Friday, September 25, 2015

Broken Records Can Be Replaced

I've tried this whole "get-healthy-feel-better-make-a-ridiculous-amount-of-changes-all-at-once-and-become-insanely-overwhelmed" thing so many times before.  So.  Many.  Times.

And then something happens.  Something stressful.  Something bad.  Something overwhelming.   Just.. SOMETHING.   The thing that makes me crumple in a ball and wish it all away.  Which leads to totally derailing the plan, and beginning the whole process over again a few weeks/months/years later.... with an extra dollop of shame and self-loathing, of course.

Then.. I turned 30.  And I thought.. do I seriously not have this figured out yet?  The thing is, I do have most of it figured out.  I just kept sabotaging myself and beating myself up every time I failed. I have the head knowledge, I just need to put it in action and accept the fact that I'm human, I'll fail -- but that doesn't mean I have to continue failing. 

So that's what I've been doing the last few months.  Slowly working towards that goal again. Get healthy.  Feel better.  Move more.  I've tried and failed so many times, I didn't want to broadcast this time because.. what if I failed again?

But I haven't.

Well, wait.  That's a lie.  I have.  But the difference is, when I fail.. I pick myself up, remind myself what I did wrong, and move on - RIGHT AWAY.  Every day is a new day.  So I didn't push that work out as hard as I could, I will next time.   This is a huge difference in my thought process - and it's making a bigger impact than I ever thought it would.  In fact, I've gotten further than I ever have.

Most people have that number in their minds.  That weight they'd like to be, the mile time to hit, the weight to bench, the pant size, the paycheck, etc.  We all have goal numbers.  I have quite a few.   But my first number... it was to see the scale number I hadn't seen in a long time.  If I had to guess, I'd say it's been about ten years.  In previous attempts, I'd gotten SO CLOSE... just to throw it away on one of those "somethings" I wrote about first.  This time, I was determined that wouldn't happen.

Then, one morning... I saw it.  I SAW IT.  And my heart dropped.  And a smile invaded my face.  I DID IT.  I FINALLY FREAKING DID IT.   And the funniest part - this particular morning was a terrible one.  I hadn't slept, I had a huge workload looming over me, and I was just not feeling anything or anyone.  It's funny how something so little can turn our mood around, huh?  I went from "I'm so tired I can't see straight, no one talk to me or risk being throat punched" to "YESSS THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!"

So I feel like I've been a broken record lately.. but guess what?  I replaced the record.  So let's have a dance party and celebrate.  This is only the beginning.

Now, onto that next number...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Hi, My Name is Kristin, and I'm a Bleach-aholic.

A lot of my posts are directed at food, exercise, weight loss and the like... but that's not all it will be! 

Here's a big topic:  CLEANING.

I always thought the DIY stuff was way over my head... I didn't have the energy, time, or money to really invest in making what I could easily purchase....or did I?  I didn't even know what it involved.  Just the thought of doing it made me tired.  Plus, no matter what.. I didn't want to give up my beloved bleach.

I *LOVE* BLEACH.  I'm slightly ashamed to admit it,  but I do.  I love the smell of it - it just smells like clean.  But it's easy to get carried away with bleach, something else I admit to doing. 

Did you know, the people who work in factories that package bleach have to wear loads of protective gear? Like goggles, gloves, face masks... That's kind of frightening.  What they're treating as toxic I'm freely (dare I say - cheerfully) pouring over every surface in my house.  Eeesh.

I've been on the organic, natural 'bandwagon' for a while when it comes to FOOD (well, I was on it partially, anyway - it took me a while to fully commit!)... but honestly didn't give what I use in the shower, to clean the house or in the laundry much of a second thought. 

But if you think about it, our skin is our largest organ.  Shouldn't it matter what I'm slathering all over it?  Whatever goes on my skin is absorbed into my body. And what about my lungs?  Surely breathing in chemical fumes every time I clean the bathroom or the floor can't be good, right? ....  Right.

The last few cleaners I've purchased were the Seventh Generation line - you know, the all-natural 'green' cleaners.  But they were getting expensive!  I came across coupons and sales, but still felt like I was spending an awful lot for what they did.

So... I decided to start researching how to clean naturally... and the answers kept coming up the same few ingredients:  white vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda, and peroxide.  Over.... and over.... and over.  That seemed too simple.  There must be more... right?  Wrong.  You can easily clean your entire home with just those few ingredients!   And, at a fraction of the cost of those "green" store-bought cleaners!

I was sold.  I sat down with my husband and told him what I was thinking of doing, and all the reasons why.  I'll be honest - I expected him to roll his eyes with a "sure, honey - whatever you say" kind of response... (not that he normally does that, but come on - we're talking about cleaning.  It's not exactly exciting material.)  But to my pleasant surprise, he was totally on board and agreed that the fewer chemicals we use in our daily lives, the better.  Yippee!

So I made myself a list for what I'd need. 

My first "introductory" DIY Cleaning recipes are going to include:
-Homemade household cleaners
-Homemade garbage disposal cleaner
-Liquid laundry detergent (recipe courtesy of the Duggars, conveniently down-sized to normal family proportions by Ryanne)
-Homemade hand soap
-'Homemade' Dove body wash 
-DIY, all natural berry cleaner (and bonus: it helps them last longer, too!)

Trying to make this as cheap as possible, I made 2 lists - one for dollar store items, and everything else I'd try to purchase at Meijer (luckily, my favorite dollar store carries so many great and useful tools, and is less than a half mile away from Meijer!).

Here's what I purchased from the Dollar Tree (I love that place!):

(2) 64oz containers, with lids
(2) ice cube trays
(1) cheese grater (to grate soap)
(1) jar with lid (to store soap shavings in)

Then I went to Meijer for the rest of my supplies.  I purchased:

Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
Fels Naptha laundry bar
Lemon Juice
Hydrogen Peroxide (with a spray nozzle - it cost way more than the regular bottle, but I plan to buy it once and just keep refilling it with the larger, cheaper bottles!)
White Vinegar
Large Bucket (to mix laundry detergent)
Glycerin (For soap making)
Bar soap (preferably Dr. Bronners)

*Note - to make your own soap, you'll need a large pot, preferably an old one you won't need to use for food anymore. Doesn't need to be anything fancy, if you don't have one look for one at the dollar store!  Luckily we had one on hand, it's now my soap-making pot!

Voila! This is my official 'starter' kit for making all kinds of things!!  
I've made a few items on the list and am working to make more...  So stay tuned to upcoming posts for recipes and how-to's for making your own products and cleaning your home the natural way! 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Betting on Myself

Today is a big day for me!

First, it marks my 2 week mark on the Paleo Autoimmune Procotol (AIP for short).  I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally.   

I honestly thought this was going to be really hard.  Because.. I love bread.  No, seriously.  I have an unnatural affinity for bread.  My philosophy has always been that no meal is complete without some sort of bread!   And I often get hit with some serious sugar cravings.   So I was thinking this would be torture, but to my surprise - it's not.  At all.

Sure, I've had cravings here and there but nothing I can't handle!  I just need to re-wire my brain to appreciate *real* food, and I can tell just 2 weeks in that it's working!  In addition to feeling better overall, I've also lost 4% of my body weight in 2 weeks... just by eating real food and not processed junk.  Woop woop!

Second, today I hit my weight loss goal for my first DietBet.  If you're asking yourself what DietBet is -- I'll tell you!  It's an absolutely genius idea, and it's pretty simple.  You join a game, and bet yourself $30 that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks.  You compete with other members and then the winners who succeed in losing their 4% all split the pot.  What could be better than getting leaner, healthier AND winning a little extra cash? 

My first game was with Jillian Michaels, and it runs from March 7 - April 7.   As of this morning, I have lost my 4% -- even with 8 days left to go! WOOHOO!  I'm excited to find out how much each winner's winnings will be.

I've got a long journey ahead, this is just the beginning - so I'm going to join more DietBet games to help keep my motivation going!  

If you love the idea as much as I do, feel free to join me in the game!   This is my next challenge: Join The DietBet Challenge!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Scenic Route

The mind is a funny thing.  It's interesting to me how much power our thoughts have over us.  Although I don't like to admit it, I will - my mind convinces me on a regular basis that I'm not good enough in all types of ways.  I'm not healthy enough, not active enough, not worthy enough, not attractive enough, not talented enough... the list goes on longer than I'd like to admit.  

But the Lord created me, didn't He?   I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  While I am far from perfect, I should not doubt his creation.

Paul and I became youth leaders at our church almost 2 years ago.  It's funny, if you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be walking in my parents' footsteps as a youth leader, I'd have more than likely laughed in your face.  But you know what?  We love it.  We've both struggled with finding our true purpose in life, and we've tried various things... when we landed with the youth, we'd realized we'd found our niche.

I bring that up because we also recently started small Bible study groups with the teens who were interested.  Paul takes the guys, I take the girls.   I look forward to our study nights.  Not only do I get to know some amazing young ladies (I cannot express how much I love our youth group.. they are such a blessing) better at each meeting, I also learn more about the Lord, grow closer to Him and have the opportunity to examine myself and my relationship with Him.

Our last chapter covered the topic I struggle with most - confidence, self esteem - and focusing on what matters most, what's INSIDE.. not outside.  I'm the leader, and here I sat preparing for the lesson with this book.... and had nothing I could write.  Nothing positive I could say about myself.  I know that was the Lord telling me to stop sweating the small stuff, quit worrying and let it go.  Have I done it?  Well.. I'm working on it.  I really am.

Anyway, you're probably wondering where this is going.  It's a (not so) brief explanation as to part of the reason I fell into radio silence this last year.  I just haven't felt like myself.  I've been overwhelmed, overtired, anxious and just generally haven't been taking care of myself as I should.  I'm ashamed that I have not accomplished what I wanted to this year.  I curled up into a hypothetical ball and wished it all away...  But that doesn't solve anything. 

What's done is done, I can't take it back - but I can move forward.  Will I continue to have missteps and failures?  Yes.   But I'll pick myself up, dust myself off, and carry on.   It's been a long and arduous journey, but I will reach my finish line. I'm just taking the scenic route.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Dove soap and southern cooking..

To preface, this post is more of a personal nature.... but I just felt the need to document this morning.

It's funny how our senses work... how certain scents can take you back to a certain time or place.

Once I got up and out of bed this morning, the house was very quiet.  Since we don't have houseguests or children, this isn't necessarily unusual - but for whatever reason it just seemed, well.. extra quiet.

I opened our bedroom door and some unusually warm air hit me, followed by the smell of dove soap.  I instantly transported my mind back to thoughts of my grandmother.  I miss her so very much.

My grandparent's house was like a second home to me my entire life. Their home in Alabama is what I remember most.  We visited a few times a year, every year - like clockwork.  I loved it there. 

One of my memories of their home is it's very distinctive scent.  Warm, southern air, dove soap, and amazing southern cooking all rolled into one comforting, loving essence. 

To this day, we still use Dove soap, just like my grandmother did.... and I believe we always will.

Friday, March 29, 2013

The $5 Savings Plan

In this lifestyle overhaul, another goal is to be a better saver.

Like a lot of young married couples these days, we started our marriage in debt.  Not because we went overboard on our wedding, or honeymoon, or even our home.  Our wedding was simple, but to me it was darn near perfect - it didn't really matter that we had a small budget.  I made my favors (with the help of my awesome bridesmaids too, of course), didn't use real flowers, and even printed our own invitations (which I bought with coupons!).  What mattered is that I actually got to marry the absolute greatest guy I've ever met.  Heck, I just wanted him to get down the aisle and say "I Do" before he could change his mind. ;-)

About a year before we started dating, Paul purchased a foreclosed fixer-upper that he'd been diligently working on until the day we got married and I moved in.  He had saved up money for quite some time to buy what is now our home, and slowly fixed it up one paycheck at a time.  He didn't go into credit card debt, which still kind of amazes me.  He is really wise with his money.

Enter me..... wise with money? Well, not so much.  I didn't have a *ton* of debt coming in, but I did bring some with me.  I feel bad for the fights I used to cause because I wanted things we just couldn't afford.  I wanted to nest, set up house - and to me, that meant new furniture, new decorations, new carpet... but we just didn't have the cash.  I wanted my home to look like so many of our friend's homes.  But my Paully just held strong.  He kept on me and reminded me we had debt to pay off, so I finally conceded.

Then we found our church home.  One of the first sermons we heard was on tithing - a challenge issued by our Pastor to begin tithing and watch God work.  We had always given to church, but it was sporadic.  We weren't dedicated to giving at least 10% steadily back to the Lord.  So, we prayed about it, accepted his challenge and began giving back to the Lord.  After all, it's His money, can't He have some of it back?

I'll be honest - the first couple months were tough.  It was hard to write that check, thinking how I could use it for groceries, or save it for furniture, or.... something.  But what good is giving if I'm not doing it cheerfully?  I sucked it up and continued anyway, praying that God would change my attitude.

More than 3 years later, we've kept our promise and are still tithing - and God has kept His promise to us ten-fold.   Both of our attitudes have changed on it as well.  We don't sigh writing the check or even really give it a second thought.  It's what we do, end of story.  We're giving God what is rightfully His. 

We're not rich, far from it... but between the excellent guidance of my husband and our obedience in giving back to God, we rarely argue about money - which is huge.  Our first year, that's one of the only things we ever argued about.  I'm much more careful with how I spend money, and now I'm the one that's socking away money in savings.  We still haven't gotten new furniture.  Yes, I still want it - and we'll get it one day.  The point is that we have furniture - and guess what?  It functions pretty much the exact same way as new furniture would.  It may have slip-covers, and it may be old... but it functions, and that's all we need.

So this post is called the $5 savings plan, right?  Where does that come in?  Right... now!  I was looking for creative ways to save a little more and I discovered the $5 savings plan.  It's so easy it's almost comical.

The $5 savings plan is this:

Any time you come into possession of a $5 dollar bill, you put it in a jar.  (Or jug, or box, or under your mattress... wherever your sweet lil heart desires.)  The point is, anytime you get a $5 bill - you put it away.  That's it.  It's funny how quick those $5 bills can add up.. and will you really notice that $5?  Probably not.  Let's be honest, $5 doesn't really get you much (unless you love that cheap-o fast food - and we're not eating that garbage, right?!) so why not put it away?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fevers, Aches, and Chills... Oh My.

I'll admit it.... If I've got a fever, I'm a bit of a wuss - I'm in rough shape.  I can handle the sniffles or a stuffy nose.  A sore throat?  No problem - I'm a veteran.  I had strep at least 3 times a year, every year from elementary through my senior year in high school (my mom got lectured every year about my absences... but I was sick that often!) until I finally landed in the hospital on my 18th birthday with a fatal strain of strep and FINALLY had my tonsils removed.  (Yeah, that's a fun story... well, not really.  My poor sister.  She thought it'd be great to fund a trip to Kings Island for her and I as a birthday gift... instead, we spent 3 extra days there in some little podunk-ville hospital near Cincinnati where they didn't even offer her a blanket or a comfy seat... she only got a teeny little stool!)

...but a fever?  Yikes.  And also, that's when it's time to see a doctor.

However, for all those other times with the stuffy nose, sniffles, or sore throats... I like to try natural remedies.  I used to pop ibuprofen like they were breath mints, but now I've realized what damage that can do and changed my ways.  There are so many NATURAL remedies that are not only healthier, but cheaper (and sometimes a lot tastier) too!

So I thought I'd share a few of my favorites.  The first one is a doozy, I'm warning you - it's gross.  Real gross.  But it's the BEST remedy I've found to date. And if you're as desperate as I was the first time I tried it, then you're willing to do just about anything.

When I tried this, I had a wicked cough that I just couldn't kick, no matter what I tried.  After searching the internet, I found a few recipes that called for TURMERIC.  It's an Indian spice that's also a natural antiseptic, so I like to think of it as God's antibiotic. You can find it with the spices in any grocery store.

This is the recipe:

3/4 mug hot water (make sure you're not using a plastic mug - chemicals are leached into your food/drink when you place hot food/liquid in plastic!)
1 Tbsp Turmeric
2 Tbsp lemon juice (organic, fresh-squeezed is best - but do what you can)
Raw honey to taste ( might need a lot.)

Mix it all up in your mug, and drink it as soon as it's cool enough to tolerate.

Drink this mixture 2-3 times per day, and you should notice your symptoms improving - my cough was almost TOTALLY GONE within 3 days. 

If that doesn't sound like something you can stomach, or if for some reason it just doesn't work for you... Here's another great one to try, courtesy of

Then, if you still want another to try - a friend of mine (thanks Amy M!) shared her recipe for homemade cough syrup:

1/4 cup warm water
1 cup honey, 
3 tbsp lemon juice

Hope you're feeling better in no time!

Have a recipe to share that isn't listed here?  Feel free to leave a comment and I will add it! :)