Monday, October 25, 2010

Food makes it better?

What is it about eating that brings so much pleasure?  Why do I use food to make myself feel better?  It is an easy place to turn when life is crazy around me.

My husband is gone, hours away with his father, who is in the hospital and very ill.  I'm home by myself with 6 kids for an undetermined amount of time.  So what do I do?  I eat the pumpkin pie cake.  And the cinnamon bread.  And finish off the chocolate cake.  I have made progress on not eating when I am emotional and have lost weight.  I've almost reached my first goal.  I can taste it, but apparently not as much as anything sweet I can find in the house.

Like so many things in life, it comes down to choosing what I want for this moment or what I want in the long run.  I seem to find this at the root of so many issues: how I spend money, how I discipline my children, what I choose to spend my time on.  And what I eat.  Our pastor says you have only a few seconds (7? 3? can't remember) to decide to fight sin or give in to temptation.

Overeating seems like a weird sin to me.  But we're doing a sermon series on the seven deadly sins, and the message about gluttony really made me think.  Gluttony always makes me picture this grossly fat man stuffing food into himself, perhaps laughing at the starving people around him.  But gluttony doesn't have to be that extreme or that obvious.  I can choose to overindulge in anything (food, internet time, tv, reading)  to try to make myself feel better.  But in the long run, none of those things will satisfy.

The lie Satan would have me believe is that I should do whatever it takes to satisfy my emotional cravings.  But the Truth is that God alone can satisfy me, and my emotions are not always the best gauge of what I need.  They tell me what I want, and what I need is often vastly different (I try and try to explain this to my children..."but I waaaaaaant to"... can you hear the whine?).

So today I threw away the rest of the pumpkin cake.  Everything else is put away in the pantry or in the freezer, so in the time it would take me to get it out, I can convince myself not to do it.  It's the goodies sitting out on the counter that call out to me.  Well, that and the pumpkin pie blizzards, but thankfully, I would have to drive to DQ and I can't leave the kids home alone.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this fight.  I ask myself regularly if it's one I want to fight.  But then I try on a shirt, and it fits, and I don't want to cry when I look at myself in the mirror.  And I can run for 20 minutes straight.  And eventually my back won't hurt so much (I hope, really struggling with that tonight).  Apparently moderation is an art, and I am determined to perfect it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Two weeks of success!

Since joining Weight Watchers, I've lost about 9 pounds in 2 weeks!  Now, I don't think I will continue to lose that much each week, but it's been such an encouragement to have that come off easily.  Even more encouraging is that I feel like God is working on my attitude toward food.  I am finding it easier to fight my emotional desires to eat, believing the truth that food isn't really what I need, just a substitute for something else I'm craving.

Yesterday, I was hungry physically, but also had lots of emotional cravings, which caused me to overeat somewhat.  And afterwards, I stepped back and realized I did not feel better at all.  I didn't beat myself up over it because I can still work my point count for the week and be okay (if I can get some exercise in), but it's important to remember how disappointed and unsatisfied eating that extra brownie really was.  Maybe if it had been the pumpkin pie blizzard I was really craving....fortunately they aren't out yet (and fortunately they have the new mini size).

I love that my pants fit better.  I love that I have cheekbones.  I am looking forward to more good things to come as I get healthier and slimmer.

Today was a tough day, but it could have been so much worse, and as I look back over the week, I can think of so many glorious things that have happened.  So as the thunder rumbles, I'm thankful that we're all home and warm and dry and snuggling on the couch.  Squeeze your family today!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Front Door Project

I am thrilled to post my first project!  I love reading other people's blogs and seeing all their great ideas and projects, and now I get to take part!

I think my husband will just be thrilled that I finished a project (within a week of starting it, no less).

Our house has kind of an odd-looking front entrance, which is a long story we won't go into, but our front door is actually a set of french doors with glass insets.
The previous owner had put sheers over them on flimsy top and bottom curtain rods.  They came loose on the bottom a lot and got stuck in the door.  Since this is our main door for going in and out of the house, and much of our traffic is small children, this was not convenient.

I took the curtains off, but it seemed odd to have uncovered windows where anyone could look into our family room and see us prancing around naked sitting on the couch, so we needed to do something.  Inspired by another person's frosted glass doors she did for a bathroom cabinet, I decided frosting spray was the way to go.

But I didn't want to just spray the whole window--too boring, no personality--I wanted to stencil something.  I debated on several floral or leaf or branch designs, but decided putting our address on the door would be much more timeless.  It reminds me of offices who have names on the glass doors.  Plus it might make it easier for people to find our house and know that these are the front doors (not sure if that will work).

Here's how it came out:

I am very happy with it.  The frosting isn't completely even, but it looks different from different angles and is opaque enough that you can't see in at night.  I'd like to paint the front doors now--I'm thinking a nice olive green maybe (any suggestions?).

The cost for this project was only about $5!  I bought two cans of frosted glass spray paint, but only used one, and the only other thing I bought was a contact paper remnant from the thrift store for 50 cents, so if you have some leftovers laying around, you can just use that.

Here's how to achieve similar results:
Print out whatever design or letters you want on your computer.  I ended up using a font called Hiragino Kaku Gothic Std, which I believe was one included with my Mac operating system.  My letters are 475 point in size.  I also used the outline feature when printing to save ink.

I taped them up on the glass and went outside to look them, figuring out where I wanted to align the letters and if they were big enough.  Then, thinking long and hard to make sure they would face the right way once I stuck them on the window, I taped the numbers and letters onto pieces of contact paper.  Since I was spraying on the inside of the doors, I taped the letters face up on the back side of the contact paper, taping in several places so it stayed in place
Then cut out the letter, cutting through both layers.  Take your time to do this well, since the quality of your stencils depends on it.  

After washing the whole window, I used a ruler and a wet erase marker (like for an overhead) to  make a straight line for the bottom of the letters.  Peel the contact paper letters off and stick them on the window.  I used the straight line for the bottoms and eyeballed the spacing between.

Letters taped on to look at them again before peeling the contact paper and sticking.

I also taped the edges of the windows and added pieces of paper from our recycling bin to cover the wood.  I'm not sure how necessary this was, because I'm not sure what this paint would do to it since it seems to spray on clear, but I didn't want to risk it.

Edges masked, letters stuck on, ready to paint.
I chose to open the door to paint to help with the fumes.  I sprayed it completely, waited a couple minutes, then went over the whole thing again--going for slow steady strokes and even coverage.
The can said it can take 10 minutes for the frosted effect to show.  It's hard to see where you've painted because the color doesn't change right away, so it's good to wait for your second coat until you can see where the first one was heavy or light.

Once it's pretty dry (I only waited about 15 minutes), peel your letters off, take off the tape, and step outside to behold your beautiful handiwork!

Finished product

Close up of the letters

View of the house now.

I'm picturing this with a nice porch with a portico above (not in the budget right now), comfy seating, nicer lighting, and a striking front door color.  Green? Maybe red?

Thanks for letting my share my success!
Have a glorious day!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Reason to say no to myself

I love food.  I love baking.  I love eating what I bake.  I love hot bread right out of the oven.  I love chocolate and peanut butter in almost any combination.  I love feeding people who are impressed with what I've made (usually not my kids).

I do not, however, love the shape my body is right now.  I'm actually surprised at how big I am when I look in the mirror or try on clothes.  There are so many reason/excuses -- 6 pregnancies, 6 kids, hard to find time to exercise, on and on.  But I know I will be healthier and my back especially will be much happier if I lose some weight.

For a couple weeks I've been debating how much I want to do this.  The question I keep asking myself is "fat and happy or skinny and starved?"  But that's not really true.  I joined Weight Watchers on Tuesday.  They're giving away a free month if you pay for 3.  I've done the online point system before and I know it will work if I stick to it.  When I eat the points I'm allowed, I'm not starved.  But I can't binge like I want to.  I can't eat all the cookies or sit down with a container of ice cream, but that's a good thing in so many ways.  So why couldn't I just decide not to do those things?

I need a reason to tell myself no.  And when I'm paying money out of our tight budget for this, I better make it worth it.  I can still have my Pepsi One (thank heaven).  I can sit down with a small bag of microwave kettle corn and eat the whole thing when I feel like snacking.

When it comes right down to it, I don't overeat because my body physically wants me to, I do it for emotional reasons.  I'm frustrated, sad, overwhelmed, and that nice burst of deliciousness in my mouth sounds wonderful.  I'll have to think of different things to do for myself now.  Anyone else struggle this same way?  What do you do that helps you deal with your emotions (that is possible to do with little kids at home)?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The best laid plans...

I had a Pampered Chef open house this weekend.  My plan was to have a bunch of people come, earn rewards to get some more products, and book shows for the next couple months.  Plus it would force me to finish cleaning my downstairs.

Well, my downstairs is clean, and a few people came on Friday night, but today, no one came to the second half of the open house.  All those delicious treats just sat there untouched (we took care of that).  One possible show out of the weekend.  Very disappointing.  I see areas where I could have done better to make this happen.  I did not call or stop by and invite many people, I just sent emails and facebook invitations.  I planned to stop by and introduce myself to my new neighbors and personally invite them.  I ran out of time.  People are busy.  There's a whole list of reasons why it turned out this way.

To keep my business going, I'm going to have to push myself out of my comfort zone and call people I don't know well.  I need to risk rejection.  I don't like rejection (does anyone?).  But it won't be me they are rejecting, just the thought of scheduling and planning one more thing.  I respect boundaries, but I also know this is a fun, useful thing to do, so I don't need to be unwilling to ask.

I am thankful that God's plans for me are much bigger than mine.  I know if I try to live up to what I think he expects of me, I'll always be disappointed.  But I also know that he will never reject me.  Even if he wants me to change (and be changed), he will not stop loving me until it's done.  And he won't leave me alone when it's hard.  He'll be at every party :).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

It's party time!

We will be hosting a sleepover party tomorrow night with Abby (who's turning 8) and 6ish of her friends.  I've been making muffins for breakfast and cleaning and planning and still need to clean lots (but they're kids, so they won't expect perfection, which makes me feel better).  Abby's big request was to "have a treasure hunt where we follow the clues like Emily had at her Incredibles party."  Sure, no problem, those are super fun.

Then today it suddenly occurred to me that Hannah and Emily might enjoy helping with the treasure hunt.  Moments of struggle, am I willing to let them do it even if it's not the same way I would or maybe I don't think it's done as well as I could?  Then I remember how creative and amazing those two girls are, so I asked if they wanted to be in charge of the treasure hunt.  And I didn't see much of them for the rest of the afternoon unless they couldn't find something (which happens frequently since we're still not all the way unpacked).

They have been planning and creating.  One clue has a video on the computer that Hannah dressed up and created with the camera on the computer.  There will be a clue that requires the party girls to call Grandma for more information (from a script provided by Hannah and Emily).  It's going to be awesome, as good as anything I would have done.  Plus they have a great role to play in making Abby's day special.  I'll post pictures.  I'm so proud of them I'm tearing up.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Life at the lake

We are up in Michigan at Doug's parents house.  They live right on the lake, so our days are spent in pajamas and swimsuits.  Down the stairs to the beach, hot dogs over the fire for lunch, lots of swimming and sand, jumping off the dock.  The something else cooked over the fire for dinner, and we all zone out with books and tv or play games until bed time.

The kids are looking brown with touches of pink (need to step up the sunscreen application, I guess).  There's tons of fresh fruit available at the local fruit stands and I made blueberry crumb cake last night (oh my, yum).  Life is slow.  No pressure to get dressed and get going.  Lots of sitting.  A welcome break.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Many hands make light work...sort of

Last night, I got all the girls to help me do a thorough cleaning of the van before our trip.  Hannah and I took out the seats (I can't believe she is big enough to help with things like that), and we proceeded to vacuum, then spray and wipe all surfaces of our van.  Since we have a twelve-passenger van and it has a completely vinyl interior, that was quite a big job.  The spraying was definitely more popular than the wiping.  Since I had only two spray bottles of cleaner, there was much fighting and whining about who would get to do the spraying, but in the end, we got it done.  It was in the mid-eighties with insanely high humidity, so we were all disgustingly soaked with sweat when we were done, but popsicles all around cheered up the kids.

Today the older girls (grudgingly and with many piteous looks at my behavior) helped clean up the main rooms in our house so they won't be totally trashed when we get home from our vacation.  They also packed their clothes and neatened up their rooms.

They didn't do it cheerfully, but it's done and I am much more relaxed sitting in a clean(ish) house.  As the girls get older, I am sometimes impressed by the amount we get done when we all work together.  In fact, I almost enjoy the work more despite the bickering and eye-rolling because we're doing it as a family.  I'm looking forward to the kids being able to do even more with less supervision, when it might actually be easier to have them help than to do things myself.

It also makes me think about how big an impact our family could have on this world.  We have six kids.   Who knows what they will grow up to do?  I assume that they will have families, and I look forward to meeting their children, and watching our family grow and impact even more people.  I may never do anything significant by worldly standards, but raising these children to know God and to follow Him will have an impact that will grow exponentially because of the sheer numbers!

So as I work to shower everyone again, tuck them in again, clean up the dishes again, and know I have all those same things to look forward to tomorrow, I choose to believe that these things are not worthless and insignificant.  They are exactly what I am supposed to be doing right now.  They are my part of changing the world.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Self-healing Microwave!

Our microwave has healed itself!

About a week after we moved in, our vent fan on our over-the-range microwave turned on automatically while I was cooking and never turned off!  We tried pushing all the buttons, unplugging and plugging it back in, read the repair manual and even called the assistance line (who offered to send someone out to look at it, they don't do technical support over the phone).

Finally, we just decided to deal with it and unplugged the microwave when we weren't using it.  The problem with this was that the kids can't reach the plug, so every time they needed to use the microwave, they needed Doug or I to come plug it in.  Not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but annoying.

Today, when one of the girls finished microwaving her hot dog for lunch, I suddenly noticed that the microwave was still plugged in, but the fan was off!  I have left it plugged in and so far, so good.  So there you have it, a self-healing microwave!  I'm afraid I can't release the make and model or there may be a rush to the stores that could potentially cause damage.

I think we will call her Rosita.

Blueberry scones

I made fresh blueberry scones yesterday -- so yummy!  Not as good as the strawberry ones I made a couple months ago using this recipe, but still very good.  If you've never made scones, you should try!  They are quick and easy, and if you're a sweet bready food junky like me, you'll be in heaven.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Watching my daughters succeed

This week, I am leading a volleyball camp for 5th and 6th graders, and my two oldest girls are participating.  It's been fun to step out of the Mom role with them and get to be Coach.

Hannah, my oldest, has done camp twice before and is very confident this year.  Her skills are good, and she is excited about how well she's doing.  Since she tends to be less active, it's awesome to see her work hard and push herself to continue to be one of the best.

Emily is actually a year younger than the girls at the camp, but loves team sports and being part of a group, so I pushed her to come this year.  She isn't great yet, but she's improving every day and is willing to try to do the skills right.  Today, she was doing a drill and I pointed out something she was doing correctly (probably for the first time).  Her face lit up and she repeated her success over and over.  I was so proud both as coach and mom.

It makes me think about how I parent.  Unless we intentionally look for and point out things our kids are doing well, they tend to hear mostly criticism and correction from us.  My husband complimented Hannah on keeping her temper when one of her sisters was testing her, and her smile was beautiful (she's more in the eye rolling and shrugging stage, so we love seeing the emotion on her).  I'll have to watch today to see if she makes a bigger effort to repeat her success since she knows we are watching.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Rhea's friends

Rhea will be five tomorrow.  She is intelligent, creative, emotional, loving, and exhausting.

Today three of her friends met us at the park for a little party.  She also called Grandma (my mom) this morning to invite her.  When she showed up, Rhea's introduction was, "And this is my friend, Grandma."

Those two have an amazing connection, BFFs for sure.  Having a big family can mean that sometimes kids feel lost in the mix, so I'm thankful that Rhea has her dear friend Grandma for those days.

You make everything glorious

I love the song that sings to God "You make everything glorious, and I am yours, so what does that make me?"  We are created to be beautiful, glorious, enchanting creatures, but we're stuck in this sinful, crazy world that makes it easy to forget that truth.

I want to look for those beautiful things in my every crazy day.  I want to share the things that make me smile or laugh out loud or well up with tears of joy.  You'll hear about my kids -- five amazing daughters and one sweet baby boy.  After 12 years of marriage, I'm crazy about my husband, even when we're driving each other crazy.

We've recently moved into the house I think we'll be in forever, and I'm slowly working to make it beautiful and perfect for us.  I'm enjoying exercising my creativity to make the most of what we have, and I'll enjoy showing it off a little.  One great thing is that our house is across the back yards from my parents, and my husband is even happy about that (most days).

It's going to be a journey of choosing each day to focus on those things that are glorious and beautiful.  That choice will shape my attitude toward my husband, my children, my (sometimes crazy) schedule, and my house.  I will choose to rejoice and be glad in this day.