Saturday, December 6, 2014

Celebrating Cat-mas

This is our first year to have a pet around for the holidays. Good times.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THM Sample Menu

I had a friend who was starting THM back in March, and I pulled this together for her.  I had posted it on Facebook and have had many people comment that they wish it were more easily "shareable" so here 'tis!  I know sometimes there isn't a full 3 hours between my meals/snacks, but this is how *I* make it work. I'm really just focusing on S and E, not really worrying too much about FPs. My full freezer (second one in the laundry area, not just my fridge) is my critical partner in this venture - I try to make large batches of things like snacks, meats, even precooked quinoa and beans and then freeze them in individual servings to pull out when needed. I also do the same with soups - make a ginormous pot, feed my family, and I can usually get 5 or 6 lunches out of it (also great to pull out for dinner if I'm making a family favorite that I'm choosing not to eat) **I feel I should clarify: I no longer use Joseph's so liberally Sometimes I do sandwich "wraps" with romaine lettuce or crepes (recipe in book)  This is NOT an official THM post, and I don't claim to have all the answers.  I strongly recommend that each individual take the time to read the book and work to understand the principles.  It's a steep learning curve, but soooo worth it!!

Gwen's Nest also has this great post about making THM work.

breakfast (S) 7:30 - coffee with heavy cream, 3 eggs cooked in butter with real bacon crumbles, served over wilted spinach
snack (S) 11:00 - thin mint smoothie
lunch (S) 1:30 - piece of salmon, broiled with butter and garlic, along with mashed cauliflower (leftover from previous dinner), sliced cucumbers
snack (E) 4:00 - (small, just to hold over until dinner) - FF Greek yogurt with stevia, almond extract, and a handful of frozen cherries (the cherries are what make it E)
dinner (E) 5:30 - grilled chicken breast (marinated with red wine vinegar, a splash of avocado oil and Italian seasoning), boiled sweet potato topped with FF Greek yogurt and cinnamon, red pepper strips
munchie/dessert (E) - banana bar (these freeze really well - I make a whole pan then cut them up and toss them in the freezer)

breakfast (S) 8:00 - coconut porridge (pg 232), coffee with heavy cream
lunch (E) 11:30 - leftover grilled chicken breast, side of black bean quinoa salad
snack (E) 2:30 - chocolate banana smoothie
dinner (S) 5:30 - baked pork chop, roasted broccoli (with butter!), green salad with ranch
dessert/snack (S) 7:30 - celery with smucker's natural PB (don't go nuts with the PB!)

breakfast (E) 7:30 - overnight oatmeal - use apple rather than peaches
snack (E) 10:30 - fresh mandarin orange and 5 or 6 almonds
lunch (S) 1:30 - last of the leftover grilled chicken in a Joseph's pita (found at Walmart) with guacamole and romaine, cucumber slices, fresh broccoli dipped in ranch
snack (S) 4:00 - chocolate covered cherry shake, but no protein powder since dinner soon
dinner (S) 6:00 - leftover pork turned into cabbage wraps
dessert/snack 7:30 (S) - skinny chocolate! (pg 371)

breakfast (S) 8:00 - baked pancake with berry syrup (I made a huge batch of this and froze in jars, still working my way through it), coffee with heavy cream
lunch (S) 11:30 - quesadilla with Mexican cheese blend on a low carb tortilla, extra fresh veggies and ranch (but avoiding carrots)
snack (E) 3:00 - 2 banana bars and a bit of Greek yogurt with vanilla and stevia
dinner (E) 5:30 - sweet potato black bean chili
snack (E) 8:00 - half serving of big boy smoothie (pg 242) with cherries (and very little protein powder)

breakfast (S) 7:15 - two eggs scrambled with bacon pieces, in a low carb tortilla (also from Walmart) with salsa and cheddar cheese, coffee and heavy cream
snack (S) 10:30 - skinny chocolate, FF Greek yogurt with stevia, vanilla, and berries
lunch (E) 1:30 - leftover sweet potato black bean chili with 2 wasa rye crackers on the side
snack (E) 4:00 - small apple with 1 tsp Smucker's natural PB
dinner (E) 6:00 - bean burritos (canned fat free refried beans with FF sour cream, fresh salsa on low carb tortilla, no cheese)
snack (E) 8:00 - 2 cups of popcorn (made on stovetop, light on oil)

breakfast (E) 8:00 - THM pancakes (pg 223) - again, I make a large batch of these and throw them in the freezer to pull out as needed). Topped with FF Greek yogurt and berry syrup
snack (E) 10:30 - banana bar with a pile of Greek yogurt and some frozen berries on top
lunch (S) 1:00 - Just Like Campbell's soup made with heavy cream (pg. 292)
snack (S) 3:30 - cheesecake berry crunch (1/2 of recipe, pg 373)
dinner (S) 6:00 - Big Mac Salad - burger served on a pile of lettuce, dressing made my mixing mayo with sugar free ketchup and dill relish (Family has their burgers on buns)
snack (S) 8:00 - skinny chocolate

breakfast (S) 8:30 - coffee with heavy cream, 3 eggs cooked in butter with real bacon crumbles, served over wilted spinach
snack (S) 10:30 - skinny chocolate
lunch (S) 12:30 - leftover burger eaten with a Joseph's pita with guacamole, cucumber slices and pepper strips
snack (S) 3:00 - half thin mint smoothie dinner
(S) 6:00 - pizza!
snack/dessert (S) 8:00 - half microwaved mudslide muffin, made with some frozen raspberries and a drizzle of heavy cream

breakfast (E) 7:30 - Gwen's berry cake (again, from the freezer) with Greek yogurt, stevia and a drop of lemon essential oil
snack (S) 10:30 - Joseph's pita with a slice of cheese, deli ham, and a schmear of mayo
lunch (S) 1:30 - leftover pizza, jicama wedged
snack (S) 4:00 - basic treat squares (large batch, stores in fridge long-term), pg 400
dinner (S) 6:30 - grilled chicken quarters, butter braised cabbage, green salad with extra veggies & ranch
snack/dessert (S) 7:30 - handful of frozen berries with a drizzle of heavy cream on top

breakfast (E) 6:45 - 2 banana bars and half a big boy smoothie (and out the door!)
snack (FP) 10:00 - 2 wasa rye crackers and a wedge of light laughing cow cheese (from my purse)
lunch (S) 12:30 - McD's bacon ranch salad with grilled chicken (use Newman's Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette or bring your own - their ranch is too high in carbs)
snack (S) 3:00 - thin mint smoothie
dinner (S) 5:30 - taco meat with mix of 80% lean ground beef and turkey. I eat mine as a salad (lots of salsa!) the family has tortillas
snack (S) 7:30 - lemon cake

breakfast (S) 7:30 - MIM (lemon blueberry version, based on recipe on pg 256 - almond flour and flax, plus lemon EO and a couple frozen blueberries), coffee with heavy cream
snack (S) 10:30 - basic treat squares
lunch (S) 12:30 - leftover grilled chicken and braised cabbage, jicama wedges
snack (E) 3:30 - small apple with wedge of light laughing cow
dinner (E) 6:00 - creamy chicken and wild rice soup 
snack (E) 8:00 - FF Greek yogurt with almond extract, stevia, and some cherries

Monday, September 22, 2014

Deep, Dark Brownies (THM - S) - and a bit of chatting about coconut flour

These are a result of me combining a couple Paleo recipes I found in the blogosphere. I really, REALLY prefer baking with coconut flour over almond for a few reasons.  It’s more affordable: it costs less per pound, plus you use much less of it; it’s a lot more absorbent than almond flour, though, so plan to use more eggs and liquid.  Almond flour is also very calorie dense and can contribute to stalling out on weight loss (using it occasionally is fine, but making almond flour biscuits to go with your dinner every night may not be the best idea.  We don't count calories on THM, but you still need to respect them).  That being said, coconut flour has a bit more of a natural sweetness to it, which is fine with these brownies, but if I’m making something savory I rely more on almond flour.

One last comment: the THM book has a recipe called “Special Agent Brownie Cake” (pg 382) that includes beans.  In the comments, Pearl says, “I know it sound strange to admit, but sometimes I love to eat a big piece of this cake for breakfast along with my coffee.  I get full, and it’s a good protein source, so why not?”  May I draw your attention to the phrase GOOD PROTEIN SOURCE?  I see many people on the Facebook boards commenting about eating dessert for breakfast – not the worst thing in the world, but remember, your body really needs protein, so I wouldn’t recommend regularly chowing on these brownies (or most of the other THM dessert recipes you may find) to kick-start your day.
Deep, Dark Brownies (S) – makes 12 brownies

1/4 c coconut flour (purchased, not ground up coconut flakes)
3/4 c cocoa powder
1/2 c Truvia (or 1/4 c THM Sweet Blend) + a few shakes of Stevia powder to get to desired sweetness*
1/2 tsp grey Celtic or pink Himalayan salt
4 large eggs
3/4 c almond milk (unsweetened. I prefer Silk brand as it does not contain carrageenan)
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c butter, melted (coconut oil would be fine, too)
Whatever add-ins you desire: I used two squares of 85% dark chocolate** (chopped) and a scant 1/4 cup of walnuts

Preheat oven to 350, and grease an 8x8 pan.  In a medium sized bowl, blend together the first four ingredients, and use a fork to press out any lumps.  In another container, mix together the eggs, almond milk, coffee, vanilla, and butter (I use the glass measuring cup that I melted the butter in – anything to minimize dishes!).  Pour the liquid ingreds into the dry, and mix well. Let sit for five minutes or so, then blend again, and pour into prepared pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes (until center is completely set).  Let cool before slicing – I know it’s hard to wait, but they really need to set.  Store covered in the fridge.

*Sweetness is SOOOO subjective, especially with chocolate items.  I know it’s annoying when people don’t give you exact amounts, but it really depends on how bitter your cocoa powder is, plus your personal palate. I live on the edge and taste raw dough (yes, I know there’s a slight risk of salmonella poisoning from the raw eggs) – if this makes you uncomfortable, you can always microwave a Tbsp of the batter for a taste test before baking the whole pan.

** This is considered on-plan (in small amounts) even though it has some added sugar.  I found I still could not use it for the first six months or so, though, as it would still trigger sugar cravings, but I no longer have that issue.  Just something to keep in mind...

A few other comments: I think this is better after it's been in the fridge overnight.  It's also really good with frosting (what isn't?!?) Serene's Superfood Chocolate Icing on page 385 of the book is reeeeeaaaaallllly good - super rich & fudgy. It does have a noticeable coconut flavor, though (a can of coconut milk is the base, after all). I like to mix up a batch of this and keep it in the fridge. It's great on strawberries, or a spoon. Just being real :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Berry Peach Cobbler Baked Oatmeal (THM – E)

I stumbled onto a recipe for a single serving peach cobbler baked oatmeal, and used that as inspiration to make a larger version.  This is family approved, and I love that this single pan feeds us for two full days, plus two additional servings. Wow!  It's also inexpensive - double win :)

Berry Peach Cobbler Baked Oatmeal (THM – E)

5 large or 6 medium peaches
2 c berries (if using a frozen blend, no need to defrost)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 scoops protein powder
3 c oats, ground into flour (using a blender or coffee grinder)
1/3 c Truvia
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (grey Celtic or pink Himalayan)
2 c old-fashioned oats (NOT quick cooking) – soaked with ACV for 12-24 hours, drained and rinsed *
2 c almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp almond extract

Preheat oven to 350. Roughly chop peaches (I leave the skins on) and place in large bowl.  Gently toss with berries, spices and protein powder, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Wipe out bowl, then dump in the dry topping ingredients (the next 6 items in the list: ground oats - salt) and stir together.  Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.  Pour over fruit. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until topping is set and there’s some light browning.

Store in fridge.  Makes 10 surprisingly filling servings (I score it into ten sections after it's cooled) – I like to have mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt (with vanilla and a bit of stevia stirred in) and a drizzle of almond milk.  

*more info on soaking grains such as oatmeal HERE 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Some of my "Life" Books

So there's a "Top 10 Books" meme floating around FB right now.  One of my friends from high school tagged me when she shared her Top 12, and I followed her lead on flexing the rules a bit :)  Sharing the list here, along with some chatter:

1. Bible - pretty self explanatory.  "My" first official copy was a white hardback with a painting of Jesus on the front.  I believe it was the Good News version - but mostly I remember the stickers in the back (earned during Sunday School). Current version is NIV/Message Parallel.
2. Experiencing God (Blackaby) - I did this study when D was only a few months old.  We met in a friend's home, and there were something like 12 of us ladies and over 30 kids under the age of 6. Yeah.  But despite the insanity, this study grabbed onto my heart.  And I swear that I'd never heard Hebrews 12:7-11 before.
3. Fit to be Tied (Hybels) - someone (I think it might have been one of the librarians I worked with in college?) gave me this book shortly after the now-hubby & I became engaged.  He was 22 and I was 21, and we were engaged 15 months (it seemed like an eternity!) Lots of excellent advice on what being married really means. Hmmm, think I may need to pull it out again, now that I think about it.
4. Professionalizing Motherhood (Savage) - I worked in the "corporate world" seven years before leaving to become a full-time Mom. I was excited about that transition, but also weirdly adrift/disappointed because I no longer had measurements of productivity. This was a book that helped me adjust my perspective, and I've recommended it repeatedly to other new moms.
5. The Search for Significance (McGee) - I first learned of this book during high school and read part of it, then in college (after changing my major to Psychology) I finished working through it (the author is the founder of Christian counseling center). Picked up the updated version when pregnant with our son, and it was still an excellent read.
6. Trim Healthy Mama (Barrett, Campbell) - I was introduced to this a year ago, but it's absolutely a life changer. So thankful to feel positive about the direction I'm headed physically!
7. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis) - I honestly can't remember a time I didn't love books, but I DO vividly thinking I hated anything that was sci-fi or fantasy, but this book changed my perspective. My parents purchased the Narnia box set on a Scholastic order in 3rd grade for $20 (we didn't normally order from there, and I can remember being shocked that my parents would spend that much money). I still have that box set, and it is very worn (I still remember being very angry with my brother when he read them and didn't treat them with the proper respect).
8. The Secret Garden (Burnett) - another childhood favorite. I received a beautifully bound copy of this book as a Christmas gift from an aunt & uncle, and I had not even heard of it.  I remember being somewhat confused when I started reading, but was soon drawn into the story. Dark and gothic, yet corny & uplifting.
9. Deadline (Alcorn) - read shortly after we were married, and I was surprised that a Christian novel could be so well-written, and I also found my comfortable existence shaken up a bit.  I've read several of Alcorn's other books, and I was torn whether to include this one or Safely Home (I chose the one that was published earlier).
10. What Alice Forgot (Moriarty) - an amazing novel that I read two years ago because I was sick of seeing it on so many "You Really Should Read This!" lists. And know what, you should! Although not a Christian novel, it made me stop and think about how many blessings I take for granted...
11. Threads of Change Trilogy (Baart) - I just discovered these amazing books this year, and have recommended them to several friends.  Christian novels that aren't afraid to tackle hard issues and don't provide trite answers, but a beautiful depiction of grace.
12. Snuggle Puppy (Boynton) - Yes, this is a board book.  I read this to both kids and made up my own song. I can still sing it - and both kids occasionally request it. "The way I feel about you is a kind of a song..."

It was so difficult to narrow this down, as I do love me some books. Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, several series by Janette Oke, If God Loves Me Why Can't I Get My Locker Open?, I'm Glad I'm a Woman, A Grief Observed, Addicted to Mediocrity, Outland comics (better known as Opus & Bill) - as well as Calvin & Hobbes and later Baby Blues, Naked Fruit (about the fruits of the spirit - ha!), Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad, Life Artist, Storybound... 

Oh, how awesome to lose oneself in a well-written story, or find yourself changed by a few well written sentences!

On that note, I do believe I shall share this tidbit from the book currently on my nightstand, God's Heart for You:
Real friends tell you when you have something in your teeth. They love you enough to speak the truth, and Jesus is our most faithful friend of all. He sees deep within our hearts and tells us when something is stuck there that doesn't belong. His correction always comes with grace, not condemnation.  ~Holley Gerth

Friday, September 5, 2014

Friday Funny

Haven't done one of these in awhile, but this was awesome:

5 Minutes in a Mom's Head

An excerpt of my morning thoughts, but sadly this isn't nearly as funny...

Ahhhh.... Sleepy.  Oh crud, I must have pushed snooze! Why don't I remember doing that?  I need a shower. Wait, no time now - will get A in the shower, and then I'll grab one after I drop her at school.  Man, I hope I don't have to get out of the car.  Of course my roots are awful anyway.  Did I ever buy that box of hair color?

I hear stomping, so at least D is up already. Did he finish that project last night? What can he eat for breakfast? There are some leftovers from dinner - wait, hubby probably is eating those right now before leaving for work. What can I make for dinner tonight? I had that meal plan all made out, just wish I could remember where I left the paper. Wait, paper.  Did I already sign A's homework log?

Ahhhhh, tomorrow is Saturday!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

One of those weekends...

We're getting some much-needed rain here - but sadly it also means that I've had a nasty headache all weekend.  Son is doing a project for his pre-AP Language Arts class and we've been butting heads a bit on that.  I have a mammogram scheduled for this week.  And just tonight, I discovered our daughter has lice.  Yes, after only one week of school (the clerk at CVS commented they'd been selling a lot of lice product this week.  Somehow knowing I'm not alone doesn't exactly make it better.)

On the plus side, hubby has tomorrow off and kids have school.  Hubby wants to go shooting, but I'm not sure that me + firearms is the best idea ;)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blintz Breakfast Bake (THM - S)

A few weeks ago, a friend on FB shared a Blintz Breakfast Casserole, and as I looked at the recipe, I thought, "I could totally THM-ify that!" I tried out a half batch (8x8 pan) and shared it with the THM group, and it was very well received :) I've made it twice since, and can confirm that it does freeze/reheat well, so here's the full sized version.  I also took additional pictures of the process, as some ladies mentioned they were having difficulty with the layers, but hopefully the photos make it easier to understand.  It's a nice option when you want something "fancy" for breakfast, but with very affordable ingredients.  Add some more sweetener, and it can easily become a dessert.

Blintz Breakfast Bake (S)
1 cup cottage cheese
8 oz package of neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese), at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
2 doonks* of pure white stevia powder
2 eggs
1/4 c coconut flour
1/3 c golden flax meal (slightly heaping)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used nonfat, but higher fat would be fine, too)
1/4 c Truvia (or erythritol or xylitol)**
1/2 c butter, softened
1 tsp almond extract (or another extract of your choice; the original recipe called for orange juice so I initially used orange extract, but I actually prefer the almond)
1/2 c almond milk
8 eggs
Preheat oven to 325 if using a glass pan, or 350 if using a metal pan, and grease 9x13 pan. Pour topping ingredients into blender and puree, then set aside. In a bowl, combine the first 4 base ingredients, and use a fork to remove any clumps. Add all remaining ingredients and stir together (a few small lumps are OK). Pour into pan, then gently pour/spoon topping over (it will swirl together somewhat, and that’s fine). Bake for about 50 minutes, until center is set, then let stand for at least 5 minutes. Top with on-plan jam or fresh berries.
*most pure stevia powders come with a teensy little scoop that measures 1/32 tsp, which somehow came to be called a doonk
**you could use stevia here as well, just microwave a Tbsp or so of the batter so you can taste it before baking and adjust sweetness as desired.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Daughter's Video Diary

I was clearing the emptying the camera's SD card when I discovered this gem from our daughter: her documentation that she really did empty the dishwasher.  Too funny not to share.  Please excuse the piles on the kitchen counters.

Another school year!


I don't know how it's possible, but our firstborn is now in middle school. Whoa.  He still likes it after two days :)  The big highlight on Monday was riding the bus - he's been longing to do this ever since kindergarten, but this is the first time that we finally are in a bussing zone.  I walked with (well, behind) him Monday morning just to make sure everything went OK - it's a whole quarter mile away, but there's no sidewalk (and drivers usually are doing about 10 over the speed limit on that stretch) but all was well. He's in pre-AP (advanced level) classes for all his regular academics, which will be a stretch, but we think he can handle it.  One thing I love about living in a smaller town is how you know about certain teachers & such... his math teacher attends a local church and we have several mutual friends, and his language arts teacher actually goes to our church. Seriously, how awesome is that? I have to admit that I had a few qualms about sending him off this year, but I know he's in God's hands.  There's also a YoungLife group that meets once a month, so he'll be checking that out -- looking forward to getting him better connected with some fabulous kids.

Daughter is now in 4th, and was happy to be back with her friends, and is very much looking forward to starting up GT (the Gifted - Talented program) next week.

Just have to share these for fun. I took the kids for haircut on Thursday (and that was right before the stylist started chopping away at the back of A's hair - she decided she was ready for something different).  D finished first, and he was reading a Calvin & Hobbes book that I had snagged for a quarter at the library the previous week.  This was his first introduction to the mischievous boy & his tiger sidekick, and he couldn't stop laughing at their antics.  He's not a big reader, so anytime he gets pulled into a book it's a win :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Here Kitty, Kitty

So while the kids were at camp, the hubby & I enjoyed a little time alone - nice to put aside the Mom & Dad responsibilities for a few days :)  As part of our staycation, we decided we would try to find a cat.  Our son has been asking for one for a couple years now - we got the gerbils two years ago as a "fuzzy pet that can be held but requires minimal attention" compromise, and decided we were ready to move up the pet ladder.  We did not tell the kids we were doing this, as we didn't want them to be disappointed if we did not find one that was a good fit.  I had a list of musts: female, already spayed, at least a year old, friendly and even-tempered, and preferably de-clawed.  We went to the humane society on Tuesday, and they had lots of kittens and adult males, but only a few females, and none of them were very friendly.  We went back on Wednesday "just in case," and ended up finding her (she was in the back getting checked when we were there the day before).  She is not de-clawed, but was very friendly right out of the holding cell, and hubby even said she was OK (and considering that he was describing a cat, that's high praise!)

So we did the necessary paperwork, did a quick run to the store to buy food, litter box, etc. and then picked up our newest family member.  I took her to the vet the next morning, and it turns out she had a mild intestinal parasite.  Nothing like adopting a pet and then having to give it medicine for ten days.  Giving a dose of oral liquid is definitely a two person job.

Anyway, we had her about twenty eight hours before the kids came back home - she had no idea what she was in for.  D was the first one in the house, and he noticed her food dish right away and gave me a puzzled look.  He then took another step and saw the litter box, then in a squeaky voice (he'd lots most of it from all the yelling at camp) said, "We got a cat?!?!?" I was standing right behind him - he gave me a huge hug, and then asked, "Where is it?!" A was right behind me and was excitedly but cautiously peering around, also looking for her (one reason we decided to go ahead and get a cat is because she is still super jumpy around animals, and we figured it would be good for her to have a pet of her own).  Anyway, both kids were super excited to see her all nestled into a chair across the room...

We named her Opal, and she's about two years old. We have no idea what breed she is, but probably some Siamese in there somewhere just because of those gorgeous blue eyes.  She's pretty mellow and very tolerant of D's attentions. She is not declawed, but so far she's not tearing up our couches or anything.  We did buy her a nifty little scratching post, but the kids play with it more than she does ;)

It's still kind of surreal.  Honestly, I prefer dogs, but our back yard has very little grass, plus it's so stinkin' hot most of the year that I wouldn't feel comfortable leaving it out all day if we were gone.  Cats? Well, they might be snooty but at least they're lower maintenance.  We'll see how this goes.  I was joking around with a friend that we've been married 18 years and have two kids, so now we're finally ready to commit to a pet. Yeah, we do things a little differently than most...

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kids Camp!

Last Monday our kids headed up to Austin for a three day church camp (same church where they did music camp; they also go to AWANA there, since ours doesn't have many kids' programs).  I just have these few photos (mostly snapped by friends of friends on FB) but still wanted to share them. They really enjoyed themselves - the days were packed with fun activities, as well as rockin' worship and a lively speaker that they really enjoyed.  It also gave the hubby & I some time alone together.  Wonderful -- and kind of weird ;)  Our house was eerily quiet for those days, and I must admit I was happy to pick our goobers up again on Thursday evening.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kids Musical

Our kiddos attended a music camp last week; they worked on the musical part each morning, and then had fun outings each afternoon.  They both really enjoyed themselves, although D was not super excited about the actual performance part (which was Sunday evening). Well, yesterday after church he kept saying he wasn't feeling well.  He didn't eat much for lunch and was unusually quiet, but I shrugged it off thinking he was just trying to get out of singing (we'd already had a few discussions about that).  Around 3, I noticed he was feeling very warm, so decided to take his temp. 102.  Took it again thirty minutes later, and it was clear that he truly did have a fever.

A had a small solo in the program (check out the video!) and D sat beside me watching.  The whole performance was great - I was really impressed that the kids pulled that off in just a week, complete with motions.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Some Thoughts on Healthy Living

So I've been THMing for over ten months now. Wow, I can't believe that!  I've tried so many stinkin' "diets," and I usually burn out by the six month mark, tired of counting calories, measuring portions, and never feeling full...

My weight loss has really slowed in the past three months, but that's OK.  The crazy thing is that even though that number on the scale isn't moving much, my body is continuing to change.  I just did another round of purging in my closet - the clothes that I couldn't wear when I started this journey are now falling off.  I've run out of notches in my belts, and even my shoes are looser.  That's amazing.

So what have I learned from this journey? (so far)
  • I firmly believe that weight is 90% what you're eating; I'm not saying that exercise doesn't play a part in your health (good for your heart, building muscle helps metabolism and prevents bone loss, etc.) but you do *not* need to work out an hour a day to start losing weight.  You are in charge of what goes in your mouth, and the majority of us Americans choose convenient crap rather than REAL food.
  • It's about making small, good choices consistently.  You'll mess up, and that's OK. Don't use it as an excuse to write off the day/week/month and drown your sorrows in a box of doughnuts.
  • Although it's overwhelming at first, it really and truly does get easier.  If someone had told me a year ago that I'd be completely sugar free, I would have rolled my eyes and started laughing.  I still enjoy sweets (made with stevia, erythritol, and/or xylitol - stop and think about that acronym!) but I'm no longer controlled by my cravings.  No, I'm not overstating that - if I had a taste of something, all I could think about was how I could have MORE.  Food is definitely my drug of choice.  Which leads me to:
  • Sometimes moderation is not an option.  I had to completely cut sugar out before my cravings started going away.  That's tough since sugar hides in everything; I used to say that I ate pretty healthy, and I've always made a lot of our food, but I didn't realize how much junk was hiding in the stuff like BBQ sauce and salad dressings.
  • Having support is HUGE.  I'm truly blessed to have a group of ladies locally; we've been meeting for over two years now. We come from very different backgrounds and are all at different places in our health journey, but what a blessing to have a safe place to gripe, ask for prayer and share recipes.  I've also found that I enjoy the online community; there's a FB group specifically for those following THM who have over 50 pounds to lose, and it's great to know I can post there and that those ladies get it.
  • It's important to pay attention to YOUR body.  We're all different, and what works for one person may not work for another.  That's actually one thing I love about THM - it's NOT "Here's your eating plan for the next week." I've learned I do better with a minimum of six E meals weekly (Energizing: 25-45 grams of healthy carbs along with a good lowfat protein, i.e. grilled chicken breast with brown rice or pork loin with beets) although the S meals (Satisfying: these are fattier meals, very similar to Atkins) sure are tasty!
A few Non-Scale Victories (NSVs, as we like to refer to them online) I've noticed - beyond needing smaller clothes :)
  • My skin has really improved!  I've always had acne - not as severe as when I was a teen, but annoying nonetheless.  I also have mild rosacea. The photo above is me without makeup. 
  • Speaking of that photo: it's a selfie I took because I mentioned getting a new haircut, and a long-distance friend wanted to see it. I hate selfies - I shoot a whole bunch of pictures, but then hate looking at them (my chin, my cheeks, whatever!) Well, I only shot two tonight (and I had my eyes closed in the first one, LOL). Confidence increasing, self loathing decreasing!
  • My nails are stronger.
  • My arthritic knees hurt less (I used to pop 800 mg of ibuprofen each morning to help manage the inflammation, but haven't done that in months).
  • Much fewer headaches.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Sucking in my gut in to scooch through a tight space only to discover it wasn't necessary :)
  • My feet don't smell bad anymore!  This is the one that has surprised me the most - never considered that might be related to my diet.
But a word of warning - I'm becoming one of those crazy people, you know: those annoying friends who talk way too much about whatever it is they're into.  I was chatting with a casual friend yesterday who's had some gallbladder issues.  She asked me some questions about the way I was eating, and I then asked her if she was taking any supplements, such as ox bile.  As soon as I said it, I stopped and had one of those, "Whoa, where did that just come from?!" moments.  Yes, I am still reading all sorts of things about nutrition, and apparently more of it is soaking in than I realized!

Anyway, I am still very much a devotee of THM.  Someone online was complaining that it was too hard with all the rules. I completely disagree - I have found it liberating to learn the basic principles and tweak them to fit our lives.  I was pretty strict with eating on plan the first six months, and even managed to do well while hubby was in the hospital (on a side note, if that had happened a year prior, I probably would have gained 10-15 pounds during that period as I would have sought solace in baked goods).  We went on vacation earlier this month, and there were a few meals where I really and truly couldn't eat entirely on plan - and that was OK.  I did the best I could and kept moving on -- I didn't inhale a plate of fries, but I did eat a couple.  I even had a Wendy's frosty; I wasn't sure how I would feel after that, but I was fine.  I have noticed that when I choose to have something like delivery pizza or a fast food burger, I'll get bloated and my face usually breaks out about three days later. Fascinating.  It's not a gluten issue (I do use some low carb wraps and tortillas for convenience sake, and they are not gluten free), but there's obviously something in the white flour that my body does not care for. 

Oh, the things I'm learning!

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Omnivore's Dilemma

So on my quest toward healthier living, I've been reading. A lot.  Normally I'm strictly a novel kind of girl, but turns out I can stand an occasional round of educational nonfiction ;)

I read The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan last month, and wanted to share a bit about it here (and ramble on longer than I would in a goodreads review.  Anyone else on there?)

A few friends raved about this book, so I took a chance on it.  The author essentially decides that he wants to evaluate our food chain, so he can better answer the question, "What should we have for dinner?" There are three main sections - Industrial/Corn, Pastoral/Grass (this was my favorite section by far) and Personal/The Forest.  I had a hard time getting into it initially and skimmed a bit in the first 50 or so pages.

He spends about 100 pages just on corn - the government-subsidized stuff that now fills most animals' feed bins (even cows, who naturally would be eating grass), not to mention the processed products lining the shelves of our grocery stores (HFCS, of course, but must of the emulsifiers and such are corn-based); and I think we're all aware of the GMO argument these days.  He points out many shortcomings in our commercialized, industrialized nation, and I admit that I am now even more jaded about the USDA and the government's nutritional recommendations, but this book is not just some anti-government rant...

As science has advanced, we are quick to embrace the discoveries and confidently proclaim we've solved the mysteries.  Pollan discusses studies of soil,  and the discovery in 1840 that the chemicals nitrogen, phosphorus, and and potassium are crucial to plant growth, which soon led to an "NPK mentality."
When we mistake what we can know for all there is to know, a healthy appreciation of one's ignorance in the face of a mystery like soil fertility gives way to the hubris that we can treat nature as a machine. (pg 148)
Wow.  I actually stopped and read that sentence a couple times. Sir Albert Howard, an English agronomist, fought vehemently against "artificial manures" (fertilizer) in the 1930s-1940s, saying they'd leave plants vulnerable to pests and disease, and eventually cause damage to the health of the animals and people who ate them. Hmmmm.

But moving along... all this reading has also led me to have a deeper appreciation of this amazing body that God created (even though an attempt is made to ascribe these capabilities to evolution)
The fact that we humans are indeed omnivorous is deeply inscribed in our bodies... Our teeth are omnicompetent - designed for tearing animal flesh as well as grinding plants.  So are our jaws, which we can move in the manner of a carnivore, a rodent, or an herbivore, depending on the dish.  Our stomachs produce an enzyme specifically designed to break down elastin, a type of protein found in meat and nowhere else.  Our metabolism requires specific chemical compounds that, in nature, can be gotten only from plants (like Vitamin C) and others that can be gotten only from animals (like vitamin B-12). (pg 289)
Pollan visits Polyface farms, whose owner, a graduate of Bob Jones university with a Jesus fish on his car, describes himself as a "grass farmer" (as it's the basis of the intricate food chain found on his farm, which includes chickens, cows, turkeys, rabbits, and pigs, not to mention tomatoes, sweet corn and berries). He does not qualify for the government designation of "organic" yet uses no pesticides or fertilizers, but instead utilizes the animals themselves to provide all that's needed (the cows eat the grass and leave their poop behind, the moveable chicken coops are wheeled over a few days later so the chickens can eat the bugs crawling all over the cow patties, and while pecking at it spread the manure nicely on the ground, plus of course leave their own behind...)  This is highly labor-intensive farm, but Pollan clearly admires the ecological system that's been created.

Now let's talk about the culture of eating - mealtime, preparing the food, etc.  America, so proud of its "melting pot" heritage is always looking for the next new thing (not only in food, but also diets!) and never really established its own set of cultural "food rules".  Consider the French paradox - they "eat all sorts of supposedly unhealthy foods, but they do it according to a strict and stable set of rules: They eat small portions and don't go back for seconds; they don't snack; they seldom eat alone; and communal meals are long, leisurely affairs.  In other words, the French culture of food successfully negotiates the omnivore's dilemma, allowing the French to enjoy their meals without ruining their health." (pg 301)

As women have left the traditional stay at home role, food companies have focused on introducing convenience foods, so that even a six year old can make his own meal - and there's powerful marketing telling us that we need those highly-processed simpler, time saving options!
Several years ago, in a book called The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, sociologist Daniel Bell called attention to the tendency of capitalism, in its single-minded pursuit of profit, to erode the various cultural underpinnings that steady a society but often impede the march of commercialization.  The family dinner...appears to be the latest such casualty. (pg 302)
The final section of the book is devoted to hunting and foraging, and this was probably my least favorite.  It was interesting to learn more about mushrooms (and the sub-culture of those devoted to gathering them) but the descriptions of hunting were pretty ridiculous. I was raised in a hunting family, and the vast majority of our meat was whatever my Dad had shot -- so the author's description of  the experience of stalking an animal and shooting just left me rolling my eyes (although I'm sure there are plenty of vegetarians out there who were offended)  He actually does address vegetarianism here, starting with the book Animal Liberation by Peter Singer.  Again, this had me rolling my eyes: Singer claims it is "specieist" to discriminate between animals and humans - either we do not owe any justice to the severely retarded, or we owe it to animals with higher capabilities.  Seriously?!?  All I could think at this point was what a ridiculous outcome the belief in evolution has led us to...

So I did indeed make it through the 411 pages, and while I don't regret reading it, I wouldn't exactly call it a "must read."  Definitely food for thought, though. Ha :)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Whew, what a crazy couple months!

Haven't posted in awhile, but things have *not* been quiet at our house.

The most "exciting" news was that hubby spent some time in ICU. Ugh.  Took him in to the hospital as his cold would just not go away, and I was sure that it had developed into walking pneumonia; I expected him to get a breathing treatment, a prescription for an inhaler and antibiotics, and be on our way... instead, his blood pressure was scary high (but he had none of the normal symptoms) and yes, he *did* have pneumonia, but complicated by the BP issue, which was also causing him to retain water.  Only it was going to his lungs, rather than ankles like most "normal" people. He ended up spending six days in the hospital, and at that point we were just trying to keep his BP below 170/100.  He was home about a week, and then we ended up back in the hospital - overmedication caused his kidneys to rebel so the second admission was for "acute renal failure."  He was re-admitted on the kids' last day of school, and this time he was there five days.  I am *so* done with sitting around in hospitals, waiting for doctors to make rounds.  I do want to say how incredibly thankful I am for the amazing friends who stepped up and helped take care of our kids while I was at the hospital.  We are truly blessed.

In other news, our church has purchased a building, and that's another crazy story.  Our congregation has been meeting for over eight years now, the majority of which we've been meeting in the cafe/auditorium at a local middle school, and we have a small office space rented in a storefront... Well, we have a realtor that attends our church, and she was handling a listing for the old Sears Service center in town. She called our pastor while he was away at a conference to tell him she thought it was a possibility for our church.  Fast forward a few weeks, and we were running a super-abbreviated capital campaign in June - you know, the worst time of year to ask for money since people are on vacation and such.  But through yet another miracle we managed to raise enough money that we raised sufficient pledges to secure funding through our denomination, and officially purchased the building on June 30. Wowzers. It needs some reno, but we're hoping to start meeting there in late September or mid October. Super excited to think about actually having a facility -especially with our children's ministry.  Being able to put up bulletin boards, or make copies on Sunday morning -- what a luxury!!

Still working on things around the house, still purging & organizing and I want to do some painting, too.  Hard to believe, but we're coming up on our 5 year Texas anniversary!  We did go away for just a couple days to Corpus Christi to celebrate the 4th, and hope to post a few pics later this week :)

Friday, May 16, 2014


Still a long way to go, but gotta admit I'm pretty proud to have hit this milestone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sickness GO AWAY!!!

So it turned out that D did *not* have the flu, just some wacky virus.  He would spike a fever each day for several hours for twelve stinkin' days, which meant that our Easter weekend was pretty quiet.  By day 10 he was noticeably better, but still not my normal boisterous boy.  THAT was when hubby came home sick from work.  Mind you, that has only happened one other time in 18 years, and the other time was when his boss sent him home; this time, he staggered in the door (thankfully he was not working in Mexico that day!), handed off his phone and asked ME to call his boss to say he was home sick.  Huh?!  Seriously, to say this was out of character would be a serious understatement. He spent the next 24 hours in bed (missing 1 full day of work, which has never happened before) and then the weekend shuffling between the bed and couch.  Whoa.  Still not entirely sure what he had, but thankfully he bounced back fairly quickly...

And now it seems both A & I have whatever weird viral thing D was fighting - we're feverish, achey and coughing like mad.

Who wants to come visit?

Seriously, though, it STINKS.  I've missed three weeks in a row of church, and rescheduled one thing after another, and I'm sick of it.  And while I may be much healthier overall than I was a year ago, apparently I've not yet developed superhuman immunity even if I am ingesting huge amounts of spinach and other "power" foods.

On the plus side, I've cleared a bunch of shows off the DVR and read four novels in the past couple days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Palm Sunday

Sorry, I know I haven't posted much here lately.  Life is just busy - nothing out of the ordinary, but not taking the time to sit down here and spill my guts ;)  Maybe in May?

I did want to share these couple pictures from the past Sunday.  Our kiddos sang Hosanna with our worship team, complete with palm choreography. I didn't take either of these, but you can see A in the first photo (dress with the turquoise sash) and I promise D is in the second row on the left side.  They did a great job, and yes, the second photo DOES show them rocking out during the guitar bridge (yeah, our church does things a little differently, ha!)

And well, then we come to Tuesday.  D woke up in the morning complaining that his throat hurt.  I gave him an ibuprofen and sent him to school.  He was mopey after school, but he'd had a less than fabulous day so initially I chalked it up to that -- fast forward an hour, and he's laying on the couch crying that everything hurts.  Fever of 103.2.  Off to the doctor's office we go!!  Yes, we celebrated "Tax Day" not by driving around to random places to get free cookies and/or half price drinks, but instead getting a prescription filled. And just in case you can't read that fine print - it was $15.... but
  Your insurance saved you: $389.89.  OH.MY.LANTA.  Obviously if we didn't have insurance we would not have gotten this, and then I would have had a miserable boy for even longer.  I'm so thankful for hubby's job that provides quality benefits!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Shenanigans

So last week I had posted about our awesome son.  His lively personality helps ensure there is *NEVER* a dull moment at our house...

Yesterday afternoon, he caught me completely off-guard when he asked, "What's inertia?  And is it a property of matter?"


Then a few hours later, he came downstairs with a giant pile of socks that he'd excavated from the bottom of the closet.  He dumped them on the floor, then proceeded to sniff each of them individually and proclaim them either clean or dirty.

I laughed entirely too hard at this activity, but did manage to grab the camera.

In other news, our daughter missed out on a nail painting birthday party last weekend, so she asked me to help her do her nails on Monday evening.  Love that she still likes to do things like this with me...

* * We now interrupt this normal blog post for a mini-rant.  I hate manicures and pedicures.  I don't find them relaxing or fun, I think they're a waste of money AND time, and I am constantly gobsmacked by how much people spend on their nails!  And frankly, I hate that little girls are thinking this is normal to shell out $20+ each week.  I can say with complete certainty that the only manicure party A will ever have would include a basket of supplies from the Dollar Store on our kitchen table.  OK, deep breaths and step away slowly...

On a funny note, we were having a little family chat after dinner last night about how some of the kids' friends are allowed to do different things - specifically stuff like playing M rated video games, watching whatever they want on TV, or staying up late at night.  We told them that we set rules for them because we love them... A shocked me when she said something like, "I think the strict parents are the best."  That is not something that you expect your 9 year old to say.. and while obviously we're not parenting based on their approval (ha!) it was nice to know that she does understand that we love her and those parameters are for their own good.  Kind of wish that I could have recorded the moment so I could play it back to her in the future when she complains that we're too strict ;)

Finally, I share a photo of our living room a/k/a the laundry station.  This is what it looked like 4 minutes before I had a group of ladies arriving for an informal Bible study.  And know what?  I didn't freak out and stash everything in our bedroom.  I knew we'd be sitting around the kitchen table rather than in this room, and I chose to be real.  And know what?  One friend actually told me she loved that I'd left it sitting there, because she felt more comfortable about the piles she had at her house.  Our living room doesn't always look like this (although it has been pretty crazy the past month or so as I've been selling off a ton of unneeded things, and I swear the process of sorting always means it looks 10x worse before it gets better!!) but I'm learning to let people in even when it's not perfect.  Because here's a little secret: *I* am not perfect, and pretending to be is ridiculous and exhausting.  And frankly I could use a few more friends who are accepting of my imperfections -- and what better "test" is there than airing our laundry? :)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Our not-so-little boy...

Our son will be turning 11 next month.  How did this happen?!?  He is a great kid - he's very creative (he's made some pretty awesome LEGO creatures/structures/weapons :) and throws himself whole-heartedly into whatever he's doing.  He's also closing in on puberty (gahhhhh!!!!!!!!!) and is also starting to have more opinions on his personal style.  Right now, for instance, he really wants to have longer hair.  He came down on Monday morning and announced that this bedhead look was totally awesome, and he was wondering if I could help him gel it this way each day.  No, he was not kidding.

Random side note: I love this photo because it's a real smile - I shot a bunch to get one natural grin rather than a goofy "cool" look or a pained grimace.

So back to crazy boy.  As he climbed into the car yesterday, he announces he had the worst day ever.  This usually means that he got in trouble, so I asked how many tallies he'd received (teacher logs issues, and their total count over the quarter basically determines their rating for behavior).  Answer: zero.  Hmmm, I'm now confused, so I ask what happened. He wails back: "They have me down as white!"

(Pardon me while I struggle not to erupt in laughter because obviously this is upsetting to him)

Turns out that they'd distributed the standard annual school report with its summary of test scores and EEO breakout.  He's quite proud that he's a mix of Italian, German, Slovak and Scandinavian - and I then explained to him that just means our ancestors were from those different areas.. and well, they're all European, which means he's *white*.  And he's the only one classified that way in his homeroom (although he pointed out that there are several in his class that "look about as white as me" but still classify themselves as Hispanic even if only Mom or Dad is Mexican).  Holy cow, I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard!

Anyhooo, he'll be going into sixth grade in the fall, and last evening was the orientation at the Middle School.  I have to admit that it was boring and frankly uninformative - the highlight was the 3 minute walk-through tour (we were in a group with one of the assistant principals, and she at least had a sense of humor: "And here are our A/C units - oh good, you all ARE paying attention!").  UIL (university interscholastic league) is a big deal down here, and essentially it's competitions between schools in various topics... I had to laugh when I read the handout and saw "Calculator Skills" (it's actually advanced problem solving in math, but they are allowed to use calculators in this portion), and then there are also speaking/drama categories. Including "Spanish Poetry Interpretation" in which "students prepare a piece of... poetry to read out loud (not memorized) in front of an audience. Gestures, voice, and facial expressions will be utilized to bring the story or poem to life."  I may have threatened to sign him up for that particular topic if he started misbehaving ;)  Seriously, though, he's having a hard time deciding between choir or band, so is planning to take a survey among his friends.

After we endured all the monotone speeches, I took him over to Orange Leaf for Frozen Yogurt.  I had a smidgen of sugar free chocolate topped with fresh strawberries.  He had, um, - peanut butter swirled with salted caramel, pineapple, and cotton candy yogurts, topped with M&Ms, sprinkles, gummy worms, brownie chunks, and I can't even remember what else.  My stomach hurts just looking at that thing!  Oh well, it was a fun outing, and we even brought our spoons home for A to use as Barbie shovels :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Another episode of "Life in the Valley"

We've been here for over four years now, but I still occasionally have moments where I shake my head and mutter, "We're not in Pennsylvania anymore..."

  • The former owners' "tree guy" stopped by (again) to ask about trimming the large tree in our front yard. I have clearly but nicely (I *thought*) told him that we were not interested in his services, and last time he came by, I told him that he was welcome to do the work for free (convey your point with humor, right?!)  This time he tried to hug me REPEATEDLY and said, "for you, I will do for free." Um, NOOOOOOO.
  • I volunteer at our kids' elementary school once a week.  A number of 1st and 2nd graders are identified (through test scores and teacher recommendations) and get a little extra help with reading and such.  Many times these kids speak only Spanish at home, so their English vocabulary/exposure may be fairly limited, so simple tasks like matching words/picture may be slightly harder (words like bud, quilt, fog, etc.).  I also need to remind myself that we're just in a different climate, so plants, weather, etc. are also different.  Today, one of the worksheets we did together had a sketch of green beans - both of "my" kids identified them as mesquite pods.  Neither of them knew what beets were, and both completed a sentence where a boy was giving something to a girl with "beans" ("Why yes, a pot of charro beans would be lovely, thank you!!")
  • A friend lives one school district over; it is a smaller community. Her son attends public school, and consistently is a top scorer.  He also repeatedly gets notice of violations because his somewhat wavy hair starts to brush the tops of his ears.  They were also off yesterday for Mexican Constitution Day (of course no vacation for Martin Luther King Day, President's Day, Veteran's Day, Memorial Day...)  This is the same school that had the theme "Keep Christ in Christmas" for their float in the community holiday parade last year.
  • I still long for more variety in our restaurant choices, particularly in regard to ethnic food.  Olive Garden ≠ Italian! There are Mexican restaurants on virtually every corner, but how about Vietnamese, Portuguese, Thai, or even plain old American diner fare? Well, we *ARE* getting a Cracker Barrel and Popeye's soon ;)
To be fair, I will say that I do enjoy the fresh citrus, generally mild winters, proximity to the beach, having a pool, and the lower costs of housing... but I don't know if this white chick will ever truly fit in.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Ah, the joys of sharing on Facebook

  • Why would you have you FB name set to show your allegiance to a particular translation of the Bible?  (and no, it's not the original Hebrew/Greek)
  • If someone is sharing their heartbreaking life circumstances involving some very difficult decisions that must be made, do NOT leave a comment saying, "I'm going through the exact same thing!  I can't find a new primary care doctor."
  • I love that you got a new haircut, but you do not need to post 14 new selfies.  Every hour.  All week.  The same rule applies when you get a new pet, furniture, clothing, lipgloss, etc.
  • If you wouldn't feel comfortable saying your EXACT comment directly to the original poster's face, then DON'T POST IT.
(Dusting myself off, and stepping off the soapbox now).

Seriously, I love FB.  It is such a blessing to stay connected with friends and family who are thousands of miles away (or even just across town, but we just happen to have opposite schedules).  And admittedly I've been spending more time on there the past couple months due to the THM group.  But I'm now finding myself backing off a bit as my eyes are getting sore from too much rolling.  Yep, the never ending cycle...

Sunday, January 5, 2014


Just checking in as we head into the first full week of January.

I have been THM'ing for about 4 months now, and am down 30 pounds.  Made it through 2 weeks of traveling/staying with family/holiday goodies without gaining.  As mentioned in my previous post, this is the first year in a verrrrrry long time that I'm not feeling overwhelmed about my weight; I know I still have a long journey ahead of me, but that's OK.  I'm not focusing on the end result, but just taking it one meal at a time and making good choices.  And if I screw up, that's OK, too.... but rather than getting down on myself and writing off the rest of the day/week/month, I'll get back "on plan" with the next meal.

I put these jeans on today; they technically fit, but were uncomfortably snug when I started making changes.  I now have 4-5" of extra fabric (and that's fresh out of the dryer, too!)

To "celebrate" thought I'd share one of my recent diet meals, LOL. Backstory: my Mom attended a baby or wedding shower at least 25 years ago, and the hostess served spinach quiche.  My mom got the recipe, and it became a family favorite; in fact, this even became my traditional birthday dinner.  Played around with the recipe this weekend, and came up with this version.  Under the THM guidelines, this is an S meal - "satisfying" since it's using fat as its fuel source (as opposed to "E" for energizing when it's all about the carbs)

Spinach Cheese Bake
1 pound ground beef
1 med onion, chopped
16 oz package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and pressed dry
8 oz block Neufchatel cheese, softened
2 c shredded mozzarella
10 oz cottage cheese
8 eggs
1 Tbsp oregano
½ tsp salt

 Preheat oven to 350. Brown ground beef, then use same pan to sauté onions. Stir all ingredients together, and pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake approx 50 minutes, or until middle is bubbling and edges are lightly browned. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Helloooooo 2014!

Last year's word was intentional... I had lots of good intentions but kind of lacked in the follow-through department.

But it's a new year, right?!

This year's single word: WHATEVER.

No, I'm not trying to be channel my inner 14 year old girl and be snarky.  As in Philippians 4:8

"...whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]." (Amplified)

This verse really jumped out at me as we wrapped up the Philippians study last month.  Are those the things I'm focusing on, or am I worrying about stupid stuff (FYI, that's addressed in 4:6).

2014 is going to be lovely.  I've made substantial changes to my diet and am already seeing some results; it's pretty awesome not to be starting the year depressed about the number on the scale.  Still lots of things that need to be put in order around our house, but progress is being made.

And I'd like to think that possibly someday, someone might describe our family as lovely, kind, gracious, or worthy of praise.

w h a t e v e r.