JENIFIREHARP's SparkPeople Blog JENIFIREHARP's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Huh? Today I was evaluated by my gym for my 6 week fitness check. I started at 185 and today weighed 183 (and that crazy weight has fluctuated all over the place, never getting higher than 189.5 and no lower than 184.7 on the home scale, once a week) I tried not to worry about it, I stuck to the plan they gave me. My fat % went from 38.7 to 38.4 ... apparently not the progress they wanted to see after 6 weeks of 30-60 cardio 5 days weekly and 4 days/1 off of Strength Training. Then came the que... Wed, 6 Jun 2012 23:32:46 EST Tired... One of my team challenges focuses on physical needs, and my personal challenge is to get enough sleep, which for me has always been 8 hours. I have been focusing on this the last week. But it is a struggle. One night I was in bed by 10:30pm, only to wake up exactly 6 hours later. So I got up and quietly did stuff around the house so the kids wouldn't wake up. At 5:15 am, my 10 year old woke up and wondered what I was doing wide awake working in my living room. <BR> So the next night I tri... Sun, 3 Jun 2012 20:39:20 EST Dinner Out Victory I just had the most delicious salad at a restuarant... a spinach, strawberry, walnut, apple, blue cheese, bacon, and grilled chicken salad... yum! <BR> <BR> Very Satisfying. <BR> <BR> Usually when I eat a restaurant salad, it tastes bland, doesn't satisfy, and all I can think about is how I could be saving money by eating at home. Today I knew we were eating out with family, so I planned ahead by looking up the menu and calories. No guesswork, no shock later. <BR> <BR> I still feel ... Sun, 20 May 2012 20:24:56 EST Who am I, anyway? (A birthday reflection) <img src=""> <BR> Today is my 38th birthday, and this morning while I was working out I was reflecting about my life, something I typically do on birthdays. <BR> <BR> Where did I come from? <BR> Well, my past wasn't always pretty. Divorced parents, depressed mom, crappy houses, no utilities, at times living in cars & shelters, jailed mom and step dad, foster care, leaving high school, sick mom, taking care of all my brothers and even be... Wed, 9 May 2012 15:37:02 EST mmmm... green smoothie... <img src=""> <BR> Yeah, it looks a little scary... <BR> But yesterday I wanted to try it out as an afternoon snack. <BR> <BR> This recipe called for spinach, strawberries, banana, and orange juice.I was a little nervous about that combo, but I have tried many a strange new thing when exploring healthy eating! I didn't have orange juice, so I subbed a couple of clementines and half a cup of water. After blending, I have to admit I was a b... Sun, 6 May 2012 21:21:58 EST Progress so far (end of week 1) No, this isn't about my weight loss progress. I haven't focused on that since I started the gym. Currently I am proud of my daily commitment to follow my muscle building program and the Sparkpeople Spring Bootcamp. I am on track! <BR> <BR> I forgot to mention in my last blog that my fat percentage was 38 and my goal is to shrink that by my 6 week progress/evaluation check up at the gym. That will be at the end of the first week of June. <BR> <BR> I love my gym, Anytime Fitness. I have s... Sat, 5 May 2012 15:33:52 EST Failure I have been doing a lot of thinking about my weight loss journey lately. I believe that when you get stuck, you need to look at where you have been, what you are currently doing, and what needs to be changed. <BR> <BR> You know that saying, Failure is not an option? I have decided that Failure IS an option, if that is what you choose! I joined Sparkpeople in March 2008, and I was a sparkpeople success story in September 2009, but in March 2012, I felt like a failure. Why? Because I had ... Tue, 1 May 2012 22:28:28 EST Today is my birthday! Today was the first day in years that I was able to celebrate my birthday the way that I wanted. Usually I have to work or be somewhere all day. <BR> So I did my yoga, walked the dog, volunteered at school (which I enjoy), I went shopping and bought myself a small present, ate my favorite cereal for breakfast, ate a healthy lunch with a piece of birthday cake, visited my husband, and now I am getting ready to go out for dinner with the family. The only thing I HAVE to do today is stop at... Mon, 9 May 2011 16:33:07 EST Whole foods: So far, so good! So far, this whole food project is working! I eat less, because I am satisfied quicker. I love adding in fresh stuff to all my meals (including breakfast). I used to eat lots and lots of salads to get my vegetables, which also meant lots of salad dressing and extra calories. And I was still hungry. Now we eat lots of fresh vegetables in all our meals, and lots of beans. Last week, 5 out of 7 dinners included beans. No late night hunger for me! <BR> <BR> Last night, we deviated off our... Sat, 7 May 2011 13:29:31 EST My personal challenge for May Three years ago I did the obvious weight loss things like cut back on fast food, give up soda, drink more water, eat less, exercise more. I walked off 100 pounds in about 18 months . I was so happy to reach my original goal that I spent one year maintaining that healthy new weight. You have to understand that I did that by fighting my unhealthy cravings and sometimes ignoring hunger pains. I did that by working really really hard. Eventually, I did what many successful weight loss people ... Sun, 1 May 2011 22:14:01 EST The March/April blogs I never wrote OK, it has been Forever since I blogged! I don't know how many I have composed in my head but never typed down. <BR> <BR> So I am NOT going to try to play catch up, that would drive you and me both crazy! Instead, I will tell you about two important things I promised I would share, way back in March. <BR> <BR> #1: Way back in February I did this challenge to give myself 1 penny per each spark point. I promised I would share my results and never did, so here goes. I did really well and ... Sat, 30 Apr 2011 23:09:59 EST I did it! I walked my 5k! It is hard to believe that is was just last weekend that I had the thrilling "Adventures with a Disabled Vehicle One State Away From Home", and the exciting " Biking to All Appointments in the Rain", oh, and you can't forget the "Sick Kid Needs Picked Up at School Pouring Down Rain Still No Car Had to Bike to the Auto Shop to Pick it Up Adventures"... <BR> <BR> I think last week was a little more interesting than I wanted or needed. Oh well. I definitely appreciated my family and friend's... Sat, 19 Mar 2011 20:50:13 EST Long story, short version. I have to give the condensed version of my "story" of my weekend. <BR> <BR> Here goes: <BR> <BR> Went on a trip. <BR> Got across state line. <BR> Driving on the highway. <BR> Van stopped accelerating. <BR> Scary! <BR> Used "extra" highway lane. <BR> Couldn't accelerate past 30mph! <BR> Several miles to the next exit. <BR> Stuck at gas station for 2 hours. <BR> Knight in shining armor rescue (from hubby). <BR> Drove me another hour and a half to my destination, in the dark, in the snow. <BR>... Sun, 13 Mar 2011 21:54:34 EST Technology is great, until it isn't In the saga that is our family computer, we are in the waiting stage. Waiting for the next part to get it fixed. Waiting isn't fun when you have 4 people who all enjoy their hour on the family computer because it has super great speeds... until something burns out and then it doesn't work at all. We got the new power supply last week, a few days later, a motherboard burned out. I don't get into the whole fixing the computer thing, but my husband can work out the problem and get it fixed. ... Wed, 9 Mar 2011 17:16:40 EST Great start to my day, and then: Oh no, not my computer! This morning started out great! The a.m. with the kids was smooth. My 9yr old and I jogged to the bus stop just because it was fun and then I jogged home again. (bonus exercise!) <BR> <BR> Also I was excited to try a new to me exercise tape this morning: Leslie Sansone Walk Away the Pounds - Power Mile (made in 2001). I think I found a new workout buddy to use along with Denise Austin and SparkPeople Nicole, both who motivate me and inspire me when I can't go outside and walk. Leslie's wo... Tue, 1 Mar 2011 09:23:03 EST A Really Good February I have room for improvement as I try to reach my best fitness and eating standards... but I am proud of the fact that I have been on track pretty much every day this month! Thank you Lifestyle Change Sparkteam for your SP point challenge. It kept me motivated to log in to SP every single day to check in with friends, track my info, and read blogs & articles to earn those points! I don't know how much weight I lost, but I know I didn't gain anything (I can tell by how my clothes fit). <... Mon, 28 Feb 2011 21:16:45 EST I am... ...happy <BR> <BR> ...lucky <BR> <BR> <BR> <BR> ... working daily towards my goals. <BR> <BR> <BR> <em>41</em> Wed, 23 Feb 2011 22:54:04 EST NOTE TO SELF: Reread this on weekends! I thought this weekend was very successful. I was buzzed that I got in my cardio and strength training right away this morning and yesterday morning. (thank you Fit and Firm SparkDVD) <BR> <BR> This is especially a big deal for me, because I had everything weighing against me this weekend. Even regular weekends make it hard for me to do the "routine". This weekend had all sorts of added things that could have kept me from exercising! <BR> <BR> But actually I feel really good today. An... Sun, 20 Feb 2011 20:15:02 EST Nice clean house I started out this morning doing the regular house cleaning thing... but I think something about the warmer weather made me start "spring cleaning" early in some places. I also doesn't help that I have guests visiting tomorrow afternoon who have never seen my house, and I am really picky about how I perceive my house looks to other people. So every time I cleaned something today, it made something else look dirtier, and the next thing I know I am vacuuming lampshades, and organizing closet s... Sat, 19 Feb 2011 20:16:04 EST My week is going pretty well... my attitude has much to do with my success! I can't say that this week has been NATURALLY great, because there have been twists, turns, and set backs, surprises, changes, and plain old disappointments. <BR> <BR> (laughing) I suppose most mothers could say that is a TYPICAL week for them. I suppose I could say that it a typical week for myself. Most of the time, I just ignore it. <BR> <BR> I have a positive attitude about most things. And my positive attitude is something I have to work at... you don't want me to get started ... Wed, 16 Feb 2011 22:35:21 EST Today I tried to do something nice for others, but it wasn't very easy to do! My 4 / 5 year old Sunday Schoolers were learning about giving to others, so I had them make valentine cards to hand out to local nursing home residents. When I tried to call the nursing home to let them know my plan, I got a negative response. I was upset until I realized that she thought this was going to cause her more work. So I took a deep breath and decided not to let that person's reaction color my day. I offered to walk around handing out the cards with the help of my sister. We ... Sun, 13 Feb 2011 21:41:23 EST Good kind of tired... <em>294</em> <BR> <BR> Today was cub scout family bowling day, so I am quite worn out. My family bowled for over 2 hours. I now have bowlers thumb! <BR> <BR> <em>250</em> <BR> <BR> I had 3 strikes and 5 or so spares... (laughing) I also had 3 gutter balls and many plain old "knocked down a few pins so let us move on" frames... <BR> <BR> It was fun. It was tiring. And now I am ready for bed!! <BR> <BR> ! <em>102</em> Sat, 12 Feb 2011 22:12:38 EST The list only works if you look at it... My to-do list did not get completed today, because I got distracted and never looked at it... <BR> <BR> The other lesson I learned in the last couple of days: <BR> The list can't get completed if you keep skipping that one thing you do not want to do. <BR> <BR> <em>20</em> <BR> <BR> Ah well, tomorrow is another day. Tue, 8 Feb 2011 23:15:30 EST Family Time, Super Bowl, and More Snow... After church on Sunday, we had lunch, then played a board game. In the afternoon I prepared dinner for the game. Last night we ate salads, calzones, and chips and salsa while we enjoyed Super Bowl 45: Packers/Steelers. (LOL if you are a football fan, no description was needed!) <BR> <BR> It was an exciting game. The only drawback was my husband had to get up at 4am this morning so he went to bed early and missed the end of the game. <BR> <BR> This morning I wanted to get some outdoor ... Mon, 7 Feb 2011 11:16:24 EST Another day, another snow storm... Well, it wasn't a storm exactly, but it did sleet, and then snow and snow and snow right on top of all that frozen ice that is already all over the ground!!! Sunday school for tomorrow was already canceled. (Church services are never canceled) <BR> <BR> Tomorrow after chuch our family plans on hanging out at home to enjoy the Super Bowl, so it can snow as much as it wants as long as we are inside and the power stays on! <BR> <em>246</em> Sat, 5 Feb 2011 22:16:16 EST Do I have to stop eating the foods I love? A few years ago when I went on this SP lifestyle, I learned that I would only be able to eat 1 slice of pizza at a meal in order to lose weight. NO WAY! I didn't know if I could do it, so I learned a few tricks that can be applied to all of our favorite foods! <BR> <BR> #1: If you like it, don't cut it out of your intake. That feels like deprivation, and makes you want it more. If you must have it, have it! Just make sure you are aware of how it goes with your intake for the day or week.... Fri, 4 Feb 2011 11:29:05 EST Lucky me, the sun is shining! <em>67</em> <em>67</em> <em>67</em> <em>67</em> <em>67</em> <BR> <BR> I am so happy that the sun is shining today! I just had to get outside. At 9am it was only 10 degrees but no wind, no sleet, so I bundled up myself and the 9 year old and headed out. We worked on chipping out the sidewalks, but that was hard going! So we decided to PLAY instead. We explored the back yard. The ice was over an inch thick in places! My son found cool imprints in the ice, like animal prints and the... Thu, 3 Feb 2011 16:12:15 EST BRRRRR.... I am SOOOO glad to be inside tonight, it is BITTERLY cold outside and it doesn't look to be any warmer tomorrow. Crazy icy weather. Tomorrow will be the THIRD day in a row that the kids have no school. That hasn't happened for a very very long time. In fact I can't remember 3 in a row canceled for the last 12 years... <BR> <BR> Icy roads, combined with snow, bitter cold, and fast winds makes it dangerous to be outside right now. My whole schedule is out of wack... appointments, school, ... Wed, 2 Feb 2011 21:52:08 EST Quick blog: Brrr... it is cold and raining ice right now. The kids have been home from school today, and my husband was already told not to come to work tomorrow. The power company is warning that they believe the power lines may topple tonight with the strong winds. Hopefully not! <BR> <BR> The nasty outside weather makes me feel trapped inside. No outside exercise has me resorting to exercise videos. Not my favorite kind of exercise but it gets the job done! <BR> <BR> I am thinking soup or stew w... Tue, 1 Feb 2011 17:35:40 EST Daily checklist, and incoming icy weather!!! <em>195</em> <em>248</em> <BR> <BR> I completed everything on my daily checklist today. That checklist, posted where my whole family can see it, has really been fantastic for me. My husband reminds me to update each night. The kids look at it to see what my schedule for the day is. It is one of the best organizational decisions I have made lately! <BR> <BR> (See my previous blog to find out about my rules for my daily checklists). <BR> <BR> I have had a terrific week and weekend.... Mon, 31 Jan 2011 20:00:52 EST Today I will accomplish... Today I wanted to share my current plan. <BR> <BR> Å few weeks ago, I had a plan that was like a daily checklist that NEVER changes. <BR> Everyday I will eat healthy balanced meals, drink my 8 cups of water, log into sparkpeople, work on a project, practice the piano, and do one other thing (fill in the blank here). I had it written in my notes at sparkpeople and I just daily checked that I did them all. <BR> <BR> I have since adjusted my daily program to: <BR> Today I will... and then fil... Mon, 17 Jan 2011 10:22:07 EST Aye Aye Captain Tight Pants Let me just start this by saying I have had a lovely holiday with my family. Everyone had a week off, and we visited with friends and family, shared presents, laughed, played games, and unlike last year, no cars died 40 miles from home. <BR> <em>41</em> <BR> <BR> It was pleasant, happy, wonderful times; everything you want from a vacation. <BR> <BR> It was relaxing, maybe too relaxing... I took a good look in the mirror yesterday and what did I see: Is that a muffin top? Are my favori... Tue, 4 Jan 2011 21:33:26 EST Trying to find a healthy balance at this time of year... This is a very busy time for my family. School just started up for our two students. That means the newest round of PTG meetings, Scouting activities, sports, open houses, and parent-teacher meetings. I also am involved in my Church, Sunday School, and school volunteer work... Home life gets a little more busy with organizing everything, getting homework accomplished, ferrying everyone to appointments and lessons... And I have to stay on track with daily exercise and healthy eating! <BR>... Wed, 1 Sep 2010 22:45:06 EST A birthday and More Camping <img src=""> <BR> My son just turned 9 years old on Thursday. We had a quiet family party at home. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Check out his 'drum' cake! <BR> <BR> Then this weekend we went cub scout family camping at Whitewater Lake, which is about 35 minutes from our house. On Saturday, the families set up camp, then we all split up for a few hours to have some free time. Some went ... Mon, 26 Jul 2010 11:00:06 EST A day in the life of this mom. Yesterday was "free movie day" in a neighboring community, so I started my morning by urging the kids to make picnic lunch sandwiches for themselves... and like normal healthy kids, they ended up arguing more than preparing. I became the peacemaker to keep the morning moving along. When we headed off to our morning movie, the kids were both a little cranky at having to "share" me. They have never gone to the movies with me at the same time, partly because of the age difference of 8 years a... Thu, 15 Jul 2010 23:50:10 EST Happy Independence Day! This year, our cub scout pack was able to use a donated trailer for our local 4th of July parade. With my husband's truck in the front, a few dollars worth of decorations, some donated straw bales, and some cub scout owned flags, we had our little parade float! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We ended up with a trailer full of scouts and leaders. Someone else in our pack took the picture of the full float, but here is a picture of me, my... Sun, 4 Jul 2010 17:18:16 EST Nature filled weekend <img src=""> <BR> We are officially back from our nature weekend! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Friday night we camped. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Saturday we hiked and swam in a lake. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Sunday morning we went to church. Sunday afternoon we shopp... Mon, 28 Jun 2010 16:32:46 EST Hooray! Going camping! Every summer we camp at our favorite local campground (about an hour from our house). It has some great hiking trails, a beach on a lake, fishing, horses, boating etc. Not that we do all that is available every time... It is nice that it IS available! <BR> <BR> Anyhow, we always schedule one camping trip each summer during vacation time, and we go camping any other time we can (according to my hubby's schedule). This weekend he has off, so we are heading off tomorrow. Yes, we sleep in ... Thu, 24 Jun 2010 21:27:04 EST This was one of those great summer days: <em>67</em> <BR> This morning I slept in to 7:30am. <BR> We went to a free family movie at the theatre at 10am. <BR> At lunch we enjoyed a picnic and a hike in the park. We explored until we got too hot, then we headed over to the pool for an afternoon swim. <BR> After a healthy supper, we walked all around the county fairgrounds... <BR> <em>298</em> <BR> ...all I need is a glass of lemonade and a hammock to wrap up my day!!! Wed, 23 Jun 2010 21:48:04 EST Summer Day Camp: Day 4 & 5 <img src=""> <BR> What a week!!! Cub scout summer camp was a blast. This is our group picture from Friday at 4pm... those few of us diehard parents and kids who lasted to the end of the week LOL. Some kids and parents in our two packs left before this or didn't even come the last day. I guess all the muddy hiking wore them out. I think there was 300 kids at summer camp, all separated into small groups of 30 or less cub scouts. Our grou... Sun, 20 Jun 2010 15:56:27 EST Summer Camp: Day 3 Today was swimming day, the cub scouts had a blast. Somehow I ended up with one sunburnt shoulder... and I couldn't understand it. I sunscreened well and often. Then I remembered driving home at 4:30 pm with the windows down, and I never resunscreened at the END of the day. Taadaa, one burnt left shoulder. It isn't even painful, just red. My only other battle scars from today (besides extreme tiredness) is one bug bite (apparently I missed a spot with the bug spray as well LOL). <BR> <... Wed, 16 Jun 2010 22:23:16 EST Summer MUD Camp Day 2 Right now I hear raindrops hitting my window pane as I type in this blog. Rain is not good on summer camp week... because our campground is close to several ponds, creeks, etc and floods easily. It has rained a lot recently, and that mean swollen creeks, which leave muddy fields and forests. Really really muddy. Imagine going done a nice steep hill in the mud, then later trying to walk back up that hill after 100 other people. Imagine what happens when you let 7,8,9yr old boys do relay ra... Tue, 15 Jun 2010 21:43:35 EST Summer Day Camp Day 1 Today was day one of my 8yr old son's cub scout day camp. I am the main walking leader for my group of eight boys for the week. Luckily for me this was year two, so I kind of knew what to expect. (and Hooray, I have several parent helpers this year!!!) <BR> <BR> I remembered: <BR> the hot sun (I was prepared with strong sunscreen and decent hats) <BR> the high humidity (plenty of water) <BR> hungry 8 year old (plenty of healthy food) <BR> small injuries (mini first aid kit) <BR> bugs, bu... Mon, 14 Jun 2010 20:45:35 EST Breath in, breath out... Sitting down in front of the computer tonight after a long day and an even longer week full of life's little stresses, I was thinking I would just let everything go and concentrate on sparkpeople (the normal checking on friends, logging all my stuff, etc). <BR> <BR> Then ten minutes later when I came back from mommy duties... (LOL) <BR> <BR> I realize that I haven't taken a deep breath for hours and my shoulders are hovering near the bottom of my ears! Time to let go of everything for real!... Fri, 11 Jun 2010 21:46:01 EST We all need to reevaluate from time to time... I keep gaining and losing the same 5 pounds lately, and at first I couldn't figure out why. My hubby gently pointed out that the last few months have been lots more 'convenience' meals (frozen, easy to prepare dinners) with less fresh fruits and homecooked from scratch meals. Those 'easy' dinners usually have to much sodium, high fructose corn syrups, and too high calories for the serving sizes, etc etc!! Yep. Time to reevaluate my kitchen cupboards. The canned soups need to be donated. ... Wed, 2 Jun 2010 23:23:37 EST Funny thing happened to me today... Last weekend I lost my clip-on sunglasses at my favorite downtown shop. I was disappointed that I couldn't find them anywhere in the store when I KNEW that I had slipped them in my pocket when I walked in the door. When we got home my hubby thought of a place they could be but I had to wait until it was open again. I biked there today and walked right to the clothing rack... <BR> <BR> <em>246</em> and low and behold they were tangled in a top that I had held up to myself that day... rig... Thu, 27 May 2010 23:29:03 EST Rough Day *sigh* <BR> <BR> We all have 'em. The morning where you are given a short deadline and a huge amount of work to do (work that has been collecting dust on someone's desk), a person whose signature is needed is not available, the family vehicle decides to go wacky, two kids with two successive appointments, a spouse trying to take care of some business by phone and computer... then the bombshell of a relative problem that cropped up right in the middle of cooking supper... <BR> <BR> Yep.... Wed, 12 May 2010 22:53:58 EST Happy Birthday to me... Happy Birthday to me... I really had a great Mother's Day & Birthday today. Here is a pic of me with all my flowers and my cake. <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The day started out with me singing at church with my sister, then teaching those adorable Sunday school preschoolers (imagine them pretending to be Daniel in the lions den, complete with several little lions, a king in a paper crown whose face never changed no matter which emotion he was supposed to have, a l... Sun, 9 May 2010 22:01:35 EST HOORAY! I found a push-up that I like to do!!! I was so excited today to finally find some push ups I actually enjoyed while I was doing them. They are from Coach Nicole on the Fit Firm Fired Up DVD and I can't find them in the SP fitness library. <BR> <BR> You start kneeling and on all fours, cross your ankles, slowly walk out your hands in front of you until your back is straight, and start doing your push-ups slowly and in control. <BR> <BR> These are the first push-ups I have ever done that don't hurt my hands, or my back, or anyth... Fri, 7 May 2010 23:25:26 EST If someone can tell me how they made Strength Training fun, I would love to hear it!!! Strength training has always been my trouble area. I admit I have a hard time sticking with it. Cardio has never been a problem, I love biking and walking and they never get boring to me. <BR> <BR> But how do I make crunches or push ups fun??? Lately, I have been trying to "mix it up" to keep it interesting, and my new dvd helps... <BR> <BR> Plus I made my Fit n Fun team a challenge that focuses in on "Making Each Day Count" and for me that means getting in at least 10 minutes of Streng... Tue, 4 May 2010 22:50:30 EST