Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week Five on Nutrisystem

It's been a whole month since I started Nutrisystem.

This week I lost two pounds...yes, that says TWO pounds!!

Woohooo, Yay Me!!

Hard work pays off....eventually.

I changed a few things around as far as my eating was concerned and it seems to have helped.
I also have been taking advantage of the mild weather, as much as possible.

so the pros....

Tuesdays and Thursdays were/are hard for me, because I literally have class all day,
my classes are back to back, leaving only 15 minutes in between.
Before I made the recent changes, I was skipping meals and then over eating once I got home (not only because I was hungry, but I was trying to fulfil all the food/calorie needs).

This week however, I made sure to pack a few snacks (such as peanuts, raisins, a piece of fruit, or string cheese) as well as a lunch and I made sure to take a few minutes to eat.  I even ate a few bites during class, whatever works, right? And I have been trying to be more active as well, by walking around the track at the park, while it's been nice enough to enjoy it.

I think these positive changes have helped me break through a bit
and made the two pound loss a successful achievement.

and now, the cons....

I have hit a major road block mind wise.  Meaning I have been suffering from some pretty major depression.  I'm also lacking energy.  Not sure if it's the depression  or something else, but I honestly don't feel like doing anything.  If I could get away with sleeping all day, I probably would.

I'm making steps to change this, hopefully something good will happen to
help me out of the funk I've been in.

Here's my tally so far.  May not seem like much - 8 pounds, but it's all good!

Starting weight -  Jan. 16, 2017 ---  212
                             Jan. 23, 2017 ---  207
                             Jan. 30, 2017 ---  208
                              Feb. 06, 2017 --- 207
                              Feb. 13, 2017 --- 206
                              Feb. 20, 2017 --- 204

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Friday, February 17, 2017

Week Four on Nutrisystem

This has been a super busy week for me.  I'm behind on everything, including this post.

I'm happy to report that I lost another pound for a total of six so far.

I'm getting to the point where I am no longer tempted to eat junk food.
Even to the point that my kids can eat it and I see it, but I don't feel cravings for it.

 This is a super good thing too, because I am a junk food addict.

Nutrisystem food is so filling and proportioned properly that I don't feel hungry in between meals anymore.  And on the rare occasion that I do still feel hungry, I can satisfy that hunger with fresh vegetables or even a small bowl of popcorn.

Starting weight -  Jan. 16, 2017 ---  212
                             Jan. 23, 2017 ---  207
                             Jan. 30, 2017 ---  208
                              Feb. 06, 2017 --- 207
                              Feb. 13, 2017 --- 206

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Week Three on Nutrisystem

So, happy to say that I lost a pound this week.
I know a pound doesn't sound like much,
especially when you consider the fact that I had gained
one last week.

However, every loss - no matter how small - should be celebrated.
at least I didn't gain yeah, I'll take that pound and
I'll be proud that I lost it.

This week I wanted to share a few of my favorite Nutrisystem  breakfast foods with all of you.

(photo courtesy of Nutrisystem)

A few of my favorite breakfasts include, the granola cereal (I like to add a small handful of sliced almonds and raisins to it and I eat it either plain or with a 1/2 of skim milk - so yummy), I also love the frozen cinnamon roll (I heat it for 30 seconds in the microwave and it is delicious), Another favorite is the oatmeal cranberry bites (so good with my morning cup of coffee or tea).  I totally love the breakfast bars too, there are a few options available, including peanut butter granola, cinnamon raisin, blueberry lemon baked bar, and the chewy chocolate chip granola.  These are so convenient because I can throw them in my bag and eat them while I run errands or if I'm heading late to class.

I'm still having a few issues figuring out my schedule on my busy class days - as in when I can eat, because all my classes are back to back, leaving little time to eat in between.  Thankfully there are options while on the Nutrisystem diet such as lunch bars.  And my usual go to in between snack is a few tablespoons of peanuts mixed with a 1/4 cup of own trial mix of sorts.  This is a healthy choice, because it helps fit the smart carb/protein bill.  I'll explain more about smart carbs and proteins in another blog somewhere down the road on this exciting journey of health and awareness.

Here's another pic of this week....not much difference can be seen (of course), but it's all part of documenting my adventurous journey.

Starting weight -  Jan. 16, 2017 --- 212
                             Jan. 23, 2017 --- 207
                             Jan. 30, 2017 --- 208
                            Feb. 6, 2017 --- 207

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Week Two #NSNation #Sponsored

I have been having such a difficult few weeks, it's been hard adjusting to my school schedule, among other things.  I've been sleeping a lot more than usual, not sure if it's just the fact that my body needs the rest or depression or mental exhaustion....maybe a combination of all of it.  At any rate, I ended up gaining a pound back that I lost.  I think it's going to take me a little bit of time to adjust to all the things that are going on lately.  I'm trying though.  I've been more active since I started school, so there's that.  I think gaining and losing is a balancing game, much like life is.  I'll get there.  As they say, it's a marathon, not a sprint.  Praying I can get things balanced out and such, within the next few weeks.

  Starting weight - Jan. 16, 2017 --- 212
                             Jan. 23, 2017 --- 207
                            Jan. 30, 2017 --- 208

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Week One Complete - #NSNation #Sponsored

Last Monday, I officially started Nutrisystem.  I was excited to start my new journey, however
I was also saddened by the loss of my mother, who passed away over the weekend.

I was initially worried about starting a new diet when my life had just been turned upside down,
not to mention all the stress from the viewings and services.

That being said, it was a bit difficult getting all the food in, when I didn't really feel like eating.
I was actually really glad that the first initial week was the "Turbo Takeoff" week, which
required a more restricted, limited diet, even still I struggled to hit my calorie goal daily.

Despite everything I had/have been going through,
I still managed to lose five pounds in a week.
Plus, two and a half inches.

that may not seem like a lot...but every victory, every loss is a win in my book!

Woooohoooo - Cheers to me!

So, what exactly is Turbo Takeoff?

Turbo Takeoff is basically a jumpstart to Nutrisystem's program. 
It's a first week of fast weight loss and everything you need is included.
*grocery staples i.e. vegetables are not included in the kit

You will receive a handy how-to guide book to get you started on the right track.
Every day you will enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, and dinner of specially chosen foods
that contain a combination of high protein and good carbs - fiber rich carbs.
Each entrée has been specifically chosen by Nutrisystem's nutrition experts
to help you lose weight fast.

You will also enjoy a refreshing turbo shake and a nutricrush bar, as well, as four servings of vegetables....and don't forget that water, at least 64 ounces (a must have when you are losing weight).

Please note, that it is recommended that you not exercise during the first week,
as you will be on a restricted diet.

What's in that bright red turbo takeoff box???

just take a look...

seven breakfasts, seven lunch items and seven dinners,
as well as turbo shakes and nutricrush bars.

Also included is a handy tracker booklet that you could use to check off all the meals,
water intake and vegetables as you eat them. 
The booklet also listed several tips and recipes to help you get started on the right track.

There are three expert guides which contained 21 tips for winning weight loss,
seven tips for overcoming obstacles, and six super vegetables
that will help you through your weight loss experience. 

Although these pictures (and my starting weight) are rather embarrassing due to the large amount of weight that I have gained (through steroids, meds, stress and such), I thought I would share them in the hopes to inspire others and to also hold myself accountable.

Kind of scary, am I right???

December 28, 2016 ~ 220 pounds

Jan. 16, 2017 ~ 207

I know the numbers don't match up with my five pound weight loss - I originally weighed 220 and lost eight pounds before I started the program....which means when I started NS - I weighed 212.  Therefore, starting weight 212-5 pounds=207.

Starting weight - Jan. 16, 2017 --- 212
                           Jan. 23, 2017 --- 207

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Teaching Numbers through Art

You all know how much I love combining art and education and this idea fits that bill perfectly.

Make Number Rubbings Kids love using crayons for just about everything, even things we don't want them to be used on! Put this art streak to good use by introducing them to “rubbings.” They'll work the small muscles in their hands and improve eye-hand coordination, which are both key for writing! Plus, they'll experiment with different surfaces, while they build math skills by practicing their numbers.

What You Need:
  • 10 pieces of blank paper
  • pencil
  • black marker
  • at least 10 objects with lots of different textures (sandpaper, homemade paper, leaves, coins,…etc.)
  • crayons
What You Do:
  1. Draw the numbers 1-10 on blank pieces of paper, with one number per sheet. Make these numbers big, blocked, and outlined so that your child can color the numbers in.
  2. Show your child how she can make a cool design on paper, by “rubbing” a crayon across a piece of paper that’s on top of an unusual texture.
  3. Sit your child down at a table with the stack of numbers and a variety of textures to work with. Explain to her that for each page, she is going to match the number with the correct amount of textures. For example, for the “3” page, she’ll find three objects with different textures to rub under the paper, in order to form a design. She might use: one coin, one leaf, and one comb.
  4. Help your child with the first page. Show her how to lay an item on the table (for example, the sandpaper), and then lay the page with the block number on top of it. Using a bare crayon, turned on its side, show her how to press down while rubbing the crayon on the white paper to form the rubbing.
Easy? Yes. Fun? You bet. But also a great lesson in math. This activity helps preschool kids connect written numbers with the amount of objects they represent. And it has some pre-writing and science experimentation thrown in, too.

Some items used in the above pic includes: foam stickers, sand paper, craft ric rack, and a bath sponge.

*this post was provided by

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

#NSNation #sponsored post

tabula rasa

I'm wiping the slate clean and starting fresh this year.
These last few years have been rough, I feel like I've been doing 20 rounds in a boxing ring,
and like I've been beaten to a bloody pulp.

Within the last few years, I have undergone so much stress - it was labeled chronic.
I felt (well, still feel to some degree) like the weight of the world is on my shoulders.
Despite meditation, relaxation, therapy, exercise, medicine...the works, nothing seemed to help.
The more I tried, the more wound up I became.

All this stress really lowered my immunity, putting me at risk for numerous health issues.
chest pain
major clinical depression
generalized anxiety disorder
panic attacks

you name it, I probably dealt with it to some degree.

It all started when Rich had to have another back surgery a few years ago, I was just starting
school.  The stress from his injuries and surgery, plus the pressure of school did a number on me.

I started praying for peace and also for understanding to gain some insight into how much
my husband was going through with his emotions.  I literally asked God to help me understand...
not that that was a mistake, but I was not prepared for what God had in store.

Initially, it started with chest pain, unexplained.
The doctors said it was most likely due to stress and diagnosed me with costochondritis.
I jokingly laughed and said it was basically a made up name to keep me from thinking I was a nut, especially since many people have never heard of it before.

After about a year of dealing with the constant pain in my chest and doing all the tests to be sure it wasn't something more serious, the pain started to subside to some degree. 
I do still have issues with this now and then, mostly when I start having panic attacks
or experience some other issue with anxiety.

Due to all the stress and mental angst, I still had a low immune level,
this put me at risk for bronchitis and in Dec. '14  I ended up being hospitalized from it.

I was given steroids and antibiotics and eventually released from the hospital, sent home with oxygen tanks, a concentrator, and enough tubing and hoses to wrap around my house three times.

In Nov. '15 - if you remember - was the start of a whole 'nother round and round of bronchitis,
pneumonia, and hospital stays....if you've been a long time reader, than you may remember
that whole scenario from that year.  Over six months of steroids off and on and antibiotics, etc.
and of course, the stress and other issues

I managed to make it through December this past year ('16), without incident
Thank God!

However, January got me.

Ended up getting sick again, I could feel myself getting weaker,
my lungs were hurting.

So I went to the doctor and they said I was literally one step away from the hospital - again.

They prescribed the strongest antibiotics and steroids that they could give me
and urged me to strongly take it easy, and go directly to the hospital if I felt worse.
The next step, would be IV antibiotics and steroids, plus bed rest.

There have been many other numerous issues that have come up through the last few years
too many to mention here.

But the bottom line is...

all the steroids, stress and general junk
has caused me to gain some major weight.

especially belly fat....which is a major issue with those who deal with stress.
All those commercials that talk about belly weight gain and stress
producing the hormone cortisol....yep, they are true.
and it's super hard to lose weight - believe me, I've tried.
I've exercised, I dieted, etc...nothing works.

This all lead me to think about reaching out to Nutrisystem.

Nutrisystem really worked for me - I lost about 40 pounds when I did before.
I had super energy and felt fantastic.

Nutrisystem graciously agreed to sponsor my weight loss program again.
I'm hoping this will be the jump start I need to get back in the game and make some
lifestyle changes - healthy changes that will help me lose the weight and win this battle that I'm fighting.

I will be embarking on this new journey within a week or so and I seriously cannot wait to get started.

If you would like to join me in my journey and cheer me on once again...I would appreciate it
to the depths of my being.

So be prepared to follow along and rediscover Nutrisystem with me.

Here we go.....

**Disclosure ~ I will be receiving access to the website and food in exchange for reviewing the diet plan.  All opinions herein are my own and not influenced by Nutrisystem.   #ad #sponsored

Thursday, December 08, 2016

My Trunk or Treat Princess Palace

 As an education major, I'm a member of my college's chapter of SPSEA
(Student Pennsylvania State Education Association).

I enjoy it because it gives me a creative outlet and since
I've been so incredibly busy lately, I don't have much time for the creative stuff (booo!).

At any rate, our organization volunteered to participate at a local daycare/pre-school's
Trunk or Treat.  We decided to do a princess theme, which prompted me
to make a super awesome castle - complete with a draw bridge, trees, and a "stone" pathway.

I started out just making the initial tower and then ended up adding the sides later.
I used a huge cardboard box and painted it light grey.

I cut out some cardboard to look like stone or rocks
to make a cute path to the castle.
I painted them grey and then sprinkled some
silver glitter on them....what princess doesn't want a glittery stone path?

Next, I used darker grey paint to make it look like the castle was made of stone.

I used tri-board display boards for the side "wings" of the castle
and painted them the same as the tower.

Originally, I had cut the top of the middle board to look like towers.

Then, for the draw bridge, I cut a door shape out of cardboard and painted it grey.
I cut a door frame out of black poster board for the door.

I used huge plastic chains that looked old.  A friend and I found them in the
Halloween section at Walmart.  They were the last ones.
We quickly scooped them up for my project.

I cut the chain in half and used pipe cleaners to attach them to the
tower and the draw bridge.

isn't that path super cute?
and the castle is adorable so far, right?

But, I wasn't done yet....
Oh no, you know me!

Next I painted some grass and flowers all along the bottom of the castle.

I added some pink caps to the towers and sprinkled some pink glitter on them

I also took a long piece of cardboard and cut it to look like a door header.
For the door header, I painted it with the darker grey and sprinkled tons
of silver glitter on it.

This castle was totally BLINGED out!!

I made some tree cut outs too.

At the trunk or treat we added balloons, little danglers with princesses hanging on them, and some pink and purple glittery tulle to hang from the trunk.

We taped a long green table cloth to the ground and placed balloons along the path
and added my stone pathway.

A friend of mine (also a member) made a super sweet sign
with our organization name on it to display

My friend dressed up as Snow White and I dressed up as an old, fat Cinderella (hahah)
and each of the girls who participated wore crowns as we passed out our treats.

And guess what......


Most Bootiful Trunk

It was so much fun.

and totally worth the weekend that I lost designing the palace

which now sits on a shelf in my garage with the rest of my projects

anyone remember this gem?

My club won last year too...

it was epic


I made all those game pieces and gingerbread boys

and yeah that's me in the middle with the crazy pink tinsel wig...hahaha

So many things have been happening around here that's been so hard trying to keep up
but I'll keep trying, because I know some of you out there love reading and hearing
about our fun family adventures.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Sarah and Zach's Graduation

Again, I'm late with the news, events and has me crazy busy.

It's been hard to keep up, but I'm trying.

Here are some pics of Sarah and Zach's high school graduation
(better late than never...)

here they come....
(they were a bit sad that they couldn't walk in together).

diploma time

who are these kids...and where did my itty bitty babies go?

I admit...I cried.

Just so proud of these two and the journey of our life together.

Proud Dad Moment....

Granny came all the way from Georgia to see this momentous event.
my mother in law is marvelous!

This is one of my best friends, Terri.

We became friends shortly after I had the twins.  They are like her babies too,
so we just had to include her on this special day.

They love their "aunt" Terri!

My sister in law and mother in law with our family.

That's a whole lot of Juliani's right there!!

I may be biased, but my kids are totally gorgeous - and they clean up rather well - haha!

we're outta here!!!

Just a little side note -

Sarah is a college freshmen - she chose to study general course as she is  undecided,
and she doesn't quite know what she wants to do as of yet.

She also passed her EMT certification.

Zach chose to take a year off from college and focus on working.  He's saving up to buy his own car and putting money aside for school.


I'm so thankful to my sweet sister in law, who took all the pictures.
I was so overcome by emotions that almost every picture I took came out blurry. 
Several times, I thought I was taking a picture and actually forgot to click the button. 
It just goes to show that sometimes, you just need to witness special moments with your own two eyes and not through a camera lens. 
I know how weird that must sound coming from someone
who pretty much documents just about every moment of their life. 
But it's true.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

My babies just keep growing.....

Nathan recently graduated fifth grade....where has the time gone....seriously!

He will be moving up to the middle high school this coming year.

Part of me is excited for him and for me.

and part of me just wants my baby, my cuddle bug, my little guy back....

you know as a mom, how difficult these growing days can be.

It's not easy, that's for sure.

These last few months have been super busy and also flying by faster then I can keep up

Not only did Nathan graduate, but so did the twins (I'll be sharing that soon enough).

My sweet mother in law and sister in law traveled from Georgia to help us celebrate

these very special, momentous occasions.

Thank goodness for my sister in law, because I was so excited by watching my baby walk across 

the stage that I forgot to take pictures.

So thankful, she was able to capture it on her phone.

Nathan with the school superintendent, the middle school and the elementary principals

Nathan with his fifth grade teacher

Nathan and one of his best friends doing the dab thing...whatever that is

and here,I thought I was hip - but I just don't get the dab thing...

oh well

Nathan with my mother in law and Rich

Nathan with Granny 

Nathan with Aunt Christine

We celebrated at Pizza Hut...Nathan's choice.

selfies with mom...

I wish I could just bottle up those memories and place them on a shelf and when the desire hits me,

that I could just open a bottle and replay those memories right before my eyes....and I don't mean in

 video form...I mean as if I were and we were still at that stage in life.

in real time - someone needs to invent a machine that can do this...

you know, kind of like a star trek holodeck type thing.