Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So here are some pics of the fam over the break as well as Kelsey playing basketball. Kelsey's best friend GiGi on NYE....
The one pic is of 4/5 brothers in Jeremy's family....They are in height order not birth order...that would be 4,2,6,and 7.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekly Accountability

So today is the end of week 2 and the beginning of week #3 for me on BFL. I am happy to report that I lost 5 pounds this week. So that brings the total so far to 11 pounds. I was dragging last night at the gym lifting weights but I am looking forward to my aerobic activity this morning. I have been reminded that the endurance factor will be a big one to make it to my goal. But I am determined to make it to my goal by September 18th. I would like to run a 5K for my 40th birthday and get back to that person that could run and run....I think I had a lot more patience with the world when I did that....So here's to week 3 seeing more success and motivation....And if I pass on the yummy goodies, please support me instead of encouraging me that one little bite won't hurt....Thanks!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Here begins week #3

So my weigh in is tomorrow. I am hoping to still see good movement on the scale but I know at some point I will hit that muscle replacing fat stage....So I am just trying to keep a positive attitude. I know that if I rush it or get discouraged that I will just talk myself into failure. So I am happy to report that I did workout all 6 days last week. I forgot that swimming is harder than it looks! I still wake up every morning with sore body parts! Friday morning I could not move my arm! I am still shocked that I let myself get this out of shape, but I am excited to get back into shape. For me the hardest part is that in between stage of getting in shape and recovery. I want to go out and run and play soccer, basketball, or football with the kids. But my ankle isn't strong enough yet. But I am getting back into real shoes so by appearances  I should be able to do all of those things. Then I look lazy when I say no. But I don't want to spend another 5 months of this year in a cast or boot-so I am being very careful!
However, I must add that having more energy is so nice! I am sure it helps that we are having San Diego weather these days, but if I can beat some of these allergies than maybe I will be back to spending all of my free time outside! :)

It is nice as the kids get older that they have good friends. I am so grateful for good friends! We had some stay the night with us and I really enjoy them. Kyle's best friend, Drew even came to McAllen with us over the break and he and Kyle are good friends! I hope it stays that way all through high school and beyond....
Kelsey had Mia over and they had a lot of fun too. She has a couple of other good friends that they have fun together. It is a sweet experience as a parent to watch your kids grow up and be good kids. They still have some typical teenager traits.
It is hard to believe that in less than a month I will have TWO teenagers!!! Where does the time go? Kyle practiced driving in the neighborhood with Jeremy this weekend. Kyle was sooo excited! I am just dreading that insurance bill in a year!!! LOL
We played some driveway basketball too. Keira was making shots on the 10ft basket and hanging in there with the big kids. Kenna wasn't too sure about the chaos, but she was doing a good job dribbling and loved it when Jeremy lifted her up to dunk it!
So as we enjoy our holiday today, I look forward to another week of good healthy choices! I made some amazing barbacoa as well as a Thai beef noodle soup that were all lite recipes!!
I will post them if anyone wants them....As well as keep posting all of the ones I find that I try that are good!
Happy MLK day! Hope you have a good one!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Land of Diet Cokes and Naps!!!

So, I know that they say being a mom is bliss, but there are days when that alternate universe filled with naps and diet coke with lime sounds pretty heavenly....I really can't complain since my littlest will be 5 in a month  but some days and for a lot of the past 15 years I think I would have loved an extended vacation here. I know I would have gotten bored and not progressed or grown as an adult but being the only child that I am-that peace and quiet sounds nice!
But alas it is time to get ready for some middle school girls basketball, a busy weekend-the last one before soccer starts again...We are back in full swing of the kids at AR as well as working out at home. So I guess you could say-this far off place will have to wait a few more years....kind of like a real far away vacation (LOL)! But I love my kids and enjoy spending time with them. I am loving the gym even though I was soo sore this morning I couldn't lift one of my arms! It is fun to see the progress I am making and I look forward to reaching my goal! So TGIF and have a great weekend!
But if anyone visits this new land-enjoy a diet coke with lime for me...and throw in some chips and salsa too! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Psych 101 According to that Crazy Mom

So I didi take several psych classes in college. You know for my useless degree in anthropology and history. It was fun back then-I only wish I had been a bit more responsible and gotten something useful...
I realized today that there is something truly rewarding about seeing your accomplishments. Not from a recognition standpoint. There was a study done with children that their inner praise held more weight than the outer when they were small. I think this is true for adults as well. It has been hard for me to say-ok-this is my time to go to the gym at a scheduled time every day based on appts and what not-but I have it in my phone and I have been each day. Of course I am walking around like I have been working out for 9 days now also-but that is a whole other post!
I think the lesson I have learned this week is I may not be the prettiest, or the skinniest or the one who can bust a move in the group classes-but I enjoy working out. I always have. Just somewhere along the way-I figured I had to grow up and not spend any of my time there. Now I know that I can spend some time there and still find the euphoria of working out. I am certainly no where close to being how strong I was in my 20's but I have 3 BFL challenges to get back to that or even pass it up! I have a goal that on my birthday I want to try a 20 session speed session at AR like my kids do. It will have been long enough since my achilles repair and I passionately love to run. And for some strange reason I think it would be totally fun-even though I am sure I will be dying!
It was also fun to help Kenna with gymnastics last night. I love spotting little kids and doing things like that. I hope that she continues to let me help her and teach her as she learns more and more tricks. Keira will let me help her too-but she loves her free time to play with her friends and enjoy the outdoors. I get to help a little with coaching her basketball team-so that will be a blast as well.

So the chaos of sports and 4 kids begins again on Tuesday. Part of me can't wait to be crazy busy and doing all of these neat and fun things-but part of me has enjoyed the time off to just get things done and hang out with the family. It is fun to get to see your kids turn into teenagers and watch how they change in some ways and not others. I always learn something new from each one of them.

Now to just figure out the best way to plan Kelsey's 13th birthday party. Then a week later another birthday party for Kenna. I am so excited to have a photography session scheduled with KELSEY CALL photography!! I think they will turn out so cute and give me new pics to hang on my walls! Then this August once Kyle is 15-I am planning a family shoot with Kelsey so that I can get some new family pics with me close to my goal weight up on the wall!

Well, I am off to make dinner...chicken and zucchini pasta....Yum! Bathing Suit season here I come.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The land of many makeover recipes and some just plain yummy ones

Chiptole makeover rice recipe
In my rice cooker I will add 

1 c short grain brown rice
juice of 1/2 lime
2 c water
1/2 tsp olive oil

Place  rice, water, and oil  into the rice cooker. Set on white rice settings.  While it is cooking in another bowl combine 3 TBSP fresh chopped cilantro, lime juice and 1/2 ts oil. When rice is done mix rice with the cilantro mixture. 
The brown rice adds fiber as well as fewer calories....

Meatball Muffins

by Amanda K Brann on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:47am
This is enough to feed my family of 6.

1 ts olive oil
3/4 minced onion
1/2 c shredded carrots
1 bell pepper, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ts dried oregano
1/2 c ketchup, low sugar
1 1/2 pounds of extra lean ground turkey or beef or chicken. (I used my homegrown organic grass fed beef)
1 c bread crumbs
2 TBS dijon mustard
1 ts worcestershire sauce
1/4 ts ground pepper
2 large eggs
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Heat olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onion, carrots, and bell pepper. Saute until soft-then add oregano and garlic. Remove from heat and let cool. Meanwhile in a large bowl-place the meat, bread crumbs, eggs, ketchup, dijon mustard, pepper, and worcestershire sauce. Mix well with fingers. Add the veggie mix to meat. Form into large meatball. Place into giant muffin tins that have been coated with cooking spray. Top with low sugar ketchup..
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes. This would be good with any sides or as a leftover for lunch! It smelled so good when it was baking!!!

Black Bean Avocado Grilled Chicken Salad

by Amanda K Brann on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:40am
Serves my family of 6
1 ts olive oil
1 1/2 ts chili powder
1 1/2 ts cumin
1 ts crushed red pepper (I would have loved this but omitted so my little ones would eat it)
(I used my favorite Santa Fe seasonings Desert Blend for all of this)
4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 1/2 cups of black beans, drained and rinsed
Avocado-smashed or diced depending on how you like it in your salad
1 1/2 cups of frozen corn, thawed
6-8 cups of your favorite salad mix. I used romaine and baby spinach
1 TBS of your favorite fat free dressing (I used salsa_fat free and tasty!)

Place olive oil in pan and saute chicken breasts until brown on the outside with just a little bit of pink left on the inside. Add of of your seasonings. Can add salt and pepper to taste here, if you want to...Once chhicken in cooked throughly, add the black beans and cook for another 3 minutes. Add corn and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Assemble salad bowls-salad mix, meat mixture, avaocado, salsa
This counts for a protein and a carb on body for life. It is sooo filling and sooo good!!! I made it in under 45 minutes!!!

Cafe Rio pork recipe makeover only 200 calories per serving....

by Amanda K Brann on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 at 11:31am
So I have to add that I have never had this famous salad, rice, thing....but I love the ingredients in this recipe that add so much flavor and are different from the original recipe that I have seen that is out there....I just put it in the crockpot and it smelled sooo good!!! I can't wait to see how it turns out! I will serve it in a burrito bowl with Cilantro lime brown rice, lettuce, low fat cheese, and pico or salsa and avocado...depending on whose dish it is...

2.5 lbs pork loin, all fat trimmed
6 oz Coke Zero
1/4 c UNPACKED brown sugar
1/4 c water
Adobo seasoning to smell....(it is by Goya)

Marinate this in a plastic bag for a few hours or overnight.
Place in crockpot with marinade and cook on high for 3-4 hours. Remove pork from crockpot, discard any liquid, and shrerd meat with two forks.

Place shredded pork back into crockpot. In another bowl combine 
8oz Coke Zero
6 oz can diced green chilies
8 oz tomato sauce
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce
garlic powder to taste
cumin to taste
chiptole chili powder to taste
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c UNPACKED brown sugar

Pour over shredded pork and mix well. Cover and cover on high for 1 1/2 hr more.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

by Amanda K Brann on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 11:00am
2 sticks softened unsalted butter
2 c turbinado sugar (or you can use 1 c white sugar and 1 c of brown)
2 large eggs
2 ts vanilla (for best flavor only Mexican vanilla will do )
2 c pumpkin puree (if you want to know how to do this just ask) or 1 can of pumpkin if not using fresh
2 1/2 c unbleached flour
2 ts baking soda
1/2 ts salt
2 ts sweet spices from Santa Fe seasonings company (my favorite)-just ask
(or you can use pumpkin pie spices to taste)
1/2 bag of mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I prefer parchment paper but if you have none then grease two cookie sheets.

Beat butter until smooth, beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Slowly mix in the pumpkin until blended. In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking soda, and salt, and spices. Slowly beat into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. 
My cookie scoop broke so I had to spoon them onto the cookie sheet, but I would use a cookie scoop to scoop onto the cookie sheet. 
Bake for 13-17 minutes depending on  your oven. They are done when light brown on the edges. Cookies will be light and airy with a cookie yet cakey texture. They are not dense at all. If you would like a denser pumpkin cookie I do have a denser recipe, but this is one I really enjoy and so do the kids! 

My personal touches try to make it a little better for you by changing some quality ingredients but not changing the richness of the cookie. Applesauce will change the texture of it if you trade out the butter so watch the bake times. 


For all of the requests I have gotten for my brisket recipe- here it is:

3 lbs of brisket
1 ts onion powder
1 ts garlic powder
1 ts celery powder
1/2 ts black pepper
1/2 ts sea salt
1/4c worcestershire sauce
1/2 c bbq sauce (we prefer sweet baby ray's)
liquid smoke

Place meat in bag and rub dry spices on meat on both sides.cover just barely in liquid smoke. Put in fridge overnight for best flavor or if there is not time for just an hour or two. Take out and place in foil lined pan. Add salt and worcestershire sauce. Cover with foil and place in oven that been preheated to 275. Cook for 4-6 hours or until tender. Remove from oven and top with BBQ sauce. Cover and place bake in oven for 30-45 minutes. Take out and Enjoy!

This is very moist and falls apart. Great for when you want to do an inside brisket. I got it from my grandmother. For everyone that has asked me for it-ENJOY!

So here are some of my recipes....I have a ton more! If anyone out these in cyberland wants me to post them-please let me know....

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week #2-The things I have learned so far in 2012

So I guess I should wait for tomorrow to start posting numbers since that will be the official beginning of week 2 but I was so excited to see on the scale that I had already lost 5.5 pounds on Saturday. I think the even better thing to me is this time feels so much different then the times before. It feels like a new journey back to me. I have been wife, mom, teacher's helper, PTA helper, coach, taxi driver, chef, etc. that somewhere along the way  I lost who I was. I will admit it. I can accept that. I became Kyle, Kelsey, Keira, and Kenna's mom. I thought when I grew  up that is all that I could be. But I have learned over the years that I can be whoever I want to be. I can still have dreams and accomplish them. I will be 45 one day any way so why not try to get that second degree in nursing and pursue one of my hobbies-medicine. I love science. I always have. Only now I have to confidence that maybe I won't be a total failure at it.

Jeremy's grandmother, June, used to always say that she loved every moment of her kids' lives. She enjoyed some more than others and was glad when other stages were over, but she enjoyed the stages while she was there. As Kenna gets close to kindergarten and Kyle gets close to starting high school-I realize that I finally understand what she meant.
Snuggling a newborn baby is like a daily opportunity to feel the hand of God in your arms every time they fall asleep in your arms. Watching them take that first step to you is knowing your whole life is a bout to change-whether this is your first baby or your last....When the sweet babble turns to babble that all can understand, a whole new world opens up. When you reach the point of realizing that you will never have to buy diapers again..(now that is a pay raise!) When you stop having to wipe bottoms-that will truly be graduation! Watching them learn to read and becoming confident at it. I could go on and on....but I think you get the picture. I have tried to treasure each precious moment that I have with each of my kids. I am not always the best at it. Being an only child and grandchild-the chaos of four kids gets to me sometimes and I think I was absolutely insane!!! Other days when I realize that Kelsey and Kyle will be gone in 5 years-I think I would not know what to do if I was "all done" with having kids at home already.
But my road is nowhere near coming to an end. I am ok with that too. I have watched how life is a gift that we must always cherish and hold dear. Our Father in Heaven gave it to us and only He knows how many breaths we will take here on this earth. Only He knows if my children will outlive me or if I will outlive any of them. It is hard to accept that time in the Lord's eyes is not simply linear....We want what we want and in the time period that we want it in. The Lord's will and what He is trying to teach us-well-those that are more humble and tender hearted than me-learn this lesson a lot easier....

So, as I run around being about my children's business on the Lord's time hoping to represent Him in my actions, words, and love....I realize that the material things of life in the end stay here. The accomplishments don't last forever and the legacy that I leave is what will follow me for generations to come.....Have I taught them that prayer is the key to a relationship with our Heavenly Father....Have I been a good example that when I see a need-I try to meet it....A kind word is worth more than being right...and singing and dancing are just a lot of fun.

Mostly, I hope 2012 brings us closer as a family. We all go so many different directions. We all have our own dreams and desires-but I hope that we will take the time to just create good memories with each other. Whether that be singing together on the Wii, dancing to Just dance, playing board games, or riding bikes, watching and supporting one another in all that we do, a family vacation here or there that doesn't revolve around sports. These are the things I hope for this year.
Enya (Keira's classmate who died of Liver cancer in less than 90 days) taught me that we must treasure all that we love each day. As the quote I read recently said-what if the only things you had tomorrow were the things  you thanked him for today. "Tatay Joel" had to say goodbye to his precious daughter last week. All he wanted was more time....I want to make sure each day I enjoy the time I have as the greatest blessing the Lord has given me.....
Yes, I have my weight loss goals that I have imposed on my family. That by September 18, 2012 I will weigh 135. I will run a 5K before the end of the year. I will try to find a buddy who will do a triathlon with me and my mountain bike...But in the end I just want to be a good mom with good kids....A good wife who learns that it is better to be humble and kind than right....A woman who learns to become a nurse and help others....

"He loves me the way I am, He's my strength when I stand, He is my King and my Father, I am His daughter..."

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Body for Life Challenge

So I have decided that it is time for a change...I am going to change the status quo and get up early to get lunches made for everyone, make sure I cook more at home and we eat out less. I have entered myself into the body for life challenge. Not because I really think I will win  but because it is a challenge worth doing!
So today is day it goes....Hopefully by day 84 I will be willing to post all of my before and after pictures!!!Until I reach day 252 which will hopefully be a new me at my goal weight!!! Here goes my new adventure as the quote says, "Life begins when you put  yourself in the uncomfortable!"

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Just a few pics from July-Sept.

And so it begins anew...

So I realized sadly, that I let 2011 slip by with 4 posts....last year at this time Jeremy was still in the hospital very sick and I was not looking forward to the year...I guess I was right-it was a rough year. But I believe that it can only go up from here!
I have my goals and plans for this new year. I realized that these pictures of my kids are way outdated and I need to start posting more.
So, I guess for one I will write more about my crazy, busy, messy life. But most of all I learned one thing this past year....what a true friend is and what it means....
As the year went on a lot of people would make the comment to me-Again? Something is wrong again? And there were just a few who would be at my doorstep, willing to help me get through it all. I treasure these people and the lifesavers that they were for me. I am grateful that God put them in my life to let me know He was helping me.
I am grateful for my little family that is quickly growing up...I only have Kyle for another 4 1/2 years before he leaves home. Yet it seems like just yesterday I was chasing him down the street with him in just a diaper. He is such a wonderful young man. He has such a kind heart. He has good friends and he wants to keep his standards. He is a joker so if you don't know him-you might think he was serious in all that comes out of his mouth. But he is a treasure and a jewel. I will miss him and I plan to spend as much time as he will let me in the next few years.
Kelsey will be 13 in a month and she keeps growing up and up. She brings so much joy and peace into  our house and between her and Kyle I feel so blessed to be called mom. She is all that I ever wanted to be but was not. I love watching her grow into a beautiful confident young woman.
Keira will be 8 this year and be baptized in March. She is starting to come out of her shell and I am excited that she finally wants to take piano lessons. I know that she will love music and I love watching her play basketball. Upward sports are such a great thing! I wish all youth sports were so uplifting and inspiring! She is reading and is a math wiz like her dad!
Kenna will be 5 next month. She has taught me more than I think I ever wanted to know about life! She has grown up so much and is gaining confidence in all that she does. It is so nice to watch her not be afraid of the world like she once was. It has been hard and time consuming and some days I just want to run away...but I know she will succeed in kindergarten in August! I will miss the SPARK program most come the fall because I have been with these wonderful ladies for 3 years now. I can't thank them enough for hanging in there with me and helping Kenna find her social courage.
Jeremy is healthy and working hard at his job. He does have a few late nights but for the most part we could not ask for a better schedule! His boss said she wishes she had 10 Jeremy's so although he doesn't like me to brag on him-I am proud of all that he does in his career, at home to help me, and all of the coaching!! He gave up coaching Kyle's baseball team and is now coaching Keira's basketball team. Hopefully when she plays soccer I will get the chance to coach again also. :)
As for me, I have learned that depending on someone doesn't make you weak. It helps you to get to know people who turn into great friends. I never thought my achilles would rupture and this whole 6-8 month process would be this tough. But I am grateful to Dr. Miller, Lake Houston PT, and my family for helping me get though it all! They have eaten way too many sandwiches and ramen noodles this year! But they never complained! They helped keep the house clean along with help from my friends!! They kept us from getting too behind in laundry! I got to go to Kansas and see my little sister in law and her family! It was a treat for me and I loved the week we were there! I hope to do it again soon! I got to see my brother in law and his family over Christmas after several years and it seemed like no time had  passed (expect that our kids are older now)
I came to realize that even when we get emotionally attached to something-it doesn't mean that our kids are too.
I learned that the stress we put upon ourselves is generally that of our own making. We waste a lot of time and energy on things that are not in our control. But when we take a leap of faith, we are rewarded with windows that are wide open.
Most of all, I am grateful for free agency. I have the power to choose. I know the Lord believes I can make choices that will help me get to where I need to be. I may not be perfect. I may struggle. But I can live my life after the pattern he left me and treat others around me as He would.
So here is to a year of happiness and success. To go back to school, to lose weight, to be in the shape that I want to be, to sing more, to dance more, to laugh more, but most of all to love the life I have and not take one moment for granted....