Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Wish These Were In Print

Ken Jennings, famous for winning a lot of money on Jeopardy, painted the alphabet on his daughter's wall. Each letter has a famous book character to go with it. They're beautifully done and I wish they were in print. I would love to hang them in my boys' room. Really, check it out, they're amazingly well done. Not only does this guy have brains, he has talent too. ;)

Here are some samples:

Isn't that amazing!?! I couldn't believe they were painted! You can check out Take the Bull by the Horns to see all the paintings.

*I do
not promote any other material on the blog Take the Bull by the Horns. I haven't read anything else. I just couldn't find all of Ken Jennings picture in one post on his blog and this other guy took care of it for me. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wednesday Weigh-In 6/22

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Well, I lost this week despite my lack of working out and my poor eating habits. It's hard when the hubby isn't around to spur me on. Also, I'm having my thyroid checked this afternoon because I haven't been feeling...normal. I don't know if my thyroid was affected by my sudden workout regimen, but we will see.

Starting Weight: 162.0
Current Weight: 160.6
Loss: 1.4
Original Starting Weight: 166.4
Cumulative Weight Loss: 5.8

I didn't make it into the 150's like I would have liked to, but that's a goal for this week!! Excited to have lost again and make up my gain from last week.

This week's goals:
1. Shred daily
2. Make healthy eating choices in the snack category
3. Only weigh on Wednesday
4. Get into the 150's!!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Walking to the Pool

I didn't Shred today. I took the boys on a big trip to Wal-Mart with promises of treats at the end for good behavior. There were no treats.

After the boys napped and I cleaned/packed/folded laundry I thought we needed to get out of the house because the boys were really squirrely. So I got out the sunscreen and the swimming suits. At first I thought I would drive the 8 blocks to the pool and thought that was ridiculous. Besides the gas, I needed the exercise since there was no one Shredding at my house this morning. I grabbed some water, towels and snacks (for the walk home) and put the boys in the wagon.

I think walking was a mistake. It was about 94 degrees out and the heat index was 103 degrees. Yuck!! It was so humid that the grass I walked on (cutting through an empty lot) got my flip-flops all wet. First I thought my feet were sweating profusely, but it was just the dewy 3:30 in the afternoon.

We made it to the pool (after two breaks for mom) and had a glorious time splashing in the water. I was dreading the walk home but it went way better than the way there. Partly because it's downhill and partly because we were wet. The pool is so refreshing. I think we may venture there tomorrow, but I'd rather not walk the 8 blocks. ;)

PS. Current temperature (10:30pm) 88 degrees and the heat index is 99 degrees. At 10:30pm!! Yuck. Iowa is such a crummy great place to live with the summer heat index and the winter wind chill. ;)

Mother's Day Bouquet

I know it's way past Mother's Day, but I'm just getting around to posting about the gift we gave to my mother-in-law. I saw this idea somewhere and thought it would be perfect for my MIL. She loves flowers but doesn't really enjoy the idea of a bouquet of flowers dying on her dining room table. We've gotten her a plants before, but she has a hard time keeping them alive. I thought it would be great to give her a bouquet where the flowers won't die.

I emailed my sister-in-laws and they all said they were in. Each family made their own flowers and sent them to the sister-in-law that would see our mother-in-law on Mother's Day. She arranged the flowers when she received them and delivered the gift. It turned out really cute and our mother-in-law really enjoyed them!

Here's what you need if you want to make a picture bouquet:
pictures of your family members
flower templates
Popsicle sticks OR long skewers
green paint
round object for tracing circles (I used a baby bottle lid)
ribbon (optional)
buttons (optional)
green foam (the kind you use for flower arrangements)
a small pot
artificial moss
hot glue gun
school glue
Start by painting your wooden sticks (skewers or Popsicle sticks) green. Don't forget to paint both sides.
Cut out your flower templates. I just used clip-art flowers from Microsoft Office. Trace them onto some colorful paper. I used scraps of paper from scrapbooking.
Trace circles around your pictures and cut out.
Glue your pictures onto your colorful flowers. Glue your flowers onto your painted sticks. You can add some ribbon to your flowers or even cut out leaves to glue on. (Pictures of me and my dear husband.)
After my sister-in-law received all the flowers she placed the green foam into the pot and arranged all the flowers. She placed the moss over the green foam for it's finishing touch. We made a few extra flowers for the front of the pot as filler. They were just small flowers with buttons for the center.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wedding in the Backyard

Here are some pictures from my sister's wedding. My parents' backyard looked beautiful. And after having rain all week, we just prayed for some sunshine, and praise God we got it. ;) Enjoy the pictures. (I hope to post more pictures later from the wedding photographer).

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Cooking for Wedding Week

My baby sister got married on Saturday, June 13th at my parent's farm. I'll be posting more about the wedding later, but I told my mom that I would cook the week of the wedding. She had enough stuff going on. Plus, my sister's family (4) and my family (4) would be staying on the farm. I knew that would be a lot of people to cook for and it sounded like fun to me. So, here's the menu from the week:

Sunday dinner: tacos

Monday lunch: leftovers
Monday dinner: frozen lasagna

Tuesday lunch: empenadas with guacamole and cilantro lime sour cream
Tuesday dinner: BBQ sandwiches, baked sweet potatoes, and Cajun coleslaw

Wednesday lunch: leftovers
Wednesday dinner: leftovers (husbands and children); Dad, Mom and my sisters out for pizza

Thursday lunch: taquitos, Southwestern salad
Thursday dinner: leftovers (husbands, children and my dad); girls night out

Friday lunch: chicken club brunch ring and BLT dip
Friday dinner: rehearsal dinner at the farm - smoked, grilled or baked turkey (that my brother-in-law shot), fruit, potato salad, tea rolls

I also made Cowboy Caviar and Brownie Bites. Delicious.

I didn't have anything to do with Sunday or Monday's cooking or Friday's dinner. But the others were all me. I had my family helping me in the kitchen - rolling out dough, chopping veggies, shredding meat. It was a lot of fun.

Weigh-In Wednesday 6/17

The Sisterhood - Team NAVY

Let's get to it. And it's not pretty. It's not awful, but it's not pretty.

current weight: 162 lbs
current loss: GAIN of .6 lbs

I would not be the Biggest Loser tonight. I would for sure get voted off by Team Navy. But since there is no voting off, all I can do is apologize and get my butt in gear.

It was hard being with my family for the wedding. First, I was not Shredding, which I need. Instead I was running after children, dancing the night away, working in the garden, cleaning, carrying furniture around, and cooking. The cooking was ok because I was in control of what was put on the table. It's the wedding cake and alcohol that caused the gain.

So, I'm not going to give myself a pity-party because that's what I usually do because I am making changes. I can redeem myself this week and get out of the 160's. That's my goal to be 159.9 lbs by next week Wednesday. And next time I visit my family, I will need a LOT of encouragement to make good eating choices and to workout...even if there is an audience.

Goals for this week:
  1. Start a new round of The 30 Day Shred.
  2. Get my measurements on record along with my "before" pictures.
  3. Drink water.
  4. Workout early in the morning before my family wakes.
  5. Make good eating choices.
  6. Keep a positive attitude.
  7. And hopefully lose 2.1 lbs to put me in the 150's.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Weigh-In Wednesday 6/10

The Sisterhood - Team NAVY

It's been super hard to stay on track while visiting my family for my sisters wedding. Here's what I'm talking about:
  1. My family is staying in a camper in the back yard. And it is impossible to workout in a camper.
  2. Monday morning I was up at 6:30am...along with all the kids. Touching me and staring at me while I use other muscles to avoid kicking them, hitting them, and tripping over them and breaking my ankle.
  3. There was also an audience on Monday morning. My mom, dad, and sister watch. Along with the staring curious eyes of all the littles.
  4. I'm cooking, which is a good way to control the mealtime environment. Except I'm such a great cook. ;) We've been enjoying some really good food!! And I've been bad at limiting myself.
  5. My mom has great snacks!! Sure, there's fruit in the fridge, but I find myself in the cupboard staring at the corn puffs and wishing that I could swim in a vat full of them. They're so salty and good. It's been hard to not eat like a pig!!
  6. Getting my haircut was good therapy and was probably the only reason I lost weight this week. I've been giving Jillian the cold shoulder while visiting my family but I cut about 2 inches off my hair and got it thinned out. So, I think that's where my .4lb loss came into play.
Current weight: 161.4lbs
Total loss since 30 Day Shred: 5lbs!!
Total loss since Shrinking Summer Challenge: .4lbs

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

Monday, June 8, 2009

Spring Salad

I got this recipe from a friend that brought it to a potluck. It's delicious and it's fresh.

Spring Salad

bag of baby spinach
bag of field greens
bunch of asparagus, steamed and cooled
strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

Cut asparagus into 1 to 2-inch pieces. Cut cucumber in half, remove seeds and slice. Mix greens with asparagus, strawberries and cucumbers.

Mix oil, sugar and vinegar into a dressing. Top salad with almonds and dressing just before serving.

Enjoy. It's delicious!!

Friday, June 5, 2009


I'm tired.

Not muscle tired, more like a weak tired.

I did NOT want to Shred today. I skipped yesterday and walked with my kids and husband instead. But I skipped the Shred. And today it kicked me. Wiped me out. I'm thinking I need to get to bed before 11:30p. Yet, another goal.

I wasn't going to diet for the Shrinking Summer weight-loss challenge. And I was still going to eat whatever I want. I'm working out and that's more than I've ever done before. But the more I work out the more I notice what I put into my body. I'm not really restricting myself, but I'm reading labels. I'm eating a serving size not a SERVING SIZE. Just some small changes, but they all add up. For example:
  1. Serving a large salad with taquitos for my family.
  2. Going to Panera and getting a huge salad (with bread - should've gotten whole wheat) instead of soup and a sandwich. I also got a water instead of my all-time favorite Iced Chai-tea Latte.
  3. Counting out the Goldfish crackers into a serving size so I don't eat the whole box.
  4. Having 1 delicious calorie-packed bar instead of 3.
  5. Drinking water at a party and not lemonade.
  6. Bringing a salad as a side to a cookout (hopefully my non-green-eating friends will enjoy it).
  7. Eating a veggie quesadilla without the Ranch dressing.
  8. Splitting my Starbuck's bottled Frapaccino into 3 servings instead of downing it in one sitting.
Another thing that has changed is how I reward myself. I used to always reward myself with food. Usually a decadent or salty snack. That's me. I'm a foodie. So, it's become rewards like: buying the good razors at the store, planning a massage for after my 30 day shred (or after the 7-week challenge; we'll see what I can talk my husband into), buying a new sports bra, buying a new pair of tennis shoes, getting my husband to put music on a used MP3 player (we can't get the old songs off, if someone knows how to do that, please let me know), etc. I know it sounds like a lot of shopping, but these are things I probably need anyway (sans massage).

Not weighing myself everyday has been an toughy. I want to know if all the hard work I'm doing is really paying off. But I don't want to get discouraged if the weight is a little higher on a particular day. So, I'm trying to stay away from the scale. It's hard.

So, making changes, slowly but surely. Hopefully you'll be able to notice the change in my attitude and eventually my body. I wanna be hot. ;)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Shrinking Days of Summer

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

As most of you know, on May 20 I joined the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans and started Shredding away the pounds. The Sisterhood has a new summer challenge - Shrinking Days of Summer - and it's not too late to join, since today is Day 1. The great thing about this challenge is you can team up. I'm teamed up with four other women from around the U. S. to form Team Navy!! I'm excited to be on a team and hopefully knowing that I'm on a team will keep me away from the extra calories and closer to my enemy dear friend, Jillian Michaels.

I have to say that this is going to be hard for me - posting my weight - for my friends and family to see. I don't mind strangers knowing because they don't know me. But I need some accountability to work out and lose some poundage. So, here I am. Bearing my flab. I'm just asking that you don't judge me and encourage me instead.

Starting Weight (6/3) - 161.8lbs

Now, I mentioned last week that we finally bought a scale. My husband and I weighed up and I was at 166.4lbs. So, with all the Shredding I've been doing:

I lost 4.6lbs (2.76%) in one week!!

That's amazing for me. I'm pretty pumped about that. I haven't seen my measurements change but I have noticed there's less jiggle during my jumping jacks. ;)

So, pray for me and encourage me. And GO TEAM NAVY!! Let's lose some pounds!

The Sisterhood - Team NAVY

* This morning I was up at 5:45am to Shred with a friend at 6am. Third day of Level 2 and it kicked my butt...well, more literally my shoulders. ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What's For Dinner?

**Update: Seriously yummy salad. We even used the lettuce we grew in our "garden." I had a little trouble getting the taquitos to roll (they cracked). They were not pretty but they tasted great. I plan on making this for dinner when I'm at my parent's next week.

Tonight for dinner we're having Baked Shredded Beef Taquitos and Southwestern Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing. Both recipes are from For the Love of Cooking, one of my favorite foodie blogs. Make sure to check out For the Love of Cooking for tonight's recipes and many more!

Tater Crisp Chicken

Yumm! This was really delicious. I've made it in the past when I got drumsticks from SHARE and this last time I got chicken hind quarters so this recipe works for thighs as well.

Tater Crisp Chicken

10 drumsticks (I had 4 large drumsticks and 4 large thighs)
1 cup butter, melted
2 cups dried potato flakes

Seasonings (I just sprinkled in some of each):
paprika - a little more of this
poultry seasoning - a little more of this
cayenne pepper
garlic salt
onion powder
parsley flakes
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an edged baking sheet with aluminum foil (this really saves on clean-up).
  • Mix dried potato flakes with seasonings in a shallow bowl.
  • Dip chicken (I removed the skin on the thighs and kept the skin on the legs) in butter then in the potato flake mixture. Shake off excess flakes (if you get too many potato flakes on your chicken it will come out soggy).
  • Place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.

It came out really crisp and the seasoning was just right. We had mashed potatoes and creamed peas with our chicken. Enjoy!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Level 2?!

Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans

May 20th was the date I started to shred. I've not been too faithful...about 4 days out of 7. That's not bad for me since I was working out 0 days out of 7 prior to May 20th.

Today is day 12 of The 30 Day Shred. I'll admit it: I got cocky. Level 1 wasn't too tough for me. I still lack the most on strength but my cardio has improved quite significantly. Ok, about getting I did Level 2. With weights. Here are some things I've learned about myself during Level 2:
  1. I'm a grunter. That's right. When things get tough, I get noisy. Grunts to squeals to shrieks were heard during the workout. I'm glad that my baby was sleeping and my husband was out of the house with my 3-year-old. And this is just another reason I'm too embarassed to join a gym.
  2. I do sweat. I thought there might be something wrong with me because during Level 1 there were no sweat droplets. Maybe some dampness in my sports bra and my lower back. But NOTHING like I'm sweating now.
  3. I have great circulation in my face. I'm beet red at this point.
  4. I am good at abs. Not so good at the weights (arms and shoulders) but I have some pretty strong abs under this flab.
  5. I can do it! I pushed through and pushed hard. I couldn't wait to hear Jillian say, "Just 5 more." And then I really pushed it. I can do it. I can push myself and I am strong.
I probably won't do Level 2 every day...hey, I'm not even doing Level 1 everyday, but this was a great workout. I kind of like getting my butt kicked. It feels good! Did I just say that?!

Don't forget: The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans is starting a new Challenge this Wednesday, June 3rd. It's not too late to sign up.