dieting & exercise

Looking Fine By 2009: 8 Weeks To Go!

I’ve lost two pounds since my last weigh in and I’d like to tell you it’s because I’ve been drinking loads of water and working out and being all sorts of productive, but I really think any fluctuation in my weight is just a fluke. In fact, if you look at my starting weight and my weight today, I’ve actually gained 2 pounds. I like to waver in and around this little 5 pound range and feel proud of myself or disappointed in myself accordingly. It’s my thing.

And some things need to change. I have eight weeks to make a real change my life – and then a lifetime to reap the benefits of a healthy active lifestyle with good eating habits and the tiny waist to show for it – that could be mine if I had any kind of will power or commitment. So far? I can honestly say that some nights I snack less when thinking about the upcoming Monday weigh in. And that I do drink more water than I used to, but that isn’t really saying much. So let’s make some goals shall we?

  • Netflix just launched a version of the Play It Now feature that should work on my Mac (in beta) – and a good handful of workout videos are available for that feature so instead of waiting on the mail and blaming my lack of activity on my mailman, I’m going to stick to videos in that section and workout right in front of my Mac, whenever I have the time – aiming for at least 15 minutes of activity every day, like our fearless leader Jen.
  • Drink 3 glasses of water every day, even on the weekends.
  • Eat my modest pile of Halloween candy as quickly as possible so that it will be gone from my sight.

How about you? Are you making any progress or coming to any big realizations about changes you should be making? Jen @ Daily Mish Mash made this comment on her post this morning:

I had 57 people comment on the original post and most said they were going to participate in the challenge, however I’ve only had about 7 or 8 people checking in each week. I’m thinking we need to rededicate ourselves to our goals.

If you are participating in this challenge, make sure you are linking up your posts over @ Jen’s blog via the Mr. Linkey or leaving a comment if you are doing the challenge minus the blogging about it bit.

cooking & recipes memes & carnivals

Monthly Menu Plan: November

It’s time for another month of menu planning!

Rather than planning my family dinners night by night, or week by week, I’ve taken the habit of planning out one menu for an entire month. This makes my grocery shopping much easier since I’ve already decided what dinners I’ll be making, I only have to pick up the ingredients missing for that week and the very regular cast of breakfast and lunch foods.

And the looming nightly dinners are now much less intimidating. No longer having to stand in front of the refrigerator scratching my head, trying desperately to figure out something nutritious and delicious to make for dinner? Love that. And by doing this monthly rather than weekly, it leaves more time for life in the days in between. It isn’t rocket science, and thanks goes to Simple Mom who inspired me with this idea.

So here’s my menu for the month of November:

First the loose themes for each night, which make the planning process go much quicker:

Mondays: Freezer Foods: I am always at my most laziest on Mondays so I try to keep it simple

Tuesdays: Italian night: Pastas of various kinds usually with a salad or garlic bread

Wednesdays: All American Night: hot dogs and hamburgers and a few randoms thrown in

Thursdays: Grilled Cheese & Soups: I’ve thought about trying different sandwiches but our family seriously likes grilled cheese, so why fight it? The soup I try to switch up every week.

Fridays: Asian Night: So far I just rotate between Trader Joe’s orange chicken and BBQ Teriyaki (dh’s two favorite meals) but I’m always on the lookout for another easy option that we’ll all like.

Saturdays: Something we can opt to skip at the last minute: Usually dh’s homemade pizza or something from the ready to eat section of the grocery store – I don’t plan too much for Saturdays because we frequently bail on making dinner in favor of visiting people or running errands.

Sundays: Momma Has Fun In The Kitchen Night: I make some of my favorite dishes on Sundays – they aren’t always lengthy endeavors, but they are usually my favorite things to make & seem fun on Sundays when I’ve had two days to sleep in a bit and get refreshed for the coming week.

Week One

Monday: Chicken strips, mozzarella strips & jalapeño poppers
Tuesday: Pasta with red sauce, ground beef and side of Texas Toast garlic bread
Wednesday: Hot dogs, baked beans and macaroni & cheese
Thursday: Grilled cheese and pepperoni sandwiches & chicken noodle soup
Friday: Trader Joe’s Orange chicken, risotto & veggies
Saturday: Popcorn chicken, sweet potato fries & corn on the cob
Sunday: Enchilada style Mexican pizza

Week Two

Monday: Mrs. Budd’s Chicken Pot Pie
Tuesday: Spaghetti & meatballs w/ Caesar salad
Wednesday: Hamburgers w/ choose your own sides
Thursday: Grilled cheese and pepperoni sandwiches & Sausage Style Soup
Friday: BBQ style teriyaki chicken, risotto & veggies
Saturday: Spinach & feta pizza
Sunday: Swedish meatballs & egg noodles

Week Three

Monday: Beef toquitos w/ corn chips & salsa
Tuesday: Fettuccine Alfredo w/ broccoli & grilled chicken & Caesar salad
Wednesday: Steak & Cheese Sandwiches
Thursday: Grilled Cheese & Chili
Friday: DH’s BIRTHDAY orange chicken, basmati rice & veggies & homemade chocolate chip cookies
Saturday: Dan’s Birthday Dinner & A Movie
Sunday: Gnocci w/ spinach & Gorgonzola

Week Four

Potato skins, mozzarella strips & popcorn chicken
Tuesday: Spiral pasta w/ garlic, olive oil & side Caesar salad
Wednesday: Beer battered fish, mashed potatoes & carrots
Friday: BBQ teriyaki chicken from Trader Joes, basmati rice & Veggies
Saturday: GAME NIGHT Pizza & Turkey Day Leftovers
Sunday: Baked Brie wrapped in philo dough w/ cherry preserves (serve with fruit and crackers)

That’s it for November! Remember, the most important part of this process is flexibility – make a plan, but  don’t get eaten up about it if you decide to switch things up – maybe your dinners for Wednesday and Thursday need to be switched for a week or you make plans at the last minute – that’s fine – this isn’t homework, so it shouldn’t feel like it – the whole goal is to make YOUR life easier! So have fun with it!

If you’re making a menu plan for the month of November be sure to leave a comment with a link to your post in the comments section below.

family fun photography

Now Your Feature Presentation: The Man & The Monkey

The Man And The Monkey:

A Halloween Story


Mommy as Professor Wiseman & MM as The Man In The Yellow Hat

SB (super bestie) as Shrek

MM’s Future Bride as Your Friendly Neighborhood UPS Woman

and finally MM’s Future Sister-in-Law as Princess Jasmine

Critics say:

“Those are the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen!”

“You just know he’s up to something!”

“Only MM can make eating chips look this good!”

“The prettiest sisters in show business!”

“Why is she hugging me?”

“Only here can you see a Princess walking a man carrying a monkey! It’s a must see!”

You won’t want to miss this epic love story:

Boy likes balloons.

Girl likes balloons.

Boy & Girl decide to appease their parents and marry. Or hug.


And they all lived sugar highedly ever after. The End.


This post has been rated ATP (Awesomer Than Possamer) by the cute kid critic

Photographs are the property of but the lovely sisters featured above are the property of Red Knows How, at least until the wedding. Shrek is owned by his mother who does not YET have a blog.