I totally kicked Monday’s ass.

Soooo….
I made pancakes for me and Hubs for breakfast. πŸ™‚

I practiced some yoga.

I got my ass handed to me by Jillian Michaels ala 30 Day Shred (Yes, first attempt and the “easiest” level.)

Watched the pilot of “The New Girl” while I ran on the treadmill.  It was cute.  Like that inner awkward girl inside me is her outside-the-person personality.

Showered and did my hair… Yes… On a day as full as today, that’s a full on accomplishment!!

I made a gluten free, non-dairy cheese for lunch nachos…  And shared them with that handsome guy that comes for lunch most days.  And because I’m in that sharing sort of mood, I’ll even share the recipe with you…

It’s adapted from Angela at Oh She Glow’s Quick and Dirty 5 Ingredient Cheeze sauce… The only tweaks were that I used coconut oil in place of the Earth Balance, and I added a splash of Worcestershire Sauce (with negates the whole vegan aspect of Angela’s sauce).  Super yum.

Theron and I went for an adventure-bound around the neighborhood looking at the Halloween decorations.  Speaking of Theron… He seems bored lately.  Even though I’m home and he’s getting more interaction.  What do you do with a bored dog?

I also made bread.

And grains for the first few days of the week… I just used some from a jar I had, and thought it could be quinoa… come to find out… It’s a mix of quinoa and millet!!  I love my rice cooker.  It’s so versatile as it’s also what i make my grains in.

I also spray painted a bucket with a lid we purchased last year to store our ashes from the ash-hole (aka fireplace).  It was all shiny and silver… and we wanted it to match our wrought iron stuff, so Rustoleum to the rescue!!

I also fixed our spider decoration for the door for this evening.  It had fallen down the stairs when I was fighting with our storage bins a few weeks back.  A few spots of superglue and it’s good as new!!

And then, I did the coolest thing of the day…

I made gluten free biscotti!!!  I had wanted something scone-y or biscottish last night when I was reading The Lord of The Rings out loud to Hubs… We had sleepy time tea and a couple squares of dark chocolate with raspberries, but the whole while I was wishing the chocolate was something crumblier. πŸ™‚

This stuff is dangerous good….

Want the recipe???
Knew it!

Lemon Currant Biscotti


2 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tbsp lemon extract
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 egg plus 1 egg white
1/2 cup currants
1 3/4 cups gluten free baking mix (If not using a baking mix, you may want to add Xantham or similar)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Cream together coconut oil and sugar.
Beat in extracts and eggs.
Add baking mix/flour and currants.
Combine well.

On a cookie sheet (Either greased or on top of parchment paper) form a 3″ wide log approximately the length of the cookie sheet.  Leave 2″ margin all the way around on cookie sheet as dough will spread.  Place in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
Remove and let cool.  Turn temperature on oven down to 300 degrees F.
Once cooled, slice into 1/2 ” slices.
Lay out slices on their sides and bake an additional 25 minutes.

You could use any extract you like, and replace the currants with other yummy things.  πŸ™‚

These are sooooooooooo tasty.

I’m off to make dinner (grains, sauteed spinach with an egg on top) for me and Hubs.

We have a Halloween Front Porch Party to swing by around 6, and then hoof it back here to hand out treats!

Happy Halloween!
Theron’s ready… are you???

Who needs meat???!!???

It finally has been cold enough in the house to have to turn on the heat…  The internal temperature swooped below 59 degrees F, so on went the oil-sucker furnace.
Theron has employed other options to keep warm as you can see…

Maybe it was due to the cold… All I know is that I wanted some heat to eat…. I was really really craving tacos… but I am kinda overdone (haha, accidental pun) with the meat thing.  Usually I have meat once a week, but the past couple weeks it’s been about daily.

So last night for dinner I improvised… And came up with a meatless option.

We had black bean tacos.  And they were rockstar good.

Which I mostly attribute to the taco sauce I made from scratch.  It was drinkablygood.  Seriously!

I prepped the taco sauce about a half hour before we started the taco process.
Hubs took a bag of black beans out of the freezer to thaw.

Then we took glasses of wine (Thanks for the leftovers Moms!) and sat out taking in the last bits of warm rays for the day.

Then we warmed up our corn tortillas in the oven.
And cut up our toppings… Black beans, black olives, avocado, tomatoes, cilantro, and cheese for the Hubs (I’m giving all dairy a rest for a bit, my stomach seems to hate it).

We compiled the tacos and doused them with the taco sauce…. TACOHEAVEN!!!

Sometimes we like to finish up the leftover toppings with little salads, which we did last night… But my motive wasn’t true… I just wanted more taco sauce!!!

Taco Sauce Recipe:
8 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp minced onion
1 tbsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp ancho chili powder (Cayenne would probably work as well)
4 drops Tabasco Smokey Chipolte flavor
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Whisk, let sit for flavors to meld…. Drink Enjoy!!
_______________________________________________________________________________
Saturday was pretty dominated by the usual trip to Kroger with my mom… and then watching the Hokies barely beat Duke… With an at home tailgate!!!

Pay no attention to the mess behind me… Litter boxes are cool photo accessories… πŸ™‚

As are bins of kitty litter.

Mom left us yesterday morning at the ungodly hour of 6 am.  I think she’s excited to return to the snowbelt.  πŸ™‚  We had a nice long visit.  But now I’m back to reality!!!  Time to get going on marketing my massage practice, and focusing on my mind/body health.

In light of that… I’m off to workout!  πŸ™‚  Let’s hope I stay brave and actually try Jillian’s 30 Days of Hell 30 Day Shred.

Feeling shameful…

The focus of my blogging is (in my mind at least) a pursuit of balance.  Balancing myself as in my physical health, mental health, emotional health.  Balancing my life as in work and play.
So everything I’m about to share makes me feel a little like a sham…  Be forewarned!
I stepped on the scale yesterday…  It was a very bad number.
I hid my scale away around the beginning of October.  I tend to develop a very unhealthy relationship with it and with the number it provides.  But all of my clothes fit too snugly… and i always feel these things more sharply when my mom is around.  So I decided to bite the bullet and step on that frenemy of mine.
It was the highest number that I’ve ever seen.
Part of it is probably the weight gain from letting go of dieting and letting go of “forbidden foods”.
A larger part is that I know I haven’t been listening to my body the past couple weeks on what I want and when to stop eating, but it seems irrational for it to cause such an increase.

When things feel frazzled, or chaotic, I have a hard time staying centered and grounded.  I have a hard time maintaining what I want and why.  It’s my flaw.  I don’t blame anyone else for it.  It’s a big reason I love yoga; it helps me to go inside myself and calm that chaotic monkey inside me. πŸ™‚  That’s also a HUGE reason I want to cultivate a daily meditation practice.  With practice, I find i can channel these skills sets much more easily.  I find they balance out my mindlessness, or my lack of focus/being grounded on my purposes.

We went to the co-op yesterday, and (since it was after I stepped on the scale and eliminated my self-esteem to zero) I had the most shameful feeling.  I felt like I did not belong there.  Like I didn’t deserve the highest quality of ingredients there.  Because I continue to abuse my body by not taking care of it, and not honoring it.

I spent yesterday feeling a combination of shock that I let myself gain so much, shame that I couldn’t do better and understanding on how easy it is for the obese to get there.

I don’t want to feel chained down by all of this.  I let myself feel poorly about it yesterday.  Today’s a new day.  Today I can take each moment to honor myself, to honor my needs and wants.

I found this quote yesterday on FB, and it was startlingly true…

If it’s important to you, you will find a way.
If not you’ll find an excuse.
And that my friends, is the thought I will leave you with today.

Happy 30th Ashley!!

I’m that kinda good friend who posts TO.THE.WORLD when something monumental, like… oh say… your 30th birthday occurs… No need to thank me Ash… You’re welcome! πŸ™‚

Ashley sent me a text Tuesday, which I didn’t get until Wednesday seeing what I was up to (asked on Tuesday for Wednesday), I didn’t get in time, so she asked on Wednesday about Thursday.  I couldn’t believe my luck!!  Ashley’s birthday is one week after mine, although she was born a year (Okay technically a year minus a week) before I was!

This morning after I did my exercising (yoga, walking Theron, strength training) and got my house in order, the Mother unit and i went out to get fruit and cheese to have for snacking… while we drank Sangria (great idea mom!!) with Ashley to celebrate her milestone!!

What a happy and young looking 30 year old!!

My mom almost hid out of view. πŸ™‚  

Ashley and I drinking her birthday wine and me wearing the pretty scarf she got me for my birthday.

XOXO Ashley!!  To a wonderful year ahead.  I’m so glad I was able to help celebrate the birth of such a wonderful, strong and inspiring woman!

The Patented Puking Cat Alarm Clock

Smores decided to get sick at 6:18am today.

Which was just the incentive Hubs and I needed to get out of bed instead of nesting deeper.

We got up, practiced some yoga, did some pilates… I hopped on the treadmill for 15 minutes (I ran about 10 of it before my busted ankle screamed bloody murder) and finished up on the bike.

I’ve had an all business-all day sort of day.

Birthday Tulips!

  • I got my household chores done. (Garbage duty, re-vasing my birthday flowers, composting, dishes, dishes, dishes, laundry, cleaned out the fridge, scooped/replaced Smores’ litter… which could be why she was puking this morning… it was grooooody!)
  • I took a walk with Theron and Mother.
  • I had lunch with Mother and Husband, the later of which stole my iced coffee… In which I used the last of the coconut milk, and left me with his inferior cow-milk style one.  Now he got to drink mine, and his when he gets home.  What a flim-flam artist!!
  • Did all of my books on Quickbooks from 1/1/11 to current.
    • Does anyone know how to use Quickbooks better than me?
      • What is the purpose of a journal entry?  I have been told to use one to document when I had to put stuff on my credit card as a “loan” earlier this year.
      • How would you document purchasing massage cream, to then have the Day Spa reimburse you?
    • End of questions. πŸ™‚
  • Now I’m getting ready to be dropped off at work; I have an hour long massage scheduled (to give, sadly… not to receive πŸ™‚ )
I’m not saying that all this efficiency came from the puking cat alarm clock… but it’s awfully interesting how it started my day off on the right foot!!
Theron, relaxin

We are still sleeping in…

Every day since ohhh… I don’ know… I left the bank….
At first we were only sleeping in a little, and I was still getting up and exercising… in the morning, a little later while walking Theron, and walking to work…
But with mom here to hang out with… that’s been taking priority.

Happy for Mom-time, disappointed in me for not finding/making time to workout.

Also, I have been letting being achy, or tired, or gluteny be excuses not to work out…

I keep forgetting there are people like this who work out even with a broken foot…  I really am letting those things be my easy out.  Which, in the long run makes my health harder to achieve.

Easy now, more work later.

What a pisser!!!
Plus, during my last minute massage (they didnt’ call me ahead of time to let me know it was scheduled, thank goodness I had that little thought in my head that I should be prepared in case)… I really thought about how to be the best I can be in my career, I have to put my health in the forefront to be stronger and to maintain better body mechanics…

I’m going to go see if I can talk the Mothership Mother unit into a walk on this glorious 75 degree fall day!!!  FINGERS CROSSED! πŸ™‚

Poplar Forest – A Rural Retreat for Thomas Jefferson

Yesterday, the mother unit and I went to Poplar Forest

Contrary to your best Futurama Fan’s assumption, it is not forest of Popplers..

Source 

Now that we’ve cleared that up… onto a rundown of the field trip.

First off, let me say it was super pretty out in Bedford county.  I had only been through there once or twice in passing, and not in a way that i could see the Blue Ridge Mountains… Wowza… They were amazing.

Second thing is that I honestly was expecting the main building of Poplar Forest to be a little bigger!  I think it just looked smaller with the land and landscaping all around.  One of the things they did when they dug the foundation and made a sunken lawn was to put two mounds of dirt on either side of the main house.  This made it look shorter.  As we went through the tour, they kept remarking on things Jefferson did to reduce his tax burden… As soon as that clicked in my mind I said to myself …. Self, maybe he put those mounds there to make the house look smaller for real estate appraisers….  Joking of course, but still. πŸ™‚

The way Poplar Forest works is you go in the gift shop area and purchase your tour ticket.  It’s $14 per adult, with 10% off if you have AAA.  Prices go down if you’re a kid, a senior, etc.  They allow dogs! But request you kennel them in their guest dog quarters while you take the tour… so poor Mr.Theron would not be able to partake.
You get assigned a tour time and told where to meet your tour.  The main floor of the house is a guided tour, the rest of the grounds are self guided.  They do have these cool GPS initiated hand held audio/visual things you can carry around… but we saw one guy with his and he was there for a couple hours – just with that- and we decided against it this time.
While we waited for the tour to start, we checked out the grounds and the outdoor privy.  It still has the original seat apparently. πŸ™‚

No photos in the inside of Poplar Forest’s main floor…  But allowed elsewhere.

Source

There were some really cool things about this building.

  • It was octagonal.
  • There were 5 rooms or chambers that were along the outside walls…  as you first enter the foyer, you could go straight into the middle room, right or left.  We went right.  All of the rooms had doorways that led to and from another room. Except the parlour, that one just had a way in, and a terrace.
  • That was a chamber or storage room.  It was kinda small, but they guide said it was likely where Jefferson’s manservant would have stayed.  There was a small fireplace and huge windows.  Seemed cozy!
  • With passing onto the next room, you could see the house wasn’t just brick on the exterior, but also the interior walls were constructed with brick, which was plastered over and then painted.  Not  wood studs and drywall like our brick house.  That helped with the fire of 1845 to keep the house intact and able to be reconstructed now!
  • Beyond that chamber/manservant room was Jefferson’s room.  This room was really interesting.  He had two fireplaces, one towards the front of the room, one towards the back.  And in the middle he had this thing called an alcove bed… I want one… Sincerely.

    They started referencing Monticello a TON; which of course furthered my desire to go to Charlottesville and visit Monticello. πŸ™‚
    Jefferson’s room also had a stairway down to his own indoor privy and to the lower level.  Apparently he didn’t originally have those items on the blueprints but added them when he realized what a pain it was to have to go out the front door, all the way around the house to the back side to enter the lower level.  The story was stairs were expensive.  He’s as frugal as Hubs. πŸ™‚

  • The next room from Jefferson’s was the dining room.  This was also the center room of the home.  It was a 20′ by 20′ room, with a small fireplace in the corner (the fireplace that caused the 1845 fire).  He was reported to have a mahogany table in there.  And he was taxed on the mahogany table.  When w first entered the tour guide told us the doors were pine painted to look like mahogany (just like at Monticello and UVA, apparently), so I was surprised he used the real deal in there!  They also had a replica of the dumbwaiter that Jefferson had in his dining room there.  He was a very suspicious fellow and didn’t want anyone eavesdropping…. The kitchen staff were to put the food on the dumbwaiter and then immediately exit the house.  This room, being the central room, had doorways that led out to the parlor (where we visited next), as well as to Jefferson’s bedroom, a matching/similar bedroom across the way and to the main entry way to the house.  
  • Parlor…. Source
  • The parlor was amazing… and the only room I really was sad not to be able to take pictures of.  There were fireplaces at each side, and there were french doors leading out to a terrace/veranda.  Gorgeous. There were triple hung windows (basically floor to ceiling), two on each side of the doors.  It made the room feel like part of the outdoors.  Amazing.  The view today, even without the landscaping as Jefferson had was amazing.  I can only imagine how it would have been in his time. πŸ™‚
  • The final room was a second chamber, identical to the first chamber we entered.

That ended the tour of the home…  and on our own we were!

 
 

First stop, we walked out on the terrace above the “Wing of Dependency”….  It was nice, I could see how it would be something fun to do each night while watching the bats and animals and looking at the mountains.
Then we, of course, checked out the “Wing of Dependency”… We looked at the rooms in order of closest to the house, to furthest.  Each had their own entry way, and were connected by an outside promenade.

  • The first room was thought to be cold storage for dairy, as it did not have a fireplace.  
  • The second room was the kitchen with fireplace, a baking oven, a kettle hole thing, and a few other little cooking areas.  
  • The third was storage and the cook’s room when Jefferson was in residency…. (The rest of the time she lived with her family in the slave quarters).
  • The fourth was the smokehouse.

We toured the grounds a little after that…. Checked out the rose garden, checked out the slave quarters, checked out some other outbuildings that were added by the families that lived there after Jefferson’s time.

 
 
 
 
 
 

The thing I hadn’t thought about was that other families lived in Poplar Forest between Jefferson’s time and now and they had really altered a lot of it.  I know it should be fairly obvious, but i forget national landmarks are a lot of work to get to where we can enjoy them in their “original” setting.

It was a gorgeous day, and a great field trip…
And of course, no day with my mom is complete without the required Kroger trip….  We stopped at the HUGE one out in Bonsack… We got snackage (apples, nuts etc) to have for a late lunch.

When we finally got home there was a sketchy vehicle parked in front of my neighbor’s house… two guys were in it.  One in his early-mid 50’s, the other in his 20’s.  They weren’t appearing to be waiting for anyone… they sat out there for proabably an hour before they finally left.  I kept giving them the stink eye, but they didn’t move.  When we finally parked our tushes out front in the chairs to play boggle they finally left.  Really really really weird.  No worries, I watch enough NCIS to have gotten most of the plate number, make, model etc. πŸ™‚

Then Theron knocked down the firepit…. Thank goodness there was no fire going on at that time.  A dog walked by… yup, that’s all it takes with him.  Enter full on exitement mode and attempts to free himself from the tie out….As an aside… a similar thing happned Friday when he knocked down a chair when another dog went by…

And dinner was El Rodeo’s!!

Whew!!

Not sure what we have planned for today… it’ll be hard to top that!