Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Whoa, what happened?

It's totally my fault, I was next to blog and that was over a month ago. What happened? Actually, nothing really... and I think that's why I lost complete umph to blog. I was doing what we had planned and I didn't really have anything to update! No new recipes, no new work outs and no more things I had planned to remove from my diet. I went to blog and all I saw was a blank window with nothing to fill in. Thats what happened. After a few sweet comments on IG asking why we haven't posted, it made me slice out time to JUST DO IT tonight.

Some updates!?

Couch to 5k - Still going! I have 9 runs left and I will have finished the program! I have gotten behind more then I would like but, because of Brianne's accountability aka nagging, I am still going! People listen to me now.... it was so hard for me to run 2 minutes straight when I started and my last run was 22 minutes straight. 22 minutes!!!! That's a miracle in my book. Let me be clear though, I still hate running. I find it very boring, but it works. I sweat hard and feel good. It's a total mental battle for me and sometimes I'm fighting the mental battle every second of my run. I really like working through that though, I feel like I'm learning discipline every time I don't give up.

before and after running in my hot garage
I sweat....a LOT

Ya know, I don't think I'll ever have a drastic before and after story. Maybe I'm a bit too lazy, stubborn, lack the discipline or don't value a goal enough. It seems i'll always be right in the middle of that tension of wanting to strive for something, taking 2 steps forward than one step back due to whatever reason. I don't find that a very inspiring thing, but to be honest, thats just where I picture me always being. I don't think that is a failure though either. I've changed so much already and my family is eating the healthiest we ever had, I'm still exercising, still sticking with my eating changes and taking my supplements. I guess at times I crave that drastic change but I don't think I have it in me to do what it takes. So I'm somewhere in the middle :)

Any of you still doing Couchto5k? Finished already? What did you think!?


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Too Busy Having Fun...

Sorry that I've been slacking on blogging this week! My husband had a convention he needed to attend in Las Vegas for work and he doesn't like going out there without me so I happily tagged along. I packed my running clothes with the best intentions of running while I was here but instead I've spent the last 24 hrs eating yummy food, walking around shopping by myself, watching Walking Dead in our hotel room, gambling a bit, and overall having a darn good time. Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to post in the next couple days. Oh well, I'll do my running tomorrow. 

I haven't taken a single picture this whole trip but here is a photo of us from the last time we were in Vegas. :)

Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Losing weight....

I knew when I began my healthy changes that I would lose weight. It was bound to happen. I was not eating every candy in sight, not snacking as much, choosing an apple over a huge bowl of cereal and not eating out. That would eventually change my outside as well as my insides right?

YUP! It did. I slowly trimmed down a bit and clothes started fitting better.... then I hit a plateau and maintained. If I was at the weight I wanted to be at then that would be great, but I'm not. There is a  bit more I would love to get off before I hit 35! Wait, I'm going to be 35!? That is nuts!  The older I get the harder it will be to keep weight off, I'm assuming, so I need to do it now.

"Although weight gain is common in your 30s, it is not inevitable or necessary. Maintaining a healthy weight during your 30s reduces your risk of overweight, obesity and chronic illnesses in later adulthood."  Tina M. St. John 

So......... I needed to step it up a notch. We started the couch to 5k which feels incredibly effective. I sweat so much and feel like I'm working hard for that short 30 mins. I also do ab and arm work outs through the week too. But, I think that's what I would normally be doing anyways for health. I think the biggest thing now I need to work on my portions and late snacking.

If I'm truly hungry, I eat, and I want to keep it that way. The areas that I can cut back on are smaller portions at dinner time and not having late night snacks. I have done that over the last 2 weeks and have already seen results. Matter of fact.... I fit into my goal shorts SO SO much better! I still have work to do but seeing progress is so encouraging!

For me, it looks like my normal healthy eating and work out routines will help me maintain my current weight. If I want to trim down at all, I need to make a few tweaks with my eating and that is the nudge my body needs to drop a bit of the poundage.  What about you guys? What works for you?

Fighting against the muffin top,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Tip For Beginner Runners

For some reason I've been having a hard time thinking of things to blog about lately.  I think that part of the reason is because I don't really feel like I've made any new changes lately, and partly because I've been busy and distracted with life.  I'm not sure how full time bloggers come up with things to write about everyday, my life just isn't that interesting!  I mean how many times can I possibly write about coconut oil before I scare everyone away?

Last week we started the Couch to 5K.  Now I realize I'm kinda cheating since I already completed this program a couple years ago, but running is one of those "use it or lose it" kinda things…. and since I haven't been running I've completely lost it.  The one thing that quickly came back were my sore knees.

I run on a treadmill in my living room, nothing about it makes for a good photo. :)
*Side note* About 10+ years ago I had an illness called Graves Disease.  Part of my treatment was some pretty high dosages of Prednisone (a steroid) for about a year.  Side effect of those steroid treatments were some pretty messed up knees, along with a slew of other things… don't even get me started on my disdain for steroids now!

Anyways, one of the most valuable things I learned last time I did the Couch to 5K was the importance of stretching before and after running, especially if you have bad knees like I do.  But not just any stretching, dynamic stretching.  Dynamic stretching is just like regular stretching except you do it while you're moving.  This is the video I followed on dynamic stretching.  I do each exercise for about 30 seconds and it has seriously diminished (and often eliminates) any pain I might get in my knees.  Without the dynamic stretching I tend to feel it in my knees after about 1 minute of jogging.  Everyone is different, and you may need to stretch more or less than I do, but keep on testing it out until you find what works for you.

I am a complete beginner and I'm just passing on info that has worked for me.  From what I've read it's best to do dynamic stretches before running and static stretches after.  Static stretch are when you've cooled down, usually sitting in one position and holding each stretch to help pull and lengthen the muscle.  Static stretches are pretty much the normal stretches that most people are familiar with.

I hope this helps!  Don't skip stretching, it doesn't take much time and your muscles like the prep. :)

Anyone have any suggestions for stuff to blog about… Help! Please!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Couch to 5k - Day 1

We don't plan on blogging everyday about our Couch to 5k adventure but I thought I would share about day 1 of 27!
this is what the app looks like

Here is where I will be doing most of my my wee garage. It's not the most inspiring atmosphere but if I listen to music real loud, it will do the trick. You know... be content, bloom where you are planted, use what you got type thing :)

my girls stayed close and got real excited for the running parts

The 30 minutes went by pretty fast, I really enjoyed the walking bits :) It was pretty much walk 1.5 minutes and then jog 1 minute for 30 minutes total. The app is great, easy and I love how it interrupts the music you are listening to to tell you when to start jogging or walking. I was sweating like a buffalo when I was done and so so so excited to see the "Workout Complete" screen!  For a girl who has a hard time finishing things she starts.... seeing anything that says I completed something is a good thing. Even if its day one of many many more to come.

So far so good... who is starting with us? 3 times a week of this is super doable right!? 


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I hate running and I'm doing "Couch to 5k"

Seriously, what in the world is happening? I hate running, I've always hated it. So of course I'm going to start the "Couch to 5k" app on my phone. ( Brianne is going to do it too!)

Couch to 5k is a running app on your phone that is a beginners program " The idea is to transform you from a couch potato to a runner, getting you to begin running a 5k or 3.1 miles and on a regular basis in just 2 months"

I was so blessed to get a hand me down Treadmill and I have no where to stick it other than my hot tiny garage but who cares! It was free and it will work just fine in there. This way I can get my running done with my girls playing or doing school work nearby. This way I have no excuse why I cant "go" running. I can do it at home OR around my neighborhood. Do you notice how often I need to create situations where I can have "no excuse", clearly I'm good at making them up.

I've always wanted to try this and stick with it through all the hate and pain it will cause. We are also going to add in weight and ab workouts through the week too.  We will keep you updated on how it goes....we start tomorrow, as in Thursday the 13th!  You wanna join!? Come on!


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I Get It Now

It's become very clear over the last few months how people turn into health nuts.  First you make a few little changes, then you start feeling better and want to make more changes, then BAM before you know it you're a full blown crazy health nut.  I still consider myself so far from health nut status it's not even funny (especially considering I've had dessert twice this week and it's only Tuesday, oops!), but I definitely have a much better idea on how that sneaks up on you.  

So as much as I dislike the idea of being a health nut I'm realizing that it's not as far off as it once seemed… But really who am I kidding, I have the self discipline of a 2 year old, I'll never be a health nut. 

I should also mention that I actually find these posters amusing and even somewhat motivational now, which I'm sure says something about how nutty I'm becoming.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Its been a good week!

Finally I feel back on track! I don't have much to share at all except for a few things that I think helped me have a strong week.

#1. I have worked out earlier in the day all week. I get it done before I talk myself out of it or get too busy!

#2. I have been carrying trail mix and small apples in my purse so I have no excuse to eat a bad snack while Im out.

#3. I have been making a good amount of chicken every Monday or Tuesday. I have learned this really helps me to stay on track with my eating! I can quickly make a chicken salad, have chicken and veggies, sandwich or chicken tacos. They are meals I look forward to, are quick and according to my eating plan.

Chicken tacos, my new favorite meal.  Corn tortillas filled with chicken, 
black beans, onion, lettuce, salsa and a tad bit of cheese.

I'm really happy with the 90 day Hasfit work out schedule, but I do feel an urge to step it up a notch and add in some running (which I hate) or find a class to take. What are you all doing!?

- Kristin

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Best Banana Bread. Seriously.

My girls asked if we could make banana bread last week and I was happy to do so.  As much as I'm consciously avoiding sugar and lots of breads I knew that making any other recipe bedsides this one wasn't even an option.  I've made the same recipe with my girls for year and it's their favorite and mine.  I love knowing that they'll grow up with fond memories of recipes we've made their whole life, both health and more indulgent.  

Not all banana breads are equal, if it's too cake-y or dry then I'd rather not even eat it.  This banana bread is perfectly moist, dense, and downright delicious.  Now I know this isn't a healthy banana bread recipe, especially since it has sugar in it, but it is definitely the best banana bread recipe I've ever tried.  I made it with Cup 4 Cup Gluten Free Flour so that it wouldn't hurt my youngest tummy.  I shouldn't go further without mentioning how much I love this flour.  This is by far the best gluten free flour I've tried, which explains the hefty price tag.  Anyway back to the banana bread… If you're looking for the best banana bread then make this, if you're looking for the healthiest banana bread then you may want to keep looking!  Even though this isn't the healthiest recipe out there it sure does make for a nice treat.  

Banana Bread

5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ripe mashed bananas
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup heavy cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray bottom of a 9 inch round pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2.  Beat butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
3.  Add granulated Sugar and brown sugar; Beat until well blended.
4.  Add egg, egg whites and vanilla; blend.
5.  Mix in the mashed bananas, and beat the mixture on high speed for 30 seconds.
6.  In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
7.  Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with the cream, ending with the flour mixture.
8.  Pour batter evenly into prepared 9 inch round pan (or loaf pan).
9.  Bake until golden brown, and toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (About one hour).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Cake? Yes please, it's a special occasion!!

When I set out on this journey of new healthy habits I always wanted to give room for having treats! I told myself, I will only have treats on "special occasions". I am learning very quickly I need to redefine what that means. I started to find myself in a very consistent flow of these "special occasions". 

My sister is visiting = special occasion = eating nachos
I'm in a really neat book store = special occasion = rice crispy treat
I'm on a road trip = special occasion = licorice
I'm babysitting...
I'm meeting an old friend...

See what I mean? 

I will still have treats BUT clearly I need to change what qualifies this treat allowing event! It seemed like every little fun, slightly out of the norm, thing that came up was starting to be a "special occasion" and BOOM I was eating greasy and sugary foods. 

So, once I again I need to step back and reevaluate this. I need to remind myself that all those treats add up and aren't helping my overall goal of keeping greasy and sugary foods to a minimum so I can help my body do its thing to heal itself. 

I mean, come on, at the rate I was going....I might have called tying my shoe a special occasion and treated myself to chili fries smothered in ranch. 

On a less depressing note I made some super healthy and yummy pancakes this week. I follow a feed on Instagram called Eating_Whole and that is where I got the recipe! 

Makes 5 pancakes:

1 large ripe banana (mashed)
2 eggs
1 pinch of baking powder
1 tablespoon of Chai Seeds
1 tablespoon of Flaxseed Meal
1/4 cup of cottage cheese ( can't taste )
Lots of cinnamon

Use a bit of coconut oil on the pan before each pancake, medium heat


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Helpful Hints Part 2

A couple weeks ago Kristin posted her helpful hints, and since I enjoyed reading the things that are helpful to her I thought I'd share some of mine.

  • Get a large cup to take everywhere.  We all know how great it is to drink water, and lots of it!  I've found that a good cup goes a long way.  I prefer the metal cups from Starbucks.  I keep filling it up during the day, take it with me when I'm running errands, and when I want my water cold it does a really good job of keeping it cold for quite a while.  Drinking lots of water is easy for me now but when I was first getting in the habit it took some work, anything that helps get it down is a bonus! 

  • Always keep a couple go-to healthy meals on hand.  I know that if we don't have something at home to eat it's so much easier for us to get off track.  I make sure we keep a few basics around for those times we're in a hurry or scrounging to make a meal.  Frozen chicken and veggies along with a couple cans of canned chicken are things we find handy when we need a quick and easy meal.

  • Try something new at the grocery store.  I often try and pick up one or two things at the grocery store to help with finding new healthy things we can eat.  Grab a new granola, or a different type of yogurt, maybe you'll find something new that you love.  I tried coconut sugar a little while back and I'm totally hooked now! 

  • Paper to-go cups!!  I might sound crazy here but putting my dandy blend (or coffee for you normal people) in a paper to-go cup and bringing it with me to church or while I go grocery shopping has done wonders in keeping me away form all those coffee shops out there.  I still get the fun of having my little cup with me without the added sugar and caffeine that I try and avoid. 

  • Keep a chocolate bar in the fridge.  I find that if I keep a chocolate bar in the fridge and have a little square or 2 when I'm having a craving it has done wonders with keeping me from fully caving.  My favorite is this Chocolove Almond with Sea Salt in Dark Chocolate (you can find them at most grocery stores).  It's rich enough to fill the urge for something sweet without needing to feel guilty for overdoing it... It didn't on the other hand keep me from sharing a cookies and cream shake with my friend today.

I would love to hear your helpful hints… what keeps you on track?  Any tips for us?  It's always nice to hear what has helped others along the way.


Friday, February 28, 2014

Wow. I'm not awesome.

I'm going to leave these texts between me and Brianne to sum up how I did over the last few days. 

I had my baby niece this week and fed her healthy!

Me:  I just ate some nerds, a small bowl of cereal, 2 girl scout cookies and half a soda

Brianne:  wow, you really went for it

Me: I forgot to take my supplements today, I haven't worked out in two days and I’m not going to blog tonight.

Brianne: Kristin, You’re going to have to snap out of it soon! Its just too easy to go back to lazy, unhealthy habits.

Me: I just got home (10:40pm) so I didn’t work out :(

Brianne: Thats ok. But you have to work out tomorrow or I’m not babysitting your girls:)


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

GP's Old Bay Ranch Recipe

I realize I'm posting another Gwyneth Paltrow recipe but that is for one very good reason… it's the only healthy cookbook I own.  Actually I take that back, I just bought Agains All Grain but I haven't actually cooked anything from it yet.  Back to GP's Old Bay Ranch Dressing, this isn't a traditional flavored ranch, to me it's more garlic-y and works best as a dip.  I had been wanting to try this recipe since I first got her cookbook last year but could never get my hands on Old Bay seasoning.  Well apparently I had been looking in the wrong section because at my grocery store they keep it near the seafood section and not in the spice section.  Go figure?  About a month ago I was at a friend's house for our monthly homeschooling meeting and she made this for the group, it was love at first bite!  Thick and creamy with tons of garlic, what more could you ask for!  

Gwyneth Paltrow's Old Bay Ranch Dressing
adapted from It's All Good

1/2 cup Vegenaise (I used Greek yogurt instead)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
1 garlic clove, finely minced (I used 2)
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives (I didn't have any!)

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir together.
Keeps well in a jar in the fridge for up to a week.

This is where I'd add the photo I took earlier with the veggies I had to go along with it but when I took my photo to the Apple store earlier this evening they reset my phone and the image was lost.  No biggie, you get the idea.  Give it a try, it's really tasty and perfect for dipping veggies. 


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Physical and Spiritual Health

I have noticed that this topic of health is so so big... there are so many opinions and information out there to read and consider. I noticed my reading time being taken up with health blogs, reading up on coconut oil or researching my next work out program. My nightly reading was starting to shift into my cookbook and learning about recipes. A lot of my conversation was filled with health talk and what Ive been learning and needing to change. Is my point to say that this is wrong or bad? Not necessarily.

Like with anything, when you first start, there is excitement and investment in research that needs to be had. It's totally natural that there is a bigger investment of time into a certain thing in the beginning. Then that pesky word "balance" needs to come into play. Just like with anything else, I found I need to step back, look at my time, what I'm valuing and how much of my mind I'm giving to this topic of health in my life.

I see the scriptures putting an emphasis on the spiritual aspect of our life. Renewing our mind, serving others, growing in patience, pursuing knowledge.....etc. But, I truly think that physical health nourishes spiritual health so they compliment each other for sure. If I am not feeling well its hard to read and give energy to spiritual things. If my hormones are not in balance its hard to have a stable mood in my role as a wife or mommy. You get the picture.

I feel like I'm being messy with my thoughts right now, but basically what I'm trying to get at is this....

From reading the scriptures I see there being an emphasis on our spiritual health and pursuing the reformation of our thinking according to Gods word, loving Him and others. I take that and then keep in mind that physical health can really be a hinderance or help to my spiritual health. After stepping back and reevaluating my time and heart I was able to make a more balanced decision on how, going forward,  I should spend my time thinking, reading, talking about and pursuing both my physical and spiritual health.  Not sure if any of you struggle with keeping these in their proper place? I think the lines blurred there a tiny bit and might again in the future, but I think having this in the forefront of my mind will help me spend my time/efforts in a way I think is truly most beneficial.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Homemade Deodorant

I'll be the first to admit that making homemade deodorant seemed a bit crazy.  I know we've all heard about the accusations that it can be harmful to our bodies (good info about that here!) but I think I'm like most people that put that in the category of "that wouldn't happen to me".  I've also always assumed that people who made homemade deodorant were more willing to smell bad for the sake of good health, and I'd rather smell good so obviously this wasn't the route for me.  But then the more I thought about it the more I realized I'm exactly the right person to give this a try… I don't want to smell bad, not even a little, I've tried natural deodorants in the past and none have ever cut it, and I really don't want to get Alzheimer's or breast cancer so I figured I'd give it a go.  Oh yeah, I also seem to get stinky fairly easily so this would actually need to work really well (that was even embarrassing to type).  

I should also mention that a big reason why I started searching for natural deodorants was because I was just noticing that my daughter was getting to the point where she needs deodorant on occasion.  The thought of giving her something that is so closely linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's made me cringe.  So like most things, when I'm not good at doing something for myself you can guarantee that I'll be more willing to do it for my children.

Last week I tried a recipe that a friend of mine, Shannon (Kristin's sister), posted on Facebook.  It seemed like a good place to start!  You can find most things at your local market (except the beeswax) but I went ahead and ordered a few of the items online out of convenience.  Once I had everything I gave it a go!  It was really easy to make and took less than 5 minutes, plus extra time to sit in the fridge and get firm.

Homemade Deodorant

1 Tbsp beeswax (I used pellets)
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp arrowroot
2 Tbsp baking soda
4 drops of vitamin E oil
10 drops of Joy essential oil (optional)
Deodorant container- you can buy empty ones or just clean out an old one that you have laying around

Put coconut oil and and beeswax in pan on low heat to melt.  Add arrowroot and baking soda.  Mix together and take off heat.  Add vitamin e oil and your essential oils.  Don't add the essential oils while you're heating the other ingredients because the heat can ruin the properties of them.  Pour melted liquid into deodorant deodorant. Put it in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. 

Does it actually work?  Well I've been using it for a week and I don't have any complaints!  Just to give you an idea of how well it's working I did a little experiment this week.  I showered Monday and applied the deodorant, Tuesday I didn't shower and I didn't apply more deodorant, I worked out later that day and even after my work out I didn't smell.  Pretty crazy!  I was even surprised with how well it worked.  

If you buy a pound of beeswax pellets like I did you'll have enough beeswax to make deodorant for the next 10 years.  I recommend sharing them with a friend or finding other useful ways of using it- Thank you Pinterest!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Helpful Hints

This is a super simple post on some things I have found that are helping me. Some may seem so silly or tiny, but they have totally helped me NOT cave. 

  • Use a straw. I noticed when put a straw in my water, I drink SO much more through the day. 

  • If you get the "snackies" when you know you should not be eating... I drink water or chew gum. 

  • Brush your teeth more often throughout the day. I noticed when I have that clean fresh taste in my mouth, I'm less likely to crave an unnecessary snack.

  • Work out in the earlier part of the day. I noticed as the day goes on I get pretty clever at thinking up reasons I cant work out that day or build up that huge loathing feeling of needing to do it. 

  • Agree with a friend, that understands your goals, to text each other every time you have a treat....every single bite. There are many times I have not taken a bite or eaten an unnecessary treat because I did not want to admit it to Brianne. 

  • Keep your workout clothes and shoes ready in an easy place. When its ready to go and I don't have to search for anything leaves me with one less reason to put it off. 

  • Keep some supplements on you. I totally carry one of those small old people medicine organizer thingy's in my purse. If I don't get to taking them before I jet out the door, I have them in my bag so I don't forget to take them. 

  • Don't keep treats in your house. If you're anything like me, most of the time, I'm not strong enough to have a goodie in the house and NOT cave. Throw it out or give it away. Brianne was mean enough to give me her left over girl scout cookies that were driving her nuts. Yesterday I caved twice and ate one when I didn't want to. Thanks Brianne..... grrrrrrr. 

  • Remind yourself.  I need to remind myself on a daily basis why I'm doing this..... it is NOT to just to loose weight. It is to try to help my body do its thing by keeping my insides and mind healthy so I can fulfill my roles well. 

  • Balance. If my health permits, I don't want to become so restrictive that I become miserable in mood. Having overall healthy habits for me and my family with allowance for occasional treats and exceptions is great for the soul! Being in a good mood is also good on the mind and body and I find if I'm too rigid or restrictive it steels away some of that spark in me. It can get tricky, but I found that striving for that balance is worth the alternative of giving up all treats because its hard to balance. 
There are so many more and I'm sure Brianne has some good ones too. These were the ones fresh on my mind! Hope some of them help! 

Leave a comment of tips you have for me and Brianne too! Please, any help is great. 


Monday, February 17, 2014

Jillian Michaels, Traveling, and Weighing Myself

I don't know what has been going on, but if you can't tell by our (or maybe it's just mine) semi-deppressing blog posts over the last week or so I think we've been in a bit of a funk.  I've come to realize what part of the problem has been…

1.  I hate doing the Jillian Michaels video.  There I said it.  I dreaded every day of doing it, and not because it was challanging but becasue her way of training buuuuuugs me.  When it comes down to it not all personality mesh, and the way she tries to coach you through the exercise just wasn't my favorite.  I tried to hang in there and stick with it because Kristin and I committed to it but last week we decided to move on *enter happy dance*.  Nothing against JM personally, she's been wildly successful with her training technique and I know many people who are really motivated by those videos, unfortunately I'm not one of them.  We're back with HasFit and doing their 90 day warrior and I'm much happier.

This is what my workout looks like most days.  It's rarely uninterrupted, and often done in the process of answering school questions, but it gets done!
2.  Too much fun.  I mean can you really have too much fun?  When it comes to trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle the answer (for me) is yes!  We've had back to back weekend trips, Joshua Tree last weekend, and our favorite book sale trip in Arizona this weekend.  Now don't get me wrong I'm not complaining about it one bit, I love to travel and am thankful for the opportunity to have these adventures, but it is harder to maintain as healthy of habits when traveling.  I did things to help like packing lunch for the car trip, getting green smoothies at a juice bar when we could, and bringing healthy snacks… but I also made sure I fully enjoyed myself which meant we ordered dessert at dinner, I had bread more often than at home, and zero exercise!  After all is said and done I was perfectly fine with how I ate over the weekend, I made a conscious efforts not to overdue it, but still enjoyed all the fun that comes with being on vacation.

First thing I asked my husband for when we got back to Orange County was to stop at Mothers to get green juice, it was the only thing that sounded good after a weekend of yummy food.  My body was craving something healthy!
3.  Now for the thing I think has been the number one contributor to putting me in a funk… weighing myself.  Sounds crazy, right?  I mean I used to weigh myself nearly every single day when I would work out in the past.  But now because my focus has been on nutrition and healthy habits as soon as I think too much about loosing weigh or being a certain size I get really discouraged.  Sheesh, I hate to even admit that but it's true.  After a little pity party I snap out of it and get focused again.  I mean change is happening, my body feels way better, my anxiety is a fraction of what it was, and I am losing weight, I'm just doing it the good ol' old fashioned way which takes a bit longer… slowly but surely.

What helps you get out of a funk?  I think it's just part of the challenge of making new changes.  As for now, I'm really happy to be on the other end of it now. :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It’s not fun anymore...

We have been changing our habits for almost 2 months now. Just like with most things in’s fun to start! There was an excitement in the beginning, got our little blog going, cleaned out our cupboards, read books and started our exercising. We have had some real accomplishments over the last two months to be stoked about, that is for sure, but it’s just not that fun anymore. The real tough bit of keeping going after the excitement has worn off is just that....tough. 

We have lost weight, we have felt results in our bodies, muscles and minds. We have created new habits and given up a lot of bad ones. There is a ton to be happy about and celebrate. A lot of good has come from this, for us and our families and that is awesome. 

But, it's still not fun anymore. I started loving salads again, got excited, then started hating them again. Same with working out, I thought I hit a stride and got over the hill of hating it, but then it came back. Up and down. We love to blog, then loose the desire to blog. Highs and lows. I know this must sound like a big complaint, maybe it is, but I’m just trying to be honest about how this journey has been for We are so grateful we started this and all the good that has and will come of it, but it’s tough. Certain things have gotten easier, that is true, but overall it still feels like a slow battle to keep these habits in place. Slow and steady is not always the most fun route but its the one we are on. 

With all that said, I must admit I’m incredibly encouraged that we are still going. We have committed to a certain period of time to journal this adventure and we are sticking to it. Even if Brianne and I are the only ones reading this blog, we press on even when we don’t desire to. We hate it most the time but we are still working out 5 times a week with rare exceptions. We still get crazy cravings for a candy, a box of cookies or full loaf of bread smothered in butter...but we resist with few treats here and there. We still hardly ever go through drive thru’s and are still cooking healthy meals at home. I’m still learning to cook and we both are still off of caffeine and taking our supplements!

So, its NOT fun anymore. The hype is over ... but we are still truck’n along and trying to push through the lows. Not giving up when things loose excitement and feel hard is something I always want to refine and mature in. I’m grateful this adventure is doing just that. I’m doubly grateful to be doing this with Brianne..she is the perfect balance of understanding and accountability I could ever ask for. 

 If you're right where we are, don't give up! 
If you haven't started yet... START!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trying Not To Get Sick(er)

Tonight is one of those night I just don't feel up to blogging.  I can tell I'm fighting getting sick and I'm so tired because of it!  I'm a mom, and like most moms, I'm pretty much always tired... but now even more so.  So instead of trying to come up with something new to share I thought I'd let you all in on how I'm trying to fight this bug.  First off I always like taking lots of vitamin C when I'm fighting sickness, I also like to take it when I'm traveling so that I don't get sick while we're trying to have fun!

Now for my new addition to my home readies… a couple weeks ago my box of young living essential oils came in… never in a million years did I ever think I'd be using essential oils.  I've heard such great things from friends that use them but I'm still new at it and trying to figure out how everything works.  Last week I had a headache, put a little peppermint eo on my thumb, and held it to the roof of my mouth for a couple minutes and it was gone.  Seriously!  So crazy!  To help with fighting sickness I've been diffusing Thieves EO in the air (a mixture of cloves, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and rosemary) and I just started applying it to our feet too.  Apparently Thieves is said to "help interrupt the life cycle of bacteria and also interferes with the ability of viruses to replicate".  Sounds good to me!  I'll keep you all posted.  I'm definitely a skeptic so we'll see if they can win me over.  So far I've been so surprised by how well they've worked. 

I hope everyone is getting through this flu and cold season.  What do you do to fight getting sick?


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Having a hen and her fresh eggs...

We have one Hen and her name is Patty. She is a spicy Rhode Island Red that I love dearly. I have found chickens to be the quirkiest animals and I love quirky. Her sounds, personality and the way she moves her head cracks me up. We've had her since she was a wee chick and now she is almost 3 years old... i think.

Patty started laying eggs when she was around 4-6 months old and she lays about 6 eggs a week. Every now and then she out does herself and I'll get two a day for a few days in a row. Hen's usually lay eggs into their teens. Isn't that amazing!? That is a fine amount for our small family, but if I ever felt we needed more, we can get more chicks! 

It is so exciting to go in her coop and grab her egg each day. It never gets old. It's good to keep clean straw or shavings in the laying box to help keep the eggs clean. Egg shells naturally have a coating on them that you don't want to wash off until you are going to use them ( if you buy them in the store, this coating is already washed off and is why they need to be refrigerated and go bad quicker). We keep them on our counter in our kitchen for weeks! I have read the general rule is under 3 weeks on the counter. Something super cool about eggs is that you can easily check them to know if they are too old. Here is how:

I can't tell a huge taste difference from store bought eggs but others swear they do and could never go back. They do look different to me...the yoke is very vibrant and plump. They are quite pretty actually. 

I am very blessed to have a handy hubby. He designed and built this coop from scratch for us. Its adorable and just the right size for our backyard. There is room to have a few more hens in there if we ever desire. There is a full size door opening on the right side to be able to go in and out and there is a small door on the left side we can open to gather eggs. If you don't have a handyman around and on a budget, I would suggest finding one on Craigslist. 

Me and the girls have enjoyed Patty so much, ever since she was a chick, that it is not uncommon that she ends up in our house. I clean her feet and put on her..........leopard print chicken diaper. Yup. You read that right. She can be in the house for a couple hours if her diaper is on. She is hilarious to have about.... she likes to follow the girls, peck at any crumb on the floor, hop in baskets, lay on the bed and other quirky things. She cracks me up. 

I would say her only downfall is that every now and then she is loud. It's random and I'm not sure why she does it. You are not allowed to have roosters in our city because of sounds so I thoughts hens weren't loud at all except for a few squawks when laying their egg. Its not every day and its over pretty quickly. The only time I really mind it is when its earlier in the morning to where I think it could bother my neighbors. I'm also not sure if this is a Patty thing or a hen thing in general. She's not perfect...but pretty darn close :)

Taking care of her is not a lot of work. We just need to make sure she has water, fill up her food dish with "laying mash", collect her eggs and clean out her coop every now and then. 

Between her being hilarious, low maintenance and giving us fresh eggs... I think Patty is the bestest. 


Monday, February 10, 2014

Some Favorites

There are many things I eat because they're good for me but I don't necessarily enjoy.  Today I thought I'd share 3 additions to our eating/cooking that have stuck around and now I downright love them.  First up is Dandy Blend.  I know, I know, we've mentioned this about a dozen times now but that's for a good reason.  When you give up caffeine, sodas, and a good amount of sugar finding something that is good to drink becomes increasingly exciting.  Enter Dandy Blend…

I drink it daily and look forward to it.  I can drink it black (which wasn't even an option with coffee), but if I'd prefer to spice it up that day I'll add a little coconut sugar and cream.  I spoke with the company and they said they offer free samples for anyone who is interested! Send them an email and try it out, maybe you'll enjoy it as much as we have.  

Next up is coconut oil.  I don't even know where to start with this one since it can be used for almost anything!  I now have 2 jars of coconut oil in my house, one for cooking and one for skin care (and other non-food uses).  It's great for cooking, skin issues, diaper rash cream, mental alertness…  It's one of those foods that sounds too good to be true.  Here is a nice little list of 101 uses for coconut oil, try some of them out for yourself and see how you like it!  I know I've been impressed with the results from using it. 

And last but not least is quinoa pasta (pronounced kinwa).  One of the hardest things I've noticed with all of these dietary changes is the lack of a hearty, satisfying meal.  Every once in a while I really want pasta, but these days when I eat pasta I feel like I ate a ton of bricks, and may even feel bad for the rest of the day.  Quinoa pasta has been the perfect substitute.  I enjoy the I cook with it about 2 or 3 times a month and love it every time.  Make sure you cook it in plenty of water and whatever you do don't overcook it since it will turn into mush. 

I hope that some of these items help you make healthier choices too.  Any suggestions you have for other good and healthy alternatives would be wonderful!  I'm always looking for new things to try. 


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Backyard Garden

Let me be clear I am an amateur, if even that, when it comes to gardening. I have some friends that have educated themselves quite well on their back yard or community gardens, so I just pick their brain! I can't tell if thats lazy or resourceful? Ill go with resourceful :)

My husband built our raised garden boxes years ago...I love them. They are so simple but its all we really need for our stage of gardening. He also put in gardening wire/fencing at the bottom of each box to keep the gophers from destroying our garden again. Pesky little fellows are really good at what they do and killed our veggies time and time again till my hubby did this. We also have a couple large barrels we grow things in, right now one has a dwarf orange tree and the other has strawberries. You can google for your location and season to find what is best to plant when...if you should do seeds or starter plants, etc. Or just mooch, I mean, be resourceful and ask a friend who already knows :)

My girls and I replanting our garden last week! 
Oh and thats my hubby building our girls a sweet little nook. 

Our garden has been pretty empty for a few months but eating at home gave me the boost to want to get it going again. Growing your own food is kinda magical. No doubt its work, weeds, watering, etc...but when you can go in your yard and pick lettuce for your dinner salad or grab some herbs to sprinkle in your sauce its totally worth it. You know exactly where it came from and its fresh!

We are currently growing spinach, cabbage, 3 types of lettuce, peas, radishes, strawberries, broccoli, rosemary and thyme. I planted a bit late in the season so I did all starter plants but planting from seed is so fun too. It takes longer but going outside and seeing tiny sprouts starting to pop up is something to be giddy about.


Growing some of our own food is a great little addition to our health adventure! If you live in an apartment, we had friends who had little balcony boxes that produced a fun little amount of goodies. If you don't have a yard, my sister got lots of pots and two garden boxes and put them right on top of cement and grew her garden on her front porch. I have a couple friends that rent plots from their city community gardens! There are a lot of clever ways to have a garden if you want one :) Pinterest and Google it!

Having a garden is great for feeding your family pets too!

Today the mail brought a very sweet gift from one of my photography client/buddies. Its totally beautiful and is filled with recipes inspired by gardening. How thoughtful and well timed. Thank you MARY!

P.S. Next Ill post about having a chicken and fresh eggs :)


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Workout Woes & Popcorn!

I'm working my way through week 2 of Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 dvd and hating every moment of it.  Okay, okay "hate" is a strong word lets just say I detest it… strongly.  I told Kristin that working out is like having to go to the dentist everyday, I know I should do it but I dread it and I know it's going to hurt.  Something about this week of the video is particularly hard, so hard in fact that I haven't done my planks challenge in several days because my legs are sore.  Even though I'm not enjoying the work outs much this week I'm sticking with it and hopefully I'll enjoy weeks 3's work outs a bit more.  On a more positive note I have noticed improvements in my muscles and feel much stronger.  Below is a photo of my work out set up, computer goes on my bed, 3 and 5 pound weights, and my workout mat.  I really love that about these workouts, no crazy equipment or need to go to a gym it's always right there waiting for me. Easy peasy!

I still put most of my efforts on our eating habits and the quality of the foods we're eating.  I've noticed that we've talked a lot about exercising over the last few weeks but I never want the focus to be taken off of what we consider to be far more important.  It's amazing how much my desire to eat out has diminished over the last couple months.  My body and tummy are so much happier eating at home and I'm enjoying knowing exactly what we're eating.  Even my daughters are on board with all of these changes.  The other day my 8 year old came to me and said "Mom, where's the coconut oil I want to use it to brush my teeth".  Part of me was so proud of her and the other part of me cringed because that was so granola of her to say. Ha!

My girls really wanted popcorn this week and since we no longer buy microwave popcorn I just made it for them on the stove.  It was super easy and really quick to make.  Oh yeah, it also tasted really, really good.  I can't remember who posted this recipe on Instagram, but whoever it was I sure am glad they did!

3 Tablespoons organic coconut oil (get a coconut oil that says it's good for medium heat)
1/2 cup organic popcorn kernels
2 Tablespoons melted butter (my favorite by far is Kerrygold Irish Butter)

Over medium heat melt coconut oil in large pot along with popcorn kernels and a couple good pinches of salt. Put a lid on your pot and shake it back and forth until it stops popping. Pour the melded butter over the popcorn and enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

A bit off track...

These last few days were filled with circumstances that got me off track a bit with my eating and work out routine. Unexpected plans, inability to get to grocery store and not feeling the best. I got a very discouraging peek into how easy it could be for me to fall back into a ton of bad habits. I thought I was at a point in this journey where I couldn't see that being a possibility...but it is.  The truth is, it is much easier not to work out, to pop into a drive through and not care what I'm putting into my body. I constantly have to remind myself why I am doing this! Let me tell you, if it was just to be skinny, I would have given up. That is a desire, but not a strong enough one to get me back on track. I have GOT TO stick with this and make it my new way of life.  I have created new habits and given up old ones but they are not deeply ingrained yet... I now know.

I was in my pj's relaxing on Sunday evening and knew I had zero groceries for the next day. I knew I would not make a good decision about what to eat without having options. I got up, got dressed and went grocery shopping at 9pm. That was my attempt to kick this funk in the buns. It helped a lot. I got my fridge full of good options (which I'm always so incredibly grateful to have the ability to do that) and we woke up the next morning with a good start to the week.

My last post I said I don't loath working out anymore. I changed my mind. Today I did. I'm learning that when I'm on track with consistent work outs 5 times a week, which is what Ive been keeping up with till last week, I don't loath it. But this week when I only worked out 4 days, i lost my groove and hated it again. Ha! My goal is to work out 5 times a week and I clearly need to keep that up to feel motivated. I'm learning so much about myself and the little triggers that throw me off or keep me excited.

So, this last week learned that my habit to give up when things are hard is still quite alive. I learned that going back to my old ways is a total possibility if I don't keep pushing forward. I learned that when I feel myself starting to waiver I need act immediately before I slip another day or meal.

P.s. I love my new weight set. Brianne posted about it here!

Pressing on...


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chicken Fajitas

I've been noticing how many food related posts are popping up on here, but considering how much cooking I'm doing these days it only seems natural that there would be a whole lot of food talk going on. I made chicken fajitas this week to go with the crock pot black beans I had left over. I really loved this meal. It was easy, really flavorful, and so delicious. I usually don't make fajitas at home, not for any particular reason, it's just not something I think of making. That won't be the case anymore. I quickly googled a recipe while I was at the grocery store and came across this Basic Chicken Fajitas Recipe on CHOW.

We had it on warmed corn tortillas with a little guac, cheese, and salsa. Seriously yummy. All 4 of us were raving about them.

The recipe link is above but here is a quick reference if you need it.

Basic Chicken Fajitas by CHOW

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
2 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 1 medium lime
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1/2 inch strips
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 medium bell pepper (any color), cored and sliced into 1/2-inch strips
1 medium onion, halved and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
8 (6-inch) tortillas (corn or flour)
Guacamole, salsa, and cheese, for serving (optional)

Place the cilantro, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of the oil in a  large zip lock bag and mix to combine. Add the chicken and toss to coat with the marinade. Set the chicken aside for at least 10 minutes, or in the refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Heat a grill pan to medium. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, season with salt and pepper, and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom. Flip, season the second side with salt and pepper, and cook undisturbed until browned on the bottom and cooked through. 
Place the vegetables on the grill pan in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil, season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly charred, about 10 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a serving dish. 
Give them a try, I think you'll really enjoy them!