Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kay's Naturals 50% off special extended!

Scroll down a bit here and you'll find a post about everything at Kay's Naturals being on SALE!! And, not just your average sale--a 50% off sale! They extended the sale! It was supposed to end at 9 am central time on Monday 9/29. As of right now, the site still shows the discounted pricing! Click over to check it out!

Back to school...

Yeah, it is a little late in the season to JUST be saying back to school, but that is the case for me! I may have mentioned that prior to my WLS and losing the weight, my health was so poor that I was unable to teach anymore and I have been away from teaching since 2003 when I let my teaching certificate expire... Well, in 2007, I took two classes and got my certificate renewed. Then, I signed up to go back to work in my county as a substitute teacher till I find something full time and can get back into a classroom of my own. I am also about to apply with the neighboring counties so I can work more often and get to know the folks there and get a handle on any potential job opportunities.

Last Thursday evening, I got the call... My first job as a sub was last Friday. I was a sub for a kindergarten class... Mind you, I am a middle and high school social studies teacher! LOL Kindergarten is not really my cup of tea, but I was excited to get a chance to get back to the classroom! So, I took it anyway and things went great. They were a fun bunch of kids! Then, that very same evening, the computerized system called me again with a sub spot at the high school for two days (Mon/Tues). This time, it was math... I'm a social studies teacher! LOL But, I want to work, so for yesterday and today I have been a math teacher--Algebra II, Geometry, and Pre-Calculus to be exact! It was interesting when someone would ask me for help with something. I did the math... It has been about 22 years since I last worked an algebra problem! WAY too long to know what they were asking me for help with! But, we muddled through with the help of some brainy classmates. All is well that ends well, right???

The call-in system is computerized and somewhat random. You have no way of knowing when or if you'll get called, so from here on out, it is strictly a wait and see sort of thing. Suddenly the phone rings and you are set for another day--or more!

For today, I'm almost done and just spending some time browsing OH and blogging during a planning slot... I stumbled across a post about a protein bar that Alton Brown did on his Food Network show... Here's a link for anyone interested!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

50% off of EVERYTHING at Kay's Naturals!!

I love several of Kay's products, so I just have to share this one!!

This weekend, Kay's Naturals is having a blowout of a sale. If you've never tried their stuff but would like to, this is the time! They will be offering 50% off of everything! And, they still have that $7.50 flat rate shipping, so that is all you pay for shipping whether you buy one item or a whole pallet full!

The sale starts this Friday (9/26) at 5 pm central time and ends Monday (9/29) at 9 am central time. There is no discount code necessary! Just order between that time frame and you get the 50% off deal! The discount is supposed to show up right on the site, no waiting... So, if you're of a mind to place an order, click over to http://www.kaysbariatric.com/ and check it out between Friday evening and Monday morning!

OH, and pass it on!! This special is good for ANYONE!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Long, busy days...

I know, I know... I just wrote a blog about being busy, busy, busy these days! But, it is the truth! I stay busy and just seem to have days when I don't even get a chance to sit down! LOL

This weekend, Eliza, Josh and the Baby have been here. So, I have had some snuggle time with my sweetie! He's two months old already!

It isn't the greatest picture of he and I, but we don't yet have one that is a "good one!" This was first waking up in the morning for me. He'd just nursed and Eliza passed him off to me to snuggle while she started breakfast for us all. I was just waking up and he was going back to sleep!

Just to recount one of these busy days...
This morning, I got up and cooked bacon and pancakes for the crew for breakfast.
While bacon was frying, I got a load of laundry rounded up and washing.
After I ate my breakfast, I got to sit with the baby for a bit.
Next, dish washing...
Then, I cleaned and sliced up 4 quart baggies of peppers from my garden and put them in the freezer.
I put the laundry in the dryer.
That was followed by blanching, peeling and pressure canning a tub full of tomatoes that were good and ripe.
Then, more dish washing to clean up after the canning.
By then, we were grilling hotdogs for lunch. I was good and ate my weiners "naked" without a bun! I also had some of the leftover tomatoes with a bit of Splenda added and then simmered down. Yummy!
After lunch and starting dough for a pizza crust, I got a bit more baby time before we went out to do outside/animal chores. He took a power nap--3 mins of out-like-a-light and then he was fired up and rarin' to go!

After that 3 minute power nap, the baby and I helped Eliza feed and water the rabbits and gave them all some big, crunchy carrots. Look how big they are getting! We've already sold 3 of them and have 3 left. They're 2 1/2 mos old...just a bit older than Matthew!
Their momma (in the background in that pic) is about 25 pounds. That bowl they are beside is 9 or 10 inches in diameter! These are BIG rabbits! (Flemish Giants)

After feeding and watering the rabbits, Josh and I got the chicken feed mixed and stored and the extra dog food and rabbit food stored.
Then, back to the kitchen to put away the jars of canned stuff and the canner and such.
Next, the pizza dough was done in the bread machine and it was time to put together the pizza for supper. I make a whole wheat pizza dough in the bread machine and make the pizza from scratch here at home when we take a notion to do pizza. My SIL (Josh) loves it so much he'll ask if we can have pizza when they're coming over to stay for a few days. We had pizza with pepperoni, fresh green peppers from the garden, mushrooms, and lots of cheese! Mandy complained about the peppers. She told me I should put them on top of the cheese so she can pick them off easier. Eliza told her "just get used to the taste!" After growing my bell peppers in the garden and having them without paying 88 cents each, I am finding all sorts of new places to use them! She better get used to it with 4 bags full of slices in the freezer now! LOL

While Josh had requested pizza, Eliza wanted homemade cookies... So, while the pizza was baking, I put together a batch of my oatmeal, chocolate chip and pecan cookies with the protein powder in them. Those are my favorite cookie and are a great cookie for a postop. Check them out when you get a chance. That is an OLD blog post here! LOL

After the pizza was done and I'd eaten and the cookies were done, I got some computer time to scan email, check my eBay auctions and check in here! LOL What a day! I still need a shower and I have to take my vitamins, but this is a good kind of tired! It is the kind of tired that comes from a day well spent!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Website updates...a necessary evil!

I've been doing the website for a non-profit I volunteer with for like 10 years now... Every so often, you have to go in and recheck all the links on the site and be sure that you are still linking to valid sites and they are the site you intended. It is tedious work and the word fun never comes up in the same conversation! LOL But, it is necessary.

In this case, it was very necessary! The website I am talking about is that of WV CHADD (Children & Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders). And, the links are all to sites with info about AD/HD--diagnosis, treatment, resources, etc. One link was to a site for support for adults with AD/HD, commonly referred to as ADDults. Well, this link was no longer valid, but it DID go to an ADULT site now! Ugh! SO, it was not the sort of content you'd want your average non-profit/support visitor clicking over to! Thankfully, all of that is done now! I won't have to worry about it again for a bit...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Review: Dr. Kracker, take 3! Pumpkin Cheddar Snack Chips

One more flavor tried...two to go! I'm not sure I have the other two though! LOL

The Pumpkin Cheddar snack chips were about the same as the other two flavors in crunchy crispness and taste. The seeds, what there were of them, were bigger, so there was more flavor to them. I've never tried pumpkin seeds before, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect. Not too bad... These crackers had plenty of cheese on them, just not so much on the seeds.
If there were more seeds, this one would be the best so far. But, as it stands, I think I'm still calling the Klassic 3 Seed from yesterday my favorite!

Monday, September 15, 2008

What a clothes hog I was!

While I may have had to order all my clothing other than bras and undies from Lane Bryant and Roaman's catalogs, I had a TON of it! I took full advantage over the years of their deferred payment options and their credit cards. I stayed at my limit most of the time and usually had at least one order on deferred billing on my checking account debit card!

My point here?? I'm getting there! LOL Since my surgery and losing over 200 pounds, I've been getting around to cleaning closets and storage spots in my home that I previously avoided at all costs as I just was not able to do the work... My home was a huge mess of clutter. Piles here... Piles there... And, the closets were the worst. Most of them sort of overflowed their bounds! The racks were full. The overhead shelves were loaded so heavily with stuff (not usually clothes) that one of them actually pulled out of the wall and fell down! The floor of the closets were stacked as high as the bottom of the clothes with stuff--shoes and other assorted junk. And, lately, one at a time, I'm getting around to doing something about it all.

Despite having given away and shipped off well over 200 pounds of clothes and then giving away locally a HUGE contractor's trash bag of clothes again, I rounded up 40 pounds of size 4X clothes. Now not only were these clothes in good shape, but they were still in the package! They'd never even been tried on or worn! I had so freaking many clothes that I bought clothes I never even opened! And they were stashed here and stashed there.... These clothes added up to well over $400 in cost and there were 36 items!

The good news of this whole mess???? I put them up on ebay! I did it with a reserve price of $150 and a starting bid of just 99 cents. I wanted to start where about anyone could bid and the listing would be cheaper, BUT I wanted to get some money out of them too as I had given away everything else! The first time I listed them, they did NOT sell... In fact, the bidding only got up to like $56--nowhere near the $150 reserve. The second time though, the bidding went from less than $20 to a flat $150 in just a few days and was at $192 about 24 hours before the auction closed. It closed at a wonderful price of $265.00. I was thrilled! It took 3 days for the buyer to pay, but they paid and that BIG ole box of clothes is shipping tomorrow! And, she said that her Mom was going to be thrilled. So, it made someone else happy too!

I got rid of the clothes that I will never ever wear again and had never worn before.
I got a fair price out of them.
Someone's Mom is getting a nice gift--a 20" x 20" x 12" box crammed FULL of new clothes.
I have $265 to put towards the propane we need to heat this winter! Ugh! It is up to like $2.64 a gallon now. We paid $1.82 last winter....

Review: Dr. Kracker, take 2! Klassic 3 Seed variety

Last night, I reviewed the Sunflower Cheddar variety of the Dr. Kracker snack chips. I decided to try another one of the Dr. Kracker snack chips today. Today's choice was the Klassic 3 Seed snack chips.
I think I liked these even more than I did the other one I tried yesterday--the sunflower cheddar variety. These had a lot more seeds in them. Check 'em out!
The sunflower cheddar ones had much fewer seeds on each cracker.

The package says "The Klassic 3 Seed is a compelling blend of nutty flax seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Crunch!" The certainly do CRUNCH! As a matter of fact, I caught myself thinking that chewing these things to the proper mush point before swallowing was going to be more work than with stuff like Cheeze-Its! So, when you are done, you really feel like you ate something instead of something that just sort of dissolves in your mouth. These DO have a nutty flavor to them. And, they were, as you can see in the pic above, very well seeded.

I think that this one is my flavor of choice so far!

Nutrition Facts for this variety:

Klassic 3 Seed
snack chips
% DV
Calories 120
Fat Calories 40
Total Fat 5 g 8%
Saturated Fat 1 g 5%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 g 0%
Sodium 220 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 13 g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16%
Sugars 0 g
Protein 6 g
Vitamin A
0 %
Vitamin C
0 %
3 %
6 %

Like the sunflower cheddar, no trans fats, no cholesterol and a fair amount of fiber...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Product Review: Dr. Kracker snack chips

Been a while since I did a product review! Let's see if I remember how! LOL

At our support group meeting, I got a sample of a new product... Well, they are new to me and I have no idea how long they've been available! But, anyway, they are a line of snack chips or crackers called Dr. Kracker and they claim to be 100% whole grain with an "uber crunch!" Actually, here's what their site says about these snack chips/crackers:

Inspired by the delicious traditional flatbreads of Germany, our Dr. Kracker crackers are made with a blend of nature's best organic whole grains and seeds, then yeast-raised and artisan-baked to perfect crispness.

Available in five stupendous flavors, we make sure that every bite of every Dr. Kracker cracker bursts with texture, character, and gusto.

No-nonsense. Not for the faint of heart. And, everything you always wanted in a cracker.

I've only tried the Sunflower Cheddar variety of these crackers.
I found them to be VERY crisp and crunchy.They have nice big pieces of seeds or whole seeds on the crackers. These definitely have texture! They are thicker and crisper than your average chip/cracker though and definitely resemble the flatbreads that they say they are imitating...

Nutrition Facts for this variety:

Sunflower Cheddar
snack chips
% DV
Calories 120
Fat Calories 50
Total Fat 6 g 9%
Saturated Fat 1.5 g 8%
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol <> 1%
Sodium 220 mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 12 g 4%
Dietary Fiber 4 g 16%
Sugars 0 g
Protein 5 g
Vitamin A
0 %
Vitamin C
0 %
5 %
6 %

No trans fats, practically no cholesterol and a fair amount of fiber... Add that to the taste and texture desirability of these crackers and you've got a winning choice!

They have a page of customer testimonials if you'd like to hear what others have written about them. I'll try to post when I try the other flavors as well. They also have a page with recipes using the crackers. I hope to see them continue to add recipes!

The flatbread pieces of these crackers (another item from same company) are large crackers that would be awesome with cheese spreads and/or meats on top! But, these snack chips are great just by themself.

Go to http://www.drkracker.com/sales/retaillocations/ to find the nearest retailer to purchase these products or go to http://www.drkracker.com/sales/onlineshop/ for online retailers such as Amazon.com.

Product Name: Dr. Kracker sunflower cheddar snack chips

Product Type (meal replacement, protein bar, snack, etc): snack (but also available as actual flatbread pieces for use as part of a meal!)

Where Can I Get/Find It? online, Costco's, Publix, some Super Targets, Whole Foods, other health/natural foods markets

Cost: Amazon.com sells for $23 for 24 of the 1 oz bags, so less than a buck per bag, not sure about local outlets and single packages...

Pros: organic and all natural whole grain snack, good taste and texture, great to replace those crunchy snack crackers

Cons: for me, these are not readily available from affordable, local sources/needs to be ordered from online sources, but that may not be the case for everyone--search the retail locations link as some states have a long page of local retail locations!

Overall Rating: Yeah Baby! Good solution for those who crave crunch but want only whole grain choices...

So, what DO you bring to a WLS potluck??

We had a potluck, covered dish picnic dinner at this month's local WLS support group meeting. I stressed over what to bring for literally weeks beforehand! I had not been to one of this group's dinners before even though I've been a member since before my surgery two years ago. I had really never been to a covered dish dinner of any sort for WLS folks before. Normally, if I go to something covered dish, it is with friends, family, or 4-H folks and I just bring something I know I can eat and not worry about it... Not for this though as most of the folks attending would be those who had already had WLS and are more careful about what they eat.

So, you rule out a lot of the old standbys like high-carb veggies and breads. You don't do potato salad---that is for sure! LOL And, add in the fact that I had to drive an hour to get there, so temperature was going to be an issue. It either had to be kept cold or kept hot for that length of time... I knew I was going to take a Splenda Pumpkin Cake as that is now an old standby for me for anything where I take food... It was actually the TENTH one of those cakes I'd made since July 28th thanks to our 4-H fundraising! But, what to take for hot food? I needed to take at least two items I felt as there were two of us attending. Mandy always goes to the support group meetings with me and has become a member herself, so we both needed something. She sure didn't help me decide what to bring or actually do the cooking though!

I looked at lots of Michelle's recipes (Eggface)... I even emailed her and asked what she'd take in this position. Her suggestion was her Italian Bean Salad and possibly adding some sort of meat.

I posted on OH and asked what other folks suggested... I got lots of feedback (lots of Eggface recipe suggestions! LOL She has TONS of casserole recipes!), but still couldn't decide. I did get a new recipe site suggested though and it is a site with WLS recipes! That was a cool find! It is http://recipes.switchsister.com/forum/index.php and you should definitely check it out some time!

I made and tried Eggface's Pastaless Chicken Carbonara... It was pretty good. Mandy complained about the spinach. Hubby and I liked it. I'll definitely make it again. Maybe for this dinner??

I thought about a pot of brown beans and ham.

I looked at and thought about Eggface's Italian Chicken and Squash Bake.

There were lots of folks who suggested I take one of Michelle's "bites" items which are little mini-muffin sized crustless quiches basically... There are all different varieties of them!

I wondered what sorts of veggies would show up and even posted on the support group's YahooGroup and asked others to tell what they were bringing. The response I got was that there was always a great assortment and to just bring whatever I wanted. Good response, but not very helpful when I was in such a quandry to begin with! LOL

Then, I asked my self why in the world this was stressing me so much! It is, after all, just FOOD! But, for many of these folks, it was also the reason why they ended up having to have WLS in the first place.... I continued to stew for another week over what I was bringing. Then, I made a shopping list for groceries and included items I would need for several of the things I'd considered making and decided I'd just "go with the flow" when the time came to actually MAKE the stuff.

SO, Friday morning arrives.... The dinner is at 6 pm. I've got stuff here to do many, many things, but WHAT will I make??? I had already soaked a pot of brown beans in case I wanted to do beans and ham, so I went ahead and started the beans to cooking... Was beans and ham plus the pumpkin cake good enough??

After stewing for a while, I decided to put together the chicken and squash bake from Michelle's site. SO, I started rounding up stuff. I love most everything I've ever tried from Michelle's site, so I knew it would be good. And, since I'm talking about it here, I'll post her recipe too...

Shelly's Italian Chicken & Squash Bake

1 cup Chicken, boneless, skinless breasts diced 1" cubes
1 Yellow Onion, diced
3 green Onions, diced
4-5 fresh Mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves Garlic, diced
3-4 Yellow Squash, sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Basil, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
a few twists of Black Pepper
1 - 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 - 10 3/4 oz. can Cream of Chicken Soup
1/2 cup Shredded Italian 4 Cheese Blend (divided use)
Oil/butter for sauteing

Saute chicken till golden. Set aside. Saute onions and mushrooms till golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add zucchini, turn to low heat and cover for 5 minutes. Stirring once or twice. Add soup, tomatoes, seasonings, 1/4 cup of the cheese and chicken and stir to combine.

Pour into a Pyrex casserole dish. Top with remaining shredded cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until bubbly and golden.

Now, what I did different...
I did not use green onions.
I added 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into strips and then the strips cut into 3 pieces.
I did not use canned diced tomatoes. I cut up a great big tomato from my garden.
I used about twice as much cheese...
I did not have fresh basil or oregano, so I gave a very hearty shaking of Italian seasoning across the top.

It was yummy! And, it was one of the very few dishes brought that had any veggies in it! So, it was a good choice. And, I actually doubled the recipe and took a big 9 X 13 dish of it and it was all gone at the end!

So that is what I took... I took a big pyrex dish full of pinto beans and cubed ham, a 9 x 13 dish of this chicken and squash dish, and the pumpkin cake...

What did others bring? That was a varied list! Let's see what I can remember...
beef stew
taco dip and Tostitos scoops
macaroni salad
KFC fried chicken and biscuits
something called a Punch Bowl Fruit Salad
fresh fruit (honeydew, pineapple, etc)
gorgeous fresh strawberries and a yogurt dip for them
AND, the best stuff ever--homemade sugar free frozen custard! I ate some of this with fresh strawberries. Then, I ate a bit of it with a piece of the pumpkin cake. OMG, this will be a holiday dessert here this year! You would NEVER guess it was sugar free custard and cake made with Splenda! LOL I told our support group leader (who makes the custard in her ice cream maker) that she MUST give me the recipe now that I have an ice cream maker. I plan to add some protein powder to it when I make it though... If you are going to eat ice cream, at least get some redeeming values from it, right??? I know Michelle would agree on that one! She IS the protein ice cream queen!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Never this busy when I was FAT!!

I got a private message at OH yesterday from a friend asking, "Are you okay?" Her reason for asking was that I'd been so quiet lately. Well, my reply to her was that yes, I was fine, just BUSY!! Life has been hopping lately!

I was involved in stuff preop, but not like I am now. For example, I was the team Mom and scorekeeper for my daughter's softball team for 9 years. I did all of that from a chair... I was a volunteer for my daughter's 4-H club, but that was usually all stuff that could be done from a chair and/or over the phone. I volunteered with a disability advocacy group for 10 years. But, I spent most of my days sitting at home wishing I could do more...

Now, I am working for a non-profit organization that offers training to parents of children with disabilities. I run the mini-challenges over on the OH boards. I am the LEADER of my daughter's 4-H club. I am the secretary of the 4-H Leaders Association, and we've been doing some MAJOR fundraising this last 6 weeks that have involved getting out there and working! We also have had 4-H camp (a week of sleep-away camp with 60 kids this year) and our county fair which the 4-H kids all exhibit at as well as showing livestock. I am back on the list to substitute teach in my county and am applying in the two neighboring counties as well. Not to mention the fact that with hubby on the road trucking for 2 weeks at a time, I do it all with no daily help from him! It's sort of like being a single mom!
Add in the fact that I have that lovely new grandbaby and you have one BUSY lady.

my youngest daughter (Mandy) with her nephew/my grandbaby (Matthew)

I can't belive he's almost 2 mos old already! He's growing so fast and already weighs in at over 11 pounds! Mandy loves to spend time with him (as do I), but we don't get to do a lot of it lately... Bummer! He's a very happy baby, thankfully and fusses over almost nothing. Can't complain about that...just about not getting to see him more often.

SO, getting back to the point! I'm living and loving life these days to a point that I really never even dreamed of! I'm busy to the point of distraction! Heck, I was so busy on Aug 29th (my 2nd surgery anniversary) that it took an email congrats message from a friend for me to even realize that it was THAT day!

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