Tuesday, March 30, 2010

"We cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once." ~Calvin Coolidge

I haven't written much lately about how the healthy life changes and goals have been going.  To be honest, that's mostly because they haven't been going at all. I've reverted back to drinking regular soda, eating out way too much, and have neglected Amal horribly. 

After much thought, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers tonight. I attended meetings about 7 years ago and lost a lot of weight, but then had some health issues come into play and started gaining.  Frustrated, feeling bad, and gaining weight I went from one doc to another until nearly 3 years and many, many pounds gained later I was diagnosed with PCOS.  At first, it was so reassuring to know why I felt the way I did, but then I let it become my crutch as well.  Since then no amount of dieting or exercising works because I just can't stay motivated and honestly, I'm sick of all the conflicting news regarding healthy eating that I feel bombarded with.  

At my most recent doc's appt I discussed with my specialist what the best way for me to get a grasp on my weight was.  He suggested I return to WW.  So I've decided to own up to my own failure to control my eating and my own lack of self-discipline to exercise as I should and to work my hardest at getting a grip on my health. I spoke tonight with WW leader regarding PCOS and the insulin issues that come with it.  She is going to work on setting my target points at what my doc has prescribed (even if that doesn't follow exactly along the WW program).  She also showed me a new plan they have which is referred to as "Simply Filling" and allows you to eat foods that are deemed both filling and healthy without counting points (if you want).  By using this approach you pay attention to your own hungry & full signs and eat only healthy foods.  I think I'll need the points accountability (even though I hate food journaling) but I am anxious to get the new recipes made with healthier food choices and I like having a book that I can look up a food and know immediately if it's a healthy choice or not. 

Recently, Liv has been showing signs of having similar insulin problems as I do.  She wants to try and eat the healthier options listed in my WW stuff and see if her issues get better too.  Toby said that he still is wanting to lose a few pounds and he definitely would like to eat healthier.  He has a history of severe diabetes and heart disease in his family.  So even though I am the only one attending the meetings, it looks like our whole family is going to use the information I bring home. 

I am also glad to have my friend Beth attending the meetings with me.  It helps to have a buddy doing the same program I am.  I'd be happy to have more buddies come along if anyone is interested in coming with me.

I have a million reasons why I want to be healthy and only one thing holding me back: ME!  I worry about my long term health and I feel that if I'm going to be a good RN I am obligated to be an example of good health to those around me. 

To get going, I've decided to give up soda again. I felt so much better when I wasn't drinking it and it becomes addicting to me.  I find myself wanting more and more of it! I'll start in tomorrow journaling what I eat, but I think that giving up the soda is going to be an important part of keeping myself focused.  It's one small, attainable goal that I know I can meet. 

I once read that a smoker tries to quit smoking nearly 11 times before they succeed and that, on average, it takes them nearly 19 years to succeed at quitting smoking.  Food is my "habit" and I'm hoping that it doesn't take me 11 tries (or 19 yrs!) to lose this weight, become healthy and stay that way...but even if it does, when I succeed I'll be much better off than if I never tried at all.  Here goes...

Monday, March 29, 2010

My Gal

I would like to interrupt this blog to say that I LOVE my gal! I know you all are saying, "Duh, I love my kid(s) too" but I just wanted to take a time-out from my usual blogging to write about my favorite gal.  Sorry if this is a little like the wallet full of photos no one wants to see.  Feel free to skip this post if you like :)

My gal came to me completely unexpected.  Not an accident - I don't believe any child is ever an accident - just unplanned.  However, someone knew more about proper timing than I did because I got my gal EXACTLY when I needed her.  

From the day I found I was pregnant, I loved her with my entire being.  When I had trouble with my pregnancy around the 3 mo. mark and thought we might lose her, I begged God to let me at least try to be her mother.  I never did (& still don't) feel worthy of being the mother to such an angel, but I desperately wanted to give it my best shot. I remember thinking that I couldn't love her anymore than I did while I was carrying her...and then she was born.  I always thought it was ridiculous how moms say they "fell in love with" their newborn...until I had my gal.  Immediately upon seeing her face, I fell completely and eternally head over heels for her.  

I've always called her my angel.  Not just because I think she's pretty (which I totally do!) but because she has saved me from myself so many times I've lost count.  She has a smile that brightens even the darkest times and I have no doubt that in my worst hour I would always want her by my side. She has been a rock when no child should have to be, but I needed her to be.  She shows compassion like no other human I've ever known.  She has a fierce love for what is right and can be instantly fighting mad over an act she sees as unjust or hurtful to another person. 

Everyone has told me that as she gets older this wonderful personality of hers will change, and I keep waiting, but the older she gets the more beautiful of a person I see emerging. Does she get sassy?  Oh yeah! And is she perfect? No way! None of us are.  But I am so proud of the person she is. So proud of the fact that she isn't afraid to dream.  So proud that she isn't afraid to think outside the box. So proud that she is willing to stand up for what she believes in. 

Nightly, I go to bed thinking of all the things I didn't say to her or the things I did wrong.  Daily, she reminds me that she loves me.  In nearly 12 years I've never stopped wondering what I did so right to deserve her, perhaps I'll never figure it out, but in all that time, I have never stopped thanking God for allowing me each precious moment with her. She is indisputably the greatest gift of my life and I am so very blessed to share in her life with her. 

I love you, Livvy Girl!!!!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sunday Mumblings

It's been a rainy Sunday here.  We visited with Toby's parents, went and ate at the Mexican restaurant, & I've been working on laundry & getting my stuff ready for tomorrow.  Tomorrow I meet with an advisor at VUJC to actually register for my first nursing classes!  I'm excited.  It will feel good to actually have my 1st schedule.  

We now have a lead on a place to move to that may be coming available this summer.  The whole deal has a lot of "ifs & maybes" and the timing is going to be cutting it close if it even works out at all, but at least it's a start. We're still keeping our eyes & ears open for other rentals in the area just in case this one doesn't come to pass.  We have tossed around the idea of moving to Jasper but we really want to stay in Orleans for at least 2 more years.  Guess time will tell what the best option is for us...

When the whole surprise move thing cancelled our Gulf Shores vacation I was so upset. Toby & I talked it over & decided that we'd still go on vacation...just keeping it a little closer to home.  So we decided to go to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge/Sevierville, TN instead.  Although we've seen it before, there's a new Titanic exhibit that Cris told me about that we really want to see & Liv LOVES playing putt-putt so we have to put that on the list of "to dos".  Since Dad got us the zoo membership we can go to the Knoxville Zoo for free so we're going to take a day & do that as well.  I reserved us a nice hotel that has an indoor & heated outdoor pool & is located in a more relaxing part of town.  It's not necessarily my first pick of vacation spots, but I'm sure by the time my classes are over & we're coming down to within a month or so of moving, I'll be ready for a vacation to anywhere but here!  At least it'll be a week away from home with the 2 most important people in my life.  I'm just thankful that we are still going to be able to do something. 

This starts week 11 of my semester at school...just 6 weeks left (& yes, I'm counting them down!)  Hopefully, by the end of this week we'll know more about our rental prospect. Keep your fingers crossed for us :) 

Friday, March 26, 2010

Zoo Day

I'm back from the Louisville Zoo & tuckered out.  Dad called earlier in the week & offered to take all of us.  So this morning we all - Dad, Dian (my step-mom), Brennan (my step-brother), Morgan (my step-sister), Adam (my brother), Sarah (my SIL), Kyanna (my niece), Draven (my nephew), Liv & I - headed for Louisville.  Adam & I arrived to find out that Dad had bought a membership in our name so he & I & both of our families will get to enjoy the zoo & other attractions for 1 year either completely free or at a discounted rate.  I was both surprised and very appreciative as we are always looking for fun & cheap things to do with Liv. 

We saw an orangutan with dreads...
And a baby giraffe...
We petted some goats...
And watched a mama gorilla with her new baby...
Ate some cotton candy...
And watched some creepy vampire bats dine..
We visited with T-Rex & many others dinos...
But the best part of the day was getting to spend time with family...
And the big smile on my favorite gal's face!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday's Worries

We woke up this morning to a beautiful day.  Liv had a friend coming to play for the day & I was busy working in the kitchen when the doorbell rang.  I figured it was Liv's friend and was surprised to see our landlady standing there when I opened the door.

She NEVER comes to the house, but I didn't think much of it.  She comes inside & says "I'm going to have to move back here.  I need you guys out as soon as possible." I know my mouth literally fell open.  I didn't know what she had stopped by for but that was the LAST thing I would have thought of.  I had talked to her a couple months back about renewing our lease when it came up in July & she had verbally agreed to do so.  Recently, her husband passed away and I had talked with her a couple weeks after he was buried, but she never mentioned a peep about her decision to not renew the lease.  So today came as a complete shock.

It looks like we're looking for a new place to live.  We've tossed around the idea of moving to Jasper since I'll be going to school there 4-5 days a week in Aug. anyway, but Liv is just heartbroke to think she might have to change schools.  It's a hard choice to make for our family. Regardless, I am NOT looking forward to moving again.  We've only been here for about 8 months.  The landlady had been on us wanting us to buy this place so it never crossed my mind that she'd want to move back in here herself.

Here I am in the middle of the semester from hell and now I need to be packing boxes (again).  Plus, as petty as it may be, moving pretty much negates our vacation plans.  The money we had saved for vacation will most likely get spent on moving expenses now.  I feel guilty for even whining about it because I know that there are so many people who are in so much more difficult positions, but I hate having all my ducks out of their row.

Even still, I remain thankful that we have our health, Toby has his job, I am moving forward on my plans for my education & we have each other. We have been through much uglier times & I know that when one door closes another WILL open.  I can see good that could come of this, so I'm trying to stay focused on the good & not worry about how this is not how I wanted to have to move again. Sometimes that's easier said than done though...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tuesday Thoughts

After a rain-filled day yesterday, seeing the sunshine today was nice.  I had to take Liv to the dentist this morning for a cleaning.  The good news:  no cavities.  The bad news: she's most likely going to need braces within the next year or so.

Yesterday, she & I went shopping to find a swim suit for her.  Let me just say that I am APPALLED at the suit choices for junior-sized gals!!!  Do parent's really let their girls out dressed like that?!?!  Those itsy bitsy bottoms they're selling don't hardly cover the important parts & even at 11 yrs old, we struggled to find a top that would cover the girls completely.  Gee Whiz!!  Liv finally settled on a cute skirted bottom & bandeau top in a tealish blue color.

She looks cute in it, although she looks WAY too old for my liking.  Toby still insists it shows too much skin, but I assured him there is at least 3X more material in the one she bought compared to the others she tried on.   It's not her fault she's 11 & built like a 16 or 17 yr. old.

I'm working away at this week's homework.  Every day I keep counting down the time until this semester is over. It feels like it's been a long one.  I got my catalog from VUJC of the fall classes being offered.  I was hoping to only have to drive to Jasper 3X a week, but it's looking like I'm going to be going at least 4 days & probably 5.  I was also hoping to not have to leave the house until around 7:30 so that I could get Liv ready for school each morning, but it's looking like I'm going to have to leave a little before 7AM most mornings & probably before 6AM one morning each week.  That's a bummer, but I know it has to be done.  Still, leaving her of a morning really sets my mommy guilt-o-meter off.  It's going to be a real challenge for me to get use to not being here all the time for her. I go next Mon to actually register for my classes so I'll know then for sure what my schedule in August is going to look like.  I guess that will give me nearly 5 months to deal with the guilt. I know I am bettering myself for both me & for my family.  I also know that what I am doing will benefit Liv in the long run too, but it's still hard when I've always made my decisions based on her immediate needs.

It should be an interesting first semester of nursing school...

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Saturday Night at the King's

I'm sitting here watching two 11 yr old girls dance to "I Like To Move It, Move It" & "U Can't Touch This" on the Wii Just Dance game.  I'd love to post some pics, but I'm sure they'd kill me in my sleep when they found out.  It's actually very entertaining - haha!

I've also been working on getting a head start on next week's homework.  This will be the start of week 7.  It's weird.  By this time in the semester, I'm usually feeling like I'm in the home stretch, but this semester I feel like I have a TON of stuff to get done & no time to do it all.  I was looking through my assignments & one week I have the main paper in Sociology, an English paper & a Med Law test all in one week.  On top of the usual discussion boards & quizzes...uuugggghhh! Come on May 8th! 

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

"Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world." ~Virgil A. Kraft

What is it about sunshine that makes us feel so good?  By mid-fall I am anxiously awaiting the first snowfall and the prospects of building a snowman.  I'm excited to be putting up the Christmas tree & looking forward to a new year.  But I give little thought to the lack of sunshine & days with perfect temperatures that I will be leaving behind.  

Then winter drags on and on & I nearly forget what spring is like.  Until one day, I step outside & there is a smell in the air that can only be described as "spring".  Although the rest of the year I may rush through my day without casting a glance at the world around me, during the spring time I notice the little buds on the trees, the easter lilies sprouting in my yard, the warmth of the sun on my skin, and the smell the rain has when a spring shower arrives.  Spring is like a gift to us.  Reminding us that even in the dreariest of times, the sun will again shine.  And, really, don't most of us sometimes need reminded of that?

Spring time always brings with it memories of following my Papaw Patton around as he prepared his garden to be planted a little later on.  I still see gardens that have been tilled up to "bug's dust" & I can't help but think of him.   No tomato has tasted as good, no green bean as fresh, no corn as sweet since he passed away.  Spring is a time of memories, but also a time of selfish heartache when the missing him that never goes away becomes even stronger. 

All the same, spring was Papaw's time of year.  To not see the beauty in it, to not celebrate it just wouldn't be right. So here's to spring and the glorious sunshine that comes with it...To curtains blowing in the breeze of an open window...To the smell of a BBQ grill cookin' up dinner...To the sounds of kids riding their bikes and the neighbors lawn mower out for the first mowing of the year...To being able to leave our coats at home...To the beautiful flowers and the promise of fresh produce....To the chirps of the little birds...To the memories of wonderful days gone by....

Granted, we may still see some cool, winter like weather before spring is officially here, but here's to the teaser of spring, the promise of spring and the encouragement that is spring! 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy

Goodness me!  What was I thinking when I signed up for an 8-wk accelerated American Literature class?  Well, I think I was thinking, "Oh I love to read...this will be a breeze!"  Next time, I hope someone smacks the crap out of me & tells me to think on it a little longer! haha!

My class started this week.  On top of the other 3 classes I have (including that stupid history class which requires more hours spent chasing down the instructor & trying to figure out what is actually due & when than it does work), I now have this Lit class.

For this class we are reading:

As well as several short stories & poems that the prof is going to be providing as we go along. We also will be writing 2 large papers, posting at least 3 times each to 15 Discussion Boards, and weekly quizzes!

Some where in there I have to fit the final 3 papers for 2 of my other classes...uuugghhh!  I actually use to LIKE writing! haha! 

By May 8th I may look like this :

or this....

One thing is for absolute certainty...I'll definitely be ready for this:

:) Wish me luck! 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Celebrating Life

Yesterday we celebrated my FIL's 69th birthday (although his actual birthday isn't until Mon).  I'm always happy to celebrate a birthday.  To me it's a celebration of  a life & all that life has done to change the world.  My FIL is turning 69.  It's really hard to believe because he looks & acts not a day over 50, but 69 he'll be on Mon.  He was surprised (we all were) by his sister & BIL, coming in from Michigan.  We don't get to see the out-of-state family very often so this was an exciting surprise for all of us! A week or so ago, we had decided that we'd all go to the Mexican restaurant in Mitchell & have lunch to celebrate his birthday. So his sister & BIL, brother & his girlfriend, & both of Bill's sons, DILs, & grandkids all sat down to a quiet meal of one of Bill's favorite kinds of foods.  We should have known that Miguel wouldn't let my FIL's birthday pass quietly.  

Miguel is an employee of the local Mexican restaurant.  He & my FIL pick on one another mercilessly every time they see each other & have for years. So he was going to make sure my FIL's birthday didn't go unnoticed.

He had no idea they were going to put whip cream all over his face! 

Bill with Miguel...still friends (we think :) 

Still smiling...he was a good sport.

When all the festivities were finished at the restaurant we all headed down to my MIL & FIL's house to have cake (by Allison of course!) and ice cream and visit some more with family. 

The day wouldn't be complete without some pics of family.  I'm waiting on other family members to send me copies of what they took - hint, hint - but for now I'll post a couple of mine.

Grandma King & Liv
(Anyone care to guess where Liv's nose came from? I never noticed it until this pic.)

Grandma King & Zach

Bill just wishing we'd put the cameras down & cut the blame cake! 

Bill & Sharon

Happy Birthday, Ol' Man!  

Friday, March 12, 2010

"Opportunities are never lost; someone will take the one you miss." ~Author Unknown

As you already know I'm starting the nursing program at Vincennes Univ. - Jasper (VUJC) this fall.  I'm really excited to get going & I thought I had it all together.  Man, was I wrong.  I thought the hard part was getting accepted.  No one said anything about all the immunizations, physical, uniform ordering, equipment ordering, CPR training, etc that all has to be done BEFORE I can start class. On top of all this, I was selected for verification of my FAFSA so I've had to gather my paperwork for that so I can take care of that in order to be able to get financial aid for the fall & spring semesters. 

I do have to say that I am pleasantly surprised by the people I have came into contact with at VUJC.  From answering their phones when you call to having the right answers to returning emails to treating me like I'm the paying customer, I've been very impressed with the way things have went.  I hope they continue this way.  My only thought now is "WHY did I wait so long to transfer?!?!"  At Ivy Tech you're lucky if you even get a person to talk to you and even then you're pretty much guaranteed they'll act like you're complete screwing up their day by calling or emailing them.  You're also pretty much guaranteed that the answer they give you will not be right, but instead will be something they made up so you'll shut up & call back later & become someone else's problem.  You all may think I'm exaggerating here, but I can promise you I am not.  Ivy Tech is one screwed up school.  I will be SOOOOOO glad to be done with them this May. 

I have a meeting next week with a lady who is going to help me get some records of my immunizations, then I'll have to figure out what I need & where & when to get the rest.  I know some of them have to be spaced out with a specific amount of time between them, so I need to get this all figured out ASAP.  After that, I go the end of March to register for my classes after which I can apply for scholarships.  Here's to hoping I can get at least a small scholarship to help with the costs.

Even with all the headaches & jumping through hoops that it takes to get ready for nursing school, I am SUPER grateful for the opportunity.  I know that there are others who didn't get an acceptance letter who'd love to be in my shoes.  I also know that there are many on the waiting list who'd be happy to take my place and so I keep moving forward appreciating the opportunity and embracing whatever it takes to get where I'm going. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

So I'm sometimes a little slow...

Over 10 months ago I wrote on my blog (Bread Blog) about the book "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes A Day" by Jeff Hertzberg & Zoe Francois.  I've been a little slow getting around to trying the master recipe in this book, but  last week I decided I'd get the ingredients to try it.  I have to admit, I was a bit (ok...A LOT) skeptical.  I mean who can bake great homemade bread in 5 minutes a day?  Didn't our grandmas work for hours to get that fresh homemade goodness?

This is our formed loaf ready for the oven.

Hot from the oven.  
Our house smelled SOOOOO good & it was difficult to refrain from cutting it until it cooled.

FINALLY! We got to cut into our very first boule loaf. 
It was so yummy! 

And the best part of it all....

I got to share it with my favorite gal! 

We used a little too much flour before slashing the loaf, but since I don't have a good bread knife I didn't want the knife sticking to the dough so we used extra flour.  Still, next time I'll use a little less flour.  It didn't affect the taste but did keep the bread from looking as nice as it could. 

The crust is really hard & crusty (pun intended), but the interior, called the crumb (yeah, I learned that in the book too :) , is soft & somewhat chewy.  It's REALLY good & tastes like some bread we once had in an expensive restaurant a long time ago.  (However, according to my cheapskate lady, this bread costs around $0.40 per loaf!).  

Next up, Sun-Dried Tomato & Parmesan Bread and Pumpernickel.  I love about anything with sun-dried tomatoes & pumpernickel has been a family fave for years (although I've never made it at home).  Actually, I think the first order of business is to buy my own copy of the book.  (I'm not sure what the library's policy on returning flour with your bread book is...)

If your family enjoys homemade bread, I highly recommend this book.  I can't believe this technique is so easy & yet actually works! 

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Grillin' Time

We went today & got the gas grill I wanted to use my birthday $$$ on!   This is my first gas grill & I'm so excited to get to using it.  

(Please don't look at the dirty garage.  We had insulation blown into the attic a few months ago & I'm not sure where the majority of it ended up - the attic or the garage, but that's a story for another time)

My Pampered Chef order should be here this week and in it is the grill basket.  I have visions of grilled shrimp & asparagus dancing in my head and can't wait to try it out. I also ordered a smoky BBQ rub that I'm looking forward to fixing some steaks with. 

I LOVE to cook out.  From the spring through the summer and on into the fall, I'd be content cooking out several times a week.  Unfortunately, the time it takes to get a charcoal grill ready to use & the lack of ability to control the heat often makes it hard to grill out when you don't want to spend all afternoon doing it.  Last year I tried out my sister-in-law's gas grill and I was sold! 

If anyone has good grillin' recipes, feel free to pass them along.  In the meantime, if you're looking for me & it's anywhere near nice outside, I'll be hovering over my grill :) 

Friday, March 5, 2010

Come On In To My Kitchen!

Come check out my new blog, Mom's Kitchen.  I plan on trying to post at least one new recipe each week.  Any of you who know me, know how cheap I am so all recipes will be budget friendly.  I hope to dig out some older recipes from my grandmas and my mom to add as time goes on.  I'm also going to use this new blog for sharing stories that I was told by my grandmas & mom & stories that I want to preserve for Liv.  Think of it as my virtual kitchen table, were the coffee's good, but the conversations are even better!  Come follow me! :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Welcome to Wednesday!

Hump Day!  This week I have a heavier load of homework than I've had in a few weeks.  Couple that with coming back from a mini-vacation and it makes for a loooonnnngggg week.  I'm glad to be half way through it. 

I've been contemplating a new blog devoted entirely to cooking, budget friendly grocery tips, & family favorite recipes. One of Toby's cousins started a blog about cooking & it got me to thinking about how many really good recipes I have that I could share.  I try to post on the Orange County Recipe Corner group page on FB, but I hate that FB groups don't notify you of new posts.  So unless you remember to go check it out once in a while, new posts go unnoticed.  

I've also been thinking about how every time I ask Liv to go get me "the book" (which is this HUGE binder full of my favorite recipes & cooking tips) she reminds me that she wants my recipes when I die. (I hope this doesn't mean she thinks I'm going to be cooking for her until I die and I'm not sure who else she thinks I'd will them too anyway - haha).  So, I've been wanting to get my recipes all in one place so that when she graduates I can give her a book of the family favorites.  I've even had good intentions of taking pics so her book has pictures, but I've yet to get going on that part.  I was thinking that maybe if I had a cooking blog to keep up with I would be more dedicated to organizing and photographing my recipes.  What do you gals think?

"The Book"

(You know, Allison, you should totally start a cake blog & blog your experiences with your cake baking.  I love seeing your creations & I would love to read about your experiences in the kitchen.)

Well, it's something to ponder on...now back to the homework pile...