Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursday Random Post

This post will be all over the place, much like my brain lately.

* Potty training is the SUCK.  I know, judge away that my over 3 year old is still not potty trained.  We have tried everything:  A reward box with non-food items that he can pick, candy, threats, following the Stress Free Potty Training method, putting him in underwear, having him run around pantless, and basically not caring.  NOTHING.IS.WORKING.  Everyone says that he will do it in his own time, but you know what?  He can do this.  It's frustrating for us.  He is so strong willed and when we try and put him in underwear, he intentionally pees in them and laughs about it.  Last week, he was doing a good job of pooping on the potty and we rewarded him with a trip to the indoor play place.  That same tactic this week?  Not working.  Dammit, he needs to be potty trained before school starts in September.  Gah!

* One pretty neat potty training story:  Jason and I are were arguing about something stupid last week when we realized the house was awfully quiet.  Cal and Beau were accounted for.  Jack was not.  I called out "Jack, where are you?".  He called back "I going poop!".  He had gone into the bathroom himself, pulled down the toilet lid, flipped the potty seat on, got his stool out, pulled his pants and Pull Up off and pooped.  We were shocked.  And amazed.  He got a lot of jelly beans for that.

* I am currently in puppy kindergarten with Beau. I did the orientation last week and this week is our first class with the dog.  I have been doing our homework every day which consists of having him recognize his name and sit by using a hand motion.  Like most dog parents I would like to think my dog is smart.  He caught on super fast.  He doesn't even need a treat to encourage him anymore.  He just sits when I put my hand up.

* I have been running my kids ragged (not really) lately.  I have been making an effort to get out of the house and get them moving and doing something.  In the past month, we have done the following:  The zoo, the water park, aquarium, several parks, Dizzy Castle which is a huge indoor playground, Pump It Up (an indoor jump place), walks with the dog, and trips to the pet store and grocery store.  It's been hectic, but good because it gives them something to look forward to, gets ME out of the house for my own sanity and helps burn some energy so they hopefully sleep better.

* Oh my God, sleep.  I really can't complain in this department.  Cal has been sleeping through the night for about 2 months now.  I have been afraid of saying that since I don't want to jinx anything.  He even has been sleeping through the night with an ear infection!  However, one sucky thing?  They wake up early.  I used to be able to count on 7:00am.  Now with the time change and the fact that it's lighter outside Jack wakes up at 6:00ish.  Ugh.  I need to get blackout curtains for their room.

* Our fence is going up!  Our contractor currently has all the posts in.  He is working on the railings next.  He is doing the work in small increments but that's okay with us.  As long as he finishes up in the next two weeks or so, we will be happy.

* I haven't weighed in for a couple of weeks (see bullet with kiddo activities above) but I plan on going on Saturday.  Hopefully it's a loss!

That's about it for now.  No pictures today.  That would take effort and I am tired.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sample Menu - Weight Watchers

Down another 1.6 pounds as of my weigh-in on Saturday.  Since I have only been on plan for 2 weeks, that makes my total 2.6 pounds.  Yay me!

I am posting my sample menu for two days so you can see what types of things I eat on a daily basis.  Maybe this will give you some ideas for meals or snacks.

Tuesday Menu

Breakfast:  Large cup of coffee with CoffeeMate Creme Brulee creamer (5 Points Plus), Breakfast smoothie (1/2 nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 cups of spinach, a medium banana, handful of strawberries) (2 Points Plus), bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with milk (5 Points Plus).

Notes:  You will notice that I eat a lot of Points for breakfast.  I start my day at 6:00 and I usually drink my coffee first.  The actual food portion of my breakfast comes later.  I need to stay full until lunch and if I pack on a lot of healthy food in the morning, I don't feel the need to snack a lot early in the day.

Lunch:  Quinoa salad (I made quinoa the other night with satueed onions and red peppers simmered in chicken broth.  I tossed this some leftover cold roasted broccoli and it was sooooo good!) (5 Points Plus), Fage Blueberry Greek Yogurt (3 Points Plus), handful of cherry tomatoes (0 Points Plus), medium apple (0 Points Plus).

Snack:  1 cup of baby carrots (0 Points Plus), 1/4 cup of hummus (3 Points Plus), 2 tablespoons Better'n Peanut Butter on a sandwich thin (5 Points Plus), Special K Thin Crisps (3 Points Plus).

Notes:  I eat a large snack (and yes, this was all consumed at once) because I find that I get hungry mid-afternoon.  This would probably be considered a meal and I am okay with that.

Dinner:  Chicken Taco Chili (5 Points Plus), 1 small piece of cornbread (2 Points Plus), roasted asparagus (0 Points Plus), SkinnyCow ice cream sandwich (4 Points Plus).

You can see that I did eat some processed foods in there (Thin Crisps, coffee creamer) but over all, it's chock full of fruits and veggies.

Total for the day:  42 Points Plus - 5 of these are Flex Points.  I try and use about 5 of those every day or save them for the week so I can splurge on the weekend.

Wednesday Menu

Breakfast:  Large cup of coffee with CoffeeMate Creme Brulee creamer (5 Points Plus), Breakfast smoothie (1/2 nonfat Greek yogurt, 2 cups of spinach, a medium banana, handful of blueberries and peaches) (2 Points Plus), 3 egg whites scrambled with 1/4 cup low-fat cheese in a light tortilla (5 Points Plus).

Notes:  My smoothie fruit varies every day.  I will sometimes do all peaches, or just strawberries.  Whatever strikes my fancy.

Lunch:  Quinoa salad - today with leftover roasted cauliflower (5 Points Plus), string cheese (2 Points Plus), Fage Honey Greek yogurt (4 Points Plus), handful of grapes (0 Points Plus).

Snack:  Apple (0 Points Plus), 2 tablespoons Better'n Peanut Butter on a sandwich thin (5 Points Plus), Special K Thin Crisps (3 Points Plus).

Dinner:  Stovetop Macaroni and Cheese (6 Points Plus), roasted broccoli (0 Points Plus), orange (0 Points Plus), SkinnyCow ice cream bar (4 Points Plus).

Notes:  Dinner didn't have enough food so I am adding the orange.  I didn't feel like making a salad.  Eh, I am lazy.

Total for the day:  41 Points Plus - 4 of these are Flex Points.

All in all, not bad!  I do make sure and drink tons of water also. I try and average about 64 ounces but some days it's more and some days it's less.

What do you think?  Have any good snack ideas?  I tend to eat the same snacks over and over so variety is good.  Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Things I Love Lately

I am loving some things lately so I thought I would share the love and why I love them.

Fage Yogurt

I have always loved Fage (pronounced Fa-yeh) but now that I am on Weight Watchers, I want all my snacks to count and be satisfying.  I love the flavors and the fact the puree or honey comes in a separate compartment in the container.  I can pour it in or scoop it at random.  There is a great variety of flavors but my favorite is the blueberry.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is huge right now.  Use it as a substitute in cooking and baking, skincare, baby bottom care, etc. There are seriously a million uses for it.  What is my favorite use?  To take care of my serious chicken skin (Keratosis Pilaris) on my arms.  I had been previously using a pricier product, which is totally great by the way, but this method is much more cost effective and the scents are more pleasing.

I use CJ's BUTTer in many many different scents.  My current favorite is Coconut Lime Dream, but I also love Pink Sugar and Oatmeal, Milk and Honey.

Originally, I bought these little sample tubs for Cal to use as a diaper rash preventive.  However, I found that he doesn't really need them so I re-purposed them for myself.  No guilt here!

I love what CJ's does for my arms.  I put it on after I shower and the oil starts out solid but melts as you rub it in.  It doesn't make my skin greasy like you would think with an oil.  My chicken skin is not itchy, it's noticeably less red and hey!  I smell really good.

Obviously you don't want to cook with a scented oil so there are other brands out there.  I know Trader Joe's has their own bottle of coconut oil with no scent that you can use for cooking or a myriad of other things.

Candy Crush Saga

Damn you Candy Crush!  Why must you suck me in with your fun and addicting game?!?  I love Candy Crush.  I play on my table at night to wind-down after our hectic days.  Even though it will sometimes take me days or weeks to finish a level, I still come back to this time suck.

I sort of hope to get to the end of all the levels so I can find time to do other things at night.  Or maybe not.

Maxi Dress

I decided to sort of be trendy and buy a maxi dress for myself.  I wanted a lightweight one that I can wear in the heat of the summer but one that would be flattering on my uh....large body shape.  I found one!

I bought the exact dress above at Kohl's.  It's their Sonoma Life and Style brand which is generally geared towards the more casual (aka OLD) folks.  I tried it on and loved it!  I wore it on Mother's Day with casual sandals and it was so so so so so comfortable.  With the $30 price tag, this is an all over win.

Loopy Vodka

My sister told me about this vodka.  It's Fruit Loop flavored!  I am not a big drinker but sometimes, in the evenings after a stressful day, I like a drink.  Sometimes a beer, sometimes wine, sometimes something stronger.

I added a shot of this to some Diet Sprite last night and it was really good!  One ounce of this is only 2 Points Plus so it isn't a huge indulgence.  

These are some of my favorite things lately.  If you try any of these, let me know!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Recipe Round-Up

Just a quick Weight Watchers check-in:  I am down a pound. It's a loss!  I don't care what the loss is, even if it's .2 pounds.  I am trending downward and that is all that matters.

I am going to post some recipes, links and pictures below on the things I have cooked lately.  If it's a Weight Watchers friendly recipe, I have also added the Points Plus per serving.  I hope you make some of these!

Summer Vegetables with Sausage and Potatoes

I can't profess my love for Skinnytaste enough.  Many of my recipes come from Gina and her website.  She never disappoints.

My favorite thing about this recipe besides the taste is that it cooks all in one pan! Makes for super easy clean up.  I loved how fresh this recipe was with the rosemary and all the in-season veggies.  Peppers sauteed are one of my favorite veggies so this was perfect for me.  At 8 Points Plus per serving, this was filling and satisfying.

This is a Cooking Light recipe I made a few years ago that I decided to resurrect.  It's fairly easy to make and super yummy.  This is 11 Points Plus a serving but it's a big calzone so worth the high Points.  

I added extra cheese and sauce to my hubby's and kiddo's calzones so they wouldn't feel "cheated" by not a lot of cheese (which seems silly to me!).  

I served roasted broccoli with this and it was a very filling dinner.  Have you tried roasted broccoli?  It's VERY easy and super yummy.  We do roasted veggies a lot since it gives them such a different flavor.

Cheeseburger Casserole

I made this recipe at the suggestion of a friend.  Sadly, I won't be making it again because the hubby didn't like it.  I don't know why?!  It was really good!  It really did taste like a cheeseburger in casserole format.  I will be eating the leftovers for lunch so more for me!

Why yes, those are chopped pickles on the top.  It gave the casserole a nice unexpected crispy crunch.  At 7 Points Plus per one cup serving, this was a great and easy pasta dish.  It only took about 15 minutes to prep and another 15 to bake.

Crispy Chicken Fingers

This was on my sister's Pinterest page (Thanks Carrie!) so I thought I would try it.  Generally Jason doesn't like baked chicken fingers because they aren't "authentic" or crispy enough.  He really really like these.  He asked if I would make them again.  Sure honey!

My only complaint is that they were slightly soggy on the bottom.  That was probably my fault since I was baking them on a different pan than I would normally use.

These were slightly sweet due to the cornflakes I used - some cheap generic brand.  Next time I will probably splurge and get a brand name box so they weren't as sweet.  I loved the addition of the honey and mustard to the batter.

These ended up being 5 Points Plus per serving.

Another Skinnytaste recipe!  I adore that this is only essentially two ingredients.  Chicken and salsa.  Done.  I also love that you can throw this in the crockpot and just forget about it.  I used chicken breasts rather than tenders and put them in frozen.  I cooked on low for about 5 hours before shredding the meat and adding it back to the crock pot.  3 Points Plus per serving.  

Since it was Cinco de Mayo the day I made this, I whipped up some Spanish rice.  Recipe here.  I was shocked at how easy and tasty it was!  No more boxes of Spanish rice.  

Spicy Thai Noodles

This is not a Weight Watchers friendly recipe but need to post it.  It was amazing.  I made it a few weeks ago and it was sooooo good.  If there was a way to lighten it up I would absolutely make it again.  In order to satisfy my meat-eater husband I thinly sliced some chicken breast to add to the noodles when they were done cooking.

This recipe takes a ton of sesame oil and vegetable oil (I used canola) but the results are worth it.  You could definitely cut down on the oil a bit because there was a puddle in the bottom of our dishes when we were done.

Just looking at the picture below makes me want a huge dish of those noodles.  Gah!

Finally, I kept hearing about this ice cream that is made from just a banana.  So I did a little Googling and found a few sites related to bananas and ice cream.  I like this one in particular.  She adds peanut butter and cocoa to her "ice cream" but you could add berries, some coconut, or anything really.

I made it and was very surprised!  It is a sweet treat and if you half the recipe and make two servings out of that (a fourth of the original recipe really), it's only 1 Points Plus for quite a big serving size.

Here are some of the recipes I have lined up for this coming week and days:

Quick Skillet Steak with Mushrooms and Onions - I have made this one before.  It's great!

Stay tuned for more yummy recipes soon!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Jack's Second Surgery

Jack's surgery started out bright and early on the morning of April 19th.  I had taken that day off of work so I could take Jack to the surgery.  Cal had spent the night over at my in-laws on Thursday so we wouldn't have to worry about transporting him or entertaining him at the hospital all day.

We had to be at the hospital at 6:00am for a 7:30am surgery.  Although I had briefly explained to Jack what was going on, he didn't really understand.  All he cared about was riding the "elligators" (elevators).

He wanted to bring his pillow which I think was an excellent idea.

Walking across the sky bridge to the hospital.  It really was this dark out.

After checking in and getting a super cool hospital bracelet, we settled into the surgery waiting room.  Jack played on my tablet, not having a care in the world.  

Soon enough we were brought back to our room for the day and introduced to Jack's wonderful nurse Lacey.  She was so kind and explained everything to us.  Jack bonded with her immediately because she had a "way" with kids.  Jack got into his special hospital jammies and Lacey took vitals, did a few tests and talked to us about what we could expect.

Even though Jack had this same surgery when he was 15 months old, there are some differences.  Older children tend to have a more difficult time coming out of anesthesia.  They get very disoriented, can be really cranky, cry and some even just scream because they are so angry.  I had done some reading online so I expected a lot of this.  Also, Jack's adenoids were being taken out so he needed a breathing tube placed in.  That was different than the last time as well.

Lacey came in and gave Jack a dose of Verced, which calms them and makes them pretty sleepy.  I was afraid of him throwing up since he has such a terrible gag reflex.  Amazingly, he did great, even though he did say the medicine was "yucky".  

Pretty soon Jack got loopy and sleepy.  Even though he didn't fall asleep, he needed to be held up a bit because he would sit in the bed and sort of topple over.  It was like watching a tiny drunk person.

The anesthesiologist came in and met with us.  He gave Jack the mask and balloon to check out so he wouldn't be concerned when taking him back to surgery and that was it.  Jack wanted nothing else than to play with that thing.  Every other picture I have is of him and that darn balloon.

Loopy but he still realizes that toe clip is taking his pulse.

Watching Disney and there's Daddy!


That dang balloon.  He would blow it up and play with it.  A few times we had to take it away because he was almost hyperventilating.

Laying down now.  Medication in full force.

Oh hai!  I am high on life!

The doctor was running about 30 minutes behind but that gave the Verced a good amount of time to work.  By the time the doctor got there, Jack was well medicated and he had no problems being wheeled off to surgery.  He still had the balloon so that was a good distraction.

Jason and I got our pager and went to get some breakfast.  I was a worried mama and couldn't really eat so I settled for some coffee and a very fattening pastry (stress eater checking in!).  After eating we were expecting a page pretty quickly so we settled back into the surgery waiting room.  We were told to expect to be paged about 45 minutes after Jack was wheeled back. Sure enough, it was right about 50 minutes.

We went back to our room to wait for a report from the doctor and to see Jack.  He went to recovery after surgery in order to make sure he was okay and not throwing up.  

Dr. Pedersen came and told us Jack had done well with the surgery (phew).  Apparently his adenoids were very enlarged and completely blocking his eustachian tube.  Taking them out would greatly help with the ear draining.  Since they cauterize the adenoids, we were told to expect him to have very bad breath for a few days.  His left ear, the one where the tube had fallen out, had very thick fluid in it that they had to suction out.  Also, because he was getting over the final legs of a cold, they needed to suction out his throat a bit too.  He was coughing a bit in recovery and getting the residual junk up.  Because he was crying for Mama, they brought him back to his room.

Like expected, he had a little bit of a hard time coming off the anesthesia.  He had an IV in his hand and he kept trying to rip it out and cried "Get it off, get it off" over and over again.  The IV can't come out until he could keep some fluids down without throwing up.  Lacey, his nurse kept offering juice (which he loves) or a popsicle.  Because he hadn't eaten anything since the night before, I was expecting him to jump at the chance of juice but he just kept crying "no, no, no!".

I held him for about 45 minutes, trying to calm him down, telling him he was safe, that we loved him, encouraging him to take a drink and promising him that as soon as he drank some juice, we could go home.  He would just keep crying, telling me his mouth hurt, pulling at his IV, and being generally cranky. I don't blame him the poor thing.

Finally after 45 minutes he drank some juice and was starting to feel like himself.  When he talked, he did indeed have super bad breath and sounded like he was getting over the worst cold of his life (almost like he was completely stuffed up).  Once he could drink and keep the juice down, Lacey took out his IV and we got him dressed.

We were on our way home!  He was groggy the rest of the day and took a super long nap after lunch.  Since I wanted him to have some food before eating but not upset his throat or stomach, I made him cinnamon toast, a banana and more juice.

Playing on the tablet at home, resting up.

The next few days, Jack recovered and was spoiled.  Calvin stayed over at Nana and Papa's another night so we could pamper Jack and let him get his rest.  We went out to dinner on Friday night because he seemed to be feeling great.  He was pretty crabby so our dinner wasn't completely fun.

The big thing that threw us off was that Jack didn't bounce back quite like we were expecting.  The doctor told us that by the next day, he wouldn't be in any pain and wouldn't need any medication with the exception of the antibiotic and ear drops he prescribed.  He shouldn't need any pain meds but we could certainly give him some.  Well, that wasn't the case.  For about a week, Jack complained of his mouth hurting.  To the point where he would wake up in the middle of the night crying in pain.  We had to constantly keep him on Ibuprofen so he would be comfortable.

By Monday I called his doctor because I was getting concerned.  I took him for a quick follow-up and it turns out the doctor might have knicked him with the cauter tool because his mouth had some white spots in it that didn't appear to be infection related.

Even though it took Jack a little longer to heal, I am glad we went through with the surgery.  He is unlikely to get any more ear infections until the tubes fall out.  That alone is a good thing since getting an ear infection every time he had a cold was getting problematic.

Hopefully this winter when cold and flu season is in full swing, we will really start seeing the benefits of this surgery.