Thursday, November 26, 2009


Happy Thanksgiving! I have many things to be thankful for, as do all of you. Celebrate your blessings, and the time you spend with friends and family. May you all have many more reason to be thankful in the coming year!


Yep, that's right! I have lost my first 20 pounds. It hasn't come without struggle....but I finally feel like I am going to actually go all the way this time. I have much more to go, but am celebrating myself today! I am LOVING the it possible to become addicted to working out? I find I can't wait to get there and kick my own butt! It really is exhilarating. Yoga classes with my friend Carol are going great as well.

My eating habits have completely changed now. I'm craving healthy, nutritious foods and supplements and have had no problem staying away from the junk. It's as though something finally "clicked" for me. I'm so thankful for this weight loss competition we have going at work....I think its the root of whats keeping me going and motivating me to change my life!

I'm totally loving the new (and changing) me!


*warning: the following post was written by an irritated author who is apparently feeling very sorry for herself today. You've been warned!

This week, while I am so thankful for so many things, I can't help but feel a little down, missing my own family. Working in the industry that I do, the holidays do not bring extra time off to enjoy the season. Instead, I'm lucky to get 2 days off together. I find myself feeling bitter about it every holiday season.

It is what it is, and after 16 years of it, I've found there isn't much hope of change.

I'm envious of those who get 4 and 5 day weekends to travel and see their loved ones, or even just to relax around home, put up decorations, and re-energize. This year, I don't even want to think about how I'm going to get decorations up, shop, and muster up any holiday cheer. Truthfully I don't even want to. I am one person and I can only do so much. I have one day off this week and it will be spent frantically trying to get the leaves out of my yard and get ready for the snow to hit. If I don't do it myself, it won't get done and I will have a giant mess in the spring. Halloween decorations are still piled in the basement waiting for me to pack them away. The list does go on and on. I want to give up, throw my hands in the air and fly away to Virgina to be with my sister, drink wine and pour my heart out about the unfairness of it all. Instead, I will press on as I always do.

UGH. I don't even know what kind of post this is. I'm obviously out of sorts this morning...wanting to go work out but the gym is closed. Maybe some yoga will ease the tension and lift my spirits.

Feeling hopeful...

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Check out a couple special greetings from the Sutton family below. The videos are different, so be sure to watch each one! Also, remember to scroll to the bottom of the page and pause the music so you can hear the video.


Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Send your own ElfYourself eCards


*why DO I get up so early?
*can my neighbors see me walking around in my underwear?
*would they really WANT to?
*I love the peaceful house in the early morning
*working in grocery retail really puts a damper on your holiday spirit
*do I have to put on makeup today?
*my butt is definately shrinking
*I love my son for his uniqueness
*really need to get those leaves out of the yard before the snow hits
*my house is a train wreck
*wish the gym was open this morning
*dreaming of a warm tropical place
*what should I pack for lunch?
*missing my sister
*wonder if I'll wake everybody up if I use the blender. duh.
*thankful for a healthy family
*I love my daughter for her sweetness
*I hate carpet
*Why can't there be more hours in the day?
*My husband is an amazing father
*I've lost 18 pounds!
*how do those jiffy lube guys really feel about having to stand on the corner and wave?
*It's too darn early to think clearly

Time to face the inevitable and get ready for work. Hope you enjoyed my random early morning thoughts.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Boy, I have been a slacker at blogging lately. Maybe because I've been a gym rat and am absolutely loving it! I've been hitting the gym 4-5 days a week religiously. I've lost 17 pounds since I got serious about dropping the weight about a month ago. (I've lost 11 lbs since we started our "Biggest loser" competition at work 2 weeks ago). Its finally become a habit, and I'm finding ways of making sure I get that "Me" time in. Whether its at 5am before work, on the weekends before Paco leaves for work, etc, its a priority. I am actually excited to get there and I really challenge myself. For me, half the fun is being around other people who are excercising. It draws out my competitive side!! I feel great! A friend and I joined a yoga class on Tuesdays...also really fun.

Not to be outdone, Paco has lost around 13 pounds and has been working out and lifting weights again. As if he needs BIGGER muscles. {grin}

Wish us luck!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I just tried this recipe for a breakfast protein smoothie. YUM!!

Mix the following together in a blender:

1 small banana
1 cup fat free milk
1 tsp peanut butter
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
2 scoops chocolate protein powder (I use the biggest loser powder)

This was SO good..and very filling because its full of fiber. Give it a try!

*This recipe came from Bob Harper's "Are you ready!" book


Why, why, why do I feel compelled to keep SO MANY magazines around? I get so excited when they come in the mail, and then they sit, sit, sit waiting for me to get around to them. Why do I think I will have time to lounge around in my cozy p.j's catching up on recipes, child rearing, financial advice, tips on clearing out clutter (a.k.a piles of magazines), and the really important stuff like whether or not Brad and Angelina will have even MORE babies.

I guess its because I keep thinking..."Oh, I totally will read this at work, at the gym, in the bathroom, at the Dr.'s office, while the kids do homework, or in the car at stoplights!". Maybe I'll read it when I catch up on 6 years of scrapbooking my children's lives, finish my unfinished knitting projects, paint my kitchen, read nutrition books, organize closets, rake leaves, etc.

So, this past evening, I bit the bullet and bundled up 147 magazines. Yep, I counted. Impressive number wouldn't you say? No, I'm not giving up my subscriptions, I'm just releasing myself from the "I have to finish reading that" pressure. I love my Oprah magazine. Rachael Ray. Country living. Redbook. Family handyman. (ok, that's Paco's) The Cosmo mags and Entertainment weekly my Mom gives me. I just can't give 'em up!!

And, Im not giving them ALL up, I'm taking some of them to work with me, because, of course, I will read them during lunch....on my breaks...during meetings...


We have started up a friendly little competition at work, following the idea of "The biggest loser" T.V show. It involves a 90 day weight loss challenge. Everyone who was interested paid a $25.00 "registration" fee, and was weighed in. Whomever loses the greatest percentage of weight by Feb. 4th wins some serious bucks! I was able to get 20 people to participate, so the 1st place winner will take home $350.00! (2nd place - $100, 3rd place - $50).

It's been a fun first week. I am very competitive by nature, so that has been great motivation for me. It's also fun to have such a large support system. Sure, there is alot of "friendly-fire" between us, but we're all in this together! I was even able to get Paco to participate!

So far, Paco and I are doing great. He dropped a quick 7 pounds the first week, I've lost 5. I had lost 7 pounds before that, so in reality I'm down 12 pounds! We have both been faithful about going to the gym for the past few months, and it finally feels like more of a habit than something we "have to do". I've been going 4 days a week, and am really starting to notice a difference! I either go in the early morning before work, or in the afternoons on Paco's day off so he can be with the kids. Other times, I take the kids with me and they get to swim while I swim laps. My point is, I know I HAVE to get my time in one way or another. Wish us luck, it will be a fun 90 days!


Sunday, November 8, 2009


Last year, we put Gracie in all-day kindergarten. Yes, it was expensive, but we needed the flexibility with our work schedules and she was SO eager for school. Needless to say, she was tremendously successful, and, even with missing a month of school due to illness, she graduated from Kindergarten with flying colors. I credit alot of this to Mrs. M, her teacher.

Mrs. M is a gentle, caring, patient and all-out amazing teacher who will have a spot in our hearts forever. When Grace was hospitalized with meningitis and subsequently home-bound with an I.V line for 2 weeks following, Mrs. M spoke with her every day. She kept her up to date on the fun things that were going on in the classroom. Her classmates made her 22 get-well cards. When we stopped by to visit and pick up some school work, she was greeted with loving hugs and "I missed you's". In their "end of the year" scrapbooks, she included a letter to be opened on the day they graduate from high school. Over this past summer, she sent all her Kindergartners postcards from Maui. She made "her kids" feel loved and full of self worth. She was willing to put forth alot of extra effort to do the extra things. This is what makes her remarkable. To Gracie, all of these things meant the world to her. The last day of Kindergarten was tough on all of us. We really felt like she was family to us. We talk of Mrs. M all the time.

Fast forward to today. As we were perusing the apples at the grocery store today, we heard a familiar voice behind us saying "Is that my Gracie?". There she was...Mrs. M. Gracie ran to her and they had a big hug. It was a wonderful moment. She asked us what class Grace was in this year, and when we told her she was in a 1/2 combo class she said "Oh I am so glad! I recommended that she be placed in that class because it would be more challenging for her. It's a privilege for her to be there." Mrs. M was so good about recognizing Gracie's ability and eagerness to learn. We had a wonderful visit, lots more hugs, and a promise to go and visit her old classroom soon. As we parted ways, I had a bittersweet feeling of affection and appreciation for how she has changed our lives.

Thank you, Mrs. M. We will never forget you.


Last week, Cole and Dad were hard at work putting together Cole's report on a nocturnal animal of his choosing. He chose the Black Panther. He had to do his own research, and complete all the work himself. Together, he and Dad did a great job, and Cole's presentation went great! He LOVES to present in front of people, and knowing him, he was as "loud and proud" (that is Mr. Porter's phrase for Cole) as ever. Here's a photo of him with his visual part of his report...Great job Cole! We're so proud!


Cole's birthday is on October 30, the day before Halloween. It was a busy day! As is tradition at our house, the kids had cupcakes with their breakfast. They always look forward to this! Later, Dad brought his class cupcakes after lunch, and his class also had their "Nocturnal party" (a.k.a halloween party). That evening, we stayed home and kept things pretty low-key.

We had pumpkin pizza...
Spider and eyeball cupcakes...and of course, opened presents, sang happy birthday and ate!


We have literally been celebrating Cole's birthday for 2 weeks now! First, it was the party at Savageland with all his buddies...Cole and Joseph...
Cole's "oldest" friend! Christopher...
Joseph, Cole and Sean....
Gracie and our neighbor Carollynn...The whole gang!!
It was a busy 2 hours...but went very smoothly and everyone had a great time!Happy Birthday Buddy!


I realized last night that I never posted Halloween photos! This year the kids dressed up as G.I. Joe and a cheerleader....
On Halloween night, we met up with the other families from Cole's soccer team at a Halloween party that one of the families put on. There was lots of snacks, drinks, games and fun to be had. Afterwards, the whole group (about 15 kids) went trick-or-treating together. It was a fun way to trick-or-treat....then they started up a fire and we just stood around and visited while the kids ran amok.... Don't mess with G.I. Joe!Austin and Hunter. Harry Potter x 2!One of Darin and Allison's pumpkins...

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I came across a great, yummy, delicious recipe for pumpkin dip! Serve it with apple slices for a healthy treat!! My kids loooooove it!

Pumpkin Dip
3/4 cup (6 ounces) 1/3-less-fat cream cheese *
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 teaspoons maple syrup *
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
24 apple slices

*I used fat free cream cheese
*I didn't have "true" maple syrup, so I just used some light pancake syrup. Tasted great!
I also added a little extra cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for extra flavor. To make it even prettier, you could add a scoop of fat-free cool whip on the top!!

Place first 3 ingredients in a medium bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add syrup and cinnamon, and beat until smooth. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Serve with apple. Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 2 tablespoons dip and 2 apple slices)

CALORIES 107 FAT 3.2g FIBER 1.4g

Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2003


Monday, November 2, 2009


Yeah, me!! I haven't dropped off the face of the planet...I've just been busy. Swamped really. I've got all sorts of fun things to post about...Cole's birthday parties, Halloween, etc. Maybe tomorrow. Or perhaps the day after.

Frankly dear friends, Denise is pooped.