Saturday, March 20, 2010

My home makes me smile!

After living here for over a year, I finally painted and bought some new pillows. It feels so good to make a house feel like a's about time.

This is my newest antique store find. I can't help but smile every
time I look at it. I am smiling right now!

Isn't this pillow so cute. I just found it at Target yesterday. You should go and get one. It will make you smile!

What made me smile this weekend

Hiking at a state park with my daughter, friends and several girls from Church that inspire by showing enthusiasm in their willingness to serve others.


I'm smiling because I was motivated to start a project long overdue. And my motivation prompted my husband to embark upon a project I asked him to do (and possibly complete) before my lil' sister Samantha and his big sister Alicia arrive next week. There's nothing like an artificial deadline to put a fire under this kettle.

Motivation is a sublimely mysterious thing isn't it? Most of the time the step up to motivation is so much harder than the task at hand. Take this three week challenge, for example. Not saying it isn't hard on a day-to-day basis in some form or fashion, but to get to the point of commitment, well that only took 9 years. Ahem.


What can make a woman smile more than having her husband come home after a 2 week trip to the Middle East?! I can't STOP smiling!!! He'll be home in just 3 hours, 45 minutes and umm, 45 seconds... but who's counting??
PLUS, My 14 year old daughter swam in the State tournament this Thursday and Friday and did AMAZING.
Good Days, Good Days! Even if I did have frozen yogurt for "dinner" last night... don't worry, I didn't give myself a point :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

That's A Wrap!

Today's lunch for me - a quick and easy wrap containing one of the very best 'good for you fats' of all time: THE AVOCADO! Here's the skinny {yeah, I'm punny like that}:

one whole wheat tortilla - 130 cal
six slices turkey - 50 cal
half of an avacado - 113 cal
six cucumber slices with peel - 11 cal
1/2 cup raw spinach - 4 cal
1 Tbsp hummus - 23 cal
Fresh ground pepper

If I did my math right, that's 331 calories. I didn't add cheese, since I'm off dairy for the baby, but that would be tasty if you went a little less on the avocado. Also, if you haven't tried it yet, don't be afraid of hummus - legumes are our friends and chickpeas and me, we're becoming besties. Look at all the green veggies! Aren't they lovely? Don't forget to throw in a piece of fruit and a glass of water {and if you're like me, a few chocolate chips for dessert} and call this meal delicious.
Posted by Picasa

Going Hiking

This evening my daughter and I are going to our Stake Camp Directors house, who happens to be a very good friend, and while I am going to be helping train YCL's for camp, Christina will be hanging with one of her best friends!  Then tomorrow we will be up bright and early and on our way toGreenbriar State Park with Christina, two of her best friends and all the YCL's, that is about 30 girls ages 16 tp 17, for a 5 mile hike.  I am excited for the hike and am hoping I can keep my calories in check while at my dear friends house who is an amazing cook and always has lots of goodies :)  Hope everyone has been enjoying this glorious weather we have been having in Virginia and I hope everyone accross the Country has been able to enjoy good weather as well!

Ms. Thunder Bumper's Challenge #3

What a glorious day! This challenge should be simple enough. For most of us we can see the spring is on the way and the calendar is reassuring us that it's true.

Before Monday tell us something that has made you smile on this wonderful weekend.

Going out with a bang!

Sometimes, well most evenings, my stomach gets really big! And I mean, big. It starts growing at about 2:00 in the afternoon and doesn't stop till I go to bed. It is funny to see my husbands expression when he walks in from a long day of work so see me looking "pregnant". Well, maybe it's only funny on April fools.

This has been going on for 10 years. I have dealt with it, and just thought it was the way my body was.

After talking to a friend about it, she recommended that I try eliminating some foods. I decided to start with wheat. For an entire week, my stomach felt great! No growing. No pain! No "pregnancy" belly to tease my husband with. I didn't know I could feel so good.

Yesterday I went to the doctor. She ran some blood tests and told me not to eat wheat any more.

Boo hoo!

I love bread, cookies, mufins, and did I mention bread?

So last night was my last night of freedom. I went out with a bang. If I was going to give up wheat, I needed one last night indulging. And that is just what I did.

I went to an antique pre show and vacuumed up all the hors dourves in sight. Oh, it was heavenly...the antiques and hors dourves.

At dinner I enjoyed one last dance with a muffin and quiche. I ignored the fruit when it tried to cut in. I went home with my big tummy, waddled around my house as I prepared for the next day, then tucked my round belly to bed for the last time.

It is gone today...and I am back on track.

But I miss my bread. I guess I need to become better friends with rice and corn.

Bananas - revisited

I love the creaminess and texture of ice cream. Don't you? I've found that one pretty good alternative is frozen overripe bananas. Peal, wrap in plastic wrap, and throw in the freezer. So, next time you're tempted to make banana bread, think banana popsicles. You can even dip a frozen banana in some Hershey's chocolate syrup for a low-cal indulgence. Very satisfying.

Speaking of indulgences, on date night last night, we ordered a cheese plate with three slices of gorgeous Italian cheeses. I skipped the bread, but ate the grapes and cheese and felt like a goddess.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here look what I did! I finally put a picture on here. You can guess which one is me or I will tell you that I have two great looking daughters. This was taken a few years ago, but I just couldn't bring myself to put one of the "real" me.
I have been counting calories this week and feel good about keeping them down except for the last day when I went on a little ice cream rampage. I have been walking everyday. I have set nine goals for myself and hopefully will pass one of them this weekend. (Cross my fingers, I should say, shut my lips) I admire all your beautiful pictures of dinner, your will power, and sometimes your lack, thereof. Keep up the good work and I will too!

Tired of Excuses...Even Really Good Ones!

So I want to give you a quick run down...I have committed to my first 5K run on May 2nd. Now before you groan and think...yippee that's only like 3 miles let me tell you just a tiny bit why this is a HUGE goal for me and part of my goal for this challenge. I gained a pretty large amount of weight with my first two babies. After my second I started to work out and eat right and lost 18 pounds. I was on my way to my honeymoon body. My baby was diagnosed with liver cancer at 6 months old. My world stopped dead in it's tracks. My health was put in the very back of the closet while I attended to him night and day. During his treatments I found out I was pregnant (while on the pill). Then we were told the tumor was not resectable and not responding to other choice but a liver transplant. He was 10 months old at the time. Post liver transplant care was around the clock...I ate all the comfort food that was delivered (thanks Marci :) and my stress level was through the roof. I had very little sleep each night and filled my free moments with more food. More than half way through the pregnancy...oops did you know you are having two babies? A small nervous breakdown and more food followed. It has been rough and that is my excuse. I am now about 80 pounds more than I would like to be and that is a conservative number. I have some pretty good excuses, but that is exactly what they are now...and now I am setting goals for me. It's really hard to lug this extra 80 pounds around and especially get it running...but I'm gonna do it!!! And it might sound corny, but I'm doing it for Luke as well. He's been through more in 2 years than I have in 35. So, my personal goal for this challenge is to work on my training everyday to run that 5K and then on to a 10K!! Thanks Marci for your constant are a true friend :) Oh...I almost forgot the happy ending...Luke has been cancer free for 1 year and the twins are perfect in every way! So...lets BUST IT OUT ladies!!!
So I am posting today (for my 5 points of course!) It's been a good two days. You girls have kept me from overeating because I would have to write it down and lose points!!! I am realizing it goes much better if I have a plan :) I am SO smart! Hee Hee
Plus, writing in is much better than grabbing a handful of granola right?!

My favorite salad

I made this for my hubby two Valentines Day's ago and thought it was delicious. So back out it came for Week 2 of the challenge. Thing is, it's a bit costly to make, but oh so good. So some day, with the pennies you've saved not buying soda, go out and get the stuff to put this plate together.

Mixed gourmet salad (hand tossed w/ 1 tsp olive oil, kosher salt, pepper to taste)

Add on top:
13 walnut halves
2 thin slices proscuitto cut into strips
about 6 soft goat cheese crumbles
sliced grilled peaches (when in season, not counted in calories)

Drizzle with this heavenly goodness:
1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar reduced to 2 tbsp
stir in 2 tbsp honey to warm reduction

Add a slice of home baked rye on the side and Voila! 476 calories of yum for lunch.

That 30 point personal goal

One thing I have been struggling with is the 30 point bonus for setting a personal goal. It's taking so much of my energy, self-discipline and commitment to accomplish the basic 30 points that I haven't been able to come up with something for the bonus. I was thinking I could fix my hair and makeup every day or keep the kitchen sink clean, but I just feel like what I'm doing for the fitness goals is plenty for me to handle. I just reread the instructions about the bonus points, and I guess I'll just make my goal to lose 6 pounds in the 3 week period.

What kinds of things are you doing for your personal goal?

Free Range Days

So, I'm wondering what you all do on your free-range days. Do you go hog wild or just barely eek over your range? I ask because tonight is date night and, now that I'm no longer sick, I'm trying to decide where to eat and what to order. I find that it's hard to go hog wild knowing that I'll have to report back to my food journal at the end of day hog-tied.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Duh, duh duh duh, DUH!


I had to wear one today. It was scary. Mamma mia, why do the lights in our rec center's changing room have to be so bright? Don't they know candlelight is much more flattering?

Will I ever be at the point where I feel comfortable in a swimsuit?

Also, I made Melissa's zucchini recipe and it was a big hit! Thanks Melissa!

We Did It!

Susan and I had our lunch out TOGETHER today and managed to eat at a really delicious restaurant where pastas and pizzas galore are served, but still stayed under 450 calories. 

Here's how we did it:  First, no soda!  Just water and a lemon, much to the chagrin of our waitress.  Then we each ordered the house salad {a large even!} with the dressing on the side.  I added a grilled chicken breast, Susan added shrimp. 

When the salad came I exclaimed that it was too big to be 450 calories and wondered how I was going to stop myself from licking the plate!  But when I came home and actually entered all of the ingredients of the salad and the amounts I estimated were there, I came up with 430 calories, which gives me an extra 20 to play with if I misestimated.  The good news is that the salad was so tasty  with its ingredients, that it really only needed a tiny drizzle of dressing.

Here's what it contained:
Cheese, Goat, Soft Type - 1 oz, 75 Cal
Chicken - breast - 1 portion, 140 Cal
Cranberries, Dried, Sweetened - 0.125 cup, 46 Cal
Nuts, Pine Nuts, Dried - 0.0625 cup, 56 Cal
Salad Dressing, Home Recipe, Vinegar&Oil - 1 tbsp, 71 Cal
Spinach & Mesculin Lettuce, Raw - 3 cup, 20 Cal
Tomato - 1 unit, 22 Cal

The biggest surprise to me was the pine nuts, which were 56 calories for maybe 15 nuts.  And even though I only used a tad of the dressing, it ate up 71 calories! Yikes.

Audrey would be proud of me - I ate every last tomato because I needed the fruit and I was starving. :)  Yay for us!

craving fruit

I have noticed the last two days that when I come home from work I immediately look for a piece of fruit to snack on.  I used to go right to the cupboard with all the goodies in it. I am hoping that is a sign of some progress.  Has anyone else noticed that they are craving healthier goodies?

Decadent at 453 calories

I can't believe how much I love dinner these days! Sitting down to a balanced and healthy meal with my little family now has the added benefit of me really appreciating and enjoying my food. My hubby Dan can frequently be seen rolling his eyes as I exclaim, "Oh, this is glorious!" or "This is so freakin' good!". Now that I'm not cramming rich, sugary, fatty foods into my mouth all day, I really enjoy the basics and when I cook something really flavorful, it's such a pleasure to eat!

Check this out:

That's a lot of food for 453 calories! 203 for the broiled tilapia parmesan, 200 for 1 cup of white rice (I like calrose rice because it's stickier) and 50 calories for 1 1/2 cups of stir fry veggies (steamed).

I found the recipe for Broiled Tilapia Parmesan here. I've never made tilapia and my kids have never eaten fish, so I wasn't expecting too much. I wanted to try this lean protein and figured if no one liked it at least there was rice and mini cobs of corn in the veggies, which I knew the kids would eat. I picked a recipe that I thought might disguise the fish taste a bit and to my great surprise, everyone ate it! Without doubt I'm the one who loved it the most, but Amelia (3) said it was good, Lily (8) said it was OK, and Mack (1) inhaled it just like he does any other food I put in front of him. Dan didn't voice an opinon, he just rolled his eyes while I grunted and moaned with pleasure after each bite.

Broiled Tilapia Parmesan

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (fresh grated, not the green can stuff)
1/4 cup butter, softened but not quite melted
3 tablespoons mayonnaise (I used regular because I was feeling greedy)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt (I didn't have this so I just used regular salt)
2 pounds tilapia fillets (8 fillets)

I adjusted the recipe for fewer fillets, but after making it, next time I will probably use the full amount of sauce with 4 fillets so there's extra juicy stuff to put over the rice. Yes, that will increase the calories but not a ton. FYI, the tilapia fillets alone are 100 calories each.

Have you ever broiled anything in your oven? I hadn't and I had to turn to good ol' Google to find out what the difference between baking and broiling is. Baking heats the whole oven to an even temperature and cooks the food with the ambient heat. Broiling turns on one direct heat source at the top of the oven and cooks the food like a grill would, one side at a time. I'd never even noticed this little gizmo at the top of my oven:

This recipe was super quick to prepare. First, I stirred up the sauce and set aside:

Second, I lined a glass 9x13 dish with foil because I don't have a fancy broiling pan.

Then I broiled one side for 3 minutes, flipped and broiled the other side for 3-4 minutes. I took out the pan and flipped the fish over again and spread the sauce on. Then I broiled about 3-4 minutes until the top was barely browned.

So, so yummy! And the best part was that I had enough calories left over to eat a brownie. It gave me great joy!

Are there less fattening ways to cook tilapia? Absolutely, but to me, the extra flavor was worth it at only 203 calories. Let me help you salivate one more time:

The veggies I got were the Great Value Deluxe Stir-fry veggies from Walmart. The kids loved them because they had mini corn cobs and green beans and I loved the water chestnuts and  broccoli. I also got the tilapia at Walmart; 8-9 fillets for $7.98.

What great recipes have you discovered as you've tried to cook more healthy?
Hi, my name is Jill H. I don't know anyone in the group but I found your blog and think this challenge is just what I need!
I love to run and exercise. I just need to get my eating on track so I can be healthy all around! I am an emotional eater so knowing I've got to answer to all of you will really help.
I have a wonderful husband (the good looking one in the picture!) and three amazing kids ages 14, 11 and 8. My youngest has had a lot of health problems and this is the first year not having to worry and focus so much on her. Having more time on my hands is a new challenge and a new chapter in my life. I love feeling healthy and the increased energy I feel when I take care of myself spiritually and physically. I am ready to have it back!
I am looking forward to getting to know all of you and so far you are all doing amazing!
(I live in Utah)

One minute of sheer torture

I've been taking an exercise class twice a week at my local rec center for a few months now. It begins and ends with the single hardest exercise I've ever done: the plank. The plank involves holding a push up position for a set time period, on your elbows, hands flat on the floor, knees up (the hardest). At first I could only do 20 seconds. But now I can hold the plank without touching my knees down for the entire minute (only the one at the beginning of class, mind you; my gut can't stand the heat by the end). How many seconds can you hold the plank?

My 5 year old, Hugo, is not doing the plank correctly. Thought this would make you smile.

Fruits & Veggies The Illusive 1 Point

This Illusive 1 Point may make or break your success.

Eating your fruits and vegetables everyday may seem easy for some and hard for others. The real question is. How many fruits and vegetables are you suppose to be eating? Nutritionist have changed this so many times over the years that it's hard to know exactly what we are suppose to be doing.

The latest mantra is 5 A Day! Sound familiar? What they don't remind you is that it's more veggies and less fruit. I think they are just happy if people are eating fruits and veggies. Why be so happy? Well, most people probably eat just carbohydrates and proteins. You can actually stay within a normal caloric intake doing that but you will probably still be hungry and you didn't get a lot of the vitamins and nutrients that you're body needs.

If you are eating your fruits and veggies then you will actually have more food to eat since those foods are so low in calories, feel more full and be getting those essentials that your body needs.

I personally am using the My Pyramids suggestions on exactly how many fruits and vegetables I need. Using the My Pyramid Worksheet you can pick your calorie range and it will let you know how many fruits and vegetables that you need in that range. Then using My Food-a-pedia
you can type in any fruits or vegetable you may not know the calories on and find out what it is and also how many servings it is. Sue has shared these sites with us and I've also linked them on the side. She has found success and I'm starting to see results too!

So don't just claim the point because you think you ate enough...really check it out and I promise it will help with your success.

Here is a little trick I use. It's funny that Samantha posted about Costco smoothies. They are yummy and a great choice at Costco. Those churros are so hard to pass up. Here is my at home version. Less sugar and lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. It's a complete meal for only 300 calories.

I use 1 cup skim milk
1 scoop whey protein powder
1 cup frozen berries
1 cup baby spinach

Yes, hear read that right! Spinach. You can't even taste it and it adds so much good stuff.

It makes a nice deep purple color. You don't want to let this sit for more than a half hour because the green juice of the spinach will start to take over and it won't look so pleasing. But, from experience it taste just as good!
Eat those fruits and veggies Ladies!!!!

Singing Costco's Praises

Just thought I'd share the nutrition information for  Costco's berry smoothie.  If you're in the big warehouse, like I was yesterday, there's a lot to tempt a girl trying to do the challenge.  Hot dogs, greasy pizza, soda, ice cream bars hand dipped in chocolate and rolled in almonds {my fave} and for heaven's sake, those darn churros are just waiting for you to give them a try.  And at cheap prices, it's almost too hard to pass up.

  Instead of all that junk, pick the berry smoothie!  It's only 200 calories, is loaded with multiple fresh fruit purees, has 4 grams of fiber, zero fat and is absolutely delicious. I ate half of mine with lunch yesterday and the other half with my breakfast this morning.

This is one Costco splurge you can feel totally good about.


It's really hard to NOT want a huge, icy CocaCola when I drive by this.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Craving pizza?

Alrighty then! I'm back at it. Trying to find healthy, low-cal alternatives to some of my favorites. This little pizza here was 250 calories: 1 Multigrain flat wrap, 1/4 cup mozzarella, 6 cherry tomatoes sliced, oregano, kosher salt. Microwave for 40 seconds.

I must also tell those of you who don't know me personally, I am not a stellar cook. I struggle in the kitchen. I tend to go for the quick and easy. And I have a house full of picky eaters. But, thanks to this challenge, cooking has become more fun! --Melissa

Points are up!

There are a few people who haven't posted their points yet but now you can see how you are doing. The only reason I'm on top is because I rocked the gym 6 times last week!
We'll see how this week goes since I'm not feeling well!

Keep up the good work!!!! You make me want to work harder...I'm a total competitor.

Ms. Thunder Thumper Challenge #2

You guys have been eating so well at home!!! But, it sounds like when the temptations of the real world come around it's hard to make good choices.

You will have 5 days to complete this challenge. However there will probably be another challenge before the time limit on this one ends so keep your eyes out for it.

The challenge is to eat a meal out. I can hear the lips smacking, jaws dropping, saliva glands going crazy. Thats right, I want you to eat a meal out. But, the challenge is to keep it under 450 calories. That includes everything, drink, salad dressing, fries. You also need to have at least a fruit or vegetable serving involved and a protein.

I suggest going online and looking at nutrition menu's of places you may like to go. There are a lot of things out there to eat with only a few adjustments you can have a very large, yummy satisfying experience.

So have at it ladies. Take a friend and enjoy the experience with them too! With a little thought ahead of time you can make good choices even when you're on the run.

My 310 Calorie Breakfast

One half a whole wheat bagel, toasted and with a smidge {less than 1/2 tsp} of butter.
One half of a juicy grape fruit.
And one packet of maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal topped with a handful of blueberries.
This breakfast had lots of items, was filling, covered two fruits and two grains, and is only  one seventh of my daily caloric intake {at 2200 for a nursing momma}.  So, I feel pretty happy about it!  What did you have for breakfast today?

Monday, March 15, 2010

About The Exercise Part . . .

I'm doing great on the calories! I'm rocking with the water drinking (and potty going)!  Soda has never tempted me. I'm even getting my fruits and veggies in.  But man, if the exercise - the one thing I probably need the very most - isn't alluding me at every turn!  I need good weather.  Because right now, the best exercise for me is a long, fast walk pushing the bambino in a stroller.  I don't have a gym membership.  I have to work around an iffy nap schedule.  And if I'm at my house, I'm more likely to do laundry or dishes or make beds or just about anything other than exercise.  Please, sunshine and warmth, come back soon.  Yours truly, Lumpy Post Pregnancy Butt.

Happy Monday

I hope everyone has started off to a great week.  I made some low fat white chicken chili tonight.  So I am prepared for the week at work.  One cup is only about 270 calories.  So with a salad it will be a great filling lunch.  I am hoping to make another low fat dish tomorrow so that I can switch off during the week.  Probably will make some stir fry with lots of veggies.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Craving chips?

Back in the saddle today with a yummy healthy lunch: split pea soup, potato chips and pear salsa. That's right, you read correctly: potato chips. Made from scratch. Only 100 calories. Slice an entire potato very thinly (I used Yukon Gold). Spray baking sheet with no-stick stuff. Place potatoes on baking sheet like cookies. Lightly salt. Bake at 400 degrees, 10 minutes, then flip, re-salt and bake for an additional 5 minutes. The salsa was just cubed ripe pear, lime juice and cilantro. And, no, I did not dip the salted chips in the sweet salsa. --Melissa

Holy crap, It's working!

So, after one week of the challenge I am feeling SO much better about my level of health. Turns out counting calories is the secret to losing weight (no wonder you get 10 points for that one!) for me. I've always tried to convince myself that exercise was enough because I just didn't want to watch what I ate.

I forgot to weigh myself before breakfast this morning, but I have lost at least 3 pounds in the last week by staying below 2000 calories. In 8 weeks of exercise I fluctuated up and down only a pound and a half. The first day of calorie counting felt like sheer torture, but after a week, it is so much easier to eat healthy! For the first time in a long time, I'm not just eating because I have a taste craving or because it's simply an activity to engage in. I feel hungry again, a sensation I'd become mostly unfamiliar with in the last couple of years. I'm making much better food choices and I've become aware of what a bad example I've been setting for my children. I let them eat WAY too much candy; instead of a special treat, it's an everyday expectation. They've been eating more fruits, veggies and dairy now that I have it in the house.

In addition to losing 3 pounds, I got my haircut and that always makes me feel like a new woman.

What changes have you seen, mentally and physically, after this first week? Let's Rock Week 2!

P.S. I bought some Tilapia fillets this weekend. Anyone know a yummy way to cook them so my kids will eat them?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Drinking 64 oz. of water a day is so hard for me. Finally today it didn't seem like such a chore. (trick is to drink more than half of it before noon).


When you're sick, food isn't very tasty. Not even junk food. All you want is hot salty soup. So even though I saved up my free range days for the Youth Retreat I attended, I wasn't hungry for much of anything...except for soup which we didn't have. All this to say, sometimes the plans don't quite work out the way you had expected.

Exercising while sick? That didn't happen either.
Ok, I've got to do this so that I can get my points! My weakness is sweets, especially in the form of cookie dough! I avoid this by not baking, but I feel like a bad mom if I don't bake with my kids, so I need to find a balance...

If you know me, then you're saying: "Missy, you're such a liar! Your weakness is Diet Dr. Pepper." Well, yes, you're right, it is, and I'm not giving it up! I will gladly exchange 15 minutes of exercise for one Diet Dr. Pepper. So THERE!

Report Your Numbers For Week 1 Here!

Please report your numbers for week one in the comment section here so I have them all together!!!!

Don't forget your points for the first Challenge. I'll let you decide if you get the full 10 points. Did you toss, pass up a purchase in the store or show your strength by passing it up in your house? That should give most of you full point....unless you didn't post/comment about it.

Also, don't forget to make your goal for the 30 point challenge. If your not sure what I'm talking about look at the points list on the side bar.

You are all amazing women. You've made me smile, laugh and want to be better all week!

It may not be easy but it will be worth it!