Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pictures....What Pictures???

I need to become better friends with my camera.  I try to take pictures - but honestly I think most of the times I'm a big fail when it comes down to capturing great photos.  Case in point - trying to pull pictures together for our annual Christmas card.

I searched through all of the downloaded photos I have of our family for the past year ---- and what sort of great family photos do we have?  None.  Zero.  Nada.  Fail.  We ended up taking our family photo in front of our tree this year - and we used the timer on the camera to do it.  I'm sure there were MANY times over the past year where we were dressed up and could have had at least 1 other picture taken together (like a birthday party - or a family event, but nope.  Not a single one).

I also looked back over my daughter's birthday party pictures ---- and I'm not very happy with myself about those either.  I really should have STOPPED and taken the few minutes to take a picture of the group of lovely little girls that attended their parties ---- and probably a picture with each little girl and my daughter(s) at their parties.  But, nope - I've got nothin.

I did manage to take pictures of the girls at the State Fair and on the first day of school that turned out well - and they are on our Xmas photo.............but I still feel like I missed out on capturing some really great moments over the past year.  With all of the technology I have at my fingertips (ie.  my phone, my ipad, my camera) I'm hoping that in 2014 we have A LOT more photos to choose from for the annual Christmas Card!!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Five on Friday - Cookie Edition

I'm linking up with Darci for Five on Friday --- what is on my mind today:  Cookies!!!!  My girls, my sister, my neice and my mom get together every year to make and decorate Christmas Cookies.  The last 2 years my future sister-in-law has joined us too.  We are making cookies on Sunday.  Cut-out sugar cookes are my girls favorite - but they take SO long to make and decorate that tonight we will be making some of them and then finishing them up on Sunday.  These are my top 5 favorite cookies:


ONE:  SUGAR COOKIES
These can be VERY time consuming, but so fun and pretty on a cookie plate.  These are really cute - I love to look at other photos to figure out how to decorate mine.


TWO:  PEANUT BLOSSOMS
My future sister-in-law has Celiac's disease, so we make these now without flour and they are still delicious!



THREE:  SPRITZ
We use my grandma's recipe --- she made the absolute BEST Spritz cookies ever!

(source

FOUR: MEXICAN WEDDING CAKES (aka Russian Tea Cakes)
This is one of my favorite cookies.  My sister and I typically make and eat the entire batch alone.  



FIVE:  PRETZEL LOGS
Ok, this isn't technically a cookie --- but they are one of the most requested things our families ask for at Christmas time!   We dip them in this amazing caramel and then decorate with mini m&m's or chocolate.


I can't wait for cookie day on Sunday.  I'm sure I'll be bringing plates of cookies into work to share next week!!!!!  What is your favorite Christmas Cookie?????






Thursday, December 12, 2013

Festive Favorites Link Up

I love Christmas time - even though it is so crazy and busy - it is still my absolute favorite time of the year!! So what is more fun that a Holiday/Christmas link-up?  Today I am linking up with Amber and Jennifer for the Festive Favorites link-up.

Crafty Healthy Mommy

1. Favorite Christmas Song:  Last Christmas and Silent Night

2. Christmas song you cannot stand:  All I want for Christmas is You (that song drives me crazy, all I can picture is Mariah in that dumb dress)

3. Favorite Holiday Movie:  Elf

4. Real or artificial tree:  I love real trees, but I always forgot to keep giving them water; and I hate, hate, hate cleaning up the needles............so we have a pre-lit fake tree.

5.  White or colored lights:  White lights inside the house (goes better with the decor).  Colored lights outside on the house/shrubs/trees.

6.  All matching ornaments or more random personal ornaments:  Random personal ornaments (but matching color-coordinated bulbs)

7.  Favorite Ornament:  This is really tough, my hubby gets me a new family ornament each year and I love all of them!!!  But, I think the favorite one is still the ornament he got me for our very first Christmas together.

8.  Angel or star tree-topper:  Star on top of the tree.  My angel sits on the mantel next to my other decorations in the living room.

9.  Does Santa wrap presents or leave them unwrapped:  Unwrapped

10.  Favorite childhood memory:  Running into our living room on Christmas morning to see if Santa brought me the Barbie Dream House that I really, really wanted!  He did.  And then I told my sister that it was only MINE!  Because I asked for it, not her.  Ha-ha-ha!!!!  She wasn't very happy with me.....but after a while that morning I did end up letting her play with it too :)

11.  Coffee, hot chocolate or eggnog:  Coffee, with peppermint mocha Coffeemate or Baileys!

12.  Christmas morning at home or do you travel?  At home.  We host an early 10am brunch at our house with my family.

13.  Traditional family meal or something unconventional:  I guess, we consider it traditional.....for at least the past 15 years we always the same basic brunch menu:  Stuffed French Toast and Spicy Cheesey Potatoes - along with that is whatever else we decide on (bacon, sausage, fruit).  Last year I added Mimosas to the menu.  My girls even got to have them (made with sparkling grape juice).....in as my oldest daughter said "Women's cups" - meaning wine glasses.  Luckily I had some extra plastic wine glasses that they could use for their drinks!

14.  Personalized photo Christmas cards, store bought cards, e-cards or "aint nobody got time for that":  Personalized photo cards.  We do a family picture together and then some other pictures of the girls.  I like having a family picture in our card,  I don't really like it when cards are ONLY pictures of the kids --- I like to see my friends & family in the pictures too.  Plus, its a good excuse to have a family picture taken together each year.  I don't have enough of those!!!  We also always include a holiday letter that my hubby writes each year.  It is a fun way to recap our year.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Kids and Their Honesty

My kiddos, man sometimes they say the funniest things --- and sometimes they say things that they really shouldn't.  When my oldest daughter was about 2, we were driving home from the store and I said to her "Oh no, I forgot to get milk at the store".  To which she replied "Damn It Mom!" I was in the front seat, driving.  She was in the back in her carseat so she couldn't see me; and yes, I will admit, I started laughing.  And then I told her, that isn't the right word, it is DARN it.  There have been other examples like this over the years, but this was the first one - and it will be stuck in my brain forever.  

Fast forward a few years.....and we have my younger daughter, the 6 year old.  She is hilarious.  She says the funniest things all of the time (we really should record her answering questions, she has the best one-liners).  She and her older sister were watching the Disney Movie "16 Wishes" the other night and when it was over they both decided to make up their own version of a wish list.  My little bug told my husband that her #1 Wish was for him to have all of his hair grow back.  My poor hubby, he has been slowing losing his hair for years......I think it hurt his feelings a bit.  She didn't try to be mean or hurtful, she was trying to be nice telling him that it was her #1 Wish!

Then last night we were watching the very end of The Biggest Loser, waiting for The Voice to start and my oldest daughter said "Mom, do you still need to lose weight?  Maybe you should go on the Biggest Loser."  Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I would like to lose some more weight, I'd like to drop at least 15 more pounds.  But, the Biggest Loser?  I don't think I need to go on the show.  I will admit, that the comment did hurt my feelings, but I don't think she said it to be mean.  I didn't get upset or show her that it hurt my feelings.  Instead, I responded to her and focused less about the weight comment and tried to be more positive and focused on the exercise part of the show.  I said "Yeah, do you think that maybe mom should try to work out a little more like the people on the show?  They work out really hard, don't they!"  

Honesty from your kids.  It happens - they say things sometimes that make you cringe.  But, I don't want my girls to have issues with weight or body shape or appearance.  So, for me that was also a wake up call about the things I say around them at home.  It is another type of Motivation.  I want to focus LESS on the "WEIGHT LOSS" and the NUMBER and instead focus MORE on being HEALTHY.  I want to be a good role model for my girls, by showing them how to eat well, exercise consistently and to just have FUN doing both!  




Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, Monday, Monday

I haven't been a very good blogger.  When things get busy at home, work, in life - this just has to take a backseat.  We have been pretty busy the past few weeks.  We hosted Thanksgiving at our house and things just haven't slowed down since then.  I'm still trying to keep up with my goals to get through this holiday season without packing on 10 pounds; but it hasn't been easy.  I'm finally back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight again.

I did gain a few pounds after Thanksgiving, not from that day --- but from all of the leftovers!  As I said we hosted....which equals leftovers.  I tried and tried and tried to give food away - but there were no takers - we are stuck with everything!  I could not believe that  NOBODY wanted leftovers.  This is about the 10th year that I've hosted Thanksgiving; people ALWAYS take leftovers.  We had about 10 people for dinner and 14 people for dessert.  Last year we about the same number of people and we only had a few slices of pie left over; so this year I decided to be smart --- make 4 pies instead of 3 (like last year).  But, what happened?  We had 2 entire pies left over.  What?!?!?!?!  How is that even possible?  And, NOBODY took pie home.  Come on, I don't need 2 pies at my house for my family of 4.   I have a weakness for sweets - and I made both French Silk and Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving.  We had 1 of each left.  We were eating turkey and pie for days after Thanksgiving.  That was NOT a help to the weight challenge!!!!

Next up is Christmas cookies............we end up putting these out in our freezer; so that I'm not tempted to eat entire batches of cookies in a single sitting.  Sunday is our annual Christmas Cookie day.  We make about 10 different kinds of cookies --- and they are Christmas Cookies, which means full sugar, white flour and butter.  You can't have Christmas cookies with substitutes, in my opinion, it just isn't the same.  

It has also been BITTER, BITTER, BITTER cold here.  I try not to use that as an excuse, really I'm trying.  But, when you get up to go to the gym at 4:30 in the morning - and it is -10 degrees outside......it makes it a challenge to leave the warm and cozy bed.  I haven't been to the gym since Saturday (after Thanksgiving).  I'm hoping to turn that back around this week - and hoping the weather gets a little bit better - but I'm not sure that it will ---- here is the forecast for the next few days - Thursday will probably feel like a heat wave!

It is Monday - time to get back into the swing of things!  
Goals for the week:
  1. Drink Enough Water - Every.Single.Day
  2. Get to the gym (or at least work out at home) 5 times
  3. Track food & calories -- Every.Single.Bite (even those peanut m&m's that are just sitting out calling my name)
  4. Finish my Christmas Shopping!  I know that isn't fitness related; but it needs to get done!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Do You Cartwheel???

I love Target (I may be biased) and I'm a fan of any sort of discount or bargain.......so, I ask you - what could be better than using an APP to get a discount on things I already buy at Target???  Nothing, right?!?
Enter Cartwheel.

This is a fantastic app, because you can use it at the checkout right from your phone (or you can print out a copy from your computer if you don't like using your phone) and you get a discount on things you are probably already buying anyway.  We do all of our grocery shopping at Target.....so I love this app to save additional $$ on my purchases.  I've already saved almost $135 using cartwheel since it first launched.  You can use Target coupons, manufacturer coupons and then Cartwheel saving on top of both of those.  Going into some big holiday shopping starting next week - I'm excited to use Cartwheel on the things I'm buying anyway!!!!      

Also, you no longer need to link your Cartwheel to Facebook --- you can sign in with a Target.com account and use it too without a Facebook account!  Check it out --- Happy Savings!!!






Monday, November 11, 2013

Planning, Planning, Planning

I haven't been really motivated the past few weeks ---- but with a little push and accountability from Tiffany and her Fit 4 Christmas challenge I finally feel like I'm getting back on track.

The Fit Train

I also need to get back to meal planning.  I definitely do better during the week (at home, with dinner) when I have a plan.  We are so busy during the week between work and our kids activities - that often we just grab whatever is quick for dinner ---- which isn't really typically the best thing for me or my family.  So, back to planning out some meals and for me to get back to lowering my carbs.  I was intentional when I grocery shopped this week and I bought specific foods to make.

Yesterday I made shredded taco chicken in the crockpot.............this may be the EASIEST thing to make of all time.  I took a bag of frozen chicken breasts added a packet of taco seasoning (or you could use any type of seasoning you like if you don't buy packets) and cooked it on low for 8 hours.  Once it was cooked it shredded apart with one fork - and I packed it up into separate containers for meals.  *It also freezes really well - so I put 2 bags in the freezer for later.  This is a great (and quick) go to for us.  Our girls love it on a tortilla with a little cheese for a chicken quesadilla - or chicken tacos and I put it on some lettuce with salsa and avocado for a quick salad.

I also made a crustless quiche/egg bake found here.  And I'm going to try these Broccoli Bites later this week (I'm hoping to make them tomorrow).  My girls love broccoli, so I'm hoping they like these!
I'm also making Cauliflower Biscuits - you can find the recipe here.



I also hard boiled some eggs and these no-bake protein balls.  These are my go-to early morning "pre-workout" snacks.  I have to eat a small quick snack before I go to the gym in the mornings; or my workout really suffers.

This is how I'm planning to get back on track and hopefully get to my goals for the holidays.  
Happy Motivation Monday!!!!!



Daily Dose of Del Signore

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Random Thursday Thoughts

Our home computer is still hanging on by a thread...........just when we were all ready to bite the bullet and buy a new one, it miraculously turned back on.  I know a new one is in our future....but for now, we can keep that expense on the back burner.

I love, love, love the red holiday Starbucks cups.  It just puts me in a great mood to have one of those holiday cups in my hand.  


That cup MAY be filled with a Peppermint Mocha.  My weakness during the holidays.  I try really, really, really hard to only have 1 per week.  Also, since most of the time I stop to get coffee on the way to work - the greatest invention ever is the little green "stopper" that you can put in the cup to stop it from spilling all over the inside of your car cup holder while you are driving (on the super bumpy road full of snow patches).  Ok, so most of the snow we got on Monday is gone and the roads aren't full of snow anymore.....I still always grab one of those stoppers so the coffee doesn't spill in my car.  


I do hate that it snowed the first week of November, but it was pretty.

I also decided that since it is fall/winter time ---- I wanted to try something new with my hair.  This is the darkest my hair has EVER been!!!!  I went way out of my normal color and had dark brown & dark red lowlights added to my hair.  I do love it - but I'm still getting used to it every time I look in the mirror.  I'm hoping the red lasts a bit longer in my hair, because I've been told that red tends to fade out pretty quickly.


Last random thought - I work in corporate retail; which means that we spend a TON of time getting ready for the Holidays.  It is always top of mind!  And to make sure we don't forget.....the area that I work in has a lovely chart that counts down the days until Christmas (which does tend to cause me to panic at least once per week) --- so if you needed to know this today:  It is only 47 days until Christmas.  YIKES!!

Friday, November 1, 2013

November 1st

Welcome to November....the good news is that it is Friday and almost the weekend!  It also happens to be daylight savings time again; bring on the extra hour on Sunday (but, boo to the even darker mornings now).  Friday also means that it is time for a little 5 on Friday link up with Darci.


ONE:
I completely overslept this morning; I blame it on the late night after trick or treating.....and perhaps the 1/2 bottle of wine I drank (I decided to bust open some wine hoping that would keep me from downing any more snickers!!!)


TWO:
Because I overslept, I didn't do my measurements yet.....but I did step on that D@&N scale this morning.  Not a fan of her display.  My goal is to try to drop 10 lbs. by Christmas.


THREE:
Which leads me to Tiffany and her Fit 4 Christmas challenge.  I'm fully supporting this mini challenge starting today!!!


FOUR:
Halloween Favors.  How cute are these little things?!?! We made them for my daughter's to hand out to their classes.  I've made a few different ones as birthday party favors in the past, but I have to say; these turned out pretty darn cute!


FIVE:
Let's end with a Halloween picture --- my cutie's dressed as a cat & a mouse.


Welcome to November..........and if you are keeping track.......it's 53 days until Christmas (YIKES!)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Back At It

I've been less than motivated to hit the gym the past few weeks...........but my sister (aka accountability partner) and I finally decided it was time to get back at it.  We committed to going to Body Pump on Monday night.  My sister was the smart one, she decided to lower most of her weights for the class.....but not me.  No, I wanted to push myself just a bit.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  By the end of that class, my legs were shaking and I could start to feel the pain in my shoulders - I knew I was in trouble, but I agree with this:  
 

Yesterday, it was a miracle that I could get up out of bed, shower and wash my hair.....all while standing on super shaky legs.  But, today - it is even worse!  I am going to try to walk as much as possible around my office buildings today so that I don't start crying when I try to stand up (or sit back down) into my office chair.  But, it was a start.  I'm planning to do something tonight (probably won't have time to hit the gym between work and my daughter's dance classes) but - something to make sure that I'm at least stretching out the super sore muscles.  


I was really excited to see Tiffany's Fit 4 Christmas Challenge.  You can find the details here.  This is just the extra push I need to get myself back in it!  You can use any food and fitness program that you want and you just need to take your measurements, weight & pictures at the start (Nov 1st - Friday) and then again at the end on Dec 20th - and send the results to Tiffany.  I'm really excited for this challenge - this is a rough time of the year with Halloween treats, Thanksgiving, and Christmas (ohhhhh, all of the yummy cookies) so it will be nice to have an incentive to keep me in check!


Monday, October 28, 2013

My Daughter, Isabelle

I posted yesterday that it was my anniversary last week.  Well, if you have kids, you know that anytime there are "presents" around - your kids open them....Not You.  And, that is exactly what happened to my hubby and I on our anniversary.  The girls both helped us open our little presents that we got each other.

When we, I mean THEY, were done opening presents, my oldest, Isabelle ran upstairs to her room.  She was acting all sly and sneaky.  She had made us an anniversary card (which we knew).....but we didn't know what she was doing when she ran to her room.  Well, she came back downstairs and handed us her hand made card.  When my hubby opened the card, out fell $15.  $15 dollars of HER OWN money.  Now, my daughter loves her money.  She counts it all of the time and can always tell us exactly how much she has (right now she has $46).  So we knew this meant A LOT!  But, of course we didn't want to take her money. 

We said "Oh, gosh, Isabelle, thank you so much, but you didn't need to give us a present".  Much to our surprise, that was probably the worst thing we could have said to her.  She burst into tears and ran up to her room.  She was devastated that we didn't want her gift.  I started to tear up at that point, because we had hurt her feelings.  We tried to calm her down, but she was too upset.  After a while, she did manage to calm down and we explained to her that it was so special and generous of her to want to give us her own money as a gift - but we loved the card so much that she had given to us - and that was enough of a gift for us!!  Eventually she did take the money back.  

The very next morning, I received an email from my daughter's teacher from last year.  It said:  

I just had to send you an email and tell you how sweet it is that Isabelle drops by my room every morning and gives me a hug!  She has given me homemade cards and other little gifts like last year, she’s so thoughtful.  Just thought you should know she brightens my day!  Hope your year with a second grader and kindergartener is going well!  Have a good day :)   

I was beaming and tearing when I read that email.  I had to call my husband right away.  That was one of the best "presents" I could have ever received.  I'm so proud of her!  


Happy 9 Years!

I'm still having computer issues, so posting has been an issue.

Last week was celebrated our 9 year wedding anniversary.  It still does just feel like yesterday that we got married and started our lovely little family, I'm amazed at how quickly time flies.  

I loved our wedding day.  We decided to get married in October.  The 23rd.  We live in Minnesota, so the weather can be tricky in October.  We were hoping for a nice-warm fall day; with beautiful fall colors for our pictures.  Well, it started out a little rainy and it wasn't the warmest day ever.....so that really limited our outside pictures.  We ended up only taking outside pictures at the reception site but we were still able to get some really pretty pictures from inside the church.  The weather didn't damper our day though - It was still amazing.  There isn't really much of anything that I would change about that day (except for the Deacon calling me Justin.....instead of Justine; yeah, that was fun.  I had to tell him while I was standing at the alter that my name was pronounced JustEEN, not Justin.).  But, aside from that, everything else went off without a hitch and we were surrounded by friends and family.  

 

Our wedding reception was at the Minnesota Zoo.  It was such a unique place to have a reception; it was in the part of the zoo called Discovery Bay - which is a huge aquarium.  The backdrop for the entire reception was a giant dolphin tank - and the dolphins swam behind us during the first part of the reception and dinner - it was so cool!  I still have people tell me that it was one of the best receptions they have been too. 

*this isn't the greatest picture ever, but  you can see the giant window into the dolphin tank:

I'm looking forward to our 10-year anniversary next year - as we are already planning a trip to Hawaii to celebrate!  



Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Technology Issues

Sometimes it isn't fun to live in the world driven by so much technology.  Our home computer bit the dust over the weekend.  Thankfully (I guess) it showed signs of leading to this the past few weeks so we were able to back up all of our photos and important documents before it finally died.  I'm not sure I could go back and find all of the memory cards that have my babies pictures - and I would not have been happy!

I'm left trying to figure out how to post off of my ipad, which I have not figured out yet.....so I'll try to sneak in a few posts over lunch this week at work.

My randomness for the week; I was finally able to catch up on a few shows over the weekend that are taking up room on the DVR:
  • I finally watched Glee - The Tribute to Cory; bawled for the entire duration of the show.
  • I finally watched American Horror Story: Coven.  It was really good, and thankfully NOT nearly as scary as I was expecting it to be.  I haven't watched any of the other seasons.
  • I'm addicted to The Voice (and so is my daughter - we DVR it so she can keep watching it over and over again) - this may be contributing to the DVR space!
  • My favorite new show is Blacklist - seriously, James Spader is amazing!  Although, I haven't watched last night's episode yet - I was watching AHS instead.
  • I'm pretty sure I have at least 3 other shows I haven't watched yet.....and I DVR Ellen every day; and most often end up deleting those.  
The DVR is one piece of technology I'm really happy to have!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Five on Friday

How do you get motivated?  I'm out of motivation right now....I don't want to work out, I don't want to stop shoving peanut m&m's in my face......I keep making "treats" for my family that I just end up eating.  I must stop the madness!!!!  I'm not sure how I lost my motivation, but I'm tired and run down; and I think it is probably very related to NOT working out and NOT eating well.  So, I'm trying to get myself pumped up to get back on the band wagon.  Back to working out and back to eating better.  I'm doing some research on carb cycling - I may try a version of that beginning next week.  It seems a little less strict than my "slow/low" carb plan.....so it may be easier to stick with it.

So, here are is my 5 of Friday motivation list - I'm going to print some of these out and put them on my bathroom mirror:

ONE:
YES.

TWO:

THREE:

FOUR:
Drink Water!  This is a major issue for me.  I have to make an effort to do this.  
I really need to get back into the habit of drinking at least 90 ounces of water each day.


FIVE:
And last but definitely NOT least.  
Stop giving up.  It is a journey and this is a life change, not a fad.  
Don't stop - just keep going.



Have a fabulous weekend!  Happy Friday!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Motivation Tuesday

I'm a day late on my favorite link-up Motivation Monday.  I am trying to get back into my routine but, I'm still having some trouble with my consistent posting (sorry about that).  This week I am trying to better plan out our dinner/meals for the week.  I decided that I needed to come up with some low-carb but filling meals. Enter, my crock pot.  I love cooking in the crockpot - especially in the fall.  It is so easy; just throw some ingredients in it - turn it onto high or low (depending on if you put everything in it at 6am) and at the end you have a delicious meal.  I love walking into my house after work and smelling the delicious meal waiting!

Do you meal plan??  What are your go-to meals?  Do you have a way to keep track or plan out each week?  I would love ideas if you have any suggestions on making this easier!

Daily Dose of Del Signore

Saturday I threw together some Turkey Chili and yesterday I made Chicken Lime Soup.  YUM!  When my husband and I were in Mexico earlier in the year, we had a delicious lime chicken soup.  Once we returned home I set out on a mission to try to recreate that soup.  Below is my crockpot version of the soup.  I've included the recipe below......let me know if you try it out!

Chicken Lime Soup
Ingredients:
  • 4 Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 Large Onion, chopped
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes w/chilis (like Rotel)
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 2 Limes
  • Cilantro, chopped
  • Avocado (optional)
Directions:
  • Spray your crockpot/slow cooker with some olive oil (or pour about 1 tbsp in the bottom if you don't have a spritzer for it).  
  • Add chopped onions, chicken breast, and tomatoes to the crockpot/slow cooker.
  • Add salt, pepper, cumin and chili powder (and any other seasonings you may want to add if you like it spicy).
  • Cover with at least 4 cups of chicken broth (you can add up to 6 cups if 4 isn't enough)
  • Cook for at least 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low; then take out the chicken breast and shred with 2 forks.  
  • Add the chicken back into the crockpot until you are ready to serve.
  • Prior to serving add the juice of 2 limes to the soup.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and sliced/diced avocado (optional).

Friday, October 4, 2013

One Piece of Advice

First, I think I may still be in denial that it is already October.  Yikes!  Well, it is October - and that means Breast Cancer Awareness month.  If you watch football; you may have noticed in last night's game that many of the players and referees were wearing pink.  

1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime.  In my family, that was both my grandmother (father's mother - who passed away) and my aunt (father's sister-SURVIVOR).  It is definitely part of my family.  I come from a very large family on both my mother and father's sides.  Fortunately on my mother's side of the family none of the women have been diagnosed.....and fingers crossed that it stays that way.  A few of my good friend's mothers are also survivors.  It is almost impossible to not be impacted by this terrible disease.  

My first friend (who wasn't in my family --- sister or cousin) was Nicole.  She lived a few houses down the street from us and we did everything together.  Nicole was a year older than I was and our little sisters were the same age; so the 4 of us were always together.  If we weren't at their house together - we were at our house.  We were the best of friends........then, we started to drift apart a little when Nicole started high school, because she was a year older than me, she started before me, but we were still friends.  We drifted further apart after high school and then more during college.  But, we would still send each other letters and cards (yes, this was before facebook) and we knew what things were going on in each others lives.  She attended my wedding and I attended hers - but we didn't see each other often.  Once we were both on facebook, we reconnected through that.  Nicole lived about an hour away from me so we weren't able to get together often.  In 2010, Nicole was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and she fought it with everything she had.  Unfortunately, the cancer spread and in November last year, she passed away.  We are coming up on the 1-year anniversary of her death, and it serves as another reminder to me.  She was my very first childhood friend.  This is a terrible disease and it takes away our family and friends.  

Nicole's sister recently added an old picture to facebook which made me think of her and of breast cancer awareness.  Please, if you do nothing else today, this weekend or even this month - PLEASE take a few minutes and do your monthly self-exam.  


Friday, September 27, 2013

Back To My Routine

I have been a horrible at posting the last week; I just haven't felt like writing about anything....and I'm not super motivated.  I was hoping that Amber's Get Your $#!+ Together September would be a push for me, but I've been half-assing it.  I haven't gained or lost any weight the past 2 weeks - but, since I've been eating like crap (like having ice cream every night) I guess, I'm glad it didn't come with a 5lb gain.

My husband has been traveling for work and that has really thrown my schedule off.  He is the one (thankfully) who gets my girls ready each morning for school; so I don't typically deal with the drama.  I'm so happy that I don't have to do that every day.  He will be home tonight; and I'm looking forward to getting back into my routine (morning workout at the gym before work) starting again next week.

Now, I'm going to swipe an idea I saw on Margaret's blog yesterday; 5 things.  Thanks for the idea.  It also sort of goes along with Darci and 5 on Friday.

ONE
One of my favorite words:    
1.  Hmmmm.  I don't know if I have a favorite word, but I do have a favorite saying:   "Shut Up" - I say that all of the time for good and bad.  I don't think I realized I was saying so much until my little one started saying it too.

TWO
Two things that frustrate me:
1. When my children completely ignore me when I'm trying to ask them a question.
2.  People who type or text or ignore you while you are talking to them (or explaining something in a meeting) and then they ask you a question about something you just explained.

THREE:
Three fall shows I'm pumped for:
1.  Modern Family (and I'm so mad that I can't watch it until my husband gets home....it is all ready to go on the DVR)
2.  Scandal - I love, love, love this show - I can't wait for the premiere next week
3.  New Girl - This show is hilarious.  I laugh out loud every single week!

FOUR
Four things you may not know about me:
1.  I was born on my dad's birthday - and I love my birthday
2.  I love decorating my house for the holiday's.  My favorite is Christmas --- I love putting up all of the decorations right after Thanksgiving, but they have to come down by Jan 1st - I'm usually ready to start thinking about spring by then.
3.  I get really bad migraines; I'm still trying to figure out what triggers them....but so far, no luck.
4.  My degree is in psychology; but I work in corporate retail.

FIVE
Five things I'm looking forward to:
1.  My husband coming home tonight; although not looking forward to him golfing in a tournament tomorrow
2.  The weekend - the weather is still supposed to be great here
3.  Girls weekend with my cousins and aunt's in October
4.  Getting back to the gym next week ---- plan is to go at least 4x
5.  Planting some fall flowers this weekend

Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vanilla Protein Bread/Pound Cake

I've said this before, but it is still true.....one of the things I miss the most since trying to cut out wheat/white carbs/all around bad for you stuff is bread.  This past weekend, my little one asked me to make her some Banana Bread - kill me.  It made my house smell amazing, but it was full of white flour and sugar, so while I tried really hard not to eat any....I couldn't resist one tiny little slice. Yum!!! But to stop myself from eating any more (OR the rest of it) I went in search of a replacement that I could eat, sans guilt.

Enter Pinterest.  What did we do before that site?  I found this recipe and decided to try it out. Typically when I make a recipe for the first time I follow it to the exact detail; but I didn't have the exact same ingredients so I had to alter it slightly.  It was really good.  It was very dense, more like pound cake then bread, but still a great alternative for anyone trying to cut out bad carbs!!!


Note:  It shrunk down and cracked a little once it cooled, but it was still good.

Vanilla Protein Bread
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup steamed cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup egg whites
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1 cup vanilla protein powder (I used Isagenix Creamy French Vanilla)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 packets stevia (I didn't have any of liquid stevia)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder

Directions:
  • Use a food processor to chop up the cauliflower into very small pieces.
  • Mix all ingredients with the cauliflower together in a blender (or you can probably use a food processor if yours is larger than my little one) OR you can chop up the cauliflower and then us a hand mixer to mix together.  
  • Pour into a sprayed loaf pan.  Bake at 325 for approx 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).
Note:  I used the food processor to chop up the cauliflower and then mixed everything in my blender.  






Friday, September 13, 2013

It's Friday!

Well, it has been a week since I posted.  Yikes!  I blame it on being out in Vegas Mon & Tues.....then trying to play catch up with my beautiful girls when we got back Wed.  Yesterday was our incredible fall sales meeting at work.....so it has been a bit of a whirlwind week.  The weather is starting to cool off and it is starting to feel very fall like now.  I'm finally ready for it. I think it is because school is back in session and football season has kicked off!  Yes, I'm officially ready for fall....bring it on!

On to the link-up!  I have a few pics/recap from the weekend in Vegas and a few things I'm looking forward to about fall:

ONE:
Vegas - we ate, drank, watched football, relaxed at the pool, saw a show and gambled a little.  Zarkana was really good - not the BEST Cirque show I've ever seen (that was "O")  but it was fun to see it and our seats were great.  Our suite at the Mirage was AMAZING!


TWO:
Dinner at Prime (Bellagio) was delicious.  I did make one little mistake not looking at the wine list prior to ordering a glass (or 2) of wine.  I wanted a red wine....so I said, I'll take a glass of Syrah or Shiraz.  Our waiter told me that there was only 1 available by the glass, so I ordered without looking at the list...............UM, it was $25 a glass.  It was good - but not $50 worth good.  OOPS!



THREE:
Fall weather means Pumpkin!  I'm really excited to try a recipe that Amber shared this week; you can find the link and recipe here.  They look delicious and they only have 80 calories!  I may also be enjoying a delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks right now while I'm typing.  YUM!


FOUR:
I cannot wait to start wearing boots again.  I love, love, love sandals and opened toe shoes....so this doesn't mean that I won't still be wearing those until the snow flies!  But, I am really looking forward to buying some new boots for fall.  I need a new pair of brown boots.  I am not sure if I want flats or heeled yet.  But, I'm thinking something like these:

OR These:


FIVE:
I'm also looking forward to going to my friend's house for a Cabi party tonight.  Have you heard of it?  The clothes are fantastic.  I cannot wait to try on some things and find a few new pieces for fall - I adore long, cozy sweaters.  I am really loving these two looks:  


Happy Friday - and have a great weekend!!!!