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Thirsty Thursday.

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So, to start off Thirsty Thursday, and no, I don’t mean I’m going out binge drinking tonight, I’ll announce a winner…as I sit here and chug my Pepsi Max, shamlessly.  See, I tried to give blood this morning, but after the woman dug around trying to tap into my vein for about 5 minutes, I called it quits.  My reward for the pain?  A zero calorie, artificially sweetened form of caffeine… 46mg per serving, to be exact.  Don’t worry, the rest of the day, I’ll be chugging water at my desk…you know, during the amount of time that I’m not spending running from work to class and back again around 11am.  Yipeeeee

Anyway, the winner of the It Works giveaway is Josie Chow!  Congratulations, Josie!  Please email me at freckledfoodielove@gmail.com to claim your prize as soon as possible.  I can’t wait for you to be a believer! 

Next?  A few random things that I’ve been up to the past few days. 

#1. The boy and I bought a Living Social coupon to try out some Latin food at Arepa City in Harrisburg.  Unfortunately, they wouldn’t accept our voucher since we ordered it to go…

Jarid picked the Chicken Guisado Arepa slider – “slow cooked chicken breast in tomato sauce” and the Grilled Tenderloin Skewer, but I was a nice girlfriend and also shared the side of black beans that I ordered

to accompany my Ensalada de Palmito – “hearts of palm, avocado & tomato over spring mix with balsamic”.  The black beans were excellent, actually.  When we go back for our “sit in” meal to use up the voucher, I’m getting the SAME thing. 

#2.  I’ve got some new artwork from my little guy in Nicaragua to decorate my cubicle. 

I’m sure you guys know by now that I’m a huge advocate of Compassion International.  I wish I could show off Isaac’s progressing pictures over the years, but I don’t feel it’s right to violate his privacy that way.  He really is adorable and his letters just melt my heart.

#3. Winter break is officially over and Spring 2012 semester has begun.  our team’s first game in the 2nd half of our season, although it was a non-conference game, was a little rough. 

This team from Hagerstown, MD was pretty good, but we could’ve hung with them, had we been on our game.  The first round, we only lost by 6 points.  

Something I’ve found to help me maintain a high energy level throughout the 40 minutes of high intensity cardio of the game, are these FRS low calorie, peach-mango drinks.

Not only do they taste awesome, but they’re made of great ingredients, which is important in my book…for just 25 calories.

Ingredients:  Water, white grape juice concentrate, orange juice concentrate, Inulin, Citric Acid, Natural Orange Flavor, Quercetin, Ascorbic Acid, Gum Arabic, locust bean gum, Green Tea Extract, alpha tocopheryl acetate (Vit E), Sucralose, Caffeine, Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Natural Lemon Flavor, Beta Carotene (for color), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), Thiamin Hydrochloride (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (B2), B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Practices have been getting increasingly more intense, too, in order to prepare for games.  After all, you play the way you practice, right?    

Yep, it’s a little blurry, but this monitor definitely read 1015 calories burned in 1 hour and 58 minutes.

I’ve been getting some good workouts in at home, too.  Thankfully, the amazing Toshiba Thrive that Jarid got me for Christmas has been coming in handy when I need something to preoccupy me on the elliptical in the basement.

Bruce Almighty, anyone?  I ususally do Insane Abs DVD, bike on the stationary, and then elliptical for the lenghth of either a movie or one of my favorite TV shows (Extreme Makeover Home Edition, One Tree Hill, Biggest Loser).

Or until I feel like that 🙂

#4.  For my Grandma’s birthday, we got family pictures taken and framed.  I never realized that the photography studio at JCPenney, where my cousin works and got a great discount, was such a decent place for pictures.

Not too shabby, right? Jarid was a good sport, held my purse, and made goofy faces at me through the class to ensure a genuine smile 😉

 #5.  I think I’ll be ordering Annie’s Lite Honey Mustard dressing from iherb.com for the rest of my life…or until the grocery stores in my area start stocking it on shelves.

Speaking of groceries, though… 

Here’s a recent trip and all my findings:

Let’s see what we’ve got here: Sonoma Jacks Light Pepperjack cheese wedges, spaghetti squash, red, yellow, & orange bell peppers, parsnips, pre-cut summer squash & zucchini, frozen vegetables, fat free cottage cheese, unsweet almond milk, bananas, and canned beans

I think the majority of my money spent per month goes toward groceries…what better thing to spend money on than something healthy & nutritious, though, right?

Oh yeah…I mean, other than fun outings with this handsome guy.

He’s usually a total gentleman, though and insists on paying for everything.  Every now and then, I get sneaky and manage to pull out my wallet first 😉  I must say, though…I can always count on him to take good care of me.  This is honestly the happiest I have ever been…and it’s pretty apparent to everyone in my life.

Whether it’s taking over a random photobooth in the mall, going to Wegman’s for an after church lunch & shopping,

or simply a night cuddled up on the couch reading to each other from our daily devotional book.  I feel SO blessed to have him.

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Right now, we’re reading, “Love is a verb” by: Gary Chapman.  It’s perfect for everyday, because it’s a series of short stories.  We typically each read one and call it quits for the night, since we’re so busy and want to soak up relaxation time on weeknights.  My cousin & her husband (another Jared), gave it to us for Christmas.

So, here are a few questions for Thursday:

1- What are some GREAT books on your t0-read list? 

2- What’s your favorite “date night” with your significant other?

3- Favorite salad dressing?

If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go chug some H20 now…after all, it is Thirsty Thursday 😉

XO.

 

Excuses, Excuses.

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I know I haven’t blogged since Thursday…but I promise, I have some good excuses…

Excuse #1: Christmas play with the boy, the surrogates, and the middle sister.

Every year, Christian Life Assemby puts on a Winter Wonderland play around Christmas time…Last year, A Little Boy’s Christmas Prayer, this year…The Gospel According to Scrooge.

I begged Jarid to get his picture with the characters posing at intermission…they were actually singing as I took it!

Don’t worry, we got a nice one together, too 😉

The set was beautiful…just like you’d imagine the streets of London.

They did a nice job with the production…we were impressed!

 Excuse #2:  Absolute Wellness Group’s Jingle Bell Jam

My friend, Toni invited me to this event, and I’m so glad she did!  I had no idea this little studio existed!

The event was free!  All that they asked was that you bring a toy to donate for a needy child. 

The place was stocked full of goodies (mats, weights, kettleballs, etc.) and for two hours (10am-12pm), we did 20 minute classes of each kickboxing, abs, cardio jam, body sculpt, & pilates)

It was a great workout, and as you can see, we were sweaty messes when we were finished…but we had a lunch date, so we headed downtown (just 2 minutes away).  I promised to introduce her to the goodness of the Pita Pit.

This place seriously puts Subway to shame…they’ve got sprouts, roasted red peppers, black beans, hummus, avocado, you name it!

I always end up with the same thing because I love it SOOO DARN much.  It makes my mouth water.

Another reason I love it so much, is that they actually grill the deli turkey, so it’s nice, warm, and moist when you chomp into it.  

They even wrap it up all nice and neatly for you, too, which is definitely a feat in itself when it comes to mine.  I get turkey, black olives, spinach, lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, cucumbers, mushroom, green pepper, pickles, banana peppers, oregano and roasted red pepper hummus on the side for dippage. PHENOM.

Excuse #3Jarid’s Company Christmas Party

When we arrived on Saturday night, we were greeted by the owners of the company, me with a kiss, Jarid with a handshake.

The crowd was quite diverse, to say the least, but everyone was very warm and welcoming.  They had a DJ and a high school chorus group for entertainment, followed by a buffet dinner.

I was pleased to find a pretty decent looking salad bar, grilled chicken, and green beans!  I told Jarid I would split a baked potato with him, too, but was full by the time I got around to it…I think I filled up on too much coffee!

He’s pretty new to the company, but it’s clear that everyone loves working with him…who wouldn’t? 

Excuse #4:  Sunday Festivities

First, there was church…they still had two more products left, so the set was still up!

I think you can see more of the detail from this angle, anyway!

We changed outfits in the car, to be more comfortable and got our weekly Wegman’s fix for lunch.

This was my favorite box by FAR.  It had alllll of my favorites:  Kung Pao Shrimp over wokery seared vegetables (squash, mushrooms, onion, and red peppers w/ a simple balsamic marinade), blanched broccoli florets, and baby spinach.  On the side, some three bean chickpea salad (mmmm!).  I could eat this everyday, all day.  Again, we shared fruit & Jarid gave me some of his roasted butternut squash medley

After lunch, we went to a sports bar to watch the football games with some of Jarid’s friends.  We came home from lunch and Momma FF wanted to do Christmas pictures… aka Excuse #5.

Take One

As you can see, this year’s theme was a comfy, cozy Christmas.  Normally, we get all dolled up, but my idea this year (after being asked to get creative by Moma FF), was to sport PJs & bean bags.

Take Two

Help us decide which one will go on the Christmas card by voting, please!

Take Three

Take Four

Take Five

 

So, whatcha think?  Take One, Two, Three, Four, or Five? Let me know in the comments section!  Thanks for your help! 😉

XOXO.

 

 

Multi-Tasking Mayhem.

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I’m taking a break.

 

Not necessarily from blogging altogether, but from basketball, for one.  It may not be my choice, but I think God chose it for me.  He knows I don’t have the willpower to take a break on my own, so he decided to give me a little injury which is just enough to sit my butt out for a week.  I guess I’m what you would consider an exercis-o-holic.  I don’t do well with rest.  In fact, as important as I KNOW rest days are, unless I’m hurting, I rarely take them. 

Recently, I’ve been juggling quite a plate full of things:  Full-time work, an Anatomy & Physiology class, a daily basketball practice, a business software class, preparing for and teaching a nutrition class at the YMCA, being a good girlfriend, blogging, cooking healthy meals, housekeeping, etc.  It was exhausting.

While I truly enjoy this haphazard, productive, constantly multi-tasking lifestyle, God started convicting me that I was spreading myself too thin.  I was half-assing a lot of things, mainly my relationship with Him.  I wasn’t fully dedicated to any one thing and I found the frustration to be overwhelming.  Still, I didn’t know how to stop myself from doing it all.  It was the only way I knew how to function, regardless of whether it was healthy or not.  I was burning out slowly, and I felt like I had no other option.  God, however, took things into His own hands.  In our last game, I did some serious damage to my knees and my left foot. 

 After consulting a physical therapist, who is hoping that the injuries are simply soft tissue rather than stress fractures, I was sentanced to a week of NO STRAIN ON MY LEGS OR FEET, which for me was basically like a death sentance.  I’m a cardio freak and I love the high I get after a long hard basketball practice or a run.  I was even forbidden from the elliptical and the exercise bike.  If you know me at all, you know I was freaking out. 

 Since then, I’ve read this devotional:

““But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, ‘You are my God!’ My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.” Psalm 31:14-15 (NLT)

“Mom, quick…look at that lady!” My fourteen-year-old son shouted as we were headed down the interstate on an errand-running Thursday afternoon. “She should not be doing that,” he added for emphasis.

I glanced over at the car next to us, expecting to see someone without her hands at the ten and two o’clock positions like my by-the-rulebook-boy does when training behind the wheel. Instead, I nearly ran off the road while gawking at what my Driver’s Ed patrolman had spotted.

Next to us was a woman cradling her cell phone on her right shoulder; holding an open fast-food salad container in her left hand; ripping open a salad dressing packet with her teeth and her right hand…all while steering her car with her knees!

What in the world!? My boys and I thought surely, if she kept up this multi-tasking method of driving, she was going to cause a crash.

“I would NEVER attempt to do all of that when I drive,” I smugly thought to myself. “Entirely too dangerous and probably against the law.” Yep, when it comes to being a safe-driving expert, the apple doesn’t fall far from the “Honey-you-didn’t-use-your-blinker-back-there” maternal tree.

It wasn’t until later that night it hit me. Yes, I may not dangerously multi-task when driving, thereby risking collision. But in my day-to-day life? In my schedule? In my “sure-I-can-take-on-one-more-responsibility-so-everyone-will-like-me” way? I sometimes dangerously multi-task to the point I am headed for a crash.

Taking on too many responsibilities, no matter how “good” they may be, can often render us ineffective for service to God. Yet, He knows our limits. He understands are capacities. He is willing, if we will ask Him, to help us navigate the busyness and activity that often trips us up.

On one of my so-busy-I-couldn’t-breathe days, I read today’s key verse. While I’m sure the author David was talking about actual physical enemies — men who could chase, catch and ultimately hurt you — I realized that day my enemy was busyness. Too many activities and responsibilities outside my four walls were about to do me in. They chased me, cornered me and worst of all, were about to go in for the kill.

Thankfully, God can rescue us from the barren life of busyness. He invites us to hold our too-full plates up to Him, allowing Him to scrape off all the activities and responsibilities. Then, place back on our plates only the items HE longs for us to possess.

When this happens, we can create space in our calendar to retreat, places of sweet respite in our days where we connect with God. Times when we slow down and sit still to listen and learn from the Creator of time itself.”

I think this passage speaks for itself.  It was like God open-handedly (but gently ;)) tapped me on the forehead and said, “duh, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you“.  I knew I didn’t have the strength to slow down on my own.  This minor bump in the road was just what I needed…as always.

So, instead of waking up early or killing myself trying to get from one thing to the next, I’ve been taking things slow…kinda because I have to, but mostly because I know I should.  At first, I was completely distraught about it.  What was I going to do?  How was I going to stay in shape?  What about the rest of basketball season?

Then I realized…It’s all in God’s hands.  He takes care of and provides for His children.  Another thing I was reminded of in church this Sunday, was the fact that I need to be THANKFUL, even in tough times.  This verse has been ringing in the forefront of my mind for the past few days:

James 1:2-4

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

God is molding me right before my own eyes.  It’s exciting!  And I’m thankful 🙂 

After church on Sunday, Jarid & I hit our favorite lunch spot, aka Wegmans.  For him: crabcake sandwich with garlic bacon mashed potatoes.

For her: brown rice tuna roll along with an awesome side salad.  We shared some fruit, too!  Strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes.

Steamed broccoli, blanched green beans, grilled red pepper, shrimpies, black bean & corn salsa, cucumbers, and mushrooms all over a bed of baby spinach.

It was quite the feast!  After, we walked rolled around the store checking out all the sweet goodies.  I also snatched up some provisions for this week’s lunches.

Momma FF had the whole family over for dinner that night. 

They had sandwiches and noodles.  While I did snatch a few slices of turkey, I also whipped up a spread of my own:

 Butternut squash & parsnip fries roasted at 400 degrees for about 35 minutes with reduced sugar ketchup +  kelp noodles in an avocado/pea mash, per Elise’s imaginative combination.

 For once in my life, I’m actually enjoying thankful for rest. 

What’s one thing that at first, you saw as a burden, but are turning it around to show the Lord you’re grateful for EVERYthing he gives you? 

Ex: You reallllllllly can’t stand your workplace, environment, or co-workers, but you’re SO thankful to have a job especially in times like these.

XOXO.

1/2 Anniversary Recap

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Daily Bible Verse

“Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.” – Psalm 119:143

 

As you can see, I’m pretty pleased with how quickly the bruise is going away!

Our basketball game last night was nothing to talk about…somehow, we pulled off a win, but we didn’t play well at all.  I think a lot of it was because the team we played wasn’t nearly as athletic as we were.  They had heart, but we played down to their level.  We started out with a 20-3 lead in the first half and ended with a final score of 39-31 points.  It was terrible. 

 

Moving on… As I said in my last post, our 1/2 anniversary was Sunday…we’ve made it a weekly thing to go to Wegman’s for lunch after church, and we both look forward to it every week.

If you’re looking for inexpensive, delicious sushi, I recommend stopping by Wegman’s.  You won’t pay nearly the amount you would at a restaurant, and many other places don’t offer brown rice in their rolls!  Accompanied by a salad with my favorite tri-color chickpea assortment.  I think the dressing is some kind of dijon mustardy/sweet vinegar/basil that it’s in.  Whatever it is, I love it!  it flavored the rest of my baby spinach, cucumbers, tomatoes, blanched broccoli, peppers, and musrooms quite nicely.

For dinner, I wanted to take him to a special place that I had bought a Living Social deal for in our area called Theo’s.  Unfortunately, when I called to make our reservations, I found that they were closed on Sundays. BOOO.

I’m sad that Ruby Tuesday’s has such shotty lighting for food photography…otherwise, my salad would look much more appealing…Jarid still looks pretty handsome, though, no?

baby spinach, peas, mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, & green peppers x2

I brought along my own dressing…Annie’s Lite Honey Mustard.  Jarid doesn’t care and thinks it’s cute (: We spent the rest of the night cuddling and watching Horrible Bosses….I KNEW he would love it!

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So, thank you all for your “congratulations” on breaking my record.  Haha…I’m positive that this one is going to be the last time I’ll ever make it past 6 months with anyone…if ya know what I mean 😉

Got any creative date suggestions for the boy & I?  We’ve been ice skating, to color-me-mine, to the <a title="Oh, This Has Gotta Be The Good Life beach, to <a title="Baseball & The Boy baseball games, aquariums, and concerts.

XO.

 

 

 

The 700 Club.

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No, not this 700 club

This is officially my 700th post! (:  Thank you to all your wonderful ladies (and gentleman?) who have encouraged me, inspired me, and supported me along the way.

There are quite a few things I’ve gotta catch you guys up on!

1- This past week, Jarid & I went to dinner with Julie & Mike, who we went to the beach with this past summer.

There’s a place in our area where you can eat all the pizza, pasta, and salad you want for just $5.99 called Infinito’s.

Julie & I had basketball practice from 3:30-5:30PM, so we just showered at the locker rooms on campus and met up with the guys for a nice little double date.

Salad bars fear me, I swear.  This one was pretty decent, too!  Baby spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, mushrooms, beets, banana peppers, carrots, broccoli, chickpeas, oregano, and light italian dressing.

Number two was pretty much identical.  I was stuffed afterward…especially because I managed to down two entire glasses of water.  I guess that’s what running for two hours will do to ya 😉

 2- In between basketball, school stuff, and work, Jarid has been absolutely amazing about making time to see each other. 

 Weekends are the best because we get to spend Friday night, Saturday night, and allll of Sunday together.  This weekend, he came along with us to my little sister’s league championship soccer game.

I was freezing, so he lent me his beanie (: 

Sunday after church, we went to Wegman’s.  It’s a weekly thing, now.

His = chinese, wings, & mac + cheese.

Hers = sushi & veggies. 

(brown rice california roll, roasted veggies (red peppers, mushrooms, b-nut squash, onion), cucumbers, blanched green beans & broccoli

3-  The family was over Saturday afternoon for pumpkin carving and other fun stuff. 

My Momma does a great job of making sure we get to celebrate Fall together.

 

As you can see, some even came costume!  Check out this adorable little penguin 😉

Momma FF had a lovely spread of kid friendly foods including hot dogs,

chicken corn soup, taco dip, cupcakes, bbq, cookies, dirt pudding, and cheese sandwiches (in the shape of bats).

Check out the creative twist on the cupcakes…they’re little eyeballs!

I even set aside two pumpkins for Jarid & I to carve, since he had to work while all the festivities were taking place!

(butterleaf lettuce, chopped baby peppers, chopped asparagus, cukes & mango vinaigrette spritzer)

I wasn’t feeling the party food, so I threw together a nice big salad for lunch (along with an unpictured chocolate vitatop ;))

4- I have a new favorite lunchspot for days I don’t have the time to pack. 

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I think before my date with Jarid at the Pita Pit last week, my go-to lunches were at the Keystone Cafe salad bar.

They’ve got alllll the besttttt toppingsLettuce, spinach, onion, green peppers, tomato, sprouts, mushrooms, banana peppers, roasted red peppers, cucumbers, pickles, olives, sweet peppers, jalapenos, avocado, hummus, feta cheese, etc.

HOLY awesomeness.  I chose the whole wheat turkey with lettuce, spinach tomato, onion, banana peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, green peppers, deli mustard,  and red pepper hummus on the side for dippage.

I love how they heat up the meat on the grill before they wrap it up in your pita! It made a cozy little spot downtown for a lunch date (: 

Jarid enjoyed his buffalo chicken wrap as well!

5- Please say a prayer for me.  I have a HUGE Anatomy & Physiology test tonight, and I am just trusting God to guide me in studying and helping me to remember the material I learned. 

I realize it may seem like a silly request, I believe in the power of prayer and that nothing is too small to ask for God’s help.  If it’s important to us, it’s important to Him.

Thanks guys!  Love ya’ll.

XOXO.

Two Winners & Game To Recap

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Did I forget to mention that in the midst of all the madness schedule-wise, Momma FF & I found time to get to the Phillies Game 2 against the Cardinals on Oct. 2? 

This picture was taken before it decided to drop in temperature about 30 degrees.  Okay, that’s a little dramatic…but it was FREEZING…and I had a wool winter jacket on with gloves and a blanket.   

St. Louis Cardinals First Baseman Albert Pujols (5) Fields On-the-hop A Single Hit By Philadelphia Phillies' Chase

  Cliff Lee #33 Of The Philadelphia Phillies Throws

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It was a fun game to watch, but it was a late one (start time 8pm), so I was one exhausted chica by the end of it.  Totally worth it.

Previously, that day, I had worked out starting at 7:30am, gotten a shower & went to church with Jarid @ 10am, went to lunch at Wegman’s at about 12:45pm.

We looooooove Wegman’s and have decided that it’s going to be a weekly thing after church.  The boy & I can each get something we LOVE, and it’s usually different everytime.

This box was stuffed with a similar mix as last week.  Actually, almost identical.  On the left, is a salad of shredded romaine lettuce, blanched broccoli & green beans, taco seasoned chicken, raw mushrooms & cukes, cherry tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar.  On the right, is three types of bean & grain salads.  Blueberry quinoa, cranberry pumpkin seed quinoa, and three bean chickpea salad

Post lunch, we went to the Spirit Halloween store in hopes of snagging some costumes…we had full intentions of going with Mario & Princess Peach (thanks for voting, by the way!), but the women’s costume was super skanky.  Not my style.  Anyway, I found one online that I’m hoping works out!  It was much cheaper and homemade, so I’m thinking it’ll work out.  We also found the boy’s costume on Ebay, which I highly recommend…$60 is outrageous for the cheaply made material that is the essence of costume world.

Sooo, I’ll bet you’re wondering who won the Girard’s Giveaway & the Flackers Giveaway, huh? 

Well, I figured I’d wrap up with the winners‘ info.  Both of you, please email me at freckledfoodielove@gmail.com with your shipping information so I can get your winnings distributed 😉

Erin @ http://girlgoneveggie.com, you’ve won yourself some Flackers, and Lisa @ http://karmaperdiem.wordpress.com, you’ve won yourself some Girard’s dressings!  Congrats 😉 

IT’s almost Friday!  Hallelujah.

XO.