Monday, June 28, 2010

Twilight and Other Movies Coming to Theater...

So I bought my Twilight ticket, my sissies and I are going on Saturday, sans kids (6 of those between Stephie and I!) and let the junk food struggle begin.... I'll go with the popcorn I guess....and then maybe some skittles....some swedish fish?  No, the snow caps!  Hmmmm, so many choices!  I'll eat green beans the rest of the day.  Anyway.  I also saw the first trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (parts 1 and 2!)--can't wait to see it!!! This was followed by a Twilight: Eclipse preview and I actually clapped with glee, I am so excited!! Already bought my ticket too!  Kristen Stewart is going to be on the Today show tomorrow.  Kate and I watched Kellan Lutz (Emmett) on a re-run of Ellen today and he was so darned cute! :)  I missed Taylor Lautner on the Today show this morning though.  I'm trying not to think about the fact that the movie actually shows for the first time in 25 hours and I'm not going until Saturday afternoon, but I am excited to have it to look forward to, especially the fact that it's just me and my sisters! :)  As I've gotten older, they are truly my anchors and my closest friends.  I love talking to them and always look forward to seeing them.  We laugh so much together and that's what I look forward to the most.  Love you my sissies!!! :)

A Change in Intentions

Ok, so I have decided it is too tedious to record everything that goes into my mouth (I can totally hear your sighs of relief from here!) so I'm just going to give you updates on my weight, on things I've eaten that I really liked or didn't like or otherwise had some strong reaction to.  I'll record my triumphs (smaller ice cream servings) and my failures (no weight loss in the past....well, too many weeks!). 

This morning, I was excited to see on my DVR an In Shape with Sharon Mann episode with kickboxing and martial arts.  I was a huge Tae Bo fan, until I got bored doing the same routines over and over again, so this seemed right up my alley.  However, Ms.Mann then proceeded to make the warm up routine so complicated and so long, I was frustrated and promptly deleted the episode.  I mean, really, if you're going to show a different episode of In Shape every day, you need to make it simple enough that I CAN FOLLOW IT WHEN I'M STILL HALF ASLEEP!!! I mean, geez Sharon, what's up with the freaken crazy hard combos and then combining the crazy hard combos---are you trying to kill me??!! I almost tripped and crashed into my dresser for God's sake!  There could have been blood and other things I am not prepared to deal with at 8am.  So, I will be wary of doing Ms.Mann's routines so early in the morning. 

Now, tonight for dinner, I made my own pork fried rice (which I am having a hankering for again as I type....however, Jay says I shouldn't use "hanker" ever again, it reminds him too much of "canker."  Ew.)  and it was GOOD.  I also made fresh green beans I had gotten at the farmer's market down the street.  Nothing beats fresh green beans in the summer.  YUM!  I love szechuan green beans best, but I'll eat them plain too or in a skillet with some EVOO and some ground thyme and some carrot sticks.  Double yum!  They are just so fresh and crisp but warm at the same time.  I could eat green beans every night for dinner!

Followed immediately by some fantastic dessert, like the Chocolate Fudge ice cream we have.  Yeeeeeaaahh, Ms. Silverstone, I won't be givng up the dairy OR the white sugar anytime soon, even if white sugar is the devil.  Can't do without my yogurt or my baked goods!  And I've eaten meat every day.  So much for dabbling in veganism!!  I suck at this.  Further down on this downward slide, my stomach has not gotten any smaller. Sigh.  Tomorrow is a new day, right?  I'll try again tomorrow.  Good night all!

Movie Review: Shutter Island

We rented this through Netflix and the very first night, I was so exhausted, I fell asleep 15 minutes in.  So I had to re-watch it the next day during "quiet time" while the baby slept and the boys watched their own movie.  It was....intense.  Slow at the beginning, once it gets going, it delivers information about the mystery so quickly, you find yourself going, "wait, what did she say?  What's his name?  How does he know him?"  I advise you watch it with one other person, because they will inevitably notice something that you don't!  It had a humdinger of a twist too, which I really love in a movie.  I'm usually pretty good at figuring out the twists or endings but I didn't see this until it was upon us!  You get so involved in the characters and I would advise you do the same, just go with it, watch it, let yourself get involved with the story---you may not have a choice, it just sort of sucks you in.  Leonardo DiCaprio's emotion is so raw, you really sympathize and empathize him and that really becomes your focus.  It's an amazing storyline that...I can't really tell you anything about because I don't want to give anything away!  It is a creepy (sometimes surprisingly bloody) mystery.  Leo DiCaprio is a Federal Marshall with a traumatic past, trying to solve a mystery that directly ties into his life.  His partner, Chuck, is played my Mark Ruffalo, is easy going and refers to Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Teddy Daniels as "Boss."  Teddy Daniels is complicated, emotional and intelligent---you really root for him from beginning to end. 
I give this movie an A+.

Movie on TV: The Proposal

 Ok, I've seen this before, but it was on one of my cable movie channels and I watched it again because it has 2 of my favorite things: Sandra Bullock and a nude scene with Ryan Reynolds. 

This movie totally cracks me up.  I adore Sandra Bullock and she is at her best in this as an uptight Canadian editor working in New York City, about to get deported.  Ryan Reynolds is her beleaguered assistant who has endured the hellish job of keeping her happy in the hopes of becoming an editor himself.  When she realizes she's about to head back to Canada, she blurts to her bosses that she's about to get her assistant Andrew!  Revenge being a bitch, he gets the upper hand as he tells the bosses he's about to introduce her to his family... in Alaska.  Betty White, who plays Andrew/Ryan Reynold's "Gammy," is a show-stealer and has great chemistry with Sandra Bullock.  The funniness of the movie progresses from giggles to laugh-out-loud funny.  Some of my favorite scenes:  the nude one of course, Ryan Reynolds trying to sing "It Takes Two to Make a Thing Go Right," and the dance scene in the woods with Gammy and Sandra Bullock's Margaret Tate---too funny!! 
I give this romantic comedy an A+.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

DVD Review: LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers

My boys were mesmerized my this and we've watched it several times in the past 2 days! I think it's well-done, with all the Lego trappings and details.  What I think is cute is that they have the Lego bodies with their outfits on them and their hair snaps on and off (the female character takes extra hair with her) but their faces are full of expression and move with their changes in emotion---they are these active parts on an otherwise static character and I think that movement and change is really captivating for kids.  They also go through a slew of different settings, from space to rock caverns to a planet that has a medieval setting--all my son's favorites!  They also have additional shorts at the end, under extras.  Ian gives this movie an A+!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Movie Reviews: Toy Story 3

Toy Story 3 The Video GameToy Story 3 Movie, Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton and a host of other talents!

Miraculously, Disney/Pixar has managed to make 3 fantastic movies in succession in the same franchise!  I cannot recall just now any other franchise...oh wait, Harry Potter...ok, besides Harry Potter, but still, that's real people doing an already written story whereas this, this they had to come up with once the 2nd one was done and figure out where they would go from there.  And where they went was pretty awesome! 
There were laughs (Michael Keaton is funny as crap as Ken), tension build-up, adventure, highs, lows and everything in between.  There was wit, irony and seamless continuation of storyline.  Love Tom Hanks and Tim Allen.  I don't want to give anything away, but I'd say, if you liked the Toy Story movies, this one is a must!! It ties up all the loose ends, you'll laugh, you'll cry---you won't regret it!
5 out of 5 stars. 

DVD Review: Legion

with Paul Bettany and Dennis Quaid

We watched this movie the other night and it was a little more horror than I had anticipated...I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I guess I had assumed it would be a certain level of good as it had Paul Bettany in it and I always think of A Beautiful Mind and even A Knight's Tale where he had so much charisma.  He was supposed to be the archangel Michael, protecting this woman's baby, but I swear to you, they never explained why this baby was important!  They just said, the archangels had been ordered to destroy the baby;  if not, if the baby survived, mankind could be saved   (Immediately puts the audience in mind of the Christ Child) which God apparently doesn't want.  But they don't say why, why that baby, what his significance was. 

On the other hand, there were some cool fight scenes, especially between the archangels, Gabriel and Michael.  But there was a lot of unnecessary blood and grossness I think that really made it come across as a B movie instead of the good idea it could have been!  The angels themselves, the actors did a good job I think.  Paul Bettany was good as a distanced protector whose sole focus was the pregnant waitress and the baby.  Dennis Quaid was less than stellar, which stinks, because I really like him.  I'm not sure who directed this, off the top of my head, but you could tell that they couldn't pull the performances out of the actors, as Dennis Quaid has done some great stuff----this just wasn't it.  It felt forced and overacted.  There was no subtley but then, I was not expecting Oscar-winning performances, just a higher cool factor.  As brain candy goes, not bad, but could have done without the bloodsucking, cursing old lady---she was just distasteful.  I know she's meant to be shocking but come on, there was supposed to be a larger message here about whether or not humanity should be saved and about the pluck of the human spirit and all that.  I hate it when a really cool movie idea gets all screwed up because the people making it feel like they have to add blood and gore and all kinds of shock factor to get it to work when all it really needed was some good plot twists, some hard ass characters and some good fight scenes.
I'd give it 3 stars out of 5, mostly for the fight scenes and just the presence of Paul Bettany! ;)

Daily Eats Food Journal

Monday June 21, 2010

Sharon Mann's body sculpting/Yoga episode
Walked for 35 minutes or so

Double Fiber English Muffin with Smart Balance Butter
Total Raisin Bran with 1% milk
Decaf Lipton's Hot Tea, organic sugar, no milk

Half a veggie sandwich (recipe to follow)
A handful of fresh green beans and one organic carrot cut into sticks, sauteed, but still crisp, in olive oil with some thyme and rosemary
A small bowl of the Annie's Organic whole wheat mac N cheese D.W. fettucini alfredo flavor
Decaf tea

Small handful of walnuts
Handful of sunflower seeds
Handful of craisins
Handful of almonds
About 2 cups cooked microwave popcornl we tried Smart Balance Light Butter for the first time today and I have to say, the best light popcorn I've had so far!
Glass of water

Getting ready to cook dinner!!

My favorite Veggie sandwich is an imitation of the veggie sandwich I used to eat at Atlanta Bread Company (ABC's) when I worked at Educational Etc, which was right next dooor.  I LOVED this sandwich and have been trying to duplicate it for years and have finally come pretty darned close!

Dill dip seasoning packet
whipped cream cheese
12 grain bread  (I use Arnold brand)
cucumber, thinly sliced
tomato, sliced
fresh lettuce, your choice, I do a mixture of romaine and green or red leaf lettuce
provolone cheese

I finally discovered the secret: the dill dip seasoning needs to be mixed with cream cheese to create a spread.  I use the whipped cream cheese because it's got air in it as it's stirred and has fewer calories.   Spread it on the bread, add other ingredients.  At ABC's, they added sprouts and sliced onion, but I don't like either of those, so I leave them off! :)   Add pretzels on the side or baked chips, a bowl of soup---this can be a great meal!  The 12 grains always helped make me feel really full!  The only thing not exactly the same is the bread; ABC was a bakery too, so they make their own bread and the 12 grain they made was nice and fresh, thick with a great crust and the Arnold brand version is thinly sliced, and soooo not the same, but a decent substitute! 
Enjoy! :)

REMEMBER:  Avoid high fructose corn syrup at all costs!!  I found it in tons of breads and cereals!! Even with raisin bran, which sounds healthy, most of them had HFCS in it, so be wary!!

Short ingredient lists
Whole wheat or whole grain ingredients
Sugar should be far down the list!
Cereal should be 10 grams of sugar or less and 4 grams of fiber or more, that's the goal. 

ALSO:  remember, I'm not a pro, just a well-read person interested in changing my eating habits!

Dinner UPDATE:
Bowl of Cream of Broccoli soup
bread and butter
1/2 veggie sandwich on 12 grain
Activia yogurt

Health Make-Over

Health, Part One

I have decided, after much thought and a little spurring on by Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet, on cooking and eating vegan, to make some changes. I have further decided, as a kick in the butt, to try and keep an online journal of sorts, letting you guys know how it’s going, what I’m eating and what progress I’m making. So here are the reasons why I’ve decided to do a minor overhaul on what I’m eating:

1. I have noticed in the past few months that my stomach does not seem to be digesting well; it often gurgles and aches, I get sharp gas pains (if this is TMI, well, I don’t know what to tell you, if you skip ahead, you could miss something, so do so at your own risk!! Lol) and often felt tired. I just felt like I wasn’t digesting well. I definitely ate desserts and ice cream (half the fat though!!) almost every night and I don’t know if I am a bit lactose intolerant or what. I also felt like I was overeating and that my body wasn’t too keen if I ate too much red meat. I almost never ate fast food, so if/when I did, I’d get stomach cramps from that too. I just felt I needed to change what I was putting in my body if I wanted my body to function differently!

2. I had my gall bladder out the end of February and I suspect my body is still adjusting to functioning without it although the surgeon told me it would only take 2 weeks for my body to adjust.

3. After reading Alicia Silverstone’s book about going vegan, I decided to “dip a toe” as she says, into eating more vegetarian and more organic in the hopes that it would help my body.

4. I need to lose weight. I stil have baby fat on me and had just gotten back down to a size 6 right before I got pregnant with Morgan. Now I am between an 8 and a 10. I felt my best when I weighed 119lbs and I currently weigh 133.5 lbs. I was up to 165lbs when I gave birth!! I gained way too much weight! (nevermind that she weighed 9lbs. 10.3oz on her own!!). I have a belly I am determined to get rid of, winter clothes I had had altered at the waist and hems to fit me perfectly and currently cannot wear any of it!

As I may have previously mentioned, consistency is difficult for me….I think it might be for any human being, I don’t think it’s in our hardwiring, unless it directly relates to our survival. I don’t think fitting into those cool 70’s jeans can be classified as “relating to my survival” but how about saving my self esteem, boosting my energy and making my skin glow, (not to mention fitting into those altered clothes!!) which are worthy enough goals for me! ;)

Now, I’ll tell ya what I’ve done so far: (and of course, remember that I am not a medical professional in any way, I have no degree, I’m not being guided by a professional, this is just me, trying to clean up my eating!!)

Before reading Ms.Silverstone’s book:

1. I had actually been following some guidelines from Eat This Not That! and Eat This Not That for Kids! (there are a TON of varieties of this title) which are great books and generally give you good information, especially if you really look through the sections at the beginning and the end of the book. It doesn’t just tell you what to eat at different places but gives you guidelines on what are good foods to eat in general.

2. Begun utilizing out of sheer boredom. I just felt like I needed some help, I already meal-planned in the interest of saving time and money. I have become addicted to already knowing what I am having for dinner. There is nothing worse than being exhausted and staring, bleary-eyed, at your pantry….then your fridge….then your cabinet….repeat. Now I know and sometimes, at least once a week, I’m using my crockpot and THAT is really addicting!! I smell it cooking all day, it smells like I am some kind of a fabulous cook and I just have to decide what I’m having to drink and what plates to serve it on!!  I use the e-mealz for a family of 4-6, the low fat plan. My boys being hugely picky eaters, we have leftovers pretty much every night. I only cook like 3-4 times a week now and the food is delish!! We still have a pizza night and sometimes even an order-out night, but these recipes always include a variety of meal types: on the go, crock pot, kids’ favorites---not just sit-down meals. Love it!! Better yet: $15….for 3 MONTHS, that’s a $1.25 a week. Totally worth it!

3. Speaking of pizza, due to Eat this not that (which my husband, the junk food junky, caffeine king, curses) we have switched to Lean Pockets pepperoni pizzas (which my kids LOVE by the way!!) and salad or fresh veggie platter with low fat dip.

4. I went onto my Guide with DirecTv and DVR’d 3 shows I liked the look of (In Shape with Sharon Mann, Shimmy, and one on dancing whose title I cannot remember!) and they are on Fit TV and they come on daily. By the end of one week, I had 5 new episodes of each, which means 15 different workouts at my fingertips, they are all 30 I believe with commercials, so once you fast forward through those commercials, you’re talking a 20-25 minute work-out. And I don’t get bored. My favorite is Sharon Mann, she always has people in the back doing the work-out but for beginners or with alternative gear or without the gear she’s using, if you don’t have it. I do it whenever I feel like it, no pressure, so some weeks, it may only be 1 workout but other weeks, I might do 5. I’m also walking though….
Since I read Ms. Silverstone I have:
1. Made an effort to buy as much in the way of organic fruits and veggies as I can. I have also, quite bravely, perused the organics aisles at Giant. The only things I came away with were the self serve nuts (pumpkin seeds without the shells, walnuts halved, plain almonds) and some organic mac and cheese by Annie’s with a D.W./Arthur theme that Gabe picked out. I know Alicia (as I’ll call her, it’s shorter than typing her last name!) really talks up the rice milk ice cream treats, but there’s only so much I could bring myself to buy in one trip without feeling like I was wasting money because I didn’t know if we’d eat it. I’m not a daring and adventurous eater, did I mention that? I did buy boxes of falafel (not nearly as good eats as when I had it at Boma's at Animal Kingdom, but most likely this is because I didn't fry them in balls, but made flat patties that I skillet cooked with no oil...bummer!) as well as couscous (which I already really like!).

2. I couldn’t drop milk and (ack!!) cheese or even meat entirely for that matter, but again, I am just dipping a toe here, people, a toe I say, not a whole freakin foot! I have made a pact to eat as little meat as possible, basically only eating a small portion with dinner (or one meal a day of my choosing). I have other people who live with me, you see and they sort of object to the cessation of meat at meals entirely. Jay especially. I really think that too much meat was a big part of my problem, but we’ll see!

3. I kept yogurt too, I couldn’t help it. I feel like I need the live and active cultures for my girl parts and the calcium at my age is good too. Osteoporosis runs in my family. Gotta be careful of that! Plus, I started eating Activia in hopes the probiotics would help me!  (keep in mind, there are lots of people who hate this stuff and claim it's a scam.  My mother and sister both say it gives them stomach problems, but I have found a huge difference in my bloating and digestion, for the good, so I'm going to keep with it for now.  Additionally, I think it has to do with what else you may be eating.  You can't eat crap and then expect Activia to work miracles!  Also, I think your body has to have an adjustment period, but I found good changes within about 3 days, but that's just me...)

4. I used to walk pretty faithfully but when I got pregnant, I crapped out around 4 months---about 4 weeks after I found out I was pregnant. I live in an extremely hilly neighborhood and it would just kick my butt and trigger my asthma as I gained more weight, so I just stopped. Now that it’s summer time, the boys have enough energy to power a cell tower for a day. So I have begun getting right up and walking every morning. I have to get over the hurdle of the boys’ whining about how tired they are (even though I had to step in between them to stop them from running laps around the house before we left!) so I do this by telling them we’re on an adventure (as opposed to going the same route all the time) so they take turns choosing which way we’ll go as we get to a corner. It has the added bonus of helping my 3 year old go to sleep in the afternoons, when we’d begun to get wonky with his naps. This gives me some regular time to myself every afternoon. Love it!!

5. Whole grains, whole grains, whole grains. I got double fiber oatmeal (I actually have been eating that kind for a while, with raisins), double fiber English muffins, 12 grain bread, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts. Good stuff!

Ok, so note the link to to the right now. Check out Alicia’s book, although it is a bit, well, almost fanatic. I know it sounds kind of lame, but I’m just not into some of the more exotic fruits and veggies she’s into and some of the recipes sound totally unappetizing to me, so take what she offers with a grain of salt.

I’ll keep you updated on what I’m eating….every day if I can do it. I’ll update you on my weight and how my exercise regimen is going too. I’ll use the label “Health” for handy reference on the right hand side. I’ll number each blog entry too.

And by all means, let me know, what do you do? How do you feel about your health? How do you feel about making changes to your diet? Do you exercise? What do you do and what works for you (or doesn’t work?)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Drowning, drowning, dro--gurgle, gurgle....

So I didn't do any homework while we were at Disney.

Best intentions and all that.  I even took all my supplies and some small items for a still life but we were exhausted from all the walking and the eating and the heat and the EATING, that I was barely awake at 9:30pm and that's if we were back to our room by then!! One night we stayed and watched fireworks at Epcot...well, we did a lot and I wish I had kept a better journal....ok, or just kept a journal period, as I know I won't be able to remember what we did on what days!

At any rate, school was on a funky schedule (with weeks running Thursday-Wednesday) so I missed A LOT of school being gone from Friday through the weekend until the following Sunday.  I had like 6 assignments to make up with the 4th week looming before me full of MORE assignments.  I managed to catch up on most of them---will be skipping one assignment totally and taking a "0" as I'm just running out of energy, have one more charcoal to finish and week 5 starts tomorrow. Tomorrow is also Ian's last day of school and I spent today catching up on the hot mess in my room that resulted from me being a crazy laundry machine except on the folding end.  I had about 4 loads to fold this morning with another in the washer and another in the dryer.
Did mention we did Ian's birthday party the Saturday after we got back because of Jay's National Guard training schedule running right through his birthday?  Oh, and that was after Ian was home from school throwing up and THAT was after I had a stomach virus on the 2 day drive home and we had to stop repeatedly.  I was not throwing up.  Gross. Miserable.  What a nasty way to end a great vacation!

So then, I'm trying to catch up on school with all this going on and this is what I had to tell myself:
You love to draw.  You love being in school.  It is not stressful.  It is not a pain in your rump.  You love your children.  You love being at home with them.  Morgan is an excellent baby who hardly fusses.  You can do this.  You can do this, you want to do this!!!

That has been my mantra the past 5 days.  I've also not gotten enough sleep, what with staying up late to work on drawings, so my mantra tends to sound more like this:
You love to draw.  You love being in is ...not....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

Almost there and then I get a 4 week break.  In the meantime, I am gritting my teeth and trying to stay on routine and schedule and trying not to snap at anyone in my family.  Trying.  Really hard.  Did  I mention the gritting of the teeth?  Man, my jaw hurts.


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