Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Menu Plan

I'm feeling kind of uninspired with regard to meals these days. For the next month, I'm going to do my best to use what I have in the freezer, garden, and pantry and see if I can cut our grocery bill down a bit. This next month or two are going to be extremely busy with harvest coming up. I got really behind on the housework and laundry over the long weekend, so I'm hoping to take a break from the internet to get things back in order around here and then start on preserving the garden things that need to be dealt with (chokecherries, for example).

Monday: visiting family

Tuesday: Moroccan Chicken & Lentil Soup

Wednesday: Pizza, Veggies & Dip

Thursday: leftovers

Friday:  Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Something simple (pancakes, grilled cheese, etc.)

Friday, July 24, 2015

When My Hair Got the Chop Suey

I finally chopped my hair off. I also got blonde highlights. I am planning on adding some more highlights as the contrast between my dark hair and the really light highlights is a little much for my personal taste, and I do want to go blonde. I had considered dying my whole head blonde, but the hairdresser thought we should just do highlights and keep adding more later to get more blonde. Less maintenance. Overall, I love it. Perhaps my favourite haircut ever! My only regret is not chopping it off sooner. I am pretty sure my hair will never be this long again. 

Before: K, why did someone not tell me that I was growing 2 horse tails out of my head?? Seriously, that was the first thing I thought when I saw this picture. I didn't even realize my hair had gotten this long...oy.

 After: Haven't had my hair straight in years. Yes, years. I also love this haircut when I leave it in its natural wavy state, too. I had a picture of that, but I accidentally deleted it. It's super low-maintenance. I'm really loving it. This hair feels so much more "me."

On another note, here is my latest favourite running song. I also think it would make a good funeral song. A good running and good funeral song. A definite winner. Sorry to be morbid. I just love the lyrics so much. It is not my story. It is His story.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Menu Plan Monday

First of all, it's RAINING! Praise the Lord! We got a bit of rain today and yesterday, which is very, very good.

I haven't been doing much menu planning lately (and I've still survived! I'm shocked!), but I thought I'd try it again this week.

Monday: Sweet & Tangy BBQ Chicken Coleslaw Wraps

Tuesday: Tuna Macaroni Casserole, Veggies

Wednesday: Grilled Salmon, Roasted Potatoes, Veggies

Thursday: Spaghetti in a Tomato & Pesto Cream Sauce, Salad

Friday: Homemade Pizza, Veggies & Dip, Caesar Salad

Saturday: Leftovers

Sunday: Cheesy Rice & Beans with Guacamole, Salsa, and Tortilla Chips

Alternate Meal: Breakfast for Dinner (pancakes, fruit, eggs, bacon)

Well, finishing this just made my heart smile...I might have to get back into my menu planning groove!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sweet Summer Days

Summer days may be long, but the season is oh-so-short. We are enjoying taking full advantage of the summer weather these days. Unfortunately, the conditions are extremely dry with major risk of fire. Fire bans are in place nearly everywhere. I think we have only about 5 mm or so of rain since winter left us. It is extraordinarily dry. Thankfully, our parents (who farm) have received a little bit more rain than that on at least some of their fields (but not all). Overall, crops are quite poor in this area. Forest fires are raging up north, and it is a much more serious of a situation this year than usual. 

 Brielle is certainly not a baby anymore. She has turned into a self-determined, strong-willed, and goofy toddler. She keeps us laughing with her, "Where's da puppy go?" sayings all.day.long. Her sleeping has improved a little bit, but she is not sleeping through the night yet, other than a couple of times within the last month or so. Regardless, any improvement at all is a very good thing.

We recently took a kid-free staycation, which was wonderful, I have to admit.  I was burned out, and it was desperately needed.  We played tennis, went for a bike ride went out to eat, took a day trip to shop at Value Village on 50% off day and tried a new restaurant, tidied up, napped, and...best of all...I slept through the night.

I have been making slight improvements in my overall well-being (how that for cheesy psycho-babble).We are trying to make a few changes around here. Mostly, I am trying to be kinder to myself, let go of perfectionism, and also get some time alone once in awhile. This past week, for example, it was 30 minutes outside in the evening most days. Alone. I went for a run a couple times, weeded the garden, and sat on the deck reading a book. Part of me feels guilty about this, but I have come to realize I need to quit worrying about what others think, count my blessings, and just do what works best for our family, and do what I need to do to take care of myself.  The truth is, I can finally feel parts of "me" starting to come back. It may be slow progress, but it is progress.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

3 Things That Make Me Smile

1) My Knee is Back in Business: I just finished my couch to 5K workout, and it was wonderful. I can really feel my endurance improving, and it is really motivating. I think, perhaps for the first time in my life, I actually smiled while I ran. Smiling and running...Tobymac can cause that kind of effect, I guess!

2) My Social Butterfly: My oldest gal is such a people person. It is so fun to watch her interact with kids she has never met before. We went to the spray park the other day and she was making friends with every kid in sight. They were coming up with all kinds of games like ``save the caterpillars from going down the drain``. It was so cute and made my heart soar.

3) McDonalds Sugar Free Vanilla Iced Coffee: $1 for 100 calories of pure deliciousness.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Faith Stretching

When the hardship won't end, and you're in need of patience. I saw that title (an article link) on Pinterest, and it really resonated with me. Patience. It's a fruit of the Spirit I seem to be struggling with a lot lately. The last year or so has been an interesting one.  Those who we are close with in real life (mostly just close family members) know our unique situation with its constant drama. This I know - God is at work, though I can't understand everything right now. It is a daily struggle to be patient and have faith. The strange and bizarre things that have happened in our life are certainly meant for some bigger purpose. Things that make you scratch your head kind of things and that have you praying, "Lord, what should I do? What are you trying to teach me through this? Lord, I simply do not understand what this is all about." These types of things seem to be happening weekly. I take heart in knowing I have a relationship with the God who created the world, parted the sea, rose from the dead, and will move mountains if it is according to His will. Right now I am praying for a very specific mountain to move, but most of all I am praying for patience and for our faith to not waver if the answer to our prayer is no. 

Have you heard the song by Steven Curtis Chapman called "Glorious Unfolding." It gets me every.single.time.

That's all for now,

P.S. Overall, Brielle is improving with her sleeping. It's not great, by any means, but it has improved enough that I am feeling leaps and bounds better than I had been. This is a huge answer to prayer :-)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

5 Favourite Weight Loss Foods

1) Truvia - This is a sugar substitute (stevia-based) with zero calories that tastes almost like real sugar to me. It can be found in most grocery stores. It is quite expensive, so I don't use it in large quantities. It is a bit sweeter than sugar, so you don't need to use as much of it. My favourite uses - to sweeten coffee, homemade "skinny" iced-caps, my zero-calorie copycat Mountain-Dew slushies, and with plain fat-free Greek yogurt, vanilla, & berries.

2) Konjac Noodles (also known as yam noodles or shiratake noodles) - These are an Asian-style noodle that have only 10 calories per serving. They can be a bit tricky to find, but I have found them in the Asian or International section of grocery stores. These are not a pasta substitute, in my opinion (believe me, I've tried!). The texture takes some getting used to as they are rubbery and a bit chewy. However, I have a super-quick Asian noodle recipe that works really well for these. You can eat a huge bowl for only 10 calories, which is crazy. Crazy awesome. Obviously you wouldn't want to eat just these noodles for a meal too often as they are far too low in calories for that. However, you could make a pretty awesome stir-fry with these and still have dessert.

3) Cabbage or Bagged Coleslaw Mix - Great for making "miracle" soup (a low-calorie version of cabbage borscht). Also great for quick and easy "Egg-Roll-in-a-Bowl."

4) Plain Fat-free Greek Yogurt - My favourite way to eat this is with a splash of vanilla, truvia, and strawberries. Low-calorie, healthy dessert or snack. I eat this often for breakfast or in the evenings when my husband brings out the ice cream ;-).

5)  Joseph's Lavash Bread - Lower-carb tortilla/wrap alternative. These taste SO much better than regular tortillas. Love, love, love them! My favourite way to use them is for lunch with deli turkey meat, sprinkle of bacon bits, sprinkle of cheese, 2 teaspoons of mayo, mustard, lettuce, and cucumbers (healthy version of turkey club sandwich).

Even though I do not technically follow the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) way of eating anymore, all of these items are heavily used for those following THM, and I still implement many of their principles into my eating. I tried THM about a year ago and did have a small amount of success. However, I quickly gained the weight back when I cheated here and there. I tried it again about a month or two again but actually gained weight this time around. I honestly think the reason I gained weight on it was because I was simply consuming too many calories.They say you don't need to count calories with the plan, but I know that if you eat too much, you will not have success on the plan. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to weight-loss and healthy eating. I'm a believer in finding what works for you and is a healthy approach. Reading the book and following the THM Facebook groups definitely gave me some great ideas for weight-loss friendly foods and recipes. My plan is my own plan...calorie counting and moderate carbs, exercise, and "cheats" allowed in moderation on the weekend. I have quite a long way to go yet...I try to remind myself to not get discouraged when results are not as quick as I hope.
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