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My Bad Ass Friend

December 14, 2016

When I first met Antonia and found out a few things about her, I was like Holy Sh*t! This woman is a real bad ass!

Have I told you about her? I think that I have, but perhaps not by name. Antonia and I were hired on the same day by Weight Watchers and we have done most of our training together. We came home from Dallas just a few short days ago as trained Weight Watcher Leaders.

Antonia is pretty awesome. She is a retired air traffic controller and also retired as a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) after serving 33 years in the Army National Guard. For 18 of those 33 years, she was a helicopter pilot. Pretty cool stuff, huh? I also know that she volunteers in the community and at her church. She’s also a HUGE Nebraska fan (and alumni) and likes to talk football. I just nod. When she was married to her second ex-husband, she went by Toni, and her last name was Truelove. Go ahead. Say it. I’ve heard her tell the story to complete strangers, so I know she will be fine with me sharing. She, like me, is a sharer. Her honesty is one of the things I love most about her.  

I asked her to give me just a few facts about herself for todays blog, and here is what she had to say (text).

Strongly believe that “life is good” and helping others makes it even better.

Mother of a beautiful 25 year old.

First generation American.

Content and happy

Motto –  “how will you know if you don’t try?”

Work-out/exercise just about every day.

Love my alone time.

Detail oriented, I make a “to-do” list every night.

A “to-do” list? What?? I knew I liked her!!

I think that I have this right. Antonia went to her first WW meeting almost one year ago, on Christmas Eve. Guess what? Antonia got her very own meeting and she will lead it for the first time on Christmas Eve at our Prairie Village location! Isn’t that a great story?? I love it! I am so happy that she has a regular meeting. If you are thinking about joining, or if you are a current member and you’d like to go visit, I know that she is going to be great! Did you know that you can attend as many WW meetings per week as you’d like? Yep, ya can! Go see her!

Oh, and she might be a bit of a goofball too. Another favorite trait.

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Yesterday, Antonia and I were on our own at an At Work meeting. An At Work meeting is just that. A Weight Watcher team comes to your place of employment and holds a Weight Watcher meeting right there at work! How convenient is that? Yesterday, Antonia worked as a substitute for the regular Leader at that meeting, and I worked the meeting as the Receptionist. To think just a few short weeks ago we were making stupid faces at each other trying to maneuver through all of the At Work paperwork involved in an At Work meeting! Now were old pros! (Okay, we still have a lot to learn, but yesterday felt great to work as a team on our own.)

Okay, I’m done bragging on Antonia now.

Yesterday, I made it to Yoga. I ate two large meals but kept within my SmartPoints for the day and I drank a lot of water.

Good day.

Here are yesterday’s eats….

Brunch – 12 SP

Peppers and Onions, Chicken Sausage, Eggs and Avocado

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Dinner – 18 SP

Turkey Burger (Cheese buried under there), smashed Avocado, two varieties of Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Apple Slices.

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Have a great day!

This is one of Antonia’s favorite quotes!

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“love the life you live, live the life you love”

My Weekend Update…

May 8, 2017

My plan for the weekend was to wake up on Monday morning and not feel frustrated with myself for losing control over the weekend with my food and beverage choices.

As I sit down to write this post, I am reminded as to why this journey can be so damned hard at times.

There were a gazillion food decisions to make this weekend. Do I or don’t I? How many bites? Does this look like about 1/4 cup? Should I have some of that? Should I leave it alone? How many points is that? Do I have that one or that one? Which of these looks like the best choice? Track that beer in your mental tracker and drink water now. Oh look! Wine! 

Friday was my most successful and mindful day of the three. Saturday I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be and I did not handle the unexpected very well late in the night. Sunday I was more prepared for the day but then had more wine than I had planned to have.

I drank a lot of water over the weekend and I was just under my goal of 12,000 steps for Saturday and Sunday. I feel good about the steps.

My plan was to eat a High protein/low point breakfast and lunch each day so I could go to each event with points available and not feel hungry when we arrived.

Saturday morning I ate a late breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed a long and relaxing morning on my deck sipping on coffee and chatting with Tess on the phone.

I made pancakes using the Big Ass Waffle batter recipe, topped them with warm blueberries, 2 slices of center cut bacon and 2 tsp of Trader Joe’s Nut Butter.

This meal was 7 SmartPoints and 40 grams of protein! It satisfied so many tastebuds!

 

I then got in a walk but I never did make it to the grocery store to get food for lunch, and the fridge was empty, so we ended up going to the graduation party hungry. That was not my plan and now I was hungry.

I grabbed a banana right before we headed out the door.

 

When we got to the graduation party, I was hungry, dang it. Mike and I said hi to a few people (it was a combined party for three graduates and we only knew one of them, so there were a lot of people there that we didn’t know) then we grabbed a beer and I made a small plate.

Two Chicken Fingers, a tortilla roll up and veggies. Not bad. I’m feeling good right now about my decisions and I’m not hungry. All good.

 

After the grad party, we met friends for dinner on a patio up the street. Cold Beer, Live Music, Perfect Weather and Good Friends.

I was very happy.

I passed on the fried pickles that were going around the table. Didn’t have one. Didn’t over think it. I had my planned beer. Everything felt under control and easy.

 

I ordered a salad that is about as simple as a salad can be, and it hit the spot. I ordered “no bread”, but it came out anyhow. I put the bread to the side and didn’t overthink it.

Chicken, Avocado, Grapes, Raw Almonds and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

 

After dinner, we went to meet friends at my food truck bosses house to sit outside, enjoy the weather and chat. 

I didn’t expect this to be a food challenge at all. I guess I was just thinking about sipping on a glass of wine and chatting. It was a food challenge for sure. She had a huge spread of cheese, sausages, crackers, nuts, dips and sweets that I just wasn’t expecting. I was so mentally prepared for all of the other events. but this I wasn’t expecting and when I walked in the door I felt the anxiety in my stomach when I saw the food.

We sat outside and the food was inside. Perfect, right? Towards the end of the evening, we all walked inside to wrap up the evening and say good bye. Then we all started eating! A taste here and a taste there. Oh, whats that cheese? This dip looks great. What kind of cookie is that? Not just me. We were all chatting about the food and eating like it had just arrived. It may not have been as bad as I think, but I went home and tracked it all as best as I could and tried to count things on the high end just to see where I was.

I tracked 64 points for the day. That was my 30 daily points and 34 of my 35 Weekly points. I had one spare point to use for the events on Sunday.

Sunday I made a high protein breakfast (as planned) to keep me full, then went to the store so I would be more prepared heading into the two graduation parties we were going to in the afternoon.

Egg White and Veggie Omelet topped with Smashed Avocado and fruit.

 

I guess I really had chicken on the brain at the store.

 

I made a lunch plate of Chicken and Carrots before heading out to the parties.

There was a nice big spread of food at party one. I ate nothing and was fine with that.

We were at party number two much later than we had anticipated. Several of us stayed after the party wrapped up.

I had a Subway Sandwich (the party size…4″?) and a few bites of pasta salad. Then several of us cut the three flavors of cupcakes into four bites and shared them.

I sipped on wine, came home and tracked it all. I had to dip into my Fitpoints, which I hadn’t planned to do.

There were certainly a lot of “food decisions” that were made over the last three days. I expected it to be a challenging weekend and it was for sure.

The biggest challenge was the unexpected food on Saturday night, but I’m glad that I came home and tracked it.

I guess it was a successful weekend in that I’m not “in the hole” with my points over all, but I had not planned to eat any of my FitPoints. Now I’m even happier I have my Fitbit synced to my Weight Watcher App so at least I have an idea where I’m at.

I got in just under 12,000 steps on Saturday.

 

I didn’t quite make it to 12,000 on Sunday either. Oops.

 

I did not do as well as I had hoped this weekend, but I was in a place a few days ago that would have made it easy to just go to the parties and eat and drink whatever without putting any thought into it at all, or stress about going at all and just stay home. I’m glad I went into those three days with a plan.

It was great getting to spend the weekend with so many friends and visit with people that I hadn’t seen in a long time.

I hope you all had a great weekend! The weather these last few days in KC has been absolutely perfect!

When Tess (my daughter) and I were chatting this weekend, she was talking about her blog and we had our Blogging/Weight Watchering/Exercising conversation. I love those chats. Her most recent post is One Year of Fitness and I would love for you to read it if you have the time. 

No matter where my journey takes me, I stay optimistic.

I love this….

 

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

 

My Snow Day

January 14, 2017

Most of the schools cancelled class yesterday and we had no precipitation all day long. When I let the dogs out before going to bed last night, the deck was a sheet of ice. Mishka would barely step outside at all and Tucker went down two steps, then turned around and looked at me and wouldn’t move. I had to go pick him up, leash him and takes the dogs to the front yard. Those kids.

I’m glad I made it to the grocery store with all of the other crazies yesterday, but I will admit that I was surprised to see that there were no banana’s, no zucchini (I found some organic zucchini, and I really wanted to pull that organic sticker off!!!), very few potatoes and no chicken stock!! The canned tomato and bean isle was bare!! I guess everyone is having chili, potatoes and banana’s this weekend??

Zero banana’s…..

Zero Chicken Stock and a few random cartons and cans of beef stock.

I filled up my cart with meat, veggies and some pricey zucchini. I made a big skillet of Taco Meat when I got home. The meatballs were pretty yummy last week, so I might be making those again. I have plenty of food, with a few ideas in mind for the next few days.

I met a few friends for Happy Hour at a neighbors where we all had coffee or tea. We’re doing a great job of supporting each other in taking a break from the adult beverages!

I love pretty much all coffee’s and tea’s but this is one of my favorites right now.

I’ve been working hard since December 30th to get those holiday pounds off and I gotta tell ya, it’s a S L O W go. I’ve been active, but I wouldn’t say that I’ve had a good workout in a while. I’ve been on the treadmill at home, walked outside and I’ve been doing Yoga at home. My Yoga class is much more intense than anything that I would do at home and I haven’t been in a while. I would imagine that is making some difference in what the scale is and is not doing. 

I’m doing great at tracking my food and staying within my points for the day. I haven’t had any adult beverages since New Years Eve. I’m not doing a great job of getting in 100 ounces of water a day. It’s more like 60-80? Need to work on that. That’s an easy one.

No matter what the scale says, I feel so much better than I did on December 29th!

If you have bad weather where you are, I hope you are able to stay in today where it’s warm and safe.

I’m planning an uneventful and quiet day at home.

Here are yesterday’s eats…

Breakfast – 9 SP

Sweet Potato and Veggie Hash topped with an Egg, Bacon, Berries

 

Lunch – 12 SP

Loving leftovers for lunch

Grilled Chicken Breast with Vinaigrette for extra flavor, Green Beans with almonds, Butternut Squash, Berries with Almond Butter

 

Snack – 8 SP

Un-Pictured Raw Walnuts and Dried Cranberries

Dinner – 7 SP

Taco Meat Wraps?? A few Plantains on the side.

Daily SmartPoints Total = 36

2017 Goals
Make time each week to Meal Plan
Drink 100 ounces of water each day
Exercise 5 days a week
Eat three meals and one snack daily
FOUR 100 Mile Walking Challenges this year!

Thank you Nancy for the great recommendation on where to find some inspirational and motivational quotes!

 
“love the life you live, live the life you love”

Love my KC Royals!

September 25, 2015

Last night, the KC Royals won the American League Central Division, and it’s kind of a big deal. Last October was crazy fun in Kansas City with baseball fever everywhere, and here we go again! I’m looking forward to an October full of Royals baseball and Chiefs football and lots of energy in Kansas City!

Yesterday was a busy and full day. Lot’s done at home before heading out to work at the Food Truck. We had a fun day with the food truck at the American Royal Youth Rodeo! I’ve sucked a good friend of mine into the Food Truck fun. That’s Renee on the left. We met almost 30 years ago.I think she enjoys this just as much as I do!

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We made a new sandwich yesterday that we haven’t had on the truck before. I was in charge of actually making them, and after handing several out the window, we all decided I should make one of them for us to taste!

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It was your basic BLT, but these Heirloom Tomatoes were crazy juicy, and the bacon wan nice and thick and it looked so yummy, and it was on a buttered sourdough bread toasted on the panini grill you guys!! I did pick out the ends of the bread, so it was a small sandwich, perfect for us to share as a sample.

I said I wouldn’t eat any Food Truck food yesterday, but I’d say…..not too bad considering all the temptations. I did take my fruit and yogurt and I did eat it too.

I really wanted to grocery shop on the way home from working, and I really wanted to go to Hot Yoga last night. When I got home from the grocery store, I realized it was the only day I could mow for the next few days, and it would be dark soon, so I mowed instead of going to Yoga.

I drank lots of water yesterday, and now I’m just happy it’s Friday.

Here are yesterday’s eats……

 

Breakfast – 5 PPV

Egg Whites Scrambled, 1 Laughing Cow Cheese Wedge stirred in, 1/4 C Turkey Sausage added, folded into a Whole Wheat Carb Balance Tortilla, and then placed in a hot skillet with a little cooing spray. Topped with 30 g Smashed Avocado and Salsa, Raspberries and Black Coffee.

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Lunch – 3 PPV

1 C. Greek Nonfat Plain Yogurt with Vanilla Stevia, Cinnamon, Strawberries

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More Lunch – 4 PPV

Four bites of BLT

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Snack – 5 PPV

Leftover bites of Sushi from Wednesday

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Snack – 4 PPV

 A few bites of this Salad that I brought home from the Food Truck

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Dinner – 8 PPV

Mashed Sweet Potato topped with Turkey Taco Meat, Black Beans and Smashed Avocado. Weird I know, but Yummy!

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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus

I can eat 26 PPV a day.

I can earn Activity Points by doing exercise, and eat them if I choose.

I have an allowance of 49 extra points that I can dip into throughout the week if I choose.

I should drink a minimum of 6 (8 oz) glasses of water each day.

My Weight Watcher Week Begins on Friday’s

 

Breakfast = 5

Lunch = 7

Snack = 9

Dinner = 8

Total = 29

 

Exercise = Mow, Yard Work

Activity Points Earned for the Day = 4

Activity Points Earned This Week = 29

How many ounces of water I drank for the day = 100+

 

This is What I Will Accomplish in 2015

I will choose one occasion per month for Social Drinking (um..this is a work in progress)

I will go no more than two days in a row without exercise. (I’ve done “two a day’s” to make up)

I will track every single day of the entire year. (I’ve only NOT tracked a few weekends this year.)

I will run in a minimum of six 5K’s. Three down, three to go!

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“love the life you live, live the life you love”

Friends

April 21, 2015

Yesterday was a full day at home of “to do’s”. After completing most of the “to do’s”, I met a friend at Jazzercise. This is just my second class since being back after the broken collar bone. The first class I did with no weights, and I felt great afterwards. Yesterday, I went with the 4 pound weights, and again, felt great afterwards! Yay!

After Jazzercise, we went to the little neighborhood Mexican joint around the corner, where Monday is Taco night. I ordered two taco’s……..and a Bud Light. After some deep, good girlfriend chat, I had more beer. Sometimes a good long chat with a girlfriend over a few beers, out ranks how many points I’m eating for the day. 

(I’m at the weird weight where I don’t feel fat. I want to get back to my goal weight of 160 and I know I will feel amazing when I get there. I’m stuck at 172 and there just seems to be a mental block keeping me here.)

Here are the rest of yesterday’s eats…..

Breakfast

Egg White Omelet, 14 g of Red Fat Cheese

Trader Joe’s Bread, Toasted

30 g of smashed Avocado

Kiwi and Pear

Frothy Coffee

5 PPV

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Lunch

Zucchini Noodles, Edamame, Corn

Avocado Cream Sauce

Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes

4 PPV

I made the zucchini noodles with a regular old vegetable peeler. I thought they were pretty. 🙂 I played just a little trying to make an avocado cream sauce.

1 Avocado

1/3 C Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Lime Juice

Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper

Mix in food processor. 

After assembling my bowl of vegetables and chicken and about a Tablespoon of the avocado cream sauce, and then taking a few bites of it all at room temperature, I decided that it tasted better after I heated it all up just a bit in the microwave. The cream sauce still needed something, but it wasn’t too bad for a little variety.

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Snack

Banana, Melted Chocolate

Raw Unsweetened Coconut

2 PPV

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Dinner

Taco’s and Bud Light

25 PPV

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Weight Watcher’s Points Plus

I can eat 26 PPV a day.

I can earn Activity Points by doing exercise, and eat them if I choose.

I have an allowance of 49 extra points that I can dip into throughout the week if I choose.

I should drink a minimum of 6 (8 oz) glasses of water each day.

My Weight Watcher Week Begins on Friday’s

 

Breakfast = Omelet, Avocado Toast, Fruit, Frothy Coffee (5)

Lunch = Zucchini Bowl (4)

Snack = Banana, Chocolate (2)

Dinner = Taco’s and Beer (25)

Total = 36

 

Exercise = Jazzercise

Activity Points Earned for the Day = 5

Activity Points Earned This Week = 9

Activity Points Remaining This Week = 9

How many ounces of water I drank for the day = 70

Remaining points from my 49 Points Allowance = 0

 

This is What I Will Accomplish in 2015

I will choose one occasion per month for Social Drinking (um…this is a work in progress)
I will go no more than two days in a row without exercise.
I will track every single day for the entire year. No matter what.
I will RUN in a minimum of six 5K’s. One down, 5 to go!

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“love the life you live, live the life you love”

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Weight Watcher Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins

You’ve likely all seen this before. One box of any flavored cake mix, and one can of pumpkin. That’s it! No oil, no eggs, no mess. If you have not seen this before, it really does work! I’ve tried this with a few different cake flavors, and I think this one is my favorite!

These are the easiest Weight Watcher Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins EVER!

It’s only TWO ingredients!

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You don’t even need your mixer!

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I like to make mini muffins…I made 30.

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I put most of them in a container to take to Book Club!

Who wouldn’t like to have a Weight Watcher Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffin??

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I think they are best right out of the oven!

My coffee with Pumpkin Spice Creamer had me in a Pumpkin Paradise.

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Weight Watcher Friendly Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients

1 Box of Spice Cake Mix

1 15 oz Can of Pumpkin

Directions

Put both ingredients into a bowl. Mix really well! Lumps taste bad!

Spoon batter into muffin tins sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

When I put the nutritional information into my Weight Watcher’s ETools, they come out to be 1.3 PointsPlus.

2 muffins = 3 PointsPlus.

 

I made Pumpkin Cookies last Fall with these exact same two ingredients.

 

“love the life you live, live the life you love” 

My Short Story

August 9, 2013 — 18 Comments

I am married to my best friend, Mike. We blended our families when we married in 1999. Together we have four children and now seven grandchildren.

I joined Weight Watchers (for about the sixth time) in August of 2009. My ultimate goal is to maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise. Hopefully, I can inspire others to do the same. 

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, cooking, EATING, reading, watching movies, EATING, art, music, (did I say EATING?) and always looking for something new and interesting to do!

I’ve been 20-40 pounds overweight for my entire adult life. I hope that by writing this blog, I will discover a few things about myself, and help others to do the same.

I have changed so much about the way that I eat over the last few years, but my weight loss has been very  S L O W…..and I have decided….that that’s okay. Typically at this point, I would have quit, went back to old and bad habits, and regained the weight. When I joined WW this time around, it was the first time that I had ever joined for my health. The other times I had joined, it had been for an occasion. A wedding, a reunion, or a vacation. I knew this time that I would not quit.

My highest weight was 212 in 2009. I reached my goal weight of 160 in the summer of 2013, then dipped below that and maintained a weight in the 150’s for a few months. Then the Holidays came, and I went back into the 160’s. My weight eventually crept back into the 170’s, and has remained between 165 and 172 since then. My body loves 172 and I am beginning to love it as well.

I am learning to concentrate more on how I feel and how I look than the number on the scale. Taking my focus away from the scale has helped me to appreciate the positive changes that I have made that have benefited my physical health and my mental health.

In the summer of 2016, I was hired by Weight Watchers as a Leader and I could not be happier. I completed my training in December and I am now leading meetings as a substitute and I lead two regular meetings with At Work groups, where I go to a business and we hold a weekly meeting during the lunch hour. I am anxiously awaiting a permanent assignment in a Weight Watcher Store. I am so happy to be a part of a company that has taught me so much about myself and my health. I look forward to a long future with Weight Watchers in a new role.

The blog took just a bit of a turn recently. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July of 2017, so the blog has changed a bit, but I plan to blog about my breast cancer experience in hopes of supporting others in a similar situation and also in hopes of spreading the word of early detection.

Thank you for stopping by! I hope that you are able to take something away from the blog, even if it’s just a smile.

Julie

People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 lbs/per wk

This page was last updated on June 8, 2017.

My Proudest Accomplishment!

December 13, 2012

If I did anything right in this crazy, unexpected life of mine…….it was raising this kid.

When I was pregnant, I refuse to find out if the baby was a boy or a girl, and I insisted on having a drug free birth (call me old fashioned). I hated being pregnant though. When she moved inside me, all I could think about was the movie “Aliens”. My boobs were bigger than the rest of my body…….except maybe my ankles. I didn’t like anything about the whole “being pregnant” experience. Except that I KNEW in my heart I was having a girl, and I knew she would be amazing, and I knew one day, she would be my best friend.

I didn’t go to college for many reasons. Sometimes I regret that decision, other times I remind myself that the decisions we have made in our lives, are the decisions that have brought us to where we are right now. And I can’t imagine a better life than the one I have right now. I am blessed to have Mike as my husband, blessed to have Tess as my daughter, blessed to have Mike’s kids in my life, and blessed to have the rest of my family and friends in my life.

When Tess was growing up, I wanted her to know that college was just a part of life. It was the next step after High School. It was expected. I wanted her to always be able to take care of herself, and never feel like she had to depend on someone else to take care of her. I wanted her to have the opportunity of an education, and I wanted her to know that she deserved it. I wanted her perception of college to be different than mine was when I graduated from High School.

Well, it was. She jumped right in! She picked Pitt State without hesitation. She graduated from High School a semester early, and being an August baby, she went to college at the age of 17. I was a nervous wreck!

She joined the sorority…..and became VERY involved!

She learned how to tailgate like a PRO! She like’s beer. (She is my child)

Sometimes……I joined her!

Last year….she organized and chartered a bus, and followed the team to Alabama for the Championship Game!

They were even on TV! And they WON! Go straight up from the “P” in Pitt, second row, there’s her pretty little face!

She was hired by Pitt State to work in the Student Center, which was nice, because as long as she was a full time student, she was guaranteed a job!

She became a student ambassador, so when perspective students came to tour the campus, she could show them and their parents all of the great things Pitt State had to offer!

She was on several different committees and was always looking for an opportunity to raise awareness of something she felt strongly about.
She organized “Boobie Bash” to raise awareness about Breast Cancer! Tess’ great Grandmother was a Breast Cancer Survivor, and Tess was fortunate enough to be able to know her Great Grandmother very well.

She met a TON of great friends!

She seems to enjoy a Theme Party, or just crazy clothes!

She helped friends celebrate 21st birthdays!!

She was the “Sweetheart of Sigma Phi Epsilon”! Bad picture, but she is in the middle here, being serenaded.

She lived with these two crazy Sig Ep’s her junior year! This was the year she learned “Most Boys Don’t Clean”!

But that didn’t seem to matter, because she is dating this roomie now……..

Finally……she turned 21!

I went down to Pitt for a little birthday celebration!

Look how much she grew up in four years!

Here she is with her dad a few years back, I think when she first left for college. Maybe this picture is older than I think. she looks so young! She was a BABY!

I think she even attended classes regularly, however I do not have ONE picture to prove that. 🙂

I know there are many more college memories and accomplishments by Tess that are not listed here, but I have to remember I am writing a “Blog”, not a “Book”.

My pride and joy will graduate from Pittsburg State University on Friday, December 14th with a Bachelor of Science in Communications!

I wish I could stand on the rooftops and shout it out! Hey, maybe I will!

I must say, I think she made the best of her college experience. Not only does she walk away with a College Degree, but friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. Lessons about life, some good, some bad, that she will carry with her forever.

I am so excited to see what lies ahead for Tess and for her life. She’s always planning her next move. It’s been nothing but an honor to be her mom and watch her grow from an amazing kid into an amazing adult.

Yip. Definitely “My Proudest Accomplishment”.

The quote below, that is at the end of every blog post I write?
She found that quote.
She’s kinda smart.

“love the life you live, live the life you love”

My daughter called from college a couple of weeks to say…..

“Mom, cooking is a learning experience, right?”

She was making a Pinterest recipe that required her to roll out biscuit dough. She had no roller. She used a liquor bottle. I love that kid.

I spent Sunday messing things up, adding things that didn’t belong, running to the store to replace my goofs, throwing out perfectly tasty things that looked horrendous, and thoroughly enjoying preparing for a houseful of family on a cold Sunday night.

It was nice to spend the dreary morning in the kitchen baking and cooking. It was my dads birthday, and he picked the menu! (well, I gave him a couple of options to pick from that I thought I could possibly handle.)

Spaghetti, Caesar Salad, Crusty Bread, Red Velvet Cake and Vanilla Ice Cream.

I wanted to have everything ready when all the family came over so we could all chat, and I wouldn’t be stuck in the kitchen catching bits and pieces of the conversations going on.

I set the mood for the day while I had my first cup of coffee. Candles were lit, music was playing and the fireplace was all a glow…….

I had decided to bake the cake from scratch (and really, I didn’t think you could buy a boxed cake mix for Red Velvet). I baked my first cake from scratch in September for my moms birthday, and decided my dad should get the same treatment! I found a recipe and even watched a video on how to make this Red Velvet Cake come out perfect! While shopping on Saturday for all my groceries, Mike called to see if I wanted to go to a Movie and Dinner? I’m thinking to myself…..well, I had planned on cooking my sauce Saturday night so all those yummy flavors could spend the night together, and I was going to bake my cake from scratch that night as well. So, I was torn. Movie and Dinner Date Night? A Saturday evening in the kitchen? As I was pondering my decision, a boxed cake mix for Red Velvet literally jumped off the shelf at me! Yay! Then I decided if I got up super early and started the sauce, it would have plenty of time for all the flavors to fall in love with each other through out the day. At least with the sauce, I wouldn’t be totally be cheating dad out of a home cooked meal.

I bought the mix, went to dinner and a movie with the hubby. We saw the new Denzel Washington movie, Flight. Denzel does NOT make a bad movie! Loved it!

While having my first cup of coffee Sunday morning, I got the sauce going, ( I always buy Ragu, so making the sauce was kind of a big deal), then I started on the cake. I have only done two round cakes and iced them once before, and I remember it did not go well, but I honestly don’t remember what it looked like, or if it even was eaten? I wanted the birthday dinner to be special, so I was going to make this cake look as good as I could.

I can never remember what round cake goes upside down or right side up! The cakes came out of the round pans beautifully!

Step one? Success.

I put the first round cake on the cake plate, upside down, and iced away (with my store bought cream cheese icing). Then I put round cake number two on top of it, also upside down. I was puzzled by all of the space between the two, and decided to fill it up with icing, the whole time thinking, this isn’t going to look very pretty when we cut into it???? What am I doing wrong? Then……I RAN OUT OF ICING! I made a mad dash to the store in whatever clothes and hat I saw first. When I got home, I realized I had more eye makeup under my eyes than anywhere else. Nice. While driving to the store, it hit me that the second round cake should have been put on right side up. So as soon as I got home, I grabbed the biggest spatula I could find, and wedged it in between both cakes, and flipped it over!

I think this isn’t going to work……….

It really never dawned on my to slice the rounded top off of the bottom layer for a flat surface. Now I know better.

“Mom, cooking is a learning experience, right?”

🙂

Step two? Fail!

Then I threw it in the sink. (not without taking a bite first, you know, to make sure this boxed thing tasted decent)

While at the store buying the extra icing, I anticipated things at home going awry, so I bought three containers of icing and one more boxed cake mix. Just in case. The grocery clerk was judging me, I just know it!

Ta da!!

I felt so proud…….at least dessert looks pretty.


The Sauce.

I found several simple recipes for Marinara Sauce. The one I picked called for 1/2 Cup of “good Chianti”. I had Two Buck Chuck Cab. Same thing, right? At this point, I was certain Julia Childs was shaking her head. I know. She was a French Cook, not Italian, but I felt her presence, and she wasn’t pleased with me. All I could taste in this wonderful sauce, was the wine. The Two Dollar Wine! Even after it had simmered for several hours, it just wasn’t going to do. So then I started adding things……Cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg……just a dash of each. This comes from an old Spaghetti and Meatball recipe I have that I had always liked. Then I added a little sugar, then some tomato sauce, then more time……to simmer……not the spice. Would you believe after simmering all day, and adding the Italian Sausage, it ended up tasting delicious??

Unfortunately, I will never be able to make this sauce again, because I really have no idea how much of what I put in it, or exactly WHAT I put in it. My family says I do this all the time, make something great by accident, and they never get it again. It’s true.

I spent so much time playing around in the kitchen, I forgot to eat after breakfast, and that NEVER happens! Good thing though. I didn’t really make anything for the birthday dinner that was WW Friendly. I drink water ALL day long though.

Breakfast
Yogurt, banana
2 PPV

The evening ended up just perfect! Dad sliced up the cake for everyone. The house was warm and cozy, and we sat around the table chatting for the rest of the evening…….

I think my entire meal was….including wine and dessert…..
38 PPV (I am probably over estimating here, but I want to play it safe)

The cousins…….

The gang……..

Refresh…I can eat 26 points a day.
I can earn Activity Points by doing exercise.
I have an allowance of 49 points that I can dip into if I chose.
I should drink a minimum of 6 (8 oz) glasses of water each day.

The food I ate today and it’s PPV.

Breakfast = 2
Dinner = 38

Total = 40

Activity Points Earned Today = 0
Remaining points from my 49 Points Allowance = 11
How many glasses of water I drank today = 12

Monday’s focus is exercise and Power Foods.


“love the life you live, live the life you love”

Saturday and Sunday, I was so focused on family and friends, I didn’t pay much attention to food…..or taking many pictures……so today’s post is mostly how I spent my weekend, and less about what I ate and it’s PPV.

(I have not been diligent at all about posting my actual food and points eaten, and I know I am getting myself into trouble here. Bare with me. I mention it because I don’t want anyone to think that I think I am getting away with something. I was up FOUR pounds at Fridays weigh in, 169.6. I am still out of the 170’s, but barely!)

Friday was a great night with Tess and her friends here at the house eating Chili and Chicken Corn Chowder and rinsing it down with a few cold beers. (I had two beers.) I had a good time listening to them talk about graduating, job hunting, stories about friends, and watching the Ping Pong game later in the evening.

Saturday morning, I had them back in the kitchen filling up on a big Skillet Breakfast Scramble, Biscuits, Bagels and coffee.

I had a banana and coffee before I cooked up the really good stuff.

Half asleep, the kids that slept over sat at the bar and had breakfast while prepping for the big Pitt State game at Arrowhead Stadium.


It was really dreary outside, so they spent the morning discussing their lack of Rain Gear……

🙂 Kids.

I had heard about the Thomas Pumpkin Bagels………then I came upon them at the store…….


I toasted them, topped them with Laughing Cow Cinnamon Cream Cheese and Pumpkin Butter!

Yuuuuuummmmmmmmm………

I decided to share mine so I could enjoy a bit of my Skillet Scramble……which is Potatoes…..Bacon Pieces……Turkey Sausage……Eggs……and Cheese!


I cleaned up the mess, and the kids headed out to enjoy some Football in the RAIN…….(they lost).

I was taking an Overnight trip to visit an Aunt, and I was not excited to be driving over three hours in the rain, so I did my best to talk myself into a calm state, grabbed a coffee at Quiktrip (half Pumpkin cappacino, half coffee), popped in a few favorite CD’s and headed down the Interstate in the rain.

I ate this for lunch.

I hit a few heavy spots of rain on my road trip, but it wasn’t too bad. I have become this person that despises driving long distances. I think I have hit so many animals on the highway, that I am just so nervous and anxious that it is going to happen again, I can’t seem to relax! The rain DOES NOT HELP!

I arrived at my destination successfully. The drive took about 3 1/2 hours. I was visiting an Aunt I hadn’t seen in over 25 years. She moved a little closer to me about a year ago, and we knew eventually we would plan a visit. We had a great time together, and it had been WAY too long! She was exactly how I remembered her, and she made me laugh exactly like she did when I was a kid. We spent hours into the evening getting caught up, I spent the night, then we started all over again in the morning. We got a lot of stories in, and had some good laughs too.

Sunday morning was filled with sunshine, no rain or rain clouds in sight, so I decided to not think about any deer running out in front of me, and attempt to make my drive home as stress free as possible. While visiting my Aunt, she gave me a ring that belonged to my Grandma……

I wore it on my drive home. It brought back a lot of great memories, and it was so nice to visit all of those great memories.

My grandma passed away a little over three years ago at the age of 92. Since I was close to the cemetery, I decided to make a visit. My grandma is buried by my twin sisters that died before I was born. Although they only lived one short day, I like to think they are guardian angels for my dad, my mom, my brother and myself. My brother was only two when they were born.

When I got home, Tess had the Chicken Corn Chowder warming up on the stove, and the house smelled great! She and her friends were watching football in the living room, Mike was working in the yard, the dogs were barking like crazy, and as much fun as I had visiting my Aunt, it felt great to be home.

I had a bowl of chowder for lunch, and another for dinner. By 8:00 pm, I had gotten in a 45 minute walk with Tucker, Tess and her friends had headed back to Pitt…….the dogs were curled up on the couch……and Mike and I were in PJ’s ready to watch The Good Wife.

It’s going to be a really crazy week. It’s just one of those weeks where there are things on the calendar every day, and most evenings. We are going out of town early Friday morning, and returning late Sunday. I have my exercise all planned out, but have not yet taken the time to meal plan, so that is on the Monday agenda at some point.

It was a great weekend, and I am looking forward to spending next weekend with Mike and some great friends.

Here’s to a GREAT WEEK!

“love the life you live, live the life you love”