28 October 2013

Weight

It's not a secret that I have battled with my weight since giving birth to my first son 15 years ago. I have been pregnant 6 times. With those pregnancies and subsequent losses (5), 6 ankle surgeries, and 3 back surgeries, my weight has been up and down. I've done every diet known to man including Atkins, hcg, juice cleanses, etc.

Two years ago I lost 30 pounds with hcg. After eating more than 500 calories I slowly gained the weight back. Atkins did the best but again, once I resumed to normal food I gained all back plus some. On May 7th I had a back fusion. It was a disaster. I have little feeling in my left foot and no feeling in my right. Since then I have lost over 40 pounds. Without dieting, eating pizza, without exercise, and without stimulants. 

How you ask? I eat at home. No more Dunkin Donut stops every morning for iced coffee and 2 creme filled donuts. No getting the kids and myself lunch from fast food. I stopped emotional eating. I ask myself if I'm truly hungry before eating anything. Most of all, I have developed a hiatal hernia and gastritis. This keeps me from being able to eat much food as my digestion is incredibly slow. 

I hope to lose more once I'm cleared to begin exercising. The first picture is from February (I'm in green). The second was from this morning (sans makeup, sorry). My aunt requested a picture and I didn't worry about makeup as I would put it on in the car. I shared the picture on Instagram and Facebook. 


24 October 2013

Autumn essentials according to Tumblr



On being a stepmother

"Look down the road to her wedding...I'm fitting her veil and telling her she's the most beautiful bride...and she says, 'I wish my mom was here'."

"And my fear is that she won't. But she doesn't have to choose. She can have us both..."

Those quotes are from the movie "Stepmom" starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon. As a stepmother, even if you've been apart of their lives as long as they can remember, is not easy. A lot of people, naturally, think of the biological parents and their children, but not the difficulties of being a stepparent. Not all are like the step monsters in Cinderella. Not all treat their own biological children differently than their own. 

Even though stepparent's shows unconditional love and help raise the children sometimes it's not enough. Sometimes it is. My stepchildren have said that they do not want their biological mother to be apart of their lives. I've been forbidden to give any details on my blog about their lives, which are pretty exciting at the moment, and I'm DYING to share. Still, I'm not called Mom. One child lists me on their forms and tells people I am their mother. The other refers to me as stepmom and put their biological mother on their form. One stings a little but I know they love me and know I love them. A stepmother may never replace their biological mother, but all stepparent's pay an important part in their lives. A stepmother wants to be valued and respected as an equal to their biological parents. 

I have been a stepparent for 15+ years. I have spent hours crying, trying to win their love and respect, laughing, praying, and trying to show them a Godly woman. I'm not perfect but at my stepdaughter's wedding I know she will be happy I'm there. I hope her biological mom will be too. 

I am considering writing a ebook on being a stepparent. If you have anything helpful to contribute please leave a comment. 


21 October 2013

I said goodbye

Today I did something I never thought I would ever do. I took off ALL scheduled and already recorded Food Network shows. Yep. No Ina. No more Food Network Star. No more Pioneer Woman. No more Giada. I bid them all farewell. Y'all, this is BIG for me. I've slowly lost my love for them as the network has seemed to be about creating stars than creating something I can serve my family for dinner. For instance Giada used to have a show called Everyday Italian and that's exactly what it was about-simple Italian food that isn't fancy- Basic Risotto, pasta sauces, anti pasta platters, etcetera. Now she makes such complicated recipes that are not for everyday. 

On Saturday morning, my DVR records all of the new shows plus a few PBS cooking shows such as Americas Test Kitchen. We go to church on Sunday afternoons so I typically spend that entire morning being entertained by cooks that I will more than likely not make their foods. It has been months since I have made anything from a Food Network star. Now, I will still watch the 3 PBS cooking shows because they're not about fame, but about teaching me how to cook. Plus, I adore Christopher Kimball's bow ties. 

So, if y'all watch Food Network and think there may be a dish I would like, please tweet me or leave a comment. Or, just leave a comment saying hi. I enjoy them. Thanks for reading. Pray I don't have withdrawals. :)

18 October 2013

Friday Five (Stationery)

I love to receive as well as send handwritten letters. I found a few cute note cards that I would love to send/receive. 
 These are from British retailer, Cath Kidston.
 I just used my last Lilly Pulitzer stationery. I need more when they go on sale.
 Rifle Paper Company is new to me, but their stuff is so cute!
Mackenzie Horan has such cute offerings. What is cuter than a bow (except babies and puppies and pandas)?

These from Kate Spade are also cute, but I couldn't do the picture. Check them out!

17 October 2013

TV Rant and soap

This post may be a little weird. This is seriously how my mind works. I will spare you of it's crevices, but know it is complex yet entertaining.

First, let me get on my soapbox about television. Yep, that box of entertainment. I grew up as the tv as my babysitter. Both of my parents worked and my sister is much older than me. So, other than reading, playing kickball with my neighbors, and being with my grandmothers, I was watching tv. We had The Cosby Show, Designing Women, and children's shows were actually for children. My middle child and I have been watching some of the new sitcoms. They are horrible!! Not just morally, they are literally poorly written, uncreative, and mostly, unintelligent. I'm saddened that The Walking Dead and all of it's gruesomeness is the #2 show, ironically, after Duck Dynasty. DD, Cedar Cove, and The Middle are the only 3 shows on network and basic cable that I can actually recommend. So, there ya go. What are your favorite shows this fall?

 Now for the second part. Williams-Sonoma produces some of the best quality soaps, lotions, and cleaners. Every fall/winter they put out my favorite, spiced chestnut. It is what fall is supposed to smell like. The scents last long after you've washed your hands. This is one of my tricks of getting my kids to wash their hands. This, and yummy smelling anti-bacterial gel from Bath and Body Works.

16 October 2013

Bubble Pizza


On Menu Monday, I shared with y'all that I am making bubble pizza. This is a recipe that I got from Quick Cooking magazine years ago. My sweet (now departed) MIL used to buy me that subscription every year. I haven't made it in forever after we began eating healthier. I didn't know about the bad uses of partially hydrogenated oils at the time. About a year ago, Trader Joe's began carrying canned biscuits, cinnamon rolls, crescent rolls, etc that do not use partially hydrogenated oils. If you do not have a Trader Joe's near you (sad!) then you can get Immaculate Baking Company at most grocery stores (they are at our Publix, Kroger, Target). This is my recipe for my family, but you can easily half it, or use less biscuits and more meat, etc.

Bubble Pizza
1 lb ground beef, brown.
1 jar pizza sauce (or spaghetti)
1 cup shredded mozzarella (or cheddar if that's all you have)
pepperoni
2 cans biscuits, cut in quarters

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Brown your ground beef; drain. Slice up some pepperoni, maybe 1/2 a pack and place it in with the beef. Pour the sauce over the meats; mix to combine. Butter a 13x9 pan and spread the biscuits to a single layer. Pour the meat mixture on top. Bake for 20 minutes. Top with cheese and bake 5-10 minutes more, or until the cheese has melted/browned.

It's so easy and yummy. 

15 October 2013

Happy National Southern Belle Day

I'm more of a Melanie Wilkes than a Scarlett. Although until I've had my coffee my eyes can get quite squinty if bothered like Miss O'Hara. 

Below are some pictures from my southern Pinterest board. I find that they represent the south. I cannot say that Atlanta is as southern as it was upon my arrival here in 1995. Still, you will find a few antebellum homes. There's modern southern restaurants. People smile and greet you when walking down the street. There's churches all over the place. Let me end this by saying that The Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo are NOT like any housewives that I've encountered. I'm proud to be Southern and as I'm female I suppose that makes me a Belle. 







Gratituesday


I have not participated in this since leaving my old blog, The Old-Fashioned Homekeeper. I was looking at some of the photos from my old blog (cute one's of the children) and found it. After making sure Heavenly Homemakers was still participating, I decided to post again. It's so important, whether you believe in Christianity or not, to be thankful...be grateful.

The news is full of bad, well, news about our government. I'll tell you what. I don't care. Yes, I'll care if we go under, but I don't want to hear anything about which side everyone's taking. I don't care to hear blaming-only solutions. On Thursday, we could lose our credit rating. China and Japan can cash in their bonds and we would be bankrupt. That would be devastating! But, I've thought about it. My family will survive just fine. Yes, money will be scarce. But we will go up to my FIL's farm and live a-ok. We will go without, but material things won't matter. His house is paid for. We have some savings left. He has a large garden and we can get some farm animals. My prescriptions will be mainly what we will have to pay for. God will provide. I'm grateful to know that if there is a catastrophe that we have somewhere to go. We will be okay. Better than okay in many ways. Going out into the country may be a blessing after living in a large metropolitan city. We will be in close proximity to his family and much closer to mine. So, yes, the government may collapse and there may be mayhem, but overall we will be okay.

What are you grateful for today?

14 October 2013

Menu Plan Monday




Breakfasts:
Pumpkin croissants, pumpkin chocolate chip pancakes, eggs and toast, apple cinnamon oatmeal, sausage biscuits, smoothies.

Lunches:
For the most part everyone is on their own. I keep items for sandwiches, hot dogs, nachos, and pasta on hand.

Dinners:
Butternut squash salad and Risotto
Raspberry hot pepper chicken, sauteed spinach, roasted potatoes
Salmon cakes, country broccoli, and baked beans
Spaghetti squash casserole (with added bacon) and roasted brussel sprouts
Chicken curry, rice, and stir fry veggies
Bubble pizza** and cole slaw
Potato soup, salad, and cream biscuits

My oldest began working for a construction company a few weeks ago. He comes home starving every single day. So, I've had to add an additional starch to my meat and vegetable meals. The children are NOT happy about vegetarian meals every other day so I'm doing 4 days of meat and only 2-3 days of meatless or little meat.

**Bubble pizza recipe will be in a future post.

If you have a meal plan, leave a comment so I can check it out.

Edited to Add: I made an apple pie tonight. Here is the recipe. It's cooling. I'll let you know if it is tasty.

If you're a fan of Louis Vuitton, Rue La La is having a sale. I prefer vintage like the one I found at Salvation Army, but if you'd like a new one at a minor discount, you can use this invite: http://www.ruelala.com/invite/vintagewasp







12 October 2013

Apple Orchard Day

My husband and I went up to the mountains to go to the apple festival. We had a lot of fun! The orchard had fried fruit pies, Farmhouse Museum, Moonshine Museum, u-pick, and pig races. Remember that we live in Georgia. :) The weather was perfect!




03 October 2013

Homemade Protein Bars


My husband enjoys protein bars. Many bars on the market are made with deplorable processed ingredients. If you're in a pinch, they are healthier than a Twix, but not by much. I began making my husband's protein bars a few months ago. I make them once a week! He has them with coffee most mornings. This recipe is adapted from the Petite Athlete's Primal Protein Bars.

Preheat your oven to 400. On a rimmed baking sheet put 2C raw mixed nuts and .50C unsweetened shredded coconut. Bake 5-7 minutes or until you start smelling the nuts. Take out pan then turn the oven down to 325.

In a large mixing bowl (I use 8 cup Pyrex) combine:
.50C coconut oil
.50C almond butter (we use Trader Joe's raw crunchy)
Melt in the microwave for 30 seconds; stir to combine.

Once the nuts have cooled slightly, put them in a blender/VitaMixer/food processor and chop but not make into crumbs or paste. Pour this into the bowl. Then add:
8Tbsp. chia seeds
4 large scoops protein powder (we use Chocolate Mint pea protein)
1C craisins or other dried fruit
3 eggs

Stir to combine. Pour into greased dish. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to set before placing in the refrigerator.




01 October 2013

Welcome October


October

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

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