Friday, April 29, 2011

My 14 Calorie Confession

A few weeks ago, I was just wanting ice cream SO bad.  I had heard of a few low calorie (or at least lower calorie) ice creams while watching The Biggest Looser.  I was at Wal-Mart and decided to just see what my options are and how low of calorie the treats were.  While I was looking, I was not planning on buying but rather just browsing.  I just wanted to learn about how it would affect our financial budget as well as my calorie budget.

Well, there is Weight Watchers and Skinny Cow and who knows what other brands of (semi-) low calorie options available.  Most of them ranging around 80-100 for an ice cream bar.  Not too bad considering it was still ice cream!

And then I saw...
...and it was love at first sight!  ONLY 14 CALORIES PER BAR!!! WHAT?!  I thought I read that wrong because it was so much drastically lower than all of the other healthy ice creams it was surrounded by.  And I don't remember the price (and can't look at the receipt because it didn't print right) but whatever it was, I felt like it was totally reasonable--and even on the cheaper end of things!

I remember eating other Philly Swirl products growing up.  And I loved them.  They are some type of an Italian Ice/ popsicle thing.  I had never tried Sweet Delites but was willing to give it a shot considering the super low calories and my liking of past Philly Swirl products.  And I liked that it was swirled around with an ice cream type substance (it really does taste creamy).  Turning the italian ice into a guilt-free dreamsicle.  I LOVE dreamsicles!!!

And the product review...  Our freezer is going to be filled with these all summer long! :)  Bring on the heat!  These are seriously amazing.  I have tried all the flavors.  I like all of them.  Orange and Raspberry are tied for my favorite spot.  The creamy "ice cream" part going around is absolutely delicious as is the flavored ice part!  Cherry wasn't bad but I'm not a huge cherry flavor liking type of a girl so it makes sense it is not my favorite.  Eating one of these satisfies my ice cream desires and leaves me feeling like I am in control.  And, I guess you could eat more than one if you wanted but just one is always plenty for me.  It is almost like I don't even have to count it on my calorie count for the day.  Sweet Delites and I have got a 100% friendship/ love relationship going on here.  Wonderful!

And for the record, yes it was SNOWING today (like enough to stick to the roads a little bit) and I had to wear my heavy duty (now too big) winter coat while driving to work.  And yes, I just ate a Raspberry creamsicle....  Don't judge!
P.S. Philly Swirl products are not carried at all stores.  Go to their website to see a listing of the stores that carry it near you.  I know Wal-Mart has it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Counting the Minutes!!

So in about 210 minutes, my darling sweetheart will walk through our front door and for the first time since JANUARY, he will be ALL MINE!!! :D

This semester has kept him super busy!  He took 15 credits (which is the most he ever had), 2 Institute credits and ~30 hours of work a week.  I don't know how he managed to keep up with everything but he did.  And now he is done and I will finally get to see him again!  And we will both start getting enough sleep instead of staying up really late and waking up really early!

No more me waking up in the middle of the night wondering where Casey is only to get out of our bed to find...
Congrats my love for enduring to the end on this difficult/ busy/ time consuming semester!  I'm so proud of you and so exited to be able to spend more time together than just dinner and scripture study every night!!! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Low Calorie German Pancakes

Please don't judge this recipe by the picture.
I know it is not the greatest (and it is without syrup) but I was too hungry to take another! :)
Pictured is 1 serving size--though we cut it kind of strange
For Easter breakfast this year, we decided to make German pancakes because we had so many eggs! :)  We ended up making one regular batch for Casey and one low calorie batch for me.  Honestly, I thought mine tasted just as good!  I did use wheat flour and that gave it a slightly different taste.  If you want it to taste exactly like the regular kind then just use white all purpose flour and it would be so similar that you wouldn't even be able to tell! :)  This makes 4 servings (though I personally ate 2 servings!) at 84 calories a serving.  I just did the math and regular German Pancakes with the same size serving is 180 calories.  I personally LOVE the 84 because I don't feel bad eating seconds! ;)

3/4 c. liquid egg beater (mine has 30 calories per 1/4 c.)
1/2 c. skim milk
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 t. salt
Parkay Spray (this is a butter imitation thing that has 0 calories per spray)

Preheat oven to 450*F.  Generously spray an 8x8 glass pan with cooking spray.  Then add a few sprays of Parkay Butter to the bottom for the flavor.  Place pan in the oven while it is preheating.

Whip the egg beaters with an electric mixer until very thick and foamy.  Add the milk and beat again.  Stir in the flour and salt.  Pour the batter into the preheated pan.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  (I think ours was more like 13-14 minutes... but it might have been because I kept opening the door to put the regular one in and out for Casey.)  It should be light brown around the edges and set in the center.  Note: if you are familiar with German Pancakes, they will rise up a substantial amount.  The low calorie version still rises but not nearly as much.  After it comes out of the oven, spray some more Parkay Butter on the top lightly for the flavor/ German Pancake effect.

Serve with sugar free syrup (make sure you still watch serving size of the SF stuff!) or fresh fruit.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Problems

So I wonder if eating the Reese's white chocolate egg yesterday was the best idea or not.  It was AMAZING but I already knew that.  The problem is today I was craving PB a ton.  And I caved in.  Ugh!  Me and the peanut butter jar had some talking too.  Spread on celery sticks, dipped in pretzel sticks.  Gave up on using other things and totally splurged with eating it by itself--yup licking it off my fingers. :(

After I had my little (ok kind of giant) splurge, I went and interrupted Casey's studying for finals and cried.  I felt bad but was facing the problem of starving!  I don't know why I am SO hungry today.  Life was fairly regular today and so I don't know what the problem was or why I caved in.  Normally I can withstand temptations pretty well.  So anyway, Casey came and baby sat the kitchen after that and banned me from entering.  And he put away/ hid all of his Easter candy from me.  I don't know what I would do without him!  --Probably have eaten more guilty PB and/or other things....

Now, I have been researching Low Cal PB options.  I didn't think they existed... but they do!  I have read about Better'n Peanut Butter.  It is sold locally so that would be nice and has 100 calories for 2 T.  (so cutting regular PB and even reduced fat PB in half).  I have also read about PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter.  I would have to order this online (making it more expensive) and it would have to be reconstituted.  So it seems kind of strange.  But for 2 T. it only has 45 calories!!  (I am going to be in PB heaven!)  There is also Fit Nutz Peanut Butter Mix.  Which is again is a powdered thing and semi-local (meaning at least it is in my state but it would be a drive).  It has 50 calories (so practically the same) for 2 T. too.  And then I have learned about Walden Farms, Peanut Spread Calorie-Free.  Yes, you read that right 0 calories for the whole jar.  Unheard of!  It is also semi- local.  This is the one that I'm the most nervous about--ZERO calories?!  What on earth is it?

I have read several reviews and am still not sure which option would be best.  Has anyone had any real life experience with any of these?  Would you recommend or vote against any of them and why?  I need advice!  Because any of these products will be a little investment but with my peanut butter LOVING (and extreme missing) habits, it is worth it!  I would just like to get one that I will actually eat and not end up throwing away because even at low calories, it is awful.  Thanks!! :)

Off hand, I am leaning to one of the powdered peanut butters but don't know...

Easter 2011

I thought I would share the highlights of our Easter!  This is our 2nd MARRIED Easter and it just seems weird.  In some ways it doesn't seem like we have been married for almost 1 1/2 years but in others it feels like I can't remember life without Casey in it.  Weird how time changes and gets faster as we get older! ;)

We started Easter week by celebrating Passover.
I am looking through the Passover cookbook.
One of the few "action" shot pictures we have.

We made bird nests for our loved ones.
I felt bad because I'm not very talented at the bird nest building thing...
But everyone seemed to enjoy them and thought they were cute! :)

We went on an Easter Egg Hunt.
Our eggs were blessed with money 
and mine had SF candy so I can enjoy it  and not feel bad! :)

I rearranged the Bunny Village at my mom's house.
She claims that every time she would walk by it, 
the bunnies would be in a different place.
And she missed that this year.  So I helped! :)
I assigned each bunny a person and this picture is of the "Casey & Lisa" bunny.
The Casey bunny is brining the Lisa bunny some roses and some more food.
The Lisa bunny is busy making dinner! :)
And of course we are kissing!!! <3

The Easter Bunny was very good to Casey!

Mrs. Bunny even took the time to make love notes for each thing.
I basically came up with cheesy poems/ matching word for each thing.
This one is my favorite--it is on the back of a Reese's Egg!

The Easter Bunny was also VERY good to me!!  
Though much more practical and not as romantic.
I already love and have used the cookbooks!
And I loved my white chocolate peanut butter egg!
It was the absolute BEST FHE treat!!!
--they are my FAVORITE and totally worth it for a small one! :)

For Easter breakfast we ate German Pancakes.
We both love these and it has been a while!

We enjoyed attending church!
Taking the Sacrament was seriously my favorite part of Easter! :)
Lucky for me, I get to do that EVERY Sunday!!!
After church, we came home and made an Easter feast together.
The squash in the front doesn't look so great but it is DELICIOUS!
And I already wrote about the Deviled Eggs--amazing!

And finally we walked around 3.5 miles to the Provo Temple and back home.
We are in our Easter clothes.  I LOVE this dress! :D
--Casey was sweet enough to wear a pink tie to match my dress!
The coming home trip started getting REALLY cold and sprinkling.
Once we were home we decided to watch "The Lamb of God"
as we defrosted in flannel pajamas and fleece blankets.

It truly was a WONDERFUL holiday!  We enjoyed being together! :)
But most importantly, we loved remembering the Savior!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Low Calorie Deviled Eggs

It looks just like the regular thing! :)
I personally think instead of calling these "Low Calorie Deviled Eggs," I should rename them to be "Heavenly Eggs!"  LoL!  Deviled = high calorie & bad.  (Regular deviled eggs have on average between 70-90 calories a half.)  Heavenly = low calorie & good.  But no one would know what "heavenly eggs" are so I went with something boring. :)

Inspired by "Devilish Eggs" from "Hungry Girl's 200 under 200" cookbook by Lisa Lillien, I just have to say that I am in love!  The original recipe had 19.75 calories per egg half.  I don't know what exactly mine are at but I am guessing somewhere between 12-15 calories.  That recipe used pickle relish (you could certainly put a little in to taste) but I don't really like it so it is not something in our fridge and when I was making this yesterday (Sunday) going shopping was not an option.  I also used a lower calorie cheese than she does (because what I used is way more economical!!!) and it just happens to be a little lower.  Then, the reason I know that my eggs are lower calorie count is because I had tons of extra filling.  I felt like I over stuffed them too.  But I now have extra "yolk" (ha, ha, ha... wait till you see what the "yolks" are) mixture in the fridge that I am going to use to make an egg salad sandwich with! :)

1 t. dried minced onion
1 c. cauliflower flowers, cut into bite sized pieces
5-6 hard boiled eggs, chilled
1-2 T. fat-free mayonnaise (depending upon how "saucy" you like it.  Mine was way closer to 1 and I thought it was plenty saucy)
1 T. fat-free cream cheese, softened
1/2 - 1 t. yellow mustard (again go with to flavor--even if you don't like mustard add a little because this it what tricks you to thinking it tastes "yolky")
Garlic Powder, Salt & Pepper (to taste)
a few drops of yellow food coloring

Place the minced onion in a small bowl and add a tiny amount of hot water.  Let it sit for awhile so the onions will become tender.  In a microwave safe bowl, add the cauliflower pieces and a small amount of hot water.  Cover and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes.  (So normally we cook vegetables till "al dente" --yes, I know that term is used with pasta but you get the idea... it means firm to the tooth.  Cook this longer than that so it is very soft.)  Allow it to cool for a little bit.

Take the shell of the eggs and then slice them vertically so you have two halves.  Throw away the yolk (yes, I know this is being wasteful... but whatever!  I would rather the garbage can eat extra calories than my tummy).

Place the cooked, slightly cooled cauliflower in a blender or food processor.  Add the mayo (I had to add a little extra water to get our blender to work) and puree.  You don't want it to be completely smooth but not super chunky either.   Try to strike a happy medium.  In a bowl, combine the puree and softened cream cheese, mustard, onions (I didn't drain ours but I didn't have very much water in it either), garlic powder, salt, pepper and yellow food coloring (yes, I totally recommend this... it will make it look more appealing.  In several of my food classes, I learned a lot about how 90% of our appetite is based on appearance).  Spoon a small amount of the filling into the yolk hole in the egg white.  Sprinkle with paprika.  Serve cold.

Enjoy your guilt free cauliflower packed Heavenly Eggs!!  
Remember to share! ;)

Week 16 Weigh-In

Ok... considering we ate...
This is just the beginning...
we also had matzo bread, matzo balls & soup, matzo chicken pie, vegetable cutlets, and walnut cake....
It was very interesting learning about the Passover Traditions.
Check out the Bradshaw Bistro for more information and to see more pictures.
P.S. LOVE how Casey is holding my wrist and my hand is on his leg in the picture! :)
And then the rest of the week, I was in the habit of eating more & higher calories so I kept snacking on things-- a lot!

To celebrate our 17 month anniversary, I decided to celebrate by making Creme Brulee.

For our date this week we went out and had...

And we can't forget Easter!  I did fairly well but still had a few pieces of chocolate/ candy and some of a raspberry (cinnamon-like style) roll and just lots of other yummy food and Easter feasts....

Considering all the above, I will be grateful for my
-1 pound 
I'm still going in the right direction!!!  Yipee! :D

And this just means that I need to work harder this week! :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

On this very special day when chocolate bunnies, Peeps, and jelly beans abound... I hope we will all remember the real reason for celebrating.  Jesus Christ suffered and died for mine and everyone else's sins, pains, infirmities, weakness, sickness, afflictions.  And then 3 days later, He was Risen.  Christ lives!  What a glorious thought because we can all live again too!  (This holiday really is my favorite--for that very reason!!)


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Momentary Job Panic

Everyone remember my "Sweet Hug from Heaven" and how I totally rocked my interview?  Well, I haven't heard back from them--it has been 2 weeks (but one of those was spring break) so I was beginning to wonder if I should just give up on working there.

Yesterday, the job was posted as being opened on to a teacher website.  Total panic!  What?  Why is it now being posted?  Did the interview that I thought went so amazingly well actually flop miserably and I was so oblivious that I didn't even notice?  Did they not like me and so they are posting it to try to find someone else but didn't want to call and tell me that?

So I call the principal and nicely explain who I am and what I was wondering.  She tells me that they are required to have it open for so many days.  Oh... sigh of relief (I guess!).  I ask her if I should resubmit my application through the teacher website and she said no because she had mine, right there on top of the stack.  Squeal--you mean you liked me?  You have me on top!  YEAH!

Sidenote:  The only problem with this job is its only part time.  At my interview, she wanted to know what other areas I could teach.  I didn't know how to respond at the time because I'm a FACS teacher but mentioned ASL (yeah, the school actually teaches ASL--sweet right!?) and then (fortunately) thought of math.  Hello!  I love math--especially the middle school aged math.  I have taken several math classes just because--they didn't count towards G.E. or graduation or anything.  Just to take.  And math is so very closely related to FACS.  They seriously go hand in hand (at least in my opinion!).

As I am talking on the phone with the principal, I then tell her that I am only 4 math classes away from having my Math Level 2 Endorsement.  (I figured that out after the interview.  I can't believe that it is only 4!!!  Why didn't I just take FOUR more classes before I graduated.  But I guess at the same time, I am grateful it is only four if I am going to be going back to school.)  I explain to her that I could take 3 of them this summer and then the 4th is only offered Spring Semester so I would have to take that later.  But I kind of need to know soon because I need to apply and get registered and ETC if I am going to be taking these classes.  Which means, I would be able to be hired full time!  She responded with how that was very good to know because they need math teachers too.  She said she wrote all of that down on my application and that she would go talk with others about it and try to get things moving along.  Yipee!!

Everyone please keep praying!  I feel a renewed sense of hope after my phone conversation yesterday.

Friday, April 22, 2011

"Tangled" Times Six

So I liked Tangled the first time I saw—ok seriously more like loved it!  And I was kind of excited to read on sub plans that we would be watching it in class on Tuesday.  But now, at the end of the week, I have seen the beginning two-thirds of the movie SIX times.  With three of those times being in Spanish and having to read the English subtitles to follow along.  To be honest, I’m kind of beginning to get sick of it.  I think I need a “Tangled” break.

Even after watching it so many times, it is a still must own movie!  I don’t think this movie was written to be LDS but holy cow is it ever.  Think about it.  A girl is born to Royal Parents but then has to leave their presence.  And she forgets that she is a princess.  Her agency (free will) is taken away.  But her Royal Parents send Floating Lanterns to remind her who she is—even though they can’t be with her.  The whole movie is about remembering who you are and where we came from.  Each of us is truly royal by birth—children of Heavenly Parents.  But as we left their presence and came to Earth, it is easy to forget who we are or where we can return to.  At the times when remembering I am a Princess is the most difficult, that is when Heavenly Father will send gentle floating lanterns to remind me.

I love knowing that I am a Real Princess—royal by birth.  Because my Heavenly Father is the King.  And that means that I am married to my Prince Charming.  
Life really is a fairy tale! :)


Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Talk of Prom

Prom is on Saturday—at least at the school I was subbing at today.  I want to go!  I want to relive being asked to the prom with a HUGE bag of peanuts, dumping them on the living room floor, and having to crack them open to find single letters and then solve the puzzle.  I want to relive decorating Casey’s room—like full out to answer him back.  (Then again maybe I don’t want this so much anymore because that means I would be “decorating” my own room aka putting ribbon and confetti and streamers and posters and colored cellophane and balloons and etc everywhere.  And I don’t really want to have to clean up that giant mess.)  I want to relive the first time I held Casey’s hand.  Ok, so our hand holding connection was for less than a minute and by force so we don’t really count it as our first time holding hands but… whatever!  (See our hand hold—love that it was captured by photograph... forget that it was forced by the photographer!)
I want to relive wearing my pale yellow prom dress and Casey wearing a matching yellow shirt.  We still have both of them.  Maybe we should wear them again, just for fun.  I want to relive getting a wrist corsage.  I wish I could say I still had that one but unfortunately, it got thrown away.  I want to relive eating dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory and passing salt sneakily around the table with our group and laughing about nothing.  I (don’t) want to relive Casey’s car having problems getting there and forgetting the tickets.  I would be ok if we never have car problems again… LoL!  I want to relive dancing in the barn and stumbling over each other’s feet and staring into his eyes thinking my life was perfect.  I want to relive hearing him tell me I’m beautiful and thanking me for dressing modestly.  I want to relive “Making Memories of Us!”

And then I realize, I do get to relive prom—practically every day of my life.  At least parts of it! :D  Casey still asks me on dates and sometimes he does something cute!  I get to decorate our room (with simple) love notes—and I do so occasionally.  I leave him love notes in other places too (and so does he).  We hold hands EVERY where we go—and even at home.  It is magical and wonderful.  My hand is never lonely anymore. ;)  (Here is a picture to prove our constant holding hands.  Neither of us had any idea this picture was being taken.  But it shows how much we love being together!)  
We match a lot—especially at church and I love it!!  Casey has given me other flowers!  Some of them that last forever and so we don’t have to worry about it getting thrown out! :D  We have gone back to The Old Spaghetti Factory often to celebrate huge events—our engagement, our wedding breakfast, milestone anniversaries, just for fun.  Unfortunately, Casey’s car has the check engine light on right now.  We have gone to other dances, still stumbled over each other’s feet, and stared into each other’s eyes knowing our lives are perfect.  He tells me I’m cute daily, thinks I am absolutely gorgeous and constantly thanks me for dressing modestly and setting a good example for others (including our future children).  And so I live each and every day of my life, “Making Memories of Us!”

And today is a special memory for us!  17 months ago, our life together began.  We really matched; I had my own bouquet; we danced and stumbled over our feet and my dress; we ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  It was a WONDERFUL day—even better than Prom! :D


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Sour Grape

Recently, I bought some grapes.  (Wal-Mart price matched them for only $0.77 a pound--great deal!!!)  They are not the absolute best grapes ever but to be honest, they aren't terrible either.  It is a strange mix of grapes though--they are drastically varying levels of sweetness.  The first one I tried led to disappointment.  It was SOUR!  Even at $0.77/lb, I was beginning to wonder if I had wasted my money.  I didn't want to give up on them though so I washed them and sent a serving with Casey for lunch yesterday.  (I decided to get another opinion before I tried eating some more.)

Last night, Casey came home and told me how the grapes were actually pretty good.  I was almost shocked--what?  How could they be good after that one I tried was so anything but delicious.  To be fair and with an encouraging 2nd opinion, I decided to give them a second chance.  After all, it was a huge bag and there is no way Casey would be able to eat them all before they went bad.  So as I am writing this, I am munching on grapes.  And like I said, it is a strange variety pack.  Some of the grapes are fair and some are excellent.  And these two extremes are right next to each other on the vine.  It makes no sense as to why some are tasty and others bitter.  

But I have been thinking about that one sour grape.  What if I had totally given up on all of them just after one experience?  What if others had given up on me after one mistake?  What if I wasn't able to say I'm sorry and to move forward with a second chance?  What if I was always judged by only one very short impression?  What if I had to face life alone without support and love?  I'm grateful life is full of second chances and filled with people who love me!!  So maybe my choices this morning--of being lazy and not getting up out of bed weren't the best.  I could have done the dishes before I went to school.  But I will use my second chance and make the most of it by cleaning the kitchen now.  I will use my second chance and exercise a little bit harder.  I will make our home a little less like the sour grape and a little more like the sweet ones.  I will be slower to jump to conclusions and quicker to support others.  I will humbly say "I'm Sorry!" more often.  I will focus on the sweet instead of the negative.  

As I was eating my last grape, it ended on a sweet note--delicious!  And that is just like how life is! :)  Like the saying goes, "Everything will be okay in the end.  If its not okay, then its not the end."

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lasagna Cupcakes

I forgot to take a picture of ours... this is HG's...
but ours looked just as good!  Serious!
Well... minus the cute square plates and adorable table cloth.
Ok... I totally agree that the name sounds strange.  But we are talking 100% love here people for these absolutely delicious and healthy "cupcakes."  (Basically "cupcake" means individual serving... don't let the name scare you off!)  It was the first recipe I tried from Hungry Girl's 300 under 300 and I am hooked.  I did make some changes--like adding pureed veggies to the sauce and adding green peppers and etc but basically, it is the same thing.  They are very simple to make... though not exactly super fast.  A few words of warning if you make these--first of all although they are incredible, remember portion control.  Oh and fyi: we ended up with 14 muffin cups and leftover meat sauce.  2nd--spray the muffin tin really well with Pam spray--ours weren't too bad but the wonton wrapper kind of sticks easily.  3rd--I found the wonton wrappers by the tofu.  In Wal-Mart, it was located in the veggies that have a mister going off.  Kind of by the salad bags and pre-cut veggies.

And you all are in luck!  Hungry Girl posted this recipe (click that for the recipe) online!  If it is a book exclusive recipe, I am going to respect the copyright.  If it is something already online from HG herself, then I don't mind sharing.

Subbing--a bitter-sweet moment

It is a bitter-sweet moment right now.  Ok so I'm grateful to be able to sub again but holy cow did I enjoy spring break.  I cleaned a lot and didn't really get out of bed very early.  When I finally got up, I would exercise and then take super long hot showers--you know the kind that make your skin turn red.  And I made sure to do the dishes everyday and worked on my checking off my to-do list.  I love having a clean house and taking steaming hot showers.  I even went up and visited my mom.  We took my grandma shopping.  Now that I am subbing again... all of these things have to be cut.  This is the bitter part about having a job today.  I will still work on keeping our home clean but it definitely doesn't happen quite as quickly.  And I (obviously) still take showers but they have to be incredibly fast because my mornings are rushed.  And visiting my mom/ grandma is kind of put on hold.  But it will be nice to be earning money again! :)

Another sweet note, my subbing job today is at one of the schools I applied to work full-time at next year.  So hopefully, I can talk to someone about what is happening with the application process.  Keep your fingers crossed and prayers said for me today.  I planned my outfit last night and got everything ready--in hopes of not being nervous.  Maybe I will get lucky and score an interview today!  Or maybe at least the principal will connect my name to my face and be impressed that I am subbing! :D  Here is to making a wonderful first impression!!  (Well, the secretaries at this school already know me--I sub here often.  But hopefully the connection between awesome sub and teacher application is made and they realize I am the same person!)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Easter Realization

Easter is finally less than a week away!!  Yipee! :)   I love Easter!  Growing up, I normally would claim Easter as my favorite--even over Christmas.  And it is not like my family would do anything huge for it.  We would normally have a nice dinner with ham and pineapple and get Easter baskets.  We would also go to Easter egg hunts the day before.  Just the normal things.  So it was almost surprising that I would love it so much.

But I did and I still do.  Easter is all about remembering Christ and coming closer to Him.  It is about the Atonement and knowing that He suffered everything so I won't have to.  It is about being Resurrected and living again and knowing that I will live again too.  Easter is a reminder that my sins have been washed away.  With all the wonderful blessings and gifts Jesus Christ gave me, is it any wonder that I love Easter so much?

As I was sitting in Sacrament yesterday, my mind was kind of wandering.  There were some announcements alerting everyone to expect change on May 1st.  Speculations are running high and I was thinking about that--wondering what will happen.

The Sacrament Hymn pulled me back into the reason I even attend church.  It is not for the building or the people we may or may not be with.  It is for me.  I go to church every Sunday because I want to take the Sacrament.  This is the most important few minutes of my entire week and I hate when I have to miss it!

"As now I take the Sacrament,  My thoughts are turned to thee,  Thou Son of God, who lived for me,  Then died on Calvary.  I contemplate thy lasting grace,  Thy boundless charity;  To me the gift of life was giv'n, For all eternity."  (As Now We Take the Sacrament)
 As I sat there, thinking and praying, and enjoying the sweet feelings of the Holy Ghost, I realized that I celebrate Easter each and every week.  The bread represents taking on myself the name of Christ and His body.  In a sense it is the Resurrection and the gift to be able to live again and to know that death is not the end.  The water represents Christ shedding blood for me.  It is the Atonement.  But more importantly, the water represents the gift I was given to be able to repent of my sins.  It is Sanctification.  This is the best part of Easter!

I am SO thankful to believe in a loving Savior who freely sacrificed not only for me but for every person that ever walked the Earth.  I know that through His Atonement, my sins can be washed away.  And also that through the Atonement all the pain, suffering, and problems I face will be made right.  He has already paid the price for my trials--I just have to give it to Him.  I also know that Christ still lives.  He was Resurrected 3 days later and I know I can be too.  I love Easter not because of the candy or bunnies or family dinners but because of what it means to me.  And I love having the opportunity to truly celebrate this wonderful holiday every week! :)

Have no idea what any of this means?  Browse and specifically the FAQ, "What is the Atonement of Jesus Christ?  Why is it necessary for Jesus Christ to sacrifice His life?" and "What are Mormon Church services like?"  Or leave a comment--I will reply! :D

Week 15 Weigh-In

So it was an interesting week.  I started a push up and sit up challenge.  Holy cow it is hard!  But then we also went to a ward reunion.  Let's just say that eating healthy at potluck dinners is very difficult.  Croissant sandwiches, chips, bean dip, potato salad, brownies, lemon squares, chocolate chip cookies, this fudge/ oatmeal cookie bar thing, pumpkin bread, etc.  Yeah it was difficult but I managed.  The temptations and high calorie choices were totally worth it though!  It was great seeing old friends and our former Bishop's family again!! :)
with our former Bishop's wife
P.S. I hadn't realized until I looked at this picture
and compared with other pictures from the past...
but my face is starting to look more oval shaped and thin-ish
instead of round and plump :D
Anyway... overall this week has been pretty good! :)

-2 pounds
Stay tuned for week 16.  I can already tell it is going to be a hard week!!!  This evening we are celebrating passover with some friends and eating a passover feast.  Towards the end of this week, I am going to a stake women's conference with my aunt and eating a fancy luncheon of some sorts.  And then there is Easter--and two family dinners and Easter candy....  As long as I don't go positive, I will be okey-dokey! :D

Sunday, April 17, 2011

12 Steps for an AMAZING Day

1.        When you wake up in the morning complete the following statement, "I am thankful for..."
2.        Make exercise a priority.  Start out the fresh day with a fresh new look on life.  And rest on Sundays.
3.        Communicate with Heavenly Father.  Tell Him about what is going on in your life and read the scriptures to find His reply.
4.        Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a college kid.
5.        Stay busy.  Work on checking off the items in your to-do list.
6.        Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day and enjoy the peace.
7.        When problems happen, frame every so-called disaster with these words:  “In five years, will this matter?” 
8.        Try to make at least three people smile each day.
9.        Do something every day that won’t come undone.  Dishes will just get dirty again, the bed will just have to be made the next day.  Find something to do that will last.
10.    Go out of your way to serve others.  Especially your darling spouse.
11.    Don’t stress if your to-do list isn’t complete when you go to bed.  It can roll over to the next day.
12.    When you get ready for bed complete the following statement, "My life was richly blessed today because..."


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Exciting Update/ Meal Planning

The Easter Bunny came early at our home!! :D  Well... at least for me!  The Easter Bunny informed me that I could order the Hungry Girl cookbooks I was dreaming about.  Yesterday I got an e-mail telling me that they had arrived in the store and I could go pick them up.  We both have bus passes and we try to use them whenever possible to save money on the ever increasing cost of gas.  I looked up at the clock and realized the bus would be coming in a few minutes so I ran to the bathroom to brush my hair and then bolted out the door.

Anyway... bus ride going = fairly normal.  Bus ride coming home = scary.  I don't get motion sick.  I never have really.  I LOVE riding all the rides at an amusement park that spin you in circles and whip you in every direction. Yesterday, I experienced motion sickness for the first time.  (No, I am not pregnant!!)  The bus driver was terrible and I was never so grateful to get off the bus as I was yesterday.  When I told Casey about it, he was asked me to describe the bus driver (he is a "frequent flyer" and knows most of the drivers) and when he realized who it was, he agreed that the lady was awful and then told me about a time when she was driving one of the new buses (they have faster acceleration)--oh man... I can only imagine.  Well... this is totally beside the point.

Back to the point.   I have flipped through and read and now dreamed about all the food I can make without having to be creative myself.  I just have to follow a recipe and we will have a low calorie meal.  I don't have to try to figure out all the substitutions and calories.  It has already been done for me.  I don't have to reinvent the wheel anymore.  It is amazing!  And the thing I am the MOST excited for--CAKE!!! :D  The yogurt cake I made earlier was good but not exactly "cake."  I'm excited for these ~100 calorie cupcake recipes because I miss cake.

Well, I decided to jump back on the meal planning train.  Making a "What's for Dinner Calendar?" takes work/ time up front but is amazing in the long run.  It prevents me from staring at our full cupboard and saying we have nothing to eat for dinner--Casey hates this.  It helps us save money because I actually take the time to go through all the ads and price match/ coupon clip instead of making last minute shopping trips every day or so.  It helps the fridge stay organized and left over food eaten instead of forgotten.  It allows me to actually use the cookbooks because I will actually have the ingredients required.

So what is on the menu for the coming week?
Tonight-- dinner party at our former Bishop's home! :D  I'm excited!
Sunday--Green Veggie Enchiladas (I can't figure out what to call them... but they are delicious!!!!  See the meal calendar is helping to use up old leftovers!)
Monday--Passover Party with some friends.  We are going to learn about the symbolic meaning behind food and make things using ingredients I have never heard of.
Tuesday--Lasagna Cupcakes.  (Sounds weird but this is the first recipe I am going to try from the Hungry Girl books.  And after reading the recipe, I actually think it sounds amazing!)
Wednesday--Fish Tacos (yup another HG recipe)
Thursday--leftover lasagna
Friday--Falafel Pitas  (I'm SO super duper excited about this one too!!!  Best news: it is HG and so I don't have to try to figure out how to make it healthy because it already is!  Yipee!)
Saturday--Family Dinner to celebrate Easter. :)

Oh my... when you look at that list, we sure are "eating out" often.  It will be a wonderful week with exciting new foods and a plan ready to go so I won't have to ask myself "What's for Dinner?"

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Joy of Visiting Teaching

Last night, I think I finally began to understood the true joy that comes from visiting teaching.

I have thought a lot about a talk from the Relief Society Broadcast 2010 given by Barbara Thompson.  (The words from General Conference truly become part of me when I listen to them constantly while I am exercising.)  She said, "The beauty of visiting teaching is not to see 100 percent on the monthly report; the beauty of visiting teaching is seeing lives changed, tears wiped away, testimonies growing, people loved, families strengthened, people cheered, the hungry fed, the sick visited, and those who are mourning comforted. Actually, visiting teaching is never done because we watch over and strengthen always."  Later she continues by saying other blessings that come to you personally by being a visiting teacher are you get to know and become friends with others that you may not have had the chance to otherwise meet.

We attend a married student ward and change is a constant for us.  People move in and out often--especially when the semester ends.  We rotate through callings fairly quickly just because there are holes that need to be filled.  We have attended our ward for about 15 months now and I have had 5 different callings.  Along with that visiting teaching assignments fluctuate often.  It is not uncommon to have a new companion, sisters to visit or new people visiting you every other month--sometimes even every month.

But somehow despite the constant change, I have been richly blessed to be able to be with the same companion for at least the entire school year, if not longer--I can't remember when we were first assigned to be companions.  We are so completely opposite and I don't think we ever would have met except for being assigned to go visiting teaching together.  She is from California, attends UVU majoring in community health, served a mission to Tennessee, is going to be a model for ModBod, and is addicted to Lost.  Yup... none of those things connect to me.  When we were first assigned to be companions, I didn't even know who she was.  We figured out our schedules and went, probably more out of obligation and to check it off our lists than out of love.  But slowly that obligation has transformed into love.

And last night, I witnessed that change... that love.  We were at one of our sister's home for well over an hour.  Yeah, it was a long time but we didn't realize it until we left.  We were all just laughing and talking.  And laughing some more.  We realized we have all had similar experiences, all experienced struggles, and each one of us has THE best husband ever.  I can't speak for my companion or the girl we were visiting but I know my testimony was strengthened.  My life was changed.  My heart was cheered.  And a friendship developed that will last a lifetime.