Tuesday, July 26, 2011

CLOSED: If It's Math You're Looking For, You've Found It in Sokikom!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

Summer is nearly over. I didn't get the memo...

I have been too busy eating bucket-loads of tiny ice cubes, trying to keep cool. My teeth might fall out.

For the most part we have been stuck in the house because trying to play outside, in weather with a heat index over 100, is like deciding to sit in the oven to watch your cookies bake. It's flippin' impossible!!

It's so hot, I don't even have a tan. I am just bright-red from over-heating, not sun exposure.

So, what do you do with 2 kids who have rotated through every toy/game they have, kids whose imaginary friends are no longer getting along, kids you will NOT allow to play video games all.day.long? Well...

You make them do MATH! AAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAAHAHAHAAA!

Thankfully, for my kids, this does not mean they are using an abacus or balancing my checkbook...or using an abacus to balance my checkbook...oh no...

They are enjoying the opportunity of trying out a brand new on-line math program, called Sokikom!

And guess what? If you enter this giveaway (see directions below), and win, you get a 6-month free subscription of this program for your children! YAY!

Funded by the Department of Education, Sokikom is not only an on-line math program for grades 1-6, it is also a SOCIAL SITE where your kids can engage with other children in a safe and productive way, all while learning math skills that follow national common core standards!!

Sokikom tailors instruction to each child, allowing them to learn at their own pace, constantly making adjustments in the math games to match your child's current level, all while giving them the opportunity to quickly progress in areas they excel in.

For people like me, who homeschool, this offers many advantages, including the ability to track my kids' progress and alert me (though their Alert Center) to areas they could use a bit of help in. It's great to be able to access the Alert Center, and see that my daughter, who is in 2nd grade, is functioning in many math concepts at a 3rd grade level, while at the same time informing me of the areas she needs work in, and where she falls within the common core standards.

And, the kids love the program!

They can design their own characters, or avatars, and as they gain coins through the game they can work on their avatars, changing clothes and accessories. They also receive rewards as they progress through the games, keeping them motivated and excited to take on each new challenge. Their favorite game is the Opirate game, where they answer math problems and locate treasure as they progress in the game.

The social aspect of the program is incredibly safe, as children engage in games, both cooperative and competitive, you can rest assured that personal information cannot be shared, and children can only communicate through pre-determined notes and codes/hints as they work together, or while competing, in the games.

One of the aspects I liked most about this program, is I simply set up the kids' account and said, "go for it!"


Being a homeschooling mom, sometimes I don't want to be involved in my kids' learning. What I mean by that is, I savor every opportunity I have to step back and allow them to self-explore, self-teach and problem solve all on their own! This program allows for that! The navigation and instruction designed into the program meant I did not need to explain anything. That, my friends, is amazing.

I also appreciate the email updates I receive from the Sokikom support team about my kids' progress, and I also truly appreciate that this program was designed by a man named Snehal Patel, who was a tutor for children, and designed the program to specifically address the challenges and issues he was encountering consistently, with the goal to make math a fun and engaging social experience, while improving overall performance. Very very cool.

Sokikom
is in the process of adding new games, and further tailoring the site to meet the needs of children, educators, and parents alike. It is currently in 100 schools across the nation, and they are open and encouraged by feedback and communication on their product.

And they are offering to you, dear readers, a free 6-month, full-access subscription!!!

YOU WANT THIS DON'T YOU!?! OH YES YOU DO! HERE IS HOW TO ENTER! I LOVE TO SCREAM!

REQUIRED:

1. Tell me how much you would love to win the free 6-month trial of the entire program. Make it full of drama and gut-busting humor. Or just tell me you really really really really want to win. Worth one entry.

OPTIONAL:
2. Become a fan on Facebook...click HERE to do so and come back here, commenting to tell me that you did it, with the name I need to look for to verify. Worth one entry.

3. Sign up for a free trial account, giving you full access to ONE game, the Frachine (fractions) game, immediately! THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS THE FULL VERSION I AM GIVING AWAY. IT'S JUST A TASTE. Worth two entries.

4. Blog about this giveaway, linking this post directly in your own post. Come back here with your blog link to let me know you blogged! Once verified it is worth three entries.

5. Follow Sokikom on Twitter! Come back here and tell me you are in the comments. Worth one entry.

6. Tweet about it! You may tweet ONCE PER DAY, FOR 10 DAYS, THE LENGTH OF THE GIVEAWAY. Please leave a separate comment for each tweet with the tweet link so I can verify. Don't forget to mention @sokikom AND @insanitykim!!!! Total entries are one per day for a possible total of ten!

Now, add up the total amount of entries possible...if you cannot, well then it's a good thing you're entering!!!

This giveaway will run 10 days, starting today, Tuesday, July 26th and will end Friday, August 5th, at 3pm EST. At that time I will use the Random Number Generator (RNG) to pick a winner. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If I do not hear from said winner I will use the RNG to pick a new winner.

And there you have it! Yay! So, peel yourself out of your chair and enter now! I SO hope you win! And by you of course I mean, you...




This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact insanitynbliss@gmail.com.

I provide reviews and giveaways as a packaged deal, I do not provide review only or giveaway only posts. This blog requires compensation, and all shipping costs paid, for review/giveaway packages in the form of receiving the review product for me and/or my family, not to be returned. I give exception to any independent business owners of handmade items, as found on Etsy, and I will host giveaways for such business owners without the need for review and/or compensation.

I am not monetarily compensated to provide my opinion on products I review and/or giveaway. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. If I claim or appear to be well-informed and versed on a certain topic or product or service area, I will do so only endorsing products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

I will always be honest and forthcoming with my readers and the businesses I work with, providing the best review/giveaway posts that I can.

And lastly, I reserve the right to change or amend any part of this disclosure as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Dog Who Had Worms: A Year in Review

Well, he's all grown up.

Our little chihuahua, Zimmel, is now a year old. We haven't had him for a full year just yet, but, all the same we are celebrating the first year of his life and reflecting on how he has changed and enriched our family. We talk about it all the time. It goes like this:

Me: "Where's the dog?"

Jake: "I don't know? Z? Z?"

Me: "You're supposed to be watching him! Audge where is he?"

Audge: "I'm reading a book!"

Me: "KIDS! I AM CLEANING/RESTING/BLOGGING/HIDING YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE WATCHING HIM!"

Jake: "Oh, there he is! He has broccoli! Is that poisonous to him?"

Audge: "He snuck in the trash again!"

Jake: "Here Zim! Here boy!" *chasing dog around while he litters tiny pieces of broccoli all over the place*

Me: "Blargh."

Zimmel is basically attached to me, and of course this is because I am the one who feeds him, plays with him, gazes out the window with him and snuggles him at bed time. He follows me around like my shadow is made of bacon bits, but only listens when he wants to, which is never. The Dog Whisperer helped us a bit, but, our whispers are more like, really loud pleading and promises with hidden agendas. He is not swayed by our techniques, unless there is a Buddy Biscuit involved...

My living room floor is littered with bones and mangled dog toys and probably millions of tiny dog hairs the size of eyelashes. Sometimes locating a bone is more stressful than trying to find a 10-month-old's binky, and nothing is worse than getting to him too late as he swallows a "mystery" object. He is still full of energy, and in the mornings he greets me with a serious charging-bull stance, thrusting his back legs backwards and growling, right before he grabs anything nearby to force me to play with him. I fill a Kong full of organic healthy dog treats (can we say he is UBER spoiled??) which he is able to dislodge in seconds. Then, his almond-sized brain snaps, and he runs in circles for minutes on-end (remember, he is tiny) before collapsing into a fit of reverse sneezes (have you ever witnessed a reverse sneeze? Check it out) at which time I must comfort him and assure him that he is not going to die or cough up his trachea.


The kids love him, but he easily tires of their high-pitched sweet nothings and constant man-handling, so he nips and growls until I show up and everyone involved is threatened encouraged to play in a structured way.

He is starting to calm down a bit though, he now loves to look out the window, and, he is realizing that sitting in our laps quietly has its rewards. Now, let me share a few special tidbits about our Zimmy:

1. He doesn't bark. The dog has probably barked about 20 times in his whole life, and even in those times he only seemed half-committed to the act. In some ways this is the most awesome thing ever. He's like a loud cat. But cooler.

2. He killed Pink Poodle. Pink Poodle was one of Audge's favorite stuffed animals, and she selflessly gave it to Zimmel when he was a wee-little weakling, as seen here:




And today, thanks to his power and might, she is missing an ear, her tail, most of the stuffing in her head, and her leg is being held together by a sock and rubber band:



Audge simply cannot let go of Pink Poodle, so she puts the mangled mess in places Zimmel cannot usually reach. Since the mangling we have purchased several stuffed toys for him, which he demolishes in 2.7 days. We either have a really strong chi or these toys are plain crap. Speaking of crap...

3. Worms no longer come out of his butt, but that doesn't mean I am not still constantly grossed out. Zimmel picks up a lot of hair it seems. Audge's hair, and his intestines have some serious crafting skills, because he is constantly making poop garland that has to be manually removed from his butt, so he doesn't dart around the house trying to escape from the dingleberries attacking him. There is nothing like pulling hair out of a very tight sphincter. Moving on.

4. He LOVES coffee, pencils and paper. Now, if only he would use these three items to sit down and write inspired blog posts for me I would be a frickin' millionaire. Instead he just finds ways to steal these items and eat them before we can stop him. He drinks coffee like it's the last pool of liquid left on earth and he renders pencils useless in about 0.3 seconds. Paper, he rips into tiny shreds and litters them all over the house while we chase him.

5. He has his own Facebook page.

...

Did you just spit your drink all over your keyboard? Yes. He plays Cityville and tells people he loves them all the time. He brings joy to many a friend's life. You should see how many birthday wishes he received! And he has another friend on there, who is also a chihuahua. I have no idea who the owners are but, it seems that Zimmel and Jackson Chewstick Metcalfe are pretty dang close. He gets really angry when I forget his password.

6. He is HUGE! Somehow our family fosters the growth of ginormous chihuahuas. His dad was a mere 3 pounds, and Zimmel must be 20 pounds. Or six. I'll know for sure when we take him in for his check-up. But I tell you, maybe it's the food, or our constant love and affection, or the food, but, he is a monster. I can barely pick him up.

7. He has the cleanest paws and backside you have ever witnessed on a dog. As most of you may know, he does his business in what is called a Potty Park. This is so I don't have to stand outside, at 2 am, fighting off diseased cave crickets and potential rabid bats that want to take Zimmel away for a midnight snack.




See? You want to hang around with these creatures? I think not!

And I clean this potty park with bleach and soap and whatever else I have every couple of days. We even catch his poo on a piece of toilet paper so it doesn't taint the plastic grass. Even so, each time the dog potties he gets a cleaning, with a baby wipe and copious amounts of hand sanitizer. Each paw, and his butt, (see number 3 again if you think I am whack) is wiped clean after each potty moment. Remember I am just lazy enough that I don't bleach my chicken before I cook it. Being my friend can be a challenge.

8. He will love you forever. Z is not a regular chi. He is friendly and loves kids and all adults. He will put his ears back and wag his crooked tail and he won't shake all over the place. Ever since he was a mere 1.9 pounds, he has been held by all different kinds of people and children. We took him to soccer games, Best Buy and a local bookstore regularly. At the vet's office they drew little pink hearts all over his chart. I am sure though somewhere in there it says, "beware of owner, we think she might bite." That said, even people who don't like chihuahuas, like him.

And there you have it. When we first got him I was convinced it wasn't going to work. He was so sick. But, perseverance and a lot of love made him into one of the sweetest little pups a person could hope for. We love you Zimmel! Here's to 20 more years of happiness with you (just stop drinking my coffee).





Friday, June 10, 2011

And The Winner of the Donkey Salt and Pepper Shaker from Vintage Umbrella on Etsy (pant pant) Is...

COMMENT #2! DEE! YOU WON A PIECE OF...VINTAGE DINNER ACCESSORIES! YES!

See?
So see, sometimes it DOES pay to be first in line on the comment list! Congrats Dee! And thanks to all who entered! If you're sad and crying you can go visit Living In France to win an English tin and vintage cookie cutters, also from Vintage Umbrella! WOOT! Have a great weekend y'all!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! 30 Days of Standing COMPLETE! PAT ME ON THE BACK AND CALL ME ASSOME!

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!

I DIIIIIIIIIIIID IIIIIIIIIIIIIT!

For 30 days, I stood instead of sat. I didn't think it could be done, but I did it!

OK enough of that (for now) I'm not going to bore you with my reflections of the month (yet) because now we must CELEBRATE WITH A GIVEAWAY!

Yes, to congratulate myself, I am giving something away to you, my readers. That's how amazing I am.

And see, this one is extra special. Not only is the item from my partner in crime's (she's also my beef) incredible etsy shop, it has special meaning. Extra special meaning.

I must admit I laughed heartily when I came up with the whole acronym thing throughout my standing posts, and my first acronym was for my first obstacle to standing, my ASS (Accidentally Started to Sit) moments. I have never said the word, or typed the word ASS so much in my life.

It's funny. It is. I ASSed a lot. And you who tried to stand along with me, your ASSes were all over the place.

See? And to celebrate my accomplishment, and the ASS acronym, I am giving away this...

this...

this...

Donkey!!! Isn't he ASSOME???



See? Oh man. Am I the only one laughing here? HEEE HAAAAAW HEEE HAAAAAAAAAAAW!

Maybe standing has taken all the blood from my brain. Anyway...

This donkey is VINTAGE, and brought to you by Vintage Umbrella, the HOTTEST new vintage shop on etsy! I'm not being cheesy! He a spicy one I tell you, as he is the proud carrier of two little bales of hay, which are actually salt and pepper shakers!




But please, don't shake your...donkey. He is vintage. You will need to take good care of him, make him a clever little centerpiece, a conversation piece! Sit your...donkey on a side table, or somewhere on a bookshelf. Better yet look through Vintage Umbrella and buy him some friends!

You want to win him, don't you? You bet your donkey you do! Here's how to enter:


MANDATORY:
1. Visit Vintage Umbrella on Etsy, and come back here to comment, telling me what your favorite item is! This counts as one entry.


OPTIONAL:
2. Become a fan on Facebook, come back here and comment, telling me you did so. Once verified this will count as one entry.

3. Tweet about this! Tweet with a link to this giveaway, and mention me, (@insanitykim). Come back here and comment with the tweet link. YOU CAN DO THIS ONCE A DAY FOR THE DURATION OF THE GIVEAWAY, GIVING YOU 10 SEPARATE ENTRIES.

4. Blog about this! Blog with a link back to this post about this giveaway and receive THREE more entries! Come back here and comment with the link to your post.

5. BUY SOMETHING! Go to Vintage Umbrella, use the code BLISS15 at checkout to receive 15% off your order! Purchases should be made within the 10 days of the giveaway to count for entries! Once it is verified you will receive TEN EXTRA ENTRIES!

This giveaway will end at 12pm EST on June 10th, 2011. At that time I will visit the Random Number Generator (RNG) and a winner will be chosen. The winner will have 3 days to respond. If I do not hear from said winner, I will visit the RNG again and choose a new winner.


So get off your...backside and go to it! Wooooot! Thanks to all who supported and cheered me on during the challenge. You all rock!

OH! And I hope you win. And by you I mean, you.



This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me. For questions about this blog, please contact insanitynbliss@gmail.com.

I provide reviews and giveaways as a packaged deal, I do not provide review only or giveaway only posts. This blog requires compensation, and all shipping costs paid, for review/giveaway packages in the form of receiving the review product for me and/or my family, not to be returned. I give exception to any independent business owners of handmade items, as found on Etsy, and I will host giveaways for such business owners without the need for review and/or compensation.

I am not monetarily compensated to provide my opinion on products I review and/or giveaway. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely my own. If I claim or appear to be well-informed and versed on a certain topic or product or service area, I will do so only endorsing products or services that I believe, based on my expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

I will always be honest and forthcoming with my readers and the businesses I work with, providing the best review/giveaway posts that I can.

And lastly, I reserve the right to change or amend any part of this disclosure as needed on a case-by-case basis.

Monday, May 30, 2011

2 Days, 4 pounds, And A Mysterious Leg Dent...

The finish line is in sight!

I have almost completed my goal!

I'LL SOON BE BLOGGING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE!!!

If you're lost, go click on the dead guy up in the right column...you have a ton of catching up to do.

As my daughter said to her grandpa on the phone a few days ago, "yeah, mom is good...she sure stands a lot!"

Yes...my new moniker? IK STANDS-A-LOT! (IK = Insanitykim...c'mon now...)

That's right. Too legit to quit. Hard Core. Downright insane.

Did I mention I have a dent in my leg?

Yeah, it was quite mysterious. It's right in the front of my right thigh. At first I thought it was from rapid weight loss, and my cellulite was going on some crazy, "YOU CAN'T DESTROY MEEEE" rampage and decided to make a HUGE dent in my leg. It's deep. It freaked me out. My next logical thought was...

Aliens?

I mean, how does someone get a DENT in their leg out of nowhere?

Then yesterday, I figured out what was happening...the dent was caused by STANDING!

YES! STANDING!

No...not really the standing...

See, I often stand with my left foot perched up on a chair, and the other, of course, on the ground. And when I do that, I rest my thigh against the edge of the table...

People, this might be as bad as Africa on my back!

When I realized what I had been doing on and off FOR A MONTH I quickly tried to stop, thinking a rigorous massage and a good night sleep would make it go away.

IT'S STILL THERE!

What am I going to do? How am I gonna wear my Daisy Dukes this summer and not horrify people with this huge, deforming dent in my thigh?

AHAHAHAHAHAHHAHHAAAAA! That sentence is all kinds of wrong.

So for 6 months I lived with the map of Africa on my back, now, I will walk around with this "my-she-must-have-pretty-bad-edema" dent on my leg. Sigh.

In other news, GOOD news, I have lost 4 pounds in a week on this diet!

WOOOOOOHOOOOOO!

Granted, it's a LOW calorie LOW carb HIGH protein diet but, so far it's working. Not only that, my overall skin tone is better and I in fact am holding less water weight. It might be true that this initial weight loss is ALL water but, who wants to be lugging around 4 pounds of extra water in their tissues? Am I Spongebob? Noooooo...

I have been doing incredibly well, actually...tons of yogurt and lean fish and bucketloads of vegetables hasn't been all that bad. I haven't craved carbs, or become dizzy and collapsed, or sneaked out in the middle of the night and broken into a Dunkin' Donuts...yet. Well, I hadn't craved carbs until, yesterday...

It really started Friday night when my family enjoyed their fantastic Friday night pizza, made with tons of AWESOME by my lovely hubs. I ate a Greek scramble. That's eggs with Greek stuff in it. Like, feta cheese and Kalamata olives...not bad, but, not pizza. Then last night, I made chicken stir fry, and ate no noodles.

NO NOODLES!

Usually, I eat stir fry like this: TONS of noodles, a few veggies, and 2 pieces of chicken.

Last night: TONS of chicken, LOADS of veggies. No noodles.

So, so sad.

Now, the stir fry was very very good...yes, yes it was, but I kinda felt the whole, "I am gonna eat carpet fibers and pull out my eyelashes" part of my being start to emerge. Carbs are EVIL I tell you! EEEEEVIIIIILLLL!

Last night I dreamed I was with my mom and her friend, and I was trying to serve them copious amounts of bread-based desserts, smothered in frosting, and instead of eating it with them I stood at the kitchen sink, washing about 2,456 metal serving bowls while looking out the window at an outside faucet that was spewing water everywhere, and my neighbor, Yoko Ono, came out to turn it off.

And I am going to stop there, since that was kind of scary, and I will be blogging about my standing accomplishment very soon. It's also Memorial Day. I'll forgive you if you're sitting in the sunshine, eating a burger and enjoying the day, not reading my post. I might not like you all that much though...kidding! Kind of...

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

7 Days to My Goal! I am SO Excited I Could Pee! Literally, I NEED TO PEE!

Seven.days.left.

Not until the end of the world, people, until the end of my standing challenge.

I don't know if anyone cares anymore but, SEVEN.DAYS.LEFT!

I must say that I am consistently standing 5-6 hours before even thinking about sitting! Yesterday the only time I sat was when I had to drive! My feet and legs don't hurt anymore, except a tiny bit at the very end of the day...I am pretty shocked y'all, that I was able to do this. And I am certain I will not go back to sitting more than 3 hours a day. I have no reason to! My bestie from HS sent me this link on the "optional" standing desk. I think someone should build this for me. Yes, yes I do.

Buuuuuuuut as you know, however, the standing did not yield any weight loss; every Monday I checked my weight and measurements and nothing changed, in fact it got WORSE when Aunt Flo visited. So, if I have gained any health benefits, I have not seen them on the scale or measuring tape. And as I told you, this Monday I would start a new eating plan. And I did.

Because psh. I am not doing this challenge for my health...I am doing this to fit into my swimsuit in about 2 weeks! I live in a place with a community pool teeming with college girls and two children with marginal-swimming skills who want to live at the pool. HELLLOOOOO CAN YOU SAY FOR THE FRICKIN FRACK?

So this new diet eating plan I am using is from a book by Dr. Mike Moreno called The 17 Day Diet. I know. Sounds like a fad. But here's the thing people, if it's written out for me, in big black bold letters (which it is, and he's quite funny I must say!) I can do it. If I am left to my own devices, I will continue to eat chocolate cake for breakfast, even though I know better. And plus I have a good friend who is doing the plan and she has achieved awesome results...she is even blogging about it from time to time. Check it out.

Also, you can read a review HERE and check out his website HERE but, this is my one-word take on this plan...here we go:

Thisdietplanmakesyousufferemmensilyfor17dayseatingeggsandyogurtandthenafterthatotherphasescomethatletyoueatmoreandmorefooduntilattheendyouhaveanewwayofeatingthatallowsyoutomaintainyourawesomeweightlossANDeatwhatyouwant!

WHEW!

I started on Monday and, though I KNOW it's water weight at this point, ( I am on the 1st cycle, day 3 of 17 on Accelerate) 3.8 pounds has disappeared from the scale...

I don't care if it's water-weight, extra hair, skin cells, or hot air.

I LOST 3.8 POUNDS ALREADY PEOPLE!!!

FLIPPIN' FLIPPIN' HAPPY DANCE!

What can I say, I am a sucker for instant results...

But seriously, I have faith in the program because I like the foods involved later in the plan, exercise is not over-demanding, and his final eating plan is do DOABLE! And if you gain weight, you just start back at cycle one!

So that is all I am gonna say about that because he's not paying me or anything. Psh.

Except I'll say more. I kinda feel like I am on Survivor right now. But I don't have to eat bugs, and I am not being eaten by bugs, nor am I being forced to sleep next to a hairy smelly guy just to keep warm.

Did you know there is a Survivor Diet? Sheesh.

I mean, I am eating less, though more often and waaaaaaaaaay healthy. I am eating salad. Blech. And drinking water. DOUBLE BLECH!

Yesterday, I went grocery shopping. I got all these vegetables that were in the book, like a good girl, and then I spent HOURS cleaning them and prepping them and cutting them and assembling them and cooking chicken vegetable soup! I tell you, I nearly had a nervous breakdown! I was tired and starving, but I had to make this stupid super salad in order to eat! I kept telling myself, "there is only one way to eat an elephant..." and suddenly, I WANTED TO EAT AN ELEPHANT!

And here is my stupid super salad:


And I tell you, after eating basically eggs, yogurt and fish for two days, this salad, topped with raspberry vinaigrette, was the best fricken' thing I had eaten in what seemed like YEARS!

Today, for the 3rd day's lunch, I made home-made chicken soup, sans noodles, according to his specifications. Except I made my own soup. Here is the recipe...you'll love it for reals:

-Rotisserie chicken, lemon or herb
-Pot of Water
-4 large carrots
-6 stalks of celery
-5 to 6 cloves of fresh garlic, cut into halves
- Bottom portion of 2 leeks
-Bunch of fresh cilantro (optional)
-2 bay leaves
-TBS of dried sweet basil
-1/2 of a fresh lemon
-Salt and pepper to taste
-Season salt to taste
-Cayenne pepper (optional)

So you just tear off the chicken in big chunks and set in the fridge while you boil the entire chicken carcass in a pot of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer for about 30-45 min. Remove the carcass and then add your chicken and veggies, which are cut into big chunks. (I chop the leeks into big wheels because they will basically disintegrate.) Then add your 1/2 lemon, cilantro (cut up), and bring to a boil and then back down to simmer. Add the sweet basil and bay leaves and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir and then season to taste.

Everyone knows not to eat the Bay leaf right? Right.

I tell you. This is the best chicken soup EVER. Yes it is. Don't argue. I am sure your grandmother is nice and all but...mine is better. In fact here is it. You know you want some.


So, with the standing, and being on my way to better eating habits, I truly hope I am making strong and lasting lifestyle changes.

Except I hate water.

Here's why...

Water tastes bad. And actually I have to drink it warm with lemon, or in the form of club soda, to even choke down one glass. I am drinking about 4 glasses a day right now, not counting my coffee or tea, and I feel like I am downing an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And maybe you all don't know this, but there is NO REAL SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE that we MUST drink 8 glasses of water a day. That's right water drinkers. You're gonna have to accept this fact.

Case in point...

I am peeing like Niagara Falls.

Is that natural? Really? I mean, should I be racing to the toilet 8 times a day, spraying urine like a fireman's hose? Should I suffer through the night with a full bladder? Because see, my body doesn't wake me up if my bladder is about to burst. Nooooo. It just concocts NIGHTMARES in which I am running around looking for a bathroom, only to find a toilet sitting out in a public square with people everywhere, or toilets with feces all over them or totally clogged or something gross and terrible like that. Thank the LORD I have not found a clean, private, usable toilet yet...

I do not enjoy these recurring nightmares.

And there you go people, Day 23 half-way over. Is anyone still following this? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

If so, I leave you with this, a little Richard Simmons, Disco-style, to keep you motivated. Man, I hope the videos I post aren't the reason people aren't reading. Anyway you one person, enjoy.





Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Day 17-19: Heaving, Treadmills and Bankers Boxes...

LinkDay 19. For REAL!

And, let me just say, I realize these posts might be getting a bit redundant and...ahem...boring...for some of you.

Welcome to REAL LIFE! MY LIFE!

Anyway...

As some of you might recall, I have 7 hours to make up from this last weekend's POST (putting of standing temporarily) fest, and guess what!?!?! On Day 17 I stood for an extra hour! Only 6 hours to make up! Woot! I have 11 days to make it up, to get to the 300 hours of standing time. I said I wasn't gonna get all fanatical over this but, six hours ain't gonna keep me from my goal!

Right now I am taking one of my 30-minute sitting breaks. These days my feet don't scream out in relief when I finally sit, and then cuss me out when I start to stand again. In fact sitting is kinda...weird.

Now I can't believe I used to sit all day long!

Granted, some nights are harder to complete, especially when I am standing while watching Dancing With the Stars in the middle of my bedroom, 5 inches from my bed, where my hubby is sprawled out all comfy and happy but, I do what I gotta do, ya know?

And, let me take a moment to give a BIG shout out (WOOOOOHOOOOO!) to all the girls who are standing with me, despite perils such as backs going-out, stomach flu outbreaks and ankle nerves tweaking. Seriously, you all are SO hard core!

None of those ailments were caused by standing I have been assured, or else you're all trying to save me from extreme guilt and self-loathing...



OH! By the way, I have upgraded my computer stand to a banker's box and some old school books. Awesome, no?

Maybe someday I can afford something a little more...stylish? Practical? Stylish?

Working out this week went pretty well too. I never actually vomited, though I did heave one or two times. Heaving does work out your stomach muscles, even though it looks terrible, and could start a chain-reaction of heaving, vomiting people all around you. I don't recommend heaving in a step-aerobics class. Not only are you in an enclosed, hot and sweaty room, there are steps, which would get slippery. That's just all kinds of bad right there...

I do chuckle now though, when I think about how I used to sit all morning, and then drag myself off the couch to do some tae bo, whining and complaining, until I was back to sitting on the couch. Quite honestly I can see why that method does not work. It's like me adding a Slim Fast to my regular diet, and thinking I am gonna lose 2 pounds a week...

Standing just seems natural now. I can't imagine going back to the way I was...I am not even counting down the days, I am just excited to complete the hours!

I found this blogger who did the same challenge (back in 2008, so much for Original Thought! ha!), and two months later this blogger was STILL standing and bought a stand-up desk as a reward (they started out like me though, with a pile of books and stuff).

I wonder, 3 years later, if this blogger is still standing?

It seems all this "standing is good for you" info was out back in 2008 (so all the new articles must be due to slow news days, or simply more compelling evidence) and this article states the same benefits regarding metabolism and fat-burning, which is the best two-word phrase I know!

But let me hand you all some better news; you don't actually need to stand CONTINUALLY to get the benefits. No. You don't.

Nope.

I am still doing my challenge, but, this isn't the only way...

As long as you are getting up a couple of times an hour and stretching, flexing your leg muscles, getting more coffee or water, or walking around, etc. you are basically getting the same benefits of standing continually without the possible negative effects like sore back and feet, varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Ew.

But, ONLY IF you are sitting 3 hours OR LESS a day. Total. That includes driving. And sitting on the toilet.

That tiny bit of info is KEY.

So, how will daily life look for me once the 30 day strict standing-only challenge is up?

I am not sure, but, I am certain it will involve a schedule. I am the kind of person who thrives on a schedule. If it is set up for me, I will do it.

I think that means I am lazy, actually...

But, I am hoping to have some routine in place that includes a certain amount of stretching, cleaning, exercising, playing with the dog and kids, and walking outside.

And remember, this Monday I am starting a new diet plan, that I hope will also become part of a lifestyle and not some fad.

So if any of you are still reading, and Blogger isn't being all WONKEY, slip me a comment telling me if you're still attempting the challenge or cheering me on.

AND...for more inspiration, here is a video from way back when, so innovative at the time, using treadmills in the choreography. I would have fallen 15 seconds in and broken my hip and then depended on the viral video it created to pay for my medical bills. Awesome.




Monday, May 16, 2011

Days 13-15: What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas...But I Wasn't In Vegas, And Billy Blanks Nearly Made Me Throw Up

Confession time y'all...

Saturday was not a good day. I stood for...4 hours.

OH SNAZAP BLARGHING CRIPES!

Don't hate me! It wasn't my fault!!!

I blame the bride and the groom. I would blame the pastor but, I don't want to get into any unnecessary trouble...

Yeah so, we went to a wedding. And you know, you must sit down at weddings.

I mean, if I had stood, people would have been all confused, twisting their heads around continually, to see if the bride was walking down the aisle. The organist would have jumped her cue several times (no one likes a crabby organist), and people might have freaked out, thinking there was a fire, or aliens...or all sorts of terrible and confusing things...

So like a good girl, I sat. I even shed a little tear. Not because I was losing standing time, sheesh...I have a heart!

And then there was the reception. Excellent food...it was a serve yourself, then sit-the-heck-down dinner.

Again, I did not stand because:

- I would have had to have assumed a POTS (position other than standing), which is um, awkward when eating chicken with bones in it. Besides, successfully bringing corn up to your mouth on a fork, while standing in any position, is nearly impossible.

- People might have expected me to make a speech, or sprung to my rescue, thinking I was choking on a chicken bone.

- People might have thought I was the wedding planner, and asked me when more mashed potatoes were going to be put out, or worse, they might have handed me their dirty plate...

The sitting went on and on and on and on! My backside became numb. I shifted and fidgeted. I got up to use the bathroom and walk around outside. I knew however I wasn't getting my standing hours back. They were gone.

We were able to stand for the festivities, like the shoving-cake-in-each others'-noses part, and the bride and groom dance. I wore my fabulously comfy pumps just for the occasion. I should have brought a butt pillow.

There is a little saying I learned from Leslie Samsung...no wait that's the TV company...Leslie Sansone, ya know the walking lady...it goes like this: "the more you sit, the more you wanna sit, the more you move, the more you wanna move!" Revolutionary, yes?

Well her theory is frickin' brilliant and spot-on, because come Sunday, my body was screaming to assume a sitting position ALL FRICKIN' DAY LONG! It's kinda like giving up chocolate for some crazy reason, and then walking up to a post-Valentine's Day sale in Wal-Mart after finding $50 bucks on the ground. Even so, I eeked out 8 hours of standing. A total blow to my whole record for sure.

I might have to buck up and stand 12 hours for a week, just to get in the hours! Sigh.

And with that, it is Monday. I have been standing for 6 hours on this day, Day 15. NONE of my numbers have changed; weight, measurements, all the same. Yee-friggin'-haw...

What does this mean people???

Well, I can only guess that this means standing must only offer benefits that aren't measured by scale and tape. Standing must be a component to an overall lifestyle change. It must be like stretching. Stretching is great, but on its own it won't do much for you; you need to implement exercise. The stretching merely helps you loosen up and avoid injury, it doesn't actually build muscle. You can build muscle without stretching but, stretching adds to your overall success.

Because really, let's do some math to get a clearer picture. I hate math. Here we go...

Let's say, for argument's sake, I always sit 6 hours a day out of a 12 hour day. I would burn 115 calories per hour sitting, and standing I burn 145 calories an hour. That is a gain of 30 extra calories burned per hour, for 4 hours a day that I exchange sitting for standing. That equation compares my new standing routine to my old sitting routine.

What?

Confused???

Here is what I am saying...

I am only burning an extra 120 calories per day by standing 10 hours a day.

People, you have to burn about 3500 calories to lose a pound.

It's a sad truth. The mere act of standing does not make one lose weight.

Even with fidgeting, stretching and moving around, all my effort can be negated if I eat a candy bar or even a soda.

So...do I give up?

HECK NO!

I need to remember that my body is now producing lipase, which it really wasn't before, in high quantities, which I need for fat loss. And, I am improving my overall health by --

  • relieving pressure on my spine
  • encouraging better kidney and bladder function, and
  • digestive and bowel function
  • maintaining and possibly improving bone density
  • encouraging flexibility, and removing the hip pain
  • increasing circulation in my legs, and
  • aiding respiration
Plus my overall endurance for standing is way improved. I can stand for 4 hours straight without needing a sitting break. And of course I get more done around the house.

Here's where Billy Blanks comes in, and why I almost threw up.

Backtrack...when my chihuahua was a small, diseased, worm-infested puppy, I barely sat, barely ate, and was engaged in a lot of physical work, like tons of vacuuming, cleaning, and wailing and gnashing my teeth on the cleaned carpet. So while I don't want to EVER encounter round worms in my dog's poo again, I do want to drop weight like I did at that time, and keep it off in a healthy and maintainable way...

So, starting today, I am implementing exercise. I dug out my Billy Blanks Boot Camp Lower Body Workout DVD.

I did 15 minutes. I must admit that after standing all day exercising did not seem like an insurmountable task, it wasn't like I had to get up from a comfy position...however...

My heart was thumping like a bass drum in my head and I about puked up my lunch.

But I burned about 118 calories...

THAT IS A LOT COMPARED To 4 EXTRA HOURS OF STANDING!

So it's easy to see, calorie-wise, why a good workout would seem to trump the whole sit-less-than-3-hours-a-day theory, when it comes to burning calories and losing weight.

BUT, we all know now, because I have burned it into your brains, that it's not just about exercising anymore. We need our bodies primed with lipase and all those good enzymes and hormones and thingies triggered only by standing...

And thus, I assume the lipase in my body also got out of its chair today and went on a screaming rampage around every fat cell in my body, beating the yellow-clumpy crap out of it. Literally.

I would love to work up to about 30 minutes a day. So, theoretically speaking, that would be about 230 calories + 120 calories, which is 450 calories a day, extra, burned. With a little more effort I could lose a pound a week just by exercising and standing. However I know I need more.

So this week I will add the work outs and see what that does to my ability to stand for long periods of time. Next Monday I will re-assess and then add a dietary component to it.

And with that long and agonizing post, I leave you with a taste of my exercise program. It tastes like bile, because it makes you throw up. Happy Monday y'all!!




Friday, May 13, 2011

Day 11 & 12...A Compilation Because Blogger Went Down!

YAY I DID IT! 100 HOURS OF STANDING!! I AM THE MOST AWESOMEST PERSON EVER!

Standing + For Several Hours = THE LEADER OF AWESOME!


+ =

OK OK...that's silly I know. Psh.

Anyway...

I am 1/3 of the way to my standing goal! Which is of course, standing 10 hours a day for 30 days. I even made it through the visit from Aunt Flo, and the boredom that is standing! I will celebrate with some wine and a generous foot rub from my husband. Sure, he doesn't know yet but, he'll comply...

I have to admit y'all, yesterday was a hard day, and I am trying to push through today as well. I haven't done anything different really, but, I think my body has realized this is not a joke, I am actually going to keep standing like this and I think my body is all, "ooooooh no you're not! You've got a butt and you need to use it!!!" I went from being all BATTSIE to POSTing and POTSing and SQUATSing and CRASH-ASSing all over the place. It was hard but, I made it! (Again if you don't know all the acronyms go click on the dead guy in my right column and catch up. Seriously. I am not Rachael Ray.)

A pound has come off as well so, I am thinking Aunt Flo and her insistence on me eating apple pie for breakfast, with whipped cream, *might* have been the reason for the weight increase and my subsequent freak out. Her evil ways know no boundaries I tell you!!!! NONE!

Here's something I have learned in these past 10 days...

Standing up in and of itself is not that hard. It is standing in one place that is the hard part!

Actually, this man from India, named Akshinthala Seshu Babu (say that 10 times fast) stood still for 40 hours, earning him the Guinness Book of World Records title for standing in one place for the longest amount of time. Maybe I am on my way to BREAKING his record! Or my hip...

If you are busy with errands or cleaning, or even using your time to go on a walk, you feel MUCH better than just standing around. Like this article says, you can actually inherit OTHER health problems from standing in one place all day, like swollen legs, varicose veins, neck and back issues and foot problems as well. I mean, there is a reason people collapse on their sofas at night after standing all day, it's DANG HARD!

But, standing up has prompted me to go DO more around the house and otherwise. Your feet can only take one position for so long (unless you're like Babu up there...show-off), so cleaning the bathroom is actually more fun than standing in one place. Now, SITTING is waaaaaaaaay more fun than cleaning a toilet BUT, if you have removed sitting from your daily routine, your mindset changes. So standing has already presented another benefit; you get more done around the house!

This same article touches on another thing that people have claimed that I do not agree with. People have stated that they feel more "focused" and "clear minded" while standing. I feel the opposite. I kind of feel like I have adult ADHD. Standing allows me to bolt in any direction immediately for anything and everything, things you usually don't feel getting up is worth for, like going to the bathroom, or collecting bills from the mail box. I have not been able to focus like I normally do when I sit. However, I am not experiencing the mid-afternoon slump like I used to. My energy has been pretty constant through the day, and I tell you what...finally sitting down at night to watch some shows and unwind is a real TREAT! Sitting has become a coveted luxury activity. Seriously. When it comes to luxury, you can't get cheaper than that!

OK peace out y'all...time to go clean a bathroom or two...


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Day 10: I Am About to Conquer 100 hours of standing...I Am So So BATTSIE!!!

Zimmel, my 5-pound chihuahua, is probably suffering most from my standing challenge...

See, chihuahuas are lap dogs.(Standing all day has been really hard on him. Poor little fella...)

And, as you may well know, when you stand, you lose your lap.

Anyone remember Gallagher's pondering of this? Anyone remember Gallagher?

I do miss the sit-down cuddle time with the pups during the day. It has been challenging to keep him busy, or hold him like a newborn, or force him to sit by himself while I stand. Quite often he gets sick of the kids and attempts to hide between my legs. Then I have a chihuahua and two kids weaving around my ankles, which is a trip to the ER just waiting to happen...

So anyway, I realized I can't celebrate my 100 hours of standing until I complete today. But the prospect of being 1/3 of the way there is pretty exciting to me! I have kicked ASS (Accidentally Started to Sit) to the curb and I am basically BATTSIE (Bragging About Totally Tackling Standing Indefinitely to Everyone) all day long. Here's some things I am working on...

- I am holding my stomach in a flexed position. Now, something you need to know. I have been holding my stomach in forever, because as a kid/teen my mom would remind me to do so ,no less than 4,325 times a day. But, I don't suck in, and hold my breath, and then pass out; I have learned to "pull my bellybutton into my spine" and continue breathing normally, as some aerobics instructor, whose name I can't remember, showed me once. But now I am focusing on actually flexing my stomach muscles. I think, however, that my intestines are forever swollen and bloated (years of IBS -- TMI? IDK), because when I let my stomach out, I suddenly become a "before" photo for a diet pill infomercial...

Here I am, holding my stomach in like I normally do:


And here I am letting it all "hang out", which actually feels really uncomfortable, kind of like I have been disemboweled by that Predator creature:

This is probably why I looked 6 months pregnant almost immediately upon conception. So see? All those celebs who the paparazzi snap candid shots of, claiming they are preggers when they are not? It's because they let their stomachs out at the wrong moment. Oh.snazap.

So it's true, just by pulling your shoulders down a bit, pulling your neck up, tucking in your backside and pulling in your middle, you can look about 10 pounds lighter. It's also a better stance for punching paparazzi in the face.

And you're welcome.

- I am still wearing my support knee-high hose. I must admit they are HOT and stylish, that's why I wear them now. Psh. I had no idea support hose/socks made your legs feel so great!! I think I am gonna wear Spanx head-to-toe now, like a nylon-clad mummy. That might make it hard to go to the bathroom but, I think it will be worth it...

- I am not really changing my eating/exercise at this point. I still want to see if Aunt Flo was the reason for all my numbers rising, or if standing in fact does nothing for weight loss when you're still eating apple pie and whipped cream for breakfast. I mean, it's quite possible my cholesterol numbers are changing, and lipase is in fact starting to course through my veins to clean up all this fat on my body, but, those aren't things I can measure on my own. I can say though, I am becoming more conscious of my eating habits and, come next Monday, I have a great plan to implement to make this whole challenge even more gratifying.

- I am in hot pursuit of a new pair of Bare Traps shoes or sandals...I tell you folks, without these squishy sandals I could not have made it this far. I bought these, in a tad more exotic style, a few years ago because I liked how they looked, but the Bare Traps brand touts the comfort of their product. And I tell you, for me, the are FANTASTIC! As soon as I find a good deal I am snatching up another pair...


And other than that, I am trying my best to keep thing interesting in my posts and keep anyone who is still attempting this with me motivated. Please let me know if you're lurking on these posts in the comments, tell me what you're doing, or if you even care. You know, comments are like applause; Tinkerbell almost died because no one was applauding at the performance I went to as a kid. It was traumatizing. Don't let Tink die people, that's just plain mean.

And now, I leave you with a video for inspiration. Chester the Dog, who not only stands up, but stands up on his FRONT legs, walks, and pees, all at the same time. Makes my meager standing seem totally pointless. Enjoy.








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