Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Impromptu Staycation

Hey guys! Just stopping in real quick to let you know that I am stepping away from my computer for a few days to enjoy a staycation with my family!

I'll fill you in on all the details when I return.

See you here soon!

Monday, May 15, 2017

May Goal Update #2

It's the middle of May, already. How did that happen?

You didn't hear anything from me on Friday because I got sick on Thursday. It's Monday now and I'm still sick but, feeling better than last week. Nick, Piper and I have all been trying to fight off this annoying cold that just keeps lingering on.

When I get sick, I overeat. It's a comfort thing and I know this about myself but, it doesn't make it any easier. I'm not going to lie to you guys. I haven't been doing so good on the weight-loss front these past couple weeks. I kind of went on a chocolate free-for-all from Thursday until Mother's Day on Sunday.

It's safe to say that I lost any form of self control this weekend. I didn't keep track of my calories or my water consumption and woke up to a gain on the scale. You can check out all of my weekly weigh-in's from the year here: Weekly Weigh-Ins.

I'm owning up to all of this because that's the only way for me to get past it. What I eat in private shows up in public. It's not a secret that I overindulged this weekend. I'm not making an excuse for it, either. I just lost self control for a few days but, I'm going to work extra hard these next two weeks to still meet my goals.

May Goals

- Lose a total of at least 4 pounds in May 
Not doing so well, see here: Weekly Weigh-In's. BUT, we are exactly halfway through the month as of today, and I am motivated to know that I still have time to turn this around!
- Go for at least 8 walks outside 
I am halfway done with this goal, halfway through the month! The weather is only suppose to get nicer this week. I definitely see this happening!
- Stay within calories at least 5/7 days a week 
I haven't been doing so well at this goal. But, I am hoping to make this week the first week that I nail it!
- Drink at least 120 ounces of water 5/7 days a week
This is another goal that I am going to work on nailing for the week. I haven't completed a full 5/7 days yet but, this will be my week!

I have been keeping my Weekly Weigh-in's more up-to-date this year because it's a good way to keep myself accountable. Same goes for owning up to my failures these past couple weeks. It's keeping me accountable, for better or worse. This week, I'm going to make it for the better!

Readers, how are you doing with your May goals?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thankful Thursday #2

You guys. It's raining. AGAIN! ljkdsfaopsdjf. Ugh.

If you remember last Thursday at this time, I shared with you my first "Thankful Thursday" post. I decided to share a Thankful Thursday post last week in effort to cheer myself up after days and days of being stuck inside from the rain.

Well, this week hasn't been much better weather-wise. It's be cold -- oh so cold -- and rainy, yet again. So, I'm going to do what worked for me last week and take a little bit of time this morning to focus on a few things I am thankful for this week.

Lavender & Chamomile Candle

A clean work space seems to make me more productive. Even more so? A clean work space with a good smelling candle lit. Oh yeah! This lavender and chamomile candle smells like relaxation and pampering in a jar. I love to light this candle during Piper's nap time, while listening to some music and getting a little work done.

Girl's Nights Out

Last night, I got to meet a group of my friends that I've kept since high school. There are six of us and we always have so much fun when we get together. We met for dinner and drinks and we ended up talking and laughing for two and a half hours at that restaurant. I think I laughed more last night than I have all week combined. I love my friends!

May Goals 

I'm thankful for my May goals to help keep me on track this month! Even though I went out to eat last night and didn't calculate the calories from my entire day, I still know that I'm doing alright for this week overall. I haven't been sticking to my May Goals perfectly by any means but, just knowing that I have those goals to work toward has been helping me make better choices. So, even when I'm going off track by eating out and enjoying a drink, I'm not going overboard or continue going down that road of overindulging. Instead, I am hopping right back on track today because I've got goals!

Working From Home

Week after week, I am thankful that I get to stay at home with my daughter while running my own business but, this week especially. Piper caught a little cold {which my husband also caught last night} and so working from home, or rather the lack thereof of work this week, has been a blessing. I was able to put a few projects on hold this week so I could spend more time where I was needed most.


I am so thankful for technology and, specifically, for Facetime. Without it, I wouldn't be able to see my sister while she's over in Guam with her husband and my new baby nephew, Declan. I get to see Declan almost every day, and even if I don't get a chance to Facetime them, I am always in touch by text. I couldn't imagine how heartbroken I would be if I wasn't able to see them every once in a while.

Readers, what are some things you're thankful for today?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Glorious Day at Grace

If you've been reading recently, than you'll know that my family started going back to church about three weeks ago. We are loving our new church and, on Wednesdays, I want to take some time to reflect on our experience each week.

This past Sunday, Grace Church wrapped up their sermon series: Overcomers. The series was three weeks long and, in the series there was a sermon based on the topic of overcoming gluttony, addiction and lust. The sermon topic that rang most true in my heart from this series was the sermon on overcoming gluttony.

At the end of the sermon on Sunday, anyone who has struggled with overcoming gluttony, addiction and/or lust was asked to get up from their seat and go to the front of the church, before God, and stand there as they wrapped up the service with a couple songs.

As a new face at the church, I was tentative to go up to the front but, Nick and I did it. We followed my mom and my stepdad up to the front, along with many others from the congregation. We stood there together in front of God and sang a couple of songs, one of them being "Glorious Day" by Passion. In those moments, I felt the love of God come over me. I tried to fight back tears as I sang along to the songs until just finally letting the tears roll down my face. I felt like I wasn't alone, I felt energized, I felt a sense of community, I felt humbled, I felt shameless, I felt forgiven.

There was no better song to end this sermon series with other than "Glorious Day" by Passion. It is easily one of my new favorites {with some of my old favorites being from Paul Wright -- I recommend looking into him, too.}

After going through this sermon series, it is this song "Glorious Day" by Passion that sings the words on my heart. Before going back to church, I did feel like I was in a state where I was breathing but not alive. I often found myself buried beneath my shame when it comes to my struggle with weight-loss and it was through this series that I was gratefully reminded I don't need to carry that weight. I can lift it up to the Lord, again and again. It is His love that is the air that I'm breathing.

Glorious Day - Passion

I was buried beneath my shame 
Who could carry that kind of weight 
It was my tomb 
Till I met You 

I was breathing, but not alive 
All my failures I tried to hide 
It was my tomb 
Till I met You 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness 
Into Your glorious day 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness 
Into Your glorious day 

Now Your mercy has saved my soul 
Now Your freedom is all I know 
The old made new Jesus, when I met You 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness 
Into Your glorious day 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness Into Your glorious day 

I needed rescue 
My sin was heavy 
But chains break at the weight of Your glory 
I needed shelter 
I was an orphan 
But You call me a citizen of heaven 
When I was broken 
You were my healing 
Your love is the air that I'm breathing 
I have a future 
My eyes are open 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness 
Into Your glorious day 

You called my name 
And I ran out of that grave 
Out of the darkness 
Into Your glorious day

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May Goal Update #1

As you may know, I am participating in a 30 by 30 challenge in which I have long-term goals {to lose 30 pounds before I turn 30} and some short-term goals. 

My short-term goals are for the month of May.

May Goals

- Lose a total of at least 4 pounds in May 
During my first week of the challenge, I lost .4 lbs. Not even a pound but, at least it wasn't a gain. This was from a weigh-in done on Friday morning and I am keeping in mind that I did overindulge quite a bit after my weigh-in was submitted. So, the remainder of this week is going to be me trying to make sure I can show a loss on the scale by Friday! There is still plenty of time to reach this goal, as long as I keep working toward it!
- Go for at least 8 walks outside 
Now that the week of rain has come to an end {it literally rained all last week}, I am looking forward to getting out for some more walks. I took a walk yesterday, which was only my second walk of the month. The week of rain really did me in there for a while but, I know the weather should only be getting better from here on out. More walks to come, soon!
- Stay within calories at least 5/7 days a week 
My first week with this goal did not go very well. However, I did manage to stay within calories for 3/6 days last week. I didn't keep track of my calories on Friday and Saturday {Cinco de Mayo and a birthday party} but, I made sure to get right back on track come Sunday -- and that's what is most important!
- Drink at least 120 ounces of water 5/7 days a week
I didn't do very well with this goal during my first week of May, either. I managed to keep track of my water intake for 3/6 days last week, also falling out of the habit of tracking my intake once the weekend came. Yesterday, I reached my goal and I am going to try to make more of an effort in keeping track this week, too!
I've found that when I check-in on my goals every week or so, it helps me to stay accountable and on track. There's no ignoring a fail here, I am owning everything that went wrong last week and also celebrating what went right! 

Having these goals to work toward in May helped me to stay on track for most of last week and, it's giving me something to work toward this week, as well. By looking back on my progress and problem areas from last week, it gives me more motivation to do better this week! Keeping track of your progress with your goals can help you be successful!

I'll keep you updated on more progress, soon!

Readers: Time for a check-in! How are you doing with your May goals?

Monday, May 8, 2017

A Day of Food in Pictures

Cinco de Mayo dinner with friends and a birthday party all in one weekend means that I ate a few too many tacos, cake and ice cream!

We had a blast this weekend! It was filled with good times with friends {both for Piper and us parents} and of course, a lot of good food. 

We overindulged quite a bit between Friday and Saturday, so come Sunday, I decided to take action to get back on track.

Yesterday, in order to keep myself accountable, I took a picture of everything I ate from breakfast through night-time snack.

Breakfast {oatmeal, turkey bacon and blueberries}

Lunch {sesame chicken with broccoli over rice}

Dinner {copycat zuppa toscana}

Snacks {hershey cookies and cream bar + another bowl of soup}

Yesterday, I stayed well within calories! I didn't get all of my water in though, and that's what I'm going to focus on today, along with everything I'm eating. 

Monday's Breakfast {egg, ham and cheese omelet with coffee}

So far, I've had a coffee with creamer and I just finished my egg, ham and cheese omelet. 

I have a lot of work to do today but, not in an overwhelming kind of way. Mostly, I think I get overwhelmed when my house and my business needs my attention all at the same time {such as life} but, today I am starting out the week with a very clean house and so, I am feeling little to no stress about focusing completely on my work this afternoon! It's going to be a productive day!

I'm planning on knocking out most of my work during Piper's afternoon nap. Then, later on, I am heading out to the library to do some book-keeping. Monday is a big work day for me but, I couldn't ask for better work to be doing! You can see what's new in our shop, here: Anything Rustic.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Foodie Friday

Lately, I have been trying to get all of our grocery shopping {for the following week} done on Friday mornings.  As much as I love going grocery shopping as a family during the weekend, now that we've been going back to church on Sunday mornings, it seems to suit us better for Piper and I to get our shopping done on Friday mornings.

If you aren't one to like grocery shopping then you might not get this but, I love grocery shopping with my little buddy on Friday mornings. It's so much fun! Piper has been grocery shopping with me since she was a few months old. We're two years in now and, she still likes to go shopping.

Recently, Piper started asking to bring in her own purse and it's the cutest thing to watch her walk in with it on her shoulder. Piper also loves to help put things in the cart for me when we're inside. It's a fun morning activity for us both!

Since I am going to try to do most of my grocery shopping on Fridays, that means that I start looking for recipes and meal planning on Thursday. Well, today I wanted to share with you some recipes that caught my eye during my search.

Tomato Mozzarella on Flatbread

A recipe from my archives! I love fresh mozzarella and tomatoes together -- add some basil and it's out of this world fresh. I love caprese! Nick and I just recently picked up a bunch of herbs to plant in our herb planter, and basil was one of them mainly for this purpose.

Crustless Caprese Quiche
from Fresh April Flours

{source: pinterest}

In keeping with the caprese theme, here's a way to incorporate fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil in quiche form. I like the idea of eating caprese morning, noon and night -- hah!

Sesame Chicken

I am a big fan of Chinese food, specifically, Sesame Chicken. I haven't used this recipe much lately but, I feel it might need to make a comeback in our house to help keep us on track and away from the take-out menu!

Those were just a few recipes that caught my eye. I'll post our actual meal plan for next week on Monday. Until then, I hope you guys have a great weekend and enjoy!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thankful Thursday

So far this week, we've been hit with some fairly wet and cold weather. The sun finally came out yesterday, after losing a long game of hide-and-seek for days. It was still fairly chilly though, and so we've been stuck inside for most of the week -- big bummer! 

In order to cheer myself up, and in line with Tuesday's post of taking some time to enjoy the little sweet moments in life, I decided to make a list of some little sweet things that I'm thankful for today, too.

Lilacs in Mason Jars + Ice Cream Dates

On Sunday evening, Nick and I left Piper at Nina's house so we could go plant shopping {crazy plant lady over here!} and on an ice cream date for just the two of us! When we got back to pick Piper up from Nina's, we picked some lilacs from from her lilac bushes to bring home with us. I put some lilacs in a vase in the kitchen before heading up to bed. Nick followed me upstairs a few minutes later, and brought up with him a mason jar filled with fresh water and lilacs for our room. It was a sweet little gesture that surprised me and made me smile. I've been loving falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning to the smell of lilacs.

Meeting New Friends + Mornings at the Library

My mom, stepdad and little brother moved into a new home recently. When they moved, I lost my childhood home but, I gained some new friends in her neighbors across the street! I'll call it fate. I am really excited to have made a new friend {Kaylee} and even more so that my new friend has a son {Eli} right around the same age as Piper. Piper and I both got a new friend out of this deal and it's been very exciting for me. Last week, we visited Kaylee and Eli at their house and this week, they joined us for Story Time at the Library. Kaylee and I have a lot in common and I'm so excited for my new friend.

Since the weather has been wet and rainy most of the week, we spent both Monday and Wednesday morning at our local library. On Wednesdays, our library hosts a Story Time, and we invited our new friends, Kaylee and Eli, with us to play. Piper had so much fun and I enjoyed having a friend to chat with through it all.

Becoming an Aunt

My sister had her baby! Declan Job was born on May 24th and he weighed 8 lbs. 6 oz. He is a little over a week old now and they are all doing so great over there in Guam. It breaks my heart that I cannot be there to hold him, or to help my sister but, it's such a blessing that I can see him on FaceTime. It also helps that Beckah has adjusted into motherhood with pure grace and wisdom. I couldn't be more proud of the mother she is to my nephew, DJ. My brother-in-law, Jarrod, is doing such a good job at taking care of them all, too. They are all doing well and it makes me so happy to hear from her every day!

Grace Church

If you have been reading the blog lately, then you already know how much of an impact Grace Church has been having on my family lately. We love going back to church on Sundays! For more on this, you can read my posts here: Overcoming Gluttony and Overcoming Addiction with Grace Church.

Swim Classes

Piper is in swim class, again! We are already halfway through Piper's second session of Toddler 1 swim classes, and she's enjoying it very much. Nick and I can both tell how much she has improved since her first round of toddler swim classes in the Fall. We are loving our Tuesday and Thursday nights at swim class and I am so sad they are coming to an end next week, already. Time sure is flying around here!

Readers, what are some things you're thankful about today?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Overcoming Addiction with Grace

I've come to find that since I've been going back to church with my family on Sunday, it's on Wednesday when my heart and soul need a little pick-me-up. Come mid-week, I like to reflect back on the message I heard on Sunday in church and, since it was another relatable message, I'd like to share it with you here again.

My family went back to Grace Church this past Sunday, and it was a relief to be back. Almost like the feeling you get when you come home after a long day of work, that's what it felt like to be back in church this past Sunday morning. Before going back to church, and since I've been staying at home with my daughter for the past two years, I haven't felt that as much as I use to when I worked away from the home. It was a welcomed feeling to feel the relief of being back home, at church, after a long week away.

The sermon at Grace this past Sunday was one on the topic of addiction. When I heard the topic of Sunday's sermon, I knew exactly how this message would relate to me, in my life. Since I am overweight and write a blog about trying to lose weight, I'm sure the most sought after conclusion could be that I'm addicted to food. While it may be true to some extent, that isn't the addiction that stirred in my heart as I listened to the sermon on Sunday. The addiction that I seem to constantly battle, rather, is an addiction to my smartphone. Can anyone else relate?

I feel like it's easy in this day and age to have an addiction to smartphones. It's something I'm trying to overcome by turning off pop-up notifications {more on that below} and even going as far as putting my phone away for specific periods of time throughout the day or night. As I listened to the sermon, which I have shared below, I kept my struggle with my smartphone in mind and found it all the more relatable for me.

As shared in the sermon, here are some signs that you may be battling an addiction:

1. Your Responsibilities Begin to Suffer
2. You're Building a Tolerance
3. You're Unable to Cut Back
4. You Take Greater and Greater Risks
5. Your Behavior Changes

Here are the 3 problems for those enslaved by addictions as outlined in the sermon:

1. The longer the problem persists, the more discouraged you become
2. The longer the problem persists, the more excuses you make
3. The longer the problem persists, the more you compensate for that problem

Being enslaved to my smartphone does make my responsibilities suffer and, even when I try to cut back, I find myself still finding an excuse to have it nearby. My biggest problem with giving up my smartphone is that it's also my camera most days. I can't tell you how many times I go to get my phone out just to take a picture of Piper and then, I see that I have a new notification. That's when I end up lost in my phone, enslaved by it, for 10, 15, or even 20 minutes at a time.

After listening to this sermon, I turned off all notifications on my phone aside from Etsy {for my business} and FitBit {to motivate me to workout}. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and even Text Messages will no longer show any sort of notifications on my phone. If I want to see if I have a new message, I have to actually go into the app -- which I think will prevent me from accidentally losing time, when I'm just going to check the time or take a picture with my phone.

As for the act of going back to church, this was our second week back and we are already feeling very much at home. When we got to church, Piper remembered where she was suppose to go to "play with kids" in the nursery, and we were able to leave her there with no problems at all. She did a craft with her new friends and played with the kids while Nick and I received the message in service.

We have all been loving our new Sunday routine! While I will admit, I use to be guilty of thinking that getting ready to go to church was a hassle for our family, I've found now that it's actually the act of going to church that makes our day complete and puts us all in a better place to take on the week ahead.

Going to church on Sunday is a reset for our soul. It's where we get our suit of armor to take on the battles we face during each week. It's where Nick and I reconnect and, we find a base for living out our everyday life. Going to church at Grace is where we belong.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The Little Sweet Moments

Is it just me or is life is extra sweet in the Spring?

After having some really hard days a few weeks ago, I am cherishing the fact that I have been having some really great days, lately. I've been having days that start with me going outside early in the morning, where I take some time to breathe in the fresh air and have few moments to myself. I love to sit in backyard on my new double rocker in the mornings and just listen to the world wake up around me.

Speaking of my double rocker -- this mama put it all together by herself! All Nick had to do was tighten up the screws a little more when he got home from work. I gave myself a pat on the back for that one.

Since life has been so sweet lately, I started keeping track of the little things that have been making me happy. I just started taking notes on my phone, something I'm going to try to do more often. I've noticed that the more that I keep track of the little things that make me happy, the more I appreciate the little things that have been right here in my ordinary days all along.

Last week the weather was so nice, we did most of our clothes drying on the line out back. Piper likes to swing in the tree swing while I'm hanging the clothes up on the line. I usually get two items up on the line before she needs pushed again. It's almost like a game -- trying to see how many clothes I can get up on the line before she says "again, again", for me to push her again.

Whenever I am done hanging the clothes on the line, Piper loves to run through them and last week she asked me to follow her while she did it. Running through the clothes with her reminded me of when I use to run through the sheets hanging on my great grandma's clothes line when I was little. I suppose that's why I love drying our clothes on the line out back -- it's nostalgic for me.

Hanging clothes on the line to dry in the warm breeze while listening to the chirp of birds in the tree above and feeling the sun's warmth on my back were a few of the things little things that made me happy last week. Nick and I recently cleared off our patio, which held a lot of storage through the winter months and now that it's starting to look like the patio we once had, I can't wait to share with you some pictures of how it looks now-a-days, soon!

Our apple tree is blossoming beautifully this year with pink flowers, some of which have shed onto our lawn now, leaving a beautiful dusting of pedals in the grass. Piper loves to play under the apple tree. It's her little imagination-land and I love to watch her walk back and forth under the tree, talking to herself and playing with various stones, sticks and whatever else she can find on the ground over there. It's those little moments that I love to watch -- because in those moments, I get a glimpse into her world, and remember how wonderful and amazing everything in nature and all around us truly is.

A few other things that have been making me happy lately: when I take the time to make a good hearty weekday breakfast for Piper and I; morning snuggles with my girl; weekday grocery shopping when the store is stocked well and there aren't many other shoppers; evenings doing yard work with Nick and Piper; potty training{!!}, and; story time at the library.

Potty training is going so well; I couldn't be happier for my little girl. I am staying really relaxed with it all; most of the time she is the one to remind me that she needs to use the potty, and I think this is a good thing for us both. Piper is a very independent little girl and she likes to take responsibility for things and do stuff on her own.

As for story time at the library, I think she's finally at the age where we can start going consistently. Piper has a hard time sitting still {as most kids do at 2 years old}, but she's starting to get the concept that we only have to sit still for a short while {while the book is read}, and then we get to do a craft! We're going to start doing story time more often, now.

It makes me so happy to see Piper out and making new friends. Piper has a fairly active schedule this Spring. She's in swim class a couple nights a week, and now we're going to start going to story time weekly. We also have a lot of play dates lined up!

It's definitely the little things like this that make my heart feel big with joy!

Monday, May 1, 2017

May Goals - 2017

Welcome to Monday and the first day of MAY! How did this past weekend treat ya? Things over here were quite busy and enjoyable. I participated in a craft show on Saturday, which meant that we did our grocery shopping on Friday and spent Sunday catching up on each others company as a family before the new work-week began.
Since I went grocery shopping on Friday, I woke up early that morning to make my meal plan for this week. Here's what I came up with:

Sunday: Ground Turkey + Brussels Sprout Skillet
Monday: Fish with Asparagus + Sweet Potatoes
Tuesday: Burrito Bowls
Wednesday: Sausage Stir Fry with Bell Peppers + Onions
Thursday: Fish with Broccoli + Sweet Potatoes
Friday: Naan Pizzas

While this is the first week of May, it also marks the second week of my 30 by 30 challenge. The first week in my challenge went fairly well. I am down a pound and I can already tell that my mood has increased, which I attribute mostly to eating a ton of vegetables as often as I can and going back to church. The nice weather last week helped, too!

Now that a new month is upon us, I want to make a few healthy-living goals for May.

- Lose a total of at least 4 pounds in May
- Go for at least 8 walks outside
- Stay within calories at least 5/7 days a week
- Drink at least 120 ounces of water 5/7 days a week

In order to keep track of my progress, I decided to kick it old school and write all of my goals out in a notebook. From my experience, it's hard to stick with goals {especially month-long goals} when you're not keeping track of your progress daily. My notebook will be where I keep track of it all!

All of those mini-goals for May should help me to have a successful month, which will in turn help me to reach my big goal as part of my 30 by 30 challenge! After all, every little bit of weight lost, healthy choices made, etc. adds up over time!

Readers - what goals are you making for May?

Friday, April 28, 2017

Eat Good, Feel Good, Always

Hey guys, happy Friday! We made it!

I am feeling so much better lately and I know it's because I've been eating better. I have been cramming in all the fresh veggies that I can these past five days and it's really paid off. My overall mood is better and I physically feel good, too.

Eat Good = Feel Good, always.

On the first night of my new challenge, I chopped up a few different fresh vegetables that needed used up before they went bad. The forgotten vegetables of the pantry, if you will. They were the leftovers from the previous week and something needed done with them, fast. After all, I just can't stand wasting food.

I decided to use the leftover vegetables to throw together a little medley of sorts to go along with some fish we had bought for Monday's dinner. The impromptu vegetable medley worked out really well; so well that I wanted to share it with you today.

The vegetables that I had on hand for this medley were eggplant, sweet potatoes and broccoli. Had I done it all over again, I might have used some asparagus, onion or even brussels sprouts instead of the eggplant but, that's just because I'm not the biggest fan on eggplant, myself. Piper ate any remaining eggplant from my dish.

I chopped up 2 small heads of broccoli, 3 sweet potatoes and 1 small eggplant for this vegetable medley. Once all the vegetables were chopped up, I sprinkled a generous amount of salt on them and stirred in 6 tbsp of coconut oil.

My husband and I grilled the fish and the vegetables on our new grill. I didn't really pay attention to how long everything was on, but we just kept checking the vegetables until they seemed tender enough for our liking.

After all of the vegetables were off the grill, I drizzled in about 3 tablespoons of honey and stirred it all around until the vegetables were fully coated. The honey played really well off of the broccoli and the sweet potatoes -- again, I'm not the biggest fan of the eggplant so next time I make a medley, I'm going to scratch that vegetable outta there.

All in all, this week was packed with vegetables and I am feeling good! Have a great weekend, everyone! See you back here on Monday.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Never Too Late to Post the Meal Plan

I'm kind of doing things a little backwards here. The week is almost over and I'm finally ready to share with you my meal plan for the week -- haha. It's never too late to post the meal plan for the week, right? I had the plan written out all the way back on Saturday, right before I went grocery shopping with my girl P, but I just didn't find the opportunity to post it until today.
Psst. check out this cute picture of Piper as we were walking out of the grocery store on Saturday. She loves to carry around a purse like mama.

So, here's the plan for the week that's almost over; week one of my 30 by 30 challenge:

Sunday - Zuppa Toscana with Caibatta Roll
Monday - Fish with Fresh Vegetable Medley
Tuesday - Spaghetti Squash + Meatballs with Brussels Sprouts
Wednesday - Kielbasa Sausage Stir Fry with Bell Peppers + Onions
Thursday - Fish with Asparagus + Rice
Friday - Naan Pizzas

I didn't make an exercise plan for this first week of the challenge, as I wanted to focus on getting my eating habits back in order first. I have been trying and mostly succeeding at getting all of my 120 ounces of water in each day, so far. And, I am doing well at tracking all of my calories. As Piper would say, "hooray!"

I am feeling really good and it's only been four days back on track. Going to church last Sunday really helped boost my spirits and I'm so looking forward to going back on Sunday! Until then, we are going to be busy working on craft show prep for a show we're participating in this Saturday.

Readers: since it's Friday-eve, tell me, what plans are you looking forward to this weekend?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Overcoming Gluttony with Grace Church

Nick, Piper and I went to a new church this past weekend. Well, it's kind of new to us. It was Piper's first time {outside of the womb} and, it was our second time going to our new favorite church, Grace. 

While I was pregnant with Piper, in 2014, Nick and I tried this church once and we loved it. It's further away than our home church {which is literally right down the block; less than a minute away}, so it was hard to make the switch and fully commit to driving 15 minutes away when we had a perfectly good church right around the corner.

While we didn't physically go back to this church until this past weekend, I had immediately got hooked into watching Grace Church's sermons online back after our first visit in 2014. Their sermons are always something I can connect with on some level or another. I don't think I've sat through a sermon without having tears well up in my eyes, yet. I connect with their message more than I do at my home church, and for that I felt guilty for a while. So, it was hard to make the switch. I just stayed complacent for a while and we didn't end up physically going to church much at all. Instead, I just kept watching Grace's sermons online.

The convenience of watching and listening to Grace Church's sermons online was unbeatable at the time when Piper was born. It is actually one of the reasons that it took us so long to go back to church. I could just listen to their sermons during one of Piper's naps, get what I needed to feed my soul, and be done -- all within the comfort of my home.

Well, the problem with that for me is that I was doing it alone. Nick works during the day, obviously, so I can stay home with Piper, so while I would listen to the sermon and Nick rarely got the chance. Also, we have truly missed out on the full church experience that Grace has to offer by only listening to the sermons online. There's just something so powerful about worshiping with them, there in church.

So, after having a couple tough weeks recently, it was clear to me that the time to physically go back to church was here. I needed to go. I needed to be re-centered in my faith. I want Piper to have a sense of community in the church. I want us all to be apart of a church community. Nick agreed. 

Nick and I talked about it and, while it will be hard to pass our home church every Sunday to drive 15 minutes out to Grace Church, we both agreed it will be worth it. Grace Church stirs something in our hearts that hasn't been stirred in a while from our home church. We feel like we are finding a new home church in Grace.

Piper tried the nursery at the church that is only a minute down the road from us a couple times and, she never made it through an entire service in the nursery without my mom, Nick or me having to go get her or sit in there with her. 

At Grace church, Piper didn't only make it through the whole service at nursery class, she had fun, too! It helped that my little brother Evan opted out of his school-age class that morning to stay and help Piper in her two-year old class for the whole service. That calmed all of our nerves and we were really able to enjoy the service without too much worry or concern.

At Grace, I feel like we are finally finding where we belong. When we arrived this past Sunday, we found out that Grace was starting a new sermon series called "Overcomers" and the first sermon in the series was about overcoming gluttony. There couldn't have been a better sermon for me to hear than this one on that day, the day before I began my 30 by 30 challenge.

As I said, all of Grace Church's sermons can be found online. I am going to share the sermon from this past Sunday with you here below because it is a good sermon for anyone to hear. It was a sermon with a special guest speaking and, if you watch The Biggest Loser he may look familiar to you. It was Mark Cornelison from Season 13 of The Biggest Loser. It was a sermon for our first time back in church at Grace.

I hope you enjoy this sermon as much as I did. I intend to post the verses from Matthew 6:25-34 right on my snack cupboard, where I often frequent at the end of the night, when I feel anxious and tired from a long day. As Mark said, after all, he believes these chapters in Matthew were the launch of grace.

Matthew 6:25-34
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothes himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, "what will we eat?" or "what will we drink?" or "what will we wear for clothing?" for the gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your Heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Just Two Weeks

2 1/2 pounds gained. Days with moods in the gutter. Pain and inflammation in all of my joints. Bloating that made my newly sized-down pants (from 24 to 22) feel tight. A returning pain in my knees when going down stairs. Prolonged/irregular menstrual cycle. Difficulty getting out of bed in the morning. The overall feeling of being heavy and in poor health.

It took only two weeks, from April 10th - April 21st. Two weeks of eating poorly and not drinking nearly enough water each day. That's what caused all of those ailments to come back.

What I eat matters. It directly effects my health in the short term and long term. This is why I have started my new 30 by 30 challenge. I want to get rid of all of those ailments listed above. I want to eat better to feel better. I am ready to start working toward a solid goal again -- a new goal to lose 30 pounds before I turn 30 in February.

Rant to self: no more excuses. If I eat fresh, healthy food, I will feel fresh and healthy. If I eat over-processed, heavy foods, I will feel it. I will feel it in my joints; I will feel it in my mood; I will feel it in my the way my pants fit. I need to make better choices to feel better. I need to continue on my path of losing weight. The time between now and my 30th birthday will pass regardless, so I might as well make the time count. I want to feel good every day. I want to regain a better balance.

Right now, I am motivated. I know that motivation doesn't last forever but, it's a good push-start in the right direction. I believe that joining my new challenge is just the push-start I need to get back on track.

For more information on my 30 by 30 challenge, you can read here: 30 by 30.

Yesterday was my first day in my new challenge. I swear I already feel a little better just from getting all of my 120 ounces of water in and stuffing my dinner plate full of fresh vegetables. It's the little things that add up and make a big difference.

Speaking of the little things, Piper and I spent a little time yesterday morning at our local park. We made sure to stop and smell the flowers, in between running up and down the "big hill", of course. Conquering big hills is definitely one of Piper's favorite things to do.

She's a pretty cool kid, if you ask me. God blessed me so much when he chose me to be her mama. Even while I was feeling a little down toward the end of last week, this girl always light my life right back up. There's no way I can feel down for long when I have that bundle of joy by my side.