Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekend wrap up... #raceforfaith and #pawdigras

Where did the weekend go???!!! I cannot believe it is back to work tomorrow.  Well it was a GREAT weekend none the less!

It all started bright and EARLY Saturday morning.  It was time for the 8th Annual Race for Faith


Event attendees were greeted with a glorious sunrise.
This was the third time I participated in this event since 2008 (I missed out on 2010, which is when they changed parks and added a 10K portion).  I was first drawn to this event because of its purpose "to glorify God through physical fitness and making an impact in our community by spreading the "Good News of Jesus Christ.""  It is not a huge event, this year there were 641 participants, but it is huge on warmth and friendliness.
The Chik-Fil-A Cow getting ready for the warm up.

Everyone warming up (I did warm up, I only paused to take this picture)

At the start line. I stayed behind since I knew I was among the slower runners.
I did try my best to complete the 5K all running, but instead I did my usual "slogging" (my word for the slow jogging that I enjoy so much).  Overall I didn't do terribly, but I know I could have done better; I crossed the finish line in just under 49 minutes (although, in my defense my phone's GPS said I ran 3.65 miles, so that's an extra 1/2 mile more than it should have been).  Since I have been doing most of my walking with the pups, I haven't been doing any running, so I really went in to it without training (note to self: don't do that again).


This picture is of the lead runners on their way to the finish line, I still had not passed mile 1
Mile 1 at last, with some inspiration to go with it.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalms 119:105

Thankfully more inspiration right when I needed it.
For God didn't give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self control. 2 Timothy 1:7
I was still slogging away, and finally made it to Mile 2!!!
I know there was an inspirational verse just after this sign, but I didn't take a picture.
Note, there is no picture of Mile 3 because I was on a running roll, and didn't want to stop. 
So the rest of Saturday was spent being VERY lazy.  Hubby was home, so it was nice to spend an evening pretty much doing nothing ~ together.

Sunday started out with attending church online; Pastor Tom delivered a wonderful message, as usual.  I am blessed to be part of a wonderful church community where I can attend in person, or online, and still feel part of the family. (Christ Fellowship)

Then we all went to Pawdi Gras! Pawdi Gras is Mardi Gras for our four-legged friends.  It was held by a local veterinary hospital. There were demonstrations, vendor displays, free doggie baths (which we missed), live music, and of course lots of other doggies.  Daphne our social butter fly had a ball, Rusty on the other well, he is our little fraidy-dog, he didn't care for being around so many other dogs and people.

Having fun at Pawdi Gras.
(They each got their own beads)

Had TOO much fun at Pawdi Gras, time to go home...
Sunday ended quietly, with a family dinner (Chicken Parmesan with pasta and sauce), and the Academy Awards. 

Life is good! Enjoy the beauty of simplicity!

Hope you all had a GREAT weekend.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sharing some great family meals I tried this week

This past week we decided to make it a point to do more eating at home and less eating out ~ we mostly succeeded.  I tried two new recipies this week that were EASY (I love easy),  tasted great, fed the family, gave us leftovers, and the best part were affordable. Unfortunatley, I don't have a picture of either meal, but trust me they looked as delicious as looked/sound.

The first one I did was Crockpot Lemon Chicken; I found the receipe through Cheap Meals for your Family, this is a GREAT site for recipes.  The recipe did have a link to Annie's Recipes, I presume this is the orignator of the recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes (this is for seasoned cooks, it took me a bit longer)
Cook Time: 7-9 hours low or 4-5 hours high (I used high setting 6 hours on my crockpot)
Meal Preparation Ingredients:
1 pkg whole chicken cut up (buying your chicken like this is very cheap)
1/4 cup of flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
1 (6oz.) can lemonade, thawed and undiluted
3 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp vinegar
1/4 c catsup
Meal Preparation Directions:
Combine flour and salt and coat chicken. Brown on all sides in hot oil. Place browned chicken in crockpot. Combine lemonade, vinegar, catsup and brown sugar, mix well and pour over chicken. Cook on low 6-8 hours or high 3-4 hours.
My notes: I am not as much of a seasoned cook as I would like to be, so it did take me more than 10 minutes to prepare.  I used a whole cut chicken, plus two additional chicken breast (rib meat and bone in).  I seasoned the meat and the flour with complete season salt rather than just salt (I'm Puerto Rican, I need flavor).  I made rice to serve on the side with green beans. Overall VERY easy, and delicious!
The second recipe was also found at Cheap Meals for your Family, it was Chicken and Rice Bake.  This was especially great (and easy) because it was a one dish meal. I prepared and baked in the same dish.

Chicken and Rice bake:
1 lb of chicken (I used boneless/skinless breast for this recipe)
3/4 cup of uncooked white rice, not instant rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/3 cup of water
1 can green beans
Stir water, rice, soup and seasoning in shallow baking dish then add chicken. Sprinkle chicken with additional seasoning. Bake at 375 for 45 min to 1 hour or until rice and chicken are done. As the picture shows you can top the chicken with cheese and toss back in the oven for about 5 minutes to melt. Serve with green beans. Feeds 4-5 people.
My notes: I did not deviate from this recipe much, except of course I used more seasonings on the chicken.  Additionally, although there was rice in the baked dish, I did make more on the side.
I thank those who had already shared these recipes so that I could find them to use!  I hope this info is beneficial to some of you as well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Coming to a theater near you ~ The Grace Card (#thegracecard, @thegracecard)

This evening, thanks to my favorite radio station ~ WayFM, I (along with my hubby, my sister and two friends) had the pleasure of participating in a VIP Preview for "The Grace Card" a movie that will be in theaters this Friday.  The movie's tag line reads "Everything can change in an instant ... and take a lifetime to unravel."  I encourage all of you who read this blog to do your best to get out and see this movie when it is released.

In the past few years I have been pleased with the efforts to get Christian based movie productions into  main stream theaters; and I find the quality of movies being made has greatly improved.  While I do look forward to a time when a movie produced by a Christian production company can contend with the secular based productions for awards, etc., I am more encouraged with the audience reached by these movies and hopeful that the message of God's grace and love through these movies will impact the world around us.

The movie's spiritual message of forgiveness, redemption, building relationships and extending grace to others as God's grace has been extended to us, is the heart of this movie.  This message comes through in a manner that I (personally) feel will be well received by non-Christians and will serve to encourage Christians in allowing God's grace to work through them to reach those in their community who do not yet know the power of God's love and grace.

With the exception of Louis Gossett, Jr. the movie's cast is basically made up of (unknown) actors who are in their first acting roles.  I have to be honest, the quality of the acting left something to be desired, there will be no awards for acting here (sorry).  But that being said, the lack of quality acting does not detract from the delivery of the message of the movie.

Overall the movie was both entertaining and moving.  We need more of these movies in our theaters!

tgc

"For it is by grace you have been saved..." Ephesians 2:8 (NIV)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Go Red for Women - Blog Your Heart Out!

As Heart Month continues, I am looking for more ways to raise awareness through this blog, and as I find them, I am finding more things I can do myself to live a healthy lifestyle.

Today I join the American Heart Association and Fitlosophy Inc. for Blog Your Heart Out Day.



As I shared last week in my Pink goes Red post, Heart Disease is the No. 1 casue of death among Women 20 and over in the United States.  In fact, more women die of heart disease than the next 4 causes on the list combined.
In case you were wondering, the top 5 are:
  1. Heart Disease
  2. Breast Cancer
  3. Osteoporosis
  4. Depression
  5. Autoimmune Disease (i.e. Lupus, MS)
I don't know about you, but that statistic totally surprised me; more than the 4 combined.  I had to wonder why, and was surprised to learn that "90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease", most don't even know it.  Unfortunately, "only 55 percent of women realize heart disease is their No. 1 killer and less than half know what are considered healthy levels for cardiovascular risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol".  Ladies (and gentlemen) it is time to get educated!!!

So in stepped the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women campaign.  This campaign began in 2004 to encourage awareness of the issue of women and heart diseas.  It also encourages action to save more lives.  Through their Go Red Heart CheckUp they have engaged over 2 million women to learn about their own risk for heart disease (be sure to take your checkup today).

I encourage all of you who read this blog to learn your risk (male or female, there are risks, learn them and get healthy).  Register at Go Red for Women, then tell 5 friends, and encourage them to learn their risk and tell 5 friends; before you know it we could reach another million ~ imagine the lives that will be saved!


This is not just about today, it is about a lifestyle change, to save a life.  I hope that with this blog I reach an audience that needs to hear this information, and who will join me in being more heart health.  So who's with me?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Fajitas, its whats for dinner tonigh!

For Sunday's Super Bowl I made homemade guacamole.  We usually just buy it (my favorite store brand is Wholly Guacamole), but it is pretty easy to make so I decided to try my hand at it, and it was a hit!  It did last us through yesterday, but it appears that the desire for it outlasted the guacamole itself, as a special request for more was made by hubby today.  So since I was making more guacamole, we decided to make it Fajita Night!



Following Oprah's vegan challenge last week, my daughter has been making efforts to change her eating habits towards a healthier vegetarian lifestyle, so this was taken into consideration when planning out our meal.  I made fajitas for all taste buds ~ beef, chicken and tofu. They were delicious (even if I say so myself)!

Beef and Chicken

Tofu

Pepers and Onions


Tofu Fajita finished product

My daughter did feel that tofu is an aquired taste, but I am proud of her for trying it and for setting her plan in motion, she inspires me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sorry, I have to get on my patriotic soap box...

(Edited)

So last night I enjoyed some great family time watching Super Bowl XLV.  As it is for many this is an annual tradition in our home.  We didn't have an official party nor did we attend any, but we made it great for us.

The game was a classic showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.  I am not a fan of either team, but I always love a great underdog story, so for the night I was a Packers fan.  I know the Packers were the favorite to win going into the game, but the Steelers have presented a much stronger presence in the past few years, so the Packers were really the underdogs; but they didn't let that stop them and they didn't disappoint.

As usual the commercials and the Halftime Show were highlights of the night (especially for the non-game aficionados).  In my opinion, the Halftime Show was one of the best in recent memory (they have all gone down hill since Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction).  The Black Eyed Peas put on a great performance.  As a child of the 80's it was great to see Slash, and Usher's performance was good too.  There did appear to be some technical problems with the sound levels especially for Fergie and Usher, but otherwise it was a good performance.  The commercials were a mixed bag of good ones and bad ones, but overall entertaining.

The disappointment of the evening came early, it was Christina Aguilera ruining the national anthem!!!  So here goes...

Christina Aguilera sang the Star-Spangled Banner, she displayed her usual octave range for all to hear, but she totally messed up the lyrics (nerves maybe).  Following the Anthem debacle, I personally tweeted (and posted to Facebook) that someone should get her a lyrics sheet before she attempts to do that again.  I then read several tweets and facebook comments, some negative, some positive, but for the most part many were expressing their disappointment with her singing of the anthem.

I can totally understand nerves effecting a person when they perform, and let's face it was the Super Bowl after all, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sporting events of the year.  Trust me, I get all of that... BUT, Christina Aguilera is a 5 time Grammy award winning artist, nerves really?  There is a level of professionalism that is expected. It's the national anthem, you just don't mess that one up!  If it had been technical issues, I know that the enormous crowd, as well as all of us at home, would not have skipped a beat and just continued singing along; take the example of 8 year-old Elizabeth Hughes at an Admirals game; even an 8 year-old got it right. But unfortunately it wasn't technical issues, it was just a very disappointing performance.  Maybe she should have been more concerned with the words that with the demonstration of her octive range.

Am I harsh? Am I overly patriotic? Is there such a thing as too patriotic? I LOVE THIS COUNTRY AND I LOVE OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM.  I sing along whenever I hear it regardless of the venue; and yes the hairs on my arms stand and tears comes to my eyes.  That is just me, I love this country, I love our anthem, and I am proud to be a citizen of the USA.  If I had a better singing voice I would love to have the opportunity to sing this song in a public venue.

A little bit of Star Spangled Banner history: After spending the night of September 13, 1814 on the British Flagged Ship Tonnant, Francis Scott Key waited in anticipation to learn the fate of Fort McHenry following the British attack that had lasted through the night. The next morning Key awoke to learn that the American flag that was flying above the fort (which had been commissioned by Major George Armistead), was still there. This was the last enemy fire to fall on Fort McHenry.


Key who was a lawyer by trade was inspired; he wrote a poem entitled “Defence of Fort McHenry”. The poem was set to music (the tune of an old British song), and the title was later changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and our national anthem was born (BTW, did you know that there are 3 additional verses that we don’t usually sing?). It was first recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889, by the President in 1916, and became our national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931.
Below are the lyrics we usually sing.  I took the liberty of highlighting what was missed:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Ok, stepping of the soap box now!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sari Center Inaugural 5K

Today I participated in the inaugural 5K run/walk for the Sari Asher Center for Integrative Cancer Care.  It was a wonderful day for a walk, and with 325 participants it was a great turnout for a 1st ever event.

The Sari Center opened in 2008, it provides integrative therapies for cancer patients.  I had the pleasure of being part of the staff that opened the center back in 2008.  The mission is something I believe in, when you integrate complementary therapies with traditional courses of treatments for cancer you get results that strengthen "mind, body and spirit".  To date the center has served over 1200 cancer patients.  (Check out their website to learn more about them).

Today's walk was the first in what is to become an annual event.  I am happy to be able to say I was there when it all started.  The weather was absolutely perfect for an early morning walk.  I got off to a late start, which resulted in not walking with the masses, but I made it! That is what counts.

There was a timed run in addition to a walk, so I did get there in time to see the winners cross the finish line and I decided not to do my walking until after the award ceremony.  I was accompanied by my sis (a 2x cancer survivor and previous patient of the center) and I took one of my fur babies with me (he needed the exercise, and yes, my diva girl Daphne was none too pleased when I got home; I will have to make it up to her).  We walked our walk and were unofficially the last ones to cross the finish line (unofficial, because they had already broken down the line ~ LOL).

The walk took place at John Prince Park in Lake Worth, FL.  I had been to this park before for other walks, but I always forget what a nice park it is.  It has a heart fit trail, and a measured path, so it will have to be a park I revisit just to work out.

Rusty contemplating whether he was ready for this walk

(Shhh, I didn't let Rusty see this sign)

Sis agrees, it was a GREAT day for a walk!
 I took this picture to make it official, I was there!
 
We got to see a lot of pretty birds, etc. along the way.

I told Rusty "lets go home", and he took off.
Overall, it was a GREAT walk, with GREAT company, for a GREAT cause!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Pink goes Red

If you read this blog regularly, or have just popped in to read a few posts, you know that I am an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness.  It is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  But this month I want to pause from that cause and bring awareness to another disease that also effects women.

The number 1 killer of women in the United States is heart disease.  February is Heart Health Awareness Month and today, February 4, 2011 is National Wear Red Day. 

National Wear Red Day is part of The Heart Truth Campaign to raise awareness that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in the US, and it is time to do something about it.  "The campaign's goal is to give women a personal and urgent wake-up call about their risk of heart disease".

Some of the risk factors for heart disease like age and family history cannot be changed, but lifestyle risks can be so below you will find the Ten Commandments for a Health Heart, these are the factors that we can (and should) control.

So for today, Pink @ Heart is going red.  I will be joining with women around the nation and wearing red today.  I pledge to take control of my heart health and further educate myself on the risk factors of heart disease and how I can control my risk. 

This pledge is not just for today, but for a lifestyle change.  I hope that with this blog I reach an audience that needs to hear this information, and will join me in pledging for better health.  So who's with me?

For more information on heart health and The Heart Truth click the picture below. 

TEN COMMANDMENTS FOR A HEALTHY HEART

  1. Know your risk factors for heart disease.
  2. Talk to your doctor about reducing your risk of heart disease.
  3. Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
  4. Know your cholesterol numbers. [These include total cholesterol, HDL or "good" cholesterol, LDL or "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides.]
  5. Have your blood sugar level checked for diabetes.
  6. Do not smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products.
  7. Eat for your heart health.
  8. Get regular physical activity. [At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most or all days of the week.]
  9. Aim for a healthy weight.
  10. Know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and the importance of seeking medical help immediately. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Advice to my younger self...

Where Moms Who Blog Go!

This week's Writer's Workshop topic promt is "Advice to my younger self".  I think this is a great topic! Let me know what you think.

I am sure that if given the chance any of us would love to go back in time and give our younger selves some advice.  "Don't date that person", "Make sure you study harder", "go to college xxx, rather than yyy", are all some of the things that we would like tell our younger self.  Oh how our lives would be so different if we could just go back and tell our younger self to do this or that differently!

To a certain degree we all live with regrets, wishing we could do something differently in our past.  But I feel that in reality if things had gone differently, maybe my life would not be what it is today.  Every experience I had, every person I met, every test I failed, every job I held, has helped to mold me from the time I was born to where I am today.  If I had missed any one of these I may have missed a life lesson that helped me get through to today.  I may not be where I envisioned myself to be back in the days of my younger self, but I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Proverbs 16:9 states: "In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." (NIV), and I really believe that for me this is the truth.  Even at times when I was drawn away from my faith walk to the ways of the world, the foundation of faith that my parents had instilled in me kept me on a path that was meant for me.

If my life had gone differently the possibility exists that I wouldn't have my daughter. Well, that is just not an option, I wouldn't change her for the world so my life needs to be exactly what it has been for all these years.  I married my life long best friend in 2004, I had know him all of my life.  He was truly my best friend then and still today.  I knew when we married that I had to be the person I was then to be the wife I needed to be for him.  They are both part of why I am the person I am today, I couldn't be me without them!

So I guess the best advice I would give my younger self would be to just keep doing what you are doing, life is going to turn out just right.


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