Friday, June 29, 2012

What to watch at 2a.m.?

Last night, after almost a week and a half of sleeping through the night, Benjamin decided to stay awake until 4 a.m.!!! Eek! I am so exhausted today!

 I just thought though that I would share with you a glimpse into what I was watching at 2 am this morning, as I was praying that he would go to sleep....

I Used To Be Fat | Ep. 15 | Maddy: Maddy battles her drug and alcohol addictions by turning to food. Can she let go of her troubled past while managing to have portion control?

Did you watch tv when your babies wouldn't sleep? Do you watch tv late at night? What do you watch?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Benjamin: Then and Now

What a difference 12 weeks makes!

Here is Benjamin THEN:

And here is Benjamin NOW: 

Man he is growing up WAY TOO FAST!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Review: Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy

From the back cover:

Jenny's allegiance lay with the Confederate Army. But her heart belonged to the enemy. Faithful to her family and the land of her birth, young Jenny Jordan covers for her father's Confederate spy missions. But as she grows closer to handsome Union soldier Buck Brownell. Jenny finds herself torn between devotion to the South and her feelings for the man she is forbidden to love. Overwhelmed by pressure to assist the South, Jenny agrees to carry critical information over enemy lines. But when she is caught in Buck Brownell's territory, will he follow orders to execute the beautiful spy or find a way to save his Beloved Enemy?

My thoughts:

I will be honest and say that I normally do not read stories that revolve around wars or fighting. Those are typically not my style and I do not enjoy them in that I have found the stories to be biased versus one side over the other and  that tends to take itself away from the story line. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this was NOT the case in Beloved Enemy by Al Lacy. Lacy weaves a wonderful story of forbidden love and the fight between love of your family and love of your soul mate. I felt close to the character of Jenny and how she was torn between devotion to her father and to his cause of the Confederacy and to her new love of the Union Soldier Buck. I also felt that I really knew what Buck felt in being a soldier loyal to a cause but faced with having to carry out an execution of his love who according to the union is a traitor.

I thoroughly enjoyed the love story aspect of the story. But what about the war part? I felt that the war story was well-written and exciting. It was exciting to read because it was NOT gory in details that would take away from the story. And Mr. Lacy was not biased toward one side or another; I felt that he gave due to both sides and that the reader really couldn't root for one side over another.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book, even if you think you don't like stories based on historical wars.

Disclaimer: I was provided this book free by the publisher Multnomah Books in exchange for a honest review as part of their Blogging for Books program. 

A letter to me and to my blogging readers

Dear Me,

It is me speaking. I thought that maybe putting thoughts into words would help me to make  sense of all the different directions that my thoughts are going.

There are so many aspects of my life that I want to change and that I am worried about. My anxiety and depression have been acting up...granted I have weaned myself off my medication because I feel I should be stronger and not need them, I also don't want to have to take meds all my life for depression, and it saves our family over $300 a year by not being on them. I am just so stressed and anxious all the time now.

I don't like the way that I look. I have always been a little overweight. At times I was a LOT overweight, but now I am up to 241 pounds. That is a TON to me. I remember back when I was dating Bill and I was at the smallest I had been in a long time...I was able to get down to 199 before our wedding and man did it feel good NOT to have a 2 in front of my weight. I would love to get down to that weight again. My goal is to get down to 199...but I would actually love to be closer to 194-195. I couldn't tell you the last time I weighed that. I have no idea what I weighed in high school because I wouldn't step on a scale.

And I know it shouldn't be about the number, but it is. I hate being fat and not looking good. I don't feel good about myself when I am this size. I don't feel healthy or wanting to do anything when I look and feel like this.

So what is stopping me. I have been starting and stopping diets for as long as I can remember. I have South Beached it, Slimfasted it, Dr. Philed it, etc. What is stopping me? I know what it is. I am afraid of failing. I am afraid of actually accomplishing something. Maybe it is my poor self image. Maybe it is poor self esteem. I don't know what it is. But I sabotage my efforts and I justify it by saying I couldn't do it anyway. One thing I have said that I wanted to do this summer was step out of my comfort zone, well I haven't. I was going to submit a sketch for an art competition. I didn't. I want to invite some friends over for dinner. Haven't done it because I am afraid they will say no or think it is a dumb idea. I want to lose weight and I have been trying...but then I say screw it and make brownies. I just don't know why I do these things.

All my life I think I have been afraid of failure and how others would perceive it as a failure. I quit being a chemistry major because it was too hard. I felt like a failure in everyone's eyes including my own. I took a job teaching at a school that paid VERY LITTLE. I kept the job because I didn't think I was good enough to obtain something better. I remember my dad telling me once that he guessed I was okay with the status quo. Maybe I am. But in reality, deep down I am not.

I want to be one of those people who can say that they reached their weight loss goal. I want to be one of those people who can say that they know how to reach their goals. I want to be someone that I am proud of. I want my husband and children to be proud of me. I want to fit it and not feel so different and outside of everyone else.

When I started this blog, I wanted it to be a place where I could chronicle how I was living doing fiscal fasts, and working on things that I saw others working on in the blogoshpere (money, finances, and living frugally mostly). What I have found is that I am/was living through others. I would beat myself up because I couldn't get our grocery budget as low as Jane Doe's. I couldn't save money like another blogger. I couldn't do this and I couldn't do that. I have continued to do that..I have done posts and started challenges because I thought that was what I needed to do because everyone else in the blogosphere were doing the same things.

Well I finally realized what a waste I have been. I am NOT everyone else in the blogging world. I am me. And it is time I start taking this blog back to being MINE, not a copy of everyone else's blogging world. I want my life to change and I want this blog to help me chronicle those changes. In the next few days I will be defining what that means and coming to conclusions about what I want to continue on this blog.

Until then, I will continue to think about my life and where I want it to head and I will continue to fight to find the strength to start working toward my goals without failure.


Storytelling: A guest post from author Andy Gavin

Games, Novels, and Story

Storytelling, the old fashioned way

Modern man has a wide variety of "pure" storytelling mediums, like film, long form television, and novels. While these have some very significant differences they all share the same basic focus on plot and character. Typically at least, good stories introduce a character with problems, get you to like them, then chronicle the struggle as they are compelled to change and adapt to overcome these problems. In the end, they either do so, or are defeated to teach us a lesson (a variant we call tragedy).

These elements: character, plot, and transformational arc, are completely central to the normal story (I deliberately ignore weird experimental storytelling). Really, they are the core of what makes a good film or novel.

Roman mosaic showing comedy (right) and tragedy (left)

But with a game, this whole business is secondary. The primary focus of a game is fun. And fun through gameplay. Does Tetris have any character or plot? Did even Doom? No. But they were fun games. Really fun.

Games such as Naughty Dog's Jak & Daxter or Uncharted strive to bridge these gaps by offering both. This is very difficult because they don't really serve each other.

The gameplay in Uncharted 2, for example, has three primary modes: survival gunplay, platforming, and puzzle solving. The player must assess the layout of the level, learn it, and navigate it without getting killed. This involves anticipating the enemies and taking them out first. You use the weapons at your disposal, the mechanics, and the terrain provided to do so. With platforming you need to come to understand what the character can do physical, find your way, and successfully traverse the route.

Some games do focus on story

When these are done well, when the design is varied, the levels pretty, the enemies cool, and the challenges measured, challenging and above all, doable - it's fun. Uncharted 2 is such a game.
It also has a pretty darn good story which is woven in with the design of the levels and the challenges. This adds to the whole thing. Watching the next segment of story becomes part of your reward for finishing a segment. There is a tremendous level of art that goes into getting both of these to work at the same time, but certainly each is constrained at times by the needs of the other.
Content in games is expensive and difficult to make. Therefore it needs to repeat. You really do need to shoot the same enemy hundreds of times. Otherwise the enemy isn't providing enough mileage to justify the labor involved to create him. The player is also in control and therefore the consequences of his play affect success or failure.

My first novel

But in storytelling, success and failure are the carefully monitored heartbeat of any good story. You bring the protagonist up, dash him down, grind him into the ground, lift him up, slam him sideways. I knew this intuitively when writing my first novel, The Darkening Dream. I've read so many books and watched so many films and shows that it seemed "obvious." But at the same time, it turned out to be far from easy. Writing a good story has less constraints than making a good game, but it's still extremely difficult. You need to be constantly balancing the issues of character, motivation, the logic of the plot, and the need to seesaw the dramatic tension. In the end stylistic concerns sometimes overwhelm dramatic ones (to the reader's detriment).

In a game, it's even more complicated, and there is barely a chance of hitting all the right dramatic notes. The player has a lot to say about this natural up and down pacing, so the story-based game tries to separate how well you are really doing from the actual plot. Usually death or failure in the game causes the player to merely repeat some segment of the game (and hence the story), when they finish the level and get the next segment of storytelling, they'll get it regardless of whether they died once or 100 times. The better player merely proceeds faster.

This is different, but even more problematic in a less linear game such as World of Warcraft. There, the mechanics of the game heavily distort the conceits of storytelling. The story is even broadly linked to the chronological evolution of the game in real time. For example, in December of 2009 Blizzard released the Icecrown Citadel patch of Wrath of the Lich King, making it possible for players to finally reach and confront the ultimate boss of the expansion (the titular Lich King). But the fact is, in order to properly maintain the reward mechanics of endgame raiding, each character was and often did, progress through this segment of the story once, or even twice a week.

The Lich King

Now, two years later, the Lich King has been defeated, the world of Azeroth has been broken, yet it's still possible to go back to Icecrown and take on Arthas again. And again. Ditto for any of the several hundred even older bosses. Players accept that they have random access to a long and convoluted story. In fact, the need to generate so much gameplay in WOW has created a body of lore that gives the Silmarillion a run for its money. But the way in which it's experienced mutes the emotional intensity.

What really provides the excitement in WOW (and many other games), isn't the question of whether the dragon queen Onyxia lives or dies, but the - shall we dare say - drama of whether she does tonight, for us, the group fighting her. And more importantly, will she drop the Nemesis skullcap (arbitrary cool piece of loot) one has been trying to get for six months.

A Big Giveaway for The Darkening Dream

This week, through June 29th, Author Andy Gavin is running a big giveaway to celebrate his 99 cent promo sale.

The Darkening Dream Rafflecopter Giveaway

Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

About The Darkening Dream

As the modern world establishes itself and pushes the supernatural into the shadows, the supernatural fights back.

An ominous vision and the discovery of a gruesome corpse lead Sarah and her friends into a terrifying encounter with a fledgling vampire in 1913 Salem, Massachusetts. Eager to prove themselves, the young heroes set out to track the evil to its source, never guessing that they will take on a conspiracy involving not only a 900-year vampire but also a demon-loving Puritan warlock, disgruntled Egyptian gods, and an immortal sorcerer, all on a quest to recover the holy trumpet of the Archangel Gabriel. Relying on the wisdom of a Greek vampire hunter, Sarah's rabbi father, and her own disturbing visions, Sarah must fight a millennia-old battle between unspeakable forces, where the ultimate prize might be Sarah herself.

The critics love it

"A vampire novel with actual bite." ~The Kirkus Reviews
"A gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying tale." ~Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

Read the first two sample chapters here.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

About the Author

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes. Find out more here.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Darkening Dream by Andy Gavin-- on sale on Amazon Kindle

A Vampire Novel with Actual Bite!

As the modern world establishes itself and pushes the supernatural into the shadows, the supernatural fights back. The Darkening Dream is a chilling new dark fantasy novel by Andy Gavin, creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter. The book has received rave reviews and is on sale for only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle from June 25th-29th!

In addition, Andy is doing a big giveaway, including a $100 gift certificate to Amazon, signed copies of his books, video games, posters, and more!

The Darkening Dream Rafflecopter Giveaway

Tweet, like, follow, share, blog and grab a copy of his book to enter.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

Long-time readers of dark historical fantasy (Tim Powers, Guy Gavriel Kay, Katherine Kurtz) will appreciate the weaving together of mythology, occult, and religion, while younger readers and fans of HBO dramas (True Blood, Carnivàle) or urban fantasy (Laurell K. Hamilton, Kim Harrison, Jim Butcher) will be drawn to the twisted imagination, graphic action, and romantic tension.

About The Darkening Dream
Even as the modern world pushes the supernatural aside in favor of science and steel, the old ways remain. God, demon, monster, and sorcerer alike plot to regain what was theirs. 1913, Salem, Massachusetts – Sarah Engelmann’s life is full of friends, books, and avoiding the pressure to choose a husband, until an ominous vision and the haunting call of an otherworldly trumpet shake her. When she stumbles across a gruesome corpse, she fears that her vision was more of a premonition. And when she sees the murdered boy moving through the crowd at an amusement park, Sarah is thrust into a dark battle she does not understand. With the help of Alex, an attractive Greek immigrant who knows a startling amount about the undead, Sarah sets out to uncover the truth. Their quest takes them to the factory mills of Salem, on a midnight boat ride to spy on an eerie coastal lair, and back, unexpectedly, to their own homes. What can Alex’s elderly, vampire-hunting grandfather and Sarah’s own rabbi father tell them? And what do Sarah’s continuing visions reveal? No less than Gabriel’s Trumpet, the tool that will announce the End of Days, is at stake, and the forces that have banded to recover it include a 900 year-old vampire, a trio of disgruntled Egyptian gods, and a demon-loving Puritan minister. At the center of this swirling cast is Sarah, who must fight a millennia-old battle against unspeakable forces, knowing the ultimate prize might be her very soul.

The Reviews Are In "A vampire novel with actual bite." ~The Kirkus Reviews "A gorgeously creepy, strangely humorous, and sincerely terrifying tale." ~Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) "Mr. Gavin has brought something refreshingly new to a genre now suffused with poorly-concealed bodice-rippers which have more in common with Fabio than Bram Stoker: depth. His big baddies are scary, not romantic interests, and the added religious lore is complex and engaging. Don't expect another Twilight -- the story can get downright creepy, so be prepared for a return to the old horror sensibilities of supernatural fiction." ~Amazon Review "With Mr. Gavin's video-game pedigree, I was expecting something aimed squarely at the 18-25 year old fanboy contingent; what I got in The Darkening Dream was something wholly unexpected: A period novel with a female protagonist, a crash-course on Judaism in the colonial years, and multi-layered series of plot arcs featuring a crazy cast of natural and supernatural characters populating turn of the century America." ~Amazon Review "…A perfect blend of mystery, magic and myth. A grown-up Grimm's fairy tale... emphasis on grim." ~Amazon Review

Read the first two sample chapters here.

Get your 99 cent copy of The Darkening Dream today on Amazon only.

About the Author

Andy Gavin is an unstoppable storyteller who studied for his Ph.D. at M.I.T. and founded video game developer Naughty Dog, Inc. at the age of fifteen, serving as co-president for two decades. There he created, produced, and directed over a dozen video games, including the award winning and best selling Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter franchises, selling over 40 million units worldwide. He sleeps little, reads novels and histories, watches media obsessively, travels, and of course, writes. Find out more here.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat

Time once again for Sunday Night Chit-Chat...hosted by our friend Carla!
To play along simply start your post with a photo or quote... Copy & paste the starters & link up to Carla so she and others can visit you & see what you've been up to!


Smiling Benjamin!

What are you.....



Right this very second, I am watching "Doc McStuffins" with Rebecca.

Listening to?

The hum of the air conditioner---it is HOT here today!


I have been cooking a lot this week, trying out new healthier recipes and experimenting in the kitchen trying not to waste produce. Tonight I made marinated tilapia and roasted veggies for dinner! Yummy!
One of the recipes I made this week was an experiment that worked:

Pear-Cherry Muffins

Happy you accomplished this week?

I have come up with a plan for eating better/ healthier and exercising!   

Looking forward to next week?

Trying some creative things, including trying to lengthen a few of my shirts that are too short.
Cooking some more!

Thankful for today?

That I have a wonderful husband who appreciates the efforts I am making to cook healthier so that we BOTH can lose some weight and be healthier for our kids.

Bonus question: What is the WORST movie you've ever seen & couldn't be paid to watch again?

There are 2...
"Ladykillers" starring Tom Hanks,

and "Men In Black 2" with Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones.

Both are horrible and a waste of time.
"Ladykillers" was actually the first movie Bill and I saw together when we were dating....LOL...

So there you have it. A little glimpse into my world on this Sunday night! Hope everyone has a wonderful week and remember to link up to our wonderful chat host Carla! :)

Daily Goals for Sunday 6/24/2012

In order to achieve my two big goals of losing weight and having better relationships with my family, I will focus daily on daily goals that are smaller and more attainable to help me achieve the larger goals.

Yesterday was an okay day goal wise. Let's keep up the momentum today even though I am VERY SORE from the workouts!

Today my goals are:

-Drink 60 oz of water.
-Eat 5 fruits and veggies
-Make a menu plan for the week so I know what we are eating
-Play a game with Rebecca
-Read to Jacob
-Feed my creative side by trying to fix a few of my short t-shirts

So there you have it. There are my goals. I will be back tonight to update! Hope everyone has a great Sunday!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Daily Goals update for Saturday 6/22/2012

So yesterday I had a great day with my goals. Let's see how I did today....

-Drink 60 oz of water.
NOPE---Only drank 40 oz. and honestly I have no one to blame but myself for this.

-Eat 5 fruits and veggies
ACHIEVED---had a banana with breakfast, a peach and cucumber and lettuce with lunch, had lettuce, tomato and strawberries with dinner!

-Exercise for 30 minutes on Jillian Michaels' Wii game
NOPE--- HOWEVER, I DID do 35 minutes on the Wii Fit Plus game. I was too sore from doing the Jillian game yesterday so I am putting this as a pass since I did do a workout just not the one I planned.

-Play a game with Rebecca
YEP--- Got my behind kicked in Chutes and Ladders. I don't think I have ever beat her in this game.

-Read to Jacob
NOPE--- My mom read lots of books to him this afternoon when they visited and Bill put him to bed so he read him stories before bed.

-Give Bill a massage
NOT YET--- We are getting ready to go to bed, so we shall see....

So overall an okay day. Not everything got accomplished but that is okay! I am just glad that I worked out even though I really did not want to. Go me!

I will be back in the morning with Sunday's goals. Have a great night!

Pork---It's whats for dinner!

When you are on a diet and trying to eat healthier, the first things that come to mind when you think of healthy meat is boneless, skinless chicken breast, and fish. I don't think of pork as being healthy. When I think of pork the first things that come to mind are sausages and fat.

Boy am I wrong.  Pork can be a very healthy meat and if prepared the right way can be quite delicious. On average, the most common cuts of pork today have 16% less fat than the same cuts from over 20 years ago. And according to USDA data, most cuts from the loin – think succulent loin chops and bone-in sirloin roast – are actually leaner than skinless chicken thighs. That means it is a good choice for someone who is dieting--like me and my husband.

That is why I was so excited to be invited to be part of the Pork(R) Be Inspired(R) Bzz Campaign!

In my bzz kit I received:
  • Coupon for $5 off pork for me
  • Coupons for $1 off pork to share with family and friends
  • newsletters about pork with recipes
  • a digital meat thermometer
  • recipes
  • a nifty brush to brush on marinades while cooking the pork
I used my coupon to buy a package of 4 large bone in pork chops at my local Kroger store. After the coupon I spent $0.08 on the package! YAY!!!

Now I like my pork baked, so I brought the pork home, added some seasonings to it, and baked it in an oven bag along with some tomatoes and carrots. I loved that I didn't have to guess when it was done because I just popped the thermometer in one of the chops and it was 150 degrees. The new guidelines for cooking pork are to have your pork measure 145 degrees (that is for chops, tenderloin and roasts. Ground pork should always be cooked to 160° F and pre-cooked ham can be reheated to 140° F). I let the chops rest for a few minutes before serving and that made the difference. Upon serving, the chops were moist and juicy and delicious. And best of all they were HEALTHY! Yay!
I will definitely be buying and making them more often.

I forgot to take a pic of the pork right out of the oven, so here is what we had leftover.

I just made them the way that my family likes this time just so I could get a good feeling about how the new guidelines work. Next time I think I might try a different recipe! There are lots of places on-line to find different recipes for pork. Some of these places include:
So next time you are looking for a healthy meat to feed your family, go grab some pork and Be Inspired!

Disclaimer: I was sent coupons and products from in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Pear-Cherry Muffins (I've been experimenting...)

The other day I noticed that we had 2 pears that were really know the kind: too ripe to eat, but not yet too ripe to be bad. We also had about a pound of bing cherries that were quickly going bad in the fridge (Hubby is the only one who eats these). I have really been concentrating on using up all the fresh produce that I have been buying, not only to make sure we are not wasting money, but also in an effort to be healthier. So what to do? What to do?

I looked online....and I found recipes using pears and recipes using cherries, but most recipes needed more than I had on hand. I thought and thought....then it hit me. Why not try to make a muffin using the pears and cherries. I looked online to see if I could find a recipe for a pear and cherry bread or muffin and could not find anything. There were lots of pear recipes but none that included cherries.

So I got to work. I took a recipe from "JoCooks" for Pear and Chocolate Chip Muffins as a basis and then tweaked it to make it my own. And hoped for the best.

Here are my results:

Well let me tell you, these muffins are MOIST and DELICIOUS!!!!! Even my picky Rebecca LOVES them! So sometimes it pays to think outside the box and try something new. This recipe will definitely be added to my collection of muffins and quick bread recipes.

Sorry for the dark photo---the color is supposed to be like the muffins above.

-makes 12 muffins
- according to my calculations, each muffin is 176 calories and 4.5 grams of fat.

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup butter melted (I use margarine)
  • 2 pears peeled and diced
  • 1 cup bing cherries, pitted and diced
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar together.
  3. Add melted butter and egg to dry ingredients and mix together.
  4. Add the pears and cherries to the batter and mix until incorporated.
  5. Place muffin liners into pan, or spray muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  6. Add batter to muffin tin until each cup is about 3/4 full.
  7. Place muffin tin in the oven.
  8. Bake for 14-17 minutes.
I hope you enjoy them like our family does!

Have you ever experimented successfully in the kitchen? Do you experiment in the kitchen tweaking recipes?

Daily Goals for Saturday 6/23/2012

In order to achieve my two big goals of losing weight and having better relationships with my family, I will focus daily on daily goals that are smaller and more attainable to help me achieve the larger goals.

Yesterday was a good day goal wise. Let's keep up the momentum today!

Today my goals are:

-Drink 60 oz of water.
-Eat 5 fruits and veggies
-Exercise for 30 minutes on Jillian Michaels' Wii game
-Play a game with Rebecca
-Read to Jacob
-Give Bill a massage

So there you have it. There are my goals. I will be back tonight to update! Hope everyone has a great Saturday!

Daily Goals update for Friday 6/22/2012

I thought I would pop on here to give an update of how today went. I just finished a work out, but thought I'd pop on before I head upstairs to shower and go to bed. Here is how I did today:

- Drink 60 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
ACHIEVED---I actually ended up drinking 4 bottles of water that held 19 oz each for a total of 76 oz!!!!!! YAHOO!!!!

- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
ACHIEVED---Had breakfast, lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks. Although I did cheat and had a couple tootsie rolls that were in a glass jar full of mostly bubble gum.

- Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies
SORT OF ACHIEVED--- had a banana with breakfast, an apple with lunch, carrots and corn for dinner, and the sort of is I made pear and cherry muffins this afternoon so that is kind of counting too.

- Work out 30 minutes on Wii (figure out Jillian Michaels Wii game)
ACHIEVED, ACHIEVED, ACHIEVED!!!!!!---Did 30 minutes on the light weight loss workout and IT KICKED MY BEHIND!!!! I made it until minute 23 or so and then I just couldn't do any more so I did it but not to the intensity she wanted (ie. I marched in place instead of running etc.) But I will say I am sweating and feel good. I feel like I worked out. I think this might be my workout.

- Read to Jacob before bed
ACHIEVED--- Read 2 books before bedtime

- Do some school work with Rebecca
ACHIEVED--- We did some after dinner. Later than I wanted but we did it.

- Tell Bill I love him at a random time

SO overall I feel REALLY GOOD ABOUT TODAY!!!!!! Right now though I am sweaty and tired, so I am off to shower and bed. I will be back in the morning with tomorrows goals and hopefully with a post with the recipe for the muffins I made today by trial and error, and with my to do list for this weekend. Hope everyone has wonderful night!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Daily goals for Friday June 22, 2012

In order to achieve my two big goals of losing weight and having better relationships with my family, I will focus daily on daily goals that are smaller and more attainable to help me achieve the larger goals.

So now here are my daily goals for today, Friday June 22, 2012:

- Drink 60 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
- Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies
- Work out 30 minutes on Wii (figure out Jillian Michaels Wii game)
- Read to Jacob before bed
- Do some school work with Rebecca
- Tell Bill I love him at a random time

So there you have it. I will come back tonight and let you know how I did.

Do you make daily goals? If so what are they? If not, why not?

Daily Goals Update for Thurday 6/21/12

Well last night I was TOO tired to update my goals, Bill had to do some work from home on the computer, and frankly I didn't want to think about what a bad day it had been goal wise. It really was not a good day. I felt off all day, stressed and just blah. And that tends to lead me to overeat, not make good choices and not be able to focus. But because I am being accountable to whomever reads this blog (if anyone) I will share with you how I did....

So here goes:

- Drink 48 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
ACHIEVED THIS!!!! I actually drank close to 60oz of water. Granted I had to drink a lot in the late afternoon and evening as I realized that I was a little dehydrated and had not had much to drink yesterday. I felt sick to my stomach around 4 or so and that is when I realized that I needed to drink.

- Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
Um....KIND OF.... I had breakfast, lunch, dinner and a few snacks. I had chips, a handful of gummy bears, and finished off a bag of Reese's pieces (3 handfuls) in the afternoon. And honestly it was after that that I felt bad. I only ate them because I was stressed. I am finding that as I am trying to be more aware of what I am eating that I am a stress eater and that is NOT good. 
- Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies
I had 4 out of 5--- I had steamed broccoli and baby carrots with lunch, dinner was a homemade crunchwrap with lettuce and tomatoes in it and then lots of salsa on top, and I also had a banana after dinner. So I will say 4 out of 5 so not too bad.

- Work out 30 minutes on Wii Fit
NOPE--and I have no excuse. I had several opportunities where I could have worked out while Benjamin was sleeping, or when Bill was home to watch the kids for me. Just didn't want to do it. And last night around 9 or so after the older 2 kids were in bed I justified me not working out as it was too late at night. I need to find a way NOT to make excuses.

- Read 2 stories to both Rebecca and Jacob
NOPE--- Both kids were whiny and just not being good yesterday. I found that I was yelling at them a lot and just not being the mom I want to be :(

- Compliment Bill at least 1 time.
NOPE-- Not sure what to say on this one. Just didn't do it.

So there you have it. Didn't accomplish all my goals and feeling bad about it. But I have to remember that it is one day. I didn't get like this overnight and there will be bumps in the road but I can learn from this and move and make today a better day!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sobe Lifewater Review

As you know I am trying to lose weight. One of the ways that I am doing this is by trying to make better choices in what I eat and what I drink. While I try to drink as much water as possible, there are times that I just want something with more flavor! That is why I was so excited to receive an invitation to the Sobe Flavors with Benefits BzzCampaign! And I was even more excited when my bzz kit arrived in the mail!

I received a full size bottle of Sobe Lifewater Pomegranate Nectarine coconut water, a coupon for a free 20oz bottle of any flavor Sobe lifewater, chapstick, and coupons to share with family and friends.

The first thing I did was put my water in the freezer, as I prefer my drinks to be icy cold. A while later, I took it out and tried it. And MAN WAS IT YUMMY!!!!!!! It was light, refreshing, with just the right amount of flavor. 

And it was relatively low calorie: For a 20oz. bottle (2.5 servings) there were 80 calories and 0 grams of fat! That isn't too bad for a flavored beverage. Perfect for someone like me who is watching what she eats and drinks.

There are some other things to know about Sobe Lifewaters: 

  • There are over 25 flavors to choose from
  •  There are no artificial sweeteners
  •  They offer Coconut water flavors such as Mango Mandarin, Pacific Coconut and Pomegranate Nectarine
  • They are available at Kroger

  • I will be honest and say that I have not tried any of the other flavors. I used my free product coupon on another bottle of the Sobe Pomegranate Nectarine Coconut Water because it was SO GOOD!!!!

    Have you tried any of the Sobe Lifewaters? If you have, do you have a favorite?

    Disclaimer: I was sent free product and coupons in exchange for an honest review from No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own.

    Daily Goals for Thursday June 21, 2012

    In order to achieve my two big goals of losing weight and having better relationships with my family, I will focus daily on daily goals that are smaller and more attainable to help me achieve the larger goals.

    So now here are my daily goals for today, Thursday June 21, 2012:

    - Drink 48 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
    - Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
    - Eat at least 5 fruits and veggies
    - Work out 30 minutes on Wii Fit
    - Read 2 stories to both Rebecca and Jacob
    - Compliment Bill at least 1 time.

    So there you have it. I will come back tonight and let you know how I did.

    Do you make daily goals? If so what are they? If not, why not?

    Wednesday, June 20, 2012

    Daily Goals update for Wednesday 6/20/12

    Earlier today I posted my daily goals for today. How did I do??

    - Drink 48 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
    ACHIEVED!! I actually drank 67 oz. today. I have found the secret is to keep 2 water bottles in the fridge and when I finish one, refill it and put it back.
    - Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
    ACHIEVED!! I had breakfast, lunch, dinner and 2 snacks. The only downfall was lunch was McDonald's and one snack was ice cream.
    - NO eating after dinner
    NOT ACHIEVED!!! As I am writing this I am eating a small bowl of ice cream. While this is a failure, it is actually an improvement from how I usually am at night. Right now I am stressed out and I think that is why I am eating.
    - Work out 20 minutes on Wii Fit
    ACHIEVED!!!! I actually did 30 minutes!
    - Read 2 stories to both Rebecca and Jacob
    1/2 ACHIEVED...I read to Jacob several times throughout the day. Did not find time to read to Rebecca but we did work on some school stuff together.
    - Compliment Bill at least 1 time.

    SO overall, not a bad day 1 on my new goal setting plan. I think I did pretty good today! I am looking forward to seeing what tomorrow will bring.

    Daily Goals for Wednesday 6/20/12

    Earlier I told you all wonderful readers how I was changing the way that I am setting about to meet my goals. I will set my goals. Make a DAILY GOAL plan each day that is meant to work toward the larger goal. I will GET TO WORK each day by working on my daily goals, and I will STICK TO IT by being accountable each evening on the blog. And in the end I WILL REACH my goals!

    Today is the first day! Before I start on my daily goals, let me tell you the "BIG GOALS" that are helping to guide my daily goals. They are:

    I currently weigh 242 pounds. OUCH! It hurt to put that in writing. I hate my body right now and I have no clothes that fit me right and that make me feel good. I just want to hide my body and am so very self conscious right now.

    Now I think that I am a good mom and a good wife. But I want to be a BETTER mom and wife. I find myself getting snippy and being short tempered with both Bill and the kids. I get frustrated very easily with them and start yelling. That needs to change.

    So there you have it. Those are my 2 big goals right now.

    In order to achieve these I will focus daily on daily goals that are smaller and more attainable to help me achieve the larger goals.

    So now here are my daily goals for today, Wednesday June 20, 2012:

    - Drink 48 oz of water. (will achieve this by drinking water at each meal)
    - Eat 3 meals and 2 snacks today.
    - NO eating after dinner
    - Work out 20 minutes on Wii Fit
    - Read 2 stories to both Rebecca and Jacob
    - Compliment Bill at least 1 time.

    So there you have it. I will come back tonight and let you know how I did.

    Do you make daily goals? If so what are they? If not, why not?

    Starting to set daily goals

    Over the last few weeks, I have been feeeling off and coming to the realization that I have lost motivation to change my life in ways to make it better. I have been feeling anxious, depressed and just not with it. I have basically been going through the motions. (Now don't get me wrong there are a lot of aspects of my life that are good, just I have not been feeling good about myself---weight wise, and relationship wise!)

    I know what needs to be changed. I have LARGE goals that seem to be impossible to meet. And when I make even 1 mistake I beat myself up with guilt and with "oh well, there goes the day, might as well continue to be bad..." thoughts.

    Well yesterday it hit me. I have been so focused on meeting the larger goals that I am not looking at ways to get there. I am just wanting to go from now to meeting the goals. That is the wrong way to go about it. Rationally I know that. I know that I did not get this way overnight, and it will take time for me to reach my goals. But the goals are not going to be reached without me working toward them either.

    A lot of people suggest to make weekly goals in order to meet your larger goal. That is okay if you can remember day to day what your goals are and you work on them each day. The way it has been for me is that I have written weekly goals on Sunday; forget about them until the next Sunday when I write more; beat myself up for not accomplishing them; start the cycle all over. THAT IS NOT THE WAY TO MAKE PROGRESS.

    Well last night I had a revelation. Why can't I make daily goals and be accountable to them? I am supposed to be Living better ONE DAY at a time, right? So why won't this work? I am sick and tired of living my life like this.

    So I have decided to start a new way of setting out to achieve my goals. I am going to start making public daily goals and then coming back each evening to let you know how they go. I am hoping that you will support me in this and please leave comments and suggestions along the way!

    So in this way I have set my goals, made a plan on how to achieve them (daily goals). I will get to work daily. I will stick to it and be accountable daily to you readers. And in the end I WILL REACH MY GOALS!!!!


    Happy, Happy Summer to everyone!
    Hope that the weather is great where ever you are.
    Here it is HOT, HOT, HOT.
    Temperatures are supposed to be 96 degrees today!
    That is HOT!!!!
    But it is Summer and for that I am thankful!
    Hope everyone has a wonderful Summer!

    Monday, June 18, 2012

    Weekly goals

    Taking a clue from Money Saving Mom, I have decided to make up a list of 10 weekly goals that I would like to accomplish this week. Not only will this give me some guidance as to what I find important to do, it will also make me accountable to getting them done. I have found since Benjamin was born that if I set weekly goals instead of daily goals then I am more apt to get them done.

    So for this week my goals are:

    1. Get up, shower and get dressed before kids get up in the morning to help get mornings off to a good start.
    2. Work on summer school with Rebecca
    1. Eat more fruits and veggies
    2. Drink 8 glasses of water a day
    1. Do a load of laundry from start to finish each day.
    2. Figure out budget for the summer
    3. Menu plan for the week
    1. Get book reviews written and posted (or scheduled to post). The books are read, I just need to do the reviews for them
    2. Bzzagent reviews
    3. At least 3 non -review posts
    Hope everyone has a great week! What are your goals for the week?

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Happy Father's Day!

    Happy Father's Day to ALL the wonderful Dads out there in the world! Be they Fathers biologically, by marriage, by choice, etc. The good Fathers in the world deserve recognition on this day!

    I have been blessed with knowing 2 wonderful Fathers in my own personal life....

    First, I have been blessed with my own Father. They say that a Daddy is a Daughter's first best friend. Well that is true. From day 1 and through today, I can say that I can go to my Dad for advice, love, guidance, and everything in between. He is a wonderful Father to me and a great Grandfather to our children!  
    Dad and I-- Easter 2004
    Second- I have been BLESSED beyond belief to have married a man who is a Wonderful husband to me! And who also happens to be a PHENOMENAL Father to our children!

    Bill is an amazing Dad to all 3 of our children and to our son in Heaven!

    Bill with our kids-- May 2012
    How did he come become a great Father?

    It all started before we were married. Bill was told (before he ever met me) that he would never be able to father children. And we were okay with that. While it saddened me, I was okay with it. I felt that this was the man I was supposed to marry and spend the rest of my life with.

    So July 16, 2005 we got married and pledged our love in front of family and friends.

    In September of 2005, I suffered a miscarriage at 6 weeks along and we were both devastated.

    On  November 28, 2006, we were blessed with the birth of our daughter Rebecca. Bill fell into the role of Daddy from Day 1.

    On September 21, 2008 we lost our son Travis, who was born silently into Heaven. This was another devastating blow to us. But we both relished our role as Mom and Dad to Rebecca.

    On October 11, 2009, we were blessed with the birth of our son Jacob. Bill loves playing sports and rough-housing with Jacob.

    On April 2 of this year, we were again blessed with the birth of our son Benjamin. Bill was the first to hold him and was the first to be able to comfort him (as I had a c-section). I would not have wanted it any other way! He continues to be a great dad---staying up with Benjamin so I can get some sleep, taking the other kids to the park to give me a break, etc. 

    This man whom I call my husband, is without a doubt THE WORLD'S BEST FATHER!!! He spends everyday taking care of his family and making decisions based on what is best for his children. When he comes home from work the kids run to him yelling Daddy, Dadda! They adore him and he adores them. And that is what a good father is! And that is what Bill is!

    Saturday, June 16, 2012

    Cascadian Farm Coupon Giveaway from Mommy Does!

    Cascadian Farm was founded in 1972 with the knowledge that good food starts with caring for their land. Their farms are still being tended in the foothills of Washington's Cascade Mountains. Not only that, but they also partner with other farmers who share their commitment to bringing consumers organic foods, so you can be sure every bite is good for you and your family.

    Why Eat Organic?

    Cascadian Farm products are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically engineered ingredients. Their organic foods also contain no artificial flavors or preservatives. Be sure to try Cascadian Farm's entire line of organic foods including cereal, frozen fruits and vegetables!

    Cascadian Farm provided Mommy Does... with four free product coupons worth up to $5.08 each for one lucky reader to win! These coupons don't expire until 3/5/14, so they will be good for ANY product of theirs!Giveaway is open to US ONLY and ends on 07/07/2012 at 11:59 EST. Living Better One Day at a Time is not responsible for shipment of coupons...
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, June 13, 2012

    Announcing the Shutterfly Print Code WINNER!!

    A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who entered my Shutterfly giveaway! Time to announce the winner!

    I used to find the winner...

    True Random Number Generator

    Powered by RANDOM.ORG


    Rachel R. said:
    I am following....

    CONGRATS RACHEL!!!! An email has been sent to you!

    Thanks again everyone! Have a great day!

    Monday, June 11, 2012

    Lots on my mind...

    I have had a TON of things on my mind lately...most of them changes and things that I feel like I need to make. Most of all I think that I need to take a few steps out of my comfort zone and spice things up a bit. Not sure yet what that means. Not sure yet what changes I will be making. It seems like I am going on and on with possibilities and yet I am scared to take any chances or do things that my change things up....I just have to do it I guess. And when I know, I will let you know....

    Friday, June 8, 2012

    GIVEAWAY: 100 free prints from Shutterfly

    I have been thinking a lot about how blessed my family is and how blessed I am to have a wonderful husband and 3 beautiful children. I am blessed that I have wonderful family and friends and that this community that we live in has become home to Bill and I in many more ways than we could imagine.
    One of the many ways that I like to remember how blessed I am is to take a ton of pictures to capture all the memories. And the only site that I like to get my pictures printed from is! The quality of their prints is outstanding and I have never had any problem with their work.

    Because I feel so blessed, I wanted to offer a giveaway to one of my blog readers. When I gave birth to Benjamin, I was sent 2 Shutterfly codes good for 100 FREE PRINTS---there was one code for me and one code for a friend. Today and through this coming Tuesday (June 12, 2012) I am offering up the chance to win the code for a friend! THIS WILL BE A QUICK giveaway! I will take entries through TUESDAY night at 11:59PM EST.

    This offer is valid for a code for 100 Free 4X6 prints shipped from No additional purchase of merchandise is required. Taxes, Shipping and handling may apply and are the responsibility of the winner! The code is good only for the prints! This offer does expire on June 30, 2012 and code must be entered at The winner will be emailed the code!

    MANDATORY ENTRY: Follow this blog through GFC. Leave a comment letting me know that you are following me along with YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS!

    OPTIONAL ENTRY: Sign up for my email updates located on the right side bar of this page, under my family photos. Leave a comment to let me know that you did along with YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS!

    If you do not leave your email in the entries, I will not count your entries. It is easier for me to notify winners if their email is in their entry! :)

    Entries will be accepted until 11:59  PM EST on Tuesday June 12 and winner will be chosen using random number generator and announced on Wednesday June 13.

    Good luck!!

    Disclaimer: I was in no way compensated for this post and this is post and giveaway is in no way affiliated with Shutterfly. This is my code given to me for free and all opinions in this are my own.

    Thursday, June 7, 2012

    16 pounds!!!!

    That is how much my sweet baby Benjamin weighed today at the doctor's office. That is without any clothes on, just a diaper. He is ONLY 9 WEEKS OLD!

    He is big and HEALTHY and for that I am so blessed!

    He also got 3 shots in his legs and 1 vaccine by mouth. Poor guy! So for the rest of today I am just focusing on taking care of Ben and resting. (I also had a tooth pulled yesterday so my mouth is in some pain!)