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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Exciting Fun Stuff

I haven't had much to say lately, so I am finally updating ol' bloggie here. I have two things I'm stoked about and thought you might be interested in (the two of you that read my blog anyway).



Okay so the first thing is this blog I have recently discovered. It's an entire site dedicated to make-ahead frozen meals to make like less stressful and more happy. I love this idea, and have long wanted to look into it. This Freeze Happy site makes all of that super easy! I have already made the Savory Breakfast Muffins, which are highly recommended (even my super picky hubby loves them!). There are many recipes I can't wait to try, which says a lot, because as I mentioned before, we are super picky and don't eat just anything.



The second thing is our church's worship CD is about to be released! If you want to get a copy, let me know and we can make it happen! They will be $10 a piece, which is a great price!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Answers

Despite having had surgery to correct a deviated septum when I was younger, I have remained chronically stuffy. Several of my adult female friends have discovered the answer to many of their healthy problems boiled down to simple food allergies.

While at the doctor a few weeks ago, I asked her if it would be possible and worth it to get tested just to see if that's why I am usually congested. She had me tested and yesterday my results came back.

I am very mildly allergic to cow's milk, eggs, and peanuts. Fortunately these are very mild allergies, but she suggested I could cut these things out and see if it helps, which I plan to do. The good news is I'm not a big fan of peanuts or peanut-related foods, so I wasn't too heartbroken over that. The cow's milk and egg situation is much more scary to me. I'm not sure how to completely eliminate those two items since they exist in so many foods.

I'm going to try, and the first step was trying soy milk in my mocha this morning. The barista let me taste the soy milk first to decide if I wanted to order it in my mocha. It was vanilla flavored and surprisingly VERY good! I loved it and immediately asked for my mocha with soy milk. Not sure if it was being heated up for a hot drink or what, but I hated it in the mocha! The aftertaste grossed me out and I couldn't even finish the drink. Sadness.

At least I experimented (might try it iced next time to see if that helps), and will continue to try to eliminate the milk and eggs to see if it helps.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pillowcase Project





I have been asked to teach sewing to some teenager friends of mine, as part of their extracurricular activities for homeschool. Their mother and I thought it'd be a great idea to start with a pillowcase, since it's pretty easy and the girls are redecorating their rooms now that they are in high school (older).

Me wanting to be a good teacher, I wanted to make one first so I know what I'm teaching. I haven't made a pillowcase since middle school (more than 15 years ago), but I remember it as my first sewing project and I remember too that I loved that pillowcase. What a sense of accomplishment to know you've made something yourself (and the fabric was a super cute stripe)!

I went to the local fabric store yesterday and wasn't impressed with any of the pillowcase patterns I found. After talking with JoAnne (oh the irony!) at the cutting counter, I figured out a way to make my own pattern.

I washed and dried my fabric (1 1/4 yards for a queen-sized pillowcase) yesterday and started today. I finished two pillowcases in under four hours! Yippee! If I say so myself, they are super cute! More importantly, I think the girls will be intrigued by the fabric.

So in case you're curious, here's what I did:

After washing, drying, and trimming the edges, I folded one of the short ends of the fabric over 1/2" and ironed. Then I folded the fabric over 4" and sewed the hem with a 1/4" seam allowance. Next I attached the ribbon by pinning it 2 1/2" from the finished edge. I sewed 1/4" seam allowance on both sides of the ribbon and trimmed the edges of the ribbon.

I then folded the fabric right sides together and sewed the long end of the fabric and the unfinished short end of the fabric. I trimmed the corners to get rid of some of the bulk, then flipped it right side out. Easy!

I had the idea to add some satin ribbon flowers to the ribbon finish on each pillowcase to add something fun for the girls. I think it might add a feminine touch and still be cute and girly. I ran out of satin ribbon in the cocoa color so I am going back today to get some more to try the flowers.

What do you think? Should I leave them alone or add the flowers?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Closer and closer

Yesterday we paid off another debt that was in the way of being debt-free. Woohoo! We paid it off early and with no interest. This particular debt had set us back about a year on our path to being debt-free. Now that it's done and over, we can move forward finally with paying off CC's car! Yay!

I really look forward to the final day when we can truly scream, "We're debt-free!"

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Labor Of Love

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, and we had a lovely time. We made almost no plans, enjoyed time (and Hand & Foot!) with friends, and spent a bunch of time with our little girl, Scout. We were rather relaxed and happy throughout the weekend, until yesterday afternoon. Sigh.

We had decided to take Scout to the dog park yesterday afternoon, thinking tons of other dogs would be there for her to play with, and she would get some exercise, sun & fun, and generally be exhausted (translation: too tired to disobey!) after running around. Well we got to the dog park and she had no one to play with! We kept trying to play ball with her but in the end, Scout wanted water and the shady spot on the grass. So much for running her ragged!

When we got home, I gave her a bath (dusty dog park) and cut her nails because they were too long. Well she's fine in the bathtub until I dump water on her head, which she HATES! Once that begins she tries to soak me through and get out of the tub. She accomplished the soaking but not getting out of the tub.

The tragedy came when I cut her toenail too close and she bled everywhere! I thought I'd stopped her bleeding but I hadn't and she bled all over the carpet and Chris and the living room throw we keep on the couch. Poor baby! She was hurting and I felt horrible!

I've cut her nails before but this was a gusher and I felt so terrible! She's okay now but I still feel bad. My aunt said not to let this keep me from cutting her nails again, but I know I'll still be nervous about it.

This made for a stressful and not relaxing evening for me, since I was so (unnecessarily, apparently) worried for her. Turns out to get even, she accidentally peed on our bed. Yep, she did, the stinker! Fortunately we were able to clean it up and remake the bed with clean sheets.

All in all, a lovely weekend, an awful night, but Scout was fine this morning when we left for work. I guess I'm just a little overly concerned, but I am sure she's alright.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Best Friends For Life



Almost every week Scout goes to my aunt's house for what we call "Grandma Camp." This is a fun visit for my aunt and a much-appreciated break for CC and me. Scout comes home exhausted from playing with Mary's three cats and due to her exhaustion, she is VERY obedient for a couple days after she gets home.

Her best friend in the whole word is her boyfriend, Taz, one of my aunt's cats. They're about the same age (same energy level) and love to play together, chasing and pouncing and biting for days on end.

I thought this was a hilarious picture! Apparently Scout was sent to time-out (or jail, as my aunt calls it) and Taz was visiting. They look like they're talking through the bars!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sneaky!

I heard about black bean brownies about 4 months ago and have been wanting to try to make them. The real reason I wanted to try them is because I am always looking for ways to get us to eat healthier, especially my hubby, who is generally opposed to many foods (you call that a picky eater!).

I knew I couldn't make them while he was home, or he'd figure it out and not get near them (He doesn't like beans of any kind, unless they are green beans.). I knew I had to make them at a time when I could use the food processor, clean it,and put it away before he wondered why I used a processor to make brownies. I had to be very sneaky!

The recipe is very simple, but since I had to be so sneaky about it, I had to wait until just the right time to make them. Yesterday I was surprised to find I had the day off (no electricity at work means no work for Susan!). CC was at work so this was perfect!

The recipe tells you to puree in a blender a regular sized can of black beans and then mix that with brownie mix and bake according to the brownie mix directions. Easy peasy! I read a few of the comments which suggested draining and rinsing the beans, then adding clean water back to the can before pureeing. That sounded really smart so that's what I did.

I tasted the raw batter to see if I could tell the beans were in there and it tasted yummy, like normal brownies! They smelled normal while baking, looked normal, and were DELICIOUS!

The trick is to let them cool completely before eating them. They don't taste beany if they're still warm, but it is an odd taste along with the chocolate flavor. We both loved them and CC never knew how healthy the brownie was (The mix was reduced-fat, so he thought that's why I called them 'healthy brownies!').

Well me being me, I couldn't keep that secret, so I finally confessed later last night. He guessed and guessed what was in it, and finally after about 15 minutes of straight guessing, he couldn't believe it!

If he can get past the mental image of his eating beans, I think we have a new favorite recipe! The brownies were very cake-like and extremely chocolatey (Chris said he couldn't even finish one they were so rich to him.). I prefer my brownies fudgey, not cake-like, but for a healthy brownie it was amazing! Even I was pleasantly surprised.

Of course, now he's on to me, so we'll see if I can continue to be sneaky without his suspecting me!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Only Me











This morning I ran my very first ever 5k. Okay, well I walked/jogged/ran it, but I finished! It was definitely a comedy of errors that occurred, but to repeat, I finished it! My sweet hubby went with me for moral support which I greatly appreciated. Many friends called or emailed to offer support and prayer. I felt very loved going into it, so thank you.

We left early this morning to get to the park in plenty of time to spare. The idea was to arrive with a full 30 minutes before the run so I could check in, stretch, warm up, etc. Well Google maps let us down and we were given wrong directions! Fortunately I had the website printed so I called the only number I could find which happened to be a cell number (What did we ever do without cell phones?!). The poor man on the other end was super nice and tried to be helpful, but he couldn't tell me directions. We ended up using the GPS on my phone to figure it out and finally arrived-- with 5 minutes until the run!

CC peeled into the parking lot and I practically jumped from the car to check in in time to run. I got checked in and CC made it in time to see me take off. The course was not well marked to me and extremely confusing for a beginner. They had us run one way, do a loop, run another way for a LONG time, then you ended up back where the beginning was to finish.

Well I did my loop and headed back to the finish line and was offered water. Twenty minutes to run a 5k seemed too good for me, so I spent about five minutes trying to figure out how I was already done. I found CC and he helped me realize I was only halfway done! But where did the other runners go?! I couldn't see anyone else running, so my sweet support sent me in the right direction and having lost only five minutes, I started back again! Yep, only Susan would take a 5 minute hiatus in the middle of a 5k! :-P

The second half was much more difficult than the first half. The course was not at all what I was expecting, because I figured we'd be running on sidewalks around the soccer fields. Boy was I oh so very wrong! It was a CROSS COUNTRY 5k! We had no pavement at all and ran on sand, dirt, gravel, grass, anything but the smooth concrete I was expecting. Oh what a funny day!

I did finish in about 45 minutes (still waiting to find out my official run time), not including my little break in the middle. Everyone was super nice and helpful, but I am looking forward to doing my next 5k with a little more preparation beforehand!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Unity

Once each month the staff all gets together for Chapel and lunch. I really enjoy this time each month to come together as co-workers serving Jesus and do a Bible study together. I especially enjoy lunch because everyone comes out, no matter what's going on (Hey, nothing brings together the body of Christ quite like free food! LOL).

Today's chapel discussion was based on Ezekiel 37, where God has Ezekiel prophesy for the dry bones to become flesh and live again. We then had interesting discussion based around how to prepare, pray, and practice our relationship with God. One point that one of our pastors made was the following:

From day one, the spirit, soul, and body were created to be one complete person. They aren't separate lives/people. To ask, "How's your spiritual life going?" is to separate it from the rest of you-- to separate out part of who you are and were meant to be. To ask someone how they are doing should include asking about all parts of them: spirit, soul, and body.

Well I don't know about you, but I thought this was a pretty mind-blowing thing to be reminded of. So from now on when I ask you how you are doing, please hear the intent behind it-- I want to know how ALL of you as a whole is doing.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Testing A Photo



I wanted to test to see how easy it is to upload photos to my blog now that I'm using Blogspot behind the scenes. This is a picture of Scout last year. I wish she hadn't grown into her ears as much as she has. Her ears are still full of personality and bigger than her head, but don't you think she's just adorable here?!

Goal!

Well today marks the end of an era! Okay, not really, but this morning I did finish the last day of my Couch-to-5k app. It took me all summer (vs. the 9 week allotment for the program), but I did it which is all I care about!

Saturday I will run my first 5k, or at least try to run the whole thing. I think if I do well I can run two of the three miles, then walk the rest. At least I can feel good knowing I'll have tried and finished, one way or another.

Every day that brings the 5k closer is getting me more and more excited! I am also thrilled because it's supporting pro-life (anti-abortion) ministries here in our community. I am not a hard-core-yell-at-everyone-who-disagrees pro-lifer, but I am happy I can support something so important to me and get a little exercise in too.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Um, Did You Forget Something?

Okay on the way to work this morning I swear I saw a hand on the side of the road. I am praying and hoping it was some poor construction worker man's work glove, but it was positioned in such a way that it really looked like someone detached and left their hand in the rain by the road. Very creepy!

Monday, August 23, 2010

5K!

Well, I have officially begun my last week and countdown to running my first 5k!

It's this Saturday and I am pretty sure I won't be able to run the whole thing, but I am looking forward to trying. Or more realistically, huffing and puffing my way slowly through all agonizing 3.1 miles until I collapse into a sweaty, soggy, red-faced puddle at my dear husband's feet.

(He is going just for moral support. He has no idea why anyone would willingly move any faster than a comfortable snail's pace unless immediate death was imminent.)

Back to the countdown: I ran this morning after a nasty cold took me down for almost two weeks, and the passing out at the end really helped revive me! I am hoping to see how far I can run outside tomorrow after work(without my beloved music). I have grand plans to run Wednesday inside again before work to officially close out my Couch-to-5K app on my iPhone (I have one day left currently.). Then I hope to rest until Saturday's morning run. We'll see how things go with my hard-core mini training regime! My beloved hubby seems to think that might be pushing it, and he's usually right about these things.

Hey, at least I can walk too if I need to. I really hope I can run most of it though!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Catching Up

I haven't updated in a while simply because, while we are extremely busy, it's just more of the same. Who wants to read about that?! However I have been asked to update, so update I shall! And with that, the catching up begins!

We sold our house in May and moved to the apartment neighborhood we lived in just before we bought our house four years ago (I know, funny.). We are very much enjoying everything about it, especially the much shorter commutes to work. The only real bummer about where we live now is that Target is a farther away drive than the five minutes it used to take (yes, it is now a whopping ten minutes away).

Scout is doing well and as cute as ever.

CC and I took our first real vacation last month. We had a blast at a theme park and a water park and a colonial area. Our favorite thing we did was to go on a dolphin watching tour. We saw many dolphins and a really cool thunderstorm with lightning and thunder and monsoony rains (yes, all that on a metal boat in the middle of the ocean!). It was an amazing testimony of God's awesomeness! I can't wait to do it again.

Things are crazier than ever at work for both of us, so our joke is "See you in November!" (when things calm down, sort of, for both of us) :-D

Well, I guess that's about it for now. Oh and I am running a 5k next week. Very nervous and doubtful I'll be able to run the entire thing, but it's a start!

Oh and I turned a big number last week! We had a party with friends and celebrated with Hand & Foot and sangria! A very fun way to celebrate, I thought.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ready? Set. Go!

Lately God has been setting things into motion for us to finally accomplish some long-time goals, namely to get out of debt faster (thus the upcoming move) and to get healthier. As you may or may not know, we've been doing Weight Watchers since February and are still trucking along pretty well on the program.

However last week we had dinner with some friends of ours we hadn't seen in a while, and I must say I have been inspired! My friend found and participated with the Couch-2-5K Program, which teaches in a healthy way a sedentary person how to be able to run a 5k (3.1 miles) in a 9 week period of time. Well, my friend looked great and just raved about the program. I'd heard of it before recently and had been considering looking into it. Well I did and was very impressed!

I went last weekend and bought some better (and cuter!) clothes which, for me, helps motivate me if I can only wear them when I run. The program has you run (or jog) at intervals with walking three times a week. You can pick when you want to work out, but you have to skip every other day to give your body time to heal itself and adjust to the non-sedentary lifestyle you're working toward. There are podcasts and apps that help you do this (just search for Couch 2 5k or use this link as a starting point: http://www.coolrunning.com/engine/2/2_3/181.shtml).

I did my first "run" last Saturday and struggled quite a bit, but afterward I was thrilled with the program and felt good about accomplishing something like this. I did my second run this morning before work and am still waiting to feel the exhaustion overtake me, so things are looking promising for me to achieve this goal. I do think I might repeat the first week so I have more time to adjust to this program, but for me, I really think this might help. Woohoo! Thankfully my hubby has been very supportive and encouraging.

If you have questions about it, feel free to ask me. I'm still in the 'honeymoon phase' of the program, but am very encouraged by the progress I can tell I've made so far (after two runs!).

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Secretly Wanting To Tell All

So some people know and most don't, but since no one reads my blog currently I figure I'm pretty safe to say that we are doing Weight Watchers again. Sigh. We lost a bunch of weight 7 years ago after we first got married, but got cocky and quit (and of course gained back all we lost and then lots more).

We began in February and have each lost about 20 lbs. so far. We're pretty excited and finally starting to hear comments (good ones) and we can look at each other and tell the differences. I hope this time we don't get cocky and gain it all back again. I want to lose a lot but especially just a little bit more right now so I can go buy cute Summer clothes! Haha! :-)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Faithfulness

"God is faithful and He will show us our next home when His timing is right."

I keep having to remind myself of this lately.

Our house is under contract which is wonderful. We like the buyer and pray the house is a blessing to him and that it leads him and his girlfriend to the Lord. We accepted our fourth offer (the other three were all jokes) and we close at the end of May (exactly what I wanted). Everything seems to be going smoothly (the Lord is paving the way) with the sale of the house-- the home inspection showed no major issues, the termite inspection went well, and we just have the appraisal left to go.

The discouragement comes with looking for our next place to live. God still hasn't revealed whether we're supposed to rent or buy (although it changes day by day, right now we're leaning towards renting), and we spent ALL weekend looking at both homes to buy and apartments for rent. It's very discouraging to me to not be able to plan the move or begin packing when I have no idea what to plan for (me being the super anal planner that I am!). We keep trusting and praying for God to reveal it to us, and I know His timing must not be quite yet because we're still waiting. What's a bit frustrating is that we have plans this weekend so we can't look at places for two more weeks-- then we'll only have a month left! But I am trying not to panic. ;-)

In the meantime, we're doing a "Read The Bible In 90 Days" program with the church. Everyone is reading through the Bible in 90 days and we're on week 2. So far so good, but it's amazing what the Old Testament Jews had to do to stay holy and pure and clean! There were so many animal sacrifices that I can't imagine how they had enough livestock to manage it all. I'm so thankful that Jesus came and paid the ultimate sacrifice so I don't have to worry with physical sacrifices anymore.

We're also doing a walking challenge where you walk for 5 out of 7 days. That's proving to be difficult when you get home from work and are tired and stressed (from the house stuff) and just want to relax. Our pastor says these challenge are not a "Do-Do" they are a "Try- Try", so we are just trying our best with both of these challenges. We're learning a lot and the devil is definitely not appreciating it. We've felt so under attack this week, but again, God is faithful and Hubby and I are more in love with each other than ever before. :-)

Hubby's birthday is this week and I am very excited for our Friday night plans. We're going to an expensive yummy place for dinner with friends, and I can't wait! :-D

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

For Sale

Well, it's been a little while and God's been doing some amazing teaching in my life over the past few months. CC and I put our first home on the market two months ago. We've been in it for almost 4 years now and God's just telling us to sell it. Usually He gives us two or three steps out when we're trying to follow His will for our lives, and this time around we have the one step only- sell the house. That's been an adjustment- not knowing where we'll be moving to, but God is faithful and it definitely has made for an exciting time lately.

In today's housing market and economy, it doesn't make much sense to sell just to sell (buyers' market not sellers'). We can afford to keep our house which a lot of people can't right now. We realize how blessed we are to have our home, and yet we want to not own it anymore. It definitely doesn't seem logical and yet since the Lord has told us to sell, so we're selling.

We've had several showings and even two offers that fell through. Every day we wipe down the counters and open all the windows (or curtains, rather) in hopes of another showing. We're trying to be patient (which I'm definitely not good at being) and just keep trusting that God's timing is perfect.

We know His timing to be perfect but it is hard to wait for everything to line up to just when He wants the house to sell. We decided a while ago that we wouldn't look for a new place to live until we're under contract. Well that's really what's been so difficult- I love looking at floor plans and the excitement of moving somewhere new (and hopefully closer into town!) is definitely beckoning to me.

In the meantime, we keep praying!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Well-Deserved Break

Today was such a great day! I've been Spring cleaning the past two days because I'm sick of all the "stuff" we have in our house. Today I took it off and we spent the day helping our friend get a new laptop and wireless set up in her home. It was so fun to be with her and to help (although it was all CC!). Looking forward to another day 'off' tomorrow (after working in the morning). Even better, the house looks amazing! :-D

Sunday, January 03, 2010

The Latest Addition

So for those of you who don't know, we added to our family this past year. No, not like that! After YEARS of saying we never wanted to own a pet (and almost two years of praying, looking, and doing research), we caved and brought home our Schnoodle puppy, Lily Scout. (I tried to post a photo, but it's not working right now, so I'll try to get some up soon.)


We made the final decision Thursday, June 25, 2009 to get her (we'd already talked to the breeder and seen her photo) and we brought her home Saturday, June 27, 2009. Before too much time passes, I wanted to chronicle our story of bringing Scout home (below).

After long research and visits to shelters trying to find the right dog for us, I was online at a local news site's classifieds section and found a picture-less ad for Schnoodle puppies. I was intrigued because the Schnoodle (half Schnauzer, half Poodle) was a breed we thought would work very well for us. I emailed the breeder and we had a few phone conversations before God finally said to move forward with bringing her home.


That Saturday was a bittersweet day because we got the phone call as we were driving to get Scout that CC's parents were making the hard decision to put down their family dog, Happy. Happy passed away almost to the minute that we got Scout. It didn't help matters much that since both dogs had Poodle in them, Scout reminded us a lot of Happy and we struggled not to call her Happy. I am glad to say time heals the wound and Scout is very much her own puppy.


Well, we drove about an hour and a half away to pick her up in a store parking lot. We were running behind and found out on the way there that another couple were already there deciding between Scout and her twin sister. With the promise that we could have first pick, we hurried to get there. Well, God was definitely in it because we pulled up and went to the car to see the puppies. Scout (the original puppy we wanted) was sitting on the front passenger seat looking for all the world as though we were late and she had been waiting for us FOREVER! (She was more than ready to go home, I guess. Enough with sharing everything with her brothers and sisters!)


CC and I swapped Scout for the money (since it was a breeder) and drove immediately to my aunt's house for a quick meeting before the vet visit. Well Mary loved Scout right away of course but since it was a complete surprise to her, was of course happily shocked. The vet visit went very well but Scout had fleas and ticks which had to be taken care of right away.


We named her Lily Scout because CC came up with it and I thought it was neat. He originally wanted to call her Lily after a favorite character on a popular (now) TV show "How I Met Your Mother," but I didn't want to have to explain her name ten years down the road when nobody remembers the show. He also chose Scout after his favorite character from the novel "To Kill A Mockingbird." Scout (in the novel and in real life) is a precocious little girl with a bent for mischief! (The breeder had told us that all the puppies broke through the gate and escaped earlier that week-- guess who was leading the charge? Thus, we decided she was aptly named.)


Dog parenthood has been a new experience for us in our marriage, one we never expected to have. We wanted a well-behaved, well-socialized, well-trained, cute dog who would fit well with our family. Scout has been all that we hoped for and more. She is very smart and easily trainable (unless she's being stubborn)-- we think maybe she should've been held back and repeated her puppy schooling, but we think the policy is "no dog left behind" since she graduated to a "canine of distinction" despite our fears. ;-)


Scout LOVES people and animals (dogs more than cats since she's around them more). We've discovered over the past six months or so that she loves coffee (She's ruthless about getting to it when coffee is nearby! Fortunately it's decaf!) and fast-food drinks (something about the condensation on the cups and the straws). She's had her first Q-tip a few weeks ago and now pays full attention when we're using them in hopes that one will fall.


As you'll see once photos get posted, she's extremely adorable and very entertaining. We're so pleased she's in our family.