Sunday, January 26, 2014

girls' night


Friday night,
the guys went on a father-son freeze-your-butt-off camping trip
so we had a little girls' night here at the house.
Make-up & curly hair,
and 
pizza 
and a princess movie.



She looks so much like her big sissy did when she was a little girl!








this right here? classsic Lex'

I love you, my beautiful girls ~ with or without curls and make-up.
I'm proud to be your momma.

(After a few hours, Lily brushed her hair, to kinda tone the curls down a little.
She said "I like the curls - I just wanted to make them more 'me'." 
I love that she knows what 'me' feels like.
I hope she doesn't forget as she gets older...)


Friday, January 24, 2014

magic sizing


I used to sell candles.
I don't know that I've ever mentioned it on the blog, have I?
Anyways,
it was a long time ago, and I was actually quite good at it.
When I was pregnant with Brandon
I stressed for months over how was I going to sell PartyLite and properly take care of a baby.
My babies pretty much consume my life for a year or more.
As soon as I realized that deciding to no longer sell candles
didn't mean I was a quitter,
I quit.
I had my last show in August of '98, about 5 or 6 weeks before Brandon was born.

Terry, the friend who came to Brandon's birth, was a PartyLite consultant too.
She just loved doing the paperwork.
Now, I didn't hate the paperwork, but it sure wasn't my favorite part.
Terry though?
I can still see her -
she'd scrunch up her shoulders and rub her hands together with glee 
when it was time to get the orders all ready to turn in.

That's how I feel about my magic sizing.
I love the stuff!
I got the star blocks sewn together, and when I pressed the seams,
I discovered that my can was 'bout  empty.
Which means,
I get to open a new can next time I sew!
It's enough to make a girl giddy.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

stuck


I've given myself a deadline of Feb 6th.
That's when the olympics begin,
and I want to have this all put together and the machine quilting part finished by then.
That way, I can sit on my butt do the hand-quilting while I watch all the athletic people.

Monday I was going to cut my batting
(you remember - that's what I use to lay out the quilt, and then it's already ready when I'm ready to baste :-)
but then I got scared;
I'd never cut a piece of batting that much longer than my measuring board.
See - the batting is 90 inches wide (it's folded in half on the roll - making it 45 inches but that's neither here nor there...)
So what I do, having never before made a quilt longer than 90 inches,
is cut my batting to the width of the quilt, and use the width of the batting for the length of the quilt.
This blasted quilt is 80x92, so I had to cut a piece 96 inches long.
My board is only 72 inches.
My fear of cutting the batting inaccurately, (well, and maybe how busy I was with other things, too, a little bit...)
kept me from cutting it for 3 days.
Yes, I realize I am a stupid wimp.
I just made myself do it today,
and felt so silly for being scared.
Really! What was the worst that could happen?
Sheesh.

Anyways.
I cut the batting, tacked it up on the wall
and started laying out the quilt.
(Then I wondered why the heck did I have to cut it so huge?)

And now, 
I've run into a bit of a problem.
(a real problem.)

The stars (yes - I still need to fix that one...) 
look fabulous.
(although, not perfect, but oh well.)


But when I added the border section - ugh!


It totally draws attention away from the the stars of the quilt.
(get it? the stars are the stars... hehe)

And it looked so nice on paper, too.
(sigh)



So now I need to figure out what to do....
(but one thing's for sure. I am not making more stars!)


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

flabbergasted and flustered and all fired up


Well.
I'm not sure about the local library thing.

We went last week and got our card
and they let us each get 1 book.
Obviously,
we weren't there very long, only picking out 1 book each.
(Except that they had some books for sale - paperbacks were only $ .25, so I had to look through all 3 carts.
It was time well spent; 
I got my very own copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which just thrills me to no end.)

So, today, being Wednesday, we went back to the library.
The adult section is okay,
but ya'll!
The children's room is a nightmare!
You should see the way they shelve the books.

Here - let me give you just a peek


Lest you think that's an anomaly:



Seriously?!?!

They don't bother alphabetizing the books except by the first letter.

I just don't even know what to say.

I was so stressed I had to get out of there - and I wasn't even looking for anything in particular.
But if I was - the chance of me finding it would be slim.

I'm going to give it my best shot.
I really want the local library to work for us.
But I'm just not sure it's going to.



Friday, January 17, 2014

Lily is wondering


If the Scarecrow has no brain,
then how on earth would he know 
that
 he didn't have a brain?


four-week fitness update


So.
It's been 4 weeks since my last one,
so it's time for another fitness update.
(It's been 4 weeks? How does time fly so fast?!)

I ended up skipping a few days of exercise around Christmas
but I got right back to consistent daily (except Sundays) exercise Jan 2nd.

About 5 weeks ago, I added in 30 Day Shred.
Mon, Wed, and Friday, I'd do that,
and Tues, Thurs, and Saturday, I'd do 2 days worth of 8 Minutes in the Morning, plus my extras.

After about 2 weeks of that routine,
I started noticing that I actually felt a little better after exercising
on the days I did 30 Day Shred (which combines cardio and strength training).
(I hadn't ever noticed an improved mood/frame of mind after just strength training exercises)

A few days after that realization, 
Tyler told me he thought I needed to be doing more cardio.
He'd been talking with a buddy of his about weight loss...
As you might imagine,
it kinda ticked me off a little bit,
Mr Skinnypants telling me what I needed to do to lose weight, 
but I knew he was right.
~ sigh ~
So ever since then,
I've either done 30 day shred or I've done this and added in squats, crunches, and chest flies.
I got tired of doing the inverted pullups - I don't seem to be making any progress
(shocker)
and my arms and shoulders are already perpetually sore thanks to Jillian.

The good news is,
it's getting a little easier, this daily exercise thing.
And I don't cry so much.
The bad news is, my knees and my right heel hurt pretty much all the time now.
(but the knee pain is not the possible-meniscus-tear knee pain, thank the Lord!)

We've purchased a mini trampoline 
(which is quite huge in this tiny house) in an attempt to lessen the pain,
and I just got a couple of books that might help me figure out what supplements I need.
The first one, I tossed aside pretty quickly,
but the second, The Mood Cure, actually caused a feeling of hope to swell up in me.
Of course, that hopeful feeling was quickly consumed by being flat overwhelmed with trying to figure it all out.

Food-wise,
I don't know, I think maybe I need to eat more?
I don't really think eating less is an option...
It's kinda hard to know what I need
when no matter when and what I eat,
and how much or how little,
the scale (and apparently, the tape measure, too) is going to do it's own dadgum thing.
It's downright disheartening.

I still haven't made an appointment with my Dr.
(I don't really know why I'm dragging my feet on that.)
I did make up a fancy chart though,
after carefully taking notes for the past 4 months.


If you flip it upside down,
that's pretty much how the scale moves.
Pretty sure it's related.

And I'm pretty tired of spending the bulk of my life
(haha - bulk of my life ~ oh, I tickle myself... ahem.)
doing eh. ok. and worse.
For a long time, I was fine with that,
because it's sooo much better than
years 
of every. single. day.
feeling
not so good,
UGH!
and way way worse.

~
So.
Here are the not at all impressive numbers.
After all that hard work (and cardio ;-)
I am down a whopping 1.8 lbs.
In 4 weeks.
Like I said - not impressive.
But hey, I'll take it.
Especially when statistically, obese people gain 5 lbs over the holidays.
And it's better than the .6 I lost in the previous 4 weeks...

Measurement wise, this is what's going on:
neck - down 1/8"
upper bust - increased by 3/8" (increased by 3/4" last month. what gives?!)
no change in the bust measurement
ribs - down 5/8"
down 1/2" in my waist
and 3/8 in my hips
down 1/4" each in my thighs, knees and calves
and my wrists are 1/8" smaller

For the amount of effort I am expending, these results are pretty pitiful
and I'm not going to bother with pictures again,
because, really.

Moving forward,
I'm just going to keep plugging along.
Maybe I can actually make some headway in the supplement department, thanks to my new book,
and I can start feeling like myself again.
I have a sneaking suspicion that whenever that finally happens,
my body will let go of the weight more easily.

Now, if you'll excuse me,
I have an appointment
 with Jillian


Thursday, January 16, 2014

even better than I suspected


Okay.
You know how I posted my baking mix recipe the other day?

Oh, of course you know.

Well.

I'd never done the math.
I mean,
I knew you'd end up consuming fewer calories and fat
(duh)
but I didn't realize just how much less!
I crunched some numbers this morning,
'cause it's been bugging me for 2 days now.

Let's just say your original recipe for a muffin in a mug used 2 Tbs each ground flax and Almonds.
That'd be 164 calories and 13.5 fat grams.

If you used all 4 TBS flax, you'd have 148 cal and 12 g fat
All almonds, 180 calories and 15 fat grams.
(Obviously - these counts are just the flour portion of your recipe)

Using my baking mix
(and remember, you only need 3 TBS 'flour', instead of the 4 normally required for MiMs)
the flour portion is only 89.25 calories
and 7.3 grams of fat!

Sa-weet!

For a Fuel Pull recipe,
you could even substitute some of the oat fiber with the baking mix for tastier results
and still be in FP range!
(I'm sorry - I know that meant absolutely nothing to most of you. But trust me, it's exciting to a fat girl ;-)

I'd figure out how much money is saved by the addition of oat fiber to the baking mix,
but I've reached my math limit.

It's got me curious, though...


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

the ditz returns


So.
I was taking my supplements this afternoon.
I grabbed the bottle of D3 and it rattled.
"Hmm," I thought.
"I thought I was out of D. Hmm."
(I know - this is a horrible time to be out of vitamin D. More is coming...)
I opened the bottle and as I poured 2 pills into my hand, I thought,
"Huh! I didn't remember these being red!"
I popped them in my mouth.

They were red hots.

I'd bought them for Christmas goodies 
and hid them from myself in the empty bottle, 
intending to give them to the girls to use as pills for their doctor kit.

Goodness, I miss my brain!

low carb baking mix


When we first started eating low carb and wheat free (2 + years ago)
to make the transition easier,
I made a lot of baked goods,
using almond and coconut flours.

Both flours are quite expensive, in my opinion.
Also, almond flour is kinda high in calories
and coconut flour just has a unique taste.
But mostly, they're expensive
so once the transition to a breadless life was over,
I just baked less.
~
Fast forward to THM. (Trim Healthy Mama, remember?)
There are quite a few recipes for muffins and cakes in mugs,
which are single serve muffins and cakes.
(I sometimes quadruple a recipe and bake it in an 8x8 pan and serve it to the whole family :-)
I'm really not sure what makes one a muffin and another a cake?
Anyways.
They usually call for ground flax or almond flour, or both.
Now, flax is not terribly expensive, and it is very good for you (although the calorie count is a bit high, too)
and we've been eating flax for over a dozen years,
but
 it has a certain mouth feel that isn't always desirable.

Conundrum.

Enter oat fiber.
Not to be confused with oat flour...
Now.
On its own, oat fiber pretty much tastes like cardboard.
But
 it has zero carbs, zero fat, and zero calories
(this would explain the cardboardiness ;-)
and if you mix it with ground  flax and almonds,
well,
you've got a winner!

 I have come up with a basic baking mix
that combines oat fiber, almond flour, and ground flax.
With it, I make rolls and biscuits, burger buns, chocolate cake, lemon cake, Italian cake, and my basic muffins.
The really cool thing,
beside the fact that the addition of the oat fiber to my baking mix
lowers the fat content and calorie counts significantly,
is that I use less of the baking mix with oat fiber.
So what used to require 4 TBS, before the addition of oat fiber to my baking mix,
now only requires 3.

I save money
and 
consume even fewer calories!
(Not that I am overly concerned about calories,
 but if I can eat a muffin that tastes just as good, but has fewer calories, and costs less, why would I not want to?!)

Enough blathering; here's the recipe:

Low Carb All-Purpose Baking Mix
(This fits really well in an emptied 54 oz coconut oil jar)

3 cups ground flax (I just use my spare coffee spice mill. I also have a strong preference for golden flax over the brown!)
1 1/2 c almond flour (I use 1/2 homeground in my vitamix and 1/2 purchased flour.)
1 1/2 c. oat fiber
5 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1 scant TBS sea salt

Mix well (I just shake it) and store in fridge
and use for all your THM-friendly MiMs (muffin in a mugs, for the non THMers)
just remember that you only need a total of 3 TBS dry ingredients where you once used 4 :-)


 I've not ever tried substituting this in recipes that call for regular flour
because I started with recipes that were already low carb.
(although I suspect it might work fairly well)

I'll try to get back here soon with a few recipes,
but here are a few to get you started
(just remember to reduce the flour by 3/4 - and you won't need to add any salt of baking powder)

For more Trim Healthy ideas, check out
trim-healthy-tuesdays-banne

P.S Friday is time for my 4 week progress report. I'm sure you've been waiting on pins and needles ;-)
I'm hoping for better results than last month to be sure!

EDITED TO ADD
I've crunched the numbers - using this baking mix reduces your calories and fat grams by almost one half!
This posts breaks it down

Here is a recipe for Italian Cream Cake, using the baking mix.

And here
 is a recipe for the most amazing grain free chocolate chip cookies I have ever eaten.

And my version of The Primative Palate's bagel dogs
(buns made out of the dough are sooo delish,
especially toasted and slathered with butter!)

And a wrap / tortilla / flatbread recipe that is perfect for all sorts of toppings and fillings.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Mom's meatloaf ~ it'll cure what ails ya


Jeremiah was just heartbroken after church today.

He'd received an impromptu invitation to go play airsoft at a friend's house,
but the friend left church
before Jeremiah had a chance to ask Tyler if he could go.
(I'd already left, so was unavailable for consultation.)
This also happened to be the first invitation to go to a friend's house by himself
that he's ever gotten.
Suffice it to say, the disappointment was tremendous.

He had a good cry
and Tyler and I both talked with him and loved on him
but he was still quite sad when we sat down for lunch.
(meatloaf, baked potatoes, (cauliflower for me) and salad)

After lunch, he went with Tyler and Josiah to pick up a movie for our snacky supper..
(Usually we watch a Psych, but Despicable Me 2  is in Redbox now, and I had a coupon for a free rental...)
They'd only been in the car a few minutes when Jeremiah said,
"Boy. If there's anything that can make you feel better,
it's Mom's meatloaf!"

Man am I glad I'd made meatloaf today!

Friday, January 10, 2014

blast it all!



Well, I finally, finally! finished my paper pieced stars.

My happy dance was short-lived though,
because I 
put a hole in the center of one of my stars
less than 2 minutes after I finished pressing the final block.

Those center seams are quite bulky
so I decided
since I do not yet have a clapper
(ahem)
that I would use my jewelry block and hammer
and hammer the center seam.
I wondered, briefly, if maybe I ought to use a cloth between my quilt block and my hammer.
For reasons I can not explain,
I didn't find it necessary.


~sigh~

I'm mulling over how to fix it.
I do not, I repeat, do not want to make another block.


suggestions gratefully accepted...

linking up with Amanda Jean's Finish it up Fridays

on strength and weakness


A friend posted this picture on Facebook earlier this week 
and I've kept it open on my computer ever since.




At 45,
(I think I'm 45? I never can remember...)
I am finally beginning to understand that 'I' don't have to be the strong one.

More and more I am becoming aware of how weak I truly am.
It is so hard for me to say, "I can't do this; I just can't."
(I mean, don't we teach our children not to say that very thing?!)
And yet
until we get to the point where we can say that,
we're just going to keep struggling along in our own wimpy power.

I can't say that I've exactly learned to embrace the weakness,
but maybe I am moving in that direction.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

slip and slide


My first clue
should have been when I nearly slid right off the steps.
My second,
when I nearly fell, again, as I rounded the corner by the Excursion.
I made a mental note to tell Tyler.
Why,
I have no clue.

The first time I realized I may have made an error in judgment,
deciding to try out the local library this cold rainy day, since our $40 a yr card to the FSM library had expired,
was when I neared Kibler Road
and saw the cars moving r e a l l y slowly.

But it wasn't until I pulled slowly out onto Kibler
and the rear end of my big ole vehicle
slid pretty near sideways
that I knew.

Any remaining doubt, if there was any, 
(which, there wasn't)
would have been gone when I applied the brakes to pull into the Dollar General parking lot to turn around,
but instead,
just slid on by.

We managed to make it to the gas station and turn around there,
then s l o w l y slipped and slid all the way back home.

I do not drive on ice.
New and exciting books will have to wait.

Lily is worried about Daddy having a comfortable place to sleep at work tonight.

I had planned on shopping this afternoon
(my previous 'shopping while in town for TKD' system was causing me no end of stress
so I was planning to try out a new shopping system this year.
Which would begin with a trip to the library.
Which would keep the natives thoroughly occupied at home for the afternoon
while I shopped.
Good plan, no?)
Anyways.
I had planned to shop,
so somehow, I feel as if I've gotten a bonus afternoon off.
(never mind that I still need to implement the new shopping plan some other day....)
I think I'll sew :-)
Which is a much nicer way to pass the day
than say
slip-sliding all over the road.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

posted, most clicks




Today,
I thought I would join Sarah,
the adorable mom to 6 equally adorable munchkins, who blogs Amongst Lovely Things.
She's doing a link-up on first Tuesdays,
and the assignment, for this, the first Tuesday of the year,
is

Here's mine:

(the picture will take you there  if you haven't seen this post yet, or if ya just want to see it again ;-)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

no carb, no calorie rice


So.
The other day, Tyler was making stir fry for dinner
while I was working, again, on a house plan.
I suggested rice
(in addition the the thinly sliced cabbage we usually eat it on)
to which Tyler replied, "You'll need to make it."
(He doesn't really multi task in the kitchen.)
So I hopped up, turned on the burner,
pulled the pressure cooker down from the cabinet,
set it on the stove,
measured 3 1/2 c water
and dumped it in the pot.
I set the lid, unsealed, on the pot so it would boil more quickly.
I intended to grab a pound of rice from the pantry and set it on the stove,
but in my hurry to get back to work, I forgot.
I called to Tyler, "line 1, 22 minutes" as I headed back into the LEM.

We sat down to eat about 25 minutes later.
Tyler opened up the pressure cooker
and stuck in the serving spoon.
(yes. the pots go on the table. we're fancy like that)
He gave a stir.
He stood up an looked in the pot
then looked at me incredulously.
"You never put the rice in?!"

oops.

He had noticed that I didn't have the lid sealed,
(because the rice wasn't in it yet...)
and  decided that rather than call attention to my 'error', he'd just seal it.

So we cooked water (at line 1) for 22 minutes.

Oh, how we roared!

Lex' didn't really see the humor and was a little upset at the lack of rice,
but we grabbed a small bag of cooked wild rice out of the freezer
and the rice monster was quickly appeased.

So.
If you ever want to make no calorie, no carb rice, now you know how to ;-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

big hearts and tiny houses


Walking towards the library,
we passed a field.
With great sympathy, Lexi exclaimed,
"Oh! That poor family!"

Looking around, I didn't see anyone, let alone an entire family that would elicit such concern.
"What poor family?" I asked Lex', confused.

"The family who lives in that house."
she replied
as she pointed to the orange porta-potty in the center of the field.
"It's so tiny
 they must be very poor."

Thursday, January 2, 2014

adding to the list


The other day,
I had Jeremiah add a couple of items to the shopping list.

My eyes have landed on the list several times
and I always chuckle.
In addition to 'hot dogs' (from Sams) and buns (Aldis)
(to go with chili...) 
he'd also written
'ten thosand $ to Jeremiah'

That boy makes me smile.
Makes me crazy, too. 
But he makes me smile.