Favorite "Meditation of My Heart"

Call unto me,

and I will answer thee,

and shew thee great and mighty things,

which thou knowest not. --Jeremiah 33:3 KJV

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I love Spring & Comp Ad Shopping

Not my CSA (community supported agriculture) share,
it is my goodie bag from my mom.
I met my mom today after she had visited her garden and after she had been shopping with the grocery ads.  She gave me a bag FULL of goodies that I love! 

I immediately turned the cauliflower, asparagus and some of the peppers into dinner!  I love riced cauliflower, but I rarely buy cauliflower due to the current price.  Tonight I made it and topped it with grilled mixed veggies so it would provide more servings.  I usually only make it when I am REALLY hungry for rice and I do not have the carbohydrates left in my meal plan for the day.  The easy and hunger-satisfying recipe is below.  I served it with Tuna tonight (and cheese quesadillas and hot dogs for my picky eaters).
Riced Cauliflower with grilled veggies.

Rinse and cut up one head of cauliflower.

Season to your taste with herbs (like oregano, parsley, basil, thyme & lavender) and a dash of lemon pepper.  Steam on low for 18 minutes. 

Let it cool a few minutes and then mash it with a potato masher or a ricer. 

Then while it is still warm stir in some butter buds or similar product and some garlic salt.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Corrine is 14!

Today Corrine celebrated turning 14 years old.  We went to lunch at Ruby Tuesdays.  Then we visited the pediatricians office for her well check (and a shot).  On the way home, we stopped at Sonic for Happy Hour drinks. She went to the library and got a book that she requested months ago so she was happy that it arrived for her birthday.  Finally, we went and picked out the last items for her birthday dinner while the Italian Chicken finished cooking in the crockpot.  

Corrine chose Italian chicken, spinach salad, broccoli, and  garlic pasta for dinner.  By the way, if you have not made Italian Chicken in the crockpot, it is so easy and tasty.  Plus it works well for a dish to pass at potluck dinners.  The recipe is below, but I think that I have shared it before.

Italian Chicken

She started laughing and couldn't
blow out her candles.

2 pounds of chicken breast

1 block of cream cheese (reduced fat works well, but fat free does not melt easily so it makes a lumpy sauce)

1/2 can of evaporated milk (if the chicken is thawed and drained/if the chicken is frozen then I omit this.)

An envelop of italian dressing mix OR 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning and 1/2 Tablespoon of garlic salt.

Put it on low and let it cook for about 4-5 hours, if thawed.  If frozen, cook on low for 7-8 hours.  Then stir sauce until smooth.  Finally stir in a handful of your favorite Italian cheese and serve. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

18 Years...is that possible!

Today is Grace's 18th birthday.  We planned her day to include some window shopping and some thrift store shopping.  (We bought a formal dress, 2 pair of pants and a vacuum cleaner...all for a $6 total at the thrift store so we were pleased with our bargains.)

Along the way, we took a break and had a birthday lunch of sushi with mochi for dessert.  (Mochi is pounded sticky rice around a small ball of ice cream.)

Later, we went and bought the ingredients for her birthday dinner.  As is our family tradition, Grace got to pick the menu for her dinner.  She chose crab rangoon dip, grilled shrimp and stir fry. 

Then after dinner, Grace and her Dad headed out for some father/daughter time at a fast and free WiFi spot.  He installed some new birthday gift software and fixed some problems on her laptop. 

She says it was a great day.  Last year her birthday was interrupted by an unexpected family commitment and nothing seemed to go right or on time that day.  I am so glad that this year's birthday was much more enjoyable and relaxing for her than last year!  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Weekend

Waiting for lunch to be served.
As usual we packed a lot of activity into one 3 day weekend.  Friday was full of running errands and kids' appointments since they were off school. 

We went to Grandma's house for Saturday dinner and an Easter egg hunt with cousins.  Grace even took advantage of the great weather and went flying Saturday morning.  We had a full day!

Hannah sat in front of her
favorite lasagna.
Sunday included Easter dinner, Easter treat bags, another egg hunt and some gardening with mom.  We did a non-traditional lunch with salad, two types of lasagna, stuffed mushrooms, grilled asparagus, spaghetti squash, and NO DESSERT...there was enough candy! 

We never got around to coloring eggs this year, but we were so busy that no one missed it.  We also didn't spend money on fancy clothes for Easter this year, and not a single one of my boys missed wearing a suit.  Two of the girls asked about dresses, but even they were satisfied with what they had already. 

Luke at the Egg Hunt
Vanessa hunting eggs.

Waiting for your treat bag can apparently be intense!

Diving into their Easter bags! (our version of Easter baskets)

We tried to focus Easter on its true meaning, but like any parent we always wonder if the kids understand that the Easter bunny and eggs and candy are just noise around the real celebration of Jesus giving us a way to have a relationship with God.  It is such an important time to remember that our relationship with the Almighty God came at a price because of love...pure LOVE...simple, yet complex and life changing.

For God so loved the world that
he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life. ~~John 3:16 

Friday, April 18, 2014

No!...Oh nevermind, rock on!

Grace and I had a mom/daughter evening out and took Nate along with us.  We "window shopped" plants for the garden.  Next we stopped at Fox Farm Whole Foods for dried seaweed and Fruit Leather to put in Grace's Easter Basket. 

Then we headed to Han the Sushi Man to try out the place.  Nate was our entertainment for dinner.  As soon as he saw the chopsticks...he knew what they were!  Drum sticks!  He started laying down a beat and having a great time.  Even after he saw Grace eat with her chopsticks, he was still determined that they were the most awesome kid's meal toy ever!  (By the way, Han's is good, fast and affordable.  It has a nice, clean and bright atmosphere.  Plus there is even a kid's menu with sushi without raw fish and it starts at $2.99.  Service is their weakest point and I had to borrow water from Nate's cup...which was okay because he was busy rocking his new drum sticks.)

After Han's, we went to try OrangeLeaf.  It was good, but not great and expensive!  I don't think we will be going there again.  The small dishes were huge so my 4 ounces looked like 4 teaspoons.  Plus I had hoped to try the no sugar added options and there wasn't any.

Lastly, we went to the grocery store to restock on a few items and to get ready for Easter dinner.  It was a nice night out.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Weight Loss Goals Check-In

When started my weight loss journey, I did not focus on a number as a goal weight.  Instead I set quality of life goals.

My weight loss goals from my January 2013 blog entry were as follows:
Done!  1. Be able to wear my wedding ring again comfortably. (With my arthritic hands, my weight may need to be lower than when I stopped wearing it to get it back on, but I'm going to try.)

Not yet.  2. Be able to travel with my crutches on short trips such as in and out of a doctor office, library, or friends' homes. (But no stupid excessive stuff that causes falls and injuries.)

Done!  3. To be able to reduce and potentially eliminate my high blood pressure medicine and to avoid further health damage.

Almost! 4. To buy and wear clothing that are not in a plus size store.

Almost!  5. To have more energy, more endurance and more strength than I did for most of my thirties!
I have lost 70% of the weight
that I set out to lose.

I have now lost 70% of the weight that I needed to lose, and I have met 2 of my goals.  However,  I have realized that I now must build up strength and endurance to reach goal 2 and 5. 

Until now, I have not "exercised" by any traditional definition.  I don't have the disposable income for a membership at our YMCA, which is expensive.  I don't really have the time to use it anyway, especially with it being so far out on the south end of town.  I have "exercised" by doing more housework, lifting/loading more groceries/stuff without assistance and standing at my microwave timer trying to build up to 5 minutes of standing.  Now this week, I have started walking on my crutches in an effort to reach goal 2 before July.  Unlike my activities until now, walking on crutches feels like exercise which is rather invigorating.

I doubt that I'll start a "crutch it" fitness craze, but I am enjoying the energy boost that it is giving me.  

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Recognition and Encouragement


In 2013, I lost 131 pounds.  Grace lost 49.25 pounds.  Corrine lost 23 pounds.  We did this with the support and encouragement of our local TOPS chapter in Neosho.

TOPS divides members into divisions based on their weight at their first weigh in each year and they have a special category for teens and pre-teen.  In our local chapter, we all were 1st place winners because we were each in different divisions.  At our Tuesday meeting, we each received a recognition ribbon, pin and a special lunch out with our chapter friends.  It was very nice.

Then this weekend, we traveled to the Missouri TOPS meeting in St Louis AND we all received 1st place in each of our divisions for the State of Missouri!  We had a lovely time and we met the TOPS President Barb Cady.  As part of the program, we each had to give a short speech.  Grace and Corrine did awesome!  Grace is not a crowd/audience lover and she survived.  No one would have guessed that she was out of her comfort zone.  Corrine was a crowd favorite with her smile and animated speech.

Left to Right:  TOPS President Barb Cady, Me (Leatta), Corrine & Grace


So far in 2014, I have only lost 10 pounds.  It is understandable considering the pregnancy and miscarriage, but it is discouraging!  By this time last year, I had lost 42 1/2 pounds!

It was encouraging to see the success stories while in St. Louis.  It was even encouraging to see the folks who had lost a lot (like me), but then they had not yet finished the job to get to goal.  It reminded me that I cannot get discouraged!  It would be incredibly unhealthy to lose 42 1/2 pounds in 12 weeks considering my current weight, but I know from my past success that I can and will do better than 10 pounds in the next 12 weeks!  The guest keynote speaker spoke on cognitive psychology and the effects that our outlook has on our weight loss.  It was all "stuff" that I knew from college, but it was a well-timed reminder!