Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Frey Saga Series Book Review

These books tell the story of a young Elvin woman who, while struggling with her clumsiness and magic lessons, slowly starts to discover that is she is, in fact, a powerful ruler whose magic has been bound. The series tracks her from her initial frustration in her lessons to her eventual reclamation of  the her kingdom, power and memory.

I enjoyed the first book in the series immensely. However, I felt each successive book decreased in quality. I feel that if all three books (not including the novella) had been combined to make one book, they would have been stronger. I actually think  some of the books themselves might be considered novellas and then the novella considered a short story. But, I'm no expert on those matters.

 I read the novella out of curiosity and while the extra details were exciting, I didn't think the novella added enough to the over-arching story to be worth paying an additional price to read it.

Overall, I enjoyed the story and I think this series is worth a read but I would suggest against purchasing the novella unless you can get it in bundled pricing. Also, I would definitely try for an e-book or library copy as the paperback prices seem kinda steep. I see one goes up to $23 on Amazon.

You can click on the pictures to be taken to the Amazon page.


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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Get Healthy: Mid-way Through Week 6

During week 5 I struggled with my eating habits. I half expected I would but that didn't make it any easier. I kept up with the exercise and managed to maintain my weight loss. I allowed myself a big chocolate bar on Saturday and immediately after eating it I felt like crap. My stomach was nauseous, my teeth hurt and my head was spacey. I'll have to remember to have a smaller treat next time. 

I bought some cucumbers to snack on this week. I'm trying to go potato-chip free this week. I usually have a handful with my sandwich for dinner and am hoping the crunchy vegetables will replace them easily. I forgot about the cucumbers on Monday but I ate them yesterday. 

This week I want to work really hard to get 45+ minutes of exercise 5-6 days this week. I want to drop 2 pounds this week. 

What are your best tips for staying fit?

Other challenge posts:



Smoky Salmon Penne

I love pesto.
I love pasta.
I love bacon.
I love summertime.

How do all these things go together you ask? Well, in this recipe the first three combine to make the perfect summertime pasta. It is delicious eaten hot or cold. I had it hot for lunch one day and then cold a few days later. I ate it as my main dish but, in a smaller portion, I could see it as a side. Maybe for a turkey burger with red onions. Yummy.

It's a little salty from the bacon, smoky from the charred peppers and bacon, cheesy and creamy from the pesto. And the tomatoes and salmon each add a nice pop of flavor.

What are you favorite summertime dishes?



Ingredients: 

1/2 white onion, chopped fine
2 jalapenos, chopped
2 garlic stems, chopped fine
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
15 halved cherry tomatoes
4 strips bacon, crumbled (reserve grease)
1 can salmon, drained
4 servings cooked penne pasta
2 tablespoons pesto
a liberal sprinkling of McCormick's Italian Seasoning

Procedure:

1. Stir pesto into cooked and drained noodles. Set aside.
2. Using the  reserved bacon grease sautee jalapenos, onion, bell pepper and garlic. Sprinkle liberally, or to taste, with Italian Seasoning.  Onion should soften and the peppers should char slightly. Add cherry tomatoes.
3. Drain salmon and add it to the vegetables. Stir until warmed through.
4. Add crumbled bacon and penne to the mixture. Heat through. Serve hot or refrigerate and serve cold.


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Tomato Steaks

I've always been a tomato loving girl. My parents and grandparents always grow big gardens and I loved eating whatever they grew! When my husband and I loved in PA I had a few cherry tomato plants and I've missed being able to eat fresh fresh fresh tomatoes.

Well, last week was Teacher's Day and one of my (few) sweet students brought me some tomatoes! Yummy! Time to get cooking:


Tomato Steaks


Tomato steaks pictured with duck and carrots in gravy. 



Ingredients:

one large ripe tomato, sliced
Italian seasoning
black pepper
a few thin slices sharp cheddar cheese
about 1 green onion, chopped

1. Liberally sprinkle both each slice with Italian seasoning and black pepper on both sides. 
2. Place slices in a heated pan over medium heat.
3. Cook until the underside is warm to the touch, about two minutes.
4. Flip the tomatoes. Top with thinly sliced sharp cheddar.
5. Cover with finely chopped green onions. 
6. Remove from the heat when tomato is warm throughout and cheese is melty.

Enjoy!

*I used McCormick's Italian Seasoning Grinder. I was so happy to find it on the discount rack at a Korean grocery. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Get Healthy: Week 4

I've been in a stalemate with myself the last two weeks. I've lost motivation to consistently exercise- and exercise hard- 45+ minutes five days a week,


My weight, fortunately and unfortunately I suppose, remained stagnant. To be fair, I consumed sweets three times during the last week instead of the 1 time per week I'm aiming for during this challenge. If I considered my "ideal life", I would like to enjoy 2 treats each week- one on the weekend and one during the work week.

Regardless, I need to be more strict with myself and push  myself harder during this challenge if I want to strengthen  my willpower and lost the remaining 4-9 pounds I need to reach my goal weight.

This week, I'm determined to consume a treat only once this week and to push myself harder during my exercise sessions.

You can check out my first post on the challenge HERE. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Get Healthy Challenge:Week 1

A few of my friends and I decided to start the 8 Week Get Healthy Challenge from Six Sisters Stuff.

Prior to starting the challenge I was getting about 30 minutes of exercise an average of 4 days a week. My husband and I both have no problems consuming 3+ servings of veggies a day as most of our meals resemble stir-frys. In fact, he recently told me that when we go home in the Fall he doesn't want to see a stir-fry for a long time! However, I was probably only eating one serving of fruit a day. My biggest problem was the massive amount of sweets I was consuming- candy, cookies, ice cream etc.

To me, the sad part is I was eating these things 90% of the time to fuel my sugar addiction, not because they tasted good.  Typically, I'm huge on flavor and quality. To be honest, the sweets, here in Korea. are garbage. But they contained sugar so I was eating them anyway. My goal with this challenge is three-fold.

1. I want to get rid of my sugar addiction and make treats a treat.

2. I want to push myself physically and make my body strong. 

3. I want to reach my goal weight.

After Week 1 I've noticed myself becoming more mindful of what I'm putting into my body and the effect it will have on me and my goals. Prior to the challenge, I would mindlessly accept cookies and candy from my students and stuff it in my mouth,

 I'm noticing that I'm becoming more engaged with and interested in physical activity. For a few weeks now, I've been jogging with my husband in the mornings and it makes for refreshing quality time. It's also nice to have someone by my side to push my further or encourage me.

If you're interested in starting your own challenge group go HERE.

If you're looking for some workout ideas, I really like these  videos:


 Cheers to progress!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Chocolate Beach: Book Review

I downloaded this book because the title alone contains two of my favorite things: "chocolate" and "beach". As a recovering chocoholic and life long beach bum-ette , I really couldn't pass it up. And I'm glad I didn't. If you have a kindle, check it out on Amazon, it is currently free.


Chocolate Beach is the humorous story of Brianna's attempts to change her life circumstances instead of letting God change her.

I really enjoyed reading a Christian novel that wasn't overbearing. This isn't your formulaic Christian romance.  I liked the book so much that I immediately downloaded (and paid for) the next in the series.




Also, I was thrilled to discover that the recipes mentioned throughout the book can be found in the back. I can't wait to try them out, especially the one for chocolate chili! 

*linked up with Mama Kat

Monday, 2 February 2015

Take a Break from the Treadmill



My walk on the treadmill goes a lot like this:
 
Let's drink some water to start.
Ok. Good. Warm up walk.
 Faster. Faster.
 4.0 is good.
How much longer?
Maybe I can bump up to 4.1.
Oh, I think I'm dying.
Back to 3.9.
Okay, breathe.
Am I finished yet?
Didn't this song play already?
This wall could really use a new coat of paint
do do do.............................
Oh, look 2 miles!
Forget the warm up walk! I'm done with this mess.
 
 
Yet, my walk out in the real world goes so differently:
 
Dear God, thank you for this beautiful weather and the opportunity to get some fresh air and sunshine....
Oh, look! I'm here. That was quick.
 
Ahh! What nice walk. I should really do this more often.
 
 
If any one this sounds familiar then maybe you too need a break from the treadmill of life. Sometimes I feel like I'm spinning me wheels- going through the motions, getting nothing accomplished but still getting worn out.
 
I think I need a break from walking in place.
 
I need to do more than go through the motions.
 
I need to feel the sunshine and sniff the roses.
 
Pray. Act. Reflect. Pray. Change. Pray.
 
This  needs to be my new rhythm of life.  Life should be much more than just keeping pace. Life should be about living fully- experiencing, helping, loving.
 
 
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. John 10:10

The Best Year Yet

I've set goals for 2015 but I've also been thinking about general ideas and principles that could make this year the best yet.

In the order they occurred to me:



1. Travel Korea/Asia as much as possible. I figure since we're here, we might as well take advantage of everything we can.

2. Experiment with stovetop desserts. I may not be able to perfect my baking skills in Korea but I sure can work on my frying.

3. Send more snail mail. Who doesn't love getting mail that's not a bill or advertisement?

4. Be generous. Giving makes everyone feel good!

5. Bite my tongue more. I really need to learn to think before I speak.

6. Learn to cook Korean food. Just another way to take advantage of being in Korea. I can learn to make our favorites for when we go home.

7. Learn to use the rice cooker. I think our food life will be richer if I can learn the buttons on this machine. I'm talking cakes and quiches here.



8.  Get in shape. I want to be able to play a game or go for long walks/hikes without being winded. I think this will greatly improve my quality of life.

9. Write more. Writing is one of my passions and I believe it is a gift from God. I think the more I write, the more likely I am to fulfill my purposes.

10. Finish my book. I've been working on a God-inspired book idea that I hope to complete in the coming months.

11. Complete my 7-7-7 goals. That's what goals are for, right? To be completed?

12.  Grow my blog. I enjoy blogging and would love to grow my reach,

13. Swim in the ocean. I think I was a mermaid in a past life. I love swimming in the ocean. It feels like home.

14. Spend more time outside. I think we could all use a bit more time in natural light.

15. Spend more time with God. How is this not a good thing? Spending more time with my creator sounds like the best way to make life better.

16. Use social media less. I think connecting in real life is much better!



17.  Eat better chocolate. Life is short. Don't spend it eating low grade choco!

18. Skype me friends more often. I miss our long chats.


19. Pray with my husband. I think this is a great way to strengthen my relationship with God and my husband.

20.  Complain less. I want to focus more on the good and less on the bad.

*inspired by a Mama Kat prompt

Word of the Year

For the last few years I've chosen a word to serve as my mantra for the new year. Inspired by From Chaos Comes Happiness, this trend takes over the internet as each December turns into January. 

In the past I've chosen words such as "love" and "bold" and they have served me well, even if I didn't always use them to the fullest potential.

This year, I've struggled to choose between two words, "God" and "me". Quite the dichotomy.  Therefore, this year, I am choosing a phrase- "God in me."

I want to focus on internalizing the lessons I've been learning about who God created me to be. For me, this is a year of self-discovery. I want to discover and live out my purposes. I want my faith to shine through me and I want to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit within.

I want to perpetually invite God in me, to guide me and guard me. I want to live knowing that He is within and that He would delight in my actions.

I've started reading A Purpose Driven Life, loaned to me by a coworker, and it's been very inspirational. If you haven't read it before I suggest checking it out. It's meant to be read day by day but I've been stretching it out further, letting the ideas mellow and meld into my mind and heart.

I see this a bold new year filled with love and learning and I'm ready to embrace the adventure of discovering God in me.

Do you choose a word of the year? What did you choose this year?