Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An apple a day...

Let me start off by saying this... I hate to exercise.  I hate going to the gym where I am surrounded by people who love to workout, which leaves me feeling awkward.  I don't like getting all sweaty.  Gym clothes are ugly.  And I don't run.  Ever.  I may make an exception if I was being chased by a bear or something... but I can't make any promises.  As for eating healthy... why eat carrot sticks when you can eat something slathered in butter, cream, oil, or my favorite, cheese.  If it has chocolate or basically just sugar, I'll eat it.  What can I say?  I love sweets.

Lately though, I have been having some convictions about not being healthy.  It all started one day in my science class when my professor decided to take us on a "field trip" and basically point out all of the things that our school could do better.  We had to pick one area and try to think of a way to improve it.  With fast food options on campus such as Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, and Subway, and vending machines that sell nothing but cookies, candy, and chips, my class decided that our university needs healthier food options.  While discussed how bad junk food is for you, I began to feel a little uneasy.  It remained in the back of my mind for a while.

A few weeks later I came across an awesome website called Healthy is the New Skinny.  The site promotes that being skinny is not important, being healthy is.  As I browsed the site, I began to think about the awesome message that it puts out.  But then I started to think, "But wait a minute, I'm not even healthy!"  Needless to say, it got me thinking about how unhealthy I am and how I need to do "healthy things" like eating right and exercising.  Once again, it remained in the back of my mind for a while.

A little over a week ago my friend Amy (you can check out her awesome blog right here) and I decided that we would participate in our local Heart Walk with a club that we are members of.  I thought it would be fun and that it would raise money for a good cause.  Then as I looked over the Heart Walk website (you can find out more information and find a Heart Walk near you by visiting their website here) I realized that the Heart Walk, which is put on by the American Heart Association doesn't just raise money for people with heart disease, but they help to educate communities on becoming healthy.  I thought to myself, "how can I promote something that I don't even practice myself?"  Finally I came to the conclusion that it is time for me to try a little harder to become healthy.

Obviously I will not become healthy overnight.  But I am taking baby steps to try to improve.  My husband loves to work out, so I have agreed to go to the gym with him when he goes.  I have already been twice (like I said, baby steps).  I have also started to look for some healthier dinner options.  We even bought some healthy snacks like grapes, apples, and bananas.  Yes, I know I'm off to a slow start, but I really would like to make a change for the better.

So what about you?  Do you live a healthy lifestyle, or do you find yourself like me, wanting to make a change but not quite sure how to do it?  How do you live healthy?  Do you have any tips or healthy recipes for me?

"I like vending machines, because snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at the store, oftentimes I will drop it so that it achieves its maximum flavor potential." 
- Mitch Hedburg

Sunday, October 16, 2011

4. Make popcorn balls

The other day I got out of class a little early.  As I was looking through our kitchen cabinets for a snack, I decided it was time to try to make some popcorn balls.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 bag of microwaveable popcorn
6 tablespoons butter
5 cups miniature marshmallows

1.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

2.  Microwave the bag of popcorn (be careful not to burn it!)

3.  Empty the popcorn bag into the 9x13 inch baking dish. Set aside.

OPTIONAL: If you find that you have large marshmallows instead of small marshmallows (as I did), I found that cutting them up allows them to melt more quickly.

4.  Melt butter In a medium saucepan over low heat.

5.  Stir in marshmallows and cook until melted, stirring constantly.

6.  Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and mix with spoon to coat evenly.

7.  Let mixture cool slightly. Smear butter on your hands or spray with non-stick cooking spray. Mix popcorn with your hands so that it is evenly coated.

8.  Form popcorn into balls.

9.  Enjoy!

These popcorn balls were very easy to make and they were delicious!  They reminded me of Rice Krispies Treats, but with popcorn instead.  I can't wait to make more!  Sadly, my husband doesn't like popcorn balls, but I was able to give many away to my friends and family (they seemed to enjoyed them).

What do you think of my awesome popcorn balls?  Have you made popcorn balls before?  Did you try this recipe?

Recipe modified from Allrecipes.com.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

24. Make some homemade birthday gifts

First off, happy birthday to my beautiful sister, Darby!

It was great to celebrate her birthday with her.  I can't believe she is 17!  It seems like just yesterday that we were running around together as little kids.  I feel so old now!

For Darby's birthday, I decided to make her something to go along with the other gifts that Travis and I gave her.  Darby is obsessed with all things Irish.  Although I can't remember exactly how her love for Ireland began, it has been going strong for a few years now.  Inspired by my Halloween luminaries and the colors of the Irish flag, I created a shamrock covered luminary.

Needless to say, she loved it!  I like that the flame really lights up the orange, and although the shamrocks are green when they aren't lit, they show up well in the dark.  This project gave me an idea for another birthday coming up, so you may see something similar in the future!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#2. Make at least 1 DIY Halloween decoration

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I have been working on some Halloween decorations for our apartment.  I absolutely love decorating.  I think it is a lot of fun and it gives your home a festive touch.  For the past few weeks I have been collecting glass jars (rather than recycling them).

Travis insisted that it was a little strange, however, I told him that I wanted to make a craft with them.  After much searching, I found a link on Pinterest which led me to the Gleeful Things blog.  There I found an idea for glass jar lumanaries.  I thought to myself, "hmmm... I have a few jars lying around."  Using my glass jars, homemade mod poge, tissue paper, and cardstock paper, I turned my boring glass jars into these colorful, Halloween jars.

I placed some tea light candles inside them that I had lying around the house and ta-daa!!!

Sadly, I made the mistake of coating my spider jar with a little too much green, but it still looks pretty cute in the day time.

Needless to say, I think it was worth saving all of those jars!  This project gave me some ideas for more projects.  When I have time to finish them, I will be sure to post more photos.

So what do you think of my glass jars?  Were they worth saving?  I think my favorite jar is my jack-o-lantern.  Which one is your favorite?

P.S. Are you on Pinterest?  Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, October 3, 2011

Happy October!

I know I'm a few days late, but happy October everyone!  I love October because it is (in my opinion) the official start of the holiday season.  This month we have many birthdays in my family and Halloween, of course.  Next month is Thanksgiving, and then the day after Thanksgiving is my official start of the Christmas season.  But more on that later.

This weekend was wonderful.  My husband and I went back to his hometown to visit.  His sister and her kids were visiting as well so it was a lot of fun!  We also had the opportunity to visit with some of our friends who we have missed very much since we moved.  We were so busy, bouncing around from place to place, but we enjoyed every minute of it.  Not to mention the weather was ah-mazing!!!

Today is a very special day.  It's Travis' birthday!  Sadly, he had to work so we couldn't spend the entire day together, but we were able to celebrate.  It amazes me how far we have come since his birthday last year.  For those of you who don't know, Travis was deployed last year.  It was a hard time for us, but we made it though.  As he was eating the birthday cake I baked for him today he mentioned that on his birthday last year he was eating cake out of a jar.  Now I know what you are thinking, "Cake out of a jar?!?!  What?!?!"  I believe that everyone should have cake on their birthday.  Deployed soldiers are no exception.  I found a recipe online for baking cakes in mason jars and directions how to seal them.  I packaged them up neatly with a can of frosting and shipped them overseas.  I remember that Travis enjoyed getting them.  It was a nice surprise.  Since then, Travis came home, we got married, and he moved from his hometown to the city to be with me.  The past year has brought many changes for us, but we are loving every minute of it.

Now that it is October I decided to get started on making some Halloween decorations to make our apartment a little more festive.  Look for my post tomorrow with pictures of my creations!