Get Yer Running Shoes on Because…

It’s time to sweat. But I guess as a woman, I would be glowing instead. I was thinking lately, because that is something I do, and decided to blog about a new challenge. You may remember our Great Dinner Challenge a few months ago (which we were successful at! Yay!) in which we decided not to go out to eat at all (unless something came up suddenly, we traveled, etc.) until David was done with school. Since blogging about it kept me accountable in a way, I decided this time I would post about my new challenge. It’s an exercise challenge this time. I don’t know that I have a set time period like last time, but I can play it by ear. As far as requirements, I figured I would exercise at least once a day unless one or more of the following happens:

  • I get sick (I think I feel a cold coming on. No, seriously!).
  • We travel.
  • Some other unforeseen event.
  • Hmmm…come on, there have to be other excuses!

Okay, since this is all kind of being worked out (ha ha!!!) as I type, I’m open for suggestions. I figured my blog can be my work out buddy of sorts. Last year, I had some ladies over to our house promptly (for the most part) at 8am. It gave me a reason to exercise, tired or not, because I knew they were coming over and I got it out of the way first thing in the morning (after my cup of coffee of course). Since I’m not doing that anymore, I figured it would just be me and my blog. But, my blog has it easy. It just kind of sits here until I decide to do something with it. My blog doesn’t have to count calories or even break out into a glow. I’ll try not to be bitter… 🙂

Now, as far as what I’ll be doing with my workouts, I figured I would just do my exercise videos. I have several of them, a couple of which I borrowed. And I have to admit it: I have work-out-video ADHD. 🙂 What that really boils down to is…I need variety, people. Here is a list of the videos (borrowed and owned) that are in my possession right now:

  1. Denise Austin’s Boot Camp – A funny story about this one. The first time I did this, I thought it was THE hardest thing I’ve ever done and was sure I was going to die after the first 20 minutes. That is until I bought…
  2. Billy’s (as in Billy Blanks) Ultimate Boot Camp – Not exactly a walk in the park. In fact, by the time you’re done, you’ll be lucky if you can even walk. After I did this the first time, I was sore for nearly a week (I’m really not exaggerating here). It. Is. intense.
  3. Yoga Mama – a pregnancy workout video
  4. Winsor Pilates Accelerated Body Sculpting
  5. Winsor Pilates 20-minute workout
  6. Turbo Jam 5 Rockin’ Workouts (comes with Learn ‘N Burn, 20-minute workout, Turbo Sculpt, Cardio Party Mix 1, and Ab Jam)
  7. Bun Shaper by Tony Horton
  8. Slim in 6
  9. Denise Austin Pregnancy workout
  10. The Firm Low-Impact Aerobics (I didn’t think this was really all that low-impact)
  11. And lastly, Tae Bo Live (four workout VHS cassettes – an instructional video, 8-minute video, basic workout, and advanced)

Yesterday, I did the 20-minute Pilates workout and my 20-minute Turbo Jam workout. Today, I did the 20-minute workout again and the first 20 minutes of Denise Austin’s Boot Camp (it’s broken up into three segments, the first one being cardio). Tomorrow, I’m not sure what I’ll do. But, I’ll probably keep you informed, if not tomorrow then soon. And just to clarify, this is strictly (for now) an exercise challenge. I’ll be striving to keep an eye on my portion sizes but I don’t want to worry too much about that. I am interested in getting back into the habit of exercising.

So, who’s with me?

It’s Sad, Really

My computer died. It met a sad end and even wailed. Seriously. I had been having some trouble with my computer one morning because it was making a weird buzzing noise and was taking a long time to boot up. So, I went outside with the dog so he could go wee wee outside and not on my carpet, and my daughter came to the door calling for me in a panic. I thought she wast telling me my phone was ringing and couldn’t figure out what was so bad about that. When I got into the house, I heard this weird, high-pitched moan/screech sound. When I realized it was my computer, I turned it off right away. I called David, turned it on again so he could hear it, and even being at work and being the computer guy that he is, he knew that it was toast. Sigh. It’s kind of a love-hate relationship with computers. They’re great when they work. But when they don’t work, it can sure be stressful.

Thankfully, I had most everything backed up. Now, I’m kicking back, relaxing, and typing on David’s iMac (oh yeah!). I guess it isn’t such a bad thing to have my computer die after all…but I need to stop relaxing because I have some housework to do before we leave for colorful Colorado on Monday. By the way, in some rather exciting news (I’m not pregnant, Mom 🙂 ), gas is $1.56 at the Casey’s near our house! Does anybody remember the last time it was that “cheap?” I DO! It was 8 years ago, baby! Too bad you can’t stock up on gas. David and I were just talking about that this morning, about filling up our trash cans, sock drawers, and baking dishes with gas because it’s so cheap now. 🙂 Mark my words, by this time next year, gas will be free…

No New Thing Under the Sun

I have a lot to say, a lot that’s swimming around in my little noggin, but it just isn’t coming out right, so I will leave you with this Psalm. I personally find these few verses very comforting. Despite what we as America (and even the world) do to “cast their cords from us,” God is in control. Kings of the earth and rulers have been setting themselves against the Lord since the beginning of time. But, even in the midst of these threatenings, God doesn’t leave us without hope (see the last verse).

1Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
2The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
3Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
4He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
5Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
6Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
7I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
8Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
9Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
10Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
11Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Psalm 2

Just to clarify, I am not a McCain supporter. I am grieved that Obama won this election, and I think his work will enable and encourage wickedness.

Potty Training Woes…

We have a new addition to our family. He’s about 4 months old, very cute, playful, and makes us happy. And he’s also furry and walks on all fours. His name is Scout and was a birthday present for the kids. The drawback? The little ball of fur isn’t house trained! *pulls hair out!* Seriously, every time I think we’ve made some progress with the little guy, he pees on my floor. Today, he poo-pooed on my floor…twice! We hadn’t had a poo-poo accident in almost a week and then today he does it twice. The training information I’ve been reading said you should not get mad at the puppy but realize where you went wrong and try it again next time. That whole “not getting mad at the puppy” thing only goes so far though after I’ve cleaned pee off my carpet RIGHT AFTER HE WAS JUST OUTSIDE FOREVER AND HAD PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO RELIEVE HIMSELF BUT NO, HE WAS TOO BUSY EATING BARK OFF A TWIG TO REALIZE HE HAD TO GO UNTIL AFTER WE GOT IN! Ahem. *deep breath.* It’s a good thing he’s so cute (and he really is adorable) or we’d be having us some real live hot dog for dinner, the kind not made with lips and bootie, if you know what I mean. I just hope my carpet holds out.

On another note, I am in danger of losing my vast readership if I don’t keep this site updated! 🙂 Sorry everyone! I’ve actually been in the process of loading up some pictures of recent canning adventures for over a week now. I just need to sit down and get ‘er done because they are really neat (in my humble opinion).

Off I go to get dinner out of the oven and make sure our little four-legged poopy, er, puppy is okay.

Despite How It May Seem…

I’m still alive. Just busy as bees around these parts. I have taken lots of pictures the past couple of weeks of various things I’ve been up to in the kitchen to include canning. Lots and lots of canning. It’s nice to know that skill, and it is really pretty simple, just a lot of sweaty work. We also bought some wheat from a farmer friend at our church, and I had been busy grinding some wheat into flour with a borrowed grain mill. David did a lot of the work. He had the day off from work to get some school stuff done, but he ended up helping me an awful lot in the kitchen, even shredding some cheese (one of my least favorite things to do) for lunch later on. He should take days off more often! Anyway, I will, Lord willing, be posting pictures of my adventures here in the next few days. I have taken so many that it will probably take me awhile to load them all on here. But I am really excited to share them.

For now, since it’s getting late and I still have some housework to do, I will refer you to a really great blog I found the other day. The lady’s name is Laura and her blog, called Heavenly Homemakers, is not only enjoyable to read, but she has some great recipes and lots of other helpful information as well. She also has some e-books you can purchase I used her pizza crust recipe tonight for dinner. I was really intrigued because it only had four ingredients, and not all of them were your standard pizza crust ingredients either; just flour, salt, yogurt, and butter. But wow! It was SO good! The kids really liked it too. I will admit, I was a bit surprised that it called for a cup of butter, but my friend, Cara, gave it rave reviews so I decided to give it a try. I was able to use my freshly ground flour! The dough ended up being soft and very easy to handle. I have trouble sometimes with whole wheat dough because it’s usually harder to work with. This dough, on the other hand, was great! One thing I will do next time is bake it a little before I put all the toppings on as it was kind of difficult to tell when the pizza was done. The crust ended up being a softer, moister crust, maybe from the butter. It really was great. One thing about it is that it is very filling as well, probably because of all the fiber and the higher fat content.

I should have taken pictures BEFORE we ate but maybe taking an after picture will just show you how much we liked it because of how little is left. The pizza below was made with a homemade pizza sauce, hamburger, onions, jalapeños, and cheese of course. It was really good as you can see.

hamburger, onion, jalapeño, and cheese pizza

This next pizza was made with leftover, cut up steak from some burritos the other day, jalapeños, mushrooms, and onions. The sauce was actually Alfredo sauce, just to boost the fat content a little in case we weren’t getting enough 🙂 We still have quite a bit left over. I could have gotten away with just fixing one pizza, but then we wouldn’t be enjoying it tomorrow.

steak, onion, mushroom, jalapeno, and cheese pizza with alfredo sauce

I’ll leave you with that, to tempt your tastebuds a bit. Goodnight!

Harvest Time and Chipotle Burritos (and a recipe!)

Last week was a busy week. I got oodles (since Firefox didn’t underline that word with a little red squiggly, I’m totally using it) of peaches! We have a neighbor across the street who very kindly let us pick some off her tree. On top of that, a dear man from church gave us peaches from his trees as well. Last Saturday, I was on my feet nearly all day. It was fun/exhausting. My friend, Cara, posted pictures of her baking spree. She makes her own crusts. I don’t. I’ve accepted my flaw. 🙂 I didn’t take any pictures, and all the things I’ve made are now nice and cold in my deep freezer. But! I was able to get some apples today because right next door to the peach tree was an apple tree and some more kind neighbors! I am not sure what I’ll make but a pie or two sounds yummy, maybe some apple butter. The things I made last Saturday are peach muffins (used peach puree that I made in the food processor), applesauce muffins (from homemade applesauce), and peach crisps. I also made fruit leather (think fruit roll-ups) and dried peaches. The only problem was that I let them dehydrate for too long and the driedpeaches are more like peach chips and the fruit leather was a bit chewy. Lesson learned. I’m thinking of trying my hand at canning too. I love this time of year. Tomorrow the high temperature is only supposed to be in the 60s. Sounds like a soup day!

Here is the recipe for the applesauce muffins and peach muffins I made. I used the same recipe for both but substituted the peach puree for the applesauce when I made the peach muffins. I also inadvertently made the applesauce muffins fat free. I put the margarine in the microwave to melt…and forgot it. David came into the kitchen and made the comment that it smelled like popcorn. I thought that was weird. Until he opened the microwave. By that point, my muffin batter was already nicely poured into the muffin tins, awaiting their time in the oven. Whoops. They still worked though.

Easy Applesauce Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups chunky applesauce


  1. Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with bake cups and set aside.
  2. In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter on high for about 30 to 60 seconds; set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a large mixing bowl. When mixing dry and wet ingredients for muffins, gently stir just until the flour disappears. This will produce muffins with a nice crumbly texture.
  4. In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar. Stir in the applesauce and melted butter until the mixture is smooth. For mess-free muffins, use an ice-cream scoop to spoon the batter into the bake cups.
  5. Pour the apple mixture over the flour mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until combined (it’s ready when you can’t see any traces of flour).
  6. Fill the bake cups about two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until light brown.

On a side note, our dinner challenge is going great! We have less than 5 weeks left and have really tried to stick to our guns. On Monday, before my adventures in baking, some friends of ours bought us some Chipotle. For those of you who don’t know, Chipotle is THE BEST. Seriously, you need to find one. Now. Go. It’s too good to pass up. *waits patiently while you go get your burrito* See what I mean! I knew you’d thank me! We hadn’t been able to have Chipotle in quite awhile because of our dinner challenge so we were really looking forward to it. And it was good, my friends. Really good. So good that I ate all of it and wished I hadn’t. It was obvious I haven’t had a burrito from Chipotle in a long time.

I better wrap this one up. Until we meet again, adieu.

When Creamed Chicken and Sausage Cornbread Dressing Join Hands, the World Sings

Well, maybe my taste buds do anyway.

I tried two new recipes tonight from my More With Less cookbook. I highly recommend this cookbook. It has all kinds of wholesome recipes in it, gives directions on being frugal and eating nutritious meals. It even has directions on how to make lye soap, though I don’t intend to do that anytime soon. My mom gave this cookbook to me shortly after David and I were married. (Thanks, Mom!) I had forgotten I even had it until fairly recently and have been excited to try some recipes from there. The other day, I made some cornbread to go with some stew and had a bunch leftover. When I was looking through More With Less, there was a recipe for cornbread dressing which sounded really good. It had an option to serve it with creamed chicken, which is basically chopped, cooked chicken mixed in with a white sauce. I had all the ingredients (mostly) so decided to give it a try. I liked it! The kids didn’t, but that really didn’t surprise me much because if they had their way, their diet would consist of pizza and chicken fingers with an occasional trip to Chipotle every now and then. Oh well. They’ll thank me one day, I hope.

Oh yeah, you may have noticed my new look! That is all David‘s doing. It’s nice to have a web designer for a husband. He did some tinkering on my friend Cara’s blog and convinced me that I needed a new look too. I really, really like the new layout and especially the title. Thank you, David!

Over at the Crockpot Lady’s site, she posted a recipe that looks really good. I’m thinking about trying it but have folks over so I don’t end up gorging myself (though I might do that anyway and not leave them any). My tastebuds would probably be singing again but my waistline might be begging me for some serious crunches.

Our Great Dinner Challenge is going really well! I’ve definitely had to be more organized but I am enjoying having home-cooked meals and doing some experimenting while I’m at it. I am not even sure how many days we have left exactly but it’s roughly six weeks. I hope we can keep it up even after that, though. Eating at home is a good habit to get into, for sure.

Well, friends and family, it’s time to say adios. I’m about to go get my sweat on with a Denise Austin workout video. It’s going to be grand…

With Silver Bells and Cockle Shells and Zucchini Plants All in a Row…

As promised, here are a few more things I’ve learned from gardening this year. Hopefully this will be of help to some.

  1. Weeds are lousy.
  2. See above. Okay, seriously, I know I’ve talked about weeds before but they are really hard to keep a handle on. As I’ve been thinking about weeds more, I’ve realized how interesting they are. For instance, no one has to plant them. They just show up. Uninvited. They grow fast, overnight it seems. Also, they don’t have anything that wants to eat them. Apparently, the pesky insects that eat my zucchini plants also know that weeds are no good. Because of that, they can really take over.
  3. Zucchini plants can get these little whitish-gray beetles on them and take over the plants. It’s gross! My zucchini plants had been crawling with these little things. I had sprinkled some Sevin Dust (it’s actually spelled that way) on them but we have had so much rain this year that it kept washing off. I debated sprinkling more but we are tired of zucchini around here so just let the little guys go at it. The beetles sure seemed to be enjoying them!
  4. You can plant some seeds now for various veggies and have a fall crop! I planted some radishes and turnips so we’ll see how they turn out. I don’t remember the last time I had a turnip.
  5. Compost is cool! It’s amazing that all those things I put in there turns into this dirt-looking stuff, and it doesn’t smell like rotting food! One way to know if you have the right mix of stuff in there is if your compost has an “earthy” smell. If it stinks, you need to add more dry stuff (dry leaves or grass clippings).
  6. Your compost pile needs to be turned every now and then but be prepared! There are all kinds of things living in the pile: ants (lots and lots of them!), spiders, zucchini beetles (if you put your dead zucchini plants in there), crickets, grasshoppers. If you compost it, they will come…

All in all, I like having a garden and will probably do it again next year. I don’t think I’ll be doing zucchini however, but you probably already figured that out!

Surprises Abound!

We stirred the compost pile the other day and guess what we found (besides hundreds of ants and a really huge spider)? Compost! It’s nice to know that I’m not messing it up!

I need to go to bed but will hopefully post a few more gardening tips in the coming week. G’nite!

Doing the Next Thing…

I am busy. Busier now than I’ve probably ever been in my life. Staying busy is good. But there comes a point when I feel like I just can’t do it anymore. The other day, however, I came across a poem that was posted on a woman’s blog whose husband died of cancer just three months ago. He was not that much older than me and not only left behind his wife but three young children. The poem that she posted was written by a woman named Elisabeth Elliott whose husband was a missionary. She was eventually widowed twice. After the death of her first husband, she wrote a poem called, “Do the Next Thing.” I know my trials are relatively small compared to hers, but I found her thoughts helpful for my situation, too. When I get overwhelmed in the mornings, thinking about all that I have to get done for the day: do the next thing. When the laundry is piling up, the fridge is bare, and I have four hours of work ahead of me: do the next thing. When I get worried about tomorrow, wondering in my unbelief if God will provide for us: do the next thing. When my children are fighting, our car breaks down, and the amount in the bank doesn’t look like it can possibly carry us through the month: do the next thing. God gives his people grace as they need it. He will keep me going, putting one foot in front of the other, doing the next thing whatever that may be. All of my worry, fear, unbelief, even my tears won’t make the busyness go away. “Do the next thing.” As Christ himself said, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” I will leave you with Elisabeth Elliott’s words to think about.

“Do the Next Thing”
Elisabeth Elliott

At an old English parsonage down by the sea,
there came in the twilight a message to me.
Its quaint Saxon legend deeply engraven
that, as it seems to me, teaching from heaven.
And all through the hours the quiet words ring,
like a low inspiration, ‘Do the next thing.’

Many a questioning, many a fear,
many a doubt hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
time, opportunity, guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrow, child of the King,
trust that with Jesus, do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand,
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
working or suffering be thy demeanor,
in His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
the light of His countenance, be thy psalm.
Strong in his faithfulness,
Praise and sing,
Then, as he beckons thee,
Do the next thing.

*Apparently, this poem was not written by Elisabeth Elliott but was quoted by her (maybe in a book?) at some point. Regardless, it’s good!