Trying to jump start your metabolism and increase the intensity of your normal workout routine?  Try Tabata.  It is as about as much fun to do as saying tabata, tabata, tabata.  Jenny at Mindful Mule introduced me to the Tabata workouts and I can feel and see the results.tabata

Each exercise in a given Tabata routine lasts only four minutes so no excuse for time to work it into your busy day.  The structure of the program is as follows:

  • Workout hard for 20 seconds
  • Rest for 10 seconds
  • Complete 8 rounds

You push yourself as hard as you can for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds. This is one set. You’ll complete eight sets of each exercise.

You can do pretty much any exercise you wish. You can do squats, push-ups, burpees (ugh) or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups. Kettlebell exercises work great, too.

Tabata training was discovered by Japanese scientist Dr. Izumi Tabata. Tabata and his team conducted research on two groups of athletes. The first group trained at a moderate intensity level while the second group trained at a high-intensity level. The moderate intensity group worked out five days a week for a total of six weeks; each workout lasted one hour. The high-intensity group worked out four days a week for six weeks; each workout lasted four minutes and 20 seconds (with 10 seconds of rest in between each set).

The results; Group 1 had increased their aerobic system (cardiovascular), but showed little or no results for their anaerobic system (muscle). Group 2 showed much more increase in their aerobic system than Group 1, and increased their anaerobic system by 28 percent.

And if you want an awesome personal trainer, check out Mindful Mule on Camp Bowie.  I am going to play the woman’s card and endorse her for the best personal trainer in the fort.





Matcha Powder

Matcha Powder


Matcha is green tea leaves pounded into powder and originates from Japan. Matcha is hot with chefs, not just as a beverage, but as an ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. Matcha muffins — brownies and puddings– to matcha soup, and stir frys,  I love experimenting with it.   I found this recipe on a blog and modified it slightly.


Matcha White Chocolate Bark with Coconut and Raspberries

  • 1 lb. high quality white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons matcha powder
  • ½ cup freeze-dried raspberries, lightly crushed
  • ⅓ cup unsweetened, shaved coconut

matcha bark

Delicious. Just as the dehydrated berries’ tartness emerges, the chocolate warms up and oozes sweetness–all with a green tea kick. You’ve outdone yourself!” — a satisfied recipient


Instructions to make your own bark at home:

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over water, stir in matcha powder, and half of the raspberries and coconut and then spread on parchment paper on a baking sheet to harden. Then, crush remaining raspberries and coconut over the top of the warm chocolate before it hardens.  I put my baking sheet in the refrigerator for 30 minutes and it was ready to cut. Give to sweet, foodie friends.


So watcha for pure, organic, quality matcha on your next grocery shopping trip (in the tea section or bulk) and try it in your morning smoothie or as an option to your morning cup of joe.  I found it for sale by the pound at Central Market. Below are some of the reported benefits.

  • Tons of antioxidants
  • Boosts metabolism and burns calories
  • Detoxifies effectively and naturally
  • Calms the mind and relaxes the body
  • Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
  • Enhances mood and aids in concentration
  • Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
  • Prevents disease
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar


55 is my age officially this week.  Thank you to everyone that sent birthday wishes and m55ade me feel so loved and appreciated. I have great friends, family and colleagues.  The best!  I think you are all amazed I am still around. I jogged this morning in the Race for the Cure 5K and finished in under 42 minutes. For me, this was a blazing speed especially considering all the hills.  My goal is under 40 minutes or 13 minutes a mile for the next run.

55 is a very arresting birthday.  The image that pops in my mind is the black and white speed limit sign.  But I don’t want to stop.  I want to go on, not faster, but on…    55 is the age at which you’re considered to be a senior citizen. At least in the eyes of many businesses offering discounts. I am looking forward to the perks.I spent some time today researching what discounts I should be looking for when I purchase. For those of us born in 1961, here is the beginning of a list of discounts I found on the internet. Start asking about them. I hope they are legit.

  • McDonald’s 10% off coffee
  • Wendy’s 10% off
  • DQ 10% off
  • Jack in the Box 20%
  • Chick-fil-A 10% off small drink or coffee
  • Best Western 10% off
  • Dollar Rental 10% off
  • Banana Republic 10% off

What celebrities are turning 55 with me?  Sean Penn, Eddie Murphy, Daryl Hannah, Juliann Moore, Hugh Grant, Antonio Bandera and Scott Baio to name a few.  Scott Baio, wow! Prince made his debut the year I graduated from high school in 1979.

I was born during the height of the cold war, the Russians put the first man in space, Chubby Checker was popular and West Side Story was released.  Those of us born in early 1960’s are the last of the baby boomers and now we are senior citizens.  Seventy-six million American children were born between 1945 and 1964; the years considered to be part of the baby boom.  We grew up in a time of dramatic social change and now many of us have turned into a bunch of staunch conservatives.  Enough said on that.  So, let’s tie up our laces and celebrate Earth Day week-end by heading to a local festival, eating local, walking more, and taking care of the world around us.  And I will celebrate another year on Planet Earth.


Screen Porch

Screen Porch

It’s hard to survive in the South without an outdoor room.  I was such a tomboy growing up and being outside was a huge part of my childhood.  I still love the outdoors.  Fresh air, blue skies, sunshine, green grass and trees….  the rapid fire of nail guns and noisy roofers. This is a little joke (did you LOL, Ashlanders?) as this month in north Texas everyone is getting a new roof due to a recent series of damaging hail storms. Our block, on Ashland, was hit hard and as a result, the roof repairs began in earnest this week.

My grandparents, living in Washington State, in the 1960’s, had a screened porch on the back of their house on Lake Quinault and I have such fond memories of sleeping on the porch with my siblings and cousins.  It was like camping in the rain forest but better because we had real beds and protection from the rainy weather, bugs and other critters.  In my family home in Kansas we had a screened porch off the side of the second floor of the house on Main Street.  In the winter, we put up storm windows but in the summer we could open up the all the windows and let the breezes come in.  It made sleeping inside during the hot summer months bearable before we had central air conditioning installed.

So, when we started remodeling our home on Ashland, I always knew that part of the plan would be to have a screen porch.  It took nearly twenty years but during our last large remodeling project, we added a sunroom and off of it a screen porch.  The sunroom and the porch are my terrain.  We have a little table out there to eat (no more than four folks will fit), the bbq is within easy reach, there is a twin bed for napping or reading a book, and a few knick knacks and plants.  It is hard-wired for electricity and has a ceiling fan to keep the breezes flowing.  This year, RM added a wind chime and plans to add sliding screen barn doors on one side to make access to our hot tub even easier.

It is my little piece of Shangri-La on Ashland.  Come over and sit awhile.





tradition image

Most happy families have traditions. Why?  They provide security, bonding, sense of identity, teach values, provide structure, pass on heritage, connect generations, and create lasting memories which are important to creating a sense of happiness and well-being. How to start if you don’t already have traditions in your family?

Daily?  Some ideas are family dinner, bedtime routines, but be intentional about your connections or soon you will just be watching TV together.  Secret handshake?  A game in the car traveling to and from school? A prayer, evening walk, bed time story?  My father put me to bed most nights with a little ritual.  He would have me get into bed, prone on the mattress, face into my pillow.  He would quietly sing me a song called “Bye – oh, Bye- oh” and he would sing it over and over while gently patting my back.  At one point, he would surprise me and sing really loud and then push me up and down on the mattress until my body flung all around (and of course I shrieked) and then he would return to the gentle pats and soft singing.  I knew it was then time to go to sleep.

Weekly?  Traditions could be a special family dinner or a game night.  In my family growing up it was a big pot of chili and cinnamon rolls on Friday night.  Now, we have homemade pizza most Fridays. Don’t fret if it doesn’t happen every week just as regularly as possible (once or twice a month is manageable). On Sunday, I suggest the evening meal is leftovers and everyone on their own.  That gives the parental units a break from cooking, uses up the leftovers, and kids learn independence.

Over a Life Time?  These are life changes like what do you do on birthdays? graduations? first day of school? In our family, we always take pictures at our life events.  My girls have a tradition of having a photograph made every seven years of just the three of them.  We hang the pictures in our family photo gallery in our home. Different cultures have traditions unique to the community.  It is so educational to ask about family and cultural traditions with friends and work mates. These conversations may give you new ideas to consider adding to your family traditions as well.

Tradition is a living thing, always moving forward. Tradition is alive and full of energy. Some people think of tradition as something fixed and unchanging. Like you always must have Thanksgiving dinner at Aunt Bella’s.  Enjoy traditions but let them ebb and flow over time as natural as the path of a river.  It is never too late to start a new tradition.