Until Next Year...

It's the last day of the year.  It's the last day of the decade.  I can't believe how fast it's all gone by.

I've never been a big maker of new year resolutions.  I never keep them.  In reality, who does?  This year I'm going to just let it all happen.  I'm going to make a conscious effort to do the things I should have already been doing.  Read more, eat right, attempt yoga and meditation (the meditation is the problem... can't get my mind blank!), put more effort into pursuing my interests, grow a garden, etc.  I'm not going to make a resolution to do these things though.  That sounds too permanent, too much like a "to do" list.  I don't want it to feel forced.

Speaking of interests...  To start the new year with a new outlook, I've decided to start a website focusing on the little bit of photography skills that I have.  You can see it by clicking here.  This, like the non-resolution resolutions, shouldn't feel forced.  I want to be able to photograph things without feeling like I have to.  I enjoy photography very much.  I hope to continue to learn and grow with my knowledge in the coming year.

See you all next year!

99 Things

This time of year everyone seems to be talking about the past year and reflecting on what a joyous new year this will be.  I read the following list at Holistic Mama's blog.  What a great idea!  I've realized how much I've not done in my life and how much I still want to do!  Most involve seeing things.  I've got to get busy.

Things you've already done: bold
Things you want (or might want) to do: italicize
Things you haven't done and don't want to - leave in plain font.

1. Started your own blog.
2. Slept under the stars.
3. Played in a band.  I made it bold because I was in the school band...
4. Visited Hawaii.
5. Watched a meteor shower.
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland/world.
8. Climbed a mountain.  
9. Held a praying mantis.
10. Sang a solo.
11. Bungee jumped.
12. Visited Paris.
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art/craft from scratch.
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Let someone else take the credit.
18. Grown your own vegetables.
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked.
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort.  --I built a snow chair once...
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a marathon.
28. Ridden a gondola in Venice.
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run.
32. Been on a cruise.
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language.
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. --I just want to be comfortable.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo's David in person.
41. Sung Karaoke.
42. Rode a camel.
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Been on an African safari.
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance.
47. Done something illegal. -Haven't we all??
48. Gone deep sea fishing.
49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkelling.
52. Kissed in the rain.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theatre.
55. Been in a movie.
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business.  --Then quickly stopped.  ;)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.-- And will be selling them again starting Jan. 1st!!
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Received flowers for no reason.
64. Donated blood.
65. Gone sky diving.
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.
67. Bounced a cheque.
68. Flown in a helicopter.
69. Kept a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.
71. Eaten caviar.
72. Pieced a quilt.
73. Stood in Times Square.
74. Been on TV.
75. Been fired from a job.
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.
77. Broken a bone.
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican.
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem.
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible.
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.
88. Listened to Tibetan monks chanting, in person.
89. Saved someone’s life.  My son was choking once... does that count?
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club.
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person.
96. Went skinny-dipping.
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee.

Ten Random Thoughts for Today

I got this forwarded email the other day.  As soon as I read it I wondered how in the world the original author could have been reading my mind!  On nearly every one, I was nodding in agreement.  There are 63 of these random thoughts so I'm going to break them down and list some every week.  Make sure you check back for the rest of them!  Now... ENJOY!

1. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

4. Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the
direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're
crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

5. More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can’t wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that’s not only better, but also more directly involves me.

6. That's enough, Nickelback.

7. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

8. The letters T and G are very close to each other on a keyboard. This recently became all too apparent to me and consequently I will never be ending a work email with the phrase "Regards" again.

9. Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all
know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

10. There is a great need for sarcasm font.

To be continued...

11,315 Days


This sweet bay-bay is me just a few months old in 1979.

That's how many days I've been on this great Earth.  Today is my 31st birthday! Last year at this time, I was slowly rocking in the corner while muttering to myself that I could not possibly be thirty years old.  This year is a little bit different.  So much has happened and things are going well.


One year old me in 1980.

I've very grateful for the opportunities that I've been given.  We are once again living in a place that feels like home.  Both of my children are far from perfect, but do wonderfully in school and teach me to count to ten several times a day.  I have the best husband in the world.  He is a saint and I'm so thankful to have him in my life.  The same goes for the greatest friend in the world.  We've been through it all; either together or separately, but we've been there.

Life has been a journey and I can't wait to see what the Universe has written for the next 31 years.


Brand new camera = really excited me!

Presents, presents!

I completely forgot to tell everyone what a wonderful husband I have! And mother-in-law too!  You may remember not very long ago I swore everyone to secrecy to not tell my ever trusty Kodak that I was looking to find a new, sexier model.  And then you might also remember my difficulties with shooting photos during overcast skies.  Those days are gone folks!

My husband surprised me with a new Nikon P90



Plus it came with a camera bag and a new SD card!  I was so excited and surprised!  My mother-in-law had tried to get the camera through Dell, but they were backordered.  I lost hope that I would ever obtain it when I went to look at it on the Dell site one day.  It was no longer listed.  Turns out he's been hiding it in a closet for almost 2 weeks!  He wasn't sure it would be in by Christmas.  It was actually backordered, but he got lucky!  I love it, love it, love it!

Here's an unaltered photo I took with the new camera:


Wonderful!  With my old camera, I would have gotten this effect by using photo editing software.  I am so pleased!

I do feel bad though.  Since I had lost hope of getting this particular model, I wasn't really looking for another one.  Cam told me about the Nikon D40 as was suggested to her by her professional, professor father-in-law, Dave LaBelle.  I thought that the P90 was an SLR, but I just didn't do enough research.  Every time I would mention how much I was excited about the D40, Chris would brush it off and just shrug his shoulders.  What I didn't know was that by the time I had done enough research, he'd already had the P90 ordered.  However, I think this camera is going to be the perfect fit for me as I'm not in any way familiar with any photography terms or gadgets or widgets or gidgets.  I can't wait to start taking pictures again!

The Day After...


Like usual, we got no snow for Christmas.  I think I may have seen a single itty bitty piece of snow yesterday afternoon on my windshield, but that was it.  We had a wonderful couple of days spending time with family.  On Christmas eve, I spent a few hours hanging out with my brother before heading over to Chris' grandfathers for their family get together.  We played dirty Santa and I desperately tried to steal the most awesome looking peacock ornament that his aunt found at Pier1, but I failed.  The kids were excited to get more gifts and all went well.

Neil just wanted me to stop taking pictures of everyone.  He kept ducking and dodging every time he thought the camera was pointed at him.  I barely caught him in this photo.


Kaia on the other hand is a photo magnet.  She seemed to always be in the shot!

My mom came over for the afternoon and we lounged around in our comfys while drinking coffee and eating Twizzlers.  I had forgotten to pick up eggs so Santa had to go without cookies from our house.  Somehow I think he probably survived.

Frustratingly Bonkers

I just can't do this anymore! I want to be able to customize the way I want and I don't want to have to pay an arm and a leg for it. There is so much that I can do with my Blogger hosted blog that I just can not do on the Wordpress one! I have gone back and forth numerous times on what I should do. I've given Wordpress a month. I've tried to stick with it, I truly have. There are so many features that I like of both services, but the one thing that I love the most is just not available on Wordpress.com. The ability to change.

Sure I could find a web host to host the site for around $6.95 a month, then download Wordpress.org, somehow figure out how to upload it, then figure out how to learn CSS, and so on or I can continue to use the free Wordpress.com and pay $14.95 a year for the Custom CSS Upgrade that I can only use on existing themes.

OR I can have a Blogger blog for free (or only $10 a year if I choose to have my own domain name) customize or edit it the way I want no matter how many times I want to do it, and I already know enough about editing HTML to get by just fine.

This whole thing is seriously driving me bonkers. I really don't see the harm in going back to blogging on Blogger because I only have like 5 readers. I need opinions here!

Changes

The Winter Solstice is upon us! The days are gradually starting to get longer again. I have to say that I will miss the night. This time of year is always magical and I think that some of it has been lost in the mix. 

On another note, I dislike my Wordpress blog. I so desperately want to change the layout. This is the only complaint I have using Wordpress, but I'm not leaving. I'm just going to complain and continue to look for ways to spice it up a bit. I'm going to do that today.  Meanwhile, I'll be updating the Blogger blog to reflect the recent postings.

I haven't much talked about the new diet lately. Mostly because it's rather boring. Cheerios and soy milk mixed with some fish and rice. There's only so much one can say about this stuff. I have to admit that I'll never go back to drinking regular milk. Not that I drank it much to begin with, I'm completely addicted to the soy milk now. If only they would lower the price!

Just a couple of days left in the holiday shopping season! Have you gotten all you need? Guess what? I haven't! It just dawned on me yesterday that I have nothing for the stockings! Whoops! Guess I just completely forgot about those. I've always had a hard time figuring what to put in them anyway. I do have a couple of pairs of toe socks for my daughters. She specifically asked for toe socks this year. Other than that, I'm fresh outta ideas! I'm thinking the generic apple and orange mixed with a little chocolate-y goodness. Any good last minute ideas?

Random Funny

Oh my gawd, Becky look at her butt...

Solstice and Other Winter Traditions

When I was out the other day, I got to thinking about why we celebrate Christmas. Many people only associate the birth of Christ with the holiday. Most do not realize that many aspects of Christmas come from different winter celebrations.  The following are some of these traditions.


Solstice

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Odin during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Odin, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.

In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated. Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra's birthday was the most sacred day of the year.

Santa Claus

The origin of Santa Claus begins in the 4th century with Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, an area in present day Turkey. By all accounts St. Nicholas was a generous man, particularly devoted to children. After his death around 340 A.D. he was buried in Myra, but in 1087 Italian sailors purportedly stole his remains and removed them to Bari, Italy, greatly increasing St. Nicholas' popularity throughout Europe.

His kindness and reputation for generosity gave rise to claims he that he could perform miracles and devotion to him increased. St. Nicholas became the patron saint of Russia, where he was known by his red cape, flowing white beard, and bishop's mitre.

After the Reformation, European followers of St. Nicholas dwindled, but the legend was kept alive in Holland where the Dutch spelling of his name Sint Nikolaas was eventually transformed to Sinterklaas. Dutch children would leave their wooden shoes by the fireplace, and Sinterklaas would reward good children by placing treats in their shoes. Dutch colonists brought brought this tradition with them to America in the 17th century and here the Anglican name of Santa Claus emerged.

Christmas Trees

Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

In the Northern hemisphere, the shortest day and longest night of the year falls on December 21 or December 22 and is called the winter solstice. Many ancient people believed that the sun was a god and that winter came every year because the sun god had become sick and weak. They celebrated the solstice because it meant that at last the sun god would begin to get well. Evergreen boughs reminded them of all the green plants that would grow again when the sun god was strong and summer would return.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped a god called Ra, who had the head of a hawk and wore the sun as a blazing disk in his crown. At the solstice, when Ra began to recover from the illness, the Egyptians filled their homes with green palm rushes which symbolized for them the triumph of life over death.

Early Romans marked the solstice with a feast called the Saturnalia in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture. The Romans knew that the solstice meant that soon farms and orchards would be green and fruitful. To mark the occasion, they decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. In Northern Europe the mysterious Druids, the priests of the ancient Celts, also decorated their temples with evergreen boughs as a symbol of everlasting life. The fierce Vikings in Scandinavia thought that evergreens were the special plant of the sun god, Balder.

Mistletoe, Holly, and Poinsettias

Mistletoe was used by Druid priests 200 years before the birth of Christ in their winter celebrations. They revered the plant since it had no roots yet remained green during the cold months of winter.

The ancient Celtics believed mistletoe to have magical healing powers and used it as an antidote for poison, infertility, and to ward of evil spirits. The plant was also seen as a symbol of peace, and it is said that among Romans, enemies who met under mistletoe would lay down their weapons and embrace.

Scandinavians associated the plant with Frigga, their goddess of love, and it may be from this that we derive the custom of kissing under the mistletoe. Those who kissed under the mistletoe had the promise of happiness and good luck in the following year.

In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.

Candy Canes

It was not long after Europeans began using Christmas trees that special decorations were used to adorn them. Food items, such as candies and cookies, were used predominately and straight white candy sticks were one of the confections used as ornamentation. Legend has it that during the 17th century, craftsmen created the white sticks of candy in the shape of shepherds' crooks at the suggestion of the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany.

The candy treats were given to children to keep them quiet during ceremonies at the living creche, or Nativity scene, and the custom of passing out the candy crooks at such ceremonies soon spread throughout Europe.

According to the National Confectioner's Association, in 1847 German immigrant August Imgard used the candy cane to decorate a Christmas tree in Wooster, Ohio. More than 50 years later, Bob McCormack of Albany, Georgia supposedly made candy canes as treats for family, friends and local shopkeepers. McCormack's brother-in-law, Catholic priest Gregory Keller, invented a machine in the 1950s that automated the production of candy canes, thus eliminating the usual laborious process of creating the treats and the popularity of the candy cane grew.

More recent explanations of the candy cane's symbolism hold that the color white represents Christ's purity, the red the blood he shed, and the presence of three red stripes the Holy Trinity. While factual evidence for these notions does not exist, they have become increasingly common and at times are even represented as fact. Regardless, the candy cane remains a favorite holiday treat and decoration.
**Information for this post taken from here and here.

First Interview

My daughter, Kaia, came home from school yesterday so excited. She yelled, "I'm going to be on the 6 o'clock news!" My first thought was, "Oh crap... what did she do to get on the news?". Her classroom decided that instead of exchanging gifts for the holiday, they would take up money and purchase gifts for foster children in our area. They took their donations to the foster care office yesterday followed by the local news.

They interviewed Kaia and one of her classmates. She was so excited and embarrassed all at the same time! For some reason I can't embed the video here on the blog, but you can view the video here. Take a moment and check her out doing her first interview!

Holiday House Tours

Today starts the tour of holiday decorations on several blogs! I'm going to be participating in three this year. The Holiday House Tours on Hooked on Houses today, the Home for the Holidays 2009 tour on Southern Hospitality, and the Christmas Tour of Homes on The Nesting Place on Monday, December 14th.

I always have a hard time taking good pictures of our Christmas decorations. They only look good all lit up, but my stinkin' camera doesn't take good low light photographs. Please forgive it, the camera I mean... poor thing doesn't know I'm shopping for a newer model!

Our Chrismas tree! Lots of reds and greens.





The snowmen have been on my Christmas tree since I was a little girl. My mother made them. The candy cane is new this year. Kaia made it for our tree.

Another handmade snowman. The little snowman on the left in the yellow scarf was made by Neil when he was in Kindergarten.

Our mantle is a bit bare. I always say I'm going to buy some garland for it, but I never actually buy any. I can't decide if I want lighted garland or not.

This ceramic snow house was made by my grandfather. The "snow" is all glittery. It's hard to tell in this photo, but the door, window, and trees all light up.

My grandfather also made this ceramic Christmas tree. Several years ago, I lost the star that used to be on top of it. I've never been able to find a replacement. This tree and the snow house are the first things I put up every year.

These are some of our decorations for the holiday. Want to see more? Head over to Hooked on Houses!! There are lots more houses to tour!

And don't forget to visit The Nesting Place on Monday! Just click the badge below!


Cheerios & Tuna

Why can my husband not find the honey nut Cheerios? Three times I've sent him to the store, three times he's not gotten the right kind of Cheerios. I don't like the plain Cheerios. They are too... plain. Ah well, there is always the next trip.

I completely forgot to mention that Monday was Cam's birthday! Her big ol' 30th birthday! Now we are the same age. At least for the next couple of weeks anyway. So happy birthday again! I'm so glad that she's finally wrangled those AT&T jerks to the ground and gotten her internet fixed. It's lonely in cyber world without her.

Is Kate Gosselin's 15 minutes not up yet? Why in the world does Barbara Walters think that woman is "fascinating"? She is definitely NOT on my list of most fascinating people. And Adam Lambert? Not fascinating!

Ok, so I've been a little slacking on the whole diet thing. I ate two smallish pieces of some greasy Totino's pizza last night. BUT I did drink two glasses of soy milk, ate a handful of nuts, and had some fruity Cheerios yesterday so I say that evens out. I still feel guilty though.

Tonight's dinner is going to be...



Spinach Tuna Casserole

  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups fat-free milk
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 package (6 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken stuffing mix
  • 1/3 seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 cans (6 ounces each) light water-packed tuna, drained and flaked
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise and lemon juice; set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, melt butter. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in mil. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat; stir in 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese until melted. Remove from the heat; stir in the sour cream mixture. Add the spinach, stuffing mix, bread crumbs, and tuna; mix well.
  3. Drain noodles and place in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with tuna mixture; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
  4. Cover and bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Uncover; bake 5-10 minutes longer or until lightly browned and heated through.

December 7th

Oops, I'm a little behind on the updating on my food intake... Just know that for the most part, I ate well this past weekend. I did splurge a little and have a couple of glasses of eggnog 'cause I love the eggnog! We even stopped by a convenience store and I wasn't even tempted to eat that yummy looking pepperoni roll. Well, maybe I was tempted, but I didn't order one. I got a 6 inch turkey sub on wheat bread with lettuce and black olives. I pretended it tasted as good as that pepperoni roll would have tasted, but instead I got something like turkey flavored cardboard. Oh well.

Last night's dinner was a new recipe I found online at the Taste of Home website. It was very good for the first try at it, but there are few tweaks we'll be making for the next go round with it. Like no cayenne pepper and more shrimp!

Shrimp Rice Casserole

  • 1 lb uncooked medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 Tb butter, divided
  • 12 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large green pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 Tb all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/3 cups fat free milk
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese, divided
In a large nonstick skillet, saute shrimp in 1 tablespoon butter for 2-3 minutes or until shrimp turn pink. Remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms, green pepper and onion in remaining butter until tender. Stir in the flour, salt, and cayenne. Gradually add milk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add the rice, 1/2 cup cheese, and shrimp; stir until combined.

Pour into a 1-1/2 qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 325° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.
I used Smart Choice butter, fat free cheese, and Mrs. Dash instead of salt. I had to use vitamin D milk instead of fat free. It turned out well and was easy to make.

December 2nd

So last night I had a salad for supper. 2 Tb of light ranch dressing, 5 olives, a 1/4 cup of shredded cheddar cheese, and lettuce. I honestly have no idea what the numbers are for it. I used regular shredded cheese because I already had it. I'm not going to just go throw out everything I have that isn't low cholesterol or light or low fat or whatever. There wasn't much left in the bag so I used what was there and next trip to the grocery I'll get the low fat cheese. An hour and a half later I was starving. Not literally, but all I could think about was food, food, food. I broke down and ate 25 Wheat Thins. I'm definitely going to have to find some good, filling recipes.

I actually looked forward to breakfast this morning! A 16 oz. glass of soy milk and a bowl of Fruity Cheerios with soy milk. I've never had the fruity Cheerios before, but of course the grocery store was out of Honey Nut Cheerios. Because that would have made it too easy.

I think I'm already going to do away with the number crunching. That crap is for the birds and will probably only end up making me feel worse about the food I eat. I'm still definitely going to be reading the labels, but I'm just not going to be cataloging those numbers.

Lunch was relatively bland. One and a half tuna sandwiches. Made with white albacore tuna (in water) and wheat bread. Man that sounds a lot worse than it actually tasted.  I found a website earlier while trying to find good foods to eat that said, "If it tastes good, you probably shouldn't eat it anymore." Gee, thanks.

For supper tonight I'm going to try a recipe I found on Kraft Foods.com. It has (per serving) 400 calories, 3.5g of saturated fat, and 80mg of cholesterol.
Foil-Packet Southwestern Chicken Dinner

What you'll need:
1-3/4 cups warm water
2 cups instant brown rice, uncooked
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1/4 cup KRAFT Light Ranch Dressing
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 bunch broccoli, cut into florets (about 4 cups)
1 red pepper, chopped

How to fix it:

HEAT oven to 400°F. Combine water and rice; let stand 5 min. Spoon onto centers of 4 large sheets of heavy-duty foil; top with remaining ingredients.

BRING up foil sides. Double fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place in 15x10x1-inch pan.

BAKE 25 to 30 min. or until chicken is done (165°F). Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening each packet.

I am encouraged by the fact that it is prepared with brown rice as I've read that eating the white rice is probably not good for me. I like broccoli too so hopefully this won't be too bad. Still not a fan of chicken though...

What the Fudge?

I'm not exactly sure what happened to my Wordpress blog, but I've had several people (ok, 2 people) tell me that they weren't able to access it. Something about it being private and needing a password. I immediately set about trying to figure the cause of all this confusion. Some how, some way, my blog privacy setting got changed. I assure you that I did not do this on purpose. It's all fixed now and should allow any and every body access. I'll still have the occasional private post, which you may get the password to by simply sending me an email, but I'm not going to privatize the entire blog. That defeats the purpose of having one.

Speaking of having a blog... In light of the recent news from El Doctoro about the insanely shocking level of my cholesterol, I'm going to be writing about my food intake. It's probably going to be boring at times, but I'm going to use every resource I can to make sure that I start to eat right. A blog is a wonderful way to keep track of what's going on and to get helpful insight from other readers. Help and tips are always welcome.


I know that it seems I'm jumping in this whole thing with all my clothes on and I guess that I am really. I'm overly worried about the whole situation because my grandmother had her first heart attack when she was only 33 years old. That factoid resonates inside my head. I'm almost 31. My cholesterol level is crazy high.

AND I HAD NO IDEA.

I think that might be the most worrisome issue about this whole thing. The fact that I was completely clueless. I mean, I am aware of the fact that I do not eat as healthy as I should or that I don't exercise either. Apparently all of my laziness and bad eating habits caught up with me a while ago, but they were sneaky and didn't tell me.

I do have a tendency to overreact sometimes, but in this case I think it may be beneficial. I asked Chris on Monday morning to stop by the grocery store on his way home to pick up few things. Whole wheat bread, white albacore tuna, wheat thins, yogurt... things I know that I can now eat. The grocery store here in town only carries the unflavored version of Silk soy milk. From what I understand, the unflavored version is a little lacking on taste. Yesterday afternoon he graciously made an out of the way stop by Wal-Mart in Bowling Green to pick me up some Very Vanilla.

I shook it up. I poured a glass. I took a drink. Not what I was expecting, but in a good way. Definitely doesn't taste like moo juice (as Sam called it!), but I like it. Sort of reminds me of milk with powdered sugar and nuts. Not the crunchy, just the nutty type flavor. Does that make sense? The great thing? Kaia LOVED it! She had two glasses.

Bye Bye Bacon

When you're young you think days last forever. Next year will never get here. Thirty is old. Now that I am thirty, I don't feel it. I feel like I just woke up one day and I wasn't a kid anymore. Yesterday, I realized my age. I actually felt old.


A nurse from the doctor's office called with my test results from last week. She said everything looked fine except for my cholesterol. The doctor would like for me to start a low cholesterol diet because my numbers are a little high. I made the mistake of asking what the overall number actually was.

248

Alrighty then. I basically had a little freak out session in my head for a few minutes. From what I've read on the internet, 200 is considered high. The doctor wants to retest me in about 3 months so I have 3 months to drop my cholesterol by 48 points.

No more bacon, sausage, processed cheeses, red meat, butter, or any other stuff that I think tastes really good. I'm going to be relegated to eating things like oatmeal (Oh JOY!) and beans. Oh and chicken... I really don't like chicken. I have found several sites that list healthy recipes and a couple of people have given me links to some sites that I think will be helpful. Good news is that I like things like cinnamon Life cereal, honey nut Cheerios, fish, and nuts. I don't know how long I can go eating these foods though. I think it may get a little boring. Much to the delight of Cam, I'll be starting to drink soy milk soon too.

I've never been on any type of diet in my life for any reason at all. I don't even like the word. Any recipes, handy tips and tricks, or advice is definitely welcome in this case. I'm sure going to need the help. And watch out 'cause I'm sure to be blogging about what I'm eating these days.