Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Our Disconnected Christmas

"What did y'all do before the internet?"

The Engineer asked me this on Christmas Eve.  The Engineer is 22 years old, almost 23.  In February.  And he does not remember life without the WWW.

This Christmas our internet connection disappeared.  To be exact it disappeared on the Sunday before Christmas.  Which was the day all the "kids" were home for the holiday.  Without internet, netflix didn't operate.  We couldn't download a movie on DirectTV.  We were using the data on our phones lickety split.  I.T. Bear girl had a hotspot on her phone that we used for a while but wow, the data it pulls!  Too much.  So we saved it for emergencies.  Like sugar in war time.

Then when things couldn't get any more BORING, our DirectTV went out.  That's right, folks.  No internet, no TV.  And very spotty 3g.

Now, you might thing "well, it's Christmas.  You should be turning off the electronics anyway"  And you'd be right.  Kinda.  You see, Ironman works from home many days.  Without internet, it's impossible.  He has a business to run.  He can't be out of touch.  The Engineer had a girlfriend to keep in touch with.  (ha)  I.T. Bear girl had classes to register for and tuition to pay.  Oh, paying bills!  I couldn't check on my Target Debit Card.  For all I know some guy in the Far East is treating his friends to a big old celebration courtesy M.E.!  Yes, our lives are technologist managed.  I made up that word.  Or I thought I did.  The computer didn't correct me.  Hmmmm  Guess I didn't make it up.

So what did we do?  We ATE.  I cooked.  In fact, I baked so much that our top oven started making this weird sound AND started locking us out!  So I quit using it for long roasting recipes.  We played games:  Risk, Life and Battleship.  You Sunk My Battleship!  We worked a puzzle.  We played instruments.  We took naps.  We went to the movie.  The one in the theater.  I had almost forgotten about that!

Then our freezer died.  Our deep freeze.  Years and years ago, my MIL gifted me her freezer.  She warned me that it was 25 years old but worked perfectly and so, not being one to turn anything down even something I felt totally unnecessary, I gladly moved it to my house.  For probably the first 3-4 years all we kept in it was popsicles and ice cream.  Boy did that change.  Now all these years later I keep TONS of veggies and fruits, frozen servings of recipes I made too much of, Eggo waffles (!) and big bags of ice.  You can never have too much ice.  R.I.P. Kenmore freezer.  You've served us well.

So with no internet, no TV, a small freezer stuffed to the gills with food, we celebrated the birthday of our Savior.  And it was nice.  It's always so nice.  And fun.  As a girl who grew up with little tiny no big deal Christmases, it's more than I could have ever imagined.  I do not take it for granted.  God did
do more than I could even begin to dream.

The day after Christmas I was passing by the computer in our home office carrying a huge bag of laundry.  Oh yes, we did laundry.  Forgot to mention that.  Wait…….I did laundry.  I glanced at the modem expecting to see a big fat red light and what did I see?  A GREEN LIGHT!!  I held my breath, dropped the laundry basket, sat down in front of the computer.  Don't say anything, Patti.  Just try to connect.


The glorious message from ATT
You are connected to the internet"

But just to make sure, I typed in a webaddy:  www.blogher.com.  My daily read.

Yes!  It was true!  We were connected.

I announced it to the fam.

All four of them jumped up and started scrambling for their computers.  Ironman laughed and said, "Does anybody remember where my computer is from like 10 days ago?"

And suddenly, my house was quiet.

I enjoyed the loud rambunctious unplugged family time.  But the silence was sweet.  I could feel our house take a deep breath and close it's eyes.

It was a great Disconnected Christmas.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Today was……..The Hunger Games!

Why am I so hungry today?  I think it's the cold gloomy weather.

For my quiet time today I read the story of Rehab the prostitute.  How Joshua's men told her that as long as she stayed inside her house, she'd be safe.  But venture out and she was in danger.  I'm no Bible Scholar.  But I thought about that all day.  I decided to stick close to Jesus today.  Grab onto his leg and cling for dear life like preschoolers do to Mom the first day of school.  I needed to be safe.  Out there………. in the gloomy cold world……. there are french fries, and frappucinos, and oreos!  And I don't even like chocolate!!!

For breakfast I had quinoa with a little cinnamon.  I'm realizing quinoa doesn't store well.  I had some leftover in the frig and although it was fine….. it just wasn't as delicious as freshly made.  Oh well.  I'm still glad I had it right ready!

I made a smoothie about 11:30 because I was so hungry but had errands to run.  Didn't want to have a food emergency.  Wow, that blueberry smoothie recipe?  With the almond butter and banana?  And pumpkin seeds?  YOWZA

Before I get back to what I ate….. I'm having problems finding herbal iced tea.  I don't really enjoy hot tea.  I looked at Kroger and World Market.  Ended up ordering online.  I just wait straight up tea because I live in the south and……. well, it's my drink of choice!

About 4pm I had a small bowl of bean soup - another excellent and easy recipe in The Daniel Plan book.

When Dancer Girl gets home from Driver's Ed I'm going to stir fry some veggies.  Throw in a few wild shrimp.  She has a wide variety to choose from for dinner as I have many, many tupperware bowls full of delicious leftovers!

Oh, get this.  I told her I was going to Kroger and "what would you like me to get for you".
"Really?  I haven't bought those in 15 years"
"I know, but I've been craving them"

So.  Have you read the ingredients on the back of the oreo package?  Wowza.  I couldn't bring myself to buy them.  So I came home and googled up a recipe.  Yes, there's sugar and butter and more sugar……. BUT it's gotta be better than chemicals and artificial stuff.  I'll post a photo when they're complete. And the taste test results - of which I won't be tasting.

Jesus, thank you for sticking close  to me today.  In my weakness, you are strong"


Be strong and courageous

Yesterday I was tired.  All day.  I know part of it is the weather.  It's been cold and overcast and gloomy for a week.  Lack of sunshine definitely has an effect on my energy and disposition.  Ironman worked from home yesterday which meant I had to dance around him.  All in all it was a get nothing done day.

I did manage to eat clean.

I had the quinoa bake for breakfast.  Delicious.  Although I kept thinking that maybe adding just a pinch of salt would bring out the flavor.  Next time.  Adding the dollop of almond butter while it was still warm……. oh my.  Delicious.   The menu suggested the brown rice chia seed bowl but I saw that it had to "soak" for an hour or more and I just didn't want to wait an hour.  It's crazy how changing one thing plays on my thinking.  Stinking thinking.  I heard it.  "It's not going to work if you change the order."  'See?  Getting tired of it, aren't you"  But I managed to remember what the Lord told Joshua.

"Be strong and courageous'

Yes, it takes courage to continue.  It's a risk.  What if this eating plan doesn't improve my health?  What if my numbers don't improve.  And scary still, what if I DON'T LOSE ANY WEIGHT?


For lunch I had the sun dried tomato turkey burger and kale salad.  I was feeling hungry so I decided to add the salad to my turkey patty.  Okay.  Kale.  I've NEVER HAD IT BEFORE.  Delicous!  I know it's the thang nowadays.  But I've never bought any.  I wasn't sure how it would taste.  And I hate to buy something when I"m that unsure and then feel as if I wasted money.  I followed the directions exactly.  Let it sit and rest in the lemon juice and garlic, etc.  Ironman and I split it and ate the entire huge bowl!  Definitely a keeper.  

By late afternoon I was tired.  I felt just worn out.  Once again I prepared 2 suppers.  I need to change that.  I need to figure out how to cook one meal that everyone will eat.  Dancer Girl doesn't like anything "new" and I hate that she just skips supper.  Or she grabs a pack of crackers.  *Speaking of that, I found a recipe online for goldfish crackers.  I even ordered a tiny gold fish shaped cookie cutter!  Yes, the recipe contains white flour and cheddar cheese but it's GOT to be better than all the chemicals in the pepperidge farm variety.  We'll see.

I had the chicken.  Blah.  It was okay.  I think I was just tired.  I cooked double chicken so that I cut chop up half of it and add it to fettuccine for the other people.  Oh, and I made the corn tortilla chips which are delicious.  I've made them before.  They are in Pam Anderson's cookbook "The Perfect Recipe for Losing Weight"  This time, however, I did not eat ONE.  not even a taste. 

Then I went to bed.  Yep.  8:30.  I was sound asleep.  And slept all night.  I'm not a sleeper, so to sleep for HOURS uninterrupted is amazing.  

Plan for today:
Quiet Time with my Bible and Jesus
Clean up around here.
Wrap a few gifts
Make a list and hit Kroger for the food needed 

To totally change the subject - Christmas Cards

Yesterday my children received Christmas Cards from my MIL.  For years MIL was faithful with the cards.  She would underline words that hallmark had written and my children would "compete' to see who got the most.  It became a running sentimental contest.  Yesterday around 4pm my 22 year old Engineer son texted me 

"I got a Christmas Card from Meme and no underlines.  Did I do something wrong"


When Dancer Girl got home from school she opened her card and the very first thing she said was, "What?  No underlines?"

I was surprised (and sad) that they were so disappointed.  

Then Ironman came in and told us that MeMe didn't do her own Christmas Cards.  That my SIL had done them for her.  Wow.  I was…………. she meant well, I guess.  But if you do somebody else's personal stuff…….. you need to keep it personal!  

Lesson:  Help keep things personal.  That is all

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Daniel Detox Day 2. And 3.

I admit it.

I was TOO WORN OUT to blog yesterday about Day 2.  Between the weather and college football and cooking - so much cooking - I just couldn't do it.  In fact, I was in the bed by 9pm and asleep by 9:05pm.

Let me just tell you, the recipes were DELICIOUS.  Who knew quinoa was so so good if you add just a little sprinkling of cinnamon as it cooks.  Made all the difference.  and the beef stew?  AACK!  Loved it.   The recipe calls for it to be cooked in a slow cooker which I don't have.  So I got out my Paula Deen Old Fashioned Beef Stew Recipe (delicious).  Followed her directions but used the Daniel Plan ingredients.  Success.  I had to let it simmer on the stove from 3pm until close to 6pm.

Because the food tastes so good, I haven't felt deprived  But the Daniel Plan is more than just FOOD.  It's everything rolled into one.  Although I skipped to the eating plan, I didn't skip the whole book.  I'm reading the first chapter and before I knew it I was wanting to highlight every single sentence!

Thank you, Jesus, for caring about my health.

Now to day 3.

I discovered I do NOT like coconut milk.  I followed the recipe for blueberry/spinach smoothie when we got home from church.  I halved everything since it made 2 servings.  But I did not half the crushed ice.  I wanted it like a slushy so I put a cup of crushed ice.  If I had used almond milk I'm sure I would have loved it.  But the coconut milk - well, at least I tried.

But I did discover edamame.  Uh….. where have you been all my life?  I've seen it.  It was a fad about a year ago.  I was unfamiliar about how to prepare it, eat it, etc.  So today was my first time.

On to day 4.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Daniel Plan

I am fat.

There, I said it.  The truth will set me free.

And it's high time I took responsibility and action.  I've been looking for a while.  I've been considering the easy way to take care of it.  Would I like to lose 50 pounds?  YES  Do I want to WORK to do it?  Maybe……..how much work are we talking about?  

One year ago, on December 15, 2012, I declared it "The Year of Me".  All three of my children were going to be graduating in May and by golly  I was NOT going to be the fattest Mom there.  That's when I started P90 DVD exercise.  Wowza!  It kicked my butt.  And I lost inches.  Mostly from my waist and abdomen but even my knees got skinnier.  Graduation weekend I walked in wearing new dresses to each ceremony.  I was still not satisfied.  I had not managed to be my goal size.  

Then summer came.  And vacation.  And then the emotions of sending my middle daughter off to college to live in the dorm.  FOUR HOURS AWAY!!  

Where did time go?

All that to say, it's been a year.  And here I sit.  Heavier than I was last year.  Still wandering and searching for a solution.  

Weight Watchers?  Been there, done that.  Way back in my 20s when I had just graduated from college I went to WW to lose 10 pounds.  TEN POUNDS!  Gosh, those days.  Those glorious thin and trim days.  That was back when WW had the selection plan.  Remember that?  You ate this many fruits, this many veggies, this many breads, this many fats.  It was straight forward.  Just check it off as you go.  Bob's your Uncle.  Then they changed to the point system.  I could fill my points calculator up with nutrigrain bars and rice krispie treats faster than you could say SIMPLE CARBS.  You guessed it, I didn't lose much.  It was sloooww going.  Even when they realized that's what the sneaky members were doing, and they changed fruits to be "free" in order to entice more healthy choices……I still didn't get it.  I just added fruit to my already factory food choices.  My blood sugar spiked.  Migraines returned.  Horrible.  And don't get me started with the BORING MEETINGS.  Ugh.  I would switch class times and instructors and still - nothing.  Time to move on.  (Congratulations to all the WW success stories, though.  )

NutriSystem ?  Never tried it.  I don't think I would enjoy the prepackaged food thing.  I like to cook.  I like to eat real food that I cooked.  And the expense was just too much.  

My Fitness Pal - now, this app is great.  Honestly.  It keeps tract of your calories/carbs/fats/etc.  Gives you daily goals.  The scanner is perfecto.  I'm a fan.  

But I need more.  

One day right before Halloween I was standing in the grocery story check out line thinking about how bad I was feelings.  Looking into my basket I had so much JUNK.  And yet, I was feeling lost.  I didn't even know where to begin.  Then I heard that small still voice telling me, "Look to me.  The Lord your God is with you wherever you go"   Yes.  I think that's what I've been missing.  I've been missing the spiritual aspect of it all.  Have I been thinking God didn't care?  Or didn't notice?  Or had too many important things to concern Himself with than my weight?  Yes, yes and yes.  So I asked for forgiveness, repented and dove into God's word looking for help.  I started eating clean.  No fast food, no factory food, no artificial stuff.

And then something happened:  Thanksgiving.

I was trying to do it on my own.  And I can't.  I just can't.  Will power isn't enough.  In my weakness, He is strong.  So I gave my weakness to my creator and asked for his strength.  

I began with a different goal.  I have to make wise, mature choices.  And God will guide me.  I'm IN BY FOR.  
In His Grace
By His Power
For His Glory.

About a week ago I was in Barnes and Noble and I saw this book.  I flipped through it.  Being a Rick Warren "fan" (is that what the word is…..seems odd to say FAN.  )  Anyway you know what I mean.  I saw that he had a new book out.  So I grabbed it.  Could not WAIT to get home to read.


So for the next 40 days I'm going to blog - day by day - my Daniel Plan Journey.  I'll try not to skip a day.  I'll try to remember.  But mostly, I surrender.  Let the journey of healing begin.

Day 1 - Breakfast Smoothie
* I had made a shopping list and somehow someway completely forgot to get almond milk.  I thought we already had some………so I had to substitute soy milk.  Yep.  I heard a voice saying, "Well, you don't have the right stuff.  Just wait and begin tomorrow"  But I did NOT listen to that negative talk.  I substituted soy for now and the next time I'm shopping I'll pick up the almond milk.  

Something else - I probably should have gotten unsalted pumpkin seeds.  Didn't notice that until I got home.  Oh well……… I already had the almond butter which I enjoy.  I already had the blueberries and banana.  Coconut Oil - I was a little nervous about that.  Coconut is not my favorite flavor.  Or smell for that matter.  But……. I went ahead and got some.  It must be the new fad because Kroger had an end cap FULL of the stuff.  Did you know coconut oil is not oily?  It's not liquid.  It's more like…..chapstick. Ha I followed the recipe…..

Put it all in the blender…..

60 seconds…..


I would not lead you astray.  DELICIOUS!!!  I couldn't believe it.  WOW!  

Morning Snack:



Recipe in the book.  WOW!  Even Ironman LOVED it.

Lunch:  Quinoa and broccoli with dressing

I made the dressing as I was cleaning up from making the hummus.  Yes there was a lot of cooking this first day.  But I enjoy cooking.  And really it wasn't any more than I would normally do.  And I made enough hummus for several days.  I will NOT let the labor required discourage me.  

I whipped up the dressing and put it in the frig to chill while I went on with my day.  

I completely forgot to take a photo of my lunch.  Quinoa and steamed broccoli.  Poured a little of this dressing on the top.  Satisfying and tasty.  Plus I wasn't just famished by 1:00pm lunch so this light meal was just fine.  ( I didn't miss the cheese on the broccoli!)

Afternoon snack

I actually did start feeling hungry about 4:30.  It was the first time all day hunger bells went off.  It was so welcoming to look on the detox menu and see a plan for an afternoon snack that wasn't just "one almond" or "1 inch square of cheese".  The first day calls for veggie juice.  I don't have a juicer.  I thought about just chopping up veggies and actually started to do that when I decided to look on day 2 for an idea.  I was intrigued.  Roasted Crunchy Chickpeas?  Huh?  Never even heard of that.

So…… I popped open a can of chickpeas, rinsed, spread of a baking sheet, added the few spices and roasted them for 30 minutes in a warm oven

I popped a few in my mouth immediately and they were delicious.
A few minutes later as they cooked they got even more crunchy. 
Ironman ate the whole tray.  Almost.  I ate my serving size.
Where can I get more chickpeas?

And then there was supper.  Stirfry.  DELICIOUS.  The only thing I added was just a tiny sprinkling of ginger.  I ate ALL of it.  

I went to bed feeling satisfied.  

A few extra notes:  Faith, Food, Fitness, Friends and Focus.  I know I mostly talked about the food.  Because really, the food needs to taste good.  My first day of Detox was delicious and satisfying.  

I know you can find the recipes online for free.  But the book - oh my goodness.  I'm only on page 40 or something but the words have made a huge impact on me already.  You have to get the book.  It's so much more than the food.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Bravermans


I just found out that Parenthood is on netflix.

Yes, just found out.

Now I'll get NOTHING done.

Hey Hey Hey, Christmas is on her way!

I just cleaned out my refrigerator.  Actually managed to throw away MOST Of the leftovers and not shove them into my mouth.  Seriously, it was the most delicious Thanksgiving EVUH!
I can make a rockin' pecan pie.  Who knew?  Good thing it only comes around once a year.  Back to sensible eating for this girl.

On Black Friday, Dancer Girl and I wrapped gifts at Barnes and Noble.  It was a fundraiser for her Lacrosse team.  Gift wrapping was complimentary - since we are NOT professional wrappers of gifts.  We did have a tip jar and we actually got a few dollars in tips.  Woop!

When we returned, the other creatures had dragged out the outdoor decorations and were ……… yes.  They were proceeding to decorate our front yard.

I am not a control freak
I am not a control freak
I am not a control freak

It's just that I had this plan……..  in my head……. and I had decided and gathered things and……..

Breathe, Patti.

How bad can it be?  I mean, after all, it's Christmas.  What difference does it really make?  Gosh I had to swallow my pride.  Oh, how I hate that word.

I've kept it the way they "arranged" it for a week.  But honestly, I …….. would it be awful if I changed out the ribbon on the garland?  I mean, that ribbon is probably 2 years old.  It's outdated and faded and……. it has gold trip on it and there's NOTHING gold on our porch.  And I have these silver star thingies that I made……..so I'd like to just swap in out.

I confess.  I'm going to do it.  I already have the ribbon.  It'll look the same, just a different color ribbon.  ACK.

I'll post photos for you to see.