Thursday, May 30, 2013

The flags I've always wanted to take a picture of!

We live near a small town cemetery, but it has got to be one of the busiest cemeteries I've ever seen.  I'm not saying that like there are a lot of funerals there, but that there are always lots of people visiting!  Nearly every single grave is decorated year round, and people gather there frequently to reminisce or just be near their loved ones.   One time I drove by to see an old man sitting on a bench in front a headstone.  Hours later when I was returning home, he was still sitting there.

Each year around major holidays honoring our country's servicemen and women, about a hundred (or more) small American flags surround a monument dedicated to the members of the armed services who are buried in this cemetery.  It's a beautiful sight, but before now one that I've only admired as I drove right by.

On Memorial Day, I walked over to take some pictures.  Well I got about halfway there and realized that some kind of ceremony was going on.  There was music playing and police cars, a firetruck, and motorcycles everywhere.  We watched from a distance for a while and then turned around and made our way to the park instead.  I'd wait to take pictures when I wouldn't be in the way.

Today I got my chance.  On our way to the library, I noticed the flags were still up.  The sun was shining, and this part of the cemetery was deserted.  So I pulled the van over and pulled out the camera.  I absolutely love that I can do that!  I only snapped a few shots because the kids were eager to get to the library, but the next time they flags go up, I'll probably stop and snap some more!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Flower Pot

This is going to be a quick post, about a simple but adorable teacher appreciation gift we made for my son's pre-k teachers.  I saw these tulips floating around Pinterest the other morning and knew immediately they were something I wanted to make.  And when I remembered that our son's last day of pre-k and graduation program were quickly approaching I knew exactly what I needed to make them for!

This link over to Mama Miss is where you can find the FREE printable for the tulips and instructions on how to put them together:  They also include a link and tutorial for making your own rope vase using an old baby food jar.  

I didn't have any baby food jars, but decided to hit up the dollar store for some cheap glass vases.  When I got there however, I saw these adorable gray flower pots in a package of 4 for $1!  That deal was just too good to pass up.  I needed to make three pots, one for each of his teachers, and the extra pot lets me make one for myself too!

Once we had the tulips put together, I added in some fake moss.  It helps hold the pipe cleaner stems down in the pot and adds to the "planted" look of the flower pot.  

To finish off the gift, I went to my good friend Google to help me find a great gift tag.  I knew I wanted the message to be something about "growing", and I found exactly what I wanted at Living Locurto, this FREE printable gift tag:  They use the tag on real plants as teacher appreciation gifts.  I love that idea too!  I love getting plants!  Instead of gluing the tag to a Popsicle stick, I hole-punched them and tied a ribbon through the tag around the tulips in the vase.

And there you have it, a great long lasting, maintenance free teacher appreciation flower pot!  

Monday, May 20, 2013

Weight Loss Progress Report

I have no clue what week I should be on, so I'm leaving that number off this one.  I can't tell you how many times I've stopped and restarted dieting in the last few months.  There's always something that seems to throw me off course (cough cough...Chinese takeout...cough cough).  When I initially started these reports again, I was doing them at the beginning of the week, and it was a week I never made it through.

Well this post is coming after a week of great progress and sticking with the plan!  I have been doing Atkins' Induction all week long.  I've been on MyFitnessPal daily logging my food and exercise, although that exercise has only consisted of mowing the lawn and a couple of walks so far.  I plan on adding back in my regular workouts.  P90X here I come!!

I know the big drop at the beginning of Atkins is losing water weight and throwing your body into Ketosis.  That means my body is burning fat for energy.  By not eating carbs, which your body would normally burn first, I'm forcing it to burn my body's fat stores instead.  So without further ado, the results of my first week back on Induction are:

One Week!!!  Seven Pounds!!!  (Well 'technically' it was 6.6 lbs, but MyFitnessPal rounds up.  Close enough right?)  Why oh why does it take me so long to realize this works?  I did it before, and I'm doing it again.  I was so proud of myself this week for maintaining my self control.  I had an opportunity for my favorite Chinese takout and I didn't take it.  I also went to a child's birthday party, and I didn't eat anything there!  There were many times I wanted to sneak into the pantry and devour some cookies, but I didn't!  And it paid off!!

I'm looking forward to the week ahead and continued success.  I already know of a few bumps in the road, but I'm planning ahead to get through them easily.  It's important to plan to know where your next meal is coming from or at least know what it is!

I've been exploring my favorite low carb recipe website for ideas.  The recipes on Linda's Low Carb are fantastic.  I've had a link to her website in my "Helpful Links" section for years now.  I love how it is broken down into categories so you can easily find a recipe for whatever meal or main ingredient you are looking for.  Some of my personal dinner favorites are the "Easy Cheesy Chili Chicken" and the "Enchilada Chicken Paillard".

Breakfast can be a little tricky.  I get in the habit of having the same thing over and over which can burn you out pretty quickly.  My go to breakfast is two eggs, two strips of bacon, and spinach with my coffee.  This is an improvement over my old breakfasts however which literally just consisted of coffee.

I did try something a little different one day this week.  I made a pizza omelet.  It was pepperoni, mushrooms, banana peppers, and spinach in a two-egg omelet topped with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese.  And it was YUMMY!

I had a salad for lunch almost every day last week, but I didn't always use the same ingredients.  Sometimes it was iceberg lettuce, and sometimes it was romaine.  The one pictured above was topped with a sliced grilled bratwurst leftover from the night before.  I topped one with crumbled bacon and tomato for a very BLT tasting salad.  My favorite salad was what I had yesterday for lunch before heading off to that birthday party.  It kept me full and I didn't even feel like snacking while I was there.  I had a romaine lettuce salad, topped with Cesar dressing, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, banana peppers, and tomato.  It was my version of an Italian garden salad I once ordered from Donato's pizza, and it was delicious!!

So I've got a plan in my head, but I'm going to write it down.  On paper it always feels more official.  I like checking things off and staying on track.  I'm going to take this one week at a time, one day at a time really, but always looking ahead to my goal.  Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go order some more bacon from the butcher's!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Four Months Down

Goodbye April, Hello May!  I'm a little late on my end of April post, but better late than never right?  I haven't been blogging much at all this past month.  I never could find the time!  Looking back over the photos has reminded me how busy and crazy things were during April, but also what an amazing month it was!  Here's the collage of some of my favorite standouts from April.  I'll go into a little more detail below.

Our baby girl started her first dance class last month.  She's had three classes so far and will have 3 more in May.  We are definitely going to take her back in the fall.  She is absolutely amazing in class.  I have never seen her so focused and enthralled with what she's doing.

Early in April I went on my first trip to Turkey Run State Park.  I hope its definitely not my last because that place was stunning!  I might have feared for my life in a few spots on the trail!  It reminded me I need to get in better shape and find a backpack for carrying (and protecting!) my camera when we go hiking!

We also had our first big storm of the year which brought the largest hail we've ever seen here.  Our poor house took a serious beating!  We're still waiting to see what all will get replaced, but there's definitely new siding and a new roof in our future.  I hope we don't get anything else like that again any time soon.  Both kiddos were pretty scared and the dog barked throughout the entire storm!

Flowers are popping up everywhere now, and dandelions are multiplying like rabbits!  We have thousands I'm sure!  I missed my camera so much while it was at Nikon repair (the lens release pin malfunctioned and had to be replaced!), so the day it got back I couldn't wait to start snapping photos again.  It was a cloudy and rainy day though so all I got were some shots of the dandelions off the back porch.  Still I ended up with one of the prettiest pictures of a dandelion I've ever seen!

I'm looking forward to more trips to the park, zoo, and the rest of Ali's dance classes this month.  Gray also graduates from pre-k so there will be pictures from that!  I can't wait!  Until next time...