Friday, March 11, 2016

Ready to Slow Down

This has been an extremely busy work week for me. Our office hosted an event on Wednesday for 150+ middle school students competing in teams of four. They were challenged with problem solving, building systems, brain teasers, math, word puzzles, etc. The systems (building projects) are created with limited supplies.

In this first activity, students were given a file folder, 3 or 4 sheets of paper and a length of tape. Their assignment was to build a "structure" to protect 3 grape tomatoes and a tile from the falling "hammer" pictured below. The red block that falls onto the structure is about 8 pounds (plus the added force of the falling from a vertical position.)

This team encased the tomatoes in a tube made from the file folder and padded it with the paper. Their tomatoes survived. Extra points were also given for the height of the structure after impact.
A completely different approach was taken by this team. They seemed to think the taller the structure was from the start, the taller it would be after the hammer fell.
 Tomatoes completely crushed - live and learn. :(
The second system was very simple. Using one file folder and a length of tape they were asked to build the tallest structure possible. The catch - the file folder must remain in one piece. It can be cut, folded and twisted, but not cut into separate pieces.
We hold this event on one of the local university campuses. There are always interesting things to be seen on a university campus. This "art" caught my eye.
It was the first time I had seen trash cans labeled this way. I think it is great that it takes your thought process beyond "trash" and reminds you everything in that bin is going to a landfill.
Last night my husband had yet another dentist appointment. He is in the process of getting a couple of dental implants. This appointment was the surgical placement of the "root" part - steel pieces that function a bit like drywall screw anchors. The anchors are screwed right into the jaw bone - freaks me out a bit to think of the procedure. (The process has been a little intense for both of us, but he has been such a trooper and I am so proud of him.) They actually let me stay in the room during the procedure and the dentist called me over a couple of times to show me what he was doing. I am not sure I needed to see all that :)  At one point, the dentist was using a teeny tiny torque wrench in my husband's mouth - crazy!  When I wasn't watching the procedure this was the gorgeous alternative view!
This morning I had to take a quick run to Walmart to get supplies to make my husband a little more comfortable. I thought he might need one of these, but I figured the bunny tooth might be a little insensitive.
While I was there I decided to pick up a bag of garden soil. I want to top off one of my garden boxes so I can plant cold weather veggies this weekend - spinach, radishes, lettuce, etc. Garden time is coming!! There was a little controversy over the price. As you can see they were clearly marked $7. Although they did "give" me a bag for that price they made it clear they were doing me a huge favor since it should actually be $7.88 a bag. They insisted the wind must have blown away the 8s during the night. Yeah, probably not. No one is perfect, mistakes happen, etc. - just say "oops sorry" and move on. Please don't make up not so plausible excuses. There were about 15 signs like these in the row...only these two had wind issues?  Mini rant over.
I was grateful to be allowed to work from home today so I could be here for my husband. He is feeling much better than last night. The dogs were restless so I pulled their bed into the hallway next to the command center so they could be with me. We had Bring Your Pups To Work Day :)
 I made my husband a special easy-to-eat lunch. He loved it.
For dinner I made Korean Grilled Chicken from Skinnytaste. I have had this recipe on my radar for awhile. The recipe actually calls for chicken breasts, but have eaten so much chicken breast lately I need a change. Not to mention, thighs are so delicious on the grill
All the ingredients, except the chicken, are mixed together into a marinade. The smell was incredible - grated ginger, garlic and one of my favorites...sesame oil. I wanted to eat the marinade with a spoon. I put the chicken and the marinade in a freezer bag and refrigerated for about an hour. I had meant to do it sooner, but even an hour was enough time to get good flavor.
The recipe called for green onions, which I didn't have. I remembered from cleaning the garden boxes a couple of weeks ago that there were some chives that survived the winter. One lonely bunch of chives in the middle of the herb box.
It was another beautiful day for grilling.  There was plenty of marinade to add a couple more thighs. While they were grilling I was dreaming up ideas to try with the leftovers. I am thinking spring rolls. I will let you know. I am not sure how long the extra chicken will last because despite his initital hesitancy about Korean flavors, my husband loved it.
 This might be one of my favorite food pictures - it is making me hungry all over again now. The chives were a perfect garnish.
I grilled zucchini and asparagus too - yum!  I made the mac 'n cheese mostly for my husband. I wasn't sure he was going to be able to eat the chicken, but with small bites he managed :)
This is a definite make again recipe. I am excited to see how the leftover creations turn out.

I am still doing surprisingly(to me anyway) well with my food tracking. I am finding that looking at meals individually is helping me stay focused. So many times in the past, I've thrown away whole days because of a "bad" meal. A high calorie breakfast gave me license to eat high calorie the rest of the day since I would go over anyway. This way I am starting fresh each meal. It plays right into the "next best choice" habit I am working to build. I have also set a wide range (300-600 calories) per meal to give myself flexibility. In the past, I would have been telling myself I can't have mac 'n cheese because I might "need' those calories later in the evening. So far I have been averaging right around 1500 calories a day without all the previous anxiety. You can see from the pictures in my Food Log that I have been eating several "non-diet" things and definitely not starving. I am looking forward to see how this approach plays out. 

We don't have any big plans for this weekend, other than a couple little projects around the house. What do you have planned?


  1. I've had that recipe on my radar for a while too. It looks delicious!

    1. Definitely move it onto the menu - very tasty!

  2. Oh wow that does look fantastic! I'm so glad your hubby's procedure went smoothly.

    1. It is pushing 10 ingredients, but super easy to make - marinades are very forgiving :)

  3. The event that you had for the school aged kids looks really neat! :-)

    I have always tried to have the mentality that each meal...each eating opportunity is it's own deal. Never have to wait until tomorrow to start....start at the next meal! And yes, focus on one meal....small increments make things easier to handle!

    1. It is always a fun day watching the kids work out the projects. So far the meal at a time has changed my attitude...definitely less mental drama to make it all work.

  4. I can't believe they let you in the room that is awesome. Yum, grilled chicken. Can't wait until it is warm and DRY enough to do some grilling.

    1. We have been to this dentist 4 times and only once was I not in the room. It is so much better to have someone else to "hear" everything because the patient never remembers :) We didn't get nearly as much rain as they predicted so that was nice.

  5. It looks like you got quite a bit done. I never seem to get as much done as I plan on. The food you made looks delicious too. I am actually a vegetarian but seeing that meat makes me question things. But the macaroni and cheese and veggies also look very good. I might just make mac and cheese now.

    Freddie Gray @ Ballantyne Dentistry