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Munch n Move Monday #4 – Eating “clean”

Berry Goodness

I’m not going to lie. I like processed foods. I like the ease, the quickness and the lack of clean up required. But, I realize that the way I’m eating is doing my body (and probably my brain) damage. So, I’ve made a concerted effort to try to eat “cleaner” as of late. I bought berries and I cleaned, dried and chopped them. I have a number of veggies for snacks. And, I’ve bought stuff to make salads in a jar.  I am hoping that by taking this preemptive action of planning for meals that are made from something other than a can or box, I will actually end up eating more of those foods.  But, we shall see.  My hope is to not waste a bunch of food by throwing it out at the end of the week, but instead eating through my food during the week.

Next week I start back to teaching and getting organized and having a plan for eating is going to be important to my being able to make healthy choices.

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Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday #3 – Simply Blogging

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Well, I had three drafts in my folder for this week’s blogging and never got any of them posted.  I had some technical issues where pictures and text were not showing up as I typed/placed them in the posts (but were there when I would go to preview – not sure what is happening – I am now using the smaller “New Post” choice and it is working fine).  So, I spent what seemed like forever trying to figure out what was wrong (instead of just using this different screen like I am now) and never got anything posted for the week.  It was also a week away, which means I have to use my cell phone for wi-fi, which slows my online productivity down as well.  And, we were also spending time with family, with a couple of days at the beach, so my blogging time was restricted.  

So, here it is. Simple. Posted.

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Munch n Move #3 – Making Better Choices

question markWe are constantly making choices in our lives.  And as I discussed in my Munch n Move #2 post, sometimes those choices are not really consciously made, but instead are on a sort of autopilot.  So, this week, I’ve tried to focus on making some better choices in the interest of my health.  Yesterday was not a great example of that.  We were traveling from our house to my parent’s house then on to my in-laws house, which altogether takes about seven hours of driving.  My dad is in hospice, so we were just stopping by to see my mom and see him as we’ve been told it may be as little as a few days, but more likely a couple of weeks before he passes.  I was starving when I got to my parent’s but my mom’s stomach wasn’t feeling good and I didn’t want her making something just for us, so we put off eating.  By the time we left, we were all in major starvation mode, so we tried for a Quizno’s but when we missed the turn we ended up at Burger King instead.  That was one choice – BK over going back to the Quizno’s that was less than a block away.

Then, we had to order.  And somehow, I always get overwhelmed with the menus and always end up ordering something that is horrible.  So, sure enough, under pressure I ordered their new Carolina BBQ Whopper as a combo.  That’s right – if you visit that page and choose the nutrition link, you will see that my hamburger alone had 42g of fat.  FORTY-TWO!!!  I didn’t eat but a few french fries, and luckily I drink unsweetened iced tea, but that is enough fat for almost a week.  I felt like hell the rest of the four and a half hour drive.  It actually depressed me.  So, that choice was bad.  I’m sure there are plenty of better things to eat at BK – for example, these choices of items under 650 calories.  Next, we picked up Mexican food on the way into town.  I did make the choice to get less food (only a single taco combo instead of taco and enchilada), but I should have got a salad.  And I ended up eating my mother-in-law’s taco as well because she had a toothache and didn’t want it.  So, yesterday was bad choices all around.

Today, I’ve been better.  I went out to breakfast and I picked a scramble off their “fit fare” portion of the menu and it was delicious and I didn’t feel totally gross after breakfast.  It came with one piece of toast and a bowl of fruit, which was perfect.  Since then, though, I have skipped lunch and now am once again starving.  We probably won’t eat until late (after we’ve gone through the “what do you want to eat?” rounds at least 50 times) and I probably will overeat due to that.  I did have some chips (not good choice) and carrot sticks (good choice), so I haven’t been totally food free, but I definitely could have done better.  But, I do feel like I’ve been a bit more aware of my choices and their impact on me.  So, maybe from here I can continue to improve.  At least I hope so.

What do you do to stay aware of your choices and how do you make better choices once you have that awareness?

 

Simplicity Sunday

Simplicity Sunday #2 – Purge, purge, purge

declutter-summer-2013-2Inspired by this project over at Our Little Apartment (that is her trunk as she carts off a bunch of stuff from her house), I am going to spend eight weeks starting a week from today (I’m leaving for five days today, so starting now would not make much sense, although sometimes I feel like I have enough stuff in the car with me that I could probably do this while on the road) doing the same thing she did – get rid of 10 things a day, every day, for eight weeks.  Seems simple, doable and really finite.  Instead of just starting with a general idea of needing to get rid of “some stuff,” I will be forced to decide on ten things each day to get out of the house.  I can trash it or give it away, but it must be out of the house within 24 hours (sometimes I think that I will freecycle things or sell them or something else, but it never happens and here I sit with a bunch of stuff still in my house, still in my possession.

Simplicity to me is all about things being easy.  That is one reason why I love my idea of “go-to gift” for kids and “go-to salad” for potluck.  My life needs to have more “go-to” in it and less “wtf do I do now?” in it.  And one thing I am in desperate need of is places for all of our stuff to “go-to”.  Our stuff tends to have no specific home, so the go-to place becomes where ever it is easiest to dump it.  On the floor, in the middle of the garage, in our car, in a closet…and never the same place twice.  We are also pilers.  There are piles everywhere.  Piles of paper.  Piles of clothes.  Piles of toys.  The piles are never ending.

Well, this morning, our dryer quit working.  It has been making a horrible noise for weeks now, but it was still heating up and drying.  But, now it doesn’t produce any heat or dry clothes.  Obviously, this does not positively impact my financial fitness regime I’m trying to institute.  But, then I saw one being offered on Freecycle that works – the timer doesn’t work, but I could live with that.  So, I’ve contacted him and if it is still available when we get home, he will have it for us.  BUT we have no way of getting the old one out or the new one in to our garage because of the piles out there.  Sigh…it may be the impetus to finally take care of these piles for good.  This is not the sole inspiration for taking this purging challenge, but it is a good example of why I need to do it and do it now!

I realize how much stuff I have that I absolutely don’t need.  I lived in a one bedroom suite at the Ronald McDonald House for six months, without any real issues.  I mean, sure, there were things we would have liked to have had at times, but overall, the simplicity of it was nice.  Especially during such a stressful time.  And right now, I’m feeling almost as stressed, so I think the simplicity is needed.

I will report back on my progress, but again, this won’t be starting until 8/19 because I’m out of town this week.

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Social Saturdays #1 – Roller Derby

2013-08-10 19.28.41Tonight’s Social Saturday post has me experiencing something new – Roller Derby!  I have known about our local Roller Derby for a while now, but have not got around to going.  My mother’s club had this as a social, but only me and one other mother ended up going.  Luckily it was a mother who used to be in a playgroup with me and we know each other pretty well.  So, it worked out.

Roller Derby is a pretty strange sport, but I loved the local, small town flavor of the event.  People brought their own chairs to avoid the uncomfortable bleachers (where we sat – and it was painful after a while), some brought home made signs cheering on the skaters, there was an over-21 area where beer was sold by a local bar, but the rest of the place was free of alcohol and full of families.  Even though the local team got blown out (I mean, seriously blown out – It was something like 234 – 79 when we left with about 5 minutes left in the…what do you call it, game?), the whole experience was fun.  I definitely would like to go back and do it again.  They have another in September and I may try to get a group of people together to go.

In addition to tonight’s Derby, I also got my hair cut (pictures to come someday soon – I tried to take a selfie tonight, but the lighting in here is horrible) – much shorter and I really love it – and attended a classmate of my daughter’s birthday party at the park.  That was social as a few of the parents from preschool were there and I was able to chat with them a bit while watching our crazy kids play.  Overall, today was a good day.  I felt like I accomplished many things – I was able to throw chicken and salsa verde in the crockpot so my husband could eat nachos tonight while I was gone, get my hair cut, shop for a birthday gift (I have a new go-to gift for kids that makes it simple – colored pencils in a cute little decorative box that reminds me of Peter Rabbit, a package of stickers and a notebook or sketch pad, all bought at our locally owned bookstore downtown), shop for salad fixings (the party was a potluck), make a pretty decent looking salad (another go-to I now have – spinach, strawberries, blueberries, avocado and pre-sliced chicken with Raspberry Vinaigrette or Poppyseed dressing on the side), go to the party and stay until the bitter end, rush home, drop off a dirty, dusty, but happy child, and go out to the Roller Derby!  Makes me feel like an active participant in life!

Tomorrow I leave to go to my in-laws for five days.  I have a dog/house sitter scheduled.  I have quite a bit of laundry to fold/finish doing before we leave, but the kitchen and dining room are clean, the dishes are clean in the dishwasher, most of the laundry is washed and dried, just not folded.  I still have to pack, but that shouldn’t be too bad…I hope.  We plan to do a couple of days on the coast by Santa Barbara and then a couple of days back in Bakersfield with my in-laws (but I plan to get a hotel room so we can have a bed big enough for us all and a swimming pool available for my daughter whenever she wants to swim – it will be her last swimming hurrah of the summer so-to-speak, so I want to give her some time for that).  Then we come back home and I kick off my Fall semester of teaching with a coach’s conference for our regional speech and debate association on Saturday (while my husband takes my daughter to another four-year old birthday party for twins in her preschool class – that should be interesting) and my husband leaves yet again on Sunday to go to the Bay Area to leave on a working retreat to Lake Tahoe on Monday (jealous of the Lake Tahoe thing…not going to lie).  I have many, many meetings that week, but my daughter is back in preschool so it should be a little easier to manage.  But, I also need to get our car-buying done that week (which is a nightmare for me so far…I hate the whole process) so we can start fall with a new car for my husband to commute to work.  I also need to figure out whether I can really get our truck registered (it won’t pass smog, but I’m going to try to use our waiver program to get it registered for one more year – and we can either piecemeal repair it over that time, since it runs great, or buy another car next year to replace it).  So, so, so much to do and so, so, so little time to do it.  Sigh…

Wow – that Social Saturday really got off track there at the end…but, it feels good to write everything down that is coming up in my life.  Hopefully I can figure out a way to make it all work and work well – just like today.

 

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Fortune Friday #1 – Where’s the Cash?

where's the beef ladySome of you may be too young or unexposed to television commercials to recognize that face.  But, a lot of you may recognize her as the lady from the old Wendy’s commercial – “Where’s the beef?”  Well, my financial situation right now has me saying “Where’s the cash?”  I know from our tax records that we make a decent living as a couple.  I also know that we don’t have a lot of new things or overly extravagant things.  Most of our furniture is hand-me-downs.  Our cars are both paid off and one is a 2007 and one is a 2001.  Neither of them are driveable right now, so we are looking to buy a replacement.  And I feel like we can’t afford it.  I don’t know why…we don’t seemingly have that many expenses (and we used to have many more), but I just feel like we get to the end of the money every month far before we get to the end of the month.

So, instead of just sitting around and saying, “Where’s the cash?” every month, I am going to implement some tracking of our spending come September.  We do have a lot of expenses to deal with – a mortgage on a house we rent (not nearly for the amount of the mortgage – we bought at the wrong time), our rent on the place we live, the HOA dues on the house we own, our cell phones, our internet, our Roku subscriptions (which are way less than our old Direct TV monthly rate), car and renters insurance, PG&E, life insurance, our monthly medicine bills for my daughter (which are quickly adding up because of an insurance change that requires us to pay for one of the more expensive medicines and then request a reimbursement – which I am horrible about keeping up with – so I’m going to speak with the transplant team about switching to the generic to keep our costs down if it works as well as the other), gas for the car (my husband commutes quite a ways to work), parking charges, etc.  So, so much to keep track of.  And then there is the food.  Eating out, groceries, coffee shops, more eating out, more groceries…we eat an insane amount of food for only 2 1/2 of us (my four year old does not eat a whole lot).  Or, more likely, we waste an insane amount of food.  I throw out so much produce and even meat that either goes past its prime or is freezer burned by the time I get to it.

But, I think tracking all of this spending will help us realize exactly “where’s the cash?” and to find places where we can cut back (food) and places where we can just get rid of it (the reimbursement thing for medicine).  And once we do that, maybe I can find some money at the end of the month instead of just month at the end of the money…

Five Minute Friday

Five Minute Friday – Lonely

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I love this link party, so I thought I would participate.  I have five minutes to write about lonely…

It is lonely sometimes even in a world where so many people are present at all times.  But, sometimes that loneliness is self-driven.  I often put myself in positions to feel lonely.  This can be done simply by staying home when social opportunities present themselves.  Sometimes I do that because I’m truly tired, but other times I stay home because I am feeling vulnerable.  That vulnerability is not really helped by staying home, but it seems like a risk to go out and try to engage with others.  Sometimes I make myself lonely by not sharing the truth about my life.  I hide things from others because I feel like they can’t relate or like I should be able to deal with whatever it is on my own.  This, I think, is a particularly difficult form of loneliness, because it is like being emotionally exiled (except it is a self-imposed exile, so I don’t know what that would be called.  I have been in this form of emotional exile for a pretty long time now for different reasons.

Loneliness is not good, but being alone is sometimes helpful.  I sometimes get over-exposed to people and need some alone time.  So, I definitely don’t think that loneliness is the same as being alone.  But, sometimes being alone does result in loneliness.

 

Wow…five minutes really flies when you are writing!

If you would like to participate in the Five Minute Friday link party, just click on the picture above and it will take you to the page.  Thanks for reading!