Saturday, January 30, 2010

CONSTRUCTION ZONE

I'm attempting a bit of blog "remodeling". Unfortunately, I am too tired tonight to mess with it anymore, so I'm leaving things a bit of a mess!

GUILTY PLEASURES

Have you met the latest love in my life?


It's my blackberry curve 8530. I'm in love. I'm not usually the type of person that "splurges" alot, but this is one guilty pleasure I just couldn't live without. I'm hooked.
My friends might even go so far as to call me obsessed with this little beauty. If that would include taking the precious with me into the bathroom so I can check my facebook from the tub holding it in my hot little hands at nearly every possible moment, then I guess I'm guilty as charged.
Don't we all need a guilty pleasure?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

BECAUSE

Tonight, I cannot blog....

because I've been working alot and my kiddos need my undivided attention.

because someone has to make dinner, pack lunches and oversee homework.

because the kitchen is a mess.

because I just ate one slice of jelly roll and now must burn it off.

because there is a never ending pile of neglected laundry, (AND a semi-unpacked suitcase from a weekend trip 2 weeks ago) growing in the bedroom. See?
Someone should really do something about that. And this is why I cannot blog tonight.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

YOGA AND FIREMEN

Last night we had a substitute yoga instructor because our usual instructor, Chad, is off enjoying the sights of New York City. Apparently our sub missed the memo that this is a beginner's yoga class. She gave us a whoopin! I am feelin' the burn! Yes, I could say that its a "good burn", but in all reality it just hurts like hell. There. Its out. I've said it. I am a yoga wimp this week. My body was prepared for smooth, relaxing, Chad-yoga. Instead, I got my-muscles-are-screaming-when-will-this-torture-end yoga. I won't even mention (ok, maybe I will) that I talked my girlfriend Amy into coming along. Will she return? I don't know. I don't even know if she's speaking to me today.

Okay, so I'm exaggerating a little. It really was a great class, but much tougher than what we usually do. I suppose that's the point, isn't it? I just have a flair for the dramatic this evening.

This evening Gracie's Daisy Scout troop has a field trip to a local fire station. Yes, we will be seeing firemen. Cool down, ladies! Is there a woman out there who doesn't love firemen? We will be bringing them cookies. Cookies and Firemen? Oh my.

Its a good thing my husband doesn't read this blog. He isn't a fireman. Just so you know. But he does like cookies.

And I think he's just as cute as any fireman out there.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

SHE WHO IS TIRED

Friends, its been a loooooong week. I have lots to blog about but not alot of time just yet. Things will quiet down in a few days. Last night Cole got to lead the colorguard at his cub scout meeting. He spoke "loud and proud" and took it very seriously. Mom and Dad were so proud!

A friend sent me a great link to Women's health magazine's web site. I love this! There are some very inspiring weight loss success stories that I've enjoyed reading. They are so motivating! Speaking of which, I've received several emails/notes from friends that were so sweet and encouraging! Thank you! You are all wonderful! I plan on responding personally after things settle down at work.

Time for me to finish the day old coffee I scrounged out of the coffee pot (after discovering that I was out of the good stuff). Gracie snuck into bed with us at some point in the night and I spent most of that time being her personal arm/foot rest. This is not condusive to a good nights' sleep!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A BIT OF BABBLE

This past Friday night I met up with some girlfriends after work for our friday night knitting club. Its great fun. We meet at a coffee shop, visit, knit, and beg Amanda to fix all our mistakes. It's awesome. We even have a new member who just happened to be walking by one day, stopped to chat about our knitting, and has now joined us!

In other news, I am preparing for my inventory "re-do", after a disastrous screw up a few weeks ago (not on my part), caused us to start over at square one. Irritating.
My weight loss journey continues to go well! 36 pounds so far! I've been a bit frustrated with how slow it seems to go for me, and I think part of that is due to a medication my Doctor put me on a few months ago. The number one side effect is weight gain. Oh goody! On a positive note, I guesss its great that I'm losing at all! I may quit taking it, as its not a "necessary" prescription, just something I've been trying out. We'll see about all that.

Our final weigh-in at work for our "biggest loser" competition is on Feb. 4. I'm in the top 3! Wish me luck, I've got some serious competition! I've had several people tell me that they've been inspired by what I've been doing, thats such a wonderful compliment. Hearing that really inspires ME as well! Thanks to you all!
A bit of great news is that I feel fantastic!! After 3 months of a vegetarian diet, minimal sugar, very little processed foods, nearly a gallon of water a day, and hard excercise, I have never felt better. I finally feel like I got over that hurdle that was always holding me back from becoming who I want to be. I have wasted alot of time being overweight, and I will never go back to that lifestyle. The good thing is, my new lifestyle makes me so happy! I crave nutritious foods, and love researching health and nutrition so I can continue on this lifelong journey. Most importantly, its teaching my children good habits so they don't have the same struggles as I have. I love seeing them grab an apple, carrots, or a glass of almond milk out of the fridge for a snack. I've found that kids will generally eat whatever you put in the house. They'll eat the chips, cookies and other garbage if its there, but if you put low calorie goodies, fruits and veggies, they are just as likely to grab those. There are so many great low-calorie snacks on the market these days. Read your labels!!

On that note, I found a few new products that our whole family liked!
These are YUMMY!! Morningstar does put alot of extra stuff in their products, but I do really like this one, as did Paco and the kids. No one noticed a difference. They are 4 weight watcher points per serving, and a good source of fiber, which is key to weight loss. Tonight we are having a chef salad and Im going to cook these up and toss them in. Sounds sooo good! My original plan was just to try the vegetarian lifestyle for 3 months, but honestly, I don't think I could ever go back to my old ways. I feel too good! Oh, this stuff is TOO good. Again, fiber rich (6g!), and, for my weight watcher friends, only 3 points per serving. I mix a little flaxseed and almond milk in it for even more flavor and nutrition. The kids gobbled this up this morning!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

COLE

Friday, January 22, 2010

Not much to report...I'm on a day 10 work stretch so that's been keeping me busy. Thank goodness, because I have nothing else to do. HA. Good thing I've got work to fill all that empty free time.

Hope everyone is well. More later!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

VEGETARIAN CHILI

Last night I made what might be my all time favorite chili....EVER. It started out with a craving for chili, and since I didn't have everything I wanted, I just improvised. So, this will not be a traditional recipe, but rather just a list of everything I threw in. The amounts are up to you, depending how you like your chili!

VEGETARIAN CHILI

kidney beans
chili beans
black beans
canned tomatoes (I used the basil, onion and oregano type)
chopped celery
chopped carrots
taco seasoning (I was out of chili seasoning)
oregano
basil
onion powder (I was out of real onions, but I always prefer real onions)
worcestershire sauce (around 1/4 cup or so)

I planned on throwing in a package of morningstar "burger", but was out.
This was amazing!!!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

ONE YEAR AGO

One year ago, we had the scare of our life when Gracie became drastically ill. She was having severe headaches, neck pain and temperatures of 104-105. After several visits to her pediatrician, two traumatic visits to the E.R, eleven I.V attempts and a mommy breakdown when I cried to her doctor that I was scared for my daughter, she was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. Little did we know that would be the least of our concerns, as a few days later we discovered that she also had meningitis.

Our sweet little 5 year old went through sedation, MRI's, CT's, and ultimately a spinal tap to determine what was wrong with her. When the neurologist told us his diagnosis, I felt my world spin. Late at night, after Paco had left to be home with Cole, I sat and just stared at her, feeling scared to death that we would lose her. Meningitis is an inflamation of the tissue around the brain. It is a very scary thing. There are two types of meningitis, viral and bacterial. Viral meningitis is common, and often goes undiagnosed since it bears the same symptoms as the regular flu. Bacterial meningitis, is much, much more serious. Left untreated, it will be fatal, in a very short period of time. Gracie was treated for bacterial meningitis, due to the fact that her spinal tap was inconclusive because there were already antibiotics in her spinal fluid that were treating her pneumonia.

The first few days, she was sedated because her head pain was so bad...

then, we started out slowly by going for rides in the wagon...."play time" with a therapist....who was assessing her thought processes, cognitive thinking, and checking for any long-term damage to her brain. (none!)going for a walk along the fish bridge....working on spending more time sitting upright....this was a big factor in her being able to come home.
Her last day in the hospital, feeling better and happy to have gotten a bath!! It's funny, every time she wears these pajamas it brings back all of these memories...After 5 days, we were able to bring Gracie home with a picc line, which is an I.V that is inserted in your arm, and snaked through your veins to your heart, so that your heart can mix the medication quickly and distribute it throughout your body. Madge, our home nurse, brought us an I.V pump, $5000.00 worth of I.V antibiotics, and all the supplies we would need to go along with that. She taught us how to flush Gracie's line, and how to use the I.V pump to administer meds for 30 minutes twice a day, for 10 days. Thank goodness for this technology that allowed us to do this at home, otherwise she would have spent an additional 2 weeks in the hospital getting the antibiotics.

She missed nearly a month of Kindergarten! Her wonderful teacher called her daily after school, and her classmates sent her 23 cards that they made. She was (and is!) very loved by many. We were so thankful to our friends and family who were there for us! It was a scary time for our family, and only by the grace of God, and the prayers of many were we able to stay strong through it.
Now, she is back to her happy, sweet little self and we just couldn't love her more!!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

WEEKEND ESCAPE

Tomorrow morning we are headed out of town to Yakima for the long weekend. My sister is flying home so we can finally celebrate Christmas. I plan on relaxing, drinking wine and catching up with family. Check my tweets for updates! See ya next week!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

DROOLING

One day, I WILL have this laundry room. Okay, maybe not this EXACT one, but you get the idea.....I. WANT. IT.

P.S. I saw it here.

HAITI

I can't help but think about the families and children affected by the Haiti earthquake. Please visit Compassion International if you want to help! You can read more about what Compassion is all about here.

An easy way to help is to text "HAITI" to 90999 to give $10 to the Red Cross relief efforts. (I just did it, its a piece of cake!) This will be on your next phone bill. You can also text "DISASTER" to 90999 to give $10 to Compassions disaster relief program. They will be working directly with the local churches who know where these families live and will be providing immediate relief to them.

It's amazing how far my $10 will go in Haiti. Today, I will remember to be thankful for all the blessings in my life, and pray for the families in Haiti.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

GET-WELL-SOON-COMBO

Sick and Tired. Literally. I was up half the night coughing, and then finally fell back asleep sitting up against the wall. Today the coughing continues, my stomach muscles ache, and my back is bothering me again. I still look like I have pink eye (I don't), my eyes are bloodshot from the sinus infection. Oh yeah, and then there's the 100 degree temp. Joy!

The good news is I shouldn't be contagious after having been on the antibiotics for 24 hours. This is especially good news for my girlfriend Jenni who visited me at work today, and who I hugged and probably breathed all over. Sigh. She had the prettiest pink coat on today. That girl knows how to dress.

Anyway.

Tonight, I will go to bed ready and armed! Here is my latest defense against evil....I like to call it my get-well-soon-combo. I know, not really that clever.

If you want the really gross details....the neosporin is for my nose which is so sore from all the nose blowing! Why yes, it IS attractive after applied. The eye drops are a desperate attempt to look like I haven't been out all night drinking, and the fisherman's friend cough drops taste like crap but actually work.
I'm really looking forward to my bedtime nyquil cocktail...and to think that I thought lemondrop martinis were good! I have had the pleasure of an entire bed to myself....due to the fact that Paco will have nothing to do with me right now. Apparently the heaping pile of used tissues on my nightstand and a wife slathered in vaporub is a turnoff.
Good to know.
At least all this sick business gives me something interesting to blog about....

A LETTER BY GRACIE

Yesterday, I found this letter written by Gracie in her take-home folder:

"Dear family,
Hi this is your daughter speking. To day at school Im feeling home sike. Case I miss you and I love you. To Jesus's heart and back. I cry becas I love you verry much. And I like you gise in my family. I like dad becase he gives us monton dew. And I like it about my mom she looks just like me.
Love, Gracie

Isn't that sweet? So sweet in fact that I will overlook the fact that Daddy is giving them mountain dew when I'm not around. Who in their right mind gives a kid mountain dew? :)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

GET-WELL-SOON SOUP

I am under the weather. WAY under. After a miserable night of coughing, blowing my nose, nursing a sore throat, and facebooking from the comfort of my bed on my blackberry at 3am concentrating on my rest, I called in sick to work and headed to the Doctor. Diagnosis? Full blown sinus infection. I will be kind and not tell you what symptoms require a diagnosis of full-blown sinus infection.

Anyway.

I have come up with the perfect get-well-soon-recipe. It is pictured below.

Yes friends, my recipe includes a bowl of homemade vegetable soup, one glass of ice water, echinacea (which was supposed to protect me from the crud in the first place), ibuprofen, and antibiotics. Yum.
For those of you interested, here is my "recipe" for the homemade vegetable soup. Be forewarned, this is a throw-together-whatever-you-have kind of deal. That really is all I did, and it turned out to be one of the best soups EVER!!
Vegetable soup
3 32-oz containers of vegetable broth (better yet, make your own. No, I didn't. I'm sick!)
2 cups each sliced carrots, celery, onion and zuchinni
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can progresso light rice and vegetable soup
1 pkg morninstar "griller crumbles", (you can substitute a 1lb of ground beef if you wish)
2 cups peas
pepper and sea salt to taste
In large pot, combine broth, veggies, tomatoes and soup. In a seperate pan, brown your "meat", and add in to large pot. Simmer until vegetables are tender, but not mushy. Then, add in peas and simmer for about 5 minutes.
This is good with a sprinkle of parmesan on the top. Mmmmm. I feel better already!

Monday, January 11, 2010

NOT COMPLAINING

I'm not complaining....about how I worked my tail off all last week to get ready for inventory at work.

I'm not complaining....about the 12 hour days I worked over the weekend.

I'm not complaining....about how much time I spent at home doing paperwork.

I'm not complaining....about, how, in the period of a few hours, all of that hard work was rendered completely useless.

I'm not complaining....about the fact that now I must begin again. At square one.

I'm not complaining....about my fierce head cold, earache, sore throat and possible case of pink eye.

I'm not complaining....about how exhasuted and crabby I am about it all.

Nope, I'm not complaining.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

30 POUNDS

After an exhausting week of work, followed by two 11 hour days this weekend, I'm just too tired to blog. BUT, I did want to share that I have lost 30 pounds! YAY!

To make things even more exciting, my new phone came this week as well and I L.O.V.E. it! More on that later.

Here's dinner for tonight, and it is SO good! Spinach salad with tomatoes, mushrooms, red onion, croutons, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseed, craisins and almonds. Mix in a little lite caesar dressing and VOILA!
After tomorrow, life should quiet down a bit again. Lots to blog about!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

TWITTER ME THIS

Haven't posted in a few days...been SUPER busy at work.
BUT.
Check out my sidebar....I'm twittering....with my fancy new phone! Oh, the joy!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

HERE'S WHAT I THINK

I thought I would share about a few products we tried this week, as I look for alternatives to meat products.

Last weekend I made homemade italian wedding soup, and used this Gimme Lean "sausage", aka "soysauge". I LOVED it. I actually made two batches of soup, one with the soysauge for me and the other with pork sausage for Paco. He actually said he couldn't even taste the difference. The best part? This stuff has 60 calories, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol and 7 grams of protein. The only downfall is the price...roughly about $3.50-$4.00 for a package. I will watch out for sales and coupons so I can buy more!
There have been a few of Morningstar's products that I didn't care for, but I did like this stuff. Paco (who is trying to be very supportive in my non-meat-eating venture), cooked it up for us last night and put it in a taco salad. Paco said he wasn't crazy about it, but I really didn't notice a difference and would use it again. This stuff is also pricey, close to $4.00. I thought I would try it this weekend in chili....YUM!

PRAY FOR KATE

Several times over the past few months, I have posted about Kate McCrae. Today, her family needs prayers more than ever, as Kate has had her long awaited MRI and they did not receive the news they have been praying for. This family has been through so much, and throughout it all they continue to praise God and the direction he is taking their family in. They also did so much for other children fighting cancer this Christmas season. I realize that I take my children's health for granted, and often forget to give thanks for the blessings in my life. Please keep this wonderful family in your prayers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

OF INTEREST

I thought I would share these posts written today by MckMama regarding the ups and downs that envelop any marriage. Her honesty and willingness to be open about her life really inspires me!

TONIGHT!!

The newest season of Biggest loser starts....tonight!!! Yay!! This show is what finally inspired me to get my act together and change my life. If you haven't watched it, DO!! You won't be dissapointed!

TEXAS CAVIAR


This is one of my favorites.....I make it at least once a week for meals or just snacking. I've come across several recipes...this is a mish-mash of all of them.

TEXAS CAVIAR

2 cans low sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans low sodium black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red onion, chopped
6 vine tomatoes, diced
1 pkg frozen corn, cooked and cooled
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped
a few splashes of low fat italian or balsamic dressing, for moisture and flavor*
pepper to taste

*I used Kraft light balsamic vinaigrette

Mix ingredients in a bowl and enjoy. This is even better the next day! I like it with tortilla chips, or else wrapped in a whole grain tortilla with a little plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

Guess what I'm having for lunch tomorrow?

Monday, January 4, 2010

POLENTA AND MARINARA

Next up in my favorite foods line-up.....Polenta. It's just cornmeal and water. Honestly, I've only prepared this once, but I loved it! Yesterday I used Freida's basil oregano polenta, sliced it, and browned it in a little bit of olive oil and garlic. Then, I topped it with a little low-fat mozzarella.Delish! They make several different varieties of Polenta, so I'm anxious to try them all. It's also simple and inexpensive to make yourself. There are also many, ways to serve it. In fact, tonight I am preparing it again, like I did yesterday, but am topping it with some homemade marinara sauce and fresh grated parmesan. I think it will be a good change from pasta. You can usually find it in the refrigerated section of the produce department.

Speaking of homemade marinara sauce, this stuff is FANTASTIC. Way better than anything you will find in a jar, without all the preservatives. I got the original recipe out of the Biggest loser cookbook, and have tweaked it a bit to suit our tastes.FRESH MARINARA SAUCE

Olive oil spray
2 cups minced sweet onions
4 tbs freshly minced garlic
2 (28 oz) cans crushed tomatoes*
3/4 cup water
4 tbs no-salt-added tomato paste
4 tsp honey
2 tbs dried oregano
4 tsp dried basil
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped fresh italian parsley
a couple splashes of marsala
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms (I like crimini)

*I actually used seasoned diced tomatoes, because that's what I had in my pantry. It makes for a chunkier sauce, but tasted just as good.

Spray a large nonstick saucepan with the olive oil spray and place over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until just becoming tender, (should not brown) for 4 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and with a wooden spoon stir in the tomatoes, water, tomato paste, honey, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes and parsley until well combined. In a seperate pan, saute' the mushrooms in some garlic and a light bit of olive oil. Add mushrooms to marinara sauce. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for at least 1 hour.