Thursday, April 17, 2014

going the wrong way

We're going screen-free tomorrow and Saturday,
so I'm posting my 4 wk progress report a day early.
(I know - the blog is usually exempt from screen time decrees, but I figured - it's only 2 days...)

The title may have given you a clue;
I'm up 2.2 lbs.

I quit taking my measurements after the first 3 I took 
showed (not insignificant) increases.

I can not express how discouraged I am.

I want to cry.
I want to say screw exercising.

But I'm tired of being fat, 
so I won't do that.

Well, I will cry.... 

It clearly doesn't matter, 
but I didn't miss a single workout the past 4 weeks,
even though some days I really had to talk myself into exercising.
I ate well 90% of the time, and even when I 'cheated' I didn't go hog wild
and I drank plenty of water.
I (mostly) took my supplements - which aren't specifically for weight loss, but are supposed to be helping me be healthier over-all.
I get plenty of sleep.

I don't know what else to do.

(And I know it isn't all about the scale
or the measurements
but still - it feels like I got a big fat F on a test I worked really hard to prepare for)

Friday, April 11, 2014

eating my words

I knew.
I knew it when the words came out of my mouth.
(or rather off my fingertips...)

Tyler is always (there I go again ;-) telling me not to use absolutes.
I immediately thought (and almost typed, in parenthesis, of course)
'Just watch! Now I'm going to have to pre-wash at some point.'

For 3 or 4 weeks now, I've had a red and white quilt in my head.
After I'd amassed a nice little pile
(don't worry - it will grow to be a bigger pile ;-)
I thought,
'That is a lot of red. Red is one of the most likely to bleed colors, especially if it is not designer fabric.
Most of this is not designer fabric.
I should probably prewash. That would be smart of me.'

That was quick.'

If I have to eat my words - there are much worse words to eat.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

nearing the finish line

I'm not quite done with the quilting yet,
but I went ahead and attached the binding anyways.
This way, I've got my choice of injuries.
Do I want to cut up the pads of the first 2 fingers on my right hand
by stabbing them with the back of my needle?
Or would I rather scratch the thumb of my left hand all up
by nicking it with the point??
decisions, decisions.
(although, I actually didn't nick myself one time on the binding of the last quilt. hmmm)

I calculate I've got about 13 episodes of Leverage
until the quilting is finished
(all that's left is 3, plus a little bit of the 4th, corner stars)

and about 6 hours on the binding

Then, I can toss this baby in the wash!
I don't think I could ever enter a quilt into a show,
because by the time I finish, it's filthy.
(It is my understanding that quilt show quilts are unwashed, as they show off the quilting better if they aren't all crinkly)
This one is especially dirty! Bleh

and there's plenty more where that came from....
Plus, lots of spots of sewing machine grease where the quilt rubbed against
the needle bar whilst smashed into the too-small throat space while quilting.
I'm hoping to get it out with that Grandma's cleaner stuff - anybody used it?
Linking up with Lee's Work in Progress Wednesdays

p.s. if you are wondering about Claire's quilt - Lynnet and I will be working on it Saturday :-)
It was a little ambitious to think we might get the top sewn last time we got together.....
Quite honestly, it's probably ambitious to think we might get it all sewn this time, even. But we'll do our best!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

lest I forget, a delicious jalapeno dip

to go along with my crackers that I thought I had finally perfected, but 
- in fact -
did not
(they had no crunch. They were also too salty, but that is easily fixed.
I am unsure what to do about the lack of snap. Any ideas??)

and they looked so nice, too  : /

Anyways, to go with the perfectly flavored (salt issues aside) but crackless crackers,
I made a delicious jalapeno green chili dip.
So delicious,
that Brandon thinks it might just be better than the Best Dip in the World.
(he suggests a side-by-side comparison. Of course he does. ;-)
Very high praise, indeed,
and I sure don't want to forget how I made it.

12 oz cream cheese, softened
1/3 c greek yogurt
1/3 c mayo
1 small can green chilis
2 (could have used 3) large jalapenos, diced 
some onion powder
mix together, then add
large handful grated cheddar/jack (probly 1 1/2 c)
and mix again.
spread into a smallish baking dish (I used the brown brownie pan)
and sprinkle with parmesan cheese

bake at 400 for about a half hour.
cool slightly before serving with crackers (preferably crunchy) and celery sticks


Friday, April 4, 2014

out of the rubbish, a quilt

I turned it into a cozy quilt.

I know you are shocked ;-)

It was tricky to find enough usable fabric.
And by usable, I mean, it doesn't yet have rips or tears,
but there are still plenty of fraying bits in my 'usable' pieces...

Matching the plaids on those corners 
was not an option.
Surprisingly, it doesn't bother me one iota.
I actually think it is more pronounced in the photos than it is in person.

The AMH fabric that I ordered for the back 
didn't go quite as well as I'd hoped it would,
but Tyler was impressed enough with the softness 
(unwashed, of course. I never pre-wash my quilting fabrics.)
that he wanted me to use it anyways.

It made finding an appropriate binding a wee bit tricky,
but I am quite pleased with what I ended up with.

I chose a skein of embroidery floss that matched the binding
 to do my one 'x' of hand-quilting.
Because I had to do just a little hand-stitching, ya know?

I almost completely sewed the binding on by machine;
I figured it is such a small quilt, it'd be great to practice on.
But I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I simply enjoy hand sewing the binding down too much.
And I like the look of a hand sewn binding.
(plus - my straight stitching still leaves a lot to be desired. 
Tyler thinks those diagonal lines are super straight, 
but in reality, they are - um - super organic.
And by 'organic', I mean
really wavy.)

I finished sewing down the binding on the way home from my mom's house on Sunday,
and already this quilt has seen a lot of use.
As a matter of fact, I had to steal it from Lex' so I could take it out for pictures...

Here's hoping for another dozen or so years of cozy comfort
from a beloved shirt.

many thanks to my stud muffin quilt holder ;-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

sorta random (but some of it goes together) stuff on a Thursday

Goodness, life is moving swiftly.

Saturday, as you prob'ly guessed, we celebrated Lily's 7th birthday,
which was actually Sunday,
but we were leaving the house at 8:30 am, with no clue what time we might get home.

It was a princess theme this year.
(not that we normally do themes - but she requested first, Cinderella shoes.
Then later, she suggested to Tyler that a Cinderella dress might be nice, too. 
And then I heard her say something about having a princess birthday this year...)
So anyways.
She got the shoes.
And the dress.
And the other dress (the servant one) which she will let Lexi wear, if she begs enough.

You'd probably be surprised to know
did not 
make either.
Something about that little plastic brooch picture of Cinderella on the bodice,
sort of confirmed 'it's a Cinderella dress'.
Plus, Tyler sweetly told me he'd rather me spend my sewing time quilting,
instead of stressing over making a costume.

I would have argued with him, 
but I'd made Lily a purple princess dress for Christmas,
(which is when she got that fancy tiara)
and I spent $30 just on the fabric,
so I was pretty sure buying one for $34
was a bargain.

Oh ~ here's a little funny about the tiara:
For several weeks after Christmas,
every time we left the house
she'd say something about hoping we didn't get robbed.
She was just sure 
that the first thing the bad guys would take
would be her tiara

Back to the weekend.
we left at,
well, not quite 8:30,
 more like 8:40 
and then we ran into a little trouble called a leaky gas can,
but we finally arrived in Rogers at just under a half hour late
at 10:20 something.

We  were joining one of my brothers
and one of my sisters,
and their loves,
and our boy
to give my mom and stepdad their Christmas gift.
A day of labour.

They had a tree that was leaning.
So for Christmas, we pitched in and gave them money to go towards cutting it down,
we gave them a work day.

We got sooo much done!
My Mom and Daddy raised them some hard workers.

Come to think of it,
my kids' Momma and Daddy
raised them some hard workers, too,
'cause ya'll,
those kids worked hard!
And they loved (almost) every minute of it.
I was (and am) so proud of them!

I skipped my exercise Saturday,
on account of all the work I'd be doing on Sunday.

Speaking of exercise,
my sister, Lish  told me about a site, Fitness Blender, that has lots of workout videos.

Yesterday, she, TJ, and I all did the same video;
she'd texted it to me
and I texted it to T.
It was intense.
I liked it!
And it was fun,
knowing that we were all going to do the same workout on the same day.
Separate, but together. (sort of...)

I haven't seen our tiny feisty white hen in a few days,
and we haven't gotten any white eggs this week.
I'm a little worried something got her.
But - that's happened before, and she's turned up,
so I'm hoping she is okay this time, too.
She's not much to look at, but man, I like her!

Testing is tomorrow.
I always have to buy new calculators for testing.
And pencils.
Where do they go??

The dogs eat the pencils,
but what about the calculators?!

This is Josiah's first year to test.
I've really downplayed the whole thing, so as not to cause him any undue anxiety.
I hope that was the right call.

And isn't that pretty much how all of motherhood is?
Hoping that you made the right call....

Speaking of testing,
Jeremiah and Josiah are black-belt testing Saturday!
I'm trying not to be nervous about that.
Brandon has midterms (his 1st of 7)
but I'm not so nervous about his.

I'll leave you with this:
My mom had given us some bags of shelled 'raw Spanish peanuts'.
Lily ate a few 
then said, "Mmmm. Tastes just like peanuts, 
only  more Spanishy."

Saturday, March 29, 2014

oh yeah ~ I've still got it

I was a little worried,
when Lily requested cinnamon toast as her her birthday breakfast,
that I might not be able to make bread.
I mean,
I went from making bread at least once a week, 
to making it just a couple of times a year,
so I wasn't sure if I could still turn out lovely loaves.

I can.

(Lil's birthday isn't until tomorrow, but we'll be gone the entire day, so we celebrated today.
Her tomorrow b-day breakfast is sugar cereal...)

Friday, March 28, 2014

the pillbox

Tyler came home last night with one of those weekly pill-boxes for me.

It was really sweet,
but I took one look at it, chuckled, and said, 
"You really don't have a clue how many pills I take."

(And that doesn't include the probiotics I take (not with food)
or my after lunch dose (same as my morning dose. Although, sometimes I skip these.)
or my evening pills (though that's only 6-8 capsules, provided I don't feel the need for extra garlic...)

I wasn't kidding about it taking 2-3 c of fluids to get all my capsules down.
(I feel yuck just looking at that picture)

I figure I'll give it a couple more months, and if I'm still not noticing an improvement, I'll start eliminating supplements.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

best coconut oil

Coconut oil has been a staple in our pantry for about a dozen years.
Maybe even longer...

Over the course of those years, we've tried several different brands of coconut oil.
Hands down,
the consistent winner 
is the Nutiva brand.

• Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

(I also have a very clear winner for absolutely the worst tasting coconut oil - which I'd be happy to share with you if you ask, but it doesn't seem right to post it here.)

The best price is usually a 2 pack of 54oz jars at Amazon,
and you can save a few more bucks by setting it up as a subscribe and save item.
If you find you aren't ready for more when it comes time for them to make another shipment,
 you simply cancel or postpone the delivery.
Sometimes, Nutiva will have a sale and you can get a gallon for $50.
I stock up.
Coconut oil is good for a couple of years, so I don't worry about it going bad.

If you think it'd take forever for you to go through that much oil, 
the Better Body brand from Sam's is pretty decent, too.
But I gotta be honest;
I opened a gallon of Nutiva today,
after finishing off a container of the BB stuff,
and that's what prompted this post.
But then, I do have superior taste buds... ;-)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

chasing the light

I was a grouchbutt yesterday evening.

We'd dropped off the boys at TKD and did some shopping.

I may have mentioned it a time or two,
but I really don't enjoy grocery shopping with my kids.
Frazzles me, actually.
It's not that they are bad, exactly,
but they slow me down.
And ask for things.
Or if they don't ask, they'll verbally 'drool' over things.
("oooh - look at the candy." lip smack. lip smack...)
Which, in my book, is equally annoying
and almost asking...

My Wednesday shopping is going okay, but it still ends up being kinda stressful, because
it's rush rush rush for a few hours
once I get home
to get everything in the house and put away, get the house picked up,
and get dinner fixed so we can sit down to eat at 5:30
so we can leave at 6 for 2:42 (our small group at church).
Plus, we've decided we need to tighten our belts a bit more
and it costs $10 in gas every time I go to town,
so if I skip that Wed. trip, and do my shopping on TKD days,
when I already have to go to town,
well, I have to shop with the girls
but I save $520 a year...

So. I did some of the shopping last night.
And by the time we got back home
- without completing all of the shopping -
(plus - midcycle. enough said.)
I was as grouchy as Lex when she's hungry.

I started pulling out dinner fixin's and
happened to look out the LEM widow.
Oooh - Pretty!!
The silver building, the weathered wood, the blue door, the white tree ~ all of it was just glowing.
Especially the tree.
And I thought, "I wonder if the trees in the top field are glowing too?"
(Tyler had taken me up there on Sunday to see them all blooming)

I decided that dinner would just be late;
I needed to chase the light.
I left everything (including a burner on - oops!) 
grabbed my jacket and camera,
pulled on my boots
(Tyler surprised me with a pair of cute boots a few weeks ago :-)
invited the girls to come with me,
and booked it down the hill,
across the creek,
around the garden,
past the goat field (which has no goats, but is still called the goat field)
around the stately tree that never needs to be mowed around
up the little hill through the narrow mossy passageway
and found
that the sun was a little too low.
BUT - there was still a bit of light on one tree.
(well, one blooming tree. and a few pines...)

72 pictures and about 15 minutes later,
we came inside.
All of us feeling much better.

(the pictures are all straight out of the camera (no editing)
you can really see the value of being in the light in the pictures of the girls.
Love me some golden light!!)

Smoky came with us. Jack and Lola did too, but every picture with them was a blur.

Lexi got cold, so Lily shared her coat.

my love left me some tall grass in the field :-) 

apple blossoms

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

sweet ride

Our pastor said it from the pulpit one time,
"Tyler _____________ walks in God's favor."
And he was totally right.
(I mean, he's got me.... ;-)

He gets green lights.
If we order the same thing at a restaurant, his will be good; mine? eh, not so much.
He has been stopped by the police more times than I have,
but he's never gotten a single ticket,
no matter the offense,
(I, on the other hand, have gotten a ticket every.single.time.)

And when he needs a new vehicle,
God always provides a good one, for a great price.

Both of his vehicles
(we've gotten to the stage where neither are very reliable, so he had to have 2,
in hopes of having 1 working one...)
are in bad shape, barely limping along.
Needing more work than they're worth...
So, about a month ago, he finally started looking for something newer.
(they were both '92s)
On Saturday, he found a 2011 Sonata (he'd actually only been looking for as new as 2008) for a good price.
It was in NWA, so he asked T if he might be able to take a look at it.
The seller hadn't planned on showing it to anybody 'til Monday (and that's what he told all of his other callers)
but he let T look at it on Sunday.
TJ felt like it was a really good deal, so Tyler decided to go for it.
And last night, we made a quick run to F'ville,
to purchase his sweet new ride.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

He said it's a little out of his league, what with the fancy bluetooth.
(and a windshield that he can actually see out of)
Isn't it just like God
to provide him with a car even better than what he was looking for?
and for less than the Kelly Blue Book price?!

Monday, March 24, 2014

every bit as good as Campbell's (maybe even better) tomato soup

It's no secret that I can't follow a recipe.
Actually, I did follow the THM recipe the first time, 
then I tweaked it to make it tastier.
Then I developed a formula, rather than a recipe,
so it can be easily be made for any number of people.
Because my brain works better like that.

A little side note - tomato sauce 
(at least the cans I read (I'd never before read the label on tomato sauce, can you believe that?!) )
is tomato paste, water, and spices.
So, at some point, I am going to try my hand at perfecting the soup, starting with tomato paste.
But for now, here's what I'm doing,
It's super easy,
and quite delicious.

Dump a can of tomato sauce into a saucepan over medium heat.
(an 8 oz can would make a generous serving for one person. 
We eat it with cheese quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches and I use 2 16 oz cans for the 7 of us)

Take your now empty can 
and fill it 1/3 of the way with heavy cream,
another 1/3 with almond milk (I use the 30 cal per serving stuff)
and the rest of the way with water.
Dump that into your pan, too
(if you don't use almond milk, I expect you could just use 2/3 can h2o and it'd be almost as good)
(honestly, if you aren't a THMer, you could probably just use about 3/4 can milk and 1/4 can h2o. or 1/2 milk, 1/2 h2o....)

Then add about 1/8 can more water and swish it all around in the can to get every bit of tomato sauce that's left
and add that to the pot, too.

Then - here's the important part - add 2 tsp xylitol for every 8 oz tomato sauce,
and salt and pepper to taste.

Whisk it all together and heat thoroughly.
That's it!

If you like butter in your tomato soup - and I do (of course ;-) then add some of that, too.

Delish :-)

Friday, March 21, 2014

the fitness project ~ an update

Here we are.
Another 4 weeks have zoomed by,
so it's time for my fitness update.

30 weeks. That's how long I've been at this.
It's been a long, hard road. 
(here are all of my previous progress reports:  November  December  January  February)

Still taking them.
I haven't really noticed any improvement,
except that my hair is softer, and not falling out anymore, so that's something.
I still don't have much energy, don't feel 'empowered' after working out (but I do feel like I could take a nap)
and have to force myself to exercise.
Still have a foggy mind
and don't feel 'like myself'.
She did tell me it could take awhile....

I feel mildly yuck for several hours after taking them,
which is no fun,
but the past 2 days, I have taken a spoonful of chia seeds when I start guzzling all my capsules
(with either oolong tea or warm lemon water. or both...)
and I didn't feel nearly as bad.
I don't really know why it would help;
I'm just tired of feeling so tired, and thought - hey. chia seeds might help - so I tried some.
And I didn't feel quite so exhausted,
 and bonus, I didn't feel as yucky in my tummy.

a series of texts from 2 weeks ago

I missed a day.
We'd had a super busy week with lots of out-of-the-house obligations.
That Saturday, we were home, though.
Well, mostly.
The boys had TKD, 
and I'd planned on exercising when Tyler went to pick them up.
Except, I forgot about my plan 
and decided to surprise everyone with a nice lunch (cheeseburger pie, burnt broccoli, and salad).
Then, I just didn't want to exercise, 
and never could talk myself in to it...
But I figured, I could just exercise on Sunday, instead, and I'd be fine.
 Sunday ended up being kinda busy, too,
and when I hadn't worked out by bedtime, I just said,"screw it."
I have exercised 67 days this year. I'm not going to beat myself up for missing 1.

I was a little bummed when I took my measurements.
I had slight (1/8" - 3/8") losses in several areas, my most notable loss was 1/2 inch in my waist - yay!
But I also had several small increases, too.
What the heck?!
When I added up the losses, and subtracted the gains, I was left with a net loss of 1/4 inch.
From my entire body.

I do, however, have something good to report.
The scale showed big losses this month.
for me, mind you. 
3.8 lbs!!

was it my additional supplements? my prescription change for my cream? increasing my oolong tea to 6 c a day? mixing up my exercise more? adding in some kettlebells? increasing my coconut oil consumption? ACV in my smoothies? sleeping more? my daily lemon water?
my little cheats??
Who knows.

I'm just going to keep plugging away 
like I've been for the past 7 months (!)
and maybe I'll feel 'normal' soon.
and maybe I'll even be all buff and skinny someday...

One other little bit of news.
(You know the movie Home Alone? That scene where Kevin decides he's not afraid,
and hollers, "I'm not afraid anymore!"
You have to read the next sentence like that.)

I'm not obese anymore.

I'm no longer considered obese by BMI charts - I am merely 'overweight'
I cried.
Sat on my bed and bawled like a baby.
I have been labeled 'obese' for the past 10 years. (maybe even longer - I just can't remember...)

am not

To celebrate, I ordered a kettlebell workout DVD set :-)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

all I need is time (or maybe thyme?)

I didn't get sick,
and everybody else was feeling pretty decent
(Lex' is still not 100% though)
so yesterday afternoon, 
Josiah and I headed over the mountain to Gramma Joyce.
We had a nice time going out to dinner - the Village Inn, of course,
and I was happy to get to spend a few hours with her.

She always asks (several times ;-) "How long do you have to drive to get here?"
And then (always) responds to my answer (1 1/2 hrs) with, "Oh, Baby. I'm sorry you have to drive so long!)
I tell her, I don't have to, I choose to. And it's worth it.
I realize what a gift it is that I still have my grandmother with me.
I try to not take it for granted.

I'd also made plans to get together with my friend, Lisa, who moved away last year,
but she had to cancel, so that was kinda bummy.
(Something about her kid being in a musical or some silly excuse like that. ;-)
But what wasn't bummy,
I finally got to connect with another friend - the one who has a friend with a zyto scanner.
The scanner scans (duh) about 70 different 'markers'
looking for imbalances.
(I really have no clue how it works. Tyler says its hokey.)
Now, it doesn't tell you what is wrong with you - only how many things are wrong with you.

The scan said I was out of balance in 41 of the 70ish areas they checked.
The good news, though, is that 25 of them can be brought back into balance,
by time.
Or rather, thyme. Thyme essential oil. 
One drop a day.

Is Tyler right?
Is it all just hokey??

I don't know.

I do know that I've already ordered a bottle of thyme e.oil,
because it certainly won't hurt anything 
(so long as I can't taste it ~ eww)
and really,
everyone can use more time.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

what I learned from the road crew. and another quilt

For over a year now, 
there has been practically around-the-clock road work on I-540.

For the most part, I avoid the interstate when possible
but I've learned a valuable lesson
from my observations 
when I do take that route.

Prep work is every bit as important
as the 'real' work.
(and often takes more time...)


Many moons ago,
before Claire was even engaged,
her mom asked me if I'd help make a quilt.
I responded like Peter,
"I won't just help, I'll take over the whole shebang!"

I didn't really say that.
What I said was,
"It would be really fun if the 3 of us all worked together on Claire's quilt.
We'd be making memories and a quilt at the same time."
I took over....

I didn't mean to, it just happened.
After trying to get together for months to go fabric shopping
(who knew it would be so hard to get the 3 of us together?!)
I shopped my stash.
(At this point, Claire was engaged, with a wedding 8 months away!
The plan was that we would work for 3 hours or so 1 Saturday a month.)
Claire had given me a color palette to work with - a beachy theme
and I pulled out every bit of fabric I thought might work.
More trying to get together....
then I shopped Hancocks.
Hobby Lobby.
The place out in Mulberry....

When I had a towering stack of fabrics,
I couldn't get them both over, but Claire was able to pop in one night in November and go through the pile.
Some fabrics, neither one of us thought were just right, so out they went.
There were a few fabrics, though, that Claire wasn't fond of, but I made strongly encouraged her to keep anyways ;-)
because I felt like they were needed for balance.
(I let her veto me on a few that she really didn't like)

this was not the finished stack. it kept growing...

I'd taken the quilt that she pinned (which was baby size)
 and drafted a pattern for a queen sized quilt.
We needed 32 pinwheels, so she picked her favorite fabrics for those.

It took another 2 months before we could get together for fabric cutting.
With the wedding only 4 months away, I was getting downright panicky. 

I only thought I was panicky then.
the wedding is just 2 months away,
and up 'til a few days ago, all we'd managed to accomplish so far
was getting (most of) the fabric cut
and we got started on sewing the pinwheels.
(I should mention that not only is Claire planning a wedding, she is also in college.
And her poor momma.
Well, life has changed drastically for my friend; she is now caring for her mother, who has Alzheimer's.)

I decided that there just wasn't going to be enough time for all of us to work together 
every time.
We'd never get the quilt finished.
So Monday, 
thinking about those road workers, I got busy.
I pressed open the blocks. (2 hours.)
Then I trimmed the blocks (1 1/2 hours) (that stretched into Tuesday...)
Then I glue basted those suckers (40 minutes maybe?)
(I felt like it was a better choice than pins and would allow for speedier sewing)
Then I decided, what the heck,
I might as well actually finish the pinwheels at this point,
so I sewed (20 minutes)
(see that? over 4 hours of prep for 20 minutes at the machine.)
Then I pressed those seams, and glue basted again (?? minutes.
No clue. I was also cooking dinner, so I was running back and forth between the iron and kitchen)
And 15 more minutes of sewing (and several more minutes with the iron, pressing) 
yielded 32 beautiful pinwheels blocks.

Which I've now sorted by color,
so when the girls come over on Saturday (YAY!!!)
we will be all ready to get the quilt layed out - and hopefully sew a quilt top.
(and appreciate prep work...)

linking up again with Lee's WiP Wednesdays :-)