Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cozi Time!

The Cozi app is awesome! We appreciate it so much!

I just had to take a few minutes to share an app with you that has literally helped my family in so many ways – I can’t even express the thankfulness for this app.

You all have calendars right?  I did too – I had the monster “MOM” desk calendar that opened all the way up.  It had all of our main appointments on it, as well as some work deadlines, and photography sessions…   For the most part it worked well for me, but we couldn’t seem to stay on track of when my husband had important meetings or even reminders of when things were before they were “BLAM!” that day.

Lots of conversations were had of, “I didn’t know you had that appt…” or “was that even ON the calendar yesterday?”  We were… becoming a BIT disorganized, and things were about to get even crazier this fall.

I will say before 16 little hands and feet were in the mix, I used to be pretty organized and timely…  I actually was KNOWN for being on time.  Ironically, I’m pretty sure I’m known for almost always being late.   But, in my defense – with a few little people working against you on road we call life, sometimes things get a little mixed up in our minds each week.

I subscribe to FLYLADY on Facebook, and she often has great encouragement and suggestions for staying on track in organizing and decluttering your home…  we like to call it “blessing our home”…    This past spring she shared an app for your smart phone called “Cozi” and it has been a HUGE blessing to us!

AND the bonus is … it’s FREE!  Love that!  (You can get the version with no ads for a small fee as well)

So how does this tie into being healthy for Him and staying on track?  Well, along with the calendar part of the app, and the reminders you can set it up with, it has shopping lists, by store – that you can set up to keep you organized as well!  It helps to make sure I’m not missing any produce, or key grocery items whenever I’m in town to pick up a few things.  (Which is often a reason people make POOR decisions, lack of planning ahead!)   You can also email the lists to any other phone or to your computer… and it’s always with you!  Perfect!

Now you don’t need a special app for this, but I often set alarms to remind myself it’s snack time, or to remind myself to plan for dinner that night, or breakfast the next day.  It’s SO great!  Thanks Flylady!

Smart phones are one of the major reasons I love technology!  (The other is internet shopping in the peace and quiet of my home!)  So download the app – let me know what you think, and if you already have it – tell me how you make it work for you!

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit, as surely as haste leads to poverty.” – Proverbs 21:5


Not Perfect, But Progress!

Sometimes I wish that life was in slower motion.  That you could enjoy each day a little more, smell those roses a little longer…

and make EVERYTHING from scratch…

and it didn’t take very long…

and the ingredients were all readily available, home-grown and inexpensive… and …. and…

Am I asking too much?  Maybe so.

That is just simply NOT. my. reality.

How about you?

Now, I don’t want to wish my life away, and I’m so, very thankful for the stage of life I’m in, and where God has placed me with His purpose in mind…  but I sometimes think…

I’d love to make everything from scratch and grow everything out of my garden – but the truth is, that isn’t a priority to us with the lives we lead.

We try to make the best choices we can – with what is available to us.  Better choices… not perfect.

When living a healthy lifestyle, there are going to be times, when you’re busy or on the go…. when you don’t have the options you’d have if you had more time/options available.   Sometimes you’re in your own kitchen but you don’t have time to do things the way you’d like to on any given day during the week or a busy weekend…  because life is busy, and let’s be real – it isn’t perfect!  (I never hear people say how they’re super bored, with nothing to do on any given week – we fill up our schedules – over the top sometimes!)

That’s how it is sometimes with us and breakfast somedays.  We have our standard yogurt, eggs, sausage… and then some carb option.  Sometimes its homemade oatbran muffins.  Other times its Ezekial bread or a whole wheat english muffin or whole wheat monkey bread….

Kashi waffles are delish!

Years ago, we used to have these frozen french toast sticks … they were TERRIBLE for us, and like GLUE in our systems.  White bread, all refined sugar.  Awful, empty calories.

Now, for our syrup treat, we have Kashi waffles and boy do they fit the bill.  Obviously they’re not made from scratch, but they are a great “better” option for our family.  Quick, tasty, and a much better option health-wise.

– Serving size is 2 waffles for 150 calories (watch that syrup – cut up fruit is also a great option!)

– Those two waffles have 25 carbs and 7 grams of fiber – for a net carbs of 18 (this is truly GREAT).

– The sugars are 3 (fantastic – because they sure are yummy for only 3g of sugar!)

– They also have a whopping 590 mg of Omega-3 in them – (bonus).

I’ll spare you the stats on the french toast sticks we used to consume…  we’ll just say we don’t miss those.  At all.

What ways are you finding to make healthier options part of your everyday for your family/self?

 “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in Him!”  – Psalm 34:8


Too Good To Be True?

You’ve heard it before… if it sounds too good to be true – it almost always is.

And yet…

We hope for some magical, awesome tasting goodness that is bottomless, that is 3 net carbs, contains no artificial anything and stays around 100 calories – yes?

Sorry all, it doesn’t exist.  I’ve looked.

My husband and I enjoyed some Orange Leaf yogurt, after our date night this weekend.

The thought of this made me recall the commentary I hear all too often about new frozen yogurt place in our area.  (Similar places are setting up all over the country… maybe you have one near you too!)  Ours is called Orange Leaf.  It sells yogurt that YOU dispense into a bowl, or a waffle bowl, or.. if you’re really feeling wacky – onto a brownie (although I don’t recommend this, I hear it turns the brownie into a frozen ROCK,  not to mention it throws out the “fat free” theory further out the window).

So you take your bowl of whatever flavor is your favorite (choose from about zillion combinations) and then scoop on whatever toppings you wish until you can no longer see anything resembling the ice-cream in your bowl.  (Give or take a spoonful!)

You get the concept?

Thankfully, because God opened my eyes to schemes like this one, I go in – fully aware of what I’m doing.  (Sure, I’ve filled my bowl too full on occasion, it’s very easy to over-estimate your smallish amount – but I’m sure to work that off too because I can calculate what that is going to do in my system.  Remember: Calories in, calories OUT!)

So I see the “7 carbs per ounce”, and I don’t immediately think, “This is good for me.”   I do the math that a 6-7 ounce dish is going to be 42-49 carbs, and about 300-400 calories, depending on what I’m putting on there.  Not quite as healthy as you were thinking huh?  (Especially considering their totals are for the yogurt ONLY).

What is the first thing I hear MOST people say about this place?  Usually something like,  “Oh, it’s so great … because it’s FAT FREE, so it’s guilt free.”

First of all, not all yogurt is fat-free, and as we know – this is a marketing scheme and doesn’t mean good things, and it doesn’t mean that it’s harmless.  It should make you wonder what IS in it if it’s FREE of other things?  Secondly… that’s an easy way to get into BIG TROUBLE over consuming calories very quickly.

Maybe you didn’t want to read that… (we prefer NOT know – right?) 🙂  But the truth is… you need to be aware for the sake of being healthy for Him, and taking care of your body.  There is a reason why you don’t feel FULL when you consume it… it’s empty carbs, and it should be treated as a dessert or special TREAT.

Did I mention I’m thankful I don’t live closer to it?

Pray for opportunities to lovingly share with others about the myths out there you used to believe before God opened your mind to the Truth about your health.  As Mark Hall said at the Casting Crowns concert this summer,  we are the BODY of Christ – not the audience.  We don’t learn things to “sit back” and only soak in.  We need to encourage others, and spread the message of what He’s done for us! 🙂  (Don’t be hurt if people don’t immediately feel convicted that being healthy is for them.  Just plant the seed and let God do His best work.  In His time, for His glory alone.)

“Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me”. – Matthew 25:45


We Were Made to Be…


Most everyone has probably heard about the “Courageous” movie coming out Sept. 30th.  A Christian movie, to encourage fathers to step up to the role God intended – leading families, loving their wives… as Christ loved the church.   (If not, click link – it’s going to be great!) 

I’ve seen some trailers, and the opening scene… and I have to say it’s evoked a lot of emotions already.  I can’t wait to see the complete movie, hopefully – with my husband in the REAL theater!

Casting Crowns, a Christian music group that we love, wrote the title soundtrack to the movie … and it’s been played often on the Christian radio station – so that the words and tune are often played in my mind…  Okay, there IS a point to this blathering on…

Well, two days ago when I woke up – I woke up to that song!  It wasn’t in my phone … or synced into my radio alarm…

It was playing in my head.   I love it when that happens – don’t you?

You know, that whole “top of the mind awareness” thing?  It’s obviously how our brain works!

It was an amazing thing, and a perfect way to wake up – and GET MOVING… Being reminded of the message that God wants us to all things for Him, and to never give up the fight that is our life on earth.

That said…

On the contrary, when we put in negative messages, and untruths… either from our past, or just created in our own minds – THOSE can replay too…

Over. and Over. Annnnnd Over again.

I was thinking about all of the negative things we can put in our minds… the ways we let Satan tell us lies, and we repeat them to ourselves… poisoning our brains, and relationships.

See where I’m going with this??

I thought I’d be a great time to check in and see how your Truth pack is going?  Did you give up on it?  Did you stop being faithful in writing down God’s Truths to replay to yourself?  Those positive, TRUTHS – are the messages our mind and heart need to fill up with each day.  They are the reasons for us to stay on the narrow path, to the narrow gate – and continue striving to be healthy for Him!!

So… no guilt trips.  If you dropped off, or never started – NOW is the time.  All you have to do is make an effort this next week to get caught up, or get started with writing down some of the Scriptures I’ve shared in this blog, or others that speak to your heart specifically.  Post them around your house where you’d see them most… where you sit when you eat, or where you exercise.

“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart,’ that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;  for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.  For the Scripture says, ‘whoever believes in him will not be disappointed.’ “ (Romans 10:8-11)

Works Like A Charm…


Picture from hendrik-devilliers blogspot.


Ahhhhh chhhhooooo!

Awesome!  Another season… can mean another season of allergies for some of us.  I’m not sure when my body decided I was going to have allergies again… but I had them until about age 11 or 12 and then nada until I turned about 30.  I blame it on my move from Iowa (in my youth) to Kansas (after marriage) because I did have one season of allergies when I moved here, but it was short-lived to one season.  At any rate…

The itchy eyes and heavy head makes me FEEL like hunkering down into my bed and SLEEPING.  BUT…  that isn’t going to help me –  honestly, taking a nap like that mid-day… just makes me feel really rotten, and crabby!

So, for the sake of my children, and husband – I try to avoid naps!  (Yes, it’s THAT bad).

So yesterday was the day… it hit me like a freight train!  The sneezing fits, and watery eyes, itchy throat – it resembles a head cold… YUCK.

But, from my experience… I’ve learned the BEST remedy is the one God made.  Drinking lots of water, and working out.  It works like a charm!

Oh sure, it’s the last on my mind too – but it REALLY does help.  I had more energy, and my head felt more clear than it had all day – during, and afterwards.

Yes, it completely works!

So – if you feel a  head cold or allergies coming on – honestly – grab your Emergen-c and get to movin’!   Ignore your “feelings” of a pity-party and draw some strength from God!

(I hear you moaning!!)  Honestly – just try it!  You’ll be so glad you did!!

** The only exception to working out when feeling ill is obviously the stomach flu, fever and chest colds.  Your body needs to rest if the ailment is below the neck.  If it’s above and you’re fever free – it might just be in your head. 🙂   Sweat it out!

“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.  It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.”  Titus 2:11-12


Ahhhh… Fall!

M & M cookies are some of our favorites!

That brisk chill in the air feels fantastic, after a long… what felt like NEVER ENDING, summer.

Fall for me, makes me thinking of our busy season with work, warmer clothes, and yummy food.

Why the food Sara? Why the food???

Well… in my defense, isn’t it true?  I think we often associate ‘warm fuzzy feelings’ with food … comfort… security… and love.  Obviously it starts at birth with a mother nursing a child, and comforting the child with food.

BUT NOW… we don’t have to comfort ourselves with food – because we’re no longer babies.  Correct?

So, as we approach this season of food…errr, I mean, FALL…  Consider ways you can make some of your old “favorite” recipes, healthier.  Play around with things, and most often, you’ll find it’s pretty easy – and worth the effort.

Two of the things we have done changes to is the cookie recipe I grew up on, and the muffins I often make for the kids.  It’s pretty easy to add in flax-seed, oatmeal, wheat germ, and things like that to boost the nutrition… and it’s also easy to eliminate refined sugar, and white flour.  So go for it, and let me know what you’ve done to make some healthier for Him choices!!

Here’s one of my favorites… chocolate chip cookies!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – the healthier way (warning, this is a double batch)

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup butter

2/3 cup agave

1/2 cup sucanot

2 1/2 cups whole wheat/white flour

1/2 pkg. dark chocolate chips or dark M & Ms

*** Mix dry ingredients, cream butter with agave and sucanot

Add eggs and vanilla

Mix in choc. chips

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes.

***  Remember cookies are TREATS.  You don’t need to eat desserts daily, and you don’t die or starve if you don’t. 🙂  When you’re hungry – drink water, brush your teeth… or exercise if you know your body isn’t truly needing to eat.  Then revisit the thought a bit later, when you’re “for sure” needing to eat.  I try to also keep pre-portioned dark chocolate squares around, they help conquer that sweet need without making me feel tempted to spiral out of control!

“Behold, I will bring it healthy and healing; I will heal them and reveal to them the abundance of peace and truth.” – Jeremiah 33:6

Excuses! Excuses!!!

It’s too late!

I don’t have enough time!

It’s too early!

The kids are sick!

The DVD player isn’t working right!!!!

I don’t feel like it!

We all have them – excuses.  We can always come up with some great excuse on why we don’t want to work out.  But that doesn’t make them valid, or excusable.

My favorite one used to be the time factor one, before I reprioritized my life around working out once a day.  It didn’t have to be for an hour, it didn’t have to look the same everyday – but making purposeful movement was the goal… and God allowed me to make that happen when I set my eyes on Him.

Sure I still have days I really would just like to sit, and sometimes I do (we all need a day of rest sometimes!) … but God fills me with a craving that next day to get after it harder than before!  (Thanks be to Him!)

This week my husband is working more than normal, so caring for feverish and vomiting children has been a bit more challenging.  It would be easy to say “forget it” on the working out… the thought HAS crossed my mind…

If only… God didn’t have ahold of my heart.

You see, when I look to Him for my strength, I’m reminded of how much worse other people might have it… how I have a lot to be grateful for, and it gives me the perspective I need to press on.  (…and it keeps me from falling into a pity-party trap!)  I’m reminded I have two legs, I’m healthy, and I’m alive.  I really don’t need more reason than that – but there are countless others!!

So even though it took me 45 minutes to get my sound to work on my TV last night, and I didn’t get started until 10:30pm – I was SO glad I could move, and did!  (Not to mention I was excited to try out a new workout DVD!)  But I didn’t get frustrated – I knew if the DVD play wasn’t working I could walk, or do hand weights … or SOMETHING.  I could MOVE!  That commitment keeps me going when I’d like to give up… just like in parenting, our marriages etc.  If we keep moving, even when we don’t “feel” like it – we are SO glad we put in the effort!

Jillian's new "Killer Buns & Thighs" - I tried out level II and it was great!

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord,  who made heaven and earth.”  – Psalm 121:1-2

For the Love of… BROWNIES!

My favorite type of brownie - mixed with a cookie! What's not to like about that? Plenty when it comes to your health!

Yum.  I love a good brownie.  I used to REALLY like a good brownie to the tune of TOO many brownies for any one person at any given time period.  I seemed to not know when enough was enough.

Oh I’m sure I *knew* when enough was…  but at the rate I “enjoyed” them – I never really did know how many I had.  Maybe if I didn’t keep track, I wouldn’t feel so badly?

Maybe I lied to myself.

I was talking with another friend who is working on getting healthy for Him, and she shared with me a similar struggle.

“I can’t stop eating the brownies if they’re in my house,” she said.

“I totally get that…,” I said.

“No seriously Sara, I just could eat 3 or 4 brownies throughout the day and not even bat an eye…,” she said.

“Yes, REALLY… I used to do that too,” I said.

It’s something I was embarassed about before… but now the thought of it?  It honestly makes me SICK.  What was I thinking?

I read how sugar just makes you crave MORE sugar, and what it does to your system… and I think… Why was I poisoning myself day after day… and what did I think I was accomplishing hiding in food like that?

I think I thought I really liked brownies, I guess?  I think I thought I couldn’t say no…  or couldn’t stop.  Maybe I just didn’t WANT to stop.

At any rate, hopefully my friend felt encouraged by hearing me say I struggled too.  She can now see, I no longer battle that addiction.  I was glad that God had humbled me to share that I had sadly, done the same thing.

With all of that said… I had to share that a plate of brownies…  one of my FAVORITE kinds:  Peanut Butter Cookie/Brownies, has SAT on my counter since Sunday and I haven’t had one!  (Nor have I cared to!)

THAT. is amazing.

God has brought me so far.  Thank you God!!

So what is it for you?  Do you have any hidden foods or calories you like to eat in secret, thinking no one else sees?

Pray for Him to remove desires you struggle with.   If it’s the beginning of your transformation – sometimes removing them from your physical self (as you get stronger) is a better idea.  Sometimes the temptation is too much!

“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.  No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”  – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

No more Fries???

If fries are your vice,  I’m really sorry… because they’re REALLY not good for you.

Nothing earth shattering there.

BUT… there is some good news.  There are other, more healthy options.

Is it possible?  Well, a fry is probably STILL a fry… BUT… you can actually get SOME nutrition and avoid the artery clogging ones!

Thankfully our family loves all things sweet potato!  We enjoy baked sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato tator-tots, sweet potato chips (of course!) AND…. sweet potato fries.  I’ve even swapped out “tortilla chips” for sweet potato chips around these parts… taste-wise, the difference is actually IMPROVED and the nutrition is for sure.

It’s amazing how things that are good for you, actually TASTE great when you realize what the other garbage you were consuming does to your system!  Thank you God for the mind transformation of the Truth!

So let’s look at this label, and see what good things there are to see….

140 calories for 12 pieces = 1 serving.  Not bad…

24 grams of carb with 3 grams of fiber for a net carb of 21 grams…  Not too shabby.

The sugar is under 10 per serving – BONUS (always look for this)!

PLUS it has 70% of your vitamin A!  Fantastic!  So… if you’re craving fries… these are the ones to say yes to.  They’re baked, and a much better choice.  I’m not going to say ALL sweet potato fries are good for you… because obviously not all are created equal.  The ones we sampled at the Iowa State Fair… probably weren’t the best option. (But they were tasty for a once a year treat!)  Some are cooked differently, and not salted with sea salt… etc, etc.  But this brand has been a hit with our family.

I’ve found these at our local stores in the regular freezer section, or in the organic freezer section, and now Wal-Mart even carries them – YES!

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit? “- 1 Corinthians 4:20-21

Song, Song of the South…

Yummo! Sweet potato fries! More on this yummy-goodness later this week!

Sweet potato fries and a shut my mouth!

Oh wait, that’s not how that song goes.  Maybe I shouldn’t be singing on a Monday…  But I’m not one to grumble based on the day of the week.

Each day is a GIFT.

It’s not just a saying in a nice greeting card, it’s true.  EACH DAY we have breath – is a gift, from God.

Do we treat it as that?

Acts 17:24-28, talks about how God is not served by human hands, about how he doesn’t NEED anything from us… because He alone can give us breath, and life, and everything we have or will have.  The timing, the purpose, the placement of YOU – is all designed.  It talks about putting us exactly where we are for His purpose and glory – so that we might seek Him.  Then at the end of those verses it says, “for in Him we live and move and have our being….” (emphasis mine).

I’ve been reminded a lot lately of our mortality.  It seems the people I hear of with cancer are younger and younger… from the most rare to the most common types.  It serves as a reminder to pray for others, to serve others, and to also… take care of the gifts WE are blessed with – in our health.  To be educated about what we put in our systems, and that of our children… to do the very best we can, instead of settling for good enough.  We shouldn’t live in fear – as our “best life” isn’t NOW (as some want you to believe)…  but we need to fulfill our responsibility, in obedience to Him, as we are called.

We are not guaranteed the next day, the next hour… the next minute.  So shouldn’t use the most of our time on earth?  Let’s move for God and for those who can’t and be an encouragement for those who WANT to move but don’t know where to start… count each blessing and take our GIFT and use it, as we were designed – to bring Him glory!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13-14

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