Thursday, July 17, 2014

Topsy-Turvy Wind Chimes

My friend, the one that watches the twins while I lead a Girl Scout troop, she gave the kids some Topsy-Turvy planters.  Y'all know the tomato and strawberry nylon hanging baskets with random holes on the side for plants?  Supposedly you can grow fruit and veggies.  And I have seen them in person actually growing stuff.  And for a brief moment mine worked. 

And when I say brief I mean the time it took them to go from beautiful in the store containers to dead in a week.  Needless to say I hate Topsy-Turvy planters and I will do whatever I can to bring them down.

Okay I'm just kidding.  That would take some serious work and I'm not up to it.  And I’ve no doubt some person out there has mastered the art of aerial gardening.  But that person isn’t me and I’ve no desire to make that a goal.  But I do have a lot of junk and no place to put it, so why not use the now defunct baskets to display my junk.  

So here's an easy photo tutorial.  No words really needed.  Just cut and hang really.  So I guess I didn't need to blog about it.  But seeing as it's been a month since my last one and I like to say I blog... well hush it.  This is my page.  ;)











Add caption

The first one I made I used jute to tie the junk on.  Pretty simple.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

M.O.M.'s Whole30 Results

It's day 31 of my Whole30 diet.  

That means I made it!  And I really did make it.  No cheating, no starving, nothing but real food for 30 days.  And man did I have some temptations!  

The first week I went to a Girl Scout camping trip.  Mind you the camping trip was at a fancy hotel because my girls and I, we like to live it up.  But as their leader I did make sure that s'mores were provided as well as pizza because... well I'm a great GS leader. 
I handmade 24 individual s'mores and didn't have a taste.at.all.  Not even when I passed the last one across the counter did I stop to lick my fingers.  NOPE!  And the pizza?  I sat down with my plate of fruit and veggies and just ignored those greasy cardboard boxes.  First hurdle cleared.

Next hurdle was a get together for a new all women's shooting club I've joined.  


Women + Guns = Killer Snack Food!  

But I just grabbed a few pieces of fruit and drank 3 bottles of water while smelling coffee creamer, cookies and cake... oh my!

Next was ice cream for the kids to celebrate the last day of school.  I ordered 3 of my favorite sugary desserts for the kids, for myself, I ordered an unsweetened tea.  I survived yet another hurdle.

Then summer break officially started and most of the snack food had been cleared out.  The kids were made aware that mom wouldn't be taste testing their mac & cheese to make sure it was ready, or cleaning off the spoons after making a truck load of PB&J sandwiches.  I realized then that I wouldn't be able to eliminate all the sugar and carbs from the house, but I could at least jump on the scale (not Whole30 approved) and see what I had done those first 10 days.  When I saw 10lbs gone the temptation to just take one bite was eliminated.  Because what was the point?  I'd already committed and starting over just wasn't an option.  (I mean, I'm lazy... and do overs are work!)

The last but certainly not final temptation was at my parent's place for Father's Day.  On the table was squash and zucchini (whole30 approved) but covered in butter and cheese.  I had to say no thanks.  The handmade fries; I didn't hesitate to say no.  When the fruit was brought out I thought maybe I was still able to enjoy something sweet, but those had been covered in sugar.  <sigh>  Why people why!?!  Then came the chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter and marshmallow filling.  Like a prissy dog walking down the street I turned my nose to everything as though I were above it.  And dammit I was.  I had gone 28 days without cheating.  I didn't care what we were celebrating, my health far outweighed what others thought.  And for too long I've not make it a priority.  

What I did have was a steak and I pulled together the hamburger fixing to make a salad... no dressing because everything had sugar.  And you know what?  I survived.  And as I chugged my water while watching other drink wine I didn't feel deprived.  I felt fully alive!  I didn't need or desire to make food what I celebrated.  It was my dad and my husband.  The father that raised me and the one now raising my kids.  What on earth does food have to do with that?

Day 30 I sat on the couch making plans with the husband.  What will we have on day 31?  I hesitated because nothing came to mind.  Fruit had taken over my dessert cravings and my carbs were replaced with veggies.  

"A bourbon and... oh wait, no Cokes.  Maybe a wine cooler.  Or a hard cider.  I don't really know.  Nothing comes to mind."  

And that's when it hit me;  my cravings were gone.  My desire to use food as a means to celebrated just seemed so lame.  So temporary as to be made meaningless.  And that <happy sigh> was when I knew I could do this for a lifetime.  

But just to be sure, this morning I tried a teaspoon of raw can sugar in my coffee.  Three sips and I tossed the cup.  My celebratory item today was a piece of gum.  I know, super lame, but that's it.  I'm still chugging my water, still eating meats, veggies and fruit.  And after the husband texted me saying his hot dog and chili fries at lunch made him sick, I knew he was in this for the long haul too.  I replied back to him:
  
"It's like going back to a night club during daylight hours and seeing the stained couches, the vomit smeared floors and the haggard toothless whores lounging about. Comfort food is now a sleazy club you never want to go back to."




Results, cause really that's what motivates many of us:

18.2 lbs LOST!

-1.25" arms

-1.50" under breast

-1.50" waist

-3.75" butt... told y'all everything went there on me!  ;)

-1.00" thighs

...and because I have crazy amazonian legs I went up .5" in my calves.  
I swear I was built for manual labor. 

So I lost a total of 8.5"!!!

I'm down a full size in clothing and my joints are already feeling better.  
I'd call it a great success and one I plan on continuing for a lifetime. 

... and the secret to not starving is simple... eat.  


How I Started:

Go to whole30.com and read the simple steps.  Then print out the grocery list.  

Head to Pinterest and look up recipes.  My favorites are the cauliflower rice, spaghetti squash spaghetti, dressing and the turkey sausage.  

For a quick satisfying snack, grab a handful of almonds or coconut flacks.
 
And water... you will find you can't get enough of the stuff.  Especially if you're used to cokes and coffee like I was.  

Don't worry with exercising in the beginning.  Unless you already work out... then for heavens sake don't stop.  ;)  

Whole30 has a cute calender that let's you know the process and changes you'll see step by step. 

If you can, find support.  I'll be happy to help where I can, but a family member, friend or co-worker is even better.  

And remember, you can say no to food... even your mom's.  ;)

Best wishes!!!

Third 10 of Whole30

Days 21 through 30












Second 10 of Whole30

Days 11 through 20 of Whole 30





















Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Olive Oil & Balsamic Dressing







1 cup olive oil 

3 tbs Balsamic vinegar

3 tbs lemon juice 

1/2 tbsp minced garlic

 1 tsp oregano 

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper 

 

*I used a Garlic Sea Salt grinder for my 1st batch, 

the second time I used minced garlic and sea salt separate... both taste great. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First 10 of Whole30

So it's been 10 days 'officially' that I've been doing the Whole30 thing. 
If you've not heard of it, in a nutshell you cut out a bunch of stuff for 30 days to readjust your eating habits, your taste buds and to see if one or all of those foods are causing issues with bloating, allergies etc.
So good-bye dairy, grains, beans and sugar.  Hello meat, fruit and veggies... and water.  Lots and lots of it.  But don't worry about measuring or counting calories or thinking you'll starve.  Cause you won't.  You will jones for that afternoon Coke or maybe that all too often after dinner dessert.  (My kids are convinced every meal should be followed by something sweet... that's got to be kicked!)
But you can push past it.  If for nothing else then to see why you suddenly started sporting a belly or you feel your stomach turn to knots after a certain meal.  No more excuses... you'll figure it out. 

So what I did was pretty simple, I printed out the shopping list.
I went shopping.
I made sure that I could do it by cooking up a few whole30 approved meals and realized I wasn't starving without bread as a side dish.  I didn't freak when I had to replace coke with water.  With summer coming it was a pretty easy transitioning because honestly cokes just make me feel ill after I've been out in the sun. 

So I tested it from the 14 through the 17 and started whole heartly on the 18th with the husband and a group of friends.  (Just those 4 days and I lost over 4lbs!)  Today has been 14 days, 10 fully committed, and I've lost 10! 

So you can see how easy it is, this is my first 10 days of food.  You'll notice I forgot a photo or two.  I didn't use the same format to post photos and I did it all to also help with the OCD I have with EVERYTHING.  I'm embracing this 'let it go' thing.  But not the song.  Dear lawd please make that song stop! 


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3
 Day 4 B: Eggs & Fruit  L: Salad w/ homemade dressing  D: No shell taco salad... LOTS of water.
Day 4

Day 5 B: Omelet  L: Almond butter and celery (was busy setting up last minute stuff for a Girl Scout Lock-In)  D: Fruit and Veggies
NSV:  I didn't touch the 5 pizzas we ordered and managed to make 24 S'mores and not once licked my fingers.  I know AMAZING!!! 
Day 5

Day 6


Day 7: B: Banana  L: Lettuce wrapped burgers w/ onions, avocados, tomatoes & a fruit salad w/ kiwi, blueberry, raspberry, banana, strawberry, grapes, apples & oranges. 
Made it easier to watch my family eat strawberry shortcakes.
Dinner I did take a photo of: Grilled chicken, green beans w/ almonds & tomatoes... that Mercy promptly stole off my plate.  ;)

Day 7


 Day 8 B: Omelets, strawberries & banana  L: Chicken salad  D: Bison burgers w/ sweet potato fries.  On the right is my homemade creamer, dressing & ketchup.  I'll do a separate blog w/ the recipes. 
Day 8

Day 9

Day 10

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

When a Stranger Calls



The phone rang after everyone in the house had gone to bed. I picked it up before the second ring planning on chewing out whichever friend it was calling so late. Surely they knew my dad had rules regarding phone calls. Even if I was 18 and well into my freshman year of college, I was still living at home and subject to my parent’s rules. But the voice on the other end wasn’t familiar:

“What are you wearing?”

“What?”

“It’s a simple question, what are you wearing right now?”

“I’m guessing since you called me asking that question you’re far more interested in telling me what you’re wearing.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means I’m hoping for an A in my Psychology class.”

“This was not the call I was expecting.”

“You called a random number. By my calculations this phone call is way better than your expectations, unless you read those Playboy forums.”

“How would you know about Playboy forums?”

“I have a subscription to Playgirl.  I’m assuming its counterpart must have a forum as well.  Y'all do enjoy the articles right?”

When he started to laugh I continued;

“I feel like I need to explain.”

“I wish you would.”

“My dad has half-naked chicks on his shop wall.  I’ve harassed him for year that it’s just plain wrong, but still they hang there.  So I got a subscription to Playgirl knowing that he’d be the one to collect the mail each day and the plastic bag with the white paper cover wouldn’t fool him.”

“And?”

“And nothing; the half-naked chicks are still on his shop walls and he’s not said a word, even placed a few of the magazines right in my hands."

“So your plan backfired?”

“As they often do.”

"You still haven’t answered me.”

“What am I wearing?”

“Yes.”

“I don’t plan on answering.”

“You don’t make prank calling easy.”

“That’s not my job.”

“What’s your job?”

“To steer you off course.”

“You’re doing well.”

“I’m kind of an expert in the field.”

“I want to meet you.”

“That’s moving rather fast.”

“Don’t you want to meet me?”

“You called a random stranger in the middle of the night hoping to find someone willing to talk dirty to you.  You don’t sound like much of a catch.”

“Maybe I was just looking for a friend.”

“I’d pick a better opening line next time.”

“You’ve helped me see the light and I’ve changed my ways.”

“Rethink that line too.”

“So no interest in meeting?”

“Nope.”

“Then maybe I’ll call you back tomorrow.  What’s your name?”

“Not giving you that either.”

“You’re tough.”

"Mhmm"

“I’m calling you tomorrow.”

“Mhmm”

“I will call back.”

I hung up before he said anything else.  I was smiling though.  The conversation after all was funny.  But seriously, how much more off-putting could I have been?


The next day I went to school and work.  I’m not sure if I told anyone about the exchange, but I do remember thinking there was no way he’d call back.  I wasn’t even sure if he’d remember my number since he just punched buttons on his phone.  But the next night I woke to his phone call.  This time my dad picked up.  No one answered so he hung up first and the guy asked if I was still on the line.

“How did you remember my number?”

“I had to call a few places before I figured it out.  But this time I wrote it down.”

“You have plans to call back again?”

“Whatever it takes to convince you to meet me.”

“I’ve no desire to meet you.  But you’re welcome to try to woo me.”

“Woo you?”

“I read a lot of romances.  Don’t make fun.”

We continued to talk and the guy was true to his word and called again.  This time I employed the art of covert call waiting.  A few minutes before he called I dialed up the local bank to get their recorded time and temperature.  The message was on a loop so I could keep it on till the call waiting beeped in.  This way the phone never rang at the house.

Or conversations soon branched out and we began learning more and more about each other.  I know that he had an older brother.  I knew the nearby city he lived in.  And during each phone call we’d have to wait as the nightly train drove past his place.  He once opened his window so I could hear how close he was to the tracks.  It was terribly annoying, but he wasn’t willing to call later for fear I’d fall asleep and not answer his call.  So we dealt with it, both of us setting our watches to the nightly interruption.

This went on for a while and I could tell he was getting anxious, wanting to meet up.  I didn’t want this part to end and quite frankly I wasn’t sure he’d want to continue talking to me after we met.  I mean, I knew my strength was talking; looks… not so much.  I was taller than the average guy.  I had braces and crazy short hair.  I wasn’t the ideal chick and though I had no allusions that this guy was some heartthrob straight from a John Hughes film, I was starting to like him.  Why screw that up with a face to face?

So I did my best to postpone things until one day, after many conversations and a few slip ups, he figured out where I worked.  He was familiar with the place.  And with it's corner location and two walls of windows he could easily see me inside and I'd be none the wiser.  He made a promise to drive by the shop the next day.   

The next day came and went.

He didn’t call that night or the next.  I figured that was it.  He put the voice to the face and wasn’t interested. 

Nearly a week went by before he called back.  I had no desire to talk with him. But my need for an explanation was too great and I picked up the phone;

“You there?”

“It would seem so.”

“I’m sorry I’ve not called in a while.”

“You’ve no obligations to me.”

“I came by the shop.”

“I figured as much.”

“I saw you.”

I said nothing but stared at the phone cradle thinking at any minute I'd slam it down.  

“You smile, a lot.  Did you know that?”

“I’ve been made aware of that, yes.”

“You were talking with a lady.  I don’t know if you knew her or if she was just a customer, but I found myself smiling as you talked to her.  You talk with your hands.”

There was a long pause.  I wasn’t sure what he expected me to say so I said nothing.  It all felt like ground work he was laying out to reject me with.

“I opened the door to my car and you looked in my direction.  I wasn’t sure if you'd know it was me.”

“I don’t remember.”

“You turned around when another customer came in.  I watched for a bit, but then shut my door and drove off.”

"Why didn't you come inside, or at least call and tell me you didn't want to talk to me again?"

"I did want to talk to you again.  I wanted to talk to you right then, but I knew you wouldn't be interested."

"How would you know that?"

"You were from the other side of the tracks."

"You're going with that?"

"It's true."

"So you thought I was a snob?"

"No, but I didn't think you'd give me the time of day."

"That's the definition of a snob."

I was angry.  Hindsight tells me he wasn't trying to upset me, but at 18 all your emotions are on hyper drive.  Though he was saying he liked me, his actions far outweighed his words. I didn't want to hear any more excuses.  He saw me; he didn't call me, now he was trying to give excuses for his actions.  So I decided to end it:

“I started seeing someone.  We’ve only been on a few dates, but I like him.  I think the phone calls should end.”

He said nothing.

“I enjoyed our talks.”

Still no sound from his end of the line.

“That night, when you first called, I was wearing a tank top and shorts.”

I waited no more than a few seconds for him to respond, when he said nothing I gently set the phone in its cradle.


I never heard from him again.  No name, no phone number, not even an idea of what he looked like. 
He on the other hand knew all that and more about me and with one look decided I would have judged him harshly.

I don't know if he ever saw the irony in his statement.