Friday, March 27, 2009

Diet lessons

I've been on this diet/workout thing for several weeks now. It's the longest I've stuck to something designed to make me healthy for a long time.

Gone are the days where I would just shove snacks into my mouth without thinking. I don't just stop at McDonald's randomly anymore while I am out. I don't consider eating a box of Whitman's Sampler a "snack" anymore!

Well, we'll see how I do with the Easter candy.

Anyway, here are some things that have been interesting to me as I have been on this diet:

1) I feel better after I exercise. I get kind of a rush that lasts the whole day. When I skip exercising, I actually miss it. I just want to do something more than ride my recumbent bike now. We've had 4 days of rain, but once it clears (should be outta here by Sunday), I'm going to start walking in my neighborhood.

2) I get cranky when I don't eat. I haven't experienced that much before because seems like I was always eating (which is the reason I need to diet!). My husband has always said he can tell when his blood sugar drops when he's skipped a meal or is late eating a meal. I've never experienced that until lately.

Example of my crankiness: Yesterday I had cereal and a snack bag of chips. I didn't eat more than that because I wanted to go out to eat last night after my son's baseball practice (an indoor practice, because of the rain). We were at that facility for about 2 1/2 hours. So, by 8:30 p.m. I was beyond cranky. I was really cranky! We ended up going out to eat and I was okay, but it's funny how much skipping a meal can affect your mood.

I have to work on not skipping meals. It really just sabotages me in the end. As is evidenced by the pizza and fries I had last night for dinner. I also had a salad, but the food choices were not good!

3) I'm an emotional eater. Because I have not been eating through my emotions as much lately, I cry more now than I have in years! I also seem to have more bad dreams. That may be because a lot of stressful things have been happening lately, but it might also be because my way of coping with stress (eating) is not available to me. I think the exercise helps the stress, though.

4) Things aren't as much as an aggravation to me lately. I'm more willing to try different things. I'm not as annoyed by a day filled with lots of things to do. I think my overall attitude is more positive.

So that's that. I just have to keep going. I have a long way to go. I have a lot of weight I want to take off. I just have to go forward and not backward.

I'm considering joining Weight Watchers. I've been following the plan at home, but I think the support of the meetings, the accountability of the weigh ins, and the ability to track my progress could all really help me in the journey.

New recipe to try this week that is related to health: Tammy's Strawberry Green Smoothie. I'm going to make them this afternoon, which is a hard time for me to stay away from snacking!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Morning Routine

I'm following Tammy's lead and listing 5 things I plan to do every morning! I love making lists!

My Morning Routine:

1) Exercise on my recumbent bike
2) Breakfast
3) Bible devotions with my son
4) School
5) Mid-morning walk (weather permitting) while my son rides his bike

Of course, schoolwork will continue after the walk!

Visit Tammy for more routines!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Reflections of a 38 year old

Yesterday was my birthday.

I never used to think about my birthdays much, until I turned 35. I remember being kind of melancholy on my 30th birthday, but it quickly passed. For some reason, though, 35 hit me hard. Every year since then, the hits keep coming.

It's not really about my age. I don't regret getting older. I don't mourn my youth. I just see time passing by more quickly every year and it's hard to get my breath. I wish I could just slow things down. I wish I could just see it all more clearly.

I love being on the ball field. I think being on the ball field, watching my son play ball is the way I would like to live my life.

I'm so focused when we're there. I'm not thinking about what I have to do next. I'm not planning tomorrow. I'm not trying to multitask. I am just there watching the pitches, watching the hits. Nothing is going on except the ball game.

I want to live more like that, because my day to day life is streaking by me. At breakfast, I'm thinking about the day of school work ahead. As we do school work, I am thinking about housework that I need to do. When I'm doing housework, I think about bills I need to pay. When I'm paying bills, I'm thinking about dinner and my husband getting home.

Even as I write this post, I am thinking about what I need to do next.

And I never really appreciate the moment that I am experiencing.

Except nights like last night, when I sat at the ball field on my 38th birthday and thought to myself I am just happy to be here, enjoying this time, this moment.

Maybe all these thoughts are just a part of getting older and hopefully wiser. What I really think it's about, though, is seeing the time slip away and realizing I have fewer moments left than I had yesterday.

I'm determined to change things. I'm determined to live in the present. Thoughts of the future or the next task will always be there, of course, but I want to value what I'm going through as I am living it.

So my new philosophy is "I'm going to live life like I'm on the ball field and take it one pitch at a time."

Monday, March 16, 2009

How to have a happy Monday morning

Take two biscuits from last night's dinner:

Split them open:

Add butter:

Take the Chocolate Gravy you made:

Pour it onto the yummy, steaming, buttered biscuits:


For my mom and sisters (who may be checking in on my blog): I only had one bite!!!!

And I feel deprived and lousy.

But my son is smiling!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Things that are none of my business

My son has friends in the neighborhood. A couple live on the next street over. A couple more live on the other side of our street.

They all love to get together and play. Since the weather has been warmer that involves getting out in our yard and running around like maniacs. They are playing some type of elaborate hide and seek game. I try not to get involved with the details. I just listen to the running and screaming.

I truly love when he has friends over. I love to hear them playing. It doesn't even bother me when they drink up all my bottled water. :)

What does bother me is the little boy across the street who is my son's age (11, in 5th grade) is CONSTANTLY on "restriction." They don't say he's grounded. They say he's on restriction. It really makes me feel bad today because all the kids are out playing and he's in the house on restriction.

This boy has been to our house countless times and he's spent the night before. He's always so polite, so nice. Sometimes he says the word c-r-a-p too often, but that's better than the alternative, I suppose.

I just wonder why he's on restriction so much. His mom told my son today that he's on restriction because he had some bad papers in school. Is it always because of bad papers, I wonder.

As my title suggests, I know it's none of my business. And I certainly don't have all the answers when it comes to effective discipline. Truly, I don't. Not even close. I just hear the kids playing outside and knows he hears it too and it makes me sad.

Of course, maybe it will make him do better with his work, who knows? One thing I do know is I would have a hard time keeping my son from playing with his friends.

I'm a sucker that way.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beautiful day!

The current temperature is 79 degrees!

I love it!

We spent a couple of hours this afternoon at Lake Allatoona, which is about a 15 minute drive from us. While I was there, I thought about my poor husband slaving away at work to make it possible for me to stay home and enjoy days like today with my son!

I called him to share the experience, but it wasn't the same.

The day was warm and sunny, with a slight breeze. There were several boats on the lake. A few people were fishing. My son went wading in the water. His feet smelled like fish, so I made him shower when we got home.

Here's a question: Why do I seem to forget how to exist in the warm weather during the gloom of winter?

My son's first baseball game was Saturday. We knew it was going to be in the 70s. His game was at 1 p.m. We all ended up with sunburns because I forgot the sunscreen!

How many times have I lathered us all with sunscreen before a ball game? Still, I forgot the sunscreen!

We took lunch to the lake today and, again, I knew the weather would be good. I remembered the sunscreen, but I forgot to have my son take some shoes he could wear in the water, a towel, shorts or swim trunks, and a change of clothes. AND we forgot his fishing pole!

I seem to have some sort of warm weather memory problem. It's funny that I rarely forget things like jackets or umbrellas, but I do forget how to behave in sunny, glorious weather!

Regardless of my faulty memory, we had a perfect afternoon!

Tomorrow's high is supposed to be 71, so we might go back. We have cooler temperatures and some rain coming this weekend, so we might as well enjoy it while we can!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Taming the Beast within

I'm on a diet.

No, I am not calling it a life change. No, I am not saying it's my new eating plan.

I'm hungry. I feel deprived. I'm mad at everyone who can eat.

It's a diet.


My Sugar Monster is rearing it's ugly head and it wants access to something yummy!

I've been searching for alternatives to the bad stuff, things that will give me actual nutrition, but also make me feel like I am having a treat.

Hello, Beautiful! Where have you been all my life?

I've never been one for desserty yogurts. I've always stuck to the fruit ones. I love peach, blueberry, cherry, pineapple. The Pina Colada flavor is about as wild as I have gotten.

But the Sugar Monster put me in search of other alternatives and I came across the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Yogurt from Yoplait. It's 110 fat-free calories of delicious.

And it's helping me get through another day of my new lifestyle, eating plan, nutrition and energy focused DIET!

Next time I'm going to try some of the chocolate ones and see if I can get this monster off my back!

Here's what's taking up a lot of my time today!

I mentioned before that I love sites that have free resources for homeschoolers/teachers. A lady from a local mailing list I belong to pointed out a website created by Cindy Downes, an Oklahoma homeschooler, with ideas for recession-proof homeschooling!

I've been looking through all the different links this morning. It's a lot to take in, but I've come across several things that will work for us in the upcoming weeks as we plow through to the end of the school year.

Ms. Downes offers a good list of composition project ideas. I'm trying to find ways to make writing more interesting for my son. I let him have his own blog to try to encourage him to write, but I want to encourage more paper and pen writing too. The list is a great step in that direction, with ideas like creating a travel guide focusing on a country being studied and writing a Consumer Guide about a product that might have been available during a time period being studied. I would have never thought of fun things like that!

Ms. Downes also points out other websites that have good ideas. My son just this morning started working on his Amazing Animal Alphabet book. From the name of this project, you might assume it's a bit "babyish" for a 5th grader, but it actually reinforces several skills.

My son is using the dictionary to look up animals that start with the letter A. He's also looking for adjectives, action verbs, and adverbs that start with A. Next he's using some of those words to come up with a silly sentence such as "An angry alligator ate Allen." Then he will draw an illustration for the sentence and use colored pencils and markers to complete the drawing. Really, you can make this as simple or complicated as you want to fit varying age levels.

There are plenty of other good things on the site, so be sure to check it out. Even if you aren't a homeschooler, you can find some cool projects to do with your child.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Grocery savings

Friday night's trip to Wal-mart made me realize what I had long expected.

Wal-mart is not saving us a dime.

The milk is more expensive than the milk at Kroger. Most of the other stuff is either the same or just a few cents less than regular price somewhere else. Plus if another place is having a good sale on something, it's cheaper to buy it there than to always expect Wal-mart to have the lowest price.

What a bummer!

For the last few weeks, I have been keeping up with the receipts from the shopping trips, just so I could compare. I have also been looking at sales ads like they contain the winning numbers for the upcoming lottery.

It takes some time, but it's starting to pay off.

I love to shop at Publix. I love everything about that store. The produce is the best, the meat is the freshest, and I just like it. Publix has Buy one, get one free offers every week. And those BOGOs are for good stuff that we use around here like cereal, bread, pasta, pasta sauce. It's not just buy one useless thing, get another.

Armed with coupons from the paper, I've started taking advantage of those BOGOs, more than I ever did before. I've also started finding out what's on sale BEFORE I plan a menu for the week. How elementary is that? Still, it's not how I did things before. I always just decided what we were going to eat and then shopped for what we needed. That's no way to take advantage of sales!

Last week, Publix had pork chops on sale. We had pork chops. This week they have ground beef on sale. We're having various recipes starring ground beef. They also have a good sale on canned chicken. I'm getting that for chicken salad. I usually buy Nature's Own whole wheat bread, but the honey wheat is on sale this week, so we're getting honey wheat.

Here's something I would never have thought about buying at the regular grocery store: HAIR COLOR! Boy, my gray is getting the best of me and I have a coupon for $3 off the brand I am partial to. Guess what? This month Publix has that brand on sale for $6.99, so I am going to get my hair color for just $3.99! I'm gonna wash that gray right out of my hair! Publix has a good sale on toilet paper, which beats the price I pay at Wal-mart. Plus, I have a coupon! Toilet paper is something else I thought I could never buy anywhere but Wal-mart.

Kroger has some good deals, but our Kroger is not the greatest as far as quality goes. Still Publix can't beat Kroger's price for a gallon of milk (Publix is the same as our Walmart -- $2.99, Kroger's milk is $2.59!), so we'll be getting the milk from Kroger. My husband passes right by Kroger every night, so picking up that milk is not a big deal for him.

While I am partial to Publix, I'm going to keep an eye on Kroger and might plan to pick up some other things there at some point. They do have the extra money off gas when you buy $100 worth of groceries at the store. That might make spending at least $100 there a month worth it.

CVS has a good deal this week. Buy $20 of products off the first page of their circular and get a free 6 pack of Charmin Big rolls. The products on the front page that I will be buying include Tide (their price beats the price I just paid at Wal-mart), Cascade, and Bounty Basic paper towels. I have coupons for all of those items as well.

Frugal Coupon Mom was on Dr. Phil today, talking about how she saves money. I checked out her website and I have a lot to learn. Still I'm doing better than I was! And in the next few weeks I hope to be doing even better still!