Welcome 2014!!!

I'm so excited about 2014.  Excited about the possibilities, changes, challenges and mainly about all of the happy memories that will be made.  Speaking of challenges......  here's just one that I'm going to try to keep!!!!!  What are some of your 2014 New Year Resolutions?????

would love to make this happen (on my to-do list)

Even if it's just a quick snapshot taken with my phone, I'm going to try to capture the small moments everyday.  My baby is growing up so fast.....  

Happy New Year!!!

Merry Christmas and Good-Bye 2013

This year we didn't spend Christmas at home.  Instead we went with family to the beautiful islands of Turks and Caicos.  Being able to get away, slow down and make memories with family is such a gift.  

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!!!


design for less....

I have been eyeing an awesome bar cart from Crate and Barrel but with the almost $600 price tag I was having issues "pulling the trigger"!!!!  But when I ran across this "design for less" version at Target, I was thrilled.  

Target     |      C&B

See..... fabulous design does NOT have to be expensive.  


Kicking the Soda (aka DR PEPPER) Habit

I LOVE DR. PEPPER!!!!!  But I started thinking.....  if I don't want my child to drink soda, then why is it OK for me to drink it?  Plus as I get older the pounds seem to start packing on my body and it makes it even harder and harder to lose the weight!  So in an effort to gross myself out and quit my habit I started doing a little more intensive research on soda and here's what I found.    I might have to print these off as a friendly reminder when I'm "jonesing" for a DP.    If you drink sodas then I hope this will help you too.  Warning:  You may want to stay far away from me for the next 21 days ;-(
If this doesn't work for me I may have to resort to HYPNOSIS!!!! ;-)

16 Reasons To Stop Drinking Soda
These were reasons why we drink soda and here are 16 powerful reasons to give up soda drinking.
Do you know the extent to which drinking carbonated, caffeinated, sugared, or artificially sweetened beverages harms your body? Giving up soft drinks can be one of the best things you can do to improve your health.

1.  Soda Is Useless.
First of all, there are no nutritionally beneficial components in soft drinks. Soft drinks mostly consist of filtered water and refined sugars. Yet the average American drinks about 57 gallons of soft drinks each year.

2.  Weight Gain & Obesity
Many people either forget or don't realize how many extra calories they consume in what they drink. Drinking a single 330 ml can a day of sugary drinks translates to more than 1lb of weight gain every month (a Route 44 Sonic drink has 37 ounces.  330ml = 11 ounces.... so I'm drinking at least almost FOUR times that - meaning I could be gaining 4lbs of weight a month!!!!  Scary that some days I have TWO Route 44 Dr. Peppers!!!) Several scientific studies have provided experimental evidence that soft drinks are directly related to weight gain. The relationship between soft drink consumption and body weight is so strong that researchers2 calculate that for each additional soda consumed, the risk of obesity increases 1.6 times.  According to the results of high quality study3 reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages helped reduce body mass index in the heaviest teenagers.

3.  Diabetes
This is a consequence of #2. Anything that promotes weight gain increases the risk of diabetes. Drinking soda not only contributes to making people fat, but it also stresses the body's ability to process sugar. Some scientists now suspect that the sweet stuff may help explain why the number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has tripled from 6.6 million in 1980 to 20.8 million today.
Rapidly absorbed carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup put more strain on insulin-producing cells than other foods. When sugar enters the bloodstream quickly, the pancreas has to secrete large amounts of insulin for the body to process it. Some scientists believe that the unceasing demands that a soda habit places on the pancreas may ultimately leave it unable to keep up with the body's need for insulin. Also, insulin itself becomes less effective at processing sugar; both conditions contribute to the risk of developing diabetes.  Interestingly, women who consumed a lot of fruit juice--which is high in natural fructose--were not at increased risk of diabetes, leading researchers to speculate that naturally occurring sugars may have different metabolic effects than added sugars. They also speculate that vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals in fruit juices may have a protective effect against weight gain and diabetes, counterbalancing the adverse effects of sugar.
Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and Harvard Medical School analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study II, a trial tracking the health of more than 51,000 women. None of the participants had diabetes at the onset of the study in 1991. Over the following 8 years, 741 women were diagnosed with the disease. Researchers found that women who drank one or more sugary drinks a day gained more weight and were 83% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who imbibed less than once a month.

4.  Weakened Bones And Risk Of Osteoporosis
Frequent consumption of soft drinks may also increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in people who drink soft drinks instead of calcium-rich milk. High soda consumption (particularly cola) in children poses a significant risk factor for impaired calcification of growing bones.
In the 1950s, children drank 3 cups of milk for every 1 cup of sugary drinks. Today that ratio is reversed: 3 cups of sugary drinks for every cup of milk. Tellingly, osteoporosis is a major health threat for 44 million Americans. Most experts now say that the real culprit is soda's displacement of milk in the diet, though some scientists believe that the acidity of colas may be weakening bones by promoting the loss of calcium.

5.  Dental Caries And Erosion
Soda eats up and dissolves the tooth enamel. Researches say that soft drinks are responsible for doubling or tripling the incidence of tooth decay. The acidity can dissolve the mineral content of the enamel, making the teeth weaker, more sensitive, and more susceptible to decay. Soda's acidity makes it even worse for teeth than the solid sugar found in candy.  Dental experts continue to urge that people drink less soda pop, especially between meals, to prevent tooth decay and dental erosion.

6.  Kidney Damage
People who down sugary drinks don't feel as full as those who consume the same amount of calories in solid food. This theory was born out by researchers at Purdue University who, in 2000, gave 15 volunteers 450 calories a day of either soda or jelly beans for a month and then switched them for the next month, while monitoring their total calories. The candy eaters compensated for the extra calories by eating less food and maintained their weight; during the soda phase, the volunteers ate more and gained.  There is good evidence that cola beverages can increase the risk of kidney problems, more so than non-cola sodas.  Researches clearly demonstrated that large quantities of cola result in enhanced kidney stone formation. If you're wondering exactly how soft drinks cause kidney stones, it's because of their acidity and radical mineral imbalances. Your body must buffer the acidity of soft drinks with calcium from your own bones. As this calcium is eliminated through your urine, it slowly forms kidney stones.  In a study published in the journal Epidemiology, the team compared the dietary habits of 465 people with chronic kidney disease and 467 healthy people. After controlling for various factors, the team found that drinking two or more colas a day (whether artificially sweetened or regular) was linked to a twofold risk of chronic kidney disease.

7.  Increased Blood Pressure
Experts have reasons to believe that over consumption of fructose, particularly in the form of soft drinks, leads to an increase in blood pressure.

8.  Likely To Cause Heartburn
Soft drink consumption is a strong predictor of heartburn.

9.  Metabolic Syndrome Risk Factor
Soft drink consumption is a significant risk factor for developing of metabolic syndrome, a combination of the symptoms such as high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, and insulin resistance.

10.  Harmful Effects On Liver
There is evidence that consumption of too many soft drinks puts you under increased risk for liver cirrhosis similar to what chronic alcoholics have.

11.  Impaired Digestive System
Soda, no matter who makes it, is the most acidic beverage you can buy, with a pH of about 2.5, about the same as vinegar, but the sugar content disguises the acidity. To put that into perspective, consider that battery acid has a pH of 1 and pure water has a pH level of 7.
Interesting fact: A pH below 4 or above 10 will kill most fish and very few animals can tolerate waters with a pH below 3 or above 11.  Why does that matter? Throughout the digestive system, that starts from the mouth and ends up at the anus only the stomach can resist an acidic environment up to pH 2.0. But before the acidity of soft drink reaches the stomach it passes through all the other organs involved in the digestive system thus causing an abnormal acidic environment. The linings of the mouth, pharynx and esophagus are highly sensitive to acids.  The phosphoric acid present in soft drink competes with the hydrochloric acid of the stomach and affects its functions. When the stomach becomes ineffective, food remains undigested causing indigestion, gassiness or bloating (swelling of stomach).

12.  Dehydration
Another problem with sodas is that they act as dehydrating diuretics. Both caffeine and sugar cause dehydration.  Caffeine is a diuretic and causes an increase in urine volume. High concentration of sugar is drawing off water because your kidneys try to expel the excess sugar out of the blood. When you drink a caffeinated soda to quench your thirst, you will actually become thirstier.  note:  I constantly say I'm "permanently dehydrated" and I constantly have to go to the restroom.  This made no sense to me before because my bestie drinks a TON of water and doesn't have to hit the restroom as much as me.... GO FIGURE!!!

13.  High Caffeine Content
Another advantage of avoiding sodas is that you will avoid the unnecessary caffeine. Soda drinks are a major source of caffeine in the American diet.  High doses of caffeine can cause irritability, restlessness, tension, insomnia, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disturbance, excessive urination, irregular heartbeat and other side effects.

14.  Toxins - Aspartame
If you think diet soda is better think again. The poison in diet soda is an artificial sweetener aspartame. Aspartame is made up of three chemicals: aspartic acid, phenylalanine, and methanol. It is used because it's about 200 times sweeter than table sugar.  Despite US FDA approval as a "safe" food additive, aspartame is one of the most dangerous substances added to foods. After you drink an aspartame-sweetened product, aspartame breaks down into its starting components: phenylalanine, aspartic acid, and methanol (that further converts to formaldehyde and formic acid, which are known carcinogens.). There are over 92 different health side effects associated with aspartame consumption.
Thank goodness I don't like diet soda (it tastes too sweet and even flat to me).  This is the perfect reason NOT to drink diet drinks and just cut out sodas COLD TURKEY!!! 

15.  Possible Cell Damage Ability
A new health scare erupted over soft drinks recently amid evidence that they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative E211, known as sodium benzoate, found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA. Sodium benzoate occurs in small amounts naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mold in soft drinks.

16.  There Are So Many Healthy Alternatives!
Soda replaces healthier drinks. By drinking soda, you cut the intake of fresh juices, milk, and even water and deprive yourself from essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Water. Water is the best drink in the world.
  • Tea. Any kind of tea - herbal, green or black - is rich in antioxidants, which were shown to protects the body form many health problems.
  • 100% Juice. Fruit juice can be also useful for flavoring your water and teas.


Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!!
To all of those mothers here on earth or up in heaven.... we love you and we thank you for all that you do.