good reads for your monday.

I had this post 3/4 of the way written and it got deleted.  So this is version 2.0 and I can basically guarantee you it won’t be as good.  Fair warning.


cardinals fan happy Monday from the cutest Cardinals fan!


Happy Monday morning!  I already know this is going to be a better week because our little guy went to bed at a normal time last night.  His sleep has been very off between summer, turning 3 and dropping naps, and then starting back to school.  His little body can’t tell if he’s exhausted or rested, which I can tell his little body that he’s exhausted but that doesn’t seem to help.  So his scattered sleep habits have left us all walking around like sleep zombies for the better part of 3 weeks.  After being up from 11 pm to 3 am on Saturday night and realizing that that was not unusual, we decided things had to change.  I googled my little heart out looking for sleep tips and ways to help him.  Tommy and I sat down yesterday and hashed out a plan and then later shared it with Jack.  He thought it sounded like a good plan for Tommy and me, but wasn’t 100% on board with it himself.  We think he’ll come around 😉   The little man went down at 7:30 and it was celebration worthy!  Sure I had to go back up a bunch to settle him when he woke but progress is progress.


My first draft of this lovely Monday post had a whole bunch of other stuff about reading and how I’m not awesome at it.  It was long and drawn out, so I will eliminate it from version 2.  The summary is that I’m not awesome at reading but wish I was.  Which segued quite nicely into this section of stuff I read over the weekend that I hope you enjoy on this lovely Monday …



There’s been a lot of talk about extroverts and introverts lately.  All of this talk led to my discovery of my own vert.  I never know whether I was an extrovert or introvert because I wasn’t shy but I also wasn’t really social.  I have always liked being around people and doing things with my friends but have also needed time at home, alone.  Low and behold twenty something years later I learned I’m a bit of a mix with but with a little more introvert.  I was kind of surprised but not when I learned that it’s where you get your energy from.  If I’ve been super social [for me], it wears me out and I just have to be home to recover.  I used to think that was so silly, but I’m glad to know it’s just introvercy [?? not a real word].  This post is good.  I can relate to several things — specifically the phone, the down time, and avoiding shows that call for audience participation — I mean really, is there anything worse than that??


The Vols are back!  Watch out.  Will it be a perfect season?  No.  Of course not.  But it’s so fun to have exciting football Saturdays again.  Our team is exciting, we have a great coach, and he is a genius with the whole “brick by brick” stuff.  Go Vols!!


Whenever I start to feel like I’m a stuff manager, I immediately get rid of all the stuff.  We don’t need stuff.  We have plenty of it.  I don’t want to spend my life managing stuff.  I want to live and be in relationships and grow with others.  Not manage stuff.  Love this post.  **If you only have time to read one thing today, read this.  It makes me feel like taking a deep breath, looking around and saying it’s ok.  And now I’m going to go get rid of more stuff.


Check out my post from last Monday over on Knoxville Moms Blog.  I shared about UT game day traditions — it’s football time in Tennessee!


Thanks so much for sharing about your summers.  I really enjoyed reading what you were up to and some of the high points.  What I want to know today is — are you an introvert or an extrovert??


snacks for 100 calories or less.

I don’t know about you but in the summertime we are snacking a lot!  We snack at the pool, at the park, in the car, and even at home.  It seems too hot to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking, so we do a lot of snacking throughout the day.  Sometimes we even have larger snacks for meals.


I don’t want to be absent-minded about the snacks we are eating.  I want to feed my son, my husband, and myself wholesome food — even in the lazy days of summer.  I compiled a list of 12 snacks under 100 calories.  Today I’m sharing it over on the Knoxville Moms Blog.  I hope you will head over there and read it!  Let me know what your favorite snacks are.  We aren’t the only snacking family are we??


You can find my post with healthy snack options over here.


12 snacks under 100 cals.jpg

weight loss update.

It’s time for another weight loss update.  If you missed before, here’s the run down.  I hit my breaking point, I started trying to lose weight, I got really serious about my exercising and my food intake, and here I am.


I am really happy to share that I have lost 3 pounds since my starting weight.  Since my last update, that is a healthy weight loss.  Not an awesome or impressive weight loss, but it equates to about a pound a week.  However, from the point I started I went up and have been coming back down.  So I’ve lost 6 pounds total — but gained 3 before losing any.  Yikes.  It feels good to be actually losing weight now.  I feel like I’m making steps in the right direction.  And that definitely helps fuel the fire and keeps me going on my weight loss adventure.


A few things that have been helping me:

1.  A food journal.  So super important!  I didn’t start doing this at first because I thought I knew what I was eating.  But once I wasn’t losing weight, I started keeping a journal of what I was eating — and WOW!  Since I started this is when I started losing weight.  I always told patients and clients how important it was, but I am definitely learning for myself now.


2.  Cutting out Coke.  I love Coke.  Confessions of a dietitian.  I just do.  I know it’s bad for me.  I know all the stuff.  But it’s sweet, sugary taste is my favorite.  I cut it out and am just drinking Diet Coke.  It’s not the same, but it’s 0 calories.  I cannot lose weight while drinking an empty calorie beverage on a regular basis.


3.  Making water taste better.  I plan to expand on this one in a post soon.  But drinking water is so important, and I like when it has good flavor.


4.  Not being too strict.  I don’t do well when on a super strict diet.  That’s why I am always an advocate or having a healthy lifestyle, as opposed to dieting.  Part of a healthy lifestyle for me means chocolate.  I love chocolate, so if I deny myself of it, I go crazy catching up.  I have to allow it in small amounts on a regular basis.


5.  Pedometer.  I’m wearing a pedometer as much as I can to track how much I’m moving.  I’m aiming for 10,000 steps a day.  Wearing a pedometer motivates me to keep moving and be less lazy.  It also makes me appreciate chores like vacuuming — which can me to take lots of steps!



I will touch up on some of these things in more detail to come.  Just happy to see changes happening in my body.  I feel so much better, my muscles are getting stronger, and I am a much healthier person now than I was 2 1/2 months ago.  And that’s the whole idea!


Hope you’re having a good week and it’s going by quickly — can’t believe it’s Thursday already!


pedometer reading


getting organized.

I’ve been working on lots of organizing around my house.  As part of #healthyandorganized2014 I’ve been on a huge organizing kick.  I don’t know about you, but in our house things have a way of coming unorganized and out of sorts over time.  And of course there are plenty of areas that I never organized in the first place, or organized “just good enough” because I didn’t want to put the time and effort into it before.


So far this year I’ve been trying to focus on some of those areas, and I’m excited to share them.  Today I’m sharing a few of them over on the Knoxville Moms Blog.  Head over there and check out my post.




Happy Tuesday friends!

let’s talk about weight loss.

Weight loss is a subject that I am very familiar with.  As a Registered Dietitian I have counseled many patients and clients about weight loss.  However, I have never really been in a position where I need to lose weight before, so I don’t know what it’s like first hand.  I think sometimes you can have all the knowledge in the world, but if you haven’t experienced something first hand you just aren’t going to fully get it.  Weight loss may fall in to that category, too.


weight loss


For the first time in my life, really, I am in a position where I need to lose weight.  Like I’ve shared, my body has been through a lot in the last year and a half.  My pregnancy with Gabriel was physically challenging, and I had the opposite problem — I had a really hard time gaining weight.  I weight almost as much right now as I did when Gabriel was born.  I lost all of the baby weight right away — within the first 2 weeks.  Then I lost another 10 pounds between June and October because I was so sick with a gallbladder that wasn’t functioning.  Before I had my gall bladder removed in October, I weighed the lowest I had weighed since middle school or maybe freshman year of high school.  Then I gained 17 pounds between October and February.  Talk about weight fluctuation.  Up and down and up and down.  That put me just a few pounds above my usual body weight.  And then I started steroids.  Which I now believe is a miracle drug — because of how much better I feel — but it doesn’t come without side effects.  Including weight gain.  I put on 10 pounds in the first month on steroids.  Hello significant weight gain.  And hello reality check.


During that month there were a lot of times that I felt really bad about myself because of my nutrition — mainly my poor food choices.  I knew I was making bad decisions, I knew I was gaining weight, I could see changes happening, but I just kept sitting in that.  Gaining 27 pounds over the course of 6 months is crazy and hard on the body, and I could feel that resonating in my body physically and also emotionally.


I reached my breaking point.  I stepped on the scale, saw the number, and realized I had to make changes.  And I know I’m not  alone.  So I’m going to share my weight loss journey here on this blog.  Because I apparently enjoy doing scary things.  But I am hoping that it will be an encouragement to anyone else who is working through this or feels that tug to get going on it.  Maybe we can do it together?  Maybe you can keep me accountable?


I will go more in depth on different aspects of weight gain, weight loss, nutrition, exercise, the emotions behind it, and whatever other random stuff you know I will throw in.  But today I just wanted to share with you that this is where I am.  In a new territory, learning things, trying to apply the book stuff and the head knowledge to my own real life.  I’m excited to share what I learn.  I am also humbled to admit there’s some ugliness in all this, too.  And I’m really hoping that I can get back on track to a healthy state.  One where I’m not concerned with numbers but with overall health.  Where I eat a really well-balanced diet and I live a healthy lifestyle.  It’s always been my passion, and I want to get back to it.


Also, I want to address this — I know that I will hear from many of you that I am so little, I couldn’t have gained that much weight, it doesn’t show, etc.  And I appreciate your kind words.  I am a petite person.  I always have been.  My Mamaw, my mom’s mom, was a short and very petite woman as was her family.  I seem to have those genes.  I have a petite frame and look like a little person, but over the past little while I have added weight on to my small frame that shouldn’t be there.  But even more than the pounds, it’s about the food choices I’m making and not living a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.  That’s what I want to get back to.  I notice differences in the way my body feels.  There is extra skin, and fat??, that didn’t used to be there.  And the tell tale sign — when you rip through 3 pairs of jeans in 2 days you can’t help but slump your shoulders and throw in the towel.


So I hope you will join me.  Maybe if you’ve walked this before and have some tips for me, you will share with me.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And I will definitely share how it’s going and what I’ve learned.  So far my favorite thing I’ve learned about — barre classes.  I am obsessed.  I’ve been able to do them at home, which works really well with my schedule since I can’t get away to work out.  I also have some other forms of exercise to try out and am looking forward to seeing what is fun and works great!

the 40 hanger project {how i got rid of a lot of clothes}.

the 40 hanger project graphic

As I mentioned last week, I recently took on the challenge of completing the 40 hanger project.  I was inspired by a couple of women on the Knoxville Moms Blog team.  Laura is completing a 50 hanger project herself and Natalie, knowing I was on an organizing mission, thought it would be a good one for me to tackle.  I love a good challenge, my closet was a huge mess, and I love organizing my spaces.  So challenge accepted!


If you saw the clip on the news last week or saw me mention it on here, here is the detailed post about it.



the 40 hanger project


When I first heard of this challenge I heard that you get 40 hangers and that’s it.  I built my own rules to fill in the gaps, so if you decide to try a challenge this like feel free to use my rules or substitute your own.



closet before full picturecloset before

the befores [yikes!!]



1st step:  Go buy hangers.

You can definitely do this project without spending any money on hangers!  I went ahead and took the plunge to buy new hangers because I have wanted matching hangers for a very long time but could never justify spending the money on them.  I’ve heard so many fantastic things about velvet hangers, and really 40 hangers is not all that many, so I went to Target and bought them.  You can also find similar ones like these on Amazon. Closet Complete Ultra Thin No Slip Velvet Hangers for Shirts and Dresses, Black, Set of 50


I found that having nice hangers — and a limited number of them — really helped with the motivation of the whole project.


These were on clearance at Target because of the color.  They were 50% off, so I snagged up all the turquoise ones they had.  I have no problem having brightly colors hangers, especially when I can pay half for them.  I did still buy Tommy the plain white ones, though, for his side.



2nd step:  Pull everything out.

I pulled every clothing item out of my closet until it was empty.  Then I sorted and started deciding what to get rid of and what to keep.


closet during


closet cleanout

3rd step:  Get rid of clothes!

I started with 124 hanging clothing items.  I did my first round thinking I had to be close to 40 and found that I was at 100.  Whew, it was a lot of work to dwindle down to 40.  But I loved it.  I had so many clothes I hadn’t worn in a very long time.  I had some things I kept holding on to just in case I needed them.  But if I had never needed them before, why would I need them now?  It felt really good to just get rid of stuff!


4th step:  Get rid of hangers.

I got rid of all of my old hangers.  Plastic, wire, fabric, my total mismatched, chaotic collection got bagged up and taken to the local thrift shop to donate.  There is no point keeping extra hangers around.  If I keep a stash of hangers around, that is only setting myself up for failure down the road to add more clothes.  Plus no one needs the clutter of all those extra hangers.


5th step:  Sort clothes to get rid of.

Some of my clothes got donated and some are going to be consigned and sold.  I separated them into piles and took the stuff to be donated right away before it got stashed somewhere and forgotten about.  The clothes to consign needed to be hung nicely and taken to the store or put online.


6th step:  Hang clothes to keep on new hangers.

This is a fun part.  It’s exciting to get stuff back in the closet and make it look really nice.


7th step:  Put clothes back in closet and organize.

Some people organize their closet by color, but that stressed me out.  I organize mine by type of shirt — starting with tank tops, then short sleeve, 3/4 length, long sleeves, sweaters, skirts, and dresses.  However you organize your closet doesn’t matter, just make it neat and systematic in a way that works for you.


closet clean out during


8th step:  Step back and admire your work!

It’s a really good feeling to see a project get completed.  This is one that you could do for free — and in fact, could even make money on if you sell some of your old clothes!

clean closet



closet organized
[I don’t usually keep Junior Mints in my closet, but since it is right next to my bathroom and we are in the throes of potty training, this is a good, high place for them.]


I know this seems extreme, and it kind of is.  But I have felt for a long time that we just have too much stuff.  There is no reason I need a closet busting at the seems with clothes.  It is just plain excessive.  But knowing that and doing something about it are two different things.  So I am glad that I was encouraged to go ahead and take on this project.  If you are interested in this but don’t want to do 40 hangers, that is fine!  Just cut down to a number that works for you — 50, 75, 100, whatever.



A few practical tips —

~ I kept a lot of staple shirts, meaning shirts that I can wear year round with different pants, skirts, sweaters, etc. to get a different look

~ I used a long 5 in 1 pant hanger for my pants and I don’t count that as one of my forty hanger

~ I folded some sweaters and sweatshirts and keep them in a bin on a shelf

~ My blue jeans and t shirts are in drawers in my chest

~ I bought new hangers for Tommy’s side of the closet too.  He decided to get rid of a lot of his shirts as well.



I also bought these organizational shelves at Target, knowing it would help us to put things up there and keep our closet better organized.


I definitely encourage you to try to par down your closet.  It feels great to walk into a clean, closet and not have to part the seas to get a shirt out to wear.  I also don’t have as hard of a time getting dressed in the morning because since I only have 40 items, I like everything I have!  I used to stand in my closet thinking I had nothing to wear, but now I can walk right in and quickly pick something out because they’re all my favorites.



Another project down in #healthyandorganized2014 and I am loving the way it feels to get rid of stuff and be more organized!



the 40 hanger project


Have you done any big organizing projects lately?  Have you gotten rid of a lot of clothes before?  How many clothes are in your closet?  I want to hear!


organizing the chest.

We didn’t have a TV in our bedroom until last April.  Tommy gave it to me as an early birthday present because I was almost bedridden while I was pregnant with Gabriel because I felt so physically bad.  We experimented with where to put it and ended up rearranging some furniture so we could put it up on the chest and out of Jack’s reach.  The satellite box was a challenge because there was no way it was going to fit on top of the chest, too, so Tommy got creative.  He took out the top drawer of the chest and we placed the Dish box in there.  It works really well for us and looked alright except on the left side where junk would just pile up.


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Tired of the junk, I went on a search for something to help organize this area.  If we still lived in the DC area I definitely would have started at the Container Store but no such thing around these parts.  So I went to my favorite store – Target – and found this tray.


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I love the way this tray looks.  It’s sophisticated and fun, and I knew it would look great in our bedroom.  So it came home with me.


Nikon D3200 954

It works as a nice area to hold the Wii, remote controls, and a few other random things.


This project took me less than 5 minutes and makes a big difference in how that area looks.  Just one reason why I love organizing – it makes a big impact!

healthy bits from last week.

Happy Sunday friends!  I hope you’ve had a nice weekend.  It is sunny and 54 here right now!  It’s windy, but it’s such a nice day out.  Tomorrow the low is 14 and they’re calling for scattered snow showers.  You just never know what the weather will be like in East Tennessee.


Our Maryland friends got some snow last week!  Lately I have really been missing Maryland, and mostly our friends there.  I think because our first winter there was so intense [3 blizzards], winter just makes me think of Maryland.  And my heart misses our dear friends there.  I loved our little house in the snow.  It was cozy and the radiant heat made it feel even cozier.

None of that has anything to do with my post today though.  Today I wanted to share what #healthyandorganized2014 steps I took last week.

Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I haven’t been as good on the healthy as I have on the organized.  I did make one of my favorite, very healthy vegetables dishes a couple of weeks ago.



Last week Tommy’s mom, his uncle from Wisconsin, and Tommy’s mom’s friend, Christy, came over for lunch.  Christy brought this for dessert.

angel food cake and berries


It was very sweet, very delicious and definitely a healthy dessert option.  Angel food cake is a great way to go to save on calories and the berries are a great way to get in fresh fruit.  Top it off with low fat cool whip and you are in healthy dessert business.
As I shared earlier in the week, I made white chicken chili.  It was such a healthy dinner and so easy to make.


white chicken chili



So even though I made chocolate chip cookies twice, I did make some healthy choices lately, too.  Sometimes I get caught up in the all or nothing mindset, even though I taught against it to all of my patients.  Looking back on the week to think about healthy steps helps me to see what I did well.  And it also helps me to see areas I could improve upon.  Like the Cokes I had to drink 🙂

organizing Christmas cards.

Today I want to share what I’ve been working on lately when it comes to the organizational aspect of #healthyandorganized2014


How I organize Christmas cards… 

I love Christmas cards.  So much.  I hang them up all over our living room.  I love seeing greetings and pictures of our friends and family during the holiday season!  I also can’t stand to throw them out after Christmas.  They’re so beautiful!  The likelihood of me looking through them in the future is low, but I like to know I can if I wanted to.  [This is so not like me, by the way.  I usually throw most things out – I’m not a pack rat.  But Christmas cards are my weakness.] 

 Nikon D3200 004

Here are our cards this year hung up in the living room and dining room.  Please excuse the huge mess and misplaced furniture.  I remembered I needed to take a picture before I took cards down during the middle of construction and painting. 


To keep all of the cards from each year together, I tie them together with ribbon. 


It’s a very simple way for me to keep a lot of cards organized. 

Here’s what I do: 
1.  Gather supplies – ribbon, whole punch, scissors, and cards. 

Nikon D3200 001


2.  Hole punch each card and stack them. 

Nikon D3200 002 


3.  Thread ribbon through and tie it together. 

     Nikon D3200 003


It easily stores in my storage closet. 



Does anyone else store Christmas cards?  Or organize them?  Or am I alone in this one?  🙂 

organized friday.

Since it’s been a week since I shared about #healthyandorganized2014 I thought it might be time for an update.  The healthy aspect is not doing awesome.  Between wedding craziness last week and weekend and an autoimmune flare I’m in this week, I’ve got little to brag about.  I’m trying to take some small steps, but it’s just not going awesome.  Baby steps, right?  Small changes.  That’s what I always told patients.  Trying to remember that advice for myself. 


On the other hand, I am making good progress getting organized.  Things are getting cleaned up and back in shape in my house after a super messy and disorganized home last week.  We had construction going on in our living and dining rooms, meaning not only were they messy but we couldn’t use them for a week.  So other rooms got messy, too.  This week is definitely feeling better. 


My specific organizing piece that has helped me out so far this year is my planner.  I love to plan – probably too much.  Even as a kid I loved planners.  I loved when I would get to pick out a new planner each year.  Had to get all those 3rd grade homework assignments and sleepovers straight.  Last year I got an awesome planner that worked really well for me, but it wasn’t the perfect fit for what I needed.  I did some more research and ordered a new planner for this year.  And I love it!  It’s working out really well ten days in to the year. 


My planner helps me to keep my life organized.  I can write down appointments, play dates, lunches, what I’m fixing for dinner, and my to-dos.  For me, in order for the rest of my life to be organized, I have to start by being organized in my planning.  Otherwise, I have no direction and it just turns in to chaos. 




How I use my planner: 

On Sunday, I write out plans for the week, as well as dinner plans for each night.  Then I make specific plans for Monday.  Each morning I go over my planner and add in the things I need to do that day.  Then I check them off throughout the day.  Each night I sit down and review the day, and plan for the next one.  It doesn’t take very much time, and for me it makes a big difference as to whether my week runs smoothly or not. 



So what about you?  Are you a planner?  Does this post stress you out big time?  Do you think I’m crazy or are you just like me?