Monday, October 31, 2011

Shop and Sleep W/The Boys!

(so we're blushing a Not only can you shop with us During our Open House this week, but you can also "sleep" with us! When you visit the store, you can enter to win a one night stay at the wonderful Gratz Park Inn (featured on the Travel Channel, and acclaimed by many celebrities!)! If you haven't stayed there, it is a wonderful boutique hotel hidden downtown- wonderful for a night away from the kids, or just a night out on the town!

Actually last year, we redesigned on of the the suites! (You actually get a small glimpse of it around the 53/54 second marker of the video below). Our hopes are that when the winner uses their stay at the hotel, they will actually get to stay in our room...but guarantee!

Check out this great video of Gratz Park Inn! And stop by and shop...and register to sleep with us too! LOL

Sneak peak for Christmas Open House

If you want a sneak peak of the store for the Christmas Open House....

Here you go! A video (please watch in HD) and a couple of floral arrangements we made today!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

meetups and thoughts

My two nutritarian friends came into town on Friday and we had quite the feast:

I made sweet potatoes topped with black beans and greens etc and a dollop of soy yogurt (a recipe from the Fuhrman site).  We made salad from Holly's lettuce and pear, my red pepper and a yummy salad dressing from the Fuhrman site.  Holly made delicious stuffed mushrooms.   Suz brought curried squash on brown rice.   I got full eating all this great food.   After our feast, we went on a walk at Olbrich community gardens, and then went, where else, to the co-op.  That was interesting as we shared many food tips about all our favorite foods, as well as the ones we have to avoid (the cowgirl cookies are sometimes a challenge for me).  I got a lot of new ideas from our discussions as we strolled through the store.

Some quotable quotes were "I'm an unethical vegan" and "I'm a vegan on weekdays."

Today I heard a great quote:  "The best way to bring someone over to your cause is to have more fun than them."   For me, the biggest difficulty about eating healthy is sometimes thinking that I'm missing out on what everyone else is eating.  It's all in how you look at it.  I just need to think of it as I'm the lucky one, having the most fun eating the best food.   Along those lines, last weekend I was out on a walk at a conservancy and a group was roasting marshmallows over a fire and making s'mores.  Well, you know how those nostalgic feelings can make you wish you were joining them.   Today I was meditating in front of my fireplace (wow, is that ever easy to meditate in front of a fire!) and I was thinking about our ancestors roasting winter squash in their fire.  Then I realized, our difficulties in eating healthy usually arise from nostalgia for eating the things we used to eat and drink with our family and friends.   Maybe we just need to go back further in time.  The last 50 years are a blip on the history of our people.  Go back further, and we are talking sweets only on very special occasions.   So just let your nostalgia go a little further back in time and you can imagine roasting squash instead of marshmallows, and relishing a good fruit instead of ice cream.

weekend cooking

It's fall and my food choices are changing with the season.  It's winter squash time!   Here's what I'm planning to try this week:

And that's just for lunch and dinner.  I'm thinking sweet potatoes for breakfast.  I made a huge pot of soup using veggies from the garden mostly.  This has white lima beans, purple barley, onion, eggplant, collard greens, leeks, mushrooms, 2 cans of garden tomatoes, broccoli, and italian spices.  I froze it into several containers to eat during the week.  I still have some containers from my last batch of soup so I can have some variation.  Here's my plan for the week--don't know if I will like it, I'll know tomorrow--brekky will be sweet potato topped with bean soup--I'm usually hungry after exercise class.   Here's an example from today's lunch:

This also has banana, fresh ginger and cilantro.  It tasted quite good.  

Lunch and dinner will be salad (cabbage, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, seed mixture, vinegar) topped with squash, soup, apple, and pomegranate seeds, and probably some fresh ginger.  The squash I'm hoping will be easy to prepare, just baking in the oven.  I'll microwave it to heat it up.  I have no idea what this will taste like, but I expect it will be pretty good.  I mean, almost any mixture of veggies and fruit and greens tastes good.

Here's a quickie large salad I made tonight:  cabbage, spinach, romaine, broccoli, then some pomegranate seeds, seed mixture, and fruit-infused vinegar.

Here's one of my most favorite treats.  I ate this yesterday while making house mate's smoothies.  It's just frozen mango, frozen blueberries, and a little d'angou pear vinegar (optional).  I love this.  It's easy to make thoroughly enjoyable food out of simple ingredients.

Friday, October 28, 2011

We know how to Shop!

Here's a quick view of something we have in store for the Christmas Open House @ house! We stocked up on these pairs of felt skates! Last year we sold out of all we had in one day, so this year we did everything we could to find some more and different styles!

Just a word to the wise! We've been around town, and have heard some of our customers running through the store say that have seen them at other stores for $28.95-$38.95! We have them for $21.95 a pr!~ And if you come in during our Christmas Open House, you'll save 20% off of them!!! That comes to $17.56 after the discount!

We're always looking out to give you the best deal!

Updated* 11/08/2011 We sold out of all of these at our Christmas Open House! Hope that all of those that got some love them as much as we did! Such a great DEAL!!!!!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


hello fellow friends from around the world, welcome.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


hello, welcome fellow friends from around the world.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lexington Holiday Open House Tour!

Scout, Decoratifs, and us are joining together in forces for a Lexington Holiday Open House tour next week and weekend. Stop by any of the three businesses and get a card that when signed by all three places, will qualify you for a $25 gift certificate to all three locations! You must visit all three locations! :) We're excited in joining forces with them! And hope to see you all out next week!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blogs and meetups

This blog has very appetizing-looking and healthy recipes!

Yesterday I attended an excellent talk by John Allen Mollenhauer, a lifestyle coach.  Wow, I'm tempted to hire him!  His website is called Nutrient Rich.  He has a free ebook called "Break Free of the Diet Traps!".  I downloaded it and looked it over and found some helpful things in it.  

Tomorrow I'm going to meet up with some nutritarian friends, yea!

And if I have time I'll attend the Whole Foods supper club on Thursday.  

That's a lot of nutritarian socializing.  Hopefully that will become the norm!

Friday, October 21, 2011

DEL updates House Early Learning & Human Services Committee on progress

Leaders from the Department of Early Learning (DEL) presented to the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee on Wednesday about our progress in several areas since the Legislature adjourned in May. Watch the presentation to hear the latest on the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grant, efforts to promote quality in licensed child care, home visiting and more.

The PowerPoint presentation DEL used is available online here.

We're on Christmas Time!!!!

We have heard your cries...and are listening! We are adjusting our hours for the upcoming holiday season! Starting November 7 through December 12, we will be OPEN FROM 10-5 ON MONDAYS! That's right...we will be open 6 days a week! Mon-Sat!

Please note, this doesn't start until after the Christmas Open House, which is November 1-5. See you soon! The store is really starting to look like Christmas! We can't wait to share!

House by JSD

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Checking in

I'm back to a busy busy schedule at work so it's hard to post on week days.  How are you doing on the Pre-Thanksgiving Challenge?   I overate 3 days on fruit and nuts, which is not good, but...I'm just observing it for now and letting myself learn the lessons I need to learn.   I want healthy eating to be a choice, not an exercise in willpower. I usually feel like eating the most healthy foods in proper quantities.  I guess I'm just letting myself be reminded of that through experience.

As I mentioned before, one of my goals for the challenge is to optimize my protein intake.  I'm trying to get stronger at the gym and want to help that with my food intake.  I'm monitoring my food intake with cronometer.  Now this is just something fun I'm doing so don't feel you should have to do this also:  Following Dr. Fuhrman's food plan will provide you with plenty of all your necessary nutrients.  But it is instructive to see what foods have the highest protein.  I can see where I can tweak to get more protein.  For example, I can cut back my raw carrots a bit and replace them with sweet peas.  I love peas so that's easy to do. The other thing that's very noticeable is that fruit has a lot less protein per calorie than green veggies (leafy or otherwise).  But fruit has a lot of other healthy nutrients so it should be part of the diet.  I find 1-1.5 lbs per day of fruit is a good amount for me.  I've been eating veggie bean soup and also putting edamame in my salads every day.    The combination of the soup, edamame, and lots of green veggies in the salads gives me about 14% protein which is good for building muscles.  I could optimize it more but I love me carrots.  Today I got some mediterranean pine nuts from Dr. Fuhrman.  He recommends these and pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds for optimal protein after a workout (along with beans and veggies).  I'll add those in to next week's salads.

Local First Saves Again!!! I have to say, that the first time I found one of our items that we carry at House in a big box/chain store/catalogue, it wasn't the fact that it was there that surprised me, but rather the price that surprised me. The first time it happened, and we were 50% less, I thought it was a fluke! I mean, we work really hard at finding the best prices out there, and believe me when I say that it's work! But then it happened again, and again, and again, and every time, we were less! Some by 25%..sometimes less...sometimes more!

Well happened again! Just today these lanterns were delivered to the store! Of course, we all feel in love with them, because they ARE fabu! Well, this evening, I just happened to get on Pinterest (you can follow me at jeremyrice), and found them on someone's board from POTTERY BARN for considerably more! I don't remember our exact prices (I'm blogging from home)...but I remember the small one being under $30! They have it at $49! Here's a link to their page.

It really does prove that shopping your local stores and supporting your local community, not only invests in your neighbors, but you also get great values!!! This Christmas season, please support your local shops and boutiques! We're all working really hard to make our community succeed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Washington throws its hat in the ring for federal early learning grant

Washington state has submitted its application for a Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge (RTT-ELC) grant. The federal grant will provide $500 million in state-level competitive grants to improve early learning and development programs. The Department of Early Learning (DEL) is leading Washington’s application for the grant, which could bring up to $60 million to our state over four years to support early learning for our children.

RTT-ELC is meant to help states raise the quality of early learning programs so that children start school ready to succeed.
Governor Chris Gregoire said of Washington's application, “This application is bold and it is ambitious, but it is also achievable, and that is what the grant competition is all about. We have submitted a plan that will push our state forward in providing the kind of high-quality early learning opportunities our youngest learners need and deserve."

Washington's application lays out a plan for how to use the grant money:
  • Expand the Washington Kindergarten Inventory of Developing Skills (WaKIDS), our state’s kindergarten readiness assessment, to include all incoming kindergarteners by school year 2014-15.
  • Take to scale our state’s quality rating and improvement system, which helps early learning programs improve the quality of care and education they provide to young children and provides information on quality to families.
  • Enhance the state professional development system by offering awards and incentives to those who work with and care for young children.
"This is an important opportunity to help Washington children," DEL Director Bette Hyde said. "Washington is uniquely positioned to move forward quickly if we win a grant because of the work we’ve already done with WaKIDS and QRIS."

DEL created a webpage to keep the early learning community informed about progress on RTT-ELC. That page includes fast facts about Washington's application.

The Associated Press ran a story about Washington's application, "State seeks $60M from feds for preschools."

Today, DEL representatives updated the House Early Learning & Human Services Committee about the RTT-ELC and other DEL news. That hearing will be available on TVW's website.

DEL will continue to tweet information about the application and related news using the hashtag #rttt (which stands for Race to the Top) at

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Inspiration Table Scapes!

Recently, Jacki Allen asked us to create some fab Fall table scapes for her at a recent event! The best thing about the event wasn't the fact that we were asked to participate (however that was greatly appreciated), but that Jacki trusted us, and told us just to do whatever we wanted. It's always so rewarding and freeing just to be able to do "what you want". This allowed us to really be open to whatever inspired us that day! Before I go on, maybe you should watch the video! :) (BTW, the video is available in HD, so when you click on the video, and it starts to play, please click on the "360" and then highlight and click the "720" to see it in HD)

Although we had known about the event for a couple of weeks, having 4 weddings the weekend before, a photo shoto for Kentucky Monthly Magazine, and a 1000 other small things had totally gotten in the way of planning for the event. So honestly people, we were winging it! :) It was almost a challenge! What would we see that would inspire us and get our juices going! Well, as you know, Fall is so pretty it didn't take much to get the ideas!

For the first table seen, the single white and orange pumpkin was enough to get us rolling! It was a happy fresh fall color scheme that needed a little more base to bring it along, enter the grapevine tray and containers! Side note, how cute are they! So simple, and so darling! By stacking the three pumpkins, we were able to bring drama to the table, which were anchored by the tray and candles? Did you notice the little bouquet we threw together laying on the tray, totally darling!

The second table was absolutely the easiest! If you read my last blog for Kentucky Monthly (click here to read) you know that I love fall foilage, and it really is the simplest way to use something pulled right off of tree and create beauty! Truthfully, the leaves hadn't turned as much as I wished they would have, so we used mums to bring out the dark cranberry and rust tones showing in the leaves! Wrapped books and cake stands were a unexpected combinaton thrown in the mix, of course were divine!

The last table seen was possibly my favorite! First off, I love anything old tin, I love huge pinecones, and then lastly I am obsessed with Cabbage. And how beautiful were these purple and green ones! The mix with the cast iron containers, the cabbage, the wheat, some dusty miller, chocolate queen ann's lace, and the other flower that I can't seem to remember what in the world it's called at this very second, was enough to have me scream! Honestly, I might have squealled a little, lol. All of it was totally unexpected, but worked together in a beautiful manner!

Unfortunately we weren't able to stick around for the event and enjoy it with everyone, you'll notice that candles weren't even lit yet when I recorded this, we had to get back to town to hold down the store! But we heard that people loved the tables, and even more were inspired! Which is just the icing on the cake!

Don't forget to visit us the next time you're working on a special event or wedding! Cause whether we're prepared or winging it, WE'RE READY! :)

Fall and Halloween "Get it OUT OF HERE!" Sale (and some info about Christmas!)

Don't forget that this week (Tuesday through Saturday) at the store we're having our "Get it OUT OF HERE" Fall and Halloween Sale with 30% off all things Fall and Halloween! We HAVE to make room for Christmas! There are still lots of great pumpkins, fall arrangements, and floral picks to pick from, as well as some cute Halloween jewelry as seen here!

A lot of people coming in have been asking about our Christmas stuff...what do we have, when is it coming out, etc. The biggest surprise for us has been the perception for many out there, think that for Christmas we are just bringing out the same stuff we had in July.... THAT'S NOT TRUE!

We've had many many many large shipments since July with new product, and there are some incredible new things coming out! We are so excited to share everything with you!

This Christmas for us is going to be the biggest ever yet! We are so excited! We're actually going to start decorating this week for Christmas, so you can possibly start getting some secret peeps in the store what we have planned! Please share the word with your coworkers, friends, and family about our Christmas Open House Nov 1-5, where you'll save 20% on everything FAB for Christmas! Here's to making it a memorable Christmas with our friends and family...YOU!

The Boys,

Jeremy, Stuart, and Dwayne

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More success stories

Laurenstyle lost 5.6 lbs, reached her exercise goal of working out 5x/week, even in the pouring rain!  And she reached her third goal of Learning to appreciate the journey of ETL.  I thought here wording of the last goal was inspiring:
Iam appreciating and so GRATEFUL for the journey. It’s truly become a way oflife.  It’s hard to document all that’s happenedin this area, but it’s definitely powering a shift in all areas of my life. I have a whole new work ethic and am accomplishingthings as never before. Not only my ability to focus and concentrate, but my abilityto be more efficient, compassionate, a good listener, develop creative solutions and justenjoy my fellow coworkers has just skyrocketed.

Suzette lost 17 lbs!   Here goal was 20.  That's great!  She also is helping family members adopt this eating style.

tejasjjain struggled at first (how many of us have been there?!) but got on track and her habit of late night snacking is almost gone!   She "only" lost 4 lbs.  Hello, that's great!

Lois made substantial gains:  giving up her regular glass of wine, and working on her overating tendencies.  She has the same problem as me, getting too thin when 100% compliant, and then over-reacting by over-eating, sometimes off plan.  Someone else on this challenge has this problem too.  Interesting, huh?

Linda did a lot of successful detective work with her auto-immune food triggers.  As she said, she knocked this one out of the park!  A combination of fasting and various food selections refined her food choices.   Her second goal was to expand her repertoire of recipes that her son can enjoy.  She accomplished this one too.  Finally, she wanted to get more exercise.   She still has work to do on this one--hopefully in our next challenge!

Dru conquered her date overeating tendencies and can now have them in the house again.  And she bought a new wardrobe.  She definitely wants to stay on plan so she can continue to wear her new smaller clothes!

Thanks everyone for participating.  We're doing a new challenge (no vitamix award, sorry!).  Here's the post on that.

The Runner-Up(s)

Jan and Jerry.  Here is their report:

Afunny thing happened when I took my brother Jerry under my wing to help himlose weight...I lost weight too! He ended up losing more than 40 pounds on the"greens and beans" diet. And he got off his diabetic medications! Ilost only a few pounds but I reached a milestone weight that has been eludingme for a good long while.
Jerrydutifully texted me his weight and his blood sugar reading every morning. Thatgesture, I believe, helped him to keep his weight and health goals first andforemost in his mind. Those daily texts also provided him with accountability. I taught Jerry the acronym G-BOMBS (aka GOMBBS) to remind him what foods to eatevery day. It is such a simple but powerful and effective thesesix foods and regain your health. It's all about greens, beans, onions,mushrooms, berries, and seeds!  And teaching Jerry about healthy eatinghelped to reinforce the information for me.
Thisis not to say that it was all easy...there were temptations and slip-ups andother obstacles along the way.  Accountability and keeping it simple....that'sthe combination that led to a successful outcome. 
Weboth have more weight to lose and this six-week challenge was a great start.Thanks, Barb!

And the winner is...

Diane Watkins!  

Oh, this was soooooo hard!  I don't like being a judge and selecting a single winner.   So many people did really well.  Congratulations to all of you.   Here is Diane's final report:

I discovered the Eat to Live program in June and immediatelyembraced it. I did extremely well the first 3 weeks, then found it difficult tocontinue. We were traveling a lot with my husband’s work and I found itdifficult to find the foods that I needed in restaurants, which was our usualway to eat on the road. So, I was looking for help staying on the diet when I found yourchallenge. This was exactly what I needed to help me adjust to the ETLlifestyle. I chose to set my goals as learning to organize my food and life tofit the Eat to Live program and staying on the program throughout the 6 weeks,specifically healthy eating at every meal and every snack.
 I feel that I have met these goals, although I am still learning andevolving. I found it easiest to get into a pattern of eating that supportsthese healthy eating goals. While the foods eaten change, the pattern hasstayed the same. I eat a fruit salad and fruit juice for breakfast, a largegreen salad for lunch, and a homemade bean or lentil and vegetable soup orsteamed vegetables for dinner. I sometimes add beans or a sweet potato to thelunch salad to keep me from getting hungry again before dinner, but I usuallyeat my beans in the dinner soup. I also have a green juice in the afternoon,when I have time to make it in the morning, and green tea or water during theday. I will occasionally snack on some homemade low-fat hummus with snow peas,nappa cabbage or other vegetables. I’ve discovered a few excellent no-oil saladdressing recipes. My favorite is tangerine juice, lemon or lime, and vinegar.The hardest part of the challenge is to not eat late at night, when my husbandhas his late night snack.
 I wake up each morning hungry, for the first time in my life. I wasnever much of a breakfast eater in the past. And I am usually ravenous by dinnertime. But I can honestly say that I have not had any problems with cravings,which is also unusual. The fruit satisfies my sweet tooth; but I am used toeating a lot of salt. I will admit that I cheated a few times in the beginning,adding salt to my soup, but I have gradually adjusted my salt addiction and amdoing better now. I am slowly getting healthy. Although I have a long way to go totruly regain my health, I can honestly say that I am a lot better off now thanI was only 6 weeks ago. I have a heart arrhythmia and an autoimmune diseasethat have severely limited my movement and energy levels in the past. Gettingmy health back is my priority right now, because I had truly lost it. I need toturn that around quickly. I believe that the Eat to Live program is my bestchance of regaining a healthy body. The autoimmune disease manifests itself in very painful skin lesionsthat make my life difficult. The Eat to Live program these past 6 weeks hashelped, I have only had one new lesion in the last 6 weeks, and the old lesionsseem to be improving, although not fast enough to suit me. It seems to me thatimprovement is directly related to my consumption of green juice. The more Idrink, the better they get. I also had a bad episode of A Fib during the challenge. This is notunusual, actually only having one is probably a great improvement. In the past,I have had bad episodes regularly, sometimes weekly, so one in 6 weeks is animprovement. I have increased my nut and seed consumption and that seems tohave helped. My blood pressure is good, without medication and I have more energythan before, with the exception of the week of the A Fib episode. I have alsolost some weight, although I promised myself I wasn’t going to concentrate onmy weight during this challenge. I wanted good health to be my goal.
 I have made quite an improvement, although I still have a ways togo. I will be joining you on your next challenge and look forward to a lifetimeof healthy eating. I appreciate your running this challenge and supporting us.The Vitamix has been a nice incentive, and I do need one; but I know that I ama winner either way. I really feel that a Vitamix would help me drink more vegetablejuices and this challenge has only intensified my longing for one. I have beenmaking juice in my regular blender, but I have to strain it. The entire processtakes a lot of time that I don’t really have in the mornings. The fruit juiceis easier, since I can drink it without straining, and it seems to blend a lotfaster. I have been struggling to figure out how to afford a Vitamix, we arevery strained financially and It doesn’t fit into our budget. I am putting iton my Christmas list, however, in the hope that we might manage it. My husbandand I talked about getting one for my birthday, which is only a few days away,but decided that we just couldn’t make it happen right now. Thank you for this challenge and your support.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pre-Thanksgiving Challenge!

Hi everyone,

We had so much fun doing the 6-week challenge, let's do another one!   Sorry I don't have a vitamix to offer this time.  Let's just share our successes and struggles, inspire each other, and win good health.

Here's my idea.  From Oct. 14 (tomorrow) until Nov. 23 (day before Thanksgiving) is 40 days which is 2 days shy of 6 weeks.  Let's try to eat healthy for the next 40 days, and then we can each decide for ourselves how we want to celebrate on Thanksgiving.  Maybe you want to splurge a little or a lot, on healthy food or a few bites of the traditional stuff.  It can be guilt-free if you plan something reasonable, and eat healthy for the next 40 days, right?

Let's think of goals for ourselves and send in updates when we feel like it.  I'm trying to get stronger at the gym, so in addition to eating only healthy foods and not overeating (my forever top two goals), I will try to eat the foods Fuhrman recommends for building muscles:  edamame, sunflower seeds, mediterranean pine nust, beans and...I'll have to check his latest post to make sure I got them all.

okay, let's go.

ps, I'll post the winner of the last challenge on the weekend.

Good night!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

day 42!

This is the last day of the 6-week challenge!  Congratulations!  I'm eager to choose a winner for the vitamix, but I should give people at least a few days to send in their progress reports.   Send them to  Here's my progress report:

My goal was to eat only healthy food and don't overeat.  I started the challenge early so mine lasted 48 days.  I misbehaved 5 days out of 48.   On four of those days, I overate on fruit and nuts.  On one day, I ate some unhealthy food too (darn it!).    So I achieved my goals for 43 days out of 48.   That's good but I think I can do better.  I'm ready for the next challenge!   My goal for that challenge is to optimize my protein as I'm trying to get stronger at the gym.  And of course, to eat only healthy food and don't overeat.

I think I will start a short Oct. challenge, and then do monthly challenges until it gets old.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

MIstakes are good--haha, that typo was not intentional

My kid friends that were visiting and a dream I had last night reminded me that kids learn almost entirely from making mistakes.  As the 6-year old was shaking my salad to stir it, I could see the future, and sure enough, there was a spill.  I dreamed I was in a car with a teenager and he took this turn too tight and I could see the future and we rolled over--very slowly, nothing dangerous, but how were we going to explain this to the person we borrowed the car from?  I thought, what a weird dream.  Then I thought, kids learn from making mistakes.  So do we all.  So let's proceed with our learning.

Hey, I just noticed that my previous post was my 1000th post!   Isn't that something.

Day 41, winding down!

I've started getting updates from people on how they did.  The stories are inspiring, and they are not without their struggles.  It will be fun to share them with you.   You will see the many different goals and victories and obstacles and it's all good because we are just trying to achieve better health.

I've thought more about my weekend splurge.  I realize I have just been using visitors as an excuse.  When I think about each time I did this in the last year, none of my visitors expected me to eat their food.  Most were more interested to try my food than have me prepare theirs.  Last night, the kids visiting me helped me with my food prep, and they were astounded that I was planning to eat all that salad in one day.  I gave them an apple and they made their own fresh squeezed orange juice.  One of the girls said, "I wished I didn't like chocolate like Barb".   So you see, they like me to be this way.  I just used them as an excuse.  There was no pressure.  Boy the excuse machine is so clever!  

Today I saw some nice looking home-made oatmeal raisin cookies at a talk, and thought "I could restart tomorrow!"  Oh boy.  The first few days are always tough because of that one.  Then I thought, maybe I could make some of my own nutritarian oatmeal raisin cookies.  Another interesting thing I realized today is that I wanted those cookies only about 15 minutes after hearing this nightmarish health story from a friend, due completely to diet.  You'd think that would be more of a deterrent, wouldn't you?

In some ways, this journey we are on is very easy--the food is good, we feel great eating this way, our health and energy goes up.  There is no rational reason on earth not to eat this way 100% of the time.  So then why is it so hard sometimes?   I don't know.  Because we are social.  Because we don't react well to forbidden foods.  Because sugar, fat and salt are addictive and excite our pleasure centers and taste really good and call to us---the funny thing is, even after we have lost our taste for it.  Oh, I guess smokers go through this too.  They physical addiction wears off long before the psychological.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is it Day 40?

Only 2 more days of the challenge?!   Let's see, we started on a Thursday, so it will end on Wednesday!  Well, you can start sending me your progress report whenever you are ready.   Send it to me at  Let me know if it's okay to post it.  I think people will enjoy hearing how others did.  It's especially helpful to learn how you solve your problems, and how you learn from your mistakes.

I started my challenge a week early so I suppose I could say I finished it on Friday.  I suppose that's a good thing because I unexpectedly stumbled on Saturday, with my desire to eat my guests' food.  For 6 weeks, I behaved quite well except for a couple of days on my vacation when I overate nuts and fruit, and then on last Thursday when I did the same.  But on Saturday, I wanted to eat everything they ate, just because they were eating it, even though I didn't like the taste.  Can someone explain that one to me?  I stumbled last summer with visitors too.  I have visitors again today but I'm okay.  I'll have to be more cautious next time.

Besides being busy with the visitors, on Sunday I did food prep, biking in the outstanding weather, and harvesting the garden.  I made a nice soup from garden produce and beans, which I'll have all this week along with my salads.  I harvested a bunch of greens and brussels sprouts from the garden and froze them.  It was a fun day.  And it was very fun with the visitors.  Then today was back to work and exercise and more visitors tonight.  whew.  So I'd better get back to them.  

Should we do a new challenge?  I'm thinking monthly challenges might be easier chunks to handle--for one thing easier to count the days, and a month might seem more doable for accomplishing a goal.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Governor, families, teachers join DEL in celebrating 25 years of ECEAP

Almost 170,000 children have been part of the state-funded preschool program (Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, or ECEAP) since it began in 1985. Last night, families, ECEAP graduates, teachers and state leaders celebrated 25 years of growing Washington’s future at an ECEAP reception in Olympia.

Governor Chris Gregoire kicked off the evening, saying, “If we get it right early with a child, then they will succeed in school and they will succeed in life, and they won’t end up in the safety net.” Watch the Governor’s remarks on DEL’s YouTube channel.

Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, spoke about her experience as the first ECEAP staff member in 1985. She wrote the first set of ECEAP performance standards and set up the first pilots around the state.

Another highlight of the evening was Melissa Estrada, a former ECEAP student who graduated valedictorian of her high school and is now studying to become a nurse.

Watch for photos from the evening and a special 25th anniversary publication, “ECEAP: Making a Difference,” to be posted soon on the ECEAP section of the DEL website.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 36

I had an interesting experience today.  We have a family visiting us and, well, you can fault me for this, but I just decided to give them the foods they like.  Weird thing #1 was grocery shopping and buying all this stuff I used to buy in my previous life, over 6 years ago--cereal and milk and ham and cheese and bread and cookies and ingredients for a spaghetti dinner.  Trying to remember what the ingredients were, and searching for this stuff was as confusing as when I was first learning where the tofu and tempeh was.  I made the dinner just like I did before I changed my diet, with no regard to health.  Weird thing #2 was cooking meat, and then not being able to test it to verify I had the right flavorings.  But I was told it was good.  How can you go wrong with lots of fat and salt and meat and seasonings and cheese and butter?  It is easy to cook this way.  The bread was drenched in garlicy butter.  Of course, that was a hit.  One of the girls just wanted the garlic bread and noodles without the sauce--drenched in butter and parmesan cheese.  Weird thing #3 was my reaction to the food.  Part of me wanted to eat it.  I know the spaghetti sauce tasted really good and I wanted some, but I don't want to eat animals.  I know the garlic bread tasted really good but at the same time I was grossed out by the greasiness of the butter and it does have an overpowering smell.  Wierd thing #4 was cleanup.  Boy did that take a lot of soap.  I was thinking, it would be good if you could do a similar cleanup to your blood vessels after eating this.

Unfortunately, a reaction to all of this was that I overate on my foods.  I didn't eat regular meals at mealtimes, just ate randomly.  I ate too much fruit, too many nuts, too much essene bread, a few turkish figs (they were good), what else, carrots, some cabbage, edamame with d'angou pear vinegar and chopped walnuts (that was good).  I made a nice ice cream from a banana, cherries, walnuts and grape juice.  I discovered that frozen mangos and peanut butter is a nice combination.  Maybe that was weird thing #5.  ha.  Okay, so I have something to work on in my next challenge:  Dealing with visitors.  This was a problem for me several times this past year.   Well, tomorrow is a good opportunity to get started.  I get to watch them eat my old diet all day long.  I will behave.  I can do this.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day 35

Quick post before going observing (I'm an astronomer...).

My oatmeal (see yesterday's preview) turned out awful.  The food warmer must be hotter than a slow cooker, not colder.  The oatmeal was burnt!  yuck.  so I threw that out.

I nibbled on carrots, sugar snap peas and a little fruit while making lunch and dinner.   Oh, here's something that turned out great:  I took some beans and grains from the freezer--a batch of just beans and some kamut, barley and wild rice cooked up, bland on it's own--and added a mashed baked sweet potato (which I decided later probably wasn't needed), some curry powder, cinnamon, and sliced grapes.  This was great!   curry powder, cinnamon and grapes is a great combination and will turn a bland dish into a yummy curry dish.

Then had big salads with the usual local and garden produce:  massaged kale, cabbage, lettuce mix, spinach mix, jicama (okay, that was from Mexico), yummy yummy asian pears! (from California), yummy kiwi berries (from California), red bell pepper, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, d'angou pear vinegar.  okay, that wasn't such a local salad after all except for the greens.

gotta run, see you tomorrow!

New rules for Working Connections Child Care in effect

The Working Connections Child Care (WCCC) subsidy program rules changed on Oct. 1, 2011. DEL wants to make sure you know about the changes.

WCCC basics
WCCC helps eligible families with low incomes pay for child care while they work or meet WorkFirst participation requirements.

What changed? The most recent rule changes:
  • Made permanent emergency rules about entry caps, waiting lists, income limits and copayments to ensure the WCCC budget meets limits established by legislation and the Governor.
  • Addressed compliance with federal and state audit requirements.
  • Clarified several rules to streamline applying for and receiving benefits, and qualifying to be paid as an in-home or relative provider.

Some notable changes include:
  • Every applicant must go through the WCCC application process, regardless of their participation in other DSHS assistance programs.
  • The benefits start date is now the same for TANF and non-TANF recipients. All applicants must complete the application and verification process within 30 days. Applicants who do not meet the deadline must re-apply if they want to receive benefits.
  • Rules around verifying income and employment now allow providing a previous year’s income tax return and allow untaxed, in-kind income and taxable corporate compensation to be counted as income.
  • DSHS must verify the citizenship or legal residency of all children who participate in the program.
  • Benefits are provided only for hours when parents work outside of the home.
  • Self-employed applicants or recipients must provide additional verification such as a business license or registration and a self-employment plan.
  • An in-home or relative provider who cares for children receiving WCCC benefits may not receive WCCC benefits for his or her own children during those same hours.

 More information is available on DEL’s website at

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day 34 of the Challenge

wow, only 8 days left!   Then we start a new one because I'm in a groove and want to stay there!   I'm not perfect, but I'm doing pretty good.   Today's foods were similar to yesterdays.  I made a big salad from kale, cabbage, salad mix, spinach, D'angou pear vinegar, sweet red pepper, jicama (part of one), 2 nectarines, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds.  That was divided into 3 bowls for the 3 meals.  Then two small bowls of beans and greens from the freezer, and a baked sweet potato and baked beets.  Then I had some carrots and part of an asian pear when I got home.  Oh my gosh, asian pears are yummy!  I heard someone rave about them on the Fuhrman forums so I bought some and they have a very interesting flavor, almost honey like or vanilla like.  I put the rest of the asian pear into tomorrow's oatmeal.  Check out my new toy!  And it was only $10:

Here it is next to a coffee mug for scale:

I was thinking for a while that it would be nice to find a small slow cooker to cook oatmeal in.  Well, I was shopping the other day and came across this cute food warmer.  It's meant for dips and things and it says it's not a slow cooker, only a warmer.  But you don't really have to cook oatmeal so I figure it will work.  We'll find out tomorrow!  Oh, I should add cinnamon to it.  It's got a little under 1/2 cup oats (41 g), 4 chopped walnut halves (9 g), and a small handful of raisins (10 g).   But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Today's food totaled 1503 calories; protein 53 g (11%), fat 22 g (13%), carbs 298 g (76%), fiber 75 g.

Time to get some shut-eye.  I exercised hard today and I'm sleep deprived.

Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) retreat information now online

The Early Learning Advisory Council (ELAC) held a full-day retreat on Aug. 31 at the Lacey Community Center. The retreat was meant to build relationships among ELAC members, including several newly appointed members; develop the ELAC functions and guiding principles; and identify potential early actions for the group. The retreat was open to the public.

Some ELAC members are appointed by the Governor. Others are appointed by various organizations as required by state law. ELAC members provide input and recommmendations to DEL so that our strategies and actions are well-informed and broadly supported by parents, early care providers, health/safety experts and interested parties.

Here’s ELAC member Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, on why early learning is important for him and how he expects to help ELAC reach its objectives:

And here’s Educational Service District 105 Early Learning Director Cynthia Juarez, a Governor’s appointee:

For more information on ELAC and to view the agenda and related materials from the ELAC retreat, visit