Monday, September 28, 2009

Pennsylvania's Cutest Post Office

Well, at least the cutest post office I've ever seen. I've been doing a lot of e-bay selling lately as I mentioned and I recently discovered this post office. It's in a neighboring town, a town so small that they don't even have a mail carrier. The "big" post office in my town, is far from big, (you can see it in my blog header) but this little cute place is actually attached to someone's house. It's one teeny tiny room and virtually no parking spaces, you just kind of pull up on the side of the road, not too far from the train track. The people who live there sell brown eggs and vegetables so you can support your healthy diet after you mail your e-bay packages.

Here's the sign that you see as you pull in. I blurred any details that might give away my exact location because I don't want any freaky people hunting me down in this cute little post office. ;)

Here it is! The post office is the part on the right, just that little part with the mail box in front of it. People actually live in the other part which I think would get rather annoying, at the times I've been there, this post office is surprisingly busy!

Fancy huh?

This one turned out a tad bit blurry but I was afraid that my friendly post office worker lady would think I was crazy taking pictures so I had to be quick.

So, that's about it. I've been wanting to share this for a while because I was very taken by this little gem the first time I saw it. To be honest, I don't know how unusual a little place like this is but it's the only time I've ever seen anything like it. I imagine lots of small post offices like this exist but really have no way of knowing. I do have to say the ladies who work there are very sweet and accommodating and it's a great post office to do business with.

I hope you enjoyed coming to a little part of my country town today. Have a great Tuesday!

A Heartfelt Apology to my beautiful, sweet, smart, goregous...

funny, loyal and wonderful cousin, Chrissy 'Cuz! I somehow keep forgetting to include my cousin Chrissy in my posts that mention those who read and comment regularly and Chrissy always does. Chrissy, please forgive me for forgetting to mention you, you're a loyal reader and follower and I love you for it and will never forget again. Well, at least I vow to try not to forget to mention you.

My cousin Chrissy has been my friend longer than anyone I know. She's a few months older than I am (ha ha!) and we basically grew up together even though we live three states away from each other. Every summer she and her sister would come to visit our Grammy and those would be the best weeks of my summer EVER! We went shopping, did all kinds of day trips to the zoo etc. and would always have one extra special day when we would all go to Great Adventure. I loved those trips to Great Adventure.

I have the following memories of Chrissy which will probably mean nothing to anybody else but I know will make her Laugh her ASS off and possibly will garner a chuckle or two from The Sister. Everyone else, sorry, come back tomorrow to see Pennsylvania's Cutest. Post office. EVER!

1. Wet paint (what were we thinking?)
2. The Mint
3. Matching outfits and being "twins"
4. Glow necklaces and one year... earrings!
5. Fashion shows and kick line shoes
6. Monks (Hi Cathy!)
7. Jersey Boys and log flumes
8. Camping trips in the back yard with boys we liked who are now gay! ha ha!
9. "This chalk doesn't have any ink left in it"
10. Hose, hose, pantyhose...
11. Snodberries and Pronghorns

and the best memory of all...
12. COMMERCIAL SHOWS! They were the most fun of all!

I bet there's more because we sure had lots of fun and we still do! I can't wait to see you for the race, just a little more than a month away. I love you and hope you accept my apology!

Have a great Monday everyone!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

So, I guess it's been a week since I last blogged...

Basically, I suck as a blogger these days. So sorry! If I had anyone other than my sister and dad and maybe Darlene and MWP read this blog, I'll be lucky if they're still checking me out.

"What have I been doing?," you ask. Well, besides my normal working out and teaching swimming lessons, I've been selling all my "big girl" and maternity clothes on e-bay. I have some really nice things, mostly from Lane Bryant and I'd like to see if I can get any money for them as opposed to just donating them all to Goodwill. I'm using the money to start buying things that fit me now. I have a very limited wardrobe but I'm still hesitant to buy since I will be losing at least 30 more pounds.

We did go to the mall yesterday and I got a few things. Two new bras that I paid WAY too much for but I managed to get a great story for the blog that I'll be writing about this week and I also bought a couple of long sleeved t-shirts from Old Navy that should last me for a while, even as I continue to lose. I have a good pair of jeans, a casual pair of Levi's jeans that I bought at Goodwill and a pair of black pants that fit and are on the tighter side so they should continue to fit for a while and of course, I have the Talbots items I recently bought at Goodwill. I need a few pieces to go with them like a nice basic white blouse. I have a couple of dresses too. (I LOVE dresses.) I'm finding it difficult to shop and I never thought I'd say that. Part of it is that I'm on a tight budget and part of it is that I have nothing in my wardrobe except the aforementioned items so there's really nothing to build on if that makes any sense. I don't want to buy much because I will be getting smaller and don't want to waste money so I guess for now, I'll just stick to my limited wardrobe and items that will definitely fit me for a while. Perhaps I'll have another stroke of good luck next time I hit the Goodwill.

I've been trying things on in the stores and I'm sure the fitting room people hate me because I'm not actually buying anything. I just want to know what size I am. I've also realized it's amazing the difference in the amount of clothing available to a regular-size woman as opposed to a plus-size woman. Back in January, I was around a size 22 maybe an 18/20 on the top depending on the shirt. Now I have realized that I'm a 14! I have some pants that fit that are a 12 and my 16s are getting big so the average right now and what seems to be fitting me pretty much in each store is a 14 in pants, and a Large or Medium in tops. I'm thrilled with that but ultimately, I'd like to be around an 8 or a 10. I can't let myself forget that I still have what is considered a BMI of an "overweight" person.

Today is The Husband's birthday and I'm making a "Cooking Light" recipe for his dinner, Bucatini with Mushrooms. I am in LOVE with mushrooms these days. I don't know if it's because we live in Mushroom Land and they're exceptionally good here but I simply can't get enough of them. I am SO excited to try this recipe. If it's good, I'll do an additional post about it. I must admit that even though it's in "Cooking Light" magazine, it's not as light as I'd normally like but it seems like a nice treat for The Husband so I've eaten a small lunch in preparation for decadence. ;) On that note, I'm off to the grocery store. I have an interesting post planned on some diet controversy as well this week. Let's hope those plans actually come to fruition and I find the time to blog. Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Weekend Update

It's been a busy, busy weekend. It usually is. I managed to get a few things done that I have been wanting to accomplish for a while. Blogging however, was not one of them. I am feeling overwhelmed with everything that's going on in my life and unfortunately, the blog is suffering.

First off, I'd like to thank those who left me comments regarding my last post. It's such a big change in my life and having people in real life and in the blogosphere who support me makes it so much easier. I'm proud of myself and I probably get a little bit annoying with my constant thoughts about health, diet and exercise. It's the first time in my life though that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is a forever change. I don't know why it took me nearly 40 years to get to this point though.

I had a pretty big victory this weekend... I ran a treadmill 5K in 32 minutes and 27 seconds! The fastest I had ever done it before was 34:30 so shaving off two minutes and three seconds is huge. I hope that I can continue to cut down my time and that that wasn't just a fluke. The Sister and I are running a brain cancer run in honor of our mother in early November and I want to do well.

I also got a big task accomplished this week. I listed all my plus size maternity clothing on e-bay and started listing all my "big girl" clothes. I already sold three dresses, one pair of pants and a lot of Lane Bryant items and have some nice bids going on a couple other things. The maternity stuff just got finalized today so I don't know what to expect that will bring in. I doubt that The Husband and I will have another child but if we did, I wouldn't be able to fit into any of that maternity stuff anyway so I thought... sell it! I will continue to list all my bigger clothes until they are gone. There as absolutely no reason to keep them and I have lots and lots and lots of clothes.

So this week will probably be as busy as the past few weeks have been. I stupidly agreed to teach an art class at the Y because the original teacher bailed and it's stressing me out because it's right after swimming lessons on Wednesdays. The Son was very tired last week and I really wish I hadn't agreed to do it. Ugh! I guess I have to stick it out for the rest of the session though.

Well, on that note, I'm off to google some art lessons that I can do with my students. Enjoy your Monday and I'll try to get back to the blog at least a couple times this week.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Addict

Healthy Living with

I have come to realize over my almost 40 years of life that I have a very "addictive personality." If I like something, I really like it and have trouble controlling how much I do/use/"enjoy" it. Alcohol is something that I know I have to be mindful of so that I don't end up being an alcoholic. I have it under control but it could be a very slippery slope. After my mother's death, I was drinking almost a bottle of wine a night (The Husband had some of it) and that is definitely what helped contribute to much of my weight gain.

I am also one who can get very carried away with food. Obviously. I have foods that I refer to as "my crack." Foods that I can very rarely, and probably should never let pass my lips because they incite all out binges. Doritos, Cheetos, Bacon horseradish dip and chips, you get the picture. I've had these things a few times since I started my healthy lifestyle but it's only been at other people's homes/parties, never any in my own home where the offending food items would still be. (of course that is, if there were any left after my binge.) No more "crack" allowed in this house.

I am so fortunate that I have found a way of living that works for me. I am able to enjoy foods I like while making healthy choices and I eat pretty much what ever I want on a regular basis. I don't believe in fad diets like low carb diets, or the "no white things" diet, or pre-packaged food diets, etc. I simply count calories, (1700- 2100 a day) watch that I have a good fiber intake (at least 25 grams a day) and add plenty of fruits and vegetables and WATER... lots of WATER! I also love to work out which brings me to my newest addiction...


I know I've mentioned it before and it's probably the healthiest addiction I've ever had but it is truly an addiction for me now. I'm proud of what I can do, it gives me a thrill to run faster and farther than I ever thought possible and lift weights that I never thought I could lift. No, I'm not running marathons or lifting tons but for me, what I do is an accomplishment. I even managed to run for a full hour on Monday and made it five miles. I thought I wasn't going to make it but I did and boy, did I feel awesome after that... hence the addiction.

I wanted to take today "off" from the gym but I cannot manage to tell myself that it's OK, even though I've worked out every other day this week, including Sunday when Ziggy and I ran a 5K in our neighborhood in 34 minutes! My schedule is getting busier and soon I'll be in charge of my own weight loss groups which will cut into my work out schedule and that worries me. Tomorrow I am joining Ms. Phyllis (my weight loss guru) at a BMI seminar to try and put together a group that I'll be in charge of and that means that I don't have my full two hours to work out then either. Saturday, The Husband and I have one of our very rare monthly dates thanks to Parent's Night Out at the Y so I can't take off from working out that day either, I need to burn extra calories in order to be able to eat and drink a few extra calories at dinner. When I look at all this, I realize there will be no taking off today. I go to my weight loss meeting at 1, I'll have a quick treadmill run for a half an hour or so after that, go home and shower and then pick up The Son at the bus stop at 3:30 he also has karate later on this evening.

Tomorrow, I have my meeting with Ms. Phyllis at 2:30 so I'll have to go right to the gym after I put The Son on the bus at noon and get a warm-up mile on the treadmill and some weights in. It will be two days of shorter work outs but at least I'll be getting those work outs in.

Saturday, I'll have a long workout with a long run, and probably my leg weight routine so that I'll be able to enjoy myself on Saturday night with out much worry about what I eat/drink.

On Sunday, I will truly take the day off, especially after going out the night before. It will be hard but I know that I have to give my body a rest once in a while.

So, that's where I am right now... I got weighed on Monday and found out that I have lost a total of 68 pounds! SIXTY-EIGHT! It was very interesting to watch "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday night and see a couple girls who were very close to the weight that I was when I started this healthy lifestyle. The Husband kindly said, "Well, they must be shorter than you because you didn't look like that." but I think I probably did and he just loves me so much that he didn't realize it, because honestly, they couldn't be THAT much shorter that it would make THAT much of a difference. (I'm 5'8") I get weighed again today at my real meeting so I hope that I'm right where I need to be.

Thanks for reading if you've read this far. I'll post an update on the weight loss tomorrow. Enjoy your Thursday, stay healthy!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I'm still here... really I am!

It's just that I am adjusting to my new schedule as Mom of a Kindergartner, worker-outer extraordinaire, swim instructor, and professional weight loss consultant/nutritionist, not to mention my newest venture of selling all my "big girl" clothing on e-bay. With all that, I haven't had much time to focus on being a blogger or a homemaker and wife for that matter. Sorry Husband but it looks like you and The Blog are getting the short end of the stick.

I'll work on that...

after I investigate e-bay a bit, take The Son to the bus stop, pack my lunch and his snack, gather up all necessary swim teacher supplies, work out at the gym, eat my lunch, pick The Son up at school, go back to the Y, teach swimming, go to a weight loss meeting...

Like I said... I'll work on that.

Have a great Monday people!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bye bye Summer!

It's official. Like really official, summer is gone. I'm so sad about it, I am definitely a Summer Gal. Spring is my second favorite season followed by Fall and then, the dreaded Winter. I would do great living in a place that was all summer, all the time. While others look forward to the turning leaves, long pants and cozy sweaters, I miss the hot sun, humidity and skimpy swimsuits. (Ok, my swimsuit isn't exactly skimpy, it's a "Mom Tankini" with a skirt but next year...)

We had a great summer, we went to the pool at the Y, a lot...

We had lots of fun and learned or taught at summer camp...

We worked out a lot and...

ran races with loved ones...

We spent time with family in the beautiful state of Maine...

And went from looking like this last summer...

to this...

this summer and while I know neither one is an ultra-flattering picture, I'm feeling so much better and can't wait to see what next summer brings.

Bye bye summer... we'll miss you!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Over Night Steel Cut Oats

Also known as... How to Make: a hot., delicious, healthy breakfast in only eight hours!

I'm a day late with my:

Healthy Living with

post... sorry! My weight loss group's meeting is on hiatus right now for a week or so but I weighed myself at the Y and I've lost another two pounds which puts me at 65 pounds gone! Yippee!

I decided to post this week about my newest breakfast discovery. I must say that I LOVE this discovery. I've always been a fan of oatmeal and have been wanting to try Steel cut oats because I've heard how tasty they are. I discovered this technique for cooking Steel Cut Oats in a recent Weight Watchers magazine, I've modified it a bit to suit my tastes and I'll give you my recipe here. I have to say that oatmeal doesn't exactly photograph well...

This is the brand of Steel Cut Oats that I buy. They seem to be the most affordable in the store. Steel cut oats are not that different nutritionally from any other oats but they are less processed and they have a really nice thick texture, and in my opinion a richer flavor. You can see the nutritional information below or just go ahead and "google" steel cut oats, there's tons of info on them on the 'net.

These oats are going to cook over night at a low temperature so that in the morning when you wake up, you have hot, fresh, yummy oatmeal for breakfast. I made two batches because The Husband was also a big fan and we went through our first batch rather quickly. I did two different fruits with mine this time, I prefer the apples, The Husband liked blueberries, frankly, you could probably combine them or just do any other kind of fruit that you enjoy.

For the apple batch, you need two small apples, I used Gala apples but I'm sure you can use any kind you like. Peel, core and slice, but don't be too particular about how it looks, I use my slicer from The Pampered Chef because it's easiest.

For the blueberries, I used about a cup, this is definitely not a recipe that requires exact measurements for the fruit.

Use a three quart baking dish and put in the apples, cover with cinnamon. I used about a teaspoon but I probably could have used more because I like them very cinnamony. I did not use cinnamon on the blueberries but you certainly could.

Next, add one cup of steel cut oats and four cups of water. Also, add a half a teaspoon of salt. Keep in mind that the measurement for the oats and water, is important. Mix it all together, it looks like a lot of water but trust me, it will be fine.

Cover with foil and place in the oven at 225 degrees for eight hours. Yes, I said eight. Hours. The first night that I made these, I woke up three times because it smelled SO DARN GOOD! I couldn't wait until I woke up to eat it.

See, not exactly pretty...

But delicious all the same!

A serving is approximately one cup, which for the oatmeal equals 140 calories. I just estimate the calories of the fruit but count about a half of an apple since each batch makes four servings. I add a little Splenda, The Husband added a bit of milk to his, that's not my thing. I store the batches in the fridge and measure out a cup each morning. It's very filling and very healthy. I must admit, I meant to add some raisins to the apple batch but forgot soI just add them on top before I reheat it each morning... YUMMY!

Give it a try and let me know if you like it. Trust me, it's really, really good. Did I mention it's good?

One final note about my previous post, I think it's really funny that a bloggy friend of mine commented that Ziggy looks scary in his first picture because in that shot, he's anything but. He woke up and was stretching and his jowly lip was stuck up really funny. I got a shot of it, never thinking it might actually look like he was growling. He's really a sweet, mild mannered dog. (I wouldn't want poor Ziggy to get a tainted reputation you know. ) ;)

Have a great Friday everyone and a great Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Please step away from the banana!

"She means MY banana!"

The other day when I was unpacking The Son's snack bag, I noticed a certain German Shorthair Pointer, lurking around the counter. He stood up, swiped something from off of the counter and ran away, to hide under the family room side table that is decidedly too low to the ground for him to hide under. He doesn't quite realize that however...

Ziggy decided that he really needed the over-ripe banana that The Son didn't eat (of course.) I risked my life to take these pictures for you because there was much growling going on as I was told very clearly that the banana now belonged to Ziggy and not to the humans in the household.

"Don't make me growl louder"

Truth be told, all he does is growl and then we remove the banana and all is fine...except this time, I forgot about the banana until The Husband came home and found the banana squished on the floor under the table. Oops.

Things seem to be going well with kindergarten so far. The Son is enjoying it a lot and I'm enjoying my work out time at the Y, it's nice to not have to worry about where The Son will go and how long I'm allowed to keep him there and best of all, I just realized yesterday that we are no longer paying $150 a month for preschool! Hooray for public schools! The Son has off on Friday and Monday, we're looking forward to a nice long weekend and will celebrate at the pool for the last time until next summer.

Enjoy your Wednesday everyone! Stay healthy!