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 :-)

Monday, March 17, 2014


That there picture was taken right out my (dirty) kitchen window!
Right before I ran out brandishing a broom. 
(not my good one, of course)
I'm still not sure if I'm glad the blasted coyote ran off when he heard me coming or not.
I mean,
I really wanted to hit him!
But I wasn't too thrilled with the thought he might just snatch my broom
and come after me.
Fortunately, my chicken survived his attack
with just the loss of a bunch of fluffy butt feathers.
Friday was supposed to be date night,
but we had to cancel due to sickness in the ranks.

Poor Lex' is our most recently fallen.
I am really hoping I don't get sick, 'cause it's my week with Gramma.
Every day, there is more and more green outside,
and lots of ground-flowers are blooming.
It's been a long winter.

I'm going to have to get Tyler's quilt finished up pretty quick-like;
it's going to be too hot to work under it before ya know it.
Speaking of quilts ~ I got my new book Saturday, and started reading it yesterday.
I like it every bit as much as I expected I would.
It's not exactly going to be a quick project though.
And I really sort of wanted a quick project 
for when I finish this one.
We have been averaging 1 1/2 dozen eggs a day.
During the winter!
I calculated that if we had sold, for $2.50 a doz, 
all the eggs we've given away in the past few weeks,
 it would have paid for the feed.
(I'm not entirely sure what to do with that.)
That man I married?
I like him a lot.

Friday, March 14, 2014

confession time

I cried so much writing that post,
(although watching the video makes me smile every time, so long as I watch to the last second to watch Shawn's mouth curl)
and was so sad throughout the day,
that come evening, I could stand it no longer.
I dug through the trash 
and rescued the shirt.
(it's in the washing machine as I type)

I know it's silly.
But ya'll.
I don't think I painted an accurate picture about the value of that particular shirt.
When I said it became a favorite, and that even I wore it (often),
what I mean, is,
for roughly a decade,
that shirt was being worn
for at least 50 percent of our waking lives.
(And that's a really low, and therefore inaccurate percentage guesstimate.)
Which means,
a lot of family history happened while that shirt was worn.

I've ordered what I think is an appropriately soft coordinating fabric.
When it arrives, I will drop everything,
and attempt to fashion something beautiful from the the remnants.

I was going to wait to post this until I'd made something,
but I felt like I was lying to everyone,
and making people unnecessarily sad.
(or maybe that was just me? ;-)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

it's my birthday! sort of...

Almost a full week before my birthday last year,
this surprised me in the mailbox.

How cheery is that?!

Of course, I take forever to decide what I want to buy with my birthday money,
and this year was no exception.
I finally decided and made my purchases :-)

The big gift is this

It's been on my list for a couple of years, so I am especially excited to get it.

The question was posed to subscribers of a magazine, "Would you want your daughter to marry a farmer?"
The response to that question, by women who were, themselves, wives of farmers,
was an overwhelming and resounding, "yes."
This book is a compilation of some of the response letters they received,
and quilt blocks that were inspired by them.
I'm looking forward to the letters, as much as the patterns.
(Now, which fabrics to choose?   hmmmm ;-)

I also picked a silicone baking mat set

I sometimes make crackers for our Sunday night snack-y dinner.
They're yummy, but my method is frustrating, so I don't make them 
as often as I'd like to eat them.
I think that these will make my cracker making a lot more enjoyable tolerable,
so I am eager to try them out :-)

After those, I had enough money left to buy a couple of books that I've had on my wish list,
by ordering one of them used, and one as a kindle book!!

because I am so thrifty, I had a little bit of money left, 
so I spent it on some 'add-on' golden-eye needles.

And then, because I am dumb, 
and didn't realize that they hadn't included the cost of shipping my used book in my cart total,
I still owed a couple of bucks after I spent my gift card,
so, I actually bought the needles for myself ;-)
But I expect I will forget that part...

Thanks, Mom & Bill ~ I love you!!