Saturday, December 31, 2011

Looking Ahead



Since today is the last day of the year, I reflect on the things I have accomplished in 2011.  This year honestly was a blur, which saddens me because we were just TOO BUSY.  But here are some of the highlights...

*The biggest accomplishment was running the half-marathon and coming in under my goal time.  A half-marathon was something I never ever thought I would do (nor did I have the desire to!).  But I did it and I'm extremely proud of that accomplishment. 

*I also became a bit more active in our church.  Nothing major, but I signed up to do check-in for the children's ministry at my church at least 1 service a month (usually twice a month).  We also increased our financial giving to our church.  My husband and I decided to start a small group in our home with some couples from our church and we meet with them twice a month. 

* My marriage is the best it's ever been.  We still have areas we need to work on, but I am absolutely amazed at how God has intervened and helped us continue to grow closer to each other!

* We bought a pop-up camper and was able to use it several times on family camping weekends. 

As this year comes to a close tonight, I am looking ahead to 2012.  I'm not really a resolution type of gal.  To me, resolutions are something most people make that they HOPE to accomplish, but quickly forget about and, most times, they make the same resolution next time Jan 1st rolls around.  So, I am making GOALS for 2012 instead of resolutions...these are things I am actively going to strive for...

1.  Reach my goal weight of 150 by June 4th.  (see previous post!)

2.  Go on at least 1 date night per month with the hubster.  (And I already have the babysitters lined up for them!)

3.  Stay on budget financially and start to build up an emergency fund.  (ideally 3 month's living expenses)

4.  Start a savings fund for a new vehicle so we can pay cash for it!

5.  Run another half-marathon and beat last year's time of 2:24:29

6.  Take a family vacation to the beach. 

7.  Be intentional about spending time together as a family.  I want to be aware of how quickly Satan can use things (even good things!) to steal our time together and keep everyone tired and short-fused.   One way we are gonig to do this is to once again limit our children to one sport per year.  So Evan is going to only play football this year instead of baseball and football.  Last year, our schedule was packed from March until October!  We want to prevent that from happening again. 

So there you have it!  Here's to a great New Year...bring on 2012!!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

I'm Scared and I'm Not Going To Lie!


Last night hubby and I were chatting.  Not sure what exactly spurred on our conversation, but we eventually ended up chatting about my workouts at the gym.  Which lead me to tell hubby (apparantly I had never told him about my "official" weight loss goal) that I wanted to reach my goal weight by June 1st.  He was surprised and pleased by my confidence in setting such a goal.  

Which leads me to my confession:  I'M SCARED.  I'm afraid that I'm not going to make it.  I'm afraid that I will have to make ANOTHER resolution to lose the weight.  See, this has been the trend for pretty much my adult life after having kids.  I set a goal, don't meet it, and try again....and fail....again...and again.  So when I heard myself telling hubby OUT LOUD about my goal, I literally had a moment of panic hit me.  June 1st?  It's almost January!  Which gives me only 6 months to do this!  I'm started to feel like I bit off more than I can chew with this goal (isn't that how I got into this mess in the first place?).  I know it's physically possible to lose the weight in the given time...I'm just not sure I have it in me, you know? 
I am doubting my capabilities.  

Today I decided to look at the 2012 calendar and figure out just how many weeks I have left to reach my goal.  Not counting the rest of this week, I have 22 weeks.  So my next question is: What is my goal weight?  I have struggled with this question for some time.  Mainly because I haven't been thin since before having kids...which was 1999.  I think I weighed 155 when I got married that year.  Soon after came the babies and here I am at 176.  It's hard to set an exact number because I think I will know it when I reach it.  I just want to look in the mirror and like what I see in my figure, muscle tone, etc...but I'm not sure what number that is on the scale.  I don't want to set a goal weight that is too low yet, I don't want to NOT have a goal weight in mind either.  So for right now I'm picking 150 lbs as my goal weight.  That is 26 lbs that I need to lose in 22 weeks.  (Deep breath in, deep breath out.)  I instantly read that and want to panic because I haven't been very successful in losing more than a pound a week and I will need to in order to reach 150 in that time frame.  While looking at the calendar, I realized that June 1st is on a Friday and since I always weigh in on Mondays, I will make my goal date end on June 4th instead.   

I know deep down inside that I CAN do this.  I have had three kids via c-section, been in a deteriorating marriage and have seen it revived again, and I have ran a half marathon...I AM STRONG.  I just need to strive to look as strong on the outside as I feel on the inside!

On the plus side, I have started working out 3 days a week at the gym, and I already think I can see/feel some changes in my body shape.  And I'm doing more ab work and weight lifting than I ever have, so I really think that will help me see results at a quicker rate.  Also those classes are 1 hr 15 mins long (sometimes 1 hr 30 mins!) and I'm working my body harder than I would if I were to just run as my workouts.  So that has got to help too.  Normally when Jenny and I run, we do about 30-45 mins of running, so I am almost doubling the time that I am exercising (and working harder!) on those three days.  For example, when I logged my workout on http://www.livestrong.com/, it calculated that I had burned 279 for the half hour I was spinning, and 842 calories for the time I was kickboxing!  That's a total of 1121 calories burned today!  I would have probably only burned 730 calories on a 45 mins run.  That is a difference of 1173 calories over 3 days!  And since it takes 3500 calories to burn off a pound of fat, I could accomplish that in 3 weeks by just going to class instead of running on those 3 days each week!

So I started this post nervous and anxious and already feeling like a failure, but I'm ending this post feeling optimistic and inspired!   



The 60 Minute Money Workout By Ellie Kay


I just finished reading The 60 Minute Money Workout by Ellie Kay and I guess I have mixed feelings about the book.  It contains a lot of great information pertaining to different topics, such as college scholarships, or giving your children allowances, however I found it to be a bit redundant.  The book is broken up chapter by topic: Travel and Fun, Retirement, etc and each chapter is pretty short and sweet, but almost too short.  It seemed as if I would just get into the chapter and then it was over and you were on to another topic.  I understand her reasoning for people needing to do a 60 Minute Money Workout each week since so many families are struggling financially and have way too much debt, however the way the chapters are set up was a bit confusing.  Each chapter contains a Plan Workout that consists of a Warm Up (Prep for your Money Workout), Strength Training (Set Financial Goals), Cardio Burn (Put Goals into Action), Heart Rate (Measure Financial Performance), and Cool Down (Reward Yourself).  Each area of the "workout" tells you specific things to do pertaining to that chapter's topic.  The rest of the chapter goes a bit more in-depth about the topic and the chapter ends with a workout tip sheet.  This book is meant to be done with your spouse so that you both can communicate openly about your finances. 

I guess I was diappointed with this book. I have read other books written by Ellie Kay and enjoyed them.   In this book, she gives some good information, but it just seemed that the book was lacking depth.  Maybe it would be a great book for someone just starting out learning about different aspects of their finances, but for me, I was expecting something more.  However, I am familiar with budgeting and saving money, so it could be that it was "old news" to me.  

If you would like to read an excerpt from this book, you may do so here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/47257543/60-Minute-Money-Workout-by-Ellie-Kay-Chapter-1 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and and was asked to review it.  

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

This Thing of Ours, How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Cammy Franzese


This Thing of Ours, How Faith Saved My Mafia Marriage by Cammy Franzese was a great read!  In this book, Cammy tells the story of her life.  She started out as a young professional dancer who fell in love with Michael Franzese, a film producer and a member of the infamous Columbo Mob Family.   She tells of her childhood with a father who was a civil rights activist and a Christian mother who taught her stick to the choices she made with her life.  She writes of her experience as the wife of a Mobster, including spending eight years in the beginning of their marriage raising their three kids by herself. 

Cammy never knew he was involved in the mafia until after they were married, with a child, and Michael was in prison for various crimes. While he served his time behind bars, she had no choice but to rely on God to see her through.  And during Michael's second sentence in prison, he also found Christ.  Michael decided to leave the Mob, and now shares his story of redemption with churches all over the country. 

All in all this was a really good book.  The only negative aspect of this book is that the author skips around a bit chronologically with events and, in the process, divulges some information that sort of "gives away" the ending of the story.  Personally, I think those particular things would have been a bit more exciting left at the ending.  But other than that, I enjoyed reading this book and getting an inside look at the family life of someone involved with the mafia.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it.

A Beautiful Morning Run

Since I'm not heading to the gym today, and this is Jenny's long day at work and she can't run with me, I'm on my own as far as working out goes.  I woke up and immediately decided I would go for a run.  I really do not enjoy running by myself...mainly because I'm a WIMP.  I don't push myself as hard as I would if I were running with someone.  But now that I am the proud owner of an ipod touch, it helps to keep my mind of the time, distance, and the pain while running solo. 

Today's run was particularly beautiful.  It was snowing.  This is only maybe our 2nd heavy snow of the year so it's still exciting to see that white fluff coming down.  Some friends in my Facebook running group had previsouly told me how beautiful and peaceful it is to run in the snow, so I thought I'd give it a try.  And they were right.  It was an enjoyable run.  Except for the occasional HUGE snow flake that would drop into my eyes and the fact that the snow was sticking to my jacket which made me look like a live snowman.  lol  I worried about the snow melting through my jacket sleeve into the crevices of my ipod, but it stll is functioning so my worrying was in vain. 

I ran a little over 2 miles, with some walking breaks and it felt great to be independent with my workout.  Now that I don't LOVE running with someone.  It was just nice to overcome my "inner whiner" and decide to move my body even though I'd be alone.  I can't rely on someone to always be there with me.  I've set these goals for myself and only I can make them happen (with God's help of course!).  So far this week I'm meeting my goal of working out at least 30 mins a day (I did 1 1/2 hrs yesterday and 35 mins today!), but I'm not doing so hot at tracking my calories.  That has always been my weak spot.  So today I need to get back at it...and hopefully at some point I will be able to make it a lasting habit!   

Monday, December 26, 2011

Today's Weigh In...

Well, I wasn't sure what to expect on the scale for a number of reasons...

1.  Creeping Death
2.  Only working out on Monday and Saturday last week
3.  Not having much of an appetite, so I wasn't sure if I was overeating or undereating

But when I weighed in today, the scale said 176!  Down 2 lbs from last week!  I actually got my appetite back yesterday (just in time for all the Christmas goodies) and the healthiest thing I had all day was orange juice for breakfast!  So I'm happy with my weigh in this week! 

Today I went to spin class after a week off, and it felt great!  We did lots of jumping rope and weights.  I was afraid that I would feel tired during it all from having been sick but I didn't, so I guess that means I'm officially over the Creeping Death!!!  Yay!!! 

This week I am planning to go to the gym 4 times so I hope I will see another loss on the scale next Monday!  I'm ready to start kicking my own tail during workouts and burn this butter for good.  Forever. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

No Exercise for 4 Days...



Well, since my last post, I'm vertical and I feel better...but not 100% back to normal yet.  My tummy is still a bit icky feeling and I'm having a hard time knowing when to eat and when not to.  I know this sounds weird, but I can't tell if my tummy aches are because I'm hungry, or some after-effect of Creeping Death.  So sometimes I eat and sometimes I don't...and sometimes after eating I feel better, and sometimes I don't.  So this whole eating thing is really scary to me right now.  (Eating is overrated, right?  lol)  I weighed in at 175.4, which is awesome...but I haven't worked out (as of yesterday) since my double workout on Monday and I miss it.  Was going to go on Wednesday, but when hubby heard my plan to go to class, he advised me to just "recover".  And recovery sounded way better to me than sitting on a spin bike, jumping around, and lifting weights..not to mention ab work!  And I skipped yesterday morning too because of the grum-bellies...and the fact that my middle child came down with it Thursday night.  So this morning I got up and ran with Jenny and it felt good to get back into the swing of working out.  We probably did more walking than running, but it was something!  

One advantage to getting sick this week is that I don't have much of an appetite, so I SHOULDN'T have to worry about the typical weight gain that happens around the holidays! 

Thank you all for reading about my exciting life (not)!  I hope you all having a BLESSED Christmas! 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

6 lbs Lost in 2 Days?

I know a few days late on my weekly weigh-in blog, but I have several excuses  reasons.  First of all, Monday was a busy day.  I weighed in (results to follow...be patient!!), and headed out to spin class.  I had an INTENSE workout (the hardest one yet!) and then ran some errands and came back home.  Then I did some book work in the garage for hubby.  After that I headed out for a run with my running buddy, Jenny.  I noticed my tummy wasn't feeling all that great during our run...like I was running on a full stomach, but I wasn't.  I just ignored it and came back home to prepare dinner.  I ate dinner and then started feeling REALLY full and icky feeling...like I had eaten double the amount that I actually had.  So I went to bed. 
Then it happened....CREEPING DEATH.

Creeping Death is the name I give to any and all stomach bugs and flu....namely anything that makes me throw up and have various other "issues"  (I'll spare you the gruesome details).  It's the time of bug that when it hits you, you find yourself lying on the floor begging God to spare your life.  And I'm not exaggerating.  I was up all night and got maybe an hour or two of sleep.  My awesome super-hero hubby took great care of me and even gave me some time to myself during those times when I needed to preserve some dignity.  lol  He stayed up with me until he the throwing up subsided and then finally got to sleep (about 3am).  He even got up with the kids, kept them quiet (nothing speaks my love language more than that!!), and got them on the bus for me.  The only thing he overlooked was brushing Kailyn's hair...but I didn't bring it to his attention.  By 10 am yesterday morning I was feeling better (no more "issues"), but really weak and my tummy was still a bit angry feeling.  I spent the ENTIRE day on the couch or in bed.  And last night I got an awesome night's sleep.  I feel a bit more like my (ab)normal self, but still not 100%.  I decided to skip going to the gym (mainly because hubby recommended that I take today to "recover"), but rest assured I have my work cut out for me here at home....

1 Mom Doing Nothing All Day + 1 house full of 3 kids and a hubby who have to wear clothes and eat =
a total DISASTER!!!

So today will be spent playing catch up on laundry, dishes, and cleaning.  And honestly I don't mind at all because working is way better than being sick!

Alright, back to my weigh-in results.  Thank you for your patience, btw!  I weighed in on Monday morning and the scale said 178.4, which was a gain from last week (YUCK).  But I know it's due to all the holiday cookie and candy making I've been doing...and eating.  Not proud of it, but it is what it is.  It could also be from added muscle gained from my intense workouts and weight lifting I've been doing at the gym.  But my bet is that's from the cookies and candy.

But after Creeping Death came for a visit, I lost weight...along with my lunch and dinner from Monday.  I thought I'd just weigh myself for fun yesterday morning.  (After all, I worked HARD for that weight loss) 
The scale said:

172!

Holy Cow!  I thought maybe I had lost a few lbs...but not 6!  I know I'm dehydated, so most of that loss is due to that and will most likely come back on.  This morning I weighed myself to see what it said this morning and it said 171.8.  However I probably took in a total of 500 calories all day...and I'm guessing high.  So next week's weigh in will be interesting I bet!  

And I'm totally praying that no one else in my family has an encounter with Creeping Death this week!  So far everyone is feeling good.  Let's keep it that way. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Today's Depressing Weigh-In


Alright...today is Monday and that means it was time to weigh in and assess the damage, er, I mean see if I lost any weight over the past week.  I reluctantly stepped onto the scale (which I will explain the reason for my reluctance in a minute...) and it said 177.4!  YUCK.  DOUBLE YUCK!  But it is what it is...and honestly I'm not surprised.  I wasn't a very good girl last week with my eating.  However, I did work out 5 days!  Thursday night we used the kids' book-it certificates from Pizza Hut and had pizza for dinner, then Friday was date night (who wants to eat healthy while on a date?), and a family gathering that was sort of spur of the moment, so it was poorly planned on my part and didn't include any healthy options...unless you count deviled eggs as healthy.  And to top it off, it's like I lost all self-control as far as eating goes...I'm not sure what happened to me...it's like I was possessed. 

It all started with the pizza,


followed by ice cream and brownies....


then came the chips....



Ahhhh!  Stop the insanity already!  Here's the thing that I've noticed since being on this journey...it seems like even the slightest bit of junk food or overeating make my weight go up.  Look at a brownie = +1 lb.  Eat the brownie = +2 lbs.  THAT is why I was reluctant to step on the scale...because I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. But I had to face the truth and reap the consequences of my poor decisions.   

But there's good news! 

Today is a new day, full of new choices.  And for the most part I did pretty good at making decent choices and not overdoing it.  And I had a great workout that kicked my tail!  So, I'm not going to let the number on the scale get me down.  However, I'm not going to accept that number either.  I realized after my Recommitment post that I forgot to list my goal of reaching my goal weight (which is still TBA) by June 1, 2012.  So there you have it.  It's official because I just posted it for all to see.  Yikes. 

So hopefully I will have a non-depressing weigh-in post for next week!

The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton

I'm sorry to keep posting review after review, but I was overwhelmed with books for a couple of weeks, so I just buckled down and read them in order to mark it off of my to-do list!  lol  Today's review is of The Grace Effect by Larry Alex Taunton.  The cover of the book reads, "How the Power of One Life Can Reverse the Corruption of Unbelief."  I wasn't sure what this meant exactly and the storyline of this book, was different than what I expected...in a good way.  The author travels to different cities participating in debates with atheists as to whether or not God exists and if Christianity (or more specifically, grace) has a profound effect on different societies.  Larry Alex Taunton knows that it does and he's seen it firsthand. 

Through his wife and sons going on a missions trip to the Ukraine a couple of years ago,  Mr. Taunton and his family decided to adopt a 10-yr-old orphaned girl name Sasha.  The entire process took a year, and when they finally made the trip to finalize the paperwork and bring Sasha home with them, they witnessed what living in a grace-less society was like.  In his book he describes in detail what he and his family endured in order to rescue their beloved Sasha from the poor conditions she lived in in Orphange #17.  Now, over a year after bringing her to their home in Alabama, she is living proof of how grace is so important to each and every one of us...and especially in society as a whole. 

I will be honest, I didn't know if I would like this book and thought I would have to trudge through it, however it really gave me some new insight into international adoptions and also into what socialist (or ex-communist) countries are like. 

*I recieved this book from Booksneeze.com and was asked to review it.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas


I have another book review for you!  I received a copy of this book from Zondervan and was asked to post my review of Every Body Matters by Gary Thomas.  This was a really good book!  The main topic of this book is that our spiritual health and fitness is directly related to our physical health and fitness...they go hand-in-hand. 

In his book, Gary shares insight from his own personal experiences with losing weight, as well as stories from other people who have lost weight and now live more fulfilling lives both physically AND spiritually.  The Bible tells us that our bodies house the Holy Spirit, yet so many of us grow comfortable in our unhealthy, and often lazy, lifestyles.  If it requires work or pain, we're not interested.  Gary urges us to take that next step to wellness and endure a bit of pain and being uncomfortable because the benefits far outweigh the costs! 

One part of the book I really enjoyed reading about was Chapter 10 entitled, "Muscular Christianity".  Muscular Christianity was a movement in the late 19th century that "expressed manliness and physical fitness as high Christian ideals."  I had never heard of this movement, however so many of its principles should ring true in our lives.  We should never become obsessed with fitness, but we should adopt a lifestyle in which our bodies are in good enough shape physically and we have enough endurance to accomplish anything God asks of us.  If our bodies are housing the Holy Spirit, shouldn't we take care of them and keep them healthy and fit?  Gary writes about how this message of physical fitness is very rarely talked about in churches today.  Other sins are addressed such as adultry, murder, and greed, however gluttony and laziness are not touched.  Why?  Because the issue of obesity encompasses so many.  We would rather not hurt someone's feelings than caring about them enough to shed light in, gentleness and love, on their sins (because obesity is almost always caused by overeating and being underactive when genetics are not a factor) so they can carry out what God has called them to do.  We are allowing them to not live up to their full potential and, in many cases, even rob themselves of extra years of life due to poor health caused by obesity and inactivity. 

Gary's book is full of interesting insights and information from various authors throughout history who wrote concerning the tie between physical and spiritual wellness.  It sure has made me ponder some things and has convicted me to look at health and fitness in a new way in order to further God's kingdom!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Time to Recommit...again.

It is hard not to get frustrated.  Yet, I have no one to blame but myself.  I started Nov 30th, 2009 on my journey to get healthy and to FINALLY lose this excess weight and keep it off.  When I started, my weight was a sobering 185...the highest non-pregnancy weight I had ever had.  I read Chantel Hobb's book, Never Say Diet, and it changed the way I looked at weight loss.  She suggested moving your body for a minimum of 30 mins each day (or maybe it was only 5 times a week...can't remember), but the point was to get your body moving.  So I started walking.  And eventually started running.  By fall of 2010 I had lost 15 lbs.  Then the winter came and I slacked off with my exercising...and since it was a winter that just wouldn't let up, I didn't get back into the swing of things until around April.  I think at that point I was 175 lbs.  Long story short, I started training for a half-marathon thinking I would definately lose the extra weight through the increased weight loss.  I ran the half-marathon at 175 lbs.  Net Loss = ZERO.  Since then of course, I have been training less and cold weather is setting in again so I try to think up any excuse NOT to go out in the cold.  lol  Since the half-marathon in October, I actually saw 180 lbs on the scale.  So it's time for some self-intervention.  And the excuses have to stop.  TODAY.

So, I'm recommitting to losing this weight once and for all.  I get so discouraged thinking back over the past 2 years of this journey and think, "you know, if I had just buckled down and really watched what I ate better in addition to the intense training I was doing, the weight would be gone already."  But here I am...still at 175.4 (per this morning's weigh-in).  It's time for a change...a lasting one. 

How am I gonig to do this, you ask?  I'm not really sure.  lol  I guess I am going to just focus on making good (or even GREAT) decisions each day concerning what I eat and how much exercise I do, and hope and pray this strategy works to my advantage.  I know once I start to see the number on the scale start to decrease once again, I will begin to feel encouraged to continue on.  Until then, I just need to behave myself.  I am also going to set some short-term goals so I can experience some "mini-successes" along the way to my ultimate goal of reach my goal weight. 

One thing I started recently over the past couple of weeks was to track my calories on http://www.livestrong.com/.  I really like their website.   You tell it your weight loss goal and it will give you a calorie guideline to stick to each day.  As you eat something, you enter the calories of the food you ate and it will automatically deduct the calories from your calorie "budget".  Sounds depressing to watch that number go down, right?  There's good news though!  Each time you work out, you get to add the calories you burned back into your budget!  It's like getting a calorie bonus each day!  But...you have to do the work.  I have one problem with this whole calorie-counting thing...consistency.  I do great for a day, then slack off, then get back on track, then slack off.  So one of my goals with my recommittment is to faithfully track my calories.  One reason that it is important for me to do so is because I have no idea if the guideline they set for me is what my intake really should be.  So if I haphazardly track my cals, I'll never know if that guideline needs tweaked or not. 

Oh yeah...another cool thing about livestrong.com is that you can enter in your weight whenever you weigh in too.  You enter it in and it produces a line graph for you of your gains or losses.  If you lose, the line plummets down making it look as though your 1 lb weight loss was a 50 lb one.  On the flip side, if you gain, it will make your 1 lb gain look like a 50 lb gain on that chart.  So if I'm losing, I love LOVE that chart, but if I'm losing, I want to rip that chart to shreds  very much dislike that chart! 

So, why am I telling you all of this?  I need your help.  I need some accountiblity.  I need to know that you are keeping an eye on me.  Accountiblity is an amazing thing.  It's both encouraging and humbing.  So with your new title as "Jen's Accountiblity Partner", comes permission to yell at me strongly encourage me to stay on track and to ask me how I'm doing with my goals.  And I'm going to hold YOU accountable to do it!  lol

My hope is to keep you updated weekly on my weight, how I did with reaching my goals, and any new goals I set for myself.  So here are my current goals:

Weekly Goals:
1.  Workout for at least 30 mins each day (giving myself one day off each week)
2.  Track my calories FAITHFULLY each day
3.  Weigh in each Monday morning.

Short-Term Goals:
1.  See 170 lbs on the scale again (which means losing 5 lbs and getting back to my lowest weight over the past 2 years)
2.  Increase my workouts to 40 mins a day
3.  Set a definite goal weight.  (Although I feel like I won't truly know until I get there)

Long-Term Goals:
1. Run the Cap City Half-Marathon in May 2012 and beat this year's half-marathon time of 2:24:29
2.  Reach my goal weight...which I think right now is around 150 lbs.
3.  Actually like and want to eat fruits and veggies. lol
4.  Become more knowledgeable about how to cook those veggies so I want to eat them.  lol 

So...wish me luck! :)