Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Happy Birthday PJ!











































Happy 2nd birthday to our nephew (and my Godson) Preston! I can't believe he was this tiny only two years ago from today. He's been such a joy and blessing in our lives - we're so lucky to have such a special little nephew! We're excited to celebrate with him at a family birthday party on Sunday. I guarantee we will have pictures to show from that. The theme is western cowboy!

Nesting

It took us a few months, but lately we have been really excited and motivated to decorate our house. You may remember from a previous post that we bought a gorgeous mirror. Well, we just now got it on the wall. We were pretty nervous because its so heavy, but Mike spent a lot of time measuring and securing the screws.

Trust me, the mirror is on the wall straight, it was just hard to get the right angle without getting myself in the picture. I also need to work on styling the buffet with some taller and more interesting objects. For now I'm collecting and creating Christmas items to place on the buffet.

The details are just beautiful on this mirror. It gives our great room some character!

And here it is with the rest of the room. We ordered some wedding pictures to start our frame collage to the right of the mirror (behind the sofa). I also just ordered a framed wire holder for cards, pictures, etc for our hallway and am gathering some great ideas and items for our Christmas decorations. It's so difficult to wait until after Thanksgiving to set them all up. :)

Chai Tea

I'm not a coffee drinker (too much caffeine), but I absolutely love chai tea! I know, it still has caffeine in it, but a cup of it doesn't do much damage to me, so I'm ok with it. What really got me started drinking chai tea is when I went on my month-long study abroad trip to India. They love chai tea there and drink it all throughout the day...even in the 100 degree weather (they don't ice it)!

While we were there, our professor's wife, who was living and teaching there at the time, showed us how real authentic chai tea is made. I wish now that I would have written it down, but I can still remember a bit how to make it. Of course, they use buffalo's milk which would be pretty hard to find here, but the basis of the spices would be the same.
{Image via Viva Bailey}
Since then I have been trying to figure out how to make chai tea to taste just like we had it in India (and we had a lot when we were there...every stop we made included a cup of chai tea). Ok, when I say "figuring it out" though I mean I've been thinking about it. I've tried different chai teas and lattes, but haven't really tried making my own until recently. I found a great recipe and decided to try it, but since I'm eating dairy-free right now, I used almond milk.
{Image Source}
This is my second day of having this tea and it is delicious! It is definitely the closest thing I've had to real Indian chai tea, but its still not exactly the same. From what I remember, they used quite a bit of ginger, so I may try using more next time. Either way, I love this stuff and the best part is its gluten and dairy free! Find the recipe here.

P.S. I was looking through all my India pictures for the one above (I have pics from everyone on the trip, so that is quite a few pictures!) and reminiscing about our adventurous trip there. I may have to post a few of those pictures on here or facebook soon.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I miss you cheese!

You may remember a few months ago when I tried out clean eating. Obviously I didn't keep that up and/or it didn't help with my 'symptoms' or I wouldn't be writing a post titled "I miss you cheese!" Since the symptoms I explained in that previous post just aren't going away, I decided I needed to take action.

A couple months ago I went to the doctor and had a test for celiac disease (and a few other things), but all came back negative. I was relieved since that would have meant no pizza or pasta in Italy for me, but at the same time, I was frustrated. We still didn't know what the cause of all this 'sickness' was from. I got really irritated trying to figure it out, so I just gave up and ate whatever I wanted regardless of the consequences (I seem to go through cycles like that). I finally got fed up with feeling extremely bloated, stomach cramps and...well...you know. So I decided to strip my diet of gluten, dairy and sugar like my doctor had recommended.

Its day five of my new eating plan and I feel absolutely fantastic! No more bloating, cramping, running to the bathroom (other than because I have been drinking so much water!) or headaches. To make it even better, I actually have way more energy and focus during the day and to top it all off, I've already lost about 3.5 pounds!

This is all great and I am loving how I feel, but I really truly deeply miss my cheese. Anyone who knows me knows that I love cheese, so this has really been the hardest part for me. Most people would think the no gluten is the hardest part and when I tell them my new eating plan, they say "what's left to eat, broccoli?!" (No joke, I have heard this from multiple people). I'm finding that there are so many substitutes for gluten though - quinoa pasta, rice crackers, lettuce instead of bread for sandwiches.

So the plan is to continue this for nine more days (two weeks total) and then start to reintroduce dairy for a week, see how I feel, and then gluten the following week so I can figure out the offender.

I so appreciate all the support in this test, I really do need it since nighttime snacking is the absolute hardest thing for me. Not to mention, my favorite restaurant is based around authentic Italian pizzas and cheese plates.

More to come on this, hopefully some results will be found at the end of it!

Image via Sprouted Kitchen

P.S. My mom sent me the link to this blog. Her story is truly inspiring!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Happiness

I can't believe how bad I've been at blogging over here lately! It's been almost a month since I posted anything and about two months since I've posted anything thats been going on with us. I have a reason for all that. Starting a business is hard work and time consuming. I've spent most of my time lately designing invites, cards and parties and coming up with ideas for our blog. I love it and hope that things keep going with it! It really is what I believe I am meant to do and can't wait to see where our business goes.

The hardest part about working full time at my current job and having a business is time management and remembering to relax and have fun. There are so many stresses with starting your own business that no one tells you about. Stress about how to handle the business side of things (thank goodness for my business partner Brooke!), anxiety about wondering if people will like what you've made, figuring out how to organize everything and most of all, how to step away and call it a day. I've never really understood that last one until recently. I handle the social media part of our business too, so there's also the thoughts of "what if I post too much and people get annoyed?", "why is no one commenting?" and "why won't people 'like' us on our page?" (If you're reading this and follow our business as well, it truly does make our day when people comment or like our posts and pictures!)


Over the past few weeks, I've had to learn to shut all that off and just relax and be. Enjoy family, focus on my health and spend quality (non-business talk) time with my husband. It's a tough thing to balance and I'm still learning.

That brings me to this picture. Last weekend our family took my Grandma out to lunch at Joe's BBQ, one of her favorite places. She can't drive so she doesn't get out much, so we thought it would be a nice treat for her. My mom captured this picture of my nephew with my dad and Mike as we were walking back to our cars. I love Preston's face in this picture and it reminds me of why its so important to slow down and enjoy the little moments in life. So, here is my list of non-business things I want to do in the next few months:

- Make bracelets with my niece
- Decorate our house for Christmas (picked up a few items last night)
- Get healthy (this is my first week without gluten, sugar or dairy - more to come on that)
- Make a wreath (I'd like to make this one, which means I need to drink more wine!)
- Frame pictures & hang things on the walls in our home (ordered wedding pics already)
- Make our honeymoon and wedding albums