Saturday, May 31, 2014

The One Move That Has Evaded Me

Most know that for the last eight weeks I have been doing the workout program called the "21 Day Fix". Basically the program has seven thirty minute workouts and a 10 minute Ab workout where you do one 30 minute workout each day and add the Abs in when you can.

Over the last eight weeks I have mastered every move but one. When I say mastered I mean that I can do the unmodified version. This one move is the side plank leg lift:
 The modified version looks like:
This has been the one move I just couldn't do. I didn't have the arm strength. My shoulder would just burn out.

BUT TODAY THIS WAS DIFFERENT! I actually did the entire set in the correct position. I surprised myself. I'm so shocked that in eight weeks I've come this far. I never thought I'd be this strong. I never thought I'd enjoy exercising. I never thought I'd enjoy getting up early to exercise. I'm not saying I'm chipper when the alarm goes off or when we press play, but by the end of our 30 minutes I am full of energy and ready for my day.

I love this new stage of our lives and am not stopping any time soon. Thanks to anyone who joins me in this journey as I know without support I can not succeed. Hope everyone has a blessed Sunday.

Friday, May 30, 2014

What is my favorite feature?

Today I decided to do something different and reflect a little bit about ourselves. I want to know what is your one favorite feature? Write it in the comments section and let me know why it is your favorite feature.

Did you know it is really easy to say something negative about yourself but hard to say something positive? Take a moment to watch this video:

As you can see by the video it takes people a much longer time to think about something they like about themselves versus mentioning something they don't like about themselves.

We tried this activity in our MOPS Summer Bible study and I was surprised at how many of us had trouble naming one thing we liked about ourselves let alone three.

So on to what is my favorite feature. This one is easy for me. It is my eyes. Brian calls them color changing. He knows my moods by what color they are. If they are a stormy gray I am angry. If they are a brilliant blue I am happy and content.

I had never noticed before I married Brian that my eyes changed colors with my mood. I've always loved my eyes because of their blueness and how they always are like windows to my soul, but once he noticed the color change I loved them even more.

So now it is your turn. What is your favorite feature?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Mediteranean Chicken

So this recipe wasn't as successful as I would have liked it to be. I'm still blogging it as many think that it is easy to make a recipe and it to be great and wanted to show that I fail every once in awhile. Not all that I make works and this one was good, but wasn't as flavorful as I would have liked. Here was dinner:
1 cup Uncooked Brown Rice
1 14.5 oz can Stewed Tomatoes
2 lbs. Chicken Diced
2 bags frozen Spring Vegetables from Wegmans
2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Medium Onion Chopped
2 Tbsp. Dried Parsley
1 Tbsp. Onion Powder
1 Tbsp. Dried Basil
1 Tbsp. Fresh Mint Crushed
2 tsp. Dried Oregano
2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1 tsp. Ground Thyme
1 tsp. Ground Black Pepper
Lemon juice

1. Cook Rice per package.
2. Mix all dry spices and mint together.
3. Put chicken, olive oil and half of the spice mixture in a sauté pan.
4. Add lemon juice right before it is finished.
5. Put frozen vegetables, stewed tomatoes, other half of the spice mixture another pan.
6. Cover and cook for ten minutes.
7. Removed lid and let liquid reduce.
8. One serving is 3/4 chicken, 1/2 cup brown rice and 1 cup of the vegetables.

If you are following the 21 Day Fix meal plan this will fill one red, one yellow and one green container and one tsp.

I think if I make this again I will add the fresh mint leaves last second instead of cooking them in. The girls still cleaned their plates despite the blandness so it couldn't have been too bad, but I know I can improve on it. Hope everyone has a great evening.
4. Cook over medium high heat until brown.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ice Cream Play Dough

So today I had two separate friends post about a sensory play activity involving creating ice cream play dough. The first used premade frosting and powder sugar and can be found here
The second used hair conditioner and corn starch and can be found here.

Since I had all the ingredients on hand to make both I decided to try both with A, B, and C. The play dough made out of the frosting and powdered sugar was definitely more messy than the one made with the conditioner. I also felt like the one made with the conditioner held up better to play than the other. If I had cones the conditioner and corn starch would have looked more like ice cream where the other was a little more runny.
Conditioner and Cornstarch
Powdered sugar and frosting

I had some large cups from the dollar store along with some dollar store utensils. I also had some extra sprinkles and stale marshmallows that I had been saving for an activity like this.
Just starting to explore and loving the sprinkles

Watch me mommy.

Stirring in the marshmallows

C is enjoying eating the stale marshmallows and has "some" sprinkles with her "ice cream" 

Still having a great time enjoying it
I would definitely do this again. They spent about two hours transferring the "ice cream" from one container to another, adding more marshmallows, pretending to "bake" ice cream cakes etc.. In the end I just hosed their hands and feet off and we went on to playing the next game. For anyone's kids who love to get messy this was a blast!

Southwest Chicken Packets Remade

So another favorite of my family before switching to clean eating was Southwest Chicken Foil packets. These were loaded with chicken, veggies, and brown rice but unfortunately had a ton of ranch dressing and cheese. I decided to try and remake these for dinner last night and here is what I came up with:

Ranch Dressing:
2 tbsp. Onion Powder
1 tbsp. Dried Dill
2 tbsp. Garlic Powder
2 tbsp. Dried Parsley
2 tpsp. Dried Chives
1 tbsp. Black Pepper
pinch of Thyme
1/4 cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
1. Mix together the dry ingredients.
2. Store in an air tight container in a cool, dry place and use on anything you like.
3. Mix Yogurt with ranch powder to taste. I usually use about 1 tbsp. of powder to 1/4 cup yogurt.
Taco Seasoning: (adapted from the Gracious Pantry)
2 tbsp. Ground Cumin
2 tsp. Paprika
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
Southwest Seasoning Blend: (Adapted from the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan Book)
1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
2 tsp. Ground Cumin
2 tsp. Dried Cilantro
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Onion Powder
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
Remade Southwest Chicken Packets:
1 small head of broccoli chopped
2 bags of Frozen Pepper and Onion Blend
2 pounds Chicken Diced
2 cups uncooked Jasmine Brown Rice
Ranch Dressing
Lime Juice
Taco Seasoning
Southwest Seasoning
Low Fat Mexican Shredded Cheese
1. Cook rice per package instructions
2. Combine Broccoli and Frozen veggies in a sauté pan with a lid.
3. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for about ten minutes stirring occasionally.
4. Add Taco Seasoning to taste to the vegetables and uncover to reduce liquid. 
5. Cook an additional 5 minutes until liquid is sufficiently reduced.
6. Meanwhile, place chicken in a separate skillet and add Southwest Seasoning to taste. 
7. Add lime Juice to taste into the chicken. I usually add about 1-2 tbsp.
8. Cook on medium high heat stirring occasionally until brown.
9. Mix together 3/4 cup chicken, 1 cup vegetables, and 1/2 cup rice onto your plate for a serving.
9. Add ranch, salsa and cheese to taste. (NOTE: I actually took 1 Tbsp. of chicken out of my 3/4 cup to use a tbsp. of ranch dressing and then I took a tbsp. out of my 1 cup vegetables to use 1 tbsp. of salsa. I didn't add cheese to mine.) This serving size for those following the 21 Day Fix meal plan uses one red, one green and one yellow. If you add cheese it comes out of your blue container.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family did. Until next time. 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Reflection from the Past

On Monday I had the privilege of watching A help our neighbors plant flowers.

As I stood there and watched A help them I couldn't help but thinking about where I got my love of gardening from. I had two neighbors that each loved gardening but in different forms. The first loved the fancy gardens all around their house. I would spend time helping him weed and plant all kinds of plants and bushes. I'd help him prune the dead flowers, shape bushes, edge the garden, and mulch. The second loved vegetable gardening. I'd help him till the garden, plant seeds in the late spring and then help him tend to it all summer. Then get special little treats like fresh tomatoes out of it.

Both of these men had kids of their own but their own kids were not living at home any more. Their own kids still didn't have any grandkids. I think about the time they sent with me teaching me all these tricks and proper ways to care for these two different types of gardens. I loved every moment with these two men. They were like grandfathers to me.

I'm know glad that A, B, and C get to experience a similar situation. Our neighbor Dave has kids but doesn't have grandkids yet. He lives with his mom who has Alzheimer's and is rapidly deteriorating. He moved from DC to Erie to take care of his mom. We are lucky to have them next door. They don't see the girls as a nuisance but instead help peek their natural curiosity. I thank God for neighbors like them every day.

And my gardening bug...well I don't like fancy gardens. I hate to weed. But vegetable gardening I love. We planted our seeds inside our house about six weeks ago and they are all growing well. I hope to get them in the ground this week. Pictures to come.

I hope each one of my readers has someone that is older and wiser that can pour into their kids like we do. Having loving neighbors shows my kids God's love. Thanks to all those great neighbors in this world.

Bruchetta Chicken Remade

One of our favorite family meals before making the switch to clean eating was Bruschetta Chicken. It used to be loaded with Stove Top Stuffing. Now I cannot even think of eating the stuffing. So much salt and it would feel like lead in my tummy. So I decided last night for dinner I was going to remake bruschetta chicken to be healthier. Here is what I came up with.
1 lb. Whole Wheat Linguine Noodles cooked per package instructions
2 lbs. Spinach (I used whole leaf, but you could used chopped)
2 lbs. Chicken Breast diced
8 Cloves Garlic minced
2 tsp. Lemon Juice
2 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Medium Onion diced
1 14.5 oz. Can Stewed Tomatoes
1 14.5 oz. Can Diced Tomatoes
1-2 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1. Mixed frozen spinach, diced tomatoes, stewed tomatoes, half the garlic, half the Italian Seasoning and onion in a large pot on high heat.
2. Cover and let cook 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally.
3. Remove the lid the last few minutes to let the liquid reduce.
4. Meanwhile place chicken, remainder of the garlic, remainder of the Italian Seasoning, and lemon juice in a sauté pan on medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is brown.
5. Add a little balsamic vinegar to taste to the spinach mixture.

To plate for the 21 Day Fix place 1/2 cup of noodles, 1 cup of spinach mixture and 3/4 cup of the chicken in a bowl and mix. This will count for one red, one green, and one yellow container.

I added a small amount of parmesan cheese to the girl's dishes. They loved it so much B asked for it for lunch today.

I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Balsamic Dressing

Here is one of my favorite dressings. what I love about it is that it is simple but flavorful.

Balsamic/Mustard Dressing
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. spicy brown mustard
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp. onion powder

1. Mix together all ingredients
2. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container for up to one week.
3. Use on salads or as a dressings for vegetables.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Salsa Veggies

Good evening all. I tried a made up recipe for dinner tonight. The girls loved it. This is all that is left of 1/2 pound pasta, 5 pork chops and 2 pounds cooked vegetables:

I'd call that a successful dinner. The noodles were just plain whole wheat spiral noodles. The pork chop was just spiced with some no salt, no sugar Mrs. Dash seasoning. Here is the recipe for the veggies:

Salsa Veggies:
2 pounds uncooked vegetables (I used frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots)
1/4 cup salsa (make sure there is no added salt or sugar. The kind I used was all natural and had no preservatives)
4 cloves of garlic

1. Cook vegetables according to the package.
2. Mince garlic.
3. Mix together veggies, salsa, and garlic.

I hope you enjoy this side as much as my family did. Happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Comparison Trap and Memorial Day

So lately I've been falling into the comparison trap again. I'm usually pretty laid back and don't really care what others think about me, but the last few days I look at others and think I wish I could be like her. At MOPS I noticed all the other "pretty" dishes and wished I could make my dish look like that. At the amusement park yesterday I looked at another mom and said I wish my kids were like hers. While working out I wished I had abs like the lady on the video. But do you know what I realized last night as I sat at the preschool graduation my kids are perfect just the way they are and I'm perfect just the way I am.

God made me unique. He made my kids unique. He made me especially for my kids and them for me. I don't need to be like anyone else because God gave me a unique set of talents and abilities o that I can add to the body of Christ. He also gave my kids a unique set of talents and abilities to add to the body of Christ. Wow what an awesome thought.

So today as we start our Memorial Day weekend I am going to focus on the positive and get rid of my negative self talk. I have my own set of talents and making my dishes look pretty isn't one of them. My girls also have their on unique set of talents. A is loving and encouraging, B is a diva loving everything girly and C is very analytical.

My challenge for you today is to replace your own negative self talk with some positive thoughts. Are you willing to join in this challenge this weekend? When you see another women in a bathing suit don't start saying I wish I was as skinny as her. When you are at that Barbeque with your family don't say I wish my kids were as well behaved as hers. When you are at the store and you see someone in front of you with a ton of groceries don't wish you had that much money. When you see the car you always wanted don't wish it was yours.

I'm not saying you shouldn't have dreams. I'm saying that you should set your mind to the positive. Thank God for what you do have. Remember you are unique and he will give us each what we need NOT what we want.

I hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day weekend. I know this weekend I am remembering my Papap who served in the 557 Battalion during WWII. He stormed Normandy beach on D-day. He was always a giver. He was always level headed. He loved cooking lunch for others. He was a butcher and always would have us grandkids taking boxes of food to those in need. He loved playing the lottery every evening and watching three football games at the same time every Saturday or Sunday. He'd give you the shirt off his back. He'd be your best friend even if he just met you. I miss my Papap. Life was a lot easier when he was around. He taught me so much and I'm the person I am today because of him. Who will you remember this weekend as we reflect those that have served our country?

Friday, May 23, 2014

June Challenge Groups

I just wanted to announce my June Challenge Groups. I'm excited to be offering three different Challenge Groups this month.

The first is a seven day trail of Shakeology

In this group we will learn the benefits of Shakeology. We will learn how to properly make Shakeology and share favorite recipes. We will also explore how Shakeology helps curbs cravings and keeps you fuller longer.

1. You must replace one meal a day with Shakeology.
2. You must purchase a Shakeology taste sampler from my website. Once there click on "Shop". Then click on "Shakeology" and purchase the "Shakeology Taste Sampler".
3. Make sure my name is in the referring coach when you purchase.

Once I see your order come through you will be added to the secret Facebook group. For information on Challenge Groups go here. This group will start June 9th and run until June 15th.

The second is a 30 day Challenge Group.

This group will be a group of challengers who have either previously finished a Challenge Group with me or only want to commit to purchasing a workout program, specifically the 21 Day Fix.

1. You must purchase a workout program from me.
2. You must complete the workout program as prescribed.
3. If you choose this options please read here to see what steps you need to take to get started.

This group will run May 26th preseason, officially start June 2nd and run until
June 29th.

The third is a 60 day Challenge Group.
This will be for those who have purchase a Challenge Pack from my website.

1. You must purchase a Challenge Pack or workout from my website.
2. You must complete the workout program as prescribed in the specific program we choose for you and you must commit to drinking Shakeology for 30 days to replace one meal a day if purchasing a Challenge Pack. It is highly recommended you purchase the Challenge Pack is it will give you better results.
3. If you choose this option please read here to see what your next steps are.

This group will start preseason on June 2nd and officially start on June 9th. It will end on August 10th.

Please let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to help you pick the program perfect for you.  I know how much this has changed my life and would love to share it with you. Shakeology is an incredible product on its own but added to the exercise program you will see results. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Brian's lunch and snack

I have a few people ask me if I am doing this by myself. As you may have seen in a few posts the answer to this is no. Brian is on this journey with me.  He is even doing the workouts everyday. Everyday I pack his lunch and snacks. He has lost almost 20 pounds in 42 days. He is loving this and doesn't want to go back to the way we were eating.

Here is what I usually send him to work with:
At the top is his morning snack which consists of Greek Yogurt and Frozen Strawberries. In the middle is his salad with tomatoes and cheese. Tomorrow he is getting two eggs as his protein. Many times he gets the leftover chicken from the meal the night before. He also gets the dressing for his salad. He also gets a whole wheat tortilla. On the bottom is his afternoon snack It consists of some whole wheat pasta and a veggie.  Tomorrow as you can see his veggie is a red pepper. He also gets a piece of fruit.
Here is another variation of his lunch/snack:
Morning snack is on the left. It is fresh picked blueberries from last October that I froze with Greek Yogurt. Lunch is a whole wheat tortilla with hummus, leftover pork chop, two vegetables and olives. On the right is afternoon snack which is pasta salad and a pear.
Everyday he comes home and loves what he is eating. He also is never hungry as some think they will be when eating clean. Make the switch to clean eating today. You won't be sorry. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Mushrooms in a Mustard Dressing

So lately I've been getting a lot of questions about how do I eat clean with kids. One of my main rules has always been "Mommy is not a short order cook. You will eat what is on the table or go hungry." My family doctor says that they will not starve by missing a meal. They will eat when they are hungry. I started this at a very young age. When the girls were introduced to solid foods they got whatever was on our table put into the food processor with breast milk. We have some days where dinner is put in the refrigerator for breakfast. This has happened three times in the combined 10 years (4 for A, 3 for B and C) of our kids lives.  Guess what they eat it for breakfast as they don't want to see it again and the next time they try it the first time. B even was served a hamburger for three consecutive meals before she gave in and ate it. Now she will just dig into it as soon as it hits her plate.

With that being said we have a few favorite recipes in this house that are sure to leave their plates clean and this is one of them. I usually make some kind of meat (tonight it was pork chop) with a little spice. Then I make rice or noodles (tonight was brown rice). The mushrooms are what make the meal. Literally A was wiping the sauce off her plate and for the second meal today C licked the plate!

Mushrooms in a Mustard Dressing:
40 oz Mushrooms (Any mushroom type you like will do. I used the sliced Baby Bella mushrooms because they were on sale and already cut up)
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
4 cloves Garlic minced
2 Tbsp. Mustard (I used a spicy brown)
2 tsp. Thyme
2 tsp. Parsley
1 tsp. Pepper

1. Put sliced mushrooms in a large sauté pan on med-high heat

2. Put a lid on them and let simmer 5-10 minutes stirring occasionally. They will be done when the mushrooms are soft and have rendered down.
3. Remove the lid and let some of the water drain.
4. After about five minutes. Drain all the water out of the pan.
5. While you are doing this mix all the rest of the ingredients in a small bowl.
6. Add this dressing to the drained mushrooms.
7. Cook until the dressing thickens up.

My family loves these so much that all of this was empty at the end of the meal. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Transformation Tuesday -- Amy Mauk

I am excited to share my first Transformation Tuesday. My friend from Pittsburgh Amy Mauk just finished her first round of the 21 Day Fix. She did awesome! Here is my interview with Amy:
Tell us a little about yourself -
I'm a married mother of a toddler and I work full time as the Promotions Manager for KDKA radio in Pittsburgh.  I volunteer in the kids ministry at my church, do an online Bible study, love to run and workout and am just constantly on the go.
Why did you decide to do Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix?  
Kara posted about it and I have known and heard about Shakeology before and the Beachbody programs, but I have always been what I considered 'anti-shake'.  I liked the concept of portions and the foods that are incorporated but I was going to order it without the shakes...
What was the thing that surprised you the most?
I did some research and realized that just doing a protein shake wasn't going to give me the nutrients that Shakeology was, so I figured heck, it's only for a month.  Now I'm hooked on the shakes.  I love chocolate!!  Plus it completely cuts my chocolate cravings.
What would you tell others that are thinking about this program?  
Do it, but make sure you want to make the changes for the right reasons.  If you do you can't go wrong with this.  It's healthy eating and fitness not some gimmick weight loss pill or program.
Any parting thoughts
I didn't realize that following the 21 Day Fix I would love the shakes so much and be so motivated about the program that I would want to continue it, but in the capacity of helping others, so I signed up to be a coach!  3 weeks ago I wouldn't have believed someone if they told me that.
I'm excited to add Amy to my team as a coach. Here are her before and after photos:
If you are interested in the 21 Day Fix here is the promo video:
I'd love to be your coach and encourage you just like I did Amy! My next 21 Day Fix 30 day group starts preseason on Monday, May 26 and starts June 2. I also have a 60 day any workout Challenge group starting preseason June 2 and starting June 9. Also if you are interested in being a coach my next coach basics starts June 2.

Tuna Salad Recipe

Today I made tuna salad for lunch. The girls absolutely loved it. C was licking her plate. I served theirs in a whole wheat tortilla. I just ate mine in a bowl with a spoon.
Kid Tested (Note: she had cucumbers and tomatoes as a side)
My lunch

Tuna Salad Recipe:
Ingredients (per serving):
1/2 cup Tuna
1/4 cup plain low fat Greek Yogurt
1/3 cup red pepper diced
1/3 cup carrots diced
1/3 cup celery diced
10 olives
1/4 cup low fat cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 tsp chives

1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl
2. Enjoy plain or on a wheat tortilla.

This recipe makes a single serving. IF you are on the 21 Day Fix eating plan one serving encompasses one red, one green, one blue and one orange container. If you serve it in the whole wheat tortilla then it also uses a yellow container. Hope you enjoy this recipes as much as I did.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Whole Wheat Pizza

So I decided to try my hand at pizza that would fit my current eating plan. I used a whole wheat crust, lots of veggies and some turkey bacon. It was so good. I made Brian and I smaller pizzas in the correct proportions and then combined all the rest of the dough for the girls and made a huge round large pizza and they ate over half of it for dinner.
This was my pizza!

Here is the details:
Whole Wheat Pizza
Crust Ingredients:
1.5 cups Water
1 tsp. Honey
1.5 tsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
0.5 tsp. Sea Salt
2-4 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1.5 Tbsp. yeast
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1. Mix water, oil, yeast and honey in your stand mixer with dough hook.
2. Add garlic powder and Italian seasoning.
3. Add two cups of flour slowly.
4. Use additional flour until it comes clean from the sides of the bowl.
5. Need approximately 5 minutes until dough like consistency, smooth and elastic.
6. Divide the dough into 10 pieces about 3 oz. each. (NOTE: 1 3 oz piece is one yellow on the 21 Day Fix Eating Plan)
7. You can let these dough balls rise or roll it straight out. I just put it straight onto my counter with some extra flour and rolled it out.

7. I used a tiny bit of olive oil to grease my pan and placed the dough on that.
8. Top each of the ten individual pizzas with 1/4 cup sauce (recipe below), 4 slices low sodium turkey bacon  and 3/4 cup vegetables of your choice (I used peppers, onions and mushrooms).
9. Top with 1/4 low moisture mozzarella cheese shredded

10. Place in oven at 450 degrees for 10 minutes.
11. Enjoy!

3.5 pounds Roma tomatoes
3 cloves Garlic minced
2 tsp. Italian Seasoning

1. Remove the tomato skins by placing them in boiling water for no more than a minute.
2. Once skin is removed place tomato in an ice water bath
3. Remove any bruises
4. Remove seeds
5. Place tomatoes in your food processor and turn it on
6. Place tomato sauce in a pan over med-high heat
7. Add garlic and Italian Seasoning
8. Simmer until desired thickness

If you are doing the 21 Day fix one individual pizza served as described above will be one yellow container, one red container, one green container, one blue container and 1/4 tsp..
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family did.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Proof is in How You Feel

Yesterday Brian had the opportunity to travel to Allegheny General Hospital with his boss to meet with an long time friend of ours to discuss some job related items. He had the opportunity to drink his Shakeology in the morning, but because of the approximately 2 hours drive and the meeting that were scheduled he did not get to eat the way he was accustomed to over the last 40 days of our clean eating journey. When he arrived home he had a headache and felt like crap. We were both amazed at how much we've changed and how much this affected him.

You see we are used to eating every 3 hours. I pack him his lunches and snacks every day. He usually gets yogurt and fruit for his morning snack, a salad with a vegetable, cheese, protein source, and dressing for lunch and pasta salad with a piece of fruit for his afternoon snack. Instead of all this he only ate an Italian Hoagie and a salad for lunch. It was the same number of calories just in a convenient form for his day.

We are also used to drinking a ton of water throughout the day. Brian and I both drink coffee. Mine is usually limited to one cup. He usually has two. Yesterday, however, he had lots of coffee and instead of ordering water at lunch he had Diet Coke. This caused him even more problems and he was dehydrated.

By the time he walked in the door his head was killing him. He was shaking from lack of the right types of food and dehydration. I cooked a healthy dinner of tacos and he drank a few glasses of water and guess what his headache went away and he felt 100% times better.

The point of this story is that nutrition is important. Do you feel sluggish around 2PM? Are you fueling your body with the correct foods? Maybe you need to make a switch to clean eating. I'm excited for my first clean eating free group to start on Monday. Let me know if you'd like to join us.

Brian learned his lesson. He is going to pay attention to drinking enough water and eating the correct foods. I hope everyone has a blessed weekend.

Friday, May 16, 2014

What is a Challenge Group?

I hope everyone is doing as great as I am today. I really wanted to write a post about Challenge Groups since I often get questions about them.

Who can join a Challenge Group?
Anyone can join a challenge group as long as they have committed to using a Beachbody workout program purchased through my site.

What is a Challenge Group?
Challenge Groups are usually run by one or two coaches. Groups usually include at least 5 challengers and have no more than 20 this way participation and accountability are at a maximum level. The Challenge Group provides support, encouragement, recipe and meal planning ideas, tips and tricks, and peer accountability.

Where can I find the Challenge Group?
Challenge Groups are on Facebook. They are secret so no one outside the group can see what your are posting. Once placed in a group I will tag you in a post so you can easily find the group. I suggest you add the group to your favorites for easy finding in the future. Also, the group will be a non-judgmental place to post you successes and failures.

How long is a Challenge Group?
Depending on the program Challenge Groups can be 7, 30, 60 or 90 days in length.

Why do you participate in a challenge Group?
Those who commit to a Challenge Group usually see better results than those who decide to do the workout program on their own.

What are the participation requirements for a Challenge Group?
 You have to commit to completing the workout as prescribed in the product manual. If you are participating in a Shakeology group you must commit to drinking Shakeology for the duration of the Challenge Group. If you are participating in a Challenge Group where a Challenge Pack purchase is required you are committing to complete both the workout as prescribed and drinking Shakeology to replace at least one meal for 30 days.

Secondly, you must commit to check the Challenge Group at least once a day. This means that you log on to Facebook and check the posts in the group each day. Commenting on the posts will also help you to get to know the other participants.

How do I sign up for a Challenge Group?
1. You must be a member of my Team Beachbody site. You can do that by going to and create a username and password.
2. I will then contact you to discuss what program may be a good fit for you. I will also answer any questions you may have.
3. You will then purchase the fitness program or challenge pack from my website Click Shop. Then for Challenge Packs click "Challenge Packs" on the left hand side. For a fitness program click "Fitness Program" on the left hand side. For Shakeology you'd click "Shakeology" on the left hand side.  NOTE: Some Challenge Groups will require the purchase of Challenge Packs while others will take either the purchase of a Fitness Program or Shakeology or a Challenge Pack.
4. You can request to join the Challenge Group here.

I'm always happy to answer questions. Please let me know if you have any others. Have a great evening.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

So with this past weekend being Mother's Day I've been doing a lot of reflection. On Sunday I sent some time reading two books "Confessions of a Prayer Slacker" and "Lead Like Jesus". In both books I read the exact same thing. We are called to pray as Christians so that we know who God is and what his will for us is.

I also read that one way to do this is to uses the ACTS acronym:
Adoration -- give God the praise he deserves
Confession -- confess my sins and ask forgiveness
Thanksgiving -- count my blessings and thank God for all he has given us today
Supplication -- my requests

After reading both of these books on Sunday I realized I want to pray more. I feel like lately my prayer life has become rather stale. I feel like we pray before reading our devotionals, before meals, and at bed time but they are all very predictable as we say the same prayers each time.

 I also know I'm sending up the same quick prayers through the day..."God please help me to not yell as the whining has my temper short." "God please help me to respond correctly in this situation and not let my temper get the best of me." "God right now I don't like this person please help me to build them up and not tear them down." "God Brian isn't home from work yet and I really need a break can you get him home now." Can any of you relate to this?

I've always known prayer was important but reading these two books has really started to open my eyes to just how important it is. It has really made me want to invigorate my prayer life. I'd love to be able to sit quietly with the lord for some time each day. I'd love to memorize more scripture and complete more bible studies.

So today I am going to try and do just that. I want to become a great prayer warrior. I want you to know that when I say I'm praying for you you know I follow through and do it. I want to know God like never before.

My goal is to spend 10 minutes quietly in front of the Lord each day. No distractions. No cell phones, no computers. No kids.  I also want to memorize one scripture a week. Thirdly, I'd like to continue reading through the bible in a year. Lastly, I'd like to finish one bible study book a month.

Who would like to join this challenge with me? Write "I'm in" in the comments section and let's hold each other accountable.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Seasame Chinese Chicken and Green Beans

I'm back with another recipe that the girls absolutely loved. It was another night of clean plates. I'm usually the one to cook Chinese in this household but I guess Brian has been watching as he came up with this awesome gem.

2 Tbsps. sesame seeds
2 Tbsps. extra virgin olive oil
5 cloves garlic minced
2 tsp. ginger
1/2 cup reduced sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsps. fresh basil chopped
Frank's red hot to taste
2 lbs. chicken diced
9 cups frozen green beans

1. Place the oil and sesame seeds in a small pan.
2. Toast the sesame seeds on low heat until brown.
3. Mash the sesame seeds to release their flavor with a spoon.
4. Add 3 cloves of the garlic, 1 tsp. of the ginger, 1 tbsp. of the basil and all the soy sauce to this mixture.
5. Stir well and then add Frank's Red Hot to taste.
6. Divide this mixture in half
7. Cook green beans per instructions on the package.
8. Place chicken with the remaining 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. ginger and 1 tbsp. of basil in a sauté pan.
9. Cook chicken until brown on med-high heat stir frequently.
10. Add half the soy/sesame oil mixture to the chicken.
11. Mix until well coated
12. Mic the other half of the soy/sesame oil mixture into the green beans once cooked and drained.

 I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. I served it with whole wheat pasta as I had some left over from another meal this week, but it would be good with brown rice also. If you are on the 21 Day Fix eating plan one cup of green beans is one green and 1/3 tsp. 3/4 cup chicken is one red and 2/3 tsp.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Setting Realistic Goals

Do you know why most people fail? They don't set realistic goals. Realistic goals are first and for most SMART goals. Secondly when it comes to weight loss we only see the big picture and don't break it up into manageable chunks and get discouraged as we feel like we aren't making it any where. How many of you after a few weeks of working out want to quit as the scale didn't change?

This morning when I was washing breakfast dishes Brian said  I looked skinny. My reply was I'll never be skinny. The more  I reflected on my response today the more I knew I needed to write this post to myself today about goals. Do you have a specific goal in mind? What is your short term goal? What is your long term goal? Are those goals reasonable?
Let's dive into SMART goals. SMART stands for
(image from :
So S stands for Specific.
What is my specific goal?
I want to get into the healthy BMI range. For me this is 120-159lbs. I really wanted to get right in the middle of that at 145lbs.
Why do I want to do this?
I want to be healthier for myself and my family. I'm sick of my knees and back hurting. I want to be stronger. I want to be able to play with the girls.
Where do I want to work out?
I want to work out at home. I know it is too hard for me to get to the gym and spending the moments my kids are awake is too important to me.

The M stands for measureable. So for my goal I am going to weigh each 21 days at the end of each round. If I change programs I will weigh at the specified time points for that program. I will also measure myself as I know that my weight may not change but inches will. I know I want to be 145 pounds. I also know I want to lose three inches in the next 21 days.

A stands for achievable. This is where my second point comes in. Many look at what they want to get to ( for me145lb), but will set an unrealistic time goal. Did you know most doctors will tell you a safe goal is to lose 10% of your weight in three months? So this means that if you are currently 160 lb a realistic goal would be 16 pounds within the next 3 months. This means your goal would be 144 lb in 3 months. Say you goal weight for the long term is 100.Then you'd set another small goal for yourself that over the next three months you'd lose 14.4 lbs. Therefor this second three months  your goal weight would be 129.6. You continue to set these small goals each three months until you get to your goal.

R stands for relevant. One question to ask yourself is "Am I willing to work towards this goal?" Why do you set a goal if you aren't willing to try? I know that I am determined to hit play every day for 30 minutes until I reach my goal.

T stands for timely. Look at my explanation under achievable. Again set a large goal and smaller goals. Currently my goal is 144 in three month.

Are you willing to set a SMART goal? Guess what if I look at my goals in a smaller piece and not a huge thing then I can actually meet them. And guess what I can actually be skinny. But beyond being skinny I can be healthier for myself and my family.  I'm making progress just one day at a time. I'm taking this one pound at a time. I will do this and I hope you'll join me in this journey. Thank God for the perspective change today!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Is it worth it?

Same days clean eating is easier than others. With this past weekend being Mother's Day I saw many challengers asking themselves the same question. Is this worth it? Some stated that they have felt they made all these changes but the results aren't happening quick enough. Others stated that they feel like their whole life revolves around food; counting calories, wondering if this is on the bad or good list, and preparing and eating food.

Let's go back to the why you are making the changes in the first place. Most people change to clean eating because they want to either lose weight or be healthier or a combination of both. Some may make the switch because of high cholesterol or obesity while others may make the switch to feel better and reduce their risk of certain diseases.

Most will jump right in and completely make all the changes all at once. Some define clean eating as no processed foods. Others may say that as long as it whole food it is okay to eat. While the definition may vary one thing is agreed upon clean eating will promote health.

I had discussed the formation of a habit in another post but basically it takes 30 days for a habit to form. if you do it for 30 days it becomes easier and more natural to you. therefore if you make the clean eating switch do it for 30 days with no break and you'll be surprised at how you look at food.

Also look at why you want certain foods? In Made to Crave the author uses the bible verse Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. 1 Corinthians 10:23 So in other words we can do anything but will it benefit us in the end game.  If I eat this cupcake will it benefit me and help me reach my goals?

When you want a certain food it is always good to ask yourself these questions:
Am I eating because I'm truly hungry or is there an underlying reason?
Am I eating because I am lonely or stressed?
Am I wanting that food because I've denied myself of it and now have made it more of a big deal than it was?
If I eat this how will I feel in an hour? How will I feel tomorrow?

These questions usually allow you to see a pattern of when you are craving a certain food or want to eat. They also allow you to step back and see if the food is a benefit for you. IT will allow us to stop the negative talk in our head and make the positive changes that we set out to make. It also allows us to meet our why.

So today when you ask yourself "Is it Worth It?" say yes. This doesn't mean if you fall off the wagon you should beat yourself up. Pick yourself back up and try again. It will get easier. Also give yourself a cheat meal every once in awhile. It will help with the cravings and make you feel like you've earned something for all the hard work you've been doing.

A few question for you:
For those that have made the clean eating switch when do you find your self hungry? In other words what things trigger you to want to eat?

I hope you enjoyed this posts. As always if you have any questions feel free to contact me.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mother's Day and Expectations

As I was reading my current small group study book "Love and Respect" by Emerson and thinking about Mother's Day I got to thinking about expectations. Sometimes as moms we have some many unspoken expectations that when they don't happen we get disappointed.

Has this happened to you? It's Mother's Day. It is 6 AM and your kid(s) are awake. Your husband is snoring next to you. You get up to take care of the kids.  You get up make them breakfast. Play with them for a few hours and then your husband wakes up at 9 AM and says to you "why are you out of bed? You should be in bed asleep." You might be angry. You might want to fight back. Some may quip back "I tried to wake you but you were you were snoring so I just did it all myself". Others may say "Oh I was awake and didn't mind coming down at all" but inside they are seething. Others may just give their spouse the silent treatment.

What caused this? Probably unrealistic expectations. Guess what girls our men cannot read our minds. Do you want to sleep in on Mother's Day then tell him so. Want breakfast in bed. Let him know what and when you want it. Want to go to church. Want a special piece of jewelry. Want flower let him know. This way there is no question in his mind what you want and your are not disappointed because your expectation don't match reality.

The "Love and Respect" devotional from 5/6 also got me thinking. It was all about gibing my family the gift of friendliness. Instead of expecting something on Mother's Day what is we just continued to give to our families. Jesus always served those in need. No day was "special" to him. It didn't matter what day it was he still served other.

Remember at one time Jesus was criticized for healing someone on the Sabbath. What was he doing on Passover? Washing the disciples feet. In his three years of ministry he was always serving others. Mom what if we used this as our model? What is we constantly served others? Do you realize our most important mission field is right at home.

You can make the most difference in your home today. Respect your husband. Teach your kids God's word. Put your family before yourself. I think you'll be surprised at the results and what you gain in return.  What is one way you'll serve your family today? Share in the comments section.

I hope all my mom friends have a blessed Mother's Day. We are off to serve in the nursery at church and then back home to do our traditional work in the yard in preparation to plant stuff. I'm excited for another beautiful day with my family. Happy Mother's Day!

21 Day Fix

Good evening all. As many know I am doing the "21 Day Fix" and just became a Beachbody coach. A few have asked exactly what is the "21 Day Fix". This is the post for you.

What is 21 Day Fix? 

 It is a 21-day program of simple portion control and 30-minute workouts that anyone can do. It is simple, fast weight loss—no weighing food or counting calories, carbs, or points. You can lose up to 15 pounds in 21 days. You get color coded containers. You calculate you optimal number of calories and use that to determine how many of each colored container you need. Then if it fits and is within that colors allowed list you can eat it.

What makes 21 Day Fix unique?

It is all about the portion-control containers that take all the guesswork out of losing weight. It's the simplest way to control how much you eat. There is no counting calories. If it fits you can eat it. The workouts are 30-minute workouts that anyone can do and fit into everyone's busy life. I lost five pounds in the first week and nine pounds and 16 inches by the end of 21 days.

What did you like about the 21 Day Fix?

I loved the variety of the workouts. Each day was something new. There are eight workouts total in the original fix. You do the seven thirty minute workouts, one each day. Then there is a bonus 10 minute Abs routine that you can add on as an extra. The exercises are different in each video.  The warm up and cool downs are the same, but I don't think the is an exercises repeated. The videos are based on a drop set where you do sixty seconds of work with a 20 second break. Most have four set of two exercises where each exercise is repeated in the set. Autumn, the trainer, also loves her bonus sets.

What didn't you like about the 21 Day Fix?

For once in my life I can say there isn't anything I dislike about this program. There is enough variety to keep me engaged and coming back each day. The music is good.  The people they got to do the workouts are real life people and they tell their stories during the workouts.

What is the additional Piyo video I received with my challenge pack?

Piyo is an additional high intensity cardio workout. Once you have built up some muscle and stamina you can use it to replace one of the cardio workouts in the week. Piyo is a mix of yoga and Pilates. It includes a lot of jumping. The first time I did it I was surprised at how sore I was afterwards, but I knew the soreness meant I was working.

What additional fitness equipment will I need to complete this workout program?

You will need two sets of dumbbells, a light and heavy set, or a resistance band to complete this program. A mat is optional.

Here is the video about the 21 Day Fix from Beachbody:  
21 Day Fix Video

If you'd like to order the 21 Day Fix you can order just the workout program which includes the portion control containers and eating plan by clicking here. If you'd like to order the challenge pack which includes your first months Shakeology click here.

Any additional questions, write them in the comment section and I'd be happy to update this post. Have a blessed day.

Farro Cucumber Tomato Salad

Here is a recipe that I'm just getting around to blogging. We had this a few rimes since we've made the switch to clean it. It is so filling and yummy. My girls cleaned their plate the last time we had this!

3.5 cups Cucumber quartered and sliced
3.5 cups Grape Tomatoes halved
1 cup onion diced
2 cups dry Farro
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro
8 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
Pepper to taste

1. Cook farro per package instructions
2. Ina separate pan add olive oil and onions.
3. Cook onions till soft over medium heat. You don't want them to caramelized, just break down a little.
4. Add red wine vinegar, basil, and cilantro.
5. Stir well until mixed
6. Add cooked farro, cucumbers, and tomatoes.
7. Stir until mixed.
8. Removed from heat and serve

If you are on the 21 Day Fix eating plan. One 1.5 cup serving covers one yellow, one green and one tsp for your eating plan.

Friday, May 9, 2014

It's Not About the Pounds, but Being Stronger Everyday

Let's face it why are most of us motivated to start a fitness program or a diet?
1. You are overweight
2. You Doctor Says you Should because you have high cholesterol or some other medical problem
3. You are unhappy with the way you look
4. You are unhappy with the way your clothes fit
5. You are single and want someone to look at you
6. You are married and want to be attractive to your husband

These are just a few reasons you probably have some of your own.

Let's face is there is no quick fix. Real change takes time. In Joyce Meyer's book "Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits" she states "habits are things we learn to do through repetition and eventually do either unconsciously or with very little effort. First we form habits and then they form us . We are what we repeatedly do. Don’t be deceived by thinking that you just can’t help what you do, because the truth is that you can do or not do anything if you really want to. At least you can do anything that is God’s will" (Meyer, Joyce (2013-04-02). Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life (Kindle Locations 52-55). FaithWords. Kindle Edition.) She also says that "Good habits can be developed, and any bad habit can be broken through repetition. The experts say that a habit can be formed or broken in thirty days." (Meyer, Joyce (2013-04-02). Making Good Habits, Breaking Bad Habits: 14 New Behaviors That Will Energize Your Life . FaithWords. Kindle Edition.)

Are you interested in making a new habit? Join one of my 30 day challenge groups. I have one starting almost every month. Fill out the Challenger Form and I will get back to you about my next challenge group.

As part of a challenge group you will see that this isn't about the pounds. It isn't about how much your scale moves or how many inches you lose, while that is nice, it is about becoming stronger every day.

How do we do this? We learn ways to eat less and exercise more. We learn ways to fuel our bodies with the correct foods and eat the unhealthy foods in moderation. We support one another so that when we fall we can get right back up and continue where we were.

We will also learn that we are a lot stronger than we think we are:
You will realize you can do so much more than you ever dreamed you could do. You will realize you are stronger than you ever thought possible.

Are you ready to join me? Contact me today and will set up a time to discuss your goals and find a program that is right for you.

Bubble Snakes

Today I wanted to do something new as I needed to get these girls out. It has been a long winter here and I knew it was supposed to thunderstorm this evening. I got the idea of bubble snake a few years ago from this website. I had these all ready for a play date in which no one showed up so I already had everything ready.

Here is the materials you need:
Water bottle or pop bottle with the bottom cut off
An old sock (finally found something to do with those missing a match
Dish liquid
Duck Tape
Food coloring

You simply tape the sock on the bottom of the bottle:

Then you mix some water and Dish liquid. You dip the sock into the soapy water and then blow where you'd normally drink out of. Here is the results:

Next I added drop of food coloring directly on the sock. Then we made colorful snake bubbles:

Hope you enjoyed our snake bubbles. Have a blessed day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

God Made Dirt so Dirt Can't Hurt

Today has been such an awesome day. I got to start the morning off at my local MOPS group. I absolutely love the ladies at my table. They are so encouraging and uplifting. It is amazing what a few minutes with them can do to lighten my mood.

Sadly I had to leave the MOPS meeting early because I didn't want to miss Abby's preschool's Mother's Day program Muffins With Mom. We had a ton of fun. I only ate half a muffin as it doesn't really fit into my current clean eating plan. It felt like lead in my stomach. I couldn't even finish my half. It also made me extremely thirsty. I couldn't get enough eater the rest of the day.

I had fun making a door hanger with Abby that says "Shh...Mom is sleeping". Haha! As if I'll ever get to use that.

Then we got to go get some photos taken. Once I get the I'll upload it right here. We got to wear aprons and pretend we were baking. It was so cute. The teachers did awesome with this event.

Since it was really nice outside we had a picnic lunch and played with sidewalk chalk.

This evening while trying to make dinner all of a sudden it was really quiet. I asked Brian if he knew where the girls were. We knew they were out back but couldn't see or hear them all of a sudden. I walk outside and this is what I find:

They were living it up in a mud puddle behind our house. My motto is "God Made Dirt so Dirt Can't Hurt". They had so much fun playing in the mud with diggers and shovels. They also transported some to the mud pie maker:
C said she was baking a cake. Since they were all muddy we ate dinner on blankets outside.

It was a great end to a great day with my three little girls.  I am so blessed to get to spend everyday at home with them. God is so good!