Friday, September 30, 2016

Harry Potter Birthday Party

So Maggie turned 11. Not quite sure how we got here so quickly, but here we are. As we were talking about what she wanted to do for her birthday this year, she decided this would be the perfect year for a Harry Potter party, as she turned 11, just like Harry did in the first book. We looked through Pinterest for ideas and came up with:

The invitations: A letter from Minerva McGonagall inviting her friends to a preview session of Hogwarts where they would make wands, have a feast and watch a "documentary" about Hogwarts.

Wand Shopping: They made wands using yarn, hot glue, pony beads and their imaginations. We then painted them brown.

The feast included Butterbeer (the girls were not fans), Quiddich (shepherd's) pie and baskalisk bones (spaghetti) and pumpkin pasties. The cake was red velvet and decorated like Hagrid decorated Harry's first cake! After the feast, they watched Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.

Overall, it was a successful party. Maggie & her friends had a great time and Maggie ranks it in her to 10 birthdays!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

#21DayFix Day something ...

I haven't exactly kept up on this. I've been following the guidelines (kinda) and attempting to track, but football season is in full swing and you have to have Buffalo Wings during the first game of the season. The tracking app I use doesn't allow you to "skip" a day and pick up again; well, it does but not easily. You can restart, but I don't like a restart, I prefer to pick up where I left off.

I've got a couple of other areas to keep me accountable though. My "workout boss" (as Jessie calls her) Anjali got my into the BeachBody Health Bet: minimum of 3 workouts & 5 Shakes each week. Easy peasy. 

Rocky and I are also tracking our fruits & veggies for the wellness program thru SDSU.

Again, my goal here is to make better choices. So supper tonight had 2 veggie choices: peas and broccoli to go with shrimp and wild rice (Jessie's favorite). And a glass of wine.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

#21DayFix Day 3

I think the hardest part of the 21 day fix is figuring out when to have my carbs. I only get 2 (TWO). And wine counts as a carb so if I want to have A glass (4 ounces), then that really limits what I can have. My ideal meal would be bread, cheese and wine. So I have to get creative.

This was tonight's supper: salmon, brown rice, broccoli, & a stuffed red pepper (spinach, cottage cheese, mozzarella, & bacon). This is 2 veggies, 1 carb, 1.5 protein, with 2 tbsp of oil. I'm still working on portion control -- the salmon filet is hard as it doesn't fit neatly into the red box! I did a little bit of guessing. I tend to be better on using the containers with lunch as it makes it easier to put it in my lunchbox!

This "diet" -- it's not really a diet but a life style choice, learning how to make better food choices and what a serving is. This is a good match for me because of its flexibility. Very little is off limits. If I wanted to have bread, cheese and wine, I could. Now an entire loaf, with 8 oz of cheese and 2 glasses of wine would be too much -- as it should! Again this is about portion control. A healthy diet includes a wide variety of food and lots of fruits & veggies. And that's something that my diet, my food choices typically lack. This has challenged me to look for more fruits, bringing more fresh and frozen fruits and veggies into the house -- we won't eat what isn't here!

I am enjoying the challenge and seeing my diet improve. I'm excited to see where this round takes me!

Monday, September 5, 2016

#21DayFix Round 2

I didn't quite make it through my first 21 day fix. The last week of the fix, we were in Minneapolis and, while I did attempt to stick to it, it is really hard to track your food when you are eating out. You can't control exactly what is put on the plate and forget about portion control (still have that "clean your plate" mentality sometimes and sometimes, man, it was too good to waste!) I stayed away from too many fried foods, but probably drank more pop in those few days than I did the rest of the summer! 

Even so, I would call my first venture a success: 11 inches and 5 pounds gone! It works -- who would have thought that adding more fruits & veggies into your diet and controlling carbs and fats would help you lose weight? Shocking I know. I definitely do not have a knowledge problem when it comes to weight loss: I have an execution problem!

When my coach (or my "workout boss" as Jessie calls her) invited me to participate in the BeachBody Health Bet, I knew this would be another great opportunity to try the 21 Day Fix. The Health Bet is focused on tracking Shakeology & workouts, but I decided I need to continue to challenge myself to execute my nutrition knowledge!

I'm going to blog about this as well to hold myself accountable and hopefully remind myself of the recipes I've enjoyed.

My Shakeology today was Cafe Latte, almond milk, salted caramel syrup, pumpkin purée and pumpkin spice. We got some sugar pumpkins from Rocky's brother, so I roasted them and made some purée. (Later, Maggie & I are going to practice making pumpkin pasties). The shakeo was delicious but next time I'm definitely adding some graham crackers!

Still trying to decide what's for lunch today -- work days are much easier to stick to the plan than lazy stay home days!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

#Bod4God Back for More #21DF

Since completing the Bod4God program, I've done pretty good keeping up on the exercise portion of what I learned. My choices have changed and I have really felt growth in Piyo, which is definitely my continued workout of choice. I love that I work up a sweat, my heart rate goes up yet I don't have the jarring affect that the high impact exercises have on my joints (jeez how old am I?). Piyo has made me stronger than I ever thought. Strong enough I felt confident to participate in the Brookings marathon relay with a group from work. I had a 3 mile leg and did it in a little over 11 minutes/mile.

I have not done as well with the nutrition side. I struggle with portion control, and of course, my beloved bread, cheese and wine! Anjali has been a great coach encouraging me to take a variety of challenges, designed not only to challenge me, but also teach me something. I did a 5 day Shakeology challenge and discovered that I really do like that stuff -- with almond milk & a coffee syrup (salted caramel & s'mores are my favorite). Also discovered the girls like them so it may become a regular rotation for their breakfast.

And now I'm on the 21 Day Fix which is all about portion control. The program comes with these handy-dandy containers to help you get the right portion for each type of food: vegetables, fruit, carbs, protein, healthy fat, nuts or dressing. The program also allows for some cookie "fats" or other flavoring a in teaspoon increments.  And of course, as much water as you can possible drink
This was my lunch the other day. It took me quite a while to finish it all!! I'm simply not used to eating so many fruits and veggies!! While I haven't really craved sweets, I do find myself wanting more cheese (healthy fats) as I'm only allotted one portion of healthy fats each day.

I just finished the first week. I haven't weighed myself or taken any new measurements but I've enjoyed the challenge. We ordered in pizza last night,so I had to find a way to get some fruits & veggies. Fortunately, I picked up a bunch of frozen fruits and had bought some fresh kale -- kale chips where have you been all my life?!?

I'm really not looking to lose weight or inches. I'm hoping to come away from this having become more mindful about what I eat.

Friday, July 29, 2016


I am a feminist. I believe in equal and equitable treatment for all people. So last night was HUGE. Really really huge.

My girls were/are SO excited. They are very big Hillary fans. And I encourage it. This election is bigger than who will be president of the United States. This is about that glass ceiling. No longer is the idea that a woman could be president theoretical. Much like the election in 2008 was about the idea that a black man could be president, this election is about that same thing. Love her or hate her, Hillary is finally that woman who broke through, brought the ceiling crashing down. 

We watched her speech outside on the big screen. Maggie was disinterested until Hillary began speaking (Sorry Chelsea), but once Hillary began, she watched with rapt attention. I could tell Maggie was really listening. She was commenting and got into the chanting -- raising her fist and saying "Hillary, Hillary, Hillary!" She understands how important this is. She knows it is important for us to actually SAY Girls are just as good as Boys and that it is ridiculous that we have to say it. Everyone deserves a seat at the table.

"Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights." Hillary Clinton. 

And so last night, we set up the inflatable screen, the projector and sat out under the stars to watch Hillary Clinton become the first woman in the United States to accept a major party's nomination (and for all those who want to argue about other female candidates - yes, they were candidates, but they were not from a major party and let's not get into their actual chances). I am voting for Hillary, because a vote for Hillary is a vote for both of my daughters.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Through Jessie's Eyes

Jessie can't wait to grow up. She loves fashion and make up and is currently "married" to Rusty [the dog]. She became extremely upset the other morning when I told her there was no way she would get a phone for her 6th birthday. I love to listen to her talk and sing her made up songs that tell an epic tale.

Today, while we were trying to fly a kite, she grabbed my phone and took some pictures. Finally get to see the world through her eyes:

Monday, March 21, 2016

Palm Sunday

Riding into the city on an ass
And the people cried out.
Leaving the city carrying a cross
And the people cried out.

Where would I be?
Which side would I be on?
When would I cry out?
Would I listen if even the rocks cried out?
What would it take?

Would I cry out Hallelujah?
Would I cry out crucify him?

Luke 19:40 He answered them "if they were silent, the stones would shout out."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cheesecake Truffles

Girl Scout cookie sales have come to an end (almost) and here I sit with 2 CASES of Peanut Butter Sandwiches (or Do-Si-Dos). These are a classic Girl Scout cookie, around back when I sold cookies in the 80s. They have their own following, but are no where near the popularity of the Thin Mint, Caramel Delite (or Samoas) or Peanut Butter Patties (or Tagalongs).

Here in South Dakota, we do not do pre-sales (think the Girl Scout out with her sales form and then delivering cookies several weeks/a month later), we have cookies on hand. I really prefer this method. Neighbors are more likely to purchase from the girl with cookies in hand. The hard part is predicting what you might need. My girls like to do booth sales, so I have made it a habit to schedule 1-2 booths during the last weekend of sales and let my parents return cookies they aren't able to sell (by a deadline).

The number of girls tripled for me -- Maggie's troop doubled in size and Jessie is now a Girl Scout. We went from 5 girls selling last year to 16 girls! So lots of new girls selling. We had a fantastic year. Unfortunately, some of them over-estimated the popularity of some cookies, which is why I now have 24 boxes of Peanut Butter Sandwiches (and Shortbreads). We have one final booth coming up at SDSU right before Easter, so I am hoping we can find some creative ways to sell these not-as-popular cookies. 

In browsing around Pinterest, I found a recipe for Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles and decided to see if they would work with Peanut Butter Sandwiches in place of the peanut butter. And I'm happy to say they were a success! Just a few ingredients and we have another way to enjoy these cookies! I'm hoping to do the same with a couple of other cookies before the final sales.

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cheesecake Truffle

1 box Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies (you will use 1.5 sleeves)
8 oz cream cheese, room temp
1/3 cup powdered sugar (more to taste)
8 oz chocolate chips + 1/2 cup if desired.

Finely crush 1.5 sleeves of Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies in a food processor. Whip with 8 oz of cream cheese and 1/3 cup powdered sugar until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips (if desired). Chill mixture in refrigerator for 1 hour. Form into balls. [I used a small cookie scoop for the balls above. I think I want to find a smaller one so they are truly bite sized.] Freeze. [Due to time, I froze them overnight, which was more than enough. An hour should be fine.] Melt 8 oz of chocolate chips. Dip & cover balls in melted chocolate. Sprinkle with extra crushed cookies. Freeze minimum 1 hour. Enjoy!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Wild Generosity

Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you that have no money -- come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (Isaiah 55:1)

Is there anyone among you who, if a child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for fish, will give a snake? (Matthew 7:9)

Two messages to cut me to the core
Of selfishness
When have I chosen the easy route of looking away
When have I chosen to wonder what's in it for me
Before I give
My time
My talents
My tithe

When have You been before me
A stranger, reaching out a hand for a bit of my tithe
A friend, asking for a bit of my talent
A child, wanting just a bit of time

Yet I selfishly turned away
What's in it for me

Selfishly, I cling to the world
I cling to my stuff
I cling to that which doesn't really matter
Wanting more for me

Remind me that there is plenty for all
There is more where that comes from
You will provide all that I need.
How often you have proved it over and over and over
Yet still I want more
More proof

When have You been before me asking me for something?
Let me see You and know
Let me hear You and give
Freely to whomever asks
Let me be wildly generous

Saturday, February 27, 2016


Where can I find quiet
Where can I hear the stillness
In this noisy world 
The giggle of my girls
The honking of the geese
Returning from the south
The crackle of a fire
The whine of the dog
Begging someone to just throw the ball
And then I realize
You are in all those noises
You are behind
You are the source
You are the reason 
I can find the beauty in each of those sounds 
Thank you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Bearing Fruit

Prompt from Luke 13:8-9

I've done that.
I've been there.
And it is now
Now I am seeing the fruit
Now I am seeing that you are faithful
And that everything happens in your time
Not mine.
We can continue to let the tree grow.
We are planted in the right spot.
I was impatient but you have shown
You have proven to me again
And again
I do not need to be afraid.
I will continue to trust you.

Friday, February 19, 2016


I say to the LORD, "You are my God; I have no good apart from you." (Psalm 16:2)

Confess in prayer today that God is the goodness of our days, our breath, our life.

Apart from you, I am a shell.
Apart from you, I am weak.
Apart from you, I am unacceptable.
Apart from you, I am poor.
Apart from you, I am ordinary.
Apart from you, I am evil.

With you, I am filled.
With you, I am strong.
With you, I am accepted.
With you, I am rich.
With you, I am extraordinary.
With you, I am good. 
I have good. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lent Prayer 1

Yet even now, says the LORD, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning. (Joel 2:12)

We are not alone here.
We are all connected. 
We must all return to the Lord.
There is no punishment for all because of one.
We are called to love.
I mourn the lack of love.
I mourn the lack of grace.
We are all on this journey together.
We need to give more grace to one another.
We need to give more love to one another.
Show me where grace is needed.
Show me where love is needed.
Remind me to give. Freely.
Without reservation.

Love Freely

The love that comes from faith does not ask, "Who will get into heaven?" or "Who will go to hell?" No, the love that comes from faith says, "Christ is near to you, as close as a whisper and within your heart." (Romans 10:6-8a, adapted)

This Valentine's Day, Lord, let me be your love, your light that shows others you. Guide me, put into my path those that need that love. Remind me so show love when I am impatient, frustrated, angry. I am not ready for the responsibilities that come with judging others. I want to love, give grace to those that I don't think deserve it. Love is not something to be earned but to be freely given. 

This is something I need to do.
This is something I want to do.
This is what is required, because you have freely loved me.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

2016 Resolutions

1. 1000 Gifts: get to 1000 gifts by Dec 2016.
2. Track food -- know what's going in
3. 4-5 work outs each week
4. Anjali's clean eating challenge. Participate in at least 6 this year.
5. Menu planning. Plan out at least 1 week in advance.
6. One on one time with Maggie
7. A new church home