Thursday, January 22, 2015

#116 Homemade Bread - YUM!

I have been wanting to make my own bread but not the old fashion way of kneading and letting it rise and kneading again and you know the drill.  It's seems like an all day job. 





So what's a girl gotta do?  Buy a bread machine that's what!  Several ways of getting your hands on one.  You can either buy one new or get one from a garage sale, get one from a friend who back-in-the-day bought one and does not use it and is willing to give it over to you -- or you can like me, have a super sweet sister who buys you one!  SCORE!  How blessed am I. 

Well, I've been making bread for my bread heads (AKA hubby and two teenage boys) who absolutely love anything with gluten in it! 
So far, I've made 3 maple, pecan breads -- one was a gift for a girlfriend's birthday, one for my sister of course, and I couldn't make bread without making a loaf for the bread heads mentioned above.  As I'm typing out this blog there is a loaf of garlic bread churning in the machine. 



My First "EVER" 1.5 lb. Loaf
What I love about my machine (which is a West Bend) is that it's practically foul proof.    Put in the ingredients from top to bottom, shut the lid and in hours you have fresh bread.  It has 12 settings to choose from depending on what type of bread you want to make.  Set it and forget it!  Literally.  I purchased a book of over 300+ bread machine recipes (that you can use with any bread machine) and boy am I excited.  I realize that I'm on a quest to loose my tummy (Loose My Tummy Blog #115) and bread is not the best thing to be eating in order to do that -- but I'm also on a mission to make healthy breads as well.  So be looking for healthy bread recipes in the upcoming months.


One more thing -- can you say BAKERY.  That's literally what my house smells like when I bake bread.  I can turn off my baking scented Yankee candles and just bake bread. 

Life is good.

Until next time...


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

#115 Its Gotta Go -- My Tummy That Is!

This is the year that the tummy has got to go.  I'm determined!!  I'm focused!!  I'm on a mission!!  Here's what I'm working with -- there is no shame in my game.


Not bad with pants pulled over belly

Front view




But when you pull it down ba-blam



You know I have to love sharing/helping on my blog to be bearing it all for everyone to see.  But it is what it is and it's gotta go!  Another thing I would like to say in my defense, I've had two boys from this body -- but they are 16 and 17 -- so there is no excuse -- moving on.  It's time to roll up my sleeves, continue to use that Gold's gym membership and work it off!

First things first that I'm doing -- cleaning up my diet better.  I'm NOW strictly eating boo-coo veggies, lean protein and fruit. I'm not a bad eater -- but it doesn't take much to sabotage your efforts.  I don't eat processed foods, but I'm going to tighten the reigns on my eat out or cheat meals and be more mindful of my snacking.  Including WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER.  At least 2 or 3 liters per day (that's 8 or 12 cups).  As you may know, when you work out, it's necessary to drink lots of water.

I'm going to be doing these exercises from these videos below for my tummy as well as classes at my gym and Jessica Smith's challenge below.





Vladimir Massillon is the creator of the video above and below (guy below).  He also has a wonderful abs workout using a stability ball below (which is my favorite).



The last thing I would like to suggest is to join a challenge for 2015.  I've joined Jessica Smith's Fitin15 weight loss challenge.  There's always plenty of challenges going on during the month of January so find one you like.  Jessica's are free, fun and fast.  It started January 5.  But you can easily start today and jump right in.  The exercises are 15 min. each day.  Who doesn't have 15 minutes?  You can find out more about her Fitin15 Challenge here:  Fitin15 Challenge


 
So take a good look at the above tummy.  Say bye-bye!  I will be posting my results as I go along.

Until next time...

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Friday, January 2, 2015

#114 Have You Done It Yet?




It's 2015. Happy new year!!!!  There's one thing that I want to make sure I do right off the bat this year and that's ask you a question.  Have you done it yet?  Have you given your life and heart to the Lord Jesus Christ?  It's real easy and simple -- here's the scripture of how to do it:


Romans 10:9-10 

New American 

Standard Bible (NASB)

[a]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, [b]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [c]resulting in salvation.

I know this is controversial with so many and frankly -- it's my blog and it's my belief -- therefore I'm sharing.  If you don't agree or don't think I should share -- it's a free country for you to feel that way -- but I feel otherwise.   

I pray that you do turn your life to Him.  Yes it is a new year.  But Jesus is coming back for His Church.  The bible says no one knows the day nor the hour (Matthew 24:36).  I pray that you are ready when He returns.

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Friday, December 26, 2014

#113 Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!



Wishing you and your family a blessed New Year!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

#112 Diet change for my young adults

It all started with a "Meatless" Spinach Lasagna Roll-Up recipe we had for dinner.  Jen's Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups Recipe.  We typically will have two days were we will have meat in our dinner rotation, two days of a bean type meal and two days were we will have some type of pasta meal. 




My 16 year old asked the aged-old question -- "What's for dinner."  Here's how it went down:

Me:  Lasagna.
Son:  Let me guess, no meat.
Me:  You guessed it.
Son:  Why is it we never have meat anymore in our lasagna?
Me:  We have meat twice per week, as a matter-of-fact we had that for the last two days.
Son:  I know, but we never have it in our lasagna.

This discussion brought forth a chain reaction.  At dinner dad and I began to talk about the eating habits of our teenagers.  For the most part, I felt their diet was OK compared to a lot of teens their age but then dad made it clear we needed to re-evaluate what they ate more carefully. 

  • Breakfast:  Cheerios (no milk), a ready-made sausage for the microwave and toast. 
  • Lunch:  Bologna sandwich and tortilla chips.  My oldest will have an apple but the other does not eat fruit (unless forced). 
  • Snacks:  Graham Crackers, pretzels, Fruit and Grain Cereal Bar, Clubhouse crackers and a box of raisins. 
  • Dinner: would consist of something healthy that I cook for the entire family which varies nightly. 

Needless to say, the snacks are no longer an everyday option.  Fruit and vegetables are now the new norm.  Both myself and the hubby feel if we are going to eat healthy -- primarily something green or a fruit with breakfast/lunch/dinner and our snacks -- why not our kids. 

Believe it or not, they did not take this hard.  It was as if they knew it was coming and took it very well.  I thought there would be a big kicking and screaming (not literally) but there wasn't.  We will continue to have our eat out day on Saturday's which is something we all enjoy  -- but for the rest of the week -- they will have better nutrition in their diets.  Thanks to hubby!  And yes, we will have meat in our lasagna from time to time in the future.

Until next time...

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

#111 My Puff Stitch Cowl & New Haircut

Last week I announced that I was going to start back crocheting and I showed a puff stitched cowl that I was interested in making.  Well, it's finished.  Here's the one that I was trying to make:

How To Make Your Own


and here's mine:

















Closer View



Mine is a tad bit different in my yarn is a little stiffer then the original one -- so my stitches seem to be a little tighter instead of loose -- but other then that -- I absolutely love it.

Now on to making some headbands now that I have a new hair cut.  Need to keep this noggin warm - LOL!!!


Shaved in the back
I'm loving it!

I know -- Right?


Until next time...


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Thursday, December 4, 2014

#110 Cozy Crochet Projects

It's officially freezing here in the Lou.  I am going to kick back and start back crocheting.  I don't remember the last time I've done this -- but it's always been a relaxing past time.  So with the weather being as it is, and I can't get out in my garden :-((  I'm going to make a Puff Stitch Cowl:



These are not my patterns.  I found these on YouTube and will be trying them out.  You can check out how to do the above cowl easily by checking out this link:
Make Your Own Puff Stitch Cowl

My second project is for my head.  I wanted to make an easy headband warmer (Click the link underneath the picture).



So if you are stretched out on the couch chillin' -- go get your crochet hook and yarn and make something beautiful and warm for this fall/winter season.  It would even make a great Christmas gift.

Until next time...

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Thursday, November 27, 2014

#109 November Favorite Thing & Happy Thanksgiving!!!



Happy Thanksgiving all.  It's coming down to the wire with 2014 and I'm so pleased to be able to say -- I'm so thankful to my heavenly Father for all that He has done this year.  So much to be thankful for and I look forward to all that is in store for 2015.

Because this is the last Friday of November -- I always share (or try to) my favorite thing for the month.  Well this month because of all that is going on with the Michael Brown shooting, here in my backyard, Ferguson, MO -- and the verdict of the cop who shot him -- being not guilty -- it has been quite a rocky road with people's expectations.  My two cents on the matter is that Michael Brown obviously did not deserve to die the way he did -- but unfortunately he made a lot of bad choices on that day that lead to his shooting.  I won't go into everything that I feel were his bad decisions -- I'm sure everyone saw the video of him robbing the convenience store and how he treated the worker.  It looks to me like this was not his first time doing this or just being a bully because of his stature.  Nonetheless, it's unfortunate the consequences that lead to his death. 

I wanted to share a video that I believe should be heard in every household where children are being brought up.  Adults need to hear and not only hear but demonstrate how their children and themselves are to conduct themselves as African Americans.  We need to have pride in who we are otherwise we will fall into the stereotypes that are given to so many of us.  God has a plan for each and every one of us.  If only we would seek it out.  We need to be on a road of shaping our children into who He wants them to be and we as parents need not be lead into lives of despair but prosperity in Christ Jesus.

Here's the video.  Enjoy and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.




Until next time...

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

#108 Free Exercises & Two Other Cool Sites

Back in January 2013, I passed along an exercising website called
Fitness Blender that I found on YouTube when I purchased my Kettlebell set for my birthday.



Loads of Free Videos



Lots of people found it helpful and I wanted to also pass along other
YouTubers who have been helpful for more then just exercise.
How Jen Does It

This YouTuber has so much to share with others from her Aldi Hauls, Trader Joe's Hauls and so much more.  What I like about her is that she is consistent.  Consistency is very key for me.  When I find people who are consistent in what they do -- I like following them.  If they are sporadic and haven't put out a YouTube video in years then it's hard to follow those types of people.    Check out her channel How Jen Does It

On my channel, you will find organizing and cleaning tips, recipes, menu planning ideas, grocery hauls, huge Trader Joe's hauls, Trader Joe's product reviews, tips for saving time and money, beauty product and clothing hauls, OOTD, and tips for staying fit and eating healthy.

At Home with Nikki



Another one of my favorite YouTubers is At Home with Nikki.  Interior decorating is this women's specialty -- on a budget.  She knows how to turn an old piece of furniture into a work of art.  In my humble opinion, she has fantastic taste.  She needs to have her own decorating show.  Check out her channel At Home With Nikki:

I am passionate about my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, my family and my home. I love all things dealing with home organization, interior decorating, crafts and cooking. On my channel you will find tons of tips to help you around your home. I hope you will take time to enjoy my channel and all that I love to share.

These are just a few of my favorites that I hope you will check out.  They have been an inspiration to me on-line and I'm thrilled to share them with you.

Until next time...

I hope you enjoyed this Friday's blog -- Yo-Yo Eating No More and So Much More. If you did, share it!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

#107 Fast Food Restaurants -- Healthy Menu Choices



We all have times when we are pressed for time and have to stop into a fast-food restaurant.  There are also times when we just don't feel like cooking and we want something fast and not made at home that's still healthy for our lifestyle.  Well I've researched some fast food restaurants that are pretty much in everyone's neighborhood that offer some healthy options on their menu.

Now these are primarily fast-food restaurants.  Grab and go, not sit in -- but of course you can sit in and eat there -- but these restaurants are not restaurants that you need to tip a waitress.

Here are some of my picks:


McDonald's.


My healthy food choices there are:
  1. Southwest Chicken Salad (use 1/2 dressing pack or bring your favorite (my favorite is Paul Newman's Creamy Caesar))
  2. Grilled Chicken Classic (comes with whole grain bun)
  3. Chicken Grilled Snack wraps w/no dressing (bring your own -- I like Veganaise-- see my blog post on this Mayo Please pass the --- what???)
  4. Fish Fillet - no tarter sauce (use Veganaise here as well)

Taco Bell

Veggie Cantina Bowl
  1. Veggie Cantina Burrito or Bowl
  2. Burrito with black bean (Fresco Style - means no cheese) and replace cheese with Pico De Gallo (salsa)
  3. Fresco Crunchy Tacos
Wendy's

  1. BLT Cobb Salad (remove bacon and blue cheese bits) and your left with plenty of good grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs and tomatoes over a spring mix and avocado ranch dressing (use 1/2 packet or bring your own)
  2. Go wraps
  3. Grilled Chicken Sandwich with no sauce
  4. Chili
  5. Baked potato 
Subway

Turkey Flatbread
  1. 6" Oven Roasted Chicken Sandwich (hold cheese, avocado & dressing).  Put on a drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar
  2. Turkey Flatbread sandwich with loads of veggies and Balsamic Vinegar or mustard

 Chilpolta


Steak salad
  1. Chicken bowl, brown rice, black beans and tomato salsa
  2. Steak salad with grilled veggies (no cheese or avocado) with green salsa

 Chick-Fil-A

Char Grilled Chicken Sandwich with fruit cup
  1. Char grilled Chicken sandwich meal with fruit cup or side salad with unsweetened tea
  2. Char grilled garden salad

Keep these in mind when you are on the road and want to eat something fast and healthy.

Until next time.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

#106 Bottle Art Tree -- It's GROWING!!!!

My Bottle Art Tree is growing!!!  I'm excited to say during the month of October -- one of my birthday presents to myself was a bottle tree from The Little Shop Around the Corner.



This store was a great find.  It's an antique and collectible shop that resells vintage merchandise donated to the Missouri Botanical Garden.  As you know, Missouri Botanical Garden is one of my favorite places in the world.  So I will have to add this one to the list.

I have enjoyed unique art for the garden and in my opinion this bottle art is brilliant.  It is something that is very inexpensive -- but yet adds a burst of color to your yard.  It's something that can stay out year round and it's eye catching.  Here's my before and after picture of my tree art:

Before
After
I had fun finding my bottles at different thrift stores.  They ran from $1-2.  Also I received a box of free ones from a restaurant in my neighborhood.  SWEET!!!  So Sweet indeed that I started a new tree with a garden trellis I had sitting around.

My new addition
So now that it's getting cold and all the pretty color from the flowers have faded away, I can always look out my window and see this splash of color glistening back at me.  Ran, snow, wind or hail -- I will have something to look out to that will bring a little smile to my face.  Now that's what I call small pleasures!!!

Until next time...

Post to check out:
My Bottle Art Tree - Beginning Post.



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Friday, October 31, 2014

#105 My Favorite Things for October

October's Favorite Thing:

It's all about me baby!  October 29, 1965!










Sis gave me "Purple" cupcakes with a orange dollop of frosting on the top.
Sorry, I didn't take a picture of that, we ate them all :-)))

I spent the day with two of my most favorite people in the entire world!

Me and my boys (Adrian and Jordan)

We had a lovely day -- which we always take the days off for birthdays.  We shopped and ate -- and afterwards spent time with family and friends.  It was a lovely day!


Until next time...

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Friday, October 24, 2014

#104 Are we there yet?


I ask the question -- are we there yet.  What I mean when I say this is this -- when will this be OVER???  Every single day there are new challenges.  Big and small -- but none the less challenges.  I home school my two boys (teenagers mind you) who I've home schooled since they were babies.  They have never stepped foot into a public school or private, for that matter, for a full or part-time education.

My oldest is 17 and he has struggled all his life with academics.  Comprehension, math, spelling, vocabulary -- you name it -- he's had an issue with it.  My youngest, who is 15, does not struggle academically but just does not have a love for learning -- it's more like -- lets get it over with so I can do what I really want to do.  His biggest struggle is talking -- you see, he stutters and no matter what is done -- therapy, encouragement -- he does not follow those things that are given him to do to improve.  He continues to do the things that are keeping him in that habit.

People think that home schoolers are the smartest and brightest kids because of the one-on-one assistance that they receive at home.  Well I would agree perhaps 90% of the time.  But guess what -- if you have a child that no matter how much you put into them -- that child chooses to do his or her own thing -- decides that what is being said to them is not really relevant to them at the moment -- then guess what -- know matter how much you put into them -- they will only receive that which they choose to receive. 

Are we there yet?  They are in the 11th grade -- one has a desire to go to college.  The other is struggling with high school -- so college is hard to see at this point.  Are we there yet?  Today it looks bleak -- but tomorrow things will look up!  I'm trusting God know matter what it looks like -- I know that all things will work together for the good.  I'm encouraging myself -- and perhaps someone else.  Nevertheless, this too shall pass and I'm looking forward to the future.

Until next time...

Thursday, October 16, 2014

#103 Bottle Art

As you can tell, I love to garden.  It's my most favorite hobby.  I've been looking into working now to prepare for spring.  One thing that I've been fascinated with is bottle art.  These are some images that I found on-line that I love:



 
Wild Birds Unlimited Bird Feeders
These bottle trees, however, can be very expensive.  From $20-200 on up.  I looked into purchasing one from Amazon or having Brian make me one out of lumber and pegs (like the one above).  



I also saw at Wild Bird Unlimited these beautiful birdhouses made from PVC that run $120-and above.  I thought if I was to purchase one I could just just attach pegs to them and add my bottles but with it already starting off expensive and the thought that I still needed to work on it by adding pegs was a little disheartening.








Well this was my solution.  At a antique shop I found 3 bottles under $5 and I found some "PURPLE" (my favorite color) plastic garland.  I had been thinking about what I could use at home to make my own inexpensively and relatively quickly (without drills and pegs).  My shepherds hooks came to mind.  So this is what I came up with.


I love it every time I look out.  I can perhaps add more bottles and more white shepherds hooks.  But I think it turned out pretty neat so far.  I love how the plastic garland sparkles with the sun and how the bottles add an artistic flair to this sculpture. If you have never seen bottled art -- this may look ridiculous -- but it's garden art -- you've seen it first here -- HA!!  Come back often, because I will be adding to it, especially when spring and summer rolls around next year.

Until next time...


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Friday, October 10, 2014

#102 A Little Fall Decorating!

It's that time of the year!  What time is that you ask?  Well my husband calls it that "Cozy" time when we start thinking about the holidays and of course I start thinking about my "B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y."  We truly enjoy the holidays.  I don't have many fall decorations but I do enjoy adding a few touches hear and there to the house.

My first fall touch is added to the front door.  My purple door is decked out with my annual leaf wreath.  I found this at a estate sale years ago and I love how it looks on my purple door.


I love putting out my pumpkins.  Not the real kind -- just pumpkins I've received or found second hand.  This one I received from my sister and it's actually cookware.  I've done soups in it but it's a beautiful piece to display in the fall.  I've put inside some smoked flavored almonds from Trader Joe's in little snack containers for easy snacking.


Smoked Almonds from Trader Joe's
My other pumpkin is a little wicker basket that I have on my entry way table.  I believe I picked this up at an estate sale as well.  I've had it for a long time and I store all types of things in it.


We are very casual people but I do enjoy having a little formal fun with my dinning room table.



And last, but not least, I will be turning 49 on October 29th!!!



Woohoo!  I feel blessed and thankful for all the Lord has done and is doing in my life.  Enjoy this cozy time of the year!

Until next time...

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