Monday, July 30, 2012

Cravings, Feelings, and a Nature Hike

Meat!! It's what's for dinner! Along with some sweet potato (it's amazing how tender these things get when you forget to set the timer on the oven and they cook for a couple of hours. True story.) and a butt load of spinach. (butt load= a LOT!) Chuck was grill master and these turned out phe-NOM-inal. We were all purring like kittens after dinner.
 And then we got to sleep in the next day and Chuck was back in the kitchen cooking up bacon and eggs for breakfast before we all headed out for some fun. This stuff keeps ya full for quite a while!
 I had a Groupon about to expire for a family outing at Mountasia. Go carts, bumper boats, and mini golf. We had a friggin blast driving those go carts. Charlie did surprisingly well for his first time behind the wheel. 

You know what sucks? People that can't drive go carts. They're all over the place and you can't pass them. They're hitting walls and swerving and every time you try to pass they cut you off. I finally bumped that cart a little and got around. That really pissed off that 8 year old boy! Hey! Learn to drive. I joke. Kind of.

Bumper boats!! Oh how cute. We're going to get in boats and drive around and bump each other. Wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong. These boats are armed with water guns that never need to be refilled. Just push a button and you're shooting water at your loved ones. Guess who the kids like to aim for when they have a weapon (which is kind of scary now that I think about it): the parents. So I give you the before and after picture of the bumper boat ride.
 Drenched. Soaked. Fun.

After spending about an hour and a half in traffic we were finally back home. I decided to go for a little bike ride and enjoy the evening. Ahhhh. Watching the sun set over the neighborhood. I love my bike.
 I rode to an undeveloped portion of the neighborhood and saw a bald eagle. I kid you not. He took off flying and making his screaming calls and I just stared at him/her with my mouth hanging open. It was amazing! Right in my own neighborhood! When I finally came to my senses and tried to get a picture he had already flown beyond some trees so no picture. But it was definitely a WOW moment.

A nice 10 mile leisurely bike ride.

Hey, you know those pathos ivies you can buy anywhere? Guess what happens if you almost kill one and decide to stick it in the ground and tell it good luck? It grows HUGE!!! Some of those leaves are a good 2 feet.
 I have been exercising and trying to eat better. My squats have been driving me up the friggin wall. I finally told coach Jason some issues I was having with my hips hurting when I tried to stand up and he gave me some exercises to strengthen those adductor muscles. Sure enough, that's exactly where I was feeling pain. So I'm doing some modifications like sitting on a low tool box during squats to help me with my form and using a band around my knees to strengthen the adductor muscles. I sent in a video and he said I'm near perfect. YES!! You have no idea how much this has been bothering me. I hate not being able to do something.

I also mentioned to the EPLifeFit board that I've been having some serious issues with cravings. They're almost insane! It feels like a need instead of just a craving and when I give in I feel like a failure. Let's add headache and fatigue to the mix and you get one cranky Happy Texan.

I have felt a little down from the lack of proper form on squats (why can't I do this already?!) to the cravings (why can't I get a hold of this?!) to the headaches and fatigue (I'm getting plenty of sleep so why am I so tired all the time?!). The whole thing has made me feel....I don't know....like a bit of a failure?

Well, I read some stuff and posted about my cravings, fatigue, headaches on the EPLifeFit forum and it's all natural when you eat like crap and then try to change it. (See THIS and THIS) The best way to get over it is just be strong through the cravings, don't give in, and ride it out until it gets better.

Whew! Good to know. Oh, but that was after I gave in to a craving for pizza with hubby and went on a date. Yep. Beer was involved. I'm being honest here. I'm not a healthy-eating saint.
 I think one of the hardest things is making the head and the heart match intentions and make the unshakable decision to commit to a healthy lifestyle. You may know what's right to do but until you've got body and soul working in the same direction, it doesn't mean a hill of beans. And herein lies my struggle. I know what to do. Now I just need to commit. No one can do it for me. This is alllllll me.

Saturday morning  Chuck had a shooting match. It was crazy, insane hot out there. I met a friend in the bathroom.
 Chuck didn't do as well as he wanted. I thought he came in third but he came in fourth place. Still not bad. But, of course, we are our own worst critics so he wasn't happy with it at all.

After the match was over we drove to Lumberton, my hometown. My mom had been keeping the dog and bearded dragon while we went on our little vacation last weekend. It's always great to see family. She showed me pics of my great, great, great grandfather and grandmother and told me some interesting stories about them. Nice to know where you came from.

Sunday morning Rachel got in some driving practice by taking us out to Big Thicket National Preserve. I got a book about swamps at the gift shop then we went on a short walk on a trail.

 There were ferns growing beneath the pine trees. It was so pretty and peaceful. If only it would have been just a little cooler. It's hard to fully enjoy it with sweat running in your eyes.
 This is sassafras. The roots were used to make rootbeer and that sassafras tea. The leaves don't smell like rootbeer but the stems do. During the fall they turn beautiful vibrant red.
 The American beautyberry was putting on quite a show too! The berries are not tasty but some use them to make jelly and wines. Also, the leaves make a natural mosquito repellent if you rub them on your body.
 These are pitcher plants which like to grow in boggy areas. The bug crawls inside and is trapped in a gooey liquid. The plant digests the bug. nom nom nom. Feed me, Seymour!
 There were several growing out there. Very cool!
 I knew that sundew were also located out there and wasn't going to leave until I found one. They're not the easiest to spot because they're very, very tiny. They are another carnivorous plant. That is my index finger pointing at one.  The little drops of "dew" hold the bug.
 Yep, I'm a nature girl. Grew up on 10 acres with horses and chickens and all kinds of animals. But I steal squeal if a spider gets on me. This is my parents' home. Very pretty! I grew up on this land but not that house. They built that one and tore down the other one because it was a shack built around 1900 and not in great shape. Shack may be a little harsh. ;)

On the way home I was finishing up It Starts with Food and finally started getting my heart to match my head in eating right. I even started to get a little excited! I may have gotten so excited that I cleaned out the pantry when I got home and discovered that I have been buying a ton of tuna for no apparent reason. Why do I buy tuna every time I go to the store? Weird.
Tuna trifle or a trifle of tuna?
 The pantry is clean! Rachel has her own shelf devoted to her cake baking. Yeah, you'll see some crap food in there like bread and chips. Look, I have people that come over here to visit. The kids have friends. I don't expect them to want to eat a carrot. They can have chips. It's there if they want it. I'll just stock the pantry with stuff I don't want.
 So, yeah. I'm ready. I've been getting a menu together, clipping coupons, cleaning stuff out, reading a lot. It's time for a major overhaul. I always get lazy about eating in the summer. I know this about myself.

I've decided to do the Whole30 challenge. 30 days no alcohol (guess I'll cancel that group bike ride/pub crawl/brewery tour), no sugar/sugar substitutes, no dairy (I will miss you, cheese), no grains (farewell, pizza and low carb tortillas). There's probably more.

This all starts August 1st. As a group, many people will start the challenge on that day and have each other for support because. From what I've read, the first week is a real b*tch! I'll be blogging about my raw feelings and not holding anything back.

I'll be continuing with my exercises from EPLifeFit and walking and riding my bike.

Here's the thing: this all starts on Charlie's 12th birthday. Wednesday, August 1. So this whole 30 day thing I am doing in honor of my little boy so I can be a better role model to him and be able to keep up with my grandkids in the future. I can do this!

Hope you had a great weekend. Are you taking care of yourself or is it time to recommit too? Feel free to join me! Misery loves company. The more the merrier!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Crockpot Pork Green Chile & Random Thoughts

I'm giving you fair warning: I'm all over the place this morning. It could be from the extra coffee I had, the vinegar shot (wha?!), or the energy packed breakfast I had. Or the 9 hours of sleep I got last night. But this post is just going to be a roller coaster of randomness. Buckle up and keep you hands in at all times.

Cookies? Why would Rachel make these super huge, super soft, perfect cookies from my all time favorite cookbook from America's Test Kitchen? Oh, for her boyfriend. Luckily for me most of these were destined to be sent home with him and the rest Charlie kept nibbling. Cookies are now gone. Does anything make a house smell better than fresh baked cookies? If they made a perfume that smelled like that I'm pretty sure the ladies would have men following them around like lost puppies. Just sayin.

My glamorous life includes things such as grocery shopping. And what should I see on the shelf? 'Merica flavored cereal. Tastes like freedom and diabetes. Am I supposed to believe that our athletes are fueling with these sugar bombs?
 I signed back up with The Grocery Game since I was able to get the Sunday paper delivered for $26 for the whole year. I love me a good deal. Anyway, I'm clipping coupons like it's a hobby and got a trunk-load full of groceries. Yes, yes, yes. There's some crap in there but there's also fruit, veggies and a ton of meat.
 Look at how much I saved!! I walked out of that store with my head held high and a swagger to my step. That's a huge savings! I'm telling you I always save a ton o' money with this grocery game thing
 I've been meaning to get a picture of this sign. I guess it's open to interpretation? A few days ago I actually saw a cop parked in front of that sign. Was he hoping to catch someone not speeding?
 My cat likes to hold my hand when I pet her. It's sweet until she bites me for no reason. What's wrong with cats?! They're so bipolar.  (I warned you this was going to be a random post. No complaining.)
 My brakes were screaming horrible things every time I used them so Chuck changed them. It's good to have a man who knows how to do things like this. I almost feel guilty when I kick back in a chair to watch him work on it. Hey, I did bring him a cold drink and a sweat rag. I'm not totally useless. And now Dash has some new kicks.
 I swear I'm trying to eat healthy. I had eggs on spinach mixed with coconut oil and topped with salsa. But all I really want is Cap n Crunch covered in chocolate milk. What is wrong with me?!
 Speaking of wrong.....bacon syrup? I'm sure it has a use. God knows I love bacon but I'm having trouble getting on board with that one. Maybe over pancakes? With bacon! Nah. Too much sugar. *le sigh*
 I'm sorry. I couldn't help myself. I had to get chocolate with beef jerky and some dark chocolate with bacon. We all nibbled it. Um, not into the beef jerky. I don't want smoky tasting chocolate. The bacon, however, was so good. Wonder how it would be with Cap n Crunch.
 And then there's this. I only bought one and it still hasn't been opened. How could I resist? I love Monty Python! And this is "tempered over burning witches"? Come on! It had to come home with me. Are you suggesting coconuts migrate?!
 Do you know your peppers? No need to guess, I labeled them for you! In fancy lettering. You are impressed, yes? (all.over.the.place with randomness)
 So I'm making this "paleo crockpot pork green chile" yesterday. It calls for all kinds of chiles. Not only the peppers above but 3 cans of green chilies and cayenne. Spicy! But when I assembled it in the crockpot it looked like....I'm sorry to say this....vomit. Ewwww.
 But something magical happened in the hours it simmered away. Tada! A delicious (I mean this stuff was awesome!!!) pork green chile. Tasty and very filling. The recipe is from PaleOMG. I love her blog. She's super funny and has some darn good recipes too. Plus she's really in good shape so it gives me something to strive for. I bet she can even do a deep squat. Properly. Without leaning forward.
 Let me share some things I learned while making this dish.
  1. Even if you wash your hands really good with soap and water, you're still going to have pepper residue on your hands which mean that if you even touch your eyelid it will feel like the devil just spit in your eye. True story!! The pain! Omg!
  2. If you just toss in an entire pork loin, the meat shreds into very, very long strands like spaghetti. And then you have to twirl the meat around on your fork to eat it. But you'll also need a spoon for the watery, soupy stuff. So maybe cut that pork in half. OR use the long strands as spaghetti noodles and top with meat sauce. Just an idea.

Guess what! You don't have to eat eggs every day for breakfast. You can have leftovers. I topped some leftover lemon pepper broccoli with the pork green chile for breakfast. It was so filling! And tasty.

In other news, my glutes are still weak. And it makes me angrier than you can imagine. I'm so frustrated trying to do these deep squats properly. It's like my body refuses to cooperate. Now I'm walking around with a band around my knees trying to get my fanny strong. By the end of this I'll be able to open a beer bottle with my fanny of steel. What a gross image. I'm sorry.

I've also been very sleepy all week and don't know why. Like almost zero energy. Not sure what that's all about. I'm not going to worry about it. It'll go away.

I read an article (well, most of an article) about how taking vinegar shots will help insulin resistant folks (hey! That's me!!) become more sensitive to insulin and will help you lose weight. It's based on studies so it's got to be true, right? Anyway, I've been choking back a shot or two of vinegar every day. The gag reflex has gone away but I have learned not to drink it on an empty stomach. It burns all the way down and then makes me immediately nauseous. Good appetite suppressant though!

I've taken up way too much of your time with all of this randomness. Good of you to stop by and listen to my ramblings. I'm off to go work on strengthening my glutes so I can finally get these squats right. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Weekend Adventures: Tubing in San Marcos & Geocaching Cemeteries

Road trip! Road trip! How I love road trips!

We got off to a late start Friday. I had errands to run, bills to pay, etc. But eventually we did get on the road and made it to our destination before 5pm.

Leisure Resort in San Marcos was to be our home for the weekend and it was packed. I got a deal off Living Social that included a weekend stay in a duplex cabin, a s'mores kit (which we didn't use because it's too darn hot to start a fire and roast anything over it), and 4 tube rentals. Not bad.

The cabin. I'm not a high maintenance chick but I was not thrilled with my accommodations. The beds are covered in nasty plastic. Everything was kind of nasty. My feet were even black from walking on the floor. Ewwwww. That's the kitchen/bathroom sink in the picture.
 The rest of the cabin included a mini fridge, a two-burner stove, a microwave, sofa and a tiny bathroom on the left side. Oh and there's a window unit to cool the whole thing. Only one outlet worked in the place and the porch light wouldn't work even when we replaced the bulb.
 But we didn't come for the cabin. We came to have fun as a family. We took a walk to the river and it was so good to see the kids laughing and talking together.
 Took a trip into town for some food and saw informative signs.
 Downtown San Marcos was just adorable with old buildings and cute shops. Loved it!
 That evening we walked to the river and listened to the crickets, watched fireflies and laughed and had a great time.

Sleeping was interesting that night. Our neighbor kept his cooler on the porch and must have been thirsty until around 2am because he kept opening that squeaky cooler lid which we could hear through the paper thin walls.

Also, to add interest, anytime one of us turned over in bed the plastic on the mattresses was so loud that it woke everyone up. Just so you know we did bring our own sheets and pillows and stuff.

Saturday morning we got our gear on and got ready for some tubing fun!
 We were packed into the shuttle bus and headed off to our starting location.
 Let's do this! It's 11am. Time to hit the water. To the back of the bus with you.
 Ahhhh. The water was just right. Chuck doesn't seem to be enjoying himself at all. Poor guy should learn to relax a little.
 Rachel had a good time. We kept telling her there were gar in the river. She has an insane fear of gar.
 Charlie? Nothing bothers him unless a weed touches his foot in the water. Then he can walk on water.
 Just chillin. This is my kind of vacation. Tubing down the river.

 This is a picture from our second trip down the river. We stopped for a while to skip stones and relax and enjoy the sounds. I took this picture only seconds before I realized I had a huge spider on my arm (the kind with abnormally long front legs that they hold out in front of them) and I squealed and squirmed and jumped around while my family laughed at me and Chuck warned me not to drop my phone. Not funny!
 The river was shaded by pretty cypress trees right before we reached out take-out place by the campground. So pretty and serene.
 Chuck in deep thought. Wondering how much this cost him maybe. My secret.

The rapids are very tame but still a lot of fun and the river moved at a nice pace so we never had to paddle much except to avoid a few fallen trees.
I was surprised the kids didn't want to go tubing all day! Chuck and I were ready for a third trip but they wanted to get cleaned up and head to Gruene for some food.

So we ate a Gruene River Grill and came back to our little cabin and called it a night. What a great day!!!

Sunday it was already time to go home. Wow, that was over fast!!

We decided to take our time on the way home and stop at some historical markers and a few cemeteries where geocaches were located.

There's always so much history at the cemeteries.
 Rachel enjoys trying to find the oldest graves. Charlie hunts for bugs.
We found a total of three geocaches at 4 stops. One stop had some hidden around some rocks but when I moved a rock to try to locate it there were two huge (!) spider under it. I lost my enthusiasm for that cache immediately and we left.

It was a great trip. We all had a fantastic time and look forward to going tubing again. I'd like to bring my own travel trailed though.

When I got home I had a package waiting for me. My LED light-up motion activated ice bucket was here!!!! Did you know that I have a thing for lights and sparkles? It's true. I used to try to hide it but no longer. It's just who I am. Isn't it the coolest?!
Wish you could have been there to go tubing with us. :)