Friday, August 21, 2015

Half Way There

Well, today is a happy day. According to my original "lofty" weight loss
goal, I am at the half way point. I have officially lost 21 lbs. Now, to say
I need to lose another 21 is "lofty" because technically, that would put me
at a number that is the bottom of the range for my height. However, my
pre-Emily weight is just about 12 lbs away. So, that is the first goal
that I am shooting for. The last few pounds always take longer, but 
so far, my husband and I haven't had any trouble sticking to
our diet changes and haven't been tempted to eat things 
not normally allowed. Transitioning to
being gluten free, sugar free, and low carb has really 
not been as tough as I expected it to. The hardest times
are when we have church dinners but when we have them, I just always
make sure that I cook things we can eat. I am excited about our losses
so far and I am excited about reaching our goals. 

We haven't started school yet...which is totally unusual for us. We usually
start about the second week of August or the third week at the latest.
I didn't get everything ready in time so we are going to start the 31st.
I dread this year so much. Emily is going to be a junior and this will
probably be her toughest year yet. She has Geometry, English III, Chemistry,
Civics/Economics, and Life Management/Health. We are doing all
Abeka this year- and using the DVD's. I just cannot imagine trying
to get through these challenging subjects otherwise. We used
the Abeka DVD for Algebra 2 last year and it was much easier
than freshman year doing Saxon Algebra 1. Thankfully, she
is a really good student, works very well independently, and learns
very well visually. Also, she has a wonderful
memory...she memorizes exceptionally well, 
and remembers much of what she reads.
So, hopefully, this year will go fine. 
Pray for us... ;)

We are having a revival at church this week. Bro. Billy Mitchell is
preaching for us beginning Sunday morning through Wednesday night.
He is a great preacher. I hope and pray we have a really good meeting.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Where Did the Summer Go?

Why does it seem that summer vacation goes by sooooo fast?
We've done a lot of fun things this summer. I am happy that we
got to do some really awesome things that Emily loved. First off,
we got to go to the Cumberland County Playhouse to see Mary Poppins.
This is one of our favorite musicals so it would have been great in
any case, but CCPH does such a professional job with their productions
so we always LOVE going there.

Emily really loves musicals and especially plays.
One of her favorites is Les Miserables. We learned that
the Tennessee Valley Players was putting on a production
at UT this summer so we took over there to see it.
It was very nicely done. (disclaimer--we usually watch
the movie with Clear Play-which mutes out profanity-and the
show did have a few words that we forgot about since we
don't usually hear them) Emily loved the show. 

Of course, you already know, she went to PCC for drama camp. She
had a great time. I'd say she'll probably want to go back next summer. 

We went to my mom's house for a couple of days. We had a wonderful
visit with her. 

One evening, several of our church ladies got together to make
spring rolls (this was not the official word for them)
We've had a lady visiting who knows how to make a lot
of authentic foreign foods and so she taught us how to make them. 
I didn't get a pic of the whole group. :(  It was fun.

And of course, she's had a few sleepovers. Those are always
fun for girls. 

We went last weekend to St Stephen SC for 
Summer Spectacular 2015 at Life Baptist Church
where Bro Alfred Willis pastors. My husband
and I don't do many camp meeting type meetings.
There is simply not enough time to go to them all. 
But, we usually go to Bro Willis' meeting every year.
We've gotten to know his church people and have made
many great friends. It is always a time of refreshing for us.

~And it always marks the end of our summer vacation.
Usually, we start right back with school the following week.
We are planning to start a week later this year than we normally
do. It's just been such a busy, jam-packed summer that I didn't 
all we needed (school wise) taken care of till a couple of
weeks ago. But, alas, all the books and DVD's have now arrived.
The older she gets and the closer she gets to graduating, the more
I dread it. 

But, there you have it. That's the highlights. We've had fun. 
Now, it's time to get back to work.

***Weight loss update***
FINALLY....I hit a plateau for a couple of weeks but I finally
lost another pound. So that puts me at 20! Yay me! And my
little hubby is doing great. He still hasn't weighed but I can
tell that he's probably at least 20 to 25 lbs. That's kind of the
way that Atkins works. You might lose 5 lbs in a week and then
it might be a couple weeks before you see another loss. The
key is to stay focused, stay consistent, and don't get 
discouraged. So far, so good...

Friday, July 24, 2015

Delicious Lo Carb Pizza

Our family has had a tradition of having pizza on Friday night and Sunday night after church. Nothing fancy...Emily's favorite is Totino's so that's what we've always done. Well, once my husband and I decided to go low carb, we needed a "special" treat for our pizza night. I have a recipe for low carb crust made with cream cheese but to us, it wasn't a great alternative. We found these low carb tortillas that are wonderful. They have become our "go-to" food. We can go to McDonald's or Firehouse (or anywhere you get your favorite fast food sandwiches) and just remove the bun and use the tortilla instead. It works really well and tastes great. And we have found that they work super well as a pizza crust. One tortilla has only 6 net carbs and 26 grams of fiber so they are really, REALLY filling. Plus, they crisp up nicely when can even pick it up and eat it just like a pizza. Awesome.

I get our tortilla's at Walmart. They have a white variety
but the whole wheat has a few less carbs and is slightly bigger. 
And they are really yummy!

Most times...unless I am EXTRA-SUPER hungry, I just
make a half for myself. Because of all the fiber, they are really filling.
I like mine with all the goodies but hubby likes his with just sausage. 

Here is one with pepperoni, peppers, and onions. 

We have found these to be totally satisfying. We haven't missed
regular pizza at all. And it's nice that we can still keep our 
Friday night and Sunday night family tradition. lol

And here is a pic of a good low carb dessert. It's a sugar-free cheesecake.
If I make it for church, I will make a sugar-free pecan crust but
for home, we just eat it without crust. And with just the tiniest bit
of Smuckers sugar-free caramel, it is simply delicious with just
a few carbs. Totally tasty!!

That's it. Just thought I'd share a couple of the things that
we've been eating since starting our diet. Low carb  eating
is really not as hard as it used to be. There are so many
good options out there to make it doable. 

***And I've lost one more pound to bring my total to 19!***

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Spending a Week at Pensacola Christian College

Last week, we took Emily down to 
Pensacola Christian College to attend drama camp.
She loves drama and she was so excited when
she learned that PCC had a drama camp. She's 
been planning this trip since last summer.
At camp, they learn many different aspects of
putting on a production. From the building of sets,
applying stage makeup, to many of the different ways
to act out a scene and project your voice.
Another great part of this trip is that she hopes
to attend PCC in a few years so this was a good
way for us to get to visit the campus. PCC truly
is a beautiful college. They treat the campers like
royalty. It's a week filled with fun, learning, making
new friends, and of course, GREAT preaching
directed at young people. 

The production this year was scenes from Little Women.
Emily loves Little Women so she was really excited. 

Mom and daughter selfie...just before we left her in her dorm.

Here she is with one of her roomies....a young
lady from middle TN. I thought that was
ironic considering there were kids from all over
the country there. This day, I texted her and told
her to send me a selfie...I was really missing her face. lol

She sent me a pic of her snack one chocolate
and gelato. She said it was yummy (I think she was trying to
tempt me on my diet) lol

During the production...she had a small role
as a school girl.

Emily with one of her new friends. 

A group of friends after the show. 

One of the directors finding the right shade of stage makeup
for her.

Working on a project during the set building workshop. 

And...since this was a LONG trip...took us about 9 1/2 hours...
my husband and I decided to stay in the area (at the campus house)
so as not to have to make that long trip twice. We spent the week
thrifting and treasure hunting. (I bet we know where more of
the thrift stores than do the locals) haha!

Also, we love the show American Pickers. We saw an episode where
they had acquired a ship and traded it to a restaurant at Pensacola Beach.
We thought it would be fun to go there for lunch one day and
then we could see the ship. So, here is is...the Fish House!

Picture taken from our table looking out the window...

And here is the ship...(not a good pic, I know) it was so cool to 
see it in person. lol

And here is my lunch, I love Caesar Salad, I always order it,
if it's on the menu.  I also had them add a little grilled chicken
for some extra protein. It was soooo good! (and I did eat the
croutons--bad for my diet--but there were only a few so that's okay.
I'm not big on seafood, what with being raised in the country where seafood is not readily available. But my hubby loves it and had an awesome meal (according to him) lol. Forgot to get a pic of his meal. Ooops... 

A view from the outside deck... so beautiful!

And, me and my little hubby...we had fun just
running around doing what we like to do.

It was a fun week. We enjoyed ourselves just running around thrifting
and do what we like to do! We really missed Emily. It gave us a small
taste of what our lives will be like when she goes to college. 
OH, HOW I DREAD IT! I know it's right, God doesn't give
them to us to keep forever, but it's so sad to think about it
Anyway, this was our week. 
Emily loved PCC and in all likelihood, she will be attending
there in a few years. But, it's great to know that if that is what 
she decides is the Lord's will for her, it's a great college and
we can trust the Lord to keep her safe there. 

***And on a totally awesome note, this is the first time I went on
vacation and LOST weight. Two more pounds down since the last weigh-in
for a total of 18 lost. Yay! How fun is that!?!***

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Busy Summer Days and Bargain Hunting

Summer has been wayyyyy busy so far. It's been so busy that we've barely even been in the maybe once or twice. We've really not been home much at all. I guess it's a good thing that we decided to take it easy with gardening this year. We didn't plant much and that has worked out good because what little we did has been sadly neglected. But, it's good to be busy, going about doing the Lord's work. We love it and wouldn't want it any other way.

My husband and I LOVE to thrift store shop and go to yard sales. We have ALWAYS love it, mostly out of necessity because we've pretty much always lived on a tight budget. And over the years, we have found some really great bargains. But, earlier in the week, we found the BEST one yet! (at least I think so) I have cleaned houses for many years. (it was the one thing that I could do that would help add to our income without tying us down too much to hinder ministry stuff) But, I digress... Anyway, I have worked for several people in times past who owned Rainbow vacuum cleaners. And I REALLY LOVED them! I have used all kinds of vacuums and as far as I am concerned, this is NOTHING that beats a Rainbow for bare floors. (I don't like them quite as much for carpet) but anyway, I have always wanted one but could never afford one for myself. GUESS WHAT? We found one!! a thrift store...for the best bargain price that I have ever seen. I am so excited! I have been REALLY enjoying vacuuming my house today!  Want to see it?

It has the carpet part too, I may not use it as much but I have bare
floors through out my house. I have one area rug in the dining room
but my upright vacuum does a super job on it. Anyway, I am so excited!
I never thought I'd ever actually own one of these. :)

As I said, we've been super busy the last few weeks. Why does it always
seem like summer vacation just flies by? Anyway, we had tickets to see 
Mary Poppins at the Cumberland County Playhouse last week, and my 
husband was unable to go. So, we took a lady from church and her little
girl. It was so cute. (will post pics later...time is not right just yet)  ;)

Emily is preparing to go to Pensacola Christian College in
a few days to attend Drama Camp. She is beyond excited! She
hopes to attend college there in a few years so this will be a 
great experience for her. 

And here's a couple cute kittie pics. The first is Em's baby. She just
loves Emily. Anytime Emily is sitting down, she jumps up and sits in her lap. 
Here she had her paws wrapped around her arm. So cute.
And in the second pic, I was sitting on my porch swing taking a
little break reading and another of our kitties jumped up and sat with me. 

***Diet Update***
Still doing great on our diet plan. Haven't "fallen off the wagon" yet. 
Weight loss is getting is the norm. I have now lost 16 lbs total.

That's all for now! 

Happy Fourth!

Monday, June 15, 2015

2015 VBS

VBS! It's a lot of hard work but worth every minute!
We had our VBS last week. I taught the 12 and up girls
again and I loved it! I just love that age. It's an opportunity
to help young girls grow in their faith and learn to stand
on the own two feet when it comes to serving Jesus.
It's a tender and emotional age, but it's a time in their lives
when they need guidance and love. I feel privileged to 
teach these sweet girls. 
And, I am so thankful, beyond words, to have been
able to have lead one sweet young lady to the Lord.
It was so precious. She was soooo ready. What a blessing!

Stella Scope paid us a visit each night during our opening service. 

Bro. Ryan did a wonderful job leading the music, as always. 

Here's my class, along with Mrs. Darlene, my assistant.
I am "creativity-challenged" so she takes care
of all our craft stuff. And she is GREAT at that! She 
is a dear friend in the Lord and I love working with her. 

Mrs. Cheryl Nelson does the majority of our decorating.
She is so good at it. We are thankful for her hard work. 
She spends many, MANY hours making everything look great. 

Our class during craft time, minus Brianna, who had to leave early. :(

Games are always loads of fun and good for lots of laughs...

What a super group of girls! I am happy that they were so faithful
and attentive. Please pray for the one sweet young lady who gave
her heart to the Lord.