Tuesday, January 30, 2007
This week, our church began a new 4-week campaign that I'm so excited about. It's called, "Just Walk Across the Room," by Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek.
Now, wouldn't you agree with me, that as believers in Christ, we all believe that evangelism is an essential part of what God commands us to do? But, even though we "believe" that evangelism is essential, and we "believe" that God calls us to do it, many of us find it difficult to actually "do?"
I know that at times, I can find it hard to do, and I also know that I have had many friends share with me that it's embarrassing, or that they feel awkward, or that they don't know enough to share with others, causing them to feel uncomfortable ... that's why I just love the premise that 1) it's as simple as walking across the room and then 2) starting a spiritual conversation with someone who doesn't know Christ! A simple hello, combined with a genuine interest in a person's life -- why -- it could actually change their life forever, making an eternal difference in their life!
I'm pretty confident in saying that in each of our lives (yours and mine), at some point in time, someone has actually "walked across the room" and spoken into our own lives, and it has made an everlasting, eternal difference. It may be that one person may have walked across the room and planted a seed, another may have walked across the room to water it, while yet another person may have actually walked across the room to lead us to salvation and actually reap the harvest! But someone actually took the time to make contact with us, show interest in our life, and share the Gospel with us. I personally have 4 unsaved co-workers that I am currently witnessing and ministering to, and it would bring me so much joy to hear them say one day ... "GiBee cared enough to walk across the room and share about God's love with me, and now, he is my personal Lord and Savior."
Here's a couple things I personally want to share with y'all:
1) In the Great Commission, Christ gave his disciples a mission. What was that mission? TO MAKE DISCIPLES. That is the mission of every church, and every member of the body of Christ -- we are to contribute toward "making disciples," remembering that we are not alone -- Christ is with us always!
Matthew 28:19-20 -- "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
2) Do not be frightened or worried about what to say, or what to do, because we are promised a power that is so great! Bill Hybles sums it up very clearly -- "All you need is a heart that’s in tune with the Holy Spirit and a willingness to venture out of your “Circle of Comfort” and into another person’s life." That just sounds so easy, doesn't it? But it is, when we focus on one key point ... "the power of the Holy Spirit!"
You will not be left empty handed when sharing the truth of Christ's love and sacrifice for sinners -- You see, in order to do spiritual work, we need spiritual power -- We can bet that when we go out in the POWER of the Holy Spirit, he will accomplish God's Work through us! This power comes from the Spirit of God, it gives us the words to speak, it opens the eyes of the blind and the hearts of unbelievers, and it is promised to you, and to me!
Acts 1:8 -- "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
So as you can see ... I'm so excited about this book ... because it lays out sharing the gospel in a way that anyone can do it ... starting with just a few steps across the room ... So, I'm pretty sure you'll read a post or two about the series we're doing in the next few weeks as I learn to build God's kingdom by building relationships, and sharing personal faith stories in a compelling, non-threatening way.
Our job now is to look around ... open our eyes ... and find someone that we can walk across the room to, and share the Gospel with!
In the mean time, if your church isn't launching this campaign, then I would highly encourage you to personally check out the book , the workbook, and the DVD or CD!
Monday, January 29, 2007
This morning, I woke up to a very cold, very windy, yet blissfully sunny day. It was 17 degrees outside, with a windchill of 2 degrees. Wait, it dropped to 1 degree. Oh, back up to 2 degrees. Regardless ... it's downright cold! For the first, or quite possibly second, time this season, I have been FORCED to put on socks, and now, I'm dying to rip them off my feet. I don't care how cold it is ... I hate to wear socks. Okay ... that's not necessarily true ... I'm okay wearing those soft fluffy socks as slippers at home when I'm lying around, doing nothing (HA!), and my feet are cold. But I can only wear them for a short time before I'm ripping them off and I'm back to square one -- barefoot.
So, that is soooo not what I was thinking of blogging about today ... it's just what came out.
Moving on -- If you recall, at the beginning of December, I requested some suggestions for y'all (here) for a good devotional ... and y'all came through with awesome suggestion. Now, it's the END January, and I have finally ... (are you sitting down for this?) yes, finally ... chosen what I'll be using for my daily devotions. And surprisingly ... I'm making yet another huge time commitment... as if I need any more in my life ... As a matter of fact, YES. I DO need this time commitment in my life, because it's my time with God, and after all -- he should get my highest attention!
Drum roll, please ...
First, I will be starting my mornings off with: Rise and Shine -- a devotional by Liz Curtis Higgs. Y'all -- this woman is a GIANT in of a Godly woman, and if you are really struggling with your quiet time with God, or with your own self image, or feelings of failure, might I recommend that you pick up this little devotional? I've already started it, and it's chock full of laughs, tears, encouragement, and love. Her heart truly is overflowing with compassion and love for women, and it shows in every word she writes. It's a quick, feel-good, wake-you-up devotional ... a small 5-10 minute commitment on your part, so anyone can do it!
Finally, I will be ending my days with: David: 90 Days with a Heart Like His -- a devotional by Beth Moore. Y'all -- do I need to say more? Beth Moore! She is also a GIANT of a Godly woman, and her own enthusiasm with respect to her personal walk with Christ is so contagious, that you can't HELP but fall in love with God again, and again, and again. This devotional is more in depth, and a much larger commitment on my behalf, so I have decided to do it in the evenings, once Hunter is tucked into bed, and the house is quiet. I'll be starting this one towards the middle of the week.
So, there you have it.
What? You thought I was going to make another kind of announcement? Why ... I have no idea what you're talking about! ;-)
Friday, January 26, 2007
Yes, indeed, I have survived. That stinkin' sinus infection didn't beat me!
Of course, I'm made of heavy metal... so, nothing's gonna get me down for too long!
So, I'll leave you with that quick update, and with promises to post this weekend... 'kay?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
So ... here I am ... suffering from severe sinus pain, cough, and nasty cold symptoms ... basically on my death bead ... but I'm rising above it to post my Works for Me Wednesday Tip. That's just how much I love you!
I'm sure many of you already know about this ... but if you don't, you simply must try it!
It's the new Triaminic Thin Strips!
Oh, how I love them. I was able to sneak into my son's room at 2 a.m., pop out his pacifier (ummm ... no comments about the pacifier, please!), slip a thin strip into his mouth, replace the pacifier, and return to my room undetected. He got his full doce of medicine, stopped coughing, and I didn't have to bother with measuring anything, giving it to him with a syringe or medicine cup, no grumpy baby.
They have strips for all ages, all symptoms, and I'm pretty sure you can get these baby's just about anywhere! Plus, they smell so good, I could be tempted to taste them, but my son's slurping pretty much tells me he likes them!
Head on over to Triaminic's website and check them out. I'm pretty sure that not only you, but your kids will love them.
Now ... what's Tylenol and Motrin waiting on???
Okay, I'm off to snuggle under my cozy down comforter and warm up my blue fingers. Have an awesome day, and hopefully, I'll be back to my self tomorrow. Maybe???
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sinus pressure. Facial pain. Sore gums.
Ever have a day where you suffer from that kind of pain from a sinus infection ... the kind where your teeth even hurt? Oh ... You know what I mean ... one of those days where the thought of relief is brought on by the mere thought of doing this to yourself?
Yeah, well ... that's where I'm at right now. Driving nails through my face, nasal passages, sinus cavities and gums sounds like a pleasant thought.
Yeah... sooooo there.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Sometimes, words don't come to my mind.
Well, they come, but just not in a comprehensive way.
And other times, my mind is flooded with questions, doubt, and, well ... you know ... stuff.
So, when I see something like THIS, I need to slow down and analyze it. Carefully. And I did just that, and here's what I came up with:
A. Look at the source -- I trust the source -- It's BooMama. Yeah, she's cool. After all, she's toured my home. Twice.
B. Investigate -- I saw the different bloggers who were supporting this campaign, and I trust them too.
C. Read about it -- I was touched by Kelly's story. The first part. The second part. The melt down. The back to reality part. The thank you. All of it.
D. Analyze your feelings about it -- I found myself in tears as I clicked from one link to another reading her blog. Yeah ... maybe it's all the hormones I'm injecting... WHAT OF IT?!? 'Cause maybe ... just maybe ... it's true sympathy and a desire to help ... not the hormones, people... 'kay? So just back off. Ehem. Sorry about that.
E. What are your values? Well, in this instance, I happen to live by "Measure" and this falls nicely under that.
Yes. Measure. As in... "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back." Luke 6:38
Now, I can certainly turn that around. Yes, quite easily, in fact ... you see ... God has already given me a good measure ... pressed down ... shaken together ... and running all over the place, while climbing up on tables, couches, into cabinets and on top of counter tops.
Are you confused? Well, God granted me a miracle by giving me my son. He's precious. He's loving. He's adorable, beautiful, yadi-yadi-yadi. But he is a GOOD MEASURE of what God has done for me, and how can I POSSIBLY not give to someone who is actively trusting God for a miracle in their life?
You see -- God WILL give back. Sometimes, it's materially. Sometimes, it's spiritually. Sometimes it's emotionally (back on THAT subject again?). Regardless of how he chooses to give back to us, we know one thing... HE WILL -- after all -- every good and perfect gift comes from above ... from God.
And, indeed ... I am pitiful when it comes to giving. I can't help myself! I absolutely LOVE to give. I will always be a child at heart in that aspect, because I really enjoy seeing the JOY that comes across someone's face that is receiving a gift from me.
But I don't give with the expectation of receiving something in return. And, I don't just give to be giving. It's important that I be a blessing in someone's life ... in any way ... whether it be financially, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. I wanna be a blessing, because one of these days, honey ... I'm gonna need that blessing back!
So, I looked at BooMama's motive. It was pure, and in line with God. I investigated (and I DO use that word loosely, because I haven't googled her ... yet) Kelly's posts and blog. I was touched deeply by her writings and personal letter to God. My heart goes out to her, a fellow mom, who has two children and a husband that need her to stick around for a really long time. I prayed about it, and since the start of this campaign, I have felt a prick to give.
So I did.
And I encourage you to do the same... small or large. It doesn't matter. Just remember -- read, investigate, pray, give.
Just a quick update on Consumers Reports testing on infant car seats... I posted here that 10 out of 12 infant car seats failed their testing.
You can go to Consumers Reports web site to see that they have withdrawn their initial study on infant car seats pending further tests of the performance of those seats in side-impact collisions.
A new report will be published with any necessary revisions as soon as possible after the new tests are complete.
The report was withdrawn immediately upon discovering a substantive issue that may have affected the original test results based on new information they received Tuesday night and Wednesday morning from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) concerning the speed at which their side-impact tests were conducted.
If I understand the speed they did the tests at may not have been simulated correctly. I think that NHTSA simulates speeds of 38 mph for side-impact crashes...
Okay -- we'll wait for the new report, but honestly, I must say that I'm not sure how many accidents occur at exactly 38 mph and if the speeds they tested at were higher than what NHTSA tests at, I'm okay with that. I want to know how well my infant car seat will perform under the most extreme situations I may be placed in while driving with my baby, because in my area, we drive at high speeds with a lot of crazy drivers ...
And ... the fact that a couple of the car seats just FLEW OFF THE BASE upon impact sounds bad. No matter how fast the test was performed. Unless, of course, the average American citizen driving with infants plans on enforcing a 30 mph speed limit within a cushy 2 block radius of their car, no matter where they may be driving! Wonder how we can actually do that.
Thanks to the hand full of Kisses of Sunshine readers that emailed me and alerted me of this new and important update!
Thursday, January 18, 2007
UPDATED to add: Y'all -- this post at Rocks In My Dryer is what motivated me to do my own post today ... and if you haven't been there to share where you live, then you MUST go and help her children's goal of 675 comments become a reality. She currently has 638 (as of this update at 3:15 pm, EST) ... and Shannon actually GULPED at her kid's goal! Pwha!!! You go, girl!
First of all ... blogger is having some serious problems. Again. I'm feeling just a wee bit annoyed, because I'm also feeling creative, but I'm UNABLE TO LOAD pictures as quickly as I'd like.
Next ... I love cold weather ... snow, ice ... bring it. Sadly, we've only had like 5 ... count them ... 5 ... cold days so far this year. Normally, January temps finds us hitting 30's and 40's (F), but lately, we've been experiencing the mid 50's to mid 60's! So, I was quite pleased when I went out the other morning, and it was 23 degrees! Aaah. Love it.
On the other hand ... some of you are experiencing deep, deep freezes. You're iced in, snowed in, and basically ... going stir crazy. So, I started to brainstorm and come up with some ideas that you can try out for that special occasion when you've been trapped in the house ... with the kids ... for an entire week ... and you just.can't.take.it.any.more.
These ideas take little to no special preparation, tools, ingredients, or skills ... so pick one and try it out!
Ice Collage / Videos
Send the kids out with the digital camera and have them take pictures of various things covered in ice. When they come back in, they can create a collage on the computer and send it to WalMart to print!
Or ... they can record their own icy-appropriate music videos! They can dance, lip-synch, jump up and down, build a snowman in slow-mo, etc.
Yup -- you read right! Send the kids out to find some CLEAN snow (best right after a fresh snow-fall). Pack it tightly into a container, and pour flavoring over it. Eat with a spoon.
Things you can use to flavor your snow: Chocolate syrup; lemonaide; maraschino cherry juice; grenadine syrup; honey; pancake syrup; sweet juices or kool-aid; sweet tea; root beer, grape or orange soda
Granitas -- YUM! These are easy, fun, and deeeelish!
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup lemon (or other fruit) juice or Grenadine Syrup
Boil 1/2 cup sugar in 1 cup water for about 5 minutes to make a simple syrup. Let cool, than mix in 1/2 cup lemon juice. Pour into a small baking pan and put it into the freezer to harden. (or you can use really sweet tea, kool-aid, flavored sodas, etc.)
Every hour or so the kids should check the mixture and scrape it up with a fork to spread the icy granules around. The granita is done when it is just solid around the edges and still a little mushy in the middle--about three to five hours, depending on your freezer.
Before serving, leave the granita out to soften before scooping it. Scrape it up with a fork, and scoop it into cute cups.
Easy Snowflakes made from dried Pasta
Shaped pastas (wagon wheels, bow ties, elbows, etc.)
On waxed paper, arrange wagon wheels, bow ties and other dried pastas into different snowflake patterns. Use a toothpick dipped in glue to stick together the pieces of pasta into one snowflake shape. Let the glue dry completely. Peel away the waxed paper and hang your snowflakes from a window frame or ceiling with piece ribbon. Optional: You can glue glitter onto the snowflakes by drizzling glue onto the pasta with a toothpick, and sprinkling with glitter.
Icy Lights (freeze outside)
Large metal bowl
Plastic yogurt container
Cupful of small stones or coins
1) Pour a couple inches of water into the large bowl and place it outside to freeze. 2) Once frozen, fill the yogurt container with the stones or pennies, then center it on the ice in the bowl. Pour more water into the bowl, so that it nearly reaches the rim of the smaller container. Put it back outside and let it freeze solid. 3) To remove the lantern from its mold, run warm water on the outside of the bowl and the ice should slip out. Next, dump out the contents of the inner container and pour in warm water to loosen it. Remove the container and place a votive candle in the opening. Place your Frozen Light onto a plate and light the candle... very COOL!
Last weekend, we had a function at church that had a cho-cho-choc-olate fou-fou-foun-tain ... ahhh! Sheer delight. Which, of course, is what inspired this idea...
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tbsp. skim milk
Stuff to Dip: Fruit (my favs are strawberries, apples and BANANAS!!!), marshmallows, brownies, cookies, pieces of cake
Stuff for Toppings: Crushed candy, sprinkles, chopped nuts
Combine the chocolate chips and skim milk, and microwave on High for 1 minute. Stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Let the kids dip their treats in the chocolate, then roll them in the crushed candy, sprinkles and/or nuts.
Sandwich Cutout Fun
This is so cute, so fun, so easy, and the kids will love making them. I saw them on a family website, and new I had to save the "recipe!"
For two Sandwiches:
4 slices of bread (two white and two whole wheat, roughly the same size)
Cookie cutters, 1 large and 1 small
Set the slices of bread on a cutting board. Cut out the centers of each with a large cookie cutter. Then, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center of the cut-out. 2. Swap the center cutouts, so the wheat bread has a white bread design and the white has the wheat. "Mirror" the second set of bread, then make your sandwich.
Bird Feeder #1 -- Cute, cute, cute!
1/4 ounce package of unflavored gelatin
2 cups of your favorite wild birdseed
Three 4-inch mini bundt or fluted pans
To make a batch, bring 6 tablespoons of water to a boil. Empty one 1/4-ounce package of unflavored gelatin (Knox) into 2 tablespoons of cold water in a large bowl. Let the gelatin sit for 1 minute, then add the boiling water and stir for 2 to 3 minutes or until the gelatin is dissolved.
Stir 2 cups of birdseed into the gelatin, mixing thoroughly. Let the mixture set for a few minutes, then stir again. Repeat this process a few times, if necessary, allowing the seed to absorb the liquid.
Spoon the seed mixture into three 4-inch mini bundt or fluted pans (or one big one). Place the pans in the refrigerator (or outside!) and let them set for at least 3 hours. Remove the wreath(s) from the molds by inverting the pans and tapping along the bottoms. Allow the wreaths to air-dry overnight.
Finally, tie ribbon around your wreath(s) and hang them outside in a covered/protected spot so they won't melt.
Bird Feeder #2
Stick a piece of bread, a doughnut, or half of an orange, on a twiggy branch of the tree
Bird Feeder #3
Slice of white bread
Plastic knife to spread peanut butter
Bird seed on a plate
Use a cookie cutter to cut a nice shape out of the white bread. Place the white bread shapes in the oven on warm just to dry them out and get them firm (or toast them before cutting them out). Punch a hole into the bread and thread the yarn through so you can hang it. Spread with peanut butter and then pat bird seed onto the peanut butter. You can put peanut butter and seed on the other side, too, if you wish. Hang outside on a tree for the birds to eat.
Bird Feeder #4
Stale bagel or Pine Cone
Tie a piece of yarn around the bagel or pine cone to hang. Smear with peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Tie it on and hang your feeder outside.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Have you ever baked a batch of brownies, and then stood over the finished pan, blowing and fanning it furiously, hoping it would cool quickly so you could cut them without crumbling them or messing them up? C'mon ... you can admit it ... it's just between you and me, and I won't tell anyone else!
Well ... I've got a pretty neat solution for you. If you just can't wait until they are completely cool before cutting them, then just whip out your very extravagant, yet functional, disposable plastic knife. Yes, folks, if you cut your hot (or warm) brownies with a plastic disposable knife, the brownies will NOT stick to the knife and bunch up, making a horrible mess. They will come out nice and neat, like a professional job!
Many of you probably already know this trick ... so just humor me, and let me believe that I'm brilliant! Now, head on over to visit with Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer, and read other WFMW tips!
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Do I have your attention? Because when I saw that, it certainly grabbed mine!
I got an email yesterday from MothersClick -- I'm not sure how I got added on to their email list, but I'm actually quite glad that I did! Because in their email, they highlighted an article found in Yahoo News called, Most Infant Seats Flunk Crash Test that was performed by Consumer Reports (they published their findings at the end of December).
Now, just so you know ... if Consumer Reports says it ... than generally, I believe it. Why? Because they do so many tests and reviews, and they lay their name on the line behind each result. They are careful, and thorough. I have never been misguided by them. I trust them.
In this instance, they tested 12 car seats and found that out of the 12, 10 (as in TEN) FLUNKED new front and side-crash tests! Okay ... in all fairness, their exact wording was, "failed disastrously in crashes at speeds as low as 35 mph..." S.e.r.i.o.u.s.l.y! Ten out of twelve FAILED! That's quite frightening. And out of those ten, Evenflo Discovery was the poorest performer, and Consumer Reports is urging a federal recall -- dear heavens, that's pretty serious!
So, who are the two that passed? Well, fortunately, one of them is the one we happen to own, thanks to Auntie Sunshine (God bless her!) -- the Graco SnugRide with EPS. The other is the Baby Trend Flex-Loc. I LOVE my Graco travel system which comes with the SnugRide car seat (pictured to the right), and is sadly, far, FAR more than the $90 price tag quoted in the article, but if you are simply looking for just the Graco SnugRide with EPS car seat, then I think you can find it for around $80! Same with the Baby Trend Flex-Loc.
Also, the article said that car seats that were strapped in with the car's seat belts seemed to do better than the ones strapped in with the LATCH system. Very interesting!
Here are some of the seats that failed...
1) The Evenflo Discovery, which flew off its base with the dummy still strapped inside.
2) The Eddie Bauer Comfort Seat, which technicians were unable to fit properly in any of five different cars.
3) The Graco SafeSeat and the Britax Companion, which jumped off the seat, then slammed back again.
Hellllloooooo!!! Evenflo, Eddie Bauer, Graco, Britax ... these are all names that as mothers, we trust! Not to mention, pay a lot of money for their products!
So, if you're pregnant, and in need of a new infant carrier, or you know of someone in the market for one ... then check out the following articles before making a purchase! And further more, look for a seat with EPS. It's a child's life at stake, and the child could be yours!
CONSUMER REPORT ARTICLE
The Christian Post
Auntie Sunshine -- thank you for loving so much that you gave the very best, no matter the cost! Who knew?!
I just realized that there is no way that I'll manage to muddle through in a timely basis the 100+ emails that all of you have sent me! So, I just wanted to take a quick moment to thank each and every one of you for thinking of me, praying for me, and for taking the time to send me an email! I can not begin to tell you how precious each and every one of you are to me!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I'm feeling quite positive, yet relaxed this time around... I guess that the knowledge we have that God has blessed us greatly with Hunter takes quite a bit of stress off of our shoulders, and from here on out, any future children he decides to bless us with is just "cream" to the wonderful blessings he's already bestowed upon us ... make sense? We serve an awesome God with an awesome plan, and I can't wait to unravel it little by little!
And you can bet ... Once I've notified my family ... YOU will be the next to know if it looks like we will have a successful pregnancy!
So once again -- thank you... and ... don't stop praying yet! ;-)
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I just wanted to let you all know that, while more painful than the last ivf (for reason's I'll share at a later date), the transfer was a success. Now we wait to see if the embryos implant and if my pregnancy beta (blood test) is positive and high!
I'll be on and off the internet until next week (probably more off than on), so I really wanted to take a moment to thank you all for your prayers and warm thoughts!
Ohhhh ... this will be long ... but Shannon -- you asked for it! It's another "themed" Works For Me Wednesday -- it's the Eating Well Edition ... and I thought I'd jump in head first ... even though I had a great tip for [ehem] brownies [ehem] ... anyway ... here it goes ...
Background: I have PCOS. I also am insulin resistant. This combination makes it nearly impossible for me to loose weight -- honest! It's not an excuse ... it's a medical condition. I can usually loose between 20 - 40 pounds but then, I level off and maintain. But, whether I'm trying to loose weight, or just stay healthy, healthy eating is essential, and I thought I'd share some of my tips with you.
Now, I don't know about you, but I think the key to cooking healthy and eating well is to eliminate foods that are fried, or drenched in a lot of grease / fat. I know that's easy to say, and a lot harder to do in real life, but if you stick with using the freshest ingredients possible, and grilling, baking, or sauteing in olive oil, chances are, you're already cooking in a healthy manner. Even if you have a busy life (and seriously ... who doesn't!), you can do many short-cuts that will help reduce your time in the kitchen (like jarred pre-minced garlic, or jarred spaghetti sauce, boxed broths -- never canned -- or frozen vegetables in a pinch), and still allow you to cook in a healthful manner for your family.
I'd like to think that moms around the world are revolting against the long-boiled, flavorless vegetables, and bland baked chicken meals. Flavoring your foods with herbs and spices and a little bit of salt goes a long way for making your dish more appealing, as well as making sauces with broth and wine ... and ... if it tastes good, chances are ... your family will dig in and love it.
We have one rule in my home. You must try everything once. If after that one try you decide you don't like it, then I will respect that and not make you eat it again.
Here are some quick tips I can think of off the top of my head for introducing healthy eating into your lifestyle. We do all of these ... we just haven't mastered the "cutting of sugar" out of our diet (like brownies -- lol):
1) I generally use olive oil. Why? Well, it's got a higher smoke point (410 degrees) than regular oils, so it won't burn as easily in my pan while I'm sauteing things. Being that it is four or five times more heat resistant than regular oils, the nutritional compounds won't break down as fast. Plus, it reduces the "bad" (LDL) cholesterol and does no harm to the "good" (HDL). Who can argue with that? And, interestingly enough, there are new studies that are finding olive oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticlotting properties, and it actually helps fight the chance of cancer. I know that olive oil can taste rather strong to some, and for those of you that do not care for the stronger "green olive taste," I recommend you use regular olive oil, as it's the weaker tasting first-press of olives, but still packed with all the nutritional value. I usually use extra-virgin olive oil for dressings (the more fragrant of all the olive oils), and regular olive oil for cooking. I HATE using those spray oils (Pam, etc.), because I don't know what's actually "in" the can ... so if you must have those spray oils in your diet, use the olive oil versions.
2) If at all possible, I will generally use fresh fruits and vegetables over canned ones. I know this can put quite a dent in the budget -- trust me ... I know. But on the flip side, fresh fruits and veggies are quite rich in vitamins mineralsrals, and in some cases, antioxidants... and the flavors are much richer than their canned counterparts!
3) When possible, use whole grains. Now, I know this is tough with children who love white bread, but I just saw at the grocery store the other day that Pepperidge Farms has a "whole-grain" white bread that doesn't contain all of the dough conditioners that Wonder bread does. Remember ... if the word "whole" is NOT the first thing on the ingredient list, then it isn't "whole grain." Also, keep in mind that it still contains far less fiber than whole wheat bread! Also, another way to change your eating habbits is to use whole wheat pastas and brown rice rather than the white versions.
4) If you drink Orange Juice, drink the one with added calcium. The calcium is more easily absorbed into your body than the calcium found in milk.
5) If your kids/family eat cereal, get the cereal with 7g of fiber per serving. It may be yucky to them without all the sugar, so sprinkle with some splenda and toss some blueberries or strawberries in to add an extra punch of flavor and antioxidants (1/2 cup).
6) Include a lot of meals with cooked tomatoes in them... amazingly, the consumption of cooked tomato products has been linked with a reduced risk of prostate and other cancers. This could include spaghetti sauce (homemade!), soups, pizza, italian "stir-fry," etc.
7) Eating raw car carrot sticks is a great and filling snack ... but did you know that if you don't pair those raw carrots with some type of fat, your body absorbs very little of carrot's cancer-fighting carotenoids!? You can remedy this by eating them with some a little bit of dip or some cubed cheese. Keep in mind that carrots are very high in natural sugars (carbs).
8) Having said that ... whenever you eat a carb, try to make it a complex carb, and pair it with a protein. The most important thing is ... eat the protein first because protein is digested and broken up in your stomach and the energy lasts much longer than the carb. Carbs and fats aren't, they are completely broken down in your lower and upper intestines. This is a tip I learned from having PCOS and being insulin resistant, as well as having had gestational diabetes.
9) If your kids (or yourself) must have desserts, try making sugar-free puddings with low-fat milk, or sugar free jello. You can get very creative with these two things and low-fat cream cheese or cool whip!
10) If you love sodas, and don't like the taste of diet drinks, try drinking club soda (carbonated water or seltzer water) with a squeeze of lime or lemon. In fact, in some restaurants, this is considered a free drink because it's "water." My sister-in-law (Sunshine) is famous for saying "it's free of calories, tastes good, and the carbonation tricks your mind into thinking you're having a soda." Yes, it may take some getting used to because it's not sweet like soda is ... but it's clean and refreshing and delicious once you get used to it.
11) If you cook with cream soups (cream of chicken, cream of celery, cream of mushroom, etc.) use the Healthy Recipe options, and in place of whole milk use skim milk. Your family is less likely to notice the introduction of skim milk it if you cook with it, and if your sauces don't thicken up as well, then add a little bit of flour (2T) to equal parts skim milk, stir until it forms a smooth, but thick slurry, and add it slowly to your dish. Bring to a boil, or place it in the oven. This will thicken your sauce for things like chicken pot pie, or stroganoff (just like it would gravy).
12) Don't be afraid to punch your foods with flavors found in spices and seasonings ... especially garlic. Even if it's not ... gasp! ... fresh garlic. Believe it or not, I honestly think there is a place for garlic powder ... but more importantly ... garlic is a very healthy and flavorful addition to every day cooking!
I tired my best to put down my famous lasagna recipe in writing, but I just didn't have the time before I went on bed rest, so here are a couple other healthy recipes to try.
I've already published these two recipes, but they are just about the only way I'll eat broccoli, and are worth a re-post! I hate steamed broccoli, broccoli casserole, etc., but at the same time, I acknowledge the tremendous health benefits this vegetable contains ... Ounce for ounce, broccoli has more vitamin C than an orange and as much as a glass of milk... one medium spear has three times more fiber than a slice of wheat bran bread... and Broccoli is also one of the richest sources of vitamin A in the produce section. But the real surprise is this vegetable's potent cancer-fighting components, and let's face it ... if I want my son to continue eating it (which he does), then I have to set an example!
The roasted broccoli is quite delicious! It is crisp, bright green, and has a slightly "nutty" flavor. Oh, and to me, it doesn't smell like rotten food the way steamed broccoli does. That, in it's self, is a plus for me. The broccoli slaw is loaded with all things good for you ... anti-adhesion properties, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and cardiovascular benefits. Try them both out. I'm sure you'll enjoy them as much as I have.
I'll post my lasagna recipe at another date!
Oven Roasted Broccoli
(goes great with italian foods and casseroles, as well as roasted chicken, pot roast, pork roast, burgers, etc.)
Broccoli Crowns split apart (as much as you need for your family)
6-8 (depending on how much broccoli you use) cloves of FRESH garlic, peeled and crushed
Coarse-Ground Sea Salt
Freshly Ground pepper
Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. In a very large bowl, place your split broccoli crowns. Drizzle liberally with olive oil. Add crushed garlic, and toss all around so all the florettes are coated with the olive oil and have pieces of garlic all around them. Arrange the broccoli on a foil-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up). Liberally sprinkle with cracked sea salt and pepper. Place in oven and bake until you can slide a knife through easily... about 25-30 minutes. Don't over bake into mushy broccoli. The broccoli will be a bright green with little browned pieces of garlic and broccoli, and yummy flakes of salt on it. It will have a mild, almost nutty and very yummy flavor.
Broccoli Slaw (for all you gourmet lovers)
Slaw Ingredients (If you are picky about fruit or nuts in your food, then don't try this recipe, because it will just ruin it if you take those two elements out)
1 Bag of Broccoli Slaw (I use Foxy Organic brand in produce section)
2 chopped scallions/spring onions/green onions (which ever way you call it - all the same to me)
1/2 large, firm apple, peeled and chopped (I love Braeburns or Cameos in this recipe)
3/4 cup of Dried Cranberries
3/4 cup of chopped Pecans or 1/3 cup sunflowers
Slaw Dressing (VERY subjective -- according to taste -- if you have a slaw dressing recipe you love, just use that -- also, I don't usually measure my ingredients, so I'm going from memory here
1 cup mayonnaise (or more, depending on how thick you like it)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (more or less, depending on how tart you like it)
3 (or so) tablespoons sugar (I use either straight Splenda or the Splenda/Sugar mix for baking)
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon onion powder (or grated onion, or no onion if you don't like it)
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix the dressing well. This can be refrigerated until ready to use.
Toss all ingredients together, including the slaw dressing. Cover tightly, because it WILL stink up your refrigerator. Let chill for a while before serving. Enjoy!
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Today is finally here. In just 2 short hours, we will have our third, and final IVF procedure performed. Two embryos are being thawed as we speak. We're praying that they will both survive the "thaw."
So ... in only three hours, I could quite possibly be pregnant... but we won't have confirmation for another 15 days. Crazy!!!
One more thing I can't believe ... there is a broccoli recipe I cook for my family that I published on my blog on March 31, 2006. Since I'll be on bed rest, I already typed up my post for the WFMW edition of Healthy Eating, and included that recipe on that long, yet most informative (lol) post (which I won't be able to post until the afternoon). Then, today, I was flipping through the channels, and would you believe ... RACHEL RAY did the SAME flipping recipe for broccoli on her show this morning! I just sat there with my mouth hanging open. EXACT, I tell you!!!
What a coincidence!
Isn't that something like a copyright infringement? Shouldn't I get credit for it? How did she read my mind about that recipe? Maybe I should email her, because I'm sure it was just an oversight! Yeah. I'm sure that's it!
Have a glorious day!
Monday, January 08, 2007
I'm shamelessly piggy-backing on Shannon's "A Few Loose Ends" post (from Rocks In My Dryer). Not because I have a few loose ends, although ... if you could pop into my brain right now, you might disagree with me. No, I'm piggy backing on her post because I wanted to talk a bit about the whole Apron Contest being hosted by Barbara at Mommy Life. It could also be because I want to see how many links I can put in one post ... Naaah.
I just thought it was such an interesting topic that Barbara posted about -- aprons. She mentioned that she puts her apron on whenever she's in the kitchen, and it means "I am ready for business." As I thought about that, I realized that I too have the same sentiment. When I don my sturdy denim apron, it truly means that I'm ready for business, and BACK OFF BUDDY... there's no time for distractions, 'cause momma's cooking in the kitchen!
Then, I started to think back on my childhood. My mom, who is of Italian descent but born and raised in Peru, used to wear one all the time. She loved aprons. She had little frilly waist aprons, and full sized aprons. I remember the white frilly cotton aprons she would put on whenever she had company. And yes, she starched them ... something I would probably NEVER do (Praise God for oilcloth and denim/canvas!). But she grew up in an era where women wore frilly, pretty, and functional aprons. And like Barbara's family, it conjurs sweet and warm memories in my mind of my mom working in the kitchen creating all kinds of yummy and gourmet things! Honestly, it warms my heart to think that there might be one, two or three little things that I do (like wear an apron) that my kids will one day hold close to their hearts. Funny how we associate simple things like that with the feeling of "mom" and being loved by mom!
I must admit, though ... I was a wee bit jealous of Barbara's beautiful apron. The fabrics are TO DIE FOR, AND -- it's oilcloth! So, I went in search of a new apron.
I did find an adorable oilcloth apron that was the same style as the one Barbara showcases, but it wasn't from the kind of company I would be willing to advertise on my blog ... and they didn't have it in the same fabric. So, if you're interested, email me. Otherwise ... here are some of the aprons I did find, and even ordered...
This sweetheart apron looked really cute, and would look cute yet casual (maybe) when we have company to dinner. It's black and white polka dot (remember ... back in black) cotton with heart shaped pockets ... I found it at Carolyn's Kitchen. She sells retro, and "sexy" aprons, although I'm NOT going for the whole "sexy in an apron" look. She even has ... hold your breath ... matching RUBBER GLOVES. Did you see them in the picture? Glory be ... can anything be more adorable?
Then, I found this cute apron ... this is actually more my style, and looks very much like my denim one, which I love. It IS, however, oilcloth, and while not as fancy as Barbara's, it does comes in many fun and funky patterns/colors, and can be found at (of all places) Comfy Bath. I love this leopard print, but I got the black and white gingham print, because I wanted it to match the future kitchen of my dreams [snort!] Hey! A girl's gotta dream, and dream big, I say!!!
Did I mentione that they sell matching rubber gloves, too?
So, here are my two picks for cute aprons: 1) for a regular, heavy-duty-every-day-day-in-and-day-out kind of apron, try Comfort Bath 2) if you're looking to bring back the charm of retro aprons in your kitchen ... check out Carolyn's Kitchen.
And ... just for the record ... here is a picture of Barbara's adorable vintage oilcloth "Lucy" apron that I covet. It used to be sold on Amazon.com, but as Barbara mentioned in her blog, the manufacturers seem to have disappeared, and it's not available right now. But Barbara -- I'm all over it when it gets back in stock!
And for heaven's sake ... check out the entries to Barbara's contest here... and VOTE! (Deadline: January 12)
One more thing ... if you can find me one of these beauties in the same exact colors/pattern, let me know, 'kay?
Friday, January 05, 2007
My name is GiBee.
And I have a flat fanny.
Wide, but flat. Yes, indeed. There. I've said it out loud. But, since I only have like 3 readers, it won't matter. I'm pretty sure my secret is safe with you, right?
Seriously, though ... This is what NIGHTMARES are made of when getting pants to fit properly. Why? Because the new at-the-belly-button or below-the-waist styles are not compatible with my body type, therefore, creating a saggy (but still flat) appearance to my poor fanny. All the material bunches at the bottom of my fanny, because there's nothing round back there to hold it up. I hate it.
You know those cute designs you see embroidered on back pockets? Yeah, well, they're usually NOT on my butt -- much lower, in fact ... therefore, making me a plain pocket kind of girl. And ... I'm constantly hiking up my pants. I'm sure that doesn't look professional! I'm also sure there are plenty of women like me out there.
I say ... Flat Fanny Women UNITE!
It may not be pretty, but it's reality.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Sometimes ... you just feel blank. Unmotivated. Bleh-like.
And, sometimes ... when you feel like that ... you just have to reach out to a friend. One you haven't heard from for many weeks.
And then ... when said friend begins to chitter chatter, you suddenly begin to feel colorful once again.
You end up feeling refreshed.
Laughter bubbles its way past your lips, from your heart and gut.
You are renewed and ready to conquer the world. Okay, maybe not... but yes, you do feel so much better.
You have re-connected with a kindred soul and are reminded once again that you are not the only weirdo on the face of the planet; that there is someone else out there that "gets you" -- weird sense of humor and all; and your weirdo friend laughs at the same things you do.
Making you a weirdo too. But not a lone weirdo.
Aren't friends grand?
So, what are you waiting on? Pick up the phone and call a friend you haven't heard from in a while ... just don't use up 120+ cell phone minutes, because your loving husband might freak out a teensy weensy bit because it's the beginning of the month and the two of you share minutes. Oops!
In the mean time, while you're waiting for your dear friend to pick up the other line ... check out this cute little blog I read about in the new Hallmark magazine (what? I was waiting for a blood test and needed something to read! I actually liked it, too!)...
WAIT ... first check this out -- Xtreme Gluttoney ... and ... DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. You might explode. Well, if your mouth was as small as his ... and you had a ginormous grape hanging out of it. It could happen!
Now, check out the rest of the blog ... Cute Overload.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
I got this Meme from Carol's blog ... She Lives ... (forty questions? Really, Carol! That's a lot of stuff to share!) Anyway, it looked like fun, and gave me an opportunity to share some random GiBee stuff with you ... so here it goes ...
1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before? I was a mom for an entire, full, glorious year... God is good! And, I spoke at a very small women's retreat. Yikes!
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I generally do NOT make resolutions, because I get too depressed if I fail. So -- no, and no.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Yes. In December, as a matter of fact!
4. Did anyone close to you die? Yes. My husband's first cousin.
5. What countries did you visit? Does West Virginia count? Because ... seriously ... they are their own country.
6. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006? Another baby! Another Tax Deduction! Another mouth to feed! More diapers to change! More cuddles, nuzzles, and projectile vomit! Yes, yes, yes!
7. What dates from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? March 15, when my husband's cousin took his life. Very sad day. October 5, my son's first birthday. October 27-29 -- My sister-in-law, son and I braveltrekkeded across the United States to meet some of my favorite bloggers -- sight unseen! Awesome!
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Loosing 20- pounds.
9. What was your biggest failure? Hmmm ... not sure of that one.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Just the regular sniffles, coughs, runny noses, rotoviruses, bumps, bruises, and twisted ankles.
11. What was the best thing you bought? It was such a long year ... must I narrow it down to ONE SINGLE THING? I'm stumped over this one. How about the best thing my husband bought me? It would have to be my Le Creuset round dutch oven.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My husband. He has been an amazingly supportive, loving, and forgiving husband, and an even more awesome, loving, tender daddy. I'm in awe of him.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Ummm ... hmmm ... another one I'm stumped over.
14. Where did most of your money go? Into the wind, my friend ... into the wind.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Watching close friend's of mine finding a closer walk with Christ, and seeing them acknowledge what some might see as every-day-happenstance or coincidental things as God things! God things are the coolest, and seeing them through someonelse'ses eyes is very goose-bumpy!
16. What song will always remind you of 2006? Thank You Lord (with a grateful heart), performed by Don Moen, Words and Music by Paul Baloche and Don Moen
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? I am: happier, thinner (but not much), and richer (spiritually).
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Reading, writing, organizing, organizing, and organizing.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Eating.
20. How did you spend Christmas? At home with my family!
21. Did you fall in love in 2006? Yes -- as a matter of fact, I did... I fell more in love with my beautiful shandsomedsom husband, and awesome Lord.
23. What was your favorite TV program? I have much more than just one. The Barefoot Contessa, Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello, Everyday Italian, Paula's Home Cooking with Paula Deen, and last, but certainly NOT least ... House (totally non-food related).
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? No. "Hate" is a very strong word. There are many people that I am less enchanted with ... but no, I do not "hate" anyone.
25. What was the best book you read? Ummm ... refer to number 18. Although, I did read the Circle Trilogy ... yup! All three books, and ... Oh, MY WORD that was good!
26. What was your greatest musical discovery? I can still harmonize, but I can no longer hit a high C.
27. What did you want and get? A happy family. A closer walk with Jesus. A Le Creuset round dutch oven. Okay, that one was a little worldly and fleshy, but I wanted it, and got it for Christmas -- yes indeedy! (my husband is a good and generous man!)
28. What did you want and not get? Nothing.
29. What was your favorite film this year? Oh, the pressure ... it's making me choke! I don't know ... I DON'T KNOW. Okay ... how about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe? No, I'm sure there was something else, but I can't think of it right now.
30. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? I went out to dinner with my "puquena familia," and I turned [cough, choke, SPUTTER] 39. There-----I-said-it.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? If I'd gotten more organized in my bedroom... I STILL have yet to do that.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2006? BACK IN BLACK. Yup ... so thinning, so satisfying. Also -- the NEW black -- chocolate brown. Love it. My Style? Well ... Monochromatic with a splash of color and some bling.
32. What kept you sane? Je-heee-sus. Worship music. Scripture. My husband. Certainly not my son!
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I have a hard time "fancy-ing" any celebrity, but as far as public figure, I certainly fancy Ina Garten -- who is The Barefoot Contessa -- a lot. Okay, maybe she's celebrity too. But she does what I would LOVE to do ... cooks, entertains, has her own show, etc. She's very elegant, and simple, and teaches her viewers how to make anything from a down-home cooked meal to a complex french dish ... and she lays everything out in laymans terms ... you know ... stuff I can understand. (I got one of her cook books for Christmas ... love it!)
35. What political issue stirred you the most? There are many political issues that stir me, but one particular "thing" that resonates in my mind is how disrespectful people are to our commander in chief... whether you agree with his political views or not ... he should still be respected. We should ALWAYS display a United Front to the world. Always.
36. Who did you miss? I miss seeing more of my mom. She lives 5 hours away.
37. Who was the best new person you met? Well, I was fortunate enough to meet many lovely blogging women in Texas, and felt honored to have hit it off immediately with many of them, including Lauren from Created for His Glory, Faith from Faithful Mommy ... both of whom are on hiatus right now, and Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2006. To look for all the GOD THINGS in life! They are everywhere! And never fail to give HIM the credit!
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: Thank You Lord
I come before you today, and there's just one thing that I want to say -- Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. For all you've given to me, for all the blessings I can not see -- Thank you Lord, thank you Lord.
chorus: Wigratefulatful heart, with a song of praise, with an outstreched arm, I will bless your name -- Thank you Lord, I just want to thank you Lord. Thank you Lord, I just want to thank you Lord, thank you Lord.
For all you've done in my life, You took my darkness and gave me your light. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. You took my sin and my shame, You took my sickness and healed all my pain. Thank you Lord, thank you Lord. (chorus)
Performed by Don Moen, Words and Music by Paul Baloche and Don Moen
It just makes me want to shout "HALLELUJAH, JESUS!!!"
40. What was the most unselfish thing you did in 2006? I sponsored a child from Compassion International.
Okay, your turn!
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
I hate setting New Year resolutions. I never seem to live up to my goals, and then ... I feel terrible about it. Sort of like a failure... but I do have some personal goals that I have set, as well as some exciting things going on in our life right now ...
1) I WILL continue with a weekly menu plan. It helps keep me organized, on track, and considerably simplifies my life, as well as saves me a fortune in dining out.
2) I WILL get closer to the Lord, and I WILL spend more time in the Word and in prayer. The jury is still out on a daily devotion, but I have several options I'm weighing out, and will make a decision by this weekend.
3) I WILL begin cooking more easy, fresh, and rather gourmet and healthy meals, like homemade ragues, and various other Italian dishes, as well as some favorite Mexican dishes. This WILL include frequent use of my new and very "sexy" red Le Creuset Round Dutch Oven!
4) I WILL continue plugging away at writing my book. I won't reveal what type of book I'm working on, but slowly, and surely... it will happen one day!
5) In just 7 short days from now, I WILL have a frozen embryo transfer (2 embryos). It will be my third, and very likely final, InVitro procedure. Right now, I am taking shots of Delestrogen in oil, and my reproductive endocronologist is monitoring the follicular development in my ovaries and the thickness of my uterine lining. The night before the transfer, I will begin taking shots for Progesteron in oil. Our transfer is tentatively scheduled for Jan 9, and the frozen embryos will be thawed on the 8th... Any and all prayers are, and will be, welcomed!
Speaking of the transfer, we won't find out if we're pregnant until the END of January. We will share the news of a positive or negative pregnancy test with our family first, and then ... I will pass the news on to you.
I will say this ... my Mom told me God impressed on her heart that we would have twins. Lauren, on the other hand, thinks we will have triplets (yikes!). I honestly do not know what God's plan for our lives is, but if his will is to get pregnant with this last cycle, then we will. I have no worries on my shoulders at this time.
Many people have asked me what I would do if we DON'T get pregnant with this final round of IVF... Honestly, both my husband and I couldn't be happier than we are right now with the plan that God has for our family. While I always dreamed of having a large family, if we don't get pregnant with this cycle, we won't be pursuing further fertility treatment. Yes, I'll be saddened, because two more of our babies will be waiting for me in heaven, but God has blessed us so much with the gift he gave us in our son, and we are quite satisfied, thankful, and content...
So ... anything exciting going on in YOUR life?