Picture This

McDaddy bought me a recumbent bike for Christmas. It was always my favorite piece of equipment at the gym, mostly because I could sit and play Words With Friends or stalk my Facebook friends while getting my miles in. And also because, unlike the treadmill, I didn’t have to worry about falling and busting my face.

Surprisingly, I’ve been consistently using it 4-5 days each week. I try to ride during the hour that The Young and The Restless is on. I feel great when I hit the 15-mile mark in under an hour.

After another snow storm hit last Monday into Tuesday, I was thrilled when it was warm enough to walk our mile-long street several days last week.

I sent this

to my friend, Missy on Friday as I was walking up this

big, hilly curve on our street. (You know, because a walk is more fun when you can text pictures to your BFF!)

Walking down the road (hill) is no big deal. But walking up is serious business and I have to stop two or three times to catch my breath.

I’ve also been tracking my calories on the My Fitness Pal APP. It is so simple and helpful in this weight loss endeavor. As you put foods into your daily diary, it will calculate the percentage of carbs, proteins and fats in your diet that day. I especially love that I can scan a food item bar code and the nutritional information is right at my fingertips.

Naturally, I am always way over in CARBS. (They are of the devil!)

In an effort to balance the nutritional scales, I ate this for lunch on Thursday.

Which is a small miracle, because I HATE YOGURT! I think it tastes nasty and smells nasty, and I especially hate when I pull that top off of the yogurt and it splashes out on my clothes.

ICK!

But, I held my nose and ate it like a big girl. And apparently, my bravery paid off, because those three super foods pulled my proteins and fats up and my diet was pretty well-balanced that day.

On Saturday, the SUN came out and it was a beautiful day!  The boys and I spent the afternoon outside. I walked and they rode their bikes.

And then, THIS!

Yes, it’s that time again.

That time where our schedule is crazy busy and looks like this.

 

Both boys had their first baseball practice of the season. Stevie was drafted by the same coach he has had for four seasons. Alex was drafted by a new coach, and I’d be lying if I said I was okay with it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the new coach – he’s a great guy (and quite honestly, it really wouldn’t matter who the new coach was!). It’s just that, in my head, I had planned on another season in the stands with the same group of mommies cheering on pretty much the same team (except those who moved up to the next age division) that went undefeated last season because they were so comfortable playing together. I keep telling myself, “Self, this is not about you!” and I know that it really isn’t. In my defense though, I have spent four seasons with the majority of parents on Stevie’s team. We are like a family (which is how Missy and I became so close!) and I absolutely love that we are close-knit and we all get along so well. That is why I love baseball season so much! I really wanted that same experience with Alex and his teammates because as you can see from that calendar, we spend a LOT of time together at the baseball field (and that’s just a practice schedule!) So, I guess it’s fair to say I’ve been spoiled having Stevie on the same team with at six other boys for several seasons.

At any rate, the next three months will be busy, busy, busy.

Bring on the chaos, the warm evenings at the ball field, the flip-flops, the baseball t-shirts and of course, this,

as I am once again, the bookkeeper/team mom for Stevie’s team.

Have a great week, y’all!

Top 10 Posts of 2013

When I first started this blog back in November, 2008, I kept a pretty close eye on the analytics. Now, I just take spells (I’m starting to sound like my granny!) where I’ll check on them every now and again. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from WordPress called “Your 2013 Year In Blogging.” I thought it would be fun to share the results of who’s showing up here, what they are looking for, and where they are coming from.

So, this is what my year in blogging - here at From Inmates To Playdates – looks like.

Top 10 highly trafficked posts for 2013 

  1. Bus Trip Games (April, 2010) – If you know me, you know I love to organize games and prizes. The ladies group at my church takes frequent bus trips, mostly to conferences. I am ALWAYS in charge of planning games and prizes for our trips. My favorite bus-trip game is “Pass the Gift” which is actually a poem I wrote where a door prize (in a gift bag or wrapped) is passed up and back, side to side on the bus several times before it finally lands and is given to a person on the bus. This post is so popular, I often receive e-mails asking if I have more games that I haven’t shared on the blog. The answer? Yes!
  2. Crescent Roll Chicken Casserole  (March, 2012) – Y’all, I am no culinary genius, but every once in a blue moon, I find a recipe worth sharing. This one? Definitely worth sharing. It is yummy and EASY! And I guess it never hurts to pin a recipe post on Pinterest, either.
  3. Teacher Survival Kit (August, 2012) – I always say, you can NEVER be too nice to your child’s teacher. (Apparently, there are all kinds of people who feel the same way.) At the beginning of each year, I make a teacher survival kit that includes all kinds of goodies. A few of them include - Orange slices: orange you glad for Fridays? – Stick of gum: to remind your students to STICK TO IT when things get tough - and hand soap: to remind you that I’m here if you need a hand.
  4. Teacher Appreciation Week (May, 2011) – As President of the PTA, it was my job to organize teacher appreciation week at the boy’s school. Did you hear me when I said, “You can NEVER be too nice to your child’s teacher?” Well, I meant it.
  5. What I Learned At The Funeral Home (June, 2009) – Ok. So if you’ve spent any amount of time around here, you know that I am different weird. When I mentioned to a funeral director friend that I have always wanted to watch an embalming, he told me he would call me sometime. I was shocked when he actually DID IT. Watching an embalming was, um, definitely a learning experience. (And according to my site stats there are lots of people out there who are just as crazy as I am!)
  6. The McFamily Christmas Letter (November, 2009) – I have searched for Family Christmas letters on more than one occasion because I am one of those people who write an annual family Christmas letter, but I try really hard to make them fun. The last thing I want to be is a Braggy McBraggerson.
  7. Really Cute Homemade Valentines (February, 2012) – I found a really cute Valentine idea online years ago. It looked complicated so I decided it would be too much work. The next year, I was determined to make them. They turned out really cute! If I can make them, YOU CAN TOO!
  8. Over My Dead Body (November, 2011) – One of my favorite posts of all time! In my quest to be organized to the very end, I have outlined plans for my funeral. Crazy? Yep! But since this post came in at number eight, that tells me that there are lots of people out there researching funeral planning. (Which also explains the casket in the post picture.)
  9. Bag Lady (February, 2011) – One of my best tips ever posted on the blawg. A great, compact way to store dozens of plastic grocery bags. I keep one under my kitchen sink. One under my seat in the car. And one in our camper. (What are you waiting for? Get over there and check it out!)
  10. McFamily Christmas Letter (December, 2011) – Oh look! It’s another Christmas letter post. And apparently a hot topic! Just in case you’re interested in family Christmas letter ideas, you can see most of them, here and this year’s letter, here.

 Most Commented Post of 2013

So, there you have it. My 2013 From Inmates To Playdates year in review.

Here’s to another year of excitement here at From Inmates To Playdates!

Mission SLIMpossible Update

Y’all.

It dawned on me this evening that I have been so wrapped up in the goings-on of this household that I left y’all hanging on our Mission SLIMpossible contest.

In case you just tuned in to this show, Mission SLIMpossible is an eight-week weight loss challenge I joined back in January, along with 108 others. Each of us paid $20.00 to join the contest. On the first day, we were weighed and measured (chest, hips and waist). We were given a packet of papers with the rules, weight-loss tips, and a weekly point calculation sheet that looked like this.

I carried that thing around in my purse for weeks to make tracking my daily points easier.

There were many-a-day that my desire to fill in the box with points trumped any excuse I had for not completing my daily workout, so for me, the point sheets were a huge help, even though the points weren’t a requirement for the competition.

I am so pleased to announce that in the span of eight short weeks, I lost

  • 1 inch in my chest
  • 2 inches in my waist
  • AND A BIG WHOPPIN’ 6.5 inches in my hips

And I say PRAISE YE THE LORD!

I lost a total of 8.2 pounds in eight weeks.

We were asked to bring the equivalent of our weight loss in canned food for a local food pantry.

This was my contribution:

Doesn’t look like a whole lot, but try carrying that mess from the kitchen to the bathroom scale and you’ll change your tune. That’s quite a load.

I was proud of my 8.2 pound loss, but I didn’t stand a chance of winning the $600. grand prize, because the biggest loser lost FORTY FRIGGIN POUNDS.

In eight weeks.

Best I can figure, that’s almost ONE POUND A DAY.

PHEW.

I enjoy Mexican food (and Chilis and chocolate and bread) way too much to lose a pound a day.

Still, I had a great time and met some great people.

The very best news is that I didn’t stop losing at the end of the competition.

It has now been 12 weeks since we first started Mission SLIMpossible. I am so pleased to report that I am down a total of 25.6 pounds. That’s more than three times the amount of canned food you see up there. The even better news is that we are starting a second phase of Mission SLIMpossible this weekend.

I plan to continue this journey and hope to lose at least 10 more pounds in the next eight weeks.

I’ll try to do a better job of keeping y’all posted.

This was our finale.

And this was my friend Tracy announcing the winners.

Tracy, if by chance you stop by FITP, Inc., I’d like to say thanks (and my pants do, too!) for all of your hard work and dedication in organizing this thing. I had a great time!

Totally Random Nonsense

It is with regret that I announce that I shot my wad on the SLIMpossible diet today.

While at the hospital for most of the day, I found myself with about six minutes to scarf down some “lunch”. I made a quick trip to the hospital snack bar and settled on a bag of Doritos and a chocolate pudding parfait, which I could not pass up because, HAVE YOU EVER HAD ONE? And, in a moment of weakness, I swallowed four thin mints, almost whole.

On an unrelated note, who named those suckers THIN mints anyway? I realize they are THIN, but that’s the last thing anyone who eats them is going to be. (Especially when you eat an entire sleeve. * Not that I’ve ever done that! *

In my defense though, I did come home and spend an hour with Leslie Sansone in an attempt to work that parfait and the Doritos and those four measly 160 calorie THIN mints off.

For weeks (or maybe it’s been months at this point) my kitchen counter has looked like this because the screen on that pretty pink laptop decided to quit working.

Only, I did move the monitor and keyboard over toward the wall to clear up half the counter.

But alas, I am pleased to report that tonight I am no longer sitting on that HARD bar stool. Instead, I am blogging from the comfort of my big, blue, bloggy couch with a brand spankin’ new laptop with a screen that works.

Hallelujah.

And Amen.

My tailbone thanks you, McDaddy.

And I do, too!

I heard bad news today.

I mean REALLY bad news.

I haven’t been able to think about much else since I heard the news.

Can you believe that my beloved Maksim Chremkovskiy will not be on this season of Dancing With The Stars?

That makes me nine kinds of unhappy.

But seeing these at the hospital today sure made me smile.

Yes, those are tennis shoes.

The nurse wearing them explained that they are specially designed tennis shoes (called Z-Coils) for people with a bad back. I think they are super cool and really, I MEAN REALLY wanted to ask her if I could try them on. But instead, I just snapped a picture all secret-squirrel right in the middle of the E-R.

She bought them on a Canadian website and they were $240. And before you ask, for once I wasn’t the one asking nosy questions. My dad happened to be in the E-R with me and his nose is way bigger than mine! (Hi Dad!) He was asking her all kinds of questions.

[On an unrelated note: Since receiving a tablet for Christmas, my daddy has joined the ranks with LBF’s all over the nation. And you can bet the farm it is killing him not knowing what the heck an LBF is.

I do not suffer from back, joint or foot pain (but remember I still have butt pain from sitting on that hard bar stool!), still, I really want a pair of those shoes. They are cool and from what I understand very comfortable. Not to mention I am finding, at the ripe age of 39, that comfort trumps cute every. single. time.

Oh, and on the off-chance that the fine folks from Z-Coil end up here at From Inmates To Playdates, Inc., you should know that I would LOVE an opportunity to work with you on a review/giveaway promotion. Just have your people call my people and we’ll set something up!

And just like THAT, I realize the time on my laptop is an hour off.

Danggit.

Crazy random posts work for me!

Mission SLIMpossible Update

So, we just rounded the corner into week five (of eight) and I am so happy to report I am down nine pounds.

NINE!

As in, almost ten!

I am so stinkin’ happy about that because, well, NINE POUNDS IN FOUR WEEKS AND TWO DAYS.

The nine pound loss makes all the 45-minute exercise sessions worth it.

The nine pound loss makes the 2 minute, 20 second wall-sits worth it.

The nine pound loss makes the frantic searches for foods on my Fitness Pal APP worth it.

If I’m being honest, the nine pound loss might be a twelve pound loss if I could cut the coca-cola umbilical cord for good. I allow myself one 90-calorie can per day (roughly about two swigs) and if we eat out, I usually only allow myself one glass. Still, I am so happy because y’all, I’VE LOST NINE POUNDS. You can’t imagine how excited I am that my middle number FINALLY changed!

And I might have heard harps playin’ and angels singin had I not been whooping it up and dancing around the bathroom like a crazy fool.

On top of that, for the first time in three weeks, I actually consumed half of my body weight in water over the past 24 hours.

My bladder is screaming for mercy.

But my booty is saying BRING IT THE HECK ON sister! I can tell a noticeable difference in the way my pants fit. And my thighs ache all the time, probably from the darn wall-sits.

All in all, it’s been a great week for this shrinking sunshine.

How I Lost Big This Week:

  • My normal 45 minute (6 day per week) exercise video (which is a 3-mile walk) along with the addition of crunches, donkey kicks and wall-sits.
  • In the past two weeks, I have been slacking on the water consumption. I am an all-or-nothing type of gal, and when I couldn’t do the “half my body weight in ounces thing” I just decided I wouldn’t even try to get the original 64-ounces in. I decided to kick that back up a notch this week and get the 64-ounces in. But I decided that today is the day I would. put. it. away. (Anybody remember that cheer?)
  • Stayed within my allotted calories five out of seven days.

Goals For Next Week:

  • Drink at least 64-ounces of water each day.
  • Stay within my caloric limit at least five of seven days.
  • Steer clear of sweets at least four days this week.

Unfortunately the jury is still out on the Ceylon cinnamon / raw honey gag gig. Everything I have read online about the dynamic duo suggests a person can expect to lose 3-4 pounds a week by simply taking the nastiness just before bed and first thing in the morning. And y’all, I not only added the nastiness… I am also exercising at least 45 minutes a day, drinking water like I’m being paid to drink it, not eating anything after 9pm, and counting my friggin’ calories.

*big sigh*

I’m gonna give it one more week and then I am done with the CCRH ritual.

And as always, if you have any advice, dietary, or exercise suggestions, I’d love to hear it.