Sunday, November 30, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 12/1 - 12/7)

Wow, this long weekend flew by!  We didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but we did get almost all of our Christmas decorating and shopping done.  I'll consider it a win.  I think this next month is going to be crazy for us.  I love Christmas and all the fun stuff that goes along with it.  But it's a lot of extra stuff on an already busy schedule.  We're only planning three special things, one each week this month, so hopefully spreading out the joy will help.

My Thanksgiving meal was a success!  Funny story about the turkey.  I got it all ready, put it in the disposable pan I remembered to buy (go me!) and couldn't find the pop up timer.  I thought it was weird, but knew I could figure out when the turkey would be done.  When we pulled it out Adrian went to carve it and said, this is weird all the dark meat is on the top.  Yeah, we cooked it upside down.  Oops!!  When we flipped it over, we found the pop up timer (and it was popped).  It was pretty funny...and the turkey was delicious!  I may cook it that way from now on.

My plate with a taste of everything
I still have some leftovers to use up so that will be the start of this week.  I also have a crazy schedule Monday and Tuesday so it's easy meals for us.  Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Monday - Bacon Meatloaf (Freezer meal) & leftover sides (this will hopefully finish everything)
Tuesday - Crock Pot Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
Wednesday - Turkey Soup - I froze enough to make this since I knew I wouldn't be able to make it this past weekend
Thursday - Taco Thursday for the boys, PTO Potluck Dinner Meeting for me.  I'm bringing the Broccoli Tortellini Salad
Friday - Buffalo Chicken Lasagna - hold over from this weekend.  Just didn't feel like cooking
Saturday - Easy Lasagna Toss (recipe from Relish), Crockpot Garlic Bread, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Dream Bars - Late birthday celebration for my brother!
Sunday - Pork Loin with Apples and Coleslaw (recipe from Relish)

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!  Happy Thanksgiving!!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (AJ the Future Blue Jacket)

AJ's hockey team had a fundraiser recently where they sold tickets to a Columbus Blue Jackets game and their league earned a portion of the ticket sales.  The team that sold the most tickets got to be Future Blue Jackets during the game...and that team was AJ's team the Mite Stars.
AJ and Adrian found out a few days before the game and they were both super excited.  They had to get there about two hours before the game so I drove AJ downtown after school on Friday.  He and Adrian headed to Nationwide Arena and met up with the team.  They watched the Blue Jackets during warm ups and then headed into the locker room to change into their uniforms.

The team watched most of the first period and then with about 5 minutes left, they headed back down to the locker room to get their skates, sticks and gloves.  They made a tunnel for the Blue Jackets to come thru when the period was over and the kids got to fist bump the players.  This was AJ's favorite part.

Then it was their turn to take the ice.  They had divided the team into two smaller teams and they played a 7:00 minute 4 on 4 game of hockey.  In front of a sold out Nationwide Arena.  Adrian said it was really fun to see AJ playing on such a big stage.  When the game was over, they played a little with Stinger (the mascot) and then headed back to the locker room to get out of some of their equipment.
AJ is number 4

The team then watched the rest of the game from their seats.  They were lucky enough to see overtime and a shoot out.  Unfortunately the Blue Jackets lost the game 4-3 to the Boston Bruins.  AJ was disappointed that both games he has gone to, the Blue Jackets have lost.  Hoping his luck changes the next time he goes to a game!

AJ had an amazing time at the game.  He said it was "so cool" to be on the ice where the "real" hockey players play.  He also liked being in the locker room...because it had TVs so they didn't miss any of the game.  And he enjoyed being with his team, he has made a few friends on the team and he got to hang out with them outside of hockey.  I'm so glad AJ was able to have this experience!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Random Catch up - Part 2)

I started this post last week of just catching you all up on what's been going on with us.  Today I will finally continue with the miscellaneous catch up.

Play Dates
Daniel has become quite a social butterfly this year!  He is always asking for play dates with his friends.  He loves to play with his friends Patrick and Katie from preschool, both here or at their house.  And he has a new friend Nathan that was coming over after school each day (I was watching him while his mom worked).  Daniel and Zak were both loving this and I was getting a bunch of stuff done while the 3 boys played.  But Nathan's mom isn't working anymore so now our daily play dates are weekly.  His mom and I are going to take turns swapping childcare so the other one can get things done.  I'm SO excited for this!!

Snow Day
We had our first significant snow fall last Monday, we got about 4 inches that morning.  School was cancelled and Adrian worked from home because the roads were a mess!  He took a two hour lunch so we could all go out and play in the snow.  We threw snowballs at each other, went for a walk and built a snowman.  We spent the rest of the day relaxing, playing and getting caught up on stuff around the house.  Fun day!

Art Class 
Daniel finished up another session of art class this month.  He didn't seem as excited about it this session.  I'm not sure if it was the class itself or the pace we've been keeping, or a little of both.  He told us that he doesn't like have two things to do on the same day (he had art class in the afternoon & bowling in the evening on Tuesdays).  So I think we are going to take a break from this class for a while.  We will continue doing some crafts at home and then next year he will have art at school.

Since Zak doesn't have any special activities, I felt like he deserved his own category.  He is at that wonderful age of 2 1/2 right now so every day is an adventure.  I've already been thru it twice, so I know this next year is rough.  Zak is the perfect mix of sweet baby and frustrating dictator.  He wants to do everything himself, then gets frustrated when he can't do it.  He is no longer in a crib (yay!) but he gets up most nights and comes into our bed (boo!)  He still loves being outside, shopping with me and playing with his brothers.  He has also started playing Angry Birds on our tablet and it cracks him up.  And he enjoys going to the different "toy rooms" (childcare) at the gyms while I teach Zumba.  He has finally adjusted to all of them and enjoys himself at each one.  This weekend we are starting potty training, we are ready to be done with diapers in this house!

I think that's about all that has been going on in our world the past month.  We try to keep November light since we're so busy in October and then December.  That didn't really happen this year.  Maybe it will happen in January.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (TerraFit Week 2 of 12)

Last week I gave you a quick update on a new challenge that I'm doing and talked a little about the food portion of it.  I kind of killed the food portion this week, eating almost only from the healthy food list, except for my daily morning coffee with cream.  I was under my calorie goal six of the seven days.  The only day I would have been over was yesterday, when I didn't exercise.  I didn't go crazy and eat all the things, I just ate what I normally would.  I know I'm about 200-300 calories over my calorie goal of 1250/day if I don't exercise.

This week I'll talk a little about the workout side of the challenge.  I get points for working out for at least 30 minutes each day five days each week.  The other two days should be rest days and I get points for those too.  Easy!!  I also get bonus points for following their TerraFit workout schedule.  Not so easy.

The TerraFit workout is their own set of workout DVDs, similar to P90X, Insanity, etc.  Those who have been reading for a while know that I kind of suck at those kinds of things.  I'm just not great about working out at home.  I always choose to do other things around the house that need done, then I get too tired and don't want to.  I made an effort, but I seriously haven't had a minute to try to do these workouts.

I'm teaching 5-7 Zumba classes each week so I'm getting a ton of cardio.  What I need is some more strength training.  I do the monthly calendar challenges, but I feel like that's not enough.  My goal for this challenge is to do a strength training workout three times per week.  Last week I did one.  This past week I did none.  And this week isn't looking great, I'm super busy getting ready for Thanksgiving so I'm probably only doing my classes.  I'm really hoping to find make some time starting in December.

All in all, I had a pretty great week.  Here's how the workouts looked:
Monday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, walked to school once
Tuesday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, rode the bike 15 minutes
Wednesday - Taught an hour long Zumba class
Thursday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, did elliptical for 15 minutes
Friday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, walked to school once
Saturday - Three hour Zumba Jam - it was awesome!!
Sunday - Planned rest day

Weigh Ins:
11/17 - 219
11/24 - 216

Yay!!  Down 3 pounds in a week.  It's amazing what happens when you eat right and exercise.  :)  This week will be tough, but I'm determined!!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan for Thanksgiving)

I'm keeping it short and sweet this week because I'm overwhelmed with stuff to do that either hasn't gotten done in the past week or has to get done before we host on Thursday.  I'm sure it will all get done, it always does.

I did great following my menu plan last week and I'm so thankful that I had the meals planned and shopped for.  I was able to cook dinner every night, saving money on take out.  And I stayed under my calorie goal every night, hoping to see a loss on the scale tomorrow because of that.

This week I'm keeping it very simple.  We're having leftovers or freezer meals Monday through Wednesday and any extra time I gain will be used to prep my Thanksgiving feast.  I'm sure I won't feel like cooking on Friday, so we'll do leftovers again.  Saturday we have nothing planned so I'm going to make Buffalo Chicken Lasagna.  Sunday I will be gone from 4:00-7:00 so we will either have leftovers or a freezer meal.  My normal cooking will pick back up the next week.

Here's what we're eating for Thanksgiving:

Bagels for the adults
Donuts for the kids

Appetizers since dinner will be around 4:00

Turkey (it's already thawing)
Mashed Potatoes - I add cheese & sour cream and everyone really likes them
Sausage Stuffing
Green beans wrapped in bacon
Cornbread Corn Pudding
Broccoli Cheese Casserole
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts - I sub almonds for pecans
Homemade applesauce - with apples we picked this fall

Fudge Covered Oreos - the boys recently discovered these and we are going to try to make them
Pumpkin Brownies
Peanut Butter Cheesecake

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!  Happy Thanksgiving!!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Random Catch Up - Part 1)

So I've been slacking on updating on how things are going in our lives other than what we're eating and my exercising.  So over the next day or two I'm just going to do a quick run down of what's been going on with us, mostly the boys.

AJ and Daniel are both continuing to do great in school.  At the end of October I had a conference with each of their teachers.  AJ's teacher said he is at or above grade level for all subjects, in fact for Math he is at a 4th grade level.  He follows all the rules in the classroom, finishes his work on time, helps other kids if they don't know what to do and participates in class discussions.  His speech and social skills are still areas of concern, but we have a great team working on both areas with him.  Daniel's teacher also said he is at or above grade level for all subjects.  He is a model student in class & wishes she could just tell the other students to copy his behavior.  He is a little shy and doesn't participate a lot, but we're hoping he will grow out of this.  He always answers correctly when she calls on him, just doesn't raise his hand much.  I'm very proud of both of them!

I was also able to go into both of their class rooms and help out their teachers last week.  I helped with some writing in Daniel's class, and zipping coats for recess.  In AJ's class I tested all of the students on their sight words.  I also had lunch with AJ in the cafeteria and got some PTO stuff done.  It was a very fun & productive day for all of us!

Other than school, the next biggest thing going on with us in hockey.  AJ is excelling at playing in his league, and loving every minute of it.  He has been improving every week and his coach is very proud of him.  Games started at the beginning of the month and while they don't keep score officially, his team has won 2 games and lost 2 games.

AJ and Daniel also got to go to their first hockey game.  I took them and Uncle Carl to go see the Columbus Blue Jackets play the Tampa Bay Lightening the other night.  We all got free hats and lots of snacks!  We had a great time and AJ really enjoyed seeing a game live.  Too bad the Jackets lost.  But we saw a ton of goals, the final score was 7-4.  AJ played his best game of the year the day after that game.  He said he used all of the things I showed him during the game.

AJ and Adrian are heading out to the Blue Jackets against the Boston Bruins this Friday night so I'm hoping for a Jackets win and that AJ plays great again on Sunday.  He will also have an amazing opportunity Friday night to be a Junior Jacket.  He gets to get dressed in his hockey uniform in the CBJ locker room, play a game on the ice at Nationwide Arena between the first and second period of the game and fist bump all the Jackets as they come off the ice after the first period.  To say he (and Adrian) are excited is an understatement.  I'm bummed I'm not going, but can't wait to see pictures.

AJ and Daniel are finishing up their bowling league for the fall in a few weeks.  They continue to improve their game, especially since Adrian is there to help them.  AJ has bowled two games over 100 pins and Daniel has one of the most improved averages in the league.  Their team is currently in third place with 3 weeks to go.  They are working hard to try to finish in first place again. I think they may take a break in the spring, it has been very busy doing bowling and hockey together.  And I'm pretty sure Daniel and Zak will be starting ice skating lessons in Jan which will be a schedule conflict.  But I think we will be back to bowling this summer.

OK, I think I'll leave off there.  I hate a super long blog post.  I'll try to do the second part tomorrow, but we have a busy day planned so I'm not promising.  But I'll be back with updates on Zak, Daniel's art class and all of our play dates.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Keeping Up With...Workouts (TerraFit Week 1 of 12)

I mentioned yesterday that I am going to start breaking out my workouts from the meal plan blog again.  I won't go too much into detail about what I did each week since it's still almost exclusively Zumba, but I am doing a 90 day challenge thru TerraFit so I thought I'd recap how I do each week.

The premise is fairly easy, eat right and exercise and use oils and doTerra products that help with those two areas.  I'm already doing a lot of what they have us tracking and earning points for so I figured why not join the challenge to try to get thru the holidays in a little better shape than normal.

We started last Monday so we're exactly a week in.  Each Monday we weigh in and every day we track in the areas that they have set up for us.  You can check out all the rules here if you're interested in exactly what we're doing.  I'm just going to talk in generals about the program. 

This week I'll focus a little more on the food side of things.  They want us to eat healthy, eat veggies and drink enough water.  Here's what I like.  I eat almost exclusively from their healthy food list, or their neutral food list (anything not on a list).  And I always eat at least 4 servings of veggies, sometimes I do that by lunch.  Same with 64 oz of water. 

Here's what I don't like.  You lose points for every "unhealthy" food that you eat.  I'm OK losing 2 points every day for my coffee with cream in the morning, I love it & it fits in my calories and makes me happy.  Most days I will have this & one other "unhealthy" food & am fine with losing 4 points.  But I wish you could make them up.  You are capped at 10 healthy foods per day.  The other day I ate 20 healthy items, but 1/2 of them didn't count.  I also don't like that there are no measurements.  So I drink about 1/4 cup of creamer in the morning & lose 2 points.  Fair.  Someone else or me when it's that time of the month could eat a whole bag of chips/candy/crackers/etc and lose the same 2 points.  Not fair.

My other complaint is that you get 5 bonus points for not eating after 8:00pm.  While I agree some people can't eat at night and effectively lose weight, I do not have this problem.  I also work until 8:00 or later 4 nights each week so I HAVE to eat something or go to bed hungry.  And I normally eat dinner between 5:00-5:30, again necessitating a snack later in the evening.  I'm docking myself these points each day, but for my own personal goal I'm trying to not eat after 10:00pm.  I haven't succeeded on that either, but if I ever do I may award myself those points.

Over the next few weeks I'll talk about their points for exercising, their oils and products that I'm using and my goals for this challenge.  For now, I'm going to wrap up with my week in workouts and my "before" pictures.

Monday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, walked to school twice
Tuesday - Taught an hour long Zumba class, did a 20 minute arms workout, rode the bike 15 minutes
Wednesday - Taught an hour long Zumba class
Thursday - Taught an hour long Zumba class
Friday - Taught an hour long Zumba class
Saturday - Planned rest day
Sunday - Planned rest day

Weigh Ins:
11/10 - 220 (yes, I'm up again, damn food!)
11/17 - 219

Not bad for only really being on the plan Mon-Thurs.  The weekend kind of got away from me, as it often does.  Hoping to do better this weekend!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Keeping Up With...Food (Menu Plan 11/17 - 11/23)

Yikes!  Yet again last week went by in a blur of activity.  Between volunteering at the school, overtime for Adrian, watching a friend's son after school now and our normal schedule the days are flying by!  Throw in a little sickness and it's the weekend before I know what happened!  I hope to have more time to blog this week, lots of things to catch up on, other than just what we're eating.

I'm going to split my workouts out again starting this week because I want to talk about the 90 day TerraFit challenge that I'm doing so check back for that this week.

Last week I was doing pretty well following my meal plan until the end of the week.  I don't know what was going on in this area but every store was sold out of tortellini.  I am one of those crazy people that shop at 4-6 stores each week to get my groceries.  I went to Kroger & Giant Eagle early in the week and both were sold out.  I planned to go to Meijer, but that was hard because I had to start "Santa" shopping there this week so I had to go alone.  I just couldn't do it before dinner on Friday so we had left overs and bumped that meal to today.

This week is scheduled to be a little calmer than the past few weeks have been, but who knows how it will actually pan out.  We're already looking at a possible schedule change tomorrow due to a winter storm.  At least if what they say is coming actually comes & school is postponed or delayed, the boys will finally be able to play in the snow.

Here's what we're planning on eating this week.  I'm trying to do stuff I have on hand and freezer meals to keep the grocery bill low since it will be higher next week with Thanksgiving.  Plus I will need the room in my fridges and freezers!

Monday - Tequila Lime Turkey Chili - didn't get made this week
Tuesday - Asian Short Rib Tacos with Sriracha Grean Beans
Wednesday - Brinner!  Chicken Hashbrowns with eggs and grapefruit (Relish recipe)
Thursday - Bean Tortilla Soup (Relish recipe)
Friday - Leftovers/Freezer Meal - Adrian & AJ are going to a Blue Jackets game so I'm assuming they will eat there.
Saturday - Freezer Meal - I am gone all afternoon at a Zumba event
Sunday -  Pork Meatloaf (Relish recipe) - didn't get made this week

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!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Keeping Up With...Diet & Exercise (Weekly Wrap Up & Menu Plan)

Last week was pretty crazy, Adrian worked a ton of overtime and our schedule kept changing.  But I did a good job of sticking to my meal plan, calorie goal and exercise plan for most of the week.  The weekend went a little off the rails, but in a good way.

Friday night we were supposed to go see "Lion King" at our local theater.  But after the crazy week (really month) we decided to sell our tickets & use the money for a more low key date night.  We went out for margaritas, chips & fajitas, then stopped by Jeni's for some ice cream.  I love their brambleberry crumble!  It was a perfect date night for us.
Exercise was good, I exercised 5 of 7 days.  Still no variety other than Zumba, but that will change this week.  I have a few classes at the Y that I can take and a new challenge starting up that has an exercise component.  I'm also going to bump up to exercising 6 days with only one rest day.  Here is how last week looked:
Monday - Taught a one hour Zumba class, walked to school twice, rode the bike for 20 minutes
Tuesday -  Taught a one hour Zumba class
Wednesday - Taught a one hour Zumba class, walked to school
Thursday - Taught a one hour Zumba class
Friday - Taught a one hour Zumba class, walked to school
Saturday - Walked a ton between working the local consignment sale & going to a hockey game
Sunday - rest day

Here's what's on my menu this week:
Monday - White Chicken Chili - trying out a Veleeta recipe for a friend
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday
Wednesday - Mac & Cheese with Chicken & Broccoli (Relish recipe)
Thursday - Sausage & Potatoes - held over from tonight, boys decided to go out too
Friday - Tequila Lime Turkey Chili
Saturday - Spinach & Sausage Tortellini
Sunday - Pork Meatloaf (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!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Keeping Up With...Family (Halloween!!)

We all LOVE this holiday!!  We all have so much fun dressing up, going to different events and of course eating all of the candy!  For me, this seems like a low pressure holiday.  Get a few costumes, a few bags of candy and then have fun.  No cooking, no clean up, not a whole lot of extra money spent.  I like it!  Our Halloween lasted for about 2 weeks this year.  Here are the (mostly pictures) highlights.
The costumes

We went to the Westerville Trick or Treat trail.  You go around to about 20 different stations, play a game and get a piece of candy.  Very well done event!

We went to three different church events, either called fall festivals or trunk or treat.

Zak and I went to an assisted living home to trick or treat one morning while the others were in school.  And Daniel, Zak and I met some friends and went to the Pickerington town hall and library another afternoon.

And finally we went trick or treating with friends.  The boys were running from house to house so I could barely get a picture of the group.  It was pure chaos, and totally fun!!  All 3 boys had a blast trick or treating this year for the first (and possibly last) time.  I loved watching every minute of it!

We also did trips to Boo at the Zoo and the corn maze.  Plus all of our normal stuff.  It was a very fun but busy October.  This weekend we kind of hit the wall and spent a lot of time just relaxing around the house and catching up on things.  Now on to the next holiday!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Keeping Up With...Diet & Exercise (Weekly Wrap Up & Menu Plan)

Wow last week was so much fun!!  And horrible for diet and exercise.  :)  We had a blast celebrating fall and Halloween with the boys and were running around a lot more than usual.  I may have eaten too much candy, take out and processed foods.  I'm struggling with a headache today so I'm sure it's from that.

I'm not upset, it's life, it happens.  But now I need to regroup and get back on track.  I'm giving myself today because I have a ton of stuff to catch up on around the house so I don't want to stress myself with cooking.  But tomorrow, I'm back to cooking, eating fruits and veggies & exercising!  The next two months are jam packed for us so not every week is going to be perfect.  I'll be happy with most days being under my calorie goal.

I'm also starting a new challenge next Monday.  I recently started learning about and using essential oils and I'm a big fan!  DoTerra has a branch called TerraFit and they are hosting a 90 day challenge that starts on Nov 10th.  My friend is doing it and I thought I'd join her.  It's a team and individual challenge, so I'm hoping the team aspect of it keeps me in line through these holidays.  I'm excited!

So here's the not great recap from last week.  I was so off that I didn't even log my exercise anywhere and I didn't weigh in, but I know I gained a few pounds.
Monday - Taught a one hour Zumba class (my 2nd one no one showed up)
Tuesday -  Taught a one hour Zumba class (my 2nd one was cancelled because I volunteered at the book fair)
Wednesday - Taught a one hour Zumba class
Thursday - Trick or Treat!  Walked about 2 miles
Friday - Taught a one hour Zumba class
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - rest day
Treats for my students - now we work them off!
Here's what's on my menu this week to get me back on track:
Monday - Chicken Phillies (carry over from last week)
Tuesday - Mac & Cheese (Relish recipe) with this roasted cauliflower
Wednesday - White Chicken Chili - trying out a Veleeta recipe for a friend
Thursday - Pita Pizzas (Relish recipe)
Friday - Zucchini Boat Casserole (Relish recipe)
Saturday - Out - I'm taking the older boys to their first ice hockey game.  SO excited!
Sunday - Book Club for me, Sausage & Potatoes for the guys

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!