February 23, 2017

The Awkward Silence

While returning from the mall one day with a carload of kids, I overheard a conversation between one of my kids and his friends. The kid said he “doesn’t talk to THAT woman” while joking with the other kids about his family. I’d known for years the kid’s mom was absent and never asked about her. Not that I wasn’t curious – I mean I’ve always wondered - but more like it wasn’t a conversation I’d want to have with a child.

I pretended not to listen as the kids kept talking and the conversation became serious all of a sudden.

“Do you ever wonder about her” asked one of the kids.

“Nah”, the kid shrugged “my sisters talk to her but she’s a stranger to me” he said.

“Where does she live” asked another kid.

“I’on know”, the kid replied “I’ll never speak to that woman.”

Then silence.

A carload of kids came to a deafening, awkward silence. Yet, thoughts in my head were screaming as I flashbacked to my life as the child of divorce. Thinking of all the questions I had for my father and how I hardened my heart thinking he didn’t care about me anyway.

        He wasn’t there.


                          He never called.

                                   He left us.

                                            He left me.

It wasn't until years later when I became an adult I had the opportunity to sit down with my father and get the answers to my questions. We cannot turn back the hands of time but some of us can forge forward TOGETHER like my dad and I. I visit him whenever I am nearby and give him updates on the grandkids.  I called him on his birthday a few months back.  The first time I'd done that in over 30 years. Our awkward silence is no more and I am grateful.


“I hope one day when you’re older you and your mom will be able to sit down like my dad and I get answers to all your questions”, I said breaking the silence.


“Me too, Mrs. C. me too.”

I knew he understood as I saw him grin a bit as I glanced in my rear view mirror.

The mood lightened and the laughter of kids filled the car again.

February 22, 2017

My Nutrisystem Journey Week 4: I Survived Our 1st Backyard BBQ of 2017

Disclosure: I am a Proud #NSNation Blogger and I received Nutrisystem in
exchange for this review.  The opinions expressed above are 100% mine
Last weekend temps rose to the mid 70s.  70+ degrees in February.?!  Crazy huh?  Perfect day to grill.  Who am I kidding in our house, any day is a perfect day to grill.

Our backyard BBQs are legendary.  We - and by "we" I mean "my husband" - grill a ton of food, prepare lots of sides and make sure everyone leaves full. 

As usual, Hubby outdid himself prepping a feast of ribs and links and the aroma of the pecan and hickory woods filled the air. As family and friends piled their plates high full of meats and temptation swirling all around me, I did remarkably well.


Hubby grilled some corn, zucchini and squash which paired well with my Nutrisystem Sweet BBQ sauce with Pulled-Style Pork.  Yes, BBQ pulled pork.  OMG!  It was so delicious and what a way to stay on track while enjoying the backyard barbecue.
pic courtesy of Nutrisystem
Hubby is a wonderful partner in my Nutrisystem journey.  He knows I am committed to losing weight and he keep me motivated.  It certainly helps to have the support of family and friends when you are trying to lose weight.

We've made a lot of changes in our household food prep.  We're trying different cooking techniques and discovering a wider variety of fresh fruits and veggies.

Veggies are becoming my favorite go to food and I'm learning new ways to prepare them. 
Grilled veggies are a great way to power up with healthy calories and keep them crisp and tasty is eas. 

Check out these tips for tasty grilled veggies.
  1. Oil 'em.  A little EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) goes a long way in protecting your veggies from drying out while cooking
  2. Soak Your Skewers.  Be sure to soak wooden skewers in water and then apply EVOO before placing on the grill to prevent burned skewers and easier removal when done.  Better yet, use metal skewers.  Dishwasher safe and grilled veggies slide right off.
  3. Season Your Veggies.  Remember to check The Leaf for tips on free foods to add a little flavor to your grilled veggies.  Peanut butter and soy make for a tasty pairing.
  4. Experiment.  Try grilling a variety of veggies.  I tried jicama, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and everyone loved it.
I hit a plateau this week and only lost 1 pound. 
No worries though.  The weather is unseasonably warm so I'll just lace up my tennis shoes and enjoy this great weather.
My Nutrisystem Journey Week 4:  The Backyard BBQ Buffet




Week 4
Lbs. lost this week: 1
Total lbs. Lost: 21

www.nutrisystem.com/nsblog

Get $25 to try Hulu

If you've been thinking about trying Hulu, this is the time to do it. Thanks to an offer through Swagbucks, you get $25 (paid in the form of points called SB) for trying Hulu for a month. That will cost you $7.99, so you're making $17 on the deal!

Hulu has tons of current and classic programming, movies, brilliant original series, and more. Here's how you do it:

1. Click this link.
2. Create your Swagbucks account (takes 30 seconds)
3. Click "Continue" and sign up for Hulu
4. Enjoy Hulu! You should have your points within 30 minutes.

Haven't tried Swagbucks yet? They're a site where you earn points (called SB) for doing things like online shopping, watching videos,
taking surveys, and discovering deals and services you might like to try (like Hulu!). You then take those points and turn them into free gift cards to places like Amazon, Starbucks, Walmart, Target, or PayPal cash.

This is a great time to join because when you sign up through the link above and get your 2000 SB, you'll get a bonus 300 SB at the beginning of March. So that's $25 (2500 SB) for trying Hulu plus your $3 (300 SB) bouns, which gets you 2800 SB, which means you make $20 total just for watching TV!

February 17, 2017

Book Blog Tour" STU STORIES


Welcome to the next stop in the Stu Stories Book Blog Tour

DESCRIPTION: Stu Sanderson is no ordinary eighth-grader. Not only is he seven feet tall, but he also vanishes into thin air, duels knights and ninjas, lifts the downtrodden, and woos the best-calved girl in school. Become a middle-grade legend with Stu and his sidekick, Bird Bones, on the journey of a lifetime in “Stu Stories.”

Our Thoughts:  Middle school can be tough but it's those friends we make in middle school that often become lifelong friends.  Stu Stories is a funny story of a kid's take on his best friend and their hilarious adventures. This unlikely duo, a short kid and his towering tall friend, were hilarious and the author uses words to create vivid images of this pair and their middle school escapades. 

As much as we loved the book, it was a tad long.  My sons love chapter books but as one so eloquently (Mom snark) pointed out "Mom, this book needs more illustrations".  I kinda' agree with him. Even though it was divided into chapters and the author did a wonderful job sharing the tale of this dynamic duo, more illustrations would've been nice.  We are hoping for a sequel.  *hint hint*

Many thanks to Los Tres Amigos and their book club friends for their assistance in reviewing Stu Stories and many thanks to Author Patrick "Bird Bones" Hueller and Cedar Fort for the opportunity to share this fab read.

★★★★ a fab read for middle schoolers that would make a wonderful gift and a great addition to your kid's school library.

Want More?

February 14, 2017

My Nutrisystem Journey Week 3 and an Easy Salad Dressing Idea #ad

Disclosure:  I am a Proud #NSNation Blogger and I received Nutrisystem 
in exchange  for this review.  The opinions expressed above are 100% mine.
Last week, I celebrated my birthday! *tosses confetti* We have a tradition in my family of getting together and going out to eat to celebrate birthdays.  This year, Hubby treated me to dinner for two at home and a moonlight walk and my mom and I attended a fashion show.

Isn't it funny how food plays such an important role in those celebratory life moments.  I mean, it's your birthday?  Let's go out to eat.  New job?  Let's go out to eat.  Date night?  Let's go out to eat.  Food.  Food.  Food.

Hubby prepared a delicious birthday dinner for two: salad and chicken enchiladas.  He made a salad full of all the veggies I love:  squash, dark green leaf lettuce, red onions, cucumbers, and green peppers.
Our salads are becoming less about the lettuce and more about seeing how many veggies we can cram into a salad bowl.  At first the thought of 4 servings of veggies in a day seemed out of reach but I am discovering fab ways to meet my daily veggies and stay on track. 
As for the entrees.  He made our typical chicken enchiladas which we make using rotisserie chicken, stewed tomatoes, sour cream, tons of cheddar cheese and flour tortillas.  He prepared the Nutrisystem Chicken Enchiladas entree and also had chicken, tomatoes, corn tortilla and a cheddar cheese BUT mine also came with a delicious herb sour cream sauce and Spanish rice.
 
Both plates were tastefully presented.  He topped my rice with a sprinkling of red onion and used some of the Apple Cider Vinaigrette I made using my Nutrisystem Extras vinegar, honey and olive oil and Nutrisystem Freebies like garlic, mustard and lemon juice.
I love the Nutrisystem Extras and Free Foods.  The extras include that fat free coffee creamer I enjoy in my daily cup o' joe, that pickle I just crave every single day at lunchtime.  There's a list of Extras and Free Foods in my Nutrisystem Daily Tracker and Grocery Guide and I can always visit The Leaf for more tips, recipes and inspiration to keep me on track.
 The free foods have sure made my first week Flex Week more enjoyable.  Unlike that first week on the program with the Turbo Takeoff, this week has been a week full of discovery.  I'm discovering ways to enjoy the foods I love on my Flex meals while still losing weight. It's a slow process but as the wise philosopher Confucius once said "It doesn't matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop."  
As promised here's my Easy Apple Cider Vinaigrette Recipe Salad Dressing Recipe.  First, you'll need a mason jar.
Ingredients

  • ¼ cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  • Pour all ingredients into a mason jar
  • Shake til well blended
  • Drizzle over fresh veggies or salad

Store in fridge for up to 1 week.

Do you have a favorite lo-cal salad dressing recipe?  Let me know, leave a comment below.

Week 3
Lbs. lost this week:  7 and a few ounces
Total lbs. Lost:  20












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