Sunday, June 28, 2009

Homemade Whole-wheat pizzas!

So. I spent what seemed like all day making this homemade pizza because I have heard that pizza can actually be a healthy meal if made right (fyi: I heard this off Biggest Loser. This isn't just a gimmick so I can eat pizza, haha!). Truly, it didn't come out that great. It looked good. It smelled good. Something in the crust was just lacking. Crusts are the hardest to get right. I used a recipe that I found online. It can be found here. I am wondering if maybe the reason it tastes different is because I always use olive oil. Do all pizzerias make their pizzas with olive oil? It seems like the proper way to make a pizza but I wonder if it would make a difference in the overall product.

Well anyway. Since Holly is in Ohio with Matt and Jacqueline and Olive for the week the only people at home who are eating bread are Adam, Dad and myself so we're stuck eating all this pizza. Who knew eating pizza could be such a chore? I am planning to make curry tomorrow. Hopefully that will be better!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet!

I've been on this diet for a whole week now. It started out tough. I've been very emotional lately for whatever reason(s) and I was pretty miserable on Saturday and Sunday. By Monday, however, I was feeling pretty good. I had energy (which was a good thing because we had an extra doctor at work on Monday) and I wasn't starving or craving candy/bread. On Wednesday my co-worker dropped a hershey kiss into my pocket and said, "there, that's a pick-me-up." My other co-worker offered to share her fruit roll-up. I didn't accept either. Well, I didn't give back the hershey kiss. Instead I threw it in my purse and it's rolling around down there somewhere and probably melting each time I get in the car and getting chocolate all over the bottom of my bag. But I don't think about those things.
I did start to eat grains again on Wednesday. I just couldn't handle meat and eggs again in the morning (if I eat eggs too many days in a row I get an upset stomache) and I just needed something fast so I ate some of my favorite Fiber One cereal (the biggest losers eat that stuff! It's the stuff losers are made of. :p) and because we were literally out of lettuce I brought a sandwich to work with me. Whole grain of course and it was only 100 calories so I didn't feel too bad. Since then I have been eating grains every once in awhile. I feel much better. Energetic and not at all deprived even though I'm not eating desserts. Every once in awhile I think I'd like something sugary, but it's not as intense as it used to be and I can say no.
So far this diet has been a positive experience in a few ways.
1. For one I feel like I'm a little more in control. I am exercising self-control and it makes me feel good to know I can say no to tempting things.
2. Another good thing is I am eating more veggies and trying different dishes I wouldn't normally try just for the sake of variety.
3. I am in the kitchen more making food (like the salad I made and I tried boiling and mashing cauliflower like potatoes which didn't turn out exactly as I hoped. But at least I tried!) so I know what is going into the food I make and I have control over what I want in it.
4. I've been able to make healthier choices in snacks. Instead of eating chips and dip I eat carrots and a little bit of dressing. Instead of peanut butter crackers I eat celery sticks with all natural peanut butter. I still get the flavors I like but with fresher food that has nutrients and fiber in it. Win win win!
5. I do feel like I've lost a couple of pounds which makes me happy! I'm hoping to be significantly lighter by the end of the summer. I'm not sure how long it will be before I start to eat sweets again, but I hope to make this change somewhat permanent. Less desserts and more vegetables and meat and things like that.
6. I've been able to identify a few bad habits I have concerning eating and I'm working towards changing those habits. If admitting you have a problem is the first step towards recovery, then identifying the problems makes me feel like I'm in the second or third step towards being healthier. How many more steps do I have to go?

So. That is a narrative on my first full week of this diet. The diet that I hope to change into a lifestyle, not a passing phase. Like I've said before, I don't really believe in dieting if you just plan to go back to the old way you used to eat. My goal is to find a way of eating that fits with my lifestyle so that I can feel good and keep up with the things I need to do.

Summer Reading

So far this summer I've made two trips to the library. One of my goals for the summer has been to read fun books before I have to go back to school and read chemistry, physics, trigonometry, accounting, and social psychology books all semester long. I'm going to live it up as long as I can and get my fill of fun, silly, entertaining books this summer.

In order of being read:

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. A very cute story about sisters who, with their father and trusty dog, go away to a cottage owned by a snobby woman with a young son and spend a few weeks out of their summer there. It was an easy simple story. Meant for kids but I don't let that stop me from reading them. :)

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. This has long been one of my favorite books. There is something about Francie Nolan that I identify with. Something in the way Betty Smith writes makes me say to myself, "that's how I feel...I just didn't know how to say it." This book also opened my eyes a little bit to humanity and how complex people are and how beautiful and precious life is. It's a little mature for young readers but I think everyone would enjoy this book at some point in life.

10 out of 5 stars.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire. My friend saw the musical/play last year and said it was wonderful. Since then I found a copy of the book that inspired the play and I was able to start reading it last weekend and it was awful! It was dark and depressing and very immoral. I couldn't even finish it. I am sure that the musical is probably a little more lighthearted than the book, or at least I hope so. Not a book I would recommend.

I'd give it 0 of 5 stars.

Rosewater and Soda Bread by Marsha Mehran. With all the talk of Iran in the news lately my interest has been a little piqued. This book is about three sisters from Iran who end up living in Ireland and own a little restaurant. It said on the back of the book that there were lots of recipes included in the book so I thought I'd pick it up. It didn't give me any insight into the Iranian culture and I was sort of hoping it would. I wasn't entirely pleased with it. I'm not sure if I'd even try the recipes in the back. Maybe a couple. I also found it just a little conflicted and strange.

1 or 2 out of 5 starts.

Love Comes Softly by Janette Oke. I read these books a long time ago. Since the movies came out I decided to repay them a visit and they are so much better than the movie (big surprise, right?)! Just a sweet and simple romance novel. Janette Oke definitely writes some of the cleanest and sweetest Christian fiction. I have another book that I checked out by her too. I read Love Comes Softly in an afternoon so I am sure I'll have read the other one soon too.

5 stars.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I think this is probably considered a classic and would imagine that most people have read it while in high school or something. If not then go get a copy at the library. It's really good. It's about a little girl named Scout and her brother Jem and they live in Alabama during the 1940's. Their father, Atticus, is a lawyer is who is given a defense case for a black man who was accused of raping a white girl. It's cute, sad and gives a lot of insight into what a small southern town was like back during the days when people were still very prejudiced against people of different colors. One of the things about this book that I enjoy the most is that the people seem very real. Kind of like in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. You read this book and (especially if you have ever lived in the south) you know people like this.

5 stars.
And this awesome! I got it recently and I really want to make some of the clothes in it. Once I lose a few lbs. I know that's not really a reason to wait to sew, but I think I'll enjoy sewing so much more if I've dropped a dress size or two. I'd also love to sew the kimono dress from Weekend Sewing (which is a book I don't own and am resisting buying because I own too many books!). I might just see if I can find a pattern for a kimono style dress.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

7(ish) Layer Salad

The recipe for this salad came from my sister's Mother-in-law who is an amazing cook. We had this salad at her house over Memorial day and I haven't gotten it out of my head.I put myself on a rather strict diet. Not entirely sure how long I'll make myself be this strict but I'm hoping to break some bad eating habits and create some new good ones. The diet I am putting myself on is basically just meat (fish and eggs and cheese included), veggies and perhaps 1 half cup of no-sugar-added apple sauce or a glass of skim milk every day. I hope to keep it up for the whole week and perhaps start adding in It's boring. I hate it. I miss junk food. But I'm going to do it anyway and I made this salad today to have something yummy to bring to work with me. I think there are more than 7 layers in this salad. I practically have a whole produce section in here.

So this diet has been a little rough these past couple of days. For starters I wasn't feeling well anyway...being a girl can be kinda tough once a month. So as I said last week I was really emotional and I'll be honest, I'm an emotional eater. I think I get an endorphin release from sugar. So since I've still been feeling kind of emotional not allowing myself to have comfort foods has been tough. But it's good too. I really need to break those kinds of habits now. That's one of the reasons I want to study nutrition in the first place. I want to learn strategies on how to eat healthily while leading a busy life. Cause I don't think my life is about to get any less hectic in the coming months and I'm certain it's going to be very stressful.

I don't really believe in dieting. I believe in finding a lifestyle that is healthy and doable. The only reason I'm doing this is because I do want to lose weight and I want to try and regulate my hormones a little bit before I leave for school. I'm ready to get off my emotional roller coaster. I think the ultimate goal though is to create a healthy, manageable way of eating and living. I am a firm believer that exercise is a huge part of being healthy.

When I was younger (and much thinner) I did ballet for 3 years. They were probably 3 of my favorite years. I was crazy about dancing. I can't really describe how it made me feel except to say that it was like my drug. I think I must have been creating beta endorphins like nuts because dancing made me so happy. There is just something about moving to gorgeous music that makes you feel absolutely wonderful. And it was so fun dancing with other girls who loved dancing too because it made me feel a camaraderie with them. It was like I got to be a part of it all. And being part of something beautiful made me feel beautiful. I needed to go to dance class once a week. If I didn't I would get really sad and depressed and bored. It sounds dramatic, it sounds silly, but dance was my first true love. An obsession actually. And when I started college I couldn't keep both up. I knew I had to let go of dancing. I had started my first job (which I loved) and was busy taking 5 classes at college and had made new friends and was enjoying myself. I missed it though.

I still miss it. I want it back. I don't know if I ever can get it back. But I know that I need to find other things to keep me busy and entertained besides food. I'd love to find some sort of a dance class to be involved in. Who knows? 20 isn't that old. Maybe I could find some sort of class for adults. WVU does offer ballroom dancing and swing dancing classes...maybe next semester I'll sign up for one or the other. That would be so fun.

Anyway. The whole point of this post was to say that I made a gorgeous salad and I'm going to try hard to be healthy and to use the next couple of years at college to cultivate good habits and get out of my comfort zone. And I'm going to try hard to be excited about it!

PS: I DID tell Dr. H that Monday that I came in the I had started a diet and that I wasn't feeling well so I needed her support and she groaned and said, "here, take this Advil...premedicate." I had to laugh. I didn't take it because I ended up feeling pretty good the whole day. Sweet!

Happy Father's Day!

The Father's Day card Holly and Adam picked out. The Ten Commandments of Dad. I accidentally deleted the picture of the front of the card.

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Very busy

It's been pretty crazy here lately. Since coming back from orientation I've been working full-time for the past 2 weeks and I'll work full time again this week. Work is going alright but it's been kind of tense and stressful too. Same old same old...

We took a little day trip to Gettysburg last Sunday. It was so pretty outside...gorgeous weather. The battlefield park was pretty too. I like Antietam better. Dad can't believe I would like Antietam better. But there it is.
First family photo (of course we're missing 3 important family members and I'm not talking about the newfs!) in years!

It was a nice way to end the week. Unfortunately I was an emotional grump and had a few ''rough'' moments along the way. I've been so emotional lately. I've cried more this week than I have since the year began if that gives you any insight into my roller coaster emotions. So I decided that during my week off this July I am going to do an Atkins/Zone/South Beach/Grace's own diet to try and drop a few lbs and straighten out my crazy hormones. Then last night I decided, "what the heck? What's stopping me?" and today I am starting my diet instead of putting it off another 2 weeks. I am going to tell the ladies on Monday that I'm an emotional wreck and I'm on a diet so please be patient and supportive and I will be as stable and kind as I can. And also to please not offer me junk food! Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be a few lbs lighter and feeling a little less emotional and a little more optimistic. I am forseeing lots of salads and coleslaw and lettuce wraps and veggies, veggies, veggies in my future! And hopefully the clothes I ordered from Old Navy will be looser than I expect them to be. :)

So a little bit of crafting has been done. I decorated these bobby pins this week. It was a fun little project that wasn't too overwhelming while I'm working full-time. I don't know how people manage 5 days a week. I was so used to 4 days a week and then 2 and then 3...5 is tough! I'm a weakling. :P
One of the things that has been making me very stressed and emotional is the fact that I have been dealing with sore, achy muscles and joints since the middle of the semester. This week has been the worst yet and I have a suspicion that it has to do with all the stress I am under. This really upsets me because I think it's another lyme symptom. At 20 years old your hips and knees and shoulders should not be so achy. And I haven't been working out so that is not why they're sore. Actually, I'm not working out because I'm already sore and it hurts to work out! But regardless of whether it hurts or not I plan to be working out this summer along with this diet. The idea that I could have a potentially debilitating disease just makes me depressed and scared. So I'm hoping that my diet will help me to have a little more energy and a more positive attitude and I'll feel better enough to try to find natural or less expensive ways to treat myself for symptoms. Cause right now I just feel like sleeping all the time. I'm thinking about ordering some samento and chlorella and buffered vitamin c. And if I notice anything then I'll probably definitely bring them with me to school to try and keep from getting sick.

That's been this week. Yesterday I worked from 9-1:30 then I went to the library. I picked up a bunch of books. I didn't get to read very many of the other ones I borrowed but that's okay. I read The Penderwicks and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (this is the 3rd or 4th time I've read it and it's just as good as the first time) and I've been reading a book I bought from Borders for 99 cents called The Callahan Cousins. It's a kid's book and it's kinda fun but kinda annoying too. I have another book I bought for 99 cents that looks a little more promising. I'll let you know after I finish it. The first chapter was interesting. I'm really enjoying this opportunity to read ''fun'' books. After 2 semesters of textbooks and papers I realized that I haven't read a book I enjoy in a really long time. Probably not since last summer or even before that. I used to love reading and I still do so I'm going to be visiting the library and just reading fun stuff before I leave in August.

I'm planning to do a post on all the books I have read this summer (once I read a few more) and put it on my other blog so others can draw some ideas for books. That's how I got the recommendations for most of the books I checked out.

After my trip to the library I came home and ran out the door to go to Target and Walmart with Mom, Adam and Holly. Dad is in NC visiting his Aunt Joyce and cousins because his cousin Albert died last weekend. So did Bea Schaeffer. It makes me so sad. She was a very sweet woman and I can't imagine what her family is dealing with. She had cancer for a long time and people say that it is almost a relief when a person dies then because they aren't in pain anymore and you've been slowly letting go of them so it hurts less. I don't know if that's true or not. I think it must still hurt a lot.

Last night after we got home Holly and I went to Blockbuster to rent a few movies. We picked everything out and got up to the checkout and I realized I didn't have my wallet with me! I left it at home by the computer so I called Mom and she actually met me half way when to drop it off so Adam decided he wanted to come too and in the end Holly, Adam and I went up there and didn't get home till 10:00 pm. It's hard for me to find a good movie. I wanted Penelope but couldn't find it. In the end we got Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (per Holly's request), Spiderwick (oh my love for children's fantasy/adventure stories...they're so fun and colorful), and The Pink Panther. Oh my goodness it was hilarious! There were a few scenes that were inappropriate but if you were little you wouldn't catch onto them. I felt like talking in a fake french accent afterward because Steve Martin's accent was so funny. But don't worry. I didn't.

This past week a man who lives near the Hunters held his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife hostage in his house over night and then he killed her. On Monday I passed a car/bicycle accident on my way to work. I know life isn't guaranteed. I know people can be evil. I know we should enjoy our time while we are here and I know we should cherish the people around us. It's just so easy to forget to do that during the hum-drum of each day. I want to make it a point to love the people I'm with and make the most of my time.

And last but not least. I miss my sister so much. She and Matt and Olive are in Ohio for this month and I can't wait till they get home. They were supposed to be home before July 4th because Cheryl was coming but now she can't either because her home was broken into while she was away and now she has to have repairs done and such. I can't imagine what that would be like. Luckily she was safe and her kitties were safe and for that we are thankful. We are hoping to get to see her sometime in August. I hope I get to see her before I leave. Classes start August 24th so I have an extra week!

Alright, time to put an end to this insanely long catch-up post! I'm going to go take a shower and read a book. Or watch one of the movies. I have the house to myself for awhile so I can do whatever I want! :)
Ta ta!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Back from orientation and just a little disoriented~

On Thursday afternoon Dad and I left for Morgantown to visit my new "home" for at least the next 2 years. Unless I drop out, flunk out or transfer someplace different.

We stopped at the Coliseum first. I had to take the Quantitative Reasoning Assessment at 7:30 pm. It was awful! After all the students finished taking the QRA we boarded the bus that took us back to the Coliseum. It is kinda nice inside. I didn't think to take a picture of the outside.

Dad and I drove around and saw the Medical campus and the downtown campus. The Medical campus (or Evansdale campus) looks much newer. I personally think the downtown campus is prettier. I didn't get any pictures of the Medical campus or my dorm (although I drove past it a few times), but I was able to go outside during lunch on Friday (when the actual orientation took place in the Mountain Lair) and get some pictures of the street we were on.
Here they are:

It was a long day. We started off by checking in and getting our photo ids taken (mine was pretty bad...even Dad said so, haha!) and then meeting upstairs in the ballroom where we "met" some of the staff and learned a little bit about the school. We went to meetings with our Resident Faculty Leaders (RFLs or Riffles) to learn about our residence halls and the events they have planned there. We talked to advisors and set up schedules. I have the worst courseload ever! Chemistry, Physics, Trigonometry, Accounty and Social Psychology. And I may have another class too which I can't remember right now. I have labs for the science courses too. It's pretty awful. I have to take all the math classes as prerequisites for the science courses. I have to take the science courses as prerequisites for the nutrition courses. I'm not sure when I'll get to take the actual nutrition courses. Hopefully next semester! I'm thinking I may try to get some of the science courses next summer when I'm home on break. Even though I would hate to take summer classes I think it would be better than trying to cram everything in during the regular semester. We had lunch and then finalized our schedules and picked up our photo ids and checked out the organizational fair and then went home. I drove all the way home! It went very well. The worst part was merging on to 70 and then onto 81. But God kept us safe and we arrived home around 6-6:30 pm.

I'll be honest, I'm a little nervous and sad that I'm leaving for school. I don't have this overwhelming excitement about going. I will miss my family and friends here. I worry that I won't make friends. I worry that I'll hate my classes. I worry my roommate and I won't get along. I worry I will get totally lost and be mugged or something. I feel like I'll be completely out of my element. I'm sure I'll be out of my element. All things that I have to give to God and trust with Him. Mom and Dad have told me that they won't be the least bit upset if I decide I don't want to go back. They say I can always transfer somewhere else. They also said I can get married and quit school if I meet someone and decide to do that (It sounds like a funny thing to say but I have friends whose parents would be furious if their daughters did that). I won't be happy though until I give it a try. There are a few things I'm excited about. There are lots of clubs to get involved in including Campus Crusade for Christ, Baptist College Ministries, Cooking Club, American Dietetics group, a great student recreation center with lots of exercise classes, various trips and other things. I'm trying to focus on those things instead of the 'what ifs' and negative thoughts I have. I'm trying to remember that God has a plan for me. I'm trying to remember that I'm never alone because Jesus is always with me. I'm trying to remember that this is an opportunity to grow closer to Him and to glorify Him.

I don't deal with changes and transitions very well. I'm definitely a work in progress when it comes to that!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Where I'd like to be.

This is my summer dream come true. A hammock. Unfortunately it isn't mine. But it is my sister's (she own's two) and I got to spend a lovely hour and a half or so there today. I sat out there with my niece in my arms and Jacqueline sat in the swing across from me and we swung and chatted until Olive fell asleep. I think God decided to give us a few extra springlike days since I was so allergic to the outdoors the past few weeks and couldn't go out and enjoy it. It is very gracious of Him.Jacqueline and Matt have a lovely yard. It's full of different kinds of trees and there are forsythia bushes and a rose plant out there too. Their next-door neighbor has a beautiful rose garden which is nice to look at too. I think that in their situation it's better than having their own rose garden because they can enjoy the beauty of it without having to care for it. Having an infant and keeping up with a garden sounds like a pill to me.

I think there must be honeysuckle near the yard because it smelled so good out there too. It was just a perfect way to spend an afternoon. Under a shady tree with a slight breeze, chatting with my sister (before they leave for 3 weeks!), snuggling Olive, inhaling the wonderful smelling air...I could easily spend every day this summer doing nothing but swinging outdoors. I could read out there, eat out there, knit or sew, nap in my hammock swing...

Someday I will have my own home and I will have a garden and in that garden I will hang hammocks and I will spend all summer outdoors in my garden planting things and when I'm not planting I'll be in my hammock. And I'll hang an extra one for visitors. Because the only thing that could make spending a summer outdoors in a garden with a hammock more pleasant is to have a friend out there with you.

A visit!

Last Monday (Memorial Day) Rebecca (Tyner) Biedler came over to visit for awhile and to meet Olive. She flew in from Indiana and we were very glad we were able to visit with her, even though the visit was short.We've known Rebecca and her family since we first moved up here in 2000. Almost 9 years now. Since then Rebecca and Jacqueline have both gotten married and Rebecca has moved to Indiana with her husband, Paul.
She is truly one of the sweetest people I know and I'm glad we have maintained a friendship with her and her family for the past 8+ years. Here's to many more years of friendship.

The most beautiful baby in the whole wide world!

For your viewing pleasure: Olive!She's looking at her butterfly toy that Erin and Cheyenne gave her. She loves it!
This was from a photo shoot Jacqueline and I did of her. They didn't quite come out the way we wanted them to. The angle and lighting weren't so great. But she's cute anyway!
Ha ha! I wonder what she's thinking.
The closest we got to a smile...

Pretty girl! We love you!