Monday, August 31, 2015

If You Can't Find It ...

... Make It!

A couple of months ago,
Aldi had a wonderful flavor of hummus available.
We usually bought roasted red pepper flavor,
but sun dried tomato and basil caught my eye.
We tried it and loved it.
Unfortunately, it must have been of those rare Aldi products
and when I returned for more ... there was none!

So I decided to make it ...
and it was good ... really good.

1 can Chickpeas
2/3 cup sun dried tomatoes
1/4 c. basil
2-5 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp. tahini
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
garlic (to taste)

all whirled together for a healthy snack ...

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Today I am thankful for a little refreshment.
Hubby and I just returned from Raleigh.
He was attending another training class,
and I went along for the ride.

The time allowed me to have a change of scenery.
I was able to set up another book for publication soon.
I worked on a house project.
We both caught up on some rest.
We were able to have some quality talks prompted by a change of schedule and location.

I am thankful for times of refreshing,
times to refocus,
times to recharge.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Just a Little Effort

Do you ever have those little wake up calls in life?
Reality checks?
Subtle (or not-so-subtle) knocks upside the head?

There are constant news stories and coworker stories
of failing marriages.
Marriage takes work - and I want to fight for mine.

I got ready with hubby this morning.
That means that I had done my hair,
put on some makeup,
and was out of my workout attire
when he left for work.

My reality check?

He just kept staring at me.
He was full of complements (he is anyway, but more than usual).
He was ready to take me on a "date."

And I was reminded to just do the little things.
Combed hair -
vacuum lines on the carpet when he walks in at night -
a tidy place for him to study.

While it does not make sense to always be cleaned up before hubby leaves 
(usually a workout, some time in the garden, and housecleaning is beckoning),
I need to remember to put my best foot forward.
It takes nominal effort and very little time
to do a little extra for my appearance
to encourage my hubby
to keep our relationship strong
to show that he is worth the effort.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Still Working

The porch has progressed,
just not to picture stage.
It is trying to get everything done between a 45-50 hour work week 
and church lesson and sermon prep.
My poor dear one hates to leave a project unfinished,
but "slow and steady wins the race."

Hubby finished the railings on Saturday.
I need to stain them and then he will "pop" them in place.
The stairs are also in place thanks to some help from a friend on Saturday.

On Thursday, I will sand the railings.
On Friday, I hope to stain the floor, stairs, and railings.
On Saturday, hubby hopes to button things up.

Picture coming next Transformation Tuesday.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Changing Body Chemistry

I have mentioned that we have undergone another eating change.
It seems that I just get one style down and there is something more to learn.
Perhaps to many it seems fickle.
To some we may seem extreme.
This is more of a "clean eating" than anything else
and fully complements the dairy free and gluten free diets that we have already embraced.

Many years ago, I sought a definite/strict plan to lose weight.
Food is a difficulty for me.
Self-discipline in this area is hard.
There definitely is comfort in food.
It fills quiet hours.
I had great success with the first plan.
It let me choose between 1200, 1400, and 1600 calories.
It set out what I needed to eat at each meal and even for snacks and treats.
I modified some for hubby so we could still eat breakfast and dinner together.

When I began searching again,
I found an eating plan that offered plans at my calorie level as well as for hubby.
I bought the plan for $10.
Hubby agreed to give it a try.  He loves to encourage me in any way that he can.
After I looked at it, I thought that it would be short lived - 
there was no way that hubby could eat all those apples, oranges, and bananas - 
he was highly allergic.

But we tried it.
1 day,
2 days,
3 days ...
now after 3 months ...
it is stuck.

We have known that a body could be acidic.
We knew the effects of coffee ... and sought to avoid it ...
but by limiting processed food and most red meats ...
hubby can now eat fruit as he often longed too.
The processed meats (a daily staple in his lunch box),
the overdose of sugar (we both have a strong sweet tooth),
and the glut of crackers and snacky snacks were no the best for us.
I have left most of my herb supplements behind
and hope that they are a thing of the past.

While the diet may not work for everyone,
while we still enjoy an occasional DD iced latte or DQ moolatte,
we just like feeling really GOOD!
I am excited to see how hubby's seasonal allergies will be come March/April - 
hoping for great relief.

I know that there are many people out there with unexplained health conditions.
Doctors can search, poke, prod, and medicate for years.
It doesn't hurt to try a diet change - it may be the key.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Building Again

This week's Tuesday Transformation is a "Work-In-Progress."

Before shots - I thought I had better and didn't take any new ones.
We had repaired the hole, but couldn't fix the whole problem without removing the old decking.

 Last Thursday, we removed all of the old decking and railing.
Friday, we went shopping for the new wood and starting laying the floor.
Saturday, we repaired a hole in the side of the trailer
and laid the rest of the floor.
I also freshened the paint on the posts and frame.
We put the post caps on.

This weekend,
hopefully the stairs will be constructed and maybe work begun on the railings.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Still Newlyweds

Today is our 13th wedding anniversary.
How thankful we to God for orchestrating our lives.
It is still an amazement that God brought us together.
We are thankful for His working in our lives over these years.

Just a simple celebration after work.
A special dinner at home - 
gluten free breaded fish and shrimp,
sweet potato fries,
and a side salad.

Some couple-time on the porch after the studies are finished for the night.
Time to reflect on God's goodness.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Encouragement Along the Way

There are many days when I get antsy  ...
antsy to do something new,
to explore a new locations,
to start fresh again,
to have new adventures,
to meet new people.

We are finishing our 7th year in NC.
That is the longest I have ever lived anywhere - 
I did get 8 intermittent years in FL but that was college (technically still a New Yorker) and my first job.

There are places that call me ...
but NC is not one of them.
Yet I know that this is where God wants me.
In fact, on the days when I want to throw in the towel and move back to the Pacific NW,
there are the encouragements.

This week, I am thankful for a beautiful home.
God has given me a rest, a retreat, a place to call home.
I am thankful for the ability to own a home - 
to be able to make changes, updates, repairs, improvements.
These blessings make the antsy days a little easier.

I am thankful when the Lord "shows us a token for good,"
when He reminds us that our work is "not in vain."
I am thankful for weeks when hubby has lots of opportunities to witness at work.
I am thankful when someone enjoys one of hubby's books.
I am thankful when the church website has a lot of traffic.
I am thankful when there is a response, however small, to the Sunday School lesson.
I am thankful when my students are well practiced and breeze through their lessons.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More on Value

I hope by now any regular readers now that I love my hubby.
He is a gift from God.

Despite that love, I must still work to show that love,
to value properly,
to keep that love growing.
As I hear of troubled marriages around me,
it firms my resolve to care for my marriage relationship.

It is sad to watch people throw away a marriage,
to do things that will only tear it down.

Society is so keen on saving the planet,
saving the whales,
saving the landfills,
saving the ozone ...
why not a relationship?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

5 x 3

Bathroom when we move in - hard to photograph the little closet bath,
but you can see the white tiles a little bit.

This weekend we completed a little task on the "homestead."
We had exactly enough leftover tiles from the main bathroom
to retile the master bath.
Just a small 5 x 3 floor.

The master bath was not an eyesore,
it was tiled with sticky tiles.
The problem was that the sticky tiles had cracks ...
that let water in.
When we removed the sticky tiles ...
Black Mold.
Water from the former shower door
and from the mess "when Murphy came to visit"
had created an unseen problem.

We bleached the wood,
scrubbed it,
and used a heat gun to dry it out.

Then on to the pretty new flour
all neatly grouted
and waterproof.

This weekend ...
if the weather cooperates ...
the back porch.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Drink It Instead

Oatmeal is a very healthy source of whole grains - 
a great source of fiber - 
I have some texture issues with it.
Does it seem like paste to anyone else?
I eat it anyway, but it is not always easy.
As a child, I did not eat it much,
but when I did ...

I have since found that it is easier to drink it.

I stick my oats in the blender,
grind them to a powder.
Add double the milk as oats.
Sometimes I add frozen fruit for sweetness.
We had it last week with peanut butter and banana ... YUM!
No more texture issues.

This Week's Menu

Sunday - Chicken and Sweet Potatoes
Monday - Black Bean Soup (a mistake turned into just a bad meal) 
Tuesday - Tilapia
Wednesday - Fried Rice
Thursday - Asian Chicken Meatballs
Friday - Tacos
Saturday - Stir-Fry

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Cooler Evening

It is 4:30 on this Thankful Thursday ...
and I am thankful that my air conditioning is actually cycling.
It is a cooler evening.

I am also thankful for the rain this evening.
It has been so-o-o-o dry.
Will be nice to see some life return to the plants around here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Out to the Shed

I did not get any pictures for this week's Tuesday Transformation.

The first transformation began when hubby caulked some seams on the trailer that were looking "not-so-good."
Of course, they could not be left as white stripes,
so I painted them to "match" the trailer yesterday.
Well, they don't exactly match, because the trailer has already faded in the sun,
but a total repaint will have to wait for cooler weather.
We were planning on a second coat this year anyway, so this will keep us on track.

The second transformation sent me to the shed.
It is the place that stores all our empty boxes, extra linens, tools, Christmas supplies ...
Every time we get a new box - the place becomes unruly.
So in I went.
Out came everything.
I vacuumed out the bugs and accumulated dirt.
Back in went those things that needed to go back ...
with a sizable pile for the dumpster.
Aah - that feels good ... if only for a day or two.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Juice in a Blender

You have noticed that we are trying to have more naturally sweet treats.
Fruit is a big part of that attempt.
I had a juicer, but I hated to see all of the waste that it produced,
so I began looking for ways to make juice smoothies in a regular blender.
It is not for those who can't handle pulp - 
but it is good and filling.
The key is starting with some liquid.

Here is the juice that we started with:

3/4 c water
1 green apple, cored
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cucumber
1/4 pineapple
handful (or 2) of parsley
handful (or 2) of spinach

This Week's Menu:
Sunday:  Rice Bowls
Monday:  Turkey and Sweet Potato
Tuesday: Chicken, Broccoli, and Pasta
Wednesday:  Broiled Cheese on English Muffin, red potato fries, spinach salad
Thursday: Squash and Rice Pilaf
Friday: Stir-Fry Veggies and Egg
Saturday:  Out with Friends