Monday, May 18, 2015

The 2015 Yard in Progress

I love flowers, the more colorful the better.  For years and years, I couldn't grow them, and anything I touched died on contact.  As I've gotten older, my brown thumb has turned green, and it has become so much fun putting things in the ground!

So far, we have a bit out and are impatiently waiting for flowers.  I am the kind to put the seed in the dirt and expect a fully matured plant in 2 hours.  Thankfully, there's nurseries with pretty plants already blooming that can fill the gap while waiting on seeds.

These photos were taken probably 2 weeks or so ago, and the rains have really picked up so they've changed and grown significantly since....

The white irises came from our next door neighbor, who shared them with a previous tenant here.  They are just starting to bloom.

Lemon Balm, 3rd year growth

Oregano, 2nd year

Lemon Thyme, 2nd year

Oregano I started from seed, 3rd year growth

starters for morning glories

Center of front yard, with petunias, peonies, lilies, gladiolas, and zinnia and sunflower seeds

Middle son's sunflower seeds he planted in another bare spot in the yard.

Transplanted irises that won't bloom until next spring.  Also Asiatic lilies, a small mum, petunias, and peppermint

Peppermint, Tiger lilies, petunias, zinnia seed, coneflowers and our younger cat.  The blocks are 1 foot across each, so there's a lot of peppermint growing there!

Lots of chocolate mint by the steps, red salvia, petunias, tiger lilies, cone flowers, periwinkle, marigold seedlings, zinnia seedlings.  Petunias in pots, and the big pots have bush morning glories and basil.

This was once a tree.  Someone before us planted peppermint around it.  There's also a cactus, crocus, gladiolas, and weeds.

Yuccas have been there a while, and the lilies are transplanted in from Papa's.  

Mint.  lots of mint.

Lots of chocolate mint.  

Petunias and the big pot is bush morning glory in the same shade of blue/purple as the petunias

I've added more since the photos, such as basil, bee balm, a 2 1/2 foot wide hosta, and some already blooming marigolds, and an English Ivy inside the house to vine around.

What flowers are you growing this year?

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

What A Difference A Few Years Makes

Last night I was going through some photos on the computer and looking for some particular ones to pass along via email.  I was rather surprised to find some of me that I thought I'd deleted.

They are from 2011.  I had at least a 79 inch hip and 65+ inch waist.

and March 2015:

Today, 5/10/15, I stand at a 41 inch waist and 54 inch hip.  There's still a long ways to go but have come a long way too!

If you have had a lot of years carrying around lots of extra weight, don't give up.  You can lose it if you just keep working at it.  One little bit at  a time adds up to a big amount.  It took a while to put the weight on, it won't come off in a flash.  With the potential for excess hanging skin and such, you don't want to take it off very fast, but instead give your body time to adjust, your skin time to adjust to no longer needing to stretch out.

The main point is don't give up!  You will fluctuate, you will gain a little, lose a little, but keep going!
My personal goal is not to look like a runway model, but to be healthy, to have less flab hanging off the body, and to be able to climb the hills and maybe even run again without having someone or something chasing me to get me going.

What is your goal?

Keep up the good work!

Oh, by the way, that chili pepper apron is a size XL.  It fits appropriately now, and there's even room to tie it in the back.  In those pictures above, it barely tied into a small knot, definitely no room for a regular tie, and it sure didn't fit appropriately.  It is still in my apron rotation. :)

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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Travelling The World

Last night I took a journey to a land across the seas.
I didn’t go by ship or plane, I traveled on my knees.
I saw so many people there in bondage to their sin
And Jesus told me I should go, that there were souls to win.
But I said “Jesus, I can’t go to lands across the seas.”
He answered quickly, “Yes, you can by traveling on your knees.”
He said, “You pray, I’ll meet the need. You call, and I will hear.
It’s up to you to be concerned for lost souls far and near.”
And so I did; I knelt in prayer, gave up some hours of ease.
And with the Savior by my side, I traveled on my knees.
As I prayed on, I saw souls saved and twisted persons healed.
I saw God’s workers strength renewed while laboring in the field.
I said, “Yes, Lord, I’ll take the job.
Your heart I want to please.
I’ll heed your call and swiftly go
by traveling on my knees.”

--attributed to David Wells

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

A Low Calorie Sweet Treat or Snack!

Yes, apples.

Well...I baked up a little ditty that gives the flavor of apple pie without the crust, butter, calorie overload.  I know it's not new, as Solomon said there's nothing new under the sun, but it sure tastes good.

First, grab some apples.  I used about 8 to 10 decently sized red delicious ones.  I bought 30 pounds of them today, on top of the full bin I already had--can't turn down a sale of about 5.5 to 6 pounds for $2, so I snatched up a rather large amount at our local owned grocery store.  I quartered, seeded, and peeled them, sliced them into probably half inch slices, and layered them in a baking dish sprayed with non stick spray.  After layering lots of them in there, rather deep, I sprinkled on cinnamon, then baked at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  You can easily add apple pie spice, vanilla, or other flavors and spices to suit your taste.  Pull them out, sweeten to taste.  If you use some Granny Smiths or other varieties they are pretty sweet and may not need anything.

You can also leave the skin on, and instead of quartering, core out the middle, add your spices and a dash of vanilla, maybe a little brown sugar or brown sugar blend, and bake that way.

The first pan of these went in under 10 minutes.  So, I have 2 more full pans (a lot more apples) in the oven baking away.  I've been encouraging the family to eat more fruits, and this is a good way to get them do to so.

Also, we've been encouraging apples with a spoon of peanut butter for the 2 kids who don't have a peanut allergy.  It's got the apple's fiber and the protein from the peanut butter, and it seems to help tame the tapeworms.

I guess you could call this gluten free as well. :)

This is really simple, but it seems satisfying, and it's *almost* like having apple pie, but without the excess calories.

Shared with:  Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth, Darling Downs Diaries

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Mom, You're Skinny!

I've gotten off track with the Weight Loss Challenge updates.  I know, I'm bad.

Thank you all who have continued to comment and encourage, I really do appreciate each and every one of you!!

This has been another challenging week.  As with the last 2 weeks, this one has had more challenges that only God could see us through and keep us part way sane.  We get tugged and pulled in many directions with special needs children on one side and aging parents with their own significant needs on the other.  I got little done at home this week so far within our own house, but housework will always be there I suppose.  While hubby has worked his part time job I've tended to his parents' home, ran seemingly unending errands, tended children's needs, tried to keep the tribe fed, harvested lots of salad from the garden, squashed a few rebellions in our teenager boys, and have made several attempts to get out into the yard and work on much needed trimming.  The Kansas prairie is trying to reclaim a little piece of its past in our yard.  Oh there's much more, and I even slept somewhere in there (yay!).

This past week has probably been the worst on eating and exercise I've had in the past nearly 9 months of the weight loss challenge.  There's no excuse, I should have planned ahead, but I neglected to.  I should have dragged myself out of bed earlier to do exercise, but I let the blanket keep a hold on me instead.  I let the vending machine/grab what you can on the run/keep on the move and run yourself ragged days take over instead of keeping them under control.

But there's always a chance to restart and get under control.

This week, middle child told me "Mom you're skinny".  I'm by far not, I haven't dropped any more sizes lately, but it sure made me feel better.  Maybe I should look at myself as he sees me--not just a clothing size, but as someone who loves him no matter what.  He doesn't care if I'm a 14/16 or a 40, he just cares that I'm here to still be mom.

As the outdoors activities start picking up, so is my desire to continue on the journey to a healthy body.  While I would love to get down to a size 8, I'd prefer to be healthy.  The kids have high energy and I have to have enough energy of 3 moms to keep up.  Right now I'm chugging along at about 3/4 of one mom.  I'm saying "sleep sleep sleep" and they say "run run run".

Here and there I've still been working a little on the book I started back in the winter.  It's very slow going, as seems at the end of the day once the kids are in bed I am ready to crash right after them.  I've tweaked recipes that are staples here and still need to write them down for adding in, I use a lot of Betty Crocker recipes and a handful from our Cuban cookbooks and some specialty ones.

I hope you all are having a great week!  I continue to pray for you all (especially regular readers here whom I've gotten to know and love)!

Lots of hugs from Kansas......

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Enjoying the Early Morning Sun

It's about 8:30am on Saturday.  The sun is shining, the windows are open and allowing a gentle 60+ degree breeze to ruffle the curtains.  The birds are chirping and our younger cat is stalking one that isn't watching well.  The espresso is made and breakfast is done, laundry is going, litter box duty done, and dishes await my attention.  The radio is tuned to the VCY America network and children's programming glorifying God plays.

It is peaceful.  Calm.  Quiet.

For those of you who are familiar with our family, it isn't usually so peaceful and quiet.  Normally it's quite the opposite.  That is to be expected with two 13 year old boys and an 11 year old girl, especially on the autism spectrum.  Normally the younger cat is playing extreme "chase the rubber frog or pencil grip" down the hallway or up and down the stairs with the middle child, or chasing after a long piece of bias that we call the "Little catcher", as it has a 100% catch rate for Little (the nearly 4 year old Korat) although it has nothing to hold her.  Just walk down the hallway and magically Little attaches to it. Middle child whoops and hollers and has a blast doing this all with her.  She is an awesome cat to have with this family, she's as wild as they are!

Today I've even gotten in a 3 mile dvd walk.  Here in a little bit it's time to go out and put a sedum in the ground and then do weeding at hubby's parents' house.

The past week or two has been busy.  It seems like each week has been beyond busy!  This week we had staff that work with middle child quit with no notice, which devastated him.  So since Monday we've heard heart breaking wailing throughout the house, and even a minor meltdown, as he hurts.  People who work with special needs children sometimes forget that they do get attached, and when you quit without notice they hurt.  They lose someone they've come to know and love, and never see them again with no explanation or anything.  So the search continues for a new staff person to help work with him.  Tuesday was yard work day, and Wednesday was Special Olympics day for our area.  Middle child won a bronze in the 50 meter run, and 2 ribbons in the softball throw and standing long jump.  I was there for most of it, but had to leave in order to be back for the oldest and youngest getting out of school early in their district.  Oldest has his Special Olympics run in a couple of weeks in another region that's fairly close by.  There were appointments Thursday and Friday as well.  Hubby worked his part time job, I tried to keep up in housekeeping among running all over to do appointments and take kids here and there.

The previous week middle child had a meltdown on Monday, and oldest was suspended from school Tuesday and Wednesday.  Then there were appointments around those too, and a casemanager visit that happens monthly anyway.  It was a rather stressful week, where last week was more exhausting in just all the running and tending emotional needs and physical needs.  It seems as the kids get older, the needs increase and get more intense when meltdowns flare up.

Middle child came to me this week and showed me something he was really concerned about.  He had hair on his fingers.  He is 13, but functions about 10 or 11, maybe a little younger depending on the issue.  He didn't realize he was starting to get peach fuzz on his chin too.  He freaked for a minute, until I told him that is what happens when boys become teenagers, and it's totally normal.  When he heard it's normal for teenagers, he took a minute, thought about it, and said "cool".  He really seems to like being reminded he's a teenager now.  A big kid.

Throughout the hectic weeks, I've been trying to keep up with some kind of exercise.  It hasn't been easy with all the demands, but some exercise beats none.  I've mostly behaved with eating, trying to keep on track, lots of fruits, veggies, cottage cheese, oatmeal, tea, coffee, and last night even a Little Ceasar's pizza.  I've decided to let bananas go, they flare up the sugar monster too much.  The sugar content in them is high, and evidently it's enough to trigger that "gotta have it" button.  That's a bear to get shut off, let me tell you!

How have you been this week?  I hope you're having a good week, staying safe if it's been storming where you are, and being faithful to your local church!

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