Apr 13, 2018

Spring // Happy Friday

Who else is pumped about spring finally showing up?! Of course I say that and it's supposed to be a chilly weekend, but we have had a good run of a couple days that it has been really nice. So lately after I pick up Addison from school, we spend about an hour outside every day and it's been amazing. 

Two days ago we went for a walk around the neighborhood before going to the local school and playing at the playground for awhile. Then yesterday Rob took the kids back outside after dinner for even more outside time with daddy. 



We have gotten some good use out of our newly-put-back-up swing set and can't wait until we have some time to get the tower back up. We have played bubbles and with the sand table and with the ball. It's just been so nice to get back outside again.

Have a great weekend (even if we have to spend the weekend back inside because it's supposed to be cold again)!
Happy Friday!

Apr 11, 2018

Making the Cut: 30 Day Shred

I took a bit of a break working out but got back to it at the very end of February and have been exercising for the last six weeks. If you couldn't tell then I went back and did another round of 30 Day Shred.

I tried this workout over and over without success until a couple years ago when I started working out after Addison was born. I got on a good stretch where I was just blowing through workouts and feeling pretty good. And since I had tried this one several times and always giving up I finally gave this one another shot and conquered it. (Read about it here and here.)

So when I was looking to get back into working out after a little break, I decided to go for this one. Part of me was sure I was crazy because I had failed so many times with this one but part of me knew I could do this one and that it wasn't crazy long so I figured it was manageable.

Of course I did almost immediately have doubts once I got into it because I remembered why I had quit so many times before, but since I'm writing this, it's a safe bet to know that I survived the six weeks of this workout.

Image result for jillian michaels 30 day shred

Level One


This level is hard. I don't know what it is about this level but this one gets me everytime which is probably why I always end up quitting. But at the same time I wasn't huffing and puffing and sweating the way I remembered doing during this level in the past. Sure it got my heartrate up but nothing too insane. I guess I'm better in shape than I have been in the past, so that's something.

The first circuit is the hardest overall for me especially with the cardio because all that jumping is a killer on my left knee (my surgery knee) and my right calf (no clue why). So once I get through that circuit I'm usually golden. Not to say the other circuits are a walk in the park though.

Definitely the worst move in the entire level is one of the strength moves in the very last circuit where you do side lunges and anterior raises (basically front shoulder raises). They are definitely a killer! I basically set a number for myself to get to and that was my goal even if I couldn't do it for the entire minute. And I was okay with that.

I was definitely surprised when I got through the first two weeks. It went faster than I expected, but I was definitely ready to move on. Two weeks five days of week is a lot of the same workout and you just memorize it by then. But I feel good about how I did with this level and I didn't give up despite the fact that I kind of wanted to a couple days in.

Level Two



I was definitely ready when it was time to get to level two but actually doing it was another matter. Just like with level one, I struggled getting past the first circuit. It seemed that if I could get past that first circuit then I was golden through the rest of the workout. Of course that didn't mean it was easy by any means.

There was a lot of lunges which I will admit I struggled with more than I wanted to just because of my knee. Which meant that when it came to the cardio that was in plank I struggle even more. Can anyone tell me why planks are so hard on my knee? By the end of the two weeks on this level, I was doing some of the advanced cardio in planks but I was still limiting because I wanted to be able to walk later.

I will say that I was surprised by how much stronger my shoulders are than they used to be. The last circuit which is heavy on the shoulders was always a struggle to survive in the past but this time around I didn't need to take any breaks with any of the strength or any of the planks that followed including one minutes of plank for twisting abs. I used to struggle all the way through it but I must be stronger than I used to be.

Unlike the first two weeks of level one, these drug a bit more. I was definitely dragging a bit more energy-wise and I think getting into the middle of the workout is just hard because you lose the excitement of starting something new from the first level but you can't quite see the light at the end of the tunnel at the last level. But I got through it and I kept going so I'm proud of myself for that.

Level Three


Truthfully I was expecting the worst when I got to level three. I was pumped to finally be in my last two weeks, but at the same time I was kind of dreading it. Usually the last level is the hardest because logically it's the level you have been working your way up to. So I was nervous, but also very ready.

I seem to remember this level being much harder than it was for me. I guess I am truthfully a lot stronger than I once was. I will admit that all the things in planks were pretty much done from my knees however. For some reason the place where I still struggle a bit with my knee is in regular plank. No clue why. But that other prompts me to do the planks from my knees which then forces me to put a towel under my knee because I just need the extra padding.

I think the hardest in this entire level for me was probably the jumping lunges which I had to modify a bit because I discovered I still don't quite have the quad strength to really do to many of those full out. But I tried a couple and that's progress.


Truthfully this entire workout didn't really give me the changes I was hoping to see overall, but I'm glad I did it. I felt like this was a good jumping off point for me as I head into my next workout. I needed one that wasn't too long and kept things moving along without being so hard that there was no way I could do any of it. I do feel good about how this workout went. I'm hoping heading into my next workout that I am able to push a little more, find a little more motivation and maybe even see the changes I want to see. So here's hoping.


Comment below: What has been your go to exercise lately?

Apr 9, 2018

Meal Prep Monday: Broccoli & Beef

Time for another Meal Prep Monday! Although this one was good, I had a couple problems with it, so it didn't make the top of the list as my favorite.

Brought To You By: Life Made Sweeter
Servings: 4
Total Time: 30 minutes

Here's What You Need
3/4 lb flank steak or sirloin, trimmed of fat, very thinly sliced against the grain
1 tbsp cooking oil
Water for blanching broccoli
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/3 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 1/2 cup broccoli florets (about 1 head)

--Beef Marinade--
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/8 tsp black pepper

--Sauce--
1 1/2 tsp oyster flavored sauce
1 1/2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp dark soy sauce
2 tsp graulated sugar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp dry Sherry
2 tsp cornstarch
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 cup cold water

Here's What You Do
In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the marinade. Add the beef slices and stir until coated. Set aside for at least 10 minutes.

In a large non-stick pan, bring water to boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook for about 30 seconds. Drain and immediately rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. (You can also put the broccoli straight into a ice water bath which is just a bowl of ice water after taking it out the pan then drain well.)

Combine all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Heat cooking oil over high heat, for about 2 minutes, until you start to see smoke. Quickly add the beef to the smoking pan and spread the pieces out to a single layer allowing them to sear and brown. Add the garlic and continue to cook until the meat is no longer pink (about 1-2 minutes, make sure not to overcook).

Pour in sauce, stirring constantly, until the sauce boils and thickens - about 30 seconds. Add more water if needed to thin out sauce. Quickly stir in broccoli and toss everything together to coat well. Salt and pepper to taste.

Divide evenly into lunch containers with favorite carb such as rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and chopped onions.













Like I mentioned before I had a couple of issues with this meal which influenced my feelings about it.

First of all I didn't get the right beef exactly. I was having trouble finding what I wanted so I found some stir-fry beef and just went with it. It wasn't cut all the thinly which meant I could only get four days worth of meals out of it, so that's not so great, but that's just how it goes sometimes.

The other problem which was completely my own fault was that I think I over-cooked the beef in the first place, so when I heated up my meals each day, it cooked the beef a bit more so some pieces were a bit chewy and not as good. It was all eatable and still good, but it definitely would have been better had I handled cooking it better.

The next problem I had - I told you I had a lot of problems - was that I think my cornstarch was too old. It didn't really do a good job thickening anything up. My sauce turned out to be really watery so neither the beef nor the broccoli absorbed the sauce so overall the meal was a bit bland.

Truthfully it was a little disappointing but I ate all four days of it I had and it wasn't terrible. I think this meal could be really delicious if things went better than it went for me for sure!


Check out other meal prep ideas here:
Lo Mein
Greek Couscous Salad

Apr 6, 2018

March Bullet Journal // Happy Friday

Another month has come and gone which is hard to believe. March went by so quickly! Since it's over I thought I would share some of my spreads from March. 

For this month I found these sloths and I couldn't resist. Again I only used tracing paper and a little help with some clipart, but maybe one day I will have the skill to draw my own spreads. But for now it's still just practice. I also went with shades of green for March which probably isn't a huge surprise since St. Patrick's Day is in March and who doesn't the Irish and green?! 


I did the same calendar, to do, and goals setup that I have done for the previous two months because I just liked how it looked and I felt like it really worked for me. Again tracing paper was used for the sloth and often times I have a sticky note on this page with some kind of information or note from the month that I wanted to remember but had no where to note it.


When I first started using the bullet journal I tried using a habit tracker but I just didn't work for me. Now however I am loving it. Of course I do better at some habits than others but it's just makes it something to aim for.

It has been much the same with the memories page as well. I used to try to use handlettering and doodles for the memories page but that didn't really work since neither of those things are a strong-suit for me. Instead I have started using pictures, stamping and of course writing to add in. Those are some of my favorite spreads to turn back to.

There are all manner of mood trackers out there with most that I see being a mandala. But I didn't like that idea. Instead I use an item that fits the theme of the month and use it that way. I love that it's different each month. So this month was very clearly a four-leaf clover. And even better, I only had a couple ugh days in there so March turned out to be pretty good. 


Here is a sample of my dailies. I usually get three-four per page because I'm just not that busy. I have started using some stickers (mostly from Fox & Cactus which are those girls) and I also use a fair amount of stamps. I am loving stamping and adding those into days. It's a pretty simple layout but it works and I like it. 


Sometimes I don't have enough room for another daily so I add in a quote that I either find funny or that seems fitting for my day or situation. Also on the other page is my Royals spread. It takes up three pages because there are a lot of games. I used tracing paper for the logo and used my Tombow markers to color it in. (Also another thing I usually do for frequently used pages for me is use page tabs at the top of the page to mark them so I can easily find it again.)


I don't use pictures a lot, but sometimes when it goes along with what really happened that day I definitely add it in. On this day I did some stamping, added a picture and the movie ticket, plus a bonus sticker to represent our date we had to the movies. It's simple but fun to later look back on.


 You can also see my first page of April, which you can probably guess has a yellow theme involving rainy days. I'm already loving this theme being a few days into it now.

So that's a recap of March. I also want to note that I have stopped doing my meal planning in my bullet journal. I got a second Leuchtturm 1917 in softcover to keep as just a meal planning/grocery shopping notebook. I am also loving having it in a separate notebook so all the weekly meals are together and not taking up so much room in my bullet journal.

So that's March and another good month. I love how April is coming together and I can't wait to share it next month!

Have a great weekend!
Happy Friday!

Apr 4, 2018

Four on the Fourth

1. I sent my Chacos off to get the soles replaced and honestly it was pretty stressful. I kept worrying that I wrote the address down wrong and it wouldn't get to the right place then I was worried I wouldn't get them back. But of course nothing happened and they returned to me safe and sound and looking better than ever. In all fairness I have had them for over ten years and that's longer than I've had my kids, cat or husband. So we are in quite a commitment here and I didn't want anything to happen to them.


2. Rob has been working like crazy lately with really long days and even working after the kids go to bed every night. So things have been a little hectic and stressful around here. Things finally settle down and I get sick. I feel awful. Plus it snowed and got cold again. So double blah!

3. I'm pretty pumped for baseball to be back although the Royals haven't had the best start. So there's that. But I'll still watch the games. They did finally win yesterday. But let's be honest I also love baseball season for all the extra reading I get done while the games are on.


4. We finally got our swing set up here at the new house (I say new house but we have been here for over six months now). But we hadn't had the chance to get it taken care of it. We still have the tower (playhouse) to get up, but that will have to wait for warmer weather. It will be nice to have it up and even nicer to have the wood out of the garage finally!


Mar 30, 2018

A Twenty Five Month Comparison // Happy Friday

It's crazy how much they look alike but so different at the same time. What they definitely do have in common is the fact that Addison at this age and Connor now steps on my feet pretty much constantly! Around the house it was much worse with Addison because she was in the ankle braces at the time and those hurt pretty bad. Outside the house, it is equally painful with shoes. What is up with the toe stepping?!


Connor has so much more hair than Addison did at this age but there are a lot of other ways they look so much the same to me. They have the same nose for sure. Addison was a bit bigger at this age which you can tell from the picture that she was just longer. Personality-wise they are pretty different though. She was always cautious and he is fearless. With all that she went through I was always worried about her, but he will be the one to give me a heart attack. In very different ways they keep me on my toes and in the exact same way they are always on my toes.


Have a great weekend!
Happy Friday!

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