August is here – how did that happen?  I’m not sure.  It is always a crazy month, preparing to go back to school, getting kids back in shape for school.  Did I mention school starts soon?  We spend the weekend labeling school supplies, didn’t quite get it finished but we made good head way.

My 40th birthday will be here soon – the whole reason I started blogging again.  We are about 27 days from the big day.  I would give myself a C- for my efforts in July.  The eating piece I think I did very good on but the exercising piece not so good.  I don’t like to get up early in the morning and go for a run, I’m just not a morning person.  I also don’t like to run late at night, I’m not a night person.  I’m more of a mid-afternoon person and that is when I’m working.  A couple of times, I wore my workout clothes all day, in hopes that I would find some time but I just didn’t.  I’m not sure why?  Why am I struggling right now?


Struggle – there are so many things I struggle with inside my head.  I’ve been struggling with something lately.  It isn’t a new struggle, but it is one that hasn’t been at the front for a long time.  I wasn’t even 100% aware of it until tonight.  Many of you know I have a daughter with Cerebral Palsy – she is so amazing.  I love her beyond words and would do anything to remove her struggles.  She is the word determined – if she thinks there is any hope of doing something, she will get it accomplished.  Now the opposite of that is true also, if she deems that there is no way she can do that, she won’t even try.

My struggle tonight is not with her really but it is about her.  She would love to ride a two-wheel bike – she just doesn’t have enough skills to be able to.  She has a special 3-wheel bike that she can ride but it just isn’t the same.  There is a bike camp going on south of us and we know several of the kids and it is a wonderful camp.  They are teaching kids with Cerebral Palsy how to ride a bike.  I checked in to it and Emma just didn’t qualify, she didn’t have enough of the skills to be able to go to camp.

This week we have several friends who are being successful in this camp – they are learning to ride a two-wheeled bike and there is my struggle.  I’m so happy for these kids but I’m so sad at the same time.  I caught myself tonight not liking the parents videos or pictures of these kids being successful.  It isn’t that I don’t want them to be successful – it just plain sucks that my kid isn’t there.  She just learned how to swing by herself.  I know that should be enough – celebrate every moment – no matter the victory but man sometimes it is just hard.  Those victory comes so far and few between sometimes and then sometimes I think I make them up.

This is my struggle this week – trying my best to find the joy for other families – when my heart breaks for my own child.  To be honest Emma has no idea that this is even happening this week.

This post really isn’t about my fitness journey tonight but it is about me.  We all struggle with something, be eat it over eating when we are stressed, be it a shopping addiction – who know where you struggle.  Just know that every victory counts – no matter how small or how long it takes, never give up!  Your dreams will come true, if you work hard enough.  My 10 year old is living proof of not giving up, no matter how hard it gets!

No Vegeterian tonight

The kids where mad at me tonight because I didn’t feed them Vegeterian like I did last night.  We where thinking about making zucchini pasta tonight but after spending all day in the kitchen yesterday, I just wasn’t in the mood.  I forced them to walk to Original Taco and have $1 taco night!! Their drinks cost more than the chicken tacos. 

Then my friend Kristi came over and we walked to the park with the kids, the boys rode their bikes and we pushed Emma.  Walking with a friend is so much more fun than just going by yourself. 

I hurt my foot a few days ago, so I haven’t been doing a ton of walks or any runs.  It is finally starting to feel better and on the walk tonight it didn’t hurt once.  I think the hot epson salt bath last night really helped it.

Eating healthy and walking – sounds like a day on track to me!!!

Weekend Fun!!!

I did get Friday night off from cooking – we went to Applebee’s and I had their Salmon – staying on the healthy food eating.

Saturday was a very ambitious day for us.  On Saturday’s when we have nothing (which this is only our 2nd one all summer) – we normally sleep in, go to the Farmer’s Market and then to Baked by Liz for coffee and treats.  It is one of our favorite Saturday morning activities.

That was what was on the agenda for Saturday morning – everyone woke up early and there was a big rush to get moving – so in the rush – I didn’t have my morning Shakeology (setting myself up for failure).

We headed out – first stop Farmer’s Market – we had a great haul of fresh vegetables and fruit.


Second stop – the fire station – we had the chance to go start a golf event with sirens – who would pass up that chance – not my kids.

Here is Emma and I riding in the back – Jacob was in the front (so no picture for him).  She wasn’t to thrilled – the firetruck is loud and not really comfortable but she was doing it for her brother.


Then to Baked by Liz’s for coffee and treats and I actually ate a treat – UGH!!!!! That is ok, I thought I could get the day back on track.  Of course we needed another selfie – we spend a ton of time at this coffee shop – when we come in most people walk out but Liz loves us!


Then we went school supply shopping – lets just say it is done and no one was hurt in the process.  Lunch was at this cool little food truck the Blue Moo.  Chicago style hot dogs – oh wow!!!!! They are amazing!!! For $4.00 you can get a Chicago style hot dogs and fries – YUMMY!!!! We ate them at the Dixon water front.  I haven’t been there since they redid the whole water front – it is a very nice place to sit and eat a Chicago style hot dog.  Still not on track for a healthy Saturday.

Then one of my dear friends for over 15 years, was having a surprise 25th wedding anniversary.  Her two daughters threw them a surprise party.  It was so much fun.

We do clean up and it was total party food – hot dog wiener roast.  He proposed to her at a wiener roast.

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We do clean up nicely.  They own the Lena KOA – if you have never been you should go!

Needless to say, everyone was exhausted from our big Saturday, so today (Sunday) we spent the day in the kitchen.  We decided that today we would make Auntie MaryAnn’s homemade spaghetti sauce.  It takes all day.

There she is all ready to start making the sauce in her PJs – I said it takes all day


We had to take a break to eat breakfast


Sauce is quite the process!!!


Working hard getting all the fresh herbs into the food processor.  It is one of her favorite jobs and she got to use the big one – not the small one. Heaven on a Sunday morning!  When she was pouring the wine into the sauce she said “This smells like Uncle Brad” – made me chuckle; I later asked her if that was a good thing and she said “Yes, Uncle Brad smells good”.


I don’t think sauce can get any more adorable than this!!! This sauce has to simmer on the stove all day!

This is what the sauce looks like when it starts to simmer


This is what it looks like when it is done


And it is fantastic – if I must say so myself

It made 8 pints of sauce (only 7 in the picture because we used one with dinner).  I won’t be making this again any time soon – don’t need too – have plenty!!!


While the sauce was simmering – Jacob had talked me into buying beats – the nice lady at the market explained to me how to make fresh beats.  You boil them in water until they are tender, you let them cool, then you peel them, mashed them like potatoes and add butter.  Ok, why not!  Well, I learned I needed a bigger pot – the beats boiled for over an hour before they where tender – who knew!! I had to keep adding water!

Emma and I thought the water looked really cool!


They where actually very good, Jacob said he liked them.  I tried them and they where sweet.

Then on to the main dish – Eggplant Mozzarella.  I have never made Eggplant before.


We cut it into slices and baked it in the oven for 12 minutes at 450 degrees.

Then we took it out of the oven, covered it with Mozzarella and Parmesan, then added the homemade sauce and back in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.


Finished product – it was awesome – everyone loved it – including the meat eater in the family

The final plate was all vegetarian dinner!!


We also pitted and froze cherries today – like doing all those other things wasn’t enough.

After dinner – I was exhausted – I took a nice hot bath!!!


Wednesday and Thursday

These two days seemed to be pretty similar.

1) Wake up whinny children

2) Work all day

3) Cook dinner

4) Walk to the park with kids and play

5) Go to bed

Thankful that the weather has finally turned around and it seems like summer, so that we can go to the park after dinner and play.

I know you are wondering if Wednesdays dinner was more successful than Tuesdays.  It was!!! How do I know? No one asked for eggs after we where done. Do you ever get tired of my posting pictures of food?


The kids where really excited because I cut the watermelon into slices and not cubes.  They thought summer had finally arrived.  When my sister was visiting, we made Asian Lettuce wraps, not to hard to make.  Here is the recipe.  I make mine with chicken and leave out the chili pepper and sesame oil.  I know you see the unhealthy pork rib on my plate.  I only had one – it is one of Emma’s favorite things to eat, Jacob won’t touch them.  She ate pork ribs, while Jacob and I had chicken lettuce wraps.   Ok, Jacob had watermelon – he didn’t eat much of anything else.

Then off to the park – it really is good exercise to push Emma in her wheelchair.  You try pushing 55 pounds around town.


We got stopped by the train on the way to the park – so we had to take a train selfie!!!!!

Our park is not very handicap accessible – on Tuesday, Jacob and I had to move the picnic table so I could get Emma to the swing set. I even took a picture to prove my point:


I know most people never think about areas being handicap accessible! I know this doesn’t look like a big deal but it is.  It is already hard enough to pull her through all the mulch.  My point – just be considerate – you never know when someday you might need a handicap accessible entrance.

Anyway, my point of the park story.  Emma is 10 and can’t use a regular swing, this summer we have been working on swinging. To the average person this video won’t look like much but to me, it is a huge milestone

She was so excited and so was I!!!!

Jacob never likes to be out done – so here is a silly video of him.

Enjoy the two most precious kids in the world – my opinion but be a little biased.

Thursday was much of the same as Wednesday.  The only difference was the meal – it was planned by Emma and probably not the healthiest – she is a wonderful chef at 10 years old.  She has been craving a butter sauce – what 10 year old talks like that.  So I made sure to stay on track all day with my eating that I could indulge her craving.

She started with making a Garlic Butter Sauce:

1/3 cup butter – melted

1 clove of minced garlic

2 teaspoons of Basil

1/4 tablespoon of Oregano

Melt the butter on the stove and saute the garlic, combine the dry spices and voila!! A very grand tasting garlic butter sauce.

Then we cooked some noodles, put them in a pan, placed shredded chicken on top, mixed in the butter sauce, topped off with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, cover with foil and baked at 375 for 15 minutes. It was amazing.


Yes it was as good as it looks!!!! Chicken casserole to a whole new level


It even looks great on the plate!!!!

I’ve cooked everyday this week – I think tomorrow – I need a night off!!!

Tuesday (only a few days late)

Where has this week gone – it is Thursday already WOW!!!!

Tuesday I was still all inspired about food.  Taking a new outlook to it.  I was sitting at my desk working (my real job) and by my desk I mean the kitchen table and thought I should make sweet and sour beef for dinner in the crockpot.  I googled for a sweet and sour recipe, this is the one I tried:

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Here is the mess I made trying to make that sauce


The picture is even blurry – that should have been my for warning!!!

The sweet and sour beef cooked all afernoon in the crockpot.  I took the meat out and it was so tender and not dry, then we taste tested it – YUCK!!!! It tasted nothing like sweet and sour beef.  In a last ditch effort to save the meal – I covered it in BBQ sauce.  Disaster averted, I thought.  Look how pretty my plate looks (by the way I ate it no problem and it wasn’t the worse thing I have ever made)


The kids humored me – they ate around the beef – eating the strawberries, the cucumbers and pretended to eat the beef.  I cleaned up dinner and was about to suggest going outside, when Emma said “my dinner has left me, can I have some eggs? and Jacob would like some too”.  Dinner failure!!!! It had been a whole 30 minutes.  Time to make a 2nd dinner – at least she was polite about it.


There they are happily eating their eggs.  Makes a Mom happy to see smiling faces.  After the second dinner was cleaned up we went for a walk to the park and played.


Us smiling at the park!!! What a great evening – eating healthy and park exercise – doesn’t get better than that


Eating Right!!!

Today, no matter what I was determined to eat right!!! To make those good choices in food and not let Samanatha win in my food choices.   I knew I wouldn’t be able to go for a run today, thats ok.

Dinner I was going to come out a victor!!! Here is what I started with:


Lots of green stuff – YUMMY!!!! What will I make from this?  A homemade pesto for the Salmon along with Asparagus.  The kids where excited 1)They love to make pesto 2)The love to eat Salmon and 3) Asparagus is one of their top favorite vegetables.


We have had some friends in town – so they where volunteered to help us make pesto!!  The kids and I went to the Farmer’s Market on Saturday and had picked up some sweet basil and fresh dill – it doesn’t take much of an excuse to make pesto around here.  We also harvested some cilantro from our little herb garden.  I also picked up a few others from the grocery store.  I like to make a whole bunch of pesto then freeze it for later – it freezes so nicely.


Here is the finished product.  I must say it was quite a yummy meal.

Today was my being inspired by food day!!! I decided that I needed some new healthy recipes – a new cookbook  just came out called Fixate.  I ordered and can’t wait for it to get here.


Girls night in

Emma and I where the only ones home tonight. We ate leftovers and did nothing.  Sometimes it is just really important to lay in bed and veg out together.

We did 1 thing – we are a whole box of Girl Scout cookies – they where really great.

She was trying to smile and eat, very hard to do!!!

This was kinda of the philosophy we where living by tonight.

This is probably the one we should be channeling.

Fallen off the Wagon

Monday, I started out strong, knowing that this was probably going to be a tough week.  Tuesday was one of the worst days of my life.  Wednesday I gave in to Samanatha.  Stress really messes with you.

I have notice with the level of stress that I’m currently dealing with I forget a ton of things, my short term memory is almost completely gone.  For example, Tuesday night Emma and I where making dinner, she put some cheese on the the noodles, I then put the cheese in the refrigerator.  Then a few minutes went by and she asked for some more cheese, I opened the refrigerator and looked in the cheese draw – it wasn’t there.  My mind just went blank at this point, I was like what??? I know I put it back in here!!!  The problem was I had no idea what to do next – so I just stood there.  That is the effect of high stress, your systems just shut down.  I closed the doors and told Emma I have no idea where it was.  I felt a little bit of a panic too, like how can you be so stupid to lose the cheese.

I have also noticed I have very little motivation, breathing feels like exercise to me.  I’m exhausted, physically and mentally.  Also, everything makes me cry.  I need to get this stress in line, power through, pick up the pieces, you get the point.

Wednesday, I woke up thinking – new day – I’ve got this.  I have this trick that I put my workout clothes on first thing, that way, if a spare 30 minutes open up in my day, I’m ready to go for a run.  I never found that 30 minutes.  I tried, I really did try – it just didn’t happen.

Which brings us to today – the day I really fell off the wagon.  I had greasy tacos for lunch, along with a beer with a friend, had pizza for dinner, drank at least 7 glasses of Coke, shared a swiss cake roll with Jacob.  Nothing to be proud of.  Like I said Samanatha and Agatha are taking some serious victory laps right now.

Two days past one of the most stressful days and I’m still headed down the slippery slope, I don’t feel like I’ve hit bottom – I feel like there is more stress to come – more days like Tuesday, much harder days than Tuesday.  How am I going to push on? How am I going to keep things moving forward? How am I going to reach my goals?



Today has sucked. That is the only way to describe my day.  You know those personal demons that swirl around in your head – usually it is just 1 demon, today they where all out. To quiet them, I’m going to list positive things about me (it isn’t always about getting physically fit, you have to be mentally fit too)

1) I’m a good Mom, I’m not great but I’m solid – I try to be fair but what is really important is I show those two little buggers that I love them.

2) I’m kind, well at least I think I am.

3) I laugh loud, I think this is a good quality; I don’t care if other people think it is not.

4) I’m hyper, I have been my whole life,  it is just part of me. When I was younger I tried my best not to be but as I have aged I have realized that it is ok to be hyper.

5) I give it my all, when I decide to do something I give 110% to it.

I’m just realizing that is a really odd list, so maybe I should put odd on the list. You either get me or you don’t – it is pretty simple.

Samanatha is definitely winning today. All I can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep moving.