Tuesday, January 31, 2012

No more.



Chelsey over at The Paper Mama is hosting a Self Photo Challenge from now till February 13th! She's giving away a $100 credit towards a family portrait, so get to blogging about yourself peeps!  Even if you don't have a blog, check out her challenge post because it's got a really great message.  I've let what other people think hold me back too many times in the past, and it's posts like hers that inspire me to say, "No more."  I've been putting off bleaching and re-dying my hair for way too long because I've been going back and forth about dying it a normal color again.  Brandon's upcoming ALS graduation dinner has me a bit nervous...it's a cocktail attire shindig and I might feel a little awkward walking next to my husband in his dress mess uniform with purple or blue hair.  He assures me he doesn't care, but I know I'll stick out like a sore thumb.  And you know what, I think I'm okay with that.  I like my colored hair, my husband likes my colored hair, so I'm sticking with it.  

Anyway, Chelsey's asked us to fill out this little survey about what we're Currently doing, so here's mine :)



Obsessing over…
United States of Tara!  Why oh WHY did I wait so long to watch this show?!  Brandon and I have made our way through the first season in the last couple days and I'm loving every second of it. 
Working on…
Oh so much.  Kaden's baby blanket, a Valentine's gift for my swap partner Velma , a soccer ball hat for my friend Jessica's little man, Piper's cross stitch baby announcement (yep...she's almost six and I'm still working on it), AND my babette blanket.  I've been rotating between projects daily and so far it works out nicely.  
Thinking about…
The major changes that could be taking place within the next few years, and how I hate all the uncertainty of the military.  
Anticipating…
Paying off our dang car within the next few days!  That $430 a month payment suckssssss.  
Listening to…
The Shins.  I love The Shins.  
Eating…
Paleo, and loving it still!  Although tonight I did have some incredibly delicious spiced chai frozen yogurt this afternoon that made me extremely thankful Tutti Frutti swaps out their flavors regularly.  Otherwise I'd be making way too many trips for some spiced chai yumminess.  
Wishing…
I didn't have carpal tunnel.  It's so frustrating to be held back from doing the one thing I really truly love by tingly fingers and aching wrists.  

Scotch Eggs!

Last week, I made a recipe that caught my eye in Melissa Joulwan's book Well Fed (highly recommended, btw): Scotch Eggs.

I'm really bad about making breakfast for myself.  On school days, I'm usually too focused on getting Piper to eat SOMETHING and packing her lunch to cook myself some eggs or whatnot.  On the weekends, I sleep in too late and wake up starving, so the last thing I want to do is scramble eggs and fry bacon or sausage.  So this recipe for Scotch Eggs had instant appeal to me: easy, and I can make them in advance for a quick breakfast.  

You can find Melissa's recipe here (or in Well Fed), but they're really simple to make.  

First things first, you know how to boil an egg, right?  I only just recently perfected egg-boiling...for the longest time I just boiled those babies for 12 minutes and called it good.  Now, however, my boiled eggs are soft and squishy and delicious with beautiful yellow yolks, instead of those weird textured, sometimes green yolked things I used to call boiled eggs.  


Step 1: Completely submerge your eggs in water and bring to a rolling boil (I might have snapped this photo a few seconds too early). 
Step 2: Turn off the burner.  Remove your pan from the heat source if your burners take a while to cool down (mine are gas, so they don't).  
Step 3: Cover that pot with a lid. 
Step 4: Leave those puppies alone for 10 minutes.  
Step 5:  (no picture, sorry) Run the eggs under cold water for a good 3-5 minutes to stop them from cooking.  The eggs should be cold when you go to peel them.  Not like, refrigerator cold, but not warm either.  

And that's it! Perfectly boiled eggs :)


Now, to turn those eggs into a protein packed breakfast or snack, we're gonna wrap them in sausage.  Yep, sausage.  





 I didn't get a photo of the wrapping process (cause it's a two-hand job and I don't love you guys enough to get pork sausage all over my iPhone), but it's really simple.  

Split your sausage into enough portions for each boiled egg that you have. I had about a pound of sausage (which I bought from my grocery store's meat section...so it was ground and seasoned in house.  No jimmy dean here.) and I split it into four sections for my four eggs. 

Take one section and flatten it into the palm of your hand like a big ole sausage pancake.  Grab a peeled egg and plop that baby right in the middle.  Then, just wrap the sausage around the egg, pinching the seals closed.  It's kind of like making stuffed cookies, if any of you have made those before.  

When you've got all your eggs all nestled in their little sausage homes, stick them on a foil-lined (to save on cleanup later) greased cookie sheet (I just spread a stick of butter where I planned on putting the Scotch Eggs) and pop them in the oven.  



Bake them for about 20-25 minutes at 375. You can also pan-fry them and then finish them off in the oven, but mine got a crispy enough crust for my tastes so the oven worked just fine for me.  


YUM.  

I've been eating mine with a piece of fruit in the mornings. Super yummy and WAY filling.  

I will say this: if someone in your family doesn't like boiled eggs, do NOT reheat these around them.  My husband can't stand the smell of boiled eggs period, and these are way more intense than just a typical boiled egg for some reason.  Even my daughter, who loves a good hardboiled egg, was gagging when I warmed one up the other day.  So weird.  They taste delicious reheated, but yeah...pretty boiled-eggy-smelly.  



Monday, January 30, 2012

Weigh in 1/30/2012




I forgot to take a photo of the scale this morning, but I'm down to 205.0 today!  Two pounds lost in two weeks of a mostly-paleo diet (I filled the tub on the left with 46 buttons, so I had already counted the one I lost last week).  Not AMAZING results, but I haven't been doing AMAZING eating-wise, so I wasn't expecting anything AMAZING.  

I'd say last week I ate about 85% paleo...this week, maybe 75%.  I had ramen noodles for lunch Saturday.  I'm not even sure why I did that....I don't even like ramen noodles, and they definitely did not taste good.  Our grocery budget is dwindling and we were almost out of meal-food (just snacks left) so I grabbed ten packages on the last trip to the grocery store to get the kids (and my husband) through the weekend till payday, and for some reason I made myself a package too.  So gross.  But, that's what happens when you get paid on January 12th because payday landed on a Sunday.  Almost three weeks is a longgg pay period, especially when that paycheck is less than $1000.  

(On a side note, we will be paying off ALL of our debt within the next couple weeks (other than my student loans but meh) and I could not be happier about it.  It will mean an extra $600 a month for us, and that's not even counting Brandon's raise from his promotion!  Yayyyy for being able to save for the future :D)

BUT! My husband, pickiest man alive, has lost SIX POUNDS since we started eating paleo.  SIX.  And he's still eating cheese!  He didn't want to tell me so that I wouldn't be hard on myself, but if anything it's motivated me more to ignore those two giant jars of Nutella I bought on crazy-sale ($2.27 for both!) and reach for a handful of cashews instead.  

I wanted to share this infographic I saw on Pinterest:  


Please click on the picture to see it larger, because it's really important information.  

It's stuff like this, fact-based research that completely blows everything we've been taught out of the water, that motivates me even more to make this lifestyle change.  The fact that the biggest portion of our diet, according to the FDA, should be grains, and that they made that decision based on skewed research, absolutely disgusts me.  

Last week I wrote about problems with feeding my kids while my husband and I are eating paleo, and I made a decision yesterday while I was dishing up dinner.  I had baked some lemon-garlic tialpia, sauteed some broccolini, and made some  macaroni and cheese (literally...macaroni noodles and cheese) for the kids.  

I had planned on microwaving some chicken nuggets for them and giving them some carrot sticks along with their macaroni and cheese, but that third tilapia filet was like a slap in the face, so I split that sucker in half, gave the kids a smaller portion of macaroni, and a couple pieces of broccolini.  

Beck ate nothing but the macaroni, but Piper, my pickiest kid, ate one piece of fish and one stalk of broccolini!  

So this is my new plan kid-wise: I'll make them a small portion of either noodles or rice, but that portion will progressively get smaller and smaller.  They'll get whatever veg and meat I've made that night, and before Piper can have anything else to eat (ie fruit or yogurt), she needs to taste everything on her plate.  Beck will do the same when he's old enough to understand.  He's pretty good about eating till he's full and just leaving the rest, so it won't be an issue I don't think. 

I'll be making over their breakfasts and lunches as well; I felt so guilty starting Piper's day with a bowl of Quaker's Instant Oatmeal this morning...just picturing the sugar crash that was inevitable.  Eventually, the majority of their meals will be meats, veg and fruits.  Hopefully.  

Wish me luck, and please let me know if you're in the same boat I am!   I'd love to hear tips on how to get picky eaters to love vegetables and meats.  

Saturday, January 28, 2012

January Photo Challenge Week Four

Time for the Instagram photo challenge round up!  My username on Instagram is sophieplayshooky; come follow me!  If you don't have instagram, download it!  It's free and awesome, I promise.  If you don't have an iPhone, no worries!  You can follow my photo feed here :) 

On to the photos!


Shoes!  I find that I'm most productive on days I wear tennis shoes around the house, so I've been lacing these puppies up every day this week.  It's kind of worked.  My house is still a hot mess, but not nearly as bad as it was last week, so that's progress, right? 


Me.  Brandon and I went to bed at 9:30 Monday night.  I started watching a friend's daughter for a couple hours before school, and she comes over at 6:15...a full hour and a half before I used to wake up to get Piper ready for school. But!  I love having her here because it's made getting Piper ready for school SO much easier.  She literally pops out of bed in the morning now, eats breakfast every day, and didn't let out a single whine all week long.  I'll sacrifice a couple hours of sleep for that.  


Oh amazon, I love you and your free two-day shipping for Prime members.  You make me oh so happy.  


The ripple blanket for my nephew is coming along nicely!  My carpal tunnel has been really acting up lately, so I'm managing 1-2 rows a day which sucks cause I'd really love to be doing more.  But, he's not due till April so I should finish in plenty of time, even at this slow pace.  


Beck found our fingerpaints, and I let him at it.  We've been cooped up in the house all week while Brandon's at school and are both feeling the effects.  I gotta figure out more fun activities for him to do like this, cause he loved it!  


Yummmmmmmm.  I made Scotch Eggs!  I'll be posting the recipe for these babies on Tuesday, so come back if you're looking for grab-and-go breakfast ideas.  I warmed one up this morning and it was just as awesome!  


I really like how the edit came out on this photo.  I was driving to the grocery store today to grab milk and MORE produce and couldn't resist snapping a shot of the sun peaking through the clouds.  

Friday, January 27, 2012

Piper's lunches! Also, we eat a lot of food.

It turns out that we ate out a lot more than I thought, cause now that we're not, we are plowing through the groceries like crazyyyy!  I've seriously been to the grocery store for one thing or another 5 times in the last 14 days, and I kid you not I'm about to go again tomorrow.  Ridiculous!  But yep, we're almost out of the bread I bought for Piper's lunches, milk, eggs, and produce.  So nuts.  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to a trip to Bismarck (closest city to us) for more reasons than one.

Those reasons being:

1.  I hate this place, and Bismarck, even though it's only an hour and a half away, feels like it's a whole new world compared to Minot and all it's rude drivers/parkers and lack of entertainment for the entire family.

2.  I am seriously going stir-crazy being trapped in the house Monday-Friday from 7-4.  Losing. My. Mind.

3.  There's a SAM'S CLUB in Bismarck!!  Huge boxes of cheez-its!  Massive bags of Cinnamon Apple Straws!  120 dishwasher tablet thingies for $12!  50 lbs of dog food for $29!  Insane amounts of lettuce for $3!  I'm very, very, VERY excited for this trip, whenever it happens.

We're basically waiting for a weekend that Brandon doesn't have a crap-ton of homework to do AND the roads aren't scary icy and/or snowy.  Which shouldn't be a problem, since all the snow we DID have melted yesterday.  We did get another inch or two last night, but meh.  Nothing compared to the 5 feet of snow I had to wade through to inspect our house when we moved here last January.

All that is to say that I'm working with limited materials this week, so there's a lot of similarity in this week's lunches.  Whew!  On to the lunches :)



Piper had a stomach ache this weekend (that she ever-so-kindly passed on to me), and she woke up Monday feeling icky still, so she stayed home. This is her lunch from Thursday!  I saw a pin floating around on Pinterest the other day of a sandwich with a heart cut-out and just loved it, so I made her a Nutella sandwich with a star cut-out and sprinkled some of the Valentine's sprinkles I had in the center.  Under the sandwich is a little tub of peanut butter for her to dip her apple slices in.  She also had some raisins and dried dates, and a few bbq popchips :)


Wednesday, Piper had some matchstick carrots, a hard-boiled egg, an oreo (mostly just to keep the egg and carrots from sliding around), mini Triscuits and cheese, a Sunbutter sandwich, and some cinnamon apple straws. She ate everything but the carrots (she at prob 1/3 of them) and a few triscuits, so score!  


Thursday, I toasted a Cinnamon Toast Eggo and spread some peanut butter between them to make two mini sandwiches.  She also had some carrots, another boiled egg (she requested another one :D), and some cashews and raisins with some sprinkles to make it look pretty.  


And this is today. Dark and boring.  Sorry Piper!  She had another Nutella sandwich cut into triangles, some marshmallows and dried dates, Spongebob cheez-nips, and some mini triscuits with a heart cut out of fruit leather. She doens't like the fruit leather, but I figured I'd try again and see if she'd eat just a bite out of it, not knowing it was the same thing she tried last week. Sneaky sneaky.  

Hope you all had a lovely week!  I'll be back tomorrow with the roundup of the Instagram photo challenge :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Paleo! And a yummy recipe...


I've mentioned before that I'm now living a Paleo lifestyle, but I didn't really go into too much detail on what what entails.  Basically, it's exactly what that graphic says, and nothing else.  No grains.  No sugars.  No Doritos. No ice cream.  No oatmeal.  No rice.  No cheese.  

Lots of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.  

Paleo is pretty much eating what our bodies were designed to eat: lean meats, fish and poultry, non-starchy vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts.  And that's it.  All these over-processed foods with ingredient lists that cover half of the back of the package are wreaking havoc on our bodies, and no one even realizes it because half the time, they're marketed to us as "healthy".  

The only foods that should be considered healthy are those that came from the earth itself.  

Not from a lab, not from a processing plant, not from some government-funded research project to find more ways to use up all the corn they pay farmers to over-produce.  

I get so pissed off when I go to the grocery store now, especially on the snack aisles.  My kids LOVE fruit snacks, and even that is an understatement.  Beck would scarf an entire box of them if I'd let him.  But there are zero options for somewhat healthy fruit snacks out there.  Even the ones labeled "100% DV Vitamin C!" are no better than handing your kid a package of skittles.  My friend Buffy posted a link to this blog post a couple weeks ago, and I decided right then and there to stop buying fruit snacks for the kids.  They just eat them too quickly for them to be considered a treat, so I'll just keep them out of the house thank you very much.  Both kids also love to snack on almonds and cashews, so I'll just switch that $8 in the grocery budget from sugary 'fruit' snacks over to a couple packages of nuts.  

I'm starting to ramble now, but my point is that I'm learning more and more about what is good for my body and what isn't, and I'm really excited about it.  Obviously we're not going to be perfect (I fed the kids pizza for dinner tonight from the pizza joint on base), but I feel like even if we eliminate the processed junk from 80% of our diets, we'll see huge changes.  

That being said, wanna see what we ate for dinner the other night?  



Oh yeah.  All that went straight into my belly.  



Paleo Orange Chicken
Served 2 adults who weren't even that hungry, but couldn't stop eating. 

Ingredients:
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into cubes
3 tbsp coconut oil (you could use butter also)
2 garlic cloves
Juice from 2 oranges
Zest from 1 orange
2 tbsp soy sauce <---not paleo, so if you're eating paleo as well, try and use coconut aminos. I just didn't have any.  
About an inch of fresh ginger, diced
1 tbsp sriracha <--nectar of the gods. SO GOOD.
1 tbsp honey***

Heat your coconut oil in a skillet over medium heat; saute the garlic until fragrant, then add the chicken.  

Meanwhile, add the remaining ingredients to a small saucepan and simmer while your chicken is cooking. 

Once the chicken has browned, pour the sauce over the top and let it simmer a bit longer to allow the sauce to reduce a little more.  


And that's it! So ridiculously easy, and lemme tell you, my husband and I SCARFED it.  He absolutely loved it.  The original recipe called for green onions as a garnish, but I didn't have any and Brandon doesn't like them anyway so meh. 

 I served some broccolini with the chicken, which was also super simple.  I melted about a tbsp of butter in a skillet, and added garlic (I like garlic, in case you couldn't tell), then I just threw the broccolini in the pan and sauteed it for a few minutes till it turned that gorgeous bright green.  So good.  

I'll be sharing a recipe every week, and I'd love for you to let me know how you liked the meals if you try them!  

***I realize honey is sugar, but it's allowed in small amounts, as long as it is actual honey and not pumped full of other weird crap.  I use a small amount in tea sometimes, but this is the first time I'd used it in a meal.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weigh in 1/23/2012



Wow.  

I definitely did not mean to take such a long hiatus from my weight loss journey, nor did I mean to gain back half the weight I've lost since October, but I did.  It sucks, but it's done and over with and I can't do anything to change it.  

So here I am now, January 23rd, one week into my new Paleo lifestyle, weighing in at 205.8.  I started this week at 207.3, so I'm pretty pleased with what I've lost this week.  I'm even more pleased with myself, and this new way of approaching food.  

I love paleo.  Like, I really do love it.  I love all the veggies and the meats and the eggs and the snacking on fruits and nuts.  It's awesome.  I feel great.  Things are moving along nicely, if you know what I mean.  I don't even miss bread or rice or cereal, and definitely not dairy.  

I do, however, miss sweets.  Ice cream.  Chocolate.  Twizzlers.  Cupcakes.  Cookies.  Fudge.  I've had cravings for treats I NEVER crave this week, and have been able to resist most of them.  I did have a moment of weakness with twizzlers at the movies Saturday night, but I honestly think it's because I cheated earlier that day with greasy cheesy breadsticks at a pizza place on base.  Brandon and I said we'd allow ourselves on cheat meal a week if we were good the rest of the week, but I think it did more damage than good.  We were doing so great, but it just sent me into a downward spiral.  

So this week, I'm not cheating.  I know I can do this...I did it for six days last week.  It's a mind over matter thing, and I will overcome the sugar cravings.  

The hardest part about this Paleo lifestyle is feeding my family.  My husband is on board, but to a certain extent.  He doesn't like vegetables, and can't give up cheese.  He ate meats, eggs, nuts and cheese last week and juiced his vegetables.  It may work for him and it may not, but it certainly makes things more difficult for me as far as both cooking AND grocery shopping goes.  I not only have to buy produce for me to eat but also for him to juice....and juicing takes a lot of produce.  Once we strike a balance I'm sure we'll be fine, but in the meantime, I feel like I'm making a trip to the store every other day.  

Then there's the kids.  The kids, who, bless their hearts, are way too picky to give up dairy and grains completely.  Now, that doesn't mean I'm making them separate meals every single night, but there are some nights were I want something that I know no one else will eat.  Take last night, for example.  I had a head of cauliflower to use, so I made roasted cauliflower soup.  

No one would touch it but me.  

I made tater tots and chicken nuggets for the kids (along with some carrots), and Brandon ended up eating what was left and some chicken leftover from the other night.  

I feel like if I focus on myself and what I need to eat to be healthier and lose weight, the rest of my family suffers.  

My husband brought up freezer cooking, and so I think I may cook up a freezer full of meals for the kids so that I can just pull their dinner out and stick it in the oven without feeling guilty about preservatives and lack of nutrition.  Brandon can just continue to eat the meat I cook and juice his produce...and I'll just have to start buying more of it!  

How do you guys deal with different diets and/or preferences in your family?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

January Photo Challenge Week Three

Gonna jump right into the photos today cause I'm about to run out the door to take Piper to see Arthur Christmas at the theater here on base :)



Happiness!  This photo prompt came on the perfect day: Brandon's first day home for ALS!  He'll be home for six weeks, and I'm still doing the happy dance whenever I realize he doesn't have to leave anytime soon.  


Morning!  I'm starting the day with a cup (or two) of herbal tea and a lot of water...so far I can really notice a difference with my energy levels throughout the day!  


Gotta chug that water, man.  I always struggle with getting enough water, so I've been really making an effort to drink at least three of these bottles a day (96 oz).  Beck has decided he loves this water bottle too though, so I have to hide it from him before he can hide it from me!  


I snuck out Monday and did a little thrifting...these were the goodies I bought!  I got all this and 10 books for the kids for $12. Super stoked!  


My new sweet.  Paleo is not hard for me at all...I honestly don't miss dairy or grains one single bit.  I do, however, miss sweets.  Baked goods, ice cream, chocolate...anything.  Really looking forward to beating this sugar addiction.  


Aw :)  He'd kill me if he found out I even took this picture, but I just love him to pieces.  Especially when he's laughing so loud at 30 Rock that it scares the dog.  


Beck hates me now that Brandon is home.  Seriously.  He was literally RUNNING away from me while I was trying to wrap him up in his towel after a bath today.  



I can't believe there's only 9 more days of this challenge! What am I gonna do for prompts after this? hahaha :)  

Hope you all are having a lovely weekend; I'm off to sip a diet coke and lust after Piper's candy at a movie now.  I'll be back Monday with a weigh-in post!  

Friday, January 20, 2012

Piper's lunches! Also, where have I been all week?

Hellooooo!  

So, it's Friday, and this is my first blog all week.  Oops!  Brandon came home Sunday night and we spent Monday and Tuesday relaxing and getting his stuff together and ready for Airman Leadership School (ALS).  We really just took it easy, since we knew once he started school on Wednesday, the majority of his free time would be spent doing homework.  We napped each day, watched tons of 30 Rock, and made plans for our future.  

But!  Brandon's started ALS now, and so it's time to find a new routine.  I'm pretty much stuck at home during the day M-F now, since we only have one car.  It's a long complicated reason why I can't drive him to class and then pick him up, but the biggest part of that reason is that he's not allowed to have his iPhone on him when he's at school, and it's too cold for him to leave it in the car while he's in class (it was -40 yesterday with windchill!!).  Without his phone, he has no way to contact me when it's time to be picked up! 

It's not a big deal though, cause it just gives me more time to focus on myself, and less time to be tempted by Big Macs or Reese's Fast Break bars or Caramel Frappucinos on trips to town.  I just need to figure out a new schedule for myself and the kids that will allow for plenty of blogging time, since I still would really love for this blog to see bigger and better things. 

Now that that's all out of the way, it's time for the lunches!  



Monday, Piper had two mini heart-shaped peanut butter sandwiches, carrots, apple slices, and some leftover popcorn from the movies Sunday (we went to see Beauty and the Beast in 3D...note to self: even at 5, Piper does NOT do well with movies she's already seen. Squirmy McSquirmypants).  I added a couple eyes to her sandwich with some peanut butter and drew on a nose and a mouth with a food-safe marker.  


Tuesday, Piper had some leftover macaroni and cheese (from the last box of Kraft in the house!), apples with a bunch of peanut butter to dip them in (I added some Valentine's sprinkles to the peanut butter just for fun), and heart shaped cheese slices with some mini Triscuits.  Have you seen the mini Triscuits yet?  Piper just loves Triscuits in general, and I knew these would be perfect for her lunches, so I grabbed a box at the grocery store this week.


Wednesday, Piper bought lunch (chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes :D), but this is what she had Thursday.  I made her a little Nutella sandwich on this mini-loaf of whole wheat bread I bought from the bakery section at the grocery store in town (no weird ingredients whatsoever) and cut it into triangles.  She also had some Spongebob cheez-nips (the kids saw them at the store and they were on sale for $1.00...meh), some raisins with Valentine's sprinkles, a few BBQ popchips, and three strawberry fig newtons.  Beck ended up eating the fig newtons, half the raisins, and half the popchips when she came home from school!  He loves finishing her lunches.  


And this was today's disaster.  I was nervous about it to begin with, since I was packing some of the chicken we roasted in the crock pot yesterday AND frozen peas.  She just walked in the door and said, "MOM!  Please don't ever pack me a lunch like that again, cause it was all GOOEY!" I'm guessing the peas gave off some moisture as they thawed, and didn't stay put in their little square home.  Poor kid.  She ate her babybel and whatever macaroni wasn't covered in mushy goldfish.  I told her she could have just bought lunch, but she said there wasn't enough food that she liked in the lunch to fill her up either :( I made her a sandwich and some crackers and apples now though, so she'll live.  Lesson learned:  frozen vegetables and/or fruits get packed in a separate container with a lid! 


I'll be back Saturday with my roundup of the January photo challenge, Monday with a weigh-in post (that I'm UBER excited for), and Tuesday with a new feature: Tasty Tuesday!  This week is my first week in my new Paleo lifestyle, and as I've said before, we're cutting out a LOT of processed foods from our diet, so I thought it'd be fun to share some yummy recipes I've tried or that I want to try!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

January Photo Challenge Week Two

I'm still having a lot of fun with this photo challenge over on Instagram!  It's giving me a new way to be creative, and helping me to 'meet' lots of really cool people!  For sure join us if you haven't already (and you have an iPhone or iPod).  It's really cool searching the tag #janphotoaday and catching a glimpse into thousands of people's lives! 


I snapped this as we were walking into the community center here on base.  The sky was so blue and the clouds were just perfect....too bad it was like 5 degrees that day.  So cold!  


My daily routine, at least on school days.  Let Izzie outside, turn cartoons on to distract Beck, guzzle 1 liter of water, and get Piper out the door to school.  Fun times.  


Day 10 was Childhood, but for some reason I deleted this pic off my phone before I could add the little black tape label.  Oh well! The photo on the left is my dad and his mom and me...I seriously cannot get over how young my dad looks!  Top right is my sister and me pretending to be Karate Kid...she was so dang cute.  And the bottom right photo is of my grandparents on my mom's side and me, celebrating their anniversary.  


Bed!  Brandon cleaned our room the other day and I am a zillion times thankful...BUT, Beck has already pretty much destroyed it.  He loves the hang out on our bed and watch cartoons, which is fine, except he brings like eight toys up there everytime he does it.  So by the time I crawl into bed, I throw every matchbox car, stuffed animal, and plastic piece of pizza onto the floor, cause I'm sleepy obviously.  


Moi.  I realized when I was putting together our Shutterfly book to document last year that I have very few photos of myself.  Gonna fix that this year.  



Oh my bag.  I have a love-hate relationship with purses.  I love that they can hold so many things, but I hate that they never stay on my shoulder when I'm lugging a 30 lb two year old and/or shopping bags.  Anyway, this is what is currently in my bag, starting at the top left corner:

Cookie Mom info packet for Girl Scout Cookies, grocery list, notebook for the kids to color in, crayons for the kids to color with, pens and a sharpee, the rest of a pink lemonade hard candy twist thing from Piper's movie treats a week or so ago, my totally gorgeous blue planner, two tubes of my favorite lipgloss ever and a tube of carmex for the boy, a diaper for Becks, gum, my wallet, a matchbox car and set of tweezers (no clue so don't even ask), stamps from Marketplace food and cards to put those stamps on (one full card gets you $1 off gas!), AND my gloves.  Whew.  


I'm in a book club with some friends and friends of friends on facebook, and this is the first book we're reading!  I think it was the perfect choice, since it's sort of about a book club as well!  I'm really enjoying it so far.  


Friday, January 13, 2012

Piper's lunches!

I had an easy week this week, since Piper bought lunch twice!  Woohoo!  

This week has been all about trying new things; for some reason, Piper has become a LOT more willing to sample new foods, especially if I tell her why it's good for her and/or she helped to make it.  Can I just say I did a little happy dance when she ate a whole handful of kale chips?  Thrilling.  

On to the lunches! 


This is what Piper ate Tuesday (she bought lunch on Monday): leftovers from dinner the night before. She begged for them, and I was happy to oblige. Especially since Monday night was the first time I'd gotten her to actually eat chicken that wasn't in a nugget form.  She had almonds with a few marshmallows, macaroni and cheese, panko-crusted chicken breast chunks, and kale chips.  So awesome.  


Thursday (she bought lunch Wednesday too), Piper had one of the dreaded Uncrustables.  I balanced it out with a muffin I made from leftover juice-pulp...they actually came out pretty good, and both kids love them!  I'll post a recipe for them later on in the week if you guys are interested :).  I also packed her some chex and yogurt raisins, an applesauce tub, and a string cheese sliced up.  


And this is today's lunch! I'm hoping her culinary curiousity will continue today, cause she does NOT like strawberries and I've never gotten her to eat mango, peach or blueberries.  Maybe she'll sit next to some fruit-scarfing kid and they'll use the wonders of peer pressure to get her to try her fruit.  We'll see. 

She's got a slice of homemade banana nut bread, some carrots, frozen strawberries, blueberries, mango and peach, and some cinnamon tortilla chips.  Fingers crossed nothing comes back!  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Man I suck.



With Brandon's crazy schedule, I feel like I live two lives: Sophie without Brandon, and Sophie with Brandon.  The kids and I have a routine when he's gone, and for the most part, things go smoothly.  I have a general time frame I do things...after I get Piper to school and Beck fed, I usually hop on the computer to catch up on blog reading and/or blogging while Beck plays.  I make us lunch in a couple hours, then put Beck down for a nap and sit down to get some crocheting done while I watch Netflix or DVR'd shows.  Around 3, I start cleaning up the kitchen (cause let's be honest, my kitchen ALWAYS needs to be cleaned) so I can watch out the window for Piper's bus.  Once Piper gets home, I usually continue to do some sort of chore and help her get her homework done. Then it's dinner and playtime before the kids go to bed, after which I'm either on the computer again or back in the living room crocheting.  Pretty calm, flexible schedule...just how I like it. 

However, when Brandon's home, all that goes out the window.  I hardly ever get on the computer when Brandon is home, so my blogging is seriously neglected and I end up with over 100 posts in google reader to catch up on by the time he trips out again.  I rarely crochet when he's home too, since we snuggle or play a game while we watch tv or movies, and it's too hard to crochet while snuggling or playing.  We spend the day talking about what we're going to do today, and either end up doing absolutely nothing or going to town for most of the day.  So while I of course love having my husband home, I hate how unproductive it makes me feel.  

I'm telling you all this to let you know that if I'm ever silent in blog-land for a few days with no notice, it's usually because my husband is home and we're busy being a little family of four.  :) 

Anyway!  

I missed my weigh-in Monday post, which honestly was more of a mental choice rather than an accident. I'm back up to 206.  Major sad face.  All that stress and emotional eating (and the mint m&ms Santa brought me) really took their toll and I gained five pounds in about 3 weeks.  Poopy.  

I'm 100% ready to switch to a Paleo lifestyle however, and will be grocery shopping appropriately this weekend.  I've actually been easing myself into it the past couple days...the other night we had panko chicken, kale chips and homemade macaroni and cheese, and while I know the panko breadcrumbs are not paleo, I skipped the mac and cheese and opted for a bigger pile of kale instead.  

Brandon and I are thinking about buying a quarter of a cow with some of our tax return (as long as we get enough back), and I am beyond excited about it. Grass fed beef!  180 lbs of it!  Steaks! Roasts! Ground beef! Very exciting, especially since we typically can't afford to buy much more than ground beef at the commissary.  Every once in a while I'll buy a flank steak to make a beef stirfry, but we eat chicken more than any other protein source.  Buying the cow will also make room in our grocery budget for fish and more organic produce, which is super exciting as well.  

Since today is WIP Wednesday, I should technically be posting about crocheting, butttttttt....I haven't been doing very much of it lately.  So! I'll post about another WIP: me!  

I've never really felt comfortable with my style; from the clothes I wear to my hairstyles, I've never felt like I have a cohesive look, if that makes sense.  I tend to just shop and grab whatever I like that particular day, not really thinking about how it fits in with the rest of my wardrobe. As a result, I have shirts that could easily be worn by someone 10 years older than me hanging right next to shirts someone 10 years younger than me could wear.  I have flowery dresses hanging next to vintage t shirts and hoodies.  I've had a similar hair cut for years, and I have at least two pairs of shoes I've owned since before I even met Brandon.  

I've decided that while I'm working on making over my body (ie, weightloss), I'm going to make over my style as well.  Yesterday, I took the first step!  I've been dreaming of fringe bangs for a while now, but I got comfortable with my boring hair style (albeit an exciting color).  We had an appt for Piper with a friend of ours, and I just decided to go for it.  She was all for it, so that helped confirm the decision. And I'm so glad I did!  




Piper was growing her hair out, but I think she got tired of me having to brush all the tangles out every morning, so she wanted hers chopped off again.  She actually said, "I want Amber to cut off as much as she can," but I made an executive decision and decided to settle for a few inches instead :).  

I really love my new hair cut, and am super excited to see what it looks like curly too!  

Now to decide what color to dye my hair next....I'm either going to go back to purple or try a new color.  Suggestions?  


Saturday, January 7, 2012

January Photo Challege

I have a confession.

I might be a little more than obsessed with Instagram.

I love it!  It takes all the blah blah blah out of social networking and gets straight to my favorite part: beautiful, inspiring photos.  It make it really easy to find people who share the same interests as you, and also to form relationships with your favorite bloggers! (I may have done a little happy dance when Rachel Denbow of Smile and Wave started following me)

Instagram is an iPhone app (that's 100% free) that allows you to share photos with TONS of people (or just those you choose...you can make your profile private).  It comes with a lot of really awesome filters for your photos as well!  My favorites are Valencia, Hefe, Rise, and Lomo-fi.  Make sure you add tags to your photos, so other people can find them!  I've found so many talented crocheters, bento-lunch packers, and lots of women trying to lose weight too, just by searching for tagged photos.  My username is @sophieplayshooky , so make sure you come find me!    If you don't have an iPhone, you can still look around instagram and comment and like people's photos by going to Statigram .

Anyway, there's a January photo challenge happening right now on instagram, and it was started by Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim (@fatmumslim).  It's so fun!  Here's all the prompts:


If you wanna join in, just start tagging your challenge photos #janphotoaday!  I like it because it's getting me in the habit of taking a photo every day (I'm doing a photo a day project this year).  I usually do take at least one photo every day, but this is helping me to actually think about my shots and plan them out somewhat rather than just snapping away.  

Here's my photos so far, for those of you who aren't on instagram.  


I took this in the wee hours of the night. I have a really hard time going to sleep on the nights Brandon is in the fields; it's a combination of being unable to wind down from all the stress and just not liking sleeping alone. 


I juiced all this for breakfasts for the next few days :)  


Totally cliche, but it's true.  I adore these two.  


Piper LOVES to check mail.  Like, seriously LOVES it.  I almost missed getting this shot since she ran out the door without me!  


I've had these shoes since Piper was a baby, and they're still my most comfortable pair.  I paid like $6 for them on clearance.  


I am in love with this blanket so far!  


Lately, my bed has been my favorite place.  I've spent so much time there these past two days, it's almost embarassing.  I have to literally force myself to get out of bed in the morning, and lie back down every chance I get.  I need a long vacation.  Or a stiff drink.  


When this challenge is done, I'll be posting my Project Life pages for my photo-a-day project.  Some will be duplicates, and I have to wait for my supplies to come in the mail anyway, so I figure I'll just start posting the pages in February :)