Monday, December 30, 2013

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

Looking Back, Looking Ahead

We have arrived at the end of one year and the beginning of a new year. This is my favorite time to take inventory of where I am and where I am headed. So first, let me review the goals I had set out for last year and then examine the things I'd like to attain in the new year. Quoting from the Dave Ramsey devotional "The late Zig Ziglar used to say, 'If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time.' I've always liked that quote because it's a great reminder about the importance of planning. You can settle for breezing through life with no plan, but you'll end up going nowhere. Anything of substance in life requires some careful thought ahead of time." I do like making plans and lists!

Run the Donna and the Gate RR. As I said in my mid-year checkin, I completed both. I did not beat my Gate PR but I did beat my marathon PR by about 10 minutes. I am now training for the Disney half which is in two weeks. I'm hoping that the grueling track workouts I've been enduring will pay off in a faster time. I ended up not joining the Galloway group, but my long runs have been the Galloway method. We shall see. My running pal, Kim, agreed to train with me. She is running the Donna in a few weeks. My other running partner, Lisa, runs with me mid week. It's so nice to have partners that help pass the time and hold me accountable!
Strength train. I have been consistent with the YMCA on Tuesdays and Thursdays, thanks to Lisa. We added monthly challenges, beginning with a squat and ab challenge, adding in push-ups and arms. I'm happy that Kim will be joining the Y as well!
Log food and water. I found a book called Trim, Healthy Mama that I began following in May. (It's a low-glycemic way of eating.) The BEST thing about this way of eating is that there's NO TRACKING! I made it to my goal weight and even lost a bit more for a total of 14  lbs. I am now within a healthy weight and BMI. I'm thrilled with the results! 

Keep up with YouVersion's Daily Reading Plan. I finished
the Rick Warren's YouVersion plan on Christmas Eve! It was a great devotional. I really like him. He's so practical! I wish Andy Stanley had one for 365 days!
Finish reading through the New Testament this year. Completed!
Read 4 Spiritual Books. I finished  Mark Buchanan's Things Unseen and In Plain Sight. I did not read Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert or Mark Buchanan's The Holy Wild. I finished Priscilla Shirer's Gideon Bible study which I began during the summer with a group of friends, and completed in the fall with Kim. 
Meet with young married (with children) couples group. This completely fell through, however, we did help out with the marriage retreat in October and have started meeting with one couple and will host a small group in January.
Meet with my mentor. We have been consistently meeting. Love our times together! I'm telling ya, everyone needs a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy!

Blog. Nope. Really, really failed at the "2 posts per month" goal. So much for being doable. 
Pursue hobbies. Um kinda. I did quite a bit over the summer but then school started and did nothing for a while until Christmas break.
Scripture memory with Timothy and Annie. Yeah, another one I'm slipping on. Gonna get cracking on this one too.

So I didn't nail every single goal, but I did pretty well! I accomplished more than I would have had I not set any! Now for this year's...

Run the Disney half marathon and PR at the Gate RR.  The Disney half is in two weeks and I'm feeling good. As long as I don't get sick or injured I should be able to hit my goal of 2:17. To think that there are people who can run a FULL marathon in that time...
Run a 5K in sub 30 mins. Since I have been trying to get faster, I want to see what I can do in a short race.
Strength train. Keep it up at the Y and add monthly challenges back in. Might try Ballet Beautiful or another video workout that escapes me.
Get to 25% body fat. Since finding Trim, Healthy Mama and reaching a weight I haven't seen in more than two decades, I began thinking that it might just be possible! If not quite that low than at least as close as I can get to that.
Climb Mt. LeConte (again). Our climbing friend, Phil, visited us over Christmas and his stories have inspired me to climb. Michael and I climbed this third highest peak in the Smokey Mountains before we had kids. This time I want to do it with kids. The cool thing is that there's a lodge at the top that you spend the night in. This time I know to bring an extra blanket.

Read through the Jewish NT with commentary. I finished reading the NT last year using The Message translation. This year I want to read through it using David Stern's translation and commentary.
Read 4 Spiritual Books. Since I fell short of my goal, I will add the two I didn't read, Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert and Mark Buchanan's The Holy Wild, to my list plus Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist and  Priscilla Shirer's God Is Able which I hope to read with some friends. Oh I also want to read The Reason For God by Tim Keller.
Meet with married couples.  Since helping out with the marriage retreat, we have started meeting with one couple and will host a small group in January. We have found our passion and a new ministry we can do together!
Meet with my mentor. We have been consistently meeting. Love our times together! I'm telling ya, everyone needs a Paul, a Barnabas and a Timothy!
Lead a Women's Tea. I had an idea to have a ladie's gathering, in place of a retreat, and do it at the church. I have an idea for a theme and I'm excited about it! Now I just need to get cracking on organizing it.

Blog. Okay, seriously now. I recently got an iPad and blogger now has an app so I'm trying this again. Third time's a charm, right? Two posts per month. I CAN do this!
Photography. We bought a Cannon Rebel T3. Annie has been taking a photography class at co-op and I've signed up to be the assistant. Last semester we learned with a point and shoot camera and I learned how to shoot reflection, silhouette, rule of thirds, framing, point-of-view and other types and techniques. Next semester we learn how to use our DSLR! 
St. Augustine in 2014. We like to go to St. Augustine at Christmas time and see the lights. While walking around we decided it would be fun to have a supper club type of group experience and try new places to eat. So with that in mind we will have monthly visits to the oldest city, exploring sites and restaurants.
Scripture memory with Timothy and Annie. Yeah, committing to doing better on this. 
Go to Italy. We are IN! Got our tickets already! Planning now on what to see, where to go and stay within our budget. 

And that's it! Seems like a lot once I write it all out. But I'm excited to tackle these goals, especially now that I will no longer be working as a Sonlight Advisor. I'll have time to fill, right? <insert maniacal laughter here> 

Actually, the biggest goal of all is...

Follow God's lead. I'm sure The Lord will place something in my life that I cannot foresee or plan for. I will follow where he leads and drop any of these plans that are not of Him. 

Here's to a productive 2014! Le Chaim! Salute!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

No-fat granola (THM - E)

One thing that I've missed on my THM plan is my homemade granola. I don't really care for oatmeal (okay, I'll be honest. I don't ever eat it.) but I do like oats in the form of granola, bars and cookies. I looked around as to how I could remake my granola recipe to be THM friendly. As it is right now, it's in crossover territory because it mixes carbs (the oats) with fats (the nuts). The book has a recipe for an all-nut granola, making it an S but I really wanted an all-oat granola, making it an E. The problem, besides eliminating the nuts, was eliminating the oil. Although I have reduced the amount of oil in the original recipe, it still has quite a bit of oil in my granola recipe. I needed to find a way for the sweetener to bind with the oats. I decided to try egg whites. That would keep it in E territory and add some much-needed protein to the recipe! (I eat it with 0% fat Greek yogurt for even more protein.)

Here's the recipe, in the rough. I plan on tweaking it some more but it wasn't bad for the first go round. I think it could stand to be a little sweeter and I might consider adding a teaspoon or two of coconut oil next time to help make it more "wet". I'd have to run the numbers to see how that would affect the fat grams. Gotta stay under 5 grams of fat to keep it an E!

No Fat Granola (E)

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
2 tablespoons nnsweetened coconut flakes
1 egg white (was a little dry, will try 2 next time)
1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons truvia
dash of Kal stevia extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Spray a baking pan with Pam. Mix first two ingredients together. Mix egg white through vanilla extract in a bowl. Pour over dry mix. Spread out in a pan and bake, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 mins.

Serving size: 1/2 cup

173 calories, 30 gr carbs, 4 gr fat, 7 gr protein.
With two egg whites: 179 calories, 30 gr carbs, 4 gr fat, 8 gr protein.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Years ago, I ran out of pumpkin pie spice. I took a peek at the ingredients list and realized I already had everything in my pantry. So I had an idea! I could make my own!

I found a recipe for pumpkin pie in a cookbook that didn't call for pumpkin pie spice. Rather, it had all the separate spices listed. I used that for my ratios, increased them and voila'! I had created my own spice mixture!

Below is the recipe in case you want to create your own! I like to add several dashes to my coffee grounds in the morning to make a tasty (not artificial) latte in the mornings!

(photo credit Anna DelCharco)

Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 T cinnamon
1T ginger
1T allspice
1/2 t cloves

Mix well. Store in a cute jar. Because that's just fun! Don't forget to label it!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

What I had for lunch (THM)

Roast Beef with veggies on a pita
Today I had a FP lunch. It was "fried" roast beef slices on a Joseph's pita with spring mix, onions, peppers, tomatoes and cilantro. These are the ingredients I used:
First I sprayed a little Pam on a non-stick skillet and sauteed the roast beef slices.
Until they were nice and browned. I like my roast beef crispy, not pink.
I laid those meat slices on top of my Joseph's pita. I was going to spread some laughing cow cheese on it but ended up changing my mind. You could though. It's allowed. Or a tiny sprinkle of low-fat mozzarella.

Then I chopped up half a small green pepper and an onion.
And sauteed them in the wetness of the pan. You can do another Pam spray if you want but I didn't need to.
Add a generous handful of spring mix or lettuce.
Then top that with your sauteed veggies, a chopped campari tomato, a sprinkling of cilantro and a few shakes of salt. 
I enjoyed my delicious lunch!

Trim Healthy Mama (it works!)

Back in March I learned about Trim Healthy Mama (THM) from a friend. She shared Gwen's book review and her quick start guide with me. I ordered my book, read over the quick start guide and began learning how to separate my fats and carbs. By April I was getting a hang of the lingo, the process and the special foods. May 1st was my official start date.
Here I am with my friend (and exercise partner) the week I started. We were working a convention together.

Three weeks ago I hit my goal of losing 10 pounds. That doesn't sound like much, you say. Well, they were 10 pounds that wouldn't budge, no matter how much I tried, how diligent I was at logging calories consumed and calories burned on My Fitness Pal, no matter how many miles I ran training for the Breast Cancer Marathon.

I am 5'1" and it doesn't take much for 10 pounds to show up and throw me from a BMI of normal to overweight. My goal was to get in the normal range. Barely. Just barely over the mark. Well, I made it and have been there for 3 weeks now. My new goal is to get more in the middle of that normal range.

With my darling husband last month (he's also lost 10 pounds loosely following THM).

I am told you can see it in my face. I've always had a round face so I can't really see it. But I can tell in my clothes. I've had to go shopping because my pants were falling down and I had to wear a belt with them. Plus they were bagging and weren't flattering at all. I've discovered thrifting as a new "hobby" since I didn't want to spend too much (Would I really keep it off? What if I keep losing sizes?) It's been fun finding brand name clothes for CHEAP in sizes I haven't seen in over a decade. (That necklace in the picture above came from Goodwill for $3!)
What I like about this way of eating is there's NO COUNTING! No counting calories or Weight Watcher points. I had grown so weary of counting that it sabotaged my efforts on days I couldn't figure out how to count what I ate. And the food is REAL food! Not "diet food." (You are allowed, indeed *encouraged*, to eat fat!!)

I warn you, there IS a learning curve. You WILL mess up! It's okay! Just learn from it and move on. Every little bit you do right counts towards forward progress. Just DO THE NEXT RIGHT THING! And when you hit a plateau (and you will) don't lose heart! Keep at it. I think it's your body readjusting and shifting things around.

May you be blessed by health and joy in life. I am so thankful for both.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Monthly challenges

My workout partner, Lisa, and I have been doing monthly workout challenges that we've found on Pinterest or on Shrinking Jeans. Last month we ended up not liking the challenges that we had found so we ended up not doing them. So I decided to create my own. Would you like to join us? Here it is!

August 2013 Challenge by Sheila DelCharco

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Resolution Mid-year Check In

We are more than halfway through the year so I thought I would do a little check-in to see how I'm doing. Maybe you'll be inspired to do the same with your resolutions.

Run the Donna and the Gate RR. I completed both. I did not beat my Gate PR but I did beat my marathon PR by about 10 minutes. I have signed up for the Disney half in 2014 and I've started track workouts on Wednesday mornings to drop my times. Although it's a HARD workout, it seems to be working. My new goal is to run a sub-30 min 5K. I haven't decided yet if I'll join the Galloway group again. We shall see. It was a great experience running with friends and running injury free but my running pal, Kim, isn't going to and I'm not sure I want to do it without her.
Strength train. I've been pretty consistent going to the YMCA on Tuesdays and Thursdays. My friend, Lisa, and I did another round of working out with a trainer. We also added monthly challenges, beginning with a squat and ab challenge, adding in push-ups and arms.
Log food and water. I found a book called Trim, Healthy Mama that I began following in May. (It's a low-glycemic way of eating.) The BEST thing about this way of eating is that there's NO TRACKING! So far I've lost approximately 8 lbs and am within a few lbs of a healthy weight. I'm still not good about drinking water but I feel good about my health and I hope by the end of the year I will have lost all the weight and will have kept it off.

Keep up with YouVersion's Daily Reading Plan. I'm only a little behind on the Rick Warren's YouVersion plan from when we went to the Bahamas and we had no internet. I really like him. Now if I can just keep up with it for 365 days. I did finish the 21 day Made to Crave 
Finish reading through the New Testament this  year. Starting with 2 Corinthians, I'm up to Peter. I will keep at it.
Read 4 Spiritual Books. I finished  Mark Buchanan's Things Unseen and am currently reading In Plain Sight. I still have Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert  Mark Buchanan's The Holy Wild. I am also working on Priscilla Shirer's Gideon Bible study this summer with a group of friends.  
Meet with young married (with children) couples group. This completely fell through. Not really sure why. I suspect that these families are just busy, busy, busy. I understand. I was there once too. (Well, still am really!)
Meet with my mentor. We have been consistently meeting. This summer has been busy and we haven't met in a while, but soon. Very soon.

Blog. Nope. Really, really failing at the "2 posts per month" goal. So much for being doable. Starting NOW, I'll climb back on that wagon.
Pursue hobbies. Um kinda. These last two days I completed 6 projects. But before that I hadn't done much.
Scripture memory with Timothy and Annie. Yeah, another one I'm slipping on. Gonna get cracking on this one too. I'm so glad I did a mid-year check in! 

What about you? Have you kept up with resolutions? If not, it's not too late! You still have half a year left (I like to round off; ask my kids!)

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coconut Chicken Curry

I had a taste for curry tonight. Coconut curry to be exact. But my favorite recipe site didn't have what I was looking for. I didn't have any curry paste on hand, only powder. So I went searching. I ended up blending this recipe with this one and came up with my own. Here it is if you want to give it a try. I don't want to forget what I did so I'm going to Pin It in order to be able to make it again! Below is the recipe, the way I made it.


Olive oil (about 1 T)
1/2 onion, chopped
1-2 cups cauliflower florets
2 T grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, pressed through a garlic press
1-2 thai chilis or 1 large pinch cayenne pepper
2 t cumin seed
1T curry powder
2 tomatoes, chopped (can use canned with some juice)
green, red or yellow pepper, diced
1/4 - 1/2 cup water (depending on how juicy the tomatoes are)
salt to taste
1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken, cut into 1/4 in cubes
1/2 can (14 oz) coconut milk
2 T sugar

1. Heat oil in a 12 in skillet.

2. Add onion, garlic, ginger and chilis. Cook until it begins to brown, about 5 mins.
3. Add cumin seed and curry. Stir to combine, 30 seconds.

4. Add cauliflower and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly about 1 min.
5. Add chopped tomatoes with juice, water, salt and peppers.
At this point, I decided to cook the chicken in a separate skillet as I wanted to brown it first and not just boil it in the sauce. Then I added the cooked chicken to the pan with the veggies. After a few minutes I added the 1/2 can of coconut milk and sugar and let it simmer on very low until the rice was finished cooking.

I served it over jasmine rice. This would be great with some cilantro, but since I didn't have any I had to leave it out. It's still very yummy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


The new year is slipping past and I haven't made my goals for this year official yet! Part of setting new goals is reviewing old ones. In looking over my list from last year, I find that, as usual, I did some things well and others not as, complete as I'd hoped. As I've said before, we are creatures who are always growing, always improving, and since I am still a work-in-progress, so I must progress in the work I have set before me. Here are last year's goals and how I did with them.


Get fixed. I had been complaining of a hurt left shoulder and right ankle. I went to physical therapy and got those issues resolved. It took a while and quite some $$ but it happened. YAY!
Train for a race. Last year I wanted to run the Donna half marathon, then the Gate River Run. Neither one of those happened. I joined a Jeff Galloway group in September and am now training for the FULL Donna marathon! It's been a great experience so far!
Log food and water. I fell off the bandwagon of daily logging with My Fitness Pal. Then I climbed back on. Then fell off. On. Off. You get the picture. My verse for this year regarding this was Gal 6:9.


Live the 10 Second Rule. Eh. It's not that I DIDN'T live it. I didn't feel any nudges for a while then forgot about it.
Read through the New Testament in One Year. I got to 2 Corinthians before I lost track, etc. Maybe this year I'll finish this one!
Read 4 Spiritual Books. The books I had planned were One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst,  Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert, and Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus by Lois Tverberg and Jesus Calling as my devotional. What actually happened was One Thousand Gifts and Walking... as well as Kelly Minter's Nehemiah, and half of Mark Buchanan's Things Unseen. Oh and Touching Wonder for Advent. Really? It seemed like I had read more. Huh.


Blog. I did NOT hit my goal is to write something weekly. But I did write. So that's better than nothing.
Photography. I took the photography class with Annie and learned a few things. But because I didn't put them immediately into practice I forgot most of it.
Pursue hobbies. That sweater...I doubt I'll ever finish it! I started to crochet a hat because I took a class but haven't gotten very far. Got most of the way through Tommy's quilt but still need to finish it. Haven't started one for Timothy yet. I do still love my (still new to me) Bernina though and want to sew more! Maybe next year when Tommy is off and college and I can set up the machine in his room...(gotta look at the  silver lining of his leaving...can't dwell on the subject too much...waaaaahhhhh!!!!)
Read with Timothy and Annie. Read most of 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens with Timothy but none of  Beautiful Girlhood with Annie. She lost interest. I've started Purpose Driven Life with Timothy. Need to figure something out with Annie.

And there you have them. The good, the bad and the ugly of last year's resolutions. Now on to this year's.

Run the Donna and the Gate RR. Since I'll be nice and trained up for the Donna marathon, I hope to beat my Gate River Run PR using the Galloway method. It's been such a great experience running with friends and running injury free (so far)!
Strength train. Last year I started meeting a friend at the YMCA for accountability. In November we upped the challenge and started working out with a trainer. It's been good, both having an accountability partner and a trainer to push us. I want to keep it up.
Log food and water. This will probably be a lifetime goal. I tend to fall off the bandwagon of daily logging with My Fitness Pal. So I just need to keep climbing back on. I cannot grow weary of doing good. This is doing good for my body so I can do good for others (Gal 6:9).

Keep up with YouVersion's Daily Reading Plan. I did one for advent last year and really enjoyed it. This year I signed up for Rick Warren's YouVersion plan. I like it. Now if I can just keep up with it for 365 days. I also am following the 21 day Made to Crave one since I never read that book last year.
Finish reading through the New Testament this  year. Starting with 2 Corinthians, I will keep at it.
Read 4 Spiritual Books. This is that reoccurring goal. I'm picking Out of the Saltshaker by Rebecca Manley Pippert (again) since I didn't read it last year. I will finish  Mark Buchanan's Things Unseen and also read his other books In Plain Sight and The Holy Wild. I must be on a Mark Buchanan kick.
Meet with young married (with children) couples group. We used to meet with a small group of newly (less than 5 years) married couples a few years back. It was wonderful. We were the older couple giving advice to younger couples in how to build a great marriage. We loved it. Loved the people, loved the subject. We met for a year and then were done. Now all those couples have had babies and we thought it would be good to "get the band together again" and go through what it's like to work on your marriage while raising children. We feel a lot less confident in this area. It's a little more painful sharing our not-quite-as-successful stories. A good lesson in humility :) The upside is my mentor has joined us and she can give the RIGHT suggestions when we can't (since we are still in the trenches).
Meet with my mentor. One of the outcomes of the 10 Second Rule goal was to pursue having a mentor. My mentor is wonderful and has all the answers :) I fully expected to be a drain on her with all my questions and lack of depth but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I could pester encourage her to pursue writing a book. "Iron sharpens iron" as the Proverb says...

Blog. More blogging. Just more of it. Maybe 2 posts per month rather than one per week. That would be 24 in one year. That seems doable. Right?
Pursue hobbies. Keep on that sweater...and hat... and Tommy's quilt... and *maybe* start Timothy's. Or maybe not. I really want to have time to do some projects on my Pinterest board so that I can use my beloved Berrnina!
Scripture memory with Timothy and Annie. I started the year off with a bang. I set up a method of scripture memory. And then life got busy. And then we stopped. I'm renewing my efforts! Starting this week. Oops. It's already mid-week. Better get started quick!

Time to put this into practice. Thank you Jackie for the Facebook call out today so that I would sit down and do this! Better late than never...