Clean Eating

If you’re a regular around here, you may remember that I joined a Biggest Loser contest and had a successful several weeks that helped me lose eight pounds. And then, life happened, and the next thing I knew those eight pounds were back, which is so unfortunate because the only thing worse than losing pounds, is having to lose the same pounds over again.

So when my Biggest Loser organizer friend Tracy posted on Facebook that she was starting up a Clean Eating group challenge and asking if anyone would be interested in joining the group, I was all like, what the heck is clean eating.

As I researched it a little further, I was happy to find out that this clean eating program required no supplements, no products, or exercise out of the home. All it required was commitment.

The 16 of us are in the third and final week of the clean eating challenge. We each paid $35. to join the group – which is headed up by a certified personal trainer – and at the end of the challenge any of us losing eight inches or three percent of their body weight will split a percentage of the fees.

Since sharing that I started a clean eating challenge, I’ve had several [read: LOTS] of messages asking if I’d share how to eat clean. So, instead of typing the info over and over, I thought it might be easiest to share the details here. Although it is so much better for you to eat “clean” it does require more time planning, prepping and cooking meals. Participants in our group were encouraged to pick a day and prep all of the food for the week, or at the very least, have a meal plan in mind for the week.

To kick things off, this is what I bought my first week.

If it is impossible, to purchase a large amount of food at once, try choosing three or four each week. My motto is if you can’t eat CLEAN, at least eat CLEANER.

“Clean eating” is not a new concept; it has actually been around for a long time. If you are not accustomed to “eating clean” it may take some time and practice to get 100% “clean”.  Unprocessed, natural state foods have a different taste than frozen and processed foods, meaning that it will take some willpower to stick with the program.

The premise of this lifestyle change is pretty simple. (Notice, I said lifestyle change, and not DIET.)

CLEAN EATING – Don’t Wait DO THESE EIGHT!

1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh. (I love that the Steamer bags of veggies (the ones without the cheese sauces) that I’ve been buying for years are also okay.)

2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice and quinoa (pronounced kin-wa). Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.

3. Include *some* protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically easily include carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially during breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help in curbing your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it helps us to feel full longer. Pay close attention to the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein.

4. Eat fewer ingredients.
Try not to purchase foods that have more than 4-6 ingredients in the ingredients list. If you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body. (Just because a food is labeled as whole grain, you will need to look at the ingredients list. Packaging can be misleading, ingredients lists are not.)

5. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
THIS RIGHT HERE IS MY BIGGEST WEAKNESS because oh my word, I love the bread. And the sweets. And the Mexican food. Once you’ve cut out processed foods, this will be a little easier than you might think. Processed foods are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in ALL of these ingredients.

6. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
Typically, this might mean eating three main meals and two or three clean snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so there’s also that! (In addition to my three meals, I try to eat a handful or almonds, a cheese stick or a handful of grapes at various times throughout the day.)

7. Steer clean of  high-calorie drinks.
High calorie drinks like fancy coffees and soft drinks – on average – tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water when at all possible. Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk, almond milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water. (I am happy to report that after a long, loving relationship, I have given up my beloved Coca-Cola classic, and now drink mostly water or unsweet tea during meals.)

8. Get up and move.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong. (My favorite ‘get up and move’ is riding my exercise bike or dancing around the house while I do daily chores like laundry, tidying up or vacuuming.)

Here are a few pictures from my first week of eating clean to give you an idea of what to eat.

Tomorrow, I’ll provide a list that you can use to do your CLEAN grocery shopping, so stay tuned for that.

That’s what I learned this week.

How about you?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy as 1-2-3.



What I Learned This Week

So, it’s Monday night. That means it’s time for another version of What I Learned This Week.

Here’s the hodge-podge list of what I learned this week.

1. Before slicing a fresh pineapple, place it upside down in the fridge for 30 minutes to allow the sugar to run from the bottom back to the “top”.

2. To test a pineapples freshness, the middle leaf should pull out with a gentle tug.

3. I would really miss baseball if my boys decided not to play.

4. Clean eating takes some work, but it is so worth it.

5. My favorite Big Brother characters are Donnie and Caleb.

6. My boys enjoy shooting BB Guns.

7. But they enjoy riding 4-wheelers even more.

8. One of the biggest aggravations in my life is a dead phone battery.

9. When my phone is dead, I feel lost.

10. Be careful what you pray for.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



What I Learned This Week

Each week, I come here and tell you all about my plans to get back to a regular bloggy regimen and each week, I discover that I have failed, yet again.

So, the first thing I learned this week is that I need to stick to my word and get back to dishing out my daily dose of crazy here on the blog. So much crazy has happened, I’ve got enough crazy to fill the pages of this blog for months.

All I need, really, is time.

Here’s the short list of other things I’ve learned this week.

1. If you have a broken bone, they now make a camo cast.

2. When it was released in the 80’s, Dirty Dancing was a low budget film with major stars, but it became a huge success and the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video.

3. Steel cut oats are straight up nasty.

4. Hydrocodone is the single most prescribed drug in the world.

5. Having your carpets professionally cleaned will make your house smell so good.

6. Professional carpet cleaners can make your upholstered dining room chairs look brand new.

7. There are very specific lift points under the Saturn Sky. If the mechanic isn’t paying attention, he can crack the underside of the SKY body.

8. Bath & Body Malibu sunset smells wonderful.

9. The SMART car comes in a convertible.

10. In my opinion, the ice bucket challenge, the cold water challenge and all the other challenges on Facebook are goofy. Instead of participating in all that nonsense, how about just donating to the cause.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



What I Learned This Week

Well, we all survived the first day of school.

When asked if he had a good day, Alex replied, “You better believe it! It’s going to be a great year!”

After picking Stevie up, and asking him the same question, his response was, “Yes, the day just flew by!”

So, I’d call that a successful day.

But, here’s what you’ve been anxiously waiting to here….. Here’s what I learned this week.

1. When you don’t want to wrestle a queen size bed ruffle, use a fitted sheet over the box springs instead.

(Thanks for that little tidbit, Jean!)

2. Five Guys serves up a great burger.

3. The SKY is even more fun to drive after not driving it for weeks.

4. My very favoritist pair of black capris are in the trash thanks to a hole in the thigh area. [May they rest in peace.]

5. I never thought it would be a big deal to miss out on an entire week of The Young and The Restless. Apparently, I was wrong.

6. Y’all. Shemar Moore is going to be back on Y&R for two days in September. SQUEAL!

7. Power washing a wooden porch (after more than 10 years) will make it look entirely different.

8. Colorful Sharpies make me so happy.

9. You can actually purchase positive pregnancy tests on eBay. Or, if you live in Charleston, WV the local Facebook yard sale site has them for $10.

[What the heck is wrong with people?]

10. The reason our ceiling fan remote rarely ever controls both fans properly is because we were really supposed to have two remotes, one for each fan. I only learned this today, after ten L-O-N-G years of wondering why the remote didn’t work correctly.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



To My Sweet Boys

Dear Stevie,

Tomorrow, you will begin an incredible journey – Middle School. I know you are nervous because you are always nervous the night before school starts. Sweet boy, you are so incredibly bright, I know that you will do just fine in 6th grade.

SIXTH GRADE?

How is that possible?

It seems like just yesterday I was cuddling your eight-pound body and trying to figure out how I helped to make such a perfect little being.

And just days ago, you spiked your hair before your first Middle School Cross Country practice.

Son, these next few years will be ones you will never forget. You will hear things and see things that you are not used to hearing and seeing. You will encounter a lot of crazy. Please know that you can always come to me with any questions you might have. And believe me, there WILL be questions.

As you start down this Middle School path, I pray that you keep Jesus close to your heart. He cares about every detail of your life and will always lead you in the right direction.

You are a kind, compassionate child and I pray that you have a great year in Middle School.

Align yourself with good kids. Love like Jesus. And always do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

I love you sweet boy!

Mom

——–

Dear Alex,

It is the night before your first day of third grade. You are most looking forward to wearing your new Adidas Spring Blades tennis shoes. I love that shoes make you so happy. Tomorrow, you will meet a teacher that you have never met before. I hope that your new teacher enjoys your bright personality as much as we do. I have a feeling you will shine brightly in third grade.

You were kinda bummed to learn that none of your good buddies are in your class. Well, guess what? You will make new buddies. Buddies that will enjoy running around the playground with you and buddies that you will no doubt want to invite over for playdates. I have never been big on change, but thankfully, you are always ready to, in your words, to “make the best of it.”

I know that you will do wonderful in third grade. I know that because, you are great at anything you set your mind to. You work hard and you play hard. Thankfully, you still climb up on the couch beside me to cuddle.

I look forward to hearing all about the third grade. And your new friends. And your new teacher. And even, how much you loved wearing your new shoes. You are such a great kid and I am so glad that you are mine.

Remember – and you knew this was coming – always do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

Love, Mommy

 

 

What I Learned This Week

Y’all.

I just spent the past hour trying to figure out how to save a Facebook video to my iPhone.

The first thing I learned this week is that there IS an APP out there that will let you do just that. (As in, there’s an APP for that!)

The next thing I learned is that an APP that allows you to save a Facebook video to your iPhone is of no use if you aren’t smart enough to figure out how to actually use the APP.

If it weren’t so late, I’d call one of the teenagers from my church. I’m sure one of them could walk me through it.

Yesterday at church I videoed a quartet singing. Shortly after that, we left church a little early to attend McDaddy’s promotion ceremony. Then, I remembered that I also wanted to video the ceremony. Since the song video was almost five minutes in length, I was worried I wouldn’t have enough storage to also video the promotion ceremony, so I downloaded (or is it uploaded? I never know!) the song video to my Facebook and then deleted it from my phone. Now, one of the singers in quartet wants me to text him the video. And I’ve been scouring the internet for a way to save the video from my Facebook to my iPhone.

Did you follow all of that?

Do any of you out there in Blogville know how to do it? If so, please allow me to draw from your fountain of knowledge.

Here’s all the other things I learned this week.

1. Target now has a refrigerated dog food section. [Insert eye roll here.]

2. The song “Radioactive” is quite possibly the dumbest song I’ve ever heard.

3. When you hear a stupid song in the iHop early in the AM, there is a good chance it will be stuck in your head all the live long day.

4. After his first Cross Country practice this evening, Stevie loves it.

5. Because of Cross Country, Stevie will probably not play fall ball this year.

Please join me in a moment of silence.

——–

Baseball has been such a huge part of our lives the past few years, it is hard to imagine our lives without it. Most of the parents of Stevie’s teammates are our closest friends and it makes me so sad to think we might not be a part of it this fall.

6. When having your nails air-brushed, you should make sure your phone is tucked securely away in your purse or pocket. Otherwise, you may have droplets of white spray paint on your phone that will aggravate the daylights out of you.

7. I am not ready for school to start back next week.

8. Alex did not get the third grade teacher I was hoping for. In fact, he got a new teacher that I’ve never met. This hasn’t been the case for either of my boys since Stevie started Kindergarten.

9. That fact makes me very uneasy.

10. The boys have more shirts than we have hangers.

11. I cannot fathom paying over $100. for a pair of tennis shoes for my eight-year old, but there are apparently lots of people out there doing it.

12. It is hard to concentrate on typing a What I Learned This Week post when I have two loads of laundry staring up at me.

13. Home Goods has some great deals on curtain panels.

14. Indoor water parks are awesome. No sunscreen. No crazy hot temperatures. COUNT. ME. IN.

15. I am not liking this mother of a Middle Schooler thing.

Seriously, at all.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



An Officer And A Gentleman

Y’all.

It is Monday and here I am.

Summer is almost over and things are in full swing here on the home front.

I have so much to catch my loyal blog fans (all eight of you!) up on, because it has been one CRAZY summer up in here (have you heard that I gave up Coke?) I’ll give that a minute to sink in.

Yes, it’s true.

Once school starts, I intend on getting back into the bloggy groove and keeping things current here on the blog. But today’s news is pretty cool.

See this guy here?

He happens to be my husband.

And the Daddy to these two.

He is a responsible, loving and patient leader of our household.

And, he is a smart, humble and dedicated military officer.

He is the kind of person who does the right thing, even when no one is watching.

With the permission of his parents, he joined the West Virginia Air National Guard in 1991 and left for boot camp less than a week after we graduated. In 1999, he attended Squadron Officer School and was commissioned as an Officer. He’s made several stops along the way, but today? Today, I had the distinct pleasure (along with his Dad) of removing the Major rank that he has worn for seven years, and replace it with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

And I prayed the entire time that I wouldn’t drop the rank or the pin backs because EMBARASS!

I couldn’t be more proud of this man.

He makes life fun and exciting.

I love you, Lieutenant Colonel McDaddy!

What I Learned This Week

So, it’s Tuesday…

And if my recent past behavior is any indication, that also means it’s blog day. Once school starts back up in a few short weeks, I have made a personal promise to myself that I’m going to get back into the bloggy groove. It seems like my summer has been filled with pure busy and straight-up crazy, and the blog has suffered.

I’ve learned so, so much this week, but unfortunately, I’ve got an appointment with my bed and not nearly enough time to get it all recorded here, but soon, I promise.

Here’s what I learned this week.

1. There is a joker living in Oregon who recently purchased a $4,000. go-cart using our credit card information.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



What I Learned This Week

Guess what time it is?

Yup, you guessed it!

It’s time for another wonderfully, educational edition of What I Learned This Week. Except, you may not learn anything of substance.

Look, all I know is that I’ve had a hard day.

I’m at the point in life where my parents are aging, and medical things are happening. And this week will likely be a tough one for my family. Would you pray for us, please? I don’t want to go into detail, because the details are not mine to share, but I’d sure appreciate your thoughts and prayers.

Here’s what I learned this week.

1.  The worst possible place to be on a 95-degree day is driving behind a trash truck.

2. Trypophobia is the fear of objects with irregular patterns of holes, such as beehives, ant hills and lotus seed heads.

3. If you are the least bit squeamish, you should not, under any circumstance google images for trypophobia.

4. I am not particularly picky about pizza, however, bacon on pizza is nasty.

5. Sitting on the front row during a movie is an aggravation. Especially when Channing Tatum is the star.

6. The dye that is injected into your body before a CT Scan will make you think you have peed all over yourself.

7. If you have an ear ache, and you are sure your eardrum is intact, you could pour a capful of peroxide into your ear, leave it for five minutes, then turn your head so that the peroxide runs out.

8. When a Doctor is operating on two women by the name of Betty, back-to-back, he should probably call the family by last name when coming out to talk to them, or he may tell the wrong family the wrong information.

That’s what I learned this week.

Now, what did YOU learn?

To join in on the What I Learned This Week carnival, simply follow these steps.

1. Any time this week, publish your What I Learned This Week post on your blog and link to this post.

2. Link up with the Mr. Linky form down below. Please put the link to your POST, not the front page of your blog.

3. Then visit the other participants and see what they learned this week.

Easy enough?

GO!



A Pain In The Neck

I have been a slacker in the posting department.

Today, though?

I decided to bust out the laptop while watching Big Brother and catch you up on the goings on up in here.

1. For starters, my crazy medical drama is still in full swing and has become a great big pain in the neck.

Literally.

As you may recall, I had some serious medical drama involving my ear over the weekend.

After a visit to Med Express, a visit to the Emergency Room, a visit to an Ear Specialist, and a CT Scan, guess what?

The only thing I know for certain is that my ear is still hurting, the swollen lymph node behind my ear will have to biopsied if it doesn’t go down and after some stubborn veins in my arm and hand rolling, I have this beauty on my forearm where the nurse injected the dye for the CT Scan of my neck.

Thankfully, it isn’t nearly as painful as it looks.

2. Do you remember my sweet sister-in-law, Michelle? I sent her a text last weekend, asking if she’d be willing to make one of these for a window in our playroom.

Isn’t it fabulous?

Since our playroom is bright red and yellow, I asked Michelle to go heave on the red and light on the orange.

I found it on Pinterest and took a screen shot of it.

Am I the only one who takes random screen shots several times each day?

I can’t wait for her to finish it!

3. And speaking of random…. During VBS at our church, a friend of mine had a really cute, colorful, glass-bead bracelet on her wrist that she bought while visiting Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I absolutely fell in love with it. This week, another friend of ours – who also loved it – went to Myrtle Beach. She searched out the little Guatemalan shop and texted me a picture of the one she picked out for me.

Isn’t it lovely?

4. I got so excited, I came home and ordered these

because I have not been able to find them at any of the local shops here in Charleston that carry the brand and also because they have sold out of several sizes since I last checked the website, and I couldn’t bear the thought of having that cute little bracelet without these flip-flops that I’m pretty sure will match the bracelet perfectly.

You may remember that I ordered their rhinestone counterpart just a month or so ago.

Clearly, it doesn’t take much to excite this ol’ girl.

5. I spent the evening looking at this,

All I could think about was McDaddy falling out of that tree.

Yes, that is McDaddy up in that tree.

And yes, I was a nervous friggin’ wreck.

I’d love to hear from you guys. What have you been up to these last few days?