Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Color Me Lovely!

I have loved coloring for as long as I can remember.  I like coloring with crayons, colored pencils, markers, chalks . . . really anything. I appreciate the difference in appearance of the different coloring implements.  I have my own coloring books.  

I don't know if it's because they are boys or what, Z1 and Z2 won't sit down for any length of time to color with me so I had stopped coloring for a long time.  In an attempt to find ways of relaxing, I decided to take up coloring again but I wanted to do some sophisticated coloring as most of my coloring books are basically children's coloring books (Muppets, Barbie, etc . . . ).  I realized that by coloring more complex designs, I would get the opportunity to grow mentally (having decided to review and employ Basic Color Theory).  And coloring is just a really great outlet for creativity.  It's stimulating in so many ways.  

A fellow homeschooling mom posted some sophisticated and beautiful coloring pages that she designed and it prompted me to seek out some more.  Here's what I found: 

Link 4 (one of my favorites)
Link 5 (another really nice one)

For my birthday, one of my best friend's sent me an Amazon.com gift card and so I think I'm going to get a fresh box of colored pencils and a gorgeous mandala coloring book.

I know I need to get my stress levels under control if I really want to experience optimal health.  I'm thankful that such a simple act, the act of coloring, relieves my stress so well.

What are some things you do for stress reduction?  



Indispensable Kitchen Tools

So there are the major tools that make my work in the kitchen efficient such as my Vitamix blender, Cuisinart food processor, and KitchenAid stand mixer*.  But honestly and truly, it's the smaller tools that make short work of all the various kitchen tasks.  You already know that I believe in a good kitchen knife but recently I acquired three little tools that I'm totally in love with: Trudeau spoon-shaped spatulas (or "spoonulas", the term Rachel Ray coined)

I bought three of these on Amazon [the green ones, happily, were the cheapest (if you didn't know, green is my favorite color)] and I am *loving* them.  I've had spoonulas before but usually, they are two parts (the handle and the spoon part) which gets kind of gross because you can't really wash them all that well and the handles easily come off or even break.  Lots of frustration with my previous spoonulas!  I use them too frequently to be that annoyed at them.  The Trudeau spoonula is one piece and is very strong so that they don't bend even if I'm scooping or scraping out the thickest of batter.  So I highly recommend this brand.

Another kitchen tool I purchased recently is a small 6 inch utility knife.  It's J.A. Henckels International and I can't believe I went so long without this size of knife. 

I use it for slicing fruit and/or veggies directly into the pot or pan.  I peel things with it and it's the knife I go to for processing meat (I can get away with not getting a boning knife because of this 6-inch knife).  

What are some indispensable kitchen tools in your arsenal?

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yesterday was my 30th birthday.  It was a nice day despite the fact that it was rainy all day.  I appreciated all the birthday wishes and I just appreciated making it to 30 at all!  



The day started out nicely with our Solstice celebration although I don't think the kids were thrilled with the gifts they got.  I wasn't sure what to get them (or if to get them gifts at all)... they have so many toys that are just sitting there and that they don't play with that I didn't want to buy more.  We just don't have the space.  So I gave elder son a Snap Circuits Set and a Magnetic Poetry Kids set. And I gave younger son his own Leapster system and Magnetic Poetry Really Big words.   I won't say it didn't hurt my feelings how non-enthused they were.  But literally, they have a whole bin full of toys and the bin can go untouched for weeks at a time.  So I think I did the right thing in terms of buying educational type stuff and another Leapster (which will cut down on the fighting between them).  I have to admit: it's pretty frustrating trying to unplug from materialism and commercialism--it is all around.  I haven't done gifts for the boys before and so this holiday was about trying to redefine it for myself.  Feeling let down at how the gifts were received makes me wonder if I should make gift giving part of the experience at all.  

And then my friend made me a flourless chocolate cake which was delicious.  She put fresh whipped cream on top and it tasted divine.  But today, my tummy is not doing so hot . . . I'm pretty sure sugar is a no-no for me.  (((sigh))) But I really enjoyed eating it and I appreciated the thoughtfulness even more.  When you are paleo/gluten-free, you don't expect folks to make considerations for you so it felt amazing to be considered.  Next month, I am going to go sugar-free again (no honey, no maple syrup or stevia).  

The hubby also took off so I took the time to go to an introductory meeting for Transcendental Meditation.  It took 40 mins. one way to get there.  The meeting was about 1 1/2 hours.  It will require a significant financial investment to learn the technique ($1,500) and also a significant time investment (1 1/2- 2 hours 4 days in a row).  I would basically need to find someone to watch my kids for a 4 hour block of time for 4 days straight (which costs money), drive for almost two hours (which costs gas and I hate driving) and then on top of all that pay $1.5K.  So I don't know.  I'm interested in it because I need an effective and easy to implement meditation technique for stress reduction but thinking of all I need to do to even learn it is pretty stressful so it kind of defeats the purpose, wouldn't you say?

Yesterday's workout was the Bubble Butt Workout from Body Rock TV but I substituted step-ups the v-ups (no jackknife movements with a diastasis).  Time was 18:35.  Not bad.  Today, I am totally not in the mood to workout plus Z2 is awake.  We found a deer tick in his ear on Tuesday and I'm watching him closely and hoping he doesn't develop a fever or start to act weird.  Being up this early is weird but he is being himself so that's a good thing.  

Friday, December 9, 2011

Let Them Learn through Play!

I work at a learning center--the curriculum is based on reading and math and we also implement the Handwriting without Tears program.  A few months ago, we ran a Groupon and it generated a large response.  Interestingly enough, a few parents signed up kids who were younger than three or had just turned three.  This is actually mind-boggling to me.  What exactly do parents expect a three year old to get out of a reading and math program?  They usually don't even want to separate from their parents long enough to do a diagnostic to see how much the child knows.  Usually, we try to interest the parents in the handwriting program (which is really the only part of our program appropriate for such young children) but even that is difficult.  They simply don't have the attention span or the physical ability to even hold a crayon much less trace lines and curves.  I mean, parents know this, don't they?  What do they expect us to do?  Magic?  And not only is it impractical to have three year olds in the program, it's exceedingly disruptive to the older students who are working.  Three year olds will sometimes cry or have a tantrum or even throw things.  It just makes me shake my head in sheer frustration.  I just think it's so obvious.  

The company I work for is a business so we don't make it a practice of turning away potential customers.  We try as much as possible to accommodate folks but why is it that parents won't let their babies be babies?  I actually feel a little deceitful and grimy talking to these parents because I just know their child will get so little out of the program at three.  Just a few more months and it will make a whole lot more sense.  

A three year old is supposed to be spending most of his/her time learning through play!  Not sitting down trying to work out of a book.  In fact, play should be a vital and large part of all children's lives.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Knitting Project and Thanksgiving Cooking

This year, Thanksgiving was at my mom's house. It was my first paleo Thanksgiving and as far as that goes, it was really easy.  I basically ate turkey and vegetables (although I did sample some moi-moi which is made from black-eyed peas and a bit of jollof rice). This was my first attempt at paleo-friendly and vegan sweet potato pie.  This was the crust which was made with almond meal, coconut flour, coconut oil, sea salt and some cold water.  I pressed it into my baking dish and it stuck together just fine:



Here was the completed pie:

It was very, very good.  I basically used my old sweet potato pie recipe and switched out the organic can sugar for maple syrup and added some coconut flour to hold it together.  This was pretty experimental so I don't have a recipe to share.  I'm a pretty experienced baker at this point so I kind of just knew what to look for and I'm happy to say it turned out so well.  I wasn't sure if I could actually achieve a paleo-friendly AND vegan sweet potato pie but I did and it was great.  

I also made some collard greens which came out very well too. My trick is caramelized onions, lots of fresh garlic, apple cider vinegar, good quality celtic sea salt and liquid smoke seasoning:

Next year, I have to double the amount I make.  It was that good.  

And my latest knitting project, the Helmet Liner.  It was a great little creative project: 
I knitted it using KnitPicks Swish Worsted.  I love the color and the feel of the yarn.  Just beautiful.  And what made it even better was that mid-project, my HiyaHiya interchangeable needles arrived.  These are probably THE BEST knitting purchase I have ever made.  They are just wonderful and I have no complaints at all.  The join is smooth and secure and they came in the most lovely case.  I still have my Denise Set but honestly, I can't imagine choosing those over the HiyaHiya set for any project.  I still don't want to get rid of the Denise Set because they represent to me the day when I became a serious knitter.  

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Projects!

Projects in the Kitchen
 Bone Broth
This is the first thing I used my slow cooker for and it turned out wonderfully.  I ordered soup bones from the farm and followed this recipe from Balanced Bites (one of my favorite websites and podcasts).  I try to drink a bit of bone broth at every meal and I want to get the kids on board too.  It's pretty mild tasting (although it has a strong smell).  Next time, I will add some other veggies and spices just for variety.


 Soaking Nuts and Seeds to make Crispy Nuts 
Starting at lower right and going counterclockwise: walnuts, pepitas (melon seeds), almonds, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts, cashews)

 Paleo Pizza
I followed this recipe for the crust (but omitted the seasonings).  I made the sauce myself and the cheese is the cheese we get from our farm (made from raw milk produced by grass-fed cows)

Handiwork Projects
 A hat and scarf set I made for my friend's daughter who just turned one.  It's 100% merino wool.  It was a very simple project.  I had wanted it to be a lot more complex but I just couldn't get it together and figure out how to make it work.  So basically it's a hat that uses double crochet stitch with a shell stitch border at the brim and a silver satin ribbon accent.  The scarf is double crocheted as well with a shell motif down the center and a shell border at each end.  
Hat number two for my friend's daughter.  This project started out as a tool for teaching my crochet class.  By the time the class was over, I had made so much progress, I just decided to keep going.  The flower pattern I used is here and I just embellished it with a pretty button.  

This is the Milanese Hat Topper.  Unfortunately, I don't like how this hat turned out.  It curls too much at the brim and I don't think the yarn did the pattern justice at all.  I ended up giving it away to one of my students.  It was a great knit though: very relaxing.  

So I've been pretty busy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

How Amazon Can Straight Jack-up Gift Giving and Receiving

Recently I decided that it would be a good idea to get a slow cooker.  I wanted to start making bone broths but also the slow cooker would be amazing in a general way for putting together meals that require very little in the way of tending.  

Well, of course, I was talking about getting a slow cooker with my friend who has two kids herself.  We usually get together once a week on Wednesdays but two Wednesdays ago, I cancelled because we were kind of worn out and didn't want to go anywhere and her kids had a little bit of a cold.  That Friday, I went ahead and purchased a Hamilton Beach 6-Quart slow cooker.  I was thrilled when it arrived the following Tuesday.  Amazon.com does not play!   They send out your stuff with no dilly-dallying which is great and which is why I usually just go the Amazon route.

The following Wednesday, we went over to my friend's house as usual and surprise!  She had a gift for me.  Can you guess what it was?  It was a Crock Pot 6.5 Quart Programmable Slow Cooker!  Had we gone over the previous Wednesday, I would have gotten it then and would never have purchased the other one.  Dang it!  So now I had two slow cookers in my possession.   It should have been no problem--just return the one I bought.  Except that it's a serious hassle to return things to Amazon.com.  I'd end up actually having to pay money to send mine back--which it totally not the point of a gift.  I was trying hard to hold it together and to only let gratitude shine through.  After all, my friend had done this amazingly loving and thoughtful thing for me!  But it was hard for me to be completely and genuinely bowled over.  I wished desperately that I had just waited for a few days to place my order.  

Well, I took the Crock Pot home and here's the dilemma.  My friend totally did not want the Crock Pot to be something to cause me stress and offered to send it back herself.  But I really don't want her to have to pay to ship it back. It's technically my responsibility.  My friend and I were discussing and she didn't want me to feel stressed about it and asked me just to bring it back to her and she'd return it.  Then I offered to pay the shipping to send it back because I didn't want her to be stressed about it.  Then I thought that maybe next time I went over, we could do an exchange and they could just deduct the price of the shipping from the new order or something.  Ugh . . . who the hell wants to have this kind of back-and-forth over a gift!?!

Pre Amazon.com days, I would have simply taken the Crock Pot back to Sears (which is probably where one would get such an item) and even if they wouldn't give me the money back, I could exchange it for something else.  Underwear.  Suitcases.  Paint.  Whatever.  With Amazon.com in the picture, I really don't have many options.  I can't exchange it or send it back to Amazon without involving my friend and how the hell does that look and feel?  Totally awkward and rude.  

I could sell it on Ebay or Craigslist but again, what a hassle!  But I'm starting to think that selling it on Ebay or Craigslist is the only real choice I have here.  I am so very grateful for the Crock Pot but the Hamilton Beach slow cooker I purchased received better user ratings on Amazon and costs less (because it has less features than the slow cooker than my friend bought me).  I can get more money, I think, for the Crock Pot if I go the Ebay route.  I'm currently watching the same pot that's listed.  It's got one more day until the auction closes so I'm waiting to see what happens with the bidding.  

But goodness . . . what rigmarole.  Look at how badly Amazon jacked-up gift giving and receiving.  It really marred the whole experience and I feel so . . . I don't know . . . disappointed about it.  I feel like I need to make it up to my friend somehow but I'm not quite sure how.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Paleo Porridge

My kids really like porridge.  They still eat millet porridge three mornings a week (along with turkey bacon and usually a fruit).  Z1 likes eggs and on non-millet days will happily gobble them up (as long as they are prepared plainly, i.e. just a little salt and pepper and cooked in coconut oil).  Z2 will not even entertain the idea of eggs--no preparation style tickles his fancy.  So I've tried many different foods at breakfast and he seems to only be interested in waffles (and I haven't tried paleo waffles so it's the gluten-free oat ones he eats) and millet.  Well, I'm trying to move Z1 and Z2 further along the paleo track and so with some experimentation, I've come up with a pretty good paleo porridge.

Paleo (almond) Porridge
1/2 cup properly soaked almonds (or almond meal)
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 ripe banana
1 tablespoon coconut oil or butter
coconut milk

Add all ingredients except the coconut milk to a blender and blend well.  Transfer to a pot and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat till thickened.  Pour into bowls.  Add milk.  Stir.

This makes 2 servings and the kids really like it.

I'd like to try the same recipe with some macadamia nuts or walnuts as they have a better Omega 3:6 ratio but almonds are my kids favorite nut so I figured I'd start there.

Interestingly enough, while looking for a nice picture or porridge, I came across one from Elana's Pantry (one of my favorite favorite blogs).  The recipe is for Gluten-free, Grain-free Porridge and I think might give this one a try for the kids too.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

No Snacking!

Like most other folks interested in eating healthily and losing/maintaining weight, I bought into the whole idea of three main meals and two snacks.  Gotta keep that metabolism going all.day.long.--or so the prevalent thinking goes.

The trouble with me is that when I do snack, by the time mealtime rolls around, I am not hungry. I guess I eat too much at snack times but I realize I really don't like eating if I can't eat to satiation, i.e. till I'm full.  So snacking doesn't really make much sense for me, does it?  I also realize that I tend to snack out of boredom and habit.  I snack because food is there or because I'm in between mealtimes.  Basically, I snack for no good reason at all.  Does it really hurt me to wait one or two hours more to eat a legitimate meal? Absolutely not.  

My intestinal woes also provide another reason to stop.  I never can predict what a meal will do.  Will I feel awful after or will I feel just fine after eating a certain meal?  Since I have some much angst around food right now, there should be something pleasurable about eating and I think taking care of actual hunger pains is the something.  In addition, I honestly think my digestive system needs the time to break down foods completely (or as completely as it can) and it just needs to adequately rest between meals.  And, quite frankly, it's just more satisfying to sit down to a meal when one is actually hungry.  I tend to like to feel my stomach rumbling.  I like to hear my body communicating with me.  So many of the other communications are silent and I have to really sit still to figure out what my body is trying to say.  Hunger, on the other hand, is loud and clear.  I like to sit with the sensation.  I like to say, "Okay, hunger, I see you but you don't control me."  I like to not go scrambling for food when hunger first strikes.  I like to remind myself it is okay to sometimes be hungry.    

So I'm working on eliminating snacking for all these reasons.

What about you?  Do you snack? Why or why not?


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween--a Meaningless Holiday?

Growing up in a conservative Christian household, Halloween was one of those holidays we most certainly did not observe or celebrate in any way, shape or form.  We were not allowed to dress up in costumes or trick-or-treat of go to Halloween parties.  I remember once that I was pulled from my after-school program or class when they had scheduled a Halloween party.  As far as my parents were concerned, Halloween was a holiday that glorified Satan and all things dark and as Christians, we were supposed to avoid those things.  I'll readily admit that I felt left out of the Halloween festivities.  I remember in fifth grade, begging and pleading to be allowed to dress up for Halloween.  I was already an outcast and a misfit and I was desperate to find a way to be normal and "like everybody else".  I put together some make-shift outfit with one of my mom's old church hats and a scarf and more than anything, I remember feeling so ridiculous that I took it off.  It wasn't a good at all.  

As an adult, I don't have a religious slant  as to why I don't want to be bothered with Halloween.  I've just had no inclination to.  I understand that it's supposed to be a fun holiday for children and all that and some folks really get a kick out of it.  But it just seems kind of pointless to me.

But this year, a friend invited us to do the Halloween/trick-or-treat thing and I agreed.  It would be the first time I or my kids would be trick-or-treating.  I guess I just wanted to see what it would be like and I wanted to hang out with her and her kids.  Ahead of time, I put some thought into what we would do with the candy.  I bought small collection buckets and thanks to Sarah at Everyday Paleo, had some pretty good ideas of how we could take the focus off the candy and still have a fun time.  

And Z1 and Z2 did have a fun time trick-or-treating but it got ugly once they got home.  The candy exchange did not go so well and there were lots of tears and frustration.  So much so that we will not be doing it again.  For me, there is absolutely no significance to this holiday but there are a lot of things that I find distasteful about it: this gorging on candy and sugar (treats that in reality are unhealthy and unnecessary) and this whole mentality of "gimme, gimme, gimme" with very little gratitude.  I mean, there were HORDES of children coming to get candy by the time I was leaving my friend's house (we went trick-or-treating very early) and it was disturbing how few of them said "Thank you".  There was just this expectation and this reluctance to slow down and take stock of was already in teh bucket.  I just couldn't believe any of it and I knew I didn't want any part of it after that night.  

I have this sense that because things are so tough economically right now and we have such a skimpy sense of community as Americans, we try to get these holidays to fill in the gaps in our lives and they just don't.  They fail miserably and leave us feeling even more empty.  You go to neighbors' houses to get candy but they don't even know you despite the fact that you're just a couple of yards away. I mean, I am disturbed by how much community is lacking in my neighborhood and I thought it would be nice to see how it goes in other communities that seem to be more connected.  But it just wasn't the case that there is connection and community--not in my friend's neighborhood either.

I'm interested in authentic community building.  I'm very interested in building authentic health--passionate even.  Halloween the way it is currently celebrated does not support any of these interests so now after having this experience, I really don't see the point.  

But what about the costumes, you say?  Well, they can wear costumes when they feel like it (although my boys have not shown much interest in dress-up).  It doesn't have to be tied to Halloween.  What about the candy, you say?  Candy is a rarity around here and if I had my way, it would be even rarer.  The hard-liner in me says that refined sugar should not hold any place of prominence in a child's diet.  But I get it . . . eating sweets is pleasurable and I don't want to be a totalitarian dictator about diet or about anything really because we all know what that gets: rebellion.

I know there are people out there who celebrate Halloween as part of their spirituality and I can totally respect that.  It has meaning for them.  But the way it's celebrated by the majority of folks is just empty.  And I don't have any desire to put my time and energy into something that's pointless.  I'm much more inclined to focus on harvest celebrations and the changing of the seasons--our connection to nature and life with an emphasis on gratitude.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Journey to Wellness

So I would say I have been on a journey to wellness for years now.  The reason why I became a strict vegetarian was because I had learned from people like Queen Afua and Dr. Laila O. Afrika, that the root of all my dis-ease was my diet--specifically my diet that included animals and animal products.  I desperately wanted to heal my allergies, heal my excruciating and debilitating menstrual cramps, heal my acne and maybe even heal my eyesight.  Somewhere along the line, my diet became aligned with my religion and started to reflect my spirituality: I didn't want to eat animals because I didn't want to kill them--didn't like the violence.  So I had two very good reasons to be vegetarian and coupled with my tendency to be tenacious and passionate, I remained vegetarian even when the first reason (to be healthy) was proving to be a failure.  I was feeling terrible on the vegetarian diet and getting progressively worse.  I tried adding small amounts of animal products back and still no real improvement.  It came to a head when I just couldn't function and finally went to a doctor and was finally diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome earlier this year.  IBS is one of those diagnoses where there doctor really has nothing to tell you but take some probiotics and eat more fiber.  Not helpful as I had been doing all those things.  Well, I took matters into my own hands and started removing foods that could be at the root.  Added meat back in, removed beans, and removed gluten.  Started to feel better.  Went paleo and started to feel great.  Added back in starchy tubers to try to put on some weight and started feeling like a train wreck again.



I am really struggling with my diet, how I eat.  This journey has not been easy at all but I am still committed to achieving optimal health.  I have let go of the spiritual hang-ups about eating meat--my body is a temple and I have to do things in a way that honors it.  I need to listen to it--and just give thanks to the animals that die so that I may live and respect the cycle of life.  I'm learning to listen but I still don't have any control of the IBS despite eating about 98% paleo. Maybe once a week, I'll have popcorn. I learned recently from some awesome podcasts that the underlying cause of the IBS is probably SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth), or some kind of bacterial overgrowth so I significantly cut back on the small amount of carbs I was having (things like sweet potato, yam, and plantain) and now I am trying to follow the GAPS Diet.  I find the GAPS diet difficult for a few reasons: 1) I'm not sure exactly what not to eat--had some tomatoes and that seemed to be just as bad as having a sweet potato 2) I am finding really hard to stay away from starches especially plantain chips and 3) I feel restricted and it doesn't feel good at all--I've never felt that way even on Weight Watchers, or while doing gluten-free or while being paleo.  In any case, I feel like cutting the carbs has helped a lot but I think I just need to get some help with implementing some kind of GAPS type diet. I am tired of the trial and error and tired of feeling awful. 

So since I'm struggling so much to find a way to eat that makes me feel well, I don't know if I'm eating enough or if I'm eating fats, proteins and starches in the right proportion or what I should be eating to support my goal of getting not only well but stronger (which is a big goal of mine fitness-wise). I'm pretty sure I'm not. Add to that the psychological issues of having recently lost weight, wanting to put on a few pounds (and knowing I need to) but being absolutely terrified of landing back where I started two years ago, 45 lbs. heavier. (I started eating more starch tubers in an attempt to put on weight). I'm trying hard to trust that a more primal style of eating would make it so that I would not be likely to put the weight back on but honestly, I just feel so exhausted spending so much time thinking about/obsessing about food and hoping that the next thing I put in my mouth doesn't keep me up all night with cramps and such. (((sigh))) 

Exercise to me is a great way to at least temporarily escape the IBS (can't focus on it as much) and also to have some time during the day where the focus is totally on me.  But with this shoulder injury and modifying the workouts to give my shoulder a rest, I can't help but be hyper-focused on how badly my digestive tract feels. I'm tempted to just jump in and re-start Power Training in earnest next week, shoulder be damned, because I *really* need a distraction.  I know that's not wise and maybe what I really should do is take a complete break from lifting and my regular routine altogether . . . maybe sign up to do Bikram classes or something.  Something totally different.  

So the journey to wellness is far from over and I know that even when I figure things out to heal what I've got going on currently, the most important thing is to learn and be able to listen to my body because things change.  And when they change, I have to change and do things differently, eat differently, be differently.  I would like to learn the tools to do it.  

Monday, October 24, 2011

Finally got with the Diva

The Diva Cup, that is.  

I've been using cloth pads for years now and it's been really great.  The pads have held up well and I never had accidents or other issues with the majority of them.  All in all, I was very happy being "on the rag."  But I'd always wanted to give the Diva Cup a try because it just seemed like another great, natural and perhaps simpler way of catching menstrual flow. And so far, it has been.

This is the second cycle for which I have used the cup.  There is a bit of a learning curve and I am still getting the hang of inserting it properly.  But I am getting better and better.  If I insert it properly, I can be sure that it will not leak at all (even though I still wear a liner).  This is just *wonderful*.  One of the biggest issues with cloth pads are that they are bulky and they can be seen if I'm wearing leggings like I do to the gym.  Also, they absorb and hold on to not only menstrual blood but also sweat.  So for the past few months that I've been a member of the gym, I've been wearing regular disposable thin pads for working out.  I am just thrilled that the Diva Cup is a viable alternative in this particular instance!  The Diva Cup is also the perfect solution for the night.  It doesn't matter how much I toss and turn, I get no leakage.  

There are different styles of folding the cup for insertion.  I use the "punch down fold."  It seems to work best for me.  The trick is making sure that the cup is fully open when it is inserted.  

Basically, two or three times a day, I remove the cup, empty it, rinse it and re-insert it. In the morning, I will wash it with Dr. Bronner's castile soap (which rinses clean--you definitely don't want soap residue in your vagina).  It's definitely not as messy or gross as I had once imagined.  The main reason I didn't go with a cup when I was looking to make the switch from disposable pads was because of the "ick" factor.  But since I've been using cloth pads all this time, there is simply no "ick" factor when it comes to menstrual blood anymore.  Once my menstrual period is over, I boil it for a couple of minutes, let it air dry and store it in the little pouch in which it came.  

Because I mainly had cloth pads and very few cloth liners, I decided to purchase some.  I went on Ebay and found this seller and I am *so* pleased with these liners.  I can't recommend them highly enough.  They are quite thin--thinner than even disposable liners.  They are also very well made and, might I add, cute.  

So, I would say, I'm completely converted.  I like the comfort (you don't feel it at all) and I absolutely love less laundry.  I feel bad abandoning my cloth pads but who knows, I may come back to them at some point in the future.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Some Simple Cooking, Some Simple Crochet

Turkey meatballs (I don't roll them in the topping), spaghetti squash and steamed kale.

To make spaghetti squash (I only make one half at a time if it's a larger squash)

  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees.
  2. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds
  3. Rub the half all over with olive oil.
  4. Sprinkle inside with salt and pepper.  
  5. Place face down in a baking pan.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until you can easily stick a fork into it.
  7. Let cool.  Scrape out flesh.  
I like it simple like that.  Some recipes add cheese and dress it up in all kinds of ways.  I think it's overkill.  Olive oil, salt, pepper.  Simple and delicious.  

To make the kale, I whip out my trust steamer.  I steam it then toss it in either olive oil (if the hubby's eating too) of butter with some sea salt.  Simple and delicious, again. 

This dinner is the kind of dinner my kids really like.  The flavors are all distinct.  

My first attempt at making jerky.  There were tons of recipes available but true to my mantra of "simple and delicious," I went with this one from paleoblocks.  I added just a touch of maple syrup and liquid smoke seasoning (really, just a touch).  I followed the directions and dehydrated for 8 hours in my food dehydrator (which I got from my wonderful sister-in-law years ago).  They came out very, very well.  I think next time, I won't dehydrate quite as long--they are really tough but it's all good.  Since they are some much work to chew, it keeps you from eating the whole bag.   The process for making the jerky was easy and I got a yield of about 4 or 5, almost $6 bags of organic jerky for Trader Joe's.  The meat cost about that (~$20) and I am able to control what goes in it (namely no soy sauce and not a lot of sugar).  



And here is my latest crochet creation: a simple camera case for our new digital camera, an Olympus X-935 (which I love because of it's simplicity).  

Book Review-Morning by Morning: How We Homeschooled Our Boys to the Ivy League by Paula Penn-Nabrit

This book was recommended to me by another homeschooling mother.  She was so enthusiastic about it, I just had to pick it up.  I placed it on hold at the library and in less than a week, it had arrived.  I started reading with interest.

One important thing to note is that Morning by Morning: How We Homeschooled Our Boys to the Ivy League is less of a how-to manual and more of a memoir.  It chronicles how this one, middle-to-upper class Black American family came to homeschooling and how they approached it.  For that reason, it was an interesting enough read.  

Homeschoolers are in the minority.  Homeschoolers of color, even more so.  So all-in-all, I thought it was worth it to read the book although I will admit that I did not read the whole thing in it's entirety.  I couldn't.  Ms. Penn-Nabrit has got to be the most-longwinded, roundabout writer I have encountered in a long time.  Seven paragraphs and 3 pages later, she would still be circling around the same topic, beating that horse till it was not only dead but safely in heaven.  My goodness.  At one point, I started to just skip over whole chunks only to find her still talking about the same thing.  Towards the end of the book, I started to read the synopses at the end of the chapters and to tell the truth, I think I got the full gist of what she was saying.  This book could have been half the length but I get it: it's her life story and so I totally forgive the tendency to go into excruciating detail.  

I didn't connect much with Ms. Penn-Nabrit for a number of reasons. The decision she made to homeschool was pretty much forced.  Problems at her sons' elite private school brought things to a critical point and led Ms. Penn-Nabrit and her husband to some major paradigm shifts.  Homeschooling was the way for them to embrace and practice their new understandings.  For me, even if I did have the resources to send my sons to elite private schools, from the very beginning I would most likely use those resources to enhance our homeschooling experiences: more enrichment classes, camps, tutors, etc./moving to an area with a more vibrant homeschooling community.  Homeschooling was and is my first choice.  I did find it interesting that the couple pulled their sons at the very point where most people think that home-schooled children should probably be making the transition to traditional school.  There's this idea that will totally miss out on the "wonderful" junior and senior high school experiences.  But as Ms. Penn-Nabrit points out, there are ways to get the bulk of that experience, and wonderfully enough, the more positive aspects of that experience without being enrolled.  

Secondly, her sons were much older than my sons when she started homeschooling so she had to deal with the emotional angst her boys felt at no longer being in a traditional school environment.  Also, many of the academic subjects and extra-curricular activities her kids were involved it are not quite suitable for my kids as yet.  

Thirdly, Ms. Penn-Nabrit is clearly a middle upper class American and it comes through in her writing and attitudes.  I would say I have middle upper class aspirations but I am definitely not in the class.  So certain comments would rub met he wrong way.  There was one comment in particular of which I couldn't make heads or tails.  She was writing about why continental Africans excel in American schools and seemed to place it all on the fact that they would have had teachers of the same race at their schools back home.  I think that's overly simplistic and denies the fact that for many Africans, education is one of the few ways out of poverty and/or a situation with little hope for progress.  

Fourthly, I want this homeschooling journey to be something we all enjoy not endure.  Yes, there are things about which I am not willing to negotiate but I am willing to work with my children to find out how we can change the energy and make things what we have to do more pleasurable and less like torture.  I didn't get the sense that this was a big concern of the author's.  And I also got the sense that there was some use of corporal punishment--not a lot but it was there.  

We did connect out on some points like the fact that people will always try to shoot you down with the dreaded socialization question.  Also, when one takes full responsibility for his/her child's education, there are moments of doubt but also moments of triumph.  I think Morning by Morning was borne out of that triumph.  The family had a goal and they achieved it despite the inner and outer naysayers.  

Ms. Penn-Nabrit did make some excellent points:
When African-American male children attend school, they are in an environment designed by Caucasian-white men and controlled by Caucasian-white women.  The combination of race and gender diversity may explain, at least partially, why so many African-American male children end up in detention, suspended, and expelled.  (p. 29)
Contrary to conventional wisdom, very few people home-school in a limited environment--most homeschoolers spend quite a bit of time away from their homes.  Nevertheless, on a universal level, I think most kids are grossly under-socialized.  Single-environment socialization, whether that single, exclusive environment is created in a school or in a home is inadequate.  When our children emerge into the broader world, they will be forced to engages outside of their racial, socioeconomic, religious and academic classification.  (p. 30)
There's a large resource section at the end of the book and intend to go through and pull out ones that seem useful.  The "how" of homeschooling that is presented in the book, I think, should mainly be common sense for the resourceful homeschooler: using community and recreation centers, volunteering, relying heavily on the library, finding enrichment classes and activities.  On this end, I have been very successful.  One thing Ms. Penn-Nabrit had going for her was that her sons, having been pulled out of school later, had established social lives.  That was not a struggle for them.  As you know if you've read this blog for any length of time, this is a huge concern of mine that hasn't been addressed well yet.  I was encouraged by the fact that the Nabrit boys, though they did have lots of outside friends, loved and enjoyed being in each other's company and I am hoping the same will be the case for my boys.

Now, I can't say that my goal in homeschooling is that Z1 and Z2 attend top tier colleges.  My goal is that they can if that's what they want to do.  My goal is that they have a well-rounded, solid education that can take them anywhere.  Like Ms. Penn-Nabrit, I am looking for a holistic education that addresses the academic, physical and spiritual aspects.  So again, I recommend this book as a way to learn about another person's experience homeschooling.  I love to hear all the different voices.  

Friday, October 14, 2011

What? No peanuts?

As you can probably imagine, it's been rather challenging making the transition to a paleo diet when the hubby is a strict vegetarian.  

Today, the hubby asked why we didn't have have peanuts. Apparently, he really likes peanuts.  I've been buying other kinds of nuts like walnuts and macadamia nuts instead of peanuts because a) those are true nuts and b) they have a better ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fats.  I've also been buying cashews which in my mind are pretty similar to peanuts.  At Trader Joe's where I do most of my grocery shopping, I cannot find dry-roasted peanuts (all the peanuts on sale there are roasted in some kind of vegetable oil) but they do have these other nuts either raw or dry-roasted.  So instead of making one more stop on grocery shopping day, I've just been getting other nuts.  I had no idea that the hubby was missing the peanuts so much. 

Well, he got very upset today and feels like I'm hitting him over the head with this paleo stuff.  He just wants to have his peanuts and wheat and mock meats in peace.  I'll give him the peanuts.  I'll even give him the wheat (bought 5 pounds of unbleached white flour two weeks ago, still make pancakes with it on Sundays, and I buy him loaves of sprouted wheat bread).  The mock meats are and have been a sticking point even when I was vegan.  They are heavily processed and high in salt and other additives.  We were steadily moving away from them--or so I thought.  I guess I was driving that too.  He is perfectly happy to have them as a part of his diet.  

The hubby says he feels like he cannot give his children food the way he wants to.  He's says he's always anxious about whether they can have what's on his plate.  At this point, I got annoyed because I prepare most of the children's meals.  The only day he's really responsible for what they eat is Saturdays when I work and I'm not home.  Nothing's stopping him from giving them gobs of wheat and mock meat . . . what can I do about that from work?  I get that he's trying to respect what I'm doing with the children and he doesn't want to sabotage my efforts.  I honestly appreciate that because I have heard stories . . .   I think, though, that it's more of an issue of who spends more time with the kids. And I do.  So they do what I do.  But when they're with him, I'm not going to freak out if they have some cereal or some lentils or something but we've already observed that Z2 gets a seriously bloated and painful belly after eating wheat . . . I should think my insistence on keeping the kids (at least) wheat-free would be shared.  But alas . . . 

I'll admit, I'm not easy.  I really believe that certain things he's eating are just not healthy by anyone's standards.  But I'm still buying it and cooking it.  I guess I could try harder to keep my disapproval to myself.  But what's annoying to me is that he won't acknowledge his disapproval of my diet . . . he's acting like he's totally okay with it but it's obvious he's not. He thinks it's too extreme and has said so on different occasions.  It's also expensive, which I know is a huge sticking point.  I'm trying my best to stick to organic, grass-fed meats and dairy (although not all the meats can be organic and grass-fed).  No matter how I slice it, I'm spending more on food now than I did when I was a vegetarian or even a pescetarian.  And I know it's hard on him as he is the main breadwinner in the household. I won't lie though: I get defensive because I feel blamed for not being able to tolerate a vegetarian diet.  I feel blamed for "changing up the game".  But best believe that if I had felt all the fabulous effects I was hoping to feel when I made the switch to veganism, I would still be vegan.  I made the switch to paleo out of necessity!  I had to try something radically different.

These are the kinks you have to work out when a married couple eats two distinct ways. These are the kinks you have to work out as a married couple whose members are still growing, changing and learning as individuals.  I don't know that any compromises can be made except that we just both learn to keep our commentary to ourselves--keep our mouths shut and let the other person do him/her.  And maybe buy our own groceries and cook our own meals.  ;-)  

Thursday, October 13, 2011

You're Going to Stick with It . . . If I have anything to do with it

Z1 has been taking piano lessons since the beginning of they year.  He has been doing very well and even won the trophy for best newcomer in his music school.  He definitely has ability and, I would say, talent.  But learning an instrument is hard and not much fun in beginning.  In fact, it doesn't become fun until you master that which was once hard.  So every so often, Z1 says he wants to quit the piano.  Lately he's been saying it a lot.

Now, the part of me who wants to be the attachment/gentle discipline parent says that if he really wants to quit, I should let him quit.  The other part--the more totalitarian part of me-- says that he will quit over my dead body.  I'm afraid that the totalitarian part is winning this battle.  You see, no one ever grows up and says, "You know, I regret learning to play the piano."  He will eventually enjoy playing it and it's a useful skill.

You know what?  I feel very sad that my parents didn't follow through with piano lessons.  I took them for a short while and made lots of progress but once we moved to a different part of the city, the lessons stopped and my formal learning stopped.  Oh, I played in high school and even played for my father's church but it was all very amateur and not what I would have liked to see for myself as a pianist.  I wanted to be good.  So yeah, maybe I'm projecting what I wanted for myself on to my child.  I won't deny it.  But I think it's healthy to learn how to play an instrument for many different reasons.  I honestly can't see how pushing him to learn this skill will hurt him in the long run.  

My promise is to not yell or be mean about it but to be firm.  A challenge is not a good reason to give up.  Z1 is expected to rise to the challenge.  And I know he will.   

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Breakfast

I'm all enthusiastic about posting pictures because we finally got a new camera.  No more taking the memory card out to put it in the card reader to then plug it into the computer.  So since I've got a new camera, I seem to always remember to take pictures of the food! So here's today's breakfast:
This is a tempeh scramble for the hubby.  This is the first time I've actually tried to make a scramble with tempeh. Usually I use tofu but all the bricks of tofu are frozen solid (forgot to take one out to defrost). I also made (steel cut) oatmeal peanut porridge for him with a slice of sprouted raisin bread toast (spread Earth Balance and fruit preserves on the toast).

This is our breakfast (the kids and I):  it's basically fried eggs with lots of veggies.  The kids also got a smoothie made with coconut milk, Greek yogurt, 1/2 a banana, strawberries and pineapple plus a dash of probiotic powder.  I made the smoothie this dense because Z2 isn't a big fan of eggs and probably won't eat much of it.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Food Battles

Now, I know that I am a pretty picky eater.  I don't really like trying new things and I can pretty much eat the same things over and over ad infinitum.  I thought that I'd be better able to understand and deal with my children.  I know many children are notoriously picky . . . I was prepared to sympathize and work with them.

But let me tell you, it borders on ridiculous sometimes.  When meals are served, my kids will invariably complain that it's "yucky".  It doesn't really matter what it is.  And it's not just because we are transitioning to paleo eating either.  They did the same thing with bean based dishes.  Just tonight, I served chili and Z1 fell out on the floor as if someone had just sentenced him to eating a bowl of fried beetles.  Z2 complained after every bite.  Luckily, they did eat the yam fries without too much of a problem so at least dinner wasn't a complete wash tonight.

They have their favorite foods like pizza (especially), bread and french fries, which I had been very happy to make for them from scratch at home with the best ingredients I could find.  Trying to substitute paleo-friendly options for these favorite foods has been hit-and-miss.  I've tried different kinds of pizza crusts--some with coconut flour, some with almond--and I haven't found one yet that they really enjoy.  I tried the paleo bread from Elana's Pantry and that was wonderful and well-received.  I felt like I hit the lotto when I fried up some yam and it was accepted as french fries.  

But pretty much every meal is met with complaining and tears and a general lack of gratitude.  And I find it very problematic that before they say "Thank You" they will say things like "Not this again--I hate this!"  I understand that making the transition to paleo is hard but really and honestly, it's not the new way of eating that has prompted the complaining.  It's just different foods to complain about.  

I have come upon some sure-fire foods that will be met with smiles all around: meatloaf (I use Sarah's recipe) and millet (non-paleo but it's cool . . . the kids are pretty much 80/20) and Z1 has really taken a liking to roasted butternut squash and cauliflower rice.

I'll admit that it hurts my feelings.  I really feel so under-appreciated because I do spend so much of my time working hard in the kitchen only for folks to spit on the food and act like it's just torture to eat.  I know I need to re-adjust my attitude and not take it so personally but I am trying so hard and they just could not care less.  Never a simple thank you.  I know they are children and they don't really care much about things or people outside of themselves but tonight, I just felt really overwhelmed by it all.  Wishing I could give up and let them eat whatever garbage they want.  After all, we grew up on white rice and chicken and a whole bunch of other non-ideal foods and we turned out fine.  Well, somewhat fine.

I don't know . .. it seems like an issue all mothers really struggle with, i.e. getting children to eat.  I don't know that my mother had all this agitation around mealtimes.  I feel like it was either you eat or you don't.  And that was that.  I guess I could offer them alternatives if they don't want to eat what is served but in reality, any alternative means more work for me because all the simple go to foods that I would usually serve are not paleo.  So I guess I need to figure out a way to make peace with the stage they are in right now.  And really not take it personally.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Paleo Meals

This was yam fries with sardines.  I sauteed onions, green peppers and tomatoes in coconut oil and added a can of sardines. I think the was lunch on Monday. 

Sorry this picture isn't bigger.  This is the breakfast cookup we have twice a week.  I basically brown two chicken sausage links and then  saute all kinds of veggies in olive oil: onions, green and red peppers, zucchini, celery, tomatoes, spinach or kale.
Sunday Morning Coconut Pancakes . . .

THE BEST PALEO PANCAKE RECIPE

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 2 Teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 Cup coconut flour

PREPARATION

Beat the eggs until they're frothy. Mix the remaining ingredients together. Cook on a griddle (we use an electric griddle because that's all we have right now, but cast iron would be ideal). When you pour the batter, try to keep the cakes small. If they're difficult to flip, cook them a bit longer.

A simple chili I made this morning: browned some ground beef (not the grass fed I usually get from the farm and I can *really* tell the difference), and then added onions, celery, carrots, green peppers, mixed greens, tomatoes, starchy tubers (yam/sweet potato) and some mixed greens.  Seasoned with chili powder, cumin, thyme, garlic.  Added some chicken broth I made a few weeks ago.  It was quick to throw together although far oilier than when I use the grass fed beef.  This was good motivation to remember to get my order in on time.  

I'll try to post some more of the paleo meals I'm preparing. Yes, eating this way means I cook a lot but in all honesty, I would do anything to keep feeling well.  I haven't felt really well in a very long time.  

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Power Training Update

I really love the Power Training program, let me tell you.  It's challenging.  It's hard work.  It's fun.  Unfortunately, it looks like I will either have to stop the program only one week in or significantly change it to account for my shoulder.

I don't know when I initially hurt my left shoulder.  I do know that I am weaker on my left side than on my right side.  It could have been while doing chaturanga in yoga or anything really.  But it's injured.  My doctor identified the pain as tendonitis and recommended that I take it easy for 6 weeks.  Of course, I didn't want to stop so I've been trying to work with it by modifying exercises and avoiding certain moves that I know aggravate the pain.  But today, I realized that I really do have to back off.  I was actually gripping my shoulder at the gym and just in my daily, I am finding myself being ridiculously ginger with it.  It hurts when I drive.  It hurts when I pick up my kids.  Yeah, I have to back off.  

I don't think completely stopping my training will work, though.  I am not willing to lose my gains in the weight room and lifting, actually going to the gym to lift is something I *really* need psychologically for a host of reasons I won't detail right now.  So my inclination is to substitute rehab exercises for the vertical and horizontal push/pull portions of the PT program for at least 6 weeks to see if I can heal this shoulder.  I googled around and found this shoulder rehab protocol.  I also found out that Eric Cressey (who wrote Maximum Strength, one of the programs I thought of doing before deciding on PT) is kind of known as "the shoulder guy".  He has written an article in 3 parts called Shoulder Savers which I am going to make time to read:

After 6-8 weeks, I am hoping that I would have healed my shoulder.  At that point, I will probably re-start Power Training as written.  Here's to hoping.  

Paleo Challenge Update

I haven't had much time to write lately which is disappointing because a lot has been going on!

The Paleo Challenge is still in full effect.  Friday, September 28 marked Week 1 of the challenge and so far, it's going great.  I feel really good and this challenge has given me the opportunity to identify those things that make me feel less than optimal.  

A friend of mine sent me this article "Another Reason You Shouldn't Go Nuts on Nuts" by Chris Kresser who, by the way, has an awesomely informative podcast to which I regularly listen.  Later on that day, I went on to eat some walnuts and I noticed immediately after eating them that I began experiencing some serious bloating and gas.  I had been feeling 100% before having eaten the nuts.  I think that day I had some eggs and turkey bacon.  Maybe some salmon for lunch.  And I felt fine.  Once the nuts went down though, all hell broke lose.  I know that nuts should be soaked but I guess out of sheer laziness or maybe not believing that they really need to be prepped, I have not been soaking them--I've just been eating them raw.  Now that I can see a clear connection between digestive issues and raw nuts, I'm motivated to prepare the nuts especially since my children eat them a lot.  For the time being, I'm staying away from nuts but when I reintroduce them into my diet, I will be soaking them properly and I may even take out my food dehydrator to make crispy nuts.  For pancakes, muffins and other baked goods (which we don't have often at all), I'm sticking to recipes that call for coconut flour as I doubt that the almonds to make almond flour have been properly soaked.  As a matter of fact, just last Sunday, I made this recipe for coconut pancakes and they were a hit!

Speaking of podcasts, I found yet another one that is really informative.  It's the Balanced Bites podcast through which I found the Balanced Bites blog.  What a great resource!  Especially for those of us who have emotional issues surrounding food because although there are lots of blogs and podcasts out there that tackle different angles of paleo eating, so few address the other issues that arise when it comes to food.  Like, sure you know you should eat more good fat . . . but what about if you have serious issues around actually eating it?  Anyway, I just really enjoy the style of writing and the no-nonsense, no-coddling approach to paleo eating and lifestyle.  Diane seems to subscribe to one of my life philosophies:  either you do or you don't.  

In keeping with some promises I made with myself when starting the challenge, 

  • I am chanting morning and night.  I miss some nights but I have been really making an effort at consistency.  
  • As for walks after dinner, the cold weather we've been having lately has been a huge discouragement and I am still vegging out in front of the computer after dinner with a cup of tea (and coconut flakes).  I don't know.  I think after dinner, that's all I really want to do--to kind of be left alone and have some quiet time before bed.  If I really look at it, it's not a bad thing. 
  • I cheated and got on the scale this past Sunday only to find out that somehow, I lost 2 more pounds.  Not good.  So I have been adding coconut oil to smoothies and eating more starchy tubers.  This has been an adventure:  some starchy tubers are just awful.  Others, I really like such as yam and white sweet potato.  But I have not tracked points on Weight Watchers (although I may start tracking on something like FitDay just to check out my macronutrients and see how I'm doing in terms of calories)
  • No yoga with the kids yet.  I am just so tired at the end of the day, I just want them to go to sleep.  Fast.  But I'm not giving up on this one just yet.  If I can at least commit to shutting down the computer at 8:00PM, we can get it done.  
  • I am still meal planning although I haven't posted a plan for this week.  Here's to hoping I can get it up here for next week.  Really quickly though, I roasted a chicken and butternut squash for Saturday, Sunday and Monday.  Today is pizza for the guys (baked fish, yam fries and broccoli for me), chili for Wednesday, Thursday, Friday dinner.  
So all that to say, I'm doing well on the challenge.  I don't know how many folks are actually doing it along with me but I'm so excited about how fabulous I feel and encourage you to at least try it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Starting Power Training on Monday

I'm really excited to be starting Men's Health Power Training by Robert dos Remedios on Monday.  The program comes highly recommended both by reviewers on Amazon and by members of JP Fitness forums.  Honestly, I like the plain and very clear writing and the philosophy behind the programs in the book is solid.  There are a dozen different exercises in this book that you plug into a prescribed framework which means that you can mix and match infinitely and never get bored.  Here's what I've chosen:

Full-Body Workout for Strength Training (Weeks 1-3)

Workout A
Explosive: Power Clean
Knee Dominant: Front Squat
Hip Dominant: SL Rom DL
Horizontal Push: Bench Press
Horizontal Pull: 1-arm standing cable row
Vertical Push: Push Jerk
Vertical Pull: Side to side pull up
Rotational: Seated Russian Twist
Bridging: 3-pt. Plank

Workout B
Explosive: Power Snatch
Knee Dominant: Drop Lunge
Hip Dominant: Good Morning
Horizontal Push: Standing Cable Chest Press
Horizontal Pull: Modified T-Bar Row
Vertical Push: DB alternating press
Vertical Pull: Single Arm Lat pulldown
Rotational: Corkscrew
Bridging: Plank Walk Up
Each workout is going to be pretty long since I am still trying to keep to my three times a week lifting schedule and each workout includes all these exercise plus a 5-minute warm-up, a mobility circuit and a lifting circuit.  I hope I can keep to three times a week but if the workouts drag on too long, I may have to switch to a four-time a week program.  

I had hoped to try a CrossFit class last Thursday but Z2 got a pretty bad respiratory virus and had difficulty breathing.  We ended up at the hospital for 2 nights and I missed the class.  I was kind of bummed about that but very happy that my baby felt so much better after his hospital stay.  I guess I will try a CrossFit class once I'm done with the 12 weeks of PT.  

So here's what the week looks like in terms of fitness:
Sunday:

Long-ish run in 2:2 work:rest intervals (for the duration of the Paleo challenge, I'm going to forego 1-2 hour runs in favor of shorter, interval runs
Monday
PT workout A--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Tuesday
Interval workout and/or yoga and foam roll
Wednesday
PT Workout B--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Thursday
Sprints on the track (1:2 work:rest intervals) and yoga
Friday
PT Workout A--short cardio such as skipping rope (?)--we'll see how it goes
Saturday
Yoga/foam roll
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