Wednesday, October 31, 2012

burlap and white christmas

it was midnight as i lay in bed looking at the black ceiling last night.  visions of burlap and white christmas tree mantles danced in my head.  shane will kill me if i re-do our christmas theme but i just can't help but think this is the year for change.

i blame pinterest.  and maybe the revival of burlap.  and the happy burlap french script garland at the shop down the street.  you may not know this but i like to decorate for christmas on november1st.  like, as in, manana.

and i almost hate to come out and say it but i'll tell ya.  i like halloween.  not the devilish stuff but the fun we have at our house every october 31st.  our  friends gather and we take our little superheros and mermaids door to door to get snicker bars for mama to fill their little buckets.  then we all gather back at the house for hot apple cider, gingerbread and other treats.  we'll have the fireplace on and it is all warm and cozy like.  all that paired with the yellow mums is about more happiness than i can take.

for me, october 31st is officially the start of "the all  things wonderful season".  this week will be filled with fun size candy and cooler weather.  in the next week or two we'll go ahead and deck the halls.  i'm tellin' ya, we love us some christmas around these parts.  love it.  love the lights.  all 5 of us.  so we enjoy it for a near two full months.  and let's face it, the day after thanksgiving we're ready to have the halls decked.  i'm all about decking early so i can enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

while we're on the subject, as you might of guessed, we're black friday shoppers too.  girl, we'll go out crazy hair and all, just to find the deal. 

well, i'd better go hop off and give the kids "the talk."  ya know, be kind to the neighbors and when given the choice, always, and i mean always, go for the snicker's or reese's.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weigh In-Rate your Plate

I've got to start by telling you about my dinner Friday evening.  Mamaw came home from rehab and we spent the day getting her settled back at home.  We went to Outback for dinner and days later I'm still thinking about that dinner we had.  It was a fun celebration, her first day in over a month to be out in the real world.

It started with a Bloomin' Onion followed by bread and honey butter.  I had steak and a sweet potato topped with honey butter, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Then.  Then.  Wait for it, wait for it, we got a Chocolate Thunder From Down Under.

It was the best dang dinner I've ever had.  This weight loss journey has made me change some things.  Years ago I read the Weigh Down Workshop and loved the concept.  Eat what you want, when you want it, stop when you are full.  That concept, combined with Weight Watchers has helped me drop...

19 pounds

  • I think about what I really, really want before I eat it.
  • I've realized I can have fun and enjoy a fun dinner.  Just not every day :).  No more big Mexican celebrations just 'cause it's Monday and I can.
  • When we go out to eat, I share with someone.  If I don't share I end up overeating and feeling miserable.  In my mind, sharing never seems like enough food, so I make myself feel better by telling myself I can always get a dessert if I'm still hungry.  Crazy thing is, half a meal out fills me up.  5 of us shared this dessert and it was perfect.  A few bites of heaven was all we needed!

Back to point number 1, thinking about what I really, really want.  I already LOVED food and eating, but this makes it even better.  Food, especially really good food, is an experience.

Two weeks ago I was in Memphis.  We had BBQ for lunch, of course.  Everything about the lunch experience made me happy.  The way the sun was shining and the bright blue sky did not have one cloud in it that day.  The way 14 of us women gathered around a table and chatted happily over what we were learning.

The way the smell walking in should be bottled and made into perfume.  The cheese biscuits.  Oh those cheese biscuits.  The 2 real Dr. Peppers I drank.  The brisket and french fries.  It was gooooooood.  I ate what I wanted and when I was full there was half a plate of fries and bread from my sandwich left over.  I enjoyed it all, rated my food, decided the meat and fries tasted best, so most of my bun got left behind.  Normally it would have found it's new home on my rear end.  Ha ha ha get it.  Buns, Buns?

Later that same afternoon we went to Chick-fil-A for shakes and the craziest and I mean craziest thing happened.  It was weird.  Like, I've heard of this happening to people but never experienced it first hand.  As I stood there looking at the menu for a shake (still full from my BBQ lunch that was so satisfying because I ate exactly what I wanted) I decided the fruit cup looked best.  So that's what I got.  A fruit cup.  Mediano.  $2.46.  About an hour into our trip when I got hungry I whipped that puppy out and it hit the spot.

A fruit cup.  Is that not crazy?  I'm tellin' ya though, that lunch earlier was so fantastic, I didn't even need the shake.

My other tip besides halving your food at restaurants is halving your portion size at home.  I'm a seconds kind of girl, probably always will be.  When we had chili this weekend man, I know I'm going for 2 bowls.  So I trick myself and just have smaller size bowls. 

Before weigh in this morning I wanted to quit.  But man, it's working and I've still got 11 pounds to go.  Last week I lost 2 pounds and ate out a couple times.  I just used my eat what I really want trick and it worked.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mommy Time Out

I have just put myself in a Mommy time out.  Is it really wise to be posting about it in the heat?  Probably not.  So, it can just be so frustrating, teaching the kids.  Today started out good.  Sun shining, laundry going, Wal-Mart list planned, learning our first catechism, etc etc was going good.  Till the wheels starting falling off the bus.

Till the phonics lesson started getting frustrating.  Till I lost my temper because I want to see a little effort and not such an easy bent toward giving up.  I set the timer for a 5 minute break then I went and turned it off because maybe I just need more than 5 minutes to simmer down.

Then I log into the computer to get the math lesson geared up.  My computer asks me a ridiculous question.

What would happen if you lost your Google account tomorrow?

Really?  Nothing.  Nothing would happen if I lost my Google account tomorrow and no I'm not giving you internet people on the pop up screen my phone number.  I might even gain a little more freedom because something was just erased from my "have to" list.

And then there's the issue I am dealing with of processing through what God wants from me.  This weekend me, along with 13 other women from church, college age to the mini-van drivers with hips, attended an amazing conference together.  It was good, the older and younger teaming up.

Not just good, but challenging. I heard some passionate women speak about their love for God and people. 

I got some great ideas.  Like having an extended quiet time.  2 hours or more.  I was filled and challenged and on the ride home I was overwhelmed.  Why?  Because as my friend Sandra pinned it, Satan tried to swoop in to steal, kill and destroy the truth I had taken in.  Tried to make me feel guilt and failure.  Tried to link bad words like bondage and legalism to the truth God had spoken.  But we saw it for what it was.  And I will not allow the Enemy to take away from me truth God freshly planted inside me.

I know the freedom of living a life of Joy in the Lord.  I know Grace.  My life knows Faith.  And right now, in my Mommy Time Out, I know new beginnings.  Fresh starts.  I know that a spirit of judgement and criticism is my red flag that I am in sin.  It's not who I am, nor who I am called to be.

This morning my Scripture reading from Ex 3 reminded me that God came to a vision in Moses while he was tending his everyday work.  While he was out tending sheep in the pasture, living the everyday, God came to speak life and truth into his life.

My Mommy Time Out is about to be over.  I'm going to start Math lessons, read about George Washington, take a trip to Wal-Mart to get Cascade, have another conversation with the boys about why we are not spending money on Halloween costumes, we'll re-heat left-overs for lunch, and I'll finish up the laundry, and my day will not be ruined.  It won't be ruined because we had a bad 5 minutes.  It won't be ruined because my Google account might not be here tomorrow and it won't be ruined because your life and mine look different.

Today is the everyday and it is good.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Snow Covered Trophy

Trophies of His Grace.

It's how my Pastor worded who we are on Sunday. The ironic thing is most days I remain completely unaware of how valuable the trophy is.  Most days life is lived in the here and now.

I ingest the Word.  Say the prayer.  Do the dishes.  Take the phone call.  Stir the sauce.  Tuck them in bed.  Read the story.

The morning begins each new days cycle.  I move mindlessly through the routine we call life with no thought to my inner workings.

Only this week was different.  Last week a new prayer found its way into the old.  "Show me my sin."  Not just the obvious ones.  Show me the hidden ones.  The ones who are so much a fabric of my days that I do not even recognize them for who they are anymore.  I can't be that good and there's got to be more.

And one by one they begin to show their faces.  In the midst of beautiful Fall days, filled with vibrance of color from purplish red to fiery orange, eyes are opened to the tainted.  The sin stained soul.

The Pumpkin Cupcake candle flickers and fills the room with comforting smells and sights and the sin stained one carries about her duties.

She seeks control when it is not hers to be had.  The judgemental, critical thoughts dance across her mind.  Pride of the ugliest kind follows closely on its heels.  One by one they begin showing up, those hidden sins, and she begins to understand something of her sin nature.

Most of it is hidden.  It is underneath the surface.  In the hidden places of the heart and mind.  It makes her prayer sweeter when she prays,

"Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness, according to the greatness of your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions and my sin is ever before me.  Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that you are justified with you speak and blameless when you judge.

You desire truth in my innermost being and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

Purify me so I will be clean.  Wash me and I will be whiter than snow.  Make me hear joy and gladness.  Let the bones you have broken rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins.  Blot out all my iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God.  And renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me away from your Presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.

Deliver me from my guilt so my mouth can joyfully sing of your righteousness.

O Lord, open my lips so that my mouth can declare your praise.  You do not care about sacrifice or I would bring it.  The sacrifices of you Lord are a broken spirit and an apologetic, regretful heart, those you will not despise."

Psalm 51

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cold Snap & Knickers

It's always special, that first cold snap that catches me by surprise.

The boys don their one pair of knickers and tube tops I kept down, just in case it gets cold on us, and out the door we go to brave the floods.

Today I've been wading through bins of Fall/Winter clothing from the attic.  This coincides perfectly with my hankerin' to declutter.  The good news is I've already got a big trash bag full of outgrown clothes to donate. 

The other good news is my boys need some pants and maybe a couple long sleeve shirts.  That could be viewed as bad news except for the fact that Wednesday I started checking out boys clothes for the Fall.  There is some serious cuteness to be had and my boys are pumped that we get to go shopping.

This book is on my list to read.  Have you heard of it?  Everything about simplifying and downsizing makes me happy.  So that's my Friday.  Decluttering and changing out closets.

My closet has to wait until Monday.  The goal is to downsize by 50%.  I have the weekend to pump myself up that it can be done!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Chilly Night Chili

Chilly Night Chili
2 pounds ground round beef
1 46 oz can Campbell's Tomato Juice
2 16 oz cans Bush's Chili Beans in Mild Sauce
2 10 oz cans Rotel
1 1oz pkg Williams Original Chili Seasoning
1 diced yellow onion
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1-4 Tablespoons Chili Powder (according to taste)
Salt & Pepper to taste
Brown beef with onion and garlic.  Drain meat.  In a large pot, combine meat with remaining ingredients.  Stir and simmer on low to medium heat for at least one hour, stirring frequently.  The longer it simmers the better it tastes!  Serve with Fritos, Crackers, Jiffy Cornbread Muffins, Cheddar, Sour Cream and Jalapenos.

Set a pretty table.  Light the Fall candles.  Throw on a sweatshirt because this my friends is a Fall dinner done right.

This recipe is my sister's.  It got published in a magazine and let me tell you, it is one of our families very favorite dinners! 

This is even better the next day.

It freezes and reheats well.

I like to use left overs to have Chili Dog & Tater Tot night.

If there is just a small amount to freeze, you can pull it out for a quick meal one night.  Top Baked Potatoes with the Chili, Cheese & Salsa-serve with a Salad.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Weigh In

The last 3 weeks have been off schedule for us.  It started with us tearing out all the tile in our house.  A week later we left for 2 weeks.  I wandered how my weight loss would handle the lack of routine and the lack of healthy food.

This morning I went for my weekly weigh-in, but before I tell you the results, I have to tell you what I've been eating the last 3 weeks (because it has been heavenly!)

  • Chicken & Fries (x too many too count)
  • Pizza & Caesar Salad (ditto)
  • Krispy Kreme
  • Chili Cheese Nachos (x4)
  • Wine
  • Steak and Mashed Potatoes
  • White Cheddar Cheese Its
  • Snicker's (fun size)
  • Frozen Reese Cups
  • Ice Cream
  • Ice Cream
  • Chili Dogs
  • Fried Fish, Fries & Hushpuppies (x2)
I'm probably leaving some things out, but I have not eaten healthy the last 3 weeks.  It has been fast food and processed food.  So, did I loose weight?

My goal was to maintain what I've already lost.  I was able to maintain my weight loss and even lost another pound, bringing my grand total weight loss to...
15 pounds!!!

Shane and I are puzzled that we did not gain weight on vacation.  I've tried to think of how on earth I ate like I did but managed to not gain.  The biggest thing I can attribute it to is that we shared our meals (except for that last day at Disney when I was hot, tired and grumpy and looked at Shane while we were in line ordering lunch and said today I'm getting my own combo!  big butt or not i gotta do what i gotta do!)

So, our portion sizes were smaller and it was a very active trip-we walked all day every day.

When we got to Orlando we went to the grocery store.  I picked up a carton of grape tomatoes.  I never once even cracked into them.  They traveled across 5 states with me and finally last night they got eaten.

When I look at the list of food we ate on vacation, it is a huge contrast to the new normal at our house.  Last night I cooked Potato Corn Chowder and we ate Salads with it.  It was the first meal I've cooked in awhile.

Tonight-My sister's famous Chili recipe.  It is the best!  I'm going to share the recipe with you later this week!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vacation Part I

This is where I spent the last week, at a resort on the Disney property.  It is a really neat story how it came to pass.  In April I was praying about vacation.  Shane and I had different ideas of what we wanted to do and where we wanted to go, so I decided to pray about it and ask God to lead us and guide us.

About 3 days after I prayed we received a call from a sweet couple from church.  "Hey, we booked your family a week at our timeshare in Orlando.  Here are the dates, and everything is all set."  It was such a generous blessing.

Four days before we were set to leave, my Mamaw fell and was admitted into the hospital.  It was really bad and she was not doing well at all.  We postponed our trip a little to make sure she was going to be OK.  The night before we were trying to decide whether or not to go, I opened up my Bible.  I prayed and asked God if He would show me in Scripture whether or not we should make the trip or cancel it. 

My Bible Verse that day was in John 11, so I opened up and began reading the entire chapter of John.  There was a verse that stood out above all the rest, as if God Himself highlighted it for my eyes to see.
"This sickness will not end in death"

Whoa Nelly.  Lord, I thought, are you really giving me such a specific confirmation?  I knew in my heart it was exactly the answer to my prayer.  So with hesitant hearts we loaded the bus and started the 15 hour journey to Orlando.  It was a hard couple of days at first emotionally, with us all being so concerned about Mamaw.

We knew that God had ordained the circumstances, all of them, but moving forward with them was difficult.

He is faithful though, even in the hard things.  He always prepares a table for us, wherever we find ourselves.  Sometimes it is hard to find the table, and sometimes we don't like what is on it, but it is always there, nonetheless.

A few days into our trip Mamaw started improving and that was a huge relief to us.  We settled in to Florida time and really had a blast.  If you know me, you know family vacations are very important to me.  We play hard, rest well, and eat goooood.  It is pretty funny because you would die if you saw our condo after we got our hands on it.  My house at home is neat as a pin (most of the time).  Well, that all goes to pot when I'm on vacation.  Flip flops and clothes on the floor, dishes in the sink, towels on the floor, Capri Sun's on on the coffee table and I don't give a rip about any of it.

You put me in a resort with my lit candle, good books and no responsibility and I go cray-cray!

The boys had a room and we had a room.  They thought it was super cool to have a TV in their room.  It was sweet how they decorated their beds with their blankets, pillows and stuffed animals from home.

This is how the condo looked before we arrived.  We gave it a more lived in look (code: Mama fell off the wagon).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'm Baaaack

If there are still any readers of this here blog I just wanted to say hello.

We've been gone the last 2 weeks on vacation.  I couldn't say anything because I didn't want the burglars coming to steal all my spray painted yard sale treasures while we were gone.

I laugh sometimes that if a robber broke in my house they'd be seriously disappointed.  We got nothin' they'd want since I'm so anti-technology.

We had our house re-tiled while we were away.  It looks good but I've got a mess on my hands.  The washer and dryer are in the living room, I have suitcases of laundry to do, a fine layer of dust from the floors has resettled on everything my Mom and I cleaned before we left, I'm tired and overwhelmed so I'm doing nothing.

The good new is we have beautiful brown tiled floors, we had 2 weeks of rest and family fun (with a melt-down thrown in here and there for good measure), the windows are open because it is a perfectly perfect day, and I only gained a couple of pounds on my french fry fast food eating extravaganza we like to call vacation.

Shane and I celebrated our 12th Anniversary yesterday on a 15 hour ride in the car.  Krispy Kreme for breakfast number one, McDonald's for breakfast number 2, Chick-fil-A for lunch, McDonald's again for dinner.  What?  We're trying to win Boardwalk on Monopoly so we can build our dream house.

Looking forward to getting back to the ol' blog.  I've missed everyone!