There’s this teenie house that I’ve been meaning to mention.

2014 Faerie houseFor at least ten years I’ve passed this magical little house in Holland, Michigan.  It’s haunting existence dares me to write about it but as a faerie story.  It fits the beguiling nature of the wee folk but yet I haven’t allowed my imagination to run wild to create a fascinating tale.

The small building seems to be half buried into the ground with a curved roof line that is longer on one side than the other.  It has a singular door under the short angled roof.  There’s one window opposite the door which is very squatty and long.  The house sits back about 80 yards from the road surrounded by a field of grass.  Pine trees provide a backdrop for the faerie bungalow.

I half expected to see a grass roof on this home lending more reality to faerie tale prop than not.  Perhaps it is a garden house meant for the care of the field.  I’ve often wanted to stop and inquire to the nature of the home.

The most enchanting time to see the house is when evening falls and the moon rises.  The beams illuminate the whole area making the possibility of wee folk follies seem real.  I’m hoping by just writing this small bit will help me get back to sleep and quit thinking about the possibilities.

Remembering a Song

It was during my college years that I picked up a music book of songs written by Bread.  “If” was my favorite to tinker around with on the Gilbert’s dorm piano.  I distinctly remember one of the music majors, working on his masters in music, asking if he could a have hand at playing it.  He was probably sad that I couldn’t get the song to flow.

It is a trans-formative moment when someone is able to expertly play the entire song on the piano without stopping.   I just fell in love with the song.2014 wedding dance

The song was written in 1971 and played for years on the radio.  The radio was my friend.  I didn’t have any loose change to purchase vinyl albums, especially in ’71.

Fast forward 13 years and it was wedding music that I was exploring.  That’s when cassettes and 8 tracks were popular.  I put it out there for the future Mr. Sal to see if he’d be up for the first dance song to be “If”.  Yep he was, and the rest is a 30 year history.

What have we done?

The other day I had a workman at the house.  We were chatting about the damages from the hail storm from Father’s day.  He told me his insurance company denied him and then canceled is policy.  It’s a well known company.  The houses around him were ruined but somehow his was not.  Hmmm, insurance companies.

I recommended that he call the better business bureau and call the Attorney Generals office.  He said he couldn’t do that because he was a Republican.


Oh my god!

After the shock of his statement, I shook it off and explained that government isn’t just for some people but for all citizens and that he should move forward in calling Lisa Madigan’s office as it is wrong what his insurance company did.

This indoctrination that government isn’t for us if it’s not of the same philosophical beliefs that we hold, is pure and utter nonsense.   The first question they ask you is not whether you’re red, blue or a person of the universe.  They CAN’T do that.  His words are still igniting my brain on fire.

How did we forget what we learned in civics class?  When did the constitution become someone else’s laws?  I’m just shaken to the core over this insanity.

Time for a new Playlist – 29 minutes perfect for cario

IPODWent trolling the internet to find a playlist that would motivate a new cardio routine.  I cherry picked those that would motivate me and I’m still seat dancing to it.  I’m loving the first one a LOT!

We have a rowing machine at the gym.  I’m going to see if this will keep me motivated to go 29 minutes.  HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA  we’ll see.

Here we go.

Move – Little Mix

Timber – Pitbull ( one of my boyfriends)

Can’t Hold Us - Macklemore

Love Me Again – John Newman

Boneless – Steve Aoki

Smooth Criminal - King of Pop MJ

Last Chance – Kaskade & Project 46 (left this one for the end to slow down :) )

Summer Gazpacho and only 105 calories!!!!!


This past weekend I had lunch at Benedict’s in Crystal Lake.  They had one of my VERY favorite soups, Gazpacho.  I’ve made it before but didn’t have all the ingredients in the fridge. Gazpacho is light, delicious and filling.

After my workout today I just had to make it.  I headed over to Aldi because they carry SimplyNature products hoping I could find a low sodium tomato juice.  Didn’t but they had all the veggies!  It cost me $8.40 which is $1.05 per serving – just incase you’re watching your pennies.

You can see it makes two large containers.  It’s made in your blender or food processor.  I based it off of Ina Garten’s recipe after a google search for a lighter faire but I changed it because of what I had in my cupboard and I didn’t use as much salt.  She makes me a wee bit anxious over her salt usage.

You’ll need:

  • Food processor or blender
  • Extra large glass bowl to mix it all in
  • Large ladle
  • 2 qt containers to store it in.


  • 4 plum tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, or 3 small ones, chopped into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 2 red sweet peppers, I used a red and a yellow.  You could use green.  Cut up in 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a red onion, sliced.
  • 48 ounce can of tomato juice, you’ll only use half of it or a little more
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra light olive oil, Bertolli
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt

Using your blender/processor, add your cucumbers, peppers, onion, and garlic and 1/4 of the tomato juice and blend it all.  You should have maybe half of the blender full.  Add all the tomatoes and blend again.  When finished pour the mixture into your extra large glass bowl.

Add the red wine vinegar, extra light olive oil, another 1/4 of the tomato juice, pepper, and salt.  Using a whisk, whisk all the ingredients together to mix the oil and vinegar into the mixture.   If you think you need a little more tomato juice just add it.  You should have about 2 cups remaining of the tomato juice.

Ladle it into your containers (from Cassandra’s Kitchen) and refrigerate the gazpacho to the meld the flavors.  IT’S AMAZING!!!!!!  And perfect for a summer day after your workout.

Now, you can add any veggie you’d like, maybe zucchini or black olives.  Also, if you have some elderly tomatoes in your keeper, use them.  Some folks like jalapenos, not me.  No heat for me.

The Nutrition Facts came from for 1 cup.  One of the reasons I LOVE MyFitnessPal.

Nutrition Facts

Servings 8.0
Amount Per Serving
Calories 105

Total Fat 7 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 536 mg
Potassium 348 mg 1
Total Carbohydrate 9 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 2 g
Vitamin A 15%
Vitamin C 65 %
Calcium 3 %
Iron 3 %






The Great American Quilt: Just Call me Rhapsody in Red – Part VII

2014 AQG done3It’s been a while since I wrote about the Great American Quilt but I had conflicts at poignant parts of the process, I had to work, then there was a wake, unfortunately life happens.  But during those times the raffle quilt committee moved forward to hand off the quilt top to one of our members Emma Everett who quilted it on a long arm machine.  We like to use our members for these projects.  She was kind enough to raise her hand and we are sooooooo appreciative of her time and artistic vision.

When you take your first quilt class you will find out about all these techniques.  Listed below are the things a long arm quilter needs to complete your quilt.  My friend and quilt mentor first described this process to me as, “If you are going to spend hundreds of hours, in making a beautiful top, give it to someone whom has a long arm.  You’ll be much happier.”  I whole heartedly agree.  But, to the purist, our guild will be offering at one of our meetings to learn how to quilt by hand.  Can’t wait to take that class.

2014 AQG done8This is why we offer a raffle quilt, to bring opportunities such as learning to quilt by hand to our members.   We take any and all members who would like to learn about quilting and all form of artistic sewing.  At our last meeting a very distinguished artisan, author and blogger, Rachel Wetzler, presented a slide show called – “MY Story”.  She shared a STUNNING selection of quilts.

We are also a philanthropic organization making baby quilts for the NICU at Advocate Sherman Hospital.  Our next meeting is an exchange of fabrics in order to make baby quilts which will be due this November.  We make these at our own cost.

Ok, enough about us.  What do you have to do to get the top prepped for the long arm quilter.

The “quilting” of the quilt needs:

  • a top – the blocks that everyone made and Sue Stanek pieced together with the borders
  • a middle – a natural cotton fiber batting
  • a backing – material we initially chose that compliments the top.

Emma met with Carlene Moeller and Sue and they discussed their ideas for the design of the quilting.  Emma asked that the quilt back and batting be 3 inches larger than the quilt top on all sides.   The extra fabric helps ease the stitches for shrinking as it is stitched.

There is an art form to designing patterns that fit within the blocks.  Emma did a gorgeous job of highlighting the dynamics of the quilt.  Let’s say you have a triangle.  Are you 2014 AQG done22014 AQG done 5going to just stitch lines or will you create a triangle flower?

Sue and Carlene together with Emma discussed the quilting of the larger open spaces, the larger light square in center of star and the large red half square triangles.  All the smaller pieces, Emma suggested, would have the scallop stitching you can see on the quilt.  As for the border, Emma asked if Carlene and Sue would like feathers.  She would follow the curves of the vine in the border fabric and add feathers.2014 AQG done4

Sue and Carlene delivered the quilt to Emma on April 10.  It was back in time for the April guild meeting after 18 hours of work.  WOW!

Back in the day people would hand quilt their labors of love.   Today, there are machines that can do amazing wonderful things with patterns on fabric.  The machine is called a long arm.   Judi Madsen of Green Fairy Quilts has wonderful videos, if you care to see them, on how to use a long arm.  You can even see what a long arm looks like on her blog.  It takes up a room.  She has a lovely site and is expanding her business in yardage and notions.  I really enjoy seeing young people enjoy sewing.

2014 AQG done 7Moving on, Sue then started the binding.  That’s almost 11 yards of binding because the quilt is 96″ x 96″.  It was complete but not stitched down by the meeting night on April 24th. The binding was stitched down while watching the Black Hawks games, leaving a small part to finish at the Saturday bee in May.  Pat Mesker and I swapped bodies and she was me at the Bee.  I had to work.

The last thing to do is label the quilt.  The name is Rhapsody in Red.  The approximate cost (our cost) is $1,000, which honestly is on the very low side.  There are appraisers who will appraise a quilt and depending upon the artistic work, the composition, the detail to perfection, quilting, and numerous other characteristics a quilt could appraise at $2,00 to $2,500.  This is a piece of Americana art.  We will have it displayed in many places till the drawing time of November 20, 20014.  Winner need not be present to win.  I’ll be posting those sites soon.

Our raffle quilt is ready to go.  You can reach any member of the Algonquin Quilt Guild or contact me and I can get you tickets.  They’re SUPER CHEAP!  $1 for 1 and 6 for $5.  The money raised goes for programs and projects that the Guild performs throughout the year.  You can get ahold of me here or on my Facebook and we’ll get you the tickets promptly.

Stay tuned to viewing venues.


Inspire Us: Best Trainer Ever Tony Wuebker

2014 Trainer Tony3There’s a “fitness tribe” of us that found out we could submit our trainer for Live with Kelly an Michael show and we collectively brought our words and photos together to submit him because we felt he deserved a chance at winning.  Unfortunately he was not chosen out of the thousands of entries.

So we’ll let you know what we submitted.  WE have a tremendous amount of pride in his professionalism because he’s done so much for so many.

“Meeting with a trainer when your demons are on high is the worst and best day of your new lifestyle change. Trainer Tony Wuebker’s demonstrated professionalism has helped us to conquer any and all demons. He passionately BELIEVES we will attain our goals especially when we have entered into the dreaded self-doubt direction. Tony will NEVER give up on you. His knowledge of health and fitness has changed our lives.

Tony will tell you that he does not offer a cookie cutter routine to obtain your fitness goals. His clients come in various sizes, genders, ages, and medical needs. His unique style of training is tailored to each client. He is always positive and excited about the workouts he creates. You can always tell how excited he is about his workouts when he tells you the plan and then flashes the pearly white teeth with a big smile.  The bigger his smile is, the better the workout.

What also makes him unique is the connection he has made with his clients. You might be a boot camp person, or a private training client, but whether it is through the annual Thanksgiving Day Boot camp, his “Trainer Tony” Facebook Page, or just showing up, he makes sure we all know each other.  Linking us with likeminded people only strengthens the drive and motivation to stick to our fitness goals. He creates that magic. His energy and enthusiasm are contagious.2014 Trainer Tony2

Tony graduated with a BS in Sports Science and pre Physical Therapy from Loras College. He is an NSCA Certified Personal Trainer. He employs the successful High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) techniques for all of his clients.

His boot camps are HIIT circuits incorporating bodyweight exercises, (ex: lunges, squats, burpees), TRX Bands, Ropes, balance ball, water pipes, his own wall to climb, tractor tires, hurdles, truck pulls, and of course weights. He gets the most out of us without putting us in jeopardy of injury. He is always thinking of new ways to train.  Because he is a master at HIIT he knows exactly how to get your heart rate up and down to maximize the benefits of the training.  He teaches proper form and explains why you are doing a particular move and how it will affect your progress.

Many one-on-one clients come in with serious issues. His genuine concern for their well-being is evident in the professionalism toward goal setting, nutrition, exercise, and rebuilding broken spirits. He works at building up confidence in ones strength. He’s admitted that he takes pride in seeing people reach their goals, whether that’s losing 100 pounds or learning to walk again.

Tony trains his clients to compete in Tough Mudder and marathons. These challenges create transformative work ethics for his clients related to career, lifestyle, family and other successes even outside of the gym. He has the capacity to change lives.

2014 Trainer Tony4He is not above jumping in with you to workout. If your schedule isn’t allowing you to get into the gym, he will offer up his personal time to meet you or join in with him during his personal workout. He looks for you every day at the gym and will call to see if you’re adding some type of exercise to your non-gym time or at least keeping on track with your food choices. He is only a text away, and celebrates with you even if it’s to take a picture of the scale for a small goal reached.

Tony is completely non-judgmental with an innate kindness that motivates us to continue our journey. He pushes us to achieve more than we ever thought possible. He teaches with an unwavering commitment to a lifestyle of better nutrition and activity.

Tony has changed our lifestyles for the better. Some of us have lost 15 pounds; some have lost upwards of 100. He teaches us about nutrition and not dieting.  It’s the clean eating regiment where processed foods are a thing of the past. At least 5 to 6 meals a day, lean and green after lunch, half your weight in water, cut out the pop, salt, no fat stacking and only good fats are on the menu.

Professional Highlights:

  • Trainer to Julio Gomez Season 8 of Biggest Loser who lost 180 pounds in 180 days and came in second for the at home participation.
  • Behind the scenes Trainer for Becky Ochal, MTV’s show “I used to be Fat”.
  • Author: “Get it Right Make it Tight” The Ultimate Guide to a Sustainable and Profitable Personal Training Business.
  • X-Plode Athletic Enhancement Program
  • X-Treme Physique Classes / Bootcamps / 90 Day transformation Programs
  • Part owner and program designer for a new fitness concept Cross Kicks Fitness

From all of us, we BELIEVE Tony is the best fitness trainer.”

  • Mary Fioretti
  • Zim Asani
  • Dana Popovich
  • Allison Popovich
  • Ianna Loader
  • Dani Ebert
  • Brian Eback
  • Curtis Faessler
  • Donna Bland
  • Marcy Buffo
  • Bob Henry
  • Teri Mehlhop
  • Jen Kelly
  • Kathy Eback
  • Betsy Lima
  • Brittany Agnes
  • Arianna Fontana
  • Danielle Giamberduca
  • Abby Peterhans





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