Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Nutrition Warrior

Hello everyone,

I'm going to preface this email by saying that I realize that my updates are quite long and rambling and if you don't care to or have time to read them I will not be offended. =] I'm not sending these to you because I think you really want this much detail on our lives. I just enjoy writing about what's happening with us so I figure I might as well send it on.

Since I am currently recovering from an acute saturated fat overdose, I thought it would be a fine time to write my update. Despite beginning my day in a promising fashion with a wholesome "Grains and Nuts" whole grain cooked cereal, things went sharply downhill for the rest of the day. Lunch consisted of a Costco polish sausage and sweet potato french fries (quite delish, by the way) and a chocolate hazelnut milkshake from Burgerville (the Northwest's version of In' N 'Out Burger- fast food that is fresh and fatty instead of processed and fatty), followed by Taco Bell for dinner. Even splitting the shake and fries with the kids could not assuage my guilt for having my only vegetables of the day be deep fried. I don't count the miniscule amount of lettuce that appears on a 7-layer Burrito- maybe I should. Wait a second, it had guacamole- that's a green vegetable, so I'm good.

If you ignore today's lack of nutrition, we have been making definite strides in eating healthier. For all that I mouthed off about the nutrition enrichment, I suppose I should grudgingly admit that it had at least some of it's desired effect: since then I have tried to incorporate more whole grains and fresh foods into our diet, although I still use my microwave and drink pasteurized milk regularly without even a twinge of guilt. My first adventure with whole grains was to make millet for breakfast. It tasted pretty good at the Enrichment, so I figured it was a good place to start. I was not about to wake up 1 hour early to cook it, but being a resourceful person, I found a recipe on the internet for millet made overnight in the slow cooker. Feeling very proud of myself, I went to bed anticipating the nutritional delight that would await me in the morning. I knew better than to even attempt to get Jared to try it in the few minutes before he gets on the bus, but when he was off, I came back for my breakfast, lifted the lid of the slow-cooker and inhaled the delicious aroma of... play-doh. Hmmm. This didn't seem quite the same as whatever we had at Enrichment. I tried it and the flavor was not much more enticing than the aroma. Luckily, just about anything can be made edible with enough quantities of brown sugar and canned milk, although by the time I was done it was probably nutritionally no better than Fruit Loops.

Undeterred by my less-than-delectable breakfast, I valiantly pressed on in my quest for nutrition with whole grains. I ground whole-wheat pastry flour from soft white wheat and made whole-wheat Millet Muffins. I found the recipe on and it was a five star recipe (the best rating), so I was eager to try it. I even substituted applesauce for half of the oil to make them lower fat. I was so excited when they came out of the oven and the kids took their first delicious bite. "Mommy, we don't like these muffins." I should have known better: the kids' version of "muffins" involves either a cake mix and frosting or a fattening concoction dipped in butter and cinnamon-sugar. I tried the millet muffins myself and they were actually pretty good, but they were not exactly what I would call five-star muffins. So I came to a conclusion: if any recipe has the word "millet" in the title, you should just automatically decrease it's rating by two stars. This all started to make more sense when I did a search for millet on the internet and it said, "Millet, also known as birdseed, is one of the most nutritious foods for birds. However, it is also very nutritious for humans..." Or, from "A small-grained, rather inferior cereal from the tropics and warm temperate regions, grown in poor areas or as emergency crops mainly for animal feed and bird seed."
Later on in the week we settled for making waffles with whole wheat pastry flour and that was super-yummy. Even the kids liked it.

My terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day last week actually came to a pleasant end. Despite fears that we would have to cancel because of the weather, Dave and I went to a Trailblazers game that night (Dave's Christmas present from me). We saw them play the Cleveland Cavaliers so we could see the famous LeBron James in action. Last year I got Dave tickets to see the Warriors play Cleveland (also we so we could see LeBron). Unfortunately, we seem to be bad luck for Mr. James: whenever we go to see him he has an off game. However, it was a great game for Portland: we stomped on Cleveland. =]

This whole week seemed to go a lot better. I have been getting back into my workouts at the YMCA and I went to my first group aerobics class since college. Despite having extremely unpleasant memories of leaving at 5:45 in the morning in the freezing cold to go to the Richards Building for step aerobics during winter of my sophomore year, glaring at our perky instructor who was energetic with perfect hair and make-up at 6:00 am (What was I thinking? How on earth did my roomate talk me into that?), I decided to give step another chance. The class that I tried was at the end of their month with a routine, so instead of breaking down the steps, they flew through the routine with the instructor yelling out unintelligible code like: "Right up, glut, knee, glut; Side, repeater, option, ski: mambo, angel, sidewalk back." I managed to make it through the class feeling quite uncoordinated but not like a complete idiot. It was a good workout, but maybe next time I'll come at the beginning of the month.

This week I have been obsessed with painting. Maybe it's just having lived in a house painted white-white for almost 10 years growing up, but I have been so excited about choosing colors for our bathroom, master bedroom, laundry room and another bedroom. When I paint color samples on a wall I feel like a two-year-old armed with crayons. It's way too much fun. At one point we had 10 different color samples painted on the wall of our bathroom. After hours of debating colors, $30 on samples at Home Depot and yet more time and money spent on samples at Sherwin Williams, on Thursday I finally painted our master bathroom. Yes, I am proud to say, I did it by myself, taping, priming and painting. After 7 months of hating it, I finally removed the old lady pink floral wall-paper border and got rid of the white wall sponge-painted with pink and blue.

I actually ended up using one of my Home Depot colors and since I felt guilty for spending so much on samples I decided to see if I could get away with using only the quart of a paint I had bought as a sample. Ha ha. I wasn't even through half of the bathroom when it became apparent that I was getting close to the bottom. I scraped the sides of the can and kept painting until I used the very last drop and I was not even close. I really wanted to finish that night, but I looked at the clock and realized it was 8:56 pm. I raced to Home Depot, but when I got there, the front doors were already locked. What to do? I was desperate to finish, so I went in through the exit and asked the cashier if there was anyone in the paint deparment. "No, we're closed." Crestfallen, I just stood there for several minutes, not knowing what to do. The cashier finally asked me, "Do you have a question?" Holding out the lid of my paint can, I said, "I'm in the middle of a project and I ran out of paint. I needed to get another gallon so I can finish it." She must have noticed the green paint in my hair, my paint-splotched clothes and the brown high-heeled shoes that were oddly out of place with my paint jeans, because she took pity on me and went and mixed the paint for me herself.

So now our bathroom is painted. The green walls look great in natural light, but in the part away from the window it looks like a cave. I guess I am learning a lot about paint colors by trial and error, but mostly error. At least it looks better than it did before. What I realized from this experience is that I love debating about paint colors and painting samples on the wall much more than I enjoy actually painting a room.

Dave has been very busy at work recently. He has a big deadline coming up so he has been putting in a lot of hours. He had to go in to work today, but we got to go to Home Depot to shop first. While we were there, I noticed that Jared's pants looked kind of tight and much shorter than usual. He turned around and there were hearts embroidered on his back pockets. I guess he accidentally put on Camryn's pants this morning. So Jared went shopping at Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco and more in skin-tight "capris" with hearts embroidered on the back. Oops. At least Camryn's not old enough to be offended that Jared can fit into her pants. =] We finished the day out with shopping and more shopping. Jared has taken to telling me, "Mom, you're wasting our money," when he gets sick of shopping. Funny that he says that while I'm buying zucchini, but not when I'm buying cookies.

Hope you all are doing well.



Quotes and Notes of the Week:

We made "silly soup" for dinner, where we each chose an ingredient to put in. Jared, when asked to eat it: "Mom, I think you're making it because you like it, not because we like it."
Dave: "It's already Friday tomorrow? Shocking."
Jared: "Why is it shocking?"
Camryn discovered that mini carrots are the perfect shape for sticking up one's nose.
Camryn has apparently caught the cooking bug from Jared. I camed downstairs to check on her tonight because I heard suspicious noises in the kitchen.
Camryn: "I just maked-ed you a tasty treat. It's a mandarine. I followed the directions. I got sugar, then sprinkles, then baking powder, then salt."
Jared: "I tried it. It doesn't taste very good at all."
Jared must have noticed that I slept today and when he didn't have school on Friday. Jared: "Mommy, you should go to bed right after we do. Then you won't have to sleep later that we do in the morning. Then you can have more time to play."
Camryn: "I washed-ed my hands and wiped-ed my face."
Camryn: "I flushed-ed the potty and wiped-ed my hands and there wasn't a flood." [Maybe Camryn noticed that we had 3 different potties get clogged this week....]
Jared:"That package says 'Bed in a Bag.'"
Jared: "That says, "Winco Foods."
Jared: "That sign says, "Products." [Close, it was actually "Produce."]

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