On Health and Eating

Salad

(The salad I made for lunch today. Not glamorous but very very good!)

I haven’t written in a while (that’s an understatement) but it’s fitting that my first post in forever is about food. You see, I have a love-hate relationship with food, but mostly love. My parents used to say when I was a baby that I ate like I thought someone was about to take my plate away from me. And from around the age of 6 years old I stayed after school with a lady who made and decorated cakes for a living. Talk about developing a sweet tooth! She let me lick every batter and frosting bowl that she ever used and I didn’t have enough knowledge to say thanks but no thanks. Back at home my mom (she’s the best mom and wanted us to eat heartily) regularly stocked the pantry with Little Debbie cakes, whole milk and sugary cereals (which we loved) but it did nothing to enhance my health or help my sweet tooth to go away. Around 4th grade it became clear that my eating habits had thickened my waistline enough so that my peers called me mean names and said hurtful things to me. As time went on I played sports and lost the weight but the comments of my bullies still haunted me for a long time, probably until I hit the age of 30. I still battle with a negative self-image but I’m learning to change the dialogue in my head (from saying you’re so fat to your legs are so strong and your belly carried your babies), and my husband tells me all the time how beautiful I am and how he doesn’t care what the number on the scale says. God bless that man.

All that to say, I’ve been wanting to lose a little weight recently and noticed that no matter how many calories I counted or how much walking I did, I could not lose weight. Then I began listening to health and fitness podcasts and noticed a trend…each of the podcast hosts said it’s 80% food and 20% exercise. In other words, you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. So, I started eating more healthily. Breakfasts went from Cheerios and cow’s milk to either plain yogurt with berries, a drizzle of honey, and walnuts or steel-cut oats, berries, walnuts, and a splash of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (so yummy). Lunch went from a turkey and cheese on white bread with chips to turkey and cheese roll-ups with fresh fruit or a salad with homemade olive-oil and vinegar dressing. Dinner usually consists of a protein and lots of fresh veggies, usually broccoli or asparagus, and I do allow myself one or two squares of dark chocolate after dinner. This is not a comprehensive list at all, but rather a snapshot of my meals how I’m trying to eat healthier and feel better. It’s definitely not the healthiest diet out there but it’s definitely better than what I had been doing. The picture above is the salad I had for lunch today. I got the dressing recipe here and just used what I had for the salad part – chopped romaine lettuce, diced avocado, a handful of grape tomatoes, a sprinkling of feta cheese. All of that tossed in the dressing made for a very delicious lunch, much more satisfying than the sandwich and chips I used to have.

What about you? Do you eat to live or live to eat? Have you ever changed your diet or exercise habits to meet a goal? I’d love to hear all about it!

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Homeschooling

I never wanted to homeschool. My husband and I were educated in public schools and I thought homeschooling was for people who wore long dresses, kept their hair long, and were a little bit backward in their thinking. Typical stereotypical homeschooling thoughts that many people have. Fortunately, I was wrong. Since we started our homeschooling journey last fall I have met so many wonderful homeschooling families and have read and been encouraged by countless homeschool success stories. We are only in our first year of homeschooling but I can tell such a difference in my kids since we started. My daughter is much more confident in herself and has overcome many of the fears she’s had in the past few years. My son is only 3 but he has matured in his thoughts and actions as well. It has been such a blessing to see my kids grow in their knowledge of American history, science, art, music, as well as grow in their knowledge of Christ. They’re still very young but each day I see glimpses of how their hearts are being softened, shaped, and molded by God’s word. They have also grown closer to each other. There are days when they fight and gripe with each other, but most of the time they are each others’ playmates and best friends. And as for socialization that everyone asks about? We have filled our days and weeks with group time with our CC co-op, playdates at the park, story time at our local libraries, field trips, sleepovers with the grandparents, time with family, shopping trips, and meals out that have my children talking with many different people in a variety of settings. I was nervous at the beginning of the year that my kids wouldn’t be around many people which would make them awkward and unsociable, but that just hasn’t been the case.

We plan to continue homeschooling throughout the fall and will stay with our local Classical Conversations group. They have been a great source of encouragement to us during this first year, and my daughter has loved doing the memory work and has been like a little sponge soaking in the information presented in class each week. It has been amazing to see how she dedicates the facts and figures to memory, and I have also learned a great deal just from doing CC alongside her.

I plan to keep the blog updated with our homeschooling journey, and hopefully it will be a source of encouragement to others who may be on the same path or considering bringing their children home for their education. There is no greater blessing this year than for me to be with my children as we explore the world around us.

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Where does the time go?

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We just celebrated my daughter and son’s birthdays which has me feeling that familiar ache in my heart for days gone by. Of course I know my kids have to grow up, and I want them to! But it’s so hard to realize that they’ll never be as little as they were ever again. And as much as I enjoyed their baby years, I’m loving watching them grow into older versions of themselves, people with real thoughts, needs, and desires. Kiddos, I can’t wait to experience life with you in the future and I am so privileged to be your mom.

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Thoughts on making a life you love

Cabin in Cades Cove TN

Recently I listened to a 7-part podcast series on creating a life you love (link to the podcast here) and I finished up the last episode today during my morning walk. It made me think about how to use the talents and resources I’ve been given not only to make life more fulfilling for me and my family, but also more fulfilling for others. It’s too easy to be caught up in ambition, money, and material possessions while ignoring the fact that we have a responsibility to others: a responsibility to love our neighbor and serve our fellow-man.

I’ll admit, it’s a constant struggle within me to live with less, downsize our earthly things, and live a simple life. I wonder if my house is too big, whether I should own less clothing, or if I should pare down the kids’ toys. But the truth is, it’s not so much about what I own as it is the status of my heart. Do I freely give of my time and money to those who need it? Do I love those who are unlovable? Do I think of myself as better-than simply because I have more? If I’m honest with myself, I find that I hold too tightly to things instead of people. I’m not as generous as I should be and not as kind-spoken as I’d like to be. Thankfully, I am a work-in-progress and I know God is working on me and through me to make me the person he wants me to be. He is refining me with his word and teaching me things all the time, even through my small children.

The last month has been eye-opening for me. Since I left my job with my former company, I’ve realized that home is where I need to be, at least for this season in my life. I’ve become closer to my kids and my patience has increased since I’m not torn between work obligations and home. I have time to plan and cook healthy meals for my family, and I say yes to multiple games of hide-and-seek when I would have said no before. I’m learning to be in the moment and enjoy this life with my family. I’ve also taken the time to cook for new mothers and help clean a new dwelling place for a friend.

Put simply, I’m learning to create a life I love by giving of myself and serving people with needs around me.

 

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On the Menu this week

Chorizo Burgers with Grilled Tomato and Cheddar Fact: I love to eat. Another fact: I love to cook. These two truths led me to the realization when I married 12 years ago that I needed to actually plan out our meals. It’s not always fun to try and come up with new and delicious meals but meal planning is definitely worth the time invested. I hardly ever have panic attacks at 5 pm when I need to start cooking (unless I’ve forgotten to thaw the chicken for chicken parm that night). So, in an effort to help others feed their families delicious and (mostly) healthy meals, I am sharing my meal planning tactics with you. The first thing I do is grab some coffee, because duh, who wants to do planning without some caffeine in her system? Next up I grab my iPad and iPhone. My iPad because it has my Pinterest app and my iPhone because it has my Grocery IQ app. *Sidenote, if you haven’t yet used Grocery IQ, you should. It totally revolutionizes the grocery-buying experience. Throughout the week I pin meals that look like they are good candidates for my family’s taste. On meal-planning morning I just open up my main meals board on Pinterest and start scrolling and try to coordinate meals for items that are on sale at Publix that week. I write down the meals for each day in a notebook and add the items needed to my Grocery IQ app. Then my husband or I go get the grocery items listed in the app and just like that, my pantry and fridge are filled with ingredients that will come together and feed my family for the week. It’s a wonderful thing. (Thanks honey for volunteering to go buy groceries!) Here’s what’s on the menu this week: Saturday – Chorizo Burger, hot dogs, Alexia waffle fries, and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies Sunday – Leftovers Monday – Tuscan-Rosemary Whole Chicken, Mashed potatoes, Steamed Broccoli Tuesday – Leftovers Wednesday – Baked Ziti, salad, garlic bread Thursday – Leftovers Friday – Pizza night at local pizzeria So that’s it! That’s how I get dinner on the table every night. What about you? Any favorite recipes you’d like to share? Feel free to leave me a note, I’d love to hear how you do dinner in your home.

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Stay-At-Home-Mama…that’s me!

Have you ever taken the plunge into uncharted waters without knowing what’s ahead, even when the results could be scary/disastrous/unfulfilling? What about risking your comfort for more meaningful things?

I recently quit my part-time gig as office manager at an engineering company after working there 2 years. The work was fine and the paycheck was definitely nice, but I kept feeling the pull to come home, yaknowwhatimean? I have two small children, a daughter who is 4 and son who is 2, and these years do not stop flying by even when I wish they would. I have been very fortunate to have the job and I feel that it was a savior of my sanity on more than one occasion. If I’m being completely honest, It was nice to leave the screaming baby/dirty laundry/unmade beds for a job that included adult conversation, autonomy, and nice pay. But after a while those things started to seem less important than training up my children and making my house into a home for my family, which brings me to today. Today is the first day of my new career as stay-at-home-mom, and I’m very excited about it. But I also know that I need to cultivate the other part of me, the woman who longs for adult conversation and who really likes to have a creative outlet. So for the third time in my life, I am attempting to start a blog, but I thought this time that I would use wordpress because I’ve read great things about it. I’m not sure how to set up my blog yet but I’m ready to learn.

I’m not sure what I want this blog to be, but I’m interested in a variety of things including cooking, homeschooling, fashion, home design, and books, so I’m hoping this blog will be a nice mash-up of those interests. Speaking of mash-up, have you heard Post-Modern Jukebox’s songs on Youtube? They’re a lot of fun and you can check them out here http://www.postmodernjukebox.com

Until next time…

Kelly

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