changing sites

•December 11, 2009 • 3 Comments

I am changing to a new blog.  Send me an email or facebook me if you would like to know the new address.

Up Close

•November 16, 2009 • 1 Comment

I love close ups.  I love close ups of Stevie.  And he loves it when I take his picture.  These are two shots I like from a picnic our agency put on this summer.  The second one is while he and Josh were in a bouncy castle.




Detox Diet: Day 10

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I don’t think I have become as accustomed to the diet as I did in Scotland.  I think part of it is that I can’t really find as many good snacks and alternative ingredients (or don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for them) and I also don’ t have the extra time to plan more meals.  I am feeling a bit more weak.  Again because I don’t have enough snacks.  It is important to snack on the diet because even shortly after a meal you feel hungry again.  It is also just better to eat smaller portions and more frequently.

I have a confession.  I cheated yesterday.  :o  I went to a training where they provided lunch (pharm companies are good for something, I guess).  It was soup and sandwiches from Panera.  I knew I was going to cheat because I had to go to work after the training and we were supposed to go out to eat for dinner.   I didn’t have anything easy enough to bring to eat at Culver’s while the guys eat (I’m filling it at a different home this week).  So I tried the pick the lesser of the evils, though it sure didn’t taste like evil to me!  Tomato soup and a turkey sandwich.  It was such a small bit of soup but I felt full after that!  The sandwich was so good that I HAD to finish it.  After that lunch my stomach felt so heavy and I felt full for hours afterward.  I didn’t really like that feeling.

A couple of days ago I made a dessert from a great blog I found: Sweet and Natural.  There are some recipes for desserts I can have and some that I thought I could just make some substitutes for.  I made the pumpkin brownies.  The picture looked so heavenly, but it didn’t turn out that good for me because I had to make too many substitutes.  I might try it again when I am off my diet but wanting a healthier dessert.   Today I made the maple almond butter cookies, which turned out much better.   I only had to substitute a different flour.  Though they are really delicious, I wouldn’t add them to my Christmas cookie list.  They just fill in a gaping hole right now.

Tonight I will be making a vegan sloppy joe recipe I got from a friend who was also an expat in Scotland while we were there.  It’s really yummy and you hardly notice there’s no meat!

I am feeling some of the benefits of detoxing.  I am sleeping much better.  I had been waking up a lot through the night or just not feeling like my sleep was very good.  Now I am not waking through the night and am feeling more rested after waking.  I can breath through my nose better because I don’t get congested from dairy.  I am also not having headaches as frequently as I was.  I don’t feel bloated or gassy.  I don’t get heartburn or acid reflux.  All of these things were happening rather frequently, telling me long ago that I needed this diet!

I am down 2.8 lbs and bmi is down .6%  Not as much of a difference from the previous post because I went up a pound a couple of days ago.  I think my body is just adjusting to the diet, wondering if it should go into survival mode or not.  It really doesn’t help that I have not added any excercise.

Detox Diet: Day 5

•October 30, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Yesterday was truly the more difficult day so far.  My body was wondering why I wasn’t giving it all the junk it was used to and was BEGGING me for some sugar.  I also wanted pizza in the morning and for some strange reason McDonald’s and Taco Bell sounded good.  I NEVER eat fast food.

I had to go straight from work to my class and I wanted something warm to drink.  I pulled out and dug through my box of teas and rediscovered my Whittard’s chocolate chai.  Mmmm!   I brought this back from Scotland and was hopeful that it would still taste ok.  With a bit of rice milk it is a lovely treat!  There is no tea in it.  I realise that the cocoa kernels probably have a bit of caffeine, but it will be miniscule.  I should probably limit my intake regardless. 

 I made a very yummy lentil soup with coriander and cumin.  At the end I add some lemon and cilantro.  It is one of my favourite soups to make.  For snacks I made a peach, pineapple, mango smoothie and munched on Veggie Crunchers and sliced cucumber (not all at one time!).  The day before yesterday I was craving cheese like crazy so I have tried to get more calcium.  My rice milk is infused with calcium so I used that in my tea and smoothie.

This morning I made a hot millet cereal with rice milk and maple syrup.  It was a bit better than I expected, but I got tired of the taste before I could finish it.

Another part of this diet that I feel is important is to also get ride of toxins within the home.  When I did this in Scotland I had to switch a lot of things up, but since then I have been trying to purchase more products that are more natural.  Lush’s Angels on Bare Skin is something I brought back from Scotland.  I tend to ‘hoard’ items that are expensive or that I am not sure I will be able to find again.  This is why I still have this TWO YEARS LATER!  But I am using it again and I love it.  I am also wearing less make-up (I don’t wear much in the first place) and no perfume.  I just don’t have the money to buy anything different right now.  For toner I am mixing a wee bit of tea tree oil with witch hazel.

As of this morning I am 2.2 lbs down and my bmi is down .5% (supposedly).

No Surprises Here!

•October 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

My husband was unfortunate enough to marry someone who is capable of figuring out most surprises he has in store for me.  Or maybe he is just not very good at keeping a surprise.  From our very first Christmas together.  We had been ‘hanging out’ for less than 2 months when he said, “I got your Christmas gift online today.”  pause  “You like Celtic music, right?”  He thought he was so good giving me just a wee hint, but I knew right away that he got me Riverdance tickets.  I had been wanting to go, they were in town, and this was before the time where anything and everything is purchased online.

I am very avid about keeping up with our charges and making sure they are all legit.  Last year Josh forgot to tell me not to check my emails for look at the credit card statement online (which I do about every day).  I got an email from Amazon saying the KitchenAid ice cream maker attachment I had ordered was being shipped.  I debated whether I should tell Josh I found out what my birthday present was or if I should act surprised.  I called him and let him know.

It was no secret when he was going to propose to me.  I can’t say how I knew.  I just KNEW.  We had a date (with free tickets from the Chicago Public Library!) to go to the planetarium.  Then we were going to go to Due’s for deep dish pizza.  I had a suspicion.  They had a free coat check, but Josh wouldn’t give up his coat.  At closing time he started getting very nervous.  I kept asking him if we should go before they lock us in.  When we left he wanted to walk around outside.  This was in February.  That little peninsula was one of our favourite spots in Chicago.  It gave you an unobstructed view was Chi-town’s amazing skyline.  We were out there for a little while and my fingers were getting numb, but I wasn’t complaining.  He steered me around the back of the planetarium where it was dark and no one could see what was about to unfold.  He didn’t show me the ring when he asked so I wasn’t even sure if he had one.  I think he wanted to make sure I said ‘yes’ first.  :)

He did manage to pull off a couple of surprises.  After he proposed we went back to his car.  He drove up about 20 feet, pulled over, and opened his trunk.  He pulled out a box and told me to open it.  I pulled off the lid to find a silver ribbon holding together a beautiful arrangement of every scrap of memorabilia from our 2 1/2 year relationship.  He had everything arranged on cardstock with notes he had included.  It began with the very first week of our shenanigans: Missions Conference.  A booklet of workshops, a comment card from Starbucks (our first outing), a brochure from Holy Name Cathedral where we discussed soteriology (as Josh states in a little note), and a note scribbled on Veggie Tales stationary inviting Josh to tell me about his weekend.  This was truly a surprise to me and this is where I began to cry.  We drove to Michigan for a wedding the next day and I spent the entire trip looking through this box.

A couple of years ago he surprised me with a KitchenAid mixer for Christmas.  It was a first Christmas back in the States and we really couldn’t afford anything.  Josh said he wanted to get it for me because of the difficult time we had been through the previous few months.  He hid it in the attic of the place we were staying, so I never stumbled upon it.

This year Josh told me not to look at the credit card.  I asked him if I shouldn’t check my email, too.  He just accused me of trying to find out what my gift was. 

We must’ve gotten more rain than we thought last night.  After Josh left for work I noticed a watermark in the concrete in the utility room going to the drain.  I followed the mark to check out what had gotten wet.  I started to pull things out in the little nook behind our drier.  I noticed some unassembled wood and knew what it was right away.  If it wasn’t wood I could have left it and pretended I never noticed, but I had to pull it out to dry it as soon as possible and call Josh to let him know we had water.  Unfortunately, finding my present is so minor compared to all the work Josh is going to have to do before the ground freezes to prevent more water coming in.

Josh is a very thoughtful gift giver and I feel so bad when I find him out.

Detox Diet: Day 3

•October 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

About 3 years ago I did a detox diet.  I had just heard so many good things about it and wanted to give it a try.  It took me a while to get up the courage to give up so many of my favourite foods, though.  I decided to do it for lent.  I was the most fit in Scotland than I had been in a few years and have been til now, so it wasn’t for weight loss purposes, though I did lose 10-15 pounds (can’t remember the conversion). 

The first week was rough because I was withdrawing from caffeine.  I was working at Starbucks and was used to having plenty of coffee every day, especially on days I opened.  My breakfast was typically a dopio espresso con panna with a pump of vanilla and caramel drizzle on top.  Delicious and nutritious!

After that first week I felt great!  I did long for certain foods at times, but the diet was teaching me a whole new way to eat.  I don’t remember what happened during that time, but I began to get lazy with meals and started depending more on snacks so I wasn’t getting all of the nutrients I needed.  I started to feel ‘off’ so I decided to quit the diet.  I did go the recommended 28 days so I didn’t feel too guilty.

Since we moved back I have been wanting to do the diet again but I felt like it would be more difficult.  There are more foods I love here in the States and the healthfood stores in Scotland were more accessable to me and the prices were more reasonable (except organic foods).  There seemed to be more of a selection, too.  In the past year it seemed more difficult because I have been working at a group home where we are required to eat with our residents.  I have also found it more challenging to cook as often as I used to and we have relied heavily on easy, ready-made junk.  This diet requires a lot of cooking from scratch, detailed meal planning, and LOTS of lable reading.

So I finally decided to just take the plunge.  After I decided to do this I got moved to a different group home for the next 2 weeks.  I am not really sure how it will go over with bringing in my own meals, but we will see.

The diet is basically a vegan diet with more restriction.  As well as no animal products (other than honey) I cannot have sugar or sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol, white rice, white flour, oils that are not cold pressed, and additives.  I am supposed to limit my intake of salt and soya products.  I am supposed to eat as raw as possible so I soak all of my beans and eat fresh veg.  I am supposed to eat as much organic as possible, but my budget really isn’t allowing for that this time around.  I can have a limited amount of feta cheese and I am going to take advantage of that today to make tabbouleh.  YUMMY!  I will be making the tabbouleh with quinoa (as I always do) because I cannot have regular pasta. 

A few items I have already had in the past 2.5 days are: all natural fruit snacks, celery and all natural peanut butter, lentil soup (made with low sodium veg stock – difficult to find!!), fresh salsa and blue corn chips, baked potato with cajun seasoning.

I have been feeling pretty crummy since Monday, but I don’t know how much of it is from detoxing and how much is from this cold I am trying to fight off.  Yesterday I slept for 2 hours between my shifts and was still wanting my bed all afternoon.

So I will try to jot tidbits about the diet through the next couple of weeks but I am doing a lot more split shifts again and most mornings I am either very tired or I have other things I need to get done.

Only Two Short Years Ago

•October 20, 2009 • 2 Comments

This month 2 years ago Josh finished his graduate studies at U of Edinburgh.

Last week was our 8 year anniversary and the week before, Josh’s birthday.

Things have changed so much and we are not exactly in the place we imagined when we were making our dreams in Edinburgh.  I just want to brag on my husband and what he accomplished despite his concerns about studying with fresh young minds direct from Ivy League colleges and learning the British style of education.  This is what I posted 2 years ago…

I am going to take the liberty to brag on my husband just now. He got his marks yesterday and he is going to graduate with distinction. This is the equivalent of graduating with honors. He did very well and got wonderful remarks on his dissertation from the markers.

“A thorough and penetrating study of a complex concept”
“A very, very high standard of work for this level, showing clear doctoral ability.”
“An excellently creative piece of work.”
“Showing real intellectual flair and insight.”
I am sure Josh will be embarrassed that I posted these remarks, but he worked so hard and I am proud of him.
Thank you to everyone for your support during the past year. Please continue to pray for us as me move on to the next stage in our life.

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.