Thursday, May 28, 2009

Weight loss - update

I am officially 16 pounds away from the goal weight that the doctor set for me! I was so bummed out about not losing anything the last week, even though I was suspicious that it was because of my cycle. I’m thinking that theory was right cause today I got on the scale & weighed in at 136.

Last night I did walk about a mile. It was not a fast paced walk, more of a leisurely stroll. But boy did it feel good to get out!! I was starting to feel like a slob since I hadn’t done anything physical (due to my gimp foot) for 3 days. My foot does still hurt a bit, but I think I should be fine doing low impact exercise and gradually increasing the intensity.

I’m still careful about what I eat, and I quit eating when I feel full. I used to feel guilty if there was uneaten food on my plate, so I’d eat it even if I was full. No more!! Honestly I’ve feel like I’ve been doing this forever & it’s liberating to know that I don’t HAVE to finish everything. If we go out to eat I will probably end up taking about half of my meal home for another meal. I don’t have all the cravings I had in the beginning. It’s like my taste buds have changed & it helps me make better food choices. I’ve eaten an apple pretty much every day for the last 10 weeks & I’m definitely not sick of them yet.

Oh – one more thing. I have a pair of jeans that are hanging in my walk-in closet that I had bought about 5 years ago and have never been able to fit into. They are just the classic mid-rise, straight-legged jean. I have these jeans hanging where I can see them every day. I have never been able to even get them over my hips. Well…. Today I was feeling brave & decided just to try them on. Not only can I get them over my hips – I can button them up!!! Of course they are very tight so I look like sausage being stuffed into the casing – but still, I got them on & done up!! Yippee for me!

Unemployment & Job Loss

I just found out today that my previous employer is laying off people at all their branches. I also found out that the gal that took over my job as the HR Manager at one of the branches was let go in this downsizing effort. Let me back up a little so you know the whole story (the very condensed version anyway).

At the end of September 2004 I was let go (along with my entire department) from a Fortune 500 computer company where I had worked for 9+ years. It wasn’t a big surprise to be honest. In February 2005 I started working as an administrative assistant at a company that manufactures hydraulic pumps & motors. After about a year I was promoted to HR Manager. In 2007 things started to feel tense at the company. I could recognize that it was having financial problems because of calls that we were getting from vendors inquiring when invoices would be paid. There were meetings behind closed doors. There were all the telltale signs of problems. In July 2007 there was a branch meeting & we were all told they were closing the plant. I guess since I had been through it before it didn’t really bother me – other than the medical insurance thing (cause we had insurance through me).

I sent my resume out to a few places and was interviewed at 3 of them. I was offered a job by 2 of the companies I interviewed with. I took the job that FELT right, not the one that paid the most.

I know in these times it’s hard for everyone financially. People are losing their jobs & struggling. I just thank God that I have always ‘been luck’ and found jobs rather quickly. You always hear people say (once they find another job) that they something about the new job is better than the old. Maybe it’s the hours, maybe it’s the benefits, or maybe it’s the pay. I have always been blessed to find something better in some aspect than what I had before.

What attracted me to this job? When I interviewed I felt very comfortable with the people who were interviewing me. The company felt very “family oriented”, which was very important to me. And my gut instinct was right. Anytime I’ve gotten a call that April was sick & needed picked up it was no big deal to leave for the day. That to me is far more important than money.
Personally I don’t want a high stress job. I’ve been there & done that. It doesn’t work for me. Life is too short to fret about work! (I know that is easy to say since I have a job.)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We are salad-lovers at our house, so I can get away with all the salads in this weeks menu!

Monday - hot dogs, beans

Tuesday - lettuce salad with chicken

Wednesday - chicken & mixed veggie salad on top of tostadas

Thursday - pizza (April picked this meal to celebrate the last day of school)

Friday - steak, not sure what for a side

Saturday - lettuce salad with steak

Sunday - Chicago dog salad

Yes, I am that coordinated!

Last week from Sunday to Saturday I jogged just over 8 miles, which I really didn’t think was too bad for my first week of actual, somewhat dedicated jogging – or the fact that it is honestly the most I’ve ever jogged in my entire life (2.25 Sun, 1 Mon - Thurs, 2 Sat). I was hoping to get in more this week, but well, fate was going to have none of that.

So imagine this …Sunday I was at church & was walking downstairs to my classroom. I fell (I can’t prove this but I really think a troll tripped me) down a few of the stairs. Of course I was wearing heels & my big toe on my right foot starting hurting immediately.

Honestly I was surprised more than that wasn't hurting. After church I went home & changed clothes to meet a girlfriend for lunch. After lunch we decided to go across the street for coffee @ Starbucks. I noticed the top of my foot hurt a bit during this short walk but I had expected it to & didn't make much of it. As the evening wore on my foot swelled up & I couldn't move my toes. Determined not to go to the ER I toughed it out during the night and waited till the following morning. (My medication makes me tired so sleeping really wasn’t a problem.) The next morning it really was feeling quite a bit better though still a little sore & REALLY sore if I bend my big toe when I walk. Today is pretty much the same. The top of my foot looks like it may have a deep bruise working its way up to the surface. (It's really hard to see in the picture, but the one on the right is the injured one.)

I’m a bit irritated at my self for being so clumsy. I’ve been doing pretty good with my weight loss, although this last week I haven’t lost anything – I believe it’s cycle related though. I would really like to try getting on the treadmill at least, but think it would probably the smart thing to wait at least a couple more days to see how it’s feeling. I’m pretty sure it’s sprained, I don’t want to cause more damage than what may be there already. Also, since my foot is still swollen a little bit my running shoes would get a little uncomfortable pretty quickly.

I'm hoping that if I take a few days hiatus it will heal up & I can get back on track. With that said, I am being extra careful about what I eat right now since I'm not getting in any cardio exercise but do plan to maybe do more crunches or whatever else I can do to try to keep doing something.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Summer? Yuck!!

Yesterday it was very hot here – and very windy. I don’t like hot. Seriously. It’s one of my weird things. I’d rather have it a bit on the cold side. I really don't do well in heat. It was in the 90’s…. and summer is just beginning. Ugh.

These are 10 reasons why I don’t like summer:

1. No matter how much clothing I’m wearing - it’s always too much.

2. There are people (particularly women) who think they are much thinner than what they are and wear clothing that is very…. Well, small. Yuck.

3. If I wear makeup it literally melts off my face.

4. My hair gets really frizzy – like those pictures you see of Einstein or something.

5. Seeing people’s veins through their legs really isn’t a good look. And I do have a small patch of spider veins – so I am one of those people.

6. I sweat – a lot. I don’t like to sweat unless there is a good reason for it. A person shouldn’t sweat if they are just sitting around.

7. Sometimes the heat is so heavy that I can’t breathe. I swear this is true. I’ve even considered getting an oxygen tank to help me with this.

8. No matter how much I blot my face I still look like I rub Crisco on it daily.

9. I have ugly feet. Like seriously ugly. I love flip-flops & I wear them religiously during the summer. But I feel kind of bad for exposing “hobbit feet” to everyone around me!

10. The sun is very bright and blinds me. (I had Lasik surgery about 6 years ago and my eyes are very sensitive to light now.) I always wear sunglasses but sometimes it doesn’t help. And honestly I don’t have the money for a Seeing Eye dog. Do they rent those out for such occasions?

Okay - actually I have 11 reasons.

11. I am a hairy person by nature (Boy did I get screwed in the gene department! "I'm short, I'm hairy, and I sweat a lot" - my cousin Brookann knows what I'm talking about!) A lot of hair means a lot of shaving. And I hate to admit this, but..... if I don't use a good razor I swear I have 5 o'clock shadow on my legs.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Upstairs Freezer Inventory

Okay, I took inventory of the food we have in the freezer (above the fridge style) in our kitchen. Here is what I have:

1 - lemonade concentrate
1 - apple cranberry concentrate
1 - orange juice concentrate
1 - 5 alive daquiri concentrate
1 - original margarita concentrate
1/2 - bag frozen bluberries
3/4 - bag tropical fruit
1 - bag green peas
1/4 - bag corn
1 - bag spinach
1 - bag crinkle cut carrots
2 - bags green beans
2 - 1 qt bags morel mushrooms*
2 - 1 cup freezer containers pinto beans (homemade)
3 - 1 cup freezer containers of chili (homemade)
3 - 1 lb rolls pork sausage
2 - 1 lb rolls turkey burger
1 - 1 lb roll of 85/15 burger
2 - ham hocks
1 - pkg low sodium sausage links
1 - pkg Johnsonville sausage patties
4 - ribeye steaks
4 - sirloin strip steaks
1/4 - bag cod nuggets
1/2 - bag chicken bites
3 - pkgs Nathan's beef franks (got these on clearance for $1 per pkg!!)
2 - turkey kielbasa rings (got these on clearance for $1 per pkg!!)
1 - pkg of 6 Hillshire Farm smoked sausages (got these on clearance for $1)
1 - 1 lb pkg stew meat
4 - lemon herb chicken breasts
1 - 4 oz tilapia filet w/ lemon herb sauce
1 - 4 oz salmon filet w/ teriyaki sauce
1 - 5 lb bag of seasoned chicken breasts
1 - 1 lb pkg of ham
1 - On-Cor Saulsbury Steak entree
1 - Kashi Lemongrass Coconut Chicken entree
1 - loaf white bread
2 - loaves multigrain bread
3 - egg & sausage Toaster Strudels (3 strudels, not boxes) : )
1 - pkg Schwan's Apple Bites
5 - Z*bop single serve cookies 'n cream treats
1 - box original bagelfuls
1 - box of Kashi waffles

1 - pint pistachio ice cream
1/4 - lb of ground espresso

There was also a 1 lb pkg of ham in the freezer but I decided to defrost that for lunches.

* We picked the morel mushrooms last weekend with my brother & sister-in-law. Here is a picture if you don't know what they look like. My husband found this one the day before when he went with one of his friends from work.

Weekly Menu

This week my plan is to use as much food out of the freezer for our meals as I possibly can. We have so much food stuffed in there that we can’t even fit anything else in there!

Monday – steak, peas
Tuesday – turkey polish sausage with kraut
Wednesday – turkey patties, corn
Thursday – hamburgers, frozen veggies of some form
Friday - ???

I know it’s not a great looking menu – and of course it is subject to change. I really need to do an inventory of our freezer so I really know what I’m working with!! I think a good goal for tonight is to do just that - and then I'll post my inventory and see if you have any suggestions for upcoming meals!


These last few days have been crazy busy. On Friday I had to travel for a work meeting. I spent 10 hours in a car just to be able to sit in a 4-hour meeting. A little crazy if you ask me. And not a particularly great way to start a weekend. Then we had a couple graduations on Saturday. Saturday night my great-aunt (my grandma’s sister) was in town so we all gathered at my mom’s house to visit. It was a great time, but a little bittersweet because she resembles my grandma so much. (My grandma died of cancer in the mid-90’s.) Sunday we actually skipped church (which I feel incredibly guilty about). April needed some one-on-one time with me. So we watched movies & I did some laundry.

Oh – almost forgot! I got my hair cut on Saturday. Check it out!!! I love it. It’s the closest thing I’ve ever had to wash and go hair! I took the picture myself - so my face looks kind of warped - but you get the general idea!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grease stained t-shirt

In my quest to find something to wear this morning I find that ALL my t-shirts have little grease spots all over the front of them. I can’t wear something like that to work!! I don’t use liquid softener so I know it’s not that, that it has to be from cooking.

So my question to you is – can I get that out? And how do I get it out???

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hitting the Plateau

I have to admit I am getting a little frustrated. I been weighing in between 140 and 141 for over a week and can’t seem to get below that! I have been careful about what foods I am eating and I have been walking, but I admit it hasn’t been the kind of walking that makes a person work up a good sweat. I think that is exactly what I need to do – kick it into high gear and work up a good sweat. The first 18 pounds came off so easily that I guess I got a little lazy and was hoping the rest would come easy like that. I should have known that it wouldn’t work that way. I always read articles in magazines that say the last 10 pounds are the hardest. So I was expecting it, but I was really hoping that I’d lose another 5-10 pounds before the really hard work began. : )

Monday, May 11, 2009

Affordable summer outings

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what activities we can do this summer. Like most people we are trying to be careful of our expenses, so I have been trying to come up with ideas that are free or have very little cost associated with them.

One great way to get an idea of the things going on in your area is to request a “Visitors Guide” for either a nearby city or for the entire state. You’ll probably be amazed by all the free/cheap events taking place in your area! I the city where we live there is “Movie in the Park” every Saturday night through the summer. The movie is always a family movie. You bring your own lawn chairs, snacks, etc. It’s a great outing and it’s free!

A great way to save money on meals and entry fees to various places is to buy an “Entertainment Guide”. A good portion of the coupons are for stores that have locations nationwide.
Camping is another activity that we love. Although honestly someone ends up sick every time. Either April gets bit by a bug and has to be taken to the doctor (she has very bad reactions to gnat, spider, & mosquito bites). Or I end up with a migraine & the trots. But we really do love the thought of camping and we do give it our best!

What does your family like to go during the summer that is budget friendly???

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


This weekend I splurged a little and bought some new foundation. And I’m not talking about the $5 a bottle junk at Wal-Mart. I’m talking about the $17 a bottle American Beauty line at Kohl’s. Let me tell you – it was worth every penny! I love the stuff, it covers so nicely but it doesn’t even feel like you have anything on your face. I did mess up a get a shade darker than I should have, but since we’ll be spending a lot of time outside with summer coming up I suppose it was wiser to get the darker shade.

What do I do to make the darker shade work for me? I mix it with my moisturizer. It helps tone the color down a little and makes it easier to blend. And another bonus is that it actually stretches my foundation so I am able to make it last longer.

So that got me to thinking…what other products that we use for purposes other than what they are actually marketed for or designed for?? Or what routines do we have that help stretch the life of the products we use??

I use conditioner to shave my legs. I buy the biggest cheapest bottle of conditioner (usually at the Dollar Tree where everything is $1) and use it for months.

If I am coloring my hair I will use a plastic grocery sack and tie it around the top of my head to keep the color from getting on anything. It works great and the bag is free!

My husband I share deodorant. He actually prefers the coverage that is in women’s deodorant. (Don’t tell him I told you!!) It makes it easy for me to know if we need to buy more.

I also sign up for samples of all the personal hygiene products I can get. (A great site for samples is You’d be amazed at how many offers are out there! It gives me a chance to try a new product without buying it. If the sample is for a product that I’ve tried before I will just save it to use when we go camping or away for a weekend – then I don’t have to buy those expensive little containers of shampoo (or other products) and I don’t have to cram big bottles of hygiene products in my bags!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Here I am!

I’m still here!! Sometimes the day just goes by so fast & before I realize it I haven’t blogged for several days!

We had a busy weekend. Saturday we had my niece’s baptism out of town. Layne and I drove down and back the same day. April stayed overnight and rode back with my dad on Sunday. It was a pretty nice time. Seems like when we are all together the time passes so quickly. I was able to sneak away to do a little shopping with my sisters-in-law. I only picked up a couple t-shirts and a pair of drawstring capris. I’m in between sized right now so I don’t want to buy anything unless I can wear it even when I get down to “fighting weight” (120 lbs).

Speaking of weight, I weighed in at 140 this morning. That makes my loss 18 pounds so far. The last week or two I haven’t lost much. But I have been making more of an effort to hit the treadmill. It always feels good afterwards, but getting on is the hard part!

I’m really starting to feel good about the way I look. People are starting to notice the weight loss and are complimenting me, which of course makes me feel great and reinforces the positive changes I have made.
By the way, here is a coupon for a free 2-piece grilled chicken dinner from KFC. It’s only valid till May 19th though!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

The danger of having an unorganized mail drawer...

This morning while I was waiting to get April up for school I decided to go through the mail drawer and see which upcoming bills I need to pay out of my check this week. I came across a bill from an Emergency Room visit – not a hospital bill but a separate bill to pay for the emergency room doctor. This bill was dated March 8, 2009 and had a little note at the bottom (barely even able to be read by the naked eye) that “Insurance has paid their portion and I must contact them at once to make payment arrangements. If arrangements have not been made by the next billing cycle the account will be turned over to collections.”

Holy smokes did that start to set in a panic attack. I’m thinking they probably have already turned this over and I am so screwed! All the hard work I’ve done to repair and raise my credit score has just gone down the toilet. I couldn’t eat breakfast because I was so nerved up. You can bet your rear that I was on the phone at exactly 8:00 a.m. to them to make a payment over the phone and praying the whole time that they hadn’t already turned it over to collections.

Someone was definitely on my side in this because when I called them the customer service person told me that it had not been turned over to collections yet. I asked about paying over the phone and they said they do not accept payments over the phone; they have to be mailed in. So I told them to please note the account that I was mailing payment today. I don’t think I ever wrote a check, stuffed it in an envelope, sealed the envelope or stamped it so fast in my life. (Like somehow shaving those extra 30 seconds off was going to make a difference!)

Holy smokes that could have been bad, very bad.

Lesson: Organize mail drawer immediately!