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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Day 12: What is your favorite story in the scriptures? Oh boy. This is a really hard one. I have so many favorites and they change frequently as my life marches on. I love that about the scriptures ... I always seem to find just what I need to hear exactly when I need to hear it. Earlier today I was thinking about the story of the widow's mite: And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing... And He called unto Him his disciples and saith unto them, Verily I saith unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in than all they which hath cast into the treasury. For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she, of her want, did cast in all that she had, even all her living. This story hits many nerves with me. First of all, I admire this sweet widow and I can relate to her financial struggles. We have struggled since Ty lost his job and it has been a test of our faith to continue paying tithing faithfully, not knowing how our basic needs would be met. I admire this widow for her quiet, unwavering faith. Her example blesses me hundreds and hundreds of years later. It gives me peace, knowing that when I give all that I have, I please the Lord and honor my Father in Heaven. Secondly, I think of the things that I tend to hold onto when I comes to forsaking the world and following the Savior. Perhaps a good juicy bit of gossip, or my favorite television show, which I know to be less than appropriate. Perhaps it's the stubborn satisfaction of remaining offended at seemingly unkind actions of long ago. What is it that I still need to bring to the treasury? What is that sacrifice that I have been holding back? What more do I need to bring to the Lord and hand over to him? What grudge am I still holding on to? What do I still need to resolve in order to grow a closer relationship with my Savior? What of my pride? How can I offer more to Him? How can I truly commit to Him? What is that last farthing I've been hiding, tucked away in a dark corner? I have a great love for the gospel and these verses remind me that as I show willingness to sacrafice all that I have, all that I am, and all that I hope to be, only then will I lay claim to all the blessings which the Lord has in store for the faithful.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Day 11: What is your favorite food?

Oh heavens. I love food. Thanks goodness Weight Watchers is teaching me that that is ok. It's so nice to know that I can eat what I want as long as I set boundaries for myself.

I love sweets. Lately, it's been dark chocolate and mint stuff like mint chocolate chip ice cream or York Peppermint Patties. Yum..... I also ADORE cheesecake.

I'm also a veggie lover. I LOVE nothing better than going out to my garden and eating a green pepper while it's still warm from the sun or a plate of roasted or steamed asparagus. I also LOVE cauliflower, broccoli and steamed, buttered cabbage. The only vegetable I don't really care for ... artichokes. Blech!

I don't like milk. I have tried to convince myself to like it so many times, but I just can't get past the taste/texture. Luckily, I like all other dairy. And I don't like meat too much. Red meat, especially steak, is just not something I love. Chicken, fish, pork and ham, me likey.

What about you?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


"Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker." --Zig Ziglar


Day 10: What is the hardest lesson you've ever learned?

I don't have many regrets in life. Even the hard times have taught me valuable lessons that I couldn't have learned in any other ways.

I would say the hardest lesson I've learned is that if you choose not to do something today, you'll probably regret it. And chances are, you'll just have to do it later in life, possibly at a much more difficult stage of life.

Yes, I am referring to weight loss here. I sometimes wish that I would've had the courage, know-how, faith, etc. to tackle my obesity BEFORE it became obesity. But at the same time, I have learned along the way and I have a hope that I will be able to be a voice and a light to those with similar struggles. Without being there, I would never have learned compassion for my sweet friends who also long for health and longevity.

Overall, life is better than good. As I work at losing weight, I am constantly amazed at the tender mercies that touch my progress. I am amazed at how strong I am becoming, spiritually, physically and emotionally. My battle against obesity is fast becoming a vehicle for increased faith, testimony, self-esteem, and hope. Where regret once lived, hope and joy now reside.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


"When we choose to obey the commandments cheerfully as our first priority, neither murmuring about nor measuring the things He commands, we become the handmaids of the Lord and fishers of men, and cast our nets on the right side of our own ships. We simply go and do the things the Lord commanded, even when we are weary, trusting that He will help us to do exactly as He asks. As we do so, the Lord helps our unbelief, and our faith becomes powerful, vibrant, and unshakeable." (L. Whitney Clayton, "Help Thou My Unbelief," Liahona, January 2002, 31-33)

"Therefore, dearly beloved brethren, let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still, with the utmost assurance [or faith], to see the salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed." (D&C 123:17)


SEASONED PORK TENDERLOIN (from http://www.fatsecret.com/)

Serves: 8
Points+: 4

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground ginger
2 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloin
1/2 c. light pancake syrup

In a large zip-close plastic bag, combine syrup and spices. Add tenderloin to plastic bag, squeeze out air, and seal bag. Marinate in refrigerator for at least two hours, prefereably overnight, turning bag occasionally.

Preheat broiler. Place tenderloins on broiler pan (spray with cooking spray) and cover with marinade. Broil until pork reaches an internal temperature of 160* (about 7 minutes each side).

Serve with brown rice and squash or asparagus.


Day 9: Describe your dream home

Ok. I should probably say something noble like "I just love the home I'm in now. I could be satisfied to live here forever and ever. I am so very blessed." While I do like my home, and do feel very blessed to have it, I have a secret yearning to move into a fabulous craftsman bungalow or an amazing Victorian charmer. I LOVE the character of an older home. (Since we're just dreaming here, we'll assume that this dream older home would have no electrical or plumbing issues...)

I love all the millwork you see in old homes, as well as architectural details like stained glass windows, built in bookcases and window seats, tin ceilings, laundry chutes, archways, crown moulding, etc. etc. etc. Ahhh. A girl can dream, right?

Sunday, March 20, 2011



Serves: 8
Points+: 6

8 oz. Cool Whip Free
8 oz. 1/3 less fat cream cheese (softened)
9-in. reduced fat graham cracker crust
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice

In a large bowl, whip cream cheese, lemon juice, and sugar for a few minutes until fluffy. Add Cool Whip and whip until smooth. Spoon mixture into pie crust and chill for a few hours until firm. For just 3 points+, spoon mixture into bowls and elimintate the crust. Top with a handful of raspberries for no additional points. Yum!


"Do your duty; do your best. Leave unto the Lord the rest."
--David O. McKay


Day 8: If you could do anything or go anywhere for one whole day with your family, where/what would you do?

It may sound boring to some, but I honestly would just want to be home with my family. I'd clean the house while the kids colored and played with Playdough at the kitchen table, then we'd make banana bread, play a board game, do haircuts and paint fingernails, and end with a movie and popcorn. My life is what I want it to be. It may not be perfect, but it's perfect for me.

Saturday, March 19, 2011


My new favorite snack! And I get the WHOLE box all to myself for 3 Points+!!! I mean, come on! it has CHEESE SAUCE!!!! The Broccoli and Cheese Sauce and Corn Niblets with Butter are also DELECTABLE!!!


Day 8: If you could meet someone famous (dead or alive) who would it be?

Mother Teresa. I love this woman. She was such an incredible example of selfless, fearless service. I love her quotes too. They help me realign and refocus myself whenever I start thinking perhaps the world should rotate around me. Here's a sampling:

"If you judge a person, you have no time to love them."

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It never was between you and them anyway."

"Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love."

"Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."

"Never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly."

"What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family."

"Spread the love of God throughout your life, but only use words if necessary."

"I do not pray for success. I ask for faithfulness."

"It is a kingly act to assist the fallen."

I cannot wait to meet this sweet, gracious, woman someday. Her quiet dignity truly inspires.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Day 7: Where would I go on vacation if I could go anywhere in the world?

It is so hard to choose just one. I've always wanted to go to Austria and do a classical music tour. Or back to my dad's stomping grounds on the lovely Oregon Coast. Or back to Bucharct Gardens in Vancouver, British Columbia. I've never been to Nauvoo either. Or Disneyland. For the sake of the kids, I'd better stick with that ... Disneyland, my final answer!!! (Preferably at Christmastime)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


DAY 7: What is something you never leave the house without?

Mascara! I discovered mascara my junior year in high school and it literally changed my life! I count count on one hand how many people have seen me without it since then. Yes, I wear it to Girls' Camp. Yes, I wear waterproof mascara in the pool. Yes, I wear it in my sleep. I am so crazy about my obession with mascara, that one year I wrote an ode to mascara for a writing competition. It won second place ... the female judge must have understood:

Ode to Mascara

Oh, Mascara! How do I love thee?
Let me attempt to explain:
You fluff and pump the volume
Of something rather plain.

Your little brush, your sticky goo,
You're a gift from up above,
You boost and lift and lengthen
And feel my heart with love.

I love it when you wateproof
When the movie makes me cry
I even love to scrub and scrub
At night when we say "goodbye."

So sweet Mascara, please stay with me
And never leave my side.
Please say that you'll be there for me
When I look a little fried.

I'll see you in the morning
I'll dream of you 'til then
I hope no one will see me
Until we meet again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011



*** All the fruit is 0 points+
*** "March" mellows are 3 points+ per 1/2 c.
This would go great as dessert with yesterday's SHAMROCK MINI PIZZAS, don't you think?


Day Six: What is your favorite holiday?

I absolutely ADORE Halloween! I love to dress up and dress my sweet little kiddos up. I love the smell of the crisp autumn air and the crunch of leaves under my feet. I love traipsing aound the neighborhood with my children in tow, in the pursuit of yummy treats. I love homemade donuts and apple cider. I love going to my family's annual grown-ups only costume party. I love visiting my children's elementary school to watch the kindergartner's costume parade. I love everything, simply everything about Halloween!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


(adapted from and photo courtesy of http://www.familyfun.com/)

Serves: 8
Points+: 4 per mini pizza

Jarred pizza sauce
4 English muffins
Sliced 2% milk cheddar cheese
Green bell peppers

Half each English muffin. Slice green peppers horizontally to get "shamrocks". Top each muffin half with pizza sauce, then cheese, then green peppers. Cut stem-shaped pieces from unused portion of peppers and add these to the pizzas. Broil until cheese is melted and green pepper is slightly tender. Enjoy with a big leafy green salad and steamed yellow carrots (these look just like golden coins!)

I will post dessert tomorrow!


"The greatest work we will ever do will be within the walls of our home." --David O. McKay


Day 5: Something you hope to do in life ...

As I mentioned a few days back, I tend to dream big. I have so many dreams, but ultimately my main objective in life is to be a good mommy and wifey. I love my family so much. I also want to be an author and a chef and a photographer and a medical-something-or-other and an artist and an interior designer and a singer and a healthy, beautiful gal. But, even as I dream of all these possibilities, I constantly come back to a little quote that is evermore floating around in my head: "No success can compensate for failure in the home." (President David O. McKay) I have had requests for more pictures of my darling family, so I will plug in a few for you.

What do you want in life?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011



by Emily Dickinson

Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all.

And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm,
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.

FOOD FOR THE SPIRIT--Hope and Desire

I have been thinking about hope lately. Before I got serious about losing weight back in January, I thought about my obesity every day ... in a bad way. I obsessed over my body, feeling ugly, unmotivated, tired, depressed, overwhelmed, etc. You get the picture. Now, even though I've lost 30 POUNDS (!), I am still quite overweight. I still wear the same size. Not many people have noticed yet that I've even lost any weight at all. So what is the difference between now and before? Now that I'm on the right track with my goals, I have HOPE. I feel an inner drive that propels me forward. I think about my body still, but now, in a good way. I appreciate my increase in energy. I like the way my pants snap easily. I love being able to go up and down the stairs with ease instead of huffing and puffing. Everything about my life is better, fresher, and more joyous. The difference stemmed from my ability to do SOMETHING about it. And that simple decision is blessing my life. Gone are the feelings of self-doubt and frustration. In their place, are feelings of optimism and brightness. Hope and fear cannot coexist. I would therefore put forth the theory that hope comes as the fruits of hard work and spiritual direction.

I thank the Lord for granting me the desire to work hard at losing weight, for giving me this body, and for guiding me as I strive to make better use of it and treat it with more kindness. I truly have hope that things will continue to get better healthwise and otherwise as I put in the hours: planning meals, working out, learning to deal with stress and cope in a healthy way. Thank you all for offering words of hope to me. I love each of you!


Day 4: A picture of something that makes me smile ...

Sunday, March 6, 2011


DAY 3: What is your favorite indulgence?

I have always loved food, but my love for it got me into a lot of trouble. Now, I am learning to control myself, allowing for occasional indulgence, but not allowing food to control me. One thing that I still love though, is watching Food Network, which is totally calorie free. You would think that watching these programs would cause me to crave food, but it's actually very theraputic to enjoy the sights of gourmet food and the vision of the chefs who prepare them with love. So I indulge away, In the process, I've become a better cook and can look at food with thoughtfulness and objectivity. My husband also loves to cook and we often dream of opening our own restaraunt.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


BAKED POTATO SOUP (from http://www.skinnytaste.com/)

Serves: 5
PointsPlus: 5

2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
1 small head of cauliflower, (florets only)
1 1/2 c. fat-free chicken broth
1 1/2 c. 1% milk
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 c. light sour cream
10 T. reduced fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
6 T. chopped chives, divided
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for five minutes, turn over and microwave another 3-5 minutes, until tender. Cool. Peel potatoes.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower until very tender. Drain and return to pot. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, and potatoes and bring to a boil. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper, and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Ladle soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 2 T. cheese, remaining chives, and bacon.


"Only as high as I reach, can I grow. Only as far as I seek, can I go. Only as deep as I look, can I see. Only as much as I dream, can I be." --Karen Ravn


Day Two: Something you love about yourself

One thing I love about myself is that I dream big. I'm always planning for the day I will get my first book published, try out for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, wear a size 10, or go to India to work in a mobile medical unit. I love to think big. I feel that this particular strength of mine helps me to be a more optimistic person because I always have hope for a better, bigger tomorrow. Besides, I know that all things are possible for the one who loves God!

What do you love about yourself? What are some of your big dreams?

Friday, March 4, 2011


HERBED PARMESAN CRISPS (from http://www.weightwatchers.com/)
Use on your next soup or salad-YUMMY!

Serves: 12 (2 per serving)
PointsPlus: 1

4 oz. Parmesan cheese, finely shredded (about 1 1/2 c.)
2 T. fresh chives, minced
2 T. fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp. black pepper

Preheat oven to 425*. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper or coat with cooking spray. Place scant tablespoons of cheese on prepared pans, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart. Flatten out each pile of cheee into an oval shape; sprinkle with herbs and pepper. Bake until cheese crisps turn golden and rssemble lace cookies, about 5 to 6 minutes. Cool on pan until set and then move to wire rack to cool completely.


"Never let a spiritual prompting slip through your grasp. I challenge you to either act on each prompting or write it down for later action within TEN SECONDS of receiving it." --My Stake President, Ron Frandsen


Day One: Something You Hate About Yourself

After years and years of hating so many things about myself, I respectfully refuse to answer this question. Instead, I will address a few things that I consider to be weaknesses ... or better yet, we'll call them FUTURE STRENGTHS!

1) I am a very disorganized person. It seems to be my lot in life that the harder I try to get a handle on my housekeeping, laundry, paperwork, etc., the more they seem to take over! I keep working at it though, and I try to be gentle with myself, because I realize that it can be very difficult to organize with four young children. In the meantime, I practice the art of selective neglect, always trying to make time to keep at least one area neat and tidy at any given time.

2) I am ALWAYS tired. My energy level, even now that I eat healthily and exercise often is always low. I think I'm going to go talk to a doc about this again.

3) Chocolate. Come on, I'm only human after all. Thank you, Weight Watchers, for teaching me that I can have my cake and eat it too ... occasionally. :)

What are your "future strengths"?