Friday, December 31, 2010

stuck

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I heard Elizabeth calling for me in the other room. She was stuck, and couldn't get out, I heard her say.

I went into the living room to find this:



"Look up, Elizabeth."  "I am looking up!"


A little tip of the bucket, and she was able to free herself.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

what I don't post about

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I was visiting with a friend and her family recently.  As we were siting around, both of us were going "Hmmmm..." trying to think of what to say.  We've been friends since elementary school, and we've shared a lot of experiences, even though we've lived in different states since we were 12 years old. Now, truthfully, we're both moms, and our lives are consumed with raising our families and getting through daily tasks.  But surely, there are things to talk about other than children?

It occurred to me, as I sat there, that much of my interest and reading in recent years are on topics that I just won't discuss with most others, because I really don't want to push people away.  I have the impression that my friend and I might disagree a great deal on some topics.  And that's just that friend, to say nothing of all the others I have out there.

There are things that might be uncomfortable for others to hear me out on, and that really aren't worth loosing friends on (because when I get into a discussion, I can be very preachy, passionate, and hard-headed, and sometimes I don't even have good reasoning for why I believe what I do).  Now, the other side is that I don't feel that other people are bad people or bad parents if they hold a different opinion or choose something other than what I would choose. But, by the very nature of saying that I disagree with any given thing, then it automatically puts me at odds with another person's opinion and can come across as a personal judgment upon them.

So, that's all to say that even if I make a different choice, I still like you. :)

And then, there are other things that might just ick people out...

The List

medical interventions in labor/birth
"natural" childbirth
vaccinations
circumcison
gender identity and sexual orientation
breastfeeding
reusable menstrual products
carseats/child safety seats
politics (okay, maybe some light discussion...)
homebirth (yes, I know I've posted some about this, but not to the extent that I could!)
whether my home is north or south of the Mason-Dixon line, and whether I should rightfully be called a Southerner or Northerner (just kidding!)
and probably a slew of other things I've forgotten

Maybe in time I'll find a greater voice for some of these issues, but until then, can't we all play nice?

14/14 week 14 - done!

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I am at the end of my 14/14 challenge.

Unfortunately, I managed to NOT loose any weight.  On the upside, I didn't gain any, either.  Just bounced up and down in a 6 pound range.

I did increase my daily exercise, from none to 6 days a week. I have now proven to myself that I can walk at a 3.5 mph pace for 60 minutes, which feels like forever (on a treadmill)  I have proven that I can jog/run at least a 5 minute stretch. (By the second time around, though, I'm nearly dreading it!  Today's workout is something I've been procrastinating...)

Where do I go from here?

I will proceed onward.  I don't have a challenge name now.  Maybe I should come up with something creative?
 
I'm actually trying out the slimfast diet.  Not something I intend to do indefinitely or even for more than a few weeks, as I don't see it as a lifestyle change.  I'm using it as a boost to get my weight loss going.  My goal is to start getting used to smaller portions, and to find meals and recipes that will allow me to feel well fed, but not be high calorie. I've adapted it already - I don't sub breakfast, because I can do breakfast just fine - oatmeal or a yogurt and some fruit are both excellent starters for me.  Lunch is my slimfast meal of choice, until I run out of the stuff.  Then, it will be up to me!

In a peculiar experience yesterday  -

I ate about 4 ounces (about a cup)  of raw carrots yesterday afternoon for a snack.  Apparently, this was a really bad choice.  I've known carrots and me don't always get along, but I'd been feeling okay recently when I ate them.  So, yesterday - I ate the carrots, and felt okay after about 10 or 15 minutes, I started to feel like I was going to vomit. Kind of a heartburn/vomit combination.  (usually carrots give me a heartburn sensation) I went in to the bathroom, because I felt fairly confident that I would see my carrots again.  But, as I stood there, my salivary glands started kicking in overtime.  I could feel my mouth fill with saliva, and I needed to swallow every few seconds. After a short while, the heartburn and vomit sensation began to go away, and within a few minutes I felt perfectly fine.

So, lesson to me, I guess is to chew my carrots very thoroughly and with a lot of saliva.

Monday, December 20, 2010

self entertainment on a monday morning

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I guess I was feeling the need for a creative outlet.

 
Sleeping Beauty is serving as my model. Good, since the hat and scarf won't fit any of my children.

The scarf I made a few months ago, just to see if I could remember the one crochet stitch I know. I made the hat this morning as an experiment to see if I could figure out how to make a hat.

Small scale is good.

Elizabeth is just about tickled pink at a hat and scarf for her doll.  They are now ready to adventure out into the snow.

Friday, December 17, 2010

vinegar as dishwasher rinse aid

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I've been using distilled white vinegar as a rinse aid in my automatic dishwasher for several months. I've seen people all over the internet touting it as a great idea. I was hoping I would be impressed, but unfortuantely, I am not.  I was hoping I would have a cheaper, environmentally friendly alternative to rinse aids like jet dry.

Maybe I'm judging it by the wrong criteria, though.  While using vinegar, I didn't typically have spots on the glasses.  I have started to notice an obvious clouding on the glass.  If vinegar is supposed to help prevent that, it's doesn't work for me, at my water hardness.

I'm going to go back to using Jet Dry, in hopes it can remove some of the cloudy film.  Interestingly enough, in all the years of washing dishes by hand, a cloudy film on the glasses was never an issue. 

Go figure - automatic dishwashers AREN'T  the miracle they might otherwise appear to be!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

disposable diapers aren't perfect, either

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I've had N in disposable diapers at night for the past week or so. 

It has been an unpleasant reminder that disposables aren't superior to cloth in terms of leaking.  That's the thing I almost always hear people express concern about: that cloth diapers will leak.

Well, all kinds of diapers can leak.

Two times this week, I discovered that N's diaper had leaked, and his clothes and the bed were wet.

I was especially irritated last night, because for the first time in for-EVER N had slept for more than 3 hours without waking up fussing.  I wasn't keen on waking him to changed everything.  He really resisted waking up, too, but he couldn't hold at all the jostling around to get him dry.

Also, a reminder to self - check the direction of the equipment before diapering.  I think that was my flaw this time.

Fortunately, I'm anticipating a return to cloth at night tonight, after having completed my cloth diaper overhaul. I look forward to hoping it's resolved the occasional ammonia burn!

NTDI episode 11 - Funky Diapers, part 2

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I almost posted the same episode title as episode 9, before I realized that the same tune and alternate words I was thinking for today were what I used then.

Oh well.

So last time on NTDI, I was trying to tweak my routine to get those last few stinks out.  I still am tinkering.  I've been enjoying the use of Rockin' Green, and generally, I feel it does a good job.
Over the last month or so, I have been coming up with occasional diapers of all sorts that were stinking badly of ammonia after an hour or two, and I realized I have slipped into using disposables again at night because of those infrequent really bad smelling diapers in the morning (not always, but often enough), leaving a read ammonia burn on N's bottom, and sore spots that were having trouble healing.

One thing I realize is that I am not always vigilant about changing the boy's diaper in a timely fashion.  That alone would make a big difference in rashiness. Bad Mommy.

So, I've been intrigued by the Funk Rock diaper treatment that Rockin' Green recently came out with. I want to know if it will deal with the post-wash lingering odor.  The stuff is not cheap.  I'm guessing there's maybe 20 tablespoons of powder in there, and it takes 4 to do one session of 20 diapers.  (Apparently, it can be used as a regular pre-treatment, with 1 tbsp per load as a preventative measure, but I'm not there yet) I'll be close to using up the whole bag dealing with my diapers.  I'm mostly curious to see if it gets the funky smell out (a smell I have yet to accurately describe - not barn-yard, not ammonia, but kid of skunky when I put my nose and take a big sniff when they come out of the washer - generally they smell okay out of the dryer).  Ammonia in the day time really isn't a big deal when I change the boy more regularly.  I honestly think some of the stink has more to do with the boy's stinky toddler pee.  Sometimes, even the disposables smell awful, so I know it's not just the cloth!

And, a (long) disclaimer, of sorts - I don't want people considering cloth diapers to be discouraged by my tale of odor. I think most parents don't over-think it like I do, and I think most aren't perpetually trying to find the "perfect" wash routine like I have been (at least I hope!)  The funny odor I smell sometimes after washing doesn't make me want to not use the diapers - I just want them to be perfect and like new when they come out of the washer (ha!  They're almost 18 months old - good luck with that, C!) Clearly, even tinkering with my routine for 3 years, the diapers are still usable, and they don't cause friends and family to tell me my kids stink. I'm just a perfectionist. Maybe if I didn't sniff the diapers out of the washer each time, I could forget about it. 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

14/14 week 13 - almost not there?

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I'm enjoying my running sessions.

I did a yoga video on Saturday, and I felt it for DAYS afterward. Clearly, I am not accustomed to that kind of stretching. I think I'll have to do it again! 

I've also been doing strength training with hand weights.  I have learned that an 8 pound weight is definitely too light for biceps work, but just about right for everything else currently in my routine. I feel my abs, oh how I feel them!

I think I'm going to make an effort to stop weighing myself each day.  I think at this point, I'm just disappointing myself each day that the scale doesn't move. So maybe I'll go to twice a week, or even once a week. Then, I can be happy if the scale moves, or only be disappointed once a week.

I think for this coming week (week 14?! ack!) I'll just keep on keeping on. We don't have any big holiday plans, but I've been making an effort to keep the food at bay, after a bad last several days.  We made cookies and pie over the weekend, and I enjoyed a more than few too many cookies.  The remainder are now in the freezer waiting for a family gathering to share the wealth of calories.  We're actually going to be making more cookies in the next day or two, but I know that if I choose to, I can restrain myself from over-indulging, and I can store them until its time to share them.

And, note to self - Egg Nog Bad. No drink. Too many calories! The kids sure do love it, though!

Here I come week, 14!

Monday, December 13, 2010

mondays

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Randomness:

I did day 2 of my couch to 5 k program (see coolrunnings.com).

It's cold. and snowy.  E wants to go play outside.  I will have to bundle us up for a walk outside this afternoon when (hopefully!) it is a little warmer.

I was looking though photos, and I realized that I have a bunch of photos I took for the purpose of posting to the blog, that I have totally neglected.  Anyone want to see photos of my grape juice process, now that all the grapes are gone, and we're drinking up the results?

I realized I have 8 months of receipts to enter into quicken. That's probably 10 hours of work. Ouch.  That tells you how long it has been since I reconciled my credit card statement.  Thankfully, my check book is only 2(!) months behind.  I am grateful that we aren't on a tight budget.  I suppose if we were, though, I might keep on top of my finances a little better.

I'm a glad that my brother in law is currently playing with my kids while I am lazy, sweaty, typing, and in need of a shower.

I have more cookies to make today.  I made about 6 cups of frosting yesterday for the purpose of decorating "shapes" cookies, which have not been baked yet.  However, I succeeded in baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies and white chocolate macadamia nut cookies. I have been using my homemade vanilla extract!

I need to run about 10 more miles today to make up for yesterday.

Did you know if feels good to be sore? Hello Yoga.

I saw a picture of myself at my brother in law's wedding last year (different BIL.  Jude has 4 brothers. And 6 sisters. Yes, his mother birthed all of them. At home. She rocks.) Anyway, back to the picture. I looked heavier.  It's nice to see a picture from a year ago, and know that I am 10 pounds lighter, and that it is noticeable, even if the past 3 months have seemed fruitless!

Did I mention I love snow? My husband will write me out of the will if I keep saying things like that. I was disappointed that Wal-Mart didn't have the snowflake cookie cutter I was looking for.  Because, you know I need more cookies, right?

I should go back to the treadmill....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

happy anniversary week!

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This week marks the 8th year that Jude and I have been married. YAY!

Since we will not be together on our actual anniversary, we've been having a good time all weekend.

Yesterday, we drove an hour to go see Tangled in non-3D with the kids. It was Nathanael's first movie - at least, the first where he's actually watching the film. We all enjoyed it, even Jude!  Thankfully, it was in no way a scary movie, since Elizabeth doesn't like scary things at all.

I made a pecan pie yesterday, but we never got around to eating it, since we got back from the movie so late.  Oh well!  Just one more thing to enjoy today.

Church was canceled, so we get to hang out together.  We're hoping that a friend will be able to make it over here this afternoon, and we'll have a White Christmas movie day (how this will be different from the other days of watching white christmas is something I'm not too clear on). Since it's a beautiful (cold!) snowy day, I think we'll stay inside and bake cookies. Lots and Lots of Cookies (as Elizabeth would say) and send them with Jude when he goes to work.

Happy Day!

Friday, December 10, 2010

to host giveaways or not to host giveaways...

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I've been playing the blog giveaway game for about 6 months now.  I think maybe I'm hanging around blogs that like to give stuff away too much, though, because I've been contemplating having the occasional self-sponsored giveaway.

What do you all think? 

If I did host giveaways, should I start a different blog for that purpose?

Are there some obvious questions I should ask myself before proceeding?

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

14/14 week 12 - done with walking!

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I "completed" the prevention program.   I skipped 3 days last week, but I was so dreading the long walks on the treadmill, I'm not going to try to finish them. I was so bored, and so not looking forward to dealing with my kids while I was trying to work out.  I feel good about having done most of the program!

For this coming week (week 13), I'm starting a couch to 5K running program.  I've never been a runner.  You know how in school they made you do a running test for some fitness assessment? Totally not my favorite thing.  I remember in 6th grade (when I was especially chubby because of changing, hormonal, transitioning girl-ness) doing the run/walk thing.  I don't remember how long it took me to walk (running only when necessary and in the eye of the PE teacher). I do remember the horrible stitch in my side when I ran. I remember this being the case in high school, too.  That's what I'd been dreading about starting a running program.

You know what?  I did day one on Monday, and I ran for 60 seconds, alternating with 90 seconds of walking, for 20 minutes (with warm-up and cool-down on either side of that).  I never once had my side hurt.  My knees started to twitch, and my shin started to ache a little, but otherwise, just fine!  Maybe I'm in better shape than I was even in high school, even if I am 30+ pounds heavier than I was back then.

I watched The Biggest Looser tonight. Seeing that the female contestants lost 12-15 pounds in 6 weeks at home makes me reevaluate the amount of effort I'm putting into really loosing weight. At the low end, that 2 pounds a week. That would put me so close to my 14/14 goal, even if it isn't going to happen by the end of 2010.

I feel like I've put forth a lot of effort for what seems like practically no return in the scale numbers. It's disappointing and frustrating.

On a different note, I took a look at some of the before and after/in progress photos of some of the ladies that I hang out with online. It hasn't happened fast for those ladies, but it has happened.  They have families, they are figuring this out without a personal trainer breathing down their neck.  Several have had babies in the midst of their weightloss journey, but they persist. It's easy to look at people I don't "know" and think about all the advantages they may have.  When I see people like me, that I interact with on a regular basis making progress, THAT is inspiration!

So, even though I'm clearly not going to meet my 14/14 goal, even though I wanted to have an awesome story to have chronicled about a real person working and succeeding at dropping to a healthier weight, I'm not going to give up.  I do regret that I feel like I've wasted 3 months (in terms of not moving the scale), but I'm going to work at figuring out how NOT to waste then next 3 months.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

toddler tantrums

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Nathanael is a dramatic little guy.

When he is protesting something - usually a firmly delivered "No," he does one of the following

A) covers his face with his hands, and proceeds to wail

B) flops dramatically onto my chest/lap

C) all of the above

It humors me to see this, and often, I can't help but laugh.  Until it's been going on for several minutes, and then it's not so funny.

Okay, still a little funny.

Friday, December 03, 2010

squirrels and birds

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It's the time of year to watch birds, and shoot at squirrels with our pellet gun.

It's kind of fun to shoot at squirrels, in a very rural Missouri, redneck kind of way.  Half the time IF it hits them, the just look at you.  Not very effect, but at least it feels like I'm doing something.

So, considering that it's not an effective deterrent (shooting them, that is) I bought something that might be a little more entertaining:



Thus far, I have seen no squirrels.

I've seen no birds at our feeders, either. So much for Jude saying they "remembered" that we fed them two winters ago. I haven't seen any reminiscing birds.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nathanael sings

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video

(facebook readers will need to click through to the video)

Forgive the mis-spoken lyrics.  Opposite to the Fro?  Apparently I couldn't decide if I was saying Foe or Fray.

I discovered over the weekend that N was singing along with me.  I was changing his diaper, and singing this song, and realized that he was saying the final word in each phrase.

So funny!

Bonus Points if you can name the song, and where it comes from.

14/14 week 11 - looking for something new

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Wow!  I'm so close to done with my initial challenge, and so not close to my goal!

Oh well, I'm not going to give up.  I'll just find something new to do.

Last week was great, in terms of exercise.  I logged about 220 minutes on the treadmill.  I did okay on Thursday with food, but Saturday was a bit less "good"  as we were snacking all afternoon!

This coming week is the end of my Prevention exercise program.  I'm looking for something new.  A bunch of people I know are doing a Couch to 5K (c25k). I'm considering doing that.  It'll be a step down from the number of minutes that I've been logging each week, and I'd have to find something else to do for 3 other days a week.

Suggestions? It needs to be something I can do from home, that won't endanger myself or my children. I have no babysitter (except the TV! ha!)  I have a treadmill, exercise ball, some hand weights - 1, 3, 5, 8 lbs, a yoga mat, access to netflix streaming and videos.  I'd be willing to consider spending a little on something else, but not much more than $20, I think. Unless you can really convince me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

14/14 week 10

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Whoa!  I'm not up to date!  Let catch up on how week 10 of my 14/14 challenge went:

Last week = Awful.

I exercised 3 out of 6 days due to a sick kid one day, and me being exhausted from being up all night the next day.  I totally don't know what happened on Friday, the third day I missed.  I was tired that day, too.

So, along comes Saturday, and I'm really tense, and really irritable.  I could feel it crawling under my skin.  Two  in the afternoon rolls around, and I realize it's because I haven't exercised!  I knew I had been procrastinating, but it was really interesting to see what a difference NOT exercising could make!  Once I finally did my time, I felt better, but still not great.  I needed some out door time.  So, the kids and I went out for a ride on the ATV. Being outside, even when it's cold, does wonders for calming my mind and taking me out of a place where I'm yelling at my kids every other second.

I also got my 4th cheapy pedometer from Wal-Mart.  Those things don't last long, but they get the job done.  I've been wearing it to try to hit 10,000 steps a day.  I did one day last week - the day I walked for an hour on the treadmill, and then went shopping, then did house work for 2 hours.  Clearly, I need to clean and shop more!

I finally found the measurements I took a month or so ago.  I'll be doing an update on that next week, but based on some interim measurements, I may have lost an inch at my waist and  also at my hips.  So, even though I'm not seeing the scale do much of anything other than yo-yo, I think I'm seeing some differences.

 Jude took some "before" pictures of me.  Hopefully, sometime after the new year, I'll be able to show you something where we can see a difference.  One set is of me in a bikini (unlikely to ever be show to the general public!) and another set I'm wearing a black dress.

Week 11 will be a challenging week - The eating holiday (Tomorrow!) is fraught with danger.  So, if you're reading this on Thanksgiving Day, be thankful that you have food, but please, don't feel the need to eat it all right then.  (We'll see how well I stick to my own words of wisdom.) Another big family get-together on Saturday, where there will likely be much feasting.  My plan? Stick to my exercise program, and avoid going back for seconds on things like sweets and desserts.

We'll see you on the other side!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

N's favorite things

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Based on what Nathanael points out to us, or repeatedly mentions, here are a few of his favorite things:

Tractor! -  We were at a store with my sister-in-law, who was holding N.  He saw a logo on a bag from 20 feet away that had a very small tractor on it.  He sees them everywhere, and exclaims excitedly about it. Our neighbors have a tractor that they've been using a lot these past few weeks.  Nathanael hears it, and lets us all know, then runs to the window to look for it. He has a few tractor-like toys that he carries around with him.  Unfortunately, we lost one of them somewhere.  Maybe it's with my keys...

Moon! - Always on the look out for Mr. Moon. Hiding behind that tree, you know. In reference to the song, I really don't get why someone wanted to shoot Mr. Moon.  Why was his life in danger? I've been trying to figure out less threatening lyrics for that song, but I admit, I'm stuck.

Plane! - Whenever he hears something that vaguely resembles the sound of a plane, he lets us know.  I think that all started over the summer when we were at a hotel near Chicago's O'Hare airport.  The planes frequently flew overhead, and we spend a lot of time in the pool.  While out on errands this week, we noticed a small plane going in for landing at the local airport.  So, we stopped and watched as someone was taking pilot lessons.  We saw that plane come in and take off about 4 times, and he was thrilled!

Four-Wheeler! - Or rather, the Keys! which turn on the four wheeler.  He'll stand in the hall near the key hooks and suggest strongly that we should go for a ride. ("Keys! Keys! Keys? Kee-hee-hee-hees....! For-wheeder? Keys!")  We have to be careful about talking about the machine, because if he hears "the word" he'll start saying it over and over until we finally give in and go riding.  Or, we disappoint him, and say no, and he cries.  Either one.

Eat! - He's enthusiastic about his food, especially in the morning, when he gets all up in my face (or Jude's, when available) before I'm even awake, leaning over my shoulder, saying, "Eat! Eat! do-durt? er-ral? Eat!" I can't blame him.  I really like my food too. During the day, he'll approach the refridgerator, and make hard-work noises, like grunting, while he pulls on the door.  Then he tells me, "Stuck!" hoping that I'll get the clue and feed him. It takes a lot to keep that little engine running.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

he's funny

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I just occurred to me that Nathanael has been making a joke (the same one) for the past several weeks.

One word:

"Hat!"

Anything could be a hat - a paper, a towel, a mirror.


My underwear.

He puts the object on his head and says, "HAT!" with a big smile on his face, and then he starts laughing.

Funny guy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

cloth diaper expert

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What makes an "expert" at something?  I've been reading blogs around the internet about cloth diapering, and I realize that many (most?) of those moms have been cloth diapering for a year or less! Yet, they write with confidence, and present themselves as experts. (*edited to say that I don't mean people are claiming to be experts, but many write with a self-assured "this is how it is" tone.)  I have tended to think of myself as NOT an expert, especially compared to the people behind the brand name diapers and stores who have years of experience diapering babies, and working with other cloth diaper families.



But wait.  I have years of experience.  I have a total of a little more than 5 kid years with cloth diapers (but technically about 3.75 years from the first time I put cloth on a kid).  I've used fitted, pockets, and prefolds. Cotton, hemp, microfiber. Organic, unbleached, bleached. Aplix, front snaps, side snaps. Snappies and pins. One size, sized. I've diapered a girl and a boy (simultaneously!), at night, nap, and daytime.  I've traveled with cloth. I've used top load washers and front load washers.  I've used 5 different diaper detergents.  I've battled stink (and won!) I've used a diaper sprayer, I've scraped, I've dunked and swished.





It's definitely how one presents one's self, and how well one can repeat information others have already said, even if it's not a personal experience.





I guess I don't feel like and expert because I don't have answers for everything. Because I don't use cloth diapers 100% of the time.  Because I sometimes have quit diapers for a little bit in frustration or because I just couldn't keep up the the diapers that week, or because there are some things that I still struggle with (did I mention that the ammonia stink came back months after I had it fixed?). I can't tell you what diapers to use, or how to wash them, or what accessories and laundry products to get.  Why? Because I'm not you.  I don't have your situation, your kid(s), washing facilities, and resources. Because I can't give you a for sure answer, I don't consider myself an expert.



I think I need to re-examine what it means to be an expert!

Mechanics and doctors don't always know what's wrong, or what the answer is. Other people that I would consider an expert haven't lived my situation, and may not know what my personal experience is.  They're still experts though, right?


I tell you, if there were a cloth diapering degree, I'd just about have it by now.  Just don't go looking to me to tell you the one way to cloth diaper, because there isn't one.  I will help you figure out what works for you, though.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

eww, gross.

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 Last week, I smelled something not pleasant in the bathroom closet.  It reminded me of something but I couldn't quite remember what.

A few days later, I opened the bedroom closet (which shares a wall with the bathroom closet), and was nearly knocked over by a smell I remember quite clearly - Dead Mouse  - or bat, but they smell the same dead.

Have I mentioned that in the past we've found dead bats in our electric panel and in an uncovered basement light switch?  Ew, Gross.  So glad I had men around to clean up the mess and save me from electrocuting myself. I've also found a live bat in my toilet.

Back to the stinky mouse.

And here we are a few days after that, finally getting up the time and the nerve to locate where exactly the dead mouse is (assuming it's not hiding in a wall somewhere.)

Yes, I've let the dead rodent sit wherever it died.  Yes it is kind of gross. No, I don't feel too bad about it.  The upside is that the smell is fading, so at least by the time I locate the animal carcass, I won't immediately regurgitate the contents of my lunch.

14/14 midweek update

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I just had to post a mid-week update.

I totally skipped exercising yesterday and the day before.  I had a sick kid for two days, and wasn't feeling super-great myself.  Boo for lost exercise.

On the upside, I've had a sudden drop in my weight - like, a 3 pound drop for more than 2 days.  Yay!

Today, I was totally back on for exercise.  Good things.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

sunning diapers on a cloudy day

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I just read an article over at the Knickernappies blog about "sunning" diapers on rainy, cloudy days. The purpose of sunning is to get stains out of diapers, and some people feel sunning diapers helps get rid of diaper stink.  Apparently, it works to "sun" diapers on rainy days!

Read it, and look at the before and after pictures!

I've wondered if "sunning" on a cloudy day would work, especially after I read about using sunlight to purify water.  After a quick look back at the wikipedia article, it would certainly suggest that water is a critical factor in sunning diapers - apparently the UV interacts with the water to release oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, both things that can help fight stains.

So, tips on sunning diapers:

  • Lay them flat - the sun has a better angle on the diapers. Hanging them on a line drys them faster, too, which goes contrary to the next tip:
  • Keep them wet.  If they dry out, and the stain isn't gone, spray them with water, or just run them under a faucet to get them wet again.
  • It would seem that it doesn't matter if it's cloudy or sunny.  
  • Some people feel you can sun diapers inside, near a window, or on your car dash.  I think this is a possibility, but if you have the high efficiency windows that are designed to block UV rays, it might not work as well.
I haven't made an effort to sun my diapers on a cloudy day, especially since it is getting cooler, but I think I'll have to make the effort now, simply for the sake of experimenting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

14/14 week 9

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Another excellent week!

I walked 10.7 miles on the treadmill, exercised 6 days, and logged 208 minutes, not including my strength training sessions.

I've had a couple of people mention that it looks like my shape is changing, so even if my weight is not moving much, my inches might be!  I measured my self a couple of weeks ago, but unfortunately, I seem to have misplaced that paper.  Oh well.  I just took new measurements, so in a few weeks I'll be able to run some comparisons.

I started logging my food into a calorie counter, and although I'm not very consistent, doing so is starting to give me a better feel of how much I'm eating.  First insight?  I snack more than I realized. Much of that snacking is immediately before or after a meal. I also tend to eat a while I'm cooking or baking.  So, I need to work on methods to reduce or alter that.  I may need to adjust my meal schedule, or eat healthy snacks before I'm hungry.

I'm feeling good about my efforts. There are 5 weeks (technically) left in my challenge, and 7 weeks left in the year.

Monday, November 15, 2010

two words

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"Boot!  There - Boot!"

Nathanael has entered the world of two word phrases. 

Several weeks ago, he brought me a bike helmet. "Hat!"  After a little bit, he said, "On!"  The way he said it, though, was two distinct thoughts.  This time, clearly, one thought.

Earlier today, he said, "got it!" but that is often presented as a single phrase, just like you might say any other multi-syllabic word.

Jude said he's heard similar phrases over this past weekend. 

I love seeing language development. My boy is becoming more intelligible every day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

lost things

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I've gotten really bad (good?) at loosing things (except my weight!  ha!)

Moving didn't help much.  But, I think some things were missing before we moved.  It just compounded things by shoving everything in boxes (many of which are still packed away).

A list of things lost:
car keys - 3 weeks
checkbook (for a typically unused account with a low balance) - 1 year
certain children's toys (that should be in the box! - 6 months
my organizational skills - 3 years 262 days
the list that had a list of the things that I lost - ?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

redecorate

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A sneak peak at what is going on in the kid's room upstairs.




They both love the rug.  E likes to hop from dot to dot.  N likes to just sprawl out on it.  Not something he typically does, but as soon as we rolled it out, he snuggled up on it.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

14/14 week 8

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Last week was a good week.  I've completed 2 full weeks of my exercise program.
It's not a very complex program, really. It just requires that I do it, and do it consistently. The program comes from the April 2008 issue of Prevention magazine.  I don't know that there's anything especially outstanding about this routine. Consider: Prevention magazine comes out with a new routine every month that's going to transform our bodies! If they really hit on one routine that really changed things for lots of people they'd republish it.

I tried it the first time because it gradually increased the amount of time spent each week, and that was what I needed then.  I'm doing it now because it worked for me the first time!

3 days a week, I do an endurance walk.  Each week, I add on 5 minutes to the walk.  3 days a week, I do some strength training with a resistance band for about 15 minutes (let me tell you, I reallllllly feel it when I'm working on it.  Not so much afterward, though.) followed by a different walking routine for each of the 3 days, adding on repetitions/minutes each week. First is 4x2's - 4 minutes of a fast past (4 mph) followed by 2 minutes of an easy pace (3 mph) repeated several times.  The next one is doing 30 second surges - 30 seconds at 5 mph (walking, not running!), 1 minute easy (3 mph). The third is even stevens - a "race" pace 4-4.5 mph followed by a moderate pace (3-3.5 mph) with the length of time spent at each pace increasing by the week (week one was 1 minute each, 6 times; week two was 90 seconds each, 6 times, etc.)

I love having a treadmill for this program.  I can set the pace, and just keep going steady until time is up.  I know if I were trying this outside walking, I probably would not go as fast or as consistently as I do with the treadmill.

Want to know how I keep track of everything?  It's high-tech, I tell you.

Ye olde Sticker Chart.




It worked before, and it works now, too!  I think part of why a sticker chart works for me is that it's one thing I won't "cheat" on - I don't give myself stickers unless I did the work to get one.  Otherwise I'll feel guilty, and that would totally bust my groove.  The other reason it works for me is that other people (namely, Jude) can see what I have (or haven't) been doing, and that helps keep me accountable when there is no one else around to know if I did or didn't exercise.

Oddly enough, I've found social media (like twitter) to be useful - I love being able to post that I finally exercised after sitting around all morning in my pj's avoiding real work. Not that I love procrastinating.  I mean, I love being able to post that I've finally overcome my procrastination and done something!

My number still aren't budging much, so I think I finally need to add in a calorie counting aspect to my routine.  I've used babyfit (by spark people), and it's okay, but since I am not pregnant, and Nathanael's not nursing much, I think I might go ahead and use spark people.

My intent with counting calories is to help me get a renewed grasp on portion sizes.  I believe that I will feel hungry at times, and I just have to figure out how to mentally deal with that. I need to shift away from carbs and dairy products and move towards vegetables and fruits.  We don't really keep junk food in the house.  I don't keep cookies, or snack foods or candies in the house very often. (I buy crackers for kid snacks) We eat whole grain foods, we avoid artificial food additives.  I just eat a lot when I eat. And, I admit, I sneak foods when I'm out.  That's probably really getting me (always has, but must change.)  Like, eating out during our weekly shopping trip, or buying a "treat" like a cookie or chocolate bars or a donut when we go out at other times.

Charlotte over at The Great Fitness Experiment has been writing about intuitive eating.  I think that's something I need to get a handle on.  Separating my mental stuff from the physical need for food.  It's all wrapped up and warpped up together right now.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

words

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Doh-noo!
bup
bips
dod
dain
dar
dat
tair
dee-er
dau-der
do-dur
nee-nee 

All of these are words that Nathanael says, that really don't sound quite like the intended word.  Most of the time, it's hard to understand.  But, other times, quite clear.

Take nee-nee for example.  We were at a fabric store, and another customer was talking to Nathanael while we were waiting in line.  He kept touching my shoulder and saying Mama.  I sat him on the counter, and while looking at the lady, he yet again introduced her to me:

"Mama" - pats shoulder.
"Nee-Nee" - pats breast.

Ahh, words. 

(the secret word key for the above words: Oh no!, cup, chips, dog, plane, car, cat, chair, four wheeler, water, yogurt)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

14/14 week 7

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Half way through my challenge, I am not half way to my weight loss goal. 

Disappointing, but I'm not done yet, either. 

Last week (week 7) was great!  I exercised 6 days, did strength training on 3 days, and worked on the treadmill for 160 minutes (surpassing my goal of 150 minutes a week).  I helped my neighbors move large rocks for about 2 hours straight, in addition to raking leaves 2 times for about 30 minutes each time, and hauling 2 trailer loads of wood (maybe 40-50 pieces).

The end result of all that effort? I'm under my starting weight again.  That's a difference of 3.5 pounds from the high point of weight overage about a week and a half ago.  Yay! Does that mean I've lost 3.5 pounds?  I really have no idea.  Maybe I was retaining water.

I also had a food success this past weekend - I went to another church gathering where there was lots of food, most of it not very healthy.  I only ate one plate of food (and not a piled-high plate) and one dessert. For me, that's a big deal, as I tend to go back for seconds and thirds at potluck/buffet meals.  I was not stuffed!  And then, that evening - a nice salad, and 2 pieces of pizza (not 4 or 5).

Yeah!  I picked up a resistance band, as my program calls for one.  I had been using free weights.  A resistance band definitely works the body in a different way.  Well worth it!

Elizabeth has been wanting to work out with me, with "real" weights, but my 3 pound weights are too heavy for her.  We bought a pair of pink one pound weights, and they are just right!

This coming week, week 8 - the program calls for increasing the time spent walking by 5 minutes each day.  I struggle just getting in the time that I do.  Much of that is all in my head.  The kids can be fairly self-entertaining, and I can hop off the treadmill for a few minutes if I need to deal with something.  I think mostly I just don't want to spend that much time going nowhere.  I wish I had something like an Ipad that I could strap to my treadmill.  Then I could surf the internet or watch videos while working out!  Maybe.  I'd probably get motion sick trying to read something.  Books and magazines have never worked out well for me on a treadmill unless I go super slow.

So with 7 weeks (including this one) left in my program (essentially taking me to the end of 2010), if I can get rid of 1 pound a week, that would still put me (just barely!) below my pre-pregnancy weight. If I can get rid of 1.5 pounds a week, then that puts me in a range I haven't seen in more than 7 years!

I'm not done yet!

Friday, October 29, 2010

your love, oh Lord

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This Third Day Song has always been a favorite of mine.

Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O LORD, you preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalms 36: 5-7 NIV

But just for fun, read the differences in the Inspire Version:

5 O Lord, thou art in the heavens; they are full of thy mercy. And the thoughts of a righteous man ascendeth up unto thee whose throne is far above the clouds. 
6 He is filled with thy righteousness like the great mountains, and with thy judgments like a great deep. O Lord, thou preservest man and beast. 

7 How excellent is thy loving-kindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

Either way, a powerful statement of the Lord and his love!

Mean and Rotten Mama

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My mom had this phrase she would say, when she finally got tired of us asking why:

"Because I'm a Mean and Rotten Mother, and proud of it!"

That certainly interjects some humor into a tense moment.

We kids often said we wanted to make a t-shirt for our mom that said "Mean and Rotten Parent" (you know, so it would be non-gender specific).

Now, as a parent, I think I need to make that shirt for myself.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

sing me a song

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My family of origin has a long history of making up our own songs.  Or, rather, borrowing other people's tunes and setting our own lyrics.

My brother Jeremy has some rather wonderful songs that he's made, that I still sing today.

Here are a couple of variations on a camp song called "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean."

My Bonnie lies over a gastank.
It's contents were too hard to see.
She then lit a match to assist her
Oh, bring back my bonnie to me!

And

Im Eenob seil revo et neso
Im Eenob seil revo et ees
Im Eenob seil revo et neso
Ho, g-nirb cab im eenob ot em!

g-nirb cab,  g-nirb cab
g-nirb cab im eenob ot em, ot em!

g-nirb cab,  g-nirb cab
g-nirb cab im eenob ot em!

The original lyrics as I recall them are as follows.  You might notice that the previous song lyrics are, essentially, a singing of the words backwards, but in proper order.

My Bonnie lies over the ocean
my bonnie lies over the sea
my bonnie lies over the ocean
Oh bring back my bonnie to me!


bring back, bring back, 
Oh bring back 
my bonnie to me, to me!
bring back, bring back! 
oh bring back 
my bonnie to me!

But.  This post is not about my brother, as fond as I am of him and his lyrics.

This is about my daughter, Elizabeth.  Who, at 3.75 years old, takes after her Mama, and has begun singing her own words to songs, and has begun conversing with me in song, as I do with her.

And it cracks me up.  I wish I could recall a particular instance for you, but it's not so much what she says that is funny, but that she's even doing it at all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Wailin' Jennys

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My brother called me today to tell me to take a listen to a group called The Wailin' Jennys.  He said he was listening to Pandora, and this came up.

He thought I would like them, and he's right.  I think I'm going to have to find an album of theirs!





fall leaves

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Fall is here, sitting in deep piles in my back yard.

Requiring hours raking, and hauling leaves.

Dictating that we must take time to pause, and enjoy the crunch of the leaves before consigning them to a life of compost.

Oh, the joy of playing in the leaves for the first time! And the second, and the third!












Tuesday, October 26, 2010

14/14 week 6

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I'll be honest.  I feel a bit like a failure.  For the past 3 weeks, I've been stalled out for a variety of reasons.  I have actually gained weight in the past week, above my starting weight.

That's all I have to say about week 6.

I'm looking forward to week 7. It started out on a good foot - I started over on the program I wrote about following.  Not hard, since I did one day of that program last week.

So, today marks a new week, and a new opportunity to whip the body into shape.

I'm really wishing I had a mom's helper to watch the kids for about an hour and a half, in the morning, each day. My best exercising time is in the morning.  That's when I have the most energy, and by exercising early, I don't have to try to figure out how to fit it in later, or try to motivate myself at 9 pm when the kids are finally (hopefully!) in bed, asleep.

I press onward.  I can do this.

I really need to get a handle on the food part, though.  Last week, the kids and I ate through a whole pan of cinnamon rolls, with me being the primary consumer. There's been lots of heavy eating on the weekends at activities and get-togethers.  I struggle with restraining myself to eating only a little bit of something, and tend to stuff myself with sweets. I grab a something as I walk past the table.  Ah, self-discipline!  And the whole time, I'm thinking about how each dessert I eat is making it that much harder to reach my goals.  Why don't I restrain myself?

I mentally understand the things I should be doing to be healthier, and to loose weight. I clearly have difficulty making it a way of life.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

lucky me

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I've won some things from blog giveaways recently, and I thought I'd give a shout out to the blogs and the winnings.

Rockin' Green Cloth Diaper Degergent, laundry scoop and pail freshener from the Knickernappies Blog.

Maroon5 concert tickets, courtesy of Wishing Penny. I won't be going to the concert, as they are a gift for my husband and he'll be at work the week of the concert (which will be in the city where he'll be working that week.)

A "Babies" Blu-ray DVD from MovieMom. We watched this as soon as we got it. Elizabeth giggled a lot at the babies and their antics.  Nathanael happily exclaimed "Baby!" throughout the movie.

A while back, I won a couple of diapers, a fun little dress up set for Elizabeth, and a stuffed animal.

Now, lets be honest about how much time I'm putting in compared to my winnings.  I have entered more than 200 giveaways.  If I spent only 5 minutes at each giveaway, that would be 1000 minutes.  16.6 hours. That's a lot of time. The approximate retail value for all that stuff is $275.23.  That means, according to those numbers, that I average about $16.50 per hour.

You know, that's really better than I than I thought it would be.  I hadn't actually figure the numbers, but I know I spent a lot of time. 

Maybe entering giveaways isn't such a waste of time!

Friday, October 22, 2010

unfinished projects

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I have a tendency to think up fun little projects, and either not start them, or get almost done, and quit.


Some projects that I have in the works:

wool dryer balls - round one of felting complete
a closet curtain for the kids - bought the fabric
doll clothes for Elizabeth- again, acquiring more and more fabric
a quilt for a relative - bought the material (twice, since the mice chewed on it in storage)
upcyclced wool diaper covers - bought the cheap sweaters!
homemade dishwashing detergent - I have some of the hard to get supplies, but I haven't taken the time to buy the easy stuff and just mix it up.

I know I have others sitting around that I have forgotten about.

I just procrastinate.  Sometimes, I have a project almost completed, and then I think, well, it'll just take a little bit to finish it, so I'll do that later.  (?!?)

An example of this last one - I had finally decided on a particular online purchase after hours of looking, comparing, and waffling. I had it in the shopping cart, and I almost got up to go do something else, because I could "just come back to it later."  I saw the flawed thinking, and decided to just go ahead and finish it.  I spent this long on it already.  Another 3 minutes would not suddenly change anything.

I have other things that are really for other people that I need to finish, but haven't. A big one is finishing the drawings for a new storage area for youth camp/ministries supplies.  I took the measurements.  I just need to haul out my graph paper and plot out some very simple plans.  We can't build unless I have the plans done.  Slacker me.

The kids' room is waiting for me to finish painting.  Jude has some work to do in there before I can paint one wall, but the rest of the room I could do.  But I haven't.

Sometimes, I get caught up in trying to decide which one to work on first.  Since I struggle to prioritize, I just don't do any of them.  That is a fast road to nothing done.

This weekend, I will work on the storage plans.  Those have the most impact on other people being able to complete a project.  I will get it done!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

14/14 week 5

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Well, I just finished week 5.  Not mu most shining week.  I did indeed exercise 2 days early in the week.  Well, technically the second day was not on a treadmill or anything, but I was outside from about 9:30 to 5, with the exception of an hour and a half or so for lunch and starting naps, raking leaves, hauling leaves, hauling wood, and mowing the lawn (with some nice steep hills!).  I felt that I did more than a 30 minutes worth of treadmill walking.

After that, things didn't go so well.  Kids were not feeling well, so they were not sleeping well and clingy and whiny for several days.  Dealing with that took precedence. Exercising did not occur.

I'm still tired from last week.

But this week, week 6 will be better.  I found the exercise program from way back, when I actually lost weight after my previous pregnancy. It requires that I increase my exercise to 6 days a week. It shall be done!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

NTDI: episode 10 - don't believe customer service

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I have called the customer service line for my Electrolux front loading washing machine a couple of times, trying to figure out if there was a particular setting that would give more water per weight of clothes in the machine.  I have been on a quest to maximize the amount of water I use when I wash my cloth diapers, in an effort to keep the stink out of the diapers. (Generally doing well on that front - no ammonia burn/stink, but there's an odd, funky smell I would like to get out of the diapers)

Each time I called, I was essentially told that no, the water only fills based on weight, and doesn't vary the water based on the setting selection.  I knew it filled based on weight. But.  If that's the case, why the options in settings?

So I figured the customer service reps are no engineers, and likely aren't trying to wash cloth diapers with whatever brand of machine they own.  Meaning, they really have no clue.

I tested a few cycles with my machine, with no clothes in it, to see how much water it gave for the same non-weight.

Although I couldn't directly measure the amount of water in the machine, I did my next best - if I started it on the setting I suspected of using the least amount of water, would it add more water mid-cycle if I switched it to a different setting?

Indeed, it did.

Thus far I have concluded that on my washing machine, Normal gives me the least amount of water (seems to be the same as whites, and heavy duty) Casual gives me slightly more water, and delicate give me the most water.  This completely backs up what I've read other blogs across the internet.  Delicate settings give more water than other settings.  The disadvantage of the delicate setting is that I can't use hot water.  I can use hot water on the casual setting, which certainly gives me more water than other settings that use hot water.

Customer service clearly doesn't know everything!

I'm tinkering with my wash settings.  I can use a warm wash on the delicate setting, and that might get the job done with the diapers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

14/14 week 4

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Apparently I'm a slow mover when it comes to numbers on the scale.

I will not give up.

Same number as last week.  I keep forgetting to find my measuring tape to check my measurements.  It's possible that I'm loosing inches but not weight.  That would be okay by me!  I Just need to figure out where I hid my measure in all of my moving boxes!

Last week was good, in general.  I feel like I've been consuming smaller portions, and I've been pretty consistently getting daily minutes in my workout.  Last week, I did 160 minutes! (I know, you hard workers out there might not think that's a lot, but some days, even 10 minutes feels like an eternity.)

Last week was also tiring, in that I was pretty exhausted, and the children were (and still are) sick with runny/stuffy noses, coughs, congestion, and general whininess, that is bleeding over into this week.

I will admit that the first day of week 5 was a no go for exercise with the crying, clinging kids. Better luck tomorrow.

I'll be adding more outdoor physical exertion to my daily routine.  It's (supposedly) fall, and that means our outdoor wood burning furnace is fired up and needs to be fed on a daily basis.  So, I go outside, rake the coals and ashes around, toss in several logs, and shut the door.  Weight lifting, you know?

The leaves are also falling off the trees, and we have lots, and lots (and Lots!) of trees in and around our yard.  Leaf raking is almost a daily activity if we want to keep up with it.

I love this time of year, so having a good excuse to be out in great weather is no problem! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homemade Vanilla Extract - 2 months later

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Since it's been about two months since I started my homemade vanilla extract, I thought it high time to see how my product is doing.



By color - Nice and dark.  By smell, upon first opening the bottle - Ahhh... Vanilla!!!

By comparison:

I though I'd give a try at comparing a bit of my vanilla extract with the my store bought version.

I grabbed a graduated medicine dropper, and put .5 mil of each extract into two small glass cups. I sniffed, I looked, I tasted. I brought the cups to Jude, and asked him to compare them.

I smelled them. I couldn't tell much difference. I thought the store extract smelled slightly sweeter.  Jude though mine was slightly sweeter.  Maybe we're both confused.

I tasted mine.  I thought - yuck!  Tastes like alcohol! Then I tasted the store extract.  Same thing!  Apparently I've never tasted vanilla extract before?  Why I should be shocked that something that is 40% alcohol tastes that way is beyond me... Anyway, the point being, they tasted relatively similar.  Mine was the slightest bit weaker in vanilla flavor, I thought.

I swirled them around a bit, looking at the samples in different lights.  I think the store extract was just a bit darker than my homemade extract.

My conclusion?  After 8 weeks, it is totally a usable vanilla extract.  I think that another few months will really improve the flavor.  Since I initially made the extract with the intent to let it sit for 4-6 months before use, finding that it appears to be a good product at 2 months is great!

I highly recommend giving a go at making your own vanilla extract. It's cheaper than store bought, and I think that in a few months it well taste better than store bought, too (as opposed to tasting the same as right now).  If this much vanilla extract is a bit much for you, consider splitting a bottle with some one - share costs, or share some as a gift.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

at the garden's end

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We've had our first frost warning.  The days of harvesting (in minute amounts) our produce are wrapping up.  My garden stragglers are:

Lettuce and Spinach (replanted for fall harvest a few weeks ago)

Strawberries (barely holding on - I think the remaining blossoms might not ripen with the cool weather)



Herbs - Chives, thyme, and parsley

 (It's too dark to go outside and take photos of the herbs. Poor herbs.  So neglected.  And under photographed.  Just not very exciting, you know? No flowers, no fruits, just doing their thing, being all herby.)

And, the Garlic that Never Dies:



Here's the tale of the garlic - Several years ago, I got a bulb of garlic to plant.  One bulb, broken into cloves and planted in the spring.  I let them stay in the ground over winter.  The next summer, I got some nice garlic bulbs.  I thought I got all of them up.  Wrong. This spring, Low, and behold, garlic growing!  Several good-sized clumps! I uprooted them and transported them, and after a week or two of garlic abuse, I planted maybe half in a container.  This summer, when they started to dry out, I pulled up all the garlic, and let it dry.  They aren't very big bulbs, but good enough.  We moved the planter up here.  Lo, and behold, there are little garlic shoots!  I'm curious to see how they fare over winter.  The garlic that keeps on giving.

Here are some honeybees, hard at work stealing our sugar water for the hummingbirds.  There were quite a few of them buzzing around the wildflowers in front of the house.


I feel like I should do a wrap of of everything.  Back in March when we started on this, I really was hopeful that my container garden would flourish.  Considering my brown thumb, I think things turned out well.

I managed to get edible produce from all of the varieties of plants I started with, even if it was only 3 snow peas or a handful of green beans.

I grew the following plants over the past several months:

snow peas, lettuce, spinach, onions, garlic, green beans, zucchini, peppers (green, yellow, and purple!), sunflowers, strawberries, tomatoes and my herbs - parsley, thyme, and chives.

I think the strawberries were the most successful, even though we got just a dozen or so at a time.  Only enough to enjoy a sweet snack once in a while, and not enough to make anything with. I will admit, most everyone else passed on what our little garden provided.  I enjoyed it, though!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

irony

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I must say that I chuckled when I saw that my posts recently are sandwiched thusly:


Trying to loose weight!  Exercising!  Eating right! Tell the World about it!

Awwww.. My baby is so cute... Wait - he's not a baby any more!  Focus... Focus...

Trying to loose weight!  Exercising!  Eating right!

Yummm.... Pumpkin Muffins!

STILL Trying to loose weight!  Exercising!  Eating right!

14/14 week 3

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I just completed week 3 of my 14/14 challenge. I'm a little behind, but I'm not too worried.  At least I'm moving!


This week saw the first official drop in weight!  Yay!  I'm one pound less than my starting weight.

During the course of week 3, I increased the intensity of my workouts by using the incline feature on my treadmill. I was able to burn more calories in less time, simply by walking up hill!!  Awesome, since I should practice hills anyway - we live about 75 feet above the surrounding terrain, so going for a walk anywhere involves some hill climbing.  I missed one day of exercise last week, but I'm on track already for this week.

I've been doing a little better with my food - smaller portions, and I've been fighting against my self-sabotaging tendencies with some success.  I decided that I would buy a small carton of ice cream at the store.  Knowing that it's available had, oddly enough, reduced my urge to go out and buy soft serve ice cream when we are out.  Scratch that.  Not reduced the urge, but allowed me a method of reasonable deferment. Maybe it works because if we're out, and I want ice cream, I can tell myself that If I want ice cream that much, I can wait and have it at home. And by the time I get home, I'm usually busy enough that I forget about it.

More on the self-sabotage -

Here's how it works.  I had decided that I wanted to loose weight before I do a specific something.  But, it's like I kept myself from reaching that goal every time I would go out and buy a treat.  And I know that, because of the running commentary in my head - 'you know, if you just pass on it this one time, it will be easier the next time, and you'll be that much closer to your goal' 'but, if I eat this, then I WON'T loose the weight.  There are advantages to not loosing weight - like not having to do the thing you want to do, because that thing?  Fun, but hard. do you really want that? maybe not yet? eat the ice cream." That kind of self defeating talk. I guess the short version is that I would consume sweets fully aware that I was moving away from my goal.  There was no ignorance about it involved.  That's self-sabotage.

Maybe, by giving myself permission to keep and eat ice cream (my favorite sweet) in the house, it takes it out of the 'forbidden fruit' category.  I'm hoping.

Ultimately, I think there are some things wrapped up in the thing that I want to do, which are entirely separate from my weight.  What that means is that I need to figure out how to disentangle the two in my head, and not make doing the something contingent upon a weight/body goal.  Not as easy as it would seem, if it were something as simple as buying a new book.

Work in progress.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Annual Pumpkin Muffin Day

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Today is annual pumpkin muffin day, the first official day of pumpkin muffin season.  A group of (mostly) women that I associate with have this pumpkin muffin recipe. It involved chocolate, too.

I first made these a few years ago, and now I'm hooked.  Now that it's October, we can make them.  Because, you know, pumpkins and October go together.  For some people.  Pumpkin muffins and me definitely go together, with the unfortunate consequence of both of us having muffin tops.

So, today, the kids and I made the pumpkin muffins. 

N couldn't keep his hands out of the mixer bowl. I resorted to giving him the beater from which to lick the batter.  He got upset when he realized he had batter on his hands.  He didn't realize he had batter all over his face, too.  Jude came to help him get cleaned up, and N was protesting having his face wipe. Jude took him to a mirror, and N was surprised and upset to see something all over his face!  He didn't fuss about getting a cleaned face after that.

E was a great helper - she counted the ingredients for me, helped stir, she held the muffin papers and helped make sure we shared the batter evenly amongst all the muffin papers.  She called dibs on the pink papered one, and kept asking after it until it was final hers.

A good day for pumpkin muffins!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

14/14 week 2

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What is up with two weeks of no scale progress?!  I added exercise to my routine, (about 30 minutes of treadmill walking each day, at 3 - 3.5 mph, 0 incline.)  I know that's not a whole lot of calories burned, but surely a half a pound, maybe?  Perhaps I increased my food intake by little bits without even realizing it, such that my burned calories are being counteracted.

All told, last week was a bust in terms of numbers on the scale, but a total win in terms of getting exercise to be part of the routine!  During week 2, I exercised all 5 week days!

Food was a challenge during week 2.  I did reasonably well during the week, but we were traveling and visiting family over the weekend, and I ate mindlessly.  I think I had something like 4 oreos, 2 chocolate chip cookies, 2 pumpkin pie bites, a few handfuls of candy corn, meatballs, cheese and sausage and crackers as I walked by the food table....Oh, and I finally "bit it" and had a caramel apple, just to prove to myself that my teeth would not be pulled out upon taking a bite! Maybe all that eating is where my pounds went!

I can already see that this fall will be a mine field.  I love desserts. And sweets. and breads and muffins, and cookies.  T'is the Season.  For something like 3 months.

This week: I'm kicking up the intensity.  I'll be increasing the incline substantially, since that really gets my heart going, and the "glow" flowing.  I'm also going to be focusing on intentional eating - not blind snacking, or taking seconds without pausing for a while, or stuffing myself because there is food handy.

If I were in the military, I'd say something like "ooo-ah"  or "boo-yah."  But I'm not.  So I won't.

Funny exercise stories -

Nathanael likes to try to get on the treadmill with me.  Not safe.  But so far, all he does is sneak up beside me, hold on the the rail, and slide one toe on to the belt.  Sometimes he likes to challenge me by throwing a ball at the top of the belt, just to give me an additional target. 

Elizabeth usually asks me if I'm going to exercise when she sees the shoes and the clothes.  She says exercise in a way that I can't really phonetically transcribe. Then she wants to exercise with me.  Unfortunately, the treadmill is not a place for kids to play.  However, about part way through my walk, I sometimes will slow the speed to the lowest setting - .5 miles per hour, and hold on the kids as they take turns walking, or sitting, or whatever on the belt. Gets them of my back (belt?) for a enough time to finish out the workout.

I keep a glass of water with me, and N will approach me, and point repeated at my water until I hand it over, where upon he will take a sip, and then take it to E, so she can have one, too.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nathanael: 18 months

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A few days ago, Nathanael hit his 18 month birthday.
Then

Now
Here's a report on the boy:

21.25 pounds
31.5 inches tall
He has 16 teeth

Eating: still breastfeeding. When he thinks it's time to nurse, he uses The Word - "Ba!" He also lays down on my arm and makes a fake laugh/haha/anticipation sound. I don't often take the hint during the day. Doesn't like the things E loves - PBJ sandwiches, oatmeal, turkey and cheese, bread. Totally loves the things she doesn't - vegetables, soups, non-plain meats, pico de gallo (raw unions, tomatos, jalepenos, lime, cilantro). He is very good at feeding himself with spoons and forks. Sometimes he gets tired of chasing his food with utensils and uses his hands. He is very good at drinking from a cup. He does not like food on his hands.  Or dirt, or anything else.

Sleeping: Co-sleeping - when we get a bit more space he'll be moved into his own bed.  We might be trying to find space before then, though - the boy is bed hog!  He takes one or two naps each day.

Traveling: He likes to "go" for a ride in the car, as long as it is short.  And as long as Mom is in the back seat with him on longer trips. He likes to ride around in baby carriers, and has been known to bring one to me when he wants a ride. Like the 4 wheeler, and climbs on any time we are in the garage.

Language: He says more than 30 words. He is quiet around new people, but flirts with them from the safety mom or dad.
Motor Skills:
Knows how to fuss. When he doesn't want to do something, he plants his feet, bends a little at the waist, and screws up his face in a fuss.  I hope to get the fussy face on camera at some point.

Knows how to open doors.  He likes to escape to the back yard and eat the strawberries and parsley from the planter.

Has figured out how to hit is sister.  They both love the spaceship grocery cart with two kid steering wheels. They both are constantly getting in each others face when riding in it, and there's much hand-flapping/girl fighting.

He also understands "no" and the 1-2-3 count.

He enjoys driving cars on things and people. He likes phones  -"lo" and putting a phone to someones ear.

He likes to slide down the steps on his belly, feet first. He dances, he tries to jump.

Personality: a funny guy.  Usually he does something during meal time that causes everyone to laugh.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

14/14 week 1

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My first week has been... average?

I missed one day of exercise last week. That was a bad day.  That day, I shared ice cream and fries with my kids for lunch. Bad mommy day. I felt like a high school student. 

I'm on track for this week's exercise. I was on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and during those 30 minutes I did some intervals running.  Running is so not my favorite thing, but it really gets the heart thumping!

My weight is pretty much where I started last week, but that's okay - there won't always be pounds lost every week.  I just need to keep plugging away, and work on the food side of things.

I'm looking forward to The Biggest Loser starting up this week.  In the past, I have watched the show while walking the treadmill.  It might be a bit more of a challenge this year, as the show time coincides with bedtime for kids.  I have no TiVo, just plain ol' over the air TV, so I just watch it when it is being broadcast.

I'm also being totally inspired by several online friends from over at the NFP board. Those ladies are kicking it!  I'm a little late getting in on the game, but I fully intend to meet my 14/14 goal. I also recently found out about a vacation we're hoping to go on next summer... I want to be in a healthier place long before we go.

I'm ready to hit it this week.  Are you!

Monday, September 20, 2010

he moos!

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all photos copyright Jude Vickery


Nathanael has had an explosion in language this past week. He just hit 18 months yesterday - happy birthday, boy!

He began with breakfast. His first two-syllable word where the syllable are different (as opposed to Mama, Nana, Papa) Although, I guess he says Da-dee, and Balloon (baoon) was his first word, but everything else has been monosyllabic. Now he's adding them to his regular repertoire.



He has been attempting words if you ask "Can you say ____?"

His words:
Breakfast (beh-fa)
Banana (ba-na)
Pizza (Pee-sa)
Hot Dog (Ha-da)
Elizabeth (garbled -beh)
Grandma (garbled - ma)
Grandpa (garbled -ba)
Randy (dan-dee, sounds like daddy sometimes)
button (buh-uhn)



He is labeling body parts - peen, bom, beh-bun, but I'll refrain from indicating the official two-syllable designations in an effort to avoid unfortunate search engine results.

I know there are other words, but I keep forgetting them.



Animal sounds:
I asked what a cow says. "MOOOOOOO!!!"
He neighs like a horse, but doesn't do so when asked what a horse says.



It is an adventure to see and hear all the new things that he does. He is a joy!
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