That is our little catch cry at the end of Weight Watchers meetings and I often say it with grim determination that doesn’t come to fruition. We also say as we high five the people next to us at the start of the meeting, “you are looking great”. It sounds bit corny as I type it (sorry C when you read this!) but it really does lift the mood at the start of the meeting and it also means the meeting ends on a positive note. It was positive all round for me this week because I lost 2.5 kg! Even more high fives at the scales!
I actually thought that I wasn’t doing too much different but then we I gave it some thought I really have started doing things differently. The biggest change is that my exercise has gone from zero to 30 minutes most days and lots of incidental stuff. I’m spurred on the “incidental” department by my trusty pedometer. I haven’t yet reached the desired 10000 steps in a day. My highest was 9000+ but my average each week is steadily rising.
I am also trying to be very mindful about what I eat and to a certain extent get the boys to think about what they are eating too. This morning I told them that they had to have something for breakfast that wasn’t a ham and cheese toasted sandwich. I don’t have anything against ham and cheese toasted sangers but to Daniel in particular they area food group of their own! So Daniel ended up having an orange and a mandarin which wasn’t ideal but we did discuss that fact that he probably had a Vitamin C force field around him. Eric bravely tried oats and didn’t finish them but it is all a good start and at least they are thinking.
The fact that we are very short on cash certainly has an impact on what I’m eating as well because I’m eating at home wherever possible, cooking my own food and only having very well considered takeaway.
I’ve now got a very good looking graph on the kitchen wall and I’m hoping to keep it looking good. I’d really like to have a different “tens digit” in my weight next week! The photo of Vera? She is my next secret weight-loss weapon. Once we get here a collar that fits she and I will be pounding the pavement regularly!
Since my tumble down the stairs resulting in two injured ankles, I have learned many things – how to use crutches, how to go up and down stairs on crutches, the best way of calling a cab and the best sort of socks to wear when you have to wear them under splints 24/7 for SIX weeks – only three to go!
how to make a cup of coffee (very important for his mother’s survival)
how to make a toasted sandwich (necessary for his survival)
how to change the shelves in the oven and turn it on
which things I need on my trolley when I go from place to place
He has also walked to the local chemist by himself when I was stranded at home and really needed prickly heat powder to put on under the aforementioned socks. As the days go on he is using his school diary to keep track of the pick-up arrangements for each afternoon which is very useful given that the arrangements are different every single day!
I wish I could say something similar for Daniel but he’s just not into trying new things without a lot of help. His main interest in my injuries is the fact that I have much more time than usual for reading stories to him and listening to him read to me. So he is learning in a more indirect way from what has happened. To be fair, he has filled a few water bottles for me and he quite enjoys getting me a Berocca each morning.
All of this has really made me think about the times at which we begin to teach life skills to our children. I think about it more, when I’m stranded somewhere at home needing something done and I wonder whether I can ask one of the boys to do it. Will they be able? Will they be willing? I’ve got a long mental list of things they do know how to do already but I’ve been thinking about how to move them on and some more things I could teach them.
Given that Eric is 10, I’d like to teach him to do simple ironing, start a load of washing choosing water level and temperature, do some vacuuming and where to access the electricity box and water in an emergency. For Daniel my ambitions include stacking dishwasher, hanging out small washing on clothes airer, folding things and taking simple phone messages. That’s just off the top of my head and I’m sure there are many more things.
I’d like my boys to get into very familiar routines for mornings, after school and evenings so that the jobs we wanted them to do and homework requirements etc were all just happening instead of coaxed out of them step by step each day. That means of course that I need to have better routines for myself and I do recognise that. I’d like them to develop their problem solving skills so they can see that there is often more than one solution to something that is bothering or perplexing them. I’d like to help them develop their emotional resilience while also leaving them secure in the knowledge that it is ok for a boy to cry.
Eric and I are going to a funeral on Thursday and it will be his first one. His teacher’s mum passed away last week. Other students from his class are likely to attend with their parents so he is feeling some safety in numbers. A friend and I had a conversation with Eric and her daughter this afternoon about the sorts of things that happen at a funeral and why they are important. We talked about what it means to the family left behind to see that their community supports them. Both children now have some concept of what they will see, hear and perhaps feel. Dh and I decided that it was important for him to attend a funeral now for someone he didn’t know well because there will come a time when he has to attend a funeral for someone he does know well. When that time comes it may be a bit less overwhelming because he knows the sorts of things that will happen.
Now is the time for us to be mindful of the learning opportunities that are out there in everyday life for our children and to make the most of them even if it does take longer to get things done and they may not be done as well as we would have done them.
You may have noticed that I didn’t put on Eric’s list that he knew how to make toast with honey. To explain I give you (as accurately as I can remember) our conversation on the Sunday morning before last.
“I’m going to make you a coffee Mum. Would you like something for breakfast?”
I take frantic mental inventory – what can he make and bring into bedroom without spilling it? I think that rules out cereal so I settle on toast with jam. He disappears.
“There’s no jam anywhere Mum. Can I put something else on?”
“Um, yes. How about some honey?”
At this point the kettle stopped boiling ages ago, he’s been to the fridge several times but no smoke alarms have gone off. Then he appears again.
“I’ve sort of made a mistake.”
“I sort of put the margarine and honey on but I forgot to put the bread in the toaster. Should I put it in now?”
“Um, no, that will be fine, you can just bring it in to me the way it is.”
As it turned out, he probably could have put the bread in the toaster quite easily because he eventually appeared with barely lukewarm coffee and two slices of stale bread with a tiny smear of margarine down the centre of each and about 1 teaspoon of honey altogether between two pieces.
“Thank-you gorgeous, it was so nice of you to make me some breakfast!”
“That’s ok Mum, nothing to it” and he struts away, chest out feeling very proud of himself.
We might still be learning but I’ve got very good material to work with!
I began my great mealing/recipe project a few weeks ago and it is travelling along nicely. Yesterday I took the next step of organising my new Recipe Binder. It isn’t flash because there’s no spare money for flash binder and dividers around here. I bought a lever arch file, some flouro plastic dividers with an index page at the front and a box of 100 plastic sleeves. I LOVE plastic sleeves – just needed to say that!
I simply wrote out my categories on the index page, slipped some recipes into plastic sleeves and I was done. The recipes are either from Mum which means they arrived by e-mail or I’ve typed them out. If it came by e-mail I’ve just printed the e-mail – not time to muck around! For all the others, because I’m doing Weight Watchers, I either get them from the Weight Watchers website or I type them into the Recipe Builder in E-Tools which then works out the points for the recipe and enables the recipe to be put into my Pro Points Tracker. This gives them some uniformity as they all have the same sort of formatting on the site.
They are all in individual plastic sleeves so they can go to kitchen and back again easily and I’m adding recipes as I do them and they are “successful”. Two new ones are being added tonight from this weekend – Sweet and Sour Braised Steak (Slow Cooker) and Banana and Malteaser Muffins.
I’m getting back into the good routine I used to have of planning the meals for the upcoming week on the Saturday, making a shopping list and doing the weekly shop by Sunday. I’ve also baked today to school lunches (so I’m feeling particularly accomplished!)
Now for Laura’s questions this week:
Questions to ponder:
1. Let’s talk stuff! What have you tossed out this week?
I have tossed coffee cups, lots of paper and quite a few odds and ends from back deck (when I was preparing the Valentine’s Night Dinner). This included our hermit crab gear – the last hermit crab died over 2 years ago!
2. Have you ever regretted something you’ve gotten rid of? Why?
The only things I regret getting rid of are the books I had as a child because I would have dearly loved to pass them on to my boys and my niece (she would probably appreciate the “Little House” series and possibly “Nancy Drew” more than the boys would!). I’ve got one large volume of Frances Hodgson Burnett with three of her books in it that Eric has read from cover to cover and loved. It may be time for my niece to borrow it!
3. How tempted are you to rush out and pick up pretty organizing containers first?
I’m tempted but money is an issue so I’m forcing myself to wait. I’ve saved the link to this bookcase type thing from Ikea which I would like to use in our entry way horizontally as part of a launch pad but I have to work out where to put the cupboard that is there presently as well as save up for it. Simply having more clear spaces is helping me to be more organised!
I like St Valentine’s Day but dh does not. Where once he used to go along with the whole present and going out thing he now refuses to participate at all. I knew I’d be “flogging a dead horse” if I tried to do anything about the big day with him this year so instead I decided to focus on the three men in my life. The boys will hopefully learn a bit about simple celebrations and ways in which you can show people you love them. I wouldn’t suggest it now but maybe they will store away some ideas for when they have “sweethearts” of their own. So I’ve had a bit of fun getting tready for our mini Love Fest which we held tonight.
I got the Valentine’s Wreath Idea from here. Mine is quite different in that I went with flat felt hearts in a rich red and I got the wield my new hot glue gun. The finished effect is simple but well, effective I think. The rest was easy: red plastic tablecloth (boys eating spaghetti – I shouldn’t need to say anything else on that subject), white serviettes with hand-painted hearts, some red heart sequins sprinkled up the middle of the table, red tea-lights in our special rose decorated wall sconce and the “piece de resistance” (as far as the boys were concerned) chocolate heart rose buds on long plastic stems.
We dined on spaghetti bolognaise with choc mint drumsticks for dessert anda good time was had by three of us. Vera the dog was intrigued by all the goings-on and desperate to be included. She did score some leftover spaghetti sauce in the end!
I’m still catching up on Organizing Junkie’s 52 Weeks of Organising Project and this week she has asked about “piles” that we may have tackled in the past week and any decisions that needed to be made about them. In my case it was piles of Weight watchers magazines and cook books.
Cooking dinner each night for at least 6 nights out of 7 has been a big drama over the past 18 months and I am now working on ways to get the whole process running more smoothly so that we have a meal on the table, we are eating healthy food and we save money by not resorting to takeaway food at the last minute. The other thing influencing all of this is that Weight Watchers have introduced their new Pro Points system which means the points on everything have changed.
There are two key things that I am doing/have done to streamline the whole meal planning/cooking process:
1. Culling Recipes – I had at least four magazine files full of Weight Watchers cookbooks and magazines and I was desperate for space to make my new “homework station” for the boys (a post about that is coming!). I knew I would have to work out the points for recipes I liked and that obviously there would be new magazines and books coming out as well. So I sat down for about 4 15 minute sessions and ripped or cut out the recipes I wanted to keep and recycled the rest. I don’t have a before picture but as you can see in the photo I have reduced that massive pile into one plastic pocket folder of recipes to try. It isn’t particularly glamorous looking but every piece of paper in it will eventually be thrown away so it is just fine for its purpose. The decision making was done as quickly as possible and I was as ruthless as I could be. If I don;t have every recipe I needed I am sure I can find it somewhere else anyway.
2. Meal Planning – I started by making a list of all the meals that will be happily eaten by all four of us. In some cases it is meals that dh and the boys will eat more happily than I will but I can organise something different for myself if I have time. So far there are only about 7-8 things on the list so I am aiming to expand the range by going through my “ripped out recipes” and choosing at least one to re-visit each week so we can decide whether to add it to our list. because I am using e-tools on the Weight Watchers website I can go in and input the recipes as I do them and it will work out the points for me. Then the recipe is stored there and I have one piece of paper less in my home. My aim is to go back to my old habit of planning meals and writing a shopping list on a Sunday so we are all set for the week and either dh can do a grocery shop on Sunday or I can do it on a Monday.