Friday, October 29, 2010


How about a picture post? Here are some pumpkins that have inspired me this season:

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Thank you God for making beautiful and yummy gourds!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Healthy Holidays

I must preface the contents of this post by providing important foundational assumptions that are key to understanding how diet works (or does not work). If you don't understand and follow these two guidelines, you will not lose weight and may not feel too good either.
  1. Weight gain or loss is only affected by caloric intake (as well as exercise). The average person is supposed to eat between 1500-2000 calories a day.
  2. Feeling good or bad is affected by the types and balances of foods you eat.
Therefore, you could eat 1500 calories worth of candy bars every day without exercising and you would still maintiain or lose weight (but you probably wouldn't feel very good). On the other hand, you could eat 3000 calories worth of organic and properly balanced fruits, veggies, meats, carbohydrates, etc. and feel great, but you would gain weight because that is more than your body needs (assuming you weren't counteracting the caloric intake with the same amount of exercise.) The only ways to lose weight and feel great is to limit your calories to the appropriate level for your gender, age, and size while "spending" those calories on the perfect balance of healthy foods as portrayed in the food pyramids and by dieticians. Exercise always helps too! Now I continue...

Today, my post inspiration comes from this article I found on Yahoo news written by Joy Bauer (the original article appreared on She discusses ways to avoid holiday weight gain (while still managing to appropriately indulge in the much-needed goodies). Here were some of her suggestions:

  • Buy the bare minimum of candy needed for trick-or-treaters and don't open the bags until October 31st.
  • Give away the left-over candy the day after Halloween. If you desires to keep some, you should portion them out (1 or 2 treats a day) replacing afternoon snacks.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's:
  • Don't skip meals - A normal daily routine would consist of breakfast, lunch, and dinner with two 100-150 calorie snacks in between. You don't want to skip any of these because you will get hungry and overeat on unhealthy food.
  • If you know you are going to a party, "bank your calories". This involves choosing breakfast, lunch, and snack foods that are heavy on lean protein (chicken, fish, turkey) and vegetables and light on fat, sugar, and starch. This will fill you with nutrients while eating fewer calories.
  • Drink lots of water. You need to stay hydrated to not only feel better but also fuller.
  • Exercise 30-60 minutes a few days a week. This will add to the calorie control while fighting off stress.
  • Eat plenty of "Unlimited Foods" throughout the day. This one was really what inspired me to write this post. I was amazed to find that there are certain foods that you could eat as much of as you want without even considering calories (and they will fill you so you will eat less bad stuff)! I would definitely take advantage of this fact, since I would personally rather snack and eat food continually than eat only one piece of candy in a given time period. Here is a list of the foods (it is good to keep these around all the time - not just holidays) :
    • Seltzer or Club Soda
    • Coffee (black or with skim, 1%, or soy milk)
    • Artichokes, Asparagus, Beans (green, yellow, Italian, wax), Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Jicama, Lettuce and all leafy greens, Mushrooms, Peppers, Radishes, Snow Peas, Squash (yellow, zucchini), Tomatoes, Water chestnuts
    • I would throw in a couple snacks involving raw fruits too (grapes, strawberries, apples, bananas). While these are not necessarily unlimited, they will provide some of the sugar your body needs and give you energy - being a good alternative to candy or most desserts.
  • Have a few of your favorite goodies. You should never deprive yourself of enjoying life to the fullest - especially at Christmas! The key here is portion control. Limiting yourself to a modest amount of only 1 or 2 favorites (such as egg nog, pumpkin pie, deviled eggs, etc.), you will not only enjoy the treats more (the first bite is always the best anyways), but you will feel better afterwards while also avoiding the calorific ramifications.
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Most of these tips are extremely useful at all times during the year. However, we all know that an increased amount of parties offers more opportunities for prolonged temptation. Prepare your mind and your stomach when you know you have those types of events upcoming, and you will have a guiltless blast while leaving the party feeling great and the holidays looking good!

Monday, October 25, 2010

:::Pumpkin Patch:::

We finally found time to go to a pumpkin patch. Unfortunately, it was a little anticlimactic because it had turned into a task to fulfill instead of an event to enjoy, and we were too cheap to pay to ride rides, pet the animals, or buy a pumpkin. However, it was a good time of togetherness and opportunity to take some fun pics! We each chose our favorite pumpkin:

I took some other shots that I like.

And we attempted to take a good couple picture (another one of the goals). Let me show you why this is so challenging:

And he was wondering why I had to take 30,000 pictures... The last one is acceptible. He is also very sensitive to sunlight, so half of the pics looked like this:

But, in the end, I like this one we took. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Repurpose and Indulge

This year our church is doing a holiday boutique! The second I heard about it I knew that was a reason to be so excited. I gathered my sisters and we immediately began to scheme... We came up with the idea to make our theme "Repurpose and Indulge". Ashley and I would head up the "Repurpose" side of things with a random assortment of crafts, fixed-up thrift store finds, and accessories, and Emily would take care of the "Indulge" part with amazing holiday-inspired baked goodies!

Here is a sneak peak of a couple of the things you might see at our booth:

I LOVE this reindeer. I like it so much I am still heavily debating just keeping it and not selling it.

Pretty silver accent mirrors and a chic kitchen sign.

I made a bunch of these stars for Christmas ornaments. I adore them.

I plan to update soon with more of our treasures! This is so fun.

Pumpkin Muffins

This goals thing is more difficult than I expected! It is funny how difficult it is to accomplish merely 10 things that I want to do in the period of a month. I think next month I may make fewer or maybe easier ones. Anyways, I feel like I can confidently say that I have completed 4.5 of them so far (the half pertaining to the verse memory). I will share more about my progress and achievement later, but for now I wanted to share my "Pumpkin-Inspired Dessert" experience.

I decided to make pumpkin muffins. They were really more like cupcakes, but I like the sound of "muffins" better - it probably means I can eat more of them. A while back I remember reading or hearing that you can substitute the eggs/oil/water to be mixed with a cake mix with pumpkin puree to give a more moist and pumpkin-y flavor. (So yes I know it probably doesn't count because I used a cake mix and didn't make them from scratch, but it is a start!) Here is what I started with:

1 box of Spice Cake Mix, 1 can of Pumpkin Pie Filling (15 oz) (I added a little bit of Cinnamon)

I scooped large spoonfulls into muffin cups and baked for about 20 mins at 350 degrees.

Once they were done and cooled, I added cream cheese icing to some of them. That seemed to be a big hit, so I probably should have done it to all. I decided to take a plate to handbell rehearsal to share because heaven knows I could not have them sitting around my house! I have no self control when it comes to moist desserts... In fact, this morning I ate one of the muffin tops before breakfast! Muffin tops are the best...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I love costumes!

So, in the spirit of the season, I must admit I do not appreciate many aspects of the Halloween holiday. I do however LOVE dressing up! It is seriously the best ever. Therefore, I thought I would share some of my hubby and my costumes over the years...



The Notebook


Shaggy and Daphne

Ken and Barbie



We have something especially fun planned for this year... I can't wait!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Second Chance

Today I watched captivated as one miner after another was pulled out of a tiny capsule retrieved from half a mile deep within the earth. At the beginning of the rescue effort, a few paramedics had courageously made the trip down, aware of the potential dangers, in order to help retrieve all 33 of the miners. The sight was breathtaking and exhilarating when the first miner surfaced and joyfully reunited with his wife and son. Each rescued miner was greeted with applause and hugs – including one from the Chilean president himself.

While watching, all I could think about is what must have been running through the miners’ heads before the rescue became a probability. Would they ever see their families again? Would they die in the cave together, being forced to starve or go insane? Did anyone even realize they were missing or even alive? What would they have done differently with their lives to this point had they known they would be indefinitely stuck that day. Meanwhile, the whole Chilean government was taking drastic efforts to find the 33 missing men – not sparing any resource or expense – so that they could have a second chance at life.

Now I am realizing more and more clearly how amazing a picture of Christ’s love and sacrifice for us this is. Many people may ask if 33 people were really worth all of this effort—people die every day. Would it have been worth it for just one? We have all been stuck in the cave, and most probably don’t even realize it. Christ made the ultimate sacrifice – his life – so that any, even just one, could be saved and have a second chance at life because of it. And how great a celebration there is when we choose to step into the capsule he has offered us to emerge as a redeemed being! The funny thing is, I personally think that belief in Him as the almighty and saving God is simpler and easier than taking a 20-minute ride in a claustrophobic capsule. (Plus, it gets you eternal life, not just a few more years!) However, it is just as important to realize that those of us who have received this salvation have the responsibility to courageously journey to find the others who have not yet been rescued to help show them the way out of their entrapment. My hope is that we can live each day frantically trying to save any who are lost before their opportunity is missed.

(all images retrieved from Yahoo news)