Friday, October 22, 2010

One Of My Favorite Things About Fall

The fall leaves falling from our tree.
Great family exercise.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My drug of choice

Sadly for me, today is the first day I've been able to get my exercise in since last week. But I'm so much more clear-headed and energy-filled and mood-enhanced, I feel like I'm taking drugs (I've had some experience with steroids for hives). Which got me thinking, not about what exercise does for my body, but what it does for my brain. And I was so amazed with what I found. Frankly, the human body amazes me pretty much every day. This study talks about how exercise can increase your brain acuity. In turn, that can affect other major outcomes in life: people who were fittest at 18 were more likely to achieve both higher educational and socioeconomic status later in life, according to results published in December 2009 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I'm also following this line of research: molecular biologists and neurologists have begun to show that exercise may alter brain chemistry in much the same way that antidepressant drugs do — regulating the key neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine. Exercise is a free drug! We all have the prescription and it never runs out. We just have to remember to take it.

P.S. The picture is cool, but freaky too, I know.

Ms. Thunderbumper Challenge #1 Fall Veggies

It's fall which means there are a whole lot of new vegetables showing up in the grocery store. Are you using them or do you stick with the same old stand bys? Well it's time to try something new. Ok, it doesn't have to be something new but it needs to be something that you wouldn't eat during spring/summer.

For 5 points tell us about what you do with it. Main meal, soup, side?

Or for 10 points share a recipe. We are always looking for something yummy to eat!

Let your pallet entice us all!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Look what I got in the mail today. A Barbie catalog. I love Barbies for what they are: a kitchy, fashion icon with sci-fi proportions. I do not want to look like Barbie, nor like the waif models who are still the dominant body type in fashion media today (by nature or by photoshop). But I still have my 13 year old moments, as described in this classic tune, where I tell myself the wrong story and believe it (Thanks for the spellbinding images, Ingmar Bergman). Thankfully, those moments are few and far between, the older I get.

On a related note, notice how my 4 year old daughter, Beatrix, has already put her mark on each Barbie? Hmmmm.

Hearty Sausage with Brussels Sprouts

Mmm, sausage. Thanks to Mindy I'm slowly becoming a fan of Brussels Sprouts. So, when I ran across this recipe in my Flat Belly Diet book I decided that I should try it.

PS. I have all sorts of healthy type books that I never use but always think, hey maybe this will be the one that makes it all fall into place. Well of course there is no miracle trick, but I've found several things that I like from this book.

Ok, so there are two ingredients that I had a hard time finding. Once I found them and paid $18 just for the spices I thought to myself....this better be really good. However, if you decide to try this I would recommend looking in your international section for both of these spices. They have them at a much cheaper price. Live and learn.

Hearty Sausage with Brussels Sprouts (4 servings)
1 pound low-fat Italian turkey sausage (garlic or mild)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
6 whole cardamom pods, cracked (I didn't put the shells in)
1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1. Remove the sausage from the casings and discard the casings. Crumble the sausage mean with a fork.

2. Warm the oil in a 12" skillet over high heat. Add the sausage, almonds, cardamom, cloves, cumin, and pepper. Cooks, stirring, and breaking up the sausage for about 6 minutes, or until the sausage and almonds become golden in places.

3. Add the Brussels sprouts and broth. Stir to combine. Cover tightly and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sprouts are tender. Uncover and continue to cook for about 3 minutes, or until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated. Divide evenly among 4 plates.

Serve on a bed of baby greens.

One serving 341 calories, or 356 if served on 2 cups of baby greens.

33 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber!!!!

When I gave this to Chris he asked if there was a dressing. I said no, and then we both ate. The flavors are very unique and yummy...if you're willing to try International type foods you'll love this.

I even ate the left overs and right now as I'm typing this before I go out to lunch my mouth is watering and I want to eat it.

Let me know if you try it!!!

AND, if you have a hard time finding the spices let me know. It's cheaper for me to mail them to you than to buy the full price kind!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The stories that get told

I just went to a Youth Ministry Seminar over the week-end and soaked in a lot of sound wisdom. A few tidbits I wanted to share with you:

Stuck: you know you're stuck when you start a sentence or thought by saying "I just..."

"No one can resist the relentless power of unconditional love."

"We live in the stories that get told about us."

"Intimacy bandwidth is limited to about 30 people. That is, the average person can be emotionally intimate with only about 30 people in her life at any given time."

And here's how it all fits together on HWHL:

I often say or think "I just..." but then I turn to HWHL to get unstuck because I can't resist the power of unconditional love on this blog and how we support each other in telling positive, uplifting, "can do" stories. As a whole, you are one of my 30.

If today was rough for you, remember, tomorrow is a new day, with a new story to be told!

Moving On...

Thanks for coming to my Pity Party the other night. That was fun, wasn't it?

In all seriousness, I really appreciate all of your kind comments and concern. It seems that we've all been there, haven't we?

And now I'm moving on, done wallowing and ready to be more proactive in my life. I'm starting by participating in this challenge. It's been awhile but I'm going to complete this one, no matter the score. And I'm setting a 30 point goal of only napping on Sunday afternoon. Sleep is not a good way to combat depression so I'm committing to only sleeping at night and getting more things done during the day.

I started this week by getting up at 6:00am to exercise. It's been quite awhile since I've done that. Since June I've just exercised outside, mostly running, because I enjoy being outside. But because I haven't been eating as well and completely abandoned any weight training, I've gotten a bit out of shape. That was made very clear to me after doing Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred yesterday and today. Dude, I'm sore! So I'm refocusing on my fitness and committing to include strength training and abs at least every other day.

What are you all doing for exercise now that the weather is turning cooler? I was made of tougher things this spring when I was willing to go run when it was below freezing early in the morning. I haven't been able to bring myself to run until about 10:00am when all the frost has melted off and the sun is shining brightly.

I Finally Have a Moment...

I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but time hasn't been plentiful lately. Speaking of time, I've been having this debate in my head. With the kids being in school, I thought I would have more time, but it doesn't seem to be the case. I've been looking for a balance in my life. Looking for ways to eliminate so I can have more time for things I enjoy. One thought came to mind was cutting back on computer time. Slowing down on blogging. Between counting calories, keeping track of numbers, going to bed early, getting up early to exercise, keeping up on blogging, well, lets just say that some days I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed. But, as I began to ponder about things that should be eliminated, I came to the conclusion that this needs to not be one of them. Being healthy is my time, something I am doing for me. Being a part of this blog is for me. And quite frankly, I don't think us moms allow ourselves to have enough me time. So here I am, committed to me, and this blog because we have a strong support system going on. Not just about weight loss, or being a healthier person, but about supporting each other through life. About truly caring about one another.

Sue, I have thought a lot about you the last couple days. About two years ago I was going through the exact same situation you were going through. It is so tough. I had one really good friend from high school that told me we couldn't be friends anymore and other friends that seemed to slip through the cracks. I felt lonely. Yes I had my husband and family, but there is just something about another woman friendship that we all crave. I get that. I understand you. Even though we are all spread out, we are the woman friendship you need. We are here for you!

A couple weeks ago I received a call from Audrey. Just a check up to make sure things were going okay. I can't even tell you how much that phone call meant to me. She completely brightened my day.

So, here I am, committed to you and this blog. I'm going to be selfish, and make this blog time my "me" time.

BTW, where is Mindy???

So to make a long story short, here's the post I was going to do last week:

I've started doing this little trick with me kids. I have a fruit bowl that hardly gets touched by my kids. It sits by the kitchen sink. I always offer them fruit, but it's often turned down. When they are hungry and looking for a snack, they rummage through the fridge. I started experimenting with the fruit bowl, and leaving it on the table. And like magic, the fruit started quickly disappearing.
Here are some healthy fun lunch ideas I've been doing for my kids. They get sick of plain old sandwiches everyday. I do let them pick hot lunch once a week. We do have an amazing school cook, who makes most things from scratch, but I still like to be in control of what my kids eat. My daughter loves sandwiches on a stick!

The painted sandwich, sometimes has a note on it!

They love sailboats. My son hates eggs, but magically they taste amazing when they look like a sailboat!

This has been a new favorite in our house. Banana and peanut butter sandwich.

And lastly, I am volunteering at the school for their Halloween Party. I am in charge of a healthy snack so here's what we are making. The teeth are made from slivered almonds, but I might try using dried banana chips. So fun.
What healthy things have you been packing for your kids lunch?

Monday, October 18, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Congratulations Jill!
You did a fabulous job staying strong....did you say something about running 14 miles? Are you training for a marathon?

It was a tight race and I can only anticipate that the same thing will happen this go around.
Keep up all the good work everyone!!!
Don't give into the holidays!

A Healthy Budget

I wanted to tell you something I discovered a few months ago that makes me happy every day.

My father is a PA in dermatology. I love it, and for the past forever, I have been the beneficiary of all of his fun samples, lotions, and creams. Once I was even the guinea pig for a new laser they got in the office. He needed to practice on someone before he used it on his patients...that someone was me. Let me tell was awful, and it hurt so bad. That is when I realized that beauty was truly PAINFUL.

So having said that...this leads me into what makes me happy every day. I used to buy really good, really expensive face wash from him. He has great connections. Lately though, the budget has been tight. My tight budget and living across the country has made it difficult for me to get my hands on my beloved face wash.

One day I ran out. Completely out. Every last drop gone.

I had some dove bars on hand. You know, the plain white ones...
I remembered hearing him tell someone they were good for your face. With that memory, I picked up the white plain bar, squooshed it through my hands a couple of times, and lathered up my face.

I have been using that bar ever since. And every time I lather up my hands and raise them to my face, I smile.

Did you know that those simple Dove bars work just as well as the expensive face wash I was using? My old face wash was about $80 a bottle. I was so stingy with it. Now I am a lathering machine!

Just thought I would share. Have a good night...I'm off to lather.