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  • Gardening is the art that uses flowers and plants as paint,
    and the soil and sky as canvas.
  • On Being a Kid in a Pile of Leaves


    Fall 2010 playing in the leaves photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    ‘Tis the season – hubby is outside cleaning up the leaves and getting ready to burn them and my youngest (now 9) demands he wait so that she can have a romp before they’re gone. Oh – but they’ll be back, for certain – our own tree hasn’t even fallen yet so there will be plenty more where these came from, but she is out there enjoying herself at the moment. We older girls (the smart ones) have opted to stay inside and keep warm while dicing up onions and browning some ground turkey to make a crock pot of chili!

    Huh. She just came in and showed me that she “found a little bit of the inside of a stick”. With the small joys and wonders of childhood come the big joys and wonders of parenthood!

    I have to admit, as is the annual event here in my house, I become a bit more morose through the winter months. I am already beginning to feel trapped. I’m not a fan of cold weather, not a fan of frozen nosies or toesies, not a fan of driving on snow or ice, not a fan of sliding through stop signs or shivering inside a frozen car until the engine warms up – so I’ll stay inside and bake and cook until spring comes. I will probably also need to reacquaint myself with Captain NordicTrack, too!

    Fall 2010 playing in the leaves photo by Leanne Wildermuth

    For now, for today, I’ll enjoy the smell of chili drifting through the house (that’s whispering .. corn bread … you need corrrrnnnn breadddd….) — for now, I’ll record the smiles and smells and tuck them away in my mind for those days when the winter blues really get me down. For now, for today – I’ll live vicariously through the joy I see on my little girls face as she plays in a pile of leaves.

    Stuffy & Short Circuited


    I’ve been fighting off sinusitis/rhinitis /pharyngitis (aka a COLD) for a couple of weeks now. Let me tell you, nothing can halt my productivity as quickly as inflamed sinuses! I’m on my second round of antibiotics with only 2 days remaining, and also? At my wits end. I have gone through at least 3 boxes of Kleenex, a full bottle of Afrin (which, btw, you’re not supposed to use for more than 3 days, and HELLO why don’t they make this thing easier to squeeze when you get down to half a bottle?!), and my head. MY HEAD. The pressure behind my eyes and just on my brain in general makes me constantly hazy and sleepy. I have stuff to do, dont-chya-know, and blowing my nose this much was *never* on the list.

    Have I mentioned Pink Eye yet? No? Well it has also been an unwelcome guest in my home over the last couple of weeks, and my little one is also on her second round of eyedrops.

    All this while spring is springing! Birds are chirping! Crocus are Blooming! Sparrows are Nesting!!! Things! Are! So! Exciting! and I am looking out my window like a droid, mumbling “mmmmmrffh, heh, so priiiiiddy *drool* hurmmmmm *blows* fllllllnnnngleh”. Oh yes, it’s quite a sight.

    Now that you’ve captured a mental image you’ll not soon erase, I should mention that I’m not wearing a housecoat.

    So. There’s that – and also, my completely lame attempt at social networking. Twitter? WTH is your function? Because I am confused. I get a half-dozen new followers a day, people who *never* say anything to me other than a quick DM when I follow them back (because I’m nice like that) to thank me and promptly direct me to their *insert sales pitch here* to which I quickly reply with a click of the “unfollow” button. 818 followers, and when I tweet? No replies. Not even from the people I am @’ing. Seriously? Okay so here’s a little summary of me on Twitter:


        : Talks to myself in front of 818 people


        : LOL’s (to myself, in private)


        : Replies @ other twitterers tweets which they twatted and I thought were twitiful.


        : Wants to @ myself so I don’t feel so alone


        : *hears crickets chirping*


        : Talks to myself a few more times


        : Giddy that the few gems I love so much actually flipped past page 2, saw my tweet and replied to me


      : Leaves Twitter before excitement and joy subsides

    And there you have it. You too could have 818 people not-really-follow-you! Join today!

    Oh my, I just realized I don’t have a pretty picture to show you today. Let me rectify that immediately.

    crocus spring 2009 photo by Leanne Wildermuth
    There. That’s better. I just shot that photo, so I’m bloggin’ *live* from my garden, in my dining room, er, um, nevermind.

    OOOOHHH and I have to tell you – if you’re completely out of shape? You should Buy this DVD. Why? Because you don’t really know what it’s like to be The Biggest Loser until you can’t finish the first 4 minutes without crying like a baby. I have a whole new respect for the people on that show. Seriously! Jillian kicked my butt and I’m pretty sure that while I paused the video to go sob quietly into a towel in the bathroom, she was shaking her head and throwing her hands up in a fit of frustration.

    Admittedly, I’ve made it a little farther since my first attempt. I will just leave it at that for now.

    Yesterday, I decided the girls and I would have a No TV/Computer evening. We worked on homework, talked, prepared dinner, talked some more, took a walk, shot some hoops, made some fruit smoothies, talked some more, and went to bed. It was peaceful, enjoyable, and I need to do that more often.

    I love it all. Really. I really never get sick, so for me – this is just terribly inconvenient and reminds me that I need to eat more broccoli. I would love for the fog to lift, but perhaps this is just God’s way of telling me to chill out. I’ve completed 18 projects in the first 10 weeks of the year (not counting random site support tasks), so it’s *possible* that I’m putting a little more pressure on myself than necessary and it’s wearing on my immune system. I’m reminded to get up and move, take time with my daughters, and enjoy the renewing of the earth. Breathe in, breathe out, and work smarter.

    What about you? How’s your year going so far?

    Don’t forget to enter to win a custom portrait in my weekly giveaway!!

    We Wii!!


    We are FINALLY owners of a Wii gamesystem. Thanks to my daughters BFF’s parents who were at the right place at the right time today and picked it up for us!

    Of course I was immediately dreaming of a personal trainer game, and guess what? THEY’VE MADE ONE! Wii Fit – with a gazillion fitness activities, including huuuuuuuuuula hoops! Rock on!

    Totally getting this….

    Do you Wii? Any games you highly recommend? Accessories?

    Two Reasons Why Not.


    There are two reasons why I will not be giving you an update on my health & wellness progress this week:

    reason number one.

    reason number two.

    So I’m going to have some of this, get over it, and get back to you next week.

    4 out of 28 days, I suck.


    Today is day #2 of the suckage. I’m looking forward to menopause, maybe then I won’t want to stick a fork in everything I do for a week out of every month, and sit in a pile of used kleenex with a large fork and half eaten pan of fudge brownies in my lap.

    On the upside, I lost another inch in my hips and 1.8 lbs. last week. (That’s 2 inches total in my hips, 1 in my waist and 4.6 lbs. in 3 weeks.)

    All that, and I’m retaining water. And chocolate.

    That is all.



    Leanne Belrichard Wildermuth April 2008 portrait' class=
    My dear friend Taba (gardeners : visit her site.) asked me to take a pic of my new not-gray haircolor. I colored it Saturday morning with some Ion colors from Sally Beauty Supply– mixing 3 parts of their liquid Color Brilliance golden brown with 1 part darkest brown. I honestly didn’t care what color it turned out to be, as long as it was not-gray. It is definitely not-gray, and I actually dig it. I am sure I’ll be coming back to search my own dang archives to figure out what I used and what it looked like!

    So, since she asked, and if I told ANYone else that I know that I took a new pic of myself they’d all be like “ooh lemme see, I wanna see!” here it is, and there you go. (And if you want to see what I looked like when I was a youngin’, click here.)

    I did measure and weigh in this morning, my measurements are all the same except for my thighs, which went down 1/2-inch (YAY for vanishing thunder thighs!) and my weight, which is down 1.7lbs from last Monday. Progress, sweet progress. So, to reward myself for such good results, I walked for 30 minutes at 3.5mph at an incline today. Yeowch. LOL

    Time to dig back into the design queue – so much to get done this week so I can get back out into the studio next week!

    Sweat Equity


    sweat equity workout sweaty' class=

    Whew – it’s been quite a week, and I’m happy to be on the upswing of dealing with some very deep and emotional personal struggles with my health and fitness. Fortunately, we all have the power to change the things about ourselves that aren’t what they should be. We just need to reach down deep and find that place that’s broken, and start working a little bit every day toward fixing it.

    Funny, I would love nothing more than to keep the last couple of posts up on top, because the moment it drops down out of sight I worry that it will also drop out of mind. This struggle is my own – and for anyone who thinks I’m blaming someone else for “how I turned out”, I am not. The way I deal with food is my reaction to circumstances that I had no control over as a child. Being teased, going through a divorce, struggling with family issues that were no one’s fault, but everyone’s undoing. It seems this is a common situation, and many of you have shared your own struggles and I can’t thank you enough for making me feel “normal”. I am not the only one, YOU are not the only one.

    I began my week last week with a couple of goals. First, to get to 2 miles on my treadmill within 20 minutes. I’m not a runner by any stretch of the imagination, and I know it’s going to take time to get there. That’s ok – it’s a goal. I’ll get there eventually. If I increase my distance even by 1/10th of a mile each day, or each week – I will be 1/10th of a mile closer to that goal. Always move forward, that’s my only guideline. My other goal was to track my exercise and food again and track my measurements and weight weekly (though I also check my weight daily since I have a 1/10th scale and it helps me stay on track through the week). I would just like to show a decrease – no matter how slight – every week. No big goal there, just down from previous week.

    A little sweat equity will keep me going, I think.

    So for this week, I’m on the right track. I’m up to 1.24mi in 20 minutes and down everywhere else…

    Weight: -1.1 lbs.
    Chest: n/c
    Waist: -1 inch
    Hips: -1 inch

    I took my thigh measurement this week, so I’ll start tracking it as well (Yo, thunder thigh’s the name, remember).

    Now I’ve gotta get to work – I have 10 more blog designs to whip up before the 14th, when I’ll get back out to the studio for a couple of weeks of intense painting sessions!

    The Struggle of a Lifetime


    diet progress overlay' class= As a young girl, she always felt fat. She was teased in grade school on the playground by the boys, and none of the cool girls would play with her. She internalized her rejection and over many years, it became self-hatred. “Thunder thighs” were disgusting. Fat was something you didn’t want to be. Unfortunately, she learned very early on that what people see on the outside is how you’re categorized as a person, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. The school didn’t teach anyone how to eat healthy, her parents didn’t take issue with what was going to become the biggest battle she’d ever fight. A fight for fitness.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The all to common “love a person for who they are” phrase is beaten into everyone’s minds now more than ever. It is now used as an excuse, that it’s okay to be fat. What you are on the outside does not make who you are on the inside, but I’m here to tell you – it absolutely does. If you can’t look in the mirror without disgust, then there’s a problem. If your spouse keeps telling you they love you exactly as you are and your lifespan is very obviously going to be cut short by at least 20 years since you can’t walk across a room without catching your breath – then there’s a problem. There’s a problem with the perception that being overweight is okay – and there’s a problem with conveying that you’re okay with seeing someone you love dearly so desperately unfit and unhealthy.

    All my life, every single day, I’ve had this problem. I can recall from a young age hearing the words “if you don’t stop eating like that you’re going to look just like your Aunt …. ” the obese aunt. I remember going to bed at night and hearing the sounds of crinkling cookie wrappers – my parents downstairs having their nightly snack, which we didn’t get. That only made me want it more. I dove into buckets and packages and containers when my parents weren’t looking. I ate when I was frustrated, I ate because I was famished, I ate, and ate – and the one thing I did learn about food was that if it tastes good, eat it. If it’s really good, hide it and eat it in private – whatever you do, don’t share it.

    I was without a boyfriend, of course, since thunder thighs really weren’t cool. I compensated my insecurities in high school with humor. Sarcasm gave me the opportunity to put other people down lower than I felt myself. Of course I only did that in private, because I was only privately hating everyone who looked at me the wrong way.

    I grew to enjoy being on the outside, because the less involved I was with people, the less I hated them. I didn’t want to be angry all the time, especially since that just made me turn to food.

    When I met my husband while I was in high school, I weighed what I weigh today. Exactly, as a matter of fact.

    I wasn’t happy then, and I’m not happy now.

    It’s been 19 years now, full of ups and downs. I’ve tried every diet I could tolerate. I have taken pills and successfully lost weight – and successfully gained it back. I have purchased kits and subscriptions and my eyes still drool when I see instructions or magazines that claim to be able to help you drop 10 pounds in the next 2 days. My health has suffered, my bones have suffered, and my mind is in a haze. Not one single day has ever passed when I haven’t thought about my weight and wanted to see something better when I looked in the mirror. Not one single day has ever gone by without the thought “I am fat” entering my mind. I’ve felt good – and when I feel good I do feel a little success, and those words of encouragement make me soar inside. Still, though, I see fat – and I know I have a long way to go to achieve my goals.

    That photo above is an overlay of the past few years for me. When Mark left for Iraq in 2004 – I was at my absolute all time high, 233 pounds. I couldn’t walk from one side of my house to the other without panting. It took me weeks to get to the point where I could even go 2mph on my treadmill – let alone walk a full mile. The stress of his tour was a blessing and a curse – as I dropped weight like crazy, I was eating horribly and not learning a damn thing about health. All I wanted was for that fat to go away before he came home.

    Thankfully – it hasn’t returned. This past winter, though, has made me feel like if I don’t get serious – and stay serious, it is most definitely going to creep its way back on, and I will turn into a miserable, unhealthy and depressed person.

    I have the same problems that everyone else has.

    Motivation: Forcing myself to get on the treadmill and exercise.
    Time: Forcing myself to stay on for more than 10 minutes. Prepare meals from organic foods.
    Desire: I do not like pain or sweat. I have to learn to look at it differently.

    I also want what we all want – not to go it alone. To be one in a household of four who gives a crap about health and fitness isn’t good enough, and it is the primary reason for my bouts with failure as well as success. When other people care – I care. When they don’t, I don’t. Perhaps this is a hazard of being a woman and mother – we just want everyone else to be happy – and if that involved a giant pan of brownies with a side of ice cream, so be it.

    It’s not right. It’s not healthy, and that’s not what I want to teach my children. I feel like a health-nut/Nazi sometimes with my obsession to learn about foods and try to tell/teach people. I want everyone to want better for themselves, and it’s frustrating that people just, well, don’t care enough. I’m stuck in the mud, it seems, waiting for someone to pull me out and show me how to do it. How can I do what I need to do without allowing the negative influences and temptations to pull me off course? How can anyone?

    I want more. I want better. Better health than what I see and hear from my own parents and in-laws. I want longevity. Life. I am tired and frustrated when I hear that someone is sick and then seconds later how they’ve eaten a horrible meal that they perceive to be healthy. I want to know how to shut my mouth when I’m faced with that situation, and I want to know when it’s the right time to share my concerns with those people.

    Most of all, though, I want to set an example for my children. I want to teach them what the school system won’t about nutrition, and I want them to think about food as fuel – and choose their fuel wisely.

    It’s been a long haul. Where I am now is better than where I was, but where I want to go is still a ways off in the distance.

    Hopefully, with a little help, encouragement, motivation – and maybe even knowing some of you know what I mean and will stand beside me, I’ll fight this battle a little stronger than before, and close that gap a little bit more every day.

    Many thanks to Joey, for the poking and prodding.

    Nummy Breakfast


    eggbeaters pictsweet steamer veggies cheese breakfast healthy food

    I made this yesterday morning and it’s good enough to have again today, and share, too. Here are the ingredients:

    3/4 c. Eggbeaters
    1 bag Pictsweet Deluxe Steamer Veggies – Spring vegetables with asparagus
    1 lg. pinch reduced fat mexican blend shredded cheese


    Start the veggies steaming in the microwave for 5 minutes. When about 2 minutes remain, spray a non-stick pan with (olive oil) cooking spray and start scrambling 3/4 c. eggbeaters. Once the veggies are ready, cut a tiny hole in the bag and drain the juices. When it’s drained, open up the bag and dump it into the eggbeaters, finish cooking it together. When it’s just about finished, add a pinch of shredded cheese and mix it up.

    I’m all about an easy & fast breakfast.

    Here’s the nutrition info:

    Calories: 290
    Fat: 5g
    Carbs: 23.5g
    Protein: 25g

    Seriously – it couldn’t be better, ore more filling! I also had a half turkey sandwich with grapes for lunch, and 8 oz. of chicken breast with about 2 cups of broccoli and broccoflower for dinner – and dropped 1.10 lbs. just yesterday. I even splurged with a bit of fat free blue bunny frozen yogurt, too. I’m being much more strict again – this winter has been horrible on my hips. It’s time to put down the brownies and turn off the oven! (At least for today. And maybe tomorrow, too – but I make no promises once the PMS monster hits.)

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