Focus, Jill, Focus!

I am eating the biggest, sweetest, juiciest orange right now – yum! (That has nothing to do with today’s topic, but a good sweet orange is one small thing that makes me really happy!)So much to blog about but having trouble getting my thoughts in order, which incidentally is what I want to blog about: Focus, or lack thereof.

I don’t remember why the thought popped into my head, but I just remember thinking a couple of days ago, “I’ve been so focused on Christmas and all it’s preparations that I have let everything else slip by the wayside.” And that’s when, my a-ha moment hit me – my focus determines whether or not I succeed. I have not been focused on losing weight since October. I have not been focused on exercising since then either, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise that I have gained a few pounds since then. I haven’t gained a lot – maybe 6 pounds, but I know 6 pounds can turn into 12 pounds very easily, unless I am focused on reducing those original six. For me, it has nothing to do with motivation or will power, it’s all about focus. When I was losing weight so steadily at the end of the summer and beginning of autumn, I was single minded about the kinds of foods I was eating and how much I was walking. Since then, eh not so much, and it’s starting to show. Also gone is my weekly weigh in with the Nurse Nazi – that was very motivating! I think to replace that, I will start posting my weight here for you all to see. Probably not the actual number, but I’ll post what Mary Lou says on a certain day of the week, let’s say Wednesdays (so don’t let me forget!). When I got The Platform I recorded my starting weight the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend, so of course it was higher than normal, but I got to 8.5 pounds below my starting weight, which is I think what my normal weight really is (around 153). This morning Mary Lou said I was only 2 pounds below my starting weight, which would put me at about 160 approx. I know I can get it back down fairly quickly just by getting on the treadmill and drinking lots of water (duh), so I’m not worried yet. We’ll see how the rest of the week goes.

And speaking of the treadmill, my poor motorized friend is feeling neglected lately, so I am going to make a pact with you all that I will walk for 30 minutes tonight at 5pm CST. (I was going to add at least 4 times this week, but let’s take it one day at a time, shall we?) Here’s what I need from you all – I need a consequence to face if I don’t walk. Yeah, yeah, I know the obvious ones – lack of energy, tighter pants, etc; but what I want is something like push ups or scrubbing the toilet or some unfun thing. So fire away and hit me with your best shot – I need to know there will be unpleasantness in my future if I don’t abide by the pact. Desperate times call for desperate measures, people!

I am also considering logging my food into an online journal. Seeing what I eat in print may be enough shock to make me leave Candy Land, but logging food tends to bring The Crazy out in me, so I don’t know. Maybe I should just start with an old fashioned notebook and just record the foods (and not their calories and nutritional content)? Still mulling this one over – may have to mull a little longer. What do you think?

(Abrupt subject change in 3…2…1) And speaking of cooking (what? Weren’t we?) I made the best pita pizza last night for dinner. I had a multigrain pita with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, turkey pepperoni, black olives and mushrooms. Oh Sweet Gouda it was so good! I may have to have another one tonight. I think one thing that will make me a better cook is to have a stocked pantry – it’s really hard to cook when all you have is a can of peaches and one can of tomato paste in the cabinet. It has never occurred to me to buy ingredients, I just usually buy prepackaged or pre-made foods, but I know that’s not good to rely on those things so much, so I went to the store last night and bought a few things like chicken and beef broth, cream of mushroom soup, olive oil, canned beans- just a few things to get started. I hope to add to these things again this weekend so that I’ll have enough ingredients on hand when I find a recipe I want to try. Anyone have any other ingredients that you can’t live without?

That’s all I got – have a good day gang!!  :)

ETA – I did it!!  I got on the treadmill for 42 minutes – woo!  Sorry Laura, I’ll never tell my most embarrassing secret!!!  ;)

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Food & buckets

So I was digging through all of my Christmas gifts and found a cookbook that my MIL gave me. The name is misleading (Fix It and Forget It Recipes for Entertaining) because these are recipes that would be great for everyday meals.  It is a slow cooker cookbook and I spent over an hour reading and marking all the recipes that I thought the Fam would eat.  I came up with at least a dozen recipes that I am excited to try now and am thinking of instituting a New Recipe Night during the week or maybe the weekend.  Tonight is Creamy Chicken Breasts with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.  They are cooking as we speak and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!  And per Debby’s suggestion, I”m going to check out Roni’s site as well.  I know a lot of you have been there before, so if there’s a recipe of hers that you would recommend, please feel free. 

Also received for Christmas was the movie, The Bucket List.  Have you seen this movie?  It is great and makes you think.  If you haven’t seen it, it’s about 2 men who are faced with death from cancer and they decide to make a list of things they want to do before they Kick the Bucket, hence the name.  Makes you think…made me think about what I want to do, still thinking about it and might possibly publish my own list one day. So tell me, is there something you would like to share that might be on your own Bucket List?

Okay that’s it for now.  I had an aha moment earlier that I will probably blog about later, but I want to spend some more time thinking about it before I post. 

Have a good day gang!

I love my new toys!

Hey Everyone!  I hope you all had a great Christmas – I have had a blast these last couple of days.  Santa was waaaayyy good to me this year (better than I deserved!).  I got lots of fun kitchen stuff like a new can opener, a new electric griddle, stainless steel cookware, and a food processor.  Believe it or not, I’m one of those women who LIKES getting kitchen gadgets for gifts.  What this all means however, is that now I’m going to have to actually start cooking.  Not just heating things up, actual honest to goodness cooking. Sigh.  I am not a good cook – I can bake some mean Christmas goodies, but as far as cooking real food and turning them into real meals, I’m afraid I’m lacking in that department.  I’m not very good at improvising, or throwing things together and having them turn out good (or even edible).  I’ve gotten into a rut as far as meal prep goes, but with all my new appliances, I guess it’s time to learn.  I’ll spending this afternoon searching the internet for some tasty recipes – and if you have any that you think my meat and potatoes family would like, feel free to share. 

The pact…well, I did okay.  Christmas Eve, I was golden.  I had 10 extra people for dinner and I spent the whole day cooking and cleaning, so by the time dinner rolled around, I really wasn’t all that hungry.  I took a little of everything I wanted, and that was that.  I didn’t feel the need to snack and munch my way through the evening and when I weighed myself Christmas morning, Mary Lou applauded me because I had actually lost half a pound!  Then that afternoon, we went to my sister’s house and well, things didn’t go so well on the snackage front.  I snacked…a lot.  I don’t know why but I did.  I drank lots of water to offset some of the sugar and fat I was consuming, but I still over did it, big time.  But oh well, today is a new day, and even though I haven’t started out as stellar as I wanted, I’m still guzzling water and I plan on a work out later this afternoon.  Now if only I could clear a path in my living room (it looks like Santa’s toy shop exploded in it) to make it to my treadmill…

Guess that’s all for now, I’m going to try and stop by some blogs before I get busy shoveling the toys out of the living room.  Have a good weekend!

It’s Christmas Eve Eve!

Hello Friends and Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or both!I am 98% done with all my Christmas shopping – just have to pick up a few more little things (why does there always seem to be a few more little things?) and some snacky items and then I will be finito! Yee to the haw Baby!

I have just made a pact with my niece that we will not let each other do any mindless noshing when we all get together on Christmas Day. Notice I said, mindless noshing. I’m all for eating whatever you want on Christmas Day, but make it something you really want and will really enjoy. I mean, come on, do you really need chocolate covered pretzels after you have consumed appetizers, a big dinner and a scrumptious dessert? No, I think not. The treats will still be there tomorrow folks, no need to eat every morsel in one day.

I made this pact because I love snack foods. Finger foods are my favorite – and also my downfall. I can literally make myself sick popping cube after cube of cheese into my piehole, along with tiny sandwichesandfudgeandpeanutbrittleandcookiesandmorefudge. It can get outta hand if I let it, hence the pact. I’m trying to be proactive this year and make myself and others aware of my need for control. I also decided to have some of my favorite healthy snacks on hand like carrots and hummus, a fruit try, a veggie tray (why do fruits and veggies look so much better on a tray?), and a shrimp ring. Hopefully having these things available will help me stay on track.

By my calculations, I’m going to have to be on guard for the next 3.5 days. Tonight begins the Candy Making/Cooke Baking Extravaganza, then tomorrow is the Christmas Eve Noshing Around the Tree, and Christmas Day is when the Big Family Festivities take place. And then there’s always the Day After Christmas, when all you want to do is lay around and eat and play with your new toys that Santa brought (I’m hoping Santa brings me some new cookware – my pots and pans are thisclose to being condemned to scrap metal). So there will be unlimited opportunities for mindless snackage to occur. On the flip side of that, there will also be opportunities for lots of activity: Tomorrow morning, the Great HouseCleaning of 2008 will take place, which burns about eleventy billion calories if you do it right. Running around taking care of the last minute things burns a few kcals too, I’m sure. And then on Christmas Day we will be at my sister’s house and they have a Wii, so I’m planning on challenging a few family members to a few games of tennis and bowling. There will also be much laughter, which is good for the abs and core. So hopefully I can balance it out and all will be merry and bright!

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and that you get a chance to sit and reflect on why we do all this in the first place. God is so much better to us than we deserve. Merry Christmas gang – I love you all to death !

Baby it’s cold outside


Last week was tough, ya’ll, I won’t lie. A sick kid, a sick husband, a bounced check (I hate it when that happens!), an unexpected visit from Aunt Flo and more laundry than should be allowed in one household did not make for a happy Jill. That’s one reason I didn’t blog much last week – I just didn’t want to send those kinds of vibes out into the world. Better to keep my bitching to myself and not bring anyone else down at this jolly time of year.I’m feeling much better this week. I have almost all my shopping done, thanks to my very generous hubby who spent 6 hours going with me from store to store, helping me make decisions about every gift. I should let you all know that shopping is not fun for him. He would rather have a root canal as to spend hours upon hours shopping, but I think he knew I was on the edge and it would be better to just humor the crazy lady and get the shopping done. He was so patient and didn’t complain at all, and we had some good bonding time. It’s sad how easy it is for us to lose each other in the midst of work and kids and hobbies, but it’s comforting to know that we can find each other quickly again with just a few hours of “us time”.

I really am looking forward to Christmas now – Christmas Eve will be spent with the hubs’ family at our house, and then Christmas Day we are going to my sister’s house to be with her family, my mom and dad, my other sister and her 3 grown kids (and their husbands), and a partridge in a pear tree. My dad’s 70th birthday is also Christmas Day, so we will be celebrating that as well. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to being with everyone.

Tuesday night begins the Great House Cleaning and Candy Baking for the festivities, and man, do I have a lot to do. The kiddos will help, but it’s still going to be a very busy 24 hours come Tuesday at 4pm. I’m excited to do the baking, not so much the cleaning though. I’m a terrible housekeeper, but I love a clean and tidy home, so I gotta do it!

One thing I am for sure going to have to make time to do is work out. I realize I need it for the stress relief as well as for the weight loss. I have to make it a priority. I have to. I WILL WORK OUT. I WILL WORK OUT. I WILL WORK OUT. There, I said it three times, in caps no less, so now I have to do it. Feel free to kick my tail if I don’t.

Does shivering burn calories? Because I am freezing today. When I left for work this morning, it was 11*. ELEVEN DEGREES, PEOPLE. That’s cccccold. And I am still freezing. Hot buttered rum would be great right about now.

Okay, well that’s all I’ve got for now. Hope you all have a great day!

I will stress no more



I mentioned a while back about a post that is running around in my head about Christmas and gifts. I, like every other American this time of year, have been stressed about what to give, how to pay for gifts, how to get it all done before the Big Day. It seems like my kids Wish Lists get longer and the items on it more expensive every year and since we don’t typically buy them a lot of toys throughout the year, I want to spoil them at Christmastime. I stress about how to pay for the things they want because I don’t want them to be disappointed come Christmas morning, and in years past we have gone into debt to satisfy everyone’s (not just the kids’) material wants. This year however, I have decided I. AM. DONE. I’m over it – I’m done with overspending and throwing money at something useless just for the sake of having something to unwrap.  

I want my kids to appreciate the joy of simple things, and I think they do, when they are presented with the opportunity. Last Spring the hubs had a load of dirt delivered for a project he was working on. Within 30 minutes of delivery, that load of dirt was covered with every kid on our street. They played until dark and then came back the next day and the next day and the next day for more. They had a ball with DIRT. Same goes for the big screen TV box my parents had at their house – my kids played with that box for 2 whole days – it was a ship, it was a rocket, it was a car, it was a house…they were enthralled with cardboard and it’s endless possibilities.

During this time of year, I feel pressured (by myself mostly) to get my kids the latest and greatest toys and games and movies. My son’s Christmas list finally ended at 42 items, most of which cost $50 or more. I have agonized over how I am going to pay for the things he wants – he really really REALLY wants a Nintendo Wii, and I can’t blame him – I want one too (Wii Fit calls to me), but the fact of the matter is, we cannot afford to spend $300 on one single gift. My 8 year old wants a Nintendo DS – she’s not getting that either for the same reason. I finally took a deep breath and decided not to stress about what I couldn’t give them and focus instead on the kinds of gifts that would mean something to them. I’m getting each of them a Bible – a real leather bound Bible (well, the 3 year old isn’t getting a leather bound Bible, but she’s getting a Preschooler’s Bible). I’m also getting them a kids’ cookbook – they love to help me cook in the kitchen, and small book lights because they love to read in bed (they are definitely MY children). I am getting them a few toys and DVDs, but I’m not spending my whole paycheck on toys that in 6 months will be at the bottom of the toy box.

Honestly this post is just a way for me to work out this issue in my head. I need to remind myself that it’s okay to scale back – on the spending, the stress, the stuff. I want this Christmas season to mean something to my kids; I want them to have memories, not things. I think what my kids (and all kids really) want most is my time and attention, which is good because at least I know I can afford to give them that!

Platform, where have you been all my life?

Welcome to the first ever SassyPear product review! Remember a few weeks ago when I briefly mentioned the scale that doesn’t tell you your weight? How I thought it was a genius idea, but I’d probably never have the chance to try it? Well the extremely nice folks at Mary Lou’s Weigh contacted me and asked if I would be interested in reviewing their product. Being the skeptic I am, I wrote back and asked if they were legit and what kind of scam were they running. Allison (who works with MLW) was very nice and said they were totally serious; they just wanted to get the word out about the scale and see what real people thought about it. So I said “sign me up!” and they shipped the scale to me superfast – I received it the Monday after Thanksgiving and since I have the patience of child on Christmas Eve, I pulled out the new fangled scale and hopped on.

Before I go into detail about how it works, I want to explain a few things first. Mary Lou Retton (who can forget her and her perfect 10 score at the 84 Olympics???) has partnered up with some very creative people to redefine the bathroom scale. She explains in her DVD (which accompanies the scale) that after having 4 daughters, she needed to lose weight, but didn’t want to be tied to a number (we all know how that number can make or break your day). However, being an athlete, she is very goal oriented and wanted a way to track her progress on a day to day basis. Thus was born the idea for a new kind of scale.

Not only have Mary Lou and her team redefined the traditional scale, they have given it a new name – The Platform. I like this. It makes me feel like an Olympic diver every time I step on ‘the platform”. The Platform comes with an instructional DVD and a really cute book filled with tips and advice about fitness and nutrition (the book is really great, has a hey-girlfriend-let’s-chat kind of feel to it).

The Platform works like this: you turn the scale on and wait for the prompt to step up. It then records your starting weight, but will not tell you the number. Then the next day, after your morning tinkle, you turn it on and wait for the prompt, then step on. If you have lost weight, a cute little fanfare song plays and Mary Lou herself says “You are 3 pounds below your starting weight!!” and after the applause, she gives a bit of you-go-girl and a piece of advice to think about for the day, like “be sure to include protein in your meals”. The Platform actually cheers for your success! Who doesn’t need that every morning?? If you step on and you have gained weight, here’s what happens: the Platform doesn’t tell you you have gained, instead Mary Lou says “you are 2 pounds below your starting weight” and gives you something to focus on, again a bit nutritional or fitness advice. This is where the genius lies – it never says you have gained!! It just starts from your starting weight and goes from there. This is probably my favorite feature because I get discouraged very easily when I see an uptick in the numbers, but with this, I am always reminded of how far I have come.

Another feature I like about this is that it only record in 10 pound increments. That is, it starts over with every ten pounds you lose, the idea being that a small 10 pound goal is more attainable than trying to lose say, 40 pounds. Since I have started using the Platform, I have lost 8.5 pounds, but I’ll include this disclaimer: when I received the scale, I didn’t wait until the next morning to weigh in (see the note about my lack of patience above), it was in the evening…after dinner…with my sweatshirt and track pants on…the Monday after Thanksgiving weekend. So my starting weight on the Platform probably wasn’t my true weight, but I think now I am back to my normal weight. I can’t wait to hit that 10 pound mark to see what Mary Lou will say, and this is keeping me motivated right now. See? More genius.

Another nice feature is that two people can use the scale. It will store weights for two people, so your spouse or a friend, or roommate can use it too. And if your 30 pound kid or your 30 pound cat steps on it, it won’t mess up any of your stored information. They thought of everything.

I think I should let you all know that Allison was very clear in letting me post an objective review. She said it was okay if I didn’t like the Platform, they just want to know what I didn’t like about it, but honestly, I really do like it. It’s easy to use and so encouraging, and I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to lose weight or even maintain a weight loss.

And God said, “Let there be DSL in the rural areas.”


And it came to pass that after many years of frustratingly slow dial-up, Jill’s land was blessed with DSL, and it was good.


In other news, I’m a cotton headed ninny muggins for not blogging sooner.  Actually I have been blogging – in my head.  I have thought of many funny, warm, and insightful posts over the last week, unfortunately not one of them comes to mind now that I have time to sit down and post. So in order to fill the blank pages of my blog, I’ll entertain you with slides of my vaca…just kidding, I won’t put you through that.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:


I stayed in bed with the covers over my head for several days over the cancellation of the Duran Duran concert. I went through all my black clothes and several members of my family sent flowers.  It was a dark time for me, but my spirits were lifted when I found out they plan to reschedule.  I may get my Christmas Wish after all.*


I had a great 3 day weekend – I got to visit with a few friends and did some Christmas shopping with my mom.  It was a really nice time.  Clark Griswald finally put our Christmas lights up, as well as the big full beautiful tree that the darn cat won’t stay away from.  I even have some presents wrapped and waiting under the tree, or as my cat likes to think of it, That Wonderful Scratching Post With The Pretty Sparkly Paper That I Must Shred When Nobody Is Looking. 


I have developed a lovely little cold, oh not the nice anonymous nose-cold, no… I’ve got the hacking-like-a-70-year-old-smoker chest cold. The kind that when you cough people around you gag, and say, “Stay away from me.” Thanks, cause I need to be treated like a leper when I’m congested and feeling like crud – it makes me feel so much better.


Um, let’s see what else – oh I’m going to be doing my first ever product review later this week, and there may be something in it for you, if you so choose.  So stay tuned for that.


Oh, this was something else I wanted to talk about:  Over the weekend I saw quite a few people that I hadn’t seen in several months and the reaction from all 4 people was the same, “You look AMAZING! You look so good! What have you been doing? Gosh, I can’t get over how great you look!!!”  Okay, I’ll admit, I love the gushing.  I love to hear people say how pretty I look now and I dig the attention…to a point.  But all this positive attention makes me wonder, was I really such a freaking fat-ass before?  I knew I was chubby (okay fat), but I still had cute hair and my makeup was always done and I dressed as nicely as I could (except for those trips to the grocery store when I hoped I wouldn’t see anyone I knew).  People are treating me differently – they go out of their way to talk to me and I’m getting all kinds of hugs from people. Suddenly, the world wants to be my friend.  I will admit that my self confidence has improved about 100% and maybe that has something to do with all the attention, but sometimes these compliments feel sort of back-handed.  I have two people in my life who have lost significant amounts of weight, and I felt like it was really important to let them know that they were beautiful too before they lost weight, because they were.  No matter how much they weigh, they will always be beautiful women.  I sort of wish someone would tell me that.  So if you see someone who has lost a lot of weight, be sure to let them know that they are beautiful no matter what – it will make their success that much sweeter. 


Here’s another experience I had over the weekend – I bought new bras.  Not only did I buy a new bra, I bought 3 new bras and to make it even better, they were all on sale! Score!  But that’s not my point, my point is that I had to go into the dressing room to try on said bras…a dressing room with 3 way mirrors.  The same dressing room that has brought me to tears on more than one occasion.  The dressing room from hell.  Only this time, it wasn’t hell, it was actually sort of enlightening and dare I say it, enjoyable.  This time I looked at myself objectively, without hatred and self loathing.  Yes, I admitted to myself that I do look better, and yes, I still have a little more ways to go, but being in that dressing room with those mirrors was not the gut-wrenching soul-crushing experience it used to be. It was just a woman in a mirror whose body is not perfect, but that’s okay.  In that reflection I saw all the walks on the treadmill, all the sweaty tshirts, all the fruit and nuts chosen over cookies and candy. And in that reflection I saw the potential for a healthier body, more treadmill walks, more sweat, and possibly some protein shakes in the future.  I left that dressing room with 3 new bras and a peace and satisfaction of things to come.  It was a very good day. 


Well, I hope this long rambly post makes up for the non-posts of the last 7 days.  I’ve got a busy week ahead, but I’m sure I’ll post again in a day or two.  I’ve got lots of catching up to do on your blogs, and now that I can quickly read them all with my shiny new DSL at home, I’ll be visiting you all sometime this week. 


Peace out! 


*I didn’t really stay in bed for several days or wear black.  My mom and my sister did call to give their condolences, though.  :)



Her name is Jillo and she dances on the sand…

Holy cow guys!!!  I forgot to tell you THE most exciting news!!   I’m going to see Duran Duran in concert on Thursday night!!!   Yeah, see, I don’t care that they haven’t been popular since the 80′s, this is a teenage fantasy come true.  When I was 14 years old (waaaayyyyyy back in the day) I had over 200 posters of Simon, John, Nick, Roger, and Andy all over my bedroom walls.  See, back then there were two schools of adoration: you were either a NKOTB fan (or as we liked to call them New Dorks On The Block), or you were a Duran Duran fan.  I was the latter – BIG TIME.  To say that I had a mild obsession would be putting it, well, mildly.  I loved me some D2.  My bff at the time, Kris, shared in my obsession and we would spend hours, HOURS Y’ALL, pouring over magazines and listening to cassette tapes of all their songs.  Duran Duran totally defined my junior high years.  And in 57 hours, I am going to see them live.  LIVE Y’ALL!!!!!   I am so excited I can hardly stand it.  Oh and another cool thing is that my 24 year old niece is going with me – I hope I don’t embarrass her!!  ;)

Throw me my mom jeans! I’m going to see a band that hasn’t been popular in over 20 years!!!  WOO!!!

(I”m trying to post a video but YouTube is being stubborn.  I”ll try again later!!)

ETA:  I just found out that D2 has cancelled their Tulsa show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am absolutely bummed beyond words right now.  Why? Whywhywhywhywhy?????????????????   I’m going to go cry now.