Thursday, December 10, 2015

Let it BURN!

Every year for Christmas, the kids make handmade presents 
for our family and friends.
This year the boys have discovered wood burning.
I handed them a few pieces of scrap wood
(to kind of get the hang of it before burning our actual gifts!)
And as you can see from their "doodling,"
they got the hang of things pretty quick!

I purchased some pretty bamboo cutting boards and wooden spoons and let Mary Grace draw on them.  
She's currently into drawing gigantic heads with hands and feet coming out of them.

Cute, huh?

Then one of the boys traces her drawing 
with the wood burning tool.

What is left behind is a permanent etching of her artwork,
and a functional piece of kitchen ware.
The boards and spoons are already sealed
so there is nothing else to do except wrap them up.

The cutting boards will get a big summer sausage, package of crackers, and wedge of cheese wrapped up with a pretty ribbon for gift giving.

But this work-in-progress by Kyle 
(our family tree!)
 is going to get scooped up by 
before anyone else can get their hands on it!

Happy Elving!!!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Being Thankful






But most of all,

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DIY headbands

 Lately I have become a little obsessed with headbands.

So much so that I spent an entire rainy day afternoon 
making dozens of them:

I had tons of scrap ribbon in my sewing stash so I measured around Mary Grace's head until the ends of the ribbon almost touched. 
 I folded the ends over an elastic hair band (about an inch), and sewed it securely, back stitching a time or two.

Adorable, not too tight, super girly,
and best of all...

It didn't cost me a cent!

Monday, November 9, 2015

You'd think it would get easier....

We have been taking family pictures for our yearly Christmas card since Ryan was a baby.  
You'd think by now, and with 21 years of practice,
 that it would get easier...

...but you'd be WRONG!

Prior to taking this beautifully serene photo 
these perfectly behaved children
there was:

Ryan jabbing John Paul in the back with a stick.
Mary Grace putting pennies down my cleavage.
Danny and Kyle were arguing.
Danny was digging in the dirt.
I was yelling at everyone to behave for ONE freakin' picture!
Doug had to run back and forth to set the camera timer.
Oh yeah...and the dog crapped less than six feet away from where we are all sitting.

Luckily, Doug was able to dodge the dookie every one of the 25 times he had to go reset the camera timer.

Maybe next year will be my year,
but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Friday, October 23, 2015

22 Years

I saw a post circulating on Facebook a while back about dating.  
It said something to the effect of comparing a potential mate to the 
1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 verses.  
If you can substitute your sweetie's name for the word 'love', 
then that person is a keeper.

I tried it with my groom,

Doug is patient and kind;
Doug does not envy or boast; 
Doug is not arrogant or rude.
He does not insist on his own way, he is not irritable or resentful
He does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 
Doug bears all things, 
believes all things, 
hopes all things, 
endures all things.
Doug never fails.

I can honestly say that every verse above is true for Doug.
He loves me with a Holy love,
the way God intended.

I could not say the same if my name was substituted.
Most days, I am very un-Holy.

He makes me a better person everyday
because he knows it's more important to lead me to God
than to lead me to himself.

I am so thankful for every single day of our 22 years together.

I've been very thoughtful over the last week, pondering our life together and the circumstances that led us to today.

I can say with great confidence that the loss of my parents is one of the reasons we are together.  I believe they were in Heaven praying for me all those years I was a lost and sad young woman.  

They were praying for YOU to find me and give me this beautiful life we share.

I'd like to think they're still up there praying for you.
They probably think sometimes,
 "Oh my goodness!  
What have we gotten that poor boy into?"

May God continue to bless us with many more years together!

Happy anniversary,
My Love.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Round 2 of the 21 Day Fix

I just completed my second round of the 21 Day Fix 
with really good results 
In case you missed it, here are the before and after pics 
from my first round:

And here I am today:

Only eight pounds down BUT I've lost major inches in my abdomen, hips, and legs!  I think the weight loss would be more but I'm gaining muscle because I'm lifting weights five days a week.  Overall I am very happy with the results!

Since beginning this weight loss/healthy living journey in June, 
I'm down 47 pounds.

I may not look like it, but I sure FEEL like it!

All the new clothes I bought in July are too big now...
and for me, that's a really great problem to have!

And today while Doug and I were at the gym, I got SO dizzy.  I felt like I was going to puke.  I think it's time to get rid of my blood pressure medicine, what do you think?

I have about three more weeks until I follow up with my MD. 
 Just enough time for another round of the 21 Day Fix!  
Will let you know how that follow up goes. 
 I expect great things!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tiny Dancer

For the last year, Mary Grace has been begging for ballet lessons.
Her grandparents gifted her her dreams!
She was so excited for the first day of class...

until we actually got there.
Then she wasn't so sure!
I can't tell from the look on her face if she was sizing up the competition, or just wishing everyone would just disappear.

They don't allow parents to stay during classes.
I think it was harder for me to leave her 
than it was for her to be left there!

She did great, though.
After class, she showed me all her new "tipee-toes!"

This is a new experience for me, too!
I'm used to dirty cleats, not petite ballet slippers.

Monday, September 14, 2015

21 Days ~ The Before and After

I completed my  own copy cat version of the
and I'm here to give you all the low down, 
dirty deets about how I did.

First of all the before and after pics:

 I don't know if you can tell the difference, 

but I can definitely FEEL the difference!

I could absolutely kick myself for not taking measurements 
but I can tell that I am down several inches 
in my arms, thighs, and abdomen.  
I feel GREAT, have tons of energy, and am sleeping soundly though the night without the aid of melatonin...or wine!

I did my own cheat version of the 21 Day Fix (just scroll down a few posts to read about it!) and went to the gym every day M - F for at least an hour for cardio and weights.  I'm not going to actually divulge my weight, but I am down 9 lbs.
And I am very happy with that!

In these three weeks I have found that meal planning is the key.  Having pre planned, portioned meals/snacks on hand when I'm hungry or in a rush is the key to success.
I haven't been hungry on this plan either!
As a matter of fact, I find it difficult to get in all my veggie containers in a day.  I tend to plan my meals only two days in advance because I get bored eating the same thing over and over.  Some people make a whole week's worth of meals at a time, that's just not for me.

I love that I am eating whole foods and I know that that is the reason for feeling so good on the program.  One day while running errands, we had to stop for burgers.  I didn't feel guilty for cheating on the program, but my body felt sick for eating crap. 
 I haven't wanted it again since then 
and my sugar cravings have disappeared...
except for a piece of really good chocolate now and then!

My blood pressure has always been through the roof since having Mary Grace.  My diastolic, or bottom number
has always been over 100.  Always.
I have been getting dizzy this past week and couldn't figure out why, so I just randomly checked my BP.  
Check this out:

It's truly amazing that all of this happened in just three short weeks!
Today is officially the last of my 21 Days
but I'm starting another round tomorrow.
I will most likely keep repeating rounds of the 21 Day Fix until I reach my goal weight.
The program is simple, healthy, and perfect for a busy lifestyle.
I feel like I finally know how to eat healthy.

Plus, I gained a super cute gym partner to keep me motivated!

No make up, sweaty gym selfie!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

My broken girl

Week before last, Mary Grace was goofing off in a rolling 
desk chair and fell out of it onto the hard tile floor.
She cried, I cried. 
She was in a lot of pain the next day so I took her to the pediatrician.  After a quick exam, he said she was fine.

After two more days in pain, 
we took her to the ER for an xray.

Broken clavicle.
Her second one in three short years.

This girl has broken more bones than all of her brothers combined!

And don't think for a minute that sling slowed her down.
It was off by the time we got in the car.

And though she be but little~
she is FIERCE!
                                                                            William Shakespeare

Friday, September 4, 2015

21 Day Fix On the Cheap

So if you read my previous post about my workout obsession, you can understand that exercise alone doesn't change your body. 
 Real change, real health starts in the kitchen!  
One weekend I was channel surfing and came across the 21 Day Fix infomercial.  It sounded easy enough, but the price nearly killed me!  I thought for sure there had to be an easy cheat...and there was.

The basis of the 21 Day Fix are color coded containers.  Each holds a certain portion of food and you can have so many of those portions based on your calorie range. It's all about portion control and eating the right combinations of fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.  It breaks down like this:

Green = veggies = 1 cup
Purple = fruit = 1 cup
Red = lean protein = 3/4 cup
Yellow = carbs = 1/2 cup
Blue = healthy fats = 1/3 cup
Orange = 2 Tbs. = dressings and seeds/nuts

You can figure out how many of each container you will eat for a day by figuring up your caloric need.  For me, I need to be between 1800-2000 calories a day so I get:

5 Green
3 Purple
5 Red
4 Yellow
1 Blue
1 Orange

Every couple of days, I portion out prepared meals into containers so that way I'm all set.  No guess work or frantically trying to find something to eat come meal time.  There are also workout DVDs included with the program.  Since I go to the gym daily, I feel like I'm covered there.  Then there's the water.  This programs has you drinking LOTS of quota per day, 16 cups!  I've yet to drink that much, but I'm trying!

Now don't think you can just fill your carb container with ice cream and call it a day.  This program also gives you a food list for each container.  You learn to eat whole foods in their proper portions.  I'm on week two and it's really sinking in!  I'm already portioning out my food without the use of measuring cups.  I know how much, and of what, I should be eating and it's becoming automatic.  I'm also down 3 pounds after the first week.

Here's a sample of what I took to work this weekend:

Breakfast:  Greek yogurt with berries
Morning Snack:  Carrots with hummus
Lunch:  Shrimp salad with avocado
Afternoon snack:  Cucumbers and sweet bell peppers with dressing
For dinner that night, we had salmon and kale salad
and I saved the apple for my evening snack.

I have never felt hungry on this plan, as a matter of fact, I have trouble getting in all my containers for the day!  I'm actually craving whole, healthy foods instead of the processed crap.

There are tons of meal plans, tips and tricks, and just good old basics of how the program works on YouTube and Pinterest.  Just type in "21 Day Fix" into the search engine.  Or you can follow my 21 Day Fix board on Pinterest HERE.

I'll post an update at the end of my 21 days,
so check back!

Sweat is MAGIC!

A little over a month ago I had a routine check up with my doctor.  For me, check ups usually go down like this:

My weight would be inching upwards.
My lab results would be crappy.
She'd add another medication to the already lengthy list.
I'd feel like such a loser leaving the office that I'd drown my sorrows in Chick-fil-A or Mexican food.

This time was different.

By some miracle, I was down 10 lbs. from my previous visit.
My labs were pretty darn good.
I got off of one of my blood pressure medications.
And she praised me for the positive changes I had been making.
I felt like such a winner that I went out and treated myself to some new clothes instead of food.

It was a really good day.

Something inside me snapped.  For the first time in a really long time, I felt empowered and encouraged to make some more positive changes in regards to my health. 
 So I joined a gym.

Yes folks, I've become one of THOSE people.
You know the ones....

I hit that gym Monday - Friday for 1-2 hours at a time.  I also go back in the evenings for Zumba, Tabata, Pilates, or whatever class they are offering.

It's an addiction, really.

This is MY time to get healthy.  
It's MY time to crank up my music as loud as I can stand it and just zone out.  
It's MY life and I feel like I'm finally waking up and taking charge of it!

Sweat is magic, y'all.
It has made me so much stronger than I was a month ago, physically and mentally.
It has shown me how to deal with stress, anxiety, and depression.
It has shown me my body is capable of amazing things.
It has shown me how to love myself.

And best of all, when my husband says, 
"DAMN GIRL!  You look HAWT!"

Well...what more could I ever want?

Trust me, the best things in life make you sweaty!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Feeling old...

I am now the mother of TWO adult children!
How'd that happen?  I swear they were just babies yesterday.

Kyle turned 18 this year.
Birthdays are pretty low key around here, no big parties, 
just family time.
Everyone gets donuts and presents when they wake up...
great way to start the day if you ask me!

And everyone gets the cake of their request.
For Kyle, it's always a 
Texas Chocolate Sheet Cake.
You can get the recipe HERE.
(FYI, I substituted dark chocolate cocoa powder for regular)

We ended the day with an Astros game.
Kyle is the ultimate Astros fan so a day at 
Minute Maid Park was a must!

A mere two days later, Ryan turned 21!
This kid, who survived childhood on hot dogs and 
Goldfish crackers, has turned into quite the foodie.  
We went out for sushi and cocktails...
and truth be told, 
he's one of the reasons I drink!

His cake of choice,
Italian Cream Cake.
It's another Pioneer Woman recipe 
and can be found HERE.

As with any 21 year old,
we just got a small portion of his time that day.
He had major celebrating to do with his friends!

The week was bittersweet.
I'm excited for the boys.  They're growing up and becoming awesome young men, but the mama in me still misses my baby boys.  Good thing they have three younger siblings!
I'm going to try to keep them little for as long as I can!