Monday, January 30, 2012

The good, the bad and the ugly...

My husband does not get nearly enough air time here. I have great stories I could share about him, but somehow... with my 3 crazy kids, he always seems to fall to the drafts folder.

I thought I would tell ya a few tidbits about him... the good, the bad and the ugly.

First off: why he is the very best husband ever- one that many women would kill for. A couple of weeks ago was the Patriots NFL playoff game. (We are in New England, so this is HUGE for us!) Colb was lucky enough to score a ticket with his uncle and cousin. It was a late game, 8pm and the stadium is a couple of hours from us.

When Colb is out late, I can't help but lay awake and wait for him... which was the case that night. I usually lay in bed and look out my little window to see the front light shut off, I then know he is home and can fall off to sleep.

This particular night, I expected him at 2am. I started watching the window... and waiting... and watching... it was soon 3am... then nearly 4am. I looked around and realized that my cell phone and house phone were downstairs... I ran down to grab them... only to see A LOT of missed calls and messages. Basically they said, "You locked me out. I don't have keys. Please let me in." Over. And over.

Oh, and it was about zero degrees outside that night. Whoops.

Thankfully, my neighbor was kind enough to let him in and give him a place to sleep... for half an hour until I had to call and wake him up, "Uh, can you come home? I have to get ready for work."

"Is the door unlocked?"


After work, I came home with 2 Pepsi cans and a bag of potato chips. "Is this your peace offering for locking me out in below zero weather?"

"Ummm.... yes."


Which makes him the best husband ever. Lord knows if he EVER did that to me.... I would NEVER get over it. There would be evil eyes, silence treatments, cold shoulders and a very angry Michele. But, he is not me... thank our lucky stars. Because that would suck... and we would have divorced long ago.

Ok, that story went long, lets save the bad and the ugly for tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rainy Day Recipe: Energy Balls

I have pinned quite a few energy ball recipes recently as I had some granola with pomegranate that my kids simply would not eat and a tropical trail mix that they kept pushing to the back of the pantry. I figured if I mixed it all into a quasi-healthy, ooey-gooey treat, we'd all win if they ate it.

And so here is the basic recipe I came up with (be sure to read on for the very many variations you can do with this recipe...)

1 cup granola
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup honey
1 1/2 cup trail mix (mine was dried fruits and sunflower seeds)
2 tsp vanilla
Here, I melted me honey in the microwave enough to make it pourable... it's a bit cold in my house so it was a brick. Mix everything above until thoroughly mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls! You might want plastic gloves or baggies on your hands, but mine really did not stick to my hands at all. Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week. I found they taste better after they have stored for a day and gotten nice and chewy.

Now, this recipe is SO very versatile, you can switch out the ingredients so may different ways...

Switch the granola for oatmeal (steel cut, old fashioned or quick cook will all work).
Switch the peanut butter for Nutella, almond butter, any nut butter, really.
Switch the 1 1/2 cups trail mix for... anything really:

Chocolate chips (mini work well)
broken up cereal bits
I used 1/2 cup ground flax seed once plus 1 cup of my trail mix
dried berries
chopped nuts
use a portion of protein powder as part of your 1 1/2 cups and make them "protein bars"

You can also switch the honey for agave nectar

They can be a challenge to form in balls if your ingredients are too big (such as full sized chocolate chips) so I had cut some of my trail mix dried fruit down a bit. They may not seem to form perfectly, but if you really squish the balls together and then refrigerate, they will hold perfectly. And after the ingredients are incorporated, they have a sort of cookie dough consistency...

...which my kids LOVED! This is one thing (aside from chocolate chip cookies) that I have created in my house that all 5 people LOVE. Seriously. The kids have been begging for them and my husband said, "These are really good."

Enjoy, but be careful... they are addictive!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Menu Monday

I am trying desperately to find food that fits within my detox for the month and that my children and husband will eat... it's hard, very hard. But, I have found some compromises that hopefully all will like...

Monday: Brown rice sushi (California rolls)

Tuesday: Baked fish and roasted Brussels sprouts with pears

Wednesday: Cauliflower penne puttanesca

Thursday: Tuscan bean soup with shrimp

Friday: Leftovers

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Motley Thursday

Today I have a mish-mash for ya. First off, I am a few days into my detox and all is well. I am glad I did a pre-detox because I did not experience the headaches and whatnot that come from caffeine withdrawals. I have been coffee free since Monday (as well as dairy, soy, meat... yada yada) All is well.

I did want to share my favorite treat that I have discovered. It's quick, simply, yummy, full of nutrition... but healthy!

 Grab your mixer, 1 cup vanilla almond milk, 1/2 cup organic pumpkin pie puree... mix... and in about 15 seconds you have a delicious smoothie. If you like all things pumpkin like I do, it's a home run.


I am super excited to be taking Annika to Disney on Ice tonight along with 2 of her friends and their moms... she is going to have a blast! Expect LOTS of photos on my new iPhone! (YAY- new iPhone)


Annika had her annual checkup with her doctor this week. As the doc was asking her about the vegetables she eats, how much screen time she gets... etc. I could not help but wonder, do you think parents lie about these things to their doctor... I mean who would say, "Yes, she sits in front of the tv 14 hours per day." And if you did say that, does that doctor have some sort of intervention that they'd run, or would they just note it in their laptop and move on?


Blogger has finally come up with a fix to reply to peoples comments right inline! The instructions are here. I have not gotten it to successfully work for me yet, but I have seen it on other blogs.


If you are planning on going to a Superbowl party, this is the yummiest collection of dips I have ever come across.

That's all folk. Happy motley Thursday.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Citar: A Magical Event

"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" 
- J. B. Priestly 

 We finally experienced our first true snowfall of the winter... enough to make snowballs and snowforts and to surf on the sled down the hill on our lawn. We got into our snow pants and hats, mittens, scarves, boots, wooly socks... The first snow fall of every year has never failed to be enchanting for me over the last 10 years.

As an adult, you see snow shoveling and icy windshield wipers. But when you have children, you can see it through their eyes, the wonder of each falling snowflake, the anticipation and enjoyment of sledding down the hill, making a snow angel, running inside for hot chocolate to warm a chilled body. 

My children never cease to amuse me with their excitement when they look out the window for the first time, "LOOK, Mom! Snowflakes!"

Soon, I will be praying for the first blossom and sandals on my feet and the warm sunshine on my face. But for today, at least, I will enjoy the winter through my daughters' eyes as I am hanging my snowpants up to dry.

 From 4 years ago when Annika was 2 and saw her first snow...

Go visit Tabitha for more inspiration and Sunday Citar.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Calling child protective services....

I was sooo taken back by this video... I honestly did not think it was real. But, really, who could make this up??? It is yet another reason that I am glad to not have cable television. I am so embarrassed for this little girl, the family... the toddler and tiara industry.
This baby girl said, "A dollar makes me holler." Out loud. Televised for the world to see... am I the only person who finds it repulsive? Oh, and speaking of repulsive... don't even get me started on these "parents" of hers. Lord knows you don't need a background check to have a child. Ok, I will get off my soapbox and go hug my daughters and thank my lucky stars they have me as a mother.

Skinny Girl: The Adventure Begins

Ok, I talked about my new found beer belly and my need to get rid of it. Let's be clear, I really do not need to lose weight, ideally it could be redistributed from my belly upwards to other areas. But, until I find a way to do that, I do need to work on getting back in shape and being healthy and keeping my family healthy.

And it all starts Monday. I have the opportunity to try a pretty regimented detox with a bunch of motivated ladies. The detox products come from Arbonne, which is a company I really trust and by joining some other women to do it as I group, I will be more motivated to continue.

Basically, this detox will be one month of vegan (no meat or DAIRY), no gluten, no alcohol, no caffeine... basically nothing yummy. I am choosing to do this because I know that it takes a month to make a new habit and I really wanted to cut back on my high sugar, high caloric beer and my coffee (with lots of yummy creamers) addictions.

I started 2 weeks ago on a 'soft' detox to prepare myself as I know that when I cut out caffeine and sugars, etc. instantly, I get headaches and nausea. So, I slowly cut back to only a couple of yummy beers over the past 2 weekends, only 1 cup of coffee a day, no meat and very limited dairy and eggs.

What I have learned over the past 2 weeks of my soft detox? I could never be vegan. I LOVE my eggs... butter, cheese, yogurt, milk... did I mention butter... and cheese. I will go right back to these things after my detox. BUT, I can learn new ways to prepare foods so that I am eating more veggies, whole grains and healthful foods and craving less fatty butter, cheese and sugary foods.

I will not be sharing my step-by-step detox, but I will share some healthy recipes that I come across along with any other great tips I learn.

So, wish me luck... this is going to be a LONNNGGGG month.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Evolution of a former skinny girl...

I have always been a very thin person. When I met my husband at age 23, I was 115 pounds at 5'9" tall. And that was heavy for me. Throughout high school and my early 20's, I stayed from 105-110 pounds. My weight was never a concern... aside from doctors trying to make me gain weight, that is. I could eat what I wanted, when I wanted and never have a concern. As we graduated high school, my friends were worried about the freshman 15. Not me. I made it through unscathed. People quipped, "Just wait until you get pregnant. THEN you will gain weight." While I did reach upwards of 140 pounds during my first pregnancy, I was still at 125 pounds after Ariana, which was well within a healthy range for my height. And then came my second pregnancy. I actually gained less weight with Annika and quickly came back to size after her. I went on a girls' trip to Mexico 7 months after delivering her and was back in my bikini:

I was still eating what I wanted and exercising moderately. 

At pregnancy #3, my friends were convinced that this was the end... there was no way anyone could bounce back after having 3 babies to a bikini body again. 

But my third pregnancy was much the same as the first two...
{at 22 weeks}

{at 31 weeks}

{at 39 weeks}

I gained the least amount of weight with Acadia and had no issues losing it. In a few months, I was able to get back in my bikini:

Now, I wish that is where the story ended... sadly, no. I had made it 33 years, 3 pregnancies... through all manners of eating and exercising with close to the same figure. 

And then it happened... my 35th year. That is where it all went down hill. Suddenly, seemingly overnight, my metabolism changed. It was as if I could look at a cookie and gain a pound. I could pinpoint the exact time frame- over the holidays of last year (2010) I gained 10 pounds... within 2 months! I did not even know that was possible!

I did not think too much of it. I went back to my Wii Fit and cut back on the cake... but the weight did not really move. Now I was getting scared. Ten pounds was not a whole lot for me... but I certainly could not keep gaining 5 pounds a month! I did ok keeping my weight stable through the summer with moderate activity and a healthy diet throughout the summer. I did not, however get back in my bikinis last summer. The 10 pounds was not the issue, the issue was that the 10 pounds fell directly on my tummy and thighs. Now I was starting to look like a big ol' pear. 

And we all know that along with that big ol' pear shape comes many health issues.  Studies show that people with wide girths are more likely to have large amounts of deep-hidden belly fat around their organs. It might be the most dangerous kind of fat and could increase a person's risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer.  

I have three amazing children, a wonderful husband along with great friends and family that I need to live for. And considering the fact that I gained another 5 pounds over these past holidays, I am not going in the right direction. (If you are keeping track, those 5 pounds brings me to more weight than the 31 weeks photo above, and looking very similar to said photo!) 

BUT, this is not a poor, fat-ass me post... I am making a change... errr... changes.  But since I have carried on far too long and I do not like long posts, you will have to come back tomorrow to see what my changes are. (I know, cliffhanger... can you even wait???)

Monday, January 2, 2012

A handmade, homemade, locally purchased Christmas.

Our Christmas gift giving went exactly as I had wanted it: mostly handmade, homemade, locally purchased or experience gifts.

Our experience gifts ranged from comedy show tickets to movie theater passes to season passes for the local water park (thanks, Grammy!). We also got rock climbing lessons, a night of sushi and passes to Storyland.

I was able to purchase a lot of items handmade right from Etsy... and they loved everything. From Acadia's Supergirl cape:

To Annika's large array of Barbie clothes: 

These Barbie clothes were so nicely made, and for $4 per outfit, way better than any crappy polyester Barbie clothes from a box store. This lady also makes Lalaloopsy clothes, which I will definitely be getting for Acadia's new doll.

Annika's has also been asking for jewelry recently, but I am reticent to pay any real money for something she will absolutely lose in days... so I did get her some cute jewelry inexpensive and handmade on Etsy:

I also stocked up on quite a few items for Acadia's busy bag (I also made a busy bag for my twin niece and nephew) First was a great chalk mat that rolls up to fit nicely in the busy bag:

and some great finger puppets:

My mother was also thoughtful and got me some great handmade items. She got me soaps handmade in Maine from Holy Farms and a great soy candle from the Primitive Keeper:

Don't you love the jar??? So fun and fits well in my old schoolhouse. The cinnamon bun scent that I got smells sooo yummy!

So, did you get anything wonderful that you'd like to share???