New Year Goals. Is it good to have goals? Do we keep them? How to manage your goals!

When my daughters were growing up, on New Years Day we had a tradition. We sat at the round kitchen table and with the help of pen, paper and some artsy designs, to make it all attractive, we were writing down our goals for the coming year.

I don’t know if my daughters are still keeping this habit, but as the saying goes, “if one doesn’t know where she/he is going, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET THERE?

For that reason, even if I don’t keep all my goals, I still like to have a general direction for the new year. For instance, some of my goals for 2015 are:

To continue and expand this blog, to be more involved in specific ways with my church, that includes Bible Studies, to take care of my health, specifically to go to physical therapy.

Last year one of my goals was to apply make up on my face when I went out. Well… I did that for about two months. After that? A colored  gloss was the replacement of make up.

I guess I need to try again and make applying make up one of the goals for 2015. A re-run!!!

The point being that we don’t always keep all our New Year’s goals, but at least we try. May be if we keep two of them, it is more than none. At least in the back of our minds we know what needed to be done.

A few rules to help accomplish goals:

1. They need to be realistic. Magical thinking will only lead to not accomplishing a goal. Yes, I know I will not fly to the Moon:(

2. Use the art of chunking (there is a whole post on chunking on this blog)  What it means: Break a large goal in small steps. For instance, you want to write a book. Start with short stories. Start by blogging or just put your thoughts down privately if you are not ready to share. Just establishing a pattern of discipline is valuable.

3. Make no more than four goals. If you make ten goals, chances are soon after you will be overwhelmed and drop them all.

It is better to have less large goals and break them in steps to accomplish them.

When I was defecting from communist Romania, many years ago, in my train sleep compartment I traveled with an 80-year old woman who told me:

“Never make long term goals. Life will derail you! Don’t you see the Romanian communist party? They make 5-year plans for agricultural crops! Then we have a drought and down the drain goes their 5-year plan!”

Her advice haunted me for years and after careful thinking, I concluded that actually the meaning of it was don’t make plans dependent on nature or generally of others.

This takes me to rule number…

4. MAKE GOALS WHICH YOU  PERSONALLY COULD ACCOMPLISH! For instance I could say my goal for 2015 is to be loved b20140525_130432y my daughters. I cannot make another love or value me… I could ONLY value myself and love myself enough to have self-respect.

Have a Happy, Healthy 2015! Here is to manageable goals!

Thank you so much for reading my blog and following it. I will continue to share topics that help everyone in their daily lives!

Buying a New Home!!! What To Look For, What To Avoid

Writing this post was triggered by my checking out real estate values in my neighborhood. In all honesty, I wanted to see if my house’s value went up, down or was the same.

Zillow generally over-estimates values, but I went on it knowingly… Why?  The only excuse I have is that perhaps it is nice to see your home valued $10,000 more than  what you know you’d get if it were to sell it.

Then, after I was re-assured Zillow was continuing to over-estimate my house, I started checking other homes and values and discovered that some were listed in “pre-foreclosure…”  What does that mean? I wondered. I still don’t know for sure, but searched “What could cause foreclosure?” and came up with some very useful information.

I continue to have as the main purpose of my blog sharing information we could use in our daily lives,  and did MORE research and came up with more than  an answer to my initial search question.

Here it is!!!

What to check before you buy a new home. 

Most of us know the obvious: Do you have enough money to afford a down payment and the mortgage? Is the neighborhood safe? If you have children or plan on having kids, is the School District good?

In the heat of the moment, some of us fail to think of the following:

How much are the utilities? Does the house have a new roof and a new heater? Even if you buy a remodeled house, a leaky roof will “leak” your budget faster than you have enough money to fix the roof.

If you have pets. What are the township’s rules? How many dogs/cats are you allowed to have?

Check the costs of  homeowners, car and HEALTH insurance in the area you plan to move. They vary from area to area in the same state.

What do you need, yes NEED in terms of services:

A good health care system which is reasonably close in space

A good mechanic/shop to service your car

A reliable pharmacy to have good prices and reasonable hours.

A hair dresser/barber

A community to feel comfortable and welcomed.  A church,  Temple, Community Center, Al Anon,  AA or Narc Anonymous meetings in the area. Of course good neighbors.

The best time to check the safety of a neighborhood is to drive through it at night. Also, check the local newspaper’s Crime Section, The Police log.

Now… you bought your new home. You made sure the roof didn’t leak and you drove through neighborhood at night. All is great!

Time to pay your property taxes! They could be in escrow and just as your home insurance,  paid together with your mortgage. It is probably the best way to ensure it is all paid in a timely manner.

However, let’s say you opted to pay your  property taxes separate from your mortgage because you are responsible.  Did you know that if you pay your mortgage but not your property taxes the mortgage lender has the right to foreclose to protect their investment? I didn’t know that but this is the case according to

What are tax liens (same source as above)

They are debt attached to real estate when income and property taxes are unpaid. That means lien holders have a financial claim on the property.

When a home is bought the amount due is paid at closing from the homeowners equity. If the lien is not paid another action may be taken. In some states the new buyer may opt to inherit the debt (tax lien) and agree to pay it in a set period of time and pay more interest on the amount owed. These are called tax certificates, and if not paid in a timely manner foreclosure may be requested by the holder of the lien. This varies from state to state. In California for instance, instead of tax certificates there are levies placed against a property, which gives the taxing body ownership of the property. The time-frames of such actions vary from state to state.

Do I know what “pre foreclosure” means? No, I don’t but now I know I MUST pay both my mortgage and also the real estate taxes as the consequences of not paying are equally bad.

In my searches I came across some web sites that you might find of interest. Here they are:  Helps veterans buy a FIRST home  —

Happy searching for a new home and Happy 2015!

POSSIBILITIES… Let’s use our imagination!!!

As the saying goes, “if we don’t use it, we loose it,” whatever that is, which could be an asset but also could turn into a liability.

The beginning of this post might be misleading, as one could think of more complex events, when I’m simply referring to food. Or, perhaps what follows is a metaphor. More likely, it is what we want it to be…

Last week, my mind’s scanned the contents of my refrigerator. I was determined to put a stop to wasting food and instead of throwing away small quantities of this and that and feel ashamed, to be proactive and act before the this and that became spoiled and unusable.

Our bodies  need extra calcium and we know the most efficient way to get it is by eating certain foods. One of the best, healthy sources is cottage cheese. The problem is that I dislike it, yet stubbornly I continue to buy it telling myself, this time is going to be different.

The concept of hiding an unpleasant ingredient among others one likes, is not new but might be easier said than done. Obstacles, such as, do I have at hand other ingredients that I like, and  most importantly do I have all that is required for a specific recipe… or action?

I went on and searched ‘cottage cheese.’ What popped up was a recipe for ‘Creamy, Healthy, Chocolate Pudding.’ Great, I love chocolate!

The slight problem was that I had NO chocolate and the recipe also called for milk, and I had NO milk!!! Yet I was determined to hide that 1/2 cup of cottage cheese in some type of food and like it.

This is when imagination and a little knowledge of what goes with what in the kitchen came in hand.

This is the original recipe on Yummly:

2 Tbs milk and 1/4 cup chocolate chips. Mix and microwave  for 30 seconds. Set aside.

1/2 cup cottage cheese, 10 oz cream cheese, 2 Tbs powder sugar (use to your taste, and regular sugar was okay),  1/4 tsp vanilla extract. Blend ALL these ingredients in blender and stir in the microwaved chocolate chips and milk. Refrigerate. Serve cold. Makes 2 servings of 250 calories each, or a large one.

I had all the ingredients, except for chocolate chips and milk. I also had regular sugar, but figured since everything was going in the blender, oh well… my blender would have to work harder. Thank you, blender!

Was it possible to make chocolate pudding without chocolate??? Believe it or not… I couldn’t! However, I could make some kind of pudding…Remember? My goal was to eat the cottage cheese!

This was when imagination and a lot of determination came in hand:

I did have orange peel and bananas. I replaced the 2 ingredients I didn’t have with half a banana and shredded orange peel. ALL the ingredients were placed in a blender and the chocolate pudding miraculously became Banana-orange pudding.

The conclusion?

In life, as in the kitchen, the “recipes” given to us sometimes don’t fit our specific situations. Always question, HOW COULD I MAKE THIS WORK???

There are no guarantees, but as a rule, don’t give up, look at the entire picture and DISCOVER YOUR OWN POSSIBILITIES.

After Christmas Detox– Did You Eat Too Much? No Problem! Here IS Help! Milk of Thistle and Aloe Vera

After Christmas Detox– Did You Eat Too Much? No Problem! Here IS Help! Milk of Thistle and Aloe Vera.

After Christmas Detox– Did You Eat Too Much? No Problem! Here IS Help! Milk of Thistle and Aloe Vera

This post was “inspired” by research I have been doing to help Lola, the most recent addition to our pack of  rescued dog-companions. In all honesty, I am not sure if they rescue us or us them…

However, this is irrelevant for the scope of this post, which will address physical detox, as opposed to spiritual detox, a much more complex topic which would require thousands of posts as a starter…

Back to the much simpler topic of BODY/ORGANS DETOX.

Although there are tens of ways and formulations to detox, I will  limit this article to TWO most used and which have been proven to work for BOTH humans (that is us, standing on two feet, OUR two feet and thinking using the supposedly most evolved brain, determined by “science”) and also used for our pets (specifically dogs, our best friends, who walk on four “legs” but  instead of “thinking” they feel and are committed to humans, at much higher levels of kindness than some of us would ever understand and appreciate)


Milk of Thistle

Milk of Thistle is a flowering herb related to the daisy and ragweed family, native to Mediterranean countries, also called  “Mary thistle or holy thistle.” (

It is used as a natural treatment for liver problems (cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, gall bladder disorders.)

Undocumented scientifically, claims are made it helps with  heart problems, specifically, lowering cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and it reduces growth of cancer cells in breast, cervix and prostate.

The main ingredient in milk of thistle is silymarin, which is both an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

The scientific results of the possible benefits of milk of thistle are on going and not definitive.

DO NOT USE–if you have an allergy to ragweed or plants in the daisy family or the following conditions:

If pregnant, breastfeeding, have fibroid tumors, endomitriosis or ovarian cancer.

Check with your doctor on possible interactions with medications.

Shopping for Milk of Thistle

My research on best places to purchase milk of thistle is limited and subjective. No claims are made regarding the sources listed as being the best or the cheapest. My research was done on Christmas Day, 2014 and special holiday offers may have been applied. 

Determining where I purchase is influenced not only by cost, but also by the quality of the product. Also, liquid products, as a rule, are easier to absorb, thus I prefer the liquid form of any remedies or medications. It is also helpful to check other customers’ratings and to make sure the product is rated by as many customers as possible. For instance, a rating of 5 stars by 2 customers is not as relevant as a rating of 4.7 stars by 285 customers.

Following, are a few sources  to consider for the purchase of milk of thistle:

Amazon (, Walmart (,,

Milk of Thistle for PETS-

Aloe Vera – internal and external usages 

As many others, I too, have an aloe vera plant  and use its gel as an external aid to heal skin burns. I knew that aloe juice was an efficient internal detoxifying aide but until recently, never thought of the possibility to use my plant for internal detoxification.

The active ingredient in aloe is polysaccharides.

What follows are the results of my research regarding aloe as an internal detoxification agent. Of course, you could purchase both aloe vera juice and gel in many stores and online. I didn’t research the commercial sources because the goal was to make maximum use of my personal aloe plant, which was mainly going to waste ( as I don’t “burn” myself trying to get baking pans out of the hot  oven enough to use the entire plant.  In all honesty, “I burn myself” more, trusting some humans too much, but aloe doesn’t help with those “burns,”  and my research is still on going regarding that type of “burns.”)

The benefits of aloe date back to ancient Egypt (used for heartburn, acid-reflux, constipation, gas, bloating– it reduces the stomach acid levels)  –

Aloe vera balances your body’s PH level making it more alkaline. It is said to detoxify your body and blood stream, aids with stomach problems, such as ulcers (

Again, this is highly subjective and limited research, but I found the simplest and easiest method to make your own aloe drink on U TUBE, by Stacy Leffingwell (AloeGirl):

Cut off an aloe leaf, cut in one inch increments, remove spikes (the edges) with sharp knife, remove the outside (top and bottom rind). You are left with the clear gel. The yellowish part under the hard rind has strong laxative properties… so use ONLY if that property is needed.  Place the gel in a blender and add a citrus juice. It works well with orange juice. On its own, aloe has a bitter taste, but when mixed, it takes the taste of the agent you mix it with, in this case, orange.

IMPORTANT– The process of cutting the leaves, preparing and blending must be done quickly to maintain the benefits. After the process is completed, REFRIGERATE. Also refrigerate any unused plant which is already cut.


In this version (  ALOE, HONEY AND ALCOHOL will be needed:

200 g Aloe Vera gel 

200 g Honey

Shot of alcohol (vodka should be fine– personal opinion)

Remove spikes ONLY but leave the green outside skin on. Cut in small pieces. Blend in blender. Mix in honey and add alcohol (it keeps the mixture alive)

Place in jar with lid and refrigerate.


BEFORE EATING– take 3 x a day a spoonful.

Take for ten days. STOP for ten days. Repeat.

Home made aloe juice/gel ensures there are no unhealthy additives.


Aloe helps stop itching and scratching (skin-eze) —

I have not tried home made juice on my dogs.