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Drum roll...

Friday, September 23, 2011

...for the Fall 5% Challenge! This is the time of year when it starts to get colder and I feel like eating carbs all day and hibernating. So it's a very good thing that this challenge is starting up tomorrow.

I'm facing the first Saturday weigh-in with some trepidation because I know I've gained back a pound or two or three since the Summer Challenge ended. My goal this time around is to break the 60 kilo barrier and get back into my maintenance range, if not reach my original goal weight of 58 kilos.

There will be a trip to the mountains of Switzerland in October, around the middle of the eight weeks. It's a missionaries' retreat and there is always lots of eating involved - but also lots of hiking if the weather cooperates. Then exams in November. Challenges within the challenge!

The "last" roses of summer that I picked from the bushes in front of church yesterday. *wistful sigh*...


Oh...and GO FIRECRACKERS!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 9/26/2011 9:53AM

    You can do it!!! We all get off track, the key is knowing that and getting right back on again!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 9/25/2011 9:49AM

    You will do great and the roses are beautiful.

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SJG1953 9/24/2011 2:08AM

    Those roses are gorgeous! We have such an artistic Creator! You are not alone in your gain for I have gained more this month than I have gained in four years since I have been on maintenance. Have a fabulous trip! Love and hugs my friend, Shirley

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JERSEYGIRL24 9/23/2011 11:47PM

    Michelle,

You were one of the few bright spots on our team this summer. I'm sure you'll continue to shine emoticon

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INDIANAGIRL61 9/23/2011 4:28PM

    Oh the roses are beautiful! Just a little secret between us- I think I gained back a pound or two also emoticonHave a wonderful trip.

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ASMPP1 9/23/2011 12:22PM

    dang it....double post.....

Go emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/23/2011 12:23:16 PM

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ASMPP1 9/23/2011 12:22PM

    Being aware is half the battle! emoticon

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DDOORN 9/23/2011 11:34AM

    Keep 'er movin'...! :-)

Switzerland must be SUCH a wonderful place to be!

Don

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/23/2011 11:25AM

    At least you know the "challenges within the challenge"!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/23/2011 10:53AM

    I cannot wait to see your blog later about Switzerland in October!! emoticon....and Wow!...gorgeous roses!

emoticonGO Firecrackers!!! ~ Laura

Comment edited on: 9/23/2011 10:54:00 AM

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Signs of Fall

Friday, September 09, 2011



It was just a couple of weeks ago that I posted an "I Love Summer" blog and now it looks like fall is on the way:

Chestnuts are just about to burst out of their spiky coats...
Tinges of gold and red are starting to show on the edges of the forest...
Butternut squash has appeared in the supermarkets...(but the Christmas candy and cookies - thankfully - haven't been put on display yet!)
Our last kids camp of the summer vacation ended today (phew!)...
German schools open on Monday...
It's time to book my train ticket to the annual October retreat in Switzerland...
More girls and women wearing boots on the city streets...

And I've put up about 25 jars of blackberry and plum jam...



But I would really like to hold on to the summer a LITTLE longer, please!

I've been moved by the answers to my blog post yesterday. Thank you to all who took the time to post about that "place" and moment in time ten years ago. It's amazing how these events are etched in our memories.

Now that the last week of the Summer 5% Challenge is winding up, I'll be going back to a once or twice weekly posting rhythm. I have to say I really admire those who find something to say and post on their blogs on a daily basis!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M77355 9/15/2011 10:28AM

    Somehow I happened upon your page and have so enjoyed your photos and blogposts. You've accomplished so much in the weight loss category and other ways as well !
This summer has been brutal for us in Texas. My mom and I took a river cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam early last September so I remember how wonderful it is where you are now.
In this 'new stage of life' as I like to call it, I've loved canning... We made peach marmalade, peach chutney and figs with one slice of lemon per jar - m-m-Good! You had Quite a bounty of blackberries and plums. Isn't it fun to share these friends and family?
Here's wishing you many 'wellthy' days ahead!
M


Comment edited on: 9/16/2011 6:18:07 PM

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CMPEARL 9/12/2011 10:14AM

    Love your pics...especially of all the jam (YUMMY!). I personally believe that fall is the BEST time of year with the weather, school starting, college football and change of seasons emoticon

As for blogging everyday...well, I'm pretty sure I'd be down to a handful of subscribers if people tried to read my random thoughts on a daily basis! emoticon

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NEWLIBRARIAN 9/12/2011 8:56AM

    I go in streaks.
I am eating my own apples now.
A sure sign of fall for me.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/10/2011 5:12PM

    When I read your heading I thought, wow, that is a short summer, a lot longer than a Scottish one however, as I remember them. Love your jams. yum.

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ASMPP1 9/9/2011 8:59PM

    We are turning to cooler temps here, too. A few warmer days with lots of cooler ones in between.

The jam looks great!

The Halloween candy is out in stores, here. emoticon

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NEWNAC304 9/9/2011 4:41PM

    I'm surprised that the Halloween candy isn't out in the stores yet. I'm sure it will be before long!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/9/2011 3:33PM

    Oh my! ...I'm doing emoticonto blog 1X/week..... You're doing great, Michelle!
...that jam emoticonlooks delicious! My mom and I used to make wild plum jelly.

Wow! Enjoy this October retreat in Switzerland...sounds Nice!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/9/2011 3:28PM

    This week of posting daily has been a stretch for me too! That's why I wrote about my 8 week meal plans.

I'm with you about summer....I would like for it to hang around as long as possible. I don't mind fall, but the bad thing about fall in the Chicago area is that it means that winter is just around the corner.....that I could skip (or maybe have a much shorter version of it)!

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10 Years Ago

Thursday, September 08, 2011

I was on a bus just a few blocks from home here in this small town in Germany. I was on my way to teach an English lesson at a company in the next town. I don't usually travel by bus, but I had totaled my car two weeks earlier and didn't have a new one yet. When the news came on, the bus driver turned the radio up really loud. I thought that was a little strange until I heard what was being said on the broadcast. The first tower had just been hit.

When I got to the company, my students and I briefly talked about the news, but carried on with the lesson. My concentration was not very good and I think we were all in a bit of a daze. We tried to get some information over the internet during the break, but it was hard to get a connection. Afterwards, I caught the bus back home and spent the next two days glued to the TV. Some time that evening, I somehow I got the word that my sister in Brooklyn was OK.
emoticonSo, my "place" was that seat in the bus. And yours?

(I know there will be lots of postings and internet content related to the anniversary, but this one is definitely worth a view:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7b2ZTlWiOg )

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M77355 9/15/2011 10:48AM

    I was on a walk in my neighborhood and kept thinking how odd it was that there were so few cars out and about.
I believe that America needs to remain strong and aware that there are those whose goal in life is to take the United States Down. It may not be a concept we readily or want to understand but we need to realize how it pertains to our country's security.
Continue remembering and teaching our younger citizens why this tragic event happened.

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MSCANELA 9/14/2011 8:04PM

  Thanks for sharing the youtube video! All very true. My moment was at school...walking between classes, going into a collegues room and watching the towers fall. I felt an overwhelming sense of mourning, panic and sadness that day. Then it brewed into anger. 10 years have gone by. *sigh* emoticon

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*ERICA* 9/9/2011 9:22AM

    I love hearing the stories of where people were when this happen. Listening to the radio station today brought back a ton of emotions for me, while my youngest daughter was chatting in the background.

I was in class learning accounting. We just got back from break when the teacher said something. No one could concentrate so we ended up going out to the library to watch what was going on. We were sent home. So the rest of the afternoon I sat watching the TV with my dad until I had to go to work. Being so young (19), I was unsure what was going to happen. It was very scared about the future. But its great to see how the country came together and supported each other. My heart goes out to the lives that were lost, the ones that helped clean up the mess and the ones that will never get to meet their parents.

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JANIE724 9/9/2011 1:49AM

    I was on my way to work, and started hearing about it on the radio. It sent shivers down my spine, because my hubby and I had just returned to California from Kansas the day before. Being so recently in a plane, I easily imagined what it must have felt like for all those passengers who couldn't change the direction of the plane and were squeezed in those seats. I arrived at work - a fire department - and the disbelief of my fellow employees, sworn and non-sworn, was felt throughout, and lasted for a horribly long time. Everyone has kept the memory alive, never allowing it to be forgotten. Many of our firefighters went to New York and helped. As a fundraiser, my friend and I sold red metal bracelets, and we heard from people across the world with incredible stories and support. This 'event' was so much more than just something that happened on a terrible day - it was something that made the world a whole bunch smaller, made our country patriotism stronger, and melded the hearts of humans together with tears to beat as one.

Awesome video.

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JAXMOMMY 9/8/2011 10:36PM

    I was at the beach, in our hotel room, getting ready to head down to the pool. I turned the TV on for some reason which was not a habit of mine. I thought it was a show, not real and then I realized.... I was in shock! I too was watching when the 2nd tower was hit. I went down to the pool and met our friends from Chicago. We went out and bought American flags to hang on our lounge chairs. We then passed them on to others when we left. Our hotel was evacuated that night for a fire scare and I kept wondering what terrorists wanted with us vacationing at Myrtle Beach! Luckily it was not terrorist related, nor even a real fired, but my heart still aches for all of those who died and lost loved ones! I can't even imagine the fear of those on those uppper floors!

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CTEMPLE 9/8/2011 6:22PM

    Too painful to re live. I'm avoiding the media until Monday.

Comment edited on: 9/8/2011 6:22:37 PM

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ASMPP1 9/8/2011 5:53PM

    I was on my way home from work. Heard it on the radio and turned the TV on as soon as I arrived home. Saw the second one hit on TV.

Like other big events, a lot of us remember what we were doing.

emoticon

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HAKAPES 9/8/2011 3:49PM

    emoticon

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CMPEARL 9/8/2011 3:21PM

    I was working at my MIL's realty office while she was out of town helping my older SIL move her and her family to Wisconsin. MIL called and said that an airplane had crashed into one of NY's towers...was immediately on the internet and around the radio dial trying to gather information. So glad your sister was alright...will try to check out your link when I have more time later.

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JANETELIZABETH1 9/8/2011 3:01PM

    Well we didn't have internet 10 yrs ago, we don't have TV either....so I seem to think we heard about it on BBC World Service News. My mum rang and told me she'd watched it on the TV. I think we bought a newspaper the next day to read all about it too.
We did pray for the people...

Comment edited on: 9/8/2011 3:02:01 PM

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LIGIRLATHEART 9/8/2011 2:41PM

    Had just put the kids on the bus, and turned the TV on in the kitchen, for company while clearing the breakfast dishes, when the news broke. I was on the phone throughout the day with my sisters-in-law... two of my brothers (FDNY & NYPD) were MIA for a good 36-hours before any of us heard that they were OK. I am grateful for that every day.

A little bit later I drove over to my parents to visit my Mom who had just started chemotherapy... and as I looked to the north east I could see the smoke from the towers.

It feels like yesterday, yet so much has changed for me personally during the last ten years.

God Bless America. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWNAC304 9/8/2011 2:05PM

    I was on my way to work flipping through the radio channels when I heard the news. Even though it's been 10 years, seeing those pictures brings back all those awful feelings I had.

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English Hat

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

I have a very lively group of 5 kids for English camp this week. Our rule of thumb is that we conduct the class as much as possible in the goal language, even though the kids are only 4th and 5th graders.

Two of the boys are best friends so speaking English with each other is difficult for them. Sitting still is difficult for them, too. Listening to the teacher and getting along with the other 3 kids - also not so hot. Giggling and jabbering in German - excellent!

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So, I had the idea to have all the kids bring a hat to class. This morning, I gave the "respect each other" talk and reiterated the standard rules about not throwing things, etc. Then I told them that we would be wearing our hats for 40 minutes at a time and that, during those 40 minutes, we would all speak English. We would then take a break, take off our hats, and we could all speak as much German as we wanted for the next 5-10 minutes.

It worked! They all made an extra effort to speak English, knowing that they could speak German for a few minutes at intervals throughout the morning. I used the breaks to answer questions and explain upcoming tasks, but otherwise just let them chatter. I think they actually learned something today, although I had to back off our "goal language" policy.

Thankful for the answer to the prayers I said for wisdom in disciplining this group. I was really wondering how we were all going to survive the week!

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Prayer Update: I got a good report from one of my missionary friends. He does apparently have a very slow-growing cancer in his liver but will not need a transplant. He'll be taking medication to stop the tumors from spreading to his other organs. I'm not sure if he will need surgery in the future; they are taking one step at a time. But he and his family are very encouraged by this news.

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Fall Challenge Update: On the Fall 5% Challenge front, places are filling up. I just read that there is only room for 23 more challengers to bring the total to the cut-off of 550. So if you're going to take the plunge, this is the time to do it! www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=52982

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 9/10/2011 10:58PM

    Wow! You've been a BUSY little blogger! :-)

Cool idea, the English hats...sounds like you do a great deal to engage those young minds!

Don

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NEWLIBRARIAN 9/8/2011 8:50AM

    So I clicked on this expecting to see pictures of some outlandish hat a duchess would wear. Love the blog and love the idea.

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ASMPP1 9/8/2011 8:46AM

    emoticonIdea for the hats and breaks.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/8/2011 2:52AM

    Fantastic thinking Michelle, sometimes it can be very challenging when there are wrigglers in the class. so pleased to hear your missionary friend is getting some treatment.

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EJOY-EVELYN 9/8/2011 2:39AM

    Love using hats as we all wear so many of them. To physically feel one on the head is a great tool to introduce a number of different subjects. Great blog!

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CTEMPLE 9/7/2011 8:56PM

    Great idea Michelle! How patient you are, I wouldn't last one minute!
DH had a benign growth in the liver and had surgery and the liver recovered completely, it's one of those organs with good regeneration.
Claudia

Comment edited on: 9/7/2011 8:56:39 PM

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JAXMOMMY 9/7/2011 5:48PM

    Love the hat idea! Agree with whoever said we need exercise, eating healthy and strength training hats ourselves! Brilliant idea! Thanks for sharing!

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MTULLY 9/7/2011 5:43PM

    You have a challenging job, and you are handling it well. Your hat idea is brilliant!

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POLITICALJUNKIE 9/7/2011 5:33PM

    Maybe I should invest in an "eating healthy food" hat and an "exercise and ST" hat!! It is much easier to tolerate a difficult activity if you know you'll have a break soon.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/7/2011 4:30PM

    I love the idea of the English Hats! The classes sound like so much fun. They don't know how lucky they are to be able to take them.

I'm happy to hear about your friend.

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RUNNINGOMA 9/7/2011 4:27PM

    Wow! Two answers to prayers!

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TERESA159 9/7/2011 2:52PM

    That was a great idea with the hats, you are a good teacher. Love the candy background!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/7/2011 2:44PM

    I am so glad to see answered prayers!! What a wise teacher you are!
Praise God for Good News for your missionary friend!

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Number crunching

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A quick blog post to share my Summer 5% Challenge stats:

Starting Weight - 07/16/11: 65 Kilo, or 143 pounds

07/23/11: 63.5 Kilo (ca. 139.7 pounds) - down 3
07/30/11: 63 Kilo (ca. 138.6 pounds) - down 1
08/06/11 62.5 (ca. 137.5) - down 1
08/13/11: 62 (ca. 136.4) - down 1
08/20/11: 62 - no change
08/27/11: 61.5 (ca. 135.3) - down 1
09/03/11: 61 (134.2) - down 1 (5% challenge goal met!)
09/10/11:

5% GOAL: 8 pounds

WEEKLY GOAL: 1 pound

GOAL WEIGHT: 61 kilos, ca. 135 lbs.

Sign-ups for the Fall 5% Challenge are here: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp?gid=52982


My goal for the Fall Challenge is to get back to my original goal weight LONG before the challenge is over!

emoticon emoticon emoticonGo Firecrackers! emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CTEMPLE 9/6/2011 7:47PM

    emoticon

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ASMPP1 9/6/2011 7:34PM

    emoticon

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/6/2011 7:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Great going!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JAXMOMMY 9/6/2011 6:33PM

    Congratulations Michelle!! Way, or Weigh, to go! I also want to thank you for asking so many friends to join the challenge. I read how many you encouraged to join in the Firecracker sign up thread! Thanks!

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TARANITUP 9/6/2011 2:53PM

    Awesome progress! I have not met my 5% goal in the last 2 challenges... and i'm SOO close to my final goal weight but it just doesnt seem to happen. I'm taking a break from Fall challenge and will be back strong for winter!

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TWNOMWE 9/6/2011 2:38PM

    emoticon emoticon
emoticon work.

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VISUALLYRICS 9/6/2011 2:22PM

    Those emoticonMUST be emoticon!!
Wow!! I celebrate those successes with you, Michelle! emoticon

I hope to be right there with you this Fall celebrating my new goal success too!



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