Sunday, May 31, 2009

Frozen Lemonade Pie

I came across a new recipe for Frozen Lemonade Pie in my most recent copy of the Food Network Magazine.  I had some extra whipping cream in my fridge that needed using up, so Grace and I made a treat for daddy to celebrate his last day of school!

This was Grace’s favorite part…using a meat pounder to beat up the graham crackers for the crust!


Then we pressed it into the pan.


(Side note:  Notice her Band-Aid.  She used to be terrified of Band-Aids, and now she loves them.  Go figure.)

Then we made the filling.


Then she helped me “clean up.”


Here’s the finished product.  It was so delicious!  (Of course I had to try a LITTLE!).  I’ll include the recipe here because it was so incredibly easy and a huge hit with my husband who declared it “the perfect summer dessert…so refreshing!”


Frozen Lemonade Pie

  • 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 2 cups berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries – any combination)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar and butter. Press firmly on the bottom and sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Bake for 7 minutes; cool completely.

In a cold medium bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. In another bowl, stir together the condensed milk and frozen concentrate. Gently fold the lemonade mixture into the whipped cream. Pour filling into the crust; freeze overnight.

About an hour before serving, make the topping: toss the berries in a medium bowl with sugar and lemon juice. Set aside until ready to serve.

Let the pie sit out for 10 minutes before cutting. Top each slice with berries.

Food Network Magazine 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 26

I decided to take Sundays off from now on in my exercise routine.  So, I just enjoyed a day worshipping, spending time with family, and fellowshipping with friends over supper.  Tomorrow I’m back with Jillian for FOUR more days of my 30-day challenge! 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 25

I waited until Todd got home from work this afternoon to exercise.  I did my normal 45 minutes on the treadmill, but I couldn’t use our DVD player to do The Shred because Todd was watching a movie he rented.

I figured he deserved to be uninterrupted after his extra-long week, so I took my hand weights upstairs and tried my best to re-create as many Shred moves as I could think of in about 20 minutes.  Jillian would have been proud. 

Favorite Childhood Book

A couple of weeks ago I had a sudden memory of one of my favorite childhood books.  I can remember my two brothers and myself begging mom and dad to read this book to us over and over!  It’s so much’s a Golden book called “There’s a Monster at the End of This Book.”  It stars our loveable, furry Grover from Sesame Street.image

I won’t ruin the ending for you, but rest assured that it is delightful!  The message of this book is positive, too.  The lesson is that we need to face our fears, even if we think they are insurmountable.  A good lesson for adults, too! 

Anyway, I got online and found a new copy on EBay for just $1.  It came in the mail yesterday, and I think between Todd and myself we have read it at least fifty-seven times to Grace!  She even wanted to sleep with it last night.  And it is SO CUTE to hear her reading it to herself! 

Friday, May 29, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 24

I felt much better today.  The soreness drastically reduced and I was ready to tackle my workout.  I did 45 minutes on the treadmill, then contemplated what level to try with Jillian.  Even though I felt like I could possibly do Level 3 again, I decided that I wanted to be able to walk normally this weekend, so I selected Level 1.  But I replaced some of the easier moves with some challenging stuff from Levels 2 and 3. 

Todd’s last day of school is tomorrow…woo hoo!  (Can you believe they have to go on Saturday?)  Texas is crazy…something about a snow make-up day.  In case you’re new to reading my blog, my husband is a school administrator at a 9th grade campus.  He always has great stories to tell of his adventures handling school discipline.  It’s funny how kids will think that the rules don’t apply on the last days of school.  Hello…it’s still against the rules to have a mohawk or wear Daisy Dukes or cuss out a teacher even though school is almost out.  Guess what?  It’s even against the rules to bring pot the last week of school.  The nerve of my husband to reinforce such rules!  You wouldn’t believe how many parents yelled at him today because they had to come pick up their kids for disciplinary reasons.  He even had his name lovingly etched on the bathroom wall by one of the kids who was sent to the office…”Mr. J is a %*$*@#”. 

It’s not all bad, though.  He’s really had a great year and has enjoyed his job immensely.  The end of the year just gets kind of crazy.

Bloggy Love


My blog friend Kim is featuring me this week in her Friday Favorites carnival!  Click on over and see!  While you’re there, I hope you’ll have time to look around and read some of her posts.  Her journey through infertility is a hard one, and she’s tackling the issues head-on and with a heart focused on God.  She’s one of the sweet souls that I pray God will soon bless with a little one!

Attitude Adjustment

I was reading back over my last several Shred posts, and I noticed a definite negative vibe in my tone.  That was the pain talking.  I’m going to set the record straight as to what I really think about this whole experience so far.

PRO – I’m getting smaller.  Yep, it’s really happening.  Even though there hasn’t been a dramatic change on the scale, my body is changing fast.  I notice it especially in my upper body.

CON – Pain.

PRO – It is making me eat better.  I don’t want to “ruin” my workout by gobbling up a Krispy Kreme donut.

CON – Pain.

PRO – The video is actually well done.  There’s a lot of variety and things change fast, so just when I think my arms are going to fall off, it’s time to get on the floor and do some crunches.  And Jillian’s not nearly as mean as she is on The Biggest Loser!

CON – Pain.

PRO – It doesn’t take much time.  The whole workout is just a little over 20 minutes, including warm-up and warm-down.

CON – Pain.

PRO – I’m setting a good example for my young daughter.  It’s good for her to see me exercising and taking care of my body.  And she loves to join in with me sometimes, too!

CON – Pain.

PRO – It’s fostered fellowship with other women.  There’s been such a buzz about The Shred that it’s motivated a lot of folks to start exercising and sharing their experience with other women.  It’s fun to trade stories with someone else who feels your pain!

CON – Pain.

PRO – It makes me happy that I’m doing something physical.  I’ve always been a bookworm, a musician, a talker, etc.  NEVER have I had any sort of physical dimension to my persona.  (Like I said in an earlier post…that gene skipped me and went directly to my athletic brothers.)

CON – Pain.

And, I’ll end with a pro…

PRO – This has motivated me to make exercise a regular part of my routine.  A “lifestyle” change, if you will.  Getting healthier will also benefit the ones I love the most…my family. 

So, there’s the scoop.  I didn’t want someone who Googled “The Shred” to stop by my blog, read my daily updates, then decide it wasn’t for them.  Go for it!  The pain is worth it!  It will get better and go away as your muscles develop and grow stronger! 

Thursday, May 28, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 23

Level 3 is killing me.  I couldn’t sleep last night from the soreness and I’m literally hobbling around today on jelly legs. 

I was dreading my morning workout, so I kept putting it off, but I finally got on the treadmill during Grace’s naptime.  I did 45 minutes then headed downstairs for my quality time with Jillian.  Level 3 was torturous (is that a word?), and after the warm-down, I couldn’t get off the floor. 

Anyway, all that to say, physical fitness is a journey and I’m still far from my destination.  I’m shelving Level 3 for a while, and I’m satisfied with switching between Level 1 and 2 until my body tells me I’m ready to try it again. 

P.S. Why do aerobics instructors feel the need to SMILE during torturous (it IS a word…I googled it) moves?  Is that normal human behavior?  Are they fooling anyone?  Does anyone out there who bought the video feel more motivated because these Barbie dolls are so overjoyed to be doing jump lunges?  Personally, I would be more encouraged if they were grunting, sweating, breathing heavily, and having a bad hair moment.  But that’s just me. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 22

I’m babysitting all day and then have church tonight, so I got up extra-early and did The Shred.  I didn’t have time for the treadmill, however.  And that’s OK because my muscles hurt so bad from yesterday that it’s a miracle I was able to do anything.

I didn’t think yesterday’s Level 3 workout was too painful, but THE SORENESS came on gradually, and by the time I went to bed last night I could barely move. 

Motrin has become my new friend. 

WFMW – Getting Kids to Floss


The last time my 4-yr-old daughter went to the dentist, they encouraged me to start flossing with her every night.  We received some sample flossers, and the deal was sealed when Grace discovered that they were endorsed by the Disney princesses!


When first introducing floss to young kids, I highly recommend the little flossers that look like a handle with a single string attached across the top.  Wrapping a long string around your fingers trying to get them in a itty-bitty mouth just doesn’t work well.  If you make a big deal about going to the store and letting your child pick out the flossers, they will be more excited about using them.  There are TONS of different designs, colors, and styles available. 

The first time you floss with them it’s important to be very gentle.  I like to cradle her head against me and use a light sawing motion to get in between her teeth, without pressing too hard.  She always wants to do it herself after I’m done and is very proud that she can floss all by herself. 

Please don’t call the germ police on me, but I often just wash the flosser with anti-bacterial soap and re-use it the next night.  I don’t see the point of throwing something away that is still perfectly usable.  Once the string is worn down, I throw it away and we get a new one.  This stretches out the budget, and that works for me!

For more works-for-me tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 21

Whew!  Level 3 was tough, but it was nice to do something different today.  I had to stay with my girl, Natalie (the beginner), but I was able to struggle through it all.  The hardest one for me was the scissor-crunch.  And there was a good bit of jumping, which goes against the laws of MY nature, but hey, it’s all good.

With all the references Jillian made to Rocky, I was singing “Eye Of The Tiger” in my head while doing that squatting boxing move!

I did 45 minutes on the treadmill, too.  I had to change the channel because Emeril started cooking french fries.  They are just my weakness…better to me than any chocolate confection.  Thankfully, oven baked fries can (sorta) compensate, but there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.

Monday, May 25, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 20

I’ll be glad when this 30-day thing is over.  It seems to be taking FOREVER.  Although I plan on keeping up my routine, I’ll limit my “fitness” posts to the Monday Milestones…once per week. 

Anyway, I got up this morning and did 45 minutes on the treadmill, then Level 2 with Jillian.  I’m starting to get a little too comfortable (and bored), so I’ll definitely try Level 3 tomorrow for the first time. 

It’s amazing to look back at what I was able to do three weeks ago compared to now.  I’m not breaking any records, mind you, but it’s nice to get through the workouts now without thinking I’m gonna die.  (I might take this all back tomorrow.) 

Grace has been so sweet while I’m exercising…she never fusses or tries to bother me.  She just plays quietly in her room or on the piano.  I’m trying not to feel guilty that I’m taking away 1 1/2 hours in the mornings that used to be more focused on her, but I also think it’s good for her to see me getting healthier.  And often, she will join in the exercise video with me.  When I’m done, I make a point to get on the floor and play with her for a while, thanking her for being patient while I was working out. 

Monday Milestones


This week I did my combination of treadmill and Shred routine five days.  I ate well…with the exception of several french fries I sneaked out of Grace’s kid’s meal.  (I’m totally blaming the fact that Wendy’s was OUT OF BAKED POTATOES and I was frustrated and hungry…this brought my Calorie Count food analysis average grade down to B+). 

Overall, I lost two pounds this week.  My total weight loss is now 44 pounds in 17 weeks.  

I’m about 2/3 of the way through my 30-Day Shred experience and I can say with certainty that it has truly helped me.  I haven’t come anywhere close to losing “20 pounds in 30 days”, but I have definitely lost inches.  Once my 30 days are up, I’ll plan to do Jillian’s videos at least 2-3 days a week to keep up my new muscles! 

One thing I have discovered through all of this new exercise is my terrible balance.  When I first started doing the Shred lunges, I was wobbling all over the place.  I’ve gradually gotten better, but it’s still pretty funny.  I might try to alternate strength training with some yoga or Pilates (minus the Eastern mysticism) to improve my strength and balance. 

This is my inspiration:


Well, Jillian too:


Sunday, May 24, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 19

Well, today I took another day off.  I don’t feel too guilty considering that today is the Lord’s Day and is really supposed to be a day of rest.  Last Sunday I felt a bit strange getting up and doing my workout routine before church.  It didn’t feel like I was focusing on the right thing.  So I decided last week that I wouldn’t do it again. 

There’s plenty of ways to stay active on Sundays without doing my regular exercise program…walks with the family, playing in the backyard with Grace, swimming in the pool, etc.  And I like the idea of keeping Sunday as a special day, set apart from the rest of the days of the week to allow me to focus on worship and family time. 

Unfortunately, we really couldn’t do anything fun outside after church because it rained all afternoon!  It looks like we might have a rainy Memorial Day, too.  Bummer!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 18

I got up this morning and did 45 minutes on the treadmill, then Level 2 with Jillian.  It felt pretty good.  I think it actually helped me to have a day off yesterday.  My muscles weren’t as sore and I felt stronger. 

I also found a new way to keep my food journal and track my exercise.  Calorie Count is a free website that helps you set goals for weight loss.  You input specifics about your body type and activity level, then it figures out how many calories you need to lose, maintain, or gain weight.  At the end of every day, I quickly input my food and exercise and it tells me my calorie deficit for the day.

For example, if you need 2800 calories per day to maintain your weight, the idea is to burn more calories than you consumed by the end of the day.  It automatically figures all this for you.  Scientifically, I should be losing one pound for every 3500 calorie deficit.  Today I had a 2000 calorie deficit.  In order to lose two pounds this week, I would need a total calorie deficit of 7000.  I’m really curious to see if my weekly calorie deficit matches up with my pounds lost when I weigh in on Monday. 

The program also analyzes your diet and gives you a “grade” at the end of each day for how you ate…which suits my Type A personality to a tee.  (So far my average is “A”!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 17

Well, the first-born-over-achiever-OCD-legalistic side of me is disappointed that I didn’t do The Shred today.  I really wanted to make it all 30 days in a row.  But I chose to do other things today instead. 

Grace and I spent the first half of the day buying groceries at a couple of stores.  Then we came home and she took a nap while I unloaded groceries, swept, mopped, cleaned bathrooms, and re-organized my pantry.  Grace woke up and asked to go swimming in the backyard, so I set up her kiddie pool then spent about two hours outside doing heavy yard work:  mowing, weeding, lifting and emptying grass bags, and edging. 


Todd came home from work and we decided to go out as a family to a local Italian restaurant that has live music on the weekends.  Grace and I got cleaned up, then we literally spent the evening twirling on the dance floor while our singing waiter crooned “Fly Me To The Moon.”  When Todd and I got tired of dancing with her, Grace asked to go out alone…she bravely entertained the other diners by performing her Barbie ballerina moves to “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man Of Mine” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  After the singing waiters took a break, the pianist kept going, so Grace kept dancing.  And dancing.  And dancing.  It really was precious and I was kicking myself for not bringing the camera.

We got home around 9:00, and after we put Grace to bed (her prayer included a request that God PLEASE let us go back to the dancing place), I just fell on the couch and decided that Jillian would have to wait until tomorrow!

30-Day Shred – Day 16

Today was hard…I kept putting off my workout.  I normally don’t like to exercise at night because I’m just worn out and want time to relax or read.  But I made myself do it, and it gave me the opportunity to get caught up on my Dinner: Impossible DVRs.  (WHY did they bring back Robert Irvine?) 

I worked out a little over an hour on the treadmill then hobbled downstairs trying to mentally prepare myself for Jillian.  I had big dreams of starting Level 3 today, but just couldn’t bring myself to push the down arrow.  I wimped out and selected Level 1.  And for some reason it seemed harder than Day One.  Someone explain that to me…isn’t my endurance supposed to be getting better? 

Only 14 days to go, then I am TAKING A DAY OFF.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Things I Love Thursday – Cook’s Country Magazine


Southern Living used to be my favorite magazine.  I still love it, but now my life practically stops when my Cook’s Country comes in the mail!  This latest June/July issue was the best I have seen in a while.  By the time I finished reading it, the whole thing was highlighted and dog-eared to pieces!


Here’s 5 things I love about each issue:

  1. Kitchen tips – These smart tricks are golden.  I’m “ooo-ing” and “aah-ing” over each one.  
  2. Ask Cook’s Country – Readers send in questions and the food scientists on staff provide detailed and complete answers.
  3. Recipes – Oh, boy.  Each issue is chock-full of delicious recipes, complete with step-by-step pictures.  It’s impossible to mess them up!  I also love the “makeovers” when they take a traditional comfort food and re-make it into something a little healthier and just as delicious!
  4. Taste Tests/Product Ratings – This is like a Consumer Reports for cooks!  They give blind taste tests on various processed foods and kitchen tools, rating them in order of preference.  This month’s issue contains reports on canned baked beans, frozen strawberries, canned corn, chimney starters, and paper plates.  Note:  ***The most expensive products are NOT always best!***
  5. Troubleshooting – They take common kitchen problems and offer solutions to fix them.  This month they’re talking about grilling techniques for chicken, making the perfect pie crust (Hello, this was written for me!), and frying onion rings.

I’m including a Cook’s Country recipe/method for make-ahead French toast.  My husband is going to be SO HAPPY when I make this over the weekend for his breakfasts next week!  He’ll be able to pop frozen slices in the toaster and have perfect French toast in a couple of minutes!  (While I’m still sleeping at 6:00 in the morning.)

Make-Ahead French Toast

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (or use salted butter and reduce the salt to 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract (You read that right…freezing sucks the flavor out)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 8 slices hearty white sandwich bread (should be dense and firm…they recommend Pepperidge Farm Hearty White)
  1. MAKE CUSTARD.  Heat butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat until golden brown and fragrant, about 5 minutes.  Off heat, whisk in half-and-half, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt; transfer to a 13x9 inch baking dish.
  2. PREPARE BREAD.  Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat broiler.  Set wire rack inside rimmed baking sheet.  Arrange bread on rack and broil until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.  Decrease oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Soak half of toast slices in custard mixture until just saturated, about 30 seconds per side.  Return soaked bread to rack and repeat with remaining toast.  Bake until center of bread registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 8 minutes.
  3. FREEZE.  Let toast cool on rack 10 minutes and then freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.  Transfer slices to zipper-lock freezer bag and freeze for up to 1 month.  When ready to eat, toast in toaster on medium power until heated through.  Serve.

For more Things I Love Thursday posts, check out The Diaper Diaries.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day 15

I was pretty busy all day, so I didn’t exercise until 9:30 this evening after Grace went to bed.  Thankfully, I had over two hours of the American Idol finale to watch!  Since I fast-forwarded through the commercials and things like that weird Megan-Michael-Steve Martin number, it translated into a 60 minute workout.

Insert A.I. commentary:  Kara Dioguardi can SING, people!  I actually enjoyed listening to Danny Gokey perform for the first time tonight.  (There’s something about him that makes me uncomfortable…I can’t quite put my finger on it.)  Randy, dawg, for me the bowtie was just not workin’ with the striped shirt.  But that’s just me keepin’ it real, dawg.  Alexis, I still think you are adorable and look freakishly like a young Dolly Parton, especially with that hairdo tonight.  Kris, you seem like a really nice guy and I’m happy for you that you won.  But I think that you will start fading into the background and soon be a distant memory for most of America (hello, Soul Patrol).  Adam, on the other hand, will only grow in popularity.  I know that he put off a lot of people with his “screaming”, but, folks, he is the most naturally talented performer to grace that stage…including all the professionals, IMHO.  His musicianship was evident on every show, and his vocal range and clarity was crazy-good.  Kris definitely wins the nice guy award in my book, but Adam should have won since it was a singing competition.  Apparently, even Kris agrees with me (confirming the fact that he’s a REALLY nice guy).

After I finished wiping the sweat and tears off my treadmill, I headed downstairs and did Level 2 of The Shred.  Now I feel the desire to read something deeply intellectual to balance out my evening!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Works For Me – Common Sense Media


I recently discovered a great website that gives detailed rating information on movies, TV shows, games, music, web sites, and books.  Common Sense Media is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization whose mission is provide accurate information so we can make wise choices about what we are watching.

Sometimes this website gives recommendations (age-appropriate ratings, etc.) with which I do not agree.  However, what I do appreciate is the low-down on six main criteria:  violence, sex, language, consumerism, alcohol and/or drug usage, and message/role models.  We can read the review and then make a decision for our family based on the facts.

For example, we were considering whether to allow our daughter to see the new Monsters Vs. Aliens movie.  After reading the detailed review, we decided not to allow her to see it.  It is rated PG just like Bolt (which we LOVE!), but we learned that there are many more disturbing scenes of violence, sexual innuendos, words we don’t like, and disrespect for authority.  Movie ratings (G, PG, PG-13, R) are just too general and don’t give us enough details to make an informed decision.  This site works for us!

For more Works For Me tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Grace’s Check-up

Yesterday afternoon I took Grace to her urologist’s office for a check-up.  At the end of January, she got a really bad urinary tract infection.  We had hoped that the surgical Deflux procedure she got when she was 2 years old would prevent these bad UTIs.  There is always a small chance that the procedure can fail over time, so the urologist ordered a renal sonogram for the beginning of May to check for kidney damage.  Yesterday we met with the doctor to interpret the results and decide if further intervention was necessary.

The good news is that her kidneys are growing normally.  The bad news is that there is significant scarring on her right kidney that wasn’t there before her infection in January.  However, looking at the big picture….one extreme UTI in 2 1/2 years since her procedure is a tremendous improvement from her first two years of routine infections. 

There is a small chance that the Deflux has been absorbed by the body (he couldn’t tell with certainty from the sonogram) and her urinary reflux has returned.  So, the doctor gave us an option.  We could schedule a VCUG next week at the hospital to check and see if the reflux has returned.  If so, she would have another surgical correction.  Or, we could just wait and do another renal sonogram in a year.  If she were to get another UTI during the next year, we would act quickly and schedule a VCUG at that time. 

Long story short, for a variety of reasons, we decided to wait on the VCUG.  We’re praying that God will continue to keep her UTI-free.  We will also be very sensitive to urination problems and/or unidentified fevers.  The doctor reinforced that if we suspect a UTI, we must confirm and get her on an antibiotic ASAP to prevent further damage. 

We are very thankful for the excellent medical care that she has received.  I can’t say enough good things about the pediatric urologists at the local children’s hospital.  Overall, we’ve been pleased with the Deflux procedure.  It was relatively new and somewhat of an unconventional choice when we decided to go that route back in 2007.  But we appreciated that it was minimally invasive and a lot less traumatic than major abdominal surgery.

We’re trusting that we made the right decision.  The urologist validated us by saying that if Grace was his daughter, he would just monitor her over the next year and only act again if necessary. 

We’re so thankful for Grace, urinary problems and all.  While it’s been grievous to see her suffer through the pain and residual effects of her infections over the years, we know that it could be a lot worse than it is.  We give thanks for answered prayers both before and after her birth.


“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  (Psalm 139:13-14)

30-Day Shred – Day 13-14

I forgot to write a post yesterday about my workout.  Nothing exciting…I did Level 2 during naptime.  I didn’t have time for the treadmill yesterday, and I actually missed it.

Today I was looking forward to getting on the treadmill because I haven’t watched the finale of Survivor.  (Todd built a little shelf and put a small TV up high to help the time pass quickly).  I know my time would probably be better spent reading a good book, but it makes me sick and dizzy…so I save my favorite shows on DVR and tell myself I can’t watch them unless I’m getting cardio at the same time.  Hey, it works.

Anyway, the finale ended up being 3 hours long.  It was so fascinating that I didn’t even look at the time on the treadmill until during a commercial break I noticed that I had gone for 73 minutes on a Level 6 incline.  Grace played in her room with her kitchen toys and downstairs on the piano the whole time without fussing…she was so sweet.  I went a few more minutes until I got to a good stopping place in Survivor.  (Oh, I hope my Alabama boy J.T. wins!  Listening to him talk makes me feel like I’m at a family reunion.  Or back in B’ham during the college years.). 

Anyway, I ended up going for 85 minutes on the treadmill.  Then I headed downstairs to do Level 2 with Jillian and Grace.  I’ll admit that I skipped a couple of the cardio intervals.  I figured I had earned it on the treadmill. 

Monday, May 18, 2009

Gorgeous Day

Today is an absolutely perfect day in Fort Worth, Texas.  It’s sunny with not a cloud in the sky…75 degrees and a light cool breeze.  So, we decided to go on a picnic with some of Grace’s friends!  First we ate lunch:


Then they played in the maze with our other friends, Lucas and Aurora.


After a few games of “rescue Princess Grace and Princess Aurora from the bad guys”, Prince Lucas and Prince Caleb threw the football around. 

But, I think the most fun was to be had on the tire swing.


When we got home, they fell asleep quickly from utter exhaustion…mission accomplished!

Monday Milestones


This week I lost one pound.  One pound.  This seems scientifically impossible considering the amount of calories I burned on my workouts, but there it is.  That brings my total to 42 pounds in 16 weeks. 

However, even though the scale did not reflect a big change this week, my body is changing.  The 30-Day Shred is definitely helping me build muscle, and I am losing inches.  I felt better after reading this article

So, I will keep trucking on.  I’ll keep my eyes on the big picture and try not to let the scale be the only measure of my success.  After all, I’m working on a permanent change in my eating and fitness habits, not just a temporary crash swimsuit diet. 

I have a busier week coming up, but I should be able to get my 20 minute workout with Jillian every day.  My goal is to get in at least four treadmill workouts, too.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Twelve

I set my alarm early this morning to get in my workout before church.  I don’t particularly enjoy exercising first thing in the morning…my normal routine is to wait a couple of hours just to get myself in gear (translation:  caffeine).  But, we ate lunch with some friends after church, and I have an afternoon music rehearsal, and I know myself well enough that I won’t do it when I get home at the end of the day!

Hence, the alarm set for 6:30 in the morning.  Oh, it was NOT fun.  But I did 50 minutes on the treadmill and Level 1 of The Shred.  I just couldn’t bring myself to attempt Level 2 that early in the morning!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Eleven

Today I did 50 minutes on the treadmill, then Level 2 with Jillian.  My endurance is definitely improving…I could really notice it today.

Today also reaffirmed for me how uncoordinated I am.  The athletic gene surely skipped me and went straight to my brothers!  This is why I don’t do aerobics classes in public if I can help it.  The exception would be the water aerobics class I used to take at the YMCA.  However, I was the only person under 70, so I was pretty much a star! 

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bloggy Love

Kreativ Blogger

Wow!  My new bloggy friend Sarah gave me this award!  What a nice surprise!  If you have a moment, pop on over and visit Sarah at Barren In The Promised Land.  She is a testimony to glorifying God in the hard times of life…in her case, a journey through the land of infertility.

Here are the rules:
1. When given the award, you write about seven things that you love.
2. Pass the award to seven bloggers that you love, and be sure to tag them and let them know they've won. (You can copy the award and post it on your sideboard).

There are many things that I love and it was hard to narrow it down to just seven!  I’ll end with the ones that I love the most!

  1. Rainy Days – I’m one of those weird people that love rainy days.  Actually, I’m fascinated by weather…thunderstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes.  I couldn’t even count the number of times I’ve seen the movie Twister!  There is something so comforting about curling up on the couch with a good book and cup of mocha while listening to a steady rainfall. 
  2. Cooking – My favorite place to be is in the kitchen.  My favorite channel is the Food Network.  I read cookbooks for leisure.  I have often dreamed of going to culinary school.  My mom passed down this love to me, and I can already see it taking root in my daughter.  Unfortunately, the love of cooking leads to the love of eating, which leads to extra pounds, which leads to Jillian Michaels, which leads to intense pain, which leads to the desire to be comforted by some sort of casserole, preferably with lots of cheese.  *sigh*
  3. Beaches – I love to visit the ocean.  My idea of a perfect vacation is somewhere warm, tropical, and sandy. (Minus the rain in #1!)
  4. My Blog World – I’ve only been blogging (almost) one year, but it has become a lovely part of my life in so many ways.  What started as a way for me to journal our happenings for family and friends has grown into a much bigger blessing.  It’s been encouraging to read other faithful women’s posts, and I can only hope that many of the posts or comments I have written have encouraged others as well.  My biggest challenge is to budget my time wisely and limit my blogging to times when my daughter is asleep and more important responsibilities are complete!
  5. Friends – I am so thankful for friendships, both old and new.  Being a SAHM can sometimes be a little lonely, and it makes me really appreciate those opportunities to fellowship with other women.  I love the friends that help me laugh and put things in perspective.  I love the friends that give me great advice.  I love the friends that just listen.  And I even love the friends that will tell me I’m wrong about something!
  6. Family – I have never taken for granted the family in which I was born.  Especially after working as a teacher and counselor for many years…there is so much sadness in the world.  But God chose to give me faithful parents who raised me to know Him.  I’ve been blessed with a loving husband and a beautiful daughter for which we prayed so long.  Even though my parents, brothers, and extended family are literally spread all over the globe, I’m happy that we love and support each other from a distance!
  7. Faith – I love my Lord, and I am always amazed at how He carries me through the joys and sorrows of life.  The fact that He saved me and is preparing a place for me in heaven…that’s just more love than I can fathom. 

Here are seven inspiring folks that I’m tagging and sending some bloggy love.  Check them out!

  • Terry – Her blog makes me think.  Very interesting stuff here.
  • Mrs. Sprinkles – She has great homemaking tips…and knows how to stretch a buck!
  • Anna – This young Jewish wife has such a gift for communicating in words the simple beauty of a peaceful home.
  • Nicole – As you can imagine, life for her is interesting with three young energetic boys!
  • Alyssa – This frugal mom’s mission is to honor God with her finances in order to increase giving.
  • Kim – She’s keeping a spiritual perspective on her journey through weight loss and infertility.
  • Cari – Her joy in the Lord is inspiring.

30-Day Shred – Day Ten

I want to start off by thanking those of you who wrote me an encouraging comment or e-mail after my last “Shred” post!  I’ll admit that I’m a little bit discouraged because I’m not seeing exciting numbers on the scale after making it through one-third of my 30-day journey.  However, I have noticed a definite difference in the way my clothes are fitting and my arms seem much more toned. 

But 20 pounds in 30 days?  Not going to happen.  And that’s okay.  I’m getting healthier and stronger, which is much more important.  With time and consistency I’ll see my numbers slowly go down on the scale, and that’s probably a lot healthier anyway.

Today I started again with my treadmill and went for 45 minutes.  I wanted to move on to Level 2 with Jillian, but my little munchkin took the batteries out of the DVD remote and I have to re-program it for it to work.  Apparently there is not a up/down select manual button on my DVD player, so I had to just hit “play” and do Level 1 again. 

Hopefully I’ll find the remote instructions and fix it by tomorrow!


I always seem to meet the strangest people when I am out and about at various stores.  Today was no exception.  Grace and I were at Albertsons grocery store picking up a couple of things and I stopped to look at a clearance rack full of children’s books. 

Another customer that I would judge to be in her 40’s walked up to Grace, bent down, and said, “Oh, what a precious little boy!  Is he your only son?”

*It should be noted that Grace was wearing a pink shirt, khaki shorts with pink flowers, pink sandals, and a long ponytail with a BIG bow in her hair.

Noticing Grace’s confusion, I said, “Thank you.  Yes, she is my only daughter.  She’s a girl.”

The woman looked again carefully at Grace, shrugged her shoulders, and said “Huh!…”  [Tone of voice indicated that she didn’t believe me].

We continued to look around at the different books and the woman stayed uncomfortably close by.  Then she pulled a Spiderman book off the shelf and gave it to me.  “Do you think she would like this?”

“Um, no.  She’s not really into Spiderman.”

I went back to perusing while the woman took another book off the shelf and tried to hand it to me.  “Does she like fire trucks?”

“Um, I think I’m just going to buy what I have here.”  [I was holding a book about animals].

Woman says, “Huh!…”

At this point I decided just to go check out, so we headed to get in line.  As we were walking away, Grace started laughing and said, “Mama, that lady thought I was a BOY!  That’s so silly!  Boys don’t have ponytails!”

I love the logic of a 4-year-old.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Nine

Today was the first day that I can honestly say that I enjoyed my workout.  I decided to start with the treadmill first…I walked uphill for 40 minutes.  Then I moved on to Jillian.  Since I’m still having a little trouble with the pulled muscle in my heel/leg (much better today, though!), I replaced the cardio jumping movements with other non-impact cardio. 

My workout took just over 60 minutes, and Grace entertained herself the whole time.  Of course, her idea of entertaining herself is taking every puzzle that we own and dumping hundreds of pieces all over the living room floor.  I guess that will give us a good project for the afternoon…sorting pieces and putting them all back together!

I think I was pretty pumped after I finished today because I made it through the bicycle crunches for the first time!  Without stopping!  Without putting my legs down!  For me, that was a big deal. 

Baby steps.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Eight

Grace and I did Level 1this morning.  Thanks to the suggestion of a reader, I stretched out my heel on the stairway before we started (Thanks, Kim!).  It helped to start with, but by the third set of jumping jacks, the pain started shooting up my leg.  So, much to Grace’s amusement, I finished the jumping jacks and jump rope sets on one leg. 

I’m going to stretch out all over more from now on before I do Jillian’s workout.  She includes a brief warm-up, but I don’t think it’s enough to avoid pulling one of my beginner muscles.

Tomorrow I am determined to get in some treadmill time…maybe it will work out the soreness.

Meat Storage

I received an excellent question from Parsley in my last post about freezing meat.  She asked how long meat could last frozen?  Up to a year?

I have never had a problem storing meat up to a year, but I did a little research to see if nutrition or quality or safety could be affected after several months.  The best source of information that I found was on the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service website.  They know what they’re talking about, so I’ll highlight the most important things I learned.

  • Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely.  The freezer should be kept at or below 0 °F.  If the power goes out undetected or someone leaves the door open for a long time, safety may be compromised.
  • Quality can decrease with time due to enzyme activity.  (See chart below).  When kept frozen at proper temperature, foods will retain color, flavor, and texture for specified times.
  • Freezing does not affect nutritional value.  Good news!
  • Packaging is important.  You can freeze meat directly in the supermarket package, but it’s not very airtight, so it only stays high quality for a couple of months.  The more airtight the storage method, the better the quality after defrosting.  Squeeze all air out of freezer bags.  Vacuum sealing is ideal.
  • Freeze it fast.  Ice crystals will form if frozen slowly.  If freezing several packages, don’t stack them on top of each other…spread them out to freeze faster.
  • Defrosting is key.  The best method for high quality is to defrost in the refrigerator for 1-2 days…plan ahead!  Defrosting in the microwave is safe, but it results in uneven cooking.  Never defrost on the kitchen counter.
  • Refreezing is OK.  The quality won’t be as good due to lost moisture, but it’s safe as long as it’s handled properly.

This chart shows the maximum amount of months frozen food can maintain a high quality when kept at or below 0 °F:



Bacon and sausage


Roasts, uncooked


Steaks or chops, uncooked


Ground meat, uncooked


Meat, cooked


Poultry, whole uncooked


Poultry, parts uncooked


Poultry, cooked


Soups, stews, and casseroles


Works For Me – Buying Meat


My husband is a big meat-eater.  I’m not so much, but I enjoy cooking what he likes.  So I’m always looking for good deals on his favorite things like chicken breast, hamburger meat, steak, roast, and pork chops.

One of the keys for reducing the overall cost of buying meat is adequate freezer space.  My husband bought me an extra small freezer that I keep in the garage, and it has paid for itself at least a couple of times already since we purchased it two years ago.  Consider buying a deep freezer on Craigslist for even more savings.  Buying in bulk and freezing greatly reduces my grocery budget and ensures that we always have something for dinner!

Because meat is a bigger-ticket item, I find that it is often worth it to scour the weekly ads and consider making a special trip to a store that I might not usually frequent. 

But the best advice I can give to get great prices on meat is to make friends with your butcher.  Almost all meat departments will drastically slash prices on packages of meat when they begin to approach their “sell by” date.  The butchers in two main meat departments in which I shop have been very friendly and eager to tell me about their procedure for marking down the meat.  One store does most of their markdowns every Thursday, and the other store has a butcher that does markdowns every morning.  I’ve tailored my shopping times to fit when I am most likely to score good prices on meat. 

Of course, these strategies will result in fluctuations in the weekly grocery budget.  Some weeks I spend more because I can’t pass up a low price, but it works out because my overall prices are greatly reduced.  And that works for me.

For more works-for-me tips, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Seven

I’ll admit that if I hadn’t committed to be accountable on this blog for my 30 day endeavor, I wouldn’t have workout out today.

But I did it.  After Grace went to bed, I pulled out the exercise mat and did Level 2 again.  I think I have a sports-related injury.  [Everyone that knows me can stop laughing now.]  My bottom of my right heel is killing me.  Weird.  It started hurting yesterday and by the time Todd came home from work, I could hardly walk.  It felt a little better today, but the jumping jacks were killer tonight.

Anyone know how to stretch out a heel?

On a more positive note, one thing I like about this workout is how fast it goes by.  Before, I would spend about 5 minutes stretching, 60 minutes on the treadmill, then 10-15 minutes doing floor exercises.  Now I’m done in under 25 minutes.  And it’s interactive…I can do it with Grace.  I’m still not convinced I’m burning enough calories in such a short time, though.  After the 30 days, I can see myself going back to more treadmill and maybe working out with Jillian 2-3 days per week.

Swimsuit Deal

We’re going to the beach in less than a month, so I recently went through my swimsuit drawer and tried on several of my old suits.  I was pleased to see that none of them fit.  I’ve altered several of my regular clothes to avoid buying a lot of new clothes, but I don’t want to attempt to alter a swimsuit.

I got online and started looking around.  Most people have already bought their summer suits, so stocks are pretty low and it seemed like everything I liked wasn’t available.  I visited Newport News and looked through their “Under $10 Clearance” section. 

I found this cute skirted tankini bottom for only $4.99.


I don’t know who invented the tankini, but they are brilliant.  Unless you shop in the Junior department, you can get the coverage of a one-piece (actually many are MORE modest than a one-piece) with the convenience of a bikini. 

Because availability was so low, I couldn’t find a matching tankini top to go with it, but I figured I’d go ahead and buy it since it was so cheap.  Right before I checked out, I remembered about Cashbaq, and I was pleased to discover I would receive an additional 3% cash back on my purchase.  Then I did a Google search on “newport news online coupon codes” and found both a promotional code for 25% off any item as well as a free shipping code.  Since I used my Paypal account to pay, I also earned a small 1% cash back bonus. 

With all the coupon codes and bonuses, my final cost for having this cute item delivered to my door was $3.59.

Of course that still left the problem of finding a top to match.  If money were not an issue, I would buy this Land’s End tankini top

tankini top image

It costs $48.50, and it even comes in a “long torso” to cover the muffin top that Jillian and I are working on.  I’ve always loved Land’s End…their clothes are made with very high quality materials and they resist fading, shrinking, and falling apart in the wash.

That price is out of my budget, so I went to EBay.  I found it brand new for only $14.99 in just the right size!  Woo hoo!

Monday, May 11, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Six

Level 2 – holy cow.

My mama taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. 

And that’s all I have to say about Jillian.

Monday Milestones


This week I recorded a weight loss of two pounds.  That brings my total to 41 pounds in 15 weeks.  Since I started The 30-Day Shred on Wednesday, I’ll admit I expected to lose a little more, but I’m not complaining.  I can definitely feel a difference in the way my clothes are fitting…even in the last few days.

I have been pretty sore this week, so I only walked on the treadmill twice at a much lower intensity than past weeks.  This week I’d like to bump that up a little. 

My eating plan went pretty well…especially considering the amount of temptation with which I was faced!  We had special guests visiting for a few days, and I resisted a bunch of things including:  coconut cream pie, macadamia nut white chocolate chip cookies, bacon, banana crumb muffins, homemade biscuits, and Blue Bell ice cream. 

Also, we went out to eat one night to Mimi’s Cafe.  I ordered a blackened chicken salad and low-fat muffin.  I ate most of it and was able to stay well within my calorie count for the day.  You know, it really is possible to eat out and lose weight.  Due to popular demand, most restaurants now have healthy choices.  However, sometimes you must ask for a special menu (like at Mimi’s).  These menus usually list calories, fat, fiber, etc.  There were even a couple of yummy-looking desserts on the diet menu that were quite reasonable.

My goal this week is just to keep truckin’.  Exercise every day, stay on my eating plan, and not get discouraged if the scale numbers don’t come down as quickly as I’d hoped this month.  At least I’m improving my overall health and endurance.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Five

Level 2 is beckoning me.  I was going to do a full week at Level 1 before moving on, but I’m starting to get bored.  So, I’ll venture into new levels of torture tomorrow.

Today was the first day Todd saw me do this thing.  He watched me for a while, then non-chalantly started doing some moves.  After less than a minute, he walked back into the kitchen.  When Grace asked, “Why are you stopping Daddy?”, he responded, “Mommy has more energy than me.” 

For anyone that knows Todd, that’s saying a lot.  He’s like the Energizer bunny on speed.  I can’t really say I have more energy yet.  But, I do have a lot of determination. 

Funny side note:  As I type, Todd is watching “The Bourne Supremacy” in Spanish.  I don’t know why that makes me chuckle.

30-Day Shred – Day Four

*I forgot to hit the “publish” button yesterday after I wrote my post.  Today is actually Day Five…which I’ll do after I take a luxurious nap!

Today was the first day that I really felt that my endurance was increasing.  I’ll admit that I didn’t do the advanced moves like Jillian’s BFF, but green-sports-bra girl and I were right together.  Most of my soreness has disappeared, and I even found myself lunging and squatting a little deeper today. 

Grace watched me do my routine for the first time, and she was enthralled.  After I finished, she begged me to start the video over so she could do exercise on my mat.  It was so cute to see her imitating me and Jillian.  Here she is doing some crunches:


She totally made it through the 20 minute workout doing the best she could on all the moves.  I am so tempted to get her a little yoga mat and set of 1-lb. weights.  She would love it! 

After the workout was over, she asked me to start it a third time so Lambie could exercise, too.  She was copying everything that Jillian was saying…”Jumping Jacks, let’s go!…get those hands up high!…there are no modified moves here!”  Hilarious.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Mother’s Day


I have very mixed feelings about the Mother’s Day holiday. 

On one hand, I am EXCEEDINGLY THANKFUL to celebrate my special mom.  I do not take lightly the gift of having her be such a constant part of my life.  Even though we live several hours away from each other, rarely does a day go by that we don’t talk on the phone.  I am truly blessed to have her friendship, wisdom, and guidance in my life.  She has always given me biblical counsel and unconditional love.  She is a strong woman that has fought and survived breast cancer.  She has a servant’s heart that is always willing to drop everything and take care of her family members…even if it means jumping on an airplane to help me and my other two sisters-in-law through pregnancy, bed rest, surgeries, deliveries, joys, sorrows, etc.  I am so blessed to have her in my life.

I am also EXCEEDINGLY THANKFUL to celebrate Mother’s Day as a mom.  From the time I was a little girl, I dreamed of having children of my own.  I prayed to become a mom for many, many years.  Motherhood has brought me so much joy, and I have welcomed all the changes and experiences that come with being a parent.  I am so blessed to have my little Grace Elizabeth.  She is truly a miracle child, an undeserved gift from God!

Which brings me to my first reservation about this holiday.  I remember all the years when I so desperately wanted to become a mom but it just wasn’t happening.  For infertile women, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year.  And now when I celebrate Mother’s Day, I can’t help but have a deep empathy for the feelings that other women are experiencing who are infertile, or still single and dreaming of a family.  It’s just hard.  Even when you have a strong faith and trust in God’s plan, the battle against falling into a depression remains.  On past Mother’s Days, I can remember sitting in our church’s choir loft and looking around at all the women sitting in our congregation wearing beautiful corsages.  It seemed that everyone was a mom except me.  Every time some well-meaning church member would wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, assuming that I was a parent, I would smile and reply “thank you” while the knife twisted a little deeper. 

Some of my friends also have a complicated relationship with their mother that causes much stress on this holiday.  The commercialism of our society places expectations on families to make a big deal out of days like Mother’s Day.  When there are underlying problems in the mother/child relationship, this holiday can augment those issues.  I suppose the argument could be made that Mother’s Day is an opportunity to resolve issues and make peace, but let’s be honest…when the relationship is broken, much more is needed than what can be gained by a bouquet of flowers and a Hallmark card.

I also have several friends who are celebrating Mother’s Day after losing their moms in recent years.  This day will provide a difficult mix of joy, thankfulness, and grief.

Honestly, if it was up to me, I would do away with the whole holiday.   I want to celebrate my own mother by loving and honoring her every day of the year.  I celebrate the amazing gift of becoming a mother myself every time Grace kisses me on the cheek, says “I love you”, or gives me a sweet smile.  I’ve even learned to celebrate and give thanks when she’s being difficult, remembering that this is what I prayed for!  And I’d like to avoid augmenting the pain of all the special circumstances that make Mother’s Day hard for so many people. 

But, with all that being said, I want to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day!  I pray that, regardless of your situation, it will be a day to give thanks, trust the Lord, and give any burdens to the One who can carry them (and us!).    

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.”  (Jeremiah 29:11-12)

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Sweet Southern Husband


This is a picture of Todd’s iced tea.  In case you can’t tell, that white part at the bottom is sugar.  He prefers to drink his dessert with dinner!

30-Day Shred – Day Three

I’ll be honest…today was hard.  I only slept a couple of hours last night because I was so sore.  My muscles were aching horribly.  I took some ibuprofen, soaked in the bathtub, and did some stretches to get some relief.  I tried again to go to sleep, but gave up and watched infomercials.  Then I had a nice, long quiet time and caught up on my read-the-bible-in-a-year plan.

We’re having some special guests visit us right now, and I didn’t want to subject them to the horror of watching me do Jillian’s moves, so I waited to work out until later this morning after they left for the day.  Like every good mom, I parked my daughter in front of the Disney channel and pulled out the exercise mat. 

The first cardio series was killer, but I found my muscles slowly getting into the groove.  By the end of the second series, I was actually enjoying myself and it felt pretty good.  That last ab routine still made me want to vomit, but boy did it feel nice to stretch out after I was finished.

And that brings me to my new goal:  I want to make it through that last bicycle-in-the-air-while-doing-crunches move WITHOUT STOPPING.  It’s only one minute, but it’s the most physically painful minute I have ever endured.  Unless you count pitocin-induced contractions without an epidural.  :)

OK, I’m going to go rescue my daughter from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and let her help me bake a pie for our guests this evening.  Don’t worry, I won’t cheat!  I’m telling you that once I have put my body through this torture, I’m not ruining it by the fleeting pleasures of coconut…cream…pie……*sigh*

Thursday, May 7, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day Two

I got up extra early today to get in my workout before my busy day.  Note to self:  Jillian’s face is not the first face I enjoy seeing in the morning.  Thankfully, I didn’t wake up Grace with my grunting and groaning, so I was able to finish in peace.

Level One wasn’t quite as hard as yesterday, although that last ab series still KILLED.  And admittedly, I followed green-sports-bra-lady, the “beginner.”  Pu-leeeease!  At first Jillian says, “She’s a beginner, so she’s doing modified moves.”  Then she points out her amazing abs and says, “You don’t get abs like this by doing nothing.”  Which is it?

But advanced-Barbie was beckoning me with deeper lunges, so perhaps tomorrow I will try to feel the burn even more.  Procrastination.  It’s what I do best.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

30-Day Shred – Day One

Whew!  I made it through Level 1!  Granted, I modified a couple of things (hello, push-ups!).  But I kept going and didn’t stop.  It actually went by pretty fast. 

When I got my hand weights at Academy last week, I almost bought two 5-pounders.  The 3-pounders just didn’t feel heavy.  But the guy that helped me suggested the 2 or 3 lb. weights for beginners.  I tried not to let him see that the REAL reason I wanted the 5-pounders was because they were a cute hot pink color!  Well, the 3-lbs. felt like 30 lbs. at the end, so I’m glad I listened to that teenage guy. (Plus, I still have blisters from doing yard work).

That last ab series was insane.  I was literally gasping for breath while my legs trembled in the air.  But, I was motivated when I looked over to see the 9-yr-old girl I’m keeping this week (because of swine flu scare at her school) was going strong.  She did the entire thing with me.  Minus the hand weights. 

And all those jumping jacks took me right back to middle school gym class.  *shudder*  Except I wasn’t wearing microscopic purple shorts and a white t-shirt with my name in iron-on letters across the back.  And I wasn’t trying to figure out how to look “cool” while doing Crazy Eights.   Oh, wait…I WAS trying to look “cool” in front of my 9-yr-old friend.  Some things never change.

Yard Work

I accomplished a major feat yesterday.  I mowed the grass for the first time in my life.  What can I say?  I grew up with two strapping brothers who were happy to be outside, and my duties/chores around the house were confined indoors (hence my black thumb and disdain for sweating). 

When we bought our home, Todd agreed to take care of the outside if I took care of the inside.  Not a bad deal considering the size of our backyard.  But he’s been really busy lately and I was starting to dread receiving “the letter” from our homeowners association asking us to trim our lawn.  (I speak from experience, people.)

Anyway, after wrestling with the lawnmower for about 20 minutes trying to figure out how to get it started (how was I supposed to know there was a little red button?), I began on the front yard.  Since there were a ton of clippings, I had to stop several times to empty the grass bag.  I really wanted to do that cool design on our grass where there are diagonal patterns (how do people DO that?), but I shortly gave up and decided to just do my “square spiral” method where you can just keep moving around the perimeter until you reach the center.

Then I started on the backyard.  Oh. my. goodness.  My original plan of quickly cutting the grass before dinner turned into hubby coming home from work and helping me finish with the weed eater, realizing there would be no supper, then going out to get a Little Caesar’s pizza.  Thankfully, we were done by 7:00 because neither one of us wanted to miss Adam singing on American Idol! 

So, this is what I learned yesterday:

  1. I should wear gloves when working the lawnmower for such an extended period of time or I will wake up the next morning with painful blisters on my palms.
  2. I must avoid wearing shorts and sandals to mow the lawn.  Getting a tan is not worth the ant bites and flying debris stings.
  3. Mowing the grass is an upper body workout.  There are muscles in my arms that I didn’t know existed.
  4. Apparently I’m allergic to cut grass because I had to stop and take Benedryl after hives came up on my hands and arms.
  5. I do not begrudge the lawn moving company that we used to employ the $40 they charged to cut and edge our grass.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Because We Always Have Deep Conversations After Reading “Cinderella.”

Grace:  “Mommy, I want to marry you tomorrow.”

Me:      “That’s sweet.  But I’m already married to daddy!”

Grace:   “Well, actually, I still want to marry you tomorrow.”

Me:       “Grace, the Bible teaches that a man and a woman get    married and start a family.  One day, hopefully you will meet a sweet man who loves God and will love you and want to get married, too.”

Grace:   “Is a man a boy?”

Me:       “Yes, a man is a boy who is all grown up.”

Grace:   “Well, I want to marry Caleb.  He’s a boy.”  [her friend that I babysit]

Me:       “You must grow up before you can get married.”

Grace:   “Can I be ‘growed’ up tomorrow?”

Me:        “No.  It takes many years to grow up and be ready to get married.”

Grace:   “But you’re ‘growed’ up.”

Me:       “Yes.  I’m grown up.”

Grace:    “That took a loooooooong time.”

Me:       [laughing]  “Yes, I’m pretty old.”

Grace:   [nodding seriously]  “Well, actually, you’re REALLY old!”


Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh, the Irony

So, our home has been on the market since October.  Only two people have looked since then, and they just casually dropped by a scheduled open house.  I think we can safely say the D/FW housing market is in a slump.

I agreed to take care of an extra child today whose school was cancelled due to swine flu…EXCUSE ME…the H1N1 flu.  Just yesterday, a 2nd grade child in our neighborhood was confirmed with H1N1.  As a result, the local elementary school has shut down for the week. 

All three kids were in the kitchen with me, “helping” me mix up some homemade ice cream for a treat.  As you can imagine, after several hours of playing and cooking, my house was not company-ready.  Enter the irony.  The doorbell rang and I curiously peeked out the window.  I saw our realtor standing there with a nice-looking young couple.  Uh-oh.  The procedure is that the realty company calls us at least 30 minutes in advance so we can straighten up the house and get out to the park while potential buyers tour our home.  Not that we have a lot of experience with this procedure.

Anyway, I opened the door.  My realtor questioned, “Didn’t my office call to set up a showing?”  Um, no.  Nobody called.  (Enter shrieking 4-yr-olds running by).  I put aside my frustration and sweetly invited them in to look around, apologizing for the toys, shoes, mess in the kitchen, unmade beds, etc.  But I didn’t offer to leave. 

In a not-so-bright inquiry, my realtor asked if I had a bunch of kids because school was cancelled due to swine flu H1N1.  I said yes.  She asked if the whole district was closed.  I said no.  She asked which school was closed.  I said just one school.  She wanted the name of a school.  I told her.  (I noticed shocked expressions on all three visitors).  Isn’t that the school down the street?  I said yes.  Is there a confirmed case?  I said yes. 

They pretended to look around for less than two minutes before hurriedly exiting.

Crazy, huh?

Monday Milestones


I feel like things got back to normal this week.  The mystery of the missing HMR food has been solved.  They “lost” my order.  Although it took them a few days to respond to my inquiry, they were very apologetic and sent a few extra entrees for my inconvenience.

I exercised four days this week, and I bumped up my treadmill time to 60 minutes.  Despite the fact that I cheated a little when a friend took me out for a thank-you dinner, I managed to lose two pounds this week.  That brings my total to 39 pounds in 14 weeks.

My big goal this week is to begin Jillian Michaels - 30-Day Shred!  I ordered my DVD on Amazon, and it should come in by Tuesday.  The plan is to start Day 1 on Wednesday.  I even got a pretty purple exercise mat and hand weights from Academy!  So far, there are three people who have bought the DVD and are ready to join me!  Woo hoo!  My sister-in-law started it yesterday and said Jillian was pretty intense…it only took two minutes to break a sweat.   And, people, if it only took two minutes for her to break a sweat, it is HARD.

I’m not sure how this 30-Day Shred is going to effect my treadmill work.  I’d like to say I’ll do both, but I’ll play it by ear this week. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Homemade Crockpot Yogurt

I came across a recipe for homemade yogurt using a crock pot.  Since I don’t have a fancy-dancy yogurt maker, I gave it a try.  It was very simple to make, and the results were fantastic!  I used coconut milk (since we are on a dairy-free journey), but it works with regular cow’s milk, too. 

The main difference is that the yogurt is not quite as thick as store-bought.  But I added Knox gelatin to thicken it up a bit.  Also, the higher the fat content in your milk, the thicker your yogurt will be.  I used Thai organic coconut milk, and it had a smooth and creamy consistency.  

coconut milk

The yogurt keeps for 7-10 days in the refrigerator, and ends up being a fraction of the cost of store-bought yogurt!


  • 1/2 gallon of milk
  • 1 small envelope of Knox gelatin
  • 1/2 c. plain yogurt (You will need to buy it to make your first batch, then use your homemade yogurt for starter next time.)
  • 3 T honey
  • heating pad
  • large beach towel


  1. Pour milk into crock pot.  Sprinkle in Knox gelatin and whisk to combine.  Set crock pot on LOW, cover, and cook for 2 1/2 hours.
  2. Unplug the crock pot.  Leave it covered and let it sit for 3 hours.
  3. After the 3 hours have passed, scoop out 2 cups of the warm milk mixture.  In small bowl, combine it with the plain yogurt and honey.  Pour back into crock pot and stir to combine.
  4. Put the lid back on.  Turn the heating pad on LOW and place over top of lid.  Wrap the beach towel all around the crock pot and heating pad for insulation.
  5. Go to bed or let it sit for 8 hours.
  6. In the morning, pour yogurt into containers and chill completely in refrigerator.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.

Friday, May 1, 2009

30-Day Shred

30 day shred

I’ve been hearing a lot of talk lately about the 30-Day Shred by Jillian Michaels.  (Big Mama is blogging about her experience here.)   If you’ve ever watched her on The Biggest Loser, you know she’s pretty intense.  Actually, I’ve often wondered what kind of childhood she had that would cause her to turn into the kind of person that seems to ENJOY inflicting as much pain as possible on her victims trainees.

However, Jillian claims that by doing her 30-Day Shred workout 20 minutes per day for 30 days, a person can lose up to 20 pounds.  Of course, I’m assuming one must lay off the chips and queso as well, but you get the idea.  I figure that I can do anything for just 20 minutes per day.  Right? 

I’ve been pretty consistent on my workouts since February, so if I can speed-walk at a high incline for 60 minutes, surely I can make it through 20 minutes with Jillian.  If not, that’s just sad. 

I have some extra motivation…we’re going to the beach the second week of June.  So that gives me just enough time to try The Shred before I go.  And if there’s anything that motivates me it’s the fear idea of wearing a swimsuit in public.

So, here’s an invitation!  I ordered my 30-Day Shred DVD on Amazon this morning.  It was a little over $10 (including shipping).  Order one for yourself and join me on this adventure!  I’ll document my experience and invite you to comment as well.  Hopefully I’ll get my DVD and be able to start by next Tuesday or Wednesday.  My sweet sister-in-law is the first person that has committed to suffer through do it with me!  The only equipment you will need is the DVD, an exercise mat (if you’re working out on a hard surface), and small hand weights.  And maybe your cell phone close by in case you need to call an ambulance…

One more word:  If Jillian Michaels can help me lose 20 pounds in 30 days, I will take back every bad thing I ever said (or thought) about her while watching The Biggest Loser.  Amen.