Just a quick note to wish you a very merry Christmas!  I sincerely hope you’re enjoying quality time celebrating with your loved ones or that you’ll be getting up soon to do so.

Bear is about to be woken up if he doesn’t get his little booty up soon.  Santa has come to visit our home, and I’m anxious to experience his excitement.  5 year olds are awesome. 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

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I know Christmas is on a lot of people’s minds, but I have that and more on mine.  I started a fall garden really late, and now I have some plants really taking off.  I’m grateful for a very mild winter so far.  I have some cloth to cover, so I’m going to plant some more micro greens this weekend.  They grow fast, and I didn’t plant nearly enough initially.  I’ll have to take some pictures, but I have onions, garlic, beets, snow peas & peas and fennel coming along at the moment.  I don’t know if they will survive, but I had the seeds so why not?

I’m also going to purchase some seeds to start prepping for spring plantings.  The average last frost date for my area is March 15, and there are some cooler weather things that need to be started in Dec/Jan.  I’ve never started seeds indoors beyond some tomatoes, so I’m anxious to see what I can produce this year. 

I’m interested in recommendations for online seed folks, so definitely chime in here if you have a favorite.  In the past I have stuck with Park Seeds, but they never seem to grow like the Ferry Morris I buy from Lowe’s.  I’m fine with that brand really, but they don’t sell a big variety or vegetables or types.

I have been experimenting with other blog platforms, but this one is my favorite.  I am ready to move past that, and once I can get my tumbler one to be more cooperative my intention was to paste those over.  Such is life as it relates to technology. 

I have everything set up to make posts via my Blackberry as my intention is to post much more frequently.  Like daily even.  I want to track what I’m doing more closely, how I feel, and things along that line to look back on.  I want to see what works, what doesn’t, and find some motivation when I just plain don’t feel like doing the right thing as it pertains to that healthy lifestyle I’m working towards.  With that in mind…

I started the C25K training program this week.  I absolutely love jogging.  As my prior attempts have ended in injury you’d think I would give up the idea of going at it again.  Nope.  I know what caused the injuries, and I know how to prevent them.  I hear running is really bad for an overweight person’s knees, but I’m not sure that just ‘being’ overweight is good for knees.  I’m taking the risk.

I joined a Biggest Loser Challenge through www.SparkPeople.com, and let me tell you these ladies are motivating!  I really started working out & pushing myself, and I gained 1 pound for my week 1 weigh in.  My eating is better than the week before, so I’m going to say it is the working out.  I even felt bloated yesterday, but today I’m at least back to my original weigh in weight.  Doh!  I’m going to keep it going… I know it works, and I know I feel fabulous now that I’ve added the turtle paced jogging. 

Since the last posting & things going on –

  • Bear has been with his dad & will be back late Christmas Eve
  • I started school again.  PE started this week, and that Speech starts in January.  I’ll have that associates in May finally (with 120 something credit hours lol).
  • Financial situation settled
  • Vacation starts today at 4!

Woohoo!  Now for a cell shot of a yummy strawberry-banana-cucumber-celery smoothie…

My son came home from school with a ‘bad’ color last week.  One of the punishments for this is no tv control.  We generally watch Netflix, so I decided I was finally going to watch Forks Over Knives.  It has been waiting in my queue for quite some time, and it’s a safe for young kiddos.  However, I knew it would help with the punishment by being boring.  Or so I thought!

Back fired!  He sat right next to me from beginning to end & asked me to pause it when he needed to leave the room.  Seriously.  A 5 year old was interested in a documentary.  He was asking tons of questions throughout.  What is casein?  What is breast cancer?  On & on.  This all led to the conversation of how sometimes it is hard for me to cook healthy for him when he won’t try new things.  He made a commitment of trying at least one bite (but how do you teach him to be open minded?).  He then started talking about the foods he eats at his dads (we’re a divorced family).  I don’t want him to give his dad too much grief, so this led to how he eats differently at school & his dads.  He practically begged me to make his lunches for school.  Sheesh!  What can of worms did I open???  Last year I had to make his lunch for the private school he attended, but I was hoping to avoid that this year.  He has wanted me to since the school year started, but I figured he would warm up to the lunches at school (generally healthy options).  Nope. 

So we have started a clean eating week.  I am intimidated by saying I’m vegan, so we’re shooting for just a week.  I don’t eat much meat anyhow, but the cheese & sour cream will be hard to live without.  I know there are soy alternatives, but it seems back ass-wards (pardon my french) to replace it with a processed alternative.  Plus the few options available where I grocery shop are expensive. 

For this week Colton is not eating meat and reducing his processed foods.  I am going vegan with no refined sugars.  We are starting on what seems like a random Tuesday since I’m not prepared for dealing with holidays with these restrictions just yet.  With all of this, I’m starting a new page for a Food Log.  I’ve been needing to get on the logging bandwagon.  Let’s see if this helps hold me accountable to doing it!

I lost my motivation.  I’m still doing my almost daily lunch time walks, but I’ve lost the gusto for food prep.  I’ve been tired of prepping, cooking, and all that cleaning, so I’ve spent the last week thinking of things I can do to make my workweek simpler while not depending on processed foods.  I was trying to think of fairly healthy meals that can be prepped in advance or require very little work and therefore a minimally dirty kitchen.  Here’s the list of what I’m working with to keep my kitchen time to a minimum (when I’m not baking):

  • Keep a bag of broccoli slaw in the work refrigerator with dressing (right now is Litehouse Sesame Ginger)
  • Set a nightly weekday alarm on my phone to remind me to make the overnight oats for the morning
  • Weekly salad prep on Sundays – cut up what I need, put it all in individual containers & throw a salad together in minutes
  • Freezer food!  Cook a big batch of soup, and freeze the leftovers for grab & go lunches or dinners
  • Get that slow cooker out!  I tend to avoid the slow cooker since it makes a dinner for family, but why am I not all over this?  Duh!  Freeze the leftovers.

Here’s my meal plan for the next couple of weeks.  Click on it to read the details.

 

The blue areas are times when the kiddo is not with me.  The darker blue green are road trip meals.  The gray is just too far out to figure out what we’ll be eating. 

This helps me get what I need ready before the week begins, and it keeps me from having to think about what to prep while minimizing waste.  Of course if we make some healthy muffins like I intend to at some point there may be a breakfast changed out, but having a guide helps.

Feel free to share your ideas to keep your kitchen concoctions healthy & easy. 

 

Ok.  Well I don’t really know how that works.  I receive the Hungry Girl newsletter, and in the one from yesterday I believe there was a brief spill about a Dr. Oz/Weight Watchers team up with a $1,000,000 contest.  I didn’t pay much attention, but I signed up anyway.  Isn’t that how the web works anyhow?  Mindless wandering?  Click here if you’d like to sign up you mindless wanderer you!

Anyhow, the first step in the transformation prescribed is to tell a friend.  I cheated.  I sent the email to myself.  Before you completely judge me… it was with the intent of posting it here anyhow.  🙂  Feel free to check it out.  I haven’t played around much in here, but I plan to!

I ate way too much.  I don’t know if I’ve ever binged ate like I did this weekend.  It all started with the cake balls.  They were good.   I was ok Saturday, but thanks to bad service I didn’t eat Saturday night.  Sunday when I was able to eat I overdid it some for lunch.  Then it felt like it was all downhill from there with a weekend of overindulging.  I feel like crud this morning for it.  Everyday is a new day.  I just need to remember this terrible, bloated feeling for next time. 

I didn’t gain any weight for this week’s official weigh in, but yuck all the same!

It’s gorgeous out.  I have no kiddo.  How about a bike ride?   This is only #3 ride since I got this bike.  If I keep up with it I will buy a nifty, nice mountain bike, but I’m sorry.  This bike looks adorable (ignore the garage).

When I moved to this area (West side of Houston) I knew there were bike trails around, so that’s when I bought the bike.  I wasn’t thrilled about the first ride that involved trying to out pedal a dog, so trails are a beautiful thing!  I see they are well used from the traffic I see on them that crosses a main road I travel on, so they seem safe, too.  After a little research it turns out there are 37 connected miles of trail (~25 paved, ~12 unpaved) to play on.  I’ve only done 3 (3 out & back for a 6 mile ride).  Not bad for a first ride. 

For today’s ride I headed up north to Splendora to ride with Rich.  We knocked out 6 miles.  He has some hills up there (my legs noticed).  My bike is making a weird noise, though.  Rich looked at it briefly & it looks like a clip is missing.  I’ll have to do some research, but he was really worried with me riding it Saturday.  It looks like the crank is just going to fall apart or something.  It (and I) did survive the trip.  Sadly I didn’t get to ride any the rest of the weekend with the never ending rain on Sunday.  😦  I was even off Monday with the kiddo, but he really didn’t want to go for a ride.   Just as well since it needs a little TLC.

Forgive the cell phone shot, but I am kinda fond of this button.  It actually was a freebie on our benefits day at work from the Cigna representatives.  I got the last one, and I felt pretty lucky.  Who wouldn’t want this button?  Apparently quite a few because I was getting the ‘you’re a dork’ look from coworkers.  I’m cool with that.

Beyond it’s first day on my shirt it found a home on my cubicle wall.  When I exit my cube it’s a reminder.  When I look up from my computer screen, it’s a reminder.  It’s hanging next to some charts (I can’t show to keep from making my employer angry), but everytime I need to investigate a path to get at data, the button is right there.

Do you have a saying or quote that keeps you motivated?  Do you use visual reminders to keep your momentum?

Yesterday was the ‘don’t be scared’ smoothie talk (see Smoothie 411, part 1).  Today we move to the fun, creative part of smoothie goodness.

Add in ideas:

  • dark chocolate cocoa – to taste
  • sweetener of choice – stevia/Splenda/honey/etc to taste
  • oats – blend the night before & leave it in the refrigerator
  • protein powder – I just ordered some, but I have yet to try it.  Optional really for recipes you stumble upon.
  • ground flax – Once I’m out of flax I’m going to try out chia seeds.  Chia seeds are more expensive, but I’ve been reading they are quite the nutrition powerhouse.  You can also leave these out of recipes you may find on the web.
  • substitute kale for spinach – Kale has a stronger taste, so substitute spinach for recipes you find on the web.  Kale tends to be cheaper than spinach, but the organic bunches probably equate to about the same depending on the season.
  • cucumber – 1/4 of a medium peeled
  • celery – 1/3 of a stalk is my max per smoothie
  • cinnamon – or other yummy spices like nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice blends, etc
  • nut butters – peanut butter, almond butter, whatever you have or want to try

It totally never occurred to me to treat these concoctions as something that can be eaten with a spoon.  What was I thinking?!?!  It was a glorious day when I ran across a blog with the unique name of… (drum roll please)… Sprinkle Massacre.  Jillian (the author) and her beau are crazy about sprinkles, and she has opened the door to the world of making these smoothie concoctions yummy meals for me.  Before I pour it in a bowl I generally blend, put it in the freezer for 15-30 minutes (while I get dressed or make my lunch), and then get creative.

Toppings:

  • whipped cream – redi-whip, fat free, sugar free… whatever floats your boat! I’m a fat free Cool Whip girl myself
  • fresh fruit
  • nuts – I’m a walnut fanatic.
  • cereal – I like crunch.  I’ve got a baggie of Uncle Sam cereal here at work thanks to the inspiration blog.
  • granola
  • bars – crumble up your healthy bars
  • graham crackers – crumble ’em up
  • nut butters – I like to heat up a little almond butter to swirl in.
  • SPRINKLES – Sprinkles breed happiness.  They make your smoothie go from good to WOW!  Try it out.  You’ll see.

Play around with what works for you.  I try to keep mine in the ‘healthy’ range of add ins or toppings, and I treat it like a meal when I start adding high calorie nut related add ins. 

Feel free to toss some ideas of your own in the comments area.  I love smoothie ideas!

And I leave you with today’s beauty.

Blackberry Beauty

  • 1/3 large frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • kale to the top

Topped with thawed blackberries, a large dollup of fat free Cool Whip, Uncle Sam cereal & SPRINKLES!!!

Renee

I'm a 32 year old single mom with a great job working towards a healthier lifestyle. These are the baby steps & random musings of that journey.

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