Day 1 on Weight Watchers, again.

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That’s it! This is the day that I make a real commitment to lose this weight and keep it off. No excuses. No justifications. No “cheating”. I have a plan and I will stick to it because my son, T3, is graduating high school next June and I want to focus on him and not how fat I look in the pictures. I want to not get a heat rash in my neck creases every summer. I want to shop in areas of stores made for regular sized people. I want to feel like people aren’t judging me based on my weight but solely on the strength of my personality. I want to feel comfortable in my car with my seat belt on and not have to make adjustments for my gut. And I want to be comfortable when I go to the movies, concerts or get on airplanes.

Today I feel in control but I know there will be times when I don’t. I started this morning by going to the store and buying potatoes, salsa, hummus, peppers, bananas, pineapples, scallions and Canadian bacon. Tonight on the way home I will be stopping again for veggie burgers, sandwich thins and chicken breasts. Today I commit to writing down EVERYTHING I eat. EVERYTHING!!! If I go over my points so be it but it will be written down because when I write it down, I lose weight. Period.

I will not let people make me feel bad about my 2 diet soda a day habit. Once I am thin I can think about maybe cutting back or giving it up entirely but for right now it is helping me to not drink my points. I will not feel bad about eating a lot of 0 point fruits so that I don’t feel hungry or deprived. They are 0 points for a reason and I will take advantage of it until it prevents my weight loss.

I will read a Weight Watchers article, weight loss blog article or listen to a weight loss podcast EVERYDAY. When I am keeping my goal in front of myself it is easier to stay on track. It forces me to make a conscious decision to go off plan.

My work is having a walk a mile a day (5 out of 7 days) challenge this month and so far I am on track but if my Plantar Fasciitis flares up I will first take care of that by resting, stretching and with massages. Then I will go to the gym and ride bikes or do the elliptical or do some yoga. What I won’t do is stop exercising EVERYDAY. I want this too much. I want to be under 200 lbs at this time next year. That means I need to lose a pound a week. This is an achievable goal.

Finally, I will read ALL of my Weight Watchers documentation EVERY WEEK and will do the activities suggested. The more interactive I am with the program the more motivated I will be. Because this is it. Today is the day I change my life.

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Here is my before picture (T3 was cut out because of privacy issues) with Trace Adkins and the lead singer of Locash.

Childhood Reading

My parents tell me that my first toy was a cloth book that I loved to chew on.

1. The first book I remember is Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? by Dr Seuss. I can still recite sections of it from memory. I bet my parents eventually hated that book.
2. My parents took me to the library on a very regular basis and I am so grateful. Even at a young age I loved The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I love this book so much that I read it again just before starting this post.
3. I loved the post that Reading Rainbow did about revisiting the books that made you fall in love with reading. After I finished the book I was reading this morning before the readathon started (The Closers by Michael Connelly) I kicked off the readathon with Blackbriar by William Sleator. I didn’t remember much about it except that it was scary and I listened to Hotel California over and over when I read it in middle school. I am about 25% through it now.
4. The Trixie Belden series of books got me addicted to book series and now I mostly read series.
5. Goodnight Moon. This one isn’t from my childhood but from my children’s. This was the book I read over and over to them along with Guess How Much I Love You.

Thanks Mom and Dad for giving me such a love of reading. I can’t think of a better addiction.

Funeral Potatoes

Every first Sunday of the month I bring food to share after church service. On cold winter days I try to bring something warm. I found “The Best Funeral Potatoes” on the Recipe Critic website.

I decided that I would prepare the recipe the night before and put it into my CrockPot Casserole that I could put in the oven before church and keep warm during service.

I fried up the onions in butter (yum!) and added the garlic (more than it called for). Then I mixed the rest of the ingredients and added them to the CrockPot. I made the topping with panko instead of corn flakes.

It went over like hotcakes at church and was stick to your ribs good. Next time I will increase the salt and pepper but other than that I wouldn’t change a thing. If you add diced ham to it then it is a full meal.

I forgot to take a picture. :~(

 

Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls with Cheesy Ranch Potatoes

Happy New Year!! This year my new year’s resolution is to get organized. To that end I spent 2 hours cleaning just the outside of my refrigerators (yes, we have more than one, that is how disorganized I am).

Before

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After

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Okay, it is not perfect but it is MUCH better. Tomorrow I tackle the inside.

In addition to organizing my home I am organizing my recipes. One of the ways that I am going to do this is by blogging the new recipes that I make. Good, bad or otherwise.

I didn’t have to work today so I was adventurous. I made Pineapple Glazed Ham Balls from the Simply Recipes website with Cheesy Ranch Potato Bake from the All Recipes website.

The ham balls, that really needs a better name, were pretty good. I don’t tend to make homemade meat balls of any kind but this one is triple pork. It calls for ground pork, ham and BACON!!! It is hard to go wrong with that trio. The glaze was good but next time I will use 1/4 cup cider vinegar instead of the 1/2 cup that it calls for and just 1 tsp of ground mustard.

The recipe made quite a few meatballs and there were few left over after dinner and five people eating them as appetizers during game night. I made about 3/4 of them in my Pampered Chef Rectangle Baker because I love cooking in my stoneware. I also used my small scoop to get uniform sized meatballs.

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The Cheesy Ranch Potatoes was very easy. The hardest part was dicing the potatoes. The recipe called for 2 teaspoons of chili powder and I was worried because I am married to a wimpy white boy. So I only put in 1 teaspoon but we both agreed that next time I will use the full 2 teaspoons.

Next, it called for a lot of butter. I will only put half the amount on the next time I make it. I also only used half the cheese and ranch that it called for. As you can see below it was kinda greasy.

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I served dinner with the pineapple glaze on the side.

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Overall, a decent dinner.

Reading Holiday – First 3 Hours

I started the Readathon kinda slowly but I have finished the first 2 books on my list. Don’t be too impressed. That is a total of 31 pages. I also listened to The Escape by David Baldacci while I helped my humbly clean the back yard. So here are my reviews so far.

As I have mentioned I tend to ready books with over 200 pages because I think that much is required for good character and plot development. My first two books have done nothing to dissuade me from that thinking.

The Games We Play by Sean Hayden was actually a cute short story about a woman who gets picked up in a bar but things don’t turn out as the reader expects. I gave it 4 stars because of the twist at the end of the story.

Amish Blizzards Volume 1: A Winter Surplus was a disappointment. It is really just the first few chapters of a bigger book which I may, or may not search out. The story is basically that Abby Yoder is the new school teacher in town. Nathan Miller is a widower who needs a school teacher for his kids but every year the new school teacher goes off and gets married and then they need another new school teacher. He is praying that God would send him someone to teach his kids and someone to replace his wife. Abby might just be the answer to all his prayers.

Next up…Gutenberg the Geek and Be Happier at Home. The first two non-fiction. Stay tuned.

Reading Holiday – Introductory Meme

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Woo hoo! The readathon has started 8 am Saturday to 8 am Sunday in my time zone. I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. It felt like Christmas. So to start the events we were asked to answer the following questions:

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? Upstate NY, specifically Stillwater which is a little town near Saratoga
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I didn’t plan for snacks so I will probably just throw a frozen pizza in the oven
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I am a wife and mother of 2 teenagers (have pity on me), professional geek, Pampered Chef consultant who loves to cook, craft and read.
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? I am looking forward to mini-challenges  and finding out what other people are reading and reading their reviews.

I am gonna get reading now. More to come!!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese

Five of my favorite words. Chicken. Bacon. Ranch. Macaroni. Cheese. Okay, chicken and ranch are much lower on the list than pizza and chocolate but still.

So dinner was supposed to be Taco Soup but I had wicked heartburn all day. Thanks McDonalds, I love you too. So after a couple of doses of Pepto I decided that Taco Soup was a bad idea. A very large twinkie.

So I checked the menu for a meal that would be a bit easier on my stomach and that I would be able to swap easily. Chicken Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese to the rescue. I found the recipe at Southern Bite and it was a hit, even with my hubbie who doesn’t like chicken in any dish.

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Okay, it doesn’t look like much but it was quite tasty and easy. I had four of cups of cooked, shredded chicken in the freezer. All I had to do is boil up the pasta, cook up some bacon and then mix all the ingredients together and bake for half an hour. If you don’t have the chicken just pick up a rotisserie one on your way home.

Beaded Shrug and Adirondack Fiber Festival

About two weeks ago now, my DD (dear daughter) and I made our pilgrimage to the Adirondack Fiber Festival. This is an opportunity for some quality bonding time, for finding projects to make for Christmas presents, and for spending way too much money. I literally turned to DD and said “get me out of here before I spend more money.” I wish I would win the lottery so that I can buy all the beautiful yarn that was available.

The nice thing is that the Fiber Fest is only about 15 miles up the road from our home so it isn’t some big road trip. I even had $1 off coupons to get us in but at $5 for adults it really isn’t expensive.

DD’s favorite part is getting a treat from the Amish who have a baked goods stand. Usually she gets raisin bread but this year she got a loaf of honey wheat.

We saw people weaving scarves which looked like a lot of fun but seemed to take a lot of room to do. Something to consider learning in the future but right now I am happy with my knitting. I bought a couple of patterns and some hand wax that keeps the yarn from snagging on dry hands and cuticles. But the big thing I bought was a kit to make DD a Beaded Shrug similar to this one.

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The kit came with the yarn and beads of our choice, a beading needle and the pattern. I rushed right home and promptly dumped about 1/4 of the beads in the grass across the street. *sigh* So now I need to find matching beads before I can start the second sleeve.

After putting something like 780 beads on the yarn I was finally able to get started. The first row was a BIT– er, was very difficult, but once that was done it worked up very nicely. I am about 1/3 of the way done and really need to get to the bead shop to get more beads. Assuming all goes well I am pretty sure I will have it done in time for Christmas.

Here are some shots of the one I am doing.

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Also, it is fall so here is a picture of the leaves turning.

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Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon

Most people who know me know that I like to read a little bit. Okay a LOT a bit. So when I heard that this Saturday, October 17th,  is Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon I thought to myself “I need to get a piece of this.” Who is Dewey? I have no freakin’ clue. From what I can gather she was (she passed away in 2008) a woman with a blog and she issued a challenge to her readers to read for a whole day.

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The idea is that “For 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs and various social media platforms about our reading, and visit other readers’ homes online. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day and win prizes.”

Well, that sounds like great fun to me! I am currently 2 books behind in my schedule to read 80 books by the end of the year so this will help me to catch up. One of they things that the website recommends is to ” Pick shortish books. When you’re reading for such a long time, you might get really sick of the same book for hours on end. 2007 Readers recommended that you start with a short book so that you have a feeling of accomplishment when you finish it early in the read-a-thon.”

I would generally have a problem with reading shortish books. I tend to be a bit of a book snob and I don’t read anything with less than 200 pages, however I took this opportunity to check my TBR (to be read) list and sort it by page numbers. This is something you can do on Goodreads. I was amazed by how many books I had “purchased” (most were free when I got them) from Amazon and imported into my Goodreads TBR list that were under 100 pages. I have selected 24 books that I am going to attempt to read in 24 hours.

For those of you wondering, yes, I plan on sleeping and eating and probably getting some yard work done too. For the yard work I plan on having my audio book running. So, is it possible to read 24 books in 24 hours? Well the longest book in my list is 73 pages. The total number of pages in all the books is 796. So by my calculations, I should be able to do it in a little over 13 hours. Which still leaves plenty of time for sleeping.

Added benefit, I will have blown my 80 book challenge out of the water if I succeed. It kinda feels like cheating, reading all these short books but I am pretty excited by the challenge. Stay tuned because when I take breaks I hope to review at least a few of those books here and on Goodreads. So? Who wants to join me?

Below is a list of the books I plan on reading. It occurs  to me that just reading my list will tell you a lot about me. Hmmmmm.

  1. The Games We Play by Sean Hayden (14 pages)
  2. Amish Blizzards: Volume One: A Winter Surplus by Sicily Yoder (17 pages)
  3. Gutenberg the Geek by Jeff Jarvis (20 pages)
  4. Be Happier at Home: Stop Negative Thinking and Be Positive by Mike C Adams (21 pages)
  5. The Power or Changing Your Habits by Charles Duncan (22 pages)
  6. Motivation for the Middle Aged (ouch!) by James Vanderbilt (22 pages)
  7. Get a Life by Stephanie Bond (23 pages)
  8. How to Find Happiness: Change Your Thoughts, Reduce Stress and Anxiety and Live a Life You Love by Joy Marino (15 pages)
  9. No Sh!+ Guide to Decluttering & Organizing Your Home in 3 Incredibly Fast and Simple Steps by Amanda Knowels (26 pages)
  10. Ten Commandments Every Day (Messages From Above Book 1) by J R Kelly Jr (26 pages)
  11. How to Memorize the Entire Bible in No Time Flat by Adam Houge (25 pages)
  12. 101 Ways to Exercise without Noticing by Marianne Duval (30 pages)
  13. Minimalism: Tips to Uncomplicate and Unstress your Life with Simple Living by Isabella Lee (42 pages)
  14. Passionate Vengance by Leighann Dobbs (30 pages)
  15. Second Son by Lee Child (32 pages)
  16. Free to Be Me by Pastor Joes Bauer (35 pages)
  17. Always Know What to Say by Peter W Murphy (41 pages)
  18. Stop Being Lazy: Start Getting Things Done and Stop Being Lazy! by Ryan Cooper (48 pages)
  19. Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick (46 pages)
  20. God for Today by Denise Lorenz (50 pages)
  21. Deep Down by Lee Child (44 pages)
  22. How to Beat the Financial Monster at the End of This Book by Tony Elam (43 pages)
  23. Evernote Cracked: The Beginners Guide on How to Master Evernote and Organize Your Life by Clive Alden (48 pages)
  24. High Heat by Lee Child (73 pages)

Grilled Chicken over Tomato Alfredo Pasta

GrillMates

If you want a flavorful, juicy chicken breast just marinade it in Grill Mates wonderful Garlic, Herb & Wine marinade.

My family loves this recipe. We usually make it with chicken cutlets so that it grills quickly on my Pampered Chef grill pan. This recipe is totally not mine. I got it at Plain Chicken which is an awesome website with great food.

Marinade the chicken for about 1/2 an hour using the instructions on the packet. Start grilling and boil water for your pasta. When the pasta gets put in the salted water then you can start the sauce. I double the original recipe. So it is 1 lb of pasta, 16 oz canned alfredo sauce, 16 oz tomato sauce, 1 tbl of Italian seasoning, and like 5 cloves of garlic (my family does not believe that there is such a thing as too much garlic).

Slice up the chicken into strips, mix the sauce and the pasta together and serve with chicken strips on top.

It is a quick and easy dinner that the whole family will enjoy.