Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm so weak.

I have to say, now that I’ve had two 3-day weekends in a row, I am NOT looking forward to working five whole days next week. Oh well, I really enjoyed my Memorial Day weekend and I hope you did too. Mine was super busy so to have a day yesterday where all I had to do was exercise…it was nice. I laid in bed, laid by the pool, laid on the couch and then got back in the bed…so…I most definitely got some rest yesterday. I stuffed in a ton of errands on Saturday…I was able to help with tornado relief for just a tiny bit, I shopped at Wal-Mart and spent a LONG afternoon cleaning. Sunday, I had a little more play time so after I ran and played golf, I was able to swim for a couple of hours and then I enjoyed a delicious Memorial Day meal with my family. At the end of the night Sunday, I was extremely naughty and consumed something I saw on the sign at McDonald’s Sunday morning…

Y’all, I know I’m supposed to be talking about weight loss and healthy food…and I will…I promise…but I saw a sign for this and HAD to have it. Since I allow myself a dessert on the weekends, I splurged and had one Sunday night. I have seen some negative reviews online but they need to come and let the fine people at the McDonald’s in 5-Points Tuscaloosa, AL make them one because it was DELICIOUS! Now, I wasn’t totally bad, I got the snack size which was PLENTY. They stuffed a boat load of Rolo’s in the McFlurry and they were all crushed up and soft and there was caramel EVERYWHERE…it was lining the cup and lid and also in the ice cream. OK…I’m done. I’m not sure how long they will have it and I probably won’t get it again anytime soon but if you have room to splurge…you could try one. YUM!

Ok. I’m sorry…now that I’m done telling you about my Memorial Day misgivings…I will explain the HEALTHY recipe I made. This is Skinny Taco Dip. It was quite tasty and I was able to munch on it all day yesterday. I always worry that when I’m off work…I will sit there and want to eat all day. Yesterday was no different. Luckily, I was able to go to the refrigerator every time I wanted to snack and get this out because it wasn’t bad for me. I actually went to bed super full thinking I’d done something wrong but, I hadn’t. Basically, all you do is break the mixer out and mix together 4 oz of low fat cream cheese, 4 oz of low fat sour cream, salsa and taco seasoning. You top it with lettuce, olives and fresh or Rotel tomatoes. It had great flavor and would be an awesome addition to a party. I was going to use baked tortilla chips to dip but the ones I had were stale so I used the potato chips I bought this weekend…

I’m sure you have all seen these. I’ve had them but it was a long time ago. I went to Subway on Saturday and I saw these chips and I couldn’t remember why I didn’t get them because they are only 75 calories and they taste pretty good. I remembered pretty quickly why I didn’t get them but it was after I had already bought a big bag on my shopping trip. The ingredient Olestra is used in these chips and they can be a bit tumultuous on the stomach. I tried eating them again yesterday and I didn’t have any problems so maybe your tummy just has to get used to them. They are worth a try in my opinion because they are a solid substitute to potato chips and like I said, you get 20 chips for 75 calories…keep Pepto on deck just in case.

I am really hoping to lose 1 or 2 of the 5 pounds I need to lose by Friday so keep your fingers crossed that I stay on point and hope that the fact that I was elbow deep in a Rolo McFlurry this weekend doesn’t cause me to stay the same. I am getting SO excited about New York! I want to get that 5 off so I don’t sulk about weight the whole time and enjoy myself. I’ve had a New York related dream several nights in a row…so…obviously, that’s where my mind is at.

I will get to go soon enough…I’m only 3 weeks away!

Have a good week everyone!

Wish me luck on the scale Friday!


“There's gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I'm gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I'm looking for
There's gotta be something more.” Something More-Sugarland

Friday, May 27, 2011

Long Weekend Y'all!

That’s right! It’s a 3 day weekend for me and many others across America and I am looking forward to it! I am so grateful to the men and women who serve our country (past, present & future) so we can have an extra day off in their honor…especially when so many of them will spend this holiday and several of the next holidays away from their home.

I would like to report that I weighed in this morning for the first time in a few weeks. I was nervous but after over 2 weeks of mostly eating what I want, I have only gained 4 pounds. I was not too disappointed by this because aside for my regular exercise regimen and the last 3 days I’ve had to recuperate, I’ve basically had all I want to eat and drink. All I need to do now is lose 5 pounds by the time I go to New York. That means I have roughly 3-1/2 weeks to lose 5 pounds and get down to one pound below my lowest. I think I should have no problem with that as long as I stay on the straight and narrow. I started thinking about my next goal weight which is about 25 pounds away…I cannot WAIT to see what I look like then! I think that number will certainly be motivation to be a good girl even though now that I’ve lost so much, the amount of food I get is sort of laughable compared to how I used to eat. In the grand scheme of health and nutrition, it’s more than enough food but to my brain…I might as well be starving myself.

So, I’ve been working out at lunch on Wednesday’s and Friday’s so I don’t really have time to go and get lunch. I’ve been experimenting with different low cal things that I can bring to work and heat up. I’m sure you’ve all seen the Soup at Hand from Campbell’s but the Chicken & Stars is only 70 calories. They have a couple of other types that are 80 calories and under but Chicken & Stars is my favorite. It’s not exactly the most filling lunch in the world so you may also want an afternoon snack but it’s quick and easy and very low in calories and fat. Soup is always high in sodium though so if you have blood pressure problems, you may not want to have this too much.

If you know me, you know I am often complaining about the trials of student loans. My loans are through Sallie Mae and honestly, I turn into a crazy person when I talk to them. I have to reapply for this program every year and I have to mail them a form and all of my tax information. I sent this in late January and I got a reminder TODAY to send in the renewal form I already sent months ago. I called to tell them I already sent it and check the status. I was patient for all of 7 seconds. They claim they never received the forms so at this point, all of my personal information could be in an envelope somewhere just floating around. I went ballistic on like 3 different people…I had to talk to multiple people, dig up forms, fax things to two different numbers. AHHH! I just wanted to vent about it. If you don’t have to get student loans, DON’T…if you have no choice, ONLY GET AS MUCH AS YOU NEED. All of my friends are dealing with similar stress and it makes you question the worth of your degrees. Anyway, I just figured I hadn’t complained about loans in awhile and I wanted to share the picture I drew while on the phone with the Sallie Mae monster. I hope you all have a fun and safe weekend! Bye!

“This night is sparkling, don't you let it go
I'm wonderstruck, blushing all the way home
I'll spend forever wondering if you knew
This night is flawless, don't you let it go
I'm wonderstruck, dancing around all alone
I'll spend forever wondering if you knew
I was enchanted to meet you

This is me praying that
This was the very first page
Not where the story line ends
My thoughts will echo your name
Until I see you again
These are the words I held back
As I was leaving too soon
I was enchanted to meet you.” Enchanted-Taylor Swift

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Beach Bum.

Hey y’all! I’m back from my beach trip a little redder and fatter but I had a very nice time. I think I was in the sun WAY too much. As an adult, I have no desire to burn myself to a crisp because a) I no longer have burns that turn into tans and b) burns freaking hurt. I made sure to take extra precautions so I didn’t get burned but I guess three days in the sun proved to be too much for my poor skin. I am only badly burned on parts of my back and chest…oh and the top of my feet. My biggest problem is that somewhere between the sun, sand, lotions and aloe, I developed a quite annoying heat rash that covers a good bit of area on my arms and chest and I find it unsightly but other than taking Benadryl and putting hydrocortisone cream on it, I suppose I will just ride it out. The beach was SUPER hot but the company was fun and the condo was relaxing. I went to the Hangout Festival in Gulf Shores and there were multiple stages with a ton of bands and when we could kick back and listen, it was really pleasant but it was crowded as all get out and there were lots of half naked hippies to bump into…it was an interesting experience. I posted the very few pictures I took below.

As I’m sure you can guess, I consumed my weight in junk food, seafood, fried food and fruity drinks so when you add that to my birthday week, I feel like my weigh in Friday will be a RUDE awakening. The good news is I got PLENTY of exercise at the festival and managed to get my butt out there and run on Sunday morning. I have to say, the difference between running out in the blistering heat and humidity on the pavement and running on the treadmill in an air conditioned building is quite overwhelming. I decided to weigh in Friday to give myself a few days of normalcy. Of course, the second I opened my eyes this morning, I felt like I was starving. Obviously, I’m not starving but mentally, I knew that’s how it would be. I am anxious to see where I’m at on the scale and how much I need to lose in the next 3 weeks to get back to normal before New York. I didn’t have time to make a recipe but I will certainly make one for next week.

Have a good week all…I was glad to see we all appeared to make it through the rapture. Some people are so CRAZY.


“It’s bad when you annoy yourself.” Don’t Let Me Get Me-Pink

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Hey y’all! I truly hope that every one of you had as great of a weekend as I did!!! If you didn’t, I am so sorry and I will keep my fingers crossed that your days get much better. Before I show you some pictures and talk a little bit about my weekend, I wanted to share this week’s recipe.

I call this Baked Turkey Parmesan. The original recipe was for Chicken Parmesan but I like to use what I have to save money and reduce waste. I used a turkey breast to make this…it’s pretty simple, you melt a VERY tiny bit of butter and cover the turkey in it, dip it in bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and then bake it. After you bake it on both sides, you take it out, add tomato sauce (you can use pizza or spaghetti sauce…whatever you have in the house), low fat mozzarella (I used the fat free cheddar I had) and bake it a few more minutes. Take it out once it’s all bubbly and it’s done! It was simple and tasty and low in fat. I am finding that for me, turkey and chicken are basically interchangeable but there are some people that just don’t like turkey…obviously, if you are that person, you will want to use chicken. I didn’t have much spare time the past few days but I wanted to make sure to prepare a recipe mostly to convince myself I could still eat healthy. I ate TERRIBLE this weekend as I predicted so I decided if I could be good yesterday, today and tomorrow, I would scrap my original plan of weighing May 19th and wait until AFTER my beach trip and AFTER I’ve had a few days to recover and weigh on May 27th. This way, I know I won’t have any further temptations for almost 3 weeks and I will know where I stand and how much I will need to lose before I go to New York…I think I told you all I want to be one pound less than my lowest weight by June 17th…I think I can do it…but I want to have fun at the beach and if I weigh before I go, I think I will feel guilty the whole time…who wants that?! So, if I can prove to myself that I can be good for a few days, I think that means I am still OK.

Now that I’ve used WAY too many words to describe something pretty simple, I will say congrats again to my cousin Katie on graduating high school! That is her pictured above…she’s so grown up!!! I wish you the best of luck, Katie! I also want to pre-congratulate my brother’s girlfriend Lisa, who is also graduating this year. Lisa graduates on Thursday. I will be at the beach so I can’t go but I wanted to make sure and give her a shout out too! So, in addition to watching Katie graduate, I also had a pretty awesome birthday-related weekend. I got to go out with Cassandra, hang out with my family and Jordan and celebrate with AWESOME gifts and food! I got money for New York and my dad got me golf clubs! It was an extra special surprise from my family and I LOVE THEM!!! It makes me want to play every day. Look out because I WILL actually play a real game soon. I included some pictures below of the weekend. Thanks SO much to the people who made my birthday special…I am one lucky girl to have such caring, amazing people in my life!

I won’t blog again until next Tuesday because I won’t be here on Friday…when I get back Tuesday, I’m sure I will have pictures to share with you. I’m very excited to get away a few days with friends!!!

Have a wonderful week and weekend!

Stay safe!


“Oh watch me go
I'm a happy girl
Everybody knows
That the sweetest thing that you'll ever see
In the whole wide world
Is a happy girl

Laugh when I feel like it
Cry when I feel like it
That's just how my life is
That's how it goes

Oh watch me go
I'm a happy girl
And I've come to know
That the world won't change
Just 'cause I complain
Let the axis twirl
I'm a happy girl.” Happy Girl-Martina McBride

Friday, May 13, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me Y'all!

That’s right, today I turn 27 years old. I’m still young and all but this aging thing is a strange feeling. People who I remember being born are graduating high school, my face is not as smooth as a baby’s bottom anymore and I NEVER thought I would miss being in college. I guess that’s part of shifting into adulthood. I am happy to have a few more years of my 20s…I don’t think I’m quite ready for 30…I need a little more time. Yesterday, I was lucky enough to have my desk decorated for my birthday. The celebration was a combined one with another coworker so they had the party a day early. I put some pictures below.

I really appreciate the effort that went in to make my birthday special! Thanks to everyone who has given me and will give me birthday wishes! You all are the best! For the past couple of years, I have used my birthday week as an opportunity to pretty much eat what I want. I have practiced a LITTLE BIT of restraint a couple days this week but not much. I’m going to TRY and not go too overboard this weekend but we will see. Even though I’ve done this before and gotten right back on track, I can REALLY tell a difference this year in weight gain. I fully intend to be strict next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before I go to the beach and then get right back on when I’m back but it made me really nervous last night, looking at my belly. I guess that in the past, since I hadn’t lost as much weight, it didn’t make as much of a visual impact. I felt EXTREMELY fluffy last night. That is exactly why I didn’t weigh this morning. I want to give myself a few days of normalcy before I see where I’m at. Even though I can’t possibly fit in all the foods I want in one week, I do a pretty good job and I have stuffed myself with fried chicken, fried green tomatoes (twice), shrimp and grits, steak roll ups and pasta salad, party food like Oreos and chips and dip and tonight…I’m probably either going to go with giant hamburgers or wings. It’s been great but it’s also been a reminder of how quickly my stomach can stretch and I could lose it. Seeing my bloated face and belly in the mirror confirmed my motive though…plus…I’ve felt icky and reflux-y all week…I feel like my body is trying to tell me not to screw up. No worries though, I will feel like I’m starving on Monday but I’ll be alright!

I have another busy weekend in store. I’d like to give a shout out to my cousin Katie…she’s graduating from high school tomorrow and we are going to go see her! Congrats Katie! Sunday, I will have all my usual errands and then my mom is going to make my official birthday dinner. I’m so excited…I’ve already put in a special request for chocolate cake! Ugh, I’m so bad…I think I’ve already grown one of my former chins back…good news though…I’m still exercising like a fiend so…all is not lost! I hope everyone has a great weekend! Bye!

“Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin' across your face.” Truvy-Steel Magnolias

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It’s officially birthday week! I will wish myself a happy birthday on Friday but I must give a shout out to all my May birthdays (hence the reason we call May Birthday Month in my circle)…Happy Birthday to Jordan, Callie, Nish, Thom, Me, Amanda, Grandpa, Robert, Kaitlin, Nichole & Sasha…just to name a few. I always choose this week to eat at the places that I never get to eat at…or I if I do, don’t get what I REALLY want when I go there. This is why I told you last week that I won’t be weighing until the 19th. I will probably be ready to explode by next week anyway…I’ll be ready for a little normalcy and then THE BEACH! I have a lot to look forward to!

In lieu of a recipe (mostly because I’ve had about 1 total hour of spare time in like a week), I decided to share the spread that I made my mother & family for Mother’s Day. I want to give a shout out to David & Lisa because without them, I wouldn’t have been able to go see Water for Elephants with my Mom & Oma. They peeled potatoes, shucked corn, made tea and some other things. My brother is also becoming quite the grill master. I have to say…I know my mom loves R. Pat and I am a fan of Reese Witherspoon and an even bigger fan of Christoph Waltz but I don’t think I’ll be watching Water for Elephants again. I am not good at handling movies that injure those that are helpless and that includes children, the elderly and animals. There is not only violence between humans (it’s crazy how real things look in movies these days), there is also a lot of animal abuse…one brutal scene in particular. I’m not cool with that. Anyway, I digress. Here are a couple pictures of the Mother’s Day spread.

One of my mom’s favorite desserts is Tiramisu. I have never made it before and I found out quickly that Mascarpone Cheese and Lady Fingers are not easy things to find in our little town. I eventually tracked down everything I needed. It tasted quite good…it was a bit mushier than I would’ve liked but I think it turned out all right. The rest of the meal was pretty healthy actually. I’ve made the mashed potatoes (made with low fat buttermilk and parmesan) and the biscuits (also made with low fat buttermilk and I didn’t burn them this time) before to share with you guys. We also had roasted broccoli, grilled corn and grilled chicken with barbecue sauce. The only fattening thing was the butter people added to the potatoes and corn…it was a delicious, filling meal!

I posted a pic below of MOST of the people I know having a birthday in May…I had a few more I could have done but I only had so many flowers. I hope you all have the best birthday ever!

Talk to you soon!


“When the last child cries for a crust of bread,
When the last man dies for just words that he said,
When there's shelter over the poorest head,
We shall be free,

When the last thing we notice is the color of skin,
And the first thing we look for is the beauty within,
When the skies and the oceans are clean again,
Then we shall be free,

We shall be free,
We shall be free,
So stand straight,
Walk proud,
'Cause we shall be free,

When we're free to love anyone we choose,
When this worlds big enough for all different views,
When we're all free to worship from our own kind of pew,
Then we shall be free,

We shall be free,
We shall be free,
Have a little faith,
Hold out,
'Cause we shall be free...” We Shall Be Free-Garth Brooks

Friday, May 6, 2011

Mother's Day is Sunday Y'all...Don't Forget!

It’s been an incredibly long week. It’s an interesting feeling when the tone of a town completely changes and you can literally feel it in the air. Each fall, the collective population of Tuscaloosa gathers together in excitement with the feeling of football in the midst. It’s something you can inhale, smell and almost taste. Usually, this is the only time when we are all connected, when we are going through the same layer and progression of emotions and it’s kind of awesome…there is a reason that the SEC is known as the best conference (at least to us) because you can feel it in your bones here. Those are moments of happiness. The last 9 days, as a collective, we’ve experienced a different barrage of emotional stages. We’ve all experienced fear for ourselves, our homes and our families, sorrow for those who lost loved ones, those who lost everything they own and for the loss of the neighborhoods, businesses and areas we all know, and finally, we’ve felt inspiration and hope gained from the thousands of people so willing to give their time, money and efforts to restoring our cities and the other cities affected. For those of us who survived the storms unscathed, we have felt the need to reach out and do something, to bury the guilt we feel for our immense blessings and the anger we have for the minor inconveniences we’ve faced…our community needs more than that…they need our complete attention and dedication. I can’t speak for other towns but I think they will agree that if you want to experience these bundle of emotions, all you have to do is drive through, see the devastation, see those who barely escaped the path of the storm, see those working hard to restore their lives. Things are already improving, a lot of rubble has been moved and people are being provided for and I want to help as much as I can. A friend gave me this quote from our mayor, Walt Maddox (who has done an AMAZING job), “From the very beginning, I've said we will not let the tornadoes define us. We'll let our determination to overcome ... be what Americans remember us by…” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks to everyone for all of their support for our community. I hope I don’t disappoint myself or my community by slacking in my small role for the relief efforts but I have to say…it’s not easy to do that…all you have to do is drive down one of the main roads in Tuscaloosa and you will run into a neighborhood or area that was hit and there is no way you can forget.

Ok-now that I’ve said all that, I will tell you that I weighed Thursday morning instead of this morning because I celebrated Cinco de Mayo yesterday. I was up around a pound…maybe a few ounces less. Honestly, I’m not at all surprised…I’ve been slacking on the weekends so it stands to reason that I was up a little. I ate too much last night and next week is “birthday week,” so I am not going to get on a scale until the morning of May 19th. This way, I will have several days of being good layered in with the days I’m going to eat too much. I will get a chance to see where I’m at before I go to the beach. My goal is to be about 1 pound less than my lowest weight before I go to New York. That gives me a little over 3 weeks after the beach to get back in the groove and lose anything I will have gained and then maybe even a pound more. As long as I am perfectly strict on the days that I need to be, I should be OK but that’s easier said than done.

I went up to Birmingham Tuesday night to celebrate Jordan’s birthday and this is a picture from that night. It’s kind of ridiculous how many pictures Jordan and I have in this EXACT pose. I think we should challenge ourselves to be more creative from now on…oh well. We had a nice dinner and that’s all that matters. I also had a good time last night with a couple friends. We decided we would be better served enjoying Cinco de Mayo inside our apartment rather than gallivanting our celebratory tails around town…it’s a little too soon for all that but I have to say it was a nice distraction. It was the first time we all sort of got together and enjoyed each other’s company and allowed ourselves to let the conversation stray from the tornado damage. I had way too much yummy food but if you put chips and salsa in front of me and don’t limit me to 12 chips…it’s on.

This weekend, I have a lot of cleaning to do and errands to run, I hope to volunteer some and maybe go to the driving range since I haven’t been in FOREVER. Also, I am going to cook dinner for my Mom, Oma and the rest of the family…

I hope my mom knows how much I appreciate her. I want both of my parents to know that I love them and when I saw them Wednesday night, alive and unharmed, I realized how important each person in my family is to me. I don’t deserve the life I have. I am usually a pretty good gift giver but this year, as much as it pains me, I am pinching pennies (to put it mildly) and I can’t do the things I want to do for them…give them the mother’s day and father’s day gifts that they deserve. Right now, I can’t afford to do anything as I’m scraping every dollar so I can go be young and obnoxiously uninhibited in New York. I have nicer, more fun gifts planned for their birthdays that I hope I am able to do…I know that they are just happy to have me around but one of these days, when I write my best seller…I want to be able to take care of them…until then…I hope dinner, a hug and a card will do. Love you Mom!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

If you still have her, give your mom a hug!


“I don’t know where I’m at
I’m standing at the back
And I’m tired of waiting
Waiting here in line, hoping that I’ll find what I’ve been chasing.

I shot for the sky
I’m stuck on the ground
So why do I try, I know I’m gonna to fall down
I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?
Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.

Not ready to let go
Cause then I'd never know
What I could be missing
But I’m missing way too much
So when do I give up what I’ve been wishing for.

I shot for the sky
I’m stuck on the ground
So why do I try, I know I’m gonna to fall down
I thought I could fly, so why did I drown?
Never know why it’s coming down, down, down.
Oh I am going down, down, down
Can’t find another way around
And I don’t want to hear the sound, of losing what I never found.” Down-Jason Walker

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Hey y’all-it’s been a CRAZY week. I posted a note that I put on the Facebook yesterday below…if you’ve read it, you can skip down, if not, you can choose to read it and then I will tell you about my recipe.

“Wow. I knew that the southern storms from 4/27 wouldn’t last long in the news reel but I never expected that it would be this fast and with a story of such importance. It was both inspiring and disheartening reading my social media updates this morning. Osama bin Laden is no longer a threat to humanity but immediately, people were voicing their political opinions and they were violently ranting in one way or another about who gets credit and yada yada. Shame on you all…seriously. The death of Osama bin Laden shouldn’t be partisan. He has been a tyrant murderer over the course of 3 administrations and it is a slap in the face of the soldiers, the true heroes to engage in petty bickering. We in the South have been through SO much the past few days. Can we, for just one day, celebrate together? I saw a firefighter and the mother of a 9/11 victim this morning and I can PROMISE you they were nothing but gracious that justice had been served. I want to also say that I am very liberal and those who know me, know that but there are a few unsalvageable souls in this world who shouldn’t be here. I heard on the news that Osama bin Laden was responsible for at least 16,000 deaths worldwide. Normally, it is odd and maybe even unwarranted to celebrate death but he was truly evil and since I don’t live in a war zone in the Middle East and since I didn’t lose someone in 9/11, I will be glad for those who may sleep better knowing that a mass murderer who brought down American landmarks, killed thousands and perpetuated violent and ignorant hostility towards the Islamic community, is gone. I think I will keep my mouth shut and let those affected have their bittersweet moment. I want to thank the American soldiers who don’t ask questions and who miss their families every day for their tireless and hard work. Thanking them will transition me perfectly to thanking them again (specifically, the National Guard) for their work in Tuscaloosa.

I would also like to thank the first responders (EMT, Doctors, Nurses, Firefighters), church groups, WALT MADDOX, President Obama, the small businesses donating their time, food and money and to all of those coming in from out of state to do anything they can. I am so inspired by the amount of work people are doing. Like many, I was in the middle of a situation yesterday when there were too many people. I was so unbelievably blessed on Wednesday and I hope that I don’t forget that…I hope that I can continue working and helping rebuild Tuscaloosa. I have to say, even though I drove through Alberta and Holt yesterday and also down McFarland this morning on the way to work and they are so unrecognizable, I can already see a difference. It’s amazing how much has already been done. I have heard a few here and there comparing tornadoes and some bitterness toward Tuscaloosa for all of the national attention. While I agree that there are communities that need more love, everyone that had damage needs help. It doesn’t matter if it was a quarter mile bigger in one city or if seven more houses were obliterated in one town…we should all work together! Please remember Smithville, MS, Tuscaloosa, Holt, Alberta, Brookwood, Peterson, Pleasant Grove, Cullman, Ralph, Ringgold, GA and many, many other communities!

I hope I don’t sound preachy. I could do so much more and these are all only my opinions but I wanted to take a minute to thank some people…even if the only way I can really do that is in words…to those I know that were affected (Whitney, Wes, etc.), please know I will do anything I can to help.”

When I got home Saturday night, I was able to make a recipe. I found the quickest thing I can find with the groceries I had and the few I replaced. I ALWAYS have chicken and I had hot sauce so…I was able to make Skinny Buffalo Chicken Dip. I put a bit too much hot sauce for my taste in there but that combined with light sour cream, fat free chream cheese, light blue cheese and a bit of white wine vinegar, tasted pretty good. I ate it with my Special K Cracker Chips and I enjoyed it. Basically, all you do is throw it all in a pot and warm it up. You can keep it in a crock pot if you want to have it for a party or something. I would recommend using the canned, shredded chicken though so it thickens it up but it worked and filled my belly!

I was able to drive through Holt and Alberta on Sunday after we helped at a church and I drove down roads that I have driven down for years and again, I was heartbroken. I am so, SO LUCKY that my family and I are safe. The areas affected are VERY close to my apartment. I feel so connected with these communities and wish I could do more. They have an abundance of help which is great but it’s the people lost that can’t be brought back. I posted a few more pictures below. I know we’ve all seen enough pictures but I thought I’d share the pictures of the house and neighborhood that I used to live in with Jordan, Cassandra & Nichole. I think we would’ve made it in that house had we been in the basement because the structure is still standing but the shed and nursing home behind it are pretty bad. It’s crazy because I’ve never seen the nursing home before because there were too many trees in the way…the view of it from my old house is now crystal clear. The pictures from the neighborhood below are about a mile or two from where I live now. I will never take Mother Nature for granted again. Please continue to pray for those in need! Don’t forget about them, they will need help for months!

I ate so much I can’t even really type it or say it out loud because I’m so ashamed. There was food provided for the volunteers, I wanted fast food and I cooked dinner for the family Sunday night and there was other food in between. I can’t justify it so I just started right back yesterday and I will continue to be good the next few days. Maintain. Maintain. Maintain. I’m ready for some normalcy…I know a lot of people who are…life must and will go on for those who lived through the storm…I will just do my best to respect the situation and help when I can and stay out of the way when I need to.

“If tomorrow all the things were gone, I’d worked for all my life. And I had to start again, with just my children and my wife. I’d thank my lucky stars, to be livin’ here today…” Proud to be an American-Lee Greenwood

Let us not forget!

Yes, HAPPY BIRTHDAY JORDAN!!! You know, it’s been weird. Each time I’ve smiled or joked, I’ve almost felt bad but people don’t need guilt, they need love and work. Other than that, nobody would want life to not move on…in fact…people want a return to normalcy…they hope that things will go back to the way they were and celebrating birthdays is CERTAINLY normal. So, Jordan, ENJOY your birthday…you deserve it!!! I love you so hard! In case you can’t tell…that’s a crown I put on your head so you can be king for a day! See you soon!

Have a nice week!

Contact me if you need ways to help!

Thanks for all the thoughts!