Wow, December flew by for me. I was so busy that I totally neglected this blog, but I wanted to catch you up on what I’ve been doing. I didn’t actually manage to get through a photo-a-day during december after all, but I do plan on resuming that project during January. I’ve got some other plans to tell you about, but first, here is what I’ve been up to since my last post.
Tim and I decided to join our old church choir for their Christmas cantata. It was a lot of fun, and we are going to join them for Easter as well. I really miss singing regularly. There have been times in my life where I don’t have a musical outlet, but that usually only lasts for about a year before I can’t take it anymore and find some way to incorporate music back into my life. It’s just in my blood, I guess. I’d like to find something a little closer to home, though, because the whole reason we left that church in the first place is that we moved about 30 miles away. Still, I miss the people in choir and it was really good to see everyone again.
I spent a good portion of December working on a mini art quilt for my sister. I forgot to get a good picture of it, so here is a cropped shot from one of my pics on Christmas morning. It’s a bad picture, but you can get the general idea. After my grandmother died, I requested all of her clothes because I wanted to do something crafty with them for my mother, my sister, and myself. This art quilt for my sister was the first one. It took me a few months to figure out if I was emotionally stable enough to do it. Grandma died right before this last Easter, so it’s been nine months. Her death hit me really hard, and I’ve been pretty emotional this month. But I really wanted to get the art quilt done for my sister for this first Christmas without grandma. Deborah was grandma’s main caretaker fort the last two or three years, and I knew that it would mean so much to her. I chose to do one of my sister’s favorite things, a mermaid sitting on coral for the main image, and everything was hand-sewn and hand-beaded made from scraps of about eight of my grandmas old dresses. It came out pretty well and my sister loved it. I was so happy that I could do something that meant so much to her. So that took up the majority of my time, especially the second half of December.
Tim and I went to Christmas Town USA in McAdenville, NC to see the Christmas lights. I got some good shots, and got to try out my new tripod. One of the great things about getting my new camera, is that Tim and I are finding ourselves going out and doing things that we probably wouldn’t have otherwise. We went to the botanical gardens back in October, and now to McAdenville. The camera has given us a great excuse to get out and have adventures. I’m so glad that I got it for my birthday. The lights at McAdenville were beautiful, and we had a great time. We chose to walk instead of drive, so we got some good exercise as we trekked a few miles around town. This is a good thing since we abandoned our diets for the holiday, and needed to walk off some of the chocolate and gingerbread we had consumed. 😉
Christmas itself went pretty well. We had a pleasant day, with out any drama or nonsense. My six year old niece made out like a bandit with all of the loot that she had piled up. She’s the only young child in the immediate family right now, so she gets spoiled every year. I love giving gifts, so I was excited that the gifts that I gave out seemed to be well received. I also made out pretty well this year, including a photography book to teach me how to use my camera, a popcorn popper that I’ve been wanting for a few month now, and an absolutely gorgeous peridot ring.
I’ve been wanting a peridot ring for my right hand for about two years. I thought that I might get one for my birthday or our anniversary this year, but I got my fabulous camera instead. I was really wanting a ring for Christmas and my husband surprised me with this beauty. My wedding ring has an oval stone, so he chose an oval cut for the peridot. I love it so much!!!
That pretty much sums up my December. Except that I got so very sick two days after Christmas. I am trying to take it easy and get lots of rest, but I’m pretty bad off at this point. Tim and I had planned to start some new food challenges that I found over at 100 Days of Real Food, but that’s going to have to wait until I’m all better. I’m leading the charge on this “eat more real food” bandwagon, and Tim doesn’t want to mess with getting creative in the kitchen while I am down for the count. But I am determined to do more blogging in January. I don’t want this blog to fall by the wayside. I’m going to take this week to get myself better, then between this blog and my beauty bog, I will be a blogging fiend. I will definitely post more about the 100 Days of Real Food mini challenges when I kick this flu. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday, as you ring in 2013.
Happy New Year!!!
We’ve been trying out Meatless Monday for about two months now, and it has been going pretty well for us. It is just one of the many ways that we have been changing our diets to eating more natural whole foods. A little history, my husband grew up raising his own animals, mostly pigs, and has always believed that meat is an essential part of a meal. In fact, when we first got married, he rarely ate any fruits or vegetables at all. He really had an aversion to most veggies and it was easier to just go with it, than to fight for a food group that wasn’t one of my favorites either. We have both struggled with our weights, and after moving across the country from all of our friends, we let ourselves get really big. After realizing that we needed to make a change and lose weight, I decided to do some research into the food industry and learn about nutrition. One thing became very clear to me in my research, we needed to cut down (a lot) on how much commercial meat we consume.
Though neither my husband nor I have any intention of becoming vegetarians, we have started to view meat in an entirely different way. Instead of making it the main focal point of every meal, we are trying to limit our meat consumption to being only a quarter of our plate. It’s been difficult to re-order our thinking (especially for him) to recognizing what a healthy and appropriate serving of meat actually is. A 12 oz steak is 2-3 times as much meat as we should be eating in one sitting, despite what restaurant menus will tell us. Until I started my research, I had no idea how taxing American meat consumption is on the environment. I figured that raising animals for food has been done for thousands of years, so how bad could it be? The truth of the matter is not pretty. So for a lot of reasons, we decided to give Meatless Mondays a try.
Every Monday, I have committed to avoiding meat entirely, and Tim has committed to avoiding it for breakfast and dinner. (He gets lunch provided for him at work, so he makes the best choices that he can there.) One really positive benefit from trying to come up with a variety of choices for meatless meals is that I have had to get creative in the kitchen. I have no experience with purposely making vegetarian dishes, so at first all I could think of to eat were veggie burgers. I’m pleased to say that I now have a handful of simple “staple” vegetarian dishes that I can make without much thought or effort, and a whole host of vegetarian recipes for when I want to experiment. I’m also becoming much more interested in different vegetables, and comparing not just taste, but texture, color, and what pairs best with others. It’s been a lot of fun to have this weekly challenge of providing tasty, satisfying meals without meat that both my husband and I will love.
There is a ton of information out there about the health and environmental benefits of cutting meat out even just once a week, so I encourage you to look into it for yourself. Who knows, maybe you will want to give Meatless Monday (or Tuesday, or Friday) a try for yourself. If nothing else, I have found trying to go meatless for an entire day has made me stop taking my food choices for granted and really think about what I am eating at least one day a week, and that is something we can all benefit from.
I finished my photo-a-day project for November and this is the third installment (Days 21-30). You can follow this link to see my first 10 days with a link to the list and an explanation of what this project is all about. My second set is found in the previous post. So here are my photos for Days 21-30.
Day 22: Grateful. One of the things I was most grateful for this Thanksgiving is my sister, who I love and adore. We had a few really rough years in the past, but we have really grown to be good friends and I am so glad to have her back in my life.
Day 24: A sound that you heard. I was really stumped on how to photograph a sound until I started cooking some onions for dinner and realized that I was hearing the sizzle of them sautéing and went to grab my camera. (Hello, run-on sentence. That’s for you, Kelly.)
Day 25: Sky. This right here is why I am doing this photo-a-day challenge in the first place. I really like this picture, and it is worth the less-than-fabulous shots and uncreative days to stumble upon a few really nifty shots that I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t had a daily assignment. I went into the parking lot of my apartment complex to shoot the sky at sunset (I was a little late) and thought these branchy trees would look cool silhouetted in the shot. I got some great black and whites this day as well.
Day 26: In the cupboard. Here’s a shot of our pantry.
Day 27: Tree. Our Christmas tree is up and I love it. Our ornaments are all copper, green, and brown, with some cream and gold thrown in. I ran some brown and gold ribbon through the tree instead of garland. I love how it looks.
Day 28: Vehicle. I’m not sure what happened, but I totally flaked on this one. Oops. Oh well.
Day 29: Big. This is both a really big pizza and was a really big mistake. We decided to “screw the diet” for the day, and order the new overstuffed pizza from pizza hut. Unfortunately, the “toppings” are extremely limited, so we opted for the Italian meat trio version. Bad idea. Since we switched our diets to eating healthier and more whole foods, my tolerance for this kind of junk food has gone way down. One slice made me feel sick. I blame the sausage. Lessoned learned, and one that will not be repeated anytime soon.
That concludes my Photo-a-Day Challenge for November. Obviously not all of my shots were keepers, but I did end up with a few that I really liked. I am definitely going to continue the project through December. If you want to do this challenge too, head over to Fatmumslim’s blog, and check out the list for December. Play along, it’s fun!