Sunday, November 09, 2014
Does this short, round, middle-aged woman have any shame? Apparently not. Yet another unedited hOOp vlog, because I had to get away from my desk and you know that I share these things.
The scale bounced up a couple of pounds over the last two weeks. But it’s no mystery; no, it’s not. Here are the Terrible Things I Did To Make The Scale Go Up:
—Halloween Candy: I’m not going to lie. I like candy. When I was a kid, I wished I were Charlie Bucket and lived in Willy Wonka’s Factory. That hasn’t changed. I had more than my share of candy over the last two weeks. I own up to it. It’s gone now. All is well.
Speaking of Halloween, Audrey used power tools to carve her pumpkin this year.
The aftermath of shaving a pumpkin with a Dremel.
Also, a friend gave me some giant, google eyes.
So, of course, I had to put them on my front door.
—Cupcakes: Do you have friends who are professional bakers and make gourmet desserts to share on work nights? I do. I really do. I refuse to apologize for eating said cupcakes. These women are brilliant artists. What they do with frosting and filling is a wonder. I do not regret it. However, I probably didn’t need to take the leftovers home…
Two of my Jr. Designers, sporting chocolate, frosting mustaches with me. All the cool kids have them.
—Eating Late: Work has been off the rails lately. We’re in full-blown, Christmas production and that means some late work nights. I’ve eaten late dinners way too many times; would’ve been better off with a light snack instead.
—Not Enough Sleep: Sometimes, I’m too wound up after rehearsals or work nights, to go to sleep right away, so I stay up too late. I’d be better off going to bed and reading a book, instead of tooling around the house, doing stuff.
The power in the garage at work is out, so we have to wear headlamps to work out there, when it gets dark!
—Lunch Stash Depleted: My stash at work is gone. I need to replace it. Otherwise, I grab Chick Fil-A, or overeat when I get home. Must. Restock. Stash.
So, I can see exactly where things went askew. It only makes sense that the scale went up. Knowledge is power, right? But boy, oh boy, some of this stuff was fun; I ain’t lying. :) I’ll leave you with these pictures of a day out I had with some of my besties. We call ourselves the Crazy Art Ladies, or The Crazies, for short. If y’all don’t have a tribe of people to run around and do stuff with, you need to get one. I highly recommend it.
If you go to an Art Show with your besties, matching shirts are a must. Also, one of the Crazies couldn't be there, so we made a paper version of her and carried her around all day. See her?
These are the shirts my BFF made for us. Aren’t they great? Just stand to my right, please.
One of the Crazies had a bday. We all made her handmade gifts. She got some beautiful jewelry, scarves and artwork. I gave her these google-eyed, minion magnets. Hey, we all have different talents…
Hope you have a wonderful week; don’t go off the rails, shake it off and have FUN.
Spark ON, Brave Sparkers!!
PS: The song is Walk Off the Earth's cover of Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off." They play kazoos and ukuleles in it!!!
Monday, October 27, 2014
Need a little boost to your Monday, something to lighten up the beginning of your work week? This may or may not be it. Who am I to judge? I just know that if someone gives me something called a Nose Flute, I have to share. Is this SparkWorthy? Yes, yes it is. This is how I make my life an adventure, people— trying new things, testing new kazoos. Someone has to do it. And now we all know that the Nose Flute, the ORIGINAL Nose Flute, is a difficult instrument. I tested it for you, so you won’t have to. You’re welcome.
In other news, I have my big toe in Onederland again. It’s having a fine time and hoping the rest of me joins it soon. One thing that has really helped over the last two weeks, was a mini challenge that my 5% team did. We cut out evening snacking. You were allowed to have one, planned, healthy snack, if you needed it; but no grazing. This is nothing new to me. I know this is something I should do, but having the challenge specifically call it out really helped. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that I did away with a lot of unnecessary calories at the end of the day. I’d be tempted to bust out the popcorn popper, or grab a handful of something, but I stopped myself. After dinner, the kitchen was closed. And guess what? I didn’t die. I was perfectly fine. I seemed a little hungry for a bit and then it passed. So, I think maybe I was snacking more from habit than actual hunger. Very helpful to know. Gonna try to keep this up.
I hope you’re making interesting discoveries and trying new things this week. I will leave you with this pic of some holiday fusion decor that Bubba and I saw on our walk yesterday.
Frosty the Snowman in the Pumpkin Patch. It works; it just works.
Spark ON, Brave Sparkers!!
Monday, October 20, 2014
If we've been friends for a while, you know that meal prep has always been my Achilles heel. I don't enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Cooking is not my forté. Need I remind you of the cookbook I set on fire, while trying to cook and read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire simultaneously?
The pages are melted together. I keep it, as a humble reminder that reading and cooking don't mix.
Lately, you know I've made it my mission to work harder on meal prep, with menus, lists, freezer meals, snack stash at work, etc. I'm happy to say that I'm making strides. Do I love it? No. But I'm doing it and learning a lot as I go. I keep tweaking my system and thought I'd share what's working for me right now. Here is my convoluted process:
I've learned this the hard way. Here's the deal: Randy (DH) and I are both ministers, working at the same church. While we love our jobs, let's just say that we don't do it for the money. Things are tight--always. Meal planning has been a huge help to us, nutritionally and financially. Secret bonus perk. But I have to stay on top of it. If I wait until payday to start making a menu and shopping list, it's too late. I won't have enough time to get it done. And if we don't do our big shopping trip on payday, we waste a couple of days with drive-throughs/takeout and our money and nutrition fly out the window. I need to have that menu and shopping list ready to go by payday. And Randy and I have made The Pact. One of us will go shopping ON payday. If I'm busy, he goes; that's the deal. Between us, I prefer to go myself. Randy's great about going, but has to call me approximately ten times while shopping, which kind of defeats the purpose. So, I put planning days and the shopping day on my planner. This girl does deadlines.
Meal planning goes on the schedule, like a doctor's appointment or meeting for work. It's a thing.
Meal Planning and The List
I schedule about 2-3 days to pull together a menu and shopping list. This is because I'm incredibly slow and I try to add a couple of new recipes each time. I browse through cookbooks, look online, try suggestions from friends. I use an app called Paprika for all my menu planning. I love it. I can type in recipes from my cookbooks, automatically download recipes from websites, rate and categorize them, add them to my meal plan and even generate a shopping list, if I want. I prefer using Paprika on my iPad for menus and the Groceries app on my iPhone for my shopping list. Randy has offered to make The List, but I know it would largely consist of Hamburger Helper and chicken nuggets, so I gracefully decline the offer.
Go, go Gadget Groceries!
Using the apps makes this hated job easier, so there's a little less whining on my part. I start with menu items, then add things like cleaning supplies and stuff. I give all family members a last-call to text me things they want added to The List and do a walk-through of the house, to see if I've missed anything. Then, I take a moment to feel exceptionally proud of myself, for doing something I loathe and despise.
The Dreaded Shopping Trip
I try to eat before I go; shopping while hungry is a rookie mistake. I prefer to go in the morning, when it's less crowded. If I have to go later, Audrey usually goes with me, which is helpful. My app organizes The List into categories, which makes it easier to find things. Before I get out of the car, I check to make sure I have any coupons and my reusable bags. The bags are important; here's why-- I can fit way more groceries per bag, they're easier to carry into the house and they're FUN. I intentionally bought entertaining bags. I figure if I'm doing something I'm not that crazy about, I might as we'll be slightly entertained. Plus, sometimes they cheer up the baggers. When I have everything ready, I take a deep breath, say, "For the Family!" and head into the store.
Two of my favorite bags. Gotta love Wonder Woman and Yoshi
My trip last week was a biggie, a month's worth. I had to put the top down on my car, so I could fit everything in my lil bug.
The first couple of times I tried the freezer meal thing, I did meal prep in one, marathon session. That doesn't always work out for me. Most times now, I do it over a couple of days. I double up on some tried and true recipes, making two batches with one in the fridge and one in the deep freeze. I double-bag stuff, to prevent explosions/leaks and include the instructions on the bag. If she's able, Audrey helps with some of the prep. But we have a very small kitchen, so sometimes it's just better if everybody stays out of my way. Know what I mean? I put Netflix on my iPad and just get it done.
Cooking and binge watching Netflix works much better than reading
Friday night, I did something that made meal prep more fun. My BFF (Shelley with an ey) and I both tried a new recipe at the same time. We were texting each other the whole time and sending pics back and forth. It was nice, knowing someone else was in the same boat and it made cooking more fun. I think we’ll try that again.
We made Tamale Pie and it was awesome.
This is an important part of my process, because meal planning/prep is a big, non-scale victory for me. I stop and look in the deep freeze and fridge and I feel proud. Proud that I made myself do something I don't remotely enjoy and that I'm trying to take better care of my family. Plus, I know that Future Shelli will be extremely grateful and I want to make her life a little easier when I can.
So that's my long and convoluted update on my ongoing mission to feed my clan without losing any more of my mind. Hope you're making progress on your own personal missions too!
I will leave you with this pic of Bubba.
Some of my friends said that this is his camouflage pic. :)
Spark ON, Brave Sparker!
Sunday, October 05, 2014
I took my camera along on our walk Friday morning, but I’m just now getting around to posting the video. I was a little under the weather over the weekend, but doing better now. Walking is a great time for me to think, process things and sometimes, admit how I’m feeling about stuff. Let’s consider this a “walking confessional.” Maybe you’ll be able to relate, or maybe you’ll just enjoy seeing the Halloween decorations. :)
I love walking in our neighborhood; there’s always something to see. Check out this inspiring sidewalk art we saw the other day:
It says: Joy can be yours, let your light shine and have a happy day!
And now, people are putting up their Halloween decorations, so there’s even more to see. The skeletons used to freak Bubba out, but he’s over it. Look at these guys:
Coming for you!
This is my absolute favorite. This family has a pack of dogs, so this just makes sense.
And the other day, we walked in the park and I took this pic, which I call Bubba’s, “Sound of Music” pose.
The hills are alive, with the snorts of bulldogs!
I will leave you with this pic of some souvenirs some of my friends brought me from their recent vacation. Behold: The Wildly Noisy Wooden Thing, A Unique Kazoo and a Nose Flute—yes, a Nose Flute.
As soon as I’m over this cold, you know I have to try these out.
I hope you see interesting things while you’re out and about this week and that you have friends who know you well enough to buy you a Nose Flute, or whatever floats your boat. In the meantime, have an awesome week!
Spark ON, Brave Sparkers!
Sunday, September 21, 2014
It really and truly did take a solid six months to recover from the Death By Bulldog Knee Sprain. I've been walking and stuff, but it's only been within the last couple of weeks that my knee actually felt 100%. 100%! Like, I can't even tell when it's going to rain anymore. I can't even tell that it was ever injured. As optimistic as I am, I wasn't sure if that was going to happen. But lo and behold, it has.
You know what that means, don't you? This short, round, middle-aged woman will be hOOping in her backyard again! Oh yes, yes she will. What have the neighbors done for free entertainment over the past months? I must make it up to them.
Spark on, Brave Sparkers!
PS: The song I'm hooping to is, "Wonder What You're Doing for the Rest of Your Life," from Train's new album, Bulletproof Picasso, which I've pretty much been playing nonstop all week. :)
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