Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving gifts that give back!

Our society as a whole has been trained to believe we need man-made medication, overly processed foods, and products made as cheaply as possible, without regard to the environment. When I changed how I took care of myself, I went for all-natural supplements and a healthy diet. I lost weight and I started feeling better. I was amazed by how awesome natural products are. I started looking around the house, only to realize that while I may be taking care of myself, I wasn't take care of the planet.

Have you looked outside and wondered what life would be like without any trees? Or what happens when the landfills get too full of non-biodegradable plastic? It surely wouldn't be a pretty sight. But we can change that. We can stop using plastic bags in favor of reusable ones. We can bottle our own water, in glass or stainless steel bottles. But how can we help others to do the same? Christmas, or course!

Why not give gifts that give back? I was recently introduced to ethical ocean, an online company that has something for everyone on your wish list, and plenty of stuff you'll want to buy for yourself. I love their search bar - it says 'Search for something ethical'. Very cute :) Every product has a 'Why it matters' section that explains why it is good for the earth, people or animals. I have already added their Easy to Grow Mushroom Garden to my wishlist, as well as a Love Bottle!

And if you are having trouble figuring out what to get for those hard to buy for people on your list, you have to check out Holiday Helper Elf! It's entertaining, and it makes gift giving a cinch! ethical ocean offers free shipping on orders over $75, and I'm certain you can find something for everyone on your list!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Crunchy Green Goodness -Spicy Kale Chips!

I need more greens in my diet. I like salad, but it get boring quick. I never seem to have the right ingredients to make some awesome salads from a few of the other blogs I follow, like Leann's Cranberry Mango Millet Salad at Healthful Pursuit, and Gena's Sprouted Lentil Salad at Choosing Raw.

I have a hate/hate relationship with kale. I can't stand it raw, and my grandmother's recipe involves cooking it like collard greens until it's almost mush. I had high hopes for kale chips, but the last time I tried making them, it was a disaster. I had almost decided that I was never going to try them again. When I realized that the kale in my fridge was going to go bad if I didn't use it, and I was in desperate need of something crunchy, I gave in and gave it another go.

These turned out great. The ingredient list is really small, and it's a very simple to make. I started with Gena's recipe for Spicy Curry Kale Chips, and modified it to my liking. These certainly do not disappoint.


Spicy Kale Chips - Vegan, gluten-free, and can be made raw

> 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 1 hour
> 1 head kale, washed, dried, de-stemmed and cut/ripped into bite-size pieces - the drying is SUPER IMPORTANT. I didn't do this last time, and that's why they came out terrible. I suggest letting them dry on paper towels while waiting for your cashews to soak.
> 1 tsp chili/cayenne powder (I used hot chimayo powder from Savory Spice Shop)
> 1 tsp garlic powder
> 1 pinch sea salt to taste
> 1/4 cup water

Using food processor/magic bullet/blender, blend cashews, chili powder and garlic powder with half the water. If it is still chunky or really thick, add more water. I love Gena's description - you are looking for a nut pate, thin hummus, but not runny. I used a magic bullet, so I just did the water and cashews, then stirred the spices in with a spoon. Add more chili powder if it's not spicy enough for you.

Massage into kale. Get them good and smothered in the cashew sauce. Lay covered kale out on cookie sheet and bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until crunchy. (They took 22 minutes in my oven.) These can be kept raw by using a dehydrator at 115 overnight instead of an oven.

Thankfully I had enough kale to make two pans full, so I could take before and after pics :) And I apologize for my crappy pictures. Oh what I would give to have food pics as awesome as Leann's!

These will definitely be heading to the park with us this afternoon for our anniversary picnic! We've been married 2 years today :)

Before:
After:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

Have you read about my giveaway? You should! Find it here

It's time for Halloween! YAY! This is our favorite time of year, and for good reason. Saturday is our 4 year anniversary, and Monday, Halloween, is our 2 year wedding anniversary! Our apartment complex has lots of decorating competitions throughout the year, and I figured they'd have one for Halloween. I waited and waited for the flyer about it, but it never came. I gave up, and decided I wasn't going to worry about it since I didn't have any money. Then, Hubs took the dog out yesterday and walked back in with a notice about the decorating and pumpkin carving contests! The deadline to enter was TODAY. Yeah. One day to decide if I was competing. The judging is tomorrow. I decided that I needed to carve a pumpkin, and that's what I've been doing all day. The name - 'Blunt Force Trauma'. It's half face, half skull. I'm going to hit the face with a hammer to make the blunt force trauma, and take food coloring to bloody it up. We are adding a toe tag around the stem with his name, 'Lantern, Jack O.', and COD of blunt force trauma. I've got all the carving done, so now I have to beat it up and paint it. I'll be posting pictures when I'm done. I'm also going to be cutting silhouettes out of black trash bags to put in the windows - meat hanging in the kitchen window, and maybe a grim reaper on the patio door.

So as for a song - of course I had to choose a Halloween song. What would be better than This is Halloween from The Nightmare Before Christmas? That song performed by Marilyn Manson :) Enjoy!



Want to join the link up? Head over to Amber's blog, Goodnight Moon and link up!



Sunday, October 23, 2011

My First Giveaway!

My last post was about my decision to start a bakery. I'm very excited about it, and have been getting some fantastic reviews from my taste testers! My menu is small right now, but I am continually working on new recipes to expand it. I'm currently attempting to make a really good gluten free sandwich bread that doesn't have corn, potato, white rice, or soy in it. I hope to have it done by opening day, Nov 1. I know it's weird to open on a Tuesday, but I plan to be very busy celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary on Halloween by scaring little kids :)
I figured one of the best ways to advertise the bakery was to have a blog giveaway. So that's exactly what I'm doing! One lucky reader will receive a $20 gift certificate to I Can't Believe It's Good For Me. The giveaway is open until midnight, Oct. 31. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced on Nov 1.

Here are the rules:
1 - You must complete the mandatory entry.
2 - Post each entry as a separate comment.
3 - Leave your name and email in at least one comment so I can contact you if you are the winner. 

MANDATORY

1-Follow my blog and the I Can't Believe It's Good For Me blog via Google Friend connect and leave a comment saying you have.


The first entry is mandatory, if you don't do it, I will delete your entries. I will check each and every entry before doing the draw. You need to do the first step for the extra entries to count.
_________________________

Extra entries (1 each unless indicated otherwise)

- Tell me what menu item you are most excited to try or suggest a new one, +1
- Subscribe to my blog by e-mail and confirm, right sidebar, +1
- Follow the bakery on Twitter, +1
- Like I Can't Believe It's Good for Me on Facebook , +1
- Blog about this giveaway on your blog and provide a link to your blog, + 3
- Post my button on your blog and provide a link to your blog, +2
- Tweet about this giveaway once a day, post the link in a comment, +1

  "I entered a giveaway for a new PCOS-friendly bakery, @ICBItsGoodForMe, here: http://bit.ly/pjKqwR"
- Post this giveaway on a blog giveaway directory and provide a link to the directory, +2 


Good luck!!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Starting a new business, and I need help with a name!

I'm so excited about this. I haven't been this excited in a long time. I love to bake. I've wanted to start a bakery, but here in Texas, that's been difficult. In order to run a bakery out of your home, you have to have a completely separate kitchen and storage facilities for your business. I understand the reasoning, but dang, really? I'd have no problem with a health inspector visiting my kitchen. I don't mind the licensing. But to either add a second kitchen to our home or rent a commercial kitchen? That requires a large financial investment - which I don't have. Thankfully, the Texas Senate understands. They passed SB 81, a.k.a. the Texas Baker’s Bill or Cottage Foods Bill. As of Sept 1, 2011 you can run a bakery out of your home - no license, no inspection, you can even have pets. The restrictions? You can't sell online, you can't sell at farmer's markets, and you can't make more than $50k a year. No problem. I can deliver in my area. Now the text actually says ''Sec. 437.0194.  SALES BY COTTAGE FOOD PRODUCTION OPERATIONS THROUGH THE INTERNET PROHIBITED. A cottage food production operation may not sell any of the foods described in Section 437.001(2-b)(A) through the Internet." This is all it says about internet sales. Through my interpretation, I can't take orders via the internet. However, I do believe I can take phone orders and receive payment via the internet. However, I am going to continue doing research to find out, because it's not clear, and I want it to be. I think by the time I need to really start working on out-of-town sales, I hope to be in a commercial kitchen so I won't have these restrictions.

Anyways, I said all that to say this. I'm opening my own bakery. It will be PCOS-friendly, obviously. Once I nail down the recipes, I'll be offering cakes, breads, muffins and other pastries, most of which, if not all, will be gluten-free. I know that gluten-free bakeries are trending right now, but I'm focused on making women with PCOS happy. I'll be staying away from corn, potato starch, white rice, and soy. I'll use farmer's market fruits (as much as I can). Healthier sugars like succanat, stevia and agave.

But I need a name. I've never been really good at coming up with names. Do you have any ideas? I'll take any suggestions!

For more info about the new bill: http://www.legis.state.tx.us/BillLookup/Text.aspx?LegSess=82R&Bill=SB81

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011

We got a couple of new games this week - Just Dance 3 and Karaoke Revolution: American Idol Edition. I blogged about JD3 a few days go, you can read it here. Hubs asked me if I wanted to sing for him tonight, so I played Karaoke Revolution again. I've been crowned American Idol twice now, lol. Next time we are going to see if we can get booted off :) Although I can belt out Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On or Rihanna's Unfaithful really well, my favorite song to sing is Hemorrhage by Fuel. Oh, and if you can keep from staring into the singer's eyes during this video, mad props to you!



Join us on this great link-up from Amber at Goodnight Moon!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The new game I love dancing to!

Every few weeks I try a new workout game. If I don't keep switching games, I get bored and just quit. Today I tried Just Dance 3 for the first time, and I really like it!


What's great about JD3 is that they just took JD2 and improved on it. It wasn't a total overhaul, it was just some extra features. As you play, you gain 'Mojo', which in turn unlocks new songs and dance modes. I like games where you have something to work towards. JD2 didn't have that. The song list is fantastic, with a wide variety of speeds and styles. It also has some songs with 4 different dancers, to make things more interesting when playing with friends. My favorite song so far is 'Beautiful Liar', which was originally performed by Shakira and Beyonce. Of course it was a fun, booty-shaking good time :) And you know that song by Cee-Lo, called Forget You? It's on here too. Oh, and I was sweating like crazy after just a few songs - but it was fine with me because I was having so much fun! I can't wait to unlock some more fun songs!

And here's some Cee-Lo, just for the heck of it :P (This is the un-edited version, so be forewarned)



Disclaimer: I am not being paid for this review. This post is solely my opinion.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Had to rant, yet again.

There's been something eating away at me lately. Although I want to be excited for all the ladies in my support groups getting preggo, but it's hard. A lot of them have been getting preggo without 'trying' - they took their focus off getting pregnant and it happened. But instead of being happy for them, it just depresses me even more. We don't get that opportunity. We will always be 'trying' to get pregnant, because we have to use a donor.

It sucks. It feels as though we are worse off than a lot of other couples going through infertility. In a way, we are. We are, without a doubt, 100% not able to have a child that is biologically related to Hubs.  (Unless we use a family member as a donor - and that's just creepy to me. The thought of having to tell my child someday that Dad is really a brother or an uncle is a conversation I never want to have.) We don't have the options for him that I do. I can help improve my fertility with supplements, exercise and diet change. He can't. He might be able to get his issue surgically corrected, but that doesn't guarantee that he'll actually have functioning little soldiers. He could take supplements if he had a low count, but there is a big difference between low count and 0. We have 0. Zip. Nada. Nothing.

It's situations like this that further deepen my belief in the lack of God. How could something all-knowing, caring and loving put two people together, who so desperately want to be parents, only to throw multiple infertility problems our way? If God was out there, listening to the thoughts in my heart, He'd know that I've wanted to be a mom since I was 5. I have literally always wanted to be a mom. And Hubs, he really wants to be a dad. I know he's wanted kids for at least 4 years now. Please, if you disagree with me, good. You have your own opinions. But don't try to tell me that this is all in God's plan. Saddling us with something that causes debilitating and crippling depression is not His plan. Fuck that. It's not in his plan to make drug addicts ridiculously fertile. To watch thousands of children get placed in foster care, hoping for a family to love them.

And yes, someone is thinking 'Why don't you just adopt?'. My response - I would if I could. Adoption fees are outrageously high. Like down payment on a freakin' house high. We are excluded from international adoption because Hubs will always have to rely on a mobility aid. A diagnosis of bipolar disorder and depression also excludes us from qualifying. We are too young to adopt in the States. Granted, we only have a year and a half before we qualify age-wise, that's a lifetime to us. Finding a pregnant woman that wants to have an adoption plan is difficult when you have a small circle of friends/family. It's not like we have a church full of people to ask for help in spreading the word. In all honesty, I'm fairly certain that even if any of my family or friends knew of someone that wanted to give a baby up for adoption, they aren't going to pass along our information.

I know I shouldn't expect other people to care about our problems. I have friends I've known for years, who I've told on many occasions about our issues, that still don't remember the next time the child subject comes up. I can't tell you how much I hate the questions like 'Do you have kids?', 'When are you planning to have kids?', 'Do you want to have kids?' If I wouldn't get in trouble for it, I'd probably punch someone. Sometimes I feel the need to wear a shirt saying 'Warning: you will regret asking me about children.'

I wish these rants made me feel better. It feels good to get everything out in the open, but it doesn't make the thoughts or the pain go away. I don't feel one iota better now than I did when I started writing. but maybe, this may help just one person more sensitive around me. Maybe I wouldn't get text messages of sonograms announcing pregnancy (which really drive me crazy when the father has been home less than a month out of the entire year and still manages to get pregnant. If the friend I'm talking about reads this, I'm sorry. I'm not mad at you. I'm just really depressed that you are getting something I really want without even trying. That's why I don't ask about the pregnancy when we talk.) Maybe someone will stop and think before asking me about our future kids. Maybe my dad will stop telling me he's too young to have grandchildren. Maybe my mother-in-law would stop saying she doesn't care if we have kids or not because she 'already has grandchildren.'

Or maybe life won't change at all, and I'll just continue ranting when I feel I'm about to explode.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Meet Spike!

 We went to visit Hubs' aunt after the 5K was over. She had just recently picked up this cute puppy, Spike, to keep her company, since her last one died a year ago. Spike is a black lab/Pomeranian mix. Wild, right? He's small, soft and fluffy, with an adorable lab face. He's rambunctious and has a little bit of a biting problem. Like all puppies, he thinks everything is edible. He has a tiny white line of fur that goes right down his forehead, hence the name Spike. It's not my choice for a name, because it's so common, but he knows it so it stays. My mom asked me last night if we could give him a middle name so she would have something to call him because she didn't like his name either, lol.


The 3rd day we were there, he stopped being able to keep any food down. Hubs' aunt freaked out, thought he was going to need surgery, and started looking for a no-kill shelter she could take him to. He was still happy and playful, so I wouldn't let it happen. I did some googling (and made calls to the vet) and determined that since he wasn't lethargic, we needed to give him a day without food to clear out his system. Hubs' aunt was still certain that she could not keep him anymore, so I decided that he would be coming home with us.


The next day, he kept his food down just fine. It turns out that he had been left outside, ALONE, for too long and stuffed himself on hackberries and dead leaves. Hubs' aunt was still certain she no longer wanted to keep him, so it was official. He became one of our clan. We bought him an id tag with a jack o' lantern on it. It's been decided that he's our anniversary present to ourselves.


I was worried about bringing him home to the birds, but so far, all is well. He doesn't wake up when the birds are singing/screaming, and he doesn't bark in response. THANK GOODNESS! We're working on basic potty training and no biting. He's great on the leash, and I can tell he's going to be a great workout partner! Because he's such an odd mix, we have no idea how big he is going to get - this will prove interesting :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Barking AHHH

Guest post from: Steve Delaney

For some reason lately, my dog has started barking more than ever. The bark isn’t just a regular bark, it is a shrill. I swear it is loud enough to set off the HOME SECURITY SYSTEMS in the neighborhood! I am just waiting for a knock on the door for my neighbors to complain. When we first started barking like that he was doing it because he wanted in the house. Being an idiot, I let him in a few times when he barked. Now, he wants in the house all the time and barks non-stop. I have been trying to break him of the habit by not opening the door when he demands to get the house. It is so hard though. Eventually, I just give in because his barking drives me absolutely bonkers. I also get anxiety just thinking that the next random phone call is going to be from my neighbors complaining about his barking. I just don’t know what I am going to do! I really don’t want to put a barking collar on him, but I think I may just have to!

PCOS Awareness 5K - Houston TX, Sept 25

I've been gone for the past week and a half, so I haven't done any blogging. I've got so much to talk about! For the sake of my sanity and yours, I'm scheduling several posts to release throughout the week, instead of posting them all at once :)

Two big things happened this past week: PCOS 5K in Houston TX and... we got a dog! His name is Spike, and he's a black lab/pomeranian mix. Pics and more details to come tomorrow!

As for the 5K, hosted by the PCOS Foundation, it was fantastic. To be honest, I didn't think I was going to make it. I don't usually make it more than one lap around the pond at the park, and it's only 4/10ths of a mile. This was over 3 miles!

The walk was along the Sabine-to-Bagby Promenade in downtown Houston. It was a beautiful location, and I enjoyed taking pictures as much as I did walking. There were over 100 runners and at least 150 walkers. I was not expecting such a huge turnout, but it was fantastic! Can't wait to try and get one going in Dallas!








Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Eating Healthy with Spry!

As any of my readers know, I love recipes. I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite dish, whether it be gluten free, raw, vegan, etc. I was recently introduced to SpryLiving.com and I wanted to share it with you. It is the online community that goes hand-in-hand with a newspaper distributed magazine.

When you first visit SpryLiving.com, you are greeted with a user-friendly page. The colors are calm, and I love the background image of clouds. The font is clear and easy to read. It is a picture heavy site, so it takes a little longer to load on slower connections, but I did not find it bothersome. I am usually not a fan of the dropdown menus like this because they tend to switch to different tabs on accident. This one, however, did not. I am impressed with the programmer(s) behind this interface :)

I particularly like the healthy eating section, obviously. They have dozens of articles for a wide range of people, from help navigating college cafeterias to recipes that help fight cancer. I couldn't help but read this article - Great Gluten-Free Sweets. The two recipes I am most excited to try are for GF Banana Bread and Carrot Cake. Yummy :) I'm also going to find some veggie recipes I can use with produce I get from the farmer's market this weekend!

SpryLiving.com has a weekly eNewsletter you can sign up for, as well as connections to all the major social networks. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Party!

Last Friday I decided to call up Talon and invite her, as well as Ooka and Starr, over for dinner. I was in the mood to cook, so I needed people to share it with. I apologize in advance for my poor food photography skills. I really need to work on that. Any recommendations how to take better food pics?


The Menu:
- Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
- Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
- Beefy Quinoa
- Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple

Italian Mozzarella Meatballs
Ingredients
12 tbsp gluten free italian breadcrumb mix
2 lbs grass-fed, organic ground beef
1.5 cup ketchup
1 large free-range egg
1 cup shredded italian blend or mozzarella cheese

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients together. Using an ice-cream scoop, form the meat into balls and place on a large edged cookie sheet. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes, depending on the size.

Beefy Quinoa
My mom bought me a rice cooker last month, and I have fallen in love. Never again will I cook grains/seeds on the stove. But if you don't have a rice cooker, that's ok. Put 1 part quinoa into 2 parts beef broth in a large saucepan. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is cooked through - see picture for example. It's difficult to describe.

Parmesan Pesto Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients
1-2 pounds brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
2 tbsp EVOO
4 tbsp Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle from Savory Spice Shop
Optional: Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions
Pre-heat oven to 350. Toss brussels sprouts in olive oil and parmesan pesto seasoning and put mix into a baking dish. Roast for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until brussels sprouts start to get crispy on the outside. Remove from oven and serve with optional extra parmesan cheese!

Garlic Mushrooms and Asparagus
Ingredients
1-2 pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed
1/2 pound cremeni mushrooms, washed and sliced
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 cup beef broth
2 tbsp EVOO

Directions
Saute garlic in large skillet on medium heat with EVOO. Add sliced mushrooms and saute until soft. Add asparagus and beef broth. Cover, reduce to medium heat and steam for 10-15 minutes, or until aspargus is cooked to your liking. (I like them just a little crunchy)



Chocolate Covered Strawberries and Pineapple
I melt my chocolate in the microwave. It's really easy to do, the trick is to do it slowly. Usually I fill a coffee cup halfway with dark chocolate chips, microwave for 40 seconds, stir. If it's not completely melted, add another 10-20 seconds in the microwave, then stir again. Keep doing this until chocolate is melted.

I chopped a pineapple into bite size chunks, sliced the tops off the strawberries, and arranged on a large pan.I spooned the melted chocolate into a sandwich bag, snipped off a small corner, ans piped the chocolate over the fruit. This is easier than dipping - especially with the pineapple. It is wet, so the chocolate doesn't stick very well. When piped, it does.

Everyone loved dinner that night, and of course dessert was the biggest hit.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Japanese Gardens and a Camera Phone

Hubs took me to the Farmer's Market last week. It was all part of a bribe - if he took me to the farmer's market, we could go out for breakfast and go to a new store he'd been wanting to check out. Latte Da Dairy, my fave goat cheese dairy, was having a sale at the market that day, and I was willing to do anything to go. After stopping at Waffle House, we headed to the farmer's market. I picked up kalamata olive feta and mango tango chevre from Latte Da Dairy, beautiful purple eggplants, a bushel of black-eyed peas (in the shell!) and spicy pork tamales. We then realize that we have an hour to kill before his store opens, so we decide to head over to the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. I have had a year membership to since April and just now used it. As we are parking, I realize I don't have my camera, and I'm ticked. But I decide to make the best of it and use Hubs' phone. It actually takes decent pictures.

Hubs, rocking his "I Wear Teal For My Wife" PCOS Awareness shirt, feeds fish on the stepping stones

I love having photos of the two of us to remember trips :)
We also went to a garage sale where I picked up a new yoga DVD which I LOVE - Sara Ivanhoe's Yoga 20-min Makeover - Flat AbsHubs got to go to his store, too. The funny part of this whole story - I had my camera the whole time. It was under my seat in the car, where I had hid it earlier in the week.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Gluten Free Eggplant and Tomato Pizza

Gluten Free Eggplant and Tomato Pizza
Ingredients
4 small or 1 large eggplant
8 large Roma tomatoes
4 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp basil
1 small can tomato paste
salt to taste
1/2 batch Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Dough
1 cup Italian blend or mozzarella cheese
Optional - add roasted peppers to taste

Directions
Cut 'X' in each tomato and drop in boiling water for one minute. Remove from water and transfer to bowl of ice water. Allow to cool. While the tomatoes are cooling, slice the eggplant into small, bite-size strips. Saute garlic in olive oil in skillet, then add eggplants, sauteing till brown. Peel skin off tomatoes and dice. Add tomatoes, basil, salt and tomato sauce to eggplant mixture, (add roasted peppers if desired) mix and simmer for 20 minutes. Mix should be thick but pourable, like spaghetti sauce. Pre-bake the GF Pizza Dough according to package instructions. Remove eggplant and tomato mixture from stove and spread onto pizza dough. Top with cheese and bake the crust again according to package instructions. Enjoy!

Sadly I do not have pictures :( Nonetheless, it did get rave reviews from my mom, my hubby, and our friends, Ooka and Talon!

Labor Day Picnic at the Park

Finally! The weather is cooling down and we can go walking again! Labor Day was the first awesome day, so we picked up BBQ, had a picnic at the park, then walked around the pond. I'm glad I had my camera, because you have to see how bad this Texas drought is with your own eyes. Thankfully, though, it poured last night. It's not nearly enough to pull us out of the drought, but it's a start.

10 feet off the shore, the geese are standing in the water, not swimming.

This is the waterline on the opposite end of the pond.

We aren't allowed to swim in the pond, but we can stand in it!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday - Sept 1, 2011

There are two big things going on this week for our little family. We have grown larger by one more featherbaby, Mona. She is an adorable little parakeet with the most unusual watercolor markings. The picture I posted really doesn't do her justice, but it's the best one I could get.




It's also September, which means PCOS Awareness Month! I made a couple of profile pics for Facebook, and welcome anyone to use them! If you would like a custom ribbon text, I can do that for 50 cents. 25 cents will be donated to inCyst Research Institute in CA. Just email me at wallacedesigns (at) gmail (dot) com with your paypal email and your choice of text up to 14 characters (including spaces), and I'll send you a paypal invoice for 50 cents. As soon as I receive payment, I'll send the picture!



Oh yeah, isn't it time for a song? Well... how about some beautiful Nat King Cole? Here's Mona Lisa



Want to join us and share your song? Head to Amber's beautifully newly updated blog, Goodnight Moon and link up! And enter her awesome giveaway while you're at it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

My featherbaby, Squeaks :)

I'm glad that Stress Free Infertility is doing a Furry Friday Friend Link Up. I need some cuteness to brighten my day. I don't have a furbaby, I have a featherbaby. His name is Squeaks, and he's a Green Cheeked Conure (GCC). He's smart as a whip, with a smart-ass attitude to boot :) He won't curl up in your lap like a cat, but he'll sit on your shoulder and snuggle up under your hair. He wears bells as hats, plays dead when he doesn't think he's getting enough attention, and attacks dots of light from laser pens. He cries 'Mama' in his gravelly, almost undecernable voice when I'm not in the house. He gets mad at Daddy if he doesn't get a belly rub every morning. He wakes up on the wrong side of the bed if he doesn't get 12 hours of sleep. He believes he should never have a clean water bowl, and the water faucet is evil - he expresses his opinion quite vocally :)


In June 2009, we decided we wanted to get a GCC. With our infertility issues, birds were/are much cheaper than kids. We had fallen in love with Houdini, a GCC at a local pet store. Houdini crawled up on my shoulder and fell asleep on multiple occasions, and he didn't do that with any other customers. When we finally had the money, we went to the pet store. We were 2 hours late. Someone had purchased Houdini. I was heartbroken. Then we were told we could special order a GCC baby from the breeder, and the store would wean it for us. They said it would be a great bonding experience, because we could come in and see him, play with him and hold him all we wanted. So we did. When we first saw him, he was a pitiful little bird with gray fluffy feathers. And it was love at first sight. All the noise he could muster was this high-pitched squeak. It was the perfect name for him, and he seemed to like it. Those gray feathers were soon replaced with every color in the rainbow. He's a little over 2 years old now, still a baby really, since parrots live 20-45 years. There have been times when I wish he had a mute button, would keep his water bowl clean for just a few hours, or didn't have a secret desire to be a vampire. But even when he drives me crazy, I love him. He really is my child, and I'm glad Houdini wasn't available.

   


Want to show off your furbaby or featherbaby? Head over to the Stress Free Infertility blog and link up!

Changing Scents

In my circle of friends, cigarettes are a hot button issue. Zim smokes, as does Hubs. Jayxe, however, has no interest in them whatsoever, and I just quit. I have been contemplating introducing the 'Smoke Outside' rule, but until the weather cools down, that would just be mean of me. Zim bought an e-cigarette recently, and it inspired me to do some research into them for Hubs.

The electronic cigarette, A.K.A. e-cig, is a small, cigarette-shaped electronic device that emits a nicotine-laced vapor when inhaled. There is no tobacco, tar or carbon monoxide. There is no second-hand smoke. There's no odor! The money that it could potentially save us would be fantastic, also.

I spent some time at http://www.safecig.com, a company which claims to have the Best Electronic Cigarette. I do not back up this claim, simply because I have not tried the product. The website itself is fairly simple to navigate, although the main page may seem cluttered by the 'As Seen on' logos. The font is clear, and the colors are easy on the eyes.

If I decide to purchase this, I'm most interested in the Starter Kit Pro. For $89.95, you get 2 e-cigarette batteries, 2 chargers, and a 5 pack of refill cartridges. We bought an e-cigarette for my mother-in-law last year, and spent over $100 for comparable product, so the price already seems better. I only have one concern so far - I cannot seem to find anywhere on the website that discusses how long a refill cartridge lasts. At $12.50 for a set of 5 cartridges, this is still cheaper than buying real cigarettes, but I'm curious as to how often I would be buying them. I've seen comments in the reviews about how long the cartridges last, but I would like to know what is (or isn't) advertised.

It sure would be nice to have a cleaner-smelling home, without having to force the hubby outside in the heat :) If you'd like to check this product out for yourself, visit the Safe Cig website, http://www.safecig.com.

Disclaimer: I have been paid for this review. All opinions are completely my own, based on my review of the website/product.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

This week is a little happier than last week :) My sister is finally in town to help us work on our latest venture, making ugly things pretty. Still don't have a company name, but we'll figure it out sooner or later. This is the ringtone I have for my mom and my sister! Here's Sister Sledge with We Are Family.



Join the link-up at Amber's blog and check out her giveaway!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

GLUTEN FREE chocolate heaven in a cup

Sometimes you just have to have chocolate, right? Last weekend a couple of friends of ours came over to hang out for their birthday. As the end of the day was nearing, I realized that they didn't get any birthday cake. *I'll pause for you to gasp like I did :)* I made sure they liked chocolate, then proceeded to make them a birthday cake! The best part - besides the cake itself - it only takes a couple of minutes to cook, in the MICROWAVE!!! Enjoy drooling over the picture, then make one for yourself! You won't regret it!



(I topped this one with chocolate dipped strawberries to make it pretty)

Gluten Free Chocolate Cake in A Mug:

Ingredients:
4 tbsp almond flour
4 tbsp honey powder (or sugar/powdered sugar substitute)
2 tbsp cocoa powder (the darker the better)
1 egg
3 tbsp milk (I use chocolate hemp milk. almond milk is also really good)
3 tbsp flax oil (various oils can be substituted)
1/2 tsp GF vanilla extract
3 tbsp chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:
In small bowl, mix all dry ingredients well. Add egg and mix thoroughly. Mix in wet ingredients until smooth. Add 3 tbsp chocolate chips if you really like chocolate! Pour batter into a greased oversized coffee mug and microwave for 2:40-3:00 minutes. It will be done when the cake pulls away from the side of the mug and is spongy to the touch. Allow to cool for 1-2 min, remove from cup and enjoy! Makes enough for 2, if you want to share :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

What's Your Song? Thursday - Aug 18, 2011

Stressed out this week. Busy and exhausted. I've been singing Annie to keep myself happy. I like this video, because it's so interesting to see how Annie was cast over the years in various countries. Enjoy!



Join the link-up at Amber's blog and checl out her giveaway!

Running on empty

Who knew that taking time off from work could be so exhausting? This week I have been working with my mom to get some stuff made so we can finally start selling. After 3 trips to Joann fabrics and hours in the sewing room, we still have nothing. I often listen to my mom complain about what it's like to live with my grandparents, who are slowly going senile. It's one thing to listen, but to actually be there all day every day and actually watch everything she complains about makes me want to go home and hide in bed. I love my family, but sometimes they can over-react, especially my mom. I've played mediator this week, and I'm not sure I'm doing anything except stressing myself out.

But I still have some hope. We received the anti-static bags we've been waiting for, so Hubs and I can tear down the servers taking up so much of my dining room and get them to a friend to sell this weekend. Besides another trip to the fabric store to get ribbon, I don't think we have any more shopping to do before we actually get all of our pouf ottomans and t-shirt shrugs ready for sale this weekend as well. We had some major setbacks with both the ottomans and the shrugs, but I think we have overcome them and tomorrow will go much better. Here's to hoping.

Thankfully I've been able to enjoy parts of this week - there are two hummingbirds fighting for the feeder in my grandmother's backyard. They've been pretty entertaining. I've also enjoyed getting addicted to tennis on Wii Sports. Hubs and I can kick some computer butt :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Trying to deal with my kids growing up

Guest post written by Ben Hughes

I'm really attached to my kids. They're not even that old yet though and it feels like they're growing up so fast on me! Our oldest one is starting kindergarten this year and I think that she's really going to love it. But it's going to be hard one me, my wife and the younger kids when she's not at the house all the time now.

I really went online to find some resources for myself about how to deal with it personally, but then I thought that it might be good to also find some tips on how the kids could deal with it. While I was looking online for that, I ran across the site CLEAR-INTERNET.com. I showed it to my wife and after that we decided to change over our home internet service to it.

I did find a bit of parenting advice. I think the best advice that I found was to relax because there are still lots of other firsts to worry about along the way. I thought that was pretty good, so I'm taking it to heart.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sabbatical - Week 2 Checkin

I've been a pretty crappy blogger this past week. I figured that I would blog more since I had more time, but that obviously wasn't the case. I started my sabbatical a week ago. I worked out M-Th last week, then did a lot of walking around garage sales with my mom on Friday. The weekend, though, was useless. I didn't do anything. I ate fairly well, if you don't count the pizza we ordered last night, and the nachos at Movie Tavern. I've been pretty mad at myself, because even though I've done a lot of working out, the scale has gone up even more. I've really got to get back on track with my diet and get rid of the Veggie Stix (veggie flavored potato sticks.) Of course I say this as I wait for my GF cinnamon raisin bread to rise so I can stick it in the oven.

I didn't do Fat Ass Friday this week because the scale said 243. It just made me want to cry. I decided to wax my chin this week (Excess hair is a major problem with PCOS), and now I have a golf-ball sized patch of flaky, red skin on my chin, along with hair that didn't get ripped out. I tried a mask from Central Market to soothe the skin, but to no avail.

But we have been doing some good things around the house. We bought two cute black bar stools to go with the table I bought a few months ago. The table attaches to the wall, and can be folded down when not in use. We're going to stain it with a dark cherry. I'm going to re-upholster the seats of the chairs to a darker color so they don't look dirty all t he time. We've also started picking up the mess in the dining room so we can start using it again. As soon as the dining room is clean, my mom and I will start doing some of our refurbishing projects to make some extra money. We have serving trays to decorate, poof ottomans to sew together, an adorable rocking horse to stain and other little craft projects. I'll post pictures as we proceed :)

So this week I want to ramp up the exercise, focus more on the diet, and get some projects done!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sabbatical - The Plan

Monday was officially the first day of my 2-3 month sabbatical. I decided that I needed to take a break for my health after my employment contract ended. I want to focus on getting more exercise, losing weight, and starting to feel better as a whole. I also decided that I needed to quit smoking. Although I had drastically cut back in the past few months, smoking no more than 3-4 a day, down from 10. I stopped Friday.

Here's the plan:
  • Breakfast - Fruity Hemp Protein Smoothie, Supplements
  • Exercise - Up to one hour of exercise, at least 20 minutes.
  • After workout snack - 5 min quinoa flake bake. Flavor depends on the fruit in the house, and the matching recipe from one of my favorite blogs: Healthful Pursuit. These are absolutely fantastic, and so versatile!
  • Lunch - Yummy salad, ingredients dependent on the produce in the house, topped with a gluten-free dressing, Supplements
  • Exercise - Up to one hour of exercise, at least 20 minutes.
  • After workout snack - Nut and granola bar
  • Dinner - A delicious dinner, gluten free and low carb.

So far things have been going fairly well. I found a great new game called ExerBeat. I really like it because it has a ton of different exercises. Even better, though, it has a story line. I was in shock. A workout game with a story? How unusual is that? In this game, you accrue miles for the time you have worked out. Those miles are used in the story line to move your character around the world.

I've worked out for an hour each day, and haven't eaten anything too terribly bad for me. I've cleaned the kitchen, done a few loads of laundry, and overall felt relaxed. The ability to relax is really important to me right now, as I feel that I haven't been able to do that since I started working. The hubby and I have been putting puzzles together every night :) It's been fun getting to enjoy something like that with him - when I was working we'd just watch tv together.

The only problem I am now encountering has to do with my teeth. The far back right side of my mouth hurts really bad. It only happens at night, when I'm trying to sleep. I'm in so much pain that I can't sleep (Hence the reason I'm finishing this post at 3 am...) I'm currently waiting for tylenol to kick in so I can get some rest. So far, from the research I have done, it could be one of several things - Nicotine withdrawal, a new side effect of my anti-depressants, TMJ, or wisdom teeth. I've ruled out wisdom teeth because it doesn't hurt all the time, and I don't grind my teeth, so it's not likely TMJ. I've been on this anti-depressant now for almost 2 months, and this just started 2 days ago, so it's likely nicotine withdrawal. I guess since it's the only withdrawal symptom I'm having I should be happy, but it's hard when it hurts so much.

Well, I'm going to try to get some sleep now. I have a 10% off coupon for my local farmer's market tomorrow, but I have to use it between 9 am and 1 pm. I need some sleep so I can be productive! Tomorrow's tasks - farmer's market, more laundry and hopefully some more house cleaning!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Want to win an entry into a weight loss challenge? I do!

For the last 8-9 months, I've been participating in the Soul Cyster's Weight Loss Challenge, ran by Christina at Mrs. O's Life. I did great in the first one, and won 3rd place. This time, I totally failed. I'm just hoping I get lucky enough to show a 0.1 pound loss this weekend when I submit my final weigh-in. The next challenge starts on Monday. I really want to participate again, but don't have the money this time. Since tomorrow is my last day at work, paying for anything other than food, rent and utilities is pretty much out of the question right now. Thankfully Christina decided to do a giveaway for SCWLC entries. She's giving away to entries to the challenge, so I'm doing everything I can to have a better chance of winning!

Do you have PCOS and need to lose weight too? The entry fee is $20, and it starts Monday. I'm going to assume that late entries are allowed, since we did that for the current challenge. The giveaway for 2 free entries lasts through tomorrow, so you could win one, too! The giveaway is on her personal blog Mrs. O's Life. Here's the link for the challenge itself! Soul Cyster's Weight Loss Challenge

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

It's Thursday! And today is a good day. Besides it being What's Your Song? Thursday, I'm excited to show off a newly redesigned blog! I even have a legitimate domain name now! www.FightingPCOSNaturally.com! Don't worry, all the old links from my blogger name still work just fine. I am still doing a little tweaking to the colors of the fonts and headers, but this was publishable. I'm becoming a full-time blogger bext week, and in order to make money off of it, I had to incorporate ads. I'll do my best to keep them simple :)

Tomorrow is my last day at work. My contract is up, and I need time to focus on my health. Along with the new blogging venture, I plan on doing lots of crafty stuff, and EXERCISE! I have several new yoga workout games for the Wii, and I can't wait to try them out. I'm hoping to start out with 30min of exercise 2-3 times a day, then work up to 1+ hour twice a day, at least. I'll have plenty of free time, so I'm going 'Biggest Loser' on myself and working out as much as I can. Obviously if you are not physically inclined, it's necessary to start out slow and build up, so you don't hurt yourself. The goal is to lose 30-40 pounds by our anniversary on Halloween. That gives me a full 3 months. I totally believe it's possible :)

So here's my song for the week. I was trying to find something that related a little more to what's happening to me this week, but I was overthrown by my husband singing to me! He started singing All You Need Is Love, and I can't help but continue the Elephant Love Medley from Moulin Rouge. Hands down, that's one of my top 4 favorite musicals! (The others being Chicago, Grease and Phantom of the Opera). So sing along if you know the words!



Do you want to join up with us? Head to Amber's blog, Goodnight Moon and link up!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fat Ass Friday - July 22, 2011

I skipped last week's Fat Ass Friday because I didn't like what the scale said. Well, I didn't like what it said this week, either, but then I realized something. I can't hold myself accountable if I ignore it. And I'm not helping anyone learn about PCOS if I don'tr share the real, honest truth, no matter how much it depresses me. Apparently I deleted the picture from my phone, so no scale pic today.

Starting weight: 233
Last week's weight (Two weeks ago): 234.4
Current weight: 240.0
Weight +GAIN / -LOSS this week: +5.6
Total weight lost: +7.0

I was the same this week as I was last week, and I want to cry. Granted, I'm not working out. I've failed part of my 21-day challenge again. However, just one more week before I become a stay-at-home whatever, and have plenty of time to work out. Hubs understands how important this is for me, and he's supposed to be helping me work out more, now that I'll have more time to do it. I'm really hoping to work up to at least an hour of exercise a day - but I know I need to start out slow so I don't hurt myself.

This is a constant battle with PCOS. Just a week can make a huge difference. Eat too many potato chips one day, and you're regretting it for weeks to come. Stop exercising, and it comes back.

I'm trying. Really, I am. I guess I'm just not trying hard enough. Here's hoping that next week goes better! Are you going to link up with us? Head to Brandy's blog You Don't Know, to link up!



Oh, just a side note - Happy 11th anniversary, Dad and Sherry!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

e-mealz Shopping Trip #1

Last night I went shopping with my e-mealz shopping list. I'm on the Low Carb Any Store for 2 plan. The average is supposed to be around $50. I would agree that $50 is about right for this list. However, I don't shop cheap. I buy organic, grass-fed beef and hormone free chicken. That increased my budget by about $20. I also bought a whole bunch of other stuff, like chips and salsa, extra fruits and veggies, and lunch stuff for Hubs. I'll let you know next week if the recipes are as good as they sound :)

I would be super happy if we lived on a farm and I could raise my own chickens. I'm not sure it would save me a lot of money, but it would make me feel better. At least the money I'm spending on the meat I purchase now is going to local farms instead of store chains. I guess I need to start looking for homes for rent out in the country, where I can have some chickens. And goats. Why? Because goats are cute. They jump in the air and dance. How can you be stressed and worried when you have these little guys as entertainment?



I can't wait until we have some land.

What's Your Song? Thursday Link Up!

Well, my contract with this company is up at the end of next week. I'm going to be working out A LOT, cooking more, cleaning and organizing the house, and getting some crafting done. My health is the most important thing right now. I have been stuck at the same weight for several months now, and it ticks me off. I need to start working out more and really focusing on what I eat. I'm also still in school, working on my Master's. Once I get my Master's, I can get a job teaching, which is what I would really like to do. I might have to get a part-time job during this hiatus, but that's not a big deal. I'd be happy with a part-time job that I enjoy - one that doesn't stress me out like this one. And you know what? I'm not stressing about losing my income. I'm relieved that I'm going to be doing something good for myself. It may be a little tight on cash for a while, but that's what coupons and sales are for. I also plan on selling some of my craft projects for extra cash too.

So this week's song is about being happy, no matter what bad things are going on in life. This is my grandfather's favorite song, and one of mine as well. I hope you enjoy! Here's Bobby McFarrin with Don't Worry, Be Happy.



Want to join the link up? Head over to Amber's blog, Goodnight Moon!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

America's Got Talent - Silhouettes

I'l be honest - I rarely talk about TV shows. Although I have my favorites, and ones that I just have to watch (like almost all the competition shows on Food Network!), I don't write about them. What we saw last night, though, is an exception.

Hubs and I don't watch America's Got Talent. But somehow, that's what we started watching last night, and the channel never got changed, even after the Justin Bieber lookalike performed. The very last performance of the night was from a group called The Silhouettes, from Denver, Colorado. They use a massive light and a screen to make shapes. You know how you used to make birds and dogs with your fingers and a flashlight? Yeah - that's kid stuff compared to this group. And their performance was amazing. They got all 10 of my votes. Check out the performance:



They even increased the size of their group by 4 people from the audition to the Hollywood performance. Here is their original audition (I liked last night's much better, but this was good too!):



So is it obvious who I'll be voting for?

Want to know more about them? Check out their website! The Rocky Mountain Silhouettes

Monday, July 18, 2011

Experimentation - e-mealz!

So the next step I have taken in my weight loss journey is my new subscription to e-mealz.com. I have heard rave reviews about this company, and for the low price of $5 a month, I decided it wouldn't hurt to try.

I <3 Emealz

e-mealz is a subscription service that provides you with a menu plan for the week, as well as a shopping list (in most cases, with prices!) to help you shop. With the recent changes Hubs and I are making to better take care of my health, I'm trying to save money anywhere I can. (Reducing stress does wonders for weight loss!) I waste a TON of money on food. I buy more than I need, and it goes bad. Not cool when you're on a budget. They have low carb, gluten free, and portion control menus, as well as regular, no limits menus. For those with kids, they have larger plans to feed more, and they have one for people like me, who only need to feed 2 people. The 2 people menu plans are budgeted to spend $30-$50 a week, and the larger, 4-6 people plans are $80-$100. All of these come for $1.25 a menu plan, on 3-month subscriptions. I signed up for the Low-Carb Any Store 2 Person plan. Sadly, the gluten free plan was only for 4-6 people, so I figured I'll just modify mine slightly when necessary to keep it gluten free.

I've decided that I am going to give this program 3 months - the length of one $15 subscription. The new menus are posted every Wednesday for me (different days for different plans, based on your store choice), the same day all the new sales start. I'm going to print the meal plan and shopping list and put it in a binder so I don't lose it. Once I have the list, I'm going to use it to find coupons to save even more money, then get shopping! Granted, these meal plans only provide dinner options, but I make smoothies for breakfast ad eat leftovers for lunch. If I make sure to make 3 servings for dinner, I can make my lunch for the next day. Perfect! As for the hubby, if he even eats during the day at all, he's perfectly content with Totino's pizzas and canned ravioli. He's so easy to please :)

I'll start Wednesday. This gives me some time to use what I have left in the fridge and freezer. Since I'm only going to be shopping for a week at a time, I need plenty of room in my fridge to hold everything - no need to freeze meat if I'm going to use it that fast. I'll post about my first experience shopping on Wednesday!

Emealz - Easy Meals for Busy People!