Friday, September 27, 2013

Just a Test

Just a test to see if I corrected an annoying issue!!!

New Fall Soup Addict....

I am a woman of somewhat even proportions. I am 5' 3.5" (that half inch is important to me!!) and curvy in all the right places .... maybe a little too curvy!!

OK!!!   So, I am waaaay over my "suggested" weight. I won't bore (or shock) you with the details!

I used to blame it on 3 pregnancies so close together (my kids are 23 months apart). For six years I was either pregnant or breastfeeding. I have no regrets. Well, maybe a few...eating too much junk food, not staying on some kind of fitness schedule, getting my hair cut very short that one time, not drinking enough water. every day., being addicted to Taco Bell and Dr. Pepper during my last pregnancy and Coke forevermore after. =/ Really, I have many regrets, but none pertaining to my kids and pregnancy!!  So, in these, my mid-to late 30 years, I have realized that something must be done. I can no longer eat what I want and "get away with it". Although, clearly, I have not been getting away with it for years!!!

My quest started last year, when after years of not doing so, I thought it would be great fun to play a game of volley ball. It was great fun!! ......for about 20 minutes!!!

** Let me digress for a moment. I was somewhat athletic in high school. I played volley ball and tennis, then took up racquetball (which I love!) after graduation. I graduated in 1993. (Yikes!!!)(That is like 20 years ago!!!!)(YIKES!!!!)That in itself should explain a lot, but I must go further. I have played off and on throughout the years and never suffered more than sore arms so why should now be any different. Right??**

About 20 minutes in to this game of my beloved volley ball my right leg felt a sharp pain and I heard a snap! Yikesamoly!!! Charlie horse of the century people!!! After a trip to my doc the next day it was concluded that I tore my calf muscle. This was a severe blow to my (ego is not the right word, but I can't seem to think of another word...) psyche (maybe?).  What??? My body could no longer handle volley ball?? What is this? What does it mean??
It meant wearing a monstrous "boot" for 6 weeks and Physical Therapy for 6+ weeks. That's right
Guess who had to start "exercising"??? >>Me<<

So, after years of avoiding regular exercise I started doing these "Strengthening and Stretching" routines for my leg to heal properly. I actually enjoyed doing it. It motivated me to start going to the gym!! I did that for about 6 months, them life started happening and I got off track! Also, my knee started hurting constantly...

But, I am starting back my gym fun tonight and I have started changing the way I eat.
Eating is probably my hardest area of change for me.  I gave up all soda. I have also given up bread (gluten) and that has made a huge impact on my energy levels. No one will tell you this (except for the guy who wrote that book, "Wheat Belly"!!) but breads and gluten in particular effect your snacking urges, energy levels and overall health!! When I first came off of wheat I lost about 10 pounds! Nice!! Well, apparently, my body was not impresses. I have since gained back five of those, but have maintained that weight for these last six or so months!!

....Until we went camping! Who new that you could gain five pounds in 4 days??!! Amazing! I have to give credit to the many Cokes I drank and the junk food I consumed. Laying the full blame on myself for being so weak and lazy!! However, since I have been home, I have been a good girl.
I have lost those five pounds I found while camping and am determined to go down even further, hence my Blog Post title >>>>New Fall Soup.

>>>>>>>Last night, I was not very hungry, but needed to eat so I wouldn't be munchie I perused  my pantry for something gluten free (I almost made my self a grilled cheese sandwich! BAH!!!!) I came across a can of pumpkin. Libby's.  Hmmmm....What can I do with this??
I'll tell ya!!
It was kind of the texture of tomato soup (which I love, but didn't have on hand) and totally easy and super yummy!!!

I spooned out half the can of pumpkin (Let me insert here that the entire can of pumpkin is only 140 calories!!), added about 1/4 C of milk, put in cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger, a pinch of salt and a bit of brown sugar (because I have not given up sugar yet...I"m working on it!!).
It was sort of the directions for the pie on the back of the can, but without the egg and guesswork on the amount of spices. I may try it with the egg today, just to see how it is and to add a bit of protein.  Mixed it all up and nuked it for a minute or so. Added a bit more cinnamon and heated it up a bit more and Viola! a super yummy (almost) guilt free soup!!!! Now, I will confess that I cheated a bit on the G.F. part, because I dipped graham crackers in the soup a few!!! That was super yummy!!! But on the whole, I could eat it with no graham crackers and be just fine!!! =)
Mu hubby thinks it's weird, but it really was delicious and satisfying!! A girl can't ask for more than that!!!


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Split Personality??

As some of you may know, I am a lover of the beach!! I like all things beachy: sun, sand, ocean, wind, waves, seagulls, sand pipers, crabs, shells, laughter of children, long walks in the surf, sinking into the wet sand. For me, a trip to the beach is so very relaxing. I feel rested and refreshed when I am there and usually, I do not want to leave. I can totally picture myself living on the beach. I could spend my days looking at the ever changing ocean  and be one happy woman. I would love to live in a beach bungalow in the winter and spring months...

Enter Fall Family Vacation to the Appalachian Mountains.....

My family (including my 77yo mom-in-law) just got back from Vogal State Park in Blairsville, Ga. I LOVE the Mountains!!!!!!!! I feel so alive and invigorated there!!!

There is something about seeing those majestic hills and tranquil valleys that makes me want to be there. Always.         "The mountain are calling, and I must go." John Muir
 My crew getting ready for their Day hike on the A.T.!!! =)

 I am recovering from a knee injury, so I was not able to hike this year, but I was able to walk the dog around the park where we stayed and Wowsers!!! It was wonderful!! I haven't had that much energy in quite a while! It's like there is a life-pulse in the mountains that shares it's energy with anyone willing to accept!!!
As I mentioned before, my mom-in-law went with us on this trip!! She is such a trooper!!! She is a joy to have around and was able to keep up with us and all our shenanigans!!!
 Mc. helping his G-ma across the creek! Such a little gentleman!!! =)

Takin' a break around the fire.... nice to hear (and watch) my hubby play his guitar!!!

While there, we rode the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway train to a little town on the Georgia-Tennessee border!!! Such a relaxing trip!! It took 1 hour to go 15 (or so) miles, but it was a lovely ride!!

Me and my Honey!!!! He is such am awesome husband, daddy, and son...and also my best friend!
There is a line drawn through the town(s) to show the Ga./Tn. border. So neat to be able to stand in two states at the same time!!!

Photo FUN!!!!
There is a little place at Vogal that is an overflow that becomes a waterfall. This part is the man made overflow thingy....shadow pics are fun to do here.
G-ma on the left, kids in middle, me on the right...taking a picture. Not picking my nose!!! ;)
 Then the kids and G-ma got a little crazy with the shadows!!!!

This is the lake at Vogal. I don't think I've taken a photo from this was a lovely day though and you really can't mess up too much!!!

This is the natural part of the waterfall that flows from the man made overflow!!!! It is beautiful!!And the sound...Amazing!!! You have to hike down a bit of a trail (which G-ma and I did!!) to get to it, but it is so worth the effort!!!Going back up is a bit tiring, but again, worth it!!!! =)
 Same waterfall, different view.....

I wish I had a better camera to capture the essence of evening that is the mountains!! What a magical time of day!!! This is looking straight up from our campsite!!! Aaaaahhhhhh........

We purchased a very large (3 room) tent this year. I really like it. It is easy to set up and take down. All of the fam can fit into it. My air mattress even fits comfortably!!! =)

But when I saw this little beauty I got a little tent envy!!!!! =)  I could so go for one of these!!!!  Love love love this little pop up!!!!!

On the last full day of our stay, I went to a little gas station....
Yes. It was called "Booger Hollow"!!!!!!!!! Bwahahahaha!!!! So Stinkin' Funny!!!!

Now that I am back home, have unpacked, have done mountains of laundry and settled back in to day to day life, I feel like two people. One who wants to spend her life in a bungalow on the beach and on who wants to spend the rest of her days in a cabin on the mountains!!!!
Split personality????
I think not. Just going to have to split my days between both places and squeeze in visits to the kids when I can!!!!    (when they are grown and gone and I can actually live in one of these places!!)
 I think I could do the beach in winter and spring and the mountains in summer and fall!!!  Sounds like a plan to me!!  Happiness!!!!


P.S. Just adding a few more random pics.....

Oh yes!!! We are jam packed in this Suburban!!!

 She is probably going to disown me, but the kids thought is was so funny that G-ma was taking a nap!!!

OK.....Here everyone is awake and happy!!!!!  G-ma did say a few times on this trip that she felt like our forth child.....haven't figured out what she means or how to take that.

G-ma the adventurer!!! Th. did not want to get in that hollow tree. There were spiderwebs in there!!!
But G-ma thought it was pretty cool and stooped for a pic with Th. =)

Once again, I am going to be in trouble, but really, who keeps their "tent room" so stinkin' neat?!?!?!?  G-ma does!!!!

Shoe Tree at Neel's Gap store....poor tree.

My crew before they hit the trail!! We love this little store!! =)

Teehee....sorry G-ma, but this one is so cute!!!  There was a nice fall set up at the Sunshine Store and we took advantage!!! =)

The land of giant pumpkins....and lots of them!!!

G-ma hiked down to the waterfall at Vogal....did I not tell you she was awesome?!?!?!!!!! For those of you that have been there, you know why!!!

Riding on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway....Fun (relaxing and no walking) times!!!

Ate at this little Cafe' in McCaysville (Sp?)....yummy!!!  Not sure why it is called this. The food was not "heavenly", but I thought the name of the place was kind of cute!

G-ma is between the states.....Georgia and Tennessee!! =)

Even while camping there is time for reading!!!!! =)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Back online!!!

We have had a very crazy summer!!

*My month away from the internet turned into 3+ months of sporadic use and I am still quite sporadic!!  I must say though, I found that I did not miss the connection to the "world" as much as I thought I would!!!  My kids really missed their games at first, but by the second week they were all about playing together outside, inside, everywhere!! It was lovely!!!

*The church where we are members purchased an old daycare building and invited a team missionary builders to come renovate it to make it more suitable for a church building!!  We (my family and many of our church members!!) have been volunteering manual labor as much as possible as there were only 6 people on the team!! We got to demolish, clean-up, help with plumbing prep, clean, do some painting, help with wood trim, clean some more, help with building the stage, organize a bit, clean and sing at the dedication service!! We are in our new building and loving every minute of it!! =)

*Our garden was pretty much a flop. We had high hopes for a good yield, but it was not to be. We had record amounts of rain which in one sense was good because we have been in a drought for years, but there was hardly any sunshine and our tender little heirloom garden just did not adjust to the extreme conditions. We will try again next year...

*Our chickens are finally laying eggs!!!! The moment we had been waiting for for 20+ weeks finally arrived and we couldn't be more pleased!!! My daughter has tenderly cared for these chickens since we received the in the mail!! She was so completely excited to get that first egg!!! She got to eat it and she declared it better than a store bought egg!! I agree with her!!

*The bees did beautifully!!! We were able to harvest close to 2.5 gallons of honey this year!!! We thought that was pretty good for our first year!!! =)

*We started back to homeschooling on July 15th. It has been a challenge to get my kids on board with year-round  school. But this week we are having a family vacation in the mountains and I think they are catching on to the reason why I chose to do it this year!! They are good kids and hardly ever complain!! I am one blessed mama!!!! =)