6 January, 2013 20:07

6 Jan


big news people, big news.

24 Oct


Actually, you don’t have to wait!!


You just have to click HERE!!! 

true confession tuesday: 10.4.11

4 Oct


1. I have been a bit of an emotional mess since I first hurt my knee on august 21. The time resting was also time spent eating.

2. After the ankle sprain last week I have been worse. After diagnosis and scheduling surgery I was an absolute emotional eating machine!

3. Last Wednesday, I joined  Shrinking Jeans in their latest challenge: Shrinkvivor!! I like challenges, especially team challenges! I weighed in last week at 217 lbs.  Did this stop my emotional eating?!? NO!!! I knew what I was doing but I couldn’t or wouldn’t stop myself.

4. I finally blogged about my impending surgeries and that helped me feel more comfortable with the whole situation. Putting it out there made it real – also, blogging it helped me reflect on my injuries. I NEED to get fixed and surgery is my only option. I know if I put off this surgery I will just be setting myself up for future failure. I want and need to be fixed so I can continue the healthy & active lifestyle I have begun!

5. I have not been drinking nearly enough water. I sorta have an excuse – my classroom is on 3rd floor and bathroom is on bottom floor – normally I love this – built in exercise! with a bum knee and a bum ankle – it SUCKS!


Ok, so now I have confessed! I am moving on!!

1. Yesterday, I began tracking my calories again.

2. I am working on my emotional eating!

3. I will up my water consumption!


They are right!! Confession is good for the soul!!!

I do feel better!!


Knees and Toes

1 Oct

Head, shoulder, knees and toes!
Head, shoulder, knees and toes!

Sit back while I tell you all a story. The story of my knees and toes (well one knee and an ankle in particular.) Grab a cup of coffee, you’re gonna be here a while!

It all began during a gym class in 7th grade. It all began when running around a stupid grass all-purpose field was gym class. The first time I sprained my ankle was in 7th grade gym class running those awful laps around that awful field. I tripped on a tree root, got my foot stuck and fell on my knee.
I spent most of my remaining school years avoiding running. I occasionally played a sport but for the most part a steady stream of ankle sprains and knee issues kept me sidelined! I was a band geek so the sidelines were ok by me!
Fast forward about abajillion years and it is August of 2011 and I was training to run/walk my second half marathon.
I went from ankle and knee issues to run/walking a half marathon. I thought I was in the clear. I was one week away from my 2nd half marathon when I tweaked my knee. Oh, it hurt something fierce but I braved it and finished my 10 miles. Two days later, I made an appointment with my orthopedic doctor. He sent me for an MRI. The MRI showed chronic patella arthritis with bone-on-bone action. My knee cap sits very off-kilter and it was causing a lack of muscle development.
I went to PT (physical therapy) with low expectations! I had been there before with little to no results. I met the best PT doc ever and learned a few things. Basically, I am unbalanced. Its basically a “hipbone’s connected to the knee bone’s connected to the ankle bone” sort of thing. I am built “funny” and I’m biomechanically unbalanced. If you look at my legs, you can see the right calf is visibly smaller than the left. It the right knee and ankle I have always had problems with!
I have been going to PT three times a week and let me tell you, its not the easiest to swing financially. I am so lucky I have good health insurance – I could not afford to spend more than I am right now (honestly, even that’s a stretch) so I am glad I have the benefits I have! I am finally getting somewhere. I am making progress. Definitely time and money well spent! I was making progress!
Until, I was taken down my a pretty red rubber ball with a bell inside it! Lucy’s favorite toy took me out! I rolled and sprained the hell out of my ankle. I was told a few years ago the ligaments in my ankle are basically trashed. The ortho doc wanted to surgically repair the ankle ligaments a few years ago. But I started losing weight and walking and by the time it came to schedule surgery, I didn’t want it.
I was feeling better and stronger! I was walking all the time. It was soon after I started running. Then I finished a half marathon without much issue from my ankle. I have had a few knee issues and I have seen the ortho doc but not in last two years. I was so sure I had beaten the odds. I was so sure all my clumsy, ankle sprains and knee pain were behind me!
Ok, so the knee was tweaked and I was rehabbing nicely! And now the ankle is all screwed up! Back to the ortho I went!
Yesterday, I took my pretty purpley ankle in to see the doc and the news more than I expected. Its time for me to consider the ankle surgery to repair the ligaments. But, doc wants to work on the knee at the same time. There are actually two procedures for the knee – one on either side of my knee cap. Since problem knee and ankle are same leg, I can have both surgeries at the same time. Recovery will require about 6 weeks at home and me mostly lounging on the couch. They serious rehabbing.
I have 3 weeks of PT and then back to ortho doc to schedule surgery. I am looking at the 2nd week in November to have ankle and knee surgery.

So there you have it! The story of my bum knee and sad ankle!

Menu Plan: week of 9.25

25 Sep

Its been a crazy busy week!! The week ahead looks to be just as crazy busy. This week after school I have PT 3 days, an acupuncture appointment, a work meeting, and I am sure something else I am forgetting. Big Man’s works now until 4:30-5:00 most days.
I have spent quite a bit of time searching crockpot recipes. I pinned them. I even came across information about freeze/make-ahead meals. I am working on making meal time as easy as possible without sacrificing flavor or nutrition.

Sunday: Big Man’s meat sauce over pasta
Monday: Whole Chicken with stuffing, green veg and gravy
Tuesday: Ginger Chicken (recipe from shrinkingjeans.net) with snow peas over rice

Wednesday: London Broil with crockpot baked (white & sweet) potatoes

Thursday: Spicy Pork & Chili Pepper Goulash (jamie oliver)
Friday: Big Man’s Chili with leftover baked potatoes

What’s your favorite trick to stay organized in the kitchen? What’s your favorite crockpot (or slowcooker) recipe?

Stay tuned: I am trying to work blogging into this crazy week!! – have to tell you about my sister’s wedding and I should tell you about my bum knee. I even have a giveaway up my sleeve!

menu plan: 9/18–9/23

18 Sep


It is Sunday and time for another menu plan! I apologize for not posting my menu last week…I actually posted my menu at the Sisterhood page. Next time I post over there I will link here.


Menu planning keeps me sane! This week I have PT (physical therapy) Monday, Wednesday and Friday right after school. On Tuesday, it is Back to School night at my school AND my daughter’s school AND Big Man works until 5 – so its an easy crockpot sort of recipe!

Sun 9/18

Pork Roast, Roasted Veg (potatoes, carrots, butternut squash)

Mon 9/19

Italian Stuffed Sweet Peppers with pasta

Tue 9/20

Chicken & Black Bean Burritos, spanish rice – I am using this recipe as a base then when I come home from work I will shred chicken add black beans in for 2 hours – then make the burritos and slide them in the oven while I make rice.

Wed 9/21

Spinach Stuffed Pork Chops, Roasted Cauliflower, & sweet potatoes

Thu 9/22

Teriyaki Chicken Cordon Bleu with buttered noodles & green beans

Fri 9/23

Steak, potatoes & salad  (Big Man’s favorite night of the week)


Food to prepare for week ahead:

Eggy Muffs

Broccoli Soup

Leek & Potato Soup (Big Man’s signature soup – sorry, not real recipe – he combined a few)

Rice Krispie Treats – making them has to be better than buying packaged ones, right?!?


A few Notes:

*Last week, Christy M. of SJ mentioned saymmm.com and I had to check it out! I am going to use that site for meal planning – I checked into and I definitely will be using saymmm.com to log my menus.  I think it will be cool to have a calendar-style log of the meals I plan.  How do you menu plan?

*You may notice, I don’t plan a Saturday dinner. I feel like one day a week can be spontaneous!!


What’s on your menu??

meet my girl, Kerry (a guest post)

8 Sep

Greetings! I am Kerry, the changingchick… I am lucky enough to have known Jen for almost two years now. We met when I started at my current job at a Chiropractic office. It was friendship at first adjustment! LOL!  Since we met, we have developed a friendship like no other I have.  We run, hike, walk together. We buy each other produce. We are friends but friends on a path to health!  Along this journey is when I discovered something about myself and became the ChangingChick.  Here’s how it all started… (picture the dream sequence noise here…)

One day my mom called me at work – which is saved for important issues only.  She was actually home for once and had seen Dr. Oz.  “Now you know I am not this type of person (she’s not) but I was watching Dr. Oz with Elizabeth Hasselbeck and I now know what’s been wrong with you.  When you get a chance, I want you to look up gluten intolerance and celiac disease.  They said the symptoms and I said That’s Kerry”!  So I did.  I looked it up.  And I said, “wow, that’s me”.  My symptoms were not only rushing to the bathroom between meals, but I think worse than that is the “rash” all over my body.  It has pretty much been on my hands my entire life.  Sometimes in other places. But it was getting WORSE on my hands and even more random places on my body.  My shoulder blade, my armpits, my shins, my calves, my hamstrings… ALL OVER.  I go through about a tube a cortizone a week, which is just disgusting.  I went to doctor after doctor and was told I had “contact dermatitis” (even though I was resorting to using only baby products on myself).  I had MRSA winter of 2010.  I almost died.  Honestly.  Towards the end of my sickness, before my doc said I was completely clean, he tried diagnosing me with fibromayalgia to ease my mind over my stomach pains.  I refused to accept it, knowing there was more to it than that.  So when my Mom called me I felt hope – for the first time in a long time.

That weekend, I went to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods to get gluten free grub.  And I cried in the aisles because I was so overwhelmed.  I bought a few items I now deem as disgusting.  I understood why everyone said gluten free food was wretched.  So I ate my food.  Every day.  For about 2 weeks.  And then went to Hooter’s and had wings and beer.  I kid you not.  I love me some beer and hot wings.

Once again, I was getting sick.  My hands were raw and cracked with the “rash”.  My eternal sinus problems had returned.  So once again, I did my research, made meal plans and went gluten free.  In the meantime, I went to an awful GI doctor for blood work and got ZERO answers.  Yes, I am self diagnosed.  Yes, I see a difference in my health when I eat gluten free.

So now… here’s some of my issues.. I lead a VERY busy life.  I eat out often.  I do my research on menus, talk to managers, talk to waitstaff and take all the necessary precautions.  And still get cross contaminated.  I feel like I keep making the same meals over and over.  I find all these amazing GF recipes with ingredients I’ve never heard of or are WAY expensive for my budget right now.

I love to cook. Love to bake. Love to experiment, but it’s just not in my budget to buy all the different flours and gums and pastes and yadda yadda.  I know to eats my veggies and proteins… but sometimes I want something fun. Something indulgent… So, please, don’t lecture me on my eating habits. I am truly looking for help… here’s my main problems:
1 – GF ingredients that don’t cost me an arm and leg.  I know that they will be more expensive than regular flour, but a recipe that maybe calls for one or two out of the ordinary ingredients as opposed to 5 different flours and more…
2 – Are there any GF conventions in NJ or Philly area where I can network with others in my situation?
3 – Bread – I love Udi’s toasted. Not straight up.  So my bread is fine.  But hamburger/hot dog rolls are disgusting.  I would love a sub roll.  I’m from NJ. We love subs. I love Italian subs soaking in red wine vinegar… Any suggestions for a sub roll/substitute?
4 – Am I the only one (other than my big brother who I diagnosed) that gets the rash I now know is called Dermatitis Herpetiformis?  It’s worse than the cramping and bodily functions gluten causes.  It’s uncomfortable, painful, itchy, just so awful I could cry.  Sometimes I just want to crawl out of my skin.  I am at my wits end.  (In regards to the Dermatitis Herpetiformis, I know it’s not a thyroid issue.  I already had that checked.)
So, this is my call for help.  Any advice, suggestions… anything would be appreciated.  I thank you all in advance!  Please send it tochangingchick@gmail.com or visit my blog.
A HUGE thanks to Jen for not only posting this, but being an awesome friend who is always there to support me, kick my ass when I need it and be the true definition of a friend, love ya girl!

Wordless Wednesday

7 Sep

This is my knee!!
Acupuncture rocks!
I refuse to let arthritis take me out at the tender age of 33!

Back to School

6 Sep

A shiny, clean classroom ready for sleepy, cranky teenagers to fill its seats!!
I feel like I have been prepping for this day for weeks! I could use one more week!

I am struggling to get in a groove post injury. I have been an emotional mess and I have been eating emotionally. I make no excuses for it but I am working on fixing it. I started tracking everything and I am proud to say I earned my #7daychip and have successfully tracked everything for 8 days. The good. The bad. The ugly. That was hard but I did it!

My shiny, ready classroom is ready. I prepared it for the first day. I have all materials for the day at the ready. I am thinking taking control over this emotional eating is going to require same preparation. The same care and planning as my classroom needs.

Some people wait for January to set new goals…me I set goals when I feel them necessary! Today I feel it necessary to set some goals. So here are my September Goals:
Fitness goals:
1. Walk every day. My knee* will thank me for even the shortest of walks. 2. Strengthen knee (I am not sure how to track progress here-any ideas?) 3. Yoga – try it, find a morning yoga/stretch workout.

Food goals:
1. Work on emotional eating. Continue making notes in food tracker. 2. Make a list of trigger foods
3. Continue tracking all eating.
4. Pack & prepare lunch/snacks every school day.
5. Try one new chicken recipe each week.

School goals:
1. Stay on top of lessons.
2. Stay on top of grant work.

Misc. goals:
1. Read a book (just one this month – go slow – don’t devour the book) 2. Get a new crochet hook and a new project.
3. Make each day better than the day before!!!!

For those of you either going back or with kids going back…happy first day of school!!

*knee- I will blog about my knee – diagnosis and outlook later this week!!

menu plan: 9/4–9/10

4 Sep

I have been menu planning for the last year or so. I started planning after seeing a ton of bloggers linking up their menus. I loved seeing what others were feeding  their families. I was inspired and found tons of ideas from all different types of menus: vegetarians and meat-atarians alike! I stopped blogging my menu, not really sure why, but I have been menu planning still!! My family survives on a pretty tight budget and menu planning is the best way to ensure we shop the sales and don’t waste anything we do buy. I keep the freezer and pantry stocked as much as possible. I take a quick inventory then check the sales ads and then put together a menu.

I don’t know why I haven’t blogged my menu but I am going to start doing that again. Today, I stumbled to the Shrinking Jeans site and they are hosting a new menu plan link up! I LOVE menu plan link ups! AND next week, I will be writing my menu plan for the SJ site!

Sunday 9/4: Barbecued Chicken Breasts. Salad and Grilled Veg

Monday 9/5: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup & a BIG salad & cornbread

Tuesday 9/6: Sausage, spinach & tomato over angel hair pasta & salad

Wednesday 9/7: Sloppy Joes, oven fries & a salad

Thursday 9/8: Slow Cooker Chicken Paprikash over mashed potatoes & green beans

Friday 9/9: Homemade Quesadillas with Rice & Beans

Saturday 9/10: Burgers & Oven Fries and Beer (after first week of school, we will be ready for this)


School Lunches: leftovers from dinner, salads, and sandwiches

Snacks: fruit, carrots dipped in peanut butter, hardboiled egg & cheese stick, yogurt (I like yoplait in the blue cup with desserty flavors like red velvet cake)

Desserts: yoplait yogurts & fruit, banana soft-serve –often with extra fruit added in. AND now I may have to make Peanut Butter Cup Blondies