Month: August 2013

Remember When We Used to Eat Chicken Pot Pie?

Remember When We Used to Eat Chicken Pot Pie?

3741-crustless-chicken-pot-pieI have to confess, I am not the cook in our family. I’ve been the self-designated dish washer and kitchen cleaner-upper since a month or two into our marriage thirty something years ago. For a brief  period of time I tried  to be my mother, but when my husband shook some sense into me by saying, “Look, I love to cook!”, there was no looking back. He’s been our chef for any and every occasion ever since.

The down side to this arrange are the evenings when I am on my own for dinner. I’m good to go with breakfast and lunch but I glaze over when it comes to dinner. I usually just repeat lunch, or slip into our local health food store and pick up a salad, but there are some nights I’d rather stay home and have a hot meal.

So, I was happy to give Healthy Choice meals a try, thanks to Vibrant Nation and their invitation to be a part of their most recent Influencer Network campaign. (Disclosure: Every now and then the Vibrant Nation Influencer Network members are asked to sample a product and write an honest review. That I can do!)

Last night, my sons nabbed my husband and whisked him off to see some testosterone laden movie that I would lock myself in a closet before seeing. (Besides I love my quiet nights alone and all the choices that come with it!) Once the dust settled and they were off, I pulled my Healthy Choice Cafe Steamer out of the freezer and read the directions. Wow! So easy! Perfect! Just pop it into the microwave and dinner is served! My kind of meal.

I chose the Crustless Chicken Pot Pie because I haven’t had a classic chicken pot pie since I read the ingredients twenty years ago. I was pretty sure there would be little 3741-crustless-chicken-pot-piecomparison between the two products but for the sake of nostalgia I gave it a whirl. I was right, of course, but the meal was flavorful and satisfying and only 300 calories (room for dessert!).  In spite of the 560 mg of Sodium, a little more salt was needed as it was a bit bland. Next time I think I’ll try one of the Asian meals. I probably won’t buy this particular item again, but I will try some of the other ones. After all, it’s tough to replace a real calorie laden, old fashioned frozen chicken pot pie!

On to desert! Here’s what I had: Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt

For money saving coupons from Healthy Choice click on this link: HealthyChoiceVNOffiers

DISCLOSURE: As a participating member  in the Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign, I have been provided with free products and remuneration in exchange for my honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting. DS

Developing A Mindfulness Practice

Developing A Mindfulness Practice

Spa-imageUntil recent years, our western culture has been driven by thought processes that are nearly the antithesis of the practice of mindfulness.  Our generation, in particular, was taught at a very early age to think ahead, to plan, to set goals, and to learn from our mistakes. We believe that what we are doing today should, in some way, serve our future. And yet, we are far from being secure and at peace in our “old age”. Instead,  we are a generation plagued by stress related illness and disease. The light, however, is beginning to dawn on many, that maybe there is another way. The age old practice of mindfulness meditation is gaining in popularity.

Serious research into the scientifically measurable benefits of meditation has only been undertaken in the last ten years.  “In 2000, there were 70 studies published in peer-reviewed journals using the terms mindfulness, yoga, or meditation; in 2011 there were 560,” said David Vago, an associate psychologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, as quoted in an article in the Boston Globe.  It is clear that there are benefits, but what remains to be learned is who benefits, how much of what type of meditation is required, and findings that can be used to tailor treatment. Although research is, at yet, inconclusive mindfulness and meditation are being used as part of therapeutic regimens to treat chronic pain, PTSD, stress, depression, addiction, high blood pressure, anxiety and other chronic illnesses.

201-x600-get-sited-meditationTAKE A STEP

If you have never practiced meditation or mindfulness, you’re in for a treat. First of all, it’s simple. Second, it’s easy. Third, it’s calming.  In other words, it’s easy to do and feels good.

Here are a few ways to begin:

1. Take a conscious breath. That’s it! Just breathe, in and out, but do it consciously. Focus your attention on the process of breathing. Close your eyes if you can and feel the breath coming in through your nose and filling your lungs; follow it into your chest and back out again. You can do this anywhere, any time. Just do it. Once a day is enough to start. Work your way up to five times a day, spread throughout the day.

2. Begin to slow yourself down and tune in to what is going on in the present moment. When you’re eating, take a breath before you take your first bite. Focus on the sensations in your mouth as you chew and swallow.

3. Take five minutes a day to do nothing. Just sit, breathe and let your thoughts come and go as they wish. When you are comfortable with five minutes, increase it to ten, then fifteen.

4. When you walk into a room, notice your surroundings. If it is a place you have been before, look for something new that you have not seen before.

5. When you are walking, feel the muscles in your legs, the sensations in your arms, your back, your feet. Tune into your body.

6. When you are driving, turn off the radio, hang up the phone and listen to the sounds of your car as it drives down the road. Hear the tires whirring, the fan blowing, and the rattles or creaks, or the quiet. Open the window and feel the air on your face.

7. When your phone rings, take a deep breath and listen to it ring a second time before answering it.



Finding Love Over 60: Is Online Dating for You?

Finding Love Over 60: Is Online Dating for You?

Just because we’re over fifty, or sixty, or seventy, doesn’t mean we’ve necessarily given up on love or finding someone with whom we can share our senior years. It’s not always easy, however, to find someone who feels the same way. The good news is, that we have available to us a resource that previous generations did not have: the internet and online dating opportunities. It can be intimidating at first, but it may just be worth staring down our fears and giving it a whirl. Here is one woman’s story. If you have an online dating story to share, good or bad, send it to us. We may just be able to include it in a future post. 


3I’m Nancy. I’m 63 and until recently I lived in Chicago, my hometown. I have just moved to Madison, WI to be with my fiancée Jack, who is 61. I used to think I would never find love again. I tried traditional ways of meeting people, but I never found the right person. Then, after encouragement from some younger friends of mine, I turned to online dating, and through eHarmony I found the love of my life.

Here’s my story:


Several of my younger friends had been encouraging me to try online dating. I finally took the leap when I heard a radio ad for eHarmony saying they were offering three free days over Memorial Day weekend. By the time I joined, Jack had already been on eHarmony for two months, but had not found anyone he wanted to date.


I was only on eHarmony for two weeks when Jack’s profile was sent to me, but I didn’t contact him because of the distance between us. You see, I am not very savvy with computers and when filling out my profile, I had marked that I wanted my matches to come from “anywhere”. But by the time I changed this, Jack’s picture had come through. He was really cute and had the most mesmerizing smile I had ever seen. The third time his photo popped up, I decided “what the heck”, and sent him an invitation.

Within minutes after I hit the send button, Jack responded via email.


After emailing Jack for a week, I decided to call him on the phone, and he won me over. He was full of personality and so easy to talk to. For two weeks we talked on the phone every night for over an hour and sent emails back and forth every day. We asked each other key questions – both being in our 60s, we knew what we wanted and didn’t want.  So, by the time we did meet for our first face-to-face date, we knew more about each other than most couples know in their first year together.


Jack proposed to me last Memorial day weekend after 11 months together – ironically, exactly a year after I joined eHarmony.  We have a beautiful house in Madison that backs onto the woods, where we will be married in October.


My advice regarding online dating is more for the mature daters out there. I fought the idea of online dating for three years because I wanted to meet someone the traditional way – but online dating really helps to narrow the field. I’m grateful to my young friends who encouraged me to try something new.  And now my older friends, those who discouraged me against online dating, are signing up themselves.  They see the relationship I have found online, and are hoping they will be as lucky me.


Are You Hooked on Ice Cream? A Healthy Choice

Are You Hooked on Ice Cream? A Healthy Choice

I am always in the market for healthy, low-cal, quick and easy meals, so when I was invited, as a member of the Vibrant Nation Influencer Network, to sample several Healthy Choice frozen products I was happy to sign on. I’ve purchased a few Healthy Choice products over the years and have always had a positive experience,  but it had been a long time since I bought anything, when I headed to the store.  The first item we were invited to try was Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt. Sounded good to me!

I decided to go to Harris Teeter (which is mostly in the Southeast and was also recently purchased by Kroger) because they have the best selection of products. I wasn’t sure if this item would be an every day staple at some of the other chains. (I will check that out for you and let you know in future posts, when I review additional products.) I found the Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt in the ice cream section, where I noticed that several other yogurt companies are also now offering frozen Greek yogurt products. I’ve fallen in love with Greek yogurt and apparently, everyone else has too! I understand that Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt is sometimes found in the section with their frozen dinner items.

The flavors available to me were Strawberry, Raspberry (my choice), Blueberry and Vanilla. Their newest flavors are Dark Fudge Swirl and Honey Swirl, but may not be available in some stores. I was excited to try this item because I’m an ice cream junky who tries to watch her weight. So at 100 calories, 1.5 g of fat and 4 g of protein, I was psyched. They come in 4 oz individual serving cups.

My first response was: mmmm very creamy; my second:  a little bite like some Greek yogurt tends to have and not something I especially like, but you may; my third was:  mmmm creamy, my fourth: yummy raspberry flavor; my fifth: mmmm creamy; my last: I think I’ll enjoy eating the other two left in the freezer. They come in the packages of three. Next time I’m going to try blueberry. Even though the 4 oz looked small when I started, it was plenty and very filling. The perfect nighttime snack…or afternoon snack..or maybe even for lunch! Like I said, I’ an ice cream junky.

In all honesty, I would suggest if you have a sweet tooth like me, but are working hard to stay healthy, you give this product a try. You will find a $1.00 coupon on the Healthy Choice website and a tool to locate a store near you who sells this item. If you try it, let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your feedback.

Stay tuned for my honest review of two more Healthy Choice products:

The week of August 19th: Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers

The week of September 2: Healthy Choice Entrees


Disclosure: I a participating in a Vibrant Influencer Network Healthy Choice campaign. I have been provided with free products and remuneration in exchange for my honest opinions about the products. All opinions are my own and were not influenced, nor reviewed, by Healthy Choice prior to posting. DS


Caring for Mom ~ Midlife Reflections

Caring for Mom ~ Midlife Reflections

caring for mom coverCaring for Mom is a collection of my blogs and articles written during the year prior to my mother’s death and the year following. It was a time in my life when great change was taking place, inside and out and I found peace and solace in writing, some of which I’d like to pass on to you. Midlife is a period of transition, and while difficult at times, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It gave me everything I needed, and more, to set my life on a better, more authentic path. I hope that Caring for Mom will provide you with food for thought for your own journey and a little comfort along the way. You are not alone.



“This beautiful book deeply touched my heart. Not only has it been a source of comfort as I travel the path of taking care of my parents, it has also been a light for that path and my life path. Each story she shares of her life is a snapshot of life’s passages. What a joy and comfort to read this book. To know that I am not alone, that I am part of a universal experience. Dorothy’s ability to touch my heart often left me in tears, but just as often those tears turned into laughter, just like this path I am on.”  ~ Jill Davis, Life Coach


“I recently re- read excerpts from this insightful book that opened a wellspring of my own memories. Taking Care of Mom invites the reader to experience the mother/daughter relationship in a profound and moving way. In this age of high momentum,usually separated from our families by too many miles and often losing sight of what is truly important and precious in the familial relationship, Dorothy Sander takes hold of our hearts with her words and brings the reader down to earth, but in a loving way. My memories of my mother are far different from Dorothy’s, yet they are also the same in a significant way. The book makes a daughter reflect and, if read while mom is still around, can perhaps change the way the relationship goes.It’s a gentle journey that stirs up a kettle of emotions.”   ~ Sylvia Resnick, Author


“With courage and wisdom Dorothy Sander spills truth onto every page of this rare book. Uneasy topics are handled with skill and her personal experience is beautiful, painful, raw, and real. Readers will never be alone on similar difficult journeys when they can tap into Dorothy’s insights. Her style and ability as a wordsmith make this volume a joy, and the stark realities it contains make it important reading for anyone caring for an aging loved one.”  ~ Sue Ann Crockett, Columnist and Author of Gravy Days


“While I found Caring for Mom difficult to read from a personal standpoint because it prompted me to revisit memories of my own mother and the myriad challenges faced and emotions felt in caring for her before her death, I admired the author’s wisdom, insight, perspective, and ability to put into words what so many of us feel and are unable to articulate. Her honesty is balanced and her gift for drawing the reader into situations and the emotions they enkindled is very real and very tangible. I found Caring for Mom to be quite an inspiring read.”   ~ Maria Maggi,  Editor


“Dorothy provides an open and loving description of a common journey between mother and daughter, one that I traveled as well. There is an emotional resonance in reading her words that is at the same time painful and comforting. I appreciate the effort she made in this work as well as her talent for expression.”  ~ Suzanne Caplan, Author and Founder of Women Etcetera!




Aging Abundantly ~ A Little Book of Hope

The Art of Aging:  COMING SOON!

Add your name to our mailing list to be notified of its release.



Available in paperback and ebook HERE.


Quotable Musicians

Quotable Musicians

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“A lot of people are afraid to say what they want.

That’s why they don’t get what they want.” – \



♦ ♦ ♦

Janis Joplin

“Being an intellectual creates a lot of questions and no answers.

You can fill your life up with ideas and still go home lonely.

All you really have that really matters are feelings.

That’s what music is to me.”

Janis Joplin



It seems to me that those songs that have been any good,joan-baez-ing (1)

I have nothing much to do with the writing of them.

The words have just crawled down my sleeve and come out on the page.

Joan Baez


You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die, or when.

You can only decide how you’re going to live now.

Joan Baez