Tuesday, April 28, 2009

South Beach Torture

Almost one year ago I gave birth to a tiny baby who arrived six weeks early. This combined with wretched morning sickness and weight loss early in pregnancy, pumping like a maniac and probably a good deal of anxiety about having a preemie in the NICU led to the miracle that was my complete loss of baby weight. Not only did I lose the weight that I gained during pregnancy, I somehow managed to not go back to my pre-preggers weight and stayed at my first trimester weight (because yes my morning sickness was that bad.) Before you decide I am a jerk who gloats about her baby weight, remember that there was a couple months not long ago that we call "the holiday season." Sigh. All that non-work to lose the weight was defeated by mashed potatoes and cookies and stuffing and pie and... you get the picture. In my defense I'd like to point out that the previous holiday season was spent feeling nauseous with occasional barfing.

Due to all the holiday goodies that I piled on my plate, I am now having to get rid of the excess before the mildly important event coming up in my life in five short months... aka my wedding. The Fiance has been wanting to lose some lbs as well so we decided that together we would enter the South Beach realm and try to get a jump start on our plan. Let me just say that the creator of the South Beach Diet must be in cahoots with the devil in some way because only someone with no soul would enforce two weeks without any carbs, sugar or even fruit for crying out loud! I admit I have not been totally faithful to the SBD. The flea market would not have been possible without the Starbucks frappucino or the breakfast sandwich that accompanied it. In an attempt not to completely throw out the plan, I did only eat just one side of the english muffin on the sandwich. Gold star for me.

The hardest part of the SBD for me is having to depend so much on vegetables in my diet. Vegetables have always been a sideshow to the main act in my culinary experience, as is true for most Americans. Apparently this is the problem and the entire root of the SBD in the first place. The other major stumbling block for me is breakfast. Without toast, cereal, fruit, etc you aren't left with many options unless you are the type of person who can eat last night's dinner leftovers for breakfast. I'm not. What are you left with? Eggs. I've searched high and low for SBD breakfast recipes that don't include eggs or egg substitute. They don't exist. We are halfway through the first two-week phase. I am really trying to stay motivated. Once we get through this phase, we can eat whole grains and fruit in moderation. Thank goodness. Until then I guess I better look up some more creative egg recipes.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Fabulous Flea Market

Yesterday I went to a wonderful flea market or swap meet or whatever the correct technical name sounds like to you. It was held at a high school nearby and was a parking lot full of kids stuff. Toys, books, clothes, strollers, furniture - you name it, they had it and at dirt cheap prices. The sale is held twice a year and this was my first time. The best part is that it's all for kids so you don't have to scour endless rows of lamps and toasters just to find what you want.

We've been the very fortunate recipients of a lot of hand-me-down clothes and toys from twins that are a year older than Baby, so we are not left wanting for much. BUT there were a few things I was on the lookout for and I managed to score bigtime. I found an umbrella stroller in great condition for $15 and got it for $10. I also found a new set of baby monitors. Our current monitors buzz loudly throughout the night and I just couldn't stomach spending another 65 bucks or so just to get non-buzzy baby monitors. I managed to take the hardly-used set home for $10 and I'm happy to report a buzz-free night of sleep. Along with a handful of books, I managed to leave with an armful of things for less than $25.

The friend I went with unfortunately didn't find the big backyard toys she was looking for because those items are harder to come by and sell instantly when the sale starts. We spent the car trip home strategizing about how we would tackle the next sale held in October. It is definitely nice to find things for cheap and feels somewhat environmentally responsible. I admit that my chief reason for going was to save money but it always feels nice to help the planet at the same time. And now I can roll out my handy new lightweight stroller and feel good that I at least saved a little money!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Catching Up

I finally got the camera working so that I can transfer pictures onto the computer. Yay! I wanted to post images of some of the projects that I've been working on over the past couple months. I posted here about the wall above our couch, which I referred to as "my nemesis" because it is huge and high and nothing seemed to fit right. After the Fiance put up shelves two months ago (sigh) I finally got the framed pictures up. Although it's still a work in progress, it's a big improvement over the empty wall.

It's hard to capture how much better it actually is without before and after pix, but I can now walk by the living room without glancing at the wall and uttering a long sigh. The other portion of the living area that somewhat coordinates is the fireplace. I'm still working on the rest. I do love how in this picture you can see the baby monitor, a fabulous decorative addition to our mantel.

I've also been feeling very crafty as I posted here. The result is a new spring bag that I created from Sandi Henderson's Market Bag pattern. You can find the link to the pattern shop on her blog, Portobellopixie, and it was pretty easy, even after not having sewn much of anything in many moons.
The fabric that I picked up at Joanne's is wonderful and bright and summery. It's not necessarily a universal bag that goes with anything, but it is big enough to hold a book or magazine, as well as the normal stuff. I'm currently in the process of making another in a different fabric for a friend. I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Below I added pictures to the post about our new vegetable garden. We've lost one lettuce plant but otherwise the plants are doing well. Our roses are about to have the first big bloom of the year, but I added some pictures of how pathetic the garden looked after we chopped the roses down a couple months ago. It was hideous but amazing how quickly they grow back. I'm so stoked on adding pictures. I feel much better about my blog now!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Little Vacation

In honor of Easter, the three of us are making the long (two hour) journey to Palm Desert to spend with Grandpa, Grandma and Aunt E, the Fiance's family. I've explained the desert situation before and it's truly a mini-oasis from normal life. This time of year it will be about 85 degrees and just perfect for sitting by the pool trying to tan my sadly pasty legs. Incidentally I'm very happy that my wedding is after the summer because I have several months to get nice and golden without even considering any fake n bake (which I don't do anymore).

I'm armed with a couple mindless magazines and a strapless swimsuit to hold the tan lines at bay. Normally I'm pretty carefree when it comes to tan lines but I think it would be rather unsightly in my strapless wedding gown, so I'm making every attempt to prevent it from happening. With the whole summer ahead of me, it's somewhat of a daunting task but I'm making the effort and if I have some lines it won't be the end of the world. I'm just not that high maintenance.

Easter dinner has been replaced in the past couple years with Easter brunch and that pattern continues this year. Personally I love it. No one has to cook. No one has to clean. You just eat until you have to resist the urge to unbutton your pants but you don't because that would be inappropriate at your future in-laws golf club, and then you go home and sleep it off. That really makes me sound like the epitome of health! It should be a really nice weekend and we haven't seen the Fiance's family in a couple months so they will enjoy seeing our little monkey. Her newest skill is clapping and she's really honed it down in the past week. We've got her to the point where she does it on command and it's just the right thing to warm a grandparent's heart. Happy Easter!

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Vegetable Garden = Aching Muscles

I love spring! This past weekend was in the 70s and perfectly sunny. On Saturday we took advantage of the nice weather and took a trip to the local garden store where we chose a selection of veggies for a small plot on the end of our rose garden. We decided to be a little adventurous and we'll see what comes of it in a few months. Tomatoes, lettuce, strawberries and pumpkins came home with us, along with a new hydrangea bush and a calla lily.

Supposedly strawberries grow very well in our area, and I think it would be wonderful to have fresh berries in the summer instead of buying one of those overpriced packages at the grocery store that we can never seem to finish. I also love the idea of carving pumpkins at Halloween that came out of our own garden. We have grand visions of dedicating a much larger space in the back yard to a vegetable garden but we thought it would be smart to start small and see how it turns out. I'm not exactly a green thumb so I'm following a lot of instructions from the Fiance on this project. A LOT.

Below is our rose garden at the end of February after the bushes all got chopped down. So sad.

The roses are about to have their first big bloom but these pictures were taken about a week ago when we started seeing the first roses. Did I mention I love spring?

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