Julie's Mission at Home: A Soldier's Wife's Journey of Health, Family and Survival

Journey with me as I document my experiences in parenting, getting healthier, and being a wife to my wonderful soldier and a mom for my two boys!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A New Journey, A New Goal--And an Awesome Giveaway from Eggface!

I haven't blogged in aaaagggeeeessss, and frankly I'm not totally sure I'm committed to blogging regularly...yet.  Maybe.  Maybe I will.
See, I've begun a super-new journey and am seriously considering totally revamping this blog into a new sort of theme.  The new themes wouldn't negate the prior, but certainly would be more specific.  Or not.  Heck, I don't know.

I wanted to share the above awesome badge, but honestly don't know if I've done it correctly.  We shall see.  If, in fact, it does NOT work, I shall return and edit/fix/etc.

The badge belongs to an awesome, inspiring blogger who has the site--

Shelly ROCKS and so does her current giveaway!!  Check it out!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Picnic Fare...

So, July and the summer in general bring with it picnics, grilling, and a host of great food options! Don't be discouraged by fare that is fat-and calorie-laden and with little benefit to you and your goals! Certainly, treats are part of life and should be included--but don't make treats your "everyday menu," if you know what I mean. I find that, ahem, about once a month (or so) I greatly require chocolate. I work it in. I don't do "diet" chocolate--I enjoy some real stuff, then I move forward. :D Name it and claim it, my friends! Love yourself enough to slow down, reevaluate, redirect, change course, walk away, and feel GREAT about how you are treating yourself better! That is so much what this journey is about for me.

I wanted to share another altered menu item that I've concocted (maybe I have, again, reinvented the wheel...no clue, if so). I love cold yummy broccoli salad during the summer--don't you? But yikes!! Have you made it? Holy smokes, it is rich. Too rich. SO, I've made an alternative that truly is delicious and nutritious--what a combo!
Here goes:


A couple bunches of fresh broccoli. Fresher is better--Farmer's market is fabu, but it is early for broccoli, so fresh from the store will do.
1/2 c fat-free plain Greek-style yogurt.
1/2 c miracle whip, give or take a few tablespoons
5 pieces turkey bacon, microwaved for 2-3 minutes, cut into tiny bits.
Reserved turkey bacon drippings (mostly water)
Chopped red or vidalia onion
2 TB sugar substitute- stevia or splenda is best
1 TB white vinegar

Chop up that broccoli, stems included, into reasonably small pieces. Not finely chopped, but definitely cut-up to your liking. Put this in a large bowl that you can refrigerate, preferably with a tight-fitting lid.
Mix in plain yogurt and miracle whip (remember--miracle whip is 1/3 less fat than mayo. You can use the FF or lowfat kind, too, but I think this little bit is okay.) Mix until broccoli is well-coated evenly. Add bacon "bits" and "drippings" and mix thoroughly. Add finely chopped onion to your liking, plus remaining ingredients. Again--mix really well!
Now here's a part that I think makes it better---refrigerate for a few hours. The longer that stuff refrigerates, the better the flavor! It lasts several days and is delish.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recipe of the Week!

Pizza Creations!

I love a good pizza, but generally I feel eating even a slice isn't worth the PointsPlus in Weight Watchers...or, more specifically, not worth the simple carbs, excess fat and salt. SO, after making these altered-but-yummy healthier versions of 'za, I thought I'd share with you!


Whole wheat pizza crust. Now, you can make this yourself or buy already-made either frozen or sold around the "hanging pizza crusts" in your supermarket. I like the thin crust whole wheat.

1 package FF mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 container Parmesan cheese, for shaking
1 can tomato paste. You can get low sodium.
Oregano, italian seasoning, LOTS of garlic--but not "garlic salt."
Veggies you want on pizza--sky is the limit!
Grilled chicken breast chunks, or turkey pepperoni or turkey sausage crumbles. Also totally wonderful with no meat.
1-2 tsp EVOO

Spread EVOO on crust, add 2 tsp shaken parm cheese. In bowl, mix tomato paste (2 cans if you like it saucy) and seasonings to taste. Spread this mixture on the EVOO/parm-coated crust.
Layer veggies and/or meats as you desire on the crust, then top with a few more sprinkles of the parmesan and 1 cup of FF mozzarella cheese. Bake at 450 degrees for 17 minutes or until done to your liking. YUM!


Friday, June 10, 2011

Chicken Enchillada Casserole!

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks
1 can 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup Fat Free sour cream
1 package Fat Free (or lowfat) cheddar, shredded
1 package whole wheat soft tortillas (8)
1 small can chillis--can be green, or spicy, or whatever kind you like
1-2 cups salsa of your choice
1 can red enchillada sauce

Saute chicken on stove until cooked through and slightly browned in a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Once cooked through, add chilis and cook together for a few minutes until juices run out.
In bowl, mix soup, sour cream, half of shredded cheese and salsa.
Mix in chicken/chili with the combination in the bowl, then stuff each of the 8 tortillas with a spoonful or two of the mixture. Lay them side-by-side in a 9"x13" baking dish, cover with some extra mixture and the enchillada sauce and sprinkle with cheese.
Bake at 375 for 45 min and then enjoy! MMM!


Guess who?
Yeah, so it's been a really super-duper loooooonnnggg time since I last posted. I'm a dork with the blog, but I do have to remind all 5 of you that, indeed, I DID say I was really bad at keeping a journal. So there we have it.
My husband is home! He's been home since the end of March. Yay! We have been adjusting pretty well--not without struggles, but things are very blessed and integrating very well. We're making it! I'm so thankful for my family, my husband, and the safe return of the soldiers in his unit.
So, at the very beginning of April I switched to the Simply Filling Plan with Weight Watchers. I love it. It is very aptly named, friends---you feel very satisfied and it is so very well-rounded. Such healthy choices and lots of fiber, lean protein, whole grains, you name it. Great stuff. No gimmicks or games (Weight Watchers isn't about that stuff). Just good health choices.
I'm moving more, too. Four days a week I am now walking and at least one day a week I do Nia, a really awesome dance/yoga/martial arts class. Really amazing stuff. It is getting easier every time---I'll let you know when it stops hurting. :) Someday!
Since April 1st I've lost 20 lbs, and my total is 31 lbs lost. I'm very pleased with the changes I've made and I am only empowered because God has been with me in this journey. That's really the long and short of it. God, prayer, and taking one moment at a time. Every new moment is an opportunity to make a better or healthier choice. I'm in the business of saving my life now.

I'm going to occasionally share new recipes I'm trying and have found to be tasty and full of good foods! I'll post one in the next blog. I try to focus on all (or mostly) Simply Filling recipes. :) Maybe you'll see something you like!

I'll sign off for now. Ciao for now!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blah, blah, blah

So today is one of "those days," if you know what I mean. I decided that I absolutely needed to write in my journal. I stink at it right now, but I don't WANT to stink at it. The ironic thing here is, this isn't the only post I've had since August 20th, even though it appears to be. I've missed posting but I've not done it. But I have in my mind. If you had any idea how many times I've composed this blog in my mind, hearing the words, sounding out how they felt, thinking about how I would say how I've been thinking about writing for a while now...and here we are, almost a month after my last blog! Do you do that? Do you compose things in your mind and never get around to actually putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard?
I am a crabby patty today. I'm so tired of fat, so tired of feeling disappointed in friends, worn out with the clutter that I have such trouble controlling, tired of always figuring yet another thing out. I know how blessed I am, and I realize how ridiculous and petty it is to write this out, but it is my friggin' journal and I can have this day today.

There are days, like today, when it is difficult to move. The last conversation I had with my husband, on Sunday, ended abruptly in the middle of him being relatively pissy. He and I were discussing the pros and cons of selling one of our cars, and the connection was bad and it was difficult to understand him. Sometime it appeared he just sat and stared with a blank look on his face (we were on Skype). I would say something and it appeared he just sat and stared. Then he seemed upset about my point of view about the car, and I felt I was being reprimanded or "talked to," if you know what I mean. This isn't a big deal, but the faulty connection made it more challenging, and then on top of it, we got cut off, right in the middle of the chat. Just like that. Then I had no internet connection for a long, long while. Hours. No reason, just--CUZ. So we had this unresolved conversation that just hung there...like a dangling participle, but even more annoying and aggravating!

So another day has gone by and he wasn't able to contact me, and I just have felt melancholy today. Add to just wanting to talk with my husband, I also just feel overwhelmed with my tasks right now. I have a car to sell, or not sell, depending on what we decide. There are things to do for that. I have school starting in a week. I have been an undergrad for almost half of my life...I am scared to death to be a grad student. It's not that I don't think I'm capable. Well maybe it is? Maybe I just know very well how to be an undergrad, but I am totally new at being a graduate student. I am scared. Excited and scared. I will have a lot of work to do!
I cannot seem to get the yard taken care of from other sources. Some people were asking astronomical amounts to do the mowing and general maintenance, and most have been unreliable with responding or coming or doing what they said they would. I've been ripped off, too. With my heart and my knee issues, I am uncertain about mowing the entire lawn myself, and Aaron hasn't done it before. But I think I will just have to figure out how, and do it. Maybe it is something that will take a few days to complete, but it will get done. And I'll save money, as long as I don't hurt myself! I am a lot of woman, so to speak, and I have had multiple surgeries that make my hills challenging. I am sick and tired of trying to beg and plead for people to do this and giving them money to do it. I'll keep my money and Aaron and I will team-mow, and the baby will be taken care of by whoever isn't mowing. Case closed.

I have had an intensely difficult time since Neal left to go back to Iraq. Nothing that needs medicated or intervened, okay? Just...very sad. Really feeling him gone. The space he occupied so wonderfully feels so incredibly empty. We had just a wonderful, blessed time. We cherished every moment. Now it is such a sweet, almost tangible memory, but I can't even describe aptly in words how much I do miss him. I feel resentment when people complain about their husbands, or say they can't stand being around them, etc...I am just baffled. I choose to love and cherish the time I've had with Neal, and I pray for his safety and look forward to every time we talk. You know, it was amazing to me. When Neal was home, some friends of mine had a Girls' Night Out--I would have gone, if it hadn't been during Neal's leave. But I actually had a good-intending friend say to me "Oh, I don't know Julie. I love my husband, but I still need a break from him from time to time--I jump on a Girls' Night Out!"---this after I explained why I wouldn't make it this time. I was...flabbergasted. If Neal were home, for good, okay. I agree. But the insensitivity of her to say that to me when my husband is in Iraq for the year and only home for 2 weeks...well. I don't need to say anything else. You get me, I think. I forgive my friend. I know she wasn't thinking about her words. But words are powerful, friends. They can cut like a knife. They must be guarded and thought about. Please.

The food addiction is a nightmare during about 1 week of the month, which happened to hit me the week after Neal departed once more. Holy smokes, I regained 4 pounds in that week. I just was very sad, and eating inappropriately. I also believe I had some post-traumatic stress from Aaron's bike accident the night before Neal left. I didn't even mention that yet here as a stressor...but yes, that was horrible. Horrible and very scary. And see, in very stressful situations and emergency situations, I'm great. I do really great. But after all is take care of, the ambulance drives off, or whatever...I let down and really feel it. So the week after Neal left and after Aaron's accident, I was regularly crying, sobbing, weeping...any variation on crying. Just a mess.

I'm not there anymore, thank the Lord! I am working my way out of the fog. But this particular fog has been more difficult this time, with this parting. I don't know why. Maybe just a whole lot to deal with currently. Don't know.

I am now going to list some things that I am so thankful for, in no particular order:

My children. My precious, beautiful children.
My husband.
My life.
My Savior.
My sweet, concerned, helpful friends.
My wonderful family.
My home.
My car(s).
My kitty, Sarah. So comforting and opinionated.
My church. Lots going on, and such a blessing.
The food we have access to as a family.
Weight Watchers, and Lynda. I look forward to my meetings every week, even when it's been a "bad" week.
The ability to walk, move, think, breathe. I have had some of these things compromised in the past due to illness or injury, and I do not want to lose the ability to continue these abilities.
My country--God bless the USA!
My freedom and my rights.

Okay...that has been my therapy for today. I have other things that hurt my heart tonight, but just talking about what I have today has made a huge difference for me. Thanks for allowing me to unload and share.

Friday, August 20, 2010

I am so excited about this time right now...it is a blessing, a true treat. You see, my husband is visiting on his 2 week leave, currently. :) I have been enjoying his company, cuddles, attention, long talks, "dates"(which mostly involve us eating and watching tv or movies with the kids, hehe), and just sharing SPACE together. Like I said in an earlier post, I have greatly missed the space that he takes up. Lately we've both been occupying *less* space than before, for which I am thankful...

I have been stinky in the last couple months about posting! I don't know why; I would suppose the normal day-in and day-out sort of busy-ness and worries have gotten in the way and I've felt a "slump" in writing. So here I am! I will try to update more frequently.

Perhaps I have felt discouragement here and there when I have had set-backs, and I didn't want to tell you. It's hard to start off so gung-ho about something, telling the world about your plans, only to have some trouble and feel embarrassed to share. But that's the point of keeping this blog! I have to remember that this is meant to be cathartic, which it IS, but only if I actually sit down and do some journaling and sharing. Not just sharing my victories, but also my troubles.

I had a rough bought with, well, I guess...depression. It was bound to happen. My husband being deployed caught up with me. After we visited up in New Jersey and New York in May, I felt myself sink inward a little. My weight loss reflected this. I went back and forth with the same 5 pounds for what seemed like forever! Frustrating! Disappointing! So then, I allowed THAT to depress me further! Vicious cycle.

I have broken that cycle, thank God. With His help, and only with His help, have I managed to get back to feeling like I'm on track with my goals.

One thing I do notice: my husband and I have to be especially careful when we are together with eating!! We tend to overeat together--not good! He has been getting healthier during his deployment as well, with running and working out every day. Every day! He is also eating much better, and healthier, over there. I hope he continues to get healthier. I want him to stick around for a very long time. I love him so much.

Oh hey! I have been applying to graduate schools! I found a couple programs that, I believe, meet my needs and what I'm looking for. It looks like the University of Phoenix online is going to be the best fit for me. I will be working on a Master of Arts in Education, Elementary Ed. We'll see if I add an endorsement or whatnot. Not sure yet! If all goes well, I will begin in late September. All the paperwork is in, so now it's a matter of waiting! It feels so amazing to move forward with my educational goals. We'll owe a buttload of money when all is said and done, but I guess that's the only way to do it in our situation. Dave Ramsey just cringed when I said that. But truly, we use no credit cards, we have no personal loans, and we have no other debt other than student loans and the mortgage for the house. We have a better financial picture than so many other Americans! I just look forward to a day when we are debt-free completely.

My hubby is taking a long time with dropping Aaron off at school! Aaron overslept (difficult night getting to sleep) his alarm and had to rush around, and missed the bus. Thankfully, since Neal is home right now, he was able to take him to school! But that was almost an hour ago. He must have run to the store or something. Or gotten breakfast out? Who knows!

I will close for now--time to refill my coffee mug and enjoy my comfy chair. I promise I'll do better with the updates.

Oh! And just so you know: I have lost over 5% of my starting body weight since I joined WW. Hurrah!