Sunday, February 28, 2010

I promised you daffys and daffys I give you!

Ok, for all of you snow bound, frozen to the bone folks here is some bright sunshine! Even though we had 3 inches of snow last week (unbelievable for Central Texas) the daffodils made it through.
Our arboretum has even more patches of daffys than last year. They are all over the place and many have bloomed. I suspect we will have daffys for at least the next two to three weeks, which makes me SMILE!
So here are the pics I took today. Absorb all the warm, yellow color from them that you can and think sunny thoughts!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stitchy update

I have neglected the stitching part of my blog! So I thought I would post some pics of stitchy stuff.
First, my friend Marian and I had a, err, challenge between friends during the Texas/Alabama game. My Longhorns really disappointed me and I sent some fabric to Marian for losing the "challenge".
So imagine my surprise when I open my mail and find a goodie bag from Marian for being a good sport. And what a nice bag it was! Here is a pic:

It had some silk threads, some silk ribbon, lots of needles and my favorite purple ribbon fabric. Just so FUN!
Then for my birthday I received several skeins of threads from my exchange group. Here is a pic of some of them (I have already started using the rest of them!)

And finally here is a pic of my newest project I hope to start on this week. It is called "Make Time for God" by Lizzie Kate. It will be stitched on 28 count Lugana by Silkweaver called "Days Gone By" which has got to be my absolutely favorite fabric and color. It seems to go so well with Sampler Threads and Weeks Dye Works. Those muted shades just pop on this fabric.
And speaking of Weeks, I also have the threads in the pic for the piece. I am going to stitch this for my friend Lisa for her birthday in June. I think she will love it!

Today my husband took us by the Arboretum, which is my favorite place to go. The daffys are in bloom! They made it past the 3 inches of snow we had last week. They had a wedding going on there and I couldn't stop to take pics, but I plan on going by there tomorrow and will take lots of pics for those of you who think spring is never coming. I also saw a red robin on Thursday, so my heart is singing! Spring has sprung in Central Texas! (fingers crossed!).

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Wishing for spring

Oh how I miss color. Yellow daffys (I have seen one so far this year, but it was pathetic), pink & red roses, red robins and most of all RED BUD TREES!
These are the colors of spring for me. And I miss them so much. This winter has been so cold. So miserable. So bleak of color.
I want the yellow sunshine and the blue skies to look up at. I want the green grass (not the brown dry stuff we have now). I want to see the little leaves of all the plants coming alive.
That is the word I am looking for. ALIVE. Birds chirping, squirrels running, children playing. Sound and colors that make us know we are alive.
Is it spring yet?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Who says eating healthy can't taste good?

I have been venturing out, cooking some lowfat, lower calorie foods. And I have been having a lot of fun finding foods that fill me up and taste good! Even my husband and mother are enjoying the fruits of my labor!
I have decided to share a couple of recipes with you. The first one is called Caramel Apple Pork Chops and they are SOOOOOOO good!
Here is the recipe:
2 Tablespoons Splenda brown sugar blend (half brown sugar and half Splenda)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon lower calorie margarine spread
2 cups peeled and chopped apples (I used two regular sized Galas)
4 (4 oz. each) pork loin center loin chops
Salt & pepper

In a small bowl mix brown sugar blend, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spray a large skillet with non-stick spray. Melt margarine and add sugar mixture and apples. Cook on medium heat until apples are tender and sauce is thickened.
Remove apples and sauce. Season chops with salt and pepper. Place in same pan (don't clean it out beforehand). Cook about 5-6 minutes on medium high on each side or until no longer pink inside. Remove to a platter and pour apples and sauce over.
Serving size is 1 chop and 1/4 apples and sauce
Calories 246; 12 g fat; 1 g fiber; 6 Weight Watchers points
Pair this with steamed veggies and a salad and you have a wonderful meal!

Sweet Potato Frittata

2 medium sweet potatoes, diced medium size
2 teaspoons olive oil

Toss together and roast in oven 450 degrees for about 30 minutes or until browned and soft

Saute 1 onion, diced, in 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add 1 clove minced garlic. Add 1 bag of baby spinach. Allow spinach to wilt.
Add potatoes, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon thyme, 1 teaspoon (to taste) salt, and pepper to taste.
Whisk 2 whole eggs and 6 egg whites together and pour over vegetable mixture.
Place in a 350 degree oven and cook until set (about 10 minutes). Cut into 1/4's.
About 4 Weight Watchers points for 1/4 frittata.

This is great to reheat the next day.

Tomorrow I am making baked Coconut Shrimp. If it turns out well I will post the recipe then.
Happy eating!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day (and my trip)

Happy Valentine's Day to all!
My dear, sweet, adorable husband and I went to Austin for Valentine's Day. I can truly tell you this was the best Valentine's Day EVER!
We left early and went down 6th Street. This was the day of the Austin marathon and there were a gazillion people there. They even had a live band playing on one of the side streets.
Then we went to my husband's favorite comic book shop. For those of you who don't know, my DH collects comic books (mostly old ones). No trip to Austin is complete without a trip here.

It is a fun store and I love people watching there!
And I saw Austin's Blood Bank. I am in the blood business and just love seeing other donor centers. Here are some pictures:

I just love the way they have parking spaces marked for blood donors with the little hearts by them. And that vehicle! I can't wait to ask our director if we can paint our hospital services vans like that!
Then we went back down 6th Street. For those of you who don't know, 6th Street is downtown Austin and is, err, quite eclectic to say the least!
We were going to the Ritz (putting on the Ritz!) which is one of Alamo Drafthouse's locations in Austin. We tried to get a picture of the theater and us, but it was impossible with all the traffic on the street and such. But here is one of the two of us and as you can see we are quite happy!

At the Alamo we saw the new movie, Wolfman, with Anthony Hopkins. But the Alamo isn't just any theater. It is a dinner theater, with a complete bar and an excellent chef. We rented the balcony suite, which had two leather recliners and tables to put our food on. We were ALL BY OURSELVES! There was another suite halfway across the top of the theater from us, but basically we were in a world all our own. We did the Ultimate Package, which included a bottle of Champagne (yes Champagne in a movie theater!), an appetizer and 2 entrees. I got the salmon with a lime-mango-curry marinade, jalapeno-garlic green beans (fresh) and basamati rice. It was OUTSTANDING! James had a gourmet bacon-cheeseburger and fries and he said it was fantastic. We had potato skins for an appetizer (and yes, for those of you following my weight loss program, I had planned for this! I had 2 skins and used some, but not all of my bonus points for the week).
Once you see a movie in this setting, well, a normal theater just doesn't cut it. I suspect we will be watching DVD's at home for some time!
We had a beautiful day, with the weather much like springtime. That is until we came out of the movie theater! A Northern was blowing through and the temps dropped at least 10 degrees, probably more. The wind was crazy and was crazy all the way home.
I will leave you with this last picture. As always, Keep Austin Strange is most important there. This article was in The Onion, a newspaper. I couldn't help but bust out into laughter!

Click on the picture to read the article headline. Were you someone that contributed to this amazing fact?
Hope I gave you a giggle this Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I lost somethings (and I am not looking for them or want them back)

First off, let me tell you how much I appreciate your support these past 2 weeks. It has been amazing.
These past weeks have been filled with options. Do I really want the Rosa's Cantina's 3 taco plate dinner for 35 points (I get 38 a day) or do I want a Wendy's chili and plain potato (9 points)?
Do I really need or want to get on my friend and burn some calories? Yes, I really need to.
Oh good grief, how could I still have 12 points I have to eat by the end of the day? Did I drink all the fluids I am supposed to have and did I eat all my veggies & fruits?
But all in all it has been wonderful. I feel more in control of myself and my life. I feel like I am really doing something for myself that will help me be a better person, a better wife, a better daughter, a better mother and grandmother, a better friend. I feel wonderful!
Thank you to all!
Now for the announcement you have been waiting for! Drum roll please....

6.4 pounds lost and not to be found again!
Woo hoo!

On to bigger (rather smaller) and better things!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thank you for all the support

Remember in "It's a Wonderful Life" when Clarence says "Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends".
Well, just in case I didn't know it before I know it now. I have friends and so I can't be a failure, in anything I do!
I have had well over 20 private e-mails and 47 messages left on my previous post, not to mention phone calls and hugs I have received. I wasn't sure what would happen when I put my life into a blog post. I am glad I did.
I have been doing the WW points thing for a week now. It is going well. My husband has been my rock. He is doing this with me and is so supportive of me in each step.
My highlight of my week was that I found a place to weigh at. When I went to my doctor's office they didn't weigh me. I just guessed at my weight when I went in. I joined WW online and so I don't go into an actual meeting. The online e-mail support couldn't give me any info whether I could weigh at my local WW office or not. My doctor's office is about 20 minutes away and not open the hours I am off.
So Friday I just popped into the local WW office and talked to the leader and explained my situation. She said I could come there and weigh in. Whew! Who would have thought that I would be ecstatic over being able to weigh!
Bad news is I am about 2 pounds heavier than I thought. Good news is that by next week I will have that taken care of!
The bike (my friend) is getting much easier! I still can't go long on it, but I am improving.
Let me tell you all thank you from the bottom of my heart. You all are my angels here on earth. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Time for a change (rather long post)

Today is World Cancer Day. It is a day set aside to focus on ways to prevent cancer. Their slogan is "Cancer can be prevented too!".
Everyone knows things like quitting smoking and getting breast exams are ways to prevent cancer.
But did you know that obesity is one of the biggest cancer risks there are? It causes higher breast and colon cancer rates along with skin cancer and other cancers.
For the past year and a half of my life, I have been consumed with helping American Cancer Society Relay For Life. Most of my stitching has been for fundraising. Most of my spare time has been going to meetings, talking about Relay, posting stories about cancer prevention and patients going through treatment. Crying at stories that tear your heart out.
But there is one person I haven't worried about. That is me. You see, I am obese. Morbidly obese (that is a diagnosis on my medical chart). I don't eat healthy. I don't exercise.
I have been overweight most of my life. Not so much when I was young, but pretty much in the past 30 or so years. I would lose weight, gain weight, lose again. I was pretty agile, even for a fat woman.
Six years ago I lost 100 pounds through Weight Watchers, but gained it back. I got married and thought I should cook really big meals. And of course with cooking those meals I also ate.
I have been generally happy all my life, fat or not. I am happy with my looks, happy with my personality.
Until the past year. My weight has taken a toll on me. My knees hurt all the time. I don't go to the doctor as much as I should because of my weight. I mean really, what does the doctor want to do to help me if I don't want to help myself?
My life has taken a turn that I don't like. I can't walk hardly at all without getting out of breath. Fun stuff, like shopping or going on vacation is surrounded by the thought, how far is the door from the parking lot and do they have an electric cart for me to go around in. There is a local museum here I want to take my grandsons to, but I know I can't do it. I have tried. I almost pass out and the pain in my knees are unbearable.
This past Christmas I attended a party at a friend's house. My first thought was "are her chairs going to hold me up? What if I break one?".
A work acquaintance asked me to go on a small trip with some staff. I had to say "no" because I knew I couldn't do all the walking they were going to do.
Going out to restaurants and parties and everything is centered around "how close are the chairs to each other? Is there enough room for me to get around?".
All of this is minor compared to what my weight is doing to me. I am 49 and feel like I am 100. And I am at risk for cancer. A big, fat risk.
I didn't write all this to make you feel sorry for me. I did this to myself and I am not looking for sympathy.
I am looking for a change. It is time that I do something to really prevent cancer. IN ME!
So last Friday I joined Weight Watchers. I am adding vegetables and fruit to my diet. Stopped drinking coffee (Starbucks I hope your stocks don't fall). Am drinking more water.
I went to the doctor and talked with him. He is sending me to a cardiologist before he will release me to join a gym. I go on Feb. 10. But for now, I can walk as long as I take it easy, as well as light exercise.
And I added something to our house. My sister named it Satan, and at times it feels that way. But I think it should be named Friend. My friend is a stationary bike. I can't go too long on it (only a couple of minutes at most).
I think God had a hand in bringing my friend into my house. It was on sale at Wal-Greens. The only one. Someone had bought it online and never opened it. It was not supposed to be returned to the store but the assistant manager didn't know that. They had it for $129 (regular $199). And the manager gave me another 15% off that.
So now everyday I get on my friend and I do something to make me less a cancer risk.
Is this going to be easy? No. Am I probably going to fail at least once? Yes. Am I going to keep trying. Yes. Am I going to need all the support of my friends and family? YES, YES, YES.
So I am asking you to follow me on this journey. Many of you have followed me on the journey with my SFAC project. Follow me now. Encourage me. Scold me. But mostly love me as you always have, fat or not. Be my friend.
Because it is time for a change and I want to be around a long, long time!