Saturday, April 30, 2011

WholyFit


As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've really been enjoying the benefits of stretching, but I want to find a program that's a little longer and more challenging with a Christ centered focus. I've looked at a few different programs and I think WholyFit looks the best. The DVDs are filmed in Costa Rica and all the moves are named after scripture. For example, the beginner program is based on the fruits of the spirit and the advanced program is based on the armor of God. I think they encourage you to memorize scripture throughout the workout as well. Here's the promo video for the basics DVD:




Have you ever heard of WholyFit? Do you have any suggestions for a calming, Christ centered workout? I'd love to hear them!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Appetizer Potluck


I hosted an Appetizer Potluck tonight and it was a huge success! Everyone brought such delicious dishes! (We had more than what's pictured, but I didn't think to take a picture until everyone left.) The recipe I made was really easy and turned out great! It's called Mexican Bruschetta:

Mexican Bruschetta
1 skinny loaf whole wheat french bread
guacamole
1 can Mexican diced tomatoes
3-5 pieces bacon, crumbled
olive oil

Preheat oven to 425
Cut bread into 1/2 inch thick slices and place on cookie sheet
Spray bread with olive oil (or drizzle)
Bake 4-6 or until bread is crunchy
Spread guacamole onto bread and add a spoonful of tomatoes
Top with bacon

 You could omit the bacon for a healthier version.
 Enjoy!

Linked at Raising Homemakers
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Benefits of Stretching

As I did my stretching DVD for the first time in a long time this morning, I was reminded of the mental and physical benefits that come along with it. Stretching helps me to slow down, clear my mind, and relax while it also invigorates me and boosts my energy. It helps to improve my posture, flexibility, and also increases the blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to my muscles. Stretching is a great start to my day as it helps me to feel refreshed and more alive, but its also a great ending because it helps me to relax and relieve tension at the same time. Stretching is a valuable activity for a healthy lifestyle. I would recommend using a DVD or trained professional to guide you as injury is possible if stretching improperly. I use Denise Austin's Personal Training System DVD which has a ten minute stretching segment that you can do alone or at the end of your workout.

Do you stretch every day? If so, what benefits do you see?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Reshaping It All


I just finished reading, "Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness" by Candace Cameron Bure. You might remember her as DJ Tanner from Full House, but now she's all grown up with a full house of her own. And have you seen her lately? She seems to look younger and more beautiful every year! She must be doing something right because she absolutely glows. Of course a lot of that glow has to do with her relationship with Christ, but I know it also has something to do with her balanced, active, and healthy lifestyle.

This book was so timely for me. It hit the nail on the head of what I needed to hear regarding my relationship with food and fitness. It's full of wisdom and advice on how to strengthen your self-control muscle and start living a healthy, balanced, and God glorifying life! She shows you how to healthfully approach food and treat your body the way God wants you to. Here are some quotes:


"Self-discipline is an exercise that strengthens us over time when we continue to implement it. It puts our spirit in control of our flesh and keeps putting it there until the flesh learns to follow." p. 102


"Rather than refraining from food, I've retrained my body to eat smaller portions. There aren't any foods that I see as taboo, but I do limit them far more than I used to. I look at it this way, "All food is permissible, but not all food is profitable." p. 103


"We are so used to pampering our passion instead of looking at food as fuel that we make the wrong choice time and again. If we start training ourselves to be content with the food we require, whether that food is a salad or a steak, we begin to grow into healthy, mature eaters." p. 174


"When faced with an overwhelming sense of stress, we have two choices; we can either cling to the golden calf, or we can cling to our Lord. If we make anything our god in this world, we are reshaping our surroundings to be something it's not. There will never be anything that can heal, satisfy, or save like the Lord Jesus can." p. 196


"When we're self-controlled, we eat until we're satisfied. We exercise because we know it's a good thing to do. And we make healthy choices because we are following a plan instead of a whim." p.208


This book was truly inspiring and I would highly recommend it if food is a struggle in your life.

Linked at Raising Homemakers

Monday, April 25, 2011

April Showers

"Sing to the Lord with thanksgiving;
make melody to our God on the lyre!
He covers the heavens with clouds;
he prepares the rain for the earth;
he makes grass grow on the hills."
-Psalm 147:7-8


 I don't know about where you live but around here it's been raining, thundering, lightning, hailing, tornadoing, and flooding nonstop for three straight days! They say April showers bring May flowers so I'm grateful for it, but I'm also grateful for my rain boots and umbrella.

"Without the rain, there would be no rainbow."
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gluttony in America and in Myself

Are you guilty of it? Gluttony is defined as, "habitual greed or excess in eating." That pretty much sums up America nowadays, don't you think? According to CBS News, two thirds of adults in America are overweight or obese and childhood obesity has tripled in the last thirty years. They also report that this could be the first generation since the Civil War to have a shorter life expectancy. What an awesome legacy we're leaving our children, right? Did you also know that over 300,000 people die every year due to obesity related illnesses? (This statistic is from 2003 so I'm sure its even worse now). That means 300,000 people are dying each year simply because of poor diet and inactivity! This is so crazy and so preventable!! Don't you think we should wake up and start to heed the warnings that God has given us about this very thing?

"When you sit down to eat with a ruler,
observe carefully what is before you,
and put a knife to your throat
if you are given to appetite. 
Do not desire his delicacies,
for they are deceptive food."
Proverbs 23:1-3

Don't you think America could be considered the "ruler" in this passage? We're wealthy and indulge in "delicacies" and "deceptive food" on every corner. 

"Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags."
-Proverbs 23:20-21

Here gluttony is compared to being drunk. Many Christians would never even consider getting drunk, but indulging in food is almost a daily occurrence.

"For many, of whom I have often told you
and now tell you even with tears,
walk as enemies of the cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction, 
their god is their belly,
and they glory in their shame, 
with minds set on earthly things."
-Philippians 3:18-19

Those who are enemies of the cross have their minds set on earthly things such as their bellies. As Christians, don't you think we should be separating ourselves as far as possible from all of this? Are you guilty of gluttony? I know I am. You don't have to be overweight to be gluttonous. You can be greedy and excessive with your eating habits and not have the extra pounds to show for it.

"A lot of gluttony is born of boredom. Life is not satisfying or stimulating, relationships feel empty, and work is boring, but food is always there and tastes so good." -Christianity.com

I was having a conversation with my husband yesterday about wanting to cut down on eating out. (We tend to eat out around 3 times a week right now). I was saying that I really didn't want to give up eating out on Friday nights because for some reason it's such a comfort and treat for me. I asked my husband if he felt the same way (expecting that he would) and he responded, "Not really. Food is food to me. I could eat at home with you every day and be fine. It doesn't matter." Whoa. This revealed to me how emotionally attached to food I am. I connect eating out with love, comfort, and joy. This is wrong. As long as I can remember I've viewed food this way. I guess you could say it's been my lifelong love affair. It has a major hold on me and that is not glorifying to God. I really need to pray about this and try to begin separating my emotions from my food. GOD is love, GOD is comfort, GOD is joy, not food. I know God created food and it's a good thing, but when we begin to idolize it and become addicted to it we are sinning and that is a serious problem. So how should we view food?

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."
-Corinthians 10:31


"Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
 who is in you, whom you have received from God?
 You are not your own; you were bought at a price, 
therefore honor God with your body."
-1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 God wants us to honor Him in everything that we do. That includes what we eat. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and yet we tend to treat our bodies like garbage. Take up your eating habits with God. If you feel that your glorifying Him with what you eat and how you view food then that's what matters. Food should be viewed as a blessing. God created it and we have to partake in it to survive, but we shouldn't be addicted to it or obsessive over it. Don't sway too far to the other side either. I think healthy eating can just as easily become an idol. You have to take it up with the Lord and find balance.

Do you struggle with gluttony? Do you have a healthy relationship with food?


Linked at Raising Homemakers
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Swagbucks

Search & Win

I know most people have heard of Swagbucks by now, but just in case you haven't I thought I'd let you know. Swagbucks is a search engine that allows you to earn "bucks" for searching the Internet like normal. Then you trade your Swagbucks in for prizes. I've always saved mine up for Amazon gift cards. It's free and totally worth it! They also have several other ways to earn bucks such as taking surveys, finding codes, and participating in daily polls. I've set Swagbucks.com as my homepage so I remember to earn bucks daily! Click on the picture above if your interested in signing up! Also if you use me as a referral then I can earn extra bucks too! Then when you refer people you can start earning extra bucks! So hop on over and start earning free stuff!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Custom Stationery

How cute is this note card? It came with the bicycle on it and I stamped the lettering. I think it's so adorable! I looked at ordering personalized stationery, but it was too expensive. So I made my own. 
What do you think? 


Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Importance of the Handwritten Letter

Letter writing is nearly extinct in our society today. It's been readily replaced by a vast array of instant communicative technology. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy being able to pick up the phone and talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime, but I don't like knowing that most hand written communication is brushed aside because of it. There once was a day when the letter was king, but now I'm afraid its quite the pauper. Doesn't that make writing a letter in this day and age so much more personal and thoughtful? Think about it. Even receiving an invitation in the mail is exciting now days. (Maybe its just me, but I think any kind of hand addressed envelope is exciting!)
My parents always talk about rereading all the old love letters they have stored away. They lived a couple of hours apart and had to write letters most of the time because long distance calls were so expensive. My husband and I have a handful of handwritten cards given on special occasions, but nothing like the day to day thoughts and emotions like my parents have. I know my grandparents have even more treasured letters stored away somewhere. Handwriting is so personal and is especially treasured when the author has passed. What will our generation leave behind once we're gone? A long string of rather meaningless data floating around in cyberspace? It just seems like we ought to keep the tradition of hand writing our thoughts and stories to one another alive. Its such a richer heritage than a screen full of half conversations. Either way, I for one am trying to incorporate letters back into my daily life.

Do you write letters very often? Why or why not?


Linked at Raising Homemakers
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Friday, April 15, 2011

Baked Tortilla Chips

Here's an easy way to make tortilla chips and use up extra soft tortillas. 

Baked Tortilla Chips
Soft Flour Tortillas
Olive Oil
Salt

Preheat oven to 350
Cut tortillas into bit sized pieces
Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt
Bake for 8-10 minutes and enjoy!

Linked at The Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange

Monday, April 11, 2011

Potato Soup and Italian Cheddar Quick Bread

We had a little cold snap today so I decided to make some soup! Both of these recipes are new to me and they turned out great! The bread was moist and spongey with a lot of flavor. I'll definitely be making this meal again in the fall. Here are the recipes:
 Homemade Potato Soup
4-5 small potatoes
2 1/2 C chicken broth
6 tbsp flour
4 C milk
1/2 C sour cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
shredded cheddar cheese
green onions

1.Pierce potatoes with a fork and cook in microwave for 13 min.
2. While potatoes are cooking, add broth to saucepan
3. Mix flour and 1 cup milk; add to broth
4. Add remaining milk and bring to a boil, stirring frequently
5. Boil 1 minute and remove from heat
6. Add sour cream, salt, and pepper
7. Remove potato skins and coarsely mash; add to soup
8. Add cheese and onions for garnish

Italian Cheddar Quick Bread
1 3/4 C flour
1/8 C sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 C shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
1 C milk
1/3 C oil

1. Preheat oven to 400 and grease loaf pan
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, Italian seasoning, and cheese
3. In separate bowl, mix egg, milk, and oil
4. Add wet to dry ingredients and mix
5. Pour into loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes

Linked at the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange
and

Cheap and Healthy Dinner

I made fried rice yesterday and it turned out so delicious! I don't have the best trac record when it comes to making rice, (I once put instant in the rice maker ha) but it turned out great this time! The reason it tasted so much better is because I used chicken broth instead of water to cook the rice. It added so much flavor and made the brown rice delicious! If you haven't tried cooking brown rice this way I highly recommend it. Here's the fried rice dish that I made:

Fried Rice
2 c brown rice
3 c chicken broth
2 carrots, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
ham, diced
3 eggs
1/4 c olive oil

1. Cook rice in broth (I used my rice cooker)
2. Turn burner on medium and add oil and carrots to frying pan
(cook 1-2 min)
3.  Add rice, green onions, and ham
(cook 1-2 min)
4. Scoot rice over to one side and crack all eggs in pan.
Scramble with spatula.
5. Once eggs are set mix everything and enjoy!

Linked at the Old Fashioned Recipe Exchange
and

Sunday, April 10, 2011

One Month Old Seedlings

My seedlings are a month old! Yay! They're a little bit wilted today because I forgot to turn their lights on and its pretty warm in our house. I watered them with Epsom salt water and opened the window for them so they should perk up soon. 

 Also I bought a set of Yukon Gold seed potatoes to plant:
 And there's life in the garden! I counted 5-6 sprouts that came up today! (I hope these are actually vegetables and not weeds ha.)
Also I went to the farmer's market and bought a dozen fresh eggs. I didn't look at them until I got home, but the shells are all different pastel colors. I'm not sure if they have the chickens that lay these eggs all the time or if they gave them a specific diet to make the shells colored, but they're pretty! Not much else is in season here yet expect spinach. I can't wait until there is more local and fresh produce available!

Linked at the Homestead Barn Hop!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rethinking Make Up

Mike told me the other night that he wished I didn't wear make up all the time. This isn't the first time he's said something like this. I think a lot of men prefer women who are natural. So why do most women feel they can't leave their house unless they have make up on? What's the point?

We've grown up in a society where its almost unheard of for a grown woman to go without make up. A hundred years ago make up or "paint" was considered trashy. So what happened? Its nothing new. Beauty in some fashion has always been sought after. Think of Esther when she was in the harem getting ready to meet the king. She spent months bathing in oils and making herself beautiful. And those women who would never go around wearing that trashy "paint"? Well they went around fainting instead because of their corsets and sought after ten inch waists. So today instead of bathing in oils and wearing corsets, we wear make up. It's all about what our generation tells us is normal I guess. Oh and mass media doesn't help much either.

We're bombarded with numerous products that promise to basically "make us become who we've always wanted to be." They promise miracles, but don't deliver. That's because no product is ever going to fulfill us. We can't find our satisfaction and self worth in lipstick. That has to come from God and from within ourselves.

So why do I still put on make up everyday when the only people I see are Mike and a 14 month old baby? Why? I guess I do it because it makes me feel good. It makes me feel prettier. I don't wear that much just concealer, powder, bronzer, and blush. I wear it mostly to cover up my skin issues and even out my skin tone, but it is worth it? I'm starting to realize that on most days I only put on make up because of social pressure. I'm not saying that make up is a bad thing, but when you begin to depend on it and feel like you need it then maybe its time to look inward. That's what I've been doing and it's proved to be a very worthy endeavor. I'm beginning to embrace my natural beauty. (Yes ladies we all have it!) I don't need to wear make up to feel pretty. God and my husband love me without it and that's all I need to know! I'm not saying I'm going to quit wearing it completely, but I don't think I'm going to be depending on it quite so much.

What about you? Do you wear make up on a daily basis? Why or why not?

Linked at Raising Homemakers
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Does Deodorant Cause Cancer?


Think about it. We take this toxic and chemical laden substance and rub it directly into our skin each day. Then it absorbs into our pores and into our lymph nodes, breast tissue and blood stream. Although there is no conclusive evidence that deodorant causes cancer the same parabens found in a regular stick are found in breast cancer tissue. Read this article about a doctor who advises his patients against using it because of the possible cancer link.

So if you want to limit your use of regular deodorant what should you do? Well you could make your own (search google for recipes). Or you could use a natural product like Crystal which uses mineral salts that prevent bacteria from growing. Or you could try a range of natural substances and see what works. I've read that hydrogen peroxide, tea tree oil, witch hazel, or baking soda can be used. (Although I think the baking soda can burn your skin if used for a long period.) I might lose some friends by saying this, but I'm on day two without using deodorant! Yesterday I sprayed hydrogen peroxide on and didn't seem to have a problem. Today I used peroxide and tea tree oil. We shall see what happens.

Also (this may lose me even more friends) my husband never wears deodorant and doesn't ever smell! I think its genetic for him. Trust me if he smelled I'd make him take care of it, but he doesn't. He used to wear deodorant all the time and seemed to have more of a problem than when he stopped using it.

 Have you ever thought about this issue? What do you think?

Linked at Raising Homemakers

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Unusual Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide

Disclaimer: I'm not a medical professional so take these ramblings with a grain of salt. 

Hydrogen Peroxide is a wonderful thing! Its great for cleaning, disinfecting, and bleaching, but did you know it can also be used as….

a vegetable wash?
 deodorant? 
hair highlighting? 
a cold remedy?
for sprouting seeds and fertilizing your garden?

I haven't tried the vegetable wash, hair highlighting, or sprouting and fertilizing, but they all sound interesting. (Supposedly if you soak your seeds in water with hydrogen peroxide added your plants will grow faster and stronger.) I did pour it into my ears the last time I had a cold (let it sit until the bubbling stops) and it seemed to make a huge difference in my recovery time. I also sprayed it on today as a deodorant (not sure how effective this is yet). BO is caused by bacteria and Hydrogen Peroxide kills bacteria so it makes sense.

Have you tried any of these things? What do you use Peroxide for?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Simpler Living for Spring

I'm in the process of trying to live a more simple, natural, and healthy lifestyle. I love the idea of being self sufficient and living more in tune with Creation. I also know that it can be overwhelming to make changes, especially when there are so many to be made. So I'm working on it. One little step at a time. Here are some of the things I've changed since beginning this journey:

Started making more convenience foods from scratch
(bread, biscuits, granola bars, etc.)
Began buying organic whenever possible. 
Switched to whole wheat flour.
Switched to brown rice.
Stopped using canned cream soups. 
Started my first garden. (Yay!)
Began making my own cleaning products and laundry detergent.
Stopped keeping Dr. Pepper in the house.
 (Still drink it when I go out to eat.)
Began using cloth towels to clean with instead of paper.
Try to use only natural acne remedies.
Try to use only natural lotions. 

These are all little steps towards my big goal of a more natural and healthy lifestyle. I'm nowhere near where I think I should be, but I'm making progress. I'm not perfect. I still eat fast food and drink sodas, but I'm working on it. Here are some of the things that I hope to accomplish this Spring:

Make my own condiments.
Make my own soap.
Begin using a natural (hopefully homemade) dish soap and
dish detergent.
Go to the Farmer's Market more often.
Begin using a natural shampoo and conditioner.
Replace my dying basil with rosemary
 (I've heard it grows better indoors than most herbs.)
Install a rain barrel.
Start composting.
Install a clothes line.

There are so many more things I could add, but I'll stop for now.
 What new changes are you making for Spring?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Garden Notes

It's been three weeks since I planted my seedlings and they're still doing good. I'll probably be transplanting them outside towards the end of the month so I'll need to start hardening them off here in a couple of weeks.
 Here's my super star tomato plant:
 Also today my husband and I planted carrots, peas, corn, marigolds, and zinnias. We have two raised beds that are 4'X12'. I can't wait until they're filled with flowers and vegetables. It's so crazy that you can just put a seed in the ground and it grows into something so amazing.
 Lastly, here are Mike's corn. He keeps putting them out in the sun randomly to make them "stronger."
What's happening in your garden? Have you planted anything yet?

Come and join us at The Homestead Barn Hop!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Ultimate Blog Party


Hey y'all! I'm participating in the 2011 Ultimate Blog Party! What is a blog party you ask? Why don't you click on over to find out? If your visiting from the party, let me introduce myself. I'm a newlywed and stay at home wife. I write about all things domestic. I love to cook, sew, read, craft, and garden. I'm also passionate about healthful and simple living. I hope you can stay for awhile! :) Here are some posts to get to know me better:

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