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I officially start my New Job on Monday

New Job

Starting Monday at 8:30 am I will be out of the house and back into the working world. Not that I have not worked, just have not worked outside the home in so long.

Today was a long day – had to drive over an hour to go have a physical and drug test for this job and then I had to drive to my new workplace to get my 2nd TB Shot. I wrote a post all bout my new job last month HERE. I am so excited and nervous all at the same time – now that my start date is so close I am kinda freakin’ out a little bit.

Good thing is I start on Monday and just work till about 2 and then Tuesday from 9-12 for training. Then I do not work again until August where I have only a 1/2 day to do on the 8th, but then starting on 8/13 I am on the schedule for more training 5 days in a row 9-5 – that is what scares me the most. After having my own routine each and everyday at home this is going to be a HUGE adjustment for me. I guess I have to make sure they have lots of coffee on hand or I will have to bring my own in a thermos or I think I will pass out (lol).

In addition to that this Wednesday my kids are flying by themselves to Florida to stay with my parents for 10 days. They are 15 and 13 and I have never been away from them for so long let alone so far away from them. Good thing they do not have me on the schedule for my new job over that time because I may be a bit of a mess. On the plus side me and the hubby with have some much needed alone time which will be nice.

Oh did I mention my daughter will be turning 13 on Sunday? Yup I will now have 2 teenagers under one roof. Where does the time go? I always said once she turned into a teenager I would move out – so not ready for teenage drama, but I think I will stick around – lol.

Well that is about it for now – just wanted to do a quick little post while I had things on my mind. I will keep you all updated as always!!! Happy Friday to all!!!

Oven Baked Beef and Bean Tacos

Beef and Bean Tacos

So this past week I cooked up these Oven Baked Beef and Bean Tacos to try something new for our Taco Night and they were so delicious of course I had to share the recipe with you all.

Taco Night is a family favorite in my house and normally just do hard and soft tacos that we fill how we want, but I saw this recipe via Six Sister’s Stuff website, where they share all kinds of yummy recipes, and thought I would give it a try.

Not only were these tasty, but I loved how they are Oven Baked and once out of the oven you just grab one and add all the topping you like on top – such as Lettuce, Tomatoes, Sour Cream, Guacamole, Taco Sauce etc.. And my very favorite part is the meat stays in the Taco Shell vs. falling out all over the place.

They are made with both Beef and Beans so lots of protein in these babies !!

Here is what you will need to make these Oven Baked Tacos:

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (Lean)
  • 1 Can Black Beans (15 ounce) drained and rinsed
  • 1 Medium Onion, Diced
  • 1 Package of Taco Seasoning
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced (I use the minced Garlic in a jar – so much easier)
  • 1 Cup Chunky Salsa
  • 12 Hard Taco Shells
  • 1 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese

And then have all the stuff you like to top your Tacos with ready !!

Ok now here is what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

In a large pan saute your Onion and Garlic in oil until soft, about 5 minutes. Then add in your Ground Beef and Taco Seasoning until your beef is nicely browned. Next add in your Black Beans and Salsa. Let that cook up for a bit so your flavors blend and it can thicken up some.

Next line a 9×13 Casserole Dish with your 12 Hard Taco Shells and fill each one with your Beef Mixture. Top them with your Shredded Cheddar Cheese and then stick those babies in the oven and let cook for about 8-10 minutes or until your cheese is melted.

Now you are ready to add your topping and gobble up!!!

I will DEFINITELY make these again, loved the flavor and how EASY they were to make. I guess I did not stuff mine enough because I had some left over meat, but it was perfect the next day heated up for another meal.

Enjoy !!

Reflecting on my life since Gastric Bypass Surgery

Reflecting

It has been just about 1 1/2 years since I have had my Gastric Bypass Surgery and I have never felt better. The decision to have undergone such a major surgery is a choice I should have made many years ago. My only regret as I have said is not doing it sooner.

Life for me has changed in so many ways – of course the biggest one is my size. I am down officially 112 pounds and have stalled for the past month or so, but that is ok since I am only 24 pounds from my personal weight loss goal and I have not been eating the best to get down to it. It is what it is and as long as I am not gaining I am perfectly fine with that. The best part is that I feel great and I feel more like the old me that I lost in the fat for so many years.

One of the major changes for me is not having the stress of being overweight and the things that come with it. Things like picking out clothing to wear and feeling like no matter what I pick out I will look fat in it and knowing where ever I am going I will be uncomfortable. Just not having that anymore is such a great feeling in itself – you cannot imagine how awesome that feels.

Other changes that make me giddy now are things like being able to fit into chairs, cross your legs, wearing a tank top in public, not feeling like the fattest person in the room, wearing a bathing suit and not having everyone turn around while you run to the pool, having so much energy you do not know what to do with yourself, caring about your appearance again, loving to go clothes shopping, fitting into your daughter’s shirts, wearing a normal size bra and having choices, your son being able to pick you up and carry you around the room, seeing hubby excited when I try on new clothes and loving how I look, getting compliments when you bump into people you have not seen in a long time and honestly I can go on and on.

Oh and one more happy moment I just had I have to share is one I am starting a new job outside the home on Monday (I have been working from home for years) and it took this long for me to finally feel good enough and ready to put myself out there and I welcome the change. So anyways I had to go fill out some papers last week and they also needed me to try on the uniforms to see what size I needed. She held up the shirts one of them being a large and I said ugh that looks way too small so you better give the the extra large to try on as well. So I figured I would just try the large to start and wouldn’t you know it that it fit me and was even a little big. It goes to show you that even after we get thin we still are in a fat mind set and it will take a very long time if ever for that to go away.

I am also so happy that since I have had my surgery I have been able to be an inspiration to many of my friends to make the same change to their lives – My friends from New York came to visit me this past weekend Husband and Wife and they both had Bariatric Surgery – My friend Laura had Gastric Bypass and her hubby had the Lap Band with plication. It was the first time I saw them since and they looked amazing and felt great.

One of my other local friends, Carla, also had Gastric Bypass Surgery this past year and I have been there with her every step of the way – she is also doing amazing, looks great and is happier than I have ever known her to be. She comes over to hang out a lot and the funny thing is when we ask the kids to take our photo together it is no more – can you make sure you only get us from the neck up, but instead – can you make sure you get our whole bodies in that picture. Who would have thought we would ever ask that???

Then my other local friend, Denise, is actually going in for her Gastric Bypass Surgery tomorrow and her mom had it done 2 months ago. I had Denise over yesterday to give her a last minute pep talk because naturally she is nervous as hell. I think she is going to do great and again I will be there for her every step of they way as she needs me.

To think I was the inspiration to all of them to change their lives in the way that I did is mind blowing and I would have never thought in a million years that I would the one to do that. And in addition to all of them this blog has been so helpful to many either making the decision to have surgery or to help others along the way. The comments and messages I get mean the world to me to know that I have touched so many lives with my honesty and my own personal journey. Just crazy I tell ya!!!

But what blows my mind more than anything else is just how far I have come and how much I have changed inside and outside in such a short period of time. I look back at photos and do not even recognize the person in them anymore. All I see is someone who was pretending to be happy on the outside when inside I was an unhappy mess living in a shell (body) that was way too big for me.

These photos are the ones that really get me. They were taken just about 2 years ago – it will be 2 years next month. For the first time in a long time my whole family got together in one place (my house). While it was an amazing time to be with everyone I also remember how horrible and fat I felt. I believe this was me at my heaviest. I was already in the process of working towards my surgery at this point. I will NEVER EVER allow myself to get to this place again – I hated it.

And here is me just the other day – genuinely happy and feeling great.

Life is Good…

Delicious Layered Salad Recipe

Layered Salad

Oh Boy Oh Boy I have another delicious recipe to share. I made this one the other night per a request from a friend who was here visiting from New York.

My friend Laura and her hubby both had Bariatric Surgery this year and this is a favorite recipe of theirs. The only problem is that it makes so much and if they made it for themselves it would be very hard for them to finish – so she asked if I would make it when they came and so I did. I had no idea what it would be like and it turned out to be so tasty and everyone, even the kids liked it.

Now let me say that normally it should look all pretty and made in a clear trifle bowl for effect, but mine seemed a bit too small to hold all the ingredients. Oh well – u know what layers in a clear bowl would look like right? ok good, so no biggy.

Ok so here are all the ingredients you need to create this:

  • A Head of Lettuce (Iceburg is just fine) Chopped up
  • 1 Cup of Chopped Celery
  • 4 Hard Boiled Eggs, Chopped
  • 1 Box Frozen Peas, Defrosted
  • 1/2 Cup Green Pepper, Chopped
  • 1 Small Red Onion, Choopped
  • 8 (or more – more is best) of Cooked Bacon, Chopped or Crumbled
  • 2 Cups of Mayo + 2 Tbsp Sugar – Mixed Well
  • 8 ounces of Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 1 Can Black Olives, Whole, Sliced or Chopped (u decide)

Then in a large trifle bowl or big bowl just layer all your ingredients starting with the lettuce first and work your way down the list. When you are ready to eat just grab a big serving spoon and grab all the way to the bottom to get a little of everything.

I am tellin’ ya this was soooo good and honestly completely fool proof. You can add or remove items you do not like too. Oh and this is a great recipe to bring to a BBQ or Picnic.

My hubby who is not a fan of Celery even ate it and loved it and the crazy thing is that later that night he ate the leftovers and finished it off – I was in complete shock.

Zucchini Parmesan Crispy Chips Recipe

Zucchini Parmesan Crispy Chips

Always lots of great veggies in the summer time especially Zucchini which is one of my favorites. So my sister and I are always looking for new recipes to try and make with them. These Zucchini Parmesan Crispy Chips are one we found and tried tonight and it was worthy of a share with you all.

Now these are served warm and not cold like potato chips. They make a great side dish or would be great to eat just by themselves if you are good with just eating veggies for dinner. I had them as a side with some London Broil and rice. You can see my post for my Meat Marinade HERE.

Zucchini Parmesan Crispy Chips Recipe:

  • 2 Medium Size Zuchinni
  • 1/4 Cup Parmesan
  • 1/4 Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Pepper to taste

How to Cook

Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. So here is what you do. Slice up your Zucchini into 1/4″ slices. Mix up Panko, Parm Cheese, Salt and Pepper in a wide bowl or a plate.
  3. Coat each Zucchini slice in the oil and then coat both sides in the mixture. You just want a light coating on them. If you have any mixture left over just sprinkle the remaining amount on the top of your slices.
  4. Then line them up in a single layer on your baking sheet.
  5. Stick in the oven and back for about 25 minutes or so until they are golden brown. Best part is there is no need to flip them when they cook either!!

These were so yummy and if you like Zucchini you have to give them a try. We did half of them with Plain Panko Bread crumbs and then the other half with Italian Seasoned Panko Bread Crumbs – both were delicious.

If you give this recipe a try I would love to know what you think so leave a comment below.

Enjoy !!

BEST Meat Marinade Recipe

marinade

I have to share with you one of my all time favorite meat marinades that I have been using for years. It was given to me many many years ago by a friend of the family and it is delicious.

This marinade works on any kind of meat, but I prefer it on beef. Tonight I used it on London Broil. Normally I will marinade my meat overnight which I think works best to really get the flavor in, but I did it for 5 hours and it was still A-Mazing. I also took a meat tenderizer and pounded it a bit to tenderize it and make some holes for the marinade to makes it s way in.

Here is the recipe for the Marinade:

  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp Ginger Powder
  • 2 Cloves Garlic Minced (I use the minced garlic in a jar)
  • 2 Generous spoonfuls of Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Minced Onion

Mix all of that together and pour it on top of the meat you want to marinade. That is it !!! Super EASY and sooo good, Trust!!

If you give this marinade a try I would love to know what you think so leave a comment below.

Enjoy !!

I was possessed and had a Late Night Sugar Binge

late night sugar binge

OMG OMG OMG I became possessed last night like never before and had a late night sugar binge. This happens to be one of the craziest things I have ever done and I cannot believe it even happened.

So here is the story… Let me start off by saying prior to me having Gastric Bypass Surgery I have never been a huge sweet eater. Yeah the occasional donuts, cookies, pieces of cake and even a candy bar now and then was about it. I have never been that girl who needs a chocolate fix or anything else. I was always a starch baby – I lived for pasta, bagels and bread – carbs carbs carbs. Carbs have always been my downfall.

Since having the surgery I have divorced all the carbs for the most part because they make me dump if I have too many or put me into what I call a carb coma – so that is a good thing. BUT this past year I have noticed that on occasion I crave candy for the first time in my life. Candy like sour patch kids, taffy, jelly beans and that crap. Obviously I do not go crazy and eat a ton of it or I will dump, but every now and then I find that I need to have a few pieces. Well last night I became possessed by the sugar monster – almost like an outer body experience.

So late last night I had a bowl of Froot Loops – I have been having cereal from time to time with minimal issues (also depends on how much I eat too). Not long after that I went to bed. It was maybe and hour or so after that I woke up sweating like crazy and feeling weak and shaky. I was so sweaty that I immediately took the PJ pants I was wearing off and my hair was even wet – it was gross. I knew I must have been dumping from the cereal, but I also had this immediate need for sugar – CANDY.

So I got out of my bed my legs all wobbly from being shaky and walked downstairs to my kitchen, pulled up a chair in front of my baking cabinet filled with every kind of candy u can think of (I use all this for my business when I make cupcake & cake creations) sat down and just started eating candy. I ate jelly beans, nerds (which were so tasty by the way), gummy bears, some M&Ms, red cherry candy things and a fruit roll up which I brought back to bed with me.

I am not kidding – this really happened. I then went back to bed and never woke up again until morning. When I told hubby in the morning he did not believe me and I wish I was lying.

I freakin’ had a late night binge – I never in my life had one and I find this just crazy don’t you? It was like my body had a drop in sugar and said “Go Eat Candy!!” – so I did.

Please tell me I am not the only one who this has happened to – PLEASE. I think I may have to lock up my cabinet so this does not happened again – strangest thing ever. I may have to add this one of my list of questions for the next time I see my surgeon – I think I have a 2 year follow up at some point in time. Hmmm or maybe I should just keep this one a secret.

Oh and BTW – I had about 5 trips to the bathroom this morning – belly was not happy – lmao.

Second Bathing Suit purchase since my surgery

Bathing-Suit

Yup I did it again and this year was more fun than last. Just as I had said in my post from last year: OMG I bought a new Bathing Suit, shopping for bathing suits has never been a favorite thing to do for me. But this year shopping for them was not so bad and I had even more that I liked on me to choose from.

So that is me in the photo sporting my new bathing suit for this year and I just love it. It is not only comfy, but I think it looks pretty good as well. When I was at the store it was so nice to be able to pick from the non plus sized section and so many more choices. I was shopping with my daughter and she was cracking up at me as I filled my arms up with tons of them to try on to find the one that I liked the best.

From my pile I had 3 in the end that I liked and in the end chose the one you see. Of course it happened to be the most expensive of them all too – go figure. BUT I just loved the fit and how it felt on and said screw it. I ended up going with the swim shorts vs. a swim skirt again because I just feel more comfortable in those bottoms and they also help to hide my heavy thighs which is still the heaviest part on my body and also one of the places I seem to have some excess skin.

I really did not think I was much different from last year until I put the pictures side by side. Last June 2012 I weighed 233 lbs and this year right now I am 174 lbs a difference of 59 lbs. What was I thinking that is a BIG difference.

This year my bathing top is a size 14/16 and the bottoms are an 18. I could fit in the size 16 bottoms, but felt more comfy in the 18 thanks to my big ass.

Last year my top was a size 18 and the bottoms were a size 22.

So now I am ready to get in the pool and sport my suit – I must tell ya it feels so good to not feel a whale in the water anymore. What a great feeling, life is good.

I just have to work on getting my legs tightened up and in shape!!

Stay Tuned…

Got me a J~O~B outside the home

JOB

I know big deal I got a job outside the home – yeah so what we all have jobs right? Well while this is true for most this is a big deal for me and another new start in my journey after Gastric Bypass Surgery and I will tell you why.

Geez where to start…. So over 16 years ago I worked the normal 9-5 gig in the corporate world. I did what you should do with working hard, getting promoted and moving up in the company – I even had my own office. I was a call monitoring coach for a big sales company – yup I was the one listening in on those calls for quality assurance. I motivated a large sales force, did training and all the other crap that came along with that position. But honestly that corporate kiss ass stuff was never for me – I was never a fan of working – I just wanted to be a mom and stay at home.

So to make a long story short I got married to the love of my life after being engaged for 6 years and got prego with my son. I then quit that job and moved from where we were living in Florida after he was 3 months old and moved back up north to were I live now in Pennsylvania to be closer to family. My hubby worked and I got to be that stay at home mom I always wanted to be. A year and a half later I had my daughter.

Over the course of many years while the kids grew I had odd and end jobs to make extra cash from home – I use to sell a lot of crap on Ebay when it first started and was lucrative. I would sell anything not nailed down and make money – that is when Ebay was fun. But I loved being a stay at home mom even though I ripped my hair out a lot from the kids driving me nuts half the time I still would have not traded it for anything.

Being on one income was never easy, but some how hubby and I would find ways to make it work. Life is not always easy and we always find humor in everything and honestly I think that is what gets us by each and every time times are tough. Hubby and I seem to have lots of hoops we always seem to have to jump through, but we have come to get use to it. When we were married our song was the circus theme when they introduced us because that is our theme song to life. We just embrace it I guess.

So anyway… In about 2005 I decided to start my own business from home. I have always been a very creative person and loved to throw my kids awesome theme birthday parties that were unique and noticed a lack of options for parents out there. That is when The Party Animal was born. Even doing my business I took on other various part time jobs here and there over the years for extra cash like working at Curves locally, which helped me drop some weight back when, and also working with my sister at her retail store for a bit. In 2005 or so I started doing a lot of online writing and then created my Party Blog where I share lots of ideas to help parents when it comes to planning their kids parties.

While I absolutely love what I do and love working from home – it also has its down sides. You kinda lose your identity a bit from lack of being out there having one on one communications with people vs. online friends. You gain weight from sitting at a computer all day long. Being able to sit in your PJs all day long is not all it is cracked up to be. Oh and writers block happens quite a bit. As the saying goes – the grass is not always greener on the other side. I am however thankful that I have been able to earn a living and stay at home to raise my kids just as I had always wanted.

About 6 years ago my hubby had an accident at work which has caused him to become disabled and no longer able to work. It was the scariest time in my life to see him injured and our world changed. The accident effected his lungs and he was in and out of the hospital a lot and we had some very scary moments. Of course all of these events put me into a deep depression and caused me to gain a great deal of weight with all the worry and changes to our lives. He is currently stable, thank god, but he will never recover from this accident and we have a lot of ups and downs with his medical condition. He is unable to physically do the things he use to do which makes it very hard. On a happy note my hubby is one A-Mazing man and pushes himself each and every day – I do not think I could be as strong as him given what he has to deal with. I am one lucky lucky girl I tell ya.

So in January 2012 I made the decision as you all know to have Gastric Bypass Surgery. I needed to get this weight off I could not lose on my own after trying so many diets over the years. I not only needed to do it for myself, but for my hubby and the kids. I needed to get healthy myself.

So what does all of this have to do with me getting a job outside the home? Well I will tell ya… The surgery has given me a new lease on life and I feel more like me again after losing myself in raising my kids, my work at home job and being in the house all day long for so many years. I had never felt good enough in my skin to go out and apply for a job because I had no confidence anymore in myself and how I looked.

I have had an idea on what job I wanted and have been watching for the position to come up for years, but never ready to apply for it until just last month. I decided I feel great and my kids are now 15 and 12 and it was time I made the move to get out there – I was ready!! So I applied and to my surprise got a call the following week for an interview. The job is for an Activity Assistant at a local Nursing/Retirement Home. It is the perfect job for me – I get to do all the fun stuff with the residents and bring my creativity to those who need a little fun in their days. I have always wanted to volunteer, but now I will get paid to do it – BONUS. So I went on the interview and then got called in for another and offered the job.

The best part is that it starts out as a flexible part time position which means I will fill in at first when I am needed and that could not be any better for me as I ease my way back into the working world. This job for me is a perfect fit that I think will bring a lot of satisfaction – the thought that I can bring smiles and happiness to these people has my giddy and excited. I will not be in an office stuck with piles of paperwork, but instead I will get to do all the fun stuff like go on day trips, out to eat, play games (I Love BINGO) and come up with fun arts and crafts for them to do.

So with that said I am ready for a new chapter in my life and the Gastric Bypass Surgery is what has helped me get to this point of feeling good enough to put myself out there again. I am looking forward to the change and hoping I like this job as much as I think I will and have it lead to a full-time position down the road. I will still do my party business and online writing because I love doing that as well and would never give that up since I worked so hard to build it to where it is today.

I think the kids are a little sad that I got a job outside the home, but I think they will adjust and I bet they will end up enjoying the quiet time (lol). Now my hubby will officially be Mr. Mom and I know for a fact he will enjoy the time when I am at work too – ha ha.

My official start date is around July 22nd when I start the orientation process so I have time to chill a bit more and put my feet up on my patio table with my Cold Protein Coffee and watch my chickens – lol.

Wish me luck and Stay Tuned for updates….