Thursday, July 31, 2008

Betcha Can't Guess!

So the other day while I was buying fresh eggs from my friend S., we began discussing how expensive it is to eat healthier, organic food.

My pocketbook is weeping, my friends.

She has a son who needs to eat gluten free so she feels my monetary pain. She's been feeling the pain for many years now and is somewhat of an expert on where to find good deals. Not cheap deals, but still better than the average health food store's prices.

Anyway, she was telling me about this nifty little store not far from her that sells organic, healthy foods at discount prices. It's the equivalent of an appliance store's scratch and dent section. To say I was intrigued was an understatement.

And so yesterday I drove out to her house and after a lovely lunch, we set out to find some healthy savings. I'll be honest and say it was not the short drive I was expecting, but the anticipation of The Land of Great Savings Beyond My Wildest Dreams, pushed me onward.

And lo, my friends, the deals were plenteous! I was filled with great happiness and my pocketbook wept for savings and joy!

Here is what I brought home...

The haul would include:
  • 2 boxes Mother's Cocoa Bumpers cereal
  • 1 box Barbara's Puffins Cinnamon cereal
  • 1 box Barbara's Puffins Honey Rice cereal
  • 2 boxes Annie's Bunny crackers
  • 1 box Late July Peanut Butter crackers
  • 1 box Healthy Handfuls Organic Chocolate Chip Chimpies
  • 1 box Healthy Times Organic Maple Arrowroot cookies
  • 1 28 oz can Eden Organic crushed tomatoes
  • 1.5 lbs organic shredded coconut
  • 2.8 lbs organic rolled oats
  • 2 lbs raw sugar
  • 2 lbs organic grapes
  • 1 box NatraCare Natural Chlorine-Free Nursing Pads
(I don't normally buy this much "snacky" food, but at these prices I couldn't resist. We've been wanting to try a few things, but didn't want to spend the money all in the name of experimentation.)

So, anybody want to take a wild guess at how much I paid for all this??? (this would exclude my friend S. and her family and my hubby) To give you and idea how much I pay on a normal basis for some of these things, I'll give you a few little helps.

The other day, this kind of cereal cost me $3.99 a box at Whole Foods. Organic grapes cost me $2.99 per lb. And the Annie's crackers cost me $2.99 a box at Target. That's all the help you get!

Come on...bethcha can't guess!

** I just realized if you enlarge the picture you can see some of the prices. In the name of honesty and fairness, please don't do this. We all know cheater's never prosper. And I will send the cyber police after you. I mean it! :) **

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Randomness. Because It's My Forte.

In spite of myself, I've been relatively productive lately. Why yes, yes I have. Now don't get me wrong. I haven't like cleaned my house from top to bottom or anything because that would be called or-gan-i-za-tion. And we all know my issues with organization.

But I have been busy.

I call it my pre-nesting. But mostly I just figure it's God's grace to me since my little Corn Nut is due somewhere right smack dab in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas. How's that for a happy holiday?!

I'm wanting a Thanksgiving Day baby, personally. How great would that be? Talk about thankful! I would just want to go into labor before the meal, of course. Could you imagine eating all that food and then going into labor??? OY! I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that one!!

Wow! Where did all that come from?!

Anyway, these are some of the things I've done in the last 7 days:
  • Sent 7 boxes to Goodwill (much, much more to go. No hostages here.)

  • Cleaned out freezer in the kitchen fridge.

  • Cleaned out ALL unhealthy products from the master bath. I am purging us of our parabens and phthalates, yall.

  • Cleaned off my nightstand. (You're probably saying "big whoop" to this one, but let me tell you, it was not pretty. I found 22 ponytail holders and 12 hair clips. Yes, I have a hair problem.)
  • Cleaned out two kitchen cabinets and purged us of a lot of unhealthy plastics and unnecessary kitchen gadgets.

And just in case you don't believe me, here's a picture to prove it.

The contents on top of the nightstand include:

  • alarm clock (yeah, right)
  • land phone (because we lose our power sometimes)
  • pretty flowers (compliments of Goodwill)
  • Voddie Baucham book, pregnancy journal and something else that escapes me.
  • Burt's Bees Apricot Oil, Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm and stretch mark cream. Because if my stretch marks get much worse Rand McNally will be consulting with me. And before long I'll be lifting my shirt to give people directions to Dallas.
  • my lamp
I took a picture of my freezer, but it must have been deleted because I can't find it. Actually I took a before picture that showed I only had 3 pounds of butter left. I panicked, ran to Costco and came home with 4 more pounds. 7 pounds of butter is much, much better than only 3 pounds. And all is well with the world once again.

I also purchased this wreath at Costco. I love it very much, but it is causing me great distress over just where I want to hang it.

And lastly, just for your viewing pleasure, here are the stupid things I do while laying in my bed after my sweet little Hope has gone to sleep. I like to call this series, Overly Tired Woman With a Camera.

My personal favorite is the last one. I like to call it my Whatchoo Talkin' 'Bout Willis.

And there you have it interpeeples. It ain't pretty, but it's all I got.

Anyone else been busy lately?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Prenatal Yoga is the Devil

It is, my friends. I was there. I witnessed it first hand.

Yoga is not a sport. It is more like a state of mind. A state that I don't want to visit!

I'm not saying it is not a workout. Oh, no, no, no. The muscles in my back and legs can vouch for that. It's a workout, just not a fun one. I don't want a workout where I'm all peaceful in the end. I want a workout where there's competition! Where somebody wins or loses! Where people are cheering you on! Where blood is a definite possibility! Where closing your eyes is not a part of the game!

I don't seek focus through breathing, folks. Nope, just can't do it. Keeping your eye on the ball? Now that's focus.

I went last week to the yoga class and hated it then. I really wasn't even sure if I wanted to go back, until at my chiropractor appointment today, my doc told me I really needed it to help strengthen my back.

Stupid chiropractor. ( I really do love my chiropractor(s) - I just hate it when he's right. And he usually is, so I listen.)

And so I went back. And I breathed and I inhaled and I exhaled... and I was bored out of my ever-lovin' mind! The nice yoga lady mentioned that too. She said if you're bored while doing yoga then you're not really doing yoga.

Ya think?

All I could think of was how much I wanted a biscuit. And if I went into the Goddess pose one more time, I would surely pee myself in front of all these gestating women.

And the self image issues I'm having. Heavens to Betsy some of these women are flexible! And they all have such young, cute, tight bodies. Did I mention tight? Of all the words in the English language I can honestly say tight is not one that I would ever use to describe my body!

My chiropractor's wife (who is also an awesome chiropractor and who adjusted my back while in excruciating back labor with Hope and is my friend and is expecting also) asked me after class how I liked it.

I didn't lie. I told her I hated it. She confided in me that when she started, she hated it too. BUT...the more she went the easier it got and soon she found herself liking it. Hmpf.

So, I guess I'll keep going. And from here on out, Tuesdays will be known as The Devil Yoga Update. Who knows...maybe I'll end up liking it. Highly unlikely, but maybe.

But if I pee myself doing the Goddess pose I'm not tellin' you.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Discouragement and Disappointment

We all face discouragement and disappointment at some point or another in our lives. It's just part of this thing we call living. Some seem to face the lion's share while others seem to coast through life with barely a bump in the road. And it doesn't make sense sometimes.

I'm there right now. I am both discouraged and disappointed.

I won't get into the whys or how comes. It doesn't matter. It's just the path I'm on right now. I'll admit, it's not fun. I'll be honest and confess that I've done (am doing) my fair share of crying and wallowing (Monk would verify that I'm an overachiever in this area). Some days are worse than others. This week, for some reason, has been especially difficult.

This past Thursday was just downright brutal as something we were looking forward to and anticipating just fell through. We've had a rough last few months here and this - this was going to be something good! But it was not meant to be. At least not now.

Now here's the kicker. I've been mad at God. Yep, I have. I've questioned and questioned and begged why at least a thousand times. And I still don't understand. I just don't.

But that's one of the down sides of this human life. We don't understand God's ways. Our frail, sin sick human selves just can't comprehend the ways of God. All we can do is know that He is Sovereign and as His children, He loves us. God's plans are not my plans. His ways are not my ways. I'm learning this first hand, the hard way.

I've asked God why I'm having to walk this path while I'm pregnant. I'm already a hormonal mess. Now take that and multiply it by, oh, about a thousand and that's where I am right now. A snotty, weepy, mood-swinging mess. I don't feel like eating, I'm having trouble sleeping, yet this is the timing God has chosen.

So back to the mad at God part. I confessed this to someone last week, thinking she would assume I was some hardened sinner ready to burst the gates of hell. Frankly, she was nonplussed by my confession. She looked at me and said, "okay, God's a big boy. He can handle it." I was stunned. She went on to give me some amazing insight and also kindly chastised me concerning my responsibility to obedience. I walked away believing I had just witnessed a Titus 2 moment.

My friend put me to thinking. And while I'm not yet at a place of complete acceptance, I realize that God is in this. He already knew I was mad and discouraged and hurt and disappointed and all the other feelings that have been coursing through my aching heart. He knew. He knows. He is God, afterall.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jer 29:11 ESV

I've thought over and over, "so many people have it so much worse than I do." And they do, but as my wise friend added, "does that mean that you shouldn't hurt?". Just because others are enduring more doesn't nullify the fact that I hurt. I'm human. I can't just flip a switch and turn off the ache in my heart. Trust me, I would certainly do so if humanly possible.

What it does mean though is that I need to throw myself at the feet of Jesus. I need to embrace the cross and count myself blessed that because of the sacrifice made there I have an Intercessor. I have a Deliverer. I know the Healer of broken hearts.

And so that's where I am. I'm learning to trust God. I'm a slow learner at best. As a matter of fact, my sinful self wants to fight it and do it myself. But I can't. I just plain can't. I am so physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted from trying to fight this trial myself that I can no longer endure it alone anymore.

And you know what? I don't have to.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matt 11: 28-30 ESV

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can You Hear Me? I'm Crunchy.

In my pursuit of eating healthier, I have researched and researched and read blog upon blog, trying to find those that know what they are doing. After many looooooong months (probably over a year, actually), I do believe I'm finally getting a grip on what to buy and how to cook healthier.

Apparently I'm a slow learner.

One of my favorite things that I have learned to make in this time, that is very healthy, is granola. I heart it very much! Especially while pregnant. While it's versatility abounds, my current favorite way of eating it is as my breakfast cereal. Actually my anytimeofday cereal.

Some granola and a little milk does a Momma good.

So when I included it in a post the other day of things I made during Stress Baking, one of my new bloggy friends asked for the recipe. She's expecting too and I certainly can't deny her, nor her little pea pod, the pleasure of partaking of some good 'ol granola.

This recipe here is my recipe. I've taken basic granola ingredients from various and sundry places, added what I liked and left out what I didn't. That's what's great about granola. You can do that. You can customize it and make it your own. Dude.

Mad Momma's Granola

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

12 c. uncooked old fashioned oats (I'll be buying these in organic bulk soon)
1 c. shredded coconut (or more if I feel like it)
1/4 c. wheat germ (an optional ingredient. I use it for added health benefits)
1 c. whole wheat pastry flour (I use bulk organic from Whole Foods)
1 1/2 T. cinnamon
1 c. sliced almonds
1 1/2 t. salt
1 c. coconut oil (I use bulk, organic, unrefined from Mountain Rose Herbs)
1 1/3 c. honey
1 T. vanilla

You need a very LARGE bowl for this.

Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Mix coconut oil, honey and vanilla in another bowl. If using coconut oil, it will have to be melted first. If using vegetable oil, proceed with reckless abandon. If this mixture is heated to a warm temperature it will pour much better. Pour over oat mixture and stir well. I start with a spoon and eventually use my hands. It's a lot easier to get it mixed thoroughly this way. Spread in a layer (not thick or clumpy) on 2 -3 baking sheets. Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, STIRRING EVERY 15 MINUTES. This is important as it will burn if you do not stir it.

After 45 minutes it will be a golden brown and still very moist. As it cools it will obtain its crunchy texture. After completely cool, store in air tight device of your choosing.

After the mixture cools, things like raisins, dried cranberries (or any dried fruit for that matter), chocolate chips, etc... can be added to it. It's yours - be creative.

(Personally, I would never violate a perfectly good batch of granola with something as nasty as a raisin. It is a vile food substance - it is. But hey, like I said, it's yours. If you want to add something that looks and tastes like rabbit droppings, who am I to stop you? Go for it.)

Also, any nut can be substituted for the almonds. Personally, I like almonds so that's what I use. You can leave the nuts out completely. Same goes for the wheat germ. And the coconut.

Oh, this is a versatile little snack!

So, there you have it. My tasty little treat that is bringing me great palatable pleasure. Give it a try. Let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Girl's Day Out

It's not too many times that I'm able to venture out with all four of my girls. Most of the time someone has a lesson or I have a chiropractor or midwife appointment. This summer has been especially hectic with little vacations and camps and such.

Today? Today was different.

MadGirl needed to buy her friend a birthday gift and specifically wanted to go to the mall. The house was relatively clean and so I said, "let's go"! So I loaded up all four of my girls and headed to our local mall.

My spontaneity astounds me.

Might I say that there was a jolly good time to be had by all involved. Our first stop was my girl's favorite...Chick Fil A. There seems to be a Chick Fil A gene in this family's gene pool of girls. It's the land where ketchup and Polynesian sauce flow and chicken reigns supreme. Amen.

Grace and Maddie. The two most Chick Fil A lovin' children you will ever meet.

Olivia and the Momma. Please ignore my roots.

And Hope. The youngest Chick Fil A lovin' child and people watcher extraordinaire.

After we finished our lunch we went on our mission to find a gift. Usually I find mall roaming a deplorable deed. Especially when pregnant. I didn't use to be this way. There was once a time I could have easily been called a mall rat. However, the 5th child seemed to bring about many changes in my once carefree, mall roaming self. I am now a self proclaimed homebody. And I like it.

Anyway, after minimal mall roaming we found the much sought after gift. It was relatively easy and the only issues I had during the process was the buckets of sweat I was producing from wearing a maternity blouse that was made of polyester.

Polyester is a pregnant woman's worst nightmare, y'all.

Al Gore had it all wrong. Global warming wasn't created by greenhouse gases being emitted from fossil fuels. I can pretty much guarantee it was created by the heat being emitted from too many pregnant women trying to look cute and stylish by wearing flowy, polyester maternity tops!

Oh the heat I exuded!

But I did look cute. Or as Madgirl put it...Bohemian Momma. I am nothing if not a fashion icon.

A sweaty one.

Anyway, more spontaneity ensued and we decided to go see the Kit Kittredge movie.

Y'all. It's one of the cutest movies I have ever seen! It was clean, entertaining and actually had some great lessons to be learned. Hollyweird managed not to mess this one up. I laughed, I cried and thoroughly enjoyed myself, as did all my girls. Of course, I do realize that I am extremely hormonal right now and could have incurred the same emotions during an episode of Sponge Bob. I'm just sayin'. Despite my mood swings, this is one movie that is not to be missed! Two thumbs up!

And so ended our Girl's Day Out. It was a good one.

I plan on making sure these kind of days happen more often.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pretty in Pink

So Saturday was our big party for Hope's first birthday. It was a success and I can say in no uncertain terms that her colors were "blush and bashful". (Helllloooo? Anyone know the movie reference?) It was very pink, indeed.

I wanted everything I served to be smallish, in honor of our smallish birthday girl. So instead of a full on meal I served finger sandwiches, LOTS of fruit, veggies with homemade ranch dressing and chips with guacamole.

Honestly, the guest of honor didn't care a smidge what I served as long as she got some grapes. And she did. We, on the other hand, pretty much devoured everything else.

Daddy and his baby girl.

She enjoyed her gifts tremendously. But the tutu? Not so much.

Hmmm...what's this confection?

 Never fear, momma blew out the candle and grabbed it BEFORE she even had a chance. All with my left hand while taking this cool picture with my right hand!

Wahhhh! Cake is scary! Or is it that everyone scared me by screaming and inhaling all of the oxygen out of the room when I almost touched the fire?

Hey wait. This isn't so bad.

I'll even give Momma sugary smooches cause I love her.

Oh yeah, I can do the cake thing! (By the way, that was the smash cake. We did not partake of that one. Oh, no, no, no.)

The cake meant for guest consumption.

And so ended the day of celebration in honor of our big, one year old girl. I still can't believe it. A whole year gone already.

For your sake's, I'll lie and say I'm not crying like a big, bawl baby right now. I'm not.


Monday, July 21, 2008

I'm At It Again...and This Time With a Vengance.

All stressed out and nobody to choke ( I love my hubby and children too much), so baking will just have to do.

As y'all may have remembered from this post, I tend to bake when I'm upset. And sometimes clean. Last week Monk took 6 boxes of stuff to the Goodwill. I am a woman on a mission.

And lest you think that I'm filling my family full of empty calories, you're only half right. I'm modifying recipes to make them healthier. I'm not saying they're great, but they're much better than their original formats.

So, what's on the menu, you ask?

Well, let's see...

Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. Recipe courtesy of Vitafamilae.

Oh my word, these are SO GOOD! Addictive would be an appropriate adjective here, I believe.

And next up...

No Bake Cookies. A family favorite and another flourless recipe as well.

And yummy granola. My new pregnancy favorite.

I use it as cereal (much healthier than the processed stuff at the store) almost every morning. I use it in yogurt and just eat it as a snack. Muy bien, mi amigos! (or is it mis amigos?...hmmm...10th grade Spanish will only get one so far in this life.)

All of this was made in one glorious afternoon! There was nary a clean measuring device in my cabinets once the dust, flour, oats had settled!

And might I say....I feel MUCH better!

That and I started prenatal yoga tonight.

Oh, my word.

Okay, so the yoga kind of made me feel fat and out of shape, but I was really trying. A human pretzel I am not.

I, my friends, am pizza dough. Dough being the key word here. As in, DOUGH-Y.

But I want to assure you of one thing. If you poke my belly? I will not under any circumstances smile and go, "hoo-hoo".

And you? You might lose a finger.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Because It's What She Does...

Nothing like a good book to take you somewhere you've never been.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Belly Picture and an Update

I want you all to know that even after having 5 children I have never done a belly picture. Sure, I've done pictures of me pregnant, but never pictures of just my belly. And just so you know, I will never do pictures of belly flesh and show them to the internet. Nope. Won't do it.

I have stretch marks older than most of my readers and I just aint gonna go there.

I don't have problems with belly pictures either. As a matter of fact, I think they are beautiful. (Go here to see some gorgeous belly pictures! She's having twins! She's also an awesome blogger!) I just have issues with my belly shots. It's a personal image issue really. I have lots of issues so this shouldn't be surprising to most.


Alrighty then, let's get off of that little rabbit trail and get back to the subject at hand, shall we?

Anyway, while at my mom's in Tennessee, I decided to take advantage of her cool, full length bathroom mirror. Mind you, I look like a dork because I felt so utterly stupid standing there taking pictures of myself. I didn't know if I should smile or what. So I ended up with the most ignoramous look on my face.

Surprised? I didn't think so.

(Any helpful hints on just how to take an effective belly shot would be greatly appreciated.)

And because I can't put it off any longer....

here it is...

it's coming....

oh alright, already!!

18 weeks and dorky. And my britches are a little too big, thus the sag. Like you wanted to know that, right?

That was painful. Please tell me it gets easier.

If I haven't scarred y'all for life, let's now move on to an update.

I went to the midwife today and I am 19 weeks and 1 day (obviously, from my little floating baby at the top). Everything looked good.

I only gained one pound for a sum total of 5 pounds thus far. I don't usually gain much weight in my pregnancies which usually means that I end up weighing less after I have the baby than I did when I got pregnant.

Don't hate me too much. I have it to lose. I lost 45 pounds after Hope was born and I still could stand to lose about 35 more. Ha! Pregnancy is the only weight loss plan that works for me! Whoda thunk it?

The bad news today was that our sonogram, scheduled for August 5th, has been cancelled. (Collective groan goes here..) We don't know when it will be rescheduled, which is a bummer. BUT! We think we're NOT going to find out what we are having anyway!! Why?

1. We want to be utterly overwhelmed and surprised by God's gift to us.


2. We want to annoy the snot out of our relatives!

Alright. Enough for me, I'm outta here. I'm toast.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Children Do in the Country

They sleep in bed with Momma. Note: Momma doesn't sleep.

They blow bubbles on the deck. (My great- nephew Eli)

They attempt to blow bubbles on the deck.

They swing from trees.

They let Momma attempt to take artsy pictures of them.

They read by the barn so Momma can attempt to take more artsy pictures of them.

They play in water. Oooh, squishy baby roll alert!

They play in more water. And look contemplative to boot.

They fish.

They watch Momma take pictures of disgusting tomato worms.

They sit on the porch swing with Granny.

And stand next to Poppy.

They do Zen Yoga on top of Igloo dog houses? Don't. Even. Ask.

Notice, my friends, that the country brings the children outside. Even my bug fearing bunch played outside for h-o-u-r-s!

It's the simple things, I'm tellin' ya.

What I Love About the Country

Old, red barns and rusty fences.

The quaintness of a bona fide outhouse. As long as I don't have to use it, that is.

A glass of cornbread and buttermilk - WHOLE buttermilk- and a garden fresh slice of tomato.

Green tomatoes that tell me the best is yet to come.

Unwavering patriotism.

Unmanicured toes pokin' through a deck rail.

Big, fat, wild raspberries just screaming to be picked.

Front porches that are perfect for breakin' beans and wavin' howdy to passersby.

And lastly...

More grass and trees than concrete.

It's the simple things that make us happiest, y'all. The God given beauty that we take for granted when it's right under our noses. Sometimes we just get to busy to stop and notice.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl!

At 4:42 am last July 15th, I gave birth to a precious 8lb 10oz baby girl. We named her Hope Evangeline and our lives have never been the same since. ( Birth story here, here and here)

Her chubby little self has been an absolute delight to us all. So on this day, her first birthday, I would like to take a little stroll down memory lane.

Because I like sitting at my computer and sobbing and all.

Me laboring before her birth with the support of Monk and my midwife, Ann.

Her entrance into this great big world. Monk cried.

Oh my goodness, the chubbiness abounds!

4 weeks old. Time goes too fast, y'all.

Almost 2 months. And the chubbiness continues to grow.

3 months at her first big shindig. A wedding.

6 months and growing like a weed.

Almost 9 months. Big bows for big hair. She's a Texan, afterall.

And here's our big girl now. Walking and jabbering and trying to become a toddler. Stop it!

Happy Birthday Hope! God blessed us with your beautiful face and we love you more than you could ever know!

Now, if you'll excuse me I have to go somewhere and cry some more.