Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

I feel it my duty as a self-designated Fall freak to get you all well prepared for the arrival of Autumn tomorrow afternoon with this bowl of deliciousness to start off your day.

What you'll need:
Oats (or plain quinoa if you prefer but it should be pre-cooked)
Pumpkin Butter
Cardamom or Pumpkin Spice

Measure out one serving of rolled oats.

Add 4 ounces of milk.

Give it a spin around the turntable in the microwave for 1 minute.

Add 2 tbsp of pumpkin butter.

Give it a mix, add a pinch of cardamom or your favorite Fall spice and stir.

Top it with half a serving of walnuts or pecans (15g) and pair it with a cup of salted caramel tea and you are officially ready to usher in the new season!

Now bring on the sweatshirts, fuzzy socks, cuddling under a blankie on a crisp night and blazing red, yellow and orange on the trees!

What's your favorite thing about Fall?

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Bringin' It

Happy Hump Day all!

Yesterday morning we got to start the day with a visit from the cable company.  A final $40/mo upcharge with a caveat of signing our lives away for a year to get it reversed was enough for the Mr to call and tell them we were cutting the cord after 21 years since they don't give a crap about their customers.  While this dude at least feigned empathy, he said he could actually get us to the price we were paying with some digital service.  So yesterday morning we had a technician out to switch stuff out.  The Mr works around computers and electronics and it always amuses us the things these guys try to blame on things that are obviously not the problem.  Do we appear to be 90 years old to you?  But you just shake your head and move on.  Now we get to re-learn a whole new system, attempt to get the shows we had taping before set in the DVR and hope that the price really is what they told us come this time next month.  It's like they want you to cut the cord.

I got some work done though not as much as I wanted to.  I need to whip my task pad back out.  I picked one up and last week it really helped me to have things written down to keep me on track.  Speaking of the track, I feel like I'm teetering on that edge of hopping the rails.  I have not tracked this week and after a gain last week when I really felt like I worked hard, I'm just irritated and feel like saying "eff it."  Sunday was basically another high cal day between brunch and going to the movies.  When we walked the historic district, we stopped and got ice cream and it wasn't even worth it because they changed the flavor of one of the ice creams.  I should've just thrown out the one scoop but I justified because it was expensive I shouldn't even though I've thrown away crap that cost more when I was in a better mindset.  Sigh.

Yesterday I decided to really concentrate on slowing down my eating and I wanted to throw some intensity into the workout.  We were doing Powerstrike and because we've done it so many years, it's one of those ones that can be very easy to go through the motions on.  Matter of fact, the thought was "it's cardio night, let's do something a little easier."  Screw easy.  The first combo, I felt myself going through the motions and I thought "you're never going to get out of this set of numbers if you keep doing what's easy."  "Well, you did what was hard last week and all you got was a gain."  "Shut up and put in some effort.  You DID just sample something you're sending to the workplace tomorrow so you've got some extra to work off now DO IT."

Yep, I sat there arguing with myself.  *smh*

But as I was rolling and stretching afterward and feeling good about the effort I just gave, I felt like I need to just get my shizz together.  We've got some down time coming up but getting there is going to be like JoBeth Williams running down the never ending hallway in Poltergeist.


I am ready to be in a better mental place where I feel like I can tackle being productive in every aspect of my life.  Does that exist?  I feel like everyone else has a handle on life and being together and I'm kind of this jalopy puttering along that may or may not get to their destination.  Pffft.

Do you feel like you're bringin' it?  (Whatever "it" is for you...and not the clown.)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What price might they pay?

About 2 years ago, I was looking for Hawaii videos on YouTube.  I saw that this family was there and they were on vacation.  Their kids were adorable, the parents were tolerable and they were apparently daily family vloggers.  I watched probably five or six videos and then of course, like potato chips, you start blowing through them.  (Video wise.)  Before I knew it, they just became part of my daily watching along with one other makeup guru that I'd been following since she was about 24 (she's 30 now).

The other day the dad on the family channel casually commented about how he's noticing that his son will sit and "stare at himself in the mirror all the time, even when he's crying- is that weird?"  Um, yes.  For a normal kid that has a shot at growing up with normal social cues but you guys have shoved a camera in his face for half of his life and he's three.  He's been trained that everything he does is observed and given some of the over the top stuff they do for views (which totally turns us off now), I'm sure he's overheard conversations about how they need to be more this or that for views.  For him, his reflection is what is always there as he communicates with his parents and so now he's hyper-aware of everything he says and does and has even started addressing the camera as "hey viewers, watch this"...again, he's three.  The oldest is in elementary and there has been a recent conversation that she may be getting ostracized by her peers because she's "famous."  This is only going to get worse for her as she gets older and especially as parents feed info about them to their kids with a nice, unhealthy bias against her because of things her parents do and say.  (You know how parents can be.  We've all learned behavior from our parents and it's not always the healthiest of attitudes.)  They have another child that has literally been filmed out of the womb and whenever the camera is out, it begins to dance and perform to some degree.

The other vlogger that I've followed is the sweetest girl and she had a baby three years ago and he is also very aware of the camera.  He is adorable and I love watching him but I get so disturbed when I see him fighting for screen time on the vlog when she's doing something.  He likes to look at himself on the screen and talks to it.  Obviously, he has no real concept of what he's talking to other than himself because she makes sure he's not aware that there are "people" on the other end of it.  She rarely does beauty vlogs anymore and I surely don't expect her to because her children are her life now and that's totally understandable.  I still enjoy watching her family.

But now I'm starting to feel like I'm contributing to a problem.  As I see these kids are becoming so absorbed in themselves to varying degrees, I start to really cringe thinking about how much therapy they may need as they transition into teens and adulthood.  I mean, think of how embarrassing it was as a kid when you had your graduation party and they brought out the nekkid bathtub pics.  Well, just your close family and friends saw that and that was bad enough.  Now think about social media.  So many people have hundreds of friends on Facebook or Instagram and parents think nothing about posting some seriously private or embarrassing stuff because "oh isn't that funny?" or "oh, I'm so going to remind them of this when they're older."  Those things are out there forever.  For-ever.  No one is asking the kid if they wanted the picture of them taking a wee against a tree (yep, seen it) or the "cute" video of them throwing a tantrum when they were having a bad day.  If they don't have their profile locked down, then not only can their friends see this stuff but friends of friends.  Now we're talking thousands of potential people seeing it.

Now put it on YouTube where your kid's bad behavior or awkward moment can be scrutinized and commented on by potentially millions if it goes viral not just on the video but I'm sure even in person.  A lot of these family vloggers go to conferences or meet and greets with fans and people will talk about a video they loved or were appalled by or whatever.  Can you imagine your childhood being up for anyone to comment on?  I'm not judging these parents for their decision to share their families, that's their right.  But as I'm starting to notice these social issues coming up in videos, it makes me feel weird watching it now.  I don't know, maybe I'm overthinking things but I think kids are picked apart enough as is but you add internet fame on top of it and we may be looking at some real problems on so many levels in the years to come.

A few searches have shown that there is concern about these kids having general anxiety disorder and then there's stuff like this that truly makes me think that yes, there is a problem.

Do you watch family vloggers?  Do you think kids appearances should be limited until they can choose for themselves?

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Four's Company weekend

Yet another weekend where it seemed to swirl by much too fast.

We had company coming on Sunday and we got most of the house cleaned Friday which was a miracle in itself.  Saturday we went out to lunch at an old-school diner and then shopped our way back up the freeway system to pick up stuff I justified for brunch.  I've wanted a Fall scheme for company since that tends to be when I entertain most and I really only have Christmas placemats and the like.  So when I was done, I had this combo...

I tried to do as much as possible Saturday night so that all I'd have to do is pour and stuff like that. Unfortunately, this is the only pic I got of brunch...

Pumpkin Toffee Scones pre-drizzle mah shizzle of cookie butter glaze.  Those things are SOOO good and I was more than happy to send the remaining four with them for their road trip back home otherwise the Mr and I would've had to step in the octagon for them.  I will definitely be making these again this pumpkin season.  I'm thinking they'd be perfect for an upcoming trip so I might be making and freezing them sooner than I think.

I made Croque Madam with Gordon Ramsay eggs and a homemade bechamel sauce and a sweet potato hash with bacon date jam and walnuts.  I do wish the friggin oven kept it hotter though since it was all "holding" in there while I made the eggs and bechamel at 220 degrees.  Anything hotter and it starts cooking.  Maybe I'll have to tent everything with foil next time.  Sorry...thinking out loud.  It was a wonderful visit and our first time meeting his girlfriend and it's always nice to see a couple that compliments each other.  They're going overseas so he can run a marathon (mad props yo!) and spending a little over a week there and chill at another destination for a few days.  She is really well traveled too which they have in common so that's good.  I know a couple where the woman really wants to travel but the man refuses and it makes me so sad for her so it's nice to see when a couple is on the same page with life goals.

When they left, we started checking email and the food coma kicked in.  I contorted into an uncomfortable position on the couch and we napped for two hours!  Hey, it's Sunday.  Then it was time for a 3 miler in the historic district, a grocery produce refuel, saw It at the movies and that about put a fork in the weekend for us.

What did you guys do this weekend?

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Friday, September 15, 2017

What I'm Reading This Week #37

It has been a WEEK.  I'm ready for the weekend!

Let's shimmy on into...

33 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Literally Anywhere  (I don't know about literally because if you start busting out a bridge on the floor at Aunt Cindy's funeral, you'll get dragged out by your ear.  Let's stop stripping words of their meaning please.)

These Are the Hip Stretches Your Body Needs Stat  (I can definitely vouch for a few of these)

6 Darn Good Reasons to Eat Sugar and Not Apologize for It  (Good reasons for sure)

6 Ways To Maximize Your Single-Leg Deadlift  (Started implementing this week)

If You've Ever Cried About Losing Weight, You Need to Read This Post   (An uplifting read)

10 Beginner Workouts that you can do at home for free  (You guys know we highly recommend this site!)

Sitting All Day Is Definitely Bad, But Does Getting Up Once in a While Help?  (Courtesy of the Mr.  Better set those timers...note to self.)

CNN anchor Don Lemon's body-positive remarks to 'chunky' reporter go viral  (I don't know if this dude has a spouse or not but he's about to get a lot of date requests.  Go Don!!!)

Why Parents Today Aren't Strict Enough  (Oh my Lord, this!  I want to give a shout out to the parents raising the two different girls who happily opened the door for the Mr and I at two different places.  Kind of gave me hope for the future.)

20 Naturally Beautiful Ways to Decorate With Wood Slices  (Some cute stuff!)

Maltin on Movies #143: Patricia Ward Kelly  (EXCELLENT podcast for you Gene Kelly fans!)

THE softest scones ever (just in time for apple pickin' season!)

I'm glad this week is over but I've got a crap load of cleaning ahead of me.  If there are any cleaning fairies who would like to do it for me, I'm down.  We've got company coming Sunday from out of town and I'm so glad I confirmed which weekend it was because I thought it was next weekend.  We're brunching and meeting his new girlfriend so I want to make a good first impression food wise.  I've got some shopping and cooking to do!

What are you guys into this weekend?

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hard Times

Yesterday was a day.  I believe I uttered the phrase "THIS DAY IS A FLAMING TAINT!!!"  I wasn't even halfway through it.  I threw an egg at the wall and crushed one (both hard boiled) in my hand.  It was just irritation after irritation and I'm gonna admit, I stress ate.

I was making a rustic apple pie and cut a small piece to take pics...and then I ate it.  I don't regret it a bit because it was so good and gave me the only thing that worked to bring my rage down.  I don't recommend it, it's not going to be my go to method for dealing with the poop swirl around me but it's not like I busted open a bag of Oreos and blew through them.  I'm just glad that even though I knew I was going to indulge in a small piece I didn't spend the rest of the day beating myself up.  I tracked it and it fit into my calories.

The next few days will be a hard few days for me anyway.  It was 10 years ago today that we had to put our dog to sleep.  We actually chose the day because it was two days before the anniversary of the passing of my father in law, which will be 13 years Saturday.  We figured why not just have one big crapfest of emotions at the same time instead of spreading it throughout the year.  I still remember the day like it was yesterday though I don't like to think about it.  I'm sure any of you who have had to choose to let go of your pet know what I'm talking about.  It haunts you.  Time doesn't erase those final moments, the ones you don't allow yourself to think about or you will spiral.  Instead, you have to think of the moment as the ultimate final act of love.  It's hard because of the second guessing but there does come a point where you can look back objectively and know you did the right thing.

Wanna see something pathetic?

Can't bring myself to throw them out.  They're kind of part of the cabinetry at this point.  Every time I get a plate, I don't look at it and think of the dog, it's like wallpaper now.  Honestly, I probably won't throw them out for another four years which will be the point when she's been gone as long as she was here.  Dad is always bittersweet because we obviously miss him but his amazing spirit is so strong, sometimes it feels like he's still here.  Actually, I know he is because the Mr is just like him and is the epitome of who Dad was...down to the occasional cheesy joke or coming off like he knows what he's talking about instead of just saying I don't know.  ;-)

How do you recover from a bad day?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Food Review: Organic Soft Baked Salted Caramel Brownies

When we were doing our grocery re-stock last weekend, I came upon these in the organic section and thought they looked pretty good so we decided to give them a go.

Especially once I saw the nutritional info and read the ingredients...

(NOTE:  There are TWO SERVINGS per sleeve so you're not having a 60 calorie treat, you're having a 120 calorie one.)

Here's their schtick.

They kind of reminded me of fig newtons size wise.

Hmm, they look a little bigger than fig newtons on the box and I'm also not seeing the squishy goodness the front and back of their boxes promised.

So that didn't get off to a good start but how did they taste?

Despite feeling like the size, contents and the way the nutritional info was presented weren't representative of what was on the box, I admit, they were pretty good.  It would've been better of course if it had the chocolate, squishy goodness I was promised.  Also, I'm not really sure I taste salted caramel but  I suppose I'd need to compare them to the regular chocolate ones to see if there's much difference taste wise.  (Darn.)

You won't mistake this for a Ghirardelli brownie but if you need a chocolate fix, this could be just the thing to scratch that itch.  The cocoa powder gives a nice, deep chocolate flavor.  I could've sworn there were figs in there but there is date paste.  You know how you have that bit of fibrous texture with that stuff?  It was there but not overly so or enough to turn you off.  In the end, if you want a 120 calorie chocolate snack that's pretty healthy overall, this could be your new go to.  We'll likely get the original chocolate version to compare and then decide if they're something they'd get on the regular. Thumbs up from us...even if I'm jaded about the lack of squish.  ;-)

What's your favorite healthier chocolate snack?

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