Monday, September 24, 2012

Book Review: Grace

I really enjoy Max Lucado books and this one was no different. I was hoping for a little more in depth study.  This is a great book for new Christians and a good book for older ones.  There are some great points I had never thought about and some great stories from the Bible that were told in a different light.  There was lots of present day life stories that Lucado related back to his point.  Lucado added great Bible verses and quotes to every chapter, which I really enjoyed.  The last almost third of the book is a study for the book, which I think is a great addition to any book. 
I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Lucado's books, as well as anyone who needs a little reminder about the amazing grace we are given... but don't we all need that once in a while?
I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

90Day Gluten Free for PCOS Check-In#2

Week 2 eating gluten free was ok.  I'm missing my bread and bready type foods!  Haha!  I lost another 2.2 pounds so total I am down 8.4 pounds.  So that is encouraging, but I am still not working out like I should be. 

This week I will get 45 minutes of cardio in.  That might not sound like much, but I know once I start I won't really stop.  I'm like that, until I stop and don't start again.

I am beyond broken out.  I really look like my 14 year old self.  My chin is a bumpy mess and I am shocked by it.  Not a positive for the gluten free.  I was really hoping and thinking that if I did have an allergy it would kind of "cleanse" my body to be done with it.  But, maybe my hormones are actually getting back into sync and so I broke out.  I don't know.  That would be great! 

I'm still soo excited that Chipotle, chocolate and Dr.P are gluten-free!  And I've found a few sweet recipes that I will try for the holidays if I keep this up past 90 days!

Ohhh... Chex cereal has 4ish kinds that are gluten-free and 2 that are not, but I love the honey and nut one.  And I made Chex-krispie treats, just like rice krispie treats and they were delicious!!!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

What Are We Getting Ourselves Into??

Crazy, right?! 
And now a little over a year later, we have decided to give it a try again! 
I'm really nervous.  Really Nervous!
Because as much as I tell myself to keep my heart protected, I don't.  I never do and probably can't.  I'm just not made that way. 
So, I am trying very, very, very hard to trust God... all of the time, with all things!
Including fostering to adopt. 
There are a few things that might hold us back:
1) We have a pool and will not get a fence (besides our regular wooden fence) around it.  We don't have the money for a fence and the way our yard is it would be really awkward and really just plain ugly (and that matters because we want to sell in 4-5 years).
2) We lost our baby a few months ago and usually there is a waiting period of a year for major life events and listed was the loss of a pregnancy.  I am hoping that this will not exclude us.  Of course, it was a major life event for us, but we made decisions to foster before we and now after that. 
3) The above mentioned incident.  I really cannot state enough that our dog did not bite our caseworker.  It was such a lie that devastated our family (and our foster daughter) like crazy.  I'm disappointed in the agency and my heart breaks that the situation was handled so unprofessionally by all parties.  But... I do not know if the new agency will accept our defense, even though there was no proof or offense ever given.  We were and are "guilty" with no evidence.  We cannot get rid of our dog.  He is 13 years old and did nothing wrong.  I would never own a dog who bit someone.  Ok... enough about defending him!!  I'm nervous that the new agency will contact our old agency and find out what happened and I don't see them being ok with the whole situation. 
So, I am leaving it up to God.  The door was slammed so hard in our face the first time and I had felt sooo right with that agency.  We are trying to find a window or new door that God has opened and if it gets slammed in our faces again, we will take that as a no. 
I am thinking about applying for 3 different agencies and telling them upfront that we worked with another agency before and there was an issue and we are no longer working with them.  I've told the first agency already, but haven't gone into details.  It's really hard to not seem like a trouble making family when we first have to defend ourselves about something right away. 
But I know that God can do anything and will if this is part of His plan for us!  The process is so long and tedious and tiresome because of the waiting and waiting and waiting.  We will not tell Kassidy until we are doing the classes or maybe not until right before the homestudy. 
Please pray for us.  We would love for this to be something for our family, but if it's not right pray that we will know soon- before we invest much time, money and heart into it.  Thanks!
Do you have any advice, wisdom, insights as to how and what to say about our incident?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Blahs! Do You Ever Just Feel... you want a total life redo?  Or at least a chance to do what you want now?  I am just blah.  Seriously.  Seriously.  Blah. 
I think my hormones are doing a crazy number on me.  I am not one to blame emotions or actions on hormones, but right now I am.  I am an emotional person normally, but I am beyond that at this point.  I have been crying at the drop of anything. I just want to sleep but I also just want to go on a long trip or read all day.  I guess I just want to get away with Mike and Kass.  I've been really moody.  I have zerrrooo motivation.  I cannot get beyond my huge to-do list and it is overwhelming me.  I have been taking everything so personally to the point that I can name 4 people who are friends and family that I feel are really mad at me for some reason... maybe that isn't in my crazy head.
For a little more than a week I've been feeling like this. 
Things are just not going how I want them to be.... schooling K, my house being unpacked and organized, everything. 
I just want to move away with my wonderful husband and stubborn, loving daughter.  Literally, I want to move... and did you catch the part that I haven't even unpacked here?  We've been here for 3 months and I love this house, I really do, but it's not where I want to be living.  If we could just pick up our house and move it that would be awesome.  I love, love, love Texas and the people here, but I really want to move much farther north.  I want cooler weather and I want snow.  I'm the opposite of those people who get the winter blues.  I get the not fall/winter blues.  Luckily, it is almost fall.
I used to be a Beauty Consultant with Mary Kay.  Yep, I did.  That is one awesome company, by the way.  Anyways, we used to say that we wanted to add busy women to our team.  Busy women?  Yes, because they know how to get things done.  Think about it for a while.  Busy women get things done.  Because they have to. 
Part of my problem for years has been that I do not have enough to do.  You'd think that I did seeing the above statements and problems, but I don't in a different way.  I want to be a mom who is there for her children and I truly believe moms need to be home (most of the time). 
But, I feel like I am missing some things because I don't work, because I don't have a church that feels like home, because I don't have any friends or family here that live anywhere close to how we do. 
I long for the drive... the challenges... the deadlines... the competition.... the purpose... the passion... the the creativity... the sense of community.  
If I had more kids and more commitments/obligations I think that some of those holes would be filled and it sounds absolutely horrible as if my daughter and husband are not enough.  That is my struggle.  They are.  It's what God has given me at this time and I am so very thankful.
I am just not filling those holes with what I should be and I need to find ways to fill the others.  So, we are done with school this week.  I'm going to try and get some motivation and some ideas and some goals and some plans that I can be excited about. 
I'm going to be praying to get over my blahs and have some divine inspiration! 
Do you get the blahs?  How do you get over them?   

Pretty, Pretty Princess and Lessons With Grandma

We went to dinner at my grandma's and grandpa's the other night.  It was great spending time with them and nice to not have to make dinner!  We ate and then began our usual game playing.  My grandma taught me how to play so many games growing up.  When I would stay for the summer or Christmas break we played games or did crafts about 80% of the time. 
She always got right down on the ground and played like she still does with my daughter.  It melts my heart to see it.  She had a wonderful grandmother growing up, who played on the floor with her and devoted hours to game playing.  My grandma told me that she was her inspiration to be a great mother and grandma.  She definitely is the best and I will always treasure her and our memories spent playing games. 
I have 3 grandmas and although they all have special, unique qualities, this grandma is the only one who has ever gotten down on my level and poured herself into just spending time with me.  It is a lesson that I try to embrace always.  To be in the moment and to through yourself into your loves.
What on earth is the fascination with bunny ears??
I just don't get it.

All Pretty, Pretty Princessed up!!  She was the winner!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Review: Cleaning House

How appropriate for my life? 
Cleaning House
Cleaning House: A Mom's Twelve-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement
Kay Wills Wyma was tired of her children feeling like "socialists" who felt like they were entitled to everything and anything.  Sound familiar?  I think that all of us desire for our children to have a hard-working attitude seeing the opportunities life, in America, gives us if we work hard.
Kay decided she was going to make a change in her family's life and dynamics.  She decided she was going to stop doing everything for her kids.  She started having them learn the valuable skills needed for life- a life without so much dependence and self-centeredness.
This was a great book with so many ideas and tips that Kay used for her family.  It is a book that will help inspire you to raise your children to become the adults we all want to be and be around!
I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my honest opinion.

Children's Museum

Last weekend we went to the Fort Worth Science and History Museum.  Bank of America offers card holders free admission to museums on the first Saturday of the month.  You should check it out if you have a card.  So Mike and I got in free, which meant we saved $30 and that we actually got to go!
It is a great museum with lots of fun, interactive exhibits!
Laying on a bed of nails!!  Literally!  The bed of nails rose up.  It had a warning sign not to move once the nails started rising!


Monday, September 10, 2012

90Day Gluten Free Check-In #1

Here is where I explain why I am doing this challenge. 

Sunday night I went through some things in our pantry that were not gluten free and that would not be eaten (any time soon) by my husband or daughter. It included mostly canned soups. I printed off lists of what you can't eat and I can't find my great site for what you can eat, but might not be quite sure of... I'll try to find it. 

Before :o
SOOO bloated (&fat)!

Much less bloated!  Can you see a difference?

After 1 week

I've got to mention that posting those pics sure takes alot!  Haha!  Those are not the most flattering clothes by any means but in a few weeks hopefully they will be much better.  I am pretty serious about true before and after photos!!  ;)

Monday: Pretty simple.  I only missed my green Doritos, which my husband ate to get rid of them. ;)
-Dinner was: stuffed smashed potatoes, chicken breasts, green beans 

Tuesday: Another great day.  I'm kind of starting to miss bread, although losing 3.6 pounds in one day is pretty exciting.  I expect it is a fluke, since I can usually vary 1-3 pounds every day.  The real test will be the end of the week.  I got a few coupons for some gluten free bread and tortillas.  I'll let you know how they taste once I try them!
-My spinach, acai berry and strawberry smoothie is growing on me.  I think the acai berry is just not my favorite taste and so far no help on the staying fuller longer, but we will see!
-Chicken and brown rice crockpot style but no cream soup because that is not gluten-free.  The rice was pretty gross in my opinion, but it was my daughter's favorite.  Funny how that works!?!?

Wednesday: Woke up to another 3 pounds lost!!  Quite exciting!  I used to drink just cold from my fridge water with no ice, but did you know that drinking ice water actually burns calories... not a significant amount per glass but it adds up!
Thursday: Seriously disappointing trip to the grocery store.  I was so excited since I had printed out several coupons for gluten free bread and tortillas.  I got to the store and with the coupons bread was still $5.00+ for a small loaf.  Seriously?!?!  I could not get myself to spend 3 times as much as I do for a regular loaf that is twice the size!  So no bread.  And no tortillas for the same reason.  Big, huge BUMMER!!  I bought roast beef from the deli, after I tried a super thin slice, and realized that the only ingrediant I couldn't read on the list before I bought it was the one that was on the "maybe" list.  I'm sure it's fine, but I haven't eaten any more :( 
Friday: We went to Boston's since I had a free pizza coupon.  I got the gluten free pizza but was seriously worried I would hate it since I have major new food and weird taste issues, haha!  But it was great... just like thin crust and definitely helped my bread/pizza cravings!!
Saturday, Sunday: slight up and downs on the scale.  I am seriously exhausted this week, which isn't helping my pro-gluten-free cause. 
Pros: Total loss of 6 pounds this week and I feel much less bloated.  I am getting the hang and idea of gluten free stuff.  Not crazy hard, except for when things are on the "maybe" list.  This has made me quite a bit more conscious of what I am eating in a great way!
Cons: I miss my bread and pancakes and pizza.  Andddd... I was really, really tired all week.   

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hilarious Sign... QXYZ

OH MY GOODNESS!!!  I saw this on this great blog and could not get enough!!  I want to find where this is because that town now has my heart :)  Although the scenery looks like what I spent my life getting away from!! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Conquer Your Fears and “Live to Give” Webcast

Here was my review for this book.

Thomas Nelson Author and Hoops of Hope founder, Austin Gutwein, to host September 6 online event to focusing on themes his latest release, Live to Give. On September 6 at 8 PM EDT, Austin Gutwein will be hosting a live Facebook web event to encourage participants to conquer their fears and use their talents to help others. The webcast will center on the themes Gutwein writes about in his latest release “Live to Give: Letting God Turn Your Talents into Miracles(Thomas Nelson/August, 2012). At the conclusion of the webcast, the winners of a month-long social media fueled “Get and Give” contest will be announced, including the winner of a Kindle Fire and $250 donated to the winner’s charity of choice. Join Austin on the evening of Thursday, September 6th as he shares about his own experiences and encourages others to conquers their fears and “live to give”. Austin will also be taking audience questions and interacting with participants. PLUS – there will be several “Live to Give” giveaways – books, gift certificates and much more! RSVP today and tell your friends. Based on the John 6 story of Jesus feeding the 5000, in “Live to Give” Gutwein challenges his readers that regardless of age and talent, God can use them to make a difference. Even though God could take care of everything Himself and doesn’t really need our help, He desperately WANTS us to help Him care for others. Gutwein walks young people through discovering and embracing their unique God-given strengths and abilities, then figuring out how to use those talents to help others. Sometimes doing that takes a leap of faith on our part, and often becoming fearless in the process. More about Austin: At eighteen years old, Gutwein speaks with wisdom and has the experience to reinforce his message. When Austin was just nine years old, he watched a video that showed children in Africa who had lost their parents to AIDS. Gutwein realized these kids weren’t any different from him—except they were suffering. Feeling called to help, he took his love of basketball and decided to shoot free throws to raise money for orphans in Zambia. On World AIDS Day in 2004, he shot 2,057 free throws to represent the 2,057 kids who would be orphaned during his day at school. Through sponsorship from parents and friends, Gutwein raised over $3,000 that day to give hope to eight orphans in Zambia. Over the past eight years, Gutwein’s efforts have created Hoops of Hope, the largest free throw marathon in the world. With an estimated 40,000 people in more than 25 countries participating, Hoops of Hope has raised more than $2.5 million to build schools, medical clinics, dormitories for orphanages, and the only computer lab in Zambia. Enter to win a Kindle Fire and have $250 donated to your favorite charity. Click for the banner for details and entry or visit Learn more about Austin and Hoops of Hope at and

PCOS, Gluten-Free, 90 Day Challenge!

I have PCOS and in case you don't know that stands for PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome.  It is a metabolic/hormonal disorder that basically means I (and 5-10% of all women) have trouble metabolizing insulin. 

My grandma called me a week or so ago and just left a message saying that I should check out Celiac disease.  I knew what Celiac was since I took care of an elderly woman who had it and because years ago we thought my husband might have it; instead, he has a form of Chron's. 

I did not think that I had Celiac and still do not, but for some reason I felt like I should look it up last night so I did.  I do now think, though, that I have a gluten allergy. There are many symptoms I have that seem to go along with it. I self-diagnosed myself with PCOS years before I could go to a dr to get "diagnosed and treated" due to insurance issues. I read alot and educate myself and I've gotten better at knowing my body.

Celiac is at the farthest end of the gluten allergy/intolerance spectrum.  It is not a good thing.  Having an allergy to gluten and not doing anything about it is also not a good thing as ingoring it can cause: inability to lose weight, chronic sinus problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, cancer, depression, skin disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes or hypothyroidism, autoimmune diseases, infertility, tingling numbness in the legs, sores inside the mouth, hives, joint/muscle pains and aches.  Those are the pretty serious things.  I didn't even bother with the little issues. 

"When you have gluten intolerance your body does not absorb fat soluble vitamins such as vitamin A and E and K as efficiently as well as the essential fatty acids. EFA's are critical for women with PCOS because we use these to make all our reproductive hormones and adrenal hormones including estrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol and DHEA. Other nutritional deficiencies include a calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamin B12 (which may already be low due to taking Metformin."

These are some of the symptoms caused by having a gluten allergy:
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Nutritional deficiencies due to malabsorbtion e.g. low iron levels
  • Gastro-intestinal problems (bloating, pain, gas, constipation, diarrhea)
  • Fat in the stools (due to poor digestion)
  • Aching joints
  • Depression
  • Eczema
  • Head aches
  • Exhaustion
  • Irritability and behavioural changes
  • Infertility, irregular menstrual cycle and miscarriage
  • Cramps, tingling and numbness
  • Slow infant and child growth
  • Decline in dental health
  • -

    Now, obviously, many issues can be the cause of those above problems, but I had never known that there was a correlation between PCOS and a gluten allergy.  But, "Dr. Jeffrey Aron who has been practicing gastroenterology for 35 years and is Head of Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine at California Pacific Medical Center, is quoted as saying that, 'PCOS and celiac are related.'   Melissa Diane Smith who’s a nutritionist, health educator and author of Going Against the Grain says that '…85% of her PCOS clients test positive for a sensitivity to gluten. When these women remove gluten from their diets they often see a marked improvement in their PCOS symptoms.'"

    So I have decided to be gluten free for the next 90 days (actually 88 days because I am late posting this!).  Completely, utterly, 100% gluten-free.  And boy, do I love my bread!  I read websites that said you should definitely see a difference in your energy levels and your overall health in just a little more than a week of being gluten free, but others suggested 4 weeks and some even 3-4 months before truly knowing if you have an intolerance. 

    What can it hurt?  Nothing.  I am also going to start walking/running and maybe some other working out, which should also improve things.  Although, I don't think it will really alter my "results" because I will workout at night and that's not going to really help my hating the morning energy level.  Hopefully, my new diet (not lose weight diet... just food diet) will! 

    I'm going to share the ups and downs each week and maybe you will get some ideas or encouragement from my posts, but I also really, really need the accountability! 

    I read many, many "testimonials" from women who said that within just a couple months their cycles were normal and they were feeling great with a huge reduction in almost all if not all PCOS symptoms! 

    My goals for this week are:
    1) to workout or be aerobically active for 2 hours
    2) to lose 3 pounds

    On Monday, when I recap the week I will post my before picture!  DUN, DUN, DUNNNN!!

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012


    My sister, Rachel, got us started on something super cool called Postcrossing!  It is a website where you send and receive postcards from around the world!  How cool!  You set up a profile and send your first card.  After you send a card and it has been received, then you will be in the system and start receiving cards.  It's super simple.  After each card of yours is received you will be put back into the system to receive again.  You can send 1 at a time or 100 at a time. 
    We buy our postcards at Walmart for about 22 cents a piece (I think) and the stamp is $1.05.  So for less than $1.30 you can receive a postcard from around the world!  We just started and Kassidy has sent one to Finland, Germany, Japan, Algeria, Belarus and the Netherlands.  She has received ones from Poland and Japan so far.  The one from Poland was from an 8 year old also, which was really fun!
    You can request certain themes for postcards and some people have very interesting requests like maps, city views, landscapes, animals, etc.  We try to meet some of their requests, but it's not always possible.  My sister suggested that we write that we do not want any profanity, obscenities or nu*ity so we did in our profile.  We write about basic stuff that tells about our culture and way of life.  If we send a map we tell a little better about where we are on the map, etc.   
    At first, I was a little weary about doing it.  I'm not super crazy about sharing our address, but we did not do the US exchange.  We only opted for international.  You never send postcards to the person you receive one from, unless you contact them back and ask.  I have thought about doing that with the 8 year old so the girls could be penpals.  We will see. 
    You should definitely check it out.  I think it is helping Kassidy learn more about other cultures and her geography skills (and mine) will benefit for sure!  She has also requested that we look up the addresses of the ones we send on google maps, which has been pretty fun and interesting!
    Happy Postcrossing!!
    (how almost everyone ends their postcards)
    Have you ever heard of Postcrossing?  Do your children have penpals?  If so, I would love to learn more about that!

    Book Review: 52 Life Lessons from It's A Wonderful Life

    This is a great book and was sooo thrilled to get the opportunity to review it!  The book, obviously, has 52 little life lessons that last 2-5ish pages each.  Books like that are so easy to pick up and read for a few minutes and put down when you don't have much time.  You never lose your place or forget what happened, which is always nice.  The book is structured around the movie and reflects back to the Bible and lessons we can and should all learn. 
    We all know the movie holds a great message.  It is a classic that I love, but I did not see all of the lessons before reading this book.  There are so many little things that took place in the movie that I would have never caught onto without this book.  I can't wait to share it with other It's a Wonderful Life lovers in my family!
    I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest opinion.