Monday, September 29, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Disney - Part 2)

The trip wasn't started off the way we expected (read Part 1 if you missed it), but we were determined to have a great time!  After spending most of Monday in Magic Kingdom, we went back to the time share to regroup and see how everyone was feeling.  AJ and Daniel wanted to rest, but the rest of us wanted to head to Epcot.  So my Dad stayed home with the boys and we headed to Epcot.

We got there and there was NO ONE there.  Seriously, I wondered if I had the park times wrong and it was closed.  Zak immediately loved seeing the "giant golf ball" and wanted to go on the ball ride.  We did that and then headed over to ride the Nemo ride.  We split up to do Soarin', did the two boat rides in the countries and watched the night show.  We were only there for about three hours, but we had a blast!!  It was fun to walk around with only Zak and just spend some time with him.  We headed back to the time share after the night show to get a good night's rest and hopefully all be well the next day.
Zak checking out the ball before the night show
Adrian & I are a permanent part of Epcot

Tuesday morning we got up and moving and everyone seemed to be OK.  We headed back to Magic Kingdom with a list of things we wanted to do, as well as Fast Passes for some of the big rides, including the new Mine Train one.  We got there and AJ got to be in the front row for his favorite show at the castle.
After the show, we ran all over the place going on as many rides as we could.  We did everything we wanted to do and had a BLAST...all before 6:00pm.  We finished everything so quickly that we were all able to pick one more thing to do before the park closed.  AJ chose the Buzz Lightyear ride, Daniel chose It's a Small World, Zak chose Dumbo, Adrian chose Winnie the Pooh and I chose the new Little Mermaid ride.  We got all of that in and were done in time to see most of the electric light parade that night before heading home.
It's a Small World
Little Mermaid
Dumbo - Zak's favorite ride
Buzz Lightyear ride - one of AJ's favorites
There were a lot of great times that day, but one of the best was doing "Enchanted Tales with Belle."  Jon had suggested we do that as one of our Fast Passes and I'm glad he did.  It's not a ride but a retelling of the story of the night that Belle met the Beast.  And the audience is part of the story.  My Dad was picked to be a marching knight, Daniel was a feather duster, Luci was a foot stool and AJ was picked to be The Beast!!  I loved watching AJ in the story, roaring at Belle and then dancing with her.  I may have cried a lot.  I highly recommend this as a nice change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the rides and character meet and greets!
Beauty and the Beast
We were so happy to finally get a full day of fun in with no one getting sick.  I'll stop there and continue with our day at Universal Studios later this week.  For a quick peak at the whole trip, you can check out the pictures I posted on Facebook.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 9/29 - 10/5)

Wow, last week flew by!  We are so busy right now and we LOVE fall and all the activities that come along with it so our weekends are super packed too.  I'm living in the moment and (somewhat) ignoring the cleaning and to do list that aren't being taken care of.  It will happen at some point.

I did great with my eating last week, stuck to my menu plan and was basically under my calorie goal every day.  I was over by less than 200 calories on Saturday, but I didn't exercise so that is normal.  And then today happened.  We went apple picking and then for ice cream.  I was feeling good about my choices especially after did a nice 45 minute nature walk.  But then we got to my brother's for dinner and he had all kinds of amazing apps to pick on.  Boy did we eat well!!  But the calorie goal went way out the window.  Good think I don't weigh in until Wednesday!

As I mentioned last week, we had 3 Hello Fresh on the menu last week.  They weren't as good as last time, Adrian and I were kind of disappointed.   One meal was honey chicken which was good, but it came with coconut rice and the rice didn't cook right.  It wouldn't absorb the water.  I know I don't cook rice often (I use cauliflower instead) but I still know how to do it.  I don't know what went wrong, but it was disappointing and left me pretty hungry and heading out to teach 2 Zumba classes!  The second meal was summer shrimp rolls which were delicious but messy.  I couldn't get mine to roll up nice and got frustrated and just ended up making a salad out of all the filling.  The third meal was chipotle pork chops.  They were excellent.  And I even plated them up pretty.
The other thing that I forgot about with these meals is that they are 2 servings.  That meant only Adrian and I ate them and I had to cook separate for the boys.  They have been doing really well with eating what we're eating and now we just had 3 meals of them eating the junk they like.  It also meant no leftovers which has left us scrambling for lunches.  I'm not sure if I would do the Hello Fresh meals again, even with a good deal.

On to this week's plan.  I'm planning on eating a freezer meal once a week to try to lighten my cooking load.  Plus I want to empty the freezer so I can go to another workshop in Nov.  They have new menus and they look delicious!  I also got an amazing deal on spaghetti squash this week at Aldi, $1.29 each for these giants, so that is on the plan this week too.
Great produce deals!
Here's what we'll be eating:
Monday, 9/29 - Freezer Meal
Tuesday, 9/30 - Taco Tuesday
Wednesday, 10/1 - Shrimp Scampi - I'll use spaghetti squash instead of zoodles
Thursday, 10/2 - Grilled Brats with Pineapple Salsa (Relish recipe)
Friday, 10/3 - Beef Stir Fry with Broccoli Slaw Egg Rolls
Saturday, 10/4 - Fettuccine Alfredo - again using spaghetti squash instead of noodles
Sunday, 10/5 - Apple Pork Meatloaf (Relish recipe)

I also want to make these Pumpkin Granola bars and this Spicy Apple & Chick Pea Salad at some point next weekend.  They both look delicious!

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!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Disney - Part 1)

It has taken me almost three weeks to start on the recap of our Florida trip.  I have no idea how many parts it will be, or how long it will take me to recap everything so bear with me.

We got up bright and early on Friday, August 29th to hit the road to Florida.  Our goal was to be on the road by 8am and we did pretty good, only about 10 minutes late leaving.  The car wasn't nearly as packed as we thought it would be, it's getting easier to travel with the boys as they are getting older.  Of course we did forget a few things, some unnecessary (laptop & tablet), some necessary (my underwear!)
Road trip selfie!
Our goal was to drive as far as we could on Friday and then stop for the night.  We were making great time and cruising along and then we hit Charlotte, NC around 5:00pm on Friday of a holiday weekend.  There was a lot of traffic.  And then the air conditioning in the car went!  It was HOT!!  We decided to stop for dinner early to cool off and let some of the traffic ease up.  Thankful for Chick Fil A and their play area!

We did pretty well and got to just outside of Georgia Friday night around 9:30pm.  We had found a hotel online and got an awesome deal.  The boys ran around and played for a while and then we all crashed for the night by 11.  We were up and on the road bright and early the next morning, planning to get to my brother's hotel pool around 2 for some family fun.

And then the puking started!  Daniel told me he wasn't feeling well and I just got a bag under him before it happened.  We thought it was from the heat, because the car without the A/C was pretty miserable.  We stopped for lunch and he kept puking.  And then Zak started.  The last 4 hours of the drive took us almost 6 hours!  Thankfully my parents got an early check in at our time share and we were able to go right there to get settled.

The boys rested and seemed to be doing OK.  We had a nice family dinner with everyone and then saw fireworks from somewhere from our balcony.  Adrian and I were able to unpack and get settled and we were feeling pretty good.  We planned to get up the next morning and hit Animal Kingdom.

But the puking continued.  And now it was all 3 boys.  We realized it wasn't just car sickness, it was a stomach bug.  We decided to shift things around and not go to Animal Kingdom on Sunday as planned.  We cancelled our day and stayed in the time share to rest and hopefully recover.  Adrian took the car to get the A/C fixed (the only positive in changing our schedule).  I stayed home and did laundry and took care of the boys.  It didn't feel like vacation at all!!
Playing in the big tub when they were feeling better
And resting when they weren't
Monday morning we got up and planned to head to the Magic Kingdom for the day.  AJ and Zak seemed OK, but Daniel was still feeling rough.  My mom, AJ, Zak and I headed out to the park while Adrian, my dad and Daniel stayed home.  We figured if they were up to it, they could meet us later.

Side story - When we got there, I got in a fight with the ticketing agent because Disney can really be a pain in the butt!  None of their systems are hooked together and they make it very hard to do what you need to do by only talking to one person.  I hear this isn't the case when you stay on property, but since we have another (super cheap!) option, we probably will never do that.  When I told the ticket agent I thought their system was "stupid" she called security on me.  Really?? Do I look that threatening??  That became a running joke for the trip, that I almost went to Mickey jail.  It's a good thing they didn't hear what I was saying when I was home trying to get my FastPasses!!
Zak loved the castle!
OK, back to the fun!  Soon after we got there and got started, Adrian said Daniel felt better after a nap so they were going to come meet up with us in a few hours.  We watched a show, did a few rides, then got on the Flying Carpets ride.  As soon as we sat down, AJ puked.  Ugh!  So my Dad came to drop off Adrian & Daniel & pick up AJ and my mom to take back to the time share.  We did a few rides and met Mickey Mouse, then Daniel said he was tired and it was close to dinner so we headed home to eat and regroup and head out to Epcot that night.  Huge thanks to my parents for helping out so we could get some fun times in with the non-sick kids!
Super fun talking Mickey in Town Square!  I loved this!
This is getting pretty long, so I'll leave off here and pick up next time with out night in Epcot.  For a quick peak at the whole trip, you can check out the pictures I posted on Facebook.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (Finding a Groove)

Last week I shared my plans for the next six weeks to really push to lose some weight.  And then I put the pedal to the medal and tried to get the exercise part started last week before taking control of the food on Monday.  I did pretty good, considering I was out of town from Fri afternoon until Sun afternoon.  And I really think I'm finding my groove with working out.  Most mornings I will drop the big boys off to school, then head to the gym with Zak.  I'll work out for 60-90 minutes, then head back to pick up Daniel.  We will walk as often as possible to and from school.  I also have my DVDs so if I miss a day at the gym, I will be using those.

I did weigh in finally on Monday morning so I would a starting point.  222!  That's a 7 pound gain since before I left for Disney.  And 15 lbs since last Octobter!  It's really absurd!  I'm so angry with myself.  I definitely have been relying too much on exercise and haven't been watching what I eat.  I do know that some of it is muscle because I have actually gone down clothes sizes since then, but still there comes a point where you have to be concerned about the scale number too.

But there's nothing I can do about the way the past year went.  I'm starting over now.  I'm eating right and exercising.  And drinking lots of water infused with Slim and Sassy essential oils.  My goal is to lose 2 lbs per week until Halloween, then probably level off to 1 lb per week.  I'm going to plan to be under my calorie goal 6 days each week, but if I can make the 7th day happen too then I will.

I'm trying new classes and really trying to work on strength training.  I want to lose weight and build muscle at the same time.  My goal is at least 2 strength classes each week, 1 PiYo/yoga and then 5-6 cardio classes (including my Zumba classes).
Loving this class!!

I'm focused and I'm ready to go!  Here is what I did the past week (well, 10 days since I started last Monday):
Monday, 9/15 - 60 minutes of Simple Strength Class (core & arms), taught a 45 minute Zumba class, taught a 60 minute Zumba class, walked up to school twice
Tuesday, 9/16 - Took a 60 minute PiYo class and sat in the sauna for 10 minutes (heaven!), walked up to school twice
Wednesday, 9/17 - Walked up to school 3 times
Thursday, 9/18 - 30 minute soccer class with Zak, walked up to school twice, taught a 60 minute Zumba class
Friday, 9/19 - Taught a 60 minute Zumba class, walked to school once
Saturday, 9/20 & Sunday, 9/21 - NOTHING!!  Retreat weekend  :)
Monday, 9/22 - Taught a 45 minute Zumba class, taught a 60 minute Zumba class, walked to school twice
Tuesday, 9/23 - Took a 60 minute PiYo class, biked for 15 minutes, walked to school twice

All in all a pretty good week, and hopefully what a typical week will look like for me, minus the retreat days.  My plan is still to take Sunday as a rest day, but I may meet a friend to walk some Sundays.  And they will also be used to practice new Zumba songs.  So I guess that's not really a rest day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Quick Update)

I've been pretty absent on updating about the boys since their first days of school.  I plan to recap our Disney trip, but it is taking a lot longer to get to that than I thought it would.  I hope to start that later this week.  I figured I'd give you a quick update on how the boys have been doing since we got back.

AJ has finished about a month in second grade.  He continues to excel in Math (he got 100% on his first test) and reading (still about grade level).  He struggles a little with handwriting and spelling, although some of his spelling mistakes are because of his speech delay.  When he sounds out the word, he is using the wrong sounds.  He seems to really like his teacher this year and is doing a great job of playing with other kids during recess.  They either play a game called dinosaur or soccer.

Outside of school AJ is playing ice hockey, bowling and taking swimming lessons.  He continues to improve his hockey skills and will go out for the league team later this week.  I can't believe how quickly he learned to skate and learned the hockey basics and can't wait to see how he does in the league.  He also still loves playing video games.  His two current favorites are Minecraft and Calling all Mixels.  And he has recently discovered Scooby Doo and thinks the show is hysterical!

Daniel has finished about a month in kindergarten.  He has struggled a little adjusting to going to school five days a week, but I think he's doing better now.  He is excelling in reading, letter recognition and art skills.  He also struggles a little with his handwriting.  He loves his teacher and the fact that she uses a lot of music in the classroom.  He has a friend from last year in his class and has made quite a few new friends in class and during recess.

Outside of school Daniel is taking art lessons, swimming lessons and bowling.  He really enjoys his art classes and is getting very brave in the pool.  He will put his face in the water now, that is a big step for him!  He is also trying to squeeze in as many play dates as we can after school, he is a social butterfly!  He also enjoys video games and is really into Minecraft right now.

Zachary is the only one home with me now.  We spend most of our mornings going to the gym and running errands.  He loves the YMCA childcare, mostly because he gets to play outside.  He is taking soccer once a week, which he begged for but is not really participating in.  I'm hoping it gets better as he gets used to it.  Zak is also in swim lessons which he does with Dad.  He still loves to be outside all the time and has recently starting to really like puzzles.  He is also getting into TV, he enjoys Blue's Clues, Team Umizoomi and Calling all Mixels.

That's the quick rundown from here!  I hope to be back to posting weekly now.  Before I sign off, here are a few pictures of the boys.
Zak's first day of soccer - he's thrilled.
Everyone is ready for swim lessons!

AJ & Daniel at bowling

Monday, September 22, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 9/22 - 9/28)

I'm a day late and this is going to be a super quick post.  This week's menu is pretty easy.  I also had a few things I wanted to share with you all. 

First, I have decided to give up my Relish subscription since I now have SO many awesome recipe ideas from this link up and a few other blogs I follow.  So I'm using a bunch of their recipes over the next month (already paid for), then I'll be only using other recipes.

Second, I got another great deal for a Hello Fresh box this week so that's most of my menu plan.  I talked about our experience last time and will let you know what we think of the new box.  I got a 50% off coupon, so that made the 3 meals worth it financially for us.

Third, my retreat is over and my summer of travel has come to a close.  Today starts my back to eating within my calorie range and working out 6 days/week.  So watch for lots of healthy meals coming up in the next few weeks.

I think that's all from my corner.  Today has been super busy and I've added to this a few times during the day so sorry if it's a little disjointed.  Again with all my travel done, my blogging should be back to more consistent as well.

Here's my menu for the week:
Monday, 9/22 - Lasagna Rolls (carry over from last week, was too overwhelmed to cook on Thurs)
Tuesday, 9/23 - Enchilada Bake
Wednesday, 9/24 - Crispy Apricot Porkchops (Relish recipe)
Thursday, 9/25 - Hello Fresh meal
Friday, 9/26 - Hello Fresh meal
Saturday, 9/27 -Hello Fresh meal
Sunday, 9/28 - Dinner out at my brother's house.  He always makes great food so I'm excited to see what he'll have!

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, September 17, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (Plans for the next 6 weeks)

I came back from our latest vacation (which I will recap soon, I promise!) and I was very motivated to get back to working out and eating right.  Then I had to get thru the vacation hangover that I always suffer from.  I gave myself until Monday to do what I could, when I could, then get back to serious working out and eating right.  Then I looked at the calendar, it's retreat weekend this weekend, which means I'll be out of town for 3 days and eating all the things.

Yes, I realize that's a lot of excuses, but it is my life right now.  I've always said that I don't want my whole life to be diet and exercise.  I want to still do things and not be stressed out about eating right, or worse missing out on some yummy foods that I would really enjoy.

But I am putting my foot down on Monday morning.  We have nothing on the calendar that should derail me.  I mean yes, we have birthdays and dinner our and Halloween soon.  But I can eat right, exercise and still indulge in some of the goodies.  All in moderation.

I decided to spend this week checking out some new classes, feeling some things out, and getting back to working out but not really focus on my eating.  I also really looked at the calendar to decide what I could and should do for exercise.  I am blessed with not one but two free gym memberships at the gyms where I teach (soon to be 3).  They all have a lot of classes and I used to put them all on my calendar, then delete most of them each week because it was overwhelming.  Now I sat down with both schedules and figured out which classes would really benefit me the most.

You'll notice that there isn't much Zumba that I'm not teaching.  While I think it's important to take classes with other instructors, since I'm teaching so many classes, it's not beneficial to me to have that much cardio.  I really need some strength training and some cardio other than Zumba.

So here is my plan for the next six weeks or so.  The YMCA changes it's schedule at the end of Oct so I'll reevaluate my schedule then.

Mondays - 90 minutes of Simply Strength class at the YMCA (am), teach 2 Zumba classes (pm)
Tuesdays - PiYo at the YMCA (am or pm if I miss in the am), possibly take a Zumba class at either the YMCA or AussieFit if I feel I need more cardio
Wednesdays - alternate between Cardio Blast at the YMCA and Total Body Conditioning at AussieFit depending on what I feel my body needs
Thursdays - soccer class with Zak (am), teach 2 Zumba classes (pm)
Fridays - teach 1 Zumba class (am), elliptical or bike around class
Saturdays - alternate between Muscle Conditioning and spinning at the YMCA, possibly do a Zumba class there as well
Sundays - rest day, practice my new Zumba songs

I also plan to walk to and from school to do pick ups and drop offs as often as possible.  If I do it all 3 times, I walk 2.5 miles each day.  And I plan to take the boys swimming at the YMCA indoor pool once each week.  Finally, I plan to use the free month of boot camp I won starting in Oct.  That will be 5:30am classes four times each week.  I will adjust this schedule as needed when I start that.  I'll also be giving you my thoughts on these classes over the next few weeks.

And finally, I'm supposed to be starting at a new gym in the next few weeks.  I'm hoping to add 2 classes to my schedule, preferably on Tuesday and either Wednesday or Saturday.  Of course that will change a few things as well.  And I will check out their schedule to see if anything there fits better into my schedule and with my goals.  I'd love to take a piloxing or kick boxing class if anyone offered one that fit in my schedule.

I don't have a number in mind I'd like to see on the scale, but I do know that I want to drop some weight and some inches.  And I want to build my strength.  My goal will be to exercise 6 times each week and be under my calorie goal 6 times each week.  Sundays will be hard as I rarely eat under my goal without exercise.  I will eat what I normally eat on Sundays and not stress about the number of calories.

OK, so now it's all out there.  Let's see if I can make this happen!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan for 9/15 - 9/21)

After a few weeks break, I'm back to meal planning.  I was going to skip this week since we are still recovering from vacation (we're not even unpacked yet, yikes!) and then I leave town for the weekend Fri afternoon.  But I'm craving getting back into a routine so I decided to go ahead with the meal plan.

Our nights are super busy right now so I foresee a lot of freezer meals, crockpot cooking and easy casseroles in our future.  I think I'm going to try to start prepping some food on the weekends starting next week, but even our weekends are busy so I'm not sure if that will work either.

I will also be getting back to counting calories, healthy eating and (hopefully) losing weight starting next Monday.  I'll be eating all the things on my retreat this weekend so I'm not going to stress about calories this week, just try to eat better and exercise.  Plus find some normal routines so I'm that much more prepared to hit the ground running on the 22nd!

Here's what we're eating this week:
Monday, 9/15 - Barbacoa and Rice
Tuesday, 9/16 - Taco Tuesday!
Wednesday, 9/17 - Chicken Enchilada Casserole
Thursday, 9/18 - Lasagna Rolls
Friday, 9/19 - Sausage for the guys, I'll be eating at the retreat
Saturday, 9/20 - The guys will be at my in-laws for the night, I'll be at the retreat
Sunday, 9/21 - I will probably stop & pick something up on my way home, I won't get home until around 6 so I don't want to have to cook

I must be craving Mexican, because our menu is almost entirely that this week.  Good thing it's a family favorite!  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!