Monday, January 05, 2015

Weekly Menu Plan & No Coffee {Day 1}

Today was my 1st day getting back to healthy eating. The past year healthy eating has not been a priority, but this year it will be a top priority!  For the next 30-45 days I'm doing the Arbonne healthy eating challenge to get down to my goal weight.  I am avoiding all gluten, sugar, dairy, coffee, and processed foods. 

The toughest one for me will be NO COFFEE!!!  

This morning was freezing and all I wanted was a cup of coffee.  Im not a fan of hot tea but I was cold enough at work that I tried some this morning, I couldn't even finish the cup.  So this afternoon I tried making hot tea with my loose leaf tea I use for iced tea and it was a little better!  Who knows, maybe by day 30 I'll be a hot tea drinker.  I do have to say that drinking out of a cute coffee mug makes everything better. This mug is from a great friend I met in Alabama. 

Some of you may be wondering what I will be eating since I'm avoiding all the things listed above.  Most of the time our meals at home do not include gluten, dairy, or processed items so really there is not much change to make in those areas. If we are eating at home, which is 99% of the time, our meals our homemade (not from a box or can). So for the next few months I will be doing a weekly post of our menus.  I ALWAYS plan menus so it keeps us on track and we have a plan for meals. If we do not have a planned menu we tend to eat out a lot more.  

Here is what we are having this week.....

Sunday: Chili with my homemade chili seasoning

Monday: 15 Bean Cajun Crockpot Soup (I took this recipe and made it my own by adding bay leaves, dried thyme, salt, pepper, and I used a 21 dried bean mix)

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Easy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork (no break), Pickles/Olives, Salad

Thursday: Jambalaya, Salad

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Taco Soup, Salad

What are you eating this week? What is your most challenging thing about eating healthy?  

One Girl's Twisted Knits Giveaway

Time for another giveaway! 

My friend & one of my past roommates in college has started a small business (One Girl's Twisted Knits) selling knitted leg warmers/boot cuffs, scarves, caps, and more!

Angela started knitting 5 years ago when she became a Homemaker. She has have always enjoyed making gifts for others and now that she just has one little one at home she decided to start a small business. She hopes to be able to continue being a Homemaker. Please go check out her Facebook page (and "like" it) to see all the lovely items she knits and sells.

She is offering two separate giveaways!!!!!

One will be for a peapod baby cocoon which is for a newborn. This would be great for an expectant/new mother and would look so cute for newborn baby photo shoot!

The other item she will be giving away is a set of leg warmers/boot cuffs. These look so soft and warm! 

To enter use the below rafflecopter.  Giveaway is open to US residents only.  Good luck! 

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Thursday, January 01, 2015

2015 Bucket List

I have to say that I'm glad 2014 is now behind me.  This last year was the toughest year I have ever experienced and I can only look forward to 2015 knowing it has to better! Of course, even with the most positive attitude, waking up on New Years Day 2015 does not make all my troubles go away.  But going into the year with as much joy + happiness that I can muster up will make for better days.  

I have a lot of things to overcome in the next year--bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, hurt feelings, and so much more. All of these things will be so tough to do and I know I will not be able to do it on my own.  I will take it a day at a time and with The Lord's help my heart + head will slowly work through these negative feelings.   

I know the Lord has a wonderful plan for my life. Even knowing He has a plan, there are still days that are just tough to understand. Those are the days my trust is being built! 

One of the groups I follow on Facebook posted this verse this morning and I found it so fitting for where I am at right now. 

I have many things I want to do and see this next year, even if my life is still throwing curve balls. I'm looking forward to my journey in 2015, even through the pain! 

So, now lets talk about some of the good things I want to do this year....

I'm not a person that does "new years resolutions" since that is just setting me up for failure. Since I'm a list maker, I make a bucket list each year.  If I don't get everything marked off by the end of the year, no big deal. If it is not a priority for me it gets left behind. If I still want it on my list it moves to the next year.  Here are a few things on my 2015 Bucket List.....

Send Birthday cards to friends + family 
I have always loved getting birthday cards in the mail.  I have not been so great at sending Birthday cards to people.  I have always wanted to send them to people, but just never got around to getting organized enough to get them sent.  I now have a great planner for 2015 and it will include sending all my favorite people cards!  

Send encouraging notes to friends + family (1/week)
This was actually laid on my heart a few days ago to start doing. I want to be there for people this year. The past year I have pretty much been on survival mode and have not been able to focus on other people as much as my little heart desires. So a small step I can do to reach out to friends + family is to send encouragement notes! 

Make my health a priority  
This year I tossed out healthy eating with everything going on in life. 2015 I'm getting my health back through avoiding processed foods, sugars, gluten, and dairy. Starting Monday January 5th I'm doing at least 45 days of the Arbonne Eat Clean Challenge.  Anyone want to join me?

Start my health coach certification  
I have wanted to do this for several years but just never made it a priority. This is the year it will be a priority! 

Downsize--household items & the house 
We need to find a smaller place (and cheaper rent)!  Along with that we need to clean out each room of the items we haven't used in a few years so moving to a smaller place is possible! I mentioned in my 2014 Gift Guide {Book Edition} that one of the books on my list is The Big Tiny {affiliate link}. I would love to live a more minimalist lifestyle, but right now I have too much stuff weighing me down, so time to clean house! 

I have lots of other things on my list that I'll be sharing in the coming months!  The thing I love about the bucket list is that I can always add to it as the year progresses.  

Do you do New Years Resolutions?  What are some of your resolutions?  

If not, what do you do to get motivated for the new year?  I would love to hear about them! 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

2014 Christmas Gift Guide {book edition}

Over the last few years I have started to love reading! My list of books I want to read is growing faster then I can mark books off!  A Christmas Gift Guide Book Edition just seemed like a must! Of course I'm also including some cookbooks on the list--ones I already own and love and a couple I would love to add to my collection. But in my opinion a good cookbook is one that includes more than recipes, it is one you can open and read! 

by Cheryl Strayed
I read this one in a book club I was in while we lived at Fort Rucker.  It is one of the few books I would pick up and read again. This is an inspiring story of her journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. I also just heard that this book made it to the big screen, so I'm hoping it makes it to our theater.  

Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe
I also own this book and hope to sit down and read it VERY soon.  I started it, but it had to take a back seat for a few months while I work on a few other books.  I recommend EVERYONE read this book. It is a "health" book but she throws in some great humor so it is a fun and easy read. Watch for my book review of this one soon!  

How could I not include this on my list when it is filled with recipes of yummy baked goods!!!  I also love Joy the Baker podcast so I'm a bit partial to her work!

Notes From A Blue Bike by Tsh Oxenreider
This is another book I own and love! Tsh is very inspirational and encouraging.  It is an easy read yet challenges you to look at living life a little less chaotic.  Tsh also has a podcast I listen to regularly. If you are looking for a new podcast, check The Art of Simple Podcast

Every Last Crumb by Brittany Angell
I just learned about this new cookbook through yet another podcast I listen to (Balanced Bites).  Gluten free baking....yes!!!  Hoping to add this one to my collection in the next few months. 

The Big Tiny by Dee Williams
Some might think this book odd and boring, but I love memoirs. I also find it fascinating to read about people living in tiny places. I would love to downsize, become a minimalist and build a little tiny home someday so this sounds like a great book for me to read! What do you think? Would you want to live in a tiny home? 

I think sometimes I live under a rock because I just learned of HONY several months ago from a friend.  Brandon, the person behind Humans of New York, talks with people out on the streets of NY and shares their stories. The stories he hears from complete strangers are amazing.  Check out the FB page. This would make a great gift for anyone on your list.  It would make a great coffee-table book!  

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny Rosenstrach
This one has been on my list for awhile, one of these days it might end up in my shopping cart! This book is "a memoir, a love story, a practical how-to guide for strengthening family bonds by making the most of dinnertime, and a compendium of magnificent, palate-pleasing recipes."

Well that rounds up my gift guide  {book edition}.  What books are currently on your wish list? 

I thought I should finally announce the winner of my last giveaway. Danielle S won the Origami Owl plate and Owl necklace. Congrats Danielle!

***Affiliate Links Included***

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

It's All About Owls Giveaway

It's time for another giveaway and this one includes owls!  1 lucky person will win an Origami Owl "plate" and an owl necklace from A Night Owl Blog.  The Origami Owl "plate" would look great on a chain or included in an Origami Owl locket.  

These would make a great addition to your own jewelry or nice gifts for someone on your gift list.  

Giveaway will run from 12/10 through 12/17 and winner will be announced 12/18. 
Good luck and happy entering! 

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Monday, December 08, 2014

2014 Christmas Gift Guide {Part 1}

If you have read very many blogs or been on Pinterest for hours like me recently, you know that everyone is doing gift guides for Christmas.  Well, maybe not everyone but all the "cool kids" are doing them! So now it's time for my gift guide which also happens to be my wish list!

Lifefactory has a variety of sizes, colors, and caps.  This made my list because it is a glass bottle and looks good (hey, I can want a cool looking bottle!). You can find these directly at Lifefactory or other retailers like Amazon

A healthy salad dressing is something that is tough to find, one without lots of nasty ingredients and sugar.  Making your own salad dressing is the best option. I love this since it is an actual salad dressing bottle and includes recipes on the bottle to make your own dressing!  What else could you ask for?! You can purchase here.

Doesn't this just look fabulous? Now just imagine how good the coffee will be as you pour it out of this stunning french press.  It is 100% stainless steel, so no risk of getting nasty things from plastic! You can purchase here. 

Himalayan Natural Air Purifying Salt Light

I have wanted one of these lights for awhile now so I had to include it on the gift guide!  If you have not heard of these Himalayan salt lamps, check out this article explaining the benefits of using these lamps. Purchase the solid lamp here or the basket one here.

These have been on my wish list for a couple of years. Isn't this just the greatest bag to carry a camera and your other everyday essentials!?  They have a wide variety of styles and colors. Check them out for the photographer in your life!!! 

MY Konjac Sponge

I have not tried these before but have heard good things about them.  This is a natural way to gently exfoliate your face.  Are these part of your skincare routine? If so I would love to know how you like using these sponges.  You can order them here. These would make great stocking stuffers! 

Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender

If you watch cooking shows you know this little kitchen gadget is very helpful.  And this can also be used to make your own soap!  Check it out here. 

For those that do not watch Rachel Ray on the Food Network, she always uses a bowl for her food scraps. This is a great way to save trips to the sink or trashcan while cooking. And if you compost, just fill it up throughout the day and then take it out to compost after dinner.  Having this fun bowl to throw garbage in would make cooking just a little more fun and stylish!  You can find them at Target and of course Amazon

Who doesn't love a new hoodie for cold weather?! I do, but this is something I always put off buying since I usually need other things much more than a new hoodie or a jacket. 

Wouldn't these make a great addition to the kitchen. They are so fun and colorful! I might have trouble wanting to use them for fear they would get stained like most of my kitchen towels. 

Hope this gave you some ideas for people on your gift or some things you want to add to your own list.  What do you have on your wish list this year?  

While looking on Pinterest this weekend I have noticed several creative ways that families do gifts at Christmas.  Jen Hatmaker explains how her family breaks down gifts into these categories: Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read, something to give. This post is also her gift guide, which has some great ideas and companies that have a great mission and give back!