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carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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June 22, 2022

Bananas, Ice Cream, and Goody…Remembering Sophie

July 28, 2006, was the day our family adopted Sophie Slager, or put another way, the day she became the little princess of our household. Part Cocker

June 16, 2022

Easy Ideas for Dad’s Day Dinner

Happy Father’s Day weekend to all the dads in my blog audience! In your honor, I’m sharing a few ideas to accompany those steaks on the grill, or

June 9, 2022

The Clean Fifteen and a 5-Minute Habit

Last week I covered the Dirty Dozen— the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 12 recommended fruits and vegetables that should be organic whenever

June 2, 2022

In Celebration of June and the Dirty Dozen

With the arrival of June comes Indiana strawberries. It’s also the month to continue planting your vegetables, flowers, and enjoying life. Some fun,

May 26, 2022

Guess What I Caught Mr. Non-Compliant Eating

About a week ago, I walked into the kitchen and saw Mr. Non-Compliant (my dear hubby) eating breakfast. Up-close inspection revealed that he had a bow

May 19, 2022

Treat Your Taste Buds to This Simple Green Salad

As warmer days make their appearance, we tend to trade our hearty soup recipes in for light, bursting-with-flavor salads. By increasing fruit and vege

May 12, 2022

Six Tips to Make Gardening Easy and Fun

Depending on where you live, it may be time to plant a garden. We are now frost free in Northwest Indiana. Allegedly. We’ll see… The rule of green

May 4, 2022

What the Heck Do I Eat?

With all the conflicting information on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat it, this is what I know for sure. Foods that are healthy for you

April 28, 2022

What to Do When Your Healthy Habits Go by the Wayside

It happens. To everyone. You do well week after week. You have a regular exercise program, a meal and snack plan that provides good energy and sleep,

April 21, 2022

Dirt is Good

Last week I wrote about Forest Bathing—immersing yourself in nature and using all your senses to benefit your health in every way. This week, I’m

Avoiding Holiday Eater’s Remorse

One week before the beloved holiday of Thanksgiving, and the official kick-off of a one month food fest.  How do we get through it without adding an additional ten pounds of holiday around the waist?  

Make the decision today to simply raise your level of awareness about what you decide to eat.  Be conscious.  What typically happens is that we just go along for the holiday joy ride and choose to think about facing the music of health and fitness come January.  (Just so you know, I will be here to support you and will not utter any words such as “I told you so.” Promise.)

Sugar is one of the biggest bad boys this time of year.  Between all those delicious sugar cookies, the stress of buying the right gifts, lack of sleep, cleaning the house, change in schedules, and more, our immune systems take a beating.  We get a cold at the most inopportune time. 

Plan to enjoy some of those cookies, but be conscious of that choice.  Fill your days with lean protein, fruits, and vegetables.  When you have a fun event, enjoy a moderate amount of those special holiday foods you love, and really savor those moments.

Sticking with your exercise routine is also a great plan.  This will alleviate some stress and help offset the extra indulgences.  If you don’t have a routine, now would be a great time to begin.  (As long as you have clearance from your physician to exercise.) 

We are all in this together.  Let us support and encourage one another to take care.

“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”  3John 2 NIV

The Art of Slowing Down

“Sometimes you have to go slow in order to go fast.”

How many times have we heard this phrase?  This thinking has been cited by many; however my quote today is from Chris Brady in his book A Month of ITALY Rediscovering the Art of Vacation.  This is a great read about family, Italy, food, travel, and the art of slowing down.  So much of our life is spent going as fast as we can to get to the next event, job, task or soccer game, that we lose sight of today.

Yes, we all have commitments and schedules and responsibilities.  These have a tendency to rule our lives.  The challenge lies in breaking the cycle of crazy to enjoy the moment.  I have watched loved ones get so caught up in the stress of day-to-day life that it caused illness.  The best antidote?  Slow down; take a vacation; RELAX. 

If you are at the breaking point, schedule some time away somewhere.  There are so many great getaways not far from home, no matter where you call home.  Make a plan and go.  It doesn’t need to be Italy and it doesn’t need to be for a month.  Although, that would be delightful!

Even as you go through the day, schedule some time to sit outside and bask in the warmth of the summer sun, take a walk, or sit on your front porch.  Look around and simply enjoy being.  Slow down, and see what a difference in makes in the grand scheme of your day, of your life.  Have you ever heard anyone at the end of their earthly existence wishing they had worked more? 

“We do not know the true value of our moments until they have undergone the test of memory.”  Georges Duhamel

Much Ado About Tulips

I am in a quandary.  Recently I learned that the proper way to care for tulips is to dig up the bulbs once they have finished blooming and the tops are beginning to dry.  (Which is right NOW!)  Yes, dig them up.  Every last one of them.  Then the bulbs are to be stored in a cool, dry place so that air can circulate around them over the summer.  To be very proper, one should put the various colors together and label accordingly.  When fall arrives, take said bulbs and plant them again.  I was told from an authentic Dutchman that this is what authentic Dutch folks do.  This technique would explain why the Dutch are known for their amazing tulips.  They really work hard at it! 

Ok, so back to my quandary.  I carry around a very authentic Dutch name.  Translated, Slager means “butcher,” which is probably why my family will have no part of ever becoming vegetarian.  I get that.  But, this tulip thing is an overwhelming task to say the least.  Do I go along with proper gardening practices because of my last name?  My dear husband reminds me how much we all enjoyed the gigantic tulips that I freshly planted last December.  Breathtaking they were!  I tell him that in my family (Irish, German, Slovakian mix) we keep adding new bulbs every year and it works out just fine.  Then I get “the look.”  

So, while I discern the tulip dilemma, I will plant some annuals that have been waiting so patiently for the rains to pause.  I believe that somewhere between the dirt, weeds and worms, I will find my answer.    

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

Less Really is More

It is gardening time in Indiana.  I love it!  My tulips have just completed a beautiful round of glorifying my yard and even my husband commented on their brilliance.  Never mind that it was a temperate day last December when I planted the bulbs.  Yes, the rest of the neighborhood was hanging their Christmas lights that day, but I was not intimidated.  Perseverance pays. 

As I prepared to plant my annuals and vegetables, I decided that some extra nutrients were in order to have a successful growing season.  I loaded up on lots of organic matter and some fertilizer that said “twelve-twelve-twelve” on the front.  A Master Gardener (which I am not) friend of mine suggested some “ten-ten-ten” to help my vegetables thrive, but the “twelve-twelve-twelve” was what I found, so I figured it must be better.  My non-gardening husband agreed with that thinking. 

Fast forward to today.  It has been about three weeks since I planted some of my annuals.  With each plant, I added the fertilizer and the organic matter to the dirt.  Some of the plants look happy, and a few are now dead.  Gone.  What went wrong?  In some cases, the plants are neighbors!  How could this be?  Turns out, according to the expert gardeners (again, not me) I overdid it with the nutrients.  The soil was simply too rich for those little flowers.  I now know that I should choose one or the other, not both.  Some lessons are tough.  In this case, less is more.  I do believe that this thinking is best in many situations.  Seems to me I say those same words every December when we hang our Christmas lights.  Happy planting…

“Voluntary simplicity means going fewer places in one day rather than more, seeing less so I can see more, doing less so I can do more, acquiring less so I can have more.”  Wendell Berry