Monday, January 9, 2012

Words of the year--results of 2011 and the new 2012 word

It may seem as though I'm hopping on the "Word of the year" bandwagon, but I'm not.  I actually hopped on it last year!  :-) 

In January of 2011, I decided upon the word "healthier" for my word of the year.  Mostly, I wanted to focus on a healthier body.  I was spurred on this mission to become healthier by the awesome gift of my elliptical exerciser from my friends last Christmas.   I also had some other inspirations---my sister had lost a bunch of weight, and my clothes were not my friends in the way they had been before. 

I'm happy to report that I did keep up with the word of the year in 2011!  I made much healthier food choices--this included understanding and realizing calorie counts AND portion sizes.  Portion sizes were a biggie!  I still use my little half cup measure to portion out my Chex Mix for lunch--the changes I made have become habits.  I also put more exercise into my mix.  I still really dislike exercising!  But I found something that wasn't overly painful and was pretty effective---a circuit of speed walking and jogging.  I don't go a huge distance---not even a full mile most days--but it is something.  And I'm proud to say that in 2011 as a result of my "word", I lost about 18 pounds!  Yay!

So, on to the word for 2012... BALANCE. 

I struggle with balance in my life during the school year.  I pretty much work, and then work, and then work some more.  It is the nature of the beast of teaching---we have pretty full plates.  Add in the whole single-parenthood and homeowner factors and I have a very lop-sided life for 9 1/2 months of the year.   I have guilt that I don't spend enough time with Kendra and I know that I'm not taking care of myself in terms of allowing some "me" time. 

First, the Kendra part.  I know I give her time.  But I spend a whole lot of time staring at this computer screen or doing things in preparation to teach other small people.  She never complains.  But she needs to know that she is my top priority.  So I took a minute the other day and made her look me straight in the eye while I said this:  "You know my job is busy.  You know I have lots to do all the time.  But you also need to know that NONE of it is more important than you.  NONE of it.  If you need me, truly need me, I will drop everything.  You need to know that.  You can always ask me to stop working to be with you, and if I can do it I will.  You just need to tell me."  I plan to make sure I say this to her at regular intervals so that she knows that even when I'm buried in work I will always make time for her.  Always. 

And as for me, I have to give myself some decompression time.  This year, I had my students write a reading resolution for the year.  I absolutely LOVE to read, but I usually only allow myself to read during school breaks.  I read blogs, but I don't allow myself to delve into real books because I tend to get sucked into a novel and then choose to read over doing work for school.  But as I was helping with my kids on their resolutions, I realized that I have been denying myself something that gives me stress relief and exercises my mind in different ways than work does.  So I have made my reading resolution of allowing myself to read at least three times per week for pleasure.  This will be my decompression time. 

I'm hoping that these two things will just be the jump-start to ways I can get more balance in my life.  My workload at school is not ever going to lessen, but maybe I can tip the scales a little my way.  For the two or three friends who read this blog, feel free to give advice of how else I can get some balance.  I'd love your input!  :-)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Wizards Finale Party

Like many of the kids her age, Kendra has been a big fan of the show Wizards of Waverly Place for years.  The show's series finale was set to air, and we decided it was an event worthy of a party!  Kendra invited two of her equally "Wizards-crazy" friends over for the big event!

We started the evening with a trip to Subway for dinner--because the Russos' business is the Waverly Sub Station, of course!  I had awesome coupons for BOGOs on 6 inch subs, so the four of us ate like queens for cheapo!  :-)  Sorry, forgot to take pics.

The girls had a little time before the Big Event, so they went in Kendra's room and played with their American Girls while pretending to cast spells and be wizards.  Of course, there was also big talk about the show...who was going to become the family wizard???  Here were their guesses:

Kendra:  either all of them, or none of them
R:  either all of them, or none of them
H:  Alex (played by Selena Gomez)
While the girls were busy casting spells, I was in the kitchen trying out something I found on Pinterest...making brownies in the waffle maker.  I dubbed them "Magic Brownies" in honor of the evening.
Yeah.  Not so magical.  It was a big-time FAIL.  They cooked alright, but getting them out was pretty impossible.  And yes, I used cooking spray (see pic!).  I think the batter is just not dense enough to have them hold--brownies by nature are more crumbly than waffles.  The site in which I found the idea suggested a recipe for brownies--maybe those would work, but these were just the good ole box variety and they didn't.  BUT, we didn't let that stop us, because though they weren't whole pieces, we got brownie crumbles!  And they were pretty yummy on top of ice cream (but I'm not wasting another box of brownies on this method again!)
Kendra actually passed on brownie crumbles and went with chocolate syrup and sprinkles instead

IT WAS TIME.  :-)  They were all so dang excited...and their excitement fed off of each other. 

They LOVE Selena!

Turns out, H was right--Alex was the named family wizard!  But there were many plot twists and it didn't seem like it would go that way for a while!

Kendra had the idea to set up a Potion Station, and they did that after the show was over.  They concocted some interesting stuff---and actually drank them!  (I think the key to success is that nobody used the milk!)
The girls named their potions...

Kendra's was the Emotion Potion (makes you happy and loopy!)
R's was Dog's Breath (allows you to talk to dogs!)
H's was Sleepy Potion (makes you tired!)

They all tried each other's potions and thought they were all delicious.  I declined.  :-)

The girls were thrilled with the show and had a great time with each other!  What a fun night!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Our NYE 2011 in pictures...

We started our day by having lunch at Red Robin and doing some grocery shopping---didn't take pics of those things...

The day was unseasonably warm--75 degrees!--so we took a bike ride

Chocolate chip oatmeal cinnamon M & M's cookies.  Need I say more?

Kendra took care of her beardy, Tex

We read--Kendra is in Battle of the Books and I told her I'd help her by reading this one aloud. 

We got props together for me to teach the new song in Primary at church on Sunday

Bad-for-us foods...with a few good ones, too.  Back to calorie counting on Monday!

Laundry.  Just keepin' it real. 

Movie #1

Self photo attempt #1

And #2

And #3.  Not great, but ok...

Played Mancala
 Started movie number 2---we watched half of Dreamer before turning it off for the ball drop.

In bed at 12:03---so tired!  But she didn't want to "break her committment" to staying up!

Grady--"It's about time you people were ready for bed!"
Happy New Year!