Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Where to store a canoe . . .

The UPS guy delivered a small box containing the parts necessary to hang our canoe up in the garage. Hubby did the research and spent approximately $130 on that small little box. When we saw it we wondered if it was going to be worth it.

What do you think? I say it was so worth it! Hubby tried hanging the canoe without the fancy pulley system you can see located near the wall -- that didn't work. This works! And since Hubby admitted that we're canoe owners because I love them so much, I owe Hubby BIG TIME! (He stayed up past midnight hanging the canoe.)

Looks like we're canoers for life. That's a lot to look forward to!

Here's a photo that I took on Saturday. Annie (the dog) and I stayed on shore, hence we're not in the shot.

Non-food Ways to Stay Emotionally Afloat

I’ve been thinking about what roles food plays in my emotional well-being.

I have used food to provide:

Those are all things that I need in my life, but food is NOT an appropriate outlet for those needs. (Reminder to self: food is fuel for my physical needs.) If I am to overcome emotional eating, I need to seek to have my emotional needs met by something other than food. Here are some ideas I’ve come up with.

I can find COMFORT through:
The Lord (praying to Him, being grateful for all He’s provided for me to enjoy as I go for walks).
Talking with a family member or close friend.
Hanging out with my dog.

I can have FUN without food by:
Focusing my attention at social gatherings on people – interacting with them, learning more about them, listening to their funny stories, laughing with them.
Observing the children at family gatherings (watching as they make a mess while eating, listening in on their innocent conversations) and by playing with them too.
Playing more games with my kids and hubby.
Doing crafts with the girls.
Playing with the dog. Teaching her new tricks. Going on hikes/outings with her during the day when the kids are at school.
Being sure to have a date each week with my sweetie.
Having game nights and inviting other couples.
Working on projects that are just for fun – my chalkboard, the tree mural and birdhouses.
Writing goofy stuff.

I can find PLEASURE by
Walking with the dog.
Listening to Norah Jones, Frank Sinatra, Sting and the tracks on my PlayFour playlist on my i-pod.
Spreading a blanket on the grass and lying in the sun!
Buying wonderful smelling body lotion.
Wearing clothing that makes me feel WONDERFUL! (And not putting off buying the clothes in the hopes of losing more weight.)
Getting a pedicure and then maintaining it with kicky nail colors.
Taking a long, quiet soak in the Jacuzzi.
Doing yoga at the Rec. center on Thursday mornings.
Visiting local art galleries and savoring the emotional response the pieces generate.

I can counter-act boredom and find DISTRACTION without eating by:
Going for a walk.
Blogging or writing in a journal.
Tackling a job that needs doing (like sorting and putting away the winter hats and gloves before winter is here again).
Taking some outdoor photos to use as desktop wallpaper or for blog posting.
Working on making a music/photo DVD.
Updating my books at goodreads.com.
Adding songs / deleting dumb ones on my i-pod. Downloading ones that I’ve been wanting.
Reading a book (but NOT munching). Instead, I can read outside or at the library, or even drive to a bookstore/cocoa shop and read there.
Cutting up old jeans for future sewing projects.
Playing the piano.
Trying to write poetry.
Practicing new songs on my penny whistle or recorder.
Using one of the girls’ digital recorders and cackling like a witch, then posting it on my blog.
Whistling and recording a few classics to post.
Looking for publishing opportunities on-line.
Calling a girlfriend.
Trying to sketch something.
Selecting a quote to have Angie do in vinyl.

A video that puts my zit in perspective

I have a monster zit on my chin. (See photo at right.) You know, the kind that looks like a small red dot on the surface but has a sub-skin surface area the size of Montana. That is what my zit is like.

I'd like to forget about it, but I keep accidentally bumping it and reminding myself that it's there.

Finally, after a morning of zit-induced grumpiness, I found something that kept me distracted from contemplating my zit for a full five minues. Plus I belly laughed. When I wasn't crying over the balance of our retirement funds.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. (BTW I found it on the Protein Power blog.)

Book Review: Life Without Bread

This is the book that changed my thinking about low-fat vs. low-carb.

The author, Christian B. Allan, Ph.D., draws heavily from the medical practice and original "Life Without Bread" book of Wolfgang Lutz, M.D. From what I can tell, that's the reason that Dr. Lutz's name is listed as an author.

I've only been a low-carb dieter for a month, but I've noticed many interesting results. I can lose weight while increasing my fat consumption. When I eat low-carb, I don't get food cravings. I stay full much longer. The water retention that has plagued me for over 10 years has virtually disappeared. Same with the hormone headaches that used to put a crimp in my style. In fact, my hormones seem to run on a much more even keel.

Reading Life Without Bread explained the fantasic results that I've experienced. Sometimes the author goes into scientific detail that goes over my head, but then he summarizes in lay-man terms that I understand.

Here's a sentence from the book that hit home for me: "The hormone serotonin is responsible for hot flashes and headaches after a meal." There in black and white is the reason that I've been experiencing hot flashes. Not because I'm perimenopausal, but because consuming carbohydrates upsets my body's finely tuned hormone balance. Now that I've reduced my carbohydrate intake, the hot flashes are gone, as are the headaches.

Both my doctor and I were perflexed when I lost 35 pounds on Weight Watchers and yet my cholesterol went UP. This book explains why that is -- because a low-fat diet doesn't drop cholesterol. Eating more fats acutally drops cholesterol, something I experienced only after my doctor had me take 3 fish oil tablets every day. (I'm very curious to see where my cholesterol levels end up on a low-carb diet!)

Chapter Six, Heart Disease: From Fat to Fiction, challenged my long-held beliefs in low-fat wisdom. I found the author's reasoning and use of studies/research overwhelming.

After reading chapter six I found myself feeling profound guilt about all the carbs (especially refined carbs) that my family eats. After reading the chapter, I bought half and half for the first time in years! And yesterday at the grocery store I also picked up whole milk. My thinking is, because the rest of my family doesn't seem to have all the carbohydrate issues that I have, if I start increasing the fat in the foods they eat, it will satisfy their hunger and result in them eating fewer carbohydrates.

I didn't love everything about this book. The author spent chapter eleven making assertions for a low-carb diet from the evidence of evolution. Basically Allan believes that "human physiology has not yet been able to adapt to this radical change in food" -- meaning that man's system is still geared for hunting/gathering instead of the agricultural society we find ourselves in today.

Here's the thing -- I'm deeply religious. While I can see the scientific evidence of evolution, I believe that God has a grand plan and design for this world and its inhabitants. If we now find ourselves in an agricultural society, that is reality, and part of God's plan. You can't fight reality. But you can live in it.

From what I can see, our American society has spent the past 30+ years trying to discount the value of fats in our diet. Maybe God looked down at us and thought, "Here they go again. Thinking they know better than I do. Don't they know that I give them EVERYTHING for their enjoyment, to be used wisely? I guess they'll have to learn the hard way."

And that's what's happened. The calories that we no longer got from fat were substituted with more carbohydrates. And eating more carbohydrates for the past 30 plus years has lead to the plumping up of America -- something that Life Without Bread demonstrates vividly.

Back to reality. I'm overweight. I'm sensitive to carbohydrates as are millions of other Americans. What can we do? Educate ourselves and cut back on carbohydrates. Eat more fat. And give thanks for ALL that the Lord provides for us to eat. Savor it. Enjoy it. Relish life and good health!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things

The following are a few things that I have really been enjoying lately.

Newly Found Blog: Does This Blog Make Us Look Fat?Kiki and Greta take dieting humor to a whole new level. You have to love the women who post these photos under "Who Writes DTBMULF?"

Low Carb Dessert: 1 c. frozen raspberries, 1/2 c. half and half, 1 packet of Splenda Mix these together and eat slowly. Yum, yum, and more yum!

Foundation Make-up: Covergirl's Advanced Radiance Age-defying Compact Makeup. It's fabulous!

Facial Cleaners and Moisturizers: Baby oil gel to remove mascara and eye-makeup. Baby wash for cleansing my face (I also use it in the shower as a body wash.) Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream. Even my teenage son likes the Cetaphil cream. Because it doesn't have added fragrance, it's perfect for the whole family! Best of all, these products are all inexpensive compared to other facial products -- and they work BETTER!

Clothing Store: Deseret Industries -- second-hand heaven. Click on the link to see just how much good this operation does around the world.

Low-Carb Breakfast: Two medium beefsteak tomatoes sliced thick and spread out on a blue speckled enamaleware plate topped with three eggs over-easy. And because we grow the tomatoes and have our own chickens, it's organic and practically FREE!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Favorite Low-Carb "Dessert"

As I was picking our raspberries a couple days ago, I wondered how we'd use all the berries now that I won't be making so much raspberry jam and raspberry pies. After we pick the berries we freeze them on a baking sheet overnight and then load them into quart-size freezer bags. At this writing we have 22 quart bags of 2008 raspberries in the freezer.

I've been reading Atkins and Life Without Bread. Both books advocate consuming more fats when eating a low-carb diet -- something I've been reticent to do. (After years and years of low-fat indoctrination I guess I have a hard time believing I can really eat fat and not gain weight.)

I decided to try something new and bought a quart of half and half yesterday at the grocery store. Which I used to make . . .

Creamy Frozen Raspberry Heaven

1 c. frozen raspberries
1/2 c. half and half
1 pkt. Splenda sweetener

The berries freeze in a big clump when the half and half is added, but after a few minutes of breaking them apart and stirring in the sweetener, you have a bowl of reamy coated berries. Yum!

As the berries defrost while you slowly eat them, you can crush them and make a sort of raspberry icecream dessert. It's not only delicious, but filling. All for 11 net carbs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Reading a New Book and Modifying My Eating Plan

I am a book lover. Reading is probably my favorite way to learn about something new. In my quest to become educated about eating a low-carb diet, I'm now reading Life Without Bread: how a low-carbohydrate diet can save your life. It's the fourth low-carb book I've read, and my favorite so far.

Unlike S. Beach and Atkins, this book is about more than eating low-carb to lose weight. The author gives all kinds of statistics, studies and research findings that show how consuming a low carbohydrate diet if beneficial to the body for all kinds of reasons. It's not wordy and complicated. Doesn't have you go through phases as a means to lose weight -- it's just about good, clean low-carbohydrate living.

I'm thinking of having my brother in med. school read it. Unlike the other books I've read, it has a lot more technical information on the whys of carb-controlled eating.

In fact, since I started reading it, I'm realizing that I probably would benefit from doing a better job of tracking my carbohydrate consumption. So, I've come up with a modified plan:

Foods and food groups that don't require carb tracking


cheeses (including cottage cheese)

fats / oils

non-starchy vegetables



2 servings of dairy (per day -- more than that needs to be tracked)

10 almonds

30 pistacios

Track the net carbs (total carbs - fiber) of all other foods and keep the carb total under 50 grams.

Right now my plan is to keep a food journal and track carbs until I've reached my weight loss goal (20 lbs). Once I'm at my goal, I'll continue to eat a low-carb diet but see how it goes without tracking carbs and writing down everything I eat.

Memories from Childhood

I'm starting to write a real book. I decided to go with non-fiction and cover something I know a lot about -- me. My working title for this book is, Too Young For a Journal: Earliest Memories from My Mormon Childhood.

Anytime I get some writing saved on my computer, I'll try to post some of it here. You can access all of the entries (after I've posted more than one) under the label of "Too Young." I hope you like them. If not, don't tell me.


Life for me began in a white brick house on 400 West in Hyrum, Utah. Oh sure, my mother will tell you that she and Dad brought me home from the hospital to their one-bedroom house on Center Street in Smithfield, Utah. But I don’t remember that house. Mom might also remind you that we lived with her parents, the Kofoeds, while Dad was building the white brick house in Hyrum. But since this book is about my earliest memories, I’m telling you that life for me began at 357 North 400 West, Hyrum, Utah.

An address is very important to a child, at least mine was to me. The street numbers to home are probably the first numbers that children memorize. That, and their phone number. Our Hyrum phone number was 245-6706. I memorized that at three- or four-years old and although it stopped being my phone number over 25 years ago, I still remember it. As important as a phone number is, those handy seven numbers that let you call home, an address trumps that. An address actually gets you home.

I don’t recall the exact words Mom used when she taught me our address. No doubt she used words and phrases that explained that if I were ever separated from her away from home, these were the numbers to bring me safely back.

I’ve always been concerned with returning safely home.

When riding horses with my Dad in the mountains, he would sometimes ask, “If something were to happen to me, do you think you’d be able to find your way back to the truck and get help?” I’m sure his question was well-meaning – a way to help me pay attention to my surroundings and develop a sense of direction -- but to my child’s mind, his words sobered me. Although I can’t say I was really frightened, I was worried. What if something did happen to Dad? What would I do?

I spent many horse rides (even ones where Dad never mentioned possible peril) memorizing landmarks – trees, rock formations, which direction we’d taken when cutting across a ravine. Now that I’m an adult I’ll sometimes hike a trail that Dad and I rode on years ago. Despite years away from the area, the trail still looks familiar.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Here is the Post I Promised ...

I promised to write about how to live within your means. This is that post.

If you'd like greater financial freedom, the following video has the answer:

Now I have fulfilled my obligation to spread the good word of financial freedom. I can now return to my regularly scheduled blog posts.

Okay, since you're still here it's obvious that you want me to share some of my personal tips on saving money. Here they are ...

Never buy new furniture. When people come to visit and see your Early College Student decor they will gladly give you their gently used furnishings when they get new ones. Besides, it's much less stressful to have your children learn to potty train on used furniture. Also, when your daughters spill the nail polish remover on your kitchen table and it eats off a large part of the finish, they won't die. And neither will you.

Never buy new vehicles. And be sure to live at least an hour from both sets of grandparents. When your old cars become so old that they are no longer reliable for travel to the grandparents' houses, you'll be surprised at how inexpensively you can purchase a used car from your own parents.

Don't go shopping. If you go bargain hunting, you'll find bargains. If you go shopping, you'll buy something.

Don't look at sales ads. This in an important part of managing your money. Looking at sales ads only makes you want to own what is being advertised. They may even make you feel like you are depriving your family of a lifestyle that everyone else is enjoying. Everyone else is not living a lavish lifestyle, that's the evil of advertising working its deceitful ways on your impressionable mind. Don't believe what you see in advertisements.

Make a list and stick to it. Never go shopping without a list. At the bottom of every list write "etc." That way if you find a bargain, you can purchase it and hold your head up high, knowing that you stuck with your list!

If you need any additional tips or have questions, just let me know.

Politics and Economics: Cartoons for Thought

Here are some cartoons that say a lot about our ecomonic climate.

Real Life Adventures has found something positive in our ecomomic downturn.

And Holbert, a political cartoonist for the Boston Herald, illustrates a paradox of politics and ecomomics.

These cartoons would be really funny if the reaility they expose didn't make you want to cry.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Does the Word of Widsom Support a Low-Carb Lifestyle?

I'm a deeply religious person who believes in modern revelation. One book of modern scripture that I read and believe in is The Doctrine and Covenants. Section 89 of The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) is commonly known as the Word of Wisdom.

The Word of Wisdom is God’s law of health. As I began my low-carbohydrate lifestyle, I was concerned about whether or not a low-carb lifestyle is supported by the Word of Widsom. Verses 12, 13 and 15 of section 89 specifically gave me pause.

They state:
12) Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;

13) And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

15) And these [beasts] hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.

As part of my Sabbath reading, I decided to find out more about the proper use of meat and what its role should be in my diet.

Reading D&C 89:13, I looked down to footnote a). It led me to D&C 59:16-20.

16) Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fulness of the earth is yours, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which climbeth upon the trees and walketh upon the earth;

17) Yea, and the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;

18) Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;

19) Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.

20) And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.

I liked how verse 19 mentioned smell. I may not be able to eat as much bread as I used to, but I can still enjoy the smell of it baking. And because reducing my carbohydrate intake has brought me many benefits including the gladdening of my heart, I think that my new lifestyle fits in nicely with the Word of Wisdom and other teachings in The Doctrine and Covenants.

I found that D&C 49:18-19 also provided further support for my increased consumption of meats and proteins. (I found these verses as footnote a) of D&C 89:15.)

18) And whoso forbiddeth to abstain from meats, that man should not eat the same, is not ordained of God;

19) For, behold, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the air, and that which cometh of the earth, is ordained for the use of man for food and for raiment, and that he might have in abundance.

I've found it helpful to remind myself of what it says in D&C 89:3. The Word of Wisdom is "Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints." To me that means that it was given with individual saints in mind. That includes me and others like me who have difficulty metabolizing carbohydrates.

I can keep the principles outlined in the Word of Wisdom and still live a low-carb lifestyle. I can eat plenty of vegetables and fruits (limiting those that cause spikes in my blood sugar) and keep my meat consumption from becoming excessive. Eggs, cheese, milk and yogurt all contain protein and contribute to a healthy carb controlled lifestyle and also are in keeping with the Word of Widsom.

Best of all, I can feel the Lord's blessings as I choose to eat differently. I don't need to feel deprived. When I focus on gratitude to the Lord for providing me with delicious and plentiful foods to eat, I can better see His hand in my life. The health benefits I'm gaining then become yet another blessing and gift I receive from keeping the Lord's commandments.

An Apostle Came to Stake Conference

This weekend was our Stake Conference featuring a visit from Elder Robert D. Hales. I attended the Saturday Adult session with my husband, Sunday's general session with my family, and a special Stake youth fireside with Hubby, Bug and Loula Belle.

I'm not going to review all that Elder Hales said, but wanted to touch on what he said to the adults on Saturday night. As he began his address, he pointed out that we live in turbulent times and referenced the upheavel in the financial markets that has taken place lately. He found it interesting that those who speculated in the market and made large profits over the last decade now want the government to bail them out -- all while avoiding too much loss. Elder Hales said, "The government doesn't have money. The money for government comes from the people." Those are sobering words.

Here at Belly Acre Farm we get the Wall Street Journal. I've made a point of reading all about Black September -- why it happened and whether or not the government's bail-out is going to work. Basically, the government had to become involved to restore confidence in the marketplace. Failure to do so would have caused greater market instability not only here in the U.S. but around the world. I'm not happy about the government bail-out, but I can see the reasons behind the action.

Elder Hale's councel to the adults of our Stake was to get out of debt. (Where have we heard that before?) He also pointed out that when a couple or family can sit down together, look at their finances and say, "We can't afford that," they are on their way to greater financial control and stability. "Debt," Elder Hales pointed out, "is troubling because it is a form of bondage."

I married a man who is naturally frugal. But in our relationship, he makes the money and I spend it. I am not naturally frugal. Money conscious, yes, but frugality hasn't been easy for me. Fortunately, we've been budgeting since the day we got married over 15 years ago. Once we agree on a budget together, I'm free to spend within those limits. We have never gone into debt for anything other than our home.

In upcomging posts I plan to share and swap ideas on how to live within our means. How to stretch dollars and save for a rainy day. So get those frugal juices flowing. I'd love to hear what you and your family are doing to get out of debt.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Four Hours of Intense Yard Work

I hope I didn't overdo it this morning. As fall is approaching, I wanted to weed my front flower beds and get them ready for winter. I started at 8 AM and finished up around noon.

Remember the wheel-hoe I wrote about a few days ago? Well, I put mine to good use this morning. No wonder those Amish folks are slim -- manual labor is hard work! Sweat dripped from my face, and I got filthy! (So much for my early morning shower. I had to take an afternoon one too.)

Here is a photo of the finished product. In addition to weeding this berm in front of our house, I also raked it. And left no footprints. Zen beauty!

I can tell that I'm getting in better shape and that cutting the carbs is really helping me. Four weeks ago this morning's activity would have sent me to bed for an afternoon nap. But I did it, and I'm still up and functioning! Hooray!

Bart Simpson's Influence on my Son . . .

I picked up Loula Belle and her friend from volleyball practice on Wednesday evening and then headed up to the golf course to pick up Bug. On the way home in the car, he told us about the prank that his friend pulled when making their tee time for the next day.

It all started on the bus home from junior high. As Bug and his golfing buddies didn't have a cell phone, they asked to borrow one in order to set up a tee time for the next day. The boy who let them use his phone did so on one condition -- that they have to put the reservation under an obnoxious name.

The guys tossed around some really dumb ideas, so Bug piped up with something he'd heard on The Simpsons. He told his buddy to call the golf course and set up a tee time and when they ask for the name say, "Last name of Rotch." Then, when they ask for a first name, tell them "Mike."

So when the golf course employee calls out the reservation on the P.A. system the next day he'll say something like, "Mike Rotch teeing off on #1." (If you're not getting the junior high humor of this, try saying 'Mike Rotch' outloud a couple times.)

I busted a gut laughing at their stupid antics. But I also told Bug that he'd better hope that their golf coach wasn't near the club house the next day when the tee reservation is read off. He might not think it was very funny, and Bug and his buddies might get in a bit of trouble.

What was Bug's response? He decided that he didn't need to go to the golf course after school on Thursday. (He did have a foursome set up with his dad and grandpas later that evening.) I told him that he could just call and change the name, but he didn't want to.

I guess that Bug really isn't cut out to be a Bart Simpson. I'm guessing it will be a while before he pulls another stunt like that.

(I am going to grill him when he gets home from golfing tonight and see if the golf course guy ever did read off the bogus name. The Simpson side of me is hoping he did!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Thanks for your support!

Yesterday I did a google blog search for low-carb blogs. Livin' la Vida Low Carb was one I really liked. Although my blog will probably never become like Mr. Moore's site, it is working for me. Largely because of you, my reader. Or readers.

Flashlight Girl, thanks for your encouragement and support. I enjoy reading your take on my new lifestyle. And Suko, your support is also greatly appreciated. I'm committed to the new eating changes I'm making, but knowing that I'll be reporting successes and set backs on this blog helps to give me accountability. So, thank you!

I'm not setting out to convert anyone to a low-carb lifestyle, just sharing what is working for me.

Doing what we can to support the economy

The following is the "before" shot of my great room with my gaggy old couch and loveseat. We bought them used for $75 back in 1998 or so. Note the sagging cushions on the sofa. When my visiting teachers come I've had to help pull Savannah out of the couch when it was time for them to head home.

This morning my husband and I went to U&I Furniture's big warehouse sale. We arrived there at 7 A.M. and by 7:30 A.M. had paid for a new leather couch and loveseat and an additional loveseat. We were back with our truck and trailer at 8 o'clock to load them up and take them home. (I squealed, did Toyota leaps, and sang the whole way home. I've never had new couches before. This is a red-letter day!)

Once the furniture was home, the problem became how to get it moved into the house and set up. Hubby thought I'd need MAN power to get it all moved in, but he had to go to work. Instead, I called my girlfriends. Raquel, Linda and Jeanette came right over. My husband showed up as we were moving the leather loveseat in from the garage and wanted to help. I said, "No! Then we can claim that we did it all ourselves. We don't need a man to help move furniture. We're tough women!" After some heavy lifting, sweating, and light-hearted laughter, the furniture is all set up. Behold!

We put this loveseat in the frontroom. I will probably sit on it when giving the kids piano lessons.

This loveseat is part of my dining furniture. I've discovered that having a sofa near the kitchen really encourages the kids to hang out and talk with me while I'm in the kitchen. I also like to read on it when the guys are watching sports on the greatroom TV. Note: Those white things under the legs are rags. They were protecting the wood until I could put protective pads on instead.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Custom Carb-Control Plan

I've read Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, Low-Carb Dieting for Dummies and The South Beach Diet. I'm also planning to read The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, The Ulitmate Weight Solution, and Life Without Bread.

But even more important than reading about a low carbohydrate lifestyle, I've actually been living it for 17 days -- 18 if you include today. I'm happy to report that I've lost 2 1/2 pounds, no longer take a diuretic or an insulin sensitizing medication and feel great! I sleep better and wake up raring to go!

Here is my Custom Made Carb-Control Plan.


Vegetables. Our garden is in full swing and giving us lots of cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, peppers and corn. I have been enjoying wonderful salads and soups. I eat all vegetables except potatoes, which I only eat sparingly. I'm careful when eating starchy vegetables such as sweet corn, yams and winter squash. I eat them in smaller servings and try to balance their carb load by eating them with a protein.

Fruit. When possible I try to eat fresh fruit with its skin or peeling. This years we've grown peaches, apricots, nectarines, raspberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and watermelon. When eating fruit I try to balance the carbs by, again, eating protein. Cheese (string or low-fat cheddar) and cottage cheese are my favorite proteins to eat with fruit. I've also learned that watermelon is almost like eating straight sugar for me. I try to only eat it occasionally and in small servings that are balanced with a protein. The same goes for pineapple and other tropical fruits. I avoid bananas like the plague. They cause me to puff up -- not from an allergic reacion, but from carbohydrates they contain.

Dairy Products. I enjoy Western Family non-fat yogurts sweetened with sucralose. My sister-in-law was on a reduced carb diet that advocated eating this brand of yogurt with a 1/2 cup of low-fat or fat-free cottage cheese. I love it! I also eat string cheese, reduced-fat cheeses, ricotta cheese, and drink low-fat milk. Occasionally I treat myself to a steaming hot cup of no-sugar-added hot cocoa. (All of the carbs in it are from the milk it contains.)

Legumes / Beans. My local grocery store has these on sale right now. I enjoy beans in soups and salads. Sometimes I add them to dishes that call for ground hamburger.

Meat. I'm not a big meat eater, but I do enjoy it. I eat chicken, beef, turkey, pork and fish/seafood. One of my favorite products is pre-cooked, grilled chicken that is frozen and sold in plastic bags. I heat up a 1/2 breast for lunch and love slicing it up and adding it to my salads. When I cook a roast, I use the leftovers in soups. (We ate Chunky Beef and Vegetable Chili just last night.) Canadian Bacon and turkey breast lunch meat are also great on the go.

Eggs. Our chickens lay 4 eggs each day. I bet I eat an average of one and a half eggs each day. For breakfast I love to cook up 2 to 3 eggs over-easy in my non-stick skillet and serve them over fresh sliced tomatoes. Yum!

Fats / Oils. Too much fat makes me feel lousy. I avoid deep-fried foods but don't really watch other fats too closely. I use salad dressings with less than 3 grams of carbs per serving, and use canola oil when cooking. I even use it in place of butter in sauteing and baking. I used to eat extra-virgin olive oil when I did Weight Watchers, but I developed an aversion to its taste. I'm going to try using light olive oil instead.

Nuts / Seeds. I enjoy raw almonds, pistacios, macademia nuts, sunflower seeds and plan to roast and eat some of our pumpkins' seeds. Because nuts are high in fat, I do track them. I try to limit myself to 20 pistacios, 10 almonds and 10 macademia nuts. Many days I have much less.

EAT SPARINGLY (1 to 2 servings per day, or less)

Whole-grain pasta.
Brown rice.
Whole-wheat tortillas.
Small potato w/ skin.
High fiber cereal, such as Fiber One.


Bread. It's a trigger for me. Once I eat some, I crave more. And it's way too easy to just grab another slice and snarf it down.


Refined Carbohydrates. I avoid eating products containing white flour. I also avoid white rice and regular pasta.

Sugar. I've read product labels for a long time, but now I really pay attention to sugar. I avoid sugar in drinks, desserts, candy and cereals.

Note: I do keep a bag of Dove Dark Chocolates in my underwear drawer. The bag I have now has lasted me almost 2 months. I eat one when I really need something sweet and decadent. One is always enough. (Maybe that's because I keep them in my underwear drawer -- a reminder that I want my underwear size to go down, not up.)

I Looked Like a Poster Child for Some Strange Disease...

I know a girl who will be wearing a supportive brace for 23 1/2 hours everyday. In a show of solidarity, I'm posting this photo from my teenagehood when I too wore a brace for 23 1/2 hours everyday. (It was after my first knee surgery -- ACL replacement.)

You'll also notice that my face is grotesquely swollen. That's because I'd also had my wisdom teeth out. The photo was taken six days following the surgery. We should have taken a shot within two days after surgery. That's when my face was so swollen that you couldn't see the bridge of my nose. I looked like Porky Pig's sister -- with a knee brace.

My family has a history of taking photos when we're at our worst. When my brother Mike got nailed in the eye with a baseball in his youth, my folks dug out Dad's old boxing gloves, had Mike put them on and then took his picture. Also, when Mom had an allergic reaction to something from Sizzler's salad bar she swelled up something awful. She had my dad take a picture, but I've never seen it. I'm guessing that either the photo was too gruesome, or Mom decided that nearly going into anaphylaxis wasn't something she wanted documented on film.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I'd Like to Buy an Alphasmart Neo

Don't look now, but I'm starting on a book -- "Too Young For a Journal: Earliest Memories From My Mormon Childhood." It may never get published, but I hope my kids and family enjoy reading it.

In an effort to write more, I'd like to buy a used Alphasmart Neo. I'm watching a couple auctions on ebay at the moment. I've heard wonderful things about the Neo. It's supposed to be a real boon for writers. And I am a writer. I am a writer. Yes I am!

If you know of anyone who would like to sell a Neo, let me know.

Note: I may post some of my book on this blog.

Yoda says, "Do or do not. There is no try."

At church on Sunday we heard from our Stake High Councilman, Shane Larson. His remarks were centerd around transition and change. Although his talk was aimed at spiritual change and transitions, I applied it to my new eating plan.

Brother Larson quoted Yoda in his talk (see title above). I reminded myself that I'm not trying out a new lifestyle. I'm making a complete lifestyle change.

Another quote he used that I appreciated came from Anni Macbeth. She said, "Resisting change is like holding your breath. And if you're successful, you're dead."

For me that meant that if I resist changing my lifestyle and persist in being overweight and addicted to carbohydrates, I'll probably have a shorter lifespan. But if I change my eating habits, I'll not only live longer, but enjoy those days and years in better health.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Reading and Planning

Right now I'm in the process of reading Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution. It's the third book I've read in trying to learn about living a low-carb lifestyle. The other two were: Low-Carb Dieting for Dummies and The South Beach Diet.

I can't delay living a low-carb lifestyle until I've read everything written about low-carb eating. Nor do I believe that one approach is going to be exactly what I need. So far it's looking like I'll use a combination of approaches.

When I was reading the Dummies book, I wanted its approach to work for me. I could eat all the fruits I wanted (with the exception of bananas), and limit myself to five carbohydrate servings a day. Unfortunately, I can't just follow the Dummies plan. It includes bread, and bread is out for me. It causes me to crave more and get back into the whole cycle of carbohydrate addiction.

Dummies also counts legumes as carb servings unless they're substituted for meat in a meal. South Beach allows legumes as a high fiber, high protein, balanced carbohydrate food. I'm going to keep the South Beach approach.

Also, I don't like tracking specific carb servings. I'm fine with writing down what I eat when I eat it as a means to monitor what's working and what's causing cravings, but I don't want to be ticking off servings of food.

I'm finding that both Atkins and South Beach have stages to their plans. The first stage is the strictest -- no fruits or carb-rich foods (pasta, potatoes, breads, winter squash). But they both allow fruits and some whole-grain foods in their less-strict phases. And both say that the strict phases is important because it jump-starts weight loss and rids the body of carbohydrate addiction and cravings.

Am I ready to give up fruit and embrace a strict no carb eating strategy for a couple weeks? Or do I want to take a more moderate approach?

As I'm learning and practicing my new lifestyle I've noticed that I'm not so hungry. I need less sleep and feel less fatigued. My water retention has been drastically reduced, and I no longer take a dieuretic. When I avoid carbohydrates in bread and sugars I have fewer food cravings. And overall, I find that I'm less focued on food, and more focused on living.

I'm more committed than ever to living a low-carbohydrate lifestyle and living a healthy life!

Borders Inspires Future Book Titles by Yours Truly

I went to my local Borders bookstore last night with my daughter and her friend. They were on assignment from their band teacher, Dr. Wheeler. He requires them to attend a concert every quarter, and he and his bandmates play at Borders every Thursday evening. On the way home I told the girls it would be fun to go every Thursday that Dr. Wheeler performs. They agreed.

I began the night at Borders in a political funk. This is the beginning of a post that I’d been writing before we left:

Jaded. Disillusioned. Disappointed. That’s how I feel after watching the first airing of Charlie Gibson’s interviews with Sarah Palin. I wanted so badly for Palin to be different, to be what she was touted as being – a maverick bent on reforming our out-of-touch government. Instead, I found her to be eerily similar to past politicians.

Instead of being candid and straight-forward, I found her responses to be scripted and spun for maximum political advantage. Instead of being the breath of fresh air I hoped her to be, her responses left me deflated. Flat. She didn’t seem special, but instead seemed to be exactly what I’ve become so sick of – politics as usual.

No political movers and shakers will probably ever read this blog. But real Americans read this blog. And real Americans want change.

We want leaders who lead. They speak from their hearts instead of regurgitating words they think will raise their average in political opinion polls.

We want leaders who don’t build themselves up by tearing their opponents down. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear candidates talk about issues and their vision for government, instead of…

Because of my political frame of mind, I first noticed political book titles such as “How Stupid Are We? Facing the truth about the American voter,” “449 Stupid Things Democrats Have Said,” “449 Stupid Things Republicans Have Said.” These weren’t comforting titles.

But then I wandered into the biography section and saw, “A Girl Named Zippy.” If you haven’t read it, you should. It’s delightful, and remembering how much I enjoyed reading it started to clear my political funk. It completely vanished when I read this title, “The Idiot Girls’ Action-Adventure Club: True Tales from a Magnificent and Clumsy Life.” That sounds like a fun read.

Then I was off on an odyssey of writing down quirky titles: My Lobotomy, The Big Book of Personality Tests for Women, Squawk: How to stop making noise and start getting results. Which spawned the question . . . What are some book titles that I could conceivably write? (I’m very good at writing book titles, but not so good at actually writing books.)

So here they are, in no particular order. Book titles that I could write:

A Cache Valley Childhood

How to Belch the Alphabet in 12 Easy Steps

Too Busy to Cook: Weird Things You Can Eat in a Hurry

You can’t take it with you: A mother’s guide to less clutter and greater peace of mind

Books in the Belly Acre Farm children’s chapter book series:
Chickens in Tights
Cows on Ice
Mice on a Mission
Horses in the House
A Dog in the Driver’s Seat

The Modern Prude’s Guide to Good Reading

276 Stupid Things I’ve Done

The Art of Making Conversation in Line at the Grocery Store

Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion

Political Lessons from the Book of Mormon

Fat and Sassy: A Memoir (but perhaps already used by Roseanne Barr)

Leave it to Leslie: A little red-haired Mormon girl’s 1950s childhood

Oh my Heck! Holy Cow! And Other Things My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me Say

Safety Man and Accident Girl Fall in Love

Bliss on a Bike: Training your dog to be your biking buddy

Linda says that anytime I get serious about writing a book I can just take a three month vacation from keeping my dozen or so journals. She thinks my compulsion to write would then take over, and . . . voila! I’ll have a book written and ready for a publisher.

If only it were that easy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I finally finished this project . . .

This is a 4x6 piece of masonite that I turned into a chalkboard with magnetic metal tiles. It's hanging in the craft room. Someday I dream of my craft room becoming my home office, where I'll write charming books for children and adults. (I'd have to use the room as my office because my books would sell so many copies that I'd need a home office as a tax write-off. I'm dreaming big here.)

In fact, this board could be used as a writing device. I could post photos or magazine scraps of people who are stand-ins for the characters in the book I'm working on. On the chalkboard I could draw a map or houseplan or barnplan to help me stay grounded in the locale of my latest writing endeavor.

Until my dreams of fiction writing take off, this board will be where I stick up fabric scraps and sketch designs for bags and totes that I make from old levis. Or I could let the kids play hangman. Or post funny quotes. Or just doodle for fun.

What would you use a chalkboard for?

New Morning Entry Policy -- Mission Accomplished!

It's official. Yesterday I heard from the district office that my daughter's elementary school will now let all the kids in when the first bus arrives. And I didn't even have to launch my publicity campaign. (I just love a good publicity campaign!)

I'm glad they listened to reason.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

How I can offset the 'fat gene' I inherited . . .

Remember how my doctor said that the way my DNA combined left me with a predisposition to store fat? You could say that I inherited a 'fat gene.' But I'm not alone. According to a news item by the Associated Press that you can read by clicking here, up to 30% of white people with European ancestry also inherited the gene.

But the good news is there is a way to over come it.

The bad news is that it involves 3 to 4 hours of physical activity EVERY DAY.

Apparently the only people to accomplish that in today's modern world are the Amish, who live a 19th century lifestyle. I may live on Belly Acre Farm, an acre and a half of land with a large garden and 18 fruit trees, but I don't live a 19th century lifestyle.

But I can use my wheel hoe more. Here's a photo of a man using a wheel hoe. Imagine that it's a picure of me instead. Because I have one very similar to it. In fact, I've often felt like a pioneer when I'm out pushing the wheel hoe between the rows of vegetables in the garden or weeding the berm in front of our house. It's a good, sweaty workout that reminds me that I come from hardy pioneer stock.

Hmmm. What else could I do to add more activity to my day? The other morning I got distracted and missed the turn into the right parking lot entrance when going to the bank. Instead of going through the drive through, I parked in an adjacent lot and walked over and inside the bank. My fritzy memory could help me get more activity.

I walked my daughter to school this morning. I could do that everyday, and we'd both get more exercise. If we're running late we could ride our bikes.

I could go on bike rides without my dog. She's young, energetic and loves to pull. Realizing this, I bought her a pink harness that allows her to help pull me on my bike without straining her neck. Boy can she pull! I usually start off on an up-hill route, as she always has the most energy at the beginning of our outings. I guess I could start out downhill. But I just don't want to. Her favorite stretch to run on is a grassy parking strip up the road that's at the end of my street. She really digs in and I encourage her by ringing my bike bell wildly and yelling, "Go Annie! Go!" I won't give that up. It is bliss on a bike. And I'm pedaling as fast as I can.

Two-wheeled Dating Activity . . .

Is your marriage or dating life in need of a little pick-me-up? I have just the thing for you . . . Wheel Barrow Polo.

Back in April of 2007 I wrote a post about a fun date night Hubby and I had been invited to. The highlight of the evening was the fast-paced and thrilling game of wheel barrow polo.

Ron and Nancy, the creative geniuses behind the new kind of polo game, also run a corn maze. We had so much fun playing wheel barrow polo, they figured that other couples would enjoy it as well, so they bought 12 two-wheeled wheel barrows and got set to offer it as an event down at their corn maze.

I wanted to get a bunch of friends and spouses together and play our hearts out down by the corn maze, so I called Nancy this morning about prices and times. She told me that wheel-barrow polo is off. Their insurance company said it wouldn't cover it. I am seriously bummed!

But, if you've ever wanted a two-wheeled wheel barrow, now is your chance. Nancy said they invested in heavy-duty ones with metal handles that will hold up to 550 pounds. (You and your spouse could both ride in it. But who would push you around?) I'm not sure if it's exactly like the one picture above, but you get the idea. They are for sale for $50. If you're interested e-mail Nancy: jensenrt@yahoo.com

But hurry. Now that the word is out about how fun wheel-barrow polo is (and the two-wheeled barrows offer the greatest competitive advantages) Nancy's inventory won't last long.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Chickens -- A low-carb dieter's best friends

Everyone trying to lose weight with a low-carb lifestyle should have some chickens. Here's why -- they love table scraps. And they lay eggs.

While table scraps aren't healthy for cats and dogs, they're great for chickens. Just last week I fed my chickens an aging loaf of bread. They gobbled it up. Ditto the leftover pasta and the rest of the vegetable bread that kept calling my name.

With chickens you don't have to feel guilty about tossing out food. You're not wasting it, you're making eggs. And eggs are one of the best parts of my new low-carb lifestyle.

Also, the healthier the table scraps, the more nutrients you'll get from your chickens' eggs. Commercial egg farmers have found that by feeding their hens flax seeds their layers' eggs contain omega-3 fatty acids.

When I make an omelet for breakfast, I rinse out the empty shells and put them in my chicken scrap container. I end up crumbling them over the other scraps of food and feeding them back to my chickens. Doing so helps add calcium to my hens' diets and keeps their egg shells nice and strong.

And, just so you know, brown eggs aren't healthier for you than white eggs. It's all a matter of what kind of feed the chickens get. So, stick to low-carb eating and toss the leftovers to the chickens.

Viva la chickens!

How to store fresh vegetables through the winter

Onions -- Pull or dig onions from the ground and let them dry out for a week or so. You'll know they're ready to store when the outer layer flakes off and the green tops have shriveled and dried up. Place onions in old (or new) nylon stockings, tying a know between each onion or every few onions. Hang them in a cool, dark place. When you need an onion, simply cut off the bottom onion below the knot. We've been using this method for a couple years. Red, yellow and white onions will store longer than Walla Wallas. Ours lasted into April.

Winter Squash -- Remove any dirt from the outer skin and store them in a box. Be sure to store them in a WARM dry place. If you store them in a cool place (like we'd been doing up until last year), they will spoil and get mold spots quickly. Again, when we stored our winter squash in the furnace room instead of the cold food storage room, we had squash that lasted until spring.

Carrots -- Only harvest as many as you can keep in the fridge. Leave the rest of the carrots in the ground and cover them with a thick layer of fall leaves. You can harvest carrots all winter long. Hubby once harvested a batch of carrots after we'd received a record 24 inches of snow in 24 hours. Of course you can always wait until spring to harvest them. Just do it before they've begun to sprout again. Washing them thoroughly will also keep them from getting shriveled.

Potatoes -- The folks in Idaho use high-tech storage barns to store spuds, but that's just not feasible for home gardeners. The first step to storing potatoes is getting them really clean. Leaving mud/dirt on them will dry out the potato's skin. Once your potatoes are clean and dry, store them in gunny sacks. Potatoes need to breathe -- don't store them in plastic. If you don't have gunny sacks, store them in medium-sized cardboard boxes and cover them with newspapers or some other opaque breathable material. As winter progresses, your potatoes may start to sprout. No problem. Just remove the sprouts before eating them. The Pontiac Red potatoes we planted last year stored well until spring.

Popcorn -- This is the second year that we've grown popcorn. It's a favorite crop with our kids. Unlike sweet corn, you let popcorn stay on the stalk until the kernels dry out; well past the first few frosts. Once the kernels have dried on the cob, remove them by rubbing them over a large bowl. The Japanese hulless variety we planted last year seemd to give off a lot of chaff. Does anyone know how to get rid of the chaff? When you're ready to store your kernels, put them in plastic freezer bags, label them and store them in the freezer. (Even store-bought popcorn pops better when its been stored in the freezer.)

Happy Harvesting!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Do I have a wheat allergy?

I feel like I'm doing fairly well on my new low-carb lifestyle. I've dropped a couple pounds in a couple weeks and have been able to quit taking two medications. That's great progress!

Sunday evening I was hungry and too lazy to peel and chop veggies and prepare a low-carb snack. I ate a slice of bread. And regretted it. It didn't even taste that great -- too dry. But, it did open my eyes to something. I may be allergic to wheat.

The bread was two thirds whole wheat, and once I'd eaten it I started coughing and having to clear my throat. Then this morning I was puffy again (carbs were the culprit) and woke up with a stuffy nose which lasted through most of the morning. The only thing that was different was my slice of bread the night before. It made me wonder if I have a slight allergy to wheat. That would be weird.

I guess it's yet another reason for me to steer clear of bread. Any way you slice it, it's not good for me.

In related news, I baked a ham and cheddar loaf for my family's dinner. It smelled wonderful! As it was baking I thought about how I also enjoy the smell of coffee, yet I don't drink it. Just because I don't eat bread doesn't mean I can't enjoy its fragrance. There aren't any carbs the perfume of baking bread. Thank goodness!

How many journals does one woman need?

The following is a description of all the various journals I keep. Some women like shoes. I like journals.

On-line journals or blogs (2). Belly Acre Farm (this one) and Losing the Low Carb Way, where I post about my new eating lifestyle.

Fitness Journal. This is a notebook where I write about what I'm doing to gain better health and fitness. I contemplate what's working and what's not. It's where I write down handy tips and helpful health hints. When I have an epiphany relating to my health, that's where I write it.

Food Journal. Nothing glamorous here, just a notebook where I write down what I eat every day. I've been keeping a food journal since second grade -- that's when I began keeping a regular journal, but for some reason I'd write down what I ate for lunch every day. I can also tell you what we ate at the big family feed on the day that I was baptized. Weird.

Garden/Canning Journal. This started out as a chicken journal, where I was going to write everything about raising and keeping chickens. But there wasn't a lot to write, so I added gardening and canning stuff to it. I can tell you how many cups of freezer corn we used last year (36) and how many quarts of beans we had on hand before canning any this year (67). I also write down what I want to try in the garden for the coming year. I use this journal a lot at this time of year.

Gratitude Journal. I've been keeping a gratitude journal on and off since 1997. The great thing about them is that they can lift you from the blues. And they're a journal that you can share with your kids. My daughters like to read through mine every now and then. Keeping a gratitude journal is like counting your blessings.

Spiritual Observations/Reflections Journal. I only started keeping this one a couple years ago. It's nice to have a place to record spiritual promptings and impressions. Sometimes when things get challenging, I find it helpful to re-read entries and remind myself about what it is the Lord wants me to be doing.

Book Journal. Whenever I read a book I write down the title, author, number of pages, copyright date and a brief description of the book. All my postings on GoodReads are from this handy little journal. I began keeping it so that when friends asked me for a book recommendation I'd be able to give them lots of ideas.

Travel Journal. I was given this as a gift in June of this year. So there's not a lot of trips listed in it, but I'm hoping to fill it up before the end of my life.

Cute Kid Things Journals (3). I've kept a steno notebook on each of my three children where I write down the cute and funny things they do. For example, when Bug was 2 1/2 years old my mom asked him, "What do you eat that makes you grow big and strong?" He replied, "Red popsicles!" When Loula Belle was four, Hubby's folks were watching her. She asked Grandma, "What language do you speak?" Grandma said, "English." "Oh," said Lou, "Well I speak Regular." Less than two years ago Hubby made 100% whole wheat pancakes for breakfast. The kids weren't excited to eat them, but Beans said it best. She said, "I'd rather be hungry than eat these."

So, how many journals was that? An even dozen. Hmmmm. What else could I record in a journal? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Friday, September 05, 2008

What Low-carb approach will work for me?

Today marks one week of making low-carb lifestyle changes. I finished reading Low-Carb Dieting for Dummies last night and starting reading The South Beach Diet. The big question is . . . what is going to work for me?

I definitely think writing down what I eat in these first weeks of change will prove helpful and insightful. I also want whatever methods of low-carb living I choose to fit into my lifestyle as a mom. Low-carb living is not necessary or even healthy for kids, so mine will be eating carbohydrates. How am I going to stick to low-carb eating when surrounded by high-carb foods?

Right now I'm going to learn all about a variety of low-carb methods. I can even see that the Core plan with Weight Watchers might work for me at some point. I've checked out Dr. Atkin's book from the libary as well, but I've heard that he doesn't allow fruit. Right now that doesn't feel right for me. We'll just have to see.

After a couple days of higher carb servings, I can see that bread of any sort is out for me. It's just too easy and convenient to eat -- there for the slicing or toasting. And once I've indulged in a slice of bread it seems that I crave more carbohydrates. Maybe I'll do better with brown rice that must be cooked before consumption.

One thing is certain, my doctor hit the nail on the head when she diagnosed my water retention as being carbohydrate related. This morning I woke up supper-puffy, likely due to the carbs I've eaten in the last two days. I'm happy to report that after a carb-free breakfast (two-egg veggie omelet and grape tomatoes) my water retention is gone! Even though I forgot to take a dieuretic.

Instead of focusing on what I can no longer eat, I'm going to try to really hone in on the positive benefits I'm seeing with this new low-carb lifestyle.

Don't make my child stand outside in the cold.

This morning I am a mom on a mission.

The elementary school where my youngest daughter goes to school makes the kids stand outside until 10 minutes before school starts. It doesn't matter whether or not a bus has arrived. The kids still stand outside waiting to get into the building unless they go to the cafeteria for breakfast.

This policy really upsets me. I think that once the first bus arrives, ALL children should be allowed into the building. This morning, that's exactly what I told the principal. He listened and was quick to let me know that when winter comes he'll let them in the building five minutes earlier.

That's not good enough for me.

The way I see it, parents and kids can't control when the bus picks up their kids or drops them off at school. The arrival of the first bus ought to signal that it's time for the children to enter the building. Period.

I didn't stop at just talking with the principal. I also called and talked to someone at the district office to see if there was a district-wide policy. She wasn't sure, but after I expressed my concerns, she said she too would call and talk with the principal.

Next I called all of the other elementary schools in our district to find out what their policies are for allowing children into their buildings in the morning. Not one makes the kids wait outside past when the first bus arrives, and many have much more open and kid-friendly policies.

I spoke with the PTA President at my daughter's school. She is also a crossing guard at the intersection in front of the school. She too has noticed that the stand-in-line policy is causing problems. In fact, this morning the lines got so long that they blocked sidewalk traffic and even reached the road, preventing busses from easily entering the drop off drive. Carrie also told me that she's talked with the principal before about what a problem the lines of children waiting outside are. I told her that today would be a great day to talk to him again, as he heard from me and will also hear from the district office. I told her she could tell him that Christie Hansen won't rest until the policy is changed to allow the kids to enter the building when the first bus arrives.

Don't mess with a mom on a mission.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Old Habits Die Hard

These are the carb appliances that sit on my kitchen counter. That's two bread makers, a toaster and a rice cooker. I still use them to provide food for my family, but I'm trying hard to limit my carbohydrate intake.

Yesterday I didn't try hard enough. I bought treats for the student council my oldest daughter is on. I ended up eating the treats too (oatmeal cream pies and tootsie rolls -- in quantity). Sigh.

I'm not going to give up. I read/wrote too many quotes yesterday that said that despite my lapse, I only fail if I quit trying.

I learned that handling too many food temptations at once weakens my resolve. Next time I can plan ahead better and assign another mom to bring the treats. And if I do buy/make treats, I need to get one of my kids to hide them somewhere until the other family members come home. Yeah. That's what I'm going to do.

Patient and Politically Active -- patient report #7

After getting a little hot under the collar about criticism towards my favorite candidate for U.S. Vice President (sorry about that), I realized that an election year is the perfect time to work on my patience.

Reading the newspaper and on-line news accounts of the party conventions gets me all stirred up. But because I want to be an informed voter, I can’t just stick my head in the sand and vote irresponsibly. I’m also finding that I can’t really engage in too much political opinion blog reading and responding. (It’s the responding part that gets me into trouble.)

Here’s what I can do as a person who is trying to overcome an impatience problem – quit complaining and do something.

By writing about Gov. Palin’s selection, I voiced my opinions and views. I’m going to allow others to do the same and allow everyone their own opinion. (This is a bit hard for me, as I was raised in a family where much discussion took place until we were of the same opinion – usually my dad’s.) I can remind myself that unlike facts, opinions aren’t a right or wrong proposition.

Also, I can do more to become politically active. I’m a supporter of the county-wide library movement here in my home area, something that my town representatives ought to know. I believe that rich counties in Utah shouldn’t get more education funding than poorer counties. If government is going to fund education, it ought to do it equally. I’ll be writing my state representatives to voice my concern on this issue. On a national scale, I can do a better job of corresponding with those representing me. I can also become informed on issues.

Most importantly, I can do something within my circle of influence to improve America. I’d like to think that this blog helps mothers find perspective and persevere in raising tomorrow’s active citizens. If I really believe that less government is best, I can do more to support non-profit organizations that work to solve our country’s most pervasive social ills. I can influence my children and other youth I know to get an education, value hard work, strive to improve themselves and find happiness and contentment in life.

Being patient doesn’t mean being apathetic. It means doing all that you can and then living peacefully with the results.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Quotes to Stay Motivated

I bought a new notebook to track what I eat. It's pretty plain Jane, so I decided to hand write motivating quotes along the bottom of the pages. The following are some quotes that I hope will keep me motivated to follow a lower carbohydrate lifestyle. I hope you find them motivating too!

"You can't lose weight by talking about it. You have to keep your mouth shut." -- Old Farmer's Almanac

"A bad habit never disappears miraculously; it's an undo-it-yourself project." -- Abigail Van Buren

"When we are confident, all we need is a little support." -- Andre Laurendeau

"Learn to say no. It will be more use to you than to be able to read Latin." -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

"Discipline is remembering what you want." -- David Campbell

"We never repent of having eaten too little." -- Thomas Jefferson

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at." -- Henry David Thoreau

"The pursuit of perfection often impedes improvement." -- George Will

"Self-discipline is when your conscience tells you to do somethng and you don't talk back." -- W.K. Hope

"Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier." -- Colin Powell

"What isn't tried won't work." -- Claude McDonald

"Be patient with everyone, but above all with yourself." -- St. Francis De Sales

"Facing it -- always facing it -- that's the way to get through. Face it!" -- Joseph Conrad

"Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage." -- Robert Louis Stevenson

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal. My strength lies solely in my tenacity." -- Louis Pasteur

"Fall seven times, stand up eight." -- Japanese Proverb

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going." -- Beverly Sills

"A problem is a chance for you to do your best." -- Duke Ellington

"We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." -- Max De Pree

"As with liberty, the price of leanness is eternal vigilance." -- Gene Brown

"A stumble may prevent a fall." -- English Proverb

"The reward of a thing well done is to have done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or in the life of another." -- Helen Keller

"Good advice usually works best when preceded by a bad scare." -- Al Batt

"You don't get to choose how you're going to die or when. You only decide how you're going to live. Now." -- Joan Baez

"Never eat more than you can lift." -- Miss Piggy

"He who has health has hope, and he who has hope has everything." -- Arab Proverb

"Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful." -- Sophia Loren

"We lie loudest when we lie to ourselves." -- Eric Hoffer

"It's part of the cure to wish to be cured." -- Seneca

"You're never a loser until you quit trying." -- Mike Ditka

"There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure." -- Gen. Colin Powell

"The only thing that ever sat its way to success was a hen." -- Sarah Brown

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." -- Henry David Thoreau

"Lord, give me the determination and tenacity of a weed." -- Mrs. Leon R. Walters

Quotes to get you thinking . . .

This morning I was searching for motivational quotes to write on the bottom of the pages of my new food tracking journal. (Those quote can be found on my other blog site: www.losingthelowcarbway.blogspot.com.) But there were lots of fun quotes that made me think. I've decided to post those here.

Let me know what they got you thinking about.

"Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are." -- Mary Jean Irion

"Know yourself. Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful." -- Ann Landers

"Be yourself. No one can ever tell you you're doing it wrong." -- James Leo Herlihy

"We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glowworm." -- Winston Churchill

"Imagination is the highest kite that one can fly." -- Lauren Bacall

"To have more, desire less." -- Table Talk

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures." -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice." -- Confucius

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop laughing." -- Michael Pritchard

"Feelings are everywhere -- be gentle." -- J. Masai

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them." -- Mother Teresa of Calcutta

"Stupidity won't kill you, but it can make you sweat." -- English Proverb

"God gives every bird his worm, but he does not throw it into the nest." -- Swedish Proverb

"If you risk nothing, then you risk everything." -- Geena Davis

"Sometimes you earn more doing the jobs that pay nothing." -- Todd Ruthman

"When a man eats his words, that's recycling." -- Frank A. Clark

"Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we ask, but when we are challenged to be what we can be." -- Morris Alder

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." -- Joseph Addison

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see." -- John Burroughs

"I am an idealist. I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way." -- Carl Sandburg

"Speak the truth, but leave immediately after." -- Slovenian Proverb

"Time spent laughing is time spent with the gods." -- Japanese Proverb

"Simple solutions seldom are." -- Forbes magazine

"An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." -- Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Helpful Low-Carb Diet Tips

I'm on day four of my new low-carb lifestyle. The following tips are helping me stay on track. I've dropped 1 1/2 lbs. already. I can tell it's water weight. (I didn't have to take a dieuretic this morning. Yippee!)

1. Keep carb consumption at dinner LOW, because you won't be burning them off.

2. Write down what you eat. Not only does it help you know how many carbs you've eaten, but it can also come in handy for future menu ideas.

3. Go grocery shopping only once a week. I already try to do this, but like how it prevents me from buying impulse goodies. This tip saves money, gas, and time.

4. Plan, plan, plan! Not only do I write down the week's dinner menu, but I also stock up on easy snacks: natural PB on celery, cottage cheese with non-fat yogurt, fresh fruits and veggies -- mostly veggies. (It really helps that our garden is supplying lots of peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots and onions.)

5. Practice preventative eating. I try to eat little snacks between meals so I don't get ravenous and then chow down on whatever is readily available (like cereal, bread, etc.)

6. Read labels. Instead of focusing on fat content, note the total carbohydrate content and how much of it is fiber (can be subtracted from the total to get net carbs) and sugar. Avoid products with lots of sugars.

7. Remember that only lean and active people can tolerate a lot of carbs. That's not me . . . YET! (And even when it is, I'm not going to overdo the carbs like I used to.)

8. Follow the plan 90% of the time, and treat yourself to a favorite food 10% of the time. I can still enjoy a Dove dark chocolate, but when I do, it will be earlier in the day instead of in the evening.

9. Stay motivated. This blog is a big part of my motivation. I have to practice what I preach. I try to also focus on positive results of my new lifestyle: weight loss, more energy, less water retention.

So far, so good.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Recipe for Vegetable Bread

Although this recipe calls for 1/2 whole wheat flour and 1/2 white, look at all the vegetables it contains. It would be great served with a fresh garden salad containing chicken breast chunks. Yum! Yum!

Who says lower carb eating can't be delicious?!

Vegetable Bread:

1 c. cooked kidney beans, or canned beans drained
2 c. grated carrots
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pkg. dry yeast or 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil

1. Mash the beans in a med. size bowl, then add the carrots, onion and garlic. Stir until combined, set aside.

2. Place the yeast in a small bowl, add 3/4 c. of warm water and set aside 2-3 min. Meanwhile, in a large bowl stir together the all-purpose and whole wheat flour, salt and pepper. Make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture, the vegetables, and the canola oil. Stir until well combined. The mixture will form a fairly sticky dough.

3. Flour a work surface with 2 Tbsp. of whole wheat flour. Knead the dough 5-7 min. or until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a medium-sized bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours or til double in size.

4. Punch Down dough. Sprinkle another 2 Tbsp. of whole wheat flour on the work surface and knead dough 2 min. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise another hour or until almost double in size.

5. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

6. Punch down the dough again and knead it briefly on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a 7" round and place it on the baking sheet to rise, uncovered, 30 min.

7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Bake the bread 10 min. then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 40 to 50 minutes more, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn the bread out on a rack to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

A good day to make vegetable bread

I can't say that I'm sorry it's raining today. I'm looking forward to indoor projects and kids under my feet. Hubby too.

I know. I'll make vegetable bread. It's been eight years or so since I last made it. I loved it, but the rest of the family didn't. Since I'm altering my eating habits and the family won't be joining me, now seems like a good time to make it again.

Here's the recipe for Vegetable Bread:
1 c. cooked kidney beans, or canned beans drained
2 c. grated carrots
1 1/2 c. finely chopped onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pkg. dry yeast or 2 Tbsp. active dry yeast
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. whole-wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 Tbsp. canola oil

1. Mash the beans in a med. size bowl, then add the carrots, onion and garlic. Stir until combined, set aside.

2. Place the yeast in a small bowl, add 3/4 c. of warm water and set aside 2-3 min. Meanwhile, in a large bowl stir together the all-purpose and whole wheat flour, salt and pepper. Make a well in the center. Pour in the yeast mixture, the vegetables, and the canola oil. Stir until well combined. The mixture will form a fairly sticky dough.

3. Flour a work surface with 2 Tbsp. of whole wheat flour. Knead the dough 5-7 min. or until smooth and elastic. Transfer the dough to a medium-sized bowl, cover with a damp kitchen towel and set in a warm place to rise 1 to 1 1/2 hours or til double in size.

4. Punch Down dough. Sprinkle another 2 Tbsp. of whole wheat flour on the work surface and knead dough 2 min. Return the dough to the bowl, cover and let rise another hour or until almost double in size.

5. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray.

6. Punch down the dough again and knead it briefly on a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a 7" round and place it on the baking sheet to rise, uncovered, 30 min.

7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

8. Bake the bread 10 min. then reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake 40 to 50 minutes more, or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn the bread out on a rack to cool at least 10 minutes before slicing.

I'd better get started.