scary halloween happenings

This morning, I fed the baby and got up really quietly to take a shower in hopes the babe would go back to sleep and I wouldn’t wake up the toddler. Husband was gone to work. I’m in the shower, when the bathroom door opens, then closes. I hope it’s my toddler! Finally after it opens and shuts a few times, here comes my NAKED two-year-old. Of course I ask him why he’s naked and he tells me he had an accident and his bed’s wet. Good Friday morning!

Then, the second “scary” thing of the morning…I totally forgot to dress up! I mean, it didn’t even cross my mind until I got to work this morning and saw other people dressed up. I knew it was Halloween and I had intended to dress up, but I just plain forgot in the rush this morning.

Today is my late grandpa Bill’s birthday. Freaky, huh?

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kickin’ sugar habit and lovin’ it

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I’m leading a team of 5 folks in a weight loss competition right now – we have 2 weeks left after this one and so far, my team members are doing great. When I say “leading”, I’m the personal trainer for the group. I meet with them once a week for an hour to discuss nutrition and we do a workout. Anyway, the past two I’ve led, I was pregnant, so weight loss was not on my personal list. However, now I’m 3 months postpartum and really trying to get back into shape. I was losing some weight, but then I got stuck. Then, I contracted the stomach bug and lost 3 pounds over a weekend. After that, I was on a roll again and I think I’m back down to my pre-baby weight of 155 pounds (within a pound depending on the day).

A lady that was on my first weight loss team came to speak with the current team members about how she has lost 36 pounds in 10 months. It’s pretty much common sense, but she has opened my eyes to the devil SUGAR! It’s in everything (which I already knew), but I’ve really started paying attention to it.

Did you know that adults shouldn’t really consume more than 24 grams of added sugar in a day? That’s the equivalent of 6 teaspoons. Check out this recent article by Reader’s Digest that backs it up and also gives some recipes and tips on breaking your addiction. My friend that gave the lecture brought me a newspaper article just this morning with even MORE sugar info. Here’s a short excerpt to put it into perspective:

So it pains me to use M&Ms as an example, but one ordinary-size packet (1.69 ounces) contains 31 grams of sugar. This year, the World Health Organization recommended that sugar consumption should equal no more than 5 percent of your daily caloric intake. For the average adult, that’s about 25 grams of added sugar per day. The WHO isn’t just worried about the 69 percent of Americans who are overweight or obese. Diabetes and obesity are rapidly becoming a global concern.

My packet of M&Ms already exceeds 25 grams of sugar. If on a day that I eat the M&Ms I also have a 12-ounce Coke (39 grams of sugar), a one-cup bowl of Raisin Bran Crunch (19 grams), one serving of Campbell’s tomato soup (12 grams) and a 6-inch turkey sub from Subway (7 grams), that puts me at 108 grams of sugar, or over 400 percent of the WHO’s daily recommendation. And that’s in 950 calories. So either the WHO’s recommendation is ridiculously low or much of the reason the world is getting so fat — and not just fat, but sick — is that we’re swimming in an ocean of sugar and don’t even realize it.

Either way, about 2 weeks ago, for some reason the desire for sweets just kind of left me. I still add a teaspoon of raw sugar to my coffee each morning and I like my iced tea mildly sweet, but I’ve really cut out the cookies, cakes, etc. I feel better and I’m dropping the weight that is normally hard to get off.

I encourage you to look at your sugar intake and see where you stand, then make modifications if need be. There are TONS of resources out there to help, but let me know what your hurdles are. My best piece of advice – DON’T BUY IT! If you don’t buy it, you can’t eat it. 🙂

Next up…how to get my toddler down to 16 grams or less of added sugar. This one is gonna be fun…

like a good neighbor

My husband sent me flowers Friday (ain’t that sweet?) and my son saw them on the counter Saturday morning. He asks, “Momma, where did those flowers come from?” in his cute two-year-old voice. I replied, “Your daddy sent them to me.” He looked at me and said, “Mr. Faux?” My husband and I both laughed because Mr. Faux is our retired neighbor.

My husband then said, “Like a good neighbor…” and Ezra finished with “State Farm is there.” It was hilarious. Kids say the darndest things!

Here’s a picture of my boys this morning before I left for work. Ezra was showing Elam is rubber snake. Oh, and notice the pacifier…I’ve told Ezra we’re trading it in for Halloween candy next Friday. We’re going to throw away the pacifiers…should be an interesting weekend!

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recipes and halloween

I got on a kick this week and cooked a bit more than I have in a while. Baby Elam is finally starting to take some longer naps, plus I had Wednesday off which allowed me to cook a bit. Here are the recipes I used:

  • Wheat Beer Bread – I’ve always wanted to make bread, but it seems so daunting. This recipe was easy-peasy and I whipped it up in just about 5 minutes last night. I liked the bread, but my husband wasn’t much into it. I also baked fish my dad had caught in the river and then I sauted up kale in oil olive and threw in a can of drained black eyed peas. Good supper.
  • Apple Muffins – I follow the blog “100 Days of Real Food” and she posted a neat muffin recipe to try. I didn’t have walnuts and I only had 1/2 the syrup it called for, so I left out the nuts and did half syrup/half honey for the sweetener. Ezra gobbled his down and Mike (hubby) even liked them.
  • Baked  Eggplant – A vegan man that is a member of the gym where I work brought me an eggplant earlier this week that I needed to use, so I made this dish for my mom and me. I added Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and onion powder. I liked it but mom loved it and made it again at her house. I served it over raditorre pasta with marinara sauce.
  • Monkey Bread – This one I learned in middle school home economics and it just stuck. You take a can of biscuits and cut them into quarters, then roll in melted butter. After that, dip them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon and bake at 350 for a few minutes. Ezra actually helped with this one and ate the raw dough (just a little). He’s such a picky eater that I let him just about anything that won’t make him sick! 🙂 It’s not the most healthy dish, but it’s a nice little treat from time to time. I need to find some wheat biscuit dough or make some from scratch.

Speaking of picky eaters, earlier this week I downloaded some neat docs and watched a short video by Tribe Wellness about picky eaters and how to remedy the issue. I learned some good tips and I encourage you to check it out if interested.

Another cool thing on the “100 Days of Real Food” blog was alternatives to Halloween candy. My son is having a pre-school party for Halloween and I think I will take some non-candy treats for that. The teacher sent home a list of what each kid needs to bring…the list included cupcakes, cookies, chips, cheese puffs, and pizza. I am responsible for the chips and I think I will bring some fruit salad to show folks you can still have fun with good foods…

Well, let’s get ready for the weekend. I hope yours is filled with fun, good food, and some physical activity!

want to be a personal trainer?

When I changed jobs almost two years ago, part of my job duty was to become an ACE (American Council on Exercise) certified personal trainer, which I accomplished. I’m really glad I did it because I’ve wanted to do it for years. I’ve enjoyed being a personal trainer these past 18 months or so. In addition to helping people meet their fitness and wellness goals, I also get great emails with tips and updates from ACE.

I got one today about the Ash Hayes Scholarship that is helping folks who want to help our youth obtain their personal training certification at almost no cost! If you’re interested, check out the scholarship information and apply.

Click the image to be taken to the ACE website and apply or learn more.

Click the image to be taken to the ACE website and apply or learn more.

my beef with healthcare

Normally, I’m upbeat and happy in my blog, but our healthcare system has me very aggravated at this point and I must vent!

[Steps on soap box.]

First of all, I have Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance. Overall, I guess it’s good and I should be thankful that I even have insurance (even though it costs and arm and a leg!). I had it through my employer, but we found out it would be cheaper through my husband’s employer so we recently switched, which should save us $200-$300 per month.

About 8 weeks ago, I had my second baby and I had actually met my deductible by June 1. Well, something changed with our insurance on June 1 and the rates went up. And for some reason, I think they haven’t rolled over my deductible (it’s supposed to be for the calendar year) and those insurance folks are trying to make me pay it twice. It’s very confusing, so I’ve been trying to get the bottom of the situation.

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I called a phone number that Anthem told me to in order to get answers to my questions. I got transferred 3 times in 30 minutes, but not one person could help me. They all told me I needed to speak with someone else! I’ve emailed them asking to please have someone call ME so I can actually get some answers (still haven’t heard from them).

I checked into getting an IUD for birth control because the insurance lady said it should be covered under the new healthcare laws. Not so in my case. It would be over $300 and you have to pay the full amount to the doctor’s office before they’ll do it.

This morning, I was telling one of my sisters about my woes and she informed me that insurance won’t pay for an IUD, but it might pay for an abortion. How messed up is that? I started poking around and can’t find an answer on that one. She also told me that she can’t add her live-in fiance to her insurance but if she wanted to add her same-sex partner to her insurance plan, she could. Really???

The only good thing I’ve seen from all these healthcare law changes is that kids have to have dental insurance…but, the policy holder ends up paying for that feature, I’m sure.

When is this going to get better and more affordable? We’re going to pay nearly $5,000 in insurance premiums per year for our HEALTHY family. I know another older couple who is paying nearly $1,200 PER MONTH for insurance. That’s almost $15,000 per year!!!

Call me crazy, but there has to be a better way.

[Steps down from soap box.]

being a mom

I’ve thought a lot about being a mom lately. I mean, I already AM one, but I’ve been pondering what it really means to be a mom. Technically, I guess anyone who has delivered a baby is a mom…or would she be a mother? Either way, my thoughts have been about being a GOOD mom.

My two-year-old started preschool last week. Up to this point, he’s only ever stayed with family during the day, so it was a big milestone…for him and us! He did well the first day (last Thursday) just crying a little when some of the other kids cried, then the next day he cried a little bit more when we got there then he was fine. He only goes Thursday and Friday mornings for 3 hours, so when he went back yesterday, there were tears again. Yesterday, he started crying as soon as we got into the parking lot, but he wanted to go in. He cried a little, but wasn’t clinging to me or begging me not to leave, so I told him his Poppy would be there to get him a while and he was fine. Today, he didn’t cry at all and didn’t seem to mind staying, thank goodness.

For the first time yesterday, when I saw those heartfelt tears as we pulled into the parking lot, I felt the pain a parent must feel countless times throughout their child’s life. I guess it’s similar to the pain you feel when you take them for their shots, knowing they are experiencing physical pain, but this is different. This pain is knowing your child is hurting emotionally and there’s not much you can do about it.

Growing up, I was a homesick kid until about the age of 13. I went to Bible camp and came home early. In the 4th grade, I went to 4-H camp and cried all week, but didn’t get to come home. It’s the most gut-wrenching feeling in the world. So, when I know my son is having similar feelings, it tears me up inside, too.

I say all that to say this – being a mom isn’t easy, but I can’t explain how rewarding it is. When I was leaving to go to work the other day, Ezra runs down the hall saying, “Wait momma. I have to give you a kiss.” Now, what else in the world is sweeter than that? I didn’t even have to ask for it!

Being a mom is taking your kid to preschool. Being a GOOD mom is wiping away his tears, feeling his pain, and looking forward to the time you are back with your child again (among a million other things).

Our happy Ezra after preschool today having lunch with his daddy.

Our happy Ezra after preschool today having lunch with his daddy.