Monday, June 27, 2011

Our New Decorating Style

the walls are (almost) bare... 
{my three white dresses are the last thing to come down--
seeing them brings a sense of security}

the closets/ cupboards are (becoming) empty...
{still working on this!  We have boxed up so much but 
holy cow there's still more!}

the boxes piling up... 
{we have a sweet maze going on right now. LoL!}

Our home doesn't really feel like 
"home" so much anymore....

And I'm not sure what to pack next???
I'm thinking kitchen appliances and pans--hello leftovers and restaurants! :)
No fancy cooking this week!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Saga of the Shoes

A little while ago, it dawned on me that Sister Missionary Mall would have comfortable shoes.  Hello!  I NEED comfortable shoes with good arch support while I am on my feet teaching all day.  We have tried inserts and nicer (still cheap) shoes and foot rubs and etc.  Nothing helped.  Ok so maybe it helped but I was still having terrible foot pain which also caused a lot of back pain.  (As a side note:  I'm willing to guess that my back pain will be way lower while I am standing around all day though this coming school year because I have lost so much weight.  There is not as much pressure and heaviness on my whole body and I love it!)

So a month or so ago, I walk into Sis Mish Mall and feel totally uncomfortable because I am (1) married, (2) not going on a mission, and (3) wanting the shoes for teaching not proselyting.  I didn't know if that was legal. Well, apparently it is and apparently they sell more shoes to non-premies than to the mish-bound type.  Oh.  Ok.  I fit in perfectly then.  I tried on a few but they were at least $125 a pair.  I'm sorry but that is WAY too much money.  I don't care what the shoe feels like.  Then I see a clearance table.  I ask about it.  You can buy any two shoes off the table for $100 (FOR BOTH!).  As soon as I learned about it, I started looking and trying to find my (European) size on the table.  No such luck.  I left the store empty handed but determined to go back and check the clearance table again.

I have kind of forgotten about/ been to busy to stalk Sis Mish Mall.  Fast forward to this morning.

It dawned on me; we are moving next week!  If I am going to get shoes from there, it is going to HAVE to be today.  I tell Casey about my urgent NEED to go buy shoes today.  He (fortunately) understood and agreed.  In our morning prayer, he prayed that I would find shoes that are comfortable and on clearance today when I went in to the store.  I prayed in my personal prayer.  We both kept praying--at least I did.

I had not even thought about buying full priced shoes.  I honestly don't know if I would have or not.  I was just trusting I would be able to find clearance.

Well, I walked into the store and EVERYONE was super helpful and friendly.  Until they learned that I was interested in the clearance shoes.  'Oh she is one of the el cheapo type and we don't get paid enough to give her valuable customer service.'  Whatever.  I was assertive and figured out what shoe size I wore--generally an easy task: between 9-10, preferably wide.  Well, these shoes are European sized with numbers ranging between the 30s- 40s.  I have no idea.  So I hunted someone down and asked.  And every time I had a question, I would keep hunting and asking.  It worked.

Then another tender mercy.  Some lady is over in the shoe part trying on the full priced shoes.  The associate sat there with her and answered her questions.  Well, I listened in and chimed in with my own questions.  The lady wanted good arch support.  Hey me too!  The associate was pointing out the best shoes for arch support and then looked at my feet and commented that the shoes I was trying on were actually the best ones--just a different color.  What?!  I'm sold.  I definitely want that pair of shoes (it is metallic black; a slightly odd color but whatever!  It is on clearance and fits my foot GREAT!)  The other lady was wanting to try on my metallic shoes.  I showed her some other ones I had found (which turned out to be about a size 5) and kept her away from the metallic shoes on my feet--I was not sharing because they were the only pair there.  Now I could either get it for $69.95 or get 2 for $100.  Well, I really want the two so I can rotate.  And I REALLY want the second pair to be brown so then I can wear both of them with everything.

I could not find any brown shoes on clearance except for the "Hush Puppy" brand.  And it is no where near as comfortable as the Metallic Danskos.  At first I thought I liked it but then decided I didn't want it.  I would never be happy with it on the comfort level scale when the metallic ones were incredible.  I asked if there were any more clearance shoes--specifically anymore brown.  'No.  Everything is on the table.'  I searched the table again and again.  I seriously read every shoe description/ name/ European size probably 3-4 times.  And then one shoe jumped out.  It was size 42 and Dansko AND brown.  Well, the metallic ones were size 41 so maybe the 42 would be close enough it would work.  I have no idea where this shoe came from.  I mean obviously it was on the table because no one touched any of the shoes but I swear it wasn't there earlier.  I had read all the boxes.  I have no idea how it just appeared/ I missed it before.  But there it was.

I try it on.  It is a little bit bigger.  And a different style.  No where near as cute as the other ones.  But it is still comfortable.  I ask the associate (still conveniently helping the other lady--and therefore me too!) what the arch support was of the brown shoe.  She said a tiny bit lower than the metallic ones but still extremely high.

I walk around and around the store.  Trying to decide if I like it enough to buy it.  Is it comfortable?  Is it too big?  Is it worth the money?  Can I deal with it not exactly being "cute?"  Well, I decided I did like it and that my pants will be covering the shoe anyway so the cute factor will be fine.  And the comfort level is amazing.  For once in my life, my ridiculously high arches actually have support.  This truly is a novel concept but one that I'm getting used to pretty quickly while I lap the store.

This is the ONLY time I will be wearing mismatched shoes...
I just wanted to show both off! :D
And, they still are as dreamy comfortable as I remembered while I was at the store--
don't you hate how shoes are great in the store but somehow they change on the car ride home?!
Not these ones--they are still fabulous! ;)
Yipee!  Our prayers were heard.  One black (ish) pair, one brown pair.  Both with HIGH arches, excellent support, and an orthopedic insert.  Both are comfortable.  Both are my size (or close enough).  Both were on the clearance table!!!! 

I walked out of that store with a large white bag, a huge smile and countless grateful prayers!!!

Playin' at the Park

For our FHE activity this week, we went to a near by park with our BYU frisbee.  The grass felt so soft between my toes--my flip flops were the first thing to go when we arrived.  There was a thrill running for the frisbee and trying to catch it.  And even more excitement when I actually caught the flying disk.  We were enjoying our family togetherness when some kid (probably 10 years old) came and sat and watched us.  He just sat there, turned his head back and forth watching each of us throw the frisbee.

Well, Casey accidentally (seriously) threw it to him and the kid could tell it was an accident so he just threw it back and then sat down and continued to gaze.  I then intentionally threw it to him and the kid was almost shocked.  He asked me where he should throw it.  I told him to whoever he wanted.  The kid was good.  He could throw the frisbee extremely far and straight.  At first he was really timid but I kept complimenting him and telling him how talented he was (I was not lying either!) and he warmed up.  He started smiling and enjoying himself.  We never learned the kid's name but we had a fun time playing together.

I learned a valuable lesson.  Everyone likes playing.  It doesn't matter how old you are, what color your skin is (the kid was Hispanic), what your purpose was, etc--everyone still likes playing and feeling included.  And, everyone likes to know that they are doing something well.  I have no idea but judging from the way the kid reacted to my compliments, I'm guessing he hasn't gotten to many before in life.  I doubt our frisbee throwing will have that much impact on the kid (then again maybe it did??) but it meant a lot to me.  What are ways I can be a little more kind with others or a little more helpful?  How can I help brighten someone's day?  And so now I'm searching day by day for ways I can be a little more Christ-like.  All this because of a frisbee and a stranger.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Change is Coming

Up till now, moving has not really seemed real.  It is beginning to sink in though with our contract being sold and upon looking at the calendar the realization that we will be saying goodbye to our sweet little home in one week. One week left in our home together.  It is a little sad to be getting a transfer after 18 months of living here.  But Casey reminded me that although we are transferring, we will always be together!  Yipee for never having to switch companions!!! :)

Things I will miss...

  • Milk from the creamery--it is so much fresher and cheaper.  Even if we went shopping somewhere else, we would always stop at the creamery on the way home for milk.
  • Printing papers on campus for super cheap--yup, upon moving, we are going to have to invest in some color ink!
  • Having an air conditioner in our bedroom--it is supposed to get hotter soon and I sure hope our new apartment is able to stay cool!
  • Living in a house--I have loved having our own house.  It truly became our home.  We had our own yard and space.  We are moving to an apartment complex (two flights of carrying groceries, here we come!).
  • Eating at Magleby's Fresh--yum!  Seriously probably one of my favorite restaurants.  We are planning on eating there one last time before we leave and I'm excited! :)
  • Attending a Married Student Ward--yeah, I'm sure family wards are great and we will learn to love the people in our new ward but it has been so nice being with people in our same boat.  There are so many good friends we will miss for sure!
  • Socializing with my sister--so I already knew this wouldn't last for long because she was only living down here for the summer.  But by us moving away, we basically cut our summer time in half.
  • Y Mountain--we live SO close to it.  I love walking out every morning and seeing the Y and reminding me of the school I love the most.  And seeing the Y lit up at night during homecoming week--yeah definitely going to miss that; it is amazing!
  • Riding bikes to the duck pond--so I'm sure there have to be more ducks and hopefully some within a bike ride from our new apartment.  But I am partial to the ducks on campus and will miss them!
Just because change is a constant part of life that doesn't make it any easier.  I'm excited to start a new adventure together (and to have two bedrooms, a washer/ dryer and a dishwasher--all luxuries we have had to deal without).  And I'm excited to be closer to my second best friend--my mom!  (This will be SO nice being closer to our families.)  But I'm still sad to say goodbye.  And as we start packing soon (nope have not started yet), I'm sure the tears will creep up into my eyes.  Since we still have a week left, I'm going to focus on making this the best week ever--filled with countless happy memories and loving our surroundings!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Low Calorie Lava Cake

I am not kidding when I say I LOVE Lava Cake!  Um... AMAZING!!!  And it is SO weird that I love lava cake (some people call this fudge pudding cake but lets be honest, Lava Cake just sounds way cuter!) because it is all chocolate.  And I'm not a huge chocolate crazy person.  But chocolate cake with hot fudge on the bottom is incredible!  Add a scoop of vanilla cookie dough ice cream and well, lets just say that I'm pretty sure it is a piece of heaven on earth.  (However, heaven on earth comes crashing down when you order Molten Cake from Chili's and find out it has over 1,000 calories.)  This made the *best* FHE treat last night!!

L. O. V. E.
I have wanted Lava Cake for the longest time but could not figure out how to cut calories on the original recipe.  Everything in it was high calorie and I was pretty sure there are no substitutes.  Well, I recently stumbled on to a Hungry Girl version and once again found my heaven on earth.  I followed her recipe (click "recipe" to see how to make it yourself) fairly closely.  I used Nesquick sugar free chocolate milk powder instead of the hot cocoa mix and Pillsbury sugar free chocolate cake mix instead of the moist cake mix.  I also used 1 c. Pyrex bowls/ cups instead of the Ramekins.  HG's recipes are kind of confusing/ not always written the best.  (She needs to hire a FACS teacher--like me--to write recipes for her!!  Hello... that is what I will be doing all day--explaining recipes in ways students can actually understand.)  But whatever she lacks in writing is well made up for in eating.

P.S.  Serve this hot for the "lava" effect instead of a glob of pudding.  So either eat it right after taking out of the oven.  Or stick it  the microwave right before serving.  Your taste buds will thank you as you step out of the world and enjoy your heaven on earth break too! :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Healthy Food Substitutions

I tried to make a list of all the healthy substitutions I will use in recipes and cooking because several people were asking for tips.  I think this is most of my substitutions—the list is alphabetical in hopes of it being easier for you to find.  Use what you like and change what you don’t.

**Note: If there is a sugar-free, fat-free, light version of whatever you are buying, buy that instead.  Example: always buy sugar free Jello and fat-free cottage cheese.  These types things are easy enough to find (and extremely numerous) though that I didn’t list them out separately.  I also use whole-wheat/ whole-grain for everything (like rice, flour, pasta, etc).

Jeanio Lean Turkey (sold at Target, Macey’s)
Fat-free Oscar Mayer bologna (sold at Macey’s)
Smart Wonder Bread, Sara Lee Delightful
Bread Crumbs, dry
Crushed Fiber One bran cereal
Blue Bonnet Light Margarine, Parkay Spray Butter
(for 1 c.) 1 T. lemon juice or vinegar plus 1 c. minus 1 T. fat-free milk
Cake Mix
Pillsbury sugar free cake mixes
Fiber One Cereal, Special K Cereal, Cheerios
Cheese, American Slices
Fat-free American Cheese (Winco has a store brand)
Cheese, Cheddar
Fat-free grated Kraft Cheddar Cheese
Cream Cheese
Fat-free Cream Cheese (Wal-Mart has store brand)
Fiber One Bran cereal
Egg Beaters (Wal-Mart has store brand)
Whole wheat flour, half whole wheat and half all purpose
Fruit, canned
Fresh fruit, canned fruit naturally sweetened or sweetened with Splenda
Granola Bars
90 calorie bars—Special K and Fiber One, Slim-Fast  bars
Ground Beef
Extra-lean ground beef, extra lean-ground turkey, soy crumbles
Hot Chocolate
Fat-Free Nestle packets, Sugar free Nesquick chocolate milk powder
Jam, Jelly
Sugar Free Jelly (Wal-Mart has store brand)
Reduced Sugar Ketchup
Mayonnaise/ Salad Dressing
Fat-free Mayonnaise, Fat-free plain yogurt
Meat as the main ing.
Three times the veggies and just a small portion of meat
Fat-free (skim) milk, Almond Breeze unsweetened milk
Unsweetened or sweetened with Splenda applesauce
Whole-wheat pasta, Tofu Shirataki Noodles (sold at Sunflower’s)
Peanut Butter
Better ‘n’ Peanut Butter (sold at Target, Good Earth)
Pie Crust
Fiber One Pie Crust
Philly Swirl Sweet Delites (sold at Wal-Mart)
La Tortilla Smart & Delicious Low Carb/ High Fiber (sold at Wal-Mart, Costco, Sunflower’s Market), Tumaros Gourmet Tortilla (sold at Sunflower’s)
Salad Dressing
Wish Bone salad spritzers, Maple Grove Farms of Vermont sugar free Raspberry Vinaigrette, Pour any dressing in a small container and then dip fork into it then spear lettuce
Soups, creamed
Fat-free creamed soups, pureed cauliflower, non-fat dried milk powder
Sour Cream
Fat-free sour cream, fat-free plain yogurt
Splenda, extra vanilla or sweet spices
Sugar Free syrup (Wal-Mart has store brand)
Wal-Mart brand light yogurt, Fiber One Yogurt (sold at Wal-Mart)


Saturday, June 18, 2011

To My Darling Weight-loss Supporters,

Thank you!  Thank you for reading and following and encouraging me as I started my weight loss journey.  I have really appreciated all your comments (both electronically and in person) and sometimes your support was enough to keep me motivated to keep working and to push harder.

However, the time has come where I am voting myself off The Biggest Loser Challenge.  Counting calories, exercising, loosing weight, etc was becoming an obsession.  I want it to be part of my life, not my entire life.  I will still be exercising every morning and eating healthy every day and (hopefully) still loosing weight.  The only change is I am not going to post weekly updates of my progress.  The biggest reason for this is because I want to focus my life on other things.  I will still be blogging about things I love, experiences, my testimony, yummy recipes, general daily life stuff, etc!  In theory (and hopefully reality), by not blogging weight loss, it will be one less way for me to be obsessive and instead focus on being healthy.

My advice to those of you that I have inspired to start their own TBL challenge:
(1)  always eat 1200 calories a day--this is for female.  I don't know if male would be more or not.  Sometimes it is tempting to think you can eat less and then have bigger numbers at the weigh-in.  But don't do it.  Your body needs energy to survive and you really do need calories.
(2)  try to spread out your calories evenly throughout the day.
(3)  I am not the biggest fan of counting calories and actually don't recommend it.  The calorie count thing is largest contributing factor to where I became obsessive.  Instead, eat healthy food.  Only eat when you are hungry.  Follow the MyPlate guidelines and keep your plate size smaller.
(4)  take lots of pictures before you start.  I didn't want to remember what I was like at my largest but now I wish I had more pictures to compare.  If you don't want to remember it either, just take the pictures and then never look at them.  But at least you will have them down the road, in case you ever decide you do want them!
(5)  Good Luck!  It is worth it!  Have fun and enjoy the journey!
P.S. I know there are several of you that hoping I will post more healthy recipes.  I am working on picking some of my favorite healthy recipes and will continue to keep posting delicious healthy alternatives!

P.P.S.  Please keep following even though the focus won't be on numbers every Monday.  I would love it if you copied our sticker to your blog and/or told others about Living Our Dream Life! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Homemade Bread {fast, healthy, & easy}

What makes a house a home?  Well... some people would say it is having things slightly out of order and looking lived in or others would say kids giggling.  Some might say it is how the house is decorated and others how it smells.  Well, I believe a house becomes a home when it is filled with love.  And since I love cooking (and eating) I would definitely lean towards a house becomes a home when yummy smells are coming from it!

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to watch a presentation from BYUtv's Food Nanny, Liz Edmonds.  She shared the following recipe with me.  I kept thinking about it ALL day and was so excited to come home and try it that night.  Even after being at a teacher conference all day and coming home tired, I still had enough energy to make this super simple and fast bread recipe.  And I fell in love.  Our house smelled like a home that night and it was amazing!  I have not made bread for a long time because it takes forever/ isn't exactly healthy.  Well, this recipe counters those--it is fast and is healthy!  We ate a lot of the bread that first night and then the leftovers were perfect for taking with to my teacher conferences the rest of the week.

Both loaves were the same size.  I forgot to take a picture until after we ate...
1 1/4- 1 1/2 c. warm water, divided
1 1/2 T. yeast
2 t. sugar, divided
2 t. salt
3 - 3 1/4 c. flour

Stir 1/2 c. warm water, yeast and 1 t. sugar together.  Set it aside and let it sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast.  (Note:  Yes, I really did use sugar instead of splenda.  This recipe has nothing else to give the bread structure.  No oil, no baking powder/ soda.  And it needed something to help the gluten develop and stabilize!)

In a large mixing bowl, stir salt, 1 t. sugar and 3 c. flour (Note:  I only used whole wheat flour and it worked great!).  Add the (hopefully frothy) yeast mixture and 3/4 c. warm water.  Stir together until mixed and not sticky.  You might need to add either extra flour (~1/4 c.) or water (~1/4 c.) depending upon the day & weather.  Knead dough for about 5 minutes.  Divide in half and roll each half out into a long log (this is supposed to be a French Baguette).  Lightly spray a cooking sheet and put the two bread logs on it.  Using a sharp knife, slice the top (to allow moisture to escape while cooking).  Cover with a damp, hot linen/ thin towel and rise until doubled.  Bake at 450 * F for about 10 min.  Warning: it is highly addictive and tastes amazing with cinnamon honey butter!  :)

Start to finish, the bread seriously probably took about 40 minutes to make.  Once it was rising and then baking, I quickly worked on making the rest of dinner.

I used the cookie sheet method... the bread kind of rose out instead of up.  There is a pan called a baguette pan--which I desperately want now--which would help the bread be more round than oval shaped.  Still tastes delicious though, just looks a little odd shaped.  Casey was wondering if I could just put the whole thing in one loaf pan and try that.  I'm also thinking this would make some delicious rolls or bread sticks.

Happy HOME Smells! :)