Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Multi-tasking: Health Check-In, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Tree Hunting

This post is going to be one conglomeration! First up, my weekly health check in. I made it through the holidays without overindulging, although I certainly ate some very rich, sugary foods that I wouldn't normally! I was up two pounds at my weigh in, but I am not discouraged. I am pleased with how I ate, especially with so many temptations lurking. Exercise has been on somewhat of a standstill because my back is really having fits. I would appreciate prayer, if you think of it. My verse for this week is Galatians 5:16: "So I say, live by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh."

We did have a wonderful Thanksgiving day, consisting of cooking, the Macy's Day Parade, lunch with family, naps, and lots of family time. We always drive up to the mountains on the Friday after Thanksgiving to get a Christmas tree, so all of the pics in this post are from that day (I forgot to take any pictures at our family meal on Thursday!). 

Eden couldn't wait to pick out a tree - here she is waiting on the rest of us to get ready:

Still waiting, outside this time:

The place that we go to is called McInnis Farms and they have a hayride down to the tree fields. This is one of my absolute favorite pictures of Jason, he is making an expression exactly like his dad:

(they always have hot apple cider to take with you on the hayride)

Eden was hanging out with Grammy and Grumps on our ride:

Harry spent most of his time hunting for sticks and rocks, but he loved being outside and roaming the hills:

Our tree!

One of the best shots of the day:

We claimed that baby!

The G's:

Family shot:

Love this one too:

Sara and Kellan (who had to play Harry herders all afternoon):

Harry loved riding on the hayride:

And last, I had to share this series of shots. We were trying to get one with all of the kids and Harry just was not interested in helping. Poor Kellan, he didn't stand a chance! 


Monday, November 19, 2012

Weekly Health Check-In

I'm getting to the point of habit in my eating and exercising. It is a strange place to be! I have done lots of things in the past to try and lose weight but this has been so different. The focus is not on food - how much, what kind, when, etc. - the focus is on filling myself with God and His word. And although I am not being perfect of course, there is definitely a pattern of habitual victory. 

This week's weight loss was only 0.3 lbs, but strangely I am not that upset. I think it is because I know I am being obedient to what Christ wants me to do and that weight loss will be a natural product of that. How much I lose each week can be altered by so many different factors and one low week is not going to throw me off. 

My verse for this week is Psalm 25:15: "My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only He will release my feet from the snare." How fitting! This verse clearly states how I feel about my sin of overeating. Food can be a trap for me and the Lord is the ONLY hope I have of overcoming it. If I try to do it any other way, using a substitute for Him, I will not have lasting victory. Keeping my focus in this is sometimes a struggle, especially when I have been doing well. I start to get lazy and distracted and forget that it isn't just a turning away from food, but a turning to the Lord. This verse was specifically chosen to keep my focus on the right thing. 

With Thanksgiving coming up it is very easy to get distracted by food. Although there is definitely some prep that has to go into a meal with 16 people attending, it has been much easier for me to look forward to simply being together more than what we are going to eat. It hasn't been a conscious decision, my mind is just not as interested as it used to be on food. I am grateful for many things this year, but one of the things that sticks out is that God is working with me and changing this area of my life. I am thankful that His grace is so abundant! Hoping that you and yours have a wonderful holiday week, staying focused on praising our Lord for all of His rich blessings. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Recent Recipe Roundup

I have gotten a bit behind on my recipe posts, so get ready!

First up is a copycat Olive Garden Soup. This sausage, kale and potato soup is one of my favorites! I figured trying to make it at home couldn't hurt, and it turned out delish. I did tweak her recipe a bit since I didn't have the called for chicken bouillon cubes - I subbed chicken broth and water, then added a sazon packet and some adobo (both can be found in the mexican food aisle, they are great in everything!). We all raved about this soup and I will definitely make it again.  

A common fad going around pinterest is cookies made in the waffle iron. The idea is that you don't have to heat up your oven, you can just throw however many rolled cookies you want/need onto the waffle maker and they only take a few minutes to bake. I found this recipe for Chocolate Cookies here, but changed a few things. I omitted the chocolate chips and icing and added a bit of nesquick powder for extra chocolate flavor and then dusted them with powdered sugar. They were nice as something sweet, but were really more like cake-y brownies than cookies. The kids ate them but Jason and I weren't big fans. 

Next up is a side dish trial of Roasted Potatoes. I make roasted potatoes all the time, but these were different because they weren't cubed, and they were sprinkled with butter, parmesan and Lawry's seasoning salt. YUM! A bit salty but a very nice change to our normal pattern. 

I have attempted to make chinese food at home one other time and it turned out just as good as this next recipe for Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken with Fried Rice. In a word? AMAZING. It was a bit complicated, but nothing I wouldn't be willing to do again. Jason's exact words were "I will never order take out again if you make chinese food like that!" :) 

Ever since trying paleo I have discovered that I really enjoy sweet potatoes. In an effort to try them a new way, I decided to go with this recipe for Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  These were very tasty! The process was to roast the potatoes before mashing instead of boiling, and it gave it a nice flavor from the crisp edges. The recipe called for coconut milk and herbes de provence, neither of which I had, so I used milk, butter, garlic, chili flakes, lemon, basil and thyme to season them. It wasn't stellar, but I would make them again. 

Six Sisters' Stuff is a popular website for recipes, and I've been wanting to try their recipe for Crockpot Lasagna. I didn't even have to cook the noodles first! This turned out great. It was super easy and delicious. Next time I want to try it with ground sausage instead of ground beef. 

Last up is another pancake recipe, this time for Buttermilk Pancakes. I had some leftover buttermilk, even after using it for the original recipe I needed it for and freezing two ice cube trays full. Seemed like the perfect time to try a new pancake recipe! The batter was very thick but they came out very light and fluffy. The bad news is that I can't tell you how they tasted since I had just moved to gluten free foods. I can say the kids didn't like them at all. Jason never tried any, so most of them ended up getting tossed. 

Most of these recipes were done before I switched to gluten free foods, but the soup, roasted potatoes and sweet potatoes are all naturally gluten free with their ingredients. Stay tuned next week for some new GF recipes I've been trying out. :) 

Just a Few Quick Shots...

Just some fun shots from our week:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

2nd Time's a Charm!

So remember when our dining room wall looked like this?

And we hated it so much we had to take it down, and then it looked like this? it looks like this!

And I absolutely love it. I have been quite enamored with all of the silhouette projects on pinterest and I knew I wanted to incorporate our sweet little babies' heads into our home decor somehow. It is a somewhat more formal look than we are used to, so the dining room seemed the best option since it is the most formal space we have. 

They aren't perfect - all of them aren't exactly the same size-wise and Harry's doesn't have as much neck/chest as the others. But I am learning how to let go of my perfectionist streak and simply enjoy what I have been able to accomplish. I mean, seriously - up close, that little mouth of Harry's is so precious, hanging slightly open, and Eden's little demure, dainty sweetness is adorable! I love the personalized touch they add to our home.

And the two side frames looked like this when I got them:

Ew, right? They were $1 each at a yard sale. And if you know me at all, you know I would never keep that goldtastic color! I sprayed them black and framed some beautiful fabric found by my SIL (thanks, Sarah!). I actually had a lot of good ideas from my crafty peeps on facebook. Such a resource, I tell ya! 

I think they balance out the square arrangement of the silhouettes well and also tie into the curtains too, bringing everything together in the room. Ah, I love it when things come together!

So it just goes to show, sometimes you think you know exactly what you want but it just doesn't turn out to be right for the space. Turns out the 2nd time was the charm for this wall! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Health Check-In

These check-ins seem to come so quickly each week! Not a ton to report this Monday, but things are still going very well. I had a couple of times that I ate more than I needed to, but overall I am maintaining healthy eating habits. 

The gluten free foods are paying off - I think. I always hate to say something is absolutely working when it could just be that I am having a run of good days with my pain level. I do seem to see a difference in my back though, so I'm encouraged. For now, I am going to stick with gluten free since it isn't that much of an effort and see if more time helps even more. I will have some recipes/foods this week on the blog that have been gluten free experiments. 

Haven't walked quite as much this week but I have still been active, through a lot of housework, chasing the kids, etc. We still enjoy our walks on most days of the week and I'm hoping we can continue even when it gets cold. 

Verse for this week is 1 Corinthians 10:13: "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it."

Oh, and I lost 3.6 lbs over the last two weeks (no weigh-in last week since I was out of town). That brings my total to 11 pounds so far since starting the Setting Captives Free study, and 37 lbs from my highest weight ever. About 50 more to go! :) 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Total Randomness

Some random pics, in no particular order:

Got to spend my time last weekend with some of my favorite girls!

Tabatha, Shawna, and Deanna

Jennie, me, and Tabatha

We decided to have a picnic in the "man cave" a few days this week for lunch - the kids loved it, and for the first time EVER, Harry ate from a plate and didn't dump all of his food off. :) 

Classic Harry - laying all over Eden:

And classic Eden, playing with Morgan (check out that smile from Morg!):

Sharing a snack:

The kids decided they needed a little piano practice this week:

(don't miss Eden's tutu in the shot above, she was really dressed up for this performance)

We take a walk almost everyday, as long as the weather cooperates, and this was the first time I let Harry out of his stroller. He took off running, so glad to be free! Unfortunately, he took two tumbles, busting his nose the first time and chipping his front tooth the second. 

Eden loves to draw, but she has to wait til Harry is napping so he doesn't snatch her markers:

Yippee-ki-yay I got a new camera this week! On a walk with my neighbor I mentioned that I was on the lookout for a new digital camera. She told me there was one on sale at Kohls, and after checking out the flyers I realized I could get this Vivitar model for $18 with all the coupons I had!

The first picture taken with my new camera: 

My Shmoopy. <3

We broke out the Christmas music this week! Not for Jason, since he insists on waiting until after Thanksgiving, but the kids and I decided it was high time to bring it out. Here is a video of the dancing that ensued with the first CD (Eden hits her mouth on the desk right at the end, so excuse the abrupt cut off):

And now some random tidbits:

1. Harry is FINALLY saying words again! Although he began speaking around a year old, he all of a sudden stopped and had not said anything but mumbo jumbo for a long time. Now he is saying a few things regularly, including yes, yay, I did it, and hi. It is adorable! 

2. Eden is going through a little teenager phase, talking back and not being as obedient as we would like. I know it is just a normal stage, but some days I wonder what happened to my sweet Edie and where she learned to talk so rudely! 

3. My car is on the fritz. Something is wrong with the temperature gauge (or something of that sort) and I can't go for more than two miles without all sorts of beeping and lights going off. It also won't let me go over 40-45 miles per hour at that point so I have to pull over and let the engine cool off. Please pray that this is a fast, inexpensive fix! We have been hanging around at home for the last week or so since we can't go very far. :) 

4. We have lots of fun things coming up, including Thanksgiving, Christmas tree hunting, Eden's birthday party, the Nutcracker, holiday dinners with family, and of course our trip up to New England for Christmas. It will be busy but I can't wait for all of the fun to be had!