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Don’t Let the Bed Bugs Bite

6 Feb

I am sad that the Sand Man did not do his job last night and help me drift off to a wonderful night’s sleep. Day two of the great sleep pattern over haul did not go well. I will keep on pressing on by being in bed by 10 pm and no caffeine after lunch.

Breakfast was quick and easy this morning because I was one sleepy (99) photo (94)English muffin with homemade strawberry jelly and two boiled eggs~8 points

Lunch after Preschool was a spread of leftovers.

photo (98) photo (97) photo (95)Leftover Mexican Turkey Sliders with a dab of guacamole ~9 points plus. Annie’s Mac-n-cheese made with skim milk and a dab of guacamole and a half of tomato~5 points plus.

This was a large lunch that ended up taking me over an hour to eat because CB is home from school because she is not feeling well and ZB is always a good bit of work. So, by the time I got them feed and settled and resettled my easy lunch ended up taking forever. I will call it my lunch and snack all rolled into one.

The girls are tucked in trying to out sleep their bugs and I have a long to do list to tackle before church tonight.

What do you have on deck for this evening? I am already getting excited about bedtime!




Turkey Makes You Sleepy, Right?

4 Feb

What can Monday bring that can top blackouts and Beyoncé?

Frankly, I’ve got nothing.

Before I go further let’s do breakfast:

photo (68) photo (70)


Poached egg, fresh berries, 3 Jones Farm Light Sausage, and 2 pieces of Nature’s Own bread~7 points plus.

While we’re talking food, let’s do lunch:

photo (71) photo (72)

Salad with mixed greens, beets, carrots, mushrooms, chickpeas, cranberries, sunflower seeds, avocado, pasta salad, and 1TB ranch dressings~10 points (73)


Check mix~4 points plus. (Do you pick through the bag to make sure you ‘handful’ has the crispy bagel bites? I do.)

The day started off with a beautiful sunrise that dissipated into a gray day. How does that happen? I admit that if it was up to me I never would have seen the sunrise this morning but alas, there are buses to catch and jobs to get to. The five-year old version of myself wants to yell–That’s not fair! I want to stay in bed!

I am one sleepy girl. My head-fog matches the gray clouds outside. My sleep patterns are shot. I haven’t been sleeping well for over a week now. Sleep does matter. I can tell when I haven’t been sleeping well. Besides being tired I get irritable, munchy, and achy. It is not fun nor helpful for weight loss. I make horrible food choices when I am sleep deprived. I feel like I should treat myself for just rallying through the day. I have also read that lack of sleep makes you crave sweets or starchy carbs.  I would say I have found that to be true.

I think my insomnia has been part of my life for so long that I just write it off as “that’s just the way I am” and I haven’t put any effort in trying to get into a more normal pattern. I am going to take some real steps to try to get a good night’s sleep more nights than not.

Step 1: go to bed by 10:00 pm. Lights out.  It takes several weeks to make a habit….

Dinner: The secret ingredient is….

photo (74)

I added a heaping 1/4 of rolled oats to my ground turkey to make the burgers juicy. You use it like breadcrumbs. The rolled oats just have a greater nutritional (75)

Mexican inspired Turkey Sliders: Mix 1 lb of ground turkey, 1/2 rolled oats, garlic, dried cilantro, cumin, salt, and pepper to taste~4 points plus per patty (the bun was an added 3 points plus)photo (76)

I served them with roasted sweet potato ‘fries’ on the side. Two sweet potatoes sliced into fries and mixed with olive oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Roast at 425 degrees for 25 minutes~3 points plus per serving.
photo (77)


Homemade guacamole:~3 points plus  per serving.

2 Hass avocados

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 tomato, diced

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 garlic powder

juice of one lime

I made things easy and used my mini food processor. I added the onion and pulsed them till they were the right consistency  Next, add avocado, spices, and lime juice. Mix until the texture you like. Remove from processor and stir in tomatoes.

I have to say every time we make this at home I vary the recipe depending what we have on hand.


Now if I can just keep away from the cookies the girls made last night until bedtime….those cookies do have a siren song.

Do you have any tips for hitting the hay and getting a good night’s sleep?





Take Out Tonight

24 Jan

Take Out BoxThank goodness for take-out! There are some nights when I want to sit around the table and laugh with my family and not have to worry about cooking a meal, fussing with the kiddos about eating, or dealing with the hassle of getting out of the house. Yeah, for take-out!

Kevin and CB ZB at DinnerIt is a good thing my family likes Chinese food because I think I would force feed it to them. I could eat Asian food every single day. Every day. Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Korean, or Indian it doesn’t really matter. I love them all. If I make smart choices they offer really healthy meals!

Egg Drop Soup

Egg Drop Soup~1 points plus for one cup.

Steamed Chicken with Chinese Veggies
Steamed Chicken with Steamed Chinese Vegetables. My local take out restaurant has a spa menu. I order off of that menu and my meal is steamed with no oil or sauce. The sauce of your choice comes on the side and you can add as much as you like. There is no entrée like in on the WW etools database so I use the best fit..~5 points plus for veggies and chicken and ~5 for steamed rice.

Steamed Chicken with Chinese Veggies close up

I added a little Schezuan sauce to make it hot and spicy. I also ate two steamed dumplings ~ 4 points plus.

Meal total: 15 points plus.

ZB as duckie

All cleaned up and ready for bed.

Live well, friends.

What is your favorite take out food?

Going Dutch

9 Dec

One time, years ago, when I was spending a semester in Amsterdam I decided I needed to add more physical activity in my daily routine. Running on the cobble stone streets was starting to do in my fragile knees. I needed something new, different. I think it was my travel buddy Maureen who came up with the idea of attending aerobic classes at a local gym. Having been coordinationally challenged my whole life aerobics and I have not traditionally been a good fit. Yet, I found myself one cold winter night entering into this fairly large studio surrounded by people in their best/brightest athletic gear ready to get their groove on. I wanted to blend in and hang toward the rear, but as usual, those spots were already taken so I found myself much closer to the leader than I ever intended. Soon, the techno was blaring and everyone had that gleam of anticipation that only the expectation of endorphins can give. Meanwhile I was giving myself my little mental pep talk… “you can do this” or “if you fall down, it’s ok, just make it look like you did it on purpose-just make it look like you needed a stretch”….

However, the next 60 seconds make me realize that the next 60 minutes were going to be harder than I anticipated. The instructor began to give his directions in Dutch. Up to that point, it hadn’t crossed my mind that I would only be able to understand about 1 in 100 words. Amsterdam is a multicultural city and I had gotten so used to hearing English that I came to expect it, assumed it would be used, or at least desperately hoped I had a prayer of ‘grapevining’ in the correct direction. I am so thankful that my first session in that sweaty room was not captured on film. Confused, off beat, peripheral vision fatigued, and often moving in the wrong direction I lumbered through the evening. I still believe that the leader was making some jokes and my expense throughout the routine due the volume of pity smiles I received as I made my way to the exit after class. I ended up going several more times, each one easier a little easier than the first though less funny to those around me. So why am I thinking of the pinnacle of physical awkwardness? The moment when the ability to laugh at myself got a full test drive? Because this is one of those moments that lives in my memory and often likes to come out and dance around my head for awhile. It reminds me to laugh at myself–something that I need to be reminded of often.

I think some moments are experienced so completely that they become part of who you are. I know all the pieces of your collective life experience are wrapped up, or shoved into, the fragile vessel of our memory, but I am speaking of those moments that even while you are in the midst of them there is a consciousness that this will stay with you…is one to remember. This is when time seems to slow, that my eyes dart around soaking in as many details as possible to repaint this scene over and over because I know it will be useful one day.

I have had several of these moments in my life thus far and they are not always as serious as you would think, i.e. Dutch aerobics class. It is has always interested me what things strike me, cause me to pause, and collect the fragments of the moment to put away for later. Often, it is in the little nothings. Not in the big life moments one would expect.

What are the moments that stay with you? Which ones seem to fill up all your senses when they bubble up and come out to play in your head?

1, 2, 3, You’re It

26 Nov

I used to be quite the tag player in my day (being the tallest person in the class gave me a wingspan of giants compared to my playground competitors). A friend of mine, Kelly Lawson, rekindled my desire to play so here is my bloggerific version…

The Rules:

1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.

2. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself.

3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Fact 1: I have had 17 jobs since I was 14 years old (at least these are the ones I can remember). Before you judge me for my fickleness please note that most of these jobs were held simultaneously. So here’s the list: babysitter, softball field score keeper, Memorial Stadium Concessions worker, Chick-fil-a, Salvation Army SE Headquarters Development, Rockola Cafe-Spartanburg, SC, Golf Club of Georgia (drink cart girl, waitress, bartender) Wofford College Post Office (Amie and I could tell you some stories), Ellen Hines Smith Girls Home, Wofford College Bohemian Editor, Snellville UMC Youth Assit., Snellville UMC After School Program Asst., Macaroni Grill, Gwinnett Co. Teacher, Fayette Co. Teacher, SAT Reader, Beeson Program Coordinator at Asbury Theological Seminary.

Fact 2: I have a secret, or not so secret, love for Star Wars. I know it dates me but I grew up on the original movies. Back in the day they were amazing. I had Star Wars sheets, a stuffed Ewok, and I seriously contemplated being Princess Leia when I grew up. I am by no means claiming to be a Star Wars expert and I have never attended a Dragon Con convention. However, in college I did dress up as Hans Solo one year for Halloween and my dear friend Ingrid went as Princess Leia (she had the hair and looks!).

Fact 3: I have a very unusual laugh. Some say obnoxious, some say unique, I say memorable. I was reminded of this fact the other night during a family tickle fight in which I lost the battle due to a double offensive launched by CB and Kevin. It had been a long time since I really laughed that belly, uncontrollable laugh. I don’t think anyone here in KY has heard it…. and realizing that made me sad. Perhaps I knocked the rust off my tickle box and will be ready to laugh again.

Fact 4: I can’t stand to watch people get embarrassed. It makes me so self-conscious for them that I become more miserable than they are. If it is happening on TV, I immediately turn the channel. Luckily, KB has the same aversion so he doesn’t mind when I have to ‘turn away’.

Fact 5: I love to go camping. Love it. Smoke, dirt, bugs, no bathroom facilities does not deter my fun. Some of the best times in my life have been around camp fires. The annual camping trips with David T. were always a highlight of my year (even though they usually ended with at least one of us in physical peril…jumping off water falls, slipping down rock faces, being in the middle of a river when the damn is released, busted rafts…sound familiar?) Kevin and I used to camp a lot but we haven’t much since the kido was born. Charlie, my sleeping bag, and I are always ready for an outdoor adventure. Maybe for Kevin’s graduation I will buy a tent (the spouse of a graduate should get a present too I firmly believe) since ours has dry rotted in storage.

Fact 6: Chinese food is my favorite. Although I haven’t tried, I believe I could eat it everyday. I like pretty much anything that you can order in a Chinese restaurant. I realized how often we get Chinese food the other day when I asked CB what she wanted for dinner and she asked for the soup with eggs in it from the restaurant with the fish tank, unusual request for a four year old. Due to budgetary concerns I usually order similar items, but if the sky is the limit I love those unusual dishes that come out in strange little pots full of oddities and yummies.

Fact 7: I have a PBS addiction. I find myself watching the strangest things simply because they are on PBS. In our current grad student lifestyle, we have very limited cable… fourteen channels to be exact (two of which are the same channel). So perhaps my current PBS relationship is due to a lack of choices. Yet, when other favorites are on I still gravitate to channel 13. Why? I think it is because I always learn something and I like to learn. Maybe one day you will see me on The Antique Road Show. Currently, I don’t have any antiques or anything of real value but I am thinking this is the only way I will ever make it onto PBS (Masterpiece Theater and NOVA are pretty much out).

Ok… so that is a little snapshot of my strangeness. I will now pass the torch of tag onto:

Please feel no need to continue the game. I am just sharing the opportunity!

Beyond the Background Check

9 Sep

As a person who has had my fair share of background checks in my day, (no fun back story here… just an ex-public school teacher) I wonder what these random pieces of information gathered by different police or public agencies say about me in the dusty drawers of several Board of Education offices in the State of Georgia. I give them my date of birth and my social security number and they tell someone how I have spent my time … or rather how I have not spent my time.

I would like to think that I have more to offer the world than a background history deemed clean by the GBI.

So what is my back story? If I met you today what you would find out about me over time? Or maybe, for those of you who have walked life’s path with me for many years, did you know that

  • the Atlanta Braves is my favorite baseball team.
  • I have knocked myself unconscious.
  • I have been in 27 states.
  • I have visited 11 countries.
  • I would rather drink good sweet tea than any other drink.
  • I would rather have an arid thirst instead of drinking unsweetened or ‘bad’ sweet tea.
  • I was an English major at Wofford College.
  • I read Moby Dick for fun.
  • I lived in a dorm for four years.
  • I have been to Disney World over 20 times.
  • Blue is my favorite color.
  • Currently I have had seven knee surgeries and counting…
  • my first concert was Cyndi Lauper at the Omni… my second was the Indigo Girls at the Fox.
  • I started playing soccer when I was eight.
  • I have witnessed three people faint in operating rooms while I was under the knife (my father, a nurse, and a med student observing the procedure).
  • I wore braces for 5 years and I only got them off because my orthodontist died.
  • My first car was named ‘The Silver Bullet’, the next ‘Nessy’; then ‘Minnie Pearl’; until finally ‘Wilma the Family Truckster’.
  • I have blue eyes.
  • I love the beach… or any place with water.
  • I had my first child at 29…
  • I knew Kevin for four years before we started dating.
  • We were engaged for four months.
  • I have made clothing and fixed car accessories with duct tape.
  • My sleeping bag is named Charlie.
  • We had two cats but the thought of living in Kentucky made them run away.
  • I can’t decide if I like carrot cake or cheese cake better.
  • My favorite place to eat is Inoko’s in Athens, Ga.
  • I had to change two flat tires in one day.
  • I can’t spell at all.
  • I was a high school English teacher for seven years.
  • I wore 9 when I played soccer–before Mia was born.

Trains, Planes, and Automobiles

21 Aug

Recently, Kevin and I caught the end of this classic Steve Martin movie on tv. It made me laugh as it always does. But now as a person who has been pounding the pavement a lot lately the stress of travel is not so very funny in real life. So as I reflect…

Trains: I don’t like them. I might go so far as to say I am somewhat afraid of them. I still carry deep scares from the horrific Driver’s Ed video combining a train, a school bus full of small children, and a reckless teenage driver in a most gruesome way. Needless to say I always stop and listen at all RR crossings. I need one of those stickers that are on the back of buses (this vehicle stops at all Railroad Crossings). Kevin has come to expect my slow, deliberate crossing, often with windows rolled down, over all the tracks I encounter. (Don’t get me started on the crossing located at intersections… redlights…it is too much!) I have ridden trains and I like it when they take me to a fun place but I don’t like to be around them. It is a pity I now live about 100 feet from the LOUDEST and busiest train track in the US. It seems like 100 trains a day go by… most at 3am in the morning. These trains I fear now haunt me even in my dreams…

Planes: I used to love them. I flew quite a bit as a child and yound adult and I always thought it was special, exciting, and adventurous. Now, by the time I actually get on a plane my nerves are so shot by the airport experience that I am threadbare and stressed. I take as much Dramamine as I dare and hope for the best. I am supposed to go to Korea this winter and I am already dreading the 22 hour flight… who have I become? Where is the girl with a backpack ready for adventure? At this point in my life a plane trip usually means I have to leave me family as I usually travel with work. This part I like the least. Perhaps if we all three took to the great blue skys together…

Automobiles: Anyone who knows me knows I love to drive. It has always been my American Dream. Car= Freedom. Good music, sunroof, and a destination (sometimes not) has always been my go to place for letting the stress of my world dissipate. In our little town of Wilmore there is not too many places to ‘drive’ unless you lap yourself– that is not too fun. Currently living on a tight seminary budget there is no money to burn useless gas at a million dollars a gallon and my heightened greenness just makes me feel guilty. Now my driving typically consists of stressful trips to Atlanta rushing in an out of the state of Georgia over a much too full weekend.

What is left for the transportation challenged like me? Walking. I like walking. Besides, the pace of walking leaves times for the little details… blades of grass instead of patches of green, reflections of items for sale in small shop windows instead of exit signs, the color of the eyes of the people you pass instead of metal objects passing in space. Yes, walking will do….

The Big Ups and Downs

22 Jul

When I was a kid I loved roller coasters. I mean I loved them. I grew up going to Six Flags Over Georgia and countless midways at the Shrine Circus each year and I loved each moment of flight those glittering giants afforded me.

One hot summer day we took our annual family trip to Six Flags on Coke Day. All employees and their families of Coca Cola Bottling Co got in to the park free and had all the free Coke you can drink. A child’s dream. My parents would only take us to Six Flags Coke Day because it was cheep and there were no lines… a parent’s dream. On this particular visit I was still young, probably about 5 or 6, and unusually tall for my age. All day I begged my Dad to take me on the The Great American Scream Machine, an old fashioned patriotic themed wood coaster, that respectfully earned its name. It looked amazing and I wanted to ride it so very bad. So to the line we went– the very short line– and waited our turn. I was so happy, thrilled to be a BIG girl getting to ride the biggest ride in the park (at that time). When they held up the dreaded measuring stick I was just a little shy of the required height. That could have been the end of my dream but my Dad didn’t want me to be let down or more likely didn’t want to hear me complain the whole way home so he convinced the attendant to let me on the train. What is a few inches?

We climbed in as close to the front of the car as we could get and I snuggled in close to my Dad. For those of you who don’t know him he has quite a belly, so when he pulled to ‘safety bar’ down to keep us secure it caught snuggly on his belly but left a gapping hole between my tummy and the metal. Please note for the horrified parents out there, this was before seat belts and car seats were even part of a parent’s vocabulary. So a poor fitting metal bar did not seem like too much of a risk. The loud swoosh of releasing brakes and off we clicked up the gigantic first hill as we caught the chain mechanism that pulled us up into the heavens. I was thrilled. We crested the peak and for a split second I looked at the world around me amazed. Then we became gravity’s toy as we plummeted down the first hill. At first I felt my stomach climbing into my throat and then I felt the release of pressure of the seat as I became weightless. My thighs pressed again the bar then my shins as I continued to rise out of my seat and into the space between earth and sky. I was floating away like that cherished balloon who escaped the sticky grip of a child. But my Dad grabbed my string and pulled me back in. He clinched his arm across my body clinging to the bar with all his strength. I remember his knuckles turning white and all look of fun drain from his face as he fought against gravity for 3 minutes and won. I was far too young to understand his fear and only later when I saw his bent wedding ring crushed on his finger from his grip on the bar did I sense that there was something wrong with my first big girl ride. He made me feel safe and I loved it. I even asked to go again. He said no.

I have rode countless roller coasters since that day long ago. I have flipped, flown, dropped, in about every way imaginable and I have loved it.

I do hate the trite way people use a roller coaster as a metaphor for life. When you flesh it out does it really work? So why am I willing to go there now? My metaphor is my father’s firm grip when I was unaware of the danger. His willingness to keep holding on even though my pleasure was causing him pain. This was what my Dad did… and I know my Father does so much more. So why do I have trouble trusting Him who created it all in the midst of my ride? Why do I now get panicky mid way through? When it is all over will I ask Him to go again?

Why am I thinking of roller coasters and near death experiences? As I have been processing my mother’s continual decline in her ongoing battle with Ovarian cancer I have been thinking a lot about my childhood, where I came from, and where I need to be going. Perhaps the last four years of our life–the ones when cancer became apart of our daily vocabulary– have been a ride in themselves. Full of ups and downs. The thrill of hope and the crushing weight of ‘news of progression’. Now I am going to have to recant my dislike for the roller coaster metaphor. At least I am right in the fact that it all lasts a lot longer than three minutes.

May Flowers

7 May

I love the month of May. September and October are in a close running but I think May is the winner, although I am not sure the other months know it is a competition. I never claimed to be fair.

May brings warmer days and flowers. Two of my favorite things. As a person who is free from allergies (at least to normal things– I still have the pesky pencil and chalk issues) I loved to breath deep the syrupy air of spring.

Tulips make me smile. Such a perky little flower popping up for a grin at the world.

Hydrangeas make we want to weep from beauty. Their snowy blooms remind me of old southern houses and gentle touches from someone who really loves me.

Wisteria makes me feel safe. It comforts me that the rugged vines of winter that seem wasted produce canopies of purple each spring.

These are the flowers that I love, that are of my past, of my childhood.
They are part of who I am.

I love May for another important reason. On May 27, Kevin and I will celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. Eight years. Eight years planted with little moments we have shared. My journey through life with Kevin has been blanketed with tulips (smiles) , hydrangeas (beauty) , and wisteria (safety).

He is now part of who I am.

I love it!

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