Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow Days

I love snow days, having the girls home.

Only, I like them home in summer too.
School will now be extended until Friday June 11, which the girls won't be happy about. I won't really mind picking them up those extra days in milder weather and no worries about wind chills below -25, as long as this is the last of the snow days. Any more days off will interfere with camp & art class dates.

I know - I need to start adding more photos to my posts, wouldn't a nice photo of the drifted snow in my driveway be perfect to add just here? Not having the big computer working has been a hindrance as now I have to dig out the card reader, etc. - a few extra steps for just one or two photos keeps me from it. Now that the big computer is working again and I'm starting to play with my camera settings for my photography class, I'll have PS and the card reader ready for action all day. I really do need to think of a way to repay my Dad for fixing that for me!

So the girls are enjoying their extra days. A little piano practice, Natasha getting in a little extra review for finals postponed for weather, and babysitting tonight to make money to pay for guitar lesson books. Otherwise, yesterday was a pajama and video game day. Today, legos, piano, tents in their room made of blankets. Gotta love it.

Vegan Day 6 & 7

The vegan diet is going rather well. I don't think I've lost any weight yet as I really haven't changed my breakfast and lunches have not changed all that much. I can tell you though that I feel lighter on this diet. I had been hoping to exercise daily but with the early outs and getting back into the school/lesson schedule combined with snow days, I've only been 4 times. Not bad, but I'm working towards 5-6 days a week.

Yesterday I cheated (menu for the past few days to follow) while I was making a cookie plate for the rest of the family, and consolidating cookie tins. I should have asked one of the girls to do this because I ate a few cookies. It has been a whole week, after all, so I thought why not a treat for a mid afternoon snack? I had let the girls sleep in, so we had a LATE breakfast, so I hadn't had lunch and these wouldn't extra calories. Well, I ate one small frosted star cut-out cookie, one rugelach which is a baked flour/sugar/cream cheese dough filled with almond filling, and a grybaii - a soft orange gingerbread formed in a mushroom shape. HAD to have one of those.

Well, it was WAY too much. I felt heavy and overstuffed, like I'd eaten a brick. Won't be doing that again.

Menu Day 6
Breakfast: OJ and Hot Malt O'Meal for me, made with Silk. Instead of the usual brown sugar I stirred in 2 tsp. of Solo apricot filling leftover from a Christmas dish. Yum. Fast standby while I'm making pancakes and hot chocolate for the girls.

Lunch: I wasn't very hungry so I kept lunch light. 1 Navel Orange, Mango Tea (a black tea), Blue Diamond Almond/Rice Smokehouse crackers with 1/3rd avacado sliced and marinated in lime juice, a dash of olive oil and pepper. I usually add a sprinkle of salt too, but the crackers were salty enough on their own. I love the taste of the Blue Diamond crackers, except for the saltiness.

Dinner: Wednesdays are usually at church and I had been planning to pack myself a wrap, but when the snow canceled everything Rich wanted to pick up Chinese from our fave local restaurant. I had the Vegetarian Friend rice, which did have a bit of egg in it. Not alot though, and it was filled with more than enough bite sized vegetables: zucchini, mushrooms, peas, snow peas, baby corn, broccoli, water chestnuts, onion. I had planned on having a vegetarian egg roll from the freezer if I needed, but I had more than enough for leftovers too. Water to drink.

Day 7: A Snow day!
Breakfast: The girls slept in and I made them puffy pancakes (1 egg. 1/4 cup each milk and flour per serving in a hot pan with 1Tbsp melted butter for 2 servings).
Since I was up early to watch the school ticker I had time to bake an apple. I added a few Tbsp. water and a few dried cranberries to a tiny baking dish. I sprinkled the inside of my cored wrinkly apple (pickled locally last Fall and stored in the basement pantry) with cinnamon, and popped the dish in the oven for 30 minutes at 350. When it was cool, I chopped up the apple and stirred it into my Malt O'Meal, made with Almond Milk today. I like it better with almond milk. OJ to drink.

Lunch: Due to the late and slightly larger than normal breakfast, I just had an Orange and some pomegranate tea.

Dinner: Homemade Pizzas. Rich made a Taco Pizza for Natasha and I. I can't vouch for how vegan the tortilla chips were, but there were only a few. He left the taco meat and cheese of my portion, and the meat off Natasha's portion. crust, refried beans, lettuce, tomato and chips. Yum.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Day 5

Day 5 Vegan Diet. Mostly good. I did take a bit of Mira's M&M cookie today, but that beats making hot cereal in the morning, absent-mindedly making it with milk as always, and not realizing it until later in the day as you search for the Silk or Almond milk. I think I did that 2 days in a row. It's just habit to grab that gallon of milk!

Kind of like when I play something new at my piano lesson - pay attention to the note, pay attention to the ingredients. Maybe my word for 2010 should be intentional, or aware! Nah - I still like Just Do It. Cliche maybe but it fits.

I have jumped in, and how. Todays schedule was so crazy busy that I still haven't read todays photo class lesson. Still, I'm about to do that and the day WAS productive after a calm morning playing with Mira. I had a bit of a longer workout too. My ipod shuffle ran out of juice almost immediately, so I was forced to watch HGTV so I stayed on the elliptical machine 14 minutes longer than planned just to see how the kitchen remodel turned out. Maybe I should just leave the ipod at home?

My meals for the day:
Malt O' Meal (hey, I like maple syrup flavor!) with a little extra brown sugar.
Orange. OJ.

Not hungry at lunchtime today so I just had tea and a bite of Mira's cookie. Trying to eat when hungry only, not just by the clock, though I usually prefer to sit and eat with Mira.

Starved after running errands and working out - ate several whole raw almonds. I keep a bag in the car - keeps me from buying a chocolate bar when I shop.... I love all nuts, but whole almonds take a little longer to chew than a handful of pecans, walnuts, or cashews. When I have those for a snack, I limit portions by taking a small dish to the basement pantry, filling with just a few of each, and then take my bowl upstairs. They still disappear fast.

Dinner: Soy/sake/lime marinated salmon for everyone else. Sigh. THAT was hard. Brown/wild rice mix made with a 50/50 mix of water and vegetable broth. Yum. Butternut squash (from my garden) peeled, chuncked, and tossed with a mix of brown sugar, cinnamon, cumin, red pepper flakes, salt and a little olive oil before roasting. Yum! Oh, and a few raw carrots, no dip.

Monday, January 4, 2010

January restart.

2010 has been a good year so far. How about you?

December 31 we stayed at home. We ate junk (some more than others), watched the Cyclones win the Insight Bowl, played video games, built stuff with legos, I worked on my December Daily album and scrapped several pages. Rather a good day if you ask me.

January 1. I hoped to scrapbook a page about my phrase for the year Just Do it - Jump In! (check out One Little Word). Didn't happen. Instead we all slept in. Late breakfast made later by the fact the girls wanted pancakes and Natasha and I are participating in the PCRM 21 day Vegan Challenge.

I'm doing it for my health - a lower weight may allow me to take lower doses of my meds. I'm looking at taking methotrexate and a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory every day for the rest of my life, neither great for liver function. I am decreasing doses with physician supervision and encouragement, but have only made it a little way and already my hands are bothering me. Many of you know how much I love butter, cookies, hot chocolate... these are exactly the things I need to cut out to drop my weight- even if only for 21 days. In the first 4 days I've managed to walk past the tins of Christmas cookies and have NOT eaten at least 8 cookies, probably more because of this challenge.

In addition, cutting out dairy and meat may reduce the inflammation response to lessen the need for arthritis drugs. I am under no delusions here as I prefer meds over pain, weakness and immobility, but if I could significantly reduce even one of the two lesser meds, so much the better. I don't plan on being vegan forever, but simply get back in the habit of eating less animal products once I have hit my goal. Natasha decided on her own to join me.

Natasha & I worked out at the gym. She has been wanting to go forever, so we added her to our membership. Talk about incentive! She'll go with me at least once each weekend, and we are going to try Yoga on Thursday nights. Afterward the girls helped me with a 500 piece puzzle, everyone played video games and Legos, we watched 2010. Natasha found it MUCH more interesting than 2001 A Space Oddessy: which she thought was 'annoying and borrrring'.

Natasha also decided to only be vegetarian and not vegan for the challenge. Giving up butter or sour cream on her baked potato was too much! If only she'd try a sweet potato...

January 2: A few church duties, a little sale shopping, and another workout with Natasha. Saturday's activities were much the same as New Years... there is now a giant Lego castle in my living room. The walled garden has a formal reflecting pool with a fountain. I want to move in!

Oh - I almost forgot - Rich and Natasha picked out Natasha's Bass Guitar! It's blue and totally suits her. She's already figured out the notes and has picked out Twinkle Little Star. Lessons start soon.

January 3: After church, a trip to Ames to watch an exciting/stressful Mens' basketball game. Dinner at Hickory Park where Natasha decided to be vegetarian for 21 days except when eating at Hickory Park because her only choice would have been the kids Grilled Cheese dish. Truthfully - it IS a BBQ restaurant known for it's smoked meats. I ate a side salad without the cheese and with a raspberry vinaigrette, a side of mashed potatoes without the gravy (ok, so it probably had milk), glazed carrots (a bit sweet), and cinnamon applesauce. No - Natasha does not like any of those foods.

January 4: School back in session and Sarah was the only one excited. I miss my girls!
Mira stayed home and cuddled with me most of the day as she had a very upset tummy. She thought she should still go to preschool because "They have a toilet there - I can get sick in that." Sorry Charlie!

Today was also the first day of my photography class. Both Missy and I are taking Karen Russel's 10 week online Photographers Workshop. Daily lessons, a weekly assignment - looking forward to knowing my d-slr camera better and improving my skills. Taking the class with my sister? A bonus!