Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Are we there yet?

... or in my case, is it working yet?

After months patiently waiting for its moment of glory and recognition, the treadmill is finally getting the attention it deserves. It sat in the basement for months without use, mostly because it was 'out of sight' so I didn't think to use it. Tim hasn't either, but with the Lowe's workout program, it doesn't look like he needs to. I'd been asking (nagging) him for weeks to help me bring it upstairs so that I could put it in the living room, but it seemed to take forever, and this wasn't something I could move myself (see the bookcase in the office).

Walking past it several times a day for the last 2 weeks finally worked. Yesterday and this morning, I got up a little early and actually used it. Granted it was only on level 2.0 and only for 15 minutes, but hey, it's progress! I figure if I ease into it that I'll be more likely to stick with it this time. Even at that level and little time in the morning has given me hope. I feel a little more awake, though at this point its not much more than my usual, and I'm not sure if it is the 15 minutes of sweating, the quick shower, or the 30 minutes of continued sweating afterwards that is helping me feel awake. I have to drive the first 15 minutes to work with the AC on just to cool off.

My goal in this exercise (pun intended) is to lose 100 lbs. Yep, you read correctly, 100 pounds. I'll still be overweight after that, but markedly better. I've heard that without the extra weight on my frame that I'll feel better, that I won't have as much back pain (or none at all), and that I'll have more energy. Personally, I just hope that I'll be able to get back into some of my old clothes. I've decided to add a widget somewhere on here that will document my progress, and I'll update it weekly on Friday so that everyone can see it and keep me honest. Wish me luck!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I love a good mystery

What do cupcakes, a Primary activity, and yarn have in common?


We spent a quiet Friday evening at home. Can you believe it? Saturday morning the kiddos and I made peanut butter cup cupcakes for a BBQ at some friends' house. I understand that the left-overs didn't last long at the YSA get-together afterwards.

We got home in time to attempt to watch an episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but the Internet went spastic. Something having to do with the PlayStation network being wonky. I was less than enthused. So we turned around and went to the church to drop the kiddos off for their primary activity and to practice for their primary program near the end of September. I can't wait to see what they've come up with! They received their lines a couple weeks ago and have already memorized them.

While the kiddos were having fun, Tim and I drove through Martinsburg so that I could show him the store fronts I've been eyeing. They're about a block from the center of town (where King and Queen street meet), so they just about scream expensive, but he thinks they're nice. Then we went to dinner at Ledo's.Pizza in the new Commons. I was only able to eat 1/2 of my meat lover's calzone, so I have plenty for breakfast.

We got to listen to the Kemer family speak in church about self reliance. Jayne talked about the physical and Joe spoke on the spiritual. I really enjoyed hearing them speak. I particularly liked the idea of having a "no buy" month every 3 months for a couple reasons. 1. It would help us save money. 2. It would help us see what we could use for our 3 month (short-term) food storage. 3. It should help us gain confidence in our food storage and our ability to use them. We've used our food storage before when Tim lost his job and we didn't have any money. It was a humbling experience, but I'm glad in some small part that it happened. I was grateful that we heeded the counsel of the Prophet and had something on-hand to get us through. It would be nice not to have to use it again, but I'd still like to maintain our reserves.

We also had our combined RS/Priesthood meeting with the Bishop. He taught us the same lesson he heard during Youth Conference - Who are you? I learned that all of the things I call myself (mother, wife, teacher, sister, care-giver, etc) also apply (in the male form of course) to our Heavenly Father, and that through these roles I can also show that I am his daughter. How cool is that?!? The best part is, everyone is His son or daughter, they just don't know it. It's our job as Saints to show them. I think that every little girl at one point or another wishes they were a princess; it's just nice to know in some way that it is true.

And now for a moment of cuteness...

I went to pick Dougie up at my parents' house Friday afternoon. We stopped at 7-Eleven on the way home to get gas. As we were waiting for traffic to clear enough to pull out onto the road and continue home, he asked me what a sign attached to the nearest telephone pole said. "Farmer's Market, Open M-F 12-7"

Dougie: "What do they sell there?"
Me: "Fruits and veggies."
Dougie: "Can we stop there and get some peaches?"
Me: "Sure."

So we turned around and parked at the tent behind us and talked to the nice man behind the tables of rather tasty-looking produce. He had corn, melons, cantaloupe, plums, apples, nectarines, peaches, and much more.

Dougie: "Mommy, can we get some plums?"
Me: "No, we're going to get peaches because everyone likes peaches."
Farmer: "He can have one if he wants to pick it out."
Dougie: (picks one up) "This one!!!"

I was over-ruled by a 5-year-old. We got a basket with 5 peaches for $3.00 and took them home. We cut one up and ate it and WOW! that was a good peach! We cut up the other 4 and the plum and liquefied them Sunday night with some ice and a little vanilla and milk and made peach-plum smoothies. They were very tasty and healthy when you consider they didn't have any extra sugar.

Oh, and a couple of other nifty bits of news:

- I went for my interview with the Bishop for my temple recommend. I'm waiting to hear from the excutive secretary for our Stake President for my interview with him. I'm one step closer!

- I also ordered some yarn today from the Bernat website. I've decided to participate in their mystery crochet-along afghan. I picked for my colors: natural, pumpkin, soft taupe, rogue, and cameo - very neutral and warm colors. I can't wait for the first clue to start on September 22. Each week they will post the next clue on their blog every Wednesday. They will get progressively harder, and at the end will produce a crochet sampler afghan measuring 52" x 68" (about 4'4" x 5'8"). I can't wait to see what it will look like!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm tempted.

Yesterday morning after I dropped Dougie off at my parents' house, I was driving through Martinsburg on my way to work and saw an empty store front on Queen Street. It had the usual "FOR RENT" signs from a local Realtor, but it also had a sign from the city that said, "It's not vacant, it's an opportunity."

It was one of those fronts that had a glass tunnel to the front door so that you were walking between two displays. When I saw it, I thought how perfect it would be to fill them with cakes to display with a sign out front boasting "Triple T - Taste Testing Tuesday!" Imagine a little bell on the door that rings when you open it, a counter with cakes like the Hex-a-lot-a-chocolate or Triple-C ready for purchase, ovens filling the store with baking cake smells that waft onto the street, and various cake projects in stages of progression in the back for all to see.

I'm tempted to call and see what they're talking about; what program they're offering as incentive to bring new businesses to the main streets of Martinsburg. I'm tempted to sit down and dedicate time to figure out what I need to do to save up and start this thing. I'm also tempted to put this on hold *again* and wait until the economy is better. Can I really justify trying and failing in the hopes that I'll have enough business to support this idea?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

"I want to suck your blood"

Not me personally, mind you, but the people on the bus. They frighten me.

Actually, they're really nice people doing a service for the community. The Red Cross Blood Bus came to Royal Vendors yesterday for our regularly scheduled blood drive. This was my 4th donation, and I had a nice guy named George stick me. Christie organizes the whole thing and graciously accepted my offering of baked goods for the drive. Apparently, people love my cupcakes, and it encourages them to sign up if "there will be cake".

That seems to be a big selling point recently. When there's a RS meeting or conference, "there will be cake" is announced, and if you say it, they will come. Makes for an interesting career.

Now that I know that I can donate, I've been actively campaigning among my fellow Royal minions to donate. I'm even letting them choose the cupcakes. This time we had the Triple-C in cupcake form and yellow cupcakes with cream cheese icing and *sprinkles*. Next time I'm making peanut butter cup cupcakes and something else on which I haven't decided yet. I make 24 of each flavor and bring them in on two covered trays, but they never last through the day. And this time, I didn't even get one!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

BBQ Chips

We had the missionaries over for dinner last night. I love having those guys over! We had Elder Goodrich from our ward mission, and Elder Bowden on loan to us from the Martinsburg mission. After a filling meal of spaghetti with sausage, I thought it nice to play a game since we didn't have time last night during FHE. Turns out that it worked well with Elder Goodrich's lesson idea.

So the game was telephone and goes something like this: one person starts a message of one sentence around a circle, and it is passed in whispers around the circle to the person that started it. While the message is being passed, everyone else is making noise. When the last person receives the message, they say it aloud so that everyone can compare it to the message they heard and finally what the original message was.

Elder Goodrich gave his message to Dougie, Dougie to Tim, Tim to me, me to Audie, Audie to Chloie, Chloie to Elder Bowden, and Elder Bowden said the final message aloud...

"BBQ chips"

The original message was, "Elder Bowden's favorite game is dress up Barbie."

At least we got the BB (Barbie) right.

The point behind the exercise was that during the Apostasy, the Gospel was passed down through the generations and altered, mistaken, confused, and passed down again. With the Restoration and the institution of modern prophets, we receive the work directly through the Prophet from the Lord without distortion. I feel comforted knowing that we're receiving direction directly from the source that doesn't require interpretation. Sweet. Then again, I don't know how I would live without BBQ chips.

I'm constantly amazed at how much the kids have learned. They were able to intelligently answer questions about Joseph Smith, his famous prayer, the First Vision, and the Restoration. Even Dougie chimed in with relevant responses instead of some random blurb. Wow. I better hit the books hard to stay ahead of these guys!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

To eat or not to eat, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of shrinking clothing, or take arms against a sea of calories and by opposing lose them. To exercise, to slack no more per chance to diet.

Some time back in June I made a bet with my hubby about weight loss. We set goals, developed a plan, and it lasted (for me) about a week. I got so frustrated at not seeing any progress. Tim, on the other hand, started work at a particular local DIY super store moving lumber and has shown definite progress.

It almost makes me sick.

Not sick enough, mind you, to stop eating. With only 3 weeks left, I've found that most of my entries into the little book in my bedside table have been of discouragement or confusion. Why does the body fat percentage on our nifty scale fluctuate so wildly from day to day? Why don't the supplements I took work? Why do I still gain if I cut the amount of food I eat in half and make up the difference with water? Why are healthier choices and fewer calories not translating to a smaller sized me? Why can't I actually use the treadmill in the living room?

I've fasted, I've dieted, I've excluded, I've exercised, I've counted, I've prayed, and nothing seems to be working. Grrrr! I've got jeans in my closet from 10 years ago I would LOVE to wear (my butt looked really good in them and they're not out-dated, I promise). I've got a couple cute dresses that are 6 sizes too small! When did this happen?!?!?

Tim will tell you that as a *larger* woman, *other* things are also larger, and that translates to happiness for him, but not for me. Especially when the *other* things make my shirts too short or tight. I have a T-shirt with a 50 cal on it that now looks actual size. I miss the days when I could randomly pick something from my closet and knew it would fit.

It looks like I have a lot of work to do.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I think we survived...

Eyebrows? ... check.

Hair? ... yep still there.

Sanity? ... debatable if it was there to begin with!

Looks like the family survived the weekend! All of the orientations are done; I like the kids' teachers this year, and they seem to be ready to go. Audie and I went grocery shopping Saturday morning while Tim, Chloie, and Dougie cleaned up at the house. It wasn't a long trip (thankfully), and Audie downed an entire 20 oz. bottle of orange soda on the way home. I think he's a camel... who will turn orange... and bounce off of the walls!

The birthday party went well also. We tried a new recipe for BBQ ribs from the crock pot cook book that turned out really well. I'm planning on using the left over BBQ liquids for the pulled BBQ chicken we're doing later this week. Mmmm, yummy! I even made ice cream cake for them. I'm liking it more and more!

We took a short nap after everyone left then headed up to Hagerstown to catch a Suns game as part of an Elders Quorum activity. I couldn't argue with the price! A hat, a complete meal at Chip.oltle, and game admission for $6.25 a person. For the 5 of us at Chip.oltle would have been $50 easy. It was a good game; I loved how they kept you entertained with little games, dancing, etc. while the teams switched. The kiddos liked it, too, and I was surprised at how much I knew about the game while explaining it to them. The Suns lost 6-1, but it was a good time, and President Fugate even caught us on camera dancing to the Cha Cha Slide.

We got to hear about the 10th Article of Faith during sacrament on Sunday, and hearing President Fugate speak is always a treat. :^) Our RS meeting was about helping our children stay in the Gospel or come back to it, and applying those methods to fellowshipping other Saints and non-members. I had a complete blond moment and thought we'd be doing a lesson from the manual and practiced songs on that subject. Luckily JaNae is awesome and picked songs related to the correct topic that I could play. The pop practice hymn would have gone badly very quickly had I attempted it, so she was kind enough to play that for me. Whew!

I'm setting up my appointment with the bishop for my temple recommend, with the appointment with President Grow to follow soon afterward. I'm so excited!!!! Can you tell?!?!?!? Hehe! I'm all giddy about it. I didn't realize that going for the first time was such a bid deal. I mean, I knew it would be for me personally, but people are crawling out of the wood work to go and support me, and I wasn't expecting that. Now I'm also kind of nervous that I'm going to royally mess up, but I'm glad that there will be people I know and love there with me. I'm hoping to go the Saturday after my baptismal anniversary, so I guess that is September 18th. I'm still working on the details. After that I have to work on my temple dress for the sealing. More on that later!

The McIntyre clan (and extended members) was invited to Mrs. B's house for a BBQ. My sisters and I went to school with her daughter Ashley. The food was excellent, and the company was even better! I got to see friends from MHS that I hadn't seen in forever! Some more than 10 years. I didn't realize how much I missed seeing them until we spent the length of the party catching up. Some things were the same, others different, but all around a good time sharing war stories and memories.

I think that's enough for now... I'm looking forward to a semi-quiet weekend this week! I think the only thing on the calendar is a date night while the kiddos work on their Primary Program Saturday night.

Friday, August 20, 2010

When Busy is TOO Busy

It seems like we've been running a mile a minute since we got back from Knoxville... in a good way, I suppose. We got our HD Dish setup yesterday, so now I get to try to catch up on the shows I missed in the last 2 weeks. We had Audie's orientation last night, then dinner at Burger.King and grocery shopping at Food Lion. Chloie's orientation is tonight, we still have to pay bills, reconcile the bank statement, come up with our menu and shopping list for the next 2 weeks, but tickets to the Hagerstown.Suns game on Saturday evening, grocery shopping again Saturday morning, birthday party Saturday afternoon, and some where in there pull the carrots from the garden and pick raspberries. Whew!!! I think I need to catch my breath just thinking about all of the things we need to do. Add to all that when Tim moves to days, we'll have no time to do all of these and similar things together.

Speaking of working... I know I should be happy that he's going to have a full time job and all, but I'm not liking only seeing him for 5 hours each day... while we're sleeping... The trade-off here is that I'll see more of the kiddos in the afternoon when I pick them up from the bus. And if you think I'm getting up at 4am to walk on the treadmill, I laugh at you mightily! Still, it will be a challenge fitting everything into our lives. Time to start Tetris-ing our time!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Click, click, click... click......click............AAAHHHHHHH!!!

I must say that yesterday was EXCITING!!! The kiddos seemed to have a blast!

We started the 2.5 hour trek to Lakemont Part in Altoona, PA at 9:30am. Once in Altoona, we stopped for lunch at Friendly's which has phenomenal ice cream, BTW. The kiddos each got a balloon, and we headed for the park.

Tim and I have resigned ourselves to the fact that any road trip we take will turn into a GPS adventure (i.e. the Pentagon, 4 left turns/double U, HOV lane to name a few). This time he missed the turn for Lake road that would taken us right to the park, so I (as the naviguessor) had to do some creative finagling to get us there. 4 right turns later, and we're at the park, laughing all the way. Now in my defense, the was a left turn where Hazel Road turned into something else by another name. The best part is, we got to do it twice!

We started the kiddos in "Kiddie Land" with all of the smaller rides. They seemed to really enjoy some of them. The park has a pint-sized roller coaster for the younger adventurists. All 3 got on and were excited and smiling, but after the first small drop, Chloie and Dougie got really serious. The ride makes 3 loops, and on the second and third, Dougie was waving at the attendant begging him to stop and for no more! I felt so bad for him, but I couldn't stop laughing. After that they got to try the mini-Indy. I'm grateful for patient attendants that stood on the back of Dougie's cart and held the throttle because he couldn't figure out that you have to hold the pedal down. They had fun!

We spent some time in the water park during the afternoon. The water was a little cool, but it was fun. They did a lot of sliding on the pirate ship and splashing around before we went over to the big pool so that Audie could show us his underwater skills. We had a slight scare thinking we lost Chloie's pants somewhere at the pool, but we found them and all was well. On the way back over the bridge, we bought some food and let the kiddos feed the catfish. Personally, I think the swirling mass of fish bodies and gaping mouths is gross in a cool kind of way, but the kids liked it.

I took Audie on the Skyliner with me twice. Out of all the kiddos, he's the most adventurous, and I attribute that to his age. While Tim took him on the full-sized go karts, Chloie, Dougie, and I went on the scrambler and the tilt-a-whirl. They did OK with the scrambler, but my poor little dude didn't like the tilt-a-whirl. He screamed the entire time! I think, however, it was because we had a particularly spinney seat.

We took 2 hours in the Altoona Wal-mart shopping for school clothes then headed home. We finally got there at 10:30 and promptly crashed. I think next time we go the the amusement park that we'll limit our exposure to 4 hours... six was entirely too much! Overall it was a good trip, and cheap when you consider that during the summer the park offers admission all day for $3.00 per person on Wednesdays.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's more like elderberry spread...

For our FHE last night, we talked about how following directions will lead to a desired end result like following the commandments and keeping our covenants will lead to living again with our Heavenly Father.

So we prepared jars, lids, boiling water, sugar, berry puree, vinegar, etc. and went to work. The "jam" took forever to cook, so at 9pm we sent the kiddos to bed while I continued to stir, and stir, and stir...

After the mix had reduced enough to be about an inch from its original levels, I thought that it had cooked enough. It wasn't thick like the recipe said (found here), but maybe it was supposed to thicken more while it cooled. I got good seals on all my jars and let them cool over night.

Shows what I know. We woke up this morning to spread. It tastes good, and everyone that tried it thought it was great (except Dougie, he wouldn't touch it). Now the questions is: who to give the jars to?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Could this really constitute a failed experiment?


I've learned that Blogger + IPhone (Safari) + Erin's PC illiteracy = no posting during trip to Knoxville, TN.

I really tried on Friday, I promise! I could enter a title and tags at the bottom of the "New Post" screen, but I couldn't type anything in the body. Go figure. In any case, here's the events of the weekend:

Hubby and I drove to Knoxville, making good time, and arriving around 5pm. We checked into our hotel and started plans for the evening. Days.Inn was nice. We got the jacuzzi suite. You do the math! Our only issue was that it was so close to the airport that we could hear the planes over our heads at random intervals. Yay.

We decided to go play some mini-golf to settle once and for all that I do whoop his behind at it, but the rain had other plans. We decided instead to have dinner at Fudd.ruckers (tasty!) and watch The Exp.endables. The GPS on his phone led us all over the place trying to find the one theater so we missed that show time. We ended up looking for another one in the area and finally had to stop and ask for directions because the GPS was kooky on that one, too. Over all good movie! I especially liked the scene with Arnold and the use of the full auto shotgun.

The next morning, we met my ex and got the kiddos back. I'm insanely jealous of their tans. We had breakfast at I.HOP and started on our way back. We made good time again and stopped in Winchester at about 7 for dinner at Ch.ick-fil-A.

When we got home and unloaded the car, we decided to try out our new Net.flix subscription. I've decided I like the insta-que. The kiddos talked us into watching Home Alone 2. I remember the stunts being more funny when I was a kid... which explains why Tim and the kiddos laughed so hard. Am I getting old?

Wait, don't answer that.

Sunday we went to church *on time*, would you believe it? While Tim was in his meeting, I actually had time to enter the VT contacts I'd received reports on so far. Yay!

We spent a few hours at my parents' house so that they could see the munchkins and had Paninis for lunch. Mmmmm! After getting home and a short nap, my little helpers and I picked elderberries and cleaned them for making jam tonight after FHE. I've decided to give a jar of the finished jam to our missionaries because it is "Elder"berry jam... hahahaha! Sorry, I couldn't pass that up. I'll be sure to post pics of the jamming in a later post.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What is this quintessence of dust?

I received some bad news this morning on two accounts:

First, I made an anniversary cake for a coworker last night for delivery today. He and his girlfriend have been together 8 years. This morning he wasn't at work because one of his dogs died. Buck, a 17 year old German Shepard, passed away yesterday, and for people who consider dogs their kids (especially when they don't have any of the human kind), it hit them pretty hard.

Second, a friend from church passed away Monday in Winchester. I was hoping we'd get to see her back soon, but I guess we'll have to wait a little longer. Now I worry about what will happen to her grandson without her influence. I remember making crocheted washcloths for her house, but she used them as decoration on her table instead because they were "too pretty". Wow, I'm going to miss her. Sadly we won't be able to make her funeral service because we'll be traveling back from TN with the kiddos.

I suppose we should be prepared for the inevitability of it all; what lives must die. I take comfort in knowing that it is only a temporary separation.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Blogging Experiment, Day 2

So... Is it possible this early to get writer's block?

I have a regimen each morning that involves checking up on the blogs I follow, laughing at several pages at the Cheeseburger Network, and finally updating my Mafia.Wars. I've found several gems I'd like to share with you...

Just because my ex-husband is scared of sharks.
"Who" hasn't had a day like this?
... and I thought I lived out there.
I just love the expressions on this one. I'm not sure why I've got the owl thing going. I will, however, have to find the Transformer Owl for you to see!

I'm pretty sure everyone can appreciate this with the heat wave going on right now. I think they've given out free water at the plant this summer than in any other year I've worked there.

In the mean time, I'm still counting down the days until I get my babies back (ribs). We've cleaned their rooms and their bathroom, and now it's just a matter of time.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Am I lazy, or what?

Actually, don't answer that.

I'm trying to remember when the last time I wrote was, and I can't remember. It seems that after the process of writing a blog became too complicated and frustrating, I turned to Face.Book to keep up with everyone. People actually look at the Book.

Don't get me wrong, I do keep up with several of my favorite blogs here at Blogger, and I get tickled pink when I see a new post! But, Ugh! It seems to take too much effort to actually write something.

I've decided to try an experiment... one my sister-in-law tried some months ago... and I'm hoping that if it works, I can get back into the (dare I say) habit of writing every day. Maybe this will also help with my journal (it has been a while there, too).

So, tomorrow's post should be exciting! It's time to catch up on EVERYTHING!!!