Thursday, October 22, 2009

The best thing since...sliced bread!

I know that I'm usually coming late to the party... I don't usually discover things until everyone else knows about it and then suddenly I stumble upon it and think it is the grandest new thing, and when I tell people about it, I find out that it is old news...

Anyway, with that thought in mind, if you know about these already, just ignore my exuberance over them. I have always been a late bloomer anyway!

These Sandwich Thins made by Arnold are the greatest thing...well, since sliced bread. At least that how I feel about them. They are fantastic! Only 100 calories per bun...errr thingy. And with 5 grams of fiber they make the perfect little sandwich marker...

So if you haven't tried them, I highly recommend going to the store right now, or well at least next time you go shopping and get some. The only problem is they go to quickly so you might want to pick up more than one pack. I'm down to two left and getting a bit edgy about it...I don't want to go back to the store today, but I may have to have Andrew run by on his way home this evening. I was thinking of making veggie burgers for supper tonight and these are the perfect thing...

I like to lightly toast them and smear some natural peanut butter on them with just a touch of honey or better way to get some protein and fiber all in one delicious snack. Noah is eating one right now, and loves them!

If you click on the photo of the sandwich thins it will take you to the website. And you read the web address right, it does say bimbobakeriesusa! I don't know the story behind that yet, but they got a good product that is for sure.

Ohhhh...but after visiting the site I realized that they aren't available in all places...I am sorry for those of you who don't have a place to purchase them...because they really are a good thing. I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

What I am Reading...

Right now I am consumed with my eating habits. I have been changing my eating patterns and the things I put into my body for a couple of months now. I have been working out at Curves and have lost about 13 pounds so far. Doesn't seem like much, but I am not looking for quick fixes, I want lasting weight loss and to be a fit and healthy person. So in order to do that I have had to clean up my eating...So with that in mind here are a couple of book related to that.

I am also reading:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hello Fall!

Weather matters:
Fall is definitely in the air this week. It has been rainy and cool. I can feel it in my bones and in my nose. My sinus' and allergies are usually the first notifications of changing weather and seasons.

I once dreaded fall because I didn't like winter with its cold weather and sunless days. Spring was always my favorite time of the beginnings, sunshine and such. But as I have gotten older, I find myself looking forward to and enjoying fall more. I have been worn down by the heat of summer and welcome the cooler days and nights. I love fall clothing; warm, soft sweaters, jackets and boots.
More weighted issues:
I joined Curves back in June of this year. But due to vacations, visitors and other summer things, I didn't commit myself completely to getting into shape. It wasn't until August, when things started to settle down and our routines got into a normal mode, that I was able to put myself completely behind the task of losing weight and getting into shape. I can understand how difficult it is for someone to take time to put into exercising and eating right. It is a job just to take time each day to workout and to figure out what to eat and what not to eat, plus taking the time to prepare the foods. It is much easier just to grab whatever and wonder drive thru's are so popular. But once you start the process, it becomes easier and easier to do. Once I started filling my body with the good stuff, I no longer had cravings for the bad stuff. I continue to crave the good foods. And once I started working out more, I don't want to miss a scheduled workout. Although I may be tired, if I push myself to workout then I feel so much more energized after the workout. I feel much better and sleep much better.
Since changing my eating habits: I gave up all carbonated drinks (Dr Pepper of course was my drug of choice). I don't eat fast foods at all. I quit eating candy and junk foods. I eat fruits and veggies, as much seafood as I can get, lean meat and chicken. I eat out of a small plate and don't get seconds. I eat more slowly, allowing my body to send me the cues that it is full. I drink lots of water and eat fewer breads, pasta and rice. I keep healthy snacks around and don't allow myself to get hungry and just grab something to satisfy the hunger. I eat purposely and deliberately. Not leaving it to chance and bad eating decisions. I try to eat as close to natural as possible. In some places that is almost impossible, but I buy local when I can. I read all labels before buying, and avoid buying anything from China...due to that, it is hard to find seafood, especially at Walmart, one of the reason I despise that store. So I shop at other grocery stores that offer USA or local sea foods. Yes, it is more expensive, which pushes my grocery budget up, but I will allow for it to avoid imported foods. I know there are somethings, such as banana's that you can't get locally, they just don't grow banana's in North Carolina, but until they do, I suppose I will have to grit my teeth and bare it.
Since I started this process, I have lost 13 pounds and dropped two dress sizes! Yeah! I have a goal that I want to reach by Thanksgiving, and another I want to reach by spring. This time I will reach that goal! I am viewing it as one of the most important jobs I have now, besides being a wife and mother, those jobs always come first. But if I am healthier and in better shape, I will feel better and be better at my other jobs.
I am much happier and am not looking so much at the end point, but I am enjoying the journey, enjoying the challenges and process along the way. I didn't get out of shape overnight, so I can't expect to get my self back in shape overnight. It is a process, and the view from here is great!
After I have lost a little more weight, I am planning to start a 5k training program. I want to run a 5k, then a 10k and eventually a half marathon and a full marathon. That is down the road a ways, but if you don't start, you will never reach that goal. One step, one day at a time. So each morning I wake up and say to myself, "Just for today, I am going to eat right and exercise."
Not only am I reaping benefits in my body, but I am also feeling the effects in my emotional well being, in my mental alertness and sharpness, and in my spiritual awareness.
So all in all, I would say that the little bit of sacrifice is well worth the effort...
Holidays and family:
The holiday's are drawing nearer. We are planning to go to Tennessee for Thanksgiving and spend a couple of days with Andrew's family. Lauren is meeting us there, then coming back with us to North Carolina for a couple of months. Mom and Dad are planning a trip up the first of December to stay with us through the Christmas holiday. We are looking forward to spending time with family after being away for sometime now.

Odds and ends:
Been doing a little crafting lately. Trying to find my creative side in the midst of day to day activities. Megan is taking an arts class and enjoying it. Noah is also being creative and doing a lot of painting. I think it must be in the air...In general life is moving along...Sometimes it seems like it is flying by much to quickly.

Blogs I am enjoying lately:

Websites I like:

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cameron Antiques Day

So I had been looking forward to the Cameron Antiques Fair for some time. I kept thinking, Oh it's in October, so it should be cooler...wrong! It was hot, I was sweaty and nasty by the end of the day. I was also very tired. Again, I took Noah with me, because Andrew had something else going on...seems like that always happens when I find something I really want to do... just saying.

Anyway, so Megan, Noah and I got up early and headed to Cameron. First of all, Noah woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was in a very grouchy the day got off to a bad start. The weather gave a chance of rain, so I thought, maybe it would be cloudy...wrong again! It was sunny and very warm. So I pushed and struggled with a 75 pound stroller over the roots and sand...not to mention trying to maneuver a rather large stroller through tables that were to close together and people who don't seem to understand that you can't go between them without running over their feet. There were those who looked at me with disgust for bringing my child in a stroller. But it beats having to pack around a 45 pound child after he got tired of walking around so much. After all he is only four years old...and yes, I had to bring him along...

Maybe I was just in a bad mood from all of those things, but I really didn't enjoy it like I had hoped. I only bought a couple small things and was so exhausted when we left. But I did get a few photo's to enjoy.

Love the stars and the red watering can

Like the welcome gate, would look great in a garden

Really liked the wooden baskets, would like to have a couple, but not for the price

Lots of booths

This is where I got my star last year

Like the green chair

Noah got a Batman and Spider man...reminds me so much of my brother.
He use to have tons of these "little men" they were his favorite toys. Had to buy them for Noah.
I just like the look of this

There were all kinds of things, but the prices were a bit high. I guess I am just a bargain hunter and am pretty picky about what I spend my money on. I am not an impulsive buyer. I usually over think even the smallest of purchases. But really there wasn't anything there that I needed. I did buy a couple of turquoise blue bowls, because I love the color. I bought a handful of magazines, because I am a magazine hound and can never have enough magazines. Besides, they were only .50 cents each...couldn't pass that up.
All and all, the day was ok...I would say it was a four on a scale from 1 to 10...
On the way home we stopped in Aberdeen and ate at the Fried Green Tomatoes restaurant.
I met the owners wife while visiting a church there in Aberdeen. She told me about her husband's restaurant and I have been wanting to try it ever since.
She is a very sweet lady and I plan to go back over to the church there to visit from time to time because everyone there was just so welcoming and it felt like we had known each other forever.
We enjoyed the food and the atmosphere at the Fried Green Tomato. Looking at the menu, can you guess what I got? Okay, so I will tell you. I got a cup of Lobster and shrimp bisque and the Oyster Po' girl...surprise, surprise...when given the choice, I'll take seafood every time!

Philippe Brainos, the chef and owner asked Noah if he wanted to see the kitchen. So he took him in the kitchen to look around and meet the other cooks. Noah got a real kick out of that.
So, if your ever in Aberdeen, North Carolina be sure and give it a try. The food is good and the price is right. The fried green tomatoes are delicious!

Monday, October 5, 2009

My why I hate Walmart rant

So I went grocery shopping today...I have such a love/hate relationship with the whole grocery shopping process. Of course, it starts with me clipping the coupons from the Sunday newspaper, and then making a list of things we are out of or things I would like to buy. Then I go through the sale papers of the various grocery stores to see if I can find a bargain.

Then I try to make a menu for the next two weeks, which I usually only get through one week and figure I can wing the next week without trying to figure it all out now. It is hard for me to plan that far ahead. I am the girl that never, I repeat, never plans what I am going to wear in advance. I always have to wake up and see how I feel and what I feel like wearing...pretty much the same with food.

Just because I make out a menu plan doesn't mean that it is written in stone, most of the time, it isn't even written in sand...I have to see how the day goes, how I feel and what I feel like cooking and eating...yes, the rest of the family is subject to my wishes in the meal department. Oh, I do take their likes and dislikes into consideration, but mostly if I have a taste for a certain thing, that's what we have...there are exceptions however. I do often question what they would like for supper, but that is usually early in the day when no one really knows what they want for lunch, not to mention supper. So I do give them a chance for input into the meal.

The love/hate thing with grocery shopping comes in when I start trying to decide the best things to buy and feed the family. I don't like Walmart because of the trend they seem to be following. They buy so many things from other countries, ignoring that this country has so many things to offer. In the 80's Wal Mart claimed they bought USA products. That was one of their ad slogans, but after the death of Sam Walton, things changed...not for the better as far as I am concerned. I am all for supporting business and industry in the US even if it cost a bit more.

I search for USA products that are harder and harder to find, I search for good for you foods, which are also hard to find. I don't like boxed or pre-made foods. I don't want anything with all the additives and preservatives; dyes, coloring and added flavorings...not to mention all the sodium and sugar in EVERYTHING! Yes, I do buy some of those things, for lack of something better. I do let my kids drink and eat juicy's and snacks products...but I am picky about which ones I buy.

I have gotten away from pre-made things and try to make as much from scratch as possible, but we do still buy cereal and some other things that I would prefer to leave on the shelves. However, I am making gradual changes that move us farther away from dependence on these products.

Seafood is one product I have issues we not have seafood in America? Are there not shrimpers, fisherman, and such in our country that need to be supported? Why do we have to import seafood from China and Thailand? I don't understand it!

And produce...what can I say about produce? Many times the produce we buy is shipped across the world to get to us and when it isn't very good, and has been treated with all sorts of chemicals to stay we not have farms in America that could provide for our produce needs?

Another thing I have noticed about Walmart lately...they seem to be replacing many of their products with Great Value brand foods. So many of the things I have bought in the past, they don't carry anymore, but are filling the shelves with their own Great Value brand. I don't buy Great Value me militant, but I refuse to buy Great Value, unless there is no other recourse.

These are a few reasons why I have grown to despise Walmart...another reason...they know they have us...where else can we go? Most other places cost much more on the total purchase. You may get a sale on a few items, but by the time you reach the registers and pick up things that aren't on the sale, you end up spending more than you spend when shopping at Walmart...they know this and that is why they can do anything they want to do, and not lose their place at the top of the supermarket chain. And frankly, I just don't have the time to run around to five or six stores trying to get everything on my list. So I still shop at Walmart, but each time I do, I build up more and more resentment toward them. I am continually searching for a better way to shop, hoping that eventually I can live someplace that offers a great farmer's market and an exceptional CSA that I can join.

Or I can live on a farm, grow my own fruits and veggies and raise my own meat. A place that would be very close to the ocean an a great seafood connection! But until then, I will continue this love/hate relationship with food buying.

I wonder if cavemen and women ever felt this frustration after going out to hunt and gather? Can't you just hear the conversation at the evening meal..."you just can't find quality meat around here. Not to mention the wild greens...they were all limp and wilted today...not a fresh green in sight...(yes, I am an idiot sometimes, and yes, I get on a rant and won't let it go...)

So this is my rant post for the week...So when I say I hate to go grocery shopping, you know what I mean.

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Few Things...

Here are a few things that have been going on around the house.
This is the after photo:

I don't have a before, but trust me, it wasn't good. We've had this chest for many years. Andrew's dad gave it to us. He had purchased it at an auction. It was a typical ceder chest, inside and out. We used it for years, but in Little Rock it ended up in the sun room. It got damp and dusty and we considered throwing it out when we moved. Then one day, Andrew decided to redo it. We are going to put it at the foot of our bed and fill it with quilts.

A little distressing to make it look old. I really like that look.

We left the inside as it was. Before it looked like the inside on the outside also and the feet had been chewed on by one of the puppies in our lives. Andrew removed the feet and replaced them.

Now on to one of my favorite subjects:

This is one of my favorite snacks.
Vanilla yogurt, blueberries, raspberries and bananas with some granola sprinkled throughout, and topped with a light dusting of confectionery sugar.

Notice the tray that the yummy delight sits upon...

I bought the tray several years ago at a yard sale or Goodwill, I can't remember.
Anyway, it has been on my hutch in my dining room, almost forgotten. Until last Saturday;
I had a couple of tables of things that I put in the yard sale at our church and while there, of course I had to walked around to see what other goodies were there. And I found these bowls. There were five of them for $2.00. I just liked the look of them. So I brought them home, cleaned them up and while trying to decide where to display them, I rediscovered this tray...
So now they are all on display in my hutch.

This cooler weather is really making me look forward to soup weather...

I love soup, and don't necessarily have to have cool weather to make a pot.
But especially in cool weather, I make a lot of soup.

Last week I made a large pot of Potato and Leek soup. It has become one of my new favorites.
I added crumbled bacon, some homemade croutons, cracked pepper and sea salt...
Yummy! I had enough to freeze two containers for a quick meal on another day.

Another yummy fruit dessert:
Here is a photo of the Apple, blueberry, raspberry crumble I posted a few days ago after it was baked. I usually buy blueberries and raspberries and even strawberries when they are on sale and freeze them to use later. So I usually have plenty on hand for just such craving...

And on a final food note:
Noah saw me cooking and mixing up the above dish, and he wanted to try his hand at cooking something yummy. So with a wee bit of help, he mixed up a 1/2 batch of peanut butter cookies. I used the recipe that I used as a child. Once the dough is mixed you place it in the fridge to chill then roll into balls and crisscross with a fork. When I was young, I would eat the raw dough. It was so full of peanut buttery goodness. In fact, a funny story; I would take a zippy bag of dough with me to school to snack on and of course other kids would want some, so I would go home, make more and bring several zippy bag to couldn't do that today...I never knew a kid with a peanut allergy when I was growing up. Today, a child would get in serious trouble for bringing food from home and passing out to other kids...especially something containing peanut butter. (reason 3,467 why I think the world has gone crazy...but that's for another post.)

With those memories in my head while helping Noah make his first batch of cookies, I offered him a bite of the dough. At first he wasn't interested. He's kind of a skeptical kid when it comes to trying new foods. If it doesn't look like something he would want, he won't even try it. But he finally decided to try a bite...he fell in love...of course he's a peanut butter loving kid like I was..
So after eating his fill of dough we put it in the fridge. After supper, he helped me roll them out and make the crisscrosses, we put them in the oven and baked them.
He ate a belly full and loved them. He was especially proud that he had made them himself.

Well there are some other things that have been happening around here, but like the old saying goes: don't tell everyone everything you know...leave something to the imagination... and in this case, to other posts...


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