Monday, September 1, 2014

Day 21: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

When I was a kid, we used to count to 100 by saying, "1, 2, skip a few, 99, 100." Was that a thing lots of kids did? I don't know, but that's how I thought this whole "posting every day" thing was supposed to go: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, skip a few, 21." It's my mom's fault. She never taught me how to count. Seriously, though, I think it was quite the effort on my part. Completing 12 posts in 21 days ain't too shabby. Maybe you thought since I skipped posts 13 through 20 that I died from lack of sugar.

Well here I am, folks. I'm very much alive. Rich too. He's half alive and half sleeping. Either way, we both survived 21 whole days with no added sugar, and we're better off for it. What's next, you ask? We're not 100 percent sure. We did this half on a whim and half because we wanted to kick start ourselves into a healthier lifestyle. We are now transitioning into a more "clean" style of eating, continuing to leave things white things (sugar, bread, rice, pasta) out of our diet most of the time. I can't pretend that we will never eat pasta, pizza, or a delicious sub ever again. That's just silly. We plan on keeping our diets high in healthy protein and low in bad carbohydrates. Basically, we're  trying to steer clear of processed foods. It's almost identical to what we've been doing for the last 21 days, except now we can add things like pure maple syrup in place of refined white sugar. I seriously can't wait for that because I tried to concoct some "desserts" in the last week or so, and let's just say they were...savory. While I'm not craving anything sweet, I would love a little sweetness in my life.

If you recall, I did hope to lose weight throughout this process. I'm happy-ish to report that I lost about 4 pounds. I can hear you all now: "Oh, wow! That's WONDERFUL!" Yeah, yeah, yeah. Wonderful, schmonderful. Seriously, I would be totally happy with that if I hadn't lost it all within the first week! To know that little tidbit is to know that I did weigh myself through the process. I weighed myself a couple times each week -- I wasn't obsessive or anything. I maintained almost the exact weight (give or take .2 pounds) from day 7 to day 21! That was a bit frustrating, but I will take it. Rich, on the other hand (get ready ladies), lost about 15 pounds. FIF. TEEN. I will say, he had just been on a golfing trip with his buddies before we started this, so I'm sure some of that was "water weight," but still! Like I said before, he was very successful losing weight when on a low-carb diet, so this seemed to be a good "marriage" for both of us. Imagine that! I'm very happy for him.

We actually went grocery shopping together last night which doesn't happen often. As we walked through, we educated ourselves on things we could eat and add to our diets now that the 21 DSD is over. It was a good experience. Overall, the entire 21 days has been a good experience. I would say we definitely had more highs than lows, and it was only really tough in the first few days. I'm glad we did it! We're hoping for many of these habits to stick as we move forward.

Thanks to anyone who followed along while we felt our way through this! You can see the other posts in this series here:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox 

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox
 

Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox 

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox 

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 8: The 21 Day Sugar Detox  

Day 9: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 10: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 12: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 12: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

I didn't post last night since Rich finally got home from his fishing trip. Yahoooo!! Instead of spending time in front of the computer, I spent time in front of his face because I love his face. Going forward, I guess I'll be posting in "real time" instead of being a day late (and definitely a dollar short).

So I feel like this is getting booooring! Blogging is definitely keeping me accountable on the 21DSD, but at this point, all the days are feeling the same. It's still a bit of a struggle, as I deal with some cravings here and there, but overall, there's nothing super extraordinary to report. Therefore, this post's new title will be:

"And I will walk 500 miles, and I will walk 500 more..."

We got our Fit Bit-like walking gadgety things in the mail a couple days ago! Actually, so that I'm giving the company credit, it's called the WalkingSpree Inspire Wireless Activity Tracker. As I explained about a week ago, we were able to purchase these cool little doodads through Rich's company for a discounted rate ($25), and if we walk a certain number of steps per day, he gets a small amount of money tacked on to his paycheck at the end of the month. It's a great concept, especially in terms of keeping heath care costs low.

Here's what the device looks like:


Obviously, it's not the most attractive thing on the planet, but heck, neither am I. You have the choice of either wearing it in a wristband like I am there, wearing it in a clip, or putting it in your pocket naked. I've tried the clip-on pedometer thing before, and it just doesn't work for me. I move around quite a bit at work, so there's just not a good spot for it. Plus, I wear a lot of dresses, so there's really nowhere to put it. Also, I'm certain that if I threw it in my pocket instead of somehow attaching it to my body, I'm sure I'd lose it.

It doesn't seem to do quite as much as the Fit Bit, but I don't really have any first hand experience with the Fit Bit either. I did a small amount of research on the Fit Bit products this summer, and I never really wanted to spend $100 on what I was calling a "glorified pedometer." The Fit Bit claims to monitor your sleep patterns, which sounds really cool, but I don't know how much I'd really get into that. Like the Fit Bit, there's an app for this Walking Spree version, but it's only available for iPhone 4s and above. I still have the 4, but I'm hoping to change that when the 6 comes out. We'll see. On the website, users have access to an activity tracker, a food tracker, and a body tracker. For $25, I can't really complain. Today is my first full day wearing it, and so far, I've walked 5,705 steps. 10,000 is my goal per day.


 

I'm not too sure about these points and raffle tickets, but I'm sure it has something to do with prizes or money Rich can win if we can manage to rack up the right number. 



There's also a leader board. I spray painted the names to protect the innocent, but you can see how it might be motivating to compete against your co-workers. Check out that person in 1st place who has walked 240 miles in the month of August! I don't understand how the person in 5th place has covered more distance in less steps than the person in 4th place (maybe they take other types of workouts into consideration?), but I'm sure I'll figure it out as I go.

A friend from work asked me last night if I wanted to walk one or two days after work this Fall. I said 100% yes! This bracelet has magical powers. As soon as I put it on, I wanted to walk 500 miles and 500 more. It gets crazy busy the first few months of school, but hopefully we can get on a schedule of walking a day or two together so that we can help one another along. Walking with friends can be so beneficial: it's motivating, it's uplifting, and it's a chance to spend quality time with someone you care about. What more could you ask for?


Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 8: The 21 Day Sugar Detox 

Day 9: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 10: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 10: The 21 Day. Sugar Detox

As I explained, day 9 was the roughest one I've had yet. I'm grateful that I didn't eat an entire bag of chips, but it could have been baaaad! Today was better! I worked again, but I think since it was my third full day back in a row, I was less tired at the end of the day than I was the two days before. After work, I had enough energy to clean the house a bit, do some laundry, cut the grass, and cook dinner. Speaking of dinner, I made baked chicken strips! They were yummy!! I also had only one string cheese stick and one green apple as before/after dinner snacks. Baby steps, people.

Really, all I can look forward to is Rich coming home. He's been gone since last Friday and intermittently all August. I can't wait to spend some time with him before the madness starts. Also, I'm bored out of my mind. Even Carly is bored.

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 8: The 21 Day Sugar Detox 

Day 9: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 9: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Nine rhymes with whine, and that's what I'm about to do. I was feeling snacky earlier. I know that's not  a word, but that's how I was feeling. I had a day about on par with what I have been having -- good, fine, eating, doing, fine. However, for the last two days, I have felt more tired than I have lately. I feel like it must be because I've been back to work this week. I guess I can't attribute it all to working, but I have worked two full days in a row. I know, I know, for all of you non-teachers out there that sounds terrible; but I'm not complaining. I'm just trying to figure out what's going on. Am I tired because of my detox, or am I tired because I've been working? Honestly, I think it's the working. I'm aware that extended time off work sounds like heaven to many of you, but my point is that when you do have extended time off, working (even if it's light) tuckers ya out.

So the book suggests that on day 8, I might "want a cookie." That one made me laugh. If I knew I wouldn't sabotage what I've already accomplished, I would probably accept a cookie right now, but I could also probably (definitely) live without it. I'd really like a potato chip or two, though, and (ask my mom) I don't even really like potato chips. The book also says I may slip-up or have temptation to eat off-plan foods. Well I think (I know) I slipped up a little. Trust me, it was absolutely not intentional. On my recent grocery store trip, I picked up a packet of taco seasoning. There's your first clue. I read the ingredients as I knew I can't have "traditional" taco seasoning out of a packet. Cayenne pepper this, sea salt that...yep, we're good to go. Flash forward a couple days to moments after I sprinkled it on my ground beef. CANE SUGAR! What the heck? I swear I read the ingredients! At that point, I didn't care. I was hungry. So, I made my taco salad and I ate every last bite. Now, let's be clear. I ate a miniscule amount of the stuff. In fact, there's less than a gram of sugar in 1/12 of the packet, and I only used half of the packet on an entire pound of beef. I do feel guilty, but I'm not dying or anything.

The book suggests that on Day 9 (which is the day I'm actually on), I might feel like, "I'm getting tired of the food I'm eating." That's half true. I honestly feel like I've had a variety of foods throughout the last week and a half. I've had lamb, chicken, bacon, beef, eggs, loads of vegetables, some fruits, some delicious smoothies, and a nice amount of cheese. I can't exactly say I'm tired of the food I'm eating, but I can say that tonight, I wanted to add a couple foods into the mix. Like I said earlier, I would have welcomed a potato chip or two into my life. It was my husband who saved me. Sort of. I told him I was feeling snacky, and he told me to have some cheese or nuts (both of which I'd already had a bit of today). I heeded his advice, I sure did. I had 4 (four) -- F-O-U-R -- string cheeses! I almost couldn't stop myself. I might have gone for the fifth if I didn't know what was good for me. Instead, I ate a green apple. Four string cheeses and a green apple, people! I know, I know, it's not like I opened a bag of chips and ate the whole thing, but still! It was quite a binge and I didn't like it! Well, I liked the cheese, but not the binge.

Aiy yai yai...Is work stress already getting to me? I guess this is a taste of what life will be like for the next few months during my "busy season." Back to reality.

Crap

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 8: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Day 8: The 21 Day Sugar Detox



Hi, there! Face here! And you're watching Nick Jr.! Does anyone remember that from back in the day? Well, I do, and it seems like every time I'm beginning one of these detox posts, that's how I want to do it. Anywho, I am at the brink of the end of my 8th day on the 21 Day Sugar Detox, and I've lived to tell the tale. My tale is really boring. I'm so very lonely without Rich -- he's still on Lake Michigan fishin' for salmon -- that my life currently consists of waking, cooking/preparing and eating, working/cleaning/shopping/galavanting, cooking and eating, watching TV, cooking and eating, walking, blogging, and sleeping.  I put the "duh" in dull.

Today was my first kinda real day back to work. I went in around 7 a.m. and got next to nothing done before the new freshmen showed up for orientation. They are babies! Each year, I forget how tiny many of them are, and how much some of them change over the course of a school year. I saw one girl today (who is actually going to be a senior) who I had as a student for 2 years. I remarked how she looks different, but I just couldn't put my finger on why. After thinking about it, I realized it was just because she's maturing. She has the look of a young woman rather than a teenage girl. That's one of the cool parts about my job. Would you like me to tell you one of the sucky parts? I'll save that saga for later. But I digress.

I had a pumpkin spice smoothie for breakfast. I really like that one better than the apple pie one. It's got more umph, more flava. For lunch, I had leftover crustless quiche, some walnuts and almonds, and some cheese. For a snack before dinner, I ate a less-than-stellar grapefruit. I was so disappointed when I opened it because I could tell it was going to be crappy. It was light orange in color -- not ruby red like I was hoping for. Are there different types of grapefruit? Please don't judge me for asking that. I really just want to make sure I look out for the red kind next time I buy. Too bad I have a sack of em' sitting on my counter. Anyway, for dinner I made creamy mushroom soup using some of the leftover bone broth I made last week. I am so excited about that bone broth. It's already been used to make two meals, and I plan to use it for another later this week! The mushroom soup was delicious. I just ate half of an avocado with salt n' peppa on the side. Yum-o.

After dinner, I took a good walk with Carly -- just over 3 miles. Carly wasn't nearly as good tonight as she was yesterday. Shoo, doggie. Literally. On our walk we encountered 1 toad (that I had to jump over), 12 rabbits (ugh), and 1,000,001 dogs a' barkin'. My little girl was overstimulated to say the least. But, if her laying next to me half passed out is any indication, I tired her out. I plan to take over the world next.



Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Monday, August 18, 2014

Day 7: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Guess what! I'm still alive. Rich too. After 7 whole days with no sugar, I'm still standing. My skin is all still attached, my bones feel like they're in pretty good shape, and I can still see with my eyes. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I survived an entire week with no added sugar whatsoever! I'm celebrating with an imaginary sugar-filled cake. With strawberries on top. And whipped cream. No peanuts, please.

The last week has been a bit of a roller coaster. As you may recall, I experienced a bit of a blood-sugar breakdown, and felt a little woozy poozy during a couple mornings this week. That, however, was the worst of it. I really haven't missed the sugar a whole lot. I can't say I don't have cravings. Do I get the occasional urge for some dark chocolate? Yup. Does my mouth water a little when I'm listening to a podcast about the origins of ice cream? Heck yeah. Does the thought of bread make me want to jump through the roof? Well, I wouldn't take it that far, but you get my point.

After a week with no sugar, I feel like I can do another week without sugar. I certainly don't want to live without it for the rest of my life, but I feel like I could maintain this as a regular thing with maybe a sweet treat here or there.

Rich? He's got this on lock. He's dabbled in low-carb diets before. I take that back. Rich has rocked the socks off some low-carb edibles in the past. He lost about 40 pounds at one point. While this certainly isn't a low-carb diet (far from it), some of the staples of the diet are very much the same. For example, one should really stay away from bread in both instances. Ice cream? Nuh uh. Can I offer you a handful of almonds? Sure, I'd love some! However, whilst away on his fishing trip, the guys have been fishing on and off with little sustinance along the way. Because of this, they stopped for Wendy's hamburgers at around 11 p.m. last night. He assured me it was out of necessity, and I believe him. He told me it tasted like there was sugar dumped on top of the burger! Whoa! This is totally because of the detox! Crazy, no? He said it got him to thinking that maybe sugar and salt are somehow connected. For example, his uncle adds lots of salt to everything he eats. Rich wondered if people add salt to counteract the amount of sugar in the processed foods we eat. I'm no expert (in fact, I really can't elaborate because I'm still twisting the idea around in my brain), but it seems to have some merit. What do you think?

As I mentioned, I completed my meal planning and grocery list last night. I made another trip to Trader Joe's today. I asked on Facebook for recommendations of good places to by good quality meats and produce. I got a ton of great suggestsions (thanks to everyone), but I decided to go to Joe's because I'm comfortable there. I know what I can get, and I know what I'm getting is good stuff. I'll have to do a little more research and a little more shopping around. I'd really like to stay a little closer to home.

I took 2 long walks today (about 2.5 miles each), so that was great for my mind and body. Carly can sometimes be a chore on walks. She loves her some bunnies. Because of that, I'm sometimes reluctant to go for walks which in turn holds me back. She was actually very good today! I was so pleased. I think my little girl is growing up! :)

I'm looking forward to week 2 to see what it brings! Student orientation is tomorrow and Tuesday, so I'll be getting my first look at the students I'll be seeing more than my family come September. As I get busier, it will become increasingly difficult to post my thoughts and feelings, but I'd really like to continue because it provides me with a lot of motivation. It's a great outlet, and knowing that I'm writing it down keeps me way more accountable.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Day 6: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Here we are again, ladies and gentlemen. Day 6 of the 21 Day Detox is coming to a close. As I explained, yesterday turned out to be a pretty good day for both Rich and I. Today there is nothing too exciting to report because it has been very much the same. No moodiness, no low blood sugar, no "flu-like" symptoms. In fact, the book suggests that the cold and flu-like symptoms should begin to subside today. I'm happy to report that the book has been pretty accurate thus far. I struggled a tiny (very tiny) bit with snacking today. What I mean is I wanted to snack, but resisted as much as possible. I did munch on some almonds and a couple walnuts here and there, but that's about it. Breakfast today was another applie pie smoothie, lunch was a fresh salad and albacore tuna mixed with celery, jalepenos, and homemade mayonaise, and dinner will be wild caught salmon topped with a "no-honey mustard" sauce and pecans. I haven't tried it yet, but it sure sounds yummy. I haven't heard much from Rich today since he's on his fishing trip, but he did say he got to sleep in which was "glorious." I'm happy he's happy.

I think the biggest struggle today and tomorrow will be meal planning for next week. Many of you know that I hate, hate, hate to grocery shop, so the planning stages are always the toughest for me. Just like with any new diet, one has to be really on top of their game in order to make sure the right foods are ready when it's time to cook and eat. Otherwise, some serious downward spiraling can occur. I plan to sit down tonight or tomorrow morning to make a grocery list. It should be slightly easier this time around since I now know some of the things I really like, some of the things I really don't like, and what does and doesn't work for us. I'm feeling positive, so I hope to keep that up.

One thing I'd really like to accomplish before I get too deep into this is to type up or copy my favorite recipes and meal plans and put them in a "favorites" binder. That way, I won't have to carry around the books like they're made of gold anymore. It's just something I know will take a bit of time, so I continue to put it off. Gotta get on that.

I'm hoping to update daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts and feelings throughout the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Day 5: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

What up?! Tonight marks the end of day 5 (5!) of The 21 Day Sugar Detox for Rich and I. I, for one, am feelin goooood. Rich, for two, is feeling pretty dang good himself. Both of us had to rise and shine at 4:30 a.m. this morning because he was heading straight from work to a fishing trip with his dadio. Since the plan was for his dad to pick him up, I had the fortunate job of driving him the 32 minutes to work! Why so early, you ask? Some blockhead scheduled a meeting with the Mexico office at the butt crack of dawn. (Rich is the blockhead.) Before we got on the road, I whipped up a couple breakfast smoothies (applie pie). I had absolutely no signs of lightheadedness and I didn't feel a bit queasy this morning. We were both exhausted, but that's to be expected for waking up at 4:30 in the mornin'. I didn't really talk to him much all day, save for annoying him with a few questions about the Walking Spree program at work. I was attempting to order us a couple wristband health gadgety things (much like a Fit Bit) that connect to your computer/smart phone and track your steps, calories burned, activity levels, etc. Through his company, we can buy them for 25 bucks and if we average so many steps a day, he'll get an extra bit of money tacked onto his paycheck. We're walking anyway, so we might as well take advantage of it. I got them ordered, and we should be receiving them sometime next week!

Lunch for both of us was leftover chicken soup and a mixed salad. The soup was even better reheated. The broth turned out so good and flavorful. I'll definitely be making that again. Around midday, I had to head out to run some errands before heading out to have dinner with my cousin, Michelle. She was making tacos, so I adapted by bringing lettuce to make a salad. I stopped at the store and bought an avocado to add to the mix, and I also picked up some no-sugar-added-salsa. (It was Wholly brand -- the same company that makes Wholly Guacamole -- which is an approved brand on the 21DSD.) Full fat cheese (in moderation) is acceptable, so I piled that on along with some jalepenos. Yum-o. There's nothing better than a good taco salad. The visit was great simply because I got to spend some quality time with one of my favorite girls. However, it was a bit of a struggle for the second night in a row to resist the temptation of snacking on tortilla chips. But honestly? I don't know if it's because I'm uber focused right now, or if it's because my cravings are shrinking like they're supposed to, but it really hasn't been too difficult. On the Rich front, he reported that he enjoyed the soup and salad for lunch, and had a Western omelette that included ham, cheese, green pepper, red pepper, bacon and sausage for dinner. Not too shabby as all of that is basically approved for the 21DSD. I say basically because the meat was almost certainly not grass fed, but all the veggies are on the YES list.

I currently have lots and lots of energy. For some reason, I'm tending to have more energy at night than throughout the day. I called Rich on my way home from Michelle's, and he said he was also feeling great. He said he expected to be tired during the day, but he was pleasantly surprised. He remarked that he thinks we've "made it through the hardest part," but I'm not sold yet. I think some of the toughest days to come. Time will tell. I'm so glad we're both feeling positive, though. Speaking of how we're feeling on Day 5, the book says we may experience, "headaches starting to clear and fewer cravings, or struggles with temptation and slip-ups if you're unprepared and hunger sets in." I'd say right now we find ourselves safely in the "headaches starting to clear and fewer cravings" zone. Speaking of symptoms, my heartburn went away last night. I actually took 1 Tums tablet with 1 gram of sugar because my heart was a-burnin' something fierce. I'm sure they're are more natural sugar-free remedies out there, but at this house, tum-tum-tum-tum-Tums are tried and true. I'll look more into alternative possibilities in the future.

I'm hoping to update daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts and feelings throughout the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Friday, August 15, 2014

Day 4: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Hey, y'all! Tonight marks the end of day 4 of The 21 Day Sugar Detox for Rich and I. While 4 days doesn't seem like a lot, it's more than half of a week, and I'm pretty excited about the progress I've made! The book suggests that we may experience, "mood changes, minor skin irritation, or breakouts." As for me, I most definitely experienced a little mood swinginess today. It wasn't terrible, but I could feel myself getting grumpy. So here's the story: I woke up early and felt a bit of the same low blood sugar thing I had going on yesterday. Because I was expecting it, and because it wasn't too bad, it was hardly a problem. Rich left for work and I did a little cleaning until a teacher friend picked me up so we could go into work for a bit and start getting things organized for the new school year. The day went smoothly. Early in the day, Rich called me since he had some time to kill between meetings. He remarked that even though he felt a little light-headed and tired, he is just generally in a better mood lately. I think that's great. Work tends to stress him out, so I'm on board for anything that can help. By about 2:00, I had gotten enough work done that I felt okay walking out the door. However, my energy was waning. By that time, I had eaten 2 eggs, a banana, some nuts and an avocado. My friend was nice enough to drop me off at the car dealership since my car was finished being repaired. I walked up to the cashier's window and handed her my credit card. Then she asked me for my ID. I checked my wallet and realized I didn't have it. Ugh. Remember that long walk I went on with Kim yesterday? My ID was the pocket of the pants I was wearing yesterday along with my debit card. Crap! There was nothing the lady could do (understandable), so I called my mom who came and saved the day (par for the course). She picked me up, we went to my house to get my cards, and we went back to the dealership to finish the transaction. Finally, I drove away with my car. I can't really describe how I was feeling throughout the ordeal. I wasn't mad, but I was frustrated. My mood was definitely a-swingin'. I suppose that's somewhat to be expected when going through such a thing, but I'm going to attribute it to being both a normal reaction and a side-effect of the 21DSD.

Once I was finally home, I got to work on dinner tonight: chicken soup with homemade dill crackers. The broth actually stewed in the crockpot for about 20 hours! That's the first time I attempted something like that, so I was pretty excited at the results. Basically, you mix about 2 pounds of bones (any kind), 16 cups of water, 10 cloves of garlic, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of salt together in a crock pot and let it simmer on low for a looooong while. When it was done, I did add some more salt, but not a ton. I whipped up the dill crackers and added the chicken and veggies to the broth closer to meal time. The dill crackers were okay. I used coconut oil to make the dough, but I should have used butter or ghee. They turned out pretty "sweet" due to the coconut which wasn't a super awesome combo with the chicken soup. I was really excited to put anything that tasted remotely like a cracker in my mouth. Too bad, so sad.

Actually, tonight was the night of my crockpot recipe exchange, which is why I chose to make the soup. (I cheated a bit by not making the entire meal in a crockpot, but that's okay.) Unfortunately, I couldn't really enjoy much of anything except the chicken soup at the exchange, so that was a bummer. The best part was getting together with my favorite colleagues before all we can talk about are students and pre tests and marking periods and lesson plans and staff meetings and open house and doooooooooooom.

Other than my mild "mood swings," I can also report a bad case of heartburn. I've had it for a few days, ever since eating the beef and bacon cottage pie leftovers. (The spices resemble the taste of Worcestershire sauce.) In general, though, I'm definitely ending the day on a good note. In fact, I'm feeling more energetic now at 10:00 p.m. than I was at 3:00 p.m. Do you think it has something to do with the car sitch?

I'm hoping to update daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts and feelings throughout the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Day 3: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Tonight marks the end of day 3 of The 21 Day Sugar Detox for Rich and I. We had another successful day! The book says we should be thinking, "Am I going to make it through this?" Sure, there has been a little bit of uneasiness today, but I never questioned whether I'd get through it. In fact, I spent some time with my cousin, Kim, who has a wheat allergy. (She's also a teacher -- yay for similar schedules!) As we so often do, we went for a long walk (3.5 miles), and we got to talking about things she can (and cannot) eat. She's also trying to lose a bit of weight and is having a go at a high-protien, low-ish carb diet right now. Because of the 21DSD, Kim and I are eating many of the same things. Many staples on a gluten-free diet really mirror the staples on the 21DSD (almond and coconut flours, fresh fruits and vegetables, and so on). I think just being around someone who is of the same mind set (both in diet and weight loss) really helped me to get through the day. Another thing that really does help is the support I'm getting from people on Facebook. Many people have liked my posts and several have commented either asking for recipies* (more on that later, gater), giving encouragement, or asking questions. Having that support, whether it be face-to-face or online, has been really uplifting. So thanks!

While neither of us really felt that the 21 days would never end, Rich is still craving diet soda something fierce. He's an avid...avid soda drinker (really he likes most varieties of drinks), so living without it has been tough for him. Especially since I bought three 12-packs of soda about a week ago! The book also points out that you may experience "fatigue, cold- and flu-like symptoms, low blood sugar, or self-doubt. Day 3 is the beginning of some of the hardest days for most folks!" Ouch. Okay, so most of that wasn't true for either Rich or I, but I certainly had some flu-like symptoms/low blood sugar issues early in the morning. I got up with Rich to make him a breakfast smoothie, and all of a sudden I felt a little like I was going to throw up. Then I felt a lot like I was going to throw up. Feeling like this in the morning on occasion is actually nothing new to me (I'm convinced I have some sort of equilibrium/temperature regulation issue), but I knew it had to have had something to do with cutting sugar completely. out. of. my. diet! I never threw up thankfully. I just nicely requested that Rich not touch me as he was so sweetly trying to do and sweated it out for a few minutes. After that, I was good to go. I drank a smoothie of my own (pumkin spice) and felt much better.

For lunch, we both had leftover beef and bacon cottage pie (yum x 2!), and for dinner I made lemon chicken with artichoke hearts and broccoli on the side. Honestly, the recipe didn't sound or look that fabulous to me from the start, but I'm all about experimenting my way through this. In the end, my instincts were right: neither of us really liked it all that much. Rich said it just tasted like "chicken and vegetables." Booooring! Especially for the amount of work I put into it (not a ton, but enough for it to be better than "chicken and vegetables"). After dinner, we went on another nice long walk (2 miles) and shortly after headed in for bed. All in all, it was a good day.

I'm hoping to update daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts and feelings throughout the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox


*I mentioned I would elaborate more on the recipies thing. I'm still researching what I can and cannot publish on my personal blog. While I know very few people read it, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to the woman (and the village of people who helped her) who wrote and published these books. I'd love to share the recipes with everyone as I know it must be frustrating to read how delicious the meals are and not get a chance to try it yourself, but I want to make sure to do it the right way. I'm looking into it, but in the mean time, because many of you have asked me for the recipe for the beef and bacon cottage pie, I will type it out and private message you on Facebook with it. That, I believe, is just fine and dandy since I'm just sharing a single recipe with a couple friends (something I could do if we were both sitting on my couch talking about it). Either way, thanks for your interest. I hope you continue to follow my journey. P.S. Rich also shared that he was a "little light-headed and tired," but he also said, "that means it's working." Every cloud has a silver lining! :)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Tonight marks the end of day 2 of The 21 Day Sugar Detox for Rich and I. We had another successful day! The book I purchased suggests we will either feel that "this isn't so bad" or we'd feel like, "will this get easier?!" We are both definitely in the "this isn't so bad" camp. Also suggested in the book is that we might feel "no symptoms at all, or headaches, mental fogginess, or hunger." Well, I can't say that I wasn't hungry at all today (helping my mom dig out of her flooded basement was pretty physical), but I don't expect to feel stuffed on the second day of a life-style change when I'm watching every ounce of food that goes into my body. Rich even remarked that he's feeling great. He says he was in a good mood at work today, which is the opposite of how he's felt for the past few weeks. Crankypants. (Update: I just heard him open the refrigerator and groan. When I asked, "What?" he replied, "I'm thirsty." That's code for, "I want a soda!"

Our dinner tonight was fabulous. We had Beef and Bacon Cottage Pie (a recipe from the cookbook). It consisted of bacon and beef (obviously), green beans, carrots, onions, butternut squash, and a delish spice mix that's also featured in the cookbook. I only included about half of the spice mix for fear of it being too intense, and it turned out great. Rich even approved of the butternut squash, a vegetable he's never tried before and actually side-eyed when I showed him the casserole. I told him he had to try it, but he could scrape it off if he didn't like it. I'm happy to report that he loved it!

I have nothing to report on the weight-loss front, as I'm resisting the urge to weigh myself at all throughout the 21 days. (Sanfilippo suggests that if you want to weigh yourself, you should do so at the beginning and at the end, but not at all in between.) However, Rich, Carly, and I went for a 3-mile walk around the neighborhood. We didn't venture too far because it looked like more rain was on its way. Aiy yai yai. So many folks around these parts have suffered terrible losses due to flooding. I'm talking totaled cars, water up to your waist, ruined finished basement kind of flooding. We are so thankful we didn't flood (our street flooded up to the sidewalk), and we're so thankful that the flooding at my parents' house wasn't worse, but we are thinking about those who have had it much worse.

I'm hoping to update daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts and feelings throughout the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way.

Check out other posts in this series:

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Day 2: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Day 1: The 21 Day Sugar Detox

Throughout this past school year, I was super focused on my diet and was exercizing several times per week. With the exception of a couple short breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and the occasional weak moment), I was able to maintain that focus for many months. This focus helped me to lose almost 30 pounds over the course of about 7 months. While a slower pace than I'd hoped, a loss is a loss, and the real goal was to live a healthier and more active lifestyle. At the beginning of June, I hit a wall. Work was stressing me out (I think I filled out 56 pieces of meaningless end-of the year paperwork, the kids were actin' kinda cray cray, and my evaluation results were looming), end-of-the-year parties were bumpin' straight jumpin', and Rich's birthday, Rich's dad's birthday, and my dad's birthday were all in the mix to round out a month-long over-eating fest! As so often happens when one is "on a diet," I was waning mentally and chose to give myself a couple breaks. ("I deserve it. I've worked hard this year!" "I'll get back on track tomorrow.") I figured I'd just need to get through the month of June and then my focus would magically reappear.

Spoiler allert (or for those of you hopeful individuals): Magically reappearing focus is not a thing.

Flash forward about 3 weeks. We'd been planning a Caribbean cruise since February. That would happen at the end of July. (Side note: We had a blast.) During aformentioned cruise, we ate, ate, and ate some more. We also did some hiking, golfing, surfing, and swimming which helped to off-set the caloric intake a bit, but two months worth of not thinking about what I was eating was really taking its toll. When all was said and done, I gained about 7 or 8 pounds over the course of 2 or 2.5 months. Stepping on the scale actually had me breathing a small sigh of relief since I thought it was going to be much worse; however, a gain is a gain, and wasn't the real goal to live a healthier and more active lifestyle? It's so frustrating how slow the process of losing weight is and how quick gaining it back can be!

Flash forward to the beginning of August. I was home from the cruise, Summer vacation was winding down (Waaaaahhhh!!!), and I needed to get back on track. Seriously. I had heard and read about The 21 Day Sugar Detox from a couple sources, and after reading into it a bit more, I thought it was something we could do. I hemmed and hawed over it a bit, but in the end, I ordered 2 books: The 21 Day Sugar Detox and The 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook, both by Diane Sanfilippo. In fact, I had some old Amazon gift card dolla dolla bills y'all, so I used those, and my total investment so far (besides food) has been about $6. If you had to pay full price for both books, you're looking at about $42.00 total. I read the introduction in the first book in about an hour one night. Some of the things Sanfilippo says really struck me. She explains the difference between good carbs and bad carbs. She also explains that our body (and in particular our liver) functions to flush our system of toxins, so in order to make our body's job easier, we should take steps to put the right things into it. That way, the body can focus mostly on environmental toxins rather than food-based ones. She details how one can expect to feel from day to day when completing the detox (some definite ups and downs, but definitely more ups). Basically, she advocates for clean eating. There's so much research to suggest that clean eating is best for our body, and Sanfilippo takes the guess work out of the transition.

After reading, I whipped up a meal-planning calendar which was a little overwhelming. Many of the ingredients were ones I wasn't used to cooking with, but I was determined to keep an open mind. Once that was finished, my mom and I made a trip to Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and the Bulk Food Store (for spices). I spent about $250.00, which is certainly not chump change, but included in that total are things like oils, flours, spices, and other staples that I will have for months. I estimate that I'll end up spending about $100 per week on fresh ingredients, including vegetables, fruits, and meats. Yesterday was our first day on The 21DSD, and we were very successful. The best part? We had lamb burgers for dinner! They were topped with an avocado mix that was delish. On the side was a salad with a homemade balsamic vinegar dressing. While I'm not a huge meat lover, my husband is. Finding a diet (diet in the most general sense of the word, not a temporary way-of-eating) that works for both of us has been a challenge. Sanfilippo really provides some yummy recipes that incorporate delicious things (bacon anyone?) that most other diets really limit. The way I see it, it charges us to get back to our roots. And when I say roots, I mean eat like cavemen. It makes sense, no? These are the things our bodies were naturally meant to digest. Why fight it? So far, my meat-lovin' husband has been happy.

After the 21 days, the idea is to transition to a paleolithic (paleo) life style where you're preparing and eating similar things with a bit more wiggle room. I'm very excited at the potential this holds. All that said, though, I'm cautiously optimistic. I still have a lot of questions about whether or not we can sustain it. For one, it can be costly; but if we're committed to healthier bodies, that's okay. For another, the world we live in doesn't always support this type of life style. It might be difficult to have lunch with friends or attend gatherings where folks are eating fried foods. For example, I'm going to a crock pot recipe exchange on Thursday (What will I cook? What will I eat?) and Rich is going on a fishing charter with his dad and grandpa next week. Like anything else, it takes time to adjust to. Once adjusted, I think we should be able to figure it out. One more thing: Sanfilippo says that weight loss isn't guaranteed over the course of the 21 days, but she says most people experience weight loss. I do hope to lose some weight. I feel like I'm bound to if I'm cutting sugar out of my life. Plus, sugar aside, if I'm eating any better than I was eating during June and July, I should at least shed a few pounds. I'd really like to get back to where I was at the end of the school year. That means losing 7 or 8 pounds in 3 weeks. That's a pretty lofty goal, I realize. I'm going to call it a loose goal because while I hope to lose the weight, I'll be happy with anything. After all, the real goal is to live a healthier and more active lifestyle, right? ;-)

Speaking of active, I'm off to take a long walk with Rich and Carly. I'm hoping to update this daily, if for no other reason than to document my thoughts, feelings, and progress over the 21 days. I hope you'll come back and cheer for me along the way!

Queen of the Castle - DIY Upholstered Bench

Our little Carly is quite the princess. She's slowly inching her way up to queen status, and I didn't help matters when I gave her a thrown on which to sit.

Our front window has always been a design dilemma for me. For one thing, it's huge. Ginormous, really. Also, it is fashioned with...wait for it...vertical blinds. Ugh. What is this, a doctor's office? But what's a good solution? While there are many options, I have yet to figure out the perfect one.

Before getting Carly, I toyed with the idea of putting a few arm chairs and maybe a table in front of the window. I also really liked the idea of a long bench that offered extra seating. Once we adopted Carly and made the decision that we wouldn't let her on the couch, I thought she should have something comfy to lay on too. As a bonus, she would get to look out the window and go crazy staring at all the rabbits lurking on the other side. Pesky wabbits.

I made a trip to one of the local Salvation Army stores and quickly found exactly what I needed: a small and basic wooden coffee table. I think I paid a little more than $20 for it.


She's really excited about her new bench. Can't you tell? 
I also scored a piece of upholstery fabric for under 3 bucks at the same Salvation Army. Yahoo! What you see is the back of the fabric. I did wash it, but as you can see, I did not iron it. It's just not my thing, okay?


After securing the find of the century a run-of-the-mill coffee table from the 90s, I ran to Joann Fabrics with a 50% off coupon in hand. Here's where it gets ugly. A 4-inch piece of foam that I had cut to the length of my coffee table was 60 dollars. Six. Zero. Whoa, Nelly. I knew it would be expensive, but dang, girl! Figuring I was in pretty deep at this point, I went for it. I also grabbed a large sheet of light-weight batting.

After getting my loot home, I enlisted the help of my favorite husband, Rich, to help me pry the table top off the base. There were several screws involved which were pretty easy, but the thing was also glued down. Once we got it off, I used a marker to trace along the outside edge of the table. Then, I used a serrated bread knife to cut that baby down to size.


Next, I laid the still-not-ironed fabric flat on the floor face down followed by the batting followed by the rectangular cut of foam followed by the table top face down. Before laying the foam or table top on my fabric, I made sure to keep them in line with the pattern on the fabric. It's hard to see in this picture, but I could see the pattern through the back, so it was pretty easy in this case. 





After folding the batting and the fabric over the sides for a rough-measure, I cut the batting so I had enough to wrap and staple. Then, I cut the fabric about an inch and a half wider. Because the pattern on my fabric was pretty linear, it was easy for me to cut a straight line.



I wrapped the batting around and used a staple gun to secure it in several spots. As you can see, I wrapped it kind of like I would a gift. I tried a few different ways, but I thought this looked the best. 



Using the same gift-wrapping method, I wrapped the fabric around and folded the longer edge inside of the batting to give it a more finished look. Again, I stapled in several spots to make sure it was secure. In order to smooth out the many wrinkles, I just made sure to stretch it a bunch before each staple, always making sure to keep it lined up nicely.


Before reattaching the table top, I sanded and stained the legs with Poly Shades Mission Oak, the same color I used on the library file cabinet I worked on a while back. I used the same method this time -- sanded, stained, rubbed with steel wool, stained, let dry for 24 hours.

Finally, using the original holes and screws, my darling husband secured the new bench top into place.

This picture was taken the day we finished it, so you can see the wrinkles really weren't a problem in the end. I really do need to get in the habit of ironing, though. This project sure didn't teach me any lessons.

As you can see, Queen Carly really enjoys her spot on the thrown. Check out the dog-nose-window behind her. She's regal and she's artistic. We got really lucky with this one.


And because I can't resist, this:


All in all, I spent about $75. Considering similar items often cost $150 or more (I've seen them at as much as $699), I'm happy with the outcome. Plus, I can't really put a price on that cute little sleepy face.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Home With a View

I think I need a little Summer in my life. You? 

Two summers ago, I shared with you that we got our house painted. Well, part of our house anyway. Unless we want to fork out the dough for new siding (or figure out a way to paint that too), we're stuck with the yellowish-beige we inherited with the house.


While it went a long way to spruce up the place, we still felt it was lacking in the curb appeal department. It had come a long way from here, though:


I think my camera must have been on a crazy setting for the "after" picture, because the roof sure does look red. It is a reddish-brown, but it's not quite that ruddy. Anyway, we continued to make some for-now improvements including planting some Idontknows, Whoknowswhatthoseflowersarecalleds, and Okaythesewilldos, 




but planting flowers annually (annuals?) that will just die and never come back just seems like a waste of money (and time and effort) to me. It's just not one of my priorities.

So we saved up some cash and hired professional landscapers. Always a good decision. Check it. We went from this:


See that funny, overgrown tree on the left? Oops.
Wowzas.


Yikes is right. Yeah, I heard you. RIP silly little crooked slab o' cement.

to this in 3 days flat:

We wanted a nice paved walkway. They delivered.

Semi-circular paved porch that stands up to the height of the doorway?
AND it's level? Yes, please.

Because they're so expensive and this one was in such good shape, we
opted to save this cute little Japanese Maple.

Curvalicious.





We sure did go with a herringbone patter. Mmm hmm.
We are very happy with it. The part we love most is that it's low-maintenance -- note the Evergreens galore. However, we did hem and haw over the color of the brick, and if we're honest, we're not 110% pleased we picked the red tones, especially since the paver bricks and the porch stones (the ones on the edge that create the semi-circle) didn't end up being exactly the same color. I hate to be picky -- it's a curse -- but I can't help feeling like the exterior of the house still needs...something.

I've had it in the plans to paint the existing mailbox, porch light, and door hardware (or purchase new ones) for a couple years now. I also think some vertical visual interest (something that unfortunate overgrown tree offered) would help. I'm hopeful that in a few years, things will start to grow up and out to fill in those empty spaces. We promise to keep it trimmed, though!

Those things will probably go a long way; but what about that brick? Concrete-colored brick just isn't my idea of pretty. I'm tempted to try my hand at staining the brick, but boy does that scare the living daylights out of me. I'm not certain that's a project I can tackle, and if I mess up, then what?! It doesn't seem that hard, though. Advice? 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

About a Boy

I'm so excited to share this little update!

My cousin, Tara, is having a baby boy in 5 short weeks. This time has just flown by. I can't get over the fact that it really feels like a month (maybe 2) ago that she was telling me she's pregnant. Almost immediately, I decided that I wanted to help her decorate the nursery by buying her little one a dresser. I had big plans to buy an unfinished one from Ikea, and paint it to coordinate with the colors she chose. After much deliberation, I ended up purchasing the HEMNES dresser in gray-brown. I figured I had more choices this way because the gray-brown color as-is could be a nice natural-looking element that might still coordinate with the light gray crib across the room; but I could also still paint the whole dang thing.

While mulling it over in my head, acting on a tip from my aunt, I visited a local boutique called Gracious Seasons and discovered they carry CeCe Caldwell's chalk paint. I picked up several samples, a tub of wax, and a couple brushes to play around with. I did play around and it is some pretty cool stuff! I'll definitely be working with it...on a future project.

I considered color-matching the crib, but worried that it would be too matchy-matchy or not match enough. After she shared her wall color choices with me, I considered using one of them to paint a simple stripe or two across the top of the dresser. I considered hand-painting an argyle pattern across the middle drawers. In fact, I found inspiration from all over the Interwebs:

this sweet little chevron number,
something striped like this,
and these cool little squares that wouldn't change the look of the dresser too much.

In the end, I just wasn't convinced I wanted to do any of them. I felt very paralyzed when I considered that this boy might use this dresser for the next 5? 10? 15? 20? 25? 30? years. I just didn't feel right about altering its look too much. After consulting the mother-to-be, I felt confident that the dresser was a good color. After thinking about it some more, I decided on a less-permanent option: exchanging the hardware.

Below is what I started with. The hardware that came with the dresser wasn't too shabby. The knobs are made of metal and had a nice weight. If left as-is, they would have worked just fine, but I just had to add a personal touch.


Forgive the super-close and pretty dark photos -- the dresser is currently sitting in the middle of the craft room and there's not a lot of wiggle room, the lighting is bad, and I have no interest in opening the shade for natural light because I'm a vampire.


And here's where it ended up:


Aren't the new knobs sweet? I picked all 12 up at Hobby Lobby where they were on sale for 50% off. I spent about $23. It really lightens the whole thing up and gives it a more baby-ish vibe. I went in searching for 12 of the same, but I'm glad it worked out this way. For one thing, they didn't have 12 of any one kind. For another, I think the varying styles give it a very whimsical vibe. Because the drawers get slightly bigger from top to bottom, I decided on a small, round, and white knob for the top 4 drawers, a slightly larger green one for the middle 4 drawers, and a larger-still black and white chevron dude for the bottom 4 drawers.




I plan on giving her the original hardware so she can neutralize it if she ever wants to, but for now, I think it's pretty cute!


I also picked up this cute little tray on clearance for $5.20. The clearance at at the Lobby of Hobbies is pretty beefy right now. I imagine they're trying to clear out last year's stuff.


Tara thinks she wants to use the dresser as a changing area, so I picture the tray holding things like powder and Butt Paste. I love that Butt Paste is an actual thing.


Also, Carly helped. 



I'm so stinkin' excited to meet that little boy. I sure hope this dresser serves him well for a long, long time.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Can anyone hear me?

Hello again! I've been very neglectful of this little blog. While I know I don't have many followers, I do love writing and crafting so it's a shame I've treated it so. Many of the same things consistently go through my mind when thinking about my little slice of the Internet:

  • Should I continue to write when I feel like no one is watching? 
  • Should I even care if people are watching?
  • Is what I write authentic? I like to think it is, but being an avid reader of several popular blogs, I see a lot of inauthentic (from my perspective) content.
  • Speaking of those popular blogs, it'd be great to one day have even half as many followers; but is that possible when it feels like they have such a large piece of the pie and when it feels like blogging is slowly becoming a lost art?
  • Are the projects I do in my home too influenced by Pinterest and the Internet in general? I would really like to focus on finding my style, and that's hard when there's (awesome) inspiration coming from every direction. 
  • Is home decorating what I'm really passionate about? I'm definitely a lover of all things home and all things pretty, but is it what really gets my gears a-movin'? I've toyed with the idea of altering the main content of Walks Like Rain. My main focus right now is work. Work. Work. Work! Because of that, I pour all of my energy into the content that I teach. Should this be a teaching/education blog? Would I be doing myself a disservice to "bring my work home," or would it give me a platform (albeit a small one) on which to stand? 
  • Am I wasting my time? I have a passion for writing, but wouldn't it be more productive and possibly even lucrative to write something else? A short story? A novella? A novel? Articles for a teaching periodical? Heck, maybe even a book for teachers filled with tried-and-true teaching strategies?
At any rate, I have clearly been thinking about the blog. Honestly, it pops into my head at least once a week. Between working full time, finishing my first master's, and now working on completing my second master's, I find it hard to fit it in. I will say, though, it just hasn't been a priority. I tend to grind my teeth when I tell someone about a book I just finished and they retort, "Oh, it's so nice that you read so much. I don't have time for that." I (sometimes) politely tell them that they do have time for it, they just don't make it a priority. The blog is to me as reading is to that person. (I kicked butt at analogies in middle school.) If I really believe in it, I need to make it a priority.

I do realize that there aren't many people who consistently read this blog while it was active, but I'd like to pose the question: Should I keep chugging along? Please let me know what you think. 

Thanks to anyone who's still listening! :)