Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Free Throws and Early American History

My family's To Do List is always filled with more tasks than we have time to complete.  This evening was no exception.

One of the most important things that JJ had to do tonight was study for his Early American History test.  After a day of sitting in school with no gym class, I really wanted him to get some exercise, too.  The more I thought about it, I realized there was no reason we couldn't combine the two tasks.   I just had to use a little creativity.

I had JJ review his study guide while I tackled some other items on the evening's To Do List.  Then we got in the car and headed for the gym.  Thankfully a basketball hoop was open.  While JJ warmed up, I set the ground rules.

1) For every Free Throw that JJ missed I would ask him a question from the study guide.
2) If he got the answer right, he attempted another shot.
3) If he got the answer wrong he had to do five jumping jacks and the question would be asked again later.
4) For every five questions that he missed, he had to run a suicide drill.

JJ made lots of baskets - but not all of them!  After getting several questions right, he missed one.  I think I surprised him when I actually made him do the jumping jacks! 
When we got to the last question, JJ had missed four questions.  If he got the last one wrong, he'd have to run . . . no suicide drill for JJ tonight! 
By the end of our study session, JJ had answered all of the questions on the study guide correctly AND had broken a sweat.  And I had crossed two things off of our To Do List.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

One Serving = One Cookie = One Hundred Calories . . . Really?

Today was a stress-filled day.  By 10:30PM I was tired and I was hungry.  I hadn't sat down for any decent length of time other than my car ride home from work and I hadn't eaten dinner.  My emotions ranged from frustration to anger to sadness to just plain blah!  I still had to make a stop at the grocery store before ending my day and I knew it was a recipe for disaster.  But we needed milk and bread.  Plus, if I showed up at home without Jamison's ice cream he would lose it!  (I say that in a joking manner; however, those of you who know my husband know how serious he is about his ice cream!)

As I walked through the grocery store, I passed a fun display of Oreo cookies.  They were on sale!  And I saw that they had Triple Double Stuff Oreos!  My co-worker had been telling me about these amazing creations.
The Triple Double Stuff Oreo
One box wouldn't hurt.  Plus, I've been separating the snacks into portion size baggies for my kids to help them control their after-school eating frenzy.  These Triple Double Stuffs would make a nice treat.

Into my cart they went!

As I came down the final aisle I grabbed a gallon of milk.  I saw the individual-sized small jugs of milk.  Maybe I'll sneak an Oreo or two in the car before I get home.  This milk will make them taste even better.

Into my cart went the small jug of milk.

After paying for my groceries and getting into my car, I remembered my Oreos.  So I pulled over and reached into the back seat digging through the grocery bags.  Found them!

I popped a Triple Double Stuff Oreo in my mouth and followed it with a big swig of milk.  MMmmmmm!  It tasted SO good!  I enjoyed another and another . . . one after the other until I had finished five Oreos.  FIVE!  I didn't feel guilty or bad or sick to my stomach.  I enjoyed every single bite!

When I got home, I unpacked the groceries.  Taking the opened bag of Oreos, I got out a couple Ziploc baggies to divide the remaining Oreos into serving size portions.  I peaked at the nutrition information on the package.  How many cookies equaled one serving?  Three?  Four? 

I blinked my eyes several times to make sure that I was seeing things correctly.  Was that the number one?  One serving equaled one cookie?  Home many calories are listed for that suggested serving size of ONE cookie?  . . . . . . .

I suddenly felt sick to my stomach.  Was I reading that right?  One serving size equals 100 calories.  WHAT?!?!?  You mean to tell me that I just ate 500 calories worth of cookies?  How can there be that many calories in the one little cookie?!?!  Even if it is a Triple Double Stuff one?!?!  I'm in complete shock.  I can't believe I did that.  I ate 500 calories in a matter of minutes . . . and I enjoyed it!

Lesson learned:  I still think that it is perfectly acceptable to have a P.I.T.Y. (Purposefully Indulge the Yuck!) Party every once in awhile (And if my party involves Oreos - that's ok.).  Next time I throw myself a P.I.T.Y. Party though, I need to at least peek at the food label of whatever food I'm indulging in.  500 Calories?!?!  In 5 cookies?!?!?!  Oh boy - that part of this feeding frenzy was a bit crazy!  Definitely should have chose to Walk Away from those Triple Double Stuffs!

So now I have 500 extra calories to burn.  Looks like this Mom is off to go running!  But it's late and I'm tired.  I'll throw in a couple extra laps tomorrow.  Good Night!  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Tried a New Workout Tonight . . . DRUMMING!

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with an instructor at our local YMCA - Colleen. She told me about a new class she was starting and invited me to attend.  It sounded like fun so I told I would check it out.

When I arrived for the class this evening, the classroom was dark.  I went back to the front desk and there was Colleen. 

"Are you drumming tonight?" I asked.

Her face lit up. "I'd love to," she said.  "It's probably going to be just you and me.  Is that OK?"

"It's OK with me if it is OK with you," I responded.  I have to confess that there was a small voice in my head that said, "Are you crazy?  Can you say awkward?"  But over the past few years I've learned to ignore that voice - it's the same one that used to tell me that Oreos would make me feel better.

Colleen led me into the classroom and we set-up the Exercise Balls.  She handed me two drumsticks and turned on the music.  This began my introduction to

How much fun did I have?  A ton!  How much did I sweat?  A ton!  The concept seems simple - hit a big rubber ball with a set of sticks.  I fed off of Colleen's enthusiasm and picked up the rhythms quickly.  
The impact of the class was deep.  The Drums Alive website describes it as a mind/body experience.
"Drums Alive® joins the dynamic movements of aerobic dance with the pulsating rhythms of the drum. It is a unique sensory/motor program that is designed to give the mind and body instant feedback through continuous movement and rhythmical flow. It is a program that utilizes "whole brain - whole body" thinking by developing sensory motor reflexes and kinesthetic awareness. The physiological and psychological benefits are numerous including those found in traditional forms of aerobic fitness. Drumming has also been found to improve and increase the neurological connection between the 2 brain hemispheres, stimulating Alpha brain wave activity which can lead to higher levels of concentration, sensory/motor improvement, and an overall sense of well being."  (   
By the end of the 50-minute class, my heart was pounding, sweat was dripping from my nose and I had a HUGE smile on my face.  I'm so glad I didn't walk away when the room was dark or when I realized I would be the only student.  Stepping out of my comfort zone and trying something new paid off for me tonight.  I had a good time and got a great workout!
Who's joining me next week?  6PM Thursdays at the East Suburban YMCA in Plum. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Finding Silence in the Drive-Thru

We spent this weekend visiting our friend Bill.  It turns out that Bill is not a coffee drinker.  In fact, Bill does not even own a coffee pot.  (Seriously!?!?  Bill - I'm getting you one for Christmas!)  Being the type of person who has her coffee set to brew 15 minutes before her alarm goes off and who takes her first sip of the arousing brew before her eyes are fully open - this was a bit of a problem.  So in the morning, I pulled my hair back into a messy ponytail, grabbed the keys and flew down to the McDonald's drive-thru the moment my brain even considered waking up.   

This morning I pulled into a parking spot and enjoyed my steaming cup of coffee and flipped through the pages of a magazine. Thirty minutes later as I re-started the car and headed back to Bill's, I realized that I had just spent thirty minutes in silence.  Music had not been playing.  No one was talking to me.  The theme song to Good Luck Charlie or the sounds of players tackling each other on Madden had not been echoing around me.  There were no outside sounds such as traffic or even birds.  No interruptions.  Just silence. 

When was the last time I sat in silence?  To tell you the truth . . . I don't remember.  (When was the last time I looked at a magazine somewhere other than in the bathroom?  I confess that I don't remember that either!) 

As I drove, I realized that the car was still silent.  I had turned the radio volume down as I went through the drive-thru and had never turned it back up.  At first I felt a little strange.  There was a kind of white noise in my ears.  Then I realized that I actually felt calm and relaxed. 

Later in the day as I waited for my family to pack up their belongings (Driven by my caffeinated state of being, I had my stuff packed and in the car before the rest of the gang got moving!), I searched the web for "the benefits of silence."  One writer compared spending time in silence to plugging your cell phone into the wall - you get re-charged (  Another compared the brain's need for silence to the body's need for food (  Both agreed that spending a brief time each day in silence increases creativity and decreases stress. Several other articles talked about silence boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure and regulating hormones. 

I found my favorite comment on the benefits of silence several pages into my search.  An article from entitled Enjoy the Silence: The 7 Powers of Silence in Business said,
          "Those who enter a period of silence each day learn to hear the song of their heart. 
            They learn to listen to the song that only they can sing."

I have to be honest that I had never visited any of these websites before today.  I was actually surprised that after going through several pages of my Google search, I did not find any articles by prestigious universities or well-known (at least to me) authors.  Some major medical research center HAS to be doing research on the benefits of silence, don't you think?

Regardless of who is saying what about the benefits of spending time in silence, I felt refreshed by my silent time this morning.  Getting a break from the noise of the world and having the opportunity to mindlessly turn the pages of a magazine while joyfully sipping my hot coffee was a real treat. 

There is a McDonald's not far from my house.  Maybe I should drive down there for coffee on a Saturday morning every once in a while instead of making my coffee at home.  Though I'd run a much greater risk of running into someone I know as I sit in my car wearing my PJ's having my first cup of morning coffee than I did at Bill's house.