Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Working it Out

What motivates you to do something? Is it internal or external? Jealousy or personal achievement? For me it HAS to be internal but I will admit that it usually begins with external motivation. I usually see something that I want or want to do and then almost do a "gut check" to see if I have the time, talent, patience, resources or true endurance to accomplish it or attain it!

This time, for me it's working out and getting back to the physical shape that I am meant to be in. Over the last couple of years I have put my physical self on hold by not getting to the gym, not eating smart and just putting me on the back burner while I was working...well, overworking! I am one to be busy but not be able to put my all into more than one, maybe two, things. For me this was kids and and work. Everything else was just shoved aside like my old college going out clothes.

Well, I have been working it all out and now that I have taken out the variable of work, I am able to change those priorities and taking care of me is one of them! I am training for a sprint triathlon on Thanksgiving (that's only about 4 weeks away!) and I am very excited and motivated to complete my second one. I have been swimming (the easiest part of the triathlon for me), cycling (at the gym) and running.....and let me pause for a minute on running...

Running was my nemesis. Worse than that. I vowed to train and improve on my run. So I decided to load up my ipod with MP3s that I actually enjoy. This has been my life saver! I mean I am looking forward to running, run when I need a time out and just can't wait to pop on my headphones and go! So far I don't have anything to brag about...AT ALL. But, I am motivated and working to build up distance each time. My run is only 2 miles and it's the first thing I do in the tri so things are looking up! Believe it or not I have started throwing around the "H" word.....Half Marathon! Then I pinch myself and realize that I need to improve my run time on the triathlon before I do that! However, I see it in my future!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Today is the first day I am trying out a new way of eating called The Harcombe Diet. Now before you jump to thinking, "Another fad diet", I thought the same thing, too. But, after researching it more, I found out that it could be quite a perfect way of eating for me. Let me explain in a basic way, no claims to be a medical professional here....

First, I stumbled across The Harcombe Diet through a search for free recipe books on my Kindle and Zoe Harcombe's recipe book came up. Well, when I read "Harcombe Diet" in the title, I became curious (kinda like Alice) and I checked out her site and then went back and found her book available immediately on my Kindle for $9.95....why not!

Now I wasn't really looking for a weight loss fix.....but when I read that this was not just a weight loss way of eating but also helps with some health issues that I may be experiencing, I have decided to give it a shot! These issues are candida (a harmless bacteria in our bodies that feed off various foods that we often crave like sugars and carbs), food intolerance (those foods that you aren't allergic to but your body doesn't handle very well) and hypoglycemia (how your body deals with blood sugar/insulin)....I am pretty sure that after reading her book I have all 3! Grrreeeeaaat!

So, here's what I will be doing over the next few weeks....

Phase 1- This is only 5 days but I think for me, it's going to be a bit of a shocker because I am going cold turkey on caffeine! WAAAHHHHH! Basically you can only eat unprocessed meats, veggies (no mushrooms/potatoes), eggs, natural living yogurt (NLY) and about a 1/2 c brown rice. You can drink water, sparkling water, decaf teas, decaf coffee and NO SUGAR! Some have had great success with this detox process and have lost a chunk of weight in just these 5 days!

It starts off seeming a lot like The Atkins Diet (which I lost weight on but was GROUCHY) with veggies thrown in. I love that this phase is only 5 days but I HATE the no-caffeine since I haven't gone without caffeine for 5 days since having kids....coincidence, I think not!

PHASE 2- This phase gets a bit more interesting where you can have A LOT more foods that were not allowed in Phase 1 (fruit, oats, dairy, baked potatoes, small amounts of caffeine if needed) but this part seems a lot like Food Combining which I have heard of but never followed. Basically you have 3 categories or meals you can eat:

Fat Meals...where you only eat products from things with "faces" like unprocessed meats, unprocessed fish, dairy and eggs.

Carb Meals...where you eat only fruit, grains, oats, beans, potatoes.

Then there are the things you can eat with a fat OR a carb meal...vegetables, salads, tofu, very low fat dairy products, olives, tomatoes, berries, olive oil and herbs/spices/seasonings.

In Phase 2 you must still eat no processed foods and you can't combine things from fat or carb meals. This is a bit more flexible and still eating healthy foods! There are additional guidelines, too, but these are the basics....

PHASE 3, well I am not there yet but I do know that it starts when you are at your ideal weight and health!

So, here's to Day 1's menu of eggs with bacon and tomatoes, salad with lots of veggies and hard boiled eggs, yogurt for a snack, salmon with roasted veggies and brown rice and decaf coffee and tea!

I am sure the migraine will hit by 2pm.....anyone wanna place a bet on it??

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mac & Cheese with Bacon

Let's face it, everything tastes better with bacon! I mean they even make donuts with bacon crumbles on it! This recipe is relatively healthy (other than the bacon) and yummy! My kids are eating it for a snack as I type this....and are excited to have it again for dinner tonight!

Mac & Cheese with Bacon
12 oz whole wheat pasta (shells or elbow)
1- 12oz can evaporated milk
1/2 t dried mustard
3 eggs
1/2 t hot sauce
12 oz shredded cheese (I used 1 8oz bag Mex mix and 1/2 bag sharp cheddar)
salt, pepper to taste
10 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled

Cook the pasta in large pot according to directions. While pasta is cooking, whisk eggs, milk, hot sauce and seasonings in a separate bowl. Drain pasta and pour back into pot. Promptly add a scoop of pasta to liquid mixture to temper the eggs. Quickly add all the liquid into the pasta. Mix and add all cheese until thickened. Add all the bacon crumbles to the mac & cheese OR serve in separate bowls with bacon sprinkled on top for a crunchy meal! This makes a big batch of yumminess!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Simplified Kitchen

So since becoming a stay-at-home mom again, I have started being more creative with the eating out to eating at home ratio. My husband and I took a look at the number of times that we had been eating out lately and WHOA...we were eating out 3-4 times a week for various meals...and that was a low estimate! Something had to change going down to one income if our kids still wanted to participate in their activities. So, it begins....but I am having fun!

First, I have always been able to whip up meals with what we have on hand. Most of the time it turned out really well, thanks to my creativity, but there were a few doozies in there! I decided to try something new and plan weeks of meals, ones that I know the whole family likes, and create a grocery list to go along with it. That way all I have to do is print out the week I want and I have the meals for the week (lunch and dinner because my kids eat lunch at home each day) and the list of stores and items ready to go! Simple, right?

Here's what I did and you can, too:
1. Create a new Excel spreadsheet and create a few tabs at the bottom titled week1, week2, etc. Create the following template in week1 and cut/paste into the other weeks.
2. Then figure out the stores you are WILLING to regularly shop at and write those names at the top of each column (we have 4 stores that we shop at so the first 4 columns have those store names in bold and underlined).
3. Then in the next column (mine is E) create a wider box about 20 lines long, outlined in bold (don't merge cells) and this will be your "Meals" list. I put Lunch at the top, skip about 9 lines and then write Dinner. I automatically have "leftovers" down for 1 lunch so I just need 6 more.
4. Then figure out what meals you want to cook for the week and write them in the under the meals section so you have a nice menu for your family to look at. I try and make a variety of meals each week like chicken, beef, pork, veggie, pasta, crock pot, turkey, Italian, Mexican, etc. so it doesn't get repetitive.
5. Then I go through each recipe and add ALL of the ingredients to the list WHETHER OR NOT I HAVE THE ITEMS AT HOME ALREADY. This is the time consuming part but it pays off! I write it under the store that I would most likely get it at and then look for sales at the other stores.
6. When you are ready to shop, print out the list and cut off the "Meals" column and clip that to the fridge so you remember what you are cooking. Then take the shopping list and before leaving the house, cross off the items that you already have in the pantry or fridge because you don't need to purchase more!
7. Once you have done all your shopping, put your actual recipe cards in the front of your recipe box or a place where you can find them and you are ready to go for the week or more! I like to take a look at the Meal list and write what day I am going to be making what next to it based on our schedule. I tend to do crock pot meals on our busiest days so it's a worry-free dinner that cooks all day!

Well, that's it! Let me know if something doesn't make sense and I will work on getting 1 week up here for you to look at! I have found that I have made some oops' (duplicate items, forgot something, etc.) and I am trying to catch those and get them updates when I see them so it's fool proof. It's working for me so far and now I have 4 weeks of meal planning and grocery lists done! Currently I am working on a couple crock pot weeks because that's becoming my new fun!

Next experience making my own yogurt in the crock pot!

Friday, September 23, 2011

It's all in the title...

My favorite quote is by Michael J. Fox. In fact, it's at the top of my blog here and in the signature of my emails.

I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business. ~Michael J. Fox

This strikes me particularly hard because I am a self-proclaimed perfectionist with so many things. Clearly not with having a clean, spotless house, but perfectionist none the less!

I often have to read this quote because it reminds me that nobody is perfect. Not the girl with the hair that is ALWAYS smooth, silky and shiny without a stray that I see every weekend at church. Not the girl with the perfect body (in my eyes). Not the friend with the coolest, hippest fashion-sense that doesn't have a pile of clothes in her closet or on the chair in her room with clothes she has tried on, didn't like how it looked on her and was too late to hang back up because it she can picture her outfit in her head before she goes to bed the night before. Not even the girl who seems to be the perfect friend. Or the girl who throws the best, most creative parties. No one is perfect....except Jesus, and well let's face it, none of us will be like him!

So, it brings me back to the quote....every time.

Let's break it down...
"I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection." What is perfection if I can't ever achieve it? It's excellence. That's what it is.
Excellence: An excellent or valuable quality; that by which any one excels or is eminent; a virtue.
I can excel at things but I can't be perfect at them and when I realize that I am not shooting for perfect, I excel. See the difference?

Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God's business. If I know that God will be the perfection in my life, it's all good! He created me exactly how HE wanted me to be. If God's business, his plan is perfect, then I must be perfect, right? Hard to believe! When that worry, that stress, that anxiety of knowing that I am already perfect is off my plate...I can be EXCELLENT because I know I am PERFECT already.

I needed to read this as much as I needed to write this next post will be about my new found fun in the kitchen :)

A New Beginning

Well, here I am again.....a stay-at-home mom and wife. Do I get paid? Yes....but it's in quiet time, hugs and kisses, time at the gym, time for house cleaning and organization, coffee with friends, helping in the classroom, computer time and the opportunity to learn lots of new recipes, crafts and tips.

I have been a stay-at-home mom fact I taught 25 kindergarten kiddos all the way through the school year, which happened to be 3 weeks before my twins were born. They are 7 now but man, I don't miss those fat, swollen ankles after a full day of teaching!

When the twins were babies I enjoyed staying at home and loved being a mom!!! Memorizing their every need and loving every moment I could! Then I became involved in an organization called MOPS....Mothers of Preschoolers for moms with kiddos under 6. I was a member and went to the meetings but I wanted to get involved, first in a small way to get my feet wet but that wasn't God's plan and I took over the role of Hospitality Coordinator. That was not the "wet feet" kind of job I had anticipated doing....coordinating bi-monthly meeting food and decorations and events for about 80 women....but I loved it. And obviously I did because for the next 3 years I would become the Coordinator of MOPS! Not just a role but running the show, I mean the buck stopped with me (well, and a team of about 10 other women but running the show sounds much better)! This was no small undertaking either because my time seemed to be consumed with MOPS....growing leaders, making plans and being glue that held it all together, or at least it felt like I was!

The next chapter began when I was asked by the Children's Director of our church to take on a paid position and work 15 hours a week. This was very intriguing. The twins were in preschool 2 days a week and the only new piece would be all-weekend, every weekend hours for 4 church services...but I forgot to mention that my husband was out of town 3-4 days a week for work! I prayed about it, talked with my husband and I took the position, trusting that it would all work out. Over the course of almost 3 years, my role morphed into an out of control beast. I could handle the role, that wasn't the problem...the problem was I was starting to neglect my family, my marriage and our home. I was again, being consumed by a position. Something had to give.

One week in July God grabbed me by the heart and shook me...shook me to the core! I was questioning my passion, my marriage, my decisions, my past, my parenting style, my friendships, my time and why I was where I was. I wasn't the person who had laughter and spunk anymore. I wasn't in shape anymore because the stress of life had just taken over. My health was starting to decrease in the form of anxiety, muscle problems, pinched nerves, spine misalignment and my nemesis, migraines! Through all of this I heard God in a way that I had never heard him before. I can't really explain it other than it was a gripping feeling, a feeling that HE had me in his hands and that the only way to begin healing from all of this was to step down from my paid position and become a wife and mom, full-time, once again.

Now I am not gonna lie, it was not easy to respond to the grip of God. I cried a lot and had an anxiety attack or two over finances and losing my identity, falling off the radar of life. I knew it was the decision that I had to make and I made it...I made it the very next morning, in fact!

So it has been 1 month since I have stopped working. I haven't lost my identity and finances are just fine. I am adjusting to life and try not to feel like taking time for me to recoop is being lazy but rather a time to decompress from years of struggling to find balance and stress that honestly, I put on myself! This is part of the reason why I created this blog. To get my thoughts out and maybe help someone else who is struggling to find balance at home. Lord knows there are a lot of moms out there who do!

So, this will be a mish-mosh of thoughts (deep and silly, Facebook post-ish, I am sure), recipes, crafts, tips, grocery ideas, budgeting and just about whatever I want to share with you all! I have been working on meal planning and look forward to sharing with you! Be prepared, there will probably be type-o's from time to time but I am shooting for excellence, not perfection on here and in life!