I don't know why I only ever get in front of this screen with the purpose of writing when life seems confusing.

I guess its just the act of putting it down, releasing it from my mind which truthfully keeps me up at night and makes me crazy. I suppose I hope that by typing it out I can make my head and heart settle.

There is nothing WRONG in my life, who knows, maybe that is why I am unsettled. I have a job I love, that allows me plenty of creativity and a chance to be around people - family life is good, all is well, but yet inside me, I feel like a storm is definitely brewing.

My boys are growing up. I think that has hit me really hard this summer. With one going into highschool, and the other into grade seven, the reality that my grip on them is slipping, that the days of them needing me to hold them in my lap and make them feel better are gone, I feel sad.

I am so happy for them for all of the exciting adventures ahead, and I am so proud of the little men I have raised, but the mama bear in me, well she is not having such an easy time of it.

And, in typical Julie fashion, the realization of them becoming men, reminds me of my own age, and of all the things in my life that I set aside so that I could be mom first and foremost. It leaves me taking a good hard look at myself, and not necessarily liking what I see.

So, I resolve to myself that its time to change - that there is really no reason in the world for me not to be the person I always felt I was meant to, that the excuses are running out and there is no one else to hide behind.

Problem is, I feel like underneath it all there is the ball of emotions that I have buried and stuffed down, and now I feel like they are all coming to the surface at once and I'm not sure how to deal with them. When you carry something for so long that you can't remember why or how you picked it up in the first place it is physically and emotionally crippling to try to put it down.

But the freedom is there - I can feel it. I think it scares me really...the not knowing what will happen when I finally break free of these chains that have held me down for so long. Afraid I will get hurt, afraid I will hurt someone else, unsure of who I am, and who I am supposed to be.

I suppose that is the caveat of change, that we just really never know, we only know that its time...and that we cannot run from change, it always finds us - whether we think we are ready not.

New Recipe : Souvlaki and Spanokopita Orzo

So, my little sister introduced me to the new Rachael Ray cookbook "Look and Cook". I loved it so much, that I bought it....twice!

Ha, the first time I gave it to my mom for mother's day, since she seemed to be enjoying all the lovely pictures too ;)

So, anyway, as I try some of the recipes I will review them and post them here for you.

This, as usual is tweaked by Julie (and Epicure)


4 or 5 chicken breasts
olive oil
lemon juice
VE Souvlaki seasoning
VE Greek seasoning
Sea Salt and Pepper

I mixed this all together - I never measure, just till it looks well coated ;)

I marinated it over night, which I recommend.

Then as my youngest son put the chicken on little skewers, I boiled up about two cups of orzo pasta, and made the spinach sauce.

To do this, I sauteed about 1/2 cup of onions in about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, for about six minutes.

Then I added some fresh spinach I had pureed in my vitamix. I also added a few sprigs of fresh dill, just cuz that's how I roll ;) then I added about half a cup of chicken stock. (I would recommend using a low sodium one)

This part was not so appetizing ;)

After the orzo was done (oh and my souvlaki is at this point on the grill) I added it to the spinach sauce, and then melted in about 1/4 cup of fresh feta, and another cup of spinach leaves.

Then, served the souvlaki on top of the orzo concoction. It was VERY good. Even the boys ate it, minus the onions (they picked that out, fussy buggers ;))

For those of you who need a more detailed recipe (since this would be a pain to print) here is
Rachel's recipe.

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Recipe- Italian Wedding Soup

Have you ever had this soup at East Side Mario's? It is a long time favorite of mine, but as I don't get out to restaurants very often, I thought I would recreate it at home. I have been making this recipe for months now, and I LOVE it. It freezes well, so I always make a big batch and use smaller batches for lunches for myself and my husband.

Italian Wedding Soup - my recipe.

As Julie recipes go, this is very dependent on your own tastes. I don't measure my broth so this is just a "guestimate" add more or less depending on how you like your soup.

First thing I do is fill a LARGE stockpot 1/3 full with water. Here is what my stockpot looks like to give you an idea.

Then, I add my chicken stock. I use Epicure chicken stock because I think it has amazing flavour and very little sodium. In this case I used about 1/8 cup.

Then I added about 1 cup of chopped carrots, I use my vitamix for this and just whirl up my carrots, onions and some stock. Note: After I have used the epicure chicken stock, I also use No name liquid chicken stock to turn the remainder of my water into stock. I add this throughout the soup making process until I get the flavour I want. Add to the stock and bring to a rapid boil.

Then its time to make the meatballs! I put my pound of ground chicken into a bowl, and add about a cup of breadcrumbs. I always make my own, and in this case I had half a pita sitting around so that was what I used. I also use about 1 tbsp of Epicure Pesto seasoning for this. It flavours the meatballs amazingly! Add an egg, mix well, and that is your meatball mix :)

Then I use my handy dandy meatballer (from pampered chef, yes, I support a lot of home businesses ;)) to drop the mix into the boiling soup on the stove.

Then I add 1 bag of spinach, and more stock to taste and let it simmer for an hour or so.

It all bubbles happily away on the stove :)

Then about an hour before I plan to serve I add about 1- 1.5 cups of pasta. I use the one pictured below.

Then serve with some nice garlic bread or breadsticks and enjoy!!!

Shaklee testimonial newsletter

I know I constantly rave about my experience with Shaklee products, but don't just take my word for it, here is a newsletter FILLED with great stories and testimonials!

Cinch success story - Tasha Starr

This Cinch testimonial is very dear to my heart. My very good friend Tasha and I are fortunate enough to share our lives in many ways. Friends to begin with, I began working for her about two years ago as a contractor. She joined Shaklee with me shortly after I did, less than six months ago.

Tasha is an inspiration to me in so many ways, but a few things that have always stuck out to me is her drive to succeed in all things, and her compassion for others and love of her family. So naturally Shaklee was a great fit for her!

Tasha and I also started Cinch together around the same time, with the small difference that she actually stuck to it over the holidays and I didn't. I am however back on track now!

Here are her amazing before and after shots!

New Year - New Me?

2011 is here, and as the beginning of a new year starts I wanted to take a look back a moment on 2010 and write down at least five positive things that happened to me last year.

I tend to be the type that focuses on what I DIDN'T accomplish instead of what I did, so I want to begin turning around my thinking to the things that are positive instead!

1- I managed to branch out my retouching and design business to a few new clients of my own. This was a big accomplishment for me becuase for the most part I do consulting work for another (magnificently talented) Photographer who consistently checks my work, thus creating a bit of a safety blanket. So it was nice to know that someone else loved my work based only on what I myself had done. I would love to continue growing in this area this year.

2-I lost 28 pounds- I also gained around 20 (from earlier in the year) leaving me only down 8 since 2009, but I still managed to lose 28 pounds in one session so I am pretty happy with that :) Again, this year, my goal is to lose 50 pounds. Very doable, so I am going to plan to succeed. I also want to walk/run in a half marathon in my 35th year, so as I am now 34, I want to begin training for that!

3-I practiced driving- While it is true that darned drivers license is STILL taunting me, I DID get out of my comfort zone several times and get behind the wheel, so this year, I am going to get it. It is my NUMBER one goal for 2011.

4-I joined Shaklee and started another business!- This one was particularly exciting for me since I wasn't looking for it, and it just sort of fell in my lap. That's always the best kind of opportunity.
I have been using their supplements and weight loss products as well as their amazing beauty line and I can honestly say that it has made a great impact. So goal for 2011 is to keep growing my team, and become more confident in myself when it comes to following up with my customers, and really be an example of how well these products work (which requires a bit more diligence on my part to stick to it, especially Cinch)

5-I spent lots of time rediscovering my sons- To be honest, I suppose it should really be my oldest son, but something happened when he became a teen, and all of a sudden he just GREW up in front of my eyes. This led to many conversations, tears and questions, and I find myself so much closer to him having gone through it all. It also prompted me to begin working on my relationship with my younger son knowing it won't be much longer until he is a teen too! So 2011, I want to really focus on my relationships. All of them, not just with my sons, but my husband, my family and my close friends. Take time....

So in addition to those things I really want to be more active this year. Less time on the couch/computer and more in the world. (Didn't do so well at that last year ;))

I hope you all have a wonderful year! I am back on track with tracking my food and using the great Cinch products to help with my weight loss. They have a great promo this month so if anyone is interested in doing this with me, here are the details! If you decide to try it let me know and I will help you get set up!

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1 Cinch® Program Guide

1 Cinch® Pedometer (while supplies last) – three free months of introductory membership (charges apply in fourth and subsequent months)

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Cinch Weight Loss