Saturday, June 13, 2009

Odds And Ends

All you pizza makers out there have you noticed your dough is WAY to sticky to work with now that it's summer? I have.

I now just stand at the bread machine with and extra cup of flour and add it in while it's kneading until I like the way it looks. Last night I needed an additional 3/4 of a cup. Also, by accident, I used bread flour instead of all purpose... and... it was the best pizza I had ever made. The crust was not as puffy & soft. I'll be sticking with it from now on.

I made Kid a dress yesterday. She loves it. It took me a total of 30 minutes start to finish. You can do it too. Seriously. I don't really know how to sew anything but a straight line and I have no patience for patterns and whatnot. If I can do it, you can do it.
I found a dress of hers that fits well.

I laid it on top of some knit jersey fabric (my fabric wasn't wide enough so I just adjusted the dress skirt to the width of the fabric).

Then cut out a dress back following the outline of the original dress.

(I intentionally used a jersey knit with the idea of NOT hemming the arm holes, neck line, or bottom. The jersey won't unravel it will just roll a little. You know? Sometimes you actually buy clothes with a rolled hem.... or remember back in the flash dance era... it's fine it will work out... bonus MUCH less work to make. And if your kid has weird seam and fabric issues, like Kid, this is their dream come true.)See the raw edges?

So you have cut out one piece of the dress by just cutting about 1/2" around the dress, except at the arm holes and neck holes. When you get to the arm and neck holes just cut those as close to the dress as you can.

Take your dress back and fold it in half. This will check how symmetrical it is. If it isn't, and since you just eyeballed it it won't be, just trim up the bits that are uneven. The side edges don't have to be perfect because those are going to be inside seams but you do want a smooth cut for the bottom, arms, and neck.

Take your back and put it on some of your fabric. Cut it out EXACTLY as big as the back. It is actually faster if you take your fabric and fold it in half and lay your dress back folded in half on top. Put the folded edges together and cut out along the cut edges. You will only be cutting out one half of the dress piece but when you unfold it you'll have the full piece. This saves the step of trimming it up to make it symmetrical. If you have never sewn clothes before and just read that and thought "this is getting too complicated" just lie it flat and cut it out just like you did the dress back. Then fold it in half and even it up.

Now you have to identical pieces of dress. To make one the "front" fold it in half and make the neckline scoop a little bit bigger. Look at your original dress for a guide.

Place your dress right sides together. Pin your dress edges together. Always place your pins for easy removal at the machine with the point UP and the head down. Using a straight stitch sew the shoulder seams locking your stitches and the sides of the dress.
You are done. It probably cost you $1. Which is good, because, if your daughter is like mine she'll get pen on it in the first 10 minutes of wearing it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Secrets Revealed

Shelley turned me on to Jillian Michaels radio show... and holy mother!.. finally some background info on The Biggest Loser. Guess how many calories the contestants are actually eating?
Keep in mind that they do workout 6 hours a day.

My mom guessed 2400.


8- freaking-00.

That's it.

I guess according to bariatric specialists that is the "sweet spot" for weight loss. My chin practically hit the floor. Listen to the 6/7 podcast to get the full story. BUT if you are like me and NEED TO KNOW I'll break it down for you:

Jillian breaks it down like this (for women)...

If you are OVER 60 pounds over weight = 800 calories/day

60 - 30 pounds overweight = 1200 calories/day (If you are losing from over this once you hit 60 pounds raise your calories 10% a week until you reach 1200.... about 4 weeks)

10-20 pounds to lose = 1500-1600 calories/day

vanity weight (less than 10) = use your BMR calculation as your daily allowance

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

This Week The Plan

Better late than never...

These last couple of weeks I have been slowly stock piling food in the freezer for Mr F to eat while we're gone. I've got chicken breasts frozen individually in freezer bags... kind of wish I had gone ahead and put some marinades in there for him but I second guessed myself and didn't do it. I am also going to put in a few hamburger patties & buns and this week I'll be making another huge batch of the BBQ chicken and freeze that out into small portions for a sandwich or two at a time. He can thank me later (or not... that heartless bastard). I'm trying to think what else I could make ahead and stick in there... maybe burritos.

It's summer and I'm moving into more cold/room temperature meals. I am loving being able to get things done earlier in the day... makes getting dinner on the table so much easier.

Monday - Pesto Pasta Salad w/ Peas and Grilled Chicken (God I love pesto... We could eat this dinner everyday)

Tuesday - potato salad (supreme style w/ celery, green onions, yellow pepper, celery salt, mayo, mustard & a little Ranch dressing... Mr F said it was the best he'd ever had), corn, and Honey & Mustard Glazed Salmon

Wednesday - BBQ chicken sandwiches (on slider rolls) & coleslaw

Thursday - Hamburgers (make double batch freeze half the patties), watermelon

Friday - Pizza Night - made w/ leftover bbq chicken, red onions, cilantro... just as good as Wolgang Puck's

Saturday - Pita, Tomato & Onion & Parsley Salad, Hummus, Rotisserie chicken

Sunday - Leftovers

*I made a double batch of the BBQ chicken using 3 pounds of chicken, 1 c of italian dressing ( I used Newman's Own light), 1/2 c of brown sugar and nearly a whole bottle of BBQ sauce (24 oz or so). This made 5 dinner portions. I bagged them up in freezer bags and thaw one out the day we want it and just microwave it to heat it back up. Whatever is left from each night is usually just enough to top a pizza. I got the idea for big batching it HERE. Really so easy to make a big batch of this in the slow cooker... didn't heat up the kitchen... and I got a whole months worth of a weekday dinner out of it. This is my solution to no longer (EVER) having take out. On those days when I would just have Mr F bring something home... I've got a dinner I can literally throw on the table with no work. I am more and more interested in finding freezable (but not also labor intensive on the cooking day) season appropriate dinners.

So ...

How long do you listen to someone screaming and moaning about a scrape on the knee before you send them to their room?

"How would you act if you had broken your leg?" I ask.

"Because you are delivering broken leg level hysterics." I add.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Title-less ... that's how overwhelming it is

This is the first day in a long time that I have really wished I could see my old therapist. This might be the first day I've felt like this since packing up and heading down here.

It's not about being here. In fact I don't even know what it is... but I am one hell of a ball of pissed offishness today... and yesterday too now that I think about it.

I even yelled at the kids yesterday. Something like "GET AWAY FROM ME!!!!!" while they continually rammed into my legs while I was cooking and simultaneously trying to tell Mr F off on the phone. While they did have it coming (and knew it and quickly scurried off to their bedroom as ordered), honestly, I rarely lose my cool... it's just not like me.

There is the obvious stuff, the financial stress that while gets better also lingers like a festering sore.

There is the long summer with endless possibilities that already seems to be flying out from under my fingers with nothing much to show for it but some put away laundry.

But there is also other stuff that is eating at me. Trying to make decisions that are hard but necessary and trying to own the right to make them without feeling guilty. Knowing that I've done what I can to communicate and I can't control how those things are received or what is done with them. And do I care? Honestly, I care less and less these days and that is a good thing. I used to be crippled by the what ifs of how I was perceived. It is getting easier to trust that I know my own intentions.

By random chance I checked a book out of the library. It wasn't at all what I thought it was. I thought it was a book about family activities. It turned out to be a book about emotionally healthy families written by a therapist. I flipped through it and found an essay that struck me immediately. It perfectly expresses how I choose to relate to those close to me and her examples for doing so were practically ripped out of Mr F's family's dynamics.

I don't know if I'm allowed to do this but I thought I'd copy out some of it. It was titled "Be Willing To Make Waves" and is taken from Judy Ford's Wonderful Ways To Be A Family.

"Resentments are caused by doing things you don't want to do and then behaving like a martyr. Nothing destroys relationships quicker than towers of resentments and mountains of hidden anger. If you live in a family, you'll get angry... Your family will be closer when you recognize your anger, express your anger appropriately, and allow them to do the same. When you accept that making waves is healthy, you won't have to walk on eggshells around each other."

Thirteen-year-old Sydney was angry at her father and adamantly told him what she was thinking... Jake, not interested in seeing his daughter's point of view, warned her, "Keep that up and you'll be grounded." In fact, he enforced the "don't make waves" policy whenever his children expressed any anger or disagreed with him. He thought it was disrespectful for children to disagree or be angry with their parents. It was okay if his children expressed anger at some injustice in the outside world, but expressing disagreement toward him was not allowed. Those disagreements had to be kept under wraps.

A "don't make waves" policy has lasting negative effects on family relationships. Hiding your thoughts and keeping your feelings in check can put strained distance between you. Now, rather than expressing herself directly, Syndey hides her thoughts, disguises her opinions, and takes her frustrations out in other, less healthy, ways. And because she has to put her energy into pretending, a distance has grown between her and her father. Years from now when Jake wonders why his children don't talk to him abut important things in their lives, when he wonders why there is tension is the air when they are together, it just may be because his children stopped sharing long ago."

I am not currently struggling with making peace with Mr F's family. I have come to a quiet peace about how things are and am actually more comfortable now than I was before everything erupted. Sometimes it is the not knowing that is the most tormenting.

But I have other things and relationships that are bubbling away that very much relates to this essay. And it found me at the right time. Because I need to make a decision and not let the underlying stress continue to misdirect itself toward my kids or my spouse. I need to stop worrying about how my actions are perceived by others and start worrying about what action is best for me. Really best. Because always feeling like you have to make someone else's *best* come true while continually sacrificing your own is not ever going to make for a fulfilling relationship... or life. Sometimes doing the "right thing" isn't the right choice for you. That's why I wish I could talk to my therapist. I am in need of a third party stamp of approval that I am entitled to not make a self sacrificial decision for once.

And FOR SURE the finances are not helping matters. Just when you think you've got it under control you hit another stumbling block. And the stress of this past winter is still so raw that even a hint of a problem is enough to get my stomach in knots and for me to want to take to my bed. Not feeling in complete control of this situation is KILLING me.

Would I Lie To You?

Remember how I said Jillian's 30 Day Shred was kind of disappointing? It wasn't that hard?

Well I was not lying. I was able to get through the workout just fine.

But shortly after that I could tell something was not right.

Much like Liz, who commented about the shin splints after doing the level 2 workout without shoes, I also did the routine without shoes. As soon as Jillian and her crew came out in shoes I thought "uh oh"... but then thought "whatever it's only 20 minutes."

I'm not sure if it was the "butt kicks" (but I think it was) but my hamstrings started seizing up yesterday afternoon.

The workout is really devoid of any real stretching so I popped down on my trap table and tried to stretch those babies out.
I even did a full treadmill workout to try and loosen them back up and stretched again.

Sometime in the night I needed to go to the bathroom. When I got up and tried to take a step I almost fell over.

This morning I can barely walk. I have to walk around with my knees bent in a kind of squat.

So I'm debating whether I should work through the pain and do the routine again (this time with shoes and stretching immediately after) or if I should take today off. I can actually do all the moves without pain... it's just walking that seems to be a problem... so for sure grocery shopping is out.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cake Boss

"Just so you know I am going to be cutting the cake so I can control the size of the slices!" I announce to Mr F before dessert.

"I remember what happened with the pie... you ate it all... which is fine because it was your birthday... but... this is my cake." I continue.

Later after Mr F excused himself to the kitchen to "get Kid some more", aka cut a slice and quickly shove it in his mouth and then get Kid some more, I walked into the kitchen to see this...

"Oh My God! The cake is almost gone! No more cake for today!!" I scream out to the rest of the family who were blissfully gorging themselves on their 2nd pieces in the living room.

Day One

The report:
I did the level one routine today. The workout is 20 minutes long and alternates 3 minute strength, 2 minute cardio, and 1 minute of abs circuits throughout the program.

At the end I had some mixed feelings about the workout... it was definitely not as hard as I had expected. It's possible that I should just jump up to the next level... but... I also want to give the program as it is designed a good chance to work. I do feel like it is a good 20 minute routine for days when I don't have time to get a full workout in. And, honestly, for that alone it was worth the $9... I can definitely see throwing this in on busy week days when I don't have time to get my evening workout in. I don't think, for me, where I am at right now, that this is a program that could replace what I'm doing or on it's own really change my body much. However, keep in mind that I am already working out about 5-6 days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes of cardio and about 3-5 days of strength training.

Surprisingly, I did think it was a good cardio workout. The routine is done without breaks so your heart rate does really get up there and I was sweating. I am going to continue on doing the 1st level this week, the 2nd next week, and then the 3rd. I am going to continue doing my usual nighttime workout routine on top of that though.

I think when I go out of town I'll probably double up the routines for a good solid 40 minute workout. I think doing 2 levels back to back would leave me feeling like I really accomplished something... and that is what I'm looking for.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Day Full Of Surprise

Kid has been very excited about my birthday. This is the first year that she is really into our little celebrations and has opinions about how they should go and what we should give each other.  She has also reached the age where she is desperate to have a secret but completely unable to keep it.  It has been nearly impossible for her to keep her mouth shut despite my begging her to NOT TELL ME WHAT I'M GETTING.

She started in on me last night...

"Can I give you a hint?" Kid asks.

"NO! Please just let me be surprised (it happens so rarely)." I ask.

"I'm not going to tell you what it is... but Dad has it hidden in his car." She replies.

"Okay... DO NOT TELL ME ANYTHING ELSE." I remind her.

Kid was up before me waiting, for any sign of life out of my bedroom, so she could pounce on me and begin the birthday proceedings.

"Do you want your presents NOW?" Kid asks upon seeing me awake.

"Sure!" I reply as enthusiastically as I can without an ounce of caffeine.  

Kid gives me a gift bag and I open up.... a new butter dish...gee... I'm overwhelmed with gratitude.
(at least I can honestly say I was surprised by this general purpose household item-cum-birthday gift)

"Can we give her the rest?" Kid asks Mr F.

He asks her to wait... but honestly... a butter dish?!... so I trumped him with a "Yes Please".

I should tell you that I had had it in mind that Mr F was going to surprise me with a new digital SLR to replace ours which he now uses for his job leaving me without a decent camera.

Kid comes in and I unwrap Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred.
(well... at least I did ask for that one)

Then Kid says "We wanted to get you something else but they didn't have it." in a kind of I'm-up-to-something tone.

At the door Kid turns around and says "I can't believe you're falling for this." and starts laughing maniacally.

(and I suddenly had the sinking feeling that while I was clearly getting something more... the more would not be a camera)

Later today Mr F enters the office...

"Do you have any food coloring?" Mr F comes and whispers to me.

"Yes. Hundreds of colors... obviously" I slowly reply, rolling my eyes, wondering why Mr F is suffering from amnesia and why he is whispering it to me.

Psst Mr F... I am the one you are surprising (and I use that term loosely).

"Oh yeah." He responds as if it had never occurred to him that I use food coloring to dye icing and play dough on a somewhat regular and well documented basis.

The big reveal after much whispering (in non whispering tones as is customary amongst children) was a cake in a new glass cake dome.
(which I, also, did ask for and am quite excited about)

While it's true that I didn't get a fancy camera; this is the first time EVER that Mr F has gotten me not ONE... but... TWO things I actually wanted. And as if that weren't enough he actually got them in time for my actual birthday (a first?!... if not pretty close to it).

I did ask Mr F after dessert "So... did you go to the store for the cake dome and see that they had the butter dish?"
 "Yes." He replied. 
"Oh good, because otherwise it's kind of like giving someone a toaster." I added with some relief.

You Say It's Your Birthday

It's my birthday too -- yeah
Blog Widget by LinkWithin