Mother’s Day Indulgences

Mother's Day 5

I was a little worried about Mother’s Day. It arrived on Day Four of my 21 Day Transformation Challenge. Our family always celebrates any occasion with food. I marked it as an “off day” on my calendar, thinking that I would indulge on Mother’s Day and then go back to my challenge on Monday. But, as it turned out, I didn’t need an “off day.”

After my morning coffee, I had some cantaloupe to tide me over until lunch. My mom and dad were coming to my house at noon and Jason and I planned to make crepes.

Everything turned out FANTASTIC, and I didn’t have to “cheat.” (You can cheat on diets, you can’t cheat on a healthy lifestyle, right?) I indulged a little, but still stuck with my plan.

Mother's Day 14Mother's Day 2

The crepes were unbelievably delicious. This was our first time to try making crepes (what better guinea pig for a new recipe than your mother, right?) We had choices of fillings, and Jason custom made each one for us with our choice of ingredients. For the main course, the choices were scrambled eggs seasoned with herbs, roasted chicken thighs, apples, avocado, Gruyere cheese, and bacon. For a dessert course, we had a dark chocolate and cinnamon sauce, honey, and fresh raspberries. We also had chocolate covered strawberries (purchased at H.E.B.).

Mother's Day 15

Everything was so wonderful, and it was fun to gather in the kitchen, chatter, and wait expectantly while Jason created the next crepe.

Mother's Day 6

After my parents left, Jason and I had another one of our nice long walks through our neighborhood. I stopped and took some photos of the elementary school that Jason and I both attended, and then both of our girls attended almost thirty years later. Claudia’s kindergarten class was even in the same room as mine! This school will be torn down soon to make way for a newer, bigger school. I hope the new school will retain some architectural character and blend nicely with our neighborhood. I fear that it won’t. I have a lot of memories here, so I will be sad to see it go.

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Our lunch was so filling, and spanned the course of several hours, so we snacked on a simple platter of fresh fruit for dinner.

Mother's Day 4

So I learned that I don’t have to “cheat” even on special occasions. I still ate healthy foods prepared with love and shared them with the people I love the most in the world. I still got my daily dose of exercise, but also enjoyed a quiet day relaxing and visiting with my family.  It was a good day.

End of Week One: “You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” – John C. Maxwell

It’s been a full week since I started this 21 Day Transformation Challenge. For one full week, I have changed my daily habits to include healthier choices. So far, I have:

  1. Eaten clean. This means avoiding processed foods and embracing foods that are closer to their source: more fruits and veggies and less packaged or fast food.
  2. Exercised daily. Jason and I have gone for a long walk each evening. Most days I have been logging well over 10,000 steps. This doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but I was mostly sedentary a week ago. I have doubled my daily steps this week. Even better, we have enjoyed our walks together. . . taking time to talk while we walk without the distractions of tv and other electronics.
  3. Lost 2.2 pounds. Although I didn’t list weight loss as a specific goal, I have weighed myself daily. It’s not my ultimate goal, but certainly a huge benefit of a healthier lifestyle. I also hope that my clothes will fit better and I will feel better in them.

Most importantly, THIS ISN’T HARD. I have tried “diets” many times before. I have joined gyms, boot camps, fitness programs, and bought too many subscriptions to online programs to count. I have never stuck with it before. I know it’s only been a week, but I have changed my way of thinking. I don’t come home from work thinking, “I need a beer.”  When a co-worker offered me cake, I didn’t really want it, so it was easy to decline. And. . . I’M NOT HUNGRY. My meals have been tasty and satisfying. I eat three meals each day, and I have one or two healthy snacks if I get hungry between meals.

Auction 4

One of the things that makes it easy is to keep a huge variety of fresh fruits and veggies on hand. This is what I have available to choose from right now.

Day Four

I make smoothies most mornings for breakfast. Some are really good, and some are not so great. I add truvia and vanilla to make them taste a little better. Some mornings I have a scrambled egg with roasted peppers, onions, mushrooms, and whatever other veggies I have on hand.

We have discovered some really beautiful trees on our evening walks.

We try to change our route each night to make things a little more interesting. These are some pics from our neighborhood:

Day Four 5
Hmmmm.
Day Five 2
Pecan Acres Pet Care at dusk.
Day Five 1
This seemed a little “Blair Witch” to me.

One night, we went to Surfside and walked on the jetties.

Day 6Day Six 3Day Six 2Day Six 4

I think I can handle another two weeks of this lifestyle. What do you think?

Day Three: “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”

Jason and I have gone to College Station the last three weekends in a row, so today was the first time in a very long time that I got to sleep late. . . and I took advantage of it! I didn’t get up until almost nine, and then lingered over coffee. It’s nice when Claudia’s home because all four of us tend to hang out in the kitchen and catch up. I didn’t make my breakfast smoothie until 11! This morning it was a Blueberry Sweet Potato Smoothie–baked sweet potato, blueberries, baby spinach almond butter, protein powder, and skim milk. I have to admit, I didn’t like it at all when I first tasted it. The brownish-grey color didn’t help either. I added a truvia and a dash of vanilla, and voila! it was fine (not good, but fine.) Jason thought the same about his, so we won’t be repeating this recipe!

Day Three Smoothie
Not my favorite smoothie.

The girls ditched us early in the afternoon to go shopping. I wanted to walk to the nail salon, but Jason talked me out of it. He was right. Putting on tennis shoes to walk back home would ruin my pedicure, and wearing flip flops would kill my feet. So we drove.

Day Three Fam
My favorite girls.

We tried Legend Nails for the first time. It is in the new H.E.B. shopping center. The lovely lady who did my nails was Elaine, and she was fabulous! I got the deluxe pedicure, and she took so much time massaging my legs that I almost fell asleep I was so relaxed. After she finished my manicure, she even massaged my neck and shoulders before I left. This may be my new favorite place!

Day Three Lengend Nails
My new favorite nail salon.

Lunch was steamed green beans, some barley cooked with mushrooms and kale, and some roasted turkey breast. Although it takes a little time to prepare lunch now, it is well worth it! I feel better about myself eating good food. A week ago, I would have picked up fast food for lunch, eaten too much, and felt overfull afterward. This feels right.

I ran errands after lunch (I had such a late start to my day, lunch was actually at around 3:00 pm!) I went to Target, Walgreens, and H.E.B. By the time I was done, it was around 5:30, and I felt very hungry. When I got home I ate two boiled eggs for a snack.

I don’t think Jason ate much of anything other than the smoothie I fixed him for breakfast and some boiled eggs for a snack, so around 7:30, he was starving. I was cleaning house, so he grabbed the recipe and fixed dinner. He marinated the chicken with orange juice and red pepper flakes and started the grill. By the time the chicken was cooked, and he had finished preparing a plum and walnut relish to go with it, it was almost 9 pm. I actually wasn’t very hungry, so I had plenty left to put away for tomorrow’s lunch. The citrus marinade for the chicken was good, but I think it would have been better if we had left it to soak a little longer. The relish was wonderful, and I will make it again. I look forward to having some for lunch tomorrow.

Even though we didn’t walk to the nail salon and back, I stayed busy all day running errands and cleaning house, so I still managed to log my 10,000 steps on my fit bit.

Tomorrow is mother’s day. Part of my plan was to rest and rejuvenate on Sundays. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Day Three Dinner

A light, but satisfying, dinner.

DAY TWO: “Yes, I’m trying to eat healthy. No, I’m not on a diet.”

I hate the word “diet.” Eating food that nourishes your body and provides the energy you need without dragging you down with “extras” is not a diet. It’s a lifestyle of making good choices. I have been pretty good about making choices that nourish my heart, my brain, and my soul. Now, it’s time to nourish the rest of my body.

I woke up feeling a little sore this morning. In a good way. I’m feeling a slight twinge in muscles that I had forgotten about. It reminds me that I did a good thing for myself yesterday and I can do it again today.

I’ve had a pretty good morning routine for quite a while now. There’s no need to change that. When I first wake up, I drink a big (16 oz) glass of water. By drink, I mean chug. Sometimes I have a second one, but not always. Then I sit down at my kitchen island with The Facts newspaper and savor two cups of coffee. Isabella gets me a new coffee mug every year for Christmas and each mug is covered with a mosaic of family photos. I love my coffee and my coffee mugs. The faces of my family watch over me in the morning as I learn about the goings on of Brazoria County. . . who died, who got married, who had a baby, what events will be going on this weekend. . . I take it all in and think about this community and the people I love.

After my coffee, I had a cup of Greek yogurt with a half cup of blueberries, a little honey, and some chopped almonds on top. It was delicious. Before I left for work, I boiled some eggs to have ready for my snack. I took my lunch (remember I saved half of my Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad from last night) and two boiled eggs to work with me. My breakfast didn’t tide me over that long, and I found that I was very hungry by noon but my lunch was very satisfying and filling. I had to run some errands in the afternoon, but instead of stopping for fast food when I got hungry, I ate the two boiled eggs while I was in my car.

Claudia came home from College Station today. When she got home around 6, Jason and I were preparing dinner. He broiled salmon and steamed some green beans while I prepared a warm kale and barley salad with dill. All four of us enjoyed dinner, but I didn’t have enough to put aside for tomorrow. Since tomorrow is Saturday, I should be able to scrounge together a good lunch any way.

After dinner, Jason and I took a long walk around our neighborhood. We walked about three miles, not too fast but not too slow either. We both grew up in the neighborhood, so we enjoyed re-telling some of our childhood stories. . . we laughed about the day he decided that he had had enough of day care (back then it was called Candy Cane Cottage) and walked himself home in the middle of the day. We marveled at some of the things we drive by every day, but never seem to notice. . . mainly all of the colossal old oak trees standing guard over the old neighborhoods.

It’s close to bed time now. I’m not hungry at all. It’s been a good day.

Day One Update

New Month

I was going to start this challenge on May 1. . . but somehow the calendar page went from from May Day to Cinco de Mayo already. . . my how time flies. It seems like I went from sweatshirts and yoga pants to tanks and athletic shorts in a single day. There’s no disputing it though, Spring is here. The oak pollen and ligustrum blooms have announced Spring’s arrival very clearly to me.

I did a good job with my challenge today. Of course the first day is the easiest. I started this morning with a Pear Spinach smoothie. It surprised me. . . I actually liked it. Last night, I left the blender out on the counter and had all my ingredients either on the counter or the door of the fridge. So when I started feeling a little hungry, it was easy to whip something up. Diced pear, baby spinach, almond butter, skim milk, and a packet of truvia. That’s it. And I liked it. So there. Done.

Pear Spinach Smoothie

I always start with a bang, so I did about half an hour of strength training this morning. That’s all. I don’t want to bang too much too fast! Lunch was a cup of low fat cottage cheese, watermelon, and those things that look like little smokies are actually carrots steamed in cinnamon.  I hardly believe this myself, but I was uncomfortably full after eating this. Yeah, I know, that don’t seem right. But it’s true.

Day One Lunch

Mid-Afternoon, I was really wanting something salty, so I had 24 roasted and salted almonds. Yes. Twenty-four. I counted them.

Dinner was a Turkey Avocado Cobb Salad. I ate half of it and the other half is in this nice tupperware ready for tomorrow’s lunch. I have also been drinking lots of water, but I still had a 32 oz. diet coke mid-day (my big indulgence!)

Day One Dinner

When Jason got home, we took a nice evening stroll around our neighborhood. We walked away from home for about fifteen minutes and then walked back for a total of a half hour. We saw lots of cats but not the one I was looking for. I’m going to check the shelter for him tomorrow. All in all, it’s been a good day. I stuck to the plan. I didn’t really miss anything or have any cravings. I got a lot of work done (I worked at home today with that goal in mind), and I’m ready for tomorrow.

 

DAY ONE: “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.” – Author Unknown

I started a 21-Day Transformation Challenge today. I’m going to share my progress here to try to keep myself accountable.

What’s a 21-Day Transformation Challenge? For 21-Days (the amount of time it takes to create a habit), I will:

  1. Eat clean (I’ll share my meals with you–well, not really–I’m going to eat the whole meal by myself. But I’ll let you know what I’m eating and whether I like it.)
  2. Walk 30 minutes/day at least 6 days/week. (One of my “community” cats hasn’t been hanging around for a while, so I’ll take advantage of the walking time to look for him. I’ll keep you updated on that as well.)
  3. Strength train 3/days/week. (This will be the hardest part for me. I am certifiably lazy when it comes to exercise. I have faked asthma attacks to get out of working out before.)

Would you like to join me? Sign up at Prevention.com and we can track our progress together.

Why am I doing this? I’m tired of being tired. My family is tired of me being grouchy and stressed out all the time. I’m crowding fifty, and I want this body to work for me for another fifty years. I’m also wearing a butt-print indention into the bar stool where I sit all day many days, so this will be a kindness to my furniture.

I know from past experience that when I eat better and exercise, I also sleep better, feel better, and become more productive. So there it is and here I am. Starting over again. Of course, I hope that an added benefit is that my clothes will fit better again too!

Check back with me and cheer me on. Let me know if you need me to cheer for you as well. We humans share this world together and breathe the same air. We should at least try to help each other out when we can, right?

Talk to you later, friend.

Moments of Grace

Something beautiful happened this morning.

I received a short video clip from a stranger.

The video starts inside the house. A toddler in a t-shirt and underpants is standing with his dog, Max. Max looks much like any other loved pet. Eyes fixed lovingly on the little boy, tail wagging, following the child out the door. The boy’s hand rests gently on the big dog’s back. There is another child in the video, a little girl holding her blanket. The children and Max walk outside onto the deck, down a sidewalk, and onto the driveway. The woman behind the camera is gently coaxing them. Max is on a leash held by the little boy. They have done this many times before.

When they get to the car parked in the driveway, the woman gently instructs them, “the back seat, boo, put him in the back seat.” Max is listening and turns at the sound of the woman’s voice. His face is very swollen, he’s too thin, every rib showing. His tail wags happily, and when the little boy opens the back door, Max jumps in expectantly. He loves to go on car rides. They have done this many times before.

My throat swells and tears begin to well in my eyes. I blink them back, but they start falling any way. They have done this many times before.

The woman says, “I love you very much.” I’m not sure if she’s talking to the little boy or to Max, but I’m certain that she does love them both very much. She has told them so many times before.

But this will be the last time. The last time Max will go on a car ride. The last time the little boy will walk him on a leash. The last time the woman will tell Max that she loves him. Max is very sick. Today, the woman is going to lovingly let Max go.

I don’t know this family. I have never met Max. Why did this woman send me this video this morning?

Well. . . about a month ago, this woman contacted me. Max had been sick. They had done all they could for him, but they were out of money, they needed help and they didn’t know where to turn. I made arrangements for  veterinary care for Max. They were able to keep him a little while longer. They were able to  love him a little while longer.

She sent me the video this morning because she wanted me to see what I had given them.

“I know he doesn’t realize it yet but the bear (the boy in the video) will grow up and realize that he got extra time with his best buddy because of you and the SPCA and I’ll never forget that fact and bring you a bag full of shoes and when I come down this weekend I’m going to bring some canned food to you all tell me what else you need and I’ll do my best to bring it to you.”

My answer to her, “You have already given me more than you will ever know.”

Small, quiet moments of grace. . .

Borrowed time to love without compromise. . .

A gentle good-bye. . .

A boy and his dog.