Spring will be here soon

Spring isn’t here officially yet, but it feels like it. Everything is budding and trying to bloom so the pollen count is already ridiculous and we’re hitting temps in the 70s (we’re just outside of Atlanta, GA). I’m not going to run out and plant anything yet, because I know better. There has been blizzards in March and April and while I don’t *think* thats happening this year, I’m not going to chance it. Still, the weather is gorgeous. I spent Saturday raking up the back yard and planning what I want to do. It includes additional fencing in a large chunk of the backyard so the ladies have their own space. We’ve had some close calls with people accidentally letting the dogs out when the girls were free ranging. I also want (one or three) more chickens. I’ve read that it is better to have even numbers when you have fewer chickens so that they don’t gang up on one which is what happens now with having three.

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Other than that I’m debating on what I want to plant. I was thinking of peppers (pepperoncini and maybe one other), some sort of tomato, green beans, pumpkins for Halloween, strawberries, and maybe a birdhouse or luffa gourd. Is that too much though? Oh and various herbs in containers. I also want to plant all of this in raised beds that we build in the front yard. I’m thinking the front to keep out the chickens and dogs.

Are you planning your summer garden yet? What are you planting?

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Merry Christmas!

Last week I was up just a tad with .8 lbs gained but this week I’m down a pound! I’m down a total of 8.2 pounds! The holidays were hard. Really hard. I wound up throwing in the towel and didn’t bother tracking Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. I ate Santa’s cookies (don’t tell my kids!) and chocolate truffles and I had wine and more chocolate. I was back on track hard core once Christmas was over though but was still shocked that I managed to lose a pound. Maybe stress burns calories.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday! How’d you do on your weight loss plan?
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My jeans will button again!

Y’all. I can button these jeans. A month ago they wouldn’t button and now they will button. They are still a smidge too small for me to be comfortable wearing them in public but they button!! I’ve noticed my work pants buttoning a little easier as well and my bras are getting easier to fasten. It makes me feel better because while I’ve lost 8 pounds, I can’t see it for myself. I’ve lost 8 pounds though!! Thank gawd because I’d rather pay for Weight Watchers than have to buy new jeans. 
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Chugging along on Weight Watchers

OK, so it has been a few weeks on Weight Watchers and I’m still losing weight with no exercise. I’m down a total of 6.4 pounds now. It is like an early Christmas miracle. Some things I’ve discovered that are awesome and low in points are:

Opa Ranch or Feta Dill dressing – this stuff is delicious and 1 SmartPoint per tablespoon. It would run a tight race with my mother-in-laws famous ranch dressing. I’m not going to say which would win because I’d like my in-laws to keep speaking to me. Good with veggies or I even dipped grilled chicken in it one night and it was super yummy.

Good Thins potato snacks – they are like potato chips and crackers combined! I love them spread with a Laughing Cow Light Swiss Wedge.

Premier Protein chocolate protein shake – they taste like Slimfast honestly, which is great for me, I drank Slimfast all through high school. I like the taste and they are a quick 2 SmartPoint breakfast or snack.

Green Giant (broccoli and cheese) Veggie Tots – holy cow these things are amazing! I can have 6 of them for 4 SmartPoints and even my kids like them. They’re  worth every point. Do you remember when Burger King had cheese tots on their breakfast menu? Those were the best thing ever and then they did away with them. Well the broccoli cheese tots are just like those but with broccoli instead of potatoes. I know, it sounds weird but it is so dang good. I eat mine plain, hot from the oven, but my kids use ketchup.

I found all of the food listed at Walmart.

There you have it. I’m still losing weight on the Weight Watchers plan WITHOUT EXERCISE and I’m discovering some great food. If you’re on Weight Watchers, what else should I try?

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First week on Weight Watchers

I’ve been on Weight Watchers one week and so far, so good! I weighed in today at my second meeting and I’m down 5.4 pounds! I almost fell over when the lady told me that. I know that type of loss won’t be usual but I’m really happy with my first week. I’m hoping for maybe a half a pound per week since I’m so sedentary. Once I lose a little bit  and get used to the points system I will start figuring out some sort of exercise plan but right now I’m just focusing on food. I have a semi-stressful office job (which means I sit all day) and I eat when I’m stressed so it is a double whammy. Once I get home I’m so mentally exhausted I just want to sit and do nothing. If I can get my food and snacking under control, I can figure out the exercise thing.

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First Weight Watchers meeting, today’s weigh in, and looking back at my weight gain

Me – today at 171.6 lbs
OK y’all, I did it. I went to my very first Weight Watchers meeting. Here is a picture of me today. I want to be able to look back in a few months and marvel. My home scale says I’m 172 pounds but the WW scale said 171.6. My first goal is to lose 5% which equals 9 pounds. I don’t know why but 9 pounds seems like a lot. I haven’t been in the low 160s since… well, I can’t remember. 
It is hard to tell when I really gained the weight. I’m 4’11 and weighed around 112-118 all through high school. College came and I got into the mid 120s. Then I started my first office job and went to the high 120s. I kept telling myself I’d eventually lose it, but it was so gradual, I never really noticed. When I hit 140 I joined WW for the first time and lost about 10 pounds and quit. Then the weight snuck back on and suddenly I was engaged and around 150. I kept thinking I’d do something to lose weight before my wedding and I lost about 5 pounds I think, but that was it.
June 2008 – 145 lbs or so

I became pregnant with our first son a few months after we were married and gained soo much weight, it was ridiculous. I was around 230 pounds when I delivered him. Then my blood pressure shot up and I was diagnosed with postpartum pre-eclampsia and treated – the treatment eliminated 13 liters of fluid (think of six and a half 2 liter bottles of soda – that was the amount of fluid I was retaining). That took my weight down to 180 or so and I lost about 10 more pounds in the next month. 

December 2009 – 170 pounds
Over the next few years, I bounced between 160 and 170 pounds. 
2011
Then I became pregnant again. This time I was really scared of my blood pressure going up again so I watched what I ate and drank tons of water. I only gained about 15 pounds which my doctor said was normal since I was overweight to begin with. My second son was born August 2012. Unfortunately, I still wound up with pre-e again and this time landed in ICU for the treatment which was terrifying. It all resolved though after that hospital stay and a few months on blood pressure medicine. I didn’t lose weight though. I became very anxious and depressed and spent a  year in counseling. My weight was the least of my worries because I was battling panic attacks and trying to be a good mom to my boys while my husband was on the road (he was a long haul trucker at that time and gone for 2-3 weeks sometimes). I found Jazzercise and loved it and lost 10 pounds.
We moved again so my husband could come off the road and find a local job. I went back to work and promptly gained all the weight back that I lost from Jazzercise. I became more anxious and depressed but ate too much and drank too much wine in order to cope. I have very few pictures of myself from the past few years because I hated the way I looked in them. The few that do exist have me hiding behind one of the kiddos. I didn’t want to see my double chin and jiggle belly. I’m working on doing better about that. Even if I’m not happy with pictures, I want my kids to have pictures of our entire family. 
October 2016
I really hope that I can stick with this, this time. My first Weight Watchers meeting left me feeling really hopeful for the first time in a long time. I can lose 9 pounds. I’ve lost it before. I’ll get there and then just keep going. 
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Trying Weight Watchers

I signed up for Weight Watchers today. I tried it years ago, lost a little bit, and then quit. One thing I didn’t like was that the program back then really focused on upping your fiber intake which left me gassy and bloated. Ew, right?

The program has really changed though and I’ve read a lot of great reviews. It seems to focus on cutting out sugar which is something I need to do anyway. There is a Black Friday special going on so I decided it can’t hurt to try.

Currently I weigh 172 pounds. I’ve got to do something because my blood pressure has started creeping up. I had postpartum pre-eclampsia with both of my pregnancies and high blood pressure scares me. My BP numbers haven’t gotten in the danger zone yet, but I don’t like that they keep getting a little higher each time I check it.

My first meeting is Saturday. I decided to do online and meetings because I think having to go weigh in every week is going to help me stay accountable.

Eek! I’m so excited and can’t wait for Saturday to get here!

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Well that didn’t work

I tried the Fit Girl’s Guide 28 Day Jumpstart and didn’t last 2 weeks. I had a hard time following the workouts because it’s a written plan. I couldn’t figure out some of the exercises so I’d have to stop and find a youtube video showing how to do it and honestly, I don’t have the attention span or time for that. The meal plan sounded good because it’s whole, real foods, but getting the family on board was hard. Sweet potato street tacos were a huge fail. The overnight oats were too chunky for my taste and blending them as suggested made it worse. Honestly, I hate oatmeal. Eating the same breakfasts and lunches 3 days in a row was boring too. So yeah, that plan did not work. I gave up and went back to eating junky processed stuff.
I need to try again but I  think I need baby steps. I’m going to start with food tracking/counting calories. Once that is a habit, I’ll figure out foods to swap out for something healthier. I’m going to start wearing my fitbit again, then once that’s a habit, I’ll start working to get more steps in. 
Thoughts? Suggestions? I  need help y’all.
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What I’m Reading – Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway

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I had read reviews on of Gaia’s Garden by Toby Hemenway and finally found a great price on e-Bay. It talks about permaculture for your home garden which is something I’d heard about but didn’t totally understand. This is a great manual which really breaks down what permaculture is and how to use it in your garden. Basically, you’re working with nature and creating a natural garden with layers that benefit each other (trees, shrubs, herbs, ground cover, etc). It also talks about important things like water conservation and harvesting, using small animals to help (hello, backyard chickens!), composting, and fruit trees. It is seriously a wealth of information and I love it. It is very text book like and can be slow going at times, because it can get a bit, well, technical, but it is fascinating and a must read.  I’ve skimmed through, then read through, and now I’m going back and taking notes.

Have you read this? What did you think? What are you currently reading?

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We got chickens!!

For years and years, I’ve wanted a flock of chickens in the backyard, as pets and for egg production. Hubby was skeptical, I think because of the cost and the work involved. Still, I dreamed, read homesteading websites, stalked Instagram feeds of people with chickens, and lurked on the Backyard Chickens forum.  

When we moved, I started trying to come up with a chicken coop plan. We have an old playhouse we wanted to use and had started researching. One night I was on e-Bay though and found a local seller trying to sell 5 chicken coops for $99 each. They were A-frame tractors so they would be easily movable, although only hold a few chickens. I messaged the seller and made a deal to buy two of them for $150.

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Hubby assembling our coop!

A few weeks later, I was on Facebook and someone posted in a local group that they needed to re-home their flock of 11 chickens of various breeds. I texted Hubby and he reluctantly agreed that we could go take a look. I messaged the lady and made arrangements. Since I wouldn’t have time to go home for cat carriers, I snagged some large boxes and poked holes for air in them.

The chicken lady had a huge coop and a fantastic set up. She pointed out the different types of chickens and told me about each one. I picked a Rhode Island Red that had been rescued from an overcrowded farm, an Easter Egger, and what I think she said was an Orpington mix. We popped them in the boxes and headed home.

One our way home, we stopped and picked the boys up from daycare. We did not tell them what was in the boxes. When we got home, we set the boxes down in the backyard and let them boys take the lids off.

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Background chicken is molting

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Surprise! Chickens!

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They did not come with names and we had fun coming up with what to call them. The RIR is now Gladys, the Orpington is Gertrude, and the little gray Easter Egger is Bernadette.

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The boys love them. Orion especially, and he is great at helping catch them when it is time to put them up. “Mama! Catch chickens! Orion catch chickens!” It is the cutest thing, and anything that gets him to practice talking is a miracle. He has a speech delay and has had speech therapy but is still making progress.

I will admit, that to my embarrassment, I was a little afraid of them at first. They were squawky, and unfriendly, and Gertrude was so loud when we’d get close. Things are calming down now that they know we’re nice and give them treats. So far I’ve learned that they like strawberries, even just the tops I cut off for the kids. They also liked Sebastian’s leftover peanut butter and grape jelly sandwich. Bananas, oranges, and apple chunks were not a hit.

For the first 2 weeks, we didn’t get any eggs which I expected since they were traumatized with the move. Then we started getting one a day. I suspect it is Gladys. She was the quickest to catch on to the humans=treats thing and is now the friendliest.

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Side note: That isn’t a giant egg, I just have really small hands.

I love the chicken tractor because we can move it around the yard every few days to give them some new green space and a clean floor. I’m using wood shavings inside the coop and just add a little layer every day and then clean it out on the weekends. The dirty shavings go in my compost bin.

It has been about 3 weeks and we’re up to a dozen eggs now. The girls are getting used to us but I need to plan an enclosure around their coop so they can get out and about without us worrying about the dogs.

OK, I’ve rambled enough about our new ladies. If you have a flock, please tell me about them! What treats do they like?

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