BE-THE-CHANGE's SparkPeople Blog BE-THE-CHANGE's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Spark the Season - Day 28 Today's theme is "it's cold outside", but it is not. At least, not for Pittsburgh in December. It's in the upper 30's right now, at 9:30 PM. It was even warmer yesterday - I think it hit 50 degrees. So I guess I'll have to go with an old picture. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This was taken from my front door in March 2013. I did not make it off my street to work that day. I hope we don't have any days like this any time soon. Sun, 28 Dec 2014 21:29:19 EST Spark the Season - Day 27 My favorite holiday food is the turkey. I really like it and no one else wants to eat it except at the holidays. I make one for Thanksgiving and another one for Christmas. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I always stuff it and I am lucky that my daughter's partner makes great gravy, because it is definitely not one of my strong suits. <BR> <BR> I am also trying to make turkey soup this year. I haven't done it in many, many years.... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 22:42:03 EST Spark the Season - Day 26 I received two gifts this year that were especially meaningful for me. <BR> <BR> This is a scarf made for me for one of my SparkFriends, indeed one of my best friends and someone who is more of a sister to me than my own sister. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my favorite color and it means so much that she took the time to make this for me. <BR> <BR> The same is true of the second gift. This was made for me by my daughter-... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 22:22:59 EST Spark the Season - Day 25 Gratitude. It's been a tough year but there is still a lot to be grateful for. I am grateful for my family and many things in my life, but the thing I am most grateful for is SparkPeople and the friends I have made here. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I may not be where I want to be in terms of my health. I may not be where I want to be in terms of my weight. But I know for a fact that I would be in much worse shape if it were n... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 22:17:36 EST Spark the Season - Day 24 We had some of our Family with us on Christmas Eve. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my daughter Angie and her partner, Red. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my niece, Tina, her daughter, Lydia, and her husband, Andy. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here we have Andy again, my nephews Merrill and Nelson (th... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:35:33 EST Spark the Season - Day 23 Today I am supposed to post a picture of something red, so I give you my daughter, Angie, and her partner, Red! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This was taken at our house at Christmas last year. Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:16:39 EST Spark the Season - Day 22 This is the symbol of my shopping this year - <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I did the bulk of my shopping online this year and I actually started early. I kept an eye on the daily specials on Amazon and I got a few really good deals on tools for my husband, as well as gifts for my kids and grandsons. <BR> <BR> With the exception of my 2-year-old great-niece, all my nieces and nephews all got cash or gift cards. Almost all of th... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 21:09:24 EST Spark the Season - Day 21 This is what comfy looks like: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I took this picture of my grandson Frankie while he was sleeping on me. We were both comfy. Sat, 27 Dec 2014 20:45:57 EST Spark the Season - Day 20 During the winter, my workouts consist of the treadmill. My treadmill is set up in my office. That's a file cabinet in front of it. The large picture on the right is my daughter, to the left of it is my "Spark" patch from JASR a few years ago, and the picture at the bottom is me and DH over 30 years ago, taken during the brief minutes (months) that I was a normal weight. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I haven't been using my free we... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:43:17 EST Spark the Season - Day 19 I have the same dinner more often than not. I guess I'm just a creature of habit. <BR> <BR> I will have chicken several nights a week: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I am really not much for vegetables. I like a nice big salad, but when I was a kid the only vegetable I ate was corn. (I know, not really a vegetable, but that was it.) My mom also served peas, but I hated them. <BR> <BR> I do like this: <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 12:35:20 EST Spark the Season - Day 18 My goal for day 18 was to get all my packages, including cash for nieces and nephews, out in the mail. Before I left the house that morning, I had all the packages prepared, with the exception of putting the cash in the envelopes. I had also printing out mailing labels online, so all I had to do during lunch was fill the appropriate envelopes with cash, put them in the mailing envelopes and attach the label before dropping the entire batch at the post office. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Sat, 27 Dec 2014 11:59:38 EST Spark the Season - Day 17 I checked last year's entry and I find it very interesting that on the 17th, this year as well as last, we ordered pizza for lunch in my office. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Last year it was my boss' last day in the office and she ordered it for all of us. This year her last day in was on the 18th, and she ordered Chinese food for all of us, but the pizza was also her idea. Of course, my boss never brings in her lunch, so for h... Fri, 26 Dec 2014 23:10:25 EST Spark the Season - Day 16 Today's theme is decorations, so I thought I'd post this year's tree with its decorations. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my office decoration. They don't decorate the entire office but I have to have something. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Fri, 26 Dec 2014 23:01:25 EST Spark the Season - Day 15 I really don't have any good Christmas memories from when I was a child. I'm afraid I remember the disappointments more than anything else. <BR> <BR> This tree is from my first Christmas with my husband as a married couple in 1979. We lived in West Virginia, far away from our family, but it was a great Christmas and the first one I remember as a happy one. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The tree is covered in "angel hair". Looking... Fri, 26 Dec 2014 22:55:04 EST Spark the Season - Day 14 Honestly, I don't know how to relax. I always feel like I should be "doing" something. This is what I posted last year: "I honestly could not do this one. I realized I don't know how to just relax. I am either multi-tasking or sleeping. I need to fix this. " <BR> <BR> So I am asking my friends - what do you do to relax? Fri, 26 Dec 2014 22:27:40 EST Spark the Season - Day 13 Someone I love - this is really a tough one. I love my family and my friends. I especially love my two SparkFriends and "sisters", Dawn and Di. I don't know where I'd be without these two ladies. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I also adore my two grandsons. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is Gino, age 2, and Frankie, just two weeks old. Fri, 26 Dec 2014 21:27:27 EST Spark the Season - Day 12 Today's theme is cookies! I am not a cookie baker by any stretch of the imagination. Sometimes I will make Tollhouse cookies, which I learned how to do in Home Ec in 12th grade. That is the extent of my repertoire. They are not one of my favorite treats, either, but I do enjoy Italian cookies from a good bakery. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> These are from Moios' Bakery in Monroeville, PA. Luckily for me, that is 45 minutes from ... Fri, 12 Dec 2014 20:03:39 EST Spark the Season - Day 11 I was in a bit of a hurry this morning, so I had this for breakfast: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This oatmeal is very tasty and has less sodium than the dry packages. Unfortunately my local grocery is discontinuing these. I hope I can find them somewhere else. It's very handy for a quick breakfast. <BR> <BR> Outside of today, I have been having English muffins most days. <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:22:21 EST Spark the Season - Day 10 They say home is where the heart is, and my heart is certainly with my family. But you do need a place to hang your hat. We have lived in this house for 20 years, which is the longest I have lived anywhere. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I especially enjoy turning onto my street - the view tonight was beautiful. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Our house is on the left and th... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 20:13:28 EST Spark the Season - Day 9 I try not to eat too many snacks. It seems to me that I am hungrier for the rest of the day on the days that I snack. However, I do keep a couple of things at home and at work, just for those days when I really want something. <BR> <BR> Depending on what I am in the mood for, it may be... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> or <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> both of which I kee... Thu, 11 Dec 2014 19:01:30 EST Spark the Season - Day 8 My favorite part of winter is definitely sitting in front of a warm toasty fire. One of the reasons I loved this house is because it had a fireplace. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Unfortunately, we don't use the fireplace nearly as much as I'd like. I think I'll have to work on that! Thu, 11 Dec 2014 18:36:51 EST Spark the Season - Day 7 Wow, I got way behind with my traveling home and trying to get caught up on things here. <BR> <BR> The Day 7 topic was "Best Part of the Day". For me the best part of my day is any time I get to talk to one of my kids. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> This is my oldest, Mike, and his wife, Jenn. They live about 1/2 hour away but with work schedules, we don't get to see them nearly enough. Mike isn't one to pick up the phone (neither am I f... Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:30:33 EST Spark the Season - Day 6 Since I have been away from home for just about 2 weeks, my To Do List has been growing and growing. I have really enjoyed my time with my grandsons, but I am looking forward to getting home, back to my own bed and a routine. <BR> <BR> Sorry to say, the first thing on my list is work. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my desk at home, which is appropriate since I will be getting in some work tomorrow night before I go in on Mon... Sun, 7 Dec 2014 00:13:39 EST Spark the Season - Day 5 I don't do too much in the way of homemade these days. I admire those who craft, because I am not good at it. Since it's just two of us, our meals are very simple. I've never been much of a baker either, but one thing that I make that gets requests to do again is cheesecake. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It doesn't have a crust, and it's easy to make low carb. <BR> <BR> CHEESECAKE <BR> <BR> 4 packages cream cheese <BR> 1 ½ cu... Sat, 6 Dec 2014 08:51:28 EST Spark the Season - Day 4 For today's entry of Winter Beauty, I am going back to February of this past year. This was the view from my front door. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> For me, winter always means snow. I don't think I could live somewhere that did not have all four seasons. As much as I hate driving in it, I love the look of a snow-covered landscape. Thu, 4 Dec 2014 12:07:02 EST Spark the Season - Day 3 I've been with my grandsons for about 10 days and this is who I am spending my early mornings with. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I've been taking care of Gino every morning while his dad gets ready for work and his mom takes care of the new baby. As soon as Gino is dressed in the morning, he wants to put his shoes on. As you can see, it is serious business. He loves going to daycare and gets ready with no problems in the morning.... Thu, 4 Dec 2014 00:24:34 EST Spark the Season - Day 2 I have to admit I was stuck for a bit on Tradition. As our children have grown up and moved out, many traditions have gone by the wayside. I "always" put up the tree on the first Sunday of Advent, except when I am in Florida visiting my grandsons. I "always" cooked for Thanksgiving, until my children were inviting us to their homes instead. <BR> <BR> I finally remembered one thing I still do, no matter who is where. Our first year of marriage, I bought a dated Christmas tree ornament. ... Wed, 3 Dec 2014 15:47:59 EST Spark the Season - Day 1 Today's picture is Lights. Any one who knows me knows how much I love my adopted hometown of Pittsburgh. The city is especially beautiful at night. This picture shows a Christmas tree at the Point and the lights of the city as well. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 1 Dec 2014 23:40:29 EST December Challenge - Spark The Season This was a Spark Challenge last year and I enjoyed it so much I am doing it again this year. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 1 Dec 2014 23:38:29 EST Decluttering Wrap Up I did finish those two guest rooms before I left for Florida. <BR> <BR> This room wasn't too bad. Most of the items on the bed were destined for donation to the Vietnam Vets. I was just accumulating for a pickup. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> These items just needed to find a home in a closet. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> And after - <BR> <img src=" Sun, 30 Nov 2014 23:49:20 EST A Few More Pictures Stealing a few minutes to share a few more pictures from my trip: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Gino is getting used to his baby brother. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Gino crawled under the table this morning to steal my phone from my pocket and discovered my Fitbit instead. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here is my... Wed, 26 Nov 2014 18:57:19 EST Family Picture Mom and Frankie came home from the hospital today and both are doing well. I took this picture earlier this evening. They were on a video call with family and I thought I'd take advantage. Gino saw me with the phone and gave me a big smile! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 24 Nov 2014 22:09:23 EST Happy Day So my last entry was on Monday, October 27th. On Tuesday, October 28, my pregnant DIL was put on bedrest with 5 more weeks to go. I will admit now to being a bit of a mess for the past few weeks. The distance between us has been killing me. My fertile imagination was been running rampant with possible problems and as I often do, I withdrew a bit from the world. <BR> <BR> Today, my other DIL called me on my lack of blogging and I promised myself I would get back to it (thanks, Jenn!). I ... Sat, 22 Nov 2014 00:06:23 EST Day 18 Decluttering Today I did my car, well really, my trunk. I keep my car in pretty good shape - I never know when a co-worker will ask for a ride. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But the trunk is another story. I often put things in there to mail or something and carry them around for weeks. I also will shop and not always bring everything upstairs right away, especially... Mon, 27 Oct 2014 18:55:50 EST Day 17 Decluttering I am afraid I messed up the photography on this one. After saying I wouldn't get anything done in the basement, DH and I did clear up an area this morning. We are having a new furnace put in this week and it is already a small area to work in. It was made smaller because we had a bunch of stuff lining the wall on the right side. Unfortunately, I did not take a picture before we started working. When DH is ready, you have to go! We had a faux fireplace, a set of wire shelving, and a stac... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 16:24:05 EST Day 16 Decluttering Yesterday was a nice day so I did some work outside. In the spring, I cleaned out this area in front of my house. You'd never know it looking at it now. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is right next to the front porch and is mostly covered by an overhang, so it doesn't get as much water or sun as the rest of it. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As you can see, the rest of ... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 16:12:29 EST Day 15 Decluttering My DD also took things out of the china cabinet before I took the pictures. I should have opened the glass doors, but I didn't think of it until much later, when I had moved things around. If you look closely, you can see a bit open space on the right middle shelf where she took several items. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Honestly, the best thing about ... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 15:59:48 EST Day 14 Decluttering I did this a week ago, but haven't had much time to blog. <BR> <BR> After I did the kitchen drawers, I tackled the pantry. Unfortunately, I did not take the 'before' pictures until after my DD 'shopped' there, so they don't quite as crowded and messy as they did then. <BR> <BR> The before pictures - left side, then right side: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:04:58 EST Accountability - Week 4 Part of the craziness that has been my past week was a first appointment with a new primary care doctor and practice. It turns out that the two different medications I was put on a couple of weeks ago were too much and so my new doctor took away the diuretic. I am happy about that, since I wasn't feeling great since starting it. However, another result is a temporary rebound in water weight and a gain for this week. I am up 3 pounds which puts me back where I was two weeks ago. We will r... Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:50:07 EST Day 13 Decluttering In reflecting on my comments about DH the other day, I realized that I am really not going to be able to do any work in the garage or basement. Those rooms are "his" rooms and I am not allowed to move anything. With that in mind, I decided that doing the kitchen drawers and the pantry was a lot to do in one day (especially since DD was visiting), so I decided to split that task into two days. I just did the drawers for day 13. The pantry will be next. <BR> <BR> This drawer is next to the... Sat, 18 Oct 2014 06:14:28 EST Day 12 Decluttering Wow, a few busy days at work and do I get behind! <BR> <BR> So, Wednesday was my linen closet. There is no light in the closet, and the light in the hallway is off to the side, so these pictures are a bit dark. <BR> <BR> The two top shelves are in pretty good order. I keep bathroom cleaning supplies on the top as well as some toiletries and all our meds and more toiletries on the second shelf. I got the bins a while ago to help keep these shelves in order and it works pretty well. DH in... Sat, 18 Oct 2014 05:55:40 EST Accountability - Week 3 <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Three more beads move from the left to the right this week. <BR> <BR> I just got done with work at about 10:15. The task blog is going to have to wait until tomorrow. <BR> <BR> <em>102</em> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 22:49:03 EST Day 11 Decluttering Yesterday's task was the bathroom counters and shower. Since I worked late last night, it was lucky for me that there was nothing to do. I think this is one room I just keep up without thinking, especially since my nephew is here every morning and uses it as well. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 15 Oct 2014 08:12:30 EST Day 10 Decluttering Yesterday I wound up watching my 8-year-old great-nephew all day. I had to reorganize my tasks, because there was no way I was doing the pantry and drawers with him underfoot. As it was, the laundry room took me all day, in bits and pieces. Then his mom was late and DH invited them both for dinner. They didn't leave until past 9:30 PM, so no blog last night. <BR> <BR> So my laundry room...I already mentioned the second fridge is in there, right next to the door. The top often gets clutt... Tue, 14 Oct 2014 19:22:58 EST Day 9 Decluttering Today's task is my kitchen cabinets. Our home was built in the 1950's and the cabinets have never been changed. We have a number of them, but they are a bit shallow and for the most part I keep up with them out of necessity. I only had to organize a few, so I am going to go around the kitchen in order today. <BR> <BR> The first cabinet is over the stove. It is not very accessible, so I store my "good" dishes here. You know, the ones I never use. Either it's just us or a few of our kids... Sun, 12 Oct 2014 16:08:53 EST Day 8 Decluttering (Part II) We did not always have two refrigerators. We inherited my BIL's when he lived with us for a while and then he didn't take it when he moved out. It has always been the "drink" refrigerator. It also handles overflow for holiday meals. I actually don't go in here too often unless we have company. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Being Italian, my DH is a fi... Sat, 11 Oct 2014 16:03:03 EST Day 8 Decluttering (Part 1) I figure it made sense to clean out the fridges/freezers before buying any more groceries so I tackled the project earlier in the day today. I decided to post in two parts because there are a lot of pictures. I am doing the refrigerator in the kitchen in this post and the one in the laundry room next. <BR> <BR> This is the fridge in the kitchen. It is the one we use for all the everyday stuff. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <im... Sat, 11 Oct 2014 15:45:59 EST Day 7 Decluttering And I am all caught up. Cleaning out the cabinet under the sink wasn't as bad as I thought. We had a leak a while back and we had taken some stuff out then. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I got rid of two items and then just organized the rest. The only surprise was 4 bottles of dish detergent - two full and two half-full. I guess I don't have to buy that for a while! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Fri, 10 Oct 2014 18:50:17 EST Day 6 Decluttering OK I am legitimately late with this one. I got home late yesterday, DH got home early, and I was just so tired. I started blood pressure medication last week and a diuretic this week. Tiredness is a side effect and I think it caught up with me yesterday. Since I am off today, I can get two tasks done. <BR> <BR> This morning I tackled my closet. It is pretty small, so I need to keep up on it pretty regularly. It's not too bad. The shelves need to be organized a bit and the floor has so... Fri, 10 Oct 2014 13:54:20 EST Day 5 Decluttering I know this is late, but I really did do task last night. However, I didn't get finished until 10:30 PM and I was too tired to log in and post a blog. <BR> <BR> Day 5 was my dresser and drawers. This is one of the tasks I started (but didn't finish) over the weekend. So my dresser is covered with clean laundry that I did not put away. The first drawer is already done, the second drawer is half-way done, and the bottom drawer is a mess. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople... Thu, 9 Oct 2014 08:01:07 EST