Join Me For Another 10 Weeks! This is the first week of ten weeks starting October 22, 2012

Hi folks! I'm at it again. I'm going for another 20 pound loss in ten weeks. I've recently had another baby, a little girl, she is now five months old and I'm ready to drop some weight.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 1 Of Creative Cooking

Hello friends!

Yesterday I told you all that because I hadn't gone grocery shopping in awhile that I was determined to use what I have in the house to get through this week. Well, since breakfast is always oatmeal around's just lunch and supper that I have to dig around to put together a meal.

For lunch I gathered together these items. I figured I had some protein going on with the four frozen chicken patties and then some rice and macaroni and cheese for some carbs.

The only problem with this occurred when I dumped the rice mix onto the skillet to brown and and saw that insects had decided to claim it first. Yes, you heard me right...the kind that walk. I'm sitting here tonight still shrinking back in disgust. I can not tell you how grossed out I was...still am. I pretty much screamed a few times...and threw it out in the garbage.

Our seven -year old son, who by now is accustomed to mom's screams and the significance of them, came downstairs and nochalantly asks, "What bug did you see mom?"

Somehow seeing it in food just makes it grosser.
Though, I'm not sure if there were any bugs in the mac and cheese...that fact that it was outdated combined with the recent Rice-a-roni experience...
had me throwing this in the garbage too.
So, plan B for lunch was the chicken noodle soup and crackers that I had gotten only ten days ago for when the family was sick.

This was their meal.

But I also added a little extra to their meal by mixing up some muffins made out of malt-o-meal and whole wheat flour. I found the recipe on the malt-o-meal box.
For some reason I have two unopened boxes of original malt-o-meal.

They actually turned out pretty good.

And the kids liked them.
I also fixed some for a 3:00 snack before dinner.
Now all dozen that I made are gone.
For supper I found that I had six freezer packed turkey patties equalling 18 ounces in the freezer. Since I was out of hamburger, I figured this might work for making some spaghetti since I had the sauce and the spaghetti, but no hamburger.

I had my husband cut it up so that it resembled ground hamburger.

And then I served up pasta for dinner for the family.
I even have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
I can't wait to cook up tomorrow's mish mash menu.
Other than that, I got to the gym again today and it boosted my mood of course.
This week is moving along rather quickly.
In exactly seven days, we will be leaving for a vacation in South Dakota.
It will be the first time since I began this blogging business, that I will be off from blogging for almost a week. But I can't wait because we will have a blast.
Oh! It's July 1st today.
Have a good one!
Sunshine Mama

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Mish Mash Post

Hi folks!

Sorry I skipped a couple days there, but this summer thing has got me neglecting the computer more I think than I would if I was holed up inside the house because it's freezing outside.

So, I apologize for my inconsistency, but I have been having fun. I was in a bad mood tonight that was threatening to spiral downward until I went to the gym. I came back a happier Sunshine Mama. This exercise thing is better than a drug when it comes to making me feel better.

Anyway, I wanted to quick let you all know that I did not go grocery shopping last weekend when I really should have. So...because I have this sick survivalist personality that I'm pretty sure I inherited from my mom...I'm going to "find" ways to get through this week without hitting the store. Meaning...I'm going to raid the freezer and dry goods I have and come up with meals for the entire family. And just to let you know how low on the food list I am...we are out of bread. Ha, Ha!! I will say...that picking up milk at the gas station does not count as grocery shopping or bananas...

So, I 'll let you know how that goes tomorrow. Besides all that, I loved reading your comments on chocolate mint. And just like I predicted, three loved mint, and two...not so much.

The same night that I wrote that post, my husband came home with this chocolate covered mint candy that he picked up from my favorite chocolate shop.

I waited two days to eat it and cut it three ways to share with my chocolate mint loving mom and dad. It was very good.

Last Saturday, I started the day with my chocolate oatmeal protein waffles. I put a few teaspoons of Smart Balance light butter on it, a few teaspoons of walnuts and two teaspoons of powdered sugar.

The rest of the family ate Burger King, but I hardly felt deprived.
Doesn't this look awesome?

Then, I surprised the family by taking them all to a live free Christian concert in Minnesota that was only an hour from us.
There were two stages and 30 bands that played over the weekend.

I did this for Daddy Rainmaker because he loves this kind of stuff.
Remember he didn't get to celebrate Father's Day last weekend because everyone was sick?
This was the Father's Day celebration he missed.
He was in seventh heaven.
And he totally had no clue what was going on until we arrived there.
We were there for five hours, it was so hot, that the family drank over 1 1/2 gallons of water that I brought along. The heat wore everyone out, but it was still a lot of fun.
I plan to see more live music this weekend.
Also, I plan to do a very special Fantasy food Friday that I have been waiting for several weeks to do. It's July fourth weekend, as I'm sure you all know, and that means that a lot of festivals are going on. And with festivals come...festival food.
What kind of festival food do you think Sunshine Mama likes?
...but really shouldn't be eating?
Well, other than that, I really hope my family likes the meals I plan pull out of my hat this week.
Ha, ha!!
Have a good one!
Sunshine Mama

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fantasy Food Friday...The Chocolate Mint Food Group

Hello everyone!

It's finally here! Fantasy Food Friday where I talk about food that I fantasize about but shouldn't necessarily eat.

The fantasy food I chose for today is actually a food group...the chocolate mint group. You find it in ice cream form, cheesecake form, chocolate candy form. But of all the forms that you find it in, there is one very common theme that I have noticed.

I have noticed that the people who like it versus the people who don't like it are strongly divided, and have very strong opinions either way about it.

Take my husband, for example...and no we do not have a head shot of him this week, he hates chocolate mint ice cream. He can't understand why anyone would ever eat the stuff. He can't understand why we would chose to bring it as one of the ice cream choices to any of the family birthday parties. Well, I like it. It's my 15-year-old daughter's favorite ice cream. My mom loves it, and a few other family members I know love it as well.

What's interesting, is that my husband likes mint Altoids like peppermint, but as soon as you add the's "no way, Hosea!". And the funny thing is, I don't like just plain peppermint, but add chocolate and it works. Chocolate mint ice cream in and of itself is only about 160 calories per half cup depending on how it's made...
Grasshopper cheesecake, however....umm wayyy more calories. But doesn't that look good?
I know, I know...only the chocolate mint lovers will agree with me.

Now this to me looks like pure decadence!
Who would not want a bite of this?
Even if you don't like chocolate mint?
Well, even though my husband doesn't like chocolate mint,
we find a way to work it out between us two.
Just the other night, while he was on a trip to the store I asked him to pick up some Blue Bunny Bunny Tracks ice cream. Shortly after he left, I thought to myself, "boy, some chocolate mint ice cream sounds even better....maybe I should have told him to get that." if reading my mind, he shows up with chocolate mint ice cream because they didn't have any Bunny Tracks.
Now isn't that love?
So, what are you?
Do you abhor...or adore the chocolate mint food group?
Hope you all have a great weekend!
Sunshine Mama

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Happy Thursday...I'm 21 Weeks...Two Days Along

Hi folks! Happy Thursday!!
I'm 21 weeks and two days along right now. The baby has really been moving around and kicking. According to what I've read, the baby weighs just 12 ounces. I know that doesn't seem like very much, but in four weeks it's suppose to weigh between a pound and a pound and a half at which point he really starts gaining weight and growing faster.

I've read that this is the "honeymoon" phase of the pregnancy because baby is still relatively small and I can get around without too much effort. I would have to agree with that. I do feel well especially when I eat healthy foods.

Speaking of which, it's interesting to see that all who commented are suspicious of the actual calorie content of those MacDonald's ice cream cones. Hmm...I wonder if anyone has ever called them out on that...Maybe I could call their corporate offices and tell them I'm a reporter writing a story about the the calorie content of their cones...And I would be reporting it...for my blog.

Also, the man in that picture with my daughter and I was John Schlitt who used to be the lead singer for the Christian rock band, Petra. After 25 years, the band called it quits five years ago. Now Schlitt, has gone back to singing and produced a solo cd called, The grafting, which I bought.

I have listened to a few Petra songs as a kid, but I was just so totally blown away by Schlitt's voice, stage presence, and energy. He sang this one song, "Wake The Dead," that was on an earlier solo album that just rocked! The only problem is that the cd is out of print, so I listen to it by going online on utube. Ha, Ha. I figure this is a great song to start our mornings with.
If you like some good rock music...listen to it here.
(Just kidding...actually it's at the end of this post.)
In other news, I have been planning the itinerary for our family vacation to Custer, South Dakota in a few weeks. I made plans to eat lunch at Wall Drug in Wall, South Dakota.

Not the greatest photo, but here are actual bison burgers. I also read that they make some great roast beef and mashed potatoes and gravy meals too.
I love roast beef, so I'll be getting that one.
I love planning ahead of time what I'm going to eat.

They also make their own cake doughnuts, pies, pastries, and fudge.
Of course, I won't be eating any of those. :)
Today my diet was a little off, but it has been very "on" all week long with healthy foods.
Also, I completed my third day this week of lifting. I plan to log in another two days this week to get in five lifting days altogether.
Well, I hope everyone is having nice summer weather to enjoy.
Our kids spent a lot of time in our little pools today.
Just remember when it's really hot...
how glad you are that it's not zero degrees outside.

Sunshine Mama

Wake the Dead

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Question...Are These Really Only 150 Calories?

Hi friends!! I had one of these McDonald's twist low fat ice cream cones last Friday (before I got sick) and I just enjoyed it immensely.
It seemed to big and so delicious that I found myself
finding it hard to believe that it is only 150 calories.

I mean just look at it!
And the ice cream went all the way down to the bottom of the cone too.
Then compare that cone to this...

This is a Weight Watcher's 4 oz mint ice cream sandwich for 140 calories.
Definitely not as big or as exciting tasting as the twist cone.

So, what do you think?
Does anyone have an opinion on this?
Maybe I'm missing something.
And while you're thinking about that...
Here's another question...
Does anyone recognize this guy?
He used to be the lead singer of a christian rock band that disbanded five years ago.
We saw him perform at a church last Friday.
I'll give you a hint...
"Wake the Dead".
Well, tomorrow we'll be over the hump and onto my two favorite days of the work week.
I hope you're all staying cool.
It's been pretty hot here lately!
Sunshine Mama

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Salt Water Taffy Lesson...

Hi folks!

I'm feeling much better today. Thank you for all of your concern. A couple of our kids are still sick. Our five-year-old daughter Iris Anna who had resisted illness all weekend, looked like she was coming down with something tonight. And, our 4-year-old, is feverish tonight. Maybe he'll be better by tomorrow.

I opened up my bag of salt water taffy today and noticed that I had not thrown away the wrappers from the taffy that I had eaten on Saturday. So, I proceeded to count how many pieces of salt water taffy I had actually inhaled.

Can you guess? Take a wild guess...

And while you're thinking about that...I googled how many calories were in one piece of salt water taffy....44 calories a piece!

No way. There has to be some mistake. There isn't really that many calories in those little pieces is there? I mean just look at how small they are!

Well, I counted 14 wrappers. At 44 calories a piece...that's over 600 calories that I consumed rather quickly. Then, on top of that I ate some chicken noodle soup, 7-up and crackers, which probably added a few hundred more calories.

With my "touchy" stomach, no wonder it chucked up all that sugar. What would my body normally do with all that sugar anyway? Well, I got to see it first hand when it came back up and it was not a pretty sight.

It actually got me thinking about my food and got me looking at it in a different light, believe it or not. In the last few days, When I'd eat something I began looking at it in terms of, "I wonder what this would look like if I threw it up?"

Ok, so that might be gross, but with the entire family doing just that all weekend long, it was pretty hard to avoid the thought. But, seriously I wish I would have that perspective every time I was tempted to binge on a bad food.

It's too bad my body doesn't do what it should do, when I do eat bad food which is to kick it out of my body. It's too bad that I don't have some kind of reaction like what happened on Saturday which is where the bad food makes my stomach writhe in pain.

But, no, God made us stewards of our body. We're suppose to be watching what we eat. That's why we have free choice. The pain of "overeating" or eating bad choices is more subtle. It may be reduced energy or weight gain which affects are self-esteem that we feel instead of actual stomach pain.

Instead of guessing how many calories were in those pieces of candy (I think I guessed 15 calories a piece), I should have looked it up. If I had known there were that many...I don't think I would have many.

So, I think I've learned my lesson. I've only had two pieces of salt water taffy today and that is where I will stop. In the meantime, I've been feeling good about all my other healthy choices today...

And...I'm also trying hard not to imagine what they look like once I've eaten them.


But, besides all that I have some cool stuff to share with you all about I did last Friday. I'll do that tomorrow.

Have a good Tuesday!

Sunshine Mama

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sunshine Mama Is Sick

Hi friends!

Just a quick post here to let you all know that eating salt water taffy and chicken noodle soup on a "touchy" stomach is not a good idea.

Going into Friday, two of our children were throwing up. Well, Saturday morning came along...and two more went down with some throwing up and fever.

That brought the sick total to four in the house.

Then, my husband declared he was sick, but it wasn't throwing up. It was that gastro intestional bug that makes your stomach cramp with pain every once in awhile. He felt so aweful, he had to lay down all day.

I decided I wasn't doing too bad, except I did have that occasional stomach pain going on that my husband had, but I wasn't feeling completely incapcitated.

So, on an errand to the store to pick up chicken noodle soup, crackers and 7-up for my sick family, I decided to also pick up some salt water taffy. I hadn't eaten much, so I went to the store hungry. I was very tempted to also buy some cherry cheesecake from the deli, some of those chocolate covered donettes that Hostess makes, some ice cream...but I resisted all that and just picked up some salt water taffy.

So, I had some salt water taffy...several pieces then fixed chicken noodle soup for everyone. I had some too.

Well, I think you all know what's coming. A few hours later, I am having stomach pains that were in addition to the gastro intestional pains. These were the pains that were saying they were NOT happy about my recent food choices.

Let's just say, I felt much better after I threw it all up. And, that I was very glad that I also did not eat cherry cheesecake, chocolate covered donettes and ice cream.

The only person in the house who didn't get sick is 5-year-old Iris Anna. I'm convinced that I got both sicknesses, the gastro intestional one...which is still going on with me, and the throwing up one that the kids got.

But I am feeling better this evening and have been keeping down the food that I've eaten.

But don't worry. I still have some salt water taffy left, but I will be holding off on that for a little while yet.

Hope you're all doing well.

Sunshine Mama

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fantasy Food Friday...Culver's Grilled Chicken Cashew Salad

Hi friends!
Welcome to another edition of Fantasy Food Friday where I talk about foods that I fantasize about but shouldn't necessarily eat.

In today's food choice, the only thing that really makes this fantasy food "bad" is the cheese and the dressing you put on it. This is what I ordered last weekend at Culvers...their grilled chicken cashew salad.

I absolutely love it. I always have and probably always will. There are 443 calories in one salad, but with the Thousand Island dressing that I drizzled on it, I may have added another 100 calories. But, seriously, I think this fantasy food is definitely something you could make a meal of. It's a good source of protein-the chicken, good source of fat-the cashews, and well, you can't complain about getting in your veggies.

Of course, you may have to put on some light dressing.
And it really is a big as my husband's head...

I probably would have just eaten that but my husband ordered fried cheese curds, another one of my fantasy foods. And since I am a Wisconsinite...I ate a few.

But here's a close-up with some Thousand Island dressing slathered on it.
So, that's my fantasy food.
Is there a salad that you know of that is a little on the higher fat end, but is mouthwatering none-the-less?
C'mon, I know there's at least some "bad" salad out there that you all crave.
How about taco salad?
Ha! Maybe I should save that for next week
Well, in the spirit of making a good salad,
I'm sharing with you all the new little "salad bar" method that I came up with to make making salads a little easier to do. I just pre-cut everything and put them into containers so that all I have to do is plop on my toppings.
From what Sarah from Germany said, it sounds like she already does this.
I don't know why it took me so long to get my act together.

Now doesn't this look good?
For this spinach salad, the total calories are about 60 calories of salad and two teaspoons of Newman's olive oil and vinegar dressing (50 calories) for a total of 110 calories.
Not bad. Definitely not as many as the Culver's version.
Well, I hope you all have a great Friday and weekend!
Sunshine Mama

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Happy Thursday...I'm Strawberry Picking At 20 Weeks...Two Days Along

Happy Thursday friends! How are you? I'm officially 20 weeks and 2 days along. I'm feeling great.

Yesterday was the day I decided to hit the strawberry fields and bring home some fresh strawberries. I brought our 15 year-old Darling Rose along for the adventure. When we arrived, we discovered that the owners of the strawberry patch (patch is an understatement for the huge strawberry fields they have), was giving away free kittens.

If you know me, you will know that I absolutely love little kitties. Unfortunately, we don't take any home. No pets at this house. Five kids is enough responsibility.
But they had three kitties available.

If I had a choice, this little gal would be it. I love the white on the nose, white on the underbelly and paws.

Though this one was cute too.

This is what we were to put our strawberries in.
As you can see, this is quite an operation.

We hop on the back of this tractor and they drive us out to our spot.

Instead of a ride to the pumpkin patch, it's a ride to the strawberry patch.

We must have bumped along for at least half a mile or more before we arrived at our destination.
It was around 6:00 p.m. last night.

Here's our spot.
It took me about five minutes to remember just one of the reasons why my dad is a "master strawberry picker".
He always brings a little stool to sit on while picking so that his back doesn't get sore because of all the bending and stooping to get to the strawberry bushes.
My dad is very clever he is.
Even though we were just out for an hour,
I was tuckered out and sore.
But doesn't this look pretty?
Nothing compares to fresh strawberries just picked.

They actually have a little shine to them.
A sign of perfection perhaps?
I'll have to ask my dad.
Well, here's my loot.
An hour's worth of picking.

And the loot combined.
Now for the million dollar question...
How many pounds do you think we picked?
I'll give you a day to guess.
Then, I'll tell you tomorrow.
But after all that hard work picking in what felt like 90 degree weather, we had to spend another hour stemming, and washing the berries. I decided to freeze the berries in the bag and then put the rest in a huge bowl so that my family could eat berries to their hearts content for the next two days.

Now for a wonderful low calorie treat:
4 oz of strawberries:36
1 tsp of sugar:15
2 tbl of light whipped cream:15
total:66 calories
This is how I have been letting the kids fix their strawberries. I let them eat as much as they want. They love it.
If strawberries are still being picked next week, I'm contemplating getting my mom to come over and teach me how to make strawberry jam.
If my dad is the "master strawberry picker"....then my mom is the "master strawberry jam maker". Yes, it works very well for them.
I love, love strawberry jam, but never buy it at the store because grape jelly is cheaper.
I would love to learn how to make jam.
The only problem, though, is that then I would be tempted to eat it.
But I suppose I could put a little on my 30 calorie lefse as a nice treat.
Anyway, tomorrow is Fantasy Food Friday, and this week's food fantasy is actually a bit healthy but still very much one of my major food fantasies.
Hope you all enjoy the day!

Sunshine Mama

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hola Compadres!

I actually know a little Spanish. At one time I had decided to minor in Spanish but then gave up on it when I realized how time consuming it was. Also, a part of me thought, "all I need to do is spend six months in a Spanish speaking country and I will be fluent."

But that never happened. Ha! But I have the accent down. At least I think I do.

Anyway, I am in a good mood. I went to the gym in the later afternoon which I know is a big reason for my good mood. I worked my legs and now they feel great! I have positive thoughts running through my head. I've been eating healthy. Here is part of my breakfast. The combination of walnuts and banana work great together. And then recently I've been adding a teaspoon of sugar with the cinnamon and I just love it. I can't wait to eat in the morning. I stopped making steel cut oats when I realized that I actually prefer "quick oats".

Lately I've also been adding sugar, coffee creamer and a little cream to my coffee, and I love that too.

And, of course strawberries with sugar and more cream.
I added some bits of summer sausage and cheese to my scrambled eggs which tastes so good.
However, I have not been eating my salads like I should, so I have an idea.
I think part of the problem is that I have to cut everything up every time I have a salad, yet I love salad bars.
So, I think I'm going to have everything cut up for the week ahead of time and then plop on my toppings the way I like them.
Other than that, I would like to get to the strawberry patch tomorrow.
Hopefully it won't rain when I go.
SunshineMeg asked me what makes my dad a "master strawberry picker".
That's a very good question.
I could write a news story on his strawberry picking know pretend I'm a reporter again and do an article with pictures. But he's out of town right now. Maybe when he comes back. I hope he comes back before the strawberries go bad.
Well, I haven't been a very good blogger lately.
And I'm sorry for that.
But if I can get to the strawberry patch tomorrow I will bring my camera.
Sunshine Mama