DIY Presents

My parents are some of the hardest people to shop for.  It’s difficult to think of things they might want or need they don’t already have.  So instead of buying things my siblings and I often try to come up with something meaningful we can make instead.  Last Father’s Day we made this for my dad.

Isaiah 40:31 is our Dad’s favorite Bible verse so we decided to make a sign showcasing it.  Purple and gold are always a good choice for his gifts and match the colors of the fraternity he is a part of.  I spent a lot of time trying to determine how best  to make this.  The first step, of course was determining how big I wanted the sign to be and purchasing the wood.  The second was to determine exactly how to place the words.  I attempted stencils, tracing the letters onto the wood to make an imprint, and more.  I found both of these methods tedious.  I found some sticker letters on sale at Walmart and placed them on the wood.  After all the stickers were placed I took the wood outside and spray painted the entire board gold.  We did three coats followed by a polyurethane coat.  A few hours later we brought it inside and removed all of the stickers.

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The nest step was to take purple paint and fill in all of the blank spots.  There were a few places where the paint got under the sticker and I outlined the full letter in pencil before filling it in with purple paint.  We finished up with a final coat of polyurethane.  This is how it turned out.

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Let us know if you try it out and share your pictures!

 

Always,

 

J

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Apple Cinnamon Snack Cakes

My senior year in college I found a recipe, made it, LOVED IT, and promptly lost it. For three years I looked for it and in December I FINALLY found it.  
I love this recipe for so many reasons. My mom grew up in a home where they rarely ate sweets. As such she doesn’t really care for sweets. I, however, absolutely adore all things sugary. We both adore this recipe. It’s sweet without being overwhelming. It has one of my absolute favorite fruits – apples. I’ve made this recipe for myself, for my church, for my mom, and for a Christmas party. Everyone has loved it.  
This recipe is so simple to make and most of the ingredients are items I almost always have on hand at home. With 18g of sugar per serving I do leave the powdered sugar off and have started experimenting with using less sugar in this recipe.    

  
  

Check out this recipe at http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/cinnamon-apple-snack-cake-56488.aspx. I’ve been told it goes very well with coffee. Let me know how it turns out.  
Peace and love, 
J

Losing Weight

I gained more than the ‘Freshman 15’.

In high school I played basketball and as a result I was still in pretty good shape.  I was 175 pounds, but ate any and everything.  When I went to college I stopped playing sports and didn’t start exercising.  No longer living in my parents house meant my diet promptly became even worse.   I ate a lot of ramen noodles, crackers, and any sweets I wanted.  Occasionally I would recognize I had gained some weight and begin to workout and my weight seesawed a lot.  My junior year I was 210 pounds but at 5’11 I was able to camouflage and ignore it.

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A few years later and I had reached 254 pounds.  My clothing size just kept increasing and I was almost wearing a size 18.  I was aware of all of the health risks of being overweight.  Twenty year olds were having heart attacks and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children continuously rose.  Obesity is a risk factor for a multitude of diseases.  This was the first reason I wanted to lose weight.

The second is recognizing the culture of obesity and being overweight in churches and families in the south.  I want to help change it.  I want to see a change in this culture.  I want to lead by example at my church.

I’m currently working with a personal trainer and following some dietary guidelines she suggested.  It’s hard, but fun and I’m really excited.

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Weight loss is hard.  It’s difficult and requires a mindset change.  I hope I can encourage you and you’ll do the same for me.  Let me know what you’ve done and what you’re doing.  If you have any tips please leave them in the comments below.

 

Always,

J

P.S.  If you’re interested in getting a trainer I highly recommend Cardiolistics.

https://www.facebook.com/cardiolisticsllc/

https://www.instagram.com/cardiolistics/

Chimneyville Crafts Festival

Pharmacy school was stressful, but one good thing that came out of it was meeting my friend Donan. We spent many an hours suffering, I mean studying, together. Every now and again, we would try to do something fun and exciting. Most of the time that would just consist of a coffee and candy runs so that we could keep studying. The studying seemed never ending.

Another one of the fun and exciting things we did, was helping out her father at a craft show. Her father is a potter and makes beautiful pieces. Over the years, I have managed to amass quite a collection.  (Shhh, don’t tell)

 

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To this day, I still help him at craft shows and the biggest one he does is called Chimneyville. It is a 3 day show.  The first day consists of unloading the truck, setting up the shelves in the booth and getting all the pottery onto shelves – aka manual labor. Once the booth is set up, we get cleaned up for opening night. Opening night is very glamorous, there is food and wine for all the patrons as they leisurely stroll from one booth to another enjoying the live music. The next 2 days are sell, sell, sell. We get excited when we have a line, because on the last day, whatever didn’t sell has to be loaded back onto the truck. More manual labor. It’s a whirlwind of fun. But the best part is going to dinner on that last night after the last platter is loaded into the truck.

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If you’re intersted in purchasing some of his stoneware you can go to http://josephecklesstoneware.com/index.html.

 

Always,

A

Cinnamon Sugar Pecan

During the time of year where pumpkin everything reigns supreme, I search for other festive recipes because, frankly, I don’t like pumpkin. Pumpkin seeds are ok, but the rest of it is just doesn’t sit right with me. Maybe it all stems from the time someone fed me pumpkin pie when I was expecting sweet potato. Why must those pies look so much alike? Then there was the time I ordered a pumpkin spice latte expecting a delicious nutmeg and cinnamon flavored coffee beverage only to get a mouthful of pumpkin puree. Even though I do not like pumpkin pie, I do enjoy the pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Those flavors just warm my soul. I add cinnamon to all sorts of things – coffee grounds before brewing, oatmeal, my lentil and sausage stew. So, when pecans went on sale at work, I decided to make cinnamon sugar pecans for myself (and my co-workers). Once upon a time, I had a recipe, but had no idea of what had become of it. Google to the rescue. A quick search landed me here – www.browneyedbaker.com/cinnamon-sugar-candied-pecans-recipe/?m. I didn’t have time to let them cool before I had to head to work, and they were still warm when I got there. Luckily, nobody seemed to mind.  And they are still asking when I will bring more.

 

Always,

A

Castaway Cay 5K

For my birthday last year A and I went on a cruise to the Bahamas.  Whenever I go on vacation I always do background research on my trip and I make lists.  It’s sort of my thing.  I discovered all Disney cruises that stop at Castaway Cay have a 5K cruisers can participate in.  I saw many bloggers write about participating in this RunDisney event and all of them talked about the Mickey medal you receive at the end.  With the Mickey medal in mind A and I signed up for the 5K.

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This will probably come to no surprise to most of you, but doing a 5K in the Bahamas in June is not the wisest idea.  It’s hot and the sun is beating down on you.  Before the 5K even began we had to walk about half a mile from  the boat to the starting line.  We started walking a little after 8 and as you can see it was hot and I was unenthused while A still kept a smile.

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Hot is an understatement.  I was miserable.  However, I think I may have completed it faster than I usually do.  Part of the course was shaded and my strategy was to run in the sun and walk in the shade.  Also, the finish line was the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.  The medal however was not a Mickey medal.  There was no Mickey anywhere on this medal.  A and I were disappointed as you can see.

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But afterwards we got to relax on Serenity Beach, had a delicious lunch, swam with the stingrays, and took a mixology class, more on that later.

 

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Have you ever run a RunDisney race?  We’re very interested in doing an official one and would love to hear your stories.

Always,

J

How A Learned to Crochet

My grandma loves to tell people the story of when she taught me how to crochet when I was just 3 years old. And nobody tells the story better than her. The story goes something like this: one fateful day sitting at my grandma’s house, she was crocheting away on the sofa as I was sitting in a chair watching her. The sound of my whimpering made her look up. She saw my alligator tears and asked me why I was crying. I responded that I was crying because she wouldn’t teach my how to crochet (my pronunciation left something to be desired back in those days). Without skipping a beat, my grandma told me to grab a needle (crocheting needles have blunt ends and don’t pose a huge safety risk to children as long as they are sitting down. I would not recommend running around with a crochet needle in hand.) and come sit by her. To help you grasp the immense talent that my grandma possesses, I should point out that she is left handed, but taught me how to crochet right handed. This means she had to teach me everything backwards to the way she was doing it.

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Now crocheting seems like second nature to me.

Always,

 

A