Monday, February 25, 2013

Hold onto your hat!!!

Are you ready for this?!??!

My tree and decorations are put away!!

I spent parts of Friday, Saturday and Sunday taking things down and put away.
It wasn't emotionally easy and I cried several times.... especially when it came time to put away the carousel that I have of hers.... but I made it. It's all done. Life in our house is returning to normal, so it seems.
I still have classroom junk (lower left of the picture) in my living room that I've not gotten to yet,
but I'll get to it... eventually.

In other news... We spent time with grandma's side family over the weekend. We had lunch and then visited for a few hours. It's always nice to be with family. There's three kiddos all about four months apart in that side and they're growing up so fast! One of cousin's little girls really took a liking to me (that's a phrase Grandma would use!) and I loved every minute of it. I took her on walks through the restaurant to play and it just made me that much more excited for the niece coming this summer!

During the afternoon.... someone noticed this outside the window..
It stayed for a long time.
Many of us have been seeing Cardinals since Grandma passed away...
so I think she just wanted to visit that day, too. 

As for me and the new eating plans... things are going well! I've been eating salads, greek yogurt, whole wheat bagel thins, grilled chicken and mixed vegetables. Last night we had grilled chicken on the George Foreman with Mrs. Dash on it, mixed veggies with dip, and baked potato slices.It was pretty good.

I've decided that I'm eating "clean-ish." I still like ranch dressing and BBQ sauce, cheese and salt, lunch meat and some junk every once in a while... but I'm adding so much more to my diet to make it more balanced....and I'm following my rule of moderation better. I've made it almost two weeks with a treat tea (still occassionally with meals). 

I just keep remembering: You cannot out-exercise a bad diet!

I cleaned out the cabinets...

and really realized how much junk we have around here. Luckily, some of it was expired, some I gave to Cam to eat without me (lunch and what-not) and others I made plans to eat soon to get out of cabinets, but with other choices added with it. I cannot afford to clean out all the junk and start over, but I can make healthier choices with what I have---by mixing in veggies or changes the plans for how to use it.

I spent last night on Pinterest finding more "eating clean-ish" recipes and meal ideas.... 
In the near future, I want to try:
Quinoa Crusted Chicken
Chicken Veggie Wraps
Turkey and Spinach Meatballs
Chicken and brocolli alfredo
Homemade Hamburger Helper
Cheesey Quinoa
Cheesey Cauliflower
Buffalo Cauliflower
Grilled Asparagus
Veggie Pasta Salad with Mozzarela
Mashed Cauliflower
Cauliflower breadsticks and pizza crust
Zucchini Pumpkin Bread
Fruit Salad
Banana Slices with Cinnamon and Honey
Banana Oat Muffins
Veggie Muffins
Oatmeal Pumpkin Muffins
Protein Shakes

Confession---- I have no idea where to find Quinoa or what it tastes like, but I'm willing to take a chance..

Here's one frustration that I've found with all of this----  you can find coupons galore for all the JUNK in the world.... but where's a coupon for bananas, oatmeal or spinach!?!? No where. exactly. I've found a few for soy milks or greek yogurts, but neither have been on what I use.... and that's only two things that I've started using. More coupons on good food would be nice!

*****Unfortunately, Pinterest changed its format and the embedded pins will no longer appear*****
Here's some pins I found while doing my searching and pinning... Isn't Pinterest just the best?!?

Source: via Krista on Pinterest
And this is one of my favorite sites so far:
Ok... Any of you clean eaters??? What tips do you have for a newbie??
Any healthy recipes anyone wants to share for this poor girl that's learning to cook??
Have a great Monday! I'm heading out for a run and then Zumba later!
Until Next Time!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Breaking News...

Hey Hey Hey! It's February 21 and I have some huge news.....Are you ready for this????

My Christmas decorations are finally being taken down!!! (Did you think that I was going to tell you we were having a baby??? haha...fooled ya! No baby here! I need a job first!)  I was off work today and after a rather lazy morning filled with Pinterest and blogs... I attacked my house and the mess of what was still left of Christmas... It's no where close to being done, but it's getting there. The tree is still standing, covered in lights, and there's miscellaneous junk all over the floor that will need to find a home again.... but it's getting closer to being done! It's not my normal packing style, but I'm so over it this year that I don't care. I usually inventory all of my boxes---sorted by color and labeled with the list of contents.... This year, it's just getting stuffed in boxes, mixed with other colors and it's all lucky to be in a container. I'm so over it. I'm ready to start living in the present.

Speaking of which, this week, I've felt the most like myself than I have in the last 6 weeks. I dream of grandma frequently, have short outbursts of crying many times a week, and miss her every day....but I'm starting to feel human again. I'm not having to fix the tense of my sentences about her as much any more... The past tense comes out more fluently now....  And I finally bought and put up a 2013 calendar. It's not much easier on my heart yet, but my head is accepting it better. When we are together as a family, there's just a piece missing. A huge piece. Our rock.....but now she's our angel. :)

In other news, I've been trying to clean up our diet, after reading and studying about eating clean, I've decided that going completely clean is not going to be realistic to our lifestyles right now. I don't know how to cook, we aren't completely fond of many vegetables, we don't get to eat dinner together much because of Cam's work schedule, and we enjoy some take out occassionally.... BUT....eating better is definitely going to happen! I studied some more before my first "eating clean" grocery shopping trip and had some what of a game plan. I want to make subtle changes to our diet, a little at a time, so that we adjust to it gradual instead of doing it for a week, hating it and giving up on it.... I plan to try a few different things a week, to be budget friendly.

I bought skinless/boness chicken (this is the kind of chicken we already bought, I just got more of it), multigrain tortilla chips, lettuce, mixed raw veggies, soft wraps, turkey, Mrs. Dash original, Cajun chicken, bananas, Greek yogurt, and spray olive oil.   Nothing boxed, nothing too processed (I know, lunch meat isn't that good for you...) and nothing that's made in the microwave. I also bought Vanilla Silk (SO much better than Original---not sure why it's not in the picture??) and a jar of salsa....(the bag ripped as I was getting it out of the car and the jar broke....but it has been replaced!)

That night, I had a chicken, bacon, ranch wrap with cheese and lettuce (see, small changes... I still want bacon, lettuce and ranch, so I did it in small quantities) with raw veggies for my dinner. It's confirmed that I hate brocolli as much as I thought I did.... It tastes like I'm eating a leaf, even with ranch to dip it in. Not sure I'll learn to love that one....

Today, I had a salad with cajun chicken mixed into it and greek yogurt. I had Oikos Traditional Strawberry.....and it's actually very good. I'm picky about yogurt and usually only eat the custard style, but this is the consistency of pudding with just tiny chunks of fruit, so I can handle it.

A few changes that I'm looking at making are: mixing veggies into dishes like mac & cheese, pasta, meatloaf, Hamburger Helper (call us crazy, but we could live on that stuff!), making some smoothies with veggies mixed in, eating some stir fry meals, making our own hamburger helper instead of store bought, utilizing our George Foreman grill to grill some foods like asparagus and chicken, and trying foods like mashed cauliflower or cauliflower crust pizza... Like I said, I'm looking for little changes to make the transition.

Here's another big one--- I haven't made a special trip to McD's for a tea since last Tuesday! I've had tea with meals, but not just to treat myself... and ya know what....I'm surviving!  I'm investing the money that I'm saving from not getting a tea every day into going to Zumba once a week!

I hope your week is going well and you're not getting the ice like we are here in the midwest!
Until Next Time...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Fitness and Food Funnies

Oh, Pinterest.... You  make me laugh...

*****Unfortunately, due to a new format, previous pins will no longer appear*****

Source: via Lisa on Pinterest

Source: via Toni on Pinterest

What fitness and food funnies have you found???

Monday, February 18, 2013

Eating Clean...

It's no lie that eating right is the hardest part for me to live a better life. I love breaking a sweat, I love running long distances and I love feeling more muscle on my body.....but I also love chocolate, and sugar, and everything sweet and yummy....and cheap. We live on a very minimalistic income... we're basically a one-income household trying to get by month to month with huge bills that we weren't expecting (oil leaks in my car, leaky roof, water lines bust in our yard...the list could go on and on... we can never get ahead... also treading water) ANYWAY.... The point is, we have to watch what money we spend....and sometimes, getting a $3 dinner from McDonalds' dollar menu sounds better because it's cheaper than buying the ingredients to make a dinner....  I know fast food isn't healthy, and we don't eat it all the time, but we are so guilty of not eating right pretty often.....

but then I read this today...
And it hit me like a ton of bricks.... 
I eat the cheapest crap on the menu....always, just because I feel as though we cannot afford the higher priced items....

So I've been researching how to eat clean and I found these ten things:

1. Cut back on alcohol.
Easy. I don't drink.

2. Cut back on sugar.
On average, Americans consume 475 extra calories every day from the added sugars we eat. One of the biggest contibuters: processed foods. We should skip the sweet stuff and head straight to the fruit. 

3. Cut down on salt.
One idea to cut back: Try eating out less and cooking more at home using fresh ingredients instead. And try boosting flavor with herbs and spices rather than salt.
I add salt to potatoes and not much else. I like salt, but I don't have to white cap my food, so that's good. I'd like to learn more about spices to help the flavor of food that I cook.

4.  Cut down on saturated fats.
Saturated fat—the kind of fat that’s found in whole milk, cheese, butter and meat—raises your “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can damage arteries. One idea to cut back: Avoid animal fats and swap them for healthier unsaturated fats from plant foods like nuts, avocados and olive oil.
I love cheese and milk... This is going to be hard to change...but I'm willing to try. I found out recently that I could possibly have a milk allergy that causes a skin rash on my arms... so I should try to cut it out more anyway.

5. Cut down on refrined grains.
Refined grains—white flour, white rice—are stripped of beneficial fiber, vitamins and minerals. So while they add calories, they’re not really providing much in the way of nutrients. And since they’re low in fiber, they’re less satisfying than whole grains. One idea to cut back: Check the ingredient list and make sure the word “whole” describes the grains in the product—if it just says “wheat flour,” for example, that’s not whole-wheat, so make another choice.
We do it 'whole grain pasta' at our house, so that's one healthy switch we've made! We also eat "whole wheat bread."

6. Cut out processed foods.
We shouldn't be eating anything with loads of ingredients. One idea to cut back: Go through your cabinets and see which of your foods come in boxes and think of alternatives. Two ideas to get started: Swap crackers or chips for crunchy veggies, and if you rely on prepared meals like mac and cheese or canned soup, find an easy recipe to make your favorites from scratch.
This is where I get into the most trouble. I don't know how to cook... at all.... so box meals like hamburget helped, mac and cheese or soups are sometimes my life saver. I know that they are full of sodiums, MSGs and other bad chemicals, so I have to learn to cook. I do own cook books and of course, I have a ton of Pinterest recipes... I just need to learn what I'm doing to make them taste good!

7. Eat for Fruits and Vegetables
One idea to get more: When figuring out what to make for dinner, make vegetables the main event—start with the vegetables you have on hand or what looks good to you at the market. From there, figure out what else (protein, starch) would go well with it.
I need to learn to like the taste of vegetables... My momma says that I didn't even like them as a baby, but I need to make myself eat more of them. I eat them raw, but do not like the taste of them warmed/cooked. I've never experimented with many vegetables, but need to take a chance!

8. Drink more water.
I order water often at meals and haven't had soda/pop/soda pop since January 2005. Tea is my weakness, but I've cut back on that as well!

9. Drink Green Tea.
Suggestion: Swap one of your cups of coffee for green tea.
I don't know about this one. I don't like warm beverages all that much and green tea has never been something that I enjoyed drinking......

10. Eat more whole grains.
One idea to get more: Try eating one new-to-you grain, such as quinoa or wild rice, each week.
I need to buy and try more grains. Rice is not something I eat--- it's a texture thing, but I could find others that I like.

Source: Eating Well

Okay.. those these ten tips are super helpful, but still not easy for a one income household.... Then I found THIS.... Doesn't that go right along with that thing way up there.... (eating stuff that only cost a dollar.) There are 'good for you' foods that are cheap. No, it's not a whole meal, but they can be added to a meal or eaten as a snack instead of "three chocolate chip cookies" that I'm guilty of getting after a bad day of work. And.. another thing--- if we don't spend our money on junk like candy, pre-packaged snacks, quick processed foods, etc.... then we have more money for the pricier fruits and vegetables... and workout classes! (I've cut out my $1 sweet teas every day to pay for my Zumba class every week.... I think it's a pretty good swap.)

I guess like all things in life, I've created a habit of eating junk... I have to override that habit and make new ones! I have to fight against the habits (yet again) of the midwest... We are so used to greasy food, vegetables covered in oils and junk, and chocolately desserts.... But I cannot do it any longer...
How many of you eat clean? What are your favorite dishes or snacks?? Any tips for the newbie??
HELP! I'm new to this!

Ok... do you feel like this post went in about 1000 directions? Me too. I'm sorry!
Thanks for making it to the end!
Be sure to comment with your suggestions!
Until Next Time...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Hidy Ho!

Hello all! It's 11:45 and I'm still in my sweats, hair in a bun, cup of milk beside me.... so that must mean one thing---- I'm off work... The twelve week maternity leave has come to an end... I said good-bye to my kinders yesterday with a little party. I brought in cookies, popcorn and kool-aid jammers (totally healthy, I know!) and they watched a little movie.... I only shed a few tears, but I'm going to miss them (and the school staff) so much!

The staff had flowers delivered to me:
Aren't they beautiful!!??!?! I love pink!   The staff really did a great job of making me feel welcome and appreciated. I was told many times that I did a great job and will be missed.... That made me feel good. : )  Transitioning from school to school, class to class is tough, so being acknowledged for a job well done is nice. The staff also made me a banner and hung it in the lounge for our pitch-in food day, too. It was sweet!

Let's see.... what else is going on??? Oh, that's right.... I'M GETTING A NIECE!   I love my little Karty Man so much....but he doesn't let me put bows and frills on him ;) well, not anymore... haha.... So, a girl is going to be so different!!  The tutus, the bows, the flowers, the lace, the frill, the poof! Let the crafting begin!!!! My momma and I have already planned a shopping trip to get started!!  Baby Girl should be here shortly after the Fourth of July!


Karter is growing up so quickly... He asked to talk to me on the phone the other night and almost an hour later, we were still going! :) He's amazing and super excited about being a big brother.... Since Cam and I still aren't in the financial situation for a family of our own right now, we have to enjoy the nephew and NIECE. Cam refers to Karter spending the night at our house as us "renting" him.

On Friday, the family met up at a chinese place for dinner before Cam and I headed to the IU game.

Saturday, Cam and I met up with some friends in Kentucky (wish we lived closer! It's a long drive down there....) and spent the day shopping---- and eating! We went to a chicken place, BBQ place and Orange Leaf for ice cream! Our bellies were stuffed! I got fitted for new running shoes (Mizunos), went to two malls, spent about 2 hours in Forever 21 (only bought 3 shirts to run in though-- that store is overwhelminng every time I go in!), had to stop at Best Buy of course, and did some daydreaming of the day when we can afford to decorate our home...

Fleet Feet is an AWESOME place!
Check it out!

Our family got together on Sunday for dinner. During my whole childhood, we met every Sunday evening at grandma and grandpa's house for dinner. We'd eat, visit, the kids would play and we'd say our goodbyes until next week. Our lives are so busy that we cannot do it every week anymore, but we are trying to get together at least once a month for now. It's tough that grandma isn't there, but she's the reason we are getting together :) Family is important. We are so excited to watch these babies grow up!

This week has been crazy busy with trying to wrap up the maternity leave, getting my car in the shop for an oil leak and trying to fit in time for fitness in my life! It's all about making the time. Last night, some girl friends and I Zumbaed! (that is totally the past tense of that word, right??!?) It was a rough reminder that we have to switch up what we were doing to keep all muscle groups engaged and confused. My buns and love handles are burning today! I may be able to run long distances, but an hour of Zumba kicked my booty! I loved it though. As a dancer through childhood, it was nice to get to "bust a move" again! I even stopped by the old dance studio next door for a 10 second visit with my old dance instructor :) Loved it!    Our friend is getting married on June 1 and are trying to look our best for the bridesmaid dresses... Bridesmaid BootCamp is in full swing! We meet several nights a week to TurboJam or walk and now we are mixing in some Zumba!

Speaking of bridesmaid dresses..... How amazing would this be to run in so that I don't get tan lines!!
Source: via Krista on Pinterest

How do you all keep from the massive racerback lines for the summer?? Ever spray tanned them away?!?! I'm going to need something. By the first week of June last year, I had the worst tan lines of my life. I have to figure something out so that I don't look like I'm wearing a white tank under my bridesmaid dress!

How have you spent your week?? Work? Family? Friends? Exercising??    Remember to do something good for yourself this week. Make the time. If there's time to Facebook, Tweet or Instagram, there's time to workout :)

I'm off to clean my house (I guess it's about time....)
Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's been a month??

How? How on Earth has it already been a month without the amazing woman I got the honor of calling Grandma?? I cannot believe that Friday marked one month.  I think of her every day...many times a day..... .....but I still don't cry much.  I still feel dazed... I still feel like a piece of me is missing, but will return soon. I'm having a hard time accepting that it is for real.... not a dream, not a short break that will be over soon... It's real. It's life.

I've thought of many things that I wish I could ask her.... I think of the tough times she went through, of the parts of my life she won't be there for and how I will explain my grandparents to my own children some day. The toughest part for me is having that overwhelming feeling when I realize she won't be at family get-togethers. Dinners, parties, holiday events, reunions..... That's the toughest. Even in the short month, we've been together and planned a few family things and I immediately start thinking if there are steps leading to the door, how far is it for her to get to a restroom and what will the weather be like.... but it's all irrelevant now. That part of my life is missing.

On Thursday, I gave my students the writing prompt "I love..." One student came up to me and asked if he could write that he loved his grandpa even though he passed away. My eyes filled with tears while I looked at this five year old that understood life so well. It doesn't matter that they're gone.... We still love them. I shook my head and told him, "Absolutely!" We talked a bit more and I said, "Remember when I was gone for a few days last month? My grandma passed away and I had to take a few days off. I miss her every day, but I still love her." He got a grin on his face and said, "And I still love my grandpa." 

As much as my heart aches every day and my brain is trying to grasp the reality of everything, I know that I got 24 years with the most caring and compassionate woman that I will ever meet. I love her : )

Have a good Sunday... I'll be spending the evening at one of my grandma and grandpa's favorite places.... around a dinner table with family, making memories :)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A broke girl's favorite beauty stuff...

I blogged before about how I am not fashionable in any sense of the word.... I'm not. I don't know much about clothing, makeup or hair.... but I know that a lot of stuff that I find to help in those areas are out of my price range... I have to find stuff to make me feel good about myself in stores like Wal-Mart or Target, on poor girl budget...

This is just a broke girl's opinion of good beauty products...
Tryin' to look good on a budget...

NYC lengthening mascara--- super cheap but I like it.
I like it better than some of the $7-$15 tubes!

ELF Eyelide Primer--- it's about $3 at Target and I love it.
It might even be better than Bare Minerals' 'well rested' powder that I can't afford.

Maybelline New York Fit Me Concealer--- This was about $6 at Wal-Mart and it covers dark undereyes really well!

Rimmel London--- 002 Smokey  Brun    This is the set for the perfect brown smokey eye!
 It's only $3 or so. I have the purple set as well, but I don't like it as much. 

Remington hair straightener....
I can go to bed with wet hair (my hair curls and waves when it dries naturally), and have perfectly straight hair within 7 minutes in the morning.
It also will do curls like a Chi.

Dove Amplifier Mousse--- I can't afford Aquage or whatever, so this is my broke girl verson.
The bottle says to apply it to the hands and work it in, but I apply it straight to the scalp, work it on and then blow dry. It creates so much lift at the root!

Suave Dry Shampoo--- I love this stuff! It helps me go three+ days without shampooing. Don't judge! :)

Salon Grafix Hair Spray--- This is better than Aqua Net, which used to be my favorite.

Teasing Pick--- enough said :)

So to all you poor girls like me.... what are your favorite beauty products??
Until Next Time...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Fun Finds....

Last weekend, I was out and about in the 'big city' and found some fun stuff... thought I'd share...

awwww. I wish the heart was a prettier shape... Pretty cute!

Why did I not find this 3 years ago!!?!

Charger.... Would I be able to use this the way it's supposed to be used or would it just be dead all the time too??

Random, but doesn't every one need a karaoke machine?!?!

KFC has nugget thingies again... Not like what they had 20 years ago, but decent...

$3... Would this not be adorable painted black and filled with fake eggs in a kitchen?!?!

$1 desk organizer... matches my office, but I passed on it.
Trying to watch how much I buy "just because it was only a dollar!"

Super cute and retro feeling. Rock it with some red accents!

This just screams, "wear me with cowboy boots!" in my opinion.
Love it!

Horrible pic.. I know.
I was trying not to be "potential shoplifter in ladies wear."
Anyway.....Palazzo pants are coming back!
I'm pretty excited about this if I can find someone to teach me what to wear them with.
I think all shoes would just look weird with these pants...
What DO you wear with them?!?!

I loved this lamp. It just looks so simple and masculine.

Is this not the complete truth!

What fun stuff have you found??? Any good Target finds to share??!!?

Good finds at a store other than Target?

Until Next Time..