IOWAGRAMMA's SparkPeople Blog IOWAGRAMMA's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Need clever ideas on gifting money to the grands Christmas is coming and I've given up shopping for the grands and great-grands.That means no worries about the wrong size, wrong style, returns, and giving something they already have. But, opening a card with money inside isn't tons of fun for kids in the 10- teenage category, either. <BR> <BR> Last year I put cash in a toilet paper roll trimmed to fit inside a pint jar, wrapped the cardboard roll and then filled the jar with M&Ms and Skittles. They had to work a little for the cash that wa... Wed, 23 Nov 2016 14:39:21 EST Why I don't write blogs...generally... This week's challenge in the 5% challenge is to write a blog and to comment on those other members write. I generally don't do a lot of blogs for a few reasons: <BR> <BR> 1. Thinking of topics <BR> 2. Writing them so they make sense <BR> 3. Trying to decide, is it for me or for others to read <BR> 4. Getting so far behind in responding to those who respond to the blog. <BR> 5. Wondering if anyone really reads them vs. just responding with an emoticon <BR> <BR> Here is what I found out this... Fri, 18 Nov 2016 12:40:37 EST Thanksgiving blessings...unsung heroes Today I visited my sister who lives about 75 miles away. She's four years younger than I, and has had a lifetime of physical and mental issues. For the last four years she's lived in a nursing home, but prior to that she lived in a group home for 6 years, and in multiple residential settings before that. <BR> <BR> Marilyn doesn't ask me for much, but she's very social and enjoys interacting with others a great deal. At times, she is pretty needy in that respect, and I know she asks lots of ... Wed, 16 Nov 2016 19:27:11 EST My birthday story This year is the first for as long as I can remember that I won't hear my birthday story from my Mom. She passed away in early January just a few weeks before her 94th birthday. Today I am missing her more than ever...only good memories, but no more phone calls with my birthday story, among other things. Then I remembered that about 5 years ago I wrote a blog about my birthday story. I hunted it up and I think it is sweet and funny and I'd love to share it with you. Hard to believe what life ... Tue, 15 Nov 2016 15:27:36 EST Monday matters... Monday used to matter in so many ways. <BR> <BR> It's the day I used to start all my diets. It's the day I had to go back to work after a busy weekend (loving these retirement years!!). It was the first day home after a vacation and besides going back to work, we needed to get all the work done that we'd missed by being away. I'm sure you have your own list of things you've dealt with on a Monday. <BR> <BR> Now Monday matters to me in a different way. For one thing, I no longer start diets... Mon, 14 Nov 2016 12:12:54 EST A blog a day... A blog a day is a hard thing for me to do, but that's part of the challenge for the final week of the Fall 5% Challenge. Hmm...what to write about? The challenges of traveling and trying to stay true to my food plan? Issues related to disappointment and sadness because of an unexpected loss? Helpful hints for my fellow challengers and Spark Friends? Coping with the loss of a dear friend? These and others are all worthy topics. <BR> <BR> No. Instead I think I'll reflect briefly on my birthda... Sun, 13 Nov 2016 12:52:36 EST 5% Challenges Are you one of those people who have seen reference made to the 5% Challenges, but didn't know what it was all about? Are you interested in checking it out? Are you looking for a way to get fit, lose weight, and have fun along the way? Check out the Winter 5% Challenge! Team members will work towards losing 5% of their starting weight in 8 weeks by participating in team challenges that focus on exercise & healthy lifestyle habits. <BR> <BR> Let’s have fun, make new friends and get in shape!... Sat, 12 Nov 2016 20:08:14 EST How do you get 120 Exercise/Fitness minutes each day? Those who know me fairly well also know that I'm no fan of exercise. I've switched to calling it fitness, as it has a more positive sound for me. Exercise (to me) is what "they" tell you to do because it is important, but fitness (to me) means that I am working to get my body fitter and stronger. Just my little effort to try to improve my outlook about it. <BR> <BR> Here's my question for all you exercise (or fitness) stars, particularly those of you who do 120 minutes or more a day: what on... Fri, 21 Oct 2016 10:50:26 EST 10,000 Steps a Day: where did this come from? Great article on Huffington Post Healthy Living about the recommendation that we've all heard many, many times. Check it out...very interesting! <link><BR>/10000-steps-walk-day_b_7604514.html </link> <em>311</em> <em>311</em> <em>311</em> <em>311</em> <em>311</em> <em>311</em> Mon, 22 Jun 2015 17:46:33 EST Forming New Habits: How Long Does it Take? Think it takes 21 days to form a new habit? Think again!! Take a look at this report of a study that looked at that exact question. Good info for all of us to think about. <BR> <BR> <link><BR>orm-new-habits_b_7346170.html </link> Fri, 29 May 2015 13:38:42 EST Getting Naked On Tuesday I conquered the Silver Sneakers exercise class. Well, that’s using the term loosely, as I already wrote about how those “seniors” kicked my butt! Today was hard, too, but it was good. <BR> <BR> Yesterday was pool day. I have been looking forward to it ever since I got the bug to join the Y. Water aerobics, stretching and flexing is great for the body. But, I admit it…I was apprehensive about getting naked in front of a bunch of people I didn’t know. Shoot, I’d be apprehensive i... Thu, 31 Jul 2014 20:37:18 EST The Joke's on Me Recently I joined our local Y. It is literally 5 minutes from where we live. I've wanted to do water exercises at the pool there, and I finally convinced myself that I am worth the investment of $30 a month. Sadly, the pool exercises that I can do right now are offered only 3 mornings a week. I searched through the rest of the offerings and spotted one on Tuesdays and Thursday s. It’s called Silver Sneakers Classic. Perfect! I can make better use of my membership if I do this on the “off” day... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:38:53 EST I Give UP!!! I am giving up! No, not permanently, but for a day or two! <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> Richard had ankle fusion surgery on 6/25 and came home from the hospital on 6/27 in a cast and with instructions for no weight bearing for 6 weeks. He's been terrific. I couldn't ask for anyone better to take care of. But...I do need to take care of him. <BR> <BR> Our DD from Virginia and her dog surprised us with an unexpected visit on 6/29 and will be here until this Thursday. Totally unplanned on our pa... Tue, 8 Jul 2014 17:21:12 EST My Three Ps Remember that old TV show called "My Three Sons?" Simpler times and a peek into the life that some of the early TV writers must have thought we would all seek to achieve. Actually, that has nothing to do with what I'm going to blog about, but my three ps made me think about the three sons! I have a wandering mind this morning. <BR> <BR> Here are the three words beginning with the letter P that I focused on this morning during my walk. <BR> <BR> Plan ahead: If I don't plan, I always fail.... Mon, 9 Jun 2014 11:25:27 EST Meditations for Women If you find meditation hard to do (I have trouble quieting my mind), but would like a quick way to reflect on helpful and important ways to improve your life, think about signing up for the free daily email from Jane Powell. There's a separate one for weight loss, as well as a few other topics. Thanks to one of my teammates, dear friends and awesome co-leader on our Over 60++ team for the information. You know who you are, Jill!! <BR> <BR> These daily one-minute meditations are truly amaz... Wed, 28 May 2014 16:43:46 EST Wise Sayings and Things to Ponder It's no secret I live in Iowa. (You all get that, right?) <em>30</em> We have a wonderful magazine called "Our Iowa" that is filled with fantastic photos, great articles and yes...wise sayings and quotes. Today I was looking through the last issue and ran across a few things that I thought I'd share with you. Most of them fall into the "for what it's worth" column and in no particular order (except for one I saved for last). <BR> <BR> Wrinkles are hereditary. Parents get them from their ... Tue, 27 May 2014 15:10:37 EST Why Me? Monday Musings Did you ever wonder "why me?" I've fallen into that trap so many times it isn't funny. Why am I the fat one who can't say no to that extra serving of the yummy dessert? Why do I have to be the one who has to shop in the plus size section of the stores? What did I ever do to deserve all these obesity related issues? <BR> <BR> Uh oh...I think I fell into my own trap!!! What did I do to deserve plus sized clothing and obesity issues, among other things? Hmmm...did I treat myself to way too m... Mon, 26 May 2014 13:38:02 EST My Personal Nemesis Okay...maybe I can get into this blogging stuff. No promises...the jury is still out on that one. But, for today I think I'll write about my personal nemesis: evening eating. It might be really brief. Not much to say that hasn't already been said, either by me or others. <BR> <BR> I do great all day long. Healthy, happy breakfast and lunches. Often I have a little mid-afternoon snack. Again, it is almost always a healthy choice. Dinner rolls around and since I almost always have it planned ... Sun, 25 May 2014 10:31:37 EST Blogging...who, me? Do I have to? Why? Why? Why? It's part of the Spring 5% Challenge I've been in. This is the final week. I haven't done so well weight wise. And now, the last "living the good life" challenge is to blog daily. Drats...I was hoping we'd get away without this being one of the LTGL challenges. <BR> <BR> The truth is (as you can already see), I don't really care to do much blogging. I always think I have to be really clever. Or, I have to have something profound that everyone is just waiting to ... Sat, 24 May 2014 14:19:51 EST Thinking, Thinking, Thinking <em>38</em> Have you ever thought about how much time we spend thinking about food? Eat this; eat that; shop for this or that; track it before or track it after; plan your menus; look for recipes; should I or shouldn't I? And it goes on and on!! <BR> <BR> Today I was thinking about how much thinking I do about food and eating and find it amazing that there is almost no part of my life that is not consumed (see what I mean) by food! <BR> <BR> I'm not complaining and I have plenty of oth... Sun, 19 Jan 2014 17:18:25 EST Honesty--Revisited Just an update to my last blog about honesty. Not only did I not follow through, but I've added pounds and consequently, more work to do. Today I updated my weight, got a starting weight for my team's challenge, and put it all out there. Frustrating to find that my clothes are not fitting well and the weight keeps creeping up there. I know that I can and will move forward, putting all this behind me. I don't feel like I'm starting over, because I don't feel as if I ever quit...just screwed ... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 15:47:58 EST Honesty Hubby and I have always prided ourselves on being honest and having plenty of integrity. Recently, however, I believe I was being less than honest. If I can't be honest with my SP friends and teammates, I certainly can't be honest with myself (and vice versa)! <BR> <BR> All this is to say that I finally corrected my weight tracker to reflect an accurate weight (as of last Sunday). I make a vow here and now to record my weight on a weekly basis and to honestly report my progress (or lack).... Tue, 5 Nov 2013 15:28:24 EST Fell into a big hole I dug... and I’m having trouble getting out again. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> You really didn't think I was digging by hand, did you? <em>20</em> <BR> <BR> Poor choices, limited exercise (other than cleaning and purging the basement and closets), way, way too much restaurant eating and blah, blah, blah! It has done me in. Like a lot of us, I start every day with great intentions, but along the way life jumps in and the hole just kee... Sun, 14 Jul 2013 18:12:43 EST Attacked by a Shamrock Shake Well, I guess in truth, I was the one doing the attacking. In spite of my best plans and intentions, I'm fallen quite short with maintaining healthy eating and exercise. I've gotten my stretching done each day for the 5% challenge, but no real exercise other than 3,000 -4,000 steps. I even had to estimate that one day as the Fitbit said I had 28, which I knew was terribly wrong as I knew I had more steps than that just going to the restrooms!! LOL! <em>311</em> <BR> <BR> So, the shake? ... Fri, 15 Mar 2013 21:33:12 EST Apples and all those things are packed up and ready to go! We're leaving in the morning for our very long ride home to Iowa from Arizona via south Texas!! Lots of miles, lots of riding and possibly way too much togetherness over a period of 10 days of being confined TOGETHER in the car! I can do this, I can do this...really, I can do this! <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> I've bought fresh fruit, baby carrots, low-sodium V8 juice and yogurt to eat for some of our meals. I have hard boiled eggs for the first few days. I have a... Wed, 13 Mar 2013 00:05:18 EST Progress Report: Day 6 (Do you need some motivation or advice?) I'm again chuckling about today's blog assignment topic! <em>246</em> Do I need some motivation or advice? Yes, I'd like to order some of both, please. Maybe package it well so I can be sure to get it transported back home with me as we start our travels next week. In fact, a double order would be nice! <em>20</em> <BR> <BR> In truth, I continue to feel motivated and positive about "containing" my old habit of night time eating and starting a new one of limiting it successfully. I ... Thu, 7 Mar 2013 14:53:26 EST Progress report: what can I improve on ? For some reason, today's topic really tickles my funny bone! Where can I improve? What do I need to work on? Well...duh...just about everything! I know the topic is supposed to be a continuation of the plan I laid out earlier this week, and I'll get to that in a second, but don't you think that's a loaded question? <em>334</em> Just my quirky sense of humor, I guess. <BR> <BR> Well, to be serious...I have made great plans, I have put it all out there for everyone to see and I'm working it... Wed, 6 Mar 2013 21:29:48 EST Progress Report: consistency and night time eating Today our assignment for the 5% challenge is to provide a progress report on our daily challenges and habit building. This should be short: my progress is okay...not great, not horrible! I'm feeling somewhat positive about the fact that I'm not eating myself out of house and home in the evenings. <BR> <BR> I've had microwave popcorn two evenings, which is not one of my trigger foods, so I'm okay with that. Haven't had anything else that would get me into trouble. My days have been satisfac... Tue, 5 Mar 2013 21:48:11 EST Day 3 5% Challenge: encouraging myself Wow...tough one for me! I like to encourage others. I love being a co-leader on a team of awesomely supportive and helpful teammates. We encourage one another and are concerned for our welfare and progress. But, encourage myself? <em>198</em> <BR> <BR> Here is what I'll work on: <BR> 1. I will keep Sparking. It is my lifeline to paying attention and being accountable to myself (tracking, chatting, challenges, etc.) <BR> 2. I will reach out for help when I am down instead of waiting u... Mon, 4 Mar 2013 21:38:11 EST 5% Challenge: plan for developing my new habit Thanks, everyone, for your comments on my first blog. Several of you mentioned being interested in the next chapter. Truthfully, I am, too! LOL! As I understand our assignment for the 5% challenge, I'm to describe how I will develop my new habits and manage my ongoing challenges of problems with consistency and night time eating (my identified problem areas). Hopefully, by the time I'm finished writing here, I'll have a workable plan in place. <BR> <BR> I've had a big problem with maintaini... Sun, 3 Mar 2013 17:55:14 EST 5% Winter Challenge LTGL Blogging: consistency and managing my night time snacking Sometimes I blog, sometimes I don't! It isn't something I like to do all that much, which is why I only do it every few months or so. However, for the 5% Winter Challenge, it is important that I choose something to work on changing or improving in my journey to better health. <em>256</em> <BR> <BR> I've been somewhat successful over that last nearly 2 years at taking off some of the pounds that need shedding, but I get sidetracked along the way. For me, consitency is a huge issue...I ... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 15:48:14 EST WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH ME? I have been on this path to better health and weight loss for a long time now. I know what works and I know how to make it all work for me…good and healthy food choices; weighing, measuring and tracking; exercise that helps develop muscle strength and gets my heart pumping; and, planning ahead for meals and unexpected events. There are lots of other little tricks I’ve learned along the way, too, including controlling evening eating by closing the kitchen and getting out of there, and not bu... Thu, 20 Dec 2012 15:21:24 EST Wandering Thoughts: How do you measure a banana? <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <em>265</em> <BR> <BR> Just curious about something...we went grocery shopping yesterday, which happens about once a week at this house. I always tell Richard to get the smallest bananas he can find (not those itty bitty 2-3 inch kind, but small). Then I got to thinking about measuring bananas and I wonder how you all measure them? I usually "eyeball" them and decide if it looks like a small vs... Sun, 7 Oct 2012 19:35:19 EST She Slogs No More Some of you will remember that I recently blogged about my slogging (well, that rhymes, too—LOL). This was a new form of exercise for me started because I’m easily bored and need to find something new to do fairly frequently. Well…I tried jogging, only it was verrry slooow and resembled a stumbling bumble more than anything else. I kind of liked it and even signed up for the SP 5K Beginning Runners challenge. It was great the first couple weeks. My Team and I decided “slogging” was an approp... Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:46:55 EST Company's Coming This afternoon I went grocery shopping. That's not unusual, I know, but we're getting company Sunday evening. DH's cousins (2 couples) are coming from Kansas City and will be staying until Tuesday morning. I can't even remember all the things I bought that I haven't had in my grocery cart for such a long time: ice cream, crackers, summer sausage, chips and dip, a lot of cheese, etc. I also bought plenty of fresh fruit and veggies, but the problem isn't over-eating those's all the ... Fri, 7 Sep 2012 19:50:43 EST IT'S PARTY TIME!!!!! <BR> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>244</em> <em>104</em> <em>334</em> <em>252</em> <em>224</em> <em>9</em> <em>304</em> <em>304</em> <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> YES, I'M SHOUTING!! My teammates on the Over 60+++ Team know what has me up so early and yelling my head off. I MADE IT TO ONEDERLAND THIS MORNING!! <BR> <BR> Since I weigh every day, I didn't think it would happen this week, much as I've w... Sun, 2 Sep 2012 08:34:16 EST Reflections on Two Weeks of SLOG Walking My teammates on the Over 60++ Team know what I’m referring to, but for anyone else who might be reading this, you might be wondering. A little background: a year ago, I was pushing myself to be able to walk a mile at one time. It was one of my short-term goals and by Labor Day of 2011 I managed to get it done. Later, I got the distance up to 2 miles, stayed in that distance range for a long time, but by mid-summer of this year I finished the SP 5K Your Way Walking challenge. <BR> <BR> I’m ... Sat, 18 Aug 2012 15:00:25 EST Take Your Smile With You Another little poem from that pad of stationery I found hidden in my desk drawer...I like this one, too. <BR> <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> <BR> Take Your Smile With You <BR> <BR> Take your smile with you <BR> Wherever you go-- <BR> Keep it bright, use it, <BR> For you never know <BR> Who's tired and discouraged <BR> And sadhearted, too, <BR> And waiting for sunshine <BR> And friendship from you! <BR> Keep your smile handy <BR> And pass it along-- <BR> You'll find in return <BR> You've a heart f... Sat, 11 Aug 2012 09:31:04 EST You Can Do It! I was just cleaning out a desk drawer and ran across a pad of stationery with some inspirational verses on most of the pages. The first one I ran across really spoke to me today, so I thought I'd share it with you. <BR> <BR> <em>306</em> <BR> <BR> Giving up is easy <BR> when your dreams seem far away <BR> and life is full of obstacles-- <BR> you face them every day-- <BR> but, no matter what the challenge, <BR> some faith can get you through it-- <BR> so never quit believing... <BR> just ... Wed, 8 Aug 2012 15:01:39 EST In Case You Have Doubts--a Little Challenge for You! Have you been thinking about your weight loss as being a “drop in the bucket” compared to what you still have to lose? As you’ve been shedding a few pounds have you had doubts about whether it was making any difference to your body? I had an experience today that might help you to look at it in a little different way. I’ll get to that in a minute, but for right now I want to challenge you to find something around your house that is close to the number of pounds you’ve shed so far. It doesn’t... Fri, 20 Jul 2012 19:29:54 EST Sunday Musings <em>258</em> I think these are tomatoes. Just had to share that we picked the first tomatoes of the season yesterday and sliced a couple for our noon meal today. There is nothing like that first bite of fresh, home-grown tomato! We were in heaven. Sliced a larger one for tonight and had tomato sandwiches. My all time favorite sandwich is white bread with Miracle Whip and a big thick slice of tomato with a tiny bit of salt and pepper. Mmmm! But, in the interests of better eating practices... Sun, 15 Jul 2012 19:45:25 EST The Day After the 5K MY Way Since I walked the 5K yesterday <em>364</em> (70 minutes in case you missed my blog), and today would be a day of rest, I haven't been worrying too much about exercise today. In fact, I haven't thought about it at all until now when I was doing some Sparking. I think that's interesting in itself, as nothing feet and legs are fine, nothing happened to my body to make me think walking that far in the heat was a bad idea, and I feel a little like something is missing from my routi... Sat, 7 Jul 2012 16:37:19 EST The 5K MY Way Okay...been yakking about this for weeks now. Signed up for the SP 5K Your Way Walking Challenge and have been in "training" since. I followed the recommended walks and times. So, today was the day! <BR> <BR> Yes, I did it! It wasn't pretty and I won't win any prizes for speed, but I did it! It took me a long time and I even got up extra early (something I don't do very often) to beat the heat. 70 minutes after I started I staggered up the steps to the house and I'm now cooling off in air... Fri, 6 Jul 2012 08:39:55 EST My Excuses <em>301</em> <em>311</em> <em>4</em> <em>301</em> <em>311</em> <em>4</em> <em>301</em> <em>311</em> <em>4</em> <BR> <BR> I've been on a plateau for several months. Actually, it wasn't a plateau so much as it was a go-nowhere situation. I'd gain and lose the same 3 pounds or so and wasn't making any real progress. Finally, I think I have my head screwed back on the right way, and I've given a lot of thought to what was going on. <BR> <BR> I was making excuses. Maybe not verbally a... Wed, 20 Jun 2012 19:57:35 EST A Couple of Little Victories Two things happened yesterday that I feel pretty good about. The first is that I was "scheduled" to do walking for the 5K Your Way walking plan I'm working on. It was hot. It was humid. I was tired. I didn't want to do it. But...I did do it and I'm glad I did. I can't say I felt any better after I got home. It was still hot. It was still humid. I was even more tired, but the bottom line is that I did it. <BR> <BR> <em>67</em> <em>259</em> <em>198</em> <em>67</em> <em>259</em> <em>198... Sun, 17 Jun 2012 14:43:30 EST Noel's Potato Patch Over the past several weeks on the Over 60++ Team we've had some discussions about potatoes (among other things)! Several teammates (including me) love potatoes! So much so they've threatened to steal mine from the garden. But, I did promise to provide an update to how the potatoes are progressing and keep a close eye on them to make sure none are missing. <BR> <BR> So, especially for Noel, here's the pics I promised! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Wed, 13 Jun 2012 08:46:29 EST Last Weekend's Project Some of my team mates know that I live in an old farm house. It was built in 1900 and ever since we bought it (almost 5 years ago), we've worked on one project after another. We do most of the work ourselves, but we know when to call someone else in! However, one project we did was to replace the kitchen carpeting with a pretty pine floor. DH put it all down and then I stained and put the polyurethane on it. Unfortunately, it didn't get quite finished, so after nearly 4 years, last weekend... Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:57:43 EST My NO EXCUSE PLEDGE Coming a little late to the party, but I believe it with all my heart! I've printed it and hung several copies around. <BR> <BR> Today, I promise I will not quit. <BR> I pledge that no matter, how many ups and downs I pass through, <BR> I will continue on my journey. <BR> I pledge to make a NEW START today, and forgive myself for my past, and to stop being so critical of myself. <BR> I pledge to take control of myself, to stop making excuses, and stop blaming other people or situations. ... Wed, 18 Apr 2012 09:26:01 EST Bittersweet...Special Memories <img src=""> <BR> I love Spring! Living in Iowa means we have bigger changes of the seasons than in lots of other places, although this year the winter was so mild that Spring arrived much earlier than usual. Spring time always brings promises of new beginnings and opportunities. The flowers and trees are just beautiful, and cutting the grass and being outside working in flower beds and the garden is like play time to me. (It does get a ... Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:13:46 EST Slip, Slidin' Away Remember that song? The chorus goes something like this: <BR> <BR> Slip, slidin' away. <BR> Slip, slidin' away. <BR> You know the nearer your destination, <BR> the more you're slip, slidin' away. <BR> <BR> This last month or so I've felt like I was slip, sliding away from my destination and from what I know works for me. I was looking for (and finding) excuses to not eat properly and excuses to make poor choices. I was talking the talk without walking the walk; I was easing up on the ex... Tue, 28 Feb 2012 14:59:04 EST