Monday, August 13, 2012

On weight loss and menu planning...

As of today, my friends, I have only Seven more lbs. to lose to reach my wedding weight!  Woohoo.  Of course, when hubby and I wed, I had already gained quite a few lbs and lost major muscle tone, but it's still pretty darn huge.  A month or so ago, I mentioned joining a gym.  I have been going to Curves 4 times a week for 30 minutes at a time.  My family and I also try to walk a couple times per week.  Curves has helped me tone up a bit, but is not responsible for the weight loss--diet is.  I've often heard "get fit in the gym, lose weight in the kitchen."  I wholeheartedly agree. 

There are a few things that I always keep on hand and ready to go.  When I diet, I feel borderline unsatisfied at all times, so for me, if I don't have something healthy and ready to munch on when a craving hits....well, I bomb. 

Here's my list of must haves:

1)  Dill pickles-no calories and a pleasant crunch!  These are often my go to when I need a snack.  The only downside is sodium content. 
2)  Good, fresh apples.  Buy the best quality apples you can....from a farmers market of local orchard.  They are great, provide the something sweet we often desire and can be a meal if paired with a bit of peanut butter.
3)  Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning.  My family goes through so much of this and to save money, I started buying the large bottle of mix at Sams Club.  I always keep fresh dip and salad dressing in the fridge.
4)  Pudding and jello mixes- Chocolate pudding made with skim milk will do just fine when a gal needs some chocolate.  While the taste isn't Barefoot Contessa quality, it's still okay.  The same goes for jello mixes.  I often add canned fruit and after the jello is set, I will add a dollop of fat-free cool whip on top and you have an instant dessert.  Again, not gourmet, but when you've gone quite sometime without dessert, this tastes pretty darn good.

Just a few ideas I had.....stay tuned for this weeks meal plan!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

School is back in session...

This week I have returned to class and my daughter will start tomorrow as a big 1st grader.  While I set and stew and contemplate how she managed to turn 6 overnight, I am having to follow a tight schedule this week.  Adding to my normal chaos is my quest to become healthier.  Being healthy is a worthwhile goal, but lets face it--it can be very time consuming.  Time consuming = stress in my already busy life.  I have to be diligent with food prep and planning in order to keep things going and allow myself time to go to the gym every day.  This is my meal plan for the week:

Boston butt roast (4 lbs for multiple meals)
carrots, onion and potatoes cooked with roast
large pot of green beans

Barbecue made from yesterday's roast
oven roasted new red-skinned potatoes with garlic
large green salad with homemade ranch dressing

bacon and tomato sandwiches (church night)
baked potato

Grill night!
Grilling two pounds each of chicken breast and hamburgers
baked french fries
veggies and dip

Caesar salad with grilled chicken

Sensible meal out as we will be at Holiday World!!


Steamed broccoli
garlic bread

Breakfast is usually either a yogurt parfait or oatmeal.  Lunch for me is usually a large apple and a TBSP of peanut butter and a bag of 100 calorie popcorn.

Friday, June 29, 2012

I joined a gym.....bleck!

Since good ole Kentucky has turned into a desert in the last couple weeks, I have not been able to get outside and exercise.  After a long day at work, I do not feel like walking in 90+ degree temps.  Nuff said!  Determined not to lose any ground (healthwise), I made a gut wrenching decision.  I joined a fitness center.  I am still cringing......this is so not me.  Lol.  I do not like the whole idea, yet I seem to have fallen victim to the easy factor.  The gym is air-conditioned, open 24 hours a day and somewhat allergen-free.  Great, great and GREAT!! I hate every minute that I am there, but my hubby reinforced my positive trend last night.  We were snuggling and he actually told me that he could see and feel my body changing.  Woohoo. This is big time, friends!!!  My hubby is not one to throw around compliments.  If he says it, he means it. top things off, I tried on a skirt this morning that had been deep in the bowels of my "hopeless, just go ahead a give me to Goodwill" section of my closet.  You gals know this section, it's the one that no matter what we do, we will probably never be able to revisit :(  Well let me tell ya, that skirt fit well.  Happy Friday to me!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

No more fat feet!

How's that for a blog title?  I don't know if I am the only one or not, but when I gain weight, my shoe sizes increases.  When I lose weight, my shoe size decreases.  I suppose that is somewhat normal, but it irritates me that I can range anywhere from a size 8-9.  This morning when getting ready, I kept eyeing my favorite pair of Lifestrides and I so wanted to slip them on.  The problem?  Even though I have lost a good amount of weight now, my dang feet were still a bit on the pudgy side (boy do women scrutinize our bodies!).  Just for kicks, I decided what the heck--I would forgo comfort for fashion.  Guess what, y'all?  They fit wonderfully and were a bit loose even.  Can I get a big heck yeah? 

I realize this post is meant to be light and in good fun, but really.....we should celebrate the small joys of life whenever possible.  Cute shoes on thin feet count in my book.  Check out my super cute shoe, too!

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world." Marilyn Monroe

Thursday, June 21, 2012

O' The Glory Did Roll.....

This is an old Southern Gospel tune; one that I doubt many of you have heard of.  It is sooo lovely.  Written by G.T (dad) Spears, probably in typical shaped-note fashion, it is truly something.  This song is one of my first recital songs at the age of 8.  Throughout the years of piano and voice lessons, I was blessed to study under several accomplished pianists and was introduced to many different genres of music.  I am equally at home pounding out "Sonatina Pathetique" as I am playing a jazzy, old hymn.  Many of y'all probably don't know this, but my major when exiting high school was piano with a minor in church music.  I received a full scholarship at a prestigious local Christian university.  At that time, I decided to marry and have children instead of pursuing a degree in music.  Regardless of my decision, music continues to live in my heart and is indeed my lifeline. 

Several years ago, I was blessed to attend the Stamps-Baxter School of Music in TN and even accompanied a bit.  It was a glorious experience.  Take a listen to this lovely song as performed by the SBS of Music.  Ahhhh!  Lord willing, out daughter will attend in a couple of years.  She is so sweet as she is already allowing me to teach her basic conducting and theory ;)  At her age, I was good, but not as blessed as she is.  Last night I overheard her singing an Adele song (of all things!) and she absolutely blew me away. 

This week we have been attending a local Seperate Baptist church camp and this song was sang one night.  It took me straight back to my childhood.  Good is good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Working My Way Up

First of all, I really and truly love Sandra Bullock.  I love the story of her life, love her movies...I think she is an all around swell gal. Because of this, I decided to use the above pic of her for my hairstyle transformation.  Now, I know y'all are thinking I chickened out and I suppose that would be accurate.  This is far longer than any of the pic I had been posting, but the fact is......I just love my long hair.  So, I decided a bit at a time would be more comfortable.  To get the above style, I had my stylist whack off 5"!  This weekend if time allows, I will get highlights. 

The good, the bad and the ugly:

The good:  Obviously, the hairstyle has made me look younger, as I have heard that numerous times in the last few days.  My hair looks healthier and takes a bit less time to dry. 

The bad:  I do not like this style on me.  I have never liked my hair to lay on or slightly below my shoulders.  Longer or shorter feels right, so my attempt to take things slow appears to have been for naught.  My husband also thinks the length is still too long.......sigh.

The ugly:  Nothing to report here, but an ugly attitude on my part.  I think I need to be placed in time out!  Lol. 

So, you guess it, my hair will still be going up everyday with cute little sideswept bangs.  Sigh...the life of a woman!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Friday Five...

I realize today is Saturday, but technically it is my Friday as I am off on Mondays and it tends to put me a day behind.  Make sense?  Probably not, I am a rambling fool most days!  Anywho, I am stealing this idea from my darling cousin as I think it pretty cute!

Activities for the weekend:  Shopping and drive-in movie tonight; church and Gender Reveal party at my sisters home tomorrow afternoon (woohoo!!!  I'm thinkin' boy!)

Currently Reading:  All That is Bitter and Sweet, Ashley Judd.  I really love this book so far.  I am typically an Amish Fiction reader, but have been trying to step out of the box and read a bit from our Ky. section.  Also, who doesn't love Ashley Judd!

My favorite quote:
I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him. ~Abraham Lincoln
 I am currently listening to:  Moves like Jagger, Maroon 5
I feel:  Elated, content and love my new shoes.  Lol, always a bit of randomness going on in my brain!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Do # 2

As promised, here is the second style I am considering.  I really do love it and think it would feel so wonderful in the summer months (after I got used to it, of course!)  Tell me what y'all think...

Thursday, June 7, 2012

'Do numero uno

Sooo.....this is one hairstyle I just keep going back to.  I love it, not totally sure it's me, but it's in the running for sure.  Tell me what y'all think?  Does it look like an early to mid-30's conservative youth services librarian hairdo?  Lol...

Edited to Add:  I do not, in fact, look like this amazingly beautiful woman.  I do, however, have the same color hair, eyes and complexion as she does (not to mention a bigger nose and fatter face :(

Sunday, June 3, 2012

To cut or not to cut?

My hair, that is.  I've always had fairly long hair.  Usually below the shoulders and a lot can be said for the ease of styling long, straight hair.  I do appreciate being able to throw my hair up in a clip or ponytail if need be, but the last year or so, I've realized it's probably not the best look for me anymore.  The cold, hard fact is this:  I am aging.  While I am far from being old at almost 32, I must face the fact that I am a mature woman.  They gray is creeping up on me and my style is changing.  My profession has changed and a mature, responsible hair style is expected.  I'm stubborn and have been resisting--most days my hair goes in a stylish updo with sideswept bangs and quite frankly, I can rock that style. 

The real kicker came this morning while getting ready for church.  My husband was staring at me and he frankly said "I think it's time for you to keep your hair short".  I could have fallen over.  My dear, very southern, traditional hubby has always ask that my hair stay long.  Whenever I have stepped out and went above the shoulders, he never hesitated to express his displeasure.  Y'all, I thought I would be happy when he finally wanted my hair cut, but today.....I feel old!  Lol.  Even though I agree with him, it's quite a change for me.  After all, southern women should always have impeccable heels, nails and hair!  Like any other change in life, I will embrace the change, but now the question of how short to go.  In the next few days, I will post some pics of possible styles and let y'all help me make my decision!   

Friday, June 1, 2012

My own bucket list...

As I sit here pondering what I will be doing this weekend (my daughter is spending the weekend with her grammy), simple things come to mind.  1)  My hubby!  Very rarely do we get to spend time together alone.  I want nothing more than to snuggle up with him in our cozy bed and nap.  My head still feels amazing on his chest...sigh.  2)  Good food!  We are foodies and because of this and our location, most of our meals are prepared at home.  We have to travel a great distance for good food.  When our six year old is with us, her picky palette and the need to quick eats, limit us.  3)  A good movie.  A movie that isn't made for audiences under 10 is a rare treat for us.  Unfortunately, all adult movies playing right now are horrid :( 

Y'all can probably see that it takes very little to make me happy.  Today I was thinking about what I would put on my bucket list, should I make one.  My list is surprisingly short!

1)  Take a trip with my best friend to Savannah
2)  Travel the country in a camper with my hubs and a very leisurely pace.
3) Have my own classroom
4)  Publish a children's book
5)  Attend Le Cordon Bleu
6)  Hang out with the Pioneer Woman on her ranch
7)  Attend a Barefoot Contessa Party
8)  Take a cruise to Alaska
9)  Have the courage to enter a "REAL" karaoke contest instead of just winning the hokey ones around here.
10)  Never forget the sound and inflections of my loved ones voices after they have passed.

Glancing over my list, most of my desires are blessed am I?  My bucket list would have been much different last year--it's amazing how GOD has prospered my family and myself this year.  I am so blessed and give GOD the glory and the praise for all he has done.  We are so undeserving.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

Hope everyone has a wonderfully relaxing weekend with those they love.  Let's all remember to not only make this a time for celebration, but one of reflection.  Are we teaching our children that everything should be a celebration with food and fun or are we teaching the a bit about sacrifice?  I would love to hear how some of y'all use Memorial Day as a opportunity to educate their children.  My hubby and I always visit our loved ones in the cemeteries as well as having babygirl write a letter to a soldier.  The letter writing will be particularly enjoyable this year as babygirl is an independent writer.  Of course, being the good ole' Southern family we are, we will have a cookout, too.  We will be having several people over on Sunday and as I sit here and type I realize I have much to do to get ready.  MUCH to do.  First things first, my menu.  I have a bit of a dilemma...I am a self-professed foodie.  My family members are not so much.  They enjoy plain jane food....basic grilled burgers and dogs along with the usual fixin's.  I long for fancier fare.  This weekend, I've decided to do it my way for a change and see how it goes.  

My menu:


Spinach Dip with assorted veggies and crackers
Caprese skewers
Marinated slow-cooked mushrooms


Pasta Salad
Prosciutto wrapped asparagus, roasted
Green Beans with bacon, onions and carrots
Banana Croquettes


Grilled hot dogs (for kids)


Banana Pudding
Fruit Salad


Sweet Tea
Strawberry Slush


Friday, May 25, 2012

Be in constant prayer....

I had a lovely post typed up that was seeminly eaten by Blogger (grrr), so this will be short and sweet.  As usual, it's something that is on my mind.  If you have a husband that is the real deal (as according to scripture), who supports you, prays for you, puts your needs above his, etc., PRAY FOR HIM.  Pray for his emotional and physical health.  He will be attacked.  Satan does not want strong fathers and husbands....strong men lead strong homes.  Strong families raise strong satan, this is a vicious cycles that must be stopped.  Godly men have a tough job ahead of them.  They are often taken advantage of, often by their own families.  Godly men must always consider the needs and desire of their family above their own.  It is stressful and tiring.  How often do you show your husband how thankful you are?  Do you ever sit back and look at his life empathetically?  I encourage you to do so.....

If your man has a stressful job, a position in the church or a position with children, his need for your prayer is even greater.  Finally, be a light to your can mean the world to them. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tidbit, my new niece or nephew....

I have some exciting news.....I am going to be an aunt again.  Our new bundle of joy will arrive mid-October and we do not know the sex as of yet, but I am affectionately referring to the baby as "tidbit".  The whole family is excited and the joy if abundant.  When I married my husband almost thirteen years ago, I inherited one niece and two nephews.  They have been like my own children, one in particular, but this will be my first experience of being able to go to the hospital when the baby is born, etc.  It will be a new experience.

Our babygirl is adopted, so I've had very little hospital/pregnancy experiences and I plan to enjoy every moment along with my sister and husband (if they will let me).  I pray that GOD will keep me grounded and allow the joy I feel now to continue and not let the sorrow creep in that it is her instead of me.  I also pray that tidbit and my sister progress and grow in the most healthy way.  God always knows best and I trust that he will guide our lives as he sees fit. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Pineapple Tomato, extraordinairre....

"God Almighty first planted a Garden; and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man..." Francis Bacon

Hello friends, I would like to introduce you to my new favorite tomato.  It is an heirloom variety and oh so lovely.  Last year was my first year growing "Pineapples" and I am in love....this is what I had the pleasure of growing and devouring.

Isn't it lovely?  This plant grows very large and produces an abundance of huge fruit.  Below is a picture of the colors inside the tomato.

The fruit is sweet and tangy...everything a good heirloom tomato should be.  Think the coloring of a Mr. Stripey with the taste of a Brandywine.  I am in love....have I already said that?  Sigh...happy gardening, y'all.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dark Chocolate-Nutella Buttercream...

First off, who doesn't love Nutella?  Not loving Nutella means one of two things--either you haven't tried it or you are mentally unstable.  No way around it!  I have posted previously the delicious s'mores recipe, but I also very much enjoy nutella with fresh strawberries.  Some people also choose to ear the nutella by the spoonful right out of the jar.  Such obsession!  Such lack of restraint...I don't know about such  I try not to hand around such uncivilized folk (clearing throat and changing subject now!). 

Anyways, my dear sister graduated from nursing school this weekend and we had much to celebrate!  The family went out to eat after graduation and my sister chose a lovely little restaurant housed in a historic home.  The atmosphere was relaxed and private, but unfortunately, we arrived very close to closing and the dessert staff was leaving.  My sister didn't get a celebratory dessert and being the foodie that I am, I was bothered by that deeply.  This morning, I got up and decided to make her favorite dessert.  She loves a basic yellow cake with super rich homemade chocolate butter cream.  While this old standby is delish, I wanted to kick it up a notch.  I decided to come up with a butter cream that included nutella.  I began to search the internet for recipes and quickly decided to come up with my own.  Here's what I came up with:

Two sticks salted butter, softened
3-4 cups of powdered sugar
2-3 TBSP milk
1 tsp pure vanilla
1/3 cup dark, dutch unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup Nutella

Cream butter, add nutella and mix well.  Add vanilla and cocoa, mix.  Add powdered sugar and enough milk to bring to desired consistency.  I beat this for a good minute to stiffen the mixture up.

The end result was delish!  My family went crazy over this new concoction.  Right now I am dreaming of fresh strawberries that can be dipped into the leftover butter cream.  WOW!  This recipe makes more than enough to frost a 13x9 cake.  Believe me in that you want a bit extra to enjoy! 


Saturday, May 5, 2012

It's the day of the Derby....

and I couldn't care less.  My homestate is something I'm proud of, but horses, Derby festivities and snobby individuals invading the state...don't float my boat.  Churchill Downs is nice to visit and should be a source of pride for all Kentuckians, but that is where it ends for me.  The Derby represents so many things that are distasteful for me.  Firstly, I do not like animals being put on parade; gambling and betting are not my cups of tea and finally, I do not like the atmosphere of greed and facetiousness.  Everyone is trying to "one up" each other with finer dress, hats, bets, etc.  I just do not like it, Sam I am.  So, what's a gal like me to do on such a day?  My sweeties and I have been Geocaching, and I grilled out a delicious, healthy meal earlier.  We are now getting ready to head to the lake to walk, fish, and sit around a campfire.  A bit of blackberry wine and s'mores will be involved if I have anything to say about it.  Most of our friends will be there and an hour or two of karaoke will probably happen.  Lol. 

P.S.  IFFFFFF I were to attend the Derby, below is the hat I would have chosen.  I do love fashion, I just don't like being surrounded by!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Asian Green Beans

(Picture taken from

I apologize for not posting my own glorious pictures of this recipe as y'all know I love to go step-by step, but I am not in a position to grab my camera and upload, so the above pic will have to suffice.  I just love a good Chinese buffet.  Y'all know what I'm talking about!  A good buffet must have 1) Crab Legs, 2)  Broccoli Chicken, 3)  Stuffed Clams and 4)  ASIAN GREEN BEANS!!!  I love green beans prepared this way and have been on a mission to create them at home.  This weekend, I picked up a lovely package of French green beans at Sam's and went to work.  The end result was wonderful.

You will need:
1lb of Haricot Verts (they really are the best, do try to find them!) or fresh green beans
4 or 5 baby Bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
2-3 TBSP Oyster Sauce
a few dashes of low-sodium soy sauce
2 finely minced cloves of garlic

First, blanch the haricot verts for 1-2 will not take long.  Plunge into an ice bath and set aside.  Saute 1-2 tbsp of butter in large saute pan along with garlic and mushrooms.  Take care not to burn garlic.  After mushrooms are cooked, add sauces along with green beans.  Cook over medium heat to warm beans and reduce sauce.  

These are quick and easy and my whole family loved them and couldn't get enough.  Other than the sodium content (and it is crazy high), these little jewels are pretty healthy.  I fixed these alongside pepper steak and rice and egg rolls and my family was very appreciative.