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sweet and sour

So, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted about my journey towards weight loss and ideally, vibrant health. Oh you guys. I’ve been struggling. Yawn.

As I type this I’m chowing down on this epic chicken/green bean/carrot/turmeric Crock Pot concoction that I made last night, and it is so freaking good, but the only reason why I’m eating it and not the gluten-free/vegan cheese pizza that I’m craving, is because I’m too lazy to drive the four blocks to our local pizza shop.

In this instance, laziness is a good thing.

And that my friends, pretty much sums up what has been going on with me, health-wise, over the past few months. Cravings, and giving in to those cravings a bit too frequently, makes me crave not-so-great food even more. And that not-so-great food (namely sugary, processed, and gluten-free baked goods), has left me feeling less than energetic, a bit depressed and even moody. Duh.

Last week I got a wake up call when I clocked in at 158 pounds, a seven-pound increase from my lowest fall/winter weight of 151. Not a huge increase in my book, but that kind of slip tells me that I need to get back on track, fast, before there’s a zero added to the end of that seven. A potentially very real scenario for me.

So what to do? What to do? Own up, forgive myself, make changes and move forward. Perhaps easier said than done, no, definitely easier said than done, but a few key behavior modifications are all that’s needed:

  • Very limited, if any, processed foods
  • No sugar (except for a bit of honey now and then)
  • More green vegetables
  • More healthy fats (mainly coconut and animal) to keep me full
  • More sleep and exercise

And once again, I have to recognize that this is a journey. A marathon, not a sprint. And damn it all, I have to give myself major credit for coming as far as I have. Focusing on my slip-ups and should-haves instead of recognizing my everyday victories simply triggers a nasty case of emotional over-eating.

I cannot expect perfection from myself. No one should.

So for now I’m going to forgive myself for my near-nightly ritual I’ve had as of late: eating Kettle Chips and pastries while watching back-to-back(to-back-to-back) episodes of Hoarders. Honestly? The rebellious streak I was on has lost its appeal.

Right now I’m trying to move through the cravings and really focus on all the kick-ass progress I’ve made since last June. And hello, while my weight-loss has been stagnant for nearly two seasons, this is perhaps the longest I’ve “maintained” my weight as an adult. I kid you not.

This image of me is from December, standing in the rain, enjoying Stumptown, while waiting in line at Voodoo Donuts with a friend.

I did not eat a donut.

PAT.ON.THE.BACK.

(never mind that I have serious issues with gluten. It’s still a choice.)

And lastly, I’ll leave you these photos. The first from last April. The second from January.

The last thing I want to do right now is beat myself up for having a few too many pizzas, by eating more pizza.

Victory will be mine!

Or perhaps, victory already is mine.

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My Weight-Loss Journey, Thrive

a gift for a modern homemaker

Earlier this month my sister celebrated her birthday, and I put together a small present that I thought made a nice gift for the modern homemaker.

Lemon lavender scented laundry soap

several wool scrap dryer balls

and a box of handmade fabric labels to stitch into her creations. With four children, this girl whips out home-sewn items like nobody’s business. Like, it’s insane. I wouldn’t be surprised if the 25 labels I made were already gone.

What items would you give to a modern homemaker?

Happy Gifting!

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5. Give, Create

chicken breast with lemony spring vegetables

So the other night, as we sat down to dinner, my husband says, “Holy crap! What did you do to these vegetables? They’re awesome!” High praise. I knew I had to share my creation. This dish is really quite rad, uses only one pan, and is super filling, nutritious and flavorful. The “must-three” in my book. While the ingredient list might seem cumbersome, it really isn’t. Just be sure to prep the vegetables before cooking, as it comes together quite fast.

Chicken Breast with Lemony Spring Vegetables

  • 2-4 organic chicken breasts, rinsed, patted dry and sliced length-wise
  • cold-pressed coconut oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced in half-moons
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced Crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends snapped and sliced diagonally
  • 1 large handful spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • juice and zest from one lemon
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions: Prep all vegetables and the chicken. In a large cast iron skillet, melt 2 Tbls. coconut oil slowly over medium-high heat. When hot, add the chicken breast and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then using kitchen tongs, flip and cook an additional 3-4 minutes until the chicken is slightly browned, but still moist. You may have to do several batches, depending on skillet size and amount of chicken breast used. Transfer hot chicken to a plate. Add an additional 2 Tbls. coconut oil and sautee garlic and onions, sprinkled with sea salt, until nearly translucent. Add mushrooms and cook for 2 minutes, then bell pepper and cook an additional minute. Add asparagus and sautee for two minutes, then add basil, lemon juice and zest, cover skillet with a lid and turn heat to low; cook for an additional four minutes. Finally, add fresh spinach and stir until wilted. Transfer vegetables to a plate, top with chicken, a bit more zest, and dig in.

For a different variation, try fresh green beans in lieu of asparagus and for a more intense lemon-flavor, marinate chicken in lemon juice and zest before cooking.

Mangia!

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4. Spring, 9. Paleo, Mangia

quiet toddler activity: sticker board

Last month my son decided he no longer needs a nap. I assure you, this kids needs a nap. Perhaps even more so, this mama needs him to take a nap. But trying to reason with a sleep-deprived toddler is akin to herding cats, so instead of trying to force the issue, we’ve implemented quiet time. Reserved for those days when he’s extra-special crazy, the sticker jar has become a lifesaver.

This activity isn’t complicated. Simply allow your child to select a sticker, peel off the backing (assistance may be needed here), and stick it to a sheet of construction paper.

That said, to keep myself more organized and to somewhat control the length of the activity, I created a “sticker board,” by adhering several sheets of construction paper with painter’s tape to a sheet of cardboard.

When my son is done with his creation, he can simply peel off one sheet of paper, we hang it up on our art display,

and he can begin again.

And when he does something too-sweet-for-words, such as sticking a baby turtle up to a mama turtle and declaring, “Mama’s milk!”, my shoulders begin to relax as well. At least for a moment.

Happy Sticking!

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Nurture

scented pom-pom wreath

Okay, so by the title of this post, I’m certain there are a few of you out there gagging and yes, there is something terribly kitschy about adorning your home with pom-poms, and scenting them on top of that. But this wreath, while still on the kitsch-side, is pretty rad. And as for the scent? Think aromatherapy.

I started making this wreath back in January, by hand-making all 200+ poms using a method quite similar to this. I used a combination of both kitchen cotton and acrylic yarn, which added enough variation to make it a bit more interesting, a must in my book, given the color scheme. It came out just as I had envisioned, though word to the wise: using kitchen cotton to make homemade pom-poms is more challenging and laborious than acrylic, simply due to the heft of the fiber. I hot glued each pom-pom to a pre-made Styrofoam wreath, and then to scent, I added two drops of lavender and three drops lemon essential oils to the cotton pom-poms.

We’ve been quite ill around here (I have an ear infection and pneumonia!), and I added several drops of peppermint and eucalyptus to help open our airways. It provides a bit of relief whenever I pass by. What a great way to provide a little aromatherapy.

Note on the winterscape: The bottle brush trees were handmade by my sister, who is 1000 times craftier than I, and this adorable little fox was a winter solstice gift for my son which I found at a local toy shop. While I’ll be changing out the winter scape for something more springy in the coming weeks, I’m thinking the wreath has got to stay for another season.

Happy Crafting!

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3. Craft, Create