Winner, Winner, Chili Dinner

I won a chili contest!!!! You cannot believe how excited I am to have won. I very rarely win anything. I think the last time I won was in 1992. I was the right caller into a radio station to win a Phantom of the Opera CD and  T-shirt. Seriously.

I’ve been reading PreventionRD for the last year or so. The recipes look very interesting, but I really enjoy reading about the life of an RD. It sort of gives me a glimpse of what I’m getting myself into and hope that I will be able to balance everything. I haven’t figured how to balance everything yet, but I have hope it will happen.



Happy new year! I hope your new year is better than the last.

I had YarnKettle over for New Years and was reminded that I haven’t updated in a while. It was nice to have people over for New Years. I’ve been a bit of a hermit during the semester. Every second of free time was spent either with the Husband and OP or doing homework. I did see my college besties a couple times, which was awesome, but I missed my non-school friends more than I realized. I need all my friends to stay sane. Or sane-ish.

At least I’m finished with my first semester of the internship. Wait, let me rephrase. I survived my first semester of the internship. Yay! It was tough, but so amazing. It confirmed that I am following the right path for me. I loved each rotation. I may not have enjoyed every location or every task, but I absolutely loved what I did each day. Next semester is 10 weeks at a hospital. I’m a bit scared, but it will be good.

Wow, I sound way too sappy, but I’ll take it. I’d rather be sappy than crying my eyes out.

Yarn Festival!

I went to a local yarn festival with the Husband, OP, and our cousin Teach! Like me, Teach was there for the yarn and to spend time together. The Husband and OP were there for the cider donuts (and spend time together). Well, OP was there for the yarn, too. She LOVES touching the yarn and finding the beautiful colors. I can only imagine how awesome each year will be as she gets older. Assuming she still enjoys yarn.

Originally, I was not going to buy yarn. I’m not knitting so there really is no point, but OP wanted an infinity scarf. I thought rather than have her go through my stash, I’ll have her pick new yarn. My hope is this will prevent her from stealing the scarf I’m finishing up. I know it won’t, but I hope it will. I also want to get back into sweaters so I decided I’d be on the lookout for good sweater yarn for both the Husband and I.


I bought yarn for two scarves for the child. She picked the two Periwinkle Sheep skeins (pink and dark pink) which will look lovely for her scarf. This selection shocked me because she was ogling the sparkly yarns at every booth and I thought for sure I’d be knitting a sparkling scarf. Then, because I felt bad she didn’t go with sparkly yarn, I decided to buy purple and black sparkly yarn from Mother Frogging Yarns. I mean, I loved the yarn (it feels so soft!) and wanted to try a new brand. It wasn’t just a weird guilt. I mean it was weird guilt, just not only weird guilt. She was happy without the sparkly yarn, but I apparently wasn’t. I have issues. The other yarn is from Ensign Brook Farm. It’s a Merino-Romney yarn to be used in a sweater for the Husband. Hopefully, I have enough.

I didn’t find any sweater yarn that spoke to me, but that’s okay. I’ll pick something up at a local yarn store in a few months. In the meantime, I should probably try to start OP’s scarf so she has something for the winter which is fast approaching. But first, back to homework. *sigh*

I am so tired…maybe

I’m three weeks into my internship. Where the heck did time go? I am tired and frustrated by this experience, but I’m not as tired as I like to think and am really enjoying it. How’s that for contradictions?

I’m tired because I get up at 5am so I can get in a short 20 minute workout, eat, get myself together, get the child together, and sometimes drop her off at day care before I leave. (No, I don’t leave her at home on the other days. The Husband drops her off). All that to get to my rotation at 7:30. I spend most of the day on my feet, running around like a mad woman and not eating. Yeah, I lost 3 pounds in the first 2 weeks because I couldn’t figure out when to eat during the day. That’s getting better, thankfully. I come home, make and eat dinner, get the child to bed, do homework for about 30 minutes, watch 5 minutes of TV with the Husband, and then go to bed between 8:30-9:00.

It sucks.

I have to go to bed early so I can get up early, but then I don’t seem to get homework done. Thankfully, I had the brilliant idea to keep getting up at 5am on the weekends. This means I don’t have a screwy schedule and I get used to these hours AND I have 2-3 hours on the weekends guaranteed to get work done. That and my in-laws have taken the child a bit. Although, right now I feel overwhelmed. As soon as I get something done and feel accomplished, I turn around and have 5 more things due. *sigh*

Oh my goodness, my life is dull. BUT I just have to get through 10 months and all the schedules will be different. In theory. Oh please, don’t have a rotation where I have to get up at 3am.

In the meantime, I haven’t gotten much non-school things done, but this is okay. I did knit a few items over the summer and I used up 4 skeins! I went from 70 to 66 and have more stash-busting ideas! Is it bad that all my projects right now are chosen for their stash-busting properties? I don’t think so, because I do like the projects I have selected on top of stash busting. Of course, there may be a yarn festival coming up soon which could potentially mean more yarn. No, I will be strong.

What else? I’m currently making oatmeal bars, muffins, and egg things to act as quick, on-the-go breakfast items to streamline my mornings. That, or I’m procrastinating by baking. Still, I do need to do it, which is what I’m telling the Husband. Don’t tell him it’s really procrastinating.

The Great Unknown

My orientation is complete and my first internship day is Monday. First and foremost, I’m scared. It’s a new experience and I am often worried about what I don’t know. It was worse before the orientation. I now have a list of my tasks and I now know what I can expect going in. So, I’m scared, but I’m more excited now.

I also question if I’m making a terrible mistake. I admit, I felt this way after quitting my job and going back to school. And I continued to feel that way until I made a few friends and got the rhythm of the program (so, about a week into the first semester). Once I got the hang of school again, I fell in love with nutrition and knew this was for me. I can only hope that after the first week of internship, I feel the same way. Of course, it’s food management, and the DPD classes for food management make me less inclined to work in that area. But, I’m keeping an open mind. I may find that actually doing the work is what I love, not learning about it. Maybe I’ll want to run a kitchen. Or maybe not.

I worry that I will fail miserably and let down the people who accepted me into this program. I’ve worked at a few jobs in my time and I know, logically, that I can do it, but I’m still worried that I will fail. I also fear that I will ask too many questions and annoy the preceptors. I do ask a lot of questions because I want to make sure I understand the issue. I suspect this is from programming since I needed to make sure I understood my client’s needs before I spent 20 hours on the wrong thought process.

I have a tendency to focus on one thing at a time–work or family or self. I can’t, during the semester, focus on more than one. Work always wins, followed by family, and I ignore self. Which may be why I gained 10 pounds during the last year of classes–I only had time for food, not exercise or meditation. I really want to use my time better to maintain balance rather than go for the A. I mean, I need to get that A, but an A- is okay. Of course, I do tell myself this at the beginning of every semester and fail miserably. This time I will get it figured out.

Right now, I’m ready to get started and just want to get the waiting over. That’s really the hard part.

Food of the Future!!!

I watched the Challenger disaster in elementary school and it made me too afraid to fly to the stars, which of course meant I would never get to eat the cool space food I saw on TV–shiny packages of nutritionally-packed, scientific food stuff. So, I find it ironic that, in a way, I did get to eat like an astronaut–shiny special, pre-packaged food, engineered to sit on the shelf. Instead of all the nutrients found in bags of dehydrated dinners, though, this Earth-bound space food was often full of sodium, added sugar, and artificial flavors. After years of buying into the processed, low fat, diet food hype, I realized that I wasn’t really eating food, and, as I got further into nutrition, I realized it wasn’t the way I wanted to eat.

As I started out on my new path, my point of view swerved to the notion that all chemicals and space-aged packages are bad and I should only eat what my grandfather grew or raised on his farm. Except, that as I learned more of the science, my nutritional point of view changed again and relaxed a bit.

First, the fallacies of my all chemicals are bad way of thinking:

  1. Everything is a chemical, even water, so chemicals aren’t inherently bad.
  2. Related to #1, a chemical used in a product, like say, a yoga mat, doesn’t mean that it is bad for you. That’s not how it works. Take acetic acid. It’s used as an industrial solvent, in some pesticides, and as part of perfumes and synthetic fibers. All things I wouldn’t want to eat; however, I put acetic acid (aka vinegar) in salad dressing and in sauces all the time. The uses of a chemical doesn’t necessarily define the edibility of it. (Is edibility even a word?)
  3. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s good. Arsenic is natural. Ricin is natural. I don’t eat them. Natural is often a marketing term not a measure of health.
  4. Trying to live in a perfect way–no chemicals! no toxins!–can lead to a disordered view of food. If the food is not perfect, then you feel guilty and you failed. You are a failure. You have to binge or cleanse or purify which leads to more restrictions. Plus, what will you be able to eat after a while? Water and air? Water is a chemical…

So those are the fallacies when we think that all chemicals are bad. If chemicals are bad, does that mean food from a box is good? No, not necessarily. It depends on what is in that box. The basis of my nutritional perspective is to eat food that is as close to its source as I can. I want to eat an apple rather than an apple snack that contains some apple in it. I want to eat a stir fry I made from scratch with “real” ingredients rather than something that comes in a bag with a sauce. Bottom line, that’s the healthier way to eat–real fruits, real veggies, whole grains, and lean protein sources with YOU controlling what goes in. But I know as a person with a busy life and limited funds it is really hard to make everything from scratch. I’ve developed guidelines for myself to follow when I’m crunched on time or need a economical shortcut.

Look at the ingredient list and read the nutrition panel.

If I need to buy packaged food, I try to find the least processed of all the options. I turn the package over, ignoring claims of “natural,” “organic,” or “healthy part of your diet” found on the front. If the ingredient list looks like a chemistry experiment or is extremely long for no good reason, I put it back on the shelf. If the nutrition label lists a lot of sodium or added sugar, it again goes back. It it’s all that’s there and I really need that item, the I buy. I just don’t buy it often.

Find ways to cut prep time.

I make large batches of food and freeze half for a quick meal later. I also made friends with the slow cooker in the back of my cabinet. But be careful, many slow cooker recipes rely on processed, high-sodium ingredients, which sort of defeats the purpose. Buy pre-cut or frozen veggies to save time. Frozen veggies (without a sauce!) are just as healthy as fresh. Just make sure there is no sauce or added ingredients (e.g. salt/sodium). Canned veggies, while not as good as fresh or frozen because of the higher sodium content, can be rinsed before use to remove a lot of the salt if it fits your budget better.

Find a farmers’ market

My area has a plethora of farmers’ markets, which are a great source for incorporating real food into your diet and buying in season items can cost effective. I get overwhelmed at large markets with a lot of people and prefer to avoid them, but there are some great smaller markets that are easy to enjoy. Or don’t go to a farmers’ market. That’s okay too.

Take it slow

Change is hard and a complete overhaul of how you eat is overwhelming. Make one or two small changes during the week so real food habits are sustainable. Each change makes you that much healthier.


It’s not about being perfect or omitting everything. Sometimes, you don’t have the time or money. Sometimes, you have to drive 40 miles or walk past scary and unsavory people to get to the store and you just don’t want to do that! That’s okay! It’s about making changes YOU can make and sustain that cut down on the boxes and bags of “astronaut food.” Last night I used instant falafel (horror!) rather than make it from scratch, because I don’t have time and I really like the boxed kind. And it was yummy! And I’m okay with that!


I still haven’t found that shawl pattern, but hopefully, the woman who showed it at knit club will be there for Augusts meeting. Or I can just adapt a pattern, which I may do.

The Husband and I had a date night this weekend. Yay! They can be hard to come by with a kid, but fortunately, we have grandma and grandpa nearby so we get them more often than most. Date nights are very important once you have kids to preserve your sanity and remember why you married that crazy person across the table, but our previous date nights/date days have been less than stellar. Usually, we just watch a movie at home or clean and maybe go out to dinner. Thrilling, no?

This time we decided to do things we can’t normally do with the child. Like go eat Vietnamese. I LOVE Vietnamese. OP, not so much–she once fell in love with pho but refuses to believe me. She does seem to like Thai, but only if she’s eating the appetizers or miso soup. Otherwise, how dare we bring her to such a restaurant. Damn picky eater.

After dinner we saw Ant Man, which I think my Avengers-loving daughter would enjoy, but she decided that it is too scary and refuses to see it. Her loss because it was unexpectedly GOOD. Except for the ants. When I was a sweet 4-year-old, my preschool took all the little kids outside for their class photo. They lay out a blanket and sat us all on top. Unfortunately, they didn’t realize that part of the blanket, the part I was on, was on an ant hill. I still remember screaming in the bathroom with my pants off, while the teacher got rid of all the ants. I believe the pants were awesome 1970s striped, bell-bottoms. Since then, I have a problem with ants. I don’t run away screaming, but once I see an ant, I get extremely itchy if I see them until I take a shower. Not hives itchy, but “oh my god there is an ant on my leg! Now it’s on my back! Now it’s back on my leg! My head, it’s on my head!” itchy. I did not expect that reaction when watching Ant Man. The people around me must have thought I was crazy or had fleas with all the itching. Of course, now that I’m talking about it there’s an ant on my knee. No, now it’s on my neck. Argh! My head! I’m done. I need to think of something else…