"I should not talk so much about myself if there were any body else whom I knew as well."
-Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, March 23, 2013


One of the hardest things for me to handle in our lives is the impulse. 

Yesterday afternoon I got the brilliant idea that we should just pack up and go to Branson.  That is something that the old Harris family would have done.  Nothing pressing to do?  Let’s get out of town. 

When Drew got home I told him my great idea.  He almost went for it.  I thought he had enough reward points for us to stay at a hotel for free and I told myself that Alex could handle it.  I had this pretty little picture in my head of going on a mini vacation just because we felt like it.  I could just see the three of us cuddled up in a hotel bed, watching movies and just having a good time. 

Reality.  It’s not that easy anymore.  It’s no longer a matter of a few free days and a little bit of money.  It is now an issue of, Alex can’t handle it.  2 or 3 hours in the truck to get there would require her to be in her car seat that long.  That’s tough.  Doing anything once we got there would require her to be in her stroller.  The stroller is great, but I don’t know that she could comfortably spend all day in it.  Simply being moved around so much is exhausting for her. 

Sometimes reality sucks.  I was bummed when I realized that I wasn’t being realistic.  I’m not sure if I was more bummed that we wouldn’t have a weekend out of town or bummed because I miss the way things used to be.  Just a few years ago we could simply come up with something on the spot, throw some things in a bag, buckle the girls in the truck and take off.  It was fun and I treasure those memories.  What is it that Dr. Seuss said?  “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”  Agreed. 

Once I came to my senses about Branson, we re-evaluated the weekend.  I went to Wal-Mart to get Alex’s prescriptions, a few groceries and Les Mis.  Drew and I decided that we would make our own fun for Alex, so I got a couple of games for us to play.  Remember Hungry Hungry Hippo?  There’s a Farmville version now that has farm animals instead of hippos.  Fun, right?  Alex liked that game and we had a good time being silly.  The second game?  Trouble.  Remember that?  I do.  When I was Alex’s age I loved that game.  I don’t know if Alex just wasn’t impressed, if she was overwhelmed or if she was just tired, but she didn’t like it.  She refused to play, so Drew and I played.  I’d rather not divulge exactly how much time we spent playing Trouble.  It was ridiculous fun. 

After Alex was in bed we declared the evening for Les Mis.  Beautiful, I tell you.  Simply beautiful.  I enjoyed it more this time than I did when we saw it in the theater.  I highly recommend it. 

Bragging and confessing: We had a lovely dinner of shrimp cocktail.  Jumbo shrimp and cocktail sauce.  Super yummy and quite healthy.  If you buy the frozen shrimp from your grocer then it really isn’t too expensive.  It was a treat.  After the movie we both wanted a snack, so we had Ritz flatbread crackers (olive oil and sea salt) and Babybel cheese.  Delicious and a reasonable nutrition choice.  That’s the good part.  I’d rather not tell you that I ate an entire box of girl scout cookies when we were playing games earlier in the evening.  Yep.  An entire box.  It was totally worth it.  I think.  Dang those cute little girls and their annual fundraiser.  I did so great at the grocery store and then I walked into the parking lot and straight to their table of cookies. 

No matter, a girl has to splurge now and then.  The world won’t come to an end because I ate an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting.  I hope not, anyway. 

Naturally, since Drew and I stayed up well past midnight, Alex woke up an hour earlier than she has the last few days.  Now it’s just me, my girl, my dogs and Spongebob Square Pants.  If everyone is feeling up to it this afternoon then we are going to make a trip to town to get Drew a suit.  We’ve looked in a lot of places, trying to find a good deal, but now we are convinced that an actual suit shop is the best plan.  We have not intention (or ability) to spend a small fortune on a business suit, but hopefully we can find something reasonably priced that fits him properly.  The fit makes a big difference and it’s hard to find one off the rack in a department store. 

As long as I’m sitting here I may as well tell you about our diet lately.  The Girl Scout cookie fiasco yesterday doesn’t happen often.  I’m finding a nice balance between eating healthy and enjoying our food.  I would say that 2 or 3 nights a week we eat something that isn’t necessarily healthy.  That usually happens when we are with someone else, eating out or I don’t feel like cooking.  The rest of the week we are eating well and eating healthy.  This past week I made my own version of a taco salad.  It was almost like an upside down taco salad.  Instead of starting with chips or a shell, I started with tons of lettuce and tomato.  I added a handful of ground beef (lean), a handful of beans (I used kidney beans because that’s all we had), a handful of shredded cheese (I always used weight watchers), fat free sour cream and salsa.  It toped it off by crumbing a few tortilla chips on top.  This is a great meal because it’s loaded with fresh veggies, low fat cheese (dairy is important, y’all), beef for protein and beans for fiber and extra protein.  I think Drew was surprised to find how filling it was and he couldn’t even finish his plate. 

Other foods?  Whole wheat pita bread.  You can probably find it in the deli section of your grocery store.  One piece is 60 calories and even Drew has confessed to how much he likes it.  Cut it in half and you can open each half like an envelope to fill with whatever you choose.  I like smoked turkey, reduced fat cheese, light mayo (or mustard) and lettuce.  You can also do tuna, peanut butter or anything else you like on your sandwich.  If you still prefer bread, I suggest Sara Lee Healthy Delights.  It has half the calories of regular bread. 

I still don’t like yogurt.  Any kind.  I’ve given up on trying and just moved on.  If you like yogurt then it is a great source of protein, calcium and probiotics (that your gut will thank you for). 

Quinoa is a new favorite for me.  You pretty much treat it like rice when you are cooking, but it is WAY better for you.  Protein and omega fatty acids… super good for you and feels like you are having a grain with dinner (even when you aren’t).  I like to mix in some frozen veggies (broccoli!)  when I make it, it makes it feel like more than just a boring side. 

I’m still a huge fan of snacking on raw nuts.  Almonds are my preferred choice.  7 calories for one nut, so you can have a small handful for a healthy, low calorie snack.  There’s something satisfying about crunching your snack… it seems to tell my body that I’m really eating something. 

Fruit & veggies.  Just eat them.  If they are washed, peeled and prepped then I am much more likely to grab them when I’m hungry.  Eat them raw, cook them, mix them into other dishes (pasta, quinoa, etc) and eat them.  Seriously, you need the vitamins and minerals and if you are counting calories then they are a great choice.  Some fruits and veggies are even ‘zero calorie foods’, meaning that you body used as many or more calories to digest them.  That’s a win. 

What about you?  Any healthy or fun recipes to share?  I’d love to hear it. 

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