Sunday, 24 February 2013

I Love My Local Bulk Store

In my quest to become healthier, save money, be kinder to environment and all those feel good things I started going to the bulk store last year. At first I went to the only one I really knew of. It was okay but the aisles were tight, they always seemed dingy and the staff were never overly attentive. THEN I discovered there was another bulk store even closer to me. I was hooked on it from then on. The store was clean and bright. They carried what seems like a much larger variety. The staff are very friendly. They carry an array of kitchen gadgetry as well as some gifty type items. I am talking about my local Scoop N Weigh.

I usually pop down there every couple weeks. I never buy massive bulk quantities rather I get what I know I am going to use over the next little while. My total always ends up being somewhere in the $50-$55 ballpark. Every. Time.

Going to the bulk store has been such a huge help in buying healthier ingredients for myself and my family. Yesterday I had an opportunity to go there and I came out with a fabulous haul. I thought I would share what I got and what I am going to use some it for.

-Wheat Bran and Oat Bran (for making bran muffins and for sprinkling on top of yogurt, oatmeal, etc.)
-Raisins (for putting in the bran muffins, for oatmeal cookies, and for putting in oatmeal)
-Dried Cranberries (for oatmeal and trail mix)
-Whole Almonds (for snacking on and getting my healthy fats)
-Pitted Dates (Haven't picked a recipe but there are a few which use dates that I am anxious to try)
-Mini Chocolate Chips (For making banana bread and other treats)
-Banana Chips (We love these just for snacking on)
-Cream Earl Grey Tea (It's tea. Need I say more)

I bought two things I have never bought/cooked with before. I am trying to expand our horizons in terms of grains/carbs/side dishes.
-Couscous (Alright I've bought a box of this before and have had it but have really never actually made or prepared it. I like the taste and texture so we will do some experimenting to see what the kids like)
-Quinoa (A dear friend runs the fantastic blog Little Grazers and has a recipe for Apple and Cheese Quinoa Balls among several other quinoa recipes. She is my go to for all things quinoa right now. She also has another site called Slimming Eats which follows the diet plan called Slimming World. While I follow Weight Watchers I love the whole food based recipes she has.)

In their candy and sweets section I always pick up just a small quantity of special treats. I usually get for myself two chocolate coconut covered marshmallows and I always get daddy a few pecan carmel thingys. They also stock seasonal candy so I grabbed the kids a small bag of easter themed chocolate covered raisins and some kind of easter themed cream candy. I know those things aren't necessarily healthy but those little sweet treats on rare occasions allow us to focus on healthy eating the rest of the time. Everyone deserves a treat now and again.

There are a few other items that are a part of my regular pick up but I was still stocked on them so I didn't pick up any this time. They are diced apricots, coconut flakes, coconut oil, shredded unsweetened coconut (clearly I have a thing for coconut), cinnamon, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hulled hemp hearts, buckwheat, and chia seeds.

Next time I go I am going to delve into a few of their legume options (beans and lentils perhaps) as well as try out some of their wild rice blends.

I always enjoy going there. For multiple reasons. Plus I often get to run in by myself while daddy chills in the van with the kids. Who wouldn't love 20 minutes to themselves regardless of where it is :)

Friday, 22 February 2013

One Week Left

Last week I turned out being not as high as I thought and this week I accomplished a nice loss (my gain and then some).

There is only one week left. I am biting my fingernails. I am so close but there are a few others that are so close as well. I am going to work hard this week and whatever happens happens. Those that worked hard deserve to win. It is not an indication on how hard I worked. I know for myself where I really pulled through and I know where I wavered a bit.

I'm putting the hammer down on myself even further. Do not fear I am not doing anything crazy. I'm not seriously restricting calories. I'm not expending myself more than what is safe. I'm just being very obedient and disciplined to the plan. It is good practice really because what I am doing now I really think is what I'll have to do to maintain once I hit goal. I also have to pretty much say buh bye to my weekly points and really only EVER use them for special occasions. I am at the point of making healthy enough choices and planning choices in advance that even if I HAVE to get something while out I am more than prepared for it. 

Overall though I'm pretty happy. I'm down to 170.4. The major push for the last 20 lbs is certainly on. By the end of April I plan to be at the 150 I am aiming for. Can't wait to get there. I am feeling very confident about the next two months.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Day Before Weigh In

Tomorrow is weigh in day and I know I am not going to be surprised. I am a devoted weigh myself every morning type of person. While I know that isn't recommended I know that for me personally I need daily affirmation or daily guilt to keep me on track. Therefore I am not going to be surprised when I see the numbers this week higher than last week.

So all this week despite being 90% on target with everything I am still up. What is up with that?? It will be a big shocker to me tomorrow if I am actually down. And I'm not just going to be up a little bit, I'm going to be up by at least a few lbs. Perhaps my scale needs a smack, it has been acting drunk lately. Either that or a new battery.

We only have three weigh ins to go (including tomorrow) to finish up this latest biggest loser challenge and this is so not the time for some kind of silly yoyo plateau (rolling hills if you will). Really. It frustrates me because I have worked hard for every challenge and yet never win. If I weren't stagnating right now I could win. At this point though I really don't know. As of the latest numbers the leader is at about 9% loss for the round while I am sitting at 7.82. In order for me to win I need to knock off 6-8 lbs in the next two weeks which well, really isn't realistic. Maybe I can hope my biggest competitor has a slip up week or plateaus herself. Wishful thinking.

It has been difficult for me mentally as well because I am working out hard every day. I am for the most part being very diligent with my eating. I go off track sometimes regarding food choices but even then I still religiously stay within my points ranges. At this point my working out is actually working against me. What I lose in fat I am gaining in muscle which is a big part of why the numbers get funny. Too bad the competition wasn't based on inches lost as opposed to weight lost.

As it stands now I have only 25 lbs left to go to reach my overall goal. I am vey proud of the progress I have made. After this challenge I really will only have one more round to go and that one may prove to be the hardest as I get closer to my goal.

I am reminding myself that biggest loser challenges will come and go. I am in this for the fitness and healthy eating lifestyle long haul. Heck, I've even started drinking veggie fruit shakes in the evening. Still it would be nice to win, I really do need to buy some new runners.

But biggest loser challenge aside I still say I am doing very well. My choices get better every day. My body is getting toned more and more each workout I do. I am coming up to that last 25 lb push and I am really going to push. I have a plan and I am implementing it every day.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Homeschool Fess Up

So it seems as though this past year has been a big derailment from what I envisioned. I hear on the homeschool grapevine that that happens a lot. Each year is a new year to learn about your children and yourself. Each year presents different challenges, different goals, different gains and losses.

One big thing I discovered about myself is...I HATE CURRICULUM PLANNING. While I love the idea and the practice of using "real books" it is the tying everything together that really really bogs me down. On a yearly overview I can plan it out, even on a monthly overview I can plan it out. But when it comes to the day to day I get so overwhelmed.

Spring is around the corner (I'll keep telling myself that) which means that homeschool convention time is nearing. That means that talk and planning of curriculum comes up. Sometimes I think homeschoolers spend as much time deliberating and debating as they do actually teaching the dang stuff. I know that is true in my case. I have read my guide books, I've done so much online research.

I feel like I sit between wanting to be the perfect planned daily homeschooling mother and wanting my children to learn an all encompassing and self guided approach as is unschooling. Rock meet hard place.

Truth be told we have been doing a lot of unschooling. I don't like to admit this because I fear the fall out from it. What will others think?? Am I failing my kids?? How are they possibly learning?? Those are some of the guilty thoughts that pop in my brain. But all I have to do is really observe them to see that they ARE learning. They are absorbing so much. Sitting back and allowing them to gravitate to their interests and learn various concepts seems both lazy and gratifying to me at the same time.

Nonetheless I don't feel 100% confident in unschooling so it is not a path I can take. Not to mention what *gasp* others will think. I care to much about what others think really. I have to work on that.

So where does that leave me? It leaves me waffling between curriculums. Where do we go from here? Thankfully I have never made a massive financial investment into resources (thank you internets) so I can shove any guilt there. And as a homeschooler I have the flexibility to shift gears whenever I think we need to.

Who says curriculum starts fresh and book spines cracked for the first time in September. I can rock and roll this thing anyway I want.

In going forward here are a few random thoughts:
-I can't stand the daily curriculum planning
-I know what I would like to approach subject wise
-I don't like printing. Free resources are great...until you are on your 10th ream of paper and millionth ink cartridge
-While my boys are rambunctious they do seem to enjoy sitting down and doing worksheets, go figure.
-I really need to separate my homeschool pinboard into different areas.
-With three kids already and a very busy husband I don't have time to spend fretting about daily lesson plans
-I like knowing what I *should* be doing and then doing my own thing based on that

With some of these points and other in mind here are some less random thoughts:
-We need a core curriculum to guide us through each day
-The free resources will make great supplemental material
-We need flexibility to take days off
-We need flexibility to delve deeper into areas of greater interest
-I need to use both curriculum and my children as my guide
-Most of all I want learning to be fun and exciting for my children

Over next while I am going to be working on creating more balance where all of this is concerned. Say a little prayer for me. Imma gonna need it.