Sunday, January 31, 2010

Recipes

We tried some new recipes this week. Just things I found online or in cookbooks. I thought I would share with you the ones that I thought were really good. I apologize for my poor food photography. Click on the links to see better ones. :)


PASTA FAGIOLI 
(Kind of soup-ish. We had some good bread with it and that made a good meal for us.)


OVEN ROASTED CAULIFLOWER
(This was sooooo good! Try it! Tonight! Go buy some cauliflower now!)















(This was different for a macaroni salad but I still liked it. We used wheat noodles and I am sure that changed up the taste a bit. But still good!)


And this is my favorite meatloaf... which I only have when Mike is home to cook because I refuse to stick my hands in raw beef and mix it up. Eww.
PIZZA MEAT LOAF
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
2 eggs
1 small green bell pepper, chopped (optional)
1/4 cup water
1 cup Ragu Old World Style pasta sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (about 4 oz)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except 1/2 cup pasta sauce and 1/2 cup cheese.

In 13x9 inch baking or roasting pan, shape into loaf. Top with remaining 1/2 cup pasta sauce.

Bake uncovered 50 minutes.

Sprinkle top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake an additional 10 minutes or until done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 servings. (Should read... makes a TON!)



Well there you go... if you are tired of your recipes you can stop complaining now because I just gave you some more to try. We tried a new beef stew recipe in the crock last night but I didn't like it enough to share it. I'll be working at finding one I love. And we have a few new recipes on the menu for next week... including this flatbread pizza that my sister-in-law Kate posted yesterday. Can't wait to try it!


Sunday Stealing

It's Sunday Stealing where we steal all types of memes from every corner of the blogosphere. Feel free to join in and link up at Sunday Stealing.


1. How long have you been blogging?
For about five years. I think I started out on xanga. Then myspace became big for a while. And now I've been on blogger for just over a year.

2. What made you start?

I think it was because I was at home by myself a lot. We were married and I didn't have a car so I was stuck. I didn't have a lot of friends at the time. Blogging became a way for me to get my thoughts out and feel that maybe someone was hearing them.

3. Who inspired you?

I don't know that I was really inspired by anyone. I think I saw a few blogs and decided to give it a go.

4. About how many hours a week would you estimate you spend on your blog?

Too many! But I love it. It's kind of become my main hobby.

5. What kind of experience or background do you have with writing?

Zip. Well, ya know, I took English classes in high school and college but I would never consider myself a write.

6. Talk about how you come up with blog topics. Where do you get your ideas?

A lot of things come from what my kids are doing. Lots of pictures. But really I just write about anything that pops in to my head. My blog doesn't have a theme or main topic. I don't split my ideas in to separate blogs. I just let it all out in one place.

7. What or who inspires you and your blog?

Umm... didn't we already have this question? Again... it's not really inspiration that keeps me going. I enjoy it. It's fun. I've met some really great people. I like it.

8. Where and/or how do your brainstorming for your blog?
I don't brainstorm. I am rarely without something to write about. But sometimes I get too many ideas at once and don't want to have ten posts in a day so I will write down my ideas so I don't forget.

9. Do you have any blogging rules or guidelines you follow?
Post often. :) Be real. Be honest.

10. Is there anything you will not blog about?

I won't blog about things that would embarrass or hurt those that I love. I won't blog negatively about any kind of work I do. (Which I RARELY do any kind of work so that's not a hard one.) I won't blog about anything that would jeopardize the reputation of myself or my family. And there are also some things in relationships that are just too personal to talk about... they should remain between the people that are involved and that's it.

11. Do you have any sort of a publishing schedule in terms of day of week or topic?

I try to post something in the morning but if I don't get to it I don't stress about it. I try to post every day.




There ya go. More than you ever cared to know about me and my blogging. :) Or maybe not. Maybe you have another question. Do you have another question?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

An interview with my dad.

My dad recently decided to get healthy again and over the past few months he has made some HUGE changes. I don't believe that one diet is right for everyone so this isn't necessarily about the specific diet, although it is discussed. It's more about a complete lifestyle change that my dad made. He went from eating pretty horrible... lots of junk food, snacks, pop, very little to no water, and rarely did he ever have three meals in a day. I wanted to share with you his success so I did a little interview with him...


What made you decide to get healthy and lose weight?
I got sick in October. I couldn't sleep. Didn't feel like eating. I was scared I was going to die young. The doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. They checked my vitamins and found I was really vitamin deficient.


What is the diet that you are doing?
My sister told me about the McCombs Plan diet. It's a 16 week detoxification against bad candida. (I took this bit from the McCombs website... Candida normally exists in its yeast form in the digestive tract. Due to the effects of antibiotics, it can convert to its fungal form and spread throughout the body. The fungal form creates excessive toxicity which will affect the way every organ, tissue, and cell functions. This can contribute to or create many problems in the body. To reverse this effect, you have to eliminate the candida and restore the natural bacterial flora. If you've ever had an antibiotic, you've got candida.)


What are you aloud to eat?
All meat except pork. All fruit except oranges. Lots of brown rice. Vegatables. Potatoes. Three healthy meals a day. Snacks are aloud as long as they fit with what I am aloud to eat.

No dairy, wheat, sugar, or processed foods of any kind. No alcohol.


What has been the hardest thing about it?
Part of this diet is that I have to use a sauna every day as part of the detoxification. This means leaving the house and it takes time.


What has helped you to be successful?
By day eight of the diet I had more energy than I have had in years. I felt really good. Also  my wife's help, especially with learning to cook the things I was aloud to eat.


What changes have you noticed in yourself?
Lots of energy. I've lost 48 pounds. I had rosacea on my nose for ten years and it is almost gone. I had psoriasis on my elbow for two years and it's finally clearing up. I had acid reflux disease and it's now gone. My blood pressure is now normal and I'm off blood pressure pills. And I don't snore anymore when I sleep.


When did you start this diet?
October 12.



Will you continue with this "diet" when it is over and continue it as a lifestyle? Why or why not?
Absolutely. I'm not hungry. This isn't a starve yourself diet. It's a lifestyle change of healthy eating. I plan on keeping up the healthy eating. Forever.



I am so proud of my dad for making the necessary changes to get healthy! I can't believe he doesn't snore anymore!! Seriously... whenever we did a family trip I refused to share a hotel room with him because I would never be able to sleep.

But the biggest difference... he looks ten years younger! I was home just two weeks ago and I kind of kept staring at him and thinking "holy cow! Who is this person and where did my dad go?!"

Dad was telling me how he had a meeting for work with some people he hadn't seen since before he started the detox diet and lost weight. They joked that "only half of him showed up for the meeting." Here is a before and after so you can see what a change of habits, hard determination and a few months of sticking to it can get you...


Isn't that awesome!?!

And he is still going! It's funny to me because almost over night he has kind of become a bit of a health nut. It's a good thing though and it's inspired me to go a step further in eating healthy in this house.

I hope that this encourages those of you out there that are trying to make lifestyle changes. I hope you stick with it. I hope you find the crazy determination that my dad found. And I hope you can all make those changes before you become really scared that you just might die young and miss out on your life. Don't wait till tomorrow... make those changes today!

Way to go Dad!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Fix-it Friday

It's Fix-it Friday at i heart faces. They post a picture and have some of their team show their edits and how they did it and then every one else plays along. I only know basic editing but I liked this picture and they encouraged everyone to try out some textures. I figured why not since a lot of my regular readers are always looking for tips to improve their photography.

I just did a few really simple steps.

Here is the original that they gave us to work with...

 

I did the "smart fix" where it does some adjusting to colors and brightness, etc. and cropped it.

 

Then I added i heart faces holiday bokeh overlay and messed with the opacity until I liked it.

 

And lastly, since they were encouraging texture, I grabbed one from HERE and applied it to the picture.


Nothing fancy or spectacular. I know so little. But at least it helped me avoid cleaning for a little while longer. :)

Head on over to I Heart Faces to see how others fixed this photo up.

5 Question Friday

I've been cleaning all morning and need a little break because there is a TON more cleaning to do. A few of my blogger friends always participate in Mama M's Five Question Friday and I liked the questions this week so I decided to go for it.

1. Would you ever vacation alone?
Yes. In fact I have.  About a year ago I just REALLY  needed a break from life. I told my husband that I would love to have a few days alone on a beach somewhere and he said "Can you do it for $500?" Within an hour I had a flight booked to Daytona Beach, FL and hotel room on the beach reserved. I went for five days and it was absolutely wonder and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

2. Do you go the speed limit?
I try. I mean to. I might get a few over but ya know... someday my little kids are going to be all grown up and learning how to drive and I am their example. Must be responsible now.

3. Why did you start blogging/following blogs?
Oh wow. I've been blogging for about five years now. I think I started because I was married and not working and didn't have a car during the days so I was home alone A LOT. It became an outlet for me, a place to write my thoughts and a way to connect with others. I'm addicted. I've been addicted to blogging for a long time now. I don't think I will ever be able to stop.

4. Where do you shop for yourself?
I love finding clothes at New York and Company. Only when they are on sale though. And in just a month or two a Kohl's is opening in town and I am positive that it will become my new favorite place.

5. What was the song that you danced your first dance with your spouse to at your wedding...or...what song would you like your first dance to be to?
Well... I don't remember. And no it's not because I was drunk. We didn't have alcohol at our wedding. We also didn't have a dj. We just made a few cd's from the music we had and hooked up to the sound system in the basement and let them play. We didn't do a lot of the traditional wedding stuff but our friends were insisting that we have a first dance. They picked out a song and played it. Not a clue what it was. But we do love to slow dance together! 

Well that was a fun little break and I REALLY do not want to get back to cleaning. BUT we have a friend coming over for dinner so I guess I better get to it.



MckLinky Blog Hop

      

Dear Liza,

...have I told you how much I love you?


Or how absolutely awesome you are?


And how much you make me smile?

Especially when you put your tutu on and dance...


dance...


dance.


You make my heart happy.

 

You make me want to be a better person.


I hope you have more, learn more, love more than I ever have.


I pray for you constantly.


You ARE a princess...


And I am so glad that you are MINE!

Love,
MOMMY




Thursday, January 28, 2010

Love Dare

A while ago my friend Rainey asked me how the Love Dare Devotional is going for us and I just haven't got around to answering her... until now. :)

So let me tell you how it is going...

We love it! It makes us think... about people... other than ourselves. That's a good thing. Not always easy but has great benefits. We don't get to it every day but definitely most days.

Each week has a "dare"... a focus... something to keep on your mind the entire week. This week it is about working together to accomplish something. We are to pick a project that needs done around the house and work on it together until completion. We decided it's either going to be cleaning the basement out or cleaning the kitchen cupboards out. Which ever we have time for (because the basement is always a huge undertaking.)

The devotional uses scripture but not a ton. It's always about love and relationships in some way. Some days have questions to make you go deeper.

What I love most about this devotional is that it is short, to the point, and good. It is a nice springboard into conversation about things other than work and the kids and "how was your day?" It gets us talking. Gets us thinking. Makes us change and grow.

In fact... I like it so much that I have been buying it for other people. Hopefully half way through it doesn't start sucking real bad and giving bad advice!

Another benefit that it has added for us is that it makes us sit down, spend time together (which usually isn't a problem) and pray TOGETHER. We made a deal... Mike prays on the odd days and I pray on the even days. We take turns. This was my idea because I have always been real good at letting Mike pray and just amening at the end.

We are growing in a good direction. We like it. You should buy it too.

Thanks for the question Rainey!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jason

I know you want to spend the next minute and 30 seconds looking at pictures of my adorable son so I decided I would show you more pictures that show you why I so enjoy sitting across the table from him at meals.



He is just SO incredibly awesome...




and cute...



and funny...



and entertaining.

He watches Liza.



"No Jason! We don't eat like dogs!"

He learned it from Liza.



I had to take his bowl away.

He didn't like it.



But he got over it.



And he stole my heart all over again.


Clean teeth.

Last Thursday was Liza's first trip to the dentist. I probably wouldn't have taken her yet except that one day I noticed that she had a gray tooth. You might have noticed it in some pictures. That's how I first noticed it. The first time I saw it I freaked out and was calling myself a bad mom because how could I have not noticed it before! So I looked back through pictures from the two weeks before and it was not there. I swear it happened over night.

So we got an appointment for her at the dentist. And while we were at it we just scheduled Mike and I as well since it has been about three years. Don't give me a hard time about it... we don't have dental insurance. If we did I'd go all the time. (Maybe.)

Anyways... I got my teeth cleaned while Liza played with some toys they had in the room. She was so good. Mike was across the hall and she would walk over and see him for a minute and then come back. She eventually got curious and came over to stand beside me and held my hand. Then she got a bit more daring and just hopped up in the seat with me.

She was so cute!

Then it was her turn. Seriously... so cute. Mike and I just stood there watching her, our hearts growing bigger and bigger.



I don't think she was scared. Just uncertain. But she did everything the dentist said to do and she was pretty excited by the end.





This is what you do at the dentist... open wide! (We practiced for about a week before the appointment. Liza was pretty proud of herself.)



She was also pretty excited about her new toothbrush and toothpaste and was showing off her pretty smile.



Turns out the gray tooth is no big deal. Happens to kids all the time. She probably bumped it and it damaged it and it turned gray. The dentist said her son has a gray tooth... that made me feel better. I just wish that it wasn't right in front! Anyways... they aren't going to do anything about it since it will just fall out in two or three years. We just have to make sure it doesn't get infected.

Mike's teeth were fine too.

I unfortunately have to go back in a few days to get a cavity filled. I take good care of my teeth but always seem to end up with a cavity. :( I think it is in one of my wisdom teeth. Yes I still have them. No they don't bother me. But one does now have a cavity. Boo. I hate going to the dentist. Hate it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Some things just shouldn't be done.

LOL

haha

hehe


Ok. I'm just going to admit it now... I HATE IT WHEN PEOPLE TYPE HEHE.

Whew. I feel better now that I made that confession. It makes me cringe... especially when a guy does it. Guys just don't hehe. Do they? Maybe I am wrong.

Maybe it makes me cringe (especially when guys type hehe) because I just picture a shy girl getting the giggles, scrunching her shoulders up, hand over her mouth doing a little giggly hehehehe. Not something you want to picture a guy doing.

Or maybe I just read it wrong... maybe it's really more like "heh-heh" instead of "HE-HE". If that's the case then heh-heh sounds a bit more guy-ish.

I don't know. It's not really a big deal. I just thought I would let you know. HAHA.

Changes

While Mike and I were on our vacation over the weekend we discussed some goals for this year. I'm not really a goal person... a change needs made, I make it... but Mike needs them so I do them with him. We talked about some changes we wanted to make with the family, financial goals and the need to eat better.

We are making changes.

Some of them will take time but some are already happening. Like our Bible reading time with the kids. We've always done it at bedtime. It worked for a while. Then Jason figured out he could just keep playing and what one does the other does. It started getting really chaotic recently and we were just rushing through their little devotionals to get them in bed. So we made a change. We decided that it might work better if we did it right after dinner while the kids were still strapped in their chairs. It worked out really well. They sat and listened to their story, answered questions and had conversation. We were able to fit in more than a super short and quick prayer and they even sang some songs with me. I loved it! We will do it again tonight.

We made some financial goals... how much we want to save. How much we want to give. We agreed to get back to a tight budget and stick to it.

It's easy to stick to something when you initially make that change... for me at least. And that is how it was with budgeting and eating right. I made those changes a few years ago. But once you do them for a while it is easy to get relaxed about it and start making allowances that shouldn't be made. If you do this for too long you will end up right back where you were before you started the change. I'm on that backwards road.

Especially with eating.

I first decided to start eating right about a year and a half before Liza was born. After having kids it got a little tougher. I didn't have as much time to cook. I wanted to try to make things the kids would eat too. I just started getting lazy about it. Not real bad... but enough that I need to make some changes again.

I don't even have the kids as an excuse anymore... they eat anything! Not even close to picky.

So... I'm looking for new recipes. Websites. Cookbooks. Let me know if you have found one with healthy recipes that you like.

I recently discovered (through another blog friend) Gina's Weight Watcher Recipes. I'm not on Weight Watchers and don't plan to be but this site has some really good looking recipes... like the sweet potato fries. LOVE THOSE THINGS!!!

Anyways... hook me up with some new meals please!! And as I find some more I will share them with you. I prefer quick and easy things. I'm looking for breakfast, lunch and dinner ideas. Main course and side dishes. New ways to do veggies. I'm tired of my meals that I always seem to be rotating through.

Monday, January 25, 2010

7 years!

Today is our anniversary.


Seven years ago a pastor married us in a church and he said, "Usually after I do a wedding I go home and do my happy dance. I will do a happy dance for you if I see you together in a year and you are still happy."

He was moved to a different church in another town shortly after our wedding and so we haven't been able to hold him to that happy dance. But if I should ever run in to him again I will remind him of what he said. It was rude.

I say it all the time... people thought we didn't know what we were doing. And I guess I can understand that since we did get married only 11 weeks after we started dating. (We were friends for a quite a while before that.) But guess what! We DID know what we were doing. We were certain. And we still are.

And we are happy!



Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hewwoooo!

I don't think I really need to say anything.

Winter Hike

Yesterday was a BEAUTIFUL day... for January. The sun was shining. It was about 40 degrees. Lovely. We decided it would be nice to get outside for a while so we headed to Cook Forrest and took the three mile hike that took us past a fire tower with a nice view.

I've never hiked in the winter before but I found that I really enjoyed it. It was different. I should do it more often. This was the trail... (it was actually a road but it's used for the hike.)



I was pretty excited about the opportunity to use my camera with my new lens and play around with all the things I have been learning in the online photography class that I am taking. We stopped for some photos along the way...







Most of the trail was a bit dark because we were in the pine trees but we rounded a little bend and we saw this light coming through. I thought it was pretty. Golden. Like the light at the end of the tunnel. But it wasn't really the end of the tunnel for us. It wasn't even half way. But it was still pretty.



We finally made it to the fire tower and climbed up.



It was worth it. The view was pretty. I was taking pictures in the direction of the sun. The colors of the sky were pretty but I was having a hard time getting a good picture of it all.





Here is one that Mike took in the other direction from the sun... which I didn't think of doing... probably because it was a little bit cold and my brain wasn't fully functioning. But also maybe because I didn't think that side of the view was as pretty.




I would love to go back here again in the fall sometime when all the leaves have changed.

Mike and I at the top...



These are pictures that Mike took of me taking a picture of him. :)






Mike made a snowman.




I made some yellow snow. (Sorry no pictures of that!)

We continued our hike.





When we got to the car we cranked up the heat and headed back to the hotel... where we sat in the hot tub for a while before ordering pizza and playing games for the evening.

Pretty much a perfect day. :)



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