Thursday, October 29, 2009
Early last week, The Husband and I realized that we hadn't made our annual pilgrimage to the Pumpkin Farm/Autumnal Entertainment Complex that we like to visit every year. We realized it and so did approximately 47 million other families in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, New York, etc. Evidently this particular Pumpkin farm is the ONLY one in all of Eastern North America. I kid a little bit of course but it sure seemed like we had chosen a really bad day to attend, it was VERY busy to say the least.
It only takes us about 30 minutes to drive there but then it took us almost 45 minutes to park and no, I'm not kidding about that part. I knew it would be busy on the Sunday before Halloween but I have photos of The Son at this particular Pumpkinland from every year since he was a baby so you know, we had to go.
It was especially difficult for me because not only do they have all kinds of fun play areas and lots of pretty orange pumpkins, they also have just about every kind of unhealthy food that I love to eat but shouldn't. Funnel cakes, apple cider donuts, pepperoni bread, freshly made potato chips, apple pies... you get the picture. Guess what else they have though? Apples! It wasn't easy but The Husband and I had an apple as a snack and it was especially good. As I ate my sweet, delicious and healthy apple, I looked around at the other 99,000 people there and noticed that the majority of the people eating the "bad" foods looked like I used to look 73 pounds ago and the fact that I had to "deprive" myself of those fun foods was no longer that difficult of a thing to do. It was a healthy living milestone for me for sure.
Well, the main reason we visited was to take pictures so I'd better get to posting those for you huh? As usual, they came out beautifully, The Son cooperates well and LOVES to get his picture taken. I'm thrilled with the results.
And lest you don't believe I had that apple...
Have a great day everyone! I hope I didn't bore you with too many pictures of my Little Pumpkin.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
No one answered me although I know my Chrissy 'Cuz knows and probably any one else who reads this blog who has a boy around The Son's age. This special little ball of coolness is a Bakugan. A "Ventus Tenticlear" to be exact. This one is one of my favorites. When you place the ball on the card that has a metal core, it springs open to reveal this guy.
Bakugan is a Japanese anime adveture series that has pretty much taken over The Son's every thought, he's become obsessed. Here's a plot synopsis of the show, according to Wikipedia:
In a dimension of Vestroia, a Bakugan called Naga decides to absorb the energy of the two cores that keep the dimensions in place. He absorbed too much of a negative energy found in the Silent Core. The Infinity Core, the positive energy core, has been absorbed with Naga's sister, Wavern.
The story centers on group of friends who find metallic cards which have fallen from the sky. They name themselves the Bakugan Battle Brawlers and consist of seven children: Dan, Shun, Runo, Marucho, Julie, Alice, and later Joe. Together they learn more about the origin of Bakugan, the game involving them, and battle against Hal-G and Naga.
Yeah. I don't really get it either but the important thing is that The Son sure does. It's a very involved show with levels and each color means something specific, it's hard for me to understand. The Husband calls the show, "a half an hour commercial for the toys" and I'd venture to say, he's right. It's also a game. A game, a commercial, a toy... all of the above! ha ha! I've compared it to Pokemon, if you're at all familiar with that but The Son says, it's nothing like Pokemon... whatever kid, to me, it's similar. ;)
The Son has lots of the toys and spends lots of time playing with his Bakugan, drawing pictures of them, making them out of legos and k-nex, etc. Of course for Halloween he decided that he wanted to be "Dan" the leader of the Bakugan Brawlers, that post will come later this week because he sure looked cute for the Y's Halloween party last weekend. For now, I'll leave you with a few more pictures of these cool little toys, I do have to admit that they are like little marvels of toy engineering.
See, he's not lacking in the Bakugan department at. all.
Last but not least, this picture cracks me up. Here he is, Momma's little Bakugan Brawler complete with his dog and a face covered in Nutella from his English Muffin.
I do feel compelled to add that The Son does lots of other things besides sit around and watch Bakugan on TV and then play with the toys. He does do karate, swims and reads plenty of books, although HE may be obsessed with Bakugan, his Mommy and Daddy have figured out ways to set healthy limits and everyone is happy about it in this household... even his Ventus Tentaclear.
Have a great day everyone! (I can't figure out why my spacing is all off... when I go to edit it in the html code area, it still looks fine so it's going to have to stay like this... sorry!)
- I've suddenly realized that the hip pain I was experiencing during my runs is gone. G-O-N-E... Gone! I don't know what the specific reason is but I suspect it's a combination of losing more weight, new sneakers and better form. It seems to coincide with the arrival of new treadmills at the Y. Treadmills that have personal viewing screens which mean that I am staring straight ahead at the TV instead of up at a group TV or down at the image of the red dot going around the virtual track. What ever the reason, I managed to run my treadmill 5K at 30:33 yesterday. I'm running in a race in Philadelphia on Sunday, November 1st and hope that I can manage to get near that 30 minute goal... any suggestions? I'm open!
- I've also realized that really monitoring my sodium intake is helpful in weight loss. I've been trying to cut down on most processed foods and foods that contain any kind of "flavor packets." It's meant a lot less wild mushroom cous cous than I was eating and no more tacos or chicken fajitas with the seasoning packets BUT on a positive note, I feel a lot thinner, no water retention! I've already stopped eating frozen meals except when in a real pinch and then I only choose "Healthy Choice" brand or "Kashi" brand, both brands have lower sodium than some of the other choices. Like I've said before, I don't believe those things have to be cut out entirely, I love a good "Lean Cuisine" but I'm just more mindful of it than I was before. I also happen to be allergic to MSG which is in SO many foods that you don't even realize being mindful of flavor packets in general has been really good for me.
- My dog Ziggy is SO cute. He's terribly smart which isn't always a good thing. See that black "box" collar around his neck? That's his "zapper" collar that we control with a remote. It can beep or shock him if he's really naughty. The problem with his intelligence however, is that Ziggy actually knows if we don't have the remote in our hands or if the batteries are dead in his collar. He totally takes advantage of that too. I also wonder why he's so smart, but not smart enough to just realize he should be GOOD! He's incorrigible! Lucky for him, he's cute. This is his patented super-cute head tilt. We love when he does this.
- I keep having dreams (like four times now) about getting my nails done. I used to have acrylic nails and really liked them but then just couldn't keep up with the appointments when I wasn't living in The City any more, there's not a nail salon on every corner out here. According to several dream analysis websites, I have a host of subconscious concerns ranging from money to sex (Hi Freud!) personally, I just think I want my acrylic nails back and I'm considering it.
- We just got invited to a wedding of people we thought were already married! I LOVE it! It's not a big deal but was quite a funny surprise to me. It also means that I can get dressed up and buy something cute to wear so I was thrilled!
- Speaking of wearing something cute, The Husband's holiday party is at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia this year. I'll be wearing the same dress that I buy for the above-mentioned wedding! Should be a good time!
- Do you know what this is? The Son sure does and I'll be doing a post about it soon!
- We are heading to the Pumpkin Patch/Apple Orchard this afternoon. I need to get my annual pumpkin pictures of The Son. I realized that I really used to look forward to all the junk food I would consume on this annual pilgrimage. Not any more. I'll have to be pleased with just apples, no more funnel cakes, apple cider donuts, apple pie, pepperoni bread. NO MORE! I am thinking of trying to come up with an individual apple crisp recipe tonight though. YUM!
- I am having Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. It will be the first year that we haven't gone out to dinner. While we'll miss visiting with extended family that we usually get to see on that day, I think it will be a nice change and a fun new tradition for us. I'll keep you posted on the menu. I can tell you it WILL include my famous apple pie of which I WILL have a piece, ONE piece, and the rest will be sent away with the guests when they leave. I'm also modifying my recipe so that it will no longer contain Crisco but just butter... no more trans fats in this house!
- I am starting another weight loss/nutrition group on Tuesday, it will probably only be about 8 people (my current group has 16) but any amount is good practice for me so I'm excited. January is also shaping up to bring me even more groups. It's so exciting to have a new career!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Here's a few pictures for you:
This is evidently an Official Hip Hop Pose. Momma's little thug, I'm oh so proud.
A family shot before the kids went on to perform. Like my dress? Goodwill $5!
Here's a few of the kids waiting to go on, they're all carrying Chicken Noodle Soup for the Y's canned food drive and because one of the songs they danced to was called "Chicken Noodle Soup."
Here's a few of the kids on stage, I was bummed that I couldn't get closer but you can at least see that in this first shot, The Son is in like with all the other kids, (he started out in the back row) as the pictures progress, you might notice that he ends up front and center, in front of everyone. It totally cracked me up. I don't know where he gets that need for attention (looks around sheepishly.)
The second song they danced to was a hip hop version of "Awesome God." I am not very religious but it was a cool song and very appropriate for kids hip hop at the YMCA. The funny thing is though that our little heathen thought it was "Awesome Guy" not God. "Our guy is an awesome guy, he reigns from heaven above, with wisdom power and love, our guy is an awesome guy." LMAO! The Husband set him straight on the correct words. He agreed that that made a lot more sense. ha ha!
All in all, we had a really fun night and the next day I received lots of positive feedback about The Son's performance and stage presence. I think I see an acting career in his future... after the career as a paleontologist and an astronomer of course.
Have a great afternoon everyone. I'm off to the Y for a nice run before I have to pick up The Son and then teach swim lessons and art class. I think this is the last week for art class. Phew! It's been tricky right after swimming... Happy blogging, stay healthy!
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Wal*Mart "girl" pants The Son didn't want to wear = $5.99
Men's size small red sweatshirt = $5.95
Hours spent creating as calculated at a $10 per hour rate = $50 (at least)
... The look on The Son's face when he tried on his Halloween costume and felt instantly transformed into his favorite Cartoon Network character = PRICELESS!
So yes, that's my reason for not blogging about the hip hop performance this weekend. The good news is, that the costume is pretty much completed and I will also be able to show you that soon along with the hip hop photos and details. Have a great Monday everyone! I'm off to the gym this afternoon and swim lessons tonight!
Friday, October 16, 2009
Speaking of my goal weight, I lost another 3.5 pounds this week. That makes a total of 73 pounds for me! 73! Yahoo! I will not do a living healthy post today other than to tell you that. I might think of something else this weekend but again, I don't need to say it, I'm going to be busy.
The Son got his school photos back yesterday and I must say, my child is photogenic. I am sure all parents think that, and for most kids, it's probably true but I am simply loving these school photos. He looks like such a big boy... It makes me happy and sad, all at the same time. I'm sure all of you parents out there, understand those feelings.
So sweet, and so proud of himself. Yesterday evening, The Son's hip hop class from the Y danced at the "Good Kids Campaign" dinner and guess who the star of the evening was? I'm sure you realize it was The Son, I took some photos and I'll blog more about that tomorrow or later tonight.
I'm off to get him ready for school and get myself ready for the gym. I'm trying a new pork tenderloin and Bok Choy recipef from Eating Well Magazine for dinner tonight. I'll let you know if it turns out to be delicious. Enjoy your Friday people and as always, if you stop by, please leave a comment!
Monday, October 12, 2009
* Because of making dinner, you forgot to write your child's "pick-up" note and had to write it on a paper towel because that's all the bus driver had that would work.
* You don't have time for good blog posts if you also want to get in a nice workout while at the gym before you have to go and pick up The Son from school.
* You keep thinking, "Is it Saturday yet?" and it's only Monday.
* You're worried about having time to make a Halloween costume and Halloween is still over two weeks away. (Doesn't help that The Son wants to be "Dan" from Bakugan and doesn't want a pre-made costume because "Momma can make it much better.")
* You're wishing everyone a "Happy Monday" as you sign off and head out the door after only five measly little blurbs about how you know you're busy!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
I'm not sure that I'm going about it the best way so I'm open to any e-bay suggestions that anyone out there might have. Here's what I basically do... I gather up items that I think will be appropriate for this time of year, a large amount at a time. I photograph them and upload the pictures to my computer, (I find the photographing to be the most time consuming aspect of this process.) I then list them when ever I have a few minutes here and there, usually about four or five at a time. My theory is that as long as I have items listed and especially if I have "watchers" or bidders that they'll take a look at my other items and possibly find an interest in them too. I start my prices at about $3 or $4 for a top, $5 to $6 for pants and maybe a little higher for stuff like sweaters, suits, jackets or dresses. My shipping costs are approximately $6 to $7 and I have a shipping discount if people buy more than one item. Most of my items end up selling right around the prices I have listed, maybe a teeny bit more. I'd love to get more but that isn't really happening. I can't complain though, I think it's going pretty well. I have bags and bags and bins and bins of clothing that could be sold and I'm also contemplating selling some baby clothing so this is a process that could go on for a while. I will say the e-bay learning process has been fun and addicting!
Any ideas anyone? My e-bay name is CarenannC so if you want to check out my listings or want to give me any feedback. Please go and check them out. I usually sell individual items but I'm not against lots and did have a bit of success with one lot I sold so I might try that out again too. I'm a little unsure about relisting items or what I should do if items don't sell so I'll take advice on that too. Help me out here people! I'm open to all e-bay suggestions. Thanks!
Monday, October 5, 2009
I've been thinking a lot about it and wanted to reiterate my position and further explain what my "diet" is all about. First, let's talk about the word diet. As I stated yesterday, I'm using that word to discuss the food I ingest each day. Diet isn't the bad word, "dieting" is the word I like to try to avoid.
I'd also like to mention that yes, there are people who must be on specific diets that limit or avoid particular types of food, those with diabetes or gluten allergies, etc. But for our purposes and my lifestyle, I'm talking about people without these medical restrictions.
The diet I follow is simply the USDA food pyramid. Nothing is off limits... ever. We don't tell people what to eat, we let people eat what they like and ask them to write down everything they eat and to count calories, which in the beginning, I will admit can seem tedious. People really don't like that part, I really don't like that part, but after doing it for a couple weeks, people admit that it does work. I still journal my food, not every day, but I am able to calculate my calories in my head. When I really need to focus, I journal. Honestly, those are the weeks that I lose the most weight.
By learning about nutrition, I have been able to make intelligent choices about what I am eating. Have I started eating more whole grains and less white flour, more fruit and less processed sweets with white sugar? SURE! That's a healthier diet but did I give all those things up? HECK NO! I am after the "forever factor" and if I were asked to give all those things up, I'd lose weight for sure but I'd never be able to keep it off forever. I can say that confidently because I've done it before. I've lost hundreds of pounds. Many, many times. The diets I followed all had good parts to them but they were too restrictive for me to be able to keep the weight off forever AND they didn't teach me how to eat for the rest of my life. Most people love hearing that there is nothing off limits when you're trying to live healthy, a little extra work in writing down your foods and counting calories and you WILL lose weight. The only place where success comes before work, is in the dictionary.
By making small changes, cutting 500 calories a day and adding enough water to keep yourself hydrated, it's possible to lose weight and keep it off forever. There are lots of websites that will tell you approximately how many calories a day your body needs to survive, you can use that as a guide. Cutting 500 calories a day is easy. EASY! Leave the butter off your bread, -100 calories! Choose a "deli flat" over two slices of bread, -140 calories! Choose skim milk over whole milk, -50 calories! Skip that "mini" bag of chips at lunch time and eat a 100 calorie bag of popcorn instead and you've eliminated 500 calories easily! Add more movement or exercise to that and you've eliminated even more. Cutting 500 calories a day will equal a pound a week and before you know it, you'll be losing weight, keeping it off and hardly even noticing those small changes you make.
So I guess that kind of sums it up. I do not believe in fad diets, I do not believe that you have to cut out entire food groups or all white foods or that you can't eat after 6:00 PM, etc. I believe in basic, healthy, balanced eating, calories in vs. calories out and being mindful about what you eat. It's worked for me for almost ten months now. I'm proud to say, I've NEVER had a gain and it's worked for my diet guru, Ms. Phyllis for ten years. She just celebrated her 10 year anniversary of losing 104 pounds! I think I'll believe in those results for sure!
Have a great Monday everyone! Stay healthy!
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Healthy Living with
Anyway, I've always been a water drinker, it's just keeping in mind that I have to drink it and following through. I guess you could call it being mindful of my water consumption. I've come to learn that just by adding at least 48 ounces of water to your daily diet, you are able to increase your metabolism simply because you are not dehydrated and your liver can function properly to metabolize fat. With the people in our weight loss group, the first week we ask them to eat the way the normally would and to journal what they eat. We ask them to add at least 48 ounces of water per day and do nothing else different. Inevitably, almost everyone loses weight. Even two, three, four pounds, just from adding water! It's important to keep in mind that you cannot count coffee and tea as your water because even decaffeinated versions of these beverages contain trace amounts of caffeine which causes you to lose water. We don't ask people to give these things up, thank Goodness! I don't think I could function without my coffee in the morning and with my diet*, nothing is off limits. I love that! I should add that I don't drink soda, never did, never will, but I believe soda to be a big reason that many are overweight and have trouble losing weight, it's just so bad for you. That being said, there are people who are able to have an occasional soda and still lose weight. Again, nothing is off limits. So, if you're trying to lose weight, or even just to be healthier, add some water to your diet, you might be surprised at the results of this very simple trick.
I decided to leave you with a couple "during" and "before" shots of myself. I still have about 30 pounds to lose so that's why I call it a "during" and not an "after." In case you're interested, these jeans are Levi's in a size 12 and the top is from Express and is a large. I haven't shopped at Express in YEARS!
It's highly embarrassing to post this one because I really, really hate it but this is the photo I use with my weight loss group as my "before" shot. I have difficulty finding any pictures of me that don't have The Son strategically posted in front of me hiding as much of me as I can manage. Yikes.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone.
*I'm using the word "diet" here to mean my daily food intake, not the same thing as "being ON a diet." That doesn't work for a lifetime in my opinion... more on that tomorrow...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
"E?," I said, "as in elephant?"
"Oh yeah, that's French for double D," replied Michelle nonchalantly...
Michelle is the lingerie sales person I recently discovered at Nordstrom at the King of Prussia Mall, a local mall that is a very popular tourist attraction in our area. Many of you have probably heard that most women are walking around wearing the wrong size bra and that we have no idea how to choose the right size. After losing nearly 70 pounds, I was certainly no exception.
I had heard from Oprah (and if Oprah says it, you know it's true) that Nordstrom has an exceptionally good lingerie department and being in dire need of a new sports bra, I decided to check them out on Saturday.
I instantly found Michelle, smiling, friendly and roaming the lingerie department with a tape measure around her neck, looking for her next
Michelle was happy to help, she took me to the fitting room and told me to take off my top but leave my bra on, I quickly learned this was not going to be a shopping trip where modesty was involved. She measured me and promptly announced that I was a 36 D! HUH? I'd been wearing a 38 C and it was big so I thought for sure I'd go down in cup size but evidently, I was wrong. Very wrong. Michelle asked me a few details about the kinds of bras I was looking for and left the fitting room to find them for me.
She returned shortly and... this is where it gets a little weird... helped me put the new bras on! Yes, I had to take of my own bra and she fitted me, literally fitted me into the bras she had brought me. "Bye, bye modesty, see you later,"I thought but it was clear to me that Michelle knew what she was doing and what she was talking about. Phrases like, "bend over and get them in the right place," and "pull all of that breast tissue up and over" were used and soon I was into the sports bra she brought me. It. Felt. Fantastic! I could tell that it was going to work for me with all my work outs and especially help to keep "The Girls" comfortable while running.
Next, we tried on the regular bra that Michelle had chosen. YIKES! It didn't fit, too small in the cup size and let's just say, my cup runneth over in a very unattractive way. I was informed that there was more "tissue" than she realized which I figured out really means, "You must have breast fed for close to two years and now those puppies hang way lower than they should and they're really deceiving because there's not much at the top any more." Michelle hit the lingerie road again and soon came back with a larger cup size. This time it said "E." I had never heard of an E in a bra size but as I stated before, was informed that it was just French for DD. I felt oh, so European as we (yes, we) slipped it on and it fit like a glove. Or should I say, fit like a well-fitted bra.
Now it was the moment I was concerned about. I had already peeked at the $62 price tag on the Wacoal sports bra but quickly rationalized that this was something I was going to wear nearly every day and the chafing, pinching and sore red marks that I was currently sporting on the underside of my chest were not something I needed I to live with. I asked Michelle how much the other bra cost and she told me that it was "only" $49.90... on sale. Again, I realized that I do have to wear a bra every day and decided that I would buy one and see how I like it. It was WAY more money than I'd usually spend on undergarments but in this case, I felt like I had also had instruction in bra fitting, learned what size I truly am and learned that I wasn't putting all my breast tissue in the right place, things I never would have learned without Michelle, it's not something I'll be able to do all the time but it was worth the price to get that knowledge.
I've worn the sports bra a couple times during my runs and truly notice a difference. It feels so comfortable and the every day bra makes me look like I did back in my 20s long before The Son and weight gain/loss came along. Thanks Michelle.
Now I'd like to do something nice for Michelle since she was so nice to me, tit for tat if you will, I asked her if I could post her information on my blog and she was thrilled so... if you're in the area and happen to make a stop to the fabulous King of Prussia Mall, stop in and see Michelle Rouse at Nordstrom's lingerie department. 610-265-6111 ext. 1240 She'll be happy to help you out and tell you why your breast tissue was in the wrong place inside your bra.