the ridiculous expense of convenience

I have the most unusual thoughts while driving myself to work in the morning. For example, you can’t swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a fucking drive thru coffee shop. Seriously, they’re in every parking lot and on every goddamn corner. It’s utterly insane. And for what? Overpriced coffee drinks in cups that will end up in the landfill and typically aren’t that great for your health.

UGH.

Maybe it’s because I’m sleep deprived right now but it seems to me that not going to the coffee shop every morning would be a great way to start saving some money and some calories. Now don’t get me wrong, I have my own particular, and peculiar, caffeine addiction but I take care of it on the cheap. And yes I’ve probably babbled about this before but I’m going to do it again.

On Sunday I brew at least one, sometimes two, 12 cup pots of coffee depending on how much I used the week before. I use good quality flavored coffee. I’m lazy so I just use a regular old drip coffee maker. I let it cool and then pour it into a gallon plastic jug, purchased just for that purpose. I also add sweetener, either powdered Splenda or sugar free Torani flavored syrup.

In the morning I get my 32oz insulated metal cup and fill it half with my cold coffee, a splash of cream, and the rest with milk. Sometimes I add ice. This costs me next to nothing but a little time to make the coffee.

I’m also not waiting in line at the coffee shop, wasting time and gas. That’s super important to me in the summer.

Now, where I will spend money for “convenience” is on single serving snack stuff. I have a terrible time with portion control so the 100 calorie packs of snacks like Pringles are a savior for me.

It’s all about picking your battles, kiddos.

Speaking of battles…

My mom got the boys a cat tree over the weekend. They love it. Garth won the battle for King of the Top Sleepy Spot this time.

In the dessert battle category…

Quinoa with creamed lavender honey and blueberries. It was an experiment since there was extra quinoa, but not enough to save. Rather tasty.

My pea plants are doing much better this year. I’m hoping they’ll keep going for awhile yet.

I meant to take knitting pics this morning but was running way too late. I brought the shawl that had been living at L’s place home to work on. It’s turning out lovely.

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the biggest goal ever

I currently weigh 269lbs. I am 5’6″ tall. Depending on who you ask I am considered Morbidly Obese even though I am constantly told, even by medical professionals, that I don’t look that heavy.

But I am. And I’ve decided that being that heavy is almost certainly the root of my discontent these days.

My body hurts, almost constantly. It just plain doesn’t feel right. And I get tired entirely too easily.

These aren’t part of a larger, more sinister, issue. This is me not having taken proper care of my body for far too long. I will own this issue because it’s mine to own.

So what’s my goal? I will lose 100lbs by June 24, 2020.

Before anyone panics, that would still have me at a healthy weight for my height. I am also doing this at the recommendation of my doctors. I have no intention of doing a crash diet, using laxatives or stimulants, starving myself, exercising to the point of excess, or anything that is otherwise not healthy. I plan to be more diligent about my food and drink choices and increase my activity, namely walking.

I can do this. I will do this. Lancelot and Mom are doing it with me, though I don’t think either of them plan to lose as much. We will support each other.

I’m telling you all about this because I need to be held accountable. And maybe you’re looking for someone to inspire you or make you feel better about your progress. Who knows.

I will share good recipes as I come across them, I promise you that. Sometimes that’s the hardest part.

Here we go… 100 or bust.

progress

I had an appointment with the dermatologist yesterday afternoon so I got home early. While I was working on coaxing my personal laptop to finish loading updates I pulled out some of the treasures I got at the bead show Lancelot and I went to. The above pic is the result. Not bad for less than an hour’s worth of work.

I did manage to get the laptop going again, which was good. And I got more tidying done in the bedroom, namely the bottom drawer of the nightstand where some of the knitting stuff lives. I’m feeling really good about all of this.

That is part of lunch this week. It’s a homemade pasta salad with cheese tortellini, grape tomatoes, chopped bell pepper, shredded carrots, black olives, and homemade Italian salad dressing. I’m also having clementines and blackberries for fruit, a hard boiled egg, and two of the little Babybel cheese rounds. This morning I had a smoothie with plain Greek yogurt, a frozen banana, frozen cherries, and cherry juice. Super yum.

The thing I’m most excited about? I actually got on the treadmill this morning!!! I only walked 15 minutes, but still. I’m going to try to keep doing that every weekday morning.

long time no write

Not dead yet! Life has been hectic and there have been bits where I’m doing good to keep my head above water. But even though life has been more about the treading than making progress lately, I haven’t drowned yet. I call that good.

While I haven’t done super great with the goals lately, I haven’t done super awful either. I haven’t lost weight but I also haven’t gained. And I spent money on stuff I didn’t truly need, but I haven’t gone beyond the funds I had set aside. And of the the things I did buy, none of it was craft supplies. Mostly it was digital music and a new small set of markers, both of which I use at work.

Work is good these days, and it’s part of what’s keeping me going. There is no shortage of stuff to do. And I love these crazy people. Over lunch today I had one of my faculty friends stop by needing a favor and he was all “I totally owe you coffee for this!” No sir, this is called doing my job. I told him that I’ll take care of him and he can take care of the students.

Honestly, that’s how I measure my success – retention and graduation rates. If we aren’t keeping students long enough for them to graduate then we aren’t doing something right and I feel like that comes back, at least in part, on me.

Anyway, still working on the other goals. I’m trying to get back on the whole healthy eating wagon. I spent time last night getting some lunches and fruit salad made. I’m also making good progress on my latest knitting adventure, a beaded shawl.

the beads are really subtle, they’re along the left edge in this pic

The pattern is simple and I’m loving it. Not sure how long it’s going to take to finish but I have been working on it regularly. And I finished some smaller projects in February so I feel pretty ok about that.

derp!

week one

This was my first week back to work after having been out on medical leave for a month. It was exciting and exhausting at the same time. But this wasn’t my first rodeo so I knew pretty well what to expect. And I planned accordingly.

I decided that my eating habits would be the best place to start with my goals, in part because I know that you get out of your body what you put into it.

One thing you should know about me is that I am a heavy drinker, but I seldom drink alcohol. I take Lithium Carbonate to control some of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder and, since it’s an elemental salt, it makes me perpetually dehydrated. It’s pretty rare to find me without a beverage by my side. To make things even more interesting, I pretty well detest plain water. Time to get creative.

I often use Crystal Lite Peach Tea mix, or a Cherry Pomegranate flavor, or packets of True Orange crystallized orange powder. I’m also fond of fruit flavored seltzer waters. Lately I’ve been wanting drinks that are a little more sweet but still not totally unhealthy.

I’m not typically one to drink hot beverages but the high temps here have been negative numbers lately. Desperate times and all that. So my latest obsession is this…

Plus a nice fat teaspoon of this…

with a splash of cream.

Yes, honey is added sugar, but it’s not a refined sugar and honey has good stuff in it. The fact that this is both local and chocolate flavored makes it even better.

The other beverage tip I want to share with you has to do with coffee. Lots of us have a coffee addiction, be honest with yourself about it, there’s no judgement here. My biggest issue is the expense. If you stop at a coffee shop every day, even if just to get a regular cup of hot coffee, that’s likely going to set you back at least $2. No bueno.

Again, I’m not a fan of hot beverages but I love iced coffee. And I’m cheap. So here’s what I do.

Instead of shelling out sheckels every day I buy a quality bag of flavored coffee grounds. My current fav is Pear’s Chocolate Raspberry. I brew a nice strong 12C pot of that, add about 3/4C Splenda, and then let it cool. I typically brew two pots like that because that’s what my designated Coffee Jug will hold. I stash that in the fridge and it lasts at least a week.

I’m not one to drink black coffee so I have to dress that shit up. I have a 24oz insulated cup that I fill half with the cold coffee. I add a splash of cream and then top it with milk. Voila! Delicious iced coffee with far fewer calories and significantly less expensive.

What are your favorite money saving tips and tricks?

living large on a government salary

I’m a state university employee which means I’m not making the same kind of cheddar that my peers in the corporate world are. It’s a conscious decision that I made 16 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I have amazing benefits, I get to be a part of educating the future, and my colleagues at work are like family. Plus that whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s off work every year, seriously can’t beat it.

But there are some “life hacks” that I use to help stretch my monthly pay. For one thing, I satisfy my daily coffee cravings by making my own fancy stuff at home. I also have a tendency to take my own breakfast and lunch to work so I don’t have to eat out. It’s a hell of a lot healthier, too.

When it comes to buying food we shop the sales. And since I like to make my own smoothies, no kale or spinach please, I stock up on fruit when it’s on sale and in season and then freeze it myself. I’ve also started buying the really ugly bananas that are super cheap and running then through my tiny little blender and then freezing the puree in 1/2C containers. It’s great to throw in with my smoothies. It works great with peaches or strawberries that get a little too squishy. No sense tossing perfectly good food.

I have a tendency to make my “convenience” foods a lot. You like that whole yogurt / granola parfait thing? Make your own. I take a 2C container, dump in a container of yogurt, add in 1/3C of dried fruit, and then take a separate little 1/2C container of granola. (I almost always eat breakfast at work, don’t ask why.) It’s cheap and it’s super yummy and I can customize the daylights out of it.

What kinds of “hacks” do y’all use to save some green?