Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Homeschool vs. Private Christian vs. Public

We already know that I'll be starting preschool with my oldest (3 years) this fall at home. We would love to send him to preschool but for 2 mornings a week, it's just not worth the cost. And I think we'll have fun at home learning together.

I went to a Christian school and am glad for the biblical foundation I received as a child, although I didn't realize how important that was until I was out of the house and on my own. I took my Christian high school totally for granted but I think most high school students do.

I feel a little guilt over homeschooling. I don't want families that we minister to to think that we are looking down on them and think they're horrible for sending their children to the public school.

Jon Acuff writes on his blog, Stuff Christians Like (Christian satire), about the stereotypes of home school, public school, and private Christian schools. It's a great article and I appreciated the honesty/humor from all views. I've seen examples of all the stereotypes and I've seen families defy the stereotypes.

Let me hear some feedback about why you chose private, public or home. Have you defied the stereotypes of your school choice?

* My husband and I really enjoy Jon Acuff's sense of humor and realize it's not for everyone.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taco Lasagna

I needed to make something for dinner when we were housesitting last week. So I looked in the fridge and managed to come up with Taco Lasagna. It was really good!! Sometimes I surprise myself. ;)

Taco Lasagna

1 lb ground beef
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
chili powder
cayenne pepper
3 tortillas
1/4 cup salsa
2 cups cheddar cheese
1 small can sliced black olives
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped

  • Brown hamburger and onion. Add garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Drain fat and mix in spices.
  • Grease an 8x8 baking dish. Pour the salsa on the bottom and then place a tortilla on top. Layer with meat, cheese, black olives, tomatoes and green pepper.
  • Continue to layer ending with cheese, olives, tomatoes and green pepper.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until cheese is golden brown (may need to turn the broiler on).
  • Top with sour cream, salsa, crushed tortilla chips, lettuce and chopped tomato.

You can add taco seasoning to your ground meat in place of the spices. I don't know amounts I just added and tasted as I went. Also, you can change up the veggies and add some chopped zucchini, green onions or anything else you want to add. This recipe can easily be doubled for a 9x13 baking dish. You'll just have to cut the tortillas to fit. Enjoy!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Feeling Exhausted?

I read this post yesterday from Sarah Markley at The Best Days of My Life. I cried. I feel like that today (most days, as of late). Tired of disciplining. I need some refreshment for my spirit. I need refreshment with my husband.

Thank you, Sarah, for putting it into perspective. God is so almighty, caring, and tender. And He never gives up on us.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Prayer Request

**Update (7/23): The fire department determined that the fire started in the pick-up in the garage. We're just glad this didn't happen while they were asleep.

Please pray for my baby sister and her new husband (married 5 1/2 weeks ago).

I got a call last night that their house was on fire. I know that the garage, breezeway, and kitchen are gone. That was at 9ish last night so I'm not sure on the damage this morning. Neither one of them got hurt so that's a blessing.

Please pray for them as they grieve this loss. Thank you.

Wednesday Weigh-In 7/22

The Sisterhood - Team NAVY

It's our last week for the Shrinking Summer Challenge at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans. I haven't done as well as I would have liked, but there have been losses nonetheless. So I'm proud of that. And extremely proud of this: I am out of the 160's!!!!!!

I've been really good about not weighing myself everyday. But it's hard not to want to know if there's been a loss (yeah) or a gain (NO!). And I always want a little preview on Tuesday night to mentally prepare myself for Wednesday. This morning I was pleasantly surprised with a 2 lb loss!! Yeah!!!

Here are the stats for this week:

starting weight: 160.8
current weight: 158.8
loss: 2 lb!!
original starting weight: 166.4
cumulative weight loss: 7.6 lbs

continued goals for this week:

1. I will not give up.
This has been a great goal for me because I was about to quit the Sisterhood. I'm glad I didn't (but it will be nice to not have the team "pressure" when I'm working through thyroid issues.

2. I will go to bed on time.
Again, has been getting better. I'm naturally a night-owl and I love to sleep in (but with two little boys that has become impossible). So was staying up way too late and having to get up way too early. Not a good combo. ;)

3. I will exercise daily (walking, shredding, swimming) and post on my blog - just for some accountability.
I'm still not on the daily exercise train. I've just been doing outdoor activities with my boys, but no Shredding and no real sweat-inducing workouts. Major improvement needed here.

4. I will only weigh on Wednesday.
Like I mention, I did great with this goal (except for my Tuesday night preview).

5. I will do this for me!
I continue to make healthy choices daily even while my body adjusts to my new medication. I'm feeling a little more perky this week so hopefully I'll get some workouts in.

Let's go Team Navy!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday...Thursday Weigh-in 7/16

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

I think I've done pretty good considering the curcumstances of my thyroid. I did gain this week, but it's not bad. I'm surprised it's not worse. I haven't been working out but my eating has been pretty good. Having a low thyroid makes an appetite drift away...but still gain weight. It's a weird cycle.

Here's the stats:

starting weight: 160.4
current weight: 160.8
loss: +.4
original starting weight: 166.4
cumulative weight loss: 5.6 lbs

continued goals for this week:

1. I will not give up.
I haven't given up, just slowing down and taking time for my body.

2. I will go to bed on time.
This has actually been pretty good so waking up on time hasn't been a problem. The fact that we're house sitting this week is. ;)

3. I will exercise daily (walking, shredding, swimming) and post on my blog - just for some accountability.
My lack of posting about exercising is because there has been a lack of exercising. ;) I have been walking with my boys some time during the day. And since we're housesitting, I'm spending a lot of time in the pool with my boys. Jumping, catching, splashing. I don't know if there's any calorie-burning activity while we play, but we are having fun. And I'm getting a pretty nice tan. ;)

4. I will only weigh on Wednesday.
This also hasn't been a problem because I'm not looking at the scale every time I step into the bathroom and thinking about if I should weigh myself to know if I've gained or lost.

5. I will do this for me!
I am. I am doing this for my health and for my self-esteem/confidence. I know that beauty is only skin deep, but there is a heart and a set of lungs (not to mention my muscles) that need a healthy makeover.

So that's where I'm at this week. I'm not going to get too down about not losing as quickly as I'd like, but I don't want to be lazy and blame it on the thyroid either. I need some encouragement from the Sisterhood to get me to do something physical each day.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 7/8

Nothing exciting to report here. I guess it's not a gain, so that's good.

starting weight: 160.4
current weight: 160.4
loss: 0
original starting weight: 166.4
cumulative weight loss: 6 lbs.

My thyroid is really out of wack. I started my new meds on Sunday, but it's a frustrating because it takes 6-8 weeks to balance out. So, I will be exhausted and sad until then (sorry dear husband).

I have no motivation to get up early to work out, and I piddle the day away without any heart-pumping physical activity. I've been going to bed on time and still can't manage to get out of bed before 8am (and I've been napping in the afternoon, too). And I cry about a lot of stuff. My hands are falling asleep at night, or while I'm reading, when I'm at the computer, when I'm talking on the phone, etc. I know that's a major symptom of being low for me. That's what got me diagnosed in the first place.

I need to not use the thyroid-thing as a crutch. I need to work through the tears and the tiredness but it's really hard to not just want to quit. But I will not give up.

Here are my goals for this week:

1. I will not give up.
2. I will go to bed on time.
3. I will exercise daily (walking, shredding, swimming) and post on my blog - just for some accountability.
4. I will only weigh on Wednesday.
5. I will do this for me!

Ok. Here's to a better week all around. ;)

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Ranch Pasta Salad

On Sunday, we were invited to swim with some friends at their parent's house. They were planning a barbeque and I thought I should bring a little something to share. Since we hadn't been to the store in a while, and this wasn't on my menu plan I dug through the pantry and the fridge and made up a nice pasta dish.

Ranch Pasta Salad

1 1/2 cups macaroni noodles
1 cup mayo
1/4 milk
1 packet dry ranch seasoning
1 tsp dry minced onion
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp white pepper

1/3 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/3 cup carrots, chopped
1/3 cup celery, chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas, thawed

Cook pasta according to directions on package. Meanwhile, mix mayo, milk and seasonings. Rinse pasta in cold water and toss in veggies. Pour dressing over pasta and veggies; gently mix until combined. Refrigerate and serve well-chilled.

It was really easy and it was delicious. You can add dry bacon bits if you like and change up the veggies too. It's really one of those recipes you make to use up your extra produce.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cupcake Hamburgers and Cookie Fries

These cupcakes, yes, cupcakes, were inspired by Bakerella. She does some amazing things with cake and this is just another example of her creativity. The french fries are sugar cookies with extra sugar on them to look like salt. The buns are yellow cupcakes and the burgers are brownies. So yummy and so cute.

Bakerella had used this idea for Father's Day. She even has templates for baskets, tissue paper, and fry bags. But I didn't have the time or resources to print out my own material so my husband made a trip to DQ and bought 24 little baskets and 24 paper sacks for $2. Totally worth it. We wrapped each basket in plastic wrap before placing in the paper sack. They really turned out cute. My son thought I was "tricking" on him when he bit into the "burger." So cute!!

I thought this would make a cute 4th of July treat for a picnic we went to. They were a hit. Next time I'm going to work on not making my frosting too runny and making my cupcakes a little smaller.

Check out Bakerella for the full "tutorial." And don't forget to dispose of your waste properly. ;)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss

This recipe is so fresh and is full of vegetables. My husband and I really enjoyed it, but the kids, not so much. They aren't used to zucchini and red peppers. We still make them try it but they mostly stuck to the tomatoes, chicken, pasta and peas.

Italian Chicken Pasta Toss
adapted from Pampered Chef Casual Cooking

3 cups uncooked bow-tie pasta
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 small onion, chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow or red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, pressed
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
1 tsp Italian seasoning mix
1 tsp salt
fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta according to package.
2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Press garlic into skillet and saute with onions. Add chicken. Stir-fry for 5 minutes until chicken is no longer pink. Reduce heat to medium. Remove chicken and set-aside. Add zucchini, pepper, seasoning mix and salt; stir-fry 2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl combine warm pasta, chicken and veggie mixture, peas and tomatoes. Toss until well combined. Serve with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese.

It takes about 20 minutes to prepare this dish. I chopped all my veggies in the time it took for my water to boil and my pasta to cook. Just make sure to keep the pasta warm while waiting for the meat and veggies to cook. You can make this a vegetarian dish by omitting the chicken. Enjoy!!

Birthday Girl

On July 2nd I celebrated my 29th birthday. Even though I'm not too excited about being 29, I had a great day. My husband watched the kids so I could sleep in. The boys napped in the afternoon so I could watch a movie at home. My husband mopped the kitchen floor. And then I got an hour and a half to shower, shave and get ready for my hot date. ;)

My husband borrowed a Toyota Solaris convertible and took me out for some great Thai food. It was delicious. Since we had the babysitter for a while longer, we cruised around in the convertible with the top down enjoying the beautiful evening.

About turning 29...I feel like 30 is looming. I have really enjoyed my 20's and God has done some amazing things in my life during those years (not that God will stop working in my life at 30). I was married in my 20's, my profession of nurse changed to youth secretary to mother. And the process required a huge reliance on God and a complete surrender of myself. I feel like I'm still young and that the possibilities of life are sitting on my doorstep. But 30 feels more like true adult-hood. It's kind of scary to feel like the responsibility is real. That I'm not a naive 20-something. It seems kind of dumb when I say it out loud, but it's how I matter how irrational.

I'm thinking that for my 30th, instead of black (which is usually reserved for the big 5-0) I will celebrate with color and excitement for the future God has for me and my family. I will focus on praising my Creator for the years of my past and the years of my future. I will not dread the "increased" responsibility of "true adulthood" but embrace the challenges that God has for me.

You might have to remind me of this next year. ;)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The "Do Do Do" Verses

(Yes, that is crayon on my wall. Thank you, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!)

My son is realizing that when he disobeys mom and dad that he is sinning. We will say to him, "I will only tell you one time. When you do not do as mom says, you are disobeying. You will get a spanking for disobeying mom or dad." He does pretty well most of the time, but lately we've noticed that he really feels remorse for his sin (not all the time, he is only 3 years old). He will tell us, "I don't want to disobey. I want to obey mom."

That really has made me look at Romans 7:14-20 a lot more seriously. I always called it the "Do Do Do" verses because it can get a little confusing. But reading it as a mom who has a little boy that is now struggling with his sins, I see it in a fresh way.

Romans 7:14-20

(14) We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

(15) I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

(16) And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

(17) As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.

(18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.

(19) For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.

(20) Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

I know that he wants to do good, but he can't. And neither can I. I struggle with things that I know are wrong and I continue to do them. And it is the sin living in me. I can only, daily, surrender myself to the Lord. I can only ask for His grace and forgiveness when I inevitably screw up. Now, I don't read these verses and see a license to sin, I read them as an encouragement to submit myself to the Lord. That I need the Lord to carry out the good that I desire to do. That I need to rely on Him to do good and to obey.

I have a feeling that my children will lead me to ponder Scripture in different ways. Thanks to my son for clearing up the "Do Do Do" verses for me. ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 7/1

**Update. Here's a great article from April about celebrating the small losses. We just need to remember to encourage each other through our gain weeks and our loss weeks!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

It's been another rough week. Let's just say that June has been a rough month for weight loss. As of last night, we are home. So I can hopefully soon return to a normal routine with my sleeping, eating, and working out. Here are the weekly stats:

starting weight: 160.6
current weight: 160.4
loss: .2 lbs
original starting weight: 166.4
cumulative weight loss: 6 lbs.

I'm still not into the 150's yet, but I know I'm so close!! I haven't been able to work out regularly this week because I went to my parent's again while my husband was gone on a mission trip to an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. And then I joined up with the upper classmen for some evangelism training in the Twin Cities. It was so fun to be with them, but the lack of working out, the addition of eating out, and the strange sleep habits of teens on a mission trip have been wearing me down. I actually feel worse and I feel fatter more jigglier. I think my loss this week was loss of muscle tone. I'll take the loss, but I'd rather keep my muscles.

Now that I'm home and July is a fresh month, I will be getting my butt kicked inspired by Jillian to get back into shape...and preferably a more toned and well-balanced shape.

Current Goals:
1. Shred daily
2. Make healthy eating choices in the snack category
3. Only weigh on Wednesday
4. Get into the 150's!!