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Thursday, July 29, 2010


TURKEY LETTUCE WRAPS (based on South Beach recipe)

**I learned to LOVE these a few years ago when I did the South Beach Diet. They are not much to look at but you'll LOVE them and so will your kids. Going without bread or even a tortilla saves you TONS of calories. Don't knock it until you try them!

Serves: 4 (two wraps per serving)
Points: 3

16 slices low fat deli-thin turkey slices
8 (1 oz.) slices Swiss cheese
8 larges leaves crisp lettuce (iceburg or Boston)
Any thinly sliced veggies you desire (I use green peppers or tomatoes)
regular or honey mustard or light Miracle Whip (optional--they are also good without)

Take each leaf of lettuce and spread with desired amount of mustard or Miracle Whip. Top with turkey slices (2 slices for each wrap), then cheese, then veggies. Tightly roll wraps and enjoy!


"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." (Christopher Robin to Pooh, by A. A. Milne)


On Courage:

Joshua 1:5 "I will not fail thee nore forsake thee."

Joshua 1:9 " . . . Be strong and of a good courage. Be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord, thy God, is with thee, withersoever thou goest."

Joshua 1:16 "All that thou commandest us we will do, and withersoever thou sendest us, we will go."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


SUPER MOIST CARROT CAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING (recipe and photos from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves: 16
Points: 7

3/4 c. all purpose flour
3/4 c. wheat flour
1 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. flaked sweet coconut
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 T. canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 c. peeled, grated carrots
1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/4 c. chopped walnuts, plus 1/4 cup for topping


8 oz. 1/3 fat cream cheese
1 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350*. In large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In separate bowl, mix eggs, oil and vanilla, stir well. Add carrots and pineapple and mix well. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Fold in 1/4 c. chopped nuts. Sppon batter into greased layer cake pan. Bake at 350* for 40-50 minutes or until done.

To prepare frosting, beat together cream cheese (room temperature), powdered sugar and vanilla. Spread on turned out, cooled cake. Sprinkle with remaining walnuts and serve.


"If we truly understand the full stature of the name by which we are called, we will live different lives. No longer will we do less than our best in school. No longer will we be dishonest in paying our bills or in the treatment of our family members, nor will we take unfair advantage of anyone in any way. Our word will be as binding on us as our bond. No longer will we be unkind to our associates or be unvirtuous or immoral or selfish in any way, either secretly or openly. We will do nothing to bring dishonor or shame to that holy name we carry as children of Christ. We will respect and honor our covenant Father, Jesus Christ, and be righteously jealous and protective of the holy name we bear. We will judge everything we do on the basis of how it might reflect on Him whose name we carry, not only on our lips, but in our very hearts." (Theodore M. Burton, "To Be Born Again," Ensign, Spetember, 1985, 66).


Well, it's here! My 30th birthday! As I woke up and studied this morning, I found myself reflecting on the principle of rebirth. I wondered to myself, have I ever really, truly, had a "re-birthday?"

As this thought occurred to me, I turned to Moses 6:59:

"Inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became the dust of a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of my Only Begotten, that ye might be sanctified of all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory."

I'm sure this scripture is nothing new, but thought I'd reflect a little further on the beautiful comparisons made in this simple, yet life-changing verse.

First, we were born into the world by water, literally immersed in amniotic fluid. Our first rebirth happens as we are baptized and are drawn from the water. Later, as we live righteously, the water of the sacrament can cleanse us again and again as we partake worthily.

Second, as babies, we are most definitely born of blood. (Ask any mommy who's given birth!) At our rebirth, we are renewed through the blood of the Savior, the very blood He gave as part of the Atoning sacrifice.

Third, our lives truly begin when the miracle of life begins with the union of a body and a spirit. Our spirits become born anew as we repent and turn our lives over to God. More specifically, our hearts are offered as a sacrifice, and we subject ourselves to His loving will for each of us.

Also noteworthy, is the innocence of an infant, newly come to the world. As we turn our lives over to the Savior, we too, become innocent and free of all guilt, just like a very small child.

This is really deep doctrine I'm attempting to understand and explain here, and I hope I'm handling it delicately and accurately. I hope that as I think of my birthday, and contemplate what I've done here on Earth up to this point, I will be touched to begin anew, the process of rebirth. I will pledge to remember Him and the atoning sacrifice He made so that I could be born again and I will never, ever take it for granted.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


ZUCCHINI PIZZA BITES (from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves: 1
Points: 2

4 slices zucchini (1/4" thick)
spray olive oil
2 T. pizza sauce
1/4 c. part skim mozzarella, shredded
salt and pepper

Spray both sides of zucchini with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Broil or grill about 2 minutes on each side. Top with sauce and cheese and broil an additional minute or two. Enjoy!


"It is not a sacrifice to live the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is never a sacrifice when you get back more than you give. It is an investment. And the living of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a greater investment than any of which I know because its dividends are eternal and everlasting."
Gordon B. Hinckley


I thought today I'd share a little parable that I used for my Young Women's lesson on Sunday. It is a great way to describe the Law of Sacrifice.


A small, bouncy little girl was at the store with her mommy one day. At the checkout stand, on a small table, she noticed a display with a little pick jewelry box, lined with shiny satin. Inside the box, laid the prettiest little pearl necklace she had ever seen, just her size.

"Oh, Mommy! Look at the beautiful necklace! Please, can I have it?"

Jenny's mother couldn't afford the pearls, but told Jenny that if she worked really hard and saved all her money, it wouldn't be long before she could buy the pearls for herself.

Jenny worked and worked and saved and saved until finally the day came. She skipped to the store, bought the necklace and brought them home to her bedroom. She lifted the necklace out of the box and fingered them with awe. Occasionally she would wear them, but mostly they sat in their perfect little box, a little girl's prized possession.

One day, Jenny's daddy came into Jenny's room. "Jenny", he asked tenderly. "Do you love me?"
"Oh, yes, Daddy! You know how much I love you!"

"Then please give me your pearls."

"OH! Daddy I love my pearls! I could never give them away. You may have my princess dolly. Or my shiny new shoes. You may have them."

"I need your pearls, honey, but I will wait until you are ready. Sleep well." Jenny's Daddy gave her a kiss on the cheek and left Jenny's room.

A few days later, Jenny's daddy came into her room again and found Jenny sitting cross-legged on the bed, with tears rolling down her cheeks.

"Sweetheart, what is the matter?" He asked.

"Daddy, I love you and trust you. I don't know why you need my pearl necklace, but I will give it to you because I love you more than anything."

She lifted the dimestore necklace out of the perfect, pink little box and handed it to her father.

He smiled tenderly, took it from her tiny, outstretched hand, and gave her a hug. Then, to Jenny's surprise, he pulled from his jacket pocket . . . a real pearl necklace.

(Author Unknown)

I love this sweet little story! I love the tenderness of a small child and her "daddy." He wanted to swap the little plastic pearls for so long, to be able to bless his little daughter with the real treasure. It was such a trial of Jenny's faith to give the one thing, the best of all she had, to her daddy, even though she loved him. But once the offering was made, her pure love was known and she laid claim on the blessings of her sacrifice. I know that sacrificing my time, talents, abilities, energy, possessions, pride, and ultimately, my heart is the way to show my Father the love I have for Him. I look forward to the day when I will have the faith that little Jenny did, and be able to offer Him all that I have in pure, childlike submission and faith.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I'm feeling the urge to give back to you all! You all inspire me so much to never give up and never give in and I want to give back to you! I am going to start a little poll here and give you two weeks to leave a comment. Please let your friends and family know about the giveaway too! I would love more followers on my blog. Here's the question: Which of the following books would you most like to receive?

Running With Angels by Pamela H. Hansen: a motivating story of a woman who overcame the loss of two of her babies, then winning the battle of obesity. THIS IS AN AWESOMELY UPLIFTING BOOK!

My Dear Sisters: Inspiration for Women from President Gordon B. Hinckley

Finding the Angel Within: Spirituality, Body Image and Self-Worth by Pamela H. Hansen (The sequal to Running with Angels)

The Remarkable Soul of a Woman by Dieter F. Uchdorf


Easy, Healthy Chicken Kabobs (from http://www.1001recipe.com/)

Serves: 2
Points: 3

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 T. olive oil
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 T. chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper (optional)
salt and pepper

Cut chicken breasts in to 1/2" cubes. Mix remaining ingredients. Add chicken to the marinade. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Thread chicken onto bamboo or metal skewers. (I get mine at the dollar store in packs of 50.) Grill for 5-10 minutes, turning frequently.


"What I choose to do today is important, for I am exchanging a day of my life for it." --author unknown

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Excuses Impede Progress

I LOVE the thought I posted the other day from President Uchdorf and have decided that it is my new personal mantra: "Excuses impede progress." I am the Queen of Wonderful Excuse-making, so when I read this quote, it really impacted me deeply. Later that evening, I took the time to sit down and make a list of the excuses that have been running through my mind as the reasons I am still not losing weight. I thought maybe it would help if I posted this list:

1. I do not have time to do the things I need to lose weight. Oh, this one feels so true. Tyler and I are working 80 hours combined each week, not counting occasional work my little photo side biz or church callings. Seriously, the only time I have, I use for cleaning the house and taking care of the chickies. I really, need to start meal-planning, do more Crock Pot cooking, keeping healthy snacks on hand. I have been too tempted to run to Papa Murphy's here, McDonald's there and it is showing in my waist-line. As far as exercise goes, I think I need to couple my rare quality moments with the kids somehow with active activities. I'll keep working on this, but the whole time issue, I think, remains my biggest obstacle.

2. I do not have enough physical or mental energy to lose weight. At the end of a long, hard work-day, seriously, all I really want is a cup of milk and a large stack of Oreos. Sometimes thinking of the amount of weight I still have to shed, simply does me in. I feel as if my bucket of priorities is already overflowing. I need to look at things with a "one-choice-at-a-time" mentality. And I need to record EACH success I achieve, no matter how small. I think I may start a notebook of some of these little successes. :)

3. I do not have enough money to eat healthy or go to the gym. I am realizing that I need to do WHATEVER it takes to keep my body healthy. If this includes a lot of legwork in preparing shopping lists, coupon clipping, etc., so be it. Besides, the junk food I've been eating is more expensive in the long run and keeps me wanting more. And walking, jogging, climbing stairs, and using my elliptical machine are FREE, so I don't really need to go to the gym anyway. And the more I look at how close I am to developing diabetes, the closer I am getting to big-time medical expenses. In reality, investing a little cash on my health is a great idea, given the big picture.

4. I'm just genetically pre-disposed to be overweight. There is a lot of truth to this, of course, but there is MUCH I could be doing to battle the seemingly inevitable. In fact, I should fight even harder, given my family's medical history.

These are probably my top four excuses. I am done, done, done with leaving things up to fate or chance. A good friend once told me that one of the cool things about life is that you get to draw your own map. You get to decide which way and when to travel. I'm packing my suitcases, and I'm heading out of Excuseville on a trip to Makeithappen. (This may be the cheesiest line even written on my blog). Anyway, I'd love to hear some feedback on this post. Do you have any excuses that you cling to, regarding weight issues or anything else? Have you found ways to ignore the excuses to make things better? Do share!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Creamy Spinach Feta Dip (from http://www.laloosh.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: 1 (Serve with lots of yummy 0-point veggies)

4 1/2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1/4 c. green onions, chopped
1/2 c. reduced fat cream cheese
1/2 c. fat free sour cream
1 tsp. dried dill
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 c. fat free crumbled feta cheese (optional)
2 T. fresh chives, minced
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Steam spinach for about 2-3 minutes or until leaves just begin to wilt. Place spinach, green onions, cream cheese, garlic, sour cream, feta cheese, dill, chives, lemon juice in a blender. Puree and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Empty dip into a serving bowl and dig in!


"Excuses impede progress." --President Dieter F. Uchdorf


I'm turning 30 next week! I was recently reading a friend's blog where she posted a list of things she wanted to do before her 31st birthday, so this post is sort of a variation on that idea . . . (Thanks Juli!)

30 Things to Do in My 30th Year

1. Be someone's miracle
2. Read 10 classic novels
3. Dance in rain with the kids
4. Get licensed in Life and Health
5. Do donuts in the church parking lot, just like the good old times
6. Learn to French braid
7. Do a newborn session (photography)
8. Eat one zero-guilt candy bar
9. Re-read the Anne of Green Gables series
10. Start a gratitude journal
11. Give away a Book of Mormon
12. Host a fancy dinner party
13. Run a mile without stopping
14. Meet someone famous
15. Send someone an unexpected thank you note
16. Forgive someone who's hurt me
17. Play in the mud with my son (like, really, really play in the mud!)
18. Get family pictures (no more putting it off until I lose weight)
19. Laugh until I cry
20. Watch Casablanca
21. Do a three-legged race
22. Get a massage
23. Go out to lunch with my mom-in-law
24. Teach the kids a line dance (Achy Breaky Heart, anyone?)
25. Play Twister
26. Go swimming. In. A. Swimming. Suit.
27. Fill the sandbox, already!
28. Wear colored mascara in public
29. Sing "This is the Song that Never Ends" until I drive someone crazy
30. Smile big on a very hard day.

You'll probably note that most of these are not goals in the traditional sense. The main objective of this project will be for me to become more optimistic and to learn to "let my hair down" a little. I've had a hard year and I'm STILL STANDING, so I really want to just enjoy life this year. Hey, I'm going to be 30: all paths lead to my amazingly AWESOME future!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


"I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go." --Abraham Lincoln

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Dreams are Buoyant

All of us have heard the advice: "Take it one day at a time." Well, I'm here to tell you . . . it works! The last nine months since Tyler lost his job, our life has been CRAZY. Living life one day at a time has allowed me to get through it all. Every time I started panicking about schedules, job hunting, what if's and other unknowns, I had to remind myself to slow down and take it one day at a time. And it has worked well. The wonderful thing about life is that nine times out of ten, things really do take care of themselves. (Of course, I've also had TONS of help from dear family and friends).

At times though, I've wondered if I'd ever be able to look into the future and really start dreaming and planning again. Sometimes, it seemed that all of our goals and aspirations were being suffocated as we took care of the "now". We were living in crisis mode. Most days, I felt like a general, constantly strategizing and ordering the troops.

Now, as we are coming to a point where we can come up for air, I realize that our dreams have survived. Dreams have buoyancy. :)

Tyler has recently decided to go back to school. Utah State University has an extension here in town, and he is in the process of transferring his credits from Weber State University. We were so delighted to see on his transcript that he has over forty credit hours under his belt, way more than we thought. And all of his classes transferred! Woot! He is not positive yet what his major will be, but right now he is declared a Math Education major. He is also considering Business and Finance.

School does not come easily for my hubby. He has dyslexia, so studying, for him takes much longer than it would for your average Joe. He is honestly pretty scared about going back to school, but oh, how I admire his courage and dedication! Life is crazy and it's CRAZY to imagine that it's about to get CRAZIER!!! But this is a direction we both feel good about. And guess how we're planning on doing it? You guessed it . . . one day at a time.

Thursday, July 8, 2010



Serves: 1
Points: 4

1/4 c. regular oats (not instant)
1/4 c. fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Original Egg Beaters)
2 T. whole-wheat flour
2 T. fat-free vanilla yogurt
2 tsp. semi-sweet mini chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 no-calorie sweetener packet (like Splenda)
dash salt
4 sprays I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! Spray
2 T. Fat Free Reddi-wip
Optional: sugar-free pancake syrup

In a small bowl, place all ingredients EXCEPT for the chocolate chips, butter spray, Reddi-wip and optional syrup. Add 2 T. of water, and stir until thoroughly mixed. Then, fold in the chocolate chips. Bring a pan sprayed with nonstick spray to medium heat. Evenly pour half of the batter into the center of the pan to form 1 pancake. Once the pancake begins to look solid (after about 1 1/2 minutes), gently flip. Cook for an additional 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or until both sides are lightly browned and the inside is cooked through. Plate and spray evenly with 2 spritzes of the butter spray. Repeat with the rest of the batter and butter spray to make your second pancake. If you like, drizzle with a little sugar-free syrup. Then, top with the Reddi-wip and enjoy!


"My dear brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes p o s s i b l e—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you" (Dieter F. Uchdorf, "The Love of God," Ensign, November 2009).

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Obedience is a Joy

"The Savior Himself provided the answer with this profound declaration: 'If ye love me, keep my commandments.' This is the essence of what it means to be a true disciple: those who receive Christ Jesus walk with Him.

But this may present a problem for some because there are so many “shoulds” and “should nots” that merely keeping track of them can be a challenge. Sometimes, well-meaning amplifications of divine principles—many coming from uninspired sources—complicate matters further, diluting the purity of divine truth with man-made addenda. One person’s good idea—something that may work for him or her—takes root and becomes an expectation. And gradually, eternal principles can get lost within the labyrinth of 'good ideas.'

This was one of the Savior’s criticisms of the religious 'experts' of His day, whom He chastised for attending to the hundreds of minor details of the law while neglecting the weightier matters.

So how do we stay aligned with these weightier matters? Is there a constant compass that can help us prioritize our lives, thoughts, and actions?

Once again the Savior revealed the way. When asked to name the greatest commandment, He did not hesitate. 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind,' He said. 'This is the first and great commandment.' Coupled with the second great commandment—to love our neighbor as ourselves—we have a compass that provides direction not only for our lives but also for the Lord’s Church on both sides of the veil.

Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk.

When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on n e w m e a n i n g. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden" (Dieter F. Uchdorf, "The Love of God," Ensign, November 2009).


"There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity; but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity."
--Washington Irving

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Fabulous Fruit Fantasia (from http://www.betterrecipes.com/)

Serves: 8
Points: about 3

1 (8 oz.) pkg. light cream cheese, softened
1 (8 oz.) carton fat-free sour cream
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1 (8 oz) carton frozen fat-free non-dairy whipped topping, thawed
1 1/2 c. green seedless grapes
1 1/2 c. red seedless grapes
1 (10 oz) jar maraschino cherries, well drained (Reserve 4 for garnish)
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, well drained
1 (16 oz) can sliced peaches, well drained
2 firm bananas, thinly sliced
Reserved cherries (4), halved
1/2 c. lightly toasted slivered almonds

In a large mixing bowl, beat together first four ingredients on medium speed until smooth. Beat in whipped topping. Fold in remaining ingredients. Spoon into 2-quart clear glass bowl. Cover and chill. Garnish with cherries and almonds before serving.


You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
--Eleanor Roosevelt

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT-Do the Thing You Think You Cannot Do

This week was a real landmark in my life's journey. I did the thing I didn't know I could do. . . I passed my Property and Casualty license exam. (I'm now a licensed insurance producer!) In case you didn't know, this test is HARD! I've been studying day and night, and boy, did I feel prepared as I headed to take the test on Monday. I felt so good as I sailed through my last simulated exam the morning of and as I crammed on the way to Salt Lake. I felt confident as I checked in, had my picture taken, and was led to my testing station. But as I started the test, and kept seeing question after question of material I hadn't studied at all, I panicked. At one point, I even started thinking, "Could they have given me the wrong test?"

At that point I said a quick prayer, and started marking the questions I didn't understand for later. And I took the test, one question at a time. It was grueling. As I got closer to the end, I remembered all my marked questions and I again became discouraged and frightened. As I started reviewing these, I again closed my eyes and said to myself simply: "Father in Heaven. Please teach me."

I was prompted to change several answers. My mind was cleared enough to recall principles I had learned during my many, many study sessions, and I was able to apply them to the situations in the story problems. And I finished the test. I clicked the "done" button, knowing I had done my very best. And guess what? I passed by 1%, a matter of just three questions.

As I thought about this unexpected, spiritual experience, I realized how much it relates to my experience here on Earth. I wonder how prepared I felt to come in the pre-existence. Did I truly know how hard life would be? Did I know what trials I would face? Have I ever even wondered: "Did I get the right test?" Perhaps. But I also know that when I need help the most, I always have someone there to guide me. . . to "teach me."

I am so thankful that I took the risk and decided to take the "test" of life. I look at all the blessings: my family, friends, and my personal growth, that I have been granted here on Earth. There is no other way I could've received so much. I pray that next time, I find myself panicked, feeling unprepared for whatever tests come my way, I will remember all the principles of the gospel, and learn to apply them to life's little "story problems." And when I need help, I will humbly pray again and again, "Heavenly Father, teach me."