… little bit of this, little bit of that, a whole lotta about the kids

A Love-Hate thing

Love Hate Computer Keys Showing Emotion Anger And ConflictLet me just say first that I love my husband. He is an amazing person and I am very lucky to be his wife. Having said that, right now I think I could easily hate him. I’ve lost 12 pounds in 7 weeks. With 150+ pounds to lose, you would think I would lose a lot faster, but never mind that. And it’s a terrible struggle. I fight cravings and fight to meet my macros, and avoid sugar and such. My husband, who only had 60-80 pounds to lose has lost 40 pounds in 11 weeks. I won’t say it’s “easy” for him, but he doesn’t seem to have cravings. He just decides to stop drinking soda, and he is done with it. He eats what he plans to eat during the day, trusting me to prep a dinner in the 500-600 calorie range, and never ends up staring into the open fridge looking for something else to eat. I think he is one of those naturally “thin” people. It’s just that he was eating so far over his calorie limit before (an entire bag of Doritos for a snack for instance), that now that he is eating “normal” portions, the weight is just falling off him like Bill from Thinner. And as much as I love him, it makes me want to strangle him in his sleep ;)

Failing to plan… planning to – you know the rest!

What happens when I don’t plan ahead?  Well, its the tired cliché I remember spouted out at every weight watcher meeting I ever attended — if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.  For me, that mostly means meal planning.  Not just for health and weight loss purposes, but if I don’t meal plan, I often end up floundering at dinner time.

I forgot to take out something to thaw!

Yikes!  What am I going to make for dinner with XYZ?  What do I have that goes with it? I need a store run.

Oops, I took out a roast to thaw, I should have gotten that in the oven an hour ago for dinner in an hour.

Ugh, I am just too tired to deal with it.

Especially the last one; high sugars had made me so lethargic (I didn’t know this was the issue at the time), I would literally be falling over tired; so exhausted that I could not keep my eyes open, no matter what I did.  Even when not quite that tired, the other excuses would weigh more heavily on me, and we either end up with the same boring old dinner again and again, or more likely, hopping in the car to go out to eat or bring home take out.

I never used to notice this, or realize why I was cooking at home so little, but after resuming the habit of meal planning and doing it faithfully for a good 6 weeks or so (even before I started watching my calories), I noticed today that I was floundering at dinner time, and had been for a couple days, and suddenly it knew exactly why.  Ohhhh, my last planned menu was that pulled pork on Saturday. I sat down several times with my meal planning binder to do my meal plan, but something kept getting in the way.  I had the general idea of the week in my mind, and I’d taken out some meats to thaw, but I never got it down on paper with sides and such.

If you find yourself struggling at meal time, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner or all three, I recommend trying meal planning for a few weeks and see how it really reduces the meal time stress.  I personally like the planner from The Project Girl, but even just jotting down my weeks worth of meals on a scrap paper works.

Sugar, the Enemy

mcdonalds-Frappe-Mocha-SmallIt’s been about 5 weeks since I gave up my Pepsi and at the same time, any other added sugar kind of foods.  When my last A1C reading came back, I realized that if I didn’t get my sugars under control myself, that I would have to start taking more heavy duty medication — and the idea of having to give myself shots is about as appealing as a root canal.  Maybe less appealing; at least they give you Novocain for a root canal.  I can barely stand to hit the trigger on the itty bitty teeny weeny needle for pricking my finger to get a bit of blood to test my blood sugar. It barely hurts; and it’s pain gone in a flash.  Doesn’t matter; I just hate needles, and no logic can combat that.

So today, I took my 10yo DS to his occupational therapy (for sensory integration) at its new location, and now it’s too far from home to just drop off and head home.  I decided to go get some water or something (I should have planned ahead and brought some), so I go through a McDonald’s drive through, with every intention of getting a bottled water, and somehow found myself ordering my old nemesis, the mocha frappe, no whip, no drizzle.  (Yuk, that fake chocolate syrup gets all thick and manky in the cold; leave it off mine, please!)

It’s never been that I can’t fit it in my calories.  Most days I am between 1200-1300 and theoretically, I can eat up to 1600-1700 and still lose 2 pounds a week.  (HAH!) Although, being so calorie dense, it certainly isn’t particularly filling.  Feeling hungry = Not A Good Thing.  Plus, it’s sugar, and sugar is a major issue for me, not just because of the diabetes, but even before, with my insulin resistance, sugars really mess with my ability to lose weight, I don’t care what the laws of thermodynamics say, my body can defy them!  Then of course is the other side effect of sugar and the way it messes with blood sugar, after that burst of energy high, you get the drop and the cravings for more sugar.  Evil stuff, sugar. I still order one, and I start to drink it.  And you know what?  It’s gross.  Really nasty, and thick feeling in my mouth, and so sickeningly sweet that I can’t, that is, don’t want to, keep drinking it.  Now the willful part of me wants to buy a Pepsi so I can see if that is nasty now too ;))

so called “Greek Relish”

Yesterday I made a tasty (ugly looking, so no pictures!) “relish” to go with our baked chicken thighs.  e-meals calls it “Greek Relish”; I don’t think it seemed particularly Greek.  No lemon, no oregano, no feta cheese, no thyme.  Below is the recipe as presented.  It was intended to be served over deli roast chicken, sliced in the menu they provided.

“Greek Relish”

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 (12-oz) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 (7-oz) jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and chopped

1/2 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives

 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat; add onion. Cook 2 to 3 minutes or until tender; stir in tomatoes, artichokes, bell peppers and olives.

I ended up leaving the onion raw; purple onion is already so mild and the crunch was nice since everything else is pretty soft.  I added some fresh chopped oregano, thyme and mint as well as a couple cloves of garlic, put through the press so there wouldn’t be any chunks, and then I squeezed in some lemon juice.

With my changes, it’s about 6 servings at a generous half cup per serving:  95 calories, 6g fat, 3g fiber, 3g sugar.

Round and round I go

I am back in full  time to get healthy for real mode.  After years of being “insulin-resistant” or “pre-diabetic” which comes with the PCOS, my sugars started climbing a year ago.  First I was just barely in the diabetic range, the next test was higher, and my most recent was really alarming.  I needed to make a lot of changes; I don’t want to end up needing insulin, and so this time I gotta make the changes stick. I’ve started out slowly, adding in new goals as I conquer the one before. I started out with meal planning, getting back in the groove, and cooking again; we were eating out an awful lot.  I was SO tired, which is likely a result from the really high sugars, it was so hard to get up and cook.  I ended up using a groupon for a subscription to emeals at a massively reduced price.  I am not able to really use it as intended to make my life super simple.  They give you a weeks worth of menus (and you have lots of different types of menus to choose from) along with the shopping lists and lists of staples they presume you have, and so on.  But in the clean eating plan I’ve been using, there hasn’t been a whole week where my family would actually eat every meal.  Still, I print them out each week and pick and choose and merge them with some family favorites, so it has made meal planning somewhat less challenging.  I tend to get overwhelmed with my collection of recipes otherwise. After that, I started logging my food.  I’ve been using My Fitness Pal  for that (the iPhone app is great, it lets you scan UPC codes, makes it very easy for things with UPC codes =)). I gave up Pepsi again, and along with that, anything with simple processed sugars, for the most part.    This is STILL hard.  I swear, I felt like I was going through the 5 stages of grieving.  Over Pepsi! Then I added exercise.  I wouldn’t say that I have conquered that entirely.  I am mostly using my treadmill, because it’s what I have in  my home.  I find it hard to walk much longer than 25-30 minutes, not because my energy gives out, or my legs are sore, or my motivation lags, but because my lower back starts to really hurt.  But I am still exercising, the best that I can. Right now I am working towards “clean eating” which is a phrase that I suppose is over-used and thrown around a lot these days.  To me clean eating is eating the best and healthiest options from the food groups, in as natural of a state (before I cook it) as possible. I (want to) choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize refined foods. Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, but unrefined foods can also be found in packaging. I am willing to buy packaged foods as long as they have few ingredients, and those ingredients are basically whole, natural foods.  I am fine with unrefined / natural sugars, such as honey and (real) maple syrup, at least for those in my family; I am avoiding sweeteners as much as possible, or using them in a minimal way. When you have been heavy (lets just say it, fat, fat, fat!) for so long and made changes and lost and gained and lost and gained, its hard to pin point what my starting weight is.  I decided to go with my highest most recent weight, which is 30 pounds down from my heaviest, but I’d maintained that loss a long time.   My lap band has been gone for 15 months; so it’s all on me.

Leprechaun Penny & String Trick

Mrs. Snodgrass, my sons third grade teacher, is amazing. She’s a wonderful person, as well as an inspiring teacher. Although my son is now in 4th grade, I still volunteer in her classroom every week. I am devastated that she retires this year and Laurel will never have the chance to experience Mrs. Snodgrass’ classroom.  I could go on for paragraphs about her, but ATM I am posting from my phone and will refrain as typing is a pain ;)

This is a St. Patricks day activity she does with her 3rd graders.

You’ll need:

A leprechaun template, ours is about 8-9″ tall and 4-5″ wide

Thin cardboard

Hole Punch

Glue stick

Scissors

Long piece of yarn, ours is about 4-5′ long

3″ piece masking tape

A penny

Crayons, Markers or colored pencils to decorate your leprechaun

image

Have your child color the leprechaun as desired. Glue to a thin piece if cardboard or stuff paper such as a file folder or heavy card stock. Cut away excess cardboard. (You could print the leprechaun directly onto the heavy cardstock if desired).

Punch a hole on each side of the leprechaun, about midway, making sure the holes are directly across from each other. Punch a third hole at the bottom of the leprechaun, in the center.

Now fold your string in half; one side is the “looped” end, the other is the “strings” end.

Push the looped end through one side hole from the decorated side to the back side.

Pass it across the back of the leprechaun and push it up through the other side hole.

Thread the strings side through the looped end.

Pass the strings end through the bottom hole.

Tape the penny to the strings end, securing both ends to the penny so the string is now basically a complete loop with the penny attached.

The challenge to your child — can you find the leprechauns trick and remove the string from the leprechaun, keeping both string and leprechaun intact? No scissors, tearing, or removing the penny!

Research needed!

Hmm, I’ve just noticed that this new theme posts dates in European format, day, month, year instead of month, day, year.  And the only settings I can find are set the other way around.  I also would like to change my header graphic so the sun is smiling.  I edited it on another blog I do with this theme, and yet can not for the life of me figure out how to do that again either. ;)

Handwriting with Tears

My daughter does not like to write.  Or color.  Or do anything that really works her hands in a way to prepare her for writing in kindergarten.  Oh, she will use markers occasionally, probably because they are so much easier to make marks with than pencil or crayons, but even that is a struggle.  It’s not really a fine motor issue; she can handle other fine motor tasks just fine.  Caterpillar Scramble, given to us by Aunt Julie several years back when I was working with Kidlets fine motor issues (now due to the Asperger’s though at the time, we didn’t know that!), is no sweat for Lil L.  She can thread pony beads endlessly.  And so on.  But still doesn’t want to color at a restaurant, or balks at writing anything at home.

So, I have been coming up with ways to encourage her to use those muscles and build her writing endurance, without it seeming to be work.  She asked for corn on the cob for dinner, for instance, so I had her write it on the shopping list.  She likes to make up stories, so I made some mini books to record them; she does like to see her stories in book form so she can show them off to folks.  I also try to instigate art projects that will encourage her to need to pick up a crayon or pencil.

It hasn’t seemed to make any difference yet, but we’ll keep working on it.

Last night we were working with sharpies on foil, some form of which you’ve probably seen. It’s all over Pinterest in various forms.

1622885_845656165459963_674998359_n

Devious as she is, Lil L even managed to bypass holding the sharpie after a couple of triangles, instead using paintbrush and fingers to add glitter glue to the foil.  My girl, she loves herself some bling ;)

1798784_845656205459959_507516742_n

.

Braids

From the number of “hair” boards that I have to unfollow on Pinterest, its apparently a great area of concern for a lot of folks. Fine, i get that – not everyone is as unconcerned with it as I am. But what I don’t understand are the styles pinned. Am I the only person in the world that thinks fishtail braids are hideous?  The only on that thinks creating a heart shape with hair is weird?  The sole person that thinks asymmetrical hair styles makes people look lopsided and like they will fall to one side?  Apparently so ;)

Lego night

Our PTA lego night last night was a success!  We had 230-250 attendees, which is the biggest turnout ever for our small school of about 320 students in 250 families.  Besides a boatload of Legos for free play, Little Engineers came with a few stations with robots, etc. We offered substantial refreshments for working families that might not have time to have dinner first, and drawings for lego sets.

image

This is the gallery of mini-fig designs submitted by some of our students. :)