Wednesday, August 31, 2011

House Preview

We're almost done finalizing the plan and we think the front elevation is finalized. Here is a little rendering Tom put together. I don't know about you but I'm excited. :)

We're going with an Arts & Crafts (Craftsman) look with some Timber Home accents. Tom's dream is to have a timber framed home, so we're adding a few things that give it that look as well. In particular, the entry way and the garage doors. We also plan to have some wood beams, headers and posts somewhere on the inside as well. 

Colors and stone selection is still not finalized but the basic layout is final. Tom and I both like this color combo which is very similar to what he designed. 

Mineral Quarry
James Hardie Top Color Combinations
Main Body: Monterey Taupe
Second Body: Timber Bark
Trim: Cobblestone

Accent: Red, Green, Blues, and Browns of various shades will all work
When in doubt, this combination is foolproof. It offers a stronger contrast between its neutral body colors, Monterey Taupe and Timber Bark, but not too much because of the softer shade, Cobblestone, for the trim. This combination is great with any landscaping color palette, from strong reds, soft pinks and vibrant rusts.

I love the look and can't wait to be sitting in a rocker on the front porch. :)

Back on the Horse - Day 4

So, here's how I did on the goal's I set for today...

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app - DONE!
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories - DONE! (Or so far so good anyway, so long as I don't go on a Cheetos binge in the next hour)
3. Drink 32 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of water - DONE! - Well, again kind of - I need to change this goal for days I'm home or on the run and not in the office. I can't seem to make tea when I'm at home. And, today I was out of the Sugar Free Cranberry juice. So, I made an effort to drink water. I'm on glass four so 64 ounces today.
4. Exercise for 40 minutes - DONE!
5. Take a vitamin - Excuse me for a second - Gulp - DONE! 
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress in the evening or next morning - DONE!

All in all a good day. The hunger is wearing off which is good and I didn't go on any snack binges. But, man oh man, the exercise is really kicking my tail. I'm doing Insanity and I just can't get my mojo right. I'm sore so I know it's doing something but I physically can't make myself do the moves most of the time. And, it's not because I hurt or my cardio's not there. I literally just don't want to do it. I'm not sure what to think on this front other than it will come back to me. I just have to keep at it. The main reason I love Insanity is that they're only 40 minute workouts at first but they are seriously intense. 

As for accountability, this is really doing it for me. I'm telling you I was so close to just saying forget it and grabbing another Diet Coke (instead of water) and canning the exercise today. It was a bear to fit it in since the kids were up a little early and I was up a little late. But, I knew if I made an excuse today, another excuse would just crop up tomorrow. Just going through the motions this week will hopefully make next week a little easier. 

Here is a list of goals for tomorrow...

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories
3. Drink 64 oz. of water or green tea
4. Exercise for 40 minutes
5. Take a vitamin
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress in the evening or next morning

Back on the Horse - Day 3

Here are the results from yesterday's challenge -

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app - DONE!
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories - Went over by 250 calories - I blame date night. :)
3. Drink 16 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of green tea and 32 oz. of water - Did the same as yesterday - 32 oz of cranberry/lemon/water and 16 oz. of green tea - I had a ton of water too
4. Exercise for 40 minutes - DONE!
5. Take a vitamin - Oops - I forgot about this one. I tried taking it in the morning which is when I remember but it made me nauseous on an empty stomach. Need to remember this one tonight.
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress in the evening - Doing it this morning - again blaming that on date night. :) 

As I mentioned, last night was date night, so going out to dinner makes it difficult to strictly stay on with calories. I still did way better than I would have done normally.

Here are my goals for today:

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories
3. Drink 32 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of water
4. Exercise for 40 minutes
5. Take a vitamin
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress in the evening or next morning

Today will be a challenge to get the exercise in since the kids were up early this morning and prevented me from doing it early. My plan is to do it after school when Jack is napping. I'm home today which also makes it a struggle to eat well - too many snacks around! I can do it though...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Back on the Horse - Day 2

Well, day one is done. Or almost anyway. Here's how I did:

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app - DONE!
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories - DONE!
3. Drink 16 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of green tea and 32 oz. of water - Kind of done - switched it up a bit - drank 32 oz. of cranberry/lemon/water and 16 oz. of green tea and 32 oz. of water - may float away tonight...
4. Exercise for 40 minutes - DONE!
5. Take a vitamin - DONE!
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress this evening - DONE!

Giving myself a virtual pat on the back. Nice work. 

Now, here is what I will do on Day 2...

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories
3. Drink 16 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of green tea and 32 oz. of water
4. Exercise for 40 minutes
5. Take a vitamin
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress in the evening

I'm just going to review longer term goals on Sunday night. 

By the way, the cranberry/water/lemon juice mixture is something I found on Pinterest. I use sugar free cranberry juice and you're supposed to add two tea bags of dandelion root tea (blech). If you drink 60 ounces each day for seven days, you're supposed to lose 5 pounds of "water weight." I've never tested the theory completely, but I do know that water is good to get down when you're dieting and the cranberry/lemon juice just makes it a little more palatable. So, I make it work. Then, the green tea is good in so many ways. I use decaf green tea (Lipton) and mix it half and half with Yogi's Blueberry Slim Life (also green tea) with a little Truvia. I never get enough water and have to make a very conscious effort to drink this much non-coffee and non-diet coke beverages. 

Also, I'm going to can my Facebook feed for a while. No need to bore everyone with my own form of motivation. So, if you want to follow my progress, sign up on the left either as a "follower" or sign up to follow by email. 

This is another 30 day challenge I'm giving myself. Accountability will be held here for 30 days and then hopefully I will have built a good habit. Anyone want to join in? We can help each other out along the way. I'm committed to doing it anyway, but would love to have you along. Post a comment if you want to join in the fun! 

Back on the Horse - Day 1

So, after another week of doing nothing physical and gaining another pound, I've had enough. Enough excuses, enough eating poorly, enough feeling sorry for myself. So, today I was up at 6. Well, 6:18 after hitting snooze one too many times. I busted out the Insanity DVD's and decided to just go for it.

Today should have been Fit Test, but I decided I already know I'm not fit so why waste an early morning with a 20 minute workout. I did Pure Cardio which is only 40 minutes, but intense. I can't believe how much strength and cardio I've lost since the last time I did this. I guess it has been a while (March) but I felt like I was keeping up with things through running. But, in all honesty, I've done very little since the house sold.

Either way, here are my short term (today) goals and my longer term goals. (Excuse the odd phrasing for the goals - goals should be stated in the present tense. I suppose it makes them seem more attainable.)

Today, I do the following:

1. Log what I eat - I use and their iPhone app
2. Eat under 1250 calories of high protein, good carb food - this is net of exercise calories
3. Drink 16 oz. of cranberry juice/lemon juice/water mixture and 32 oz. of green tea and 32 oz. of water
4. Exercise for 40 minutes
5. Take a vitamin
6. Be accountable - I blog about my progress this evening

Longer term goals:

1. Run the Riley Run 5K in 25 minutes
2. Lose 10 pounds by October 31 - a pound a week

Wish me luck...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Other Victims of the State Fair Collapse

As I've been writing, our Sales Consultant and very good friend, Andrea Vellinga, was injured badly in the Indiana State Fair stage collapse on August 13th. She is fighting to regain consciousness this week as she has been in a coma since last Saturday. This will be a baby step process, but she is making those baby steps and we are so proud of her.

I think I have mentioned that I am glued to Facebook updates about her from her brother and parents. We went to visit her yesterday and I plan to go back tomorrow. I have heard a number of very positive stories about victims of other traumatic brain injuries. Today, I talked with someone whose son was in a bad car accident that was in a coma for two weeks. On Thursday of the second week, he began to come to very slowly. On the following Monday night, his mother went in to the rehab center and saw him sitting up in a chair with his wife and he recognized her. He spent about three months in therapy (occupational and physical) and now is at 98% and you wouldn't know he had been through anything like that. I will again say that if anyone can make that happen, Andrea will be the one.

I have also been following the status of some other patients around the area. Here are links to their stories.

Bradley Humphrey - Brad is a 17 year old tennis star. He is in the same hospital as Andrea but different floor with leg and back injuries.

Shannon and Jade - Jade is only 11 years old and appears to be in the same stage as Andrea, early awakening. Shannon is her mother.

And, of course, Andrea's page. I believe her brother's inspiring updates are posted to this page too. As you read, you will realize he is destined for bigger things. :)

I know what a difference has been made by the prayers of many in Andrea's recovery. Now, I ask that you add these and others injured to your prayer lists too. Pray that they not only recover but become motivation for all of us to overcome whatever obstacle we may face.  Their struggle has already caused many to come closer to God, including yours truly.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

This is Not Easy

This has been the toughest week of probably my entire life. I really want to go back to the time before the stage collapse and back to the innocence of bad things not happening to the good people that I know. The ups and downs of Andrea's condition are weighing so heavily on me and I really can't stop thinking about her and her family. I'm constantly on Facebook to see if there are any status updates and checking my phone too.

Then, I'll put myself in check. If I'm going through this and feel this horrible about things, then how must her family feel? Her brother, Tyler, is doing a fantastic job of keeping all of her supporters strong and informed. I do believe that God is building a testimony as part of her healing. Tyler mentions people in his posts that have come to Jesus or began praying in earnest as a result of Andrea's situation. It has certainly strengthened my faith as well.

I've struggled with a lot this week. I'm just sick about the whole situation. I haven't kept up on house chores or things at work. I bark at the kids and really just want to lay on the couch. It's starting to rub off on them which is obviously not good. Today, I made myself snap out of it. I picked up the house, paid bills, organized paperwork and get this, I even ran on the treadmill. I feel better.

But, it's not about me, it's about Andrea and her family. It looks like there is good news on her recovery today too. It looks like they're lessening, if not totally removing, the sedation medicine. Now, I have no thoughts that she will magically wake up and start saying What Happened, Where Am I, etc. But, it's certainly a good step in her recovery.

She is an awesome person and I just miss her. I miss her optimism and smiles at the office. I feel for her and the struggles she will go through in her recovery. But, I also know she can do it. Hoping for more good news in Tyler's update tonight...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Josie's First Week at Kindergarden

Josie had a great first week. We had a few pick up issues, but all in all everything went smoothly. It was certainly a hectic week with everything going on with Andrea and trying to get on a new schedule. But, all in all, it was great for her.

Her class is very large - 28 kids! She's learned a few of their names but not many. She also told me today more about what they do everyday. The first few days, she only talked about free choice centers. This morning on the way to school, she told me that they sign in and then do seat work. Then, they read their Backyard Rules. She also started reciting something they must do in class. "A. aaa. Apple. B. bbb. Ball." etc. She knew them all. :) When she got home today, she made a book with those things, writing the upper case, lower case and drawing the picture. She also has a few new catch phrases, which for the life of me, I can't remember.

She must love her teacher too. I'm pretty impressed because even with 28 students, Josie has mentioned twice about things her teacher has said about her backpack and a shirt she was wearing. That tells me she's taking the time to interact with each of the kids and I know that means a lot to them. Josie's also bringing home papers with smiley faces. Her first "grades." :) I've already noticed that her coloring is better and more between the lines which I think is because she's really trying hard. One of her papers even had her first and last name. I can remember doing that in kindergarden. Luckily, she has an easier name than I did. :)

All in all, a great week for Josie. She's exhausted and ready for a weekend I think. Believe it or not, next week will be her first standardized test. It's a literacy test that all kindergardeners and 1st graders take. That news took me by surprise, but we're in the big leagues now. :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

First Day of Kindergarden

Well, today was the big day! Josie had her first day of Kindergarden at Mt. Comfort Elementary.

Last night, she was getting a little weepy and talking about being nervous and missing her mom. She asked if I would put a picture of me in her backpack in case she started to miss me. I did. By this afternoon, she had given it to Tessa because she realized she probably wouldn't need it. :)

We asked her to remember three things to tell us about after her first day.

1. Another classmates name - she remembered Bri. Bri was actually the granddaughter of the first sitter the girls had in Greenfield. :)

2. Her favorite activity - It was coloring a frog. She said it was her teacher's favorite animal and she would get to bring it home tomorrow.

3. Her favorite part of the day - It was free time. She told us all about the stations in the classroom - the easel (at which she didn't want to push someone out of the way for fear of time out), the kitchen, the library, and she said the computers would be next week. She also said there could only be five kids on each station at a time.

She had it down. :)

Here are some photos from the first day.

Night before...

 Choosing the perfect outfit...

Not so sure about that Tessa...

Ah yes. Perfect...

 So big! (And, yes we changed the shirt choice.)

Aw mom... So embarrassing. (Wonder how long pictures like this will last?)

Big girl!



Gone! She ran the whole way! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Well, I've officially found something more addicting than Facebook. And, no it's not Toddlers and Tiara's, although I may or may not have stayed up until midnight more than one night watching DVR'ed episodes. Don't judge.

I was introduced to Pinterest by a friend in real life and fellow blogger, Stephanie. At first, I was a little hesitant because I couldn't see the appeal. And, then I spent a little time on the site. Essentially, it's a collection of interesting things people have found online and pinned to their virtual bulletin board. Then, you can add a widget to your browser and pin your own things to your own boards. It's kind of a like a window to the cool things online.

I've found house ideas, organization tips, recipes, and even hair dos for the girls on here. At first, it made me much less productive around the house. But, then, I started doing some of the things I found online. I cooked a great meal two nights ago and have worked on the girls' hairdos. And, probably the most amazing task is getting Tessa to wear anything other than a ponytail and headband. Here are some pics...

Here's a link to all of my boards I've created thus far... Pinterest Boards

It's also given me some good laughs, including learning about

Check it out and if you need an invite, let me know. Seriously, it's addictive, but pretty darned awesome. A great way to collect and categorize all of the things that are floating around in cyberspace. Sign up - I dare you...

Just Jack

Wow, has Jack been cute these days. He's starting to dance and it is seriously cute. First, he'll walk to the music source and then start bouncing. Every once in a while, he'll get down on the ground and start "break dancing." I can't remember the girls doing this as young as 13 months. Here's a few videos we have captured recently...

Here's one of all the kids! Check out Josie's cartwheel!

He's also officially all over the place. It's funny because he plays so nicely by himself in the playroom. Then, I'll go in there and he'll be playing in the corner, but have a piece of chalk in his mouth. That's his favorite! He's really into stacking right now and has been able to do the shape sorter for some time. Mainly, he just likes to be where the action is happening, which has made bedtime in a smaller house a bit of an issue.

He's also starting to pick up some signs. He knows more, thank you and drink. He's still working on milk and please, but has a good little whine for those two things, so that works. :) My favorite thing he does lately is toddle over to the toaster when Tom's toasting his morning bagel, point at the toaster and say "nnn nnn." (Think puppy sounds here...) Who needs to talk when he gets everything he wants!

Here are just a few more pictures. Just a cute, and very sweet, baby!

In a bucket...

First guitar lesson...

His favorite place in the new house, the lazy susan...

School is Starting!

Josie and I went to Back to School Night tonight at her new school, Mt. Comfort Elementary. Since we're new to the district, I didn't receive anything in the mail so I wasn't sure if she was supposed to go along with me. It wasn't really ideal as it was really just information for Parent's and it was pretty long.

But, she was able to meet her teacher and see the classroom. It sounds like it's going to be a great year and a great teacher. She loads all of the class photos to Shutterfly and puts out a newsletter once a week for parents. It also seems like a great school with great support. It makes me feel confident we made the right choice.

As a first time parent of a Kindergardener, I was surprised that I feel so calm about things. I am so excited for her new adventure. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will shed a few tears on her first day. I saw a lot of parents ask, "can't I just walk them in the first day?" I was really surprised to hear the teacher say it wouldn't be ideal, but they could. Maybe it's from my time at Bradley, but it is so much easier on everyone to just send them in.

Now, the thing I need to figure out is how I'm going to take her and pick her up everyday, along with getting Jack to the sitters and Tessa to and from preschool and the sitter. Problem is that Tessa is done on MWF at 11 for preschool and Josie starts at 11:15, about 12 minutes away from the school. I'll need Tom's help but also going to have to figure out when I can work in there sometime too.

Pictures will follow next week, but here is a photo from her very first day of school - the 3's class at Bradley.

And another from her first day of Pre-K.

She has come so far and I can't wait to see how she soars in her first year of public education!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Di's (Heathly and Yummy) Turkey & Bison Meatballs

Tom's out golfing for the second day in a row, so I decided I needed something to keep me busy. Plus, I've not had an open Sunday for a long time. (OK, so tons of laundry needs folded and put away, but who wants to do that?!)

Last week at the grocery, I decided to look a little closer at the meat section as I'm about sick of chicken (and chorizo for that matter). I finally found ground bison, not that I've really looked very hard before, at Kroger. I picked that up and some lean ground turkey. Time to make mom's meatballs!

I decided to document with photos just for fun. I've been following a few food and mommy-blogs and wanted to give it a try just like them.

Here's what you'll need:

1lb ground bison
1lb 93/7 ground turkey (watch the fat content because it can be just as bad as ground beef!)
5 slices whole wheat bread torn into small pieces
1 cup water with 1 egg stirred in
1/2 cup dried parsley
1 cup parmesan cheese
salt & pepper

I decided to prep all of the ingredients  in advance for two reasons. One, you need to use your hands and don't want to be washing them a thousand times just to get out the salt. Two, the girls wanted to pretend we were on a cooking show. :)

I had my assistants tear the 5 slices of bread into small pieces.

Preheat the oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with aluminum foil and spray them with Pam.

Mix together bison and turkey with your hands until it is all the same color. Keep as cold as possible.

Pour in water with the egg. Add bread pieces. Stir until mixed. Let stand until gluey.

Add salt, pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese. Mix.

Use a melon baller or spoon to put onto greased, lined cookie sheets. (I actually used a tablespoon measuring spoon which was perfect.)

Bake for 8 minutes then wiggle each meatball around so they don't stick. Bake for another 8 minutes then flip. Finally, bake another 6 minutes. (Total bake time 22 minutes.)

Remove from cookie sheet onto plates lined with paper towels. This will help soak up any little amount of grease on the meatballs. Although, since the meat is so lean, there really isn't much.

Once cooled, they may be frozen. Simply add to your favorite pasta sauce and simmer!

All in all, an easy recipe. Next time, I'll add more salt, maybe even garlic salt. And, I may add some crushed red pepper for a little zing. This made 54 pretty decent sized meatballs. Here is the breakdown per meatball. (I've added the counts for Rosina Italian Meatballs in italics just for comparison sake. Not to mention these are made with ingredients you can actually pronounce!)

Calories - 44/80
Fat - 2 grams/6.5 grams
Protein - 4 grams/5 grams
Carbs - 2 grams/2 grams
Fiber - less than 1 gram/less than one gram

I'm thinking we can make a pretty healthy dinner with these by adding some tomato sauce and whole wheat pasta! Or, you could put them in a crockpot for a party and make meatball subs.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Move Is Done!

Holy cow. The move is done. What a crazy two weeks. The movers were here for three whole days and then the unpacking began. Just yesterday, I unpacked the last box that I think I will unpack here. Our garage is packed to the hilt with all of the other stuff that apparently we just have to have but don't need it for the next six months. I have a feeling that as we unpack that stuff in the next house, we'll realize we don't need half of it either.

Although it was a tremendous amount of work, I'm really glad we did it for a few reasons. One, it made me physically touch all of the things we actually have. This was good because I got rid of a lot of stuff, plus realized the "spaces" I'll need in the new house. For instance, we have so many bins, I want a dedicated storage wall in the basement to stack bins. Second, as we've been reviewing the house plan, I'm getting increasingly excited to do something new. And, finally, as we were leaving the other house, we realized just how wrong that house was for our lifestyle. So much work with outbuildings, two acres and lots of trees. I think we'll move forward with a house that fits our desires and time constraints so much better.

So, while two moves are not ideal, I am glad we did it this way. We're working to finalize our plan for the new house and are currently under contract on the lot. So, my guess is that we'll break ground within six weeks or so and be in by late winter/early Spring.