Sunday, August 31, 2008

Monday Menu Planning

Back again & it's a semi short work week, so the menu planning was a bit easier for me. I have tons of repeats because with school starting last week, I didn't have a chance to get to all the recipes that I wanted to try. Maybe I should call it a menu guideline. lol... Since I often stray away for what I actually plan, but most of the time stick with it.
Week 9/1 - 9/7
Monday ~ Labor Day Picnic at Mom's! Yum!!
Tuesday ~ Taco Night
Thursday ~ Attempting the Cider-Brined Chicken (again) with baked potatoes & broccoli
Friday ~ Grilling (Hamburgers & Hot dogs) with sweet potato fries
Saturday ~ Out around town (eat out & healthy)
First full week of back to school for me & the homework starts as well. Hopefully I will be able to get in most of the meals that I planned out!
For more yummy ideas check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.
Happy Eatings!!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday's Fab Five

So we've had some first day of school woes over the past two days. Yesterday little man came out with his head hung low & was so sad. A huge adjustment for the little guy with a brand new school, teacher & kids. This morning was even worse, as he cried for the first time today when I had to leave him. Wow... talk about enough to break your heart. I'm praying that Day three is a bit better. I know it will continue to be an adjustment - I just pray for a smile, at least, when I pick him up today.

Friday's Fabulous Five

  1. Got to be there for my little man's first day of school.
  2. I have such an understanding supervisor who is allowing me to switch my hours, until Nick gets adjusted to kindergarten.
  3. Finally got my SS card & license updated with my new (married) last name
  4. It's the end of the summer (although I'm sad about it), but now it's Fall and that's one of my favorite time of the year.
  5. After today, I can officially say that I made it through the 1st few days of school.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

First Day of Kindergarten

First Day of School!!! We're all dressed up and ready to go!!

What can I say... My little man is all grown up!

Waiting in line to be walked to his classroom.

In the classroom. He is the little bald head in the middle. I peeked into his class after they were all settled down because I didn't want to make the little man anxious. Then I backed out quietly.
What a day!! Time sure does fly.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

It's that time again! Wow, the weekend flew by & for that matter, so did Monday! lol... Oh well, better late than never. Especially since school starts this week. I figure it's better to get a jump on things.

Menu for August 26th - August 30th

Tuesday: Jambalaya w/ sausages & veggies

Wednesday: 15 minute chili and cornbread

Thursday: Attempting Cider-Brined Fried Chicken w/ baked potatoes & veggies

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Cookout at Friend's house

For more yummy ideas check out I'm An Organizing Junkie here.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Fab Five Friday

Started out a bit rough this morning, but I knew I wanted to post my fabulous five for this Friday!!

  • Started a 7 day detox. Today is Day Two, but I'm sticking with it so far.
  • Made it through a crazy work week with my sanity in tack!
  • My sister recently got engaged (Congratulations Adrienne), so we'll be planning another wedding.
  • This weekend I will be childless (although for 1 night), so it gives DH and I a chance for a date night - hopefully!!
  • Started my Step Out for Diabetes campaign and I am getting in the donations!

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Stay Blessed!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thursday's Tid-Bit

I swear I have a small addiction to the Internet. I get on and I just research whatever comes to mind and usually this takes me to other ideas and then more ideas until most times, my brain goes into information over load! lol... Today I wanted to research a simple detox plan that I could easily incorporate into my life over the next 10 days. Well, I did succeed in finding a simple plan, but I also found something of more interest. It was researched under different titles and names, "God's 8 Health Laws", "New Start", "God's Plan" and I'm sure I can find some more out there. As a Christian woman, I find the principles intriguing and they make a lot of sense.

Here is a short summary:

An abiding faith in our loving God will help you! He has made every provision to forgive and cleanse all our past mistakes. He will give power to break harmful addictions and help us overcome bitter and angry attitudes that 'eat us up' inside. If we are 'Willing to be made willing'—He will work with us, take away our love for sinning and make us free in Him, His happy, obedient children—Ask Him!
Pure fresh air is very important! That means good air with lots of oxygen. Walking in forests and nature is great! Do deep breathing exercises daily, in the morning. Even in winter have windows open a little and air rooms daily. Avoid smoke, chemicals, 'Air fresheners', sprays and aerosols. Do not remain in the presence of someone smoking!
Begin a program of walking by walking as far as is comfortable and gradually working up to 4 or 5 miles a day. Take a walking stick for stability. Work up to a minimum of 20-30 minutes at least every other day. If muscles are weak, every other day is better, as it takes 48 hrs. recovery time. Can't go out? A re-bounder, (mini trampoline) is good. Folk in apartment buildings often walk the halls, going to the top in the elevator then walking each hall and descending each staircase. Gradually increase the number of floors walked. Organic Gardening is also great for health. (and the side effect is yummy vegetables!)
Sunshine has several benefits to the body. It furnishes the natural Vit. D and helps to lower cholesterol. Sunlight increases the volume of oxygen in the blood. People with severe Arthritis have been cured by simply getting out into the sunlight. It is important to spend at least part of your time in the sunlight without wearing glasses to maximize healing effects. Start with 10-15 minutes daily to face and hands and work up to 30-45 minutes daily. The best time for sunbathing is 9-10 am and 4-6 PM. Avoid burning. To lessen skin cancer risk, reduce the fat intake, such as animal fats, oils, margarine—(& foods containing refined, processed oils) And don't over do sunbathing. If you have to stay in the sun, the best 'sunscreen' is a straw-hat and light clothing.

Get adequate restful sleep. an early, light supper, well before bedtime and no eating before bed will help. A relaxing warm bath may help you unwind, avoid stressful and stimulating activities before bedtime. Regular times for going to bed and rising will also help. The best time to go to bed is between 9 and 10 PM. This sounds strange, because in our culture, it almost seems in bad taste to sleep. 100 years ago the average person got 9 or more hours sleep—now it is more like 4 or 5! Exercise during the day also helps set the stage for restful sleep. Avoid using drugs for sleep as these are harmful and sleep thus attained is of little benefit to your body. Lack of restful sleep is for many the root of the 'enervation' that brings disease. For healing and cleansing to occur much rest and sleep is needed as these actions are done only while asleep.
Your body is about 75% water! Lots of water is needed for optimal function! Every process in your body depends on the presence of adequate water.Drink lots of pure, soft water daily. Distilled water is best. Juice, tea or soft drinks do NOT take the place of water! Your weight ÷ 2= minimum number of oz. of water to drink daily. Adequate fluid intake will increase your endurance and energy levels! Studies show DEHYDRATION at the cellular level to be the root cause of many diseases! Carry a supply with you at work and on walks etc.On arising squeeze a fresh lemon into two glasses room temperature or warm water and drink it. Drink between meals. 2 hours after to 1/2 hour before—not with meals. Taking 2 glasses 1/2 hour before each meal, prevents mealtime thirst, aids digestion and prevents ulcers. Shower daily with cool or tepid water using a bath brush or good rough washcloth to rub your skin all over. This improves circulation and gets toxins out.
Temperance is not only concerned with drinking booze; good health requires moderation and wise choices in all aspects of life. Over-eating, over-playing, over-working, and over-indulgence of the marriage privilege can all contribute to poor health. Abstain from all harmful indulgences. Tobacco, alcohol coffee, tea, (except herbal tea) colas and soft drinks. The bit of pleasure they might give is not worth the misery they cause in the long run.

THE HEALTHY DIET—Avoids all refined foods; Uses fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, legumes and grains, as fresh & simple as possible. Fresh is best, Frozen next best, dried is OK also. Eat as much as possible fresh & raw. Sprouts are very good. Reduce oil and fat, including margarine and vegetable oils and things made with them. (Read Labels!) Use no sugar—replace with honey or dried fruit & use this lightly. Avoid 'salt bombs' such as cheezies, chips, pretzels and party snacks. Cheese is extremely high in fat & salt and should be eliminated. Use no deep fried foods. Don't mix fruits and vegetables at the same meal. Avoid 'hot' spices and vinegar. Cook in Glass, stainless steel, or enamel, not aluminum! (or better still eat it raw.) If you can, get organically grown foods, but even the worse supermarket fruits and veggies are safer than animal products. Avoid microwaved, and irradiated produce. A good rule is—IF IT GROWS—EAT IT; & EAT IT IN AS NATURAL A STATE AS POSSIBLE. The more man does with a food the less nutritional value it has left when he is finished!

I found this above information here. I plan on checking the information out some more & most sites have the biblical passages to go along with them that I will look up as well.

If anyone knows any more info, please share!

Be Blessed!!!

10 Day Challenge

It's about 10 or so days until September 1st and a brand new month. So during these next days I decided to undergo a 10 Day challenge from my team & add my own twist too it.

Here is the 10 Day Challenge portion...

N = 5 servings of fruits/veggies daily
E = Your own exercise challenge, please state it in the challenge thread that I'll post for this challenge. That's only going to be for those who commit to this challenge, like a pledge thread for the 10 days. We'll use the NEW SPARK Chat!!! thread for all the posting on how we're doing in the challenge.
W = 8 8oz glasses of h2o daily
S = 10-15 minutes of Sunlight, daily
P = Pray/Meditate as much as you can/want.
A = 10-15 minute of fresh air, daily
R = Rest, 8 hours of sleep, and here's the bonus, every hour of sleep before midnight will count as 2 hours. So if you want to be up longer, do it on the other side of midnight, LOL or just get 8 hours for sure!
K = Don't overdo anything, sleep, staying awake, food, dessert, whatever it is, KEEP TEMPERATE/ KNOW when to STOP!

For those of you who walk in the open air... you knock out the E, S, A of NEW SPARK in one shot. Let's make use of the sun while we have it during the summer because when that cold air comes we make all kinds of excuses and the sunlight really benefits us in so many ways!

My twist is a 7 day detox that I found online & it's rather simple. Tomorrow will be Day 1 and I will basically be eating fruit all day. That is Day 1 - eat fruit! Pretty easy. There is also a soup that I was supposed to make, but I won't be able to buy the ingredients until tomorrow.

Onward & Forward!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


The title of the email that I received from Geri on yesterday. She is the Associate Director of the American Diabetes Association within Fairfield county, and she is so kindly keeping up on me and my process with the 2008 Step Out: Walk to Fight Diabetes team that I just started.
This will be the first year that I'm participating in the walk, which is kind of sad since I lived with someone who had the disease for all of my life - my Dad. He passed away in November of 2006. He was diagnosed in his early 20's and was able to control the disease up until his early forties. From then, it was a battle. As a family, we banded together and fought hard. We watched this disease take my father's kidneys, feet, then his legs and finally the Lord called my Dad home. A day which I still remember clear in my mind.
My Dad went into the hospital on September of 2006 and never came back home. Which was a shock to our family because each time he went into the hospital, he ALWAYS came back home. By then my Dad had developed complications to his lungs and it came to the point that he couldn't breathe without a ventilator. Each time the doctors took him off, he wouldn't take in deep enough breathes & the toxins would build back up into his bloodstream.
Let me tell you, it was so hard seeing him like that. Even to the point that my trips to the hospital were few and far between. See I was the girl who always saw her Dad as Superman. But by then, he was so frail - no resemblance to the man who used to let me swing in his arms or who lift me up as if I were as light as a feather. And let me tell you - I was a chubby kid! lol...
Finally the doctors said that we had to make a choice - either allow him to continue in the hospital on the ventilator or to take him off. Never in all my life did I ever think I'd have to make such a choice. How do you choose something like that?? And doctors, God bless them, they want to help, but what could they say? How much peace can they truly offer you??? There was none. My Mom turned to us (her kids) for our opinion and answers. But this was her husband... Her help meet.... They were supposed to grow old together, right?
But deep down we each knew - we knew my Dad well enough to know that he wouldn't want to live that way. Heck, each time he was conscious, the first thing he would do was fight each and every one of us to take that "Damn Thing" out of his mouth. It got to the point where he had to be restrained - another horrible thing to have to experience as well. So as a united family, we allowed them to remove the ventilator and we were moved to a private room, in essence, to watch my father pass away.
I went that evening with my son, to the hospital, to say our good-byes & we both kissed him and left. Only my Mom and my oldest sister stayed. The next morning I got the dreaded call from my Mother who only said "You better come to the hospital now, he's going..." So I raced like a maniac to drop my son off at daycare & sped all the way to the hospital. Mind you, I don't know what I expected to do since in my mind I already knew what was happening... But he was already gone by the time I got there.
Pretty much everything else is a blur.
Yes, I am doing this walk in honor of my father, but also in honor of those family members that are still living with the disease - my Mom, Grandmothers, brother and several Aunts.
I feel that if I can contribute the smallest thing, like walking, then just maybe some of the experience that I just shared can be few and far between.
Thank for taking the time to read my post.
If you wish to join up in your area please click here .
Or to make a contribute on my behalf please click here.
Be Blessed...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

My family flip flops so much between my cooking or the hubby cooking - to eating at my Mom's house for the evening - that the thought of planning a menu is kind of baffling. Will we stick to it? lol... But in my attempts to organize my home before the school year begins (next week! AAHHH) I think maybe this will help the family along. I suppose there is room for adjustments and it'll be easy when hubby calls me at work in the middle of the day & asks what I want for dinner! lol... Now I'll have a list of ideas to choose from! lol...


Monday - Spaghetti w/ meatballs & salad

Tuesday - Hotdogs & beans

Wednesday - Eating at Mom's for brother-in-law to be birthday dinner

Thursday - Baked Pork chops w/ rice & veggies

Friday - Hubby cooking on the grill (more hotdogs! lol, hamburgers)

Saturday - Run around day - whatever healthy eat out choice we can find

Sunday - T.B.D... Yesterday I decided to have a taco night which was really fun... Not to sure about this upcoming Sunday...

As you can see, we're not elaborate at all! lol... Maybe once I change my hours at work, I'll have the time to be more crafty! But for now... Simple is best!!!

For more menu ideas, please check out

Hot for challenges!!

That's me!! Just jumping in every where that I can... I figure what a way to get around the blog-o-shere! And since I'm still learning, why not jump in with both feet to as many challenges as possible. lol... Well this one will be more accountability for me as I'm already following my weight loss journey on It's call "Hot for the Holidays" and it's hosted by Baby Tea Leaves (see link below).

The rules:

The challenge starts Monday, September 8th and continues through to Friday, December 5th. Yes, it is a long time. But there is a lot of work to do! So let's get started! Rome wasn't built in a day!
-Each Friday, we will weigh in. Comment here on Fridays with your pounds lost or gained for the week (no worries -- you don't have to display your actual weight for the entire world-- I'm not that crazy!)

-At the end of each Friday, I will announce our entire collective weight loss and ceremoniously move the ticker (hopefully in the direction toward our goal.)
-That means, if you lost, we all lost!! Hurrah!! But if you gained, that means we all gained, too. Boooo! Which means the amount of work someone did one week to lose could be counter-balanced by the amount of non-work someone else did to gain! (Isn't that stinky??) But honestly, what could be more motivating than knowing that you're a team, working toward your own personal goal as well as for the group's? I mean, it is an Olympic year for Pete's Sake! (Who's Pete, by the way?) If you need mental motivation, think of Michael Phelps and his amazing relay team's Gold Medal!!!!! Think of this as a weight-loss relay. However well you do will only improve the chances of the team's winning!
-But seriously. If you gain one week, no biggie! Don't be shy about it either! Please, do tell us and please, do weigh-in with it! We need honesty here! And we will honestly help you pick up and move on. It's a "we're all in this together" thing. Wasn't it Jack Dawson in Titanic who said, "You jump, I jump" ??So what's a challenge without prizes?
-Each Friday there will be a random drawing and the winner will be chosen from those who commented by 8pm et. Sorry, if you're late, you won't be eligible for the prize drawing, but you can still weigh in late.
-There will also be one grand prize drawing at the Final Weigh In of the challenge on Friday, December 5th. It will be a random winner. The only catch is that you will have had to weighed in at least 10 times throughout the competition (There are 13 weigh ins) and I will verify that by counting the comments you've left at the previous Friday weigh-ins. If you don't meet that number, a second winner will be randomly chosen. So the earlier you join in on this, the better chance you have at winning the Grand Prize! Again, I ask, won't you join us?

Additional Participation:
-If you want to sponsor a prize or know someone who will sponsor a prize, please let me know. I will write up a post about the company or your blog in a separate post for all to see and link to the company, and/or blog, in my "sponsors" section on my sidebar.
-If you have a suggestion for a game (scavenger hunt, photo contest, anything to make it interesting for a particular week) let me know!
-You can e-mail me at christieo_7 at msn dot com for anything!We've done two challenges already this year. The Spring Into Summer Slimdown was a complete success, as well as the Summer of Me Competition which completely exploded into a HUGE SUCCESS (we had a hugggge sponsor list and really cool prizes like a Wii Fit, a blog design, teeshirts, and much more!!). So let's close the year out with a bang, shall we?

I have a nice goal in mine too & something to look forward too. My lovely sister just got engaged and her wedding date is set for 2009. What better motivation?? AND it's in the summer, so sure this is may be hot for the holidays, but I'll still be looking further into the future!!!

Join in! It sounds like fun!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friday's Fab Five

A few months back a friend of mine and I decided to challenge ourselves. We decided that for 21 days we would try to be the most positive people that we could be. To help us along, I came up with the idea of emailing to one another, five positive thoughts for the day. If any negative thoughts came up, we would remind one another about our 5 positive thoughts!

About a week or so into this challenge, we started calling our 5 thoughts, our Fab Five or Fabulous Five. Since I've been challenged lately in maintaining positive thinking in my day to day, I decided that maybe it's time I implement the Fab Five rule all over again. However, instead of posting every day, I figured I'd just do a weekly sum up and call it Friday's Fab Five.

  1. My mother made it home from her cross country trip safely.
  2. I've had my health and well-being all week.
  3. On Tuesday, I had a wonderful mother/son day with Nicolas.
  4. The Lord has blessed us with beautiful weather all week.
  5. I've released 2 more lbs and well on my way to my healthy weight.

Wow... that wasn't so bad - today! lol... Some days are harder than others.

***So what do you say Patty?? Any Fab Fives you want to mention??***

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday's Tasty Tid-Bits

The 10% Solution
- excerpt from The 10% Solution: You May Not Need to Lose as Much as You Thought, by Mike Kramer
To bring expectations more in line with reality, many health professionals are beginning to suggest setting a 10% weight loss goal instead. Losing just 10% of your current weight can boost your energy and performance, lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, lower your cholesterol, and build some much-needed momentum. On top of that, 10% may be a better goal than 15%, 25% or even 38% for many reasons:
**10% is Under Your Control
**10% is Realistic
**10% is More Effective

For more information see:

This was something for me to chew on when I first read about it. It actually made more sense. There I was killing myself trying to drop 20 to 25 pounds, when all I needed to loose (at first) was 15lbs. I mean, 15 is still a hefty number, but still a lot easier to stomach. Talk about taking a load off my back!!
So now here I am still trucking along with about 5 more pounds to go! WOOHOO!! I'm hoping to release those last 5 by Labor Day. Then I'll revisit my 10% rule again to see where I have to go or really if I have to go any where at all!!!

(keep it simple silly)

Keeping Track of Personal Best

Just keeping an ongoing log of my personal best thus far...

20. Do 100 regular push-ups nonstop
**I'm up to doing 15 nonstop. I know it's not much but it was only 10 before.

74. Run a mile in 10 minutes or less
**Personal Best: 15min 00 sec <== Really struggled to get to this last night, but I did it. I read some where that you should take the 3rd week off from running when you're doing a running program. I thought this was my 2nd week, but with the way my legs feel today, I think this as my 3rd week. So even though I only got in 1 run this week (Friday & Sunday would be my other two), I think I'm sitting out for the remainder of the week. I'll work on my endurance on the elliptical or bike - less stress on my knees & joints.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Working On My Life List

Number 63 on my Life List is to "Participate in an American Diabetes Assoc. Event". Well not only did I sign up to participate, but I'm also organizing a team.

We will be walking on Saturday October 19, 2008.

This cause is dear to my heart because I lost my father 2 years ago to this disease. He fought for many years until Lord called him home in November of 2006. This disease not only took my father, but it continues to run in most members of my family - my Mother, both Grandmothers, brother and a few aunts. It's way to many people in my family.

This is my chance to honor each and every one of them. Below is a link to the website. If the Lord places it on your heart, please donate. Every little bit counts.

Be Blessed.

Moving Forward

Number 63 on my Life List is to "Participate in an American Diabetes Assoc. Event". Well not only did I sign up to participate, but I'm also organizing a team. We will be walking on Saturday October 19, 2008.

This cause is dear to my heart because I lost my father 2 years ago to this disease. He fought for many years until Lord called him home in November of 2006. This disease not only took my father, but it continues to run in most members of my family - my Mother, both Grandmothers, brother and a few aunts. It's way to many people in my family.

This is my chance to honor each and every one of them. Below is a link to the website. If the Lord places it on your heart, please donate. Every little bit counts.

Be Blessed.

1% Well-Read Challenge

The second challenge I chose is called the 1% Well Read Challenge. Also hosted by 3M at
Here are the rules:
The goal of this challenge is to read 10 books in 10 months from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. For you non-math people, 10 out of 1001 is approximately 1%, hence the title. The challenge will run from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009.

Nice and simple... Good thing is a lot of these books are also on the Decades '08 challenge. So hopefully I'll get in more reading for the rest of the year.

Here is my list so far...

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Middlemarch – George Elliot
Pride & Prejudice – Jane Austen
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Invisible Man – Ralph Ellison
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings – Maya Angelo
1984 – George Orwell
Their Eyes Were Watching – Zora Neale Hurston

Decades Challenge

I discovered something new in the blogging world. Well, new for me since I'm new to blogging. Book Challenges!! So I figured, what a way to get me back into reading. I decided to just start with two for now, although some blogs I've come across have several challenges going at once!! You go bloggers!!! lol... I'm starting slow! ;-)

My first challenge that I'm jumping into is hosted by 3M at It's called the Decades '08 Challenge. Basically you're supposed to read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades. Here are the rules:

The rules are simple:
1. Read a minimum of 8 books in 8 consecutive decades in ‘08.
2. Books published in the 2000’s do not count.
3. Titles may be cross-posted with any other challenge.
4. You may change your list at any time.
5. Peruse the eligible book lists and reviews from last year. Any book from that decade is eligible; it doesn’t have to be on the list to qualify. Another good source to find out when books were published is wikipedia. For example if you follow
this link, you will see how easy it is to search books by a particular decade. Another resource is
6. If you participated in By the Decade ‘07 and I didn’t put your review up, please let me know in the comments for the appropriate decade and I’ll include it in the space before the Mr. Linky. Please don’t post ‘07 reviews in the Mr. Linky–that’s for the ‘08 reviews.
7. Sign up through Mr. Linky below. Please use the url of your specific post for this challenge rather than just your blog url.
8. Come back and post your reviews in the appropriate Mr. Linky (I’ll have them up after January 1). You are encouraged to post all the books you’ve read for that decade if you’re participating in Decades ‘08.
9. Prizes: One credit or in-stock book each will be given away to 8 individuals through
paperbackswap or bookmooch. International is okay. The grand prize winner will get 8 credits or in-stock books! If you complete 8 decades, that is one entry for the prize. For each additional decade you complete consecutively, that is an additional entry. So, if you complete 12 consecutive decades, that would be 5 entries for the prize.
10. Have fun reading!

Interesting huh? Here are my choices...
1800 & earlier -
1810 – Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
1820 – Hope Leslie by Catharine Maria Sedgwick
1830 – Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
1840 – Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
1850 – My Bondage and My Freedom by Fredrick Douglass
1860 – Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
1870 – Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
1880 – The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
1890 – The Awakenings by Kate Choplin
1900 – The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
1910 – The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley
1920 – Cane by Jean Toomer
1930 – Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zore Neale Hurston
1940 – 1984 by George Orwell
1950 – Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
1960 – Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
1970 – Roots by Alex Haley
1980 – The Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, Fannie Flagg
1990 – Possession by A.S Byatt

Don't know if I'll get through them all, but I'm going to give it a run for my money. The challenge ends 12/31/08.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

105 Goals in 1005 Days...

My 105 goals in 1005 days - April 24, 2011. Wow... can that be right??


"To be nobody but yourself--in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else-- means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting." ee cummings

1 Attend a baseball game
2 Attend a Retreat at Omega Institute
3 Attend Bible Study regularly
4 Attend Church on a regular basis
5 Attend Sunday School regularly
6 Be a positive example for Nicolas
7 Be Comfortable in my own skin
8 Be sexy, fit and in perfect health at 50, 60, 70++
9 Be totally and completely in love with my husband
10 Become Self - Employed
11 Bowl a Perfect Game
12 Build a library of my own
13 Buy a house in the south on a lake
14 Buy a new wardrobe in my CORRECT size
15 Buy a Saturn Vue - IN CASH
16 Complete a 10K (run, bike, swim)
17 Create a Back Yard Retreat
18 Dance before the Lord (Mt Aery Spiritual Dancers)
19 Discover God's Will for my life
20 Do 100 regular push-ups nonstop
21 Do 5 one arm push-ups (G.I Jane style) nonstop
22 Do 50 chin-ups
23 Either loose the Baby Pooch or come to terms with it
24 Finish Nicolas' Baby Book
25 Get a full makeover (hair, clothes etc)
26 Get another tattoo - preferable a Butterfly
27 Get Body Fat % down to healthy level
28 Get out of & Stay out of debt
29 Get out of Corporate America
30 Give back to my Alma Mater
31 Give Up Pretending for good!!
32 Go away to B&B on the beach, by MYSELF (3 nights minimum)
33 Go Camping
34 Go Dancing
35 Go Hiking
36 Go horse back riding
37 Go on a Romantic Picnic
38 Go on an All Christian Women's Retreat (Joyce Meyers, TD Jakes)
39 Go on Vacation By Myself
40 Go Skiing
41 Go to a Broadway Play or Musical
42 Go to Proverb's 31, She Speaks Conference
43 Graduate with Master's degree with Honors
44 Grow out my relaxer & wear hair naturally
45 Have a career that I'm passionate about
46 Have a successful, loving and Christ-Centered marriage
47 Have an 80's theme party
48 Have an At Home Gym complete with Treadmill, Elliptical & TV/DVD for videos (purchased the treadmill)
49 Join a Woman's Bible Study Group
50 Learn Capoeira
51 Learn how to Step - Chicago Style
52 Learn to ENJOY my son now
53 Learn to Forgive and Move on
54 Learn to swim
55 Live Authentically
56 Live in a Neighborhood like the one I grew up in
57 Maintain a healthy weight (preferable goal weight of 130)
58 Memorize Bible Verses important to me
59 Mentor young girls
60 Obtain my Teaching Certificate
61 Own a Bookstore
62 Own my OWN home
63 Participate in an American Diabetes Assoc. Event - will take place Oct 19, 2008
64 Participate in at least ONE Written Word
65 Pet a dolphin
66 Raise Nicolas to become a true man of God
67 Read a minimum of 10 books on the New York Times Best Seller List
68 Read ALL of my books in full
69 Read all of the literature classics
70 Read the Entire Bible in 1 Year
71 Reinvent Myself at least once a year
72 Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
73 Run a 5K in under 30 minutes
74 Run a mile in 10 minutes or less - personal best: 15min 00 sec
75 Save enough money to retire comfortably
76 See Nicolas graduate from College!!
77 Show Nicolas the world
78 Start & Keep a running Blog Page of my journey - started 7/1/08
79 Stay at a 5 Star Resort
80 Stick around to watch my grandchildren grow up
81 Study & Learn all the Women of the Bible
82 Take a Belly Dance class
83 Take a Bikram Yoga Class
84 Take a class at Physique 57 in New York
85 Take a karate class
86 Take a Photography Class
87 Take a Pole Dance class
88 Take a positive stand for something I believe in
89 Take a summer vacation - EVERY summer - 2 week minimum!!
90 Take a Tap or Jazz Class
91 Take a walk on a moonlit night, hand in hand, with someone I love
92 Take Morning Prayer Walks
93 Take Mother/Son Get-away
94 Take my Mom & Sister on a Mother/Daughter Cruise
95 Take Nicolas to visit FAMU
96 Take piano lessons (again)
97 Teach a College Course
98 Travel - (Cross country; Italy; Africa; Australia; Islands (any of them)
99 Treat myself to an ALL DAY Spa Retreat
100 Turn a Cart Wheel
101 Visit a nice Jazz Club
102 Visit the top of the Empire State Building
103 Write a Hallmark Card
104 Write and Publish a Children's Book
105 Write and Publish a Novel

Children's Classics - Chapter Books

Over at 5minutesforbooks they are exploring the classics. This Tuesday is the children's classics - chapter books. Although my youngest is 4 and hasn't quite gotten to chapter books, I thought I'd share my all time favorite chapter book & even by Time magazine critics standards - it's also a classic.

My favorite children's classic was Judy Blume's "Are You There God It's Me Margaret". Now what preteen girl couldn't relate to this novel? It was passed down to me by my cousin and I swear I had that book underlined & dog-eared. The whole nine! lol... I'm not quite up to par with my own reviews, but here is a synopsis from Wikipedia:

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. is a 1970 book by Judy Blume, typically categorized as a novel for young adults, about a preteen girl in sixth grade who grew up with no religion. Margaret has one Christian and one Jewish parent, and the novel explores her quest for a single religion. Margaret also confronts many other pre-teen issues, such as buying her first bra, having her first period, coping with belted sanitary napkins (changed to adhesive sanitary pads for the 2006 edition of the book), jealousy towards another girl who has developed a womanly figure earlier than other girls, liking boys, and whether to voice her opinion if it differs from what her girlfriends seem to believe.

I may not have a daughter of my own to share this book with, but when my step daughters come of age or even my nieces, I will definitely pass it on to them.

I found it interesting how the covers have changed over the years. Below is a picture of the copy that I have now. Yes, I had to go back out and add it to my collection of books.

This cover is the original that I had way back when... lol... I wish I could find it, but I think I passed my original copy on to my godsister when she became a preteen. Guess I already passed it on. lol...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Time Flys When You're Having Fun!!

So back in July, we had a fun family staycation to Ocean Beach Park. To the left I have a running slide show of the fun that was had by all!! Also included in those photos are other summertime memories: Nick's summer basketball camp, 2008 Barnum Festival Wing Ding Parade and Nick's graduation from pre-school.

I suppose back to school time will be sneaking up on me soon!! I know... I know... It's already here!! But I'm trying to enjoy the last little bit of summer!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008

What's On My Nightstand

I'm a little late, but decided to try it out nonetheless...

"What's On My Nightstand" was a cool blog issued by, a sister site of

Here are the rules:
You can participate in What's on Your Nightstand? in several ways. Choose what's appealing to you:
1. Take a picture or simply give a list of the stack of books that you are in the process of reading or planning to read (it might be on your nightstand, on a bookshelf, or like me, under your bed).
Give short reviews of the book or books that you read that month.

2. Tell about what you are reading and why. I love to read the backstory on books. Did someone give it to you? Are you trying out a new genre at the recommendation of a friend (or website)?

3. Did you stumble across a new author in a used bookstore?

4. Fill us in on your reading habits. When are you reading these books? Is one reserved for bedtime reading? Does one stay in your car to be read while you are waiting? Do you read just one book at a time?

I hope that you'll join us the last Tuesday of each month (the first one is a week from today, July 29). You will post on your on blog (or if you aren't a blogger, please participate in the comment section), link to our site, and then link to your post here at the Linky provided for that purpose, so that we can click through and find out what everyone else is reading.
So what's on my nightstand?? Several and they change often. lol... I have books every where, my night stand is just one place. Try livingroom by the couch, bookshelves in the dining room and I constantly carry at least 1 to 2 books with me when I come to work! lol... Sometimes reading both at the same time. lol...
I also joined up with the Classic Book reading also on This month is Pride & Prejudice. I just got my copy from the library and I'm ready to get started!!!

Hopefully you can read the titles on these. Not much light in the bedroom.
Pride & Prejudice - Just started
Persuasion - Will read after Pride & Prejudice
Pay It Down - Going back to the library, not what I thought it'd be..
Do This - Also going back to the library
One Month To Live - Been reading on and off...
You On A Diet - been following the program and keep by the bedside to refer too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Random Thoughts

Ever have one of those days? Your mind is full of random thoughts as your driving or washing dishes. Even sometimes when you're watching television your mind can just go off to another place. This morning I felt like one of those cartoon characters with the steam poofing up from their heads. My brain was on over drive. So much so, I had to turn down the radio as an attempt to listen to all the different thoughts going on upstairs. I could probably compile an entire book of all the thoughts I had this morning, but here are a few of them...

~~ Really need to get working on my work from home idea.
~~ I wish I had a bigger house
~~ Another baby wouldn't be so bad, at least Nicolas won't be so alone
~~ Yeah me, I ran a mile in 15 minutes! Good way to work towards my goal of 10 minutes or less.
~~ I need to set up the web page for my contribution to Step Out for Diabetes
~~ Ugh! I hate this commute. I'd love to be home with slippers on at my own computer..
~~ I can't believe school is around the corner. How am I going to get to work by 7??
~~ Cheaper by the Dozen... How did she do it?? We'd be cheaper by the half dozen if we had one more.

And so on and so forth. Guess the biggest two that really settled on my heart were working from home - I need to get that in order - and making my 1 mile in 15 minutes. I've been hitting that treadmill at least 3 days per week & only getting in 17 minute miles! So I knocked off 2 WHOLE MINUTES!! Am I proud of myself?? Heck Yeah!!! lol...

Now the work from home bit... Again, I'd love to be there for my son & plus all he sees is Mommy working in his little 4 year old mind. Now HE wants to go to work. Poor thing. Explaining that Mommies & Daddies go to work because they have too was not working this morning. All he knew was that he was being dropped off, yet again, and Mommy was off. Yes, it still breaks my heart!! I will be so happy when kindergarten starts. Maybe it'll take the sting away just a little bit. This way, I'll kiss him good bye (at home) in the mornings because I'll head out to work while hubby drops him off to school. And I'll be there to greet him in the afternoons. Yeah... maybe it won't sting as much then... I hope!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Weight Loss Secret

I have this...

I have this...

I even have one of these...

And this morning, I saw this on TV & wanted to get it:

I try and try to get to that perfect weight and to be that perfect size. I mean, who doesn't want to be able to strut their stuff in the 2-piece, right? All in all, I feel like I'm doing fairly well on this particular journey. I even had my son (bless his heart) take some updated photos of me after one of my many workouts on the treadmill. Yet, I can still look at those photos and find some type of criticism or issue with the way that I look.

I do know one thing for sure. It hasn't been all the DVDs and gadgets that's gotten me this far. The one secret that I find that works 110% of the time if I stick to it is this:

It works every time....

Be Blessed!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

100 (Interesting) Things About Me... Well Almost...

So I saw this on another blog and thought, why not give it a whirl. I started, but then I thought - who in the world would want to know that much about me besides my Mom and Husband?? lol... With that thought in mind, I decided to list the top 10, plus 1...

1. I'm the baby out of 7 kids. My folks were a blended family as well. Dad had 1 girl & 3 boys - Mom had 1 boy & 1 girl & then they decided to have ME! lol...

2. I've been married for 8 months to a wonderful and kind-hearted man. A little rough around the edges, but I'm working with him! lol... And we're almost like my parents (he has 4 girls & I have 1 boy). None together yet though.

3. In addition to above - I married the boy next door. Literally - right next door. lol... We grew up together & our families are really close.

4. I graduated from Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, FL with my BA in English.

5. I love to write, but still to afraid to submit anything for publishing.

6. I went through spiritual gifts class and my gift is exhorter.

7. I played the clarinet for 7 years, piano for 1 and violin for 2 weeks (Dad did not like it!!).

8. I love the Lord and have witnessed so much in my journey with Him. He has shown me time and time again that HE is God.

9. I love to laugh.

10. My favorite TV Show is "So You Think You Can Dance" - brings me back to my days of dancing in middle school & high school.

11. I love butterflies!

12. I took Portuguese for 10 years and Spanish for 2 and am still not fluent in either!! lol... How terrible is that?!

13. I've had the same two best friends (Jennifer & Rhonda) since I was 10 years young!

14. Some where inside of me there is a dancer waiting to get out...

15. I can curl my tongue and wiggle my ears!

Ha!! I actually got to 15. Let me tell you, I was stumped after 13. lol...


And for those of you who think it's easy - try it. It's not as easy as it looks! lol...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Does This Say It All??

If you haven't guessed, this is how I feel this morning. And it's only a whooping 8:24 in the morning. Long talk with hubby last night about the possibility of another rug rat and maybe that set me on edge because when the alarm went off this morning, I felt as if I had just fallen asleep. Needless to say we're still on the fence. Guess it's hard trying to decide if you want to bring another child into an already large family (our blended family equals 5 kids). Funny thing, for the both of us, is that this will be the first time that either of us have "planned" a child. lol... New concept for the both of us. But at least we're planning things so it shouldn't be a "Honey, guess what?!" moment. lol...

But it's back to work and a typical Garfield Monday for me. For those who don't know my Garfield Monday's, let me show you...

You get the picture!!! lol...

As far as my goals go, today is Day 4 of "You On A Diet" and it's going pretty well. Day 4 consists of more walking (30 minutes), stretching (5 minutes) and following the regular eating plan. Although, he does put in a blurb about having fallen into temptation or as he put it "dabbled into the neighbor's cake, picked at the kid's chips or snuck a few bites of a butter-covered pretzel from the mall." lol... Hmmm... wonder if they noticed that butterfinger blizzard I had this Saturday?! lol... Well, as they so kindly put it in the book - it's okay - just do an authorized You-Turn and get things back in order. Nice and simple.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Made My Day...

I feel guilty for admitting this, but today is the first Sunday that I've returned to church in over a month and a half. I suppose it would be an understatement to say that we took a vacation this summer, but it does bring sadness to my heart knowing that I haven't been in the Lord's house in such a long time. Needless to say returning to church today felt like coming home. The Holy Spirit moved in such a way that It saturated the entire building. The comfort and peace that I felt can not be translated into words, but everyone knew that the presence of the Lord was in His place.

But the good feelings didn't stop there. Hubby and I decided to visit with his parents for a while before venturing out grocery shopping after church. Good conversation was had by all. As soon as we got to the store, I received a call from my dear Mother in law. She called to tell me how great I looked today and that whatever I was doing - to keep on doing it. She even said that I was inspiration to her. Again, some feelings can't be explained in words, but the joy those words brought to my heart were overwhelming. See, I'm still the one to look in the mirror and only see everything that still needs to be done - I can stand to loose 10-15 more pounds, my hair needs a good cut, or my eyebrows need to get done - you get the idea. So I thank my Mother in law from the bottom of my heart and some how, I need to find a way to see what she saw in me, in myself.

A work in progress is what I always say about myself. But from my Mother in law's word to what would have been today's sermon before the Holy Spirit intervened - "Rethink, Link and Move Forward". It's high time, I rethink my thoughts towards myself, Link to the Lord and Move Forward, leaving behind those bags that the Lord never intended for me to carry.

Rethink, Link and Move Forward.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Saturday Seduction

Yup, you guessed it. Day two of our "no eating out month" and we caved for the cool and delicious taste of Dairy Queen blizzards. Can we say YUM??!!

Note to self: When trying to save money by not eating out - don't watch TV or better yet, don't watch commercials!!! lol...

Good thing is that it was only dessert. Overall, we've been doing good especially since this is Saturday and we're always eating out or eating on the go on the weekends. But the month is still young and it's only Day Two. 29 more days to go!! Prayer would be greatly appreciated!

Me? I got the butterfinger blizzard and promptly came home to brush my teeth out of guilt. lol... I just went to the dentist this past Tuesday and found out that I have not one but TWO cavities. So the last thing I needed was any type of sweets. Not to mention that I stood on the scale this morning and was down 3lbs. Good thing is that the guilt that I feel is driving me to jump on my treadmill and get in a good workout before the evening is over. Besides I have way too many pictures of Laila up not to stay on the wagon!!!

Saturday has come and gone. Here's too Sunday.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Golden Seven

It's what I'm going to call the small list of rules that I established for myself for the next 14 days. The saying goes - it takes 14 days to make or break a habit. So let's see if I can establish some good habits within the next 14 days and start off the month of August with a bang.
The Next 14 Days

1. First and foremost dive back into the word of God. Get up, grab the java and slow down for nice one on one conversation with my Savior.
2. Get organized day by day. Sign up for – 14 days won’t hurt to see if it works for me.
3. Follow “You On A Diet” Plan. The concepts are simple and pretty much what I already follow and again it’s only 14 days.
4. Mix up my workouts. Doing the same thing each day has become slightly boring and my body has become used to the routine. I can incorporate this by using the “You on a Diet” plan as well.
5. Brush my teeth twice a day & floss once a day.
6. Journal or write every day.
7. Drink 64 ounces of water per day
For those of you who don't know about the "YOU On A Diet" (guess you don't watch Oprah, lol), but here is the 99 second edition:
“You On A Diet” 99-second edition
Make Your Eating Plan Automatic Over a 14-day period, train yourself to make good-for-YOU menu choices. You’ll reprogram your body so YOU will be in charge of what you’re eating.
Eat three main meals, plus snacks, so you’re never hungry.
**Eat the same things for breakfast and lunch almost every day. Yes, every day. People who minimize food choices lose more weight.
Remember That Waist Is More Important Than Weight Because of its proximity to vital organs, belly fat is the most dangerous fat you can carry, and it is one of the strongest predictors of health risks (heart disease, diabetes, and more bad stuff) associated with obesity.
**Ditch the scale in favor of
the tape measure.
**Measure your waist and aim small: Ideal is 32½ inches or less for women and 35 inches or less for men.
Stay Satisfied To lose weight, you need to eat.
**Eat often -- five or six times throughout the day -- so you’re constantly satisfied. Slipping into starvation mode makes your body want to store fat.
**Eat plenty of fiber in the morning; it helps control afternoon cravings.
Add Support Enlist a friend, family member, or new
online buddy as your partner. Everyone needs encouragement -- or an occasional prod.
**After finishing your 30-minute walk every day, call a buddy or post on the
YOU board for a pat on the back.
**When you start
the 20-minute workout, do the same thing.
Know That It’s OK to Make Mistakes As long as you quickly get back on the right road, you won’t travel too far down the wrong one. Just make a YOU-turn to change course. A Few Final Tips . . .
Check food labels: Don’t buy anything with more than 4 grams of saturated fat or 4 grams of any sugar (especially high-fructose corn syrup) per serving. Sat fat is an aging fat that’s bad for your whole body, and simple sugars make you crave high-calorie foods.
**Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. Fatigue also makes you crave sugary foods. Why? They release the brain chemicals that a lack of sleep leaves you short on.
**Eat a little healthy fat -- like a handful of walnuts -- about 20 minutes before a meal. It will take the edge off, so you won’t be tempted to overeat.
**Choose elegance over force: Weight-loss battles are won when you diet smart, not hard.
Last but not least, here are the workout ideas that I've come up with for the next 14 days. Writing these things out helps me hold myself accountable to them.
Workout Ideas for the next 14 days:
**Walk 30 minutes per day (lunch hour) – You On A Diet Plan
**Walk/Run 1 mile 3x’s per week (Aug 1-7)
**Walk/Run 1.5 miles 3x’s per week (Aug 8-14)
**Twice a week complete either super sets or Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred (20 minutes)
**Do Yoga once a week
**Stretch daily

The super set is a great way to workout if you have limited time. Each cycle should take you two minutes. If you can do ten cycles of this you will total 300 push ups and 400 crunches. Not bad for 20 minutes! No resting in between sets!
You basically rest by doing crunches. The two super sets you see below are great to alternate every other day.
Push up/Crunch super set:
Repeat 10 cycles of:
- 10 regular push ups- 10 crunches- 10 wide push ups- 10 crunches- 10 tricep push ups- 10/10 Left/Right crunches
Leg / ab super set:
Repeat 5 cycles of:
- 20 squats - 20 crunches 20- 10 lunges per leg- 10 crunches - 20 calf raises- 20 crunches