Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Dream I Had Last Night

Last night I had a dream that was incredibly vivid and really challenged me. I can't even describe to you just how real this dream felt. I often dream at night, but usually I either don't remember my dreams or they are not really that important. I thought I would share this dream, though, as it seemed especially important. The dream actually reminded me of Daniel 3 when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the golden image and were thrown into the fiery furnace as a result.

Here is my description of the dream from my memory:

The first thing I remember is that I found myself either traveling or living in a country where Christians were being persecuted and killed for refusing to worship either an appointed image or person. The law in this country was that every person must fall down and worship this different god or image at certain times when there would be a call to worship. I did not see an actual image to worship, but in my dream I saw people all around me falling down and worshiping at the call to worship. I knew that anyone who refused would be killed by the sword, beheaded immediately by men riding on horses. The part I really remember is brief. I heard the call to worship and saw hundreds of people around me falling down to worship this false god. I became nervous, knowing that as a Christian I must not worship a false god, but also knowing that I would be killed if I refused. I remember struggling a bit with this as I saw everyone prostrating themselves at the call to worship. I knew I could not deny the one true God and my spirit became strengthened as I refused to bow. I remember seeing 3 or 4 others in front of me who also refused to bow. There we were, only a handful of us standing while the hundreds around us were on the ground worshiping a false god. Then, I saw the men riding on horses with their swords galloping toward us to kill us. That is when I woke up.

This dream really struck a chord in me. I can't really explain it, but it just really challenged me and got me thinking. Here in North America, most of us don't face this kind of persecution where we could be killed for our faith and face that reality daily. It got me thinking about whether or not I would be obedient to God even when facing the sword. I don't know what it is like to have to live in a place where, constantly, my faith in Christ could cost me my life, but I hope I would be obedient to God even in the face of persecution. This dream reminded me to pray for the persecuted church.

This dream brought to mind the passage in John 21 where Jesus asks Peter 3 times, do you love Me? We need to ask ourselves - Do we love Christ? Do we really love Christ? Are we willing to be obedient to Him even unto death?


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle (Part 3)

In case you missed them, you can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here of this series.

As I said in Part 2, my theory as to why I was not able to have real success with losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight was because my methods and philosophy were both wrong. My methods included doing extreme things that I could never keep up with long-term and my philosophy was based too much on the numbers.

So, what is different this time? Well, I started to get serious again about losing some weight at the end of December 2009 when a fellow blogger decided it was time to get healthy and was hosting weekly weigh-ins. I basically just said, "why not" and committed to checking in each Monday with my progress. To be honest, I was skeptical as to whether or not this time would be any different, but I was getting really sick and tired of feeling sick and tired all the time. I had absolutely no energy. Besides the fact I was feeling sluggish all the time, having a baby changed my perspective on things. My family has a history of heart disease and diabetes. I started becoming concerned about my health and realizing that I need to take proper care of my body as I have a little one to care for, too. I want to set a good example to my children of how to live a healthy lifestyle. I wanted to look and feel healthy again; I wanted energy. This time it was about being healthier. Yes, the numbers still mattered somewhat, but ultimately, it was about getting healthier. I think that is why this time is different.

I looked at what I was eating and how much I was eating. I had to get honest with the fact that I had often been guilty of grossly overeating (gluttony), which is sinful. I had to get honest with the fact that I was eating way too much junk food, which was harming my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. Like I mentioned in Part 1, these were two of the main motivators for me to change my lifestyle. My lack of energy and feeling sluggish all the time were a result of how I was treating my body - what I was feeding it and how much I was feeding it, along with sitting around way too much.

So, my philosophy was different this time. I became more concerned about my health than just the numbers. My methods, therefore, were also different this time. I decided that I was only going to do things that were sustainable over the long-term.

For me, this meant that I could commit to exercising 30 minutes a day most days. I did not commit to more than that because I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that over the long-term. My philosophy for exercise was this: Something is Always Better than Nothing. This meant that if I had a busy day and couldn't spend 30 minutes on the treadmill, I would just do 10 minutes. This meant that if I was super tired and just didn't feel like doing anything, I would tell myself to just do 5 minutes of activity. To get me motivated to exercise, I decided to set a goal to run 5 km in 30 minutes. I followed the Couch to 5 K program, which only required 30 minutes of training 3 days a week. This was realistic for me and I could blog about my progress to stay accountable. It gave me a goal to work toward where I could see real results each week in my fitness level.

My new philosophy and methods also meant no crash dieting. I was not about to say I would never eat chips, drink pop, or eat cake again. Why not? Well, the reality is that this would not be sustainable over the long-term for me. So I just said LESS of these things and MORE fresh fruits and veggies. I had been addicted to pop and had been drinking it almost every day. I decided to drink less pop and drink it only on certain occasions, such as when we went to someone's house, or when we ate pizza. I would try to share a can instead of drinking it all.

Portion control
was my main philosophy with regards to what I was eating. Basically I just decided to eat less of everything. I knew I had been overeating for a very long time, so I decided to pay attention to my body's cues and simply stop eating when I was full. Instead of a big piece of cake, I'd have a small piece of cake. Instead of my usual 3 scoops of ice cream, I'd have 1 scoop of ice cream. Instead of my usual large plate of nachos, I'd have a mini plate of nachos. Instead of my usual 3 cookies, I'd have just 1. This is really exactly what I did (and still do). I still eat junk food and sweets, I just eat less of them.

I also adopted the philosophy of "instead of this, eat that." What do I mean by that? In Part 4 of this series, I plan to discuss the practical things I did to lose the weight and what I'm doing now to maintain my weight.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Spinach and Tomato Topped Salmon

Something tells me I already posted this recipe, but I can't seem to find it on my blog anywhere, so I am posting it again. This is an awesome tasting, healthy, and quick meal to make. It is currently my favourite way to prepare salmon fillets.

Spinach and Tomato Topped Salmon

2 - 4 salmon fillets
2 cups fresh spinach (torn into smaller pieces)
1/3 cup sundried tomato & oregano dressing
2/3 cup sundried tomatoes
2/3 cup fresh chopped tomatoes

Place salmon on greased baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients and spoon over salmon. Bake at 375 F for 20-25 minutes. Serve with rice.

Menu Plan Monday (June 28)

Last week's menu got changed around a bit, so I have a few repeat meals this week. We ended up having taco salad instead of roasted chicken because I needed a quick make-ahead meal and we ate at family's house for Saturday, so I didn't make Tortellini Soup either. My new recipe last week (breaded beef cutlets) was a huge flop. I'm actually not a big meat eater and prefer my meat to not taste like meat (if you know what I mean). I need my meat (especially beef) smothered in sauces and mixed in with things like pasta and veggies in order for me to like it. Well...the beef cutlets just tasted a bit too much like beef for us! Needless to say, I won't be making them again. On a positive note, the new gravy recipe I tried with it was excellent.

As for my grocery challenge...well...I kinda fell of the budget wagon and didn't stick to my budget plan this last week. However, I did still substantially reduce my grocery bill this past month. I think I had set a bit of an unreasonable budget for our family that I'm pretty sure is not sustainable. But after this little experiment, I think I now have a pretty good idea of what is a reasonable grocery budget for our family if I am careful to take advantage of sales and coupons and then menu plan accordingly. I have simple and mostly quick meals planned this week due to my husband's work schedule and the Canada Day holiday.

If you have never tried, I highly recommend trying to make your own homemade pita bread sometime. This flat bread is versatile and freezes very well. It can be used for making pita chips, pita pockets, wraps, and quick pizzas.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, June 27
Lunch: Bbqing hot dogs
Supper: Picked up some burgers (really healthy day, I know!)

Monday, June 28
Tuscan Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes and Veggies, Gravy, Mixed Veggies

Tuesday, June 29
Leftover Chicken and Potatoes

Wednesday, June 30
Spinach & Tomato Topped Salmon (on bbq), Wild Rice

Thursday, July 1 (Happy Canada Day!)
Quick Pizzas (on bbq) using Homemade Pita Bread, Caesar Salad

Friday, July 2
Crunchy BBQ Chicken Wraps (new), Veggies or Salad

Saturday, July 3
Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Rice, Veggies


Baking/Desserts to Make This Week:
Homemade Pita Bread (for pizzas and wraps)
Almond Rhubarb Pastry (recipe to come)Bold

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by orgjunkie.com*

Thursday, June 24, 2010

100 Facts About Me...for my 100th Post

For my 100th post, I decided to do something a bit more fun. Here are 100 facts about me.

I...
  1. Am, first and foremost, a daughter of the King of Kings and desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ in all things
  2. Am a wife and helpmeet to my best friend
  3. Am the mother of a beautiful baby girl
  4. Like olives (and I mean really like! I have been known to receive giant jars from friends and family for my birthday or other special occasions)
  5. Got engaged to my husband while I was still in Grade 12
  6. Took a lot of heat from my teachers for getting engaged to my husband while still in school
  7. Married my husband the summer I graduated from high school
  8. Never regretted marrying "young"
  9. Grew up on a farm
  10. Would like to return to my "rural roots" someday and live on an acreage in the country
  11. Play the piano
  12. Like to sing
  13. Have a fear of fish
  14. Been to Hawaii
  15. Partially conquered my fear of fish while snorkeling in Hawaii
  16. Love to cook
  17. Always wanted to learn to play the violin
  18. Pretended to play the violin with wooden spoons when I was a kid
  19. Not very good at scrapbooking
  20. Wish I was good at scrapbooking
  21. Have somewhat curly hair (I guess that would be called "wavy". Lol)
  22. Hated my curly/wavy hair as an adolescent and straightened it every day for a year
  23. Have now embraced my curly/wavy hair and rarely straighten it
  24. Would like to learn to sew
  25. Love to bake
  26. Want to try making sour dough bread sometime
  27. Like to read but have a hard time making time for it...but when I find to read...I
  28. Read (other than the Bible) mostly nonfiction, historical fiction, or the classics
  29. Am not embarrassed to use coupons and I do use them...a lot
  30. Am terrible at gift wrapping presents
  31. Am not the most "creative nor crafty cat on the corner"
  32. Like to use alliteration (see above) Lol
  33. Have a weird sense of humour
  34. Am married to a man I will never beat in any board game that involves strategy because...I
  35. Am married to the smartest person I know when it comes to strategy or logic
  36. Would like to have several children, Lord-willing
  37. Do not have any idea how many children is "several", lol.
  38. Am planning on homeschooling our children
  39. Am very competitive with respect to sports, board games, etc.
  40. Like musicals such as The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and Mary Poppins
  41. Am not fond of bananas
  42. Am not fond of milk
  43. Think that "fond" is a funny word
  44. Am a bit of a neat, clean, and organization freak...however...I
  45. Do not always have a very neat, clean, nor organized home :-)
  46. Am a home-body and enjoy staying at home
  47. Like Mediterranean food
  48. Like going on road trips
  49. Have taken a road trips to South Dakota.
  50. ...and Yellowstone National Park
  51. ...and Minneapolis
  52. Have gone para-sailing in Mexico
  53. Like hazelnut chocolate
  54. Am an wannabe-organizer
  55. Want to experiment with canning and preserving food
  56. Wish I knew how to quilt
  57. Had horrible morning sickness with our first baby
  58. Delivered our daughter via emergency C-section
  59. Am planning on having a VBAC next pregnancy
  60. Am disturbed by the fact that store bought bread takes forever to go moldy
  61. Bake my own bread most of the time because of the above disturbing fact
  62. Think one of the best smells is the way the house smells after baking fresh bread
  63. Recently read the Duggar's book 20 and Counting! and thought it was awesome
  64. Get nervous when I play the piano in front of people
  65. Have been known to be the bossy older sister at times
  66. Am afraid of heights
  67. Yelled in fear while riding the ferris wheel once because of the above fact
  68. Am more of a night owl than a morning person
  69. Like to play tennis
  70. Like classical music
  71. Used to pretend to conduct the orchestra while listening to classical music
  72. Attended university for 2 years
  73. Like taking my baby for walks when it is nice outside
  74. Feel faint at the sight of blood
  75. Worked for a brief time as an optometrist assistant even though the word "eyeball" has always given me the shivers for some strange reason.
  76. Really enjoyed playing basketball in high school
  77. Don't watch much tv
  78. Don't listen to the radio much either (pretty much never)
  79. Watch things like cooking shows, home decorating shows, family shows like Little House on the Prairie, and sports when I do watch tv.
  80. Am a Philadelphia Flyers fan (along with my husband)
  81. Enjoy watching hockey with my husband and cheering for the Flyers
  82. Met my husband while working at a Bible camp
  83. Hid in a garbage can for "campers find counselors" hide and seek at Bible camp
  84. Want to learn the art of cake decorating
  85. Like coffee drinks but can't drink them just black
  86. Often play Christian music in the house, especially when I am working in the kitchen
  87. Like hymns and wish we sang them more
  88. Like looking through cookbooks and marking down recipes I want to try
  89. Was the last person to get on the last bus leaving the university during the worst blizzard I have ever seen.
  90. Stood on that bus, which was packed like sardines, in the blizzard for 3 1/2 hours to get home on what was normally a 10 minute bus ride home.
  91. Was one happy girl once I waded through the above waist-deep snow to crash inside after that bus ride
  92. Am having a hard time thinking of 8 more facts about myself :-)
  93. Have been taken by ambulance to the hospital
  94. Have never broken a bone
  95. Am very allergic to nickel and constantly have eczema because of my nickel allergy
  96. Learned to read before I started kindergarten (my Mom taught me)
  97. Can barely draw a stick-person even though my grandmother was a very talented and fairly well-known artist with her own art studio and shop
  98. Enjoy the subjects of English and History more than Math and Science
  99. Love my husband and daughter more than I can ever tell
  100. Am blessed beyond words with a wonderful family and most of all, the assurance of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Homemade Vegetable Broth

I saw this idea somewhere on the internet and decided to give it a try. I thought this was a good way to use up scrap veggies that I usually would have just thrown out. For a week or so, I collected all my scrap veggie pieces (celery tops, onion pieces, carrot peels, etc.) in a container in the fridge. Then, once I had a bunch collected, I put them all in the crockpot, added some spices (a couple of bay leaves, dill, parsley, salt, pepper), covered it with water, and let it simmer away all day. Then I just strained it and let the broth cool and then put it in the fridge. It was so easy to make! I used it the next day to make Kommst Borscht. You can freeze the broth in ice cube trays. Then transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe bag. That way you have veggie broth available to use whenever you need it.

Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle (Part 2)

In case you missed it, you can read Part 1 of this series here.

Ultimately, I had to fact the fact that I had not been taking proper care of my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit. For the past 4 years, I had been giving little thought to what I was putting in my mouth and was simply too lazy to put in regular amounts of exercise into my day. Before I got married (right after I graduated from high school), I had been extremely active, playing lots of sports all through my high school career. Playing sports was so much fun that I never really thought of it as "exercise". Additionally, my mom made sure we were fed nutritious meals, so I hardly gave a thought to what I was eating. I didn't grow up with a lot of junk food in the house, so eating it was never really an issue for me. We had the occasional treat, but that was it.

After I graduated from high school, got married, and moved away from home, things were completely different. I was no longer able to depend on high school sports to get my physical exercise, and I was too shy to join a recreational sports team in a city where I hardly knew anyone. The demands of working outside the home and having a home of my own now to take care of left me with little time or energy to go to the gym. It also left me little time or energy to put into planning, preparing, and eating healthy meals. Thus, with my husband enrolled full time in an intense university program, and with me working outside the home and having so much to learn about cooking, cleaning, and now being a married woman, my physical health and appearance quickly got put on the back burner. Meals were mostly high in calories and low in nutrition, and we did not eat much fresh fruit or vegetables. I got accustomed to throwing on a pair of sweats and a baggy t-shirt when I got home from work. We started having ice cream every night before bed and going for lots of late night runs to the McDonalds Drive-Thru when my husband wanted a break from studying around midnight.

It really shouldn't have surprised me, then, when my weight started going up. But, the weight crept on so slowly that I didn't really realize (or maybe I was in denial) how much weight I had gained until I saw pictures of myself in my friend's wedding, only 6 months after my own wedding. In 6 months, I had probably gained about 20-25 pounds, and I was really disappointed in myself. I couldn't believe I had let myself go like that. Over the next couple years, I would try to diet and exercise several times. I would lose 10 pounds, and then gain 15. Then several months later I would try again, and the same thing - lose a bit, gain a bit more. I guess I was what you might call a "yo-yo dieter." I couldn't figure out why I wasn't able to have some real long-term success. In about 3 1/2 years, I had gained at least 35 pounds since I had gotten married. Then, when I got pregnant with our daughter, I gained an additional 35 plus pounds during the pregnancy (most of which came off quite quickly after she was born, thankfully.) But by December 2009, I was getting sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

Looking back, I realize that a big reason why I couldn't have long term success during those first 3 1/2 years was because I wasn't looking at weight loss the right way. Both my methods for weight loss and perspective on weight loss were all wrong. I was going to extremes, doing things that I could never do for the rest of my life, such as exercising for an hour or more every day and restricting my food intake too much in order to lose the weight. I was restricting my food intake so much that it was only a matter of time before I would binge and be worse off. I had set myself up for failure each time.

Besides my methods being wrong and not sustainable over the long-term, my perspective was also wrong. I usually started one of my failed attempts to lose the weight after going shopping for clothes and feeling badly about my ever-increasing size. I was only focused on the numbers. Thus, when the numbers stopped dropping or I didn't see "number results", I would get discouraged and give up completely, thinking "what's the use" - thus gaining the weight (plus more) back. I really think that this is key - In order to have real success, you CANNOT ONLY be focused on the numbers. The reason for this is because eventually the numbers will stop dropping. You will stop losing eventually. You will hit plateaus along the way. If you are only focused on the numbers, you are setting yourself up for failure, in my opinion. You may have some success, but I don't think it's likely you will achieve long-term success.

So, now I've discussed how I gained the weight and my failed attempts at long term success due to having a wrong perspective and wrong methods. Obviously I cannot truly say that I have achieved long-term success yet because I've only lost the weight recently. However, I really am hopeful and quite confident that this change will be for the long-term because of my new perspective and methods. In Part 3 of this series, I'm going to discuss my new perspective and methods.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

A few days ago I finished reading the Duggars book 20 and Counting! Let me just start off by saying that I absolutely LOVED this book! I expected it to be good, but it actually way exceeded my expectations; I could hardly put it down. It is definitely one of the best books I have read. I still haven't returned it to the library because there are a few chapters I want to re-read. I highly recommend this book to everyone - especially to mothers. There were several times I found myself nodding my head and my eyes tearing up as I felt like I could totally relate to many of Michelle's comments and situations. The book is candid, interesting, informative, encouraging, and challenging. Both Jim-Bob Duggar and his wife Michelle wrote the book. I really like how several of the kids also contributed by answering commonly asked questions about their family. In this book, the Duggars discuss faith, finances (how they live debt-free), recipes, homeschooling, child training, organizing tips, and their philosophy about children. My favourite thing about their book is how they talk so openly about their faith and how God has worked in their lives. They are so honest and real that I found myself feeling like I was actually sitting down and having a cup of coffee with them in a home that sounds so full of the joy of the Lord, fun, and craziness! I cannot say enough good things about this book. If you get the chance, read it!!


Monday, June 21, 2010

Fabulous Father's Day Weekend


I had an awesome Father's Day weekend! Finally on Saturday the sun was shining, which was a welcome change for everyone around here, I think. It has been raining like crazy this month, and only about an hour or two away from where I live, people's homes are completely ruined from flooding. Many had to be evacuated and have lost everything from the flooding. I cannot imagine how devastating that would be for them.

But on a positive note, we do have some sun finally and we took advantage of the beautiful weather this weekend. Saturday was an awesome day spent together as a family. First, we got to sleep in on Saturday morning. Our baby, who doesn't sleep much and has just started sleeping through the night, decided she would give her Mommy and Daddy a break and instead of crying when she woke up, she just played quietly in her crib until 10 a.m.!!. Then, we got up, and my husband cut our grass (which has been growing like crazy with all this rain) while I tidied up the house and took care of the baby.

After lunch, we went for a walk around our neighbourhood to do some garage-saling. I have a love/hate relationship with garage sales. Sometimes I hate them, sometimes I love them. Well, yesterday I loved them!! At one garage sale, I got about 200 dollars worth of BRAND NEW stuff for only 10 dollars! I got some brand new videos about reading and writing teaching techniques and ideas that could be useful in homeschooling (they were free), a bunch of baby clothes (most with their tags still on), and some brand new kitchen stuff still in its packages with tags on that will make good wedding shower gifts. After a successful garage sale tour, we headed to the park. We picked up some burgers and ice cream and went to the park for a picnic. Then, our baby played in her stroller, while my husband and I played tennis, which was SO much fun! After that, we came home, relaxed, and then watched some Anne of Green Gables before we hit the hay.

On Father's Day, we had cinnamon rolls for breakfast and then went to church in the morning. Then we came home and had lunch with my parents, who provided the food. In the afternoon, we headed out to my in-law's farm for a barbecue, ate some fabulous steak, and spent the evening with them. When we got home, my husband and I watched a bit more Anne of Green Gables and then went to bed.

What a great weekend we had! I just love my husband and baby so much! I am convinced God knew exactly what He was doing when He matched me and my husband for each other. What a blessing it is to be heirs together of the grace of life. My husband is my best friend, and there is no one else I would rather spend time with than him. We get along extremely well and I love him more than I can ever tell. Our daughter is very blessed to have him as her Daddy.

(And no, I do not know why blogger is underlining this post! )




Menu Plan Monday (June 21)

Last week's new recipes, Lemon Dill Pollock, Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce, and Crockpot Super Short Ribs , and Super Whipped Potatoes were all really good. I would actually make all of them again! Here's my evaluation of them using my recipe criteria:

  • Flavour (this one is a must!) -1) The Pollock had a very nice flavour and didn't taste "fishy", which I liked. 2) The Lemon Caper Chicken had a very strong lemon flavour, which I personally loved but might be too intense for some people. 3) The Ribs had a very nice sweet bbq flavour and were so tender they fell of the bone. 4) The Super Whipped Potatoes had a great flavour, too.)
  • Nutrition/Calorie Content - Both the Pollock and Chicken were fairly low calorie dishes, which is always a plus.
  • Preparation Time - 1) Pollock was very quick and easy to make. 2) Lemon Caper Chicken was also extremely fast and easy to make. 3) Ribs were also very easy to make and cooked in the crockpot all day on low. 4) The potatoes were a bit more work but fairly quick to put together, too.
  • Cost - All of the dishes were fairly economical to make since I bought basically everything on sale and had the ingredients on hand in the freezer and pantry.
I went a little over my weekly budget last week because flour and sugar were on sale, so I stocked up a bit. It's going to be a big challenge to stay under budget for the rest of the month! I'm actually hoping to get away with not making a trip to the grocery store this week.

Here's the plan for this week:

Sunday, June 20 (Father's Day)
Lunch: My parents bringing food over after church
Supper: Visiting husband's parents and barbecuing steak

Monday, June 21
Farmer's Sausage, Perogies, Mixed Cooked Veggies

Tuesday, June 22
Tomato Soup (from freezer), leftovers

Wednesday, June 23
Breaded Beef Cutlets with Gravy (new), Mashed Potatoes, Mixed Cooked Veggies

Thursday, June 24
Tuscan Roasted Chicken, Potatoes, and Roasted Veggies
OR more likely (if it is hot outside) BBQed salmon and potatoes

Friday, June 25
Leftovers

Saturday, June 26
Tortellini Soup (new), Cheese Biscuits

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by orgjunkie.com*


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Journey to a Healthier Lifestyle (Part 1)

I want to blog a bit about the whole issue of proper nutrition, exercise, and having a healthy (or at least, a healthier) lifestyle. I have struggled with this for a few years now, and I am sure there are others out there who are struggling like I am to live a healthy lifestyle amidst the busyness of life. In this series, I'll explain my own struggle and how I have been able to get back on track.

Part 1 of this series is about keeping the right perspective on body image. Since the end of December 2009, I have lost 35 pounds and am back to the the same size I was when I got married (which I haven't been since I got married 4 years ago.) Before I get into the why's and how's of losing the weight, I want to help us have a right perspective on body image. Losing weight, exercising, and focusing on our outer appearance should NOT consume our lives. We should, however, try our best to take care of the earthly body that the Lord has given us.

Things to Consider Regarding a Proper Perspective on Body Image
  • God is Ultimately Concerned With Our Hearts, Not Our Size. But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
  • Godliness is More Profitable Than Physical Exercise. For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. 1 Timothy 4:8
With that in mind...Christians should also remember
  • Our Bodies Should Glorify God. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  • We Should Not be Gluttonous. Gluttony is eating or drinking in excess by not exercising self-control and indulging the flesh. For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.Proverbs 23:21
Those last 2 points were really important motivators in helping me lose weight. I had to get honest with the fact that the main reasons why I had gained 35 pounds since I got married (not including my pregnancy weight, which was an additional 35-40 pounds) were because

1) I had begun regularly overeating (lack of self-control) since I moved away from home
2) I had begun eating a lot of low-nutrition, high-calorie foods (not giving my body proper nutrition)
3) I had stopped exercising regularly

Those were really the bottom line reasons for me gaining weight. In Part 2 of this series, I'll expand on why I believe I gained the weight and my struggle to get back to a healthy lifestyle.

Cinnamon Buns (My Mom's Recipe)



This recipe yields 100 small cinnamon buns or approx 6 dozen medium/large sized cinnamon buns (like in the picture). I cut this recipe in half and accidentally made them bigger than I intended, but they still turned out really well. This recipe would also work well for doughnuts.

Cinnamon Buns

3 Tbsp yeast

1 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

Mix yeast, warm water, and sugar together and let stand 10 minutes.

4 cups scalded milk

2 cups mashed potatoes

1 cup butter (or margarine)

1 cup white sugar

2 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp salt

16-18 cups flour

Mix milk, potatoes, butter, and sugar. Add yeast mixture and stir. Add 6 cups of flour and mix well. Let stand until foamy, about 20 minutes. Add the eggs and salt. Add 10-12 cups more flour, enough to make a soft dough. Knead for 10 minutes. Place in 2 large bowls. Cover and let rise until double. Divide into 6 sections about half an inch thick. Roll out each into a rectangle. Spread butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon on each rectangle. Roll up and cut into 1 inch wide rolls. Put into prepared pans, which have been greased well and covered with melted butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and corn syrup (corn syrup is optional). Let rise until doubled. Bake in 400 F oven for 16 – 20 minutes. Yields 100 cinnamon buns.



Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Inspiration for Today

Here are a couple quotes I came across awhile ago. Please note that I haven't actually read anything from JR Miller, so I do not know whether or not I can endorse his writings. However, I do really like the 2 following quotes, so I'll share them anyway.

"Oh that God would give every mother a vision of the glory and splendor of the work that is given to her when a babe is placed in her bosom to be nursed and trained! Could she have but one glimpse into the future of that life as it reaches into eternity; could she look into it's soul to see it's possibilities; could she be made to understand her own personal responsibility for the training of this child, for the development of its life, and for it's destiny,- she would see that in all God's world there is no other work so noble and so worthy of her best powers, and she would commit to no other hands the sacred and holy trust given to her." - JR Miller

"Dependence is beautiful when it does not become weakness and inefficiency. The true wife clings and leans; but she also helps and inspires. Her husband feels the mighty inspiration of her love in all his life.. Toil is easier, burdens are lighter, battles are less fierce, because of the face that waits in the quiet of the home, because of the heart that beats in loving sympathy whatever the experience, because of the voice that speaks its words of cheer and encouragement when the day's work is done. No wife knows how much she can do to make her husband honored among men, and his life a power and a success, by her loyal faithfulness, by the active inspiration of her own sweet life."

-JR Miller from Home Making
- a 19th century preacher

Monday, June 14, 2010

Super Whipped Potatoes

This is also a new recipe I'm trying out today.

Super Whipped Potatoes

4 lbs potatoes
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup chopped chives
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp paprika.

Cook potatoes. Whip together with next 5 ingredients. Add butter. Pour in baking dish and bake for 1 hour. Sprinkle with paprika.



Crockpot Super Short Ribs

This is a new recipe that I'm trying out today, so I'm not sure if it is a keeper yet. I will post a recipe review for it once we've tried it.
*Update: These were AWESOME! Even my husband, who doesn't really like ribs, liked these. The meat just fell off the bone and the sauce was very tasty! I will definitely make these again!*

Crockpot Super Short Ribs

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 can crushed pineapple
1/4 cup vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3-4 lbs short ribs

Place the ribs in the crockpot. Combine the sauce ingredients together in saucepan and boil until thick. Pour sauce over ribs and cook on low for about 8 hours.

Menu Plan Monday (June 14)


I didn't make Lemon Dill Pollock last week, so it's on the menu this week as a possibility if I run out of leftovers. My grocery challenge went well last week again, and I managed to come just under my budget I've set for myself. I have a feeling that grocery shopping this week will be more of a challenge to stay under my budget challenge since it seems I've run out of a few staples all at once. There are lots of new recipes planned for the week, which I'm really excited about!
Here's the plan for the week:

Sunday, June 13
Lunch: Church picnic
Supper: Leftover Red & White Tortellini for my hubby and tuna and cheese on rye crisps for me

Monday, June 1
Crockpot Super Short Ribs (NEW), Super Whipped Potatoes (NEW), Tossed Salad

Tuesday, June 15
Leftover Ribs (OR tomato soup from freezer if no leftovers) & Potato Cheese Casserole (using leftover mashed potatoes)

Wednesday, June 16
Chicken with Lemon Caper Sauce (NEW) over Fettuccine, Caesar Salad

Thursday, June 17
Leftovers OR Lemon Dill Pollock (NEW) & Potato Wedges if no leftovers

Friday, June 18
Summa Borscht & Cheese Biscuits

Saturday, June 19
Leftover soup

Sunday, June 20
Homemade Pizza Pockets and carrot sticks

Desserts and Baking For the Week


*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by orgjunkie.com*

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Barbecue Meatballs

Here's the recipe I use for Barbecue Meatballs. They don't look very pretty, but they sure do taste good! (I wish there was another name for these other than "meatballs." A ball of meat just does not sound appetizing to me! Sometimes after I brown the meatballs, once they are cooked through, I will let them cool and then freeze half. Then, when I want meatballs for supper but don't want to go through the work of making the meatballs, I just take them out of the freezer, mix up the sauce, pour it over them, and bake.

Barbecue Meatballs

Meatballs
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup finely chopped onions (or a tsp of onion powder)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Directions: Mix above ingredients together. Form golf ball sized meatballs and brown in frying pan until cooked through. Transfer meatballs into a greased casserole dish.

Sauce
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup Diana sauce or Bull's Eye Original bbq sauce
  • 2 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 2 Tbsp water
Directions: Mix ingredients for sauce together in a bowl. Pour sauce over meatballs. Bake at 350 F for about an hour. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tour of My Home Management Binder

I have been meaning to give a tour of my Home Management Binder (HMB) for quite some time now. I was first inspired to create my own HMB when Candy from a blog called Keeping the Home gave a tour of her HMB. Candy no longer has a blog, but I used many of her ideas to create my own binder when I was pregnant with our daughter. It's a work-in-progress, but I LOVE it! I use it nearly every day, and it just helps keep me organized. My binder is separated into the following sections:
  • Schedules
  • Cleaning
  • Food (with Recipe subsection)
  • Budget
  • People (with Health and Fitness subsection)
  • Homeschool
  • Birth/Babies/Children
  • Other
Now...for the tour!

Here is the front cover, which I decorated. On the bottom is the excerpt from Titus 2:4-5
..."women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed."
Here is the spine of the binder.

This is the front pocket. I keep odds n' ends in the side pocket. Right now I have things like my food journal for the week, 52 Week Bible Reading Plan schedule, to-do lists, a blank cd, and scrap paper in there. On the other side is a zipper pouch that holds pens, pencils, white out, and also all the receipts for the month. At the end of each month I take the receipts out of the pouch and move them into an envelope and file it away.
Here are my tabbed sections.

My title page with Titus 2:4-5 again.
Next, a few inspirational pages. First, a print-out of "A Woman's Rules to Live By" by Keeping the Home.

Then, a print out of A Wise Woman Builds her House by Debi Pearl. Click on the link to read it.

Then, a copy of Proverbs 31:10-31


After that is the Schedules Section. This section contains a yearly calendar, Scripture Memorization list, and will eventually contain our family's schedule once our children are older.

Then is the Cleaning Section.

First I have a copy of Operation Castle Clean, which I adapted from a Keeping the Home article. I use this when my cleaning schedule is out-of-whack, the house is a disaster, and I am overwhelmed with where to begin! It's an emergency quick-clean to-do list.

Then I have my cleaning schedule, which I usually follow quite closely. Here you see Monday's cleaning tasks. I plan to do a break-down of each day's cleaning tasks sometime, but I'll leave that for another post, another day. :-)
Here you see Tuesday and Wednesday's tasks.

Next is Thursday and Friday's tasks. (No picture of those days since they have some names on them.)


Next is my laundry schedule, but no picture of that because there are names on it. On Mondays I wash my and my husband's personal laundry. Tuesdays I wash our daughter's laundry and our bedding with light towels. Wednesdays I wash dark towels if necessary. Thursdays I wash rags, dish cloths, and mop heads. Fridays I wash my husband's work and dress clothes.

Then is my projects page.

Then is my Deep Cleaning To-Do list and Fly Lady's Detailed Cleaning List. If you come to my home, you'd quickly discover I don't often get around to these detailed cleaning lists, LOL! :-)


Next is the Food Section. This is a fairly large section and includes my master grocery list, blank weekly menu plans, filled in menu plans (that I go off of to get meal ideas), 8 week menu plans, easy meal ideas, make-ahead meal ideas for stocking up the freezer before a baby arrives, a list of recipes to try, and a recipe section separated into sections.



Next is my Budget Section.


Then is my People Section (sorry, I don't have a title page for this so no picture.) It contains things like wish lists, birthday organizer, address book, witnessing info, and a subsection, Health and Fitness. The Health and Fitness subsection has things like the Couch-to-5K plan, my food and exercise journals, my weekly weigh-in report, and exercise goals.

After that is my Homeschool Section, which still needs a title page. This section doesn't contain a lot yet, but I'm sure it will someday soon. It contains homeschooling ideas and articles.



After the Homeschool Section come the Birth/Babies/Children section (I don't have a title page for it, yet, so no pictures). This section contains information related to childbirth, VBACs (we are hoping for a VBAC next pregnancy), midwifery, and a To-Pack List for the hospital.


After that comes the last section, the Other Section (no pictures again, sorry). This contains things like first-aid information and anything else that doesn't fit into a category. At the very back of the binder is an emergency information and contact list. (This might get moved to the front of the binder yet.)

And...that's it! Hope you enjoyed the tour!



*Linking up to Raising Homemakers*























Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

Menu Plan Monday (June 7)



My grocery challenge is going well so far! It was a bit tough as I am aiming to cut down our grocery bill substantially (just as a challenge for myself), but I managed to get through the first week on track.

Recipe Review: Last week's Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica (click on the link to see the recipe I used) was just okay for us. I followed the recipe pretty much exactly except I used half and half cream instead of full cream. For me, a winning recipe must meet most (or all) of the following criteria:
  • Flavour (this one is a must!) - The Penne Rustica seemed to be lacking a bit in this area. More chicken stock flavouring maybe would help, I don't know.
  • Nutrition/Calorie Content - Penne Rustica is a low nutrition/high calorie dish, in my opinion.
  • Preparation Time - This dish took longer to prepare than some of my other pasta dishes
  • Cost - It was fairly economical to make, however, and feeds a lot of people!
Warning to those who try this recipe - it makes A LOT! I actually made only a third of the recipe and we still ended up eating it for 3 MEALS for the 2 of us, and my husband's portions were huge, LOL. The chicken, however, was amazing. I marinated it in oil and garlic overnight and then barbecued it. I will definitely be doing that again for pasta dishes.

Because of the Penne Rustica covering us for 3 meals, I didn't get to make the Lemon Dill Pollock, so that's why it's bumped to this week. Romaine hearts were on sale last week and are on sale this week, so we are eating lots of salad! Here's this week's plan:

Sunday, June 6
Picked up subs for lunch to eat on the deck.
Visited family for supper

Monday, June 7
Shipwreck, Tossed Salad

Tuesday, June 8
Leftover Shipwreck

Wednesday, June 9
Homemade Pizza, Caesar Salad

Thursday, June 10
Red & White Tortellini, (using homemade pasta sauce), Caesar or Tossed Salad

Friday, June 11
Leftover Tortellini

Saturday, June 12
Lemon Dill Pollock (NEW), Potato Wedges, Carrot Sticks

*For more great meal ideas, visit Menu Plan Monday hosted by orgjunkie.com*

No-Rise Thin Crust Pizza

This is my mother-in-law's pizza crust recipe. It is really quick to make and requires no rising. This makes 2 medium thin-crust pizzas.

Thin-Crust Pizza Dough

2 Tbsp yeast
1 Tbsp sugar
1 C. warm water
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups flour (approx)

Mix yeast, sugar, and warm water in bowl. Let proof for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and 2 1/2 cups flour or enough to make a soft dough. Let rest a couple of minutes and then spread onto pizza pans. Dough will be quite thin. Top with pizza sauce and favourite toppings. Bake in preheated 375 F oven for about 20 minutes.

Chicken Enchiladas


We tried a new recipe for chicken enchiladas a few weeks ago, and they were a huge hit. My husband said I should definitely make them again sometime. As an added bonus, they freeze very well, too! I made a few changes to the original recipe, which I found here. Here's my version:

Chicken Enchiladas
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or use leftover cooked chicken)
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
1 1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup of salsa (or more if you want)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 Tbsp chopped green pepper (or red pepper)
1/2 clove garlic, finely chopped
4-6 tortillas
1/4 to 1/2 small jar enchilada sauce (or taco sauce)


Cook chicken in skillet until no longer pink. Shred it with 2 forks and return it to skillet. Add onion, sour cream, 1/2 cup cheese, salsa, spices, green pepper, and garlic. Cook together until cheese melts and mixture is bubbly. Put a few tablespoons in each tortilla, roll up tortillas, and arrange in a 9 x 13 inch dish. Spoon enchilada sauce over tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes in preheated 350 F oven. Serves 4-5

Tip: Make a double batch and freeze half! These freeze really well.

Freezing directions: Prepare enchiladas as directed, but do not spread enchilada sauce or remaining cheese on top. Cover and freeze. To make, take frozen or thawed enchiladas, cover with enchilada sauce, sprinkle cheddar cheese on top, and bake in 350 F oven for 30 minutes, or until hot.
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