Thursday, April 29, 2010

Going GREEN!

I meant to do this post closer to Earth Day, but I forgot. Whoops. Oh well, going green should be an every day event anyway!

There are so many SIMPLE changes we can make to conserve energy and reduce waste. It takes very little (if any) effort, and they are likely to save you some money too! Using a reusable water bottle is probably the EASIEST switch to make. Rob and I both have these bottles, and we love them! We fill them up on our way out the door and continue to do so throughout the day. I drink way more water now, and I'm not buying cases of bottled water every week.

Another thing I do to reduce my waste is using reusable grocery bags. I got mine at Garden Ridge for $0.50 a piece! I mean c'mon, there's no reason NOT to use these! They hold more than regular grocery sacks as well, so I don't have to make ten trips back and forth to my car bringing groceries in! I keep mine in the car so I won't forget them, but if I do forget to bring my bags, I get plastic and reuse them as trash liners for the bathroom trashcan. Doing SOMETHING with them is always better than throwing them away!

Now, Abilene is not exactly the most "recycle-friendly" city ever, but we DO have bins at various locations to drop your recyclables off at. I recycle plastic, cardboard, cans, glass, junk mail, and magazines by keeping baskets in my garage. As you can see, I need to take my stuff SOON, but I just wanted to show you that it really is easy. I just let it all pile up for a couple weeks then load it up and drop it off. I hope that we will have curbside recycling one day, but until then, I will continue to do this.

Other things you can do:
-Eco-friendly light bulbs
-Composting (I'm planning on starting this soon!)
-Spread coffee grounds in your flower beds (I think my plants like this :))
-Donate clothes you don't wear rather than throwing them away
-Turn off water while brushing your teeth, doing dishes, etc.
-Rechargeable batteries
-Leave grass clippings on the lawn - built in fertilizer!
-Find a place to turn in old cell phones, ink cartridges, etc.
-Unplug things you aren't using (toaster, blow dryers, coffee pot, etc.)

I'll stop there, so you don't think I'm preaching to/at you :) I just want everyone to know that it's SO easy!! I realize that I am not changing the world or anything by making these switches in my life, but if everyone makes an effort, Mother Earth will still be beautiful for future generations!

"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but I still can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do." -Helen Keller

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Fun!

This weekend was great! Lots of relaxing, time with friends & family. Can't get much better than that!

Saturday started with sleeping in until 10! I so needed it after the sleepless week I had this last week. It felt AWESOME! Anyway, I got up and did some stuff around the house while Rob mowed, then my mom and her BFF Lisa came and picked me up for lunch and shopping! We had lunch at Red Robin, and it was yummy, as usual! Then we went shopping, and I got some great deals! I got everything pictured below for $26! I was pumped! I realize the shorts and dress look very similar, apparently I was feeling the coral/pink/orange/plaid thing that day.

Then Saturday night Rob and I went to the Ruff Rider's game with the Doty's and Mike. (the Ruff Riders are the local arena football team) The game was....interesting....but mostly Mandi and I just talked and played with Coop! :)

Thanks for the bunny ears, babe...

Look at that goldfish mouthed cuteness! Cooper loves his Momma...

After the game, we were starving, so we went out for a bite to eat. Rob and Coop are big buddies now...

Sunday, we went and hung out with Rob's family who is in town from California and his grandparents. We went to open houses and just enjoyed being together! Then we went to my parents' house for dinner. Before we ate though, Rob and Dad decided to try to conquer the stump in my parents' backyard...

They dug and axed, pushed the stump, dug and axed, pushed the stump, dug and get the idea!

Until they finally dominated that stump! Yay boys! You showed that dead tree whose boss! :) That baby was deep, and the roots were HUGE, but that was nothing for these manly men...

We celebrated their stump victory with grilled steaks, baked sweet potatoes, sauteed veggies, and a G-free pineapple upside down cake! My mom is the BEST...she always makes her desserts GF now so that I don't have to miss out. Isn't she great?! Love her.

This is my LAST week of real classes for the semester! Can't even tell you how excited I am about that. I see the LIGHT!!

Monday, April 19, 2010


I've been a little MIA from blogging because I've been feeling a little like this guy....

This week I have 2 papers due & 2 presentations.....eeks! But after this week is over, I have one more week of classes then a week of finals then I'm off to NYC! That is great motivation to STUDY, STUDY, STUDY!!

Now, on to the real issue!
I'm getting my hair done soon, and I know I am going to go lighter for the summer time, but I can't decide if I want to keep my hair short or grow it out again. Both have their perks, but which LOOKS better?? Help me, friends!


Or long....

Let me know what you think! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Spring Fever Part 2

Even my toes are in the Spring spirit! :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spring Fever

So this past winter we saw a lot of snow (for Texas), and it was so much fun!

But I am happy that we are now transitioning to this....

Look at all those buds! Can't wait to see it in full bloom!

I love driving up to this!

And, of course, these beautiful roses....

Home is my favorite place to be. I am so proud of this little house! I bought it when I was 19, and 3 years later, I still smile every time I pull into the driveway. I just love it. As you can see in the previous pictures, it needs a little paint. Well, that's happening later this week/next week, and I can't wait!

Happy Spring! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Living a Gluten-Free Life

Disclaimer: This post is pretty long. I warned you ;)

My gluten-free journey began last summer when I started having severe and chronic gastrointestinal issues. Out of nowhere, I was sick pretty much every day. I was having every tummy issue you could imagine, bloating, vomiting, cramping, etc, etc. Finally, after not getting to leave for a river trip with the coach's wives on the day I was supposed to, I had had enough. I called my mom bawling (she knew I hadn't been well) and she said that I needed to call my doctor the following Monday. I ended up going to the doctor after I returned from our river trip, and they ran several tests on me and did blood work to see if I had some sort of infection or parasite. Those tests didn't reveal anything, so I was referred to a GI specialist. He concluded that I was malnourished (I had lost 10 lbs) and needed to have a endoscopy as soon as possible. A week later, the procedure was done. I was scared of what it might reveal, but I knew that the Lord would watch over and take care of me. They took a biopsy of my stomach and small intestine which revealed that I had Celiac Disease. Ironically, my mom had recently read a short article in a magazine about Celiac and thought that that may be it!

So, what the heck is Celiac Disease?! Celiac is a digestive disorder that is characterized by a toxic reaction to the protein (gluten) found in certain grains (wheat, barley, rye, oats). Celiac is hereditary, chronic, and autoimmune. Celiac disease is NOT a food allergy (although some do have allergies to it), and the only "cure" is to eat gluten-free for life.

This was extremely scary to me at first. On one hand, I was thankful that I finally knew something and that it was nothing that would require further medical treatment, but on the other hand I'm thinking "I don't WANT to eat this way!" Now I am grateful that I have a disease that I get to control. It's up to me to keep myself healthy, and that is a blessing. I don't have to endure any kinds of treatments or medical procedures.

One of the first things I bought was this book:

It is very informative and helpful to a newly G-free eater as well as their families! It tells you just about everything you need to know about living a gluten-free life.

One of the hardest parts of this lifestyle for me has been eating out. Fast food is pretty much out for me (a blessing in disguise) and eating at restaurants can be tricky. Some restaurants are very cooperative (PF Changs, Pei Wei, Outback, Natural Food Center) but others have NOTHING that I can eat which is probably frustrating for people eating with me! This has actually been a good thing though because I now cook dinner at home more than I ever have. Not only are Rob and I saving money, but we are also saving ourselves from lots of hidden ingredients and toxins in mass produced foods.

The best place (in Abilene) to find gluten-free products is Drug Emporium, but they can also be found in major grocery stores now! It's exciting to me that even Betty Crocker has these products now! There is a replacement for just about everything that I enjoyed before. Textures of thing like breads, baked goods and pastas are definitely different from the "regular" stuff, but it's something that I am now kind of used to. Here's an example of a dinner we enjoyed last night:

Gluten-free pasta bake! I made it with brown rice macaroni which is more nutritious than regular bleached white pasta.

Living a g-free life is a great, natural way to live. I have never felt better than I do today, and I really believe that it is a good way to live for even those who do not have gluten intolerances. I can eat anything that comes naturally from the earth, which is what we should be doing anyway, right? People ask me all the time, "Do you ever cheat?" and my answer is "NO WAY! It's so not worth it!"

Gluten can hide in tricky places, so if you are making the switch to a g-free life, read EVERY label! Some of these include:
-soy sauce
-seasoning packets
-salad dressings
-"Modified food starch" could be code for gluten!! Don't chance it!

Anyway, I think I've probably harped on this topic enough for today, but if you want to know anything, just ask! :):)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Weekend

This weekend has been a busy but FUN one! On Friday, Rob and I both had the day off from school, but I had to work still (boo!). I got to sleep in though, so that's enough for me! Saturday was spent doing yard work pretty much all day - pictures of our progress to come. My sweet mom came over to help us, and we actually had fun doing it! We pulled weeds, mowed, planted flowers and shrubs, cleaned off the patio/furniture, mulched the flower beds, and enjoyed lunch on the porch while admiring our work! That night we went to visit with some of our best friends that were in town from Louisiana. I have known the Whiteheads from the day I was born, and they are like extended family to me. Us "kids" grew up together, and they lived here up until a few years ago. I miss them like crazy, and I love when they're in town! Bev and Laura were the only ones that got to come this time because the guys were working.

This little guy is Laura's second cousin, and y'all....I have NEVER seen a 3-year old hit the ball like he can. Rob was pitching to him in the backyard, and he was nearly hitting it over the fence!

Not to mention he has a BIG personality. He kept us laughing the whole time we were there. I think my favorite was when he was leaving he walked up to me and whispered very quietly, "I'm gonna give you a hug, okay?" Can't having anyone thinking he talks to girls or anything, I guess! HA!

The baseball star took this picture of Rob, good one, huh? ;)

Here's my momma and Bev, there's always lots of laughs when they're together!

Don't y'all just love those friendships that never change no matter how many miles are between you? That's how I feel about this family. I can not see them for months, but when we do finally get together nothing has changed. We have had so many good times together, and I know we will have many more in the future!


Easter is such a great reminder of the gift that we have been given. LIFE! Thank you, Lord, for sending your Son to die for ME! He is RISEN! Let us remember that every single day, let us not take a single breath for granted.

Here we are in our Eastery outfits...

And, on a completely unrelated note, have you tried this tea? I stir a little honey in mine and relax before bedtime. I think it really does calm me, or it could just be a placebo effect? Hmm, either way it tastes yummy!

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did! I am thankful for such a great weekend because this week at school is going to be a long one...prayers are certainly welcomed! ;) Hehe.
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