Saturday, December 29, 2012

Making it Happen

Make it Happen in 2013

  • Go on 12 date nights with Jess.
  • Crochet a blanket
  • Gotta lose 20 LBs, I know, I know so cliche. But, I gotta make it happen.
  • Run a 5k. And yes Kathy N. this is my official "yes" I am doing it with you. (at least one!)
  • Blog once a week. 
  • Tithe more regularly than this past year.
  • Go see my Grandparents a lot more!!!
  • Take the kids to see Jess' Great Grandma at least 1-2x a month. She is the sweetest lady and I have grown to love her so much over the last 5 years.
  • Grow flowers, so I can have fresh flowers in the house all the time. Or so I can take them to people I visit.
  • Be more thrifty. Maybe even blog about my thriftiness?!?
  • I am going to put some nails in these wall and decorate this house. Hence the "be thrifty" above.
  • Continue to grow my Pampered Chef business.
  • Make more time for friends.
  • Just be more thoughtful and less forgetful.
  • Continue to send hand written notes to special people in my life. 
  • Do my devotional daily

These are all things that are more than doable. I will do them and will work hard to do them. Hopefully this time next year, I can click back and check off these things. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Confessions of a Single Mama: Role Models

Its crazy to think that it has almost been a year since I became a single mama (it was in February, but close enough). 2012 was a rough/crazy/tough year to say the least, so 2013 is welcomed with HUGE open arms. As I think back to the events of last year I think about how I was feeling at that time and one word describes it all, struggling. 

I was struggling with being in an unhealthy environment and relationship and with that came the struggle of handling the pressure to remain in that relationship. What I mean by that is, I was struggling to find the courage to get myself & Ruthie out of that situation. I was struggling with the idea of what people would say about me and if they would believe me, I was struggling with the idea of what my family would think of me, I was struggling with the fact that Ruthie would not have a father 24/7, I was struggling with the fact that Ruthie would not have her biological family together ever again, I was struggling with my self esteem and self confidence, I was struggling with well..... I think you get the point.

As I look back now I ask myself, "How and where did I find the courage to get out?" I can honestly 100% say that I know if came from the male role model in my life, my Dad. Some people would question this and say it was probably the female role model in your life. While that most likely played a role too I think this is true; in a girl's life the female role model in their life teaches them what they should expect out of a man and the male role model teaches them what they deserve.

Growing up and still to this day, my Dad taught us girls how a man should treat a woman. Whether that may be his mom, his Grandma, his sister, his daughter, his girlfriend, or his wife. He did this in many ways but mainly by example. He treats my mother like a queen and his daughters like princesses and that is no exaggeration.

A male role model plays a larger role then just showing how a man should treat a woman but also just in general showing his daughters what makes a man, a man. My dad exemplifies that a man provides, protects, respects, supports, and is faithful to his family.

I am thankful for my Dad and the example he plays in my life. Because of him I was able to recognize that the situation I was in was wrong and was nothing what I deserved.

This large thought process, self reflection, or whatever you want to call it came to me when I was thinking about and talking to Jamie about why girls stay in abusive relationships? Why do girls stay with guys that don't treat them like they deserve? Like I said above I really think it stems from the lack of a positive male role model in their life. I know this may not be the case in all situations. 

I am glad that I found the courage to remove Ruth and I. Sometimes I think about what if I stayed and "toughed" it out so Ruthie could have her family? The same answer results every time; the cycle would have continued. Ruthie would have grown up thinking, that is a way a man should treat a woman and a woman is supposed to just deal with it, and so on with her children and their children.

I think a positive consistent male role model in a little girls life is so important. Whether that be a Dad, a Grandpa, a boyfriend, or an Uncle. I remember thinking at one point that Ruth & I would never need another man in our life again. But as you can see I am realizing we do and I am thankful that Ruth as two of those, Ba (my dad) & Maa (Matt). Men....can't live with em', can't live without em'. ;)

I hope this reached out not only to our female readers but also our male readers! :)

xoxo - Alexis

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Recipe: A Hit

Our Grandma Dykhouse worked at the high school as the lunch lady. She is famous for making a sour cream cut out cookie. Everybody wanted them including our friends! On all of her grandchildren's birthday she would bring in cookies. But of course this girl got french bread! (Because I am a confessed carb-oholic) And I have to tell you it is amazing! My mom then turned that recipe into pizza and pizza rolls. It was a favorite amongst hungry teenagers while I was in high school.

I use it for pizza, pizza rolls, BBQ chicken pizza, Cinnamon bread and obviously french bread. I made french bread for some neighbors and for a couple of our Christmas's. It was so much cheaper because I didn't have to go out and buy all the special stuff! If you are ever in need of a cheap dish to pass, you found it!

French Bread Recipe

2 pkg Yeast (1 pack 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 tsp sugar
1/2 c warm water
Mix together in cup. Set aside & let double in size

2 Tbl oil
1/4 c sugar
1 Tbl salt
2 c hot water

Add: 2 cups of flour

Mix well. Add yeast mixture, mixing well. Add 4 1/2 cup flour until blended well. Place bread dough onto floured surface & knead well. Let dough rest 10 minutes, then knead again. Do this 5 times. Cut in half & shape into 2 long loaves. Place on cookie sheet, slash tops pat with water. Let rise until doubles & bake 20 minutes at 425 degrees.

For Pizza crust knead well, cut in half and stretch of pizza pans. No need to let rest and knead with for pizzas!

When making pizza for our family I cut it in half and place the other half in the freezer. It makes for a great meal later. Thanks to Jamie for that helpful hint. Before she told me to do that I would make 2 pizzas and we would never eat them all. I know I am ridiculous.

For pizza rolls we roll out dough put all our toppings in except the sauce. Roll them up and pat with water and then put in the oven.

Anytime you take this lovely recipe out of the oven, you must slather real butter all over the loaf, crust or what have you!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Wonderful Time of the Year

Christmas Seasonal Cards have yet to go out. I planned on mailing them, then did not get that done. So then I was like, save on postage and hand them out at Christmas parties. Well, I forgot to take them to ALL but 1 of our Christmas's thus far. So now back to plan A. I WILL get them out this week, I hope.

Today is a nice and relaxing PJ and movie day here at the Schrocks. Jess went back to work today so we will try to keep the house under control and veg out all day! I hope you all had a great Christmas.

Here is a look at our Card. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Many blessings to each of you:)

Jamie did our cards this year as usual! She did awesome.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

I was planning on mailing out Christmas cards again this year, but I dropped the ball and that's not going to happen. So, I decided to just post it here. It's also my first stab at making an animated gif. Merry Christmas from the Krenz family.

Doesn't Stella look so excited to be a big sister?! ;)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Little Things

I think my hubby had it right when he said, "You look 25, but I think inside you're still a 14 year old girl." He was saying this in response to me confessing I like The Biebs (Justin Bieber). I'm owning up to my inner teenage girl now, because I'm pretty sure I'm falling for One Direction.

It all started with their song, "What Makes Your Beautiful." I was really annoyed by it the first few times I listened to it, but it grew on me. And then I became slightly obsessed. Love Bean loves it to. Then there was "One Thing" and it's just as catchy.

They just released a new single, called "Little Things." Watch the video below and listen to the lyrics. I fell in love instantly.
"I know you've never loved the crinkles by your eyes when you smile, you've never loved your stomach or your thighs. The dimples in your back at the bottom of your spine. But I'll love them endlessly" 

In comparison to the rest of today's popular music, that tends to demean girls and perpetuate unrealistic standards, aren't these lyrics sort of like a breath of fresh air? What if all popular music had this type of message? Do you think teenage and tween girls would be wrestling with some of the issues they face every day?

And isn't it all those little things, that add up to all of the self doubt and insecurity that even we as adult woman face? Plus, I think every woman deserves a man who loves the things that she doesn't like about herself.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Getting Fit

All of the comments I received on my last post got me even more excited to get healthy. It was a great push! Please share your success with me and then maybe it can inspire others as well! Thank you so much for your support!! Excited to take you on this journey with me.

But also a confession, I lose a couple pounds and I am like, "Oh that wasn't that bad. I can "treat" myself to this or that." So this past week was tough and it showed on the scale. I was up to 170.4 :( Major bummer. But needless to say I need to get my act together. Tough times are normal right? I cannot get complacent with where I am with my weight. I NEED to keep PUSHING!

I haven't stopped running at all, I just have indulged more than I had been.

I didn't even realize it, until Alexis brought it to my attention. This is the LAST time I am going to have to lose weight! No more babies equals no more abnormal weight gain, I HOPE!!!! I gotta stick with it. I will be happier.

Ok so I am no a huge breakfast fan. EVERYTHING you read says EAT breakfast. So, I have started to. I am pretty sure that they want you to eat within the first couple hours of waking to get your metabolism going. Unfortunately I always don't get that luxury. Quick, healthy breakfast on the go options? 

Anyway, breakfast today is a rice cake (no salt) with about a tablespoon peanut butter and a teaspoon of honey spread on top. Along with a side of a hard boiled egg. (I LOVE them!!)

I am not a vegetarian but I do not eat a lot of protein. Since I have started getting healthy I have been trying to incorporate ways to get that in. One way I do that is eating 1 or 2 hard boiled Egg whites with breakfast and lunch. I don't like the yolk, so I pray that the protein doesn't come from just that!!

Another way is that I bought almonds. In my last post all the comments were to add almonds & chocolate to my diet to help satisfy my chocolate cravings. I bought roasted (still no salt) and not raw. So please let me know if there is a difference! 

So I am keeping up with my running but would like to add some sort of core workout that I can do in under 15 minutes. I do not like to lay down and do ab workouts. Any great alternatives or ways to make it a little more fun!?! I don't want to work out the whole nap time, I mean that is PRECIOUS time! In that time I like to sit down and crochet, eat lunch and catch up on all my BRAVO tv. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Quiet Time

I was thinking the other day about how most of the time on Facebook (have you liked our page? If not, you should!), Instagram and Twitter, we only share the happy times with our littles. It's easy to start thinking, "oh, that mom has it together way more than me" or "I'm such a boring mom, I never do fun things like that with my kid."

I think it's important to remember that people can portray themselves however they'd like to online. And I also think it's important to admit that things aren't always peachy. Maybe I feel extra pressure to do this because I feel like it's my social responsibility as a "mommy blogger" to make sure I'm not furthering that untruth?

My example of a not-so-great-mommy-moment? The other afternoon Stella screamed the entire time I was on a phone call (and not just a social one) and then continued to scream for about 20 more minutes after I got off the phone (minus the 5 minutes her Auntie Ally stopped by). NOT FUN. What did I do? I took her up to her crib, turned the monitor down so I couldn't hear, watched a little bit of TV and then went back up and got her about 15ish minutes later.

When she came back down, she was happy as can be. She started carrying a picture of our family around and kissing it. Maybe she just needed a good cry, or maybe she just wanted her daddy. I'll never know. But that 15 minutes of quiet time did us both some good.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Confessions of A Single Mama: Double Mama Drama

Well I am sorry to say I might have lied to you here when I told you dating might be the hardest thing about being single mom. That's turned out to be pretty easy compared to the thought of your kid having somewhat of a second mom. Now that feeling S.U.C.K.S.

About a month after we separated (I'm really not 100% sure on the time frame) Ruthie's Dad told me that he had a girlfriend. The thought of him being in a relationship already did not surprise me and didn't upset me personally at all however the thought of Ruthie being around another woman besides me in a mother/daughter atmosphere made me absolutely sick to my stomach. I hated thinking that Ruthie might think of someone other then me as her mom or that if they were all out in public someone might think Ruthie was hers...I mean obviously she gets her good looks from me right? ;) Anyway, there are a lot of struggles that come with this and my first reaction was not allowing them to see each other at all. I did not want said girlfriend around her and I told Ruthie's dad that they were not to see each other unless the relationship was serious. Honestly I think I just needed some time to cope with the fact that Ruthie may have a second mom and I was convinced the relationship was a short term thing. That's another thing I was worried about, I didn't want Roo to have a life of people in and out, so I wanted her dad to figure out if this was actually something serious.

Well it took me awhile to get over this, but eventually I realized whether I like it or not, someday I am eventually going to have to deal with it and get over this, I got myself in this situation. So I told myself to get over it an stop being such a stubborn biotch. Well that was done and turned out to be somewhat easy, but then soon after that came the question of, "Can said girlfriend pick her up for me and keep her for a couple hours until I get out of work?" "WHAT ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME, HELL NO!!" what went through my head and possibly out loud. No way was I going to let someone I hardly even knew take my daughter alone and take care of her. If her dad couldn't pick her up then that is on him, not me.

Well then of course, I took my time to deal with it and looked at the reality of it. Someday I will have to accept that this will probably happen on both my end and his. My guilty conscience kicked in too. Ruthie goes to her dad's every other weekend, so if she misses one weekend with him then she won't see him for two weeks in a row and only 2 days that whole month. I want her to see her dad if he is going to be there and be consistent, so if I didn't let said girlfriend pick her up she wouldn't get to see him. This is when I realized I needed to swallow my pride for the sake of my daughter.

I think this a problem and struggle for a lot of single parents who have both parent's still in the picture. Sometimes it is really really super hard to swallow your pride and let the other parent win for the lack of a better word. We get so caught up in the fact that we want to come out on top, we want to be right, we want to be the one who ends up with the most that we forget to put our children first. I always tell myself even though I hate Ruthie's dad so much Ruthie is still going to love him and not matter how hard I try to keep her from him she is going to want to see him or will want to find him someday. So I just have to let her find out in her own way and form her own opinion about him because my opinion is definitely not going to be hers.

So anyways I let her pick Ruthie up that weekend but before we sat down for coffee and I voiced my concerns with her. I really hate to say this but it is true and some of you single mammas out there are probably struggling with this same topic so I am just going to fill you in. It was a blessing in disguise.

If any of you had rough pasts with your ex, like me, it may make you feel better to know that this girl will be there when you can't. I told her that I can't be there to protect Ruthie and I hope that she would step in if it ever came to that. Knowing that makes me feel a little bit better because it scares the crap out of me to know that I can't be there 24/7 for her.

Said girlfriend also asked me what Ruthie ate, what her schedule was, & when she took naps. She told me she hadn't been getting much of any naps and was on a macaroni & cheese diet the whole weekend. So I filled her in and that weekend Ruthie came home a much more rested, happier, and put together little girl. I didn't have to deal with the getting her back on a schedule or the bratty, tired, grumpy attitude. She came back with a smile on her face and her hair done all pretty :).

I am not going to lie it still isn't easy. Actually it is really annoying, stressful, really pisses me off when I see stasues and pictures of Ruthie with another girl, family, or even grandma. But I just have to remind myself it could be worse. She could not like Ruthie, treat her poorly, or neglect her. I have to remind myself every single day to be thankful that at least this girl and her family love Ruthie to pieces, that that they accept her as one of their own, and that they enjoy her as much as I do. That little girl is lucky to get quadruple the love, from Josh, Megan, Matt, & I.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sausage Stuffing

Today I'm sharing one of the most delicious and versatile recipes in my book. It's a sausage mixture that I originally used in stuffed pizza. One day Alexis and I really wanted it, but didn't want to take the time to make pizza dough, so we ate it on English Muffins. It was super good. We started brainstorming other ways it would be good like, in a tortilla, stuffed in wanton or egg roll wrappers as an appetizer, or mixed with egg for a breakfast burrito.

What You'll Need
  • 1 package of ground pork sausage
  • 1 carton of white button mushrooms chopped
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • two handfuls of fresh spinach chopped (if you're not a fan of spinach, just leave it out)
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup ricotta
  • 1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan
What You'll Do
  • Brown the sausage and set it aside. 
  • In the same pan, saute the onion and mushrooms until they are soft and the mushrooms start to release liquid. Then add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  • Drop the chopped spinach in and let it wilt down. Once it's wilted down, add sausage back to the pan, turn heat down to low and mix in the cheeses.
That's it! Super simple and fast.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Young and Living with Mesothelioma

While we were on our short blogging hiatus, we were contacted by Heather, she was diagnosed with Mesothelioma when her daughter was just 3 1/2 months old. We're excited to share this guest post with you and help bring awareness to this type of cancer. Below is a bio Heather sent us, along with her post. You can follow her blog here.

I am 43 and a mother to a quirky little 7 year old, Lily. She is my only child, and my whole world. When Lily was just 3 1/2 months old, I was diagnosed with Mesothelioma; a type of cancer that kills 90-95% of those who have it. As I’m sure you can imagine, the first thing that came to mind when I was diagnosed was my baby girl and how I wasn’t going to be able to watch her grow up.

After intense treatment and recovery, I’m still here 6 1/2 years later and cancer free! My journey with cancer was a terrifying one and I'd like to turn my pain into purpose and become someone that other people can look to for guidance, inspiration, and hope in situations like my own.

Young and Living with Mesothelioma

I had always considered myself to be a fearless person.  However, when the doctor told me that I had cancer, I was full of fear.  I was not sure if I was scared because of how quickly my joy of having my baby 3 ½ months sooner had gone away so quickly, or if I was scared because the doctor told me that I had pleural mesothelioma cancer, a cancer that is related to asbestos exposure.

People are dumbfounded when I tell them about my cancer diagnosis and its direct link to asbestos exposure.  They cannot come to grips with the fact that asbestos is not banned and that I was exposed to asbestos.  In fact, I was exposed to asbestos quite often through my father.  Because of my father’s job, he was exposed to asbestos every day. He worked with drywall taping, mudding, and sanding; all of these materials had asbestos in them.  Therefore, each night when he came home from work, he would bring the asbestos into the house.

The reason my mesothelioma diagnosis differs from the previous people diagnosed is because I was so young.  I was only 36 years old, and I have never worked in trades that were linked to asbestos exposure.  These trades included plumbing, heating, and mechanical work.  Sadly, the wives who washed the clothes of their husbands who worked in these trades were also diagnosed.  These wives would shake the clothes before washing them, and the asbestos would fly into the air they were breathing.

Today, more mesothelioma patients are in their late 20’s and early 30’s.  They were used to their fathers coming home from work with asbestos covered clothes.  They did not know or understand asbestos, so they would hug their fathers, or put on their fathers’ clothes, or just stay around their fathers while they completed house repairs.  All of this exposure to their fathers and his clothes also exposed them to asbestos.  Today’s generation of mesothelioma patients are just embarking on new adventures that have to stop because of the mesothelioma diagnosis.  There is a hope for more survival because of treatment advances.

When the doctors informed me that I had cancer it was devastating. However, I am able to hold onto hope. The mesothelioma community is a strong community.  It is a community that allows all mesothelioma patients to converse with one another about their experiences, including supporting one another, crying with one another, and celebrating with one another.

Some people have questioned why I choose to do what I do.  Others have questioned why I choose to share my story.  I respond by telling these people that I want to bring awareness to mesothelioma.  I want to have hope that awareness will lead to change.  If what I do and the story I share allow someone more hope as he or she battles this disease, then I know I am doing the right thing.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Countdown

Last Christmas, Nanner (our mama) made all of her grand kids Christmas Countdowns. Each day has an activity to do with the kids. Last year, Love Bean was only three months old, so I was stuck doing stuff alone or just skipping it all together.

This year, she'll be able to enjoy many of the activities, so I'm really excited about it! The countdown started on Saturday with "Make a bird feeder and hang it outside for the birds." I didn't plan the activity out ahead of time very well, and we were stuck using what we could find around the house. I had bird seed left over from last year, and I sent Tim out into the yard to find pine cones. Apparently, we only have small round pine cones, so once Tim tied a couple together, and we rolled them in peanut butter and bird seed, they ended up looking a little bit like...well take a look.

On Sunday we listened to Christmas music and yesterday we had a popcorn party and watched a Christmas movie. We picked Elf. Today's activity is "decorate your Christmas tree" we got our tree on Sunday, and it's already decorated, but I think Love Bean and I might make a few ornaments today and hang them up.
I'm looking forward to continuing our Christmas Countdown tradition every year. I can't wait to see how much more excited Love Bean gets as she grows older.

The Schrock's have been doing the same thing. We have had make a bird feeder (which I was totally not prepared) and we have yet to do that. Well the real story is that my kids are hellions and found the bird seed and spilled them ALL on the floor of our back porch. . . three weeks ago. And yes, they are still there. We have also decorated our tree, had a hot chocolate party and watched a Christmas movie and had popcorn. 
We made those ornaments last week, so they were so excited to finally get to hang them on the tree. And yes I did not buy enough lights for our tree. I will be purchasing 3 more strands on Thursday. 

On the tree topic if you are looking for a tree, Spitzley's Tree Farm in Mulliken is the place to go. $28 to cut your own tree and the kids have so much fun running/falling through the tree. Beware though if you have a husband like me prepare for a hour of searching for "the perfect tree". Seriously though, we saw every single tree.

Any holiday traditions you have with your family??!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Dreaded Weight Loss

Weight loss. . . 

Ughhh, if only it was easy. There comes to a point, for me at least, where I just get sick of how I feel/look and am ready to do something. Well that kicked in for me about 2 weeks ago. 

When Rae was about 6 months I decided to join Weight Watchers. I was very successful with that too. But, you have to pay like $40 a month. 

Just to lose weight!?! It seems ridiculous. I know what it takes and I just have to do it. So I downloaded an app that is similar to WW. And decided I could do it on my own. So I began to "track" everything I ate and drank. The first thing I did was decided that pop was going to have to be cut down by 90% of what I drank. (I was drinking 32-60oz of Dr. Pepper a day) I don't do diet so that is what I have to do. I also decided my carbs were going to have to be cut significantly. 

Setting goals would get me to where I wanted to be. I decided by December 7th I wanted to lose 5 pounds. That was 4 weeks to get my butt in gear. 

The first week I was great with tracking and no pop. I didn't really exercise but I still lost 3.2 pounds. I was STOKED! Ahh finally a little relief I CAN do it. 

The second week was Thanksgiving week. (Did I mention I weigh in on Friday mornings, the day after Thanksgiving) I was really determined to still lose weight. So I started to run Monday and it sucked! I was like this is why I hate running. I ran Monday-Thursday and took Friday and Saturday off. Then when I ran again Sunday I felt great. Other than the burning in my lungs because it was so cold. 

I lost another 1.8 pounds during that second week. I am motivated and ready to keep losing. 

Week 3 went fairly well. I had a rough weekend eating a lot of pizza and had some Mountain Dew to go along with that. But Sunday I jumped right back into it. Can't get down because of one bad day. I love another 2 pounds this week AND even had Olga's. I am excited and ready to loose more next week. 

I guess I probably should give you the numbers though, although I am embarrassed by them. I don't even tell Jess how much I weigh. It is really weird because I am more confident than I have ever been in my own skin. But the weight I am at is not healthy. I want my kids to grow up and have a healthy example to follow. 

My starting weight was 175.8 and I am down to 168.8. I have thought about taking measurements and see how many inches I lose. But I for sure will not keep up on that. 

I have tried loosing weight since Gatlyn but never got under 170 pounds. So I am SO excited to finally have broke that. I do not plan on going back either. 

I have met my first goal a week early. I am looking to lose another 5 pounds by December 21st. I will let you know when I make that goal! Hopefully sooner rather than later!

For pictures of what I looked like at my heaviest take a peek at these.

On the lines of working out. I. HATE. IT. Although, the feeling afterward is nice. I run because I feel like it gets done faster 

Any good snack ideas that can help curve my chocolate needs though?!?!