Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Skinny Buns

Get this. (I read somewhere that the secret of successful bloggers is that they start each post with a forceful command.*) You know Carrie Fisher? The actress/writer/gold bikini-wearer? (Of course you know Carrie Fisher. Who doesn't?) I just heard from her very mouth that she was offered the role of Princess Leia in the Star Wars trilogy with the caveat that she lose 10 pounds. The thing is, at the time she weighed a mere 105 pounds. Sure, she's 5'1" tall, but that's still incredibly skinny. Shame on you, George Lucas and Star Wars casting agents!

I hate Hollywood. (Except for when they make an enjoyable film--I like that part.)

P.S. My source for this information is an NPR podcast of "Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me" episode, which originally aired on January 31st of this year.

*I made that up
. The actual secret of successful bloggers is that they tell outrageous lies.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Never Give a Half-Baked Answer to a 4-year-old

Conversation with above 4-year-old tonight, just before bed:

4-year-old (In sweet lispy 4-year-old voice): "Mommy, what does 'fat' mean?"
Me (In an absent-minded, lazy voice): "It means 'big.'"
4-year-old: "Mommy, you are very, very fat!"
Me (In a paying-attention-now voice): "Honey, many people don't like it when you call them fat. It means they are...uh...bigger than they'd like to be."
4-year-old: "Mommy you are bigger than me!" (OK. I can agree with that.)

I suppose I should have told her that "fat" means, "having too much adipose tissue." (see below). That would have cleared things right up.

P.S. I really don't have a problem with the word "fat" myself (not that I want people yelling it at me in the street), but I don't want 4-year-old to start telling anyone who is larger than she is that they are "fat."

Friday, February 20, 2009

Product Review: Wheat Thins Fiber Selects

I know you value my opinions...about everything. So based on that, I decided to sample a new food product and write about it. You're welcome!
Have you ever had Wheat Thins? Sure you have. Everyone's had Wheat Thins. 
Do you like Wheat Thins? I don't--not really, anyway. I suppose I would eat them if I were starving, or if I ran out of popcorn and there was something good on TV (is it possible not to eat while watching TV? I really need to find out.)
Still, they're not my favorite cracker. They're kind of anemic tasting. (Can something taste anemic if it doesn't have blood? What does anemia taste like, anyway? Don't tell me if you know.)

Well, in spite of my lackluster feelings about Wheat Thins, I decided to give the new Fiber Selects 5-grain version a try. It helped that I had a good coupon that made them cost $1. 

Guess what? They're tasty! I really like them. In fact, I will certainly buy them again (no, I am not on the take from Nabisco). They have a nice, nutty crunch. I like the large grains of salt on the surface. (I'm a fan of salt.)

What about nutrition, you ask? Be patient! I'm getting to that. 
Here's some of the nutrition info from the box:
1 serving=13 crackers
Per serving:
4.5 grams fat (no saturated fat) 
30% of calories are from fat
22 g carbohydrates
5 g fiber
2 g protein

What's exceptional about those numbers is the fiber gram count. 5 grams of fiber is a lot for a serving of crackers. Most crackers have little or no fiber, even those with "wheat" in the title. (Did you know that? Does it annoy you like it annoys me? Are you annoyed that I'm annoyed by  stupid things?)
For example, regular Wheat Thins have 1 gram of fiber per serving. Wheatsworth crackers (made from stone-ground wheat!) also have 1 gram of fiber per serving. Multigrain saltines have NO grams of fiber per serving. Triscuits are better than most, with 3 grams of fiber per serving (and, they are delicious)(also, never try to eat them without a drink at hand--they will always get stuck in your throat).

What's so important about fiber? Well, that's a subject for another post. I could go on and on about fiber. I love fiber. What can I say? I'm just a regular girl. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Twisty brain, twisty body

An artist's rendition of me. Honest.

Does anybody out there love yoga? I keep thinking I should love yoga, and I want to love yoga, I just, well, have never done it consistently enough to find out if I do. Every time I do it, I like it, but since that only happens about twice a year, I can't say for sure if there's a potential love connection or not.

I think one of the reasons is that I haven't done a lot of it is that every yoga DVD or tape (Holly gave me some for Christmas once about 100 years ago) I've had has always been, like, a whole hour. For someone with an attention span like mine (see also: gnat), that's a really long time. Here's the thing about my brain--ok, fine--one of the things about brain is that it might have no problem doing something that takes such a long time, and it might even like it, but good luck, my friend, trying to talk it into doing it again. Even if I liked it. My brain sometimes is not my friend.

I found something neat today though. Yogadownload.com. I have read about their yoga, well, downloads in several places, with the consensus being that they're good, so I decided to go check it out, mainly because I had read that they have 20-minute sessions. My brain likey 20 minutes waaay better than more than 20. And guess what! Turns out the 20-minute sessions are free! At least a whole bunch of them are (I haven't exactly checked out the site extensively). I'm almost as cheap as I am easily bored, so this seems like a good combination for me.

I downloaded the three beginner sessions, and I'm going to try one of them tomorrow. I'll let you know how it goes!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Words to Eat By

I just love folksy sayings, don't you? There's nothing like some homespun wisdom to inspire and instruct a body.

You know what I mean? Stuff like:

"Birds of a feather have lots of feathers."


"A penny saved is still just a penny"

(Inspired yet? I know I am!)

What about this gem?

"What's good for the goose is good for the French hens"

and let's not forget:

"A stitch in time leaves you with a holey clock." (That one has always been a comfort to me.)

This past weekend has certainly been governed by another of my favorite proverbs. Let's see if I can get it right. Oh yeah:

"You are what you EAT

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This is more interesting than anything I have to say

So I was going to write a "Confess and Assess: Sara Edition" post, but I can't find anywhere the paper where I wrote my measurements down, and heavens knows I am waaay too lazy to just take them again.

Instead, while I'm off searching through the random stacks of paper I have on every flat surface, read this article. It's about the boys' basketball team at a high school in a small town in New Brunswick, Canada. One of my very dear friends sent it to me, as that is the town she grew up in and the high school from which she graduated.

I kinda disappeared last week, because my mood spiraled into a pile of crap (figurative, thankfully) brought on, best I can tell, by the combination of hormones (ttom doesn't want to stick to any sort of schedule, it would seem) and my husband only being home for 3 days of the last month. Let me just say that there are days I handle his absences better than others. This past week was a few of the others. Reading that article though was a good reminder that maybe my life isn't as difficult as I sometimes seem to want to make myself think it is. Please don't think that, by posting this article, I am telling anyone to "suck it up" because their problems aren't "as bad" as this town's. I am a firm believer that you can't compare suffering (except maybe in extreme cases, i.e. hangnail vs. multiple organ failure--in that instance I might have to call you a whiner).

I am grateful whenever I find examples of people who carry on and succeed in the face of great difficulties. The circumstances may not be the same, but I think that we can gain something from stories like this to use to make our own lives better, even if it's just to give our loved ones an extra hug.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Simple Life

I've decided I would like my goal list to be the same as my nephew's. I saw it posted on my brother's fridge last night and was struck by its straightforward simplicity. Maybe I'm making life more complicated than it needs to be.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Confess and Assess: Part 2

Waaaay back in November of aught eight, I posted my measurements and other general information about my health and weight loss efforts. Since three months have passed (wow!), I decided to do it again. I LOVE putting personal information on the internet! (Almost as much as I love sarcasm!)

Today's information:
*Weight: 182.5
*Height: still 5'9"
*Exercise regimen: finally working on it
*Best thing I eat regularly: oatmeal
*Worst thing I eat regularly: chocolate
*Husbands who weigh less than I do: Joel
*Nights per week I get enough sleep: one or two
*Number of aches and pains: three
*Water consumed daily: around 64-80 oz.
-Upper arm: 14 inches
-Neck: 13 3/4 inches
-Bust: None of your diggity dang business
-True waist (smallest part): 33 3/4 inches
-Waist at belly button: 35 inches
-High hips (at hipbone): 42 inches
-Largest hip measurement: 44 inches
-Thigh: 26 inches
-Knee (just above kneecap): 17 inches
-Calf: 15 inches
-Ankle (why not?): 9 inches

Compared to last November:

-Weight: 3.5 pounds down.
-Upper arm: same
-Neck: 1/4 inch smaller (be gone, neck fat!)
-True waist: 1/4 inch smaller
-Waist at belly button: 2 inches smaller
-High hips (at hipbone): 1.5 inches smaller
-Largest hip measurement: same
-Thigh: 1 inch smaller (per thigh)
-Knee: same
-Calf: 1 inch smaller (per calf)
-Ankle: 1/4 inch bigger (why?)

Overall progress. My most annoying trouble spots--my hips and arms--haven't budged yet. Considering most of the positive changes I've made over the past 3 months have been food-related, and I've only just started exercising regularly, I'm pleased with the results. Not gaining weight over the holidays was a thrilling development.

I think I'll do this monthly from now on. I need the accountability.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Amy Lawson, Come on Down!

Dear Amy,

Holly and I are busy putting together the prize packages for the contest that you dropped out of after three weeks. By "Holly and I," I mean "Holly," since I already mailed her my part of it; when it gets to her is up to the post office gods.

But back to the quitting. We understand. That's ok. Really it is. We've quit lots of stuff before, too. Mostly crafts. But also lots of weight loss-related things. For instance, weight loss. I think it's safe to say that we've both been lifestyle-changing (that's the PC way to say "dieting" nowadays, right?) most of our adult lives. Honestly, the only reason I didn't quit the contest is because Holly makes my kids really cool cakes on their birthdays and occasionally mails me shoes. If I had quit, the shoe pipeline would have likely dried up. (P.S. Holly, when are you going to give me those black shoes I borrowed in December? And the red ones. I want those, too. The End.)

We were pretty excited when so many people joined our contest and even more excited to see how many of them actually stayed with it the whole time. (Did you know that your sister stayed with it the whole time? Yeah, she's really great.) And Holly and I have been grateful the whole time that you gave us a mention/entire post on your blog which is what ultimately sent a large portion of those people to our blog. After that post, our readership increased sizeably, and our hits started coming more from Google Reader and less from people searching for this picture. I am not kidding. For most of this blog's existence, the majority of the people that have looked at it were really looking for Igor. And anytime we see a hit from the UK or northern Europe, we can pretty much guarantee they want Igor, not us. I can't explain it, and I'm not sure I want to, but that's how it was. Until you.

So we want to thank you. Since you did quit the contest, we can't technically send you a prize, but I hope no one will mind if we send you a present. It's not much, and there wasn't even close to a dozen dollars spent on it, but it's something I think you'll like. I originally bought for my son, but once I realized the treasure that it truly is, I quickly distracted him and stashed it away for me to keep, only occasionally bringing it out to show people on webcam so they can see the sheer awesomeness of it.

Here, I'll give you a hint:
And some clues:

  • My son is obsessed with the movie Cars.
  • I bought him a 10-pack of Cars cars at an Egyptian toy store for 35 LE (Egyptian pounds; that's about $6.29).
  • Copyright laws in Egypt means nothing.
  • Egyptians frequently manufacture and sell things that are made to look like licensed products but clearly are not.
  • Many Egyptians don't speak English.
  • Best I can tell, most of these companies that both make these products and don't speak English, have some sort of aversion to hiring native English speakers to, you know, proofread.
  • Often, hilarity ensues.
  • Best. children's. toy. ever.
Why am I telling you all of this, you ask? Because, if you want this really great truck (I promise you; you're going to want to hide it from your child lest he break it, uh--in the interest of full disclosure--more than my son already has)(but he just broke of one of the high-quality ladders on the side; the text is still fully in tact), and I think you do, we need you to please e-mail us your address to myweightisasecret at g-to-the-mizz-ail dot com, and I will send it on its way to live at your house.

Why didn't I just e-mail you privately, you ask? Because it's my day to post, and I can't think of anything to write about. Simple as that.

Never change except for the better (what? you mean I'm not signing your yearbook?),
Sara and Holly

P.S. I have a picture of the side, too, but thought I'd let you decide whether or not you want to see it before it arrives at your house. If so, lemme know, and I'll post it. If you want it to be a surprise, I'll wait until you have it before sharing with the class.

Monday, February 9, 2009

I have a bone to pick with Nordstrom

A few times a year I get a catalog/big ad booklet in the mail from Nordstrom. I think they'veseen the palace I live in and realize I'm made of money, and they want some of it.
I shop there once in a while (mostly from the clearance racks), so maybe that got me on the list.

This past fall's catalog horrified me, and not just because of the prices or the hideous leopard-print loafers (look at me! I'm sassy and sensible at the same time!).

Specifically, I was horrified by the legs on these models:
And let's not forget this model (I think she's in the top photo as well, but that doesn't really matter):

First, I want to invite these girls over for hoagies and chocolate milk (the thick kind). They need nourishment. Second, I want to ask Nordstrom why they are using impossibly thin models to sell their clothes.

I know. I know. They're models. If they're not impossibly thin, they're not worthy of the title. I know that, but I don't have to like it. (Don't get me started on the topic of plus size models. Yeah...a size 12 model [who is probably at least 5'10" tall] does not wear plus sized clothing.)

And really, I don't even expect or want companies to use average size 12-14 women in their ads for misses' and juniors' clothing. I understand that clothing is displayed to its best advantage on a slender frame. I just want there to be a line between slim and starving. Is that too much to ask?

Young women have enough pressure in life without the subtle (and not-at-all-subtle) message coming from the fashion world: "Your body isn't right. You don't meet the ideal." (Raise your hand if you thought you were fat in high school, whether you were or not.)

The bodies of the girls in the above photos go beyond thin. There doesn't appear to be any flesh on their limbs, let alone fat. I worry about their health--really I do. I don't blame the models themselves for these ads--they are just doing their job (which is to look pretty and try to stand upright using the energy gleaned from 1/2 a saltine and a baby carrot).

What's the solution? I don't know. I don't know if I have the the time to figure it out...not today at least--I have things to scrub and polish.

What do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Food of the Week (Week 2): Clementines

"Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my daaaaarlin' Clementine!
I will peel you
Then I'll eat you
Very yummy

Have you had a clementine (a seedless variety of mandarin orange) yet? Why not? They are delicious! They are little! They are cute! 

Have you, like me, ever not eaten an orange because you didn't have the energy to peel it?
Well, clementines are the answer to this dreadful dilemma. They are so, so easy to peel. You won't even believe how easy they are to peel. My niece told me her Weight Watchers leader says all you have to do is sneeze and they're peeled. That's pretty close to the truth.

This is clementine season--right now. Hurry, because I don't think it lasts much longer. I buy 5 lb boxes at Costco, but you can get them at just about any supermarket. Don't be put off if the clementines seem a little squishy. That is likely because there is often space between the peel and the fruit (hence the ease of peeling). Just watch out for mold or crushed fruit that may have contaminated the whole bag/box. 

Here's what you get from a delicious clementine (besides deliciousness)-

3.5 ozs of fruit (2 very small or 1 very large):

50 calories
1.7 grams fiber
80% of your RDA of vitamin C
B vitamins
juicy goodness
a delightful citrus fragrance

1) Yes, I did create a bonnet for a piece of fruit. You wanna make something of it?
2) I also rhymed "you" with "you" in my "song." Sue me.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

If I don't put them in therapy, I'm not doing my job

Just now I was regaling Holly over IM with my "I'm Such a Great Mom" story of the day. It involves me lying to my daughter and convincing her that I really did see the entire assembly that her class sang in this morning when really I left as soon as her class was done. In my defense, I had just sat through the whole thing just before that when her sister's class did the exact same thing in the exact same assembly, so I really did see the entire thing, just not at the same time she saw it. (This also made it easier to supply information that only someone who had clearly been at the show could have known.)(Details are important when you're lying.)(But not too many; then you sound desperate.) An hour of watching other people's children perform entirely too long dances all while trying to keep my 2-year old both happy and quiet (you try it; it's worse that trying to both hula hoop and apply eyeliner) was more than enough for me.

So, to sum up: I rule. Thankfully my mother can give my kids free therapy.

I do have some good qualities as a mother though, so I going to share a few of the ways I think I'm succeeding in helping my kids be healthy.

Some of my prouder parenting moments:

My kids don't know that you can add sugar to cereal. I'm talking Corn Flakes here, people. The kids eat them completely plain and like it. When I was a kid, there was always an at least inch-thick layer of sugar silt at the bottom of the milk.

Last year, my oldest daughter came home from a church youth activity where the lesson had been about healthy eating. The woman who taught the class had a picture of Adam and Eve displayed, with a sign that said, "Adam and Eve didn't eat Ding-Dongs." After telling me about it, my daughter asked me, "Mom, what's a 'Ding-Dong?'"

My older son has started getting up at 6am completely on his own just so that he'll have time to play Wii Fit for 15 minutes before school and get all his morning stuff done, too. He's done it for almost 3 weeks now without missing a day. This is the boy that usually acts like I sacrificed his favorite animal in front of him whenever I say something like, "Time to wake up."

While they really do take after me (and I take after my mom, whose father once told her "You would rather read than run"), they are much more physically active than I ever was as a child--and they actually like it.

They have been known to turn down soda pop for water.

They stop eating when they're full. And usually don't want more than one serving of dessert. Whenever that happens I have to remind myself that the fact that they are little clones of my husband is proof that yes, they are actually the children I gave birth to, and no, they were not actually switched at the hospital.

My older son has become a smoothie-making whiz. He'll whip them up for anyone at the dropof a hat, and he loves to try different fruits and other flavor combinations. (I will neither confirm nor deny that I sometimes only pretend to drink them.)

This one isn't health-related, but it makes me laugh, so I'm including it: My kids accept it as completely normal that when someone is drinking too much or too quickly, you say, "Easy on the Pepsi, Fuller;" when you have to clear your throat in order to say something, you follow it up with, "Welcome to the Pit of Despair; don't even think about trying to escape;" and if you're in pain, you adopt a British accent and say, "And that really hurt, Charlie, and it's still hurting."* That's just to name a few.

My kids are just cool. Or seriously messed up. Either way works, because the bottom line is that they make me laugh, And as long as I'm entertained, it's all good.

What are some of the ways that you help your kids to be healthy? Are they more healthy than you were as a child? Also, tell me something funny they do or say. I love me some funny kid stories.

*If you don't know what I'm talking about, go here. My 2-year old was quoting it to himself in bed last night--"Chaw-wee eat me!" Hi-larity.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I exercised today. Guilt made me do it...or gratitude--you pick. Last night my niece Annie was here and she was bemoaning (great word, bemoaning) her injured knee and the way it keeps her from her beloved exercise. (Annie lost a boatload of weight in 2007 and has kept it off for a year.)

So today, when I was (yet again) contemplating not exercising, I decided in honor of Annie I'd better stop being a whiner and be grateful that I can exercise. Sure, I'm as out-of-shape as a reject loaf at the Wonder Bread factory* (that's my favorite bad analogy EVER!), but at least my body has working joints and muscles. So I did rejoice exceedingly as I treadmilled this morning: hurray for knees! hurray for ankles! huzzah for hips! 

*Touring the Wonder Bread Factory was my favorite elementary school field trip of all time. Paper hat with Wonder Bread circles? Check. Tiny load of Wonder Bread for each of us? Check. 
But I don't think I've purchased a load of Wonder Bread in my entire life, so their advertising ploy didn't work. 

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

And not really one to this one either

Today I think I had a personality-altering blow to the head, because I spent the bulk of the day--get this--doing some of the things that are constantly in my head as Things I Should Be Doing. Weird, huh?

Anyway, to further go along with this theme of acting completely unlike myself, I'm also going to go to bed soon (it's just after 9pm here; maybe I didn't so much change my personality as age 50 years? Where's my Geritol?).

But before I grab my prune juice nightcap and go shake my fist at youngsters and their devil music as I toddle off to bed, I'm going to share with you my new favorite quotation:

"We do not suddenly become
what we do not cooperate
in becoming."

William J. Bennett

'night, you crazy kids. As my grandma used to always tell me on my way out the door, "Don't do anything I can't do on a bicycle!"

Sunday, February 1, 2009

There is no point whatsoever to this post*

Consider yourself warned.

At 10 o' clock last night I was packing up the veritable mountain of stuff I had to mail off (mailing packages here is such a pain in the kiester that I tend to save it up until there's so much that I just can't put it off anymore)(well, I could, and I usually do, but this time I didn't). One of the boxes was to send to Holly containing the Egyptian part of these nutritious prize packages. It also contains my mom's walking stick. She couldn't fit it in her luggage, so I told her I'd mail it to her, but it didn't fit into any of the boxes I had, so I slipped it into the larger box heading for Holly. So hey, Hol, when the box comes, can you call my mom and have her come get her stick? Thanks. But I digress. Try not to be too shocked.

As I was getting ready to tape up the box, I realized I hadn't included the most important thing! The trash! I couldn't exactly promise bona fide Egyptian street pickings and not follow through, now could I? I mean, if you're denying yourself figgy pudding because it might get between you and your own piece of garbage (or, say, because it's figgy pudding, but work with me here), you want your trash, dangit! But you know what I don't like doing? Going out at night by myself. Especially to, you know, pick stuff up off the ground. Lucky for me--and you winners, you--my husband was home this weekend.

I gotta say, he looked at me really, uh...bewilderdedly...when I told him what I wanted him to do. I think for a moment or two he thought I was kidding. You may not have guessed this about me, but I kid a lot, so I can get where he might think this. But I was serious. And he is a seriously nice man. Holly is not the only one who goes along with my harebrained schemes. So he took his little flashlight (or, as our 2-year old calls it, "The Ghostlight! Aaaaaaaaaahhh!")(Said 2-year old is a little obsessed with Cars.)(That was a little bit of an understatement.)(So was that.) and went and foraged on the streets around our house. My husband loves me very much.

As a(nother) side note, Eminem just came up on my iTunes, and my husband thinks it's really funny that I even have Eminem on my iTunes. What? I don't strike you as someone who would like really crass rap? Have you never met me? Besides, it's just one song. Plus it's the clean version. So there.

But rest easy friends, the trash is on its way! Also some stuff that's not trash (I hope)(I have a really hard picking things out for other people). Yay for prizes! And yay for everyone for doing this with us. I'm thinking that if those of you who didn't win want to join us again for a Springtime contest, I might offer a piece of garbage as a participation prize. Mostly because a) they're funny (and really isn't that reason enough?), 2) they're free, and III) I've clearly proven I can get my husband to do some pretty crazy things for me, so why not?

P.S. I just noticed that dh's Facebook status update is referencing my Eminem. I can't complain though; I might need him later. That trash ain't pickin' itself up!

*Told you.