My attitude SUCKS!

Warning: Raw feelings and thoughts ahead.

There I said it! Although I am realizing that I’m not the only one that struggles. I want, I want, I want. I want some peace and quiet. I want to go on vacation. I want to get some projects done. You get the idea. It struck me while I was in church last week that my attitude really sucks on many things but in particular on money. Adam and I honestly have never struggled with money but both of my parents filed for bankruptcy and it never seemed like we had enough money growing up. When I got my first “real” job in teaching I banked a ton of money and lived off a little. My parents and I each paid a third for college and I went to a state school. Adam had his college paid for and so we graduated with no debt and always contributed to 401Ks, 403Bs, Roth IRAs, etc. So why is money such an issue for me? Well it all boils down to FEAR! Fear of failure. Fear I won’t have enough. Fear I will make a mistake.

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This should come as no surprise because I suffer from anxiety. I learned something new about the word fear though. It stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. I have a tendency to over think EVERY thing. Really does worrying help anything? I either need to let it go or act because the way I manage my money is something I DO have control over to some degree. Its all about perspective. How do I view my own financial situation among other things?

I wrote this post about 6 month ago and never finished this and have more thoughts about my attitude and perspective. In regards to finances, I am a firm believer that we have money for what is important to us. We all want to have more then we have no matter the amount we make. We all make choices on what we can and cannot buy. It’s interesting when I say “I can’t afford X” but then I purchase Y. What I really mean is that wasn’t a priority and that is ok! I also personally need to come from a position of trust. We lay out a budget and need to stick with it. Of course things come up and we can deal with them. When we were first married it was a lot simpler but now there are so many moving parts it can be hard to keep track of. We really have no issues here it all just comes from my anxiety and background. I’m trying to learn to let loose and have fun sometimes and not obsess about how much everything costs! It sucks the fun right out of it!

As far as attitude in other parts of my life…. I’ve been squeezed a lot lately and I haven’t liked what has come out. We were at Target the other day and Adam and two of the girls were ahead of us and I was with Kayla. Kayla needed to stop because her foot hurt so I responded to a text. It became clear that her shoes were hurting her and she needed carried. She is heavy and Adam was ahead so I carried her as far as I could and then put her down. When we got to the car I opened the door and got in and closed mine and a few second later Kayla began screaming. She has put in hand on the door jam and I had closed my door on her fingers! I felt awful but was instantly angry and mostly at myself but when Maya tried to help I snapped at her and then left to get some ice. I mad that Adam didn’t stay back so he could cary Kayla and then mad at myself for not noticing her hand and then for snapping at Maya! I could go into more detail about events before this as well but don’t want to bore you but they all are very self centered and have to do with me and my worry and anxiety… BOTTOM LINE!

Tonight as we were going over finances I got upset again. We had fraudulent charges and had to cancel our credit card and get new ones. It was several phone calls and now we won’t have our credit card for our trip in a couple of days! We will also have to change all the places that automatically charge our credit card, which is a big headache. The list of little things goes on and so do my outbursts.

So what is the point of all this? There needs to be some change. I find I get like this when I have too many things happening or going on and the stress comes at me in little bits and pieces until they end up in a large heap. I also need to remove myself from the situation and look at it as if a stranger would and assess is this really that big of a deal? I’m a perfectionist and expect myself to be perfect but I can’t possibly be nor can anyone else. I need to give myself a little grace. Also I need to not assume the worst of people. In the case of Target Adam didn’t know I needed help. Maya was actually going to suggest we had an instant ice pack in the van but I didn’t listen. I admitted I messed up and apologized to everyone before we even left Target but still it could have been avoided.

Where do you see yourself being squeezed and what are your tips for dealing with it?

Thanks for listening to my raw, jumbled thoughts tonight.

Jessica

Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas

I LOVE to cook! BUT I also don’t like to eat the same thing all the time so if I make a recipe more than once I know I really LOVE it. That is the case with Grilled Greek Chicken Pitas.

I love that they are so light and great for either lunch or dinner! I usually cut up some fruit or maybe some salad or many times we just eat these pitas!

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So the chicken I marinade overnight or all day in either a Balsamic Vinaigrette or I had a Garlic Vinaigrette! Adam then grills it for me and we cut it into strips. We do eat them with the chicken hot. You can see I have crumbled feta, red onion, cucumber, grape tomatoes halved, pitas and then the sauce. The sauce is plain yogurt with diced red onion, cucumber, lime juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. I personally open the pita and add the sauce first, followed by the chicken and then top with everything else so it looks like below. We use whole wheat pitas but you can also use white if you choose.

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Even my kids love these. Many times Hannah and Maya have seconds and Kayla eats a whole one by herself. I hope you enjoy this wonderful spring/summer meal. If you have some go to meals your family loves let me know about them. I love to try new stuff.

Jessica

Avocado Egg Salad

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So believe it or not I had never in my life had egg salad! It just wasn’t something that sounded good to me, but I’m always up for trying new things! I guess I figured it would be like potato salad and I do like some potato salads but most have so much mayo in them that I find it overwhelming. Anyway, I went to a friends house for lunch and she was serving egg salad. Everyone loved it. I can’t even remember how many sandwiches my kids downed.

So today I decided to make egg salad. I made some of my friend’s recipe but I also wanted to try some avocado egg salad. Some of them are made without mayo but this one had mayo in it and it was great! I decided to try eating it on a tomato and it was perfect. Adam had some for dinner on bread and it was wonderful that way as well.

ENJOY!

Jessica

 

Today I will choose joy!

So a week or so ago this was the scenario on a Sunday morning:

We got up in time to be on time, but there was a hair snaffoo, a kid that only ate a banana for breakfast, it had snowed, and dress shoes were forgotten. And we were late…. again! Adam dropped us off at the door and we ran into church 10 minutes late for the girls to all sing at service. As I dropped them off at their practice before hand and gathered their coats and boots I walked past a window. It had a sticker that shouted “Today I will choose joy!” It’s amazing how God speaks to us in the most unsuspecting ways with the most interesting situations. That caused me to stop and immediately begin to evaluate my life. Nothing new. I’ve heard it a million times. But today was different.

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The Bible says, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds” James 1:2. Joy is a choice and I have to say I don’t always choose joy.  The word contentment also comes to mind frequently. I can’t change the circumstances but I can change how I react and I have been convicted of that lately. I’m also learning if I can’t find joy in a particular activity or commitment that maybe it’s time to give up that activity or commitment. And it’s ok to do that with no hard feelings. I’ve been squeezed a lot lately and don’t like what’s been coming out. Sure we all get mad and upset at times, but it shouldn’t be the norm. How do I take care of myself and set good boundaries or let things go so that I can be joyful? Or maybe it’s more a matter of prayer and conscience effort on a daily basis?

Adam and I have had this conversation a lot lately. Here is another scenario. For some reason, I have never really enjoyed the holidays. They make me crabby and frankly I’d be ok with skipping them. Add to the fact that last year we miscarried our fourth baby and lost my mom right before thanksgiving and it just doesn’t feel like the joyous, wonderful time of the year it should. Both my parents are gone now and we haven’t regularly celebrated with my side of the family. Adams family goes in many directions and we celebrate with them, but not on Christmas Day. So I wondered what we should do. I lamented to Adam that I had a vision of what I wanted Christmas to look like. Adam simply said, “Then make it that way!” He was right. What do I have to lose? Why sit here and complain when I can take action and make things the way I want them to be! I can be grumpy about the holidays each year they come up or I can make a choice and do something about it. So I chose Joy! Its funny how when you change your attitude the whole world changes before your eyes.

So for Thanksgiving we went to Michigan to visit our close friends and enjoyed hanging out there. The week leading up to Christmas we have planned with fun family activities. We have started traditions of game nights on Christmas Eve after church and opening gifts as a family Christmas morning. We also celebrate St. Nicks Day.

When life starts squeezing you, what will you respond with? What do you want your holidays to look like? Envision them. Write them down. Don’t stop there. Execute!

Jessica

How do I know if I’m getting quality?

So I have laid out all the issues with the supplement industry but how do I know that what I want to buy is quality? There are some things you can ask and research to check.

There are some resources that you can use when doing your own research:

  1. Consumerlab.com– they do independent testing. There is a small fee to gain access to information.
  2. The Office for Dietary Supplements– has fact sheets about the various supplements and what they are used for.
  3. Memorial Sloan Kettering– has an app for herbs and information about herbs and other botanical products.
  4. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health– There is an herb resource here as well as some other information. There is also a kindle/ebook.

What to ask or look for in a supplement?

Time Magazine did a cover story about How Not to Get Sick.

Please do your research or find a company that is trust worthy. There are people with a wealth of knowledge out there. Don’t be afraid to ask a TON of questions. The company you are looking at should be able to answer all your questions to your satisfaction. You are the one putting this into you body so you should be comfortable with it!

Things to consider

  1. Do they have tests performed on their products by third parties?
  2. Do they have studies published in peer reviewed journals on their products? or do they just say there are studies about what their products claim to help but none of how their products actually help?
  3. Do their products have lot numbers and expiration dates?
  4. How and why was the company started? For some this may not matter but for me the why and the heart of the company matters.
  5. What kind of guarantee do they offer if any? Is it unconditional, 30, 60 days or none?
  6. What percent purity do they use in their products?
  7. How long has the company been in business?

Happy Supplement Shopping!

Jessica

Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Kebobs

I have raved about A Farm Girl Dabbles before. I love her recipes and have written about her a few different times with many amazing recipes. Well, she won me over again with Grilled Lemon Pepper Chicken Kebobs. It’s a combination I have never put together on a kebob before. Usually we do onion, tomatoes, colored peppers, and green pepper. This was unique so I thought I would give it a try. I didn’t explain to Adam all what was on it and he took a big bite of lemon… oops!

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So I skipped a step and I didn’t not blanch my Asparagus in hot water and the plunge it into cold water. I’m too lazy for that and I feel like the asparagus cooked up just fine. I thought the skewers looked so colorful too! I did drizzle Olive Oil from Twisted Trunk (Tuscan Herb is my fav!) on them. We then sprinkled them with salt and pepper!

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So here they are on the grill with my shadow… LOL! I told you that none of my photos would be gorgeous but I do guarantee they are real!

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And here is the finished product! This was all we had for dinner. We tend to stick to protein and veggies. On occasion we will add a carb but this fills us up and helps us feel great.

What is the most unique kebob you have put together?

Jessica

Lemon Cupcakes

I attended a gathering and someone had made these Lemon Cupcakes and they were amazing! They are a little more work than the average recipe but they are so well worth it! I’ve eaten them twice now but only made them once and now I can tell you all the mistakes I made so that you don’t make them!

To start I used paper muffin cups. She suggested foil since you are going to do a simple syrup but I didn’t have any issues with the paper cups. She suggested foil because the paper can become greasy.

So usually I skip the step if it says sift my ingredients but I did follow her directions and sift the flour and such together. I guess the more you sift the ingredients, the fluffier your cupcakes will be! Who knew? I didn’t! So here is what I used for sifting. It wasn’t very big but it got the job done.

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You do add cornstarch to the flour but she explained that is because it makes the flour more like a cake flour without having to buy cake flour. I think it worked great!

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The batter tasted oh so yummy!

I used my Pamper Chef scoop that I talked about back here. They truly are worth the investment. When I made these I over loaded the cups because I didn’t want to make another batch and that was a HUGE mistake. I ended up with flat muffin tops that were falling over. As you see a couple got stuck to the pan and then they detached from the cupcake.

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Once the cupcakes are baked and cooled I used a toothpick to poke holes in the tops of all of them. I then brushed them with the simple syrup I made. The lemons become candied in the process but I have never put them on my cupcakes. As you see I should have taken out the seeds and did not. I need to remake these with my friend Beth and I bet she would help me make them look good! She has way more patience then I when it comes to this stuff.

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Because I didn’t have any disposable piping bags and I didn’t want to clean one of the reusable ones, I used a large ziplock back to fill with frosting and then cut the end off and piped the cupcakes. I should have put the frosting in the fridge a bit to firm up. The frosting kinda of oozed almost.

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They aren’t the prettiest looking things but they taste great! Check out the recipe on the link at the very top and let me know how yours turn out.

Also as many of your know I am pretty health conscious and we do eat healthy 80-90% of the time but I do like to bake and try sweets. Of course I don’t eat all of these cupcakes… I’m not sure if my neighbors love me or hate me!

Jessica