Wednesday, February 13, 2013

New blogs to follow!

Just a quick note to tell you guys about 2 fabulous blogs I have recently started following.  The first one is 100 Days of Real Food and the other is Food Babe.  Check them out!

As most of you know I played the Game On Diet for about 1 year and then I got bummed out and quit.  While I realize I still have much weight to lose, reading these blogs has given me a new perspective. 

I don't want to "diet"!  I want to eat better, healthier, cleaner!  I'm not quite ready to go totally ORGANIC, but I am trying to clean things up!  A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to check out the labels in my pantry and see what I was really eating and feeding my family!  GASP!!!  GROSS!!!  OMW!!!

I couldn't believe what I found!  Needless to say, I threw out about 3 trash bags full of stuff I couldn't give to anyone else without feeling guilt.  I gave away 5 grocery bags of stuff I didn't feel so bad about.  Then I cleaned out my spice cabinet.  Let's just say that I haven't cleaned that cabinet in about 6-7 years and you could tell!  I'm blushing, that's how embarrassed I am!  I filled the trash can...AGAIN! 

I am now proud to say I have the neatest, cleanest, most organized spice cabinet ever!  And I was able to reduce my "pantry" space by one whole cabinet...and that's saying a lot because I have large, deep cabinets!

I learned how to make my own granola for cereal, snacking and yogurt topping.  I learned to bake my own 100% whole wheat sandwich bread which Kirstyn said is so much better than what you can buy in the store I better keep making it!  :)  And I am learning to incorporate REAL food into my diet instead of processed food.  The Game On diet had already started this process...but being uneducated, I still used "fat-free", "low-fat", "lite" and other such processed foods.  Most pointedly, I continued to use Splenda because that stuff MUST be healthy - hello - no calories!!!  WRONG!

I got rid of all the white flour in my cabinets!  All the diet food, all the "lite" yogurts and such, AND the Splenda!  I now use honey, agave nectar and Stevia for my sweeteners.  Oh, and I have purchased a bag or two of organic sugar for special treats - 'cause that stuff's EXPENSIVE!    I am now using real butter, olive oil, sunflower oil and coconut oil for cooking and baking along with 100% whole wheat and 100% white whole wheat flour.  They even make a special 100% whole wheat flour for it!  I have opted to use real milk, no more 2% - which was very scary for me, but I LOVE IT!  I am buying organic milk, which is more expensive, but lasts so much longer!  I actually tried the coconut milk, which was like drinking whitish water - so that's a big NO for me...and almond milk, which is a bit sweeter, but not really my cup of tea.  So total whole organic milk it is for me.  I've tried the Horizon brand and love it.

I am trying to have 3 meals and at least one snack a day - if I'm hungry, I'll let myself have another.  I am working on portion control - paying attention to the size of protein and carb servings I give myself and trying to increase the veggies/fruit servings - which is really not a problem for me.  I've been eating "wheat" bread, pasta and brown rice for a few years now, so the only difference there is that I'm making my own bread and paying attention to make sure my pasta and rice are truly JUST pasta and rice - no additives and preservatives that are unneccessary.  I am drinking water for the most part although I do love a cup of tea for breakfast and an occassional glass of sweet tea. 

I'm trying to learn more about GMO's and Red #40, Yellow #5 & 6, etc...and about other sneaky items in our food supply that really aren't food and do nothing but convert to carcinogens.  We don't eat much candy in our home, but I did go buy some UnReal UnJunked candy to test it out.  They only make 5 candies - a clean version of M&M's, Peanut M&M's, Reeces Cups, Milky Way and Snickers.  I love the Peanut M&M's and my kids love the Snickers version.  They are only sold at Target and CVS, but they are priced just the same as any candy.  The candy bars at Target were $0.89 and the bag of M&M's were 2 for $7.00.  Try them - you will be surprised!

Oh, I have made my own homemade chicken stock and have a recipe to make my own onion soup mix and cream of mushroom soup using real, natural ingredients.  This should enable me to cook foods we are used to on a cleaner, healthier scale.  I hope to begin a small container garden in the next few days - maybe some potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, celery, green onions, onions, garlic and a few herbs just to start off with.  If I am successful, I'll try a few more and then maybe I'll actually try to have a small garden in the yard.  Wish me luck.  The last herbs I tried to grow died as fast as they could!  Sigh....

I almost forgot to tell you - I baked a lemon cream pie using 100% white whole wheat for the crust and it was TO DIE for!  Delicious!  Of course - it is still high in calories, so portion and control are a must, but still - it was nice to have a real sweet treat using healthier options.

I realize I need to increase my exercise - and I haven't been motivated to do so lately, but I purchased new tubes for the bike tires and once spring hits, I'm hitting the road!  I'll try incorporating some Zumba into my evening routine for now....

One last note - totally different subject - I am going to start teaching sewing classes and will be open to teaching cooking classes, if asked.  I'm doing some free lessons to some of the young ladies at church to begin with and get off the ground.  But I hope to take it to the next level and offer group classes and one-on-one classes for a modest price in my home.  Let me know if you or anyone you know are interested - unless you live in ALASKA!!  LOL!  :)

Auuuggghhh - I almost forgot - the Camry is now in operating order thanks to the loving generosity of my Dad!  He paid for the repairs for me - for which I am most thankful and he will probably be getting a big, delicious, chocolate cake from me and Malissia!  :)  After the throttle body was replaced there was nothing else wrong with it.  Of course, Toyota came back and said there was no recall on 04 Toyota Camry's - not even the V6's!  So...mute point.  I'll let God take care of them!  :)  He's good at that!  :)

K.  Bye now!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Post Remodel...for now

I have a few updates to share with you on Malissia's (aka the Guest) bathroom.

If you remember from my last post...THIS was the before:

And here we are now...

Standing at the door...looking directly into the bath

New light and mirror - LOVE!!!

Other view of new light and mirror

Wall of pictures next to toilet - these are the pics that came with the frames...we do NOT know these people!  LOL!

Another view of the sink side

The infamous BUTTERFLY-sorry it's blurry!

I apologize for the lighting again because all I had on hand were 2 25watt bulbs that would fit.  I'm going to go buy the 60watt versions this afternoon!  :)

This afternoon we will have the towel rack hung under the butterfly.  If you look closely you will see where we began to hang this, but the anchors that came with it were tiny and fell into the sheetrock.  At 12:00am this was not something we wanted to mess with, so we called it quits.

A big shout out to Papa Gourd (Gerard) for all his hard work.  Without him we would not have managed to hang the new mini-blinds, the light, the toilet paper holder or the hand towel and towel racks.  NOR would we have the doors hung with new hinges and handles!  Or the cute new robe hook that you can see in the third picture showing the mirror and light as viewed from the toilet looking into the hallway.  THANK YOU PAPA G!

Mawmaw Kay is planning on getting a pretty table in black with a couple of drawers and a shelf to sit next to the wall between the sink and the cabinets.  This should give Malissia some much needed countertop space for her dainty grooming needs!  ;)  A great BIG thanks to Mawmaw Kay for this sweet, special & thoughtful gift!

I still have a few more things I want to accomplish over the next couple of weeks to make this room "finished".  I will hang crown molding around the ceiling, add some molding to the door faces to give them more of a "custom" look, and then get a new floor.  But for right now...we are finished and I am happy with the results.  So is Malissia - which is the most important objective!  :)

K.  Bye now!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Guest Bath...

WOW!  It's been a LONG time since I posted anything.  It's hard to believe it is already February 2013!  Time is flying and I am finding it hard to keep up.

Well, some good news and some not so good news.

First, the good news.  Dad came by my house and trimmed up all my trees (there are a LOT of trees in my yard - like 14+ pecans, a couple of oaks, a sycamore, and I don't know what else!  One of the oaks and the sycamore were in my front yard.  WERE.  Not any more.  He cut those babies down!  He said the sycamore was only good for filling my garage and patio with leaves and the oak looked like it was dying, so better to get rid of it now.  I still have one very large, very beautiful oak on the other side of my driveway....  Anyway...what surprised me the most was how much bigger my front yard looks now that I have no trees in the front yard!  It's awesome!  Thanks, Dad!  Great job!

Second, the not so good news.  Malissia's car broke down the other day.  Apparently the throttle body is jammed.  After doing a bit of research, it appears that this is a recall item on 04 Toyota Camry's with a V6.  I have an 04 Camry with a 4 cylinder, so guess what that means?  Right - no recall for my car.  Can anyone explain to me how different a throttle body is in a V6 and a 4 cylinder?  I'm not the smartest cookie in the box, and I certainly know very little about cars, but the throttle body is part of the acceleration mechanism.  I don't see how it is immediately affected by how fast the car can go and how quickly it can get there.  I realize that they do work together, but how the throttle body of a V6 can have problems while the 4 cylinder cannot...?  It would seem that I am not the only one with this question, or this problem.  Several websites have complaints about the same problem with the 4 cylinder.  Grrr....  Well, anyway - I wrote the Toyota manufacturer and hope to hear back from them soon.  I don't expect much, but I am praying about it and will leave it in God's hands.  If it doesn't get worked out it'll cost almost $1,500 to repair.  The dealership has advised me that this repair will only get the engine to stay on long enough for them to decide if there is any other problem.  As it stands, with the jam, when you turn on the car it revs up really fast and loud (even though you don't press the gas or brake) and then it dies quickly.  Scary!  They cannot keep the car going long enough to do diagnostics and see if there is any other problem with the car!  Grrr...!

Last of all, I have decided I'll have to put aside my dreams of remodeling my bathroom for now (money issues and all that!).  So I have decided to update Malissia's!  :)  She is one very happy girl!  However, her bathroom is also the guest bathroom, so everything had to be okayed through me.   Here is a picture of her bathroom BEFORE the renovations began, but WITH the new shower curtain and floor mats she picked.

Lime Green and Aqua Blue with Black & Silver accents is what we want! is a pic once we stripped out the bathroom walls, sanded, washed, kiltzed where needed, and filled in all the holes in the wall!  Sorry about the lighting - that fixture had to come down, too!

Thank goodness the linen closet is neat!
Here we are now...almost finished with the painting...just one more coat on the walls behind and across from the sink and some cutting in on the same walls.

Looking good!
Again, sorry about the lighting.  Once the painting is finished, we'll rehang the doors with black hinges and door knobs to match her black shower curtain hooks, put up the new (brushed nickel) towel bars and toilet paper holder, hang her new wall accessories (black picture frames, a brightly colored metal butterfly, a beautiful mirror with a silver frame, and her new chandelier...

I am unable to post a picture of the chandelier for some reason, so here is a link to it.  Just keep in mind we picked out the brushed nickel version.  Perfect!

I still need to buy her a new mini blind in white - the cream one isn't going to cut it anymore.  And soon I'll get the floor redone...maybe next month.   Here's what I'm looking at...

All White tile at Lowe's
 But...I like this one, too...

Black & White tile from Lowe's
 So, as you can see, there are still a few more decisions to make.  Hopefully everything but the floor will be completed this week.  Wish me luck!

And PLEASE help me pray about that Toyota issue!

K.  Bye, now!