Category Archives: Just Living

One of many goals….

Hello everyone,

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I had several goals that I would be working on this year; and that I would share what they are at a later date.  Well, the next few post (not including the weekly planner spreads) will discuss what they are and how I’m going to accomplish them.

This week I’m going to talk about my healthy body goal. 

In May of 2018, I joined Weight Watchers. 

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This happened after being a little frustrated with how my body was looking and what I wanted it to look like.  Let me first tell you that in my early 20’s I did some modeling – hence I was a little person.  Not little short, but little thin; I was 5’10.5” and weighed 126 lbs – I was little y’all.  I got married at 28 years old still 126 lbs.  I was super thin and honestly do not want to be that small again, but I want to be smaller than I am now.  I’m not huge, but I’m not at my idea size and not super toned.  I like to eat most healthy things, I’m not a huge snacker (because I’m too lazy most often to go get the snacks), and although I love to bake, I’m not a big sweet eater (because again I’m too lazy to go get the sweets once I’ve finally set down).  My problem folks is portion control.  You know how when you were young, your mother/father told you that you needed to eat everything on your plate?  I haven’t let that go.  So most often when I sit down to eat, I work really hard to finish everything on my plate, even though I’m full.  Weight Watchers was having a special at the perfect time – whatever I had on that day didn’t look as smooth as I wanted it to be and I knew it was because of my weight.  I signed up for the part of the program where I do not attend the meetings but I can still track what I eat and the points I’m assigned that will help me get to my goal weight.  It has really been an eye-opener.  Did you know that smoothies are not point friendly?  All of those “healthy” smoothies that I was drinking each morning made with pineapple, carrots, spinach and coconut water (sometimes mango, strawberries, peaches – but always with spinach and coconut water and carrots) were like half of my daily allotted points!  I haven’t had a smoothie since May. 

I have become more conscience of what I am eating.  I have learned to choose the healthier options for salad dressings or learning to have a salad without so many extras.   This balsamic vinaigrette I’m currently loving is this one….

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I was looking in my olive oil cabinet and found a blood orange balsamic vinegar that I want to make into a vinaigrette after I finish this bottle.

I now make sure my vegetable and lean protein intake covers more of my plate.  I still have some of my favorites, like a homemade biscuit or slice pecan pie; now I have it less often.  I have had to find new snacks when I want something crunchy.  I am still learning how to use peanut butter powder instead of peanut butter – cause I really love peanut butter and I really miss it. I have found the Chobani Savors as a replacement for sour cream.

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One of the lunches I had this week looks like this. 

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Pulled pork with a small side salad (I apologize for that picture, I don’t know why it came out fuzzy), coleslaw made with Chobani Savors, a little, little bit of mayonnaise, honey, apple cider vinegar, and dijon mustard; and of course my apple, orange and, because I found one this week, pineapple.

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My fruit bowl is always full of grapefruit, lemons, apples and oranges. 

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I have the lemons in my water and grapefruit for breakfast a few days a week.  I try to have an apple (Honeycrisp, please)  and orange each day for lunch.  I add pineapple if I can find it at a great price.

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I think it was helpful over the holidays when Stan and Babydoll became sick with that sinus thing that is going around.

Needless to say I have lost some weight – 23 lbs – and still need another 22 lbs before I get to my first goal weight.  So Yay for me for losing the 23 lbs!!!!

In addition to being a part of WW, our family joined the Y last September.  We had been wanting to join the Y for a while, but we just couldn’t justify the cost at the time. This time, Stan and I were both on a mission to slim down, there was a new Y opening up near our home soon, and we found that my job had an employee discount offered for the Y.  Babydoll has been wanting us to sign up, because she is a swimmer and most Y’s have pools (the location near us did not, but the new one was going to have it). 

Another thing that I had issue with was finding the time to go to the gym.  My schedule is not conducive to me going to the gym after work; I have too much to do.  Plus, by the time I get everything done, I just want to sit down; I do not want to go to a crowded gym and try to find a machine I can use – I have been advised by my Orthopedist to have no part of a treadmill with my knee being a contender for replacement.  I took a careful look at my schedule and made a mental commitment to go 2 days a week as well as walking daily (even in cold weather).

So now, I have three things that I have set a goal to be committed to – Weight Watchers, walking daily unless the weather is not conducive to it (rain, extreme temperatures, or ice would be the only deterrent because I am walking outside), and going to the gym at least 2 days a week.  Then this year, I decided to add challenges.  This month, me and Babydoll  are doing a challenge that truly has been a test….it is a challenge.

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It’s basically the squats, crunches and wall sit that are taking us out.  Oh, I hate the plank too.  You know what, it is all bad.   Next month, we are going to focus on ab and arm work, since they are the parts of my body I really want to have defined by the summer (another goal). 

I hope that I have articulated what my healthy body goal is: there are two goal weights, I want to have definition in my arms and abs, I want to commit to at least two days per week, and walking daily unless the weather is dangerous outside. 

I will tell you about my others goals (financial, spiritual, travel) in the weeks to come. Do you have a healthy body goal?  Do you have a beginners challenge that you want to recommend? Is there a snack or dessert that is healthy you would recommend?  Comment below, I would love to hear from you. 

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After Christmas Haul

The other day, I had to pick up some things from the grocery store that I forgot to purchase – Babydoll was returning to school and I had forgotten some lunch essentials.  My first thought was to go to Meijer, but that wasn’t really in the area that I was in; Walmart was.  I don’t know if I have mentioned it before, but I’m not a huge fan of Walmart.  Oh don’t get it twisted, I shop there (I’ll have to talk at a later time about Christmas lay-a-way); but it is NEVER my first place to go and if someone tells me they got something from Walmart that I want, I groan long and loud. 

Ok, so I went in Walmart and I parked on the “Home” side – there was less traffic on that side.  I remembered that I needed to look for a replacement straw for my ThermoFlask cup so headed to that area.  It just so happened that the Clearance section is over in that area also and I never not look at the clearance area of any store I step into.  That day began the 90% off sale for all Christmas related items.  There were ladies over there going through stuff that had multiple –yes I said multiple – carts.  I took my cart over and looked at what Walmart had.  I had already purchased several rolls of wrapping paper and felt I didn’t needed any more.  But gift bags – I could always use those.  I looked for bags that were neutral enough to be able to be used for other occasions besides Christmas.  I also picked up the gift boxes and some tassels (not shown). 

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Then I kept perusing all of the Clearance aisles.  I found some white lights (for Babydolls white tree) and stocking stuffers that would be great for my husband next year (I won’t show those in case he stumbles across this page – of course he could forget by next Christmas but I don’t want to chance it).

Then I stumbled across the aisle that had kitchen gadgets.  I didn’t lose my mind, but I was able to score some great finds. 

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It was early (I had just dropped of Babydoll at school) and I really didn’t want to wake my mother because they are retired and are no longer early risers.  But stuff was 90% off!  I had to call to see if she needed anything.  I picked up some things for my mom after talking to her; she needed most of the same things I got, but she didn’t get the rolling pin (they didn’t have anymore of them) and she also got two 2-packs of tongs with her colors being navy blue and red.

Finally I went to get the things that I came into the store for and headed to the register.  They only had 1 lane that was manned by a cashier and the line was long, so I went to the U-Scan lane.  I was able to purchase the items that I came in for with no problem, but the clearance items were not ringing up discounted.  I ended up going to a cashiered lane (along with some other people who were having the same issue that I was) and this is where the excitement happened.  First, I need to tell you that the ladies that had multiple carts were in their own lanes and it was comical how they were ringing up all of the items they had acquired.  New registers were opened up because it was going to take a while to ring up all of their stuff.   I let someone go ahead of me who only had a couple of 4 foot trees, some extension cords, and lights – that ladies got those trees for $2 each.

I was able to purchase all of my mothers items for $1.28.  Let’s marinate in that for a moment.  I got 2 sets of tongs, a stainless steel colander, silicon oven mitts, and zester for $1.28

My total for all of the bags, the stocking stuffers (they are not cheesy gifts either), the kitchen utensils, white lights, the gift boxes and some decorative tassels was $17.25.  Yep…$17.25!

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I’m not a fan of Walmart, but moments like this keep me coming back (but only very early in the day before people really start to show up. Smile)

Have you had any great after Christmas hauls?  Let me know in the comments section below.  See you guys next week.

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Happy New Beginnings!!!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope that you and your family had a safe and restful holiday season.  And now it’s time to get started on this new year running.  This is the first year that I have decided to actually have goals that I’m not just going to say in my head, but write them down and actively make moves to accomplish them.  I’ve written them down so that I can visually see them and I’ve already begun working on them.   I’m calling these goals and not resolutions, because in my mind a goal is something you work towards and a resolution is something that you resolve to do.  To me a goal is a process that can grow and evolve and I want meet my goals and then let them evolve to something more.  So I have set goals and not resolutions.  I will do goal check in’s to see how I am progressing, see if I need to modify my roadmap, or something else.   

One of the first goals that I have is to actually use this awesome blog.  I have had this blog for over six years, and initially I was consistent in my post; but over the years it seems that life has gotten the best of me and my post have come a screeching halt.  In 2019 that ends.  My goal is to post at least weekly. 

I titled this post Happy New Beginnings because I am going to add some new things to the site.  Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share what my goals are and how I plan to move forward to accomplish them as well as share some of the new things I’m adding to the site.  Please check-in weekly to see the changes and additions.

Comment below to let me know what things you would love to see in the blog.  Or just comment to let me know you’re keeping me accountable.  What goals have you set for 2019 and how do you plan accomplish them.  Let’s be each others goal checkers.  We can hold each other accountable.  Thanks for checking my out and I’ll see you soon.

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Let’s try this again

When my blog url came up for renewal this year I thought to myself, “you’re paying for this domain name and you have this blog, why aren’t you doing something with it?”  I immediately came up with the excuse that my life is too busy and hectic to be able to sit down daily and compose a blog.  I thought about it more and more and decided that I use my name Red Oven Creations for a lot of things; Twitter, Instagram, my business; I should take the time to be proactive about my blog page.  So here I am once again deciding to post.  There will be a few changes; mainly I will not be posting every day; but I will strive to get a post out every week.  I’m also going to keep my post shorter.  I think when I do a longer post I tend to get bogged down and never finish or get it out there.  And finally, I know that people are visual and don’t seem to click with a post unless there are photos involved; but let’s face it, sometimes a photo does not apply.  So if there isn’t a photo in the blog, please forgive me, but I’m not going to stress out trying to include a photo for your adult mind.  I would love to hope that my audience has grown beyond “picture books”.

So to sum it up, my goal is to post weekly, post shorter blogs (if it needs to be long, you guys are getting multiple parts blogs), and include pictures if it’s required or relevant.  I think I’ve got an interesting point of view of this life I’m living and I hope you stick around to read about it.

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How I’ve learned to travel

It has been a very busy time in the Cork household. The month of June has consisted of nothing but travel (especially for me). I have not been home one weekend the entire month. With all of the travelling I’ve been doing I have finally figured out the best way to take the things that I consider essential to having a wonderful commute and keeping everything organized. So today, I am going to tell you some of the things that I feel are necessities.

1) The bag. It took me until the very last trip to figure this out. Up until my trip to NYC, I was taking two bags on the plane with me – my purse and my bag of electronics and camera. I finally realized that I need to consolidate these bags and save my self so grief. I decided to pack my purse with my other bags in the suitcase and put the essentials like my wallet, lotion, and makeup bags in my carryon bag. The key with this consolidation is finding the bag that is the right size and organizing it to a “T”. This is the bags that I have found worked for me.

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2) Organization. Once you have the bag you need to have a place for everything. This is when it is important to have specific places/containers so that you can find what you need at a moment’s notice. I have read about using sandwich/snack bags to place your cords for your electronic devices. I have rubber banded them and placed them in the pockets of my bag and that seemed to work for a while, but I recently found this nifty package that has become my best friend.

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I now keep it in my bag that I take to work. I love it. I purchased one for Babydoll also. I wanted to get one for Stan, but he insisted that he doesn’t need it and I should not waste my money. Any other person would buy it anyway and show him how misguided he is in his thinking; but after 16 years of marriage I have a few new things recently. 1 is that I do not need to buy my husband technology if he doesn’t specifically ask for it and even if he ask, I need to consider it carefully because he really will not use it if he doesn’t want it. I also have purchased a couple of smaller cosmetic bags that I use in my purse and my travel bag to keep things like my lipsticks (yes, I carry ALL of my lipsticks with me because I may decide the color I have on isn’t working so I need to change it), liners, mirror, blot powder, mints, etc.

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3) Neck Pillow. Have you ever had to fly an early/late flight? I have. As a matter of fact our flight to California this year was at 5am. We did not go to sleep so that we could make sure we didn’t miss our flight; so when I got on the plane, I went to sleep so fast, I don’t remember hearing the initial flight attendant safety speech. This peaceful sleep would not have been possible without my neck pillow. I know this because I forgot my pillow on our NYC trip (this happened because Stan was rushing me, I also forgot my iPod; it was a very tense 45 minutes before I was able to let it go). On the return trip home I was trying to catch up on sleep on the train from NYC to Jersey and my head was rolling and bobbing around worse than a bobble head doll. Also I think I might have had the head back open mouthed sleep on the plane. That only happens when I don’t have my neck pillow. Go to Walmart and grab you one for about $10.

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4) I think it is vital to have a good set of headphones and music for any type of plane/train ride. For me, it allows me to drown out all of the outside/surrounding traveling noise that is inevitable. I love my music and have a very eclectic music palate. I have gospel, new and old R&B, old school Hip Hop, some new school Hip Hop, Pop, I think one Country, and I don’t know what to call some of the others, I just like them. Having said that I have a great pair of headphones by Sol Republic that conceal all outside noise that allows me to go into my peace filled zone. No crying babies (I’ve traveled with a baby so I know the plane is going to bother their ears; I don’t like when parents aren’t considerate and don’t provide a bottle, Sippy cup, pacifier so that their ears can pop), no coughing/hacking passengers (that way I can pretend that I don’t hear them coughing without covering their mouths and getting a plane full of people sick), no engine noise – just peace and great music. I can read and not be distracted/disgusted.

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5) A snack. Be it a bag of nuts, apple slices, chips, a bagel, or graham crackers; having a snack will keep you from making poor airport decisions. The snacks that they provide on the plane usually only are enough to make you want more. I haven’t flown Internationally so I cannot vouch for the quality of those snacks, but Domestic peanuts or pretzels just don’t cut it. The fact that you are traveling is putting your body into a small amount of stress/shock; trying to keep your diet as normal as possible is key. So, bring something that can tide you over until you reach your destination. Your digestive system will thank you for it later.

6) Finally, a tablet/electronic reader or something of that nature. Even if you are not a reader like me, a tablet will come in handy because you can have movies, music, magazines, games, and/or books in one small device. Unless you are sleeping the entire flight or it’s a short flight (30 minutes) you are going to want something to occupy you. You could be like my husband and insist that your travelling companion talk to you; but if they have item 4 then they can block you out like I do him. So be kind to your fellow riders that may not want to converse with you on the plane/train and bring something to distract you in case they don’t want to entertain you.

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That’s my list for no hassle travel. I still have not figured out the best way to carry my camera, so I’m currently wrapping it up and carrying it with my on the plane because I don’t want to risk damage in my luggage. I’m still struggling to find the perfect camera bag (and neck strap). I have made them in the past, but I not satisfied after three or four years. I don’t want the typical black bags and neck straps because they’re not reflective of my feminine personality. I’ve seen some of the nicer bags that would be awesome to use once I arrive at my destination but they will not be sufficient for the actual trip. If anyone has any suggestions, I am open to them. What are your travel essential suggestions? Is there something that you feel is essential that I may have forgotten?

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Today I’m…

Posting on the Sugarbook Club blog site.  Please visit it to see my thoughts on the new New Adult genre.  Have a great day.

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Menu 3/10/14

Good Morning,

I just wanted to take a few moments out to let you know what we’re having for dinner this week.  I usually try to put this out on Friday or Saturday, but it was a work Friday and a very busy Saturday, so I’m getting to it today.

Did you remember to change your clocks for Day Light Savings time?  I remember to change the clock in the bedroom so that I could get to church yesterday morning, but forgot the rest of the clocks.  Let’s just say we had dinner at 6:30 last night and I thought until the end of dinner that I was doing good with my time. Smile with tongue out

Here’s what’s for dinner…

Sunday – We had…Chicken Stroganoff, Spinach, Candied Yams (that I found leftover in the freezer from a previous dinner), and homemade biscuits

Monday – Chicken and Wild Rice Soup and Boston Brown Bread (Babydoll loves this bread and she has a dentist appointment today that she was terrified when I told her about it so I want to end her day on a happier note.)

Tuesday – Fried Shrimp and Sweet Potato Tator Tots (this is assuming I make up the Tator Tots today, but I started back at the gym today, meaning I lost an hour, and I still have three loads of laundry and the bathrooms to clean – already vacuumed the downstairs.  Does anyone else hate cleaning bathrooms as much as I do?)

Wednesday – Turkey Burgers with Potato Pancakes (I think I’m noticing a potato theme this week and that was not my intention at all).

Thursday – Chicken & Waffles and some type of green vegetable.  I originally had spinach down as the side, but I cooked it yesterday, so now I’m thinking broccoli or asparagus.  Stan is not a fan, but Babydoll loves it, especially with lemon pepper and lemon juice squeezed on it, and it’s on sale this week; I can pick some up before I pick her up from school.

Friday – Fish Fry Friday…enough said.

Saturday – Last Saturday, I volunteered to work at the church and was gone most of the day.  This Saturday, I have a book club meeting and cannot say what I will do; it may be an every-man-for-himself day.

For dessert this week I decided to make brownies – two types one without nuts and no frosting for Babydoll and the second with walnuts and a peanut butter chocolate icing.  I bought some Salted Caramel Blue Bell Ice Cream to go along with it.

That’s our menu this week, as you can see besides the potatoes everywhere; we are having a lot of poultry this week.  I asked Stan if he thought we could have a menu entirely of chicken…he said let’s do it.  I settled for mostly poultry with a few seafood items mixed in just so it wouldn’t become too boring.  Maybe I’ll do a whole week of it at another time to see how it goes.  What are you having this week?

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