Friday, December 17, 2010
This year I had the privilege to watch my girls give more than half of their toys away to charity. When they went back to their room with their Daddy to sort through things I thought that we might get rid of a few things, especially since we don't have huge amounts of toys to begin with. When they were done and called me back I was shocked to see that the give away pile was the same size as the keep pile. They girls had voluntarily given away half of their belongings. I have such amazing children and it made me cry.
Yes, I'm a sap and I cry at everything, but Christmas seems to make it happen more. I seem to be wiping tears from my eyes at least 20 times a day. Seeing the Airmen in front of Wal-Mart collecting toys makes me tear up, watching TV shows makes me tear up, picking out my Angel Tree gift makes me tear up. I'm hopeless and I love it.
In a season that seems to be more and more about getting and excess. I am thankful to have these small reminders that people aren't all about what they can get and how much they can spend. I love the reminders that people are caring and thoughtful and loving when it comes to their neighbors both far and near.
So here's to Christmas and everyone starting their own traditions of generosity.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
I am going to be baking until I can't bake anymore, crafting until my fingers are ready to fall off, and sharing it all with you. Stay tuned this next week to see the transformation from regular decorations at my house to Christmas everywhere. I'm so excited.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
So I got the box out this week, and I am working on finishing what I started. Hopefully it is a beautiful and fun arrangement when it's done. Here is the link to the project for anyone who wants to make some too.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Actually it isn't anything sinister at all. As I have mentioned before I am a military wife. My husband is currently deployed, so the girlies and I have been dealing with that and all of the drama and heartache that goes with it. Well I am pleased to announce that we can begin the final countdown. We have a date for when he comes home. Yippie! I am so, so very excited.
This final countdown also brings with it a huge flood of "oops, I forgot..." or "uh-oh I had better change that habit before he gets here." thoughts. Nothing too big, but it will be hard for him to sleep if both girls and the dog continue to sleep with us. And maybe I should pick up the dog poop and mow the backyard. Or my least favorite, I have to move my stuff back to my half of the closet so that he has room to hang his clothes. All in all not too bad for being without him for so long.
This wasn't our first deployment and I know that it won't be our last. I have learned things this time that I didn't last time, and I have dropped the ball in places that I was totally in control last time, it's always different and it is always an adventure.
The things that I have discovered about me, us, and our relationship this deployment have been pretty good this time. I have discovered what I think I want to go back to school to do. I have discovered that we are stronger as a couple than we ever thought we could be. I have learned that it is an amazing thing to be able to trust your husband completely while he is gone. I have learned that I am blessed with a marriage that is stronger and more amazing than so many of the people I see on a regular basis, and I am grateful for that.
So time to finish the laundry, mow the lawn, clean the house, pick out the homecoming outfits and make the signs! My husband is coming home, and I can't wait!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
3/4 c. pear nectar (I used the juice from a can of No Sugar Added Pears, it was exactly 3/4c)
2 egg whites
2 T vegetable oil
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 t lemon zest
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c. low-fat granola (no fruit/raisins)
1 T baking powder
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c chopped canned pears.
1/3 c granola
Mix together the first 5 ingredients until slightly foamy.
In another bowl, sift together flours and sugars.
Add granola (break up any large pieces), baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.
Add pears to the flour mix and mix to coat.
Gently fold in all of the liquids to the flour mixture.
Put into greased muffin tins.
Sprinkle remaining granola over the top of the raw muffins.
Bake at 350 for 20 min. (or until toothpick comes out clean)
1 c sugar
1c whole wheat flour
1 1/4 c white flour
1 T cinnamon
2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
Mix together, then mix with flour mixture:
3/4 c raisins
1 apple peeled grated
1c. crushed pineapple drained
2c carrots shredded
1/2 c chopped nuts (optional)
In a separate bowl mix:
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 c oil (or 1/2 c apple sauce and 1/2 c oil, I used apple butter today)
Mix the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed, don't over mix.
Spoon batter into muffin tins, greased or lined with papers, filling each to the brim. Bake for 20 min at 350* or until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins for 10 min then take out and finish cooling. Makes 18 muffins (I didn't add the raisins or nuts this time, and used larger tins than normal so I got 12) These freeze well.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
After my first child was born I decided that I needed to start looking into my diet (which was horrid) and fitness and make some changes. Since then I have tried a huge variety of workout regimes including hiring a personal trainer. They all helped some, but none were as effective or as enjoyable as P90X. There is something very fulfilling about accomplishing something so difficult, and seeing the changes in my body.
I will admit I didn't give round 1 110%, heck I barely gave it 80% if you averaged the effort out. When you look at my past 80% is a huge improvement, but it isn't good enough. Not for me. So I am starting round 2 with a commitment to give it 110%, I can't wait to see how it all ends.
Monday, August 9, 2010
This is one of my favorite things to eat. It is an amazing mixture that is so versatile. Once you have the basics down feel free to change it to include other regional flavor profiles. I have made Asian, Italian, Indian, and Thai versions before that all turned out wonderfully. Remember that this recipe is more of a guideline than a set in stone recipe.
You can add in more protein by putting cheese, grilled chicken, tofu, beef, or anything else you can think of into this dish.
Quinoa is a grain that is very good for you, it has a very high amount of protein in it, an it is gluten free for those of you that have problems with that. You can usually find it with the alternative flours in the gluten free section of your grocery store. If you cannot find it you can substitute brown rice or whole grain cous cous.
1 c dry Quinoa
2 c water
2 veggie bullion cubes (optional)
1 can black beans
1 can corn (or 1.5 c frozen corn defrosted)
1/2 English Cucumber
1/2 green bell pepper
3 green onions
8-10 cherry tomatoes
1 c. fresh cilantro
1 tsp seasoning (I use Pampered Chef Southwestern)
1 Tbs lime juice
Put the quinoa, water, and bullion into a pan on the stove and bring to a boil, cook for 15-20 minutes. When done the quinoa should be slightly translucent and a little firm to the bite. Take off the stove and let cool completely.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
So this one will be short and sweet. Think about what you are keeping and why. If you are keeping it out of guilt or to remind yourself not to make the same mistake again, get rid of it. It is really is important to you, then display it in the way that it deserves. Keeping it hidden away means that you are not really cherishing it and you should be getting rid of it too.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Seasonal storage is different that everyday storage, most people put it outside, either in the garage or a storage shed, or even in a attic or basement. Because of this there are different things that are important.
The first thing is still that you can't keep more than you have room for. I think that this is the universal rule of organizing. If you don't have the room for it you simply cannot keep it.
The second thing to think of is appropriate storage for your location. Most seasonal storage needs to me water and air tight. You shouldn't store your winter clothes in paper bags, or plastic grocery sacks. The bugs, and water, and dirt will get into them and ruin them, and then what was the point in taking up the room storing them? So look at your storage area, what is size appropriate and location appropriate. For a particularly damp location you might even need to double wrap things, putting them into a plastic cover like a Space Bag and then put those into a Plastic Bin. If you are in a drier location then you should be fine with just the plastic bin. And honestly if you are like me the Space Bag won't work for you, they always end up expanding again on me and not staying vacuumed tight, so I look at them as a big Ziploc instead of as a space saver.
The third step, one that most people forget is to label your boxes well. If you can't find what you have stored and end up giving up looking for it and buy new stuff then you shouldn't have bothered storing it in the first place. If you are using the box for things that are permanent in that box like Christmas decorations you can write on the box with a permanent marker, but if you will be changing what is in the box then make sure that you can change the label. I also put a packing list right inside the top of the box, or you can put it in a plastic page protector on the outside. So you can find specific things.
Organizing your seasonal stuff is a lot of work, but when you are done you will thank yourself. Being able to walk to your storage anytime and pull out exactly what you need without going through piles of stuff and dozens of boxes will make things so much easier, and less expensive in the long run.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
This should be the easiest to get put away and organized. There are a few things that you need to answer and then away they should go. Most of these things are probably best right near where you found them. Think about where and how you use the items every day and then find an away place for them to be near that location. The further you have to walk to put something away the less likely you are to do it.
Question 1: What is the best way for ME to organize?
Organization is not a one size fits all activity. Not only does everyone live in a different house, but everyone also uses things in a different way. But, most importantly, what you think is a logical way to do things isn't always what I think is logical, so you need to organize for yourself. I just got through reading a great article in Real Simple that talked about how you shouldn't try to fit your organization into someone elses mold. If you are right-brained you shouldn't try and use the regimented color coded, same sized stacked boxes, and if you are left-brained you are probably most comfortable with this method. Find what works for you and your family.
Question 2: How much space do I have to put this away in?
Let's face it, there are very few of us who live in places where storage isn't at a premium. No matter how much we have it seems like we always need more. When you are planning a place to put things away, and look at your space realistically. If you only have one shelf on one closet for sheets, then that is all that you have. Taking more space than you have for one item usually means that you will have less room for another. Eventually if you keep borrowing storage from one thing to house another you will end up back where you started with no organization at all.
Question 3: Can I really fit what I want into the space that I have?
Look at your box of things that you use, look at the space that you have, will it all fit? If your self will hold six sets of sheets and you have four then you are doing great. If your shelf will fit four and you have six, not so great. If you have to answer no to this question it is time to go back. Do you really need all that you kept? Or are you saving the sheets from your childhood bed even though your kids will never use them. If after you re-assess what you have kept and you still don't have enough space, then it is time to re-assess where it is stored. Maybe you don't need something else that is in the linen closet stored there. Maybe you can move the kids crafts out so that you have more room for the sheets. Maybe you need to store the sheets in the room they belong in, either in an under the bed box, in the closet, or in the dresser. Be creative in your options just make sure you aren't taking storage that you actually need for something else.
Remember that there isn't any cut and dried correct way to do this. You need to store things in a way that is appealing to your senses wheather they be artistic and eclectic or regimented and color coded. You need to store the things that you use every day in a way that makes them accessable, both to use and to put away again when you are done. And last, you need to be honest and creative with where you put things away so that they are stored in the best possible manner.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I am often asked to help friends and family organize things, which comes as a huge surprise to me. I was the teenager who stuffed all of her stuff under the bed and into the closet to "clean" her room. The "a place for everything, and everything in it's place" mantra was lost on me. I saw de-cluttering, cleaning, and organizing as a huge waste of time. I can't quite put my finger on when the change came, there was no magical "ah-ha" moment when I went from being a slob to a neat-freak. It just happened. I think that my biggest push towards organization and cleanliness came my senior year of college when I shared a room with Nao. She was (and still is) the cleanest and most organized person that I have ever met. I felt guilty if my half of the room didn't at least sort of match hers, which was a huge feat since her half was pristine.
You can't organize clutter
It's been said a million times. You just can't organize clutter. You can move it around, you can hide it in nifty looking boxes and organizational tools, but when it all comes down to the nitty-gritty, it just won't help. Clutter is clutter no matter how many labels and pretty things you try and hide it with. So our first step in this process will be to de-clutter. In order for this to work, you must be honest and ruthless. It is hard, but it is worth it. The first step is to make your categories for things to keep, my suggestions is these three, but if you find something that works better for you then use that.
1) Useful every day
2) Useful seasonally
Designate a place for each of these categories and start sorting. Do you use it daily (or weekly)? Then it goes in the first box, do you use it every Christmas, or every winter? Then it goes in the second. Does it have some special meaning? Then it goes in the third. If it doesn't fit any of those categories? Then it goes in the trash or gets donated to charity. I don't suggest making a yard sale pile, because be honest, you won't ever get around to having one.
You don't have to do this to your whole house at once, or even a whole room, take the amount of time that you have and make a realistic goal. Do you have 15 minutes? Then go through you clutter pile from when you walk in the door. Do you have 45 try your closet. Remember that something that doesn't fit you isn't a keeper no matter how determined you are to be that size again some day.
Hopefully this is a small start for some of you, I'll be back with more tips on what to do with the things in each bin in a few days.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
So, why am I sharing this? Because I need to hold myself accountable and get back into my routine, not only do I need to to keep up with the weight loss, but also I just feel better, I've got more energy and less stress. I know that it sounds strange but it's true. So back to health for me. Wish me luck, living in the world of convenience foods as the staple is not going to make it easy, but it can be done.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I have come to a conclusion. We are doing ourselves a disservice by expecting life to be easy. You never learn anything if you never try. You will never develop so many important character traits if you never have to deal with any adversity. I'm not saying that it is fun, or fair, or something to look forward to. I am just saying that it is a part of life and what makes us who we are in the end.
That said. I am about to complain about things that aren't easy in my life right now. As many of you know my husband is active duty Air Force, which means deployments, and we are in the middle of one right now. This deployment has been interesting to say the least, it has been full of changes in plans and location, as well as changes in safety and communication. Right now we are about to start a time where there will be limited communication and increased danger. I am trying not to let the stress and worry rule my life, but sometimes all I want to do is wallow in my worry. I want to wear a sign that says "My husband is deployed, feel sorry for me" I want to lock myself in my room for a few days and eat as much junk food as possible. I have met women who do that, and to tell you the truth, they drive me nuts. But it doesn't keep me from wanting to from time to time.
Another thing I am worried about is related to a previous post. I know that the way that my family eats is not healthy. I have greatly improved my own personal diet, but I haven't made any major changes in the diet of my family. What kind of mother am I? I want to take care of myself and not my children? I want to improve my own health and not improve the health of my husband? All of my excuses come down to one thing, it's hard. It is hard to completely change the way you eat, it is even harder to do so for your family. I can tell my girls that they need to eat more veggies and junk. But they are too young to understand that. They understand that I am taking away their favorite foods. Convenience foods are just that convenient, it is easy to make Mac & Cheese, Pizza Rolls and Chicken nuggets.
So as of today, I am going to make a pledge. When I am faced with a decision between the easy road and the better road, I will take the better road. I will stop expecting life to be handed to me on a silver platter, I will take an active role in making not only my life better and fuller, but also the lives of my family and friends. Would you take this pledge with me? Will you take the difficult step and choose to take the harder road? If you do, I think that you will find that your life is more of what you want it to be.
Friday, April 23, 2010
I don't know about you but there are times that I just want to throw my hands up and give up, there are too many things to worry about and too much information to try and research. So what's a DD to do? Well in my case I am trying to inform myself on the subject, but in a small way without going overboard and forgetting everything else. I am also trying to incorporate the changes that I feel are important as I am able to. I think that is all that any family can do. Am I perfect in this change, no way, but I am trying and I think that while you wouldn't be impressed at how organic, free-range all of the food in my fridge is, you would be impressed that I have found a way to still stay within my food budget while incorporating many of these types of food.
Friday, April 9, 2010
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, too much. I love being able to be home with the girlies, and I am proud of my husband and what he does, but sometimes I just miss the carefree anticipation that Friday used to bring. Maybe it's time to revamp our Saturdays, time to make them something to look forward to, so that Friday has something special about it again.
Friday, April 2, 2010
Honey Lime Chicken
from Blood Types, Body Types and You
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1/3 c pineapple juice.
1/4 c honey
1 tsp lime zest
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp corn starch
DD's notes ~ If I were to make this again I would either serve it with plain rice or over rice noodles. I would serve a green veggies stir fry with it, snow peas, broccoli, bell pepper, and green onions.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I will not be pulling from any one cookbook, and as some of you already know, I will not be following the recipes exactly. I will however post the original recipe, as well as the changes that I made. I will tell you when it was good and when it was really bad. If you have any recipes that you LOVE that you would like me to try please share them, also if you have any recipes that you have been wanting to try but are afraid to share them with me and I will see if they would work for us. Some of the parameters that I am trying to follow are... no diary, no red meat, and little to no wheat. This is because I am trying to eat for my blood type.
Today will not be the start of this, but I will share a recipe that I made last week when I was home with my family. It turned out really well, with the picky children asking for 3rds. So sorry no pictures.
Chicken and Artichokes in Wine Sauce
from Blood Types Body Types and You by Joseph Christiano
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut in half
1/4 c spelt flour
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
2-3 cloves garlic
1/2 c white wine
1/2 c chicken broth
3-4 sliced artichoke hearts packed in water
1/4 c fresh chopped parsley
Rinse chicken and pat dry. Dredge chicken in flour. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken 3 minutes on each side.
Reduce heat. Add dried herbs to skillet with remainder of the olive oil. Distribute herbs evenly. Add wine, chicken broth and artichoke hearts to pan. Cover and let simmer for 10 min. Stir in parsley.
1- I used 8 boneless skinless tenderloins instead of breasts cut in half.
2 - I put the flour in a Ziploc baggy with the dried chicken and just shook it all around.
3- I used 1T olive oil and 1T butter when browning the chicken.
4- I bought whole artichoke hearts and used the whole can so there were actually 5 in the recipe.
5- I used white cooking wine instead of drinking wine, the salt helped in my opinion.
6- This was served over angel hair pasta, made of spelt. It turned out wonderfully, tastes just the same as regular pasta.
Thursday, March 18, 2010