Friday, September 28, 2012

Simply Being Mommy

Horray!  I'm so super excited to say that I was selected to be a contributing writer for Simply Being Mommy.  The owner of the mom blog, Crystal, is in the second trimester of her fourth pregnancy.  You know how they say each pregnancy is different?  Well, this one is a first for sure as Crystal is a surrogate.  What a wonderful gift to be able to give!

Here's my introductory post:  Meet Melanie

I encourage you to check out the site for reviews and updates of our lives in mommy-dom.  

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My 25-pound Weight Loss

My sisters and I took our mom on a quick wine tasting getaway to celebrate her birthday.  It was so nice to spend the time together with just us girls.  When Carolyn, second from the left, posted pictures of our super awesome trip, I was appalled.  I just couldn't believe how big I had gotten.

Immediately after Harper, my second child, I had gotten to a pretty reasonable weight.  Somehow (I say somehow like eating dessert constantly and not exercising would warrant any other outcome) I gained ten pounds by the time she was 2 1/2.

I tried from Christmas until March to lose weight using what I remembered from Weight Watchers.  I lost three pounds.  That just wasn't going to work.

Jori, third from the left, was having a lot of her own success on a weight loss program, so I joined too.

On St. Patrick's Day, I began Take Shape for Life.  I quickly adjusted to the small meals eaten every few hours.  I never felt hungry or tired!  Also, I realized how little water I had been drinking once I really started downing 64 ounces a day.  Being a vegetarian, my veggie intake was already pretty high. However, I hadn't realized how high the carb content for my meat-replacement meals was.  Add in high carb veggies and it's no wonder I was losing weight.

The program says to expect an average of 2-5 pounds of weight loss a week; I was thrilled lost 25 pounds in two months.  

The tricky part is, of course, not gaining it all back.  I followed the plan set out by Take Shape for Life and my health coach and was able to stay at or below my goal weight.

When my brother-in-law decided to join us on the weight loss journey, my health coach asked if I'd be interested in becoming a health coach myself.  It's been such a fun experience sharing this program with my family and friends.  

I dreaded putting the before & after pictures online for anyone to see.  The after picture could be posted on street corners, and I'd be's just that before.  Ugh.  

But I realized how few pictures of myself I had taken when I was unhealthy.  If I went through my Facebook photos, they were all of my kids.  I was being erased from my family's memories because I was too embarrassed of how I looked.  I'm thrilled to say I'm happier and healthier.  You'll be seeing a lot more of less of me! 

If you are interested in more information, look at my coaching site Meals with Mel.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Pumpkin Everything

Summer is by far my absolute favorite time of year, and not just because I'm a teacher so it means I can sleep in a little.  I love the heat.  I love sundresses.  I love making ice cream.  I love my birthday.  
Photo Credit:I Am Ned Starks Missing Head
However, the runner-up to summer is fall and mostly because of my love for pumpkin.  Here are some of my favorite pumpkin-y things:

Pumpkin chili-I found this recipe last year at Trader Joe's and made it repeatedly last fall.  

Pumpkin bread-We cheer any time Georgia finds a new food she will eat.  Her preschool class made pumpkin bread and when she gobbled it up, we knew it would be a repeat.

Photo credit: Starbucks
Pumpkin spice lattes-A pumpkin spice latte (PSL if you're hip to the writing on the side of your cup) makes me so happy.  A pumpkin spice latte and a pumpkin scone?  I may die.

Pumpkin-colored jeans-Shopped the outlets with Matt on his birthday.  How big did I score marrying a man who enjoys shopping???  Maybe they aren't as practical as a pair of blue jeans, but who cares?  They are adorable, and I'm going to wear the heck out of them.

Pumpkin patches & carving-There is nothing better than finding the perfect pumpkin (even if it's upside down).  I know getting a pumpkin from the grocery store is way less expensive, but it just doesn't take the place of seeking out the perfect one. Yes, pumpkins from patches are more money, but I can justify it because it was also a source of entertainment.

Shopping for Pumpking?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Grandparent's Day!

Today's a double header.  It's Grandparent's Day plus my husband's birthday.  We got to celebrate one of the holidays on Friday as Georgia's school invited grandparents to visit the school and participate in various activities.  

Growing up, I didn't have a close relationship with my sole living grandparent purely because of the fact that she lived out of state.  I'm extremely grateful that this isn't the case for my own children.  

My mother-in-law and my dad with their granddaughter...
and a friend who really wanted to be in the picture.

This was killing me, seeing her walking them to line up.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Tanaka Farms Harvest Tour

It's not quite fall, but we started celebrating the harvest season at Tanaka Farms.  The farm hosts a variety of tours and activities throughout the year, including the upcoming pumpkin patch.  I wanted to take advantage of this particular tour because I eat so many darn veggies.

For $17 per adult, you are given a guided 1 1/2 hour walking tour of the 30-acre farm (you don't walk the whole 30 acres...phew!).  While you're listening to their organic practices, veggie history, etc. you get to pick your own veggies.  Whatever you pick is yours to keep.  

Apparently Bugs Bunny cartoons are full of lies.  Carrots are super hard to get out of the ground.  Harp is celebrating the hard work.

Such a pretty day.  Bloody hot, but pretty.

Not quite ripe cherry tomatoes.

The family, plus Cinderella who didn't complain once about the heat or walking.

Ahh shucks, it's corn.

I'm over the moon in love with their sweet corn.  We eat it raw and fast.

Matt holding the loot.  

Tanaka Farms also offers a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program so you can enjoy their yummy treats monthly.  Wish I could get all corn, all the time!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Dessert-Themed Classroom

This baker's been on a diet.  So to further tempt/torture myself, I themed my entire classroom around the  delicious treats I've been working so hard to avoid.  

Here's board number one.  Each student has their name written on a cookie.

The first week, students made an ice cream cone to represent themselves using this ice cream glyph I created.  I was stoked so many picked that they were excited to start school.  Students also interviewed a classmate and wrote a newspaper article introducing that person in an assignment called "Here's the Scoop."

To tie in the desserts to our curriculum, we'll be making edible class projects throughout the year.  We made sugar cookie animal cells that we scrumptious.  Perhaps the sugar rush will energize the students a little more.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School Pictures

The school supply shopping, the nerves of meeting a new teacher, the early mornings.  I'm pretty new to this whole "Back to School" thing from a parent's point of view.  Actually, it's more "To School" since Georgia is just starting out.

A new milestone was school pictures.  Her teacher told the class to make sure to look their best, and Georgia didn't want to disappoint.  Now, fancy for me means straightening my wavy hair.  Georgia wanted the opposite.

We rocked the old-fashioned pink curlers so there would be less chance of me burning her head and reliving the guilt of scorching my child daily as I looked at her school picture.  This is currently her favorite pose for photographs.  No clue where it came from.  

 The after look.  I'll share the final product once they come in.  Ohhh, my baby's growing up!