Friday, June 29, 2012

Dallas, Texas, Here He Comes!

Jackson received his mission call today! It came early in the day while he was working. I tried calling him but his phone wasn't working so I drove by his work to tell him his call was waiting for him at home. We invited the fam over for pizza and ice cream and to hear the big news. First, we all guessed where we thought he would go. Noah, my 8-year-old guessed Texas! I think we were all surprised; I really thought he would to to South America. My sister- -in law got video of him opening the call so I'll post it when she sends it to me tomorrow.

So as far as the contest goes- we said that immediate family (parents/siblings) were not eligible so the next closest is- Elise J, Jack's friend from his BYU freshman ward, who guessed that he would go to Texas! I think she guessed via Facebook and he has already notified her that she is the big winner! So Elise J, please send me your address and we will get your package in the mail soon! I promise you it will have Mike and Ikes (Jack's favorite candy), probably some other candy, something Batman related, and a bunch of other fun stuff!
 It was fun to see where everyone guessed that he would go. Most people guessed foreign- everything from Korea to Australia. I think this will be great for him and he is somewhat relieved to be staying in the US. I am kind of relieved too although from what I hear, Texas is kind of it's own culture anyway!

Some details- Dallas TX mission includes a little part of Western Arkansas and some of Southern Oklahoma, plus greater Dallas area and a big chunk surrounding it. The current mission president is the son of Ben's (Jack's dad) MTC president, who was also my teacher for at least religion class that I took at BYU, including missionary prep class. Jack has a great uncle who lives in Dallas with his family and both of Ben's maternal grandparents are from Oklahoma. So, kind of interesting! Neither Jack nor any of my kids have ever been to TX, other than the airport, and I have never been there either. My sister Annie and her family live in TX also, although not in the Dallas, TX mission. Maybe I will see if the old 80's show "Dallas" is on Netflix!!

We had a fun night hanging out with the family and then my sis in law and I took Jack to my new favorite fro yo place in Lexington. Jack is set to report to the MTC on October 3rd. I am relieved that we get a few more months with him! 

Thanks to everyone who submitted a guess for our little contest, it was fun and now all the wondering is over!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Where in the World Will Jackson Go On His Mission?!

   My lovely son Jackson has just officially submitted his papers to serve a full-time 2-year mission for our church- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We're very excited for him, and maybe a little nervous too! We expect him to receive his call within the next 2 weeks or so. We've been working hard to get Jack ready for this with several doctor and dental appointments, interviews, and paperwork. Jack has been working hard to prepare spiritually and I'm really proud of him- he's a great example to me and the younger kids in our family! Jack graduated HS last year and will turn 19 next month. He attended BYU for 3 semesters this past year and took lots of general academic classes as well as studying the Book of Mormon (the actual book, not the musical :), and other religious classes and taking a Missionary Prep class. He has been really faithful in his scripture study, journal writing, and church attendance. I think he is excited about this next adventure in his life, and having the chance to serve and grow as a person. In my humble opinion he is about as prepared as I think anyone can be to serve a mission!

  So, I thought it would be fun to have a little contest for anyone who is interested to guess where in the world Jack will get sent on his mission! The winner will receive a small prize package made up of some of Jackson's favorite things. If you are not familiar with the LDS mission program (LDS is an acronym nickname which stands for "Latter-Day Saints;" members of our church are also commonly referred to as "Mormons"), missionaries are sent all over the world to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are interested in hearing it, and to do service in both the church and the community. Not all countries have LDS missions but many do. Once he gets his calling he will find out where he is going and when he will report to the Missionary Training Center in Provo, UT (where BYU is located) to get further training and possibly learn a language if called to a mission with a language other than English.

If you'd like to enter the contest, you may respond in the comments of this post, or email me (Elisabeth) your guess as to where Jack will get his mission call ( If you guess a country be sure to guess a specific country, not "South America" or "Europe." If you think he'll stay in the United States, you should guess a specific state. If more than one person guesses the correct country or state, I will put the names into a hat and do a draw. You have until we receive the call in the mail to guess, and I will post the answer and the winner as soon as we find out. This contest is only open to the United States- because I can't really afford expensive overseas postage- nothing personal!!

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!

(I just finished reading The Hunger Games-can you tell?!)

hint #1- Jack studied Spanish in Middle and High School
hint #2- His father served in the US in Montana
hint #3- His Grandfather served in Korea
hint #4- Jack himself has never been out of the continental United States (so far)
hint #5- These hints don't really mean anything, he could go anywhere regardless of any of this information!

Friday, June 08, 2012

My Super Yummy Treat Smoothie

Here is the recipe for my really yummy dessert smoothie-

1/4-1/2 C milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 T protein powder
1/4-1/2 C vanilla frozen yogurt (there are fat free versions that are good)
1 ripe frozen banana (peel banana and break into 3-4 pieces and freeze for 1-2 hours)
1 T natural peanut butter
1 handful semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix in a blender and enjoy! (occasionally!)

Strawberry Carrot Breakfast Smoothie

Last week I was drinking this smoothie every morning and I love it! Here are the ingredients:

1/4-1/2 Cup carrot juice  (the carrot juice I use is from Whole Foods and I like it because it is processed with the carrot pulp too, so you are getting the fiber not just the juice of the carrot. That brand has like 800% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin A! It is also organic and the only ingredients are carrots so I liked it a lot)

a handful of frozen strawberries
1/4-1/2 Cup of plain yogurt
1 ripe banana
2 T protein powder
1 t flax seed oil (I started adding 1 t of this to my morning smoothie every morning just because it's supposed to be good for you. It is a fat though so that's why I only use one tsp- one tablespoon is about 100 calories).
handful of baby spinach leaves

Blend in a blender. Sometimes I added just a little splash of another kind of juice too. After a few days of drinking this, I started mixing it up and adding a handful of raw spinach which was great- you couldn't really taste the spinach at all!

Mango-Coconut Smoothie

This is one of my favorite smoothies from my book:

1 piece mango (about 4 oz- I used frozen mango from Trader Joe's so I just did a small handful)
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp brown sugar (not really necessary)
1/4 Cup cold unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbsp protein powder
1/2 Cup cold apple juice
1-2 Tbsp shredded coconut

Blend in a blender and drink. According to the book this smoothie is full of minerals- magnesium, iron, sodium, and selenium, as well as plant protein. It's really yummy!

Day 7

Sorry it's taken me so long to finish this! So, I went and weighed myself the morning after the last day and the final result was that I had lost about 2 lbs. I was hoping for more but then again I guess they say that it's healthy to lose 1-2 lbs a week so it's fine. I think I also lost 1-2 inches off of my waist measurement.

It's been two weeks since I finished this and I've been trying really hard to eat healthier since then. I've been eating a lot more fruits and vegetables, still drinking a protein smoothie in the morning, not eating any red meat, cut out most dairy except for yogurt and still trying to exercise at least 5 days/ week. I've also been trying to drink a lot of water still but 6 quarts is pretty hard for me- I'm probably averaging more like 4 quarts if I'm lucky.
 My frustration is that in the last 2 weeks I haven't lost any more weight, so obviously even though I'm eating healthy food and feel good I am still eating too many calories. I think what I have to learn is that even if stuff is healthy you can still eat too many calories of it.

For instance, I've been making a smoothie every morning but I'm not following the recipes in the book and I'm probably making them too big, so they are more like 400-500 calories instead of around 300 like the ones in the book. Also, I've been eating almond butter with apples as a snack but that is still a high fat, high calorie food so I should probably cut it out, or cut it way back. Same with avocados- good for you but if you're trying to actually lose weight you should probably eat them in only very small amounts. I've also been drinking treat smoothies (I'll share the recipe), which are super yummy but high calorie too so I've probably had too many of those in the last 2 weeks. Even though they are healthy for a treat- THEY ARE STILL A TREAT! So they should be more rare.

So, I think what I am going to do is try to do another week this coming week but maybe change it to two smoothies a day and then salad for dinner so I don't get too bored. Plus even though some of the veggie smoothies were better than I thought they would be, overall I'm not totally sold on liquified vegetables!!

 I'm going to do a couple of posts and share some of my favorite smoothie recipes with you and give you some links to some of the healthy recipes I've made in the last few weeks. I'm not going to post another photo until I get to a more noticeable amount of actual pounds lost!

Stats as of right now:

129 lbs
waist- 31 inches

I think all of the rest of my measurements are the same. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day 6

So day 6 was yesterday. I was doing really well in the first half of the day although I had some Pirate's Booty. Then I went to a friend's graduation party and I decided after being mostly faithful for almost a week I would allow myself to eat one plate of normal food! So, I had some pasta salad and cake and that was it. The cake was really good and totally worth it!

I'm just deciding that my cheating isn't so bad because honestly even with the occasional cheat I am still eating way less than I ever normally would and that was my only real treat in over a week. So, I feel pretty good about that. In a couple of weeks I may try this again but do two meals of smoothies and one normal meal. I just feel like I need to eat a little normal food each day and I can stick to it easier. If it's a small amount and it's healthy I think that will work for me better. I will definitely try to incorporate more fruits and veggies in because I really do feel better and more energetic, less sleepy during the day. And my stomach feels great!

Whether I am officially doing the diet or a variation of it, I will try to incorporate one of the smoothies/day whether it's for breakfast or a snack- with the protein powder. I also bought flaxseed oil so I'm going to try that too although it's pretty high fat and calorie, but it's the good fat so small amounts of it should be ok. Oh, and I will try to keep drinking the water although that is probably the hardest part for me!
Tomrrow I will do my final weigh in and see if this made any difference weight wise. I'm going to go over to my parents in the AM before I eat or drink anything to get an accurate weight. I should really buy my own scale sometime! My stomach may have shrunk a little, but I'm not sure. Even if it didn't make any weight difference I still feel healthy so it was worth it!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 5

I don't want to talk about it!! Today was going well, had first two smoothies and two snacks of fruit. Then I made cheeseburger mac and cheese for the fam, and I just couldn't resist so I ate some- a kids sized bowl but still not exactly on the all fruit and veg diet! (btw, this mac and cheese recipe was awesome, you cook the noodles in the milk and then add cheese. That's it! One pot, no butter or flour and it was yummy)
I really felt like I needed a treat so instead of the carrot herb shake I was supposed to have I made a banana, choc chip, coconut milk, frozen yogurt and natural peanut butter smoothie. It was awesome! I'm not saying it was health food, but at least a little healthier version of a treat. Anyway, I think I just needed some real food and I will go back the next 2 days and finish strong. Yes! If I had lost more weight I probably wouldn't have caved so bad but it's hard to be so strict and then feel like it's not having much effect. I was hoping for 3-4 lbs, to get into the 120's but at this rate I'll be lucky if I lose 2 lbs. Oh well, it was a good experiment and made me feel really good.
   I think at the end of the 7 days I will still drink one protein smoothie/day and try to eat salad one meal, and one normal healthy meal. I just pinned a bunch of vegetarian and healthy low calorie recipes to try. Tomorrow- back to the fruits and veggies only- two days to go. I think I can make it!

Day 4

Day 4 was kind of frustrating. I kind of cheated a little bit by eating double of the morning berry smoothie (because I made extra for my daughter who then didn't like it), and then I ate some almond butter with an apple instead of just a plain apple. Those are pretty minor cheats I guess. Yesterday's mid day smoothie was pear with some chocolate that was supposed to be unsweetened chocolate but I used semi sweet chips and ate an extra tablespoon of them. Oops! btw- that pear chocolate smoothie was pretty gross, I'd like to try it another time with banana and chocolate)
 Then I weighed myself at my sister's house and had only lost like- maybe one pound. It's hard to say since by then it was mid day and I'd been drinking so much water right before. But anyway, that was so annoying! Suffering and getting results is one thing but suffering and not getting any results is pretty depressing. So anyway, on the last day I'll weigh myself first thing in the morning instead of later in the day when I'm all filled up with water weight. After that I felt pretty unmotivated especially since it was rainy and cool all day and I could just not face the thought of eating cold vegetables when it was chilly out! So I ate about 6 spoonfulls of my daughters hot chicken noodle soup, which tasted really good! Probably only about 50 calories worth so hopefully not too big of a difference but still, three cheats in one day isn't too great, and I didn't walk because it was raining too. Epic fail!
 Oh well, moving on. I did still drink a carrot juice/mango smoothie last night that was really good, and I did do pretty well with my H2O consumption, I think I drank it all or very close.
I don't know what I'm doing wrong, although I know walking and not running doesn't burn as much, plus I've been eating too much avocado probably so I need to cut down on that. Good fat or not, it's still fat! And higher calorie. I've also had to substitute some things or do different smoothies to make up for what I can't find- like elderberry juice, and black currant juice. I may see if I can order these online- they didn't have them at Whole Foods and I don't know of any other nature stores around here. I'm sure there are some- like in Cambridge but it might be easier to just order it somewhere. If you look on my Pinterest there are lots of smoothie recipes I'm saving for when this is done. Lots of them use flaxseed oil so I got some of that at Whole Foods. When this 7 day thing is over I think I'll still try to do one smoothie a day because weight loss or not, I do feel a lot better and it's a great way to get in more fruits and veggies which I am definitely lacking in overall.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 3

Well, I am still hanging in there. Had a couple of tough moments craving real food, especially carbs, today. The late afternoon is always the time when I feel like snacking and am most tempted to eat treats and stuff. The other thing that is hard is cooking dinner that I'm not going to eat. Today I took some juicy cooked chicken thighs out of the oven and it was all I could do to not just start chowing down on them! I actually dreamed last night about making super crispy fried chicken and starting to eat it and someone being like- you can't have that! and me thinking to myself- but I want it so BAD! Pretty sad when you are dreaming of fried meats!

The first two smoothies I had today were really yummy- one was mango with coconut milk and shredded coconut and lime juice, and the other one was apricots with almond butter, crushed almonds and apple juice.  I cheated a little and ate an extra tablespoon of almond butter because it tasted so good and made me feel full and not starving! I don't think I've ever had almond butter before this but I'll definitely have it in sandwiches after this. Tonight I had a vegetable drink with tomatoes and tomato juice, red pepper, and parsley. It wasn't bad! That is my biggest surprise- that I don't mind the veggie drinks at all.

The other thing I wanted to mention is how clean and calm my stomach, etc. is feeling. I really thought that this whole situation might give me some major stomach upset- all that fiber and stuff I'm not used to eating so much of. But actually my stomach has been more settled than usual, which leads me to wonder- what am I normally eating that upsets it? Not that I have major issues, but I'm just curious what it is that usually causes my normal minor digestive upsets after I eat- is it the dairy, is it the wheat? May have to do some experimentation when this is done to figure that out.

I also do feel pretty energetic, I think the protein powder makes a noticeable difference in that department. I don't feel tired and sluggish after eating and in the late afternoon especially.
Today I did my just under one hour walk, and my other excercises. It doesn't really work for me to do it 2x/day most of the time so hopefully that's fine. I don't really feel like I'm getting any smaller so I may have to step up the workout a little bit. Maybe it's time to go back to my Jillian Michael's dvds. Tomorrow I am going over to my sister's to weigh in (I don't even own a scale) so we'll see if I've actually lost any poundage. Keep your fingers crossed!

Day 2

Good morning everyone! Last night I fell asleep in the middle of Sherlock Holmes, before I could post about yesterday (Sunday), so here it is. I know you are all on the edge of your seats!

So, despite the fact that Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, it is actually always a super busy day and can be a little crazy. We have church at 9 AM and I woke up kind of late, and found out last minute that I had to pick someone up to give them a ride, so I missed my breakfast smoothie, which probably isn't the end of the world but it did throw me off for the day a little. After church we had a linger longer, basically just everyone eating together after church out on the lawn. Even though there was lots of yummy looking food I just ate fruit, which was the first thing I ate yesterday so I was proud of myself for that. I actually didn't feel like I was starving all morning like you might think. I'm starting to figure out that I probably really need a lot less food than I think I do on a daily basis because overall not eating as much has been easier than I thought it might be. Not that it's easy but I was worried I might feel like I'm starving to death all the time, which I don't. Just some of the time :)

So anyway, finally I made it home and drank a mango smoothie. I have had to make a few substitutions, like mango instead of papaya (couldn't find a papaya at either grocery store I went to), and I forgot to buy cherries so I made a blueberry banana smoothie yesterday afternoon instead of a cherry one. That smoothie was supposed to use buttermilk which seemed kind of weird to me. I also bought a thing of Kefir which I'll probably substitute for buttermilk next time since I am now out of buttermilk. I think they are pretty similar. Hopefully adding or changing fruits doesn't make too much of a difference since you can eat all the fruit you want anyway!

In the book, he suggests a protein powder made up of some animal and some plant protein, but all they had at Trader Joe's was soy protein so that is what I got. So hopefully that is good enough. At the molecular level, it's all pretty much the same, right? That is the assumption my non -scientific self is going to go on.

I was a little apprehensive of the cucumber dill drink I was supposed to make for last night but it was pretty good. It also had yogurt and kefir and some lemon juice in it. It still freaks my palate out a little to be drinking liquified vegetables but the taste isn't bad. This one kind of tasted like dill veggie dip which I like, only liquid.

 Oh, and I meant to say that the Saturday night tomato/avocado smoothie was much better than I thought it would be. It was made with tomato juice, cherry tomatoes, lemon juice, avocado and some Tobasco. It probably tastes a bit like a Bloody Mary- not that I would know!! (since I don't drink, ha ha) I also finished off the rest of the avocado because I had such a busy day Sat and felt kind of famished by that night! Did you know that avocado is technically a fruit? So that works (although I'm aware it is a high fat fruit, but at least it's the good kind of fat)

So, to finish off my recap of yesterday, I totally fell down on the job of drinking all the water. I'm supposed to be drinking 3 quarts, which is 6 water bottles a day. Saturday I managed to do it pretty easily but yesterday I only drank about 2. I think part of the reason is to help your body manage the protein so I'll try harder to do that today. I'm just not used to drinking all that water!!

I did take one 40 minute walk yesterday but you're supposed to be doing 2- 30 minute runs  so I need to try that. Not actually running, but just going twice a day. I don't know how much of a difference it makes to break the excercise up into 2 30 -minute sessions rather than one hour long session but today I'm going to try to do it.

The only other hard thing today was when I made teriyaki chicken for the fam for dinner. I REALLY wanted to eat some of it  but I knew if I cheated it would just make it harder so I'm going to stick to complete cold turkey on the no other foods. It's hard to smell stuff though, and I have to say, our life is so full of treats! This whole weekend I have been surrounded by ice cream, cotton candy, baked goods, etc. The treats are taking over the world!
 It does make things a bit more challenging.

I'm going to do a halfway point weigh in tomorrow and at the end of the week, with new photos so we can see if this is actually having any effect!
Oh, and one more thing- here is a really great post about weight loss from one of my favorite bloggers, Shelley at House of Smiths:

I'm totally inspired by her!
I'll try to stay awake long enough tonight  to post about today before I crash  :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Power Week

 Hi everyone-
I want to use the blog to keep track of my diet thingy I'm doing for the next 7 days.  I'm basing my plan off of this book: Forever Young: Fitness Drinks , by Dr Ulrich Strunz which I bought at a used book shop a few weeks ago. It is basically a recipe book for different smoothies which all use protein powder. I won't go into too much explanation- you can read the book if you want all the details- but it is all about protein and how it affects your health, weight, etc. There is a 7-day plan in the book for a week of eating 3 of the smoothie recipes/day that is supposed to help you lose weight but do it in a healthy way since you're still getting a lot of nutrients, but not a lot of calories and hardly any fat. He calls it "Power Week.'

 I'm not usually that into the whole crazy or fad diet thing but last year I lost probably about 15 lbs and have been trying to lose another 10 ever since. I've been excercising regularly and trying to eat less/better and even though I feel more fit and toned and stuff, I still can't get rid of the rest of that fat- esp in the stomach area which is kind of making me nuts! So, I'm trying this out as a way to kind of kick start losing some of that weight to motivate me to keep going. Normally I'm very skeptical of any kind of weird diet plans and stuff, but since it is only for 7 days and it's not like you're starving yourself or eating crazy unhealthy stuff I thought I'd try it. Plus I think the writer makes really good points about protein and amino acids and why they're important, etc.

 I'm going to post each day and let you know how it's going!

 So anyway, the basics of the plan are:

-drink 3 smoothies using recipes from the book each day (they all have fruit/veg, protein powder , fruit/veg juice, and some have a little milk or yogurt too)

-run 30 minutes twice/day . I hate running so I am walking which I was already doing. I'm also continuing my other excercises I've been doing (leg lifts, butt lifts, ab stuff, and arms excercises using 5lb weights, and pushups)

-drink 3 quarts of water every day

-eat unlimited amounts of fruit as well as the smoothies but that's it as far as food goes.

Ok, let's get started!