Monthly Archives: November 2011

Handprint Memories

I try to do a handprint/footprint project with my kids for each HoLiDaY or SeAsOn.  I started them shortly after my son turned one and have continued since.  It is FuN to look back and see how their hands and feet have grown and the projects make great decorations and gifts.  You can find tons of great ideas just by doing a simple Google search for holiday handprint projects.  Have fun CrEaTiNg great memories!

I made this wreath last Christmas using my son’s handprints for the wreath and my daughter’s tiny feet for the holly!  I wrote the little poem myself!

I made these little snowmen out of their feet last January!

~Jersey Girl~


Filed under New Jersey Robyn, RANDO•RAMA

Marriage Can Taste Like Vinegar

{With the support and approval of my husband, I am sharing this with you.  Thanks Babe.}

Two weeks ago Doug went on a hunting trip with his college buddies.  I am rarely eXciTed when he tells me he is going to be gone for 3 days, especially since his job requires him to travel so much.  I also resent the fact that it isn’t as easy for me to get away, and even when I do, I feel gUilTy for leaving my family.  I guess because I feel that way I assume he should too!

Each time he leaves for these extended weekends, it is very pRedicTable on what the mood will be.  I’m usually not very peppy because I’m worn out from watching the kids and need a break.  He feels like every time he calls home to check in I try to make him feel bad for leaving (which he is probably right).  When he finally comes home it is hard to cOnnEct because we’ve built up a large wall between us.

Well, that is where we were when he came home on Saturday.  After we finally broke the ice, we ended up having the same disagreement regarding his extended trips, and it ended the same as all the others ….with no one happy.  We walked in separate directions of the house, with nothing but knots in our stomachs.

One GooD thing about our marriage is neither one of us can stand being mad at each other very long.  This time around, I beat him to the punch.  I walked up to him, and although it tasted like vinegar, said, “Are we oKay? I don’t want to spend the whole day being mad at each other” and hugged him.  I have to admit, even at that point I wanted to pull away and scream with frustration. But staying frustrated wasn’t going to get us anywhere and I didn’t want to spend any more time being mad.  I would rather suck it up and mAkEup vs. be mad and alone.

Marriage isn’t always eAsy.  In fact, it takes a lot of work much of the time.  If you are having a similar argument that has lasted 20 minutes, 2 days or several months, there is no better time than now to make a mends.  From experience I know that the longer you go without breaking down those walls, the easier it is to keep separating.  We know where too much separation leads, and no one wants that.

So, even though it may taste like vinegar, do the right thing and reconnect.  You are probably to the point you don’t even know what you are mad about, you are just MAD.  Do your marriage a favor and make this holiday season an extra special one by breaking down the walls between you and the ones you love.



Filed under Marriage, Relationships

Biggest Bang For Your Buck {Take Stock}

From time to time its good for us to TaKe StOcK of our life.  Where we’ve been and where we’re going.  What has worked and what has failed.  What stays and what goes.

I find the end of the year is a good time for this.  January one is synonymous with new BegiNniNgs.  And here is the question I am pondering:

What OnE HaBiT (if I had it) would give the “biggest bang for the buck”?

Would that one habit be self-control/discipline, faithfulness, truthfulness, love, patience, kindness, diligence, perseverance, humility, better communication skills, or loyalty?

Chances are we all have that “oNe HaBiT” that (if we possessed it) would change the course of our life.   If you have trouble coming up with an answer ask yourself where you have the most conflict in your life.  It’s most likely in that area you could use some help.  Maybe its money problems; relationship problems; low self-esteem issues; or problems in your thought life, personal life or spiritual life.

As 2011 comes to a close, take some time to take stock of your life.  Are you headed down a path that will ultimately take you to your desired destination?  It’s well worth the InTroSpeCtiOn.

What’s your “One Habit”?



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Filed under B.B.F.Y.B., Hard Reality, Life

Pastor D.J.’s Playbook #17 {Play Hard/Play Nice}

The Suede Sofa KiNdnEss ChaLLenGe:

Want joy this season?  Then pLaNt the “seed” of joy in someone else’s life.  You do reap what you sow, afterall!  Here is our challenge to you:  Do two things this holiday season (things that you don’t normally do) for people who have no way of paying you back.  If this is new for you, start with one thing!!  Just do SoMeThing!!

;) Robynn~

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Filed under Faith, Pastor DJ, Videos

{Skinny Jeans!}

When it comes to “SkiNnY JeAnS” on people there are two categories (in my opinion).

Those who look great in them and those who don’t.  I’m not being negative, just ReAliStiC.  You find out what looks good on you and then go with it and when I initially tried on skinny jeans a couple of years ago I realized that I fell into the second category.

That all changed on a recent shopping trip with Lara.  She tried on a pair of “JeGgiNgS” (a combination of jeans and leggings).  They were so flattering on her I just had to try them myself.  And when I did, I loved them.  My first response was, “I JuSt LoSt 10 PoUnDs!”

Now, I still don’t like the way I look in skinny jeans, that is, before I put the boots on, but once you put the boots on it changes everything.  In fact, I can’t believe I’ve been trying to tuck my regular jeans into my boots.  Uncomfortable!!  But with skinny jeans or jeggings that problem is alleviated.

If you still aren’t sure you will like the way you look in skinny jeans (they do fit snug) then a tunic or long sweater is the answer.  If you have never tried them, but are looking for a new, FaShiOnabLe look give them a try!  Just remember you need to buy them snug.  Lose fit does not work with these guys!

By the way, if you’re wondering where Lara and I got our “jeggings”, we picked them up at Maurices for $29.  Hard to find a $29 pair of jeans these days!

Thanks Lara!




Filed under Beauty/Fashion, You

Countdown To Christmas!!

Let the countdown begin!  If you don’t have Michael Buble’s new Christmas CD, we highly recommend getting it!  If you need a fun and enjoyable gift for give a friend, give it!  His music will light up your holiday and get the season off to the right start! (I get goosebumps every time I watch this trailer…am I a geek or what?!)

HaPpY HoLiDaYs!

Lara, Robynn & Jersey Girl

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Filed under RANDO•RAMA, Traditions

From Pastor D.J.’s Playbook {Play #56 – The Busted Play}

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Filed under Faith, Pastor DJ, RANDO•RAMA, Videos

Put On Your Big Girl Panties And Deal With It

Growing up I was extremely lucky as far as my weight was concerned.  I was able to eat whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted and never gained a pound.  I didn’t worry about my clothes fitting and I didn’t think twice about wearing a bikini to the beach. By age 25 I got married, my metabolism had started changing, and the weight started creeping up.  Over two years of infertility led to more weight gain and I delivered my son weighing 67 pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day.

After Nicholas was born I decided to join Weight Watchers to help take the weight off.  Knowing that getting back to my pre-baby weight was NoT A ReAliTy, I set a goal that I thought I could maintain.  Losing the weight was the easy part…keeping it off was another story.  Over the next year and a half I watched the scale go up and down until I reached my goal weight for the second time only to find out a week later that I was pregnant with my daughter.  WoO-hOo, not only was I shocked and elated that I was pregnant without having to go through the grueling infertility struggle that I went through for my son, but now I  had a FrEePaSs to eat whatever I wanted again.

I didn’t gain as much weight with Abby’s pregnancy as I did with Nicholas’, but I don’t think having a toasted coconut donut and a large dunkachino every day from May to August was a smart move.  My weight fluctuated for the next year and a half until it got to a point where I couldn’t stand to look at myself in the mirror.  There were many people, friends and family included, who would say, “You are small you don’t need to lose weight.”  I was already upset and stressed about the way I looked and when I heard things like that it made me feel like what I was going through WaSn’T ReaL to anyone else.  I got to a point where I was eating and eating ridiculous amounts of snacks and sweets and I wasn’t fitting into any of my clothes.  I was my highest non-pregnancy weight and just couldn’t get control of it.  As NuTtY as it may sound, I decided that taking a picture of myself in the mirror wearing my bra and underwear was going to be my motivation.  I loathed and hated the picture.  The girl in the picture was so far from who I wanted to be and it was a huge WaKe-Up CaLL.  It is one thing to stuff yourself into clothes and cover up with a big shirt or sweater, but it is another to look at yourself over and over again with nothing sucking you in or hiding the skin.

I joined Weight Watchers again in January 2011, but this time I did all of my weigh-ins online and downloaded the Weight Watchers app on my phone.  I followed the plan, but allowed myself to ChEaT a little on weekends.  By June I had lost 20 pounds and was thrilled with my success.  I’ve struggled since June to keep the weight off, but am trying to make peace with myself and accept the ups and downs that come with weight loss.

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and Christmas right around the corner I know the next month is not going to be easy.  I know denying myself treats like sweet potato casserole and Christmas cookies will only make me depressed so I will allow myself to indulge in the things that I love, but at a reasonable helping.  If I notice the weight starting to CrEeP back up, I know I have my trusty camera and can stand in front of the mirror in my bra and underwear anytime!

~Jersey Girl~


Filed under New Jersey Robyn, Peace w/ Food

From the Confessional: Eating, Weight and Self-Image

Have you ever found that no matter what “wEiGht” you are, you find yourself either struggling with food, unsatisfied with some area of your body, or feel overwhelmed with pressure to stay skinny after you lost weight (especially if people noticed and made a big deal about it!)?

The more women I talk to, the more I realize that no matter what size you are, women struggle when it comes to PeAcE with FoOd, the number on the scale, and body image. Most women believe that if you look thin (or you’ve maintained your healthy BMI weight), that those women are automatically happy, never struggle with food temptation, and rarely step on the scale because looking like that comes easy. Let me tell you, this is not true.

Growing up I didn’t struggle with weight as much as I struggled with my self-image. I was a chubby kid in junior high and after hitting a growth spurt in high school, staying thin didn’t take much eFFoRt. Looking back though, I was never satisfied with my body…how sad when I look back at pictures of myself!

It wasn’t until I became pregnant with my first child that I was truly huMbLed when it came to weight. I gained over 60 lbs and looked so different that some people didn’t even recognize me. I remember coming home from the hospital thinking, “This is it. I will no longer be able to wear skinny jeans.” I believed it so much that I gave 5 trash bags full of clothes to goodwill within the first couple months of being a new mom! Fast forward 4 years and another kiddo…I wish I wouldn’t have given up on myself so easy! I was able to eventually lose the weight and could have enJoyEd some of those favorite outfits again.

Even though I am at my lowest weight since college, I still struggle with PeAcE wiTh FoOd. I LOVE sweets and have a hard time eating in moderation at times. When I let my guard down I eat too much and then feel horrible the next day.  Often times I “throw in the towel” and eat poorly for a week or so and then have to finally snap out of it. It becomes a vicious cycle of giving in, feeling bad, giving myself a pep-talk to start eating right and exercising, etc. So don’t be fooled! Even though I may look and feel bEttEr than I have in years, I have to talk to myself daily in order to maintain my current weight.

We are going to be talking a lot more about this topic on the Suede Sofa because we have had so many women share such similar thoughts regarding weight and food. You are probably telling yourself that no one feels the same way you do, but I can assure you most women have been where you are right now.

I look forward to sharing more of my story and thoughts with you. No life is as pErfeCt as it appears on the outside so give yourself a break and stop comparing yourself to every woman you pass on the street. If only you could visit with them for a second and realize that you both feel the SAME way, regardless if you look completely different! As you read more of our stories I think you will find great comfort in knowing that no matter where you are in your PeAce with FoOd journey, you are not alone.

If you agree or liked this post, do us a favor today and click “like” on the facebook link below or comment under this post.  Use a screen name if you don’t want your real name exposed.   Sharing our personal stories on this subject is not easy.  By responding to this post we will be reAssuRed that you want to hear more about our experiences on PeAce WitH Food.

Thanks for Reading!



Filed under Getting Real, Life, Peace w/ Food, You

{Peace With Food}

This past April, on the Suede Sofa, Lara and I began a 6-month challenge encouraging our readers to pursue a dream or a goal.  My PeRsOnaL ChAllEnGe was to have PeAcE WiTh FoOd.  I’ll have to admit, although the challenge ended October 1st, I’m still working on that.  In fact, this has been a work in progress for um…. well over 25 years.

I first gained excess weight when I was a sophomore in high school.  During the following summer I joined WeiGhT WaTcHeRs and lost all the weight I had gained.  Because I was an athlete it wasn’t too difficult keeping it off.

Then came college.  I gained the “FrEsHmEn 15” plus some.  Having the freedom to eat whatever I wanted and whenever I wanted, those pounds didn’t come off fast or easy.  The rest of my college years I saw my weight go up and down.  Mostly up.  By the time I got married, 10-plus years after college graduation, I had managed to get back to my HiGh ScHooL WeiGhT.  What a relief!

Then came children.  The scale went up once again.  Over 50 pounds.  But after my 2nd child was born I decided to GeT SeRioUs about losing the weight.  I was tired of all the fluctuations and wanted to establish life-long habits that would sustain the loss.

So, in April of 2009, after having a “CoMe To JeSuS” talk with myself I decided I would do whatever it took.  I had actually begged myself, in the “SpiRiT oF ExPeriMenTatiOn”, to try eating really healthy (lots of fruits and vegetables) and eliminate (for the most part) all junk food for just three months.  Along with eating healthy I wanted to exercise a lot, which wasn’t that big of a deal as it had already been part of my lifestyle.  So the decision was made.  I would live with ReCkLeSs AbAndOn and find out once and for all if this would “work” for me.  Well, three months later, I was 25 pounds lighter, so I guess the answer would be “Yes”.


If you are looking only at the numbers then the answer would be “Yes”, but if you looked at what was going on InTerNaLLy, the answer would be “No”.  Even though I reached my goal exactly by the date I had set, I wasn’t happy, nor at peace.  Immediately after hitting my goal of my all-time low I began to gain weight.  Over the next six months I gained about 13 pounds.  So once again I decided to go on a strict diet and lose the unwanted weight.

TaKe TwO:

This time around I TrAcKed My ProGreSs very closely.   I included everything from what caused my “mess-ups”, the time of the day I messed up, what was going on internally, etc.  The information was invaluable and as a result I have written about all my lessons in a book I hope to get published sometime soon.

On this second try I worked out even harder and lost even more than I had the first time around.  But due to an All-Or-NoThiNg mindset when I failed to reach my goal on the date I had set (I was only four pounds away) I threw my hands up and totally lost control for about a month which resulted in me gaining much of the weight back.

TaKe ThReE.

I’m on my third take, but this time is different.  I have a NeW oBjeCtiVe.  It is not a number on a scale or a number (a.k.a. a certain size) on the tag of a piece of clothing.  No more QuiCk FiXeS.  No more CraZy DiEts.  No more excessive workouts just to lose a pound or two.  No more being fixated on food whether that is dreaming of what I am going to eat, or being obsessed with eating only a certain kind or amount of food and staying within those strict limitations.

Instead it is…




Plain and simple.  And the contentment that comes with knowing that FoOd DoeSn’t RuLe My LiFe.

I’ll be sharing with you the LeSsoNs I have learned.  They have worked for me.  Maybe some will speak to you.  Others you may find obsolete.  Take what works and leave the rest behind.

If you find yourself on this journey I pray you FiNd HoPe and then the CouRaGe to take the steps to get to FrEeDoM and PeAcE WiTh FoOd.



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Filed under All-Or-Nothing, Inspiration, Peace w/ Food, You