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mollie is enjoying they great outdoors this week

This picture pretty much sums up our week.  Although the weather has been gorgeous up here in New England we have not been feeling too great.  My apologies for neglecting my blog in the last several days.  Here is why:

  • Mollie came down with a nasty cold/fever last Friday and the boogies and cough are still hanging around.  Fortunately she is back to sleeping 11+ hours, although we had a few rough nights at the beginning.
  • Erik and I promptly got the cold on Sunday/Monday and now we are trying to recover.
  • I got my first ever UTI today.  Yay.  Thank you Jesus for antibiotics (and for Jan and Mary willing to watch the baby while I went to the doctor).

Hope life is treating you well… we’ll see you when the snot clears.

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losing it:week 2

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This is week 2 of the Losing It challenge.  Head over to Giving Up On Perfect to see how everyone is doing!

Goals for last week:

  • maintain my goals from last week (track, run, drink): Track – did ok; Run – not at all; Drink – yup
  • lose 3lbs (yikes!): not so much… but I did lose 1.2lbs (.82%)

This past week I had to pay for Weight Watchers.  I am a lifetime member which means that I don’t have to pay to attend meetings/weigh in unless I’m 2+pounds above my goal weight.  When I returned to Weight Watchers after Mollie, they said I could have 9 months to get back to my goal weight before I would have to start paying. Woot, woot!  Yeah, that was about 5 months ago… and I am still 12 pounds away from my goal.  But it’s ok.  I actually think this might help me be a little more motivated knowing that WW is getting my money!

My weight loss journey began in my early 2os and it was a time of spiritual, emotional, and physical growth for me.  I first joined WW(for real)  in 2001, when I was 23.  I was out of college and I was at my highest weight, ever.  I had always been heavy in high school, and then heavier in college.  Food was a comfort, and I was ignorant about how to manage my intake of food.  A close friend from college joined Weight Watchers and this motivated me to try it out.  It was right around this time of year, late Feb/early March, and I remember attending a worship service at a local church where they invited us to write down a ‘burden’ and leave it at the altar.  I wrote down, I tangibly acknowledged, my struggle with food and my weight.   I truly believe that this, along with WW, was a turning point for me and was a HUGE part of the reason I was able to be successful with my weight loss.

I had joined WW in high school but didn’t ever really do the program seriously (that was before POINTS and the whole thing confused me and seemed like too much work), and I never stayed for meetings.  But this time, when I was 23, I attended meetings (with my Mom at first because she had to lose like 2 pounds) and really committed to the program.  And I saw results.  Over the course of the next 18 months, I lost about 45 pounds.  I never quite made it to my goal for my age/height range but I was pleased with where I was at and eventually stopped attending (I’ll let you know how I got to lifetime another time).  Not only had I changed physically, but as I went through the process of losing weight, I had become a healthier person in all aspects of my life.  I was less focused on finding comfort from food, and more focused on finding comfort in God; I was able to step out and become a part of a new church and new group of friends (which included my not-so-soon-to-be husband); I moved out and began my life as a single, independent woman.

I know this sounds corny, but I am so grateful for WW.  Yeah, I know.  BUT, I feel like the program truly gave me the tools to reach the goals I needed to attain to become a healthier person.  And I don’t mind giving them my money because so far it has been worth every penny!

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Goals for this week: 

  • Track
  • Run – I NEED to do this!
  • Drink

Thank you What Did She Do Today? and husband for the eggs that you surprised me with this afternoon!  It was so thoughtful and they are much appreciated!  In honor of the fresh, local eggs (both duck and chicken) that are sitting in our fridge now I’m going to talk about eggs today.

In one of my weight loss episodes along my journey, I tried South Beach.  Of course, I did South Beach within the confines of Weight Watchers POINTS because I have ‘drank the splenda sweetened cool-aid’ and can’t look at a piece of food without seeing a points value floating above it.  It’s just my frame of reference.  In the first two weeks of the South Beach plan you cut out all carbs, which meant that I was basically eating tuna on salad, chili, veggies, cheese, and eggs.  Do you realize how many breakfast foods have carbs?  Pretty much I just ate eggs every morning.

And it worked for me.  I did the South Beach plan for about 4-6 weeks and I lost over 7 pounds to get me down below my goal.  However, my theory as to why it worked was this:  I was paying attention to what I ate.  Sure, I bet the cutting out all the bread in my diet helped some, but I think the fact that I was thinking about what I was eating, tracking my points, and making healthy choices is what really made the difference.

Since I was single at the time, and had to be to work early, I used to make up a batch of eggs and portion it out into little containers for me to grab and zap in the microwave on the way out the door.  Here is how I prepared my eggs when I was on South Beach:

  • 4 eggs
  • 4 egg whites
  • veggies – as much as you want.  I used frozen chopped onions and peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes.  The more veggies you use, the bigger the servings will be. 
  • 1/4c ched cheese (optional)

Whisk the eggs and egg whites and then just throw everything together in the frying pan and mix occasionally as it cooks.  Easy-peasy.  Makes 4 servings.  2pts per serving without cheese, 3 pts per serving with cheese.

I think I’ll be adding this recipe to my morning routine this week!  (Especially since I’m falling behind with my Losing It goals for this week.)

monday menu & deals

We are back to our normal grocery budget this month and I must say it was kind of nice to go shopping today.  After a month of Eating from the Pantry (and freezer) we did pretty well and only spent $116 on food during February.  And after my adventures this past weekend, our pantry is looking quite full again.

Menu
Monday- Spaghetti and Meatballs w/garlic bread
Tuesday – Chicken in the Crockpot meal (I can’t remember the name of the recipe)
Wednesday – Meatloaf w/pot and veg
Thursday – Home Group Potluck – Breakfast Night (what am I going to make???)
Friday – Pizza

Deals
Market Basket had some sweet deals that I took advantage of!  They have a promotion this week that if you buy 5 of the designated products (which included Hunts tomatoes, Manwich, and Healthy Choice Frozen Entrees just to name a few) you could get $2 off ground beef or ground turkey. I have been told by my local MB manager in the past that you don’t have to buy the designated items in order to get the coupon (state law for NH?) but, the canned tomatoes were a great deal and I needed to stock up on them anyway.
Hunts Diced/Crushed Tomatoes – $.99 per can (MB brand was $1.19)
Ground Turkey – reg. price $2.99 w/$2 coupon = $.99!
Healthy Choice Frozen Entrees – 3/$5

extreme couponing

yes, there are 45 cans of soup

This past weekend I had my first experience with Extreme Couponing.  We had a speaker come to MOPS recently who shared with us how to get lots of food for just pennies.  There were some skeptics among us, but several of us were very intrigued and ready to jump in.  After reading blogs like this and this and this, I was fairly confident that extreme savings was possible.  The particular couponing techniques that she shared with us uses a combination of sale items, coupons in bulk, doubling coupons, and generating Catalina (CAT) check-out coupons (money off your next purchase) then ‘rolling’ these Catalina deals over and over again.  Confused yet?  Yeah, I know. 

So, Shaw’s was running a CAT special on General Mills products this week.  Buy $20 of these certain products, that were on sale, and you would receive a $7 CAT (check-out coupon).  But keep in mind, it was $20 of products based on their shelf price, not the current sale price, plus you could use coupons on top of the sale prices.  The goal was to find items that had a significant difference in their sale price and shelf price and then try to find coupons for those items.  Once you figure out a scenario or plan you do as many transactions as you wish in ‘$20’ chunks and apply the $7 CAT to your next ‘$20’ transaction. 

I found my Shaw’s info at the forum on A Full Cup and purchased some coupons in bulk here.  After crunching some numbers with hubby’s graphing calculator, chatting with my gals, and visiting our local coupon yahoo group I had my plans ready to go.  My goal was to stock up on items from the sale that we will eat (there is no point in me getting stuff that I don’t want in the house, or that we won’t user or eat, just because it is a great deal) and that happened to be Progresso Soup, brownies, cake mix, and frosting.(Yes, I know I am in the midst of Losing It, but cake mix lasts forever, right?)  Since the soup was a ‘money maker’ (my out-of-pocket cost was less than the $7 CAT I was going to get back and use toward the next transaction), I added some of our weekly grocery items to my purchases like produce and yogurt so that it would add up to over $7 since you can’t get money back on your check-out coupon. 

Here are the stats for my extreme couponing adventure: 

  • I had a total of 9 transactions over the course of 3 visits to Shaw’s
  • I got 45 cans of Progresso Soup, 6 boxes of Betty Crocker Brownies, 11 boxes of Betty Crocker Cake Mix, 10 tubs of Betty Crocker Frosting, yogurt, 2lbs of apples, 3lbs of pears, bag of lettuce, 3 boxes of Cheerios, 3lbs of oranges, and 3 Lean Cuisine meals.
  • Grocery total: $212.79 before sales and coupons
  • I paid $16.22 for the groceries and $3.94 for the coupons I got in bulk – total: $20.16!  That’s like 90% off!  YAY!

Things I learned: 

  • Extreme Couponing takes time to learn!  Start small, do your research, and try not to get frustrated with yourself if you make a mistake – you are probably still saving money!
  • Be polite to the store clerks!
  • Try not to come up with a negative balance because it makes it hard on the cashier since they can’t give you cash back – throw in some extra groceries to bring your balance up.  I didn’t intend to, but due to a couponing error on my part, I came up -.08 and the manager had to come over to fix it… and I still had one more transaction to do-oops!
  • If there is a good CAT deal, but you know you don’t need 200 cans of soup, consider giving it away to a family in need or a local food pantry.
  • Be creative and have fun with it.  But don’t become obsessed or your husband might call you the ‘crazy soup lady’. (ahem.)

Have you had a positive Extreme Couponing experience?

losing it: week 1

I’m linking up to Losing It at Giving Up on Perfect… join the contest!

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Based on my WW weigh in this week I lost .95% of my body weight… 1.4 lbs (and I don’t care if  you take the time to figure out that crazy math to know what I weigh).  I was quite pleased with that result because for the last month I hadn’t lost more than .8lbs (and I gained a few times). 

How did I do on my goals?  My first goal for the week was tracking consistently and I think I did pretty well with that.  My second goal was to run, well… I ran 1.5 miles and took a Zumba class (ugh).  I need to run more, but that 1.5 miles was an improvement for me.  My last goal was to drink more water.  And I did.  I drank at least 48oz a day and several days I drank more than that.  I think that was a huge help for me.

So far this week, I’m on track for losing… my goal for the WW weigh in is to lose 3lbs!  I know.  It’s more than the recommended 1-2lbs and I have yet to lose that much in one week during this stint with Weight Watchers.  But we’ll see… I’m aiming high.

My goals for this week are:

  • maintain my goals from last week (track, run, drink)
  • lose 3lbs (yikes!)

What are your health goals for this week? 

Link up to Losing It!

This recipe is adapted from a recipe that a friend gave me for Quinoa Chili.  When I went to make it today, I realized that I didn’t have any quinoa so I tried couscous instead and it worked nicely!  You can replace the couscous with quinoa and have an equally yummy meal!  And it is a low POINTS meal, too!

couscous chili

  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 t sea salt
  • 1 pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t italian seasoning
  • 1/8 t cinnamon
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • 3/4c couscous (or 2/3c quinoa)
  • 1 c corn
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes (or 1-2c diced tom or sauce)
  • 1 1/2 c water
  • 3 c beans (I used 2 c kidney, 1 c black)

Saute veggies and spices.
Add the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer until done.
Makes approximately 8 servings (1 cup each).  My rough estimate of points (which changes depending on what beans you use) is 3 POINTS per serving (1 cup).  I have to eat at least 2 servings…it’s so good!