Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!

I am sitting in the dark with our beautiful tree lit waiting for my little angel to wake up and see what Santa has left for her. It is going to be a wonderful Christmas with my family! We are going to my sisters this afternoon for a family dinner. From our home to yours...Merry Christmas & Happy New Year. May 2010 bring you much love, happiness and peace!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm still here (believe it or not!)

For those of you who might still pop in once in awhile to read my blog I apologize for not keeping it updated. I am still struggling with health issues and have not been feeling up to posting. After several trips to doctors and the ear, nose and throat doctor they have told me they think that my symptoms are related to my Arnold Chiari Malformation and have referred me to see a neurologist. I have an appointment in December and am hoping to get some answers and help.

For those of you who do not know what Chiari Malformation is:

In addition to feeling lousy, October was a busy month. I used all my energy to keep up with my very active 3 year old. Lily had a wonderful time trick or treating. She was so exhausted she fell asleep on top of her treats.

Next up Thanksgiving. My sister, who usually hosts our family holidays will be spending Thanksgiving with her girls in Illinois. Her eldest daughter Sarah is expecting her second child on December 6th, exactly 1 year apart from her first baby! I will be having my brothers over for Turkey dinner and am looking forward to spending the holiday with them.

Lily is already excited about Santa Claus and is going to be so fun for her this year!

Until next time........sunshine & peace, Jen

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Fall Y'all!

Boy, once again I am behind on things...not just posting to my blog...behind on everything! It really does seem like there are not enough hours in the day. Lily is so very active, and with my 46th birthday approaching I have to admit I am feeling OLD!

The old feeling also could be because I am not feeling well again. *sigh* Currently on my 4th round of antibiotics since the first week in September. My doc says my immune system is pretty much shot right now. I am working on building it back up, but, since my gastric bypass I am having trouble doing that no matter how many vitamins and supplements I take.

I was tired of sitting around the house thinking of how awful I was feeling so we got out to get some fresh air over the weekend. We took Lily to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch and it was great to get out. She had a wonderful time, and so did I! I love, love, love making those kinds of memories for my kids.

I remember my mom taking me and my younger brother when we were little. It was an annual event...I did the same with Cody and now with Lily. It is a good thing to have family traditions!

Sunshine, peace and Happy Autumn my friends.... ~ Jen ~

Friday, September 18, 2009

Asking for prayers for Nick.....

I have decided that Facebook is a wonderful thing! Since I started "facebooking" I have reconnected with many old friends, former classmates and former co-workers. Some people I haven't seen in almost 30 years. It is a great way to catch up and keep in touch.

One of the many people that I have reconnected with on facebook is Kathy Schoonover McClellan. I have known Kathy since we were little girls in grade school. This morning my thoughts and prayers are with Kathy and her son Nick. Nick was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in May 2005.

You can read more about his story at:

Today Nick will be having more surgery. Please keep Nick and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Autumn is near....

It's official, my baby is 3 years old. My little princess had a wonderful birthday. We had a party on Sunday, a day filled with family, friends, good food, cake, candles and presents! Big smiles and fun times. That is what life is all about!

It is fair time here! The Walworth County Fair started today and we are planning on taking Lily to the fair tomorrow to ride on some rides, see all the farm animals and eat the wonderful fair food. None of which I can eat! I will be packing a protein bar and some water in my purse. We are looking forward to the day out. In the almost 46 years I have been on earth, I don't think I have ever missed the county fair.

To me the Fair officially starts the Fall Season. Soon there will be trips to the apple orchard and apple pies baking in the oven, Halloween costumes to think about and pumpkins to carve. Time seems to be going by so quickly. Much quicker now that I am older! The weather has already turned colder and soon the leaves will be changing. It is my favorite time of the year.

Autumn reminds me of my Mom & Dad, who I so dearly dad was a teacher and at this time of the year he was busy getting back to school and all the extra curricular school activities he was involved in. My Mom would bake the world's best apple pies that would be waiting when we would return home from school.

I was blessed to have such wonderful loving parents. I go through my days trying to be the best parent I can be to my kids. I only hope to be half as good as they were. They were only with me for a short time, but, I was truly blessed!

For those of you who still have your message today is to thank them. Thank them for always being there, for teaching you, and most of all for loving you unconditionally. Tell them how much you love them. You never know when it will be too late to tell them how much you appreciate them. I miss you Mom and Dad, you live on forever in my heart and thoughts.

Sunshine & Peace, Jen

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Where has the time gone???

My little princess is going to be 3 next week! I am still shaking my head in disbelief. The time has gone by so quickly!

She is starting school the day after Labor Day. She will be attending early childhood education class half days at our local school district. I have been busy buying school supplies, getting her school physical and preparing myself for the day she will be getting on the bus for the first time. I know I am going to cry. My baby is going to school!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Just checking in....

I haven't done too well at keeping up on my blog like I vowed I would, have I??? I just can't seem to find any extra time to sit down and write these days! Since insomnia has the best of me at 3:00am and the house is quiet I thought I had better do an update.

I had my 1 year post op gastric bypass appointment last week and all went well. My bariatric surgeon was very impressed with my weight loss. My Body Mass Index has gone from a whopping 66.2 to 34.94. I have lost more than 60% of my excess weight.

The pictures I have posted were taken in his office, they are my one year compairision shots of my weight loss. Excuse the poor picture quality, they were scanned from a paper picture.

I have been having some very bad pain issues in my back and tailbone, my surgeon feels that my increased pain is due to the weight from my deflated excess skin. My point of center is off and it is all pulling me forward in the front. Sorry...I know that is not a pretty picture! Just keeping it real. He wants me to have a plastic surgery consult for a tummy tuck and *gasp* a breast reduction. Next stop: plastic surgery consult. I am planning on going in next month.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Happy Thursday!

Just a quick post & a new picture. This was taken last month on the night before Emily went back to Canada.

Not too much new and or exciting to report here. I have now lost 185 pounds and nearing my one year anniversary of having Gastric Bypass. I am happy with my progress although I am finding the weight loss to be slowing down. That means I need to step up my exercise.

If any of my blog readers are gastric bypass patients I highly recommend Focus28 products. They are incredible! High in protein and high quality. I believe they have been beneficial in helping me stay on track and keep me healthy.

Well, I am off to go find a few treasures (hopefully) at some rummage sales this morning. Wishing you all a happy Thursday filled with sunshine and peace! Jen

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I've been slacking.....

I admit it, when it comes to blogging, I have been slacking. Those of you who still read my blog probably noticed that it has been several weeks since my last post. Life has just been so busy.

Thankfully I can report we are through all of our health issues here and have just been enjoying summer.

There have been some changes in the household, our beloved Emily decided that she wanted to return to Canada. She missed her Mommy and brothers and her home on the reservation. She returned home two weeks ago, and we miss her terribly here. I am thankful for the time that we had with her, and know that she will return for visits.

Today is a very special day, 21 years ago I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, and now that boy is a man. Happy Birthday to my wonderful son Cody!! I love you so much. "I love you forever, I like you for always, as long as I'm living my boy you will be."

I just finished making Carmel Lava Cakes and am making Satay Chicken with Peanut Sauce for his birthday dinner. Those Lava Cakes looks so good....none for me of course! I have now lost 182 pounds and continue to lose, but, now that I am almost one year post gastric bypass the weight loss has slowed down. I hope to lose 48 more pounds.

That is the latest update here... I will do my best to keep up with my blog more often. If only I had a few more hours in the day.... 8-)

Until then, sunshine & peace ~~ Jen

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday morning ramblings......

I am overdue for a little rambling on my blog. Life is so busy these days I am having a hard time finding time to sit down for even a few minutes to put my thoughts to words.

Three trips to the ER, an emergency trip to the opthamologist, a post op appointment for my sinus surgery, and star student activites just might be why I haven't had a chance to even think lately!

My precious little Lily had a bad stomach virus and was so sick last weekend we had to take her to our local ER. When what they prescribed there didn't seem to be helping and several calls to her peditrician it was decided she had to go to the "big city" ER because they deal specifically with children. We took her to Children's Hospital in Milwaukee and after a long wait the doctor prescribed several things for her and she was feeling better within a few days. I was so worried about her.

A few days later my husband Carl got a piece of metal in his eye at work. He removed it with a medical magnet at the unmanned nurses station at his work and continued working. When he got home his eye was swollen, red and painful. By the next morning it was swollen shut. He woke me at 430am and said "I need to go to the ER to have my eye checked out." Off we went....the ER doctor said he scratched his cornea and gave him some drops. We went home and he went to bed for a few hours. Upon waking, he was miserable and in pain, he told me "I feel like I am dying the pressure behind my eye is so bad!"

I called the opthamologist and they got him in right away. They put dye in his eye and told him that he has a 2mm x 3mm abrasion to his eye and gave him an antibiotic salve which I had to put in his eye every 2 hours for the past week. His vision in that eye is still impaired, he will have to go back for a follow up visit with the opthamologist next week.

I went in for my follow up appointment with my ENT doc regarding my sinus surgery. ***warning the following is not nice*** He took a long metal needle nose instrument and went into my nose while telling me "Go to your happy place". My toes curled up, tears were streaming down my face....I couldn't find a happy place! Pure torture! I go back in a month for a recheck. I think I will take a xanax before I go so I can find a happy place next time.

This coming Tuesday I will be going to my pain clinic for a caudal epidural. Right now I am in a lot of pain with my fibromyalgia and degenerative disc. I cannot sit for longer than 20 minutes and at times am having problems walking. My pain doc will be injecting my tailbone and back with cortisone and a long lasting anesthetic to relieve my lower back and tailbone pain. I get these injections every 3-4 months and although it really, really hurts and every time I go there I tell myself I won't have it done again it does indeed help me.

Onto some nice non-medical news....

Emily was "star student" of the week in her class. I made 24 dirt cups yesterday and went into her classroom to talk about Em to her classmates. The third graders were delightful. They thought it was so cool that Emily is Ojibwe Indian and that her Indian name is "Shining Rainbow Woman". They also ooohhhed and aaahhhed when Emmy told them that on the reservation where she comes from there are Moose, Bear, Wolves and Fox. It was a fun day and I loved every minute of it.

Cody finally has a line on a job and we are hopeful that he will get hired. Like most of America, the job prospects are slim to none. He has filled out so many applications in the past 6 months and has been discouraged with no work. He got a call back yesterday and goes in this week for a follow up interview. Keeping my fingers crossed that he gets the job!

Rummage sale season is in full swing here, it is my favorite time of the year. I get a big rush of going from sale to sale to find treasures to sell on ebay, vintage costume jewelry for my crafts, and gently used and brand new clothing for my family for so little money. My husband says when I am rummaging I am in a euphoric state. I think he is right, I look forward to my Thursday & Friday rummage sale mornings each week.

Some of my recent rummage finds; a solid maple dresser in excellent condition for $10.00, a nice leather jacket for myself for $2.00, a bag of vintage rhinestone jewelry for $4.00, name brand (Gymboree, Old Navy, Gap) clothing for Lily for 50 cents each, a pair of Stride Right Shoes and a pair of brand new (real) Crocs for Lily for $2.00 each and a Gateway computer for Emily for $10.00. The computer is great, hubby updated it a bit, added some more memory and Em is thrilled to have her own pc now. Oh yes, I love to rummage!

Well, that is it from my little corner of the world, until next time.......Sunshine & Peace, Jen

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Focus 28 Bariatric Products

One of the best things I found after having my RNY Gastric Bypass were the products at Focus 28. The vitamins and protein products are excellent and made especially for people like me who have had weight loss surgery. I was delighted to become a customer "blogger" for Focus28. My newest blog posting there can be viewed at:

Endoscopic Sinus Surgery OUCH!

I had Endoscopic Sinus Surgery yesterday, the surgery went fine. It was a same day procedure, I was at the hospital for 5 hours. Both my primary doctor and the ear, nose and throat doc said I needed this surgery because of my chronic sinus infections. So much scar tissue was built up in my sinuses that I have had at 1-2 sinus infections a month since December. **be prepared whine to follow ** While the surgery went fine, the post op pain is horrific. I have had my share of surgeries before: 2 c-sections, gallbladder, gastric bypass, deviated septum repair, and foot name just a few. I have never experienced this kind of pain and pressure before. It seriously feels like someone kicked me in the nose with a steel toed boot. I have only slept for 3 hours since coming home at 5pm yesterday. The ENT doctors post op care sheet says that the recovery time for this surgery is 5-6 weeks. I sure hope this pain doesn't last that long, I might just go crazy!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Ode to Rotissiere Chicken....(and Jane & Kidd)

This blog posting is dedicated to Jane & Kidd of WMYX 99.1 FM Milwaukee, ( my favorite morning radio hosts. Last week, on more than one occasion, Jane & Kidd were talking about rotissiere chickens. You know the chicken you can pick up at the grocery store for $6.00 - $7.00? Jane and Kidd inspired me to go out and buy a rotissiere chicken and much to my non chicken loving husbands dismay we have had rotissiere chicken more than once this past week! The best part of this story is that I have learned that these juicy chickens are so versatile and make for an easy and quick meal. Being the mom of 3, I am all over easy & quick these days!

I thought I would start sharing some of my easy, quick and delicious rotissiere chicken recipes. Today we had rotissiere chicken nachos for lunch. Fabulous! Thanks for inspiring me Jane & Kidd!

Pull meat off rotissiere chicken
arrange your favorite tortilla chips on plates
cover chips with shredded cheddar cheese
add desired amount of shredded chicken on top of cheese
put in microwave for approx. 45 secs to 1 minute until cheese is melted
add desired amount of salsa on top of chicken
add shredded lettuce and a tablespoon of sour cream in the center of plate

Stayed tuned for a new Rotissiere Chicken recipe each week, you won't be disappointed!

Sunshine and peace, Jen

Friday, May 1, 2009

Friday Night Ramblings....

Emily is getting adjusted to living here and seems to be happy with her new home. That makes me incredibly happy too. She is having her first sleep over tonight and is excited to have a friend over for the night. The girls are watching "The Mummy" and soon I will be making popcorn and treats.

I have been keeping busy as usual playing "mom taxi" and getting ready for my upcoming sinus surgery on May 15th. I made the mistake of looking online for information on the sinus surgery. I am scared to death of having this done now, if only I hadn't watched the darn youtube video! UGHHHHHH I should have known better. I wanted to be prepared, I am prepared alright and scared stiff to boot! Most of the people who have had this done have commented on how excrutiating the pain is for about 2 weeks but once you get past the intial 2 week pain you will feel a lot better. For some reason, this is not comforting to me!

I go to see my doctor next week for my pre-operative exam, sinus ct, and all the testing that has to be done prior to surgery. I am going to ask her if I really need this done even though I know the answer is going to be YES.

Mom duty calls...time to nuke the popcorn and make some Rice Krispie Treats for the girls...I am enjoying every minute of it!

Sunshine and Peace, Jen

Friday, April 24, 2009

Just a few pictures...

I know I have been slacking on keeping my blog updated lately. Life has been busy hectic here. I finally downloaded the Easter pictures from my camera today and thought I would post a few. The dude in the bunny ears and glasses is my younger brother. I hope he doesn't read my blog he will probably kill me for posting that one! haha The two in the blue are my older brother and his son, a pic of Emily in her bunny ears and my hubby and Lily.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Getting Settled In.....

Emily has arrived and joined our family. Our week has been busy getting her enrolled in school and all of the paperwork and appointments that are required completed. She starts school tomorrow and is very excited. My heart is full and happy. We are crowded in our home, but, none of that is filled with laughter, joy and love. The important things that money cannot buy.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Late Night Ramblings....

Since I am up late and the house is quiet I figured what better time to catch up on my blogging. Lily had the tubes put in her ears on Monday and did great! She didn't even cry which the nurses say is rare. I can tell she is hearing better already, she is talking so much more which really makes my heart happy.

Onto other two more days a beautiful 9 year old girl named Emily is coming to join our family. I am so excited! It is a long and complicated story, I promise not to ramble on too much and give you the short version. Emily is my exhusband's daughter. She lived with him until she was 5 and then her mom and my exhusband broke up and she moved back to the reservation in Canada. Emily is half Ojibwe Native American Indian.

During the first five years of her life, Carl and I took care of Emily while her parents worked and we both developed a very strong bond with her. My heart broke when she moved away. Emily is now coming to live with us because her mother's job takes her out of town quite a bit and the reservation is no where to leave a 9 year old girl. Because of circumstances she cannot live with her dad (my ex), so she is coming to live with us. Getting her settled in, enrolled in school and activities and making sure the transition is smooth and easy for her will keep me busy. We are all looking forward to having Emily join our family and giving her the stability that she needs and deserves.

"One hundred years from now,
It won't matter what car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much I had in my bank account,
Nor what my clothes looked like,
But, the world may be a little better
Because I was important in the life of a child."

- Unknown

Thursday, April 2, 2009

She called me SKINNY!

I saw my niece for the first time in many months and when she saw me she called me skinny! While I will never be skinny, it was a great feeling to be called that......something no one has ever said to me before.

I have lost 162 pounds now and have gone from wearing a size 4X - 5X to a size 18/20 and an XL top. I have gone from a size 11 shoe to a 9.5 shoe. I have lost inches in my height too which I find odd! I used to be 5'6" and now am 5'4.5" tall. I am actually able to shop for some of my clothing on the regular racks instead of the "plus size" section. I have been getting most of my clothing at thrift stores and Goodwill because my body is changing every month and I can't afford to keep replacing my wardrobe. I love thrift stores, I am able to get some incredible deals and some cute clothing.

I am still struggling with my health problems. My sinus surgery is scheduled for May 15th, and while I am scared, I know that I will feel so much better once I get this taken care of. I am longing to feel better. I have been fighting illness for 3 months and it is wearing on me. I am doing my best to remain positive, but, have to admit I am a bit depressed. I have so much more energy and want to feel well enough to do things. I know it is just a matter of time and that I am going to have the best summer ever with my kids, yippee!! Sunshine & Peace, Jen

Monday, March 23, 2009

I have not been feeling well enough to blog lately. I go to the ear, nose and throat doctor tomorrow to get my surgery date for my sinuses. It will probably be mid April before I have the surgery.

Lily has had several ear infections and also went to see an ENT doc last week. She is going to have tubes put in her ears in two weeks. The doctor said with her ear infections there is no way she is hearing at 100% which has in turn contributed to her speech delay. I am sure that correcting this is really going to help her.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Medical Woes....

More wonderful medical news to report on the blogfront. I went in to see the ENT and doctor last week about my ears, only to be told "your ears are perfect, the best ears I have ever seen!" He also checked my sinuses and told me I was fine. I left the office angry and shaking my head. I know I am not crazy, well, okay maybe a little crazy, everyone is a little crazy right?

Two days later the pain was back worse than ever. My face is swollen up, I look like I have chipmunk cheeks. I have not slept more than 3 hours per night for the past two weeks. I am taking 4 to 6 vicodin a day with no relief. I went to see my primary doctor yesterday for my history and physical for my hernia surgery. She took one look at me and said "You look awful!", well, I feel awful too. I have a raging, and I mean raging IMPACTED sinus infection. They did a CT scan and said it is acute. This has been ongoing since February 5th. I am now on round FOUR of antibiotics and prednisone. My primary doctor said NO hernia surgery. She referred me back to the ENT doc who said I had the great looking ears and sinuses and I have to have sinus surgery in three weeks.

The recovery for sinus surgery is two months. No hernia surgery until after I recover from the sinus surgery, which means sometime in July or August. Unless of course it becomes strangulated, then I have to go in for emergency surgery. This scares the heck out of me. I have to stop lifting and carrying Lily now for sure. I was still doing that hernia and all. I don't want to risk having to have the hernia emergency while recovering from the sinuses. "If it's not one thing it's another!"

In the meantime, I am frustrated, scared, depressed and very ill.....I have been crying day for the past 2 weeks from the pain and have started questioning whether I made a good decision having the gastric bypass done. I was never this sick before...Then I have to pull myself back and remember how much healthier my heart is by having 158 pounds gone from my body, how much more energy I have now, and how much better I will feel once I get all this stuff taken care of.

Thank you for reading my latest medical crisis, vent and whine over and out...

Sunshine, peace and love... Jen

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Daily Ramblings....

I really hate to be a whiner and complainer, but, I am in some serious pain here! Last week when I said that "I'm back", I was doing my best at getting back into the routine of things after our family returned back to Canada. Unfortunately, the day after they left I spiked a fever, had the chills and terrible ear pain. My doc put me on strong antibiotics and a steroid. My ears have continued to get worse. I have not been able to sleep longer than 2-3 hours per night because it hurts so badly. I have been taking my prescription pain medication without any sign of relief.

Many years ago while visiting my dear friend Sari in Finland the same thing happened to me. She took me to the doctor and they put a needle into my ears and drew the fluid out so that my ear drum wouldn't burst. It was an uncomfortable procedure, but, instant relief was found.

The same thing is going on now, it feels like my ears are ready to burst! I go to the Ear, Nose and Throat doctor today and am hoping for some relief. I don't think I can take one more day of this pain, it literally has me in tears.

I am getting increasingly frustrated at being sick all of the time! I have been on antibiotics for over a month. I have so much more energy now that I have lost 158 pounds, but, it is hard to use all of my new found energy when I feel like #$*@*~ being nice and leaving out the expletive.

I am hoping to be back and posting very soon. Thanks for reading my rambling rant today...any good healing thoughts you could send my way are always appreciated! Sunshine & Peace, Jen

Monday, March 2, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!

Hello Friends! I am back to blogging. Our wonderful Canadian family left last night, it is always sad to see them leave. We never know when we will see them again. I always get emotional and weepy. I really got lucky this time around, I have fantastic inlaws! I had the motherinlawfromhell during my first marriage.

I didn't eat well while our guests were here. I didn't eat badly, I just didn't eat much and I was not any where close to getting in my required 60b grams of protein a day and I can feel it this week. I am pretty dragged out and am starting to get sick again. My weight loss also slowed down because of it. Protein is the key. I am at 156 pounds lost. 40 pounds to go to reach my surgeon's goal, 60 to 70 pounds away til' I reach my personal goal.

Carl took this "after" picture of me this weekend and also a picture of me with my beautiful niece Celena. I am thinking I need a "retake" on my after picture, it seems I am never happy with pictures of myself! It might have helped if I wasn't wearing jeans that are at least 2 sizes too big for me, they are all bagged out and make my legs look so much bigger than they are. I actually have skinny legs now. I am still carrying the bulk of my weight in my stomach. I am hoping that it will go down somewhat after I have my hernia surgery at the end of this month.

I am so thankful that I had my gastric bypass surgery. I have so much more energy now, no more daily naps, no more sitting on my butt all day. RNY Gastric Bypass saved my life, I am sure of it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Taking a little blog break....

Hello friends! You are probably wondering why I haven't posted in awhile. We have company here from Canada. My husbands dad, stepmom, sister, brother in law and their two kids are here visiting for a week from Ontario. We are having a great time visiting and I am taking an internet break until they leave. We are hoping to get out and do some fun things this week and I am looking forward to it. I will be back and blogging in another week. Sunshine & Peace, Jen

Friday, February 13, 2009

150 Pounds Gone Forever!

It has only been six and a half months and it doesn't seem possible, but, I did it! I have now lost 150 pounds! Thank goodness for my RNY Gastric Bypass, I truly believe that this procedure has saved my life! I needed this tool and the restriction that goes with it. I have learned to make healthy choices regarding my food, and now eat to live instead of living to eat. What a great feeling that is. I have 48 more pounds to lose to reach my doctors goal and 73 more pounds to reach my personal goal.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

TuTu's Bliss Fantastic Giveaway!

Hey Friends, get on over to TuTu's Bliss Blog ~ and check out her fantastic Aloha Giveaway. The prizes are awesome! We all could use some Hawaiian Sunshine in our lives!

Surgery postponed.......

What a scary night! Last night after posting my Wednesday ramblings on my blog, I started coughing........if you are squimish don't read on..... this was not a normal cough. I started coughing up blood. YUCK, I know! It totally freaked me out! I went to see my doc this morning and they did a fun influenza swab to rule out the flu, NO flu for me. I have a severe upper respiratory infection. I am going to be on antibiotics and prednisone for 10 days. My poor hubby, prednisone always makes me a raving lunatic! My hernia surgery has been postponed for at least 30 days so they can be sure the infection is gone and to build my resistance back up. On a good note (I think) I lost 5 pounds since yesterday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wednesday Ramblings....

I have the flu, a terrible, terrible, flu and have been feeling awful. Not only have I been feeling awful with a fever, chills and body aches.......the flu is making me think that perhaps I should postpone next weeks surgery. I feel really weak. I want to feel good and be strong physically before being gutted like a deer. Sorry if that is too graphic, but, that is what abdominal surgery always reminds me of. I am already freaked out about having surgery and now add my sick, weakened condition on top of that, I am having some major anxiety issues, can you tell?

I did have something amazing happen to me yesterday in the midst of my miserable condition. I had to drag myself out of the apartment to pick up Lily from preschool. As I was getting into my car, my neighbor from across the street slowed down her car and rolled down her window to compliment me on my weight loss. She told me that she owns a Curves franchise nearby and is so impressed with my weight loss she is giving me a year free membership! I couldn't believe it! Now I have no excuse not to go to the gym to exercise and as soon as I am feeling better I am going to take her up on her offer and start working out.

"When I was young, I used to admire intelligent people; as I grow older, I admire kind people." Abraham Joshua Heschel

Sunday, February 8, 2009

My etsy shop........

I just finished listing some of my creations in my etsy shop. My shop is called "Jewel Art by Jen". The link is: If you get a chance to check it out please leave me a comment here and let me know what you think!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Tell em' Luvey Sent You!! ~ Focus28

Most of you that read my blog and my posts on know how much I LOVE Focus28 Bariatric Products! Their products are absolutely outstanding, top quality and taste great. I truly believe that the protein products from Focus28 are helping me lose my weight and are keeping me healthy.

Some of my favorite products are: Protein Hot Chocolate, Protein Cappuccino, Sour Cream Crunch O's, Protein Cheesecake and Protein Caramel Pudding, Chewable Multi Vitamin designed for bariatric patients, and Chewable Iron.......I really like everything they have to offer!

To check out their website, click the link on my blog. If you decide to order, you can use this code to receive a 10% discount: luvey10

Discount code good until 03/31/09

You won't be disappointed!!

P.S. Focus28 is also available on ebay. Discount code is not applicable on ebay purchases. The Focus28 ebay webstore is located at:

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Under the knife once more......

I went to see my surgeon yesterday and they scheduled me for my ventral hernia repair on February 20th. I wanted to wait, no, I wanted not to do this at all! I know I have to get it done so I figured I had best not put it off. Things are getting worse lifting Lily every day.

I always get so nervous before surgery, and I have had more than my share of them. I won't bore you with the grizzly details of my past 10 surgeries ....

Part of my nervousness is my panic anxiety kicking in and the other part is the fear of letting go, you know not being in control because I am knocked out by the anesthetic. Does that even make sense? I have this horrible fear of them putting me to sleep and not waking up.

Any good thoughts or prayers you could send my way would be so much appreciated. I have 2 more weeks to think about this and it is going to make me a bit crazy!

Sunshine, Peace and Hugs, Jen

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday Ramblings.......

Miracles and Blessings.......

After having endometrial ablation surgery 15 years ago, the doctors told me that I would never be able have any more children. I was deeply saddened, but, accepted the fact that I would only have one child.

My husband always wanted children of his own, but, married me knowing that I could not have any more.

"Pregnancy after endometrial ablation is uncommon, with an estimated rate of 0.7%.1 These pregnancies have been associated with complications such as disorders of abnormal placental adherence, hemorrhage, preterm delivery, and hysterectomy. Although rare, planned pregnancies following endometrial ablation have been reported, but most are unintended and quite complicated. A 49% termination rate has been reported for pregnancies conceived after endometrial ablation." Marta C. Kolthoff, MD; Harold C. Wiesenfeld, MD, CM

In the winter of 2005, I was feeling extremely ill. I kept going to my doctor for a variety of things, from fatigue, difficulty swallowing, crazy dreams & nightmares, nausea and just plain feeling lousy. I must have seen her 4-5 times. Each time I mentioned that I had missed my "monthly" and she would say: "Well, you are over 40, overweight, and on a lot of medication. I wouldn't worry about it."

Finally, during a visit to my doc in May of 2005, she decided to order some tests. We thought it might be heart related because the chest pressure was getting worse and I have a family history of heart disease. She ordered a nuclear cardio-lite stress test.

Just thinking of them starting an IV and injecting me with some substance called Cardiolite sent me into a panic. I told the doctor I will have the test, but, just for the heck of it, I want a pregnancy test first. She ordered the pregnancy test.

When the lab tech came out with my test results, the printed page she gave me said "POSITIVE HCG". I said to her "What does that mean?" Now, after working in a hospital for 8 years, I certainly KNEW what that meant. It just wasn't registering!

My doctor called the lab and had them send me right over to radiology for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed that not only was I pregnant, I was 20 weeks pregnant! Can you imagine being 5 months pregnant and not having a clue? It was a very difficult pregnancy, I gained 120 pounds *gasp* on my already heavy body. I was an inpatient for 35 days in the hospital on bed rest and complications after delivery. Our little miracle Lily Rose arrived 7 weeks early, weighing 4lbs 15oz and was in NICU for over 2 weeks.

Some days I have to pinch myself to believe that I am a 45 year old mother of a 20 year old and a 2 year old! My children were my motivation to have my weight loss surgery. I want to be around to see Lily grow up and to see Cody be successful in life, first he has to figure out what he is going to do! (I hope he figures out soon!)

I am just over 6 months post op RNY gastric bypass and have lost 144 pounds.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Baked Chile Relleno

I found this recipe in a Weight Watchers cookbook that I picked up at the thrift store. I have been craving spicy food lately and this hit the spot! The recipe is for one serving which is perfect for me, as are the nutritional stats: 188 calories, and 15g of protein.

Baked Chile Relleno Ala Weight Watchers Ingredients:

1 lg Egg, separated
1 lg Egg white
dash Salt
1 Canned whole small green

chili, drained
3/4 oz Shredded cheddar cheese

Hot or medium salsa (optional)


Preheat oven to 350F.
Spray 6" augratin dish with nonstick spray.
Set aside.
In a medium bowl, with electric mixer on high speed, beat egg white and salt until stiff.
In a small bowl, lightly beat egg yolk; fold into egg whites.
Spread half the mixture in prepared dish.
Open chile and place flat on top; sprinkle with cheese.
Spread remaining egg mixture on top to make an even layer.
Bake until golden brown and center is set; 15-20 minutes.
Serve with salsa if desired.

Friday, January 30, 2009

More surgery for me.......

I went in to see my surgeon for my 6 month post op gastric bypass surgery on Thursday. The great news is that I have lost 143 pounds and all of my lab work (iron level, B12 level, etc.,etc.) came back normal.

The bad news is that my hernia is worse since losing so much weight. The plan was to have it repaired about a year and a half after my surgery so that they could do a tummy tuck at the same time. That isn't going to happen now, my surgeon wants to repair the hernia as soon as possible. He said it is pretty bad and I could get really sick if I don't have it fixed soon. He wanted to schedule it before I left the office....

I am trying to delay it til' March because we have so much going on here, and well, to be honest.....I am not too keen about having to go under the knife once again especially so soon after my last surgery!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

~ I need votes! ~

I am in need of votes for my slogan. I am entered to win some beef. It is a daily vote and all it takes is a click and you are done, you don't have to register. Very simple. I would really appreciate your help!

Viva La Grass-Fed!
Your amazingly, awesome slogan "La Cense Makes Sense! Go Grass Fed!" is now in the mix!!
Forward this to your friends. Go to the link below and cajole them into voting for you.

Thanks for your help!

Grand Prize: A Grass-Fed Party The Grand Prize Winner will receive select cuts of La Cense Beef valued at $500.

Second Prize: $200 Gift Card The Second Prize Winners will be able to feed their entire family for weeks with a $200 La Cense Beef gift card.

Third Prize: $100 Gift Card The Third Prize winners will receive a $100 La Cense Beef gift card.

"Top Banana" Protein Shake

This is my most favorite protein shake recipe. I love the way it tastes!

1 scoop Focus28 Bariatric RX World Class Vanilla Powder
1/2 cup Skim Milk - * may substitute soy milk
1/2 Banana
1 tbsp Sugar Free Torani or Davinci Caramel Syrup

In your Magic Bullet Cup, add skim milk, 1 scoop Focus28 Bariatric RX World Class Vanilla Powder, 1/2 a banana and 1 tbsp of Sugar Free Caramel Syrup. Put the lid on your blending cup and take it for a whirl on the Magic Bullet. Remove lid and enjoy! Ahhhhh it's so good..........

170 Calories 19g Protein 1g Total Fat

Monday, January 26, 2009

Easy & Delicious (or so I am told) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies

Even though I can no longer eat desserts unless they are sugar free and low carb, I still enjoy baking and making them for family and friends. I am always on the look out for easy, delicious desserts to bring to family parties and cookouts. Over the years, I have become the "dessert queen". I am the one who is always designated to make dessert, oh, and salads too. I make a mean pasta salad, will save that for another post.

While reading on one of my most favorite sites on the internet, I found a link for a blog and there I found a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies, the recipe can be found on The Betty Crocker website as well.

I made these brownies over the weekend and they got rave reviews. In fact, the pan only lasted one day. They devoured them! I don't know why I tempt myself.......I really, really wanted one. I mean REALLY. Darn head hunger. I am so proud of myself, not even a nibble did I take.

If you want something special to make for your family and friends, the kind that will get you ooohhhhs and ahhhhs this recipe is sure to please. It is so simple too. Hide those Betty Crocker packages and they will never know you didn't make it from scratch!

1 box Betty Crocker® Original Supreme brownie mix (with chocolate syrup pouch)
cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker® chocolate chip cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1 container Betty Crocker® Rich & Creamy chocolate frosting

Print these coupons...

About Concordance™

1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Grease bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. Make brownie mix as directed on box, using oil, water and 2 eggs. Spread in pan.
2. Make cookie mix as directed on pouch, using butter and 1 egg. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls evenly onto brownie batter; press down lightly.
3. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted 2 inches from side of pan comes out almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Frost with frosting. For brownies, cut into 8 rows by 6 rows.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


It has been a busy two weeks, one filled with changes.....I didn't have any time to blog this past week, well, I guess I had a few opportunities, but, every time I sat down to blog I found myself with "bloggers block". I think it is because I have had so much on my mind that I couldn't focus enough to write.

Lily is wearing her daddy's new work shoes in the picture. My wonderful husband found a full time job, he is working his new job in addition to his part-time job and is gone 60 hours a week. We miss him so much! He is so exhausted working 3am til 330pm he comes home and sleeps. He has the weekends off, which is our family time.

The construction continues in our apartment, the living room is almost complete and it is beautiful! I am loving the new recessed lighting and crown molding. It has been crazy hectic trying to chase Lily while she tries to grab the carpenters tools while they are working.

We made a decision to put Lily in daycare part-time. I am not well enough to watch her full time, and she needs to be out playing and socializing with other children. It was a difficult decision for me to make.We found a great child care center and took her on the tour with us. She was having so much fun with the other kids she cried when we went to leave. A good sign that she likes it!

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future. - John F. Kennedy

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Protein Frappuccino Yum, Yum, Yum!!

I made the most wonderful protein Vanilla Frappuccino this morning with the help of Focus28's fabulous protein Cappuccino drink mix, my trusty Magic Bullet and a few other ingredients. It is easy, quick, healthy but most of all it tastes like Heaven in a cup!

1 pkt Focus28 Cappuccino
1/2 cup skim milk (may substitute soy milk)
1/2 cup cold coffee
1/2 cup ice (I find using ice chips works best in the Magic Bullet vs. big cubes of ice)
2 tbsp of SF Vanilla Syrup - I use Torani or Davinci sugar free syrup, you can find them in the coffee aisle at the store.
*Optional a dollup of Sugar free Cool Whip

In your Magic Bullet cup, pour in a 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup cold coffee, 2 tbsps Sugar Free Vanilla Syrup, 1/2 cup ice, 1 pkt of Focus28 Bariatric Cappuccino drink mix. Put the lid on your cup and blend for about a minute. Top with a dollup of Sugar Free Cool Whip if you like. This tastes fantastic, I kid you not! Loaded with 23 grams of protein and only 120 calories, it just doesn't get much better than that!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Last week when I went to the store, I found some Christmas clearance which included an Advent Calender that has little chocolates behind each door. I couldn't pass it up for 25 cents. Lily enjoyed her Advent Calender so much in December. My little angel loves chocolate as much as her daddy does, it shows in the picture doesn't it? She got ahold of the calender when I wasn't looking. I swear I need eyes on the back of my head these days!

Friday, January 16, 2009

My weight loss story featured on Focus28 website!!

I have some exciting news to share this evening. A few months ago I discovered the most wonderful healthy products made by a company called Focus28. I am using these products to help me obtain my weight loss goal. They are delicious, nutritious and high in protein. It is really important for weight loss surgery patients, or anyone who is trying to lose weight to make sure your diet high in protein.

My weight loss story including a few pictures are featured on their website blog, and I will be blogging for Focus28 each week with my continued weight loss progress, information and tips.
My blog posting on Focus28 is located at:

I hope that you will check out my blog on Focus28 when you get a chance, and PLEASE leave a comment there for me!

They are also hosting a fantastic giveaway, three lucky winners will receive a BIG basket of their products. You do not need to be a bariatric surgery patient to enjoy these products, they are awesome if you are looking to lose some weight! They also have excellent online tools to help you in to obtain your weight loss goals.

To sign up for the giveaway go to:

Sunshine and Peace ~~ Jen

Thursday, January 15, 2009

~ Happy 100th Blog Post to The Downs Gang! ~

In honor of her 100th post, my friend Lori at The Downs Gang is having a wonderful giveaway! Hurry on over and check out one of my most favorite blogs today.

Happy 100TH post Lori. Looking forward to the next 100. xo Jen

PS One of these days I will learn how to do a hyperlink so that I don't have to post the whole url in my post. LOL

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls Izzy B Designs Giveaway

Frugal Mommy of 2 Girls is hosting a fabulous giveaway for an Elmo dress or Elmo Tee designed by Izzy B Designs. They are adorable! Get on over to Frugal Mommy of 2's blog and check it out for yourself. Don't forget to enter while you are there!

~ Random Acts of Kindness ~

One of my goals for 2009 is to do at least one Random Act of Kindness per week. I truly believe when we do good things for others, that goodness comes back to us.

Even the simplest things make a difference. Whether it be stopping to hold the door open for someone at the store, letting someone pull out ahead of you on a busy street, engaging in conversation with the store clerk and thanking them for their good service, or sending a card to someone who is feeling ill. Your random acts of kindness count and not only make you feel good, but, your recipient will feel good as well. It is a win-win deal!

If we stop and take just a moment to do at least one random act of kindness per week, the world will be a better place! C'mon join me in spreading a little sunshine and happiness, I guarantee you, it will make you smile and feel good inside!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

~ Pita Chips ~

Upon hearing about my love for Kontos SmartCarb Pitas, the Chef at Kontos sent me some of my favorite SmartCarb Pitas this week. I have lots and lots of pitas here! This morning I decided to make some pita chips and they turned out great. They are perfect with a slice of cheese or lunch meat on top or for dipping in your favorite dip. Best of all, they are healthy and delicious!

1 pkg of Kontos SmartCarb Pita Bread
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon season salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 Degrees
Cut each pita bread into 8 triangles. Place triangles on lined cookie sheet.
In a small bowl, combine the olive oil, pepper, onion powder, season salt, and garlic salt. Brush both sides of each triangle with oil mixture. Bake in the preheated oven for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned and crispy. Watch carefully, as they tend to burn easily!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What does a Note from Luvey mean?

Some of you might be wondering why my blog is called "A note from Luvey." Well, here goes.......Luvey was and is my yahoo screen name. It is also my screen name on two other forums that I frequent. I picked Luvey from the words in the Steve Miller song "The Joker". "Lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey, lovey-dovey all the time" only I spelled it luvey instead of lovey, not sure was a long time ago! "A Note from Luvey" is a note from me!

I have always considered myself a lovey dovey kind of person. I hate conflict, and am a peace lovin' kind of gal! After all, how many women do you know that are good friends with their ex-husbands? I let my ex-husband stay with us when he was having a hard go of it, and he stays with us once a week when he comes down to visit our son. I try to teach love, peace, tolerance, and acceptance of all others in my children as well.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Thank you Lori!!

A big shout out to my friend Lori for making my blog page so pretty. I couldn't have done it without you my friend. You are so talented! I really appreciate your help. If you haven't checked out Lori's blog get on over to today!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

~ Luvey's Greek Veggie Pitas ~

I haven't made my Greek Veggie Pita Sandwiches in awhile because with my carb restricted diet I wasn't sure how I would be able to eat the pita part of the sandwich. While I was out grocery shopping today I stumbled across Kontos Smart Carb Pitas, boy, was I excited! I LOVE Kontos pitas and flatbreads and couldn't wait to get home to try the SmartCarb Pita because one thing I really miss about this diet is not being able to eat bread. Kontos SmartCarb Pita Bread did not disappoint! It was tasty, fluffy and soft.....ohhhh and healthy too. It just doesn't get much better than that. Without further is the recipe for Luvey's Greek Veggie Pitas.

1 package of Kontos SmartCarb Pita or Pre-oiled Greek Bread
1 package of Fresh Spinach - washed and drained
1/2 of a seedless cucumber - peeled and diced
1/2 of a red onion - diced
2 Roma Tomatoes - diced
1 can of sliced black olives *You may substitute greek olives
1 package of feta cheese
Greek Vinagrette Salad Dressing

In a medium sized bowl (I use a small tupperware container w/a lid to save leftovers)
Mix together diced cucumber, diced Roma tomatoes, diced red onion and sliced black olives, add 1/4 cup of Greek Vinagrette Dressing and lightly toss.

Lightly warm your pita bread. I put them in the microwave one at a time for about 15 seconds. It makes them easier to fold.

On your warm pita bread, add a thin layer of fresh spinach and top with the veggie mixture, then add some crumbled Feta cheese on top. Add a bit more Greek Vinagrette if you like. Fold and eat! Soooooo simple and sooooooo yummy!

My Heart & Soul

Cody is such a good big brother to his baby sister Lily. I am incredibly proud of him! I remember when I first told him I was pregnant, he was so angry and upset. Not because after being an only child for 18 years he knew that was going to was because he was in shock and scared. Scared that with all of my health issues that I wouldn't survive my pregnancy. His concerns were justified, I nearly died and was in the hospital for 35 days. That was a big turning point in my life. I realized I had to try to get healthy for not only my sake, but the sake of my children.........they are my heart & soul.

Better late than never.........

I figured a good way to move forward into the new year would be to post my accomplishments for 2008 and my goals for 2009. I had planned to post this on the first day of the new year, but, somehow was side tracked.

Highlights for 2008

In July, my wonderful Canadian husband was finally granted a work permit through INS. Although he has not been able to secure full time employment yet due to the terrible economy, he is working part-time and we are one step closer to him obtaining his green card. I never imagined that this process would be so expensive and lengthy.

On July 31st I had my guts resectioned in an attempt to lose weight. The surgery is known as Laproscopic RNY Gastric Bypass. It was a big decision to have the surgery done, but, I knew with my excess weight I was dying a little bit each day. I have had a few small complications but great success! On my 5 month surgiversary on Dec. 31st,2008 I had lost 128 pounds. When you think about it, that is a whole person! WoW!

With the weight loss I have had a big increase in energy and rightly so. I am not carrying such a heavy load on my heart. I started crafting again in the Fall and creating makes me feel so good! I can escape from my pain and worries when I am working on a project. In November & December I sold 10 pieces that I made and that makes me feel great!

On November 3rd my niece Mallory had a beautiful little girl named Skylar Jean. She is such a little angel.

On December 5th my niece Sarah had a beautiful little boy named Connor Seamus. I am looking forward to seeing them and holding Connor soon. I love it when our family grows!

Our Christmas was the best ever due to the kindness of complete strangers. 2008 was a struggle for us financially and people reached out to my family and helped in ways that I will never forget. I have never felt such overwhelming love and my heart is full with love and gratitude. It was a Christmas that will be in our memories forever. I can't wait until we are back up on our feet and I can pay it forward.

2008 brought me many new friends who I hold near and dear to my heart. I am so blessed to have found them!


Goals for 2009

In 2007 I became an ordained minister (non-denominational) with the idea that once I start feeling better I would be able to officiate weddings. I am hoping now that I have increased energy that I will be able to do just that! Carl will be making me a wedding website and I hope by the summer to start booking dates to officiate weddings. I am very much looking forward to doing this.

I am also going to be working on more arts & crafts projects, I have some awesome ideas in my head waiting to be worked out.

My goal is to lose 90 more pounds. The weight is still coming off at an average of 4-5 pounds per week. It shouldn't take me too long to make my goal.

Another goal is to start feeling better!! I want to get off all of these medications and my c-pap this year.

As always, my number one goal each year is to be the best mom I can be to my kids. They are my life!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Ham & Potatoes Augratin

When ever I make baked ham, the following day I make this casserole with the leftover ham. It is a favorite at our place. It is pretty easy and tastes sooooooo good!

2 Cups ham cut into small pieces
6 Medium sized potatoes peeled and sliced very thinly
1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup *
1 Can Cream of Chicken & Mushroom Soup
1 Container Sour Cream
2 cups of sharp cheddar cheese - shredded

Preheat oven to 375. In a 2 quart casserole dish, mix together soups, sour cream and sharp cheddar cheese, add ham and potatoes. Mix well. Cover casserole dish and bake at 375 for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until potatoes are soft.

*If you don't care for cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken can be substituted.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

~ Win a Wii Fit ~

Today is the day of resolutions and my annual list of goals. On the top of my list is to start getting in shape. I really need to tone up! After losing 128 pounds in the past 5 months, I am very jiggly and saggy! I also have quite a bit more weight to lose. I have heard such great things about Wii Fit that I am dying to try it out. I need to make exercise fun, if it isn't, I am just not doing it. 5 Minutes for Mom is giving away two Wii Fits in the month of January! To sign up for this wonderful giveaway get on over to

Happy New Year Friends!!