September 27, 2009

It Was A CRANtastic Weekend!!!

After what has seemed like the quickest summer on record, we found ourselves with a beautiful fall day and nothing to do. So we loaded up the Blue Pacifica and traveled up north to a land called Wisconsin. We dropped in on Warrens, Wisconsin's Cran Fest. And my oh my what a CRANtabulous festival it was.

This festival was just chock full of crafts, produce, food and flea marketers. It was a veritable crafter's/flea-marketer's CRANtasy! If you were in need of a wrought iron coat tree in the shape of a huge eagles nest....they had it. Looking for baked goods made special for your pet? Look no further, there was plenty at the Cran-Fest. How about any kind of Indian dreamcatcher you could imagine. Yep, two booths of those much sought after adornments right there on Main Street. Always wanted your home to smell of cranberry? Then the tables full of cranberry pot pourri would have had your senses tingling.

And the food. You could get cranberry ice cream, cranberry cheese, cranberry sausage, cranberry fritters, cranberry juice, cranberry fudge, cranberry wine, cranberry smoothies, cranberry salsa, cranberry muffins, cranberry apple sauce, cranberry BBQ sauce....just throw a cranberry on something and call it good!

Oh, and the best part, we got to tour an actual, working cranberry farm. Are you green with CRAN-envy? It was very CRAN-ucational.

So if you ever get a chance, I would highly recommend the Cran Fest for a day of fun and adventure. It is one that we won't soon forget!!! Enjoy some of the scenes from our CRAN packed day.

Welcome to Warrens

Just a glimpse of the humanity roaming the streets
in search of anything cranberry.

We ate lunch in the basement of this Baptist Church.

This was lunch, notice the green beans.
Yep, you guessed it, cranberries.
They actually were quite good.

This is our bog tour guide, Bill Heffener
(No relation to Hugh.)
Bill is an agent with the UW Ag department.
He serves the farmers in Monroe county.
Here he is telling us that
"We will be goin to da cranberry bog
and lookin at da equipment and what not dat dey use
ta grow da cranberries."

This was our Cranberry Chariot.

This is a field of unharvested cranberry bogs.
They don't flood them until they are ready to harvest.
Huh...who knew?

This appears to be a sweet, little old lady
enjoying a beautiful
day at the cranberry farm, but DON'T BE FOOLED.
She was a wild woman. I watched her step on some
girls toe while trying to
snap pictures of the farm machinery.
Here she had just elbowed her way
up from the back bumping
into me and nearly sending me down the hill
into the irrigation ditch.
She was CRAN crazy I tell ya.

This is my attempt to get an up close picture of
the cranberry in it's natural habitat.

More berries than you can shake a stick at.

Here Agent Bill mesmerizes our little group with his
vast knowledge of all that is cranberry.

This is a new bog in the making

I wasn't close enough to hear this conversation, but this is how I imagined it:

Dano: Say a guy wanted to build one of these in his back yard, how much do you figure it would cost?

Bill: Oh, I would say a pretty good penny sir. You would hav ta hav da land excavated and sand brought in. Den you would hav ta buy the plantin's, install da irragation system, build yourself one of dem reservoirs. It would be quite expensive.

Dano: But if I could do the digging my self, or say get some friends over, buy some pizza and get them to help. That would cut down on the cost don't you think. I have some friends that own a bob cat that I think I could get to come over and do some of the excavating. My friend Dan Wade, he builds houses and remodels on the side, has his own bob cat and I think he could knock something like this out in oh say a day or two.

Bill: Well, yea, if you got somebody ta help. That would cut down on the cost.

Dano: I don't think I need a cranberry bog, but my wife, she is always watching HGTV and coming up with little projects for me to do. She will probably start wanting one of her own so I just wanted to get an idea of what it would cost a guy.

Dano: So you do much fishing in the reservoirs?

September 23, 2009

My Kind of Math!

3.4 pounds
2.3 pounds

minus 5.7 pounds
of fat no longer on my hips

woo hoo!!!

September 20, 2009

I Go Out Walking.....After Midnight (Not really)

So this post was going to be about the fun time we had when we babysat ECLC this weekend. But, #1 I forgot to take my camera and #2 as soon as we got there he went to bed. Yeah, went to bed and slept the rest of the night. What's up with that? We did have fun though. He was alert and chipper the next morning and it is always nice to visit with Chris and Kelly.

Since there are a lack of Emerson pictures, I thought I would take you all on a walk with me. I read about this on another blog where every 100 steps you take you are to stop a take a picture of something.

I am not going to torture you with some of the ridiculously boring things I took pictures of. And to be quite honest, I was hoping none of the neighbors were watching and wondering why in the world was I taking pictures of their trash cans and garage doors. I will just share the highlights.

Got your tennies on? Here we go then!

I sure hope this walks gets more interesting than
the first 100 steps.

A green cone on a driveway. Who needs a green cone
on their driveway? Apparently one of my neighbors.
And where do you get a green cone anyway?

Nice mailbox landscape. Not HGTV standards, but nice.

You know it is fall when the harvest decorations come out.

A view of the river just down from our house.

Look really's a chipmunk.

There were at least eight squirrels in this yard.

When I got closer they all ran up the trees.
Look how bushy their tails are.
That means a long, cold winter ahead.

A summers worth of grass clippings.

100 steps and this is the best I could come up with.

Ok, this was just 89 steps, but I wanted to show you the
difference in color on the pavement. The lighter part is under the tree.
The darker part is not under the tree and is wet. Wet with RAIN.
The rain that I was walking in.
The rain that I was walking in counting every 100 steps.
The rain that I was walking in, counting every 100 steps and taking pictures in.

A gate that goes no where.

A moment of silence please for a fallen comrade.
It won't matter to this guy how cold the winter gets.

100 steps later, this is what I see.

And these are all the people that just got a
good look at my be-hind while I bent over
and tied my shoe.

100 steps to home.

Thanks for walking with me. It's always more fun when there are friends walking with you!!

September 17, 2009

A Journey Begins With Just A Single Step

You might want to grab a snack and a beverage cause this one is gonna be kind of long.

So my journey begins......

Thursday, my first full day, went very well. The girls at work ordered breakfast pizza, but I refrained and stuck with my low fat, sugar-free yogurt. I made sure I ate a serving of vegetables with my Lean Cuisine at lunch. I get those single serve frozen veggies they are just the right serving size and easy to heat up in the microwave. Then for dinner I made spaghetti with whole wheat pasta and a salad. So far so good.

So on Friday they decided to hand out cookies at work as a sort of Thank You for pitching in and helping out after they "reduced the workforce". I didn't leave mine sitting on the desk to think about or to just take a nibble on every now and then, but I gave mine away immediately!!! At dinner I even ordered a side of steamed vegetables. I also got in about 32 oz of water today. Still need to work on getting in some sort of exercise.

Saturday we had a cook out with our friends from our church. Even though I know what I ate wasn't "healthy", I took small portions, stopped once they were gone and moved on. I had a hot dog with chili and cole slaw (it was to die for), calico beans and a small slice of strawberry jam cake . Not what I would call a Weight Watcher meal, but one hot dog instead of two was a success. A small slice of cake instead of a slice of cake, a taste of pie and two or three chocolate oatmeal cookies (my know the kind you make with cocoa, peanut butter and oatmeal and drop on wax paper) was certainly a victory in my eyes.

Sunday - Baked Tostitos and homemade black bean and corn salsa for lunch. I thought that was a reasonable lunch. The beans were protein, the corn, tomatoes, onions and cilantro were the veggies. Dinner consisted of a PBJ on diet bread, an apple with a dollop of peanut butter and a handful of reduced fat Kettle Cooked Lays. This could have been better....but it also could have been Pizza so I am chalking that one up on the success side.

Monday was a reasonable day for food. But the thing that wins the most points is I went for a walk. Wasn't long, wasn't fast and furious, it was just a walk. But that is certainly a "step" in the right direction don't you think?

Are you bleary eyed with boredom yet? I hope not. Because this has been very therapeutic for me. I promise it won't be like this every week! Just two more days.....just two more days to hang with me here. Stick with it. You can do it, I know you can!

Tuesday was a somewhat disappointing day. I was suppose to get my hair done, but it got cancelled on me but not before I had killed 2 hours before finding out it had been cancelled....1 1/2 of which I sat at Panera Bread. I had 1/2 of an almond chicken salad sandwich, which by the way is very tasty but loaded with mayo I'm sure, and a cup of the chicken and wild rice soup which is thick and creamy - which equals loaded with calories. Couldn't walk because I had a blister....and you know if you can't walk there is no other kind of exercise you can do. Oh well, tomorrows another day.

As bad as Tuesday was, Wednesday was as good. The free lunch that was served at work today was just the beginning. Apparently I am a free food magnet! Just hang with me and food just falls in your lap! We just started with new vendors for the vending machines and as a customer appreciation they served free grilled chicken sandwiches complete with a side of fruit salad and a cookie. I DID NOT take the cookie and only ate half the bun. Fixed myself some of my single serve veggies and had a very delightful lunch. For supper I made shrimp quesadillas on the barbie. Walked around Kohl's for over an hour while saving money....not only did I SAVE money... I MADE was Kohl's Cash day. I'll be going back in a few weeks to spend the $50 I earned!

So that is the end of my first week. And as a result of the sacrifices and exercises I lost 3.4 pounds! I know that is probably just water weight, but at least that's 3.4 pounds of water that isn't sloshing around on my butt! It isn't much but it is a start and hopefully will be the first of many I loose.

Thanks for indulging me in my week long food expose'. I promise next week won't be as long and hopefully more interesting!

September 09, 2009

Watch My Weight

I am 5 months away from being 50. I don't mind being 50. I do mind that I am as overweight as I am at 50.

I haven't always been heavy. As a matter of fact, I used to be thin. How did I get this way? Let's take a look.

Here I am in 1972 -- 12 years old--- I was probably heavier
than I appear because you know how vertical stripes on your pants
will always make you look thinner.

Ahhh, to be 16 again.

Here is a young, seventeen year old
showing off her engagement ring.

Here is the 18 year old bride on her honeymoon.

This was 1979...still thin.

If this picture from 1983 were a full body shot,
you could see where the weight was starting
to creep in on the behind.

Here is where the trouble really begins.
Around 1996.

By 2001 I had it under control. Lost almost 50 pounds at Weight Watchers.
I keep this picture in a frame. Not because this
vacation was particularly memorable, but
because I was thin again. It gives me hope.

Here in the fall of 2002 it is starting to creep back on again.

By 2006 it was back to square one.

So, the question is....What am I going to do about it now? It is not going to be easy. I have tried and tried and tried again only to fail. So in attempt to hold my self even more accountable, you my dear friends and family are going to walk with me down this road of de-blubbering.

It is my intention to post regular updates. I really don't have any idea what those updates will entail. I just know that typing it and announcing my successes or failures to the world might make me a little more aware of my eating habits.

So today, Wednesday, September 9, 2009, begins the journey. I would appreciate any encouragement you can give.

I figure I have nothing to gain and everything to loose!!

Thanks in advance for your support and prayers.

Start watching for a thinner Grandma Dee!!

September 07, 2009

The 3rd Annual Burckardt Labor Day Cook-out

Summer is over and we all said goodbye to probably the shortest one of my life at Elizabeth's and Rob's annual Labor Day Cook-out.

It was a success, in spite of a few sprinkles here and there. Rob was the usual Grill Sargent filling us with his masterfully prepared brats and dogs. We feasted on baked beans, various salads, a yummy concoction called burgoo. Burgoo is a Kentucky Yankees might call it stew, but it's's burgoo. The recipes vary, but it is basically, two to three kinds of meat, most often one of them will be mutton, veggies and tomato puree and seasonings. It all cooks slowly for a hours and hours until the meat is tender. After our fill of burgoo and brats we had a table-o-desserts to choose our sweet treat from!

But, food and feasting aside, we had fun just being together. Chris, Kelly and Emerson was there all weekend. On Saturday night we went out to dinner to the Brown Hotel and enjoyed Hot Browns....again, a Kentucky thing. Click here to see the history of the Hot Brown and for the recipe.

Steph and her friend joined us on Sunday for the cook-out. She couldn't come for the whole weekend because you know how those darn things called JOBS just get in the way of your weekend plans. It was good to see her if only for a short while.

Here are a few snapshots of our weekend of fun!!

Here is Rob helping Chris boil the brats in beer before grilling.

In this one, Elizabeth is helping Chris prepare what is now his nation-wide famous guacamole.

This is a shot of Chris getting some help from Elizabeth and Dano setting up chairs.

Sorry, after the party started, I forgot to take pictures. But imagine if you will, about 35-40 people sitting at these tables enjoying food, fun and friends!

These have nothing to do with the cook-out, they are just too stinking cute not to share!!