Straight on Through

Things in my head and now …. not

Monday Mind Dump

I’m still pretty tired from the HUGE weekend but looking back…. it was a pretty good week!

  • Last Tuesday I weighed in and find myself hovering around that 126 – 127 pound mark.  I like that and hope to continue to stay there.
  • I have been working on prepping for the Home Show weekend so spent a lot of time working as I had time with prices and contacts making sure we were all lined up as we should be.
  • Busy BUSY week in our office with taxes and at the Church too with Mark out of town and prepping for a big meeting that was scheduled for tomorrow until we heard the weather forcast and now has been postponed to the 14th of April.
  • Wednesday kind of all buckled in at once where my projects took longer than anticipated and running info to out accountant and purchasing food and supplies for the Home Show – I had to hit the breaks once again and cancel out on small group.  I was just too overwhelmed with commitments.
  • Thursday – Last minute touch ups in office and then right to the Civic Center to set up for the Home Show Concessions.  Everything came together nicely.
  • Friday – a quick stop at Wal-Mart at 7 am and picking up the morning rolls for the show at Cub and at the show by 8 a.m.  I worked the show until 8:30 p.m., Saturday was there 8 am – 7:30 p.m., and Sunday 8 am – 5:45 pm.   See home show recap here
  • Sunday evening was thankful to just be able to veg out and watch Amazing Race with Al.  By 10 p.m. I was shot and went to bed.
  • Monday – ran this morning with working out (that was hard…. I was so tired!)  Met man at house to repair refrigerator thermostat, to Cub to return excess supplies from the weekend, to Church to work on the meeting date changes, home to work on details for our Company ad coming out this coming Sunday, compiling information for my meeting with Colleen (MMBA) on Thursday about Concessions recap, book review prep for our book club, now making dinner and contemplating my next move…… finished The Book Thief this afternoon…. review it here
  • Today also kicked off the YMCA Body Works Challenge.  It is a six week commitment to keep track of your water, vegie and fruits, strength training, cardio, miles, avoidance of sweets, and loss of inches or pounds.  You earn points and every week you have 60 points you are entered into drawings for prizes.  This will be a great motivator for me to keep on track through these next weeks while we wait (and wait) for real Spring…  🙂

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Mind Dump

Home Show Weekend (MMBA)

mmba_logoI think it has been 5 years now that I have helped in the Concessions for the Mid Minnesota Builders Association.  4 years since I started heading it up each year.

This time of year is not a good time for our company, DeChantal Excavating, to have a booth in a show.  We are usually getting into season, and Al is running around doing bids and meeting customers – weekdays and weekends.  So this is how we contribute, I give my weekend each year to this event to raise money for scholarships.

This year we had so much fun – finally after years of working out quantities and what to serve – I feel like we are pretty close to having it down.  I have built great relationships with local places like Robb (Meat Manager at Cub), and Corey, Manager of Domino’s pizza.  They work with me well to provide the right quantities and quality of food for the show at great prices.

I can not even begin to thank all the great volunteers that donate their time in the Concessions but you all know who you are.  I do have to however thank Deb personally who took the time to get great prices at Sam’s Club this year AND hauled back to Brainerd with her so our profits would be greater.  Thank you!!!!!

It was a great weekend of fun people, lots of laughs, cart wheels for tips (hey – it’s for the kids!)…. and just a great team effort that I think, when all is said and done, will have resulted in a great fundraising effort this year with great results.

It is funny, looking back when I first went on this committee, I really was hoping to be in charge of lining up Seminars for this event.  When I was offered Concessions, I was dissapointed.  That was 4 years ago.  Now – I wouldn’t trade it.  I have built great relationships from our little corner of the show and I just love how it all pulls together for a great cause!

March 30, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Home Show Weekend (MMBA)

Monday Mind Dump…

  • Tuesday – St Patrick’s Day!  We had the MMBA Meeting at Radco this evening.  It was fun and I am getting pumped for the upcoming Home Show.
  • Wednesday – Home Show meeting in the morning.  Brainstorming for the concession stand and what to serve this year.  Small group at night… good to be back in the groove finally.
  • Thursday – Hung out with Chance in the late afternoon.  We went to the movie Paul Blart (his pick) and then we went to China Buffet to have great food and chat.  Love that kid!  movie review here
  • Friday – full morning of working out, meeting with Colleen from MMBA to go over supplies needed for Home Show.  Then had lunch at Applebee’s with Nicole and caught up with her!  LONG OVERDUE!  We have already scheduled our next lunch date for next month.  Justin came home tonight from Spring Break!!!
  • Saturday met Jennifer at Cocoa Moon to discuss her Ukraine Mission training.  Then I had my second Belly Dancing Class… I think I did a little better than previous week, but do not see a career in this in the near future…. 😉  Hung out with Al Saturday evening, had a great dinner (made a new gourmet taco recipe) played cribbage and watched a movie.
  • Sunday, Justin hung out with Chance and I went to the Lively’s adoption party where we celebrated the new additions to their family – Shelica and Elijah.  This was fun and a really great get together!
  • Monday (today) – Worked out and planned the Honduras AFE meeting for this evening.  Helped Al in the office in the afternoon.  Meeting went great!  8 people showed up to hear more about Honduras and AFE… Including one of my friends Ruth Hallin.

March 23, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Mind Dump…

What a Week with IHN!

Two weeks ago we had our IHN week.  IHN is Interfaith Hospitality Network and is an incredible program  that assists those who are homeless in getting back on their feet and providing assistance in job location and skills, as well as finding a home.  The success rate of this program is amazing.

The program works by utilizing 13 churches in the area.  The people in the program stay for one week at each of these churches until they are placed in a home.  The churches provide volunteers for meal providing as well as evening hosts and overnight hosts.  During the day, those in the program go to the Day Center where they are given an opportunity to shower, do laundry, apply for jobs, and learn skills.

Tom and Julie Orr are the main Coordinators for The Journey North, and recently Tom had the idea to have Small Groups get involved with the meal making.  The result was overwhelming!  Many people who had never had the opportunity to participate in the program were suddenly able to!  And once you serve in this manner, my guess is, you are hooked.  Not only are you there as a blessing to those who are struggling, but spending time with these amazing people and their children blesses you over and over.

Our next serving dates are May 17 – 24.  If you are interested in helping with meal prep, hosting, staying overnight, providing a dessert or an evening activity – please post here or call the church at 824-5617.

***  IHN is having a benefit Banquet at Lakewood Church on April 5th from 6 – 8 p.m.  Cost is $20 per person and will include dinner and presentation.  If interested in being a part of this great event please contact Bruce at 330-1124 for tickets.

March 16, 2009 Posted by | Devotion in motion | Comments Off on What a Week with IHN!

Monday Mind Dump

  • What a busy week!  I am back in the swing of taking Group Power three times a week again.  group-powerLast Monday I had dinner with Key, Julie, and Sandi at Grizzley’s.  Always a great time and we celebrated Julie’s upcoming birthday!
  • Tuesday weigh in was .6 down from last week.  Still below goal so that’s good.  Tuesday evening was the Bookies Book Review of Firefly Lane.  We met at Bread and Boardwalk and in the snow storm we had 5 of us make it to the review.  See review here
  • Wednesday worked in office all day and our small group was canceled for the evening which was fine with my busy week.
  • Thursday evening I had dinner at Grizzley’s (yup -twice this week!) with my friends Cindy, Heidi and Sarah.
  • Friday caught up on errands, worked out in the morning and went to China Garden with Al Friday evening.   I love that Chinese food!  Brad moved into his new apartment today and he is really excited!
  • Saturday I took a belly dancing class at the YMCA.  Kelly Eades and Deb Borg were both there belly-dancingand I thought it would be fun to try.  I may be too immature for this class.  When we had to shimmy all I could do was laugh (which of course was my weak attempt to cover up the fact that I could not shimmy).  It was fun though and I will probably do it again.
  • Sunday morning Justin left for Cancun…. I’m nervous for him but know this is part of his Journey and we talked about making safe choices.  He will be back on Friday night.  I wouldnt mind if anyone else wanted to add him to their prayer list this week.  🙂

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Just me | 1 Comment

Vegetable Stew

dsc09694Note:  I am no chef…. in fact I really do not enjoy cooking most of the time, but I wish I did!  I think it is a time issue for me and while I admire those who can really create beautiful delicious meals, I usually don’t have the time, skill, or the patience to do it.  However…. once in a while I get a crazy feeling and have the urge to create food….

The following is one of those rare times…


3 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion

Small bag of frozen peas

4 cloves of garlic, smashed

1 Tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon salt

3 Tablespoons flour

1 1/2  pound of *stew meat (browned and cubed)

15 baby carrots

2 parsnips peeled and cut in large chunks

2 large potatoes or 7 small red potatoes, cut into large chunks (I leave the skin on but that is optional)

1 tablespoon vinegar


Sour cream

In a large kettle or dutch over heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onion and garlic and simmer until soft and golden.  Add the paprika and tsp of salt and cook unti the oil turns red.  Add the flour and stir about half a minute and then add 4 cups of cold water while stirring. Add the meat, carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and an additional 1 1/2 tsp. salt.

Bring soup to a boil then cover and turn heat down to a simmer until vegies are tender and broth is thick, about 20 minutes.  Add the vinegar and season to taste.

When serving, put a dollop of sour cream on top of soup, and serve with a warm crusty bread.

dsc09695*You can always change out the stew meat for chicken or turkey, or even a good sausage like kielbasa

You can also mix and match your vegies… in this batch I added two sweet potatoes cubed.  It was actually really good!

March 15, 2009 Posted by | Recipes | 1 Comment

Fitness Fizzle and Food Confessions…..

This is going to be pretty random.

I woke up an hour ago and the plan was to head out to the gym and do a bit of cardio this morning.  I guess I should say the plan IS.  The fact that I have so far wondered the house in my p.j.’s, sorted through a pile of clothes that I am going to donate, made a pot of coffee, sat down and caught up on Facebook and on friends blogs – that’s irrelevant.

I am still going…. I just seem to be in a bit of a fizzle here and having a hard time moving in the direction I should be.  I think I will blame it on last nights trip to China Garden….  MSG hangover?  Or it could be the Breyers ice cream I had last night before bed.  My latest discovery in guiltless snacking, the Double Churn Chocolate Brownie is fat free, 4 grams of fiber, and 12 sugars.  And yes I said Double Churn, not Double Chin.  Not bad…. but you probably shouldn’t sit down and eat it right out of the container either….

While relaxing in my house over a great read today sounds appealing, I know once I get moving I will kick into gear and actually accomplish not only a workout, but a day of tasks that I will be thankful they are completed.  From the above food confession, I really do need to move today.  🙂double-churn

March 14, 2009 Posted by | Insane Moments | Comments Off on Fitness Fizzle and Food Confessions…..

Monday Mind Dump

  • A crazy week of getting back into the norm…. my week started out strong on Monday where I was able to get back into my work out routine and felt full of energy, followed by 5 hours of working on the Honduras Journal and pictures.
  • Tuesday I weighed in at 3 pounds up from my 12 day MIA, which I am thrilled with.  Seriously, if you would have seen what I ate and how much I ate…. I really thought I would have put on close to 10…. seriously….
  • Tuesday also was the start of the “crash”.  As the day went on I slowly went downhill….  to the point that I did not know if I was getting sick or just that tired.
  • I cancelled Wednesday – didn’t work, didn’t do anything.  I stayed home in pajamas until 3 pm.  Played on my lap top from bed and slept most of the day away.
  • Thursday I was good as new, full of energy once again I put in a long day at the office – even made my 6:30 am coffee group!  Thursday evening I spent overnight with Sandi Colbenson at First Pres doing IHN.  What a great family that was in the program.  They received their housing on Friday!
  • Friday after working out it was a catch up day at my home and in the office.  I watched Survivor in the evening as I missed it on Thursday.
  • Saturday worked out a bit and then stayed home most of the day.    Late afternoon I watched The Changeling per my friend Heidi’s request.  Wow.  Really – wow.  Review it here N I C E.
  • Sunday had a great time at Church, worked out and picked up Chance for the day.  We played Wii fit and Bomberman all afternoon.  Super fun!  Chance stayed overnight.
  • Monday I am plugging away at a project for Al, and after my morning Group Power Class feel confident that my weight will be down for tomorrows weigh in.  (At least a little bit).  🙂  Tonight I have dinner with Key, Sandi, and Julie.  That’s always great!

March 9, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Monday Mind Dump

Eat This, Not That!

eat_this_not_thatSeems like I talk about food a lot lately….  or maybe I just think about food a lot….  in October I thought about food choices to take off some unnecessary weight.  More recently I have really started looking into the benefits of what I eat, or lack there of, to make better and healthier choices.  What hopefully is resulting from this is life long good eating habits.

The opportunity lies in the fact that I LOVE food.  The taste of it, the variety, smell… and I LOVE food events – going out to eat, buffets (China Garden is a personal favorite these days!), snacking…..  all of this makes the choices all the more important and so I recently picked up this book, Eat This, Not That! to see how my choices score.

This book is packed with great food choices and compares brands, even the ones who claim themselves healthy or no trans fat and showing better choices for better health benefits.  I really enjoyed going through this book and comparing to the choices that I include daily and weekly in my diet and in some cases I was surprised, in others I was pleased to see I was right on and in yet other choices I felt I had found a better product they had not even listed.

In breakfast choices – I usually stick to a Weight Watchers brand of oatmeal that I pick up at Weight Watchers.  The reason I choose this brand is for the fiber benefits, it is good tasting, and is packaged so all I need to do is add water, microwave and eat.  While my choice did not make the list – packet oatmeal from Quaker ( lower sugar and higher fiber) did.  These are also good and I have these in stock too and you can sometimes find these on sale.  Quaker Express made the bad choice list due to an increase in sugar and Cream of Wheat also hit the bad list due to a lasck of fiber, bran, and germ.

After working out a friend of mine told me she drinks a cup of milk to replenish the calcium she lost during the work out.  I am not a milk drinker.  I choose instead a Yogurt.  There are some nasty tasting Yogurts out there and I have not been a fan of yogurt due to bad memories of bitter after taste yogurts that are nothing like the flavor that is described.  However – I am a big fan of all Fiber One products, so when Fiber One came out with a yogurt that was fat free, 80 calories, and loaded with good fiber and calcium I was interested.  Results?  Delicious!  In great flavors like vanilla, Key Lime, Strawberry, and Peach…. I sometimes have it with a 1/2 cup of Fiber One cottage cheese (so far I can only find this at Cub), and that is a great tasting low fat calcium filled snack.  Weight Watchers also has a tasty Yogurt now sold in stores, however has less fiber.

Interesting enough, neither the Fiber One of Weight Watchers brand made the “Eat This” list.  I think this is due to the fact that these are both new products that may not have been out at the time this book was written.  Dannon Light Peach hit the top of the charts for having 80 calories, no fat, and 11 sugars with 15% calcium.  Worst of the worst was Yoplait Cherry Orchard – loaded with sugar (27 grams!).

Lunch…. I am a big fan of the Bocha burger – and before you wrinkle up your nose and picture shoe leather cut into a circle and placed on a bun…. not all Bochas are created equal.  The vegie Bocha is a bit cardboard like.  My favorite in the flame grilled Bocha – 120 calories, this is a great tasting burger that I actually crave.  With a slice of fat free swiss cheese on a Village Hearth bun (always Village Hearth for bread products!) I have a great main dish.  Recently they have come out with a Bruschetta version (not so great tasting) and a mozzarella and mushroom version (surprisingly tasty!) that both have fewer calories.

According to the book, the Bocha burger did not make the top of the top, although Bocha ground beef and the Bocha sausage links did.  Instead the top burger went to Garden Burger, Black bean chipolte…. 90 calories and 2.5 grams of fat.  I have never tasted one of these so I can not tell you if this is a good product or not.

I was thrilled to see that the La Tortilla factory wrap that I have used for years is the best wrap you can buy.  A large wrap with 12 grams of fiber, and 80 calories this is fantastic with fat free refried beans, or rolled up with two slices of low fat turkey and fat free swiss and heated in the microwave.  Worst wrap goes to the Mission brand wrap which is loaded with refined carbs.

Biggest surprise I found was that the best apple choice is the Red Delcious apple.  USDA researchers have found that this brand has a higher antioxidant capacity than other apples.  I usually eat Braeburn or Honey Crisp but have dialed back to the Red Delicious.

I wont bore you with all my findings in this book.  I found it very interesting and will continue to use it as a source for making good choices.  From good fruits and vegies to bad – meat choices, best fish…. this is a great book.

I will leave you with a few fun snack facts:

Cereal Bars – Top Choices: Fiber One (my fav!) and Nutri Grain fruits and nuts.  Worst choices: Kelloggs Cholcolate dipped Raspberry … 180 calories and a side note that Kelloggs shrinks their bars down to half size .  They are 40% sugar and not a gram of fiber)

Microwave Popcorn – Top Choices: Orville Redenbacker took three of the top spots (surprising for their regular not the smart pop that I always eat) however the #1 microwave popcorn went to Americas Best Butter Flavor ( 40 calories and 1 gram of fat).  I have never even heard of this brand but will need to watch for it!  Worst Choices: Pop Secret Movie Theater  and Kettle Corn (loaded with trans fat!) and Smart Food White Cheddar (5 times more butter than you would use if you made this at home).

Potato Chips:- Top Choices: Hands down, the Baked Lays in all flavors won across the board! ( I am not a potato chip person, but I do like the Baked Lays Barbeque.)  Worst Choices: Ruffles hit the top of the worst saying that if you ironed out the wrinkles you would have a massive chip and loads of fried calories.

Other Chips –  Top Choices: Two of my favorites hit the top, Baked Doritos and the Guiltless Gourmet Chili Lime.  Granted the chili lime chip tastes a bit like flavored cardboard but does have a nice spicy kick to it that I like.  Garden Harvest Vegetable Medley also fared well with 120 calories for 16 chips top ingredient being whole grain wheat! Worst Choices: Tostitos Hint of Lime (I used to love these!) as well as the Multi Grain Tostitos (bummer – I liked these a lot too!) Half the calories of these chips come from vegetable oil.  Yikes!

Candy Bars:  Top Choices: Take Five stays nutrtionally safe because the nugget is replaced with pretzel.  York peppermint patties are also a good choice.  Worst Choices: Snickers bar has as much sugar in it as 3 glazed Krispy Creme donuts (holy cow!!!) Hersheys Milk Chocolate – #1 ingredient in all milk chocolate bars is sugar, and Peanut Butter Twix takes the lead for one of the fattest, oil saturated candy bars on the market.

Ice Cream:  Top Choices: Breyer’s Double Churn Creamy Chocolate (the book says they could not find a lighter ice cream.  Edy’s Slow Churned Rocky Road hit the tops for all brands but especially Rocky Road for the health boost int he real nuts in this ice cream.  Worst Choices: Haggen Daas Chocolate Peanut butter weighs in as the worst choice with a whopping 1,440 calories per pint!  Dove ice cream has no flavors that come in less that 250 calories per serving.

In Ice Cream snacks – surprisingly Weight Watcher products came up in the worst choice section as being low in calories but high in sugar… really high!  Wow… good to know!

March 8, 2009 Posted by | Just me | 1 Comment

Money well spent….

I was thinking today about a little device I purchased about a year ago – my iPOD Shuffle.  In the age of “IPOD” being a big deal with pre teens and up… this is really the lower end IPOD product.

Sure – you get the fancy full size iPOD’s that show music videos, download movies, hold your photos, download books and podcasts….  with 120 GB of storage this little baby does everything…. but it is much more than I need and coming in at a price around $249 dollars – just not a smart purchase for me.

However – my iPOD Shuffle (named “Podette” by me) holds 250 songs, comes in my favorite color purple, and costs $49.96.  For $20 more you can purchase a Shuffle that holds 500 songs, but for this 80’s chick, I have my favorites through the years and after a year am sitting at about 80 songs that make me giddy, but make my son who has over 1433 songs in his iPOD, roll his eyes. (I don’t even think I know that many songs…)

The Shuffle suits me.  I use it for biking, rollerblading, working out at the YMCA, mowing the lawn, and even when cleaning the house (nothing like upbeat jams to get you in a good mood and actually passing the time more quickly)!

A year later – I am still using it 5+ times a week.  It eliminates the need to pull out a cd player and crank it up to top volume in the house and scare everyone else away….  however it does not protect you from embarrasing moments when you think you are alone and you are belting out a favorite tune that only you can hear and someone walks in, points and laughs at you.  Or – in my case, the neighbors tell me when I am mowing the lawn that I should have a trailer behind the mower…

to help me carry a tune.  True story.  🙂ipod-shuffle

March 7, 2009 Posted by | Just me | Comments Off on Money well spent….