Archive for February, 2010

Last week I asked Autumn what kind of candy she’d like to give to her friends at her school Valentine party. Since she was in the middle of a dental health unit at said school, she matter-of-factly replied, “Candy is not good for you, mom.”

And since I dislike when my child shows she’s smarter than me, I tried to counter that argument.

“Candy is okay sometimes,” I said. “It’s bad if you have it every day, but once in awhile it’s a nice treat.”

Honestly, I thought she’d buy it, but that day she was intent on preaching the evils of sugar and was not at all interested in dispensing sweet valentines to her classmates. Mind you, this is the same child who days later would eagerly gobble down Everlasting Gobstoppers which her father brought home to prove there really is a Willy Wonka. That day, however, she stuck to her guns.

DSC_0012_au I suggested flowers instead. She loved the idea so last night we picked up a very pretty, very GREEN bouquet of posies from Costco.  I separated the bouquet into individual stems and attached a gender neutral Scooby Doo valentine complete with groovy tattoo to each.

Then I went ahead and made these for my Valentine treat.


You can preach to the choir all you want, but chances are the choir won’t listen once they’ve had a taste of Bakerella’s cake pops.

And yes, that is MY bite in the picture above.

But that’s all I had. I swear.


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A meeting of the blogs


Had a great time last night. In addition to the ladies I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we were joined by Wendy from The Local Cook and Stacey from Stacey Says.  The venue was an organic restaurant called the Electric Cheetah in Eastown, Grand Rapids.

Can I say again how much I love getting together with bloggers? It’s not often I get to hang with people who speak my own geeky language.


The table was split evenly between foodies and non-foodies, and I found myself on the foodie end with Donielle, Wendy, Kelly and Katie. If you’re at all familiar with their blogs, you probably know Donielle, Kelly and Katie are hard-core real food foodies. I can’t even begin to describe what these women do to ensure their families are given the most natural, most nourishing food available. There was talk of raw milk, cultures, making kefir and soaking grains. I listened with interest and actually came away with a couple of book recommendations from Donielle.

Having just returned from Blissdom, Jill had plenty of stories to share about the conference and recommended we all get our butts to Nashville next year.  I may consider it if Harry Connick, Jr. decides to return.


And? The food was wonderful. Try the Reuben soup. It’s amazing.

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Gimme some squee

I’m heading out tonight to have dinner with the following ladies:

Donielle from Naturally Knocked Up

Jill from The Diaper Diaries

Jodi from Jodimichelle

Kelly from Kelly the Kitchen Cop

Katie from Kitchen Stewardship

This will be my first get-together with local bloggers and I’m very excited.  Bloggy gatherings are always fun, whether it be a huge conference like BlogHer or a small gathering in a friend’s living room. If you’ve been fortunate enough to meet some of your good blogging friends in person, you know what I’m talking about.

But honestly, I’m just happy my hair is doing nice things today. Pictures to follow provided my camera doesn’t eat them.

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Wii Pfffft

Nathan and I bought a Wii Fit a couple of years ago shortly after it was released. It was very popular at the time and was impossible to find in the stores, so we did what every early adopter does when it comes to buying hard-to-find merchandise; we bought it from Craigslist and paid much more than we should have.

I really wanted the Wii Fit because I thought it would be a great tool to help me get back into a fitness routine. What I didn’t know is, like many puny little bathroom scales, the Wii Fit had a weight limit I had long since passed. The Wii Fit actually has two weight limits, one for balance boards sold in the US and one for balance boards sold to Japanese/European consumers. Can you guess which one has the greater weight limit?

So my hopes were dashed after realizing this weight limit and from time to time I’d notice the Wii Fit propped up against the wall and wonder if I’d ever get to use it. Nathan tried it once and Autumn would occasionally pull it out and dance on it. Other than that, the Wii Fit lay dormant and neglected for a long, long time.

Ever since I started back at Weight Watchers my one goal has been to get myself under that Wii Fit fatty threshold. It was a modest goal, one I thought was very attainable as my first mini-goal. When you have as much weight to lose as I do, it’s best to set up mini-goals because looking at the big picture can be disheartening. Taking it one goal at a time and looking at that weight in smaller chunks is preferable to thinking I have to lose the equivalent of one adult human. A male human at that.

I had been getting close. Last week I was less than two pounds from the threshold and hoped a really good week of eating well and exercise would pay off. I didn’t get my hopes up, though. One thing I’ve noticed is a 38 year-old body does not lose weight as quickly as a 28 year-old body. My losses have fluctuated from a fraction of a pound to several pounds per week so I never know what number is going to greet me when I step on the scale every Saturday.

I wasn’t expecting much at weigh-in. I hoped I’d at least be under that threshold but I wasn’t counting on it, so I dropped my purse on the ground, threw my coat over a chair and took a deep breath as I stepped on that scale.

BOOM! A 5.2 pound loss, baby! I blew that goal out of the water with the best weigh-in I’ve had since I returned to Weight Watchers in October.

To celebrate the loss, I went straight to the store and bought a rechargeable battery pack for the Wii Fit balance board. After months and months of non-use, that thing was going to get to know me.

And know me it did.

I actually took several pictures of my first Wii Fit session. From the WF telling me I was obese (big duh) to it making my already generously proportioned Mii (aptly named “Big Mama”) even larger, my introductory WF experience was captured on film. But then my camera decided to eat the pictures and I now have nothing to show you.

But my Wii Fit age is 35. I wasn’t expecting that.

So now I’ve finally used the Wii Fit and have to say the experience was anticlimactic. I tried a few exercises, had fun with the hula hoop game and tried to avoid getting tagged in the noggin with soccer cleats, but I guess I expected more. It does have a surprisingly accurate scale that calculated my weight within ounces of the Weight Watchers scale, so that’s a plus. Or a minus if you’re my husband. Apparently the WF told him he has gained some weight since his last session 500-plus days ago.

“That can’t be right,” he said.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel a tiny thrill when I told him the scale was indeed accurate.

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Analyze this

I had a very strange dream last night. I was washing my car in my parents’ driveway.  It was a generic-looking sedan and not my old beloved Ford, but I felt a sense of ownership so I guess it was mine.

For some reason I had taken a hose and was spraying the interior of the car, all the while being conscious of a certain spot within the car I didn’t want to spray lest the car stop working.  I guess not spraying the inside of the car with a hose wasn’t an option.

When I finish spraying the interior of the car I turn the hose onto the outside of the car, which is very dirty, but as I’m washing the car my mother pulls up in a minivan and proceeds to bump my car out of the way.  Bump, bump, bump until she successfully pushes me out of the spot in the driveway where I was apparently blocking her path to the garage.

WTF, lady?   My mother gets out of the van and offers no explanation as to why she chose to bump my car away, so in my fury I take the hose and spray her directly in the face.

Oh, she’s pissed. I think she’s going to kill me, but instead she says, “I don’t care. I’m going anyway.”

“Going where?” I ask.

“To see Paula Deen. She’s going to be at Walmart signing books.”

And of course I have to point out to my mother that she just received a brand new signed Paula Deen cookbook, but as we’re in the driveway arguing, my mother sopping wet, another van backs into the driveway.  The door opens, out comes Autumn, and as the van pulls away I see one of Autumn’s teachers sitting in the back seat.

Shit. I ask my mother what time it is and she tells me it’s 7:00. In the evening.

SHIT! I had completely forgotten to pick Autumn up from school.  And? They charge $10 for every five minutes your pick-up time runs past 6:05 in the evening.

My heart is sinking as I realize how much that late fee is going to run us and how I’m going to explain that to Nathan.  I’m not at all worried about my child and that I had forgotten to pick her up from school, mind you.  I’m just worried about the money and whether a carefully worded explanation to the director of the school would waive the fee. They like Autumn over there, so maybe they’ll take pity on her stupidly preoccupied mother who decided to wash the interior of her car with a garden hose.

And that’s when I realize I’m sunk because I have no way to explain my negligence other than to say I was at home washing my car.

The rest of the dream is pretty murky.  I can recall images of me being at the school with the director, but I can’t tell you what happened from there.  All I know is I woke up incredibly relieved that we wouldn’t be adding on to this week’s tuition bill.

And I have to admit that even though I do have a wonderful relationship with my mother, turning the hose on her felt pretty awesome.

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Autumn doesn’t like the snow. This year she has complained like a true Michigander about how much snow there is (which is less than average, actually) and has repeatedly asked when the snow will melt.

I’m guessing this is because she received a bike for Christmas and is itching to get out and ride it, but there’s a part of me that’s a little sad she hasn’t insisted on going outside to play, build snowmen and burrow into a snow fort.  Those are the things I used to do when I was a kid.  I didn’t start hating winter until I was a teenager and had my own paper route.

I don’t this is a problem. Yet. She gets some time outside during the day at school, but during the weekend it’s all indoors all the time unless we have to go to Target or Costco or one of the many places one goes to get stuff they think they need but could probably do without while they stay home, put on some slippers and watch Man Vs. Food on Netflix.

Last weekend I tried to buck the trend and suggested we attend a local winter festival.  The husband of one of the ladies I work with chairs the festival and she said it would be a lot of fun. Cardboard sled races, kids painting snow (with what, I do not know) and all sorts of  fun family activities.

But duuude. It was cold last weekend, so cold that my pickles froze. And no, that’s not a euphemism for anything. I left two jars of homemade pickles out in the garage and they froze along with a couple dozen bottles of water and a carton of orange juice.

Please note orange juice loses something in the thawing.  I don’ t know what, but it just wasn’t the same once we brought it inside.

And also, we did not go to the winter festival.

So this morning Autumn started in with the snow complaints again and I thought, “Kid, you’re too young to be this whiny about the weather” even though I know exactly where that whiny-ness comes from.  I felt bad that she hasn’t had a chance to enjoy the snow or the sled we bought her before Christmas (again our fault because duuude, it’s cold).

Since I don’t want to turn my child into a sedentary, winter-hating Midwesterner, I started thinking of some cold weather activities we could do as a family. But I have to tell you, I’m at a loss since everything that has come to mind so far involves going outside, and speaking as a woman who has enough trouble finding every day clothes that fit, I’m not sure I’d be able to find suitable winter gear that would spare me from hypothermia.

And also, I really just don’t want to go outside.

I imagine I will have to go outside as some point if I ever expect my kid to get enough exercise during the winter months. I can’t send her outside without supervision. At least not yet, so I’ll have to think of something so that we don’t all emerge in the spring with an extra layer of fat, a healthy growth of facial hair and retracted pupils from lack of sunlight.

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The holidays are typically the hardest time for people to maintain their weight let alone lose it.  I thought about the holidays a lot when I decided to re-commit to Weight Watchers in October.  I thought about Halloween and all the candy Autumn would bring home and Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing and Christmas fudge and all the things that were normally staples of my holiday diet.

Oddly enough, it was to my benefit that I decided to get my ass in gear so late in the year because I was enjoying the honeymoon stages of my weight loss journey. I was diligently counting everything I ate and was losing weight every week. I hadn’t yet gotten to the point where I felt like hurling my kitchen scale across the room and had even adopted an attitude of forgiveness whenever I slipped up and ate too much Chex Mix.

That damn Chex Mix.

Since I was feeling so empowered, I decided to participate in the university’s “Hold It for the Holidays” challenge.  Every year HR sets up the challenge as a way to encourage faculty and staff to maintain healthy habits from Thanksgiving to the New Year, the period where most of us wind up being rolled away from the dinner table by Oompa Loompas.  All you had to do was weigh in before Thanksgiving and again after the New Year. There was a $20 deposit required at weigh-in, which would be refunded if you managed to stay within two pounds of your initial weight and tracked a set of pre-determined healthy habits for six weeks.

A no brainer seeing as I was doing those things already.

Weigh-in was on my birthday, of all days, and I woke up feeling wonderful. Thirty-eight can suck it, I thought. I had a coupon for a free coffee from Biggby and another for free spaghetti from Fazolis and the entire day in front of me to spend as I wished.  All that freedom made me giddy as I left the house with $20 in my pocket and my daughter in the back seat of the car.

But since this story features yours truly, you can probably guess things did not go as planned.

I dropped Autumn off at school and headed over to the HR office on campus. The receptionist was not at all prepared for the weigh-in when I told her why I was there. Then another lady showed up wanting to weigh in, which flustered the receptionist even more, but finally she got her shit together and was ready to take my name and my money.  “We’ll be all set as soon as I find out where they put the scale,” she said.

Excuse me?

Finding the scale meant it was a small scale and not the scale I had imagine I’d be stepping on. I thought I’d be weighing in on a fairly accurate doctor-type scale that involved moving weights from one side to the other and maybe even a ruler thingy to measure height.  But why would HR need a scale like that for a once-a-year challenge?  They didn’t.  And apparently somebody somewhere stowed the scale in a cupboard and I had a good idea it wasn’t the kind of scale I wanted to step on.

Sure enough, I was ushered into a back room and introduced to the most wretched-looking run-of-the-mill horrible little bathroom scale I’d ever seen.  It was flat and it was dirty and worst of all I knew it would not register my weight.  Most wretched run-of-the mill horrible little bathroom scales only register up to a certain weight and I had surpassed that threshold by many pounds.

“Um, I don’t think this is going to work,” I said to the receptionist.

She shot me a puzzled glance and I explained my situation.  “Well let’s give it a try anyway,” she said.

And so I stepped on and was not at all surprised when the scale displayed an obnoxious ERROR message in all caps, bolded and underlined with an asterisk at the end, the corresponding footnote for which was displayed on my face. FUUUUCK!

“I didn’t think so,” I said.

I was embarrassed and the receptionist was embarrassed, but God bless her she suggested I try again. And God bless me I did.

Scale fail.

We went back out to the front desk where the receptionist refunded my money.  As I walked back to my car, I put in a call to Nathan to tell him how humiliated I was.  Happy birthday to me, indeed.  There were no tears, just a burning indignation which, fueled by my free cup of coffee, prompted me to send an email to the HR wellness director.  She sent me an apologetic reply and suggested I send her my weight in an e-mail since many others who couldn’t make the weigh-in were doing the same.

Screw that. I spent my $20 at Barnes and Noble and had a fabulous birthday anyway.

But you know what? I still lost nine pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. That’s with turkey and stuffing and making bon bons and cookies for Santa and more turkey and more stuffing at Meg’s house and four whole slices of Chicago deep dish pizza from Savastano’s in Tulsa, two of which I ate for lunch the next day,  mind you.

No one was as surprised as I was to see such a loss. I wasn’t perfect by any means, but I must have made some good choices along the line, the most significant of which was turning my back on that wretched-looking run-of-the-mill horrible little bathroom scale and not looking back.

But I’ll be seeing you again next year, bub.

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