Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Short and Squat

Warning:  Whining to Follow

A while ago, I posted this picture:

I was upset, because it was clear that I'd gained weight.

Today, I got my first glance at the new yearbook, and I was shocked at what I saw.  There is a picture of me in an ugly Christmas sweater, and I'm clearly the fattest person in the picture.

In fact, I was surprised at how tiny my head looked in comparison to the rest of my body.

I am L-A-R-G-E.  And it's not really even all over--it's in my bottom end.  Which, unfortunately, makes me look even bigger.  Simply put, my fat is not evenly dispersed and that probably makes me look shorter and squatter.  (PS.  I don't care if squatter is a real word.)

The upside is that I'm working on it.  The downside is that I'm living the mean time, and I'd like to take fewer pictures of myself.

Neck up, anyone?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Weekly Update From Grad School #1

Have I mentioned I'm reliving all of my high school insecurities, except this time I'm sitting in a room with people in their mid to late 20s?

I had forgotten how paranoid I could be, but there it is.  I'm paranoid.  Oh, hold on to your seat.  It gets worse.

I spend my entire day telling my students not to be embarrassed to ask questions.  I tell them that we're all just here to learn and there's no shame in clarifying information.  I tell them I won't think they're stupid if they ask me questions and it's my job to guide them through whatever process/information we're learning at the time.


I don't want to talk to my professor.  I don't want to ask him questions because he may think I'm stupid.  It would be completely devastating to hear that I don't belong in this class.  And even though I'm here to learn, I naturally expect that I'm going to know everything before I have the opportunity to learn it.

Sick, isn't it?  Hypocrisy knows no limits.

(And now I'm going to email my professor.  You can't hear disapproval in type face.)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Learning to Eat

The requirements for Weight Watchers used to be different.  When I first started the program (in 8th grade), there was a prescribed amount of protein, dairy, grain, etc. one was supposed to eat a meal.  I didn't stick with the diet long in those days.  Likely because they limited my orange juice intake and I couldn't figure out where cream cheese fit on my plate.

When I next joined the program, Points had taken over.  Enrollees could eat whatever they pleased as long as they didn't exceed their daily allotment of points.  Life was good.  I could have my cream cheese and eat it, too.

This, of course, might be why I'm 31 years old and have no idea how to eat.

Enter my Bento.

A lunchbox isn't a magical spell that all of a sudden enables the possesser to radically modify his/her diet.  But the concept around the Bento made sense to me.  And, as stupid as it may sound, it's teaching me.

So far, I'm down almost 3 lbs.  But what I'm more proud of?  I've eaten more fruits and veggies in the last three weeks than I've likely consumed in the last three years of my life.  (I'm excluding salads here.  Nary a salad has been found in my box.)  Even more impressive?  I'm consuming more protein than I've ever been willing to eat.  And one rule I try to stick to?  My lunch has to be as colorful as possible.  Some days I'm more successful than others.

One cheat day per week (usually Friday night dinner) has kept me from consuming white sugar, white flour and white potatoes every single other day of the week--even when I eat out.

I'm really proud of those three pounds.  But I think I'm more proud of the fact that I'm actually sticking to my resolution to eat better.  And I'm especially excited to know that I may actually be responsible for something that can help heal my PCOS (though I have to credit God with much of what's happened already).

Next time, I'll try to post some pictures so you can see exactly what has made it into the Bento.

Prayer Monday 8/29

*Note To New Readers: Prayer Monday is NOT a closed group. Participate by sharing some of your requests on your blog and linking to this list. Then, read, say a quick prayer and comment on each participant's blog. We could all use a little encouragement and a lot of prayer.*
"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans" (Romans 8:26).

I don't know how to tell you what I need, but I know my life isn't as in tune as it should be.  I want to be OK with God's plan for my life, but there are moments when I struggle with desires I honestly have wished would just go away if they aren't part of His plan for me.

I struggle with being overjoyed at His provision and upset that provision can be a game-changer.

I miss my closeness to Him. 

And you?  Where are you?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Roots and Wings

My new shoes did a good enough job on my foot that it's now swollen and a little infected.  I guess I should've treated the sore.  So this evening, I've sat on the couch with my foot in a bowl of peroxide boiling out whatever might have infected my foot.

And I'm going to sit here and talk about that so I don't have the talk about the fact that my brother is leaving.

He got a job, and there is no one of this planet who is happier for him than I am.  A hundred years ago, when he left school I knew he would eventually find something that would suit him.  I knew he would be fantastic at it.  I guess I just didn't know it would take him ten hours away

Today, as my STBSIL tried on her wedding gown in front of us, I thought about what a blessing they are.  I thought about how lucky Ohio will be to get them.  And I thought about how very much I'm going to miss them.

I guess the problem with putting down roots is that sometimes the people you love the most grow wings.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Pair of Glass Slippers

Flip flops.  I spend almost the entire summer in flip flops.  Unfortunately, I have this weird "that's not work wear" aversion to flip flops during the school year.

And yet, the first morning of school, I realized that I had to throw my favorite flats away because...well, they had a full life, ladies and gentlemen.  A full, smelly life.

That left me with a few pairs of semi-dressy sandals and flip flops.  Crap.

I made it work for the first week, but on our way home from our weekend trip, I made Favorite stop at a shoe outlet so I could rectify  my issue.  Thankfully, I found two really cute pairs of work appropriate shoes.  I fawned over heels and remembered the days I could tromp my happy rear end in them all day long and realized that those days may be behind me...mostly because of what IS behind me.  But that's a topic for another day.

Unfortunately, I'm currently unable to wear my new shoes.  Why, you ask?  Well, I wore one pair on the first day and my heels currently look like they survived the gulf war.  They aren't tough.  You know, because flip flops don't have backs.

But today, as I was looking at one of my well dressed coworkers, I realized that my wardrobe could use a little pick-me-up--not just my shoes.  (Not that all my clothes are bad.  I received a compliment regarding a dress from the best-dressed sub in the building.  Seriously.  I would totally stalk her and her closet.  She looks flawless every. single. day.  High school be damned.)

I have a problem buying clothes, though. 

1.  I'm fat.  There.  I said it.  And it's totally the truth.  I'm rocking the no white flour/white sugar diet, and I'm really choosing to eat better foods, so be proud of me.  But let's not pretend my 9 millions pounds of less-than-awesome are coming off tomorrow.  It's going to be s-l-o-w going.

2.  My body shape is weird.  I know hundreds of women probably feel this way, and I for one feel for them.  I am short-waisted, large chested and have hips that would make Renaissance artists slobber.  I'm not tall, but my thighs take up a lot of material and make pants appear shorter than they probably should.

Oh, and belts?  I'm not drawing attention to my doesn't-exist-even-if-you-cinch-it middle.

I wear a lot of loose fitting shirts and cardigans.  I LOVE cardigans.  They hide my arms and keep my back fat from being completely obvious.  I mean, I would love them anyway.  I think they look classic and clean.  But on me?  They are flesh colored concealer.

So the update shall commence.  And I shall post pictures.  And I shall accessorize like an adult.  (Because what's the fun of being one if you can't buy all the stuff you couldn't afford when you were 17?)

Or I'll pray for a fairy Stacy-and-Clinton.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This Semester...

This semester I will...

*  Become more organized that I have been.
*  Focus on grading at work so I bring less home.
*  Work on understanding behavior instead of just disciplining it.
*  Just sigh when members of the community/well meaning parents point fingers instead of participating in intelligent discussion.
*  Pick my battles.
*  Talk about people less.
*  Praise others more.
*  Be an encouragement to the people I love.
*  Shut my mouth when I have nothing of benefit to say.
*  Realize my opinion isn't the only one in the room.
*  Grit my teeth and swallow my pride/feelings.
*  Accessorize better.
*  Eat better.
*  Do what I can do and then let it go.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The First Day of School: Graduate Edition

The movie, Inception, clearly explains that you can know you're in the middle of a dream when you realize you don't know how you got where you are.  Imagine my surprise to wake up in the middle of a nightmare only to discover that I not only knew how I got there, but I could detail every step that brought me to this particular moment in time.

I looked around the room trying to determine how I could avoid talking in a group of 12 people who have all committed themselves to the study of Holocaust literature for the next three months.  Then, my professor asked all of us to introduce ourselves, our areas of study and our interest in this course.

The six people before me were all doctoral students studying something that sounded suspiciously like "long drawn out elaborate explanation of literature that clearly means I haven't been out in the general public for the last five years and that includes dating" but took approximately 10 minutes apiece to explain.

Then there was me.

*Cue hillbilly dumbass voice*  "Duher.  Ima just startin' my mas-terz dee-gree here.  Me teaches high schoolers.  Teeheehee.  I don't know nothing bout this here Holocaust mumbo jumbo, but I's sure gonna try ter read these here books and do me a bit of learnin'.  Ya'll sure are givin' a lot to chaw on."

Yes.  It was that bad.

Add to it the fact that I am one of TWO (count 'em...TWO) master's degree students in this course.  Every single other person is in a doctoral program.  And I'm the only student who hasn't spent consecutive years working on a graduate degree.

Normally, a 25 page research paper wouldn't make me hyperventilate.  But it's been more than 4 years since I've written one.  Plus, I understood those topics.  I currently don't even know what to make of the requirements for this particular research paper, and since everyone else nodded their heads in recognition?  I'm officially the only podunk idiot in the room.  I'm praying to the Lord Jesus that the next class will offer some clarification.

The professor assured us that we all have something to learn from each other.  He assured us anything we can share during oral presentations would be valuable.  (He also graciously gave me an oral presentation I think I may actually do well.  Kind man.  Generous man.  Man who must realize I haven't been in school for a while.  Thank God for Elie Wiesel.)  But I currently sincerely doubt my ability to share anything with these people aside from a severely stunted intellect that may have only existed in my dreams anyway.

But since I used a tuition waiver to take this class, I shouldn't back out.

Oh, and I'm not a quitter.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prayer Monday 8/22

The students could write about three separate topics:
The hardest thing I've ever done...
When I was a discipline problem...
If you really knew me...

She wrote about the hardest thing she's ever done:  remove pride from her life.  Her father explained that this would be one of the most difficult lessons she would ever learn, but if she would learn it young, her relationship with God would have proper perspective.  After all, God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble.

I sat at my desk and read her paper with awe.  She's half my age, but I'm pretty sure she's exactly what I want to be when I grow up.

That pride lesson is one that God won't seem to overlook in my life.  I've been reminded that I'm not my own.  I've been reminded that He opposes the proud.  But somewhere in the back of my mind, I've dealt with a crazy nagging that pushes me to believe that I deserve what other people have.  I grapple with the concept of taking turns like we're all still on the playground waiting to slide.

But in the funniest of places, God pushes on my consciousness and reminds me to lean not on my own understanding.  He reminds me that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ and that He has a plan, not for harm, but for a prosperous future.

There is a sense of peace in a tender Savior who finally places one hand over ours and says, "OK.  Now trust Me."  We finally hit a release valve and know, that even when things aren't different, things are going to be different.

Pray for that sense of peace for my husband and I as we make decisions for the future.

(And praise to God for His provision for my Big Brother and STBSIL!)

Link Up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A New Normal: Life Goes On

It's difficult to adjust to a new normal.  Back to school definitely means several changes, but those changes are nothing in comparison to something a coworker of mine is facing.

Her son, a young man, was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder that is/has destroyed his kidneys.  He's currently going through dialysis and learning what it will be like to live with a disease that cannot be cured.  My heart breaks for them, but I find a significant amount of inspiration in her "can do" attitude. 

In other news, I'm officially getting back into lesson planning mode.  It's not pretty, ya'll.  I took a complete break over the summer.   As in, I did nothing.

Honestly, though, I think I needed to do nothing.  I needed some time without obligations.  Time to really rest.  Time to heal.  And it was good.

But now?  I realize that I'd like to incorporate a lot of new things in my classroom, and I haven't really looked at how to make that possible.  Mostly, I'm not super pleased with everything I do in my English II class.  We don't just read stories and fill out worksheets, but I feel like there are too many days of mundane tasks like that.  I'd like to get a little more interactive and make the students more responsible for their learning.  I'll let you know how that goes.  (*Note that I've been running around so panicked at work that I forgot my property taxes were due.  And to return a call to a woman at my bank.  And to get gas.  Do you see a sad, sad pattern here?  *SIGH*)

This weekend, I'll be heading up north with Favorite to visit an old friend of mine.  I haven't seen her since she got married three years ago, and I'm excited.  I'll post some pictures of our visit when I get back.

Oh, and grad school starts Tuesday.  My prof emailed earlier this week, and I'm pretty much already panicking over one of the requirements.  Here's to praying for a sense of organization!

(Oh, and feel free to pray for my friend, Morgan, to go into labor.  She's way pregnant and I think ready to meet her son.)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don't Give Up On Me

Today was the first day back to school.  I promise I'm not giving up on Prayer Monday or regular posting.  I'm just working on getting into a schedule and I promised Favorite I would be a little more careful about my internet time while he's still on vacation.

Please pray for my brother, though.  He has a job interview tomorrow, and it's a game changer for he and my STBSIL.

Back soon.  Don't give up on me.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Jitters

The jitters are something that are generally reserved for the hour before the wedding and people who have consumed too much java.  I have the jitters because things in my life are getting ready to change drastically.

That might be a slight overreaction.

To start, I just signed up for my first grad school class ever.  Logically, this shouldn't scare me.  It's just one class.  It's only one day a week.  The topic is Holocaust Literature which is something I really enjoy and should benefit my classroom.  But it does scare me.  I'm coming off of a year spent looking behind my shoulder at what could have been instead of what is, so declaring myself ready to move on is a little like fast forwarding through what could be an organizational nightmare.

The bright side?  I like school.  I like literature.  And I like the professor.  Part of me wants to sit up and say, "I'm baaaaaacccccckkkkk." but we'll see if my organizational skills are willing to make a comeback on such short notice.

Secondly, Big Bro is leaving for a job interview in Ohio next week.  If you're completely rational, you're saying, "It's JUST an interview, Crys.  No guarantees."  But you would be saying that because you don't know Big Bro, and you also don't know the sense of peace I get about this job for him.  It's a good position.  These people would be so over the top blessed to have him.  (Plus, they're getting a deal.  Anyone else with his intelligence would be far too expensive to consider for an entry level position.  They're just lucky his degrees don't match his brain function.)

I'm tight with my brothers.  One has already moved.  And since Bro bro and Sheena are getting married, she'll be going with him.

*Cue hysteric tears*  They are my best friends.  I don't make friends easily.  I'm off-putting and rude.  I am a curmudgeon and an isolationist.  But they love me anyway.

I know we'll visit.  I also know this is a good thing.  I'm just trying to iron out all of the what-might-have-been kinks before I make myself nuts.

So I'm jittery.  But I have high expectations for fantastic things.

Yep.  Quote me on it.  This is going to be a fresh-pound-cake-with-fresh-strawberries-and-whipped-cream-but-completely-calorie-free year.

More on food later.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oh Vacation 2011

I'm not on drugs.  I just blinked when I snapped the picture.
Vacation was great, but this was the only picture I got of us together.  Most of the time, I was behind the camera; however, I didn't pick it up nearly as much as I probably should have.

Our first day at the beach.  See my pretty feet?
In addition, I'm not much with a camera.  I can tell a story, but illustrations are always going to be a problem.  Anyway...

We spent the first day on the beach.  It was awesome.  I love the water, and I love the sun.  Panama City has an overabundance of both.  For the sake of a cheaper hotel rate, we stayed in an adjoining city, but our drive over was simple.  Five minutes and we could sit on the beach as long as we wanted.

Favorite and I walked along the beach, jumped in the waves and spent an awesome day relaxing.  Water may not be for everyone, but I feel completely at home next to the ocean.

That evening, Favorite and I decided to go to a local place and eat fresh seafood.  The highest ratings went to a place called The Captain's Table, a small locally owned restaurant near the pier.

I should've put something next to it to show scale.  This plate was HUGE and FULL.
The wait staff was great and the portion sizes were ridiculous.  More than likely, two people could've eaten the portion I was given alone.

But it was DELICIOUS.  Since crab isn't caught locally, we didn't eat any that night.  What we had made up for it, though.  You can see in any picture I post on my blog that I have obviously never turned down a meal, but when this was over, my plate was still full.

The clean plate club is overrated.
The next day, Favorite wanted to go to a place called Shell Island.

The water was gorgeous.  Completely blue and warm.  I could see straight to the bottom.
Getting to Shell Island is a bit of an ordeal.  First, you have to load a school bus with all sorts of people you don't know, cram yourself into a seat you haven't fit since eighth grade and ride for a few minutes.  Then, you unload the bus, grab all of your gear and load up on a pontoon ferry to get to the island.

We had a little extra gear, because Favorite really wanted to snorkle.  So, of course, we rented snorkling stuff.

Previously, I had stated that I would not be snorkling.  The whole concept scares the beejeezus out of me.  I know that sounds weird, but my mind is a steel trap full of worst case scenarios.  I imagined that we would view things underwater, come face to face with a shark and then die.  Reasonable?  No.  Totally in my head?  Yep.

But I agreed to snorkle because I'm a good sport.  At least I am on vacation.  And it was seriously cool.  We spent a lot of time around the rocks in the picture above and I saw tons of cool fish and crabs, etc.

(OH..and come to find out, a man actually was killed by a bull shark while snorkling on Shell Island.  That happened in the eighties.  Thank God I didn't find out until the next day.)

It was a beautiful day...with one exception.  Shell Island has NO shade.  We brought an umbrella, but it was a poor substitute for actual shade.  Since my skin is the color of paper, constant reapplication of sunscreen and sitting under the umbrella didn't really help me much.  I was R.E.D. by the time we left.  So that meant the next day was going to require a lot of time OUT of the sun.  Even though I love it doesn't mean it loves me back.

The entrance to the swimsuit shop.  Clever, aren't they?
We spent our evenings shopping for a new swimsuit (TORTURE!) for me, and visiting a little putt-putt play area.  That's where Favorite decided to try his hand at the batting cages.

There he is:  Mr. MLB.
Since his manhood was at stake, he went into the fast pitch cage and proceeded to whiff the first few pitches.  (As his loving wife, I feel it's my duty to share these successes with you.)  After that, he hit his stride and got a few pretty impressive hits.

Arm wrestling requires intense concentration...and facial expressions.
The quest for manhood continued in the arcade area where he arm wrestled a machine, and felt it his manly duty to get the highest score possible.  Aren't I a lucky girl?

Then my oceanic cowboy decided to wrestle a wild dolphin and take a ride.

Ok.  That's a lie.  It's a kiddie ride.  But that doesn't really fit into all the other terrific manly feats he managed that evening.  (Fun fact:  Favorite didn't want to swim with the dolphins because dolphins "freak him out."  Who knew?)

The next day we went parasailing.  It was amazing, but I don't have any pictures for you, because I might be brave enough to go a few hundred feet in the air, but I am not brave enough to take my brand new digital camera on a banana boat in the ocean.

Once I was in the air, the world got really peaceful.  Things went much more slowly up there, and I could see the entire city.  Plus, the ocean was really clear out there so I could look down and see tons of stuff.  Favorite wasn't super excited about trying it out (he's not a fan of heights), but he agreed that it was an awesome experience.

We were in the boat with a family of five--a fifteen year old among them.  She was annoying and kept asking the guys running the boat if she could get out and swim.  One of the guys said he didn't even swim in this water and then proceeded to tell us about a 15 ft. shark that was spotted under the pier next to us in March.

Favorite and I thought he was blowing smoke, but turns out, it's a true story.  Google "shark under panama city pier" and see for yourself.  The good news is the shark was a harmless basking shark.  But if I were the guy in the kayak, it wouldn't have mattered if a fish that big was harmless or not.

After parasailing we spent some time at Ripley's Believe It or Not (you know, because it's indoors).  I won't bore you with those pictures with the exception of one:

Doesn't he look like a circus performer?
He's laying on a bed of nails.  It took me forever to convince him to do it, and he said it wasn't really comfortable.  But, manhood regained after the sad dolphin incident.

We got up the next day and drove a ridiculous amount of hours to get to Atlanta to go to the aquarium.  I didn't take pictures there because of the glass, but I do have two things to share with you that completely wrap up my personality:

Tell me that doesn't make you smile.

We had a great time, but I'm glad to be home.  I missed my dog.  And my bed.  But driving was awesome because we got through more than half of Game of Thrones.  So far?  Mesmerizing.

And now that I've updated you about vacation, I'll hopefully be able to get back to some sort of regular blogging schedule.  And I'll try to give you more pictures.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Show Us Your Life: Blogging Tips and Vaca Update

Hey Kelly's Korner :)

I am clearly a professional blogger--what with the last two weeks and a total of three posts.  Ack.  What has happened to me?

Truthfully, though, I think blogging comes down to one thing:  honesty.  We all want to know that what we're reading is real, because those are the connections we want to make with other people.

Honesty doesn't mean you lay absolutely everything out there for the entire world to read.  I have a husband who is a fairly private person, and there are certainly subjects I am unwilling to broach with the public at large.

But when I am ready, I do share my heart.  My phrasing isn't always smooth, and my delivery isn't always funny, but I do aim to write the way I talk to people in my real life.  Hopefully, some of that comes across here.

Like, for instance, the fun time we had when we finally made it to Florida yesterday.  Favorite (my husband) and I aren't willing to drop a small fortune on hotel rooms; however, we aren't willing to drink brown water, forgo showers and pick bugs out of our beds either.  That means we ALWAYS check the recommendations of other customers and proceed accordingly.

For this trip, we chose to stay in a simple Howard Johnson--clean, simple and fairly inexpensive for the five days we'll be here.  It's certainly not the resort we stayed at in Orlando (holy beejeezus.  I'll have to tell you about that place later...but suffice it to say most of the women stared at me when I walked through in all of my Old-Navy-and-flip-flop-glory), but it's comfortable--and we don't spend much time here anyway.

BUT...when we got here, the room key wouldn't work.  So Favorite went back down to the desk.  She fixed it.  Except she didn't.  Then she came up herself.  Still nothing.

So we've just driven in excess of 10 hours and we now cannot get into our hotel room.

Frustrated might be an understatement.

The lady asked us if we could grab a bite to eat and by the time we came back, her manager would have everything under control.  Except that didn't happen.

They had to scan us in on a security card and then fix it in the morning.

We laugh about it now...but last night?  It no so funny.

Stay tuned for updates from the road.  Favorite shaved his head in an attempt to out wit his hair follicles since they've refused to work.  There will definitely be pictures to follow.

(PS.  If you ever have to drive for a long distance in the car, I highly recommend a book on tape.  Favorite and I bought Game of Thrones and I'm completely mesmerized.  Made the trip so much easier.  I didn't have to try to give him a bruise to entertain myself.)

(PPS.  Yes, I did actually do that once.  Don't judge me.)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Go Go Bento

I am not a paid spokesperson, but I should be.  I would blabber on and on about anything I think is fantastic, and I wouldn't even care if people were listening or not.  Isn't that what makes a great salesperson?  I never liked sales, though, because I never wanted to pressure people into making a purchase.  I just like to talk about the things I love...or the things that excite me.

Keep in mind, I'm almost always excited about something that will make eating well easier and all organization products.  It's an illness.  But imagine my over-the-top-pee-my-pants joy when I found this:
It's a Bento.

Apparently, bento is word in Japanese that means convenient (my research indicates that it translates similarly in Mandarin).  The boxes are meant to hold specific portions of carbohydrate, meat and vegetable/fruit (and in some cases, oil or sweets). 

Bentos can be simple or elaborate--in fact, some people go to the effort to create kyaraben (character bento)--food art.  But I think some of the more simple renderings create eye pleasing palates, too.

I find Bento boxes fascinating because they encourage those packing the lunch to experiment with loads of color combinations and fresh food.  Realistically, how many of us couldn't use a little more color in our unprocessed food choices?

Plus, I've read quite a bit about sticking to specific servings of certain types of foods for people with PCOS.  I'm hoping that an organizational tool like this is going to make that convenient.

And since I'm making it my goal to eat fewer processed foods, I'm hoping a tool like this will make it easier to bring good, wholesome food from home instead of stocking my classroom fridge with SmartOnes or Lean Cuisine.

I learned about Bento while reading through The School Lunch Project--and, yes, this is another shameless promotion for something I LOVE.  Mrs. Q isn't just passionate about school lunch; she's passionate about nutrition.  Her simple posts about lunch content and ingredients really reminded me that we have an obligation to know what we're putting in our bodies.

Mrs. Q and people like my friend Casey also remind me that simple ingredients make for the best tasting food.

While I was thinking through those concepts, I was reminded of something else.  Weight Watchers actually used to have two types of dieting programs.  Either you could count points and stay within a specific point allowance or you could eat unlimited amounts of certain types of foods (mostly fresh veggies and fruits) and supplement with limited amounts of protein and dairy and avoid really counting.

Obviously, I'm not as familiar with the second program because I spent most of my time counting points so I could eat things like cereal, doritos and cookies.

Clearly, all those years of dieting changed me.

I know my body would benefit from more fresh food in a large assortment of colors.  In the past few weeks, it's become clear to me that I likely suffer from any number of vitamin deficiencies due to my poor diet.

So when I go back to school in two weeks, I'm going to make an honest effort to ensure my lunches are colorful, eye pleasing portions of mostly unprocessed foods ( steps).

And while bentos are traditionally 3 parts rice, 2 parts protein and 1 part veggie, I'm going to make an honest effort to flip flop the rice and veggies.

I'll let you know how it turns out.  Who knows?  I may even give you a couple pictures of my lunch as this project progresses.  For now, I'm excited about the tools to push me to try.

(All pictures on this post were taken from