Help, says the Plant. Save Me!

Plants are so easily fooled by the weather. It’s sad that they can’t be bothered to carry a pocket calendar. That’s silly? Well so are plants trying to bloom in mid-March in Michigan!! All you southerns are probably giggling, but this is some serious business for the plants up here where it is still supposed to be chilly and it’s up to us to save their pretty season.

Sure we are setting all kinds of new record high temperatures but problems are looming on the horizon!! We may not get our typical last snow of the season this year in early April, but it is a safe bet that several frost will visit my town and yours between now and Memorial Day.

What to do? The lilac buds are already appearing, but the pretty flowers are not yet here…it will frost before they bloom…no lilac blooms this year…and that scenario gives me the ugly face.

There are several options actually. I’m going to give you the 3 I am familiar with: bring inside, cover or water. These tips are important this year, but keep them in mind for anytime you have vulnerable plants and frost decides to visit.

  • Bring inside: easy if your plant is in a pot, not so easy when your plant is in the ground. Simple solution: don’t plant in your pots until you are sure frost is done for the spring. If you want to pot early prepare for some lifting or continue reading for the other two options.
  • Cover: burlap works best but a sheet will do. Be careful with the sheets. Do not allow the sheet to touch the delicate new life on the plants, since the harsh gold will seep through and still cause damage. Use polls, sticks or what ever you have to keep the fabric up and off the plants.
  • Water: I’ve had great success with the water option. Water the plant the night before the expected frost and BEFORE the sun goes down. Watering when the temperatures are still warm will keep the warmth in your plants. Be sure to cover the plant and the soil around the plant with a water.

If you forgot to bring in, cover or water the night before a frost you do have on last chance. WARNING: this may or may not work. Before the sun shines down on your frost covered plants drench them in water, rinse away signs of the frost and cross your fingers that while the frost was on your plants it didn’t do any lasting damage.

Good luck plant lovers, now I’ve got to go weed. It’s only March, gosh this is so weird.

Scale Day v37.0

Oh vacation how I miss you. You were good to me when I needed you, but now you’ve up and left me, boo hoo hoo 🙂 just kidding around. It is however a bit of a shock to the system getting in and out of vacation mode. Knowing spring (actually it’s mid-summer right now in Michigan, expected high today: 86!) is right around the corner is keeping my mood light.

It was about this time last year when I started my slow roll into my healthy journey. It took a few months to get a steady roll, but this is where I began. Seeing pictures of me during last years vacation was a sock to say the least and the final straw in my unhealthy coffin. 

Lots of changes in my routine, nutrition and activity level all together helped me to take this years vacation 32.6 pounds lighter. But would you see the changes in the photos? We all know pictures, when not touched up, are pretty blatant.

Is that the same girl? Yes, that’s me. If you look close in the first picture you’ll find another inter-library-loan book with the same blue paper down the front. I’m not sharing any beach pictures here, yuck, I’ve still gots some work to do!! But I think I look healthier and that makes me smile.

The other question was how crazy did I go with the eating during vacation? And did I get in any exercise?

The week started off like a shot, oh hells bells, it wasn’t looking good on the exercise front. Not until Thursday did I get a chance to take a walk/run on the beach. I planned my walk with the 1st week advice from couch to 5k. I was nervous to start my 60-seconds of running, I mean wouldn’t my back side bounce like crazy (like it used to) and would I be able to run for a whole minute?!? Surprise, surprise I did it and it was so much fun that I kept going and going and covered twice as much beach as I thought I would. In the end I spent 45-minutes on my walk/run, I little long I know and my calves paid for it the next day too, but I felt friggin fantastic!! Saturday I got another walk/run in, with a more respectable 25-minutes. Not sure how I’m going to fit running in at home, but I must find a way. I want the challenge. I’m craving the challenge.

On to some eating admissions. I got in my water on vacation, thank goodness too because on average I had 500 more calories a day than I normally do, holy cow. No, I didn’t eat a cow, but at some times I felt like it and that I did NOT enjoy. What I did enjoy was the coconut shrimp, yummy.

So what did I do the day after vacation ended?

I got up and worked out and stopped at my calorie limit and did the same yesterday, but today I had to face the scale.

Expecting a gain, I was shocked when I found a loss? What? I have no idea how, but in the last 2-weeks, with a 2-week total of 295 exercise minutes & the crazy vacation week eating I lost 0.6 pounds. I’ve hit a new low of 131.9 pounds, BMI 24.1!

I survived vacation with a loss, amazing, and a new challenge. First Priority: lose that 1.9 pounds and FINALLY get to my goal weight. I’m back to all my goals here, calorie limit, water, sleep, 300-minutes of exercise a week, I needs it all!! I must also fit in walk/run time, I’ll let you know next week if I find a way.

Vacations are good, re-charged I am.

Now, have you seen the teaser for Breaking Dawn part II?

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Homemade Taco Seasoning

I’ve been spending a lot of money on taco seasoning lately. Love taking several pounds of meat (chicken, turkey or pork) from our bulk store, little water or stock, taco seasoning, and putting it all in the crock pot!! I’m a cook and freeze kind of girl and when a large part of our meal can come from the freezer the evenings become all kind of easy.

What was I writing about? Oh, right, taco seasoning…

I also love taking what I actually like in prepared foods and making them fresh myself. Not sure why it took me this long to figure out my own Taco Seasoning, it really is simple. I started with several recipes and now I’ve found what I like. Below you’ll find the inspiration recipes and my final tasty choice.

#1

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

#2

3/4 cup dried minced onion
1/4 cup salt
1/4 cup chili powder
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
2 Tbsp. each cornstarch
1 Tbsp. crushed dried red pepper
1 Tbsp. dried minced garlic
1 Tbsp. ground cumin

#3 (from the same page as #2)

1 tablespoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

#4

1/2 cup chili powder
1/2 cup cumin
1/2 cup oregano
1/2 garlic powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/4 cup minced onion
3-4 Tablespoons cayenne pepper
4-6 Tablespoons sea salt
3 Tablespoons arrowroot powder (optional)

#5

1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground dried hot red pepper flakes (or more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon garlic powder, or 2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped fine
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped fine (or substitute 2 teaspoons onion powder

Since my kids are eating the meat I’ve left out the heat. After trying the recipes above I tried: less chili powder, more paprika, more oregano, less cumin, LESS salt, less pepper, pinch cinnamon, cloves & a pinch of nutmeg…ding, ding, dong, yum that’s tasty!!

  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Pinch cinnamon, cloves & nutmeg

I put everything in a coffee bean grinder (I have one that only grinds my herbs, although some coffee grounds might be good here too, but not herbs in my coffee, yuck!!), pulse for a couple of seconds and that’s it! Use it all within about 6-months. Most sites talked about putting a couple of tablespoons of seasonings for each pound of meat, you probably could lower this a bit, but that’s for you to figure out. Isn’t that great, you can find out what you prefer and do exactly that.

Happy TASTY cooking!!

Scale Day v36.0

Vacation come take me away!! It’s been a year since I have been on a real vacation and I’m anxious for this one to start. Lots of packing and last-minute workouts going on, more about all that later and hopefully you can help me with a list. My birthday is officially over, so sad, but I had a great week and lots of great eats.

My parents came for a visit, a 24-hour visit, possibly the best kind for MY parents. She brought all kinds treats, peanut butter cookies, amaretto cookies, chocolate biscotti, fresh ricotta cheese, roasted red peppers, fresh italian green olives, and her homemade red gravy and meatballs. Oh, holy geesh!! Then, the day after my parents left we had a house full of friends and sinfully delicious food.

I didn’t go crazy on the calories, but I most certainly blew past my calorie limit by 300 calories at least twice last week. To counteract the calories I tried to step up the exercise, I beat last weeks total by almost 40-minutes, but that only brought my 268 minutes. I exploded the calories & I didn’t hit my 300-minute goal. Well it was my birthday week and I don’t regret it for a minute. When the scale reported I was up 0.04 pounds this morning I was not surprised. On a plus side my BMI is unchanged, still at 24.2. Disappointed to be going into vacation with the scale going up, but then I remember that there is 32.6 less pounds going on vacation this year and that frown turns upside down 🙂

While I’m on vacation I wont be doing my typical workouts and that is fine, everyone needs a break from routine once in a while. We’ll be staying right on the beach, Satellite beach actually, and I plan on daily walks on the beach. My goal will be 30-minute morning walks. Not first thing in the morning, because first thing in the morning I will be curled up with a book and cup of joe. Hearing the waves while you relax with a good book is simply the best. At least once I plan on practicing my Nia moves on the beach. Lastly, when ever it is convenient so probably not everyday, I want to spend about 20-minutes doing something and here is where I need your help. What exercises do you like to do that do not required any equipment? Here’s my list so far:

  • crunches, reverse crunches, double crunches, side crunches, bicycle crunches & V-sit-ups
  • Donkey kicks: straight back and knee lift to the side
  • lunges backward, sideways (with my butt back) and forward
  • push-ups
  • planks
  • Stretches

I might simply follow ShrinkJeans #6packMarch

 

now for a real treat

How excited are you about Hunger Games? OMG!! Follow the link to see: Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Meet Lenny Kravitz’s Cinna

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I’ll be back in two weeks for another scale day post vacation. Did you see that cring? Ouch!! I have one more thing to share, hopefully by Friday I’ll have that post out. Have a great couple of weeks and don’t forget to spring forward this Saturday night.

Scale Day v35.0

It has been eight weeks since I reached the normal BMI category, which for me is 136.4 pounds. It has been Eight long weeks. It has been a transition of sorts. I’m in search for a new motivation. Sure my health is still the motivation, but I’ll be honest, besides my health my motivation has also been to look thinner. So, now that I’m technically no longer over weight (as of this am my weight is 132.1/BMI 24.2- loss of 0.8 pounds this week, 230-exercise minutes, water goal/calorie limit met) I should be able to let the thinner motivation go, right? Oh boy, Houston we have a problem.

I started this journey for my health. I wanted to be able to do things, not just sit home because I was embarrassed of how I’d let myself go. I wanted to keep up with my kids. My health will be a life long journey, so that stays put. I no longer sit home. I’m no longer embarrassed of my weight and can keep up with my kids, really I can. But now a new ugly has entered my life. A couple of weeks ago I was at movie night at my oldest’s elementary school. I was surrounded by moms of different size. Of course there were moms with smaller thighs and I instantly felt less than. I reminded myself the feeling was natural, but unnecessary for I’m no longer over weight. Do you think I convinced myself? Nope, big fat goose egg.

I’m going to be on vacation soon, pictures will be taken…bad pictures will be taken. I’ll look at them and instead of seeing the joy of the day I’ll think: geesh, look at those thighs, good grief. I’m thinking of this now, because I know how my mind works and I need to work on my protective barrier. I need to be kinder to myself.

All my efforts over the last 35-weeks have certainly lifted my spirits and that is something I can cling to. This past year has brought a ton of change my way, change for the better. My birthday is in two-days and a new year will begin. More, that’s what I want for my birthday, more healthy journey, more goals, more action and a kinder self-critic.

I’ve now lost 33.0 pounds (there’s that number again, see I notice it every time it appears), and I’m now 2.1 pounds away from my goal weight. I had hoped to be here by my birthday, but -3.0 pounds in 4-weeks is not how you make that happen. Oh well, seriously, oh well, I’ve lost 33 pounds!!! I have one more scale day before my vacation and I will continue with all my goals, one day at a time. If it takes another month to lose the last 2.1 pounds that is fine. It’s time to stop all the ugly and start being ok with slower change or simple forward movement. That’s life, right, forward movement. On ward I march and hey, in 2-days I will still be in my thirty’s and that I’ll celebrate.

Happy Birthday everyone. It may be several days, weeks or months till your next birthday, but what are you doing to celebrate YOU this week? Take the time and thank your body and mind for all you have. Take a break from the critic and give yourself some love.

Happy Birthday.

Scale Day v34.0

I’m a day late with my post. Oops! I have a good excuse.

I spent yesterday morning with my Nia White Belt Intensive trainer. She is training a new batch of students this week and I got to spend yesterday morning with them. Have you ever been working hard on a project? Week after week you work towards your goal, then life nudges its way in, your schedule shifts slightly, and that project you were working on just gets shelved. I’m sad to say that in the past several weeks my Nia studies have gotten shelved. I’ve been working more (paid work) and my time for Nia has disappeared.

In this post I’ll also be talking about my scale day, or should I say days. I don’t normally weigh myself several times in a week, but after last weeks strange change in weights, on Tuesday & Wednesday, I did weigh myself a few more times and yesterday morning. I came to one big realization, it was one I learned in the fall, but had forgotten.

Did yesterday refreshen my desire to pull Nia back into my daily schedule? What did I weigh yesterday?

It was strange to spend just a morning doing something that just a few months ago I spent 7-full days in a row immersed in. I met a lovely girl from Minnesota (we have a lot in common) and a man from Austria (he says when I was on a train (back in 2005) from Venice to Berlin I passed right through his town- pretty cool). Yesterday morning I was reminded of all the work I have yet to do, work that I CAN DO. I was reminded why I love Nia. And I learned a few things. Daily study is what I need. It wont be a lot of time, but it will be daily. I love pattern, I love routine, and there is only one way to get myself ready to teach…do the work. It’s a practice, not a perfect (love Niaisms) and I WILL practice.

Last week the scale read 135 (even though the morning before read 133.9) which was a 0.7 gain from the week before. Last week: water great, calories great, and I worked out for 230 minutes. This past week: water great, calories great, and I worked out for 298 minutes. I worked out once a day every day, except one day. So all in all these last two weeks have really been pretty good. I weighed myself twice between scale days and my weight went down to 132.5 and then back up to 134.3. Yesterday, official scale day, my weight was 132.9, for a loss of 2.1 pounds, yeah!! Wait, that is only a loss of 1.3 pounds in the last 4 WEEKS!! OMG.

So what was that little thing that I learned in the fall that I had forgotten? I have forgotten to fill 1/2 my plate with fruits and veggies. Sure I’ve been picking good foods and keeping to my calorie limit, but that is not the whole game. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, although with strange fluctuations in weight you may have guessed…oh yeah, it’s a #2 problem. With slowing down my intake of fruits and veggies I’ve become irregular, gross I know, but it is fact.

One other fact that I have accepted: If for what ever reason I do not get a good night of sleep I wont be getting in a morning workout. Yesterday I had to get up an hour early to travel for Nia class, then work, then parent teacher conference, take care of the home/kids, & make dinner…I was one tired pup this morning and didn’t workout. Instead of getting angry I’m going to understand the situation. I’m not lazy. I’m just tired. I’ll adjust my schedule and workout this afternoon. Stop all the stressing and simply find another way.

Next week is my birthday week and there is probably little chance I’ll make my goal weight of 130 by then or by my vacation. My weight is still in the normal BMI range, 24.3 actually, and that I WILL celebrate. I’ll keep moving forward, right on past my birthday and vacation…this journey is withOUT end.

New patterns and reminders are my themes of the week. What have you forgotten recently that you need to re-learn?

Scale Day v33.0

Patterns can show truth that you are unwilling to see.

Prior to my healthy journey I was in a pattern of gaining weight. It was not until I was determined to reverse the pattern that I began to change the pattern. Slowly but surely I began to lose weight. Weeks became months and I watch my BMI shrink from the bottom of the obese range to the top of the normal weight range. I did this with a change in my patterns. No secrets here. I simply lowered my calories, increased my water, and increased my activity…magic bullet.

Now I’m in the end of my first phase in my healthy journey and I’m having a hard time moving forward. My motivation is not the same. Sure I’m not super trim, but I’m no longer over weight. I’m no longer over weight, it can happen, it did happen 😀 With the change in my motivation I was concerned that my healthy pattern would disappear and I would slide right back into those unhealthy patterns. The thought scares the crap out of me!! But that really is not going to happen, sure it could, but it will NOT. I simply enjoy my workouts too much. I also enjoy my healthy eating style. Having energy and feeling good IS my new addiction. Temptations to sleep in or eat an extra piece of pizza are going to happen, but not daily, not anymore.

As of last week I was just over 4 pounds away from my weight goal. My weight goal provides me with a 6 pound margin before I slip back into the over weight range and it’s a nice round number at 130 (remember I’m only 5′ 2′).

Back when I was losing a pound or more consistently a week I was getting around 400 minutes of exercise a week. My goal has remained 400 minutes a week. I have not put in 400 minutes since my Nia training, which was just before Thanksgiving! Sure the holidays put a monkey wrench into my plans and extra work now makes extra workouts difficult. I keep trying to get 400 minutes, but it just isn’t going to happen. My schedule is just so tight and I can NOT do it ALL.

I think it is time for some new goals.

My exercise goal is now to workout once a day, everyday. I’m not going to fight about the minutes, although this should give me mid 300s, not bad. However, if I’m going to lower my minutes, I also need to lower my calories a bit, boo, but a necessary evil.

So why all this re-working? Well yesterday I did something I almost never do, I weighed myself on a non-weigh day. Back in college, when I was bulimic, I weighed myself like crazy. I do not want to become obsessed with the numbers. I want to trust the process. Anyways, I’m really glad I did, simply because of the number, 133.9. I was only 0.4 pounds down from last week, but I kinda love the number 33. There are several reasons why I love this number and I wont bore you with them. And don’t think I didn’t notice that this is week #33, see the name of this post!

Weird!

Today I weighed myself again, because it actually is scale day and I weighed 135.1, WHAT? I worked out yesterday, got all my water, and I did NOT go over my calorie limit. The human body is a mystery! Strange fluctuations have probably been happening all along, but I have not been weighing myself daily to know. But I am super glad I saw the scale yesterday, because I think seeing 135.1 today, after meeting my calorie limit & water goal each day (that alone should at least allow me to maintain my weight) would have made me cry, hard. Unfortunately I did skip two workouts this past week and I didn’t get in any double workouts, for a total of 230 minutes, still not terrible at all.

So what am I getting at? I want to trust the process. I know my minutes goal has to change and I’ll accepted the slower pace in my weight loss. Slow and steady wins the race after all, right?! I think not meeting my exercise minute goal was pulling me down, a pattern I was hating, which is just silly!!

Slow and steady! Trust the process! This I can do!

Do you have a goal that you consistently do not make? How are you going to change your pattern?