Monday, November 30, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 15 (Halftime Edition!)

I've done it! I just finished Day 15 of my 30 Day Shred Challenge. That means I am half way done - already! Can you believe it? If you've been on the fence about jumping on and doing the 30 Day Shred video, I urge you to just do it. After 15 days, I can definitely see and feel a difference. My legs are stronger and more toned, my arms and back are stronger and more toned, and my lower abs (you know the ones: the ones you think nothing will help because you've had 3 kids) are pulling in and getting flatter! Woo Hoo! It's working!

I won't is challenging. Not because the moves are particularly complicated, but because Jillian works everything and she does it in 20 minutes. By the end of those 20 minutes, you can't believe how much she's crammed in and how tired and sweaty you are. And the first 3 days? Seriously, they stink. I won't lie. Superman just finished 3 days and this morning (his day 4), he agreed that the worst is finally over...but for three days? He couldn't figure out why he'd agreed to try this workout.

So, if you want to get fit, just try it. It will be a tough 20 minutes every day, but you won't regret it. I promise!

As for the rest of my exercise, today is also the last day of November and I did it, I've worked out every single day in November. Now, I don't plan on working out every single day in December (Christmas Day? I don't think so!), but I wanted to jump start my fitness routine and I came up with this challenge to help me change my habits. Making a 30- day commitment and sticking to it really helped.

Another thing that helped was logging my progress on the Transcontinental Trail. In November, I rode my bike 224.5 miles and I ran 52.2 miles for a total of 276.7 miles covered under my own locomotion! Since I've been keeping track, I've already covered 513.2 miles and this is what I'd see if I was actually on the trail.

513.2 mi - "6.96 mi to Rosedale, VA", Russell County

The day is young...make it count.

As for me, I'll be back a little later with Making Your Home Sing Monday (The Christmas Card Edition!).

See ya!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 14 (Sunday Edition)

No whining, no complaints...I just did my workout and got it over with. Day 14 was also my fourth day of Level 2. Superman did Day 3 of his own 30 Day Challenge, too. We spent the rest of the day putting up more of the Christmas decorations.

I'll be back tomorrow!

Food for Thought

"Winter is the time for comfort - it is the time for home."
- Edith Sitwell

Saturday, November 28, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 13 (Whining Edition)

I really, really, really didn't want to exercise today. Seriously. I spent the first five hours of the day whining to myself about how much I didn't want to exercise today. It was the theme of my conversation to myself as I was cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen, and even putting up the first of the Christmas decorations. "I'm tired. I'm really tired." "I've been working out every day since October 26...I can take one day off." Then, of course, I'd practice what I'd write on my blog to explain why I didn't do Day 13 of the Challenge. After all, you guys would understand tired, right? You guys would excuse me on the basis of cleaning, right?

The problem? I'd be breaking a commitment I made to myself.

It took me until 3:00 p.m. to convince myself to workout. "20 minutes, that's all," I told myself, "I can do 20 minutes, but I won't do the other 25 minutes that I'm supposed to." So, I psyched myself up and did Day 13.

As you might imagine, I was really proud of myself for doing those 20 minutes. So proud, in fact, that I got my butt downstairs and jumped on the LifeCycle and did my 24 minutes on that, too. Even better, when Superman finally made it downstairs to hit the bike, I moved on to the treadmill and did 24 minutes on the treadmill to keep him company. I didn't run, but I kept moving for 24 minutes and logged more than a mile and a half! Woo Hoo! I did it!

So, now you know what I did to make myself proud today. Not only did I clean and decorate, but I exercised and kept my commitment to myself. That is a good feeling! I hope your day was equally as productive.

Thanksgiving Images

Thought I'd share some pictures from our quiet Thanksgiving celebration. They are a far cry from the boisterous Thanksgiving's we'd have back in So Cal, but we still try to do it right.

Superman cooked everything but the dessert. He says I cook for the family all year long, so he can take over on the holidays. (What? You think I'd argue? Are you crazy?)

Buttercup took over the reigns and decided to do our tablescape. I told her whatever she did would be perfect and I think she did a terrific job. (This is the first year she's done it and she came up with the entire thing on her own.)

As always, we had the bear-bread massacre at the table. Somehow my kids have decided that ripping apart little teddy bear breads (with sound effects!) is a good thing!

Finally, with Charming's plans for the future, it is entirely possible that I won't have all three of my kids together next Thanksgiving, so I had to get a shot of them. Aren't they gorgeous? Biased? Me? No way! (The photo isn't terrific, but it is good enough for me.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pasta E Fagioli Soup

I promised you this recipe a few days ago, but Thanksgiving got in the way. This is a copy cat recipe meant to taste like the Pasta E Fagioli from Olive Garden and I'd say it comes pretty darned close.
Now, my one disclaimer: This recipe is a soup recipe, but my picture will look more like stew because Superman and Buttercup like a LOT of pasta in their soup, so ours ends up having more of the broth absorbed by the pasta. Other than that, I follow this recipe and I encourage you to do the same. So, better late than never, here is the recipe for Pasta E Fagioli.

Pasta E Fagioli for the CrockPot
(Serves 12-14)


2 lbs ground beef (I use one package of ground turkey - roughly 1.5 pounds)
1 onion , chopped
3 carrots, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (16 ounce) can red kidney beans, drained
1 (16 ounce) can white kidney beans, drained
3 (10 ounce) cans beef stock
3 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons pepper
5 teaspoons parsley
1 teaspoon Tabasco sauce (optional)
1 (20 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
8 ounces pasta


1. Brown beef (turkey) in a skillet.

2. Drain fat from beef and add to crock pot with everything except pasta.

3. Cook on low 7-8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

4. During last 30 min on high or 1 hour on low, add pasta.

Notes: I used a stock pot on the stove and simmered it on low all day.

Did you notice? There is nothing bad for you in this soup! It is like a garden in a bowl. A perfect soup for a cold day...try won't be disappointed.

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 12 (Black Friday Edition)

Did you hit the stores at 4:00 a.m. this morning? If you did, I hope you got what you were after. I have friends who make a day of it and look forward to Black Friday each year. If you're one of those, I hope it was super fun and you always found a parking space near where you wanted to be. As for me, I can't imagine a) getting up early to go shopping and b) fighting those kinds of crowds.

No, I stayed home and took down all the autumn decorations in preparation for putting up the Christmas decorations. Superman put on Christmas music to accompany our breakfast. And, of course, I exercised, first doing my second day of Level 2 for the 30 Day Shred. Today was Day 12. Day 12? Day 12! I can't believe I'm already at Day 12. What a difference 12 days has made. Seriously. I can feel abdominal muscles that I forgot I had. My thighs are stronger and calves are showing definition I haven't seen in more than 20 years. Even better? My stamina is increasing.

You'll never guess what happened today. Seriously. Superman decided to jump into this challenge and did Day 1 of Level 1 today! Valiant did it with him to keep him "man company". Superman's conclusion? This video is deceptive because each of the moves is simple, but the combination works EVERYTHING. It is not "dance-y" and it is not difficult to follow. It is straight forward and in the end, you are tired and have worked everything. Superman, I'm so proud of you!

So, what are you waiting for? (Okay, Tricia, I know what you're waiting for...) Start is never too late. You've already been following along with me for 12 days.

So, what are you going to do today to make yourself proud?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 11 (Thanksgiving Edition)

Another Thanksgiving is coming to an end. The food hast been eaten, the leftovers are in the fridge, the dishes have be done, and the turkey carcass is boiling on the stove. Everyone is feeling happily stuffed. We don't watch football, but a screening of The Incredibles is currently playing on the Nagle5 television. Oh, did I mention we made homemade whipped cream and that half a pumpkin pie went home with Charming? All in all, it was an awesome Thanksgiving.

Before Thanksgiving, however, Valiant and I stuck to our schedule and we did Day 11 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge. Today was our first day of Level 2. We'd heard that Level 2 was easier than Level 1, but we really didn't believe it. I'm happy to report that it was easier! Seriously. I couldn't believe it. So, even though it is Thanksgiving Day, we did it...Day 11 is put to bed!

Oh, one more thing. Superman and I have been sharing a personal challenge and yesterday marked our 30th day in a row of exercise. You read that right...Superman and I have not missed a day of exercise in 31 days! I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but we're so proud of ourselves, I just had to share.

If we can do this, you can, too. We're out of shape and overweight, but we're not letting that stop us. Our secret? We're taking it one day at a time and at the end of the day, we're making ourselves proud and making our children proud of us.

I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you're feeling positive as we head into the holiday season.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilde

I Guess It Is A Good Thing...

...that we're not having any guests for Thanksgiving Dinner. Superman and the kids couldn't wait until Thanksgiving Dinner for the apple pies (one with a crust and one with a crumb topping because I didn't make enough crust).

Sigh. At least they didn't cut into the pumpkin pie or the pumpkin swirl cheesecake.

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 10 (Level 1 Finished Edition)

I cannot believe that we are already done with 10 days of the 30 Day Shred Challenge. Seriously. We are one-third of the way through our 30 Day Challenge. How cool is that?

Level 1 was tough those first few days and I know some of you are getting up the nerve to jump right in and challenge yourself with it, but are a bit intimidated. I won't lie. It was hard...seriously hard...for the first three days. After that, I noticed that I got further and further into the 20 minutes before I hit the "I'm going to die!" phase of the workout. By today, Day 10, I knew I could do it and I just did it.

So, what have I learned so far by doing this challenge? Quite a bit.

First, I was reminded that the time passes either way and each day I make a choice about what I will do with my time. In ten days time I grew stronger, fitter, and more capable.

Second, I was reminded that uncomfortable doesn't mean you don't do it. Parts of this workout remained really difficult for me, through all 10 days. I didn't give myself the luxury of skipping them and, you know what? It didn't kill me to tough it out.

Third? Watching my kids bicker with each other as I am waiting for death during the workout is a good distraction! Wait! No...that is not what I meant to write...

Third, I have been so impressed with the fact that my kids have voluntarily (with not even a hint from me) just jumped on the program and made the commitment to see this through with me. I'm proud of them. (But it is funny to watch them fight through the workout. I'm impressed they have the energy to go at each other while Jillian goes at us!)

Finally, outing myself with regard to this challenge has given me the opportunity to hear from new people and to get closer to people who are struggling right along with me. I need the support and I appreciate the camaraderie that this challenge has created. So, thank you for being there for me. You can't know what it means to me.

Tricia and Sande, when you're ready, just let me know and I'll be right here on the sidelines cheering you on. I won't lie to is challenging. But seriously, it is so worth it.

So for Valiant and I, tomorrow we start all over again - Day 1 of Level 2! I'm so excited! (oh, and scared...but I know I can do it!)

P.S. I know I owe you a Pasta E Fagioli recipe and I promise I'll post it later tonight. I have a pumpkin pie in the oven, and two apple pies ready to go, and pumpkin swirl cheesecake in the queue. Can you tell we don't worry about what we eat on Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 9 (Adding Weight)

We're already done with Day 9 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge and this time we added more weight.

Valiant and I both mixed it up a bit, by adding weight to certain of the exercises. I moved up to 12 pound weights for the chest flies and used 8 lb weights for the squat and press and the lunge with bicep curls. Adding more arm weights made it so I was mentally whining about my arms instead of my legs! Valiant moved from 2 lb weights to 5 pound weights for all the same exercises. The girl push-ups? They finally felt do-able, but they were still a struggle.

I can't believe we only have one more day at this level and then we bump it up to Level 2 Thanksgiving Day. (Terrific timing, isn't it?)

In other randomness, the Pasta E Fagioli soup is on the stove simmering away and the fresh bread for tonight is already out of the oven. (I know I had planned to make Butter Dips, but fresh bread just seemed to fit better once today arrived.) I'll be sharing the specifics of the soup recipe later today and you won't want to miss it because it is that good. (It is a copy cat recipe that mimics the Pasta E Fagioli from the Olive know that is good!)

I'm excited that we're already done with exercise and dinner is already pretty much done, so I can actually get some sewing done. Fingers crossed that I'll have some stuff to show you tomorrow.

P.S. Did you know there are only 30 days until Christmas?

Monday, November 23, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 8 (Wow!)

Did you do it? Are you right there with us? Valiant and I are happy to report that we've completed Day 8 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge. Buttercup has made up one of the two days she missed, so she's finished Day 7. I can't believe we've only got two more days at this level. I'm still struggling with girl push-ups and those anterior shoulder lifts, but I can definitely feel myself getting stronger. How weird is that? Only 8 days into and I can feel a difference. I can only imagine what I'll be saying after the full 30 days.

I've been chatting offline (via email) with a few of my friends about this challenge and it occured to me that none of us stopped caring about our health or our looks or our fitness. What happened is simply a case of 20 years of benign neglect while other things were more important to us. The ugly truth is this: Women today can have it all. Truly. The myth comes into play when women think they can have it all simultaneously. Choices have to be made, priorities established and I know the choices I made, the areas I prioritized and the areas I put on the back burner. Thin thighs or a paycheck? Hmmm...flat stomach or a kid's activity? Carrot sticks or a cool ethnic meal out with our spouse?

Obviously, other things were more important to us. The urge is always there to second guess yourself, to try to add more to your to-do list, but you can reach a certain point where your to-do list is so long that trying to do everything means you aren't doing anything well and that is the point when things like fitness start to fall off the list as you pursue balance. I think we all do the best we can with the constraints we live under. The great thing is that priorities change and years of benign neglect can become months active rehabilitation. When the time is right and I'm finding myself in that time and place now.

I'm not trying to find my 20-year old thighs (although, if they show up, I'm not turning them away!) and no matter how trim I get, the "baby-came-out-this-way" stretch marks across my stomach won't be going anywhere. Nope, for me, and for those of you I've been talking with, this is more about feeling like you're caring for your body, appreciating what it can do for you and ensuring that it will continue to do it for a long time to come. We're dusting away the cobwebs and reacquainting ourselves with parts of us we tucked away long ago.

Exercise makes you feel energized inside. It sounds so cliche (but cliches happen for a reason, right?), but it feels good to get your blood pumping. That is why it isn't as important what you do as much as it is that you actually do something. The years pass either way. Do you want to be talking about 30 years of benign neglect or do you want to look back and remember when it was time to start taking care of yourself again.

So, I'm done with Day 8 and super proud of myself. What about you? What have you done today to make yourself feel proud?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

It is Menu Plan Monday. We got snow on Sunday, so now I'm really in the mood to cook cold-weather "comfort" foods. This week's menu plan will be heavy on comfort food for cold days.

Monday - Meat and Potato Pie
Tuesday - Olive Garden Pasta E Fagioli Soup with Butter Dips
Wednesday - Bee Rocks (Meat Pastries)
Thursday - Thanksgiving Dinner with all the trimmings...
Friday - Leftovers!
Saturday - Salad (time to lighten the load)

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 7 (One Week Completed!)

Can you believe we're already putting one week of our 30 Day Shred Challenge to bed? I can't believe this is Day 7. Jillian promises it gets easier and Valiant and I both noticed a big difference in our stamina today, so I can assure you she is telling the truth and if you're a few days behind, just keep going, IT DOES GET EASIER!

Finishing the 20 minutes leaves me tired, sweaty, and proud of myself. Yes, I am still struggling with push-ups (and, Nan, these are girl push-ups!) and those anterior shoulder lifts. I could definitely use heavier weights for the chest flies and rows (I use 5 lb weights), but I still struggle with the 2 pounders on those darned shoulder lifts. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll bring the 8 pounders upstairs and just keep the 2 pound weights for the shoulder lifts. Other than that, I am just plugging away and not feeling any urge to whine and cry! My legs don't hurt at all any more.

On another front, I am still keeping up with our PE requirement, which means I need to get at least 45 minutes of exercise in each day. So, in addition to my turn at the 30 Day Shred, I am also running on the treadmill and riding the LifeCycle. I put in 55.7 miles last week - 44.4 of those were on the bike and 11.3 were running miles!

In my transcontinental journey, I'm proud to say, I've gone 431.2 miles! Can you believe it? It just goes to prove that you need to take these things one step at a time...if you'd told me that I could log 431 miles two months, I would have smiled politely and thought you were crazy!

Yet, here I am, 5.83 miles away from Ruaral Retreat, VA! It is never too late to start...if you want to log your steps or your miles, click here and start your own journey. One day at a time starts to add up!

So, what have you done today to make yourself proud?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 6 (Saturday Edition)

Wow! I can't believe we've already finished Day 6 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge. I was a bit concerned about how Saturday was going to go, but I've really gotten a lot done today. In addition to doing Day 6, I did my 45 minutes of PE, did two loads of laundry, dusted, vacuumed, and even took a load to Goodwill to get it out of my house! (Now I'm hurrying and posting, then I've got to get a treat made for Game Night!)

Day 6 was easier...seriously, it really was. I still have trouble with the shoulder lift/side lunge movement and push-ups are still really hard, but overall it is getting easier. Again, both kids did it with me.

Buttercup made me laugh when the video started. The standard "consult your doctor and quit if you have discomfort" disclaimer rolled on the screen and she exclaimed, "Wait! I have discomfort, so I get quit?!" Um, no!

So, I've got to go and make treat for Game Night, but I just wanted to ask, "What have you done today to make yourself proud?"

(Tricia, I'm so proud of you for getting the video - you can do it! I promise. Melissa, I am so jealous that you find Level 1 are a star!)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fertilizer Friday - Greenhouse Edition

It is Fertilizer Friday, the time Tootsie asks us to share our gardens, our inside plants, or anything else we're using to beautify our homes as we long for spring.

This week, I'm ready to share images from my greenhouse. I've finally figured out the temperature maintenance and my plants are recovering from the freeze they experienced right before we got the greenhouse finished.

My petunias are blooming.

My geraniums are coming back.

My Gerbera daisies are recovering, but not yet back.

Even Buttercup's tomato plant is trying to give us a tomato.

Things are definitely looking up, but I desperately need Tootsie's help! Tootsie, I can't get a handle on the moisture level in the greenhouse and I'm struggling with powdery mold (the white stuff) and, I presume, other fungus issues. Most days the greenhouse is only getting up to 60F...should I be aiming for higher to dry out the air? Help!

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 5!

Woo Hooo! Day 5 is put to bed! Yes, you read that correctly...I am already done with Day 5 of the Challenge. To put it another way, I only have 25 more days to go!

We're heading out in a few minutes to go to the oral surgeon for Valiant's extractions, so we knew we had to do it early. Valiant and I got up and got it done.

Did you notice, however, that I didn't include Buttercup in that sentence? You did? Really? Go figure. Curiously, Buttercup didn't think starting the video at 7:40 AM was a fun idea, so she bagged it and stayed in bed. She says she going to do it later today, but we're skeptical. We'll keep you posted.

In other challenge news, Karen (and her daughter, Miss J) have returned from the great void and say they're joining up four days late, so they'll be finishing up four days late. Hey, Miss J, tell your mom I'm keeping track! (Hey, Karen, did I cheat on you by moving someone else's furniture?)

Generations Gone By is feeling better. A trip to the doctor and some magic medicine got her back on the treadmill and she's getting her 20 minutes in each day. (Hey, T, I knew you were teasing me...I was just sending you virtual love!) LoveAphid rules the world and is just plugging away, cheerful as all get out about getting encouraging emails from one of our brothers and his lady. Melissa is figuring out how to fit this challenge in with a toddler, a puppy, and a full-time job; oh, and a recently-sprained ankle.

So, have a terrific day and remember to ask yourself, what have you done today to make yourself proud?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Extra

P.S. If you have a moment, will you head over and give my friend Generations Gone By a virtual hug and let her know that I am NOT trying to kill the entire internet with this challenge? She's been trying to do our challenge via her Physical Therapy for her arthritis (it is 20 minutes of special exercises) and I'm so proud of her...she is muscling through and she doesn't have to...I don't want her to hurt! (Just taking care of yourself is good enough for me!)

Random Fun Stuff

Well, you already know that we had dental appointments yesterday (look, Ma, NO cavities), but did you know that we also got to go to our friend's house after the appointment? Well, we did. My friend K generously offered to make lunch for us and we enthusiastically accepted her offer. the kids were so excited because K's kids are homeschooled, too.

K's family has "acreage" which is home to a barn and several outbuildings and Buttercup was enchanted to discover that they did, in fact, have barn cats. Bob, the girl cat, was her big favorite. Valiant, on the other hand, was a trooper and built Lego forts with K's boys. Me? Well, I don't think K understood that I don't do well feeling like "company" so within about an hour, we were rearranging furniture and totally transforming her family room/living room/dining room. Seriously, I have a problem with stuff like this. Valiant came downstairs, saw what we were doing, and said, "Oh, Mom, really? During our very first visit to their house? Did you have to?" The real problem was that K's husband, G, heard of my ideas and ran out and got the tape measure and said they'd work and then left the house! Well, K and I couldn't resist after that!

We rearranged a piano, a hutch, a book shelf, a chair, and some little tables. We added a loveseat she'd been storing and couldn't figure out how to get into the room. This is my idea of fun! It worked out beautifully and her living space made her smile. Best of all? She won't have to completely rip apart her house to host her weekly Bible study. How cool is that?

So, K, thanks for letting me play at your was super fun! (And your directions for getting back to the city were perfect!)

Other random fun...

Have you met Marcelle? She's 47, mother of three, and grandmother to four(I think), and recently lost 50 lbs. I think it is fabulous that she's my age and made such an awesome change in her life and her triumph encourages me every day. Wait until you see her awesome before and afters! She's also struggling to keep in touch with her kids and her grandkids from a great distance and shares all of those issues, too.

My friend Andrea @ Hatch is already posting some terrific tutorials for quick baby gifts...since I have a friend having a baby tomorrow, I'm definitely going to be whipping up this little diaper bag.

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 4

I can't believe it is already Day 4 of our 30 Day Challenge! Have you been following along? Have you been doing it yourself? Well, after our early start yesterday, we took it easy today and didn't get to the video until late in the morning. Again, my kids have joined me. They've decided to make the 30 day commitment right along with me and I am so excited to have them along for encouragement and accountability.

We all agree that Day 4 marked the first time we really felt a difference after the fact. Our legs don't hurt as much, our muscles don't feel as stiff, and we feel like we really understand the moves. Interestingly, we all have different areas of difficulty. Valiant still struggles to bend his knees and struggles with lunges. Buttercup struggles with the lunges (both kinds). Me? I struggle with push-ups and the arm lifts that accompany the side-lunges. All of us agreed, however, that the video was over faster than we expected. I guess we're getting stronger without even noticing it.

Tomorrow Valiant will be getting some teeth pulled, so he's requested that we again get up early and do the video before the appointment, so that he doesn't miss a day. Despite my lack of enthusiasm for doing any video at 7:15 a.m., I'm darned impressed with is commitment, so we'll be up bright and early tomorrow to get Day 5 under our belts!

LoveAphid has been right along with day at a time. (Seriously, she called while we were doing the video today, so we basically hung up on her and she completely understood!) She's already noticing differences in her abs and her legs.

So, what have you done today to make yourself proud?

(Karen...hey, is awfully quiet...where are you? You committed, my friend, so I'm encouraging you to chime in here!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 3

It is Day 3 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge!!!

Woo Hoo! We're done! We're already done with Day 3!

Today we have to be at the dentist's office at 10:00 AM and we have a 45 minute drive to get there, so we've got to be ready to leave right after 9:00 AM. That means we had to be finished with the 30 Day Shred by 8:00 AM!!!!! Oh, did I mention it is Museum Day? We won't be home again until 5:00 p.m.

How was it? It was easier than it was yesterday! (Especially given that I got started at 7:10 a.m. to do it!) Oh, my quads still hurt and my wings still didn't like the push-ups, but the quads hurt less and the wings didn't complain quite as much. I'd say that is progress.

Since were still committed to 45 minutes of exercise a day, I'll be coming home and doing 25 minutes on the LifeCycle or the "dreadmill" after dinner. As for now? We've finished Day 3 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge. We so rock!

Don't forget to ask yourself, "What have you done today to make yourself feel proud?"Have a great day!

Melissa? Today is Wednesday and you finally get a day off, so fill us in with what you've been doing! Karen? Where are you? Katie? Have you been bicycling? Generations? Did you get your Wii Fit out? Let us know...

P.S. For any Biggest Loser watchers out there - spoiler below - stop reading if you haven't watched it yet!

Can you believe they kept Liz another week? She is mean. Oh my gosh! Didn't Rebecca look amazing in the follow-up? I was so proud of her. I cried with her when she was running that half-marathon. What a triumph! Did you stay up to see her on Leno? And what is this about her dating Daniel? Isn't he only 20? Doesn't he have a boatload of issues? She's 25...he's too young for her, even if they have this shared experience. What do you think?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So, I promised you a recipe...

And here it is: Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies. This recipe comes from Take It and Like It and I know it sounds so basic, but what caught my eye about this recipe was the Brooke's promise that they were truly chewy. I like my chocolate chip cookies chewy. I don't like them crunchy...ever. Since that was basically what Brooke promised, I had to go for it. But, in an effort for true transparency, I must confess that I've never made them...even though four batches have been made at our house. Yep, you read that correctly. I'm not the one making cookies in the Nagle kitchen these days. Instead, it seems like both Valiant and Buttercup have taken over cookie duty. (Could that be because I'm more focused on getting fit than trying new dessert recipes? Is that even possible?) Anyway, Buttercup has fallen in love with this recipe and I have to agree with is a terrific basic chocolate chip cookie recipe that never fails.*

So, without further ado, here it is:

Super Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Brooke at Take It and Like It

Chocolate Chip Cookies:
1 1/3 cups butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup tightly packed dark brown sugar (we used light brown sugar)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 cups flour
5-6 ounces (1 cup) chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 375F/190C.

In a large bowl o
r stand mixer cream together the butter and sugars, then beat in eggs and vanilla.

Stir in baking soda and salt, then mix in the flour until well combined.

Add chocolate chips.

This dough will be quite stiff, so if you have a stand mixer use it! Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto a baking sheet. (We used our Pamper Chef medium scooper.) Bake for 8-9 minutes or until light brown (the centers will be soft), then remove to cool on cooling rack.

* Okay, you can have an issue if you forget how to do fractions, but that tends to be a 10-year old problem and I think most of you should be fine!

(No pictures - Blogger isn't letting me upload them right now.)

30 Day Shred Challenge - Day 2

Well, the euphoria of starting this challenge has worn off and my muscles hurt this morning! My quads are sore and my wings (you know, the part of your back right above the band of your bra?) felt stiff as I pulled on my workout clothes this morning. Nevertheless, I knew we needed to get a jump on our workout, so at 9:15 this morning we did Day 2 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge.

How was it? (Updated: LoveAphid now calls it the 30 Day Dread--I think that says it all.)

Well, let's see. As Jillian started her intro, I was enthusiastic. When Jillian had us doing windmills, I started being concerned. When I hit the ground for my girl push-ups? I wanted to cry! Squatting for standing rows? Ow, ow, ow! Those side lunges combined with lifting weights to shoulder height? They almost did me in.

What about Valiant and Buttercup? Valiant eschewed the weights this time and did better...he's working on form and trying not to be all over the place. Buttercup? She said her legs her, her back hurt, and it wasn't so fun today!

What about you? Have you done your workout yet? Did you wake-up stiff and wonder why you even thought this was a good idea? I KNOW you can do it...seriously...taking care of yourself is a gift you give not just to yourself, but to those you love. So, get out there and put in your 20 minutes.

Oh, and if nothing else persuades you? Look at it this way: we've only got 28 more!

Have a terrific day!

P.S. I'll be back later today with an awesome chocolate chip cookie recipe...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 1 - 30 Day Shred Challenge!

It is Day 1 of our 30 Day Shred Challenge. Did you do it? Did you move your body for 20 minutes today? It is not too late. It is not even too late to run out to buy the video...Target has it on sale for $9!

I know LoveAphid did it because she called me and said, "Tell me again why we are doing this?" (She was panting in my ear!) She hasn't blogged about how much fun it was, though...I wonder why? I'm waiting to hear from Melissa at 365 Days of Exercise, but we know she's dedicated! (She's also super funny...she posted a picture of the Wii fit age she earned yesterday because it was 9 years less than her real can see her little Mii jumping up and down!) My friend Generations Gone By wants to know if she can get credit for shopping for baby girl clothes (um, no!) and Alicia and Andrea say they're in, but none of them have yet shared with us their 20 minutes today. Even my neighbor said she was going to join the Challenge to move 20 minutes a day! (And, Alicia, she's got five kids, too!)

So, what about me? Well, I did it! Not only that, Valiant and Buttercup have joined in on the challenge, too. My feedback? 20 minutes feels like a really long time! My quads hurt while I was doing it and my arms got tired by the end. Did I mention this is Level 1? Buttercup said it was fun (and said she should use weights tomorrow)...Valiant said it was hard, but he doesn't bend his knees which made every exercise more difficult (because his mother kept saying, "Bend your knees!"). Actually, I'm just excited that the Challenge has begun and I'm not alone.

So, what have you done today to make you feel proud? Remember, tomorrow comes either will be what you make of it! You CAN do whatever you set your mind to.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge Reminder - We Begin Monday!

Just wanted to remind you that we'll be beginning our 30 Day Shred Challenge on MONDAY! I know LoveAphid and Melissa will be joining in and I know K back in So Cal has committed to do it, too. Alicia is on the fence, but I hope she jumps in! I also heard that Katie is biking every day, so she needs us to encourage her habit. Even one of my neighbors here is game. I hope more of you are considering this 30 day challenge to get moving.

To recap:

This is not a pure 30 Day Shred Challenge because my goal is to encourage my friends to get up and move for at least 20 minutes a day, every day, for 30 minutes. If you don't want to, or can't, do the 30 Day Shred, that is fine with me. It is so easy to get out of the habit of moving every day that just committing to doing something is huge!

So, if you've got a Wii that you haven't been using, get on it! If you've got a stationary bike, pedal it! A treadmill? Walk. A sidewalk? Pound it! Do something for 20 minutes every day and come share here and on your blog. I'll support you and you'll support me and together, we'll make ourselves proud of the way we've cared for our bodies.

It Finally Came, But It Didn't Stick Around

The "measurable" snow we were promised finally arrived yesterday afternoon. As you can see, it was just enough to make everything look as if it had been dusted in powdered sugar, but not enough to get in our way.

As the afternoon wound down, Buttercup and her pals suited up in snow gear and started playing the snow on the other cul de sac, leaving the serenity of this scene unchanged.

By the time night fell, the temperature had dropped enough that it wasn't melting away immediately and even the road had a dusting. What does that mean? Ice in the morning!

Winter is on her way...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fertilizer Friday

It is Fertilizer Friday, hosted by Tootsie at Tootsie Time. We're supposed to be sharing our amazing blooms, but I don't have any right now. What I can share is that my garden is confused!

This is what the front yard looked like a few weeks ago. The weather experts were sure that inclement weather was here to stay and we were glad we got everything cut back and ready for a long winter's nap. Snow had finally arrived...

It dusted the post that had so recently housed a profusion of petunias.

It feathered the tops of the sad little box hedges.

And definitely made itself known in the backyard.

Unfortunately, "they" were wrong. The sun came out and the weather stayed warm. Warm enough the plants are confused.

They just don't know what is happening...does this look like Fall to you?

Snow was predicted for today...with a high of 37F. Since we're already at 38F and there is no snow to be seen, I suspect we won't be seeing any and the confusion will continue...

Head over to Tootsie's to see what everyone else has blooming these days!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Friday Photo Flashback!

It is Friday Photo Flashback...the time when Alicia at More Than Words encourages us to pull out pre-digital pictures from dusty boxes and share them with friends and family. I missed it last week, so I wanted to be extra ready for this week and I am!

Isn't this adorable? I pulled this picture out for a project at the youth group and decided you'd like it, too! I don't know when it was taken, but it is one of only a few baby pictures I have of...Superman! Based on Superman's birth date, I know this picture is from early 1967, but beyond that, I can't narrow it down.

And this is the baby who had to take a baby picture of Daddy to youth group. Do you know which of my babies it is? Don't you think she looks a bit like her Daddy? Definitely the same nose!

So that is my little trip down memory lane...I went as far back as 42 years and as recently as 10 years ago. I hope you liked the little peek into our family. To see more awesome pictures, head over to Alicia's and join in Friday Photo Flashback fun. It always takes me back and puts a smile on my face!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge

In this post, I shared with you my intention to do a 30-day challenge to complete Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Syl at Live, Smile, Run intended to host this challenge, but has since changed her focus to reach a weight loss goal. Well, that is not going to stop me. Nope, it is not. Beginning on Monday, November 16 and continuing through and including December 15, I am challenging myself to do the 30 Day Shred each and every day and I'd like you to join me.

So, here's the deal. I know a few of you have expressed interest in participating in this challenge and I'd love it if you did, in fact, share this little challenge with me. This is the deal:

There are three sections of the DVD: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. Each section is 20 minutes. Now, if you want to do the challenge, all you need to do is ten days of Level 1, followed by ten days of Level 2, and. lastly, ten days of Level 3. All you are committing to is 20 minutes a day. That's it. I'm not asking you to do more than one level each day (although I know that is how some people do it). Just 20 minutes.

I'm even including one "get out of jail free" card since we've got Thanksgiving in this 30 days. If you feel that you can't exercise on Thanksgiving, use your card and commit to adding 20 minutes extra to another day. You'll still have 30 days worth of 20 minutes and it will all be good.

So, what do you think? Got game?

Join me! We can do this!

Let me make it even easier for you do join this challenge. Instead of committing to doing the DVD with me, you can commit to doing 20 minutes of exercise everyday for 30 days. Just do it...20 minutes a day for 30 days of any exercise at all. Come on...we'll be done before Christmas and maybe, just maybe, we'll keep ourselves from gaining any holiday pounds and start the New Year with resolve rather than regrets!

Leave me a comment or send me an email if you're wanting to join in. Misery loves company!

Monday, November 9, 2009


v. 1. To make a firm decision about
2. To find a solution to; solve

n. 1. Firmness of purpose, resolution
2. A determination or decision; a fixed purpose

In this post, I shared with you my realization that I'd been in denial. I pretty much outed myself as a person who hadn't been dealing with myself honestly and was wearing the results on my body in the form of extra pounds and flabby muscles.

Since then, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how we make changes in our lives, the myth of willpower, and the reasons we don't live up to our commitments to ourselves.

I've concluded a few startling things: Changes we don't believe will make a difference or have any bearing on the way we live our lives. The short explanation: We don't really believe it matters in any meaningful way. "No willpower" is what we say when what we really mean is, "I haven't been convinced it matters". The broken vows don't count because we were making commitments about things we didn't believe in.

Think about it for a minute. Roll it around in your head: You don't make the changes you talk about because you don't believe they matter.

Here's an example from my sister (who, I'm certain, will be thrilled to read about her own life here!). My sister has struggled to keep on top of her laundry. Seriously struggled. She and her husband live alone - just the two of them - and she can't keep up on her laundry (or so she tells me). She makes the effort to get into a rhythm but she doesn't really stick to it and soon she's dealing with piles of laundry in various states: dirty, needing to be folded, needing to be put away. Why? Because she really doesn't believe that having her laundry done will make any meaningful difference in her life. Even more shocking? It might not! I don't live with her...I don't know how laundry is affecting her life. Regardless, until she truly believes that doing laundry matters and will positively impact the quality of her life, the laundry-dance will be one she does regularly.

Does that make sense to you? Think of all the things you say you should be doing and how many times you've promised yourself you would start doing them, only to fall out of the habit almost as quickly as you decided to incorporate it into your life.

Remember my failed attempt to have our family go 30 days without Fast Food? Since then, I've continued to educate myself, continued to commit to paying off debt and spending wisely and the Fast Food habit has disappeared--all without willpower or recriminations. Why? Because it became easy: I truly believed it was bad for us and bad for our budgets and so believing, I had no problem just not heading out in the first place.

Willpower doesn't come into play - ever. I find that really fascinating and liberating.

So, back to my post about denial and my need to exercise for fitness reasons and for weight reasons and, finally, so that I'm living what I believe and my children see me walking the walk, not just talking the talk. I'm still exercising daily. Yep, every day. I'm not going overboard and I'm not getting manic about it. I'm just taking care of myself and taking it one day at a time. Why? I believe it is necessary and that belief has led to a feeling of resolve and commitment that is easy to live with. No willpower necessary.

Resolve is the counterpoint to denial, whether it is in spending, housework, exercise, or dietary choices. Resolved is not pressured, fearing failure. Resolved is calm because to be resolved is to know you are doing the right thing, are on the right path, and your commitment is sound. Resolve makes things no longer negotiable. They just are.

Do You See a Problem with This?

Tuna Casserole is on the menu for dinner tonight. Therefore, I need tuna, right? Well, lately I've been really trying to keep the spending down and decided to try the Chicken of the Sea at Costco. I've also been trying the Bumble Bee tuna when I find a good sale. Regardless of the brand, I always buy tuna in water.

I was reading the can on the Chicken of the Sea while I was making the tuna casserole and imagine my surprise when I discovered that they add "vegetable broth which contains soy", "salt", and "pyrophosphate" (which is a preservative). That is gross.

Why do we need vegetable broth and salt in our tuna? And, if we already have salt, why do we need "pyrophosphate"? Is it needed to preserve the vegetable broth?

Of course, after reading this, I ran to the cupboard and grabbed my can of Bumble Bee tuna. Again, packed in water.

This time, however, that is all that was there. Tuna and demineralized water.

Okay, then, Bumble Bee tuna is fine.

What about my beloved Starkist in the pouch? Ack! Say it isn't so! It, too, has "Vegetable Broth, Salt" and a warning that it contains: "Fish and Soybeans."

I was really surprised to discover that there was more than tuna and water in any of these. Call me naive, but since they were all called "tuna in water" I thought that is what they were.

I guess the Nagles are switching to Bumble Bee. It seems to be the only tuna that is only putting water in its tuna "in water" and it is actually the least expensive. Go figure.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Menu Plan Monday, hosted by I'm an Organizing Junkie.

As part of my effort to stay on top of things and be proactive rather than being reactive, I've done up a menu plan for our dinners this week. Breakfast and lunch aren't an issue for us as the kids and I have simple breakfasts and clean out the fridge for lunch, but dinner can mess up the entire schedule, so for this week, we've only got dinners on the menu. (If I get ambitious or think I need to, I'll start doing lunches, too.) Having said that, Superman takes leftovers for lunch whenever it works out, so I am including that in my planning.

Monday -
Superman's lunch - leftover tuna and bread for tuna sandwiches.
Family Dinner - Tuna Casserole (he says you can never have too much tuna fish - go figure!) with Green Beans and Corn on the side.

Tuesday -
Superman's lunch - leftover tuna casserole (or, if he's finally sick of it, leftover Mexican from our party Saturday night)
Family Dinner - Chicken soup made from chicken stock I froze....we'll be gone in the afternoon, so this crockpot meal will be perfect...filled with vegetables and served with One Hour Bread.

Wednesday -
Must make Friday Delight on Thursday, but I'm not sure what I'm making. I'll know what I'm making by Tuesday night.
Superman's lunch - leftover chicken soup.
Family Dinner - Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Green Beans, and Sourdough Bread

Thursday -
Superman's lunch - leftover spaghetti dinner
Chili Dogs (okay, I'd really like to make these Bagel Dogs, but I'm not committing...chili dogs is my fallback!)

Friday -
Superman isn't working this day, so no lunch plan.
Family Dinner - Pizza night! (the cold weather has really finally arrived, so homemade pizza is back on the menu!)

There! A plan! Perfect? No, but doable and in place. This week is all about simplicity and feeling like I have a handle on my life again. This menu is only one little piece, but it is there!

Making Your Home Sing Monday

If you read my post on Saturday, you understand that I've been feeling frayed at the edges these days. Honestly, I think committing to add exercise every single solitary day was the straw that broke this camel's back. However, since I'm unwilling to give up this commitment, I have to get back to basics in other areas of my life. One way I'm doing this is to jump back on the Making Your Home Sing Monday bandwagon. Nan at Momstheword hosts this each week as a reminder to us all that our choices and attitude will determine the mood of our homes for the day and the week. Obviously, I need this these days.

Look, chaos is always at the edge of our lives and it is my firm belief that only through presence, our presence, that we can keep it at bay and keep our homes tranquil. I shoot for tranquil every day and some days are far better than others. When chaos is seeming to reign, however, and I find myself reacting instead of being proactive, I know it is "time to clean my room". What does this mean? It was something my mom used to help me learn that I was in control of my life. Whenever things would be feeling crazy and out of control, my mom would tell me, "go clean your room, you'll feel better". Of course, I'd grumble and moan and complain, but I'd do it and, darn it, she was right. I always felt better. No, I didn't save my parent's marriage and I didn't get that 16 year old boy to fall in love with me immediately, nor did I get perfect skin and a flat stomach, but I felt more able to cope with my reality when my environment was in order. It is just that simple. So fast forward 30 years and I'm still using this lesson: When life feels like it is coming at your from too many directions, "clean your room".

Reacting doesn't help me live my priorities with any integrity. Reacting gives me built in excuses as to why things I say matter don't get done. I have to be proactive to make sure that I'm living my priorities rather than just paying lip service to them. If I treat my jobs as "oh, yeah, I meant to get to that" kinds of things, how can I expect my children to treat their jobs as important, as priorities?

What does "clean my room" mean these days? Well, here it is 8:30 on Sunday evening and I'm not scrambling to get the kids' syllabus for the week done. It is already done and printed. I'm not going to fly by the seat of my pants for our dinners this week, either, because our menu plan is done. Finally, I'm not going to feel badly about posting in the evenings because I'll be posting early in the game rather than late. Monday chore day? I've gotten a head start and my sheets are changed and already washed and dried and waiting patiently for me to fold them this evening. Valiant's book for the Adolescent Literature Seminar? Already on order at the library; so we'll get that within a day or so, giving him more than a week to read Grapes of Wrath.

So, for this week, we're planning ahead so that next Saturday, I won't be pulling my hair out and holding on for Sunday. We're living our priorities, meeting our commitments and making no excuses. This week our house will be singing Loverboy's Everybody's Working for the Weekend because we're going to be dialed in and on task. (Hey, what can I say? The 80s were my teenage and young adult years!)

So, head over to Momstheword to see what everyone else is doing as we all join in on Making Your Home Sing Monday.

Food For Thought

The greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure.

--Sven Goran Eriksson

I saw this quote over at Training For Life It spoke to me...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Overwhelmed Much?

I am feeling the pressure these days and some cracks are starting to show. Let me tell you about my week.

Sunday evening I received a reminder email regarding Valiant's Adolescent Literature Seminar. "Oh, no!," I thought, "I haven't gotten the book yet and he needs to have it read by Tuesday at 6:00 p.m." A quick search of the library database revealed that no copies of the book were currently available. (Have I mentioned I love our county libraries? They are amazing!) I have a Border's gift card from my birthday, but was really trying not to use it in this manner. I called my bibliophile friend, A, who has 3000+ books at her house. "A, do you have a copy of the The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald? Valiant needs it for the seminar on Tuesday?" A search of her database revealed that she didn't. She did, however, tell me about where I might find it and if I did I could print the book for free because the copyright had expired. Score! The copyright in Australia had expired and I printed the book out that evening (running out of paper and having to figure out how to print on the backside and then messing up the order of the pages for Valiant…not a smooth operation by any means, but Valiant had the book).

Monday morning I wake up with a killer bladder infection – enough said. Still have to work-out because I've made a commitment to myself, but I must wait until the pyridium takes effect so I'm not doubled over in pain. Fun times. Did I mention that Buttercup woke up sick, too? Yep, she now has a cold.

Tuesday…the day of the adolescent literature seminar. Push Valiant to read, read, read because he loves the group and we've missed one meeting because of the flu (he missed the discussion of All Quiet on the Western Front, darn it!). Not a problem because Valiant is enjoying the book. Superman comes home from work and takes Valiant. Valiant finishes the last 20 pages in the car, gets carsick enough that he pukes in the library restroom before heading into the meeting room to join the discussion! Success? Um, no. Turns out we were so out of it being sick that we've actually missed two seminar meetings and he was supposed to have read Of Mice and MenThe Great Gatsby was two weeks ago!! Fortunately, the boy knows how hard I tried and forgives me for making him sick. Unfortunately, one of his friends hands him the book and says he can take it with him and the moderator chimes in with, "Great, have it done by 3:00 P.M. tomorrow and we'll have a meeting at Museum Day." Inwardly, Valiant groans and outwardly he smiles and says, "I'll be there." Watched The Biggest Loser because I need it! (Glad Tracy went home…she's weird…still don't like Liz, though…hmmmm.)

Wednesday – no school for Valiant. Just do chores and read the book for Museum Day. Car issues – I take Superman to the bus, come home and get started. While I'm working out my friend Mrs. M calls – her baby is due on the 20th and she's been in school full-time, so we haven't chatted. (Remember, I went to her baby shower a few weeks ago.) As soon as we hung up, I realized that I forgot to ask where she bought the gorgeous wreath she gifted to me last year – I want to buy one this year if we can. Buttercup has a difficult morning and we struggle to get out the door by 2:15, but Valiant read the book (hated it, duh) and we're going to the museum even if it kills us all. We leave the museum at 4:25 to go one mile down the road to pick up Superman and are late because I hit every single red light in downtown. We stop at Costco on the way home, groceries and dinner at the food court (gross, but fast, what can I say?). Then hurry home to get the food put away and Valiant changed. Did I mention he's a Boy Scout these days? Fortunately, we trade off driving and another family takes him this week. After he leaves, I sit down to grade Valiant's math test and I catch it on fire. How is that for distracted? Seriously, I flipped the page and set the darned thing on a candle that was burning on my desk! So, I threw the paper in the trash can and poured my iced tea on the burning test. The second page remains legible and I remember the only one he got wrong on the first page, so I give him back a scorched half page and note the other one he needs to study. The jokes begin: "Sorry, Teacher, my mom burned my homework."

Thursday – I get up at 7:00 A.M. and make a batch of Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies for Superman because I forgot to make Friday Delight on Thursday for his team. Done by 8:30 when he leaves – phew! Buttercup crosses the line big time and gets grounded to her room for the day. Enough said. Valiant has a terrific day and I'm finally feeling like myself again. We are watching Minority Report while we exercise and I realize again it is a good movie (but weird). The house gets relatively cleaned up and I'm excited because my friend and her three kids are coming for brunch Friday morning.

Friday – Superman's paycheck is $350+ short. Ugh…since we're living the Dave Ramsey way these days (give every dollar a home), I'll have to evict $350+ from their designated homes so we can put gas in the cars and feed the children. No debt reduction this paycheck. My friend K arrives with her three children at 9:30 AM and it was wonderful to see her. I served French Toast and Scrambled Eggs (hey, kids don't eat fancy stuff) and made a batch of one hour bread so she can take one with her (she was at a quilting retreat and just got home the previous evening and I know she hasn't had time to cook anything before heading up my way for her schooling commitments). I've not seen her in six months and so much has changed for her family in that time; the biggest being the switch from traditional schooling to homeschooling, but its more than that. Her baby is walking and is babbling. Her boys are calmer and happier. She's struggling with all the new homeschooling issues, but seems so fulfilled. She says her husband likes the changes he sees in the kids and their home life since they started homeschooling. She shows me the amazing quilt she made for her brother and shares with me the realization that being a homeschooling mom means she struggles to find time to do crafty/homemaking things. Um, yeah, I know. By noon, they've gone and we've settled into our school day. I'm playing with numbers on the computer trying to figure out the next two weeks. Superman comes home early and we finally exercise. Dinner is Tuna Melts and Salad and by the time that is done and cleaned up, I'm wiped.

(Look at the quilt my friend is making for her little brother - she used a bunch of his old shirts and fabrics that had elements that meant something to them all. Quite the labor of love, isn't it?)

Saturday – Here we are. I'm typing this on a laptop as I sit in the car waiting for Valiant to finish his Stage Combat class. I'm in my exercise clothes so I can't skip my workout. We'll be stopping at the post office on the way home to mail two books for Paperback Swap. Hopefully Superman has breakfast done and waiting for us when we walk in the door. Did I mention we're having a party tonight? Before Game Night begins, we're hosting a Mexican Pot Luck. We're supplying the meat, the beans, and some chips. . Everyone else is bringing the fixings. Oh, and Superman is making cream puffs and beignets. Today I'll be making up a batch of home-made refried beans and freshly fried tortilla chips.

So, what's been going on at your house?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Buttercup's Reality...

Buttercup is the youngest of our three children and the only girl. This Baby Blues comic strip illustrates perfectly the realities of her life these days. (P.S. If you don't read Baby Blues, you're missing a hysterically accurate take on family life.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Egg Bagels...

Growing up in Southern California, I grew up eating bagels. I love a good bagel. (Bagels are more than round bread, although you might not know that if you've just settled for grocery store bagels.) Bagels are unique enough that there were shops that only sold bagels (and the stuff to go with bagels) and they were always busy. Here in Eastern Washington, I haven't had any really good bagels and have had to settle for Costco bagels when the urge gets overwhelming. Not an entirely satisfactory arrangement, but it worked ... right up until the time that I realized that I could MAKE my own bagels. Immediately, I was beset by doubts. Could I make bagels? Could I make bagels that were actually good? Could I make bagels my family would enjoy? Oh, heck, sure I could.

So, that is what I did! I saw this recipe from Brown-Eyed Baker, wherein she modifies a Peter Reinhart recipe (from Bread Baker's Apprentice - which I now own because of my awesome sister!) and produces egg bagels. (Look, she did the real deal. She actually contacted Peter Reinhart and asked him if he had a recipe for Egg Bagels and he was kind enough to write her back with instructions for modifying his standard bagel can you not love that?)

Anyway, she posted step-by-step directions and I decided to give it a try worked! (Look at that bagel! Isn't it gorgeous?) I made Egg Bagels from scratch and I'm so stoked! Were they perfect? No, not yet. (Superman and Valiant swore they were perfect; Buttercup noted the same consistency/texture issue I did.) They were good enough, however, that I can hardly wait to try again. (Remember, I follow the adage that you can't say you can't do something until you've tried to do it fourteen times. If you fail at making bagels 14 times, then and only then, you may say that you can't make bagels.) Egg Bagels, Plain Bagels, oooh, Cinnamon Raisin Bagels...the possibilities are endless!

So, who's coming over for breakfast?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Look what I did!

Here I shared with you my painful realization that I must get back into shape (and I mean something other than "round"!). I also told you that I'd committed to myself to exercise every single day in October, only to be derailed by the flu (mine and the kids). Well, I still exercised 20 days last month - not bad at all, if I do say so myself. Notice that big blank in the middle? That is when I was sick.

This is what my exercise schedule looked like last month:

And this is how I ramped it up after I'd been sick. Like the kids, I'd committed to 45 minutes a day, minimum. Unlike the children, I don't get weekends off. (If Melissa can do it for a year...I think I can manage a few months.)

(Oops, I forgot to write the distance on the treadmill for October 31, but it was 2 miles.)

Translated? I pedaled 175.4 miles on my exercise bike in October. I also ran/walked 19.5 miles. That means, in the month of October, I traversed 194.9 miles. That is almost 200 miles! Can you believe it?

On my transcontinental journey, this is where I was yesterday.

236.5 mi - "17.53 mi to Vesvius, VA", Nelson County
"Section: 12 Map Name: Blue Ridge, 143"

So, please forgive me...I can't help but brag a little...I'm so proud of myself for sticking to my commitment to myself. Do my clothes fit any differently? No, of course not...not yet. But my skin fits you know what I mean? I feel happier inside than I have in a long time.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Food for Thought

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13

(P.S. I know my friend Alicia posted this verse last week, but it stuck with me all week, so I decided to post it myself today.)