Esther 4:14b

"...and who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Time to Decorate

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday.

This weekend I'm taking the opportunity to get all my Christmas decorations out and put up. I'm sure my in-laws LOVE having me live with them because everything gets done at least 3 weeks earlier than it would if I wasn't here. At least, that's what I tell myself!

Did anybody else put up their decorations this weekend? If so, post some photos so I can see. I'll post mine on Monday.

Thanksgiving Preparation - Crafts & Decoration

I apologize for being a day late in posting this. Here are some ideas of what I'm doing for my Thanksgiving table (sorry I don't have photos yet because I'm not setting it until tonight):

Pomegranate Turkey Place Cards (from Martha Stewart)
Magnolia Leaf Garland (bought on sale at Michael's last week) for Table Runner
Low copper rectangle shaped container filled with pinecones, acorns, leaves and mini "pumpkins"
I might add in a few candles if I have room too

Here are some links to other great craft ideas:

Martha Stewart
Monica at The Homespun Heart (guest post on Money Saving Mom)

I was hoping to show some of my own crafts, but I've been busy getting everything mailed out from my very successful Holiday Craft Bazaar. A big thank you to those of you who helped make it a success. I've also been finishing off the rest of my Christmas gifts. Maybe I'll get to post some of those over the next couple weeks.

Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to take time to pause and reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation - Dessert Recipes

Here's one of the recipes I make every year. I love pumpkin pie, but I love cheesecake more. This combines the two into one awesome dessert.


1 3/4 cups (about 14 to 16) gingersnap cookies, crushed
1 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
3 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened (I use a mix of 1/3 less fat and regular)
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
2/3 cup (5 fl.-oz. can) evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup Heath toffee bits
1 container (8 oz.) sour cream, at room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F.

For Crust: Combine cookie crumbs and butter in small bowl. Press onto bottom and 1-inch up side of 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes (do not allow to brown). Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes.

For Cheesecake:Beat cream cheese and brown sugar in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, eggs, cornstarch and cinnamon; beat well. Pour into crust. Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Remove from oven; top with toffee candy pieces.

For Topping: Combine sour cream, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in small bowl; mix well. Spread over warm cheesecake. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Remove side of springform pan.

This recipe is a modified version of one I found on the Libby pumpkin website. It has always gotten rave reviews no matter where I take it!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Craft Bazaar

Alright, so my sale unfortunately happened to coincide with Monica's at The Rusty Robin, but we're offering different type things, so it should work. I don't have any fancy name yet for my shop so until I do, I'll just post things here. Also, before the end of the year, I'm going to be opening up my graphic design business so if you need invitations, business cards, letterhead, mailers, marketing materials, etc. I'll be the girl for your job! More details will follow on that.

For now, if you see any item below that you want, leave me a comment with your zip code and a way to contact you, and I'll figure out shipping and let you know. All items will ship as soon as possible and for the cheapest way possible. Also, I make custom requests so if you want say wine charms or a memo board, contact me with a theme/color and we'll see what we can work out. A few items are already pre-sold, but I'm posting them here to give you ideas of what I provide. Happy shopping!

Handmade Christmas Countdown with distressed frame.
Counts down Dec. 1-24 with a different fun activity for each day.
(NOTE: I fixed the ric-rac in the bottom left so it's not crooked)

Price: $25
Qty: 1

"Let it Snow" sign
Price: $2
Qty: 1

**SOLD** Snowflakes
Price: $1.50/each or 5/$4
Qty: 5

Ho, ho, ho Sign
Price: $2
Qty: 1

**SOLD** Christmas Trees
Price $1.50 each or 4/$3.50
Qty: 4

**SOLD** Santas
Price: $1.50 each or 2/$2.50
Qty: 2

**SOLD** Wreath Ornaments
Price: .75/each or 5/$2.50
Qty: 5

**SOLD** Gingerbread Men Ornaments
Price: .75/each or 5/$2.50
Qty: 5

**SOLD** Christmas Tree Tin Holder
Price: $5
Qty: 1

**SOLD** Simplify Box
Price: $8
Qty: 1

**SOLD** Turquoise Sunset Necklace, Bracelet & Earring Set
Handmade with antique turquoise beads, shells, and silver charms

Price: $40
Qty: 1
(can make more if requested or in different colors/styles)

**SOLD** Wine Glass Charms
Wood & Glass beads in Browns & Blacks on Silver Hoops

Price: $3/each or 12/$24
Qty: 12
(can make more if requested or in different colors/styles)

Black Distressed Frame with Mirror

Price: $6
Qty: 1

**SOLD** Fabric Memo Board (needs to have buttons put on still)

Price: $15
Qty: 1
(Can make more if requested in whatever fabric/colors you choose. Different sizes available. Price may vary depending on size and fabric choice)

**SOLD** Live, Laugh, Love Sign

Price: $4
Qty: 1
(Can make more if requested with different phrases, sizes, colors. Price may vary.)

**SOLD** Flower Decor Box

Price: $4/each or 2/$6
Qty: 2

Small Canning Jars with Autumn Fruits & Nuts (Decor use only). Can double as candle rings.

Price: $6/each or 2/$10
Qty: 2

**SOLD** Bird & Nest Table Decor or Placeholders

Price: $4/each or 12 for $30
Qty: 12
(Can make custom napkin rings/table decor in your colors or style. Price may vary.)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fitting in Exercise & Medifast Update

I've been on Medifast for two weeks now. Really only a week and a half because there were a few days this past week where we had events that were too formal (or we were out with one of my hubby's new clients and I didn't want them to think he was wacky) to open up one of my Medifast packets of food. I lost another 1.5 lbs which isn't too bad seeing how I pretty much ate whatever I wanted (in moderation of course) for at least three or four days. So, in two weeks I've gone from 151 lbs. to 143.5 lbs. Not too bad!

Also, I wanted to share a little tip for fitting exercise in to your day. Lately, I haven't had the time to do 20+ minutes of exercise all in one sitting, so I try to do things throughout the day. Here are some of the ways I fit exercise in to my daily routine:

1. Park at the end of the row when shopping. Walk the whole store, up and down every aisle, whether you need to or not just to get extra walking in.

2. While brushing my teeth or flat ironing my hair, I do squats, leg kicks and calf raises. Yes, my husband looks at me like I've gone crazy. No, I don't care because I have firmer leg muscles to show for it.

3. While I wait for a fax to go through at work, I do lunges up and down the hall. I only do this when I know everyone is in their office, and I make sure to listen for anyone coming down the hall so I can stop before they think I'm crazy too.

4. Sometimes while I am talking to friends at work or family at home, I'll find a wall and do a wall sit instead of sitting in a chair.
5. Walk the stairs in my house. I especially get this in on days when I work from home because my office is upstairs in the house, another office for one of our companies is in the basement with shipping in the detached garage and hubby's office is above said garage. It's a constant back and forth every night and Friday.

All these are just simple little tips to fit some extra exercise in to your day. Do you have any tips?

Thanksgiving Preparation - Favorite Song/Verse/Poem

Here are some of my favorite hymns or poems about Thanksgiving and praising our Father for who He is and all the ways He provides.

This Is My Father's World

This is my Father's world,and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres.
This is my Father's world:
I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world,
the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:
he shines in all that's fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world.
O let me ne'er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad!

Praise To The Lord The Almighty

Praise to the Lord, the almighty, the King of creations;
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation:
All ye who hear,
Now to his temple draw near,
Joining in glad adoration.

Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shieldeth thee gently from harm, or when fainting sustaineth:
Hast thou not seen
How thy heart's wishes have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?

Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely his goodness and mercy shall daily attend thee:
Ponder anew
What the Almighty can do,
If to the end he befriend thee.

Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before him!
Let the Amen
Sound from his people again:
Gladly for ay we adore him.

More Than A Day

As Thanksgiving Day rolls around,
It brings up some facts, quite profound.
We may think that we're poor,
Feel like bums, insecure,
But in truth, our riches astound.

We have friends and family we love;
We have guidance from heaven above.
We have so much more
Than they sell in a store,
We're wealthy, when push comes to shove.

So add up your blessings, I say;
Make Thanksgiving last more than a day.
Enjoy what you've got;
Realize it's a lot,
And you'll make all your cares go away.
By Karl Fuchs

If you have any favorite Thanksgiving hymns/poems/scriptures please share them. Also, my mom called me yesterday to inform me that I forgot one of our Thanksgiving traditions. Supposedly we always read the story of Squanto (actually I think she said Sasquatch, but I know who she meant!) and how he helped the pilgrims prior to eating, but my memory seems to have forgotten this. Sorry, Mom!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation - Side Dish Recipes

Before posting my recipes for the day, I decided to find out: "Which Thanksgiving Side Dish I Am" . The result? I'm mashed potatoes and gravy, but honestly love cranberry sauce from a can the best...jellied or whole berry, I'm not particular...just give me the sauce!

Here are some of my recipes that I'm going to be using as side dishes:


4 lbs. (5 large) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in ¾ inch thick coin shape
1/3 c. dark brown sugar
½ t. salt
¼ t. pepper
4 T. butter or margarine cut into small pieces
½ c. coarsely chopped walnuts.

Preheat oven to 400. Arrange half the potato slices in 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle with half the sugar, half the salt, and all the pepper. Dot with half the butter. Arrange remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and salt, and dot with butter. Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil; sprinkle with walnuts and bake uncovered an additional 30-40 minutes.


1 small box orange jello (1 large box)
1 c. boiling water (2 cups)
1 pt. Vanilla ice cream (1 qt.)
Small can mandarin oranges (large can)

Mix jello and water. Stir in ice cream until melted. Add mandarin oranges. Chill to set. Note: for larger salad use amounts in ( ).


For each can of green beans add:
3 slices bacon, fried til crisp
¼ c. chopped green pepper
¼ c. chopped onion
3 T. sugar
2 T. vinegar

Cook green pepper and onion in bacon grease until tender. Add sugar and vinegar. Add drained green beans. Stir in bacon. Can be cooked early and reheated.

NOTE: Linda is my mom's dear friend and we've enjoyed her recipe ever since we were little. For Thanksgiving I suck it up and make the green bean casserole (according to the recipe on the French Onion can) for my husband, but I make these green beans for Christmas.


1 can (16 oz.) whole kernel corn, drained
1 can (16 oz.) cream style corn
2 eggs, slightly beaten
½ c. melted butter
1 c. sour cream
1 box (8.5 oz.) corn muffin mix
1 c. cheddar cheese grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together except for ½ c of cheese. Place in greased 9 x 13 pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining cheese and bake for 20 more minutes or until golden brown.

My other side dishes are: mashed potatoes (jazz them up with chicken stock, butter, fresh herbs), rolls (I cheated this year and bought frozen bread dough), stuffing with craisins, nuts & dried apricots, cranberry sauce (both versions from the can of course!), and hubby's grandma's fruit salad.

Do you have any side dish recipes to share? If so, leave them in the comments, or leave a link to where we can find them on your blog. My mouth is really starting to water!

One thing I'm thankful for today: our first snow of the year!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation - Favorite Tradition

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays were it doesn't seem like we have many things that are "tradition." Growing up, we didn't live close to extended family so it was normally just me and my immediate family plus another couple or whoever we'd have over.

My memories of Thanksgiving while growing up include watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and of course lots of football. It was one of the few times of the year when we had mashed potatoes from scratch (we all loved the boxed version so we didn't care the other times of the year) and I remember my dad sitting there peeling all the potatoes.

One year we decided to go down to the local homeless shelter and help out prior to eating our meal. We got assigned the job of wrapping Christmas gifts that the shelter was going to pass out a few weeks later. It was so much fun and I'd love to do it with my children some year.

Another thing we always do is find verses that have to do with thanksgiving/giving thanks. Each person has one written on the back of their place card and prior to eating, we take turns going around the table and reading our verses.

Does anybody else have any fun Thanksgiving traditions or memories?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation - Appetizers

Alright, so far it seems as if I'm doing this Thanksgiving Prep by myself, but that's okay. I needed to plan it out somewhere, so why not here, right? Here are some of my favorite appetizer recipes. The first two I've made before. The last one is my version of one I had at a wedding this past October. It was delicious. I think I'm going to try and see if I can replicate it this year.


8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. mayo
1 c. chopped water chestnuts
½ c. chopped onion
1 pkg. Knorr Swiss soup
1 pkg. chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 round loaf Hawaiian bread

Mix all ingredients together except bread. Dig out center of bread and put dip in center. Serve with dug out bread cubes.

Serves 6-8

2 t. brown sugar
2 T. coarsely chopped pecans or almonds
1-1/2 t. brandy
1 whole Brie cheese (8 oz.)
apple/pear slices

Stir together brown sugar, nuts and brandy. Place cheese in a baking dish just slightly larger than the width of the cheese. Bake in a 425 oven just until cheese begins to soften in the center, about 6 minutes. Evenly sprinkle sugar mixture over cheese. Bake until sugar melts and cheese is melted in center (cut to test); about 3 to 5 minutes longer. Serve with fruit and crackers.


dried figs
bacon slices
toasted almonds

Heat toaster oven to Broil. Stuff each fig with a toasted almond. Wrap each fig in a strip of bacon, trimming the bacon as necessary, and secure with a toothpick. Bake for about 8-10 minutes until the bacon is crisp and the figs are tender. Serve immediately.

In case any one has any appetizer recipes they want to share, leave a link to your post in the comments.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanksgiving Preparation - Menu

A couple Christmases ago, my mom gave my sister and I each a cookbook that had all the recipes she used while we were growing up and some new ones she's found. She also included the traditional menus we had for each holiday. Today, I still use my mom's basic menu for Thanksgiving with just a few small tweaks of my own.

Here's my menu for this holiday:

Main Course:
  • Turkey - We order a fresh one from our butcher friend and hubby is in charge of placing fresh herbs and butter between the skin and meat and then roasting it to perfection.

Side Dishes:

  • Stove Top Stuffing w/ Cranberries, Nuts, Apples

  • Sweet Potatoes - Sometimes I make a casserole, other times I do oven roasted

  • Rustic Mashed Potatoes

  • Green Bean Casserole - My hubby's favorite way to eat green beans. I never had this growing up and prefer the green beans my mom made, so we compromise and have hubby's version at Thanksgiving and my version at Christmas.

  • Corn Casserole - I got this recipe when I went home with one of my college roommates to her grandma's house in Ohio one year. I've made it every holiday since to rave reviews.

  • Cranberry Relish - Nothing fancy for me here. I prefer the stuff from the can and you have to have both the jellied and the whole berry versions!

  • Rolls

  • Orange Jello Salad - My hubby isn't a big jello fan, but even he likes this.


  • Cranberry Cocktails


  • Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Pecan Pie

How about you? What is your menu for Thanksgiving? Any favorite dishes? Is your menu one you came up with, or one your family has been using for generations?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

House Update: Kitchen Remodel

We're one step closer! A couple weeks ago we got a couple plan options from our architect. We let him know the other day which one we want to go with and a few minutes ago he sent me over the first interior elevation. I'm super excited!! We're now one step closer to turning this:

into this:

Thanksgiving Preparation Schedule

Just to give a heads up in case anybody wants to prepare posts in advance to participate with me in Thanksgiving Preparation over the next couple weeks.

11/13 - Thanksgiving menu
11/14 - Appetizer recipes
11/17 - Favorite Thanksgiving tradition
11/18 - Side dish recipes
11/19 - Favorite verse/poem/song about giving thanks
11/20 - Favorite story of a way that one of your needs was met
11/24 - Dessert recipes
11/25 - Thanksgiving crafts & decorations

Medifast Update

I've been on Medifast for one week now. I started out a week ago at 151 lbs. This morning I was 145 lbs. 6 pounds!!

I'll be perfectly honest, though, I don't follow the diet exactly as you're supposed to. I'm doing pretty good at getting all the water I need. And, I normally get all 5 Medifast meals in, but I live a crazy life and my taste buds get bored very easy, so there were a couple nights where I eat what the rest of the family was having because it was already prepared and tasted much better. So yeah, I had 2 slices of pizza, a small scoop of mashed potatoes and 2 cookies over the course of this past week.

The good thing is that it helped me get back into the habits I used to have (when I dropped originally from my college weight of 165 to 145 about 3 years ago) of eating small meals throughout the day. I'm a firm believer of all things in moderation, it's just that lately I haven't been too good about eating my sweets and junk food in moderation.

So, 5 more pounds to go, but I also have over 2 months to do it. My clothes are already fitting how they should so I'll keep to a few Medifast meals a day, but I might add back in my skim milk and cereal for breakfast and a piece of fruit and dessert on occasion.

Thanksgiving Preparation

Every year it seems like Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that we all look past. Sure, we all look forward to the turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. And let's not forget the mashed potatoes and pumpkin, pecan, and apple pie. But, all too often it seems that the real meaning of this holiday gets forgotten.

As I was out shopping this past weekend I realized that as soon as Halloween was over, Christmas items began appearing in stores (sometimes even before Halloween was over). As you look around, it's hard to remember that there is the important holiday of Thanksgiving that we celebrate in between two holidays that unfortunately have become all about what we receive (candy at Halloween and gifts at Christmas). And, I don't think it's a coincidence that this holiday where we're supposed to pause and reflect on all we're thankful for is sandwiched in between these two other holidays.

In today's world, it's very easy to get sidetracked with thinking "if only I had more money" or "I really want this" instead of reminding ourselves with how richly we have already been blessed by God. Some of us may be out of jobs. Others of us have broken relationships. Still others don't know how they're just going to make it through the next day's chores. In spite of all this, we ALL have something for which we can be thankful.

Thus, I want to invite you to join me over the next few weeks. During this time, we'll take opportunities to focus on things we can be thankful for no matter how big or small. We'll share recipes as we prepare for the meal where we celebrate Thanksgiving. We'll share memories and stories of our favorite Thanksgivings and ways that God provided. For each day, there will be a place where you can link to your own blog post where you share an item that relates to that day's topic. All I ask is that you please include a link back to my blog post for that day in your post so that others can join us if they desire.

Please join me as we pause and reflect on all the things we have to be thankful for.

To get things started, we'll keep it simple for today. Just share a few things for which you are thankful, and really try to stretch yourself. If you need help figuring out how to link to your blog post, leave me a comment with a way to contact you and I'll help you out.

Here are a few things that I'm thankful for:

1. Wonderful in-laws who have allowed my husband and I to live with them for over a year.

2. My mom's job because without it I wouldn't have the flight benefits, and thus the ability, to visit family and friends all over the country

3. A wonderful boss and co-workers

4. A patient husband

Now it's your turn...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Glue, Paint, Beads, Shopping & QuickBooks

These words sum up my past few days.

I now do the bookkeeping for 4 different companies. The one I work at for my "full-time" job, my husband's company, my freelance client, and now one of the companies that my husband's investors own. This doesn't count the personal bills I have to keep on top of for two different houses! Thank goodness I love crunching numbers otherwise I think I'd have gone insane by now!

When I wasn't staring at a computer screen and getting myself even more acquainted with the number pad on my keyboard, I was surrounded by paint, glue, paper, fabric, ribbon, staple guns, beads, etc. It was craft room appreciation weekend for me! I had hit a few stores Friday morning for a quick shopping trip (5 hours is quick, right?) to stock up on the last few items I needed to make Christmas gifts and some things to sell to try to earn some extra money. I only got a few things finished, but am very happy with the results so far. Once I have more done, I'll post a few photos of what I've been working on and ban my family from reading my blog until after the holidays at the same time!

All this creativity, and the overwhelming need for some extra cash to help cover the bills, got me thinking about the fact that I really need to open a shop where I can turn my talents into income. I've been told many times that I should sell the things I make, but I guess my fear of nobody liking the stuff I make has held me back. Well, after browsing around Etsy and some other sites yesterday, I realized my items are just as good of quality, if not better, than some of the items people are selling. So, in the not too distant future, I'll be opening up a website to try to pick up some more freelance work and to sell items I make. Right now, though, I need help coming up with a name.

If any of you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section. If I end up using any of them, I'll give away one item that will be posted on my new web store. To help get those creative juices flowing, here are a few words that describe me or the things I'll be selling:

Types of things I'll sell:
Graphic Design
Custom Invitations & Favors
Handmade Cards
Fabric Covered Memo Boards
Miscellaneous Craft Supplies

Words that describe me:
Type A
Loves the outdoors
Loves the warm colors of Tuscany
Loves travelling
Loves baking

Any suggestions anyone may have would be greatly appreciated! Also, keep your eye open for my new site.

Friday, November 7, 2008

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Megan for correctly guessing the location of our house first!

Hope you all had fun playing along. I enjoyed it because I got to learn a lot of facts about my soon to be new hometown that I never knew before.

Your prize will be on it's way soon, Megan!

2nd Set of Clues

1. This city used to be a stop along the Underground Railroad. Today it still is a major transportation hub.

2. This city is home to 4 professional sports teams and has hosted the Superbowl & the MLB All-Star game as well as other major sporting events. Sailing and car racing are also favorite pasttimes.

3. This city boasts one of the nation's largest theater districts.

4. This city has been voted one of the top 25 most liberal cities in America, much to the chagrin of this conservative family.

5. This city shares a border with a river.

6. This city is east of the Mississippi River.

Think you know what it is? You're allowed to keep guessing until I get a correct answer. E-mail your guesses to brie14 (at) juno (dot) com. Contest will continue until I get a correct guess.

Did you miss the first few clues? Find them here and here.

If I receive no correct guesses over the weekend, I'll post one final clue on Monday.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Clue

Here are the next clues:

1. This city used to be the capital city of its state
2. It takes longer to go north-south across the state than it does east-west
3. Our neighborhood is on the national, state, and local registers of historic places

Think you know the city? E-mail me at brie14 (at) juno (dot) com with your guess. The first person to guess it correctly will get a nice surprise that has to do with the city.

If you missed the first clue, check it out here.

If there's no correct guesses by the end of today, I'll post more clues tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Any more guesses?

Tomorrow I'll post clues for those of you who may be trying to guess where our house is located. For those of you who may have missed the first clue, you'll find it here.

I'm also going to change it so that you e-mail me at brie14 (at) juno (dot) com with your guesses instead of leaving them in the comments section.

I'm still not allowed to fully disclose the location on my blog until some more things are settled with hubby's politics, so this will allow me to disclose who the winner is without giving away the correct guess.

And, I promise the giveaway will be something good and something related to the city. I also promise that I will fully disclose where the house is located once I'm able to.

And it begins...

Today I started Medifast. My good friend Melissa has gone through the program and says it helps her maintain a healthy weight. Not that she was ever overweight to begin with! I'm using it to help me drop the 10 lbs. I've put on since our wedding before we go on our "honeymoon" and also to help me kick my huge sugar addicition - after all sugar isn't good for someone who's borderline hypoglycemic!

I'm not going to turn this blog into a "diet" journal, but I will comment occasionally on my progress. Plus, I'm going to post scary numbers like weight to keep myself motivated!

So, as of today, I weigh 151 lbs (with wet hair). My goal weight is 140 lbs or a size 4 which is 2 lbs less than I was when we got married and the size I was when we got married. The hardest part of the program will probably be the exercise. They don't require a lot, but I just have a hard time fitting it in even though I love working out and feel so much better after I do.

I had the oatmeal for breakfast. It was really gummy so maybe I made it wrong. If not, I'll have to turn it into the muffins they have a recipe for and hope that tastes better. Right now I'm enjoying a delicious peanut butter bar. Plus, I'm almost half way through the water I'm supposed to have for the day.

I know this post isn't really exciting, but it's one way I'm going to hold myself accountable. Hopefully I'll be able to post a weight loss next week.

A Visit to our House & Family

My dad came prepared this time in case anyone tried to mug him again!

One side of the hedge trimmed, one more to go.

Me in my lovely work clothes!

We took some time to go visit my relatives across the state.
Me & my cuz, Casey

Casey, me & our grandma who just got back from a trip to Africa to visit Casey's mom & dad. She got sick with pneumonia while over there and now she's in the hospital due to complications and may need surgery.

The skyline of our soon to be new hometown. Hubby and I were enjoying a nice pizza in the park when we looked up and saw the pretty sunset. I'll send a little surprise to whoever the first person is who guesses which city it is.

Leave a comment and the first to guess it correctly wins.
Those of you who I've already told are not eligible unfortunately!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!

Today was the first time I've ever voted for a Democrat. I have to say I shocked myself. It was kinda a last minute decision really that didn't happen until I was in the booth. Thankfully hubby and I are already married because when we first met he said he wouldn't date me if I ever voted for a Democrat!

And, for those of you wondering, I did NOT vote for Obama!

No, the Democrat I voted for is the same one who called my husband Vladimir Putin when he beat her originally 4-5 years ago. She won the following year and since then has actually become a decent person towards us. And, I wasn't convinced about our two Republican candidates. I figured the one I know is better than the one I don't. Besides, I think either both Rep. candidates will win or both Dem. candidates will win depending on who wins the presidential vote in our town.

But, back to the national election...

Last night hubby and I finished reading the first 11 chapters of the book of Ezekiel. My dad suggested that we read it and it talks about how God was going to send things on the nation of Israel that would cause their hearts of stone to become hearts of flesh (Ezekiel 11:16-20).

While I would love for John McCain & Sarah Palin to be the next leaders of our country, I want even more so for our country to come back to the Lord and to humble themselves before Him and turn from their wicked ways. After all, the Lord promises us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

As recently as a few weeks ago, I was scared of what would happen if Obama wins. Now that it looks like it's a real possibility, I've reminded myself that God is in control no matter what. Jennifer Knapp reminds us of this & Psalm 20:7 in her song "In The Name":

All these years to many ahead to think clear.
Some say where's my crystal ball.
Some men play the lottery
Makin bets against the governments economy.
They say I'd rather be rich than be alive at all.

When men in miry circumstances fall.
It won't be hard to tell where they placed their resolve.

Some trust in chariots.
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
To each his own won't lead you home
And probably never will.
I won't trust in the things I do.
They will not stand; they won't come through.
So I'll trust in the name of the Lord my God
I'll trust in the name...

Picket fences may build our defense.
In domestic wars of leisure suits.
That's OK it doesn't bother me.
You can hold onto your philosophy
Of What's mine is mine, what's yours is yours
But what's the truth?

When the walls do crumble and they fall.
It won't be hard to tell where we place our resolve.

Some trust in chariots.
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
To each his own won't lead you home
And probably never will.
I won't trust in the things I do.
They will not stand; they won't come through.
So I'll trust in the name of the Lord my God
I'll trust in the name...

When the walls do crumble
And what will I find to hold on to.
Thats stronger than my Jesus?
Sing hallelujah...hallelujah…

When the walls do crumble and they fall
It won't be hard to see where we place our resolve...

Some trust in chariots.
But we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
To each his own won't lead you home
And probably never will.
I won't trust in the things I do.
They will not stand; they won't come through.
So I'll trust in the name of the Lord my God
I'll trust in the name…

Monday, November 3, 2008

Struggling with Kindness

Warning: Post ahead may come across as complaining, but I'm just sharing something I've been struggling with lately.

I admit that I have not been the nicest person lately. In fact, yesterday I had to follow the advice from Thumper's mom in Bambi that "if you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all."

Basically, I'm tired of having so many other people (or animals for that matter) around besides me and my husband. Hubby's sister & her husband are moving to London tomorrow so this weekend was filled with craziness of family and dogs. Needless to say, I'm not too excited about the fact that their crazy beagle is living with us until he's cleared to fly to London in March. This is the same dog that peed in my craft room 6 times leaving the white carpet with yellow polka dots. The same dog who nearly devoured my cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory this past weekend. The same dog who yelps loudly or has to climb up on the counters to get food. Now, don't get me wrong, I love dogs, or more correctly, I love well-behaved dogs. Hopefully she'll calm down, but I got reprimanded this weekend for not being too nice or welcoming to the dog living with us until March. Kindness and helpfulness...not something I displayed to my sister-in-law and her dog.

I'm also struggling with living with my in-laws. They're great people, but there's times where I want to be a bump on the log and watch tv all day (or at least for a couple hours on a weekend morning) and I feel like I get judged for doing that. They're working and I'm dare I! If it was just hubby and I, I wouldn't have to answer to my in-laws (even if it's mentally) for how I spend my time or when I decide to do my "chores", etc. It's especially hard when this morning I realized while getting ready that this whole situation of living with the in-laws while trying to save money is not really that. In fact, living with my in-laws results in us paying two mortgages (the one on the house we're sharing...yes, we pay the mortgage, but my no means is it "our" house...and the one we just bought) and two separate utility bills. How is this "saving" us money? Kindness and gratitude...something I'm struggling with in regards to my current living situation.

Another area I'm really struggling with is in terms of money, or lack thereof. I've always been very fiscally responsible and never spent more than I earned. It's been a big shock for me since I got married because with hubby running his own business, plus the few mom & pop deals we have on the side, we have to float alot of things on our own credit cards which makes our personal debt look outrageous. (This is another reason why I get so frustrated with having to pay the two mortgages mentioned above.) My goal of living with the in-laws was to pay off all our student loans and any personal credit card debt we may have so that we can move out in a year with a clean slate. If we didn't have to float so much personal money to cover up for employees who stole from our mom & pop shop, we wouldn't be in the financial situation we are. It's just hard. I know it's not hubby's fault because he's working hard and he's not to blame for theiving employees; I know it's not the in-laws fault because they're scrapping by too since they had to float alot of their own money.

It's just frustrating when I work a full-time job plus freelance bookkeeping, hubby works his full-time job plus the farm plus this mom & pop job plus his politics, and the in-laws work the mom & pop job and we still don't know where the next penny is coming from to pay bills. It's frustrating when you've been responsible with your funds but for reasons outside of your control, your finances look like they're in shambles. This has caused strife between me and hubby because when I voice my frustrations he thinks it's frustrations at him. I know he's working like a dog and I'm proud of him for that. I know God is wanting to use this time to teach me utter dependence on Him for every single penny. Hopefully I learn the lesson soon because right now all I'm succeeding in doing is making myself and those around me miserable. Kindness, trust & thankfulness...something I'm struggling with right now in regards to finances.

Kindness, a fruit of the Spirit that God is really working to refine in me right now. Hopefully I learn the lesson soon.