Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Voices

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Our Flat Tire Adventure

At midnight last Friday night Jon and I found ourselves at Wal-Mart doing some Black Friday shopping with some friends of ours. My Jon was so excited about going Black Friday shopping, because he had never done it before.

Wal-Mart was insane! The lack of organization drove me and my friend Elise crazy! We stood in line only to be told that we were in the wrong line. So, we got out of line only to find out 15 minutes later that we had been in the correct line all along! Frustrated we got back in line and started all over again.

My Jon surprised me with an early anniversary gift!! Jon bought me a new camera!! He knows how much I love taking pictures and this was such a sweet gift! He got me the Canon Rebel T3. As you can only imagine I've been doing lots of research on how to take good pictures with my new camera.

My new camera!! Thank you Jon!!

Saturday afternoon my Jon discovered that my car had a flat tire which was frustrating, because we wanted to spend the afternoon relaxing. I really excited about this flat tire, because it meant that I could practice taking pictures with my new camera! I tried convincing Jon that we would have fun on this adventure! I hope you enjoy these pictures that I took with my new camera!

Jon and I before we left to get our new tire.

Jon tried to be in a good mood for me while I took his picture!

Our poor tire.

Thank you Firestone for being open on Black Friday!

Our new tire.

We finally got the new tire home and it was time to get to work.

Jon did all the work while I took pictures.

He is the best!

He did it!

The flat tire adventure was not what we had planned, but we tired to make the most of it!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Skyping

How was your Thanksgiving holiday!? Am I the only one who had a hard time getting up this morning? Monday mornings are normally hard for me, but it is especially challenging when Monday is the end of a long weekend. I just kept hitting the snooze button this morning, so that I could sleep in as late as possible.

Jon and I had such a great weekend! I've got lots of pictures and a few stories. However, I will share more about that with you later on this week after I have a chance to download my pictures onto my computer. This morning's pictures were taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the best, but please bare with me.

On Wednesday evening of last week, Jon and I were able to spend some time Skyping with my family. My Mom, sisters, and brother were celebrated Thanksgiving last Wednesday. It has been a long time since they've all been in the same place at once, so I asked if we could Skype with them after dinner. This way we could see our nephews and talk with my family!

We Skyped with them for a long time and it was so much fun! We got to see everyone including our nephews Kenneth and Lucas! This time of year is so hard, because we do not live close to our family. However, I am so thankful that we are able to spend time with them over Skype. I am looking forward to the day when our nephews are older enough to talk with us!

Here are a few pictures of the boys that I took while we were Skyping with them last week.
My Mom, my nephew Lucas (7 months), and my sister Vivian

My nephew Kenneth (14 months)

My brother Jake and Kenneth

Vivian, Kenneth, and Lucas. The boys could not take their eyes off of Uncle Jake who is sharing his cookie with them!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Have a very blessed Thanksgiving Day!!
We hope that you are able to give thanks with a grateful heart this holiday weekend.
Remember it's not about the food, but the family and friends that are with you during this time!

Just for fun, you should check out the Thanksgiving song by Matthew West called, "Gobble, Gobble".

Matthew West "Gobble Gobble"
Matthew West "Gobble Gobble" by K-LOVE Radio

Jon and Jen

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

R-E-S-P-E-C-T That is what He Needs from Me


For several reasons I was irritated with Jon yesterday morning! On my drive to work I shared with the Lord about all the things that Jon does that bother me. I also tried telling the Lord about what I thought Jon should be doing instead. Not once was I thankful for the husband that God has given me.

This morning, after I got to work, I noticed the title of today’s Proverbs 31 devotional, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T … That is what He Needs from Me”.

Seriously Lord!? Of all the days, this is not what I want to read about this morning. I am frustrated and I was looking for words of comfort not correction. After a while, I finally read the devotional and became extremely convicted by the Lord. God showed me that my actions/thoughts did not honor Him or Jon.

This past weekend at the Marriage Retreat Jon told me that the number one thing he needs from me is respect. Even after the retreat God tried teaching me about this in Sunday school, but was I even paying attention? Obviously not! Not even 48 hours after coming home from the Marriage Retreat and I am already choosing to focus on the negative instead of focusing on the man that God has made Jon to be.

The Lord has really gotten my attention today and my criticisms of Jon need to stop. Maybe I didn’t quite understand what God was telling me at the Marriage Retreat, but I am thankful that He has taken more time to teach me about how I can better love my husband.

Jon's not perfect, but I want to begin to focus on what he is and not what he lacks in my eyes. In addition, I need to learn to keep my mouth shut. If I don't have anything nice to say, I don't need to say anything at all.

Is there an area of your life/heart that does not honor the Lord? Will you listen to God's leading or continue to do it how you think it should be done?

. . . . . . . . . .
R-E-S-P-E-C-T … That is what He Needs from Me
November 22, 2011
Renee Swope

“However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” Ephesians 5:33 (NIV 1984)

I have a confession to make: when my husband J.J. and I got married over 18 years ago, I took out the words “honor and obey” from my wedding vows. That line about submitting to my husband wasn’t in there either. Instead, I vowed to “submit my ideas and dreams” to my J.J. and trust God’s leadership in our marriage.

Yes, I had some serious issues going into marriage. As a young Christian, I was afraid of the “S” word, and wanted to make sure God and my witnesses didn’t catch me in a lie.

Like many women, I was terrified if I submitted to my husband I’d become a doormat and lose myself somewhere in the middle of letting my husband lead.

Regretfully, I remember the time J.J. told me it was easier to let me lead because it wasn’t worth the argument to him.

You’d think that’s what I wanted – to get my way – but it wasn’t because my husband became apathetic. Eventually I lost respect for my husband, and it was mostly my fault. I wanted him to lead, but when he tried I’d often criticize how he led. It was a mess!

I had been praying God would change J.J. and make him more decisive, more confident, more protective and well, just more what I wanted him to be. One day, God strongly impressed on my heart that my criticism wasn’t getting me any closer to my desired result. In fact, my frustration with J.J. only contributed to his own doubt as a man trying to follow God and lead His family.

The Holy Spirit also showed me I was fueling Satan’s flaming darts of condemnation aimed at my husband’s heart; joining efforts with the one who wanted to take out my husband as the leader of our home. Through prayer, I realized my husband needed me to be his greatest cheerleader and his biggest supporter verbally, emotionally and spiritually.

God challenged me to keep my mouth closed when J.J. did something I didn’t like or led in a way I didn’t want to follow. He encouraged me to tell my husband when I saw things I appreciated and use the power of my words to build up and not tear down my man.

I started doing what God showed me. I looked for and found things in my husband that I’d never noticed. I got intentional about noticing things I respected and letting God take care of things I didn’t. I made many choices to honor him in big and small ways. And you know what? I discovered so many things about my husband that were worthy of respect.

We’ve been through so much together over the years. I have learned to follow God as I trusted many of my husband’s decisions that scared me: job changes I didn’t want him to make; financial investments that seemed too risky; parenting issues that were hard. It hasn’t been easy, but I am thankful my husband has become the leader of our family. And I’ve become more comfortable following his leadership than I ever thought I’d be!

Dear Lord, I want to respect my husband and build him up with my words. Help me to measure my thoughts carefully and come to You with my complaints. I want to become my husband’s biggest cheerleader and watch You do Your thing in His life. I know this is possible as I depend on You to live Your life through me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just a Few Things

{Our Weekend}


Jon and I had a busy weekend. Friday evening we drove to a nearby camp to attend our church’s Marriage Retreat. We had a great time at the retreat! It was so nice to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of life. We were gone on Saturday as well, so I was not able to lead my weekly Saturday morning Weight Watchers meeting. There are so many good things that I will take away from the retreat, but the lesson that made the biggest impact on me was about communication. Jon and I really need to continue to work on our communication. We got some good tools from the Marriage Retreat that we could take home with us!

Please keep praying for those who attended the Marriage Retreat. Pray against Satan’s discouragement and that each couple will be able to grow closer together as a result of this event.

{Thanksgiving Plans}


Our Thanksgiving plans have changed so many times! Originally, Jon and I were looking forward to having Thanksgiving at our home. Jon’s sister, Rachel, and her husband, Aric, were going to drive down from Colorado to visit us. I had started to plan my Thanksgiving menu and grocery list, so that we could be prepared for their visit. Unfortunately, Aric was not able to get time off for Thanksgiving, so our plans have changed. We are so disappointed that they will not be able to join us this year for Thanksgiving!

We were not sure if we would end up spending Thanksgiving alone, which seems very depressing. However, some friends of ours from church invited us to spend Thanksgiving with them again for the 4th year in a row! We are so thankful to them and their family for opening up their home to us. It’s hard being in Texas, because our immediate family is not with us. But we are so thankful that God has put people in our church to be like family to us when ours is not present.

{Our First Niece}

My sister Vivian is pregnant again with baby #2!! Last Friday, she found out that she is pregnant with a baby girl! This will be our first niece, because so far we have only have nephews. We are so excited and cannot wait for Kadence to make her debut this coming April 2012!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday PointsPlus Values

The last few years I have written blog post about how to create a successful Thanksgiving Game Plan. To read those previous blog posts, click here and here. A Thanksgiving game plan is so important and without I do not know how you will be able to stay on plan throughout the holidays. However, today I want to focus on the actual Thanksgiving food!

Below is a list of different holiday foods and their PointsPlus values. I don't know about you, but I am going to be using this list to help keep me from making some really bad food choices this Thanksgiving!


Turkey breast, 4 oz =4 PointsPlus
Ham, 2 oz slice = 2 PointsPlus
Prime Rib, 3 oz. = 4 PointsPlus
Salmon, 1 oz smoked = 1 PointsPlus

{Starches, Carbohydrates, Spreads}

Sweet potato, 1/2 cup = 2 PointsPlus
Mashed potato, 1/2 cup = 3 PointsPlus
Baked potato, 10 oz. uncooked or 8 oz cooked = 5 PointsPlus
Stuffing, 1/2 cup = 5 PointsPlus
Dinner roll, 2 oz. = 4 PointsPlus
Butter, regular or whipped, 1 tsp = 1 PointsPlus
Margarine, regular, 1 tsp = 1 PointsPlus
Gravy, 1/4 cup = 3 PointsPlus
Candied Sweet Potatoes, ½ cup = 5 PointsPlus

{Vegetable Side Dishes}

Hot Dish: string beans, cream of mushroom soup, onions, 1/2 cup = 3 PointsPlus
Tossed mixed greens salad, 1 cup =0 PointsPlus
Dressing, 1 tbsp. Full fat = 2 PointsPlus
Olive, 6 large or 10 small = 1 PointsPlus
Pickle, one medium dill = 0 PointsPlus
Cranberry Sauce, 1/4 cup = 3 PointsPlus


Fruit punch, 4 oz (1/2 cup) = 2 PointsPlus
Wine, 4 oz (1/2 cup) = 3 PointsPlus
Beer, 8 oz = 3 PointsPlus
Mineral or sparkling water, 8 oz = 0 PointsPlus


Pumpkin Pie, 1/8 of 9" one crust = 11 PointsPlus
Apple Pie, 1/8 of 9" two crust = 11 PointsPlus
Pecan Pie 1/8 of 9” once crust = 14 PointsPlus
Meringue Pie, any type, 1/8 of 9" = 10 PointsPlus
Mincemeat Pie, 1/8 of 9" two crust = 13 PointsPlus
Ice cream, regular, 1/2 cup = 8 PointsPlus
Whipped Cream, 1/4 cup full fat = 3 PointsPlus


Candy/Fudge, 1 oz = 3 PointsPlus
Bar Cookies, 1 = 3 PointsPlus
Cheese, 1" cube = 3 PointsPlus
Salami, 1slice/1oz = 3 PointsPlus
Saltines, 6 = 2 PointsPlus
Guacamole or Hummus, 1/4 cup = 4 PointsPlus
Egg Roll, 3 oz pork, shrimp, = 4 PointsPlus
Deviled Egg, 1/2 of egg, regular mayo = 4 PointsPlus
Pretzels, 7 twists, regular = 2 PointsPlus
Dip, many types, 2 tablespoons = 2 PointsPlus

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recipe Review: Weight Watchers Chicken and Cheese Casserole

There was a baby boom in my Sunday school class this year. I am not kidding you! Many of the babies were due in October and November of this year. Our Sunday school class always provides meals for the family for the first few weeks after they have their baby. With all the babies being born around the same time I felt like I needed to find a new recipe to make. It is boring make the same casserole dish over and over again.

I found this recipe on Pinterest. I made it for a family in my Sunday school class, because it was healthy and I had all the ingredients at home in my pantry.

The Ingredients

Cut up chicken and line in the bottom of the pan.

I used one can of Cream of Mushroom and one can of Cream of Chicken.

Stir soups together and add milk

I added some salt and pepper and mixed everything together.

Next, I added Weight Watchers shredded cheese.

Next, cook your noodles, I used penne.

Add your noodles to your soup mixture.

Stir together.

This is the finished product!! Doesn't it look good!

. . . . . . . . . .
Weight Watchers Chicken and Cheese Casserole
Source: / Pinterest

2 cups cooked macaroni
2 cups chicken breasts, chopped
2 cups cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
2 cups skim milk
8 ounces low-fat cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large casserole, combine all ingredients, mixing well.

Bake,covered, 35-45 minutes.

Remove cover; bake 10-15 minutes longer.

Serve immediately.

Servings 8; 6 PointsPlus

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Garage Sale Find

One of my members gave this to me so that I could see just how much Weight Watchers has changed! I am so thankful that Weight Watchers is committed to having the best weight loss program with the most up to date science. Change is good!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taming TV Time


Here is the meeting summary from November 12, 2011.

In the meeting this week, I challenged my members to attempt to squeeze in a little bit more activity into their sacred TV time.

There has been a direct link between obesity and obsessive TV watching. The average American watches 5 hours of TV a day!

Below I have 10 sure fire ways to get your buns moving a little bit more than sinking down into that couch cushion.

10 Ways to Exercise While Watching TV

1.) Fidget while you watch your shows. Science has proven that people who fidget even while sitting down can burn up to 350 more calories per day. If your body’s in motion, it’s burning calories.

2.) Move your exercise equipment in front of the TV. If you have a treadmill stuck in the corner doubling as a clothing hanger, now is the time to dust it off and move it right in front of the TV. You can’t see around it, so you’ll be forced to get on and walk while your favorite shows are on.

3.) Set up a circuit training route in front of your TV. If your living room is large enough, you can set up “stations” that you go to in order to perform cardio routines while your shows are on. You can jump rope, walk in place, or use equipment like dumbbells, exercise balls or steps to get your heart rate up.

4.) See how many pushups you can do during a show or commercial. If you’re just starting out, then you might start with commercial pushups, but once you become more adept at exercising, see how many you can do during a half hour or hour long show! (Always within reason, of course!)

5.) Do lunges while you watch TV. You can do lunges in place or walking lunges around the room while your shows are on.

6.) Walk in place as you catch up on your favorite show. Walking in place requires no special equipment and it won’t put a strain on your body while you do it. Just march your legs up and down and rest during commercials.

7.) See how many squats you can do. Squats can be done in place or up against a wall in a sitting position. See how long you can hold it. Can you reach a certain number of squats before the next commercial?

8.) Become a commercial crunch Queen (or King)! Crunches take less effort than a full sit up, but they help tone your abs a lot better. See how many crunches you can do during commercials or if you’re brave – during the length of the show itself!

9.) Watch exercise shows on TV and move along with them. You don’t have to invest in a lot of pricey exercise videos if your budget is strapped. There are tons of free cable channels that have daily exercise shows on them for all levels – beginner through advanced.

10.) Switch up your exercise routines with your TV watching habits. You don’t watch the same TV show over and over every hour, do you? No – you switch it up between the news, a reality TV show, and maybe a sitcom or police drama. So do the same with your exercise routines, too. Switch it up so that you don’t get bored and are more likely to stick to it for the long haul.

Exercising while watching TV is something we all ought to do, if we’re going to turn on the tube – even if we’re perfectly thin and happy with our appearance. Being a couch potato is detrimental to our heart health, not just to our physical appearance.

Let’s all try to focus on getting in some activity during the next TV show that we watch!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Flashback Friday: Two Years at Lifetime

This past Wednesday, November 9, 2011, I celebrated my two year anniversary at Lifetime!! I just love that my anniversary date and Lifetime date are so close together!! Remembering how far I have come keeps me motivated to keep going!!

This morning I want to talk about how important it is to have people in your life that support your weight loss efforts. Hands down, my Jon, has been my biggest supporter of my weight loss efforts. He sacrificed financially so that we would have enough money for me to join Weight Watchers. He believed in me when I did not believe in myself.

However, there are others who have supported me throughout my weight loss journey as well. This morning, I would like you to meet my my Weight Watchers leader and friend, Amanda. I've talked about Amanda before, but I don't think I have ever formally introduced you to her.

Amanda and I the night I made Lifetime, Monday, November 9, 2009.

Amanda became my Weight Watchers leader in March 2009. By the time I met her I was already halfway through my weight loss journey. She jumped right into my life and has become such a good friend.

Amanda is an incredible Weight Watchers leader! Her meetings are fun and creative, but that's not all. Amanda really cares about her Weight Watchers members and she wants to see them succeed in their weight loss journeys.

Amanda and I one year later at the Year in Review Red Carpet Debut. That was my one year anniversary at Lifetime.

After reaching Lifetime with Weight Watchers it was Amanda who encouraged me to become a Weight Watchers leader. It has been such a blessing to be able to work alongside Amanda this year. I have learned so much from her!

Amanda and I last Saturday, at the Success Stories Event, just a few days before my two year anniversary at Lifetime.

I am so thankful for the people who supported me during my weight loss journey and continue to support my new healthy lifestyle! I would never have been able to do this without them! Do you have people in your life that support you? Who are they? I would love to hear about the people that support you!

To read more about my previous Lifetime anniversaries, please click the links below.
2009 Reached Lifetime
2010 One Year at Lifetime

Visit Jen for more flashbacks.
Flashback Friday

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Recipe Review: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

I have wanted to try these cupcakes ever since I saw them posted on Gina's Skinny Taste blog. I made them for the Pumpkin Carving Party that we attended a few weekends ago.

I have had such a hard time getting this recipe review posted! Jon and I each have laptop computers, but one of our cords broke. Two computers and only one computer cord means that I was not able to get my pictures into Blogger until today! Thankfully, I think that you can still make these cupcakes for Thanksgiving which is quickly approaching!

Ingredients for the pumpkin cupcakes

Combine cake mix and pumpkin pie spice

I accidentally added two cups of water instead of just one. Opps!

Add pumpkin and mix ingredients together

I made both small and regular sized cupcakes.

These cupcakes really are good enough to eat them all by themselves!

Ingredients for the pumpkin spiced cream cheese frosting.

Combine all ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

Mix together until completed blended.

I transferred the frosting into a piping bag.

It's so easy!

The finished product!

I added some orange sprinkles to make it look more festive.

I think they turned out great! I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

. . . . . . . . . .
Pumpkin Cupcakes with Pumpkin Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting

18.25 oz Betty Crocker Golden Vanilla Super Moist Cake Mix*
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup canned 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup water

For the Pumpkin Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz Philadelphia 1/3 fat cream cheese (do not use fat free)
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
5 tbsp packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake wrappers.

Combine cake mix and pumpkin spice in a large bowl. Add pumpkin puree and water, mix about 2 minutes.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake about 20 - 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

For the frosting, combine the cream cheese, pumpkin, vanilla, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and brown sugar until smooth. You can use a spatula to ice the cupcakes or pipe them which may require making more frosting.

Makes 24

Pumpkin Cupcakes (no frosting)
Servings: 24 • Serving Size: 1 cupcake • Old Points: 2 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 84.2 • Fat: 0.8 g • Protein: 0.6 g • Carb: 18.5 g • Fiber: 0.3 g • Sugar: 9.9 g • Sodium: 140.9 mg

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Frosting
Servings: 24 • Serving Size: 1 cupcake • Old Points: 3 pts • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 121.1 • Fat: 2.8 g • Protein: 1.4 g • Carb: 23.2 g • Fiber: 0.5 g • Sugar: 13.9 g • Sodium: 142.3 mg

*Betty Crocker has reduced their cake mixes, so read the labels on your box. Dunkin Hines still carries 18.25 oz boxes


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...