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Saturday, November 30, 2013

To Simon: On Your 1 Year Birthday

To my eldest, my firstborn, Simon, on the day you turn 1!  Happy Birthday my sweet boy!  I don't call this your first birthday because you already had that - on the day you were born.  What a glorious morning that was when you arrived.  We were thrilled to have you here after a very long night (technically 36 hours) of labor.



 You were quiet when you were born - not crying, just a few whimpers to make sure that we knew you were here and needed us.  I remember Peter saying something to our midwife about that fact and how he expected you to be crying.  Once he requested it, you gave him what he wanted and proceeded to give your lungs a nice workout for the next 15-20 minutes.  You have always been your father's son.





I had never seen your Daddy cry until I saw him hold you for the first time.  You turned his world upside down in one instant and he has never been the same.  I know this for a fact.  We became "Mama and Papa Bears" as Peter likes to say.




You gave me the greatest gift that I didn't know I wanted:  Motherhood.  You were the biggest surprise of our lives but also were by far the best one. I didn't know that this past year would be the happiest of my life with being your Mama.  No one told me what joy awaited in it.  Plenty of people told me otherwise....but I have since realized how wrong they were.  Staying home with you everyday is exciting.  It's an adventure and a thrill.   It's rewarding and the most fulfilling thing that I have ever done.  We have so much fun together and now that you are older, you are quickly becoming the buddy that I want with me everywhere.



You are very sweet with a great disposition.  You smile and chatter constantly.  People love to stop and say hi or smile at you and most of the time you respond with a big smile.  You have yet to mind being left with a perfect stranger as you love people and are extremely sociable. Your strength betrays your age and most have been surprised to hear that you aren't 1 yet.  Curiosity should be your middle name as you are into everything lately!  Because you now know what "no" and "no touch" mean, I can see you weighing the consequences of your insatiable desire to see things up close (which wins some of the time). Despite that, you have a tender heart and bend your will fairly easily. You have the Harrington intelligence for sure and it shows through your eyes - I could tell from just a few months on that you understood things at a more mature level.  I have a feeling that once you begin talking, you will have a hard time stopping!

And now today marks a whole year since you came into our lives.  I can not believe it.  I knew it was coming quickly but now that it's here I don't know where the time went.  I am afraid to blink and you will be 18 and leaving us as a young man.  I am not sure how my heart will handle that!

I look forward to watching you grow and become the man that God wants you to be.  I am honored and humbled to be a part of it.

You have had so many "firsts" this year that I have tried to write down so that I will remember them....but I often times think about your "lasts" and how much I want to cherish them as well:  The last time that you crawl.  The last time that you pull on my legs wanting me to pick you up.  The last time that you sit on my lap or cuddle after naps.  The last time that you want me (instead of Daddy) to comfort you.  The last time that you hold my hand.  The last time that you let me kiss you in public....or at home.  The last time that you ask me to play with you....

I am making a conscious effort to remember that the time is coming when you won't do all of these things anymore.  I don't take that lightly.


I will deeply cherish these days with you and I know that someday I will ache for them.  Thank you, my sweet, happy boy for turning me into your Mama.  Happiest of Birthdays to you!  

Love you with all of my heart,

Mama

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

This year it is easy for me to find so much to be thankful for.  I feel extremely blessed to have the life that I have and I don't take it for granted.  Jesus has done so much for me and my family over the past few years that it's hard to even know where to begin!

A year ago today, my water broke beginning the labor process to bring my sweet, little boy into this world.  Wow, my life sure changed - for the better!  I didn't know that this past year would have so much joy, adventure, excitement, fulfillment, reward and plain old happiness as I have had.  It has by far been the happiest year of my life to be raising my son with my best friend.

We had no idea what an incredible, undeserved blessing Jesus was giving us when he sent us Simon.  We are humbled and feel honored and privileged to be raising a child of the King.

Here are some of our family photos that we got for his 1 year birthday (in 2 days!).  He is such a happy little guy and it definitely shows.








Happy Thanksgiving!

XOXO
Joy

Monday, November 25, 2013

Leg Warmers!

Hey girls! 
  My laptop decided to officially die last Monday and my blog has been hard to keep up from my phone which is why there haven't been many posts. I will try to keep up on it but they will probably be a bit sporadic. 

Leg Warmers:  These are such a fun and cute trend right now and so practical in cold weather! Pair some leg warmers with boots for a small touch of flair that makes a noticeable difference. 


Or find some with lace for added femininity! 



See? So fun and they're not expensive at all! You can find them pretty much anywhere. They are super cute on little girls too so it's a fun gift idea for Christmas! 

Have a great Monday!

XOXO
Joy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Hair Extensions

Okay, girls, let's be honest here.  Hair:  We all want it but for some reason we think, "Well it doesn't count unless it's all mine - unless it's real."  Now, I get it.  I used to think that way too.  But our world is changing rapidly and guess what?  That mantra is a thing of the past.  It is more common than not for celebrities to have hair extensions and you'd be amazed at how many women walking around have them too.  I used to think that only really vain people used hair extensions and then as I looked into it and began to pay attention, I realized how many people actually use them now and how much of a difference they can make.  Hey, there is nothing wrong with getting a little help in this department if you need it or would like it. 

This is actually really liberating because it means we don't have to be born with amazing hair to enjoy amazing hair.  I personally benefit from this because I wasn't born with that long, luxurious, natural mane.  My hair is okay and can actually grow pretty long.  BUT, it's thin - more thin now after baby than it was before, which means that it gets really stringy and flat when it's long. 


Example of stringy, thin hair

Proffessional hair extensions are far too expensive for me to try and a huge upkeep so I thought I would never be able to try them.  (I wanted good, quality looking ones.)  Then someone told me that because hair extensions are so popular now that they had some great clip in ones at Sally's.  I figured I would go check them out.  They had multiple colors and lengths at Sally's and they are all 100% human hair (a must).  I bought a set and tried them out on a vacation that Peter and I went on.  They were nice but quite a bit longer than my actual hair so I felt like they didn't blend that well and looked more fake.  I used them a few times and put them away.

After I had Simon and was complaining to my sister about my super thin hair, she suggested trying my clip ins again.  I tried them and loved them so much that I began to wear them pretty consistently.  My hair had grown and was almost exactly  the same length as my extensions so they added precisely what I needed - volumne.  I kicked myself inwardly for not having used them sooner!  They made a world of difference and allowed me to not be so hard on my own hair in trying to produce volumne. 



Then I colored my hair dark for the fall (and of course forgot to take in my extensions to have them colored).  My hair looked even more thin now that it was dark and so I decided to go check out Sallys again.  Because my hair was the same length as my current extensions, I decided to go to the next length.  I got some 18 inch ones that matched my new color perfectly and that's what I use now.  I cannot tell you how much I love them.  They are a lifesaver.  My hair is long, luxurious and so easy to do!  I seriously wash them like once a week (or longer), curl them once and that's it.  I can clip them in and out and use them almost every day without having to curl them again.  I have instant volumne, length and curl whenever I want.  They take me about 4 minutes to clip in and I wear them all day. 




I have had my blonde ones for almost 2 years now and I plan on having my dark ones even longer.  Considering how much I wear them, the price at Sally's is very reasonable.  For the exact ones that I have find them here.  I am very interested to try these the next time I would have to get any.  I have heard amazing reviews on them.  It's a big purchase, but considering how long you will use them and wear them, it's totally worth it.  Start saving now.  =) 


I will be doing a future post about how to wash/style and clip them in.  Have a fabulous day! 


XOXO
Joy

Monday, November 18, 2013

Marriage, Part 1

Peter surprised me on Saturday night with a date to one of my favorite restaurants followed by a concert to one of my favorite artists (with super close seats might I add).  He had purchased the tickets 3 months ago and was dying to tell me.  It was a magical night.  It's amazing how much more you appreciate those kinds of nights once you have children because they don't happen as easily or as often. You almost feel giddy just to be out and alone. 


But marriage isn't always fancy dinners or dates.  It's hard, painful and lonely at times.  It requires an incredible amount of character, growth, humility and dying to self.  It's impossible without a force or motivation bigger than you or your spouse. 

I grew up in a Christian home where I heard all of these things and was prepared for marriage to be hard.  But I had still bought the lie that "Surely it shouldn't be this hard".  When we struggled and hit a point of wondering if our marriage would make it, I wrestled with guilt and thinking that I must have done something wrong or married the wrong person for this to be happening.  I doubted because of it.  When Jesus began to redeem our marriage, he finally broke through my lies and freed me from the accompanying guilt.  He showed me that marriage can't make it without Him being the driving force.  I realized that marriage in general is a war and that's okay.  There is a real force at work in our world to destroy marriages and everything they represent.  Marriage is supposed to be a glory to God and represents His relationship with us.  Only in our brokeness and Jesus' redeeming work is it a glory to Him therefore I should rejoice in it instead of feeling guilt and shame.  This freed me to let go and let Jesus be front and center of our story.  I cannot tell others of the amazing, redeeming work He has done for us if I do not also share the brokeness.  He has given me much to praise Him for so I gladly share what I used to be too ashamed and guilt ridden to even consider telling anyone. 


I write this to encourage anyone out there who is struggling and feeling guilty or wrong about it.    You are not alone.  I have been there and have come out on the other side, walking with Jesus and Peter.  If He can change our marriage in the ways that He has, then He can certainly do the same for you.  There is no shame in brokeness and coming to the end of yourself.  In fact, it's a beautiful place to be because it allows Him to create something new and even more beautiful than you had before.  Go to Him.  It is so worth it.


"This is my story, this is my song:  praising my Savior all the day long.  This is my story, this is my song:  praising my Savior all the day long."


And so I share our story....

(To be Continued)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stripes & Sweaters

When the weather turns cold and the holidays begin to approach, I love to have a couple "go to" sweaters in my closet that I can be cozy and cute in.  I have seen a ton of cute sweaters out this year and they are longer in the back than in the front which makes them great to pair with skinny jeans!  It's also fun that stripes are really big right now!  They have a lot of fun and funky designs out there - you really can't go wrong. =) 

 





Tip:  Pairing a bright accessory with an otherwise plain (color wise) outfit will give it a great pop. 

Sweater:  H&M - If I remember it was around $20. 


Have a wonderful weekend!
 
XOXO
Joy

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Brown Rice Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Parmesan

This is one of my quick "go to" meals that I love to prepare when I need something substantial with not a lot of time.  You don't have to use brown rice pasta - it could be any kind.  I love brown rice pasta because it has a fairly good consistency provided you cook it right.  It must be al dente - you cannot cook it til it's soft or it will fall apart.  I make this recipe vegetarian but you could easily add some meat to it. 

This recipe is for 1 box of brown rice pasta (probably around 3 adults).  Double the sauce if you want it more saucy or if you are making more pasta.  I really don't measure for my recipes - I'm a "hand measure" or eyeball it girl. 


1.  Start your water boiling for your pasta and make sure it's nice and salty!  It should be as salty as salt water from the ocean.  It will flavor your pasta nicely.

2.  Slice an onion, bell pepper and mushrooms.  Throw those in a saute pan with some coconut oil and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes.


 

3.  Add a bunch of fresh grape (or cherry) tomatoes to your saute pan, cover with a lid and let them begin to "sweat".

4.  After 3-4 minutes, the tomatoes will be ready to "pop".  Take a flat spatula and smash them gently til they burst open.  Be careful, they can splatter you. 


 

 
5.  Add 1 can of tomatoe sauce to this mixture along with oregano, basil and salt (not too much cause your pasta will be slightly salty). Let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.  (Depending on how much time you  have.)  I had some extra sauce in my fridge that I was using up so it's a little more full in this picture...


 
 

6.  Once your pasta is done cooking, drain it, rinse it and put it back in the pan that it cooked in. 

7.  When your sauce is done, add a little honey to cut the acidity of the tomatoe sauce and pour the sauce over the pasta.  You don't want to cook the honey or it will burn so put it in right at the end. (TIP:  if your children will not like all the veggies in this sauce, blend it all together before pouring it over the pasta - it will make a thicker, hearty sauce and they won't be picking out veggies.) 

8.  Sprinkle on a generous amount of parmesan cheese and toss the whole thing together until well coated.  Serve immediately.
 



 
Enjoy!
 
XOXO
Joy

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

6 Tips For Incorporating Workouts

Physical activity is such an easy thing that anyone can do every day to improve multiple facets of their lives.  And it’s free
Studies show so many positive effects from physical activity that it's impossible to ignore or deny its importance in our daily lives.  It reduces stress, is a natural antidote for depression, aids with digestion, improves heart health, helps with circulation, increases brain function, gives you energy, lowers blood pressure, improves your mood, combats disease, promotes better sleep, etc.  Do we really need any other convincing that working out is hugely important?  The following aren't facts but when I workout I find that my food tastes better, my sleep feels sweeter and my overall outlook is more positive and productive.  When I was pregnant, working out made all the difference in how I felt.  I was less sick, slept better, had more energy, drank more water, had less overall issues and felt incredible on the days that I worked out.  There is nothing like a good workout when you are big and pregnant to make you feel like you are the woman!  =) 

Before I get into some of my workout routines, I'd like to share some tips to helping you get started with a regular, habitual time that you dedicate to physical activity. 

1.  Do what is fun for you.  If you hate working out, you can't expect to force yourself to
get up every day and muscle through something that you despise while hoping it becomes a habit.  So don't.   You have to ease into things.  Give yourself something practical that you know that you can stick to because honestly, the biggest part of the battle is setting a habit first.  Set a habit of a specific time everyday (or every other day) that you set aside for your activity and stick to it.  Once you have the habit set, you can introduce new things into that workout.  You can start with just putting aside time to stretch or go sit outside for some quiet time.  Then maybe take a little stroll and enjoy some time to just think and be outside.  Once you have that habit, you can increase your pace or try a little jogging here and there while you walk etc.  You get the idea.  Just ease into it. 

2.  Be proactive in making time in your schedule You have time - you just have to make it a priority.  Pick a time that you can be consistent with several times a week and stick to it.  A tip with this is to pick the time of day when you can give your best to your workout.  Pick a time where you can focus, work hard and have the right mindset.  If that means getting up early or doing it late at night that is fine.   Just find which works best for you where, again, it can be habitual.

3.  Commit to a # of days a week that you want to get in a workout in and stick to it Pick the number rather than the days because life is unpredictable so some weeks will look different than others.  Picking the number rather than the days allows you to be flexible week to week with which days will work for you.

4.  Utilize the friends in your life who are on this path and can help you with yours If you know people who have this interest as well then use it to your advantage.  Ask them to work out with you or to help give you ideas for your regimen.  When Simon was 3 months old, my dear friend Grace was my faithful, workout "drill sergeant".  We would meet at the mall a couple times a week (before the mall was open) to jog with our strollers and do some circuit training.  Once the weather was nice we switched to meeting at parks.  I knew that I was in a season in my life where I needed the extra help with being faithful in my workouts so I called up Grace.  Find those people.

5.  Remember it's the quality not the quantity How hard you work during your workout will trump how long you go for.  Your workouts do not have to be long at all.  I have some days where I take 10 - 15 minutes to crank one out.  If you are working hard enough, your length of time can be shortened.  I love circuit training for this very reason.  It is a whole body workout that combines cardio with strength training (often time using your own body weight for resistance) and usually is very easy to do at home.  Crossfit is a great example of circuit training.  I love that you can do it anywhere and use the principles with anything.  I say that if you leave the gym or your workout looking the same as when you entered then you are not working hard enough.  A great way to gauge this is by your sweat.  I have to work up a good sweat to know that I worked hard enough.  Obviously there will be days when you don't have the energy or your body is telling you that it needs a break and that's okay too. 

6.  Something is better than nothing.  I have to remind myself of this constantly.  When Simon was only a few months old and I was struggling with dropfoot, my workouts felt like a big let down because they were not nearly what I had worked up to before birth.  I struggle with feeling like my workouts don't count unless I can feel it and see it (aka the sweat gauge).  But this is absolutely not true.  Spending time doing a physical activity is always better than doing none at all.  Don't listen to that voice that says otherwise. 


In the future, I would like to share some of my workout routines with all you ladies - both my at home ones and at the gym ones.  Let me know if you have any questions or requests! 

XOXO
Joy

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Makeup Tutorial: The Basics

Ok, girls, I tried and tried but for some reason, I can't upload the video that I made.  I think I need a different program - or possibly an Ipad (wink wink).  =) 
 
But because I promised you all, I found a makeup tutorial that is almost exactly the way I do mine.  I have a couple different tweaks to it but it's pretty spot on. 
 
A couple of tips:  I wash and moisturize my face and then let my face sit for about 10 minutes before I do any makeup.  I have found that you need to give your lotion time to properly dry or you will get blotchy areas and it won't look good.  You can obviously let it go longer than 10 minutes but it needs to be at least that.  So throw on your lotion (on a clean face) and go do something else (I usually make coffee and feed my baby). 
 
 
 
Here it is:


http://www.maskcara.com/tag/4-minute-makeup/



I hope you all enjoy it!  Again, I am so bummed and so sorry that my video didn't work.  I am going to keep trying new things and hopefully can get it working in the future!




 
My daily makeup.
 
 
 
 
XOXO
Joy




Monday, November 11, 2013

Weekend Fun

We had a fun weekend as a family and I love that I can capture little moments with a phone...


Lazy Saturday morning


Starbucks Family Date


Goin to Church

These black booties from Target were totally worth every penny - I wear them constantly!

At Cole's Birthday party




Simon loved playing in the leaves and destroying all my piles...

I had not raked this many leaves since I was 14 and living in Maryland!  Grabbing my rake, I stepped outside into the nippy air, smelled smoke from a chimney nearby and felt the crunch of the leaves under my feet.  And all of a sudden I was a little girl again playing fox and geese with my siblings.  A lot of times we tried to make a game out of our chore of raking leaves because it was a lot of work.  So.Many.Memories.  It made me a little sad that it went by so fast.  The distance between me and my family probably makes me a little more wistful.  =)   

I spent a lot of time this weekend trying to get a makeup tutorial made but it didn't work!  I am so bummed.  I have one last attempt I am going to try today.  Either way, I will have something up tomorrow for the first makeup tutorial!  Make sure you check it out!  Also, I'd love to hear from you all about what you'd like for me to post about - I am open to ideas.  Once I get the tutorial/video thing figured out, I plan on talking hair extensions!  

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  Happy Monday!

XOXO
Joy 

Friday, November 8, 2013

Leather Leggings

I have seen this trend going on for a while now and wrote it off as only being for "girls with no cellulite whatsoever" and since that is clearly not me, I walked right past that rack of leather leggings...until I heard that small voice in my head that said "Well you never know unless you try it."  That's the phrase I tell all my friends when I help them to get out of their comfort zone with clothes so I figured I had better walk the talk.  I went back to that rack and pulled a pair off of it all the while shaking my head (but secretly harboring a small flicker of hope deep down).  Let me just say, I was very surprised!

Ladies, you have got to at least try a pair on!  They don't look like it, but they are thicker than regular leggings and so they actually feel more like pants than regular leggings and hide more than regular leggings!  I know you don't believe me so please, try on a pair - really, what will it hurt?




Simon wanted to get in on some of the pictures....



These leggings are my new favorites and I feel like I can wear them all the time and dress them down with a sweater and boots or dress them up with a top like the one I'm wearing. The best part?  They were only like $20 from Forever 21.  
Boots:  Maurices
Top:  Maurices


XOXO
Joy

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Makeup:  The Basics Preview

Okay, ladies.  I really would like to do a video tutorial of my daily "Mommy" makeup routine but my webcam on my laptop is not working at this time (nor is the sound) so I will have to wait to do it this weekend when I can use Peter's.  Before that, though, I thought I would go over some of the basic products that I use and the terminology so that the video is less confusing for you.
  First things first:  Skin care.  I have not had major issues with my skin (except when I was on birth control - that was annoying because nothing helped) and I believe this is due to a couple factors.  When I first began to hit puberty, my Mother told me that I needed to start washing and moisturizing my face morning and night.  She showed me the ropes with that - got me a washcloth, explained that you use hot, hot water and soap and then end with a blast of cold water.  It became a habit, just like brushing my teeth, to wash my face twice a day.  I believe this is huge for skin care.  I have never been very inspired by special face washes, but have used good old Dove soap since around 12 years old.  My Mother has used it her entire life (as did her mother) and she has always looked beautiful and youthful.  The current moisturizer that I use is:  Neutrogena Sensitive Skin face lotion (find that here).  When I lived in Colorado, my skin was much more dry so I used the Neutrogena Dry Skin face lotion every time I washed my face (morning and night).  In Oregon, it is much more moist so I changed up the lotion AND I only moisturize in the morning before makeup.  I have found that my skin needs time to breathe in this rainy climate so I leave off the moisturizer at night time.  Depending on your climate, your skin needs will be different.
  Foundation:  My skin products are the one thing that I spend more $ on because I do believe that it makes a difference not only in looks but in keeping your skin healthy and just the overall, smooth, effortless look.  In my opinion, your skin is the most important part in your makeup routine and makes a big difference in looking healthy, glowing, youthful etc.  I currently use a loose powder foundation from MAC - it's from their Mineralize line because I wanted "healthy" makeup but love the MAC line.  I know that Bare Minerals has great products too and pretty much anything from Sephora is awesome.  My foundation is slightly darker than my current skin shade because I definitely need help in having a "glow" in the winter time.  Anytime I have bought a foundation that is my shade exactly, I end up not using it because I am so pale.  I love my new foundation because it's a sheer powder (you gotta show some skin! ;)) and feels like I'm not wearing anything but adds enough that my skin looks amazing with it.  If you want to stick to a budget, I have heard wonderful reviews on the Revlon line (sold at places like Walmart, Fred Meyer, King Soopers, Walgreens etc) as well as the Maybelline line.  The one thing that's hard about that is matching your shade in the store because you can't try it.  I highly encourage you to take it back and exchange it if it's not the right color!!   Bronzer:  Yes, you use foundation and bronzer together.  I have only recently come into the world of Highlighting and Contouring (HAC) and have been kicking myself that I never learned this before.  For years I believed that if I wanted a little color then my only option was to throw some bronzer all over my face, try not to look like Tan Mom and that was that.  It has only been in the past month or so that I began to HAC in my daily makeup routine and wow, what a transformation from trashy to classy!  I will attempt to find pictures to display what I am referring to.  Here is one from before (Yes, my hair color is different but pay attention to the makeup):




And now here is one since I began to HAC:




See the difference??  Much more classy and less like Tan Mom.  Also note the difference between black eyeliner (from pic 1) and brown eyeliner (pic 2).  For a video tutorial on HAC, click here.  This girl is amazing and her video tutorials have taught me a ton!  My bronzer is also from MAC - I will give you all the names when I do the video tutorial.
  Blush:  Again, MAC.
  Concealer:  I actually am trying one from the Maybelline line - it's their 24 hour stay concealer and it works well.
  Maskara:  Currently using Falsies brand (Maybelline as well) but I want to try the Voluminous Lashes one next.
  Liner:  I use pretty much any pencil liner from a drugstore.  
  Shadows:  Oh man, I have shadows from all different brands. I like more powder shadows than gel or cream ones.  I have found that cream ones tend to get lines in the crease unless you use a shadow primer and I don't have the time or $ for that currently.  =D  A great shadow for everyday is a taupe color or something on the browner side that will add a smidge of color and you can embellish the crease of your eye to make them look bigger and wider.  I also love to use my shadow under my eyes as a softer lined look.
  Eyebrow color:  I have a specific brow shadow that I bought years ago at MAC but I will sometimes use a regular eyeshadow to fill them in as well.  Bigger, bolder eyebrows are really in right now and they make a huge difference in showing off your eyes!  For years I didn't worry about my brows but lately I have been trying this new trend and now I can't live without it!.  There is nothing like a beautiful, full brow to make your eyes pop.  I really can't stress this enough. You should also notice a difference in the pictures with my brows - I have them tinted in the second picture but not in the first.  Look at how much more the eyes pop out with brows filled in.

Okay, there are my basics for now.  It sounds like a lot and takes more time to write out but my daily makeup routine takes around 5 minutes.  I call it my "Mommy makeup routine".  It might take you longer at the start if you are not used to it but with practice, it will become a lot faster.  Can't wait to show you all the video tutorial!

XOXO
Joy

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Health And Cauliflower Pizza Crust
  Let's talk health for a minute.  One of my favorite subjects in school since I was a little girl was my "health" books where I learned about our amazing bodies and how to properly take care of them.  The subject has fascinated me because human bodies, and what they're capable of, are truly incredible.
  Now for the question of dieting : If you were to ask me if I diet, my first answer would be no.  Before you write me off for that statement, let me inform you that I used to struggle with my weight and was a good 40 - 50 pounds heavier in college.  Like I explained in my previous post, I used to believe that you either had to have incredible genes or put yourself on very restrictive diets in order to be thin/ in shape.  Is it a coincidence that I struggled with my weight as a result?  I believe so.
  I grew up eating what I considered at that time to be pretty healthy.  We were a big family - 9 kids, so while we did eat fresh veggies, they were too expensive to eat a lot of so we had a bunch of frozen or canned veggies too.  We were a hunting family so fresh venison definitely came around.  My Mom is a farmer's daughter so "meat and potatoes" or casseroles were a staple - especially because it was easier to feed a large family that way.  We could pick one fresh fruit a day and have it with lunch.  This diet worked well for my brothers and my Dad, but not so much for my sisters and I.  It was hard to "diet" (a.k.a - have a much smaller portion than everyone else) and feel like there wasn't any food option to fill up on.   I was discouraged and resigned myself to a destiny of a life-long struggle with food and my weight.
  When I was 22 and living with the family that I nannied for, I was introduced to a somewhat different diet. I first started hearing things about "healthy" fats, raw milk and cheese, grass fed beef, sprouted grains etc. when my now sister-in-law began seeing a chiropractor.  She showed me a book called Nourishing Traditions (find that here) and I began to understand a whole new world of health and how cells use fat to clean themselves and that we can "re-program" our bodies to become fat burners etc.  Living with her and her family at the time and eating that way, I lost some weight.  When I met Peter, I lost more weight.  I believe that this was partially because I was happy and had something else to focus on besides food.  Peter introduced me to the gym and taught me how to work out.  I started to see muscle definition and lost more weight.  I was happy and felt better than I had ever felt before and yet, I wasn't dieting!  I was considerate of my portions of course, but I pretty much didn't think a ton about what I ate and definitely did not feel deprived because I wasn't.  This new way of eating became a habit which was nice because Peter was used to consuming GREAT amounts of fresh produce everyday and lots of healthy fats.  With my old way of eating, my only option was dieting;  with my new way of eating, it's a lifestyle with no dieting. And I LOVE my new lifestyle.
  After we were married, I got a job as a chiropractor's assistant and that really helped to bring my eating and exercising into focus because that's what I was teaching others everyday.  If you were to look at my diet it would appear to be a conglomeration of paleo, nourishing traditions, vegetarian, maximized living, trim healthy mama diets.  I don't have one particular diet that I follow because I don't believe in extremes.  We eat gluten free sometimes but we as a family don't make it a big point to eliminate gluten as long as it is whole grains or sprouted grains.  We also eat out occasionally and let ourselves splurge on desert or white pasta.  We do avoid sugar and try to use other alternatives so you will find that some of the recipes that I post will have other substitutes.  I do have my dark chocolate almonds every afternoon with my chai tea so, again, I am not extreme. =)  That will have to be all for today because we need to get on to the main event:


Cauliflower Pizza Crust:  All I keep hearing about from my gluten free friends on FB is about this amazing pizza crust made out of cauliflower.  I figured it would be fun to try it one day so I bought 2 heads of cauliflower and tried it.  It was more work than regular pizza but it was good! I got an orange head and a white head of cauliflower.  Together they made one big cookie sheet pizza.  It takes a lot of cauliflower to make one pizza so that was one downfall for me.  For the official recipe find it here.

I blended up the cauliflower in my Vitamix - the recipe said to use a food processor but I don't have one so I used what I had!  The first head I did all at once but I found it to be much easier to do a little at a time so that the bottom didn't just get mushy.  Once it was all blended, I put it all in a pan and added a little water to steam it (probably about 3-4 tablespoons)

I steamed it for about 4-5 minutes and then put it straight into a dishcloth (I don't have the right size of strainer so I had to skip that step).  I squeezed the excess water out of the cauliflower in the dishcloth.

Then I mixed all the ingredients together in a bowl:  cauliflower, egg, chevre, salt and oregano.  After that I lined a cookie sheet with tinfoil (didn't have parchment paper!) and sprayed it with my coconut oil spray just to be safe.  I pressed the mixture into the pan and shaped it into a crust.
Cook the crust for 35 ish minutes until it's just about cooked and then add your toppings.  We love to load our pizzas with veggies so I steamed some broccoli, onion and red pepper.  In the time it took for me to load the pizza with sauce, veggies and cheese, my little man managed to make my living room his disaster zone.
He is into EVERYTHING these days and it's amazing how quickly he can make a mess.  =)  Once the cheese was melted (about 5 ish minutes), I cut into the pizza and we sampled it.  Wow, did I say that my baby loved it?
He would not stop eating it!  After his first few bites with veggies, he just wanted the plain part that had sauce and cheese.  I was okay with that.  I think he liked this better than regular pizza because the crust was soft enough for him to chew and eat without having a mouth full of teeth.  I gotta say, after making this pizza I had come to the conclusion that it was fun but a lot of work - probably more work than I want to do on a regular basis.  BUT, when I saw Simon eating and eating....that did give me second thoughts.  When Peter tried it his diagnosis was that it was surprisingly good (he is not a huge pizza fan like I am though!).  So, it might be something I continue to make occasionally.  Let me know what you guys think and if you have tried it before!

Until the next recipe...

XOXO
Joy

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Skirts.  I think we far underestimate skirts and the wonderful tools they are all year round.  The versatility that they provide with mixing tops, tights or shoes makes them summer or winter wear, dressed up or dressed down, but overall add a little flair of femininity. 



You will have to bear with me as my only camera is my Iphone.  I am hoping this will change with a little time but in the meantime, my trusty phone will have to do.  I know the lighting is hard to see but I have a navy skirt on, black top, black tights and black booties.  This is a simple but classic look for winter - great for church or a date or going shopping at the mall.  I love this skirt because it is easy to wear with different colors and it is very flattering to many shapes because of the high waist.  



Skirt:  Target
Shirt:  Maurices
Booties:  Target
Necklace:  Charlotte Russe

I don't remember where I got my tights but I am thinking of trying some lined ones (for warmth!) from H&M soon - I will let you know when I do and what I think!

Have a wonderful day!

XOXO
Joy