Friday, February 28, 2014

Family Friday - Family Redefined

The other day I was rolling through my FB feed and saw an article written by a NICU nurse to a NICU mom. I read it and the article that inspired it written by a NICU mom to NICU nurses. As I read the articles I couldn't help but tear up because I could totally relate to so much in each article.

Getting checked in to the hospital. The night I will never forget.
As you prepare to have a baby you never take time to think about what it would be like to be rushed into an operating room for an emergency c-section only to have your baby whisked away before you even saw him/her (yep I didn't know what I was having until I heard the nurses referring to my baby as a "he" and at that point I just assumed I had a baby boy). Between child birthing classes and prenatal visits you don't mentally prepare yourself to see your baby for a whole 20-30 seconds covered in tubes/wires/machines before he's taken to another hospital because they are the one place in the state with the treatment your baby needs to be given a fighting chance to live a normal life. Even as you talk to all your friends, hear horror stories from people who feel compelled to share all their unsolicited advice with you, and read every baby book on the planet you don't think it will be days before you see your baby in person and even longer before you can hold him because he is connected to so many machines and being treated for being oxygen deprived when he was born.

It was heartbreaking to know my baby was across town and I couldn't be there with him.

I am a worst case scenario person and I never once thought my baby would live his first 33 days in the NICU. He was one of those critical care cases at first literally having his own nurse assigned to him because he was so sick. He even had his own room because he had so many machines and medications hooked up to him. I remember one of his nurses telling us he'd skipped his lunch and breaks to be with Russell to make sure he was taken care of. This same nurse could tell I wasn't well and made me go home (even rolling me out to the car in a wheel chair) because my blood pressure was still elevated when I was finally released from my hospital and was able to finally see Russell. When I was readmitted to the hospital with a serious case of high blood pressure (this time I made sure to go to the ER at my son's hospital so I would at least be in the same place as him if I needed treatment, and I did) this same nurse came to see me after I'd been transferred from the ER to a floor for treatment. I have no clue how he knew I was there and what was happening but he found me and checked on me. He was the nurse that made sure Russell's neurologist stopped by my room in the middle of the night to update us on how Russell was doing because I was too sick to go visit him. He was the same nurse that wrapped up Russell so carefully so that I could finally hold him for the very first time. I don't know if he would even remember us but I will always remember him. His kindness and compassion made being in the hardest situation of our lives more bearable and in looking back I know I'll never forget him.

I also had a wonderful nurse that took care of me when I was first admitted to be induced. I had slightly elevated blood pressure at the time and had a few headaches during the week so my doctor gave us the option of coming in at 10:00 p.m. that same day or waiting until 5:00 a.m. the next morning. We chose the 10:00 p.m. time figuring we wouldn't sleep anyway. We have no way of knowing if that decision may have saved Russell's life but after I was hooked up and they started inducing me there came a point where everything went downhill fast. Both of my nurses and the charge nurse couldn't find Russell's heartbeat. My doctor was called in and luckily lived across the street from the hospital so he was there as fast as I could get unhooked and rolled down to the operating room. My nurse was there to help me during all the chaos, she was there to take care of me after, and thankfully we're still in touch today. I had other great nurses that took great care of me when I was most vulnerable, afraid, and scared and they made all the difference in the world to me.

I will never forget the beeps his monitor made. They still give me the chills when I hear them now.

I realized through all of this that sometimes family isn't just the people you are related to or married to. Sometimes family are the people who take care of you when you can't take care of yourself. They're the people who take care of your baby when you can't be there and don't have the knowledge to do it yourself. They are the people who cry with you, who hold your hand, and talk you through all the questions you have no matter how big or small they are. Family can be friends that are there for you through the good times and the bad. The friends that know you and still love you anyway. The friends that you can not see for months or years and then pick up like you've never been apart.

Finally we were able to take our bracelets off that let the hospital staff know we were Russell's parents.
To me family means the people you chose to invest in, the people you want to see succeed, the people you will remember forever even if they were only in your life for a season, and the people who mean the most to you. Family doesn't have to mean just your brothers and sisters because sometimes family can be so much more.

Finally home. My Mom and Brother hanging out and lending a hand.

I have made a decision to work harder to try and treat everyone how I would really want to be treated myself. I know I'm not perfect (no one is) but I want to be kind to everyone because I know that we are all fighting battles within ourselves no matter how put together we look on the outside. I want to treat more people like family because I know how much a simple touch, a few kind words, and going a little out of your way can change someones life for the better.

My best friend on my wedding day. I was there for hers too. What great memories.

I want to challenge everyone to take the time to think about what family means to you. I challenge you to look at your relationships and see who else you would consider family. I challenge you to tell those people who mean the most to you what they bring to your life because life can be short and you never know when you'll pass the point where you have no more opportunities to tell someone what they mean to you. I personally am forever in debt to those amazing nurses and doctors that brought my son into this world and helped to care for him to give him the best start at life he could possibly have. Those nurses and doctors will always be considered family to me.

Get out there and live your life. Find what you love and pursue it with all you've got.

Go out today and live more, love more, and find your zen in this world. Tell someone you love them. Give someone a hug. Don't be afraid to let your light shine by supporting those who need you. YOU mean the world to someone and YOU make a difference.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Chakra Love

Welcome back to another Wellness Wednesday. Today I wanted to see if anyone else has done any sort of chakra work. I was actually talking to another friend about using doTERRA oils and she mentioned she was learning more about chakras and had done a quick online test to find out which of her chakras were open and which needed work. Now I don't know if this test is totally legit but here were my results:

In thinking about my results it makes sense to me. I feel like most pieces of my life are pretty well balanced. Overall I feel things are going well and that I am making progress towards my goals however it makes sense to me that my root chakra and crown chakra are the ones that need the most work right now. Nothing like not having a stable foundation and intellectualizing things too often to keep you from really digging in and making some lasting progress on your goals.

I feel that so many things in my life are really going pretty well that it's time to look at fine tuning even the little things in my life so I can find balance and move forward to achieve what I was meant to achieve in this lifetime. One resource I know I can trust are these great Chakra Kits from my good friend Christina of I Love Intuition. I've worked with her before and would highly recommend her if you're looking for a great coach to work with for your business or personal life. I also know I'll end up doing a ton of internet searching and reading books so if you've got any great recommendations of your favorite chakra balancing books I'd love to hear them.

What do you think about exploring topics like chakras, Reiki, and meditations? Are you into different holistic types of healing or spirituality? Have you ever had any experiences working with a holistic practitioner? Share with us what you've tried and what your experiences were. I'm always interested in learning about what's working for others and what isn't.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Slim & Sassy Sunday - Late Update

Hello everyone! Whew, a late update but I did want to stop by and leave a quick update. Today was super busy for us as a family. Joe ran out to do the grocery shopping this morning while I hung out with our little man, put him down for a nap, and got ready. We were able to go visit my best friend and see her sweet new little baby. Oh my goodness! He is just the cutest and sweetest little guy. You totally forget just how little they are when you've got a toddler but luckily for us Russell was well behaved and I got to enjoy some sweet tiny baby goodness.

After we got back we went over to my Mom and Dad's house because it was a beautiful afternoon and we figured we'd let Russell run around in the backyard for a bit before we had dinner. Russell loved being outside and didn't want to go in even though it was getting cold once the sun started to set. He's totally energized by being outside and loves running around and picking up sticks and rocks.

This week the things I learned are that I need to better watch what I eat and how much water I drink on the weekends. My weekends are so far out of balance it's not even funny. It's too easy to overeat or to eat the wrong foods and I definitely don't get enough water on the weekends. I tend to have way too much coffee, which I'm sure isn't a good thing, and I tend to eat much more for breakfast and lunch. This week I managed to maintain and stay at my same weight which is ok. I am talking to Joe about ways I can work out more during the week so we'll see if I can squeeze in some additional workouts. I might also change my eating habits too as I'm sure eating really late at night before bed doesn't help either.

Anyway, since it's late that's it for today. I hope that everyone has had a great weekend. Stay strong and keep moving forward. No setback is too big to overcome!

What do you do when you're weight loss is plateauing or you find it hard to stick with what you've planned? Do you have any tips and tricks that help you when others around you are eating foods you know you shouldn't? How do you get enough water each day? Share your tips and tricks!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Saturday's Supper - Tempeh Shepherdess Pie

Lately Joe and I have been branching out into different types of food. We've tried gluten free options as well as vegan or vegetarian dishes. Why? Really because we enjoy expanding our options and trying new things.

A little while back we decided to try a recipe out of my new vegan cookbook Joe got me for Christmas. It's called Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook and the recipe we tried was the Tempeh Shepherdess Pie. Now to be honest, we have never tried tempeh and had no idea what we were getting into but we are open minded and for Joe as long as it's not beans he'll usually humor me and give it a whirl if I make the effort to put something together. (FYI if you google Tempeh you'll probably be afraid of what you're about to try but throw caution to the wind and just make it with the tempeh. You'll be fine.)

Finding the tempeh actually did require us to go to a Whole Foods to find it but that's ok. We rarely shop there so it's sometimes fun to go see what kind of foods they have going on. If you have a Trader Joe's or Sprouts nearby, a store like that would probably have tempeh. You might have to look but give it a try. This recipe can look intimidating but it was really easy and the results were so worth it. It's a great dish if you're vegan or not.

Tempeh Shepherdess Pie

by Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

Serves 8
Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Tempeh layer:
2 (8-ounce) packages tempeh
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce
2 cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced (about 3 cups)
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley, plus a little extra for garnish

Potato layer:
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup plain soy milk (preferably unsweetened), warmed or at room temperature
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
Plenty of freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet, crumble the tempeh into small, bite-sized pieces. Add the water, tamari, and 1 teaspoon of oil. Cover and let boil for about 10 minutes. Start boiling the potatoes in the meantime (directions below).

Remove the lid from tempeh and continue to boil until most of the water has evaporated, about 5 more minutes. Drain the tempeh in a colander and return the pan to the stove top over medium-high heat (you don't need to wash it).

Saute the onions in the remaining olive oil for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 1 more minute. Stir in the tempeh, along with the sliced mushrooms and the spices. Cook for about 10 more minutes over medium heat until the mushrooms are juicy and the tempeh is slightly browned. While this cooks, your potatoes should be ready for mashing and you can go ahead and preheat the oven to 375.

Add the corn and peas, and cook until heated through. You may need to add a little extra oil here; if you have a spray bottle of it, you should use it.

Mix together the vegetable broth and the flour until pretty much dissolved (a few lumps is ok). Add to the tempeh, along with the parsley, and stir. Let thicken for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. It will thicken more as it bakes.

Prepare the potatoes:

Place the potatoes in a soup pot and cover with water (the water should be about 1 inch above the potatoes). Cover and bring to a boil. Let boil for 20 minutes, or until they easily cut with a fork. Drain and return to the pot. Use a potato masher to mash them up a bit, then add the soy milk, oil, salt, and pepper. Mash very well, until creamy. Cover to keep warm until ready to use.

Assemble the pie:

It's not pretty, I know. But it tastes REALLY good!
Place the tempeh filling in a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish. Spoon the potatoes over the filling (although, truth be told, we use our hands for this because it's just easier).

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes; the potatoes should be slightly browned on top. If they are not, place under a broiler for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven, garnish with chopped parsley, use a spatula to cut into eight squares, and serve.

* Joe does not do peas so we subbed in diced carrots instead.
* I totally didn't realize I needed two packages of tempeh so we made this with only one and it was fine. We did half the amount of water and soy sauce we cooked it in though since we were only preparing the one package.
* This recipe made a TON of food. Maybe I put in more veggies or maybe my pan was small but we could have easily put this into two pans and froze one for later or given one away. It was a boat ton of food.
* I feel this recipe could be jazzed up with your own favorite veggies or whatever is in season if you want to go non-traditional. You could definitely add different seasonings too to give it a different twist. I could see making this in two dishes flavored with different spices and different veggies and freezing one for later. MMMM!!!
* Living the low carb lifestye? I bet you could make this with a cauliflower "mashed potato" topping and it would be just as good. No idea what I'm talking about? Go to Allrecipes and search mashed cauliflower.

This cookbook really is the ULTIMATE vegan cookbook. There is a whole section up front that talks about the different vegan products you'll encounter in the book. They talk about how to prepare different vegetables properly and what tools you would want to have in your kitchen. Seriously it's a GREAT resource if you're a vegan cook or a regular cook. I highly recommend picking this one up if you're at all interested in branching out into new things. Plus many of the recipes don't have anything scary in them and if you really were so inclined you could easily sub in meat. *GASP* I know vegans everywhere may be hating me but I want to be real. If this is not your lifestyle you can still enjoy the yummy recipes. Plus who knows this may be a gateway into having healthier meals every now and again. I for one, am all for the idea of meatless Monday or going meat free once a week or more. Meat takes a ton of resources to produce so going meat free actually is good for the environment and your health. But, I'm not an expert so if you want more info, it's out there...

Do you branch into different types of cooking? Do you enjoy trying new things or do you prefer to stick with the tried and true recipes you know your family will eat? If you have a favorite go-to cookbook please share it in the comments. I'm always looking for new cookbooks to add to my collection.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Family Friday - Crafters Paradise

Happy Friday everyone! I hope your week has been great and that you have some good plans for the weekend. Today I want to give you a little peek into who I am. I always hope that in sharing my life you can find something that resonates with you and makes you happy that you took the time to read through my blog posts. The other reason I share about me is that I know this blog is something that Russell can look at later in life and really see who I am right now.

For me one of the things I look forward to doing on the weekends is crafting. I've always been a crafty person. I remember asking for arts and craft kits ever since I was young. Some of my favorite memories are of making crafts with my mom or with friends. I remember having a friend of my mom's that would let me come over and we'd play with stamps. I remember she had the special embossing powders and I thought it was so cool! I crafted in church, I took sewing in school, and I have kept on crafting as I've grown up.

Yep, I made my wedding invitations.  I am that sort of crafty crazy!
My adult life crafts include scrapbooking, paper crafting, crochet, cross stitch, and anything else that I can get into without a hefty investment. Recently I decided I wanted to learn to knit. I learned to crochet a long time ago and can muddle through basic patterns. I'd probably rate myself high beginner/intermediate in crochet so I asked for knitting stuff for Christmas this year and put it as a goal for me to work on.

My beautiful bamboo knitting needles and my first knitting book!
My wonderful husband got me a great set of knitting needles and two knitting books for Christmas and my birthday so I'm ready to go! I love having books but I also use YouTube to learn different skills. I have found New Stitch a Day, The Crochet Crowd, and GoodKnit Kisses to be helpful and have a good variety of videos in both knitting and crochet. GoodKnit Kisses even does videos on loom knitting too if you're interested in doing that. The other resource I use is Ravelry. They have thousands of patterns you can search and many are free which is amazing!

Literally the first thing I've ever knit. It's just a sample where I practiced the knit and purl stitch. It's UGLY but it's a start!

I wanted to share this slice of my life because I will be sharing more crafty goodness as my blog grows. I actually have crafty goals I set for myself and can't wait to share more with you as I achieve my goals this year. 

1. Finish Russell's Cross Stitch -- 2. Learn to Knit -- 3. Redesign my blog.

What are your favorite crafts to do? Have you always been crafty or was it something you grew into? If you checked out New Stitch a Day or Crochet Crowd you'll see they are both done by men. Are there any guys out there who have a crafty hobby?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Our doTERRA Story

Welcome to another Wellness Wednesday! Today I wanted to dig in and share our doTERRA story. To give you a little background on how we came to be a part of doTERRA you must know that I used to sell Mary Kay. Yep, I was one of those crazy pink ladies (though I never did earn a car or anything like that). I actually really love the product I just got burned out on what it took to try and build a business. It was the perfect thing for me when I was in my early 20's but now that I'm in my 30's I was looking for something a little different. Actually, if I'm being honest, I wasn't looking for anything at all. I have a job I like, co-workers who are amazing, and make enough to support our family for right now.

doTERRA actually found me when I was having a serious problem with my sinuses. I posted the picture below on my Instagram and my old Mary Kay director (Aimee) sent me a message and asked me if she could stop by and share some oils she'd been using. I figured since I was going to go broke buying drugs I would give it a shot.

Believe me I'd tried it all. Allergy meds, sinus meds, cold meds, meds in combination. I am pretty sure I broke all the rules to try and kick it but nothing worked more than an hour or so and of course all the meds say no more than so much every 4-6 hours or that you have to wait 24 hours to take more. Nothing seemed to be working so I figured the worst thing that could happen was I would get to see Aimee (who has been a friend for a long time and I hadn't seen in forever) and I'd end up smelling good because of the oils. I had a blast catching up with Aimee and went home with a few tiny bottles of oil to try.

Aren't they so cute? HA HA HA! So, I started using the oils and immediately noticed a difference. My sinuses cleared up and I decided why not give the oils a shot for a few other issues and maybe later as a business. I am always looking for ways to bring my life into balance and live in a more holistic way. I've also wanted to find ways to ditch all the drugs and try and use more natural methods for things like headaches and sleep issues and the oils seemed to be a good answer.

At that point Joe and I agreed we'd get some of the oils and give them a try. We told Aimee that we were not looking to go crazy and build a business at that point. We just wanted to try the oils and see if they really worked for us and our lifestyle. We told her we might build the business later IF the oils worked for us. I personally can NOT sell a product I don't totally believe in so if it didn't work for us there was no way I was going to try and sell them to other people I knew.

I started using the Lavender to help me sleep. I put a couple drops into some unscented lotion and rub it on my feet before I go to bed and I can honestly say I get the BEST sleep EVER now. I used to wake up 3-6 times during the night, tossing and turning and having trouble getting my mind to calm down but now with the Lavender I fall asleep quickly, I stay asleep, and if I wake up I fall right back to sleep without issues. It's amazing!

My other experience worth noting happened this past week. I have once again had a crazy sinus infection and it went into my ears. I was in a ton of pain and couldn't think straight. I took a sick day from work and put Melaleuca around my ears all day. I did pop a couple ibuprofen and went to bed and was amazed when I woke up the next day feeling a million times better. For me it's all about balance. A little east meets west and my ear cleared right up. Since then I had a day where my ear was pretty itchy and my sinuses are still draining but I feel great. I know everyone's experience is different but for me this stuff works!

With these experiences and more we figured why not give this a shot as a business. We figured it couldn't hurt to have a little extra money on the side and since we are both employed we could still pay the bills while working to help others feel their best. Having done Mary Kay and been a part of network marketing I was a little worried that I'd end up having to give up my nights and weekends to host parties and go to meetings and I was relieved when I found that wasn't the case. Every doTERRA consultant is different but I absolutely LOVE the people I get to work with now. I was brought into the business by a friend and the people above her are wonderful, wholesome, down to earth folks that I truly have enjoyed meeting already. Meeting them was like joining a group of long lost friends.

Anyway, this post is getting crazy long and if you've stuck it out this far you deserve an award. Actually, what about a free sample! (Seriously, I'm happy to send a sample of Peppermint, Lavender, or Lemon to anyone who doesn't already have a doTERRA consultant and leaves me a comment below. If you want to try something else let's set up a time to get coffee/tea/hot chocolate and we can customize some samples to meet your specific needs.) My goal with doTERRA is to help others feel and be their best. Joe or I would love to talk to you and share more about what the oils can do for you. If you already have a consultant that's great. Call them up and let them know you want to learn more or host a class! You can also learn more about the oils on my website here. If you don't need a sample and just want to buy let me know too. I'm happy to process and pick up an order for you. I can deliver face to face or ship it to you if that's more convenient.

Have you ever used essential oils? I'd love to hear your stories about what you use essential oils for in your home. Do you and your family balance eastern/western medicine? Share your tips on how you live a more holistic life or let me know what you'd like to learn more about in upcoming Wellness Wednesday posts.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Slim & Sassy Sunday - Getting on Track

WOW. What a difference a week can make. I didn't lose a ton over last week but I did lose some which is great. I was actually worried because this week was Valentine's Day so I knew I would be indulging in more treats than I normally do. My Mom actually made us some cute heart shaped sugar cookies and some chocolate covered strawberries which were delightful.

I also bought Joe a box of chocolate truffles from V Chocolates which has been wonderful but definitely additional calories I wouldn't normally be consuming.

One thing I am learning through this weight loss journey is that I need to be mindful of what I'm eating. That doesn't mean I cut out everything I love in life. That means I really do eat things in moderation. I try my hardest to take the time to savor my meal and really enjoy the flavors we've put together. It's taking the time to taste things and know that if it's not wonderful or isn't meeting my body's needs I can feel ok in passing on it or eating something else instead. I am sure all of us have had at least one experience where we tried something, didn't love it, but somehow felt obligated to eat it anyway. NO! If my office brings in store bought goodies and I take a bite and don't love it I know I can be done with it. I don't have to eat an entire stale doughnut or overly sweet cookie just because everyone around me is.  My idea for work is if it's not homemade from scratch I don't have to feel bad in saying no. Sometimes I do indulge in something if it's from some of our amazing local bakeries but most of the time I just pass and feel great about it at the end of the day.

I do want to acknowledge that sometime life puts you in circumstances where you can't eat organic fruits and veggies every day (we don't). Sometimes it is easier to pick up fast food on the way home when the kids/husband are starving (been there done that). You may not have the budget to buy more than beans and rice and all of this is ok. Sometimes you have to make short term sacrifices for long term gains. If you are working a budget to pay off your debts and save to buy a home then maybe you have to eat beans and rice for a while until you can get a few things paid off. That's ok! Maybe it is easier to buy the kids a fast food meal so you can spend more time with them playing when you get home. If it's not an every day occurrence then that's ok. It's all about balancing what's healthy and what's an occasional indulgence so you can stick with your weight loss or health plan for life. I know that one bad meal won't kill me but not caring about meals year after year just might.

There are ways to still lose weight and still be healthy even if your circumstances aren't idea. Maintaining a healthy weight is all about calories in and how much you're moving to burn those calories. If you're exercising more you can typically eat more. This, however, is not an open license to live off fast food just because you run every morning. Your body knows the difference between a lean and nutritious meal vs. something highly processed and filled with who knows what. You have to choose what you are willing to do if you want to live a healthy lifestyle.

So, my weigh in for today... Drum roll please...

Lost a little over a pound from last week. Considering the crazy Valentine's Day indulgences that's not bad. My biggest takeaways from this week were:
  1. Everything in moderation. If you eat cookies for breakfast you need to eat a light lunch. (I seriously did this on Saturday. HA HA HA!)
  2. Don't stop trying. Just because you have one bad day is no excuse to throw out the rest of the week. (I totally ate too many cookies and other treats but I just worked harder to eat better on other meals.)
  3. Don't force yourself to eat if you're not hungry. I have found the Slim & Sassy oil keeps my hunger in check so I monitor what I eat during the day and if I hit dinner and am not hungry that's ok. I'll usually just have some veggies or a small portion and know that I'll be fine since I'm still eating enough for my body to function.
I'm telling you, Slim & Sassy works. (If you want to learn more about Slim & Sassy let me know. It's amazing and is working wonders for me. It's the ONLY thing I've ever tried that has actually helped me manage what I eat and not feel starving all day long.) I also contribute my weight loss to using an app (Lose it!) to track my food and using the Fitbit to track my steps, how much water I drink, and how I am sleeping (which thanks to lavender oil is AMAZING!).

There are so many great weight loss programs out there as well as really bad ones. I hope that if you too are on a journey to health and wellness we can travel together and find what works for each of us to make lasting changes that will impact our lives and the lives of those around us. Remember, misery loves company so don't be surprised when you start to make weight loss gains that people come out of the woodwork with cake and cookies and reasons to be lazy and skip the gym. Show the world that YOU are in control and that you are serious about being healthy for life! You can do it no matter how hard it seems! I'm here for you to support you and I know there are tons of other ways to get great support! So let's stick it out together and make this happen!

What is your preferred method for losing weight/staying healthy? I have tried Weight Watchers and know that for some people that works great. I've also done cleansing before and cutting foods out of my diet and those just haven't worked for me long term. Tell me what are your secrets to lasting health and weight loss.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Saturday's Supper - Cauliflower Couscous

Can I tell you how excited I am to be bringing back Saturday's Supper? Seriously! I am excited for this. I LOVE to cook and I LOVE to share what I'm cooking. Oh yes, I bake from scratch, I can make my own bread, I can blend up my own sauces, make up my own recipes, and so much more. Food is so important to me not only because it's what helps fuel your body and mind but also because it's one of the ways I personally show love. I think there is nothing more fantastic than sitting down at the dinner table with those who are important with you to enjoy something wonderful you have prepared with your own hands. AH feel those hippie peace and love vibes... :)

Anyway, before I lose you thinking that these segments will be all fluff and no filler here we go. I actually want to share a recipe I found in Grain Brain. My husband actually asked for this book for Christmas and since I'm all for him trying to better his (and by that I mean our) health I ordered it. He's read through part of it and in doing so we've made some attempts at cutting back on gluten.

Now, before you call the GF police on me hold on. Let me say that 1) we don't have celiac or a medical reason for cutting back on gluten and 2) we're not cutting it out completely. I have friends who are GF for medical reasons and they have shared that unless you have a medical reason for cutting it out completely it can actually be worse for your body to cut it out entirely. I don't know all the science behind it so I would highly encourage you to talk to your doctor or other medical professional before deciding to completely eliminate any food from your life. We're not eliminating gluten we're just cutting back. For example we rarely ever get plain white bread and this past week we used corn tortillas for enchiladas instead of flour. No biggie.

Ok back on track... In the back of Grain Brain there are some recipes. We have tried a few and they turned out to be good. The one that I know will become a staple for us is the Cauliflower "Couscous". Holy cow you have GOT to try this! I am a fiend for rice and could eat it for days but my calorie counter says that wouldn't be wise. On the flipside I can have the same amount of Cauliflower "Couscous" as rice and have far less calories. Plus all the nutrients in cauliflower makes this a win. Sub out those crazy carbs and make this recipe tonight! Even my husband who only selectively likes cauliflower said this was a win!

Cauliflower "Couscous"
by Grain Brain

For a tasty substitute for starch vegetables like mashed potatoes, rice, or traditional couscous, try this dish made simply from cauliflower.

1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

My baby food processor. :)
In a food processor, process the florets from the cauliflower until they resemble small grains, or grate the cauliflower with a cheese grater (using the large hole shredder) until the entire head of florets is grated down and you're left with the stalk to discard.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, garlic, pine nuts, and parsley, and saute, stirring frequently, until the cauliflower begins to brown.

Note: For extra flavor, you could add pitted chopped olives or 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese to the cauliflower while it's cooking.

* We used garlic salt instead of the fresh garlic only because I was too lazy to chop up garlic.
* We added some pepper while it was cooking.
* We didn't add pine nuts because we didn't have any and it was just fine
* We also used dried parsley because I didn't have fresh and it was good
* I had to cook this in two batches. I thought my pan was pretty big but it seemed to work better in two batches. It already took quite a bit for the cauliflower to cook down and start browning but maybe I just had a huge thing of cauliflower to work with. I processed mine and ended up with, I think, 6 cups of processed cauliflower.
* I did process the stems with the florets as I can't stand the idea of just throwing them away.
* I think you could easily change the flavors of this recipe depending on what you're eating. I could imagine some warm Indian spices to pair with curry or maybe some Asian spices. MMM. I bet you could even turn this into the base for a fried "rice"! Brown up the cauliflower and add other cooked veggies, meats, or whatever you put in fried rice. MMMM... I may have to try that soon.

Served with a delightful tilapia with lemon and dill. MMM!!!

What are your favorite carb substitutes? What fills your plate instead of the typical potatoes, bread, or rice? If you have a recipe to share I would love it! Especially if it's something delightful and healthy!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Family Friday - Baby Mac Update

Happy Valentine's Day! I couldn't imagine a better way to share some love than to update everyone on our sweet Baby Mac. Yeah, he's not really a baby but I get it now when parents say their kids will always be their baby. That and he's still my little man for now. :)

Longtime readers of my blog will know that he went through quite a bit when he was born. If you don't know his story feel free to take a look back through our Baby Mac posts and see my little guy and his epic cuteness! Holy cow I love him!

If you don't have time to read through all my old posts here are a couple pics I just love I couldn't resist sharing.

Even better than looking back is looking at him now. He's such a character. Full of laughter and love. He enjoys trying new things, is curious about everything, and you can tell he's always thinking. He still doesn't talk, though he does babble, so we are working with a speech therapist to help him develop his language skills. They have told us that he basically skipped some of the early steps that lead to language development so perhaps he's just too smart for his own good. Then again, what parent thinks otherwise of their kid? We all have the smartest/cutest kid ever right?

I had to share this fun pic we took last week. Russell has been recovering from a crazy cold and finally started feeling better. You can tell he's back to himself when he starts climbing all over everything possible, including his dad who was trying to take a nap. Speaking of dad, Joe deserves a nomination for husband of the year. He's such a good dad to Russell and an amazing husband to me. Yes we have our moments where we disagree or annoy each other but he overwhelmingly makes me happy and does so many kind things for Russell and I. I don't think I'd survive getting up at night and working and Joe is always there to help Russell while my lazy butt sleeps in. Seriously, Joe wins for husband of the year! :)

I also wanted to share this cute picture of Russel reading. He was sitting with my Mom after Sunday dinner and he got really quiet. My Mom whispered for me to come over and I couldn't resist snapping a picture of him. My Mom says that sometimes he'll get so engrossed in what he's looking at that he'll just sit there until something distracts him or someone interacts with him. I'm really hopeful he'll be like me and have a great love for reading. I remember going to the library with my Mom and brother every summer to do whatever reading challenge they had going on. I also remember buying books from every bookfair there was. My Mom never questioned when I'd ask for money to buy books at those school bookfairs and I'd like to think it was all a great investment in my future. I'm very glad to be back into reading and have found that books on CD is a great way for me to devour more books in what little free time I have.

Whew, this is getting super long but I just wanted to say Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there. My Valentine's are Russell and Joe and I couldn't be happier. I hope that no matter if you celebrate Valentine's Day or not you have a day filled with love, friends, and family. Take a moment to express your love to those who mean the most to you because you never know how long you or they have. Don't let a moment go without appreciating those around you. It may make all the difference in the world for someone. So, if you're reading this know I truly appreciate you taking the time to stop by our corner of the blogsphere. You're always welcome to join us here and I hope you'll follow along for more fun in our journey!

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day or do you hate it? Does it depend if you're single or in a relationship? We personally don't do much for Valentine's Day because it falls between my birthday and our anniversary so no matter if you celebrate it or not that's totally ok. If you have any fun Valentine's Day traditions do share! Especially if they involve celebrating with kids! :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Fitbit Flex

Happy Wednesday everyone. I have a new toy to share and I'm super excited. I know this isn't new but it's new to me and so far it's been great. One of the gifts I got for my birthday from my husband is the Fitbit Flex. I'm going to share my top three favorite things about the Fitbit and who else should consider getting one too. First check out how it looks:

Pretty basic looking but don't be fooled. It's pretty awesome!

I have really small wrists. Always have and probably always will and it doesn't overwhelm. I haven't had a watch in forever so the first time I put it on it did take a little getting used to but after that I almost don't notice it. I still notice it if I'm doing something that uses my hands/wrists a lot like putting away laundry or working out but I'm sure that will decrease as I get used to it. It seems to fit snugly and doesn't seem like it will come off so I'm hopeful I won't have to worry about losing it. I know another person at my work who has one and he hasn't had any issues.

Without further adieu, let's check out why I LOVE the Fitbit!
  1. I love the step tracker! Yeah, I'm one of those people who likes to track this kind of simple data. I honestly don't have time every day to hit the gym or do a workout but I can certainly walk around and I know many people have heard some information about how 10,000 steps every day can make a difference in your long term health. For me just watching the numbers go up throughout the day makes me want to get up and walk around more
  2. I am psyched about the sleep tracker. I have tried other apps before where you leave your phone on all night on your bed but then I worry it will somehow spontaneously combust and light my pillow on fire or that it will fall off the bed and then be useless. I've only had the Fitbit for a short while so expect an update after I've used it for a few weeks. Sometimes I think I've slept really well and other nights I don't think I have so it will be interesting to see how my energy levels correlate to how I've slept the night before. 
  3. I love the real-time feedback. I can pull up my stats anytime right on my phone or on my computer and see how I'm doing and how my friends are doing. For me I don't want to wait until I get home to plug in and download my data. I also am partial to dashboards and charts that show my progress and the Fitbit gives me both. I can see the basics on my iPhone or I can get more detail online. For me it's great either way!
Average weekend day from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
This is what part of the app looks like. This was from Saturday and clearly it doesn't look like I'll hit 10,000 steps but I'm also not going out of my way to do so yet. I actually like comparing data so I'm giving myself some time to get some baseline information and then I'll see what little things I can do and how they will/won't make a difference. It's going to be fun!

Now I know not everyone has the money sitting around to buy a new fitness device and not everyone needs one. I think this device may be a good fit for you if...
  1. You are competitive. Seriously nothing will get you moving like knowing your friends can see the number of steps you're taking on any given day. You can "cheer" or "taunt" your friends and push each other to do more activity. Of course this would mean your friends would need to have one too but I posted I got my Fitbit and at least 3 other people came forward right away and said they had one too. Plus the other person I know at work and I am sure there are other people I know who have one that just didnt' see my Facebook post. Either way, I am sure I could build up some friends if I needed the competition.
  2. You are a data nerd. Yep, I fall into this category (if you couldn't already tell). I like simple wins and just seeing how many more steps I take between times I check it makes me want to get up and move some more. Seriously, I may end up pacing my house just to get to 10,000 steps each day. Yeah, I'm that person. Plus I want to see what things I can do to really make a difference in balancing my life's demands with the things I can do to stay healthy. Maybe it's more water, more/less sleep, or more exercise. For me it's probably all of the above but we'll find out.
  3. You want the whole picture. Track your sleeping patterns, what you're eating, how much water you drink, and the activity you do throughout the day all in one place. Honestly you could easily start to look at the data and make correlations between what's effective for you. If you have some weeks where you lose more than others you can look back and see if there are any common themes and apply those to your next week to see what works. I think this type of device is perfect for someone who wants to fine tune their routine and make the most out of every day.
If you decide to get one come back and let me know in the comments. I know some people have posted that they've had trouble with skin irritations or rashes but so far I'm doing fine with mine. I can say I don't shower with mine on. It's supposed to be water resistant but I can not stand the idea of having water in there getting all mucky and gross. EWW. Seriously no way. I just can't do it. Plus it's not like I'm walking laps in there. I'm just showering so I don't feel like tracking the extra two steps in and out of the shower matter.

If you're looking for something to help motivate you to get moving and do more the Fitbit Flex may be a good option for you.

Tell me what little wins do you track? Do you use any sort of fitness tracking device? Do you take little steps to staying in shape or are you the kind of person who hits the gym or classes on the regular? Share your secrets and tips! 

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Slim & Sassy Sunday - Post Birthday Week

WOW! It's really late for me to be posting but I don't want to miss a week. Since this past week was my birthday I did indulge a little more than normal. I enjoyed some ice cream cake my husband got me and some strawberry cupcakes my mom made. We also went out for lunch to celebrate my birthday with the family but I did pretty good. I split a sandwich with my mom so I only ate half the portion, which I'm sure is actually a normal sized portion. HA!

I also realized that for me weekends are the hardest to stay on track. During the work week it's really quite simple to stick with my eating plan because I have structure to my day. The weekends are hard because Joe wants to make breakfast or we end up going out somewhere. I have gotten better at looking online before we go out so I can pick something reasonable which I know helps. I do find I eat more than I feel I need to when Joe's ready to make a big breakfast or eat dinner when I'm not really hungry. I have decided that I need to pay more attention to how hungry or not hungry I am and go from there instead of just mindlessly eating because it's time to eat.

Another thing I know that played a role in this week was the fact I have been battling this sinus cold/infection thing. I feel pretty good overall but I have this crazy congestion that makes it hard to breathe and as of this weekend has made my ears feel stuffy. I've had a pretty sore throat all weekend which is no fun but more of a pain than anything else.

Honey lemon water to try and beat this sore throat.

Overall, I'm ready to start a new week and try to work out more. I am excited to try my new Power Yoga DVD that my husband got me for my birthday. I also got a Fitbit for my birthday which you'll learn more about during Wellness Wednesday so be sure to come back and check that out.

Ready for more Rodney Yee!

So, to finish off today I did manage to maintain my weight. No change this week which I guess it pretty good considering the mad quantities of cake I ate. I can definitely accept that since I know that the goal is long term health and not a quick crash diet. Balance in all things right?

How are things going for you? Have you had to fight of a cold/flu? I have heard from so many people that they or someone they know has gotten really sick lately so I'm grateful I've been able to contain what I have and still function. If you've got any home remedies for a sore throat I'd be open to hearing them. :)

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Bringing Saturday's Supper Back!

Good Saturday morning everyone! For long time followers of my blog, you know I used to do a feature called Saturday's Supper where I'd share something new I'd tried or a recipe that's a staple in our house. Before I get back to our weekly postings I wanted to ask you if there are any recipes or types of food you'd like to see reviewed here.

Typically what we eat is simple, easy to make while watching a 2 year old, and good enough to have leftovers for lunches the next day. We try to eat mostly whole foods and buy local when we can. We have voyaged into gluten free and vegan recipes lately too. I LOVE cooking and have a pretty reasonable recipe book collection as well as using All Recipes or Pinterest when I'm looking for new ideas.

Some of the foods I've been interested in trying lately include:
  • Indian
  • Mediterranean
  • Vegan/Vegetarian
  • Gluten Free
  • Baking from scratch
  • Healthy/low fat substitutes
  • Healthy desserts/treats 
If you have any foods you're curious about but not sure you want to try them yourself leave me a note in the comments and I'll see if I have a recipe. My family doesn't have any food allergies (at least not that we know of) so most anything is up for grabs. I can say Joe is a little pickier than me so some veggies make him shudder (broccoli and peas) and some other foods (beans) are things he just won't eat (unless I can find a way to hide them...). Otherwise bring on the suggestions and we'll see how many we can get to.

For me a balance of healthy food and exercise are what makes feeling healthy and strong possible. What are your families go to or favorite foods? Do you have a dish you are practically famous for? Share your favorite recipes or suggestions for new things to try in the comments and you just may be featured in an upcoming Saturday's Supper!

Friday, February 07, 2014

Family Friday - Happy Birthday to Me!

Hi everyone. My birthday was actually yesterday but since I just celebrated my special day I wanted to talk about birthday traditions.

In my family growing up we always got to pick the restaurant we'd want to eat at and then my mom would make us a cake or pie from scratch! Now that we've grown up sometimes we just get dessert at the restaurant or sometimes my mom will pick up a pie from Village Inn. Yeah, it's not that my mom doesn't want to make some tasty dessert from scratch but we're all older now and it's not as big of a deal. Plus my mom watches Russell when Joe and I are working so it's not like she's got tons of time after she's been chasing a 2 year old around. :)

Today I want to know what are your families birthday traditions? Do you do something special for everyone or just the kids? Are you all on board for big birthday parties filled with hand made goodies and special activities or would you rather hit up your local kid games/pizza type place?

I'm always curious what other people to do celebrate birthday's for themselves and their kids. It's so easy to fall into the trap of 'what you see online is reality for everyone else' and then suddenly think you're a bad mom because you didn't hand make 50 invitations, bake a cake from scratch, and make special party favors for all 50 kids AND their parents! HA HA HA! Oh yeah and if you don't have a darling theme party you're definitely failing... OY! No wonder people feel depressed. Keeping up with the Jones' just got harder when you can see all the amazing things they're doing on their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feed...

So today tell me what does your family do for birthdays and how do you feel about birthdays? Do you feel pressure to do more than you'd like to for your kids because "everyone else is doing it" or do you brush off the pressure and do your own thing? How do you balance having a good time without spoiling your kids? Share any ideas you have! I can't wait to hear

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Wellness Wednesday - Be Well

Welcome to another Wellness Wednesday. Today I wanted to talk about what "Be Well" means to me. I also want to find out from you what wellness topics you would be interested in learning more about.

First, Be Well is something that is a state of being. It's where you are right now. It's knowing that you can choose to be healthy today no matter what you face in your life. It's doing the things you need to do in your life even if they are hard or unpopular. It's living your life fully and in a way that makes you feel like a whole person.

For me this means choosing to eat healthy even when I have all the options in the world to eat things that aren't good for me. It means exercising in a way that leaves me feeling good while also giving me the benefits of strength and flexibility. It means constantly working towards the things that make me happy and that will support my family in the long run. It means knowing that I am the best me I can be at any given point but that doesn't mean perfection. It's making mistakes and learning from them. Helping others and doing the things that leave the world a little better after I'm gone.

To me, Wellness Wednesday is about sharing what I've learned and am practicing in my life. It's my opportunity to share with you what's working or what's not working and how it's impacted my life. It's about learning new things and growing together as we journey towards a healthy and balanced life.

I am not a doctor or other medical professional so I advise you to consult a medical professional before taking on any kind of diet program or exercise regimen. What I share shouldn't be considered to be a replacement for the sound medical advice of professionals that have spent a good chunk of their lives studying and practicing so they can help you. I also believe in balance in my personal health care options. I enjoy a variety of eastern medical practices and traditions but I would never look down on someone for participating in all that western medicine has to offer. I feel you need balance in taking advantage of the best of both worlds but whatever you choose should make you feel comfortable. Never feel you should give in to what's popular just because. Ask questions, demand answers (in a nice way), and do what it takes to feel comfortable in how you're receiving treatment for any illness.

That being said what wellness topics interest you? Are you looking for new exercise options to shake things up? Are you looking to try out or learn more about the latest diet trend? Is there anything I could share that you would look forward to coming back to read more about? I can't promise I'll write about everything but I don't mind trying something new and sharing my experience. 

I hope you'll come back each week to learn more about my wellness journey and share what you're going through too. I hope we can support each other to achieve great things in the months and years to come!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Bookmark To Blog - January Keyword Challenge Review

Hi friends! If you didn't see my post about joining this wonderful Monthly Keyword Challenge hosted by my best friend Kim over at Bookmark To Blog check out my initial post and let's get connected on Goodreads.

January's key words I could pick from were: angel, secret, clock, black, day, and wild.

I went through tons of searches and looked at books friends had recommended but I couldn't break out of my typical self help/business genre. I decided I would read...

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job & Your Dream Job

Yep, another business book but since I'm a manager at work and haven't had a ton of experience in this role I love to try and learn more about how I can be more effective and supportive of the people who I have hired. That being said here's what I think about this book...
Quitter, for me, seemed like common sense knowledge but I also realize I have been toying with the idea of my dream job for a long time. I've read a ton of books, I've brainstormed ideas, talked through concepts, and looked at all my options. Anyway, for me some of the concepts were not new but that was ok. 
Overall Quitter was an easy read. It's pretty conversational in tone and I made it through the book in the few spare moments I'd have in the evenings before going to bed. It's not complicated like some business type books and I would imagine it could be a great book for those just now starting to toy with the idea of making your dream job a reality. One reason I think this book would be a good starter for those looking to pursue your dream is it tells you more than once NOT to quit your day job just because you have a dream or just because you actually made $1,000 over the last 3 months. Seriously, nothing will kill your dream more than realizing you aren't making enough money to pay your bills and suddenly you're getting foreclosed on, you can't buy food, your spouse hates you, and you're not really working on your dream because you've gotten desperate and just take anything that will pay you even if it conflicts with your values and goals.
The one part I found particularly useful actually came towards the front of the book. In chapter 2 Removing The "I'm" From Your "But" there was a section that Acuff talks about your hinge moment. He defines that as a moment that "occurs when you are planning to do something standard and normal, something you've done many times before, like turn a key in the ignition. And then seemingly out of nowhere, something, a small detail usually, hinges you in a different direction. A chance encounter at the grocery store, a stranger's random comment, one line in an article you read pushes you to a place you were not expecting to go." He suggested 5 questions to help you to figure out your hinge moments:
  1. What do I love enough to do for free?
  2. What do I do that causes time to feel differently?
  3. What do I enjoy doing regardless of the opinions of other people?
  4. If only your life changed, would that be enough?
  5. Are there any patterns in the things you like doing?
If you want to know more about these questions you should pick up a copy of the book. You can buy it through the link above which takes you to Amazon or you can borrow a copy from the library. I plan to run through those questions myself to see how my dream measures up.
So, in the end I would give Quitter 3.5 stars. I would rate it this because it's an easy read and accessible and has a good mix of talking to you and questions for you to think of on your own. On the flip side, for me, it was almost too easy of a read and the concepts were not new. I think for a newby to business books it would be much better. If you had time to roll through an easy read I would still say to do it because you probably will find at least a few nuggets worth taking away.
If you're participating in this challenge be sure to stop by Kim's blog and link up your review. Feel free to also leave a link to your review in the comments so I can see what you're reading!

February's key words include: her, life, night, red, dark, and island. What do you think I should read for February? Any books you recommend with one of these words in the title? I better pick something fast so I can get reading.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Slim & Sassy Sunday - Making Progress

WHEW! Can I say I am really glad to see that after last weeks steady weight on the scale I am so pleased that this week I did lose some weight. I think I would have passed out if I stepped on the scale and saw a steady weight or a weight gain for another week in a row. In my head I know that weight can fluctuate and that sometimes regardless of what you do you'll hold steady but since I've just started this weight loss journey I would have been really sad to plateau so soon.

Today I'm going to share the three things I've done this week to help me stay on track!

The first thing I did was keep track of my food in the Lose It! app which has been great at keeping me honest. I have also tried a bunch of new recipes like cauliflower couscous, deli-style chickpea salad, and a spinach quiche with a gluten free crust. I am most excited about the cauliflower couscous because it is really yummy and so much less calories than rice or potatoes. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE rice, but I can have a cup of cauliflower couscous for maybe 40-50 calories where rice would run me closer to 250. When you're really watching your caloric intake that's a HUGE difference. I know that recipe will become a staple for me in the future.

The second thing that has been making a difference for me is using the Slim & Sassy Metabolic Blend in my water. This past week I ran out before I could get more and I found I was so much more hungry in between meals and it was a lot harder to not overindulge or sneak in a bite of this or a bite of that throughout the day. When I was using the oil in my water I could easily eat the portion I set for myself. I had no problem not feeling full after my meals and I didn't crave all the sweets as much as I have the past couple days. It REALLY WORKS as an appetite suppressant and it helps me drink far more water than I normally would. I will NOT let myself run out of this again.

The final thing that has been huge this week is watching what I eat on the weekends. When I'm at work it's SO easy to stick with what I plan to eat because I don't have my kitchen a few feet away. I don't have the temptation to go back for seconds or eat extra snacks. I also can't sneak a bite of this or that off Russell's plate either. At work I have also committed to myself that I will say no to things that are store bought. I really don't love donuts or cookies enough to screw up my diet for something leftover from a meeting. Now, if someone made something from scratch and wanted to share I would let myself have some, if they insisted. If they're not around and I can just say no and let others eat, I usually do that. I would not turn down something homemade though because I know how much joy it brings to see others enjoy something you put time and love into. I am one of those people. I definitely show love with food. I love to cook for other people and it makes me happy when others are happy so I simply limit the amount I have and enjoy a little splurge.

This week I wasn't as good as I thought I would be about getting up and working out. For this next week I'm going to focus on adding more exercise to my routine as I know that will make a difference in losing weight and feeling better.

So without further adieu, here is my weigh in for the week:

I'm so excited to see I'm making such great progress and I can already tell I'm fitting into some clothes I couldn't wear just a couple of weeks ago. It's challenging and there are definitely some days I just don't want to say no to chocolate cake and yummy goodies but for the sake of my long term health I know this will be worth it!

What have you done in the past week to make a difference in your life? Remember it's the little things that add up to the big things. Reading one chapter in a book, saying no to one thing you didn't need in your life, taking time to take care of yourself all counts!