I thought I could cheat

deepfried at the fairA few weeks back, the family and I went to the Bloomsburg Fair in Bloomsburg, PA. I LOVE this place. But this year, I was supposed to stay away from all the things of wheat & gluten. I could have easily stayed wheat free. Except, I didn’t.

I convinced myself that just a little bit didn’t matter, that a little bit would stay just a little bit.

That picture up there is a deep-fried sweet combo: funnel fingers, deep fried oreos, and chocolate chip cookie dough. All smothered in powdered sugar.

I am weak.

I knew going in I would eat some sort of wheat-laden goodie. I was at the fair and that is just part of a day at the fair.

I have to confess/admit….I have allowed “a little bit” almost every single day since the fair. The day after the fair, my friend served up the most beautiful and delicious homemade brownies.

If you know me, you know brownies are my kryptonite, my crack. I cannot get enough. Especially homemade brownies covered in homemade chocolate icing.  OMG, I just about dove face first into that tray of delicious brownies. I had my share and then some and then some again.

I am weak and brownies are delicious.

Just look how off-track this post has become.

Oh, brownies, I just can’t have you in my life.  It’s me not you.

Well, it’s a little bit you with your base of wheat.

I thought I could handle just a little. I thought a small amount was no big deal.

Brownies are not the only problem.

I had a pizza revelation. The day we left for the fair and a weekend at our friend’s mountain lair, I worked and AJ was being helpful at home. He ordered pizza for lunch (him and our dog sitter) and leftovers for quick snack/pre-dinner before we traveled. I was eating a piece (totally mindlessly) while I was packing and running around the house. Husband asked me if I saw myself, I did not but I was eating pizza with one hand and itching with the other. Pizza seems to be one of my biggest triggers – I can’t stay away AND it makes me super itchy.

I had gone a looong stretch without consuming any wheat and I guess because I was feeling good I let myself believe a little bit would be ok. Then I kept telling myself a little was ok, even when that little was not so little.

enough is enough. It is time to dust myself off, give myself a good talking to (sorta the purpose of this post), and get to planning and prepping for success.  I have to have salads, and snacks, and lunches ready to go so I have no excuses. I am scouring through my pinterest boards and making lists.

Today and tomorrow (we have off from school for Columbus Day) I will be making/prepping the following: One Pot Chicken & Broccoli, Meatloaf, FlourlessPB Choc Chip Muffins, AppleSauce, Chicken stock, and chicken salad and maybe italian baked eggs.

Here’s to another Wheat free (Gluten free) Day #1.

I like to streak.


a change of scenery


I have blogged at Listen.Learn.Love.Mend for almost three years. I started LLLM right before I was set to have my knee and ankle surgery. I enjoyed my time there. I decided to switch to a new site because I don’t want to pay for hosting anymore. I got sucked into thinking hosting and growing an audience was where I wanted to be. That’s not really me or what I want. I didn’t blog any more or any better with hosting and well, I don’t want to pay a monthly fee where I don’t need to pay a monthly fee. It’s like paying for a gym membership and not going to the gym. I like to blog simply to document my journey and to be a place when I can get out of my head the stuff that is stuck there. I never set out to make money from blogging. In fact, I never want blogging to feel like a job. I have enough jobs.

Wow, I ramble.

I started this new blog because it just seemed easier than figuring out how to keep LLLM.

So, I packed up my stuff and I moved into my new home. Awhile back I switched my usernames for twitter and instagram to @jengoeszen; it felt right to name my new blog the same. JenGoesZen was a name that came to me and felt right. I was am have been working on me. At the time, I was practicing yoga frequently and I was attempting to learn meditation. I say at the time, because as of late I have not been dedicating enough of my time or myself to yoga and/or meditation. I have legitimate reasons, I mean I do have 3 jobs, the teen and the husband.


Especially since I know, my crazy busy schedule has nothing to do with why I have been avoiding yoga. Yep, avoiding. I think I need a whole separate blog post about this yoga avoidance and the epiphany I had about it. But before all that, regardless of yoga, I was working to become more mindful and peaceful….zen, if you will.

I am pretty high strung a lot of the times. My brain spins and spins and spins. I am always running through my todo list in my head.

I shouldn’t say “always”because I have been working to slow my roll. I have been making strides to monotask instead of making myself crazier trying to everything at once. I also have been embracing the #wycwyc (what you can, when you can) attitude about almost everything.

I am working on me.

A more mindful, a more peaceful, and an all around happier Jen.

I was worried about starting a new blog, but worried about staying at the old blog. Silly worry. There is just no need for that kind of worry.

No more worries, no more stressing about things that don’t need worry or stress.

Jen Goes Zen

Ya dig?!?

lower pond

*The pictures in this post have nothing at all to do with the post itself. Both pictures were captured using my phone camera in the middle of fantastic days. The top is a local’s secret beach close to home. The bottom picture is the lower pond on my friend’s property/farm in Pa.

28 days, 28 things

I have not blogged in 27 28 days. To say I have been busy would both be an understatement and a cop out. I have been busy working my many jobs and loving on my family. I have also been taking pretty good care of myself. My priorities are shifting and I wasn’t sure where this blog fit in and/or if I wanted to continue this blog. Well, I am still here. I like this little place on the internet where I spill my guts. Its a place to talk about the things I need to work through. So, I am sticking around the interwebz and today, I am feeling very random.

In no particular order, here are 27 28 random things about the last 27 28 days.


  1. I have switched back to wordpress as opposed to paying a hosting site….this means absolutely nothing to my readers (all 4 of you, lol) but it takes a bit of pressure of me. I don’t have to feel guilty about not blogging regularly when I use the free site.
  2. Work. I picked up even more work – a few hours each Monday, I will be teaching a homebound student. [For the last few years, I have earned extra money/salary running a grant program at my school. This year, we did not receive that grant so I lose out on some money. Picking the homebound hours and my other part time jobs has helped offset the lost salary]
  3. I like working but I am actually a bit relieved to not need to work the grant program. I had several very stressful experiences last year while working the program. Stressed out so badly, I was in tears on more occasions than I really want to admit. I am happier with a part time job waitressing because I get to leave the restaurant at the restaurant when I leave.
  4. School has gotten off to a great start. I am really staying on top of my lessons and grading. To know me is to know this is not the usual case. I tend to procrastinate grading but not this year so far. I am making little to do lists of things to get done every day. I am leaving school on time, not bringing work home with me and all the while, getting more tasks completed each day.
  5. Speaking of school….I am focusing on character development and I am loving it. The kids are adjusting to the new Mrs. Newman. I feel like we are being more productive than ever. And only good can come from this!
  6. Apparently, I have no idea how to blog. I wrote some of this last night with the intention of coming back to it throughout the day. I didn’t save the post correctly, so I couldn’t find it on my computer at school. I didn’t have that much time but that isn’t the point.
  7. I thought about blogging a bunch of times (technical term there) of the past 3+ weeks. I think I came as far as to compose an entire post in my head on a drive to work. I need to keep my phone close by so I can record these thoughts. Go figure, I put my phone in my bag in the backseat while I drive and then get the brilliant ideas.
  8. I need routine in my life. Every time I go off my normal routine, I realize just how important routine is to my life. I can handle spontaneity and adventure but in small doses. Or maybe, it would be better to say, I need more control.
  9. Me and the big man have not been on a vacation in entirely too long. We finally got a string of days off and the opportunity to visit our friends in PA and hit the Bloomsburg Fair. An away football game, a cancelled homeshow and willing teenagers meant Q and her BFF could join us.
  10. I wore my GladSoles for 8 hours at the fair.  Over 17000 steps  (or approximately 8 miles) were logged at the fair with over 21K total that day. In my bare feet. I have been wearing these sandals almost every day to school and beyond. The only time I wear “real” shoes is when I work shifts at AppleBee’s.
  11. I never want to wear real shoes again. It may still be 70+ degrees around here but winter is coming so I am going to need to come up with footwear options.
  12. I have totally been a bit obsessed with wearing dresses and skirts. I especially love my long/maxi skirts.
  13. I may be going just a little more hippie with each passing year.
  14. I have written this post in starts and stops and starts again. I just came back to writing after a Leslie walk (me walking in my bedroom with Leslie Sansone and her #walkathome videos). I have been on quite the walking streak. Today was Day #85.
  15. I started my walking streak 3 weeks before I started my part time waitressing job at AB’s and that was one month before school started. Sometime during the second week of school I decided my shifts at AB’s (on school days) would count as my walk. I get almost 10K steps on most shifts so it is definitely a walk. I was being stubborn trying to teach, waitress and walk.
  16. I started piyo back in mid-July and by the end of the first week in August I stopped piyo. I just did not have the time or energy to continue with my walking streak and piyo and working. Something had to give. At the moment, I am bummed I sacrificed piyo. I really really enjoyed that workout. Last week I squeezed in a random piyo workout in and it was so hard yet so good.
  17. yep, I just read that and realized how dirty it sounds.
  18. and I said it anyway. and I kept it there.
  19. I have been walking every day but I have not been stretching enough. I’ve only been stretching at random times. I can’t even tell you when the last time I practiced yoga.
  20. It may be time to set a challenge to yoga every day for the next week. Starting today, this morning after I hit publish. Piyo will count towards this challenge.
  21. I need to get more sleep! The six hours I have been giving myself is not enough,  I am crashing on Saturdays (my one day off from jobs)
  22. 22, Is it ever possible to truly keep up with the laundry?? I do not know how mamas with more children do it.
  23. Two weeks ago at my back to school night, one of my students brought her newborn baby brother. I held that itty bitty squishy baby for over an hour. I totally fell in love. If Q wasn’t 15, I think I might want more babies
  24. I can’t tell you when the last time I went to the movie theater to see a movie.
  25. I watch a lot of TV shows with Big Man. And even though we haven’t been out on a date in a while, we have made some of our TV time, date time. We eat dinner and watch a show. And we chat. Its like our date version of a staycation.
  26. We have been broke for a long time, and even though we are starting to come out of it, we are still getting there. We don’t/won’t go into debt for fun. I think it has made us stronger as a couple and as a family.
  27. But I still constantly struggle with the “am I doing this thing right, am I doing enough for Q” questions and insecurities. Thankfully, Big Man is my partner and I can talk to him about this and he ensures me we are doing great!
  28. I needed to add another number here….It took me a day and a half (not straight thru) to get the post written! Here we are at the new home for Jen! Welcome!! If you remember way back to the beginning of this list I mentioned I don’t know how to blog ….well, I don’t want to pay for hosting and the easiest way to switch back is to start a new blog! Notice the name matches my usernames for twitter and instagram now.


And there ya have it! 28 things for the 28 days I have not blogged. I am going to push myself to blog at least once a week. Not too much to cause any stress but enough to at least get a brain dump out. I promise, my next post will have lots of pictures! I will blog about the Fair and my mini-vacation.


DID YA MISS ME?!?! What have you been up to?