Michigan Mulching ... no more raking and bagging!

I recently posted some pictures of the changing of the colors we are seeing in Michigan this fall. In those picture, you'll notice the very large trees in our yard. Those beautiful trees equate to many, many leaves in our yard every fall. A friend suggested we start mowing over the leaves in our yard to mulch and fertilize. We did and were amazed at how many leaves the rider mower mulched up.

I came across an article this week explaining the benefits of mowing over leaves instead of raking, substantiating our friend's suggestion. Not only does it save time and back pain from racking and bagging or burning, it also benefits your lawn. Not to mention, if you don't burn, there are costs for bagging and getting rid of the bags of leaves.

The article explained that all yards that were mulched with leaves seen a decrease in weeds, especially dandelions and crabgrass. It can also help with patches. These are all issues we are dealing with in our yard.

I didn't have a chance to get any pictures of our yard yet, but the here is a link to the article. The pictures are accurate, however, in our yard, the mulched leaves are much less visible.

Smart Gardening Article from Michigan State University:

I highly suggest you give it a try ... happy mulching!

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Made in Michigan ... just in time for holiday shopping!

Yesterday I received an email with deals and one was an offer for a very interesting site called Mitten Crate. The Mitten Crate is a site that offers subscriptions for delivery of a monthly box containing new artisan products and specialty goods made in Michigan. The email said to use code "blueship" for free shipping and "bluefive" for $5 off first month subscription at check out. The site also has a Pinterest-like blog with more information about products and tasty recipes.


I've found a couple of other good sites to visit for links to Michigan Made Products, or that sell them directly. Here are the links:

Heart of Michigan

Michigan Made

Americans Working (Michigan Page)

Buy Michigan Products

An Etsy type of shop:
Handmade In Michigan

And of course the Pure Michigan Site:

Enjoy ... happy shopping ... just in time for the holidays!

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Loving this warm Michigan November

Clearly October was a busy month for me. I've had plenty to blog about, but unfortunately, not enough time to blog. I think November could be just as packed, but I'm going to put that extra effort in to get some blogging done.

I'm not sure how the weather is outside of Michigan this month, but we are really enjoying this warm weather with record setting high temperatures! I didn't get to make it out and about in Michigan this summer as normal, so it's great to have fall weather that's pleasant enough to travel and shop without tracking through snow. Not to mention all the beautiful fall colors on the trees and in the sky.

I'm looking forward to sharing my recent visit to Lake Odessa as well as my upcoming visits to St. Joseph, Hastings, and Holly Michigan. I've also got some great new recipes and organic products to share!

More to come from the mind of ...

Just say no ... Michigan Girl's guide to time management

It's pretty common to feel overwhelmed in our daily lives with more things that need to get done than time in the day. The first way to deal with this is usually to prioritize. Determine what needs to be done and then start with the most critical tasks. Your list of "to-dos" should be about 5-10 major tasks to remain manageable. Try not to start new tasks until the critical ones are complete.

I'd like to suggest another method to help with time management, say no. I'm not suggesting being rude or skipping out on critical tasks. Be cognizant of how much you take on. Sometimes people struggle to tell someone no. The easiest way to do this is to be honest. Be honest about your time, commitments, and work-life balance. Some people don't want to seem rude or let others down, however, by over-committing yourself, you can often let people down just as easily. People are more likely to respect your honesty.

Its important to practice saying no at work as well as in your personal life. At work, you may not have the option to say no. You may need to agree to a task, but agree to work on it when it fits into your schedule. You can also look to delegate and find someone else for the task. Many times this presents an opportunity to help develop someone else. You may also find that someone just needs a little encouragement or advice and they can then do the task on their own.

Just remember, it's okay to respectfully and honestly say no. Successful time management can be critical to reducing stress and saying no is one tool to practice and learn.

See these links for tips for saying no in specific situations and more information

20 Ways to Tell Someone No

Nice People Can Say No

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Boston Cream Pie Trifle simplified Michigan Girl style

One of my husband's favorite deserts is Boston Cream Pie. I've taken that idea and turned it into a easy to make Trifle.

1 Yellow Box Cake Mix (and the ingredients required on the box)
1 Box Instant Vanilla Pudding (and the 3 cups of milk required on box)
1 Container Chocolate Frosting

Prepare cake mix as directed on box.

Prepare instant pudding as directed and refrigerate.

Once the cake as cooled. Cut into chunks or cubes. Layer the cake in the bottom of a Trifle Bowl. Layer pudding on top of cake and frosting on top of pudding. Repeat until you have three complete layers. 

Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Return leftovers to the refrigerator.

The layering of the pudding and frosting takes some practice to make it look nice. Even if you can see some of the pudding peeking out from the frosting or the two mix together a little, it still looks and tastes great.


More to come from the mind of ...

Dogs are a girl's best friend

I don't think that I've mentioned my love of dogs yet. For much of my life, I've had a dog. As I get older and watch shows like the Dog Whisperer and Pitbulls and Parolees, I appreciate dogs more and understand what the responsibility is for owning a dog. Being a good pet owner is so much like being a good parent. You are responsible for the pet's health and happiness. It's not only vet visits, providing food, and making sure the dog is legally registered. A good pet owner also provides daily exercise, leadership, much needed love and affection.

I have so much respect for Cesar Millan, from Dog Whisperer and Cesar 911. I whole-heartily believe in in the pack leader mentality that Ceaser teaches. When I adjust my energy and go into pack leader mode with dogs, I find nearly an instant reaction from dogs in most cases. I believe that dogs do react and feed off our energy. Cesar's approach not only works with dogs but it often works for other aspects in life. Being a calm leader with a positive energy works in so many situations.

Tia Torres from Pitbulls and Parolees is a dedicated, outstanding women that deserves so much respect. The work she does for dogs, parolees, and her community is unmatched. Along with her family, staff, and volunteers, she makes a difference everyday by rescuing, housing, nursing, loving, and adopting dogs into great homes. I am moved every time I watch the show.

We are a Boxer family for sure, but we are not total snobs to other breeds or sizes.  I've never liked small dogs as much as large dogs, but our Aunt has a Yorkie, and we love him. He's smart and very cute. I'm also a little obsessed with French Bulldogs and I'm pretty sure we'll add one to our family in the near future.

Currently, my husband and I share a Boxer with my dad. It's the second Boxer we've shared with him. Personally, I've loved sharing a dog for the most part. You can run into some issues, like who is really the dog owner and makes important decisions, but we usually work through it as a family. The advantage is that you do get a break from the responsibilities periodically and you aren't always tied down if you want to travel.

A friend of mine continues to ask when we are going to get a dog of our own and when I'll get that French Bulldog that I can be a bit obsessive about. I always tell her that I won't do it until my husband and I are both ready to commit to the serious responsibility of adding another dog to our family.

The boxers we've shared with my dad. Vinnie on the left, who passed a few years ago
and Mac on the right, who is now 6 years old.

If you live in the Lansing, Michigan area and are looking for a dog trainer. I recommend Hector Hernandez of First Class Dog Training. My father has taken several of his dogs to Hector and has been very happy with the classes and what he and his dogs learn.

Here is a link to Hector's website:

Recently, we watched a great story on 60 Minutes. The story was digging into how smart dogs really are. Although there have been many studies into chimpanzees and dolphins, it's amazing how little people really know about dogs. Dogs are in our homes everyday. The show said that we currently have 80 million dogs in the United States. There are more dogs than children. Dogs have been in our lives for 15,000 years.

The story starts with Chaser, a Border Collie that knows over 1,000 unique words and understands the difference between words that are nouns and words that are verbs. Chaser isn't unique, his owner is because he spends up to five hours a day working with the dog teaching him.

Additionally, Anderson Cooper speaks with scientists who are studying dogs. The studies include MRI's while the dogs are awake showing that when a dog smells it's owner rather than a stranger, the reward center of the dog's brain shows recognition of someone important to them. It's the same area of a human's brain that is activated when we anticipate being with someone we love.

One of the best parts is when they talk about what happens when a dog and it's owners or family make eye contact, play or touch. It releases oxytocin in both the dog and the human. The same hormone that bonds a mother and baby feel when making eye contact, playing or touching.

Here is a link to the YouTube Video of the story about the study of dogs:

I hope that people continue to see the value and privilege it is to be a pet owner and that people continue to take this responsibility seriously. These animals deserve it.

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Michigan Girl is back

I'm back from a wonderful two-week vacation with our family in Charlotte, North Carolina. I expected to post a bit more than I did while on vacation, but I'll get back on track now. Two weeks away from work and major responsibilities was so great. Now it's back to reality, hopefully a bit more refreshed.

I think I've reached about 20 blogs in a little over a month with a little over 600 views. I'm happy with the feedback on Twitter, Facebook, and through emails. Please feel free to post responses, comments, questions right on the site. I look forward to more interaction with my readers and more feedback.

I have many topics that cross my mind each day, unfortunately, I don't get the time to write them all down. Many come to me in the morning when I'm getting ready for work. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I do some of my best thinking in the shower. I never have the ability to get those thoughts or ideas documented though, so I have to rely on my memory most of the time.

My husband and I are pretty excited this week as we are TV junkies and it's fall premiere week. We are looking forward to the return of some of our favorite shows as well as the premieres of many new shows.

I was watching the Emmy's and I love the skit where the host is so overwhelmed with all the TV shows that he starts doing nothing but watching TV, even struggling to keep up with his hygiene in order to catch up on TV. I feel like that sometimes. Someday, we plan to watch Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, and catch up on shows that I've fell off track on and never got back to like Nip Tuck and Awkward. The list is so long but luckily we have options to catch up now through On Demand, Streaming, or Netflix DVD rentals when we are ready.

I think the surge of great TV shows expanding to all the cable channels has added significantly to the amount of shows out there. making it difficult to keep up. With so many successful shows, the networks are so quick to cut a show with sub-par or dropping ratings. So many great shows with potential have gotten the axe too quickly.

I'm not home for daytime TV, but I'm even starting to get hooked on a daytime show. The talk show The Real is one of my favorite shows. I love the ladies of The Real. I have 28 episodes saved on the DVR - ridiculous. I thought I'd have a chance to catch up on a little more of them over the summer while the show was on a break, but I didn't.

Good luck to those trying to keep up and kudos to those that rarely watch tv and spend their time doing much more productive activities!

More to come from the mind of ...

Easy Banana Pudding Cake, North Carolina Girl Style

This cake tastes like a cross between banana bread and banana pudding, it's delicious. My sister-in-law made it for us while visiting her and the rest of our family in North Carolina. She uses a boxed cake mix but you can always make the cake from scratch and add the bananas if you choose.

1.5 cups mashed bananas
1 boxed yellow or banana cake mix (and required ingredients listed on box)
Vanilla wafers
1 box banana pudding (prepped according to box directions)
1 8 oz. tub of cool whip

Make pudding according to box directions and refrigerate.

Mix cake mix as directed and add in mashed bananas.

Layer vanilla wafers on bottom of cake pan. Pour cake batter over pan. Bake as directed.

Let cake cool for 10-15 minutes. Poke holes in cake with a wooden spoon. Pour banana pudding over cake, making sure to get pudding in holes. Spread Cool Whip over the pudding. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Before serving crush vanilla wafers (kind of chunky) over top of the individual pieces.

Store in refrigerator.

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Meandering Michigan Series: Tecumseh

I'm finally getting back to one of my favorite topics, Michigan travel. One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to travel around Michigan. My mom and I love to travel to towns and visit our lakes, craft shows, art festivals, artist's guilds, stores, and of course restaurants.

Tecumseh, Michigan
Our most recent trip was to Tecumseh, Michigan. On our first trip we planned to go on Saturday during a festival, but because of the weather, we ended up going on Sunday. Because it was Sunday, not everything was open, so we ended up making a second trip a few weekends later on a Saturday.

Art Trail
While walking around Tecumseh you'll see many interesting art sculptures. This is the Tecumseh Art Trail. There are several brochures around town that list all the sculptures so that you can be sure to catch them all.


Tecumseh Train Station
The historic buildings are another great aspect of Tecumseh. One of the best buildings is the train station. I've include some pictures, but I'd suggest you stop by and see it yourself.

Antiques & Vintage on the Boulevard
For a small town, Tecumseh has a lot to offer the antique scene. My mom is more into antiques than I am, but I do enjoy strolling through some antique stores and Tecumseh has several. Antiques & Vintage on the Boulevard is a great shop that we visited both times. The store has lots of rooms filled with many antiques as well as offering locally made candles, soaps, lotions, and other goodies. The first time we went, I purchased homemade soap and a handmade bag from a local artist. The second time I purchased some candles, and a pair of earrings. This store doesn't have a website, but there is a Facebook page.


The Boulevard Market
Another favorite is the Boulevard Market. This is small, outstanding market where they not only have imported cheese but they also make their own at the Four Corners Creamery. Besides offering wonderful cheeses like Basil Aged Asiago and Piave, they also have meats, homemade truffles, beer, wine and their own chocolate bars, Peppalo Stone Ground Chocolate. I'm honestly not a fan of the the Peppalo Chocolate, it's by far the darkest I've ever had and it's a bit gritty.


British Tea Garden & Rooftop Cafe
The British Tea Garden is a great lunch spot. They offer lunch each day from 11a to 3p. The menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, quiche, cottage pie and desserts. We didn't have lunch there, but we did have an outstanding berry cheesecake.

In the front of the building they have a gift shop with lots of jams, cookies, chocolates, and other snacks. They have a huge selection of tea and have afternoon tea time is from 3p to 5p. While strolling the gift shop you can purchase china tea pots, cups & saucers and children's tea sets, table linens, aprons, tea towels, night lights, and seasonal decor, They also have scarves, homemade cards, locally made jewelry, and other fun little items and gifts.


Other Stops
What a Find Consign is full of a great finds for the home.

There was also a little shop that two ladies owned and ran with handmade art and gifts. They had jewelry, melted down bottles turned into art pieces, and many other interesting pieces. I can't find the store name or website but they are just down from What a Find Consign.

If you are into quilting, there were at least two stores for quilters. There a couple of hobby and toy stores. There is also a jeweler, a little shop with wine and other specialty foods, and The Daily Grind which has many gifts.

Tecumseh has a wide selection of restaurants from fast food, ice cream, fine dinning, and even has it's own Brewery.

We didn't make it to The Dog House, but we will on our next trip. The Dog House has over 30 different dogs or you can make your own. The dogs are 100% Beef. They also have paninis, salads, wraps, beers, and specialty cupcakes.

We did checkout Basil Brothers. I had a gyro pocket sandwich and my mom had a greek salad. The main attraction is their pizza. We didn't taste any, but it looked great. We did have some homemade breadsticks and those hit the spot.

Even though Tecumseh is small town, it can take several trips to see everything. It's a great local Michigan stop!

Here is a little PDF that lists everything you'll want to see:

More to come from the mind of ...

Butterfinger Cake lightened up for a calorie counting girl

This Butterfinger cake is rich and sweet but not overly sweet. To cut out some fat and calories, I use sugar free caramel, lite cool whip, and low fat sweetened condensed milk. I found the original recipe on a food blogger's site, Chief In Training, she has some great, fairly easy recipes.

1 box yellow cake mix with all ingredients listed on the box
1 can (14 oz) low fat sweetened condensed milk
1 jar (16 oz) sugar free caramel ( I don't use all of it)
1 tub (8 oz) lite cool whip
3-4 Butterfinger Candy Bars (crushed into small pieces)

Bake the cake as directed and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.

After letting the cake cool, poke holes in the cake with the end of a small wooden spoon.

While the cake is warm, pour condensed milk over, making sure the milk goes into the holes. Next, drizzle the caramel over the cake, again getting the caramel over the holes. Sprinkle some of the Butterfinger pieces over the cake and get some into the holes.

Spread the cool whip over the cake evenly. Drizzle caramel over the cool whip and sprinkle the rest of the Butterfinger pieces over the cake.

Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve and keep any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Chief In Training's Site:

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Suggestions from an organically, well-moisturized girl

I found Mia's Natural Beauty products on eBay. My husband and I use several of the products regularly. We purchase face creams, body lotions, body washes, and masks. The hypoallergenic, and organic products contain all natural ingredients including minerals and vitamins, offer sun protection, are free of alcohol, ammonia, formaldehyde, paraben, silicon, and sulfate. Most products are offered as unscented or scented with natural oils.

My two favorite products are the face cream and the mask.

Face cream ingredients include Shea Butter, Goats Milk, Honey, Rose Water, Argan Oil, Aloe Vera Extract, Vitamin E Oil, Water, and Coconut Oil. I use the face cream daily. I have combination/sensitive skin. Between my daily face scrub, see my post on the scrub, and this face cream, I've dramatically reduced the dead, dry flakes that were on my skin and have noticed that my skin is soft and supple each day. I'm really not used to that.

Link to Face Cream:

The face mask is described as a pure dead sea mud facial and body mask. The ingredients are

Dead Sea Mud, Argan Oil, Jojoba Oil, German Chamomile Essential Oil, Peppermint Essential Oil, and Lavender Essential Oil. I love how tight and clean my pores feel after the mask. I'd like to use it at least once a week although I don't always get a chance to. I've never tried it, but it's noted that the mask can be used directly on the scalp.

Link to Mask:

On occasion, I have asked for some customization, I know big shocker, and she has accommodated. 

Link to eBay Store:

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Comfort food that warms a girl from the inside out ... Lasagna

I stumbled across a lasagna recipe a few years ago. Instead of using cottage or ricotta cheese, you use cream of mushroom soup. It's still very creamy and the mushroom soup adds great flavor.

I add some Italian cheese to the soup mix and the last time I made it I added some kale to the meat and veggie mix, I had planned on spinach but I had kale on hand, it turned out great.

I also mix some ground pork sausage with the ground turkey, but you can just use one meat if you prefer.

I do purchase spaghetti sauce, but I am considering starting to make my own in the future. I watch Tia Mowry at Home on the Cooking Channel and she has a very simple recipe for homemade sauce.

1.5 lbs of ground turkey
.5 lb of ground pork sausage
1 green pepper (chopped)
1 red pepper (chopped)
1 small onion (chopped)
Garlic (fresh, from a jar, or garlic powder works)
1/2 cup chopped spinach or kale
1 can of low sodium cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of milk
2 - 8 oz. packages of shredded Italian cheese
9 lasagna noodles
Two jars of your favorite spaghetti sauce (or your homemade sauce if you like)
Italian Seasoning
Salt and Pepper

Cook lasagna noodles in over stove in boiling water until soft (I have tried the noodles that you don't pre-boil, but I'm never satisfied with how they turn out.)

While the noodles are cooking, saute vegetables and garlic in a pan for about 7 to 10 minutes on medium heat until they soften. Add the meat to the vegetable mixture and cook all the way through. Add the salt, pepper, and seasoning to the mix. Drain the meat to remove excess grease. Add half the sauce to the meat and veggie mixture and cook for about 5 minutes.

In a medium size bowl, mix the cream of mushroom soup, 3/4 of a bag of cheese, and the milk.

Spray the lasagna pan with non-stick spray and spoon a little sauce in the bottom. Lay 3 noodles flat in the bottom of the lasagna pan. Spread half of the soup mix on the noodles, then layer half of the meat and veggie mixture on top. Next, layer 3 more noodles on top and repeat with the rest of the soup mix and then rest of the meat and veggie mix. Layer the last 3 noodles on top. Cover the noodles with the rest of the spaghetti sauce and cover with the rest of the Italian Cheese.

When baking, I often place a cookie sheet under the lasagna pan so that it doesn't slop in the oven. I also cook on the bottom rack in the oven so the cheese bakes to a golden brown and doesn't get too dark.

Bake for 45 minutes on 350.

I think lasagna is best the next day, sometimes I will make it a day ahead. I also like to do a variation and make lasagna rolls. For the rolls you do everything the same but when you get to the layering, you just do one noodle at a time and once you place the mixes on the noodle, you roll it. Then you cover all the rolls with sauce.

More to come from the mind of ...

Michigan Girl's Le-Vel Thrive four day trial (Day 4)

Today is the final day of my Le-Vel Thrive trial. I only did the Premium Lifestyle DFT Patch today. I didn't have any of my own protein shakes, so no shake this morning. I took my own supplements. My energy level again felt a little higher today and my hunger stayed about the same as yesterday.

I'm going to look more closely at the products, I'm very interested in continuing. We have a vacation coming up, but I'm thinking when I get back I'll buy a full month's supply of product. I'd like to try the newest Black DFT that have more of the energy boost with more green tea.

If anyone else has had experience with Thrive, I'd love to hear about it.

If anyone is interested in the Aloha protein drinks that I mentioned yesterday, I've shared the link to the site below. Aloha makes organic, vegan protein powder that is thoughtfully sourced from plants including hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and peas. Aloha does not include harsh chemicals, fillers, or artificial sweeteners.

I ordered a free sample kit that came with a vanilla protein shake, a green drink mix, and a trail mix nut pack. Yesterday, I mixed the vanilla shake and the greens drink mix with water, a scoop of greek yogurt and a few strawberries. The mix was very tasty.

I like the ingredients and the company. If you order the free sample kit, the company asks you to pay shipping and then enrolls you an auto refill/reorder program. You can cancel at any time though. I canceled right away.


Check in tomorrow, I'll share a recipe for a great lasagna that I make with cream of mushroom soup instead of ricotta or cottage cheese.

More to come from the mind of ...

Michigan Girl's Le-Vel Thrive four day trial (Day 3)

Third day on the Le-Vel Thrive program. I think today I've actually seen an additional increase in my energy level. Again today, I'm noticing a decrease in how hungry I am.

The only Thrive product I'm using today is Premium Lifestyle DFT Patch. As I shared yesterday, the trial sample pack did not include enough shakes or supplements for the full four days.

This morning, instead of a Thrive shake, I made a different protein shake that I had. It was by Aloha. It didn't have everything in that the Thrive shade had, but it had minerals, protein and vitamins.

For supplements I took a Vitamin B complex and a Green Tea Supplement. Tonight I'll take my standard mix of a Multivitamin, Vitamin D, Iron, Calcium, Fish Oil, and Glucosamine.

Looking forward to my fourth day and a decision about if I'll continue on any of the Thrive products.

I've attached pictures from the back of the Shake packet (sorry, that one is a little blurry) and the back of the Supplement packet to show the ingredients.

Link to Le-Vel website:

Supplement Ingredient List
Shake Ingredient List

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Michigan Girl's Le-Vel Thrive four day trial (Day 2)

I'm on the second day of my 4 day trial of the Le-Vel Thrive program. As I started day two, I realized that the four day trial falls a little short. The trial has four patches, but only two shakes. There are two packets of the supplements with two pills each. The standard dose would be two pills a day, you can take one a day though and make it stretch over the 4 day period.  It seems like this might not be a true test if you do this.

I did not see much of an increase in energy today. I did notice that I seemed to be a little less hungry than usual. I have not had any adverse reactions either. I did forget to check my weight on Monday when I started to see if there is any change in my weight over the 4 days, but I wasn't expecting a change there. I was expecting more of any increase in energy and overall more healthy feeling.

I should note that I'm trying the Premium Lifestyle DFT Patch, the new DFT Black Label patch was not available in the test. Le-Vel also offers a Ultra Patch.

I do like the ingredients that these products offer, but I'm not yet seeing much results. Check back for Day 3 results.

Here is a link to the Le-Vel website for more information:

More to come from the mind of ...

Michigan Girl's Le-Vel Thrive four day trial (Day 1)

While at the Dewitt Michigan Ox Roast Festival this weekend, I stopped at booth for the company Le-Vel. I have been looking at the Le-Vel Thrive program and have considered trying it. Thrive is a program consisting of shakes, drink mixes, supplements, and a patch that provide vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, plant extracts, enzymes, pro-biotics, and amino acids. The supplements are specific to gender, the other products are not.

While stopping at the booth, they offered a 4 day trial kit for $10. I bought it and started it today. The trial kit comes with shakes, supplements, and patches. I still want to talk it over with my doctor at my next appointment to see if she has any concerns. From my research, the ingredients seem to be natural and I haven't heard too much negative feedback other than pricing or comments about the selling process.

I have been pretty tired lately, so I'm hoping for a real boost of energy during this trial period. As a

Bariatric patient, it's important for me to get in specific supplements and protein each day, so Thrive will fulfill some of my daily requirements. So far, I'm feeling good. I'm not tired, but I'm not feeling an overabundance of energy or feeling shaky.

I'll be sure to update each day on the progress and any additional information I have. I'm interested to hear if anyone else has tried Thrive or heard anything about, please share if you have.

Here is a link to the Le-Vel website for more information:

More to come from the mind of ...

I have enough clothes. I don't need to go shopping ... said no girl ever ... almost

I read an interesting story recently. A lady was discussing how much goes into managing a professional wardrobe for work. Buying clothes and accessories and picking them out each day. This can be quite stressful and sometimes even expensive. She is an art director at a firm in New York. She is able to wear whatever she likes.

In an attempt to make things easier, she decided to wear the same thing to work each day. Now, not the exact same items, but basically a uniform. She admitted that when purchasing all the items at one time, it was costly, but in the long run, it saved her money.

I have to admit, this doesn't seem like the worst idea. It can not only be stressful but it can also be a lot of pressure to figure out what to wear each day to work. I'm not sure I'd go with it, I really like clothes. However, the thought of just knowing what you would wear to work each day, no stress, only replacing items when needed, not constantly looking for new things to buy, is somewhat appealing.

I try to be thrifty and sell clothes that I no longer wear. This is quite a process too. Iron, take to the consignment shop when they are open, hope they want everything you take, but they rarely take everything. Consign what they don't take somewhere else or donate.

I found the story, it's on Harper's Bazaar's website:

The author also references another story discussing why successful men wear the same thing everyday. In this story, Mark Zukerburg shares that he doesn't want to waste time and energy on what he wears. Even the president is quoted saying that he has too many other, much more important decisions to make.


I'm pretty sure I won't go this route any time soon, but it's something to think about. Certainly opens the door for some stress reduction and money saving.
More to come from the mind of ...

Strawberry pie that sticks to a girls lips but not a girls hips

Just made a great strawberry pie and like most of my recipe posts - this one is easy! Are you noticing a trend?

3 Tablespoons of Butter
12 Ounces Crushed Graham Crackers

12 Ounces (1 container) frozen fat-free or lite whipped topping, thawed
8 Ounces of Greek Yogurt/Cream Cheese (I purchased this from Kroger)
3 Tablespoons No Sugar Added Strawberry Jelly or Jam (I used some from a local farmers market)

1 Cup Fresh Cut Strawberries
4 Ounces Water
3 Tablespoons No Sugar Added Strawberry Jelly or Jam

Melt butter and mix with graham crackers to form crust in the bottom of a pie plate.

Soften cream cheese. Mix with whipped topping and jelly. Once mixed to a smooth consistency, pour the mixture on top of the crust. Place in freezer for at least one hour.

Mix strawberries, water, and jam in a blender.

I keep this pie in the freezer and remove about an hour to thirty minutes before serving. I like to store the topping in a separate dish in the refrigerator and place on the individual slices of pie before serving.

I'd post pics of my food but I often forget to take one before we start eating or they don't always look pretty enough for pictures. They always taste good though! This pie is slightly tart and not overly sweet. Using the lower sugar, lower fat items keep the calories down too.

More to come from the mind of ...

Meandering Michigan Series: Tavern 109, Williamston

Last Thursday I had the day off to take my dad for a colonoscopy. I bet that is not where you expected this post to start when you read the title! My dad's medical care is through the VA, Veteran's Affairs, so we had to travel about 45 minutes to the appointment.

I prepared for a long day of sitting in a waiting room, bringing my laptop and my tablet to keep me company. His appointment was at 9:45 a.m. I was pleasantly surprised that because everything went well, we were able to leave the hospital by lunch time.

On the way to the appointment, we made plans to stop on our way home in Williamston, Michigan at Tavern 109 to eat. As we were leaving, I mentioned that there was a Whole Foods close by and that I hadn't been there in quite a long time. We decided to stop. My dad had never been there before. My dad is more of a frugal shopper looking for good deals and prices than a healthy shopper looking for eco-friendlly, organic, healthy products. Needless to say, he was a little overwhelmed by the prices in the store, but enjoyed tasting a few sample products and looking around. He would have gotten some pizza from the deli if we hadn't already planned on stopping somewhere to eat.

On our way home we stopped at Tavern 109 as planned. I introduced my dad to the Cubano sandwich. I ordered a side of the Mac 'N Cheese, one of my favorite dishes anywhere if it's made well, and my dad got a side of fries. He was tempted to change up the sandwich but I convinced him to try it as is.

Now, if you have read my Blog "I'm that girl, please don't spit in my food," you are probably shocked by this comment. The first time I had this sandwich, my mom brought it over and I didn't have the opportunity to change anything, and I'm glad, I love it as is. It's packed with ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and Dijon mustard on ciabatta bread. My dad was very happy with the Cubano as well, he wouldn't add or get rid of anything but he does think they should do a little something more with roast pork. I wouldn't disagree with that. The pork is heavy and a little plain. I would still give this Cubano a 9 out of 10. I do have to say that this sandwich is usually between 3 to 5 meals for me, as it's a pretty heavy sandwich. My mom and my husband usually end up with 2 meals, but could finish in 1 setting if they were willing to be miserably full. The Mac 'N Cheese is also a 9 out of 10. The ingredients are fontina cheese, cream, chives, panko crumbs, and I believe white truffle oil. They list the ingredients for the Lobster Mac 'N Cheese on the menu but not the side regular order that comes without the Lobster. I'm not sure if the truffle oil is used in the side order, but I think it is.

Additional Pics from Tavern 109:

After a satisfying late lunch with plenty of food to bring home for dinner, we headed home. On our way, we passed Roma Bakery and Deli in Lansing and made an additional stop for dessert. If you are interested in Roma Bakery, see post from last week. It's a great little bakery and deli in Lansing that's been around since 1969. Great breads, pastas, and baked goods.

I see my dad at least once a week for dinner usually followed by board games or the Wii, but it was really nice to get out and spend some time at a few fun Michigan spots. The best part was the next day when my he texted me to tell me say thank you for taking him and tell me that he enjoyed spending the day with me. I know that like many, I do take things for granted at times. I'm very thankful and blessed to have a great family and wonderful friends and to live in a great, beautiful state like Michigan.

More to come from the mind of ...