Busy weekend…

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After I reached my 20 pound goal last Friday, I decided that I was going to sign up for a 5K. I chose one that is a couple months away (November 22) so that I could spend that time training. I would absolutely love to be able to run the whole thing, but I am not sure if that is possible. I will feel accomplished if I run *most* of it. So, on November 22 Chris and I will be heading to Decatur for the Turkey Trot. I am pretty excited, but nervous too 🙂

Once I gave up soda and started counting my calories, I was amazed at how much prettier and girly I felt. I started wearing make-up again and fixing my hair. It is crazy to me how making a few changes in my life started sparking more and more changes. I was having a pretty crappy hectic week last week and was so excited when my ipsy bag came in the mail. Ipsy is make-up subscription that I get monthly. I filled out a quiz about my eye color, hair color, complexion, etc as well as the type of make up I like and am interested in. Every month I get a bag filled with 5 or so full-sized and sample-sized make-up items. It only costs 10 dollars (shipping is included) and it is like getting a Christmas present in the mail every month. This month I was super excited to get a new eye shadow brush, eye liner, lip gloss, eye shadow, and a deep conditioning hair mask. Every month is different and it is so much fun to try new things out. Obviously, not everything will be a winner–I once received electric blue glitter liquid eye liner. Yikes! But, all in all it makes me super happy 🙂

 

September Ipsy bag.

September Ipsy bag.

We had a pretty busy weekend filled with play dates galore. Our friend’s were out of town this weekend and had a rotating schedule for people to watch the four children that stayed here (they took their baby with them). I had the kids after school until dinner time on Friday and after church until dinner time on Sunday. My kids love having people over so they were pretty excited and content. We also had another friend’s daughter over all day Saturday. My friend was coaching Volleyball at a tournament. I don’t think we have ever had so many play dates right in a row. Like I said, the kids thought it was the best weekend ever. I don’t feel like I got a ton accomplished, but we did rip out the carpet in one of our upstairs bathrooms (yes, you read that correctly–the people who lived in our house before us had carpet in their bathrooms–and kitchen too!). We also picked tons of tomatoes from the garden and decided we would make spaghetti sauce to freeze. It didn’t seem like such an event until I realized how many tomatoes I had to boil/cool/peel. Chris was a great help. I just hope it tastes as good as it looked 🙂

Peeling tomatoes for the spaghetti sauce. What a chore!!

Peeling tomatoes for the spaghetti sauce. What a chore!!

My hands still smell like garlic today–even after 24 hours, multiple hand washes, and a shower.

Having SO many tomatoes meant we needed a ton of onions, garlic, and a few bits of carrot.

Having SO many tomatoes meant we needed a ton of onions, garlic, and a few bits of carrot.

In other news, we bought Doritoes as a side for lunches since we had quite a few children in our house over the weekend. I am proud to say that I have not eaten a single chip. It hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be, but there are times I feel like the bag is calling out to me. Ha!

After a long weekend, last night my friend in Colorado sent me a beautiful picture of the sunset with Pikes Peak in the background. I sent her a picture of my view–

My view.

My view.

My view may not include the moutains, but spending the evening with my husband is the only place I’d like to be!

 

Celebration Day!!

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As of Friday, September 5 at 6:15 am I have officially lost 20 pounds. I was elated. I jumped up and down when I got off the scale. I needed to lose 1.4 lbs to make my goal and I lost 1.5 🙂 Upon reaching my goal, I started referring to the whole day as “Celebration Day!” My husband brought home pizza, a card, and a gift.

Olive Garden is my favorite!

Olive Garden is my favorite!

Before Friday morning I had been having a bad week as far as my weight goes. I want to work out more, but I get very frustrated when I am not as advanced as I would like to be. On Wednesday evening, Chris said he would help me do some weights. He had me do a quick 10 minutes on the treadmill, to warm up. I actually ran 6 (in 3 minute spurts) of those ten minutes! I did my weight training and then got back on the treadmill for a 10 minute cooldown. I had asked Chris to take a couple of pictures during my workout session so I could see what I looked like. One of the pictures he took made me feel awful about myself. My stomach looked huge and I got really down. Chris sent me a picture that was taken last summer to physically show me that I have made great improvements. So, here’s my before picture:

Last summer, working in the garden.

Last summer, working in the garden.

And here is a more current picture. (Sorry it is dark!)

My after losing nearly 20 pounds shot!

My after losing nearly 20 pounds shot!

When I look at the pictures, I can definitely see a difference…but, when I look in the mirror I still see that woman on the tractor. I wonder how many pounds I have to lose before I can start seeing the changes that other people see?!?

17 lbs and counting…

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There was a moment at the end of the school year (in May) when I woke up and realized that I desperately needed to lose weight. I was constantly tired and every little thing was difficult. I began by immediately cutting out soda. I was drinking 4 or 5 cans of soda a day. I knew it would be hard, but it was a challenge I was willing to take on. I gave up soda on May 13 and have not had one since. The first week was terrible. I had headaches that were migraine level, but migraine medicine didn’t come close to making them disappear. It was a rough few days, that’s for sure!

A few days after I gave up soda, Chris asked me to start a 30 day squat challenge with him. I was not excited about participating in this, but I gave it a go. On Day 1 I had to do 50 squats and I found that difficult. Two weeks into the challenge, Chris quit. It was hard for me to keep going when I really wanted to finish the program together, but I think that his quiting is actually the reason that I kept going. I wanted to prove to him that I was strong and I COULD finish. There were days when doing 40 squats in a row was difficult and required a little break, but there were other days when I knocked out 200 in a row. It felt absolutely amazing to finish Day 30 and know that I did 250 squats–just me! I didn’t quit.

Not long after I finished my squat challenge I started using the MyFitnessPal app to count calories. Counting calories isn’t easy by any means, but it is vitally important in my weight loss journey. I have been counting calories for 60 days now. I am allotted 1720 calories a day. 1720 calories is actually a lot when you are eating the right foods. My problem from before I started counting calories was that I ate as much as I wanted. If I wanted 5 pieces of pizza, I ate them. I don’t starve myself now or deny myself certain foods, but I do limit how much of those foods I eat. I will have ONE piece of pizza or I will have ONE serving of mashed potatoes, but I don’t go overboard. Allowing myself to eat the things I like and not completely cutting out everything bad for me has really helped me stay on track. If I had switched from being completely unhealthy to only ever eating healthy things I truly believe I would have given up weeks ago.

Losing weight isn’t easy for me, but I am finally determined to have a healthier life. I want to be able to run around with my children and I want to see them grow up. What better motivation is there?!? Speaking of motivation, this past weekend I went to my parent’s house and as soon as I got out of the car my dad was telling me how awesome I looked. I heard positive comments from my mom, grandma, and aunt as well. Nothing makes me more pumped up than positive comments from others. It felt great to tell them I had lost 17 pounds and am hoping to lose 40 more. It will be a long journey, but it is totally worthwhile. Thanks for coming along for the ride 🙂

 

 

Wow- It has been awhile!

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A friend of mine mentioned that I needed to start blogging again. I have gone through a couple of bad years and hadn’t even given the blog a second thought. I’m in a much better place now and thought I should consider starting it up again. Today, when I opened it, I noticed that I have not blogged in 2 years. It seems like that time has completely flown by.

What have we been up to in the past two years?! Well, Maggie has gone from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. She loves school, her teacher, and our church. She has given up ballet for a new interest–soccer. She will start playing soccer in September. Liam is no longer in Pre-School and started Kindergarten just yesterday. He didn’t think he would like going to school full time, but woke up this morning excited to start a brand new day at school. He loves dinosaurs and playing Disney Infinity. I look forward to seeing how this school year progresses for both of them.

Chris is working a LOT less hours. He no longer has to work overtime, weekends, or holidays. We have gotten used to having him at home and are very grateful that we can spend quality time as a family.

As for me, I started working VERY part-time at the kid’s school in the Fall of 2012 as an assistant to the main secretary. Last school year, they had me continue working to learn what the full-time secretary does so that I could fill in for her if it was ever needed. I definitely did not learn everything, but I can handle the office (for the most part) for a day or two by myself. Also, last fall I started working at our local public library. I love meeting new people in our small town and learning about our history. Currently, I am working both jobs, though my hours at the school have increased as I have been asked to be the Administrative Assistant to our school board. All I can say is that I should be VERY busy this year 🙂

I should have lots to post about in the next few weeks. We will be painting and re-doing the entire first floor of our home. I am extremely excited that I will finally have most of my home put together instead of living in total chaos.

I have also started a weight loss journey. I gave up drinking soda in May (2014) and began counting my calories. I completed a 30 day squat challenge and have started a Couch to 5K plan with a few friends. I have lost 16 lbs and would like to lose 45 more. If there is any interest, I will blog about this as well.

And finally, I deleted my Facebook app on my phone just this morning. I felt like I was being consumed by it. I was constantly checking and updating and worried I would either offend someone or say the wrong thing. It was taking entirely too much energy and was becoming a detriment to my life. I am hoping, at some point, I can ease myself back in to it because I do like to keeping in touch with friends and family. I will see how it goes.

Well, that is my life in a nutshell. I look forward to writing more in the future!

Bathroom makeover…

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We live in an old farmhouse, built in 1900. I absolutely love this house, but it has a lot that needs re-done. We did the kid’s rooms when we first moved in and then took out the carpet in the kitchen…yes, folks, there was CARPET IN THE KITCHEN!! There is also carpet in two of the three bathrooms. Let’s just say our style and that of the previous owners are not at all similar. We recently decided to re-do the downstairs bathroom. It definitely needed some love. The 70’s decor and pale blue walls needed a face lift. Everything is currently done except the ceiling. What do you think?

Before:

 

 

After:

And the winner is…

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Shawna Brunner! Thanks for commenting everyone. I had a great time reading all of your favorite things about the blog. The blog has been a great way for me to tell everyone about our farm and day to day activities. I love looking back at all of the things we have done.

Shawna….you win two free bars. I currently have Grapefruit/Bergamot…..Lavender Vanilla….Lavender Chamomile….Tangerine…Facial Soap…Blood Orange….and three that just came out this morning–Lemon Poppyseed….Lime…and Grapefruit. Just let me know what sounds good to you!

 

Tomato Basil Jam…

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So far in my canning journey I have not canned tomatoes. I was under the assumption that I had to have a pressure canner to do so. I was wrong. I had skipped all of the tomato recipes in my canning books before, but finally went back to check them out. I found quite a few hot water bath canning recipes. This morning I decided to try making tomato basil jam. We had an abundance of roma tomatoes, so I figured I better do something with them. This jam recipe is super easy. The only time consuming part is peeling the tomatoes.

Our basil is no longer doing well, so I got some amazing smelling basil from my friend Sierra. It made the whole kitchen smell great.

Here is the jam….it is really pretty and tastes good too 🙂

 

 

Here’s the recipe I used:

Tomato Basil Jam
(makes approximately 6 1/2 cups)
2 1/2 lbs fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup bottled lemon juice
4 tbs fresh chopped basil
3 cups sugar
1 package powdered low sugar pectin
Place the chopped tomatoes into a medium nonreactive pot.
Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to simmer.
Simmer, covered for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the lemon juice and basil.
Stir to combine.
Add the sugar.
Stir to combine.
Increase heat and return mixture to a boil, stirring often.
Add the pectin.
Stir to combine.
Return to a full rolling boil.
Boil for 1 minute.
Remove from heat.
Quickly skim off any foam.
Place hot jam in hot sterilized jars.
Leave 1/4″ headspace.
Wipe the rims of the jars.
Adjust two piece lids.
Water bath process quarter and half pints for 10 minutes at sea level and adjust the processing time as necessary based on altitude.