Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

When October rolls around, pumpkins begin to pop up everywhere.  Pumpkin drinks and food and baubles but the pumpkins I like best lie within their natural environment...the Pumpkin Patch!  Usually I just run down to one of the local churches to grab my pumpkins for the season but I found out there is a pumpkin patch out past my house.  So, knowing that Holli would be here this week, I decided it would be a fun little trip to take her out there.  Saturday morning, we hopped in the car (with camera in hand) and set out to find Anderson Farms.

Anderson Farms can be found on a winding country road in rural Louisiana.  I was only about a 40 minute ride from my house and well worth the trip.  Caitlin, Holli and I stayed and played for a while...and I got a few fabulous pumpkins for my front door too!
 When Holli saw the pumpkins there was no keeping her in a stroller...she was out and on the run!
                                        We did, however, grab her for a few photos with us.
               Most of the others we just snapped quickly since she was constantly moving.
Anderson Farms had a great selection of pumpkins.  What I loved was the fact that they had such a variety of pumpkins; not all were even orange!
                                             And lots of cute places set up for photographs.

                 There was also a Hay Maze set up for kids to try to make their way through...
                                                 What a great place for little ones to play!
                                And then there were the animals.  Holli loved the animals...
The turkey were making the most noise.  I suppose they know "their" holiday is right around the corner!

 We all had a great time and I think that Anderson Farms just might be a fall tradition we will continue for years to come...
                                                          Hey...HAPPY FALL, Y'ALL!!!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Just An Afternoon In The Cotton Field...

Before Caitlin and Holli flew in Wednesday from Ohio, she asked me if all of the cotton fields that surround us had been harvested.  I told her there were a few that had not been but by Friday they would be gone too.  That's when we decided to quickly head out there and capture a few photos of Holli in the fields.

Cotton has been a major crop down here in Louisiana for many years.  Those perfect rows of white scattered throughout the farmland surrounding our homes has just been something we are used to seeing each fall.  I've stopped and snapped a photo at times of them and recently many photographers have begun to use them as a setting for anything from bridal photographs to senior portraits.  It had rained a bit at the beginning of the week and was a little muddy and, of course, I didn't think about that in my rush to get out there before the sun set as I wore my flip-flops.  Caitlin dressed Holli, we set her down among the cotton and I suppose we thought she would just turn and pose for us.  That was not the case...she took off running through those fields and we had to work HARD to get the shots we did!  Here are the results of our "Afternoon in the Cotton Fields"...
I will never get tired of seeing these cotton fields.  Because of their beauty.  Because I know it is when the season begins to change when they are in full beauty.  Because when I see them, I know I am home.  And we all know..."There is no place like home."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Athlete or Work-Out Junkie...Which Are You?

Athlete or Work-Out Junkie?  I know that is a weird question to be posing, however, this discussion has been ongoing at my house for the past couple of weeks.  Hubby (who was involved in organized sports for the entirety of his life) told me that I was a Work-Out Junkie (aka:  Work-Out Geek/Nerd).  WELL...I sure didn't like being "labeled" as any such thing!  He went on to point out further that I was definitely a "Nerd" since instead of sports, I was into music and books.  Hmph!!  I explained that I actually had no opportunity to be involved with sports being raised by a single mother, who to this day has never learned how to ride a bike or swim.  With puffed up chest I said, "At least I know how to do THOSE things."  It didn't matter...I was destined to be labeled a nerd from here on out (sigh...).  It bothered me for a bit, even though he told me, "But you're my nerd and I love you."  I was still bothered by the label...That is until this Work-Out Junkie/Nerd went on a shopping trip to try on clothes this past weekend (Insert HUGE smile here!)

As you know, I have been faithfully following the Paleo diet AND working out at Genesis.  I have finally gotten past the "I'm So Sore I Cannot MOVE Phase" and actually feeling pretty good after working out.  I haven't weighed in over two months and I never wrote down my measurements when Karol took them.  I just kept eating right and showing up for exercise classes.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I decided to try on some clothes Sunday and my sizes had gone DOWN!

I started out with the sizes I thought  would fit (the sizes I have been in for a long time) and, although Hubby thought those were going to be too big, I insisted they would fit.  And then I put them on and to my surprise...I needed SMALLER sizes! (Insert jumping up and down and doing the "Happy Dance").  Well, I thought perhaps it was just a fluke and kept on trying on more clothes and I was genuinely fitting into smaller sizes.  I snapped a couple of photos of myself and sent a text message to Karol that said, "You  have a client for LIFE!"
                                           The skirt is a small.  Top is xs/s.  Dress is xs!
   (Seriously...I haven't seen these sizes on my body since giving birth to Baby #3 over 27 year ago!)

And so, here are the things I have noticed so far going into my third month of Paleo eating and working out at Genesis:
1.  Still no hot flashes (Yippee, Yahoo!!!)
2.  Uninterrupted sleep at night
3.  Blood Pressure taken at Dr. office was "perfect" (Their words, not mine)
4.  TSH came down from 4.8 to 2.7 ( I was put on a little higher dosage of Synthroid but am anxious
     to see if it stabilizes or comes down lower in the next 6 weeks.)
5.  Cardio is much better
6.  Muscles (now that I found I have some) are getting stronger
7.  Smaller clothes size (YAY!)

AND in celebration of all these milestones I have made I want to share a couple of my Favorite Paleo Chicken Recipes:

I use chicken thighs.  Lightly salt and pepper them.  Preheat your oven on 350 degrees.  Put your skillet (I like using a black, cast iron one) on the stove and turn the burner on high.  When you see smoke coming up from the skillet, you know it is hot enough to place the chicken in it (skin side down).  Just the chicken, no added oil; the skin on the chicken will brown and crisp up.  Using tongs, turn the chicken over whenever the skin in brown and crispy.  Let it brown on the other side for a few minutes, then take the skillet off the burner and place it in the oven for about 30 minutes.  Check the temperature with a meat thermometer before taking out.

I use boneless, skinless chicken strips.  Pour a little olive oil into a skillet, salt and pepper the chicken, heat the skillet and place the chicken in the skillet to cook.  Place the cooked chicken strips aside on a paper towel.  Next make the stir fry vegetables.  I put fresh ingredients in my stir fry; broccoli, mushrooms, carrots, black olives.  Sautee' these veggies in some olive oil.  Next, cut the chicken up and add it to the vegetable mixture and "Voila"!  You have a great meal.

I hope by sharing my success and some of the recipes I have tried that it will inspire you to also try this Paleo lifestyle of "Eating Good Food" and starting a good exercise program.  There is no time like the present to get into shape.  And ya know what?  I don't mind being a "Work-Out Junkie/Geek/Nerd" if it means feeling this good!

                                                                  EAT GOOD FOOD!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weekend In New Orleans

It's that time again...Theater Season for Broadway Across America!  We have been season ticket holders for in New Orleans for years now and I so look forward to the season starting each year.  Not only do we get to see some great shows throughout the season, but David, Codi and Beckett still live in New Orleans and we get to spend some time with them.  This weekend was no exception as we had a great time playing with Beckett, dining out and doing some addition to seeing our show!

Robby had a meeting in Baton Rouge Friday so we left early for that and headed on down to New Orleans later in the afternoon.  Quickly trying to decide where we would dine that evening, Robby chose Ralph's on the Park.  We had never been there but, as usual, another New Orleans restaurant did not disappoint!
                                                  Beckett is always ready for a good meal!
 He soon worked his way out of his highchair and made his way around the table to everyone's lap to try what was on their plates.
                                                        Robby had this fish for dinner...
                         And I chose the duck breast with a cherry sauce.  Talk about GOOD!
                                                  Poppi got dessert to share with Beckett.
                                                 And as you can see, he really enjoyed it!
    The end of a dining experience in New Orleans is never complete without a cup of chicory coffee.
 Saturday morning, David and Beckett joined us at our hotel for a little breakfast before we started our day.  Yes, that is a bandage you see on his hand; he burned it on a curling iron (Boo!).
                                       Before our show, we had reservations at Antoine's
 Antoine's is the oldest French-Creole restaurant in New Orleans, founded in 1840.   They are also the ones who created Oysters A La Rockefeller in 1889, using a "sacred family secret" recipe.
When you order Oysters Rockefeller, they give you this card to tell you what number customer you are who ordered it; Robby was Number 4,060,047!  They also are well-known for their Baked Alaska but we didn't order it because it is a pretty big dessert and I wasn't going to have dessert.

 Bread and butter.  DELICIOUS bread and butter.  New Orleans restaurants put this on their tables before every meal and it is TO DIE FOR!  But I let Robby have it...I didn't break from my no grain diet.  It was hard!  Why can't this yummy bread be Paleo friendly?!  In a perfect world it would be.
               Now, I DID have a sip of this 25 cent Raspberry Martini!  Just a sip...or two.
 When traveling or dining alone I have found a way to capture a photo of us together.  I take a picture of Robby and he takes one of me and then I put them together using my Pic Joiner app!
                                              This fresh strawberry salad started my meal...
 Followed by my entree'; I asked them to broil my fish instead of frying it and then toasted almonds topped it.  SO YUMMY!
 Again, we followed our meal with that robust chicory coffee.  I really liked that cup and saucer set with Antoine's name on it and asked if they sold them.  The set cost $27.50.  Ummm yea...I decided I didn't like them enough to own a set (He-He)!
 On our way to the theatre I had to snap a photo of one of the traditional buildings seen on many street corners in New Orleans.  I just love the decorated balconies.  And look at that Saints banner!
 Last year was the first time the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans had been open since Hurricane Katrina.  The refurbishing took that long!  But the theater is as beautiful as ever.
                 "Chicago" was playing this weekend and I really enjoyed the music and dancing.
 After the show we picked David, Codi and Beckett up and decided to dine somewhere more casual that evening.
   But Poppi thought Beckett would enjoy going to the Stone Cold Creamery for a little ice cream afterwards.
        Although the Saints didn't play Sunday, Beckett and I wore our Saints shirts out that day.
                                                We ate brunch downtown Sunday morning.
                           Where Beckett was curious about EVERYTHING  on the table.
 And we found that he has this new face when told "No" about something.  YaYa doesn't like that face!  He discovered quickly that he could run to me for comfort when told "No" by his parents.
                                               Or Poppi...who would feed him some grits!

I'm so excited that October is here along with the Broadway Across America season!  I love this time of year when Robby and I can travel a few hours out of town to spend some time together in a city we love.  Now...if it would only turn a little cooler outside things would be just perfect!