Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Walk the Plank

It was a nice day last week, so I made the kids get out of the house.

And out of my hair!

I like to leave the back door open so I can hear them and enjoy the fresh air.

As I was in and out cleaning, I noticed this scene developing in the back yard. The pictures aren't great because I was trying to be discrete. Until I got caught!

They like to take an old blanket outside and make a tent over the picnic table. Awhile back, one of the benches broke off the table. As you can see, between the table, bench, and the his baseball tee, they just let their imaginations take over!

Their discussion during the "adventure" (as we like to call things around here!) was quite entertaining, but today, I will let the pictures do most of the talking!

He was not so confident in his creation!


Taking the low road!

Cue methodical laughing from brother!

Sister challening brother to do any better!


The look I live with!


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Rainy Day Picnic

About a month ago, my friend came over with her four sweeties. We both needed a break from our normal, at-home routine and decided a play date would do just fine. I had hoped to shoo the older kids out in the yard, but I think it was/had been rainy and a tad on the cold side.

They played great anyway and we got to visit.

The best part was our indoor picnic which the kids thought was cool!

I am not going to put these pics in order-just enjoy!

"Mmmm, I sure do love it when Mom hides good stuff in our mac and cheese!"

(And no, there are NO actual injuries under the band aids!)

Look, I can do tricks!

The kids had a great time talking, being silly, and eating!

A and one of her little pals!

Would they not be great for some food ad with this one!

The little ones especially seemed to love the picnic. All they did was eat and watch every move the big kids made. They thought the big kids were hysterical!

Good friends ~ Good food ~ Good fun!


Monday, April 28, 2008

Now as I was saying,....

Oh wait, that's right, I wasn't saying anything!

At least not here. I tried to keep up with you, but that is the best I could do last week.

The truth is, I was/am in a bit of a yucky mood, and I just could not muster the energy, insight, or attitude to be here last week. I figured enough people that are around me in person have to deal with it, that I wouldn't make the virtual world suffer too!

I will be here this week, but keeping it light and fluffy.

At the same time, I will be working on more things for the upcoming week/s that are not so fluffy and require digging a little deeper.

To leave you on a good note this morning, check out a virtual bible study that my friend Melissa started just last week. It is called You Matter More Than You Think by Dr. Leslie Parrott. It's not too late to jump on board and I know she would love to have you! I am just now picking up the book this afternoon so I can participate! Also, she recently finished up Beth Moore's Get Out of That Pit and has the study still listed on her side bar! I think I will pick that book up today, too!!

Have a great Monday!


Friday, April 18, 2008

Live & In Person

Remember, awhile back when I eluded to a bloggy get-together amongst those who live in my area?

I don't know the reality of truly making it happen, but I thought I would at least ask a few questions to sift through the possibilities.

Most of you that read here know that I live in the central Texas area. Just think J.R.! I just wanted to make that clear for my other virtual friends that live far away before you got your hopes up about meeting me! ;) By all means you are welcome to come, but the way gas prices are these days....

Just answer the questions in my comment section and we will go from there!

1. Would you be interested in a Live Bloggy Get-Together?
2. Weekend or Weekday?
3. Rate your Top 3 Choices of Days.
4. Morning/Afternoon or Evening?
5. Kids or No Kids?
6. House or Restaurant or Park?
7. How far are you willing to drive? (Depending on who responds and is able to do this, I would likely plan a place most central to those actually committing.)
8. How many people do we tell? (Obviously, I "know" you, but you may "know" some other local bloggers you would like to meet in this venue. I just don't know how crazy big I want this to get!)

I think that is it, unless you can think of some other important things we need to consider before proceeding!


At the end of my rope

The store was all out of nooses.

I checked.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Losing & Winning-Part 2

Tips of the Week:
Shopping strategies for healthy foods
Date updated: June 21, 2006
Content provided by

To eat healthy foods, you don't have to drastically change the way you shop. But these strategies will help ensure you have the right foods to follow your healthy eating plan.

Step 1: Plan ahead
Decide how many major meals you'll be shopping for. Then, consider the number of food items you'll need for breakfasts, lunches and snacks. Take an inventory of your staples, such as low-fat milk, fresh fruit and whole grains (brown rice, cereals and pasta).

Step 2: Make a list
A list will make your shopping trip more efficient and help you avoid impulse purchases. Try to stick only to what's on your list, but don't let your list prevent you from looking for or trying new healthy foods.
When making your shopping list, use your weight-loss menus as your guide. Make sure your list includes the food items you'll need to follow the menus. Also, be sure your list includes healthy and convenient snack foods. Suggestions include:

Baby carrots
Celery sticks
Broccoli florets
Fresh berries
Whole-grain bagels
Animal crackers
Salsa and baked tortilla chips
Low-fat cottage cheese
Whole-grain snack crackers
Reduced-calorie, fat-free yogurt

Step 3. Shop the perimeter of the store for fresh foods
Picture your grocery store in your mind. Chances are the fresh produce section, meat and seafood departments, and dairy case are all located on the perimeter. Great, because that's where to concentrate your shopping when using the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. Fresh foods are generally better than ready-to-eat foods because you can control what extra ingredients you add.

Step 4. Shop after a good meal
It can be hard to resist buying high-fat, high-calorie snack items, especially when you're hungry. So set yourself up for success and shop after you've eaten a good meal. If you do find yourself shopping on an empty stomach, drink some water or buy a piece of fruit to munch on.

Step 5. Read food labels
Since May 1994, packaged goods sold in the United States have carried the Nutrition Facts label. This panel is an at-a-glance method for verifying how a food fits into a typical weight management plan. Each label contains information pertaining to serving size, calories, nutrients and Daily Values. This information can inform you about foods that are healthy, and warn you of those that aren't so healthy - often those that are highly processed or refined. Routinely checking food labels helps you compare the nutritional qualities of similar products.

Scripture of the Week:
"Then He said, 'Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.'"

OK, hang in there with me! There really is a weight loss connection here! This week, I want each of us to really think about what we are hearing and listening to when it comes to eating better, filling fuller on less, and even how we feel about ourselves. Are we listening to our stomachs whining, those nagging thoughts in our heads, the magazine pictures, what? Make sure you are tuning your ears AND understanding what God wants you to hear this week about yourself and your journey towards better health!

Tip of the Week:
I accidentally discovered a yummy treat this week! I was hungry! It was about 9pm-way too late to be eating-plus we had just started doing our taxes on the computer, so I knew I would up another couple of hours! I found 1/2 package of frozen blueberries and poured them in a bowl. They looked lonely, so I poured a small amount of leftover strawberry milk over them. At that point, I got distracted a few minutes and upon returning discovered a even yummier frozen treat! The frozen blueberries had slushed the milk to an almost-ice cream texture which tasted wonderful with my blueberries!

Scripture of the Week:
"For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory." Deuteronomy 20:4

Our "enemies" come in all forms, and sometimes even come in the form of ourselves! Let God help you fight your enemies this week!


A website with lots of great resources!

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5 (NIV)

TIP of the WEEK:
So - how would you like a product that is all natural, gives you a burst of energy, is affordable, and aids your immune system, cholesterol levels, red blood cell formation, nervous system functionality, protein metabolism, healing, iron absorption, muscle building - while fighting PMS, morning sickness and TONS more??

Well here it is:


- One banana has 110 calories, and contains no sodium, no fat and no cholesterol.
- Vitamin B6 boosts the immune system, helps with protein metabolism, red blood cell formation and functioning of the central nervous system. One Banana has 20% of the recommended daily intake!!! Vitamin B6 also helps control emotions during PMS, and helps control cravings when quiting smoking!
- Vitamin C aids in healing, defences again infections, absorption of iron, synthesis of connective tissue, and blood formation. One Banana contains 15% of the recommended daily intake!!
- Potassium helps to maintain fluid balance in blood and tissue cells, and is essential for protein synthesis and muscle building. One Banana gives you 11% of the daily recommended intake!! Researchers also believe that a high intake of potassium may reduce the risk of hypertension and stroke.
- Bananas contain 16% of the recommended daily intake of dietary fiber.
- Two Banana's provide enough energy for a strenuous minute workout. They are, not surprisely, the #1 fruit for athletes.
- Some other things that Bananas can control:

Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose - combined with fiber. A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.

A banana can help overcome or prevent a substantial number of illnesses and conditions, making it a must for our daily diet.

Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND among people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.

PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.

Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.

Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it the perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.

Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power. Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist learning by making pupils more alert.

Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem without resorting to laxatives.

Hangovers: One of the quickest ways of curing a hangover is to make a banana milkshake, sweetened with honey. The banana calms the stomach and, with the help of the honey, builds up depleted blood sugar levels, while the milk soothes and re-hydrates your system.

Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.

Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.

Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin. Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.

Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.

Overweight and at work: Studies at the Institute of Psychology in Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate and crisps. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar levels by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.

Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronic ulcer cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.

Temperature control: Many other cultures see bananas as a "cooling" fruit that can lower both the physical and emotional temperature of expectant mothers. In Thailand, for example, pregnant women eat bananas to ensure their baby is born with a cool temperature.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer, tryptophan.

Smoking: Bananas can also help people trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.

Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance. When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be re-balanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.

Strokes: According to research in "The New England Journal of Medicine", eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%"

Warts: Those keen on natural alternatives swear that if you want to kill off a wart, take a piece of banana skin and place it on the wart, with the yellow side out. Carefully hold the skin in place with a plaster or surgical tape!

A banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium and is one of the best value foods around.

A banana contains:

86 calories in a medium banana
1 gram of protein
3 grams of dietary fiber
26.9 g carbohydrates
23.9 g sugar
467 mg Potassium
43 mg Magnesium
27 mg Phosphorus
7 mg Calcium
1.3 mg Selenium
.4 mg Iron
Also trace amounts of zinc, manganese and copper
95 IU Vitamin A
11 mg Vitamin C
22.5 mcg Folate (important during pregnancy)
.7mcg Vitamin B6
.6 mg Niacin
.31 mg Pantothenic Acid
.67 IU Vitamin E

Soooooo.......... "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Isn't it great that despite all our shortcomings, thoughts and actions, that we can continue to shed the old and make ourselves new again!

11 Simple Ways to Cut Calories

1. Order two appetizers.
Instead of an entrée, that is. It’s no big secret that serving sizes at restaurants have grown exponentially over the last couple of decades. According to a study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the average hamburger is 23 percent larger today than it was in 1977, and soft drinks are a whopping 50 percent bigger. So rather than ordering a main course that might leave a long-haul truck driver requesting a doggie bag, choose a pasta dish and salad or soup from the appetizer column. The smaller sizes here won’t wreak havoc on your dietary goals.

2. Visit the vending machine.
Nibbling on single servings is better than digging your way to the bottom of a megabag of chips. Just don’t bring a whole roll of quarters along during your next snack attack.

3. Start with salad...
and eat less during the rest of the meal, says a recent study from Pennsylvania State University. Researchers there had 33 women eat a variation on the same garden salad 20 minutes before a main pasta course. When the salads were topped with low-fat mozzarella and low-calorie Italian dressing instead of high-fat alternatives, the women ate 10 percent fewer calories over the course of the day.

4. Stick a fork in it.
If you prefer your salad dressing on the side, dip your fork into it before stabbing your greens. That little maneuver could cut 500 calories, say Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames, authors of the book Fire Up Your Metabolism: 9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever (Fireside). Plunging an already-loaded fork into the buttermilk ranch will pick up more of the creamy condiment—and the calories that come with it.

5. Watch coffee calories.
The fancy concoctions that are now the javas of choice for many people can contain as many calories as an entire lunch. A 16-ounce Starbucks Caffè Mocha with whole milk, for instance, packs 400 calories—the same number as in a grilled-chicken sandwich—along with 22 grams of fat and 33 grams of sugar. If a regular cup of joe bores you, slim down your latte by going with skim or 2 percent milk.

6. Walk and talk.
The next time a call on your cell phone keeps you yakking for a while, slip on your walking shoes, and stroll the halls at work or hoof it outside. If you did this for 10 minutes every workday at a moderate 3 mph pace, you’d burn about 1,000 calories a month and lose 3 pounds a year.

7. Crack a nut.
Dieters in a Harvard University study who ate a handful of peanuts or mixed nuts daily were more likely to keep weight off than a group whose regimen didn’t include the high-fat snacks. Remember, though, that nuts are not only rich in heart-healthy fats but also calorie-dense: Count out 15 almonds or cashews or 30 pistachios to keep your consumption in check.

8. Don’t just sit there.
The average person burns 100 calories per hour sitting and 140 per hour standing. Get on your feet two hours a day while you work, and you could drop an extra 6 pounds over the year. To this end, Frances Wilkins, publisher of MemoryMinder diet journals, put a counter-height worktable in her office. “As a result, I move around much more, and it gives me a break from that office-chair posture,” she says.

9. Sleep well, lose more.
According to a recent study in The Lancet, sleep loss may hinder your efforts to lose extra pounds. Insufficient shut-eye appears to increase production of the stress hormone cortisol, which regulates appetite. High levels seem to worsen bingeing and hunger; moreover, too little sleep could keep your body from burning carbohydrates, which translates to more stored body fat.

10. Double your protein.
The high-protein, low-carb approach may help keep you from losing muscle along with fat, according to a new study published in The Journal of Nutrition. Twenty-four overweight women ate 9 to 10 ounces of lean meat, three servings of low-fat dairy, and at least five servings of vegetables a day—roughly double the protein and half the carbs of the average American. Over 10 weeks, the women lost 16 pounds, about the same number as a control group who ate according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid. But the women who pumped up the protein lost 2 more pounds of fat while maintaining a pound more of calorie-burning muscle than the other subjects. The secret: the amino acid leucine, found in beef, dairy, poultry, fish, and eggs. According to study author Donald K. Layman, PhD, of the University of Illinois, it may help preserve muscle tissue.

11. Keep an exercise journal.
Writing down your fitness achievements is a great way to track your progress, give yourself positive feedback, and maintain focus on your goals. Molly Kimball, RD, a sports nutritionist at New Orleans’ Ochsner Clinic, goes one better, encouraging her clients to share their exercise diaries with friends. This fosters accountability by making your accomplishments and aspirations a matter of public record.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

(This is actually something I got from Martie and am going to try this week!)

Drink at least half your body weight in water (in ounces!).

Eat no whites-- no potatoes, no white breads or rice, no white sauces, no white pastas

Eat no foods with more than 4 g. of refined sugar per serving.

No food within 3 hours of bedtime.

Eat a bowl of healthy cereal before meals.

Avoid HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)-- which makes you crave high-cal foods.

Avoid anything with trans or saturated fats.

Use smaller plates.

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Eat fish 3x a week.

Eat plenty of high-fiber foods.

Eat lots of beans.

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 NIV

Tips of the Week:
* Protein, Protein, Protein! I just heard that you should be eating half your body weight in grams of protein daily, spreading it out over the day. Skipping a good portion of protein in the morning, within an hour of waking, starts your weight loss for the day off badly by sending the wrong message to your fat cells. It tells them to store fat rather than release it. So, enjoy your shakes, eggs, tuna, meat, fish, etc to boost your protein and tell the fat cells to let go!!

* It could be very valuable to know your exact RMR (Resting Metabolic Rate-minimum amount of calories you need for daily functions such as breathing, blood circulation) rather than your estimated one, especially if you are dieting and exercising but not losing weight. If you drop your caloric intake below your RMR, your body goes into starvation mode and begins to deplete your muscles for food. Apparently, Harris Methodist H-E-B Fitness Center can help you figure it out. The test involves fasting 12 hours prior, then breathing into a mask for about 15 minutes to calculate CO2 level and energy used. They did not state the cost, but the number is 817-267-9191 . **This came from a magazine I get, so I wonder if other hospital fitness centers closer to you can do this as well. Might be worth finding out!

Scripture of the Week:
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body[a] and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:20 KJV

Tip of the Week:
I thought I would share some info on the importance of minerals in our diet. Keep in mind, that much of our food comes from mineral-depleted soils. It is highly likely that you will need to increase your mineral intake through supplements to get the proper amounts.

Minerals are inorganic substances mined from the earth, meaning they are not of plant or animal origin. They exist naturally on and in the earth and many are critical parts of human tissue and are termed “essential” nutrients. Of the 92 naturally occurring elements, the 14 minerals that have been shown by research to be essential to human health are: calcium, chromium, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc.

Essential macrominerals are those we need in significant quantities (such as calcium) – usually measured in milligrams, and essential trace minerals are those we need in minute quantities (such as selenium) – usually measured in micrograms (one microgram [mcg] equals 1/1,000th of a milligram [mg]).

These 14 essential minerals are crucial to the growth and production of bones, teeth, hair, blood, nerves, skin, vitamins, enzymes and hormones; and the healthy functioning of nerve transmission, blood circulation, fluid regulation, cellular integrity, energy production and muscle contraction.

Minerals work in combination with each other and with other nutrients, so imbalances of any mineral can cause health problems – too little of any essential mineral can lead to deficiency diseases, and too much of any mineral can be toxic.

We get these essential minerals primarily through the foods we eat. Good sources of essential minerals include fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, beans and dairy products. Unfortunately, much of the soil in which food is grown has been depleted of these nutritive minerals, therefore the mineral content in food is reduced. We also obtain some minerals from the water we drink, but the amounts vary widely.

Mineral availability and absorption is also affected as foods are cooked, processed and refined, and many naturally occurring minerals in food are removed. A daily mineral supplement is not a substitute for a healthy diet, but can ensure we get the minerals we need for optimal health.



Calcium is the most important, and most common, mineral we need. Eating a diet rich in nutrients that help your bones stay strong should be the first step in stopping or slowing the process of osteoporosis. Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, phosphorus, soy-based foods and fluoride compose the major nutrients that strengthen bone. At this moment, 98 percent of your body's calcium resides in your bones, the rest circulates in the blood, taking part in metabolic functions. Because the body cannot manufacture calcium, you must eat calcium in your daily diet to replace the amounts that are constantly lost. When the diet lacks sufficient calcium to replace the amount that is excreted, the body begins to break down bone for the calcium necessary for life-preserving metabolic processes. Calcium in the diet can generally slow calcium loss from bones, but it usually doesn't seem to replace calcium already gone. The National Institutes of Health recommend 1000-1200 milligrams of dietary calcium per day for premenopausal women and 1200-1500 milligrams for menopausal and postmenopausal women Good sources of calcium include milk and milk products, yogurt, ricotta, cheese, oysters, salmon, collard greens, spinach, ice cream, cottage cheese, kale, broccoli and oranges. If you cannot tolerate dairy products, calcium supplements are an easy way to consume calcium. Take supplements with a meal to aid absorption of calcium from the stomach.


Iron carries oxygen to the cells and is necessary for the production of energy, the synthesis of collagen, and the functioning of the immune system. Iron deficiency is common only among children and pre-menopausal women. Great care must be taken not to take too much iron, as excess amounts are stored in the body’s tissues and adversely affect the body’s immune function, cell growth and heart health. A blood test is the most effective way to determine needs, and consultation with a trained health professional is strongly recommended. Iron absorption can be blocked by calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, antacids and tetracycline (a common antibiotic). Iron is found in meat, fish, beans, spinach, molasses, kelp, brewer’s yeast, broccoli and seeds. Because iron from plant sources is not as well absorbed as that from animal sources, some experts recommend that vegetarians supplement with, or eat foods high in, vitamin C as it enhances iron absorption.


Magnesium is essential to maintain both the acid-alkaline balance in the body and healthy functioning of nerves and muscles (including the heart), as well as to activate enzymes to metabolize blood sugars, proteins and carbohydrates. Magnesium is vital for proper bone growth and is indirectly related to adequate calcium absorption. A 2:1 ratio of calcium to magnesium is essential to maintain strong bones. Indications of a magnesium deficiency may be muscle twitches, nervousness, abnormal heart beat and disorientation. Good food sources of magnesium include seeds, unrefined grains, beans and other vegetables.


Most phosphorus in the body is found in bone, usually at a 1:2 ratio to calcium. In soft tissue and cells, phosphorus contributes to many natural chemical body processes. For example, phosphate bonds of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) provide the energy necessary for metabolism. Food sources of phosphorus include protein-rich foods such as meats and dairy products, although some is present in almost all foods. Due to the abundance available in the average diet, as well as its high absorption rate, most supplements do not contain phosphorus. People taking aluminum hydroxide as an antacid for extended periods of time may develop a phosphorus deficiency since the aluminum prevents phosphorus absorption.


Zinc supports the health of the immune system, normal synthesis of protein, and the health of reproductive organs (especially in men). Zinc deficiency is common, and can adversely affect normal physical growth, skin and nerve health, natural healing ability, and immune function, especially in infants. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption adversely affect zinc levels. Meats, fish, beans, whole grains, pumpkin seeds, mushrooms and brewer’s yeast are good food sources of zinc. Too much zinc can lower copper retention, lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and impair immune function at dosages of 100 mg/day or more. Adverse effects may occur if the balance of zinc to other minerals is not maintained.



Chromium functions as part of several enzyme systems, including the glucose tolerance factor (GTF), which works with insulin in the utilization of glucose (blood sugar). Insulin helps to control metabolism of triglycerides (the main form of fat in the body), therefore chromium has a positive effect on triglycerides due to its influence over insulin. Chromium deficiency has been linked to improper metabolism and imbalances of blood sugar. While popularly used as a supplement to achieve weight loss and muscle gain, research is not consistent enough to validate chromium’s effect for those benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture widespread chromium deficiency is due not only to inadequate food intake but also to excess sugar intake that increases chromium losses in the body. The only common food source is brewer’s yeast. Chromium should not be taken in excess however—there have been reported cases of toxicity when used in high doses (>800 mcg/day).


Blood, nerves, joints, heart, skin, liver and both the immune and nervous systems all need adequate amounts of copper, most of which is concentrated in the brain and liver. Copper is critical to the absorption and utilization of both zinc and iron. A deficiency of copper has been linked to an inability to produce the important antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase (SOD), and to a shortage of red blood cells. It is especially important to balance copper levels with those of zinc because an excess of either will depress retention and utilization of the other. Readily available through the diet, copper is commonly found in whole grains, nuts, shellfish, liver and dark green, leafy vegetables.


Elemental iodine is essential to the development and functioning of the thyroid gland, and a deficiency can cause an enlargement of the gland. Deficiency of iodine during pregnancy and infancy may lead to abnormalities in brain development and in children’s growth. Iodized salt is the most common source of this essential trace mineral. Those with thyroid abnormalities should consult a health care practitioner before taking more than 150 mcg of iodine per day. For most people, amounts up to 1,000 mcg per day are safe, although some may be sensitive to it (resulting in skin irritations or difficulty breathing).


The essential trace mineral manganese is necessary for normal bone metabolism and important enzyme reactions. It also helps maintain normal nerve, brain and thyroid function. While a deficiency of this mineral is uncommon, it is often lost in processed foods. A deficiency of manganese may affect brain health, glucose tolerance, normal reproduction, and skeletal and cartilage formation. Grains and cereal products are the best food sources of manganese, while animal products are the poorest. Toxicity from manganese is uncommon.


Molybdenum is involved in the operation of several key enzymes in the body. Readily available throughout the diet, deficiencies of this essential mineral are unusual, although rare deficiencies occur in people who suffer from malabsorption conditions. Milk, beans, cereals and bread are common food sources of molybdenum. Elevated levels of molybdenum can cause a loss of copper.


This powerful antioxidant works closely with vitamin E and supports critical antioxidant enzyme functions. As an antioxidant, selenium may reduce the risk of abnormal cell growth, while supporting cardiovascular health. Seafood and organ meats such as liver and kidney are high in selenium, whereas selenium levels in grains and vegetables vary widely, depending on local soil content. No more than 200 mcg of selenium daily is recommended for general use, because of possible toxicity. Excessive intakes of selenium can affect the functioning of enzymes and normal bone and cartilage development in fetuses, according to animal studies. In milligram amounts (75 mg/day), selenium can cause nausea, loss of hair and nails, skin abnormalities and nerve damage.

Scripture of the Week:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12 NIV

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Losing & Winning-Part 1

Last Fall, I started a weight-loss challenge opportunity at my church. I learned the idea from another friend and decided we could do it too. It involves accountability and cash! My husband prefers to call it gambling at church, but since I have not been approached by the elders yet, I am assuming we are not offending anyone at this point.

If you want more details about how the group works, email me. The next two days I thought I would share my collection of Tips and Scriptures from the Fall and our current Spring session. Each week, after we weigh on Sunday, I send out results and a little inspiration for the week.

I hope you can find something over the next two days that can be beneficial for you! And feel free to share something that works for you in the comments section!

Tips of the Week:
* Drink 2 liters of water a day.
* Eliminate sodas from your diet.
* Stop eating when you feel satisfied.
* Keep a food journal.

Scripture of the Week:
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

Tips of the Week:
* Brush your teeth right after each meal, especially dinner. This will help curb your appetite for late-night snacks.
* Check out for lots of neat tips.
* For a sweet snack try Slim Fast Optima Peanut Butter Crunch snack bars. 120 Calories, 4g fat 21 g carbs AND it tastes like a Butter Finger. A good alternative if you need a little chocolate snack every once in a while!
Instead of munching while you prepare dinner, chew a piece of sugar free gum.
* Use a smaller plate to cut down on portion sizes.
* Don't eat after 7 or 8 pm.

Scripture of the Week:
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled." Matthew 5:6 (NIV)

Tips of the Week:
* Eat at least 25 grams of fiber each day.
* Watch your sodium intake, especially with processed foods.
* First thing when you jump out of bed, throw down 25 sit ups, 25 push ups, and a glass of water. Adrenaline baby!
* Pop in a double-dipped chocolate covered Altoid for those sweet cravings.

Scripture of the week:
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18

Tips of the Week:
* Stick to the outside aisles at the grocery store; the inside aisles are mainly processed food.
* Walk for 30 minutes every day. No excuses.

Scripture of the Week:
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Philippians 1:6 (NIV)

Tips of the Week:
* Eat high-volume foods; choose foods high in water and fiber and low in calories. Try fruits, veggies, air-filled foods such as puffed cereal vs flat flakes. Other swaps include 6 cups of popcorn with Parmesan cheese instead of cheese and crackers, fresh fruit with 1/4 cup of nuts instead of a dried fruit and nut mix, and 1/2 usual amount of rice plus veggies instead of regular serving of rice.
* Boost protein; protein takes about 4 hours to digest vs carbs taking about 2 hours.
* Replace meals with bars or shakes; look for at least 3 g of fiber, 10 g of protein, and 3 g or less of saturated fat. As a meal, most have 220 calories, so pair with small salad or piece of fruit. Tips provided by Prevention magazine.

Scripture of the Week:
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."[a] Matthew 17:20 NIV

Tips of the Week:
1. Stay slim with soy which is high in fiber and low in calories. Try foods that are fortified with soy or add soy milk to shakes or coffee. Also, try edamame-yummy!

2. Like to drink juice? Try increasing your pitcher size and the water amount you add in order to dilute the juice. Get the taste without as many calories!

3. Don't forget that almost anything counts as exercise. Make your moves count; take the stairs vs the elevator, jog up the stairs, do some walking lunges or tree push-ups while your kids play at the park, do sit-ups at every commercial break of your favorite TV show, and the list goes on! What do you do?!

Scripture of the Week:
"God's voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding." Job 37:5

Tips of the Week:
* Eat slowly, then stop and assess after 20 minutes. It takes the brain 20 minutes to register to the body that it has had food, or that it is satisfied. If we eat really fast, we can get an awful lot of food in during that period of time before it registers that we have eaten. Therefore, if you eat more slowly, you consume less food by the time the brain and tummy get in sinc!

* Hold your belly button in towards your spine, while continuing to be able to breath. Maintain this hold throughout the day when you think of it. It really works in strengthening the core and helps your posture too!

* Throw your kids up and catch them about 5 times. They love it and it is great for your arms.

* Stretching is a very important and often over-looked part of exercise. It is also very good for fatigue and stress.

Scripture of the Week:
"After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church." Ephesians 5:29

Tips of the Week:
Great places to visit!

Scripture of the Week:
"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 (New International Version)

Gross is good

We are not sickly people.

My kids have stayed amazingly well this past year, as they have most years.

But this last week has made me crazy.

I had to stay home with my dtr last Thursday because the night before she had Fever join Cough and Congestion for a party in her body.

And of course, a couple of days later, They decided to get my son in on the fun. What started as an innocent runny nose and slight cough, escalated to full-blown Head Cold and Ear Infections in a matter of hours on Sunday morning. By Sunday evening, he was a mess as High Fever ramped up the party fun. I stayed home with him Monday, and was happy that he was fever-free all day/night so I could send him to school and me to work on Tuesday.

That dreaded Fever snuck back Tuesday while he was at school, meaning I had to cut my day short at work and head back to get him.

That is his second ear infection in two months and I not a particular fan of giving my kids lots of antibiotics.

In thinking about the difference between my kid's course of illness, I realized something. My son still couldn't blow his nose, thus encouraging most of his sniffling and snorting to gather right up into his ear canals.

Ta-da, ear infection!

So, I was a Mama on a Mission these past 3 days!

Teach my almost 4 year old to blow his nose.

On Sunday night, I put him in the shower simply to loosen up his congestion and clean his snotty face! At one point, he yelled for me and indicated he had some snot hanging out his nose that he wanted me to wipe.

Light bulb moment!

I told him to stick a bubble in his mouth (that wonderful commonly used technique to get kids to be quiet!) and BLOW out his nose as hard as he could.

And he DID IT!

Again and again and again!

I think when we took away the pressure of the Kleenex and the discussion of how to blow his nose, AND the added bonus of giving him free messy reign in the shower, he got it.

And he has been successfully blowing his nose in Kleenex ever since.

Hopefully, this will eliminate any ear infections in the near future!

Using the shower to teach kids to blow their nose- it works for me!


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sew and Tell

When Jennifer casually mentioned that I should show everyone "how" to do burp cloths, I thought, no big deal. I had one diaper leftover that I could use and it might be fun.

Then I got nervous!

I love to sew and create! It is just that perfectionist side of me that always makes me worry about the little imperfections that show up in my work. Especially when I give it to others or am doing a project for someone else. Yes, most times, they will never notice, but the craftsman always has the most critical eye!

I have never done a tutorial, so I took a lot of pictures and will do my best. Please let me know if you need more details or some clarification.

Here goes!!

I purchase a package of cloth diapers to use. I do wash all my diapers and any fabric before I sew anything. You will want to start out with it flat. See the defined middle section? I usually cover the entire padded part with fabric. The padded part is actually a bit wider than the stitching you see.

Cut a strip of fabric that is at least 1" wider and about the same length as the diaper.

Fold the fabric under so that it lines up with the padded edge. Do this along both sides, pinning as you go. I am big on pinning because I hate to have my fabric slip as I sew. You will just remove the pins as you sew along the edge.

Here is where we get into options! I have never completed a burp cloth with this trim, but I wanted to show you how you could do it because I noticed someone else did this on the ones they make. This is quilt binding single-fold bias tape that I slipped onto the folded edge. You would continue this all the way along the edge, pinning as you go.

If I were sewing this on, it would look like this when I got done. Can you picture it?

Many times, I simply use a fancier stitch along the edges. It looks nice and can be less of a problem around the baby's face. I control the size and look of the stitch with my stitch knobs on my machine. I have a pretty basic machine, so the stitches could get fancier the more options you have on your machine.

Today, I am showing you what it looks like with rick rack trim on the edges. With rick rack, I go ahead and pin my fabric on and simply guide my rick rack as it goes under the needle. It is pretty easy to control.

Here is what it looks like. Just ignore where I got off center in one spot! See, not perfect!!

Next, I like to trim the end edges just along the padded portion. I tried to show a close up so the you can see that I am just trimming the bulkier part in the middle. You will understand more once you have your hands on the burp cloth. Also, go back to picture 2, and you can sorta see the bulkier middle part. It seems to make putting on the edge trim a little easier. It probably does not matter so much here as I am using the large blanket binding, but it leaves a nicer look when using the quilt binding I use most of the time.

I typically use this to trim the end edges of most of my burp cloths. I have tried the single fold before, but to me, it is just not wide enough to make easy sewing and a clean look. The double-fold looks better!

I did not have enough to trim this burp cloth with the blue, but I will try to show you how to do it, then finish up with my blanket binding that I am using today. The how-to is really the same.

Open the binding and slip it over the edge. These two pics are just to make sure you understand where to place it.

With the diaper face up, place the trim along the face up edge. You will want to leave about 1" extra on both side edges to create the fold.

Fold the end down and towards the back of the diaper.

See the crease on the trim above? Fold that trim so that the front and back end edges are covered with trim.

This the back view of the end edge. It creates an envelope at the corners!

It will basically look like this once you sew it on. Don't forget to do your backstitching when you are starting and ending at the corners! Also, I don't usually pin the end edge binding. I just hold it on/around the edge as I sew along.

Today, I am doing the ends with the blanket binding. It is the same steps. Just a warning though, this binding is slippery and makes you want to say bad words as you are trying to get it secured for sewing.

As you get near the end when sewing on the binding, you should have about this much (maybe a tad less) left at the end in order to do the same fold/tuck/fold maneuver!

Here are a couple of views of the finished product/s.

I love doing these and can usually whip one out from start to finish in about 15-20 minutes. Well, that is IF I am uninterrupted! :)

Maybe soon, I will show you a few more things I have done and even try my hand at a few more tutorials.

Happy Sewing!