Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inches and Pounds

It's been 85 days since I've started using myfitnesspal.com, and I'm still going strong.  My exercising for the past two weeks has been non-existant with being sick and having those dang withdrawals from the Lexapro.  But luckily, my appetite has been less, so I've still managed to lose some weight.  I think getting off the Lexapro has helped a ton too as weight gain is a side effect of anti-depressants.  Here's my progress to date:

13 pounds lost (never again to be found)
10 inches MIA too (no recovery efforts will be made)

I can definitely tell a change in the mirror.  I'm not noticing too much in how my clothes are fitting though.  Somewhat frustrating, but I guess it's good that I'm not forced to go get new clothes just yet.  I would rather save that for when I've lost the 12 more pounds I hope to banish for good. I did have a little victory though....I was able to actually zip my boots up for Sunday, just barely, but it happened.  I couldn't even get the zipper up on them half way last year.  Yay for slightly skinnier legs!

I really feel like I've changed my lifestyle, which is what I was wanting to do.  I am more informed of my caloric intake from food and drinks as well as the benefits of exercise.  (Yesterday's lunch of a fried stuffed avocado...a whopping 1600 calories, doesn't count.)

On another note, I am having a TERRIBLE time falling asleep for the past few days.  I lay in bed for 2-4 hours with my eyes close just waiting to fall asleep.  It is driving me crazy!  Hopefully it will stop ASAP because trying to function on 3-4 hours of sleep night after night is killing me.  Oh well.  Joys of my crazy life.  ;)

Tomorrow is my birthday.  I'll be 29.  Again.  ;)  So get those e-cards ready to send!  :P

Monday, November 28, 2011

IHOP Copycat Pancake Recipe

This is just for Melissa, my pancake-loving friend.  I got this recipe from a copycat book (can't remember the name now), but I have tweaked it a little.  This recipe makes a big batch because I usually freeze the extras for a quick, easy breakfast for the kids.

These are a little fluffier than the Cracker Barrel pancakes I posted about a while ago.  So you can pick which one you prefer.  :)

IHOP Copycat Pancakes

3 c all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
3 c buttermilk (or 3 tsp + 3 c regular milk, let sit for 5 minutes)
2/3 c sugar
2 tsp (heaping) baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c oil
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Mix dry ingredients with whisk.  Add in wet ingredients and mix until all is moistened.  Cook on griddle or pan.  Serve with butter and syrup.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My Thanksgiving Baby

My youngest turns 3 today.  Princess A is a spunky, funny and sweet little girl.  She came with some fire in her blood, so she can keep up with her older siblings.  She doesn't take much from anyone.  Here's a funny video from the other day.  I was in bed watching "Vanity Fair" and she came to tell me that Bubba was being a stinkerbutt.

We are so blessed to have this litte girl in our lives.  We all love her so very much.  She melts all of our hearts.

Two of our November Birthdays

Scary girl!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hunger Games Movie Trailer

Me and book series.  We seem to get along pretty well.  The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is no exception.  LOVED them all!  And what's better....another midnight premier to look forward to!  Woohoo!!!

Here is the 2.5 minute trailer for the movie which comes out in March 2012.  I cannot wait!  Enjoy!

(And yes, this makes post 5 for the day.  At least you have a lot of reading material to distract you from what you should really be doing.  You're welcome.)  ;)

Breaking Dawn Part 1 Premier

(Since I am in bed all day, you get 4 posts today, so make sure to scroll down so you don't miss any). 

I love Twilight.  Maybe a little too much.  But, hey, it works for me, so hush.  :P

One of my favorite things are the midnight premiers of the movies.  For all you critics, yes...the books are WAY better than the movies, but the movies are still fun and give my friends and I a great excuse for a fun girls' night out.  

This time, we had quite a group....I think we ended up with over 20 people total once everyone got there.  The more the merrier!  We had an age range too, which I totally love.  We even had one guy, my friend's oldest son who probably thought he was the smartest guy alive!  ;)

I got a FABULOUS 'do while we waited the 3 hours before the movie started.  Thank you Shelby for making me GORGEOUS!!!  :P

My favorite place for midnight premiers (yes, I go to too many), is Movie Tavern.  They are a full-service restaurant, so you can eat a delicious meal (or enjoy an adult beverage for those not of the mormon persuasion) while you watch, or wait, for your movie.  Love it!  They also have comfy, huge office-style chairs.  They are awesome except for when you squish your friend's finger in between the chairs.  (Sorry Melissa!)  There is lots of room to dance around while you are waiting for that clock to strike midnight, so you can shake your groove thing and make a fool of yourself without a care in the world.

As for the movie, I'm not the best critic to listen to.  Breaking Dawn was my least favorite of the Twilight series.  Yeah, even less than New Moon.  I was in shock the whole time I was reading, so I think that tarnished my feelings for the book.

With all that being said, I think they did a great job on the movie.  It is NOT for a younger audience though....VERY sensual (they are on their honeymoon people!) and a lot of blood.  Emmett & Esme's faces also looked like they were wearing masks almost.  It bugged me the whole time.  I'm a weirdo though.  My biggest complaint is that Jacob only takes his shirt off once in the very beginning.  Meanies!  :P  I'm sure my poor friends that were sitting by me got sick of my side comments throughout the movie.  Sorry gals!  They stayed true to the book and adapted it well.  It was entertaining and all my friends loved it.  I really loved seeing the amazing architecture of the Cullen's home.  Wow!  Can you say "dream house"????  And I loved seeing Stephenie Meyer at the wedding!  That had to have been cool for her.  :)

I'm excited for Part 2 to come out.  It sucks that we have to wait a year for it.  Maybe we'll be surprised and get a summer release.  ;)

Cracker Barrel Pancakes

I love Cracker Barrel pancakes.  They are so delicious!  I frequently crave them (which is terribly naughty when you are watching your calories).  Good thing I'm cheap and won't get them as often as I would like to. ;)

I found a copycat recipe on food.com that is pretty darn close to the real deal.  I'm still not sure how they make them slightly crispy (I've tried greasing the skillet with no luck).  I found this batter a bit thick, so I added some additional milk which did the trick.

Cracker Barrel Pancakes
from Food.com

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour <---- I didn't sift, but just mixed all the dry ingredients with a whisk before adding wet ingredients
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (heaping)
1 TBSP sugar
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk <---- If you don't have buttermilk, you can add 2 tsp of vinegar to 2 c milk and let it sit for a little bit.  

I also added about 1/2 c regular milk to thin down the batter a bit. 

1.   Mix ingredients together.  Be careful to not overmix....only mix until all are wet.  Lumps are okay.
2.  Heat griddle or non-stick pan to medium to medium-high heat.  Grease with a little oil or butter for crispy edge.  <---- This didn't work for me.  Maybe you'll have better luck. ;)
3.  Drop batter in hot pan (1/4c at a time) to make pancakes.  Flip once top is bubbly and edge looks crispy.
4.  Serve with butter and real maple syrup.  <---- This is a MUST for that authentic taste.

I made a double batch and froze a ton.  Yummy quick breakfasts!

(To freeze ANYTHING so it doesn't stick together in a bag, spray cookie sheet with non-stick cooking spray and put pancakes on it, stick it in the freezer for 30-60 minutes.  Once they have frozen a bit, you can put them in a ziploc bag and you won't have one big lump of pancakes).

Two Sickies in an Orange Tree

I originally was going to combine all four posts from today, but I figured they would be better kept separate.

Mr G and I have been the two sickies this week.  Not only have I been dealing with withdrawal symptoms of weaning off Lexapro, but with the allergens at spring-time levels in the air, my allergies (and all the kids) have been insane.  With our big drought this year, we finally have gotten some rain the past month and all the trees are completely confused and are blossoming, and throwing pollen in the air.  AAAACHHOOOO!!!!!!!

Blossoms on one of our orange trees....they smell DIVINE!
We have all been sneezing, and coughing, and getting stuffy.  Mine turned into a sinus infection.  Ugh.  And G-man's turned into a mild case of walking pnemonia.  Double ugh.  Thanks to some meds, we are on the mend.  Everyone else still has their allergy coughs, but I'm hoping it doesn't turn into anything more.  Knock on wood.  ;)

Weaning off Lexapro

It's been a week.  More like a week and a half.  First off, I finished my weaning schedule to get off of my anti-depressant med, Lexapro.  Here's the schedule I used (I was on 10mg of Lexapro) in case you are looking to wean off an SSRI.  Make sure you have a good pill cutter.  ;)

Weeks 1 & 2 - 3/4 of a pill
Weeks 3 & 4 - 1/2 of a pill
Weeks 5 & 6 - 1/4 of a pill

I've been feeling pretty good, but every 2-3 days, I will feel withdrawal symptoms of a tingly tongue and/or lips and equilibrium problems.  I'm trying to wait them out, but if I need relief, I have taken 1/8 of a pill.  It relieves the symptoms fairly quickly.  I am not having any of the heart or chest pain issues I had when I weaned off before.  I know that with coming off any SSRI, there are going to be withdrawal symptoms.  These are minimal compared to what I have gone through before and what I have seen others deal with.

That being said, the equilibrium issue is interfering with daily life.  I am okay as long as I am sitting down, but as soon as I stand up, there better be a wall or something to hold on nearby.  It also makes it hard to think.  It's like my brain has a bad case of the brain farts.  Which is AWESOME when I have tons of tests and assignments.  :/

I'm hoping that with the husband being off for a week and a half, I can really wait it out without having to take that little bit of a pill to curb it so I can drive and actually be a mom.

I am very grateful that this drug exists.  It helped me through a bad post-partum depression.  But it is time for me to feel again.  It is time for me to be free of it.  So if you see me, and I cry for no particular reason, I'm not pregnant or anything....just finally feeling something.  (Hopefully).

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mourning and Motivation

Since I found all my old blog posts from my former blog and imported them, of course, I had to peruse through them.  Sigh.  I feel like I have grown a TON....not only emotionally, but physically as well.  Double sigh.  Yes, I know I have put on weight, but man!  Seeing myself at 8 months pregnant with #4 looking better than I do now SUCKS!!!  I even weigh more now that I did when I was 9 months pregnant.  Triple sigh.  I am totally mourning my hot bod (and my long hair)!

So, yeah....here's me 8 months preg with #4.  She'll be 3 in a couple weeks:

Notice the nice, thin arms and thin face.  That is what I covet the most.  Those two things you can't hide.  Yeah, I'm preg in that pic, so it's not the most accurate comparison.  So here is a non-preg pic of my and my momma in December 2007.

My motivation to lose this weight is renewed.


I have done well...I've lost about 10 pounds.  I don't care about getting down my pre-pregnancy weight.  Frankly, I was a little underweight, and I like some of the curves I've acquired.  So I will strive for skinny & toned arms and hopefully less of a double chin.  ;)

Oldies but goodies

So I found my old blog archive!  I'm working on importing it, so I apologize if this gives you 293 emails/alerts.  I think it will be fun to go through the old posts and see how life has changed.  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Homemade Better than York Peppermint Patties

 I'm not kidding...these are so much better than any peppermint patty you can buy.  I'm salivating just thinking about them.  Everyone in my family LOVED them and we basically fought over them. 

They aren't hard to make, but do take some time.  The ingredients are pretty basic and can be found at any grocery store.

You'll need some wax paper, tooth picks and a few cookie sheets.

This is, of course, another pinterest find.  I did change a few things from her recipe which I have noted.  :)

Peppermint Patties
Adapted from HowSweetEats.com
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1/4 teaspoon vegetable oil 
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract  <--- I completely forgot to add this, but I'm glad I did.  I like the pure peppermint taste.
drop of peppermint extract <---- A drop is NOT enough.  I added about 1 tsp.  Just keep tasting until it is what you want.
 1-2 cups chocolate chips  <---- I used dark chocolate chips.  It was a little too thick and hard to work with for dipping.  See a dipping chocolate recipe below.  :)
In an electric mixer, beat all ingredients except chocolate chips until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and place in the refrigerator or freezer to set. 

Once firm, roll into one inch balls. Place on cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Push down to flatten. Set in freeze for another 60 minutes.  <---- I prefer a smaller patty size, about the size of a quarter.  I also tried making balls, which was just too much because it is so sweet, you can only eat a little bit at a time.

Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler. Remove patties from freezer and dip in chocolate, setting on wax paper. Freeze again until ready to eat.  <---- This is where I would change this the most.  Here's the chocolate dipping recipe:

Chocolate Dipping Recipe

1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips
2 TBS Crisco shortening (do NOT use margarine or butter)

Put in a bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals stirring between each until it is smooth and melted through.
Using a toothpick, stab one of the patties and dip it into the chocolate.  Place back on the wax paper.  Once finished, put the cookie sheet back in the freezer to set chocolate.  Once set, you can put them in a ziploc bag to store them in the freezer.  Any remaining chocolate you have, you can pour out on a cookie sheet of wax paper, freeze and then put in a ziploc to store for your next dipping needs. 

I made a double batch of this recipe.  They lasted about a day and a half in my household of 6.  The given recipe makes a very small batch.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Friends of Convenience

I've been thinking the past few weeks about the nature of relationships and communication.  We have SO many ways we can communicate with people now:

  • phone
  • text
  • email
  • snail mail
  • in person
  • facebook, google +
  • blogs
  • twitter
  • instant messenger
  • online discussion forums
It really blows my mind how easy and how many choices we have.  With all these modes of communication, you think that relationships and communication would be enhanced.  But I don't think this is the case.  I think the ease of communication almost cheapens relationships.  It brings less value to them and we tend to not appreciate them as much.

I'm not saying this is true for all relationships.  I think that these methods of communication can enhance an already established relationship, or start a new one.  But for a relationship to last on those alone is tough.

Many of us spend a lot of time online (I'm guilty as charged), and we "live" in a virtual world.  I think that the adversary can use this against us to minimize the need for actual person to person contact.  He minimizes the need for a body by getting us to believe that living virtually is enough.  It is not.

Living virtually leaves your soul hungry.  It might give you little fixes (aka adult conversations) but they always leave you wanting, needing more.  And if we keep turning to virtual sources for nourishment for our soul, it will never be satisfied.

Now, these are extremes of course.  This is a big reason I got myself off Facebook.  I was starving so to speak.  There was life all around me, but I was wrapped up in the virtual world.  Most people can self-moderate.  I missed that lesson somewhere along the way and lack that skill.

So what does this have to do with friendships of convenience?  Well, I will tell you.  ;)

In the past, you were friends with your neighbors because they were close and convenient.  In today's world, not many of us even know our neighbors.  We meet people at work, at school, online, etc.  Then we "Facebook" them or get their number and text them.  They could live next door or on the other side of the world.  It doesn't matter anymore if they are physically close to you anymore or not.  It doesn't matter if you run in the same circles or not, you can create a new one.

For me, I tend to nourish the relationships in which we have a common form of preferred communication.  It's convenient for me, it's easy.  I don't have to get out of my comfort zone.  So if you are a fan of indirect communication (texting, email, etc), I'm your gal.

This also makes it easier to leave "friends" by the way side.  When I left Facebook, I knew that many of my "friends" would be heard of no more.  That was okay with me.  Not that I didn't care for those friends....I am a friend hoarder afterall.  It was more that I needed to see who wanted and was willing to invest in me with time and effort and vice versa.  It's been interesting to see how the chips have fallen.  Ones that I was worried about losing, I haven't.  Some whom I didn't think would stick around have.  And some that I'm sure would be there have faded into the distance.  I don't think more or less of people either way.  I just find it interesting.  ;)

There are certain people and relationships that I miss.  But what amazes me is how many people say that they miss me being on Facebook.  I think it's my fabulous humor and whit that they miss the most.  ;)

G-man is five!

My one and only boy turns 5 years old today.  This little man is so amazing and quite a challenge for me, but one that I am happy to tackle.

He was the perfect baby for the first year of his life.  Then he learned to walk, and it has all been an obstacle course of learning.

He is NOTHING like my girls.  NOTHING.  This kid can have me about ready to murder him one second (don't worry....figure of speech here people) and then feeling so much love and joy for him the next. 

He is such a passionate boy.  He loves with all his heart, but don't tick him off because he has a temper as well.  There is so much power packed into his little body, it amazes me.  He is so strong!

He is so smart and resourceful.  If he wants to do something, he WILL figure out a way.  We love our G-man!!!!  Happy birthday sweet boy!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Feeling at Church

Today is Sunday.  My body knows this somehow.  And I think it SCREAMS at me to know it too.  Every Sunday, without fail, I am beyond exhausted.  I'm usually tired every other day, but on Sundays, it is a profound exhaustion that overwhelms me.  I think it's because I go, go, go all week long and then my body likes to force me to rest.

Take this morning for example.  I woke up feeling like my entire body had been filled with sand, like a rag doll.  I was SO heavy, I couldn't even move my limbs.  My husband even had to help me to the bathroom for my morning pee.  Yeah, yeah....TMI.  Deal with it.

The rag doll feeling isn't unusual.  It happens usually about once a month or so, and it is always on Sundays.  Doesn't matter if I go to bed early or late.  Doesn't matter if I have taken anything for sleep the night before or not.  Nothing is consistent except the Sunday.

Seeing how exhausted I was, the hubby proceeded to get the kids ready for church and let me stay in my rag doll state in bed.  Normally, I would stay in bed and just let him take the kids on his own.  But I'm trying to change that.  I'm trying to find my feeling ability again.  If you do the same things, you will get the same results.  Fact.  So I had to do something different.

Rag doll Nicole, without ANY type of grace, flung herself out of bed.  It wasn't pretty.  I was all wobbly, almost falling over.  You would have thought that I was on something.  The hub was getting some good laughs out of my fumblings.

I got myself dressed and ready and we went to church.  Granted, we missed Sacrament meeting.  Again.  But we made it.  I was tempted to just sit out in the hall, but I forced myself to head into Sunday School.

In the past, I was probably the top commenter in Sunday School.  I would share thoughts about everything in class.  Lately, I sit in the corner playing on my phone, not saying a word and not even having a thought about the lesson to share.  Today, I was going to listen.  I was going to think about what was being said and taught.

I am so glad that I did.  I actually FELT!  I had tears as I felt the gentle, quiet nudging of the Spirit trying to get my attention.  It was wonderful!  I felt hope.  I felt the need to take some action, to do those Primary answers of praying, reading scriptures, pondering, etc.  I felt the love of my Savior for me.

I need to remember the concept of small and simple things.  I need to stop seeking and expecting HUGE, GIANT things.  That's not how the Lord works (for the most part).  I need to get my butt into gear and stop making excuses.  I need to DO.  I know as I DO, results will come.  I just need to renew my faith in this concept.  I am more than what I have become.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Meatball Soup

This is one of my favorite dishes. It's so yummy and nutritious too!   It can be a quick, easy meal if you already have meatballs premade (or store-bought).  Even the kids and hubby like it.  

 It may look like a complicated recipe, but most of it is for making the meatballs (which you can totally cheat on).


The recipe if from Jessica Seinfeld's (Jerry Seinfeld's wife) cookbook Deceptively Delicious. It's an awesome cookbook!

1 small onion, chopped (i put mine in the food processor to make them really fine to minimize whining from kids)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28-oz can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1/4 c carrot puree
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 c beef or chicken broth
3 slices whole-wheat bread, cubed (i used about 1/2c of oatmeal instead)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/4 c sweet potato puree
1/4 c non-fat skim milk (or milk powder)
2 TBSP grated parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 lb ground turkey or beef

1. In large pot, add 1 tsp olive oil over med-high heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, but not browned, about 3-4 minutes.

2. Puree tomatoes & their juice with the carrot puree in a food processor or blender. Add to pot with 1/2 tsp salt. Add the broth, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, put in the bread (or oatmeal), egg, sweet potato puree, milk, parmesan, 1 tsp salt, pepper & paprika. Let soak until the bread is soft. Stir to break up the bread, add the meat/turkey, and mix until smooth. Form into mini-meatballs 1/2 inch in diameter.

4. Add the meatballs to the pot. Simmer, covered, until the meatballs are no longer pink, 12-15 minutes. Stir in cooked pasta (like bow-ties). Served sprinkled with parmesan.

That is the official recipe. 

Nicole's Notes: I usually use about 2 lbs of ground beef and bake & freeze the remainder of the meatballs. We like it over angel hair pasta and call it "spaghetti soup". I don't use the carrot puree. I used all sweet potato puree. :)

Don't freak out about putting the meatballs in raw.  Everything will "cook out".  It makes the meatballs melt-in-your-mouth tender and yummy.  :)

If you need to make this in a hurry, you can use frozen meatballs....works just as well.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Yep...I'm addicted

Please take note of this day.  I will publicly admit and document something I NEVER in a million years thought I would think, let alone admit.


Yes, this is crazy.  It's insane, but you know what?  It's the truth.  I cannot believe how much BETTER I feel after I exercise.  I crave it.  I long for it.  I know that after I do it, I will feel TONS better....not just physically, but emotionally too.  I can feel the blah coming on when it's been too many days in between workouts.  

Today, I was dying for a workout, but with my crazy schedule and kids still at home, my options were limited.  So I got creative.  I turned on my fancy app on my phone and ran laps in the backyard.  You read right.  

I RAN!!!!   

Well, jogged is more like it.  But I seriously hadn't jogged or done anything remotely that resembled running since my freshman year of high school.  I was determined to run a mile.  It took me about 26 minutes and about 3 breaks, but I did it.  I'm sure it will get easier.  And I need to remember to leave the dog inside when I do it....she thinks it's time to play chase and catch me while I'm running.  ;)  I also see the need for biker shorts.  Gotta love inner thigh chaffing.  :/

Let the Candy Comas Begin

We are not the biggest holiday celebrators in the world for any holiday.  But this year, I actually had a costume (kind of) for the first time in YEARS. 

Yes, this is the only pic you can actually see it.  Yep, be jealous of my INSANE camera phone skills.  ;)  I took it at a friends house and it made me laugh when I noticed all her Mormon Ads behind me as I'm dressed up as a black angel (aka naughty angel).  :D

And as another bonus, you can see my touched up atomic pink highlights.....LOVE THEM!!!!!!! 

The kids were:

K (11 yr old) - A vampire princess
B (9 yr old) - Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place
G (almost 5) - A ninja
A (almost 3) - A princess

We did make up on K this year, like real make up and man....I am in for some trouble once she starts caring about what she looks like.  She has some amazing natural beauty.  I just pray that she won't blossom until she's 18.  ;)  A mom can dream can't she? 

We had our church Trunk or Treat as usual.  And since I was going all out with a costume...okay, a headband.....I figured I should decorate the car as well.  Thanks to pinterest, I found an easy and fun idea......

 Poster board teeth!!!!!  It took 2 poster boards to cover the width of my mom-mobile (suburban).  And I used the pieces that I cut off from doing the top fangs for the bottom teeth. 

I sat inside and told the kid that the monster ate me.  They got a kick out of it.  It was cool because with the tailgate open, the top fangs hung over the kids as they came to trick or treat at our car. 

Of course I didn't get a pic when there was still light out, so you get to see mediocre pics.  But would you expect anything less from this photography genius?  I think not.  ;)

We have a RIDICULOUS amount of candy.  It's not even funny.  Especially when I'm trying to lose a few pounds.  Those mini-sized candies add up FAST.  K even swapped out her trick or treat bag for a pillowcase mid-trick or treating.  She meant business!!!  B was complaining that her knee hurt 10 minutes in and quit.  Wimp.  Overall, it was a fun time.  :)  Now I just have to endure G-man asking everyday how long until the next Halloween.  :/