Three Things I Learned From The Ultimate Blog Challenge

We have reached the middle of the year and it’s time once again for the Ultimate Blog challenge, an event that happens four times a year, January, April, July, and October. July is both the third challenge of the year and the beginning of the second half of the year.

Back in January, here, I blogged about resolutions, goals, and word of the year. Now that we are smack dab in the middle of the year is a good time to look back and see if progress is being made towards the goals, or resolutions. If you did a word of the year, how’s that working out for you?

Three great things about the Ultimate Blog Challenge are: 1)Meeting other bloggers and following them 2) the ability to start again and 3)learning what works for me in blogging.

I follow several bloggers from the Ultimate Blog Challenge, and continue to read their blogs once the challenge is over. I’ve learned about traveling in Europe, different foods and how to prepare them, tips on technology, although sometimes those are more difficult for me. I follow mommy blogger, food bloggers, grandma bloggers and even met a couple of widow bloggers. The Ultimate Blog Challenge is like a huge meet and greet online.

The second thing I’ve learned from the Ultimate Blog Challenge is that it’s okay to start over, and/or change directions. This blog has gone on lengthy vacations to be restarted with the next blog challenge. It doesn’t matter how many times I stop, as long as I keep starting again, and the challenge helps with that.

The third lesson I’ve learned is figuring out what works for me. I tried blogging weekly, that didn’t work, posts would often be two, three or more weeks apart. With the blog challenge the idea is to blog daily and for about half the month I do a decent job of blogging daily and then something happens. After the last challenge, and in the weeks in between when this blog rested I’ve decided that daily blogging isn’t right for me. While the exact number of posts is still to be decided, it’s nice to know there is a plan of sorts and no matter how many posts there are the Ultimate Blog Challenge bloggers will offer their support.

There were other lessons from the challenges however they will wait for another day.

For now, three is a good number.

Do you participate in challenges of any kind?

Are you taking steps towards your plans made in January?


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Raw Food Experiment

After a recent visit with my new doctor, one of the joys of rural living, the doctors move on, anyway, he mentioned a raw food diet. No, he wasn’t suggesting I do one. Good thing.

This guy is young, young enough to be my grandson, but he wasn’t too young to have some commonsense. He knew suggesting an all-raw diet to this, ahem, older, overweight woman, who lives in cattle country, and who used to be involved in raising pork,  was not a good idea. Not to mention that at one time we raised chickens and rabbits. I am a carnivore. Yes, my husband had a garden, and I have one of sorts. But the vegetables are an accompaniment to the meat, not a replacement for the meat.

As John Pinot said in one of his routines, “salad is a precursor to the meal. It is a promise that food is coming. It is not the meal.”

Also, a raw diet sounded like another way of saying, all salad. Salads for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Salads seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a month. No thank you.

For those of you who are vegan or vegetarian, I’m happy for you, you can have my extra. I want meat once in awhile, not to mention eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt and ice-cream. No, not going to follow a raw food meal plan at this time. Not to say I wouldn’t do it if needed, just not right now.

However, just because I’m not diving head first into the deep end of the raw food pool, doesn’t mean I won’t play in the shallow end. Besides, I was curious, did raw food people combine their veggies in a way to create the feeling of a main dish? I went exploring.

Did you know there are raw food tacos,  lasagna, burgers,  and even cheesecake? My issue with the lasagna, and burgers was the use of what I call fake meat. Nuts and spices to mimic meat. If I want meat I’ll just eat meat. Okay, not true, I will try one of the meatless meat meals later.

For today, I found these veggie tacos with nary a hint of meat or fake meat at the Minimalist Baker. In fact she doesn’t call them tacos, she calls them taco boats.  There’s very little tacoish about them, except they are served in a romaine leaf which is a little like a taco shell. And they are as messy as real tacos to eat, at least for me. Next time I think I’ll make it into a layered salad. Why not?

The only thing I had to buy to make this was the beets, for the beet hummus. It was so pretty and red in her picture, how could I leave it out?

Her recipe called for roasting the beets and while I do roast veggies, this time I was going for no cooking at all. After conferring with my friends, and checking online, raw beets it was.

Also, the recipe calls for cooked chickpeas, so I cheated a little and used chickpea hummus already in my fridge. But, I didn’t cook it today, so that’s raw, sort of.

After washing and peeling the beet, I cut it into chunks and put it in my little manual food processor.

That didn’t get the beets smooth enough, maybe roasting would’ve helped with that.

I moved the beets to the blender and learned two things, a mason jar will fit on my blender, and I shouldn’t do that unless I’m blending something that won’t need to be pushed down. It took several shakes to get everything blended, but in the end it was, and tasted good too.

After making the tahini sauce, which added to the flavor. It was time to assemble the boats. Lettuce leaf, a little beet hummus, purple cabbage, orange mini pepper (if I’d been thinking I’d have used yellow for more color variety, shredded carrot, tomato (I used a roma tomato from a friend’s garden,) chopped avocado, and topped with the tahini sauce.

The cut up tomato may have added to the messiness of the boat, and not my ineptitude.

There you have it, my first raw meal. Okay, technically it was another salad, and those are eaten on a regular basis at my house. Still, it was something new and different. I loved both the beet humus, in fact I snacked on it later with celery and carrots. The tahini sauce added another level of flavor. Huh, always wondered what real cooks and chefs meant when they said that.

Do you ever experiment with meals or food?

What is one food you were surprised to find you enjoyed?

What is one meat dish you don’t think you want to be made vegetarian?



Yes the Blogging A to Z challenge is over for me. The actual challenge ended April 30, my last challenge post was May 31, just a month late. The Ultimate Blog Challenge is also over until next month. It’s obvious I didn’t post every day.

One thing I’ve learned (finally) I am not a daily blogger.  Goal is weekly, possibly a couple of times a week, but no promises. This blog is a learning process, and some days I’m a slow learner. The important thing is to keep learning and hopefully improving.

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Blogging A to Z Final Posts-V to Z

Today, one month late, the Alphabet Challenge of 2019 is officially over for this blog, and the last five letters of the alphabet, V, W, X, Y and Z are taking center stage.

A to Z letter V is for VACATION. Which is appropriate since school is out, and people are scheduling time off from work for vacations. Vacations don’t require a lot of time, several days of vacation time strung together is great. However, if all you can manage is a couple of hours of time for you, that will help reenergize and revitalize you.

Time spent away from the ordinary, whether you work at home or away, if you’re a caretaker, or a driver for others, whatever you do on a daily basis, you need a break. Whether you call it a vacation, or just a weekend getaway, it’s time for you and it’s important.

Short two hour vacations, or lengthy month long vacations are beneficial and we all need those breaks.

A to Z letter Wis for WRITING. Studies have shown that we remember better when we write the idea down. Whether it’s the grocery list, to-do list, dream ideas, whatever is important to you, write it down. Even those wild ideas that seem to come out of nowhere might be important, write it down and see where it goes.

A to Z letter Xis for XEROX which means to duplicate or copy. In fact, it’s also the brand name of a machine that makes copies. However, for life, we can XEROX or duplicate the positive filling our lives with happy memories and good times. Xerox the positive in life and ignore the negative.


A to Z letter Yis for YOU and YES. Say yes to you. If you want to try something different, say “yes” and give it a try. If you don’t succeed no big deal, but when you do? When you do succeed at something new, different, you’ll be flying. So go ahead, say yes. Whether it’s a new hobby, or project, a new route home, or a new way of doing the every day, say “yes” to the experience.


Z is for ZEN. One of the definitions of ZEN is:  An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals. Since worry doesn’t solve anything, create your own ZEN zone and enjoy the peace.

Being in the Zen Zone leads to a Zippity Doo Dah day.

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A to Z Alphabet challenge From Q to U



A to Z letter Qis for QUIRKY. It is our quirks that make us who we are. Whether our quirks are subtle and mundane, wearing mismatched socks painting our toenails ten different colors, or something more obvious, dying our hair purple or wearing mismatched clothing on purpose, it doesn’t matter. Our quirks give us our individuality and make us who we are. Our quirks also make us smile, and sometimes others. Embrace your quirky, it adds color to life.


A to Z letter Ris  RESPECT. Respecting others is good and respecting ourselves is awesome. After all if we don’t respect us, how can we expect others to? Which is why R is for RESPECT.



A to Z letter Sis for SENSATIONAL.  Regardless of your age, your height, your width, your weight, your education, your talents, You are sensational. You have skills no one else has. You have the ability to help someone, yourself or someone else, find their way. You are the person you can depend on. Give yourself some credit and remember how sensational you are.


A to Z letter T is for TERRIFIC. Not traffic, terrific. Although, you are terrific enough to stop traffic. If you think you aren’t terrific, try writing down five reasons, then, write five counter-reasons. reasons you really are terrific. Whatever you think you can’t do, or don’t have, others would disagree. Does your smile lift the spirits of those who see it? Are you skilled at a craft and others enjoy the fruits of your labor? Are you a good to fabulous cook and others enjoy eating your bounty? Consider some of the ways you are terrific.


A to Z letter Uis for UNIQUE. From our size, to our hair color, to our skills, we are all unique and bring something different to our relationships. Rather than trying to fit into someone else’s expectations and smother some of our skills, why not embrace our uniqueness and allow all of our talents to shine? Did you notice a trend today? While the words were supposed to be positive and encouraging, and they are. Turns out they are also positive and encouraging on a personal level.

Embrace your quirks, respect yourself and your talents, acknowledge your sensationalism, enjoy your terrificness, and never forget you are unique.

Tomorrow will finish up the alphabet for the A to Z challenge with five more encouraging, positive words in alphabetical order. June will start a new blogging adventure and I have no idea what direction it will take.

What is your favorite thing about yourself?

What is your favorite positive, encouraging word?






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Be Positive and Make Life a Party

A to Z letterPToday I’m on the letter P, and it’s time for quotes or ideas once again. Positive words that start with the letter P and enhance our lives? Gee, how about “positive?” Also added in some ideas for party.


positive outlook saying on pond


confetti rollups with quote

Old Fashioned bathtub with positivity quote.jpg (1)

Elvis Statue and quote 2018

HPIM0878.JPGParty in soul on clouds

Sharing with Ultimate Blog Challenge and Blogging A to Z.

Do you have a positive quote or saying your like?

What makes you want to party?

Have a great positive partying kind of day.


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Optimistic and Open-Minded leads to Opportunities

Guess what? We are up to the letter O. Once again three words popped in my head when I started thinking of positive words that begin with the letter O. This time it’s Openminded, Optimistic, and Opportunity. 

Being optimistic does not mean we refuse to see, or consider the negative, it simply means that we are hopeful for a positive outcome, and confident we will be able to handle whatever the situation calls for.

Years ago my grandmother had a habit of making a wrong turn. As an adult I sometimes think those missed turns were planned. At the time though, I was sure she made a mistake. Whether on purpose or not, she was always optimistic that the drive would be interesting and hopeful we would find our destination sooner rather than later. I learned some of my optimism from her. Plus, it’s easier to be optimistic than pessimistic. For me anyway.

My grandmother’s adventurous driving also taught me to be open-minded. Going down street Jay may not have been our normal route, but Grandma’s logic was, “why not?” Whether it means going a different route, or trying something new. My grandmother taught me to be open-minded and willing to try new things.

Trying new things sometimes leads to new adventures. Several years ago I needed an outlet. Because while I’m basically an introvert, once in awhile I need to be around people. The people in my life seemed to think I was the same person I’d been when my husband had been living. Except, I wasn’t the same.

To meet people who hadn’t known me before I joined a new group, the Toastmasters. I just planned to join them and attend meetings. That’s all, just be a member. Except, that open-mindedness kicked in when someone signed me up for a speech contest. Oh my goodness. I was so scared. But I did it.

That one contest started me on the path of entering other contests. Those in turn opened up the opportunity to speak to other groups.

We never know what opportunities are around the corner. We just need to remain confident and open-minded.

Are you an optimist or pessimist?

Have you benefitted from being open-minded?





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Nature, Naps and Nurture

A to Z letter N.

The letter N has several good positive words to adopt and use. Today I’m focusing on three, Naps, Nature, and Nurture. 

NAPS – When my children were young they refused to nap after eighteen months. They would play in their beds, or sneak out the back door. I finally convinced them to just look at a book, or play quietly in their room. Some days their naptime was more for me than for them, I’m not sure they needed to recharge. As adults they sometimes look for ways to rest, if not actually nap.

We all need to recharge sometimes. Whether that means just sitting down, putting our feet up, drinking a cup of tea (or coffee) and enjoying the quiet, or actually lying on a bed (or couch) and closing our eyes. Taking a short break from the hustle and bustle of everyday with a short nap helps us be more.


Sometimes we get so tired we just fall down and take a nap where we are. Remember grandpa having his eyes closed while sitting and “watching television?” Everyone knew not to try and change the channel, because he would quickly inform everyone he was just “resting his eyes.” Actually, he was resting, taking a mini-nape but he heard the click of the channel changing knob.


Aristotle is quoted as saying, “In all things of nature

there is something of the marvelous.”

He was right. Sunsets, sunrises, snow topped mountains, deserts dotted with growth, everywhere we look in nature is beauty. Nature can soothe us, excite us, encourage us all be just being. It’s important to take a moment and appreciate the nature in our lives.

scenery in CO collage.

Nature indoors can help as much as that growing outside, especially if we can’t get out for some reason. When spending days at a hospital with a loved one, little splashes of nature can be especially soothing. Like these plants alongside the stairway in an OKC hospital. The indoor nature is nurting.

Nature in the hospital

NURTURE – The final positive N word for today is NURTURE. We all benefit from nurturing, we feel better when we nurture others and of course when they do it for us. Nurturing isn’t always taking care of someone, nurturing can be a simple as playing a game, or giving a hug. Take time to nurture yourself or someone else, it will make your day better.


Grandson's playing together

Play can be nurturing.

Since today is Earth day we can nurture nature by picking up trash, or planting a flower, picking up the dead leaves in a flower bed, or helping the earth in some way. Afterwards, take a nap and relax.

Do you think we are ever too old for naps?

Do you take a nap from time to time?

How do you enjoy nature?

Playing catch-up on the blogging A to Z challenge. Posting in the Ultimate Blog Challenge.




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