Monthly Archives: March 2011


Washington DC, our nation’s capital.  Millions of visitors flock to DC to tour the city and that is what Dave, me, Hunter and Hayley did May 27th thru June 1st, 2010.  We were excited, Hunter and Hayley were never there and the last time Dave and I were, was with the 4 older kids many years ago. Hunter was the most excited because he couldn’t wait to go see the Smithsonian Museums which he has talked about the last few years.

 It was Memorial Day weekend and we knew it would be crowded but didn’t anticipate the 500,000 motorcycles plus riders that would be there.  It was a nightmare.  At times streets were closed to let the bikes pass. And in addition, the weather was sunny, hot and humid in the mid 80’s, not conducive to the massive amount of walking Dave was expecting out of all of us.

Our drive down was uneventful until I realized I printed out incorrect directions to the hotel and we wound up in the WORST section of DC.  To say Dave was a bit annoyed is and understatement, plus Hunter and I were terrified!  Hunter kept asking “are we going to survive this terrible drive?” I tried to say in a positive way “of course, no worries” but he noticed my white knuckels grasping the dashboard and didn’t believe me for a minute. After back tracking, we finally made it to our hotel.  Whew, what a relief!

We stayed in the Grand Hyatt Hotel which was wonderful.  The location was within walking distance to the Smithsonian, Capitol building, Washington Monument etc.  Also, the Metro was under the hotel so this was very convenient as well. Once in our room we did one of Hayley’s all time favorite things……..order room service.  Don’t ask me why this thrills her but it does.  Hayley always orders mac and cheese with a coke. Whenever we stay in a hotel I get to sleep with Hayley and Dave with Hunter.  Hayley and Hunter DO NOT do well sharing anything together let alone a bed. Now let me just say that when you sleep with either of them you sleep with about 10 stuffed animals as well.  Yes, daddy lets them bring in the car whatever they want :).  By the time Hunter and Hayley are asleep, Dave and I find ourselves sleeping (or attempting to sleep) on the very edge of the bed and with no blankets. I spend a good hunk of each night rolling Hayley to the other side of the bed only to find her back again.

Day 1:  We went to the Museum of Natural History which Hunter LOVED.  We took lots of pictures and Hunter took video of the entire museum. Hayley did ok, it was very loud and overwhelming so I had to sit with her in quiet areas once in a while.  After the museum we went to the Botanical Gardens.  We had never been there before and I really liked it.  The kids on the other hand were bored AND wild. Hayley was in every water puddle, garden, water feature etc.  She was soaked from head to toe! I gave up trying to stop her. Hayley looked quite a mess and we did draw curious and sometimes nasty stares from people.  With living with Autism, Dave and I have grown thick skin and really don’t care what people think.  Oh, on occassion if I am in a pissed mood I will comment, “don’t judge until you live in our shoes”, “be happy your child doesn’t have Autism” or even one time “F off”, I will tell you I wasn’t proud of that moment. We finally got back to the hotel where the kids changed into bathing suits and we brought them to the pool. 

And what did we do again that evening? Order room service except this time Hayley ordered mac and cheese AND french fries………



I am so sick and tired of the cold, snow and delayed school openings.  When there is a delay, Hunter gets on the bus at 9:00 and Hayley gets on at 10:00.  This messes up any plans I might have had for the mornings and deprives me of my extra “kid free” time.

This morning I had an appointment at the gym with my trainer for 9:30.  As soon as the call came at 5:25 am that told me there was going to be a delayed opening, I knew I was doomed.  I really wanted to go to the gym because today was weigh in day.  I texted my trainer about the situation and she responded back with a cancellation she had just received.  I was able to go work out at 10:30!  I was so excited.  I got Hayley on the bus and then I went straight to the gym.  I warmed up on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes and then met with my trainer.  I worked on legs today.  Now that I have been weight training for a while, Jess is starting to challenge me more.  I did upper body on Tuesday (my arms felt like lead yesterday), and today I worked on my legs, abdomen and hips.  I definitely know I will be sore tomorrow, but it is a happy kind of sore. Finally, I did a half hour of cardio before returning home.

Once I was done weight training,  I was ready to be weighed…….. I knew I did really well with my eating so I wasn’t too nervous.  I got on the scale and found out I lost 3 1/2 lbs.!!!!  This brings me to a total of 25 1/2 lbs.  I am extremely happy as I am getting closer to wearing ” the dress” that has been hanging in my closet, encouraging me to keep on course each day.

Hopefully, the snow and really cold weather is behind us now.  I look forward to beautiful, warm, sunny days and for the first time in years I won’t mind showing my arms, especially while wearing “the dress”.   🙂


The last two weeks have been inordinately stressful.  I have been so very successful so far on my diet and exercise program, I did not want to fail.  It was tough though, there were soooo many times I wanted to throw in the towel and EAT.  At those times I felt like eating whatever I could get my hands on it didn’t matter what, even if I didn’t like the item.   I literally stood with my hand tightly gripping the refrigerator or cabinet doors fighting off the intense desire to eat and just forget about it all.  My head was spinning, I imagined I hadn’t eaten in weeks, breaths started to come quickly……….

I didn’t give in to the temptation any of those times.  It was hard, but I kept saying to myself over and over that I had went down one size, I lost the triple chins, my shirts aren’t sticking to a protruding waist anymore, do I REALLY want to blow it?  Finally, my head stopped spinning, the hunger started to ebb and my breathing became normal again.  I started to think rationally and decided that it WASN’T worth it because once I had finished eating whatever it is I picked, the guilt would set in.  The feeling of failure would over take me which in turn, since I blew it anyway,  would continue to eat.  The vicious cycle would again overtake my life.

One saving grace was I was able to get to the gym once last week and walked on my treadmill at home 3 days.  Even though I had to push myself to do both last week, it did make me feel better.  Yesterday I walked on my treadmill and today I went to the gym and walked for 30 minutes and weight trained for 30 minutes.  I am proud to say I am back on track.

I have decided I AM strong.  I don’t want to go back there again.  I was unhappy being fat.  I don’t believe any overweight person when they say “oh, I am healthy and fit, I love my body, etc., etc.”  NO ONE is healthy being overweight because the extra fat puts a tremendous amount of strain on the organs, especially the heart.  High blood pressure, cholesterol, clogged arteries are what is in store when you are overweight, diabetes and cancer risks are elevated.

I am not thin, I am still, I will use the word “heavy”,  just not as “heavy” as a month ago.  I want to lose another 30 lbs. to get healthy and to start to enjoy things in life that I have put aside for so long.  I know I can and will do this, because I am worth it 🙂


di Chiarro, Joe Cartoon

I have been doing so well with my diet and exercise program.  I am proud of the 22 lbs. I have lost so far.  Today though, I almost went off the wagon.  I am an emotional eater.  It doesn’t matter if I am happy, sad, stressed, mad, etc……I will eat.  As I have said before, the medication I have been on for depression has greatly helped me in controlling my eating and emotions.

Today was an exception.  We have an extremely serious issue going on in our family since last week that I am not at liberty to talk about.  I think I have been running on adrenaline up until today.  Once I got Hunter and Hayley on their buses I went into the house and fell apart. I cried for 20 minutes straight.  I haven’t cried much in over a month but the floodgates opened today.

Last night Dave and I made one of our favorite pink sauces that goes over Portobello ravioli.  I had eaten very carefully yesterday in order to partake in this favorite meal.  I did well and did not over eat at dinner.  I was happy to not have to deprive my self of this dish and the fun Dave and I have together making it.  Dave took the leftover ravioli to work with him today yet we were still  left with a good amount of the delicious sauce.

When I was crying I kept thinking about how I would love to take leftover pasta that was made for the kids last night, and pour the sauce all over it and stuff myself.  Once the last tear dried I did the right thing and had my oatmeal like I do every morning.  I then went downstairs and did some weight training on my own and walked on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  I now was safe for a while and felt better.

A phone call came in at lunch time pertaining to our problem.  Once off the phone, I immediately walked to the refrigerator, had the pasta container in one hand and the sauce container in the other.  I felt like I had the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other……DO IT……DON’T DO IT………  I was torn but, am proud to say that I did not succumb to the pasta and sauce.  I put it back into the refrigerator walked away and ate an apple and then made a salad as it was lunch time.  I cannot say how much better I felt in making this decision to not eat the pasta.  If I did eat it I would have thought “oh I blew it anyway, who cares”.  I decided that the weight I have lost thus far, definitely has made me feel and look better and to give in to temptation is simply not worth it.

The rest of the day has gone very well and I know I am in no danger whatsover of losing the battle today. I feel strong………

Loving the Food Network

I love watching the Food Network.  It has inspired me to cook different things, some of which have become family favorites.  I like:

Giada at Home with Giada De Laurentiis (I have all of her cookbooks). There are so many dishes of hers that I have cooked, but the one that is everybody’s favorite is, Vegetable Gratin.  It has broccoli, cauliflower, heavy cream, whole milk, fontina, provolone and pecorino romano cheese, salt, pepper and bread crumbs.  It is so easy to make. We also like, Parmesan-crusted pork chops, Chicken Florentine, Roasted Fennel with Parmesan, the list could go on and on.

Paula’s Home Cooking featuring Paula Deen of course, as well as her husband, sons, brother and others from time to time.   I have all of her cookbooks as well, and the recipes are traditional down south home cooking.

Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri, Next Food Network Star, any show with Bobby Flay etc.  The one show I DO NOT care for is, Sandra Lee. It isn’t the recipes because some of them look really good and they are easy to make.  She used store-bought ingredients with fresh.  The problem with the show for me anyway, is Sandra is much too perky, it looks like she doesn’t eat, and most of all……. I CANNOT stand on each show her outfit matches the kitchen decor.  This is so stupid.  It makes no sense to me at all.  Enough said.

My all time favorite show is, The Barefoot Contessa featuring Ina Garten.  I would LOVE to meet her.  I have all of her cookbooks as well and they are getting well-worn.  She is always so happy, eats her food, does really pretty table decorating (unlike Sandra Lee’s over the top “tablescapes”).   Her food is relatively simple and yet soooo delicious.  One of our favorites is a sautéed brussell sprout recipe with pancetta.  I know, most people don’t like Brussel sprouts, my husband and kids included, yet when I make this they love it.  It is so easy to make and delicious.  The recipe is as follows:

Brussels Sprouts Lardons

Ina Garten 


  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 6 ounces Italian pancetta or bacon, 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts (2 containers), trimmed and cut in 1/2
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 3/4 cups Homemade Chicken Stock, recipe follows, or canned broth


Heat the olive oil in a large (12-inch) saute pan and add the pancetta. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the fat is rendered and the pancetta is golden brown and crisp, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the pancetta to a plate lined with a paper towel.

Add the Brussels sprouts, salt, and pepper to the fat in the pan and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the raisins and chicken stock. Lower the heat and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sprouts are tender when pierced with a knife, about 15 minutes. If the skillet becomes too dry, add a little chicken stock or water. Return the pancetta to the pan, heat through, season to taste, and serve.

Homemade Chicken Stock:

  • 3 (5-pound) chickens
  • 3 large onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 6 carrots, unpeeled and halved
  • 4 celery stalks with leaves, cut in thirds
  • 4 parsnips, unpeeled and cut in 1/2, optional
  • 20 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 15 sprigs fresh thyme20 sprigs fresh dill
  • 1 head garlic, unpeeled and cut in 1/2 crosswise
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

Place the chickens, onions, carrots, celery, parsnips, parsley, thyme, dill, garlic, salt, and peppercorns in a 16 to 20-quart stockpot with 7 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Skim the surface as needed. Simmer uncovered for 4 hours. Strain the entire contents of the pot through a colander, discarding the chicken and vegetables, and chill. Discard the hardened fat, and then pack the broth in quart containers.

Now I do not make the home made chicken stock, I use College in or Swanson chicken broth with works perfect and without so much work!  I am all about ease.

Another weekly weigh in at the gym :) Lost 3 lbs. for total loss of 22 lbs. !!!!

I am really embarrassed about this picture.  It was taken at the Florida house this past August.  I look absolutely horrible.  Not only am I fat, but the hair?  Wow.  I finally decided to post a before picture of myself, because it can only get better from there.   As time goes on I will post pictures of me as the weight loss journey progresses.  I have been very diligent about my diet and exercise routine for the past week.  

 Last Thursday, my trainer had me do a lot of leg work.  At the time I felt fine, no pain at all, but I really paid for it Friday thru Monday.  I have arthritis in both knees, the right one being the worst.  I hobbled around, popped Aleve and held an ice pack on my knees a several times. I continued to exercise at home, but just on my upper body.  When I went to the gym on Tuesday, I told her about my knees.  Even though they were feeling better,  we decided just to work on the upper body, abs and waist to still rest my knees a few more days.  Now this is a good thing because I am really looking forward to getting rid of my man arms.  I haven’t had normal arms in a very long time. Also, I need the ab work because I to get the belly down some more. And at least now my boobs are back to being bigger then my waist, hence I still need work on these areas.   When I finished with the upper body workout, the trainer had me ride the recumbent bike.  I still was working my legs yet there was no pressure on my knees.   So I did weight training for a half hour and rode the bike for a half hour.  I am so enjoying it, I never thought I would ever say that.  I really surprise myself  by actually wanting to exercise!

 Yesterday I did an upper body workout on the universal gym in the basement, then did 3 reps of crunches using the exercise ball.  I had a lot of errands to accomplish afterward.  At each stop I parked in the furthest parking spot so I would get somewhat of a workout on my legs.  Before I left home to go out, I brought a banana, granola bar and a water just in case I got hungry.  Surprisingly, except for being thirsty and drinking the water, I wasn’t hungry at all.   As a matter of fact I didn’t even think about eating! This is extremely new to me.

Today was weigh in day at the gym.  First my trainer had me do some light legwork.  My knees felt pretty good but I didn’t want to overdo it.  Then I worked the chest, back, shoulders, abs and waist.  Once that was done, Jess led me into the room with the scale.  I stared at it a few minutes because I was a little nervous.  It seems unreal to me that I have been losing weight.  I would say I have tried a million times and it didn’t work.  I now realize I definitely was not trying hard enough nor was I motivated enough.  Jess set the weight on the scale to what I weighed last week and once I stepped on the scale it was quite obvious the slide needed to go down.  And down it did go, 3 lbs.!!! I was so excited.  Now I am down a total of 22 lbs!!!  I am so proud of myself.

That dress in my closet is looking better and better.  I am already down a size, one more size and no more plus sizes for me!  I can’t wait to get back into normal size clothes.  Like I have said before, I am not striving for a size 4, a size 12 would be wonderful. I am already looking and feeling better and am excited for summer to come and maybe actually not loath myself this year.  I also want to look good for Dave.  He has always been supportive of me no matter what my weight, he loves me unconditionally.  But I want to show him I can still be “one hot mamma”…….


Uhhhh tough afternoon and the kids have only been home less than an hour and a half

I was very busy today trying to catch up on a lot of things that have been pushed aside the past few weeks because of problems. Laundry, paperwork, organizing all the school papers that were thrown on my desk in a haphazard pile, among other things.  I did squeeze in my treadmill as well. 

First Hunter came in from school.  Because of his obsession with all things Pokemon, we pre-ordered the “Black and White Game” that was released yesterday.  We were under the assumption that he would get it at least today, the day after the debut.  Wrong.  When I looked my order up at Amazon it said he would receive it between March 9th and 15th.   This is not acceptable, Amazon does not understand what this type of delay does to Hunter.  If we didn’t pre-order it, I could have bought it yesterday.  I started counting down the minutes until he got home because I knew exactly what I had to endure.  Sure enough, Craig got Hunter off the bus and as Hunter ran into the house yelling “mommy, mommy where is my new Black and White game?”  I had to give him the news…..uh, well I checked at Amazon and it said you will receive the game in a few days (gulp, a little white lie on my part).  Yup, it happened.  WHHAAATTTT? he screamed, it was a PRE-ORDER, I SHOULDN’T have to wait.  He bursts into tears “why is life so hard?” he says.  “This is a nightmare, a tragedy, why do these unpleasant things always happen to me?”  Ok, I know, he is being a bit dramatic, but having Aspergers, he really does mean all this.  Everything is black or white, there is absolutely no gray area for a person like him. 

Mind you now, after working like crazy all day, and before Hunter got home from school, I decided to watch the season opener of Celebrity Apprentice on my lap top. I was beat.  I had watched most of the episode before Hunter got home, but had to pause when he first got in. After my bad news to Hunter about the game, and as he is ranting and raving, I am still trying to throw my eye on the show.  I did have to keep stop and going.  I suggested getting tissues, having a snack, drink, quiet time etc., just so I could finish the last 10 minutes of the show before Hayley got home. Didn’t work, Hunter was in the kitchen crying and crying while eating goldfish and getting crumbs everywhere.  I went in and tried to console hime, bribe him etc.  Finally, he calmed down and that is when I heard the chime on the laundry room door……..Hayley is home………

She throws her coat and backpack on the floor, runs into the kitchen throwing open cabinets and the refrigerator, she is ravenous when she gets home.  It is always a whirl wind and I know I have to stop it and go backwards by bringing her back to the door, have her hang up her coat and backpack, go to the bathroom, walk nicely into the kitchen and have her appropriately ask for a snack using her words or a combination of sign language. Whew, let me just say, it doesn’t go quite as smoothly as I would like, but beggars can’t be choosers.

Hayley chooses Progresso Chicken Noodle Soup.  I pour this in a bowl, in the mean time she is grabbing last night’s spaghetti out of the refrigerator, opens the top and starts shoving handfuls of spaghetti into her mouth. I am able to get this away from her as she is yelling “PASTA IN SOUP, PASTA IN SOUP”. I get her to sit down and promise if she has a quiet mouth, hands and feet, I will put some extra noodles in her soup.  Hayley gets semi-quiet but is yelping.  Ok, soup is out, I give it to her, with spoon, fork and a ton of napkins.  Meanwhile, Hunter is back in the kitchen wanting to know why exactly Amazon did not send out the game yet, why does Craig curse, when will daddy get home, can he take a bath etc…………..

Right now I am counting my breaths and trying to tell myself to calm down.  Hayley finishes her soup, puts her bowl in the sink and proceeds to take the faucet sprayer and wet her whole head!  Water is everywhere.  I yell to Hunter to get towels, Hayhley starts to run away, slips  in the water and falls on the tile floor.  Hayley is screaming “BOO BOO, BANDAID, BANDAID! I tell her she doesn’t need a bandaid, just get up.  As Hunter is running in the room I yell “STOP”…..too late, he is down for the count.  Now Hunter is screaming “I HATE THIS FLOOR, I HATE HAYLEY”. Both kids are totally wet.  As I get the towels from Hunter and place them on the floor, Hayley jumps up and grabs the Kerug (coffee) water container and proceeds to throw it across the room.  Water is everywhere, Hunter is wrestleing Hayley on the wet floor, she is hysterically laughing, they are soaked, I literally am using a whole brand new roll of paper towels trying my best to soak up the water………………..

Ok, cleaned up, won’t go into the rest of the gory details.  Everyone is calm for the moment, I tip toe to the  bathroom, all that water has made me want to go :).  I run in, leave the door open and hear “HAAYYYLLLLEEEEYYYYY!!!!  I get out in record time to find that Hayley has decapitated 2 Barbies and took all the stuffing out of her favorite arctic fox stuffed animal.  Yes! this happened in less then 4 minutes.  She is fast. I am exhausted!  I look at the clock and realize Hunter has been home only 1 hour and Hayley 30 minutes. 

This type of thing pretty much happens EVERY day.  I am able to write this now because Hunter is helping Hayley on the computer.  She likes to watch the Disney World rides on You Tube.  Yes, Hunter is loosing his patience but I bribed him with the Ipad and that seems to placate him for now. Hunter is still loudly asking me why he didn’t get his game but I am tuning him out. I am getting this blog written quickly and hopefully when done will then see who gets fired from Celebrity Apprentice.

After an afternoon like today (really only 1hour total), and not knowing what is in store for me until bed time, this is the reason I watch “crap” tv.  I definitely need an escape…….