Meandering down a path of Creativity

Archive for the ‘Life Updates’ Category

What’s new, and why I’m back

Hello there! I have not done very well with maintaining a regular posting schedule since starting this blog however many years ago. I admit it. I’m thinking that’s changing now, though… You see, not only is garden season just around the corner, but I’ve made some changes in my life over the past few months & they’ve led me back to recording my recipes here.

On November 16, 2015 I joined a dojo. They offered a free trial as part of their grand opening, and I jumped on the chance to go. It was the best thing I could’ve done- I seriously love it! I’ve been working my way up with how much I do each class & how many classes I’m taking each week- they offer Modern Martial Arts (MMA), Boxing, Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Cardio Kickboxing, and their own special fitness classes (which are seriously tense and absolutely amazing!). The only class I have yet to at least try is Jiu Jitsu, and that’s because it’s a lot of wrestling-type stuff which I am just not ready for.

Anyway, my fitness level began improving and I used the MMA as a catalyst to snowball myself into other healthy changes. I quit smoking, switching over to a vape & slowly reducing the nicotine level. I have not had so much as a drag off a cigarette since Christmas, and just knocked the nicotine down to the lowest available dosage (3mg) last week. I’ll probably start transitioning down to 0mg toward the end of this month. I’ve also been transitioning over to healthier food choices- reducing the fat intake, being mindful of carbohydrate quality, and generally reaching for the more nutrient dense stuff over the empty calories.

The problem is that the dietary changes and the fitness changes just did not match up. While my fitness level steadily improved from November through the end of January, sometime around the first or second week of February, I started noticing some new changes, and they were definitely not for the better!

My energy levels were lower than they’d been since I started at the dojo. I was finding it difficult to do things that I’d been able to do just a few weeks before, reaching the point of muscle fatigue much more quickly. My recovery time was taking longer. The first few days of this, it was easy to brush off- “Oh, I must be fighting off some bug that’s going around,” or “I just didn’t get enough sleep last night.” After a week or so of steady decline, though, I knew I needed to take a closer look at what I was doing. I tweaked my diet & started taking some supplements, but it didn’t help. My performance continued to decline.

Okay, so obviously whatever is going on is beyond my own ability to figure out. I hooked up with a nutrition & fitness coach earlier this week, and have signed up for a 4-week online nutrition & fitness counseling program with him- we start on Monday! Hopefully he will be able to help me find my way out of this slump! (I spoke with him on Weds. for our initial consultation, and he recommended that I bring my fitness efforts down to about 50% for the rest of this week, to give my body a recovery period, and said that my protein intake probably needed to be increased).

He has me tracking my food intake using one of those freebie online programs. The specific program he wants me to use only allows users to enter recipes if the user is willing to hand over all rights to the recipe, though, and I’m just not willing to do that. So, instead, recipes will be entered here and I’ll use the freebie program’s ability to link to recipes on the web… hopefully it will work!

Tonight will be a hearty, garden-style meat sauce over the blank canvas of┬ánutritionally empty rice noodles… recipe to be posted soon!


It’s been a while…

I have not been keeping up with my plans to post over here regularly. I’ve had plenty of ideas for posts, but just have not done too well with the follow through. Shortly after my last post, I began an internship at a local farm, where I was supposed to be learning about goat care and cheese making. I really learned a lot, mainly about cheese… not so much about the goats, which was my primary purpose for going there, but I’m continuing to volunteer there and am hoping the goat care stuff is still coming. Cheese making winds down when the goats dry up (they have a 10 month lactation cycle), and it’s currently breeding season. The babies that come from the breeding that is happening now should be born in early spring. My internship started when the 2014 kids were about a month old, and I am super excited at the prospect of being involved in bringing the next kids into the world! Have you ever seen a baby goat? Up close and personal? They are too cute for words!

So anyway, I am going to be trying to, once again, make a habit of blogging here. If I disappear for a while, feel free to come look me up on G+. I’m also going to be getting more active over there, as I look to cut back on my Facebook time. I am listed as Melanie White, email address

And, just because everyone needs some silly goat from time to time, here is a picture of Dolly. She is the oldest goat over at the farm, and has been taken out of breeding rotation this year. She is my favorite out of the 40-some odd milking does. She’s sweet natured and generally well behaved, but she tends to get very wriggly when she sees a camera. She also seems to always be sticking her tongue out at me. She doesn’t do this to anyone else, and I’m not really sure what it means, but it cracks me up, every time.


believe it or not, I've snapped dozens of photos of her, and this is the least blurry one!

Dolly, sticking her tongue out at me and being wriggly for the camera


More garden stuff coming soon!

I missed doing the Friday post I had planned because life has just been getting a little crazy lately. I spent a couple of hours today re-potting my tomato seedlings- the poor babies had roots coming out the bottom of their starter flat! I’ll be re-potting the rest of them tomorrow, after a trip to the Emmaus Farmers’ Market. I love that they are a producer-only market, which means everything I get from them is locally grown/produced, and tomorrow they will have the first of the seedlings available! I start most of my plants from seed myself, but I purchase some from there to help fill in any gaps. I also have a couple of vendors there who are my absolute favorites.

One of the favorites is B.A.D. Farm- where they don’t live up to their name. Owned and operated by Beth And Dave Rice, they sell meat and dairy products, as well as eggs, that are absolutely wonderful. Yes, the soft-boiled eggs I wrote about earlier this month are made with their delicious brown eggs. (And yes, I actually can taste a difference between brown and white eggs, and brown eggs from them versus brown eggs from the grocery store, LOL). The dairy products include some really great flavored cheeses and dips, made by Beth. They are good people with really yummy offerings, so if you find yourself in Emmaus, PA on Farm Market Day (every Sunday from May 1 through the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and alternating Sundays through the winter), I highly recommend popping over and seeing what yummy stuff is available!

Both the Emmaus Farmers’ Market and B.A.D. Farm are on Facebook, too, if you’re interested to see what they are up to:

I’ll be back to posting about garden stuff on Monday or Tuesday. Hope you’re having a great weekend!

Happy Spring!

Well, it has certainly been a while since my last post! I’ve had a pretty busy winter, but very little of it has been post-worthy. I do have some ideas in the works to get some good new info out to you folks, though. Springtime means garden time for me, and that means I need to get myself back onto a regular schedule. With that in mind, I’m planning to start doing regular posts with certain themes 2 days per week.

If you want to keep up with me outside of the blog, I invite you to follow me on Pinterest:

and/or become a fan of my business page on Facebook:

See you again next week! Happy Spring!

Hello world!

Hi there!

I made this blog account a few weeks ago (before the new year) and have been hemming and hawing over what to write for my first post. After much thought and debate, I decided that the best thing to do would be to introduce myself to you. Once I decided that, I needed to figure out what you might like to know about me and a good format for it- I’ve spent the last 2 weeks working on that. Hopefully what I type below will work as a good introduction as to who I am, where my interests lie and what you can expect to read about in future posts.

So I guess to start, we’ll run through the basics:
Name: Melanie, aka Zoe

Age: 38? 37? 39? I dunno, somewhere in there!

Happily married; no children; my mother is living with us, temporarily.

Pets: 1 dog & 2 cats
Murray- a 4-year old ball of energy we rescued when he was about 6 months old. As near as we can tell, he’s a mix of terrier, border collie, and possibly poodle… he looks a bit like a miniature Irish wolfhound, though.
Dobbie- a 2-year old formerly feral cat we ended up bringing in, domesticating and adopting. He’s blind in one eye and a little bit spastic, but a real sweetie.
Gianni (aka Cranky Old Man)- 12-year old black cat who has no time or patience for the shenanigans of the other 2 animals in the house. If he were human, he’d be the guy who sits in his rocker on the porch, yelling at the kids, “Get off of my lawn!”

I will do my best to keep my political and religious views to myself, but in case anyone is wondering, I’d probably best be described as a True Universalist Libertarian. In other words, you do your thing, I’ll do mine, and as long as no one is getting hurt, it’s all good.

I am a second degree Reiki Practitioner and am fascinated by the metaphysical properties of herbs & gemstones.

So, that’s the basic background there. Now, on to the fun stuff- my interests, and what you can expect to find here in the future!

I like sci-fi/fantasy, though I’m not particularly knowledgeable about the genre- I know more than the average person, but nowhere near as much as most people who you’d find at a convention. I’m a bibliophile- I prefer fiction, and for ‘light & fluffy’ reading, think that not much beats a good bodice ripper. One of my most prized possessions is a copy of the Complete Works of Edgar Allen Poe. Oh, and most anyone who knows me can tell you that my love of pretty boxes, jars and the like borders on a container addiction!

My hobby-type interests all pretty much boil down to one thing- being creative.

I love to cook and feed people, but am terrible at following recipes or writing down what I’m doing. I’ve been cooking since I could reach the top of the stove by standing on a step stool. I like to tweak and personalize recipes, and although I do have some that don’t come out as well as I’d like, I’m pretty good at it.

I also love to work with metal and glass, creating jewelry and functional art. As a woman of a larger frame who is sensitive to most metals, it can be difficult for me to find jewelry that fits properly in the stores, so I started making my own. In addition to metal, stones, glass and beads, I do some work with metal clay.

Cooking and metalwork are very soothing to me; I find it to be meditative. That is why I named my jewelry business “Zoe’s Zen Garden”. (I’d sell my culinary creations, too, but that requires way too much of a start up investment, with all of the red tape, licensing, and legal requirements for the workspace. Instead, I’ll offer up the recipes so you can try them for yourself!)

I also enjoy drawing, painting, gardening & food preservation (canning, drying, etc). I know how to knit, crochet and sew, but I honestly don’t enjoy it, so I leave that to those who do enjoy it. I enjoyed working with ceramics, but it’s messy and I hate having gunk under my nails, LOL. I may take it up again one day, but for now I have enough on my plate!

Things that I want to learn: welding (my hubby has promised to teach me this summer!); woodworking & cabinetry; wood carving; wood turning; food smoking; glass slumping (if all goes well, I should begin learning this from a friend this spring!)

So, that’s me, in a nutshell.

As far as what I’ll be sharing here in future posts, well, it’ll probably be a bit of a mish-mash of my interests. I am starting of with a grand plan of posting here 3-4 times each week. I am hoping to have 1 day devoted to special projects, 1 day for allergy friendly food and cookery, and 1 day for sharing web finds, promoting the work of my amazingly talented artist friends, etc. I would also like to do a 4th day where I post fun stuff- silly games and puzzles, pretty photos, etc; but don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, so we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, I hope that you’ll enjoy reading my ramblings, and that maybe I’ll help inspire you to stretch your creative muscles a bit.

Wishing you a wonderful week!

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