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Cooking with cats

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I don't think I've mentioned that the cats have indeed grown to the point where nothing in the house is out of reach. I recall a recipe that my mom used to love, where every other line was "remove Johnny's hands from bowl". She used to quote that one when my younger sisters wanted to "help" in the kitchen.

Well, I could write my lunch-making, washing up, and breakfast cooking regime in a similar manner. "Remove cat from sink", wash hands, put on the milk to heat, remove cat from counter, fill coffee carafe, remove cat from sink, wash hands. Mix salad. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Weigh nuts and fruit for snack. Measure oats. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Bag snacks and finish packing lunch. Pour coffee. Remove cat from counter... Spark. Ah, yes, what would we do without them?

Last night I opted to make a rest day. I made this choice on the drive home, past the gym. I knew I could either lift last night and rest today, or rest yesterday and lift after work tonight. The decision was based on what my back was telling me. One more rest day before the next lifting session seemed in order. Accountability: tomorrow I'd better be telling y'all I lifted tonight!

The thing about training as a mature person is that there is a careful balance between proper training, under training, and over training. My kid sis told me the other day that to maintain strength, one strength workout a week was required. She learned this in a class she's taking (studying to be physical therapist, I think). To increase strength takes more than one. This was in the context of a conversation about "if the weather is too bad to go to the gym, which exercises can I do at home?" I had concluded that most of my two PT workouts I can do at home, or modify slightly to do at home, if I need to... but there are two or three exercises for which a machine is required. The reasoning is that if I missed those on one workout and only got them in once that week, I would not be losing strength.

Taken to a broader interpretation, my one a week since the beginning of November should have kept me as strong as I was to begin with. As I increase it to two a week, I should start to see some improvements. Makes sense to me. And as my major goal is not to LOSE the fitness that I've attained, sounds like a reasonable plan. Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up.

Life's good: Spark on! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:19AM

    Interesting advice on strength training. I would have thought once a week would not be enough. I will have to remember this to ask my special PT, she is so knowledgeable.
That is the one thing I really, really hate about cats is they are always up on the highest areas in the house, kitchen counter, your favorite easy chair, where ever she can access and demolish plants, etc., etc. My Mom does use a spray bottle when she can, but this cat is a smart sneak and gets up there as soon as you are in another room. She knows what is what. Our dog never showed any inclination to get up on the furniture at all, but he was tall enough, he could lick your face when you were lying on the couch. I do miss the companionship of a dog. This cat spends most of her day sleeping and becomes active at night when you rather be sleeping. I hope your cats give you peace at night..
Love your 'recipe'!!

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MOBYCARP 12/7/2011 9:22PM

    From the title, I envisioned a variation of "101 Ways to Wok Your Dog." Of course, I knew that *you* wouldn't write anything like that!

It's interesting that there's research saying lifting once a week is sufficient to maintain strength. I'd come to that conclusion for myself by observation. The problem is, once a week is a difficult schedule to maintain from a motivational standpoint. If something happens and I miss that one day, I've missed a whole week of lifting!

Oh well. Just gotta do what you can, given time constraints and multiple life priorities.

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WATERMELLEN 12/7/2011 7:52PM

    DH read a book that set out a "once a week" weight lifting program (really demanding) and -- pretty clearly works well for him.

I'm not sure . . . but for me fitness is a whole lot about mood, toning, cardio -- not so much about weight control.

Thanks so much for that luscious looking strawberry -- my oatmeal with cocoa has been "chocolate brownie" ie with walnuts (and Splenda) but will have to try with frozen raspberries or strawberries as the sweetener!

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DEBRA0818 12/7/2011 10:53AM

    I cook with Psycho all the time -- a faithful underfoot companion that "dogs" my every move lest a crumb fall to the floor. The fact that scraps do fall from the sky keeps him pinned to the action. If he wasn't there, I would miss the company!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/7/2011 10:44AM

    I prefer them tenderly grilled with a bit of mint sauce on the side.


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TURTLETALK 12/7/2011 9:56AM

    I felt compelled to read your blog today because I was curious as to what kind of cat recipes you might be sharing. I am happy to see that you are not cooking with cats! emoticon

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SUNNY332 12/7/2011 9:12AM

    A small squirt bottle (used only a few times) sitting on the counter is message enough for my feline friends. They will learn in time.

To funny about your Mom's recipe. So glad the cats facilitated a walk down memory lane.

Have a good day and btw, good choice about lifting. Some times a girl just needs to rest. I am sure you will feel better this evening.

Hugs, Sunny

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KALIGIRL 12/7/2011 8:25AM

    "Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up."
Wise words from a wise woman.

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MSLZZY 12/7/2011 8:17AM

    Good advice on the strength training. I learned something today.
I am so glad my cat avoids the counter and sink. Now to train her to stay off the table-LOL!

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Breakfast and texture

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Yesterday morning I varied my hot cereal and had grits with my fresh strawberries. As they were cooking I was comparing the texture to Cream of Wheat, to my standard steel cut oats, and to rolled oats. It dawned on me the full sensory experience of the texture of the cereal, the fruit, and how eating mindfully opens one up to it.

Last night after work I managed to find the motivation to stop at the gym and swim a marvellous 950 yards to the backdrop of children's swimming lessons in the other lanes. I wore my noseclip and ear plugs, which makes me swim faster. Besides which, they kept both the splashing and the noise from disturbing the zen of rotating strokes. It felt wonderful and comfy, being cold outside but warm in the pool area. When your workout feels like reward, what's not to like?

emoticon Here's to a great Tuesday. Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 12/7/2011 7:56PM

    It's a great idea to change up the texture/mouth feel as well as the colours and flavours . . .

I keep reminding myself that this is the way to enjoy great food: not just grease and salt and sweet!!

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_LINDA 12/6/2011 5:59PM

    Way to swim after work no less! I am not a grains fan, my breafast is always a fruit shake, but the rare time I have it, I prefer crunchy cereals. I may get in a warm pool to do my hip exercises, would be a treat :)

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/6/2011 9:36AM


This morning I'm having brussels sprouts and turkey meatballs cooked in broth. for breakfast. just because I can.

Great job on the swim!

When I was doing laps regularly I got a SwiMP3 to listen to. It was so absorbing I sometimes forgot to flip and ran into the walls!

Comment edited on: 12/6/2011 9:36:47 AM

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SUNNY1432 12/6/2011 9:27AM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful yesterday; I hope today is just has good. emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/6/2011 9:28:25 AM

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SUNNY332 12/6/2011 9:06AM

    Love that attitude, Barb. When you workout feels like a reward, what's not to like? Wow-that is so profound.

BTW - we have grits for breakfast often and love Bob's Red Mill Organic Grits. Talk about flavor. They are awesome.

When we went to Florida a few years ago, we had Grits and Shrimp (a dish of the South) and fell in Love it with it. I fix it occasionally. When we eat the grits, we eat them with a protein or a fruit at breakfast. 1/2 Cup of prepared grits will get you through the morning.

Take care and let me know if you try Bob's. They are the BEST!

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    "When your workout feels like reward, what's not to like?"

What a great line - that will be my mantra when I'm needing to push myself to work out and then feeling pleased that I did so later. Thanks! Have a great day!

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MSLZZY 12/6/2011 7:57AM

    Happy swimming! The nearest heated pool is 35 miles away. Guess I'll stay home LOL!

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Music and moving

Monday, December 05, 2011

Listening to music while working out is nothing new. It's recommended far and wide. I sometimes have a soundtrack while going about my morning wake-up get ready for the day, too.

This morning's sound track is Handel's Messiah. In fact, this was Saturday morning's sound track, too. At the gym for my warmup I had the Flight of the Bumblebee and the Flight of the Valkyries. In the few spinning classes I've taken they have had these modern hip-hop and such where I don't recognize (or vaguely do) the artist or the piece, but they have a strong beat. Helps one keep the pedals moving.

Not that I am turning up my nose at more modern genres... I love working out to ABBA (although my son laughs and makes fun of them), to the Beatles and the Beachboys, or the Eagles and collections of hits from multiple artists of the 50's and 60's. Music of one's youth does tend to make one feel younger and more like moving about... it is tied up in memories.

I became aware that I'm "out of it" when I saw the Spark Survey about favorite workout tunes and I didn't know any of them! Current music has passed me by. I might hear them in the background now and then when the radio is on, but I'm past the point of actively seeking new music.

I've been infected by virtue of having lived through my son's teenage years with some from a decade ago that stick with me: Greenday, Analis Morisette, and Tubthumpin'. Even a few country ones get me going (When a God-fearing woman gets the blues?) But even his "music of youth" has moved into a stability phase. I must need grandkids!

Still, nothing matches the classics for me in getting moving. Whether it is the lift of something like Messiah, or something that makes me walk faster, like Bach's Brandenberg concerti (No. 4 and 5 are particularly fast-paced)... music has the ability to feed the soul while I'm moving the body!

What's on YOUR soundtrack?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 12/6/2011 8:50AM

    Messiah and other works by Handel are some of my all-time favorites. I don't have an iPod, so I don't listen to music when I work-out unless I'm at the gym or using a DVD. But I love music and have plans to get one eventually.

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MILLERGIRL719 12/6/2011 6:50AM

    My tunes are so ecclectic it might make your head spin. But it is fun and keeps me moving. I need to get back at it. I've been sick since Thanksgiving emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 12/5/2011 11:38PM

    I don't know any of the modern stuff, but I do love country and anything from the 70's. Ditto what "Cookme" said! I love, love, love working out to ABBA....the soundtrack to Mama Mia, and especially "Dancing Queen." I will literally stop what I'm doing and dance to that. Kind of embarrassing since it's the ringtone on my cell phone, lol!

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DEBRITA01 12/5/2011 8:49PM

    emoticonI love any genre...and I usually have a song in my head most of the day. Nothing like music to lift the spirits and get one up and going... Enjoy!

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_LINDA 12/5/2011 7:03PM

    I am with you on that Spark list! Didn't have a clue who they were or what they sounded like. My rock musical tastes stayed in the seventies and thanks to digital TV, I can still listen to pure 70's. I can tolerate some of the 80's though, but hate this hip hop trash they play sometimes. I think ABBA has great music and love that my Curves has a Abba Friday every week :)))!! I don't mind the Latin rhythms of Zumba though. As I can't wear ear phones they make me deaf, I don't get to take my music with me anywhere :((.
Here is to SANE music!

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KARIDIAN1 12/5/2011 4:48PM

    I don't have a soundtrack, I usually walk with my husband and it's a good chance for us to talk and catch up.

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TISHTOES 12/5/2011 2:57PM

    P.S. I always have music in my head, whatever I played last (I'm a musician) or heard recently or am working on.

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TISHTOES 12/5/2011 2:56PM

    I bought a James Galway CD last year and was listening to it while driving down the freeway. When Flight of the Bumblebee came on I started speeding. Not recommended for driving, haha!

I like Gloria that was in Flashdance and an ice skating movie (don't remember which one). It gets me moving.

So glad you are sticking to classics. Whatever works for you.

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MSLZZY 12/5/2011 1:43PM

    I really don't have a soundtrack but I let my mind do it's wandering and play it in my head.
Anything BeeGees that has a good beat, basically whatever I can think of.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/5/2011 9:44AM

    Oh, so many: modern country, Billy Joel, Elton John, movie soundtracks (Mama Mia! & Chicago), Neil Diamond, Barry Manilow, just about anything from the 70s. Nothing like good music to make you feel good and help you move!

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KALIGIRL 12/5/2011 8:02AM

    Just what's in my head emoticon

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So far, it's been a very satisfying weekend

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Sunday afternoon... potato baking in the oven, warm lunch on a chill day. Yesterday I had errands to run, despite the weather forecast. Made it to the periodontist just as the rain started to change over. Home after to change, then to the gym where I asked the personal trainer to "be nice to me, I shovel by hand". Hah! As my son said, "Good luck with that, Mom!"

Anyway, it was a great workout, and I decided to wait 'til morning to clear off the snow. Well! Those of you who live in climates like mine know that's a chancy decision. Wait too long, and in falling temperatures, wet slushy snow on the ground turns into textures ice. So this morning's workout began with that ice/snow reduction exercise. The hope now is that the sun will be strong enough even with a high of 30 to evaporate or melt the residue.

I also followed through on my "blended" training plan to start the Spark "5K your way" plan, as it just fits nicer into that plan than the Couch fo 5K I did last year. I did a treadmill rotation, longer than officially noted, as I added warmup / cooldown to the workout.

And with this level of meeting my promises to myself, and avoiding procrastination... so far, food plan is on track! First weekend in quite some time I've been able to say that for the whole weekend. Yep, "don't get cocky".

Here's to good decisions, delivered one at a time. Life's good... Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/4/2011 7:49PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Well done!! Way to work it!!

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WATERMELLEN 12/4/2011 5:16PM

    It's so amazing that somehow the mind just flips a switch and . . . onwards!! Good for you!! (Weight maintenance is all between the ears).

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/4/2011 3:04PM

    What a nice turnaround in mindset and motivation. Glad you're back on your desired path. I'm having a pretty good weekend too. Making good decisions about food choices and exercising really good portion control. Not perfect, but "good 'nuf" for now.

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MSLZZY 12/4/2011 2:17PM

    We were fortunate to get a light dusting of snow that will melt today. The snow shovel is safely tucked away for later.
Glad you are having a more back to normal weekend! HUGS!

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FITFABJENN 12/4/2011 2:14PM

    Kudos for good decisions! emoticon


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Blending training plans

Saturday, December 03, 2011

I know how long it takes to train for a half marathon - 12 weeks, once you can complete 4 weeks at a pre-training fitness level, which is what I did last year. I found a 13 week training schedule for the tri. I looked them up on a couple of web sites, ported them into a spreadsheeet with real dates. Last year's 12 week beginner's half marathon guide adapted well to speed walking, using distances for runners. This year I shall blend that with "maintenance" schedule for swimming, but save the biking training for after the half... which puts me pretty much into the outdoor cycling training weather, right on time.

The half marathon is two weeks into the training schedule for the triathlon... so I figure I will foreshorten the tri training a bit. A half marathon is a good level of fitness to start my tri training from!

The four pre-training weeks for the half would have a mid-January start date. If I can fore-shorten the Couch to 5K plan (i.e. start at about week 3) I can tuck that in before I start the pre-training for the half.

Silly Barb... this, too, is a form of avoiding uncomfy emotions. But it's healthier than diving into desserts!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDI571 12/3/2011 12:13PM

    I can't even imangine. You go! emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/3/2011 12:07PM

    . . . and you say that *I* plan everything out!?!

Seriously, it sounds like a good plan. Go for it!

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_LINDA 12/3/2011 11:49AM

    Well done!! Great planning!!

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JUST_TRI_IT 12/3/2011 9:01AM

    Way to go, Barb! I like the idea of the blended plan.

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MSLZZY 12/3/2011 8:07AM

    Yep, you will be busy but you can do it! I admire your dedication! HUGS!

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