A to Z Challenge: A is for Aging


We all have a personal definition of aging, and most of us can pinpoint the exact moment we realized we may have lost a step or two. For me, that revelation hit in my late 30s.


It was at my annual physical when my doc asked me to describe the quality of my sleep. I laughed and said “what’s sleep?” She didn’t laugh, but began really quizzing me about my sleep patterns. I told her that I assumed my slumber issues would resolve when my kids got older, to which she naturally inquired, “how old are the kids now?” I sheepishly replied truthfully, “8 and 9 years old”  and she replied, “your sleep problems are not going to get better.” Ouch!


It was at that moment that I realized this was not going to get better without some effort on my part. I was at that annoying age where problems and issues stop healing on their own. I had to help my body along the correct path.

My options were simple. Take sleeping aids which could lead to more problems and dependencies, or accept that I had to take a more active role in the aging process. I joined a gym that week and began to exercise.

This was tough to manage. At the time our daughter was a nationally ranked gymnast and had to practice 20+hours a week, with travel to competitions. Our son was a competitive rock climber with a practice and travel schedule of his own. They both had homework and I was a tenured professor with a full teaching schedule to maintain.

end aging

In the beginning I was only able to fit in a few hours a week. But I immediately started seeing and feeling the benefits! I was falling asleep easier at night, and more importantly, sleeping until the alarm sounded the next morning. I found it easier to work exercise into our tight schedules and realized that my overall mood increased as well. In fact, if I missed more than a few consecutive days in the gym, I was grumpy and in a foul mood. Exercise had improved my mental health as well as my physical state.

There are numerous studies that demonstrate a positive correlation between maintaining good health, and the quality of life through the aging process. And, the good news is that it is not too late to start earning these benefits.

Any physical activity will help reduce the overall levels of inflammation in the body. Inflammation is one of the biggest contributors to heart disease, decreased mental functions and even depression. Inflammation accumulates in the body as a normal by product of the aging process and the body is slower at removing those molecules the longer we live.



It makes sense! How many times have you heard that our metabolism slows down as we age? That means we are slower at removing toxins and internally generated molecules, our cells need our help.


What we eat and how much we move are the two most important factors to lowering our overall levels of inflammation. Coincidentally, regulating diet and exercise also correlates to higher cognitive levels as we age too!


Limiting process foods and consuming less saturated fats are crucial to reducing overall inflammation. Foods that help lower inflammation (as well as cholesterol and assist in lowering blood pressure) include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, as well as consuming omega-3-fatty acids found in salmon and tuna. Just about any plant based protein will be beneficial as well, such as beans and nuts.

Once you have the proper fuel, it is time to consider exercise! Even moderate physical activity will earn huge returns on your health investment. The goal is to strike a balance between moving enough to lower inflammation but not to overtrain to the point of generating more inflammation. Confused yet? omg

Moderate activity, which is any low impact activity, will help your heart and kidneys flush out inflammatory molecules. Yoga, walking, hiking, swimming and cycling are great activities that will not tax your muscles or joints.

That means you do not have to run a marathon, become a triathlete or perform at an Olympic level to stay young! The government guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week. That may sound like a lot, but here are some tips:

  1. Break up the 150 minutes into 30 minute intervals. That is just 5 times a week where you could be walking your dog, going on a hike, riding a bike, swimming-all low impact for bad joints or just getting started.
  2. If you already have a fitness base, try out interval training. This is a great way to get in a lot of effort in a shorter time span.
  3. Try to avoid activities that cause inflammation, at least until you are stronger and fitter. Don’t start out doing HIIT circuit work, or jump into the latest fitness trend,  until you have conditioned your body and are stronger.
  4. Your body will become accustomed to your new fitness level, called plateaus. Gradually build up your fitness level. It won’t take long for you to be able to easily walk or hike 5 miles. When it is, you start jogging!


Bedlam and Daisies, A wonderful blog from my friend Amy Lyon recently used this quote that I “borrowed”, which sums it up perfectly.

david bowe

Invest in yourself today, you are worth the time 😊💕






If you want more of a scientific explanation, this is a great academic article,


MIY Studio Crafts Co. and Raining Cookies: Women supporting Women!

One of the main reasons that I began blogging was to connect with other women who were struggling with the big “what’s next” question. One of those amazing women is Mary Forbes. Mary is a lot like many of us moms who raised her kids and has worked most of her adult life, and then found herself in the position of asking herself “What do I want to do now”?

Many of us don’t know that answer right away, but Mary really did have an idea. She has always had a talent for all things crafty, especially with a needle and thread, or yarn. She wanted to create a space for women to come together, support one another and enjoy crafting. It didn’t happen quickly! She had to find the right place, fix it up, take care of her family, work at her job and successfully battle breast cancer!

Now Mary’s dream is a reality, and in Snoqualmie Washington! MIY Studio Crafts Company offers a variety of workshops and classes taught by either Mary herself, or other women from all over the state. I was eager to visit her studio and when a cookie decorating class popped up on the schedule, I jumped at the chance to sign up!

MIY Studio Crafts Co is a converted home that Mary purchase and turned into a warm and inviting crafting studio. The house was built in 1910, and needed some serious upgrading.


When the railroad was built, it ran right through the front yard of the house. So, now the back of the home is the front entrance.


I arrived a little early to take some pictures before our class began, which was focused on the basics of decorating cookies with royal icing.

The inside was redone and was bright, pretty and organized for any type of craft project one could imagine.


This class took place on Sunday morning, so Mary offered snacks and mimosas!



The mimosas were quite popular!

I then met our teacher for the class. Julia Omholt from Raining Cookies is a young woman who operates her cookie business from a commercial kitchen in nearby Redmond, WA. Mary and Julia have known one another for many years. In fact, Julia makes cookies for wedding ceremonies and Mary served them at her daughters nuptials this past summer.

Julia brought everything needed to teach the class, which I really appreciated. Many of you know I like to bake and decorate cookies already. But, the most annoying part of that process is making all the icing, getting the consistency correct, and making all the colors….Well, that was all ready for us and all we had to do was the fun part! Oh and drink mimosas!

Each participant was given a folder with recipes for the royal icing, sugar cookies and a source list where we could purchase cutters, tips, and general baking supplies.



Our box contained six cookies: 2 giant hearts, heart shaped sunglasses, XO, lips and a cookie that said “love”. This was a Galantine’s Day event after all!


The studio had a designated space for demos, and Julia spent time going over the correct consistencies for our Royal icing. She provided both piping and flooding icings for us to work with.


Our colors were red, pink and teal.


Julia demonstrated her method for piping and flooding.


Then it was our turn to practice on plastic covered lines before moving onto the cookies.



Julia was very patient with us and provided detailed instructions on how to achieve the specific look of the cookies. It was fun to attempt to make the cookies as professional as hers!

These are my cookies below.



Have you ever purchased a cookie that looked great but tasted like paste? Well, that is not these cookies! Julia has wonderful flavor combinations, and these were delicious 🙂



Mary is planning on having more baking classes and workshops, in addition to all the other great offerings that she has scheduled! And, Julia ships her cookies anywhere, so you can find out for yourself just how tasty they are!


I love it when women support other women! I am proud to recommend and promote both of these ladies and their businesses. I plan to attend more of Mary’s workshops, especially over the holidays, to learn and create her beautiful projects.

You can find MIY Studio Craft Co on Facebook and on Instagram here

And Rainingcookies.com or follow on Instagram here

So proud of both of these ladies, both doing what they love and are passionate about. Taking the big steps to make their dreams come true 🙂