Five Pages | NSD Part 2

Last week I shared five pages from NSD. Here are the other five LO’s I did that day.

February 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

Last week I shared my first five pages for NSD on May 3rd. Here are pages 6-10.

This page was way out of my comfort zone. design wise. I love how some people can strategically place bits of paper and tags and small embellishments across the page and make it look natural. I have a hard time doing that. I need clusters or grids. Or maybe even a template, though I’m using those less and less these days.

I was inspired by Heidi Swapp to write five special things about someone, so I did this page about the Little Man. And yes, helpful is spelled wrong. But when Jason pointed it out to me I decided I liked it that way, full of help- like full of win. I am the boss of my scrapbooks and I always put a “wrong” thing in nearly every page. I might have mentioned before, but it does double duty by helping me let go of perfectionism and by being a fun game for future generations. I can see them gathering around a table playing “Spot the eff ups in Crazy Aunt Jen’s scrapbooks”.

Journaling reads-5 awesome things we love about you. You are funny, helpful, polite, smart, artistic.

Credits: February 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

April 2014 Storyteller kit January 2014 Storyteller alpha by Just Jaimee

This one was inspired by the shapes in Jennifer Wilson‘s page. I’ve been pinning hexagons forever so I took the plunge and finally made a LO. I’ve wanted to make a page about our favorite tech for years. I took most of these pictures just to make a page one day and found them pretty easily using the “tech” keyword in Aperture.

Journaling reads- My iPod, the little camera, the Logitech remote, our MacBook Pro’s and iPads, and Jason’s iMac were some of our favorite and longest lasting tech gadgets. They have all provided us ith years of entertainment.

Credits: April 2014 Storyteller kit
January 2014 Storyteller alpha by Just Jaimee

February 2014 StorytellerApril 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

This is one of my very favorite pages I’ve ever made. Inspired by Katrina Kennedy. I loved her page so much I straight up copied the whole thing. This was also one of the more difficult pages because of the journaling. Not finding words, but omitting capitalization and punctuation. OMG so hard! It makes it somewhat difficult to read, but I actually like that because some of it is pretty personal. You have to work to read it.

Journaling reads- thirty nine years old and loves being near the water wishes he had more time for video games and comic books binge watches HGTV eats the same thing at every restaurant wants a boat and a motorcycle one day is the hardest worker I know shows love freely and openly to those he cares about avoids conflict whenever possible loves Dos Equis and Abita is a champion snuggler plans every detail so he can afford to be spontaneous craves home cooking after trips opens doors for everyone hardly ever cusses except in traffic is incredibly patient drinks sprite and iced tea holds my hand all the time wants five more minutes needs words likes superhero movies is in desperate need of a space to work misses making music starts planning for the summer ten months ahead of time is a great peacemaker makes me laugh so much is owed a dog someday is master at the long-arm selfie loves walks and swimming watches sunsets slows down to let me catch up leads the way has an affinity for sock goblins has the best heart is generous to waiters rarely complains gets mad on my behalf needs a vacation has the best hands wants to introduce us to the joys of camping is good cop is an excellent analogy maker sees the bright side is a realist hates clutter loves me is awesome

Credits: February 2014 Storyteller
April 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

April 2014 Storyteller kit January 2014 Storyteller alpha by Just Jaimee

LO number 9, and I was getting super tired! This one was inspired by the great advice from Maggie Holmes. Keep a journal and use it for your journaling on your pages! That’s something I do for at least half my pages. I almost feels like it’s cheating a little because it makes my pages get done so quickly. I use Evernote and Momento to keep track of my thoughts and page ideas. Then just copy, paste, and poof, your page is 25% finished. I did the journaling for this page last month for My Details. The photo is from a random grocery trip. You can tell I was conflicted. Half healthy food and half garbage 😛

Journaling reads- When we got back from New York last year, I knew I had to make some big changes. I felt like garbage the entire trip and it put a damper on what could have been a fabulous week. I felt like garbage because I was eating garbage. I had been for a long time, but my body picked that week to rebel against me.  When we got home, I committed to Eating Clean for a week. It was pretty miserable and I was hungry all. the. time. But the thing is, I actually really love a lot of healthy foods. This was around the time I started my love affair with asparagus.  The first week didn’t kill me, so I tried another week. I started feeling lighter, and my heartburn was almost completely gone.  On week three I started adding back foods I used to eat like beans and fruit. My body was still pretty happy and I was a lot less hungry. I slowly added foods, paying attention to how the affected my body.  I learned a lot from this experiment with Clean Eating. Turns out that this life-long dairy lover can live happily without dairy. Now we go months without buying milk. We’ve only recently started buying cheese again. (My family thinks I’m a crazy person for not drinking milk every day) I don’t eat Clean every day, but eating habits have improved a lot in the last year.

Credits: April 2014 Storyteller kit
January 2014 Storyteller alpha by Just Jaimee

April 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

Ok last page! This is number ten for NSD, and a LO request from Jason. He wanted three photos of the progression of the gorgeous sunset we watched on 4/26 in Key Largo. He Never requests scrapbook pages so of course I had to make it! I have a feeling this is a preview of photos that will go on our walls at some point.

I think one thing I learned during this NSD is that the simplest pages can make the biggest impact. I love clustered up pages full of ellies, but some photos can stand on their own, like these. 

Credits: April 2014 Storyteller by Just Jaimee

I think this post can be in the running for Longest Post Ever. Damn I’m wordy! That day was so much fun. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Good Eats- Clean Eating part 2

I promised I’d share some of my Clean Eating meals, so here are a few of my favorites. And you’ll be able to see how I changed things up so Jason wouldn’t be carb deprived in a few of the photos.

First up, before I get into the actual meals, let’s talk about batch cooking. Once a week, I’ll make a big pot of some kind of soup, like the Tomato Basil Soup pictured below. While that’s cooking on the stove, I’ll start assembling salads in jars. Yes, this is a bit time consuming. I usually do it while Jason and the Little Man are gaming over Skype on Sundays. I can see this as a nice alternative to Sunday football watching this fall. For an hour or two of work, I can get enough soup and salad for the week. This makes a Huge difference when I am pressed for time during the week.

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For breakfast, I pretty much eat the same thing every day- plain oatmeal with a little salt and a few raisins or dried berries thrown in, two eggs, and if I’m still hungry, a piece of fruit.

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Snacks depend a lot on my hunger level and whether or not I’ve worked out. They can be pretty much whatever I want, as long as there is protein involved. This can be a salad, an egg, a piece of fruit with a glass of milk, or a cup of soup. Whatever’s handy.

Lunch is usually leftovers from last night’s dinner. If there aren’t any, it’s salad and soup time. If needed, I’ll add a couple of slices of turkey on the side.

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If I get the munchies in the afternoon, I’ll usually just have a spoon of peanut butter and a few chocolate chips. (Not perfectly Clean, but I’m keeping in real).

Here are a few of our dinners from the past few weeks. See a pattern? Protein + at least two veggies. Pretty easy.

Crab cakes, cucumber salad, broccoli. (Pasta and extra crab cake for Jason)

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Pork roast, asparagus, sautéed mushrooms, green beans. (Plus pasta for Jason)

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Baked fish, asparagus with pesto, steamed broccoli (Can you tell I have a thing for asparagus lately?)

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Crock pot chicken, peas, broccoli, green beans

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I made Zatarains for Jason with turkey sausage. I cooked up plain turkey sausage for myself plus veggies. This was way too much sausage for me. Will have much less next time.

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Baked fish with tomatoes and parmesan cheese, asparagus, mushrooms. Noodles for Jason.

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I’m sure you’ve noticed I use a lot of the same sides over and over. This is mostly because the first couple of weeks I was pretty restrictive with the carbs. I’ve lightened up a little since then, adding in more legumes and a little rice or potatoes now and then. I’m trying to gradually add things in.

This is how the weekdays go. Weekends are a lot more splurge-y. Clearly, this huge plate of Jambalaya pasta was not Clean. For me, it’s all about trying to find the right balance between healthy and unhealthy. Some days I do really great. Some days (like this weekend) I completely fall on my ass. But it’s a process. You pick yourself up, dust off, and continue on.

Good Eats- Clean eating edition

I love Tosca Reno. She’s been an inspiration to me for years through reading Oxygen magazine and her books. (Not that you can tell from looking at me, but I do read a LOT about nutrition and exercise). In her 40’s, she decided to take control of her life, lost a bunch of weight, started pumping iron, and winning fitness competitions. She has overcome the long-term illnesses and eventual deaths of both her step-son and her husband. She shows incredible strength in so many aspects of her life, and is another great example of making step-families and blended families work. I want to be like her when I grow up.

I’ve been taking slow steps towards that ever-elusive “healthy lifestyle” since last year. I gave up soda (again) and started exercising. And I lost a grand total of about four pounds. Which of course is better than no pounds, but seriously? I’ve known from years of experience that I can workout like a maniac, but not lose much weight. I think I overeat to compensate. Nothing kills a good workout like grabbing doughnuts afterwards.

Something clicked when we got back from New York though. After a week of garbage food, or no food at all, I was so ready for a change. I was feeling sick and rundown and my body was screaming for veggies. So I planned on having a Clean Week when I got back. I have them every so often after I’ve overindulged for too long. I think of them as hitting the reset button. Not a diet or anything, just giving up crap for awhile.

Clean Week for me is pretty simple- protein and veggies, no pasta or bread, no dairy, no legumes, lots of water. Carbs come mostly in the form of oatmeal, apples, and sweet potatoes. Three meals a day plus two snacks. Protein at every meal and snack. Lots and lots and lots of veggies. Pretty straightforward.

This is not something I can, or want to sustain for very long. I’ll never be Paleo, I love dairy way too much. And beans. So I’ll usually have a Clean Week, then go back to normal. Except that it’s been  almost three weeks now, and Eating Clean is becoming kind of… normal.

Week one was as I described above. Week two, I added in beans and more fruit. That felt ok, so Week three I added dairy back in. Just a little, not every day. And I feel… mostly good. Still eating a boatload of veggies, with the help of salads in jars. Still chugging water like it’s going out of style. And amazingly… I started actually losing a little weight! Note that this was not my goal initially. I was just trying to help my poor body get some nutrients and hydration that it desperately needed.

Last week I had lost ten pounds from my all-time-highest-weight-ever in-the-history-of-the-world that I reached in January. By June 1, I’ll almost certainly have lost the fifteen pounds I gained since last summer. It’s kind of surreal.

This post has become way longer and more ramble-y than I intended, so I’ll hit some of the highlights and lowlights of the past couple weeks of Clean Eating.

Good stuff-
Losing weight.
Less heartburn. Okay this was amazingly unexpected and fabulous. I get heartburn a LOT, and have for years and years. I go through Prilosec and Tums like they’re candy. In the past three weeks, I’ve taken Prilosec twice! Usually in that amount of time, I’ve taken 8-10. And I eat tomatoes and other acid filled foods on a daily basis. I don’t get it, but I’m thrilled!
Feeling better. I’m telling you, the week after we got back from NY I felt like I’d been run over. Joint pain, stomach pain, blah blah blah. But it’s crazy how much better I feel just by eating better food.
More energy. I’m not ready to run a marathon or anything, but I see a noticeable difference in my energy level.
Putting the LoseIt app to good use. I started tracking my food regularly in February with this app. I’ve been using it on and off since 2009, and I can’t say enough good things about it. I’m not obsessive about calories or anything, but it’s another useful tool.

Not-so good stuff
Time- It takes a lot of time to eat Clean. Planning time, prepping time, time doing the damn dishes. I’m running the dishwasher twice a day almost every day. The rest doesn’t bother me a lot, I was menu planning anyway, but man all those dirty dishes!
My face has blown the hell up. I usually have pretty good skin (genetics, not anything special I’m doing) But right now my face looks… gross. I thought eating better was supposed to help your skin look better. I’m hoping this is just my body’s way of releasing toxins or something and that it’ll go back to normal soon.
It’s more expensive, but not much. This is one of those things that will vary a lot from family to family. Yes, it can get really expensive to buy enough protein for every single meal and snack. But when you consider the things you’re not buying, like sugary drinks, snacks, etc., then it becomes more do-able. I think people can run into difficulties if not everybody is on board with eating Clean. Like if your kids want all the garbage food, but you still need to buy ten pounds of chicken every week. That can get expensive.

Luckily for me, Jason has been super supportive in this whole thing. He’s not eating Clean, but he’s eating better. He eats what I eat, plus I’ll cook pasta or rice with dinner for him so he won’t be carb deprived. He’s just happy for home cooked food, so he’s not picky. I don’t think he’ll ever super love asparagus and broccoli as much as I do, but he tolerates it pretty well. The interesting thing will be when the Little Man comes this summer. I’ll probably relax things for the few weeks he’s here. We’ll see…

I’m going to come back later with pictures of what a typical day of food looks like.