Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Full Circle of Birth Control

Growing up I was rarely sick and had the need to take very little medications beyond Tylenol.  Thus I had no idea how sensitive I would be to medications.

When we were first married I started having all sorts of stomach pains.  That's when I started getting involved with all sorts of doctors and tests.  At first it was just an appointment here and there without any answers.  We, being my husband and I, knew that we didn't want to wait very long to start our family and a couple months after we were married I gave up the birth control.  However, the stomach pains still persisted.

Shortly after our first Christmas I ended up going to the local Urgent Care for said stomach pains only to find out I was pregnant, barely pregnant.  That particular doctor started a big fuss that maybe my stomach pains were related to an ectopic pregnancy.  I was fairly naive back then and didn't think to voice my opinion.  Doctors know everything, right?

Sadly that pregnancy ended in a miscarriage shortly before I hit eight weeks but the stomach pains continued.  We were in college at this time thus my main doctors worked up at the Student Health Center.  They suggested that I take few months off from trying to get pregnant so we could do some testing to figure out the source of my stomach pains which also meant going back on birth control as getting pregnant would prevent them from doing most of the tests.

This went on for a year and being passed on from doctor to doctor some  more specialized than others.  After that year and some pretty major tests like radioactive eggs, cat-scans, and an endoscopy the doctors were still clueless as to what was going on.

That's when I made the decision to walk away.  I knew that the stomach pains while fairly constant would get worse with my anxiety and stress levels.  Thus I started trying to figure out how to combat the anxiety.  It's a constant battle but after a while I started seeing improvements.  The stomach problems never went completely away but I felt like I could function more regularly and when they started getting bad I knew I was probably stressing over something.

Jump back to the present.  We've been trying to get pregnant for many years.  We've finally decided it's time to  take the step of In-Vitro which means that I have to go back onto birth control beforehand.  Imagine my surprise when my stomach problems started getting worse from almost the moment I started the pills again.  Throughout the years I've been fairly good about dealing with my stomach problems but this time they seemed to be ever constant and I was feeling more sick than usual which is saying something since I've been taking all sorts of hormones for the last year and a half off and on.

I happened to be looking at the information on my birth control when I noticed that some of the common side effects were stomach pains, being sick to your stomach, cramps, etc.  That's when the light bulb went on.

I first started having my stomach problems shortly after I began the birth control the first time.  It's true that I was still having them during those few months before my first pregnancy when I wasn't on the pill but I've found that medications take a while to leave my body thus I often have lingering side effects, especially when it involves my hormones.

My doctor should have taken a guess that perhaps this was the source when I first started going in.  I know that my anxiety does play its part but had I known this bit of information way back in the beginning I think I could have saved myself a lot of that anxiety.  I wouldn't have started back up on the pill after my first miscarriage as in the end it was only adding to the problem.  Most of all, I wouldn't have needed to go through all of those tests, medications, and doctors' visits.  Hindsight is 20/20 I guess.  However, it hasn't been a complete loss.  I've learned a lot over the years and I finally know where and why my stomach pains all began.  Lesson learned I guess.        

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Book Review - Behemoth

So much to catch up on, so little time. I finished Behemoth, by Scott Westerfeld, a couple of months ago and I must say, I'm looking forward to the third book in this series to come out.

I don't know if I was just in a better state of mind to read this book or if I really did like it more than the first book, Leviathan. Perhaps it was the fact that I wasn't too confused by all the made up words and places like I was in the first book. The story line was already set up for me going into it.

Deryn (who is a girl pretending to be a boy so that she could be in the equivalent of the air-force) continues on her journey trying to save her country while keeping her secret when she finds herself in more than one pickle. Meanwhile Prince Alek escapes and is left trying to decide what really is best for his country, only doing it behind closed doors so that no one may reveal his true identity,waiting until he can reveal himself even to them without fear of being killed. He makes friends with a one of a kind creature who seems to have a pretty wicked sense of intuition.

Deryn finds herself falling more and more for the prince making it awkward to keep up the boy act.

In the end of I give this book 4.25 stars. It was a very fast read with a new world to step into.

Monday, April 18, 2011

How Do You Know He Loves You?

Enchanted is definitely one of my favorite "feel-good" movies thus this song if often stuck in my head. In fact I have been thinking a lot about this very thing over the last few weeks.

My mom and I were talking recently about the need women have for their husbands to show and tell their wives constantly how much they love him.

My prince has yet to fail me. If anything I'm pretty sure his love for me has grown regardless of the difficulties we face.

How do I know?

1.) He hasn't left me or even thought of it despite the fact that I often feel like the crazy lady.
2.) The other night he offered to start looking right now for jobs in a different city where I
would be able to find a job in my field as well. (No this isn't an announcement)
3.) He will bring flowers home when I'm feeling a little bit down.
4.) He doesn't chastise me when I don't get as much done as I could/should.
5.) He finds ways to distract me from my current ailments such as puzzles and games.
6.) He takes care of the chores and meals when I can't and usually does so without much
7.) He's pretty good about not solving my problems but rather being supportive and trying to be
8.) He is constantly trying to build me up.
9.) My dreams and aspirations are just as important as his.
10.) He tells me ALL the time.

Oh and did I forget to mention that even after a week of doing little more than showering and putting on the pair of pajamas he still tells me I'm the most beautiful girl he's ever seen? That's right, absolutely no make-up, sometimes even the hair was lucky to get combed, no keeping up with the eyebrows, nothing. Best of all, I'm pretty sure he actually meant it regardless of how I felt about myself.

This list could go on and on. I have just felt his love these last few weeks when I needed it most and know that I am truly blessed to have someone like him in my life. It's how I am able to move on.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

So Sick of Being Sick

This is going to be one of the venting posts, continue at your own risk.

So after my awesome ER visit for the stomach flu the doctor wrote up three prescriptions: 1.) To help my stomach problems 2.) To ease the nausea and 3.) To battle my anxiety. I left the hospital knowing that the next week wouldn't be fun and it would be a recovery week, after all I was pretty sure my esophagus and stomach had been left raw.

I didn't mind so much taking those three medications for a while. They relieved some of the pain and I slept through the rest. However, when I would fight the urge to sleep I apparently looked stoned. I went into my regular doctor a week later and she was shocked to see my prescription for the anxiety given my history and hate of a previous medicine. I had been given another anxiety medicine that was highly addictive, at the highest dose which could mean a terrible withdrawal process. Lucky for me I had only taken it for a week so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

My doctor kindly put me onto an anxiety medicine that was supposed to be easy to get on and off. What she didn't tell me was her definition of easy and what I should expect. From day one I was as sick as a dog. Not only was I feeling extremely nauseous but in a lot of physical pain. (Prepare yourself for a TMI). One side effect was the kind that sends you to the toilet every few minutes, and it wasn't to throw up thank goodness. Because of this side effect there were hours and hours of painful gas that blew through my stomach like that of train. When it was all over I could hardly move, my stomach was in so much pain. I would feel my "best" about and hour or more before I needed to take my next dose and then the whole process was repeated.

This led to many sleepless nights and days upon days of sitting on the sofa with a hot pad on my stomach as much as possible. My ability to eat or want to eat has gone way downhill. Last time I took an anxiety medicine it took me a week before I started to feel normal. My counselor also said it was a good thing my body was reacting the way it was so quickly to such a low dose. It was a sign that it was working and my body was recognizing it. I made it five days and to no avail none of the symptoms were showing any mercy and my anxiety and stress were actually going up. That's when I decided I couldn't go on another day. I couldn't even make it a week.

Yesterday I skipped my first dose. I was hoping that things would start to feel a little better but so far I feel as crappy as ever. I have mixed feelings about my decision which of course in turn causes more stress but I made a choice and now need to stick by it.

I hate feeling so sick! I hate medicines! I hate that there is really nothing at this point I can do to improve any of this except wait and hope that my choice was a correct one and in a few days I will feel more like myself, something I haven't felt for over two weeks.

The good thing? I have a very patient and loving husband who is trying his best to help me as best he can through this.

I'm ready to step out of this personal hell and move forward.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Keeping Up With the Healthy

So after coming home from a Spring Break filled with a bunch of crap food I made some serious goals to improve my eating habits. For one week The Prince and I were not going to eat any processed sugar but rather substitute it with things like this bowl of plain cheerios and strawberries (one of my fav's). In addition I was aiming to drink 8 glasses of water a day and working out.

I did really well the first few days, I found my snacking cravings went up as I got rid of the treats but that too became manageable.

Then I got sick and not just any ordinary sickness (no I'm not pregnant). I caught the worst case of stomach flu known to man last Friday. I had hardly eaten anything. To be exact I had one small bowl of cheerios and glass of milk in the morning and a glass of water in the after. Starting around four it all started coming out. To keep from going into grotesque details just know that for about five hours strait me and my toilet or were held together by strong bonds.

At that point The Prince took me to the er. I can't tell you enough what a great man he is. He stood patiently by the door listening to all those wonderful sounds just to make sure I wasn't dying, because I sure felt like it. There was even one particular time he came in to hold my hair back which was not exactly dry if you know what I mean. The hospital hydrated me, got my heartbeat down to an acceptable level, gave me some medicine for the nausea and some sort of medical cocktail to numb my throat and stomach so I didn't have to feel the pain for a while.

Here I am a week later still terrified of food and have thus thrown anything health related out the door. My stomach is still raw and having a hard time with digestion. One again the Prince came to my rescue buy going to the grocery store and stock piling on things I could eat like jello and pudding, crackers, juice, basically soft things.

I'm hoping that I won't always feel this way and I can someday return to a normal schedule.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"This is the Perfect Time to Panic"

This morning I received the following text message:

FWD: FWD: Go get gas because of the earthquake gas prices are supposed to go up 2 dollars in the next 48 hours.

These kinds of messages do nothing but cause panic and fear which is exactly opposite of what is needed at this moment. I'm sure we are going to see some after effects of the earthquake/tsumami that has just hit Japan. In fact there may be more earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, prices of food and gas may go up a little bit. However, everyone freaking out, running to the store to stock up on whatever you can out of fear is not going to solve anything. It may indeed do the opposite and make things worse.

With that being said, my mom always taught us, "If you are prepared you need not fear."

Life is going to happen. Chances are that at some point or another we will all be effected by natural disasters, losing jobs, pipes bursting leaving flooding damage, a food/water shortage, etc. These are things we can't control and shouldn't spend our lives worrying about all the bad things that could happen. However, it's not a bad idea to make preparations so that we aren't in panic mode when such events do happen.

For example, the Prince and I have a year's supply of basic food needs. It wouldn't be a year of luxury by any means but it's better than nothing. Included are things like wheat, rice, beans, seeds, salt, sugar, powder milk, etc.

We also try to always fill our cars up when the tank reaches 1/2 empty so that if we ever needed to leave in a hurry we will always have "some" gas.

Even more I feel that my peace comes from knowing that this earth is still full of good people.

Last fall our house was hit by a tornado. It was awful and scary but right after it passed neighbors were out and about making sure everyone else was ok. There were one or two families that jumped in their cars and took off while the rest stayed to care for one another as more tornadoes were on their way. Men from the community gathered up wood and drove out to our neighborhood just outside of town and started boarding up windows regardless of the pouring rain and hail, knowing another tornado could have hit soon. Within a couple of hours many people have offered up houses and meals to those of us who were displaced. The community came together to help with the clean-up. There was no way we were going to have to get through this disaster alone.

We all have been given talents of various natures and while some may use those talents for evil or selfish reason most people are not this way.

Life could get hard real quickly. Gas prices could jump by $2 in the next 48 hours. However, I no longer fear these situations. It doesn't mean life will be a piece of cake by any means but somehow everything is going to be ok.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oatmeal Mask (Skin Therapy)

Not a bad picture right? Too bad it looks like I am morphing into a reptile because my skin is so dry. Every winter it is a constant battle but since our move to even higher elevations, dry skin and scalp have become my worst nightmare.

I know what everyone is thinking, you just need to use a better moisturizer and cleanser. That could be the case if my skin weren't so sensitive. Almost anything liquid base is sure to cause an allergic reaction on my face including; foundations, cleansers, moisturizers, toners, any expensive face product, etc. After one or two attempts with a new product I find myself itching all over. Even the products that claim to be hypoallergenic or "natural" give me grief.

I've all but given up on this battle until yesterday when I decided to try an oatmeal scrub. I looked online at the various scrubs. Some were more geared towards acne. I wish I could find the site I used yesterday but alas I can't.

I do remember the instructions though.

Mash up 1 banana
Add 1 cup of ground oatmeal
Pour in a little bit of lukewarm milk

Place mask on for approximately 15 minutes.

BEST THING I've done for my skin all winter.

Now you know me, I'm all about the laziness. Thus I didn't bother to grind up the oatmeal which is probably why is was harder to put on. I had to keep my head tipped back the entire time to keep the oatmeal from falling off, it was just too heavy.

I'm also thinking I could reduce the recipe to 3/4 of what it calls for.

With that being said after one scrub my skin was noticeable smoother. It's not perfect but certainly a good start. Now if I can find a true natural moisturizer...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review - Princess Academy

I know it's about time I finished another book. In all honesty I had started another one, was about a hundred pages into it and decided I didn't like it. Thus I moved on to the Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.

While this wasn't my all time favorite book I still really enjoyed it. First off, it was a quick, no-brainer read that didn't have my emotions all over the place. It was a simple story with a couple of twists and of course a slight love triangle.

Written about a village far up in the mountains, Shannon Hale entices the reader to step into this somewhat magical realm where community and history keep this small world together. It gives meaning to one's heritage and a sense that no matter what circumstance we may find ourselves in, there will always be little moments to look forward to.

I loved the main character, Miri and her spunky personality. She takes on the liberty to learn things on her own regardless of her circumstances. This is something I wish more women would do, including myself throughout our lives. Money doesn't always dictate how smart we are or aren't. It's a choice.

All in all it is an enchanting story that ends with a happily ever after, just as it should.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

True Love

Part of getting a happily ever after is learning that there will be times when the world will learn how wonderful your prince is, weeks after his noble gesture. Thus go back to the day in February where we celebrate our love for others. I know it was weeks ago but since then we have been hit with one sickness after another, yet another reality of a fairytale.

February 14th I woke up and went to my computer first thing, as I usually do. Sitting on my keyboard was a bag a chocolates and a note from my "Love Muffin." How did he know that I would need chocolates on a day like that. As I sat down to work, my five minute project turned out to be closer to five hours and the chocolate is what sustained me and probably kept me from pulling all of my hair out.

When my Prince came home I was giddy with excitement over the present that I had gotten him and begged him to open it. We gathered our gifts as he opened his first to find a brand new pair of smoke grey Converse shoes. My turn was next and I knew it was perfume... but wait what is this? A matching pair of smoke grey Converse? Could it be... True Love? I would say it is so. The night before we bought our gifts I mentioned that I think it would be fun to SOMEDAY have matching Converse shoes. Little did we know that someday was just around the corner. Neither of us had planned to get them but both couldn't resist.

Of course my Prince had to not only one up me but two or three times over by getting me the long awaited perfume and eleven pink long stem roses (yes it was supposed to be a dozen).

A girl couldn't ask more! I momentarily made it back to Cloud Nine.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekend Epic Failure

Cooking and I tend to be enemies, "frenimies" at the best of times. This week I think we took two steps backwards, whatever that would be called: perhaps that would make us "supenemies."

Last night I started preparing spinach lasagna, one of the Prince's favorites. I opened up the mushrooms only to find that they all were sporting a white beard just like the seven dwarfs. It is my own fault as they had been in the fridge for over a week, but still. This is a veggie lasagna and the mushroom act as the "meat." Of course I am also out of hamburger, pork, and only enough chicken for Sunday's dinner.

At the same time the Prince and I were preparing to be stuck in our snow castle at least until the upcoming storm had passed. Thus, I through up my hands and decided, we were just going to have to do without mushrooms.

Thirty to forty minutes later I was ready to put the mixture over my noodles only to find that I was out of my lasagna noodles. This NEVER happens. I'm pretty good about keeping two boxes of all the types of noodles I use a lot. I was so stinkin mad and had to cover the mixture and move onto a whole new meal.

Rice and veggies it is. Sounds simple. I even decided to use the frozen veggies. Too bad I burned them to a crisp.

The rices wasn't burnt too terribly bad so we had mozzarella rice and I microwaved some edamame.

By this point, me and dinner were through.

Fast forward to today and I was extra cautious and decided against multi-tasking so that I wouldn't burn tonight's dinner. I was halfway through and realized I didn't cook the dang chicken this afternoon. Seriously? If it weren't essential to I don't know... LIVE, I would so give up cooking from this day forward.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Latest and Greatest

I know, I have been a terrible blogger this week. It has been one of those weeks with a list that is a million miles long and I'm still only one mile into completing it. It's also been one of the up and down weeks.

Tuesday my long awaited (ok it was only a week) test results came in. Sadly, they were all normal. I really detest "normal" after all who really want to be normal in anything?

However, one of the highlights was my latest design for my business, seen above. Don't get me wrong, I really love my job but this client was extra special. Why? Because the little girl you see is my baby sister. Yes, you heard me right, we are sisters and there are a lot of years in between us. She was just a baby when I left for college and now she's all grown up. Some people have asked me if it was hard having a sibling so much younger than me, after all we didn't live in the same house for very long? My answer, not in the least. We are as close as can be believe it or not. Sure our conversations are different than if we were both adults at the moment but that too will come in time. I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world and am so sad I will be missing her special event!

Can you tell we are sisters?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Retail Therapy

I am a HUGE believer that the right pair of shoes can really bring me happiness. True, some of it might stem from my vanity but I promise that's not the whole reason.

Right now in my life I have absolutely no control over many dominating parts, even my counselor agrees with me. I had not control over the tornado. It's not my fault that my brand new computer wasn't built properly. I definitely had no way of planning or preventing a third miscarriage. There are even times when I don't have complete control of my emotions.

Often times these things feel so overwhelming and I wonder if there is any aspect of my fairytale I do have control over.

*Enter Brand New Pair of Heels*

That's right, I have complete control over how I look on the outside, thus I work extra hard at it. If I can appear expertly put together on the outside maybe I will someday feel the same way on the inside.

Probably a week after that dark day in January when my world seemed to momentarily stop I decided I needed to find something to be happy about that day. I got my perfect grey heels out (that I had bought at Christmas) and wore them to the grocery store. I had one day in the heels of June Cleaver and it was exactly what the doctor ordered.

All my problems didn't magically go away. My hormones still spill out all over the place but there are moments in my life that I do have control over.

Have I mentioned how much I love my shoes?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Crafting Project (Bag)

*Notice the pockets on the inside?*

I have been a crafting machine as of late. While selecting fabrics for my burnt flowers project, I also found this sweet grey corduroy and floral print to make a new bag for church . Currently I'm taking two or three binders and my scriptures on a "light" day and my old bag just couldn't hold up to the task.

I conned one of my ladies in waiting to help me (totally kidding btw, she's just a really generous friend).

Other than a minor problem with the strap it was pretty easy (under six hours). When the Prince saw my creation I think his words were, "That's pretty cool that you actually made that." Gee thanks, I'm glad you are so confident in my sewing abilities... :)

I'm going to head to the store later today to buy a button or pin to put on the front flap just to accessorize it a little bit.

Who knows, maybe I'll be brave enough to try one of these bags on my own next time.

Crafting Project - (Burnt Flowers)

Last week Prince and I went down to see his parents for the weekend of fun! Yes my mother-in-law is a Queen and I absolutely adore her. Typically we does a lot of shopping when we are together (she has great taste) but this time we were looking for something a little less tiring.

Of course we headed to the fabric store. Seriously, I could be there for hours looking at all of the pretty colors, imaging the potential for each piece of fabric. This particular trip we decided to try our hand at the burnt flowers that are sweeping the crafting world.

My favorite part? They are SUPER easy, which is what I need.

The hardest part was trying to find online what fabric we would need. I ended up mostly just guessing, knowing that some kind of synthetic fabric would burn best. We selected three different types of fabric to try.

Lining (as in jacket lining) - This fabric melted really well as took a high volume shape. It also rarely caught on fire. (In the picture it is the brown, blue, purple, and fuchsia fabrics)

Satin - Be careful with this fabric, it frequently caught fire so watch your fingers. It didn't take as much volume as the lining and was a little flatter when finished. (It is the taupe colored flower in the photo, by far this was both mine and my mother-in-laws favorite flowers)

Tulle - It melts very quickly! It was fantastic though to add a variety of texture to the flower.

Supplies needed:
Fabric ( I got a 1/4 yard of each color and it was more than plenty for lots of flowers)
Three Different Circle Patterns (I just found three different lids in the kitchen)
Wet Paper Towel
Tacky Glue
Beads For the Center
Clips or Pins
Hot Glue

Here were the steps we took.

-Cut three different sizes of circles in all colors; small, medium and large

-Burn the edges around all of your cut circles
*I did this over a wet paper towel in case I ever needed to drop one that was on fire*

-Layer your circles as desired and then sew the middles together, using just a basic X on top and knots in the back.

-Place a small amount of Tacky Glue in the center and place beads on top.
(I tried hot glue but it just dried to fast for me)

-Hot Glue a clip, pin or both to the back


The more I made the better I got. I learned that I liked to offset the layers as well as turn the edges so that some were facing the back while others were facing the front.

Now I use them in my hair, on a vest, as an accent to a bag, etc. Needless to say it was a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recipe Exchange (Amazing Cinnamon Rolls)

Its a good thing I don't have the patience to bake very often or you might see me triple in size over the next few months. The prince has been asking me for weeks to make cinnamon rolls and for weeks I have been putting it off, mostly because I hate recipes that have multiple stages.

Finally after he took a big test to become certified in his profession I gave in. In attempts previous I have been less than satisfied with the basic powder sugar frosting, it makes me want to gag. Thus, I turned to good ole and found this sinfully delicious recipe.

I looked in the comments section to get some advice. I didn't use a bread machine but put my Kitchenaid to the task. In addition I combined the butter, cinnamon and brown sugar, popped it in the microwave for a few short seconds and drizzled it all on top of the dough. I used all of the cinnamon mixture it suggested but a good portion fell onto the counter as I rolled the dough (next time I would scoop it up and put it on top). I cooked mine at 350 degrees for twenty minutes instead of the original suggestion and I made one and a half batches of the frosting.

After I made these I definitely got the, "Best Wife of the Week Award." I wanted to get a photo to show but alas, they didn't make it that long.

It's definitely a recipe to try but make sure and close your eyes when looking at the ingredients.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let's Get It Started!

Being as royally stubborn as I am, I refused to live in the dorms my first year of college. It was an apartment or bust. I also didn't go with any of my friends from high school. Guess what, I have never regretted either of these decision. Here I made some of the greatest friends ever.

What brought on this trip down memory lane? Well I was working on a new workout mix, trying to figure out what songs I should download from I-tunes when I settled on one song in particular. It's funny how certain songs label where you were and what was going on in a particular time of life. Someday, I think it would be fun to tell my life story through songs. However, tonight I will settle on just one song.

During those first couple years of college, a few roommates and I would go play volleyball every Monday night with friends and were on a couple intramural teams as well. As we geared up to play one of us would hit the tunes and our "warm-up" song was ALWAYS...

Let's Get It Started - By the Black Eyed Peas.

We would pump up mentally and break out in a dance party physically. I will never be able to listen to this song and not think back on those fond memories, and I like it that way.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Recipe Exchange (Tortilla Soup)

I am in no way a calorie counter nor am I faithful health nut 100% of the time. I am a chocolate lover and can be an emotional eater. With that being said I am constantly trying to find ways to make dinners more nutritious. I also don't have the patience for dinners that take a long time. 30 minutes or less is usually my limit. Thus, when I find a recipe that is both fast and good for you I treat it like gold.

Cook Yourself Thin is by far one of my favorite websites for meals which is where today's featured recipe comes from.

Serves 4
Calories per serving of soup: 165
Calories per serving of garnishes: 95

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into strips
1 can (14.5 ounces) reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 can chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons ancho chile powder, or your favorite chile powder

To garnish:
1 jalapeƱo chile, cut into rings
12 baked tortilla chips
1/2 cup shredded light Monterey Jack cheese
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
1 lime, cut in wedges

1. In a large pot, bring chicken, broth, tomatoes and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes.

2. Add the salt and chile powder, and taste, adding more chile powder if desired. Divide soup among serving bowls, and top with garnishes.

The only change I make to this recipe is that I take my frozen chicken tenders and cook them in the crockpot for a few hours; mostly because I'm that lazy and I hate cooking meat. Then I shred it and and put it in the soup.

This is one of the Prince's favorite meals. I have made it for his parents as well as my own and my younger siblings. It has been a smash hit! Seriously there is so much flavor that when your bowl is empty you are almost depressed.

Just typing about it makes me want to make it, especially on days like today when it is so stinking cold. Mmmm

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Book Review - Leviathan

After a month and a half I finally finished the first book of this series. I'll admit, I had a hard time getting into this book at first because it takes so many chapters to get the plot set-up. However there were many things I liked about it. For instance the author creates a whole new reality to what history "could" have been including lingo and they way wars were fought.

Don't get me wrong I'm all for love stories, they tend to be some of my favorite. What I can't stand is usually the damsel in distress. Take books like Twilight and The Hunger Games and by the end I'm plugging my ears trying to get these annoying girls and there "I'm so picked on" attitudes out of my head. Sometimes I want to tell my book to shut-up, it gets that bad. Leviathan isn't like that. The "damsel" takes care of herself and isn't always having a pity party. She's not in the depths of despair because two devilishly handsome men are fighting over her and she's in love with both.

Things I didn't like? It just starts to get really good at the end, like I said, it had a slow start. I have found this to be true with the Uglies series, also by the same author. In addition, I think the character development is slow and random and skips around just a little bit too much.

It's a good book if you are looking for an easy read but not on my top ten list. It was enough though that I am intrigued and have put the second book on my list of things to read.
Overall I would give this book between 3.5 to 3.8 stars out of five.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Falling In Love Over and Over Again

(Over four years ago when I married my fun-loving, frolicking prince)

Last night I had one of those moments where I fell in love with my husband all over. I know what you're thinking... come on don't be so mushy gushy. I can't help it.

There we were, the princess working on her domestic skills (seriously, I was making tomatoe soup from scratch), and then the prince slaving away at the sink rinsing the dishes I had neglected all day. The band began playing softly and Diana Krall slowly sang, "Let's fall in love, why shouldn't we fall in love?"

Our eyes met from across the room when the prince pulls me into his arms and pushes me across the dance floor, twirling me over and over again. I give him a pouty glance as I ask if I can lead for a moment, but just a moment. He laughs and grants me my wish. When he takes the lead again he gets that goofy smile that leaves me giggling. It was magical and kooky all at the same time.

It lasted probably two wonderful minutes and I knew that it was these tiny moments that I live for.

Yes I live in a fairytale. One with dragons and monsters but more importantly my life is full of little glimpses of what happily ever after has in store.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Moving On To Tomorrow

The last few weeks have been hard and being the emotional mess that I am, my perspective has been skewed, leaving me with the feeling that I am on a downward spiral with no way to get up. I thought slides were supposed to be fun, at least that was my understanding as a child? How am I supposed to reach Happily Ever After when "nothing" seems to be going right?

Nothing (n): the accumulation of events that stack upon one another no matter what you do to stop them. i.e. Tornados, multiple miscarriages, dental problems, medical tests, piling medical bills, sucky job situations, anxiety attacks, feeling like a failure, etc.

I've reached the point where I know that outside assistance will be necessary to help my view of life become more colorful.

Today was the start of that journey. Jeff and I went into to seek some guidance. I unloaded my feelings and asked the question that has been weighing me down for days, "How am I supposed to find hope and carry one when NOTHING ever goes my way?"

The solution? My definition of nothing must be revised.

Nothing (n) :an exaggeration

Simple as that. The truth is that some things are still good. I have a husband who loves me dearly and will do whatever it takes to make my load a little lighter. I have great friends and family who bring me dinners when I am in the "depths of despair." Most of all...

at the end of the day I am a lovely person.

I'd be a fool to think that my struggles are over with and moving on will be a piece of cake. However, I must remember that tomorrow is a new day filled with hope. Will it be hard? Probably, but this lovely person is going to try and take one tiny step forward. Even if I can put a sliver of my wounded heart back together, it will be a success. If I fail, I will try again the next day and the next until I see that not everything is so black and white.