Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pamper Yourself!

I just had to share this website with you. These products are designed and created by a great friend of mine from high school. I have personally ordered and enjoyed many of her soaps, which are natural, old fashioned, cold processed soaps. I just received two pillar candles and they smell so good!

Besem is Hebrew for pure, worthy, a sweet smell. All Wendy's products are handmade in Brenham, Texas. In addition, 10% of her profits are donated to orphan relief.

So, if any of these scents sound appealing to you... cinnamon spice, lavender harvest, lemon tea, orange blossom, pink grapefruit, rosemary mint and much more... order some today for yourself or to give as a gift. Mother's Day is just around the corner!

Pamper deserve it!

Day 4...Full Speed Ahead!

Today is Day 4 on our journey. We have been very good and have not cheated once (big deal for me!). We've also done our 30-day-shred video every morning this week. In just 4 days, I can already do more pushups and ab crunches than I could do just 3 days ago.

This has really not been as difficult as I thought it would be. Now, I will admit, on day 2, I wanted some french fries! No joke... Day 3, yesterday, I didn't have any silly cravings. The recipes we've been using having been delicious and very filling. Last night's dinner was grilled salmon on a bed of wilted spinach and sauteed mushrooms with a side of green beans and one slice of wheat bread. It was excellent! The rest of the day included a Myoplex shake for breakfast, a Myoplex bar for mid-morning meal, turkey sandwich (wheat bread, mustard, lettuce tomato, roasted turkey) for lunch and an apple and two hard-boiled eggs for mid-afternoon meal. The great thing about this diet seems to be that we eat all day long. I've only found myself hungry one time in between our meals and I just grabbed a fat-free yogurt.

It helps me so much that Jason is doing this with me. It's much easier to have a partner! And, great news...I've lost 4 pounds! Woohoo! In the meantime, my arms, legs and abs are quite sore!

Oh, I think I've failed to mention that on this new plan, we get one "free" day a week to indulge or eat whatever we want and not worry about calories, low-fat, etc. Don't think we haven't already made the list of what we'll eat on Sunday!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

No pain no gain, right?

I am in pain today, thanks to Miss Jillian Michaels! It's a good kind of pain, I guess. Abby wants me to hold her and I compromise by sitting on the floor and her sitting in my lap. My arms are screaming today!

Day 1 of our new journey to be healthy went by rather quickly. I didn't feel hungry other than at the times it was time to eat. Today, I am craving me some sweets, though. But, I will stand strong and not give in! I really like that this plan allows us to eat 6 times a day. The trick is the right foods at the right times in the right amounts.

The morning started off today with 16 oz of water and a torture session with the previously mentioned Miss Michaels. This was followed by a pina colada protein shake, and now, snack time is quickly approaching. Snack this morning will be fat-free Yoplait and this afternoon will be an apple and string cheese. Lunch will be a Chicken Caesar Wrap and Dinner will be Asian Beef Stir-Fry. The recipes in Eating for Life actually seem to be really good. (I do have to admit the cheesecake last night was just so-so. I'm not sure I will repeat that one.)

For me, this is a mind transformation, seriously. After the past 30 years of using food (or sleep...that's another posting altogether) as an escape or comfort or reward, I am having to literally change how I live life. I have never been one to exercise and, honestly, pretty much hate it, but that can no longer be an excuse. I want to set a good example for my three kids so that their life is naturally this way. I want to be healthy so that I am around to play on the floor with my grandkids. I want to be healthy to have the energy it takes to run my household of 5! I want to go shopping for clothes and have a hard time choosing because everything looks good instead of having a hard time choosing because there's not much that looks good. (I'm just trying to be as honest as I can here!)

I am the little engine that will! I know I can, I know I can, I know I can... And how do I know? When I am weak, He is strong!

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13

Monday, April 27, 2009

Late Blooming...

I have just not had the time to blog lately or felt motivated to do so. I love blogging and it's something I do for fun. So, on the days that it feels like a chore, I just don't do it. Life has been very busy lately with several projects, so blogging has been on the back burner. Hopefully, I'll be able to blog on a more regular basis. I'm going to take a break from the normal Monday and Wednesday posts and just blog as I feel inspired to do so! Of course, I will share any cool websites I find, like this one (if you like gardening) and share any good books I'm reading, like this one...

Jason and I have decided that it's time to be real grown-ups! Have you read the book Leo the Late Bloomer? Well, we identify with Leo! We are being more proactive in reading the Bible, budgeting our money (using this method), spending time outdoors with the kids (now that we can!) and today, we start being proactive with our health.

I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to food. I love food! I eat when I am bored, I eat when I'm happy, I eat when I'm depressed, I eat in social settings, I snack, I love sweets, I love salty, I love food. Well, years and years of loving food and allowing food to be my reward or my comfort has lead to a lifetime of unhealthy eating. Of course, I don't go to a cucumber when I'm feeling depressed; I go to the chocolate, baby! I will admit here as well that I suffer with anxiety and depression. I have come to terms with it and am on medication. There will be times that I think I'm fine and try to get off my medication and it's just not a good thing, you know? So, throughout the years, suffering with this challenge, I've used food to try and cheer me up.

Today, things will be different! Jason and I are both going to follow the Eating for Life plan. Basically, we will eat 6 times a day, but of course, our choices will be healthy choices and the right portions (no more seconds...or thirds...). So, today is good so far. It's only 9:42 a.m., and I struggle a little bit mentally that I now am "forbidden" to eat things I've been so used to eating. I don't do so well when something is forbidden to makes me want it more!

The day started off with 16 oz of water, a 25 minute workout (this's hard!), and a protein shake for breakfast. I get to eat an apple and cheese at 10:30 and drink 16 more oz of water. I actually like apples and cheese! Lunch will be a turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread. At 3:30, we will eat 2 hard-boiled eggs and an orange. Dinner will be grilled chicken on a bead of spinach leaves and mushrooms. Dessert will be a strawberry cheesecake (made with low-fat ingredients, of course!)

I have never been one that felt comfortable talking about eating, dieting, weight, etc. However, I think maybe this will bring me some accountability as well as some journaling opportunities to help when it gets tough.

It's never too late to bloom, right Leo?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


...National High Five Day!

Don't believe me?
Click here.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Free tip...

My husband is a genius! We just added one more sandwich to our loaf of bread. (Talk about being frugal these days!) My kids do not like the heels of the loaf of bread. (Who does, really?) So, to "trick" them, Jason turned the slice backward, putting the peanut butter on the outside of the heel, which made the bread look like a regular piece. It worked!

Man, I'm hurting for blogging topics, I know!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A great day!

Today has been a great day!
I love Easter!

Here's our day in pictures:

(These are actually yesterday's adventure...)

Easter basket treats...

Ready for church...

So, um, we didn't pay attention to the altered schedule at church today and totally missed the service. We were very bummed, so we took a scenic drive home through Cuyahoga Valley National Park and took some pics...

And then back home for an egg hunt and delicious lunch...

Notice the sun is shining!

He is Risen!

Christ the Lord is risen today,
Sons of men and angels say:
Raise your joys and triumphs high,
Sing ye heavens and earth reply,

Lives again our glorious King,
Where, O death, is now they sting?
Dying once, He all doth save:
Where, thy victory, O grave?

Love's redeeming work is done,
Fought the fight, the battle won,
Death in vain forbid Him rise,
Christ has opened Paradise.

Soar we now, where Christ has lead,
Following our exalted head;
Made like Him, like Him we rise,
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter Story Cookies

Here's a great way to explain Easter to your kids...

Easter Story Cookies
1 cup whole pecans
3 eggs
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vinegar
1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Place pecans in a baggie and let the children beat them with a wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested he was beaten by the Roman soldiers.

Let the children smell the vinegar. Put into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to drink. (Read John 19:23-30)

Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. (Read John 10:10-11)

Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. (Read Luke 23:27)

So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. (Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16)

Beat with a mixer on high speed for 12-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the white color represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. (Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3)

Fold in nuts. Drop by teaspoon full onto a wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus's body was placed. (Read Matthew 27:57-60)

Put cookie sheet in the oven, close the door, and turn the oven OFF. Give each child a piece of tape to seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus's tomb was sealed. (Read Matthew 27:65-66)

Go to bed after explaining that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus's followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. (Read John 16:20-22)

On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow. On the first Easter, Jesus's followers were amazed to find the tomb empty. (Read Matthew 28:1-9)

He has Risen!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Good Friday?

We know that this is true...

"This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn't go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person's failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him."
~John 3:16-18 from The Message

Today is Good Friday, the day the Christian faith declares as the very day Jesus was mocked, beaten and crucified on the cross. All because a God, who so loved the world, gave His one and only Son as his divine plan to save the world from sin and death. This very plan was designed just for me and just for you because God loves us so much, he wants our sins to be redeemed and our lives to be made right with him. He wants to spend eternity with us and his Word says he is preparing a place for us. All it takes from us is the step of faith to accept in belief this magnificent gift and divine plan for our lives.

Yesterday, at dinner, Jason and I took some time to explain to our kids that this week is called Holy Week and what this means. I explained Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and Easter and what an important weekend this is. After a few seconds, Emily asked, "Why is it called Good Friday if Jesus was treated so badly on that day?" Have you ever stopped to think why, in fact, we call it Good Friday? I am no theologian, so if you are and have insight, please comment. However, it made sense to us to explain to our kids that Good Friday is not the end of the story. God's plan involved a horrible, tragic day for his Son, but the underlying thread of the entire plan was grounded in goodness...God's provision to overcome death, which is the natural punishment for sin. Good Friday had to happen for Easter Sunday to happen. Thus, the entire story gives us the gift of hope and eternal life.

What does that mean to us? We have been given the gift of hope and the knowledge that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him" (Romans 8:28) and that no matter what today brings us, we have the hope that He is working all things for our good and we will be with Him forever. No tears, no sadness, no sin, no evil.

We participated in a Good Friday service for the past several years with our church in Houston. The service began with a dramatic reading, read by random members of the congregation, interspersed with a few hymns. The service ended in silence while each person went to the cross with his/her own nail and hammered the nail into the cross. I was always one of the last ones in line, and as I stood in line, waiting my turn to receive the hammer, I was moved by the visual reminder of the cross itself, the sound of the hammers hitting the nails, and how all those nails represented our sin. I am missing that active reminder today.

I am thankful for Good Friday. I am thankful for the sacrifice that was given for me, for you. I am thankful that I have a Father in Heaven who loves me more than anyone on this earth and is preparing a place just for me that will be beautiful beyond my wildest imagination and happier than my happiest days here in this lifetime.

And that, my friends, is something to ponder this Good Friday!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Website Wednesday!

This week's Website Wednesday is It seems like all we hear on the tv, radio, etc is centered around the economy. It can be enough to really bring fear into our lives. Now, more than ever, we should all have a plan when it comes to our money.

Jason and I took a financial class called Financial Peace University a couple of years ago. This class was so good for us. Neither one of us are that great when it comes to managing money. So, this class was amazing in teaching us things we should know like budgeting, getting out of debt, living under our means, and saving for the future. Dave uses the phrase "changing your family tree" and goes on to explain how making smart decisions today will affect and enhance our children's future and their children's future, etc. Hand-in-hand with this concept is also teaching our children about money. Neither Jason nor myself were taught much about money growing up and have learned many lessons the hard way.

I encourage you to check out Dave Ramsey's website and enroll in a Financial Peace University (FPU) class near you. It will change your life and change your family tree! Jason and I will be completely debt free from credit cards, car payments and medical bills by February of 2010, not because of any luck that has come our way, but from putting into practice the lessons learned from FPU. Beyond February, we will aggressively pay off our school loans and then move on through the 7 Baby Steps.

From Dave's website:
(Click on the links below to read an explanation of each step.)

Get out of debt the same way you learned to walk, one step at a time. Dave has taught these principles to millions via radio, books, Financial Peace University, Live events, and online:
$1,000 to start an Emergency Fund
Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
Invest 15% of household income into
Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
College funding for children
Pay off home early
Build wealth and give!

This class will not be a waste of your time and will empower you to be debt free and stay that way! If you are not able to find a class or have the time to attend, there's enough information on Dave's website and in his books to begin your Total Money Makeover. Dave provides all the forms you will need.

So, my friends, fear not and take control!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

What we're reading this week...

I didn't get an entry done yesterday. I was so sleepy from the past week, staying up way too late! I've become a night owl in the past couple of years and I have to literally make myself go to bed at a decent hour so the next day isn't painful and I didn't do a great job with this all last week. So, now I'm paying for it. I gave up caffeine a couple of months ago, so there's no hope in the coffee cup any more. I must be more disciplined!

The Bible verse for my kiddos this week is 2 Thessalonians 3:13: "Never tire of doing what is right." I think I could definitely learn from this one myself!

We are basically reading the same things we were reading last week. I'm still playing catch up with my daily Bible readings to get through the Bible in one year, so I'm not allowing myself to start a new novel until I'm caught up. I think I will be caught up in another week.

So, instead of giving you our reading selections, I thought I would list some blogs that I frequently, sometimes even daily, visit. Most of them are amazing stories of faith through difficulty and inspire me immensely. Some are just fun reading for me because they allow me to keep up with distant friends or are just fun to follow.

Please continue to pray for Baby Stellan. His button is on the sidebar of my blog. He is 5 months old and has been in the PICU for 16 days with heart trouble. The doctors are now going to try something different, which could involve life-flighting him to another hospital. Keep in mind, he is the baby of 4 children, so this family really needs prayers for Stellan's healing as well as keeping above water with the care of the rest of the family.

So, these might be fun for you to check out:
(You might need to click on older entries to read their stories.)