Embrace Change – My Decisions

Does my decision show…

I am reading “Yes or No” The Guide to Better Decisions by Spencer Johnson.  Here is a great question he say to ask yourself.  ” Does my decision show … I am honest with myself, trust my intuition and deserve better. Can I say light bulb moment.  This is just one tidbit of truth that is in his book, so I suggest you add it to your reading list.

Better Decisions


Embrace Change: Copycat Outback Bread

Homemade copycat Outback bread with a bread machine.

Enjoy the Outback Bread every day using this copycat Outback bread recipe.  I found this recipe at Pinterest — momcaster.com  and had to try it.  She used Oster Bread Machine which made a bigger loaf, but I needed to cut it in half to fit my machine.  The sugar, honey and molasses makes it sweet so for me its not an everyday bread … maybe every other day. lol

If it last, let it cool and slice for a great sandwich. I love to make my own herb butter and eat it warm. I promise you, this bread will make it into your weekly rotation.

For those who don’t own a bread machine check out your local Goodwill.  My machine was in great condition for $6.99.  I figured I would gamble with $6.99 to see if I would use it … great purchase. Last week I paid $4.99 for Soft Sub Rolls… almost made me want to give up bread.

So what changes did I Embrace:

  • New recipe
  • Savings on bread
  • New DIY
  • Recycled bread machine
Copycat Outback Bread

Copycat Outback Bread

Here are some tips for a successful loaf:

  • Warm water, coffee & milk to 100 degrees
  • Set out butter ahead of time so it will be at room temperature
  • Spray the honey measure cup with cooking spray for easy removal
  • Use Iodine salt not sea salt
  • Use the correct measuring utensil  “dry vs. liquid” cups it makes a difference

Copycat Outback Bread

Machine Bread

Machine Bread

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup coffee

1/4 cup evaporate milk

<warm the top three ingredients to 100 degrees>

1 Tablespoon Butter <room temperature>

1/4 cup honey <spray your cup with cooking spray for easy removal>

1 1/8 cup bread flour <I used bread machine floor>

1 1/8 cup wheat flour

1/2 tablespoon cocoa

1/2 tablespoon sugar

1/2 tablespoon molasses

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 teaspoon bread yeast


3 Reasons to switch to a safety razor

3 Reasons to switch to a safety razor

Now that summer is quickly approaching it’s time to think about showing those legs again.  On my journey to eliminating plastic, a safety razor was top on my list.   I grew up using a safety razor, so I am familiar with them.   Here are 3 reason that makes a safety razor a viable option for me.

Safety Razor

  • Environmentally Safe
  • Saves Money
  • Eliminate Skin Irritation

Environmentally Safe

My primary reasons for switching to a safety razor is to eliminate plastic. Disposable razors may be convenient, but the plastic is bad for the environment.  A safety razor is stainless steel with a stainless steel blade. Environmentally, a safety razor is buy once and last a lifetime. The cost for a replacement blade is minimum, about 9 cents and they are also safe for the environment.

Saves Money

These days you can get disposable razors at the dollar store.  Cost may not be a factor unless you have a house full of women, which was me growing up with two sisters and my mom.

If you use a razor with a replacement blade, it can get expensive. Eliminating this cost is where you will see a real savings.  Depending on your usage, you can expect to save as much as $200 per year.

Like all products,  a safety razor price can range from $10 to $50.  I purchased Van Der Hagen Safety Razor .  Why wait order yours today.  Click the Safety Razor below and have it delivery to your home today.

A  safety razor  is great for sensitive skin.  Safety razors make cleaner cuts and are less likely to cause ingrown hair.  Shaving with a safety razor means only a single blade comes in contact with the skin, compared to 3 or 4 with a disposable.  A single blade decreases the chance of skin irritation.  

I have also found that hair removal creams can be the cause of skin irritation, which I also avoid using.  If it is strong enough to remove hair, can it really be healthy for your skin? Just saying!

Why the switch?

Switching to a safety razor is environmentally safe, saves money and helps eliminate skin irritation.   The safety razor is an inexpensive solution for a greener and healthier world for the next generation, so why not give it a try. Don’t forget to order your razor today.  Van Der Hagen Safety Razor

If you are looking for a simple solutions that will help transform your life, follow us on Facebook and join our group “Embrace Change Today” also on Facebook. We would also like to hear from you if you have discovered a simple solution or embraced a change.


Roxanne Wilkening MS Ed.

Embrace Change: Refrigerator Oatmeal

Embrace Change try refrigerator oatmeal it is a simple solution for a quick healthy breakfast.

When I was on my cruise in January, I ate oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Although, I have eaten oatmeal before, having it daily was quite filling. I decided to add oatmeal to my morning breakfast routine. I thought eating oatmeal would be something that would help sustain me on my healthy eating plan.

Refrigerator Oatmeal

When I got back home the oatmeal wasn’t hot and ready to eat when I got up, like it was on the ship. I could have done instant oatmeal, but it does not taste the same. Ugh! My journey down the healthy eating path came to a halt.  My next plan was to batch cook my oatmeal, and heat it up each morning. That lasted a week maybe two before I stopped again.

Then I remembered seeing a recipe for “Refrigerator Oatmeal” on Pinterest, Facebook …somewhere out there in cyberspace. I thought to myself, no way was this going to taste good, but I would give it a try. Would the oatmeal be too dry, too wet, or would it have no flavor at all.  OMG, “Refrigerator Oatmeal” is so good and simple to make. This is the best kept secret that needed to be told. How can oatmeal and milk put in the refrigerator taste so good. How; not sure but I am hooked.

Jar Oatmeal

Refrigerator Oatmeal can be taken right out of the refrigerator, and eaten right out of the jar. The recipe is a simple, use a 1:1 ratio, oatmeal to liquid. I use almond milk, but I have seen recipes use soy, whole milk, skim and even water. The possibilities to add flavor is limitless, nuts, fruits, brown sugar, just go on Pinterest for recipes. My secret ingredient is chia seeds. I also prefer to put mine in the microwave for 45 seconds to knock off the chill, if I don’t remember to take it out of the fridge when I first get up.

All you need to make this simple treat is a jar, oatmeal and liquid. I use a 8 oz. mason jar. I normally fill 3 or 4 jars at a time with oatmeal. At night I put 2 jars in the fridge (1 for me the other for Rick) with great anticipation for morning breakfast.

I can’t guarantee that you will love this as much as I do but “Embrace Change” try something new.


Roxanne Wilkening MS Ed.



Mason Jar
1/2 Pint mason jar (any jar will do)

Oatmeal (4oz)

  • Steel cut
  • Old fashioned oats

Liquid (4oz)

  • Milk (skim, 2%, whole)
  • Soy
  • Almond
  • Water


  • Nuts
  • Fruit
  • Coconut 
  • Nut butters
  • Raisins

5 Tips to an Affordable Cruise

Ready for an vacation but think you can not afford it, here are 5 tips to an Affordable Cruise.

For the past 4 years Rick and I have taken a cruise in January for our anniversary, each year the cruises get better and better. Why, because we do a lot of planning ahead. We have already booked a Southern Caribbean 12 day cruise for 2017
Planning ahead and customizing our trips to make them enjoyable and affordable is what makes the trip an adventure. Here are 5 tips to plan a great cruise for you and your family.

5 Tips to an Affordable Cruise

5 Tips to an Affordable Cruise

5 tips for an affordable Cruise:

Tip 1 – Create a Cruise Savings Account
Tip 2 – Book a Getaway
Tip 3 – Book an Interior Cabin
Tip 4 – Limit your Excursions
Tip 5 – Enjoy On-board Cruise Activities

More bang for your buck

Often times people ask, why do we like cruises, with no hesitation I reply we get more “bang for our buck”. A cruise offers variety in entertainment, food and an opportunity to visit multiple islands.  Rick and I are a good example of opposites who attract. This has been great for our personal development however sometimes it is a challenge when picking fun activities. On a cruise we both can find activities that are fun and entertaining. An added bonus of a ship is we can venture off individually and still feel safe.
Another great thing about a cruise is the all inclusive meals. There is no time, day or night where food is not available. My number one priority each morning is to determine what is being served in the dining room at dinner. My husband will always joke and say we plan our day around your eating adventures.
We also enjoy the fact that our vacation is paid in full before we leave home and we have no credit card bill 30 days after our trip. When we add everything up; travel, food and activities, a cruise was the way to go for us.

Cruise Saving Plan
Tip 1 – Create a Vacation Savings Account

Several years back my Aunt Ann introduced me to the 52 week savings plan. The idea is simple … Save $1 for the first week you start and every week add a $1 for the corresponding week. Sounds easy but 6 months in, I fell off the wagon.

I loved the concept (vacation savings) and having that extra money put aside was a big stress reliever. I adjusted the savings plan to meet my needs and lifestyle.

For my “vacation saving plan” I took the yearly ($1378 if you do the 52 Week Challenge) amount divided it by 26, (bi-weekly checks). This year since I booked my trip in January, I know the exact cost of the cruise, so I budgeted accordingly.

I have it automatically withdrawn from my paycheck and put on my American Express BlueBird card. The American Bluebird is a prepaid American Express Card offered by Walmart. This card provides me the security of having access to the money for emergencies but stability of saving for our vacation. I also set the account up to get notification on deposits and daily balance via email. I love watching my vacation nest grow. Personalizing my “vacation savings plan” worked for me and I made it the entire year, the second time around.

Book a Getaway
Tip 2- Make it a quick get away

Most cruise lines offer a variety of cruise vacations that range from 3 to 30 days cruising to Alaska, Hawaii, Caribbean and so much more. For that quick getaway book a 3 or 4 day cruise to the Bahamas.
I had taken a cruise many years back but my husband had never cruised. I wanted to test the waters so we took a 6 day cruise to see if he would like it. Can I say, 4 years later he is hooked. Each cruise helps us determine what we like and dislike. We have added some things and eliminated others, but each cruise has been unique and special.

Choosing your Cabin
Tip 3 – Book Interior Cabin

To save money and explore our options we booked an interior cabin. The room was small and dark. I am like a bat, I love sleeping in the dark. Between you and me I think Rick is afraid of the dark, he needed a nightlight. We had to keep the bathroom light on so he would not run into things in the dark.
The interior cabins are small and dark but minimum time is spent in the room, besides you should be on deck having fun in the sun anyway. Look at it, like this, we would all love to ride first class, but the plane doesn’t land without coach, save some money for a little inconvenience.  This year we had a balcony, a free upgrade but I’ll tell you about that later.

Shore Excursions
Tip 4 – Limit your Excursions

I know people say if you are going to go, you must do the shore excursions. To make the trip affordable we do 1 shore excursion and on the other island stops we enjoy going into port. Yes it is true, you really do not get the joy of the island by seeing only the port. However, I would rather have 1 excursion and fun on the boat than wait until I could afford excursions on every stop. Excursions can range from $50 to over $200 per person.
If you are a real planner take advantage of booking excursions ahead of time. First, it will ensure you get to do the the one you really want, secondly the cost can be added into your vacation budget.

On-board Cruise Activities
Tip 5 – Enjoy cruise activities

Take advantage of the free stuff. Each day there are tons of free activities. You really can have a blast and never leave the ship. I have seen some great shows, zipline and done indoor water surf. At night there is Karaoke, Theme Parties, Trivia night and so much more depending on your activity/fun level.

If you want to pamper yourself there is the spa (additional cost) and other indulgent activities to choose. If you like to gamble there is the casino that is always open when you are out to sea. How about learning something new; I took a sushi class on one cruise, it was a blast. For those who are a couch potato, no worries, just grab a lounger, margarita and people watch on deck in the sun.


Cruising can be fun and affordable if you plan. My experience has been with Royal Caribbean but I am sure other cruise lines are just as fun. I love freebies and upgrades so we have chosen to stick with this cruise line and join their Crown & Anchor Society. On our last trip we received a commentary balcony upgrade. Like all companies that are trying to keep your business you can get some great perks by joining their loyalty program. The program is complimentary earning 1 cruise point for every night you sail and double if you book a suite.
If a cruise is on your bucket list use these 5 tips and book your cruise today. If you have a cruise tip, please share we would love to hear from you.
Thanks, and have a great cruise.

Roxanne Wilkening MS Ed.

Embrace Change – Plank Challenge

Try the Plank Challenge to strengthen your core and boost your confidents.

Looking to change your workout routine how about trying the Progressive 7 – Day “Embrace Change – Plank Challenge“.  Planks are a great exercise for the stomach because it works your core muscles.  Doing a progressive challenge allows you to build slow to gain strength and confidents.  

Day 1

This is the first day of the challenge, so start off slow.  If you are a beginner start with 30 seconds, for intermediate go for 1 minute and for the advance 2 minutes.

Plank Challenge Day -1

Day – 2

Are you a little sore? Let’s try to hold it a little longer.  On day 2, you will progress by adding day 1 time plus the time for the level you picked.  Each day adding time to the previous day.

Beginners 60, Intermediate 2 minutes and Advance 4 minutes.


Plank Challenge Day -2

Day – 3

On day-3, I am shaking and I must admit that I must stop and rest but I do my total minutes for the day.

Beginners 90, Intermediate 3 minutes and Advance 6 minutes.

Plank Challenge Day -3

Day – 4

On day-4, I ask myself why am I doing this, but I make it.

Beginners 2 minutes, Intermediate 4 minutes and Advance 8 minutes.

Plank Challenge Day - 4

Day – 5

Beginners 2.5 minutes, Intermediate 5 minutes and Advance 10 minutes.

Plank Challenge Day - 5

Day – 6

Beginners 3.0 minutes, Intermediate 6 minutes and Advance 12 minutes.

Plank Challenge Day - 6

Day – 7

I know its day 7 and you want to celebrate, so yea for you, but don’t stop here, don’t let this be your last day.  You may have found that day 1 was to easy and day 7 was way to hard.  Pick a time between day 1 and day 7 and do it for 30 day.  After 30 days add this exercise to your nightly routine.

Beginners 3.5 minutes, Intermediate 7 minutes and Advance 14 minutes.


Plank Challenge Day -7

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