Diet Progress

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 31, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

Just a quick update on the never-ending diet/exercise plan…

I’ve lost 12 pounds so far and have continued to keep up with my New Year’s Resolution of exercising at least 5 times a week (even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes each day).

Exercise TV has become my new friend – there’s so much to choose from that sometimes I spend more time deciding which workout to do than I spend actually doing the workout. 

I’ve also been really good about watching what I eat and have tried to start some healthier habits.  No more candy, chips or cakes – I’ve replaced them with fruit, whole grains and yogurt.  Well…I say that, but one of my little secrets to success lies in Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies (40 calories each) and ice cream sandwiches (140 calories each).  I allow myself one treat every day so that I don’t feel deprived.  Of course, I have to stop at just one cookie in order for this strategy to work… :)

I still have a long way to go, but at least thing are jiggling just a tiny bit less than they used to (and I’m not super-sore after every workout anymore).


Feeling a little bit better…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 31, 2009 in Family Stuff

So now that I’ve had time to adjust to the idea of going back to work full time (and have recovered from a bad bout of either food poisoning or the stomach flu that I had earlier this week), I feel better about my decision.

Mike and I worked out an ‘alternate work schedule’ where I will have every other Friday off and he will have the opposite Fridays off – which means that one of us will always be home every Friday.  That gives us the flexibility to schedule things that can only be done on weekdays (cable guy, home repairs, doctor appointments, etc). 

For some reason, the idea of never having a weekday off again (other than vacations and holidays) felt stifling to me.  I was so stressed the other day that I had a complete meltdown on the way to work.  Maybe I just needed that release…I don’t know. 

Plus I met with the owner of the company I work for and she offered me a very nice full-time package – I was quite happy (and a little surprised) with the result.  And since I was only working part-time before, I didn’t receive paid holidays, vacation or sick time – now I will receive all those plus all of the other benefits too.  What a great concept – getting paid for not working!  I love it! 

I also realized that since Emily is now in first grade and is in school all day, I really don’t need to have those weekdays off.  On my days off while she is in school, I usually spend my time just relaxing and catching up on silly stuff (like my favorite reality TV shows on Bravo – what do you think of how mean the other OC housewives are to Gretchen on The Real Housewives of Orange County this season!!!).  I have to admit, that time could be much better spent earning extra money for the family.

I will be starting my new schedule on Monday.  Looking ahead, February shouldn’t be too tough – there’s a government holiday (President’s Day) plus I’ll have some time off when we go to Florida at the end of the month.  Not a bad start…


In Loving Memory of Helen Torrence

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 29, 2009 in Family Stuff, Today's Photo

Mike’s grandmother, Nan, passed away peacefully at home last weekend – her funeral service was today in Allentown, PA.

I posted last summer about how she gave Emily a bracelet that belonged to her mother.


I also posted about our recent visit with Nan over Thanksgiving. 


Nan was a lovely woman who was as sharp as a tack until the very end.  She lived a full life, full of love and surrounded by her family. 


She will be sorely missed…



Things they are a-changin’…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 26, 2009 in Uncategorized

More changes are coming to the Torrence household this year. It looks like my part-time job is turning into a full-time career. This is happening for several reasons:

1. My employer keeps asking me to switch to full-time.
2. We could use the extra money to get out of debt quicker.
3. Most importantly, we NEED the extra money to pay for some unexpected expenses (think April 15th).

So as of next week, I am a full-time employee working a 40-hour week (I was working only a 24-hour week previously). And my income will almost double (a good thing).

I am not so sure how I feel about this change, but I have to say that in this economy, I am grateful that I have the opportunity to have a good-paying, secure job (or even any job at all). I’m going to just keep reminding myself as I am getting up everyday at 5:30 in the morning to get everyone out the door by 7:00am…


Faux Mosaic Tutorial

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 19, 2009 in Cards, Crafts, Today's Photo

Lynn in St. Louis, who coordinates the weekly technique challenges SplitCoastStampers, saw a few cards in my gallery using the faux mosaic technique and asked me to put together a quick photo tutorial for this week’s challenge.  

The sad part is, my craft room is SUCH a mess, I had drag my supplies out to do this project on my dining room table (today’s chore is to clean up my craft room – it’s always such a mess after the holidays).

This technique is really easy and there are so many ways to do it – just have fun and be creative with your mosaic!  The basic idea is that you create paper ‘tiles’ and use embossing powder as ‘grout’ to create a mosaic that can be used as a background or accent on a card or scrapbook page. 

Supplies needed:

  • Double sided tape (you can use Stampin’ Up!’s Sticky Strip or the same type of red-lined tape sold in sheets either in the craft store or Pennywise Arts – or even just regular double sided Scotch tape)
  • Embossing powder
  • Heat gun
  • Cardstock and/or patterned paper

To start, cut a piece of cardstock to size for the base of the mosaic (it doesn’t matter what color – the cardstock won’t show).  If you are using a sheet of red-liner tape, cut it to the same size as the cardstock.


Then peel off the white part of the tape sheet and apply to the cardstock.


If you are using Sticky Strip you can just cover the entire piece of cardstock with strips, removing the white liner for each piece. 

Remove the red portion of the red-liner tape, exposing the sticky side.


If you are using double sided tape, just cover one side of the cardstock entirely with the tape, exposing the sticky side.

Now you have a very sticky piece of cardstock – set it aside (careful not to handle the sticky portion too much to keep it clean).

Next, create the ‘tiles’.  You can either stamp a piece of cardstock and cut it into randomly shaped pieces:



Or…start with patterned paper and cut it into either randomly shaped pieces or similar size squares.  If you’re really OCD about your crafts, you can cut the pieces into the exact same shape and size – I’m more free-form with my projects.



Arrange the pieces onto your sticky paper.  This is where you can get creative – you can arrange them into a random pattern or space them evenly…it depends on the look you’re going for.  For this card, I was looking for more of a vintage tile wall look, so I kept the pieces mostly the same size and spaced the sort of evenly, but not exactly.


I even overlapped the edge pieces a bit – I just trimmed them off from the back:


Next, sprinkle embossing powder over the sticky side of the entire sheet.  It will settle into the spaces between the tiles, acting as ‘grout’ between them.


Shake off the excess:

P1150020And heat emboss:


If you want your tiles to be shiny, you can add Crystal Effects to each tile:


But be prepared – this take a LONG time to dry.  24 hours later, and it still looked like this:


Being impatient (and wanting to show you a completed card), I did another mosaic using black embossing powder instead of silver.  Here’s my finished card:


Different colors of embossing powder will give you much different results. 

Here’s a card I made using gold embossing powder (the tiles were made of glossy paper colored with ink and a brayer):


And another one using silver, but with randomly shaped pieces:


And a much more funky card using plain colored cardstock and white embossing powder:


Thanks for the interest in this technique, Lynn – I can’t wait to see what everyone on SCS creates!


Dreaming of Cookies…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 18, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

I had a dream last night that I ate an entire package of Double Stuff Oreo cookies – and they tasted REALLY good.  I think this diet thing is getting to me…


Why does this bother me?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 14, 2009 in Family Stuff

This is going to sound really awful, but I’m jealous of my husband.  Or at least I think I am.  I’m not sure, exactly.  Oh…I don’t know what I want sometimes…

Maybe other working-moms-turned-stay-at-home-moms-turned-working-moms can relate to this.  I walk into work some days and disappear into my miniscule dark little cubicle with the fabric walls and the tiny little modular desk and as I go to get my morning tea, I walk by all of the offices along the windows.  Not cubicles…offices with actual doors and real wooden desks.

By the way…for those who don’t know (Steve S.)…proper cubicle etiquette says that if you walk up to someone’s tiny little cube and want that person’s attention, you should either knock on the side supports (again…no actual doors on a cubicle) or clear your throat or jingle the change in your pocket…something to let the person know that you are there instead of scaring them nearly to death by silently looming over their shoulder (for God knows how long) and then making a loud noise.  Just thought I’d mention.

Anyway…so as I walk by the real offices with the managers inside, I wonder where I’d be in my career if I hadn’t taken the seven years off to stay home with my kids.  Not that I regret staying home with my kids in any way, shape or form – I’ll never get those years back and I am SO glad that I was here to witness their first steps and first words and to be their whole world if only for a short time.  But as I schlep to my tiny fabric box-of-an-office, I sometimes feel a little tiny pang of jealousy.  Just a little.

So now Mike is being considered for what would be a rather large promotion (by the way, he already has an office with a real door with a handle and everything).  I’m so proud of him – he is one of the smartest people I know and he really deserves this – he’s perfect for the job. 

So why can’t I shake this tiny voice inside of me that says, “It could have been you.” 

Is that what I really want, anyway?  I love working part time – I enjoy the time I have at home with my kids, working on my crafts…so why does this bother me?  What do I want to be when I grow up?  Is it too late for me to have a real career?  Would I want one, anyway?

And how do you hang things on those stupid fabric cubicle walls?!?!


New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 12, 2009 in Books I'm Reading, My Adventures in Dieting

Of course, I have fallen into the trap of making a New Year’s resolution (should New Year’s be capitalized?  I’m not sure about that one…).  And, of course, like most people, my resolution is to lose weight.  Again.

I was just reading through my archives and found that I made a similar resolution last year right before I went back to work.  I had even started to make progress and then…well…I’m not sure exactly what happened.  Maybe the huge change of going back to work was too much to handle at the same time.  Maybe working at a desk job did me in.  Or maybe…I should just stop making excuses for myself.  I’m fat because I eat too much and don’t exercise enough.  Plain and simple.

So here I am at the same place again.  Will it stick this year?  I don’t know…all I can do is try.  A few years ago I was in great shape with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet.  I know it can be done and I know how to do it.  It’s just getting into that routine that’s so hard to do.

The good thing about starting in the new year is that there are so many resources available – it seems that EVERYONE is trying to lose weight in January.

I’ve started a training blog to keep track of my progress (you can also see some before and after photos of me there – and not in a good way).  So far, so good – I’ve managed to do some sort of exercise every day since the new year (again…capitalize new year or not?  Still not sure…) and have started to closely monitor what I am eating.  By the way, I love Comcast’s Exercise TV On Demand – until a co-worker mentioned it, I didn’t even know it was available.  Free workout videos on your own TV – you can’t get more convenient than that!

I also picked up Bob Greene’s new book, The Best Life Diet, and have read through Phase One.  I learned some new things about how the body loses weight and have tried not to become discouraged when the scale is not moving downward as fast as I’d like it to.

I’m hesitant to even post this because I’m so afraid of failing again.  But I thought I’d throw this post out there and maybe feel some accountability for my progress.  Just don’t be disappointed in me if I’m making this same post again in 2010…


4th Grade Lenape Indian Project

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 12, 2009 in Crafts, Family Stuff, Today's Photo

This week’s 4th grade social studies assignment was to create an ‘artifact’ for the class museum to represent life among the Lenape Indians (or Native Americans, to be politically correct).  We were looking for something different, so we decided to make some games representative of those played by the Lenape children. 

Feel free to borrow these ideas if a Lenape Indian project comes your way – I thought I’d post these to assist other frantic parents looking for ideas (I had a hard time finding some online)…

First, we made a kokolesh – this was also called the ‘rabbit game’.  There is a string tied to a stick with a small cone made of bone (ours is actually a tiny wooden flowerpot from the craft store).  The cone was kept on the string with a rabbit tail (with no rabbit tails handy, we used a cotton ball).  The object of the game is to catch the cone on the end of the stick.


Next we made a set of jackstraws – basically a Lenape version of pickup sticks.  We also marked some sticks for the game selahtiken – more points are awarded for sticks marked with lines and dots.  For this game, we just gathered some twigs (you don’t even have to be crafty to do this one!).


We also made a ‘cup and pin’ game.  The object of the game is to throw the circle into the air (for the Lenape, the cup was made of leather or bone – for our purposes, it’s a wood washer from the craft store) and catch it on the pin (again – for the Lenape it was bone;  for us, it was a wooden peg).


Another easy game to make was the ‘hand game’.  It was played with two rocks, one marked with a red dot.  The player passes one rock to the person on their right and the person on the left has to guess whether or not the rock that was passed has the dot on it.  If they’re right, they get the rocks and get a turn passing them.  Again, no craftiness required here – we just took two rocks and marked one with a Sharpie…


We also made the game mamandin – sort of a Lenape version of Yahtzee.  The game was played with handmade dice in a wooden bowl – the bowl was shaken and the total numbers on the dice were added up for points.  We used a wooden salad bowl I found at Marshall’s and some wooden cubes from the craft store that Matt marked with a Sharpie.


Finally, we made a VERY crude representation of a Pahsaheman ball – a Lenape game sort of like football.  The Lenape made the ball from deer skin and stuffed it with hair – ours is made from leftover faux fur pieces from Emily’s Halloween costume and is stuffed with plastic grocery bags.  I just sewed a quick oblong ball shape, wrong sides together, leaving a small opening to turn it inside out and to add the stuffing.  Then I stitched the hole shut…


Like I said, very crude – but I wanted it to look hand-made (didn’t I?).

So there you go – some easy Lenape game projects.  Now let’s see what sort of grade Matt gets on his report and project…


Ever have one of those days?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 7, 2009 in Uncategorized

It’s been one of those days already – and it’s only 8:30 in the morning!

I woke up with a horribly stiff neck…cut a hole in my brand new sweater when cutting off the tag…spilled fruit down the front of myself while packing my lunch…forgot to charge my phone… realized there was no toilet paper in the bathroom (too late)…got locked out of my car in the rain…placed another order for a replacement sweater and got frozen out of my account because I couldn’t remember the password…and now my Internet connection at work is extremely flaky so I can verify whether or not the order went through.  It’s got to get better as the day goes on, right?

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