Thursday, January 29, 2009

Tooting my own horn

Can you believe it??? check out the challenge info over there on the left...

I've had a 30+ mile week!!!!

Woo Hoo!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


As an added part of my new routine, I've also tried to incorporate more vegetarian meals into our week. My husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy... but he's doing well with it too. This is the salad I made to fill our 'tacos' last night... and the kids looooved it.

1 can black beans, well rinsed
1/2 small bag frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
1/4 med. red onion diced
1/4 c. cilantro
1/4 c. lime juice
kosher salt (to taste)
a few splashes of Tabasco

Mix all of the ingredients and let it sit for about 30 min. This lets the lime juice work itself in and makes the salad super tasty!

Wellness Wednesday

Hi Yall! I hope you guys have gotten the itch to move it, shake it, squeeze it, well, you get the picture. Posting about my daily progress (over on the left) has really helped me see what I've done, how I can improve, and keeps me accountable to myself!!! That being said... the big announcement for the week...
I've ran for just over 25 1/2 miles!!!! And I have one more day to go for the week!!! I may just be able to sweat out a 30 mile week! W-O-W!!!!!

All of this being said, this is what I've learned this week.

1. WRITE IT DOWN!!! I've been carrying this cute little notebook from McMaster and Storm and I write down everything... what day it is (because I can hardly keep up), what I eat, how long I run and how far I go, and what I drink. Doing this has helped me see what I am doing well with and what I need to change. For instance, I went an entire day without drinking one glass of water. Not. Good. I don't worry about calories, or points or anything, I just write what I ate down.

Yesterday, when my Blackberry went to the land of the dead (and dismembered-I was pissed) I upgraded to the 16G iPhone. I found an app that lets me jot all of this info into a calendar. Yeah! It also lets you put in a goal weight and date... which is sort of cool, except that each time you put in your current weight and you haven't reached your goal, it puts a little red line underneath... and I want the green line!!!

2. Sometimes, variety is NOT the spice of life. Here ye! Here ye! Let it be known that in my ADD world, I tend to get distracted! No Kidding, huh? I've simplified my morning routine, lunch, and snack so that I don't have to think about it! Every morning, I eat a packet of high-fiber oatmeal with added steel cut oats and either blackberries, strawberries, or an apple with a cup of 1% milk. (Have I ever mentioned that I hate milk? I'm trying) For lunch I have a p.b. and apple sandwich (two slices of high fiber whole grain bread with a bit of peanut butter spread on it with sliced apples.) And for a snack around 2:30 or 3 I have a chocolate flavored FiberOne bar. (Those are my "treat"... just enough chocolate to be gooooood) I know what I'm having most days and it's much easier to stick to the routine if I don't start giving myself options. Sometimes, I'll have a salad for lunch... yesterday I had another bowl of oatmeal... It may sound boring, but it keeps me from digging around or going for fast food.

3. Fiber and Protein!!!! I have ALWAYS had ongoing problems "going"... Gross, I know, but still. It was a problem. There have been times when I would go for 4 or 5 days without "going". By focusing on packing as much punch into my meals as possible, I'm doing sooo much better! (no pun intended...) Aside from all of the extra veggies I'm eating... I scour labels in the store until I find the highest fiber, lowest sugar, lowest in sat. fat, and whole grain bread, tortillas, rice, etc. If it's a carb, it better be extremly high in fiber!!! Fiber has another added bonus... it keeps you full. I'm not snacking - which should be a total SHOCKER if you know me. I'm also not able to finish dinner... I blame it on all of the dense nutrition in the food I'm eating. And as for protein, it keeps you fuller for longer too! hense the reason I'm eating peanut butter when the news tells me not to. ;-)

In closing, I'll leave you with a funny...

I used to have a Jazzercise instructor who would yell
"Come on Ladies! If you don't squeeze it, no one else will either!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Destination Disney Part 2

O'hana Character Breakfast

This is the 2nd posting on my Disney Tips. (See Part 1)

So you have figured out the best hotel for your family (and budget). If you've chosen an on-property resort, your next decision will be your ticket type. Many factors will play a part in which ticket you choose... and as with ANYTHING Disney, you'll have several options to choose from. Decide if you intend to go off property to that OTHER theme park in Orlando. If you are, then you may or may not want to get Disney passes for those days. Decide if you will want to go to one of the water parks too. Because my girls have been younger and not the strongest of swimmers, we haven't been to the water parks. The option we ALWAYS choose is the Park Hopper option. This will allow you to have breakfast with Cinderella and a late night at the Fantasmic! show at Hollywood Studios. Also, Animal Kingdom generally closes much earlier than the other parks. You can go there for the day, leave to eat dinner, and then have a wonderful night at another park. A couple of my friends and I have debated another option... When you get above 5 or 6 days the cost to add additional days becomes shocking... shocking as in CHEAP. You can buy up to 10 days and then choose the No Expire option and have your tickets for pennies ready for your next trip! This works especially well if you are psycho about Disney like we are. We know we'll be there at least once every year or so, and we've saved 100's of dollars by doing this.

Mad Hatter Tea Party... look in the back... Yep! that's the Mad Hatter and Alice!

One of our favorite vacation options wasn't available when we first started taking the girls to Disney. The Dining Plan.


I put people into 2 categories when it comes to dining advice. Are you comfortable and perfectly happy eating a quick burger/hot dog/chicken strip etc. and getting on with the business of Disney? Does taking your child to a restaurant normally mean taking them to some place like Chili's or the like? Then the dining plan may not work to your favor.

Abby's favorite place, Coral Reef in EPCOT. She loves the lobster bisque.

However, if you like to sit and relax at a quiet dinner, and your children are used to a longer meal in a restaurant, then go for it. Here's our favorite example of why the Dining Plan works for us. Picture your family of 4 eating in a nice steak restaurant. You order the normal appetizer, salads, steaks (or whatever), and maybe a couple of deserts. You also order a bottle of wine. Then picture your lovely waiter bringing your bill. We've personally had a bill from Jiko that hit upwards of $250 for our family of 4, and that was with Abby eating mac and cheese. Surprisingly enough, we've had this scenario happen several times at O'hana, Le Cellier, and other nicer places too. Now picture you and your family stopping for lunch and getting a hot dog, fries, and drink (We always have to go to Casey's Corner). And you realize you will be paying over $30 for hotdogs. Nice. IN COMES THE DINING PLAN... If you like to have that break from the hustle and bustle at dinner, and prefer a nice sit down restaurant - GET THE DINING PLAN. It covers character meals, wonderful restaurants, and even a snack and another counter-style meal during the day. (some places require 2 points for the meal like Jiko and Cinderellas Royal Table) We like to hit the parks early in the morning after breakfast at the hotel, then work our way through lunch and early afternoon. Then around 3 or 4pm, we'll go back to our room, rest/nap, freshen up for dinner, go to dinner and then go back out to the parks for the nighttime festivities. It keeps our kids (and mom) sane when 9pm hits, and gives us some quiet vacation time together.

Disney ice cream sandwich bars do not rot your teeth...

And to answer your question of "Is it really worth the $$$?", my spreadsheet and number obsessed husband would answer a resounding YES. Trust me folks, it's worth the money.

Tuckered out with Lady...

Wellness Wedne... Sunday????

Is it Sunday already? What on earth??? I swear the world must be spinning faster these days... Or was is just because I spent 3 of the 7 days of this past week waiting on roofing contractors... hmmm... I wonder...

Well, this week, lesson learned number ONE would be, not to wait on others. All of that waiting really screwed up my average this week! I didn't want them to show up and either be on the elliptical or in the shower... so I waited and waited and before I knew it, the day was over, we had guests for dinner, and the night was gone! UGH! And THEN when they did come, it took all of 30 minutes for them to re-seal the vent!!! They could have at least sat up there and made me think it took a long time to fix!

Lesson 2: I know for some people, taking a break is a good thing... but for me, I've learned that it just distracts me. This week I'm starting to add some strength training. I'll do this 3 days a week, but as for the cardio, I think it will work better for me to just make it part of my morning routine. That way, there's no question in my mind about whether or not I need to work out.

Lesson 3: SHOES MATTER! A little background. I had some severe lumbar problems starting in college... 3 bulging disks and a continuing hip rotation problem. I also have an extra vertebrae, with not enough space to allow it to move properly. All that really means is that I had mind-numbing pain. I went to a chiropractor for 5 or 6 days a week for almost 2 years to fix it. And didn't have much relief until I had my first c-section and they did my epidural. Sweet relief...

Anyway, I had to start really paying attention to the types of shoes I wear. Hard leather style flip-flops are a HUGE no no. As are strappy shiny heels... :-( . I didn't really think there was much of a difference in tennis shoes until about a year and a half ago. In comes ASICS. Did you know that women have a higher rate of underpronation? That's when the outside edge of your foot carries most of the shift of weight when you are walking/running. It's something to do with the angle of your hip vs. the point of where your foot falls... I have a higher arch too. ASICS Gel Cumulus shoes are my absolute favorite. My feet just love these shoes. New Balance shoes work good for walking around for me, but for serious work (and Disney!), I need my ASICS. I just got my new ones in from And Ahhhh... new shoes. You should replace your shoes about every 6 months. That way you are ensured the proper support.

If you have a question about the proper shoe for your foot/stride I HIGHLY suggest going to a specialty sports shoe place. Ask a couple of questions of the salesguy to see if he has any sense... if he doesn't - try another shop. I had Joe in Mandeville. He was fabulous. He was also the first person to measure my foot since I was like 10. He even *gasp* held. my. foot. And pressed on it. He pulled a couple of different types of shoes for me to try and even bumped me up 1/2 a size. As soon as I put on the ASICS, I knew it was the right shoe for me.

I hope that if you are working hard to better your health that you take a few moments to thank God for his support in your quest to renovate your Temple! Keep up all of the good work, take each day one step at a time, and move!!!

I don't glisten, I sweat!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Giving up control

Isn't always a bad thing... Especially when you get something for your effort!!! I have never had custom made curtains before... But when faced with the new digs, I just didn't know what to do. I ventured out to a shop called Woodlands Fabrics and Interiors, and met Nancy. Nancy is a cute, sweet, and very talented gal who will now always be knows as "The Lady Responsible for making my House a Home". Working with her has really helped me feel like I've put my stamp on things here, and is really bringing it all together for me. So sometimes, giving up control (and stress, frustration, and irritation) can really be a Very Very Good Thing.

I call this shot...
"Please tell me why the builder didn't put in decent built-ins." Now I either have to have some better ones done, or find the IMPOSSIBLE length of 49" media console... Not Nice.



Our breakfast room... that I'm still trying to figure out a paint color for... Although I HAVE decided that the table top is going to go RED. And my poor lemon trees who are finally starting to regain their leaves after the move nearly killed them...

I hate that light fixture... I'm hoping to find something better soon... very very soon.... how can a giant lightbulb give off NO LIGHT...

Oh, and do you see the "Naughty Chair?" ;-) I may paint that too...

AND the "Funky Chicken?"... as every good Southern girl should, I love roosters... but people, don't take everything so seriously. Life's WAY more fun with a little Spice thrown in!



This shot is for Linda... It's my "Small Space". I've complained about how going up 1000 square feet has felt like downsizing... and it's all because of these three spaces... efficient,yes. spacious, no.


Our new favorite reading spot. I have loads of leftover fabric to monogram and make more pillows with. AND I've finally started flipping through some pics to add to the black and white photo wall... Must do some wall monograms soon...

And if Sister reads this post, I need a copy of Mom and Dad cutting their wedding cake, and some pics of MawMaw and PawPaw... scan them and email them to me!!!!!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Library? Office? Library? Office?

Since moving to Texas, there has been some SERIOUS discussion as to what the front room really is... Is it MY library? or is it my husband's office? Because I'm Queen, I officially declare this space LIBRARY. Besides, his laptop is always in the living room anyway. What does he need an office for. And OBVIOUSLY all of my books trump his little slowpoke Dell. ;-)

Yet again, this is a work in progress... as I just wrote to some sewing friends, it's a lot like the chicken/egg question... Until I find the right window treatment, I can't paint... Or should I? Oh Hell. It doesn't really matter... I like tinkering, so the longer I draw things out the better. (like unpacking MORE books...)

So without further ado, I give you - the Library.

Before "The Book Trick"

After "The Book Trick"

There, did you see it? Here's a closer shot...

I've been debating everything from recovering them ALL or adding a neutral tape to the spines... This was quicker and easier... I love how it's just a little bit easier on the eye, and no one REALLY needs to know how many Tudor historical fiction books I have...

And did you notice the pile of "Gras-doo" off to the side of the bookcase? That's the charging location for the kids' D.S.s... and now, thanks to Kim's latest feature, it looks sooo much better! They can still get to it, but it's all CONTAINED.

Here's the writing desk that I found with it's FABULOUS bamboo chair. It's by a designer named Theodore Alexander. It's made of reclaimed wood. From a castle door... (and even if they are lying, I don't care!!!) I LOVE this desk... I may just have to find more of his pieces for the house.

Here's a shot of the window wall waiting on it's "dressing"...

And just because I love that my daddy is handy (and my husband is not) here's a shot of the ceiling fan that we put in... WAY better than the plain contractor white that was in here...

So come on in, have a seat, and curl up with a good book. In MY Library.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Destination Disney

Strolling down Main Street USA during Mardi Gras... practically empty...

I've had several friends asking me for Disney advice lately. And as an admitted Disney-Nut, I thought I would share some tips with you guys! I should also say that I feel confident in sharing my opinion because this will be our 10th trip in 7 years. Like I said, Disney-Nuts. We have gone as a couple and with the kids, we've stayed off-site and on, we've stayed Value, we've stayed Deluxe, we've done the dining plan, and we haven't. We've also STILL not seen everything. Disney is ever-evolving and brings new experiences each and every time. Is it worth it? Totally. Will your pre-schooler remember it? Absolutely. Will you need a vacation after your vacation? Probably.

Because this is a topic near and dear to my heart, you can be safe in assuming that this will be a frequent post for me. So we'll start with the basics, and then in later posts, I'll get more into the "nitty-gritty".

Spring time in EPCOT... GORGEOUS!


What's that? I have no idea. We have a money tree in the backyard and a goose laying golden eggs in the garage. Seriously folks. The very first thing to do after you decide to go visit The Mouse is to determine how much of your children's college fund you'll be willing to part with. And believe me, Walt is MORE than happy to help you part with your money. However, you don't have to mortgage your house to have a great Disney trip.

Tip 1 - If you can, go off-season. Or in Disney speak, Value season. We love October and November in Orlando. And yes, we've taken our kids out of school to do it. Now, when they start to get older and their classes get harder, we'll probably re-think this, but when your kids are young this is the easiest way to hit the Magic Kingdom on the cheap. Look at your school calendars, find that day in the Fall when the kids don't go because of teacher workshops or whatever. Use the long weekend for the bulk of your trip and then the kids don't have to miss too many days. As an added bonus, the weather is spectacular in October/November (and January/February).

You will be eternally grateful to me when you check and double check the holiday and special events calendars. DO NOT EXPECT THE PARKS TO BE EMPTY!!! We've been during Mardi Gras, we thought we'd be all alone... People... Brazil celebrates Carnival. Now, of course, it wasn't as insane as Easter week was, but still busy. Rides and walking through the parks aren't when you feel the population crunch. It's when you've decided to stay late for the fireworks or parade and the ENTIRE rest of the park tries to catch your boat/bus/monorail with you. And you've exhausted your children to the point of a coma and you're having to pack them. THAT's when the Value season will become your best friend. For some SERIOUS holiday magic, the week after Thanksgiving is fabulous.

Tip 2 - Be realistic about your time. Some of our best vacations have come in 4 to 5 day trips as opposed to week long extravaganzas. Especially for the pre-school crowd. In 10 trips we have YET to see and do everything. And that's OK. You will NEVER see it all in one trip, so don't try. You'll miss so much of the Magic by rushing through and pushing yourselves. Make a promise to yourself that this isn't going to be your only trip, and manage how you spend your time. You'll love me for this later. Yes, plan your days, but allow your kids (and yourself) to really enjoy your time there. We have the greatest memory of Abby feeding the ducks (not allowed) in front of the castle. Had we been rushing through to get to Buzz Lightyear, we would have missed this quiet moment and those giggles that we will remember forever.

Behind the Seeds tour in The Land at EPCOT... SUCH FUN!

Tip 3 - Choose your hotel wisely. There are TONS of options here, so do your research.

Off Property: There are some FANTASTIC deals outside of the resort area and they are a great way to save some serious bank. If you will have your own car to get between the parks, this is a viable option. There are several hotels (which you will only need for sleep...) just outside of the Downtown Disney area that make staying off-property easy.

On Property: For a small family the Disney Value resorts are just as great of a deal with the added bonus of easy transportation and access to the Meal Plan (to be discussed later). We used to stay at All-Star Movies or Music when the girls were very young. My biggest issue with the value and moderate levels is the bed size. They have 2 double beds. Which is fine when your kids are small, or you only have one. But now that the girls are bigger we like to stick to the queen bed resorts. We really like Wilderness Lodge. Queen for us, bunk beds for the girls, and a boat directly to the Magic Kingdom. Animal Kingdom Lodge has the bunk beds too, but you just can't beat that boat. We tend to spend most of our time at M.K., so this makes the decision super easy for us. For our trip in March, we'll be staying at the Contemporary. It's our first time on the Monorail so we're pretty excited. We tried for the "Poly" but the standard rooms were filled.

Which leads me to this point... As a way to stay at the nicer resorts for less, go for the cheapest room there. With the exception of Animal Kingdom Lodge, the views really don't mean anything. Unless you like spending your vacation at Disney staring out of your window instead of playing in the parks. Now, with Animal Kingdom Lodge, get the Savannah view. It's amazing to sit and have your morning coffee/evening glass of wine and watch the giraffes being fed.

There are also ways to "rent" from Disney Vacation Club owners. Lately I've seen some folks practically giving away their points.

I hope my readers feel comfortable enough to ask questions. PLEASE feel free. I'll try to help you the best I can or lead you to a place that can give you some insite into planning the best trip you can have. As with any trip, information and planning is the key to keeping things running smoothly and preparing you for the times when it doesn't.


Totem Pole in the lobby of Wilderness Lodge... crazy kids...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wellness Wednesdays

In the spirit of The Challenge, here's this week's Wellness Wednesday update.

This week I logged 6 out of 7 days on the dreaded elliptical or following Jillian to the park (where she rides her bike like Evil Knievel and I have to keep up). I've gone 19 1/2 miles. W-O-W. Now THAT's a pretty cool number... And seems like a pretty good number to push myself with... So next weeks update will be more miles than that.

After my "Help me Jesus" moment and getting up off my tush to move, I saw an interview on Fox News that really hit one of those weird voo-doo cosmic sort of ways. Enter Chantel Hobbs and her book Never Say Diet. From the interview I gathered that we had both turned to God to help us finish this problem once and for all. And in the process she went from 350 to 150 pounds over the course of her enlightenment (pun intended). I immediately went online to Barnes and Noble and found her book and journal... and another Phillipa Gregory book... and FINALLY they came in yesterday. (That's the problem with free shipping... you seem to have to wait longer...)

Last night I read through chapter 3 and realized that I'm not the only kook who was living out of control (in the best sense of the phrase) and I wont be the last. However, I hope that with the support of God, Faith and Friends, it'll be the last time for me. It's exhausting being disappointed in yourself on a regular basis. You know how when you read a really difficult problem and you read and read and read and you just can't figure it out, but then you take some deep breaths, and look at it again, it just "clicks"... That's how this feels.

So here's a few things that I learned about this journey this week.

A. I am not alone. I've always been able to spot the exact people in a crowd who have no problems, no worries, no faults. (that's sarcasm people... ) And then compare my poor pitiful self to them... Well guess what? Those people DON'T EXIST! We all have our issues, quirks, problems, faults... It's what we choose to do with them that sets us all apart. We can choose to wallow in our misery or we can choose to not let it define who we are. Period.

B. Move. It's a 4 letter word. For now. I might not like to exercise right now. I might feel like the first 5 minutes on the elliptical are the hardest... but I have stopped letting my lazy inner voice take control. I do not allow myself to get off before I've gone for 30 minutes. Pretty soon, I've gone 15 minutes, then I notice that I'm almost to the 3 mile marker, and then all of the sudden, I'm at minute 28 and I'm having to make myself go back down to the cool down pace and I've finished. Giving up is the easy thing to do. Giving up has given me fat girl arms. Giving up means failure, and people, that's just not an option. I know that in a few weeks, my body will start to wonder what's gotten into me. I know that in a few more weeks, I will be pleasantly addicted to the endorphins and the good nights sleep. All I've got to do is MOVE.

C. After 2 weeks of cutting out most of the crap (processed and junk food) in my diet, I'm starting to feel pretty good! I think that by not buying Slimfast, Lean Cuisine, or diet pills, and focusing on health and not weight, this is really surprising me. I am ... he-hem... "regular" which is a HUGE joke amongst the family. I'm MAKING myself have an afternoon snack (Fiber One bar and a cup of 1 % milk) and I'm doing alright by the time dinner rolls around. I've also realized that just because I think I'm hungry, I'm usually not. I'm usually bored. Take yesterday... Jillian had her first full day of school. I came home, worked out, blogged, ate lunch, cleaned the kitchen, ... then I still had 2 hours before I had to go to car line. Even though I had just eaten, I felt like I was starving! So I drank a glass of water and changed the laundry loads around and folded the clothes. Then I checked the mail, then I did the next load of clothes... I totally talked myself out of the "hunger" and I know it's because it wasn't real. I've even named it Hoax Hunger... just to keep tabs on it and recognize it for what it is. A Hoax.

D. It's ok to have a break... just don't undo all the work you've done! OK, so I probably had too much wine at this past Friday's Happy Hour... but besides that, I had guacamole, salsa, brownies, chips, hummus, and all sorts of SUPER YUMMY stuff in front of me and I had a decent amount of self control! Yep, I had the guacamole. but just a little. No seriously it was a very small bit. and yep, I had the brownie (it was one of those made in the mini-muffin pan). and it was goooood. SUPER YUMMY good. As is all chocolate in my book. But I didn't kill myself on it, and it didn't become my dinner. Well, there's a first time for everything, right???? And in the spirit of the break, I didn't work out on Saturday. Remember the wine? yeah... Note to self... learn more self-control when in the presence of a good Pinot Noir.

So that's been my path to wellness this week. I told Katie that I wouldn't post this, but why the heck not pat myself on the back... I lost 6 pounds since the 1st. It feels good to feel good!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Houston, We have a Dining Room

FINALLY, we've actually finished (almost) the dining room! We still need to paint, but the furniture and accessories (most of them) are in there. I have to figure out the curtain situation before I can pick the paint color... so I guess this would actually make it a work in progress... Anywho! I'm diggin how it turned out. I LOVE my new old-looking mirror (it's 7 Ft. tall!). and we've already had people over for Happy Hour this past friday to break it in a bit! What fun!




Paying it Forward


Katie over at Katie's Nesting Spot paid me a wonderful complement by giving me a blog award! Yeah! I love Katie. 1st, she's a teacher (kindergarten no less), so she automatically has a special place in Heaven reserved just for her. And she never comments on my horrible spelling... BONUS! She's very friendly and upbeat. 2nd- she leaves me comments and follows my blog!!! (I TOLD you I live for the attention)

So, per the "rules" of the award, I'm to say a few words and then Pay it Forward!

1. Say one thing nice to a man in your life... ( I guess because we all spend so much time hunched over the computers and ignoring them ;-) )

Levi, you are my best friend and my strength. I love you more and more every day. Even though I wont share my super fast laptop with you... ;-)

2. Measure success in your life or blog in six or more ways...

well, I’ll go 3 and 3…Our kids are still alive and kickin’; Levi and I know how to argue well (that is to say that we can argue and still be adults about it); Our family knows how much we love them

as for the blog… hmmm… I get comments (I’m a comment whore – sorry mom) and have followers!; Kim featured me on Today’s Creative Blog and it made me feel like a ROCK STAR; My own mother reads my blog!

Now to Pay it Forward to 5 of your favorite blog stops…

Kristen of Grace Violet. I LOVE looking at her projects (you MUST go see her valentines…) She always has great tutorials and they are always so well done that I really enjoy making her projects!

Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar. Seriously, she has the best cupcake picture around… and she also has some very useful tutorials for crafty sorts of things as well. I never sit and think long enough to come up with my own ideas, I just copy them from other fabulous bloggers!

Kim at Endless Possibilities. She paints… and loves swatches just about as much as I do ;-) Her pictures are FABULOUS and she is GORGEOUS. And she’s not afraid to share her “Tales of Motherhood” like me.

Now the next two are actual professional design people. So gracious of them to share the love with all of us frustrated moms!!!

Linda of Restyled Home is BRILLIANT. And I always feel so giddy when she posts and when she comments on my posts. Her pictures are so great, and I love trying to get different ideas on how to incorporate some “Style” into my own house.

And finally, Brooke of Velvet and Linen. I seriously wish I could afford to fly her over here to Houston and have her work on my entire house. Her designs are soooo wonderful and her pictures are always great. Another great place to visit if you are looking for some great “Style” ideas.

Because there’s nothing new under the sun, and learning from someone’s idea is the ultimate in flattery, I can’t tell you all how much I love visiting your blogs and listening to your thoughts and ideas. I don’t always comment on everything, but I’m always lurking around and trying to dig up a bit of inspiration from my favorite group of ladies! Mwah!

To Pay your award forward, just copy the pic at the top and get to posting!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Cause I'm so Gangsta

Now many of you will remember me saying that I wouldn't post music... well, it's my blog, so get over it... I'll take it down after I get more posts in...

This song has me feeling so kick-ass on the eliptical. And as the whitest girl in the south, I have to say that I TOTALLY love Kanye. Yeah, he's my boy. I used to even have Golddigger as Levi's personal ringtone on my phone, until he called me while I was at a church meeting... ASK me how fast I ran then!

Anyway, this is how I roll... ;-) when I'm trying to get in just a few more minutes on the hated exercise machine. Doesn't it make you want to get your groove on? Oh yeah!

OK, so the player was even bugging me... go to iTunes and listen to Estelle and Kanye in American Boy... You'll see what I'm talking about.

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Walk in the park

Awesome tree tunnel on the walking trail to the park...

OK, so it was technically a walk to the park, but a walk all the same. I can't wait for Sister to come visit again... her kids would LOVE this park... and maybe if they go home and brag about it enough, Sister in Law will come visit with her little pumpkins too. :-) Hint Hint Hint... It's much bigger than the tot park by the house and has a huge grassy hilly area to run around on. SUCH fun! And as an added bonus, it was such a beautiful morning, with such a peaceful walk, that I really started to feel like I could get to like this joint.

Here's a couple of more pics from our outing taken on my crappy Blackberry... (WHY can't I remember to tote along my camera??? That's why I miss all of the great picture moments!)

Prissy like Minnie

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bean Soup

Here's the recipe (sort of) for the Bean Soup that we've all become addicted to. We love Mexican food around this house, so the Cumin in it really makes the girls excited. And it's CHEAP to make!

Bean Soup

1 lb. dried pinto beans (soaked overnight and rinsed)
1/4 md. vidalia onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 box low sodium chicken stock
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. kosher salt
fresh grated black pepper

Break out your schmancy Le Cruset pot for this one ladies... it likes to sit around at a rolling simmer for hours...

In your heavy stock pot, saute onion in olive oil until softened. Add garlic and cook through for a minute more. (garlic gets really nasty if you burn it, so don't let it get too brown). Add the soaked pintos to the pot with the remaining ingredients. I wing the spices... sometimes I add red pepper, sometimes I add more garlic. Taste your food people, and you'll figure out what you like. Cook on your lowest flame for several hours.... I like to make this one an all day dish. The pintos will start to break down and thicken the soup just a bit. Add water or more stock as needed to keep the liquid level about an inch above the beans.

You could cheat and use a slow cooker, but I like looking at my pretty red pot. ;-)

Side note, someone told my mother that if you soak the beans overnight, it removes the "gas"... don't know if that's true or not, but funny enough to mention.

Wise ass

Ok, so today after searching for something to feed the kids for breakfast, I decided I HAD to go to the grocery store... Which I totally hate - by the way. Usually my lovely husband does the deed, but we had no milk, bread, eggs, or ANYTHING. Armed with my "healthy" list and determined to "shop the perimeter" I headed off to Kroger... After an hour and a half of serious focus, I felt pretty good about all I found... Of course, until I had to PAY for what all I found. Organic isn't cheap people. I am going to have to local a farmers market soon.

Anyway, one of my purchases was a strawberry flavored pro biotic soy drink called Kefir. Yeah. I don't know what the hell any of that means either. But it's supposed to be terrific for you, so what the heck. Cut to dinner... when I'm trying to convince my kids that brown bread tastes just as good as Bunny bread... (I made grilled cheese sandwiches for them to ease them into it... they looked burned to the kids, so it worked.) I poured them a bit of the Kefir into their cups and added milk to cut the taste of it... flavored or not, this stuff is weird... When they were nearly finished, I told them they had to either eat all of their carrots or drink all of their milk. They took the carrots.

After I try an explanation of how it's a healthy drink that has lots of vitamins in it, Abby informs me in her most innocent lovely voice, "Oh, well, it's OK if we don't drink it, because we get all of our vitamins from the wonderful meals you cook." Batting eyes... smiling with head tipped to the side... Smart ass. I still had to kiss her for it though. There's no fooling that kid.

And as for shopping the perimeter of the grocery store... It actually worked out pretty well. I was probably 70% perimeter... then I had to get oatmeal, bread, spices, and nuts... but I was close!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Wellness Wednesdays

Hi guys! To hold myself more accountable to "The Challenge" (see left) I am going to post some things I've learned over the past week on Wednesdays.

Not that I hold much love for Oprah (who the hell has time to sit and watch tv? honestly?) but, I actually did see bits and pieces of the past two days of the show... She's been lamenting over all the weight she's put back on. Honestly, sometimes her self-rightousness turns my stomach. But I saw enough of the show while passing through the living room to hop online to look at her website.

All of this self-reflection started after the move, but I didn't really have one of those serious kind of reality checks until I went home for Christmas... My mom has a photo of me and Levi from a year and a half ago when we went on the cruise in Italy...


Yep, that's a picture of a picture... but you get the idea... Anyway, my sister-in-law Holly (LOVE her) said, "WOW Holly, you were really skinny." (HATE her!) - just kidding I totally agreed with her. 1 1/2 years ago, I was 40 pounds lighter. Yep, you read that right... 4-0. INSANE.

Enter excuses... A: Sewing business took off (meaning more time spent on my rear), B: Selling the house and moving, C: 2 hurricanes worth of junk food, room service, and stress ... you get the point.

So, since we had a $3000 elliptical sitting in our game room collecting dust, I decided it was time to get off my ass and do something about it. And after much searching online for some help on getting healthy, I have discovered the following 3 things this week.

1. Taking time to say "No" to the kids, husband, school, email, phone, etc. for 30 minutes a day is more difficult than I remembered... and now I'm wondering how I EVER found the time to Jazzercise (laugh all you want, but it's fun for a closet dancer) for 2 hours a day.

This is the gist of "O's" new year... take more "Me" time. I've always said 'If momma aint happy, aint nobody happy' but it ended up meaning 'momma is going shopping and having a grande mocha latte' or some such stupidness.

2. D sized "Sistas" need more support while interval training... Unless I can convince myself into getting one of those "Full body lift and tucks"... The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

As soon as I think they can't get bigger, YIKES.... If only they were pretty... sigh.... breastfeed two children and see how pretty yours are.

3. It feels really good to have a plain sweet potato with cinnamon, a grilled chicken tenderloin with Mrs. Dash garlic and herb, and carrot sticks... and actually feel full enough to pass on the homemade beer bread I made. Feels REALLY good. Even that one shocked me!

I LOVE to cook. Esp. bake. And I love me some "Semi-homemade" cookin where most of it comes from a box... that box however is the source of most of the crap in my family's diet, so we're digging out some real recipes and trudging along. I will be posting the Bean Soup recipe that I came up with... as soon as I figure out actual measurements... (I usually just "wing it" when I'm seasoning things, so it may take me a while to write it down. )

So in an "Ode to Oprah" sort of way, I had an "a-ha" moment. The power of prayer can help us through all kinds of struggles. I've always sort of focused mine on being a better wife/mother, setting a Christian example to those I meet, praying for peace and our country, etc. I've even said stupid things like "God, please help me not totally flip out over this hurricane..." But I've never really asked (begged) for help focusing on "me" through each day. And only that day. And I've never really thought I should. It just always seemed pretty selfish... until now. Because I know that if anyone can help me figure out this mess, it's Him and only Him.

So until the next Wellness Wednesday, here's to water, sweat, and the power of prayer.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Photo bucket

No, not photobucket, but a Photo Bucket. I saw this posting somewhere in blogland where the discussion was about how to organize your photos. One suggestion was to just dump them in a bowl and set them out on the coffee table. Since I totally suck at putting pictures into scrapbooks and albums... or even getting them off of the sd card... I thought this might work for us. Grace Violet's Ribbon Bucket gave me the inspiration to put together a bucket for the girls. I took out some of my favorite snapshots and decorated the $0.99 metal bucket that I picked up from Michaels with dimensional scrapbook travel stickers. They love flipping through the pictures without having to worry about fingerprints and smudges. Thanks for the tutorial Kristen! Adorable as always!


Spring Cleaning and "Tha Sistas"

We're barely into "Winter" and I've already started my Spring cleaning... and no, that's not me... my hair isn't highlighted, and my "sistas" (a.k.a. boobs) aren't that small. But I've been cleaning none-the-less. I hope it makes my blog load a bit faster (I promise to keep the music on my ipod and off the blog).
Speaking of "Tha Sistas"...
Convo with Jillian (age 4 and 3/4) from last night after I was out of the shower, but not quite dressed.
knock knock knock... Mommy, Can I use your potty?
Why are you knocking, you've never bothered before?
I really need to go to the baffroom and Daddy wont get out.
Why don't you go to the two other "baffrooms"
Because I just want to be around you.
Oh, well, alright. Hurry and go before you pee on yourself. Jillian... young ladies don't need to actually hold themselves when they are trying to not pee pee.
Silence while focusing on the potty... Then...
Mommy, how do you get those?
Those what?
Those things... she says while lifting her shirt and trying to look at her own chest
Well, first, those things are called breasts and they grow when you get older.
Oh, like when your 7?
No baby, hopefully not until your like 40.
Are you 40.
Do you think I look 40?
No... Maybe your like sixteen hundred!
I am NOT 1600.
How old are you?
I'm 25. (yes, I lied to my child)
So they get bigger when you get older? (jeesh! there's no distracting this one...)
Yes. (Keep it simple Mommy and maybe she'll drop it...)
Wow.... then you must be really old.
Thanks Dot. Out while I get dressed.
Abby!!!! (she yells while stomping down the stairs) Mommy's REEAALL Old!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Le Papier Studio: ARKITEKTUR - Shop nr.2

Le Papier Studio: ARKITEKTUR - Shop nr.2

Yeah! Vana has opened up her beautiful work to the masses! I'm particularly smug about her work because I have 3 originals ;-) and they are FABULOUS! Now quick... Everyone go shop!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Bridget the Original Blogger

Bridget: It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.

Cue the Holidays... We've been feeling out of sorts lately... it's been like that particularly annoying song...

4 strep throats; 3 stomach problems; two heads of lice; and a freakin partridge in a pear tree!

I KNEW things were going a bit too smoothly lately. And the lice... well, let's just say that NOW I believe in Murphy's Law. Makes my head itch just thinking about it. Oh, well, sorry about that. Now I've just made YOUR head itch as well.


Which brings all of the random thoughts in my head around full circle. I love Bridget Jones's Diary... It's pretty funny to say the least. And I believe I just challenged Lara Gallagher via Eatopia to a posting dual of sorts... So at random parts of the day, I'll be posting bits of verbal diarrhea to make myself hop my "arse you could park a bike in and balance a pint of beer on" (Mark Darcy said it, not me...) onto the elliptical. In addition to all of the other random bits of unnecessary information that I post. Cheers! And Happy New Year!