Tuesday, May 28, 2013


 It's hard to believe 
that I haven't always looked like this!   

I can't believe I am actually writing this post, because it is embarrassing to me.
Embarrassing, that I let one day roll into the next.
Embarrassing that I had progressively let my weight get to the point, the second number contained a "5" in it (which was what I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant with Jade).
But, my blog is a journal and this is something that while difficult to blog about, ought to be recorded.  Maybe even some of what I have discovered about myself will be helpful to someone else out there.

(photo of Jade and I circa 2002)
 Back before Ethan was born, 
I used to meticulously count calories. 
I was a label reader and I would count out the portion that was on the box, put in a container and then that is all I would eat.
I never struggled with my weight ever!!
I never thought I would deal with a weight problem... and that is what got me into trouble!
Tracy and I began to get a treat of some kind almost every time we were in the check-out line at the store.  Usually it was something pretty harmless like splitting an Almond Joy candy bar but that lack of mindfulness really adds up over the course of a day.
Later on, we would be comfy watching a movie on the couch after the kids had gone to bed and before we knew it we would have downed an entire bag of chips and salsa.
If you have ever read the calories on a bag of M&M's you will realize that 1/4 of a cup is 220 calories.
1/4 cup is a small handful and how many handfuls do you enjoy when there is an open bag of M&M's on the counter?!?

It's amazing how much sitting for 6-8 hours at a time, "chained" to a desk, staring into a computer screen, stressing about work problems and also sleeping poorly, can contribute to weight gain as well.

It's amazing how packing on an extra 2-3 pounds of fat a year, over the course of 11 years can add up to thirty pounds.

Well, that is roughly how many pounds I have lost in the past seven months or so.
 The amazing thing is I have not really been trying to lose weight.  
Since quitting my job in 2012, I just wanted to feel healthier, have more energy and be more active.  
I had gotten so used to how I looked...
I really didn't see myself as chubby and overweight. 
This photo was taken one week 
after I quit my 22 year job at Artco 
last January 2012.
These photos were taken of me at my Aunt Betty's funeral in June 2012.
WOW!  Can you say horrendous looking!
I can't believe how heavy and unattractive I look. Oh, how I wish I could go back and retake these photos with my cousins and aunts and uncles. 
(and YUCK to the blonde hair...I'm just amazed that I ever thought this color looked good on me... SO grateful to have gone back to my natural root color.)

This photo was taken after the funeral while we stopped to get ice cream at Peach City in Brigham City, Utah. 

Well, time marched on and before summer of 2012 had come to an end, I had gotten hired on with two local schools teaching PE to grades K-5 two days a week.
You wouldn't think that those two days of non-stop moving would have been such a difference in my life, but WOW, did it ever!

Here are before and after photos and I'm just amazed at the difference that 30 pounds can make on my frame size.
I haven't gone on any special diet.
I haven't been extreme in any way at all.
The only thing I can think of is that I have been MINDFUL!
I meticulously watch what I eat everyday.
If I over do it one day, I make sure to eat better the next day.   
Never have I felt deprived. 
Daily mindfulness doesn't feel like dieting. 
It just feels like the way I ought to be living in every aspect anyway.

Another thing I do is I weigh myself each morning after I get out of the shower.  That way, if I'm up a pound, I can adjust my eating that day. It is much easier to lose one pound, than it is to lose ten pounds.
Life is about balance.
YES, We splurge on burgers and fries on occasion, we eat ice cream and pizza from time to time, however, it is more moderately than it has been in the past and usually we share something and savor each bite.
I have always been one to eat pretty healthy during the week but recently I have made a shift to eating a delicious salad for lunch instead of dinner left-overs...
 when you "dig-in" to a big salad, you are filling up on lots of veggies  
(lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, 
cucumbers, green onions and pea pods).
The salads are topped with a heaping spoonful of cottage cheese for protein and sometimes chicken or salmon is added as well.  I include a piece of fruit and some other kind of treat in our lunch also.  From a dietary perspective, these daily salads are the biggest change to our lifestyle that I can think of.  Really, for the most-part, weight loss is a numbers game. Salads like ours are very filling, with some good ingredients for energy without being too calorie dense.  Also, there is very little in our lunches that cause a big spike in insulin.   
In other words, they are low in carbs...  but really I haven't been thinking too much about carbs or protein or fat, I just enjoy eating these delicious salads and being mindful about how much snacking I do throughout the day.
  I must say, with the recent changes in my body, I am feeling much more confident in my appearance and more confident to be in photos! 

We just celebrated 
some happy moments this past month...
Mother's Day 2013

Family photos  May 18, 2013

Jade's High School Graduation 
May 25, 2013
Swimming at Lava Hot Springs 
Memorial Day Weekend 2013  

Now that summer is here, I won't be teaching PE but I will be working in the yard, doing daily yoga, riding my bike, hiking and backpacking.  I have also been thinking that I really ought to start lifting weights and developing some additional muscle tone, especially in my core and upper body!
Come fall, I want to really show my PE students how push-ups, pull-ups and crunches are done!
At this point, I don't want get any thinner at all.
I just want to be healthy, toned, full of energy so I can enjoy each and every day of my wonderful life to the fullest! 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

You can learn a lot from a Tulip!

A tulip doesn’t strive to impress anyone.
It doesn’t struggle to be different than a rose.
It doesn’t have to. It is different.
And there’s room in the garden for every flower.
You didn’t have to struggle to make your face
different than anyone else’s on earth.
It just is.
You are unique because
you were created that way.
Look at little children in kindergarten.
They’re all different without trying to be.
As long as they’re unselfconsciously being themselves,
they can’t help but shine.
It’s only later,
when children are taught to compete,
to strive to be better than others,
that their natural light becomes distorted.”
~~ Marianne Williamson

Grateful for all of the gorgeous 
pink and purple clumps of tulips 
I have growing right now in my yard!
It makes me happy every time I see a glimpse of them when I'm outside!
SO grateful
I took a moment to snap some photos of my beautiful tulips because as of this moment they are fading and dying and once they're gone, we won't be able to enjoy their beauty again until next Spring!

Flowers teach you a lot about life...
They remind us that we're all unique and beautiful in our own wonderful way!
They also remind to pause and take time to savor simple moments in life, because if you think
 "I'll enjoy that tomorrow", 
many times tomorrow the moment is gone!

Happy Spring!
I hope you are able to notice and cherish the beauty
of each budding flower,
each budding tree and
 notice all of the creeping, crawling things as well!

Spring has finally arrived!

YAY for Spring-Time... 
I love it so much!

The days are getting longer 
and the sun shines in our windows before 6:00 in the morning.
The air is filled with the beautiful music of birds chirping.
The temperatures are "just right"...
(not too hot, not too cold).
Kids are swinging on swings and 
enjoying not being cooped up in the house!

This is what my yard 
looks like right now...

Periwinkle flowers and Violets...

Clusters of purple and pink tulips...

The trees are starting to leaf out and get buds as well!
(I wish I make this photo a "scratch and sniff", because it SMELLS so good!!)
OH, and we and abundance of 
Dandelions and weeds and YES, 
they are BEAUTIFUL too!

AND we have this exciting thing 
happening right now...
A newly built nest in our spruce tree,
with a turquoise egg, which means we get to enjoy watching baby Robins again this spring!

This sweet mama Robin 
is making sure her little egg stays safe 
during our windy weather we have been having!

YAY, we have blossoms and bees 
in our Spring Snow Crab Tree!

(sweet comment that my hubby made about this BEE photo on Facebook:)
"Guess who is the busy bee? You! That's who! I love how you are never too busy though, to notice all the little things & appreciate simple beauty. Thanks for pulling me away from the garage cleaning to watch the mama robin trying to keep her eggs safe on this windy day. I can always count on you for a lesson on the birds & bees! ;-)

I Love all of the JOY, color, smells 
and special moments that Spring-time brings!

I especially LOVE 
when I get to join my hubby for lunch
 in the middle of the week and we get to enjoy the sunshine and time together at the park!
These stolen moments in time are priceless treasures to me!
Life is wonderful 
with each and every beautiful and sweet moment!
The key is making sure to

 stop and pause from our ever so busy lives
and notice the beauty and love 
that is abundantly around us!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Icicles in May!

May 1st...
I had the wonderful opportunity 
to drive my son Jade to school...
I don't get to do that very often as Tracy usually drives him on his way to work.
However, with ISAT testing going on at the High School for the Sophomores and Juniors, it meant that Seniors didn't have to be to school until 10:30. 

I loved talking about life with my son!
As we were driving by the Fire Station, Jade quickly noticed that there was all kinds of frozen water on the trees... 
we had to stop and take in the beauty.

This is what happens when the sprinklers turn on in May at night and the temps still are at freezing; 
We get to enjoy beautiful icicles like these!  
Grateful for BEAUTY 
that is all around us, 
if we just take time to "pause" 
and look around and see it!

Grateful for any moment of time 
that I get to spend with my kids!
(that is truly a priceless treasure to me!)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Gourmet Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza...made at home!

 We have a NEW weekend LOVE!
That of Chicken, Bacon and Ranch Pizza,
 cooked on a baking stone,
it seriously tastes and smells like you're eating at a pizza parlor!  

We love being thrify,
we love making gourmet, yummy things at home 
that replicate something that you would get to eat a yummy restaurant.

While homemade pizza is good, it is still really "hit and miss" with either having too thick of a crust, that is doughy, or too thin of a crust, that is too hard and crunchy.
Well, I have finally worked through things and got the PERFECT crust...
The crust is a dough that you let rise 1-2 hours
you then 
heat a baking stone up in a 500 degree oven for 25-30 minutes 
and those two things make the PERFECT crust 
that is chewy and moist on the inside 
and crunchy on the bottom and the edges.
 I love that since we purchase a $4.88 Rotisserie Chicken each weekend on our Friday night date and the rest of the ingredients are things that we always have on hand,
that our Saturday and or Sunday afternoons contain this yummy pizza on the menu.
While you're making Saturday morning pancakes,  
simply cook 2-3 slices of bacon, 
chop the tomatoes & green onions,
grate the cheese 
and then you have everything ready to go, 
and pull from your fridge when you hit lunch time or dinner time.  
(All you need to do is just mix the dough and let it rise for 1-2 hours time)

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pizza 

(pizza dough...enough for one large pizza)
1/2 cup warm water
1-1/4 teaspoon yeast 
1-1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt 
1 Tbsp. olive oil 
1-1/2 cups unbleached flour 
Mix together water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and let sit 10 minutes until bubbly.
Then add in salt, olive oil and flour and use dough hook and mix until dough looks nice and smooth.   
Turn up speed to medium and let mix for 5 minutes.
Put dough in a bowl and coat well with oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise 1-2 hours. 

Pizza Toppings:
1/4 cup Ranch dressing
1-2 cups chopped chicken
2-3 slices bacon cooked and crumbled
1 large tomato diced (or 2 small ones)
3 diced green onions
1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago Cheese
1/2 to 1 cup grated cheese (we like Sharp cheese, but any cheese will do).

How to cook:
Put baking stone in oven and turn temp to 500 degrees.  
Let oven heat up for 30 minutes with the baking stone in the oven.
Cut a piece of parchment paper the same size as the baking stone and  
sprinkle cornmeal on the parchment paper.  
Put pizza dough onto the cornmeal coated parchment paper and work dough out to the edges of the parchment paper, until you have a large circle. (you're welcome to use a rolling pin to do this as well)
NOW put this onto the baking stone
BAKE the pizza dough for 5 minutes.
REMOVE pizza from oven    
top with a thin layer of Ranch dressing then 1/2 cup cheese
then sprinkle evenly the cooked chicken, bacon, tomatoes and green onions.
Lastly top with Parmesan cheese and the rest of the grated cheese.
Bake 10-12 minutes until crust is browned and cheese is melted.  

Slice into 8 pieces, dish up and enjoy the deliciousness of a gourmet pizza for a fraction of the price AND in the comfort of your own home!  
Try making some PIZZA HEAVEN today!
You and your family will be glad you did!