Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Kindergarten, Consignment & Sickness)

I have decided to switch up the order for my weekly posts.  I do all my menu planning and food list making over the weekend, so it makes more sense to do my menu planning blog then too.  Plus I often want to write about our weekend which means I'm trying to do the family post late Sun night and I'm usually tired.  So my plan is to do the menu plan by Sun night and the family weekly recap by Tues.

Last week was super busy for us, which is a common theme around here.  First up was registering Daniel for Kindergarten next year!  He did great with his assessment, knew all his letters, numbers and how to handle a book.  He struggled with rhyming (which he is constantly practicing now) and cutting (which he hates).  He also has a slight speech delay and will be retested in the fall to see if he needs speech therapy.  I was surprised by this, I guess I didn't notice since his speech is so much better than AJ's.  I'm familiar with the speech therapist there (from AJ) and she is wonderful!  So we'll wait to see what she says in Sept.
This dude is ready for Kindergarten!

After that the week went by in a blur of activity, mostly mine.  I volunteered for the PTO to help with the Kindergarten registration info booth and I was also getting ready for my first consignment sale this week.  I underestimated how much time and energy both of these things would take.  I also started my new Zumba schedule of teaching 7 classes in a week.  I was very tired and stressed.  I will not be taking on huge projects like those again in the same week!
All of the crap stuff I'm selling
Tuesday night Adrian and his father took AJ and Daniel to a Clippers baseball game.  They all had a great time and the Clippers won 11-1.  They stayed until the 7th inning, then called it a night since it was a school night for everyone.  I'm sure we'll be heading back to more games this summer.  The boys start their tee ball games this weekend which will be fun to watch as well!

This past weekend the weather was beautiful and we took full advantage of it!  We were outside most of the day Saturday and Sunday.  We even got the bikes out for the boys.  AJ is working on learning to ride without training wheels and Daniel and Zak are learning how to ride.  It was exhausting helping them all around the block. 
Zak's first time on the bike

We ended the weekend with Zak and Adrian not feeling well.  Boo!  Zak seems to have rallied pretty quickly, other than a still snotty nose.  Adrian is still struggling, even after taking two days off from work.  He's a little better tonight so back to the grind tomorrow for him!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu 4/28 - 5/4)

Wow, we are busy.  There is so much going on right now my head is spinning.  April flew by and I feel like May is going to do the same.  The boys are gearing up for their last month of school and we also have a few fun things planned for the month of May.  My meal plans will probably be more quick and easy meals than they have been.

Last week went pretty much as I planned for my menu, with the exception of Sunday.  We were exhausted and had a ton of stuff that needed to be done today so we decided to make the ham & bean soup to use for leftovers this week and then fend for yourself for dinner.  I'm eyeing some frozen apps.  Not exactly diet friendly, but buffalo chicken strips sound super good right now.

I'm also trying to use up all the hard boiled eggs that we colored for Easter.  Whose idea was it to color 2 dozen?  That would be me.  Only Zak and I eat them so it's pretty slow going.  I did enjoy a delicious egg salad sandwich this week and another one today.  I have about a dozen left.  Lots of salad this week to use them up!

Now on to the menu for this week:
Monday, 4/28 - Pork & Green Beans (Relish recipe) - hold over from last week
Tuesday, 4/29 - Ham & Potato Casserole (Relish recipe)
Wednesday, 4/30 - Ravioli Bake (Relish recipe)
Thursday, 5/1 - BBQ Chicken Melts
Friday, 5/2 - Chicken & Gnocchi (Relish recipe)
Saturday, 5/3 - Kale & Mushroom Calzones
Sunday, 5/4 - Buffalo Pork Chops

As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (4/16 - 4/22)

Not much new going on in the workout world, so I thought I'd revisit a few of my goals for the year and see how I'm doing.  I didn't officially write out goals for the year, but I had a few in mind so here they are and how it's going 1/3 of the way thru the year.

1.  Teach 5 Zumba classes per week.  Done!  I'm actually up to 7 classes per week.  I won't stay with this schedule for more than the next four months, but Adrian & I think it will work best for us this summer.  After that, if all of the places still want me, I'll make my adjustments and get back to 5...maybe 6.

2.  Do 14 races in 2014.  I started off really strong and did 6 races so far.  However, with my crazy Zumba schedule, I don't know how many more races I'll be able to do.  I dropped out of the CapCity 1/2 because I wasn't able to properly train for it.  And I work Sat and Sun morning so that makes it very rough to get to races.  I'll see how my schedule changes in August and reevaluate from there.

3. Do one fitness calendar challenge each month.  Done!  I finished the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans calendars for Jan, Feb, March and am going strong in April.  I also joined a friends challenge group and finished March and April with them.  I am really enjoying adding this strength training in, even if it's only a few minutes every day.  I'm feeling and seeing the difference.

4.  Get under 200 lbs.  I hate this goal.  I want to stop caring.  But I can't.  I want to throw my scale threw a wall.  But I won't.  Sigh.

All in all, I think this year is off to a great start.  I suffered a little set back with the whole gym closing thing, but I bounced back pretty well.  Looking forward to what the rest of this year will bring!

Here's how last week looked:
Wednesday, 4/16 - Rest Day
Thursday, 4/17 - Taught a one hour Zumba class
Friday, 4/18 - Taught a one hour Zumba class
Saturday, 4/19 - Taught a one hour Zumba class & walked about 3 miles at the zoo
Sunday, 4/20 - rest day for Easter
Monday, 4/21 - Taught a 45 minute Zumba class
Tuesday, 4/22 - Taught a one hour Zumba class

Weigh in:
4/16 weight - 215
4/23 weight - 217
Change - up 2 lbs

 See number 4 above.  Stupid scale.  Yes, it's the scale's fault, not the Easter candy.  :-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Easter Weekend)

What a fun week and weekend we had celebrating Easter!!

Meeting the Easter Bunny!
The week started with me going in for my monthly time volunteering in AJ's class.  I love going in there and seeing how he behaves and acts in class and around other kids.  I got to help some of the kids who are struggling with math, they love the one on one time.  I didn't get to work with AJ, but I still had fun.  I also went to the book fair with him and bought him two new books.
Selfie of Me & AJ
Then on Wednesday I went into Daniel's class for their Easter party.  Me and one of the other mom's planned a really fun party for the kids.  We started with a yummy snack of rice krispie robin's nests.  Then the kids made bunny masks for their craft.  After that we played a game where the kids did different things to get a plastic egg in a basket, including bunny hop, duck waddle & balance it on a spoon.  We finished up with an Easter story.  The kids all had fun, even Daniel who was in a crappy mood that day. 
Rice Krispie snacks
Daniel's class in bunny masks
Then we all enjoyed a 2 1/2 day weekend.  The boys all had off from school on Friday & Adrian got a half day off from work.  I had to teach Friday morning, so our weekend started around lunch time that day.  We spent most of that day playing outside & enjoying the weather.  And I did a few things around the house to get ready for the weekend.
Daniel & Zak chasing bubbles
Saturday we went to the zoo for their annual Paws & Claws spring event.  It was really crowded, more people that I have seen there in a very long time.  The day started rough with a few meltdowns but we rallied once we started collecting candy.  We walked around about half of the zoo and then decided to call it a day.  We stopped for a special treat on the way out, fried Oreos and funnel cake.
Sunday morning we woke up and saw that the Easter Bunny had visited!  He had hid all 23 eggs we colored plus about 20 plastic eggs with treats in them.  The boys had a blast finding the eggs, even Zak got in on the fun.  Daniel kept saying "I love Easter egg hunts!" and "This Easter Bunny can't fool me!!"  After we finished our hunt, we went over to Carl and Sarah's for another egg hunt and our traditional Easter breakfast.  The boys had a great time finding all the eggs with toys in them.  And Adrian & I enjoyed stuffing ourselves with kielbasa, eggs, farmer cheese, rye bread & meat pie.  And we all lived to tell about it.
Egg Hunt at our house
AJ & Daniel checking out their loot from Uncle Carl & Aunt Sarah
We ended our Sunday with dinner with Adrian's parents, sister, nephew & grandmother.  They just got back from Florida this week so it was fun to see them after not seeing them for like four months.  We had fun catching up, eating too much and drinking some wine.  After that I was so exhausted!  I was kinda wishing that everyone had Monday off instead of Friday.  But now that it's Tuesday we're finding our groove again finally this week.

Hope you all had a fantastic Easter with your loved ones!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 4/21 - 4/27)

We had a great weekend celebrating Easter with our family this past weekend and today we are suffering from Easter hangover.  :-)  Everyone had off on Friday which was awesome, but I would rather everyone have off today to recover.  Oh well, we have pretty much survived the day so far so I guess it's all good.

I shared my Easter dinner plan last week and everything turned out amazing!  Of course, in all the chaos I forgot to take any pictures.  I did get this one of Zak enjoying the dessert(s).  On his plate is the Strawberry Pretzel Salad.  Mine didn't look as pretty as the picture, but it tasted yummy!
In addition to all the yummy food I made, we also got some of our favorite treats at the zoo on Saturday, fried Oreos (blue for Easter) and funnel cake.  It was a fun treat for the five of us to share...especially when Adrian went to throw out the empty plates and a strong wind came by and blew all the extra powdered sugar all over me and Daniel.  We were covered head to toe!!  More on our fun weekend in tomorrow's post.
On to this week's menu plan.  We have an extremely busy week including all of our normal things, me starting to teach Zumba 7 classes each week, Kindergarten registration (I'm volunteering for our PTO for that) and a baseball game for Adrian & the boys.  Whew, I'm gonna have to be on my game this week!

Monday, 4/21 - Leftovers.  I did NOT feel like cooking after yesterday.
Tuesday, 4/22 - Leftovers again.  We have a ton of stuff left from late last week.  Plus this is the night of the baseball game so they will be snacking there.  I have to teach so Zak and I will miss it.
Wednesday, 4/23 - Slow Cooker Steak Chili - I'm in the school all afternoon, then AJ has hockey.  Need something quick that we can eat in stages.
Thursday, 4/24 - Taco Tortilla Lasagna - this was a holdover from last week.  We decided to do leftovers on Friday since we were having so much fun playing outside with the boys.
Friday, 4/25 - Out for a double date night for Thai food & Captain America!  This is tentative.  If it doesn't happen, we'll have Ham & Potato Casserole to use up the ham leftovers.
Saturday, 4/26 - Buffalo Pork Chops
Sunday, 4/27 Lunch - Ham & Bean Soup to finish up the ham leftovers & use the bone
Sunday, 4/27 Dinner - Pork Loin & Green Beans (Relish recipe)

As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (Lady Tutu Recap)

Back in August I did the first annual Lady Tutu 5K race and loved it.  When Speedy Sneakers started planning this year's race, I was thrilled when they asked me to be an ambassador again.  I love this race and the company that runs it so I will happily promote the race.

Disclaimer - I did receive a free race entry and a free tutu to promote the race, but all opinions are my own.

This year the race was much earlier in the year, and they were nice enough to schedule it on my birthday weekend.  They also changed the location from Creekside to Easton.  I was super excited to do this as part of my birthday celebration!

The group ended up being a little smaller this year, I think a lot of people were busy since it was spring break and nervous about how cold the winter has been.  It was me, my Mom, my SIL Sarah, and friends Angie & Birgit.  We met up early on Saturday morning and were freezing waiting for the start.
Sarah, me, Birgit & Mom freezing before the race
It was great to see so many women there that morning, the race sold out and had almost 1,100 women registered to race.  There were so many cute outfits and tutus, I loved seeing them all!  They announced we would be starting soon, so everyone made their way to the start line.  We started right on time and Sarah, Birgit and my mom took off running!  Angie and I fell into a nice pace and started chatting.  As always with a small race, people were lined up wrong, we were getting passed by runners and passing slower walkers.  But after about 1/2 mile things evened out and we were in a very nice groove.

I decided again not to "race" this race but just enjoy it and hang with my friend.  We did the race together in August and finished in just over an hour.  I knew Angie had been working hard and was confident we would finish in under an hour.  The course was really nice, we walked all through the Easton area and got to see all the shops before they were open for the day.  It was a pretty easy course, relatively flat and straight forward.

Angie and I were walking and talking and around the halfway point, we really found a nice groove.  I think it took us that long to get our legs warmed up.  Around mile 2 we passed the finish line, so it was nice to see women crossing and getting medals as we walked by.  Then we made our final turn and could see the finish line.  We finished right around 50 minutes, which turned out to be an 18 minute PR for Angie.  I was SO excited for her and proud of her!

We met up with my mom, who stopped running after a minute or 2 and finished about 5 minutes before us and Sarah and we all headed to Northstar to warm up and enjoy a yummy breakfast.
Me & Angie after the race
Sarah, Mom & Me with our medals
I really love this race & would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a fun 5K.  The race is well run, the shirts & medals are nice.  Speedy Sneakers runs a great race.  They are doing 2 more Lady Tutu races this year, one in Toledo in June and one in Cincinnati later this summer.  If you are in either area, look into it and sign up with your girlfriends.  Then grab your tutus and get ready for a fun morning!!

Here's how the past week of workouts has looked for me:
Wednesday, 4/9 - Took Beth's TBC class, only made it 40 minutes due to a dirty diaper
Thursday, 4/10 - Took one hour Plyo Fit class (am) and taught a one hour Zumba class (pm)
Friday, 4/11 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Saturday, 4/12 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Sunday, 4/13 - No one showed for my Zumba class so I did 20 minutes on the elliptical and then cleaned my entire house
Monday, 4/14 - Took a one hour Zumba class
Tuesday, 4/15 - planned rest day

Weigh in:
3/26 weight - 219
4/9 weight - 215
Change - down 4 lbs

I lost the 4 lbs I gained last week.  Now if only I could keep it going in this direction.  I'm hoping to not go to crazy with Easter this weekend, but I've already dipped into the candy.  Sigh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (2 Weeks of Fun & Routine)

I missed this post last week, my parents were visiting all weekend and we really enjoyed our time with family.  We didn't really "do" anything, but had a great visit.  We spent most of the time just hanging out and playing with the boys.  We did a trip to Polaris to shop & play, visited a few parks, and enjoyed the nice weather in our back yard.  We also had a few meals together with my parents and my brother and his family.  It's so fun to see my niece and my boys playing together.

Other than the time with my family, it's been business as usual over here.  We are enjoying our last two months of the school routine, well at least I am, I think the boys are ready for summer break.  We are getting used to a new work schedule for me.  And we are trying to clean up the yard and get the outside ready after a harsh winter.

AJ got his report card for the third quarter of school last week and he is doing fantastic!  He is at level or above for every subject.  His teacher is very impressed with his math skills and his work ethic.  He works very hard at school and it shows in all he has learned this past year.  Since the report cards, he has also moved up another reading level and has his first "chapter" book for reading group.  This was a big personal goal for AJ, he loves reading and works very hard on practicing it and his sight words.

Zachary plans to live outside for the spring/summer.  He absolutely LOVES to be outside.  When we have a nice day, he's out as much as I will let him be.  The other day I had to lock up the sliding door & close the curtains just so he would sit down and eat dinner!  He loves swinging, sliding, playing with all the balls and popping bubbles.  He also loves going for walks around the block, which he and I do while his big brothers ride their bikes or scooters.

Here are a few pictures of the past two weeks:
Daniel & Marli swinging at the blue play ground
The terrible 2 year olds - Zak & Isabelle
Zak & Isabelle practicing their shapes
Nana pushing Zak on the swings at AJ's school play ground
Daniel sliding at Hannah Park
AJ bouncing at Hannah Park

Zak & Daniel swinging in our yard

Monday, April 14, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan for 4/14 - 4/20 including Easter Dinner)

I did great sticking to my menu plan last week.  I made pretty much everything I intended to make, with the exception of a few of the sides.  The only change was since this weekend was beautiful Adrian really wanted to grill one night.  So we bumped one of the weekend meals to this week and made this instead:
Ribs and corn on the grill - delicious!
Another favorite of last week was the Nutty Stuffed Cabbage.  This was a recipe from Relish and my first time making stuffed cabbage.  It didn't come out very pretty, but it was tasty.  It was a different spin on traditional stuffed cabbage, it had an Asian flair to it.  Inside was ricotta, apples, raisins, celery, onion, carrots, cashews and sunflower seeds.  The sauce over it was cashews, soy sauce and a few other spices that are slipping my mind.  While it was time consuming, I will definitely make this again.  On a weekend.  :)
Nutty Stuffed Cabbage
Here's what's on our menu this week, including my semi-healthy Easter dinner:
Monday, 4/14 - Peanut Pork (Relish recipe)
Tuesday, 4/15- BBQ Pork Salad
Wednesday, 4/16 - Three Cheese Mac & Cheese subbing spaghetti squash for pasta
Thursday, 4/17 - Spinach & Sausage Bake
Friday, 4/18 - Taco Tortilla Lasagna
Saturday, 4/19 - Out!  We plan to spend the day at the zoo so we'll be exhausted.  Plus I want to start prepping for Easter dinner so Sunday is less stressful.

Sunday, 4/20 - Easter Dinner with Adrian's family.  We will be having:
Ham - from Aldi, cooked in the slow cooker.  Delicious!
Cheesy Potato Casserole - first time making this, I'm excited
Roasted Asparagus - I cut up asparagus & peppers, toss with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & crushed red peppers.  It's always a hit.
String Bean Roll Ups - Soak the beans in Italian dressing overnight, wrap in bacon & bake.  This is a borrowed recipe from a friend.  It's the only veggie my nephew will eat so I make it most holidays.
Broccoli Cashew Salad - I made this a few months ago and Adrian & I both loved it.  It's also easy and can be made ahead in all my free time this week

And for dessert I'm trying two new recipes.  Adrian wanted something "different, maybe fruity" so I picked Strawberry Pretzel Salad.  I wanted something "peanut butter & candy like" so I picked Peanut Butter Bars.  I'm drooling over both of these.

As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (New Routine!!)

I missed updating last week, partly because my mom was here visiting and partly because I was so busy getting used to my new Zumba schedule!  After almost six weeks of uncertainty, I finally have a set schedule and have a few more opportunities on the horizon.  I'm SO excited to finally be back to teaching this much again.

As of now I have four permanent classes on my schedule.  I'm teaching Thursday night, Friday morning, Saturday morning and Sunday morning.  It's kinda funny how the timing worked out, but I kinda like it too.  I set up a play list by Thursday night and then do the same list for all four classes.  If you want more specifics about when and where I'm teaching, you can follow me on Facebook.

I also found out this week that I got a position with a local corporate office that provides fitness classes for their employees.  It is thru the YMCA so there are a few hoops to jump thru things to take care of and then I will start teaching two nights per week for them too.  And if it works out the Y also wants me to teach one night at their downtown location.  I'm waiting to hear all the timing on those. 

If I did them all, that would bring me to 7 classes per week, plus occasional subbing jobs.  That may be too much.  My goal was 5 classes plus subbing.  I'm going to wait and see how it all works out and then make my decision.  I may try it for a few weeks and see which classes I like and which ones aren't going well and then make some adjustments from there.
After an "interview" - I will never get used to going to an interview like this.
Other than the new Zumba schedule, the last two weeks have been pretty routine.  I am proud to say that I have stuck with my monthly strength challenges and I'm seeing a difference from them.  I am definitely developing some muscles.  I have two Groupons I'll be using in the next few months that will help with strength as well, one for Crossfit and one for more barre classes.

I've also been sticking with the theme of the year, great exercise, horrible diet.  And I'm seeing that on the scale.  I'm going to keep doing my best, that's all I can do.  I'm going to keep trying to eat better.

Here is how the last two weeks looked:
Wednesday, 3/26 - 20 minute Zumba audition
Thursday, 3/27 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Friday, 3/28 - Rest Day
Saturday, 3/29 - Lady Tutu 5K (recap next week)
Sunday, 3/30 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Monday, 3/31 - Took one hour Zumba class with a new to me instructor
Tuesday, 4/1 - 30 minutes on elliptical, 30 minutes on bike
Wednesday, 4/2 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Thursday, 4/3 - Taught two one hour Zumba classes back to back (wow, that was hard!)
Friday, 4/4 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Saturday, 4/5 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Sunday, 4/6 - Taught one hour Zumba class
Monday, 4/7 - much needed rest day!
Tuesday, 4/8 - unplanned rest day

Weigh in:
3/26 weight - 215
4/9 weight - 219
Change - up 4 lbs (see above)

Monday, April 7, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 4/7 - 4/13)

I have been quiet on here for the past week & it has been a great week with my parents visiting from Florida!  We've been busy having fun and spending time with them.  Now we are all kind of suffering from vacation hangover, even though we didn't go anywhere.  Between spring break and visitors, we have been way off our normal schedule.  Spending today catching up on stuff and getting ready for a busy week coming up.  I think from here on out until summer things will be very busy!

Here is our no frills menu plan for this week.  Gotta go finish up my shopping list and cleaning up the house.

Monday, 4/7 - YOYO (you're on your own)
Tuesday, 4/8 - Chicken & Sausage Gumbo over "rice" (Relish recipe)
Wednesday, 4/9 - Thai Squash Soup with an apple mango salad (Relish recipes)
Thursday, 4/10 - Crouton Pot Pie with Kale chips (Relish recipe)
Friday, 4/11 - Creamy Potato Soup with Caesar Salad (Relish recipe)
Saturday, 4/12 - Three Cheese Mac & Cheese subbing spaghetti squash for pasta with spinach salad
Sunday, 4/13 Lunch - Chicken Caesar Pitas (Relish recipe)
Sunday, 4/13 Dinner - Stuffed Cabbage with Salad (Relish recipe)

If you area  regular reader, you may notice I have more sides this week than usual.  That's because my friend Deanna and some of her friends at Mama Said, "Eat Your Vegetables" are hosting a "Getting Back at it!" challenge this week.  The challenge is to eat more fruits & veggies during the week.  They also give you a list of fruits and veggies as a suggestion for the week.  I am trying to eat all the things on the list this week.  I have done these challenges with them in the past & it's really a great way to think about what you're eating.  I've also found new things I like, like fennel.  Come join us on Facebook!

As always, I'm linking up with Laura at Mommy, Run Fast & Jill at Fitness, Health and Happiness.  Go check them out for some more yummy recipes!