Sunday, February 9, 2014

The secrets to being healthy.....

We all want the quick fix when it comes to losing weight... Having been born and raised (basically lived over 4 decades) in California I can honestly say I have seen every diet and fad around.  I watched my friends starve, deprive, gorge and withhold themselves from the nourishment their bodies craved.  I saw them go broke as they spent every last penny on the newest drink or cleanse or drop product around...I watched them get sick, faint, and sleep most of the day so they could lose a few pounds before bikini season which starts in March.  And while I did see some improvement in their 'looks' it was never permanent and always ended up in future weight gain and sometimes major depression.

I have fallen victim to the lies and deception myself.  So when I say friends.... I am including myself in that category also!

But over the years, sitting side by side with my friends and encouraging them and being encouraged we have learned the following:

There is no weight loss cure!  To be healthy one must work hard at it and change the lifestyle they are living.  Sitting on the couch while eating is counterproductive.  The body needs to move.  The fad diets and lotions and potions do not work.

Trust me, I wish they did!!!  They don't.

What does work?  Eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are satisfied.  Drinking lots of water.  Exercising!!  And just keep moving!  Keep the brain working the legs moving the mind planning and eat real food!!  I miss the food from down south!  And the ability to walk 2 miles to your favorite restaurant for dinner and not be scared of being soaked by a rain on the way back.

Now, for me to come clean:

I  do have a problem with food... I love it!! I plan it and have no problem considering the hag-n-daz pint containers 'personal' size.  When there are functions that center around food I will find myself fixated around what to bring and what to eat and who will bring what...  Which is why I rarely eat after church service with everyone.  My tendency to fixate would overshadow the love of God and visiting with His people.  So I focus on His people and ignore the food!  It's extremely hard.  Especially when Joyce brings her famous desert!!  But the more I do it.. the easier it becomes, and the less I even notice the food stacked on the table.

In November I hurt my lower back while cleaning out and building a new planter.  I could barely walk upright let alone breath without pain.  And I am not one to sit down and take it easy so healing for me takes a bit longer (think Charles Ingalls).  What I should have done was limit my food intake since I wasn't moving and working as much as I wanted.  But I didn't.  So by the grace of God today I still fit in my workout clothes.  Surprisingly well I might add!!!  Whew!!!!

I have about 10 pounds that I need to lose to be a healthy weight for me.  Healthy for me is not a size 2!  It is a size 6 to 8.  I am on the upper end of the 8 right now.  I am being honest with you all for a reason.

In California we all cheered each other on to encourage each other.  To be healthy.  That's the key!  Not skinny.. just healthy!  I miss my coworker that used to send me text messages when she saw me slouching they simply read 'Posture'.  A good posture will make you look 5-10 pounds slimmer.  And will aid in your well being!

I miss the 2 mile walk I did everyday!  I miss walking through my old neighborhood looking at the beautiful houses and elaborate gardens.  Which after the gang banger was shot down the street from us, became a long walk on the treadmill hubby bought me.  Well, the garage is now cleaned out and the treadmill is plugged in and turned on and we had our first meeting just now.  It welcomed me back like a long lost friend.

Maybe someday I will print pictures of those gardens and houses from my old neighborhood and tape them up on the wall in front of the treadmill.... Hmmmmm... That's a great idea!!

I also have the beach to walk on... and yes, on the days it's not raining, I will have to pack up Maggie and take her for a stroll.  It rains a lot. I still haven't gotten to the end of the beach.  I keep trying.  But I usually find to many sea shells and end up having to come back.

I do put essential oils in my water.. but that's because I can no longer afford my favorite water that I would down 8 bottles easily in a day.... So I drink well water with a splash of essential oil, whatever my body is craving the healing need to have that day.

But as for the fad diets, drops and starvation..... For me, they don't work.  Good old fashion hard work is the only thing that I have found permanent results with.  And you are talking to someone that used to be a size 14!!

So, the coming months you will see me preparing a lot of freezer meals.  Planting a lot of veggies, propagating a lot fruits, and herbs and getting the garden set up.  And getting back on the health craze that somehow I lost when I moved here 3 years ago.

Amazing how my body and mind is craving to be back to where it was!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Time for a Yearly Update... Year 3!

It's hard to imagine that we have almost lived on this land for 3 years now!  Because it feels more like 10!!!!  But come Thanksgiving and that will mark the date that we have literally been on this land working our tails off... Nonstop!!

Since I failed to have an annual update last year, I will combined both updates in this one... and from now on... there will be one every year!

To be honest, I can't remember what year I did what.. All I know is last winter I was pulling pallets in the garage to dry and dismantle and build into raised beds for garden #3... 

Oh, that and I built our dining room table.....

How many of you want me to stop talking and start putting up the before and afters???

Hehehehe.. Hold on.. here we go! 

Remember when we found the land???  This is the driveway! And straight ahead, can you see the shop?  Can you see the garden?  And the Cottage?  And right there to the right.. that's where the forever home is going. 

Here's a picture a few yards in of the shop being built.  September of 2010.  
 I am hoping to be able to actually organize the shop sometime this winter.  If you knew how little of a space I actually work in to build everything I build...

It's maddening!  But, the weather is rough and I must keep everything inside under cover at all times.  So.... If I want to get to the cabinet with screws, right now, I must move all the toilet paper and lighting to open that cupboard.  It will get better!

While we are at the shop... lets look at the changes behind it...

Remember the pump house?

 Well, we built this right next to it.....  Hubby's barn!  And of course they have to match in color!!!  Even the rain barrels to the far left match!  ;-)

Why so many buildings?  I take up a lot of space with all the building material and stuff.. Hubby needed a place of his own to do his stuff!  He started keeping bee's, so this theoretically could be called the bee house?  But Barn is what we call it!

Mom, did you say beach???

No Maggie, Nice try!!!!!  I said B A R N!!!

Last November it looked like this.... I actually painted the cottage the day before the rains came.  I was still filling in the roadway on the very far right.  I put a fence around the whole thing for 2 reasons.  1. It was fresh Oregon fill dirt, i.e. solid clay and wet.. anyone walk in it and they will sink!  Several feet down!  2.  I wanted to see if a deer would jump the fence before the garden was put in.   And just for info.. it only sinks for the first year it was moved.  After that it firms itself back up and becomes a solid tough as nails but slippery muddy mess. 

Can you tell I love this dirt?

Today it looks like this.....

It doesn't look like a big change.. but lets go over it just a bit.  All winter I worked on building the raised beds out of pallets and chicken wire....

About 17 half size beds along the fence line... 

And 8 full size beds in the main part of the garden.  I then built cloche's around the main section of the garden.  To create a mini greenhouse effect so that I could start seedlings sooner and keep things growing longer.

So far, so good!!!

 I didn't get much of the hill moved this year, not like I did last year..

This year.... 

 I just have to remember what it looked like when I started moving it in 2011!!!

 By the looks of this... I have moved half of the hill so far!  Hmmm.. I am feeling somewhat accomplished at this moment.

Where did all the dirt go?

Well, like I said before, we filled in the road last year..

Remember this road??  With all the pallets of bricks on and the slopey mound of dirt???

 This is what it looks like now....

 How did we get to here???

Well, we rented a skid loader and started moving some of the dirt... After I built the wall for it! 

I wasn't the one that got it stuck!!!!  But you can see the road disappearing right?

I terraced up the side's to protect the little road to hana and all above it.. creating lots of usable gardening space... and holding up the hill at the same time!  

This is what it looks like from the top side of the little road to hana....

We built a patio....

Which turned out to look like this..... Which I love looking out to in the morning now!!!!!

Last year we built a studio, that still isn't done on the inside.. and this year I built the chicken coop...

Which changed our view quite a bit!!!  Now I bet you can see why Lowe's is always taking a tour when they bring a new load up here! 

We built a tire staircase as a last minute, "Oh my gosh winter is coming and sliding down the muddy cliff is not an option" kind of deal! 

We also built gravel paths, leading to the chicken coop and to the studio....

We also got chickens.... Of course if  you build a coop... chickens will come!

Thing 1, Nervous Nellie, Kerbie, Thing 2, Mean Lady, Big Bertha (aka First in line for the crockpot if she fits!)

We added another 200 gallons of water to our system.  This one comes off the comp roof... So plants and toilet flushing only. 

I'll be making it pretty and disappear next year!!!

Remember when I first moved here... how I used to flush the toilet?


We graveled our garden beds.... to help get rid of the mud issue....

The parts with the straw... are still under construction...

And this is the reason for de-mudding the area...

Boy can she pull the heart strings when she is covered in mud!!!!

For some small needed projects....

We built a retaining wall with tires and covered with a pallet fence to hold up the cliff area near the well...

We built a compost bin....

We are serious about composting!!!!

We built a house for our garbage....

It just takes a bear getting in to your trash once... till you totally secure it! 

I built a gate and handrails on the stairs.... I need them!!!

Added a planter on the side of the stairs... Just for looks... and a shelf just for Maggies water dish... Heaven for bid she actually walks off the porch when it's dark out!

 I canned a ton!!!! 

Pinapple upside down cake jam

And learned to pressure can for the first time!!! 

And all of this was made possible with the help of my fabulous husband (aka roof layer), and my....

My research partner.....

Who keeps me in check....

And Maggie.. who is always by my side working hard right along with me.....

Ok, maybe not this photo....

Ok, not this one either....

Hmmm.... ?????

Well, she is always by my side.....   :-)

Thanks for catching up with me!!!!  It's been a tiring few years!  I'm going to guess a few more.. and I might be able to start the forever home project??? 

Or I will give up and like living in the 698 Sq ft cottage!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Freezer Cooking! Let the book reviews fly!

Back in the 90's I did a ton of freezer meal cooking.  Once a month, religously I gathered all my items together and cooked up a storm.  Dinner was always important in my house.  Still is!

I liked the idea of sitting down and eating a meal knowing that it was good and only cost us 4.00.  Back then I coupon shopped and they doubled all coupons that were 1.00 and under.  It was great! 

OK, it was awesome.  I am still using the saran wrap I bought on sale for .19.  I collected coupons like a mad woman from anyone that would let me have them! 

But this isn't about couponing... This is actually about cooking.  This summer I was out working in the garden, from sun up, to sun down.  And up here, the sun comes up and 5am and goes down at 10pm!!  It makes for some long days.  But one problem I have is being in the middle of a project and realizing I am starving!!  And that is the last time to try and figure out what to eat... When you are hungry!!!

Before I moved up here I would go each month to Dream Dinners and Dinner My Way and package up meals for us to eat when we came home.  They were so simple, the night before bed I would take out a meal and place it in the fridge.  When one of us came home from work, we would put that meal in the oven while we cleaned up from the day.  It was awesome to know that we had dinner waiting for us and I cooked it myself.  And actually assembled it all! 

And they were GOOD!!!!

So this summer, with the long hours of daylight and not wanting to miss being outside when it wasn't rainging I ended up each night eating one of several things.... A hunk of Tillamook cheese and a handful of crackers, while running back outside.  A bowl of cereal while I was running around feeding the dogs and chickens, or if there was no milk I would make a bowl of oatmeal with a handful of whatever fruits I harvested off our plants. 

It was good, but it was fast and quick and I was back out the door.  And it didn't get any better on the days that Hubby was on days off either. 

I lost my cooking mojo!!!

So, this winter, while I am stuck inside, watching the rain, I decided that I would once again delve in to the world of freezer meal cooking.  But this time, since I live do far away from anything!!! I would have to figure out how to do it on my own. 

But you already did it back in the 90's! You are saying....

Yes, I did... But that was almost 20 years ago and to be honest, I liked the prepared meals I did at the locations better.  There was something to them that I really liked!  So, instead of going back to the same things that frankly I can't remember.... I delved in to the local library and looked for ALL the books they had on Freezer-make ahead meals. 

It was a nice selection.  So lets briefly go over them!  I weeded some out.  We aren't made of money!  I couldn't buy them all!!! Hahaha... So I sat down with a cup of coffee, a dog, and a pile of books in the big chair and started reading. 

This is what I found....

Frozen Assets Lite and Easy

Although the cover of my book looks different then this one on Amazon... It's the same book.  I'm sure it's a great book for people wanting to watch what they eat.  We do not.  In fact, I don't cook with anything that is made fat free or low fat unless it comes that way naturally.  Why?  Because I eat very little and frankly I deserve to eat real food when I do.  That and fat free items actually react badly in my body.  It's not a pretty site! 

Trust me! 

So when I saw the fat free and I looked through the book I found that most of it all was precooked and then just reheated after frozen.  I don't want to just reheat!!! I want to assemble and then bake!! I want the juices to sizzle in the pan while I walk by knowing that I made it all!

Plus there were a ton of other books out there doing this same thing!!! That were much easier to understand!

I then moved on to......

Once a Month Cooking

This one I actually liked.. Most of the stuff was assembled ahead.. not pre-cooked.  It's on my possible list.. but not right now.  Basically because the recipes didn't actually appeal to me as much as the other books I chose.  That and it's a lot of how to for her system! 

Just give me the recipes and let me figure out the rest!!!!! I know my family best! 

The next one came as a surprise....

The Freezer Cooking Manual

I sat down to read this one and it dawned on me!!!! 

I own this one... but in a different format!!!! 

It was the book I used in the 90's.  I bought it off the internet and was one of the first adopters of this system.  So I got up, leaving the dog in the chair all by herself! 


And raced to the library to get the book.

This would probably be a good time to tell you that I actually just finished a long project of redoing the office and making it into our library.  We both love books and have an extensive collection that is literally ALL over the place.  So finally having them all in one place... was something we haven't had in years!!

Thus, I knew I had this book, I had just unpacked it!

I went through it and found that not only where all the recipes from the book I got from the library.. but a ton more were in there!!! 

You see if you buy the book, you could get online and sign in to there member section and down load the several recipes they would put up each month!!! 

I last printed recipe's from them back in 1999....

I have then lost my log in and password. 

Come on!!! Be serious.. you can not expect me to remember what my log in and password was from 1999????? 

I can however tell you what my mothers password was from her lucky grocery store account from when I was a kid!! (Even more then 30 years ago!) 

Don't ask why I remembered that!  I have no control of what I remember.... apparently!

Back to cooking.... So, this book is on my list!  I went through the recipes and actually found one's that I remembered liking! 

But as I said earlier, I was a little sick of them.  So I totally need to make sure I have a selection of recipes from several sources to keep me going strong. 

So after putting back the books I wasn't going to further go through... I was left with the books I really wanted to peruse and look at for purchasing....

Remember, I own the top one.  (I sent them a request for a new password and log in!).  So the other three... are in my minds awesome! 

Let's stop here for a moment and talk about the book that Dream Dinners came out with....

Yes!!! They came out with one... I was excited to!!! Till I read the reviews on Amazon.. and discovered they used most of their discontinued recipes.. and there were over 40 pages of revisions!!! 

Who makes 40 pages of errors in a cook book???? 

So I printed the revisions that I found on there website.. and called it a draw. 

I did also find the Arroz con Pollo recipe that I loved of there's on a blog (a replica).. .and I printed that one also. 

I also started finding and pinning freezer meal recipes to a new pinterest board... and you can follow and find that here..

 But the books I am looking forward to owning and cooking from......

Fix, Freeze, Feast

I love this book!!!!  17 pages of 'instructions' and then you are smack dab in to the middle of cooking and meals to choose from!  No lists or calendar's or things to fill out!  Just jump in and start choosing recipes.

And there were more recipes that we wanted to try in here.. then any of the other books.  And they were all in the same concept of the dream dinners style.  Assemble and then freeze and cook on the day you want to eat them!!!! 

So it's on my 'Please hubby may I have some more books?' list!!

The Next was....

Don't Panic, Dinner's in the Freezer

Which was the same as the Fix it book above.  It was full of recipes that I would want to try.  28 pages of instructions on how to get started.. but full of great sounding recipes and..... It got great reviews on Amazon.  People actually liked making the meals. 

But let's just stop here.. They have a whole chapter on making ahead sweats.. Like cookie dough.  Who are they kidding????  Me being able to keep cookie dough in the house is like you trying to hide an elephant in your kitchen!!!!! 

It's just not going to happen!  I will remember it's around.. and I will eat it FROZEN!!!! 

Cookie dough and sweets are not safe in this house... But, thanks for including the chapter!  I can dream of being one of those women that don't like sweets and chocolates! 

Do they even exist?

If they do... they are not normal!!!!

The last book....

Make-Ahead Meals Made Healthy

I actually was going to take this back to the library.. till I saw the Tomatillo Jam recipe inside the back as I was doing a final flip through.  It is made entirely of pre-cooked just reheat meals.  But while they are healthy.. They actually are good.. made from real food.  Yes, I don't care for the pre-cooked part... But I am including it because as I learned last night as we only had 30 minutes for dinner, there is a place for this quick meal idea's in our house. 

What house doesn't need a quick meal saving?? 

So, there you have it.... several books that you can use to start making meals ahead. 

A side note:  I noticed most of the authors of the cook books... touted they were the creators of said cooking method. 



Just right a good book and no body care's who came up with the actual concept or got the book out first.


Now, I won't be doing the once a month cooking theme... I will actually be cooking twice a year.  I only have to make 3 meals a week for us.  Breakfast is our sit down meal of the day, and I have that down pat now!  As we are both home for that.  Schedule's don't allow for the dinners every night. 

So having dinners ready and available for the nights we are both home... makes for a great evening of fun and no worrying! 

Let me know here or on Facebook ThumperLane Homestead if you come up with any other ideas...  Or recipes that you love.  Or send them to me via pin's on pinterest!