Merry Christmas!!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!! I hope everyone has a wonderful time with family and friends, making memories. I know Dave and I will.

We are spending Christmas Eve dinner with my parents and grandparents. Then for Christmas we are spending Christmas Day with Dave's family.

When we get Dave's side, they like to do a Chinese christmas. That's where you bring a nice gift of a certain amount that's been preset. Then everyone draws a number and then picks a gift. If someone steals your gift, then you can either steal someone else's or pick another one. This our gift limit was $25 a person. So I went to Marshalls (which is one of my favorite stores) and put together two food gift baskets, one from my husband and one from me. Why is it that I always like the gifts I bring?

Here are the two gifts we are taking to my In-Laws for christmas.

This basket has hot chocolate, mixed nuts, and shortbread cookies. There is also a dish towel rolled up in the front for an added touch. I love the shape of this bowl. 

This basket is a nice deep bowl with mixed nuts, lemon scone mix, chocolate covered cherries and a dish towel. 

Merry Christmas!!


Making Orange Marmalade

Friday was my last day of work for two whole weeks. I work in the IT department for a school district, so we get two weeks of vacation at Christmas time. It's wonderful. I get to rest, spend time with family and bake/cook.

Speaking of which, yesterday while I was at work my husband texted me and said he was at his mothers making orange marmalade and when I get off to come over. So I drove to my mother-in-laws house and there on the counter was these beauties. 

And this is how my husband and his mother made orange marmalade. Then I came in and finished it off!! :)

First you buy mason jars (I think we used 10 or 12 ounces. They were given to us.), lids, and the camps or rings. Then you need to sterilize them. Basically you put them in a big pot of water and boil them. 

The hubby and Mom-in-law had already made the orange marmalade before I got there. I got to scoop it into the mason jars. :) 

This is the pot that we put the jars in after we put the lids on to seal them. You boil them for 15 minutes. Make sure you have them covered by by two inches.

Here are the first two jars that came out of the cooker.

The hubby-miester cooking away.

A watched pot never boils, but in this case it did. 

Here they are cooking in the pot.

Taking more jars out of the cooker.

The finished product. Now to let them rest for a week or so. That way they can become thicker.

This will be delicious over a nice smoked ham. Next we are going to make grapefruit jam.


Laundry Room Makeover

I found this picture on Pinterest the other night and thought it was cool. I loved the color. So I decided to paint my laundry room. I'm not going to do the chandelier since I don't have a window to help supplement the light. I do have to say though, I like the curtains and the shelf over the washer and dryer.

Since I'm off from work for two weeks, guess what I'm going to do. :) I like the white boarder trim with the hooks but since my room has two doors and not much room, I don't think the hooks will work for me. But I do like how it looks. So this will be my new project. It beats doing the kitchen wall paper.

Here are some pictures of my room.

Behind the door with the wreath, is my ironing board. I put a coat hook on it and hung it up. It made it so much better for storage.


True Love

On Friday 20 children lost their lives. It was a horrible and tragic event. Precious children who won't get to open presents this year, see family members, or play in the snow.

Then tonight, my husband and I had a discussion about christmas and that we both didn't want anything, then what should we do, should we save the money, take a weekend vacation, etc. Well, I had left the room and gone to my art room to work on a fun project. 

Well, that got me to thinking. What if I were to die tonight, or tomorrow? Would he really know how I feel about him? So I started to think about this.

Every day he gets up and goes to work in a plan as a contractor for an electric company (he's an electrician). He always kisses me goodbye and says he loves me. One night we had a fight about something (who knows now) but I remember the next morning I was still wanting to make my point. My wonderful husband looked at me in the morning glow of the rising sun and said, "Shhhh!! Let's not fight. I may not come home tonight." Astonished, I asked the ever pressing question. "Why wouldn't you come home?" He replies, "Because I work in a chemical plant and its dangerous and I don't want the last thing I remember of you to be a fight this morning."Again, I was astonished. My husband had actually put thought into this.

So tonight, as I think about last Friday and those poor children, I also think of my husband. The man I love and the man I married almost 2 years ago. 

So all that to say, here is what I would want my husband to know if I were to die tonight, or tomorrow, or the next day.

Dear Honey,

For the past year and 9 months, you have brought joy to my life. I know we have our fights and are still finding out how to make this marriage work, but know that I love you very much. It's the smile on your face when you walk in the door after you get home from work that lights up heart. It's the way you kiss me to death and stall me from making dinner some nights. 

You have a tender heart and a wonderful soul. Everyone at church services always tells me so and the truth is, you do. I see it when you talk to our friends. You try to do what's right and put God first. You are kind, caring, and loving. I couldn't have asked for a better man, a better husband, and a better partner. I look forward to what the Lord has in store for us.

Your wife.


Silver Turtles

Do you know what silver turtles are? I didn't until the hubby asked me to make them for dinner. Slightly surprised, I said yes. The hubby hardly ever asks for anything specific for dinner most nights.

I'll text him during the day and ask if he has anything specific he wants, but most of the time he'll answer me, "I don't care, whatever your little heart desires, or whatever." So most of the time I cook what I would like to eat.

But since he requested silver turtles, I was more than happy to make them. The only problem is I had no idea what they were or even where to begin to make them.

So when he got home he had to explain it.

In short, it's a hamburger patty on the bottom with sliced carrots, sliced potatoes, and onions layered on top. Then wrap it tin foil. Bake it at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Oh the aroma is so good. Then when we ate it, it was so fresh. It was a nice twist to what I normally make. I can't wait to make it again. In fact I might make it this week one night. It's super easy. I sliced everything in the food processor, which helped speed up the slicing time.

Later the hubby told me he learned it in Cub Scouts.

Here's some pictures on how I made it.

First I sliced the carrots. I used probably 2 or 3 long carrots and sliced them in the food processor.

I cut up a bell pepper and an onion as well as potatoes.

I took about a pound to a pound and a half. I added a few spices that we like in our meat.

I put one patty on the bottom of the tin foil. Then layer the carrots, potatoes, onion, and bell pepper. Then put a pad or two butteries on top. Add some salt and pepper with some garlic powder. 

Then wrap it up. Pull the middle section together. Then pull the ends together in towards the middle.

Put the four in the pan and bake it.

When you unwrap it......

Here it is platted and ready to eat.

Of course you have to have dessert.


Detox Day 5

Today marks the 5th day of my detox program. Its been a little rough sometimes, but as the day goes by the more proud of myself I am. I have had several trials and tribulations along the way.

It hasn't been easy. Take Saturday for example. I ate lunch with my mother and one of her friends. We went to a local French Cafe called, Le Madeline's. I love their tomato basil soup, chicken salad sandwich, or their caesar salad. Just thinking about it makes me want some soup right now. 

Anyway, I had the wild field salad, which is your basic mixed greens and a balsamic vinegar dressing. It was really good. After lunch, mom and her friend decided to get some dessert for their get together that night. Oh man, did I want some chocolate cake, or an eclair, or even a napoleon. It all sounded so good but as they were ordering I just couldn't take it any more. I wanted it all. So I stepped out side and went to my car. I pulled out a banana and ate it. It wasn't a chocolate dessert but it did make me stop wanting something sweet. The fruit its self was plenty sweet enough, to full fill my sweet tooth craving. 

Here are a few things that I've learned, noticed, or even lost in the last 5 days.

1. This morning I officially lost 1.8 pounds in 4 days.

2. I went down one notch on my belt.

3. I'm having more energy through out the day. More than if I had a Starbucks. You know when you drink coffee and you get that caffeine high? I don't have those any more. I have just pure energy from my body. It's a completely different feeling. A natural feeling.

4. My nails started to grow super fast. It normally takes my nails about a week to start showing the white part, but after 4 days, they are getting longer and stronger.

5. My sinuses have completely cleared. I can breath and they are so clear. I don't have any kind of rattling from the mucus or liquid. It's just plain air coming and going. 

6. Between eating a lot of fruit and drinking 1/2 gallons of water  a day, I'm not getting those charlie horses or calf cramps. I can flex my legs and not have to worry about getting a muscle spasm. 

7. I used to have a little tightness around my heart. It always seemed liked it just had this slight tightness to it. Since I started eating clean and detoxing that feeling as gone away.

8. Growing up I had a lot of stomach problems..... and still do. I've always had trouble with my digestive system. My tummy always hurts, my liver, and side hurts. I've cramping in my intestines and just an uncomfortable feeling. Since I started detoxing, I haven't had any of those feelings. My whole system seems to be functioning wonderful. The way God designed it to work. Also, I don't pass gas as much as I did before. And it doesn't smell. I didn't realize how much the carbs and meat play into how that works. 

I started out weighing 230.8 pounds.  Today I weighed for the first time since I started and I weigh 229 even.

My waist measured 47 inches around. I haven't measured that today, but I'll do that in the morning.


Detoxing Day 2

Today seemed way better than yesterday. It was a lot smoother. I didn't feel like I was going to pass out or even black out. I made a smoothie for breakfast. It consisted of strawberries, a banana, a peach, and a nectarine. I think it was the best homemade sugar free smoothie I've made. I really liked the flavor.
For lunch I had another salad. Mom and I went out to a BBQ joint down the street from work. and we ate off the salad bar. It was so fresh and green and delicious. 

For dinner we went to Jimmy Changas and I had another salad. It too was delicious. It was their taco salad, but I had them put their meat on the side. Then they took off the black olives. I got extra pico de gallo and tomatoes. It was so good.

I'm hoping tomorrow is a little better since I have a headache tonight and I'm tired of having one. 


Detoxing day 1

Today is the first day that I start a detox program. I'm super excited and super nervous. This is going to be A LOT harder than I first thought it would be.

The program is 21 days. The first 10 days you eat fruits and veggies. Then the 11 day to the 21 day you get to slowly incorporate meat back into your diet. I also have to take supplement pills.

The supplements.

I went to the store after work yesterday and I bought "hopefully" enough food for the next 3-4 days. I made my smoothie for breakfast tomorrow, as well as, my lunch (a salad) and snacks (grapes). It took an hour to get all that ready. There was so much washing, drying, and cutting. I'm tired just thinking about it.

After grocery shopping.

Before I decided to just jump straight off into this, I did a little homework. I really wanted to devote my full 21 days to actually trying this and benefiting from it. For the last week and a half, I have created a daily sheet of each meal and a calendar.

The calendar and daily meal plan.

The calendar just helps me see what day I'm on, since different days you do different things (i.e. 11 day can start eating meat, taking certain pills on certain days, etc.). The sheets I made have every meal I eat everyday. There are 6 sections or categories. There is Breakfast, then a snack, lunch, then a snack, dinner, and then a snack. I taped the fist 4 days on the cabinets in the kitchen with the calendar so I can keep track of things. After the 4th day, I'll put up the next 4 days, and keep changing them out, until I finish the detox. Supposedly you can lose up to 30 pounds doing this. I can see why. You aren't eating any carbs, sugars, processed foods, and starches. It's just fruits and veggies (and their supplements pills that consist of protein and fiber).

The daily meal plan.

I also have to drink a minimum of 64 ounces a day. That's 1/2 a gallon or the recommended 8 glasses of water per day. So I went online to Amazon.com and bought a 1/2 gallon water bottle. I've been using it all week and boy does that make it easier to drink straight from one container than trying to figure out what glass I'm on, or how many bottle of waters I've already taken. I just look at it and keep drinking until it's empty.

The water bottle.

I'm also going to post all my measurements, weight, height, etc. Not because I want to brag about how much I lost in the end or spread to the world how much I weigh, but because I want to see if for myself in writing. So when I look back a week after I'm done, I can see how healthy I am and what I achieved. Also, if someone wants to do it, they can see someone else go through it and what happened to them.


Here is the salad I made last night for today's lunch. It had the following ingredients:

Red bell pepper
and chives

Well, I have a splitting headache. I had a little trouble at work today. I guess I didn't take enough food and on top of that, I'm trying to adjust to the first 10 days of no meats. I've gotten the water part down. I had a hard time with not eating constantly.

I'm trying to conform my old eating style into the new one. I'm used to eating basically 3 big meals a day but instead, I need to change my thoughts to eating 6 meals a day.  I think between that and eating more than just 15 grapes, I should be ok.

I talked to my friend and she said the first 3 days are the hardest... at least for her. I'm hoping I'm the same. Of course I have a few things she doesn't. Like I weigh a lot more and I'm not used to eating THIS healthy.

She did tell me she was proud of me. I really appreciate that. I feel like I'm struggling a little. I'm sure things will get better, but at this moment, I'm feeling a little down. I think it must be working. I started to cry on the way to get my hair cut. Maybe I'm really psyching myself out. Who knows. Here's to riding it out.


Starbucks Refreshers

So I was looking at Starbuck's homepage and came across this ad. Since I'm off I'm going to drag the hubby and go get one. It sounds yummy!! Friday July 13 From Noon- 3 pm You can get a free tall Refreshers. Don't forget to go. I already set a reminder on my phone.


Gone Fishin'

Well, I can't believe it's been almost a whole month since I last posted...... ok I guess I can.  To be honest, there wasn't much going on during June that was interesting anyways. At work, we are working four tens. And we get every Friday off and have a three day weekend. It's pretty since. I've enjoyed being able to spend time with my hubby. The other good part is I had some time  I had to take off and so I took every Thursday off in June, so I have a four day weekend. Boy has that been nice.

Well, we went on vacation last friday to my Grandparent's house in Arkansas. They live out in the middle of no where on the White River. It's beautiful. It's nice and quiet and away from the big city. Just what we needed. We've been able to go fishing and we've actually caught some fish. I caught at least two and my mom, grandpa and hubby caught some too.

Every county in Arkansas is under a burn ban so there were no fireworks. :( It was sad. I missed seeing the fireworks this year. Since we live in the city, we don't get to play with them or shoot them off. So, when we come to my grandparents house, it's nice to do that.

Here is a few pics from our fishing trip yesterday.

The steps that take us down to the water. This is from their backyard.

Me taking my own picture before we get in the boat.

You can barely see my hubby's feet in the window. He said it was too hot and didn't want to go
out yesterday. So he watched from the window recliner.

Mom and Grandpa getting ready to go fishing.

Grandpa getting the boat positioned so we could get in.

Out on the lake. Boy was the view beautiful.

My life savor. Nothing better than 100 SPF. I burn like an water cooking in oil, but this 
kept me pretty well protected. I sat in the sun for 2 hours straight and nothing happened. That's rare.

Grandpa caught a fish. Mom and I were pretty excited.
We didn't have a net so he had to fling him into the boat.

Just another vacation, makin' memories!!


Homemade Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

Last night I made this chicken stir-fry. It was delicious. It's out of the Special Edition Cooking Light Ultimate Chicken Cookbook. Boy was it delicious. I also cooked the boil in a bag jasmine rice and that was a nice added feature. It looked like the picture when I was done. Dave said he'd eat it again. So I guess that's a winner in our house. :)

Decorating the house

Well, over Memorial weekend I went shopping with some girlfriends. We hit up Burkes Outlet, Hobby Lobby and a local Antique Mall. At the first two places I found some really cool things.  I found a metal key, some keys on a ring that looked vintaged, and this really cool laundry sign from Hobby Lobby. I want to paint it so it has the crackle affect.

Don't worry. We are going to take down the wall paper
and repaint it a green.

Later that afternoon my mother-in-law asked us to go to the Woodlands mall with them. So we drove an hour out there. After dinner before we came home, we stopped at their Marshall's Home Good Store. I found this really cool clock  on three legs. David really likes clocks and so I thought it would be really neat to have this on our buffet table in the entry way. Such a conversation starter.