Apr 30, 2013

Adrenal Insufficiency Day

Adrenal insufficiency is a condition in which the adrenal glands do not produce adequate amounts of steroid hormones (chemicals produced by the body that regulate organ function).

If not treated, adrenal insufficiency may result in severe abdominal pains, vomiting, profound muscle weakness and fatigue, depression, extremely low blood pressure, weight loss, kidney failure, changes in mood and personality, and shock (adrenal crisis).

An adrenal crisis often occurs if the body is subjected to stress, such as an accident, injury, surgery, or severe infection; death may quickly follow.

Today is Adrenal Insufficiency Day....

Wear BLUE to show your support!

Apr 29, 2013

Beltane Blessings!

Bel-tane is named for the old Celtic god, Bel, bright, shining, and tan, fire. In honoring a god of light and fire, Celtic sacred tradition is akin to every other religion, East and West, which acknowledges a great being of Divine Fire and Light as the primary power of creation. The oldest Indo-European wisdom teachings of all, the Vedas, describe the Divine Fire, Agni, as the source of all life, which is expressed by the Sun, Surya. The spiritual path is frequently described as one that leads from the darkness of ignorance to illumination. And just as Eastern paths such as Buddhism teach meditations that will lead us to enlightenment, in the Western Esoteric Tradition we climb the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to reach the blissful level of consciousness known as Ain Soph Aur, or Limitless Light.

Beltane is also the great spring holiday of the Goddess. Halfway around the year from Samhain, when we honor out beloved dead, Beltane is the festival that celebrates all of the living world: plants, animals, and human beings. On both occasions, the veil between the worlds is said to be thin, and is no more unusual to see the fairies near Beltane, than it is to see the spirits of the dead at Samhain. Beltane is a time of Faerie Magic and the Queen of faeries is represented by the Queen of the May. Along with her consort, she rules over the festivities and serves as representative of the Goddess.

Beltane is the Holiday of fertility. For Pagans, one of the great gifts of the Goddess is the power of the earth to grow wonderful flowers and fruits and all the things we eat. We are thankful for the fertility of the earth, and our job is to keep the land and the soil healthy, to protect the animals and plants and trees so that fertility can continue. The earth is a living being, and all of her creatures are part of her body. Each has a place, a purpose, a special part in the great dance of life.

On Beltane, we also celebrate all the different kinds of human fertility and creativity. We give thanks for the power women and men have to make babies, to bring new people into the world. But people can create in other ways as well. When we paint pictures, make up songs, tell new stories, plant a garden, or cook a dinner, we take part in the fertility of the Goddess.

Beltane is also the time when we celebrate the joys of being alive. We give thanks for all the different kinds of pleasure our bodies give us, for without our bodies we couldn't see, hear, touch, taste, smell, run, dance, jump, sing, dance, or swim.

Pagans believe that, just as the different plants and animals each have a special purpose in the web of life, so do the different kinds of people. That's why we should never mock people because of how they look or what they can or cannot do. People who cannot walk or see or hear or who have some other difference, have been given a special challenge in this life by the Goddess. Many things may be harder for them, but other things may be easier. And the harder the challenges we face, the more we can grow in our inner power.

In ancient times Bel-fires were lit on hilltops to celebrate the return of life and fertility to the world. Jumping over the fire could ensure safe delivery of a pregnant woman, spring spouses to young people, grant traveling a safe journey, ensure health, and bring about conception for a barren woman.

Beltane is a time of chaos, of the wild energy and passion found in the Greenwood. Be careful when you walk abroad on Beltane night - you never know what you're going to encounter.

Apr 27, 2013

Triple Berry Tofu Smoothie (Tofu 4 Kids)


2 cups berries (fresh or frozen - blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries)
1 banana
1 cup silken tofu
1 1/2 cups milk (dairy, soy, rice, almond)
1 cup ice


Blend ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Serve immediately.


(Sorry there's no picture. My shots came out fuzzy.)

Apr 26, 2013

Crate Training

Crate Training is one of the most efficient and effective ways to train a puppy.

The single most important aspect of puppy training is that you reward and praise your puppy each and every time she does the right thing. For example: praise her when she chews her own toys instead of the couch or eliminates outside instead of in the house. The more time you spend with your puppy, the quicker and easier it will be to train her.

The key to house training is to establish a routine that increases the chances that your puppy will eliminate in the right place in your presence, so that she can be praised and rewarded; and decreases the chances that your puppy will eliminate in the wrong place so that she will not develop bad habits.

It is important that you make provisions for your puppy when you are not home. Until your puppy is housetrained, she should not be allowed free run of your house. Otherwise, she will develop a habit of leaving piles and puddles anywhere and everywhere. Confine her to a small area such as a kitchen, bathroom or utility room that has water/stain resistant floors. Confinement is NOT crate training.

What is Crate Training?

Crate training can be an efficient and effective way to house train a puppy. Puppies do not like to soil their "dens" if given adequate opportunity to eliminate elsewhere. Temporarily confining your puppy to a small area strongly inhibits the tendency to urinate and defecate. However, there is still a far more important aspect of crate training. If your puppy does not eliminate while she is confined, then she will need to eliminate when she is released, i.e., she eliminates when you are present to reward and praise her.

Be sure to understand the difference between temporarily confining your puppy to a crate and long term confinement when you are not home. The major purpose of confinement when your are not home is to restrict mistakes to a small protected area. The purpose of crate training is quite the opposite.

Short term confinement to a crate is intended to inhibit your puppy from eliminating when confined, so that she will want to eliminate when released from confinement and taken to an appropriate area. Crate training also helps teach your puppy to have bladder and bowel control. Instead of going whenever she feels like it, she learns to hold it and go at convenient scheduled times.

Crate training should not be abused, otherwise the problem will get drastically worse. The crate is not intended as a place to lock up the puppy and forget her for extended periods of time. If your puppy soils her crate because you left her there too long, the house training process will be set back several weeks, if not months.

Your puppy should only be confined to a crate when you are at home. Except at night, give your puppy an opportunity to relieve herself every hour or so. Never give your puppy free run of your home unless you know without a doubt that her bowels and bladder are empty.

Mistakes and Accidents During Training

If you ever find an accident in the house, just clean it up. Do not punish your puppy. All this means is that you have given her unsupervised access to your house too soon. Until she can be trusted, don't give her unsupervised free run of your house. If mistakes and accidents occur, it is best to go back to the crate training. You need to more accurately predict when puppy needs to eliminate and she needs more time to develop bladder and bowel control.

Apr 21, 2013

Zucchini Pizzas!

This one is great for low carb diets and very kid-friendly! Not to mention SIMPLE and good for you! (Depending on how much cheese you use, anyway.)


-3 Large Zucchini
-Cheese of Choice or non-dairy substitute
-Pizza Sauce or Marinara
-Garlic Powder
-Parmesan Cheese or Nutritional Yeast (or both!)
-Any Extra Toppings of Your Choice.


-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

-Cut the zucchini into thin slices. (I can get about 4 slices per Zucchini)

-Lay the slices on a non-stick baking sheet or tin foil with olive oil coating.

-Top each zucchini thin with pizza sauce.

-Sprinkle some garlic powder and parmesan (or nutritional yeast or both) on each zucchini slice.

-Top with your choice of toppings.

-Cover your toppings with cheese on each individual "pizza". Keep in mind that a bit of cheese will melt off of the sides.

Bake in the oven for approximately 23-25 minutes.


Apr 19, 2013

Celery "Subs"

Let me start off by saying that I completely stole this idea from one of my best friends whose son LOVES celery. It was my hope that this little snack would introduce my toddler, to and help her like, celery (as I am not myself a fan).

Celery "Subs"

Cut up Organic Celery into about 2-3 inch pieces
Top with Peanut Butter, Marshmallows & Raisins

Voila! It's that simple!

Unfortunately, all my daughter ended up doing was picking off the raisins and marshmallows to eat with her fingers and licking some of the peanut butter off of the celery. She took probably one decent bite of plain celery, chewed a couple of times, then spit it out onto the table. Oh well... better luck next time!

Miniature Schnauzer

Mark LOVES Miniature Schnauzers. He loves them like I love Poodles. Ever since I have known him he has wanted to own a Miniature Schnauzer. Part of why he loves the breed so much is because he grew up with one. Animals that we grow up with often imprint themselves into our psyche!

Miniature Schnauzers are coined as being "Smart & Sassy"!

The Miniature Schnauzer is a small breed with a big personality and is ideally suited to the role of family pet. Like all terrier-like dogs, they are sturdy, game little fellows, with great determination and a huge sense of loyalty to their family. They are also a friendly, loving dogs who craves human attention and wants to be a part of the family’s activities. They are extremely handsome dogs; their characteristic bushy beard, moustache and eyebrows convey an air of age and wisdom which isn’t too far-fetched a notion, as the Miniature Schnauzer is a very intelligent dog!

The Schnauzer originated in Germany (just like Poodles!) where it has been known as far back as the 15th century. For centuries, these dogs were kept as herders, guardians, ratters and simply as companions, and eventually developed into three distinct sizes: Giant, Standard and Miniature. The Miniature Schnauzer is the youngest breed of the three, being developed during the late 19th century. In its earliest stages, several small breeds were employed in crosses to bring down the size of the well-established Standard Schnauzer, with the goal of creating a miniature version. Schnauzers were crossed to other breeds, such as the Affenpinscher, Poodle (Yay!) and Miniature Pinscher, resulting eventually in the dog we know and love today as the Miniature Schnauzer.

Some breeds have an air of intelligence – or look intelligent – but the Miniature Schnauzer doesn’t just look intelligent; he is intelligent! Owners will recognise the breed’s qualities of being incredibly alert, lively and mischievous. Miniature Schnauzers thrive on attention and are quick to learn vocal and hand commands. They fit in well with family routines and habits, enjoying being part of the family pack. However, they are equally happy to be a one-person dog and are ideal for all ages, including active people or those of retirement age. They also make excellent guard dogs as they are quick to bark at strangers – or intruders – but do not become aggressive. Again, this makes them ideal as family pets. Like all dogs they need to be socialised with children and other pets from an early age, but they are quick to learn, accepting commands readily. Miniature Schnauzers do very well in obedience and ringcraft.

These dogs are very energetic and can sometimes become bored if not given the attention they crave. Regular exercise and a proper diet are essential to keep your Miniature Schnauzer from becoming bored and possibly destructive. The breed is very adaptable and will be happy in most home environments, including apartments, but regular exercise is essential – they don’t like being cooped up for long periods. Good long walks – or runs – and plenty of games keep the Miniature Schnauzer engaged and fit, which is what they enjoy. And their energetic natures are good for their owners getting exercise, too!

Miniature Schnauzers are very robust, active and sturdy dogs with very few health problems. Miniature Schnauzers remain healthy and active all of their lives, although naturally they begin to slow down a bit as they reach old age. As to longevity, they can live for up to 15 years and are one of the longer-lived dog breeds, which again makes them ideal as family pets.

5 Miniature Schnauzer facts:

The Schnauzer is the only breed known to take its name from one of its kind to win a prize at a show. This was at the International Show in Hanover, Germany in 1879. The winner of the wirehaired Pinscher class was a dog called ‘Schnauzer’, a name that translates literally as ‘small beard’ (which the breed has) and thus the present-day name for the breed came into being.

Miniature Schnauzers have a long lifespan, living for up to 15 years of age, although there have been accounts of some dogs living to the age of 17!

The Miniature Schnauzer has a wiry coat and thus does not moult, which is a plus point if you are houseproud! This also makes the breed ideal for anyone with allergies. All-over grooming with a brush and comb is required at least twice a week. Hand stripping is required for show dogs but clipping is straightforward and easy for a smart family pet, although the body colour does pale as the dog ages. It is necessary for your dog to be properly clipped by an experienced dog groomer every 8 to 12 weeks to keep his coat manageable.

Miniature Schnauzers are very unfussy eaters and thrive on a good, standard dog food diet. They are equally happy with proprietory dog food as they are with natural foods such as meat and fish, and enjoy gnawing on a bone. However, rich and fatty foods should be avoided as some dogs can occasionally suffer from pancreatic problems as a result of over-feeding such foods.

Weight Weight range:
14-18lbs for dogs
11-15 lbs for bitches

Crispy Tofu Dippers (Tofu 4 Kids)

This is the 1st installment of an ongoing project to find fun tofu recipes that children will eat without a fuss! Finding kid-friendly tofu recipes is not an easy task. Most kids, especially young toddlers, tend to be texture eaters and the texture of tofu is not usually very appealing to them.

Why should you and your child(ren) eat tofu?

The health benefits of tofu are numerous. Consuming tofu regularly helps lower cholesterol and even lowers the risk of cancer. Since soybean is cheap and abundant, but rich in protein, the popularly known benefit of tofu is that of being the “poor man’s protein.”

Tofu as Vegan Substitute for Meat -

There is a common misconception that vegetarians do not get as much protein as meat lovers do. Although vegetables are mainly composed of carbohydrates, some vegetables, in fact, have all of the essential amino acids that your body requires.

The only difference between tofu and meat protein is that you have to eat more tofu to meet the recommended dietary protein levels. Studies show that regularly eating the right amount of tofu provides an equivalent amount of energy, protein, total fat, carbohydrates, alcohol and fiber.

Other Health Benefits of Tofu -

Isoflavones are compounds found in soy products, and they are known to exert direct and indirect antioxidant effects. Isoflavones also directly scavenge free radicals.

And now for a recipe!

Crispy Tofu Dippers


14oz block Organic Non-GMO Extra Firm Tofu
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1/4 cup Cornmeal
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil


-After you have drained and pressed the tofu, cut into bite-size pieces.
-Mix together cornmeal, parmesan, and cornstarch.
-Whisk it up a bit and then place your tofu pieces in the mixture. Coat well.
-Heat a bit of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
-Once your pieces are coated, pop them in the hot pan.
-Cook on all sides until brown and crispy.
-Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.

Apr 18, 2013

Backyard Breeders vs. Responsible Hobby Breeders

The Backyard Breeder -

1. Is motivated to breed because it is "fun", "good for kids", "to make money," or "wants to get their 'investment' back from the dog they bought." Doesn't screen buyers and seldom refuses to sell, even if buyer is unsuitable.

2. Breeds family pet or breeding stock to any convenient dog of same breed just to have purebred pups "with papers." Has no concern for, or knowledge of: genetics, bloodlines, animal husbandry, or breed improvement.

3. Has little or no knowledge of breed health issues. Though pet may be well loved, it wasn't tested or checked for heritable problems prior to breeding.

4. Offers no health guarantees beyond proof of shots, if that. Unqualified and/or unwilling to give help if problems develop.

5. Seller has little knowledge of breed history or AKC "Standard." May claim that this doesn't matter for "just pets".

6. Pups raised in makeshift accommodations, indicating lack of long-term investment in breeding.

7. Even when selling "just pets", may display AKC "papers" or "championship pedigree" as proof of quality. Yet seller doesn't increase their own knowledge through participation in national or local breed clubs. Doesn't show their breeding stock in shows to "prove" quality, often feeling that dog shows are too expensive or that judges don't know anything. Has no knowledge of ancestors listed on the pedigree, much less their ownership, health status or whereabouts.

8. May be unwilling to show buyer entire litter or to introduce dam and/or sire of litter. Can't or won't compare/critique pups or pups' ancestors.

9. Prices puppies at low end of local range, since most want to move pups quickly at 8 weeks or often younger.

10. No concern for the future of individual pups or breed as a whole. Doesn't employ AKC's limited registration option nor ask for spay/neuter contract to guard against breeding of substandard pets. If you can't keep the pup, s/he tells you to take it to dog pound or sell it.

The Responsible Hobby Breeder -

1. Is dedicated to producing quality dogs as a serious avocation. Has so much invested in dogs that s/he struggles to break even, rarely making a "profit." Will sell pups only to approved buyers.

2. Can explain how and why the breeding was planned, with emphasis on specific qualities through linebreeding or outcrossing.

3. Has breeding stock x-rayed to check for hip dysplasia and tests for other genetic faults. Can produce certification to prove claims.

4. Lifetime commitment to replace a dog with genetic faults or to help owner deal with problem.

5. Loves the breed and can talk at length about the breed's history, background, uses, and ideal type.

6. Has a serious investment in dog equipment such as puppy pens, crates and grooming tables and knows how to use it.

7. Belongs to and is actively involved with local or national dog clubs which indicates a love for the sport and welfare of dogs as a whole. Exhibits his/her own dogs at dog shows on a regular basis as an objective test of how their stock measures up to The Standard. Can identify ownership and whereabouts of all dogs listed on pedigrees.

8. Shows litter and other family members in a sanitary environment.

9. Prices will be at medium to high end of local range, not cut-rate. Price won't reflect all that is invested in pups.

10. After purchase, will help with grooming or training problems. Will take back pup you can't keep rather than see it disposed of inappropriately. Sells companion quality only with spay/neuter agreement or limited AKC registration.

Apr 16, 2013

New Puppy!

That's right! He's finally here! After months of planning and weeks of waiting for him to be born and then waiting for him to be ready to come home... our new Standard Poodle Puppy is home and acclimating to his new pack.

Let me introduce our little hairy bundle of love...


Apr 10, 2013

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 white onion, chopped
1 package trimmed Brussels sprouts
salt and ground black pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste


Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until the oil shimmers, and cook garlic, stirring often, until golden brown and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Stir in onion and cook until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes.

Add Brussels sprouts to the skillet and cook without stirring until the undersides of the sprouts turn golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.

Stir to turn sprouts over, and cook other sides until golden brown, another 5 to 7 minutes.

Season with salt, black pepper, and lemon juice.

Shrimp Scampi


1 pound large (16-20 count) shrimp, shelled and de-veined*
3-4 garlic cloves, slivered, or 1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 to 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice

*Whether you prepare the shrimp shell on or off is really up to you. Cooking the shrimp with the shells still on will impart more flavor, but they are much messier to eat. Shelling the shrimp before cooking them will make the shrimp a lot easier to eat and you can save the shells for shellfish stock if you want.


1. Heat a sauté pan on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the olive oil and butter. Once the butter melts, foams up and subsides, add the garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a minute, or until you see the edges of some of the garlic just beginning to brown.

2. As soon as the garlic begins to brown, add the shrimp to the pan. Then add the white wine and stir to combine and coat the shrimp with the butter, oil, and wine. Spread the shrimp out in an even layer in the pan. Increase the heat to the highest setting and let the wine boil vigorously for 2-3 minutes.

3. Turn the shrimp over, or toss them so the cooked sides are mostly facing up, and boil the wine for another minute. Remove from the heat, add the parsley and toss to combine. Add the lemon juice and black pepper.

Serve alone, with crusty bread, over pasta, or over rice (for gluten-free version).

Serves 4.

Apr 9, 2013

Spinach and Tofu Soup

Easy, fast, and amazingly flavorful. Use the crinkly-leaved Savoy spinach for this recipe. It stands up better than the smooth-leaved baby types.

8 oz fresh Savoy spinach
1/2 block firm tofu
2 T. vegetable oil
1t. salt
2 1/2 c. water
2 T. soy sauce (add more if desired)
1 t. toasted sesame oil

To prepare:
Wash spinach well to get rid of any grit or sand, then remove the stems and ribs from the leaves. Spin or shake off excess water and dry well. Chop the leaves roughly but fairly small.

Cut tofu into small pieces and set aside.

In a wok or saucepan, heat the oil. Add the spinach and stir fry it until soft, then add salt and water or stock. Bring liquid to a boil, then turn the heat down and add tofu and soy sauce.

Cook for just another two to five minutes. Remove from heat, add the sesame oil, season with more salt and some pepper if desired, and serve hot.

I added sesame seeds for fun and next time I will cut the salt by half. We're not really salt people. :)

Sautéed Tofu and Spinach

This recipe is SUPER EASY and delicious!! I am usually not a big fan of tofu, but I am trying to incorporate more if it into our diet.

Minutes to Prepare: 5
Minutes to Cook: 10
Number of Servings: 4


1 T. olive oil
Extra firm tofu, one 1 lb. block
Spinach, about 1 pound
Garlic, 3 cloves
Tamari soy sauce, reduced sodium, 3 tbls.
Sesame Seeds (optional)


Heat 1 T. olive oil in a large pan over mediium heat.
Cube a block of extra firm tofu and add to hot oil.
As the tofu heats, wash and destem the spinach, and tear up the larger pieces, then add it to the tofu.
Chop 3 cloves of garlic and add.
Lower heat and continue cooking until the spinach is wilted.
Drizzle with the soy sauce and serve.
Combine Sesame Seeds (optional)

Apr 3, 2013

Neufchatel & Cream Cheese - What's the diff?

They're always right next to each other at the store, in nearly identical packaging: cream cheese and Neufchâtel. I've always gotten cream cheese, more out of habit than anything else. But the other day I realized that I don't really know what Neufchâtel is.

I found, at the origin of this comparative study, what original Neufchâtel actually is: a French cheese dating back to the 6th century, named after a town of the same name, in Normandy. Some argue that Neufchâtel is the oldest known cheese in France, and its make process remains quite similar to the original methods of production.

Cheese lore tells of a cheesemaker who, in an effort to replicate the cheese in America, ended up with a result more similar to cream cheese than to Neufchâtel. While the French version uses only milk, the American one uses milk and cream. It is this American incarnation that I've always wondered about at the store, in that 8-ounce, rectangular block, and it indeed tastes much more like cream cheese than the French cheese that inspired its creation. Another point to note: Neufchâtel in France is made with raw milk, while Neufchâtel in America gets pasteurized.

On paper, the main distinction between the two cheeses is their fat content: While cream cheese by law must contain at least 33% milk fat and not more than 55% moisture, American Neufchâtel weighs in with about 23% milk fat and slightly higher moisture content.*

Flavor-wise, Neufchâtel isn't too different from cream cheese. Both are dense, milky, slightly tangy, and spreadable. We all know the flavor of cream cheese quite well; Neufchâtel is just ever-so-slightly less rich tasting.

Mystery solved.

* Source: The New Food Lover's Companion.

Apr 2, 2013

Warm Weather & Food Choices

Now that the weather is starting to warm up I've been thinking about recipes for lighter foods. Lighter food help our bodies deal with hot weather. Coping with summer's heat should include eating lighter foods that provide energy and nutrition! Popular food choices during summer months include fruits, vegetables, sandwiches and salads.

At one time, it was said that warm foods stick to your ribs. Warm foods (such as soup) actually help us generate the extra heat we need to keep us warmer in the winter. But in the summer, we want to eat lighter foods. We still need calories, but we don't need the additional warmth that can come with the calories of heavier foods.

Fruits and vegetables are popular summer food choices made easier because grocery stores and farmers markets (ours opens on April 13th) carry a wide selection. In addition, many fruit and vegetable selections look like they'll have a bit of a cooling effect on the body.

Produce also is less expensive and more eye-appealing in the summer.

In addition to helping with hydration during hot weather (fruits and vegetables are high in fluid), produce is easier to digest and is not going to weigh us down. For most of us, summer is a high-energy time, and our activity levels increase during the summer.

Advice for eating light and providing nutrition for the body is to "stick to the basics." Important foods to eat include:

· Grains and cereals. These foods supply important carbohydrates, or basic energy. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain foods every day.

· Fruits and vegetables. Eat a variety of fruits, rather than fruit juice, for most of your choices. Eat more dark green and orange vegetables, as well as beans and peas throughout the week.

· Protein foods, such as fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds. Protein is especially important for growing children. It also helps keep skin healthy.

In warm weather, it is also important to drink eight to 10 cups of liquid per day; caffeine-free drinks are best because caffeine has a slight dehydrating effect.

The food and physical activity choices you make every day affect your health, how you feel today, tomorrow and in the future. Choose lighter foods for energy and nutrition during the hot weather!

Weight Loss Goals

I've decided that with the beginning of April there will also be a new beginning for some serious health changes for me. Being Vegetarian and Belly Dancing twice a week just is not enough to get me to my overall health and weight loss goals. I have decided to lose 40 pounds by September 1st.

I have always been "big boned". In fact, I cannot remember a time when my weight was below 200 lbs. At my height (5'8") and with my bone structure I was happy and very comfortable at 220 lbs. Unfortunately, it's been awhile since I have seen that number on the scale as well.

When I was pregnant with Tallulah I actually lost weight instead of gaining weight for the better part of my pregnancy. After her birth I weighed less than when I initially got pregnant. Over the past two years my weight has fluctuated, albeit not by much.

With the big 3 - 0 looming in the horizon and the prospect of having another baby in the future it is time to get my butt in gear! I have enlisted some help (my cousin Anna @ - She's fabulous!) and put support people in place (family & friends) to help keep me motivated and on target. This goal is attainable!

Some of the biggest changes to my current lifestyle will be cutting out sweet teas and sodas, having a more defined exercise routine, and paying more attention to what I eat/counting calories. (Vegetarian isn't synonymous with "healthy".) I will officially start this lifestyle change when I get home from vacation. Wish me luck!