Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Toddler Snacking On The Go with Gerber® Lil’ Beanies(TM)

It's officially summer (as of yesterday) and I'm determined to get outside every nice day we get! Who's with me?

Lately, I've been going on a morning walk with Piper each day. It's becoming quite the routine around here. Sometime after breakfast, between 9:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., we'll venture out for our morning walk.

When we go out for our morning walk, there are a few things I always make sure to pack: sunscreen, water and healthy snacks! During our walk yesterday, I noticed that we were running low on Piper's usual snacks, so after dinner we made a trip to Walmart to stock up for today.

It's fair to say that when you're on-the-go, fresh fruit and vegetables don't hold up very well. Besides, I don't always have the time to prep a fresh snack like that for all of my spontaneous outings with Piper. I like to keep something on hand, or rather in the stroller basket, that needs no prep at all but is still a good choice for my girl. That's when I was happy to find Gerber's Lil' Beanies at Walmart.

Gerber's Lil' Beanies is a healthy on-the-go snack for my snack-loving toddler. The Lil' Beanies are made from the goodness of navy beans and naturally flavored. This is a clean snack with 2 grams of protein (9% Daily Value), 1 gram of fiber and 10% Daily Value of Vitamin E per serving. 

Lil' Beanies are baked, not made with genetically engineered (GM) ingredients, and are naturally flavored, which makes for one happy toddler and one happy mama, too!

Right now, Walmart offers Lil' Beanies in two flavors; original and white cheddar & broccoli. I tried them both and they are delicious. No wonder Piper was so happy on our walk this morning! Lil' Beanies are one tasty snack!

Many thanks to Gerber for sponsoring today's story and for making snacking on the go healthy and easy for my family!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Vegetable Quiche + Happy Monday

Happy Monday -- I mean that, really. It is a happy Monday over here!

This morning, I woke up an hour before Piper. An entire hour of quiet in the morning really does wonders. I took some time to enjoy a nice cup of coffee (with cold stone sweet cream creamer) in the quiet. It only took me about 10 minutes before I started to feel restless. It was 7:30 a.m. and Piper was still sleeping. What was I going to do with myself?

I decided to use my extra time to get a jump start on breakfast. It was a really good decision, too! I have been craving vegetable quiche for a while and we just happened to have a fridge stocked with all the goodies to make one.

The recipe I semi-followed can be found, here: quiche recipe. I mostly used the recipe for reference to the oven temperature and cook time. It was spot on! I also used the recipe to get an idea of how many eggs to use vs. the amount of vegetables.

The vegetables I used in my quiche were a random mix of what I had on hand. I used mushrooms, broccoli, red peppers, onions, spinach, tomatoes and garlic. It was super tasty and fresh! The perfect way to start my morning.

Instead of just using five eggs, I also added a couple egg whites to the quiche. I'm not sure how much of a difference that made but I had a couple extra eggs to use up.

Piper eventually woke up around 8:15 a.m. The quiche was ready for breakfast right around 9 a.m. It worked out great! We both really enjoyed it.

After breakfast, I took Piper for a walk to the library. I am back to using my FitBit again after taking a little time off from using it. I bought Nick a FitBit for Father's Day and so we're having a little friendly competition with our steps today. That's not the only reason why I went for a walk today, of course. Piper loves walks, too!

Piper was the only kid in the library this morning, and so she had a lot of fun running around (literally) and playing with the puzzles. We spent about a half hour at the library before walking back home. When we got back home, I let her run around the yard, which is when she asked to be pushed in the swing.

Piper has a love-hate relationship with swings. Right now, she's back in love! She even likes to close her eyes while she's going real high, which makes her giggle like crazy. It's fun to watch!

Right now, Piper is napping and I'm about to get started on some banner orders that came in over the weekend.

Readers, what's happy or great about your Monday, so far?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Anything Rustic Anniversary GIVEAWAY

The weather is so beautiful out today that it pains me to be inside, but I am just here for a quick minute to tell you about something exciting happening with my business.

Anything Rustic is turning one on July 1st! We have been in business for an entire year now and we want to celebrate! We are hosting a Facebook Giveaway, the more people who enter to win, the more winners we will select!

It's really easy to enter, just click the giveaway photo below to share it with your friends. Once you share it on Facebook, you're entered to win!

It's that easy! Each "share" is an entry to win, and you can share up to once a day, making your chances at winning even that much better.

The winner(s) will receive a custom burlap banner of their choice. If you have a special event coming up, or just want some new rustic home decor, this is a Giveaway you won't want to miss out on!

That's all for today! Piper and I have been enjoying the summer weather with a nice walk this morning, and some play time before lunch. 

Now that she's down for her nap, I'm going to hang some clothes on the line and get to cleaning up the house. We've got a busy and fun weekend ahead!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Top 50 Weight Loss Blogs

I have some exciting news to share with you today!

PT Pioneer has bestowed upon me the honor of ranking #11 out of 50 on their definitive list of Top Weight Loss Blogs. With so many weight loss blogs on the internet today, this is an amazing accomplishment that I do not take lightly.

I can assure you that no one could be more surprised at this news than I. After all, here I am, in the middle of trying to lose the same weight that I have already lost once before. I am not at my goal weight, I am not even completely "on track" at the moment, and yet; I am met with an amazing accomplishment from the people who know more about fitness and healthy living than I could ever dream. I am humbled and really happy, to say the least.

If anything, I think this goes to show that you don't have to be at your goal weight to be a success. You don't even have to be having a good day, week or month. Change comes from within. Success comes from within. If you've done it once before, you can do it again. If you've yet to do it, what are you waiting for? It's time. If I can do it, you can do it. Best yet, we don't have to do it alone. We're all in this together.

If you're ready to be motivated and inspired in your weight loss journey, I'd encourage you to take a look at the full list of PT Pioneer's Top 50 Weight Loss Blogs. I have enjoyed reading through the list, myself. There are some very inspiring men and women on this list, and again, I am so humbled to be apart of it, myself.

Not only will you find some very useful and inspiring information from the blogs on the Top 50 List, but PT Pioneer's website, itself, has so many inspiring and useful articles that I'd welcome you to search through, as well. Full site, here: http://www.ptpioneer.com/.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Still Off Track but Not for Long

I'm afraid to ask but I need to know; just how bad are these two-year molars going to be for us? 

Piper hasn't been sleeping well lately and when that happens, I like to blame the night waking on teething. After all, she is a champion teether. She's 16 months old now and the only teeth that aren't through are her two-year molars. The girl got her teeth early and fast. Teething is the worst and I am looking forward to it being over for us all.

Despite not getting much sleep, Piper and I met up with our friend's at the zoo yesterday. Piper was a little cranky since she hadn't gotten much sleep, but I think she still appreciated getting out of the house.

The highlight of Piper's trip to the zoo had to have been her very first "choo choo" ride. She was such a good girl on the train! Even though she didn't know quite what to think at first, after we started going, Piper seemed to enjoy the ride!

My husband took Monday off of work, so this week is really going by fast.

On Monday, we put in our vegetable garden, which is really late compared to when we put it in last year. We have just been so busy, we are still trying to catch up on everything around here. This includes me trying to get back on track with my June goals, too.

The entire month of June seems to be flying by. The important thing is that we are having a lot of fun and doing so much together. This is what summer is all about, and while I am up in weight on the scale, I don't have any regrets. We're having fun, and I know I'll be back on track soon!

It's all just a part of losing weight while living life.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fun Weekend Wedding

Two open bars, two weekends in a row, cause a gain on the scale. I'm up about 4 lbs. right now (248) and so, it's my new goal to get rid of that weight by the end of the month.

If you read yesterday's post, then you know that two weekends ago, we were in Pittsburgh for my husband's graduation banquet. There was an open bar, all expenses paid dinner and overnight stay included. We took full advantage of our time in Pittsburgh, and even though it helped attribute to a gain on the scale, I have no regrets. We had an amazing time that we'll never forget!

This past weekend, both my husband and I were in my friend's wedding.

It was really nice to be in the wedding together with my husband. There was another open bar at this event, and we took advantage of that, as well. (Hence the gain on the scale.)

The wedding was so beautiful, and despite the forecast of rain, the weather was perfect, sunny and warm. The day went really smooth, and it went by so fast. My husband and I had a really great time! It was even better that Piper got to join us at the reception.

My mother-in-law watched Piper during the day, then my mom and sister brought Piper to the reception in the evening.

It was so nice to have both my mom and sister at the reception, following Piper around. However, we didn't have to follow her around too much anyway; Piper spent most of her time on the dance floor with the rest of us!

Piper had a blast on the dance floor at the reception. She danced for what seemed like hours. We all had the best time! I may have even shed a tear or two just thinking about how one day it will be Piper in the wedding dress and Nick dancing with her for their dance. I know, I need to stop, but I can't help it.

After the reception, my sister drove Nick and I to the bar so we could hang out with our friends for a little while longer. It worked out great because my sister is 20, so even though she couldn't drink she was still able to hang out with us at the bar and have some fun. Then, she safely drove us home to our sleeping baby.

The events leading up to any wedding can be stressful, but I can say that all the stress was worth it because this was another amazing day that we'll never forget!

Monday, June 13, 2016

My Husband is a Journeyman

I've known for about 4 months now that June was going to be busy, but the beginning of June still took me by storm. A really fun and wonderful storm!

Two weekends ago, my husband graduated from his apprenticeship. The pictures throughout this post are all from the day of his graduation. This day has been 5 years coming. Because I was 5 years younger when this all started, I'd often think about how hard it all was for me. Before Piper was here, I would go to work all day just to come home to an empty house at night. Nick wouldn't get home until about 9 p.m. and I felt like we were missing out on some of our life together two nights every week. 

In the beginning, it wasn't very often that would I think about how hard it all was for him, but it didn't take too long for me to realize who had the shorter end of the stick. I couldn't imagine the amount of energy it took for him to go to work all day, just to go straight to a night class two nights a week. Those were some long 15 - 17 hour days, depending on how early he had to be to work. 

When Piper came around, all of this got even harder. Piper was born right in the middle of Nick's 4th year of schooling. When Piper was 5 days old, he was back to his night classes. Our family pitched in on those extra long days when I was still recovering from my c-section with a newborn, all alone. I am thankful for the company his mom and the rest of our family provided in those early days. 

I have to say a special thanks to my mother-in-law, too. Even throughout this 5th year of Nick's apprenticeship, she made sure to give me a break almost every Tuesday this past year. She would watch Piper for a bit in the evening so I could go work-out or just have some time to myself. That was a big blessing for us all! 

Night class was the last place Nick wanted to be when he was a new father, but he did it for us all. I can still remember the feelings I had when I heard him pull in the driveway after his first 15-hour day away from Piper and I. My heart raced and I cried happy tears because we made it through his first night-class with a newborn. Now that Nick has graduated and completed his 5-year apprenticeship, I find myself feeling my heart race and my eyes swell up with those same tears. We made it through it all, my husband is a Journeyman.

The graduation banquet was held last weekend in Pittsburgh. Nick and I left Piper at home, where Nick's mom watched her during the day, and my mom stayed over to watch her throughout the night. This was the first time that Nick and I were overnight somewhere that we couldn't get back home within 30 minutes, if needed. Thankfully, there was an open bar and that helped wash away any worry that we may have had, leaving Piper overnight. Even so, Piper was in good hands so we didn't really have to worry much at all.

The banquet for Nick's graduation was held at the Lamont restaurant in Pittsburgh, and the view was incredible. We ate dinner on top of the city, and watched as the city lit up from day to night. It is a view we'll never forget!

The union definitely treats their workers well. We are so blessed for Nick to have this job.

Nicholas is one of the hardest working men I know, and I couldn't be more thankful that he is the one leading our family. We are incredibly blessed, and we are so looking forward to having him back at nights, 7 days a week, forever.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Caught in a Whirlwind

I feel like I'm caught in a whirlwind. I'm just bouncing from one thing to the next right now. This week started with me in Pittsburgh with my husband and it's going to end with a wedding (we're both apart of the bridal party in my friend's wedding). Not to mention all of the stuff that will be going on in between! It's just busy over here!

On Saturday, I reopened my Etsy shop and by the time the weekend was through, I had a handful of orders waiting for me on Monday. That made me happy! It seems that I have reopened my shop just in time for the summer wedding rush. This rush is both exciting and a little nerve-wrecking. It's mostly exciting though; I love deadlines!

Right now I'm battling a chest cold so I'm not moving as fast as usual. I get tired easily. I managed to get two orders out the door yesterday, and I even pushed myself to walk the finished orders to the post office with Piper. I figured if have to work when the weather is nice, I might was well take advantage of the nice whether whenever I can. It turns out that the post office is just a 30 minute walk from my house. If the orders keep coming in like they have been, I think that's a walk we'll be doing a lot this summer!

I began this week out of town (I'll share a post on that soon) and I came back to a whirlwind of stuff. In knowing that, let's just say the first week of my June challenge is off to a bad start. I didn't track calories at all on Sunday or Monday. I know that I won't be staying within calories on Friday or Saturday with all the wedding festivities, too. Instead of setting myself up for failure, I'm not moving forward with my current goal for the week. I'm going to adapt to my circumstances and change my goal to something a little more attainable.

June Goals - amended

June 5 - June 11: 30 minutes of activity 3x this week
June 12 - June 18: Drink 128 oz. of water a day
June 19 - June 25: Eat five fruits and veggies a day
June 26 - June 30: Stay within calories 5 / 7 days + Drink 128 oz. water a day

I'm not giving up just because I'm caught in a whirlwind! I'm pressing on!

Readers, what is your goal for the week? Any changes need made to assure your success? I'd love to hear how you adapt to a tough week!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Little Update Before the Weekend

If you missed my goals for June, you can find them here: Goals for June.

Tomorrow, I will re-open my Etsy shop for the month of June. I have really enjoyed my Spring Break but, I'm ready to start filling orders again. After all, my work doesn't seem much like work to me because I love what I do! Spring Break wasn't much more of a break than usual, I just didn't have to fit crafting time in my day, which was nice for a little while. I'm ready to get back at it, though!

Follow us on Instagram @anythingrusticetsy

My shop will remain open until July. I'll be taking my Summer Break from July 4th - August 8th. We have a lot of fun things planned for the summer, starting tomorrow. My husband and I will be going to Pittsburgh for his graduation banquet with a dinner, an open bar and an all-expenses paid overnight trip. We can't wait! It's going to be a nice little get-away for the two of us.

I have a feeling that with all the fun we'll be having, Sunday is going to come quick. So you probably won't hear from me again until Monday.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Goals for June 2016

June is here and I'm planning on making it a great month in so many ways. Our calendar is filling up with fun events for my family and we're planning to hit this summer hard!

I went ahead and planned out a goal to work toward each week this month. The last week of the month I'll be working on two goals. These first few days in June are freebies. My Spring Break from my Etsy shop ends on June 4th and so I'll jump right into these goals the next day, on June 5th.

Goals for June:

June 5 - June 11: Stay within calories 5 / 7 days
June 12 - June 18: Drink 128 oz of Water a Day
June 19 - June 25: Eat five fruits and/or veggies a day
June 26 - June 30: Stay within calories + Drink 128 oz of Water a Day

Starting weight: 244 lbs.    |    Goal weight: 234 lbs.

I kind of feel like 10 pounds is another aggressive goal, however, the quote "shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll end up with the stars" comes to mind every time I do this to myself. Last month, that quote rang true! I didn't meet my 10 pound goal last month but I still lost weight, which is better than not.

If you notice, none of my June goals include exercise. There's a reason for that. Since it's been nice out, I've been getting one to two workouts in per day. Refer back to my "Two a Days" post from last week. I don't think I'll be having any trouble staying active in June!

Speaking of being active -- during my Spring Break from the shop, I have finally had some time to really figure out my FitBit. I know, it's not really that hard to figure out but it's taken me all of 5 months to realize that you can add friends and challenge them! I have been having so much fun participating in FitBit challenges with my friends these past two weeks! If you want to add me on your FitBit, you can search me by email!

Readers, what are your goals for June?