Tuesday, January 31, 2012


Sunday was my parents' 40th wedding anniversary.  To actually stay together for 40 years is quite an accomplishment and such a rarity these days.  Saturday night we took them out to eat.  Kanin was so "in" to the fact that it was their anniversary and was super sweet to them. 

I didn't take a camera so this was just a quick shot on my phone.

Sunday was also an exciting day in our house.  Kanin finally scored a goal.  Not only did he score one but he scored two goals in 2 consecutive shifts.  He almost had the 3rd goal but it went off the goal post.  He also had 2 assists that game.  He was SO EXCITED and Mom was pretty excited, too.  Our coach was so sweet and got the puck for Kanin.  Scott had him sign it and we dated it and it will go in with the other signed pucks that we have.

Monday was haircut day.  Since Gracie's 1st Haircut, I have let her hair grow out but here lately she has screamed everytime I brushed it.  I finally had enough and took her to get it cut.

Caleb was also in desperate need of a haircut.  While I loved him having a longer bowl cut, it drove me crazy that it was constantly in his eyes so I decided to really get it cut.  I can't believe how much he looks like Kanin did at that age with this new cut.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Strong Woman

My Life Touched. Thanks, Karen

Have you ever known someone that has made a lasting impression on your life?  I don't mean your husband but someone that helped shape you when you were growing up. 

Years and years ago I had a very special lady as a speech teacher.  I was in about 4th grade or 5th grade and I had a new speech teacher, Mrs. Karen Stephens.  She helped me get rid of that lisp and stutter that I had and she made it fun.  I didn't even know that anything was "wrong".  I just felt lucky that I got to go down a couple times a week and spend time with her, play games, and just talk.

Mrs. Stephens had this long, flowing, black hair that was truly her signature.  When I was growing up, I wanted my hair to be just like hers.  I truly believed that she had to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. 

And nice.  And sweet.  And caring.

As I got older and "graduated" out of her class, I was a little sad that I wouldn't be spending so much time with her but lucky for me, she became our cheerleading sponsor.  Once again, she was firm but nice.  And beautiful.

As time goes, I grew up and went to college.  Moved away and got married.  I didn't keep in contact with now "Karen" but found out while I was in college in the '90's that she had developed breast cancer.  I saw Karen a few times during her chemo and radiation and I can tell you that she handled the whole ordeal with such grace that our little town was in awe of her.

When she first got the disease, she had two really small little girls and I remember being so sad for her and for them.  A back story to Karen is that she actually went to the same high school that I attended.  I remember riding the bus when I was really little (probably kindergarten) and when we would pull up to the high school, I would see Karen and her boyfriend Clint being teenagers in love and kind of swoon over them.  All of those years later, Clint was now her husband and they had these two beautiful little girls.  And, she had breast cancer.

For years, and I mean years, Karen has fought this fight.  She has been cancer free many times and has tried every treatment she possibly could to hang on.  My mom says that she remembers Karen telling her that her only goal was to fight it long enough so that her little girls would be grown. 

I got the sad news last night that Karen contracted the flu last week and was in the hospital.  The cancer has taken over her body and she agreed yesterday to go home and to have hospice come in.

My heart is broken.  I haven't been close to her in so many years but, in my mind, I am that little elementary school girl looking up to my beautiful and nice teacher.  I know she has suffered so much and I am comforted by the fact that she will no longer be in pain but I am so saddened for her high school sweetheart who has spent his whole life loving her and her two beautiful grown girls.

Please say a prayer tonight asking for comfort and peace for Karen, her family, and for the people whose life she touched.

What A Deal!

Remember a while back when I told you about the fabulous pair of shoes that I got in the mail?  If not, take a look HERE.

Well, right now JustFab.com is having a birthday special where you get 2 items for $39.95/shipped with no extra taxes or fees! 

JustFab.com not only has shoes but they also carry purses, jewelry and even jeans.

The prices are always $39.95 shipped including taxes and fees.  This is a buying club so if there is ever a month that money is tight or you don't find anything that you like, just "Opt out"  for that month.  No hassle at all.  Plus, with every referral that you send (you get your own link) you earn points for free stuff!

My last order only took 4 days to arrive so I'm hoping that I have them by next weekend (birthday weekend).  Here's what I'm looking forward to:

and these beauties.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Today I am loving a lot of things:

{1} I'm loving . . . that Hottie Scottie and I were able to hang out all weekend together.  The Blues game Saturday night (winner!) and then football all day Sunday. 

{2} I'm loving . . . that the St. Louis Blues are playing so great this season.  I smell playoffs!

{3} I'm loving . . . that so far the winter weather has been fairly calm.  I'm sure there are some storms coming but this time last year, THIS is what was going on around here.

{4} I'm loving . . . listening to Caleb say his ABC's and count to 26.  Why 26?  I have no idea.  I had no idea that he could say all of his ABC's until listening to him play the other day.

Watch Caleb saying his ABC's HERE.

Watch Caleb counting to 26 HERE.

{5} I'm loving . . .Gordman's.  I am a new Gordman's convert.  Look at these super cute jeans that I found over the weekend for only $26 each. 

{6} I'm loving . . . all of the sweet comments I got about my back last week.  I have no idea what was going on.  I was sitting on the couch and when I stood up I heard and felt a pop and I had instant release.  2 days of pain relievers and muscle relaxers and all I needed was one little pop and felt great.

{7} I'm loving . . . that I got Shaun T's Rockin' Body in the mail yesterday. 

What are you loving today?  Go to Jamie's blog to share.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Recipe: Shepherd's Pie

I made this meal a couple of weeks ago and my family went crazy for it.  Scott said it was one of the best things I have ever made!

Shepherd's Pie adapted from Taste of Home Everyday Light Meals magazine
6 medium potatoes
1lb carrots, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 1/2lblean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 jar (12oz) fat-free beef gravy
1 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:  Peel and cube the potatoes; place in a large saucepan and cover with water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cover and cook for 20 minutes or until tender.  Add 1inch of water to another saucepan; add carrots.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until crisp-tender, about 7-9 minutes.  Drain.

In a large nonstick skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.  Stir in the carrots, gravy, 1/2 tsp salt, sage, thyme, rosemary and pepper.  Transfer to a shallow 3qut baking dish coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Drain the potatoes; mash with milk, butter and remaining salt.  Spread over meat mixture.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. 

Nutrition Facts:
Cal 390
Fat 13g (6g sat fat)
Choles 53mg
Sodium 859mg
Carb 43g
Fiber 6g
Protein 30g

Diabetic Exchange:  3 lean meat, 2 starch, 2 vegetable, 1/2 fat

-I used ground chicken instead of ground beef.
-I added a can of Italian styled diced tomatoes.
-I used a packaged gravy instead of a jar.
-I did not sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Here's what you'll need:

Peel and cube the potatoes.

Slice up the carrots.

Dice up the onion.

Put the carrots in water to boil and soften.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Brown the ground chicken.

Cook the potatoes, drain and add the butter.

Add the onion to the ground chicken.

Once the chicken is cooked through, add the carrots.

I decided to use a can of Italian-style diced tomatoes.

Add the tomatoes and the herbs.

Make the gravy.  If using jarred gravy, skip this step.

Add the gravy to the pot and let simmer for 5-6 minutes.

Pour into a greased baking dish.

Spread the mashed potatoes over the top.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes.

Here's what you'll end up with:
Our Thoughts:
We love shepherd's pie around this house and this one is no different.  The addition of the brown gravy in with the mixture of onions and tomatoes really gave an extra depth.  Scott said it was one of his favorite meals that I have made in a long time and he had 3 helpings! 

This is a perfect comfort food dish!

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Fitness Friday-Why Does This Seem to Happen?

The last couple of weeks I have finally gotten my motivation back, found a workout that I love and then . . . I hurt my back.  I've been in pain for the last couple of days and while it is getting better, I think I am more upset about the fact that I was "on a roll" and then had to come to a screeching halt.

Has this ever happened to you?

I feel like I have been on this same merry-go-round battle between my desire for fitness/working out and my body fighting it.  Most of the time, my workout issues revolve around my left foot/ankle which usually just slows down my cardio but I can continue with weights.  With my back, though, I wouldn't even attempt to lift weights.

How do you handle injuries?  Do you push yourself to come back quickly or do you let nature take its course?  Since it has been feeling a bit better the last couple of days, I think I am going to take the weekend off and not push it.  If I'm still having any pain on Monday then I'll be heading to a chiropractor just to be checked out.  I'm hoping that I just strained something but we'll see . . .

BTW, all of you fierce trainers out there.  If you are looking for a good protein shake, check out my post about Body By Vi.

Body by Vi

Have you ever had a protein shake?  I remember the first time that I had a protein shake I was shocked at the gritty taste.  My trainer wanted me to drink these shakes and I wanted to but no matter what kind of milk, fruit, yogurt that I used to make the shakes, they still tasted horrible.
A few months ago I was introduced to a new shake from ViSalus Sciences called Body by Vi.  A friend of mine sent me a sample and it actually tasted good.  I really didn't give it too much thought, though, and went on with my workouts.  Right before Christmas, though, another friend of mine mentioned that she had started taking these shakes and how much better she felt when she drank them.  Like most people, I was struggling with the hectic holiday season, winter and cold weather fastly approaching, and I was just generally feeling blah so I thought why not?  I'll give it a try.

I still wasn't "sold" on this product until I saw just how much nutritional value was in each shake.  I have never been one to be able to take vitamins (they REALLY upset my stomach) and I was intrigued by all of the vitamins, minerals, and protein that was in each shake.
Vitamin E (30%)=1.5 cups Chopped Broccoli 
Vitamin D (30%) & Protein (50g)=13 Whole Eggs
Vitamin A (30%)=5 Medium Peaches
Vitamin B12 (30%)=2.5 Chicken Breasts
Calcium (Shake mix w/o milk) (30%)=1.5 cups Frozen Yogurt
 Magnesium (30%)=1.5 cups Bran Flakes
Vitamin B6 18 oz. Tomato Juice
Folic Acid 1.5 cups Shredded Romaine Lettuce
Zinc 5 oz. Cheddar Cheese
Niacin 3 cups Cooked Lima Beans
Pantothenic Acid 15 Slices Whole Wheat Bread
Riboflavin 20 Spears of Asparagus
Selenium 1 cup Brown Rice
Copper 2 cups Sliced Mushrooms
Chromium 30 Apples
Manganese 5 cups Chopped Celery (~10 stalks/whole)
Molybdenum 3.5 Medium Tomatoes
Digestive Enzymes 3 Pineapples
Fiber 30 Prunes

Protein shakes, really any supplement, can be expensive which is another reason why I have been taking this product.  Body by Vi offers a referral program.  If you refer 3 people who take the challenge, then you receive yours free (which is always a good thing).

Other great things about these shakes:
-30 Day Money Back Guarantee
-On the Glycemic index
-Less than 1gram of sugar
-Only 90 calories when made with skim milk
-Only 7g of Carbs
-5g of dietary fiber

I could go on and on about the various health benefits:  weight loss (sometimes MAJOR weight loss), lowering of sugar levels (some Type II diabetics have even been able to level out their sugar so they don't have to take insulin), lower cholesterol levels, etc. etc

The most important thing to me is they taste good, I feel great, and I can get them for free!

If you want to find out more, go to this link and watch the 4 videos.  If you are interested, click "Join the Challenge".

If you have any questions, I'd be glad to answer them.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ugh, This Is Hard!

If you've been following me for a L-O-N-G time then you know that I have a stripper fitness pole in my bedroom. 

See?  I'm not lying.  This pole is actually in my bedroom.

Scott got this for me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago.  I have always been fascinated at those girls who can swing, climb, twirl, and spin and look so beautiful and sexy at the same time.  So  I was super excited when he brought this in and installed it.

Little did I know how hard the stupid thing would be.  I consider myself to be pretty athletic.  I have rhythm.  I feel that I am pretty strong and I can follow directions.  This particular pole is the Flirty Girl Fitness pole which comes with a few dvds and instruction

but . . .
OMG, it is SO hard! 

The first couple of months after I received it, I worked and worked at it but still never could figure some of the moves out.  Instead of looking like this:

I looked more like this:

Over the last couple of years, I really have kind of given up on it.  I still am just shocked at how hard it is.  And, don't even ask Scott.  He gets so annoyed when people mention "the pole" because #1 he did a lot of research to pick out the perfect one and

#2 he has NEVER seen me do so much as a twirl on it. 

Yes.  I am serious.

The other day I was chatting with the Hockey Wife at Tales of a Hockey Wife and my progress on the pole.  Yes, that is her.  She is awesome.  Like seriously, good.  I am so jealous! 

There is a studio in the town that she lives in that teaches classes.  Unfortunately, the closest studio to me is still 30-40 minutes away and with travel time, class time, etc it just ends up being an all night ordeal.  Over the last couple of days I have tried to You Tube Beginning Pole Dancer videos.  They make it look so easy but it is still so incredibly difficult to learn on your own.  

Last night at dinner I told Scott that I spent about 30 minutes on the pole and that I was trying to learn some spins, moves, etc.  (Sidenote:  Of course, he got excited.  ha!)  As we are talking about it, I told him that I had no idea how Doug Heffernan was able to do it.  Do any of you watch King of Queens?  I look more like Carrie in this video than Doug.  (Totally worth watching)

I promise to post if I ever get this good.  Don't hold your breath.  LOL

And just for fun.  Check this girl out.  She is AMAZING. 

Friday, January 13, 2012

Fitness Friday-Zumba

It has been a LONG time since I've written about fitness.  It's not that I haven't been working out, eating healthfully, and doing all of the right things but it's just that I have been bored with it all.  Yes, I know that being healthy is a lifestyle change and I have fully bought in to it but just like I get bored in life sometimes, I have been bored with working out.  Nothing has been exciting.  I have tons of workout series and dvds including:

Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred
Shaun T & Beach Body's Insanity
JM Shred with Weights
JM 6 Week 6 Pack
Jackie Warner's 40 Minute Power Circuit (which I still love)
Gold's Gym Fitness Ball workout
The Burn

and I'm sure a few more that I can't remember.  It just got to the point where they weren't fun anymore.

Enter . . . ZUMBA.

OMG!  Talk about fun!  It is like being out in a club dancing all night long with a bunch of girlfriends without the alcohol, smoke, drunk guys trying to hit on you or rub up against you and you don't have to worry about your hair and make-up.  It's the best of ALL worlds!

I've seen the commercials advertising a Zumba dvd series and I haven't bought it yet because I'm afraid it will take some of the enjoyment out of it.  For me, half of the fun is being in the room with a bunch of women (and a couple spare guys here or there) and shaking my booty.  The instructor that I love to go to, Ashley, is amazing and it isn't just all Latin songs (which I do like) but also current hip hop songs, too.  It almost reminds me of cheerleading days and learning routines only when I leave, I am covered in sweat.  Dripping really.

Here is an example of what I'm talking about that I found on You Tube.

Try doing these types of dances for an hour and see if you aren't sweating?  Not only is Zumba a great workout but on average you burn between 500-700 calories.  Woohoo!

Have you found a new workout that you are obsessed with?  I'd love to hear about it because I am always looking to keep things interesting!

I'm posting this over at Jill's site.  Come check out some other bloggers interested in fitness.


I'm stilling loving Instagram and am linking up with Life Rearranged again to share the pics I've taken this week.

life rearranged

Now that the holidays are over, Kanin's hockey team is back in full swing.  This is how I spent last Saturday and Sunday and this is what is on our agenda for this Saturday and Sunday, as well. 

This week has been beautiful in St. Louis.  The kids played outside every day.  Wednesday it was up in the high 50's and Thursday we woke up to snow.  I swear the weather here is ridiculous.

Since I haven't had Instagram very long, I find myself forgetting to take pics with it so that's all I've got for the week. 

I'll do better next week!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thank You, Lord, For Our Messy Home

I received this today from my sister-in-law, Debbie, and love it.  I need to remember these things more often!

Thank You For Our Messy Home
Dear Lord,

Thank you for this sink of dirty dishes; we have plenty of food to eat.

Thank you for this pile of dirty, stinky laundry; we have plenty of nice clothes to wear.

And I would like to thank you, Lord, for those unmade beds; they were so warm and comfortable last night. I know that many have no bed.

My thanks to you, Lord, for this bathroom, complete with all the splattered mess, soggy, grimy towels and the dirty lavatory; they are all so convenient.

Thank you for this finger-smudged refrigerator that needs defrosting so badly; it has served us faithfully for many years. It is full of cold drinks and enough leftovers for two or three meals.

Thank you, Lord, for this oven that absolutely must be cleaned today; it has baked so many things over the years.

The whole family is grateful for that tall grass that needs mowing and lawn that needs raking; we all enjoy the yard.

Thank you, Lord, even for that slamming screen door. My kids are healthy and able to run and play. Many children cannot.

Lord, the presence of all these chores awaiting me says You have richly blessed my family. I shall do them cheerfully and I shall do them gratefully.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings... Thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible...Thank you, Lord, that I can see. Many are blind.

Even though I huddle in my bed and put off rising...Thank you, Lord, that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bedridden.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic with socks that are lost, toast that is burned, tempers that are short, and my children that are so loud...Thank you, Lord, for my family. There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in magazines and the menu is at times not balanced...Thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.

Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous...Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who are jobless.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest...Thank you, Lord, for life.

First Snow Day of the Year

I remember when I was a kid I used to pray for snow days.  I now know the hassle that my mom and dad would go through because even though I liked looking  at the snow, I was never very good at playing in it.  I would take 20 minutes to get all bundled up only to play outside for 10 minutes and be done.

Today was Kanin's first school day and they were begging to go outside as soon as they woke up.  Finally, after breakfast, Scott and I got them ready and sent them on their way.

Last year Caleb went out for just a few minutes in the snow but this year, he got all bundled up like on of the "big kids" and headed out.

The kids love jumping on the trampoline any time but I guess it is especially fun when it is snowing.  Those little white dots in the picture are snowflakes.

Remember when playing in the snow was this much fun?

A Big Brother's work is never done.