Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm a Loser...

At least, I hope to be.

I am sorry I have been M.I.A. for awhile. Things have been busy here. Our school will be wrapping up in a few weeks. My target date is July 15th. This allows "Little Mark" time for camp, Boys with Courage, and both of us time for VBS. ;-) I love the flexibility of homeschooling. ;-)

I did something on Wednesday I didn't think I would ever do. I became a "Loser." I hope to be anyway. For those of you who remember I was dieting, and losing weight, awhile back. I actually lost 45 lbs. in about 6 months.

Well, it has taken me 1 1/2 years to gain back that 45 lbs. No more, but exactly the same 45 lbs. (for me that is a miracle. I usually gain back the lost weight and more.)

How did I come to this decision, you ask? I was TRICKED, tricked I tell you!!

OK, maybe not "tricked", but it was definitely not my initial idea. :-) Here is how it happened: A couple of weeks ago "Little Mark" and I were doing Health, and he was learning how to figure up the daily calorie intake, and how many of the calories should be fat, etc; he mentioned how he really needed/wanted to eat healthier and get back on his diet. We discussed it for awhile and then he made the comment, "I wish they would have Biggest Loser for kids, I would join that."

The very next day we attended the closing day of "Walk Across Texas." Our 4-H club won first place in the state. :-) Then, the Extension Agent said, "Beginning June 1st we will have a 'Biggest Loser Contest' for the entire county."

You should have seen the look on "Little Mark's" face. ;-) He said, "Can we do it?"

Did you catch that "we" part? Yeah, me too. So, I said, "Let me look into it."

I checked into it and you have to be 18 to participate. He was disappointed. HOWEVER, the Extension Agent likes "Little Mark" and said "if
you do it then we can weigh him 'unofficially', and he can still participate. He won't have to pay the $20 entrance fee, and he can't win any money, but he can participate unofficially."

Did I mention there was a monetary prize? Yes, the top 3 losers split the money. :-)

SO, I paid my $20 and did my weigh-in. I am right back where I started 2 years ago. So, I am considering this a "clean slate." I really had a hard time weighing in front of someone else, but I "sucked it up" and did it. "Little Mark" weighed in, and was promised that after the final weigh-in, in September, if he ties, or beats, any of the top three slots we will buy him a really nice prize, or give him cash. We'll see which.

SO, "Little Mark" and I are aiming to be "Losers."

Weigh-in days are on Friday. Since we did our initial weigh-in on Wednesday, we went ahead and weighed on Friday. As of that time I have lost 2 lbs, and "Little Mark" has lost 1 lb.

It's a start. :-)

"Little Mark" and I sat down and discussed how we wanted to approach this new endeavor. We have decided NOT to do the Fat Smash Diet again. Instead, we have decided to be realistic, and just admit "We like to eat!" We want real food, and to not be denied.

So, game plan is the following: We have cut our portions. We eat on small, salad plates, and keep it at one serving. We have increased our water intake, and cut out sodas. No eating after 8:00 pm. We also checked out the "Hungry Girl" cookbooks, and we are choosing recipes and making a menu. I believe "Hungry Girl" may become my new best friend. :-) Have you seen her recipes? They sound YUMMY. ;-)

The rest of the family has said they will also be participating "unofficially", so it will help. "Little Mark" and I have agreed to be each others "accountability" partners, and he is TOUGH. I have decided to post my results here each Friday, as I did before. That really helped. I will also post or link to any recipes we use that we really like, just in case you might like to try it. :-)

We are still going to the gym, which I think is one reason I haven't gained back more than the initial 45 lbs. We enjoy that. :-) So, between our game plan and exercise, I think we will be okay.

Please, pray for us. :-) We're going to need it. ;-)

Wendy Darling

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Take a listen! ;-)

Hi, everyone :-) I know it's been awhile since I posted. Sorry about that. I DO have a blog post in the works. Hopefully, it will be ready tomorrow. (I did something on Wednesday you aren't going to believe.) ;-)

I would like for you to take a look at my sidebar. See that big ol' tape player? This is my friend, Eric Dodge, singing a song he wrote called "Last Real Cowboy." Please, listen to the song. Each time you listen to it, it gives him a "vote", and he could win a much deserved recording contract.

This guy is truly amazing. :-) If you like it, please "grab it" and post it on your blog, facebook account, myspace page; anywhere you can. The more people who listen the better it will be for Eric.

Just a little back story on the song; Eric wrote this song right after his Grandfather died. He got up in the middle of the night, wrote it down and put it in a drawer for 2 years. Then, he had a friend help him "clean it up", he recorded and .... boom... here it is. The song is wonderful, and I truly believe you will be hearing it on mainstream radio very soon. He is already seeing success on Sirius Radio, and independent stations. :-) Give him a listen. Oh, and it is a country song, not rock. ;-)

Thank you. ;-)
Wendy Darling

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Easy Caramel Pie

I will be leaving town on Thursday. We are going to the Creation Museum in Glen Rose, and then to the Homeschool Book Fair in Arlington on Friday. So, I will miss the Grocery Cart Challenge. I wanted to go ahead and post one now. :-) I am very excited about the book fair, because we will get to meet John Erikson, author of the "Hank the Cowdog" series. :-)

This recipe is super easy, and very good. It was given to me by a lady I used to work with at the school cafeteria. You want to be sure to have good ventilation in your kitchen, because of all of the steam. :-)


1 graham cracker pie crust
2 cans of condensed milk
Cool Whip

Place the two cans of milk in the a large pot; the kind you make large quantities of soup in, and fill it with water. You want to let the cans boil for 3 hours. (check the water level, and make sure the tops of the cans are always well covered with water) After 3 hours pour off the water and let the cans completely cool. Preferably overnight, but at least for several hours. (If you try to open them too soon they will explode, so make sure they are cool.)

After removing the lid you will have two cans of very sweet caramel. Spread both cans of caramel into the pie crust, and then refrigerate until you are ready to eat. Before eating, spread the top with Cool Whip.

This is a VERY sweet, easy dessert. :-) For more wonderful recipes, be sure to visit Gayle at Grocery Cart Challenge on Friday. :-)

Wendy Darling

Monday, May 04, 2009

Helping the Homeless

Hi, Everyone :-) It's been a few days, but I wanted to expand on what our Singles Dept. is doing to help the homeless in our area.

It was really an idea one of the ladies in class came up with when she was approached by a man coming out of a store in our town. Our town isn't really that big, just over 13,000 people. She said the man approached her, and was very nice. He asked if she had a couple of dollars she could give him for something to eat.

She only had $5 in cash on her, but gave it to him. She apologized that it couldn't be more. He thanked her and said, "I will be able to eat twice off of this. I go to Jack-in-the-Box and get a kids meal. I can do that today and tomorrow and be able to eat twice.

She stood and talked with the man for quite awhile. She asked his name, and if he had shelter. He told her that he had only been homeless a couple of months. He had worked construction for many years, and had been with the same company for 17 years, but was laid off. Once savings ran out he and his wife split up, and now he is homeless. Just one of those things that could happen to anyone.
He was very humble, and this really opened my friend's eyes.

In our town we do have a ministry that gives away clothes to anyone who comes in and asks. They take the old ones, and give a new set to those in need. There is also a shower on the premises where someone can take a shower. My friend asked if the gentleman knew of this service, and he did not. He was grateful for the information.

My friend then asked something I would not have thought to. She asked the man, if she were to encounter him, again, what could she have in her car that would be helpful to him. His answer? Socks and water. This truly humbled my friend, and she couldn't believe that something we take for granted, like socks, would be the one thing a homeless man would ask for.

So, she came to us with the following idea. We put together gallon size Ziploc bags. In each bag is 1 pair of new socks, a bottle of water, a can of beanie/weenies, a McDonald's gift card, a plastic fork, a toothbrush, toothpaste, handy wipes, and deodorant. Each bag costs about $4 to put together.

Also included is information about resources in the area. The address of the local clothing ministry mentioned earlier, with a contact number/name and a map to the location. All information regarding our local food pantry, and a schedule of the days and times they serve meals. Unfortunately, the nearest shelter is 25 miles away, but the contact information for that is there too, as well as a map to get there. Also, they have a van that will come pick someone up from our area if they call.

Each week we take up a donation for the bags. Even if it is just $1 it helps. We now carry these bags in our cars, and the next time we are approached by someone in need, we can do more for them than just hand them a couple of dollars. We can pray for them, and give them the tools for them to get a new start. After all, in today's economy and hard times, this gentleman could have represented anyone of us.

I thank God everyday for His blessings, and I pray for all of those who have fallen on hard times. Perhaps you may be able to begin carrying a bag in your car to help someone in need. It isn't much, but to them it is everything.

Wendy Darling