/2010 7:31PM

    Very cute!

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WATERMELLEN 11/23/2010 6:59PM

    Tell me the stories of Stella . . . what a cute dog!!

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KJE_3001 11/23/2010 1:32PM

    Stella's so cute! Maybe she is nesting... I once saw a news article about a dog who used to collect all the remote controls in the house and would nest with them.

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1_AMAZING_WOMAN 11/23/2010 12:59PM

    Maybe you should take the 'hint' and cook up an egg to add to her food. I do that for my little 4 legged friends quite often. Course if you do that she might 'get the taste' for eggs, and open them herself.


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MARY1313 11/23/2010 12:22PM

    HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! Well, she was gentle anyway!!!

Love it!


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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/23/2010 10:29AM

    She is adorable!

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MRSSIBRAT 11/23/2010 6:56AM

    omgosh she is adorable!!!!!!

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LMB-ESQ 11/22/2010 10:21PM

    Hahaha! So cute! She looks confused.... "I thought it was toy!"

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JONESISHERE 11/22/2010 10:08PM

    Don't you just love your 4 footed friend! I have one named "Larry."(long story behind the name) They are such wonderful companions.

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OLDERDANDRT 11/22/2010 9:46PM

    emoticon Looks like she's saying," But mom!! You just left it sitting there in that bowl!!! How we gonna hatch it that way?" I think she wants to have more chicks, mommy!!!! emoticon

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DOR2BFIT 11/22/2010 9:17PM

    That's hilarious! I can't believe how gentle she is! Maybe she can help with the Christmas tree decorating!

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 11/22/2010 9:10PM

    This is too funny, she looks like she is wondering if you know what she has been up to.

..) .)
(. (. (.`♥Victoria!

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MCGS62 11/22/2010 8:49PM

    emoticon emoticon
aww! scramble one with cheese fosr Stella!!

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LOISINOLA 11/22/2010 8:49PM

  Maybe she is getting ready for Easter. That would be my story if I was Stella.

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MCSNYDER1 11/22/2010 8:43PM

    Absolutely adorable! Poor little Stella--I think she was framed!

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0309COOKIE 11/22/2010 8:38PM

    I could never be mad at that sweet little face.

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IUHRYTR 11/22/2010 8:36PM

    Stella: "Why are you looking at me like that? I didn't lay the egg. I didn't bring the egg into the house. What makes you think I carried it here?" emoticon -- Lou

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CLEVAGAL 11/22/2010 8:32PM

    Oh sooooooooooo cute.....

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ANNESYLVIA 11/22/2010 8:31PM

    Beautiful dog...but probably guilty!!!

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2 Vegetarian Recipes For You

Sunday, November 21, 2010

As most of my friends know, Sunday is food prep day for me. I like to make healthy breakfasts and lunches that can get me through the work week so I don't rely on processed or packaged foods.

I love to make nutritious waffles for breakfast, packed with protein, fiber, and flavor without the addition of sweeteners.

I like to start with Hodgson Mills Buckwheat Pancake mix because it saves a little time and I know it is whole grain and organic. Some people don't like the taste of buckwheat or haven't tried it. Buckwheat has excellent nutritional value and rates low on the glycemic index,


I rearrange the recipe each week: here is this week's recipe:

1 Cup Hodgson Mills Buckwheat Pancake mix
4 T. golden flax seeds
4 T. wheat germ
4 T. walnuts
1/2 apple
2 eggs
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tsp. baking soda
1 Tsp. cinnamon
2 C. milk
1 T. vinegar

First I grind the flax, wheat germ, and walnuts to a flour consistency in my blender, add the apple to grind in, then add the rest of the ingredients. The vinegar is a quick way to make the milk more like buttermilk, but you could use buttermilk or kefir instead. This makes 8 waffles.

While I am making the soup, I cook up the waffles, then freeze them for this week's breakfasts.

Today's soup is a Vegetable Barley Soup.



1/2 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 C. fresh kale chopped
1/2 sweet potato
1/2 C. barley
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 C. whole grain spiral macaroni
fresh cilantro
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. tumeric
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions and garlic and saute lightly in olive oil. Add the spices and saute a minute longer. Add two cups of water and let simmer for several minutes to blend flavors. You could also use purchased vegetable broth. Add the kale, sweet potatoes, garbanzos, barley, and macaroni. Bring to a boil, then cover and cook on low for 30 - 40 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add fresh cilantro right before serving.

(I decided to add a fresh boiled egg as garnish to add a little protein today.)

Bon Appetite!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KJE_3001 11/23/2010 1:27PM

    Ooh, that soup looks beautiful and tasty! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

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MEOWMAMA3 11/22/2010 7:16AM

    That soup sounds super!!!! (Pardon the pun!) Maybe I should ask Small Appliance Santa (aka Weldon the Practical) for a waffle maker for Christmas! emoticon emoticon

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MIRAGE727 11/21/2010 9:17PM

    Wow, thanks for sharing. I'm going to have to do these recipes soon! Love my breaksats!


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FAEMOM 11/21/2010 6:24PM

  I really enjoyed reading your blog. Nice to see some photos and recipes. Good idea to cook ahead too. Thanks! emoticon

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MCGS62 11/21/2010 5:36PM

    the soup looks great. I can find all kinds of beans an lentils at my india store but no barley didn't see any at giant eagle either. I like beef barley soup so I'll double the effort!

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JUST_TRI_IT 11/21/2010 5:23PM

    Oh yum yum!! One of my favorite parts about winter: SOUP SOUP SOUP!!! This one looks inviting.

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JOHNNIEGIRL0612 11/21/2010 10:50AM

    I envy you for being so organized! I am def going to try the soup. It sounds amazing! Thanks for the recipe :)

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WATERMELLEN 11/21/2010 10:22AM

    Treated myself to catching up on a whole bunch of your great blogs -- sympathize with your lingering illness and interruption of your fitness, love your new boots, admire your dedication to your teaching vocation with all its ups and downs.

And: this soup recipe sounds just like my kind of thing, thanks!

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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/21/2010 10:20AM

    emoticon the recipes sound delicious ~ and the photos are beautiful!

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Keeping At It

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I had fun taking my friend to the Y yesterday. She is having serious health problems and her cardiologist told her she needs to start exercising and to lose weight. I introduced her to the elliptical and showed her how to get the treadmills started. It was really fun to exercise with her. With the treadmills, we could walk side by side, me going at 3.5 mph and her at 2 mph, each getting the intensity we need, but staying within talking distance which we couldn't possibly do on the trail. She wasn't ready to try the weight machines, but we can do that another time.

Today we sang together, which is always fun. We broke out some holiday music and started working on that a little. Last year, it was really challenging, but this year, it just fell into place - we have made a lot of progress over the course of a year.

Next month, I will have been on Spark for a year. I had already lost some weight before I joined. My goal was to lose 30 pounds and regain strength, energy, and health. I have lost the 30 and am feeling much healthier. So far, so good. My weight fluctuates a couple of pounds over a few weeks, up 2, down 2, etc. This seems to be a normal pattern for me, so I don't worry about it at all - just as long as I don't start an upward trend. The holidays are still ahead. I love to cook and I love to eat good food. I'm not much of a junk food eater, but holiday foods do seem to have a high fat content. I am experimenting with some lower fat, lower calorie recipes that I can cook over the holiday season.

And... I need to keep focused on the exercise. I had gotten out of my weight training and yoga routines when I wasn't feeling well and need to build them back into my schedule. Stella makes sure I get in my walking time rain or shine, sick or well, so I have been getting my walkies in.

I was looking for some taller warm winter boots. My warm boots are LLBean snow hikers, very light weight and very warm, which I use for my early morning bike path walks in the winter. However, they aren't very good for deep snow. I saw a pair of Bogs which were touted as keeping feet warm in -40 weather. They looked perfect for deep snow walks with Stella, sledding, and doing outside chores, so I ordered them. They arrived yesterday, and feel comfy on. Now to see if they are as warm as they claim to be.

Denty and Myrtle managed to get into the picture - they are off in the distance. Stella, of course, has to be part of the action.

I chose the autumn colors.

I hope you all have a wonderful week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEOWMAMA3 11/22/2010 7:12AM

    Cute boots! You have had a year filled with lots of ups and downs....thankfully one of those downs was the weight! Excellent work my friend! If you need a way to prepare your sweet potatoes try this: cut, peeled, in the crockpot with 1 cup of apple juice, 1 squeezed lemon, couple of chunks of fresh ginger, pinch of cinnamon. Add a little brown sugar after they cook down to your favorite consistency if you need them a little sweeter. I think they turn out heavenly without and no butter or extra goo needed! Enjoy and keep up that wonderful spark of yours!

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LUNADRAGON 11/21/2010 5:56PM

    Love the boots! Such fun!

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PENNYAN45 11/17/2010 10:04PM

    The boots are fun! And you look great!

I wish you and your husband a wonderful holiday ahead!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SIRIRADHA 11/17/2010 9:02PM

    I like those boots! Wonder if you can deduct them as a health expense on your taxes...

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DOR2BFIT 11/15/2010 8:18AM

    You look great! I haven't been as successful in the weight loss department emoticon
but it's not for lack of trying! (Still trying- I haven't given up) I love the boots- I will tell my DD about them- they look good for walking through slushy city streets. emoticon

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MCGS62 11/14/2010 10:46PM

    Nice boots! I hope your friend goes to the Y often with you . You'll keep her on track for sure!

I bought a new snow shovel today didnt think about boots maybe next pay.

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LMB-ESQ 11/14/2010 8:30PM

    Cute boots! I need some winter boots too. I know it's hard to build back up to your normal routine when you are away from it for awhile. But you'll do it; I know you will! emoticon

What do you do with the chickens in the winter?

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MARY1313 11/14/2010 8:21PM

    wow those boots are so cute! I have no need for them as when we get snow, its a couple inches at the most.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Mary & April emoticon emoticon emoticon

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OLDERDANDRT 11/14/2010 7:56PM

    See...you're not as behind as you thought since Stella has been keeping you walking!! You'll be back on track soon and I am looking forward to your holiday, paring of the calories recipes!!! You do that so well!!!

Paws up to Stella!!!

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MCSNYDER1 11/14/2010 6:03PM

    YOU look GREAT!!!!!! and I love the boots!!!

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IUHRYTR 11/14/2010 4:41PM

    Cute boots. So Stella likes to romp in the snow? Dogs are so crazy sometimes, aren't they? Good going on the weight loss and thanks for caring enough to get your friend involved in the gym. It will do her good. -- Lou

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