Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sully's 6th birthday

In honor of Sully's 6th birthday (which was actually earlier this month), we had a tea party! We invited Sully's two favorite little girls (twin daughters of a friend who simply worship sweet Sully) and had a Princess Manners gala tea party event! Here are Sully and I setting the tableThe tea party was outdoors, and while I would have liked to have it in the courtyard, we are having the drainage pipe under the bricked patio fixed so it looks like this at the momentSo our party was out under the trees, on a rug to make it more like a formal space. We had tons of finger sandwiches, little cheese on toasts and cream puffs with jam. My wonderful little guests and their mom brought us marzipan fruits and cinnamon bears to add to the spread. And Sully got a new toy! We had my favorite childhood tea, Almond Sunset (which I rediscovered at the Tea Factory!) and lemonade to quench our thirst. And we played a game and did a craft. Sully got fed MANY peanut butter treats and even got to eat a Better Than Ears.

Then tonight we went out tracking at the University's arboretum. We did one straight, one longer one with one turn and two two-turn tracks (one a zigzag and one a U-shape). Here's the view from behind the Corgi

I got a tiny bit of sewing done as well. The first quilt top is a scrappy string quilt for Project Linus, which I've probably shown blocks of before, but now the top is almost done! Just needs a small border around the edge.And this one is a quilt all for my very own! I am making it with Pampered Pooch fabrics, it will get several more borders to make it a nice big snuggly quilt. And I am keeping it all for me, my very first quilt I have made to keep!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday Weigh-In, Holiday Edition

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 194
% lost overall: 9.767%

The verdict this week: no change. I am guessing by the fit of my clothes that it can be explained by the increase in strength training, those new muscles weigh pounds too. But hopefully they'll help me burn some more calories! We will find out just how much new muscle there is when I have my body composition measured at the gym at the end of the challenge.

This weekend, we grilled! I did LOTS of veggies (marinated in balsamic, honey and olive oil), delicious and good for several meals!YUM! I wasn't too sure about carrots on the grill but they are fabulous! I ate them the first night with a salad with beets. I ate till I was stuffed.
Then I made a fajita with them. Whole wheat tortilla, yogurt, fresh salsa and a little bit of cheddar cheese. YUM all over again!
My huge bowl of salsa, the reason I just planted 9 tomato plants and 3 jalapeno pepper plants in my now-weed-free garden (pictures to come). Every summer I become salsa obsessed, but this summer I am eating it with wheat ritz crackers or baked tortilla chips made with whole wheat tortillas. (instead of store-bought chips) :)
This nacho plate is baked tortilla triangles, fresh salsa, and Vegan Dad's nacho cheese recipe. I have to give the vegan cheese recipe a thumbs down. If you can or do eat real cheese, this is no substitute. But it was good to give it a try, otherwise I would still be wondering. As a vegetarian, I was looking for recipes to add nutritional yeast to my diet, which has important amino acids.
Kind of a boring picture, this salad has radishes from the garden. On the side is a pile of "fried" okra. Did you know breaded okra from the freezer has very little fat? Just bake it in a cookie sheet instead of frying it! Also this picture shows my little 100-calorie packs, this one is raisinettes.
And this was my big Memorial Day weekend dessert splurge! And it's not even a splurge! It's Hungry Girl's Double Trouble Chocolate Trifle made with fat free pudding, cool whip and vitatops. I just made a single serving for myself and it was SO good! Definitely making that again!

Rally Excellent!

Sully earned his Rally Excellent title this morning at the Corn Belt Cluster rally trial! His scores for his three legs were 100, 97 and 97 in Excellent B. Today he won third place, tying with his friend Daisy (a super cute red and white Pemmie girl) but our time was just slightly faster. Happy Memorial Day!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Corgi Rally

These are the pictures from the APDT Rally Trial a couple of weeks ago. (Easter weekend, in fact!) These are all from Level 1, which is why there is a leash. I was dissapointed (and so were several others) that the photographer didn't get any pictures of my other runs. But he was busy with the portrait set-up almost the whole day.
Here we are doing a 360 degree circle to the right.
This is right after coming out the cirlce right and continuing on straight at a normal pace.
Here Sully has come in to front position and I am just about to give him the finish left command with my right hand.
And here is Sully's portrait. This is the best of the bunch and even it isn't very good. Sully is a hard dog to take pictures of because he gets nervous and this guy had the dogs sit up on a podium, which Sully did not like at all. See his worried eyes and Yoda ears? He's showing off his pretty Easter collar though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Boot Camp Survival Story

I've only been to Boot Camp twice. I can't say I will stick with it for an extended period of time. But so far, I have survived.

Here is the description that the brochure gives for Boot Camp:

Fall in and work out your entire body at stations comprised of strength, cardio and endurance drills.

Here is what it should say:

Pack your sunscreen and get ready to head outside to run, squat, run, sprint, run, push-up and bear crawl your way to exhaustion in this, the gym's most challenging class.

Also some sort of warning about possible vomiting and maybe having to push the instructor's truck across the parking lot as an exercise might be included after an asterisk.

But thanks to a wonderful mantra picked up from Bridget at Numbers Not Allowed, I "don't stop, don't walk" during the running. Last night we ran around the soccer field the entire class, stopping only when the instructor yelled out an exercise for us to do for 1 minute, then he'd yell "RUN" and we'd get up and run until the next exercise "break". Yes, I was the slowest. And the rule was we had to stay together as a group so yes the other 3 people had to run backward or run wide loops sometimes to stay together but they were very good sports.

Next week, for some boot camp variety, I'm checking out the boot camp offered by the park district. We've heard a rumor that our gym's boot camp instructor is moving (but he hasn't said anything to us) so I want to check this one out just in case.

Presidential Fitness Challenge

Do you remember P.E. test day, when you'd have to do as many sit-ups as you could in 1 minute? And try as hard as you could do 1 (ONE!) pull-up on that stupid bar on the jungle gym? Shuttle run, anyone? Unbeknownst to me each and every year (I guess our school was too poor to provide awards so we never knew how we stacked up) this was the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge.

Did you know that there is also one for adults? Three are actually two different programs.

The Active Lifestyle program encourages you to be active at least five days a week. When you achieve this for 6 out of 8 weeks, you win an award and can download a certificate and purchase (pretty cheaply) award medals or pins.

Once you are regularly active (or if you already are) the Presidential Champions program awards you specific points values for each activity you log. There are three levels of awards, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The first level, Bronze, takes 20,000 points to earn.

And just like back in grade school, there is also an adult version of the Fitness Test. It includes a 1-mile walk OR 1.5-mile run, sit-ups, push-ups, sit and reach, and takes into account your BMI (Body Mass Index).

All three programs use online tools and can be done on your own or you can join a group with friends or coworkers. I am participating in the Active Lifestyle program right now and over the long weekend, I hope to get all my tests done for the Fitness test! I love goals and challenges, so this sounds fun to me! Yes, a certificate is enough motivation for me, I'm easily satisfied. :)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 194
% lost overall: 9.767%

That's right, I am officially under 200! It happened like a bolt of lightening last week, after adding strength training and my first day of BootCamp class at the gym (running, running and more running). As much as I hate squats, working the larger muscles of the lower body burns a TON of calories! So, squats it is! And lunges.

Now, I've never really watched the Biggest Loser show but I did catch the finale the other week. I picked up the book The Biggest Loser Fitness Program at the library and it inspired me to add more weight training. This week, I also skimmed The Biggest Loser 30-Day Jump Start book and found some great recipes, especially for breakfast! I tend to have a bowl of cereal every day, which is fairly low cal when you have one serving but it's also kind of boring. So this weekend I made creamy banana oatmeal and a whole wheat english muffin breakfast sandwich.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 200
% lost overall: 6.977%

So, still not under 200. I thought sure this week I would get to make a big announcement that I had made it to the numbers that start with 1, but it is not to be. Did I make it to the gym at ALL last week? No. Did I get in some physical activity? Yes, I walked the dog, mowed the lawn, did a lot of weeding and gardening, lifted weights at home. But not much cardio, ate larger lunches than usual and too many sweets (an entire 8x8 pan of berry-apple crisp!) foiled my plans. It's a new day, a new week and we're back on track!
This is Hungry Girls Mexi-Tato (basically a texmex twice baked potato), with fat free refried beans on the side and a salad made with lettuce that reseeded itself from last year in the garden. Three mini strawberry muffins for dessert. I love mini muffins because you get to have multiple muffins for the same calories!
These are Trader Joe's vegetable dumplings, steamed, with a little fat free salad dressing for dipping. Brown rice and mixed veggies on the side. And that awesome thing that looks like berries and cream is actually strawberries and vanilla yogurt, VERY tasty, VERY healthy! Can you tell it was strawberry season?

Exhibiting Produce at Your Local Fair

County fairs, state fairs, at these events you're likely to see a display of prize-winning vegetables. Maybe you've thought to yourself "I have a garden! Maybe my peppers could win a ribbon!" Here are some tips to get you started.

A common misconception is that the largest pumpkin/potato/tomato/what have you wins the prize. When examining vegetables, judges are not necessarily looking for the largest specimen. There are several important factors such as uniformity, freshness, and quality of type. To understand why these are the criteria, we must understand WHY vegetables are exhibited. Most classes for produce require that you bring not only one but several examples of each vegetable you wish to exhibit (specific numbers are listed by each category in the fair book). Why is this? Vegetable exhibition is meant to be an evaluation of produce that you would put up for sale. Multiples are needed to judge the overall quality and consistency of the whole crop. As a farmer, you want your crop to be uniform because a consumer wants consistent ripeness, size and shape each time they buy. It goes without saying that all specimens should be clean and disease free. At most fairs, it is acceptable to gently wash your produce.

Why am I talking about fairs now when they aren't usually until June or July? To have enough good quality examples of your hard work, it is important to not only plant enough plants to produce more than you will need but you also need to plant at the right time to ensure harvest at the right time for the fair. So now is the time to start thinking if you want ripe cauliflower, pumpkins or tomatoes at just the right time!

Here are some links that can help you further if this sounds like fun to you!

Exhibiting Vegetables, includes desirable characteristics and washing methods:

4-H manual for produce

4-H manual, Exhibiting and Judging Vegetables

Exhibiting Vegetables, Fruits, Herbs & Field Crops (Tips for handling and transporting veggies and a table of desirable and undesirable traits)

Are you more of a crafter? See my companion piece, Exhibiting at the County Fair for more info.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Enter to Win!

The giveaway is up and ready! Enter to win this Circus-themed Pinnie OR the Pillowcase Pinnie PDF pattern over at the Apronista! You just have make a quick visit to my Etsy shop and then leave a comment on the Apronista's post.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Monday Weigh-In

Start Weight: 215
Current Weight: 201
% lost overall: 6.512%

After the vacation break, I am back to smaller meals, more activity (tracking this weekend was fantastic exercise!) and starting this week-more weight training to build muscle!

I didn't get any pictures from this weekend, I got too into it and forgot the camera was even in my purse. But I do have some rally trial pictures to share soon.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Shop update

I've just posted a fresh batch of ready-made pinnies in the Make-Do Mercantile! And to celebrate, you should definitely keep your eyes peeled over at The Apronista. I won't give it away but check it out Monday for a fun May surprise.