Midwinter Blues

Early morning summer sunrise in North Dakota.

We have made it through the holiday madness, wished each other a happy new year, and had a busy month of January filled with the enthusiasms of the new year and a new you. We are done with the chocolately temptations of Valentine’s Day and now find ourselves staring into the dreary cold stretch of midwinter. We have gotten into the full swing of cold and flu season. At least at our house anyway. I’ve gone through a whole box of Kleenex since Friday and go into a coughing fit if I move faster than a slow walk. My skin is so dry I look like some kind of strange racoon because my eyes and the skin around them are red and itchy. I miss summer. I miss sleeping with all the windows open. I miss the sound of crickets chirping. I miss the sun!  

I don’t know about everyone else but besides being sick I feel tired too. According to my Fitbit my quality of sleep hasn’t been all that great lately. All of these put together gives me the midwinter blues. I’ve been eating too many things I shouldn’t at portion sizes I definitely shouldn’t be eating. I can’t remember the last day I exercised. I need to find some motivation and energy. I’ve made a list of some possible motivation and accountability checks to help power me through this challenging time of year. 

  • Take more vitamin D
  • Drink more Shakeology
  • Participate in more challenges with my Fitbit friends
  • Drink more water
  • Get more/better sleep (no more staying up on my phone!)
  • Track track track my food

Do you have any other ideas to add? Let me know if you do!

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Breaking the Rules

  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We spent this weekend of love with my high school best friends (although it’s really more like elementary best friends) and their significant others at a beautiful destination lake home. We started the tradition of couples weekend last year. We rent a cabin or lake home and we all meet there for the weekend. We bring food and cook and spend the entire time just catching up. The best part is that none of us have to drag along our s.o. The menfolk get along and enjoy each other just as much as the women. 
Friday night we all arrive and sit down to a tastey meal of ravioli and red sauce amped up with all kinds of veggies and garlic bread of course. Now if you remember I was horribly ill this week with the stomach flu and a cold. I had not planned on drinking too much because I didn’t want to be feeling any worse than I was. But when you make a good drink it turns out it goes down pretty nicely. So of course dinner round two happened at about 10:30 that night. But what a fun night it was. 

Saturday morning I awoke to my poor hubby sick as a dog with the stomach flu. We were hoping it was just a hangover but he was conservative of his alcohol intake much more so than I had been. He also had  the chills and a fever and spent the whole day laid up in bed. But the show must go on as they say. 

We had soo much yummy food this weekend. Breakfast burritos and cookies and cakes and potatoes and chips and popcorn and the list goes on. Saturday supper included porketta, Brussels sprouts, more potatoes and salad. Food so good that I kept eating even when I was stuffed full.

The table all set for Saturday’s dinner.
 
I did not track anything. I did not listen to my body. I did not have any successes to speak of other than having a good time. It’s not how I was hoping the weekend would go. I thought I would be able to exercise some control but I didn’t. I did realize that Minnesota nice still flows through my veins. There were many moments when I didn’t want the tortilla for my breakfast burrito or the bun for my sandwich but I didn’t want to be rude and not take something that someone took time to buy and provide for me. Maybe it’s Minnesota guilt. And I’m almost positive they wouldn’t care whether I eat it or not but still it’s really hard for me because it seems wasteful in my mind. And I hate to be wasteful. 

Another thing we figured out was how much accessibility to the snacks made a difference to the amount of food a person ate this weekend. The boys were downstairs away from the food majority of the weekend and they ate a significant amount less than the girls. We were upstairs mostly either in the kitchen or playing games at the dinning room table. All the snacks were on full display on the counter constantly whispering our names. And they were easily eaten snacks like popcorn and chips and cookies. It’s amazing how much of those things you can eat mindlessly. At home now besides Skinny Pop we have no foods in the house like that. There’s nothing in our pantry to open up and immediately snack on. Snacks for us now are basically just fruit. And food that we want has to be prepared and cooked not just opened. 

Right now I am still reflecting on everything. Reflecting. Not beating myself up. One thing I do know is that the harder I am on myself the more I actually shut down to this whole process. So for now I am reflecting. We were going to have a romantic Italian dinner tonight of heart shaped ravioli but I think I’ll toss those in the freezer and postpone that for another time. I think tonight will be a Shakeology for supper kind of night for me and soup for my sick hubby. 

Lunch Break

Do you ever find yourself watching “food porn”? Mostly I do it on Facebook thanks to Tasty and Tip Hero which have short videos that show you all the steps to make insanely delicious looking food. Well I can loose time fantasizing about all the scrumptious food, I don’t know about you.

Last week on Tip Hero I saved a creamy chicken wild rice soup that looked great and I had majority of the ingredients already on hand (I love when that happens). Yesterday when I was doing my planning and prepping Sunday I decided to make this for lunches this week. I did my mise en place (pronounced meez-n-plahs which if you didn’t know is a French term for getting your ingredients together) and started adding them all to the mighty crock pot. In went the wild rice, celery, carrots, onion, spices, chicken, and broth. Three hours later I shredded the chicken and was ready to start the roux. A roux is what adds the creaminess and thickness to certain dishes. It is made mostly out of butter, flour, and milk. I had the butter and flour what I did not have was whole milk. In my refrigerator I had heavy cream and skim milk. Both were from recipes I had used two weeks ago. The heavy cream lasts longer but that skim milk was just on the right side of questionable. I decided to blend them together to make a “whole milk.” And while this may have contributed to my ultimate downfall I really think I over whisked my butter and flour when I should have left it clumpier. Regardless when I mixed it all together it was definitely a letdown. I had created an oxymoron of a soup. It seemed very bland and yet over spiced at the same time. I was bummed. I had eleven cups of sub par soup but whether I liked it or not I was still going to make us eat it!

This morning when I was getting ready for school I packed it up dejectedly but was excited to use my new travel soup crock from Christmas. I thought I’d bring along some crackers to help choke down the tasteless soup. At noon I heated up my soup, took it back to my classroom and went looking for those crackers. They were not in my desk. They were not in my jacket. Ugh! I must have left them in the car. I figured whatever, I’ll just suck it up and eat it without the crackers. I had a spoonful and thought nope this definitely needs a pick me up. At least I’d get some extra steps in going all the way out to the parking lot. I go out and root around in my car before finally taking the hint. I had left them at home! I had to eat the soup just as it was. It was fine. It was food. But it was nothing to write home about. At least I had an apple. I finished up and was cleaning up my desk when I remembered!

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I had chocolate!! When I got to work this morning I had this lovely box of chocolates and a card waiting for me. The card read, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what kind of substitute you are going to get. But with you I know I’m getting the very best.” It was so thoughtful and kind and was a great way to start my Monday morning. The hard part was only eating the serving size of 3 pieces. At 170 calories for three you know there is a lot of sugar and bad stuff for you in them. But oh boy it sure was good! I enjoyed every bite.

I think we all have things like this that happen at work. It’s not an environment we can control completely. People are always bringing in donuts or leaving cookies or constantly celebrating some kind of day. Birthday, Earth day, Monday you name it. Resisting it all the time takes the fun out of life. Take the smallest cookie. Skip the donuts today but eat the popcorn tomorrow. Take the frosting off the cupcake. Just be mindful of your choices. And hey, we all have that day when we eat the doughnut and the cookie. Luckily today wasn’t that day for me but I’ve been there. Try not to beat yourself up. Acknowledge it but move on and maybe try and squeeze some extra movement into your day to make up for it.

So I guess all in all I think I ended up breaking even during lunch. 1 cup of crappy soup + 3 pieces of yummy chocolate = lunch. Tomorrow I won’t forget the crackers. 🙂

Forget Manpower

  Buying our first home this fall was really exciting for us. We couldn’t wait to make it our own and to take care of something that was ours. The doctor says for now M isn’t supposed to shovel because the repetitive motion can easily throw his back out. That chore then falls to me. 

I enjoy shoveling. I used to go to my mom and sisters houses and shovel their decks and driveways (usually with my niece as a fun energy burning activity) and I always rather enjoyed it. Beautiful snow, a little exercise, and the freedom to choose if and when I wanted to do it. Well after this winter the blooms a bit off the rose with that one!

 When we first started comparing our home to the others in the neighborhood (because who doesn’t do that?) we felt lucky to see that we had the only two car cement driveway on the whole block! All that extra space for friends and family so they don’t have to park on the street. Well after three inches of blowing snow makes a two foot tall drift in your driveway you no longer feel so lucky! As much as I don’t necessarily mind getting off my rear to do the job it’s the -20 degree windchill that really sours the experience. Gone are the fun 30 degree sunshine “fun shovels” with my niece. And because I hate doing laundry just slightly more than I hate being cold I risk going out dressed in my leggings. (To note I don’t reccomend this, it’s for the truly insane or truly anti-laundry and since I’m a little of both out the door I go in leggings). Well as you can imagine that idea didn’t last long. Back inside I came to look for appropriate pants and I can up with nothing but for a pair of my husbands hunting pants. My neighbors probably think I’m wardrobe challenged after seeing all my outdoor wear so far this year (earlier in the fall while doing yard work I would wear my yard shirt which is my dads old blue faded too big for me button up Hawaiian shirt). I start shoveling the mountain before me all while enviously eyeing what’s-his-name up the street and his jolly snowblower. Push, scoop, lift, throw repeat. It’s hard work in the freezing cold but it’s amazing what some girl power can do! Seventy-five minutes later I stood back to admire a beautifully shoveled (double!) driveway and the whole stretch of sidewalk we are responsible for. I did it! My Fitbit is buzzing with pride as well as I reached and surpassed my step goal for the day. I decide to celebrate with a nice cup of hot chocolate all while admiring my newly cleaned driveway from inside the warm house. Job well done.

This dog though

CollageI didn’t want a dog when my husband Mitchell did but I understand how and why we came to have Jackson. I’ve grown up with dogs my whole life so I understand just how much care and time actually goes into taking care of a dog. My husband did not have much experience with dogs and so he enthusiastically told me, “oh yeah I’ll take him for walks and bathe him and take great care of him.” Fast forward two years later and here I am at home alone this week with our big whiner. He’s barked all of five times the entire time we’ve had him but oh boy can he whine! And groans and whines and whines and groans some more! He’s also always on my nerves, forever in my grill, and I have yet to experience what it’s like to go to the bathroom alone at this house. One day I thought I had him because he was in the middle of his bunny chasing dreams when I escaped to the latrine. I had my pants down all ready to get to business when his nose smacks the door open and he came trotting in like, “woah! I almost lost you there for a second!”

Anyway, he has been whining at me all day and even though the weather was finally warm enough for a walk I try to put it off until after it gets dark because halfway through our walk I unleash him and let him run at the huge park by our house. (This is a no no technically hence why we wait for dark but it’s 90% fenced in and no one is ever around.) It’s a big hassle getting him into his doggie boots because on one hand he hates them and is of no help putting them on but on the other hand he knows we are going for a walk and is so excited he can barely contain himself. His tail is thumping wildly and he rolls onto his back and paws the air. But we finally get him ready to go and I get my ugly warm walking coat on with mismatching hat and scarf and we take off. He practically drags me along because he knows where to go and halfway there we end up jogging because he’s just so excited. Finally we arrive at the big park and I unhook him and off he goes. He’s got to be going at least 30 miles an hour running in huge circles. He sprints towards me and two of his booties come flying off. He circles me twice before flying off again. After all the hassle it has been, this moment is actually worth it for both of us. He is pure joy and it’s contagious. And despite all the stupid things that annoy me about him I am hopelessly in love with him. I have Mitchell fully supporting me with the food aspect and as long as it’s even halfway decent weather I have Jackson there to support me/drag me into exercise.

Case of the Mondays on Tuesday

FullSizeRenderLook at my delicious supper! Morey’s marinated salmon (B- on Fooducate but I do love the flavor from the marinade) and my favorite roasted broccoli! Apparently I’m one of those people who constantly take pictures of what they are eating but I can’t help it especially now that I got new plates for Christmas from my family! I’ve been wanting to write something all day but I wanted to wait until after I got my work out in so I could be all super-girl like on here. But as the day wears on I don’t think I’ll be doing that workout unless I say that I will on here for the world to see and then by default have no choice but to follow through and be accountable.

Last week the workouts were rolling off my back like water on a duck but this week with the bitter cold it’s been a different story. Last week when it was warm (I’m talking like mid 20’s…I’m so mid-western 🙂 I would take our dog Jackson out for a walk and play with him at the park. Then I’d come home and do my workout right away. It was kind of like my warm up. I wouldn’t feel like working out but after my walk and my body loosened up and I had a little bit more pep in my step it was way easier. Now that it’s colder and we can’t go for a walk right now it’s been a big struggle to get up and do that workout. I’m also in the middle of a friendly competition/bet with my high school BFF to see who can get the most workouts done in a month. Today when she sent me her creds we officially tied. On the line is a free mani or pedi and let me tell you folks I could use one! Without her knowing if I got my butt off the couch or not today and without you all reading and watching I know for a fact that I wouldn’t have bothered with it today. But since that isn’t the case I will go now and get it done! I just wanted to be lazy but today I won’t let myself. #carryon