Get excited guys! I'm posting an amazing recipe below!!! So many of you who know me, know that summer is my all time favorite time of year because I love the sun, pool, and being tan :) As summer comes to an end however that means fall is coming and football season is here! I LOVE me some college football and cheering on my boys from Michigan State! Being in Tennessee has kind of put a damper on my celebrating of anything MSU since everyone here is obsessed with University of Tennessee, which I get.... but also I'm not a UT fan so I've spent a lot of time watching football by myself. Wah wah... I know.
Now, this summer I started playing on a slow pitch softball team and met some awesome people! These awesome people invited me to a UT football tailgate and game last weekend and to their house to watch UT play today! As you know, I'm not a UT fan, but I am a football fan! So I'm pretty excited for this afternoon :) Being a good guest I'm working on make some yummy food to bring with me for the game... I went back and forth between a ton of options of appetizer ideas. Buffalo chicken dip, different kinds of pinwheels, sliders, dips.... SO MANY OPTIONS!!!!
I finally ended up choosing dill pickle dip because lets be honest 99.9% of people love dill pickles and who doesn't love dip?! So here it goes! I'm giving you my all time favorite dill pickle dip!
Dill Pickle Dip Recipe
This recipe isn't really the healthiest if you use it regular cream cheese. I have made it with fat free cream cheese and it tastes fantastic, but it didn't mix as well. I think maybe it was because I added the pickle juice too quickly and it got to watery...but I will be trying again when it isn't for a group of people like it is today! I will update you on the fat free cream cheese in a few weeks :)
1.5 cups finely diced dill pickles (my favorite are Claussen, picture below! )
1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sliced ham, cut into small pieces
1 - 2 tablespoons pickle juice (Amount will vary)
1. In a medium bowl mix pickles, cream cheese, garlic powder, salt and ham.
2. Add a teaspoon of pickle juice gradually until you get the mixture to dipping consistency. (It may be more or less than 1 teaspoon)
3. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes
4. Serve chilled with crackers, chips or vegetables (My favorite are Dill, Sea Salt and Olive Oil Triscuits!)
So it's been a while since I've written. It has been crazy busy in my neck of the woods! In Michigan and many states, school doesn't start until after Labor Day. In Tennessee however we get the lovely honor of starting school the first week of August.... This means I have been teaching for 6 weeks already!
This year, on top of teaching, I also have a student teacher. Now many people enjoy having student teachers and think hey, less work me.... Now I will probably in the long run enjoy having a student teacher, but to be honest right now I am struggling with it. I love teaching my kids and getting to know them and I struggle with giving up the control in my classroom. I know that my mentor teacher had to do the same thing and let me take over their class for a short amount of time. I totally get that and would be totally willing to do that, but the way this student teaching program is set up, he will be with me the whole year. What I am struggling with the most is that my "grade" as a teacher is based off of my students' test scores and those test scores are based on what I teach them, and if I don't teach them, then how do I know they learn it?!?! I know that last sentence sounds absolutely crazy because duh I will be in there and know what he is teaching, but ahhhhh it is still killing me to think about the fact that for an entire chapter I won't be the one standing up there delivering the lessons.
Student teacher has been just one of my struggles, but I am working through it. I am slowly giving him things to do and feeling better about it :)
Ok, so back to busy busy life. School is not the only thing keeping me so dang busy! I have also been spending many of my weekends riding my horses!!! Now that is a good busy for me which many of you already know.... This summer I didn't get to ride as much as I would have liked so I am very thankful that I have gotten to spend at least one day, almost every weekend, riding for the past 8 weeks!
The two best things that have kept me the busiest since my last post has been my visitors! AHHHH I LOVE visitors!!!!!! My first visitor was my wonderful Gram! She came to see me for a week right before school started. One of my favorite things is when she comes to visit. Normally we scatter some work in with our play, but this time it was wayyyy to hot and wayyyy to humid to do any of the painting we had planned haha or so we told ourselves. Instead we spent our days in the pool, golfing 3 days and she watched me play softball which is one of the things her and Gramps used to do all of the time. We didn't do a whole lot, but spending that time and doing all that golfing is always so much fun and I made so many memories!
The second visitor I had was my bestest friend in the whole wide world Alyssa. We have been best friends since 8th grade when she moved to Hamliton. We spend time apart and don't talk all the time, but we are still sisters at heart. When we get together its as if time hasn't past. She gets here and we fall right back into our old ways of watching football and singing songs as we road trip! I even took her out for her first time golfing! Now, we weren't very good at golfing, but then again who cares when you are laughing so hard you are almost in tears! And that was just the first hole!
Now this post is kind of all over the place and doesn't even half of the stuff keeping me super busy and stressed out, but it does shed some light on why I hadn't posted in so long! I promise to be posting more in the next few weeks, including some awesome fall recipes and horse camping stories and I've got a trip with the one and only Alyssa in 2 weekends!
Ok so some of you have read my posts so far are probably wondering why my homepage says "Lets Get Healthy" or why the website is getyourguthealthy... well the reason for that is because of the products that I promote in my side business. The link for my website for those products is on my contact page and I'd love to answer any questions you might have about that business or those products. These products promote gut health which in turns helps with many things including sleep, weight loss, and energy.
The reason I'm writing this today is because as I was floating in my pool (teacher summer life!) I was reading the book by Romi Neustadt called "Get Over Your Damn Self." This book is about building a life changing business and I've been wanting to read it to help me in growing my side business. The first 2 chapters are about your WHY; why do you want to grow your business so I'm going to tell you about my WHY!
When I first started taking these products my why was to try to sleep more/better, have more energy, and lose some weight. Pretty basic goals but nothing to do with building a business. As I read success stories and talked with my upline I saw that I can actually make enough money to supplement my "awesome" teacher pay (insert eye roll) and if I work hard enough I can make more than what I make as a teacher! WOW!!! So many possibilities, but how to do that? That is why I"m reading this book and I realized my WHY needs to change. I can not grow my business just by wanting to earn some more money, I need a goal that is bigger than money.
Some of you who know me or have read some previous posts know that I used to barrel race until I moved to Tennessee. Most of my reason for not barrel racing now is because I am out of shape. These products have been helping me with energy which in turn helps me be more motivated working out. This, however, is not my WHY. My why is to be able to barrel race on the rodeo circuit. I want to be able to give up teaching for a while and pursue barrel racing seriously. If I focus and build my side business I can make my dream of running the rodeo circuit into reality!
This WHY is important to me because ever since I was little this has been a dream of mine. My dream got side tracked and I'm ready to get back "in the saddle". Haha. Now don't get me wrong, I ride as often as I can, but its not the same as training and working towards my goal.
The book asks what pain I will feel if I don't achieve my WHY.... If I don't reach this goal, I will feel like a failure. I already felt that way once because I haven't been barrel racing in so long, but I know that isn't true! It's never too late to pursue your goals and that is what I am going to keep telling myself now that I have a means to make this goal a reality.
This is my WHY for wanting to promote and grow my side business. I'm so lucky that I love these products and my family, friends and I have seen such amazing health results because of them. If you would like to know more about the products or getting involved in the business aspect with these products please send me an email. My contact information and product page are on the contact page which you can access from the tab above, or the button directly below this.
Today is a pretty shitty day in my book. Last year at this time I was driving to Michigan to say goodbye to one of, if not the BEST man who has been a part of my life. I am so thankful that I had the relationship with my Grandpa "Gramps" that I did.
I spent many summers working on the farm with him doing everything from tearing down old pig barns when I was young, to helping build a shed for my brother recently. I took many trips with him and my Grandma "Gram" throughout my childhood and even in college and once I moved and got a big girl job. When I was a kid, my mom, brother, and I went camping with my grandparents every summer! We used their trailer or we went with them... When I was in high school they even took their trailer down to Florida when I went with our softball team for spring break.
This picture is from one of my favorite trips. It was the summer after my best friend, Alyssa, and I graduated. We love to watch college softball and played in high school together. Gram and Gramps agreed to take us to the College World Series of Sotball in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It was softball, softball, and more softball and we loved every minute of it. Alyssa and I stayed up late snickering in the bed next to Gram and Gramps because well.... we were 18 and everything is funny then right? Oh wait... we still giggle like this haha! Anyway we had an amazing trip watching softball and even got to go to the zoo on a day when the games were later. It is one of the best memories I have and this picture just fits Gramps so much. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. He supported me in everything I did and I am so thankful I had that solid male role model in my life.
Sometimes I think about how I feel that this was unfair. He had been healthy and playing golf just months before... why him... why then. I was just getting to a good place in my life and I lose one of the strongest people I know. I have spent many of my phone counseling sessions talking about just that. Why him? There is no good answer in my book, and I have struggled with that often in the past year. When I am thinking about this tho, I also think about how selfish that sounds... I know that I get to have my feelings and that it's okay to be upset, but it is still selfish on my part. I had so many good days, trips, and years... I have only touched on a few today, but I'm struggling to even write this much, but I needed to. So again, I had so many AMAZING and LOVING experiences with Gramps that it is selfish of me to constantly ask why.... There are so many people out there who have lost their children, mothers, fathers who are much younger than me or Gramps. They didn't even get a chance to spend that time with their loved ones. I had the time and even though I am extremely sad that I will not make anymore, I am so thankful for the time that I did have with him and that I did get to take so many trips with Gramps. I am also thankful for a strong family that I can talk to and count on and a very strong Grandma who has shown us all in the past year what strength is.
Ahhhh!!!! I have got some fantastic news that I am extremely excited to tell you about, but first a little back story. In my into on the home page I talked about having ups and downs since moving to Tennessee so I want to explain some of the downs...
When I first moved to Tennessee I was excited to be in a new place, recently engaged and ready to find a big girl job and plan a wedding. My fiance and I were living with his mom and stepdad in a small house about an hour from the school I worked at. It was cramped living and we had one bedroom for all of our stuff. I was 10 hours from my family and had none of my friends nearby. It was hard, but I thought that most the sadness and even anger were from living in a small house with 3 other people and being to far from home.
After a year of living with my fiance's family we got married and I, yes just me, bought our house. Let's make this easier and call my husband "S"... S's family and friends helped us movie into the house and get everything set up. A few weeks later my family came to visit and help put in more fence for my horses. My grandparents were even here and grandma was painting while grandpa was pounding fence post. This day should have been a red flag for me as S spent much of the day "running errands" to get cold drinks and what not, while my family worked their asses off for OUR house. Fast forward through the next year and a half and it was filled with me and my family making lots of improvements on the house and me trying to get S to do something other than work out and play video games.
I ended up catching S in some lies. I began to talk to a counselor and through a lot of hard work with her I realized that I deserved to be with someone who wanted to spend time with me. I came home from a trip to Michigan (alone as usual) and S was lying to me again. I told him to get out of my house (since I was the one who bought it and made all the payments). We talked on and off for a few months and I continued to talk with my counselor and finally made the decision to file for divorce.
So bring on one of the big downs. Now I am 10 hours from my family and living alone. Bring on the depression. I was sad and lonely and began to stay in bed more than I was out of it. I didn't even want to ride my horses which is something I love to do! I was still talking with my counselor and that is when she suggested that I talk to my doctor about starting an antidepressant. With some apprehension I talked to my doctor and began to take the meds. I don't like to take medicine if I don't have to.
As much as I didn't want to take the antidepressants, I must say they helped! I was feeling much more like myself and being more active. I was on them for a little less than a year and things were going great. I was finally feeling ok with being alone and being away from home. I was ready to go off of the antidepressants! Woohoo! Right?! Scratch that....
Big down number 2.... my grandpa who was like a dad to me (coming to all my sporting events, hauling my horses to barrel races, even walking me down the aisle at my wedding) was sick. They had no idea what was wrong, but he was confused and physically weak. It was all very scary considering how fast it all happened, just a few months earlier he was playing golf 2-3 times a week! I rushed home and spent almost every day last summer in the hospital. Helping grandma by driving her up there and then feeding and trying to talk with grandpa. He was such a strong man that it absolutely killed me and broke my heart to see him like this. He ended up passing away at the beginning of July. I was heartbroken and there went my chances of going of the antidepressants because this had just rocked my world and not in a good way.
I struggled through the rest of the summer crying on and off almost every day. School started again which was at least a small distraction. Then holiday times rolled around. It was getting harder and harder to be happy again. So now I've gone from being ready to stop taking antidepressants to actually needing to up the dose right before Christmas because I was struggling so much.
It is now 6 months later and and for the last 3 months I have been taking vitamins from Plexus! These products are so amazing at getting your gut healthy which makes your whole body work better. When your body is working better then your anxiety (which yes I have had too... I'm a mess haha!) and moods get better which is truly amazing. So much health is linked to your gut working properly I am truly amazed. So I've been on these products and I'm feeling more energetic, yay! I'm feeling more productive, yay! I'm feeling (here's the big one for me) HAPPIER! I've been feeling so much better that I actually went to my doctor Friday and got the ok to lower my antidepressant dosage back to the lowest dose!!!! I have to take that for a month and then if I'm still feeling better I can wean of them completely. Praise the Lord!!! I am so thankful to be feeling better and can share about it! Depression is real and many people think it a taboo subject to post about on social media or talk about. I want to share my story and journey so that maybe someone will see my posts and reach out and ask what I have done to overcome depression!
Alright so this is my first blog and I'm not really sure what to write about/ what I'm doing. I guess I will start by telling you about my summer break so far!
Summer break for the school system where I work started on the Saturday afternoon of Memeorial Day weekend. (Yeah we had to work on the holiday weeeknd 🙄) All teachers had to be present at graduation which is awesome, but why in the world does graduation ALWAYS have to be at 1 in the afternoon on the Saturday of the holiday weekend ?!?? It's crazy to me, but I'm not paid the big bucks to make those decision.... I guess for me the most frustrating part is the fact that as soon as break starts I want to go to Michigan! I want to be able to spend some much needed relaxation time with my family.
Graduation rant over.
Fast forward 10 hours of driving from Northeast Tennessee to West Michigan where I got about 5 hours of sleep before heading out on a 3 day drive to Saskatchewan Canada! Talk about being sick of being in a car!!! It was well worth the sore butt since I got to participate in my first cattle round up and branding. Holy crap, talk about FUN!!! My parents and I got to help in bringing in the cattle from the fields to pens around the branding pen.
The first day of the festivities consisted of us going out to the fields Friday morning with about 15 people on horses and 3-4 ATV's. We brought in 5 groups of heifers and their calves to be sorted, one group on Friday night and 3 groups on Saturday. Friday night was the first round of branding and castrating. The guys sorted the calves from the mammas and herded the calves into the branding pen. Once in the branding pen they began to rope the calves by the hind legs (which I will learn how to do very soon because it was extremely handy and looked fun!) and drag them to the middle of the pen. There the calves were held down and branded, given pain meds, vaccinations and if they were bull calves they castrated them. This first night I squirted the disinfectant (don't remember the name right now) in where the bulls nuts were cut from, ouch! Hehe! Saturday we finished branding and castrating the remaining groups. I spent much of the day taking pictures and learning what each person was doing since everyone seemed to have their role. When it was time to bring in and sort the calves of the final group however, I got the chance to help sort off the calves. This is something I am told that new people do not get the honor of doing very often so I was feeling extremely excited and lucky!
Once all the work was done, it was time for food and drinks! Woohoo!! The food was amazing and of course they cooked up the "prairie oysters" from the bull calves...... I was dead set on not eating any of them because... well... ew! After a little prodding and convincing however I did end up eating one! I must say if I hadn't known what it was it wouldn't have been bad, but since I new it was a cow nut I gagged a few times just thinking about it!
That was my very exciting first 10 days of summer break and I look forward to going back another year! Once we made our 25 hour trip in 2 days back to Michigan I spent the rest of my trip visiting my brother and other family and friends. I even got in 4 rounds of golf in less than 2 weeks! So that puts you up to speed with my summer break as of the moment... other than the awesome state standards training I attended the past 2 days (maybe I'll go into more about that another day but then again I don't want to bore you... lol) Feel free to comment and let me know what you think about my first post and I look forward to sharing more about me and my summer!!