Friday, April 30, 2010

Paying the Ransom

This one is for you, Heidi!

My sister told me she was holding a box of baby clothes hostage and if I wanted them I had to post a pregnant picture of myself. Well, here are two for you. Hope you enjoy the belly, cause it is getting pretty large!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spot and Speckle

Some friends of ours had a couple of goldfish that they were looking to get rid of and they asked us if we wanted them. I wasn't too sure about taking on the responsibility of fish, but I knew Clara would love them, so we said yes. Yesterday David and Chelsie brought over the little guys, Spot and Speckle, and we set up their bowl. From the second Clara saw the fish, she LOVED them! These pictures don't really do her reaction justice. Most of that is because the second I pull out the camera, she stops smiling and turns into a different kid. I don't know what it is with her and the camera, but she has not learned to ham it up yet!

(Please excuse my messy counter. I had not yet cleaned the kitchen, nor was I expecting to have pictures of it taken!)

Clara spent about an hour just looking at these tow goldfish. She talked to them, she cried every time we told her it was time to get down, then got really excited each time we gave her a few more minutes (hence the hour of looking at them). While I am not too excited to have a fish bowl to clean out, I am glad that Clara loves these fish and that seeing them is such a treat for her. We have to work on keeping her hands out of the bowl, but other than that, she is onto a great start! We will see how long they keep her interested!

Bear Claws

A few weeks ago, Jordan and I went to Montgomery, Illinois to visit my sister and her family. While we were there, my sister talked about making bear claws. Since that conversation, my pregnant self has not been able to get bears claws off the brain! Jordan had, apparently, never had one because he didn't seem too excited about them (anyone who knows Jordan well knows he LOVES almond desserts and since bears claws are filled with almond, I thought he would have been more excited about my recent obsession). We went to Panera for lunch one day, and pregnant me was salivating over the bear claws all during lunch. Being the good husband that he is, Jordan went and got me one after I ate my lunch and was still talking about them. After he tasted it and realized how incredibly delicious they are, he decided to jump on the bear claw band wagon with me.

Having never made bear claws before, I knew this would be an adventure and I decided to go into it slowly. I researched out recipes online and found this blog and from there decided that I needed to get this book from the library so that I had all the instructions and pictures at my disposal. I got the book, gathered together the necessary ingredients and started on my way. One day, I decided to make them, but I didn't have enough time to do it all, so I made mock bear claws using puff pastry dough and the almond filling from the book. They were quite delicious, and further fed my determination to make the real deal. Since I already had the filling made (the recipe makes twice as much filling as one batch of dough) I just had to tackle the dough. I am not going to lie. It intimidated me. I am kind of scatter brained, and even more so when pregnant. I also have this problem of thinking that I know better than directions. That can really get me into trouble. So with a few deep breaths, I read through the directions a few times and got started. The road started a little bumpy for me. I think I may have measured the flour wrong, or it really just needed more than the recipe says, because my dough was more like soup after I added the called for amount. I knew that couldn't be right, so after talking to my dough for some time, trying to figure out what to do, I added a bit more flour until it at least came together. I was quite nervous at this point. I did not want to be disappointed in the finished product. I kept going, though, and followed the rest of the directions to a T. After, literally, hours in the kitchen, here are the finished product!

They turned out so good! The dough was super flaky and light and fluffy and yummy. The filling was just as good as the first time, and the apricot glaze on top added that little something extra that seals the deal. Mission accomplished. I am no longer intimidated by this sort of dough! I can now add bear claws to the menu of the bakery I hope to open someday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Weight loss methods

Since I have been a slacker since my last post and haven't responded to the several comments I received, I have decided to do so.
Thank you for all the congratulations. You should be happy to know that two weeks later I am maintaining my weight loss and feeling good.
Several people asked me how I did my weight loss, and the answer is really simple, basic and unglamorous ... it was portion control, eating less calories after 6 p.m. and exercise.
That was really it. Crystal's cooking being as good as it is, I had to work hard to do it, but I did.
The fact that it was a contest helped a lot, too, because I could get my competitive juices flowing to help me go.
One trick for portion control is using smaller plates. Crystal and I have full-size dinner plates, but for most meals we use half-size plates (maybe you'd call them salad plates) and that limits the amount of food we can put on the plate. There is something satisfying about seeing a full plate of food in front of you, and if your plate isn't as big, it can be full and you don't eat as much.
Another thing I found is that in the evening, about 9 p.m., usually, I get kind of peckish, and want a treat. At that point, I would drink a can of diet beverage, which had the taste I wanted, with between 10 and zero calories, plus it filled me up enough that I didn't want anything.
Finally, on nights when it was really hard, I would brush my teeth early so I had another barrier between me and the fridge.
One key was also that I didn't tell myself anything was off limits. I had ice cream a couple times and some cupcakes, etc. I just didn't have them every time they were available or every time I wanted them.
As for exercise, I have been running about 3 miles at least once a week, and playing basketball for one or two hours on other days.

As an interesting aside, I am now getting used to how my body feels with less fat reserves. Fast Sunday was a lot harder this past month because my body didn't have as much backup energy. Also, on Monday, I ran three miles then came home, showered, and ran some errands for a couple hours with Crystal and Clara. By the time we got home I was really, really hungry. I ate my dinner pretty quickly, but I didn't eat a lot (bowl of chili, biscuit and an artichoke), but afterward I felt really crummy and later ended up emptying my stomach into the lawn. My body just wasn't up for exercise and then a three-hour wait for food. Kind of a rotten way to learn my lesson there, but I certainly learned it.
I never thought about it beforehand, but there are a lot of changes beyond the physical ones after losing a chunk of weight. I would be interested to hear how the people who lose 100+ pounds deal with learning to live with their new body.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Biggest Loser contest

Now that it is April 1st, I have completed my first major project of the year. On January 1, thanks to the creativity of my brother- and sister-in-law, I started a family Biggest Loser contest. The last day was March 31, so I did my final weigh in and now you get the results.

By the way, I know that today's date might throw some of you off, but I have photographic evidence below.

I am so glad to be done with this contest. I made a big change in my life and saw results, and I am excited to continue with my healthier lifestyle, but I am also excited to allow myself an indulgence here and there.

I started at 231 pounds and my final weight was 194.5 pounds. I lost 36.5 pounds, for a total weight loss of 15.8 percent. I haven't weighed under 200 since I was 19 years old. I turn 29 in about 30 days, so I'm going to try to better when I turn 39.

Here are my before-and-after shots.

I can now even wear my UnderArmour shirt without feeling self-conscious!