Posted by: Kathy | December 31, 2010

I’VE MOVED THE BLOG

Yep, you read that right! I’ve moved the blog. I FINALLY purchased my own domain, and you can now find me at

HOUSEOFHILLS.ORG

So, click that link and catch up with the House of Hills.

If you are a current subscriber (THANK YOU), I’m thinking you will need to subscribe to the new blog. I don’t think that transfers over. I can’t thank you enough for sticking with me on the transition.
I’m looking forward to new challenges and new adventures over at the Houseofhills.org!!!

Posted by: Kathy | December 31, 2010

Favorite Blogs of 2010

Miss Mandi over at ItsCome2This.com has given us an assignment for this first Saturday of the new year. We’re supposed to highlight blogs that we’ve “stumbled upon” and loved in 2010. FUN!

Since I truly didn’t get into this bloggy thing until January of 2010, pretty much all blogs are new to me. In fact, I shared a list back in February of what I was reading in my new bloggyness. Interestingly, my list hasn’t changed much.

Below is a list of blogs I read almost daily. These women have become people near and dear to my heart. I laugh with them. I cry with them. They challenge me to be a better person, wife, and mom. I am so thankful to have them in my life even if they are just there virtually. I am SO EXCITED that I will get to meet many of them at Blissdom at the end of the month.

Ohamanda: I knew her IRL before I knew her through her blog. What I love about her blog is that it is HER, just on the computer screen. She is an amazing person. She also has another blog, Impress Your Kids, which is fabulous for you preschool (and older) moms. GREAT for homeschoolers too.

ItsCome2This: An IRL friend of Ohamanda and now one of mine. I met her through her blog and then for real at my Baked Bean Showdown. I’m planning on helping her some with her newest venture, CummingLocal.com. She too is true to life on her blog, and I love her perspective on life.

The Finer Things In Life: Oh how I enjoy Amy! If we lived in the same place, we would hang out regularly. Well, at least I would want to hang out with her. She just SHINES on her blog, and I smile every time I visit over there. I aspire to be more like Amy.

Once A Month Mom: I adore Tricia. ADORE her. Her blog is awesome! I mean who takes the time to plan out a month’s worth of meals for you… for free? It’s fantastic. And, she’s an amazing person too. We’ve gotten to know each other more through Twitter and her monthly Facebook chats. I CANNOT wait to hug her neck at Blissdom since I missed her when she came in town for her TweetUp.

Giving Up on Perfect: I MUST include Mary on this list as her blog changed my life. It really did. And, she’s fun and real and an awesome mom and I can’t wait to ROOM WITH HER at Blissdom. Blessed indeed.

Alicia’s Homemaking: I’m not sure how I stumbled on Alicia, but I love reading her blog. She is a new mom, discovering new things daily and sharing them all with the world. She just started blogging this year too, and WOW has she grown in her writing style and commitment to her blog. I am super excited to be Blissdom newbies with her at the end of the month. We can sit together and be in awe of the “big bloggers.”

I could go on and on…believe me I could. But, I’ll stop there. Why? Because I want you to really check out these fabulous blogs if you don’t know them yet, and if I give you too many you will tune me out. So, there you have it. These are six women whose lives have impacted mine through there written word. I am extremely thankful that each of them share their lives with “us.”

Head on over to Saturday Stumbles to find out who everyone else discovered in 2010. I have a feeling I’ll be doing a lot of blog hopping this weekend!

Posted by: Kathy | December 31, 2010

2010 Blog Recap

I’m so excited that I’m able to do the Blog Recap Carnival this year. I remember reading tons of them last year and sad that I was unable to do one. I hadn’t really blogged much at all in 2009. However, in 2010, I did some blogging people! Whoop! I did enough blogging that I actually have a “first” post of every month (rather than the “only” post of the month in 2009).

This is how it works. I’ve linked to the first post of each month of the year, given you the first line, and then a quick synopsis. Feel free to click through the year with me. It’s rather like a quick scrapbook of an entire year.

JANUARY: We’re back from our quick couple getaway in Tennessee.

We had just returned from a fabulous couple time weekend getaway, and I was about to head into the new year doing a pantry challenge. This post actually lists my pantry inventory – exciting stuff huh?

FEBRUARY: Somehow it is already February of the year 2010.

Wow! Obvious statement there. This is actually a Top Ten Tuesday post about all that was planned for February 2010. It was a busy month!

MARCH: How is it possibly March already?

Okay… I was seriously have an issue with how fast the year was going by. This was a Menu Plan Monday. It has the link to the pork dumplings I was thinking about the other day. I need to make those again.

APRIL: I have a secret for my recently acquired will power (besides all your prayer cover that is).

Oooohhhh…Now, this is a good first line. This is a Things I Love Thursday post all about something that was helping me not eat. I’m not going to tell you what it was. You gotta click the link.

MAY: Well, I’m home from my conference, and the hubby is off to his.

Then end of April to beginning of May is craziness at the House of Hills due to our work conferences. However, in 2011, they aren’t back to back. Can I get a sigh of relief there. This is a Menu Plan Monday post with only one recipe link. Feel free to skip this one.

JUNE: Summer has fully arrived here in the South. Ahhhh… summer.

This is another Top Ten Tuesday about the senses of summer. I like this one. It makes me smile.

JULY: Hello Losing It! Ladies!

This was a Losing It! Friday where I check in with all my Losing It! friends. Losing It! changed my life this year. It truly did.

AUGUST: We love “Brinner” at our house – that’s breakfast for dinner in case you didn’t know.

Ahhh… “Brinner” – what do you have when you make “Brinner”?

SEPTEMBER: Okay people! We are settled in our new home.

This was another Menu Plan Monday. The first in awhile. We had just moved into our temporary home. I can’t believe we’re moving again in a few months. Ack! This one has a link to our favorite Garlic Shrimp that we eat ALL the time.

OCTOBER: Happy October Losing It! Ladies!!

Another Friday. This is where I lament that I TOTALLY fell off the wagon while on the Disney Cruise. TOTALLY.

NOVEMBER: Today was the first day of The 30-Day Giving Challenge, and I woke up bright and early to make sure I got my give done.

I LOVED the 30-Day Giving Challenge. It was so great to focus on giving for a full month. This post is the first of MANY in the month of November all about giving.

DECEMBER: We were traveling for Thanksgiving and needed to pack some snacks.

This is the post where I tell you how to pack snacks for the car without crushing them. Very profound…

 

So, there you have it. The first post of each month of the year. You know what… I do a lot of the same thing each month. I wonder, is that a good thing or a bad thing. Good because everybody like to know what to expect or bad because I might be in a blogging rut? Hmmmm… gonna have to think on that one.

To see more fun recaps, head on over to Musings of a Housewife.

Posted by: Kathy | December 30, 2010

Losing It! 12 31 10

Wow! It’s the last day of 2010. Tomorrow starts an entire new year. That’s rather awe inspiring to me. This year has brought a great deal of change for the House of Hills. I mean A LOT of change. You can see a picture recap of our year here if you like.

One of the most significant changes in MY life has been through Losing It. I wrote a bit about it this week in my Works For Me Wednesday post, but I can’t really seem to put into words the significance of this community. If it weren’t for this blog and the ladies that I KNOW are coming to link up with me each Friday, I KNOW I would have given up long ago. I need accountability, and you ladies give it to me. For that, I am eternally grateful. THANK YOU so much for sharing this journey with me.

So, how did you do over Christmas? I had gained a couple, but according the scale have pulled myself back down. So, I’m still at a two pound loss for the contest. Whoop! Of course, I still have to get through New Year’s Eve tonight. And football food all day tomorrow. Moderation Kathy! Moderation!

Speaking of the contest… who’s gonna win? Make sure you link up or make a comment today to remain eligible for the competition. I really want to give those prizes away!

My goals for the next week:

  • Drink my one half/half tea each morning and then ONLY water.
  • Exercise at least three times during the week.
  • Start counting calories again. (This one is going to KILL me.)
  • NO eating out.

What are your goals for our final week of competition?

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Posted by: Kathy | December 30, 2010

Things I Love Thursday : Deviled Eggs

Do you have that one recipe that people ask you to bring to EVERY gathering? Mine is deviled eggs. I take them to gatherings of friends and family year after year, especially in the summer.

The week before Christmas I emailed out the recipe for my deviled eggs to several friends and then ended up making them for my own family’s Christmas Eve gathering. As my friend Todd says, “A party’s not a party without the deviled eggs.”

I got my deviled egg recipe from this OLD church cookbook that my Grandma gave me when I was about eight. I love that it has her handwriting in the front. I used to stay with my Grandma during the summers and can remember going to church picnics with the people who wrote this cookbook. We ate well! I even have some relatives with recipes in this cookbook. It’s a definite family heirloom. Now, I’ve tweaked the recipe from the book over the years. Here is my version…

  • 12 eggs (Hard boil, peel, and cut in half. Place yolks in bowl and whites on platter.)
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Paprika for garnish

Mash the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Add Miracle Whip, dry mustard, Worcestershire and salt and pepper. Mix well. Place mixture in a Ziploc bag and force into the corner. Snip the corner of the bag and fill the egg whites with the mixture. Sprinkle with Paprika.

See how I’m squeezing the yolks out of the Ziploc. The easiest way to get the yolk mixture into the Ziploc is to use the “Purple Cup Method.”

So friends…you now have the secret to my deviled eggs. They really are yummy. Feel free to play with the amount of Worcestershire you put in them. That really changes the flavor. We like them a bit tangy, and I’ve increased the amount from the original recipe.

Do you have a favorite recipe that people ask you to bring to EVERY gathering?

Linked to Things I Love Thursday at Diaper Diaries.

Posted by: Kathy | December 28, 2010

Works For Me Wednesday: The Post of the Year

Kristen over at We Are That Family had the great idea for this last WFMW of the year. She challenged us to link up the one post we wrote this year that we really want people to read. I was struggling. I knew what post I wanted to share, but the reason I wanted to share was as important as the post itself. Then, I saw that Jill over at Diaper Diaries republished a post (and a mighty good one I might add) from earlier in the year with context around it. PERFECT! So, I’m totally stealing her idea.

The post below TOTALLY CHANGED MY LIFE. I think it lengthened it too. I cried when I wrote this post. I really did. It might have been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Truly. However, I am SO THANKFUL that I wrote it.

****
This post was originally published on February 26th.

This is a big one for me. HUGE!! I’m publicly announcing that I need to lose some weight. Now, anyone who has seen me, seen a picture of me, or even talked about me in the last… ummm… 30 years knows this. That’s not to say that I’ve been this weight for the last 30 years (that would be extremely frightening). However, since my parents’ divorce when I was eight, food has been my solace. And, no I’m not blaming you mom. It’s just a fact. Third grade I was relatively normal. Fourth grade I was chubby. There you go.

There have been two times since I was eight that I have been what would be considered a normal or close to normal weight. My senior year in high school when I survived on Diet Coke and NoDoze (remember NoDoze?). I can remember a time when I only took cat naps for three days straight because I had two AP papers due, was rehearsing for a play, and had drill team practice every day to get ready for homecoming. No, my mom didn’t know about that (I was sneaky) and NO, it wasn’t healthy. So, even though I was thinner then, I wasn’t exactly healthy.

The second time I was thinner, I did “Quick Weight Loss.” It worked, I lost it quick!! And then had to have my gall bladder removed. People, you can’t go from mega grams of fat per day to 0 grams of fat per day overnight and expect your body to have no problem with it!! I also couldn’t eat chicken for a year (literally – no lie – a year) after that because I ate so much chicken while on it. The amount of protein they want you to eat is insane! And, I don’t like fish – not helpful.

I’ve done Weight Watchers – TOTALLY WORKS – when you stick to it. I’ve tried other things too. Here’s what I think is my biggest problem. I have NEVER been happy when I’m thinner. NEVER. Both the times when I was almost normal – not happy at ALL. For a multitude of reasons that may or may not have had to do with how I looked. So, I’d rather be chubby and happy than thin and not happy. Seems logical to me.

However, now I’m realizing how UNHEALTHY I am. And, I think I’ve actually passed the chubby point. I’m now in the obese category. The clothes I wear MUST have a W at the end of the size to fit my hips. I’m really tired by the end of the day. And, I’m worried that I someday soon won’t be able to keep up with my family. Here’s the other thing. I have Crohn’s disease. It’s not a fun disease to have as it messes with your digestive system. It’s very sensitive to different types of foods (which actually vary by person). When I eat crap, my body is NOT happy with me – to the point of pain.

So, after consuming an entire sleeve of Thin Mints and several pieces of pizza tonight, I went to my Google Reader to see how my bloggy friends (well, I think they’re friends – they may or may not know me) were doing. MANY of those I read are doing the LOSING IT! challenge. It was humbling to see how these women are sharing their stories with the blog world, and they are all really trying to lose that weight!! They’re not trying to lose weight to look better – not one of them said that. They are all trying to lose weight to be healthier. To be better moms. To be better wives. To be able to stick around longer with their families and actually keep up with the kids.

It was VERY convicting to me. It was as if God said “Um, you see them doing it don’t you. They’re moms with real lives just like you. They don’t have personal trainers. You can do it too.” God talks to me like my best friend sometimes. So, here I am (almost in tears actually) telling you (whoever you are that reads this here blog) that I’m going to commit to doing the LOSING IT! challenge for the next nine weeks.

Here are my goals:

1. 8 glasses of water a day (and ONLY water to drink)

2. One sweet treat a day (I know myself. If I go cold turkey, it’s worse.)

3. Nothing deep fried (I live in the south, this is hard)

4. Exercise of some kind 4 out of 7 days (OK – this is HUGE. I NEVER exercise.)

Okay, I’m about to press “Publish,” and then this will be out there. I’m SO nervous. But, I know I’m really being led to do it, and He’s never led me wrong before.

If you want to know more about the LOSING IT! challenge go here. Do it with me! I’d love to cheer you on!!

****
I didn’t win the challenge, but I came in second. I’ve lost 28 pounds since the day I pushed publish on that post, and most importantly I’ve kept them off for several months. As we go into the new year, I plan on refocusing myself and losing another 28 at least.

So, this was my post of the year. A huge shout out and THANK YOU to the original Losing It Ladies and to those who continue to link up here each Friday. You have truly changed my life.

Posted by: Kathy | December 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday: Most Popular TTT of 2010

This is the last Top Ten Tuesday of 2010! Wow! Since Top Ten Tuesday is the bloggy fun in which I participate the most, I thought I would look back and see what your favorites were this year. Here they are in order of hits on the post.

10. Things I Miss… :: I wrote this a few months into my lifestyle change. I’ve lost 28 pounds and kept it off for several months. However, I want to lose at least another 30. Reading this list reminds me of what I need to do in order for that to happen.

9. Blissdom…To go or not to go :: You will be glad to know that I am going to Blissdom…in a month! Whoop! I will be rooming with the fabulous Mary of Giving Up on Perfect and Hillary of The Other Mama. I’ve never met either of them, but already LOVE them. Can’t wait to hang out together!

8. House Prep :: Oh, the list of things I had to do when the house was on the market. SO THANKFUL we are done with that!

7. Mommy’s Leaving? :: Not permanently! I see a list like this coming before I go to Blissdom. Did I tell you I was going to Blissdom? Whoop!

6. Me :: Um, this one is pretty self explanatory.

5. I Need A Baking Fix :: I love to bake. I REALLY love to bake. I still haven’t tried all those recipes… hmmm…

4. Blogs I Read :: And, of course you should read them too…

3. Things I’m Not Good At :: I laughed when I saw this one at the top. We all like to know each others’ weaknesses don’t we.

2. Moving Twice This Year :: Yes, we are insane, and apparently you wanted to read about that insanity.

1. Freezer Cooking 101 :: This one got stumbled, and people go to it DAILY. Obviously, there is a need. I’m thinking of ways to help people with this. I’ve got a few ideas… Be looking for something soon.

 

So, there you have it. The Top Ten Tuesday posts that you loved the most. Enjoy a walk down memory lane…. Or, maybe you discovered something new.

Happy New Year!

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday at Ohamanda.

Posted by: Kathy | December 27, 2010

Menu Plan Monday: 12 27 10

Monday: Turkey sandwiches and/or warmed up turkey and gravy.

Here are some ideas of what to do with leftover turkey.

Tuesday: Garlic Shrimp

Wednesday: Out (We are beginning a staycation – just the hubby and I… ahhhh relaxation….)

Thursday: Out

Friday: New Year’s Eve – Out

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Dip and Wings (either at home or at someone’s house – FOOTBALL!!)

Sunday: Tacos using some “Mexican Meat” in the freezer. I’m sure that’s somebody’s recipe, but I can’t figure out whose!

In looking at my freezer and pantry, I am challenging myself to a Pantry Challenge over the next few weeks. I’m going to try and buy only fresh fruit and vegetables. There is PLENTY of food in this house, and it needs to be eaten!! We’re moving again in a few months, and I hate moving food. So, I’m planning on doing an inventory this week when it warms up a bit. It’s FREEZING in the garage right now.

Have a great week! What are you cooking?

Linked up to Menu Plan Monday.

Posted by: Kathy | December 26, 2010

Leftover Turkey

Did one of these come out of your oven yesterday? One came out of mine. It smelled so good that we couldn’t wait to eat it. So we didn’t. My sweetie and I just stood there and picked at it. There is nothing better than warm turkey right out of the oven…

We didn’t eat much. There were only two of us eating it as the poor Princess was under the weather and just wanted toast for dinner. That meant that I had this left over.

Oh my turkeyness! I was very excited. I put the majority of it in the fridge so we could eat on it this week. I made myself one of these…

And finally, I bagged some of it up. I always go ahead and chop and measure cooked chicken and turkey before putting it in the freezer. That way I know exactly how much to thaw when I want to use it.

Now, I just need to put recipes in the menu plans for the next few weeks that use chopped turkey. What’s awesome about turkey is that it can be used in just about any casserole that calls for chicken. In fact, I think it makes the casserole better when I use turkey instead of chicken. With that in mind, these are some of the recipes I’m considering using for my leftover turkey.

Cheesy Broccoli and Rice with Chicken (Turkey) :: I’ve made this for many people, and it is ALWAYS a hit. It freezes well and feeds a crowd.

Chicken (Turkey) and Noodles :: I made this last year for several new moms, and they RAVED about it. It’s a great meal for a cold day.

Chicken (Turkey) and Wild Rice Casserole :: I got this recipe from a friend YEARS ago and am realizing that I haven’t shared it with you yet. That will have to be rectified.

Turkey Cranberry Wreath :: I was a Pampered Chef representative many moons ago. This was one of my favorites to make in the fall.

Chicken (Turkey) Pot Pie :: You could use your favorite pot pie recipe or try this one. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve loved everything I’ve ever tried of Jessica’s is FABULOUS.

Broccoli and Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes :: SERIOUSLY considering adding turkey to this recipe. SERIOUSLY!

What are you doing with your leftover turkey?

Posted by: Kathy | December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

from the House of Hills

We take a moment during the family celebrations and fun to remember whom we are celebrating.
We are celebrating a baby who came to save us all.
We are celebrating a child who changed the course of human history and became the most amazing gift we can ever receive.

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