Monday, June 30, 2014

Ideal Shake 2 week update

I am happy to say I have kept off the magical two pounds that I lost that first week. I am currently 5 pounds away from my final goal.

I do have to admit I was not very consistent about my diet and exercise last week. I had the shake with strawberries for lunch Mon - Thur but only made it to the gym once. I went on Monday, forgot my clothes on Wednesday and my husband got called into a last minute project late Wednesday afternoon and so wasn't able to get home in time to watch the kiddos while I got on the treadmill. Thursday was the first day of this diet plan where I was starving. STARVING. All day and after work I went home and had a big dinner rather than go to the gym. A big healthy dinner, big salad, grilled chicken and a little rice, but I was way too hungry to go to the gym.

I decided to skip it Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I kept my calorie count fine, but just had a regular lunch instead of the shake. I did my 30 minute walk with Elle during Ali's gymnastics class on Saturday and then yesterday spent an hour playing in the neighborhood pool with the girls.

This week I hope to do well but we leave Thursday for my in laws cabin to celebrate the Fourth and all the birthdays. There will be some serious eating going on but I'm hoping I don't get too caught up in it.

My size 8 pants are starting to look too big. The hot pink pants are starting to look better. I wore a size 6 skirt to church on Sunday and while the waist was tight, it was wearable and my hips didn't look like they were about to bust the seams.

My stomach is not flat and really not pretty (loose, hanging skin and lots of wrinkles), but I can go to the pool in my tankini's with relative confidence that in my mid-thirty's, six months after baby #2, I look pretty damn good. I don't feel like I have to have my baby right next to me as if to 'explain' the rolly belly.

Four weeks until the baptism.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Afternoon

Ali: upstairs in the play room watching The Jungle Book.

Elle: in her bouncer, highly entertained by the rainbow spinning thingy.

Me: with my glass of wine, wondering if I shouldn't be doing more as a parent.

Nah. .......

Friday, June 27, 2014

Elle & Big M

I have mentioned before about how sweet Big M is with my girls. Ali doesn't really have a whole lot of interest in him. They exist in the same house without having much to do with each other, except for dinner time, then Big M is planted under her chair to 'help' clean up the overflow.

There was a time though, when she was little, that Big M adored her, and she thought he was pretty cool too. Even then she wasn't what I would call enamored of him, but if he was around, she was ok with it and would occasionally pet him.

Now we have Elle, and Big M adores her. And so far, she adores him. I had to stop posting the cute pictures of them together on my facebook page because there were so many and it was so frequent. It melts my heart to see them together and know he loves her.

Watching over her at 4 weeks old.
(wow, I miss my Old Lady)

Very vigilant. 

Hanging out at 3 months

And 5 months

It's really getting fun now because Elle has taken an interest in him and is interacting with him now. She loves his kisses, which is good because she gets a lot of them, and wants to play with him.

A few weeks ago

This set was fun because I was actually trying to take a picture of Elle sitting up, it's a recent thing. Instead I caught a drive by kissing that knocked her over. Fortunately I had the pillows all set up (ok, it's a dog bed, still, it works).




And later just hanging out again, with kisses, lots and lots of kisses.

My sweet babies. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How to eat a 1200 Calorie diet that makes sense

It takes a lot of time and tweaking to find the right combination of foods that work for you and fit your calorie requirements. This is what I have found that works for me.

Breakfast (2 options)

Coffee                                 2 cups          5 Calories
Cream                                2 tbs           40 Calories  (1 tbsp per cup, measure it)
Fage 0% Greek Yogurt    32.5 oz            100 calories
Cascade Farms Granola   1/2 cup          110 calories
Blueberries                         1/2 cup        41 calories
                                                     Total 296 calories
Coffee                                2 cups          5 Calories
Cream                                 2 tbs           40 Calories  (1 tbsp per cup, measure it)
Quaker 1 min oatmeal     1/4 cup dry     75 calories
Motts natural applesauce singles     1/2 the container  25 calories
Banana sliced                   1/2 medium size   52 calories
Diced Prunes                    1/4 cup               100 calories
                                                       Total 297 calories


Lunch (3 options)

Unsweetened Almond Milk        1 cup          30 calories
Protein Shake mix                      1 scoop     120 calories
Strawberries                              5 medium   50 calories                          
                                                               Total: 196

Arnold Whole Wheat Bread Thin  1 roll     100 calories
Oscar Meyer Deli Turkey            6 slices   50 calories
Mayo  (the real stuff)                   1/2 tbs    45 calories
                                                             Total: 195

Arnold Whole Wheat Bread Thin   1 roll     100 calories
Starkist Tuna Fish                          1/2 can   50 calories
Mayo  (the real stuff)                     1/2 tbs    45 calories
                                                             Total: 195
Snacks (all)
String Cheese 50 calories
Hard boiled Egg 78 calories (or 12 can of V8 = 70 calories)
Chocolate chip granola bar 100 calories (or 20 cheez it crackers 110 calories (count!!))
                                                              Total: 228


Grilled Chicken breast marinated in Kraft Italian Dressing   150 calories
White rice   3/4 cup           181 calories
I can't believe it's not butter   1/2 tbsp   35 calories
Steamed broccoli    1 cup     54 calories
                                          Total 420 calories

Allrecipes Basil Pork Chops   247 calories
Allrecipes Baked Sweet potato sticks 132 calories
Steamed Zucchini   1 cup  20 Calories
I can't believe it's not butter   1/2 tbsp   35 calories
                                              Total 434 calories

Allrecipes Chicken and Biscuit Cassarole  450 calories


So the basic idea is breakfast is around 300 calories (good start to the day).
Lunch + healthy snacks are 450 calories spread out every two hours or so.
Dinner is around 400-450 Calories.


If I have a little room left, I do tend to pour myself a small glass of wine.
(barefoot pinot grigio,  4 oz,  91 calories)

You just have to know what you're eating and how much.

Use your measuring spoons.

Use a kitchen scale.

Use your brain!  If a package of 3 chicken breasts weighs 1.25 lbs you should be able to figure out approximately how much each one weighs.
(16 oz in a pound, plus 4 more oz for the .25 = 20 oz total. Divide by 3 = 6 oz per breast, approx.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Fun Weekend and Ideal Shake Update

I love summer. I love being outside. I love being active with my girls. It's just great.

Saturday Ali had her gymnastics class at our city rec center. This is her third one and this week I dropped her off and headed out the door. The previous two weeks I was the hovering mom worried her baby was upset. The first class, Ali definitely had some trouble and it took a while for her to warm up even with me in the room. Last week it took her about 5 minutes and I was not in the room, I was in the hall. This week, she just ran right in and Elle and I walked back out. We took a 30 minute walk around the park at a really brisk pace and got back in time to peak through the window and see Ali doing flips around the even bar.

Flips. All the way around. With help of course, but I was amazed. I kinda thought a class called gymtots was going to be somersaults and cartwheels. Nope, they're doing flips. Awesome.

After gymnastics we dropped Elle off with daddy and Ali and I headed to the park for some swing time.

I love taking 'selfies' with my girl. I have a bazillion of them and really need to put them together in some sort of order.

Sunday we went to church and then after lunch headed to the pool for a fun time with her little BFF, Audrey. Ali is getting really confident in the water (with her swimmies on) and will jump into the pool with gusto! She goes so far!! Elle loves the pool too and the two of them took great naps that afternoon.

Ok, so it's been one week having the Ideal Shake for my lunch instead of a sandwich. Calorie wise it's pretty close, the difference is supposed to be the hunger blocking formula in the shake as well as the high fiber/protein content that keeps you feeling full longer and less likely to snack. Overall it's working pretty well. I do have to say that on Saturday I added 5 frozen strawberries and blended it. That was awesome! Made it from something that was ok and I could drink just fine, to something I'm excited about and is a treat. I love chocolate and strawberries. I may have mentioned that before.

Also, on Friday I weighed in at 130.2. Two pounds lower than I had been.

I have been working out more regularly for several weeks now and watching my diet better, but it's definitely an odd coincidence that one week into the shake and I"m down two pounds. It has stayed off so far too. I don't count any weight loss until it's lasted for 3 days, then it gets logged into MyFitnessPal as a legitimate loss.

Sunday I have decided is my day off. I had a 'real' lunch but to be honest that's mostly because after lunch we go to the pool and my husband and I usually bring a couple beers. If I were to have a protein shake for lunch and then try to sit by the pool with a beer I'd be a hurting girl in very short order. So, PB&J is was and it tasted great. I'm pretty sure spending almost an hour in the pool playing with the girls balances out the extra calorie intake, so I"m not overly concerned. It's one day a week!

I have my shake with me for lunch today, with strawberries! And my gym clothes for a quick 20 minute workout on the way home. My size 8 pants are getting big and my size 6's now button, although are still not quite ready for public viewing.

5 weeks until the baptism.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Giant Pancake in your Rice Cooker

I saw a post on facebook recently about using your rice maker to make a giant pancake.

I love pancakes! I love my rice maker. I had to try it!

This is the photo from the facebook post:

Looks like a nice, perfectly cooked, golden pancake. Big and fluffy and tasty. How hard can it be?

So last night, my husband was out of town and I decided it was a breakfast for dinner kind of night and I wanted to try this new approach.

I documented the whole thing.

Pancake mix with a mashed banana .(yummy!)

Sprayed the rice cooker, just for good measure.

Batter in, ready to go!

What it looked like after a normal 'white rice' cook setting. 

Didn't look done to me so I put it in for five more minutes.

This was 5 minutes later.

Kinda looked the same, but the edges were bubbling and it had been in for a while so I decided to test it.

Got my oven gloves...

And plopped it out onto a plate.

It came out easily, but this certainly doesn't look like the cake sized pancake featured on facebook. In fact it pretty much just looks like an extra thick, flat pancake.

The inside was not done. It was still very gooey. I thought maybe it was just the banana, so I attempted a bite, no, it was really still just raw batter.

So, overall I'm very disappointed with the rice cooker pancake experience. 

Instead, Ali and I had this for dinner.
Cheese, omelets (pesto on mine), banana bread, blueberries and tomatoes for me (Ali is not a fan).

I have to say, it tasted pretty good.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Ideal Shake Days 1-4

As stated previously, I got the shakes in time for lunch on Monday and mixed it with water, blech. That was just a bad idea and I'm really not sure why it didn't occur to me to mix it with milk in the first place.

Tuesday I mixed it with 1% milk and it was much better. It certainly wasn't a 'shake' in comparison to something like a Nestle Quick chocolate shake, but it wasn't bad.

Then I had a coworker suggest Almond Milk to me as a lower calorie alternative to the milk. So I did some looking on my MyFitnessPal food database and was amazed and how much lower in fat, carbs and sugars the almond milk was. So I decided to give it a try.

Wednesday I mixed the Ideal Shake powder with a cup of Almond Milk, and I have to say that is my favorite option so far. I did taste the Almond Milk before adding anything to it, just to see what the actual taste was like and it was only ok. I don't think I'd ever want to sit down with a glass of Almond Milk and cookies. It wasn't bad, it just wasn't 'milk', which it isn't supposed to be. But mixed in with the Ideal Shake mix, I think it was the best combination. With 'real' milk you do almost expect more of a true chocolate milk flavor and each sip leaves you a little lacking. With the almond milk it's a different enough flavor that it's almost intentional.

What I'm excited to try is adding a few frozen strawberries and blending it into more of a smoothie. Chocolate and strawberry is one of my most favorite combinations ever. That will come soon, maybe this weekend.

So the shake with Almond Milk does keep me from being hungry for most of the afternoon. I'll drink it around 11:30 or 12 and then around 3 start to feel the need for something. It's not really that I'm hungry though. It's more like a lack of satisfaction. I didn't 'eat' anything and by mid afternoon I feel the need for an actual food to chew that has some carbs and some heft to it.

Yesterday I had a granola bar and piece of string cheese and that seemed to tame the need. I don't know how much of this is mental though and if it might fade as I get used to having a shake for lunch instead of a sandwich.

I guess we'll just have to see.

I have my gym clothes with me and plan on heading to the gym after work, before picking up the girls. 20 or 30 minutes on the elliptical depending on what time I get out of here.

38 days until the baptism.

Ughh! That makes it sound impossible!

Nothing to do but try!

A step in the right direction

I need to post my thoughts on the last three days of Ideal Shake, but we had a momentous event this morning!

Ali went pee pee on the potty!

YES!!! We had a big celebration! We clapped, we danced, we got kisses. I was so excited. It is the first time ever that she has done anything but sit there.

I know that we are far, far from being potty trained, but thank goodness we have finally, finally taken that first step.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Spinach Pasta Salad

I've been trying new pasta salad recipes this summer. I love the ease of them and that it's the dinner carb+veggies together so it's one less thing I actually have to do. Plus it makes a massive amount so we're usually good for at least three or four days.

This one I like because it's easy, low calorie (for a pasta salad) and while carbs are high (hey, it's pasta) it's not terrible.

Spinach Pasta Salad
12 oz Farfalle Pasta
10 oz baby spinach (torn)
2 oz crumbled feta w/basil & tomato
1/2 red onion chopped
15 oz can black olives chopped
1 cup Italian dressing
4 cloves minced garlic
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper.

Cook the pasta, allow to cool, mix in spinach, cheese, onion & olives.

Whisk dressing, garlic, lemon, salt & pepper. Pour over pasta mix.

Chill for a couple hours.


Nutritional Information

Spinach Pasta Salad
Serving Size: 1/8 of a recipe
Servings Per Recipe: 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 334
Calories from Fat: 150
  • % Daily Value *
  • Total Fat16.6g26 %
  • Saturated Fat3.4g17 %
  • Cholesterol6mg2 %
  • Sodium1167mg47 %
  • Potassium344mg10 %
  • Total Carbohydrates41.8g13 %
  • Dietary Fiber4.8g19 %
  • Protein8.6g17 %
  • ** Sugars4.9g
  • Vitamin A71 %
  • Vitamin C37 %
  • Calcium18 %
  • Iron43 %
  • ** Thiamin6 %
  • Niacin26 %
  • Vitamin B615 %
  • Magnesium20 %
  • Folate87 %

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Shake It Baby!

I don't do fad diets. Mostly I believe that healthy eating and exercising will get you where you want to go. They may not be fast and dramatic changes and weight losses, but they're likely to be more consistent and permanent when you put in the time and effort to do it right.

That being said, I have several friends who have joined different Weight Loss Shake programs and seen a lot of success.

I have seven stubborn little pounds that I want to lose. Four left from pregnancy and three more just because.

I have 6 weeks until Elle's baptism and I have some very specific goals which include a very specific dress that I want to wear.

So, I decided to try a Shake program for two months to see if it's worth all the hype. I did some looking around and decided to go with Ideal Shake. It was one of the less expensive options and from what I found seemed to be the best mix of taste and results. One scoop is 120 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 11 grams of carbs and only 1 gram of sugar. That's pretty impressive for a "shake". It's got 11 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber, so all in all, looks pretty good.

My first months supply arrived yesterday and sadly, I mixed it with water. Not sure what I was thinking. Chocolate water is just not good. Today I brought 1% milk to mix it with and I think that's going to be a better option. So I'll refrain from a true opinion post until tomorrow.

Yesterday I also got on the treadmill AT HOME for 20 minutes while my husband managed dinner with Ali. It was great to actually get to use the thing again. I then had a big chicken salad for dinner and half a piece of homemade banana bread. I also had a small glass of wine after the kids were in bed and it all fit into my calories for the day.

Today I plan on heading to the gym to hit the elliptical machine for a while before picking up the girls. It definitely helps having dinners ready ahead of time. On Saturday I made a massive batch of marinated chicken and on Sunday a big pasta salad with lots of fresh veggies. (I'll share a few new recipes we've tried). The pasta salad was mostly for my husband and I plan on a week of nice light chicken salads.

Tonight I am going to take some before pictures so I can hopefully have a visual over the next 6 weeks as I attempt to get down to the right size for my specific dress (and the hot pink pants!).

Monday, June 16, 2014

Happy Father's Day

I hope all the Daddy's out there had a great day yesterday. Ours was pretty quiet, but it was a nice day together as a family. The pictures came out great and on Saturday Ali and I made a card with a hand print for her and a footprint for Elle since I couldn't get her hand to stay open long enough for a print. I didn't get a picture of the card, but this was the final layout for the photos my mom and I took.

He loved it. It's so sweet and I love all the faces of Elle going on here.  My husband was pretty impressed that I coordinated all of this around him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

"The Call"

Yesterday I got "The Call."

The one from daycare.

The one that says:

"Your child is a bully."


We have had some sharing issues, and Mama T and I have talked about that a lot. It's hard at home though because it's really just her right now. When I play with her, we don't really play sharing games. We go for walks, and play ball, and swing, and run, etc, etc. We're very active. Seriously this child doesn't sit much.

We think it's been going on for a little while, but this week one of Mama T's older kids, Peyton, who is normally in school has been at daycare a few days a week since school has been out. She was Mama T's little bird in the playroom yesterday.

Normally Ali is one of the 'older' ones, she will be three in August. Her little buddy Max is four months older than her, but he's only there two days a week, and the next one down is Maitland who just turned two a few months ago. Apparently Ali has been taking Maitland's toys and making him cry. She then gets up in his face and tries to shush him so that Mama T doesn't hear him cry and get her in trouble.


My darling girl.

So after Peyton figured out what was going on and informed Mama T, my little stinker spent the rest of the day sitting in a corner. All privileges revoked, at Mama T's and at home. We're just going to nip this little issue right OFF. No Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. No songs in the car. No books at bedtime. No cookie after dinner. No toy in the car on the way to Mama T's in the morning. Nothing that would be considered a 'treat' or a 'privilege'.

Being a mean little girl is going to have some very serious consequences in this house.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Death of a Good Shoe

I love shoes. I love fancy shoes. High heels and super classy. I love Mary Jane's, and Peep Toe Pumps, and Patent Leather Platforms.

The shoes I own are 'nice'. They're not high fashion labels although some day I will own a pair of Jimmy Choo's.

Every once in a while I do spend a little more and get a really nice pair of shoes. A few years ago (before Ali was born, so at least 3 years, maybe 4) I found a pair of Stewart Weitzman black peep toe pumps that fit so comfortably that it was no question to me why they were $200 (retail is normally $350 or so) and the 9 West black peep toe pumps that I had been carrying around the store were only $60. .

I spent the $200 and never looked back.

Four (or so) years later, they are actually starting to die and it kinda hurts.

The inside is actually falling apart. They have a little wear left, but I don't know how much. I've been ending up with pieces of shoe on the bottom of my feet and the material underneath is starting to show through.

It's sad. Like losing a friend. My beautiful shoes.

Monday, June 9, 2014

So cute it kinda hurts.

The photo shoot I planned for Friday was fantastic. Ali thought it was so much fun and she LOVED the dress. We actually had to pry her out of it when it was nap time. Elle was so funny because she just kept falling over whenever we propped her up and would look at us for photos where Ali was looking at her, and then look at Ali for photos when Ali was looking at us. We did get some completely adorable shots though and I"m really excited to get the prints. These are a few of my favorites. It's going to be really hard to pick which ones actually make the frame!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Father's Day Project.

I am working on a project for father's day and I hope it goes well. It involves a two year old and a 5 month old, so there is significant potential for disaster.

A few weeks ago on Zulily I found these blue tutu style dresses that I just adored.

I got one for each of the girls. They each have a white headband that the flower will pin to.

And then I got big wooden letters at Michael's. Last night I spray painted them white.

I am going to attempt something like this:

I put one more coat of spray paint on this morning. That stuff is harder than it looks to get right the first time. I really hope Elle doesn't attempt to eat it like the baby in the photo above. I'm really, really hoping that the stupid things are dry when I get home at lunch. They were still tacky this morning from the coat I gave them last night. This could just turn into a big mess.

My plan is to get a picture of each girl separately with the D and then one of the together with the A. I have pillows at the ready and a big white sheet to create the background.

I'm hoping my mom comes to help, but I'm not sure what her plans are. It might just be me.

Either way, even if the girls are a mess and the paint is sticky, they'll probably be photos to remember!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Latest Obsession

I've been listening to audio books for almost a year now. They let me stay in contact with the literary world when I don't actually have time to read anymore. I listen while on the way to and from work from Mama T's house, while at the gym, out on walks and, when I'm really hooked on a book, at my desk at work with ear buds. I kinda feel like a kid cheating in school but I actually multitask really well and I stop the book when the phone rings or someone comes in to talk. No one really knows what I"m listening too and whether it's music, a book, NPR, or a podcast, I get my work done.

The latest set of books that I can't stop listening too is by Jim Butcher, called The Dresden Files. I"m a little behind, these have been coming out since 2009 but that's ok, I'm on the band wagon now!

The first one is Storm Front.

They're about a wizard, Harry Dresden, in Chicago who solves mysteries. They're fun and campy and actually pretty tricky. I've listened to three so far and in every one I was surprised by the 'who done it' at the end. I'd like to say it's hard to get things by me, but these have done a good job. makes sense in the end, it's not a big convenient jump of logic that makes no sense to anyone but the writer. I think so anyway.


The best part is that these books are read by James Marsters.

AKA: Spike
AKA: William the Bloody

From Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Who looks like this:

Well, that may be an old photo, but still, vampires don't age right?

So, while I"m listening to these murder mysteries involving dark magic, werewolves and...yes...vampires...I picture tall, snarky, British accented Spike and it's just fun. Mr Marsters doesn't actually have a British accent in real life, so I kind of dub that over in my brain while he's reading the book, but his own normal speaking voice and the tone of the character aren't far off, so I've had a great time listening.

I highly recommend it. I"m sure the actual book version is great too, but then you don't get the audio version of sarcasm and snide, which he does really, really well.