Saturday, March 29, 2014

Menu Plan: Spring Break

The kids have spring break this week so the menu planning is going to be a little different, I think.  Instead of crazy rushed schedules, it might be a little more laid back.  Plus, there could be a getaway for me and the kids at the end of the week to go pick up that genius quilt my mom designed and made!

I still have 2 of the meats seasoned and frozen from last week that would just need to go to the crock pot for the afternoon.  Since Jeff will be home with the kiddos, he can be in charge of that!

So the menu looks a little lonely.  But that's ok.  And since the meats are prepped and ready to go, it will be hat much easier to do the shopping this week!  I think we will have to make sure we have food the kids might want to eat for lunch and breakfast more than anything.

So even though it is a light week, I still want to stay accountable to menu planning and cooking at home.

And feel free to share any fantastic dishes you've tried or meal plans your families have loved!!

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Friday, March 28, 2014

We're A Little Different

I follow some worship leaders on Twitter and Facebook and enjoy reading their blogs.

What strikes me is that it seems most churches with contemporary music have more of a perforamnce feel than my church.  A stage and lights and sound system.  A band with many instruments and a lead singer or 2 and some back up singers.

And these bloggers write a lot about things like...

Make sure you come down from the platofrm to talk to people!

Don't lock yourself in the green room before service!

Buy my book/cd!

Don't get caught up in performing - keep your heart authentic!

And I read those things and am pleasantly surprised that I have little to no clue what they are talking about.

I am blessed to be part of the Worship Team at my church.  But there is no "green room."  There are no fancy lights or fog machines.  And while it may be hard to believe, we also don't have a bunch of big egos walking around.

We're there for a purpose.  To lead the congregation in praise and worship.  To demonstrate, through music, a special way to draw closer to Him.

We're also a family.  We have laughed together, cried together.  We pray together and for each other.  It isn't just about our weekly practice time or our time together on Sunday mornings.  We care about each other throughout the week.

And one more thing.

We like to have fun.

How many worship teams do you know that have a pajama party at rehearsal?

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

A "Make Your Bed" Quilt

My mom is a genius.

My mom is a crafty person.  She taught me how to sew and do cross stitch.  I don't do those things now.  But she does.  My mom quilts.  She has made t-shirt quilts for others which are a great way to memoralize a person or a period of time.  She has sewn clothes, too.  And I remember a period of time where she was crocheting to make bandages for a mission project at her church.

For Teagan's 9th birthday, my mom has made a quilt for her.

But it's a magical genius quilt.  This quilt is designed to help Teagan be able to make her own bed.

See those arrows?  Those are pointing to special guides that my mom incorporated into the quilt.  Teagan will be able to line up the foot of the bed and the side of the bed with those yellow pieces on the quilt in order to best fit the quilt on the bed.

See?  Genius!

We will be doing a little rearranging in Teagan's room over Spring Break.  Her bed is currently against a wall and we want to make it so she can access both side of the bed in order to best make her bed with her special quilt.

It's a "make your own bed" quilt.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's Your Blog: Karen

I love when we have a person in our lives that demonstrates what "hope" and "inspiration" really mean. Karen has one of those people - and she is sharing that story with us.

Kathy was 5 when she was watching her cousin try to melt a lock by using a piece of paper that had been lit on fire. He threw it behind him when it became too hot for him to hold. He was unaware of her standing there. It caught the bottom of her hair first. Back then, the idea of stop drop and roll wasn't conceived yet. The fire spread up her back, to her arms, to her stomach and chest, and then to her neck and face. 
The doctors didn't expect her to live. She spent more than a year in the hospital receiving skin grafts. They took healthy skin from her legs and put it on her back where the burns were the worst. She survived but was told that because of the scarring on her stomach that would come with the healing, she would never be able to have children in her lifetime. 
All through her school years, she was made fun of because of the scars. There were two guys in her high school years that didn't mind and looked past her scars, John and Norm. Just after high school, she married John. She lost contact with Norm. In 1977, she found out she was pregnant. Because of the scars, the doctors told her she wouldn't make it full term. She did. Actually, she went three weeks past full term to have a healthy baby girl! 
They moved to VA shortly after that. In 1981, she became pregnant again. This time, the scar tissue did make an impact. This baby girl came three weeks early and her lungs were not fully developed. She was born with several infections that put her in ICU for a month. She survived! 
This time, doctors were positive another pregnancy wouldn't end well for either of them. So, they decided not to have more children. In 1983, when the youngest was just 2, John found out he had a stomach ulcer. He was given medicine and told to stay away from alcohol. He loved his beer though. During a visit to his brother in Texas, he took the medication with beer. His heart stopped in the middle of the night. This was 4 days before Christmas. Kathy was shocked and distraught when the police showed up to inform her of her husband's death. With two young children and no job, the only option was for her to move in Indianapolis where her mom and dad lived. She worked two jobs just to make ends meet. The oldest daughter had to grow up quickly to help with her sister. 
In 1991, an accident at her mom's house got the attention of the local oil delivery guy. He showed up to check on her knowing she was elderly and lived with only her husband. Little did he know that her daughter and granddaughters moved in. Kathy was surprised when he showed up at the door. It was Norm! They talked for a while. He was married with three kids. They stayed friends. That same year, she found a computer training class that, after graduation, helped her get a job with the state. From there, she was able to get her own place and support her kids without anyone's help. In 1997, her dad passed away. Her mom had several heart surgeries.
Keep up. Time goes by quickly. LOL
In 1995, her oldest daughter graduated high school and had a baby boy. She married a year later. In 1998, she had another boy on Kathy's birthday. In 1999, her youngest graduated high school and married a year later. In 2002, her youngest had a baby girl. In 2005, Norm got a divorce and married Kathy a year after that. That same year, her youngest had a baby boy and her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastecomy to prevent it from spreading and it worked. In 2008, her mom passed away. Her lungs were not strong enough to beat phneumonia. In 2011, her step-daughter was murdered and there was no one to care for her 5 year old daughter. It happened exactly 3 weeks before her 6th birthday. Kathy and Norm took her in. That same year, her youngest had another baby girl. And her youngest is expecting another girl this year (2014).
To this day, people make fun of her scars and the color of her skin. It's red in patches and pale in others. The words they would say hurt her but also never stopped her. She never let the worst get to her. She survived a fire, hateful words from classmates and strangers, two pregnancies that were never supposed to happen in the first place, the death of a spouse and the death of both parents. She also survived the uncertainty of what to do after her husband passed. The uncertainty of what would happen if she left two minimum wage jobs to go through a class that wasn't guaranteed for the chance of a good job . She had two kids to raise on her own. She managed through it all.
My name is Karen and I am her youngest. She inspires me to hang in there when things get tough no matter how bad. She shows my sister and I love, even when that was all she has to give. She's never turned us away when we needed her.
We never went without the basics. We didn't have a lot of gifts at Christmas or on our birthdays. However, she always made the Holidays memorable. Her looks never stopped her. The hateful words never stopped her. And she made life to be what she wanted it to be. No matter what happens to me, I know I'll survive just like my mom.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I am part of a group of Indianapolis area women who blog - we are the Indy Geek Girls.  We've been given a writing prompt this week - "Community- tell a story about how you found your group, your tribe, your circle of irreplaceable friends."


a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

I am fortunate to be part of a few communities.  And even more fortunate to have seen these communities come together and do great things.

Like it or not, there is a community in my workplace.

My church is a community.

My circle of friends is my community.

The circle of bloggers that I am part of is a community.

My social network is a community.

And each of these communities certainly cures any chance of loneliness.

How did I come to know my group of irreplaceable friends? My tribe?  My Ohana?

I don't know.  It just... happened.  I can tell you the story of how I met my husband.  I can tell you where I met people or how - at church, through Indy Moms, in community theatre and so on.

But the way my tribe became mine is simply by people proving themselves.  People showing their true colors and still being beautiful.  People seeing mine and still thinking I was beautiful.  At times when I could be facing loneliness, these are the people who step beside me so I don't walk alone.

It's the shared interests that brought us together. But it's the memories we create that keep us together.

I sometimes hear of women who don't feel like they have friends.  And it breaks my heart.  I can't imagine our lives without our community.  There are people in our lives that help me to see the beauty in my children.  People who help me maintain my patience when I'm facing a difficult parenting challenge. People who patiently take me clothes shopping when I really hate to go.  People who want to be locked away in a cabin in the woods for a few days each year.  People who want to sing and worship and praise alongside me. People who support my marriage, my faith, my career, my fun.

So maybe I can't tell you a great story of how I met each part of my community.  But I can tell you what they each mean to me and what my community as a whole means to me.  And I think that's what really matters.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

What I Love About Fred Phelps

I'm a hater, truth be told.  Well, maybe hate is a strong word.

That cult that was founded by Phelps - and it is a cult and not a church - leaves me very sad, angry, and frustrated and aghast.

But something amazing has come to light since his death last week.

For all the hate, anger, vitriol, despisement, intolerance and ugliness that Phelps and his followers put into the world....

There has been even more LOVE in response.

Many have written about it.  This isn't some new realization.  I've seen countless other blog posts and articles expressing the same idea.  And as I've read them, I realized that it sure would have been nice to realize the love while he was still alive.

The cult will continue to show up at concerts and funerals and such with their hate signs.

And protesters will continue to show up.  With signs of love and forgiveness.  Signs that just might show a brighter path ahead.  Signs that just might reach one of those hate-filled people.

So I do hope that Phelps is in a better place.  I don't wish hell on anyone.  And I do hope that he made peace with the Lord prior to his passing.  I hope that even in his last moments, he came to know the love of Christ and how fulfilling it truly is to love instead of hate.

And that the call from God is to LOVE.  Not to hate.  Not to dictate hate.  Not to encourage hate.  To love.  Everyone.

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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Indiana Artisan Marketplace 2014 (GIVEAWAY)

Last year, I gave away 2 tickets to the Indiana Artisan Marketplace at the Indiana State Fairgrounds.  I was able to attend a preview of the event and I have to admit... I fell in love!

I have been a fan of the Indiana Artisan artists and wine makers and food makers for years.  Everything from glass art to hot sauce and to earn the label, you have to meet certain requirements.  All the products are made in Indiana.  Such a great way to celebrate the talents in our state!

Here are some pics of some of my fave things from last year.

I've got THREE ways for you to try and win tickets!!!

ONE - Go to the Indiana Artisan page on Facebook.  Check out this giveaway!

TWO - Enter MY giveaway!!  See the Rafflecopter below.

THREE - Enter giveaways on other blogs!  See links below (links will be added as other bloggers get their posts up).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Solid Gold Eats
Mums Chasing Lilies
Chaos Is Bliss
Good Works Wellness

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Saturday, March 22, 2014

Menu: Mar 24

I took a week off due to illness and a crazy schedule.  And I almost skipped menu planning for this week due to illness.  But.  It's important.

I've reviewed the sales flyer for my local grocery and I'm ready!  I'm going to prep everything tomorrow so it's easier to cook up each day.  I'm going to rely heavily on my Wildtree products this week, too.

Monday - pork chops marinated in Wet Rubz Santa Maria style marinade.  Serve with  brown rice.

Tuesday - garlic & herb chicken.  I'm going to prep the chicken ahead of time with Wildtree gradeseed oil and garlic & herb seasoning.  Then freeze it.  Tuesday - into the crock pot with some minced garlic and chicken broth.  Potatoes or rolls.

Weds - church.  I'm co-leading a healthy living group and the menu offerings at our weekly church dinner aren't always the healthiest.  So I've starting taking my own dinner.  I either do a large serving of broccoli slaw with slivered almonds and salsa ranch yogurt dressing or I hit the fantastic salad bar at Marsh.

Thursday - Ancho chicken.  Wildtree products again.  And going to prep and freeze and crock it.  Thinking I will crock it with salsa.  Target has a cilantro lime rice that I really like.  And we could do a family happy making rice, too.

Friday - Scampi chicken.  Wildtree, prep and freeze, crock pot.  Potatoes or rolls.

For sides, I'm going to keep a good stock of things to grab and toss together.  Fresh fruit, frozen peas, green beans and salad are always easy.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

It's Your Blog: Lori

I am honored to once again bring you an important story from my friend, Lori.  This is a story of mental illness and suicide.  If you need help, please reach out.  And keep reaching.  I admire the honesty and courage of this young man's family in speaking up about the reality of their loss.
Today I'd like to share a story about Andy.  First, let me say, I never met Andy, although I really wish I would've had the pleasure of knowing him.  Sadly I will never get to know him, nor will anyone reading this, but Andy's is an important important that I really hope you take a few minutes to read this and then think about your own life, the people in your life, and how Andy's story could be similar to that of someone you know.  And maybe...just maybe...if this touches a chord with one person and one life is changed, then Andy's story becomes even greater.
Andy is the son of Sally Schindel.  Sally is my Mom's cousin.  So in some so-many-times-removed familial way, Sally....and thus Andy, are my cousins.  I'm not going to get all family tree technical, but just leave it at that...Andy is a distant cousin.  I have had the pleasure of meeting his mom, Sally, and her husband Gregg at family reunions.  Our family reunions can be crazy, and I've always enjoyed visiting with Sally and Gregg at those reunions.  Thanks to Facebook even the most distant of cousins can now keep track of one another between those crazy reunions.
Recently I received a message from Sally via Facebook that her son Andy had died.  Her exact words were "I am so sorry to let you know that my son Andy died by suicide on Saturday".
I read those words with shock.  First of all, I was shocked that someone so young had died.  I was also shocked at how she described his death..."died by suicide".  That made my heart break.  I felt horrible to know that she was facing the loss of her son and that she also had to deal with the fact that he had taken his own life.
Sally has been on my mind lately.  I knew that Andy was a combat veteran.  I wondered if the emotional weight of war had played a part in his mental illness.  I know that many servicemen and women come back and just simply aren't the same.  Some face survivor guilt...why did they survive when buddies died?  Some face the demons of flashbacks.  Some face substance addiction.  Some face all that and more.
Questions...that is what I had about Andy.  I questioned what he was like...what had driven him so low that suicide seemed his only was Sally dealing with this...what lessons were there to be learned in this tragedy...were any of my veteran friends facing similar issues...questions...questions...and more questions.
Today I got answers.  Today Sally posted Andy's obituary on her Facebook wall.  It was, quite possibly, the most touching obituary I have ever read.  After reading it I felt some of my questions were answered while new ones popped in my head.  I felt such an admiration of Sally.  She was not only facing the loss of her son head-on, but she was putting suicide and depression right into the spotlight.  That is NOT easy.  Let's face it...nobody wants to talk about depression, and even less...nobody wants to talk about suicide.  Yet isn't that EXACTLY what we should be talking about?  Because maybe in talking about it then we start to shed the stigmas that exist around mental health issues...maybe in talking about it we open up the possibility to someone that they, in fact, aren't alone...and taking their own life is NOT the only option.
So, with Sally's permission I am sharing Andy's obituary.  When you read it I think you'll find that Andy could be one of dozens of people that we each know.  He was a friend who loved to help his friends enjoy their lives...making them laugh.  We all know someone like that, right?  He loved his pets and caring for plants.  He loved to share his sage wisdom of practical jokes with his younger relatives, making sure that the tricks of old weren't forgotten!  He was a explorer.  And, possibly most touching to my own heart...he was a combat veteran.  He served this country in the Army's 82nd Airborne.  And after that service he came home, thankfully, but he came home a changed man.  Gone were the days of carefree youth.  He came home with war wounds...not war wounds one could physically see, but war wounds on his heart and head.  His depression spiraled and he found himself in a dark place...of which he felt he had no escape.
And that, readers, is what we must all think about and be aware of.  Every day we have veterans returning home to a world so different from what they have recently experienced.  If someone expresses feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts we must always take those seriously.  We must do whatever we can to help them and to be a positive force in their treatment.
Read Andy's obituary.  Think about him.  Think about people you know.  Think about how you can help to break down the "stigmas and silence about suicide and mental illness", as Sally so eloquently put.  She's out there...she's right out there saying "my son died by suicide".  She's standing out there saying the words so that hopefully it helps someone...somewhere...understand that there is help, and we must not be afraid to ask for help or offer help to someone that is suffering.  Sally's final line is quite possibly the most powerful, and one we'd all do well to remember..."Suicide and mental illness are NOT disgraceful".
Andrew "Andy" Steve Zorn, 31, of Peoria passed away March 1, 2014. He was son of Glen Zorn of Peoria and Sally Schindel of Prescott, brother to Sarah Zorn, step-brother to Kyle Griffin, and Grandson of Leona Zorn, all of Phoenix. He was nephew, cousin and friend to dozens and dozens, more than anyone ever knew.
He was born October 15, 1982 and his life was full of joy and broad experience. He traveled the world – Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Great Britain, Luxembourg, Mexico and Canada. He biked along the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany. He visited WWII sites in Europe - Normandy Beach in France and Battle of the Bulge near Bastogne, Belgium. He turned 21 in Baghdad. He traveled the USA – coast to coast on 3 long road trips. He was born and lived mainly in Arizona but also California, then South and North Carolina and Georgia while serving with the Army's 82nd Airborne 2001-2004. He jumped out of Army airplanes 16 times – the first time landing in a creek. He loved his first civilian jump, experiencing great heights and spectacular views. His other accomplishments include earning his Associates of Arts degree from Mesa Community College with a 3.4 G.P.A., learning to play the banjo, and working at many different jobs where he acquired many skills in many trades.
Andy's favorite role was helping friends enjoy their lives, making them laugh and improving their lives, offering wise counsel. He started training for that in elementary school, loving to be the class clown. His best friend remembers how he befriended “the nerdy little kid” in middle school and gave him the best friendship he ever had.
Andy loved his pets – CC the Lhasa Apso from Kindergarten into the Army years, then Tritium his “pound puppy” German Shepherd mix, the beautiful Tortie cat K.C., guinea pigs, pet rats and koi too numerous to name. He loved to care for house plants, especially a huge Peace Lily and a beautiful Water Lily, both given to him by special friends.
Animals and children loved Andy and were attracted to him like magnets. His cousins looked forward to being with him as he planned pranks on the older cousins, teaching the younger ones his tricks like wrapping doorways in Saran Wrap.
We, his friends and family, remember him with joy and celebrate the happy life we know he had. But Andy's life was cut short when he could not get a grip on mental illness that was robbing him of joy. Depression and multiple other issues caused him to think he had never been happy and could never become happy again. His death by suicide on March 1, 2014 was to spare his family and friends a future of him getting worse.
Andy's life had great meaning that we are trying to comprehend. Perhaps one part was to help us all understand that stigmas and silence about suicide and mental illness are not helpful but very harmful and kept Andy from seeking the help that might have saved him. You, also, can remember and celebrate Andy and help to reduce those stigmas. Suicide and mental illness are NOT disgraceful.
A celebration of Andy's life will take place Sunday March 30 in Phoenix.
Interment was at V. A. National Memorial Cemetery in Phoenix on March 10, 2014.
Donations in memory of Andy can be made to animal care agencies or mental health care providers or to Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
To all of Andy's family and friends, my heart goes out to you.  He will not be forgotten.  May memories of the happy times you shared carry you through the days, weeks, and months ahead.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Writing Is On The Wall

It's such a strange phrase, isn't it?

"The writing is on the wall"

Wikipedia idenitfies it as "an idiom for imminent doom or misfortune and for the future is predetermined."

What I didn't know is that the idiom originated in the Bible.

Daniel 5:5-6
Suddenly the fingers of a hand—a human hand—appeared and began to write on the plaster of one of the palace walls lit by a nearby lampstand. The king stood transfixed, watching the hand as it wrote. Then his face changed. He grew pale and began to feel sick. His thoughts frightened him:what was this strange vision? His legs felt weak and wobbly. His knees knocked together. 

The king then calls for Daniel to come and interpret what has happened - after exhausting all other avenues of wise men and such.  Daniel interprets the strange message as one of doom because Belshazzar (the king) had been taking credit for all things and giving no glory to God.  That night, the king is killed.

Dun dun dun!!!!!!

The writing is on the wall.

I'm in one of those situations where that proverbial writing has appeared.  And I don't know that I need Daniel to interpret.

Change is coming.  It's a matter of when.  And what.

But maybe it doesn't have to be a premonition of doom and gloom.  Maybe the evidence of an impending ending is better seen as a possible new beginning.

Maybe I'm an eternal optimist.

I hope so.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Her. Nine.

My first baby turned 9 this past weekend.


I can hardly believe it.

 How did 4 generations go from this (and seriously - did I ever really look that young??):

 To this:

She's 9.  And she's passionate and fiery and funny and smart. We've weathered some tough storms with this girl.  But we've also learned that she really values feeling special and being "heard."  She's fierce. She's loyal. She's a tough cookie.

She's nine.

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Get To Steppin'!

I am trying to encourage myself to be more active throughout the day.

One of the ways I am doing that is by wearing the Garmin vivofit and tracking my steps.  The device sets a goal for me each day - but I still have a personal goal of 10K steps per day.  Garmin, right now, hasn't surpassed 9K for my daily goal.  The device starts out giving you a goal of 7500.  It then makes adjustments based on your activity.  The first week, I well surpassed each goal it gave me.  But this past week has been more of a struggle.

Here are some of the ways that I am getting in more steps at work:

Use the hallway!  
We have this great hallway - I have to walk down it to get to the bathroom. If I plan it right, I can make my trip to the bathroom go around kind of loopy so I can do a few laps in the hallway.  The Garmin also notifies me when I haven't been active in an hour - sitting too long!  This hallway is a great place to pace up and down so I can get a few hundred steps in.  I also find that if I'm feeling tired or over-full or whatever, some hallway laps can really help perk me up.

Use the walking trail!
I am very fortunate to have a great walking trail outside my office building.  It's a perk that not everyone has.  I very much enjoyed this outdoor space over the summer and into the fall and am very eager for all the cold weather to be GONE so I can use this path more often! It winds around the ponds and the area from the path to the water is filled with wild grass and flowers.  

Take the stairs!
I have to admit that I'm not so great at going UP the stairs but I am doing better about consistently going DOWN the stairs.  The challenge, sometimes, is the shoes I wear.  But most of the time, I choose to take the stairs.  Someday, once I drop a few pounds, I'll be including the stairs as part of my hallway lap and it will all make a nice cool down from walking on that outdoor trail!

Syncing up my Garmin to the Connect app really helps motivate me.  I like seeing the bar go green when I surpass the goal for the day.  I like seeing when I've been more active.  The below shows a lunchtime walk and also an evening home workout.

As for the weekends, those are actually proving to be more of a challenge.  It seems I am busy going places but not actually being active once I get there.  Lots of time in the car, sitting and waiting, sitting or standing at church... but not a lot of walking.  Once the weather breaks, I am hoping to be able to spend more time outdoors.  For now, my at home walking workout is Leslie Sansone.  I have a few DVD's but I find that I prefer to jump online, set up the workout on my laptop and then can have a TV show going while I follow along.

For right now, I'm hoping to find an accountability partner.  If I have someone that I need to check in on and someone that I know is going to be checking on me, I might find myself more motivated to get to my goal before check in time happens.

How do YOU get extra activity into your day?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014



I've read discussions.  I've read blog posts.  I've read articles.  And it seems a lot of people are missing the point.  A lot of people are getting hung up on the marketing ploy of "ban bossy" and missing the content of the movement.

But first, I want to share a brief example of why the movement is important.

As I was preparing for this blog post, I googled "leadership quotes."  Sites I went to had quotes from Nelson Mandela, Henry Ford, Martin Luther King Jr, Lao Tzu, Colin Powell, Steve Jobs, John Quincy Adams.  All great men.

Then, out of curiousity, I googled "bossiness quotes."  Amy Poehler, Heidi Klum, Star Jones, Ida Lupino, Sheryl Sandberg.  And some of the quotes were about how women shouldn't be bossy, say, in their marriages.


Here's what I would ask of you before you simply dismiss this "ban bossy" idea based on sensational headlines...

Go to the website.

Click on "Leadership Tips" and read some of the pdf's that are provided.  For girls, for parents, for teachers.  Then stop and think about your words and actions.  Think about how you present yourself.  Most of my readers are women - how often do you phrase a statement as a question or start a phrase by immediately downgrading your statement by making it a thought or opinion?  Read the opening letter from Rachel Simmons.

Once you get to understand what "Ban Bossy" is really all about, you will find that there are tools available to open up some great discussions with your daughter.  

Maybe I'm sensitive to this because I have a daughter that could be called bossy.  And because we are blessed to have had people in her life that see her leadership skills.  Maybe it's because I work in corporate America and see the disparity and hear it in everyday language.  Maybe it's because I do see some of those behaviors in myself.

Here's what I really take away from that quote from Sheryl Sandberg.  It isn't so much about "bossy" vs "lead."  Instead, I see the issue as being about "encourage" vs "call."  If we are uncomfortable with talking about how girls are bossy and boys are leaders, take note of encourage vs call.  Because one word is active and the other is passive.  One word is about development and growth while the other is about objectification and labeling.

Very soon, I am going to print out the Leadership Tips for Girls and the Leadership Tips for Parents and I'm going to have a conversation with Teagan.  She's about to turn 9, she's a perfectionist, she internalizes everything out of fear of not saying/doing/being right, and she has amazing leadership abilities.  Natural born leader.  People love to be around her.  People are brightened by her smile, her ideas, and her humor.

I want to encourage her to be a leader because a leader leaves a place and leaves people better than they were before the leader was there.  I want to avoid the word "bossy" because of the negative connotation and the quick growth from bossy to aggressive bitch and other negative terms.

And as a sidebar - Take some time to read Lean In.  I really enjoyed it.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Mojo and my Garmin vivofit

For a couple of weeks now, I've maintained my motivation.  I'm eating healthier.  I'm being intentionally active.

I'm not dieting.  I'm not counting calories.  I'm not weighing in on a regular basis.

I haven't officially started running.  I haven't started hitting the workouts hardcore.

I'm starting out by just making changes, getting in the habit of making healthier choices consistently, easing my body into the idea of running again.

In terms of food, I'm just following the basics.  Focus on veggies and fruits.  Avoid fried foods and fast food.

In terms of activity, I have been focusing on getting at least 30 minutes of intentional exercise each day.  There are days when the family schedule makes it impossible.  But I just learn from those days.  I learn that I need to plan ahead when I've got a crazy busy day so that I can exercise in the morning or at lunch.

Here are some key things that have been helping me along the way!

  1. Getting involved in groups.  I have joined a friend's group on cleaner eating.  I've signed up for a pilot program through a trainer I know.  2 friends and I are going to lead a healthy living group at church.  And I'm just flat out relying on the healthy people in my life to give me a "like" on Facebook or provide some words of encouragement.  I need cheerleaders and I need accountability/responsibilty.
  2. New clothes.  I picked up a couple of new sports bras and a couple new shirts.  Putting on workout clothes that fit and don't leave me feeling fat is a definite good thing.
  3. Support from my family.  Jeff doesn't give me a hard time when I put on a workout dvd after putting the kids to bed.  The kids are helping me shop for healthier food.  Teagan exercises with me sometimes.
  4. Financial commitment.  I bought new running shoes.  And a Garmin vivofit.  This was a chunk of change and I will get my money's worth.

I was very torn between the Jawbone UP24 and the Garmin vivofit.  From what I was reading, they are both top of the market and very comparable.

I have to admit that I totaly got the vivofit simply because it was what they had on the shelf at my local running store (The Blue Mile).  And I also have to admit that I still want the Jawbone UP24.  I like the Garmin but I don't love it.  Yet. But I'm liking it more and more each day. I was initially frustrated with the software and lack of clear instruction and lack of customer service.  But it's getting better.

What I do like about the vivofit:

  • It's comfortable.  I also like that I can change the band if I buy other colors.  And the band comes in 2 sizes.
  • I like the display on the band - I can easily see the time, number of steps taken so far, number of steps to go to reach my daily goal, miles walked so far, and calories burned.  I'm finding that knowing the steps I've taken and the calories actually burned is very motivational for me.
  • I really like the reminder to be active.  If I sit still for an hour, a red bar appears on my display. Then, another little bar adds on for each additional 15 minutes.  All I have to do is get up and walk around to reset it - but I notice that the longer I am idle, the longer I have to walk to reset.  But I really like the reminder to get up and move!
  • Now that I worked out the software and app issues, I like how easy it is to sync the band to the app on my phone.
  • I like the Garmin Connect website.  And if I ever use another Garmin device, I can have the info from that device in this same website.
  • Battery life. The Garmin battery lasts for 1 year.
  • Sleep tracking.  I wear it at night and then I can see how restless I was overnight and also note in the morning how I'm feeling upon waking.
What I wish the Garmin had:
  • Connectivity to other apps (like RunKeeper, My Fitness Pal)
  • A way to input my food.  Not sure I would use it right now but it would be nice to have it.
  • Since it's a Garmin, it would be nice if it had a mapping feature so I could see the route of my walk/run.  Even if that was just part of the app...

The Garmin vivofit cost $130.  If I eventually try the Jawbone UP24, it runs $150.

I've got some mojo working.  I'm motivated and feeling good with my progress so far!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

I Hate Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has sure been in the news a lot lately.  And by "news," I mean Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter, of course.

I keep seeing things about how awesome coconut oil is for your hair, your skin, for cooking, and now even for your teeth.

Coconut oil is not good for you.  It's not beneficial in any way.  It's not good for you inside or outside.  It isn't going to give you soft, supple skin and it isn't going to be some fantastic leave in conditioner for your hair.

I don't care if you rub it on your elbows or excema spots.  I don't care if you swish it in your mouth for 20 mintues.  I don't care if you eat a spoonful every day or blend it into a smoothie.

You can talk all you want about triglycerides and lauric acid and boosting metabolism and thyroid function and improving digestion.

I want everyone to know that I hate coconut oil.  And no one should buy it.

Because I do buy it.  And if everyone keeps getting all crazy about it, the prices will soar, the quality will go down... Already this weekend, I got 2 of the last 6 jars at Trader Joe's and it was totally out of stock at Target.  So I am starting a campaign to STOP people from buying coconut oil!

I like to use it on my skin.  And in my hair.  And I did try oil-pulling (where you swish it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes) and it was kinda awful but kinda awesome, too.  And I cook with it all the time.  And I do like to put a spoonful in my smoothies.

In all seriousness, if you haven't yet experimented with coconut oil, you should.  I like it better than olive oil or any other oil when I'm cooking in the skillet.  As weird as the oil pulling thing is, I am already appreciating benefits like a reduction in inflamation in my gums and added lubrication in my throat (important for vocalists).

So go ahead and get yourself some coconut oil.  Just stay far away from my suppliers.

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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Weekly Menu - Mar 9

I can't keep counting the weeks - I'm losing track.  But I want to stay accountable to cooking at home.  Special thanks to some of my best cheerleaders - The Risky Kids and Chaos and Craziness.  Plus I've had a lot of support from my Facebook fans - ya'll rock!

Jeff is traveling on business this week and I have some busy evenings so the schedule is a bit different.  Normally, this kind of schedule would mean that I just give up on cooking and go out to eat because it's easier.  Except that I don't think it really is easier anymore!

Sunday afternoon, I am going to cook up about 3-4 lb of chicken.  I'll go with whatever is on sale, honestly - thighs, breasts, whole chicken.  And I'll most likely throw it in the crock pot while we're at church.  And then come home and shred 2/3 of it and cube 1/3 of it.

The cubed chicken will then go into a poppyseed chicken casserole for Sunday's dinner.

Monday I'll use half of the shredded chicken to make mesquite chicken pasta.

Tuesday I'll use the rest of the shredded chicken to make bbq chicken sandwiches.  Last week, I did pot roast in the crock pot.  It was kind of dry so I was concerned the kids wouldn't like it.  Jeff picked up hawaiian sandwich rolls and found this awesome Margaritvaille Sweet & Spicy BBQ sauce (it has a great ingredient - I can pronounce all of it and there is no high fructose corn syrup).  So we made shredded beef sandwiches.

Wednesday, as usual, we have church.  This week, our healthy living group kicks off after dinner.  The dinners at church aren't always the healthiest - that's what happens when you are feeding a diverse crowd.  So I'm thinking I will pack my own salad.  My fave salad these days is just a big serving of broccoli slaw, toasted sliced almonds, and salsa ranch yogurt dressing.

Thursday I will make game day meatballs again.  I plan to adjust the recipe a bit by trying a different chili sauce (seeking better ingredients) and maybe a different jelly.

Friday I have an after work commitment and won't be home until after bedtime.  Which means Jeff is on his own for dinner.  He might decide to take the kids out.  He might decide to plan his own menu for the night.  I'm eager to see what he chooses!

As far as sides go for each of these dishes, I'm basically going to wing it.  We try to keep a good amount of fruits and veggies around and will simply serve whatever looks good at serving time.

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