Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Can't believe it's Wednesday!

There's something to be said for working from home the first two days of the week...I can't believe it's Wednesday evening and I only have two more days to the weekend! Even though I was working while I was at home, it seems like the time went so much faster.

Since yesterday was Pancake Tuesday, we had pancakes for dinner. Pancakes are one of my all-time favorite foods, and we had them with strawberries and Nova Scotia Maple Syrup. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed that meal!

Today was actually a beautiful, sunny day. I went out for a short walk down the block this afternoon and it was lovely. It was 2 degrees! Above zero! Of course, there are unbelievable mountains of snow everywhere and the sidewalks are a disaster. Still, fairly warm temperatures in the forecast for the rest of the week so I'm really hoping that winter is winding down.

As for the Fabulous Felines, I dug them a little tunnel and they have bravely ventured out. George went last night while I was on the treadmill, but Frank took the plunge right after work today, so I got some photos.








Monday, February 23, 2009

Snowed in

Quite the storm happened over last night and today. It think it was the worst of the season.


We were supposed to be at the hospital for 8am, to get the blood tests done for our new doctor. We were standing at the window, wondering whether to go, when we saw a snow plow coming. You'd think that would make us feel better about going out, but since the big, heavy, plow was sliding all over the place, we decided to stay put.

I already knew I would be working from home today, since we were supposed to be moving offices today. That got rescheduled too, so I'll be working from home again tomorrow.

The cats weren't going anywhere either...


We did have a good weekend though. Got together with friends Saturday night for a Mexican themed dinner. Sunday relaxed around the house. And it was pretty pleasant to spend today sitting on the couch with Husband, even if we were working. Telling myself that, surely, this will be the last big storm of the winter...


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Yeah it snowed. Again.


That dark blue VW Rabbit would be our car, which could not make it up the drive. The car behind it would be our neighbor's car, similarly afflicted.

We came home early ~ somewhere around 3-ish and worked from home for the rest of the afternoon. I was glad we did and avoided the after work traffic because there was definitely some slipping and sliding going on during the drive home.

So Husband and I settled on the couch with our laptops. Normally he would sit at his desk, but he said it was too messy. He had to dial into a conference call for work, and he put it on speakerphone. Have to admit, the droning was getting to me a bit - it wasn't a discussion or anything, it was one person giving a presentation of some kind. It was kinda irritating to listen to. Apparently it was getting to George too, and it made him a little crazy; he got up on the back of the couch and...


Well, picture frames are not supposed to look like that are they?

Ok, so it's just a cheap print that I bought years ago while living in my first apartment. But it's doing it's job, taking up space on the wall until I find the perfect artwork for that spot (someday it's gonna happen, I just know it)...Sigh. I guess if the cat was able to bend it out of shape, we should be able to bend it back into shape.

On the bright side, the days are definitely getting longer. It's now light enough in the mornings that I can drink my coffee by the living room window, watching the deer.


Wasn't it nice of them to pose for me?


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Yoga Update

I have been trying out a few new yoga workouts this month. Everywhere I look, bloggers are doing workouts from, so I wanted to get in on the fun! I also saw a review of Element AM and PM Yoga for Beginners at Fit Bottomed Girls which caught my interest.

I've tried three of the free 20 minute practices from Detox Yoga #1, Lunar Flow #1, and Gentle Hatha Flow #1. I haven't disliked any of them, but I will say that while doing the first two I seem to remember feeling a little awkward, but thought that maybe I just need to do them a few times to get familiar with them. I did the Gentle Hatha Flow #1 tonight and it was perfect. I had printed the pose guide, but the cuing in the audio track was perfect and I didn't feel that I needed the reference. The practice itself felt wonderful - just the stretch I needed after my treadmill walk, and I finished feeling perfectly relaxed.

So far I've only done the PM practice from the Element AM and PM DVD. While there were a few planks and downward dogs, it was mostly seated stretching. I probably need it, because I probably don't do enough of those types of poses, but I admit that I didn't enjoy it as much - I missed the standing poses: forward bends, lunges, warriors, etc. I will certainly give it another try though, now that I know what to expect, and I still have the AM routine to try.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Slow Cooker Adventures - Chapter 2

Picked up a new slow cooker cookbook. I was browsing in the bookstore, waiting for Husband and saw a book called The Healthy Slow Cooker.

The Healthy Slow Cooker

First point in it's favor: nutritional information is included for each recipe. I'm always happy to see that information along side a recipe; when you are trying to manage your weight, it really helps to know how many calories you are eating. I'm also paying much more attention to Sodium now, since Husband needs to watch his intake.

In flipping rhrough the pages, I saw recipes that appealed to me, and that I thought Husband would like as well. So the book came home with me, and over the weekend I picked out the first batch of recipes to try and made a shopping list.

Today's recipe: Indian Beef with Cauliflower and Peppers

The book also tells you what steps can be done ahead of time, and how long the prepped ingredients can be kept in the fridge. We got everything ready to go yesterday and stored it in the fridge in a container (easier than finding room for the crock pot in the fridge). This morning I dumped everything into the slow cooker and turned it on. It started to smell wonderful pretty much right away - ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander - I was really looking forward to dinner.

In the end, it didn't taste quite as wonderful as it smelled. It was not bad, but a little bland. I would make it again though because I think it could easily be improved. I've got two other recipes selected, so we'll see how they turn out.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day!

I related My Valentine's Day Story last year, so I won't retell it this year...follow the link if you missed it and want to know...

We were supposed to be having company for the weekend - Sister and Brother-In-Law had been planning to come - but they couldn't make it. I am disappointed, but maybe it's for the best as I am feeling quite worn out. They will plan to come another weekend, and hopefully I'll be in better shape!

All this week I have been feeling overwhelmed and disorganized. My eating habits have been terrible and exercise almost non-existent. Husband has not been himself either, feeling stressed out by the nurse's visit last Sunday.

We met our new doctor yesterday morning. Husband's BP was still 200/120, so he now has some medication to try out and a referral to a blood pressure clinic. He also seems to be accepting that he will need to make some changes, already talking about going on an eating plan to lose weight and starting an exercise program. I just hope that the talk translates to action - I will do my best to help him get there if I can.

We had planned on taking Monday off from work, since we thought we'd be having company. We talked about canceling that, saving the vacation day, but we both decided we could use the extra day off at the moment. Looking forward to a relaxing weekend to rest up and hopefully get caught up on things around here. Hopefully by the time we return to work on Tuesday, things will be more back to normal.

Have a great weekend everyone!

lolcats funny cat pictures

Monday, February 9, 2009

More from Amy's Kitchen - and sooner than I expected

Friday night I was exhausted. I went to bed at 10:30 and slept until 9 am Saturday morning. I could have slept more, but I made myself get up. I still felt wiped out all Saturday; I didn't accomplish much but I did get out and buy groceries. I planned on picking up a couple more cans of Amy's Chili, and while I was at it I decided to check out some other products from Amy's Kitchen. I picked two frozen items to try. I expected they would spend a little time in the freezer before I got around to eating them, but thought it would be good to have them on hand just in case.

Sunday I was finally feeling better. I was raring to go. I had big plans. The house would get cleaned. I'd make a pot of Sniffle Soup to freeze for lunches. I would make a pot of spaghetti sauce to freeze for dinners.

Husband's company recently underwent some changes, and for his life insurance he was now required to have a physical. He had an appointment for a nurse to come by the house around 1 pm on Sunday. The nurse took Husband's blood pressure and it was so high she felt he should go to emergency. She took his BP twice more during the check up and it was still high and she was very clear that this was something that should be looked at ASAP, and since we were not even sure whether we had a family doctor anymore, a trip to emergency was in order.

So, we ended up heading off to the hospital. Where we sat around and waited for 5 hours. Finally Husband decided he'd had enough waiting and we left. So that was 5 hours (and $6 for parking) wasted. We came home stressed out and exhausted. Neither one of us felt like cooking, so it was pretty much a fend for yourself night, and I pulled out my Amy's Macaroni & Soy.

Frozen Mac & Cheese never measures up to the real thing and I won't say this tasted like homemade. But it was pretty good. Especially when I remembered there was a container with about a half a cup of leftover spaghetti sauce in the fridge. Yes, the sauce had meat in it and I put it on top of my vegetarian Mac & Soy. Does that sound wrong?

What can I say? I was in need of comfort food and spaghetti has always been at the top of my list when it comes to comfort food. It hit the spot.

Then I ate some chocolate.

Since we'd spent our Sunday afternoon sitting around the hospital, I am still without homemade lunches. So I brought Amy to lunch again.

The Burrito was awesome. Will definitely buy this again. I did bring some homemade salsa to go with it, but I think it would have been pretty good on it's own.

This afternoon I did manage to track down the doctor who has taken over our last doctor's patients. This is Doctor #3 for us, they sure don't stick around long.

So Husband has an appointment on Friday morning. Hopefully now I can stop cramming junk food into my mouth which is pretty much how I have been reacting to the situation. Not a sensible reaction, but there it is.

And I'm pretty much back to being exhausted. Ain't life grand?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Enough with the snow already...

I think I used to have a rhododendron bush by the front steps...


Poor, sad little bush...


We - the Fabulous Feline Royal - are not amused.





George didn't make it any farther than reaching that paw toward the window. Fred went out. Then he turned around and came right back in.

Dear Mother Nature: We've had enough. Please make it stop.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Product Review: Amy's Chili

Due to my extreme picky-eater syndrome and paranoia about "mystery food", I don't tend to buy a lot of prepared/pre-packaged foods. I am most paranoid about anything that contains meat. Can't give an explanation for this really, let's just call it one of those little eccentricities that makes me adorable. Or, you could just shake your head and roll your eyes, which is what Husband would do.

I happened to catch a segment on Food Network on Amy's Chili. It is vegetarian and it caught my interest. Since then, I've seen Amy's products mentioned on various blogs, always with positive reviews. So, when I happened to find Amy's Chili at the grocery store, I decided to pick up a can of the Spicy Chili and give it a try.

Then it sat in the cupboard for a few weeks. Until yesterday. I ran out of my homemade frozen lunches, things having been too busy over the past weekend to get any cooking done. I decided it was time to bring Amy to lunch.

My Review: I liked it! I liked the texture/consistency. It had a nice spicy kick - for me pleasantly so, but I like spicy - and a nice smokey-chili flavor. I will probably buy it again.

I got two JavaChick-sized servings out of it. Along with some fruit, it was enough to satisfy me for lunch.

Now if I just had something for lunch tomorrow...

Monday, February 2, 2009

January Review & February's Plan

It got up to 3°C today! Woo hoo! Of course, all that really means is the snow melts to mush that will freeze into ice when the temperature drops tonight. And then tomorrow we get more snow. Gotta love the Maritimes.

January's workouts are listed below. The month started out slow - just could not seem to get moving. Plus my evening routine has been disrupted lately - long story which I will not get into - but the result is I was having a hard time getting in my workouts. I finally started doing yoga before bed and that has worked out really well.

I was planning to write a post on this study but Charlotte beat me to it with her February Fitness Experiment. The study talks about relaxation techniques like Yoga and meditation being beneficial for weight loss. I happened to see this study after my first week of before bed Yoga and it struck a chord.

The things is, I like Yoga. When I had a gym membership, there was an excellent yoga class that I used to go to twice a week. The instructor made us work very hard - I'd usually feel about ready to collapse at some point during the class and I always ended up with sore muscles. I actually stopped strength training because I thought it would be too much, and I was still seeing the muscles on my arms & legs changing shape.

Still, there was always that little voice inside my head saying: "You must work out with weights!" So when I eventually gave up my gym membership, Yoga took a back seat. I didn't have those classes to go to any longer and I thought I wouldn't push myself as hard on my own. Plus, I always feel like I have to get in my cardio & strength training, and Yoga (and Pilates) is sort of extra...Something I will get in if I have time and I've done my "real workouts" already. Even though I know better.

Then I had my Yoga week, followed by seeing this study about relaxation & weight loss. Something clicked into place.

I was looking forward to my end of day yoga. I would go down to my warm, cozy basement and stretch and breath and flow through the poses. I would go to bed all relaxed and ready to sleep. I would feel light and limber and somehow taller.

I kept it up for a second week. At the end of each of those weeks, I saw a small drop in the number on the scale. I can't help but wonder if sometimes pushing myself so hard, stressing about losing weight is actually counter-productive?

Of course, it was only two weeks and it could certainly be a coincidence. But, since this routine seems to be what works with my schedule these days, it can't hurt to give it a little more time and see what happens. It won't necessarily be all yoga, all the time, but I am going to try and pay attention to what feels good, to not over-doing things and stressing myself.

February tends to be a depressing month in these parts - we're sick of winter, but winter is not finished with us yet. That urge to hibernate is still going strong. So I will be kind to myself. I will make time for things that make me feel good. Who knows? Maybe I'll even lose a pound or two at the same time!

January Workouts

Jan 29: Fat Burning Yoga[40 mins]
Jan 28: Treadmill Walk + Joy of Yoga[80 mins]
Jan 27: Slim Sculpt[45 mins]
Jan 26: Yoga[20 mins]
Jan 24: Treadmill Walk + 20 Min Yoga Buns & Thighs[65 mins]
Jan 23: Power Beauty Sweat[20 mins]
Jan 22: Joy of Yoga[35 mins]
Jan 21: Fat Burning Yoga[40 mins]
Jan 20: Kathy Smith Yoga[30 mins]
Jan 19: Candlelight Yoga[40 mins]
Jan 18: Slim Sculpt[45 mins]
Jan 15: Bikini Ready DVD[35 mins]
Jan 13: Slim Sculpt[45 mins]
Jan 11: Fat Burning Fusion[45 mins]
Jan 10: Yogini Workout[45 mins]
Jan 1 - 4: Clearing out spare room, painting, cleaning up, putting spare room back together. Whew!

Two more from the weekend that I thought were pretty...


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Snowy weekend...

I had every intention of writing an actual post today, but it's been such a hectic weekend and I haven't had much free time. It's 9:45 PM on Sunday and I feel woefully unprepared for the work week to start...I hate that.

Result being - pictures instead of post. We got more snow on Saturday. It was pretty, I will say that. But things sure are messy out there and we are supposed to get more snow this week...

Saturday morning, kids were out for some sledding, still snowing at this point...

There is quite the drift outside the catdoor now, Fred had to climb to get out...

See the snow clinging to his fur already? By the time he came in, his belly was coated in snowballs...

This light, fluffy snow actually collected on the fence...


I just liked the juxtaposition here...One cat in, one cat out...

Was trying to get a shot of snowball-belly, but Fred would not stay still...He did, however, melt all over the place...

Our deck...

Can you imagine what we are going to do with more snow?