Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Heaven is for Real--review

Check out my review of "Heaven is for Real" by Todd Burpo!
click HERE to read.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

HEB Coupon trip 6/26/2011

We used our faithful method of shopping and saving sanity with 2 small children.  I made the list--gathered the coupons--and Jason shopped.  We usually save more when I can go with his because I always take my binder with me and he BEGS me to not make him take  But  in the end the extra savings we would have earned seem futile when I think about going alone or going together with BOTH kids.  So this is our method.

Trip overall:
Store brand savings: $4.46
Coupon savings: $63.69
Total: $66.93

There were some especially great savings this week.  I had 3 coupons for regular cheerios.  One for $1 off 2 and 2 for 55cents off one (and they could be combined)  Then in store they had $4 off 4 boxes...That is $6.10 savings on 4 boxes of cheerios with total cost of $10.72.  We paid a tad over a dollar per box---I can live with that.
They also had the same deal for fruit roll ups this week.  I had a coupon and they had $4 off 4.  They are $2.37 each and I think my coupon was $1 off 3.  So we saved $5 on 4 and paid $1.12 per box.  Great for my girl's snack drawer.
The store also had welch's juice coupons in store that could be used in combination with the 55 cent coupons I already planned to use.  I think the in-store was for $1 off each.  So we saved $2.10 and paid only $1.42 for each.
This is also a great week to stock up on Aussie brand hair products.  That is my favorite brand and I took advantage of 3 of the $1 off coupons for hair spray, mousee and gel.
Another great coupon floating around is the 55 cents off cherub tomatoes.  It is very rare to get a coupon for produce so I took advantage of 3 of them.  My girls and hubby love tomatoes as snacks (I am TERRIBLY allergic to them).
Now my favorite deal of the week came from the catalina coupons--those are the coupons that print at register.  We got a $1 off any HEB brand item compliments of Dole fruit Crisps and then.....HOLD YOUR BREATH...a $5 off your next shopping order compliments of general mills cereals.  COOL HUH!  I am tickled!  :)
happy couponing ladies!

Teaching Tree Lake Youth how to 'Cake"

The mission team at The Church at Tree Lake in China Spring, Texas is going to Belize in a week and a half for their annual mission trip.  The team includes youth, church members and members of other congregations.  They host several fundraisers throughout the year to help raise the funds needed for the trip.  They auctioned off a Nook color this year and they usually the host 1-2 Belizian cake auctions each year at dinner on the grounds.  
A Belizian cake auction if different from a regular/traditional auction in that the bids are placed at $1 increments and ever bid made is paid at the end of the auction whether the bidder won the item or not.  For instance if 400 total bids were placed on a cake by 4 different people and person 1 bid 50 times, person 2 bid 100 times person 3 bid 200 times and person 4 bid 50 times and made the last bid.  Person 4 wins the cake paying only $50 while person 1 pays $50, person 2 pays $100 and person 3 pays $200 and take home NO cake.  It gets really interesting! 
'Caking' is my hobby and I offered to teach the youth on the mission team so that they could make themed cakes to sell at this last Belizian cake auction before their trip.
We had a fondant and buttercream party on Friday evening.  I taught the kiddos how to make homemade icings.  We did numerous colors and flavors based on the designs that we chose the day before.  The kids LOVED getting their hands dirty and sticky in all the sugar, butter and marshmallows.  They also baked two of the 13 sheet cakes used to make their masterpieces.
The following morning the learned how to cut, shape, ice, cover and paint themed cakes.  Flour was everywhere.  We had icing in places we didn't know existed.  BUT, the cakes were awesome. 
Visit my web page to see more of the cakes that I have made over the years:

I heard unofficially that the 3 cakes earned a whopping $800!!!!! Check out the pics of all the hard work and final products!
This is a chocolate marble confetti cake with coffee buttercream and chocolate fondant (that tastes JUST like soft tootsie rolls) representing  God's power over all (the universe)!!
This cake is a Bible, a Faith Comes By Hearing solar-powered proclaimer and images that reminded the youth of past mission trips!
This is a 7 layer chocolate covered strawberry-flavored model of The Church at Tree Lake!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Do Our Loved Ones Die, Aunt Lou? review by Annie Eskeldson

Artist and author, Rachel Stolle, deserves our applause for creating her latest children's book, Why Do Loved Ones Die, Aunt Lou? Rachel's character, Aunt Lou, is the warm, safe, person we all long for in our life. Her delightful kitchen is always open, she has an understanding of grief and, thankfully, has all the right answers. Stolle's heavenly, swirling, paintings are knitted with healing, comforting, words of wisdom; and not just any words, but God's Words. Rachel's heartfelt illustrations will easily captivate the eyes of children while her Biblical story, through Aunt Lou, captures and mends little broken hearts. No matter what age your child may be, this is a must have in your library!

Rachel Stolle is also the author/illustrator of Why Did This Happen To Me, Aunt Lou, and Tell Me About Easter, Aunt Lou. Mrs. Stolles books can be found at Aunt Lou's Kitchen website at

by Annie Eskeldson - author of the Ashi's Gift Series. Children's books about autism that also nurture the parent.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

HCG VCLD...hanging in there

So today was a pretty ok day.  Breakfast is ever a difficult time for me.  Coffee is more than enough to fill me up until lunch.  At lunch I ate left over salad from NEWKS last night and a few bites of a left over hot pocket from one of my kids.  OK, so NO the hotpocket is not on the diet but I am giving myself a bit of grace.  Just being more AWARE of what I am putting into my mouth is a huge step for me.  I also ate a snack of crackers today--ALSO not on protocol but calories are still low.   For dinner I went to Heitmiller Steak house with my spoils and had a steak, mushrooms and a few sweet potato fries.  I was good and DID NOT get soda (diet or otherwise).  I ordered tea but it was disgusting so I opted for a cuppa joe.
Then I walked for an hour this evening.  I am finding that allowing myself a few small cheats during the day is working wonders for my morale.  I know die-hard HCGers would chastise me for my loosey goosey interpretation of the rules but right now THIS is working for me.
Hang in there guys...

Monday, June 13, 2011

HCG VCLD day 11--protocol day 13

So here is the raw, honest, truth....I cheated, backslid, fell off the wagon--however you want to put it.  I did not follow protocol for the last 4 days.  On the 10th I took a few bites of homemade buttercream icing and a bit of cake scraps.  On the 11th I ate a sandwich WITH bread, some birthday cake, AND then McDonald's burger and fries with diet soda. BIG no no for me.  Soda and sugar hurt me BADLY.  Sunday the 12th I had a subway flat bread sandwich with avocado (btw DON'T TRY IT--it is DISGUSTING).  I did ok for dinner that night.  Then today the 13th I did good at breakfast and at lunch ate a fruit salad with some roast beef...then I broke down and ate a whole wheat tortilla.  My mother in law took me to dinner at Newks and I had a salad with crab soup and diet soda.  Then after shopping she treated us all to frozen yogurt at 3 spoons which I had been DYING to try for a few months now.
Tomorrow is a new day and I am NOT quitting this thing.  I am getting back on protocol tomorrow and will wait to weigh til Friday.  We will see then how much damage was done. 
Moral of this story:  Don't give up if you fall short.  We are all human and imperfect.  You WILL at some point cheat.  You WILL not meet your own expectations all the time. 
To correct my downfall I plan to start an exercise regimen in addition to HCG.  I will ride my stationary bike 2 days a week for 30 min and walk for an hour one day a week.  I will do this thing and YOU CAN TOO!  It may not be by the book, but a loss is a loss.  Just keep em coming off!

CVS coupon trip and rainchecks

So I decided to try my hand at CVS today.  I have couponed for a while now but just hadn't wanted to add another store to my stops.  But the deals just seemed great.  Here is what I did.
I separated my order into 2 purchases.
My first purchase I bought my items that earned the ecb's (extra care bucks).  ECBs are printed at the register after your purchase and are same as cash for future purchases.  I bought Zyrtec for 5.99 and used a $4 off coupon.  I paid $1.99 for it and earned $5 ECBs (they paid me to bring it home).
I also bought 2 covergirl natureluxe lipstick for $7 each and used a $5 off 2 coupon...making them $4.50 each.  I also bouth other cover girl items totaling $15 before mfg coupons and that earned me $5 ecbs.  I them took advantage of another ecb earning sale in which i bought $10 worth of crest and oral b products.  I had mfg coupons for these items as well lowering what I paid from $10 to about $5 but still earned the ecbs.  I spent a total of $29.72 for that purchase, and earned $15 in ecbs printed after my first purchase.  I then turned around and used those ecbs on my next 'order'.
I then purchased 6 boxes of colgate toothpaste.  It was a store bogo deal and I had $1 off for each that I bought.  So they rang up $6 for 6 toothpastes.  Then I purchased 2 bags of dove dark choc with almond individual wrapped candies.  They were buy 1 get one for 1 cent.  I had coupons for $1 off so they ran up $3.99 for 2 bags.  I also took advantage of another candy deal of the hershey drop candies bogo for 1 cent.  I had a $2 off 2 coupon so they rang up $2.29 for 2 bags.  I had a coupon or buy 1 suave body wash get 1 free and used that as well.  My girls wanted tictacs at checkout and I got a drink. 
With my coupons and ecbs from my last order I got $36 worth of stuff for $3.55!!!  WHOO HOO!
Now, I had a few more items that I wanted to get that they were out of so I got 3 rainchecks.  One for bayer advanced that earned $1 ecb and I have a coupon so I will pay only $1.50 for it so it is basically free.  I also needed to get 2 motirn pm...I have a coupon so I will pay only $6 for 2 and I will earn $6 ecbs.  I plan to then use the $7 ecbs from that purchase to buy the other item that I got a raincheck for...softscrub toilet cleaner...SIX of them!!  They are on sale 2 for $5 (limit of 3) and I have a coupon for bogo I will get 6 of them for $7.50  WHOO HOO!  I will spend 7.50 and get 7.50 free!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hello Kitty Birthday Cake--how to

I made my own fondant
using 16 oz of mini marshmallows
2 lb confectioners (powdered) sugar
and water (as needed).
I heated the marshmallows in the microwave at 30 sec intervals stirring each time until they were completely melted. I then poured in half of powdered sugar and greased my hands and counter top.  I kneaded the marshmallows and sugar in the bowl and then dumped it all onto the greased counted and added in the rest of the powdered sugar.  I added 4 drops of water.  I kneaded like bread until all the sugar was mixed in and the dough was pliable and non-sticky.
I also made homemade buttercream with 1 cup crisco, 3 cups butter, 2lb powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
I creamed the butter and crisco together then slowly mixed in the powdered sugar and lastly the tbsp vanilla.  I had yummy Mexican vanilla. You can change the flavor by substituting other extracts, or even coffee.
I baked 2 sheet cakes, sculpted, dirty iced and filled them.  The sculpting was simple.  An oval and then the left over corners of the sheet cake reattached for the ears.  I then covered the cake with fondant, made the fondant bow, eyes and nose and painted wooden skewers for the whiskers.  Turned out great and I am sure--tastes HEAVENLY with all that butter and sugar.  YUM YUM!
Happy birthday Raeleigh bug!!!

HCG day10--protocol day 11---2 lbs UP

So here goes---painful honesty.  I have gained 2 lbs.  Day before yesterday I did great until dinner.  It i grocery week so the cupboards were low and my dinner options were looking bleak....I broke down and ate Chinese take out and drank diet soda.
I immediately regretted it.  Isn't it funny how the thought of food is usually so much more pleasing and enjoyable than the actual food itself.  I couldn't even finish my dinner.  I did eat my sweet and sour chicken but only like 3 bites of my fried rice.  In addition to the take out I ate a PB&J before bed.  :(
I have such poor self-control.
Well, not only am I trying to lose weight for the aesthetic benefits but my health is also an issue.  I suffer from several autoimmune disorders and usually have extreme amounts of swelling.  I swell to the point that my feet feel like they will pop and I cannot form a fist with my hands.  These symptoms seem to diminish on the HCG diet.  I have come to the conclusion that sugar, starches, sodas and high fat or fried foods aggravate my symptoms. 
I honestly feel alot better on a restricted diet--but at the same time I am an emotional eater.  I have spent years managing my fatigue with sugar and caffeine...only to crash shortly after and need another 'fix'.  When I feel bad I just want that little boost of endorphins from eating chocolate or something else yummy.  It feels freeing to just 'let go' and eat what I want when I want---my body is paying the price for that weakness.
I spent all day yesterday in bed because I thought I NEEDED Chinese food---which wasn't even that good.  Swelling is slowing going away but I am still up two pounds from 2 days ago.
Total loss thus far---11 lbs
Not too shabby, so I will keep my chin up.  Today is a new day and I am going to look for my comfort in the Lord.
Good luck fellow HCGers...we can do this thing

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

HCG VCLD day 8--13 total lbs lost

One more pound shed!  YAY!
Meals from yesterday:
coffee for breakfast with milk and sugar free creamer.  I am out of truvia til we go to grocery store on friday
lunch:  tilapia, hot dog weiner and baby spinach
snack: tortilla (cheat)
dinner:  2 fried bologne and scrambled egg
coffee again in the evening

Have had an insatiable thirst for water....drinking ALOT to counter it.
Here is to another diet day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HCG VCLD day 7---AMAZED 3.2 lbs lost yesterday!!!

Yes, you read that right!  3.2 lbs lost!  What did I do different?  Housework and lots of it!!!  I even cheated yesterday.  I was soooo hungry.  I am guessing now that it was because of the weight loss taking place--I ate 2 small tortillas as a snack out of sheer starvation. 
Also something else strange yesterday--I had an unquenchable thirst.  I could not get enough water.  I drank ALOT to try to quench it, but to no avail.
Breakfast: coffe with milk an truvia
Lunch: lunch meat and baby spinach
apple with truvia and cinnamon
snack: 2 tortillas
dinner: tilapia, shrimp, cucumber and boiled squash
3.2 lb lost for a total of.....12 lb lost in 7 days!  protocol day 9....COOL!

Monday, June 6, 2011

HCG VLCD day 6--.4 loss and an epic cheat

So this morning ihad a .4 lb loss.  Still a good loss for one day.  Saturday I cheatd.  :(  We ate dinner at mazzios pizza and I had pizza and soda.  I gained .6 lb that day so I am still working on losing that which I gained.  The cheat also made me VERY sick at my stomach--even more reason to stay on track.  Today is a new day and I WILL do this thing. 

Saturday, June 4, 2011


This morning was a typical morning.  Woke up to screaming children, hurriedly got cereal for girls, made my coffee and sat down to blog about weight loss.  The girls wanted to watch tv so I turned on animal planet--Steve Irwin the crocodile hunter was on!!
I finished my blog and began making my first cup of coffee.  Reese and Rae were running around the house playing with Reese's stuffed anaconda pretending to be snake wranglers themselves---just like good 'ole Steve.  Then Rae SCREAMED "SNAKE"  there is a "SNAKE".  I pretty much ignored it as creative play.  Then Reese let out a scream and said "MOM THERE REALLY IS A SNAKE"!!!!
Something in her scream caught my attention.  I stepped away from the truvia and milk to go check it out.
There WAS a snake!  Along the wall between my two girl's bedroom.  I immediately called Jason.  He is across the street with his dad cooking for Men's Breakfast. I said, "I need you and your dad RIGHT NOW, there is a SNAKE in the HOUSE!!!".  He didn't even say anything.  All I heard was click and he was on his way.
I opened the door to reassure him that we weren't in immediate danger--it was a very skinny, small, baby snake.  But a SNAKE none-the-less!
Jason rushed in to rescue us!  He got a toy tub and chased the snake--who was now IN Raeleigh's room.  He caught it in less than a minute and actually killed 2 birds with one stone.  He got rid of a spider in the process too! (We have spiders BAD).
So we are once again safe--and hopefully snake free. 
There is a small hole at the base of our front door where the weather stripping is missing...needless to say I will be fixing that hole at some point today.

HCG VCLD day 5--7.13 total loss

One pound and 2 ounces lost yesterday!!!  And I even went out to dinner!!!!  YAY!
Breakfast: 3 cups of coffee with milk and truvia
lunch:  hamburger  steak, baby spinach, asparagus
snack: raw apple with truvia and cinnamon
snack: 2 melba toast
dinner:  TEXAS ROADHOUSE!!!  11 oz sirloin, 4 fried pickles (yes that is a heat), green beans, mized steamed veggies and diet soda--felt like a FEAST!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

HCG VCLD day 3--6.11lb total loss

I am now on Day 4 of the HCG VCLD diet using homeopathic drops.  This morning I registered a 1.3 lb loss.  That is a total of 6.11 lb total loss since Tuesday--not too SHABBY!
My meals from yesterday:
breakfast: 2 cups coffe with milk and truvia
lunch: sausage link, baby spinach
snack:  another sausage link at 4pm (kinda a cheat)
dinner:  brat, sausage and sauerkraut with green salad (dry)
snack:  3 servings fruit salad (no sugar or added syrup)

I feel like I indulged yesterday.  Thursdays and my Tulips lady bible study nights.  I head over to a friend's house and she feeds us before our class.  She is German and can COOK up a STORM!!! 
I am very pleased with the 1.3 lb loss from yesterday! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Colic-- I can soo relate to this article

Our Son Got Over Colic — We Haven't

The real damage in dealing with a crying baby

by Mike Shields | September 8, 2010

There is a memorably dark scene in the cult classic movie Office Space when the main character, while visiting his therapist, describes just how bleak his life is — he essentially says that every day is worse than the last, thus every day is the worst day of his life.

The presumably highly trained, empathetic therapist, replies, “Wow, that’s messed up, man.”

That scene pretty much describes my life — and the level of expert help I received — when my son Christopher went through colic earlier this year.

According to, a baby who cries more than three hours a day more than three days a week for at least three weeks in a row has colic. And unlike why most babies cry (they’re tired, hungry or have a dirty diaper), kids with colic cry inexplicably.

My son exceeded the daily three-hour threshold with regularity. During his peak, my wife kept a log, hoping to discover some patterns. On his worst day, outside of sleeping and nursing, Christopher didn't cry for a grand total of two minutes.

And colic crying isn’t like “I’m upset,” crying; it’s “emotionally disturbed” crying. Christopher’s face would writhe with apparent pain. He’d contort his body violently and sweat — like a panicked adult sweats. By the time I’d get home from work most days, he looked like he’d just gotten back from Afghanistan.

Christopher’s senseless crying was incredibly difficult to endure. On top of the regular newborn workload, i.e. feeding and changing him a dozen times a day while trying to squeeze in small increments of sleep around his day/night confusion, my wife and I were in a constant state of staving off crying. I remember experiencing such hopelessness that I told my wife, “I feel like I have nothing to look forward to.”

On his worst day, outside of sleeping and nursing Christopher didn't cry for a grand total of two minutes. What made matters worse was finding out how poorly colic is understood by the medical community. “Unfortunately, there is no definite explanation for why [colic] happens,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics on its website, despite the fact that it affects one fifth of children. When we went to Christopher’s pediatrician in search of answers, his answer was essentially, “Sorry, you’re going to have to ride it out. Try giving him some tea.”

In fact, doctors aren’t even in agreement about what colic is, let alone what causes it.

One theory is that some babies’ stomachs are so underdeveloped that they have either constant painful gas or heartburn, which causes them to scream in agony. A 2009 study released by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston theorized that a naturally occurring organism called klebsiella in their intestines might aversely affect babies with colic.

The other prominent theory is that some babies are born into a “fourth trimester” outside the womb, during which their immature brains are being overloaded by the constant stream of new audio and visual stimuli; hence they cry a ton.

And just as medical experts can’t agree on what colic is, they haven’t landed upon a standard treatment plan. According to The No-Cry Sleep Solution by parenting educator Elizabeth Pantley, “There is no simple, effective treatment for colic… parents and professionals are able to offer suggestions that may help your baby through this time period” — or they may not.

You know things are bad when a doctor uses the word “try.” Doctors don’t say, “You might try amoxicillin for your infection”; they say, “Take these pills for 10 days.” In our case, we knew “try” was code for, “We really don’t know what causes what you have or what to do about it. Good luck.”

But given our desperation, we did any suggestions doctors had for us. I can’t tell you how many snake oil stomach-soothing products (like gripewater) we tried to no avail. They typically helped for about 15 seconds — the time it took Christopher to drink the useless liquid.

After a while we realized that Christopher’s colic episodes weren’t consistently tied to eating, which made me lean toward the fourth trimester theory — and to The Happiest Baby on the Block, a hugely popular book which many people recommended to us. To pediatrician and author Harvey Karp — I would love to punch you in the groin. Happiest baby, my ass. It should be called Five Random Techniques That Might Work but Could Also Do Serious Physical Damage to the Parents.

According to Karp, the five techniques (which each conveniently start with “s”) are swaddling — which screaming babies just love — swinging, shushing, placing a baby on its side, and having him suck on a pacifier. Yes, many parents swear by Karp’s techniques. And sure, your baby will stop crying if you wrap him like a mental patient in a straight jacket, rhythmically bouncing him in your arms while holding him like a martini shaker, and shushing him as loudly as possible directly in his ear. But just see how long you can do that in the middle of the night without simultaneously tearing a rotator cuff and having a complete mental breakdown. I recall at one point saying to my wife, after a night of fierce shushing, “I’m a little worried I’m going to get gum damage.”

And about a month into the colic — a point when I was hearing imaginary crying babies fairly regularly — I said to her, “I’m not sure how we’re going to get through this. We should think about getting some pot.” Thankfully, I reconsidered that after imagining dropping my crying baby after a few too many bong hits.

But that crazy thought process speaks to just how severely colic had affected me and my wife. That’s what still makes me mad to this day. One of the messages many doctors and books had for us was not to worry about colic, since it doesn’t do any damage, and that the kid won’t remember it. That might be true, but my wife and I remember it. And we’re damaged.

The medical community offered little help, but friends, relatives and acquaintances were no better, sometimes even seeming offended when we didn’t respond with utter joy to questions like, “How’s the new baby?" or "Isn’t this time in your life wonderful?” No, we thought, it’s actually horrible.

People almost seemed to want to deny colic or bury it under the rug — the way society used to shy away from discussing post-traumatic stress syndrome. Often we’d hear, “Oh, your baby’s just fussy.” God, I hated that one. People who like salad dressing on the side are fussy; inconsolable crying babies are tormented, and they torture those around them.

I came home with pure dread on some nights. I’d get off the elevator in our building and hear our vacuum from the hallway (holding Christopher next to a running vacuum was the only thing that actually consistently calmed him — one of the few semi-workable solutions from the Happiest Baby book). My wife would be crying, bouncing our son on one of those giant exercise balls, exhausted and nearly begging me to help.

We’d fight, of course. You can’t fight with the baby, even though you pretty much want to throw him out the window. So who else can you blame but your spouse? Or your mother, or her mother. “You’re holding him wrong!” “I’m trying!”

We still bicker more than we used to. I’m still trying to drop the 20 pounds I put on during the colic period. Most nights, after finally getting the baby to sleep, I’d retreat into our bedroom and, like the clich├ęd woman going through a bad breakup, I’d devour pints of ice cream or sleeves of cookies. Sure, I could have had some drinks instead, but a hangover with colic — that’s like giving yourself colic.

We’re also still more cautious than other parents we know. For months, we’d both get jumpy from just a little normal “I’m hungry” or “I’m tired” crying. It was weeks after colic was over before we started taking the baby out with friends. We still plan our lives around naps or bedtimes, and I’m sure our friends think we’re overprotective.

The truth is, during my worst moments, I hated the baby. I even told him to shut up. After nine months of hopeful anticipation, I wondered, “So this is what I get?"

Thankfully, things are so much better these days. The colic ended abruptly soon after our son turned three months old — as many of the books had promised. Even then, it took me several more months to bond with him completely, to let the irrational resentment and feeling that we’d been cheated pass. But now at eight months, Christopher is awesome — he’s cute, funny and, most importantly, happy. He cries when he’s tired and hungry and when I get him dressed — that’s about it. There really are no after effects — except for the ones still affecting us

HCG day 2 on VLCD (day 4 total)

Loss on scale this morning was 1.8 pounds! That is a 5.8 overall loss the last 2 days--I can live with that.
I think I may have eater more meat yesterday than recommended but hey, a loss is a loss and 1.8 lbs isnt bad AT ALL!
coffee breakfast 3 cups each with milk and truvia
lunch: 2 links and baby spinach
snack: melba toast, my daughters left over chicken
snack: raw apple with truvia and cinnamon
dinner: 2 links with baby spinach and raw squash
snack: melba toast
TONS of water and lots of unsweet tea
hot green tea b4 bed

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Article by Dannah Gresh from THIS!

My Take: There’s nothing brief about a hookup

Editor's Note: Dannah Gresh is author of What Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex.

By Dannah Gresh, Special to CNN

Recent studies have revealed some good news in the sex culture among college co-eds: there are more virgins among them now than was the case a few years ago.

These days, 29% of females and 27% of males between ages 15 and 24 claim to be virgins, up from 22% of both sexes in 2002, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

But among the college students who aren’t abstaining, we’re seeing more sex, thanks to casual hookups. According to recent research from Stanford University, the majority of college co-eds are still having sex, with an average 9.7 sexual partners for men and 7.1 for women.

Thankfully, we have more scientific information about casual sex than our parents did when they drove their Volkswagen buses to Woodstock for a dose of the sexual revolution. They wanted to think—as many of those cruising along the New Millennium highway still do—that we can engage in the act of sex without the emotion.

"Emma wants a relationship without the relationship. She just wants the sex,” actress Natalie Portman said of her role in the recent movie "No Strings Attached." “…I’m tired of seeing girls who want to get married all the time and that's all they're interested in. I think there is a wider vision of how women can conduct their lives and what they want."

Sounds so easy.

Just like the hippie culture found a pill that conveniently removed the “inconvenience” of pregnancy, today’s hookup culture believes it has found a recipe for removing the inconvenience of emotion: friends with benefits.

Scientifically, though, that’s impossible. We know that thanks to what neuroscientists have learned about a walnut-sized mass in the brain called the deep limbic system.

The deep limbic system stores and classifies odor, music, symbols and memory. In other words, it’s a place for romance, capable of processing a splash of cologne on your lover’s neck, a particular iPod playlist or a bouquet of red roses.

The brain chemicals associated with romance and sex wash over the deep limbic system during a wide variety of sexual experiences, according to research from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health.

Holding hands, embracing, a gentle massage and, most powerfully, the act of sexual intercourse work together to create a cocktail of chemicals that records such experiences deep into the emotional center of your brain.

It’s why we remember sexual experiences and images so clearly.

One of the critical neurochemicals released during sex is dopamine. Dopamine makes you feel good; it creates a sense of peace and pleasure. Anytime your body experiences pleasure, whether it’s good for you (working out) or bad (doing crystal meth), the limbic system gets washed in dopamine.

In essence, it is a “craving” chemical. It makes you want more. It creates addiction. Dopamine attaches you emotionally to the source of pleasure.

Another critical sex hormone is oxytocin, the subject of recent books like "The Chemistry of Connection: How the Oxytocin Response Can Help You Find Trust, Intimacy and Love." The chemical is released during sexual expression. A tiny dose is downloaded during intimate skin-to-skin contact; a much bigger dose is released during orgasm.

In fact, the only other time as much oxytocin is released as during orgasm is when a mother is breastfeeding her baby. The mother feels its release and is bonded to her child, and the baby’s brain learns for the first time to enter into relationship by connection. I’d say the chemical’s job is to bond us for life.

The knowledge of sexual bonding is nothing new.

“Do you know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?” the apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament. “Do you know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’”

Christian author Lauren Winner translates those verses this way: “Don’t you know that when you sleep with someone your body makes a promise whether you do or not?”

The bottom line is that you get “addicted” and “bonded” to the people you have sex with, even if they are “just friends.”

That helps explain why Stanford sex researcher Paula England has said that “Some people are hooking up a bunch of times with the same person but are not calling it a relationship.” Maybe these people are not as unattached to their “friends” as they would like to think.

Here’s where the hookup culture starts to be a problem. What happens if you get caught up in the friends-with-benefits-game and have multiple partners? What happens when the partners you’ve become addicted and bonded to are gone?

You experience withdrawal symptoms in the emotional center of the brain.

Young women, especially, are likely to spiral into a depression when the source of their addiction isn’t interested in another hookup. A 2003 study from the conservative Heritage Foundation found that 25.3% of sexually active teenage girls experienced depression, compared to 7.7% of sexually abstinent girls.

The study found that 14.3% of sexually active girls attempted suicide, compared to 5.1% of their virgin peers.

And when a person graduates from the hookup scene and tries to have an intimate relationship with the person they want to spend the rest of their life with, things can get complicated.

There are already a lot of other people he or she will be addicted to, and that creates more chaos for the exhilarating but challenging task of building a life of intimacy together. The Kinsey Institute notes that one of the five factors that predict infidelity in a relationship is “having had a high number of prior sex partners.”

Casual sex is happening. We shouldn’t ignore it. That’s especially true of the faith community. But when we talk about it, we should use science. There’s nothing biologically brief about a hookup.

In the interest of full disclosure, my motivation here is my Christian faith. I believe sex to be an incredible gift from God, meant to transcend the physical to discover something emotional and spiritual with another person.

But since my faith may alienate some of you from my message, I ask you not to think too hard about religious differences. Stick to the facts.

The good news is that we are seeing an ever-so-small rise in the number of young people choosing abstinence.

What are they waiting for? Some mind-blowing pleasure and an incredible intimacy–without all the baggage of a broken heart.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dannah Gresh.

Preview of Why Do Our Loved Ones Die, Aunt Lou?

Preview of Tell Me About Easter, Aunt Lou

HCG VLCD day 1 results

I am on day 2 of the VLCD diet with HCG Homeopathic drops. Day 1 results:  FOUR pounds lost.
So far no hunger pains.  I don't usually over-eat from hunger, it is usually boredom, stress or self-sabotage.
My menu from yesterday:
breakfast:  2 cups of coffee each with truvia and milk (I am not obsessive about the 1tsp of MILK rule)
snack:  melba toast
lunch:  3 slices of turkey lunch meat rolled with baby spinach inside, apple, unsweet tea
snack:  strawberries with truvia
dinner:  grilled chicken breast, baby spinach
and a cup of hot green tea before bed
LOTS of water throughout the day
It is going good and I am looking forward to this as a weight loss aide and a long-term dietary  plan.  I suffer from psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, bulging cervical dics and chronic fatigue.  This i my second go at the HCG plan and the no diet soda and sugar rule effects my symptoms DRAMATICALLY!!! My swelling is greatly reduced and my pain is diminished.