Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Consequence Of Getting Enough Sleep

Thanks to my conversion to morning person status , I have been sleeping beautifully for about a month. I have been getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night and feeling well rested every day. It's really nice, I recommend it. There's only one drawback: I've been having the most vivid, unsettling dreams ever.
This occurrence started just after I started getting myself onto a regular sleep schedule. Here are a two of the dreams I've had:

First, I dreamt that I was in the attic of a creepy old house with my dad and Dan, and we were all crammed in a bathroom. We all felt worried, like something weird was going on, and Dan got a text from his brother that said, "Has the sonic gone out where you guys are yet?" to which I replied, "Has the sonic gone out? That's not even a real thing!" at which point a high-pitched sound flooded the air and the sky turned weird, thermal colors. It was clear to all of us that it was the end of the world, and I was afraid because I wasn't sure how long it was going to take, if it would hurt, etc.

Then, last night I dreamt that I was in the basement of a house with my brother, which I guess was my house, and I stumbled upon a dismembered body. I was afraid to look at the face for fear that it was someone I loved. My brother and I were hesitant to report it for some reason, and we learned that a serial killer was on the loose. Next, I was in my attic, and said serial killer was there, but instead of killing me, he drugged me and kept me in a bed in the attic. Apparently my family assumed I just didn't want to come down, because they didn't come looking for me. One day, I was allowed to go downstairs, and I saw two children who I knew immediately were mine. I asked my mom how old they were, and she said four, so I deduced that the serial killer had kept me drugged for nearly five years at least, and had impregnated me and kept me sedated throughout the pregnancy and birth. I knew he was watching me, so I covertly whispered to my mom that there was a serial killer keeping me hostage upstairs, and to please send the police because he might kill me. The dream ended with a police car driving by but not stopping.

WHAT THE HELL??? I assume that I've always had dreams like this, but in my state of constant exhaustion I wasn't able to remember them. It's weird how disturbing they all are, though. Eeesh.

While today was the blizzard that wasn't (I estimate that we got less than 5 inches here, but I could be wrong), the snow day was exactly what I needed. I was like a machine, tearing through my school work like it was nobody's business! With tomorrow and Friday to get more work done, I'm going to be in excellent shape at the end of this week. Hooray!

Snow Day FTW!

While I have yet to be impressed by this storm (or any that we've had so far this year), it did do one good thing for me: snow day! This couldn't have come at a better time, as I am inundated with work, a bunch of which was due today, and despite my diligent work, I didn't get it done. Once I get a bit farther into the semester I think I'll be okay because I'll figure out a good system for getting the massive amount of work done, but here in the second week it feels impossible.
To get geared up for my day of studies, I did 30 minutes of Blast Fat Boost Metabolism. I skipped over the "ab work" circuit because I don't like it and prefer to just keep my heart rate up, so I hit 30 minutes in the middle of the second-to-last circuit. Now that I've done it a bunch of times, I'm pleased to notice that some of the moves are becoming easier. Things that I couldn't do for the whole time (pliĆ© hops anyone?) I can now finish without too much trouble. And Jillian loves those jumping jacks, so I feel like I could do those forever at this point. I substitute jumping jacks for moves I still can't do (burpees! And this 360˚ jump spin that makes me really dizzy), but I'm sure I'll be able to do those things soon. The results from Jillian Michaels workouts are pretty amazing--I'm not taking about huge weight loss (I have been losing weight, but that's because of my overall lifestyle, not a miracle DVD) or inches disappearing or anything, but each time I do the DVD, I am stronger, which is really motivating and my goal at the end of the day.
This is what the rest of my day will look like:

The class that's really throwing me into a tizzy is Children's Lit. It's a 200 level English class, so of course I expected lots of reading and writing, but I didn't anticipate this much work. Especially because I had a 200-level English class with the same professor last semester and while there was a lot of work, it wasn't like this. There is a young adult book to read each week of varying length (last week was Stone Fox which only took me about 20 minutes to get through, this week is Tuck Everlasting which is taking me longer. I estimate it will take about 2.5 hours to get through) which we have to write a response paper for, plus we have to read a picture book each week and write a short response to that, PLUS some weeks (such as this coming week) we have another bigger paper due on top of those two things. On top of the reading and writing for Anthropology (3 chapters were due for today, plus we had to find 4 news articles and 4 things in popular media related to Anthropology and summarize each), the worksheets/translating/reading Spanish literature for Spanish class, and reading/quizzes in Music class, my head is spinning. Right now the only thing keeping me from hiding in bed is lists. Lots and lots of lists. For example, all of the things I need to get done this week:

and my schedule from yesterday. I have to have a schedule, otherwise I get really confused and overwhelmed:

I stuck to my schedule really well yesterday, and ended up working until about 5:30, at which point we went to run a few errands so that I could get out of the house for a bit. 
Well, I'd better dive in to take advantage of my lucky extra day to work. For lunch today I'm going to make lentil walnut loaf, which is like a vegetarian meatloaf. I realize this may sound unappetizing for the masses, but I can't wait to try it! Even Dan is excited (although, he has never not liked anything I've made, so that isn't saying much). 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Twice Baked Sweet Potato

Care for some vegetables with your vegetables? Well, I think technically Sweet Potato is a starch (too lazy to google it), but it's considered a superfood (according to the book Superfood Rx, which I got from the library and didn't read), and you can only feel good about adding more vegetables to a superfood and then stuffing your face with said ultra-super food.
This recipe is a good one to make if you're working from home and can make it over the course of an hour or so. It doesn't require much hands-on time, so as long as you can take several breaks from your work, it's a cinch to throw together. It's also really versatile, you can mix basically anything you have in your fridge in, so it's a good choice when you find yourself without anything planned for lunch. Here's what's for lunch for me today:
Oh, hey little guy! 

Twice Baked Sweet Potato 


  • 1 large sweet potato (or yam or regular potato)
  • Scant 1/4 cup of your favorite shredded cheese (I prefer cheddar, but due to sending my husband to the grocery store, I can't find any in the fridge. Maybe I forgot to put it on the list, or maybe it's just really good at hiding. Today I had to resort to mozzarella)
  • Approx. 1/4-1/2 cup of a mix of your favorite 3-4 chopped veggies. Today I'm using:
  • Broccoli (always a good choice)
  • Shredded Carrot
  • Frozen Peas
  • Onion


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350˚
  2. Heat potato in microwave for about 10 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until really soft. Allow to cool until you can handle it without burning your hands off.  
  3. Cut the potato in half, lengthwise, and scoop the potato out into a bowl, being careful to keep the skin in tact
  4. Mix your cheese and veggies into the potato. Scoop mixture back into the potato skins
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top starts to brown
See? Super easy, tasty, and filling. One is plenty, so I'm saving the other one for Dan when he gets home from work. I'm eating mine with a few leftover California rolls from dinner last night (the only kind of "sushi" I really like...judge away!) and cranberry sauce:

while watching "I Love Lucy." I got season 1 & 2 in a box set for $15 yesterday at Target! I can't even express how excited I am about this, as "I Love Lucy" is probably my absolute favorite show of all time.

Did you watch Nick at Night growing up? Dan has somehow never watched "I Love Lucy" or other shows from that time! What's your favorite old show?  

Monday, January 31, 2011

My Lungs Are Mad At Me

It's been relatively warm lately-in the 30's-so when I left the house to run a couple of errands this morning and the freezing cold slapped me in the face, my little heart sank. Apparently we're getting some kind of storm tomorrow and Wednesday, so I knew that today was my only chance to run, but it was so cold!
Dan got brave sooner than me and headed out for a run. I decided that if he could do it, so could I. I put on a ridiculous amount of clothes: a thermal shirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a hooded sweatshirt, a fleece scarf, lined running pants, two pairs of (mismatched) gloves, and a headband. Yikes!

As I headed out the door, Dan got home and warned me that it was awful, but at around 10 minutes you get warmed up and it's not so bad anymore.
When I headed out, the sun was beating right down on me, and I initially felt really warm. I was worried that I was overdressed. Then I turned a corner and once again got slapped in the face with the cold. At 5 minutes, I considered turning back because it really sucked, even when I tried tucking my face in my scarf my face felt like an ice cube and my lungs were burning. I decided to keep going to see if Dan was right and it didn't feel so bad after 10 minutes. And he was! I noticed that it didn't feel so bad anymore, and I peeked at my watch and it was just over 10 minutes. My lungs were still burning, I had to take tons of walking breaks, but at least I wasn't freezing. I even took a little detour to make my run a bit longer. I am one of those strange creatures who actually likes winter, but today I was dreaming of spring. At the end of the run, I was really glad I had gone out (as I always am), so it was definitely worth the discomfort.
I came in and had a bowl of carrot cake oatmeal and a smoothie (almond milk, banana, and frozen strawberries) for lunch. It was so good after freezing my booty off. On Saturday, while I enjoyed my carrot cake oatmeal for breakfast (I can't stop eating it!), I made Dan another bowl of apple crisp oatmeal. It was so easy, here's how you do it:

Apple Crisp Oatmeal

Ingredients for one large boy serving: 
1/2 cup oats
1 cup milk
1/4 cup applesauce
1 apple, diced
1 heaping tsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon 

Put everything in a pan and heat over medium heat, stirring frequently until it's thick and delicious, about 7 minutes. 
I took a little taste of this, and it is really good. Once I get sick of my carrot cake oatmeal, I might have to switch to this! 

Well, I'm off to class. First, Spanish and then Children's Lit, where we will be discussing the children's book Stone Fox. Stay tuned for an update on what I think of my current semester!! 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Carrot Cake Oatmeal: I'm In Love

I have been craving carrots like crazy lately, so when I found the recipe for carrot cake oatmeal over on Oh She Glows, I almost died. I knew I had to make it right away, and I did, and it was even better than I thought it would be. I didn't have all of the ingredients on hand, so I threw it together with what I did have, and here's what I got to eat for breakfast this morning:

Oh. My. God. It tasted exactly like carrot cake! Here's how I made it:

1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup original almond milk, plus more for serving (you can use any type of milk you want)
1 small carrot, grated (I used just under 1 cup which I loved. If you're not as crazy about carrots as me I'd go with the the recommended 1/2 cup) 
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
3 dashes cinnamon
1 dash powdered ginger

I put everything except for the walnuts in the pan all at once (I'm lazy when I've just gotten up!) and heated it on the stove for about 7 minutes, until it was really thick and creamy. I then poured it into a bowl, put the walnuts on top, and added a splash of milk (which is how I've always eaten oatmeal, because this cools it down and I am also really impatient when I've just gotten up). So good. I just started making oatmeal with milk instead of just water, and the difference is unbelievable. It's so creamy and delicious! I always figured that it was about the same and therefore not worth the extra 50 calories or whatever, but I was so wrong. 
I will eventually make this recipe exactly following Angela's instructions when I remember to buy coconut cream at the store, and I can't even begin to imagine how good that tastes. 
Do yourself a favor and make this. It takes almost no time, is healthy and filling, and is so tasty. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Transition To Morning Person: Complete

I realized this morning, when I woke up at 6:15 and then couldn't fall back asleep for an extra 15 minutes that my goal of becoming a morning person has been realized. Hooray!
As I posted earlier this month, I wanted to adopt a better sleep schedule. I've struggled with insomnia for my entire life, and "they" always say that you should go to bed and get up at the same time each day, which I'd always scoffed at. Things got really out of control when I stopped working at the coffee shop full time and started taking mostly afternoon & night classes. The newfound freedom of not having to get up at 5am every day was awesome. Over the past 2 years, my bedtime has slipped later and later, until at the beginning of December I was regularly staying up until 3am, sometimes 4. Then I would sleep until 10, but I always felt tired, like I was never getting enough sleep. 
So, as I'm working on becoming healthier in every aspect of my life, I realized that it is really important to get my sleep under control. For about a month, I've been going to bed early, around 10, and getting up early, between 6 and 7:30 every morning. Just this week, I'm really noticing a huge change: I never hit snooze anymore. I used to hit snooze at least once, but usually twice (and often more) every single morning, but now when my alarm goes off, or when Dan gets a sub call in the morning, or anything wakes me up after 6, I'm just awake. But it doesn't feel bad, it feels awesome. I get up, eat breakfast, read some blogs, and then I'm ready to start my day. 
I've been falling asleep more easily and sleeping through the night, and I feel much more rested during the day. Having extra time in the morning is so much more productive (for me) then having extra time at night. Damn it, I hate it when "they" are right! 
Yesterday morning I was out the door for a run at 8am, the first run I've gone on in a long time. It was really cold, so I cut my run down to two miles. It was good, I was glad to be out there again. I went on another run this afternoon, and decided to stick with my two mile route because my legs are sore from yesterday. I'm actually glad we had that super cold day (it was like -21˚ or something!) because 31˚ felt positively balmy and I was so happy to be running in it. I had to take a lot of walking breaks today, because my legs were more sore than I anticipated, but I finished the two miles in 21 minutes, so it wasn't too bad. I'm hoping that Dan will be in the mood to go for a walk later today, because I have been sitting at the computer most of the day writing papers, so I am dying to get outside some more!