Saturday, September 6, 2008

Des Meets Her Favorite Star

My daughter, Desiree', attended Toby Keith's concert last night in Dallas. Just by sheer happenstance, she and her friend were given an opportunity to meet Toby in person and have their picture made with him. Here she is with The Tobe: I'm not real big on fawning all over so-called stars, but I'm thrilled that she was thrilled by this. (And besides, Toby's from Oklahoma, he supports our troops wholeheartedly and he's not a bad singer either so "GO TOBE!". lol)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tennis Time

We went to Kaleb's first tennis match of the season this afternoon. I took my fancy dancy camera with it's fancy dancy telephoto lens. The good news is, I was able to figure out how to switch the lenses on that darn camera (after 10 minutes of trying before finally getting out the manual, of course). The bad news is...I still have no idea how to take great pictures. Who knew it could be so hard??? But I got a few action shots of Kaleb playing that should be good enough to scrapbook anyway. Here's him looking rather pensively at his opponent: Now the serve...he looks so intense, eh?
Another serve (this is only one of two shots that I actually got the ball in. lol):
Headed down court:
Kaleb said after looking at this shot that he could now see what he was doing wrong. Something about his left arm being too low. I really have no idea what he was talking about, but I was glad that the picture taking was able to help him out with that.
Check out his forward momentum. He was all ready to go for the return:
I love this shot. The look on his face just says it all to me.
And here he is after the match, ready for a break:
Sometimes when I watch Kaleb, I see shades of his older brother, Nick. I guess they have some of the same mannerisms and similar features. What do you think, Jodie? Do you see it, too?
I have to add a picture of Jake to this post since he was there cheering Kaleb on. Here he is, sitting along the fence line talking to Randey as we watched Kaleb's match. I think he was trying to explain the scoring system to Randey...for the umpteenth time. Randey had it down pretty good last year, but lost all his tennis acumen sometime over the summer (I never had any - baseball is my game. Tennis is harder to keep track of!). lol So now Jake and Kaleb have to walk us through it all again. (Love this, love that...I'll never get it right.)
This look Jake's giving Randey is one we both see a lot of. It's almost like the boy can't believe his parents are so totally ignorant. 'Course, at the same time, we can't believe our little darlin' is such a flippin' genius either. (Did that sound like sarcasm 'cause I sure meant for it to. LOL)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Howdy Strangers!

See this?Know what it is? It's my new laptop (and somewhere in Florida, Susan just fell off her chair laughing because one of the last things I said to her before she left Texas was that I "hated to break the news to Randey, but we're NOT getting a laptop!"). See, Randey suddenly started talking about the need for a laptop during their visit. Remember I had computer problems fairly recently, but that Randey had fixed the problems? Well, apparently, Randey the Soothsayer knew more than he was letting on about the health of my computer. I, however, was blissfully ignorant so when he started talking about a laptop "just for me", I thought he'd lost his mind. I mean, was a nice thought and all, but a laptop was a luxury, not a necessity because, after all, he'd fixed my computer, right? Well here's a little lesson for all of you. Apparently your computer simply cannot withstand the ravages of having three teenagers using it for all manner of downloads to Zunes, downloads of games, myspace discussions, etc., etc., etc. And while my old computer will still turn on (eventually) and it will still allow me to do certain things, it has also developed an annoying habit of totally locking up for no particular reason. I tried using Randey's work laptop for a while, but after I'd typed out this big, long, detailed comment on someone's blog and his computer opted for the "blue screen of death" rather than actually posting said comment, I lost my temper and threatened to send our family back to the stone age as far as computer ownership goes. Then, after we'd run to Target the next night for some little something, Randey casually suggested we head next door to Best Buy. And before I knew it, I was the proud owner of a new laptop of my very own. Now I just have to figure out how to use it - it took forever and a day to figure out how to download photos to it (and took even longer to find the stupid cord. I used to download pictures via the printer). But I think I'm back on track now. I've finally been able to do the "snack tip" post (which is right beneath this one). I also have a few more recipes to post and will be writing that post over the next 2 days. Meanwhile, check out the snack tip post and check out these cute little Halloween things we found for our youngest granddaughter, Kara:
Cute, huh? The little pumpkins on the booties rattle when you shake them. (Yes, ma'am - it's almost that time of year again!!!) Kara will be wearing little noise makers on her feet - hope she finds them as entertaining as I do (the boys and Randey are probably sick of hearing me shake them. lol). Speaking of the boys...Kaleb came home from work the other night and, after a stop in the kitchen, came to ask us "what's with the George Bush spaghetti sauce sitting on the counter?". Randey and I looked at each other, wondering what on earth was he talking about. This is what he saw:
Kids today. I mean really. I'm apparently only one of about 28% of Americans who actually still like W, but even I would never compare him to Paul Newman. Geez. My first instinct was to rush out and rent a copy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in order to educate my child on the natural wonder that is Mr. Paul Newman. And if he ever looks at Robert Redford and calls him Dick Cheney, maybe I will. LOL

Our Favorite Snacks

This post is ONLY over a week late. Sorry about that. Some things just can't be helped, though. But hey - better late than never, eh? So here goes...

Several people chimed in on their favorite snack foods. Seems like our choices aren't as limited as we might have thought (and that's really good news!). Here's the snack tips we got:

From Julie: "I like to use high protein foods. Depending on how hungry I am - make chicken (or tuna) salad using drained canned chicken, low fat Miracle Whip, sour pickles or sweet ones made with Splenda (Mount Olive brand is a good sugarless bread and butter pickle)..then I eat it with celery sticks for a big crunch. That way I don't miss the bread or crackers. Another good snack is fat free cottage cheese with some sugar free Cool Whip mixed in. Even better - stir in some sugar free jello powder - Yummo! My favorite flavor is orange jello."

I don't know about you guys, but I have a weakness for good chicken salad. The irony is, I only figured out a couple of years ago how to make it (I've told you that cooking has never been my forte' in life. lol) "Normal" chicken salad is too high in calories, though. But Julie's method of fixing it gives me back one of my favorite foods. It also demonstrates how we can make healthy choices with our recipes - the low fat miracle whip/mayo versus regular miracle whip/mayo. The sugar free pickles versus regular pickles, the celery in place of crackers or bread, etc. Thanks for the tips, Julie. Great advice.

This is what we got from Jodie: "Truth is I eat things that are already made or fruit for a snack. But I did think of something I used to do that was so wonderful. I may do it again if the prices of fruit goes down. I would make a fruit salad and let it sit in the refrigerator for a day or so. It makes it's own juice/syrup that is wonderful. The best things to use are peaches and strawberries for the juice. You can really add in any type of fruit. You just can't go wrong with fruit."

Fruit is higher in sugar than say a vegetable, but come on...fresh fruit is just plain good for you, regardless! (f you're on weight watchers, be sure to count the points accurately). I agree with Jodie, though, that you just can't go wrong with fruit. (Unless you're Annie and simply can't stand the thought of eating it! lol)

This is a tip from Donna: "Here's a great snacking tip! These are especially yummy in the summertime - frozen seedless grapes! I like the red ones the best. Wash thoroughly, drain, put on a cookie sheet, pop in the freezer, then transfer to a container with lid when the grapes are frozen. Great for snacking while watching TV!" Mary and I heartily agree! Frozen grapes are the best. Even Randey's hooked on them now. He prefers the green ones, but I think the red are the best. If you guys haven't tried this yet, DO IT! Talk about refreshing! Yowza!

From Kat: "Take one no sugar added fudgesicle and let soften until you can scrape it off the stick. Add one heaping tablespoon of peanut butter (I use Simply Jif since it has less sodium and sugar) and one heaping tablespoon of Sugar Free Cool Whip. Stir together until the three ingredients are blended. Put in freezer for 30 minutes. Enjoy! Oh.My.Word! I almost licked the bowl!"
I'm going to add this bit of nutrition information because I know some of you will question the use of peanut butter as a healthy snack. This comes from:

Calorie Table for Peanut Butter
Please note: all calorie values are approximate
Peanut butter, chunky (2 tbsp) 190
Peanut butter, chunky (1/2 cup) 760
Peanut butter, smooth (2 tbsp) 190
Peanut butter, crunchy (2 tbsp) 190-220
Bad News About Peanut Butter :
Two tablespoons of Peanut Butter contains 190 calories and 16 grams of fat - as much fat as in a Burger King hamburger. Peanut butter is a high-calorie source of protein. Two tablespoons contains about 8 grams of protein/200 calories, the same protein as 1oz of roast turkey with only 50 calories!
Better News About Peanut Butter:
Peanut Butter is high in fat, but most of it is monounsaturated, the same "good fat" that's found in olive oil. Some studies show that a diet high in monounsaturated fat may actually be good for the heart. In fact, it may even be true that adding Peanut Butter to your weight loss diet may help you lose weight, although the reasons for this are unclear.
Peanut Butter - A Weight Gain Warning
Peanut Butter remains a high calorie food. So irrespective of it's benefits, you may not consume it in large quantities without upping your calories and gaining weight.

Peanut butter is indeed high in fat, but it's also high in protein. And if you are absolutely craving something, there are worse things to eat, keep that in mind! I think the important thing is to make sure you don't overdo the P.B. content of this snack. It sounds so wonderful, doesn't it? Now me? I don't know if I've got the willpower to limit my peanut butter content as directed so I might leave it out. I've got stars in my eyes just thinking about the chocolate and the fat free cool whip. Oh yeah, baby...this sounds like THE best "guilt-free guilty pleasure" I've ever heard of (food wise, of course)! lol

This came in from Pam: "I like the Jello Sugar Free Pudding cups--both chocolate and chocolate banana. Also, I add one of the sugar free "mix" things to my water, and drink it at the same time. That's usually my afternoon snack. It's sweet and filling!" I've heard quite a few people talk about the Jello Sugar Free Pudding cups - and they all say they're great! I have GOT to pick some up, the next time I'm at the store. Adding flavors to your water is also a great way to get yourself to actually drink all the water you're supposed to every day (who knew making yourself drink enough water could be so flippin' hard?).

This from my Aunt Sandi: "For anyone who loves fruit, this is so easy...take two granny smith apples and 1 large sweet potato...peel the sweet potato and steam for about 10 minutes...while steaming the sweet spud, peel and core two granny smith (or any kind of cooking apple, winesap or what have you...)cut the apple into large chunks, throw in with the potato and steam together...when fork tender, mash or mix together adding 1/8 tsp salt...enjoy! Wonderfully filling, as well...learned this one when we lived in New Jersey (South Jersey, of course). "

Finally, a non-snacking tip from Vee: "Okay, here's a tip, not a recipe. Sometimes I find myself feeling "fatter" when wearing baggy clothing than when I'm actually heavier wearing clothing that fits. Beware of this's subtle! :D" This is so true. I thought I'd feel like I was just really dropping pounds left and right if I wore my bigger clothes as I started losing weight. Unfortunately, though, all I felt was sloppy! And while it's impossible for most of us to buy a whole new wardrobe as we lose those pounds, it's important that we try to wear clothes that we actually feel good in. Go check out your local thrift stores and/or Goodwill - you can often find clothes to "fill in" your wardrobe as you progress from your beginning size down to your goal size. And buy a belt. It's great when you start to feel your britches getting looser...then it just gets annoying as you find yourself constantly hitching up the waistband of those pants about a hundred times a day. Yeah, there are worse annoyances to fight through, but knowing that doesn't make you any happier when your drawers are forever sagging.

Here's a few more snack tips I want to share with you before I sign off. If you do have trouble drinking water throughout the day (like we talked about before), try drinking it through a straw. I don't know why that makes it easier, I just know it does. I fill a glass with crushed ice, pour water in it, grab a straw and before I realize it, I've refilled it a half dozen times and am still ready for more. Give it a try, see if it helps you, too.
For snack food...I'm a big fan of the 100 calorie Orville Redenbacher 94% Fat Free mini bags of popcorn. That's probably my very favorite snack in the whole wide world (after the frozen grapes, of course). I also enjoy the Nabisco Itty Bitty packs of Nilla Wafers. They go great with an afternoon double shot, decaf, no-fat milk cappuccino from Starbucks. In fact, maybe they go a little too great...I sometimes catch myself making a special trip just to have these. lol A bowl of cherry or grape tomatoes goes along way towards taming the munchies for me, too. I could eat those things any day of the week - but then again, I'm a tomato freak so maybe that's not such a revelation. I think the most important thing to remember about snack foods is this: your snack should be something you actually like, not something you're suffering through just for the sake of losing weight. Food is merely fuel for your body - but that's no reason why you can't eat good tasting food, right? Enjoy your snacks. It's okay to do that. Just make sure you're enjoying the right snacks and for the right reasons.

As for my own personal weight loss odyssey...this week was a little wonky, but not enough to freak me out. I'm now at a total weight loss of 36.2 pounds and that's just pretty darn awesome, if I say so myself. I'm a little over halfway to my goal and while I get the feeling the second half of my weight loss aspirations may be a little tougher to achieve than the first half, I'm pumped just knowing how far I've come. I feel like I can do this. With my own determination and a little help from my friends - friends like you guys, who are going through this same thing. Together, we can break free of our unhealthy eating habits and become the active, fun, vibrant, sexy, fit people we all secretly believe ourselves to be underneath all our layers of fat and food indulgence. Right? (Altogether now, say "Right!")

Until next time!