Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finally, Color!

One huge blessing that comes with living in the first floor apartment of our house is that we have the huge porch and close access to the landscaping now.  When we had renters down here, I always felt a bit weird working right in front of the porch, even though we do own the house and needed to work on the landscaping.  It is just much more comfortable now.

A few weeks ago we had finished the landscaping of the house for the summer...but it was not very colorful.  We had transplanted some Day Lilies, but with the high temperatures and no rain, they didn't make it.  Luckily with Luke working in the parks/landscaping business, he has a lot of connections where we can find cheap (or sometimes even free) plants.  So this past week we were able to add some more color to our landscaping on a very low budget. 

 I have really enjoyed getting my hands dirty and working outside this spring!

On the bottom left you can see part of my little herb garden which only contains Stevia and Cilantro right now.  I used popsicle sticks to label the plants.  

Our roses have really taken off!  I love that they're different colors.  

I'm so excited to keep our house looking nice on the outside this year.  I feel that part of my "calling" as a wife is to turn our house into a home, and I am so blessed that it has become so much easier and more convenient now that we live on the first floor!  Not only is it easier to work on the landscaping, but it is also smaller and more open on the inside, making it much easier to clean!  Honestly, we just had too much space on the top two floors before, and it was hard to keep up with the mess, even with just two of us!  Anyway, moving into the downstairs apartment has been a huge blessing, and I continue to love it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend and a Recipe

Sometimes a weekend comes along that is just so full, it's almost perfect.  This Memorial Day weekend was that for me.

It all started on Friday when I had the chance to sub for a second grade class on field day.  It was so much fun!  Cheering kids on at the field, extra long recess, a movie, and popsicles were all a part of the day.  Weren't days like that the best in elementary school?  It was fun to be there for it.

Unfortunately, 7 hours of all that fun with a class full of very rambunctious second graders pretty much zapped all my energy for the night.  So Friday night (and Saturday morning actually)  I lazed around in our cool house and watched reruns of Dawson's Creek.  What could be better?  It has been in the 90s all weekend here, so staying in for a bit was necessary.

Saturday night is when the fun really started.  Luke and I had a little dinner-and-shopping date night, and then headed to his parents' house where we had a campfire.  The first of the year for us, and it felt like we were officially welcoming summer.

Sunday after church I headed to my parents house since they were grilling burgers and hot dogs for lunch.  My grandma and aunt were visiting, so we all ate on my parents' new patio and visited.  Mom had lots of good Prism-friendly food, including watermelon.  Since we can't have desserts on this diet, fruit is basically like candy to us, and the watermelon was one of the best things I've tasted in 4 weeks.  I'm going to have to buy one at the grocery store today for sure!

After that, Luke's aunt and uncle had a little party.  It was fun to hang out on their beautiful patio all afternoon!  We played Mexican Train for hours, ate delicious food, and watched baby Lilly take her first swim in the lake.

We were so tired by the end of the day, somebody (ahem...Luke) fell asleep on Lilly's blanket!

On Monday we were able to go to an Indians game with our brother-in-law's family.  And, no big deal, but we got to ride up to Cleveland in my dream Escalade! 

It was a hot, hot game!  90 degrees with absolutely no breeze.  But the Indians won, and it was a great game, so I'm glad we were able to go!  Our seats were also really close, which was great.

Before I sign off, I just wanted to share the recipe for the dip I made on Sunday.  It was so good, and healthy, too.  I found the recipe on Pinterest, but it was uploaded directly to Pinterest, so I have no link for it.  I thought I'd just type it out here since it's super simple:

Skinny Poolside Dip

Combine 1 can corn, 2 unseeded jalepenos - chopped finely, 1 diced red pepper, 1/2 can diced olives, 16 oz fat free cream cheese, and 1 packet Ranch dip seasoning mix.  Stir it all together and serve with crackers or tortilla chips.  My mom and I were able to eat it with our almond nut thin crackers, and it was even healthier that way.  This is definitely one I'll be making again over the summer, especially as the title says, for a day at the pool!

I hope all of you had a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  But more than that, I hope we don't forget the sacrifices that have been made so that we could live freely.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Someone at Netflix Reads my Blog

Remember this post?

In the past year since I wrote it, it has remained one of my most popular blog posts according to Google Analytics.  

In the post, I wrote all about my love affair with a little show called Dawson's Creek.  I mentioned a few times (and I may have tweeted this a few times as well) that I wished Netflix would add it to their instant streaming shows.  

I guess someone from Netflix must reads my blog, because as of this week, Dawson's Creek is available for instant streaming! (Yes, I am totally sure my blog is the reason it's available.  Note the sarcasm)

Anyway, I just thought some of you 90's kids might be interested!  I know I've spent a good chunk of the past few days belly-laughing at how ridiculous this show is.

...Ridiculously awesome, that is!

In all seriousness, I can't believe how cheesy it all seems 14 years after the series premiered.  But I still love it!  

Anyway, enjoy the long weekend!  Please let me know if you were a Dawson's Creek fanatic too, and if you will be enjoying it on Netflix as your guilty pleasure, as I will be. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Something Beautiful

Luke planted two rosebushes at our house a week ago.  I could not wait until they started to bloom, and have been checking them every day, impatiently awaiting their big debut.

Well, today was the day!  I walked around the front of the house and the roses had started to come out.  One in particular looked absolutely perfect to me.  And just like that, my day was made!

I'm so thankful for the beauty of creation, especially this time of year.  God is such an incredible artist.  I don't think anything man-made could even compare to the beauty of that flower.

What is the "something beautiful" God is blessing you with today?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Afternoon at the Greenhouses

My mom invited out on a spontaneous trip to a couple of greenhouses on Monday.  We stopped at a place called Lonardo's Greenhouse and also at Altiere's Home and Garden Center, both in Boardman.

It was such a peaceful afternoon looking through all the plants, admiring them and picking a few to take with us here and there.  I didn't really buy much, but my mom bought a flat of Impatiens that she is going to share with me!  I was really thankful and excited because I'm going to use them to put together some hanging baskets to hang on my porch.

It was a beautiful late spring day, and we stopped halfway through for an iced tea at Dunkin Donuts (not sweetened, of course...we added our own natural sweeteners that Mom jut happens to carry in her purse wherever she goes.  The things you do when you're on the Prism diet!)  Anyway, I hadn't had iced tea in about 6 weeks, so it tasted so good to me.  Definitely a highlight of my day!

I am so thankful to be able to spend quality time with my mom so often, and also that my allergies have improved so much that a day around flowers and pollen was enjoyable instead of torture!

Thanks for a fun afternoon, Mom!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Health Update

It's been awhile since I've updated on my health and the Prism Diet.  And for the most part, things are going great!

Let's talk about allergies first.  I feel like I have discovered a secret that everyone needs to know about!  My health has taken a complete 180 as far as my allergies are concerned.  A couple of months ago, I had to make sure I had my inhaler with me at all times, and would use it every 4 hours.  I'd wake up multiple times in the middle of the night having violent coughing fits.  I was completely congested.  We couldn't even open our windows, or else I'd pretty much be up all night, unable to breathe, and coughing like crazy.

About 3 weeks into the program with my chiropractor, things started really making a change.  I was not eating much sugar or dairy, and no wheat at all.  I was also taking a supplement called Antronex, which supports the liver and also the body's natural antihistamine function.  And now, 7 weeks after starting, I feel better than I have in over a year.  All without the help of allergy pills, more steroids, more antibiotics, or my inhaler.  I have no side effects!  I am still in awe.

Another reason I started going to the chiropractor was for my fertility issues.  I'm on a number of supplements to support my adrenal and thyroid glands, because they are not functioning properly.  And without going into too much detail, I'll just say that the supplements plus dietary changes have really gotten my body back to doing what it's supposed to be doing, and I'm really excited!

And finally, the other thing I wanted to "fix" was my stomach, and the major pain and cramping that I've been experiencing on and off for almost 3 years.   Unfortunately, we haven't quite nailed that one down yet.  We did discover that I'm very lactose intolerant (which I kind of already knew), so I'm really limiting my dairy consumption.  However, this weekend my stomach pains were the worst they've ever been.  I have been drinking a bit of Diet Coke, and adding Stevia or Ideal sweeteners to things.  So my guess is that it's either the caffeine or the sweeteners that are irritating my stomach, and I might just need to stay away from them.  I guess I just have a really sensitive stomach, and I'm going to have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life in order to avoid being sick all the time.

As far as weight loss goes, I've lost about 12 pounds since a year and a half ago, when I was my highest weight ever, but about 7 pounds since I actually started the program.  I feel great, and my clothes are fitting much better, and most of my pants are getting too big.  I am really excited about this, and it is great to not be dreading swimsuit season this year!  I a starting to run 3 days a week to get a little more toned as well.  My goal is to look the same, and be the same weight as I was on my wedding day.

Just to touch on the Prism Diet a's been difficult!  The diet is extremely strict and rigid.  However, I'm finding a lot of great things that I can still eat.  Here's an example of what I might eat on a normal day:

Scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast

A salad and some form of protein for lunch. For example, yesterday I had a salad of spinach, strawberries, sunflower seeds, and balsamic vinaigrette, with a few slices of leftover pork tenderloin.

For dinner I usually make some form of protein, vegetables, and a starch.  Last night I baked chicken marinated in this honey mustard sauce (it's like my favorite thing right now), sauteed yellow squash and onion, and brown rice.  

I also usually have a snack sometime in the evening.  Some examples of the snacks I've been eating lately are: grapes, strawberries, nuts, oatmeal, or anything with peanut butter (all natural) if I still have a lot of calories left for the day (I am trying to stay between 1,000 and 1,200 calories per day based on Prism's requirements).

Overall, I'm feeling great and seeing great improvements in my whole life.  From being able to go outside for more than a few seconds without wheezing for the rest of the night, to having softer hair and stronger nails.  I don't think I'll ever go back to my bad eating habits, because I feel like a new person!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Lovin'

Okay, so it's not technically summer yet.  But it feels like summer, and classes have been over for 2 weeks.

This past week, Ohio seemed to finally make the shift from spring to summer.  We had been having a lot of dreary days and temperatures had been in the 60s and low 70s.  All of a sudden, something wonderful happened last week, and we've had sunny, beautiful days with the temperatures in the upper 70s and low 80s.  This is my kind of weather!  To make things even better, look at the forecast for the next 5 days: 

Perfect!  I hope I can really take advantage of this perfect weather week.  I seriously don't think I've ever seen a 5-day forecast with no rain (or snow) predicted!

Last week was equally beautiful, and I spent it doing a lot of great things.  On Thursday morning, my grandma invited all of her (local) granddaughters over for brunch.  So I went with my cousins Sarah and Rachel, and of course the babies were there, too.  We had eggs, asparagus, fruit, all from Grandma, and delicious chicken salad made by Rachel.  And then we walked through the flower gardens and picked some poppys and just laughed at Hudson as he played in the dirt, and Elin as she wanted to pick every flower she saw.  

The best part of the day was that I realized that while at one point I may have been a bit jealous of my cousins and their adorable babies who are only 1 month apart in age, I now realize that God has blessed me so much in having close friends with adorable babies since I don't have my own.  

When we got home, I put my poppies in a little yellow vase, and have been enjoying them all week

Friday I had to sub, but when I got home I visited my grandma since it had been awhile.  We talked nonstop for 3 hours.  Lately, my grandma has been telling a lot of stories about when she was younger.  I have a fascination with all things old-fashioned or retro, so I love hearing these stories.  It was a fun afternoon.  It put me in the mood to watch Mad Men, so that's what I did for a good portion of the evening.  I love going out, but I also love spending Friday nights in, just chillin' at home.

Saturday was not spent just chillin', that's for sure!  It was a big shopping day spent in Pittsburgh at Ikea with my mom, sister, and brother-in-law.  We spent most of the day getting lost in Ikea, and had a great time, as always.  I didn't have any big buys, but I have been wanting to buy a tray for our big, square, coffee table for a long time, and I found the perfect one there!  I also bought a summery candle and this (faux) plant.  I put some of my old books there too, and I like the way it all turned out.  I have been trying to figure out what to put on that table for over a year, so I was happy.  After our trip to Ikea, we ate lunch at Chipotle, and I was basically in heaven.  Bless you, Chipotle, and your Prism-friendly-yet-delicious foods!

On Saturday night, my friend Kristin came over and we had a movie night.  We watched some cheesy thrillers from the 80s, and it was pretty fun.

Sunday was my mom's birthday so after church we all went to her house to celebrate.  Since my mom and I are both doing the Prism diet, we couldn't have a birthday cake.  Luckily, a friend had shared a link with me awhile ago about this raw cashew dream cake (which I made into bars, because I somehow lost all my pie plates in the move).  It was dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free.  It contained almonds, dates, lemon, honey, coconut oil, cashews, and lots of raspberries.  And it is the best, sweetest thing I've eaten in the past 3 weeks.  I highly recommend this recipe!  Here is the link

We had a great afternoon, outside on my parents' beautiful patio they built last year, celebrating my mom's birthday.

This morning since I didn't have to sub, I decided it was as good a time as any to start the Couch to 5k program, which is one of my 30 before 30 goals.  I realized how out of shape I am when I felt like I was going to die at the end.  But I'm sure it will get easier as I get keep going. 

 I then spent the remainder of the morning working outside on our landscaping.  I don't think I ever shared a picture of the finished product after we mulched last weekend, so here it is.  Luke has been working really hard!  He even got a comment on Facebook that that's the best our (OLD) house has looked in 40 years!  We were pretty excited to hear that!  We recently planted some roses, too, because we need some serious color!  I can't wait until they start to bloom, and will definitely be sharing pictures.  

Well that is what I've been up to during the past few days.  I feel refreshed and renewed after the sort of horrible week I had the week before.  I am so excited to begin this summer, and see what amazing things are in store!  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

30 Before 30

Here it is: the 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 on November 6, 2014.  Most of them are pretty functional, but I made sure to throw a few fun ones in there, too.  I was careful to make sure that they are all attainable with the time-frame of 2.5 years.  I am really excited about this list!

1. Graduate with my masters in speech-language pathology
2. Walk across the stage on graduation day
3. Take a graduation trip
4. Find work in my field
5. Go on a 5-year anniversary trip with Luke
6. Go para-sailing
7. Go through at least 2 of Beth Moore's devotional Bible studies (I'm thinking I want to do Esther and David)
8. Finish reading through the Bible
9. Do the couch to 5k program
10. Run a 5k
11. Pay off all credit card debt
12. Pay off my car loan
13. Start saving for our "forever" house
14. Start looking for our "forever" house
15. Buy a dSLR camera
16. Decorate the whole house in lights for Christmas
17. Go camping
18. Maintain my weight, remaining the same weight I was on my wedding day
19. Make photo books for each year we've been married
20. Go blond (or blond-ish)
21. Go biking
22. Try kayaking
23. Create my own blog design
24. Try canning something
25. Go zip-lining
26. Eat at a restaurant that's been featured on The Food Network or Travel Channel
27. Learn ASL
28. Buy a pair of Toms
29. Pull off a surprise party for someone close to me
30. Pass the Praxis the first time

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

101 in 1,001 Revisited

I can't believe it's been almost 1,001 days since I wrote my 101 in 1,001 list!  When I wrote it, I thought 1,001 days would seem like forever.  Of course, time never ceases to amaze me with how fast it seems to move.  So although I have 4 days left, I'm going to assume I've met all the goals I'm going to meet.  You can check out my list here.

I completed 60 out of 101 things.  I'm pretty happy with that.  I realized as time went on, that a lot of the items on my list were no longer things that applied to me, or that I cared to complete.  It's funny how much can change in a couple of years.  

Today I thought I'd just highlight a few things from my list as I close out this challenge.  

The goals I'm most excited about that I met are:

7. Volunteer in the church library.  I loved working in the library so much, that I'm now one of the leaders of the library committee at church, and I work there almost every Sunday.  

19. Go on a vacation.  The one and only big vacation we took during the 1,001 days was our week in Arizona.  And it was one of the best weeks of my life!

31. Learn to play the violin.  My parents got me a semester of lessons for Christmas, and I loved it!  I still need to purchase a violin of my own, though, because the one I was using was a loan.  It was an extremely difficult instrument to learn, and I'm still very much a beginner. 

63.  See a play or musical.  I was blessed to be able to see The Phantom of the Opera when it was on tour in Cleveland, and was so excited not only to cross that off of this list, but my bucket list as well.

87. Go on a hike.  We went on an amazing hike up a mountain in Sedona, and it was a highlight of my life.  I have never seen such beauty before, or felt so renewed and completely separated from the rest of the world.

And there were a few items that I came really close to meeting, but didn't quite make it:

6. Read the entire Bible.  I read the entire New Testament, and Genesis - Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament.  I'm still working on this one. 

90. Read all of the Harry Potter books.  I went on a HP reading spree last summer, and read books 3, 4, and 5 in a matter of weeks.  I still need to read 6 and 7, though.  Maybe this summer I will find time. 

101. Do project 365.  I tried this twice and got about halfway through the year both times.  It's just not meant to happen, I guess.

 And just a few that I'm really sad I was not able to meet:

30. Buy a DSLR camera.  Maybe someday when I'm an SLP and can afford one, this will happen.

34. Become pregnant.  obviously, no explanation is necessary.  I have made myself promise not to make this a goal on anymore lists, ever. 

35. Visit at least one of these parks: Disney World, Universal Studios or Sea World.  What can I say?  I'm a kid at heart.

59. Visit Lindsey in Chicago.  I still really want to do this!

And that's that!  I loved having lots of goals to work toward in this list, but 101 things...that's kind of an overwhelming amount.  

So now that I'm done with this list, I thought I'd make a 30 before 30 list.  I've seen a lot of bloggers do this, and have been wanting to make one for about a year.  I am 27-and-a-half, after all.  I only have 2-and-a-half years left!  

I'm still finishing making this list, because I'm trying to put a little more thought into it than my 101 in 1001 list.  I'm thinking of things that I know will still be relevant and important to me in the next 2.5 years.  Be on the lookout for that sometime later this week.  I'm really excited about it! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Why I've Been MIA

Hello friends!  I guess it has been awhile since I've blogged.  To be honest, I was having a rough week last week and kind of distanced myself from literally everything and everyone.  Getting into graduate school is a dream come true, and the fact that I know that I'm for sure going to become an SLP is the biggest relief of my life.

However, whenever you choose something for your life, you are simultaneously giving up something else.  

Opportunity Cost.  

If you've been reading this blog for any time at all, I know you know what the opportunity cost of choosing school right now is.  And I'll leave it at that, because I just don't feel like typing it out today.

Last week, after I had had a whole week to celebrate my acceptance into Kent State University, the thing I was giving up (for now) really hit me.  And I think I had to mourn that a little bit.  I kept telling myself I was fine.  But by the time Friday rolled around and I realized I had pretty much not gone anywhere all week besides work and the grocery store, I realized I was very much not fine.  

So that is the reason for my absence.  And my distance from my friends as well (please don't be offended if you haven't heard from me lately!)  

However, I am writing today to say that at least for now, I'm past those feelings.  Will they come back periodically in the next 2 years of grad school?  Obviously.  It is a daily choice to surrender my will, and some days that choice won't come as easily or naturally as others. But what I've learned in the past week is that the feeling will pass, and I can choose not to focus on it.  

I have to mention that there seemed to be an additional dark cloud looming overhead last week, and that was Mother's Day.  I was so excited to celebrate the holiday with my own mom (and mom-in-law) but a huge part of Mother's Day is a big reminder that, well, I'm not one.  Last year on Mother's Day I sat in my seat at church and literally shook with sobs while they did the many, many baby dedications.  I hope no one noticed. You may think I was being overly dramatic, but please don't judge unless you've been there.  Anyway, it's a sort of a bittersweet holiday for me, and others who want to be moms, or who have lost theirs. 

This year I kind of knew what was coming and tried to prepare myself a little more so I didn't have an emotional breakdown during church, because last year I was totally caught off guard by those emotions.  I prayed that I wouldn't be dramatic about it, and that I could focus on celebrating the wonderful mother and mother-figures in my life.

I am so thankful for God's love in my life.  I feel like he really orchestrated everything perfectly yesterday.  First of all, we had an early Mother's Day brunch with Luke's side of the family.  Since we ate so early, we decided to go to the early service at church beforehand.  In the early service, there was only 1 baby dedication which was much easier than sitting through 10 or 15 of them, like in the later services (I hope that doesn't make me sound like a terrible person, but it is what it is).  Church was easy and the sermon was great and I promise not one tear fell down my cheek.  The depressed feelings were just gone.  

After church we had a delicious brunch and played Mexican train all morning.  It was so much fun, and again, I didn't even feel sorry for myself for a second.  I'm sure that was God's doing and not my own. 

Later we went to my parents' house and my sister and her husband were there, and we had lunch and talked and laughed for about 3 hours.  It was so wonderful after my not-so-great week.  

After our fun day of visiting with family, Luke and I had a bit of a date night.  We went out to see The Avengers and had popcorn for dinner (if you're doing Prism with me [hi mom!], pretend you didn't just read that.  I only had a little bit, and since I'm doing the program for my health problems, and not really to lose weight, I'm not following all the rules 100%.  Oops)

And while we were sitting there watching the movie, I realized something.  As much as I have prayed for and wanted a baby in the past 2 (or let's face it, 4) years, there are people out there who long for what I have: a hand to hold at the movie theater on a random Sunday night.  One of my pet peeves is pregnant women or moms who complain about being pregnant or moms.  For example, I overheard someone complaining at church yesterday that their daughter woke them up at 6 on their only day to sleep in to give them an overripe banana as breakfast in bed on Mother's Day.  Do you not know what some of us would give to be in your shoes?  Anyway, the same way I hate it when people take motherhood for granted, I'm sure there are people who think I take marriage for granted.  

And with that realization, I decided to really enjoy the rest of the evening knowing that God has already blessed me so much with Luke in my life for the past 8 years (what?! 8!?  When did we get so old?)

So that's the story of how I mourned the opportunity cost of going to grad school, and how I made it through Mother's Day much better than last year.  That alone tells me that God must have had (and still has) some work to do on my heart.  When I do finally become a mother, after waiting 2 + years, I know it will be the perfect time. 

And in the meantime, he must have some more work to do, so I better pay attention!    

Friday, May 4, 2012


{First of all, I noticed this morning that my blog would not open because I had a background from and I got a message saying that anything from that site could contain malware!  Yikes.  Sorry if you have visited my blog while that's been going on. I have been using their backgrounds forever, so I don't know what is going on.  Anyway, I just deleted the background, and the blog will probably just remain plain and a little boring for the next few days.  Honestly, I'm not hating it.  However, I've been wanting to try my hand at making my own background for quite some time, so I guess this is that last push I needed!}


I took my last final yesterday, so my summer has basically begun!  And it even feels like summer here already.  Lately things have been great: I found out I was accepted at Kent, my allergies and other health issues are finally under control, and the weather has been beyond beautiful the past few days.  Life is all about ups and downs, and I'm so excited to be experiencing some "ups" this week!

So let's recap, 1000 gifts style:

140. Being accepted to Kent State's SLP graduate program! 
141. Spending a weekend working outside

142. Beginning the Prism program which is another step in my journey to healthy living

143. Brown paper packages tied up with string...for my favorite person

144.  Looking forward to a little birthday party for Luke tonight

145. Shopping in preparation of summer

146. Flowers on my porch

147. Having a mantel to decorate

148. Being done with finals!
149. Knowing I will not have to deal with Akron traffic next year.
150. Having a porch where I can sit out, listen to the birds, and read a good book.
151. Weekends
152. Friends and cute babies whom I've gotten to spend a lot of time with lately

Thursday, May 3, 2012

What I'm Eating

Before I get into some of the yummy things I've been eating lately, let's recap the things I'm not eating:

  • No wheat.  Most wheat is not allowed during the Prism diet (which started Monday) and avoiding it will also help my thyroid to work better.
  • No sugar, basically.  This is per Prism's requirement.  I am  only allowed to have products that contain sugar if it is listed 5th or further in the ingredients list.
  • No milk.  I have a milk sensitivity, and it is probably making my allergies much worse.  This is is surprisingly proving to be the most one difficult for me.  
Okay, so if those are the things I can't eat, then what the heck is left?!

I've actually been very shocked these first few days of Prism at how much I am finding that I can still eat.  And I'm really enjoying it!

Basically, I've been eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, rice, and meats.  I've been loving rice cakes with Smucker's all natural peanut butter, and sometimes with Smucker's strawberry Simply Fruit spread too.  Yum.  I like that for breakfast when I don't have eggs, because it fills the void where toast would normally be. I also like to have two for lunch sometimes in place of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I just have to be a little careful, because peanut butter is pretty high in calories. 

As far as snacks go, I've been on a huge strawberry kick these past few days.  As I've mentioned before, I'm not a huge fruit person.  But I do love strawberries!  I'm going to have a field day when they're in season here!  I see many trips to White House in my future.

Also, I've been really enjoying those cocoa roast almonds I talked about a couple weeks ago.  I have to make sure I eat just one serving, because I think I could seriously eat the entire container in one sitting if I let myself!

And I discovered these almond nut thins in the organic section of Giant Eagle: they were on sale for $2 a box!  And they are made with almonds and rice flower, totally sugar and wheat-free.  I am technically not allowed to eat them during this stage of prism since they are crackers/chips, but I'm going to remember them for later.

Dinner is definitely the most challenging, yet most fun meal to plan.  Here are some things I've made lately:

One night I was really hungry for tacos, but obviously couldn't use a taco shell.  So I just put down a bunch of lettuce, and piled all the toppings on that.  It was delicious, and totally hit the craving.  (This was before I found out I couldn't have milk).  Admittedly, this was before I started Prism and calorie counting, so I would probably really watch my portion size next time, because I'm sure it's full of calories.

It's warming up here a lot this week, and I thought burgers would be perfect.  So Luke ate his the normal way, and I ate mine without the bun (and sadly, without cheese).  I piled it with lettuce, tomato, and sauteed onions.  I couldn't use ketchup because it contains sugar, but did you know mustard not only is sugar free, but it has 0 calories?  I was excited to see that!  I told Luke I thought my burger actually tasted better without the bun because I could taste it more.  And I didn't feel bloated afterwards from all that bread.  I served it with rice and sauteed yellow squash and onions.  It was a delicious and felt totally summer-y.

I found this chicken and rice soup on Pinterest a long time ago, and have been wanting to make it.  

When I realized it was Prism-friendly, I made it last weekend.  It was really good, and really low in calories! Totally filling, too.  Here's my picture, which again, looks nowhere near as good as the original one.  I can't figure out if I'm a bad cook, or if my iPhone camera just isn't doing these soups justice.  Hopefully it's the latter, because I thought it tasted pretty good! (I promise the chicken was cooked completely...I don't know why it looks kinda pink in this picture!)

Finally, last night I tried a recipe our Prism leaders shared.  I didn't take a picture, but it was basically just chicken with sauteed peppers and onions with salsa served over brown rice.  It was really good!  I have some leftovers for lunch, and I kind of can't wait to eat them later :-).  

Well that's about it for this week.  I've been going pretty strong with Prism since Monday, and have been staying under my calorie limit pretty well.  Unfortunately it's going to be really hard to do that with Luke's birthday (we're celebrating tomorrow evening).  It's kind of sad that I'll have to avoid the cake, but I guess it will be worth it in the long run.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Special Birthday!

A special happy birthday to my husband!

I am so blessed to share life with him.  He is such a hard worker, he puts up with my craziness, and he is just goofy enough to keep me from taking life too seriously. 

Hopefully 28 will be a great year for him!