Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Go Green Get Fit Challenge Update

Half-way through the Go Green Get Fit challenge, I'm declaring a do-over.

I confess: I have been up to my eyeballs with a huge corporate deadline looming at the end of next month. My typically coping patterns: Snack. Or take a walk around the block during the workday to vent - the latter of which has been derailed by the last months' 90 and 100-degree temperatures.

So my sugars are off. My stress levels are up. My kids are feeding off of it, and the air quality is so bad that I'm even reluctant to take them to the pool.  A recipe for bad news on the scale.

I've been sucking down Diet Cokes left and right to stay on track. It's not a great sign for my health.

I could keep complaining. Or I could declare a do-over.

A few days ago, I had a realization. If I don't take care of mom, who will take care of the family?

So I quit making excuses and just did it. I've gone walking-running most mornings, and often take a pint-size running partner with me if he is up early enough. (Why not share healthy habits now?)

I bought portion-controlled fruit juice packs and bulk nuts to have on hand in the office - no more excuses to reach for cookies at the front desk.

I packed my lunch.

I signed up for my first race since I was pregnant with my 4 1/2 year old.

I took my children for walks and pool-walked while my kids happily splashed in the shallow end of the pool.

And I feel better already.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Edible Fire Safety Tutorial for Kids and Scouts

With the recent drought and wildfires in this country, teaching kids fire safety is even more important than ever. 

I loved this lesson we had during Girl Scout camp, which taught the girls how to safely start and put out a campfire for cooking.

Edible fire safety lesson for Scouts
What you'll need:

  • mini marshmallows and/or cheerios
  • pretzels
  • potato sticks
  • red hots, hot tamales or other candy
  • candy corn
  • cups
  • plates

  1. Pull back your hair.
  2. Create a safety circle outside your "fire circle." (Make sure the area is clear around your plate.)
  3. Fill a "water bucket" (a cup) and keep nearby.
  4. Make your fire circle ring with cheerios or mini marshmallows.
  5. Create an A-frame of "logs" with your pretzels.
  6. Make a teepee of "tinder" (potato sticks).
  7. Light with a match (red hots or hot tamales).
  8. Add your "kindling" (short pretzels or Chinese noodles).
  9. Candy corn will show it's burning brighter. (optional)
The girls loved this activity, and we were sure to plan an active activity soon after!
Follow Robbie @'s board Girl Scout Camp on Pinterest.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Second-Chance Gardening

Yes, the drought destroyed my spring garden, but I'm not giving up hope. After all we're only halfway to frost date!

Today at the Green Phone Booth, I'm sharing plans for my second-chance garden.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Getting their Goats

When I heard there was a goat farm in the middle of suburban Carmel, I had to check it out.

So on a hot summer Sunday, the kids and I joined members of Slow Food Indy at a tour of What the Goat Farm, located not far off of U.S. 31 and Main Street.

My son dived in and wanted to hang out with the goats in the barn, but my daughter was a bit reluctant once she heard the eager goats might jump up on her. She finally warmed up though, and was thrilled to find out they loved the asparagus that had bolted. The kids fed them handfuls of grass and asparagus shoots for an hour.

I have to admit, they are awfully cute!

I wanted to "complete the cycle" so to speak and show the kids what the goats could contribute. Since What the Goat Farm doesn't yet sell goat milk products or have a working kitchen, we decided to take our journey elsewhere. 

After giving the goats lots of attention, we went on to Whole Foods, where we splurged on all things goat. We examined the goat milk products in the dairy aisle and settled on a yogurt smoothie. My daughter bonded with the cheese guy as he gave her sample after sample of various types of goat cheese. The kids poured over the goat milk soaps and insisted on a bar for each. So it wasn't the cheapest excursion - as anyone who has lulled into the treats at Whole Foods knows - but the kids loved their day of goats.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Easy worm bin for vemicomposting

Vermicomposting has been on my list of things to try, but I will be honest in that I've been a bit reluctant to step foot into the world of composting with worms.

After an evening composting class where I saw a worm bin - created out of a file box - I figured it was worth a try. My oldest child is obsessed with worms, and after all, didn't they want a pet?

The owner parted with a cupful of worms, and armed with directions, we created our worm bin in about five minutes.

I reused a styrofoam cooler that was used to ship insulin to me. It's been collecting dust in my garage for a year, as I've never really known what to do with it. 

I poked holes for air in the lid.

Inside, we added the recommended mix of worm food: Shredded papers (newspapers and others), a banana (covered to deter fruit flies) and some dill and weeds. We mixed in the container of worms and, well, worm poop, and are letting them do their thing!

My little guy's job is to feed the worms - I learned that  a pound of worms might eat 1/2 pound of food each week, and they love banana peels and eggs. My oldest's job is to make sure the environment stays damp but not drippy.

It will be an interesting experiment to say the least!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quick homemade ice cream

Hand-cranked ice cream made by my mother-in-law is one of my favorite memories of summer. But, being a diabetic and aiming to reduce clutter in my home, I don't have the desire to buy and store an ice cream maker for the occasional summer treat for my kids.

Instead, I stumbled on a simple recipe for homemade ice cream that's portion-controlled and quick to make! The kids loved the process, and in 10 minutes - just a few quick songs on our playlist - they had a cool treat on a hot summer day.

Easy vanilla ice cream
1/2 c. half and half or whipping cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. sugar
Put in a small plastic bag and seal.

In a gallon bag, add 6 tbsp. ice cream salt or kosher salt, then fill halfway with ice. Add the small baggie; seal the large bag. Shake 10 minutes for a soft-serve consistency.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Go Green Get Fit Update

Like many women, I dread getting on the scale. Especially at the doctor, where it's public and documented for all history.

But this week, I got an unexpected surprise.

"You've lost weight, girl! You're down 11 pounds from last year!" the NP announced in my room.

It was a great feeling, especially since I've felt challenged with my weight of late. I've plateaud for months, and have really struggled with energy levels the last two weeks. The heat has taken its toll, as well as stress at work. I've struggled with exhaustion every morning this week, barely getting out of bed. This morning I've realized a pattern: unexpectedly high morning blood sugars like I've neever seen before. And it's not obviously diet-related.

Despite challenges, I've been focusing on sneaking in exercise when I can. Even on my late morning wake-ups, I make sure I get in 15 minutes of stretching and strength work before I get the kids up. And even if I'm playing with my kids at the pool, I'm making sure I'm always moving, not sitting at the sidelines.

My health got here in a series of steps. And it will get better in baby steps, too.

How is your challenge going?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Everything I know about diabetes I re-learned at Girl Scout Camp

Going to Girl Scout camp for the first time in more than two decades, I had one goal: Have enough energy to make it through the day with 16 Brownies.

But little did I know I'd learn a few lessons from a little girl named Lauren.

Lauren has type 1 diabetes and was diagnosed this spring, but she never let her "condition" stop her from enjoying life. And she never stopped life from taking care of her health.

Lesson 1: Diabetes care is a team approach, and we should all look after each other.

Another leader would talk in hushed terms about her needing to sneak away for blood sugar testing or an insulin injection at the nurses's station. Having been diabetic for 15 years, I knew the more open you are about your diabetes, the easier it is for others to help in a time of crisis.

So I took her under my wing. I told her we were blood sugar buddies, and we'd check our sugars together at the nurse's station (even though I carry my meter at all times). By the end of the week, we were comparing notes and playing "beat the blood sugar." More important, she felt comfortable enough coming to me when she felt shaky so we could get her care.

Lesson 2: Take care of yourself.

Being diabetic for so long, I have been burnt out on my care on more occasions than I should count. I confess that with work schedules of late, my testing had been infrequent - going for days in some cases. (Luckily I am in fairly good control and can tell my highs and lows.) Lauren reminded me that to be your best self, you have to take care of yourself.

It's not an all-or-nothing approach. I'd been testing more frequently that week and virtually cutting out insulin since we were averaging eight to nine miles of hiking each day. The morning after our sleepover, I wrestled with the resulting morning 160 from two s'mores and no insulin. Her response? A very serious, "You need to walk more!" and starting up a funny hiking game on our route to the lodge.

Lesson 3: Who cares if you're diabetic?

Yes, there are days when blood sugars rule your day. But that doesn't mean they rule you. What I admired about Lauren so much was that she was the last to leave the pool, the most stubborn at attacking the rock-climbing wall, the first to join a group game. Diabetes was part of her, but it wasn't her. And I can't let that be an excuse for me, either.