Everyday

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Starting the 3rd week of Pain

Published May 17, 2016 by Tritrigirl

Seriously…this is the start of the 3rd week of 6 days a week workouts.  Dude, this shit is hard.  It’s not the hardest that I’ve ever put myself through, I recall forcing myself through 2 a day workouts 2-3 times a week for a few months getting ready for Tri season, but honestly I started the year out a little slow on the work out front and managed to get through my half marathons on stubbornness and power of will.

My team is in Tri training.  My coach had kinda left us runners out in the cold, er, humidity.  They’re running on Sundays, but I think I’ve whined about that enough for now.  I paid a friend, who’s  a certified coach, to put together a training plan for me to be half marathon ready in September.  But I’ve essentially had to start over.  I run Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.  Wednesday she throws in exercises with the sprint workouts that I don’t do.  Why?  Because I lift Tuesdays and Thursdays and do Pilates on Wednesdays. Sure more squats and crunches wouldn’t hurt, but….no thank you.

Needless to say I’ve been fucking tired.  Like BONE tired.  I need more sleep.  I even tried to go to bed early last night but didn’t fall asleep until midnight.  Waking up early this morning was hard to do.  I downloaded The Rock Clock.  Pretty entertaining.  If you need some serious motivation in the mornings check it out.  Not only does the Rock sing to you, but there’s a motivational message for the day.  Kinda like, get your ass up, your competition isn’t hitting snooze, you shouldn’t hit snooze, carpe fucking diem.

In other news I found this and my mom is going to make me a throw pillow because…well…because:

PATTERN: 5" x 7" Fear is the C###blocker of Dreams Unicorn

Need Need Need – Etsy Store CarsonZickersham

Finished the First 4 Weeks

Published May 2, 2016 by Tritrigirl

First 4 weeks of WW completed.  So far I have allegedly lost 11 pounds.  I saw allegedly because I have not idea where I lost it from.  Nothing fits differently.  Still wearing the same size clothes, but the scale says I’ve lost 11.  Until clothes start fitting looser I’m a bit skeptical.

I can say that I’m definitely getting stronger.  I’m noticing that in my classes for sure.  So perhaps that’s part of it.  Who knows.

Yesterday was the first triathlon of the season and I was there to volunteer.  I didn’t miss competing at all.  Nope.  It was windy, the lake was super choppy, they’ve been doing construction on one of the main roads the bike portion is on and the shoulder was covered in debris plus the road itself wasn’t in good shape.  Nope, didn’t miss it AT ALL.  Strangely enough, you can get sore from clapping your hands for long periods of time.  Like about 3 hours.  I stood for about 4 hours and clapped for about 3.  But I tried to be funny and cheer people up while I cheered them on.  I’d like to think I helped some when they were having a tough time.

I was officially promoted as of yesterday (the 1st).  Nothing changes in responsibilities, just leveled up if you will.  And more money.  Can’t argue with more money for the same responsibilities.

Started over from scratch with my running program. My team has gone onto Triathlon training and only running on Sundays.  I like my Saturday workouts and I don’t really want to go to Sunday work outs.  I’m trying to come up with a compromise.  I’m going to want to work out on Saturdays anyway.  I was considering going to some of the triathlon workout for variety and besides I end up missing the team,  but I’m not racing.  The girl I usually run on Saturdays with isn’t going to run anymore.  So I’m on my own.  I can have my run work outs switched to my long runs on Sundays to run with the group, but I just don’t know.

I’ll sort it all out after I come back from VA on the 15th.

Have a great Monday.

Mid Week Check In

Published April 13, 2016 by Tritrigirl

Blogging about this stuff helps me feel a bit more accountable as well as allows me to vent a bit if I need it.

So far this week:

Monday – Spin, Tuesday – Body Pump and I’m already dressed and ready for Pilates tonight.

Meal wise – doing well.  Monday I dipped into my “fit points” and had to use some of my extra calories earned from Spin for dinner.  But it was worth it.  Chicken Tikka Masala and homemade garlic naan.  Still ended up under my allowances for the day.

Decided last weekend that I’m not going to include cooking oils or creamer to my tracker.  Here’s my thought:  I don’t use creamer often so it’s highly unlikely the size of my ass is due to creamer.  I could do with less butter, so I’m trying to use cooking spray instead but it’s hard for me to believe that the chemicals in 0 calorie spray butter or cooking spray is actually “healthier” than real butter or olive oil, despite the calories.  I don’t go crazy with the Olive oil so again, while these certainly add to the calorie count it’s something I use sparingly in the first place.  Plus the math is a nightmare…2 TBS of olive oil to cook chicken divided by 3 people eating?  Lastly, if you take into account the “after burn” created by daily work outs or a regular exercise routine I think those calories just cancel out.  Like when Diet Coke cancels out pizza.  😛  Just kidding.

Will have to come up with some better plans for Monday nights, possibly leaving Scott and Tater Tot on their own for dinner.  Tater Tot has swim until 7pm, then they go to the gym and lift for 30-45 minutes, then possibly go to the store.  This means I don’t even start cooking until 7:45 – 8pm.  When I finish with Spin at 7pm I’m already starving and can’t wait until 8 to eat.  I started to go into crazy low blood sugar symptoms Monday.  Shaking, couldn’t think or concentrate, got really hot and extremely pissy.  Ended up telling them to basically leave me alone until I eat.  Scott doesn’t keep WW friendly snacks around and it got so bad I ended up eating 2 TBS of peanut butter to take the edge off.  So if we’re all going to have dinner together I’m going to have to start coming home and having a snack after Spin or just go ahead and have dinner and they can fend for themselves.

Otherwise it is getting a little easier.  Although I have noticed that fruit doesn’t seem to last long in my system, like 45 minutes before my stomach growls again.

Just realized Monday that I have to help my friend’s maid of honor plan her bachelorette party in July.  Totally forgotten about that.  My WW plan ends the end of June, but I might keep it up through the end of the year.  I’d like to get to where I don’t have to think about anything and that it’s just a habit so we’ll see how long that take and if it does happen.  We’ll see.

Have a great Wednesday!

1 Week Follow Up

Published April 11, 2016 by Tritrigirl

So last week I was treated to the privilege of overhearing a conversation at the gym about how this girl was SO happy that she didn’t have to work certain days so she could basically spend at least 2 hours doing exercise classes at the gym.  My thought was uh, must be nice and do you have much of a life?  I have a good relationship with my gym.  There are meatheads, but they don’t seem to be assholes.  The staff is nice, a little overwhelming at times, but that’s part of their job.  I like the classes they offer, so far I like most of the instructors as well.  But I don’t necessarily WANT to take 2 classes back to back, unless it’s pilates and yoga.  I mean if you really want to you can, but I have shit to do, games to play, shows to binge watch, pets to snuggle, etc.  I guess I shouldn’t be too judgey, the reality is that if I didn’t have to work 5 days a week I might spend more time at the gym.  Okay, just kidding, probably not.  Really I was just more jealous that she didn’t have to work everyday.

Moving on.  Finished my first week of WW.  Lost 3.6 lbs.  Was hoping for more, but I wasn’t super strict so it is what it is.  Spend the weekend splurging, felt like shit because of said splurging.  Still pissed at the points value of certain foods.  My post- workout recovery drink is 7 points, but only 160 calories.  Now I got 33 points back from my 5.6 mile run (so basically another day’s worth of points) but between that and my second breakfast I blew 18 points so by that time I’d used 30 points and it wasn’t even noon yet.  I tried to save the remaining points and my weekly splurge points for the rest of the weekend and ended up just not tracking anything anymore.  I’m operating under the assumption that my weekly points are all gone.  Which is fine.

We’ll see how this week ends up.  I’m assuming that if I continue to feel shitty on my splurge days that I’ll probably trim my splurge days back.  Not to feel shitty.  The other crappy thing is that there was a really good food truck by the Growler Bar called Sweet and Cheezy and I refused to eat there last night.  Now I wanted that greasy deliciousness but opted to go out for sushi instead.  Sweet and Cheezy would have been cheaper.  Ah well.  This weekend I think we’re going to have wings and pizza.  Because I want wings and pizza.

My goals for this week:

Daily workouts: Monday -Spin, Tuesday – Body Pump, Wednesday – Pilates, Thursday – Body Pump, Friday – Off, Saturday – Run, Sunday – Bike / Yoga.  Hoping they bring back Wednesday night yoga.  Fingers crossed.

Diet: Stick with daily points / calories

Also signed up for a half marathon in September.  Looking at one in October too.  Not planning on triathlons, and my team is going into Tri training.  Which leaves some of us runners out.  I’ll see how it plays out.  They’re offering running on Sunday because all the coaches are doing Tri training on Saturdays.  I don’t want to run on Sundays.  That’s my sleep in day.

See ya in a couple days!  Oh, Season 2 of Catastrophe is out on Amazon.  Check it out!

 

New Journeys

Published April 4, 2016 by Tritrigirl

Howdy y’all!  It’s certainly been some time again.  And there’s been some pretty intense changes too.

Sum up: French Fry lives solely with him Mom and is currently at a therapeutic boarding school, Tater Tot lives solely with his Dad and is doing well, I had a wave of almost constant heart palpitations that sent me to the cardiologist but ended up being nothing to worry about in the end, I think I put my self into major fatigue last fall due to too many back to back races (think Triathlon Labor day, Half marathon the following weekend, 2 weeks later triathlon, next day 4 mile race, 2 weeks later half marathon, 2 weeks later 10 mile race), started Fallout 4, did not make a themed Thanksgiving dinner, had Christmas in Coeur d’Alene, saw Star Wars, saw Star Wars again, Grandma Doreen died in January, Mom was hospitalized in February and now has a chronic condition that is sending her to the Mayo Clinic in May, saw Deadpool, finished Fallout 4, Blueberry had a liver infection that has since resolved, restarted Fallout 4, went to Canada for Spring Break, read all 3 Shades of Grey books over 5 days, Fallout 4 DLC released, went to Boise for Easter, I’ve decided to take this season of triathlon off for the time being, started Weight Watchers and I think that’s the end to possibly the longest run on sentence I’ve ever written and I’m going to walk away from it before I compulsively decide to edit it.

So, to start taking the season off of triathlon.  That’s a painful thing for me to think about but, given how tired of it I am.  How much I DON’T want to train, hell I don’t really even want to run right now, I need to take the time off.  I’m going to focus on my overall fitness and work on my endurance.  I don’t need the pressure on myself because I think I may crack after all the races I put my body through over the course of 2 months last fall.  They were amazing, they were a lot of fun, but the heart palpitations scared the shit out of me.  In the end it was PVCs (pre-ventricular contractions) meaning the part of my heart was starting the beat before the rest of it was ready.  My cardiologist said that unless I had heart attack or stroke symptoms not to worry and recommended adding Calcium Magnesium supplements.  Not sure if they help or not, but I don’t have the palpitations as often now.

So Weight Watchers.  This is weird for me.  I’ve never really done it but a friend of mine and I decided to do a friendly competition to see who could lost the most weight in 3 months.  Basically we both need the motivation and my hope is that this will jump start me.  I’m the heaviest I’ve been in years and I’m tired of it.  For those that don’t know Weight Watchers takes your age, weight and gender throws it into a magic algorithm and decides how many “points” you get a day and some extra to be used during the week.  Food is rated by calories, fiber and sugar (I think) to get the point score.  Most vegetables and all fruit have 0 points.  I get 34 a day with 42 “splurge” points. I’ve got 10 left for today after breakfast and lunch.  We’ll see what I end up with at the end of the day.

Now I did start out the year trying to track calories thanks to one of many apps for the android and was actually doing okay.  Honestly it even motivated me to work out more because then I got extra calories for the day.  Weight Watchers does not do that.  Since I’m curious I’ve decided to track everything in both the Weight Watchers app and the Noom Weight Loss app to see a) which one is more realistic, b) which one is easier to follow, and c) whether or not WW is worth the money.  I’ve heard conflicting opinions.  Realistically I have a few goals with all of this:

  1. Jump start weight loss (nothing motivates more than results)
  2. Re-evaluate how I eat and make healthier changes
  3. Get to a point where there’s little to no thought or guesswork, as in it’s second nature.

Here’s how:

  1. Use of apps – working both Noom and WW
  2. WW meetings (vomit, so far not a fan, but I get the idea)
  3. Work out 4-5 days a week minimum.  It is more than feasible to work out daily, ideally I’d like to get to that point, even if it’s just a yoga class or a long walk.
  4. Simple diet overhaul.
    1. Typically Saturdays are long work outs, so splurges are allowed on long work out days as more calories are burned than other days.  This can also be the time to use my “weekly splurge points” from WW.
    2. More vegetables, they fill you up
    3. Minimal drinking, mostly on splurge days and special occasions.
    4. Less eating out
      1. This can be accomplished by pre-cooking up meals and meat
      2. for easy use when I’m too tired or uninspired to cook.
      3. Saving eating out for splurge days

Realistically it’s not hard, but I know it will be challenging.  So here goes nothing.

 

 

Houston…we have a problem.

Published July 31, 2015 by Tritrigirl

For today’s question…Holy shit!  I just realized I skipped 4 questions!  So we have to make them up!

#17.  What is your most treasured memory?

I’m not sure if this is truly a treasured memory but it’s one that’s called to mind every fall when the weather here actually turns chilly (or Texas’s version of chilly).  I grew up in Boise, Idaho so the fall was real fall.  Leaves turning, chilly weather, getting dark early, etc.  So when that time of year comes around here I always remember coming home late after Basketball practice and seeing all the lights on in the house and the kitchen windows a little foggy because my stepmom was cooking up something in the crock pot and dinner was almost ready.  Which means in the fall I cook all sorts of stuff in the crock pot.  

At the same time though this memory makes me feel a little guilty because I don’t have that type of memory about my mom.  For a couple reasons – 1) You parked behind my mom’s house not in front because it was an older neighborhood with alleys behind the houses (Not one of the newer trendy ones that have started doing this).  2) She was a working mom and single for most of it.  My stepmom was a stay at home mom after my baby brother was born.  

Both women helped shaped me to be the woman I am today so I wouldn’t trade any of it.

In exciting news we watched Pixels last night, which I don’t care what other people think, it was fun and entertaining…I also would like to have a Q*bert trophy.  My driver side window finally rolled down after applying some spray silicone to the weather stripping (stuck due to the heat) and in less than 3 days I’ll be Couer d’Alene meeting my new nephew!

I actually went to the pool yesterday and sort of did a work out.  I swam about 800 meters and my should started to bug me.  I needed to swim 300 meters more, but said fuck it.

Hope everyone has a great weekend and see you next week!

Texas Does Not Equal Southern, Pacific Northwest Does Not Equal Yankee

Published June 30, 2015 by Tritrigirl

I got cut off the other day by an idiot teenage girl in an extremely large pick up truck touting stickers about how “Southern” and “country” she is.  I live in Austin, Texas and I hate to break it to this girl that clearly identifies with southern and country that she’s not all that Southern, but she may be country.  (I’ll give her that because we’re on the fringes of the urban area and it’s possible that she may be country..or cunty, given her driving skills)

So that got me thinking on Texas and Southern and reminded me of when I moved here and people would say I was a Yankee because I was from Idaho, which made me laugh.  Out loud.  In their face.  Then explain that the Pacific Northwest is not Yankee, it’s a whole other world.

Circling back to Texas and Southern.  Texas is not southern, honestly I don’t know many native Texans that would really identify as truly being SOUTHERN because Texas is it’s own little world.  And may be someday, will be it’s own little country, because there are some wacka-doos here that are in charge that think we’re a separate entity from the overall country.  So being from Texas, sure you can be country.  But you’re Southern-Adjacent.  Go into Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, then you’ll SEE Southern.  I don’t know that I’d even really consider Oklahoma as Southern.  It’s a state created to be a Native American reservation.  I don’t doubt there are pockets of Texas that could be considered “Southern” but come on…you live in Austin, Texas…Austin is atypical Texas in the first place…it’s REALLY not Southern.  But you can find southern food here!

Anyway, none of this has anything to do with the Confederate Flag business (I support it being removed).

Now on to Yankee / Pacific Northwest.  I’ve been in Texas for 17 years now or so.  (WHOA).  Almost as long as I lived in Idaho and as anyone from the Pac Northwest can tell you….we’re not Yankees.  We’re a whole different breed.  People make the assumption that I’m a country girl, because they no nothing about Idaho (except the BSU football field is blue).  I’m not country.  I grew up in a city, Boise.  It’s not a big one, but it is a city.  I more identify with being a mountain girl.  I can take you camping, fishing, and cook over an open fire.  I’ve never hunted but that’s because my dad liked to fish and not hunt.  I like the mountains, hiking, biking, skiing (when I was younger).  The Pac Northwest is beautiful.

This is where I grew up.

This is where I grew up.

Honestly, I’d love to get back to Idaho.  My family wants me back up there, but I do have my life here.  It’s hard to move as an adult.  I don’t work in an office, I don’t go to school.  I do have family, but I’d have to depend on them heavily until I had my own friends and life.  So, it’s up in the air.  My brother and sister-in-law just had their second baby yesterday morning.  I get to see them in 1 month.  (Yes, I’m counting)  And now my train of thought has derailed.

Have a great Tuesday!

Another dreary cloudy Saturday (sing to the tune of “Another Pleasant Valley Sunday”)

Published June 20, 2015 by Tritrigirl

So it’s Saturday and once upon a time my Saturdays used to be FULL of stuff, training, cleaning, training, training, shopping, training.  See when I wasn’t on a tri team and was winging it myself Saturdays and Sundays were the days of “the long workouts.”  Long run on Saturday, long ride on Sunday.  Now with my tri team I don’t do that.  My “long” workout on Saturdays is the only one I have.  My training calendar seems a bit sparse, but my coach swears by it.  I trust her certifications and her years of experience, but I often wonder if I didn’t do better when I had a stricter regime I held myself to.

Because, yeah, so not motivated.

To really do ANYTHING.

I’m beginning to blame the weather.  We’ve had an incredibly long stretch of cloudy days that are really starting to fuck with my mojo.  The last time it was sunny, I did a 20 minutes swim, a 13 miles ride, came home and weeded for 2 hours.  HAPPILY.

Let’s revisit that for a moment.  I HAPPILY weeded a flower bed for 2 hours.

Last weekend my modem died so I had to wait for ATT to come rescue me and I missed my morning workout.  Which sucked, but the weather was lovely and I cleaned my entire fucking house.  Now I will be honest and admit that it was partly because the technician was going to be going into all the rooms in my house.  But even after he was gone I still continued to clean until lunch.  (My house looks awesome right now.  That should hold me at least another month or two)

So it’s cloudy.  And there’s a race tomorrow, but I’m not racing, so I stayed out late watching Jurassic World (3D IMAX) and didn’t go to bed until 2:30.  Because there wasn’t an early morning work out I could justify this.  So I slept in, been lazy…it’s much easier to be motivated to do ANYTHING when it’s sunny outside.  I need to do yard work, I should go to the gym, I even have some laundry I could get started on.  But I’m tired and the cloudy makes me more tired.  It would actually be really great to go take a nap right now.  But then I’ll feel guilty because I didn’t do ANYTHING.  There aren’t even movies on Netflix I want to watch right now.  Everything in MEH, because the sky is MEH.  If it’s going to be cloudy can it just RAIN already??

I know I’m going to regret this later in the summer when the sun never ends and it’s hotter than hell, but right now I totally need some sun.  I’d even take 95F and 50% humidity right now if I could have sun.

Maybe just a short nap?

Today I Miss Being Happy

Published June 16, 2015 by Tritrigirl

I realized last night as I sat on the couch attempting to enjoy a nice cup of Chamomile tea that I am not happy.  Even surrounded by loving puppies and holding a nice cup of tea while watching Brad Williams doing stand up (BRILLIANT). My laughter was forced, the dogs felt clingy, my HEB generic tea was not nearly as fulfilling as Tazo’s brand is, I was a grump.  It dawned on me this morning as I attempted to put on my bike kit and get a ride in before Tropical Storm Bill pisses all over central Texas that I am really depressed.  There’s no sun.  There’s rain (I totally hate to ride in the rain so I didn’t end up going).  There’s clouds.  There’s my boss who’s driving me batshit crazy so I have to stop what I’m doing every hour to answer her inane questions that piss me off even more.

I’m turning into a little ball of hate.

Or I’m having the world’s worst PMS again…early…

I probably would be happier if I would have made myself go ride.  But that wasn’t happening and if I did it would rain harder and flood while I was riding.  I live around a bunch of creeks that have flooded in the past resulting in at least 2 water rescues and 1 death.  I’d really rather not deal with that, thank you very much.  So instead I’ll go to the gym.  Where a pool work out will most likely turn this little ball of hate into a wet little ball of hate.  I’m hoping for a better mood after I go to Body Pump.  Usually that will help.

This is one of those depressed moods where not only do I want to punch happy people (it’s malicious jealousy) but I’m also re-evaluating every decision I’ve made for the past 10 years.  I think part of that is because some of my friends may or may not have gotten married in Vegas last night.  I think it’s a joke, honestly I really hope it is.  Not that they aren’t good together, it’s just…well…I don’t know.  It’s not that I necessarily want to get married even.  One of my best friends and her boyfriend are trying to get pregnant.  (Ever notice how awkward THAT conversation is?  “We’re trying to get pregnant.” “Oh, good for you!  Thanks for sharing about all the sex you’re having.”)  Again, not that I necessarily want children, but there’s a part of me that goes, “Oh.  Oh shit.  Did we miss something?  Am I too late?”

In reality I’m not…but is it too late to find someone, get married and get knocked up?  These eggs do have a shelf life and I’m not used to living with another person so maybe it’s just not for me.

So today I miss being happy.  I miss not caring about any of that shit and being able to focus on what I wanted.  I miss the drive and discipline I had once upon a time that pushed me to the pool no matter how much I loathed going.  That didn’t care what the weather was going to do, I’m going to ride anyway!

Today, I miss me.

Life Hacks For Raising Boys

Published June 1, 2015 by Tritrigirl

So I’ve already discussed how annoyed I was by Oz’s blog about what a fabulous (vomit) mother she is.  So fabulous in fact that she sends her oldest to a lock in at school after he get busted for skipping class.  Um…SURE!  Let’s reward truancy with a treat!  Way to go!

Anyway, I know single parenting is hard.  Truly I do.  I’ve many friend who do it and I’ve seen and been a part of many of struggles.  I’m amazed at the strength, perseverance, flexibility and resilience of all of you.  In fact I’m going to go ahead and include those who are in a partnership of some sort, but still end up finding the bulk of the child raising falls to them.  The shit’s hard, everyone needs support and understanding.

In the spirit of all this, I thought I’d take a moment to share what I’ve learned in 9.5 years of raising 3 2 boys. and their father.  I’m sure many of you (especially with boys) will relate.

Ahem…now…

1. Cliche as it might be, it’s a reality – BUY YOUR TOILET PAPER AND PAPER TOWELS IN BULK.  (And dish soap, and hand soap, and toilet bowel cleaner and body soap)

2. Understand that there will be accidents (either bodily, kitchen, bathroom or in public) and prepare yourself.  Try not to lose it when the entire jug of milk has ended up on the floor and the dogs are now walking through it.  Also, be prepared for clogged drains and toilets.  Industrial plungers are a must.  Tater Tot can easily clog damn near any toilet in the world…and his dad’s almost as bad.

3. Milk – Remind them it’s not water…but be prepared to buy gallons weekly. (French Fry will drink about a half gallon over the course of dinner if we don’t remind him to drink water)

4. Always have on hand an abundance of fruit or raw veggies or yogurt or fruit snacks or relatively cheap and relatively healthy snack options.  Apples, oranges, yogurt and grapes are what “my” boys love.  We have a rule that these are “free reign” foods and that unless someone is in the process of cooking they can eat as much as their tummies can handle, without asking.  This prevents growing teens from hiding in the bathroom eating soup or tuna out of the can because he’s hungry again and embarrassed to ask for more because we just finished dinner 30 minutes ago.  (Sidenote: we are not food nazis, when they started growing we weren’t prepared for the constant hunger and it wasn’t until they spoke up that we realized it so we made these things available)

5. Those with younger kids, inevitably you carry around some sort of bag or pack or alpaca to assist with the needs of your youngling.  I recommend also adding crayons, coloring books or pictures to the mix.  Grad some kiddie menus from Chilis or somewhere that hands out crayons and stock up.  I still carry crayons to this day and it’s amazing how often they come out.

6. Chores – teach your kids to clean the bathroom, loading / unloading of the dishwasher, tidying the kitchen / living room and folding laundry as soon as they’re old enough.  They need to know how to clean up their messes and gives them a sense of responsibility.  Tater tot cleans the kitchen, loads the dishwasher and cleans the downstairs bathroom.  French Fry unloads the dishwasher, cleans the living room (once everyone else has picked up there shit) and the upstairs bathroom.  Both help with laundry.  May seem like a lot but they’re 12 and 15, they are relatively small spaces and it makes them think twice about throwing their underwear all over the place.  Which brings us to…

7. Nudity – when they’re little it’s just a part of your day.  Now that they’re older we’ve had to remind them that they need to at least have undies on when walking around the house.  Tater tot still strips to his skivvies when he walks in the door…so does his dad.

8.  Teach them table manners.  I’m not saying that you don’t but I see so many kids that have terrible manners.  We wanted to be able to take the boys to nice places to eat so there’s the following: No chewing with your mouth open or talking with your mouth full, say please and thank you, don’t eat with your hands UNLESS it’s meant to be (French Fry was the worst with this, he’d eat damn near everything with his hands), say excuse me after any burp or fart, and stabbing the large chunk of meat then gnawing on it, is not attractive.  When they’re with us regularly this is not an issue, I’d like to think I’ve taught them well little by little, but when they’re with her for long periods of time they forget half of this.  She just laughs when they burp out loud…just because they’re boys is no excuse, I was raised with brothers, who have manners, my 2.5 year old nephew says excuse me after he burps, I think the 12 and 15 year old can handle it.

9. You will have to remind them to brush their teeth…repeatedly.  Funnily enough showering is not the issue.  They shower without being asked, but it’s a constant battle to get them to brush their teeth.  But you may have to remind yours constantly to shower too…just depends on the kid.

10. Car rides – Books, music (either their own MP3 players or phone or previously agreed upon trip music), movies you can stomach listening to over and over (or wireless headsets in your vehicle) and the strict “KEEP YOUR BODY PARTS TO YOURSELF” rule.  Now, if it’s just one kiddo, you’re lucky in this sense.  If you’ve got more than one, you feel me?  😉

11. FOOD HACKS (This could be the topic of it’s own blog but I’ll try to sum up my wisdom)  We’ve already discussed the snacks and milk issue.  I also encourage you to have your boys in the kitchen helping when they’re old enough, sometimes it helps to have a chef’s assistant and they like knowing they contributed.  For intricate recipes I chase everyone out of the kitchen with my “bacon spoon” while wearing my apron.

Nonetheless here they are:

  • Frozen veggies are your friend.  I love taking the time to steam or grill or blanch or saute produce, but the reality is I’ve thrown out too many good veggies and have had too little time during the week to do this.  So frozen it is.  Green Giant makes some tasty ones with various sauces, Target’s brand is pretty damn good too.  Bags of frozen peas, carrots, broccoli florets and corn should be kept around at all times.  Easy for soups, sides, curries, etc.  Melt some butter, throw in some basil with corn and peas, YUM.  I also get couscous and quinoa blends for sides.  In the end my intricate produce prep recipes wait for the weekend when there’s less time constraints.
  • Keep on hand ingredients for easy to cook meals.  My go-tos are chili and chicken fajita bowls.  I always buy the ingredients so I can throw it together at the last minute if need be.  Preseasoned meats are good too (chicken leg quarters, chicken breasts, pork or beef ribs).  Find some easy ones where the ingredients have a decent shelf life (where the preservatives don’t make you cringe) or are frozen and keep at least 2 batches worth stocked up.  I recommend an easy baking mix such as Bisquick too (there’s a heart healthy one out there).  There are also some great saute, crock pot and oven sauces out there.  Find some favorites and stock up.
  • Double any soup, stew or crock pot recipe (and invest in a variety of freezable storage containers).  Last time I made gumbo, chili and even chicken and dumplings I doubled it and froze half.  Another easy meal.
  • BUY A CROCK POT.  If you don’t have one already and if you do get another one.  I have 2 different sized ones and yes, they get used.
  • If you have the time and desire, you can cook up large quantities of meat on Sunday or the last day of your weekend (whole chickens, pork carnitas, hamburger meat, sausage, brisket, preseasoned / marinated chicken, etc) and store the leftover for dinners throughout the week.  We used to bake a whole chicken every other Sunday when the kids were smaller and save about half of it for meals the next day or two.  Now that they’re older, there’s not much left of a small chicken once the teens have gotten into it.  So the big meals I cook with the intent for leftovers have gotten bigger.
  • Don’t knock the frozen pizzas.  There’s a lot to be said for having these around, you can also find relatively healthy ones.  Pick up a large deli salad and violá!  Same goes for the rotisserie chicken at the grocery store.
  • You don’t need fancy cookware, but you do need: Large and small saute pan, rectangle and square casserole dishes, sauce pan and pasta pot (as I call them, basically a medium and a large pot), a good knife, a cutting board or two, a couple cookie sheets, a ladle, some wooden spoons, a couple spatulas, and measuring spoons / cups for dry and liquid ingredients.  They don’t need to be the expensive ones, Wal Mart and the Dollar Stores are sufficient.
  • Baking – use parchment paper for pastries, cookies, etc.  Use foil for meats, fish, etc.
  • Pay attention to raw meat on kitchen surfaces and wash your hands thoroughly.  Seems self-explanatory but it happens.
  • Drinking wine while cooking is perfectly acceptable.  Even if it’s breakfast.  😉

Go-To Meal Ideas:

Chili, Chicken Fajita Bowls (black beans, chicken fajita meat, corn and / or rice, peppers, guacamole, cheese), Tacos, Spaghetti, Chicken Curry (I keep Thai Green Curry from Campbell’s Skillet sauces in the cupboard), preseasoned ribs, pork chops with raspberry chipotle sauce, preseasoned chick leg quarters.  Usually all thrown together with some sort of frozen veggie and / or side.

I hope I shared some good ideas.  If anyone has anything else to contribute I’d love to hear it!  I add new recipes all the time.