9 Tried and True Beach Foods

It’s beach season. Do you have plans to head to the beach within the next month to soak up a little sun and have a little fun? When I head to the beach I stay for most of the day. That means I pack plenty of food, drinks and a good book. Over the years, I’ve had food fails and successes when packing our lunch/snack bag.

I’ve learned to invest in a good insulated food bag to ensure the ice doesn’t melt and having it on wheels doesn’t hurt either. My cooler has 4 plates, which is great for the kids. I pack it with plenty of ice so everything stays cool. Baggies are my best friend on the beach. I double bag everything to ensure the food stays dry and to help keep the sand away.  Sand somehow seems to land on everything, and we all know that it sticks.  I actually have a cooler for the food that needs to stay cool and tote for the dry goods like chips, crackers, cookies/brownies, wipes, small cups, forks, plastic grocery bags etc.

I’ve also learned to pack foods that can be handled by both children and adults. Finger foods are great beach foods. I can have the children sit and relax in their beach chairs and they can handle the finger foods on their own or with a napkin. Finger foods are also easy to obtain from a container or baggies.

Our favorite foods to take to the beach are:

1.  Lettuce Wraps – Lettuce wraps eliminates the need for bread and is a much healthier alternative. The wraps go over much better with adults. Anything green is still an enemy for the kids. Another reason we love wraps is because they are so versatile. You can wrap chicken or tuna salad, spicy shredded beef etc., and control the size of the wraps. If you pack anything with mayo make sure is housed on ice. I use plastic containers to house the wraps because they are water proof and I can cover the container well with the ice.

2. Pepperoni Slices – These are great for both the kids and adults.  You can pack low fat or turkey pepperoni.  Pack plenty, these are a favorite.

3. Fresh Fruits – I love freezing seedless grapes. They are so refreshing after being out in the sun. I also slice a seedless watermelon and cut each slice into 4-6 pieces. I place the slices into gallon zip lock baggies. The children can handle eating it, and the adults devour their share too. Chopped cantaloupe, honeydew or strawberries will work too. Just chop it and place in a gallon baggie. Use a plastic cup to hold the chopped fruit when you’re ready to eat it.

4. Mason Jar Salads – These are great for adults.  I would recommend chopping your ingredients into bit size pieces before you place them in a pint size jar. You can add your favorite dressing before leaving the house. A plastic fork is the only utensil you will need.

5. Fried or Baked Chicken Wing Pieces – These are a huge hit with the kids. They are easy to handle and eat without a plate. I double bag these in gallon baggies and just let the kids grab a few. Place the bones in a plastic bag and just throw them in the trash.

6. Cheese Cubes/Slices and Crackers – The kids love cheese cubes. I buy a bag of the cubed cheese and transfer it to a zip lock baggie. It’s easier to access them from the baggie than the package from the store. I also pack sliced cheese to place between crackers for the kids. They love it.

7.  Brownies – My family loves brownies. I cut them into small squares and place them into baggies. Nice sweet treat without the mess.

8.  Rolled Deli Turkey or Ham – I take deli ham or turkey and roll it. I take a long toothpick and place it through a few olives before placing it through the rolled meat. Both the kids and adults like this. You can also add a slice of cheese to the top of the meat before you roll it.

9.  Chips –  Not healthy, but always great at the beach.  You can purchase low fat or baked. My family doesn’t care. If the bag says chips, it’s on.

Be sure to pack plenty of water, Gatorade, or flavor infused water. It’s better than sugary fruit drinks. I also take a container of wipes that I purchase from the dollar store to whip hands before and after handling the food. What’s your favorite foods to take to the beach?  Please add them to our list, we may want to pack them to.

Virginia Beach Neptune Festival


Virginia Beach Neptune Festival, summer activities in Virginia Beach, Things To Do In Virginia, beach activities


If you’re looking for an event to attend with the family in the Hampton Roads area, check out the Neptune Festival in Virginia Beach, VA. It’s a great way to spend the day with the family, soak up some sun and end the summer with a bang.

First, the festival start in September.  So, be sure to check the site for up to date information.  You can stroll along the boardwalk from 18th – 29th street and find vendors under a sea of white canopies selling their wares.  Furthermore, the smell of delicious foods will engulf you. If you decide to attend, find the vendor selling the fish tacos. They are yummy in your tummy. Also, they sell veggie burgers, gyros, and a variety of other foods.   Musicians will gladly entertain throughout the day.

Next, what excites me about the festival is the artists who create the sand sculptures.  They are amazing.  So, the sculptors bring their skills from the USA and around the world.  I have seen sculptors from Russia, Holland, Canada, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Ireland and Singapore.  As a result, big money is up for grabs and big sculptures will rise on the sand. The precision that the sculptors use is incredible.

As a result, it is so much fun to walk along the beach and check out these beautiful works of art.  To give you a taste of what you will see here’s a few pictures from prior festivals:




As a matter of fact, the first time that I saw sand sculptures was in Venice Beach, CA.  I couldn’t believe that such beautiful artwork could be made out of sand.  I was hooked.  Fortunately, my daughter moved to Virginia Beach years ago.  So, I try to attend the Neptune Festival when I can.  The sand artists never disappoint.

Additionally, if you’re willing to pay an entry fee, you can sit under this massive canopy.  If the weather is not cooperating, it’s a perfect place to watch the artists sculpt.  The fee also allows you to mingle with the artists.

Last, mark your calendar for the annual Neptune Festival.  Parking can be found on Pacific Avenue without too much trouble.  And, it allows easy access to the boardwalk.  Be sure to bring a stroller for baby, hat and your sunscreen. You’ll want to spend the day.  Finally, you may also like 9 Budget Friendly Activities in Virginia Beach.

21 Must See Girl Flicks

Do you have a stash of girl flicks?  If you don’t have one, you should start a collection. I love watching old  movies either with the girls, family night or on the week-ends while I’m relaxing. While I was dusting off my collection of old DVDs and VHS movies, I thought about the good times I had watching them with my daughter when she was growing up. I love looking back on those days, and I’m so glad I created those memories for her and me. 
Watching old movies is good for the soul? They make you laugh, cry and remember the time period when those movies were popular. For me, I remembered where I lived when I watch certain movies. Things were said or done when I watched them with family or friends. The last time I watched a few of the old movies, I remembered the old townhouse that I l lived in before I purchased the home that I live in today. I remember everything about that house and neighborhood so vividly. As you get older, you realize that so many things change. Unfortunately, we can’t stop change but we can always reminisce.  
I’m always adding to my collection. I check out the movie boxes in stores like Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Kmart and don’t forget yard sales. I have grabbed quite a few of my favs for $5.00 at these places. I also look for them used on Amazon. There’s a shipping cost of $3.99, but if I can get the movie in good to excellent condition for a few bucks it’s worth it. 
Here’s a few of favorite girl flicks from my collection:   

1. The American President – I love any movie Michael Douglas is in. Annette Bening stars in this movie as well as Martin Sheen and Michael J. Fox.  Who says the President of the United States can’t pursue a beautiful woman and run the country at the same time. That is exactly what happens in The American President, but not without hitting a few bumps in the road. My favorite line in the movie is Michael Douglas telling Annette Bening how he manages to give a woman flowers and be  President, “Well it turns out I have a rose garden.”

2. Baby Boom – Diane Keaton another great actress plays her role perfectly in Baby Boom. Diane stars as a Manhattan executive who inherits a baby. She buys a house sight unseen in Vermont and leaves Manhattan to raise Elizabeth, but not without problems. The house has so many issues that it nearly breaks her financially and causes her to have a nervous breakdown. She gets her bearings and decides to come up with a plan to sell the house and move back to Manhattan. In the mean time she makes homemade apple sauce for her little picky eater and decides to try selling a few jar in one of the country stores. It’s a hit. She starts selling the applesauce as all natural gourmet apple sauce and babies across the country love it. She also falls in love. Will she stay in Vermont or will she return to Manhattan? Best line in the movie Diane Keaton, “I can’t have a baby because I have a 12:30 lunch meeting.”


3. Boomerang – I normally don’t take pleasure in other people’s pain, but I don’t have a problem with a player when he gets played. That’s is exactly what happens when things are reversed and Robin Givens who is Eddie Murphy’s boss in the movie plays him like a fiddle. Yes Robin Givens dishes out the same treatment to Eddie Murphy that he has dished out to women over the years. Murphy finds her treatment humiliating. She leaves him in love and in despair. Halle Berry tries to help Marcus through his pain. They become close. Will he go back to Robin Givens or stay with Halle Berry? The best line in the movie is Halle Berry to Eddie Murphy, “What do you know about love? What could you possibly know about love? You know, I’m sick and tired of men using love as if it’s some disease you just catch. Love should have brought your ass home last night.”  Funny movie.   



4. Driving Miss Daisy – One of my favorite movies with Morgan Freeman who plays Hoke, an African American chauffeur in the movie. Jessica Tandy is Miss Daisy and Dan Aykroyd plays her son. Morgan Freeman is hired by Dan Aykroyd to drive Miss Daisy’s, Jessica Tandy, after she wrecks her car. Jessica Tandy is not receptive to the idea for various reasons and makes her feelings know in various way. She soon grows fond of Freeman. A wonderful relationship is formed. She teaches Freeman to read and tells him that he is her best friend. The story line also touches on racial tension in the country. You have to get the tissues out a few times for this one. It touches your heart. My favorite line in the movie is Dan Aykroyd telling Jessica Tandy, “You’re a doodle, Mama.”

5.  Fatal Attraction – I have one word to say about this movie, Psycho!  As far as I’m concerned this movie has to be Glenn Close’s best performance. She has an affair with Michael Douglas who is a married lawyer with a child. His wife, Ann Archer, is out of town with the kid for the week-end. Douglas thinks he can return to his normal life, but Close has other plans for them. She wants to take things to another level, and she does. She tells Douglas she’s pregnant. He wants nothing to do with her and tries to that make that clear. She can’t process it and she’s not willing to accept that heart breaking news. She breaks into their home, kidnaps the kid and tries to kill his wife. This movie will have you on the edge of your seat no matter how many times you watch it.  My favorite line in the movie is Douglas to Close, “I’ll pity you… I’ll pity you. I’ll pity you because you’re sick. Close – “Why? Because I won’t allow you treat me like some slut you can just bang a couple of times and throw in the garbage?”

6. The Body Guard – What a team, Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. Hold on for a second, I need to make the steam off the TV screen.  Great performance and sound track for this movie. Whitney Houston stars as a singer in this movie who is receiving death threats and is being stalked. Her manager hires former CIA Agent Frank Farmer, Kevin Costner, to protect her. Houston and Costner get close and sleep together. Costner finds it hard to protect her because he’s emotionally involved, so he breaks off the relationship. Houston defies his strategies to keep her safe, but learns that she must rely on him to keep her safe. Great performances by both.  My favorite line in the movie is Kevin Costner to Whitney Houston, “I’m here to keep you alive, not help you shop.”

7. Legally BlondeI loved Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. She plays a dizzy blonde who is dumped by her boyfriend. She’s crushed, she expected him to ask her to marry him before he heads off to Harvard Law School. She decides to join him at Harvard, hoping that he will take her seriously and they can rekindle their relationship. She finds out the he is engaged to his old girlfriend. After she comes to term with the fact that he will never take her seriously, Witherspoon decides to complete her journey through law school for her. She gets serious about her grades and lands a position on a team of law students who have been selected to defend one of her rich sorority buddies. Witherspoon ends up being the head lawyer, guided by a senior attorney on the team, and wins the case. She also wins the heart of the senior lawyer who guided her. Funny movie!  My favorite line in the movie, “Don’t stomp your little last season Prada shoes at me, honey.”


8. Maid In Manhattan – Jennifer Lopez stars as a maid, Marisa, working in a posh hotel. She is a single mother raising a son, and is working hard to get promoted. Her son often spends time at the hotel until she finishes her shift. A co-worker convinces her to try on a guest’s designer Dolce & Gabbana coat. Mean while her son has met and bonded with senatorial candidate Christopher Marshall, Ralph Fiennes. Her son wants to go for a walk with the candidate and seeks out his mother to obtain permission. She’s wearing the Dolce & Gabbana coat, and is mistaken for the socialite who’s room she is cleaning. She decides join her son and the candidate on their walk, and the candidate quickly falls for her. She continues to hide her identity and tries to avoid him, but he continues to pursue her. She is eventually exposed, but love conquers all and proves that dreams really do come true.  My favorite line in the movie is the candidate telling Caroline, who he mistakenly invites to lunch thinking she was Marisa, “The first lunch was a mistake. A second would be complete torture.”


9. Two Can Play That Game –  Vivica Fox, Morris Chestnut, Wendy Racquel Robinson, Monique, Bobby Brown, and Anthony Anderson star in this movie. Vivica Fox, an Executive, and Morris Chestnut, an attorney, are dating. Their relationship is threaten when it seems Morris Chestnut is crossing the line to straying. Vivica Fox considers herself to be a relationship expert and claims to know all of a man’s tricks. She develops a plan to get Morris in line. Let the battle begin. Funny movie with an all star cast. My favorite line in the movie is Anthony Andersonn, ” The CIA ain’t got shit on a woman with a plan!”


10. Monster In Law – Jane Fonda makes her return in Monster In Law along with Jennifer Lopez, Wanda Sykes, and Michael Vartan. Jane Fonda is a newscaster that has been replaced with a younger less intelligent girl newscaster. Wanda Sykes is Jane Fonda’s assistance. To put the icing on the cake after she is replaced her son, Michael Vartan, falls in love with Jennifer Lopez. Michael is a doctor, Jennifer is a dog walker, artist, and yoga instructor. Jane Fonda does everything in her power to sabotage their relationship. She fears losing her son to a younger woman. She works to make Jennifer’s life hell and almost succeeds, until Jennifer decides to fight back. Hilarious movie.  My favorite line in the movie is Wanda Sykes to Jane Fonda, “Fix your hair. You look like a damn cockatoo.”

11. An Officer and a Gentleman –  This is where I fell in love with Richard Gere.  Long before Pretty Woman. I do love a man in a uniform. Richard Gere stars with Louis Gossett Jr. and Debra Winger in this movie. Richard Gere plays an Aviation Officer Candidate who doesn’t see eye to eye with his training instructor Louis Gossett Jr. He also engages in a relationship with Debra Winger as he struggles to complete his 13 week training as a candidate. He’s been warned about the local girls who get pregnant or pretend they are pregnant in hopes of marrying a Navy pilot. He keeps his heart guarded, he doesn’t plan on being around longer than his 13 weeks. After graduating from the program, he plans to move on with his life and become a US Navy pilot. His heart won’t let him, he can’t leave without the woman he tried so heart not to fall in love with. Beautiful teary eyed ending.  My favorite line in the movie is Debra Winger talking to Richared Gere, “You know something, you ain’t nothing special. You got no manners, you treat woman like whores and if you ask me you got no chance of being no officer.”


12. Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion – Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino star as Romy and Michele in this comedy. They’ve been Besties since high school and they’re heading back to their 10 year reunion, but not before they reinvent themselves. Neither have been ambitious, so they’re not pleased with who they are or what they’ve accomplished in the last 10 years. They borrow a friend’s jaguar and head to Arizona to celebrate with old schoolmates. While in route they decide that they will tell class-mates that they invented Post its. Mira Sorvino wants to take credit on the invention and thinks Lisa Kudrow should take credit for them being yellow. Lisa thinks that is an insult to her intelligence and by the time they arrive at the reunion they aren’t speaking. Making it through the reunion and living up to the Post it scheme proves difficult. Will their friendship survive? My favorite line in the movie, Mira Sorvini mocking the movie Pretty Woman – “Aw, look, poor thing – they won’t let her shop. Yeah – like those salesgirls in Beverly Hills aren’t bigger whores than she is.” 

13. Waiting to Exhale – An all star cast stars in Waiting to Exhale. This includes the late Whitney Houston, Loretta Devine, Angela Bassett, Lela Rochon, Gregory Hines, Michael Beach and Wesley Snipes. This story revolves around 4 African American women who share friendships through divorce, affairs with married men, an unwed pregnancy, and single parenting. They truly demonstrate that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. My favorite line in the movie, Loretta Devine to Gregory Hines, “Would you like to have dinner with us tonight? It’s just leftovers. Collard greens and corn bread, some candied yams, a little potato salad, fried chicken, peach cobbler and a few slices of ham.”


14. Sabrina – Harrison Ford just gets sexier with age. Harrison Ford, Julia Ormond and Greg Kinnear star in the remake of Sabrina and do an excellent job. The movie revolves around the Larrabee family and their million dollar business. In the movie Julia Ormond is in love with Greg Kinnear; however, Julia’s father is the Larrabee family’s chauffeur. Although Julia is in love with Greg, Greg likes to play the scene. Sabrina is not on his radar. She decides to accept an internship at Vogue and travels to Paris. Once competed, she returns home a new woman in more ways than one. She attracts the attention of both David Larrabee and his older brother Linus. She also finds out that her father, the chauffeur, is worth $2.5 million dollars. Who will win Sabrina’s heart? My favorite line in the movie is from Julia Ormond to Greg Kinnear, “They say you think morals are pictures on walls and scruples is money in Russia.”


15. Steel Magnolias – What do you get when you have Dolly Parton, Sally Fields, Daryl Hannah, Julia Roberts, Olivia Dukakis, and Shirley MacaLaine? Fabulous!  Everyone of these ladies gave a stellar performance in this movie. They will make you laugh and they will make you cry as the prepare for Julia Roberts’ wedding day and all the festivities that go along with it. They also come together for the birth of Robert’s son and her death after her kidney transplant fails. My favorite line in the movie is Dolly Parton, ” Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”   

16. Why Did I Get MarriedAnother great Tyler Perry movie starring Tyler Perry, Janet Jackson, Jill Scott, and Tasha Smith to name a few. The movies revolves around four couples, who are also best friends. The rent a house in the mountains for a week to help work out any marital problems and answer the question “Why did I get married?” It ends up being a bumpy ride, the couples don’t make it a week. Ugly revelations are spewed from one having a sexually transmitted disease and giving it to her husband, a husband having an affair with his wife’s cousin, one wife being called stupid for not have a child seat belted in correctly and the child dying, to another having her tubes tied and her husband not knowing. I loved it. My favorite line in the movie from Tyler Perry, “You women are so used to losing that you don’t even realize when you have won!”

17. Working Girl –  Harrison Ford teams up with Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl. Melanie Griffin is trying to work her way up the corporate ladder. She shares an idea with Sigourney Weaver who plays her boss. Sigourney tells Melanie that she discussed her idea, but the executives didn’t buy it. Melanie Griffith finds out that Sigourney plans to pass the idea off as her own.  She contacts Harrison Ford to hear her idea and help her sell it. He agrees. They also feel an attraction for each other and mix business with pleasure. Things get sticky, Sigourney Weaver has her hooks in Harrison Ford and wants to take things to the next level. He’s not buying, he’s into Melanie Griffith.  Melanie and Sigourney butt heads over Melanie’s idea, but Melanie is able to convince the executives that the idea was hers. Sigourney is fired, and Melanie and Jack continue their relation.  My favorite line in the movie is Melanie Griffith telling Harrison Ford, “I am not steak. You can’t just order me.”

18.  Pretty Woman – Richard Gere and Julia Roberts are magical together.  This movie made Julia Roberts a star. Julia Roberts stars as a prostitute who is picked up by Richard Gere on Hollywood Boulevard driving a Lotus.  He initially asks her to spend the, which turns into a week which turns into a lifetime. I could watch this movie over and over, which I do. Nice soundtrack and also stars Jason Alexander as Gere’s lawyer and Hector Elizondo as the Beverly Wilshire hotel manager. My favorite line in the movie is Julia Roberts to Richard Gere, “I want the fairy tale.”

19.  Something To Talk About  –  Stars Julia Roberts, Robert Duvall, Dennis Quaid, Gena Rowlands, and Kyra Sedgwick. Julia Roberts discovers that her husband, Dennis Quaid, is having an affair. They separate and struggle to keep their marriage together. Robert Duvall and Gena Rowlands play Julia Roberts’ parents who own a horse hunting and jumping farm also have problems. My favorite line in the movie is Julia Roberts asking, “Yeah, I just want to ask how many people here has NOT had sex with my husband?”

20.  Touch & Go – Stars Michael Keaton, Maria Conchita Alonso and Ajay Naidu. Michael Keaton stars as professional hockey player who is mugged by a local gang. He catches gang member Ajay Naidu, and takes him home to his mother, Maria Conchita Alonso.  Alonso offers to take Keaton to lunch for his troubles. He accepts and they become close, but not without a few struggles. Ajay Naidu follows him to an away game as a stow away on the bus and Maria Conchita Alonso is attacked by one of the gang members. Keaton returns to confront the gang member who attacks her. He brings her home from the hospital, sets her up in her own business and takes their relationship to another level.  Nice ending to an unlikely love story, great love story. Favorite line in the movie, Keaton telling Naidu, “I’m going to knock on all of the doors with your head.”  

21.  Gloria –  This movie is more of a drama than a love story. I love Gena Rowlands, so any movie she plays in is a girl flick for me. Rowlands stars as a girlfriend of a mobster in Gloria. She ends up with the son of an accountant and his wife who have a hit placed on them. The accountant is an informant for the feds, but he’s also an accountant for the mob. The wife knows they’re going to die, so she asks Rowlands to take the children so they can live. The daughter won’t go with Rowlands, but the son goes with her. She vows to protect the little boy at all cost. Gena Rowlands to the mob, “You let a WOMAN beat ya, huh?”

These are fun movies to watch no matter your age. It’s nice to see some of the veterans actors at their best. Hope you can find 1 or 2 that peeks your interest or that you already love enough to curl up and watch again. Are any of the movies listed one of your favorites? If not, what’s one of your favorite girl flicks?  Stay tuned for my list of all time favorite movies, which is a series of drama, additional girl flicks, and westerns. Yes, I said westerns. 

10 Dollar Tree Bargains

bargain shopping, frugal shopping

I love the Dollar Tree. I can always find a bargain, but the best reason is that I save tons of money purchasing various items. Everything’s A Dollar! Here’s a list of some of my favorite Dollar Tree items:

party supplies, paper party supplies

1.  Party Items – I purchase the majority of my party items from the Dollar Store. This includes tablecloth, utensils, cups, napkins etc. They have a variety of colors and they usually increase their color selection during the holidays and graduation. 

flash cards, school supplies

2.  Early Learning Supplies – These are great for helping with math homework.   

3.  Craft Items – I can find ribbon, glue sticks, greenery, and flowers etc. for a lot less than         Michael’s or A.C. Moore. 

4.  Glassware – I have found adorable glassware at the Dollar Tree. I love the color of these glasses. I snatched up 6. I’ve also purchased wine glasses that I love to fill with candy and give as gifts during the holidays or as a party favor. I also purchase vases for crafts and cylinders for candles. 

5.  Gift Bags/Wrapping Paper – I purchase my gift bags and wrapping paper at the Dollar Tree. They have a large assortment and various size bags for birthdays, wedding and seasonal selections. 

6.  Seasonal Items – Great place to purchase seasonal decorating items, stocking stuffers or party favors. 

7.  Packing/Mailing Supplies – I mail packages to my grandchildren so I purchase box tape, bubble wrap and mailing envelopes here. Cheaper than the big box stores. 
Disney coloring books, kids activities

8.  Books/Puzzles – Great place to buy coloring and activity books for the kids.  They also have books for bedtime stories, notebooks, pencils, markers etc. 

9.  Snack Items  – I find good deals on pretzels, popcorn, trail mix, pudding, apple sauce cups and other snack items much cheaper than the grocery store. 

10.  Storage Items – I purchase storage containers to house my craft, gardening items and the kid’s coloring books and crayons.  I love the containers that I can stack in my craft room or their room. 

You can find name brand items at the Dollar Tree as well as off-brand depending on what you’re are looking for. Either way saving money is the name of the game, and that you will do.

Photos courtesy of Dollar Tree.


Wordless Wednesday – Dinner Ready

No matter how old they get, they never really grow up. I feed the baby breakfast and lunch changed him, and held him all while they sleep until noon.  Now they want to know if dinner is ready?  Really! 

Wordless Wednesday – Sunset

                                                                    Sunset in the Virgin Islands

10 Tips To Stay Healthy – Sponsored Post

It’s a new year and my main goal is to eat healthier, exercise and stay healthy. I’ve fallen off track on my healthy eating goals so many times I’ve lost count. This year I decided to pick myself up, brush myself off and get back on track. I made peace with the fact that there’s no quick fix, it requires a lifestyle change. I’ve tried fad diets, prepacked food diets, eating like a bird, not eating, you name it only to end up frustrated and returning to my bad habits.  

They say timing is everything. When I was contacted by Molina Health Care to do a post on health issues that affect me and my family I gladly accepted. The first step to overcoming struggles is to talk about them. I had put together a list of tips to achieve and maintain a healthy eating lifestyle and I thought it would be perfect to share for this post. 

The turning point for me to get healthy was when I looked at pictures and realized just how much weight I had gained. I reached a point where I hated to get my picture taken. I was missing out on three generations of family pictures with my daughter and granddaughter, because I couldn’t bear to look at the majority of the photos. If there’s a health issue blowing in the wind it will find my family, so I knew that I had to get serious and get to work. We have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetics, obesity, heart attacks, cancer and the list goes on.   

Eating healthy was always a must in my home. A snack for my daughter was jello when she was growing up. I truly believe my high stress job took its toll on me over the years, but I knew that I could no longer allow my job to control me. My job was a means to make an income, not a means to end my life. Here’s the tips that I’m now using to stay healthy:

  1. Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my diet –  I started a kitchen garden several years and I grow the majority of my vegetables during the summer along with fresh fruits. There’s nothing better than being able to pick fresh fruits and vegetables outside your door. 
  2. Preserve fresh vegetables – I now preserve fresh vegetables during the summer to make soups and other dishes throughout the year. I also grow fresh herbs to flavor my dishes. If you don’t have a kitchen garden, visit a local Farmer’s Market. Seal and freeze the fresh vegetables for later use. 
  3. Get a partner to help you stay on track – My daughter is a Beach Body coach so we have teamed up to ensure that I stay on track. 
  4. Don’t deprive yourself – Give yourself a day or two to enjoy the foods that you truly love. Depriving yourself is a set-up for failure. Saturday or Sunday are my days to eat out and enjoy a burger, slice of pizza or pasta dish.  I look forward to it and I don’t feel guilty. 
  5. Give up the excuses – Make your health a priority. 
  6. Exercise –  Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t get in 30 get in 5, 10, 15 or 20. Some is better than none. 
  7. Educate yourself  –  Learn what foods provide nutrition and energy for the body. Prepackaged and junk food are empty calories and contain high amounts of sodium and sugar. I’ve replaced chips with popcorn, candy bars with fresh fruit, ice cream with frozen yogurt. Gradually add healthy items into your meal plan. 
  8. Drink plenty of water and don’t skip meals – I love water, so drinking it has never been a problem for me. I replaced soda with water and Gatorade and eat 4 – 5 small meals a day. 
  9. Learn portion controlI took a class at my local hospital on eating healthy. You will be surprised on what is considered a healthy portion. (I got my answer on how I gained the excess weight). 
  10. Relieve stress and get rest – Know the stress factors in your life and eliminate as many as you can. Get plenty of rest. Replace bed pillows if they are old and purchase them according to how you sleep. I’m a side sleeper, so I purchased pillows made for my position. I sleep throughout the night now. 
I have incorporated these 10 tips into my life and now they’re pretty much second nature. Getting healthy won’t happen overnight and there are no quick fixes, believe me I have tried them all. It requires a lifestyle change, which requires you to make your health a priority every day. Check out the Eating Well article on Molina Health Care. It discusses acceptable servings from each of the food groups and is worth the read. It’s great information for healthy eating.  

The opinions in this article are my own. I do not work for, or with, any brand mentioned in this article, nor do I have any official relationship with them.  I have a relationship with GigaSavvy, for whom I create original editorial content.


Why I No Longer Use The Word Weak

This is a guest post did I for the blog A Peek Into My Paradise.  I’ve decided to no longer define who I am by Strengths and Weaknesses. Here’s Webster’s definition of weak:  

    WEAK. 1 : lacking strength: as. a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated. b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain.

I have spent years defining what I have perceived to be my Strengths and Weaknesses.  There are areas that I wish to improve, but when I assessed my skills and qualities I had a hard time finding weaknesses.  Here’s why:

  • I have raised a daughter as single mother and college educated her
  • I’m helping to raise 2 grandchildren
  • I manage a home 
  • I clean my home
  • I prepare the meals
  • I do the laundry
  • I work outside out the home 40 hours per week
  • I budget the income and pay the bills
  • I spend time blogging
  • I guest blog for other bloggers
  • I grow my own vegetables
  • I can summer produce for winter use and saving on the grocery bill
  • I maintain the outside of my home with the exception of mowing the grass ( I have lawn service)
  • I find time for family and friends 
  • I take the car in to be serviced after I negotiate a deal on the vehicle I’m purchasing

I could continue my list, but you get my drift. Weak, how can I be weak. It takes strength and endurance to do all of the above on a regular basis.  Now I do have a few things that I have a hard time passing up like chocolate, coffee, and chips. These just happen to be things that I like to indulge in, they don’t make me who I am. Life beats us down enough, why contribute to the negativity by placing unflattering labels on yourself. 

I have accepted that I am a work in progress and ever evolving.  Because I don’t always meet my goals or I’m not perfect doesn’t mean that I lack strength. There are many factors that contribute to how much I can accomplish and what I accomplish. I have found that if I set goals and continuously working toward them, it reduces the stress that I place on myself. I think as women we try to accomplish too much and often end up with the weight of the world on our shoulders. When we can no longer bear the weight we see ourselves as weak or society sees us as weak.  

Because I’m not as physically strong as a man doesn’t mean that I’m weak.  That’s just the way I was made. The majority of the time, I don’t want to open the jar, hammer a stake in the ground, change a dirty tire or haul heavy items. I simply don’t want to break a nail, have back pain or prove how manly I am, ha.  Now don’t get me wrong, I can hammer, change a tire, shovel the driveway, and haul heavy items. I’ve been single for many years. I can get it done.          
I have found that setting priorities has helped me meet my ever changing goals. Nothing is more important to me than my family, so whatever goals I set they come after my family.  If I don’t achieve them during the year, I continue to work on them the following year. 

I’m adding weak to the list of items that I’ve tossed because I will never wear or use it again. Join me ladies, you’ll find that you will have a ton lifted off your shoulders and you will feel much better.  Replace the word Weaknesses on your list with  Things I Wish To Improve!  

I visited Martin Luther King’s Childhood Home

Martin Luther King

In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, I wanted to share a few pictures that I took when I visited his childhood home and the MLK Center for Non-Violent Social Change in Atlanta.  What a memorable trip. This is a picture of my sister and me sitting on the front porch of the home Dr. King grow up in. I will always treasure this picture and the feelings that I had when I stepped upon that porch.  Witnessing history was truly an emotional experience, especially since the Civil Rights movement impacted me and my family significantly. Sharing it with my sister put the icing on the cake. We always have a good time together.    

The home has been beautifully maintained and has lots of character.  It is actually quite large, four bedrooms, dining room, kitchen, study, parlor/living room, a bathroom and a huge backyard. I love the wrap around porch.  

Martin Luther King wagon

This is the farm wagon that carried Dr. King’s coffin from his Ebenezer Baptist Church to Morehouse College, his alma mater, for the second service.  The wagon was pulled by 2 mules through Atlanta for 3.5 miles.  If everyone remembers, Mrs. King walked with her children ahead of the wagon in the funeral procession.    

Martin Luther King

This is Dr. King’s final resting place at the King Center in Atlanta.  His wife Coretta Scott King was laid to rest beside him.    

Martin Luther King
Across from the Kings’ Crypt is the eternal flame.  There is also the Civil Right Walk of Fame. Below are a few prints from the walk which include Dr. Maya Angelo, Sidney Poitier, Magic Johnson, and Maynard Jackson.  Maynard Jackson was the first black mayor in Atlanta.  My brother, Dr. Robert Holmes, wrote Maynard Jackson’s biography. It can be purchased on Amazon.     
I hope that we all remember and honor what Dr. King dedicated his life doing.  Be kind to and love one another. Have a blessed week-end. 

Happy New Year 2015

Where did the year go?  It’s amazing that 2014 is about to come to end, but I’m looking forward to all that 2015 brings. Out with the old and in with the new, right.  I’ve met some great people in 2014 that have become an important part of my life, and I remained consistent for the most part with my blog posts. Consistency hasn’t been one of my strong points throughout my blogging endeavors, and has caused me to not reach many of my goals in the blogging world.   

I hope to stay on track with Mother 2 Mother in 2015. I will officially retire as a public servant in 9/2015, so I will be able to dedicate more time to my blog, my family, gardening, crafts, travel, and all the things that I love. The thought makes me happy, I love writing and sharing my life with my readers. I’m looking forward to moving on to the next phase of my life and hope you will continue to follow.  

I want to thank each of you for supporting me in 2014. Your comments and following is what keeps me working on Mother 2 Mother. I wish each of you good health, happiness, and love in the New Year.  May each of you be blessed.