Singing Lessons

Monday, November 29, 2010

I have an endearing story about my dad singing to my sisters and me when we were babies. He would just repeat Silent Night over and over because that was the only song he knew all the words to. He wasn't that much of a hands-on dad when it came to discipline (unless we were bothering him specifically) or day-to-day affairs, but he sure loved his girls. Especially when we were all cuddled into his arms about to fall asleep. Awwwwwww. I don't quite remember this but I certainly appreciate the stories and the devotion.

I, of course, sing to my son the requisite "Hush Little Baby" and "Twinkle Twinkle" but am in the market for a new tune. I was just listening to an updated version of Amazing Grace and hadn't even thought of that one! Swing Low Sweet Chariot. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing. Sweet Child of Mine. Landslide. I am totally missing some good tunes! I need to get listening and bolster my playlist.

It's All on the Menu

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The best smart-eating tip I can offer: you gotta plan out the menu people!

And these are my best strategies for menu planning:

1. Make a list of all the common meals you make for yourself or your family. You can do this with snacks and drinks too. I want to add my very own list to this blog very soon so I have my own record. Because sometimes when it's time to go to the grocery store, you just plumb can't think of anything to make. Continue adding to this list as you add new recipes to your repertoire.

2. Do a search at Cooking Light or SparkRecipes for more healthful versions of your favorites or try to do a few heart-healthy swaps (light sour cream versus the full-fat version). I bought a Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet cookbook that improves upon a good share of our family favorites in one book. Printing real recipes with actual nutrition labels also helps keep you honest about each serving.

3. Now go back through that meal list and place notes next to each meal listing the ingredients you'll need for each recipe.

4. Each week, plot out every breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. This is not as hard as it sounds. It's perfectly OK to have nutritious waffles with blueberries all week so you need only buy those two things. For snacks, all you need is a carton of eggs for a hard-boiled snack or a bag of apples and bottle of peanut butter. Add the ingredients for these meals to your weekly shopping list.

5. I always find it helpful to jot down the meals and snacks I've planned on a white board or scrap of paper so I don't forget by Thursday what I actually had in mind. I scratch the meals off as I go.

This one simple meal-planning strategy sounds way too easy, but it really works. And as a bonus, it keeps our grocery bills much lower than ever!

The Party's at My House

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I think I was reading someone else's blog entry about having a wine and cheese party that got me thinking about having a girls' night sometime soon myself. Something to replenish those bonds and give us girls something to talk about. Ok, I was just looking for any excuse to get all the girlies I adore the most together. And banish awkward silences.

Then, something about indie film screening came into my inbox not two seconds later like surrendipity.

A few days later, this fantastic party favor idea (including wine party favor options) graced my inbox.

And there you have it: fate has arranged a fully-planned party for me. How does New Year's Eve sound?

The Great Remote Search

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I'm not the lazy type that searches the entire house for the remote just to change the TV channels from the couch. Oh no. But for the past two days I've been in a real bind. I've wanted to work out to several different fitness DVDs, but I can't find the DVD remote. The actual box itself can only do so much. What about when I want to get to the third workout on that Turbo Jam DVD? I. just. can't. get to it! Ugh.

However, this did force me to pull out my old bundle of ripped-out magazine workouts and put them to darn good use. You should see the stack I have. You know those file envelopes with like 8 file dividers? I have two of those jam-packed about 2-inches thick with every type of workout you can think of from capoeira to back-to-the-80s leg warmer workouts to tae bo, you name it! And I always have good intentions of using them (otherwise I wouldn't horde them so), but somehow I just don't.

It's much easier for me to throw in a DVD and capitalize on the Chalene-style energy. Almost like I'm working out with someone else or in a class setting. I take less breaks and pump a whole lot harder. Those DVDs keep me a whole lot more accountable than a piece of paper I have to stop and read. But I did use the paper this time. And I liked it. Especially with my own music cranked up and the boys out of the house.

Post-Workout Shower

I have an odd conundrum that has to do with the post-workout shower. Ok, I admit I have gone places after a sweaty workout. I try to keep this social snafu to a minimum, but I assure you I never go to bed without a full lather-off. So, what do you do the next morning when your hair is all crazy kinked but you're still shower fresh? I know a lot of people who will take another shower in the morning. I have done that too, especially in the sticky summer heat, but it seems like such a waste--of water and extra time. They do tell you to even skip a day of showering for the benefit of your hair and skin moisture levels, which I just won't do. But double showering must do a real number on oil production.

So, if I take a shower in the morning and another shower post-workout that same day and don't take one the following morning, I still come out with my socially-acceptable one shower a day. Whew, at least I can keep my social standing. But I still don't know what to do about that hideous bed-head. It's not the cute Jennifer Aniston-esque-beach-wave-bed-head. It's the three-year-old-girl-after-a-day-of-craziness type.

Anyhow, so far, the only remedies I've come up with are clips to pin my hair back. It also helps if I wear a hat on my walk to work to flatten some of the bumps. Otherwise, cute pixie pigtails or a headband seem to do the trick. My hair's too short right now to resort to the oft-used ponytail. I may have to grow it out just for that reason. But then I'm afraid I'll get lazy and use the ponytail solution every day again like I've done before.

The Sketchbook Project

Monday, November 1, 2010

I am so excited to have found The Sketchbook Project during a recent bout of Internet "research." Ok ok, you caught me. I was in the market to buy a real artist's sketchbook and came across this cool new project to engulf myself in. You see, you get a sketchbook, fill it up with artwork and send it back in. Then, your art goes on a tour of the country. When the art tour is finished, the sketchbooks find a permanent home in the Brooklyn Art Library. They can be checked out like regular library books and the artist can keep track of how many times their book is viewed or "checked out."

I chose "make mine a double" as my theme. Although today I see that "Happy Thoughts" has been added as a theme, and that would've been downright perfect. Oh well. I've already done a brainstorm of doubles and hope to turn those ideas into wonderful works of art.

As I've stated before, I have this abundance of creative energy building up inside of me and am in dire need of an expressive outlet for it. So thank the stars, it's in the mail.