I really suck at this…

So its been forever. Things have been hectic, end of semester papers and exams, daughter (E) with kidney stones and renal failure, premature grandson that I watched three days a week, a mother with rapidly progressing Alzheimer’s, then my daughter (E) had half her cervix removed for stage three cells (she’s gonna be okay). You know, basic busy and stressful stuff. LOL. I passed all my classes this semester and am waiting anxiously for scholarship awards to see if I won any. ( I’m hoping )

And oh yeah, the surgery list of requirements… So, I did the three months of counseling and got approval from both the therapist and the psychiatrist! WHOOHOO! The nutritionist is happy with me and says my numbers speak for themselves. I did break down and have two soft pretzels a few weeks ago( I got lectured for that) , and still managed to lose 9 pounds that month, I say its the soup I eat. The fitness guy is AWESOME and is also happy with me. I HAVE ONE APPOINTMENT LEFT UNTIL WE SET DATES FOR MY SLEEVE SURGERY!

I joined a group called Sassy Sleevers on Facebook, which is great for inspiration and accountability. Everyone is so friendly and open about issues.

I’m still not smoking, but I still want one occasionally, I’m trying to read a lot so I don’t think about it. I read seven Harry Potter books in two weeks, not my usual style but I was curious about them. I’m going to look and see if Glenn Thater has anything new out, if not I’ll check out Michael Connely. My kindle is my new best friend.

I’m getting my steps in by not using the downstairs bathroom anymore and going to the furthest bathroom upstairs. I’m also walking the yard now and hope to start mowing the grass soon.

I desperately need to start eating and drinking slower or I’m going to be puking a lot after surgery. I’m so used to chugging water.

I’m cooking a lot, mostly chicken. I have a broken tooth so a lot of my stuff is getting ran through the food processor because I can’t chew. I guess I might as well get used to it. I’ve been making a lot of cabbage soup (weight loss soup)cabbage soup

less than 100 calories  a serving with 10 grams protein:

4 quarts low fat low sodium chicken stock, whole head of cabbage chopped, 1-2 cups of onion chopped, 1 cup of celery chopped, 1 pound of brussel sprouts chopped, 1 large can crushed tomatoes, 1-2 cups of carrots chopped, 2-4 cups of shredded chicken, and a few TBS of crushed garlic. Use any seasonings you want- I use red pepper flakes, but some people use Italian seasonings. Basically you can throw any vegetables you want in it. You can even skip the meat and use vegetable stock instead of chicken. You can add the fake sausage crumbles that vegans eat as a substitute meat. Eat it once a day or more, as much as you want and I guarantee weight will come off.

I’ve also been making a lot of Teriyaki Chicken or Satay Peanut Chicken (some call it Thai Bangkok Chicken). I just bake, drain, and chop up breast meat then saute it in sauce with extra garlic. I add low sodium soy and Hoisin Sauce to the Teriyaki. (I run the chicken through the food processor after its done on fine chop setting too, because of my tooth. The stupid dentist doesn’t have an opening until frikkin September!)

peanut chicken

I eat the Teriyaki with riced cauliflower or I make Tandoori Sweet Potatoes and roast them in the oven in chunks to eat with the Peanut Chicken. You can google that, I did. For a dipping sauce for the sweet potatoes you can add a little sugar free pancake syrup to non fat vanilla greek yogurt instead of date syrup.  That is also good for sweet potato fries (baked fries of course).

I did have a hamburger last night with cheese and pickles, no bun, that I ran through the processor and ate with a few ritz crackers. I needed some beef, since I’ve been living on chicken. The kids wanted burgers and dogs on the grill. So everyone was happy.

My parents are coming again today, I feel better when I feed them. Dad is a saint, but he has his hands full with Mom. She thinks everyday is Sunday, so when I had them here on Tuesday she wore her Sunday best and ended up doing yard work looking like a queen. She had fun, the kids had fun and pretty much that’s all that matters.mom cleaning yard

mom yard

I’m taking all the pictures I can, every time. Time goes so fast as her memory gets worse. Treasuring the moments one by one.

I have so much more to say, but I’m out of time. I miss writing, hopefully I’ll have a little more free time and can actually get back into it.

Meanwhile-We are so dysfunctional – this bitch (E) calls me laughing so hard she’s crying and I can’t understand a damn word coming out her mouth for like five minutes. Finally I get the story: E was getting the kids ready for a trip to Walmart and used the last two wipes in the pack to wipe Armani’s balls and ass after taking off his pull up, she had no where to lay them while she finished dressing the kid so she stuffed them back in the empty pack to throw out when she was done, fiancé A was trying to get baby Grayson ready so he grabbed the wipes, not knowing, and cleaned the baby’s face and hands with the ball/ass wipes. A is dying and totally freaked out (it’s his first actualchild), E is laughing so hard, now I’m laughing and yelling at her to clean the baby… Just one of those days.

The fun never ends.



So- it’s been a while

Be blessed, move forward, tomorrow is a new day!

I apologize for my absence, I hope you’ve liked the posts I’ve made from other authors that I found relevant.

It has been a crazy ride so far, I have seen the cardiologist, the pulmonary doctor, the psychiatrist, and the endocrine doctor. All have given approval except the Psych, and I have started therapy. I also have decided that even though I felt like this particular psych was a prick, he was right about me not dealing with the trauma of the suicide and my self-esteem issues. Fortunately I like my new therapist, and am wondering why I didn’t do this sooner.

I have steadily been going to the local Y (my gym) and can go for a entire hour without pain or bad fatigue. I am getting stronger every day. I was able to go to my favorite horse rescue yesterday and stay on my feet for a change. I think I needed to see them more than they needed to see me!

I have lost over 9 and a half pounds since December, as of last Tuesday ( I really need to get a scale for home use). I am still smoke free and passed my urine test. I had my first group meeting at the bariatric center last Tuesday. A lot of support and a lot of information was gained. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone, which syncs with my FitBit and tracks all nutrition, steps, exercise, calories, fat, and carbs for me. IT IS AWESOME!

I discovered riced cauliflower!!! I’ve been making stir fry with veggies and chicken while using the cauliflower in place of rice. (See photo above for finished product) I dump these veggie-blog3veggie-blog6

in and Viola!

It’s only like 217 calories per bowl  made with shredded roast chicken, a bunch of sliced mushrooms, 1 TBS Hoisin sauce, 2 TBS soy sauce, 2 TBS teriyaki sauce with sesame seeds, 2 cups of spinach,and a quarter cup of chicken stock to help soften the veggies. I cook mine in a wok, but any frying pan will do!

Also I have made a cold tortellini, baked chicken(shredded), feta cheese, and spinach salad (with a little shredded kale and cabbage in it) topped with Greek salad dressing. It only has 220 calories in it.veggie-blog1

On another note-  I was viciously attacked on social media the other night, it had to do with a parental responsibility issue. A family member of the parent in question felt the need to attack me for being fat, stupid, alone, etc. Comments like “Whats the matter? did  you miss your Fitness all you can eat cheeseburger and fries class?” That perhaps I’m alone because I’m ugly, fat and stupid. “You’re a piece of trash fat bitch” and “you’re such a fat-ass”. I tried to remain calm, and completely resisted the urge to name call and body shame back. But the truth is I cried, all night. You see, I learned a long time ago that there are some things you never say, even in the heat of argument, because once said- words can never be unheard. I say all this to tell you, I know how hurtful people can be. I know how painful harsh words about our bodies or our past mistakes can be. I have seen how cruel some people are. Never give up on yourself, never give in. You are valuable, you have worth. You can change, whether it is your body or your life or your situation. Do NOT sink to the level of the type of person that takes pleasure in causing pain. Rise up! Show that you are better, stronger, and more honorable.My past was thrown up at me, which actually didn’t upset me like she though it would, which is probably why the name calling and body shaming escalated so much. I stayed strong about that because I know who I am, I know where I’ve been, and I’m usually pretty open about my past. So here is my past, if you have questions feel free to ask. It is what it is, and I am constantly moving forward.

In case anyone doesn’t know
For the record- I smoked crack for two years … I’ve been clean almost nineteen years…. I’m an Honor Student that has won five scholarships for academic work, professional bearing, and volunteer service….. I’ve been an asshole, I neglected my kids while I was high, I chased men to fill a gap in my self esteem, and I’ve recovered. I’ve reconciled with my family and my God. I’m a better mother, a better person, a better daughter because of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. I’ve dedicated countless years to volunteer and humanitarian service. I’ve spoken at recovery groups, women’s groups, and churches. I am not afraid of who I’ve been or the path I’ve walked. I’ve faced death over and over and I believe God has a purpose for me, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I am a work in progress
Just so you know…


Be blessed, move forward, tomorrow is a new day!

If you like what I’ve written please like or comment! It’s nice to know I’ve been read! If you have questions on recovery, suicide, depression, or healthy choices please feel free to ask.


All the more beautiful for having been broken and repaired

So, I’ve been sticking to my gym schedule and have managed to increase my workout by ten minutes each day (I go every other day for now) so I’m up to forty minutes in the pool. I wasn’t expecting this much pain, but I should have known. After all, I did it to myself. I lost basic muscle just being lazy and letting pain control me. I just keep telling myself the pain is good and it will fade.  It has faded some, this last workout didn’t hurt much at all, it just left me tired. My legs and arms are soooooo tired. The pain comes at night in the form of leg cramps (or for those that know what they are – charley horses).

Thank God my breathing is improving more than I had hoped, that is an incredible encouragement. I now forget to use my inhaler instead of walking with it clutched in my hands.  I do think about smoking every single day. Not one day goes by that I haven’t wished for a cigarette. I’m really hoping that goes away in time.

I saw the pre-surgery psychiatrist yesterday. That did not go well. He flagged me for three months of therapy. Apparently my lack of whatever about my husband’s suicide puts me at risk for stress eating, along with all the other things I worry about. I’m not even going to go off on a tangent trying to explain how ridiculous it is to put a lifetime of emotion in a twenty minute interview with a stranger. Because suicide is so frikking easy to talk about. Hhhhhhhhh!!! Fine, I’ll go. Whatever the hoop is, I will jump through it.

He also seemed very concerned that I was underestimating the recovery, which I didn’t understand. Every one I’ve talked to or read about seemed to be okay other than tenderness and nausea which is standard for abdominal surgery. I explained that I’d had four C-sections and also had my gallbladder removed and he scoffed at me, literally to my face scoffed at me and told me I could be bed ridden for weeks, and did I have someone to care for me.  I’d really like to talk to the surgeon again at this point. I don’t remember seeing bed ridden as one of the probabilities.

I ate a horrible breakfast today, I could have had salmon and rice or nachos. I picked light nachos. It was low carb, but cheese is not low calorie. I didn’t eat much, just a taste. Still, I should’ve picked the fish.

I feel broken, the shrink thinks I’m broken, I must be broken. Part of me thinks, “yeah therapy probably would be good for me”. The other part screams “you’re broken! They know you’re broken! You’re not worth fixing! You don’t deserve this chance. You don’t deserve this surgery! He saw failure written all over you!” There is yet another part of me that says “screw these people, you will do this!”

I got my period yesterday – I should probably write off all internal responses and re evaluate at a later, less hormonal date.







Gotta keep on keeping on!

So I should probably go attempt to put my ducks in a row…

I lost another two pounds! Whoohoo! Yesterday I ate crackers and cheese for both breakfast and dinner because I ate a horrible lunch, but it was sooooo good. I went to a restaurant with my daughter K and daughter-in-law M, where I indulged in appetizers and a burger with sweet potato fries. I really really really like sweet potato fries and pub pretzels with cheese. But I managed to only go over budget by 32 calories, which isn’t bad considering that I’ve been staying well under budget almost everyday.

Fortunately I hate cake,  don’t really like pie, and will only eat 1 or 2 types of cookies which helps over the holidays.

Meat is a real problem, I love meat. Especially beef. I slow roasted two huge chuck tenders ( 5 pounds of meat) over night in the crock-pot with half a jar of pepperoncini peppers and juice, I threw in a dry packet of onion soup mix and another packet of dry Italian dressing mix with one can of beef consomme and a few pats of butter. OMG it is so good. I ate it for breakfast. The plan is to serve it with melted provolone on good kaiser rolls. I’m practicing recipes for my daughters’s 18th birthday party. She wont eat any meat but chicken, so I’m also making buffalo shredded chicken for tacos for the party. It looks like I’m gonna need ten to fifteen pounds of beef for the party.

I can’t believe she’s gonna be eighteen! That means I’ve been clean and sober for almost nineteen years! My precious, precious lamb. She pulled me back from the edge a long time ago. Someday maybe I’ll tell you that story, it’s a good one. They grow up so fast. treasure the moments while you can! I am so grateful that she still will occasionally climb in my lap and hug me. All of my girls do. The boys, not so much.

kris1I’m on track- I’m not smoking, I’m losing weight, I’m seeing all the doctors I’m supposed to see, I’m counting every step and every calorie. I’m breathing better! Just think! In one year I could weigh a hundred pounds less!!! That’s almost a whole person! I’m actually beginning to let myself think about the possibility of riding horses with my daughter! That could actually happen!

1,885 pictures later and I realize I have none logged of me riding. Bummer. I guess I’ll have to take some next year! I also realized I have lots of pictures on this computer! I should probably back them up! Sometimes its nice to go through old photos, it brings back a lot of memories. So much of our life was built around our kids and pets! for-blog16


We’ve had a really good life in spite of the struggles. I’m so glad we left Philadelphia 17 years ago! We ended up with a 2 acre property with a four bedroom house, garage, and barn for the same rent as a roach and mice infested row-house in a not-so-nice neighborhood. Moving was the first step in a new life! Smartest thing we did! I would never go back. Getting the kids out of the city was brilliant. They’ve been able to experience so many things city kids never see. Gardening and livestock, eating what you grew, county fairs, seeing things born and seeing things die, growing as humans with compassion and responsibility. Now I get to do it with my granndkids. One day at a time!

The reality is -my Christmas craft presents sit unfinished all over the dining room table, glitter everywhere. I have no ambition for Christmas. The only crafts I enjoyed this year were the ones I did with the kids. I need to get with my oldest daughter because we haven’t even discussed the Christmas menu. My favorite TV series that I DVR’d sits unwatched. I wish I had my ducks in a row, that is NOT happening this year. I’m so bored at home, and so unmotivated. I still want a cigarette, but today marks three weeks since I’ve touched one. The stupid doctor just told me that the cravings can last months. Ugh.

So I should probably go attempt to put my ducks in a row…

but looking at old pictures was so much more fun!



Another day…another small triumph

By nine in the morning I felt like I was coming out of my skin so I opted to cook instead of staring at the wall.

Another day is passing slowly, they seem to pass so slow when I am alone. I do much better when I have to rush to school, or take care of the grandkids. I have no interest in the TV today, although I have several episodes of my favorite show on DVR. By nine in the morning I felt like I was coming out of my skin so I opted to cook instead of staring at the wall. I looked up a few recipes for cream of broccoli soup, but put my phone down and decided to wing it. I absolutely love it!  It came out really well and I can’t wait to share it. However it’s done and I’m back to staring at the wall. I do NOT like time off from school. Being alone with my head is unsettling. All the things I could’ve, would’ve, should’ve done tend to come to mind. Plus, worrying about final exams is a bitch. I need to find something else to cook.

If you are cold and bored and like to cook- Cheesy Creamy Broccoli Soup

  • about 2 qt. chicken broth
  • 4 heads of broccoli chopped fine
  • 1 c. of chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • about 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
  • about a 1/4 cup of grated Asiago cheese
  • a few heavy shakes of cayenne pepper
  • a few heavy shakes of nutmeg
  • a good bit of black pepper and salt
  • a few shakes of garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp of flour

Cook the broccoli, onion and garlic in the chicken broth boiling it for seven to ten minutes. In a separate soup pot melt butter and add flour, making a roux. Add cream and spices to the roux bringing it to simmer. When the chicken broth broccoli mix is done boiling, add the whole mix it to the cream pot. Slowly add the shredded and grated cheeses to the simmering pot until they completely blend. I simmered mine for about ten additional minutes.  I did, at one point. scoop out a full four cup measure and run it through the blender, then dump it back in. I wanted the broccoli finer.

I am going to add shredded chicken to mine, only because my ‘almost-vegetarian’ daughter doesn’t get enough protein.and she will eat chicken. (I’m cheating and buying a rotisserie hen while I’m out today) You could also add small cubed potatoes to the original veggies in the chicken broth to make it more hearty. Personally I’m avoiding carbs.

Speaking of carbs, I have been counting carbs for years due to the diabetes, now however I am counting calories as well. Low carb DOES NOT mean low cal. I am shocked and disappointed. My so-called healthy food is NOT healthy. Dammit! For instance my spinach, feta and egg scramble is NOT good for me. Neither apparently is this soup that I just made. What a blow! I’ve given up McDonald’s breakfasts, I’ve given up my daily espresso frappes and have been cooking every day. Unfortunately my Fitbit has a food tracker/counter that hates me.. Anything with cheese has horribly high numbers, and I love cheese. I am keeping it under the allowed calories though, one day at a time.

My blood work came back better than it has been in years, I was really happy about that. A year ago my triglycerides were 1,329 now they came down to 400. I’m ecstatic. Yes, I know that it is high, but it’s way better than it has been for ten years! My cholesterol was actually good. The A1C was a 9 but I need it to be an eight, still its better than the 11 that it was.

I have an appointment with the heart Dr. to see if my heart will withstand the bariatric surgery this afternoon. One more hurdle cleared!

My breathing is sooooo much better without the cigarettes! I don’t run out of air after walking up the steps! Yes, I still want a cigarette but I WILL NOT smoke one. Not even one. My blood pressure is lower now. I am winning. I am making progress. I will finish this! One day at a time


The Bitch In Me…

So I’m feeling rather bitchy today. I had already snapped at a friend, who has done nothing but support me, by 8 AM. I don’t understand why, but it seems I am ‘needing’ a cigarette more this week than last. I am short of patience and quick to anger at the moment.

So I’m feeling rather bitchy today. I had already snapped at a friend, who has done nothing but support me, by 8 AM. I don’t understand why, but it seems I am ‘needing’ a cigarette more this week than last. I am short of patience and quick to anger at the moment. I’ve already spent too much time on Facebook, scrolling through the newsfeed crying over the sad videos of sad animals or crying at the heartrending videos of soldiers being reunited with their loved ones after long deployments. This emotional crap has to go..

I found an entire pack of cigarettes last night in a hand bag I hadn’t opened since September. THAT WAS ROUGH! I gave to my daughter to get rid of, I didn’t even trust myself to put it in the trash- because then I would know it was there, beckoning me. Like the song of the siren, calling me to my eventual death….

Of course it has been a rather emotional week, especially dealing with my Husband’s suicide, again,, and I’m really not feeling the holiday cheer. My desperate attempts at doing crafts with the kids, grand kids, and friend’s kids to try and force myself to enjoy the holidays and forget about depression and cigarettes isn’t quite dealing with the actual issues of my depression. All it’s doing is putting off the inevitable cloud of misery that crashes down when I am alone. My heart is broken by my own pain, the pain of my children, and the pain of others experiencing loss, anxiety, and depression during the holidays. I am an empath, I carry my own pain and unfortunately assume the pain of others. I don’t think the Chantix is helping my depression, it’s definitely helping me not smoke but I’m pretty sure it’s exacerbating my emotional state.

On an up note I really did enjoy the time with the kids while it lasted. I felt like my old self which was a blessing I haven’t felt in a long time. So I do know that there is light at the end of the tunnel for me! The kids were ecstatic to be making gifts for their families, and for once not worrying about the tablets or the TV! Someday they will remember the time I spent and it will mean something. I remember all the things my grandparents did with me, and all the joy and laughter we shared. I was very fortunate to have my grandparents and my aunt and uncle so involved in my life. There were so many sleepovers and craft days, days of backyard fun, and playing on the beach, BBQ parties and board games or card games, chasing lightning bugs on a summer’s eve will always be in my heart.

I really wish I could go to the ocean, that ALWAYS fixes my emotional state. for-blog-2

Like life itself, the ocean holds a myriad of characteristics both dark and light, even so, as with people, occasionally the tempest consumes. Its waters raging, its surf pounding, with the crushing blows resounding over the face of the beach.  As if the ocean itself grows weary, letting its anger be known. Occasionally swirls of brown/green water roil in fury as lightening slashes, exposing the face of the water twisted and raw, and high jagged peaks of wrath mar its formerly friendly surface. No longer bathed in light and delicate froth the ocean roars. The sheer power and magnitude of the ocean is exhibited for all to see, reminding us that we are not always in control.  Nature itself knows no bounds and cannot be harnessed or broken.I could sometimes see a dark, barely moving depth giving the appearance of a foreboding glass surface, hiding the unknown in its depths: unspeakable horrors, darkness and death, so like the hearts of some men, full of deceit and ill will hidden beneath a smooth surface. There are treacherous currents waiting to rob one of both life and hope: Hope, the most important of all emotions, without hope, what is left?

The next moment the ocean is softly caressing the skin with its cool waters, washing away the clutch of the world and its weight, granting peace, It envelopes one’s self in a cocoon of separation from the day’s trouble and toil, allowing one’s self to be lost in the green/blue depths, floating carefree even if just for the moment, embracing one’s place in the world. All of these many aspects bring peace to me, my own soul a mirror of the ocean itself, its many moods exposed in the ocean’s surface. Though I am but tiny and insignificant compared to the depth and breadth of the ocean, my faith is renewed there, on that beach by the sea, my purpose redefined yet again.

Putting my feelings into words make them all the more true; some things are better left unspoken, as if speaking them give them life. The ocean required no words of me. It was a constant in a tilting world, but now I could see both the darkness and the light. I was trying hopelessly to cling to a childhood lost, a remnant of memory, a distant feeling of a time without division and discord. How I long for the shore of my youth! Yet still, the ocean is a refuge; somewhere in there is my old friend.

It is beautiful with the scent of salty air, the shifting breezes, the cry of gulls overhead, the sea grasses whispering in the background, while the surf crashes and roars as it continues its endless ebb and flow.

Now the Bitch in me is quiet, reflection on the past has soothed her for the moment. But I know this battle is not over. I will fight, I will continue to press on. I will not give up, and I will not give in. This is my life, and I am claiming it!


Life just keeps happening- whether we’re ready or not…

Success can be measured in the little things. Small triumphs today can change tomorrow.

So, maybe mozzarella sticks were not a healthy choice for breakfast but right now I don’t care! It’s been over a week since I had a cigarette and the last two days have been REALLY tough. I don’t know why, but last night I was even dreaming about sneaking a cigarette. That’s pretty bad!

Last Thursday I went to meet with the bariatric surgeon, and it went well. I do qualify but will have to go through the program for a minimum of six months and jump through all the hoops. I have to schedule appointments with a cardiologist (done), a pulmonary doctor, an endocrinologist (done) a psychiatrist (done), and be able to pee in a cup without any nicotine present (January 2nd!) before they’ll even see me again. Apparently a lot of people back out of the program when they have to actually do something for it, it seems they lack the commitment required.  I completely quit smoking that very day. I’m not doing this to be pretty, that ship has sailed, my skin will never be tight and toned because I am 48 years old and have 33 years of skin damage from nicotine. I am doing this so I can have quality of life, so I can breathe and move and do things I’ve had to give up. I want to play with my grandkids, and walk NYC with my daughter. I want to see the Smithsonian, ALL of it. I want to walk and enjoy the world around me. The doctor was talking about a patient that lost 300 pounds and had all kinds of ‘work’ done and now she looks fabulous. That’s great for her. I don’t have money for plastic surgery and that is not my main focus. I just want my life back. He says people back out when they find out that the skin will be loose, he said they’d rather be fat and that he wouldn’t be upset if I changed my mind. I looked him straight in the face and told him I didn’t care, I just want to live.

I’ve been cooking a lot, and counting every damn calorie I put in my mouth. I made my chicken soup that everybody loves and always ask for the recipe. Recipes are so hard to give since I don’t measure anything and I keep everything in my head and never write it down. I will try to make it comprehensible:

Chicken soup! Into the pot goes-

  • 3 quarts organic low fat low sodium chicken stock NOT broth
  • about 1 1/2 cups of chopped celery
  • about 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • about 2, maybe 2 1/2 cup tiny chopped carrots.
  • 1 whole roasted chicken worth of meat picked clean
  • a few good shakes of celery salt
  • quite a few good shakes of black pepper
  • 2-3 good shakes of rosemary
  • 3-4 crushed cloves of garlic (I use more)
  • I usually throw in either finely chopped cabbage (1/2 head) OR one package of chopped frozen spinach. It’s extremely healthy and the kids don’t even notice
  • AFTER the veggies are tender I add half a box of Pastini pasta (little stars) right into the pot, OR you can add Kluski Noodles PRE-COOKED! the Kluski Noodles will suck up all your broth!
  • Sometimes I throw in a cup or so of barley with the veggies instead of pasta/noodles, it is a healthy grain and blends in well tastewise.

WATCH YOUR LIQUID LEVELS!!!! Sometimes I have to add water! In which case I also add chicken base or broth cubes. Expect some of the broth to get sucked up if you keep it in the fridge, you may need to add more when you reheat.

 If you want a faux Zuppa Toscana you can add 1 1/2 pound of ground, cooked and drained (NO GREASE!) sweet Italian sausage, skip the noodles altogether, and add about 1 1/2 to 2 cups heavy cream with a couple shakes of red pepper flakes. That particular soup always tastes better the second day.

Remember! the less pasta you use the less carbs you get! Adding extra veggies and experimenting can be fun and healthy! Substituting barley for Pastini pasta is a healthy choice! Success can be measured in the little things. Small triumphs today can change tomorrow.

I’m breathing so much better now, I’m actually shocked at how much improvement I’m already seeing. I’m ready to start using the treadmill for about five minutes at a time- the bone spurs, degenerative discs and osteoarthritis in my spine won’t let me do more. I ordered a fat bathing suit after spending a 1/2 hour online trying to find fat bathing suits (it’s not fair that it is so hard to find fat sized clothing!), so I can join the local Y and get some water exercises going. I guess I’ll have to swallow my pride and do the walk of shame from the locker rooms to the pool. God I hope they have private booths for dressing otherwise I’ll be driving home in a wet bathing suit all winter. I am NOT changing in front of people. I don’t even look at myself in a mirror and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna undress in  a locker room. I almost cried when the surgical people took my picture for the ‘before and after’ part of my medical chart. Thank God I have my own treadmill at home (in a room with no mirrors). At least when  I go to the beach I can tell myself ‘these people don’t know me and I’ll never see them again’, going to a gym means you see the same people all the time. I can’t explain the panic and shame of knowing people are going to see me in a bathing suit four days a week, every week and watch me struggle to walk from the locker room to the pool. I really, really don’t want to go alone. Being fat sucks! It’s so much easier to face the world in bulky clothes, bathing suits leave all your flaws exposed.  HHHHHHHHAAAAAAHHHHHH! Such is life. Gotta bite the bullet to get to the finish line.

I am very grateful for all those who pray for me and cheer me on every day! I am also grateful to be able to say I am completely smoke free! I have definitely taken steps in my journey, and am already seeing benefits. Keep praying! Keep hoping! Keep dreaming!