Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Spring Break

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Eli is on break all week, so we had to find some new activities.  Watercolor is relatively new to the kids - they used it last weekend at cousin Ellie's Art Party, and had a great time.  We ventured out today to find some.  So far I'm going on an hour of uninterrupted, actual break.  :)

Sophie, painting a pony
Eli, working on a flower
Isaac likes the more abstract side of art.

Abbie is hanging out with us for a few days.
She's "Smashbooking" at Dee's recommendation.  

There's a lot of creativity in the house right now!  And a lot of quite.  I love it.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Weight Loss Progress

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Today, I weighed in, and I have lost (drum roll.......) 25 POUNDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm actually a little shocked that I lost that much weight.  I've tried and tried and TRIED to lose weight for much of my adult life - using lots of crazy methods, most of which aren't healthy and don't make any sense, and are certainly not sustainable.  The most successful diet I ever did was Atkins.  I lost 30 pounds in a slightly shorter period using that program, but my health suffered for it, and all the weight came back.  Who can live low carb forever?  Not me!

In November, a group of great friends were here drinking coffee, and we were talking about how many of us needed to lose weight.  Others were concerned about a generally being sedative, and wanted to increase their activity level.  I had already lost the 20 pounds I gained during Daniel's pregnancy by the fall, so at least I wasn't still hauling that around, but I was still much too far over, as I had started that way.  Starting in December, I made an attempt to begin the process by cutting out a lot of calorie dense foods, Coke was the main offender, and watching my portions.  By the end of December I'd dropped about 7 pounds, but it was just the initial weight that comes off easily when you change a bad habit. Then the actual work started.  I had been loosely using the Lose It app, but Chris and I both started using it religiously in January.  The format of this app is perfect for how my brain works.  It provides a calorie "budget" for each day.  I told it I wanted to lose 60 pounds total at a rate of 1 pound per week.  You simply input your food, and it takes away from your budget.  You can see a clear bar graph showing how much of your budget is left for the day.  If you exercise, it gives you calories back to use.  The thing I love most about Lose It is it never judges you.  There are no rules.  If you want to save calories to eat ice cream, go for it.  Just save them up!  Here's a link to the site, because I know you are all thinking, "Man, that sounds so easy!  I should try that!"  :)  Lose It  You should try it, and friend me when you get there, I love watching other people succeed too!

Lose It!
You can use Lose It on your phone or on the computer!

So I started looking around to find out what the volume of a pound is - it looks like 1 pound of fat occupies roughly 2.14 cups.  So I've lost 53.5 cups of fat.  There are 16 cups in a gallon, which means I've lost almost 3 1/2 GALLONS of fat.  Ah!  Isaac also weighs 25 pounds, so I imagine losing an entire Isaac from my body, that's crazy!  Next time you're buying milk, take a look at 3 of those jugs sitting side by side and think of me!  And then think of YOU, and how that could be off of you!  :)

What's next?  Well, I'm still overweight.  I have 35 pounds to lose.  I'll update at some point in the future, maybe with a picture.  

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Thermos Replacement Straws

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A lot of people I know have various Thermos drinking bottles.  My kids each have one - they are great.  They don't easily spill, they get beat up regularly, and keep water cold for a very long time.  The straws get really nasty though.  A friend was here about a year ago and we tried EVERYTHING to clean the mold out of the sipper straw part (the part that goes in your mouth) on her bottle.  Absolutely nothing made a difference.  Even though the only thing that goes into ours is water, and they are routinely run through the dishwasher, they are nasty!

It's absolutely impossible to find these replacements in stores.  So here's the PSA: If you call Thermos, 1.800.831.9242, they will sell you a replacement sipper and long straw part for $1!  I found replacements in various places online being sold from $5-$12!  Crazy.  They do charge $3 shipping, and limit you to 5 replacements per week.  Since these bottles cost so much, this seems like a much better option than just pitching the whole thing because the straw needs replaced.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What We'll Be Doing This Summer

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I feel a little bit insane for making this purchase, but here it is:

The kids are beyond excited, they cannot WAIT!!!  It's pretty cute.  I remember loving to camp as a kid.  From this side looking at it, it seems like a crazy amount of work and I feel like I'm on a steep learning curve to make it go as smoothly as possible.  We've got a few months to prepare, so any advice is welcome!  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Spring Clean Up

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I don't actually have that much to do around our yard to get things cleaned up, but it has taken HOURS the past few days, and everybody has been pitching in.  All of the flower beds are cleaned up from the dead perennial foliage, the raised bed gardens have been refilled with compost and turned over, and we started the painful and difficult process of trying to grow grass, which seems funny considering all of the other things we grow.  Tulips are starting up, and we have a crocus already in bloom!  Thank God for things growing again, winters are so drab and seem to last forever.  And thank God for warm times outside to get kids out and burn off their energy.

Here are my helpers, mixing up a soil combination and filling some of my big pots with it for planting.

Friday, March 8, 2013

An exQUisite Wedding

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Today at school, Elijah's class is celebrating the exquisite wedding of Q and U.  This will be a very ornate affair, with children wearing "wedding attire" and an official reception.  The cartoon images of Q and U have been puzzling us...Q is clear, she is a queen.  But what is U?  He appears to be a football player.  We can't figure out how "qu" fits into his title.  It is also disturbing that Q is freely entering this union.  While it is clear that she is faithful (with the exception of a few "words" that do not appear to be words AND qwerty, which I concede is a black mark for her), U is a raging cheater.  This, of course, is a discussion for a much older child: both regarding the issue of unfaithfulness and the odd rules which construct our language and make it very hard to learn.

The teacher requested a cake for the reception, and I held out for a week or so to see if any other parents would volunteer before saying I'd do it.  Here's a picture of the cake.  This is the best kind of bride and groom to make a wedding cake for, they had no specific requests and didn't complain at all that the cake wasn't perfectly white.  I expect no less of a supportive reception from the 5 and 6 year old reception attendees, who would have likely gobbled down cupcakes with just as much enjoyment.  Please don't post this picture on cakewrecks, I'll cry.  OK.

Eli is delighted with it, and the rest of the family was thrilled to find out there was a little bit left over for them to have for dessert, so everybody was happy.  

Edit: I JUST figured out what he is!!!  Can you guess?  Of course you can.  I've seriously been thinking about it for a week and it just occurred to me.  Can you tell I don't watch much football?