Saturday, February 28, 2009

Look - the ticker is moving! :)

I'm down 1.2 pounds this week and I'm super excited about it! I just thought I'd share. Keep it up everyone else who is working hard to take control of their health. Thanks to everyone cheering me on.

How's your goal coming?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Not giving up anything for Lent

My late father was Roman Catholic and every year I'd hear him declare something that he was giving up for lent. Most times it was something tongue-in-cheek like Rabbit Stew so that he could not fail at his goal. I heard quite a few people talking this week about giving up soda and chocolate and all sorts of "worldly" things. Quite truthfully, I don't think I should be giving up food items for Lent because I'm already on a "take better care of my body" kick.

Instead I've decided to gain something during the Lent season. I'm going to spend 30 minutes each morning in meditation and prayer. I'm hoping this time will be something that I can cherish and look forward to. My sacrifice is that I spend so much time talking when I pray, I'd like to really spend more time listening and just being.

May this Lent season bring you peace and reflection.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

SOAP Isaiah 40:31


“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:31


This scripture couldn't come at a better time. I've been feeling tired and weak. I'm feeling the struggle of being a working (mostly single) mom. My house is a mess. I have two weeks worth of mail that I haven't even sorted. My taxes are not done. I think I have clothes at the dry cleaner that need to be picked up. And the list goes on and on for home duties that I have fallen behind on. At work, my email in-box is slowly getting full of simple and not so simple requests as more people are meeting me and learning who I am and what my role is. This means that often times I start a project and don't really get to finish it in my time frame. I've been putting out fires for the past 2 weeks. Basically, between work and home I feel as though I am all over the place.

Because there is so much to do, my prayer lately has been one of thanksgiving that I am healthy enough to get these tasks accomplished, that I am fortunate enough to have a great job in this terrible economy, that I am surrounded by a husband that is crazy about me (a complete 180 degree turn from where we were this time last year) and 3 kids that are truly wonderful kids. However, aside from thanksgiving, I need help. I've been praying, "Lord, I'm handing it over to You - I can't prioritize this mess around me. Help me to get done the things that You see as the most important things for me to do, and help me to find the strength to do these things. Let me not just check these tasks off of my to-do list, but let me do these things which You've placed for me to do with a loving heart that others may see Your light shine through me."


I have found that by simply handing it all over, I have gained so much strenth, speed and clarity. I know that this is not just my doing. I know that the Lord has got to be helping me push through the exhaustion. I've had some amazing moments this week where I've been running late for important meetings and miraculously I've managed to hit all green lights on my way there. Completely unheard of in Central Florida! I also average well over 20, 000 steps a day (in heels on workdays!) and I don't ever feel the sheer exhaustion until an hour or two after the kids go to bed, and then I feel myself begin to nod off and I finally feel have to give myself permission to stop whatever I'm doing and go to bed.

My husband is in a class all week about transitioning from being in the military to being a civilian. There are so many things that I could be nervous about right now. But it's almost frightening how the control-freak in me has decided that there is no use in me worrying about what's to come. I know that whatever happens during this transition, the end result will be the same. I can either fret about the amount of work that I need to do and the scarieness of becoming civilians, or I can soar above it all like a confident eagle keeping my hope in check.


Lord, I just can't even find the words to thank You for the changes in my marriage, and the health of the kids, our financial situation, my job stability, and the list could go on and on. Just knowing that I don't have to fret about anything is beyond comforting. Thank you for my daily strength.

If anyone would like to write their own SOAP note about Isaiah 40:31 or about another scripture - leave me a comment and I'll come check it out! I get my scriptures from A Woman's Walk at Crosswalk. On Sunday night, I pull up the scripture for the week and write it in different locations around the house to help me to hide it in my heart.

Yipee for friends with good breakfast ideas!

I posted a little while back about trying to improve on my breakfast selections for the kids. I have been blessed with a few friends that are kind enough to share their tried and true kid-friendly breakfast ideas.

Michelle, over at Her Cup Overfloweth, has a fantastic post about tortilla toast. As soon as I saw the yummy picture of the tortilla, I was flooded with memories of my oldest son and his love for tortillas when he was a little guy. I think Joshua lived on cream cheese tortilla sandwiches as our on-the-go type lunch for most of his toddlerhood. Even if you're not in the market for breakfast ideas - I'd recommend a jog on over to her site to check out her awesome Muffin-tin Mondays (yippee for bento-style meals!), and super fun crafts (I see a paper caterpillar in my very near future!).

Paula has some Organizing Tips and Thoughts for Moms. One of the many awesome tips she has is for me to decrease the morning stress by taking more time to prep the night before. Genius! How is it that something so simple can be so effective? I will testify that I put everything in the minivan the night before now (except my briefcase), and not only does it decrease the amount of things I need to do in the morning - packing lunches, signing permission slips, those types of things - but it has also decreased the distractors for the kids. With the backpacks out of the entryway, there are no speed bumps between the shoe closet and the front door!

The Day Family wrote all about her breakfast suggestions in this awesome post. I need to take a lesson from her and freeze some of my healthy muffins for quick on-the-go days.

Thanks fellow bloggers for all the great tips! Keep 'em coming!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Spaghetti Sauce

I don't have a spaghetti sauce recipe. I just kind of throw a bunch of stuff together and let it cook for a while. Last night I tossed some left over chicken breasts (real chicken to eliminate confusion, since we do use vegetarian chicken quite a bit!), some canned tomatoes (I love Muir Glen), a bunch of fresh herbs, some tomato paste and a few other things I found hanging out in the fridge (I think there's some eggplant and broccoli in there, again left overs from earlier this week).

So now, I've got a bunch of yummy chunky sauce ready for dinner tomorrow night. Monday nights are always rough around here since I returned to work.

10,000 Steps before 10am

There is a Biggest Loser competition at my job. Instead of being based soley on pounds lost - there are other categories for tracking - inches, steps walked, percentage of body fat and of course the pounds. I also have to give a baseline of how many sit-ups and push-ups I can get done in one minute.

It's fun to see everyone checking their pedometers at work (which we were able to purchase for under $10). It also makes everyone laugh together because we are in this together. Just last week, one of the doctors brought in Krispy Kreme donuts. I can remember being pregnant in Kodiak and wanting a KK so badly. However, since I've been back to Florida, I thought it would be fun to take the kids to watch the donuts come fresh and hot off the press and I somehow was disgusted by the whole thing and couldn't even eat my donut that I bought. Anyway, just a whoot whoot that I did not eat any KK donuts last week. In fact, I'm not too sure much of the staff got to eat them because I had to be the mean one and say they couldn't be in a patient care area (nurses' station, hallway, etc).

Back to why I have 10,000 steps before 10am today...our church has a Sunday morning group called Witness4Fitness. It meets at 8am for a worship then walking on the trail. I was saddened that not too many people joined us, so I'll be calling some moms this week and dragging them to the trail with me! There is a nice little park that the kids played in and then we walked back home.

Anyone else counting their steps? Or am I the only person slightly obsessed with the number displaying on my hip?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rice Milk

I'm not a milk-drinker. When I was pregnant with Joshua, I loved milk. But only Nestle Quick chocolate milk and it had to be really cold. Hmmmm....perhaps that contributed to the 65 pound weight gain I had with him!

We recently started buying Rice Milk and the kids seem to really be enjoying it. Let me make it clear though, that we've never really been the type of parents that pour our kids a glass of milk and expect them to drink it. I've never bought into the whole theory of humans drinking milk produced by another animal. It would just seem like cow's milk would help baby cow's to grow. I think of how fast my kids grew when they were just drinking my milk.

So, to answer the question that I've been asked quite a bit lately - we're using Rice Milk as our source of milk. The kids have it in their cereal bowls and tell me that they like it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Planning lunch this week - NSV (non-scale victory!)

For the next two weeks, I've got some serious projects happening at work. Which means that I probably won't even see the inside of my office - I'll be giving trainings and going to meetings, then giving more trainings about what was discussed in meetings. Unfortunately, between my office and the 4 clinics that I am responsible for, not to mention the main campus of the hospital that owns the clinics - I can sometimes be in 6 different buildings, or in my car for quite some time every day.

I know I'll be eating "on the fly" every day for the rest of this week. However, I did manage to manipulate my schedule so that I'll be at the main campus during lunch time so that I can eat at the vegan cafe. I may try to mimic their chicken salad sandwich next week when I am back to bringing lunches to work.

Incidentally, my husband took the pasta salad back to the base with him and called me today to tell me it was fantastic. It makes me feel so good to hear that he enjoys our healthier lifestyle. I think his positive phone call today really helped me to think about lunches this week and make myself a plan so that I don't panic and eat some junk for lunch.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cold Noodle Salad

My husband came home with this recipe sometime last year. I had not had a chance to make it until tonight. Ingredients:

2 cups cold cooked wheat noodles
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 c cider vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp minced scallions
zest of 1/2 lemon
salt to taste

1. Coarsely chop the garlic. Saute in 1 tbsp of olive oil over low heating for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Mix oil, vinegar, chili pepper, parsley, scallions, lemon and salt in a metal bowl.

3. Add garlic and oil it was cooked in. Whisk together.

4. Add noodles and mix well.

5. Serve at room temperature.

Berry Cookie Cobbler



2 bags frozen mixed berries
1 (21 oz) can apple pie filling
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 roll prepared sugar cookie dough

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix berries, apple pie filling, sugar and cinnamon.

3. Transfer to 8x8x2 dish.

4. Crumble cookie dough over fruit.

5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spinach Ravioli Bake

1 block of frozen spinach - cooked, drained
1 jar of spaghetti sauce
1 bag of frozen ravioli
1 small bag of mozarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In lasagna pan, layer sauce, ravioli, spinach, cheese and then start all over again.

3. Bake 30 minutes or so, until everything is warm and melty all the way through.

This is what it looks like halfway through the layering. This is my super-fast cheating lasagna type dish for potlucks. Everyone loved it and I love bringing home an empty dish.

Friday, February 13, 2009

I finally got on the scale

I haven't been very consistent with exercise. However, I've been eating really good. I go to alot of work lunches, and I've been trying to look up the menus the night before to figure my points for my lunch.

I'm down 0.4 pounds since my last weigh-in well over a week ago.

I just found out that I will be going to a retreat with all the residents and med students from my department, as well as the faculty and hospital administrators. This will be in April, and will be at the beach. I can imagine since it is family oriented that it will involve swimming. Ugh. I have to admit that I look pretty good when I'm fully dressed, but when I'm just in a swimsuit - yuck. I think I need make more of an emphasis on toning.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

SOAP note Ephesians 5:33

Scripture: And let the wife see that she respects and reverences her husband-that she notices him, regards him, honors him, prefers him, venerates and esteems him; and that she defers to him, praises him, and loves and admires him exceedingly (Ephesians 5:33 amplified)

Observation: I think my husband needs to hear on a daily basis how much he is needed. I think it makes him sad when he calls and all I have to say is how grumpy the kids are or even how successful I was at figuring out how to clean the pool. He needs to know that he is my superhero. He needs to know how much I miss him. Years ago when he was stationed on a ship, I used to email him daily telling him how much I love him and how much I miss him. I would make up crazy emails with a top ten list of the things I miss about him, or I would name a loving quality of his for every letter of the alphabet. Then careers and children and business get in the way and it becomes hard to let the silly sappy love bug back out of it's cage. This is definately a part of our lives that we are working harder on. Fortunately, we saved all of those mushy emails, and the homemade cards and the prom coursage from 15 years ago - and it's awefully fun to look at all that stuff.

Application: I've challenged myself to text my husband at least once a day just to say hello and I love you. That is huge for me because I'm not a big text messager. I'm also challenging myself to come up with something creative for Valentine's Day. Fifteen years ago we went out on our very first date right around this time.

Prayer: Lord, I'm so thankful for my wonderful husband. I'm thankful for the fun times we've had together but also for the tough times that really showed us how important we are to each other. Please help me to keep my insecurities and selfish nature in check in order to show my husband the respect he deserves. Help me to show him in both my deeds and words how much I admire him. Help us to make the time to spend more time together as adults. Amen.

This week's scripture is from a devotion that I read on Monday morning at Crosswalk. I can't get my Mr. Linky working correctly and it's past my bedtime, but if you want to play along, leave a comment linking to your post with your thoughts on this and I'll come check it out.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Info from the allergist

* This is a duplicat post from our family blog. Because I need for my family to be aware of the food issues with Joshua and because it applies here as well. *

Joshua had an appointment scheduled for next week to see a pediatric allergist. The problem is that our military insurance covers this allergist, by my hospital insurance does not. In a few months, we won't have the military insurance anymore. So I cancelled the appointment with the allergist because this office is very difficult to work with - they only do new patient appointments between 10am and 2pm and only Tuesday through Thursday. That just isn't going to work with my schedule for the next month or so because of some stuff at work that requires my presence. Along with the new patient paperwork that came last week (that I finally got a chance to read tonight when I was looking for the number to cancel the appointment), was some great handouts with a list of foods to avoid until after allergy testing. We'll probably have the allergy testing in April with the allergist that my insurance will cover. But in the meantime, Joshua is just exhausted...his eyes are so dark, his nose runs like a faucet, he coughs non-stop all the time (especially at night) and he's so weepy. I just wish I could make it all better. Since I don't have a magic wand, the next best thing is to follow the list of foods to avoid until our appointment in April.So for now, he is to avoid -
Tree Nuts

We've been fairly successful at avoiding any MSG (otherwise known as "natural flavoring" - how deceptive is that - I'm starting to really dislike the FDA in our country.)

We also try to avoid artificial colorings. I can clearly remember having a little boy spend the night at our house about 3 or 4 years ago and his mom going crazy on me for letting him brush his teeth with Joshua's blue sparkly Spiderman toothpaste. I seriously thought she had gone off the deep end and had gotten a little too crunchy. Yup, now I'm that mom. No food colorings here, and the school thinks I'm crazy.

We've been learning about hidden HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and finding it lurking in weird places.

*Sigh* Joshua's a champ and now knows that he is absolutely under no circumstances allowed to eat anything that is not in his lunchbox.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Breakfast woes for an on-the-go Mom

My kids turn into turtles in the morning. Seriously. Any other time they are out-running me, being loud and fast. Not in the morning, something about seeing me dressed for work makes them move in slow motion like little cartoon people. I know all the tricks - sticker charts, motivation, etc. However, I'm having a bit of an internal struggle lately that I want them to be dressed for school and ready to go simply because I asked them to do it, not because they'll earn a marble or sticker or any other reward. Sometimes I don't have time to turn my house into a preschool. (Mental note - next time consider that when you are thinking about having 3 children in less than 4 years....point taken - I guess my house is already a preschool....see? my internal struggle.)

Anyhow, I'm ashamed to admit that breakfast for my turtles has been either a cream cheesed bagel or a granola bar both of which are usually eaten on the way to school in the minivan. Ouch! How's that for a terrible breakfast?

So my mini-challenge to myself this week is to actually serve breakfast at the table all week. I didn't even purchase bagels at the grocery store this week.

I'm up for suggestions for kid-friendly healthy breakfasts.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Black Bean Soup

This recipe is from a good friend of mine, Heather, up in Kodiak, Alaska. She gave me this recipe just a few weeks before Megan was born - so I've have this gem for over 4 years now. I make this soup all the time!! It comes in at 3 pts for 1 cup of soup.


10 sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 c. boiling water
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin
1/3 c. water
28 oz of undrained canned tomatoes (I like the petite diced)
32 oz of undrained black beans

1. Cover sun-dried tomatoes with boiling water and set aside.

2. In pot, saute onions, garlic, and cayenne in the oil for about 5 min, stirring frequently.

3. Add cumin, 1/3 c. water and the juice from the tomatoes.

4. Squeeze tomatoes into the pot.5. Cover and bring to a boil.

6. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

7. Add black beans and their liquid and continue to simmer stirring occaisionally to prevent sticking.

8. Drain and chop sun-dried tomatoes.

9. Add to soup and cook for 5-10 minutes.

10. Puree half of the soup and return in to the pot.

Banana Carrot Muffins

These are fantastic! Moist and healthy! I made over 56 mini-muffins at 2 pts per mini-muffin.

1 c. sugar
4 eggs, large
5 bananas
1/3 c. orange juice
2 c. grated carrots (can also used mashed canned or frozen carrots)
4 c. flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 c. butter

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini-muffin tin.

2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.

3. In a large bowl (I use my KitchenAid), cream the butter and sugar.

4. Add eggs and juice to wet mixture.

5. Mash carrots and bananas thoroughly (my kids love this part!)

6. Mix carrots and bananas into egg-sugar mixture.

7. Stir in dry mix; only until moistened.

8. Pour into muffin pan.

9. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

*sigh* A terrible dinner night!

I have two sick kids. Joshua, my 6 1/2 year old, has a really bad cold that has really taken him down. Remember, he's my allergy nightmare. As soon as my insurance kicks in with my new job, I'll be taking him to a good doctor that can walk us through more complete allergy testing. The school he goes to is pretty old and has carpet in there that is probably older than I am (which means that dinosaurs probably hammered it down!). Since the weather has been cool this past week, the heat has been on in the school and it really took it's toll on Joshua. I've had to increase his allergy meds and now he is very weepy and whiney.

Megan has been running low grade fevers for two days. Her class of 16 kids was down to about 3 on Friday. There are so many viruses running around. Not to mention the flu...we've seen a 200% increase in positive flu swabs in the past week. I had to do some emergency in-services with the nurses, reminding them to protect themselves with masks if they need to.

My husband isn't home tonight. It's just me and the munchkins. On a whim, I ordered pizza. Without thinking, I ate 3 pieces - nearly 1000 calories and 10 grams of fat. Yipes.

*I will not beat myself up! I will not beat myself up! I will not beat myself up!* Instead, I'll let Jillian do it, when I Shred after putting the kids to bed.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I *heart* shopping at Ross

I've been a little slow with posting because I've been swamped with settling into a routine as a somewhat single working mother.

When my position began a few weeks ago, I was able to go to work in nice pants, a pressed button down shirt and white lab coat and some heels. However, there are some days that require me to be better dressed than others. Yesterday I attended a meeting with the executive nursing staff. I was excited to meet huge leaders in my area. I also knew the importance of the phrase "you never get a second chance to make a first impression". I rocked a smokin' black pantsuit yesterday.

I purchased the suit at Ross for under $50. The original tag was for $340. It feels and looks like a $340 suit. I also purchased a fantastic retro fit, feminine Jackie-O type red suit for wear red for Women's Health day. The original tag is $200, and the Ross price was marked down multiple times to finally come in at $34.

I'm just so glad that I can dress for my job without putting my family in a financial crunch.

Better than Syrup pancake topping - Apricot puree

I don't really care for pancake syrup at all. But pancakes are so quick to make and easy to stash other foods in - mashed bananas, chopped nuts, flax seed, wheat germ - you name it, I've probably tossed it into my pancake mix!

This topping is really easy and very yummy!!

Apricot puree

1 can apricots
1 tsp vanilla

Toss it all in the blender and puree. That's it. I warmed my mixture in the microwave because we served it on a cooler morning.