I don’t want to be THAT momI

ImageI am not a germaphobe, I’m really not. I don’t care if my kids play in dirt, roll around it, and then tell me how tasty it is. I actually think that peole are too “clean” these days. No, I don’t mean they take too many showers, I mean that people are obessed with antibacterial stuff. Bath and Body Works makes a killing on their antibacterial line of soaps and lotions. I am a firm believer that people, escpecially kids, need to be exposed to different “germs” in order to build a strong immune system. I think bacterial resistance is becoming a serious issue due to the overuse of these products (and the unecessary prescribing of antibiotics, but I’ll save that for another post.)

However, in the winter, there is a germaphobe who sits on my shoulder whispering to me about the dreaded stomach virus and that nasty influenza. I make sure everyone in my family practices good hand-washing, which, in reality, is important all the time, but I also tend to become a hermit in the winter; not wanting to leave the house because of the fear someone will contract something and then everyone in my house will be vomiting. And we only have one bathroom… 

There are certain places I avoid – like the play area at the library. That place is like an incubator for disease. I used to take the twins there when they were babies, and they would get sick every single time. 

This year, I have been avoiding the nursery at the gym. The problem with this is that it cuts down my time at the gym to only weekends. I joined this gym back in September when my twins started preschool because it had a nursery/babysitting included in the membership. I figured I’d drop Little Man and Monkey off at school, and then Boo Bear could stay in the nursery while I worked out for an hour. This was great until Boo developed stranger anxiety like two months later. I would only be able to leave her if her brother and sister accompanied her. So this limited me to Tuesdays and Thursdays. 

Then, the flu season started. I started to think of the gym nursery like the library play area. So, it became a place to avoid. The past week I’ve been reconsidering. After all, the twins go to preschool and Boo goes to Mommy and  Me, so they’re getting exposed to all this stuff anyway. 

This brings me to the point of this post. I decided I would go to spin class today and drop all three off in the nursery. But you can probably guess what happened. All three kids sick. They all have a hacking cough, and Monkey has that glassy eyed look she always gets when she is under the weather. If I took them I’d be that mom. The one I always criticize for bring her sick kids to school, the library, the gym. 

I’m ready for spring. 

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Creamsicle Smoothie

I’ve been on a smoothie kick lately. I can’t say they don’t have sugar, because that would be a big fat lie, but they don’t have any added sugar, which is what I am trying to stay away from. They are great in the morning, especially if you add in protein power – I stay full for hours with it. 

I usually make strawberry banana smoothies, but that can get boring after awhile. I’m a big fan of coconut, so I was excited to see that the February edition of Eating Well had a whole section dedicated to recipes with coconut! When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it.

Creamsicle Breakfast Smoothie (from Eating Well magazine)

  • 1 cup cold pure coconut water; without added sugar or flavor
  • 1 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup frozen of fresh mango chunks (I used fresh, I couldn’t find frozen for some reason at Whole foods or Trader Joe’s!)
  • 3 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
  • 2 cups ice

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Put it all in a blender

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Blend until smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!

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It really was delicious. Just the right amount of sweet, and without the guilt. I did not put the protein powder in this because I have chocolate flavored protein powder and I thought it would ruin the “creamsicle” flavor.

The kids loved it too – they are huge smoothie fans. My son keeps asking me for more! Smoothies are great snacks for kids, especially for those who may not have the greatest of diets. My kids devour fruit in any form!

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What is your favorite smoothie flavor?

Weekend Cheating

My love affair with sugar is way too strong to let it go completely. Maybe sometime the infatuation will wane, but for now, I have to keep it in my life. So what I’ve decided is that I will allow myself one indulgent dessert on the weekend. Starting on Thursday, I was so looking forward to my weekend sugar rush. It was like waiting for some special event in my life – which is kind of pathetic, now that I think about it. 

Oh well. What can I do? It is what it is. Friday night I actually had a dream about ice cream. That’s how excited I was. 

Saturday morning I started off the day with a half a banana and spin class. Spinning was followed by the rest of the banana and cereal. I won’t bore you with the rest of my meals. 

We went to my parents’ house later that day and my brother and I discussed the benefits of protein powder. You may remember my post last week about being hungry all the time. I’d read on some forums that people use protein powder in shakes or smoothies to feel fuller longer, so I thought maybe I should try it. I picked some up at Whole Foods earlier in the day, and since my brother is into fitness and stuff, I thought maybe he’d tried it before. He said it is pretty disgusting and that he puts it in a glass of water and chugs it… Here I’d been thinking of this beautiful shake with berries and banana and a scoop of protein powder as this healthy and delicious thing and he ruined it. I’m still going to give it a try, but of course now my mind is tainted. 

Fast forward to coming home and putting the kids in bed and it was DESSERT TIME. I went all out. I’m a little ashamed but I made my husband go out and get me a Friendly’s sundae. Not that he was really complaining. And what am I saying I was ashamed? I’m not ashamed. I went the whole week without eating sugary crap (well, not counting that damn granola bar) and this was my reward!! 

You know what though, I do think that the cravings are starting to subside a bit. I’m not thinking about it constantly now, maybe only once or twice an hour. Ha – that still sounds bad. I’ll get there. I have faith in myself.  

Michelle Obama’s Arms

Michelle-Obama-Inauguration-Dress-2012

I have to admit, I sort of have an obsession with Michelle Obama’s arms. Don’t get me wrong, I think the First Lady is a pretty amazing woman all-around – her commitment to fighting childhood obesity, her White House vegetable garden, her impeccable sense of style – but her arms are incredible.

I know this has been discussed thousands, maybe millions of times, on various blogs, magazines, television shows, and the like. I did a Google search for “Michelle Obama arms” and a countless number of articles and images came up.

Getting arms like that is one of my goals. When the warm weather arrives and the tank tops come out, I want to be able to flex my arms in the mirror and see that kind of definition. I want the strength that comes with those lovely, sculpted muscles. And yes, I want other people to be envious. There. I said it.

Of course, there are a plethora of workouts out there to claim to be able to achieve Michelle Obama Arms.

I like this one from Fitness Magazine  because it incorporates some yoga (sun salutation), and is doable at home. It also has really helpful videos of each exercise. I’ve kind of been doing my own version, but I am going to start on this one during my next workout. I’ll be updating on the results!

Hungry. All.The.Time

Why do I always feel hungry? I am trying to hard to be healthy but baby carrots and sugar snap peas just aren’t filling me up. I am trying to drink more water – but all that makes me do is pee all day – and all night long. I’ve been waking up several times a night to pee, and losing sleep can’t be a good thing!

What did I eat today, let’s see. Breakfast was a bowl of Kashi Warm cinnamon cereal. I had a mid-morning snack of a banana. Lunch was a slice of whole-wheat toast with sunflower seed butter. I then had a snack of snap peas and baby carrots with a little bit of ranch dressing. Then dinner was homemade pizza, followed by more snap peas and carrots.

My husband was went to the gym after the kids went to sleep. I worked out at home and the whole time and I was secretly hoping he’d bring home a McFlurry. I love those things. Mmmm. I really want one now. It is like 10 degrees outside and here I am thinking about ice cream. I used to have ice cream every night. I did. I keep telling myself, I’ll save it for the weekend, but I can’t stop thinking about it. I miss it, I really do.

So what about this hunger thing? Is it because I just got my monthly friend? Or am I not eating enough? I plugged in all my information into mapmyfitness, which I mainly use as a GPS tracker, but was curious about the nutrition thing. I feel like it gave me a ridiculous amount of calories a day. So maybe I am eating too little. I need to do some research on healthy, FILLING meals and snacks. Maybe if I felt full I’d stop thinking so much about ice cream.

mcflurryMcFlurry, oh how I miss you…

Ugh

I just caved and ate a granola bar. A granola bar is one of those sugary, crap foods that is disguised as “healthy.” Unless you make your own, it is really no better than a candy bar. Especially the kind I just had – with chocolate chips and a chocolate-covered bottom. I don’t even know why I went to the kitchen and opened the pantry door. Its like something took control of my limbs and made me go in, reach for the box and devour the fake health food. Then, of course I immediately felt guilty and ate some baby carrots, like that would erase the what I had just eaten. 

Also my entire body is sore from yesterday’s workout. I decided to start weight training. So today I am walking around like I am 97 years old. I also did a spinning class this morning, so I’m beat, but I needed to take advantage of the hubby being off today and being able to go to the gym sans kids. My body is in definite protest. I’ll be taking a rest day tomorrow. From working out, that is. There is no such thing as an actual rest day, is there? Like where all you do is rest? 

Date night

My birthday was two weeks ago, and we were supposed to go out to dinner, but I had been struck by some horrible nasty cold which might or might not have been the flu, I’ll never know for sure.

Our babysitters (aka grandma and grandpa- my parents) weren’t available the weekend after, so last night was the make-up night. Of course, I logged onto Open Table to make last minute reservations at 2:30 in the afternoon that same day, so the earliest time available was 8:30. Well, actually it was 4:30, but this was supposed to be a date night. Who makes a dinner reservation at 4:30? Is a restaurant really so crowded at that time that one even needs a reservation?

Anyway, I digress. My son had been begging to go to Panera all week, so we went there for lunch yesterday and I had the Asian chicken salad, one of my favorites. I have a Panera rewards card, which builds up points so you can get free stuff sometimes. Well, they had loaded something onto my card for my birthday – I was hoping it was a smoothie, but alas, it was a free pastry. Damn it. They looked so good. And when did Panera start carrying cupcakes?? It took everything I had in me to give up that free pastry. But I have to confess something here – I had already decided I was going to have dessert that night. Date night doesn’t happen too often and it was technically supposed to  be my birthday dinner.

I spend the rest of the day cleaning the house. I had an apple and a cheese stick for snack. Then I thought about the sugar in the apple. There’s a lot of sugar in an apple. Then, I decided I was being ridiculous. You can’t compare an apple to a cookie. So, I  need to revise my goal here a bit: to control my REFINED sugar addiction.

Back to date night. It is always so weird to be in the car without any kids. Usually, getting into the car takes 20 minutes. With no kids, its get in and go. Nobody is screaming or crying or complaining about the song on the radio. It is also weird eating without any kids. You can have a conversation without being interrupted 18 million times for more of this or none of that. No one is throwing food on the floor or getting sauce in her hair.

front entranceOne of our favorite Restaurants – Pasta Pasta in Port Jefferson, NY

We arrived at 8:30 but of course there were no tables ready. It was like being in a doctors’ office. Why do these places make you wait for so long? I was convinced that this restaurant did it to get people to buy wine. Everyone in the waiting area was drinking.  I was so hungry, that if I’d had a glass of wine I’d either be on the floor drunk or puking before I even got a chance to look at the menu.  My mood was quickly going downhill. I’m usually getting in to my pajamas and thinking of my bed at 9pm, not waiting to just get seated for dinner.

RearDiningRoomIts is very cozy inside. The service and food is spectacular.

Once we were finally seated, I decided to be adventurous and order something I never had before – lobster. I know this sounds crazy. 35 years old and never had lobster? Well, its the truth. I ordered a pasta dish with lobster, and it was delish, especially the sauce, although I have to admit, I’m not really sure I understand the big deal about lobster. Is it an acquired taste, like beer or coffee? As we waited for our food, I saw desserts being delivered to tables all around us. The all looked amazing; and I was thinking more about dessert than the entry, the crazy sugar-addicted person I am.

I didn’t stuff myself to oblivion with my pasta because I had to save room for dessert. I had denied myself for three days and now I was going to indulge. I ordered a brownie-oreo-chocolate chip cookie confection with ice cream. It was A-MAZ-ING. I was actually glad that I hadn’t eaten sweets for a few days, because it made this dessert a million times better. It was then I really, truly realized I don’t need to have ice cream, or cookies, or chocolate every day, because then when you do, it is like heaven-on-earth.  Thank you date night, for teaching me this very valuable lesson. Oh, and for letting me spend some much needed alone time with the hubby.

Polar FT40

I recently have gotten into spinning. It is an incredible workout, and I really enjoy it. Great music, sweating, riding a “bike.” Oh yes, and the instructor shouting at you to work harder. It really is awesome, I swear!

Anyway, I can get sort of obsessive about things. When I get into something, I research the hell out of it and then have to get all the “toys” associated with it. So what does that mean for spinning? Well lets see –

-Cycling shorts. Luckily, I already had these from bike riding during the summer. They really do make a difference. I just added a pair of cycling “knickers” too.

– Cycling shoes. I had been using my regular sneakers, and the soles of my feet were really hurting me during my workouts. So, I decided to pick up a pair of cycling shoes. These are different than sneakers because they have a much stiffer sole, and they also clip into the pedals on the bike. I can’t express what a difference these made in my workout. My legs work totally differently with these on vs. sneakers.

– Heart rate monitor. So now we get to the newest addition to my collection. I had been going back and forth on this for awhile. Actually, I started thinking about getting one when I did couch to 5k over the summer because sometimes I felt like my heart was going to beat out of my chest, but I never took the plunge although I certainly looked at them about 8 million times on Amazon. In some of my spinning classes, the instructors will shout out where your heart rate would be – 65% of maximum, 85% of maximum, etc. I had no clue how to gauge this on my own. For a few weeks I contemplated getting one. And after doing my extensive research, I decided it would help me with my workouts. Not only with spinning, but any other activities I do as well. Being within certain heart rate ranges determine whether you are in a fat burn zone or a fitness zone. It also tells you if you need to work harder or need to back off a bit.

I decided on the Polar FT40, which I ordered from Amazon.

After the UPS truck dropped it off, I ripped open the box right away. It comes all packaged in this box.

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And everything is all neatly packaged inside.

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Before I took everything out of the box, I saw this disclaimer which I thought was interesting. What was I going to be doing with this thing anyway?? It sounds like something that should be on a product that is of a very, um, personal nature. Not a watch. But then I realized it was probably referring to the chest strap which gets all sweaty and gross.

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So, I took everything out of the box. The transmitter snaps onto the chest strap. You have to wet the back of the chest strap where the electrodes are before putting it on.

The watch or “training computer” is really easy to set up. I had it done within a few minutes.

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The watch is not bad looking either. A lot of these things are really bulky and ugly. I really like the white color and the pink accents. Also – I have the tiniest wrists ever. Usually I have to put watches on the very last hole, and sometimes that is even too big. This fit me really well. I didn’t even have to put it on the last hole. And it also doesn’t look gigantic. I mean, its on the larger side, but I like big watches.

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I took it for a spin today (haha – pun intended) in spin class. The chest strap fit comfortably under my sports bra, and I didn’t feel it at all during my workout. And I was in for a shock that a lot of the time I was working at over 90% of my maximum heart rate, with an average of 88% of maximum. So I was in the “fitness” level pretty much the whole time, which was the goal of today’s class. The watch has a light built in, so I was able to look at it in the dark room although it was kind of annoying to have to press the button while my hands were all slippery from sweat!

At the end of the workout, the watch told me the number of calories burned, the time spent in the fat burn zone, and the time spent in the fitness zone. It displayed my maximum and minimum heart rate percentages during the workout.

All in all, I am very happy with this purchase and think it will be a great asset to my workouts.

I’ve been thinking..

I’ve been thinking of that cookie all day long. Seriously, I have. And no, I didn’t eat it (yay me!). But there’s something else. I know I just started this blog and my original intent was to talk about my kicking by sugar habit, but then whoever reads this might think that’s what my whole life is about. And its really not. There’s so many other things that make up my world, and I’d like a place to record all those things. So yes, while my main focus will be the healthy stuff, I’m putting in a disclaimer now that there will be other things that make their way in. 

 

Conversation with a cookie

Cookie: You know you want to eat me!

Me: No, I am trying to MODERATE my sugar intake.

Cookie: But I am so soft and chocolately. 

Me: I know, I ate one of your friends last night after I shared with the world I was going to cut back on sugar. 

Cookie: That’s not your fault. We are extremely tempting. 

Me: I’m not going to do it. I am just going to have cereal with the kids for breakfast. 

Cookie: But what about your morning sugar fix?! You have to have it. Come on, look at me. How about just a bite? 

Me: I will say I’ll have just a bite, and that will turn into two. Then I will come back in a few minutes for another, and another. And then you will be gone. 

Cookie: Well, how about a picture then?

Me [reluctantly]: Well, I guess that will be ok…. 

[I take the cookie and put it on a plate to take a picture.]

Cookie [with an evil laugh]: Now smell my intoxicating aroma!! 

Me: Damn you cookie!! 

[I try to hold my breath and take a picture at the same time]

Cookie: Just do it!! Eat me!

Me: No, I won’t. I am putting you back in the bag and then going to write about this on my blog. 

Cookie: I know you’ll be back!! 

 

So, I am proud to say I fought that cookie this morning and won. It is still menacingly sitting on the counter, calling my name from afar. But it is my goal today to beat the temptation. 

In case you are wondering, the offending pastry is a Trader Joe’s chocolate blizzard cookie. And here’s the picture it tricked me into taking. 

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