Summer Snackin’…

FYI: The title to this post is supposed to be sung to the following song…

Because it’s summer and lets face it… snacking is the same as loving, healthy or not.

Since school has let out I have relished in my freedom via making all of the home-made concoctions I didn’t have time to make during the school year. But once I actually made some of these things I realized that it didn’t really take any time at all and I hope to continue the trend throughout the school year. Because there is something just so satisfying about making home-made products that are healthier, cleaner and not to mention… cheaper.

(Take that you unseen corporate force… damn the man!)

Ahem…

Take for instance this easy home-made hummus

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(My husband is a die-hard Cardinals fan as you can see by the cutting board my sister made him. Therefore, it was only appropriate to serve this hummus with red bell peppers. GO CARDS!)

I had put off making hummus for a long time because I didn’t want to have to buy a ten dollar jar of tahini for something I wasn’t so sure would turn out. Then I stumbled upon a tahini free recipe (link above) and I fell in love. Ingredients include canned chickpeas, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, olive oil and salt.

That’s it. So Good!

I served this when we had an impromptu deck party with some of my fellow teachers and once again when I rode my bike over to my friend’s house for an Outlander watching marathon… (You know, that one time I got called a goddess. No big deal.)

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Being the super host that she is my friend KJ was already prepared with snacks, so we had a feast that night. She even made a strawberry lemonade cocktail that went down like kool-aide. (Needless to say, the bike ride home was a bit interesting. But I digress…)

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In preparation for our festivities I had also managed to sneak over some of my home-made jalapeno yogurt ranch made from herbs in my garden. (Yay me!)

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I wasn’t able to bring much because Brent (the guy who can’t eat anything without a condiment) didn’t want to share. We actually served it with Avocado chicken burgers for dinner one night and it was seriously the yummiest meal. Ever. Brent has taken it a step further and has put it on everything… including eggs.

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(Don’t make fun of my scratched up plates.)

Things kind of turned for the worst nutrition wise the next night we went to one of Brent’s beloved baseball games. We managed to mow through nachos, beer, popcorn and even the saltiest pretzel known to man. But I didn’t let myself feel too bad, because well… when in Rome.

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I did however feel a little hung over the next morning when I woke at five to meet my friend Andrea for one of our morning walks. I don’t know what made be feel worse… the salt or the beer. (Or maybe even the fact that I had partaken in drinking shenanigans two nights in a row. But who’s counting?)

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By the end of the walk I felt so much better, even if I did get rained on and my hands were swollen.

When I got home I tried to sneak in through the back door so that I wouldn’t wake anyone up. On my way in, I passed the strawberry patch and noticed that a lot of my strawberries were already over due for picking, even though Penelope goes through the patch nearly every night.

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When all was said and done I had more strawberries than I knew what to do with so I decided to make jam.

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I don’t know what possessed me. It’s not like I had ever made jam before. But I had remembered stumbling upon a strawberry jam recipe that included chia seeds during the winter months when strawberries were super expensive to buy. I dug through my Pinterest account, passed all of the pins that I had never put to use, and finally found it…

Strawberry Chia Jam

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It turned out awesome! The smell of the simmering strawberries wafted up to Bridget’s room and woke her up from her slumber. She thought it smelled like cotton candy. Then later Brent came home from his walk with the dog and thought I had been toasting marshmallows over the stove again. (What can I say? It happens…)

Later that day, Brent had plans to watch the Cardinals game again, this time with some of his firefighter buddies, and Bridget had an important rendezvous at the pool. That left Penelope and I alone for lunch. I felt like it was only appropriate that we eat Peanut Butter and Jam sandwiches…

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… and s’mores

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Because now that you mention it, toasted marshmallows do smell pretty tasty.

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It’s a work in progress, a little yin for the yang. As long as we keep moving this summer there’s nothing wrong with a little summer snackin’. Amiright?

(Don’t answer that…)

Weekly Weigh-in and Thanksgiving Excitement

Good morning! Happy weigh-in day.

I wasn’t so sure how nice the scale was going to be to me today since Bridget and I went on a mother/daughter date last night to see Catching Fire.

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We had been planning this night out for months. It included a dinner out at the Mellow Mushroom followed by some window shopping at the outdoor mall where the temperature was a whopping 8 degrees.  We bought our tickets at a theater that has assigned seating so we didn’t have to stand in line forever. We went all out and ordered the balcony seats where we shared a cozy leather love seat and snuggled under a blanket Bridget shoved into my purse before we left (genius). Since we were “VIP” we had a waitress bring us hot chocolate and popcorn (minus the butter). It was a perfect way to watch a movie on a freezing night.

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However, popcorn, pizza and hot chocolate aren’t usually the best things to ingest before having to do a public weigh-in. So when I stepped on the scale I was surprised to see that I weighed in at 182.8. 

This week has been a tad bit rough since Penelope was so sick. It entailed a lot of sitting around the house and not getting anything done because she was super clingy.  I didn’t workout once. It was awful. There was so much that I wanted to do but I couldn’t do it.  I was feeling so antsy the entire week.

She’s on the mend now so I’m hoping to get back into my workout routine. I’ve got five days before the family arrives for Thanksgiving so I’m hoping to eat super clean until then to counterbalance the debauchery that is bound to take place during the holiday.

When Brent got home from work he built a fire and we turned on some Christmas tunes. We couldn’t help it! It just felt appropriate.  I cozied up under a blanket and searched the internet for recipes to get ready for the big day. Brent and I discussed what we must include in our feast and argued over what we should eat while we watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade.  We also argued over which kind of green bean casserole we should make, I say the healthy kind with freshly made fried shallots and he says the kind made with condensed soup.

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During my search for recipes I stumbled upon this list of things to do to prepare for Thanksgiving ahead of time, I found it very helpful. I’m pretty sure it’s from Martha Stewart. That lady is beyond anal retentive and I’m pretty sure we could never be friends but I’m grateful for the advice anyway.

I was glad I stumbled upon it because I bought a twenty pound turkey and I need to start thawing it out today! I plan on getting as much of a head start on the holiday preparations as I can so that I can enjoy the family when they are here. I’m one of the few who absolutely adore their in-laws. I just can’t wait to see them!

We live far away from our family on both sides. During the past five years Brent has had to work during the holidays so we usually end up having an orphan Thanksgiving with friends on a random day that everyone can come. It usually turns out to be a very Charlie Brown-ish event due to the fact that Bridget and I always insist that everyone dress up like pilgrims and Native Americans. It started out as a way of giving her something to do while I made the Thanksgiving meal. However, it always adds an extra element of festivity so we do it every year now. We usually fight over who get’s to be the Native Americans because the Pilgrims are boring.

Even though we didn’t have any family around in years past we still managed to instill the elements found in a true American holiday.

The awkward family photos..

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The uncle who had too much to drink…

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The bickering…

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But most importantly the love and laughter that comes from spending a holiday with people you care about.

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Our Thanksgivings aren’t usually something you would find on the cover of a magazine but they are usually something special nonetheless. I’m so excited to spend some time with the people that I love and create more memories of tacky holidays to come! That being said, I better stop blogging and get back to making preparations…

Do you have any strange holiday traditions?

I want what I want and I want it now!

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I have to be honest, my attitude has been kind of crappy lately. I’ve spent way too much time feeling sorry for myself when in reality I have nothing to complain about.

Here are the constant complaints:

1. I’m stuck with my kids 24/7.

2. I’m tired of cooking and cleaning.

3. My husband is never around.

Here’s the reality… I’m super lucky. Being a stay at home mom is actually a dream come true and it isn’t going to last forever. At one point I’m going to have to put my education to use and I will look back at these days and wish I appreciated it more. The grocery store is my oyster and I should be grateful that I can go to the store whenever I want and pick out whatever I want. And let’s be honest, my house isn’t all that clean so it’s not like I’m slaving away here. My husband doesn’t like being gone as much as he is. He’s missing out on family time so he can pay for all of that quality time I get to spend with the girls. He’d do anything for me and instead of being grateful I’m complaining.

If I could bitch slap myself, I would… only that would hurt and I’m not really into that whole self-inflicted pain thing.

Life is all about perspective and I’ve been looking at things the wrong way. For instance, I’ve been complaining about not losing enough weight when in reality I’ve lost 14 pounds in three weeks.

Could you get more greedy?

Slow and steady wins the race is definitely not my motto. I go more along the lines of… I WANT WHAT I WANT AND I WANT IT NOW!

What a brat! If I was in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory I would probably blow up like a huge blueberry, or nearly drown in a lake full of chocolate milk.

My weight loss is slowing down and I think it may be because I’ve lost sight of what is important, my health and the health of my family. Instead, I’ve been obsessing over every morsel I put into my mouth and because of this I think I  may not be getting enough to fuel my body. So my body is saying… screw you.

Instead of quantity I need to focus on quality.

I need to focus on the quality of food that I feed myself, the quality of time that I spend with my family and just my general appreciation for life.

There is a part of me that is happy with myself the way that I am and for some reason that self acceptance scares me. I’m afraid that if I like myself like this then I will be tempted to settle. I think this is why I’m in such a rush to change. I keep thinking that this whole process should be painful but in reality it doesn’t have to be. It’s called a weight loss journey for a reason.

We have a choice. We can choose the scary dark painful road where the wind howls because we think its a short-cut or we can choose the happy road where the birds are chirping and the roses are begging you to smell them and enjoy the process.

The happy road keeps beckoning me to it but I keep refusing it because I think I need to suffer. Why? Why does suffering have to have any part of this journey?

In truth if I keep trying to choose the dark scary path I’m going to quit because I’m making myself miserable and that’s not what we’re really going for.

What I’ve come to realise is that there is nothing wrong with taking your time and enjoying the process. I feel good in my clothes and I’m getting stronger and faster. But if the scale doesn’t say what I want it to I throw all of that to the side and focus on what I don’t have.

It’s time for me to look at my life through a different lens. I’m being stupid. Nobody ever said this was a race. There is nothing wrong with going the slow steady route and simply enjoying your life while you try to make it better. It’s all about balance, something we all crave. I went from one extreme to the other and that’s not progress.

Mom Jeans

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I think I just might be a stress ball.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing about my sleep patterns but I woke up at 3 this morning worried… about everything. The whole thing started when I got a notice about my student loans that are going to be due as soon I finish my grad degree. I’m getting my master’s in education and soon I’m going to have to do my student teaching. That means I’m going to have to work for free for a semester while I pay for daycare for Penelope. It’s not really the money that has got me stressed out (even though that will be expensive) it’s the separation that has got me all wound up.

I have the luxury of staying home with her right now and I feel like I’m wasting this precious time by counting down the minutes to bedtime. I’m struggling with finding the balance at home. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I add a job to the mix.

Then I start to think about Bridget and how she will be in sixth grade soon and before I know it she won’t want anything to do with me.

In The Sun and The Moon I shared my story about how my mom died when I was in the third grade and as a kid I was never mad at her for what she did. I never felt sorry for myself or felt like I deserved any special attention. In fact I felt like such a weirdo when people tried to give it to me. As a kid you just deal with things without really thinking about it and carry on. It wasn’t until I held Bridget for the first time that I felt how significant that loss was.

The dead of winter is always hard for me, I always kid around and say that I’m like a flower, I wilt in the winter and bloom in the summer. One particular winter two years ago I went into a tailspin. I couldn’t figure out why I was so sad. Then in the middle of the night I broke down and cried harder than I have ever cried in my life. Brent just held me while I writhed and sobbed.

After I calmed down Brent and I were talking and it struck me that Bridget was in the exact same grade that I was in when my mother took her life. From a mother’s perspective that was hardly enough time to spend with your child. I couldn’t imagine Bridget ever having to go through what I did and it made me sad for the little girl who lost her mom twenty years earlier. I was mourning that little girl’s loss.

It wasn’t until I talked to my Dad later that week that I realized that I had my meltdown on the 20th anniversary of her death. I didn’t even know the actual date of her death until then. It was secretly ingrained in me, that bond between mother and daughter unbroken after so many years.

I have now officially been a mother longer than my mom was. Now, more than ever, I understand that my mom didn’t leave me because she didn’t love me. She left because she didn’t feel like she was good enough. What she didn’t know was that no mom feels like they’re good enough. We’ll always strive to be the best that we can be. But we won’t be perfect and we’ll always fall short of the ideal we have set in our head. That’s something we have to learn to accept and there will be many nights when we’ll stay up in the night worrying about it.

No wonder there is such a thing as “mom jeans”. I don’t think we can blame this phenomenon on the denim. I think it’s a side effect of the psychological stress of the mommy guilt that comes with motherhood.

We pass it down from generation to generation like the Sisterhood of the Mommy Pants. Only they’re never flattering and they fit absolutely no one. But we keep on wearing them to cover up  our stretch mark etched mommy pooches like a badge of honor.

That is, until we loose enough baby weight to wear a designer pair.

Week 2 Weigh-in

Well, if it isn’t one kid waking you up in the night it’s the other. Bridget woke up to blow her nose and took a detour to my room where she stood over me like a creeper until I woke up. I jumped when I saw her silhouette lingering over my bed.

“Sorry, I just had to blow my nose.”

“Okay”… (crickets) “Well, did you do it?”

“Yeah.”

“Then go to bed, silly!”

This little exchange took place at 4 a.m. I lied in bed for another thirty minutes but decided to just get up and have a cup of tea. But first I had to make sure that Penelope was still breathing since she didn’t make a peep last night.

I think Bridget actually woke up because she’s excited about showing of her new crazy hair to her friends at school today.

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She originally wanted bright red, but Amanda (see Operation Lululemon) convinced her to go with purple. I wanted her to get light blue like Gwen Stefani did back when we all discovered No Doubt. Ah, the memories of jumping on my bed and screaming “I’m Just a Girl” before taking off for a soccer game…

Okay, so maybe I was living vicariously.

Anyway, I’m stalling… I think I decided to get up at 4:30 because I was excited about weighing in. Did I seriously just say that?

You know how I do… I peed, got naked and jumped on the scale, (actually I wobbled because I was still sleepy) and it said 211.6.

Not too shabby!

That’s 3.2 pounds since last week.

I’m on a role. I’m not going to lie I was pretty nervous since I lost so much the first week. Which, for the record, was probably mostly water weight. This 3.2 pounds means more because it’s actually fat that is melting off of my body.

It’s now 5:30 and guess who just woke up…

How did you do? Let me know by posting in the comments section of this post. I can’t wait for those success stories to start trickling in!

Have a good day everyone 🙂

P.S. My new friend Carly has provided us a delicious option for dinner tonight Tangy Lemon Almond Chicken. I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds delish. You should check it out 🙂