I’ve been hit big with allergies this week…it started on Tuesday night and is still rearing its ugly head…sniffing, sneezing, terrible sinus headache (all week), and swollen lymph nodes…oh, the joys!!

I’ve tried Benadryl the past couple of days and now I’m trying Sudafed Sinus Headache…we’ll see if it works…

I’m getting a massage tomorrow, so maybe that’ll help, too.  (One can hope, huh?)

A Year Ago Today

One year ago, February 23, 2009, we rolled out of Abilene and began our journey to Illinois…

Healthy Choices

Paul and I lead a lifestyle that promotes healthy eating (or at least try to for the most part).  We do have things we “splurge” on, but overall, we eat pretty healthy.  We have also given up meat for Lent, so we’re loading up on extra veggies and fruit for awhile… 
One of the excuses that some people use for not eating healthy is that “eating healthy is too expensive.”  Yes, it would probably be easier to buy a bag of potato chips for $1.19 instead of a bag of almonds for $5.19, but if those $4.00 could lower your cholesterol and save your life in the long run, I think I’m OK with spending the extra dough.  Last Wednesday Paul and I went to Kroger to do some grocery shopping.  Yes, we spent quite a bit of money ($148 to be exact), but the most expensive thing we bought was $6.48 (that was for EVOO-Extra Virgin Olive Oil)…so, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive (you just might not be able to buy a lot at one time)…Also, something else.  We stay away from the “middle section” of the grocery store, except to get frozen fruit and beans.  The “middle section” is going to trap you with food loaded with high fructose corn syrup, glucose, sucrose, aspertame, and other added ingredients…if you stay on the outer edges of the store, you are more likely going to find food in its natural state, which, of course, is better for you.
I thought I would share with you some of our favorite foods.  Here are some staples that we keep in our house ALL THE TIME and go through very quickly…

Stoneyfield Organic Fat Free French Vanilla yogurt

 We use organic fat free yogurt in smoothies and I also eat it as a snack, topped with granola


We eat a lot of eggs.  I usually eat a hard boiled egg every morning for breakfast.  Paul will also use eggs to makes an egg/cheese sandwich for lunch.  We usually buy 2 dozen at a time

Fruit Blend for Smoothies (we also buy Yoplait Smoothie mix, too)

We use frozen fruit for smoothies.  We LOVE smoothies…we have at least one a day, if not two

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wa)

We discovered Quinoa in the Eat This, Not That book.  Paul cooks it all the time (he usually cooks it with chicken) but it can also be used in Quinoa salad.  It’s really good for you, too.  You can find it in the organic section.  It is very high in protein and also is a good source of magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus

Fat Free Skim Milk

We drink skim milk when we have cereal, and we also use it in smoothies

Fiber One cereal

If we don’t have a smoothie for breakfast, we usually have Fiber One cereal

pineapple (any fresh fruit)

We ate all of our strawberries and blueberries yesterday, so all we have is pineapple, but we like fresh fruit.  Paul uses it in smoothies and I usually eat it on top of oatmeal or yogurt


Paul munches on almonds as a snack.  I can’t eat them very much, but I do crush them and put them over salads and pasta.  They help lower your cholesterol, prevent heart disease, are high in vitamin E and calcium.  

Protein powder

We use protein powder in our smoothies


We eat spinach in salads, but Paul also puts spinach in his smoothies.  Spinach is very low in cholesterol and is a good source of fiber and protein


Paul has discovered Ezekiel bread (it is in the frozen section of the organic section of the store).  I’m not a real big fan of it, but Paul likes it.  I usually just eat 100% whole grain wheat bread when we have sandwiches.  Ezekiel 4:9 bread is flourless, organic, and has sprouted whole grains.  It is very high in fiber and protein.  When eating bread, we try to eat whole grain, not multi-grain.  When you eat multigrain you are not necessarily getting the whole grain.  The bran and then germ of the grain is what holds the most fiber and nutrients.  Look at the fiber content of the bread and if it is 2g or less per serving it is doubtful you are eating whole grain bread


(Sorry it’s sideways).  Paul drinks A LOT of water.  We constantly have water bottles laying around the house (we just refill them with tap water over and over again).  I’m trying to drink more water, but I struggle.  But that’s the main fluid in our house

organic chocolate milk

We love organic chocolate milk.  We keep it on hand because we have a glass when we finish working out.  Just be sure not to drink to much because it does contain a lot of calories, just for a fluid

beans and tomatoes

We eat a lot of chickpeas (organic garbanzo beans), along with kidney beans and diced tomatoes.  We also have corn and peas on hand, as well.  I have a few good recipes for garbanzo beans, if you are interested.  Garbanzo beans are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.  They are also a good source of fiber and protein.  

natural peanut butter

We don’t eat peanut butter a lot, but when we do we keep 100% natural peanut butter on hand.  The only ingredients are peanut butter and salt…nothing else added


I love Quaker High Fiber or Weight Control oatmeal.  I top it off with blueberries…yummy, yummy…

We also keep tomatoes, onions, green onions, bell peppers, red peppers, and other “assorted” salad toppers, but I don’t have a picture of everything…

Here are some other items that we eat every now and then.  They are not staples that are brought every week, but we do still have some of them.

brussel sprouts

 We roast brussel sprouts with EVOO and seasoning salt…they are yummy!  (They taste a little like okra)…


 Paul likes carrots as a snack (I can’t really eat them)

Laughing Cow cheese

 When I eat cheese, I eat Laughing Cow cheese on crackers.  A wedge of Laughing Cow cheese only has 35 calories, as a slice of Kraft American cheese has 60 calories.  A wedge of Laughing Cow can easily cover 10-12 crackers


 I love granola.  I put it on yogurt or in oatmeal

Flax Seed

I will add organic flax seed to salads and smoothies.  This bag lasts a LONG TIME.  You can find it in the organic section.  It is loaded with fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 fatty acids.


Awhile back I was on a hummus “kick” and ate it a lot, but now not so much.  I do still like it and when I do eat it, I eat it with crackers or carrots


We have discovered Buittoni 100% whole wheat cheese tortelleni.  It is really good and this package feeds us for two meals.  We top it with spaghetti sauce or recently discovered pesto with basil (and I put almonds on top, too)

pesto sauce

(Sorry about the manager’s special sticker) We have recently discovered Buittoni pesto with basil.  It is OH SO YUMMY!

We used to eat crackers a lot.  We don’t eat them as much anymore, but when we do, we eat Triscuit Thin Crips


We used to drink a lot of juice.  We don’t drink it as much anymore, but when we do, we drink organic or 100% juice, no extra ingredients.  We do still use juice in smoothies, though; you just have to watch the sugar content when you’re using juice and fruit in your smoothies


 (Sorry it’s sideways)  This is Paul’s new best friend, the blender.  We use it at least once a day, if not twice

And, of course, we can’t leave out…

We go to Jimmy John’s every Thursday night after Kid’s Club.  We get a #6 Unwich (The Vegeterian) with no mayo (red wine vinegarette, instead) wrapped in lettuce instead of bread

 We go to Subway at least once a week.  Before Lent we usually got the Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki, but now we get the Vegeterian…

So, there it is.  Our “healthy choices” that we eat.  And, for those who think that healthy doesn’t taste good, here’s our dinner from tonight.

 All Veggie Pizza…

Whole wheat crust, cheese, onions, black olives, tomatoes, green peppers, and red peppers…yummy!!

And, this is our favorite place to go workout…

Lacon Fitness and Tan…thanks Amanda and Cliff!!

As The World Turns

No, not the soap opera (although I can hear the theme music now)…but, oh, how I loved watching it…I grew up on Days of Our Lives, As The World Turns, and Guiding Light…

Anyway, As The World Turns we still continue to work.  Paul is staying busy working on the website and going to job fairs.  He has  a deadline of March 1st (or around that date) for the website…it looks really good; I think he can do it.

I’ve been busy doing…well, I’m not sure, but the hours still pass between 9-5, so I guess I’m doing something…This week I’ve been busy finding songs to sing at CCCA Sectional.  Paul and I are leading the worship at general sessions, so we have to come up with songs, powerpoint, and copies to make for all the songs…I’ve enjoyed doing it and I think Paul really enjoyed playing his guitar.  Since we’ve been out of the church for over a year now (and out of youth ministry for over 2 years) he’s missed playing Tara.  (Tara is his guitar, in case anybody didn’t know…yes, his guitar has a name…so does his electric guitar.  Her name is Chloe).

We went to a bible study this past Wednesday at the church that I’ve been attending lately (Paul’s been “hit or miss” on going with me b/c of different circumstances), but I enjoy the church, so I thought we would try out the bible study.  It was OK.  The couples in the bible study seemed nice…we will probably go again, but the problem comes because it’s another night that we are not at home during the week.

Tuesday night Paul goes to Teen Club.  Wednesday night we go to bible study, and Thursday night we do Kid’s Club.  It just makes for a long week with little time at home, not to mention we can’t go to the gym on those nights…we’ll see how our schedule plays out through the spring semester.

We’ve started Kid’s Club back up again.  Kid’s Club was very difficult last semester…a lot of discipline problems, acting up, disobeying, etc.  I was not looking forward to starting back up again because of the discipline problems, but we implemented a new discipline policy and…so far, it’s worked really well.  The last two weeks they’ve really done well.  We are watching and discussing the movie, “Facing the Giants,” and I think they really like it.  We’ll see how the rest of the semester plays out.

Well, that’s about it.  The world still turns and we’re still here…

Tubing and Broomball


We went tubing on Monday down the hill by the pond…I had a good time…Paul did it once (just to say he did it), but I did it several times…I was cold and wet when it was all over!

The boys also started making a broomball court.  We’ll see if it actually works for this weekend…

Kids Say the Darndest Things…

1st Conversation with a 9 year old boy

Me:  “Do you like all the snow?”

Kid from Kid’s Club (our inner city ministry):  “No, I do not.”

Me: “Why not?”

Kid:  “Because I want it to be sunny on my birthday!”  (said with a very determined look on his face)

Me: “Oh, when’s your birthday?”  (Logically thinking that it was soon)

Kid:  “August 12th”

Me (laughing out loud):  “I think you’ll be OK; I think it’s going to be sunny on your birthday!”

2nd conversation with an 8 year old girl

Me: “Do you like the snow?”

Kid:  “No, I do not.”

Me: “Why not?”

Kid:  “Because I like it sunny.  One time I was outside and it was sunny.  I didn’t have any pants on.  I was running around in my pantyhose.  I like it when it’s sunny.”

Me (laughing out loud): “Oh, OK, then.”

3rd conversation with a 4 year old girl (our good friend’s daughter)

Me: “What letter did you learn about at school today, Rebecca?”

Rebecca:  “V”

Me: “Oh, that’s good.  What starts with a ‘V’?” (I was assuming she might say Valentine)

Rebecca:  “Vegas.”

Me:  “What’s Vegas?”

Rebecca:  “You know, Las Vegas.”

Me:  “Las Vegas?  What’s that?”

Rebecca:  “Well, there’s a boy in my class named Vegas (which there is), but I’m not talking about him.”

Me: “Oh, then what are you talking about?”

Rebecca:  “You know, Las Vegas.  Like on T.V.”

Me: “What did you see on T.V. that had Las Vegas in it?”

Rebecca:  “I don’t know.  But I saw it in the spring.  It was Las Vegas.”

Me:  “Oh, OK.”

Another Winter Weather Advisory

Here we are again…winter weather rears its ugly head.  Now granted we are not getting snow like Washington/Pennsylvania/Delaware, etc. but to a Texas girl, this is a lot of snow…we have about 6 inches, I think…it’s my best guess, anyway…

It is blowing hard and swirling around…It kind of reminds me of the tornado in The Wizard of Oz…

Here’s a chronicle of our day…

looking out the van window into Lacon (while driving over the Illinois River)

the camp road

close up of the trees

the red van stuck on the camp road (i've lost count of how many times i've gotten a vehicle least 6 times that i can think of)

Paul pushing the van out with the tractor (notice the tire b/w the tractor and the van)

our car covered in snow

wonderful picture of Paul (read sarcasm into that statement)

my left foot buried in snow

our front porch buried in snow (see the chairs and the step stool in the left of the picture)

These pictures don’t include me sliding through 2 stop signs (because I couldn’t stop quick enough), one lady sliding through a red light (because she couldn’t stop quick enough), and me doing a 180 on the road next to the Food Bank…great day for driving in Peoria!!

I think we’ll stay in tonight…

Wisconsin-Say Cheese!

I can now check Wisconsin off of the list of states I’ve been to…

I went to Osh Kosh, WI on Friday to spend a few days with my sweet friend, Kara.  She and her family moved to Osh Kosh in September 08 and we moved to Illinois in March 09, so now we are only 4 hours apart, instead of 6 1/2 (like we were in Texas when she lived in Groves and we lived in Abilene)…

I had a wonderful time visiting with her, Andy, Linda, and Carter…Carter turned 4 on Sunday, so we celebrated with a birthday party on Saturday…Kara really outdid herself and made some wonderful food (and I helped, too)…Here’s the spread…

Kara also created the cutest Happy Birthday sign for Carter…it’s kind of hard to see in the photo, but it was REALLY cute…

Happy Birthday Carter

Here’s a picture of us together…my sweet, wonderful friend!  Love ya, Girl!

Kara and me