Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Something profound happened tonight. Profound in the world of raising a four year old. I feel the need to share because it is something I will never forget.

Brandy has been going to vacation bible school this week. She missed the first day of it because, quite frankly, I forgot. After a slight four-year-old meltdown, I found out the schedule for the rest of the week and decided to let her attend. She loved Tuesday night and was excited to go tonight (Wednesday).

Tonight, the "lesson" they learned was that even though we do wrong/bad things, Jesus still loves us. To a four year old, that's a big deal. Their little minds are so busy processing good vs. bad and asking things like "Mommy, do you still love me even if I (fill in the blank)?", so this is a good subject to talk about.

Let's start with supper...they feed the kids a light meal before starting the program. Tonight (Wednesday) was spaghetti. My child quickly informed them that the spaghetti they served was "not like we have at home". They gave her some goldfish and watermelon as a substitute. Then, after some song and dance, they were off to their classrooms for their lessons.

The classes (grouped by age) all return at around 8:00 PM to listen to another story, do a group activity, then conclude the evening. By this time, my child comes up to me and says she is "starving". I encouraged her to return to her group since there was only 30 minutes left. That did not work. She is Scott's child too, ya know! I tried to share some grapes I had in my bag with her. Nope. Long story straight, the preacher himself left the soundboard to go find Brandy a snack. More goldfish and a second brownie. (They had just had brownies for an evening snack...)

Brandy climbed up in a chair and started nibbling.

Meanwhile, as you know, the show must go on...the bible school leader, Ms. Melody starts the groups on a special activity. Each group of children sat in a circle and the group leaders held open a big black trash bag. Up on the stage, in front of the children, was a beautiful cross, all lit up with tube lights.

Ms. Melody instructed the children to think of something bad or wrong that they had done (or said) and to "throw it away" in the big trash bags. Maybe they had been ugly to a friend. Or not listened to Mom or Dad. Whatever it was, they just had to think of it, then throw it away.

They turned down the lights, and when the children were done, the group leaders took the trash bags and draped them on the cross. Then a guy dressed as Jesus entered the room (lights still down, somber music playing) and proceeded to clear off the cross, essentially washing away the sins or "bad stuff" that had been confessed or "given" to Him.

MEANWHILE... Brandy is in her chair, munching, when all of a sudden she starts crying. She comes up to me and tells me that she didn't get to throw her bad stuff away. She said she was "left out". I gently told her to go up and put something in one of the trash bags. She was afraid to go alone and asked me to go with her, so there we went...

The kids and leaders are all still singing, the lights are still down low and here we go, Brandy Mae and Mommy, hand in hand, walking down the center of the room up to the stage. We get to the cross and she refuses to do anything. So we turn around and start walking back to our chair and she starts wailing. Ms. Melody, who is trying to start talking to the groups, gives me a pity look as I am trying to coax my inconsolable child back to either her group or the car at that point. I was torn between feeling so bad for her and trying to keep her from disrupting the entire program. Sooo, she is still bawling and I am about to cry for her because her little heart is just broken. She told me that she was "full of bad things" and that she "did not get to throw them away" and it was "too late because Jesus already left". One of her group leaders stepped in and held her and talked to her for a while. At this point, I was feeling pretty helpless anyways.

A few minutes later, it was time to go and Brandy was still boo hooing. We got in the car and I tried to convince her to "throw the bad things out the car window". I tried. I "threw" one of mine out to show her, but she said it would not work. She was pretty torn up all the way home. Longggg drive, by-the-way. I told her that He knows what's in our hearts. The next thing she said to me made time stand still...

"Mommy, I need to tell you something."
"I did not really believe in Jesus until tonight when he showed up and I could really see him."

(then she started bawling again because she "still had bad things to throw away".)

I tried the "out the window" thing again to no avail.

As we continued to head down the road, I saw the big, lit up cross in the church parking lot at the end of our street. If anyone had been sitting at the stop sign there, I probably would have plowed into them because I literally swung my Pontiac into the church parking lot. I threw the car into park, and turned to face my sweet girl.

I said "do you see that cross?" ("Yes") "Do you want to throw away your bad stuff there, at that big cross?" ("Yes") "Then let's go."

We got out of the car and walked up to that big, simple, beautiful white cross. I have never felt so small and humble in my life as I did as I stood there in the dark, next to my child, who bowed her head and said "Please Jesus, take away my bad stuff. Please."

I repeated her simple plea. Then I said "do you think we should say Amen?". So we did, and then we walked back to the car.

We drove down our road silently and when we got to the driveway, I asked her if she felt better.

That simple "Yes." was all I needed to hear.

I am pretty sure I saw Jesus tonight too.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Brussel Sprouts?

I have never eaten Brussel Spouts. Scott has never had them. Brandy has never had them. We never really intended to either.

But then there was Pinterest.

And all of the yummy things on Pinterest.

I saw a delicious looking pin and dutifully, I virtually tacked it up on my NomNomNom board.

I pinned it only a week ago, and I think I broke some sort of pin-then-actually-attempt-to-make-something record. I got all my ingredients together and later, when we went grocery shopping, the brussel sprouts at Harris Teeter were gorgeous. It had to be a sign!

Here are my very own sprouts looking majorly delicious on the stove top yesterday evening:

Are they stunning, or what? I shot this pic just after I had deglazed the pan and added the sesame seeds and honey.

I will admit, I did not use the recipe's suggestion of what to deglaze the pan with. I did not have chicken broth or white wine on hand, so I grabbed the first "fruity" thing I had in the fridge... which was an opened bottle of Hint Fizz Peach.

It worked quite well. LOL

The verdict was mixed in my household, as you will read below. Bottom line, though, definitely try this recipe if you have never had this lovely little vegetable. It might surprise you.

Verbatim Verdicts...

Christina:  "Yum! I will make these again. But with less red pepper..."

Scott:  "I don't like cabbage and these are like little cabbages. I like the sweet/spicy glaze though. Can you put it on something else besides baby cabbages?"

Brandy: ★ "I'm not eating that thing." (tried half of one...swallowed it) "Thank you mommy, but I do not ever want any more of those things."

             Momma tried...

Here is the recipe for you to try. Let me know how you and your family liked it!

Sweet & Spicy Brussel Sprouts

1 lb fresh Brussel sprouts, ends trimmed and sliced in half

1 T fresh ginger
1 T sesame oil
1 T canola oil
2-3 T soy sauce (low sodium is good!)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Black & white Sesame seeds
¼ cup chicken broth or white wine
1/4 cup honey

In a large sauté pan, over medium to medium high heat, add both sesame and canola oils with the grated ginger and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Once oils are heated and ginger starts to bubble add brussel sprouts. Shake pan to distribute brussel sprouts and add soy sauce.

Cook for about 10 minutes, once brussel sprouts begin to caramelize (turn a golden brown) you can deglaze the pan with your broth or white wine…just need a splash. Cook another 2-3 minutes, shake pan a few times. 

Add honey and a few sprinkle of sesame seeds, cook another 2-3 minutes or until brussel sprouts are tender.

Link to original recipe and poster.

I'm official.

Oh yeah! will bring you right here. Fancy!


St. John's Wort

I really do not know where to start with this post, but I definitely want to put it out there. Perhaps the Christinipedia version will work. :) I will keep it short.

What is St. John's Wort?
Definition: a flowering perennial plant species of the genus Hypericum and a medicinal herb that is sold over-the-counter as a treatment for depression.

Aliases: Hypericum perforatum, Tipton's weed, goatweed, chase-devil (my personal favorite), or Klamath weed

Known species: 370 of the genus Hypericum

Typical Dosage: 300mg 3 times a day

What does it look like?
St. John's Wort shrub

Quite beautiful flowers

Bottle of SJW

Capsule form

Side Effects?
I have read that side effects can include light/sun-sensitivity, dry mouth, stomach irritations and dizziness. I have experienced none of these myself. There was one particular brand I tried in the past that I swear gave me horrible headaches...

Keep in mind, you can always google this stuff for yourself. (I wonder if anyone has ever googled themselves to death...)

Here are my personal thoughts...
This stuff works. It's amazing. If I miss a day or two of taking it, I can tell a very noticeable difference in my attitude, feelings, and general state-of-mind. So can my family and friends. (Sorry y'all!) It keeps my depression at bay. For real. For. Real.

I only take one 300mg capsule a day, around lunchtime. It's enough for me. I always believe you should just take enough of this stuff to be effective. My doctor knows I take it and is fine with it. She agrees that it is a known anti-depression supplement and believes in the use of SJW. She always reminds me that there are prescription drugs out there that "will do the same thing" though. Ugh!

I encourage anyone out there to explore the possibilities of SJW for mild depression. Always consult with your doctor of course, cause y'all know I'm just blogging about myself and what works for me. :)

Another easy quick fix that I have found is Badger Balm's Cheerful Mind Balm. It "uplifts the mind". I found mine at Earthfare and I keep it in my purse. This stuff is great and Brandy loves to take a whiff too! Portable, happy aromatherapy at its best! Sweet orange, lemon, spearmint and ylang ylang coming right at cha!

Also comes in stick form. *Sniff*


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Tomatoes and blogging for lunch

Guess what's for luuunch...

You know it! Mater sandwich!!!

I will not mislead you. I have not been eating this fresh and this healthy 100% of the time. You can look at me and tell that. However, let's all rejoice at the beautiful lunch I packed today...

✿ Kinley tomato
✿ Light Honey Wheat Bread
✿ Sugar Snap Peas
✿ Grapes
✿ Miracle Whip Light*

Seriously, let's have a moment of silence for this glorious sandwich.
That tomato was juicy and everything that a cardboard-grocery-store-tomato wishes it could be. My father-in-love shares his garden bounty with us and I love it!

Yeah, I'm getting to that mayo situation in a minute. I just thought that the sandwich needed a moment all to itself.

(It's gone now, btw. In. My. Tummy.)

OK, so back to the business at hand. I know it is a cardinal sin to use anything other than Duke's on a tomato sandwich, but let's face it, at 100 calories per tablespoon, I just can't. Lately, I really cannot justify Duke's Light at 50 calories per tablespoon either. Why? Because I like a LOT of  "mayo" on my mater sandwich dang it!

Enter: Miracle Whip Light


I know.

I am managing though. It's not so bad. For a first-timer, I was pleasantly surprised. Plus, I can have 2 big ol' tablespoons for 20 calories each. That definitely makes MyFitnessPal happy... In order to maybe, possibly, eventually meet our goals, we have to make adjustments. Sacrifices if you will. This is a small one. The sandwich was great. It was a juicy, local, family-grown tomato for Pete's sake. The tomato makes the sandwich. The mayo Miracle Whip is really just an assistant stagehand background singer (fill in something here). I don't know what to call it because all the other words are very important positions! Anyways, let me not turn this into another tangent, you get my point. That Kinley tomato was the star!

And none was left behind. Here I am eating the "butt" of the tomato. :)

Medicine and Supplements

Occasionally I get asked what medicines/supplements I take for my PCOS, so I thought this would make a good post. Interesting, maybe not for non-PCOSers, but informative none-the-less.

Before I start rattling off a list of drugs, I would like to point out that I have now had about 18 regular menstrual cycles in a row. Yep, you read that right, 18 months of periods! I guess regular is not a good word...they are not like exactly 28 days apart or anything, but wow. Never. Never in my life have I been this regular steady. I've talked about my absence of periods here, and with my history of few to none, I am most definitely happy to be having them now. I contribute my regularness (new word! yeah!) to my combination of meds and supplements.

Now, we all know I am certainly not Dr. Christina by any means. I only know what works for me and my body. I'm not handing out medical advice here ya'll...

Prescription Medicines:
  • Metformin (1000 mg twice a day)
  • Aldomet (1000 mg twice a day)

  • Vitamin B Complex (1 caplet in the AM)  (find it here)
  • Vitamin C with Wild Rose Hips  (500 mg in the AM)  (find it here)
  • Vitamin D3 (1000 IU in the AM)  (find it here)
  • St. John's Wort (300 mg at Noon)  (find it here)
  • Potassium Gluconate (550 mg every other PM)  (find it here)
(Here is a whole separate post about St. John's Wort and how it absolutely manages my depression.)

Questions you may be dying to ask:
Do I use one of those little pill boxes? Yep!
Do I feel like a little old lady? Yep!
Does my husband occasionally poke fun at me for it? Yep!
Do I sit down every Sunday morning and divvy out my pills? Yep!
Does he call me a pharmacist? Yep!
Do I look like a pharmacist counting out my little pills and putting them in to the right sections? Yep!
What does your pill box look like? Keep reading...

My pill box looks like this one. I got it at the Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, $1. The text has almost rubbed completely off of mine, but I use a sharpie and re-do it on occasion.

I also learned the hard way that if you bend the little lids back too far, they will snap right off, leaving you with no other choice but to go spend another dollar!

So why these specific vitamins?

Keep reading, I addressed each one below. I kept it simple. I have done my research (online, discussions with my doctors, personal preference, trying different supplement combinations) and so can you. My "reasons" below are my personal reasons and definitely not the only things these vitamins can do for our bodies. I just listed the ones that really stick out for me. If you want more information, I encourage you to do your research. There is plenty out there, so I am not going post it all here. This post could go on for days! Just make sure your sources are reliable.

Vitamin B Complex (1 caplet in the AM)
Energy, supplement possible deficiency

Vitamin C with Wild Rose Hips  (500 mg in the AM)
Immune support, fight free-radicals, much more

Vitamin D3 (1000 IU in the AM)
Depression, seasonal disorder, immune, strong bones & teeth

St. John's Wort (300 mg at Noon)

Potassium Gluconate (550 mg every other PM)
Heart, nervous system

What brand of vitamins do I use? Puritan's Pride. They are SO affordable and work well for me. (exception: Potassium Gluconate is from Walgreen's...) I actually linked you right to the ones I use in the first med list above. You're welcome!

Their bottles are beautiful translucent colors too, with flip-top caps. It never hurts to have a little color :) I also buy coconut oil, Scott's vitamins, and other things from them. They do B1G2 and B2G3 sales a lot. Totally awesome!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I'm not going.

Just a little (but dead serious where I'm concerned) humor for this evening...

Monday, July 21, 2014

I rock.

I hoard things. Awesome things, like Martha Stewart glitter and craft supplies, buttons, trolls, Lisa Frank goodies, dream catchers and vintage stickers. I am running out of wall space because I meet and fall in love with so many prints, canvases and artsy pieces. I guess you could say my walls and Christmas trees runneth over.

I do not like my feet touching the bare floor. It makes my feet feel dirty. Carpet is ok. But if my feet touch the hardwood floor at home, I will go wash them.

I like symmetry and evenness, but not in the traditional hang-art-on-the-walls way. It is more of a physical thing... If I tap my left foot, I feel the need to tap my right one. Then almost always, I tap both feet to the left, then to the right, then to the front and the back. Then I do the diagonal directions. Imagine your head as a compass. Lean your head North (forward), then South, (backwards). Then lean it to the West (left), then the East (right).

If I eat something small, like M&Ms for example, I eat even numbers of them. One at a time is ok, but not three or five at a time. It has to be two, four or six. Even.

I count a lot. I see a bridge up ahead when going down the highway... I will tell myself that I have to be under that bridge within 30 seconds or whatever. Then I start counting. It is ok it I do not make it within the specified 30 seconds, but I feel defeated. I don't speed up to make the 30-second mark, I just estimate. Then if my estimation is wrong, I guess that's where the defeated feeling comes from. I also count how long it takes me drive from block to block, etc. I sometimes count steps. (Of course my Fitbit does that for me now!)

Often, I will write out words with my fingers. If a word "sticks out to me" I may trace/write it on my leg with my finger. If it is not perfect, I will do it again and again. But if I write it an even amount of times, I will do it once more to make it odd. (An exception to my love for symmetry and evenness.) That way each "nonperfect" one has a perfect to cancel it out, and there is one extra perfect one that "counts" as the real and good one. But hey, my penmanship is pretty decent.

I hate metal silverware. I will use it, but I highly prefer plastic forks and spoons. I guess I benefit more than one way with this... less dishes to wash!

I get obsessive and bingey (is that a word? It is now!) with material things. If I love something, it is hard to have just one. Maybe it is a great nail polish. I want all the colors! Vintage treasure trolls at the flea market? Gotta have them all. I can't leave any behind! I counter some of this with an Etsy shop. Share the vintage love, I suppose. (No, that was not a shameless plug for my shop. But I am not deleting it. The intention is to let you, the reader, know that my house does not belong on an episode of Hoarders. I watch that show.)

I do not sleep under sheets and regular bedding. Yes, I make our beds the traditional way, fitted sheet then regular sheet, and quilt on top... but I sleep on top of the quilt and cover up with a different, lighter quilt. NOT at hotels though. That is a whole 'nother ball game there. It could be a separate post. *Shiver*

     Oh, I could go on and on.

I'm saying this to make a point, I promise. I have some OCD tendencies. I sometimes think they are crazy. I even wonder if I'm viewed as the weird girl on occasion. I bet, however, you didn't even know most of the things I said above to be true about me. I am just me. And that is so cool. I'm serious. It has taken years (and a little bit of how Sheldon Cooper's antics are glorified on the Big Bang Theory) to understand that I am just me. I am pretty sure no one has really ever sat around and discussed how "weird" Christina is.

We are our own worst enemies folks. It is a shame that it has taken me so many years to start understanding this.

I am organized, creative, smart and understanding. Nothing listed above changes that. If anything, it adds to it. I rock.

As humans, we are all different and made up of so many experiences, quirks, life lessons, and more.

And we rock.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Getting old

I guess it happens to the best of us. We get old. It is happening every second we are on this earth.

Today, for some reason, as I was swiping on layers of mascara in front of the bathroom mirror, it hit me. Like a ton of bricks I might add. I looked at myself in the mirror and thought, "I'm getting old."

Ok, truthfully, it was more like "Damn...(long pause), when did this happen? I'm aging. I can't stop it. I look ok...I guess, but it is certainly not the 15 year old Christina looking back at me in this mirror. Oh my gosh, when the CRAP did this happen? My baby is going to be five years old in November. I've been married for 9 years this August. And my. back. hurts. I really didn't want to get up this morning. My body was protesting. I need to lose weight. Nothing new there. I really like this mascara, it looks like I have eyes now. Old eyes. Crap, don't cry! Your mascara looks too good. Why are my eyebrows so sparse? I tweezed them within an inch of their lives in my 20s, now they just don't grow. My 20s. God, that was like 10 years ago. How old am I? 34. No, not yet, only 33. I'm going to be drawing on my eyebrows in a few years. This was NOT what I sat in front of the mirror and thought about when I was 20. What was I thinking about? Probably bushy eyebrows. Or how I didn't need sunscreen or even moisturizer for that fact. Why don't we listen to our mommas? Man, Brandy is not going to listen to me either. Seriously, when did this happen?"

Yeah, for real.

I'm glad I was not 15 or even 25 and thinking about how I would feel in my 30s. You should not live your life dreading the years ahead. (And I nearly lost it this morning when Scott pointed out how we will feel in another 20 years. Thanks for that honey.)

Here's the thing, I suppose...this getting "old" thing has happened while I have been busy raising my sweet B, loving my husband, making fun crafty stuff, enjoying my job, and generally living life. It's not all great stuff. I've fought a losing battle with my weight, I've had some heartache, and I have shed many tears over things that may or may not have been worth it. I have been living life. That's how age sneaks up on you. I'm convinced of that. It's true, what they say, you know...time flies when you are having fun.

I wish I could say that I am hunky-dory with this, but I'd be lying. I hate it. But at the same time, I would not trade it for anything in the world. There's another one of those "see both sides of the the situation" examples for you. Do not just smile and nod though, most days I feel like it is a curse to see all sides.

I haven't blogged in a while. I regret it too. I feel I like this is a good outlet for me, even if no one reads it. On the other hand, I can honestly say I have spent more time than ever with my family and friends. That makes me happy. And quite possibly able to handle this getting older thing.