Thankful in Every Season

 

I hope this Thanksgiving finds you all feeling grateful and blessed.

I haven’t been as active as I was previously due to a thousand little reasons and a few big ones. During the more difficult seasons of life, I find that I draw inward and even stop writing in my daily planner. Just getting through each day can seem to be a struggle.

As a result of this particularly difficult season that my family has been in over the last few months, I am actually feeling more grateful than usual.

Without going into a ton of detail, my mother fell and broke both her arms, then found out she has the very earliest stage of colon cancer, and one of my children has been struggling with depression and all that goes with it. Even though these are things that are not good, I am thankful for my family who will step up and help out when we need them. I am grateful for doctors who are so intelligent, discerning, and thorough in what they do. I am thankful for true friends who know that sometimes all I need is to know that they are there when I need them. I feel blessed that my husband’s job offers good benefits which make finding help easier. I am most grateful that my God never leaves my side. I can come to Him in every moment and cry out to him in joy and despair. I am loved and cherished by my Savior who died for me. For that, there is nothing for which to be more grateful!

Every one of us will go through hard seasons in life, but I pray that I will always be able to find things that make me realize how truly blessed I am. Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

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This image is the property of the linked blog. Please, visit her blog for this free printable and many more!

https://www.neathousesweethome.com/free-thanksgiving-chalkboard-art-printables/

Sausage Cheese Rolls {Keto}

I’m sure I’m not the only person who used to love sausage cheese balls. Those little balls made of Bisquik, cheese, and sausage were a favorite of mine for sure! I wanted to duplicate it as closely as possible while making it Keto friendly.

I’ve attempted this recipe many times. This was my first win at it.

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Here’s what I did:

Keto Sausage Cheese Rolls

Cook 2 packages of breakfast sausage. Put the cooked sausage, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, and 2 1/2 to 3 cups of shredded cheese in a bowl and mix. When cooled a little, add 2 eggs and 1 tsp. baking soda, and 1/4 cup almond flour. Mix well. Preheat an oven to 350. Roll them into balls and cook them until they brown. A warning: They will spread out so don’t put them too close to each other.

Enjoy!

Regrets

I have always hated the feeling of regret. The dread of it has caused me to change my plans or my mind on many instances. It has also protected me many times. It has left me wondering other times.

Both of my grandmothers were good cooks. I had many more opportunities to experience my Granny’s food than my Grandmomma’s. I have a few of my Granny’s actual dishes, but I have none of her recipes. I regret that I never asked her how she made her green beans so much better than average. I wish I had her recipe for lemon meringue pie. I’ve never had a better one than hers.

Her life was so different than mine. My sweet, tiny Grandmomma was the same.  I wish I could go back and ask how they did it. How did they deal with the questions, doubts, fears, and regrets? How did they keep on keeping on when their lives were collapsing in on them?

What I find myself longing for are connections to their lives, connections to their times. I need to know that we all want and need the same basic things, no matter when or where we live.

I regret that I do not have a single recipe from either of my grandmothers. (If your grandmother or mother wants to be a surrogate to me, I would happily, graciously, and enormously appreciate her recipe for anything!! Please, feel free to leave the recipe or just a link to it in a comment, and I would greatly appreciate it!)

A recipe may seem like such an inconsequential thing. As many of my children approach adulthood, I find myself second guessing every moment that I can remember. I know that I couldn’t do it 100% right. I want them to know, though, that even though I’m not perfect, I do want the very best for them.  I want to leave them with lingering memories of the love that existed for them. Love that sought to nourish and sustain them, just like those meals my grandmothers made for their families.

If you are lucky enough to still have grandparents or parents living, please ask for those recipes that are special to you, and if you can get them to write it down for you, you’ll treasure it even more!

 

 

Best Beach Towels {Dock and Bay}

It’s sadly been too long since our beach vacation, but I did discover the best beach towels ever before our last visit to my favorite place. They are from a company called Dock and Bay. The towels are ultra light and fast drying. Personally, I cannot stand coming out of the pool to find my towel is still wet from the last time I used it. It doesn’t get me dry or warm like that. I have bought too many towels over the years trying to find just the right ones. Finally, after way too much money and time, I think I’ve found it! They come in several sizes and shapes. They also come in a variety of colors. I love that they are soft to the touch and the colors are vibrant. Each towel comes in a canvas-type carrying case. We monogrammed the cases so we could keep up with whose was whose I also loved, loved, loved how they were packaged!! The plastic is biodegradable and says you could even eat it, but the directions say it doesn’t taste good so you shouldn’t. I just loved everything about these towels and the company. If you’re lucky enough to still have a vacation planned, go check out Dock and Bay Towels.

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I Love {Barre3 online}

Every once in awhile, I’ll come across a workout channel or website that I really enjoy. Even though I work out at the gym almost everyday, I still like the option of doing workouts at home. Some mornings I will put on a Barre3 workout and go through one of their routines. They have so many options. There at 10, 30, and 60 minutes options. There are workouts with and without props.

Many Americans do not exercise enough and have sedentary jobs as well. The CDC states:

“Key Guidelines for Adults
All adults should avoid inactivity. Some physical activity is better than none, and adults who participate in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalence combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount.
Adults also should do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate- or high-intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.”

Barre3 is a great way for everyone to get in those recommended minutes of exercise. It can be done at home and there are modifications for most exercises if there are joint or mobility issues. Starting on June 18, they are offering free workouts sent to your inbox. All you have to do is register online here.

 

 

Staying Keto on Vacation

So many diets allow cheat days or cheat meals. The keto diet is not really one of those. You are either in ketosis and burning ketones or you are not. Coming out of ketosis and then trying to get back into ketosis can send a person right back to the days of the “keto flu” where they might experience headaches, nausea, extreme tiredness, and other unpleasant feelings. For me, each time I would take a vacation week off of keto, I would easily gain 8-10 pounds. I’ve been on three trips since starting back on 100% keto again. I easily stayed keto in Las Vegas. I ate wonderful meals consisting of things like cheese omelets with avocado, salmon, crab-stuffed trout, sautéed spinach, steamed broccoli, and Caesar salad. When I visited the beach I ate things like: grilled salmon and shrimp, buffalo burgers with cheese, avocado, and bacon, lovely gourmet cheeses, omelets, creamed spinach, crab, and a low carb peanut butter pie I made while I was there. On my trip to Disney World, I struggled the most to find Keto friendly foods. I did a lot of intermittent fasting through the day. We ate sausage without all the toppings in Animal Kingdom. We had the ribs twice in  Animal Kingdom. I would eat cheese back in the hotel. I also brought almonds and Keto bars as well. I had fish and steamed broccoli at the Skipper Canteen restaurant in Magic Kingdom. I bought Babybel cheese and boiled eggs at the Contemporary Hotel. We also had a lovely charcuterie tray at the airport.  I didn’t go off the diet even though it was pretty hard to find Keto friendly meals in Orlando.

I hope that this post gives those on a Keto diet encouragement that even on vacation, you can still stick to the plan. I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did!

Road Trip Snacks {keto/low carb}

17C4D61A-6C9A-46E9-956F-F9D2EC7E1313On our drive to Hilton Head, I pack snacks for every person. The kids get things like Chex Mix, Fruit by the Foot, chips, Zone bars, peanut butter or cheese crackers, and basically things that are full of carbs. I don’t eat any of those things so I need to figure out what I might want to munch on for the trip. This time around, I packed jars of sugar free pickles, Keto Bars, almonds, and cheese bars. Keto and low carb snacks are much easier to find now, but consideration for how they travel and how your body responds to them must be given. If you’re on a low carb or Keto diet it is still possible to stay in ketosis while on vacation, but it does take a little more planning.1A7AFCE9-E60F-49E4-A949-CFEB3F8324BF.jpeg

Chella D {Hilton Head}

Everyone in my family loves a good deal. My daughters are very into fashion, but they always want a unique look. Whenever we visit Hilton Head in South Carolina we stop at Chella D. This consignment shop is a favorite and a much anticipated stop for our family. We love the ladies who own and run it. Donna and Carol are pure delights! If I lived in Hilton Head, I know I would be a regular. When a regular customer comes in they all talk and laugh and truly care about what’s going on with one another. Even though we only stop in once or twice a year, we are remembered and appreciated. This shop isn’t just a fun little shop, it’s full of treasures. Think Lilly Pulitzer, Gucci, Kate Spade, Armani, Versace, Jimmy Choo, and much more. We always leave with things we love and things we get for a bargain. If you make a trip to Hilton Head, plan a stop at Chella D. 6CA6B357-1972-4B96-8547-CC96E7766FD9.jpeg

Kitchen Essential {Air Fryer}

Many kitchen appliances are a waste of money. An air fryer is not. We bought one for Christmas, and I use it every day! I use it to “fry” French fries or heat up leftovers. I make avocado fries with it at least three times a week. I have made the best keto fried chicken of my life! Almost daily, I take a low carb tortilla and spray it with olive oil, sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on top and put it in the air fryer for about 3 minutes. It makes a beautiful tortilla bowl. I break it apart and use it as chips to eat my guacamole or cheese.

The air fryer is easy to clean too. All that it takes is letting it cool, using hot water and Dawn, wipe out, rinse, and you are done. We have the Phillips XL. I can’t imagine that anything smaller would be good enough for a family. It’s not huge, but it does take up about as much space as a Kitchen Aid mixer.

 

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Photo Credit: Phillips

 

 

I hope to share a few recipes soon! If this is a purchase you’ve been considering I say go for it!

Countdown to Home

A hundred years ago (maybe not really that long, but it seems like it), before Pinterest was a thing, I made jars for my nieces when I went away to college. Each jar had the same number of candies as the days until I’d be back home. Two of my nieces were religious about the one candy for each day and the other ate all of it right away. I still think this is a cute idea even a hundred years later ;0) and even if one ate it all in a day.

When my husband and I went to Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I did a similar thing for our children. Since my parents were staying at our house, I wanted to give them a treat and something to do as well.

I made a package for each day that we would be gone. The first day it included a puzzle, movie, Oreos, a Paw Patrol gift for David, and little gifts for the girls. I also asked that they each find a happy story to share at dinner.

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The second day, they received Goldfish crackers, an Oreo Dirt Creations kit, a lemon bar mix, seeds to plant, a movie, and a “fossil” for David to paint. I also asked that they share a special memory about the person sitting to their left.

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On the third day, I included special chocolates, a movie, a gear art kit, a Jello pudding pop kit, lemon Oreos, and a fossil excavation kit for David. I also asked that they name two things for which they were thankful.

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The very last day, I included a huge roll of paper, coloring book, a Matisse art kit, a movie, chocolate chip cookie mix, Jello pudding pop kit, and another dinosaur excavation kit.

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When we came home the puzzle was done, the treats were gone, and all the excavation things were finished. I know they looked forward to opening the package each day.  Most items were from the dollar spot at Target. The Jello kits were on clearance at Kroger. The movies were all ones we owned.  I like the idea of them having something to look forward to when we’re away. This was pretty inexpensive and only required a little time to get together.