Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Our Heavenly Father is so gracious and so kind. He has blessed me 10 million fold and given our family incredible blessings and opportunities for growth.
This year is truly one of giving thanks - where others I often feel consumed with the thoughts of food, parties, and what is yet to come (I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. I can't state that enough). However, this year has been full of trials and full of growth. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father and Savior for all I have been given; including the hardship. I have learned so much and have received more than I am sure I realize.
Fifty dollars and a card from family here that means we can buy another weeks worth of groceries, an overdue baby there which meant she was safe inside my belly during our accident, and a trip across country to strengthen our relationships here and there. Plus, millions of big and little things between.
But most importantly I am grateful that prayers and heard and answered. Always. You may not be able to see it during the storm, but He is always there and he does not turn away. Ever. This year has been one of nearly constant prayer. Even when I wasn't aware I was praying; if I stopped and listened I could feel my heart pleading with our Heavenly Father for strength, for protection, and for our little family. And if I became ever so still I could often feel and hear His response and was given courage to continue on and keep moving. He truly is there and our Savior lives. No doubt about it, He was resurrected and He stands by our Heavenly Father's side watching, protecting and guiding us.
Have you noticed anything that has stood out this year that you are grateful for? Or do you just love pie? I do. I love most all food. Plus, who doesn't love pie?!
Inspired by a pin a few weeks ago - I decided to create a new tradition. Thanksgiving being so focused around the table what better than a table runner? But how can a table runner be a tradition you ask? Like this...
I used scraps I had laying around and made a basic runner out of muslin because it is cheap and never goes out of style so as our family grows I can add to it and it will grow and grow.
I salvaged pieces to make 3 panels; 1) 17.5' x 24' and 2) 17.5 x 32'
On the smaller rectangle I needlepointed a favorite scripture which reminds me of thanks; Alma 26:2 (read the chapter, it's excellent). But you could easily substitute in any saying or a simple "Happy Thanksgiving." Keep in mind you should measure the center and make a grid or lines to help you maintain a even size and spacing. Mark your lines and write your phrase with a fabric pen (washable) so that you can easily follow along as you stitch.
My words turned out a little off center and I decided to add a turkey on the side with a spare button I had from making Mr. Sam into Samwise the Brave for Halloween. But feel free to use your imagination and make it your own (it's for your family after all).
After I had stitched on the phrase I sewed the final two panels onto each side so that the phrase would be central and sewed a half inch in on all sides so that I could finish the edge and control the fray. I then hired a little help from Mr. Sam and he snipped the edges at about 1/4 ' about 1/4 ' in so that the edges would fray and fluff when washed.
Now here is where you can choose whether you are going to wash your runner or not. If not then you can continue from here on out with markers and paints. I wanted to be able to wash it as much as messy gravy calls for so I used fabric.
We traced our hands on scraps and sewed them on (again we clipped the edges for a soft effect - you do not need to. If you want to use fabric but don't want it to fray out you could try a simple blanket stitch around the hands to secure them. It is beautiful, one of my favorite stitches).
I then proceeded to stitch the year, locale, and our names with what we are most thankful for this year. And you're done!
Now as we go from year to year we can watch as our family grows, and the little hands become larger and their hopes and spirits grow larger as well. And we can look back at what are thankful years and what are turkey years and remember the things most important to us as a family and individuals.
Now get started! You still have time before Thanksgiving comes - and when I come back we'll have a tutorial on homemade yogurt and I'll share some of my favorite things about the Christmas season and some of our families traditions incase you are looking for something new!
Happy Pie-Eating Day! I mean Thanks. Right...Thanks!
“Where there's life there's hope.”
― Tolkien, The Hobbit
Saturday, November 23, 2013
So this week my mind ate more than my body - I began and finished the hunger games series. And being so caught up in the books I may or may not have stayed up to late and not worked out as much as I should have and forgot to eat some of my meals so my calories were a little low but here goes!
Pilates: 45-50 minutes
It only took about a minute and a half
One rotation of our HI IT workout
Sexy: again 1-2 minutes
Rest day (reading took over my life; and here begins the downfall)
I also was so distracted I failed to log my food. But counted my calories and was around 1200 each day
I did get to eat a bunch of popcorn though because my calories were low.
Sexy: 1-2 minutes
Mind over matter
Sexy: make up for yesterday and today 3-4 minutes
*Tip of the week- home popped popcorn is super low in calories. One of our favorite things is our WhirleyPop. I highly recommend getting one (even if you only have popcorn once in awhile - it's worth it)!
Saturday, November 16, 2013
If it can be homemade - she'll tell you how to do it; either because she has, or she can figure it out.
So stop on by - http://beinggenevieve.com/
My sisters all joined My Fitness Pal (great app! I've used it before and recommend it over the other calorie recording apps; I've tried all of the free ones available to Android) this week as a way to be more accountable and honest as a way to help us stay on the fitness train. So once I'm not so lazy I will be able to share exactly what I ate and tell you how many calories it would be if you chose to eat it as well.
It even creates recipes and tells you the calories per serving! Awesome!
And shout-out to Mr. Sam who has lost 5 lbs already this fall! I lost none. So being a little selfish and wishing I had lost the 5 lbs I took the week off of working out. But luckily he really is my better half and continued to encourage me in finding a way to maybe do a little more. Because as much as I love Pilates it's not elevating my heart rate.
I decided to take it a step further. I solemnly swear before all of you on my new work-out goal to jump start my weight-loss. I'm calling it, "Sexy By Christmas." It starts on Monday and I invite anyone and everyone to join me. We've got just under 40 days and lots of holiday temptations in our path, but here is a way to burn calories - no matter how many we may eat in goodies this season.
I took inspiration from the 24 day abs challenge and added my own twist.
The green are days to rest and the blue are cross-training days. I wrote in purple above the Sexy work-out the typical work-outs I do or cross-fit work-outs I chose to do. I'm doing this in addition to my daily work-outs. You don't need to do that, but if you want to go ahead. And If you're going along with our schedule already then here it is in writing what I'll be doing for the next 6 wks.
*But just so you know counting calories and increasing your water intake does help, it just took a little longer to show-up on the scale but I'm down to 163!
Thursday, November 14, 2013
So after being disappointed with my rice recipes I just resigned myself to making something up. And as chance would have it - I accidently created a great recipe the takes quite a bit like cilantro lime rice from Café Rio. But don't take my word for it - try it yourself. And it's super easy!
Cilantro Citrus Rice
2 C uncooked rice (rinsed)
1 small onion diced
2 pieces of garlic minced
3-4 Tbs fresh chopped cilantro
A few splashes of citrus
Salt, Pepper, Season salt to taste
1-Get a frying pan hot with a drizzle of oil and sautee the garlic and onion
2-After the rice is rinsed and in the rice cooker (you can do it on the stove if you want but my rice cooker is my best friend. I highly recommend investing in one).
3-Add all other ingredients (if you'd like to use chicken stalk/broth in place of the water or throw in some bouillon it makes it even better).
4-You can use fresh citrus- lime is best- just cut in half and squeeze one of the halves into the rice; save the other half for after it has finished cooking.
5-I don't always have limes hanging around so I've used lemon juice (always in the fridge) and it was still great. If using this method put in a couple Tbs and then one at the end and just splash it over and mix in.
6-Amount of water determined by type of rice so look at package directions or rice cooker instructions.
***If you don't know what to do with your extra cilantro then chop it up and pack it into an ice tray. Drizzle some oil in there and freeze. Next time you want to party Rio style just pull those out and stick two in the rice cooker with the rest of these ingredients (or use in almost any other recipe).
If you can't get them to come out as a cube then just grab a butter knife and scrape them out - they'll be pretty soft.
Hope you like it. Sound off below if you make it and let me know what you thought!
Homemade White Flour Tortillas
Café Rio Cilantro Lime Rice
I searched and searched online for a tortilla recipe and most of what I found were pretty much identical. Now, this recipe will work with either a tortilla press or just rolling them by hand- whatever you have available to you.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 heaping tsp salt
6 Tbs lard or softened butter
3/4 cup warm water - as hot out of the tap as you can handle on your hands
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl and then cut in butter until crumbly. Use your hands - it's just easier. You won't lose butter on ______utensil that you are using and it'll be faster. PLUS - that's how it's always been done, so take a trip into history.
Slowly add the water in and form a soft dough. You may not need all of the water (I used my whey from my homemade yogurt so I actually needed more water than it called for). The dough won't really be sticky because your oil wasn't in liquid form. *If you decide to substitute oil for the butter it will change the consistency. I've read mixed reviews on this - some do it and some say to NEVER do it. I haven't tried it because we always keep butter on hand and it's so much more delicious.
Roll into golf ball sized clumps (will make about 12 of these) but keep in mind that the more you work with dough the tougher the end result will be so this is not the time to be a perfectionist.
Cover with a damp cloth and get your skillet hot (medium heat). One a lightly dusted surface roll out your balls very thin. They may not be round at first - my first batch I only had one round tortilla.
*Tip, if you turn the tortilla a few inches between each roll it will be easier.
Throw it on the skillet and continue rolling out. But be sure to watch the tortillas in the pan.
Hold finished tortillas in a towel to keep warm and soft. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. If freezing - make sure they have fully cooled.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Over the past two years I have had 5 different jobs lasting at the most a few months with a smattering of temp jobs thrown in for a day or two. All ended for different reasons and not all terminations were my fault or a result of any lacking on my part. But regardless the reason, instability can get you down and repeated, what I could only see as failures, can really get you down.
Along this road I spent many hours applying for jobs and going on interviews, but more often than not I never heard back and if I did hear back it was usually a copy and pasted email telling me that once again, someone else was more qualified. But in my mind that wasn't a kudos to the other candidates but a slight on my person, a very real "You aren't worth beans. Why would we want you around?"
And my depression worsened, I started to spiral and despite being raised with good work ethic I stopped trying I started giving half of myself to my employers because I didn't want to invest and when the job ended feel as though I was told that my best wasn't good enough. I was scared. I am scared.
Not only of the work-force but of relationships in general. What if I'm not a good enough wife? What if this group or that person doesn't want to be my friend? What if this sister or in-law is only talking to me because we're family and they have to? What if I am a terrible mother and my daughter doesn't like me? My solution?
Stop trying. Act like I've stopped caring. Lay around and hide away from the world.
WRONG WRONG WRONG! DO NOT DO THIS! And I want to apologize to anyone I offended while doing this.
Honestly, it will feel like the only solution, it will be the easiest solution, but it will also be the hardest solution.
I knew I needed to try, but I just didn't want to. I was filled with guilt as a wife that Mr. Sam had to pick up so much slack and that I couldn't be there for him when he had hard days, I just piled on. I felt guilty I wasn't the girl he fell in love with and married. I felt guilty that I never even asked about his day; when I did I didn't listen. Because I felt like he didn't really want to talk to me. I stopped associating with my friends, my family, my ward. They didn't want me around anyway. Each day I would lay on the couch and watch my baby cry for love and give the minimal effort to make sure she was fed and try to get her to sleep as much as possible because then I could sleep and stop feeling so miserable. And each day I applied the "stop" solution I felt more guilt and that led to more pain and rejection because I was convinced that no one wanted me. And it is the hardest feeling in the world.
Then one day during the summer I stumbled onto "finding joy" though someone's facebook post. And I realized that everyone feels like this, it's just a matter of squaring your shoulders and positive thinking.
Ok, it's not exactly that easy- it's squaring your shoulders and telling yourself that this time you really are going to "start" doing something about it. And once you've started it'll only get easier.
It'll still be hard, it'll still be a lot of work, and I still have bad days, I still cry, I still shut-down. But my bad days now are akin to the "good" days I used to have only a few months ago. So I want to share my "start" solution; remember that everyone is different and you need to find what works for you. But here are some universal truths I've found are good steps for everyone to take and some things that worked for me.
1- Talk to someone; whether it's your significant other, your friend, your ecclesiastical leader, or your doctor. START the conversation.
2- Move! Everyday I told myself I needed to go on a walk; and I still don't. It's not what works for me, but rocking out to Pandora and doing some pilates do and that's where I started. So START getting out of bed, off the couch and moving your body (even if you only go from the bed to the couch; it's still a move and a good START).
3- START treating yourself right; eat well and think well. There are certain nutrients that depressed people are significantly lacking in and you need to nourish your body to nourish your mind; it'll make the moving I just talked about a lot easier if you have energy.
And thinking well is just as important; reward yourself for successes and tell yourself, "You are great! At ____,_____,______." Come up with at least 3 things daily and write them somewhere that you'll see them so you can't forget them or rationalize them away. I had a really hard time with this so I started asking those around me for things they thought were great about me. (Which is really scary, so when I say people I mean Mr. Sam) But I wish I had opened up more. You never know what people are taking note of when they watch you. And yes, they watch you. Someone out there is taking note of great things about you!
4- Once you have put these in motion and have that one or two better days - use those to treat yourself and explore something that used to make you happy or interests you. START rediscovering yourself and you'll START liking yourself again just like all those people, you know the people you think don't want you around, do.
5- Sometimes you'll have FALSE-STARTS, but don't get discouraged. Life is a journey and even though you are trying it'll still go up and down. No matter how up you are, there will still be a low day. Just keep STARTING each day and you'll have a lot more up than you will down.
***And if you're still having a hard time, talk to your dr. seriously about treatment. I did. I tried it. There are innumerable solutions out there and sometimes you need a little more help than others, but that doesn't mean that you aren't just as amazing, just as wonderful.***
And to wrap up the marathon of a post - here are some of the things I tried, and some of my favorites that I still do daily to help make sure I don't slump and spiral again.
-Look at and acknowledge the blessings in your life. OUT LOUD!
-Essential oils; I have two personal blends I use almost daily
-A silly chart on my wall with the things I need to do each day. The greatest part? If I do something from my list I get to put a sticker on the chart. I love stickers! And if you need more of a reward, then set goals. ex. If I do 5 things from my list for a whole week I get _________. To be honest I don't always complete my chart; I usually don't, but it is a good reminder and it makes me feel good to pull out the stickers.
-I love taking baths, is a good chance for me to unwind and run solutions and situations through my mind before they come in to play. Making it easier to deal with when it actually starts to happen.
-Eat less refined sugar - it makes a noticeable difference within a couple of days if I've been eating sugar or not.
-Drink more water, it's always good for you, even if you don't notice a difference.
-Most importantly look for things that bring you joy and seek them out. Never stop looking for joy and solutions, even after you feel better. Stress will always be a part of life and so will sadness; it's important to find ways to cope with them.
Lastly, I've shared this before and I'll share it again. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rgX2R_dhfh8
Go start your life. And please, never stop it.
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
So last night Mr. Sam was very kind and loving and gave my back a good rub. But nevertheless when I woke up this morning I sure couldn't find it in myself to jump and lunge and push and twist. So I tried to stretch myself out and loosen up.
Word to the wise - carrying an infant is a work-out. Whether it's with your arms or in a carrier. It works muscles that you don't naturally strengthen until you start doing it and you don't think about it until you've done it.
BTW - I love babies. I just want to hug, kiss, and stare at them all day. I am a sucker for all baby pictures and videos. If I could there would be millions and millions with me right now just playing and smiling at me. Snuggling and drooling on me. I love it! Being a mom is the greatest thing that could happen to someone so baby hungry as I. It was actually a big joke with the in-laws while Mr. Sam and I were dating and engaged.
Breakfast: 3 pieces wheat bread with 5 Tbs peanut butter
Lunch: Cup of hot chocolate - Michigan is chilly
Dinner: Split a box of Mac'n'Cheese with my man
Snacks: Split some mandarin oranges for dessert
Shout out to my parents who are joining Weight Watchers.
There are hundreds of ways to get in shape, just find what works for you and try it out!
My mom used to make this and now I make it every week. *Yes, with only 2 1/2 in the house it goes that fast. It's that good.
If you're new to wheat and don't want the fiber overload- been there and it does not feel good on the belly - the you can do half white and half wheat; just be wary that the moisture to flour ratio will change with the protein contain of the flour so you may need more or less flour towards the end. Baking is a science but it's also an act of love and it takes practice; just be patient while mixing it up.
Here are a few pictures (sorry they aren't labeled or in order) for reference if you have some questions about what to do.
6 C HOT water
About 12 C Wheat Flour
2 Tbs Salt
1/3 C Oil
2/3 C Honey or Raw Sugar
2 T Yeast
**If your yeast is not instant (most is these days/ look at your package and follow directions) then you will need to start it now. If you aren't sure if your yeast is instant you can do this with all yeast, it just adds an extra step. Put 1/2 C lukewarm water in large container (trust me, I've had it spill over when it grows) with a few Tbs of sugar and mix in your yeast. Leave it to grow-grow-grow.
1- Put 6 C hot water in your mixer equipped with dough-hook (unless you jumpstarted your yeast then you only use 5 C).
2- Add 7 C wheat flour (if you are doing half/half, save the white flour for later). Mix on low until blended. It will be runny and goopy
3- Add salt, oil, and honey. Blend. Again, goopy
4- 1 C flour and mix again.
5- Add yeast or yeast mixture now.
6- Once it is well blended you can start adding the rest of your flour (you can use your white flour now, half/half people). Start with 2-3 C and slowly add remaining cups by 1/2 cups until the dough cleans the sides of your bowl.
Remember that the stickier the dough the more moist and wonderful your bread will be. But you still want to be able to work for it. So use your best judgment. I let mine stick to my finger a little after I've poked it, but still maintain it's shape.
Once your dough is mixed and to your liking. Put your mixer on it's lowest setting and let it knead for 10 minutes. Just walk away.
Now you are ready to make your loaves. Grease 4 bread pans or 7 medium sized ones and set aside.
Grease your hand and pull it out 1/4 at a time and shape on a lightly greased counter top.
Cover loaves with a damp tea towel or if you don't have one (like me) use some damp paper towel.
Raise for 35 minutes and preheat your oven. 350 deg. Fahrenheit 40-45 minutes.
If you like a softer crust oil your tops before baking. Or for a sweet kick, drizzle honey on top before you stick it in the oven.
We love this and hope you do too. See, even Hobbit Jo likes it!
Work-out: Bob's; we only did 2 reps and our arms were tired, but it was great!
Breakfast: Stroganoff left-overs (SO delicious I couldn't wait until lunch)
Dinner: 1 C applesauce and a handful of choc. chips
Breakfast: Cream of Wheat
Dinner: Spaghetti Spaghetti Spaghetti (I ate WAYWAYWAY too much!)
Lunch: Baked potato w/greek yogurt
Dinner: Homemade tortillas, pinto beans, Café Rio rice, salsa, and cheese burritios
Work-out: I didn't but I was baking all day so some cals had to be burned, right?
So how are you guys doing? Anyone else doing great on a diet or have a workout they particularly like?
I start this diet at 165.5 lbs and want to get down to a healthy weight of 130 (I'm only 5'1" so to have a BMI of a healthy 25 I need to be at least 136 lbs).
We're startin' slow and easy. Anyone can keep up. So join us!
We lived with Mr. Sam's parents this past summer and we both became addicted to Chopped. He watches and I practice. It's probably my favorite thing to do after Hobbit Jo is in bed. Mr. Sam will pull some stuff out of the cupboard and I go to work. Sometimes it's awesome and sometimes they get a little weird, but I'll share food for any appetite.
So check back for healthy, homemade food. And sometimes not so healthy.
We are currently in Michigan while Mr. Sam is in Law School, we miss our family and friends but love the people we are meeting out here and love Michigan.
I absolutely love music, reading, sewing, cooking and being a new mom. I am a stay at home mommy who is trying to keep my family healthy and well crafted for. So check out my recipes and DIY pages to see what we've got going on in the Gamgee home.
Mr. Sam loves loves loves to fish! All day, everyday, if he could. Most Brad Paisley songs were written just for him. He also really enjoys sports; football and basketball, especially. And is a huge Tolkien fan. Big surprise there.
Hobbit Jo - currently enjoys chewing on things, crawling, and getting ANY AND ALL attention she can. And will scream a lot to get it. She giggles and smiles and brings so much joy into our home. We couldn't be luckier!
That's just a little about us, now jump on in and share in our adventures around our Shire and she what is new here in Bag End.
Monday, November 11, 2013
But HEY! Thanks for coming back :D
"There is no curse in Elvish, Entish, or the tongues of Men for this treachery."
Friday, November 8, 2013
Hot lemon water and honey
I lg egg fried with coconut oil
1/2 apple with peanut butter
Yesterday, I didn't exercise, didn't drink much water and I ate terribly! My diet started well but took an awful turn as the day went on.
90 cal granola bar
1/2 C applesauce
2 hotdog boats
ICE CREAM lots and lots of ICE CREAM
About 30 oz or 2 1/2 glasses
-Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (movie version)-
Thursday, November 7, 2013
2- on the road again. And again. And again.
n- Mom gets a turn
n+1- Illinois, wahoo, last state before we reach. ..
n+2- PURE MICHIGAN!!!!!