Sunday, January 29, 2012

Week(end) Wrap-Up!

What a busy week!    Good news - I was able to finish 3 of the movie reviews for my directed studies.  I have one more for tonight and those will be done!   Then, I'll move on to book reviews.  Did I mention spring semester starts tomorrow night?   It's all GOOD!

Boot camp was awesome last week.  Monday, we focused on our legs and Wednesday we focused on arms.  Friday was my favorite - CIRCUITS!!     Thursday,  Brandy and I met at 530am for running.  We did run (3min)/walk (1 min) intervals for 2.5 miles - adding our warm-up and cool-down for a full 3 miles. 

Friday evening, I decided to get a headstart on cleaning and tackled the bathrooms, kitchen, and one load of laundry.  Saturday morning, my neighbor caught me off-guard and I agreed to go with her to Aldi.  It is never wise to go shopping without a list.  :)   I got lots of fresh fruits and veggies, but I think we made two more trips out for things I forgot.   Saturday evening, we ate at one of our favorite local sub shops.  Sunday - the usual church and small group in the AM and lazy afternoon.  :)    Tonight, we are grilling kabobs (it's so unseasonably warm here!) with corn on the cob; sauteed mushrooms; and roasted broccoli --- I can't wait!!

How was your week?

Monday, January 23, 2012


Ugh. I'm not a procrastinator really, I'm not.  Am I denial?   LOL

In my 20s, the only thing I procrastinated on was doing housework, keeping laundry caught up, filling my gas tank up when the light came on, and staying organized.  Seriously, that's pretty much all I can remember putting on the back burner.

Then as I approached 30, a certain little fella - super-son came along and suddenly the things listed above weren't quite as optional, but more like priorities!   I became more domesticated and enjoyed making our house a home more than ever before.

In my late 30s,  I returned to school and my family was still a priority.  Now, I find myself procrastinating on school work in the worst possible way.  To my credit, last semester I did stay on top of my senior research paper - I knew it would be impossible to catch up if I fell behind on writing 30 pages.  While staying on top of the paper (and receiving an A by the way),  I managed to put my directed study on the back burner. 

The cool thing about directed studies - you move at your own pace and you get 3 months beyond the semester deadline to finish.  I was determined to enjoy the holidays with my family and "I'll get started on it after the New Year".   Now, it's nearly the end of January and I've just beginning to make a dent in the project!  Spring semester starts next Monday & I really need to get this finished and behind me, so I can move on to my three final classes.

I've said all that to say this... I may be quiet on the blog over the next couple of weeks, but I'm determined to not let the deadlines stress me!

Feel free to check in with me and ask about my progress  :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Well, it's that time again.  Another great weekend is coming to a close!

Friday nights have quite frankly just become my lazy, lounge on the couch and watch TV nights.  :)   And, I'm not going to lie I'm enjoying them. Although, I can't for the life of me remember what I watched - I did spend some time on Pinterest - "pinning" motivational quotes to my Exercise board. 

Saturday - I was super excited (and nervous) to try hot yoga.  I'm glad my friend, Brandy, stepped out with me.  I think we both enjoyed it.  You can read more about that experience here.   Saturday evening, I fixed a taco bar -- salad shells, nachos, ground beef, mexican cheese, light sour cream, shredded lettuce, 100 calorie guacamole, black olives, and taco sauce. Our friend Susan and her son, Landon came over to join us.  The boys played video games while we watched ridiculous "reality TV" -- if you want a good laugh, watch Bayou Billionaires & My Redneck Vacation. 

Sunday - We slept late and missed church/small group.  Lounged around for most of the day and tonight, super-husband and I are going out for "date night" at the Depot at Cody Creek.  Super-son is out of school tomorrow, so he'll be spending sometime with the grandparents.

How was your weekend?

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Hot Yoga

For some time, the idea of hot yoga has intrigued me.  I'm not exactly sure why - I've never taken a yoga class in my life and definitely not hot yoga.   Anyway,  I learned early in the week our local YMCA had just opened a hot yoga studio.  They were offering classes to members and non-members. 

I messaged my friends, Angie & Brandy, to see if they would be interested in joining me for the Saturday 9:30am class.  Brandy jumped on board.  I was really excited because I was too nervous to try it by myself.  Not sure why - I had a fear of getting dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.  Friday, I attempted to hydrate more in prepartion for the class.   I didn't want to hydrate too much this AM, so I ate an orange before I left.

We walked in and found our spot - near the door (LOL).  The instructor was really nice.  I told him it was our first time and expressed my concerns (noted above).  He said the most important thing to remember is breathing - breathe alot.  His other words of advice - 20 minutes into the class we would take water break, so try to take in alot at that time and other times in the class just sip;  modify the poses as we needed but to work on stretching and working with our bodies.   Overall, some great advice.

I enjoyed the class much more than I anticipated.  I liked the heat - yes, it made us sweat (duh).  My clothes were drenched when we left - but to me the heat was also very calming.  I thought it was a little pricey (even members have to pay for the class) - but I would consider doing it once a month. The more active I become, the more I enjoy trying new and different things. 

Have you tried hot yoga?  What did you think?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

25 Random Things About Me...

Ann (over at Twelve in Twelve) posted a getting to know you type post.  Since I had no idea what to write about today - I'm going to post 25 random things about me.  

1. Never say "never"... I said I would never go out with super-husband and look who I married. :o)

2. I've wanted a Honda Accord since my 16th birthday and finally got one (not new, but new to me) in 2011.
3. I thought children with ADHD lacked parenting - until I had a child diagnosed with ADHD. Now, I understand.
4. I've won 3rd place twice at the Dixie Classic Fair for a recipe with Krispy Kreme doughnuts as an ingredient.
5. I thought I would have 2 or 3 kids by now, but God had other plans.
6. I'm a good listener, but I don't always know what to say.
7. I'm a creature of habit - when we go out to eat, my order is always predictable.
8. The best lessons in life - I learned from my parents.
9. Being a mom has been much more of an emotional experience than I ever imagined.
10. I can read a good book in one day -- I can read two good books in a day at the beach.
11. I'm becoming an ATHLETE!  :)
12. I'm much happier working "behind the scenes" than being "in the spotlight".
13. I love my job.
14. I never imagined heart disease would arrive on our doorstep at our age, but I'm thankful super-husband is alive and we can help raise awareness.
15. I loved to play summer softball growing up, but probably couldn't catch a fly ball now!
16. I love a clean house, but have trouble keeping in that way sometimes.
17. I love that super-son declares every Friday night - Family Night.
18. I've always wanted to be a teacher, but let my 10th grade English teacher discourage me.
19. I'm tone deaf and can't carry a tune or play a musical instrument.
20. I wish I had patience for do-it-yourself home improvement projects because I have a wishlist a mile long.
21. I love taking pictures but find scrapbooking overwhelming.
22. I am in the last semester of my return to school (YEAH ME!).
23. I am grateful for my friends and family.
24. I am NOT a girly-girl.
25. Exercise is allowing me to become stronger physically & mentally.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Weekly Menu

Monday -- Homemade Veggie Soup (from my momma!) -- doesn't get any better than that   :)   I was hoping to add a grilled cheese, but super-son ate all the cheese!   I opted for 4 peanut butter crackers instead.  Mom's soup is super thick because it is FULL of vegetables (tomatoes, corn; okra; mushrooms; peas; greenbeans) & I love chunky soup because there is no need to add crackers!!

Tuesday -- Meatloaf Muffins;  green beans;  potatoes

Wednesday -- Spinach Artichoke Bake and a side salad or fruit

Thursday -- Chicken & Vegetable Stir-Fry with Brown Rice

Friday -- We will likely have leftovers to carry forward   :)  If not, pizza... have I mentioned how much I love Palermo thin crust?   You can't beat the calories per serving in that pizza!!!

Saturday -- Taco Bar (for salads, nachos, or tacos)

Sunday -- Date Night  :)

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up...

Wow!  The weekend just flies by - AGAIN!

Friday evening, I was really lazy - there was so much I should have been doing, but I did absolutely NONE of it.  I watched HGTV, HGTV and more HGTV!

I knew Saturday was going to be busy, and it did not disappoint.  LOL  Since it is the only day of the week I am able to "sleep-in",  I did just that.  I got the day started around 9am.  :)   We started by working on chores - cleaning and laundry and I tackled errands afterwards.   I was hoping to squeeze a 30 minute run in when I got back home, but that didn't happen.  As a thank-you to some friends who helped out baby-sitting super-son,  we hosted dinner for them.   I kept the menu relatively simple -- salad & potato bar.  We ended the evening with a birthday cake for my friend, Angie and playing the game, Logo.

Sunday morning, we headed out for church/small group.  I had agreed to host a Just Jewelry party for my friend, Angie, in the afternoon.  So after church, I was making sure the house was in order and preparing a few snacks for the party -- apples with low-fat caramel dip & hawaiian dip;  chicken clubhouse squares (I tried to modify the recipe); and chips/salsa. 

Now, it's Sunday evening (did I mention I took a 2 hour nap at 5p - UGH!!!).  I am really behind on some assignments for a directed study for school.  I NEED to get it finished within the next week and a half, but I find myself procrastinating on it.   I'm off tomorrow for MLK day, but I'll be up early for boot camp. 

How was your weekend?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


So the coolest part of the Mission-Fit 12 week challenge is the awesome, encouraging, and informational emails we get each day.   Earlier this week, we received an email on goal-setting and today's email was about road races.   Wow!   Is this a big secret with all her emails directed toward me?

After reading and reflecting on the emails this week,  I decided to verbalize my goals for 2012.
  • 12 races in 2012
  • 10K race in fall 2012
  • continue boot camp on M-W-F
  • increase race endurance & decrease time
I emailed our boot camp instructor with lots of random thoughts and she is helping me come up with a realistic plan.  She totally "gets" me and I love that.   Even cooler, I was talking with a friend (who does boot camp too) and she is totally on board with me.  After I get the specifics, my plan is to add an extra early AM (either T or Th) and then a run on the weekend. 

Super excited, so much so that I am probably going to make a cheesy goal poster over the weekend!
Do you keep your goals internal or have you shared them? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The perfect lunch...

Every Wednesday afternoon, we have a weekly staff meeting.  Occassionally, this proves to be a challenge for me because there are always snacks and/or candy.   I usually eat lunch before we go into the meeting, but today I opted to eat lunch while in the meeting.  

I prepared a salad this morning, so there was no trying to figure out "what's for lunch".   Again - planning & I promise a post on that later this week.  :)

It was a really simple salad and easy to throw together. 

2 cups bagged spinach
3/4 c. sliced strawberries
1/4 c. blueberries
1/4 c. sliced almonds
2 TBS Annie's Light Raspberry Vinaigrette

I'm sure it would taste even yummier when strawberries are in season.  I was lucky to find the blueberries & strawberries at Aldi over the weekend & they were actually quite tasty!  I put the spinach in a large container  & packed the strawberries, blueberries, and almonds in snack bags.   Super easy!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Did you say pizza?

As a matter of fact, I did mention pizza in yesterday's post.  One of my friend's questioned why in the world I would eat a slice of pizza and a piece of ice cream cake.  This may or may not be what you want to read - but it is what it is.

First of all, this journey is about me and only me.  It's about my trek to a healthier lifestyle.  Is pizza healthy?   Well in moderation, I think it is.  Please remember I didn't start this journey on January 1, 2012.  I've been working on this for the past 12-15 months.  To me, my lifestyle change is about LIVING!   Personally, I can't live the rest of my life eating (or drinking) meal replacements;  eliminating carbs;  or exercising 5 hours a day in the gym.

My lifestyle is about...
  • tracking my calories daily
  • enjoying the journey
  • exercising at minimum 3 times per week
  • celebrating life
  • encouraging others
  • focusing on the healthy food pyramid
One reason, I was able to allow for the high calorie lunch is because I off-set the lunch with a low-calorie breakfast and dinner and I'm totally okay with that.   I'll talk about planning later this week. 

That's my two cents, you can agree or disagree.  :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weekend Wrap-Up

I don't know about you, but our weekend flew by!

Saturday morning started early for me - never fails you are snoozing well & it's one of those "get up early" Saturdays!   I had registered to take a CLEP exam.  I don't need the specific course credit, but I was hoping to gain an elective credit.  I took one last August and was able to score an elective credit.  Ohhh, did I mention it saved me $1,100 in tuition too?  Anyway, the exam was scheduled to begin at 8am.  We signed in and were given our workstation assignments.  I logged in and started the required tutorial & the system went down.  The test administrator did something and we were up and running again & then, yes, you guessed it - the computer went down AGAIN (and yet one more time too).  Fourth time must have been the charm because I was able to sail through after that.  In order to have the credit transferred onto my transcript as an elective credit,  I needed to score 50 points, I scored 48.  *boo, hiss*   I'd like to use all the computer snafus as excuses, but it is what it is & I'll need to pick up a directed study for spring semester.  UGH! 

Note to self: suck it up & move on!

After the exam, I came home picked up the fellas and it was out the door to our nephew's 9th birthday party.  It was a bowling party and super-husband & super-son had a splendid time.  I sneaked away to pick-up groceries, but still got to see them bowl two games.  And, I enjoyed a slice of cheese pizza and a slice of ice cream cake.  We got home around 4pm. I felt like I hadn't been home all day - oh wait, I hadn't!  Later in the evening, a friend we hadn't seen in awhile dropped by with her son.  It was fun to catch up and laugh about "old" times!  

Then, it was Sunday -- church/small group & a nap!  It seems like a blinked and the Monday morning alarm was singing 4:50am!   The 12 week weight-loss challenge started with boot camp today.  There are two GREAT prizes -- most pounds lost will win $400. & highest percentage of weight loss will win a free year of boot camp.  OH YEAH!!!

How was your weekend?

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's 6pm and ...

Do you find yourself stumbling around the kitchen, staring into the cabinets, wondering what could possibly be dinner tonight?  I have the same probably occasionally.  However, sometimes I think it's simply we can't see the forest for the trees.  Below are some quick and easy dinner ideas...

  • Saute, stir-fry, or grill chicken breasts & add a dash of low-sodium soy sauce (or teriyaki sauce) serve with brown rice and steamed (or stir-fry) vegetables.
  • Baked center cut, boneless pork chops.   You can fix these a variety of ways -- coat with egg whites or honey mustard & then add panko crumbs.  Occassionally, I will use the egg whites and then a mixture of panko crumbs, Italian seasoning & parmesan cheese.   Panko crumbs are the absolute best coating.   I recommend baking them on a wire rack on top of cookie sheet.   Serve with brown rice and applesauce  OR whole wheat noodles with Smart Balance and dash of parmesan cheese & a side of sweet peas.
  • 93/7 hamburger patties - grilled (which is why I love my grill pan - we can grill year round!) -- add a slice of Swiss & a TBS of canned mushrooms (or toppings of your choice) and serve with baked fries (thinly sliced potato - sprayed with Olive Oil PAM and sprinkled with seasoning salt)
  • Crustless spinach quiche (I modified this recipe) and fruit ... Breakfast isn't just for mornings! :)
  • Chicken Pitas -- Take a bag of Light Casear Salad (bagged mix) & add cooked, cubed chicken.  Mix together well & stuff into pitas.
These are just a few quick and easy ideas for dinner!  Do you have a favorite "go-to" meal?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Excuses, excuses...

Excuses... I've used them before... it's too hot, it's too cold, I'm too tired, I have too much to do, my workout clothes are dirty,  etc.   However, I can say for the past 15 months - I've kept the excuses on the shelf.   I've been consistent with three workouts a week - snow, ice, heat and humidity didn't stop me (but they probably slowed me down!).  So, why do I do it?

I evaluated the things that motivate me and my reasons "why" ...
  • Family. I talked briefly about my husband's heart disease here, not only was it a huge shock and scare - it was a motivator for me.   I want to be healthy and ALIVE for my family!
  • Health.  I guess this goes with my first motivator - family, but I really do want to be fit and healthy.  I want to be an ATHLETE.  PS - It was great to go to my annual physical and see a 14 lb. loss and get an A++ from my doctor.
  • Self-esteem.  This is one area I can definitely see an improvment - I feel good about myself & I'm more confident.  It's great to get compliments too!
When I started exercising, I felt like I needed someone to go with me or be with me.  I'm extremely grateful my friend, Angie, was willing to get up EARLY and go with me those first few months. I really feel like I would have thrown in the towel had she not stuck it out with me.  Now, I realize this journey is about me and my goals.  It tooks alot of guts for me to try boot camp -- walking into it - not knowing anyone, but I quickly realized we are all on a similar journey.  While I may not "know" them, they were (and are) extremely encouraging and motivating to me.

I guess the bottom line is ... if the journey isn't about YOU or what motivates YOU, then you are doing it for the wrong reason and that is when we start making the excuses.  You may disagree with me and think that sounds selfish - but in the end you have nothing to prove to anyone but yourself.  Set your goals and then reach for the stars!

What motivates you?
Why do you exercise?

Click over to Twelve in Twelve,  Ann wrote a great self-reflection about what the RunStreak challenge taught her.  I think self-reflection and re-evaluating your goals is a GREAT source of motivation and success as well.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Food bite!

One of the many changes people wish to make in the New Year is in their eathing habits.  I've climbed on that wagon so many times in the past - I lost count.  I had lost some weight in 2008 with the help of Weight Watchers.  I stayed fairly focused until spring 2009 and then allowed stress to take control. 

However in October 2010, I really began to work hard to adopt a healthy lifestyle.  Hopefully, you've already come to the realization that their is no magic pill.  Unfortunately, there are lots of fad diets, pills, and other techniques claiming to be the best way to lose weight.  I imagine most of them can help you lose weight, but as soon as you stop the program, pill, or technique - it's highly likely you will gain the weight back.

Here are a few tips that have helped me over the past 15 months... 

  1. Surround yourself with people who will support you.   Personally, I think this is one of the strengths of the Weight Watchers program.   Whether you do the program online or by going to meetings, you can find other people who will help encourage and guide you.   I'm extremely fortunate to have  strong support from my family.
  2. Measuring cups & spoons and a food scale are your friend.   Think of it like this -- it is hard to keep track of a checkbook in your head  & it's hard to eyeball food measurements too!   I use my measuring cups and spoons every single day.   For Christmas, I got a food scale  & I love it!  The food scale is very easy to use and a minimal investment for your journey.
  3. Stock your fridge with good food & you will eat good food.   I'm the primary grocery shopper in our household, so I have fairly good control of what comes in the house.  I avoid buying "junk".   Stock up on fruits and veggies.  Try new things - once I discovered hummus, I wondered where it had been all my life.  :)   The photo above is a great idea for stocking a snack container in your fridge.
  4. Try new recipes!  There are lots of great websites to get ideas for low-calorie cooking -- here are some of my favorites...
  5. If it's not working for you, don't quit - RE-EVALUATE!   When Weight Watchers changed their program last year,  I struggled for quite a few months - yo-yoing.  I don't know if it was the new plan or just my body.  In late October, I cancelled Weight Watchers and switched over to My Fitness Pal.  I'm still able to log all my food & exercise online.  For now, this seems to be working much better for me (and it's FREE!).
Later, this week - I'll share some healthy meal ideas!
What is the key to winning the war on food for you?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What a difference a year makes!

New tread on the left / Flat tread on the right
The new year brings crowded gyms and people hoping to become more fit and healthy in 2012!   In 2011, this is something I definitely worked at consistently.  I received my 3rd pair of Saucony Ride 4's for Christmas this year - I've averaged a one pair per year since 2009.  As recommended by Fleet Feet, I use these for exercise and exercise only.  I snapped this picture of the old & new pair as motivation for me to continue pressing ahead in the New Year.  As you can tell, the old pair is completely flat - I didn't realize how much I worn the tread down until I compared them with the new pair. 

Too often, we continue to view ourselves the "old" way too -- instead of celebrating the small accomplishments we've made.  My run pace may still be slow - but it beats my old routine of sitting on the couch.  Take time in the new year to compliment yourself - each day there is something to celebrate.   Maybe you stuck to your plan of eating your packed lunch instead of joining our co-workers for lunch out  or maybe you did "blow it" from a calorie stand-point BUT at least you tracked those calories!  

What are you celebrating today?

If you are starting a new fitness routine, please consult with your doctor.  :)
And, I recommend being properly fitted for a pair of exercise shoes.  You can read my posts on getting started and being fitted.

Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions & a Money Saving Tip

I'm not saying you should or shouldn't make resolutions, but I found the top 5 resolutions for 2012 interesting
  1. Be financially-savy
  2. Read at least 1 book per month
  3. Eat properly
  4. Get enough sleep
  5. Keep a journal of awesome moments (source: wikipedia)
I would guess that most people's resolutions revolve around self-improvment in some way (diet, exercise, financial health, being a better person).   Personally, I'm not making any resolutions this year.  Instead of using the New Year as a dawning of "new" resolutions -- I want to make each day fresh and new!   Living my best each and every day... when I "fall off the wagon",  I won't wait until the New Year.  I'll dust myself off and move ahead the next day.

Since it is the New Year and folks are perhaps being more frugal this year, I'll share a Money Saving Tip!   I am not a coffee drinker, so I wasn't one of those folks who asked for a Keurig for Christmas.  :)   However,  I do love some speciality drinks - hot chocolate, chai tea latte, and frappuccinos.  I love some Starbuck's but I always feel guilty spending the money on a beverage that I could make at home.  For Christmas, I usually request a Starbuck's gift card & treat myself on Friday mornings.  This usually lasts me until around March and then the card is without money!    Over the weekend, I found a way to stretch the money & save some calories!  

Instead of ordering a Grande Chia Tea Latte - with skim milk (over 200 calories & close to $4.00),  I can order a kid's hot chocolate (with skim milk & no whip) (130 calories and under $2.00).  The hot chocolate doesn't come out piping hot (yeah) and it's nearly half the cost of my usual order.   The kid's hot chocolate was just enough to fill me up and satisfy my sweet tooth. 

Do you have a money-saving tip to share?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year & Race Results

Cheers to the New Year - "Running of the Lights" 1.01.2012
As I mentioned yesterday, our family participated in a local 5.5K at midnight to ring in the New Year.

I'm not sure why it was a 5.5K this year - the only think I noticed that was different was the start/finish line was moved.  I finished in 46:15 - I ran more & when I stopped to walk - I tried to keep a brisk pace & I would do more running (usually I get mentally defeated after I take a walk break and never pick back up with running again).  There was a tough steady incline (that's a nice way of saying HUGE hill) on the back stretch & it slowed me down a bit. I felt strong and my breathing felt really good - just need to work through the "mental" of thinking I need to slow down and walk - when I should just press ahead.  Overall, I'm really happy with where I finished and how I felt throughout the race.

So today, I celebrate:
1.01.11 - Running of the Lights 5K - 53.25
1.01.12 - Running of the Lights 5.5K - 46:15
My best 5K time - Crystal Coast 5K - March 2011 - 45:19

And, congrats to my friend, Sally, who did this virtually with me (via her treadmill!).

PS - If you are reading my blog and thinking "man, that's slow" - then you probably don't need to be reading my blog.  :)    Just remember, I'm still lapping the people who are sitting on the couch.