Monday, December 17, 2012


I want to start by sending my heartfelt condolences to all of the families who lost loved ones last week in Newton, CT.  I do not have the words to express how sorry I am that you are having to live through this.

With that said, I am extremely thankful that my son is only 3, and that we don't watch a lot of broadcast television with him. This weekend was filled with heartbreaking news stories regarding the incident in Newton, Connecticut.  I am thankful that I was spared from explaining these events to my child, because my adult brain can barely process them.  As a mother, I look forward to my child starting school- to reaching that milestone of knowing they would be well cared for and educated.  (My husband and I are supporters of our local school system, it is why we sacrificed to move into the school district we chose.)  I cannot begin to comprehend the overwhelming sadness and grief the parents of all of the children who were killed.  And the guilt.  I am sure they felt they were doing the best thing for their child by sending them to the school they chose, and I am sure many will spend time thinking through all of the "what if's" - if they had just chosen to keep their child home that day, or if they had chosen a different school or different home or chose to home school - the options are endless. I am sure they feel this way because, God forbid I am ever in a similar situation, I would.  I would blame myself. To those parents, and the loved ones and parents of the teachers and staff who were also killed I want to say this:

It was not your fault.  You did not choose to send your loved one to a war zone.  The teachers and staff did not choose to work in a dangerous profession or a dangerous area. You made the best decision you could for your child and family. We live in a broken world, a place where there is mental illness, violence, and guns.  A place where sin and ugliness and hate run rampant. We cannot do anything about this, it is a fact.  The only thing for me that keeps this from being a crushing revelation is the hope and promise that I have in Christ that this is not the end.  This world is not where we end up - that one day all will be made new, and all will be restored.  It is this hope that helps me see past what has happened, and not allow an event like this to cripple me from living my life.  The song "There Will Be A Day" by Jeremy Camp has been running through my head since I heard the news of this story - for those reading who feel hopeless  there is hope.  It is just not this side of heaven.

While we cannot change these events, we can change how we react.   A very wise man once shared with me "Beth, you cannot change what is happening in this place, you can only change how you react to it"  So this is how I am reacting.

I'm angry.  Very angry.   I'm angry that our news outlets are spending more time focusing on the gunman than the victims.  Want to ensure that some other kid with issues who wants attention guns down a school?  Make a big deal about another kid who already did it.  I haven't been a mother long, but I have learned this lesson already.  If there is a behavior in my son I want to eradicate, we don't even acknowledge it, laugh at it, or give it a moment's pause -  we ignore it until it disappears.  So let's ignore the stories about this kid's past, the speculation of who's and why's.  Let's not make him into a victim - let's not even utter his name.  So here is my challenge to you - don't read the stories about him.  Make it a point to skip those links, and send a message to the media at large that we are tired of hearing about what a "victim" kids like him are.  Because if we can all come together to take a stand and make the point that the information shared in those stories doesn't matter, if we can desensationalize stories like this, as a whole we may be able to stop another kid from thinking this is a good idea to get the attention he or she is looking for.  Let me be clear, I do not for a moment believe that this will eradicate senseless violence - but it may stop at least one tragedy from occurring.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

On Joining the Club

For a very, very long time I longed to join the club of women I experienced every day.  They were a diverse group, some older than I, some younger - belonging to a group that I just wanted to be a part of so badly.  There was nothing I could do to meet the initiation requirements of this club - I just had to wait.  That was the hardest, the waiting and not being able to join.

On September 4, 2010 I finally, finally earned my place in their ranks.

At 6:42 p.m. that evening I became a mother.  Suddenly, in the bowels of Detroit International Airport my initiation was complete, and my son was placed in my arms. It was amazing.  It was everything that I had imagined it could be, an more.  I had joined the club.

Today marks my second Mother's Day, the second time I get to celebrate joining this group of women.  My husband and son (and my Mom!) made me feel so special, appreciated and cherished today, even more so than on other days.  We celebrated well today.

In all the joy and celebrating this day now holds for me, I want to be clear that I have not forgotten the sisterhood from which I came.  I have not forgotten the tears and heartbreaking emptiness this day brought for oh-so-long.  While I celebrated today, I also cried for the women for whom it is not yet time for Motherhood.  I cried remembering the feeling of missing someone - some little person I had not even met - and then feeling like I was crazy missing someone I didn't know.  It's not crazy.  It's part of being a mother.

To my sisters in waiting I want to share this.
It's worth it.  It is amazingly, beautifully, worth it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 7

I received an e-mail this week that made me feel like some of you reading think I have this all together.

Let me assure you I don't.  If I did, I would no longer have 64 pounds to lose.  (Yep, another week with no loss, but no gain either) I struggle daily, sometimes hourly with this.  As I have looked back over the last almost two months and realized something important.

The weeks I have felt the most in control of this journey, the most aware, and had the best results were the weeks where I was focused not on myself, but on my Creator.  Where I focused more on glorifying God with this journey than on the number on the scale.  Those were my best weeks. I think I need more of those weeks.  

Next up, the promised recipes!  
First up - No Bake Energy Balls

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Ultimate Test

Last year for Christmas (2010) my Father-In-Law gave me a great gift - a Kindle with a light in the cover.  (mostly because I like to read before going to sleep, and Steve isn't thrilled with keeping the light on "Until all hours of the night".)

Let me go back to explain - I love to read.  I love books.  I love to feel the weight of the book in my hands, and feel the pages creak open.  I loved leaving the library with more books than I could carry. I also like to read favorite books over and over again, they are like old friends.  The story doesn't change, and is a comfort in a crazy world.  They are predictable.

I was not thrilled with the idea of electronic books.  I resisted for a long time.  Then I caved.  Then came the gift.  And it was wonderful.  (Just a note, Amazon offers an ever changing list of free books.  Of the 400+ books I have currently on my Kindle I have only paid for maybe three of them)

I was curious how the e-version of my favorites would compare to my paper versions, but too frugal to actually purchase a favorite that I already had in my collection just to test.  Last week I had my chance. One of my favorite, favorite books was offered free on the Kindle Free List.

Finally I could answer my question - which was better.

The answer - they are both pretty darn great.  I enjoyed reading my old friend electronically just as much as reading her in paper format.  Score one for the Kindle.

(In case you are wondering, my book is "Kissing Aidren" by Siri Mitchell.  Her stories are fantastic)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 6

Over all it was a good week - My husband and my 9th anniversary for starts!  9 Years!  We celebrated by going out to a nice dinner. And boy did we enjoy ourselves!

I didn't loose this week, but I didn't gain.  I am actually losing a little motivation - any tips on that?

Also, the votes were split this week on the recipe - so we will start with the No-Bake Energy Balls, next week will be the Buffalo Chicken Salad and the week after will be the Quiche.
How about you guys - any success stories?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 5

Well - maybe I should whine a bit more about my weight loss, because this week was a big ol' 2 POUNDS! Yep, I get to add an "s" to that.  This would make a grand total of 6 pounds in 5 weeks.  Not too shabby if I say so myself.

Since I didn't hear from any of you on questions you have, or comments on how you are doing I am going to randomly choose a topic to discuss every week.  This week I am going to talk about my diet. I have learned from my past mistakes that trying to follow a strict diet doesn't work long term for me. What does - so far making small, but lasting, changes.  I have pretty much eliminated artificial sweeteners from my diet, and instead use natural options if I need to. I have also severely cut "white" products, like potatoes, bread and pasta.  Instead I am using whole wheat bread and pasta products and if we do have potatoes we have sweet potatoes.  I am also adding a TON of fruits and veggies to my diet.  The thought behind that is that if I am filling up on fruit and vegetable options I am not hungry for "junk". (Does this mean that I always, 100% of the time make these choices - nope. Just most of the time.)

I also allow myself one "treat" a day.  Lately that has been Easter Candy, a cookie, or something like that.  

I do have a couple of new recipes that I have been making, so leave a comment to vote on which one you would like me to feature next!
1.  Buffalo Chicken Salad
2.  No-bake Energy Cookies
3.  Crustless Breakfast Quiche

Until next week!

Thursday, April 19, 2012


For almost a year I have held onto guilt over how I felt about Buddy's Adoption Finalization Day.
In mid April 2011 we were summoned to Probate Court for this event.  I just didn't get that excited about it.  I just couldn't get that excited about it.  I felt terrible about this.  The day came, we went to court, and came home.  It felt like just another day. (in fact, I had written the wrong day on the calendar at one point)

We have had many friends who have gone before us on this journey, and they did this day up big.  A party, at least a cake - something special to signify the event.  Not us. We just got dressed up, went to court, came home.  That's it.

I even had to look back at some records to remember what date court was, because April rolled around this year and I couldn't remember it.

For almost a year, I felt guilty about this - until I realized something.

I can tell you almost every detail from the day Buddy came home - that his flight landed at exactly 6:00 p.m. on September 4th.  That we first heard him crying behind the customs doors at 6:30 and that at 6:42 he was handed into my arms.  I can tell you what I was wearing, what Steve was wearing, what he was wearing.  I can tell you that we arrived home at 11:50 that night.  Without looking back at pictures of the day I can say that we ate at Cracker Barrel and I had chicken strips and fries. I remember holding him so tightly that I didn't want to ever - EVER let go. I remember him looking up into my eyes while he had his first bottle with me.

I remember it all - because that is the day that mattered.  He became my son almost 8 1/2 months earlier when he was placed in my arms.  Not the day in court - that day was just a formality.  It didn't change anything at all.  (well, legally it did, but you know what I mean)

I think I was feeling guilty for nothing...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 4

This was another tough week - I was sick (again) and it seems like when that happens I just kind of hold on.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that I did loose - not much - but I'll take it.

A Whole .5 pound.  Oh how I wish for a week of being able to say POUNDS!  That would bring my total up to 4 pounds lost in four weeks.

By the way, have you ever heard of someone having an allergic reaction to ALLERGY MEDICINE?  Yeah, me either.  But it happened.

How are all of you doing?  Anyone on this journey with me want to share a success story?  I would love to hear it!

Until next time -

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 3

This was a rough week - it was a holiday week, it was stressful, it just wasn't my best week.

But I didn't gain.  I was shocked this morning when I weighed in and had not gained anything.

I learned something in this last week, I have two choices when life is stressful, I can eat myself sick- or I can pray about it and find something useful to do.  For the first time, I chose the later.  In the past if I had a "bad" week and didn't lose, or gained, I wanted to give up and quit.  I am not doing that this time.  I am starting fresh today - back into my routine, low carb, no skipping meals then binging later (and over eating).

How do you handle rough weeks?  Or holiday meals?  We had some healthier options this year and all the extra desserts that were left went to work with my sweet husband today.  (I made a new dessert, man was it good!)
Leave a comment on what great choices you made this week!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekly Weigh In - Week 2

So how did this week go?  Down 2 pounds! That is a total of 3.5 pounds in two weeks.  I am pretty excited about that.

I know for me, I tend to focus on how I have failed and often need reminders that there are times I get it right. Today I would like to focus on those successes!

The first was just planning out my week.  I planned menus, time, activities and planned in times that I could treat myself, and times I knew that I needed to buckle down more to make room in my life for the treats.

Second, we went for ice cream at my favorite place (this was actually not this past week, but the week prior) Handel's Homemade Ice Cream.  In the past, I would get a dish of ice cream and eat it so fast that I didn't really even taste it.  Which is a shame - as the dark chocolate raspberry truffle is worth every minute on the treadmill to burn the calories.  This time, I got a small dish, ate part of it, and took the rest home and ate it over several days.  I stretched it out, and enjoyed it even more.  I was just as satisfied as when I pigged out and ate it all.

Lastly, I had dinner with a friend at a favorite restaurant. I planned my day (food wise) around this day, and instead of emptying the bread basket myself, I had two small pieces.  That was it.  I also ordered a huge salad for an appetizer, with fruit and nuts and all kinds of goodness in it, and just a small appetizer for my main course.  I even took some home for the next day.

So, those were my recent successes.  This weeks goals are to still exercise at least 5 times, 30 minutes of cardio, and adding in some toning exercises.  (Thank goodness for nap time!)  It is also Easter Weekend, which for us means a lot of food, so part of my plan is to accommodate for the big meals during other parts of the days/week.

Have a good week!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

New Recipe Alert - Roasted Kale

What green leafy vegetable has my unbelievably picky two-year old begging for more? (not going to lie, I knock back quite a bit of this myself - guilt free!)

Roasted Kale Chips.  I know, I can't believe it either.  I thought it was a fluke (for crying out loud, he's so picky he won't eat a sandwich if you call it a "sandwich") but I have made this now three times, and each time I hear "Moe Kale Peas" over and over for days.  It is crazy.  And easy.  If you google Kale Chips or Roasted Kale you will find TONS of recipes.  Today, I will share with you the recipe and tips I have learned to help you get your own easy-peasy snack.

Large Bunch of Kale - (My supermarket had bags of this in the pre-washed lettuce area, I used this the first time and it didn't work so hot.  I use fresh, whole leaf kale.  Luckily, a little farmer's-market type store near me has it all the time for cheap.)

Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Fresh ground pepper

That's it.

Now for the easy directions. Wash the kale leaves, and trim the coarse rib out so you just have the flat leaves.  The rib takes much longer to bake than the leaves, so if you leave it in you will end up with kale ribs and burned leaves. Trust me on this.  Use a salad spinner or paper towels to dry the kale well before you start.

(I forgot to take a photo before I started, so this was what about half the kale looked like prior to baking.)
Next, layer the kale in a single layer on a cookie sheet lined with foil, and sprayed well with non-stick cooking spray.  Drizzle about 1 1/2 teaspoons of Olive Oil over the kale and toss to cover
well.  Sprinkle with a little Sea Salt and bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.

Bake the kale for 10-20 minutes, or until crispy.  (I know, I hate this part.  The time totally depends on how wet the kale is, and how humid your house is.  I have made batches that were done in 9 minutes and ones that took 25 or more.)  Using tongs, turn the kale once or twice.

Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes, it should look like this.

(The white stuff is Parmesan Cheese, I tried a new recipe and it wasn't as good as my original)

Remember the HUGE pile of kale I had at the beginning?  Well, this is what it looks like when you are finished:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekly Weigh In

Well, I will be honest- I had a rocky start.  I thought I had it all together, I had a plan, a menu (did anyone else try the chicken salad recipe? OH MY GOODNESS!!!)

I did not, however, account for getting sick (I actually went to the doctor, and needed a horse-pill sized antibiotic twice a day).  Oh well, best of intentions right?

Just to review, my goal was to just eat better and exercise at least 5 days in the last week.  I did overall eat better and was much more conscious of what I was eating, and in spite of being sick I still exercised 4 of the 5 days I had planned to do so.

I wasn't expecting much this morning on the scale, but was pleasantly surprised to be down 1.5 lbs! So, only 68.5 pounds to go!

This weeks goals are much the same - eat the right things and exercise 5 different days for at least 30 minutes.

(Did anyone else know that Netflix has some exercise videos on there right now? Just found that today!)

Check back later in the week for a post on my new favorite snack!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New Recipe Alert - Goodness Green Chicken Salad

Here is one of the new recipes that I have tried, and it is one that is on my permanent list!  It was so good, SO GOOD, that I could have eaten the entire batch myself.  I didn't, I shared.
A lot of times when I cook, I take a basic recipe and modify it to my liking.  That is what happened with this one, you can find the original recipe here.

Goodness Green Chicken Salad

1 Large or 2 small cans chicken (Or about 3 cups diced, cooked chicken)
1 Medium Avocado
4 green onions, diced
A large handfull of chopped cilantro (or more, or less, to taste)
1 lime

If using canned chicken, open and drain well.  In a medium bowl mash the avocado, onions, and cilantro.  Mash until well blended.  Add the juice of the lime, and some grated lime peel. (The lime juice will keep the avocado from turning brown)
Adjust the seasonings as you like, you may need to add a little salt and pepper.

That's it.  I ate this with some multi-grain taco chips, and my hubby had his on whole grain bread.  Both were delicious.  I cannot wait to make this again!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Better - Part II

I am taking a leap out of my comfort zone here - I am going to share with you some of the specific things I am trying to be "Better" at in 2012.

The first one is mostly because I would like some public accountability - I am really trying to loose weight.  I am not going to share what my starting weight is, or what my goal is, just share that I am trying to loose 70 pounds.  Yikes.  I hate that I have to even type that number.  (And no, the goal weight isn't a number I just pulled out, it is actually within the range that my doctor and I discussed based on my health and body type.)

For however many weeks it takes, I will be updating you on how I am doing with this, if I have lost weight that week, and what I have done to reach my goal that week.  I will share new recipes I have tried and loved, and any other successes I have had

What brought about this new found determination - let me tell you.
I was looking through old pictures of myself, and I didn't recognize myself in two of them.  Because I was so much closer to a healthier weight than I am now.  I seriously had to take a second to realize it was me in the photos.  I realized that I want to be the fun Mom playing with my son at the park, not just sitting on a bench watching.  I wanted to be a part of my life, the life God has blessed me with, and not just sit on the sidelines.

Here is the plan - I am seriously watching my portion control (Hello Measuring Cups) and following a fairly low carb diet, not no carbs, just low carbs.  (Like a Low GI diet) and I have set goals for myself for the next few weeks regarding exercise.  This week my goal is to use our treadmill for at least 30 minutes 5 times in the next 7 days.

I'll be back next Monday to share how this week has gone.

(If you would like to join me in this journey by starting your own, please leave me a comment! I would love to know I am not alone out there!)

Monday, February 20, 2012


I very rarely set "Resolutions" for the New Year, instead I set goals for myself.  I have only one goal this year -

To Be Better.

A better mother, a better wife, a better Child of God.  Just Better.  I want to do better and be better than I was last year.  I have a quote taped to the inside of my most used kitchen cabinet.  It says this:

"There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one" - Jill Churchill

I want to take this a step further.  There is no way to be a perfect anything, and a million ways to be a good anything.  So this year, my goal is to be a better version of who I am than I was last year.  I have taken steps for success in this, some of which I will share with you in future posts.  If you would like to join me in this, leave a comment in my comments section!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day - A Story of High Expectations

I want to be a Fun Mom.  I want my son to look back on his life and remember fondly the traditions our family had when he was a child.  Valentine's Day was no exception.  I had planned and planned, I had ideas (Thank you Pinterest) and expectations.  From gifts to special food, to treats - I had it all planned.

Let me stop here to explain something for those of you who may not know me well - I am a planner. (you know, if you couldn't tell by my statement above) I have grand ideas, and I am hard on myself (and those around me) if my plans don't work. I would be crushed if my plans failed, or didn't work out.  Or at least I used to be.

Now back to my Valentine's Day Plan.  I thought I had it all worked out, I picked easy things to do and used decorations I had already for our special family day.  How can that fail, right?

My first idea was to use store bought refrigerated  cinnamon rolls, unroll them and reroll them into heart shapes.  Cute idea right?  Yep - cute idea.  So simple - yet super cute!  I set my alarm early, got up in plenty of time to make them before Steve went off to work.  I opened the can, ready to create my first of many special surprises for this day.  Looking at the rolls I realized that the brand I bought  are not rolled up dough, they were biscuit shaped with scored tops and cinnamon.  Yep - failed heart shaped cinnamon rolls.  (they were still delicious!)  I rallied and thought - "Oh Well - still many surprises to come for our day"

My next idea was to make a heart shaped cake, and that I did - the cake itself came out beautifully.  (Just a note, the chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey's Cocoa Powder box is easy and fantastic!)  I had a heart shaped cake just ready for my homemade Buttercream Frosting.  I mean really, how hard is homemade Buttercream?  Apparently harder than I thought.  I am not sure what happened, but all I had was runny, way-to-sweet hot mess.  So what did I do?  I still frosted my delicious cake. I thought to myself  "Oh Well - at least my cake still looks pretty"

My final idea was making a heart - shaped pizza for dinner; again, how hard is that?  Long story made short - I grabbed french bread dough instead of pizza dough at the store.  And it just wasn't working to make it into a beautiful heart shape.  Instead we had Stromboli.   I thought to myself  "Oh Well - at least it was still delicious"

My day didn't turn out as I had hope it would.  It was even better.  My little family and I had a fantastic day, filled with love and memories. We laughed a lot, opened presents  perfectly picked for each of us and ate yummy round shaped cinnamon rolls, a pretty cake (that ended up in the trash) and what was arguably the best Stromboli I ever made.

I learned that sometimes just being together is better than anything I could ever plan.

(On a side note, if anyone had a good recipe for Buttercream frosting - feel free to send it along)

It Has Been A Long Time

I am sure you have noticed that I haven't posted in a while.  I thought about giving up my blog, and just archiving the posts I have.  A few Saturdays ago I had lunch with my Mom and we talked about it also.  I thought a lot about it, weighing the pros and cons of giving this up, officially.  

I realized I didn't want to. I have a voice, things to say.  I have an opinion and thoughts I want to share.  I have stories to tell - and this is the place for me to do just that.  

Welcome back.