Friday, December 30, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

The quickly-approaching new year symbolizes a fresh start for many of us.  A time to reflect on the past year (or years) and to set new goals for ourselves.  I hope your list doesn't look like this:
I think all of our resolutions kinda end up looking/feeling this way as reality sets in.  So I wanted to write a post about some of the most common New Year's Resolutions and how we can achieve them.

Top 5 most common resolutions:

1) Lose Weight & Get into Better Shape
This has been my resolution for as long as I can remember making resolutions.  I wrote a little about it here.  This year I found an amazing program that has helped me shed 115 lbs since May.  You are welcome to visit my website here for more information.

Regular healthy exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight.  
It can also help:
*Prevent heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other chronic diseases
*Boost your overall mood
*Lower high blood pressure
*Reduce stress
*Strengthen muscles, bones and joints
*Improve metabolism and increase your energy level
*Strengthen your immune system while decreasing CRP levels and inflammation
*Help prevent depression
*Increase bone density and help prevent osteoporosis

You can learn more about diet and exercise in my favorite health book, here.

2) Stick to a Budget and Get Out of Debt
This is a hard one!  Most people find it very difficult to stick to a budget.  It does take hard work (and lots of self-discipline) in the beginning.  The good news is, the longer you stick to it, the easier it becomes! 

Some tips on budgeting: 
*Create a budget that is realistic and based on your everyday needs  
*Don't take drastic steps to cutting your budget - do it in baby steps
*Get serious about want vs need  
*Be honest with yourself (and your spouse)

Here is an interactive budgeting worksheet to practice on.  I'm sure there are others, just do a google search!

Now let's talk DEBT:
Ok peeps, Christmas is over, time to put away the credit cards!  Make a resolution to stop charging everything - if you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it!  Keep a diary of all money spent (cash, check, debit, etc).  Once you know where your money is going, you can prepare a realistic budget (see above).  Then you can allocate a percentage of your monthly monies to paying off debt.  You'll be amazed at how quickly you can do it when you stick to it!
One of our favorite financial managers is Dave Ramsey.  He will whip you into shape in no time! ;o)

3) More Quality Time with Family & Friends
Family...isn't it about...TIME?  Love those commercials!  It is so true - we are as busy as we let ourselves become and if your priorities are not in line with your values, then something(s) has to suffer.  I think all-too-often it is our family.  They are the ones we love and rely on, but also the ones we justify taking away from (spending less time with) in order to fulfill other obligations.  Make a resolve to take action and do something EVERY DAY that will improve your relationship with your family.  Making families stronger and healthier is an important part of building relationships and strengthening our communities and our world.  And f'rills, it matters...for eternity.
My favorite website on families can be found here.
PS - Do you date your spouse?  YOU SHOULD!  Here is a fantastic article with some great ideas!  Now go surprise your significant're welcome!

4) Quit Smoking/Drinking
While neither of these vices are ones that I have dealt with personally, I have loved ones who do and I understand their struggle.  Much the way an obese person deals with food, it is an addiction and it's very hard to control!  Quitting smoking and/or drinking can be one of the hardest things you will ever do, but it will also be one of the most worth while. 

Here is a list of websites that have some helpful tips on quitting smoking.
And here is a link to a great alcohol addiction treatment plan.

5) Get Organized
I have always struggled with this one!  I want to be more organized and have good intentions to be so, but as time wears on, I get lazier and lazier about sticking to a routine.  I'd like to think it's been a lot better in the last few months (you can verify with Mr. Charming...or not)!  I do love to find things to help me get organized; from bins and baskets to electronic devices and calendars (and shiny new schedules)!  Below are a few of my favorite organizational websites (there are way too many to choose from)!  Enjoy!

Whatever your resolution(s), I hope you find 2012 to be a wonderfully successful and fulfilling year!  I sure am looking forward to it!

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Christmas Morning Tradition

Every year my Father-in-law makes this breakfast for the family on Christmas Morning.  If we are ever not together, Mr. Charming assumes the chefly responsibilities and thus a tradition is carried on!

This year was so busy with trying to get to church on time, that we actually had our special breakfast the morning after Christmas...oh and Mr. Charming taught me how to make them.

These are not the healthy version, just a quick version.  You could easily make these with whole wheat pancake batter.

All pics are from my iPhone:
Spray a pan (warmed on med/low heat) with PAM and crack an egg in the center of it.  Dude, what's with my huge arm?

Don't break the yolk...or get shells in it...or...sorry, can't focus...elephant arm is distracting me... 

The egg will spread, but I like to drag the spatula through the thicker white parts to help it cook more evenly. 

As the edges get done, flip them in on the egg...just trust me...I've done this, like...once 

Continuing folding inward to make your egg nice and small 

Next, pour a little batter around the outside edge of the egg 

 It will spread, but it should look something like this

Wait for bubbles to form, so you know it's a beautiful golden color underneath, then flip that bad boy...or girl...I don't discriminate 

Viola!  Let it brown no the other side (it only takes a minute) and flip it out onto a plate!

I think we should call them Paneggs...Eggcakes...Ceggs...I may have gone too far - just call 'em good!  
PS - the official Zahlmann name is: Pancakes-with-eggs-in-the-middle. We are an original people. 

WARNING: Making these may spontaneously cause neighbors to coming knocking on your door looking for food...I'm just sayin'!  And by all means, do no serve them with've been warned!

PPS - My favorite whole wheat waffle/pancake recipe:

1 ¾ cup whole wheat
1-tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
2 cups milk (I use soy milk and it works fine)

Mix together.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Recap 2011

Can you believe Christmas is over?!  I can't.  I'm so sad.  I love the feeling of this time of year - love the music, love the decorations, love the goodwill.  Sigh.  

Christmas Eve was filled with the hustle and bustle of our busy household...wrapping presents, last minute errands, secret Santa stuff, ya know, the ush.  Mr. Charming & the kids took turns reading from Luke 2 and we talked about the Christmas story (the true meaning of Christmas).

We made a goodie plate for Santa...but with a little twist:
Dear Santa, Call me. 

And this was left in the morning:
 Santa loved our healthy goodies!  He leaves the kids a letter every year and I have say, this year's was the best!  That Mr. Chris Kringle is quite the guy, if I do say so myself!

We had a wonderful Christmas morning at our house.  It actually started the night before with the kiddos waking up every hour to see if it was time to get up yet!  It was a looooooong night, ya know?  When they did finally get up, they all had time to go through their stockings, eat breakfast and get ready for church.

The Christmas Program was fantastic!  All 4 of the older kids sang with the primary children.  It was such a blessing to hear from their sweet little voices!  We were also blessed to hear from our youth - the Young Men's & Young Women's organizations.  Then the church choir provided most of the other songs (along with a few solos and some congregational hymns).  The beautiful music filled the air and the feeling of contentment in the room was palpable.  I was especially proud of my Christopher and Laethym who sang their little hearts out with the choir - they are the only primary-aged (18 mo-12 years) children in the choir.  It was a lovely morning!

After church we came home and everyone changed back into their pjs!  Are we lazy bums or what?!  It was soooooooooo nice!  The kids were champing at the bit, so I grabbed my camera and we all gathered in the living room for the great handing out of presents!  The kids were just a little excited...  

 Zeke and his new gloves (but if you say it like him, they're "glubbs")

 We were dying to see him open this...his very own Ben 10 Omnitrix watch and Rath figurine!  It seriously, has not left his wrist in 3 days!

 He was super excited!

 Hey there little Ben 10 dude!  You're kinda cute!

 I adore these vintage-style blocks he got!

Hugging the Beaver football that Grandma & Grandpa got him

 The pink Barbie camera she had asked for

 The all-important pink bubble gum

 Another favorite: Cut 'n Style Princess Barbie

Rapunzel!  She was so excited to have these dolls!! 

Taking a picture of my baby, taking a picture of her baby...

 My little artist was so thrilled with all of her art supplies!

 OMG!  Orbeez Gel Beads jewelry set!!  Soooooo happy! SIDENOTE: If you don't watch your kids every second of the day, you may want to rethink this gift...GEL BEADS EVERYWHERE! F'rills

More art supplies!!

 How cute are those Aeropostale boots?  Love them!

 Oh yay, more gel beads

The Password Journal!  Now her life is complete!

 Sweet church shoes!


We had a full-blown Christmas Story incident at our house...
Mr. Charming: "Hey Buddy, can you check the corner and see if we need more firewood?"
Christopher: "Ok. Hey dad, there's another gift back here..."

 "It says 'To: Christopher'! and it's covered in tape!"

LOTS of tape
 Scissors are required

 I think he peed himself a little

Not exactly a "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Riffle" but it'll do!

I was thoroughly spoiled!
 Lovin' these bangles!

 My new hat and scarf - my girls have some serious fashion sense!

Daddy opening his cologne from the kids...Payton was more excited than he was! 

The aftermath (and this was after we cleaned up)! 

The Hexbugs were such a huge hit! 

Say, "Hello" to Mama Kitty (we call her Garfield) and Spaz.  She's his mommy...she hates his guts...and he lives to torture her.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that she tried to off him (twice) when he was born.

And then we had this for dinner...
It was a most wonderful Christmas!  I'm still not ready to take down the decorations, but I'm super excited for what this new year holds and what our Christmas will be like in 2012!

Hope you all had a Happy Christmas, Merry Holidays and all that jazz! 

PS - Don't forget to enter the giveaway here!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year GIVEAWAY!!!

It's that time of year!  New Year's Resolutions are on everyone's mind right now.  Have you read about my previous year's resolutions?  You can do that here.  

Are you gearing up for another "diet"?  Trying to psych yourself up to go to the gym every day?  I have a giveaway that I hope will inspire you - for the rest. of. your. life!

These books have literally changed my life and I know they can do the same for YOU!  Whether you are looking for a comprehensive health program or just some practical ways to change your lifestyle, these books are for you!

I'm giving away a set of Dr. A's Habits of Health & the companion guide: Living a Longer Healthier Life.  Start your new year off with a bang!  Leave me a comment (here on the blog or find me on facebook)about your New Year's Resolution(s) - what they are, how are you going to make them happen, what inspired you to chose them, etc.  I'd love to hear from my readers!  You have until Monday, January 2, 2012 to enter this giveaway.  The winner will be announced January 3rd!

Here is what others are saying about Dr. A's Habits of Health:

Dr. A’s Habits of Health is over 375 pages of wisdom, insight, tips, all in light of a comprehensive structural approach which is light years ahead of anything else in its field.” — Review by Robert Fritz

Dr. A has put together a wonderful, easy-to-read text that I recommend to all my patients. I am a family physician and follow Dr. A’s lifestyle – with remarkable results. If you are looking to lose weight, be stronger, happier, and LIVE LONGER then you NEED THIS BOOK! “ — Dr. Newfie

This has been a very encouraging book for me, since I have tried so many different diets over the past thirty years, only to gain my weight back. I think I am finally changing my mindset! The book is easy to read, colorful, and informative. I also like the “bullet” thoughts along the outer margins of the pages.”— Julianna Terry Jordan review:

 "Go from surviving to thriving! If you've ever tried to lose weight only to gain it back, Dr. A's Habits of Health offers a life-changing breakthrough that shows you not only how to reach and maintain your healthy weight, but how to create a life of renewed vibrancy, health, and spirit all under the easy-to-follow guidance of one of America s most esteemed and compassionate practitioners of weight loss and optimal health. Join thousands of people worldwide who've gone from discouragement to confidence, from depletion to unimaginable vitality and discover how you can live better, happier, and healthier into your eighties, nineties, and beyond."

Here's to a new you this new year!  

Friday, December 23, 2011

Payton's Place

Wonderful as it is, I have no intentions of Doernbecher Children's Hospital becoming "Payton's Place"!  

Our adventure began late Monday night when Payton (better known as "Nunkie" or "Nunk" in our family) and I headed into the valley to stay with the in-laws.  The intention was to leave in the early afternoon, but Zeke ended up needing to make a late afternoon trip to immediate care, so we left after dinner.  Turns out he had a virus, but it was good to know that he didn't need antibiotics before I took the van and left town.  Mr. Charming has been such a superstar of a companion, but that is a whole blog post on it's own.  I heart him.

By the time we pulled into Corvallis, it was about 7:30pm.  I stopped at McDonald's (I know; bad health coach!) to get Payton a treat and she told the cute young man behind the counter that she was going to Doernbecher.  He whispered something to the young guy ringing us up and they both turned and set themselves to different tasks.  A second later they came back with an ice cream cone and a huge bag of fries (waaaaaay more calories than intended, but the gesture was Oh so kind!).  As the first young man leaned over the counter to hand Nunkie the delectable ice cream cone, he whispered, "I spent a lot of time at Doernbecher."  

*insert mom tears

She thanked him and bounded happily out the door as I mouthed a "thank you" to both of them.

As we drove up the highway, I was watching for Nunk's reaction when I turned down the familiar drive on Walnut Blvd and into the Pepsi Co. Christmas light display!  I wish I had a camera ready!  She had ice cream on her face and nearly dropped the cone she had previously gripped so tightly, when she realized where we were!  "Oh thank you! These are my most favorite Christmas lights!!"  It was priceless.

A snapshot of some of the display and the great tree of lights

We stopped for a moment to see some family, then headed to Albany to spend the night with the cousins.  It was probably 8:30 or 9pm by the time we got there.  We were both pretty tired, but Payton had a great time playing with Coop and Corb until bedtime.  I love that our kids have cousins that live close(ish)!  

After a long, anxiety-filled night, I hit the alarm shortly after 5am Tuesday morning.  We were on the road by 6:30am - off and running!  

Our first stop at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) was the Pediatric Sedation Unit.  
Payton has lidocaine on both wrists and both elbows to prepare her for the IV.  It had to sit for an hour.  Turns out that Peggy put the IV in her left wrist - first stick, no problem!  Best. IV. Ever.  The ladies there (Peggy & Michelle) were SOOO awesome!!

See her pretty pink-with-purple-hearts bandage?  Here she is inside the sky bridge at the VA Hospital - one of the largest in the world.

Us being silly with our reflections in the sky bridge window

Next we were off to ride the Tram (she says "Trim")!  Payton's most favorite part of OHSU!
The view on the way down 

After her ride, it was up to the Pediatric Urology Unit to visit her favorite N.P., Erin Anderson.  The visit went well, nothing new as she hadn't had her scan yet.

One of the coolest things about the Peds floors is the art and activity cart that goes around for all of the kids in the waiting room.  See Payton's little Rudolph ornament?  Here she is listening to instructions on beading jewelry. 

Making her necklace 

More art supplies - the place was packed!   

 Here is Sean, the guy who was working the art cart.  He was so fun - you could tell he really loved his job!  I wish I had taken pictures of the other helpers.  Payton really liked Dan, but I forgot to get a picture of them together.  Such an amazing place with the most incredible staff - really, really incredible.  It's a place where I could take all 5 kids (although I have no desire to) and know that they would be entertained and love every minute of it!  We are so blessed to have a place like this close to us!  

Payton went down to the basement (literally) to the Nuclear Medicine Unit for her DMSA Scan at 2:30pm.  We had a fabulous anesthesiologist from Germany.  Her name was Heika Gries and she was so dang good at what she does!!  Payton talked to her and Lisa (the radiology nurse) like they were old friends.  She even showed them pictures of her cat, Spaz.  We love our Spazo!  

Heika started to administer the sleeping drug called Propofol (yes, you have probably heard of this drug....two words...Michael. Jackson).  When she told me the name of the drug and noted my eyebrow raise, she explained how it's used and what a good drug it is for sedation.  Payton slipped peacefully to sleep and I stepped into the lobby to wait for the 40 min procedure to finish. Longest. Forty. Minutes. Ever!!

I am a worrier.  If you're Mormon, that may be equated with a lack of faith.  But I have a firm testimony of  what happens after this life and I know where we are going (and it is so much better than where we are now)!  But what parent wants to fathom the idea of losing a child (let alone actually going through it)?  So I worry.  I think about what life would be like if anything were to happen to any one of our children.  I think about what I would do if anything were to happen to my Mr. Charming.  All things that I hope to never. ever. to have to deal with, but things I think about none-the-less.  So I hope you understand that when I get upset (ie: worried) about procedures or upcoming events, it's not because I'm afraid of the outcome, but because I'm afraid of change.  I don't want to have to learn to live without a child or spouse or to have our lives altered unexpectedly, but I do know that IF something like that were to happen, it was for a reason that my Heavenly Father had planned and knew that I could handle.  I just hope he has as little faith in my ability to handle that as I do. ;o)

Needless to say, Payton's scan went really well.  She was an absolute doll to wake up on the table.  She was happy and smiling, no nausea or vomiting.  As she was waking up, her Auntie April came into the room to surprise her.  It took her a little bit, but she was happy for the company.

After April helped me load Payton into the van, we said our goodbyes and headed back home to the coast. It was a long (like 3 1/2 hours long) drive, but it was so nice to come home that night!  Payton was definitely in better spirits, albeit tired.  

The next day, her N.P. called with the results of the scan:

Normal kidneys function with 50% of the work coming from each side (left and right).  Payton's numbers are good:
52% on the right
48% on the left

She does have a defect on her left kidney that may need addressing.  They are going to see how she does with taking her antibiotic every other day (instead of ever day) for 1 month.  If she doesn't get an infection (fingers crossed), we will see if she can be weaned off even more of the antibiotic.  If she does get an infection, it is recommended that she have a procedure called a cystoscopy.  The theory being that she has reflux of the ureters.  All of this remains to be seen, so for this month, we pray and wait.

Thank you so kindly for all of your wonderful comments and prayers.  It is so comforting to know that others love her so much and pray for her well-being.  

We love you all!