Monday, December 31, 2012

One Word

2013 is just a few hours away and I cannot wait to see what it has in store. Life will be getting back to normal in a way for me in 2013 as I am going to begin working full-time again. Last February I switched from one full-time job (that I didn't much care for) to two part-time jobs. In October the opportunity presented itself to go full-time at one of my jobs in the new year and I decided to go for it!

I have realized that when I do not have the 40 hour work life that I am less productive in my personal life. I accomplished a few house projects but more or less let the time pass and don't have much to show for it. 2013 will return me to my 40 hours of work and I am determined to make the remaing 128 hours as productive as I can.

I have been setting goals for a healthy lifestyle, for family, for budget, for professional growth and I also plan to add more creativity back into my life as well. One thing I did manage during the Christmas season was to document our 2012 Christmas in a mini scrapbook.  Scrapbooking has changed since 8th grade when I was initially introduced to it and believe it or not is a lot easier. Taking on the Christmas minibook made me anxious for more and I've decided to document 2013 with Project Life. For me this will look like a scrapbook page for ever week of 2013. Beau and I are determined 2013 will be a big year for us so I am excited I will have it well-documented.

One other project I'll be taking on is a type of journaling through scrapbook. I will be taking a monthly class called One Little Word. I am excited to use this project as a benchmark for my 2013 goals. I am not 100% sure about my word yet. I want it to be an active verb. 2013 will be a time for forward movement and will not be passive. Words I considered were "hope" and "strength" but I believe I have settled on the word "grow". I want to grow in faith, grown in family, grow in health, etc.

Hopefully our biggest growth in 2013 will be the growth of our family. This is something Beau and I have been wanting and trying for a long time on and I hope and pray that 2013 will lead us there. Please keep us in your prayers that our family will grow in 2013 and feel free to share with me your goals for 2013!

Friday, December 28, 2012

An Amazing Christmas season!

It has been an all-around wonderful Christmas season. Here are just a few (dozen) pics from our wonderful holiday with family and friends!
Bell Ringing for Salvation Army
I love that we live in the "Bible Belt"...nativity scenes are everywhere at Christmas around here!

Time well spent with cousins in Athens
These next few are from our wonderful family Christmas in Griffin with Beau's fam!



Christmas Eve service at Grace Blue Ridge. This gets better and better every year. This year was even more special because my parents and little bro were with us.
I helped with cafe this year.

Beau working tech.
Our incredible worship team!
Christmas Eve dinner at Seasons at Highland Lake...delish! This was our first time there and it completely exceeded our expectations. I cannot wait to go back again. I think we'll continue this tradition of Christmas Eve dinner there.  Too bad the pictures from here didn't turn out so well.
Christmas morning in front of the fire. Beau really did great this year! He loved his hiking boots so much from The Clymb that he went out for a Christmas morning hike while I got stated on Christmas dinner.
Beau also got several albums on CD that he had worn completely through...lots of Phish, Grateful Dead and Allman shows that he still cannot get enough of.

Our dinner set-up.
Christmas morning in my new comfy pjs.

My first ever turkey and it turned out amazing! I used Martha's recipe and also her stuffing listed in that link (which my mom loved). In addition to the turkey and stuffing we had squash casserole (GF), mac & cheese (GF), green beans, fruit, mashed potatoes, gravy and some super yummy ham.

Steve carving the bird (Beau didn't want to) while Sean supervises.

All in all this Christmas was incredible. I got great gifts, we ate great food, but most important was the time well spent with family and friends. I love our lives and this year was full of so many blessings. I can't wait to see what 2013 has in store!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Things going on around here...

Wow! This year is flying by!
We spent Turkey day in Griffin with Beau's family. It has been forever since we've been there and it was good to catch up with family and friends. I have really missed family lately. I love living in NC but miss being so far from the folks I love in FL and GA.

I got to participate in an awesome opportunity from Crowdtap sample from Old Navy's dress collection and fell in love with their 3/4 sleeve dress. I used my free sample and had to go back and buy a second dress because it is so rare to find a dress with sleeves that is cute, long enough and is a fabric/cut that is forgiving. I cannot say enough good things about this dress. Love it! Here is a snippet of me wearing it below.
One of my favorite pictures from Turkey day festivities was this shot of Beau's grandmother playing cornhole. Beau's mom had the great idea to bring this game out to get people moving around after feasting on turkey and goodies and it was a hit!
Once we got home from GA we had planned on putting up a tree but instead chose to do some serious hiking out at the Florence Nature Preserve which was incredible. It is our new favorite spot to hike. We went back last weekend to explore some more. Great winter views and an intense first 15 minutes of trail leads to some of the relatively untouched beauty of NC. Here are some pics from this last weekend and our trip back on Sunday.

We thought we would wait until the following weekend to decorate but got antsy and got a tree on Monday. So to get the party started I put out our nativity scenes (well a couple of them). The Playmobil is my new fave.

Here is our "real" downstairs tree decorated with our favorite family ornaments-old and new!

I decided our "upstairs tree needed a makeover (I usually just decorate with what doesn't make it onto the downstairs tree) so I bought some cheap ornaments from Big Lots to add some much needed color and pizazz to our upstairs tree. It's a fake tree so it can use all the help it can get.

To start off December on the right foot we went to Flat Rock Play House to see The Nutcracker. The choreographer from Spiderman on Broadway is directed it...amazing! He totally re-worked the story into something more timely and central to our mountainy location. It was a pure work of love on his part for the community he grew up in and it showed onstage.

I stareted this whole #mileaday challange. A lot of folks start and run 1 mile/day from Thanksgiving through Christmas. I didn't know about it until after Thanksgiving so I decided to start it on December 1st. So far so good!
I also met up with one of my favorite girls from our church youth group to do some crafting this morning and had a delicious gingerbread/gumdrop latte. Delish! I drank it up before I could get a cute pic but here is a shot of the gumdrop that was leftover.
My biggest thing going on since Turkey day is a switch to a gluten free diet. This is tough to take on but some unexplained weight gain (nothing glaring in my diet to explain it) led my doctor to suggest that I might have a gluten allergy. So I am going to give it a try and see how it goes. Not the easiest thing but I am making it work.
I am taking lots of pics in December because I plan on making a holiday book. I will post the finished product is coming along pretty well and I am excited to finally take on a holidy mini scrapbook after years of procrastinating about doing one.
Happy Holidays...I'll post again soon!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Things I'm loving these days...

  • City Market-The local farmer's market that is open year-round, amazing, and has lots of yummy, delicious treats! Especially yummy-the pimento cheese!

  • Making my own chips in the toaster over-I have makign chips by putting tortillas drizzled with a little olive oil and kosher salt in the toaster oven. Break them up after for a delish alternative to fried chips.

  • Fruit leather-I love this stuff. Next up I'm going to attempt making it using this recipe from The Little Red House. Truth be told I already tried making it but turned the oven on too high...oops. The part that wasn't burnt was delicious.

That's all! Have a good Monday!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Whole Foods (not the store)

So I miss the days when I was little. My grandma and I had so much fun running around to garage sales on Saturday mornig and when we had shopped till we dropped, we would stop at Checkers (a burger spot) and get hamburgers and delicious spicy fries. This is literally one of my favorite memories with my grandmother.

In those days I could eat whatever I wanted. As I grew older, my metabolism changed but I was still able to eat relatively whatever I wanted and just increase (or start) working out to keep my weight in check.

Well those days are long gone now. I don't even live in a state that has Checkers, which is a blessing because my metabolism recently did what I heard it would eventually do, it quit. Not really but it feels that way. I suddenly am keeping the same diet/exercise routine but gaining weight anyway...aren't your 30's supposed to be when you are thriving. Oh well.

I checked out this great doc called "Forks Over Knives" that really got me thinking about what types of foods I'm putting in my body. Forks would tell you to cut out all animal products (meat, cheese, etc.). My hubs would tell you that is not happening. But Forks did make some great points so it got me doing some more research. I know enough about health, nutrition and the internet to know that you cannot just trust one source for your information. You have to do the research.

A book I've recently come across is "Healing with Whole Foods" by Paul Pitchford. This book is full of information about eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet. The idea is less about animal cruelty (which is honestly what you get from way too many of these websites and books). Animal cruetly stinks but I want to find out the health/nutrition reasons behind a more veggie diet, not about how chickens should or shouldn't be treated.

So back to the book...I really love it. It mixes Asian traditions with modern ideas about nutrition. It is really helpful and gives some good ideas about how to get the same nutrition from plant-based, whole foods as you would from a traditional animal-based diet.

Beau and I will not be going full vegetarian any time soon (I think Beau would say never). And the idea of never eating buffalo chicken anything again makes me want to cry. But what we are going to do is be more concious about what we eat at home. Meals at home will not be centered around an animal protein anymore. We'll still cook meat at home sometimes, we'll not be those annoying friends who you don't know what to cook for when they come over for dinner cause they are strict vegans, and we'll still eat meat when we eat out if we want. We'll just limit our animal product intake at home and try to purchase and focus on eating more whole foods and plant-based nutrition at home.

My metabolism and I still are not talking but I'm hoping that she'll wave the white flag soon and we can negotiate some terms we can both live with...hopefully.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Things just got muddy

Completed my first mud run this past Sunday. I'm pretty proud of myself. I told everyone jokingly before I started that I fully expected to end up crying in a puddle of mud. I was only half joking in saying that. I am a giant wimp. But honestly the worst obstacle of the whole race was the monkey bars...can you say my worst nightmare from elementary school revisited?
I realized after running it that I am out of shape. Duh! How could I go from being able to run half marathons to feeling winded walking to the race site. I still finished in an hour or so but I should have done a ton better. I don't want to be one of those people that does a slow descent into middle age. I want to be that old lady at yoga (yes I have someone specific in mind) who has the hot body and is a member of the AARP.

So I signed up for another 5k...this one I'll train for, and sign up for another after that. I also still need to sign up for a half marathon. I want to do at least one a year (basically for the rest of my life). So I'll let you know how that goes.

In the meantime, here are some pics of my teammates and I getting muddy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Extreme Makeover: Ramen edition

Today we considered a spaghetti casserole for dinner but I just really wasn't feeling it. I remembered pinning but not clicking on some delish looking ramen recipes (check out my recipe pin board) but when I clicked I wasn't super excited with what I read. Also, I live in a small town and have an even smaller neighborhood grocery store that I visit regularly.  So since I didn't feel like making any special trips, I had to get a bit innovative.

I bought cocconut milk, peanut sauce, ramen noodles, some veggies (broccoli, red peppers and onions) and some chicken.

I boiled water (which takes forever at my home's elevation) and while that was going cooked the chicken (flavored some but not entirely with about 1/4 of the ramen flavor packet and tossed the rest). After the chicken was done I added onions and peppers. When they were finished I added cocconut milk (about 1/2 a can) and peanut sauce to taste. I got it all boiling and added the broccoli and let it simmer. When the broccoli was cooked I combined the veggies, chicken and sauce with the strained ramen.

The end result looked like this and tasted delish!!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Baby shower

Haven't been around in a long while but I thought you may like to see some of what I've been up to...most recently was a baby shower for a good friend. We went crazy with the shower and it turned out really cute. For more info on how we did this and a lot more ideas check out this board.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Juice cleanse

Read about this juice cleanse on my new favorite blog The Skinny Confidential.

Today was day one and the juice was not so delish but I got through day 1. Only 2 days to go...

The best part is that you get to eat a 6oz. lean protein/veggie dinner.

Here are some pics of day 1 ingredients and juice.