A New Direction

Last week I wrote that I felt that my time with I’m Losing It Here had run its course, that I had said all I had to say about frugal living, saving, decluttering and losing weight, at least in a way that fit the reason for this blog.

I’m Losing It Here started out as a way for me to document our family’s journey to find our way out of crushing debt, as well as a way to track my weight as I’d just lost 30 pounds and intended to keep it off. Along the way though something I never thought would happen did . . . people found my blog, read what I had written, and came back again. Some commented, others didn’t, but over the past three years readership has grown to numbers that continue to surprise me and fill me with gratitude. I’m very proud of my little blog that could.

Many, many thanks go out as well to all of you who have commented. I have to say that in the three years of blogging I did not receive even one negative comment.

I also want to say how deeply indebted I am to all you other bloggers out there who put yourselves and your lives out there day in and day out. I am not the best at commenting, but I have laughed with you, cheered your successes, wanted to hold your hand or give you a hug when things weren’t going well. I have learned more from all of you than I can ever express.

All that being said, I’m in a very different place now than I was when I started writing I’m Losing It Here three years ago. Our debt is almost paid off, I’ve almost gotten to my goal weight (again), we live simply, frugally and with purpose, and we are almost ready to begin a new chapter in our lives with my husband’s upcoming retirement and a move to Hawai’i next year. Life is good.

So, I hope you will join me at a new effort to explore and record our next adventure. Starting today, I will be blogging at Noho’ana Hau’ole: Life is Good, and I hope you’ll come check it out. Many of my favorite parts of I’m Losing It Here will be moving over to the new blog, but the focus will be more on getting ready for a new stage in our lives as well as planning our move to the Garden Island of Kauai.

To all of my readers . . . thank you! You’re simply  the best.

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Sunday Night Chit Chat

11162684-largeAm I being selfish to wish that we were in the middle of another three-day weekend? I can honestly admit that I am not looking forward to waking up early again tomorrow, as well as getting the girls up and going, but . . . there will be no school on Friday (teacher planning day) so at least we have a shorter week to look forward to.

This evening I am:

  • Reading: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn, is my downstairs reading and my bedside book is Not My Blood by Barbara Cleverly. A Shining Skull by Kate Ellis is out in the car. February is going to be a “mystery month,” where I plan to only read mysteries and detective stories!
  • Listening to: The dryer, of course. But it’s the last load of the day, thank goodness.
  • Watching: We’re going to watch another couple of episodes from season two of Chuck
  • Cooking/baking: Mr. Losing It made a pesto and chicken pizza tonight. I baked some banana-walnut whole wheat muffins for the girls’ breakfast, and a pan of gingerbread for dessert tonight and lunches tomorrow.
  • Happy I accomplished this week: I walked two hours every day again this week, and also got my cholesterol check and mammogram out of the way. We also had two no-drive days this weekend, and our taxes are almost done!
  • Looking forward to next week: The launch of a new blog! It will be up and running later in the week, so stay tuned . . . .
  • Thankful for: All the great mysteries, thrillers and detective stories that are still out there for me to discover. And Swagbucks.
  • *BONUS QUESTION* What chore around the house do you dread doing the most?: Dusting. I get a lot of help from the girls and Mr. LI with all the other stuff that needs doing around here, but no one ever wants to help me dust and it’s something I hate doing.

Thank you again, Carla, for hosting Sunday Night Chit Chat!

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52 Weeks of New: Pumpkin Bread Pudding

004“It tastes like Christmas!”

That was Meiling’s reaction when she took her first bite of this delicious bread pudding, and we all agreed. I can also attest as well that the whole house smelled like the holidays  when the pudding was baking.

This recipe comes from C&H sugar, in a coupon insert last fall. It sounded like something we would enjoy, so I clipped it out and tacked it up to our bulletin board where it’s been staring at me for the last few months.  When Mr. Losing It announced he was going to roast the last of our pumpkins last weekend, I knew it was time to give it a try.

The ingredients below are the original from C&H, but I lightened it up a bit by using egg substitute for the whole eggs and yolks and fat-free milk. For the white bread I used challah, a sweet egg bread. The loaf I bought was big enough that there was enough to make this recipe and enough left over for a french toast breakfast for the girls later. I also chose to use rum (we brought some back from Hawaii), but rum extract would probably work just as well, as would vanilla. I also skipped the butter.

The girls had the leftovers for breakfast the next morning, so besides being a great dessert it would also work well for a morning dish. I served it with a spoonful of vanilla yogurt on top – yum!

PUMPKIN BREAD PUDDING

  • 4 cups white bread, cut into small cubes
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP rum or brandy
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 TBSP cold butter, cut into pieces

Preheat oven to 350°. Place the bread cubes on a large baking pan and toast in the oven for around 10 minutes.

Place the toasted bread cubes in a well-greased 9″ x 13″ pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, eggs, yolks, pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, rum or brandy and spices; stir until well-blended and sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture over bread cubes.

Let everything sit for around 10 minutes, or until all the bread is fully soaked. Place pieces of butter around the top of pudding, then bake for 40-50 minutes, or until center is set but not dry.

Pudding can be eaten warm or chilled.

 

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Friday Weigh-In: Flabby Arms

woman-upper-arms-240

I think my arms looked this good for about 5 minutes when I was in the 5th grade.

Now I know you all can’t wait to read what I have to say about my flabby arms ;-). But, you will just have to wait until I tell you that my weight this week was 145 pounds, a loss of 1.3 pounds!!! Yeah! My daily two hours of walking while carrying weights has really been paying some nice dividends the past couple of weeks. Other than having sore feet I’m feeling strong and sleeping well.

Back to those flabby arms though. This is not just about what’s hanging off the bottom of my arms (you know what I’m talking about, ladies), but that my entire upper arm is flabby. I’ve got some nice muscles going on inside, but for the first time in my life I have lost inches off of my arms, of all places. I’ve always had large upper arms (and strong muscles), but when I’ve lost weight in the past my arms just kind of stayed the same size. Not this time though – they are smaller over all, to the point where my daughters noticed it enough to say something. My skin, however, is taking its sweet time contracting to the new smaller size so I’ve currently got these icky, flabby-looking upper arms. Thank goodness it’s winter and I can cover up with sweaters and such, but I’m sure hoping for a sleeker look by this summer!

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Feeling Adrift

adriftI sat down to write the other day and couldn’t find anything to say. There was nothing more to say about debt, money, eating, losing weight, cooking, spending, saving, decluttering, simplifying, and so forth that I hadn’t said before or that I wanted to say again.

The last three years have marked profound changes in our lives here at Casa Losing It. What started as a journey simply to get ourselves out of debt turned out to be a total transformation of all of our lives, in ways unknown to us as we began. We live far more simply now, with far, far less stuff. We know the difference between a need and a want. We live by our budget and within our means. We set goals and then work to achieve them, whether that be saving money, losing weight, reading, and so forth.

The Losing It family is coming up on some new challenges and changes though. Mr. Losing It has applied for Social Security, and will retire at the end of June. We will, for the most part, be living on a fixed income when he does . In 2014, we plan to move to Hawaii. We will be selling our house, and letting go of even more of our possessions before we make our move. One of our daughters will be heading off to college that year, and the other two will attend a private school, a new financial challenge for us. I will be working to consistently maintain my weight loss (again), versus trying to lose weight (again).

In other words, as one journey nears its end, it turns out we will be setting off on another. Up to now, it’s been all about “losing it,” but the new journey feels more like one where we’ll be “finding it.” And so, I’m feeling a bit adrift right now, not sure whether to keep up I’m Losing It or give it up, or segue into something new. I have found I love writing (when I have something to say), and I also treasure the connections and friendships I’ve made through this blog over the past three years and am not sure I’m ready to or want to give them up.

For the next month or so, I think I’m just going to think about things and what direction I want to go. I would love your input and advice as well. Should I keep going but just change course, or should I move on to a whole new venture?

In the meantime, I will continue to maintain some of the regular features, such as my book list, monthly goals, Friday weigh-in and Sunday Night Chit Chat, as I’m not ready to cut any cords completely right now.

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Sunday Night Chit Chat

14110898_120808050000I’m late getting this started this evening, but it’s just been one of those days. I slept in this morning, and have been playing catch-up with the laundry and other chores all day, and also had to have a serious face-to-face with our oldest daughter this evening which took the wind out of me for a while. Parenting is hard work! But it’s all good for now, so without further adieu . . .

This evening I am:

  • Reading: NW by Zadie Smith, about four characters living in NW London, and In the Shadow of the Banyan: A Novel, by Vaddey Ratner, about life under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, in the mid-70s. The two books couldn’t be more different, but I am enjoying both. I also have a book out in the car, Wife 22, by Melanie Gideon, that I just started.
  • Listening to: The last loads of laundry in the washer and dryer.
  • Watching: We picked up the second season of Chuck at the library the other day so Mr. Losing It and I and our two younger daughters are watching a couple more episodes this evening.
  • Cooking/baking: Once again I stayed out of the kitchen today, but Mr. Losing It made an awesome sausage, pepper and onion pizza this evening. He also roasted the last two pumpkins from our garden and got the pulp ready for me to use this week (pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin bars and a pumpkin bread pudding).
  • Happy I accomplished this week: Getting all my walking in (again), and successfully making a Baked Alaska for YaYu’s birthday this past Thursday.
  • Looking forward to next week: Hopefully some warmer temperatures. It’s been very cold (for Portland) this past week.
  • Thankful for: An unexpected check from our mortgage company. Our taxes were less than anticipated, so we got a nice refund!
  • Bonus Question: Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Optimist! I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of gal. 

Thanks again to Carla at My 1/2 Dozen Daily for hosting Sunday Night Chit Chat!

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Friday Weigh-In: The Final Countdown

dsc0329512211111111111211111111I lost another 1.4 pounds this week! My weight is now 146.3, which officially puts me in the last 10 pounds zone. It’s also officially going to be the toughest part of this journey, but I am fired up and ready to go!

All the walking I’m doing is making a big difference. I am now up to two hours of walking per day along with carrying three-pound weights for all two hours. I almost crave the walking now and look forward to it each day – it’s no longer something to dread or something “I have to do.”

What I’m not looking forward to though is possible foot surgery in a couple of months. See those lovely bunions on my already-wide feet? See the way the big toes turn inward? My doctor saw my feet this past week  and after she was done putting her eyeballs back into place her first comment was “You’re an excellent candidate for a bunionectomy!” I will be meeting with the podiatrist soon and he/she will make the final call. If I do have the surgery, it will be on one foot at a time, with a recovery time of six to eight weeks for each foot, which means . . . no walking (and a tougher time losing these last few pounds). Training class for the half-marathon begins in March, so if the surgery is a go, then that won’t happen, although I still will be able to walk the marathon in October.

In the meantime though I’m going to keep on keeping on, and walk as much as possible and lose as much as I can. Just 10 more pounds to go!

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