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Bee Candy - Beautiful Flowers!

Fashion & Lifestyle

Today, I spent the afternoon with my dear friend, Ellen.  She invited me to have lunch at her lovely home and enjoy her beautiful pool and hot-tub. We had such a wonderful afternoon catching up while floating on two over-sized lounge chairs in her kidney shaped pool.

It’s hard for me to relax sometimes, but I’m always so comfortable at Ellen’s house.  She is an amazing host. At one point this afternoon, I became distracted by the most beautiful display of flowers all around her backyard.  When I asked if I could take some photos for my blog, she graciously took me around the house to see every plant arrangement up close while explaining how her husband tends to each one, keeping the flowers magnificently robust with his green thumb.

These flowers reminded me of one of the first lessons I taught to a class of second graders as their student-teacher.  I was still in college doing my practicum when I was asked to prepare a Science lesson about bees and pollination.  Believe it or not, I created a faux flowering plant with art paper to use as a simulated activity for the students to act as bees. (I remember it took me hours to write up this lesson.)

During the lesson, I read a story about bees.  I used a poster to teach about the 3 body parts (head, thorax, and abdomen; thus making it an “insect”). The book also explained how bees help pollinate the flowers by drinking nectar with their proboscis (a straw-like mouth).  While they are doing so, they are inadvertently gathering pollen on their furry legs and bodies, therefore aiding in the process of pollination.

I managed to glue small Dixie cups in the over-sized fake flowers and fill them with apple juice.  I sprinkled chalk dust on the petals of the flower. Then, the students took turns with a straw drinking the juice from the flower and touching the dust on the petals.  This helped them understand exactly what the bees do when they see BEE CANDY.


Thankfully, Ellen and I had a perfect afternoon free from pesky insects.   I almost forgot that Ellen actually LOVES insects….maybe as much as cars! She is the epitome of an extraordinary woman!

Oh, we did have a few blue dragonflies that must have been attracted to our blue nail polish because he kept hanging out with us.  In time, Ellen had me making friends with it!  (That’s a first for me.)

Sorry, I don’t have any pics of the dragonfly…or my beautiful friend, Ellen.  However, I did capture several magnificent photos of the bee candy all around her home.  I hope you enjoy them.

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Bee Candy

Do you like the pictures?  Can you identify any of these flowers?  Which one is your favorite?

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Historic Neighborhood - Rachel Maria's Randoms

Fashion & Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure

A few days ago, I went for a wog in a beautiful historic neighborhood in Camden County, New Jersey. (Wogging is jogging with intervals of walking breaks.)  There was a time in my life that I used to run like a gazelle.  Once, a college professor of mine spotted me running on campus and later told me that I ran with such grace and speed it reminded him of a gazelle.

Those days are officially over.

Nowadays, if you see me exercising outdoors, chances are I am on a wog. And, I probably look like I am headed to the nearest bathroom facility.

Nevertheless, I make it a point to wog in locations that have beautiful scenery. That’s one of the perks to exercising outdoors, right?  In this particular historic neighborhood, I couldn’t help but to slow it down to snap some photos along the way.  I even passed a lemonade stand with two adorable blonde-haired boys.

I yelled from across the street, “If I make it back to my car alive, I will come back and buy some lemonade!”


Here are some photos of a historic neighborhood, taken during my wog.

Historic Neighborhood
I love this cape cod home with the charming red door.
I love the colors on this house, the long walkway leading to the front door, the lush green landscape, and the perfect outdoor accessory: A lamp post.
The world would be a better place if we all had sidewalks like this!
Wouldn’t it be great if there were brick sidewalks…EVERYWHERE??
I want to sit on a rocking chair on this porch and drink lemonade!
Nothing beats a porch swing (and lemonade, of course) on a wrap-around porch!
How would you like this stretch of water to separate your house from your neighbor’s?
Every yard needs a weeping willow tree.
Every yard needs a weeping willow tree.
Old-fashioned tree swing.
Old-fashioned tree swing.

This was a pleasant wog. I enjoyed the scenery and ended up going a further distance than I had anticipated. When I finally made it back to my car, I was very thirsty and very hot! I could barely untie my knotted shoelace to remove my car key to turn on the AC in my car…before I was about to pass out…

Desperate times call for drastic measures!

Ah!  That felt good.  Once I cooled off, I drove back to that adorable lemonade stand.  My afternoon wog ended with a delicious and cold lemonade, served by two adorable little boys, in a mini dixie cup.

I only wish I had a porch swing to have taken a late afternoon nap.  Oh, well. Perhaps someday at The House on High Street.

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MyFitnessPal ~ Time for Some Intervention

Fashion & Lifestyle

Last Sunday, when I was getting ready for church, I tried on several outfits and realized that they were too snug to even feel comfortable.  It was a hot day, and I quickly became agitated realizing that amongst my entire wardrobe I could NOT find a single outfit that fit comfortably.

I was so frustrated that I had a teenage temper-tantrum.  By the time that was over, I was too late to attend church.  I know.  Pathetic.


It’s been four months of Clean Eating and feeling a significant improvement with my fatigue symptoms. But, I realized that I was not shedding the 10-15 pounds that I’ve put on since I started taking medications for my thyroid, Endometriosis, PMDD, and CFS two summers ago.

I am often tempted to stop taking medications and actually be able to fit into my clothes AND move in them, but I know better than to ignore my doctors’ suggestions.  (Please make sure to talk to your doctor before changing diets or medications, as well.)

In my recent post, “Guess Who Loves My Body”, I make peace about being a different size than I used to be.  But if you recall, I also mention how it’s important to be strong and healthy. And, clean eating is only part of the equation.


fitnesspalOn Monday of last week, I resolved that it was time to lose about ten pounds by incorporating portion control into my diet.  I started using MyFitnessPal.  I tried this handy-dandy app before. In fact, when I opened it up on my phone, I saw the news feed from 18 months ago, when I last gave portion control a shot.   I saw several automated posts that included comments (intended to be helpful) such as…

“Rachel Maria has not logged in for one week.”  

“Rachel Maria has not logged in for one month.”  

“Rachel Maria may need some encouragement.”

Oh, dear.  I suppose I can use some encouragement!


The nice thing about MyFitnessPal is that it is free and very accessible. You can download the app on your smartphone or iPad. It has a humungous database with over 3 million foods. So, it’s relatively easy and convenient to find something you are eating and enter it into your daily diary. The app also includes an exercise database so you can track the calories you burn each day.  For example, 40 minutes on the treadmill can add over 400 calories to your plate.  When I create my own recipe or exercise routine, I just use the internet to help me figure out the calories, and the app saves these entries in the database, for me.

Overall, it takes me about 5 minutes a day to record my food and exercise.

Before I started, I entered my current weight and desired weight, as the app can calculate a 5-week goal. The app also takes your lifestyle and activity into account .  Since I am more sedentary than I have ever been, my daily goal came out to be only 1200 calories.  That’s a lot less than I typically consume.  In order for me to lose 10 pounds, I can not exceed 1200 calories (more if I exercise) each day.

I find myself monitoring my eating and exercising, and for those of us who are prone to getting a little too comfortable with liberal eating, I really needed this kind of intervention.

This is what my daily diary looked like on Friday. You can’t see the whole page in this pic.  I had a few healthy snacks, and I recorded my cardiovascular exercise (jogging for 40 minutes).  I went over the 1200 goal, but only by 25 calories. This is not rocket science, so you can’t take it too seriously.

Rachel Maria's Fitness Pal Entry.  www.lewoman.com
Rachel Maria’s Fitness Pal Entry. www.lewoman.com

At the end of each daily entry, MyFitnessPal will give you an idea of what you will weigh in a certain time frame.

Fitness Pal

No, this was NOT taken from my phone.

So far, it’s been a little over a week.  On Saturday, Scott and I had a dinner party that I KNEW would exceed a few hundred calories.  Not to mention, I baked this delicious carrot cake to bring for dessert.  I did go over my goal by a few hundred calories.  However, had it not been for MyFitnessPal, I wouldn’t have tracked anything and most assuredly eaten DOUBLE!

Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Paula Deen's Recipe) is super moist and sweet!  I made this cake for a dinner party and skipped the pecans (just to be on the safe side with Peanut Allergies).
Homemade Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (Paula Deen’s Recipe)

Sorry.  I had to include a picture of this.

I will keep you posted on my progress with MyFitnessPal.  I’m sure this app may not work for everyone, but for someone super nerdy when it comes to lists, goals, and diary-tracking, this may be exactly what I needed.  Only time will tell…

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Rachel Maria's Randoms - With a Cheerful Heart

Fashion & Lifestyle, Travel & Leisure

As I write this, my heart is heavily burdened in reading the news story about the woman in Sudan who was sentenced to death…because of her faith. (You can read about it here.)

It made me think for a moment. What if that happened to me? Would I be courageous enough to stand up for my faith in Jesus Christ?Gosh, I hope so. And, what about life in the Sudan…or so many other places in the world, where there is so much persecution? Who am I to complain about anything? And, why do I worry so much about everything, when I know God tells me ‘to be anxious for NOTHING’? (Phil. 4:6)

Week Four - Clean Eating

Fashion & Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

Well, as I suspected, I am now in my PMDD window, thus making if very difficult to deal with cravings. I did much better, last week, than I would have had I not transitioned to a cleaner approach to eating. However, my cravings are so severe during this time, that I want nothing to do with plain fruit nor boring vegetables. My mouth literally salivates for salt, sugar, chocolate, grease, and CARBS! At times, things can get ugly.

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