Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013

I don't like to make New Year's resolutions because I feel they kind of set you up for failure. But I love a new year. I don't love how it means I'm getting older or that my kids will soon be grown and leaving me, but I love the feeling of starting over. In my last long post about my weight I'm sure my frustration showed. After that post I sort of went all to hell and began eating everything around me. Fat lot of good that did (pun intended). I've gained weight, feel awful physically and emotionally, and overall just feel like I suck.

Christmas day I felt an overwhelming desire to buy the new book by Weight Watchers CEO David Kirchoff, called Weight Loss Boss. So much so, that I finally caved and spent ten bucks on the Kindle version which I never do. Yes, it is heavy on the WW lingo, but I think it truly is a book everyone on a weight loss journey could get something out of. I'm not finished with it yet, but so far the biggest thing I have gained from it is remembering how I felt when I started. Something about his writing style just makes it all so obvious again. The fact that he admits that it took him nine years to reach goal and even though he has maintained that for three years, he knows he can't ever quit being aware.

So between that and a video he posted on his blog Man Meets Scale my motivation is renewed. It isn't a resolution, but 2012 will be the last year where I feel this bad about myself.


Weight Loss Boss: How to Finally Win at Losing--and Take Charge in an Out-of-Control Food World

Monday, December 17, 2012

Motivation

I'm always looking for motivation for my weight loss journey. My friend Regina recently reached her weight loss goal, and he did it in pretty much the healthiest way that you can. Read about her success and check out the rest of her blog while you are there!

Friday, December 14, 2012

No Words

The events of today have got to be one of the most horrible things I could imagine happening in our country. I thought 9/11 was it, but to walk into a building and mow down kindergarten children whose little faces you are looking right at takes it to a level I can't even comprehend.

So I won't try. I am going to do everything I can to not read about it, watch it, or think about it. Not because I don't want to honor those poor lives lost, but because I can't even begin to know why or to process it. I'm afraid of even trying.

I don't mean to step on any religious toes, but this is my blog and that's why I'm posting it here and not somewhere else. If I had any shred of belief in the traditional Christian god left I don't anymore. I know horrible things happen to children every day, but this even just brought it to the front of my mind. Any "all powerful" being is useless if they do not intervene in cases like this. If you have the power to do anything at all...freaking do it! I hear people say that they believe they were led away from danger by a random series of events like oversleeping or missing a cab, and they claim it was a higher power protecting them. Well if a higher power could do that, then he sure as hell could have put an obstacle in the way of this supreme coward. Everything happens for a reason and is part of God's plan my ass. There's no reason for this, nothing to learn, just unbearable sorrow. I'm sorry if this offends my Christian friends, but it is just how I feel. There may be a god out there, but I can't believe in one that is all powerful and yet doesn't stop shit like this...even with free will taken into consideration. Any god that exists must have more limited power.

Mere moments after learning of this tragedy my local news reported that my oldest sons school was evacuated with no details as to why. I'm 20 minutes away from his school at my office and almost had a meltdown thinking the worst. It turned out to be a bomb threat written on the wall of the bathroom, but it put even more horrible thoughts into my head. But it also reminded me why I need to continue to focus on a minimal lifestyle. I would bet anything that every one of the loved ones of the people involved today would say that all they want is one more minute.

I'm sure that there are ways that I could work more jobs, make more money, buy more things. But the fact is, my job pays my bills, and my bosses allow me time to spend with my kids. I'd rather have that than a brand new car, a fancy house, or mounds of toys under the tree at Christmas. I won't trade the moments for the stuff and some day my kids will get that too...if they don't already.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Considering Something Drastic

I read an article the other day in one of my many fitness/health related magazines that said that a large portion (cannot remember the figure) of women who had been vegetarian at some point in their life later developed an eating disorder. It went on to say that if you were considering vegetarianism for weight loss purposes then you might want to speak to a doctor about it. I wanted to write a strongly worded letter to the editor of the magazine pointing out that you could just want to be a vegetarian because it is good for you and the planet and that weight loss benefits don't necessarily mean that you've had or will have an eating disorder. Weight loss was not one of my goals when I went veg, and since you can very easily be an unhealthy vegetarian I have a little trouble believing that statistic anyway. But I just left it alone. Maybe its true on some level.

But while I didn't go vegetarian because I wanted to lose weight, weight loss stays on my mind pretty much constantly. I agonize over every bite of food I take and beat myself up at every failed moment of willpower. I'm fair at encouraging others and telling them the right things to do, but fail miserably at doing it for myself most of the time. I'm not bulimic or anorexic, but I have a problem with food. When my newest book about nutrition came in the mail today I knew that something has to change.

I'm back on Weight Watchers again and still maintain that it is hands down the best weight loss program out there. That hasn't changed and I'm still going to follow that. But I'm currently reading Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels and finding that I have a lot in common with a woman whose body I would die to have. In it she talks about how the moment that she knew she was cheating herself out of the life she deserved, and why she became as tough as she is. The fact is, weight loss is still one of those areas where we tiptoe around people's feelings. I think that's because we know that most people don't gain weight just because they're lazy. For most people there is emotion tied into food. Those could be good emotions, or bad ones, but they are there and discussing weight is almost like discussing feelings. You don't want to hurt anyone. But at one point in her life someone looked at her and said "You're wasting my time" and it forced her to step up and take control, and now she doesn't that for others every day.

My weight issues are long and complicated. My thyroid condition plays an important role, but it isn't the reason I got as large as I once was, and it isn't the reason I'm not doing what I need to do now. Yeah, I have tons of stress on me right now (as do so many of us) and I just want to sit down with a box of cookies every night. But I know that's only going to make the problem worse. Then I'll feel guilty, and start the cycle all over. I'm wasting my own time. I'm letting myself down. I'm cheating myself out of the body that I want, the feelings I want to have, the respect I deserve out of myself and the health that not only I deserve but that my kids deserve from me as well.

"They" say shaming people doesn't help, and I agree. If you beat someone up over their weight, you only make the problem worse. If you beat yourself up, you only make the problem worse. But, I think that I need to do a little "shaming" of myself to get where I need to be. When I watch The Biggest Loser and Jillian tearing those people apart I know why she's doing it. She's trying to make them angry enough to confront their demons. I always wonder how they can go on TV, even with a cash prize at stake, and stand there for all to see. But I'm starting to understand that sometimes you have to drop to the bottom to get to the top.

Several people recently have told me that I look great. I smile and say thank you, but I wonder who they are looking at. From where I was a few years ago, yeah, I look good I guess. But, compared to what I could be and what my body deserves...I don't. So, I took some very raw before pictures. Right now, they're sitting in the camera waiting on me to decide what to do. But, I'm thinking about sharing them a la Biggest Loser. Just putting it out there for all to see and judge. Then maybe I'll stop wasting my own time.

Stay tuned to see if I'm brave enough.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Some Thoughts

I see a lot of Facebook updates about gun control (or rather the preference toward a lack of) today. I presume this comes from the recent murder suicide by a professional athlete. I see the typical things that come up during tragic events. Groups calling for tighter gun laws, and others suggesting you'll pry their guns from their cold dead hands. Being as liberal as I am, I'm generally on the side of gun control, but so many people just don't seem to get what that means. Now, I don't speak for all liberals, but here's the way I look at it.

For starters, I don't want your guns. It's called gun control, not gun take away. I have no desire for the government to go to your house and demand all of your guns and forgive me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone is trying to do that. My children hunt and have been taught proper gun handling by their father and a hunter safety course. Do I like it? Not so much. But I live with it because they like to hunt and they are responsible. I think it is perfectly fine to own hunting rifles or hand guns that could be used in self defense as long as they are legally registered. Just because I have no desire to do so, doesn't mean I care if you do. I do expect that if my child enters your home, those guns are locked away and if I owned guns, I would do the same. I also see no good argument against waiting periods and background checks. If you don't plan to do anything but hunt or protect your family, you should be able to plan ahead and wouldn't need the thing immediately.

As for the argument...if you're going to kill someone you will use whatever you have. This is true. If that man really wanted to kill his girlfriend, he could have beat her, stabbed her, poisoned her, whatever. If you are going to kill one or two people, yes, you don't need much to do so. However, if you are going to kill the number of people killed at VA Tech or in the recent movie theater shooting, a baseball bat isn't going to cut it, and neither is a hunting rifle. You have to have the kind of gun that no common citizen should own. And guess what, in both of those cases, the guns were bought legally. Why do you need a gun that can spray bullets? Only the military should own guns like that, and I have no issue with saying that we should remove those from the hands of average citizens. While we are at it, why should the cashier at Wal-Mart be alerted when I've bought two packages of cold medicine, but not when I buy enough ammunition to supply a small army? Because that's what happened at Columbine. Those boys stole weapons out of unlocked gun cabinets, and then walked right into Wal-Mart and bought them out of ammunition over the course of a few days and no one batted an eyelash.

The real issue in most of the cases we see in the news is not gun control, it is mental illness. You don't walk into a packed movie theater and start killing people because you are right in the head. The mother of that shooter knew her son was capable of something like that, had tried to help him, and failed. The shooter at VA Tech had a history of mental illness, and yet still owned a weapon. We still cannot accept that metal illness is a very real thing. I have personally dealt with someone whom I felt capable of some of these acts, and hit a total dead end when it came to being able to get that person the kind of help they needed. We need to accept the fact that for some reason we have a lot of people who are slipping through the cracks and who need help before they do things like this.

And lastly, as for prying it out of your cold dead hands. Well, chances are that's what will happen. Or someone will pick it up near your cold dead body. Because you're more likely to be shot by your own gun, or to shoot someone you love, than for someone to break into your house and shoot you.

So honestly, keep your guns, I truly do not care. The government still affords you the right to bear arms, but I'm pretty sure our forefathers were not counting on the types of weaponry we have available to the average person. But like in so many other situation, the real issue is being ignored. We have to start educating people on mental illness and teaching them how to get help. We also have to find a way to let loved ones help without infringing on rights. We have to teach our children that the answer to an argument it talking, not shooting. I was raised with a healthy respect for guns and their power. My father (who should not legally own guns now in my opinion, but that goes back to the mental illness discussion) never waved them around talking about his rights and prying it from his cold dead hands. He told me where it was, what it was used for, and the ramifications of using it. That's what all children should be taught.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Guilt

I just watched this fantastic little documentary called I'm Fine, Thanks. It's basically the story of a man who has it all according to our "keeping up with the Jones-es" mentality but still isn't happy. He has two young boys that he is raising to "follow their dreams" but realizes he's put his own on hold. So, he decides to set out to find others that have felt this way and either have changed it or want to change it. There's much discussion about what other people thought of their choices, or why their own thoughts kept them from doing these things for so long. And, not surprisingly one story about September 11th ends up being that one thing that really makes you think.

This movie came at a very interesting time. I am lucky in that I do not hate my job. I like it in fact. It suits me, so I don't wake up each day filled with dread about going to work. But there are other parts of my life that I don't like, and I've been doing them out of guilt. Currently, the biggest source of stress and guilt in my life is my college degree.

If you want to tell your kids how not to earn a degree, look no further than myself. I graduated high school in the summer of 1997 because I didn't want to be there anymore. So, when everyone in my class was starting their senior year, I was a freshman in college. First mistake. I wasn't ready. I'm not sure a graduating senior is ready...but I wasn't. I was lucky that my grandfather had saved some money for me to use for college and if I'd used it at a different school it probably would have paid for all four years. But I didn't. I went to the most expensive school around here and it only paid for two and a half years. Then when the money ran out I was newly married and decided to take a break. I had two kids during that break, and then eventually found myself divorced. Enter a mishmash of whatever community college courses I could take online to hopefully apply to my degree. Then another long break, and finally into an adult degree program where I currently find myself. I borrowed WAY too much money along the way, partly to just survive and now here I am.

I'm only a handfull of classes away from my degree...in English literature by the way, and my student loan debts are my only debts (aside from some small amounts I owe to individuals). But I hate it now. I hate every single bit of my classes even though they are in subjects I love. I want nothing to do with any of it and honestly at this point I don't care if I ever get the degree. And I no longer feel guilty about that. For the longest time I've been taking classes because I felt like I had to. I felt like I was letting my grandfather down, my mother who has always wanted to go back to school, everyone who has said "Well you don't want to spend all that money and have nothing to show for it", and for being so close and still not finished.

But I officially don't care anymore. Some day, I do want that piece of paper with my name on it. But, I've been at this off and on since 1997, I'm not sure another decade will hurt anything. They say that the value of a degree is going down. Well the current value of my almost degree isn't worth what I've put into it. I'm tired, I'm grouchy, I'm not doing well in the classes I am taking, and I have no time for my kids who will never be these ages again. I'm over feeling like I have to do this for anyone but myself when I'm ready to do it.

So, I quit.

I'm going to eek out the best grades I can manage this semester, and I'm not re-enrolling. I'm going to fill out the paperwork for income based repayment and work on getting the loans paid off. When that finally happens and I can perhaps pay for a course in cash, I will start again.

We only take this ride once and all of my classes have taught me things, things that no one can take away from me. Someday before I die I hope to graduate. But I'm not going to let it kill me now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

That Feeling Is Back

I wonder just how much stuff I will get rid of before I feel totally "decluttered". Even after two major purges of my house, I'm starting to feel like the stuff is closing in again. Three things are currently bothering me, my closet, our DVD's, and my books (sort of). I posted about the closet the other day when talking about Project 333. I hope to tackle that in the near future. It's been freaking me out just a little because despite the fact that I only wear a fraction of what I own, I still feel like I should have it all around. The one good thing is that the rules of the project do say that you can replace things if necessary. I'm attempting to lose weight and have a bunch of clothes in the size I was wearing, so hopefully I'll be able to swap them out. Our DVD's are really stuck in my head right now. We have a ton of them for the kids, and a fair number for me. I could easily get rid of mine, but I feel a little guilty getting rid of the boys. The last time we went through the house I asked them to sort through them, but they were only willing to part with two. Since the beginning of my first major purge we have watched only two of their DVD's so there is really no reason to keep them. I still can't make myself go through them though. Now for my books. I've pretty much refused to get rid of any of my books unless I have doubles from thrift store shopping. I like keeping books I have really enjoyed so I can loan them to people (and I do). But there really is no reason to hold on to the ones that I liked, but probably wouldn't end up loaning to anyone. So, there is no reason to keep them other than just because I love them. But they take up space and I know I'm not going to read them a second time, so I should part with them. So there it is. What I'll do about these things is yet to be determined, but I know they'll drive me crazy to the point of taking some action soon. I'll let you know.

eBook Sale

I just wanted to throw this out there for anyone who might be interested. Simplify the eBook by the author of the blog Becoming Minimalist is on sale for only $0.99 today on Amazon. It's a great little book!




Simplify

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gratitude



If you're on Facebook with any regularity then you are probably seeing a lot of people posting what they are thankful for each day. This is something that comes around during November as part of Thanksgiving and encourages us to find one thing every day that we are grateful for. I haven't participated in past years, but this year I decided that I would. We are only thirteen days into the month but I find that I have no trouble coming up with something every day and today I had so many things that I was thankful for that I didn't limit it to one post. I find that I'm also in a better mood as the days go on and that more things happen for me to be grateful for.

I'm not religious, but I've read a lot on the act of gratitude both in religious and non-religious materials and I'm a firm believer that when you think good things, more good things happen to you. I'm just not always so great at putting that into practice. But today was a fabulous day and I hope that with each day my reasons to be grateful increase.

On the subject, I read a book some time back called 365 Thank Yous which has now been republished as A Simple Act of Gratitude. The author begins at a place in his life where things have hit rock bottom. He decides to send a thank you letter to someone every day for one year. It's a true story and an incredible one. It's a very easy read and I'd recommend it if you have the time.


A Simple Act of Gratitude: How Learning to Say Thank You Changed My Life

Monday, November 12, 2012

How Much Do You Wear?

I saw this picture the other day on Pinterest and it got me thinking about what I really "need" in a days time. I think all of us can look around our house and see things that we haven't touched in well over a year and probably wouldn't miss if it were to disappear. But what about in our closets? Now this probably speaks more to women than to men (though I know some men who are very into how they look) but I personally still have a closet that is busting at the seams even after all of my decluttering.

In the book I just finished reading the author talked about Project 333. The premise is you take 33 items that you can wear (with some things not included in this number, like underwear) and wear only those items for 3 months. When I first read about this I winced at the thought of the approximately 75 pairs of shoes I own. I also have a ton of clothes. I have my current size, and some smaller that I will get back into because I will not go up in sizes ever again. But the bar in my closet is littering bowing. So there's no way I could do this project....or could I? I just told someone this morning that I almost never wear any of my shoes anymore and I sort of feel guilty for still having them around. I also work in a very casual environment and pretty much live in jeans and t-shirts. So, 33 items not counting the exceptions list...I think I can probably easily do that.

So if I have the opportunity this weekend I think I'll do a little evaluating and see what I think about tackling this project. I'll let you know.

A Little About Black Friday

It's getting close to that time of year again. Thanksgiving. A day to be thankful for all that we have and hopefully a day to spend with those that you care about. With Thanksgiving we now have Black Friday, and that is creeping into Thanksgiving day with stores deciding to start their sales early. I've been a bargain shopper for a long time.

 I love a good deal and the little high I get from finding something I've been looking for at a great price. But I simply cannot stomach Black Friday, and I really hate that stores are moving into Thanksgiving. I'm not trying to run down my friends who choose to participate in the Black Friday madness, but after one attempt many years ago I knew that it was not for me. Last year I decided to only buy things that I felt those I was shopping for would really enjoy and appreciate. I made careful selections. This year, I plan to do that again. I also plan to do my best to buy as much as I can locally. We spend a lot of time talking about jobs in this country, well shopping locally creates jobs.
When you're considering your shopping plans this year, take a little time to think about where you shop and how you shop. If someone came to live with you that had never experienced Black Friday how would you explain it? What would the spectacle look like to them? Are the gifts you buy on that day things that your loved ones truly cherish? Where are your past Black Friday purchases now?

 Consider an alternative to Black Friday (though I don't advocate clogging up already crowded stores). If you still want to participate that's up to you. As for me, I'll be at home in bed.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Back Again

It has been a while and here I am again. I had a lot I could have written but for some reason I just didn't. Laziness I'm sure. But here I am again.

A lot has gone on personally and in the country, but I'm not going to rehash, just going to post a bit about what's going on today. Lately I've been feeling a little down about how busy we always seem to be and how little time we seem to have for any sort of fun. I'm taking two classes for school right now and I'm pretty behind in one of them and feeling overwhelmed. We're also coming up on the holidays and there's shopping and spending there that I always dread along with a ridiculous scheduling nightmare to make sure that everyone gets to do their favorite holiday things with the kids.

Sounds like I'm whining and I guess I am. But I've been staring at a book that I was recently lucky enough to win an autographed copy of sitting on my desk and just wishing for the time to read it. It's called You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap) How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too. It's buy a woman named Tammy Strobel whom I've talked about here before. So yesterday I just decided, I'm going to read it, time be damned. I'm a little over halfway through it and I'd highly recommend it for anyone feeling like they need a change, but just aren't sure if they're brave enough. Reading it has reminded me why I'm starting to feel closed in again and what I need to do to change.

So my plan is to impose a digital detox on our house. I read a great article that I wish I could find now about getting kids off of their digital devices, and I know I have a very unhealthy obsession with Facebook. But I spend hours every day in front of a computer for work, and I need to stay off of it if I'm not working or talking to you all. So, I'm going to do my best. In trying I hope that I'll feel like the time I spend with those I love is better, and I hope that I'll find the time for the things I've been wishing I had the time to do.

I highly encourage you all to check out Tammy's book and her blog Rowdy Kittens. You Can Buy Happiness (and It's Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too

Sunday, August 5, 2012

My First Obstacle Race

Yesterday I completed my first (and last for a while) obstacle run. There are tons of these runs popping up all over the place, but this was the first local race so I decided to take part. Let me start by saying that not only was it my first race, but it was the first race of its kind held by this town, so any criticism I have is not to bad-mouth the town because I know they'll tweak it in years to come.

Let me start by saying that I was the biggest girl at the race by far. I don't know where all of these incredibly fit people came from...but I was the oddball for sure. The race didn't start until 10:00 and in August, that is too late. They started us in waves with ten minutes between each wave (too long) so by the time we were ready to go I was already sick from the heat.

The first obstacle was a log carry. We had to pick up a log and run one lap around the track with it. OK, for starters, I still can run a flat lap on a track, so I ended up walking. My log was also very awkwardly shaped so that was weird. Then we had to run off the track and crawl through a short sand pit. No biggie, but I was already ready to quit.

Then we ran through a fire hydrant, and up a hill. This town has a lot of hills and the course hit several. I don't do hills, so I walked most of that. Then we ran down a hill, down another street, then back up a hill through another fire hydrant. I hate hills. Then down that hill, around a corner, and across a street to a big water slide. The slide was pretty cool.

Then we went through the grass to the mud crawl. This is where it went way downhill for me. The net we had to crawl under was very low and in order to keep from getting my ponytail and my number stuck on the net, I almost had to put my face in the mud. Plus, they were spraying it with water so it was splashing into my eyes and mouth and I was having trouble seeing and breathing. It wasn't until later that evening that I realized that what I was feeling was claustrophobia and I almost panicked. It felt like I was never going to get through it. Once I did, I was in no rush to move again and I weighed a ton from all the mud. We walked through that and pretty much all the way to the next obstacle which was a mile or more down the road. There we got some water, and then waded into a creek. Not too bad, felt good to wash some mud off.

From there we picked up a cinderblock, and carried it a little bit down the creek and dropped it off. We scaled two round hay bales, then ran across the road where we had to do thirty hand release push-ups. Those sucked! Then we were in the home stretch, back up the hill and back to the start of the course where we had to climb an 8-foot wall. I have no upper body strength and I wasn't able to do it the first time. Finally with some supportive onlookers and a boost from a friend, I was over and across the finish line. I finished in just over 49 minutes which is only about 10 minutes slower than my normal 5K time so I didn't feel like a total loser.

The amount of mud I washed off and dumped out of my clothes was comical. I took off my tank top and a pair of shorts (I had spandex on under running shorts) and dumped a fist full of mud out of my bra. I got in the shower in the bra and spandex, where I dumped another fist full out. Even after a long shower, I still got dirt on the towel!

I got a bad sunburn on my back, my knees are all cut up from the grit in the mud, and my hip joints are killing me, but I did have a lot of fun. I say it is my last for a while because while I do want to do another one, I realized that I'm just way too out of shape. So hopefully by this time next year that will have improved and I'll do a lot better.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I'll Be Back

I know I disappeared on my Skinny Rules daily posts. Some things happened in my life that have been pretty difficult and honestly I haven't felt like eating, not to mention trying to stick to a strict regimen. When life makes sense again I'll be back.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's On Your Apple?

You may or may not have heard of the Environmental Working Group's Dirty Dozen. These are the foods that have the most pesticide contamination and should be purchased organic if possible. Apple are number one on this list. I've known this for a while, but out of cost and convenience I purchased a bag of non-organic apples at the store the other day. Bob wants me to eat apples daily, so I was trying to comply. I washed and dried an apple and it tasted horrible! The apple was probably fine, but it was clear that it was coated with something foul. So, I pitched what was left.

Today I saw this tip for cleaning your produce and thought I'd try it with the remaining apples so I wouldn't have to throw them away. Fill your sink with water and mix in one cup of vinegar. I dropped my apples in and just after a few minutes this was the result...






I could scrape that white residue off in sheets with my fingernail. Think it doesn't matter what we do to our food? Do you really want that going in your child's mouth?

The Skinny Rules Day #2

OK it is day number two and I'm out of all my little indulgences that I had laying around so I should be a lot of fun to be around today. I will be writing the daily posts through the day so I can tell you how I'm feeling and so I remember everything I had to eat!

Morning Workout

30 minute Fat Burner program on stepmill - my pre-workout snack was the last two little muffins I had

30 minutes of weight lifting for shoulders

Breakfast

1 cup strawberries

1 slice Ezekial bread with Polaners all fruit jelly. This is the kind with no sugar and extra fiber.

3 egg white + 1 whole egg omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of mozzarella

Despite the fact that I slept fantastic last night, I'm totally wiped out today. I feel like I haven't slept in days. I'm assuming it's just stuff my body is going through with the changes, but it stinks.

Mid Morning Snack 

1 1/4 cup of a quinoa breakfast dish I'd made the other day. Not one of his recommendations per say, but it is protein and fruit because I make it with bananas and almond milk. Quinoa is a complete protein too. I need to eat it before it goes bad, so that's the snack. It has some sugar in it, but not too much. I also bought a zero calorie herbal tea with a slight Stevia sweetener.

1 medium banana - just needed something more to get through to lunch

Really made sure I drank the water before lunch. I knew I wasn't hungry, but I felt empty and the water helped.

Lunch

1/2 cup quinoa with mixed veggies, and a crumbled up Morningstar grillers burger.

2 dinner rolls - Not sure what my problem was. I think it's because I know I can't have carbs after lunch and that made me want more during lunch. Not a good choice, but better than some things I wanted to have

1 1/2 cups of cantaloupe

Mid-Afternoon Power Snack

1 piece 2% mozarella string cheese

1 cup pineapple greek yogurt - yes this was a second protein and it has sugar, but honestly, I wanted to eat about four more rolls and I figured this was a better option

Dinner

Well I totally blew it tonight. Tons of carbs and a bunch of ice cream. I don't even want to write it down because it was bad. Had a crappy day and I know that's why I blew it. I have to find a way to stop emotional eating.

Tomorrow is another day

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Skinny Rules Day 1

Day one of my Skinny Rules attempt isn't going to be perfect. I had zero food in the house so I made a very long trip to the store last night. I was tired and had a splitting headache, so by the time I got home and got everything put away I didn't have it in me to do very much preparation. So, hopefully the days to come will be better.

To start the morning I did end up eating two small muffins that I made with cake mix and canned pumpkin. On WW they are low points so I didn't feel horrible about this choice, but I'm going to need an alternative pre-gym snack. I get up at 4:30 to go to the gym and I need something on my stomach to get through my workout, but I can't eat breakfast at that time. So, I'll find something better to replace this with.

Morning workout

30 minute Fat Burner program on the step-mill

45 minute back and biceps

Breakfast

1 cup of strawberries (Rule #6)

1 piece of Ezekial bread with no salt butter - He doesn't talk about condiments, and this was all I had in the house. Again, I'll find a better alternative.

Omelet with one whole egg, three egg whites, spinach, mushrooms, and a tiny bit of mozzarella cheese (Rule #3)

Normally, by 10:00 I'm ready to eat anything that was within reach, but I was feeling good. In fact, I didn't feel like I needed the mid-morning snack that he suggested, but because I'm doing this the way he said and because I did have such a hard workout this morning I'm going to do it anyway.

Mid-Morning Power Snack

2% string cheese (not exactly what he suggests, but close)

1 cup blackberries

Lunch

1 Morningstar Grillers burger on whole wheat flat bread (In the future I hope to make my own to control more of what is in them, but I was in a hurry)

Large salad with black beans, cucumbers, red peppers, onions, tofu cubes, and a few croutons. Bought this at the co-op and used a locally made dressing that probably isn't the best for me.

A few pieces of dark chocolate. This will not be repeated once it is gone. He wants us to kick the sugar habit for good, and I know it needs to be done. I'm just savoring these last few pieces. 

Mid-Afternoon Power Snack

1 piece of 2% mozzarella string cheese

A few blackberries and half an apple. My apple was awful, so I pitched the rest. Not a huge fan of apples, but I know I need to buy organic because I could taste the damn chemicals.

Around 1:30 I thought I was hungry, but I realize I was just frustrated with my project at work. Around 2:30 I actually did feel hungry so I had my snack. I plan to have some greek yogurt before I leave work because I'm going back to the gym and if I don't, I'll be so hungry when I'm done that I'll overeat after my workout.

Evening Workout

30 minute Fat Burner program on stepmill

Dinner

Mixed veggies with Morningstar "chicken" strips with the spices that he suggests in his stir fry recipe. He lets you add quinoa for lunch so I'm going to try that.

I did cheat a little this evening and I had two of my little muffins. There are only two left so that will be the last of my sugar. Then I should really be fun to be around for a few days.

Overall, I would say that I felt better today than I have in a while. I never really got hungry and everything was satisfying. I kept track of everything in Lose It and I was a few hundred calories under, but I suspect that since I guessed on the muffins calories I was probably just about right. Looking forward to trying again tomorrow!

The Skinny Rules

Sorry that I've been absent, just been trying to get into the swing of things with my new job and new schedule. During the course of working such crazy hours at being exhausted all the time at my previous job, I let my eating and my workouts fall by the wayside and I gained back nearly twenty pounds of the weight that I lost on WW. I tried going back to WW because I still believe that it is the best way to lose weight out there. However, I found that I was relying too much on processed foods, and getting lazy with my tracking. I felt like I needed to change things up, so I switched to a free tracking system called Lose It. So far I like it and it still keeps me in the habit of tracking.

In addition to that I picked up a copy of The Skinny Rules by Bob Harper. For those of you that aren't familiar with him, he is one of the trainers on the hit show The Biggest Loser. I'm also completely obsessed with the man. I couldn't have a bigger celebrity crush if I tried. So naturally if he writes a book, I'm going to read it. I did check it out from the library to begin with because I didn't want to spend the money if I didn't end up liking the advice, or thinking that I could follow it. After I finished it, I went straight out and bought it. The book is well written, with practical advice, sound medical facts, and a little humor thrown in. The best part is that he knows his rules are tough, and he gives you steps that you can use to work to those rules. So what are the rules? Click on the image below to check them out!

Some of them are going to be tough, like no carbs after lunch. But others, like don't drink your calories, won't be too much of a struggle for me. So, I'm going to give it a try. If I remember I will post my daily meals and how I feel about the rules. Hopefully I'll be posting some weight loss too! Interested in trying it out too? I suggest getting a copy of the book!

The Skinny Rules: The Simple, Nonnegotiable Principles for Getting to Thin

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Stormy Weather

I'm spoiled. I live in a perfect little spot in Virginia that never gets a lot of severe weather. We had a pretty nasty snow storm a few years back and I swore if that ever happened again I would move. I freaking HATE snow. I could move somewhere where it never snowed and be perfectly content forever. But, I consider myself lucky that we never experience some of the things other parts of the country do. Hurricanes and tornadoes simply scare the crap out of me. Well Friday night we came as close to something like that as I ever want to get. We had what was called a "Ring of Fire Derecho" and I never want to see one again.

We were very lucky at my house. It was just scary and we only lost power for a few hours. Many people are still without power and will be for a few more days. It was even worse over in WV. Both states are facing gas shortages thanks to the power outages, media hype, and our general tendency to panic around here because we aren't used to things like this. It's somewhat comical to go through a storm like this in the Facebook age. No one has power, but we all have cell phones to complain about that fact on Facebook. Most comments were out of frustration and totally understandable. Going without power for any length of time just sucks. I used to live in a place in the country where we would just randomly lose power for a few hours at a time. You forget how much you depend on it. Plus, more than twenty-four hours without a shower and I'm a bitch. It's why I don't camp anymore. But, some people were just freaking ridiculous about it. Thousands of people are without power. Crews are working day and night in record heat and they're acting like these people are just sitting around flipping coins to see who gets power and who doesn't. Some of it was really rather disgusting.

This experience has made me want to live small and off the grid (to some degree) even more. I need to get a bike so the gas thing is never an issue. There's a lot of things that this has brought to light and made me want to do. It's also made me happy to have so little. When you don't have much, you don't worry about what might get damaged. You don't have to worry about insurance claims or rebuilding something that was already a financial drain. Sure, if my car or my home had been destroyed I would have been devastated, but I see some of the things people are getting upset about and I'm just so happy that I don't have that burden. Sometimes less is so much more.

Monday, June 25, 2012

I'm Believe I Am Sick

Seriously, I do have a cold and feel kind of crappy...but that's not what I'm talking about here. I must have something far more serious because something happened to me Sunday that I thought would never happen. I have lost my desire to shop!

For those of you that don't know, I've had another blog for several years where I posted links to good deals on a variety of items. That blog has fallen by the wayside mostly due to my schedule. But, I have always loved a bargain. A clearance sale was like a little piece of heaven and I couldn't turn away from one. If you read this blog through my great purge, you saw all of the stockpiled things that I had from those sales. I was a bargain addict.

Sunday I was faced with the task of going shopping for something rather specific. That task let me into a store filled with clearance beauty products. Normally, I would have been all over that. I would have come home with a bag full and stashed it all away for future use. I picked up one bottle of perfume, put it back down and left the store. It wasn't even hard to do. I had no desire to have any of it. I didn't want to find a place for it, or try to remember to use it when I ran out of whatever I'm currently using. Truth is, I still have a small stash of lotions and sprays just so I don't have to buy more for a while and so I don't feel so guilty about how much I had at one time.

This wasn't the only store having a sale though! Nearly every store in the mall was having a massive clearance sale. I passed each store without even a passing desire to walk in. Admittedly the clothing stores were easy because I weigh more than I'm comfortable with right now and I didn't even want to think about buying clothes, but even if I was in a better place with my weight I still don't think I would have wanted to buy anything.

The only store that kept my attention long was the book store and honestly I don't think that will ever change. I also totally avoided shoe stores because I have a substance abuse problem where they are concerned.

So, either I've come down with a strange illness or I'm really at a place where the only things I want are for us to have just what we need and not much more. I'm good with it.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Homemade Dusting Spray

Well I ran out of my generic dusting spray last week so this week I had to try something new. In talking to some of my friends I found that a lot of them don't even use a spray, but I always have and I just feel like it works better for me, so I needed a green alternative.  I found this recipe on Pinterest (seriously what did I do before this site) and decided to give it a try. I have to say that I love it! I did not have light olive oil, so I used only one teaspoon of extra virgin. You have to shake it frequently, but it worked better than what I had been using and probably cost me just a few cents as opposed to the three bucks the other stuff cost. Plus I have no fear of using it around my little pets or my kids. Win!

A Little Clarification

I was reflecting on my post about diet and disease and felt like it needed something more. I want to be clear that I don't believe that everyone knows just exactly what they should do to take better care of themselves and just won't do it. The truth is, I believe there are a whole lot of people out there who know that they need to eat better and exercise and just don't know where or how to begin. There are still tons of people in this county without internet access so it isn't always as easy as Googling something. Not to mention that even if you can look it up, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there and much of it is contradictory.

I am not a very good cook. I can look up how to make something and give it a whirl and it rarely turns out the way it should. I'm not someone you could hand a pile of ingredients to and expect a meal to appear out of them. I know I need to eat healthy, but sometimes I do get overwhelmed at the process and the lure of the drive-thru is a strong one. So while I was mostly ranting at those who know just exactly what they need to do and choose not to do it, I know there is a big camp out there that wants to do it but feels overwhelmed by the process. In those cases I wish we had more programs to help. I love the first lady's Let's Move campaign, and I love what Jamie Oliver tried to do in his Food Revolution program. In order to spend less on obesity we may have to spend more on education and I think that's a pretty good trade off.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Diet and Disease

This post is going to be a bit of a rant and it might make some people mad in the process, but it has been festering inside of me for days and I need to get it out. I want to start out by saying that I am by no means perfect. I do all sorts of unhealthy things all the time and this post isn't meant to be a judgment on others. All that being said, I am so freaking sick of hearing the words "personal responsibility" from a country that clearly has no idea what that means.

I got into a heated Facebook discussion about the various bans on large soft drinks that are popping up around the country. I was in the minority when I said I was in favor of the bans. Every single person against them kept saying how it was all about personal responsibility and how if they wanted the giant soda no one should be able to stop them. Well I was a huge soda addict, so I understand the desire for a vat of the stuff. But the fact of the matter is, that no one exercises responsibility when it comes to their diets anymore! Currently ten percent of healthcare spending goes to obesity related illness and that number is rising. One in three white children, and one in two minority children born after the year 2000 will develop diabetes and most of those before they leave high school, so clearly parents aren't being responsible either. That same group of children is not expected to live as long as their parents.  I'm in favor of universal healthcare, but if it is ever going to work, people do have to start taking care of themselves!

I was in a small group of people once and one of the members of the group was morbidly obese and had suffered from Type 2 diabetes (yes, Type 1 is a whole different thing I know) for most of her life. She told another member of the group that she'd heard they'd found a cure for Type 2. I couldn't help myself, I said there has always been a cure (or at least effective treatment) for it and that's diet and exercise. Yes, I know this is where the hate mail will come in. I was not trying to be a bitch. I know how hard she has struggled with her weight and I know that she has many obstacles that are not just food. But, the reality is, there is a cure out there for SO much of the illness out there today and it comes on a plate, not in a pill bottle. The science cannot be denied and it is seriously the cheapest cure there is! In the documentary Forks Over Knives one of the doctors is confronted with the statement that a whole foods, plant based diet is "extreme" when you are looking to cure heart disease. As a doctor who has performed many bypass operations he replied that he considered dividing your chest, stopping your heart and taking a part of your leg to bypass your arteries extreme. Now, looking at that written out, can you deny it?

Someone told me I was being insensitive to Paula Deen when she came out with her diagnosis of diabetes and that I don't know what I would do if I were in her shoes. The answer to that was, "Oh yes I do!" Modern medicine is a fabulous thing. Children no longer have to suffer from Polio the way my ex-mother-in-law did. Women rarely die in childbirth. We can replace insulin in people who cannot produce it. I love medicine! But I guarantee you that if my doctor gives me a diagnosis of any illness the first thing I will do is examine my diet! Why? The real question should be why not? If my doctor tells me I have cancer tomorrow I will take the conventional treatments, but I will also change anything about my diet that may contribute to that cancer. When you suggest radical changes to a diet people always come back with "Oh something is going to kill me, I might as well die happy". Well something is going to kill us and we should enjoy life. But I like to think about what I would do if it were one of my children that was diagnosed with something. Would I say "oh something's going to kill him, so he might as well die happy" or would I look into every option out there to save his life? Prostate cancer has plagued the males in my ex husbands family. Do you think I'm going to just look at my boys and say "well it's got to be something". Hell no! I'm going to do everything I can now, to see to it they never face that. If they still do, then I hope medicine saves them, but at least I will be able to say I tried. So why, if we would do that for our children, would we not do it for ourselves?

When I weighed over 200 pounds I was sick a lot. I developed a chronic cough and became worried that I had something serious. The doctor told me that he believed my heartburn caused the cough and that the cough had become its own irritant. He gave me a prescription for heartburn medication and told me that he thought my weight was a contributing factor. I thanked him, walked out the door and threw the prescription in the trash. The next day I drove myself to Weight Watchers. I was not going to spend my money on a pill for something that was within my control to change. I lost weight, the heartburn went away and so did the cough. I have seen countless people walk through the doors of WW with all sorts of medical ailments and have also watched those ailments disappear or lessen as their weight has left them.

There are all sorts of things in this world that we cannot control. Their are illnesses that are preventable and some that don't appear to be. But the one thing we can control is what we put in our bodies and how much we feed into the illness or fight with modern medicine to cure ourselves.

The father of modern medicine Hippocrates himself said "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Clearly he knew something that we have forgotten. Let's remember, let's try that personal responsibility thing on for size. Myself included.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Something to think about

Again, I have failed to post like I should. I'm not feeling much tonight, but I saw this and thought it was too good not to share.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Time to Catch Up

Once again I've fallen off the wagon with my daily postings so I figured I'd do a little catch up here and then try to get back on track. My kids go to camp next week so I'll have a bit more free time.

Last week was my first week back at my old job and it was great. I'm still getting back into the swing of things and some things have changed, but it feels fantastic to be back (even if I did get to start on the worst project ever). It was a slightly short week because my oldest son graduated elementary school. That was wonderful and sad at the same time. I'm so proud of both of my boys but I'm not ready for them to grow up.

I'm still trying the no shampoo thing and I really believe the condition of my hair is improving. I'm getting a hair cut this week so we'll see what my hairdresser thinks and how she feels when I ask her not to use shampoo.

My experiment in homemade dish soap did not go well. I think I did something wrong though, so I'm going to try again before I give a final verdict.

Finally, I pretty much finished my second round of clutter purging. I still need to do my storage closet again, but the house is done. I initially thought I would have a yard sale, but with my new schedule I didn't feel like spending a Saturday sitting around. So, I collected it all and took it to our local thrift store. Here's the pile I took this time. I was shocked to see how much more I was able to get rid of after all that went out last time.


Hopefully I'll do a better job of posting here in the future.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Busy Day!

Wow today was a busy day! I think I'm having a slight panic attack about having a regular daytime job and feel the need to get everything done at once for fear I might miss something. This is probably due to the fact that my first week is going to be a little weird because of my oldest son's graduation from elementary school and all of the things that go along with the last week of school.

Today I managed to finish cleaning the house, did laundry, went to the store, cut up a ton of fruits and veggies, made a batch of dish soap and a batch of laundry detergent.

First up was the laundry detergent. Here are the ingredients you need.


I used the following amounts...
  • 2 Cups Super Washing Soda
  • 2 Cups Borax
  • 2 Bars Ivory Soap Shredded
Just use a cheese grater to grate up your bars of soap and then mix all ingredients together. Put into a container and use about 1 tablespoon per load. I've made this before and was very satisfied with the results, I just got lazy and went back to my old detergent. But, this time I'm committed (or should be committed who knows)


Next up was the dish soap. I used the recipe found at Frugally Sustainable . I'm not sure I did it right, but it is still processing so I'll report back on how it does once I've used it. Here are the ingredients. Not pictured is water and a few teaspoons of the shredded Ivory soap. I picked lavender scented Castile soap so my finished product would smell good.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Joy of No Makeup and Boring Hair

I still don't think I'm doing the no shampoo thing right. I don't think I have the "natural" stuff that our hair produces like I should or have been through the transition period. If anyone has done this before and could give me any insight as to what I'm doing wrong that would be so great!

But, I love not fixing my hair every day. It makes a huge difference in the amount of time it takes me to get ready in the morning. It does feel better too. I need a haircut right now and once I get that I think I'll like it even better. It just feels great not to be damaging it with chemicals and heat anymore. Do I look better? I suspect I look worse, but it isn't really about that.

As for the makeup, I hardly even remember what it was like to put it on every day and my skin is really thanking me. A few breakouts around that time of the month (or when it should be in my case) but that's about it. Feels healthier and cleaner all the time.

The added benefit to this is when you're caught in a massive thunderstorm like I was today you aren't at all concerned about the condition of your hair or if your makeup is running down your face. You can run and laugh with your kids and not check the mirror even once!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Things You Don't Spend Money On

I read a post on another blog that listed ten things the writer doesn't spend money on. I didn't save the link so I can't share her list but I thought I'd see if I could make my own.

  1. eBooks - I can't say that I have never purchased an eBook but almost every book on my Kindle I got for free. There are tons of websites outside dedicated to sharing free books. Quite a few of them are books I would have paid for but waited long enough and didn't have to. 
  2.  New Clothing - This is more recent because I used to shop a lot. The vast majority of my wardrobe came from the thrift store or as a hand-me-down. There are a few times where I do buy something new for myself if it is majorly on sale and I need it. Recently I needed some tank tops and Old Navy had them on sale for $2. My wardrobe is really simple so I can get buy with thrift store clothes and super clearance finds. It's a little more difficult for the boys because they grow fast and boys clothes are often too worn out to make it to a thrift store. We do find things though and often cut off jeans to make shorts. I'm planning to start making more of my own things in the future.
  3. Makeup - Again a recent transition, but since I no longer wear makeup I no longer have to purchase any. 
  4. Soda/Juice - Now that I've kicked my soda habit we very rarely purchase these items. Once in a while we'll grab a bottle of something, but it is really rare now.
  5. Cleaning Products - Technically this is brand new. I have a pretty big supply of some eco-friendly cleaners but once they are gone I won't be buying more. I'll be using vinegar, baking soda, etc.
  6. Cards - We don't do a lot of cards (something I want to change) but when we need one I let the boys make them. They enjoy it and we already have everything we need.
  7. Cable (sort of) - I want internet at home and get it through the cable company. The require their most basic TV plan (at least they did, I should check if that is still the case) to get internet so we have that. We do have Netflix but it's cheap and eliminates the need for higher channels. 
  8. Salon Services - This one is reaching a bit too. I do pay for haircuts and waxing, and I'm happy to do it. Sometimes you have to recognize areas where it pays to spend money! But, I don't tan, get manicures (had one once when I had a gift certificate) or pedicures. I can do all of that (except tan, I'm proud to be pasty) at home. About half the time the boys dad will cut their hair so paid cuts for them are sporadic.
  9. My Weight Watchers Membership - Not something everyone needs or has to be sure, but once I made goal I went to work for the company. While it may not be something you do, there may be something you want that you could trade services for or work for in order to use the service free.
  10. Feminine Hygiene Products - Sorry guys, but this is an easy way to eliminate spending. Personally I just hate dealing with it and the fewer periods a woman has the lower her risk of cancer so I just stay on birth control that doesn't contain the sugar pills. Alternatively you could purchase a Diva Cup one time and not have to worry about this purchase again.

 
So what do you NOT spend money on?



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Best Proposal Ever

So this is a little off of the normal topic here but I just had to share. A friend of mine shared this on Facebook today and I literally laughed and cried through the whole thing. I have zero, and I do mean zero, faith in relationships right now and this managed to warm my heart. It also made me want to marry Issac!

Now on Facebook!

Now that I'm feeling all legit with my new blog header, I've created a page on Facebook. If I did things correctly the posts should show up on that page so you can read them here or there. When I remember how I'll create a button to get you to the Facebook page faster. So go "Like" me!

Monday, May 28, 2012

New Header!!!

So my most amazing friend designed a new blog header for me!!!! I am so in love with it that there aren't enough exclamation points! She's simply an amazing person in general, but she also does this stuff for a living. She whipped this up in no time for me with almost no direction from me at all. She knows me so that helps, but she's also just that good.

She has her own business called Mountain West Consulting so if you need anything like this...or really just about anything you can imagine you need to check her out!

Did I mention that I love it? I feel all legit now!

End of Year Gifts

School is almost over here and I wanted to make a few things for the teachers and the boys classmates. Thanks to the wonders of Pintrest I found some great ideas!

The first one was the teacher gifts. My budget is very limited right now and so low cost was key. I found this idea that uses those plastic cups with straws that are so popular right now. Less than four dollars each for the cups, I had tons of those drink mix packets from a bargain purchase not too long ago, and the boys made the cards.

Here is my finished product.

I wasn't planning on doing anything for the boys to give their friends purely because of cost, until I stumbled upon these super cute freezer pop gifts.

Here is my finished product. I'm slightly worried about these popping so I'm going to send them in on the last week when they won't be carrying much home with a note for the teacher telling her to let them know to be careful. I hope I don't end up with a bunch of angry parents! The pops came in a bag of 36 for less than three dollars and we already had the ribbon.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

So I'll Probably Never Be a True Minimalist

I mentioned that after my major purge I still feel like there is too much stuff in my house. I've gone through a second time in most rooms now and a decent amount is going out again, but there is still a lot left. It's taught me that I'm probably never going to be one of the minimalists that I envy or live in a teeny tiny house. I just have too much I can't or don't want to part with. I know part of this is that I have two small kids, but I also have personal hang-ups with stuff.

Let's take my shoes. I went through them this evening determined to cut the number down a lot. Even after the purge I still have fifty pairs :( Talk about consumerism! Now to defend this just a little bit, I have a ton of flip flops and some people don't even consider those when they count. I also have several pairs of tennis shoes for my workouts and since I worked in a gym. I like to keep tennis shoes that are past their workout prime for getting muddy or dirty outside. But the rest are purely because I love shoes...mostly high heels. I don't wear them often anymore because they're ruining my feet, but I like to take them out once in a while.

My other issue is books. There are no words for my addiction to books. They're stuck everywhere they can be stuck in my house and I won't part with them unless I hated them. I'm pretty OK with this addiction though. There are far worse things.

So, I may never live in a tiny house, but I've pared down enough now that I know what I have. I won't buy more simply because I forgot that I already own one (maybe with the exception of books). My new job doesn't require me to dress up so my clothing is adequate and I don't need to buy anything more in that area until it's worn out. I plan to use up what we have, upcycle or recycle when we can and just be more conscious overall. I also plan to totally avoid the new shoe boutique that just opened downtown even though I love supporting the local economy!

Updates

I can now update on my fantastic day that I posted about a few days ago. I have been asked to return to my position as a Technical Writer that I was laid off from when the economy tanked!! I'm so excited about this! Of all of the jobs I've had this one was my favorite by far. The company is fantastic to work for and it really appeals to my nature. I like to write (even boring stuff like this LOL) and I love not having to interact with the public. People always tell me I'm friendly and a "people person" but the truth is, I much prefer being alone or in very small groups. This is especially true in a work environment which is why I've often pursued working from home. I just do a lot better when people aren't breathing down my neck and this job was great for that.

If being unemployed and then under-employed has taught me anything it is that you need multiple income streams. This job is going to allow me to cut back on the additional work that I had to do to keep afloat, but it will provide me with a normal schedule and allow me to pursue things that could bring income without the pressure. I'm hoping to get some stuff up on Etsy and possibly do a little writing. Still trying to finish school too so I'm really excited about a normal schedule. So that is my very happy news and I'm really looking forward to June fourth when I get to go back!

In other news, I know I haven't posted any spending updates. Truth be told, I fell off the tracking wagon, but my last day at my old job is June first and I figure that's a great day to start up again. Fresh month, fresh job and I'm ready to get back to watching my spending as well as my weight (which has been creeping back up) by tracking with WW again.

Life is good!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fantastic Day

You know how you wake up in the morning and expect your day to go a certain way. Then everything goes in a totally different direction? Well, that was my day today. I can't post details just yet, but just know that it is very good news!

Because of said good news I spent more money than I care to admit given my current project on an impromptu celebration with my kids. It was worth it though!

Lot's of changes on the way!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I Quit Washing My Hair

That should get some attention. Well, I didn't totally quit and hopefully my hairdresser isn't reading this, but I am going to quit using shampoo. In fact I already did...three days ago. I haven't completely lost my mind or crossed over into full fledged hippie, but there are a lot of good reasons not to use shampoo and most people who do it find that their hair has never looked or felt better.

I have always had difficult hair. My hairdresser is a miracle worker and always manages to make it look and feel amazing for a day or two, but then I mess it all up and it feels heavy and gross again. She always asks me if I wash it in gasoline. I promise I don't, but I do think all of the shampoo is building up in between visits. So I quit.

There are lots of different methods and advice out there about going "poo free". Doing a quick Google search I came upon this blog (which I plan to read more of) and her instructions are simple and easy to follow. She also has a little bit about why people are choosing to do this.

I have a feeling that my hairdresser is going to think I've lost my mind when I tell her not to use shampoo on my hair, but I have my fingers crossed that this will heal my hair. I'm pretty freaked out about the possibility of a long transition period, but I hope I'm one of the lucky ones that gets through that quickly. If not, I apologize to those around me.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Spending Updates

I haven't updated the spending for a few days so I'll just run down the past few days quickly. I got behind on writing it all down, so I can't remember the exact breakdown of everything.

Thursday I spent $15.04 on gas because once again I hadn't made it to the place I wanted to get gas.

Friday was a bigger spending day. I spent $26.93 at Target. My purchases here were not typical, but they will become typical. I bought some Dr. Bronner's liquid soap, Borax, bar soap, baking soda...oh and bananas. The bananas were not connected. I plan to use these things to make my own liquid dish soap and detergent. I will keep you updated on those projects. I also spent $50.73 at Martins for some groceries.

Today I spent $30 on gas and $6.52 at a little bulk foods store. Only one of the three things I purchased there was necessary. I needed flax meal, but I didn't need the candy or spicy snacks! I also spent $10 at the farmer's market on bread and mint.

So it has been a pricey few days. Monday is payday so a whole lot more will be spent on bills :(

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Homemade Dish Detergent and Yesterday's Spending

Yesterday's spending was about as exciting as the day before. My oldest son had is first round of allergy shots and a little mommy anxiety caused a few stops on the way home.

Dairy Queen milkshakes for all - $8.29

Thrift Store - $5.04 - The purchases here never make me feel bad though because the money goes to a good cause. My oldest got a book, I got some buttons for a craft project, and my youngest got a storage box. Now, the best part about the storage box is that he was begging me for one just like it at Michaels the other day and I told him we'd find something for him to use. The one there cost $5 and we found one that was just like it here for only $1!

Food Lion - $14.46 I can't remember the total breakdown here

So total for the day $27.79

Now, on to dish detergent. As I start to use up the household products I normally use, I want to replace them with a natural homemade alternative if possible. I do not have a dishwasher so I wash everything by hand and I'm getting close to running out of dish detergent. So, since I'm on my way to work and don't have time to Google, I hope my readers can share some ideas!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Living in a Commune

I love to pick on my mother about my name. I tell people that she named me after a cult leader's wife and it makes her nuts. But she sort of did. I was named after Emmy Arnold who was the wife of Eberhard Arnold who founded The Society of Brothers. They still exist under a different name today and still live communally.

I remember once as a child my parents considered the idea of us going to live there. At the time I was pretty glad they didn't do it, but now the idea doesn't sound totally nuts. I mean I wouldn't want to live in a religious commune because that really would feel like a cult to me, but I like the idea of a "village". One of my "internet friends" had a really horrible experience today and she could have really used a village to help her through it. I also have lots of other friends (married and single) that could use the support of others around them. I know it sounds odd in today's society, but I like the idea of living close to a lot of people I care about and us all working together to help each other survive and thrive.

So who's up for creating a commune?

Yesterday's Spending and Caffeine Withdraw

I was so worn out when I got home from work last night that I didn't post an update on the day's spending.

$50 - Field trip for oldest child
$5 - Field trip for youngest child
$10 - Gas

So I'm sure you're wondering where my oldest child is going that costs $50. It is to the National Zoo in DC and that cost is for both of us to go. We are packing our own lunch for the trip even though it is a pain carrying it around the entire time, but I'm sure he will want a souvenir and I remember how much I enjoyed that as a child so I'd rather spend the money on that.

The $5 field trip could have been a $3 trip but he wanted to eat lunch at the camp and I can't feed him for $2 so I figured that was a pretty good deal.

I needed more than $10 in gas but I didn't realize that I was so close to empty and I didn't want to fill up at the station that was closest to me because of the price there. So that was day one on my new radical no spending plan. I highly doubt every day will be that easy.

One of the big things I waste money on daily is diet soda. I am totally addicted! Like I wouldn't drink anything else if given the choice. I also tell myself I'll only have one if that's all I buy, but then I end up spending about $1.69 per drink multiple times throughout the day. That can seriously add up! So, as part of this project I am giving them up. I've tried this before and failed, so I'm hoping the money part of it motivates me.

The big problem is, I'm not someone who can wean myself off of them. If I have one I want more. So I have to go cold turkey and that leads to some nasty caffeine withdraw. So, today has been one giant headache! Hopefully tomorrow will be easier.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Something Radical

Well this will be something radical for me at least. I'm reading the book Your Money or Your Life and one of the steps in the book is to write down everything you spend for a month to evaluate how much of your energy is spent paying for those things. I tried it for a few days and was quickly shocked. But I got kind of lazy so now I'm going to blog about it so I can't be lazy anymore.

But there is a larger goal here for me. I want to stop spending. Now I'm not insane, I know I have to buy food and pay bills. I'm not going to become a hermit or totally do without things that are enjoyable. But, I spend a lot of money I don't have to and I want to see if I can cut that down. As I started writing this post my son came up to me with a permission slip that required five dollars. Obviously, he's going on that field trip, but it was just a good reminder that little bits go out all the time. I also hope for this experiment to help me. My oldest son has been diagnosed with severe allergies and the treatment is certainly not going to be free. Just gas getting him back and forth with be more than my current budget can handle, so I hope the cutting back will help offset this.

I'm putting some conditions on this project. First, we are not just going to totally stop all entertainment or eating out, but we will look for low cost options and cut back. I will not cheat anyone out of what they are worth. That means I will pay a fair price for goods and services and not skimp. I'm still going to my hairdresser and I'm still going to tip her. She provides a valuable service to me. Trust me, no one wants me to cut my own hair. As I run out of current products I'll ask for advice on their replacements, so I hope my readers will help me. I'm probably still going to buy too many books. It's a disease I tell you!

So, I'm excited about this. I'll try to chronicle my spending daily.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

High Maintenance Consumer

I have decided that I need to become much more serious about this blog. Partially because I'm an attention whore, but mostly because if I post here on a regular basis it will keep me on track and give me some way to watch my progress. This means that I need your help. I know that a few people read here when I do post something, but I need more (see attention whore comment above). I need more feedback, I need you to share me with your friends. I need people to keep me on track. I need strangers and friends. It's the only way I'm going to commit myself to this. My personality require accountability which is why WW went so well for me (I need help there too, but that's a whole new post). So please, help me people!

Now, on to the meat (hehe) of this post. For years I have had a problem that I didn't want to own up to. I'm a bargain addict. I'm a shopping addict too. I just love going out and finding a deal on just about anything. Heck, I have another blog that I neglect that is devoted to bargains (going to do better about that blog too). Nothing would please me more than coming home with a pile of stuff that I'd acquired for next to nothing thanks to sales and coupons. I had the makings of a great little stockpile and always had the newest products. Don't get me wrong, I didn't buy things I couldn't use but who needs twenty five bottles of shampoo just because they were really cheap? As you have seen if you've followed my purging process the last time, I had so much stuff that I didn't even know what I had so I was buying more because I didn't know what I had a backup of.

Now I still don't believe in paying full price for anything if I can keep from it. I do love a bargain. But all of that purchasing led me into a heap of debt. Yes, even the nearly free items add to a greater total and the bill still has to be paid. But more than that, I spent a little here and there on bargains that I should have been saving for emergencies which is where the bulk of the debt came from. And what did I have to show for it? Nothing special that's for sure.

But that's all in the past. I can't take back how I spent then, I just have to change it now. I want out of a job that I hate, I want to not have to work every waking moment of my life, and I want the freedom to pursue things that make me happy. I also want to do things that are better for my family, the community and the environment. Changing how I live and how I consume is going to be a big thing for me. I'm a consumer, I'm high maintenance, and I need to change that. Hold me accountable people!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Why I Love the Internet

There are all sorts of reasons to love the interwebz. Most of us can't remember (or don't want to) a time when we didn't have Google at our fingertips or things like Facebook and Pintrest as time sucks. There are lots of good things and lots of bad things about the internet and not nearly enough time to list them all. There are days where I wish I could force myself just to shut it all down and disconnect. Days where I wonder what I could have accomplished if I hadn't updated my status every fifteen seconds. But I digress.

There's a funny little saying out there that goes "I love my computer because my friends live in it". That is so true for me. Now, I have amazing and wonderful friends that live near me and I couldn't make it without them. But the internet has connected me with people all over the country that I never would have met otherwise and who are just as amazing as those right here. I've even made local friends because I "met" them online. The world has changed and this is how things go now and I'm not going to complain.

I have people in my life whom I may never (though I hope I will) meet in the flesh but I would do anything for them. I've seen their babies born, listened to their struggles, celebrated their joys and it is all just as real as if they lived next door. One particular friend has helped me in more ways than I can even tell her and the chances of us ever meeting or becoming friends (many of our beliefs are radically different) is about as likely as either of us winning the lottery. She's an amazing person who is just owning her life right now and she's such an inspiration.

I'm so thankful for her and for all of my friends and for the internet for bringing us together!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Good Intentions - Disappointing Outcomes

Every night I go to bed with all sorts of plans for the next day in my head. I'm not happy with a big chunk of my life right now and so I give myself pep talks about what I will get accomplished and how I can make things better. I feel good during this process. I feel like I can do the things I'm thinking about.

But then the next day comes and virtually nothing works the way I had planned. Sometimes this is just due to unforeseen circumstances. But most of the time I just fail. I'm not sure what happens in my brain between the positive pep talk and the disappointing outcome but it's beating me down.

This is all I've got. Sorry it was depressing.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Just How High Maintenance Am I?

I feel like in the scope of hippiedom, I'm really freaking high maintenance. I mean from all stereotypical standpoints, I just don't fit the hippie bill at all. Except in my mind, and that doesn't really count.

I finally got around to watching the movie Fresh today. If you haven't seen it, you should. Slightly (only slightly) less political than Food Inc. but just as eye opening. It features everyone's favorite farmer Joel Salatin and a number of others who are showing that you can do things the right way and still feed the world. It reinforced my feelings about being vegetarian since I can't really afford to buy meat that I'd feel comfortable eating. Funny thing though, I focused less on the ideas about our food and just got lost in the lifestyle. The people featured in the movie were all working with their hands, being close to nature, and it was just so lovely.

Along similar lines I saw a little clip from a recent episode of Anderson Cooper about a family living in a tiny house that they'd built for $12,000. They did all of the work themselves and their electric bill is like forty dollars a year!!

I want these lifestyles to some degree. I just have no idea how to get from where I am now to a place similar to those people while still working with who we are as a family and who I am as a person.

So, just how much can I give up in my high maintenance lifestyle to achieve some level of what I'm looking for?

I am very particular about things being neat and clean, so minimalism is perfect for me. But I still have far too many attachments to my things. There is a lot I can get rid of, but on some level I think getting rid of things like my books and pictures would change who I am. So how do I incorporate them into a scaled down life?

I can't grow anything (except children) to save my life, so how on earth would I ever raise any of my own food? I'm also not a huge fan of being dirty which really puts a wrench in things. So can I get over that and learn to love dirt?

I need directions for my directions for anything I try to build, and anything creative looks great in my head and horrible in reality. So how would I go about building anything I might need for the things I'm truly interested in doing? Can I learn this stuff? I'm past caring about breaking a nail, but still there's that dirty potential again. I'm not afraid to sweat though, so that's a start right?

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm tired of being so high maintenance, but I've been this way for a long time now and I don't know just how to get from one spot to the other. Stay tuned.

Fresh the Movie

Tiny House Family

Joel Salatin and Ployface Farms

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Long Week

This was a long week! Normally I have my boys several days throughout the week, but sometimes our schedule gets a little weird due to different things we have going on and one of us ends up with them a little more than normal. This week, my ex had them more and it felt like today was never going to get here! Going almost a week without them gives me serious withdraw. I enjoy having "me time" and I wouldn't change getting my divorce (unless we could have worked miracles), but you can't imagine how hard it is not seeing your kids every day unless you don't. So having them back today was wonderful.

It was a pretty good week in spite of all of that though. I got a lot done, got a lot of workouts in and this coming week is shaping up to be fabulous.

In other news I haven't been doing very well with the decluttering. I did so much work this week that by Friday the house looked like it should have been condemned so I had to clean. I did have the boys go through their books this evening and while they didn't really enjoy the task, I was really happy that this time they were much better about letting some of them go. I have a massive addiction to books and so their collection comes honest, but they actually have time to read their books so we were able to get rid of some they don't plan to read again and a lot that were way outside of their reading level now. The shelves look so great, but I forgot to take pictures!! It will feel so nice to donate those on Monday.

This week I also learned that I am totally obsessed with making felt food (now, if I could find the time) and that I'm really happy being single and think I might just keep it that way for the foreseeable future. Of course, my mind changes rather rapidly, so that could change before my next post.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confession

I had an amazing sweet friend tell me that she considered me a role model in her life. I literally brought tears to my eyes. I thought it was amazing that anything I've ever done or said anyone could have held on to as a good thing and that was truly touching. But I have to admit that I felt like I was somehow deceiving her and everyone else that knows me. Another fried chimed in and said I was one of the few people she would trust with her life. Truth is, these people can trust me. I would do anything for them and love them both very much.

But I still feel like I'm being deceptive. I feel like all of the things people see me post on Facebook or hear when talking to me is just painting a pretty mural on the side of a condemned building. In the scope of the world my problems are miniscule, but we can only live what we live and that's what we have to deal with on any given day. Yes, thinking about other people's problems can put your own in perspective for sure, but we still trudge through our own problems either way. I'm healthy, my kids are healthy and a lot is good for sure. I sat down to write a confessional type post about myself so that people would know the real me but I couldn't even stand to write it down.

I love the people in my life and the sweet things they say and do for me. I don't deserve very much of it. I'm a walking disaster and I'm kind of glad I look better to the rest of the world than I do to myself.