Category Archives: Books

When I ramble on for 7 years because I haven’t posted since Jan 11…

Soooo….I suck at blogging now, apparently.  I always mean to post more & I find all kinds of interesting things I should share, and then I don’t do it.  So yeah…I pretty much suck.  Sorry.

But, I do have lots of stuff to talk about today & because it’s Monday and I don’t want to do anymore housework, I’m going to spill it all out in one huge post that will take you 7 years to read, but you probably won’t because you’ll get bored halfway through and all my rambling will fall on deaf ears.  Or I guess eyes, since you’re reading.  But then it would be blind eyes?  I don’t know.  You’re welcome.

Well first, real quickly, we finally got moved in for the most part.  Brian has a bunch of crap to clean out of the garage so I can park in there and each day that goes by and it doesn’t get done brings him one day closer to death, but apparently he likes living on the edge, so whatever…don’t say I didn’t warn ya, B.

I have been asked a couple of times about pics of the new house, but of course I don’t have any so I’ll share those later on in the year in another boring & long rambling post, I’m sure.

When we were moving I didn’t work out for 2 weeks.  And it was pretty stressful for me because it bothered the heck out of me, but I finally got back to it, and I have to say that I was completely shocked at how quickly I turned back into a weenie again after a 2 week break.

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That face you make when you realize you have reverted back to wimpiness 😦

And here’s another picture that I’m posting for no other reason than that I look like butt in that last pic & I feel like I look less buttlike in this one, thus making me feel better. Although whatever filter my daughter used on this kind of makes me look greenish or something but whatever.

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And so I’m back in the swing of it now & feeling super sore, which is awesome.  I recently purchased the New Rules of Lifting for Women & it’s really changed the way I look at lifting.  Most importantly is that I have more active rest days, which is great because before I was working out 5 days in a row & I’m not gonna lie, sometimes that was a little overwhelming.  So on my active rest days, I always walk my dog for 30 minutes with The Spinster, but I also will throw in a short HIIT workout or a 5 minute Tabata jump rope routine or even just a 30 minute walk/jog session.  I like to use the Couch to 5K app for this.

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If you are new to strength training or been doing it for years, I highly recommend this book.  It appeals to me because it teaches a sensible & long term sustainable approach to eating and exercise, which is totally up my alley and what I’ve been practicing for years.  No crazy dieting or restrictions.  Moderation & movement, and that’s what I encourage my clients to strive towards because it’s realistic for most people.

Also, since we’re heading into Spring/Summer, I’m loosely tracking my macros again.  I like to be leaner when it’s shorts/swimsuit season so I don’t always feel like a busted can of biscuits like I do when it’s cold out and I’m a little more lax with my eating.  This combination seems to work well for me.  I don’t track anything from about Halloween through Christmas.  I like to enjoy the holidays without worrying about it too much.  I still eat what I consider to be healthy probably 75% of the time through that period, because that’s how my palette rolls these days & I actually enjoy a healthy diet, but I don’t sweat the treats too much either.

But now that Spring is approaching, I’m tightening the reigns a little and it always amazes me at how quickly I can start leaning down when I just start paying a little more attention to what I’m eating.

If you aren’t familiar with macros, it’s basically just tracking your carbs, fats, & protein (and some people do fiber too, I don’t) and keeping them within the limits you set based on your goals.

You need to figure out your TDEE, which is basically just the amount of calories you need to consume to maintain your current weight.  Then, depending on whether you want to put on muscle or lose fat (or both) you either aim to hit higher than or lower than your TDEE.  You can use this handy calculator  to determine your needs.  You can also hire a macros coach if you are really wanting to dial it in, but I just kind of go with my gut and pay attention to how my body reacts to what I’m eating.  If I was a competitive body builder or fitness model, I’d definitely need to get it more exact to hit my goals, but I’m just me & all I really want is to be healthy and feel good in my clothes.  And be able to pick up heavy stuff. 😉

I’m currently weighing in at around 126, so I’m not really looking to lose weight, but I would like to lower my body fat percentage some & put on some more muscle.  So I will start with cutting a little on my macros & will gradually up them as I go and as I start lifting heavier weights.

I think eating clean means different things to different people, so I hesitate to use that term too much, but what it means to me is just eating healthy fats like olive oil, egg yolks, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, etc.  And protein in the form of lean meats, some cheese, and protein powder in my smoothies when I have trouble hitting my protein goals.  And of course carbs in the form of whole grains, rice, and fruits.  And A LOT OF WATER.

I like the fact that my kids have been raised to have a healthy relationship with food.  They are allowed to have junk food sometimes, it’s not taboo in our house.  But they’re also growing up in a house where healthy and nutritious meals are cooked the majority of the time, so it’s nothing for them to have 2 and 3 helpings of vegetables without batting an eye.  I love that.  It lays the groundwork for healthy body image & food relationships when they are older.  It literally takes the drama out of food and meals at our house and it may not be for everyone, but it’s worked wonderfully well for us.  When my daughter texts me & asks me to bring her an apple to have after practice or my 11 year old is begging for roasted broccoli for supper, I know that I have done something right.  And because I believe in keeping it real, yeah, sometimes they have a pop tart for breakfast – And I’m totally ok with that, too.

I have to mention that meal planning is so very important for me to stay on track with healthy meals for the fam.  When I don’t take time (and yeah, it does take a little time) to plan everything out and then get myself to the store…bad things happen.

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Here are a few examples of some of the things I eat when I actually meal plan and don’t have to eat coffee:

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Spinach omelet w/feta cheese & apple

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Eggs w/ frozen italian veggies sauteed in coconut oil

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Whole grain toast w/natural peanut butter, banana, chia seeds & cinnamon

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Baked potato w/roasted brussels sprouts & 2 slices bacon

So, those are just a few examples of how we eat the majority of the time in our household.  And then sometimes we have pizza, or enchiladas, or whatever else we want, but the bulk of our food is what I consider to be healthy.  It keeps us healthy, happy, and balanced.

Hopefully I will actually do what I say and start blogging more & sharing more recipes periodically instead of unloading a humongous post every couple of months.  That’s the goal anyway but since most of you probably clocked out long ago & never made it to the end of this post, there won’t be anyone to remind me of my shortcomings when I don’t hold up my end of the bargain. Either way, I win. 😉

Bert & Ben’s Sweet & Sour Green Beans

By far, one of the best, and most favorite, gifts I have ever received is my Aunt Bee’s Mayberry Cookbook.  I’ve found some really delicious recipes here and the book is loaded with pictures and funny stories/scenes from my all-time favorite show.

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We are gearing up for softball season now, so that means we will have quite a few nights where I need to find a quick and easy solution for supper.  Menu planning at my house is at least an hour and a half job.  I love to cook and I don’t like eating the same things every week, so I put a lot of thought into each meal and try to keep a lot of variety. I try to keep us in 80/20 range on the healthy vs. not so healthy meal range.  You know, 80% clean meals, to keep us all healthy and 20% good ol’ stuff we love to keep us content.  Southern Fried Fitness is a great blog that posts recipes for each of those categories.

Making an appearance on the menu this week will be BLT’s with my favorite Mac & Cheese recipe from another beloved book, Autumn From The Heart Of The Home by Susan Branch.  And from the Mayberry Cookbook, I’ll be trying out Bert & Ben’s Sweet & Sour Green Beans.  Sounds yummy, hope it turns out that way.  I usually just make P-Dub’s green beans because they are so delicious and a huge hit around here, but I also want to try new stuff as much as possible.

So, this is what Bert & Ben’s Sweet and Sour Green Beans looks like:

2 cans green beans (I’ll be using fresh)
4 strips bacon (we like Simple Truth brand)
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt (I’ll be using kosher)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 T. sugar (will probably use Stevia even though this is technically a “20% meal”)
1/2 C. cider Vinegar
2 T. flour (all I have is whole wheat)*Original recipe calls for the liquid from one can of green beans, I will just use chicken broth in place of that.

Fry bacon til crisp, reserve drippings.  Crumble bacon.
Saute onion in bacon drippings. Grease.  It’s bacon grease.  Calling it drippings doesn’t change what it is!  But that’s what the recipe says, so that’s what I’m calling it too. :)Stir in liquid, flour, salt, pepper, sugar and vinegar.  Bring to boil.
Add green beans and bacon.
Heat until warmed through.  (I will cover the skillet and let them cook a while since I’m using fresh instead of canned.)

And here’s the yummy Mac & cheese recipe from Susan Branch’s Autumn book.

Product Details

10 oz. elbow macaroni (I’m using whole grain rotini because that’s what I have in my pantry)
2 eggs
1 T. dry mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 C. half & half
1 lb. sharp cheddar, grated

Preheat oven to 375.  Cook and drain macaroni.
In large bowl, lightly beat eggs, salt, pepper and mustard.
Stir in half & half, then cheese, then macaroni.
Pour into buttered 2 qt. casserole. Bake 25 min.
Put under broiler 1 min to brown and crisp the top.

A Book Review: The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari

I recently joined Blogging For Books.  Basically, you get books sent to you, you read them, then post a review.  You get to keep the books.  I thought this sounded great since we love to read so much around here.

The first book I chose was  The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari.  I read it to Hannah tonight.  Here is the description from the publisher’s website:

“Padraig, my friend, it is time for us to be courageous.”

Padraig the dragon and his best friend, Roger the turtle are determined to spend the whole night outside. As brave explorers at the base of Mount Sillymanborrow, the boys use their imaginations to have fun while munching on crunchy baked bugs and toasting s’mores over their campfire. But when the sky gets dark and the sounds of strange animals fill the forest outside their tent, their safari gets scary. This adventure is just what the boys need to discover that the dark might be frightening, but their friendship is stronger than fear.

Here’s what I thought:

I found the illustrations to be very cute, but the storyline was a little hard for Hannah to follow.  It was also a bit on the lengthy side and didn’t hold her attention for very long.  I did, however, enjoy parts of the dialogue between the two friends.  I gave it 2 stars in my review on the Blogging for Books website because it was just an okay book to me.

 

Disclaimer:  Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.

A Good Read

Katie asked me the other day what my favorite kind of book is to read.

It’s kind of a toss-up between historical fiction and mystery.  Give me a historical fiction/mystery novel and I’m thrilled beyond measure!

I’m currently reading In A Dark Season by Vicki Lane.  It’s a mystery set in the Appalachian mountains. I believe that there are a series of these novels centered around the main character, Elizabeth Goodweather.  I look forward to reading more of them.

I read about it on Jen’s blog and since she and I seem to have a lot of the same tastes where reading is concerned, I decided to give this one a try.  I’m really enjoying it.  It’s a quick read and I will definitely be reading more by this author.

The First Snow of the Season

Today we woke up to some big fat snow flakes falling.  The high was a whopping 32 degrees, I’m not positive that it ever made it there.

I stepped outside to get a picture of the first sprinkling of snow for the season.  How fitting that it should come on December first.

The Spinster and I, because we are stupid so dedicated, took the beasts for a walk in the frigid temps.  She kept telling me how much she hated me for making her walk and I told her to keep the hatred coming.  I was using the fire that was spewing forth in her angry statements to keep myself warm while walking.

When I got back home, I fired up the crock pot with some warm and comforting chicken and noodles for supper along with a batch of PW’s Au Gratin potatoes and some biscuits with homemade apple butter.  Mmmm.  Comfort.  Mmmm.  Food.

I so long for a wood-burning fireplace.  Days like today would have been perfect for snuggling up in front of a fire with a good book.  Instead, I had to snuggle up with my book in front of this guy:

The good ol’ space heater.  Well, I pretended that I was in front of a crackling fire, okay?  And not in front of this little fake-heat contraption.  I also pretended that I wasn’t aware that our old house in combination with our huge propane tank is going to cost us around $2000 this winter.  (Can you even believe that?!) I completely blocked out of my mind that even though we spend a million dollars on heat every winter, we still freeze our patooties off in here.

No, today I sat in front of a roaring fire.  I listened to the Little Women soundtrack playing softly in the background.  (seriously, this CD is so awesome, my girls even like it and there aren’t any words (!), I highly recommend it) and I caught up on what kind of trouble my friend, Mary Grey, was getting into today in The Ivy Tree.

Ahhhh…life is good.

Attention! Attention! We Have A Winner!

Well, I know you’ve all been on pins and needles as to who the winner of the book is.

So, I used the very scientific method of putting all of your names in a cup and pulling out a winner.

And the winner is…..

KIM!!!

Congratulations to my aunt Kim, who also happens to be the one who ratted me out to Mamaw for saying ‘butt’, ‘poop’ and ‘snot’ all in one post.  Mamaw doesn’t like her kin to be potty mouths.  But as you can see, here at Klutzy Mama, we harbor no grudges and besides, I believe my poor mamaw gave up on me long ago anyway.  I’m also throwing in a little surprise gift too.  Nothing spectacular or anything, just a little something that I made and hope will be useful to you.

Kim, I’ll be getting your book to you in the mail, post haste!  Thanks to everybody that participated.  That was fun, I’m gonna have to do more giveaways.  I’ll just dig up a bunch of crap from around here and unload it on to all of you.  🙂

Random + A Giveaway! Hootie Hoo!

Okay, so I have a feeling that this will be the first of many off the wall, random posts, now that I have so much free time on my hands.

For your sakes, I hope not.

I am amazed, amazed I tell you!  At how clean my house is right now.  I hate to be sounding like a boastful, bragging snot, but my house is clean.  CLEAN!!!  And so far, 3 days and counting, it has continued to stay clean after the girls get home.  Call me crazy, but I think that the cleanliness bug is catching because it would appear that they are actually picking up after themselves.  Somebody pinch me.

Not only is my house clean, but things are gettin’ done around here sister!  We’ve had a throw pillow on our couch with a huge gaping hole along the seam for months.  For whatever reason, I could never find the time to just sit down and sew that sucker back up.  Oh we’d continue to use the pillow and all.  Someone would lay on it and then all the stuffing would come out and I’d come in to find it and holler, “Now WHO, pray tell, forgot to stuff the pillow back when they were done using it?!  What is the MATTER with you people around here?!”

Okay and so yes, I know that’s just ridiculous, but it’s true, that’s what we did.  For months.  And then yesterday, I saw that pillow sitting there and I just walked over, got my sewing basket and got down to fixing that thing.  It was so weird to be able to see something that needed done and just walk over there and do it, instead of just making a mental note of it for the bazillionth time.  Now I have time to get things done that never even made it into the ballpark of my To-Do list before.

Still, I miss my girls.  Especially in the morning after walking them to school.  It takes me about 10 minutes to walk back home and all the time I’m walking, I’m thinking about them and how much I miss them and how much of a humongous wimp I am because what’s the matter with me, anyway?  Why am I so sappy?  I’ll see them again in the afternoon, geez.  And then I get home and I get busy and I feel better and I love the progress I am making.

Then when it gets closer to time to pick them up, I start to get excited and wonder how their day went.  I try to have something special for them or something neat for us to do when they get home and finish their homework.  Today it is Extreme Fudge Chocolate Brownies.  And then I’m going to do their nails.   Um actually, today is a little over the top now that I think about it.  I am going to have a hard time topping today’s activities.  Ah well, you only live once, right?

So here’s another bit of randomness, Katie was apparently using my camera yesterday and snapped the picture below without my knowing.  Nothing special about it, but look at Willie Nelson’s eyes.  That dog has the craziest eyes.  Doesn’t he?  Maybe I’ve just lived under a rock my whole life and you already know plenty of dogs running around out there with eyes like that, but to me, they are crazy.   And for as big of a pain in the butt as he is, he sure does make me laugh a lot.  Crazy eyes and all.

And by the way, can any of you professional photographers tell me why my pictures look so blurry?  When I pull them up in Picasa, they look crisp and clear and then when I load them on here, they look like poop on a stick.

Okay and last (I think) on my list of randomness, I am sad to report that I think Katie may have inherited my clumsiness.  Yesterday we were on our way down the street to deliver a jar of salsa that the Spinster had requested.

My niece came riding up beside us in her boyfriend’s car and they had stopped to talk to us.  Katie and Hannah were riding their little scooters and Katie was up ahead of us a little ways.  She was completely stopped and had one foot on the scooter and one on the ground.  She went to turn back to look at us and when she did, her scooter rolled away from her a little bit and then just flew completely out from under her.  She landed flat on the front side of her body, arms and legs extended all crazy-like and from my angle, it looked like she bounced her face off the concrete.

When I got up to her, she was crying like crazy and her leg was bleeding.  We were just in front of our neighbor’s house, so I thought that even though she’s gotten so big lately, that I could carry her home.  I threw her scooter into my neighbor’s yard and picked her up in my arms.  By the time we reached our door, she was barely hanging on.  With each step I took, she slid further and further down my body until her butt was a few mere inches from the ground and I was holding her by the tips of my fingers, moving at a snail’s pace.

She’s still wailing her head off, and me, I’m laughing, because I know how ridiculous we look.  And why on earth did I think that I could carry her all that way?  And at this point, wouldn’t we both be better off if I’d just put her down and let her hobble the rest of the way?  But no, I had to just keep on trying to get her to the door even though it was painfully obvious for the whole neighborhood to see that I am a giant weakling.  I also thought to myself how this was another one of my fabulous “Mother of the Year” moments.  I hope and pray that this was just a one time fluke and that she has not inherited my gracefulness.  Lord help us all if she has.  I don’t think this family can survive two of me.

Okay, so I thought I was done, but I have just one more thing.  I’m doing my first ever giveaway!  Could be my last too, so you better get in while the gettin’s good!

Actually no, I’m lying.  I did a giveaway once, long ago, but it doesn’t really count because it was lame and I was just trying to get rid of this little Coca-Cola glass that I didn’t know what to do with, but couldn’t stand to throw away.

And since I was just rifling through some old pictures and found this most hilarious photo of myself, I decided to incorporate it into the giveaway.

All you have to do is tell me what you think I’m doing in this photo.  You might remember what that photo was from, but you don’t have to guess it correctly, in fact you can make up your own scenario or caption to go along with it.  I will pick a random winner from all that reply and you will win a fabulous parting gift!  Tell ’em what they’ll win, Rod!

“Ladies and gentleman, by entering this contest, you have the chance to win this wonderful, fabulous,  brand new, used……..BOOK!”

Okay, so I know it’s not a trip to the Bahamas or anything, but I will tell you that I enjoyed reading it and got some great ideas from it.  And I loved the fact that the ideas were all simple and doable.  I’ll allow comments until August 25th, and then announce the winner.

Okay, I’m done now.  🙂

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