Saturday, December 15, 2012

My Blog? Wait, What's That?

I haven't blogged in ages and while I feel like most people won't care, I know at least a few people who are mildly intrigued by my little existence.

It's almost Christmas. It's practically here. The tree is up, there are a few presents under the tree. It looks marvelous, apart from the two different kinds of lights we have on the tree... we somehow didn't have enough lights this year (it all worked out last year! I don't get it) and so I went to buy another string of lights, but they didn't have the same kind... so I got the closest ones I could, but they're LED and much whiter than the other lights... the older ones are much softer. It makes my OCD-ness tingle.

I have been doing awful trying to lose weight. I am only down about 9 pounds since I started way back in October... at least I haven't been gaining, but I do wish it was going a bit better. I use food to cope, though, and my dad's helping me change that by fasting maybe once a week for just 5 hours or so, and using that time to pray and read the Bible, asking God to help me use Him as a coping mechanism and not food. It's been good, but hard. Food is such a big deal to me. Only by God's grace cam I overcome this, and I know He'll help me, because I know He wants me to turn to Him and not food. Hopefully things will improve as I learn to rely more on God than on sugar.

I think after Christmas, when Christmas-y fabric goes on sale, I'm going to buy some cute stuff and make a cute ...what's the word? I can't think of it... tree rug ring cover-up thingy... TREE SKIRT. That's the word. Yes. One of those, with the awesome sewing machine my husband bought for me at Goodwill for only $30. I don't have any idea how I'm going to do it yet, but I want to do a tutorial on it, so I'll make a post for it.

What else is there to talk about? Liam is doing excellent. Unfortunately, he has really bad reflux and was getting sick every time he ate, so he is now on formula and they gave him some antacid medicine and he is doing so much better! He's getting big already. I think Julie said he was over 11 pounds now. at 6 week old.

What's new with all of you? We got 13 inches of snow last Sunday and today it's raining... Gotta love Wisconsin.

I hope your Christmas lights stay lit this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The King of All Banana Bread Recipes

Please tell me you NEVER throw away your browning bananas. Those babies are worth their weight in gold.

Let 'em get good and brown. Leave 'em there for a few days, as long as you don't have fruit flies (like we do; long story). Then, when they're nice and dark, make that 'nana bread. Of course, if you don't have the time right now, you can always freeze them and save them for next week. Or month. But you really don't want to wait that long. And be sure to pin or bookmark this recipe so you can find it later.

Forgive the horrid pictures.
This is my mom's tried and true recipe. I hope she doesn't mind me posting it here, because you're all going to steal it and pass it down to your children, and your children's children, and you'll take all the credit for it, because it's that good.

 Oh, and don't feel bad if you taste the batter before it's even in the pan and you can hardly stop. It's just so yummy! But beware, if you eat a lot it will expand in your stomach and you'll be so bloated you'll just want to die.  But you'll have to balance that knowledge with knowing if you don't eat it now, you might die anyway...

1 C white Sugar
2 C (2 medium) mashed bananas
1/2 C  butter, soft
1/4 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs (substitute 1/4 C plain applesauce per egg... just do it.)
2 C flour
1/2 C chopped nuts (optional--but I never use them)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Heat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease the bottom of a bread pan. Blend the first 6 ingredients (sugar, banana, butter, milk, vanilla and eggs or applesauce), beat for 1 minute at medium speed. Stir in the remaining ingredients just until moistened. Batter will be thick, almost doughy. Pour into bread pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan; cool on cooling rack.

I really suck at taking pictures.
I can't have egg, so I use applesauce instead (in banana bread). The bread is super moist and has excellent flavor. 
Add chocolate chips.
Put oats and brown sugar on top before you bake it.
Use apples instead of bananas. If you use apples, add a little oil and cinnamon to the batter, and put brown sugar and oats or raisins on top.
Use oat or half white/half wheat flour instead of plain white for a healthier alternative.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Small Victories

Just a quick report on a few small victories for me. Today Jon and I went on a drive, and we stopped at a gas station for me to pee (like usual). I saw a pack of doughnuts, and I was like, *Gasp* "I want doughnuts!" *to Jon* "Do you want doughnuts? I want doughnuts. We should get some doughnuts." So we walked over to the bakery section and looked at the doughnuts. They had a cinnamon doughnut that looked AMAZING. I looked at it, turned around, and walked away. Didn't buy it. Score!

Then, my sister and I decided to go out Christmas shopping, since it's almost Christmastime already. We had a very unsuccessful trip, but we were thinking of stopping at the food court for dinner. I decided not to, and ate before I left: homemade chili in soaked/sprouted rice. It was delectable. I saved money and ate healthy. Huzzah!

Finally, at the mall, my sister (who had not eaten dinner) got hungry, so we stopped and got fruit smoothies. Mine was very disappointing. I wanted a churro. So Katie said that if I still wanted a churro when we left, we could stop and get one. I agreed. We went shopping, and I had to get a belt because my pants keep falling down. We were leaving, and I tell Katie we can skip the churro, because I just had to buy a belt longer than the Golden Gate Bridge. Victory!

Plus, I weighed myself this morning, and I have gotten rid of two and a half pounds. Super encouraging. Totally going to keep it up!!

Also, Liam is adorable. To read his birth story check out Julie's blog Ramblings.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Little Liam is here!

Today we welcomed into our family a new member! Liam Anthony Petras was born at 12:22 (I think) on November 2nd.

He is 8 lbs, 1 oz; 20 inches long.
Born at 42 weeks, 2 days gestation.

Unfortunately, Julie did not get the birthing experience she was hoping for; after an ultrasound at 42 weeks, the doc said he wanted to induce immediately due to low amniotic fluid and Liam not moving around much. After 2 days of contractions with little progress, the doc recommended a C-Section and Julie and Damon agreed. This beautiful baby boy was born healthy and he and mama are doing great! Apparently, his head was caught on Julie's hip, and that's why labor wasn't progressing. But he's here now and we're all madly in love with the little guy. He's got black hair, one dimple on his right cheek, and big feet! So adorable!

I'm already his favorite aunt. I can tell by the way he squints his eyes and blinks when I hold him.

Congratulations to Julie and Damon on the birth of their perfect son. Welcome to our world, Liam! Love you all so much!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Randomness Update

Sometimes I'm okay...

And sometimes I just want a baby. Usually I do okay with it, but every once in a while I get an ache in my soul that can only be filled with my baby. My husband wants one more and more, too. These two things are warring with my desire to lose weight.

So, remember how I lost 10 pounds? Well, I gained 5 of it back after going off the diet, which isn't really surprising. I kind of expected to gain a bit back. But I haven't lost any in a while, I don't think. Sad day(s). I think I might look into doing the Full GAPS diet with soaked/fermented grains. My body doesn't react well to grains now. I love them, but after I eat them my head and legs feel funny and I don't feel satisfied but I feel like I can't eat anything for a long time. It's not a fun feeling. But we can't afford the "just meat and veggies" stuff. Maybe the soaked/fermented grains will be better tolerated.

On a completely different note, my sister is in the hospital this very night, getting induced! She had an ultrasound this morning and the amniotic fluid was low, and Liam only scored a 6 out of 8 on the ultrasound (apparently they grade them) so the doc said, "I am going to have you induced today. Not tomorrow, not Friday, today." We all got a laugh out of that. But there you have it. Julie is 42 weeks today according to her "unofficial due date" (the one she calculated herself is different than the one the midwives calculated). So hopefully Baby Liam will be here sometime tomorrow! Yay! 

What else is there to update you about? Sorry I haven't been posting much. I've been discouraged about losing weight. I can't think of anything else to tell you about... I haven't done much cooking lately (we were out of town)... So... I guess that's all, for now... sorry.

May your soda never go flat! (Unless that's how you like it, like me. I'm not a huge fan of carbonation, unless it's in Kombucha or Sparkling Juice...)  

Monday, October 15, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 13

*Sigh* How to start?

So, remember how I've been telling you all that I have been really overwhelmed lately? Well, it culminated today. I got home from work at 6 with nothing to prepare for dinner and no stamina to figure it out. I had a meltdown. With both of us working and having to plan meals days in advance to make sure we have everything (namely stock, thawed meat, etc.) I just can't keep doing it. My energy level just is too low. I can't do dishes or shower without my legs shaking. I can't cope with anything. It's just not working.

So. We have decided to not do the full intro diet right now. I'm going to take what I've learned from this experience and use it to continue to eat healthily. Soaking grains and nuts, minimizing sugar and processed food intake, and eating nutrient-dense food.

Another big factor in this decision is moo-lah. Dinero. You know, money. We bought 1/4 of a cow about a month ago, and we've already consumed probably 1/4 of the meat we bought (if you include the ground meat). We have to eat a lot of meat. We anticipated that it would last us a year or so and at this rate we'll be lucky if it lasts until February. Meat and fresh veggies are expensive; grains and beans really help to stretch the dollar.

I had a hard time making this decision. I feel like I'm failing; like now I won't lose the weight; like I'm just running from difficulty, like I usually do. But Jon helped make it okay. It's hard for me to reconcile myself to this, I keep thinking of it as "giving up." I can't think like that, though. I am just not able to function on this diet. Not every diet is for every person. I can still lose the weight. And Jon and I have not noticed huge benefits from the diet, anyway.

Please don't look down on me; don't judge me too harshly for this decision. I still will be working on losing 1.5 lbs a week. My goals haven't changed, just the means. *Sigh* I'm going to bed now, so I don't have to think about this any more.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 12

This is going to be really short, because it's late and I'm tired. But I just wanted to let ya'll know that I lost 9.6 pounds in the 12 days since we started the diet. That's incredible. My family can't believe it. They say I look like I've lost 25 lbs and it's all in my stomach. So, I'm happy about that.

Also, we may have to modify the diet some because we go through a TON of meat and that is EXPENSIVE. According to the book, you're not supposed to introduce grains for a couple of years on average, but we may have to start them sooner (like this winter). We will see.

I made pumpkin soup based off this recipe from Yammie's Noshery with some slight variations to make it GAPS friendly. It tasted so good! Wasn't very pumpkin-y... but that's okay.

Okay. I'm off to bed. Goodnight, world!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 11

Sorry I didn't update yesterday, but there really isn't much to talk about, although we did introduce ghee (clarified butter) and tomato puree; we seem to be handling both just fine.

I went to the farmer's market again today and got lots of carrots, onions, and 3 more butternut squashes. No, we haven't finished the 5 I got last week, but I want to cut them up and freeze them so we have some for a while. Next stage we're allowed to make "pancakes" out of eggs, squash, and nut flour, so I want to make sure we have plenty. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll be eating those right away, since I'm not sure I can have egg yet. I'd have to try it to see, but I'm scared to do that, since they used to make me so sick.

I've been getting "the munchies" lately, and just want to snack on popcorn or something. I haven't cheated, but those old habits are hard to break.

I'm attempting to make sour cream tonight. You have to let it ferment at just over 100* for 24 hours, so I hope it turns out.

There really isn't much to report. I will weigh myself tomorrow, so stay posted for that update.

Sleep well.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 9

Apparently my coping skills were somehow tied up in food, because now that I can't eat the junk I find I can't cope. Every little thing feels like the end of the world. They are doing a lot of remodeling at work, and there was a pole with a big light switch sticking out, and I backed into it. It hurt! I said, "Ouch!" fairly loud, and A, the 3 1/2 year old, goes, "Are you okay, Taya? What happened?" I'm fighting tears at this point, so I don't answer right away. He keeps asking. Like, a million times. I get fed up and said, perhaps a bit harshly, "A, just stop asking questions for a bit!" and then burst into tears and sob for a few minutes. It didn't even hurt that bad. I also kept getting the hiccups today, and thought I would end up pulling my hair out because they were annoying me so badly. So, apparently I need some new coping skills, other than ignoring the annoyance (not good when the annoyance is 18 months or 3 1/2... and HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU JUST IGNORE HICCUPS?!) Any advice?

So, besides for the whole end-of-the-world-because-A-is-asking-me-another-question thing, today was decent until this evening. I went for a [short] walk (only 10-15 minutes) when I got home while dinner cooked. Then I started feeling like I'm getting a cold: sore throat, headache, foggy head, etc., which are probably just die-off symptoms, and, though uncomfortable, not a bad thing (as long as it doesn't get too bad).

So, we are almost out of carrots; I'll have to buy a ton again this weekend at the farmer's market. Maybe eggs if I can find them. And I don't know what else...

I want a blueberry muffin... with butter... warm, fresh from the oven... *huge smile*

Anyway, I'm off to bed. I might not keep updating daily if there's nothing to report. But we'll see. Sometimes it's nice to have a place to rant.

May you always find some amount of happiness in food, if only in the thought of it.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 8

Today was a good day! I had motivation to get stuff done, but my body lacked the energy, I guess is how I'd say it. I wanted to do stuff, but I felt like I *couldn't.* I pushed through it though and got quite a bit done! I made a pot of beef stock (well, finished it... basically strained it and poured it into pitchers--we got a gallon and a half! That's awesome!), I did the dishes, went to the store and to an Asian market (awesome experience! More to come.) made a rather nice dinner of boiled beef strips, onions, and butternut squash, did more dishes, made some food for us to take to work for the next couple days, did 2 loads of laundry, and sewed a gun sleeve for Jon to use for trapping. Whew!

Okay, so I braved the grocery store for the first time since starting the diet today. It was... interesting. I felt rushed, because it was already 4 pm, so I didn't stop to gaze longingly at all the candies and cookies, but I DID see some Reece's Peanut Butter Cups staring me in the face and a little boy nomming on the packaging for some chocolate doughnut holes. I was not overcome by either, although I did find the boy's antics disgusting. I wonder how many people touched that box of doughnuts before he put it in his mouth? Ah, I need to learn to be okay with germs! I don't want to be that mom that puts disinfectant on EVERYTHING and give her kids the worst immune systems ever! I want them to be able to heal themselves... But I digress.

The Asian market was so fun! I've never really been in one before, but we needed ginger and I didn't know until the man at the checkout told me you can buy it at Wal-Mart. But he said it costs over $2 there, though, and I got mine for a whopping  92 cents. So ha! I also found macapuno, which my mother-in-law will be happy to hear. I didn't buy it, because we can't have coconut yet, but once we can, I'm totally going to try it. It has a little bit of refined sugar in it (a lot a bit?) but I think we can make an exception to try this stuff. I hear it's great! (By the way, macapuno is coconut "sport" in syrup... the "sport" looked like just short spaghetti-noodle-shaped pieces of coconut.) Honestly, I was kind of scared to go in this shop, because it was a tiny, out-of-the-way place, but it was totally awesome. They had tons of fresh herbs and different fermented things (some looked scary) and all this other stuff that I'd never seen before! I loved it.

So, as you can perhaps tell, my mood has been good today, but my energy is lacking. Hopefully tomorrow I can keep it up; I've found that work is difficult right now. The youngest (18 months) is dropping her morning nap, so she's tired most of the day (but not tired enough to sleep... go figure) and although the older boy (3 1/2) is great, he loves to be outside and it's just too cold right now to be outside all day. Thankfully they're getting to the age where they can play together without too many issues, but some days it is just a circus. Plus, I'm tired and easily irritated from this diet. So I'm praying that God will grant me grace and patience for the rest of the week.

I weighed myself again today and I was down almost 8 pounds! So happy! That will give me the motivation I need to not cheat on those long days at work. Well, that, and my pride... I don't want to have to admit that I cheated! So, between those to two things and God's help, I WILL GET THROUGH TOMORROW AND FRIDAY. Oh, and the fact that I feel so much better! I want to start finding some exercises I can do. ...Pilates, probably, since my awesome mother-in-law sent me A TON of equipment for it. Yep. Need to start working that into my day.

One more thing I want to mention: my best friend ever texted me today and said she found my blog and was so happy and supportive of me doing this diet and getting healthy; it made my day! I love to hear from her, and I love her! So here's a shout-out to you, Sara; thanks for being my greatest friend ever!

May your weeds always be wildflowers!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 7

Wow. Seven full days have come and gone since I started this diet. It's going remarkably well! I only cheated once, so far, and that was last week at work. I almost cheated again today... my boss had made cookies... there were three containers of them sitting on the counter... I opened one... smelled the cookies... grabbed a cookie... broke it in half (I was "only" going to eat half...)... looked at the cookie... put it back in the container... closed the container... and walked away. Although I don't regret that decision, I have been thinking about that cookie all day.

I think I'm not getting enough fats, and that's why my cravings are so bad. Plus, it was just always a habit to eat. Now I have to break that habit. Well, technically I don't, I just have to eat healthy stuff. But I'm still trying to reprogram my brain so that TV doesn't equal popcorn and juice from concentrate (aka sugar). Carbs and sugar... my life before. I miss them. But I am committed.

Jon moved to stage 2 today. I don't know if I'm ready yet. I might try some of the foods from stage 2 and see how my body handles them. If I do okay, I'll go forward. One of the main things from stage 2 is raw egg yolks though, and I don't think I can handle them yet. I'll do a sensitivity test this week sometime.

I weighed myself this morning (I couldn't help it!) and discovered that I lost almost 2 pounds since Sunday... that's a total weight loss of almost 7 pounds now. A pound a day... I can handle that. I just have to brace myself for when that slows down...

I can't wait to get on full gaps when we can make variations on apple pie and bread, peanut butter pie and creme caramel. Oh, I can't wait. Hopefully the next 5 stages go really quickly!!

Jon and I watched the pilot episode for Doctor Who tonight. It was interesting, to say the least. Neither of us is sure about it yet. Does it get better? More addictive? Just what I need... more addiction in my life! First junk food, now Switched at Birth.. Yikes. Yes. I'm a nerd. (I only like Switched at Birth because I'm picking up a lot of sign language... and Daphne is pretty cute.)

Oh, some things that I've noticed about this diet... I am WAY less gassy (just ask Jon... he appreciates it!) and my indigestion is GONE. I feel like I haven't gone to the bathroom very much (hence my hesitation to move to the next stage) but I don't feel bloated or crampy or anything. For the last few weeks before we started the diet I felt sick when I was hungry or right after I ate (lose, lose) and ever since we started GAPS I have had very minimal stomach upset. (Some minor nausea occasionally, but nothing major.) So those are all definitely great things. (Hope that wasn't too much info... I tried to be discreet and lady-like about it all.)

*Sigh* ...oh, that cookie...

EDITED TO ADD: I just want you all to know that my right ear is twitching like CRAZY these last few days. It used to "only" twitch if I was really relaxed and lying with my head leaning to my right or lying on my right side without pressing my ear to something (i.e. a pillow) (or when I was relaxed and pushed a certain spot on my chin... but that's just weird). Now it twitches even when I lie on my left side, even when my ear is pushed up against a pillow, and sometimes when I'm not even relaxed! It's SO ANNOYING. I'm actually hoping that this diet will clear that up... but I honestly have no idea if it will. Strange, huh?

Monday, October 8, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 6

I didn't cheat today. That's about all there is to report. I was not in a good mood, the kids were tired, I was tired, I was irritable... it was a rough day. But I made it. I didn't cheat. But I didn't eat much, either; I'm getting sick of what food we can have and I didn't feel like eating. So I had some squash for breakfast, carrots for a snack, and a plain burger patty for lunch.

Hopefully we can move to the next stage soon... I want more variety. More flavors and textures. But I have no idea when that will happen.

*Sigh* Today was a victory, but it came at a cost. Don't they all?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 5

Hello, world. 

This will be a short update tonight, as there isn't much to tell. It went about the same as the previous days. I cut up 3 of the 5 butternut squashes that I bought yesterday. They are resting comfortably in my freezer, along with all the broccoli I chopped yesterday. I still have carrots and cauliflower to cut up, but I'm not too worried about it.

We went to my parent's house for our hebdomadally (there's your word of the day: it means "weekly" and it has a red squiggly line under it, but I promise it's spelled correctly) get together with the fam. Jon and I ate boiled burgers with a pureed carrot and cauliflower sauce, cooked carrots, and soup. I didn't even cheat! (By the way, I'm really proud of myself for how well I've been doing. I know God must be helping me, because I could never have done this before!)

Tomorrow (and Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) are work days... a little nervous about that... but with God's help it will be fine. I just need to bring lots of food. I mean, Lots. Of. Food. *Sigh* At least I get to eat on this diet...

So, I have amazing news for you all! As you know, I weighed myself Wednesday when we started the diet, but we usually weigh ourselves on Sunday, so I weight myself again today. I lost .2 pounds shy of 5 pounds in ~4 days. (I weighed myself this morning.) CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? FIVE POUNDS. I haven't lost weight in a long time! I'm very happy. Maybe that will help me stay on target this week! I was lying in bed last night, thinking, "I can't get my hopes up. 1.5 lbs a week is my goal, and I'll be happy if it's only that much." But wow! I blew that out of the water! So happy.

I hope you all are 1/19th as happy as me about that, because then the world would be a happier place! (Yes, I know, I'm a dork. A crazy dork. But you still love me. ...right?...)

Now go to bed, you crazy people! It's late!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 4

I love a good farmer's market.

My sister and I went to our local farmer's market today and I spent 40 bucks! Do you know how much you can get for $40?

A cabbage: 

5 Butternut squashes:
 Something like 9 heads of broccoli:
 What must be close to 5lbs of carrots:
 A bunch of dill:
 Some Sage (this smells so good!):

 Some parsley:

 And a pie pumpkin!:
 That's all of this! (not pictured: Pie Pumpkin):

Can you believe it? That's a TON of food. Oh. And I didn't get a picture of the cauliflower. But you can see it there all snuggly with the broccoli and sage. I got 3 heads of cauliflower. I hope this will last us until next weekend! Haha. When that, broth, and boiled meat is all you can eat though, you go through it quick.

Today was pretty good. I was weak and tired this morning, and I didn't want to go to the farmer's market, but we needed the food.  After I got back I spend several hours chopping carrots, making soup and cooking carrots, and chopping and bagging broccoli. I didn't get to the cauliflower before my friend Andrea came over for a visit. Tomorrow I'd like to get the cauliflower and squash chopped and in the freezer. I need to figure out how to eat the pumpkin... I guess we'll see what happens. The cabbage is for sauerkraut; we can't actually eat it yet. (Next stage we can have that and the herbs though.)

I did feel like this, all day today, though:

My menstrual cramps are really bad. I thought no sugar = more mild cramping, but nope... just as bad as usual. Only I don't want to take pain meds because I've been reading in my Gut and Psychology book and those wreak havoc on your gut. So, that's been fun. (Note: this picture is not mine. I found it at Agent 3Z via Pinterest.)

I haven't cheated. Even though I was offered a cheese curd and I'm craving oreos. I know if I give in I'll just crave them longer. Did you know there is no milk in them? That just is wrong, since they have the cream in the middle. But they taste ssssooooo good. Okay. Enough ranting. I can't have them, and that is that. (Where did all this self control come from?)

I have no clue when we'll be moving to the next stage... bowel movements are supposed to be your indicator, and I haven't had much of a problem in that regard, but I also don't want to move too quickly... So, we'll see.

Anyway. That's my day. Fun, huh?

Friday, October 5, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 3

You know you're on the GAPS diet when you're deboning a chicken at 10 pm. I wish I had a picture.

Yes, ladies and gents, I got to debone a chicken last night. Thankfully it took all of 10 minutes. Then I was off to bed.

Apparently, mid-day is the hardest for me. I'm hungry and I get really tired and weak, and my muscles feel heavy and like I can't use them. Today I could barely stand; my legs felt like jelly and were shaky. I feel pretty good in the morning and evening, though.

Today was good! I went and bought some chickens for stock (couldn't get the feet... dang it! Who buys just chicken feet? I guess I'll have to... since I'm going to be making some calls next week about me getting some!)

I noticed that when I get really hungry is the worst for me, in terms of wanting to cheat. I did well today, though, and was able to stand fast! I know that if I cheat, it will just take longer for me to get healthy. And my cravings aren't bad at all, I just want to eat when I'm hungry. And I get hungry FAST. Like, I'll be fine one minute, the next I'm starving. So I need to come up with some snack ideas I can take with me when I go out. Mashed carrots would be good; they're delectable cold or warm. Or even some cooked, unmashed carrots could work. I'll have to think about that.

Tomorrow is officially Farmer's Market Day. I'm going to buy out every single vendor and spend all weekend figuring out where to put all that food. Our freezer is not very big.

I found out there's a farmer's market all winter long, too! And indoors, so we don't freeze our butts off! I will definitely be checking that out, too. I'm not sure what they would sell in the winter...

Jon said he felt pretty good today, to. I'm actually surprised at how good we're feeling, considering. I may need to plan some mid-day naps, though, as my body heals. I'm assuming that being unable to move is my body's way of telling me to rest and heal.

So that's it. Boring update. But I guess that's good. I'll post some recipes soon. They're all pretty straightforward, though... "Cook [squash, carrots, onion, cauliflower, broccoli or meat] in stock until very tender. Puree, mash, or leave whole as desired. Salt. Consume." Yeah. Sounds great, right? Ah, the things we do to heal our bodies! But you wait. I'm gonna be healthier than 90% of ya'll! Just you wait [Henry Higgins]!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

GAPS Update: Day 2

I'm so hungry seemed to be my mantra of the day.

Well, that and I have to pee. Because, as you should know, I always have to pee.

I worked today, so I had soup for breakfast and brought some (a lot) of mashed carrots, a cooked onion, more soup, broccoli, and broth to work today. And I was still hungry. I guess, to be fair, I couldn't eat the whole onion... something about sitting down to a bowl of an onion and broth just isn't all that appetizing. So I tried putting it in my soup. That will be better. I thought. More variety. I like onion in soup. Yeah. There was one piece of carrot, a few scraps of meat, and like two pieces of pepper in my soup. The rest was onion. Even before I added the onion. So that didn't go over so well. But I choked down as much as I could and was hungry. All. Day. Long. Planning for work is going to need some... well... work.

Also, I cheated a bit today. No, wait, no quantifiers. Cheating is cheating. Period. I had like 6 baked chips and a vanilla wafer cookie. They were sooo good. I wanted something crunchy after mush. I'm going to have to get used to mush though... that will be a large part of my diet for a while. Tonight we're having burgers, though! With a carrot-cauliflower puree on it. Sounds good to me. Speaking of which... *Goes to check on the food*

Okay, I'm back. Food is done. It looks like mustard. The puree. Tastes good, though.

So, over all today I had pretty good energy and was in a pretty good mood. I did get tired and irritable in the middle of the day, but was able to regroup while the kids were napping and had a better time in the afternoon. Jon didn't have to do a whole lot today and he said he felt really good all day. Huzzah!

I still feel really overwhelmed today. I have so much to do. The food requires quite a bit of preparation, and we go through at lot of it, because it's so easily digestible and we get hungry quickly. Then there's the cleanup and planning food for work and everything... Plus we're almost out of acceptable food already, and I was just at the farmer's market... I'm going to go to the farmer's market again this weekend and just buy them all out, then spend the next couple days chopping, freezing, and making food. Maybe that will help my stress levels. I hope so!

All in all, a good start, I think. I'm sure it will get worse before it gets better, but I can't wait to feel better!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Soup Recipe and GAPS Update

Earlier today I promised a soup post. I really don't want to do it. Haha. But a promise is a promise, so here goes.

 I first made some beef stock that gelled marvelously! I don't have a picture of the beef, but here's a picture of venison stock:

So, then I took my filtered beef stock and added carrots, an onion, a red pepper, a bit of broccoli, and meat from the stock. Then I let it simmer until the veggies were soft and added some salt. It was really good!

Breakfast and lunch on Day 1 of GAPS
I added some sauerkraut juice (probiotics) and some crushed garlic to my soup. (Jon should have, too, but I didn't realize it until later.)

(I don't know why all the pictures turned out reddish. It was night time, and I had bad lighting. But the soup was not red at all. Very nice brownish color.)

We had butternut squash soup (pureed) with boiled broccoli and a bit of venison. Pretty decent dinner. All the food has to be "well boiled" and very soft, so it's all the same texture, but flavors are varied and some are really liquidy while some are more solid.

I was doing really well this morning, feeling really good. My sister and I went to the farmer's market and got lots of broccoli, squash, onions, carrots, leeks, and an acorn squash (never had one before... wanted to give it a try). Then we went to Weaver's, a store in the area, and I got some cauliflower. We got back around 2, and by 2:30 I was feeling really tired and my muscles were heavy. I was surprised that it's already affecting me.  I have no energy, I'm suddenly overwhelmed with everything I need to get done, and I'm just... tired. I still feel good about the diet as a whole, I think. The food is pretty varied and tastes good, but it is a lot of work and requires a lot of preparation. With work and other household chores, that seems daunting. Hopefully I'll find a rhythm soon.

HOLY COW DO WE GO THROUGH STOCK. Wow. I think I'll be making stock 4 or 5 nights a week for a while. Anyone want to give me some meat bones?  We go through so many! I do have two chickens, and some more beef bones though, so that should make 3 more pots of stock. Then I'll have to buy more meat and bones. Maybe I should call around to a few butcher shops, see if they have any extras they want to give to me...

Please pray for me for tomorrow. I will be working all day, and they have LOTS of JUNK FOOD in their house that will be calling my name loudly and incessantly. I'll have to make sure I have a lot of good food available to eat. Which is going to be hard, because I'm going to have to make it tonight, and it's already after 7. *Sigh* Did I mention I'm tired?

Jon's had a rough day, too. He does hard physical labor, and by mid morning he was really tired, had no energy, felt weak, etc. So we'll have to figure out a way for him to get more food more often, with as many [veggie] carbs as possible. Another learning curve for us.

So, over all I'm still pretty optimistic about this whole endeavor. But I was so not ready for it--no food made in advance (except stock), I haven't been able to read much in the book, and I didn't expect it to hit me this fast. But we'll figure it out. I should have expected few rough days in the beginning. I'll be sure to do more updates and post more recipes.

There you have it. How my day went. Hope yours went well, and please try to remember to pray for us tomorrow!

Seize the Day!

Today is the day! We started GAPS this morning. Pregnancy test was negative, like I expected. And I'm actually okay with that. I made some soup last night for today. I just warmed some up and am waiting for it to cool so I can nom on it. It smells sooo good! I will do a post on GAPS foods when I make them. Soup post coming later today!

I found this website: and she posted a like to this book What Can I Eat Now? 30 Days of Recipes and Tips and Tricks for the GAPS Intro Diet. It is $20 for the PDF, but oh-so-worth-it! I purchased and downloaded it yesterday and I am so glad I did! It has so many great recipes, that I'd try even if I wasn't on GAPS! It incredible.

So. There you are. Just a quick post.

I can't decide if I want to post my weight or just how much I've lost each week... I will have to think about that and get back to you.

Off to eat me some soup for breakfast! ...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It Came, It Came!

My book came today! I'm so happy. Now I can't decide if I want to read it or take a nap. Or do the things I actually have to get done today... But apparently complaining about it online is the best way to go in terms of getting your merchandise quickly. Haha. Also, on the package, it said it was "Time sensitive material," whatever that means.

Also, sadly, last night my sister and her husband were driving at night and the car in front of them hit a very little fawn, probably this year's. Unfortunately, the poor thing didn't die on impact, but its spine was broken and couldn't use its back legs. Julie and Damon had to call the sheriff who drove out and (after 3 shots!) finally managed to kill the deer. My family was able to have the carcass and now we have fresh venison! I got some good bones and stew meat and am going to make some venison stock.(Yay! I'll take pictures this time!) So, sad the little guy was hit and suffering for a while, but glad that he didn't go to waste.

Okay, sorry for the random post, but I just wanted to update you all.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting Ready for GAPS

Pretty colors at Hoffman Hills
Frustrated. Irritated. Mad. I'm not sure irate would be too far. Okay, yes it would, if only just a little. I bought Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride ON SEPTEMBER NINETEENTH. I got an email on the TWENTY-EIGHTH saying that it had been received on the TWENTY-FIFTH in NEW JERSEY. I have still not received the book! Maybe irate is a good word here. WHERE IS MY BOOK!? I wanted to read it before we start, but now I don't know if that will actually happen or not. Bah-humbug.

We have decided to go ahead and start the GAPS diet this Wednesday, October 3rd. I plan on taking a pregnancy test that morning, and if it's negative will go ahead with the diet. Tomorrow I am going to go through our food stores and get rid of everything we can't have. EVERYTHING. We will have bare-bones cupboards. I've already been working on using up what we have already. (Plus we ran out of food money for the month... no comments on how much of a pig I am. [Except that one.])

My camera is zoomed in all the way here. That farm was waaay far away.
SO. I am frustrated. I'm scared. I'm so looking forward to this. I know it's going to be hard. I know I'll be grumpy. Irritable. Heck, I'll be a witch with a capital B (bwitch. bahaha. I'm so clever). But I want to be healthy. I want to lose weight and get in shape. And I KNOW this is going to be beneficial for both Jon and me.

Jon at the top of the tower using our binoculars.
Oh! I almost forgot to mention this! (And I totally forgot to take pictures... AGAIN. Maybe I won't ever learn...) I made beef stock! It smells good. Haven't tasted it yet. But I will need to make a LOT more. And I'm not sure where I'll get all the meat! I plan to get some chickens (Knelly!) and make some chicken broth, too. We'll need to stock up on veggies. Bam. Our food for the rest of eternity (just kidding. Kind of. Mostly.)

My ham of a husband, "whom I absolutely adore!"

From the top of the tower on the top of the hill.
You can see why I need to lose weight!
Okay. There you are. and in parting, these are the pictures I took when Jon and I went to Hoffman Hills (a county park) and walked through the gorgeous woods and up murderous, 174 degree hills (lies and propaganda. They weren't that bad. But I'm out of shape and it was hard! My calves are so stiff today!)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All Is Going To Change (Come October)

This last weekend was sad. Dearest Elaine, my cousins real grandmother, and my "adopted" grandmother, passed away on Saturday, the 15th of September. Only in her 70's, she was quite young, but she had so many health problems it's a relief she's not suffering anymore. Her passing is made much more bearable by the fact that Grom, as we liked to call her, loved Jesus so much, there is now no doubt where her eternal soul came to rest--in the bosom of her beloved Savior.  Grom, you will be missed. 

But that wasn't the only thing that made the weekend sad. At least, not for me. 

To start off, you should know that this month Jon and I are trying the Sperm Meets Egg Plan

Sunday night I made a big decision, and was in mourning Monday. (Today I feel better about it, but it will still be difficult.) Sunday night I was praying to God. I told God that we would continue to try to get pregnant this month, but that if we didn't, I would take it as a sign that I need to lose weight first. Meaning that after this month of trying to get pregnant, if we are unsuccessful,  attempting to achieve pregnancy will be put on the back burner for a while while I lose weight.

I have long been overweight and sick of it, but it's gotten to the point where I need to do something about it, not only for myself (eczema, embarrassed to be in public, feeling distinctly unattractive, etc) , but for my husband and future children as well. Hence, we will be starting the GAPS intro diet in October (if I don't get pregnant this month). The goal of this diet is to cleanse out our innards; to heal our bodies; to gain health; and for me, to lose weight. Once we complete the intro diet, we will move on to the full GAPS diet, and go from there. I don't know how long it will take us to heal our bodies. But I am committed, despite the Holiday Season coming up, that I will do this, that I NEED to do this. And it's now or never. 

SO. My plan is to lose at least 80 pounds, then wait 6 months, before we try to get pregnant after this month. I am anticipating that it will be at least 18 months, then, when we can start trying again. I am giving myself a year to lose the weight (that's only 1.5 lbs a week! Doesn't sound so bad, then! And I'm thinking I'll probably lose quite a bit right at first) and then I want to wait the 6 months after losing the weight to allow all the toxins to be flushed out of my body. (Note: if I lose more than 80 lbs, I wouldn't mind... wow, I'm fat! But that is ALL GOING TO CHANGE.)

This was a surprisingly easy decision to make on Sunday, but I was really depressed Monday, thinking that I will have to wait so very long for my dream of a family. But then I realized: I'm still working toward achieving that dream! I could sit here, over weight, trying (in vain, more than likely, as I believe my weight is what is hindering pregnancy) to get pregnant each month and then being depressed it doesn't happen, OR I can do something about it! It won't be easy, but I feel good about having a plan and knowing that this has so many AWESOME repercussions. Not only will I start to feel better about myself, but healing your gut helps with anxiety, depression, IBS, and moodiness (all of which we both suffer from) , as well as joint pain, eczema, food allergies and intolerance, and increasing energy levels. It can also minimize the symptoms of autoimmune diseases (which Jon has not been diagnosed with, but his mother has, and he has many of the same symptoms as she does).  

I am not looking forward to going grain free, dairy free, and refined sugar free, but I know this is what I need to do. I doubt it will be permanent. I like my rice and bread, my cheese, and cookies, cake, cupcakes, cheesecake, brownies, pies, and bars way way WAY too much. But for now, that's where we are. I will do updates weekly on how I'm doing weight-wise (we weigh ourselves Sunday morning, so it will probably Sunday that I update) .



Please pray for us. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jon!

Today is my husband's birthday! 

I think I was more excited for it than he was... We didn't do anything special. He worked. I did the dishes and swept the floor, picked the house up a bit, made it nicer (he likes having things in order, and who can blame him? Too bad I'm so lazy most of the time...). We're ordering Jim's pizza for dinner. I got him Coke for some Rum and Coke (one of his favorite drinks!) and some "real fruit" popsicles for dessert. We'll probably watch a movie tonight. I got him a card, a hat, and Lady and the Tramp on Bluray and DVD.  Nothing terribly exciting.

But I'm just so glad he's here... Glad that he's mine.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this man. He is SO PERFECT for me. Laid back. Quiet, Calm. Calming. Sweet. Kind. Gentle. Loving. Amazing. Gentlemanly. He does things for me. Helps me. Loves me. He's irreplaceable. And I love him.

Okay, sappy much? Sorry, guys. I'm done.

I love you, Jon!! Happy birthday!!


 Okay... now I really am done!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Never Forget

I bet you remember exactly where you were and what you were doing eleven years ago today.

I know I do. I was eleven. We were just starting our day of homeschooling, and it was in the "early years" of homeschooling, so we were downstairs sitting at our desks (mom relaxed the rules after a while). We were listening to Classical music-- Jesu, Joy of Man's Desire, I think. Dad called. "Turn on the TV," he said. Fox News. We watched as the World Trade Centers, the Twin Towers, were bombarded with hijacked airplanes. 2,606 people lost their lives, including the al-Queda suicides. The worst part was watching those poor people jumping to their deaths rather than go up in flames. NYFD lost 340 firefighters, a chaplain, and 2 paramedics. The police department lost 37 officers. 8 more private EMTS were lost, as well. Citizens from over 90 countries were killed. Makes my heart sick just typing this.

Then the Pentagon was hit. 125 people killed there. They had more warning. But still, I remember thinking, "How can this be happening?! Our own capitol!" This was the kind of thing from movies; something that only happened in distant, far away places, not my beloved country!!

Eventually we found out about United Airlines Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. The one that was headed for our capitol building. About the 40 heroes that died bringing that plane down to save their capitol, my capitol, your capitol. The plane went down only 130 miles from Washington, D.C.

That was a very solemn Tuesday. And We Will Never Forget.

We will never forget the 3000 people who died. We will never forget the attack on our nation by terrorists. We will always hold up, appreciate, admire, and remember the heroes who died. The families of the victims.


(Source 1, Source 2)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Still Love You


(aka my best friends)

I just want to inform you that I HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT YOU! Oh no; on the contrary, I've been thinking quite a lot about you all! I have just been CRAZY BUSY. We went up to my parents' cabin over the long weekend, and I had to play catch up getting things done at home. And I have nothing good to write about :-( Except that I made a sourdough starter (any name suggestions for it?), drank a pint of whole, chocolate milk all at once, soaked some almonds, made some butter, that type of thing. Nothing really worthy of their own post (partly because I forgot to take pictures AGAIN). But soon that will change!!

I have really kicked off my healthier eating initiative, thanks to this article that I stumbled upon on how to Slay the Sugar Monster in Four Doable Steps. I am going to be getting rid of my processed sugars, but in the meantime I did buy some Sucranat (evaporated cane juice, a natural sweeter that's not refined like other sugars) and made some cookies with it; Jon was a huge fan. They tasted very different than regular chocolate chip cookies, but they were still awfully good with a glass of organic whole milk. I have also increased my [healthy] fat intake; no more trans fatty veggie oils, hello whole milk, butter, and coconut oil (which is AMAZING in a pot of brown rice, by the way. [Soaking rice and flour, etc. is next on my list of healthy-things-to-get-used-to]). We also will be purchasing a quarter of a cow (you read that right. One-fourth of a giant bovine. 126.5 pounds, to be exact) that was grass fed and hormone/antibiotic free. This is surprisingly cheap. Expensive up front, but when you figure out per pound, then realize that some of that is going to be high-quality cuts, it's really very reasonable. (My parents rock; they're letting us store all the extra meat at their NEW RANCH. So awesome of them.) I am also making bone broths/stock to consume/make CHEAP soups with this winter (like this one). Doesn't that sound amazing?

Speaking of winter, I AM SO EXCITED FOR CHRISTMAS!!! I want to put up our Christmas tree and string it with lights, drink hot cider while reading a good book, take a hot bath... Ahh, I'm just ready for cool weather and holiday cheer! Can you believe they're already putting decorations and stuff out for Halloween? Insanity.

Anyway, keep checking back for more posts on my experiments with "real food" and healthy living. Let me know if there's anything you're particularly curious about and would like to see a post on.

Love you all!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"How My Brain Works"

This is me. And I am currently obsessed with healthy foods and going back to foods not riddled with hormones, antibiotics, homogenization, pasteurization (I spelled those two right the first time! Go me!), synthetic additives, and myriad other disgusting stuff I'm sure you've heard of.

Two websites that I've recently stumbled upon and have led me in this new obsession are and Mommypotamus talks a lot about natural supplementation and remedies, and more. Food Renegade has posted articles on how your honey is fake and how most olive oil isn't really olive oil and what real food really is. The best part? Well, besides learning that all this food we ingest is rancid and/or has absolutely no nutritive value so after they homogenize and pasteurize the foods they add back in the [synthetic] vitamins and minerals. Yeah, besides that, these people actually source their posts! They're not just he said/she said, they actually post links to their sources. The geek in me loves it.

My inner geek also loves taking this information and actually applying it. My husband isn't so keen on this side of the equation, because in order to get quality food and supplementation (fermented cod liver oil anyone?) we have to shell out lots of dinero (no, that does not mean dinner!) So we'll go slow. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are part of a CSA co-op this summer, and although slightly disappointing, we have gotten some nice goodies. My parents are moving to a hobby farm in the next month or so, so we'll hopefully be getting fresh eggs, buffalo, goats milk, and who knows what else, from them in the near future. Plus we're cutting back on a lot of processed foods and going the more natural, homemade route. It's a big change. It's expensive. But in my mind, it's worth it. For my health, for my husband, and for our future kids, I want us all to be as healthy as we can. And eating junk is not the way to do it.

So I'll keep you updated on how this all goes. What we do and how we do it. Our journey to eating healthier. To whether or not this healthier eating enables, or at least aids, us in achieving our much-desired pregnancy. So stay tuned. I hope you're as interested in this as I am!!

Un-Paper Towels

We go through a lot of paper towels. A LOT. Or, at least, we used to. Now we hardly use any! How is that even possible!? you ask. I'm glad you did. And I'm here to save the day. Or, the paper towels, at least.

The fabric I used

Now, I'm not a "tree-hugger." Sure, I love nature, and I'm glad all those loggers are replanting trees as they go. But these just make sense. I mean, paper products are expensive. And if you skimp on price, you skimp on quality. I've used paper towels that tear quicker than a page in a Bible, and absorb half as well. So these un-paper towels were a quick, easy solution. Sorry I don't have any pictures of the production of such fine merchandise. I will get better at this blogging thing, I promise.

As you can see from the picture above, I used three different fabrics: red flannel, patterned flannel, and white terry cloth. Because I wanted these to be cute as well as functional. I wasn't thinking I'd ever have to bleach them. WRONG.

Terry/flannel cloths
The flannels were 7.99 a yard and the terry was 6.99 a yard if I remember correctly. I got two yards of the patterned flannel and one each of the solid colors. This was enough to make a dozen 12"x12" towels with fabric left over to make more. So, some towels are flannel and terry cloth while some are just flannel. NOTE: I like the terry cloths the best. If you want to make your buck go even further, just do single layer terry cloths. It'll basically be a wash cloth, but at a fraction of the cost. Also, I'd make them white so you can bleach them... one of mine is stained pink already and it's been like 2 weeks. They get dirty fast.

Wash your fabric first. Not with whites!! I colored a white tank top pink. Joy. (I'm so home-savvy!! I thought it would be okay if I used a color catcher. It wasn't. Nothing else got colored, though, just the tank top... the white terry came out nice and clean even though I washed it with the red flannel... go figure.) Iron. Now to the fun part!

Flannel/flannel cloths
Match right sides together. With the flannel be sure the fabrics stretch in the same direction. Then I just used a ruler and some fabric chalk to mark 12x12 inches, then cut them out. Pin together. Using the sewing machine you borrowed from your mother (if you're not lucky enough to own one) do a quick basting stitch around the edge. I used the presser foot as a measurement, and it was probably 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. Really, it can be as close as you want. (Since I used 12"x12" for the starting piece, my un-paper towels are a little smaller than that. You can add a seam allowance if you want, or if you don't care, I found the ruler to be quite easy.) Try to make your corners square by leaving the needle in the fabric, lifting the presser foot, and pivoting the fabric around the needle. Be sure to leave a few inches open so you can flip your towel right-side-out. Do so after you've finished sewing around the edge. Once it's flipped the right way, iron again.

Then simply go around the edge again with the top stitch to close up the hole and make it look purrrty. Make your corners the same way you did before with the whole pivoting-on-the-needle business. Iron a third time, if you so desire. I didn't want to, so I didn't do it. I think they're just fine. =] But I'm lazy.

Big picture of where the basket is on our kitchen wall.

Now figure out how to keep them in your kitchen. We have next to no counter space and not much cupboard space either, so I didn't want a basket some place it would take of valuable space. So I had Jonny nail a little basket to the wall above the sink.

Close-up of the basket. You can see the pink cloth towards the bottom of the stack.
To extend the life of your cloths, or if they're not very absorbent, wash them several times with an extra rinse and dry without fabric softener. They should start absorbing better.

I find that for now, a dozen cloths has been sufficient for us. I do wash these with our clothes (bad me; you'd think I'd have learned by now), and do a couple loads a week. We go through the terry cloths the fastest. If I were to make more, I would be sure to make them all terry.

This is a super easy project, that I, as a novice sewer, had lots of fun with. Be creative. Change the size, fabric, or stitches to gain expertise. And remember, when you make a mistake and end up ripping out stitches for hours, that you can chalk it up to EXPERIENCE.

**EDITED TO ADD** These are single use towels. I don't just use one per day, or use them till they stink (I hate smelly towels). Also, I let them hang dry on our oven door handle before putting them in the laundry basket so they don't grow mildew while sitting in that nice, moist, dark environment. An added precaution against stink is putting some soap on them (especially the soaked ones) and rubbing it in so that when you wring it out, it's all sudsy. That will help prevent build up as well.

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Heart's Desire

Let me preface this post by saying that I absolutely adore my husband and my relationship with him is precious to me; that he is my comfort, my stronghold, my knight in shining armor. Next to God, he is first in my life and I don't want that to ever change. Having said that:

I haven't really kept it a secret. Most people that know me (or have met me, or know of me...) know that, more than almost anything, I want to be a mommy. I want to feel the flutters of their first movements and know that my husband and I created another being. I want to see my belly move and feel the baby grow. I want to hold the baby, and smell its head; to watch it grow and mature and hear it call out to its daddy. To be called "Mommy" and to nourish and be nourished in such a unique way. I'm not hesitant to tell anyone that more than food (as I am proving by working to lose weight!) and drink I want a baby of my own. Even the morning sickness, labor pains, and middle-of-the-night wakings don't daunt me from wanting this one thing.

But so far, God has not seen fit to give me this, the biggest desire of my heart. And it's hard.

Jon and I married in September, 2010. We never really tried to avoid pregnancy, but we didn't push it either and weren't "actively" trying. (Well, at least, he wasn't... I did make sure we were more "active" when I was fertile!) We figured that if it took a year or so that would be fine, but before wouldn't be bad either. Obviously, nothing happened in that first year. Then in October 2011 we decided to get serious. I had been charting my cycles before, but now I got serious and temped every single day, not just when I felt like it. I was diligent. We were diligent. We determined when my ovulation would be and got busy. But month after month, my menstrual cycle would show up, and month after month I'd have gotten my hopes up only to have them dash, rather uncomfortably, against despair.

I read a book titled Taking Charge of Your Fertility after we got married, and they say that with charting and knowing your cycles, etc., 4-6 months should be sufficient to achieve pregnancy. But I  know that most doctors suggest trying for a year before you start to worry, so I thought maybe we would just need more time and I tried to stay calm about it all. Let me tell you. THAT. DOES. NOT. WORK. Worry I did. I had been told in 2011 that I had a tilted uterus, but that by itself that was no cause for concern and many women with that same problem got pregnant and successfully carried their babies to term. But I had, and still have, a feeling that something is wrong; that there is some reason why, despite almost 2 years of no contraceptive, we're still not pregnant. Maybe my low basal body temps and short leuteal phase (the time between ovulation and your period), which should be a minimum of 10 days (mine is 10 on the nose) indicate low progesterone, but I have not been tested for that, simply because we don't have the $$ for it right now.

But I am convinced that part of the reason is my weight (which, thankfully, I can fix without a visit to the doctor!) I have prayed to God about this desire often, and several--if not every--time, God has lain it on my heart to be healthier so that I can better nourish and support a new life. This sacrifice has been so difficult for me. I love my tucker. My entire extended family has centered their lives, more or less, on food and its perfection. And let me tell you. We are good cooks. So, smaller portions, healthier food, exercise, and more movement are all things I've been striving for--and by and large, succeeding, I think. But it's a daily battle for me.

Another daily battle is giving this desire to God and coming to a place where I can honestly say that, if He were to take away everything that I held dear: my ability to be pregnant/a mom, my husband, and my family; I could still say, "The LORD gives and the LORD takes away; blessed be the name of the LORD. He is my all in all; without Him I would be lost, but with Him I am safe and secure, no matter what may come." I want that. More than anything. But it's still a practical issue that I need to give it up Not just in this area, but in every area. It's not easy. I'm stubborn. But I'm getting better.

Jon and I have decided to go back to the "not trying, not preventing" stage for a few months (since July and probably through this month or September), since we had some major bills come up that needed to get taken care of, and Jon was stressed about finances should we become pregnant right now. But in the next few months we're going to try the Sperm Meets Egg Plan. If that doesn't work, I don't know what's going to happen. We don't have money for fertility testing or infertility treatments or adoption. So hopefully God will, in His perfect timing and graciousness, provide a child for us; whether that be naturally, or through other means. I know He will. He is good, and wants to give us the desires of our hearts, if they are godly desires. And I believe this is. So for right now, I need to learn to wait on God. To do what I can to improve our chances of becoming pregnant and not lose hope; to continue with "prayer and supplication," to honor Him and my husband in this time of trial. So pray for me. For strength. For patience. For happiness. For peace.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be fearful." -John 14:27 esv

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Belly Laughs and Watermelon

Who here loves watermelon? And I don't mean the seedless, flavorless ones you buy from the grocery. I mean the heavy, pink, juicy ones you get from the Farmer's Markets or roadside vendors. I bought one the other day and just cut it up today. WHY DID I WAIT? This baby was so JUICY and SWEET, and BURSTING WITH FLAVOR. It may or may not be half gone now. It's been like 3 hours. Good thing we got another one from a Co-op we're a part of.True story: my cousin used to call it waterlemon. Conversations would go like this:

"Sophie, say 'watermelon.'"
"Sophie, say 'water.'"
"Say 'melon.'"
"Now say 'watermelon.'"

She's all growed up now. She's like... 10 or 11 now (I hope that's right, Soph! You can correct me if I'm wrong!). She can say it right now. Just thought I'd share that tidbit of my history for ya'll.

Tonight's been great so far. I didn't have to work today, and Jon got done with work pretty early, so we sat together and watched How I Met Your Mother while I cut and then we ate the watermelon. Then after a few hours of that, we put on The Hunger Games to enjoy while we ate dinner- BBQ shredded chicken on buns with watermelon. Now he's showing me hilarious videos on youtube like this one and this one and this one. I nearly peed my pants watching them. Then we saw some super cute ones of a husky and a baby. And another. I love living in the 21st century. And enjoy your evening which will now be spent on youtube looking at the cutest videos ever.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crock Pot: Pork Tenderloin Style

We had a pork tenderloin for dinner today, and it was grand. So tender, so tasty! Here's how I spent all day laboring in the kitchen to make it. I forgot to take a picture of it, sorry. But believe me, it was gorgeous.

First, my husband and I went to Gordy's over the weekend, and saw they had marinated pork tenderloins on sale for less than $3 a pound. So we picked out the marinade we wanted: sherry and teriyaki. Then when we got home we put it in the refrigerator. Step one: complete.

Second, I got up this morning around 9:30 and pulled out our crock pot. At about 9:31 I opened the package... okay, is this too detailed for you? Yeah. Thought so. You get the idea. I put the tenderloin in the crock pot, added some water, and turned it on. Then I decided to look at some recipes online to see if they add water and how much. (I was paranoid it wouldn't turn out, silly me.) I found this recipe to first pan-sear the meat before putting it in the crock pot! That helps keep in the flavor. So I stabbed the meat with a fork and put it in a skillet, then browned both sides of the meat with the stove on high, then put the meat back in the crock pot and almost covered with water. Then left it. All. Day. Long.

I got home from work just after 6, put some rice on, sauteed some fresh green beans, cut up the meat, and, viola, a supremely easy, ridiculously delectable dinner for the husband and me! I can't wait until dinner tomorrow to finish it off!

What are your favorite crock pot recipes? What about pork tenderloin recipes?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Parmesan Encrusted Chicken

So, last night I wanted Parmesan-encrusted Chicken. So what did I do? I hopped on over to Pinterest (figuratively; I don't really hop anywhere. Ever. At all.) Looked up a bunch of recipes. The ones that didn't use bread crumbs or non-fat Greek yogurt (which we don't have) used egg or mayo (yes, mayo. And I can't have eggs OR mayo, since mayo is mostly egg). So, what to do, what to do. Why, experiment, of course! So after asking Jon's permission, this is what I came up with. And sorry, but I didn't really measure anything... I'll give approximate amounts, but they're not perfect.

Parmesan Encrusted Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I only used 3; you can use more or fewer.)

1/3 cup sour cream

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/3 cup Parmesan cheese (save some to put on top of chicken before you bake it, or use extra for that...)

1/2-1 cup breading, potato flakes, flour, what have you (I didn't measure this, but I probably used 1-1/2 cups and it was WAY TOO MUCH.)

Olive oil

Instead of egg, mayo, or yogurt, I used sour cream. Ours had onions and chives in it. I figured that'd be fine; just adds more flavor. Then I added a bit of brown sugar to sweeten it a bit, since mayo and yogurt are pretty sweet. Honestly, I'm not sure the brown sugar was needed. But I have a hard time passing up using brown sugar. I love me some sugar. Anyway. Back to the recipe. I mixed some Parmesan cheese into the sour cream/brown sugar mix. I used shredded cheese. The powdered stuff would work fine. Or the flakes. Use what you have. Don't have Parmesan? I bet Feta would taste pretty good, too. Next I took some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut them in half (so the goodies-to-chicken ratio was higher!!) and dried them off, so they were kinda sticky. Next I dunked them in the sour cream mixture. So, remember how I said we had no bread crumbs? I'm sure flour would probably work, but I used dried instant potato flakes. Frankly, I thought these were bland and in the future I'd probably use bread crumbs if possible, but the potato flakes worked. In fact, husband loved them. So, after the chicken is coated in sour cream, put some coating in a bag, add chicken, and shake, shake, shake your booty. Just kidding. Sort of. Pull chicken out of coating, making sure they're coated well; place on a baking sheet lined with foil. I had extra sour cream mix, so I put a dollop on top of the chicken and then pressed more flakes into the top. Drizzle some olive oil and some more cheese on top of chicken. Bake 15-20 minutes at 375 or until chicken is done all the way through. I ended up having to put the oven on broil for a bit, because my chicken wouldn't brown.

We also had some noodles with butter, garlic, and parsley, then added some zucchini and cherry tomatoes. Please, be sure to sautee the veggies separately from the noodles. I didn't; I just dropped these into the noodles after they cooked, and the zucchini was hard and tasteless. The french bread was good, though.