Monday, January 28, 2013

My Shape

One of my goals for the year is to get in better shape. 

I want to be happy with how I look and feel good.
Along with setting this goal, I am relearning a simple truth: changes take time.

Here's what I am doing to work on this goal:

Increasing my exercise. To be honest, I did not exercise much at all during November and December. I basically took two months off. Oops.Oh ya, I felt the effects of that choice. It feels great to be exercising again. I can tell a huge difference in how I feel when I exercise regularly.

My goal is to exercise 5 days a week. I think that will be attainable most weeks.

Eat healthier. I am working on both portion control and eating healthier foods.

I started using I never  have liked the idea of calorie counting. When my husband told me about the site, I balked at the idea of logging everything I eat. And then a week later I tried it and I loved it. Here's why- I am learning about what I eat! I am not as concerned about the calories (although I am paying attention). I love learning which foods contain carbs, protein and fiber. This is a great tool to use to learn about nutrition. Or, at least it is a great tool for someone who knows very little about nutrition.

Some of my goals include:
Have a protein at each meal.
Eat a meatless dinner at least once week.
Eat fish once a week.

The hardest of these three goals will be eating fish. I love fish. We just haven't had it as a regular part of our diet.

Stay strong and continue to strive to be healthy, even when I have an unhealthy day.

I think this quote sums up my attitude.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Oh Mio! Hearty Italian Soup

I have been using the dutch oven I got for Christmas constantly. I love it.

Tonight's soup was: Hearty Italian Soup.
It was incredible. My husband couldn't stop talking about how much he liked it. He stopped only when he fell asleep on the couch after dinner. My kids ate it with out complaint. I was even asked to make it tomorrow.

It's worth trying. Oh mio, รจ delizioso!

Hearty Italian Soup

1 (16 oz) package mild Italian sausage (I used beef polska kielbasa sausage, two 13 oz packages)
2 tsp olive oil
1 large onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 (48 oz) container chicken broth (I used two 32 oz cartons)
2 (15 oz) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes (I prefer the organic kind)
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1 (5 oz) package baby spinach (I didn't find a package so I just used fresh cut-in-half spinach leaves)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

1. Cook sausage in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 7 to 8 minutes on each side until browned. (Side note: I cute my sausage into 1/4 inch slices before I cooked it. This worked well for polska kielbasa sausage.) Remove sausage from Dutch oven, reserving drippings in Dutch oven. Saute' onion in hot drippings 3 minutes or until tender. Add garlic, and saute' 1 minute. Cut sausage into 1/4 inch think slices, and return to Dutch oven.
2. Stir chicken broth and next 3 ingredients into sausage mixture; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 25 minutes.
3 Stir in spinach, basil and parsley; cook, stirring occasionally 5 to 6 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Top each serving with Parmesan cheese.
I served it with a French Loaf Bread.

This recipe is originally from Southern Living. They also have a cornbread biscotti recipe that would be nice to try with it. You can find both original recipes here: Southern Living Hearty Italian Soup with Parmesan-Pepper Cornbread Biscotti

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Funny: Christmas Blooper


I am not sure which makes me laugh more- being able to see all the way down my throat or my youngest son's face.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday Thanks Tank #191

I am thankful for: 

salad: I've been making salads everyday for lunch this week.
a quiet house: every once in a while the house is quiet
a noisy house: I love the sounds of the kids playing together, the trumpet being practiced, music from multiple ipods (okay, where are those earplugs- I mean earphones!), the sounds of a ball hitting the floor (how many times a week do I say, "take the ball outside"?), the yelling kids on the trampoline, the two 6th graders working on a project... I live in a noisy house
my jump rope: Wow, jumping roping is good exercise! I set the timer today and it's challenging to jump rope for a set amount of time. 
being caught up on laundry: Oh shoot, that moment was yesterday. I'm not behind and that's really nice.
pomegranate martinis: my favorite. Sometimes the perfect ending to a stressful day.
nighttime chats with my husband: my absolute favorite time of day is at night when the house is quiet and we sit and talk, often for hours.
praying with my oldest: My husband and I prayed with my oldest son tonight. We sat together, holding hands- praying for him and for the weekend. It was beautiful. 
my phone:  I love my iphone.
recognizing my faults: why is it so easy to see the faults in others? I am thankful for those moments when I realize that I am flawed. I mean, those moments when it is painstakingly obvious that I have missed my obvious flaws. I have a long way to go.
church: We joined our church in November. After not having a church home where we live for more than year, it is really nice to belong to a church family.
a perfect climbing tree: as in, a tree in our yard, positioned right straight out from my kitchen sink window, that my son loves to climb. I don't know how many times I've thought, "where is he?" only to look out and find him in the tree.

Here's a picture of my son, as I saw him today through the kitchen window:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wednesday Words: The Opposite of a Poker Face

"And when I am lost, which is frequently, I look lost. My face is a transparent transmitter of my every thought. As David once put it, "You have the opposite of a poker face. You have, like... miniature golf face."

Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

These words made me laugh- out loud.
That's it.
Just funny.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Family Day

My husband took today off so we could have a family day. None of the kids had school.

Last night, my son said he wanted to go to sleep fast so the morning would get here quicker. He asked Daddy to "not cancel the trip".

As the kids slept, my husband and I gathered our snow pants, gloves, hats, and sleds. My husband and I packed lunch and I baked some oatmeal chocolate chip bars for our trip to Adventure Mountain on Lake Tahoe.

And then, my daughter woke up at 10:30 with a 103 fever.

My husband decided he would still take the boys and "not cancel the trip".

My daughter cried when we told her she couldn't go. We told her at night in case she was still sleeping in the morning. Tears were shed by one of the boys this morning when he found out we all couldn't go.
It was a sad morning.

I brought my daughter's single bed mattress downstairs so she could snuggle with her favorite blanket and, essentially, watch a few movies in her bed. I made sure she drank during the day. I rubbed her back. I gave her more Tylenol when it was time. We shut all of the blinds and turned off all of the lights so it would be dark enough to take a nap. I rested on the couch next to her while she napped. I loved her with all of my might and comforted her with all of my compassion.

Meanwhile, my husband took the boys on a trip that he had to be convinced to go on in the first place. It was a trip that he wasn't entirely excited about. One that he wanted to do for me -for the family. He took the boys and had a fantastic time. He went down long sledding hills. He's sure he's going to be sore tomorrow. They had a snowball fight with another dad and his kids. He took pictures of the boys building a snow fort. He took video of them sledding down the hill. The pictures and videos were for me.The smiles, the laughter, the joy was wonderful for to see.

It wasn't the perfect family day.
But also- it was.
The perfect expression of family love.

Sometimes nothing turns out like it is supposed to... and we are able to make the best of it anyway. That's a great family day.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Young or Old

I've been obsessing about something lately.
The start of the new year. This year. The number 40. The big 4-0...

I've looked up lists of things to do when you are forty and things to do before you are forty. Many of the online lists surprise me. I understand going sky diving or running a marathon. I don't get things like- have an affair, get married, get divorced. Those were all in the same list. 

Anyway, I have been very thoughtful in January.
Who am I? What do I want to do that I haven't done?  Where do I want to go? What do I want to learn? How can I improve myself? What have I started that I need to finish?

I have created several lists of my own, recognizing that I won't accomplish all of these things this year or next. After all, is this my fortieth year? Or, should I think of the year I am forty as the "big" year? 

My Wednesday provided age related hilarity... I am still amused by it.

I have joined a class of women at my church that meets every Wednesday morning. Suffice it to say, I am the youngest women in the class. These sweet ladies are most all retirees or at least have achieved a senior citizen status. I joined the group knowing that I would be much younger than everyone else. Still, I need what the study has to offer and it fits easily into my schedule. 
On Wednesday, the lady next to me commented that this was a big year for her.
The year she turns 80.

Let me just say, I wouldn't have guessed she was going to be 80. She is vibrant and active. But still... I'm in a class with a lady that is twice my age! (Incidentally, another lady told her life after 80 is great.) I felt so young.

Wednesday night, I went to a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting. There were sweet mommas holding tiny babies. A teenager, sitting next to me, was expecting her first child. We had a speaker on disciplining children. As I sat there listening to the discussion,  I wondered, "When did I become the 'old' mom?" In fact, I had to excuse myself 15 minutes early because the youth group gets out before our meeting ends and I needed to pick up my oldest son. The mom I told this to looked at me like I was from Mars. I felt so old.

I don't know whether I am old or young. I guess it depends on who you ask.

I am going to do my best to make this year (and next) my best yet.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Words: Action

"At a certain point, I just felt, you know, God is not looking for alms, 
God is looking for action." ~ Bono

I read this quote this week on Pinterest. I read it, liked it and then re-pinned it. After that, it has just hung in my mind like a steeping tea bag. 

Over the holidays, one day I was walking out of a grocery store where a family of 3 were standing. The mom held an infant. They were asking passersby for money for gas to get to another town. At first I thought I had nothing to give and I started to say as much. Then, I remembered that I had cash in my pocket. 

The experience left me befuddled. Did I feel good about giving them money. Yes. And, no. They were still asking for money when I left. Did they need money for gas? It's hard to know. Impossible for me to know. Could I have given more? Yes, but I didn't. Did I feel sad.  Yes. It was snowing, albeit just slightly. I wished that baby could have been warmer. Could I imagine the state they were in? Yes, but mostly, no. I've thought about the family many times since then. I offer up prayers for them. 

I have no idea how I could have helped them in any other way. In that moment, that was really all I could do. I was between towns, myself, on a trip. And, even if I hadn't of been, I gave them what they wanted and I probably would have left it at that. I don't know if that is good or bad.

What I know is this- I can give more to others. I can give of myself. I gave give of my resources. I can share what I have that is mine- not my leftovers, my I-can-donate-this, we-don't-need-this, and this is too small items. I can do extra for those that I love and for those that I hardly know. I can do for others in big and small ways. I just have to be more aware.

These words from Bono prompt me to do more for others.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday Thanks Tank #190

Written on Thursday, posted on Friday- here is my Thursday Thanks Tank for this week~

I am thankful for:

snow flurries
birds enjoying my bird feeder
returning to our pre-holiday routine
A new Bible study
cooking breakfast for my kids
the joy of kids destroying their melting snowman
new recipes
my new dutch oven
my father's hug
a new day for relationships that are torn
the fun of watching my team win the BCS Championship
heaven and the knowledge that a loved one is there
friends that will let me sleep at their house on a moment's notice (the day before)
a new appreciation for a size tall at Starbucks
Sweet Home Alabama
hearing my 5 year old daughter spontaneously say, "this has been a great day so far"
needing shoes for a growing boy and finding the right size at the first store
being on time
time alone with my son
Sweet tea
being productive

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Wednesday Words: The SEC

"I'm sorry, folks outside of SEC country, but a few facts are incontrovertible. They smoke better barbecue than you. Their women are prettier than your women. They play football better than your schools play football."
Andy Staples, Alabama's rout of Notre Dame reinforces SEC dominance, Sports Illustrated 1/7/2013

Here's a picture of me and 3 of my kids during halftime of the BCS Championship Game. Roll Tide!

My husband is a Tennessee fan and my oldest son is an Oregon fan. They graciously cheered for Bama, too.