beach, blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Having fun, Travel, vacations

Making the Beach Last Just a Little Longer

We returned from our vacation Saturday on evening to clean house, nearly stocked refrigerator, and a freshly mown lawn, thus confirming the sheer awesomeness of our children.  Though we had mounds of things to unpack, my only desire was to brew a big cup of coffee and spend the rest of the evening catching up with them.  Only our oldest daughter was home, as my youngest daughter was officiating a wedding while her fiancé was doing the wedding photographs. By 11 pm everyone was home and we stayed up well into the night chatting and laughing.

On Sunday, I meant to start my unpacking and laundry early in the day, but I just couldn’t bring myself to begin the activities that signaled the true end to our vacation.  Instead, I grabbed a bucket and some towels and took the huge pile of seashells that we collected out to the patio to wash and sort. My daughters joined in, and a couple of hours later we had a bucketful of gorgeous, sand-free shells.

After this task, I should have accepted my fate and turned on my washer, but the sparkling clean shells beckoned a trip to Michael’s Arts and Crafts store for display jars and other beachy accoutrements.

Of course, Michael’s didn’t let me down, and I soon had ten lovely jars of King Triton’s treasures to decorate with and give as gifts.

Just a few of my shell jars! (photo by me)
Just a few of my shell jars! (photo by me)

At one of the craft shops in Nag’s Head, I bought this little ornament and decided to break out my beading tools to make a few, (well, maybe more than a few), of my own!

An oyster shell ornament from the Seagreen Gallery in Nag's Head, NC. (Photo by me)
An oyster shell ornament from the Seagreen Gallery in Nag’s Head, NC. (Photo by me)
One of the shell ornaments that I made. (photo by me)
One of the shell ornaments that I made. (photo by me)
Another of my creations. (Photo by me)
Another of my creations. (Photo by me)
Another ornament made by me. (Photo by me)
Another ornament made by me. (Photo by me)
Beachy goodies! (Photo by me)
Beachy goodies! (Photo by me)

 

 

 

 

Finally, around bedtime, I’d conjured up the gumption to begin unpacking.  As, I sit here preparing this post, my washer and dryer are thumping and humming their welcome home song.  My butt may temporarily be planted in my recliner typing, but my heart is most definitely still at the beach!

My husband hung this by out front door last night.  Beachy houses don't always have to be near the actual beach! (Photo by me)
My husband hung this by out front door last night. Beachy houses don’t always have to be near the actual beach! (Photo by me)
blogging, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, learning, losing weight, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, Writing

Surviving my First Holiday on Optifast

Hooray, for healthy foods! (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
Hooray, for healthy foods! (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

When I started my weight loss program, I made sure to begin it after the Christmas holidays.  Knowing that I would be giving up solid food, after my first bariatric appointment, on January 16th, I went gastronomically crazy in the weeks prior. I hit up Famous Dave’s barbecue place three or four times. I ate McDonald’s twice–even though it made me a little sick afterwards. I made it to burger night at Glory Days Grill three Monday’s in a row. I munched on potato chips, Doritos, and candy like they were going out of style.  I also cooked all of my favorite comfort foods; chicken pie, roast beef, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, mac and cheese, and had more desserts than you could count on both hands.  I thought my food frenzy would bolster me in the weeks ahead, as if food could possibly be the solution to my problems.

Three months,and 40 pounds later, this weekend’s Easter holiday was celebrated much differently than usual, and it was far more satisfying.  The “Easter Bunny”–yes, he still visits my adult kids–brought tiny packs of organic jelly beans and movie theater gift certificates instead of mounds of chocolate.  Instead of cooking Easter dinner solo, I had my husband and daughters’ help.  In lieu of the normal carbohydrate and sugar laden foods I’d usually prepare, we had baked, low-fat, unglazed ham, fresh green beans sautéed with shallots and garlic, fresh asparagus and tomato salad, and baked yams with assorted, healthy toppings on the side. Everything we created would be permissible on my eating plan.

Since I’m still drinking shakes, I flavored a vanilla one with coconut extract, made a huge cup of unsweetened cinnamon apple tea, and joined my family for dinner conversation.

After dinner, I took a took a very brisk, two-mile walk and did some arm and ab work.  It feels amazing knowing that I can survive a holiday and that my family is even happier with healthy holiday foods and treats.

Hope everyone’s weekend was great! 🙂  Happy Monday!