Friday, December 28, 2012

A New Attitude for 2013!!

I am so excited for the new year to begin. 2012 has been a wonderful year, we bought a house, got a puppy and I lost 70 pounds! But as good as that all was.... I am ready to forge ahead into a brand new year full of possibilities. I have so many great ideas for 2013. I want it to be even better than last year! Over the next few days I am going to sit down and write out my plan for the new year, I cant wait to share it with you. I hope you have a wonderful and safe New Years Eve and I hope you will be ready to take a journey with me in 2013. Til then have a blessed for days!

Heather

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Emotional Eating

As of today I have lost 72 pounds in the last 6 and a half months. But in the last 4 weeks I have only lost 2 pounds. What has caused this slow down in my weight loss? While reading comments in the weight loss group I belong to on facebook, it hit me...I am an emotional eater. If you are overweight or not comfortable with your size or if how you look when you get up in the morning  affects your mood for the day you are most likely an emotional eater too.
We all know how to lose weight, its really simple, eat better and exercise. We all have the knowledge so what is it thats holding us all back from reaching our weight loss and health goals? Its our emotions. If we want to succeed we need to examine the issues holding us back and get out of the emotional eating pattern for good.When people gain and lose weight over and over again, there is more than just bad food choices underlying the issues. Our relationship with food is one of the most intimate and potentially addictive relationships we create from an early age. If we use food to soothe, numb, celebrate or for any other emotional purposes we run the risk that food will always be at the core of these emotions.
So if you are about to embark on a weight loss journey, in the middle of one and plateauing or you have been on the weight loss roller coaster for sometime, maybe its time to take a time out and examine your emotional state, do some soul searching or maybe even seek professional help.We all have issues, obviously some more than other, but it is really about how we deal with those issues that will determine our success. Some of us are dealing with tramatic pasts, low self esteem and stress. And all of these can effect how we became overweight and why we cant lose the weight for good.Without taking care of the emotional baggage that may be at the core of our food issues, we all run the risk of being a "lifer" in the weight loss world. Rather than counting calories , it is far wiser to dive down to a deeper level of awareness about our eating habits and to bring it to a level of consciousness, deal with it in a healthy way  and by doing so we can be in charge of our eating habits instead of them controlling us.When I started my weight loss journey I was on a high, the weight was coming off and I was getting tons of compliments, life was great! Recently I started plateauing. I am finding I am less motivated to get out of bed and workout, finding myself returning to old eating habits and making excuses for why I am lacking motivation. By why is this happening? Why now? First there has been some stress in my life, selling and buying a house is stressful and time consuming and I have found that when I am stressed I eat and over snack. I am also someone who takes things and runs with them until the next thing comes along, they take over my thoughts, for the last 6 months losing weight has been my life and now that we are in the middle of buying a house its consumes my thoughts and weight loss has taken a back seat. Second I have started concentrating on how much I still have to lose, instead of how far I have come and I have let self doubt enter my mind. Recently I had to do an honest examination of how I became fat in the first place. I believe it started in childhood with a lack of healthy eating habits and physical activity, to a lack of self confidence(sometimes it seems like I am full of self worth but inside I am still a little shy girl, without a lot of friends) to pretending that my weight was not a big deal, that you could be overweight and still be healthy, but that was just me not dealing with reality. So now that I have laid it all out there and been honest with myself its time for me to deal with these things and move forward. I dont  want my emotions to prevent me from succeeding. I want the same for you. I want you to succeed and live your best life. I know life isnt all flowers and roses and stress and bad situations will come along, its all how we deal with it that counts and using food isnt a coping mechanism that works well. Once you have been honest with yourself and start to deal with your issues, its time to deal with the pattern of emotional eating and start eating with awareness.

Breaking the Pattern
In order to become an individual who eats with awareness, you must stop when you sense the urge to eat, take a breath and focus on your awareness back to how you are feeling. Is it hunger or is it stress?

Try some of these steps to start practicing awareness eating:
1.Take sips of water with each bite.
2.Do not take the entire container or bag of food. Dish out the amount or serving size you would like in a small dish or bowl.
3.Use a fork, knife and spoon to slow you down, take deep breaths between bites and chew your food slowly.
4. Do not keep your favorite treats in the house such as cookies, chips or ice cream. If its readily available, you are more likely to fall off the wagon during those times of emotional stress.
5.Try to make your meals last at least 20 minutes. It takes that long for your stretch receptors in your stomach to tell your brain "Hey I am full!"
6.Buy some gum and have it available to grab and gobble when the urge hits.
7.Do not skip meals, it can leave to overeating.
8.Allow yourself to get hungry, and feel your stomach grumble, its important to identify real hunger pains versus eating merely for the sake of boredom or according to the clock.

When you are emotional and want to eat try these instead:
1 Talk to a friend or trusted family member about the issues you are having with food, there are also wonderful psychologists and counselors who specialize in emotional eating and they can be of great value.
2. Go for a walk, in my experience fresh air and some time alone can do wonders
3. Journal-writing can help you express your emotions
4. Turn on your favorite music and get lost in it.
5. Try to avoid stressful situations(not easy bit take steps to reduce it as much as possible)

Keep in mind, winning the weight loss battle involves both a psychological and physical component. Once you take control of the underlying issues you will feel and enormous burden lifted that allows you to enjoy food and nutrition , without emotional results.Now that I have examined why I overeat I hope I can deal with these issues and move forward.I hope I can become more aware of my triggers and find more positive ways of coping with them, like avoiding them or distracting myself. Losing weight is not easy, its a physical and emotional journey but its a journey worth taking.We all deserve to be happy and healthy and we all deserve that. We all have the knowledge and know how, its really about examining why and how we got to this pint in our life and making changes to better our lives.Its about being aware of our habits  and consciously being aware of our emotional triggers and finding a better way of coping with them instead of heading the fridge or local fast food restaurant. 

We can all do this and we can all live a healthier life!

Blessings,
Heather


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Daytime Date Ideas


Everyday(we almost everyday) feels like a date for Carl and I but I know many of you have kids and getting a babysitter for date night can be tough ,so how about a Day Date, maybe finding a sitter for a Saturday or Sunday might be easier,here are some ideas for this very special daytime date.
  • Go out for brunch. Finding a place with nice outdoor seating is a bonus.
  • Play golf, mini golf, tennis or beach volleyball.
  • Go on a hike, run, or bike ride to enjoy the passing scenery. Don’t forget your camera.
  • Go to the beach or lake for a refreshing swim or walk along the shore. If it’s too cold to swim, try flying a kite together.
  • Rent a convertible  or any other kind of car and go for a drive in the country. If you can’t afford this option take your own!
  • Go on a literary picnic. Pack your favorite novel and plan lunch around the setting of the book. Take turns reading the book aloud to each other. Or camp out at your favorite bookstore and scan the aisles for a new favorite.
  • Go to a movie matinee. Sit on the back row and kiss often!!
  • Go canoeing or kayaking on a river.
  • Visit a local museum.
  • Go to a farmer’s market and pick up your favorite food for dinner.
  • Play a board game in a local park, like Scrabble, Chess or Checkers.
The most important part of a regular date together is keeping the enjoyment of each other’s company at the forefront. In the business of life this is often the first thing to be neglected, but at what cost! Your relationship will still be there after all your children are grown and gone. What it looks like then depends on how you invest in it now.Carl and I dont have children(yet) and we like to do these types of activities now and someday if we have children we will still take the time to do things like these and make our marriage a priority. Make sure your relationship is a priority too!!!
Blessings,
Heather

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Marriage Challenge

I love challenges!!! I especially love challenges that serve to make relationships stronger, so today I am posting a 3o Day Marriage Challenge (if you arent married you could do this challenge with a boy/girl friend, your best friend, even your children, just make a few changes). Once a week I will post an update on the challenge and how its going in my relationship. If you decide to do it also, I would love to hear how its going for you too!!! Here are all the days  challenges listed in order:

1.Ask "what can I help you with today?"
2.Go a whole day without correcting your husband today
3.Hug your husband 3 times today
4.Kiss your husband the first time you see him today
5.Tell yourself " he really loves us and is doing his best for us everyday"
6.Bake, make or buy his favorite food
7.Leave him a sweet note
8.Put at least one date night on your calender this month
9.Imagine what it feels to be in your husbands shoes
10.Todays focus: Kindness
11.Tell him " I am so glad I married you"
12.Pray for wisdom in being a wife
13.Do not use sarcasm with your husband today
14.Remember that being a wife is a blessing
15.Think only positive thoughts about your husband today
16.Thank him for all he does for you and your family
17.Laugh with your husband today
18.Who is a wife you admire? Try to be more like her today
19.Dont ask him to any chores or honey-dos today
20.Todays focus:Patience
21.Forgive him when he makes a mistake
22.Assume the best about your husband today
23.Treat him with respect today
24.Do not interrupt your husband when he talking
25.Ask your husband his opinion today
26.Encourage your husband
27.Do something good for his health today(make a healthy dinner, go for a walk together, make an appointment for his annual checkup)
28.Look at him admiringly, make sure he notices
29.Turn off your cell phone, computer, or tv when he is in the room and give him your full attention
30.Todays focus: Love

I hope you all join me in this challenge, its so important to put your relationships as a priority and show those more important to us, just how important they are!

Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pinterest Challenge Day 1 Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Q

Today is day 1 of my Pinterest Challenge I decided to go with something simple...Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies. Here is the finished product

I found the recipe at http://thegspotrevolution.com/?p=6611 and I followed the recipe as directed, mine arent as pretty and round like hers but they are good. They are a gluten free recipe and great for breakfast or a snack.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pinterest Challenge

I am addicted to Pinterest! About this time last year a friend invited me to Pinterest. I started saving recipes, and fun DIY projects. At first I was trying these things but lately it has become more about pinning the ideas but not doing them. I recently spent an entire after reorganizing all my boards!!!! I have 67 boards with over 4000 pins, thats a lot of internet "hoarding". So I have decided to start putting some of those great ideas to the test! Once a week I will attempt either a recipe, diy or beauty tip and I will share the results with you.I am calling it my "Pinterest Challenge" if you are interested in following me on Pinterest here is the link http://pinterest.com/ashbysowner/, and  if you see something on my pinterest you would like me to try just let me know!!! See you all next week for our first challenge!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, August 20, 2012

Why Do I Blog??

Why do I blog?? I was pondering this question this morning as I lay in my bed not feeling well. I have 2 blogs, this one and a recipe one. I am a sporatic blogger at best, sometimes letting life get in the way. I was trying to come up with an interesting topic for a blog post and I asked myself why do I blog anyway, no one reads it, no one is interested in reading about your crazy life, you are not an expert on anything , and you are not famous. So why do I write this blog and why should anyone read it?

It all started when I was a child, my real dream in life was to be a writer. I loved reading books and imaged someday writing a book and millions of people flipping through the pages of a novel I had written and escaping into the imaginary world that I had created. Well here I am 35 years later and I am not that famous writer, I have not written that novel yet. I am stay at home wife. A decision my husband and I made together a few years ago. I have a great family, a few wonderful friends and a very happy fulfilling life.

A few years ago I came across my first blog and instantly became a fan. Since then I have found other blogs on different topics. I have learned so much from ordinary woman just like me. Each of these woman all have different life experiences and different gifts to share. I thought I could this, so I started this blog. I had no intentions for it, no idea what it should say, no message I wanted to share. But it has slowly tuned into something I am proud of. I love the name, living a life of joy and gratitude, something that I strive to do everyday and something that has served me well, a life lesson I can share with others. And this is what I have learned over the last little bit, I am an expert on something...living my life. I have lived through a lot of things in my 35 years, some of it not good but most of it wonderful. And if I can share that with others and inspire others to try to live with joy and gratitude then I have accomplished something.

I may not have a huge amount of followers but thats ok, I am greatful for the followers I have and the feedback I have received and the new friends I have made. Through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the blogs I have been inspired and want to share the things I have learned.

So I blog to share my life and the lessons I have learned so far, to inspire other people and to learn from others. Its my way of being a famous author. Its writing what I know about...me! I blog cause its fun and to let that author inside of me come out. Maybe someday I will sit down and write that book or novel but until then I will write here. My own little space to share my thoughts, my ideas, my story !

Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dreaming Big

First I am so sorry I havent been present in the last couple months. Life has taken over and I have been busy living it, and dreaming big new dreams. First an update on my weight loss. We have just past the 5 month mark and I am at 65 pounds lost and Carl has reached 35 pounds. Its is truly amazing how losing weight changes your life. I cant speak for Carl but I feel like a new person, not just physically but in every other aspect of my life. I am more positive, more energenic. I want to try new things....I have new big dreams!!!!

We recently put our home back up for sale, this time with a real estate agent so we dont have the stress of trying to sell it ourselves. Its such a different experience so far, my only job is to keep the house clean. We have gone to look at a few houses, trying to get an idea of what we can get in our budget and seeing whats out there. This has been a dream of ours for awhile. A house of our own, on our own piece of land, where we can have a pool, a couple dogs, a place to relax and call our own. So hopefully our house sells soon so we can get started on this dream. We know it will happen when its meant to and we know the right house for us will be for sale when its time to buy one.

If you had asked me a year ago what my dreams were I would probably have said having children and having a house. But now with losing weight I have a few new dreams. I am hoping losing weight will help with the dream of having children. But now I can add my new dream of experiencing new things and living life. We recently went on a long weekend vacation that included a lot of physical activity, including a hike in Fundy National Park. I loved it, and I can see a lot of new adventures in our future. Things I always thought would be fun but never were on my radar because I didnt think I could physically do them, I now picture myself doing. Things that I have said no to doing before are now maybes and yeses!!!! I want to hike new places and trails. I want to get a bicycle and start biking, I want to learn how to kayak. I am even open to maybe facing my fear of heights and trying rapelling or maybe even ziplining!!!

I am sure over the next few months, and after I have lost more weight I will have more new dreams to add to my list. I can now allow myself to dream big. A whole new world has opened up to me and I am ready to experience it. My dreams are still pretty simple....to have a house we love, hopefully children to fill it and time with my family and friends. The most important dream I ever had already came true, when Carl came into my life. I could not have asked for a better, more loving and supportive husband to share my dreams with. Everyday I thank God that he has answered my dreams, and given me the ability to dream big new dreams!!

Blessings,
Heather

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Weight Loss Update

So it has now been 6 weeks and things are moving along. I have lost a total of 16 pounds! But most importantly this new normal has become a new routine. We dont call it a diet, we know that this cant be something we do, lose weight then go back to the way it was. This is our new normal. The way we want to live our lives for the rest of our lives. Dont get me wrong it hasnt been easy and we have both had rough days and set backs. Carl's has been his bad knee. He popped it out a couple weeks ago and hasnt been able to walk or do any cardio. He has been doing some weights and other exercising but he hasnt lost any weight in the last couple weeks but he has maintained and thats awesome! I have had a few rough days...mostly because when food that I have the most trouble with are around I seem to eat them then I feel quilty. My biggest enemy seems to be breads. I know I have a bread addiction, and I binge snack on it. But I have been working on it and trying to say no to myself. Not an easy thing for me to do, its something I have always done when alone, like eating an extra biscuit after supper while doing the dishes. I have been tempted and I have failed a couple times in the last few weeks, but its ok, I have been more aware that I do it and I have been confessing it to Carl and making myself work a little harder the next day. I am still seeing progress and everytime I get on the scale and see a loss it makes me want to work harder. All of the encouragement I have been getting from my friends and family has been the most motivating though. To hear my mom say she is proud of me, to have people say good job on my weekly facebook updates and to have people say they are beginning to notice changes in my body have been so encouraging and makes me want to work even harder. It keeps me going when I want to give up. The best moment so far was last weekend when I put on a pair of dress pants I havent had on since Christmas. At Christmas time they were tight and I was unable to button the last button and Sunday when I put them on for church they were loose and I was able to button that button I hadnt been able to before. A small victory but one step that I am proud of and I cant wait for more of those victories!!!! I am thinking of starting a new blog to follow my weight loss and share some things I have learned that work and some healthy recipes. Not sure yet but if I do I will let you know!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

So many changes......

Hi everyone!
Its seems like such a long time ago but its only been a few weeks. But so many changes have been going on in my life. First I turned 35. Second we moved.....back into our old home, long story!!! At first it was upsetting, we thought we had sold it but that fell through and as much as it was a pain in the butt, it was a learning experience and it now looks like it will be for the best, we may be able to buy a new house this summer!!! And the best change in our lives has been that we have set a goal of getting healthy. 2 weeks ago both Carl and I decided it was time to get in shape, start eating right and exercising. I am soo proud of both of us. We set down some goals and plans, like no junk food, only eating healthy meals and snacks,and  we each set a weight goal. We gave ourselves a "cheat day", once a week we are allowed to cheat and eat something we love that may not be the healthiest. We are going to deprive ourselves of things we love, like Carl and his chips!!! We are both experiencing new foods...like kale and eggplant. We are walking everyday and bought an exercise bike. My friend Angie has lent me Zumba for the Wii and I am enjoying that. We each treated ourselves to a new workout outfit and sneakers. 2 weeks in and we are both enjoying some weight loss, as of last Thursday we had lost a total of 11 pounds between the two of us. But more importantly we both have more energy, are sleeping better and Carl has even commented on how much of a better mood I have been in and we seem to be enjoying life more. Dont get me wrong it hasnt been easy, the first few days were rough, I think I was going through withdraws  and I was cranky. Getting my self motivated to exercise was hard, but once I was finished I felt so much better and now look forward to it everyday. I love pushing myself a little harder each day to beat what I accomplished yesterday. My end goal isnt to be super skinny. Its just to be able fit enough to enjoy activities, not to get winded just walking around the block, to not fit into my winter clothes next fall and maybe get healthy enough to get pregnant in the future. Its crazy how much better I feel......after only 2 weeks I never want to go back to even how I was 2 weeks ago! I have to thank a few people.......Abigail Cappel and Shandy Showers(my sisters in this journey) for your motivation and support, and encouragement, my best friend Angie for getting me started, listening to me and encouraging me, and most importantly to my husband who joined me on this endeavor, for your encouragement when I wanted to give up and for trying all these new foods with me, I couldnt do it without you, I am proud of your accomplishments too! I am so excited and we are only 2 weeks in, please pray for us that we can keep it up and accomplish our goal!

If anyone wants any info on what we are doing or wants to join us let me know!

Blessings,
Heather

Friday, February 24, 2012

35 till 35 Day 30

Only a few days left. Here is the photo for day 30, a view from my window.

Its the calm before the storm, we are suppose to get 20-30 cm of snow tonight and tomorrow. The little boy downstairs built the snowman this afternoon.!

Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, February 23, 2012

35 till 35 Day 29

I am pretty sure if you read yesterdays post you guessed who I was going to post a pic of for todays challenge which is someone you love. I said yesterday it would be of the person who means the most to me in the entire world and thats...............my Carl.

Love you honey!

Blessings,
Heather

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

35 till 35 Day 27 and 28

Here are yesterdays and todays photo challenge photos

Yesterday was my niece's birthday so I decided to write her a note for my day 27 challenge....handwriting.

Today's challenge was breakfast......I had homemade waffles with maple syrup!

Cant wait till tomorrow when I get to show you someone I love....hint its the most important person in the world to me!!!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, February 20, 2012

35 till 35 Day 24, 25, and 26

Here are my photos for day 24, 25 and 26.....hands, best friend and pets.

The top photo is my hand, the middle is my best friend Angela, we have been friend for over 20 years. We met in Junior High and have been friends ever since. She is a wonderful, fun, caring, generous person and I couldnt ask for a better best friend! The last photo is of our cats, Bailey and Vader!

Blessings,
Heather

Friday, February 17, 2012

35 till 35 Days 21, 22 and 23

I was away for a couple days dog and cat sitting for my sister so I am behind so here are my photos for the last 3 days!

Day 21..after dark, I took this from our front door, you can see the building next door and the dusk till dawn light that shines in our living room window.


Day 22....daily routine, this is something I do daily!


And day 23...your favorite food, I will let the photo speak for itself!!!

Sorry I got behind, only a week and a half left till I turn 35!!!! I have been having fun taking these photos everyday and enjoying seeing everyone else's, thanks!

Blessings,
Heather

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

35 till 35 Day 20

Today is suppose to be a photo of something old...this is the oldest thing I own. My Nannie Roxie gave it to me last year. It is a pendant that belonged to her grandmother Lottie Nicholson, it was given to her by her husband Luther Graham....its over 100 years old!!!! I so treasure it.

Very unique and very pretty!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, February 13, 2012

35 till 35 Day 19

Today's photo is a smile. I was just about to take a picture on myself when Bailey jumped up on the desk and I told him to smile, he looked at me and made this face( I say its a smile) and so I snapped he photo. I thought it was cute so I decided to use his "smile" instead of mine!

Isnt that a cute smile??

Blessings,
Heather

Sunday, February 12, 2012

35 till 35 Day 18

Today is a sunrise or sunset. Thankfully the storm is over and the sun came out this afternoon and I was able to get(well Carl went out in the cold and took it for me) a photo of the sunset. Here it is.....

Blessings,
Heather

Saturday, February 11, 2012

35 till 35 Day 17

Today's photo is of trees! We are in the middle of a snow storm so I tagged along with Carl when he went plowing and brought the camera but ended up taking my favorite one right in our own driveway...hope you like it!

Hope we will be able to get a glimpse of tomorrow's photo challenge, either the sunrise or sunset, its still suppose to be snowing here. Guess we will see what the weather brings!

Blessings,
Heather

Friday, February 10, 2012

35 till 35 Day 16

Today's photo challenge is a photo of a pretty pattern........

This is a quilt my grandmother made for me a long time ago. Tulips are my favorite flower. My Nannie Scott died a few years ago and I treasure this quilt and the afghan she made for me. Miss and Love you Nannie!

Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, February 9, 2012

35 till 35 Day 15

Well we have already made it to day 15, todays challenge is a photo of where we sleep, I know you have already seen my bed, since I used it for a photo of something I made but here it is since it is where I sleep. I took a new photo though and its great since the sun is shining right on the side to highlight exactly where I sleep.

Blessings,
Heather

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

35 till 35 Day 14

Todays photo challenge is.... What I read, so heres the photo

I love to read. I read alot. I love reading on the computer. I like reading other blogs. I like reading books and magazines on anything from home decorating to cooking. I love reading books of fiction, romance and true story. But mostly I love reading books about spiritual guidance especially the Bible. In the photo my Bible is open to a story of a woman I aspire to be more like.

Blessings,
Heather

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

35 till 35 Day 13

So todays photo challenge calls for a photo of something I ate, so heres what I had for breakfast

Cherry yogurt and an english muffin with cheese! See you tomorrow for a pic of what I read!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, February 6, 2012

35 till 35 Day 10, 11 and 12

Hey everyone, I know, I know its my challenge and I am not keeping up, but we had a crazy bad and busy weekend, but I did catch up and here are my photos to prove it!!

Day 10, far away .....this is my view of the tv from computer room!

Day 11...something fun, what could be more fun than the Superbowl. We had a pregame potluck with chicken wings, bacon wrapped hotdogs, nachos, pizza casserole, and awesome pink punch and cookie dough cookie dip with cookies of course. But the highlight of the night was the Giants winning!!!!!

Day 12.....my shoes. Ok so I had to take the photo myself and my pants are in the way, but these are the shoes I have been wearing lately. They are a cute pair of black shoes, I know you cant tell they are black because they are dirty but the ground is covered in snow, sand and salt, I should have cleaned them up but I am trying to be real!!!

Sorry I got behind but I am now back on track and slowly getting closer to my big birthday!!! 35 isnt that big a deal but its my birthday and I always make a big deal of my own birthday. Hope you all had a blessed weekend and hope you came back tomorrow to see what I will eat!!

Blessings,
Heather

Friday, February 3, 2012

35 till 35 Day 9 Close Up!

Here is my day 9 photo...



Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Turning an Old Toybox into a Coffee Table!

When I was a child, my sister and I shared a toybox. My parents bought it for us when we were just little girls. It moved from house to house with us, it was our tickle trunk( gotta love Mr Dressup), it was our desk when we played school and we even made it into a sofa when we played house. We fought over it, Melanie even carved her name into the side to proclaim to everyone it was hers. It even made it through a fire! When we each moved out for some reason I got it, and somehow it became my coffee table. I forgot to take a before picture, but this was taken a few weeks before we redid the toybox, you can even see right under the handle where Mel wrote her name!

It is now used to hold blankets for those cold winter days when we want to snuggle on the couch. I recently asked Melanie for permission to sand it down and restain it so it would match our other furniture. Its probably 30 years old so it needed a new finish. Here are some pictures of the process:

After Carl had sanded it down

all prepared to stain

first coat of stain

not happy with the coverage so we ended up doing  a second coat

a couple days after the second coat

applying the semi gloss to give it shine and protection

the finished product after the handles were put back on

close up 


viola!  all done!


Now it looks new and matches our other furniture. Its so great having a piece if my childhood right in my livingroom. Some day I hope to give it to my niece, so she can hopefully pass it along to her children, next time my sister comes for a visit I am going to have her put her name on the inside cover along with mine and Sophie's.A strong piece of furniture with sentimental family history.

Blessings,
Heather

35 till 35 Day 8

Well here it is Day 8 is something you made.......

The only thing I make really well is food and I am sure you are sick of my foodie pics and I am not the craftiest person so I decided to share something else I made today....our bed!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day 7 of my 35 till 35 Challenge and Real Marriage.

Here is my faceless portrait for my 35 till 35 Photo Challenge.
 I choose this because no one else has this tattoo, so it is distinctly mine. I went to the tattoo parlor with a couple friends, starting looking through the drawings of the tattoo artist and instantly this one spoke to me. I love the moon and stars and the vines and flowers made it so feminine. The tattoo artist was very excited I had picked that one because he had drawn it 12 years before that and no one had ever picked it, it was meant for me.


So yesterday I posted a link to a video by Jefferson Bethke entitled "Sex, Marriage and Fairytales" it was inspired but Bethke's pastor Mark Driscoll's new book and sermon series called "Real Marriage".  Now I havent read the book yet but Carl and I did watch the first of the sermon series the other night, it was entitled "New Marriage, Same Spouse" here is the link if your interested http://marshill.com/media/real-marriage/new-marriage-same-spouse In this book Driscoll and his wife Grace talk about everything from friendship in marriage to sex. The first sermon in the series was mostly an introduction and he shares their testimony and how through honesty and friendship and setting priorities in which God comes first they have been given a new marriage with the same spouse. They put an emphasizes on being completely honest with your spouse, laying it all out on the line to them about your past sins, so they know who they are marrying and if this isnt done how it can destroy your marriage later on. It lead to a great discussion between Carl and I after we finished watching it which made us both feel closer and stronger as a couple with a better understanding of who we each were and what we want from our marriage. I totally agree with Pastor Mark that the best marriages are based on a strong foundation of friendship and a strong willingness to put God and your spouse as your most important priorities in your life above work and  even your children!!!!! Carl and I are hoping through this series we grow even closer. If you get a chance check it through the link above and if you so let me know what you think!

Blessings,
Heather

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Day 6 of the 35 till 35 Photo Challenge and a link to marriage video

Today is day 6 already of the 35 till 35 Photo Challenge and todays photo is suppose to be of technology so I took a pic of our computer desk, it was a great excuse to clean the desk up! I see my cell phone was still there...oh well it fits in with technology.

Tomorrow 's photo is faceless photo, cant wait to see how creative everyone gets!

I am also sharing a link with you to a great video by Jefferson Bethke on marriage. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4OK9DmLpCY&list=UUc4yillQaNo6a-iG2PYbbrA&index=1&feature=plcp Carl and I started watching a sermon series by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church called Real Marriage and I will be sharing our experience with this tomorrow!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, January 30, 2012

Day 5 of 35 till 35

Hi everyone, we are at day 5 already, that means I turn 35 in 30 days! Todays photo is suppose to be of something new. So I took a picture of my new rug. If you know me you know I am a huge fan of primitive decor. Last week I finally found a rug for my kitchen and I love it so here is a photo of it!

Cant wait to see what you all have thats new!!! See you tomorrow  with a photo of technology!

Blessings,
Heather

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Day 4 of the 35 till 35 Photo Challenge

Today was a hard one to decide on,  a photo of something you love, I have so many things this could be but I finally decided on this.......
My bouquet from my wedding. They are artificial. I saw them in a craft shoppe after Carl and I got engaged and loved the colors. So I bought them to use as a reference for the colors I wanted in our wedding, it looked so summery and our wedding was July 7. When it came time to pick out flowers I thought why dont I just use them, so almost 5 years later here they are, they have a special place near or wedding picture in our livingroom so we can see them everyday!

This picture came in a close second but the sentimentalness of the flowers won out!!
I love my wine rack Carl got me last year for Christmas and of course I love a good bottle of wine!

Hope everyone is having a blessed weekend
Blessings,
Heather

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Baking Addict

I know I havent posted any recipes here in a long time...thats cause I started a new recipe blog. Its called The Baking Addict. If you are interested in checking it out here is the link  http://thebakingaddict.wordpress.com  I have posts on there ranging from coconut cream pie, popcorn seasonings to ovenbaked hotdogs. I hope you take a moment to check it out. You can also follow each of my blog pages on facebook, they are under the same names as each blog http://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-a-Life-with-Joy-and-Gratitude and http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Baking-Addict.

If any of you have blogs or facebook pages you want to share, you are more than welcome to add them to the comments section.

Blessings
Heather

35 till 35 Day 3

My favorite color is blue, our whole bedroom is pretty much blue. Its sorta a beach theme, maybe once we move into a new house I will post of pic of it. For now here is a photo of a blue throw we have!
Cant wait to share tomorrows photo...something I love, how will I narrow it down to just one???

Blessings,
Heather

Friday, January 27, 2012

35 till 35 Day 2

I cant believe I am actually sharing a pic of me in my pjs, but todays photo challenge was to post a pic of what we wore today and I stayed in my pjs all day.....we had a snow storm here and the heat in our living room wasnt working so it wasnt very warm in here so I decided to stay in my pjs. What the photo doesnt show are my awesome slippers. They are pink and have cupcakes and they light up when I walk, a cute Christmas present from my husband(thanks honey!) So I decided to take a separate picture of them,they are too cute not to be included. 
Arent they cute?? I want to take a second to thanks to all my friends who are participating in this challenge with me, it means alot! Cant wait to see everyone's favorite color tomorrow, be as creative as you want with your pictures(as long as they are decent!!)


Blessings,
Heather

Good Luck vs God Luck

A few weeks back I was talking to a friend on msn and I went to type "Good Luck " to them and as I usually do I typed it incorrectly and instead typed "God Luck", I quickly retyped it and sent her the message. But it got me to thinking, had I made a mistake or was my typo actually what I meant?? Good luck implies good fortune by chance, but as a believer in God do I really believe in chance? I have been taught that God has a purpose for all of us, he never gives us what we cant handle and just because we pray for something, doesnt mean it will happen the way we want, God may have other plans. Most of the time when we wish someone "Good Luck" we are usually hoping for a good outcome, like a job interview, trying out for a part in a play, hoping they win the big game or even learning about a loved ones illness. But all of those things involve God's purpose for our lives and sometimes God's purpose isnt always a good outcome for us. Wishing someone "God Luck" means no matter the outcome, God is always with us, working according to his purpose for our lives. No matter what happens, good or bad we need to be content with whatever the outcome because even if we do our best or even be the best  God will determine what happens. No matter what happens we need to understand it was God's plan and purpose for our lives.

 I realize its never "Good Luck" in our lives....its "God's Luck" , whatever the circumstances its all because He loves us and knows whats best for us, in those moments of great sorrow and loss its hard to see that but its true....its all because of God's purpose in our life. Put your faith in God, seek Him and His counsel, trust that He knows best and let it all happen according to His purpose in your life and the next time you go to wish someone "Good Luck" maybe you can wish them "God Luck" instead.

Blessing,
Heather

Thursday, January 26, 2012

35 till 35

In 35 days I will be turning 35. I was trying to think of some fun way I could countdown the days and share them with you. We recently bought a new digital camera so I thought it would be fun to do a 35 day photo challenge. So listed below are 35 days of photo ideas. Each day I will take a picture that corresponds with the idea and post it, I hope you will accept the challenge and join me, it will be a great way to get to know each other and have fun taking photos at the same time. You can be as creative as you want with each idea. Cant wait to see all your pics!


Here is the List and below is my pic for day 1!
Day 1~self portrait
Day 2~what I wore
Day 3~favorite color
Day 4~something I love
Day 5~something new
Day 6~technology
Day 7~faceless portrait
Day 8~something I made
Day 9~close up
Day 10~from far away
Day 11~something fun
Day 12~my shoes
Day 13~what i ate
Day 14~what i read
Day 15~where I sleep
Day 16~pretty pattern
Day 17~trees
Day 18~sunset or sunrise
Day 19~smile
Day 20~something old
Day 21~after dark
Day 22~daily routine
Day 23~favorite food
Day 24~hands
Day 25~best friend
Day 26~pets
Day 27~your hand writing
Day 28~breakfast
Day 29~someone you love
Day 30~view from your window
Day 31~your front door
Day 32~ in your fridge
Day 33~from up high
Day 34~transportation
Day 35~ self portrait 35 days later




Blessings,
Heather

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Inspiration Babble!

Have you ever suffered from a lack of inspiration?? I am having the opposite problem lately. I have so many ideas floating around in my head about what I want to blog about that I can not focus on just one. Every night when I lay down in the last couple weeks I have a hard time falling asleep cause I am writing blog posts as I lay there, they are great posts.... I really should get up and write them down!!! I have been doing alot of research on marriage topics and I have alot of thoughts that I will be hopefully sharing with you in the near future. I have also joined Pinterest lately and I am really inspired by some of the great ideas I have found on there( if you havent been on Pinterest...its very addicting). I have some great recipes and a few projects we have been up to around the house to share with you soon too!

 As much as all this inspiration has been frustrating in that I cant decide where to start its also wonderful to be filled with so many ideas and thoughts. This blog is all about living your life with joy and gratitude and be thankful for everything you have. Its nice to start a new year with a renewed sense of  those things. It really is a choice to live your life full of joy and gratitude, it makes everyday more special and fulfilling.So I am greatful for all this inspiration, it makes me feel alive and productive. Now I just need to hunker down and focus this inspiration into something tangible, something that I can share with all of you. If you have any ideas of on how I can get myself more focused I would love to hear from you!!!

Blessings,
Heather

Monday, January 23, 2012

The company is coming clean-up!


I love parties, and I love having guests over. We seem to entertain often...nothing fancy, just dinner or brunch with friends and family on the weekend.It’s a lot more fun to entertain when your house is clean.If you declutter and keep your house clean on a daily basis, your house is already clean and almost ready for a party or just a friend dropping in. There is bound to be incidental clutter here and there, but the house will not be in chaos, and you can feel comfortable having guests in your home.. I’m going to share what you can do right before company arrives, to make your home really ready to receive guests.

Hide Stuff.

I know this sounds like cheating but it isnt...... this is practical, and if you are doing a daily cleaning the less you will have to hide. Grab an empty laundry basket or storage bin, and start at the front door. Toss in random things that have congregated there. Continue putting things into the basket or bin as you walk through the front entry and into the house. Keep the basket/bin out while you quickly tidy up the front room. Fold throw blankets, fluff the couch cushions, clear off the coffee table, and put any scattered toys or strewed items into the basket. Take a walk through your house, putting in items that are out of place.  Put this container into the master bedroom closet, or similar hiding spot that is off-limits to guests. Make sure after guest leave you clean out this basket!

Bathroom.

This is the only place where your guests will be alone. If you are up to speed on your daily cleaning,you’re pretty much ready but if you haven’t been keeping up with this, it’s okay. Run some hot water in the sink, and use a hand towel to wipe up the sink bowl and surrounding surfaces. Put away bath toys. Use the wet handtowel to wipe out the bathtub and the ledges. Close the shower curtain or sliding doors. Re-wet the towel if need-be, and use it to quickly mop up the floor, taking care to get the dust bunnies out from behind the bathroom door. Remember that your guest is in the bathroom with the door shut, and if he/she is, um, sitting, the floor is on display.  If the toilet needs cleaning, do so now. Wipe or Windex off any large and noticeable splotches on the mirror or faucet. Change the towels.

Kitchen.

People end up in the kitchen. You can try to keep them out, but they’ll find a way to get in there anyhow. Put away the random stuff on the countertop (hide paperwork, bills, anything personal you don’t want on display) and wipe it down with a disinfectent wipe or spray. If you have dirty dishes in the sink, load up the dishwasher and turn it on. If you don’t have a dishwasher, handwash the dishes if you have enough time, or hide them. Seriously. It’s okay, I won’t tell. Put them in a box in the garage, or in the oven (remember to take them out before preheating!!!!). Wet a dishtowel and quickly mop up any noticeable crumbs from the flooring.

Make the House Smell Good.

This is the last thing to do before company arrives. Light a smelly candle or Windex something. The smell of Windex smells like clean. Windex will create a powerful punch in the air, and your guests will think you’ve spent HOURS cleaning. This is a trick that realtors do right before showing a house that’s not in the best-of-shape. They Windex the front doorknob or the lightswitch right by the front door, so the second people arrive to tour the home they get a whif of “clean”—that smell triggers something psychologically and visitors feel/believe that even if the home is in disrepair, it’s clean.
You
Save all your primping till the end...all your speed-demon housework is bound to wreck your hair. You want to be polished and ready so better to freshen up after all the cleaning is done. However feel free to move this step up if you are running out of time.

There’s a school of thought that believes  that a good friend will not care what condition your home(or you) is in, the friend is there just  to enjoy your company. This is true. But you will be more comfortable, and will entertain more often if your home is put-together and ready for guests. You won’t have a sinking feeling in your stomach when your friend calls to say they are dropping in or when your husband calls to say he’s invited his co-workers over for dinner. You will enjoy having company in your house.A good friend will appreciate everything you do to make them feel comfortable, and will offer to help clear dishes at the end of a fun night and will make an effort to get the kids to help clean up. And then she’ll invite you to her house.
Blessings,
Heather

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I am Human

I am Human                          
I am not Perfect
I am Selfish                            
I make Mistakes
I have Failed
I have Faults
I am Weak
I am Broken
I have Sinned
But I have been Forgiven



Blessings,
Heather

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Date Night

Marriage is sooo important and we must take it seriously. Whether we have children or not we must take time for each other. Carl and I dont have have any children(unless you count our 2 fur kids!) so its easier for us to take the time we need to work on our marriage, but we all need to water and nurture our marriages to make them grow and flourish. A great way to do this is to take time for a Date Night. So I have made a list of 25 ideas for dates. Some dont cost a cent, spending money doesnt make a date great, the quality and time spend together is what is really important.

1. Walk to a bakery and buy each other a treat then stop in a park or even a park bench to enjoy them together.
2. Date in a box- pick a random box and spend time decorating it together and and put ideas and items in the box you can use for future dates.
3. Greeting card date- make a list of all birthdays, holidays and special occasions you may need cards for this year, go to the dollarstore together and pick out random cards, dont think about it just have fun picking out funny cards, go home and assign each cards to an occasion, they dont have to match, you will giggle about them later, have fun!
4.Living room camp-out! get out some camping gear like camping chairs and sleeping bags, make some treats, turn off the light and use flashlights!
5. Repeat your first ate as close as you can
6.Go to the dollarstore and each pick out an activity to do, dont let the other person see it till you leave the store and go do that activity, some examples include a kids kite or canvasses and paints!
7. Photo Safari- take a digital camera and either drive or walk around town taking pictures of places that have special meaning to you.
8.Check out a book from the library on paper airplanes and make them and have a flying contest
9. Make a time capsule to give to your future or present children in the future
10. Get take out, dress up and decorate your dinning room and pretend you are in in an expensive restuarant
11.Slumber party- rent a movie get snacks and get in your pjs and cuddle on the floor with blankets and pillows
12. Test drive a car together
13. Go out for desert and coffee
14.Play board games and have prizes
15.Sit outside somewhere and read a book together, taking turns reading out load to each other
16.Take a dance, yoga or painting class together
17.Have a "youtube" date
18.Hit the local video arcade
19. Research your family tree together, or talk to you elders about their lives, record your family history
20. Create your own couples website-include your love story, info about yourself, pictures,etc
21.Go picking fruit or veggies together- whatever is in season
22. Stargazing-drive to an open field, bring a blanket, a snack and a bottle of wine or sparkling cider and cuddle up and watch the stars together
23. Write out 50 questions and ask them while on a dinner date, get to know each other
24. Dream House Hunting- go for a Sunday drive and check out open houses, ones you think you could never afford.
25. Pick a letter date- have your spouse pick a letter and plan all activities, food, dress and conversation around topics that start with that letter!

I hope this list sparks some ideas for a fun date night for you and your spouse. Its important to invest time into your marriage, its the most important relationship you  will ever have, take a little time to enjoy, get to know and spoil the one you choose to spend your life with. Let us know what works for you or if you have any other ideas please share them, cant wait to hear your ideas!!!

Blessings,
Heather