Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Is Yoga for Me?

Most of my life yoga didn't really interest me. It seemed like it was something for super skinny, flexible people and focused on spiritual aspects I wasn't into. However, recently I find myself being more drawn to it. Sure I would love to be slim, but I would also like to be strong and flexible.

When I saw this post post on Operation Skinny Jeans last summer I wanted to be her. She looked so strong, graceful and beautiful as she did her poses in the park. She made me realize you don't have to have the "perfect" shape to practice yoga. Even though her blog is no longer active I would recommend reading through her old posts. She has some excellent things to say. I miss her blog.

Awhile back, I tried a yoga class with a friend at her gym. I liked it okay, but I was a bit overwhelmed by the more difficult poses and flow. I mostly wanted to lay on the mat and take a nap. The gym we belong to offers a couple of yoga classes and I have toyed with trying them for months, but still haven't made it to one.

Over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a little online "research" on beginning yoga. I watched some videos, read about various poses...and still didn't try it. I often get excited about something, do the research and then I guess my fear of failure kicks in and I don't give it a proper try.

Perhaps my niece read on my recent 2.0 post and saw that I wanted to pursue yoga. It wasn't long after she arrived at our house on Friday that she was talking about us doing yoga. So I pulled up some of the videos I had previously watched. (Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about yoga. I am simply sharing what we found online by searching yoga for complete beginners.)

We set up the laptop on the floor and started our first session Friday afternoon. The video we are using is Yoga For Complete Beginners - 20 Minute Home Yoga Workout! The workout itself was definitely for beginners, but still challenge me.

By the way every time I look at these pictures I get sidetracked by the floor. I love it even more every time I see it :)

On a side note, no sooner did I get the mat unrolled Zommie dashed over to claim it.
Evidently, she had a pose or two of her own she wanted to share. She takes her Downward Dog very seriously!
A website we found that had several options for beginners is Running with the Sunrise. Saturday evening we tried the poses on her Bedtime Yoga Poses post. Maybe that is why we both fell asleep during Empire Strikes Back. That king size bed is really coming in handy.

I liked the idea of doing the yoga on the bed, but in reality it feels a little too soft for several of the poses. For example, I tried the bridge and only got a sliver of daylight under my hiney. Truth is my niece had no problem putting lots of daylight between her and the bed, so I will keep working on it.

Thread the Needle. I am looking forward to becoming more flexible - mine didn't look anything like this :)
Reclined Pigeon - makes me laugh every time I hear the name.
Supine Twist - I remember my husband using this stretch in his Jiu Jitsu classes.
Since the weekend I have continued to do some yoga every day. I've done the bedtime yoga several times. While the dogs are outside in the morning, I have worked on some poses on the deck - warrior, tree, etc.

I am planning to do the video again this week. The first time I did the biggest issue was that my wrists hurt when I was in any position that put pressure on them. Apparently, they could use some strengthening. The tightness in my legs also made the crossed leg position very uncomfortable. I am looking forward to both of those becoming easier as I lose weight and get my muscles stretched and strengthened.

Now to the weigh-in...I lost 3.8 pounds. I am super excited about that. It has been a LONG time since I have put together a good week and am proud of the results. Next week's plan includes more of the same of what worked this week - tracking food, some yoga and. if the weather cooperates.some walking outside.

Linking up with Winter at Weigh-In Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Weekend to Remember

This weekend was one of the best weekends I can remember. Our niece stayed with us from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. We joke about our house being a resort. We posted a list of activities available. Then did our best to work our way through the list.
Chopped Challenge -  Almost two years ago we hosted a Chopped Challenge for my niece and ever since she has been begging for a rematch. (Sorry, it was so long - I can't believe how fast time flies).  The premise is based on the Food Network show. The contestants get a basket with 4-5 mystery ingredients and they have a set amount of time to make their dish. They have some pretty crazy ingredients - like octopus eyeballs. Obviously, we don't go that crazy, but since she is a growing chef we knew she would want to be challenged her. In her case she is the only chef and we don't limit her time. Plus she gets me as a sous chef. I helped her with techniques but she didn't the work and did all the creating.

Contemplating her ingredients - ground pork, broccoli slaw, ramen noodles, pineapple preserves and pizza dough.
This is what happens when your sous chef forgets to prick the pizza dough before putting into the oven to pre-bake.
The finished product - pork and broccoli meatballs (seasoned with the ramen noodle seasoning packet and lime zest) and pineapple/lime spaghetti (ramen noodles) pizza. The ramen noodles reminded me of caramelized onions.
I really enjoyed the pizza. It was sweet and salty, crispy and soft, the lime gave it a fresh taste. Her dish was creative and fun. Even though we didn''t have a competitor in the actual challenge we staged a competitor to film the "winning" moment.

Disney Movie Night - Can you believe that someone who writes this blog had NEVER seen Frozen?? I have now seen most of it.  I am the absolute worst about falling asleep during movies.
Farmer's Market -  Saturday morning we took the pups and wandered around the market. We bought a flat of peaches - they were seconds, but delicious. We enjoyed checking out the various crafts. And the pups enjoyed all the attention from people at the market.
This giraffe is made from coke cans. How genius is that? I wonder how many times the artist cut himself though.
The stuffed animals at this booth are the most adorable things. The cat on the right was my husband's favorite.

Yard Sales - On the way back from the farmer's market we hit a few yard sales. I think we were a little late in the day and didn't find much. I have a few items I am looking for - good upcyclable furniture (dresser/chest), used legos and a bigger crate for Zommie.  I just noticed that strainer has pineapples on it- how cute.
Puzzling - We finished an entire 1000 piece puzzle!  My husband isn't usually all about the jigsaws, but since he didn't have a lego set to build we sucked him in :)

Advanced Star Wars viewing and discussion group - Our topic was Empire Strikes Back. It was fun to hear my husband's commentary and ask him questions. He also likes to tease my niece that it is now a Disney movie and even includes a princess. We weren't buying it!
Banana Bread Making - We made it, tasted it and sent most of it home with my niece.
I am a little embarrassed that Millie's birthday celebration didn't make the advance list. The date kind of snuck up on us. We spent quite a bit of time celebrating on Sunday with dress up, cookies, and frisbee (see yesterday's post). I am not sure our intention was really to do everything on the list, but we did make it through most of it.
We didn't get to any of the sewing because we added some other things... (FYI the tickhunting was added because the frisbee golf course has some brush that might have ticks - have to make sure sure no one brings them home).

Cheer lessons - My niece loves her cheerleading and teaching her uncle the routines. I am not allowed to post video, but trust me there was plenty of laughing :)
Sunday Morning Breakfast - One of our favorite things is going to breakfast on Sunday mornings. I think we enjoy it more than dinner out. We are usually the early birds and it is nice to connect and start the day off together.
We ordered two breakfasts and split them between the three of us. There was more than enough food for us and we saved a little money :)
We are also fans of weekend breakfasts at home. Saturday morning we made waffles with my cinnamon banana syrup. The banana syrup was a random invention years ago that has become one of my niece's favorites.

Finally. tomorrow's post will focus on another adventure we added to the list - Yoga!

Before the weekend started I had every intention of balancing tracking and treats. I knew we would be eating out and making treats at home so I wanted to be sure not to undo the work I have been doing last week. The tracking didn't happen, but I did keep myself very conscious of what I was eating and although I had treats I definitely limited the amounts I ate. Since we had so much going on  there wasn't a lot of time for snacking. And two sessions of yoga had to help, right?

My balancing act paid off. Monday morning I was down .2 from what I weighed on Friday morning. I will take that ANY Monday of the year, but especially on a fun weekend like this. Can't wait to see my weekly weigh in tomorrow morning. I believe it is going to be the best in a LONG while.

I could not have asked for a better weekend :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Millie Turns Two!

Our Millie puppy turned two yesterday. Even though she is all grown up she will always be our puppy :)

Yes, we are those people...

 I believe Millie has officially checked her dignity...
Looks like Zommie's eyes might pop out too.
 Millie's Chewbacca impression.

After tormenting her with dress up we made her cookies. She loves peanut butter so we choose a peanut butter recipe. They weren't very tasty (don't ask me how I know) but she loved them. I even cut out a couple to represent her favorite chew toy - Zommie the dachshund.
In the afternoon we took her to play frisbee. And being terrible dog parents I am posting this series of embarrassing photos...wipeout!

Poor Millie. It is tough to have a camera on you all the time.
 She turned that corner so tight her tongue couldn't even keep up :)
 Making the grab.
I thought about letting everyone think she caught that, but truth is she rarely catches the frisbee. When she misses with her mouth she always tries to grab or knock it down with her feet.

One last picture and I will stop - sorry :)

Happy Birthday, Millie! We love that you are a part of our family.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Eat and Sleep

Packing my lunch for work is essential to keeping me on track. Even when I do bring my lunch I can easily be tempted to eat out. Therefore, I am working on making my lunches extra appealing so I will want to eat them. I didn't prepare as much this week as I needed so this morning I was scrambling to make something I had on hand sound delicious.

I settled on making a batch of our buffalo chicken (chicken breast chunks seared and sauteed with buffalo sauce). I chopped up some cucumber and red onion and dressed it with a yogurt ranch dressing. It was inspired by tzatztiki sauce. I assembled it on a wheat pita.

I wanted to love it...I didn't hate it...but I just wanted to love it.  I think I might have made an herb mistake. Went to the herb bed planning to find some dill or maybe sweet basil. Instead, I chose lime basil. It is new to my garden this year. It doesn't have a lime smell, but it didn't translate as well into the taste. The herb flavor was too strong. I think I am going to have to do a little research for better ways to use it - I don't want to give up on my lime basil after one try.

I can't remember the last time I ate a banana as just a banana. Usually I eat them in a smoothie or on my cereal. One of my favorite ways to eat them is in a peanut butter and banana sandwich...but that is a little risky when I use bread. Oddly, if I roll the banana up in a flour tortilla with the peanut butter I don't have the same reaction. It seems much more satisfying than bread.

In all the resources I read about effective ways to lose weight, getting enough sleep is always on the list. Unfortunately, I don't sleep that well. I have no problem falling asleep. However. by about 2 a.m. I am waking up, tossing and turning and never get back into a good sleep.

We have slept in a full size bed since we got married. And I had that bed for about 10 years before that. I know it is "tiny" but I loved it. It is a solid maple bed made in the 50s - when things were made to last. (You can see the bed here.) I bought it and a matching dresser second hand. Part of why I liked it was that it was from the exact same line as the bedroom set my mom got in high school - she has a bigger dresser and a dressing table, as well. Sadly, over time the side rails on the bed have warped a little so the bottom slats wouldn't stay on as well as it should. We decided it was time to replace it. And since we were replacing it how about an upgrade?  We debated between getting a queen or a king. When we realized the queen is only about 5-6 inches wider it made us seriously consider the king, which is 24 inches wider than the full.

I would like to go on record of saying that mattresses are ridiculously priced. My poor husband fell in love with a $5200 was so out of price range there was no talking me into it. We hoped to get the mattress and box springs for around $800. We spent quite awhile at that particular store.  We told the salesman our budget and "sampled" several mattresses. The salesman was friendly and helpful but not overbearing. I would have like to buy from that store, but we couldn't quite get the price we needed. I was surprised how much wiggle room he had to negotiate. We liked a set that was originally on sale for $1500. He got it down to $1200 pretty quickly. As we were getting ready to leave, he said "Hypothetically, if I could get it down to $999 could you do it?"

Mattress shopping is a serious and exhausting business. Do you know how cruel it is to let a woman lie down on a bed for a couple minutes and then make her get up? Some mattresses I knew immediately were not the one, others I couldn't tell the difference. It is a significant purchase and I didn't want to make a mistake. But how much can you really know from a few minutes of awkwardly lying on a bed in the middle of  a store?

Ultimately, we ended up buying the mattress and box springs from Sam's Club for my desired $800. A special thank you to my sister for meeting us a couple times at Sam's Club where she is a member. And I repay her by posting this picture? Truth is, I think she looks adorable.

Once we made a decision we rented a UHaul and brought it home. The UHaul was a little less than having it delivered, but we got it on our timing. If we had ordered online we would have had to wait about 3 weeks.
My sister and husband assembled the bed. Notice it is the woman reading the directions.  I know, I know I am being terribly sexist, but you know what I am talking about, right ladies?
The mattress exchange. Wow!  The behemoth made our old bed look tiny.
We bought the new low profile box spring. It is 4 inches shorter than a standard box spring. I didn't want the bed to be super tall. At some point I might want to raise it up a bit to use some storage space under it. At one store, the saleslady tried to sell us the two pieces of the king box spring separately at $319 apiece - all the other stores sold them together for $300 or less. She was super frustrating - she wouldn't leave us alone and kept pointing out super expensive beds even after we had made our budget clear. I finally just had to say "I am sorry, but there isn't anything even close to our price range." As we attempted to escape, she made a less ditch effort to show us a couple that were closer to our price, but still so far away. I know they probably work on commission, but talking people into something that can't afford is just plain wrong. Respect the budget. 
I don't know how it happened exactly, but my fabulous sister and husband did all the work while I took pictures :)

I am very happy how well it fits in the room. I know it is a bedroom, so the bed is going to be the main feature. I just didn't want the entire room to be a bed.
And look, Meg, it is going to be a pretty big jump from the doorway to avoid the hot lava :)

It is time to say "Good night all"  I have some serious sleeping to do!!