Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Keeping on Track

I haven't mentioned much about my eating or exercising this past weekend. Mostly because there was next to no exercise and the eating was...meh. I made a few ooey, gooey recipes for my card workshop along with some healthy recipes. To my surprise, the "naughty" dishes weren't that good. Largely disappointing. But the healthy recipes were excellent!

This week, so far, I've gotten up and gotten on the treadmill. Very fast pace. My heart rate is in the right place for it. My meals have been very healthy. Loaded with veggies. The problem is I'm starting to hate it. I keep reminding myself why I'm doing this and it keeps me going. But it's been over a month and I'm getting restless.

One thing I have noticed is that I'm very tired. Very, very tired. I also noticed I didn't stand at my desk today. I honestly didn't think about it until the end of the day. And I've had two quite severe headaches this week along with a migraine. That doesn't help.

So, the remedy is quite simple. Get more sleep. Take my vitamins. Remember to stand at my desk during the day.

A couple good notes: As I'd mentioned earlier as part of Stage Two, I talked to my yogini Theresa and I will be starting up yoga again next Monday. Super excited!!! That always makes me feel better.

I talked to The Grand Poobah today and we're going to have coffee this week to start some chit-chat about our writing, like we used to. That always brings us out of the doldrums! That's a start to the writing dilemma for Stage Two. In fact, the more I think about it the more excited I am about getting that going again.

(((Thanks to Jason for your words of encouragement today.)))

Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Strange Resolution

I have a list of about 40 To-Do Items for 2012. It's a little game I play with myself. A habit I picked up from my Dad, who has a list of 20. Why? Don't know. We like lists.

(I'm not going to go into the "list" obsession here. I did that over at the AOP website and drove people crazy over there with it.)

One of the items on this year's list is to "Watch More Films." Most people resolve to watch less television, I need to watch more. Why? Simple. I want to be a screenwriter so I need to watch more movies. The problem is I hate watching movies. Makes no sense, I know. But it's hard to get me to sit down and watch a movie.

I only like two kinds of movies. Super-wicked-funny movies or action-car chase-explosions-Jason-Statham-shirtless movies. I decided to start with a comedy. A comedy that I've decided to watch only because if I have to admit to Jason one more time that I haven't seen it, I think his eyeballs will explode.

Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

Damn, it was hilarious. I don't know how Steve Carell got thru that movie without peeing his pants in every scene. Oh my lord, he had the funniest lines ever. And my favorite was in the outtakes at the end of the movie!

"I ate fiberglass insulation. It wasn't cotton candy like the guy said." Pause. "My tummy itches."

I laughed so hard, I threw up in my throat. It was that funny.

So, I will continue to try and watch a movie I haven't seen each week. I will probably continue to select movies from the list of "Jason's Favorite Movies To Quote Then Stare At Me Like I'm About To Receive The Mafia Kiss of Death When I Admit I Haven't Seen Them." Yes! That's a real list! It'll be either another Will Farrell movie or something with Seth Rogen in it.

And no matter how much people love it, I will never EVER watch The Notebook. Screw that.

Sale-A-Bration Workshop

Yesterday I had a Stampin' Up Sale-A-Bration Workshop at my house. Jessica, the bestest Stampin' Up demonstrator in the world, had just come back from the Leadership Conference in Texas. She had tons of cards to share with us. As much as we love Jess, we really like it when she goes away. Because she comes back with so many great ideas.

Below are the cards from the swap:
(L. to R. my card, Drew, Jessica, Shirley, Teresa, Stacey)

These are the cards Jess showed us how to make at the workshop:
Mine are on the left and Drew's are on the right. Drew always has to be different.

Below is the card Jess submitted in the Leadership contest and she won a prize for her creativity!

And finally, I got off my tuckus today and made cards, as I mentioned previously that I was going to do more of. I quite like these cards.

Happy Stamping! Steph

Friday, January 27, 2012

Oh! So that's what FULL is!!!

So, I talked about how I was learning to push away from my plate when I'm full, regardless if the plate's empty or not.

I'm not the only one that's surprised by my changes in eating habits. Other people are too. I've always been the type of person that makes fat jokes at my own expense. I rub my buddha belly and make jokes about it. Sometimes it just really is funny. Sometimes I'm using the "I joke about it so you won't" tactic. And sometimes I'm just fat and hungry. I don't make those jokes so much anymore. Because I'm not eating or acting like a fat person anymore. You can't say, "I'm gonna lose weight and get healthy," then eat an entire cheesecake. Or stuff your face to get your money's worth. Or make fat jokes. It doesn't work that way.

Yeah, I still make jokes sometimes at my own expense, but not just because I'm fat. It might be because my flabby arm got caught in the headset while I was jogging which pulled the phone off the platform and it nailed me in the crotch, which in turn, almost sent me tumbling off the treadmill. And yes, that happened today. And yes, you can laugh. It's kinda funny.

So, today for lunch it was just the hubby and me. We went to the Diner. I love the Diner. Everyone loves the Diner. It rocks. After looking over the menu I realized there's not a lot of super-healthy choices on there. And it's the Diner!!! So I ordered my fave --- bleu burger with sweet potato fries. I was a little peeved with myself, having done so good the night before, to lose it at the Diner, but it is honestly the best bleu burger and sweet potato fries on the planet.

You know what? The burger's not that big. And I didn't put any mayo on it, just the burger, bleu cheese, tomato, lettuce & bun. Plus, the fries aren't greasy. And I ate less than half of them because I was full. Previously I would have shoved ever single one of those fries into my face. Today? Nope. I was full and happy.

There's that phenomenon again! Recognizing when you're full and stopping eating. Apparently it wasn't just a fluke last night. I am capable of doing this. It's a nice feeling to have that control. To be able to say, "That's enough" and to stop.


Tonight I made Curried Vegetable Stew. It was a recipe Jeff gave me a couple weeks ago. Drew loved it! I was so-so about it. Maybe because I wasn't really in the mood to cook and kinda had to. Drew offered to go get something for dinner, but I knew it would be bad. I'm glad Drew liked it though. Gives me hope that my cooking might really be improving. Or the recipes are. :)

Here's the recipe Jeff gave me:



Incidently, tomorrow there's a cardmaking workshop at my house. I'm making some recipes that are diet-suicide. I know it's bad to say, "I'm gonna eat it and I don't care," but that might be how it goes down. It's my ONE party a year. It'll be interesting to see what happens.

Whatever happens --- I hope everyone has a great weekend and works towards their goals!!!

Happy Retirement Laura!!!

One of my co-workers --- one of my programmers, to be more precise --- retired today. Last night there was a dinner party at The Springside in Laura's honor.

The food was from The Oak & Vine, which is the restaurant at The Springside. There were lots of delicious looking appetizers to begin with and an open bar to belly-up to before the sit-down dinner. I had a half-glass of Riesling and avoided the appetizers. Mainly because I'm a picker and once I start, I can take out an entire tray in minutes. So I wisely avoided it.

For dinner I had the Chicken Coq au Vin with olive oil mashed potatoes. It was excellent! Just divine. There was quite a bit of it too. I stopped when I was full, noticed I had a half plate left, and let them take it away. Normally I would have forced it all in figuring I'd paid for it, I was leaving with it. But whether I eat it or it goes in the trash it doesn't matter. It's still "waste." And why carry the waste on my waist? I'm learning to push away from the table when I'm full.

Before you say, "Why not take it home in a doggie bag?" I can tell you from experience that it will not get re-heated and eaten. I mean, that's just the reality of it. Save myself the trouble and just let the restaurant dispose of it.

After dinner was cake, which I again passed on. It was cake from the Patisserie. That's tantamount to Fat Sacrilege. Passing up Patisserie cake??? Carrot cake, even! But I did. And I didn't even feel that bad about it. I was full from dinner still.

So, a good, but sad day. It was a very nice dinner with a lot of great people. But I will really miss Laura. She was great to work with. Happy Retirement Laura. You've earned it a hundredfold.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Prepping for Stage Two

I'm the type of person that needs motivation 24/7 on my current projects to keep momentum going. If I don't, I'll lose focus and mood-swing into a different direction. And given that my moods lately have bounced between, "I can take on the world!" to "Screw it. Let's declare bankruptcy and just move away from this pit-stain," it's time to move my current project along to the next stage.

By the time I'm done with my "life transformation" (*cue the big drums*) I will have gone thru about four-hundred-and-twenty-two stages. It's what I do. Plan, plot and outline everything to death. It's the implementation part that I usually completely suck at. But with Stage One in full force (eat healthier, exercise more), I think it's time to review Stage Two.

Stage Two : What I want to be when I grow up.

Yes, at the age of 42, I should know this by now. But I don't. Got no idea! But I can tell you what I never want to be:
A. a mother, or
B. bored.

Well, having my uterine walls Chernobyled in October 2010 pretty much took care of A. for me. HAHA! Score one for me!

B. is much harder though. In pondering what to do to avoid being bored, here's a list of things that keep me happy and productive that I've been missing in my life, and what I'm going to do about it...

Beer brewing - I don't do this as much anymore, but when I did, I loved it. I vow to make at least one batch in February.

Bellydancing - Believe it or not, I am professionally trained. For the sake of my instructor June I don't tell people that, because I'm not very good at it. I gave it up when I had my headaches last year because I was in so much pain. I'm going to look into going to classes again in the Summer. (I won't drive to Ithaca in Winter. I don't do stupid weather.)

Cardmaking - I also enjoy decorating mini-hats and making beaded jewelry. This I do still participate in. Not as much as I'd like to though. Starting next week, I'm going to put my skills and equipment to work for me and make some crafty-cool crap! I will dedicate Wednesday nights to this! (Until I change my mind and change it to a different night. I'm a female. We do that often.)

Travel - Haven't done much of this lately. Mostly because of fundage. And we're always so busy. Need to take some time to just get away. Even for a day. Maybe plan some hiking trips in the Spring with other enthusiasts and fat-friendly people! :)

Writing - A very touchy subject. It's the one thing that people often tell me, "You missed your calling." And that's very depressing. It suggests I have no chance to be a writer, but I could have. Lately I've done next to none. Mostly because my will-to-live is sapped out of me by negative people who have nothing better to do than spread their disease. Their cynacism is a plague. Well, it's time sanitize my own thoughts so I can let the creativity flow again! (Yeah, I have no official plan for this right now. I'm still kinda pissed. More later...)

Yoga - Again, the headaches put a stop to this. I hate to blame everything on the headaches, but they really were terrible. I lost a lot of my life last year to them. On Monday, I will talk to my yogini, the beautiful Theresa, to see about getting back into this. It always brought a peacefulness to my life that I've been missing.

There are many other things that I like to do, but this is the important list. This is the stuff that keeps me sane and reminds me of why it's good to live here and why I need to keep going to the day job. Because most of this stuff costs $$$. But most importantly, it improves my quality of life, and that's what we all really want. A life that is just a little better, a little happier. And since no one's just gonna hand it to me, I'm gonna go get it myself.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'm pooped

I'm so tired I might fall asleep standing up at my desk. I don't know why I'm tired. I went to bed at my usual hour of midnight --- yes, that is normal for me and I don't normally have these issues. But today I feel like I didn't sleep at all.

Despite being an energy-deficient zombie (metabolism...metabolism...), I got up and got on the treadmill. Normally after a couple minutes, I'm chugging along to the tunes and a happy little camper. (Ok, maybe not so little. It's just a phrase people, don't take it so literally!) But I still wasn't happy today. Oh no. I was tired and miserable thru the whole thing. I didn't cheat either. Despite my mood I walked at a fast pace and even made myself do the 2-tenth of a mile jogging stints. (By the way, that plan worked very well today.)

I went thru the rest of my morning routine in much the same mood. Even the sight of Drew the Nudist (that's the time between his shower and him getting dressed) was of no help.

Get your freakin' bare butt out of my freakin' way...NO I DON'T WANNA SEE YOUR NAKEDNESS TODAY!!

All that came out of my mouth was, "Move." That was enough for him to know that he should.

Freakin' shower...there's no freakin' heat in the freakin' bathroom...freakin' shower curtain just tore off that freakin' shower curtain holder thingie...WHAT'S THE FREAKIN' WORD FOR THAT?!

Trudge downstairs, avoid kicking the cat, avoid kicking the husband, head to kitchen.

Freakin' sandwiches...with freakin' mustard...get in the dang baggie...freakin' baggie won't close...CLOSE YOU FREAKIN' DOLLAR-STORE GHETTO BAGGIE!!!

All that came out of my mouth was, "Lunches are made."

It was at that point that Drew the Former-Nudist said to me, "You're tired." I explained my concerns that my miserableness wasn't temporary and would lead to the downfall of what has been a successful month of healthy eating and exercise. He said, "You'll be fine." But I'm sure what he was thinking was...

A bit overdramatic...Pet the cat...I gotta poop...Did she see my butt?...Pet the wife...Smile...I wonder when the next Doctor Who will be on???

"You'll be fine."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I said what???

"I may be fooled by other people's behavior, but never my own."

I said that. Just two days ago. Guess what? I don't really have any idea what I'm going to do anymore either. Today I decided to try for 2/10 of a mile jogging. After I said I wasn't going to. I waited all of 48 hours before going back on my own words. But I did it. In fact, I wasn't paying attention and when my inspiring music clip was done I found it was a quarter of a mile! And you know what???

I wanted to hurl. A lot.

I didn't, but obviously that was a bit much. I think I'll scale that back to a tenth near the start and a tenth near the end.

Yeah, I don't believe me either. Lord only knows what I'm really going to do.

Other than that, I don't really have anything to say that's noteworthy. I made a chicken casserole for dinner which wasn't too bad. I did a small amount of cleaning. Very small. I made a menu for the week and went grocery shopping for it. Oh, and I went the whole weekend without a drink. Despite last week's glorious drunken display, I'm not having issues with booze. But I now view them as a large waste of calories --- unless it's a PARTAY!!!!!!!!

Yeah, another testament to the fact that I don't even know myself anymore!

This week is going to be a tough one though. Tuesday is dinner with Drew's family. They don't eat high-caloric foods, as a general rule, but there's always dessert. Thursday is going to be the killer though. Laura's Retirement Dinner at The Springside. I've already picked my meal so I'm covered there. But there will be drinks and merriment. It will be a test of my willpower! I welcome the challenge.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Exercise Music

When I’m on the treadmill I have to have music. I love music. All different kinds. I like heavy metal, rock, soft rock, classical, new age, country rock, celtic, meditative, environmental, and a wide variety of music from all around the world. About the only things I don’t like are country twang, gospel and gangsta rap.

My all-time favorite music to listen to are soundtracks. This can be a film soundtrack, tv soundtrack, game soundtracks or even stuff that sounds like it should be on a soundtrack. And that is exactly what I’m currently listening when I’m exercising...

Groove Worx (formerly known as Groove Addicts) creates music for movies, tv shows, commercials, video games...you name it. If it needs music, they make it. They excel in it! Their album “Full Tilt Rising” is my current fave. It’s exhilarating! The songs are so appropriately titled that you know exactly how it’s going to sound before it even starts.

My sister pointed them out to me when she heard Interstellar. She was immediately transported into another world and came out feeling refreshed and ready to take on anything. Or as one youtube commenter put it, “I listened to this during breakfast. I almost conquered the world.”

Turns out it was used in Starcraft II.

I loved it so much I went on a hunt to find the entire album, which I eventually did. My favorite selection from it is Conviction. I’ve been told it was used in the trailer for the 2010 movie Robin Hood (with Russell Crowe). The song is amazing! It’s what I run my tenth of a mile to. It’s probably part of the reason I now look forward to that run instead of dreading it as another reason to fail.

You can fail nothing when you have this music. Nothing.

Friday, January 20, 2012

TGIF only makes sense at 5 pm

Well, it was a weird week. Lots of ups and downs. Nothing Earth-shattering, so that's good. A lot of people surprised me this week. I have very little insight into humans and their behavior. They never do what I expect them to. I'm either constantly in a state of disappointment or I'm pleasantly surprised. It's tiring.

I never really intended for this blog to be my daily internet diary, but it's kind of turned out that way. It was originally designed to just post some pics of cats and cards, and to give my family a little update on my life. Most of them live quite far away from me now. But my recent declaration to better my life thru diet, exercise and a healthy, positive attitude has prompted me to want to chronicle it all down in these little blog posts. Another large factor in doing this are the good friends I have that are doing the same thing, although thru different methods. It seems the more we share, the more we learn, the more we want to do better. It's encouraging, motivating and I don't feel alone in this huge struggle. And some days it is a struggle.

Take today. I was quite peeved this morning to have to get up and exercise. It was going to be my day off. But I'd gained last week. So I pushed my fat arse up and got on the treadmill. I was determined to do better, so I added a tenth of a mile jog to my walking routine. I figured a tenth of a mile was a good start and I would increase it a tenth each week. I may be fooled by other people's behavior, but never my own. I know I needed to start small.

Wow. Was I ever stunned when I not only did it, but I did it without too much of a fuss. And I did it at a much faster pace than I expected to. Did I keep going and try for 2/10 of a mile? No. If I had decided to go for two and failed I would have been extremely disappointed. I had made my goal for the day and I was thrilled. Leave it at that.

That got me thinking about what Jason suggested yesterday. That my weight gain could be attributed to muscle gain. I'd always figured that to gain muscle, you had to burn a lot of fat. After discussing this further with him today and doing a little research online, that's not really true. Between the standing at work and my walking on the treadmill, I was gaining muscle. Today's jog proved that. My legs weren't wobbly or sore afterwards like they often are when I do an intense workout. I'm not sure if they should be. But I do know that what I'm doing is right for me because I'm enjoying it and I'm sticking with it, so I'm not gonna mess with it.

And on another positive note, Drew did C25K Week2 Day2 tonight. YAY!!! I do try to encourage him as well. And not just by saying, "Get your ass on that treadmill." I'm, like, nice...and stuff. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Ah drat...

Weighed in tonight. I wasn't going to say anything, but that's just hiding the obvious. I gained 1-3/4 pounds. I'm not sure how, but I think my "off days" were just more off than I was willing to admit.

Everytime I decide to diet and exercise, I've always gained in either the 3rd or 4th week. It's like my body freaks out and goes, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING? ARE WE DIEING? CONSERVE! CONSERVE!" and decides to hold onto everything. Then the next week it goes, "Oh, we're just gonna be healthy now. Oh, ok. As you were." I even mentioned this to a couple people last week. And this week it happened.

Yeah, I'm still a little pissed.

Tomorrow was to be my morning off from the treadmill, but I think I'll get up and get on it again. I'm gonna add a little jog to it. And by little, I mean about a tenth of a mile. And each week I'll increase it until I'm in L.A.

I had been increasing the speed on it weekly. I've about topped out at the fastest I can walk now. If I try to walk any faster I'm gonna end up face-planting on the belt, then being vaulted into the wall behind it. I'm sure the cats would enjoy watching that. They're sadistic little critters. Time to do a little jogging!

The first thing I did when I got home after finding out I'm still fat is get on the interwebs and see what everyone else is doing. I find encouragement in my friends' success. The Grand Poobah is still working at it and improving. Totally awesome. Another great recipe I can make healthier at Plain Chicken. Looks super yummy. And at the Cheese Palace...oh no...oh no she didn't. Well, I have only one thing to say about that...

Obviously the problem is she's no longer caucasian.

Now I'm DEFINITELY getting up on that treadmill tomorrow.

P.S. Archer. Tonight. 10 pm. FX. Squee.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I made another plainchicken.com recipe today in the crockpot. Jambalaya! I loved it. Drew thought it was too spicy. Drew's suddenly developed a delicate disposition and can't handle spicy things. He'll eat the hot pepper off everyone's salad. He'll eat spicy wings. He'll eat wasabi peanuts. But not my Jambalaya. I ate it and I can tell you it wasn't too spicy at all. I think someone just didn't want to eat his dinner. Baby.

If you're interested...

The only thing I did different was to leave out the cajun seasoning. I used 2 packages of Uncle Ben's Cajun Rice, so I figured that was enough. And I do really prefer chicken sausage to turkey sausage.

A trick with the sausage...freeze it. Then just before you put it in run it a few seconds under hot water. It will loosen the skin so you can peel it right off, but keep it frozen enough that you can cut it up easily into slices. Much easier to handle.

I also added a big orange pepper to mine.

Jason - Yes, there's leftovers if you want some and don't have a prissy tummy.


One bit of positive news about Drew - He started his "Couch to 5K" today. C25K is a program designed to get a non-runner off the couch and have them running 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) in 9 weeks.

He started on Week 2 because he thinks he's not exactly couch material. I will keep on his tuckus now to make sure he keeps it up.

Drew uses the C25K for Android app to help him with his program.


As most people know, I'm not a morning person. I usually growl at people in the morning and make zombie-like noises until 9-ish. I've been doing much better lately since getting up to use the treadmill in the morning. The fact that I actually get up earlier than usual and do this is nothing short of a miracle. And there is really only one reason in the whole world why I'm able to get up early. It's not motivation. It's not self-control.

It's a warm bedroom.

When Drew renovated the bedroom he insulated the heck out of it! Walls, ceiling, floor. It's got a super-tight brand new window in it too. That room is always warm. And it's got an amazingly soft, plush carpet that feels so nice under my toesies! I don't mind getting up early in the morning so much anymore because my room is a joy to be in. Before, the room was freezing. The rug was disgusting. The windows leaked like a sieve. Getting out of bed was painful. Not anymore!!

To help encourage me to get up, I have an exercise bag all ready from the night before. I put my exercise clothes in it and hang it from the bathroom door. So I just get up, go to the toilet, change, chug downstairs, get on the treadmill. It could not be any easier!

This is just one little habit that is adding up to some huge changes in my life. Actually, two habits! The warm bedroom also makes it enjoyable to go to bed. I've been getting more sleep because of it. And that is something that was direly missing from my life before. Sleep...zzzzzz

And if I do have a morning that I still don't want to get up I just remember the immortal words of my buddy Jason, who said in his fantastic blog yesterday, "NEVER SKIP A WORKOUT!" Those words came in handy this morning. Thanks Temporary Fat Jason!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weird Day

So...I'm on the phone a lot today trying to get information from Medicaid New Jersey about how our clients can send claims electronically. I would call, sit thru the long recorded spiel at the beginning, get a human, they would ask for info, I would hang up, I would go get said requested info, I would call back. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.

During one of the times that I called them back I got a distracted by my co-worker during the long recorded spiel and didn't realize I'd misdialed the number. Not until I heard...

"Don't be afraid. We can train you. You can learn how to be a slave. Press 3 to hear more. You have to be 18 years or older--"

Click. Click. Click click click click clickclickclickclickclickclick.... (I could not hang up enough.)

"What the eff??????"

It was a woman's voice. Trying to be sexy. With an accent. An accent like no other I've heard. A terrible, made-up accent. Like if a Ferenghi had mated with a member of the Royal Family.

Lesson learned? Dial the phone very carefully. Very, very carefully.

Oh, and apparently there's a service provided by the house of Ferenghi-Windsor willing to train you how to be a sex slave. Go figure.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I've been cooking again. I've fallen in love with www.plainchicken.com. The recipes there are easy and so yummy. And several of them are actually healthier. Tonight I made the Chicken Cordon Bleu Roll-Ups. I doubted this was going to work since I can't roll up crescent roll dough to save my life, but it didn't really matter. It's delicious even if your crescent rolls look more like pot stickers!

I followed her recipe exactly. You can find it, and nice picture, here...

I've had to take up the majority of the cooking because Drew has no interest in eating healthy. If I leave it up to him we're eating frozen pizzas and take-out. I can't afford to eat like that anymore. I have to lose weight so I don't crash a plane this fall. Luckily I've found some very wonderful, simple recipes from all over the internet. Just like losing weight, each success just encourages me to want to do better and cook more.

Tomorrow's recipe is from an Italian cooking magazine. It looks simple. The directions seem simple. I will let you know how badly I butcher it.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's my blog and I'll gloat if I want to

My real friends will be thrilled by this. Everyone else can suck it.

I lost another 3.75 pounds. That's a running total of 10.75.

There's a lot to go, but that doesn't matter right now. I've lost over 2 bags of sugar. You ever carry around 2 bags of sugar for a great length of time? Effin' heavy. So 10.75 is pretty damn good.

*big ass smile*

Ok, gloating done. Back to work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

I made something edible???

Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my god! I just had what is probably one of the best meals I've ever eaten. And I made it.

Let me repeat that for those of you that know me.

I made it.

It's Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili. The recipe is lifted from Plain Chicken.
I adapted it slightly as I despise canned corn. Also, we don't have Rotel around here that I can find. I mean, I had to google what it was. I just used Weggie's version of diced tomatoes with green chilies instead.

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
16 oz bag frozen corn
1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis, undrained
1 package ranch dressing mix
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
8 oz package light cream cheese or neufchatel
2 chicken breasts, uncooked

Pour black beans, corn, tomatoes and dry seasonings into a crockpot. Stir. Add the chicken and push to the bottom. Place the cream cheese on top. Cover with a lid and cook on low for 6-8 hours. When done, stir it all up. You should be able to break the chicken up with the spoon while stirring.

Tip: I put everything in the crockpot the night before and tossed it in the fridge. The next morning before work I pulled it out and plugged it in.

And for once one of my meals looked EXACTLY like the picture. It was incredible!! Drew agreed, one of the best things ever made in a crockpot. And we'll get two meals out of it.

Hopefully I can find more fantastic recipes like that. Healthy, simple and super-yummy. I don't want to get back into the "order and go pick-up" eating habit. We've done really good not doing that since Christmas.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Craft Organization - Part 1

Our dining room has been taken over by our various hobbies and part-time jobs. It's where I make my cards, Drew houses his Tastefully Simple stuff, we both have TOPS stuff in there, the beer-making center is here and in one of the corners there's rumors of a wine rack. Since we never use the room for actual dining, seems kind of silly to continue to call it the Dining Room. We should probably call it the Junk Room. Some people have a Junk Drawer. We have a room full of stuff.

This weekend I decided I needed to get some of my stuff out of the drawers, hung and organized. It's hard to make cards when you are constantly bent over sifting thru drawers looking for buried punches or boxes of ribbon.

And check out what we did!

Is it not awesome or what??? It was just a blank wall. (Very blank. Still no tape, mud or paint - staying that way until the kitchen is done!) This weekend we put up towel racks to hold the punches and ribbon, and put a shelf up over all of it. Ok, when I say we, I mean mostly Drew. But I supervised A LOT! You can't just let geeks run rampant with powertools. I would have had towels racks on the outside of the house and shelves going sideways up the stairs. Chaos!

The entire space is neat and organized now. And I can see my punches! Sure there's another drawer of them there, but those are the holiday ones that won't get used much or edgers and small punches, which don't fit on the racks. (I have WAY too much stuff.)

Right next to the cardmaking center is the beermaking center. It's all under that green cloth, with the exception of the plastic Mr. Beer keg on top of my stamp shelves. (Wow, I have a lot of stamps.)

I won't kid you. I still have the opposite side of the room that has another two bookshelves of paper and cardmaking accessories & supplies. It's a hobby I really enjoy doing and sharing with others. Drew doesn't mind. He's been known to sit down once in a while with me and make cards. Ok, really only if Stacey's there too, but I try to ignore that little fact. At least he's not complaining about how much I spend on the stuff!

Oh, that reminds me. I'm having a Stampin' Up Workshop on Saturday January 28th at 1:00 pm. It's my annual Sale-A-Bration party, so there's lots of bargains and lots to spend! Especially for me.

If I turned the livingroom into a craft annex, do you think Drew would miss it?

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 - A Preview

I'm not usually the type to make a big deal about a new year, but I'm quite excited about 2012. As most of my friends & family know, last year I was plagued with chronic headaches. For almost half the year I suffered daily from some ailment. This year I've decided I'm not gonna be sick. I'm just not. I've already put in my order with the Universe for a fantastic year!

For starters, I've got a standing desk at work. It's called a Geek Desk. It's got a motor on it and I can raise or lower it as much as my co-worker Pam can stand. (The sound drives her insane.)

At a doctor's advice, I stand two hours, sit two, stand two, sit two. And when I sit it's on an exercise ball. That's fun! It's supposed to help with posture, but I tend to bounce on it without knowing it.

I've had my Geek Desk for two weeks and I'm in love with it! My back & neck pain is gone! And with it...THE HEADACHES!!! HOORAY!!!

I'm not the only one too. Several people have standing desks. Some people don't get one because of the price. I'll be honest --- it's $1,000. But my company is letting us pay for it weekly out of our checks. A whopping $5. So, for $1 a day, I have the greatest desk in the world and I'm pain free. A bargain!!! And as for the people that complain about the price...I don't smoke, I don't buy fancy lattes, I don't have kids. I don't have annoying, costly habits that are bad for your health. I stopped buying the one soda a day I was drinking and that was $1.50. Tada! Desk paid for and $0.50 change!

And the desk is just for starters. I'm getting up in the mornings and walking on my treadmill. I'm eating a healthy breakfast, a healthy lunch and a healthy dinner. Ok, dinner is sometimes not-so-healthy. But I'm trying and getting better all the time. I'm not going to deprive myself completely because that's fatal to any diet. And there are times when I'm just going to say, "Screw it. I'm eating it." As long as I work it off and don't do it daily, I'm doing just fine.

Besides the obvious reasons, I have a more personal reason for wanting to get healthy and lose weight. Drew & I want to go to London in September. My parents are trying to plan a trip to the U.K. for a few weeks to visit penpals and they've asked if we're interested in meeting up with them in London for a week. (There's no way we'd have time for a longer trip this year.) We agreed! The last time I went to Britain I was fat. I'm not doing that again. It was a great trip & I wouldn't trade those memories for the world, but this time I want to be more comfortable on the plane & in my own skin.

Let's have a reminder of England 2008...

Yep! That's about the only pics of me from that trip. I'm not really photogenic. Which is a shame since I take up about 80% of the photo.

Me and my family at last year's reunion. Why's everyone gotta put the fat chick in the front!!!

That is me and my sister Amy. I know what you're thinking. And the answer is yes. We really are sisters. She's not adopted. The photo is not a fake. Well, not all of it. (HA! Love you sis!!!)

So, week one of the New Year is over. I've made some fantastic changes that have improved my life a hundred-fold. And I've lost seven pounds so far. I have many to go. But at least I'm going!

Good luck and well wishes to everyone doing the same thing. Maybe I'll see you on the path to wellness. Be sure to wave and say hi.