Tuesday, March 30, 2010

T - 72 hours

72 hours from now, I'll be getting my band!  I honestly thought I'd be more excited...but at this point, I am so flippin hungry, I just want it so the hunger goes away! 

My pre-op diet seems to be different than most of you, as it's not a liquid only.  I thought that would make it easier since I'm allowed unlimited plain broccoli, cauliflower, celery, dill pickles, broth, sugar free jello and sugar free popsicles.  I was sure the broccoli and celery would help me feel full since they are high fiber foods.   They don't and honestly, plain broccoli and cauliflower are gross!  But I sure do love them with some ranch...but can't have that. *sigh*

I did go grocery shopping last night to prepare for the post-op phase.  I still have the Amplify and EAS protein shake powders.  So I got some diet Lipton Citrus Green Tea, I founds some diet Ocean Spray Cran-Blueberry Pomegranate juice, lots of yogurt (thanks Carmen for getting me hooked on the Yoplait Cinnamon Roll flavor...it's what's for breakfast! LOL), sugar free jello, sugar free popsicles, sugar free fudgecicles, chicken broth.  I was looking for black bean soup I could puree but didn't find any.  I saw other soups that sound good, but didn't think they would puree thin enough.  What other full liquids do you bandsters recommend....I know I'm going to want things that seem like "real" food, which was why I was on the hunt for some black bean soup.

I'm not really feeling anything in regards to the surgery.  Perhaps it's because it's been overshadowed by Kazak's current situation.  I also have pseudo-family coming into town on Tuesday, so I will be cleaning frantically Thursday before surgery and praying Munchkin and Monster don't destroy the house before Tuesday....hahahaha fat chance!

Well, that's it for today....I'm off to make my morning protein shake to try to stave off the fierce hunger and growling going on in my tummy! 

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Musings

It's Monday...again!  Why is it that Friday is so far from Monday but Monday is so close to Friday?  It just doesn't seem fair.


It was a busy weekend, once again!  The bathroom is painted awaiting a new floor and finishing touches.  The basement is done and looks great!  Hubster really outdid himself!  We just need a new rug and are going to tile the area in front of the fireplace with slate...it's concrete right now and just sticks out like a sore thumb.  The bedroom trim needs painted as does the half bath off of the bedroom.  I cleaned up the back yard.  Stupid moles have really wreaked havoc and killed most of our grass.  Not cool!

Today I need to call someone about chimney repair (a flue issue), someone about landscaping to roll the yard, clear the brush behind the fence line and do some tree trimming out front.  I also have to call to have the garage door fixed...Hubster says he's not doing it because it's a huge spring and if you screw it up it can literally kill you.  So we'll leave that to the professionals! 

After all this work (and money) going into the house, I really hope we get orders back here after Hubster's school.  Yes, I'm emotionally attached to my house, but it is a great area.  It's not a huge city, but has the conveniences we need, low crime rates, good schools, etc.  It's also probably about as close to our home states as we're going to get.


Only 4 days til I am banded!  Wow...time really has flown by.   As you know,  I've had a couple slip ups but this weekend I was really good.  I am down a total of 6 pounds in 6 days.  I know I could do better if I was excercising but other than the normal of walking the dog and the home renovations, I haven't upped the ante in that department.

Post surgery, I plan on going back to Wii-fit.  No, it's not super strenuous but it does actually make this fat chick sweat and when I'm consistent with it, I do also lose weight.  It's also warming up so evening walks will also become routine.  I've been hearing quite a bit about Zumba...any of you do it?  Any thoughts?


It's been a long weekend.  We've gone from soaking his food in water overnight to make it easier for him to eat and to also ensure fluid intake to also grinding it in the food processor and feeding him a slow-feed bowl.  Still doing the elevated feedings and additional 20 minutes of elevation.  He continues to regurgitate and has lost another pound since Thursday.  TMI warning- his stools are also giving off warning signs.  He hasn't had much of any solid waste and what he has done is loose and bile colored.  His spirits are still good but we have made the decision that we are going to have to euthanize.  At this time we are planning to make an appointment for Thursday  unless his spirits take a turn for the worse before then.  We do not want him to see him suffer.  We'd like to take him to one more 4-H Kennel Club meeting so that the instructor we've been working with closely can say good-bye as well.  She works very closely with GSD's and has been a wealth of information and has gotten close to Kaz as well.

Our breeder has been outstanding and has offered us a refund or a new puppy.  While we know another puppy will never be able to replace Kazak and our feelings for him, we also don't feel our family would feel complete without another four furry feet around.  Of the puppies she currently has available,  two seem to have the qualities we are looking for - "mellow, easy-going, very friendly & happy, cuddly temperaments - very sweet natured, and extremely loving of their family" and male - we're going to need all the smile and cuddles we can get.


Next Sunday is the March of Dimes' March for Babies!  Our team, Jayden's Strides for Life, has not yet met our fundraising goal.  I am walking on behalf of Baby Jayden and Baby Cole.  Please consider supporting our team as we make strides to make sure all babies get a healthy start.  Every little bit makes a difference!

Baby Jayden's family has been approved compassionate reassignment to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio where Jayden will have access to Brooks Army Medical Center.  This is a good thing for their family as it will reduce the traveling they will have to do for Jayden to get the care he needs both before and after his liver transplant.  Again, the family is estimated to have nearly $40,000 in transplant related expenses that will not be covered by insurance.  You can help this family by donating to the Childrens Organ Transplant Association and specifying Jayden Olmstead as the beneficiary.  His PELD score continues to increase and they are still waiting for a suitable donor liver.  Again, every little bit helps.  If you cannot donate but would like to help, please pass on his story and his COTA link and remember them in your prayers.  That is the best gift you could give.

Lastly, Baby Cole's family was very touched during their time and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and are hosting their Second Annual Blasingame Family Lemonade Stand to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for pediatric cancer research.  Their goal is to raise $500 this year for a great cause.  You can make a donation to their lemonade stand HERE

Thanks everyone!!! Together we can make a difference!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Some Updates

Update 1 - I can't remember what day of the pre-op diet I am on.  I am still a big, fat cheater.  I got a call from my surgeon's office the same day I was dealing with Kazak's ordeal regarding my surgery.  It was a message and of course, they were closed before I could call back.  I figured they hadn't got the results of my sleep study yet and so they were postponing surgery again and after the day I had had, there was no way I was going to keep starving myself, so we ate out at a local Mexican place that night.
     The next morning, I just didn't eat anything...just in case.  I had like 3 calls into the office before they returned my call.  It was basically a bunch of questions and as of now, surgery is still on.   By the time I received the call, it was time to meet Hubster for some errands.  Still had not  ate or drank anything other than a couple glasses of water.  We finally get home around 5 and Hubster decides he's grilling steak...so yeah, that's what I ate, too.  No it wasn't fat free meat, and I probably ate about 6oz....but it is protein, right?
     Today, I haven't even gotten in my minimums.  I've had my 3oz of fat free turkey at lunch and went to nap before work and forgot about the 6oz of light yogurt.  I thought I was working a 12 hour shift tonight, so I took my 3oz of fat free turkey, my light yogurt, sugar free jello, two diet green teas, and some sugar snap peas.  Well, I didn't get a chance to eat as I was fighting with a stupid enteral feeding pump all night at work amongst other duties.  Luckily, it turns out they didn't need me for 3rd shift, so at 10:30 I finally had my 3oz of fat free turkey and light yogurt with a diet green tea.
     I'm back on the horse and plan on staying there til next Friday.  Much admiration to all of you who made it without cheating! *bows down to your awesomeness*

Update 2 - The night we took Kazak in, they gave him some fluids and an injection to help with the vomiting.  The vet felt he was stable to send home and keep our appt with our regular vet for the x-rays.  Hubster dropped Kaz off to the vet his way to work.  I hadn't heard anything by noon, so I called.  They had taken chest and abdominal x-rays and were in the middle of a barium swallow study.  They called me back about a half hour later with what they had found.  The original x-rays showed suspicious soft tissue near his heart, which is why they did the barium testing.  The barium testing showed that he has a condition called megaesophagus.
    Basically when he swallows, the muscles that allow peristalsis to occur and move his food from his mouth to his stomach have become flaccid and therefore the food is pooling there.  This causes him to cough or regurgitate it...not true vomiting.  This regurgitation puts him a substantially increased risk for aspiration pneumonia.  The treatment is too feed him "gruel" consistency food, in small portions more frequently,  in as much of an upright position as possible and to keep him in that position for 20 minutes after eating so that gravity can assist in getting the food to his tummy.  Obviously time consuming.  This has seemed to help the last two days as he's not regurgitating as frequently.  However, he had a 3 pound weight loss since the beginning of the month at a time when he is still growing and should be steadily gaining.  We have to weigh him weekly.  Luckily our vet is right up the road and the scale is in the waiting room. 
     I was able to review the x-rays with our vet and talk in depth with her.  We believe he has a case of persistent right aortic arch, in which a part of the fetal heart that was supposed to disappear didn't and as he's grown has caused increasing restriction on his esophagus.  That restriction made it harder for the food to pass and led to the esophagus stretching out.  Usually this is caught very early in pups, often when they are weaning to solid food.  It appears Kaz's case was really mild and just got worse as he got bigger.  When it is detected in the very young pups, it can be surgically corrected.  We could opt to do the surgery at Kansas State's School of Vet. Med but at his age and with the damage that is done, his condition would not likely improve.  To make matters worse, where the dilation of his esophagus is, when the food sits there it not only puts the pressure on his heart, but his lungs too.  He tires easier and often pants after eating due to it.
     We know it's only a matter of time before we have to say good-bye, but we are making the most of the time we have with him.  We've decided to continue treating for the megaesophagus and delay euthanasia until his quality of life begins to suffer.

Lastly, today was the neighborhood wide yard sale.  It rained and was very cold...it took me hours to warm up after coming in from the garage!  It wasn't a huge hit as the weather sucked, but we made a little pocket change...help offset the cost of Kaz's medical bills!  LOL

Thank you all for the good thoughts you sent our way in regards to Kaz.  It was a very emotional day and my heart is still heavy, but for the sake of the kids, trying to enjoy our time with him.  Here's a pic I took when we came home from the vet on Thursday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Need some good thoughts

Kazak, our 8 month old german shepherd pup is really sick!  Our vet didn't want to get him in until morning, but he's been wretching and vomiting non-stop since I fed him an hour ago.  I called our friend's vet and they will see him at 6pm.  I'm glad because there's no way I'd get any sleep at the sleep study worrying about whether he's going to make it through the night.

Please think good thoughts that he's going to be okay and that it's not "twisted gut" or an obstruction.  He's the last baby of the family.  Munchkin shows him in 4-H (which was supposed to be tonight) and Monster likes playing "cops and robbers" with him.  We'd be devastated if we lost him.  I feel like a dork crying over this, but he's like one of the kids! 

So if you could send some good thoughts his way, I'd greatly appreciate it! 

Big Fat Cheater!

Yesterday was Day 1 of my 10 day pre-op diet and I am a big, fat cheater!  It is my own fault.  I made cherry delight the night before...just happens to be the best cherry delight ever made!  I ate a piece yesterday morning when I got one for Monster.  Other than that, I was good!  But, I still cheated!  My calorie intake yesterday was probably right about 1100....675 of diet food and I'm going to guesstimate 400 for the cherry delight.

Even with the cheat, I'm down 2 pounds this morning.  I have been a good girl today and thus far have only a protein shake.  I'm getting ready to eat lunch which will be 3oz of fat free ham and 6oz of light yogurt.  Dinner will be the same or another protein shake.  That should make today's calorie intake approximately 670.  Can a person truly survive on that amount for 10 days?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


That is me, in one word...I am whooped.  I am sooooo freaking tired!  The hubster and I busted our butts trying to get the house ready for market.  I know I promised pictures, but we didn't get quite as far as we wanted to.  Although I'm amazed at the differences we can see already. 

The new floor is down in the downstairs family room, but we need the little pieces that go in between rooms.  We also need to rearrange all the furniture and start staging.  As for the master bedroom, we got both coats of paint on the walls, took away the monstrosity of a headboard and did some rearranging.  I still need to clean the closet out but am waiting for spring to actually spring.  The trim also needs painted and then some staging.

So once it's complete, I promise, I will post pics.  Speaking of pics, I was going to do my "BEFORE" pics today, but to be honest, I'm in my crummy clothes from working around the house and look straight up craptastic!

Tomorrow begins my pre-op diet, so I will get a pre-op weight and pics then.  I can't say I'm stoked to be starting it because I know it's going to bite big burritos, but it does mean that I'm that much closer to being banded.  So here';s to being a good girl and not cheating....we know what happened last time I tried cheating!  LOL

Have a great week, all!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What a Weekend!

With the move looming, it was time to gt our rears in gear!

Thursday we cleaned out the garage and got things ready for next weekend's neighborhood yard sale. Almost ready for that. I still need to transfer Monster's clothes out of the dresser in his room into his new big boy all-in-one loft bed! I love that thing...now if he'd just sleep in it!! We also got a fresh coat of paint on the walls in the dining room and the hallway.

Friday, I scrubbed down the bathroom and got a start on the laundry. Then I took Munchkin to see "Alice in Wonderland" 3-D with the A family girls. The hubster and Mr. A stripped all the old flooring in the basement family room and started laying our new floor. Us girls picked up some Buffalo Wild Wings on the way home and fed the men! ;) After the A family left, I worked on more laundry and watched "My Sister's Keeper". Yeah my eyes were still a little puffy this morning from all my boo-hooing! LOL

Today, hubster and Mr. A headed to the landfill to dispose of all we had discarded from the garage and old flooring. Hubster returned the floor stripper and picked up Munchkin from the A family's house. Hubster has since been working on the flooring downstairs. I started with the bathroom redecorating by painting. I let Monster help....until he started painting the shower tile! Then it was time for him to go help daddy. We only got a quart of the paint because hubster wasn't sure about the color. Needless to say, it got the first coat done with the exception of cutting in. It's a nice light buttery yellow. I love it. But will get more paint tomorrow to finish the job. Until then, I continue to work on laundry.

Sure seems like a lot of laundry, huh? It is. Laundry is the one job that just never seems to be done in this house. It is my domestic nemesis! Just when I think I'm finished, another load magically appears. Do the dust bunnies under the beds knit themselves into clothing items just for me to wash?! I've always said the laundry here breeds like bunnies....that must be how it happens!

Tomorrow, we tackle the master bedroom since all the laundry should be finished. Painting and rearranging, staging. All the good stuff. We also need to finish painting the main bath and paint the half bath off the master bedroom.

I'll post pics of our weekend results tomorrow! I think the family room is looking awesome! I'm feeling a bit jaded that the house is finally going to be done and we won't even get to enjoy the fruits of our labor (and bank account) for very long. *pout* But maybe we'll get lucky and the house will sell quickly!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lia Sophia Jewelry Fans

My BFF is hosting an online fundraising party to benefit Baby Jayden.  50% of all sales will be donated to Jayden's COTA fund.  If you'd like to participate in this fundraiser, please email your order to Kellie M. or Kelly R. at Our Everyday Blessings.

Baby Jayden is currently awaiting the call for his new liver. He has pediatric end-stage liver disease. His liver was damaged when his body went into shock following open heart surgery to correct congenital heart defects when he was only a week old.

COTA is the Children's Organ Transplant Association. They assist family in fundraising to offset transplant related costs not covered by insurance. The Olmsteads non-covered costs are estimated at $40,000. Any money left in the fund after their needs have been met are donated to another family who's child is facing an organ transplant. If you'd like to learn more about COTA or donate directly to Jayden's COTA fund, please click on the COTA banner at the top of this page.

The Olmsteads are an incredible family who have faced the challenges presented to them with unwavering faith, dignity and grace. They are truly an inspiration and I'm honored to call them friends!

**Edited to add the following**
If you are touched by Baby Jayden's story, I ask that you pass it on to your friends and your family and that they do the same.

Be the change you want to see in the world!
Together we can make a difference!

The Silver Lining

I discovered the silver lining of my surgery being postponed.  Hubster leaves in a month, therefore we have a basment to finish remodeling thanks to the county sewer main backing up.  It was absolutely disgusting!  Today was the meeting with the county comissioners and they are paying for our damages since they failed to respond to our call in a timely manner.  If they had, there would have been much less damage.

Anywhoo...so we have a basement to tear up flooring, re-floor and paint.  We have a bedroom to paint and I'm likely going to have to repaint Monster's room.  It's currently fire engine red and royal blue with stoplight yellow trim...he has a Disney "Cars" theme.  It looks awesome and was a bitch to paint....so I'm really not looking forward to toning it down in order to sell or rent out the house.

We also need to recarpet the upstairs.  Monster was not kind to the carpet in his terrible twos while hubster was deployed.  It was covered in chocolate syrup a time or two, coffee granules, coffee creamer.  Yeah, I think he wants to be a baristo.  But the Dyson and Hoover Floormate only have so much power which was outdone by the Terrible Two Tornado.

With the big move ahead of us, we took today to clean out the garage.  Next weekend is the neighborhood yard sale. We're goint to take advantage of that and do our premove sale in conjunction with it.  Munchkin is going to do a lemonade stand and will donate the proceeds to the 2nd Annual Blasingame Family Stand to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation ,which funds pediatric cancer research.  Their goal is to raise $500 this year.  If you'd like to help just click the link.  Every little bit helps find a cure! 

As you can see, it's going to be a busy month and it's going to require a lot of  manual labor and heavy lifting. We also have a bunch of overgrown brush behind our fence-line that needs cleared. Luckily, if we can get it cleared, the University has been awesome and burns it off for us. It's just grueling and we need to get it done before the poison ivy sprouts because it seems I only have to look at it to break out in an itchy rash! They're calling for snow this weekend, so hopefully next weekend will be nice enough for us to tackle that.

 So yes, God, I hear you.  Yes, God.  I know Your will will always be done and You always work for our good.  Thanks, Lord!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thinking Through Typing, again!

So yeah, today was supposed to be my lucky day.  The day I got my band....but it was a no-go because I needed a sleep study.  Well that is scheduled for the 24th.  I've been keeping the sleep diary they've asked me, too.  I'm actually doing pretty good on the no caffeine thing.  I had one Coke yesterday and so far that's the only caffeine I've had this week.  Unfortunately, other than Monday, I haven't drank much water though, either. 

As for my whole back, back, back & forth stuff, that decision has pretty much been made.  The hubster got orders today.  Looks like we'll get to move to Florida just in time for the dog days of summer!  Heat and humidity...a fat chick's favorite friends..NOT!  I'll hopefully have some decent results from the band by then so at least I won't be mistaken for a beached whale.  We won't be eaten by gators at the beach, right?  Apparently we just have to watch for the bears in the back yard from the advisory issued by the installation.   However, I also realize that is is likely the only chance we'll get to go somewhere really neat and plan to make the most of our time there.  We will definitely be doing Disney World (even if it's still 8 hours away) and Busch Gardens.  I'll build sand castles with the munchkins and  look for hermit crabs and do my best to get my good friend to visit and do a beach photo shoot.   Not to mention, I'll have yet another nursing license from yet another state to add to my collection!

Well, A. is bugging me for the computer.  She's got to play Barbie.com!  Talk to you all later!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back, Back, Back & Forth

Aren't you glad I got that song stuck in your head? No? Sorry...just a warning though the following post is thinking through typing.

Big changes are coming with the hubster's job, changes that affect just about every aspect of our lives from where we'll live, where the kids will go to school, and whether or not to put the pursuit of my own dreams on the back burner again to support his career aspirations.

His career change involves approximately 10 months of schooling, six that could be accompanied in an awesome locale. That would be a refreshing change from nowhere OK and KS. The kids and I would be able to meet up with some good friends from OK, hang out at the beach, go to Disney, Busch Gardens, etc.

But then I think, "In just about the same amount of time, I could my finish my degree and start working in the field I have always wanted". Our youngest will be starting school next school year and would be the perfect time for me to follow that dream. In order to do this, I would move back to the area we are from with the kids. I know my daughter would be in a good school and the little guy could go to pre-K and daycare at our church. The cost of living is significantly cheaper so DH could have an efficiency apt near the school and I could rent a house for me and the kids and still be under BAH.

However, both plans will only work if we can sell or rent out our current home. So that is another area where my mind is going back, back, back & forth. Sell or rent? Put it on the market and hope it sells quickly so we don't have to worry about it or rent it out in hopes we get orders back here after his schooling is done? While KS is not super awesome, we live in a nice neighborhood in a nice town with good schools and there are definitely worse places the Army can send us...like Ft. Sill or Ft. Hood.

Then the struggle over whether it's selfish to pursue my career goals begins. In the 5 years we've been married and he's been in the Army he's only been "home" for half of it between training and deployments. Would it be wrong to separate our family when it doesn't have to be? Doesn't the Army do that enough? He's switching from being a light wheeled mechanic to an EOD tech (bomb squad for the Army). What if (God forbid) something happened to him? Would I regret that decision to pursue my dream? Or do I pursue my dream so that if the unthinkable happens, I have a good career that will make sure our families needs are met?

As one of my friends blogged today, where is that giant arrow sign that says "This Way", showing us the right path? It's possible things will work out regardless of which path I choose, but if they didn't would I regret the choice? *sigh*

Back, back, back & forth.....

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Don't Just Survive - Thrive! (On Mushies)

So from what I hear, mashed potatoes are little bits of heaven after surviving for weeks on the liquids only pre-op and post-op diets.  But once again, fairly bland.  So here's some recipes I have bookmarked for the mushie stage that will hopefully provide some tantalizing tingles to the taste buds!

Once again, these are from the  Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200 book.  Two hundred recipes under 200 calories....great idea for those of us counting calories and eating smaller portions.  I got my copy at the local Hy-Vee, but they are available through her website and other retailers.

Cheesy Cauliflower Casserole

1 large head of cauliflower, chopped
1 onion, chopped
3 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Original Swiss cheese, room temperature
1 cup fat-free cottage cheese
1 cup low-fat  or light ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded fat-free cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Optional Topping: Paprika

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place cauliflower and onion in large microwave safe bowl with 1/2 cup water.  Cover and microwave for 6-8 minutes.  Once bowl is cool enough to handle, drain  water and set aside.
Place cheese wedges in a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 10-15 seconds.  Mix until smooth.  If needed, return to the microwave for an additional 10 seconds and stir again.
Add cheese and all other ingredients to the bowl with the cauliflower and onion and stir until mixed well.
Spray a medium-large baking dish with non-stick spray.  Transfer contents of the bowl to baking dish.  Sprinkle paprika lightly on top, if you like.  Bake in the oven for one hour.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes.   Serve warm or at room temp (warm sounds better to me).
Makes 9 servings.  117 calories, 2g fat, 10g carbs, 14.5g protein

Spinach, Mushroom, and Mozzarella Supreme

Two 16oz bags frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and thoroughly dried
1-1/2 cups canned sliced mushrooms (about 2 med cans or 1 lg one), drained
3 wedges The Laughing Cow cheese (any Light flavor), room temp
1 cup diced onion
1/3 cup shredded fat-free mozzarella cheese
3/4 tsp garlic powder
Optional:  Salt and Black Pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a pan sprayed with non-stick spray, cook onion over high heat on the stove until browned (about 3 minutes).  Set aside.
Pat spinach with paper towels making sure all excess moisture has been removed.  In a mixing bowl, combine spinach, onion, cheese wedges, and garlic powder.  Mix well until thoroughly combined.
Spray a medium casserole dish with nonstick spray.  Spread half the spinach mixture along the bottom.  Layer half the mushrooms evenly over the spinach mixture.
Spread remaining spinach mixture over the mushroom layer.  Layer remaining mushrooms on top.  Sprinkle casserole with mozzarella cheese
Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, until cheese layer begins to crisp slightly.
Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.
Makes 6 servings.  106 calories, 1g fat, 11g carbs, 8g protein

Miracle Mashies

1 large potato (about 13oz)
3 cups cauliflower florets
3 Tbsp fat-free half & half
1 Tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread
1/4 tsp. salt
Additional salt and black pepper, to taste
Optional: 1/2 tsp. crushed garlic

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
While waiting for water to boil, peel and cube potato.
Once water is boiling, add peeled potato cubes and cauliflower florets.  Allow water to return to a boil, and then reduce heat to medium.  Cook for 15-20 minutes until potatoes and cauliflower are very tender.
Remove pot from heat and carefully drain water.  Transfer potato mixture to a large bowl.  Add half & half, butter, and salt.  Add crushed garlic, if you like.
Mash with potato masher until completely blended.  Season to taste with pepper and additional salt.
(I think adding some fat-free cheese to these would be super yummy and add some protein.)
Makes 5 servings.  82 calories, 1g fat, 16g carbs, 3g protein.

Once again, if you give these a try before I do, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it!  I chose the above recipes because they're ones I think I can probably get my family to eat as well and what a way to sneak in some veggies!  ;)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't Just Survive - Thrive! (On Liquids)

I found a few recipes I'm bookmarking for my full liquid stage.  I mean, one can't survive on protein shakes alone, right?  Maybe one could, but I know my tastebuds are going to want some excitment!  Maybe yours do, too!  If you try these before I do, please leave a review in the comments section.  I'm sure myself and other bandsters would appreciate it!

The following recipes were taken from Hungry Girl: 200 Under 200.

Mint Chocolate Chip Freeze

1 TBSP Coffee-Mate  Sugar-Free  Frenh Vanilla Creamer 
1 TBSP Sugar Free Chocolate Syrup
1 tsp instant coffee granules
1 tsp mini chocolate chips
1/4 tsp spearmint or peppermint extract
2 no-calorie sweetner packets
1 cup crushed ice or 5-8 ice cubes
2 TBSP Chocolate ReddiWhip

In a tall glass, combine powdered creamer with 2 TBSP warm water.  Stir until powder is dissolved.  Add 3/4 cup cold water and transfer mixture to blender.   Add all of the other ingredients except for the Reddi-whip.  Blend on high speed for 30-45 seconds.  Pour into your glass and top with the Chocolate Reddi-Whip.  Enjoy. 
Makes 1 serving.  87 calories, 12g carbs, 4.75g fat

Freezy-cool Lemon Slushie

Two 2-serving packets sugar-free lemonade powedered drink mix
1 tsp fat-free non-dair powdered creamer
1-1/2 cups crushed ice or 8-10 ice cubes

In a tall glass, combine powdered creamer with 1/4 cup warm water.  Stir until dissolved.  Add 1-1/4 cups cold water and powdered drink mix, and mix thoroughly.  Transfer contents of the glass to a blender and add ice.  Blend at high speed until thoroughly blened .  Pour into your glass and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving. 30 calories, 2 g carbs, 0g fat

Chocolate-Banana Smoothie

One 25-calorie packet diet hot cocoa mix
1 small ripe banana, sliced adn frozen
2 tsp. fat-free non-dairy powdered creamer
1 tsp. mini chocolate chips
1 packet no-calorie sweetener
1 cup crused ice or 5-8 ice cubes

In a tall glass, combine cocoa mix, powdered creamer, chocolate chips and sweetener.  Add 1/4 cup very hot water and stir until dissovled.  Add 1/2 cup cold water and stir.  Transfer contents of glass to a blender.  Add frozen banana slices and ice.  Blend at medium speed until completely mixed.  Pour int your glass and enjoy!
Makes 1 serving.  164 calories, 35.5g carbs, 1.5g fat, 3g protein

Raspberry Mocha Madness Swappucino

1/2  cup light chocolate soy milk, cold
1/4 cup sugar-free calorie-free rapsberry syrup (Torani Sugar Free Syrup is recommended)
1-1/2 tsp. instant coffee granules
1 tsp Coffee-mate sugar Free French Vanilla powdered creamer
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
2 packets no-calorie sweetener
1-1/2 cups crushed ice or 8-10 ice cubes
2 Tbsp. Fat Free Reddi-Whip

In a tall glass, combined coffee granules, powdered creamer, cocoa, and sweetener.  Add 2 Tbsp. hot water and stir to dissolve ingredients.  Add soy milk, raspberry syrup, then transfer to blender.  Add ice and blend on high speed until thoroughly mixed.  Pour into your glass, top with Reddi-Whip and enjoy!!
Makes 1 serving.  82 calories, 15.5g carbs, 1.75g fat, 3g protein.

If these look yummy be sure to check out the Hungry Girl website.  Be sure to share your fave recipes, too! :)  Tomorrow - recipes I plan on trying for the mushies stage.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Cole's Story

Today, I want to share Cole's story with you.  Cole is the 8 month old son of my very dear friend, Sabrina and her husband Trey.  He's also the little brother of Miss K, their beautiful 8 year old daughter.  He is the other little guy I'm walking on behalf of in the March for Babies next month.

Cole was born on July 5th in East Meadow, NY at a healthy 8lb, 21in. However, despite how young he is,  he has already endured so much. He spent his first few weeks in the NICU on a ventilator because he could not breathe on his own.  The medical team feared he was born with a surfactant deficiency that would require a double lung transplant.  They also discovered he was in renal failure with creatinine levels being three times what is considered within normal limits.  He was transferred via helicopter to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia where he spent another month.  However, by God's amazing grace, Cole's lungs seemed to be healing themselves and got stronger with each day.  The doctors still don't know what caused his respiratory distress or how his lungs got better.  However, his family and friends know it was God answering the many prayers lifted up for little Cole.

Because of Cole's respiratory distress, he was fed via an NG tube for fear of aspiration.  Once his lungs got stronger while in the care of CHOP, they tried to introduce the bottle but he would tire himself out and his oxygen saturations would drop.  Eating was just too much work for him.  It was also around this time that he was noted to be hypotonic, meaning he had decreased muscle tone.  At the time they thought it was due to the amount of time he had been in the hospital and how much energy he expended just trying to breathe.  After two months of living in the hospital, Cole was well enough to be discharged and finally go home.  He was discharged with an NG tube in place to supplement his bottle feedings.  That was later changed to a PEG tube, which is a surgically placed feeding tube that goes directly into the stomach.

According his mom and team of doctors, Cole is the "healthiest sick kid"  around.  He continues to have an elevated creatinine level for reasons unknown, but thankfully, the levels have continued decreasing. Genetic testing has been done but still there are no answers for his family as to why he continues to have the irregular breathing patterns, feeding issues, low muscle tone and elevated creatinine levels.   He works very hard with his speech therapist, physical therapist and occupational therapist.   With all his hard work he is now only behind about 2 months developmentally.  He also visits his pediatrician,nephrologist,  gastroenterologist and neurologist frequently, as well as the lab for blood draws. He's such a trooper and so is the rest of his family.

Cole seemed to enjoy and do well with solids (pureed baby food) when they were introduced.  However, recently he has completely refused to take anything by mouth, meaning his family is having to meet his nutritional needs via his G tube.  The therapists and team of doctors again have no explanations for this.  Cole and his mom are headed back to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia on Monday to be evaluated for an intensive feeding program designed to help Cole learn to eat.  Unfortunately, insurance companies rarely approve this treatment, despite it's success in helping infants like Cole.  We are praying that with the results of Monday's evaluation, it will be approved by their insurance company.  If it is not, the program will cost nearly $40,000 not including travel expenses, lodging, parking, meals, etc. that go with having to be near the hospital for treatment.

I am asking that you will keep this family in your prayers.  I am also seeking out volunteers to assist in fundraising for this family to offset the treatment related costs not covered by insurance.  If you are interested in volunteering, please contact me at unspokenangel24@hotmail.com with "COLE" as your subject.

You can follow Cole's Story here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

That Bites...

and not in a sexy, Edward Cullen kind of way!

Today was my pre-op appointment with surgery scheduled two weeks from today. Did you catch that? Scheduled...as in past tense!

I had to re-submit to my insurance back in January, which involved paperwork related to symptoms of possible co-morbidities. Well, when I gained that 15 pounds after my post-Thanksgiving course of prednisone, I started snoring and so I checked off that box. A year ago, I didn't snore.

Anyhow, at that appointment in January we discussed possibly doing an apnea link, which is a take home test to see if your oxygen sats drop through the night. If it's positive, then they order a sleep study. Well, they never ordered the apnea link, today's pre-op appointment was scheduled as was surgery. I get there today and they inform me that because I indicated snoring, I need a sleep study. No biggie, right?

Wrong! They can't get me in to do the sleep study until March 24th which is over a week after my surgery. So, you guessed it! No surgery until the sleep study is done, the results are in and I have the necessary equipment, if indicated. Really? They couldn't have figured this out before today considering my appointment was over a month ago?! Talk about feelings of frustration and disappointment!

Surgery is now scheduled for April 2nd. Instead of being two weeks away, I'm now a month away from getting my band. Did I mention feelings of frustration and disappointment with this?

On the bright side:

I can go to dinner with the family for my birthday and have a slice of cake ala mode.

We can take the kids on a 4 day trip instead of only 2 for Spring Break.

I'll be able to eat on said trip instead of being on the pre-op diet.

The surgery is on a Friday so, hopefully, the hubster won't have to burn any of his leave. Munchkin will be in school that day so I only have to find child care for Noggin.

How telling is that two of my "bright spots" have to do with eating?!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Operation St. Louis Surprise

This past weekend the hubster and I surprised the kids with a trip to St. Louis.  The best part of the surprise though was that we got Grandma in on the act.  Grandma met us there with my two nieces.  The older girls are BFF's and love getting together any chance they can.

We then headed to the St. Louis Science Center. It was very crowded but we still had a good time. The dinosaur exhibit on the lower level was our favorite part. We also watched "Under the Sea" at the Omnimax which was pretty neat, too!

We had dinner at the hotel restaurant, Tigin Pub & Restaurant. We made sure that kids were allowed, and the staff assured us it was all good as long as they were serving food. However, it was still quite awkward to walk four children ranging in age from 9 down to 3 through the restaurant. It definitely felt more pub like and there wasn't really any fare for the kids. The older two shared a burger and fries and the younger two shared the mini burger appetizer. I had a cheesesteak sandwich on a toasted hoagie with a horseradish mayo that was awesome! <---Sorry for the food porn, but it was good! Grandma then took the kids swimming while the hubster and I headed out for a bit. We headed across the river to Casino Queen, which boasts the loosest slots in the country. Apparently, others had already cashed in on that, because we didn't! LOL After that we headed back to the hotel pub for a few cocktails and then back to our room. Grandma and the kids had just returned from the pool and wanted to swim some more. So we got them ready for bed with the promise to wake up early and swim before we all had to head home. That worked and they all went to bed without a fight! However, getting up at 06:00 to swim was harder for me than them! LOL

After our swim, it was time for everyone to head home. We packed up and said our goodbyes. Mom and the nieces headed back to Indiana and we headed back to Kansas. However, we did make a pitstop in KC to go to Cabela's where the kids talked us into some homemade kettle corn. Yum!

What a fun weekend for everyone! I hope we can plan more surprises like this in the future!

With that said, though, it is Monday. Therefore, it is also weigh day and I'm up 3 pounds to 221. Back to protein shakes it is!

Hope you all have a great week!