Resolved: More Weight, Food, Spending; Less Organizing, Travel, Reading

You read that title correctly. My resolution this year is to eat more food, gain weight, and spend more. I also plan on less organizing, travel, and reading.

More Weight

I can thank Jenny Kuhn for this resolution. Here is a picture of Jenny and me, with her daughter Kathryn, around 2005.

Jenny, Katie, & I "Resolved . . ."

She moved to Arkansas and opened Jenny’s Gym. Last October, she competed in the World Powerlifting Alliance competition in Portland, OR. She is now the WPA-APA World Powerlifting record holder in the squat and the deadlift for the 45-49 age group in the 132# weight class. She also broke the previously held accumulative world record (squat+bench+deadlift), see here.

Jenny lifting in her gym "Resolved . . "


Jenny regularly posts clips of her clients lifting. Most of the clips are of middle-aged women who are strength training. Sometimes she posts informational clips. When she explained the proper way to do a push-up, it changed my life.Jenny Kuhn "Resolved . . ."

I usually tried doing push-ups from my knees, but that does not use all the muscles correctly. You need the same form as you would use to plank. Now I do them off of the kitchen counter and will move to the ottoman when my arms are stronger. If I do not keep control of my arms, I bump my forehead! I know I am using the correct form now.

Since muscle is heavier than fat, I plan on gaining weight this year. I want to gain muscle, not fat, and will concentrate on that instead of my bathroom scale!

Eat More

For the past few years, I would weigh myself on Monday and plan my meals based on that number. It didn’t work! I would gain a pound and then try to cut way back on my food. Of course, that pound stubbornly stayed.

This year I am going to work my body and feed it what it needs. I will eat bigger servings of salad, vegetables, and more meat. I never have been a big bread eater, but my sweet tooth is my downfall. That is where I will cut back.

More Spending

I am a saver and try to buy everything on sale. That is not always possible. This year, I want to buy things when I need them and not do without. I have lived under the poverty level during childhood and as a mother. I have no problem telling the difference between a need, a want, and a desire.

In my wallet now are 2 months worth of allowance! I also have a note of a few things I need to order. (Hello, sports bra!) I have watched the sales for over a year and have the money. I just need to get online and order it!

Less Organizing

Marla Cilley, aka The FlyLady, says over and over, “You can’t organize clutter.” But I can, and that is the problem! I organize things that I should send to Goodwill or pass on to family members.

There is a box with “Graduation” written on it in my pantry. My youngest graduated in 2015. I am hanging on to it for my sister-in-law, Melinda. I need to just give it to her, even though Brayden doesn’t graduate for another year.

Less Travel

I will no longer feel guilty for staying at home. There are many opportunities to go places and do things, but if I have to take a round of Prednisone to go, it is just not worth it! (Or worse, go without Prednisone and then fight a flare for two weeks.) I don’t care that I only go out 3 times a week for four hours. I have so much I love to do right here at home.

I know my Facebook page is boring, but I refuse to compare myself to others. I will travel vicariously with my friends. (Sorry, Jill, I have no desire to go clear up to the Arctic Circle. Enjoy your trip!)

I really enjoy the posts from Australia on the travel blog, outan’ It was interesting reading about celebrating Christmas during their summer!

Less Reading

I can speed read. It is a blessing and a curse. I would normally go to the library and fill a large bag with 18 books every other month. (No, that is not a typo; it is eighteen books.) We have a great library that is always getting new books and the community buys books in memory of loved ones.

Obviously, I don’t watch TV at night, in fact, I will only watch a movie once. My family will put in a movie, and if I have already seen it, I go to bed and pick up a book. I can read a 300-page book in 2 or 3 days. The problem is, I get close to the renewal date and I speed read through my stash. That is not as enjoyable as slowly reading, savoring, and even taking quotes from books.

This year, I will only check out 8 books at a time and will make sure one of those books is nonfiction. I am on chapter 2 of the book, “Smarter Faster Better” by Charles Duhigg. There are many things I would like to do, but I get bogged down in laundry and cooking. I want to make those tasks more efficient to allow time for fun stuff!

Smarter Faster Better book "Resolved . . ."

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Dave Ramsey

©2009-2017 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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A Gift from the Heart

We returned my husband’s Christmas present last weekend. I told him I was not going to buy him another present because he just returns them! The Christmas before I bought him a Blu-Ray player and he returned it. (He got laid off a week after Christmas and decided we would need the money more than the gift.)

Now I am trying to decide what to do about Valentine’s Day. Then I thought of the perfect gift. I am going to do something that he enjoys and I abhor!

I will sit through some ball game.

It’s not that I haven’t been to ball games before, but I didn’t have much choice. I went to two St. Louis Cardinals games because the tickets were part of the perks for attending a lumberman’s convention.

I sat through a million volleyball, baseball, basketball, and football games because my kids were playing. I usually took something to do because it was only interesting when I was watching my child.

I was smart enough not to offer this gift until after the Super Bowl. That sucker takes all afternoon and evening. I also wanted to give him this gift before baseball season starts. Those games go on for hours and hours and hours and hours!

The point is…

Choose something your Valentine loves, that you don’t. (I think they call that sacrificial giving.)

P.S. “Hey, Babe, this is your card!”A red ribbon around a planter; a Kansas City Chiefs throw; and a quilt folded to expose the red blocks all serve as Valentine decorations.

©2009-2016 All Rights Reserved.


It Was Special to Me

I was in 1st grade when Mom had a home jewelry party. It surprised me that she bought this gold arrow pin encrusted with diamonds. I thought we were really rich.

The next day, I asked her about it. She told me it was not gold or diamonds. I still loved seeing her wear it.

Mom raised us to put more value on people than things. I taught my children the same. One day Mom and I were talking about things we valued. I said I would love the gold arrow pin with the “diamonds” in it!

She laughed because she knew its true value. Then she taped it to my birthday card and made my day! The “gold” has worn off in places. But when I look at it, I see mom in her suit ready for church.

I saw a video of Kirk Cameron giving a homemade pot pie to his grandmother. She gave him an old hammer wrapped in red tissue paper. He teared up because it was his grandfather’s hammer, who passed away 2 years ago.

Christmas is Friday and you may think it is too late. But is there something that will be priceless to one of your relatives or friends?

The pin my mother bought at a home jewelry party when I was a child.

The pin my mother bought at a home jewelry party when I was a child.


©2009-2015 All Rights Reserved.


The Favorite Gift I Gave Last Year

I loved the quizzical look on his face as he opened it.

“But, Mom,” he exclaimed, “I already have this DVD. Remember Scott made one from the videos that year.”

I smugly replied, “Scott didn’t make a video of the second year!”

Our oldest son sang in the National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Chorus. He auditioned and sang 2 years in a row. The first year he sang a solo! Sadly, that song was not put on the DVD they sold.

The second year, he was in college when the convention rolled around. I have to admit, I was nervous! My boy drove from college in Springfield, MO to the convention in Louisville, KY. (He was smart. He timed it to drive through St. Louis early Sunday morning.)

He had not cut his hair while he was in college. Those long, curly locks looked like Charles Ingalls, on “Little House in the Prairie!”

His wife told me she had never seen him with long hair. His 3-year-old daughter had a hard time finding him in the chorus. We made it a game, “Where’s daddy?” I sat by the TV and pointed him out every time he was on camera.

That was ten years ago and she said he looked different!

Mom was here on a day my granddaughter was visiting and we watched it again. We had to play the game because she still kept missing him.

I was lucky to have a friend with equipment to convert the videos to DVD. He made copies for my mom and my husband’s dad along with our copy. For those of you who do not have such a talented friend, try Legacybox. I read about them from a post at The Inspired Room.


I had the idea a few weeks before Christmas 2 years ago. I had to wait a year until my friend had time to convert it. You might have to wait until next year to give this gift, too.

©2009-2015 All Rights Reserved.


Give a Taste of Your Childhood

I got the idea at our family reunion when my aunt and uncle brought boxes of apples from the tree on my grandparent’s farm. I had read about making mini pies as gifts and even printed off the labels from the website recommended by

I should have read the directions!

Dough for my mini pies.

The jars I bought were pint-sized and I needed 1/2 pint-sized jars. I had the worst time pressing that dough into the side of the jars. I had to roll out the first one three times before I got it right.

Pie filling made out of apples from the tree on my grandparent's farm.

Pie filling made of apples from the tree on my grandparent’s farm.

Since I used the wrong size of jars, I didn't have enough pie dough to make a top crust. I made crumb topping for the pies.

Since I used the wrong size of jars, I didn’t have enough pie dough to make a top crust. I made crumb topping for the pies.

I put labels with the baking directions on top of the jars.

I put labels with the baking directions on top of the jars.

I used my grandmother’s pie dough recipe, see here, and apples from her tree. I gave my friends a taste of my childhood.

©2009-2016 All rights reserved.

 Twitter – @frugalfishorg

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Something Special

I will never forget it… 6″2,” eyes of blue, blonde headed, drummer, jock husband had a tear in his eye. I was shocked as I rocked our 3rd baby and the 7-year-old and 5-year-old crowded around him to see what was in the box.

He looked straight at me and I could see I touched his soul with this gift. Did I spend a ton of money?

No…but I did go to the jewelers.

His grandfather had given him a pocket watch with a chain. He put it in his vest pocket when he wore his suit, but it had stopped working. I took it to the jewelers and paid a small fee to have it repaired. I wrapped it up and gave it to him as a gift.

When he first opened it, he seemed confused…until he heard it ticking. It was like I gave him a piece of his grandfather back.

Sometimes the best gift is to make something old new again, to repair or refurbish something precious with a lot of memories tied to it.

There’s still time to bring a tear to your loved ones eye.

I repaired it as a gift.

I repaired it as a gift.

Self-Serve Closet

My friend posted on Facebook that she was going to do a closet purge last weekend. She was inspired by a post from, see

I thought, “I don’t need to do that…I have a self-serve closet!”

A “Self-Serve Closet” is one where everything matches and you choose an outfit based on the temperature outside. When you put clean clothes away, you put them in the back of their section, i.e. short-sleeved shirts, turtlenecks, etc. Each day you wear the shirt at the front of the section based on sleeve length. (I actually have all four season in one closet.)

But I am not posting a picture of that closet.


Because, I got bored with my clothes and started buying different colors and patterns. It was a huge mistake. There are so many items in my closet that I am overwhelmed!

It’s time for me to do a closet purge again.

Luckily, my daughter recently moved out and I have an empty closet. I think I will use it to help me weed out my clothes. I have several items that do not match everything else. Sure, I can wear them with jeans or black pants, but I cannot layer them.

Sometimes, it’s hard letting go of clothes. I plan on moving them to that closet and sending them to Goodwill at a later date. If they are there at the end of the summer, I know I am ready to let them go.

How do I know I will be successful?

Because I only have four pair of shoes: black athletic, white athletic, red boots, and black pumps. The dress code for the band I play in is: jeans, sneakers and a casual shirt. I rarely wear the pumps or a dress.

I actually have a work outfit: jeans, sneakers, tee-shirt or button down blouse, and a sweater or blazer. That outfit is who I am: a writer who works from home.

Once again I need to remind myself that less is more.

The closet in the guest room.

The closet in the guest room.

Pass It On

We attended a “western” themed banquet Saturday night. Since I did not have “western” clothes in my closet and I headed to Goodwill.

I found a wool fringed jacket and some “Lawman” brand jeans…but neither one would zip shut! I considered getting them anyway because they were so cheap, but remembered we would be having a nice meal, and I left them there. (Never buy clothes because they are cheap.)

Then I did what I should have done in the first place…called my sister. Of course, she had a leather fringed jacket and a cowboy hat that she was happy to loan me.

She also sent me a box of various spices. She buys her spices at “The Dutchman’s Store,” which is run by Amish. They grow and package their own spices and produce.

My sister filled her spice jars and sent the excess to me. I don’t keep many spices on hand because I store them in the freezer, see “The Spice of Life,”

I decided to do the same thing. I filled my containers and threw the rest back in the box to give to my sister-in-law.

Hoarding is not frugal. Keep what you need and pass the rest on.


Leftovers? Make a Plate

“Cooking Light” had some impressive ways of using up leftovers from Thanksgiving. I was the most impressed with making ice cream out of leftover pumpkin pie!

Many times, there is only one serving left and there is not enough from which to create another dish. If you save them in teeny, tiny containers, they get lost in the refrigerator only to reappear when you need the space for a Christmas dinner.

Before cleaning up from the great feast, why not make a plate or two complete with all of the dishes. You could give the plate to your elderly next door neighbor, drop it off at a friend who is recovering from surgery, a college student, or as a lunch for a new mother.

Wrap the plate in foil and put in a freezer bag. That gives them, or you, the option of just placing it in the freezer to be enjoyed at a later date.

My TV room set up for Thanksgiving dinner.

My TV room set up for Thanksgiving dinner.

Best Magazine Storage

As you can see by the first magazine, the October issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I am a little behind on my reading. I have been fighting an infection for weeks and I am a little behind on everything!

I keep my magazines in a rack in the bathroom. When new ones arrive I put them in the back of the magazine rack. Over the last year I realized I didn’t have time to read all of them each month. I am letting two subscriptions expire.

I am saving money by only ordering the ones I have time to read and I am storing none of them. The best magazine storage is to pass them on.

I made a deal with my mom because we were buying the same magazines and sharing them when we finished. I am paying the subscription for one of the duplicates and she is paying for the second.

After we both have read them, I donate them to a local nursing home. I have also donated to my favorite beauty shop and a preschool. (Call first to see if they need donations.)

I save money by purchasing only the magazines I have time to read and sharing them with my mom.

My only magazine storage.

My only magazine storage.