September 15, 2021

Wednesday Weigh-In : Week 16

What a week! I was really dreading today's weigh-in all week long.

I had a great weigh-in last week (I'd lost 3.6 pounds) and I was excited to go into the new week that much lighter. As I've mentioned before, I weigh myself every morning (I know daily weighing isn't helpful for a lot of people, but I don't let it make or break my day; I just like to see how my food/lifestyle affects my weight). When I got on the scale on Thursday, my weight was up a pound. No big deal.

On Friday, it was up another pound. That was unusual for me--I hadn't overeaten or done anything out of the ordinary. And of course, we celebrated Jerry's birthday on Friday. I didn't let my weight stop me from eating a large slice of the German chocolate cake I'd slaved over! I knew that I hadn't done anything to cause the gain, so I just assumed it would work itself out eventually. And I was pretty sure that after indulging in Jerry's birthday dinner, I was going to see another gain on Saturday.

Sure enough, on Saturday morning, it was up another 2.4 pounds! This was definitely not "normal" for me--I'm used to the ups and downs, but for it to keep going up when I was eating like I always do was very odd.

Interestingly, I was down to 166 on Sunday; then Monday it was back up to 167.4. Yesterday, it was at 165.8. I really didn't want to have a gain for Wednesday Weigh-In... whenever I've gained weight, it's clear what caused it. A binge back in the day would have made me gain five pounds overnight. (It's been a VERY long time since I binged.)

Yesterday, I drank a TON of water. I'd been feeling "puffy" all week--my hands seemed just a little swollen. I didn't feel dehydrated, but I hoped that drinking all the water would help get rid of the puffiness. I ate a normal amount of calories yesterday (a little over 1500) but I ate a small volume of food (when I want to get enough calories but eat a small amount of food and still feel full, I choose calorie-dense things like peanut butter).

And it worked! Barely, but I managed to lose a little this week:

I was at 163.8, which is down from 164.2 last week; a loss of 0.4 pounds, and a total of 33.2 pounds since I started 16 weeks ago.

I'm happy to have had a loss on the scale, especially since I had such a significant loss last week! I'm still clueless as to what caused the four-pound gain. I didn't eat extra sodium, I didn't eat unusual foods, I wasn't noticeably dehydrated... it was just odd. But hopefully I won't have the same issue this week.

I did my Round 3 weigh-in with my 6-month DietBet today--and I won, of course! So I'm halfway through, and I've won each round so far. I'm actually already under the weight that I need to be in December when the DietBet ends! One of the things I like about this 6-month DietBet is that I still have to be at or under my target (I forget what the target is--I think 170?) when the DietBet ends in December; that's to prevent people from losing all the weight quickly, and then gaining it all back before the 6 months is up.

I don't really feel like the DietBet is helpful anymore (it's not harming anything, either). It was a great tool to get me back on track and to start losing the weight, but I really don't even think about the DietBet until it's time to weigh-in each month. So this will be my last one.

Well, this week was a nail-biter (haha) but I'm happy to see a loss on the scale. I feel good going into this week :)

(Since someone is bound to ask, here is a recent post about how I've been losing the weight over the last four months.)

September 14, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #42

Happy Transformation Tuesday! I was thrilled to see several transformations in my inbox--enough for a couple of weeks :)   So I'll post a few today and save the others for next week.

Last week, I took a picture of Estelle on the treadmill--I thought it was funny that she was sleeping there. (The bed of the treadmill stays warm for a while after I'm done using it, so I think that's why she was attracted to it.) I was going to post it for Friday Night Photos, but I was kind of horrified at how dirty it was! I never think to dust it, so there was clearly a build-up of dust there. Anyway, after seeing the picture, I decided to take a few minutes to clean it up. It looks so much better!

This small transformation of the front door does wonders for our entryway - had the inside painted white and outside black. I’m slowly changing out all of our gold door handles to black, too. Next up is the oak stair rail!

- Stephanie, Colorado

Stephanie, what a huge difference! It looks so clean and modern. The yellow wreath really brings out the color of the door, too. (I was so excited when we swapped out our gold door handles! That alone makes a big difference.) The door looks great! Make sure you get a before photo of your stair rail, too ;) 

I didn't grab a great before photo of this. I'm moving and planning to use this big wooden "closet" in my living room, but I despise the color orange (I know you love it, sorry!). I picked up a gallon of paint for $15 and just gave it a quick coat so it is all white/off white rather than such an intense orange. 

I used the same paint on two additional pieces of furniture I'm moving with as well so the paint was money well spent. 

- Crystal

Crystal, isn't it amazing what $15 can do to transform something?! (While I love orange, I know that it's definitely not the favorite for most people, haha.) Something as simple as paint can make you feel like you have all new furniture. You did a great job! -Katie

My 15-year old daughter and I cut our hair and donated it. Hers was donated to Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids of Michigan and mine was donated to Locks of Love since it had been permed within the last 2 years.
She cut off a total of 15 inches and I cut off 12 inches. 

Kandi and Tavia - Central Wyoming

Kandi, I LOVE this transformation--what an amazing thing to do with your daughter! You both have gorgeous hair and I'm sure whoever receives it will be thrilled. I looked up Maggie's Wigs 4 Kids (I hadn't heard of it before) and just wanted to share the info here in case anyone else is interested in donating hair to this non-profit that helps kids with hair loss. Here is the info on how to donate (you can have your hair cut anywhere and then mail it--it looks very simple). It takes 10-12 donated ponytails to make one wig!

Thanks so much for sharing your transformations! (If you sent me one and it's not here, it's just because I'm holding onto it for next week.) To submit a transformation, just send me a before photo and an after photo at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Don't forget to include your name and a description of your transformation!

September 13, 2021

Reader Email

I've had a super busy weekend! I had planned to write a post today about things that I eat (since a lot of people have been asking about it lately) but I haven't had time to look through my food logs and/or photos, so I will work on that this week.

My anxiety is still pretty high (just generalized anxiety; it's not something I can pinpoint) so I'm going to take today off of writing a post and just share some fun news from a blog reader. Check this out!

Hi Katie, 

I had to share our new kittens we adopted from a local rescue a month ago. They are such sweet girls: Chloe Bell (all black) and Evie Binks (black with white).

- Kim


Aren't they SO cute?! (Kim, I'm so glad that you chose to adopt from a rescue! And I love that you adopted them together. Enjoy these little sweeties--they grow so fast, don't they?)

Remember, I would love to post happy news from Runs for Cookies readers once in a while, so if any of you are excited about something and want to share your news, please do! Just email me. I'll never post anything without asking permission first. I just know how excited I get to share news sometimes, but not everybody has a blog to do that--so I'd be happy to share it for you ;)

September 12, 2021

Q&A with Jerry (about getting older!)

Jerry and I have been talking a lot lately about getting older. (By that, I mean that our conversations routinely consist of talking about how tired we are, what hurts, and how fast time goes by.)

Since it's Jerry's birthday weekend (he's turning 41 on Tuesday) I thought it would be fun to "interview" him about getting older. He wanted to write out the answers himself rather than my asking him questions, so I just wrote a list of questions... and he answered them in his own words. Here goes...

Q. What is the biggest difference in your attitude now versus when you were 21 years old?

A. I was always worried about where I was going to end up and I had no real direction. I didn’t have a solid life plan and was living with my parents. Fast forward 11 months and I nailed a job interview that landed me a job with my current employer; the next year, I got the girl; and 11 months after that we started building our family. My worries went from living life paycheck-to-paycheck to saving for the future.

Q. Are you the person you hoped you would be at this age?

A. All I ever knew was that I wanted to be the hardworking provider for my family that my dad was for our family when I was a kid. I would like the think that I’ve come close to that but only time will tell. Life throws you some crazy pitches from time to time, and you just have to catch those and deal with them as they come.

(Katie here. I don't know why Jerry's answer made me think of this video, but I have to share it. It's really dark and hard to see, but the sound is the most important part. When the kids were little and it was time for Jerry to come home from work, I would tell the kids he was on his way and they would get really excited to watch for his car coming down the street. They'd stand at the window and wait. On this day in the video, Jerry was walking to the door and then started throwing snowballs at the window where the kids were standing. They were cracking up, and Noah's little voice is so cute!)

Q. If you could put something symbolic of your life now into a time capsule, what three items would you include?

A. 1. A family picture. Nothing is more important and we have a lot of fun together. 

2. My phone. This is only because of my music. Music is invigorating and a quick go-to if I need a pick-me-up. There’s nothing like having a good song in your head to play as your theme for the day. 

3. Something Star Wars or Marvel. As everyone knows, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. But, did you know that I’m a huge Marvel fan, too? I’ve been so invested in Star Wars that it was easy to just fall into line with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I watch the movies and shows all the time.

Q. What is your most memorable birthday?

A. When I turned 21, I was working with my dad at a local fabrication shop and he and the guys took me out to an Irish pub for my birthday during lunch. Later during the week, Katie and her roommate Sarah held a birthday party for me in their college campus apartment.

Jerry's 21st birthday - so mature! ;)

Q. If you could go back to any age, knowing all you know now, what age would you pick? And what would you do differently?

A. I would go back to high school and not worry about the social ramifications of everything. I would’ve been more outgoing. Also, I would’ve had a better idea of what I wanted to do in life. But, everyone says that…

Q. What is the hardest part about getting older?

A. The hardest part about getting older is letting go of trying to look younger. I need to get some bigger pants and bigger shirts; be more comfortable.

Q. What is the best part about getting older?

A. The best part about being older is having all sorts of life experiences to reference when problems arise. I know everything will work itself out and I can pass some of this optimism on to the kids when they have issues as well.

Well, this is a serious side of Jerry; usually he jokes around about everything! I do have to say that regarding the question about whether he is the person he hoped he'd be at this age, he absolutely is--he is a very hardworking provider and I don't ever take that for granted.

Jerry and I were basically children when we got married (I was 21 and he was 22); neither of us had a real clue about what we were going to do with our lives! Luckily, we figured it out. Getting older is not fun at all, but getting wiser is definitely worth it :)

September 11, 2021

RECIPE: German Chocolate Cake (a labor of love!)

This is more of a (long) story than a recipe, but I'll include the recipe here as well.

As I mentioned yesterday, Jerry's birthday is on Tuesday. Since we celebrated yesterday, I wanted to make him something special: a German chocolate cake, from scratch.

We've been married for 18 years and together for 22 years. And in all that time, I've only made him a German chocolate cake ONCE. It was one of the first years after we got married. Jerry's mom would make him a German chocolate cake for his birthday sometimes and I knew how much he loved it. (Her recipe was amazing, so I asked her for it.)

I had no idea just what I was getting myself into back then. I was in my early 20's, and I'd never baked a cake from scratch, let alone a cake that was on the difficult side. I am not a baker; making that cake was SO much work! I don't remember anything about how it turned out, but I do remember thinking that hell would freeze over before I'd attempt it again.

I do feel bad that I didn't attempt it again (until yesterday). I was so intimidating!

The heritage recipe series that I've been posting on my blog has given me the confidence to try my hand at baking. And I think I'm getting better at it (or at least understanding it more). So, I included a goal on my 40 Goals by 40 Years Old list: Bake Jerry a German chocolate cake from scratch. And of course, his birthday would be the perfect time.

I asked his mom for the recipe again. I was surprised to see that she uses the recipe on the Baker's German chocolate bars. I'm going to post it here, but the cake recipe and the frosting recipe can be found on the baking chocolate box (or on their website). I also discovered that it was the same recipe as the one in my Betty Crocker cookbook. (I've typed out the recipe for the cake and the frosting on one page, which you can get here.)

For experienced bakers, this cake is probably no big deal. But for me, it was intimidating! There are a lot of steps to it (not to mention 10,000 dishes to wash when you're done). Yesterday morning, I started by cleaning my kitchen. Yes--cleaning it. I feel better cooking/baking when my kitchen is clean and clutter-free.

Then I got out all of the ingredients to prep them before I even started mixing the cake. (I'm actually missing another half-stick of butter in this picture. I didn't even bother calculating the calories in this cake!)

The recipe said to line the bottoms of three 9" cake pans with parchment paper and then spray the sides with cooking spray. I immediately started overthinking it and I was sure I was going to mess it up! Hahaha. I traced the bottoms of the pans onto the paper and then cut out three circles that fit perfectly. (Note that the two pans with the blue handles are new; the third is older. This comes into play later.)

After spraying the sides with cooking spray, I was flipping through the Betty Crocker cookbook (I was reading about softening butter and just HOW soft it should be--see? overthinking) and I saw that if you're using dark, non-stick pans for a cake, you may want to decrease the oven temp by 25 degrees. Also, you may not want to spray the sides of the pan because the oil will burn the cake.

Now I was sure I was going to mess it up! I had two new cake pans that were still very non-stick feeling. I wiped off the cooking spray from the sides. The third pan was older, but I wiped it off of that one, too. 

Next, I got to work on the cake. It didn't look like normal cake batter (or at least "from a box" cake batter) and I kept wondering if I was doing something wrong. Was the butter not soft enough? Did I measure the flour correctly? Why doesn't it look fluffy and smooth? Is the chocolate cool enough?

And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, why aren't these egg whites forming stiff peaks?!

The egg whites have to be beaten separately and then folded in at the end. To avoid having to clean my stand-mixer bowl twice, I used a hand mixer to beat the egg whites in a separate bowl. I was SUPER careful not to get any yolk in the whites. I've beaten egg whites before in my stand mixer and it worked fine. But when using the hand mixer, they just wouldn't form stiff peaks.

I hoped for the best and kept moving along. (I didn't think to take any other pictures until after I baked them)

I was relieved when I finally finished the batter and I poured it into the pans. The texture still wasn't what I expected, but I just hoped the cake would turn out.

I baked it at 325 F instead of 350 because of what I'd read in the Betty Crocker book. After 30 minutes, I checked with a toothpick and it was done! So I'm glad I didn't bake it at 350.

BUT... the cake didn't puff up like cakes I've made before. Usually, they form a dome on top--these were fluffy/spongy, but flat. I had no idea if that was normal for this cake (I still don't).

The older pan that I'd used clearly wasn't very non-stick anymore, because the batter stuck to the sides where I'd removed the cooking spray--doh. Thankfully, the others didn't stick.

When it was time to turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack, I realized how fragile they were. It was hard to keep them from splitting, but the parchment helped. The two from the newer pans came out okay. The one from the old pan looked terrible--it split apart and a chunk came off.

The problem with a German chocolate cake is that you don't frost the sides of it--so you can't count on frosting to hide the mistakes! (Clearly, something I've always relied on, haha.) I just figured I'd use the bad layer on the top where it would be the least noticeable.

While the cake was cooling, I made the frosting. This has to be cooked the correct amount of time for it to cool to the right texture--cook too long and it'll be dry, not enough and it'll be runny. I read in the comments on the recipe that it always works best when you cook until it hits 210 degrees, then remove from heat. It took longer than the recipe stated (it said 12 minutes, but it took mine almost 16 minutes to reach 210 degrees). Thankfully, the frosting was PERFECT. I could eat that with a spoon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!

I had to carefully stack the cake layers, hoping it wouldn't fall apart. Thankfully, I didn't have any other problems. I covered the top with frosting and the ugly layer wasn't very noticeable. The cake wasn't exactly pretty, but it did look like it was going to taste delicious.

Jerry was very surprised (and thrilled!) when he saw the cake. I was just dying to eat it because it really did look good--and I already knew the frosting was amazing.

It ended up being every bit as good as I hoped it would be. The cake is SO moist and soft--and the frosting soaked into the cake a little, making it even better. Jerry and I were WAY overstuffed after eating a piece, but we just kept saying how good it was.

I knew Jerry couldn't care less about how the cake really turned out--he was just very touched that I tried it again. I definitely stressed over it too much and overthought all of the details, but it was very, very worth it. Not only because it tasted good, but because it made Jerry feel special on his birthday. And it only took about 15 years! ;)

EDIT: When I finished typing this post, I went to the recipe site and saw this tip that was posted--haha! At least I know that I didn't screw up the batter ;) 

September 10, 2021

Friday Night Photos

I have a lot of pet photos this week... but also a picture of my secret project for Jerry's birthday! (I'm saving it for last)

My neighbor pointed out to me that we actually have a peach tree growing across the street on the side of the dike. The other side of the dike is a marsh, so I was surprised when I walked over there and saw that there was, in fact, a peach tree. And look at these peaches! They are absolutely tiny (about the size of an apricot) but they are perfectly ripe. (Definitely not the same as the Georgia peaches I had recently, but it's fun to have mini peaches across the street.)

My mom fell and broke her wrist a couple of days ago. She actually had surgery on it today. She wanted me to curl her hair for her (she can't use her right hand at all) so I went over this morning. When I was leaving, my dad told me to pick some raspberries because there are so many that will go bad soon. I stopped and picked a cup full of them--they are so good!

I swear, the kittens were snorting lines of coke at 8:00 this morning. I've NEVER seen them so hyper! They were chasing each other around the house for an hour and a half. I put the treadmill up because they kept going under there to jump out and scare each other; then they used it as a jungle gym. Watching the kittens is super entertaining!

We finally ordered a new cat scratcher/bed from Amazon. The one on the right is our old one--yikes! We got it three years ago. This brand is kind of expensive, but after trying cheaper ones I think it's worth it because they last a lot longer. The one on the right was $50 and I was planning to replace it with the same model. Chick loves climbing through those holes, but he's almost too big to fit through them.

So, I paid $80 for the bigger one (on the left). I'm glad I chose to do that--it's big enough for all four cats to sleep on at once (if they liked each other enough, haha). And they can scratch the inside as well as the outside. The brand is PetFusion, and here is a link (affiliate) to it on Amazon. My cats LOVE these scratching beds--they sleep on them as well as use them to scratch (obviously). It's kind of an eyesore to keep in the living room, but if it keeps them from scratching my furniture, I don't mind at all ;)  (And yes, I'm going to get rid of the old one.)

Naturally, the kittens were playing on it the second I took it out of the box.

I gave Joey a bath outside yesterday and I really wish I'd thought to take a before photo. He didn't look dirty or anything, but after his bath, I realized what a big difference it made in his coat--he looks so pretty now! He went NUTS after bathed him. The second I was done, he took off running as fast as he could and ran a couple of laps around the outside of the house. It was hilarious to watch him. I guess he felt invigorated.

I just finished this book and it was really good! It's called 'Invisible Girl' by Lisa Jewell. The waiting list at the library was kind of long for it, but I wasn't in a rush for it. Once I got into it, though, it definitely held my interest. If you like mysteries/psychological thrillers, you may like this one. I am usually good at figuring out the "mystery" part early on, but this one kept me guessing. Here is the Amazon (affiliate) link.

Duck cracks me up because this is how he likes to be carried around. And he especially likes Eli to do it. He just sits there so calmly, with his back legs dangling while Eli carries him around. It's so funny!

And meanwhile, his brother found a new sleeping position...

Chick LOVES getting packages from Amazon; he plays in the boxes (nothing new for cats) but he especially loves playing with the packing materials. He likes to crouch down in the box buried under the bubbles, then he jumps out at anything walking by. He scared me half to death several times by jumping out at me!

And finally... Jerry's birthday! His actual birthday isn't until the 14th, but he is working that day, so we're celebrating today. I mentioned earlier this week about a "secret project" I was working on for Jerry's birthday. Well, here it is!

If you've been reading my blog for any period of time, then you are probably familiar with "the Jerry face"--Jerry makes this face pretty much every time his photo is taken. He's known for it! So I texted our family and friends and asked them to take a Jerry-face selfie and send it to me for a collage. I had the photos printed and I built the collage out of wood. I put it up on the wall last night when he was at work so that he would see it first thing this morning when he got home.

He LOVES it. He said that especially after 2020 lockdown and not seeing people, it made him miss everybody.

I thought it was so cute seeing him standing in front of it a few times today, looking at all the pictures. He said he was deciding who makes the best Jerry face, haha. 

It was really fun to work on, and I love how it turned out; I'm going to write a tutorial soon. I thought the project would be easier than it actually was. But it was definitely worth it!

September 09, 2021

Return to Running Recap : Week 15

I had an exciting run last week and I'm still feeling good about it. I love those runs--the ones that make me feel like I worked hard and that my body is happy about it (the photo above is after that run). Here is a recap of my runs for Week 15... 

Week 15, Day 1 : Run 3 miles (outside)

We've had some nice days lately where it actually feels like fall--I am SO looking forward to fall weather! It was probably the weather that made me decide to run outside.

It was supposed to be an easy run (I was planning to imitate the pace/effort of what I do on the treadmill), but my heart rate was so high before I even started. My anxiety has been increasingly bad the last couple of weeks; I'd had it under control (as much as I can, anyway) for a while, but it's getting bad again.

My resting heart rate (in normal circumstances) is about 60 bpm. This was right before I started my run; anxiety has this effect on me:

It shot up into the mid-160s almost instantly. I tried to focus on going for "a light jog" rather than a run. Sometimes just thinking of it that way helps me to relax a bit. I lowered my heart rate from the 160s to 152 after half a mile or so. When I saw that I finished my first lap under 12:00 minutes, I was surprised and I couldn’t help but try to stay under 12:00 (I truly don't mind being a slow runner--but it's a natural habit to compete with myself a bit). I couldn’t see my pace because I set my Garmin to just show my distance and heart rate, but I could feel that my speed was a little faster.

Second lap was 11:34, and then I could feel myself picking up speed again. Then I started thinking I could just turn this into a progressive run and call it my speed work for the week. A progressive run is a run that gets faster as you go, so I was hoping for sub-11:33 on the final split. 

I looked at my pace about halfway through that mile and was shocked to see 10:40-something! So I became kind of determined to aim for sub-11:00 that last mile. I was running hard, but not all-out. I could probably run a 5K at that pace if I wanted to really push myself.

I was so happy when I was done to have hit 10:30 for that last split! Seeing that pace shows I’m getting fitter, and THAT’S what I’m aiming for. Since my heart rate was high for this whole run and I pushed my pace, I considered that my speed work for the week and I didn't do intervals.

Week 15, Day 2 : Run 3 miles (treadmill)

I was still feeling pretty excited about my previous run (seeing progress is the biggest motivation to keep going) and I hoped that I would see a lower heart rate for this run. From the very beginning, I felt pretty good and I knew my heart rate wouldn't be as high this time. I refused to look at my Garmin the entire run because I didn't want to get frustrated if my heart rate was high.

After an uneventful three miles, I ended it feeling good. My heart rate wasn't exactly low, but it was definitely better.

Week 15, Day 3 : Run 3 miles (treadmill)

I've been really exhausted lately. The increased anxiety means even less sleep than I already get (I have bad insomnia) and it's mentally and physically exhausting. I really didn't have any motivation to get this run done. I was working on that secret project for Jerry (I'm giving it to him tomorrow!) all day and I just wanted to curl up on the couch. But I promised myself that I was going to get back to doing three runs a week, so I sucked it up and just did it.

My legs felt kind of heavy and my feet were dragging a bit. It felt like the treadmill was moving faster than I could keep up, but I knew it was just that my body was moving slower than it usually does. I didn't even think about my heart rate or anything--I just wanted to get done.

When I finished, I uploaded the data to Garmin Connect and I noticed that my heart rate looked odd for the first mile. It went from 92 to 160 in 30 seconds (and I definitely didn't feel like I was working that hard); and then after five minutes, it went from 161 to 140 in less than five seconds. This happens once in a while if there isn't good conduction; and since I didn't really break a sweat for a while, I'm guessing that's what happened. (To get good conduction, the electrodes on the monitor should be wet--when I put it on, I always wet it a little. That's why the conduction is better once you start sweating.)

So, I don't think the first mile was accurate as far as my heart rate goes. But I'm not worried about it.

While my last run definitely didn't leave me with a runner's high, I am still feeling great about my first run of Week 15. It sounds so simple--running a 10:30 mile used to be SLOW for me a few years ago--but when I think about how far I've come in the last 15 weeks, it feels like a big deal. Seeing the numbers validates that my fitness is improving.

For the first day of Couch to 5K (May 24th), I had to run 60-second intervals and I remember how HARD that felt. I was completely exhausted afterward (and that was with 90 seconds of walking in between each interval). Out of curiosity, I just looked up the data: my average pace for the 60-second intervals was 10:37. Last week I ran a mile in 10:30. So seeing those numbers is motivating!

(Eli had to run a mile in gym class yesterday and he ran it in 8:02! I think that's his fastest mile ever--even from when he was in cross country. I have no idea how that happened, because he hasn't been running in a few years, but I was super proud of him.)

Jerry is off this weekend and we are celebrating his birthday tomorrow. And then on Sunday, we're celebrating my dad's birthday a couple of weeks early. So, it should be a fun weekend--and I'm hoping that will help with the anxiety and I'll feel back to myself soon!

September 08, 2021

Wednesday Weigh-In: Week 15

It's 9:00 PM and I am just now sitting down to write this. I've been super busy all day!

I'd just gotten out of the shower and into pajamas when I realized I didn't do my token mirror selfie for Wednesday Weigh-In. So I threw on some clothes (including this new Friends t-shirt!) and naturally, Duck followed me into the bathroom to get in the picture.

He was SO insistent that I pet him. He actually wanted me to brush him--he always jumps up on the counter in the bathroom and nudges my brush. And because he trained me well, I always do it, haha.

Anyway, I finally gave up trying to get my usual picture. I like this one better, anyway ;)

He needs to start doing weigh-ins along with me--he's so heavy!

Anyway, I am going to keep this short because I'm exhausted from a long day. I had a great weigh-in this week. My weight was creeping down so slowly over the last month, I knew I was due for a good drop...

I was at 164.2 today; last week I was at 167.8. I lost 3.6 pounds this week--I'm thrilled! So that brings the total to 32.8 pounds over the last 15 weeks.

I didn't do anything differently this week than I normally do. I've learned over the years that as long as I keep doing what I know works for me (I wrote about it in this post), the weight will come off. Some weeks it may be small (last week I'd lost 0.6) and some weeks are like today. But I'm not doing anything differently.

A lot of people have asked me to do a post about what I eat. I used to do that, but I got tired of people telling me how "atrocious" my diet is and everything they thought was wrong with what I was eating (or not eating) and I stopped sharing my food logs. And honestly, my diet is nothing special! I just eat whatever sounds good to me. But I'll try to come up with a post next week detailing some of my typical eats.

Okay, I'm going to read my book and then go to bed. Let's hope I have another good weigh-in next week. I will be thrilled when I finally get back in the 150's!

September 07, 2021

Transformation Tuesday #41

Happy Transformation Tuesday!

When looking through transformations for the Tuesday posts, I feel like I need to do some compilation posts of specific transformations throughout the series: bathroom makeovers, garden makeovers, furniture makeovers, etc. I get so inspired by all of the posts and it makes me want to make something over! Right now, I really need inspiration to get my landscaping done. I'm dreading it so much (and I've been procrastinating for, well, a year now).

Anyway, enjoy these transformations! And then transform something yourself and submit it for next week--just take a before photo and an after photo and send it to me at: katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Include your name and a description of your transformation. Without submissions, there is no series, and without a series, there is no inspiration for me to finally get moving on my landscaping ;) 

My little transformation started as an outlet to the chaos that exploded in March 2020. I needed something to keep me busy while locked down, and some place peaceful to ride out the storm. I love to garden, so naturally, that's what I turned to. Here is the humble little zen corner I created next to the porch in my back yard. These pics don't do it justice!

- Caroline

Caroline, it's so pretty! It looks so welcoming and--well, "zen" is the perfect word for it. That's an awesome idea for lockdown, too; having a project to work on definitely helps! (I drywalled the garage which took months--but it passed the time so quickly.) I wish I enjoyed gardening... you are very talented :)  -Katie

When we had our daughter last December, we wanted her nursery to be the bedroom closest to ours. Ultimately though, we wanted her room to be at the end of the hallway next to her sister’s room. I’m so embarrassed by the clutter but for over a year her future room has been a total junk room that I’ve avoided dealing with. But now she’s 8 months and a great sleeper, so we cleared out the junk room and either donated or found a place for everything, then made it a nursery. I love how it turned out! Hopefully I’ll have another transformation soon, I’m planning to turn her old nursery into a home office :)

- Laurel, Seattle

Laurel, I love it! It looks so warm and cozy. When I come visit, I'm definitely going to have to lie down and take a nap on that rug ;) The color scheme is great, too!  -Katie

My brother, sister-in-law and myself spent all quarantine transforming their new house! At one point they were able to repurpose their cabinets into an island. They bought a marble table on Facebook marketplace, took off the legs and made an island! Brand new kitchen for less than $100!

- Angela

Angela, that island is amazing! What a cool idea to use the marble tabletop for the island. I LOVE repurposed items like that--it's so fun to look at something and think how you might be able to transform it to fit your wants/needs. You all did a great job!  -Katie

September 06, 2021

My Secret Project

Okay, I don't want that title to mislead anyone (because certainly, I would click on someone's post that had that title) so I will state up front: There is no big reveal in this post. So please feel free to skip this post if you were hoping for something juicy ;) 

I am SO EXCITED about a surprise project I've been working on and I am bursting to share all about it. However, it's for Jerry's birthday (which is on the 14th). Once in a while he actually reads my blog posts, so I'm afraid to post photos or descriptions or anything in case he comes across it.

He does know that I'm working on something, though--he's been forbidden to go in the garage and he may not look at my phone; I've been doing a lot of texting, which is necessary for this project to come together. (I'm not saying that Jerry snoops through my phone--we'd never do that to each other--but I get notifications that you can see if my phone is lying on the table or something.)

I actually started working on all of this about four weeks ago! But it will be 100% worth it. I know he's going to love it. (And of course, I'll post all about it.)

Now, the whole reason I mention all this stuff without giving away the actual project is because I didn't do very well with getting in 8,000 steps a day--a goal I'd made last week. I've spent most of my free time working on Jerry's birthday project. I thought for sure that walking back and forth around the garage for hours would rack up the steps, but apparently not.

Here is what the week has looked like:

I only hit my target of 8,000 steps three out of six days. Not great!

On Wednesday, I was wearing the Fitbit for a while and noticed that I had over 1900 steps. Then I went to sync the Fitbit to the app on my phone (because I hadn't used it in several years) and it deleted the steps and started from 0! I knew that I had seen 19-something, so I just counted that.

Thursday was a really bad day for me. I felt super nauseous ALL DAY LONG. And I ended up going to bed at 7:00 PM!

Yesterday and today, I was working on Jerry's project all day. If I hadn't run today, my count would be 6,000 less than it is right now. I felt like I was super active, because I was very busy in the garage, but that obviously doesn't translate to steps.

Basically, this week was spent just getting used to wearing the Fitbit again. I'm not ditching the goals, though; I'm going to modify them a bit. On the days that I run, it's not hard at all to get in 8,000 steps (a 3-mile run is about 6,000 steps). On the days that I don't run, I really struggle to find ways to get the steps in. So, I'm going to have two different step goals: one for the days I run and one for the days I don't.

I'm also going to make the goals a little less ambitious now that I know how hard it is to get in so many steps. I can add more every couple of weeks or so as I get used to finding opportunities to get in more steps. (I love going for walks in the fall, so that will help.)

On the days I run, I'm going to aim for 8,500. And on the days that I don't run, I'm going to aim for 5,000. I'm also going to choose one day a week where I don't count steps at all. (Like that day I felt sick all day--I felt pathetic that my step count was so low!)

Tomorrow is Transformation Tuesday, and I only have one transformation to post--so please, send me some! Remember, it only takes five minutes to transform something. Let's see what you have :)

September 05, 2021

BOOK REVIEW: 'One for the Money' by Janet Evanovich (no spoilers)

For 2021, I committed to participating in a read-athon with a 'Friends' theme (the TV show). You can read more about it on this post. Each month, there is a different theme (based on a quote/situation from Friends) for choosing a book to read. August's theme is: 

Ross: "PIVOT PIVOT PIVOT" - Read a funny book.

This one was hard for me, because I don't know that I've ever read a funny book (other than memoirs). I'm not a comedy person--I rarely watch comedic movies or sitcoms. I like drama and suspense! So I asked for suggestions on what to read for August, and this series by Janet Evanovich seemed to be popular (it's a large series based on a character named Stephanie Plum). Naturally, I read the first book in the series, 'One for the Money'. (Amazon affiliate link)

I feel like this was a good choice for the topic for me because it's a suspense novel with a lot of humor surrounding the protagonist. Not laugh-out-loud funny, but entertaining. She says a lot of one-liners and she gets in funny situations.

The basic storyline is that Stephanie finds herself out of a job and she literally has nothing to fall back on--she's even selling her appliances to a pawn shop to get enough money to get by while she tries to get a job. She hears about a bounty on a police officer who was involved in a shooting and then went missing. The reward is $10,000, and she thinks bounty hunting will be easy money.

She knows nothing about it, so a lot of the humor is when she's trying to learn the ins and outs of bounty hunting; mostly by learning the hard way.


- The book was published in 1999, so it's kind of nostalgic to read about the 90's. That actually added to the humor of the book, albeit unintentionally.

- The protagonist was likable. I wanted to smack her several times for not exactly having common sense in certain situations, but she's still a fun character.

- The storyline was very easy to follow--no shifting timelines or characters (I actually really like books that shift around like that, like psychological thrillers, but not for this genre). For someone who just wants to read a straight-up entertaining story from beginning to end, this is that.


- The story didn't draw me in to where I just wanted to keep reading. I had to struggle to want to read it. When reading, I enjoyed it and I can definitely see why others would, but I really prefer stories that make you want to stay up all night reading.

- The situations were extremely unrealistic. I can see that fitting with the comedic part of the book, though; the book wouldn't have been funny if it had been very realistic.

I think that's about it. It was a good choice for August's theme; I doubt I'll read any more of the series, but I'm glad I read this one.

September's Friends readathon theme is:

"The One with the Football" - Read a sports themed book.

I've actually had this one picked out for several months--I'm going to read "The Running Dream" by Wendelin Van Draanen (Amazon affiliate link). I bought this book for a quarter at Salvation Army years ago and for some reason I held on to it. Now that I'm used to reading on my Kindle Paperwhite, however, I am just going to borrow the Kindle version from the library.

Here is the description from the publisher:

Jessica thinks her life is over when she loses a leg in a car accident. She's not comforted by the news that she'll be able to walk with the help of a prosthetic leg. Who cares about walking when you live to run?

As she struggles to cope with crutches and a first cyborg-like prosthetic, Jessica feels oddly both in the spotlight and invisible. People who don't know what to say, act like she's not there. Which she could handle better if she weren't now keenly aware that she'd done the same thing herself to a girl with CP named Rosa. A girl who is going to tutor her through all the math she's missed. A girl who sees right into the heart of her.

With the support of family, friends, a coach, and her track teammates, Jessica may actually be able to run again. But that's not enough for her now. She doesn't just want to cross finish lines herself - she wants to take Rosa with her.

 It sounds like it will be light and kind of fluffy (a "feel good" book) and sometimes I'm in the mood for those. It's a young adult book and looks like it will be a fairly quick read. As soon as I finish my current book, I'm going to start on it!

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