Friday, August 18, 2017

Your Mind Makes You Lose Weight

Yesterday I shared a blog post about how visualizing my success has been increasing my success in weight loss this year. As I was writing it, I knew the topic felt familiar. Sure enough, I found a similar blog post that I had written just 6 months ago on this topic, here: Visualize Success to be Successful.

Visualizing my success is obviously a really good tactic for me! Just 6 months ago, I was visualizing myself at my current weight {really, I was, read here: Visualize Success to be Successful} -- now, I'm at that weight I envisioned! I'm at the weight I was visualizing 6 months ago {231 lbs. to be exact} and it feels just as good as I thought it would. All of the effort paid off and it was worth it.

Now, as you read in my post yesterday, I have been visualizing myself at my next short-term goal weight, 210 pounds {as part of my 30 by 30 challenge}. I have just under 6 months to get to this next goal and I am certain that if I keep using the tool of visualization, I will get there. I can see it!

Everyone, including myself, likes to talk about the food that helps us to lose weight, or the exercise. But, at the end of the day, it's my mind makes me lose the weight. If I fill my mind with positive thoughts and images, I'll get there. 

If I'm envisioning myself at a lower weight, day after day, my mind will find the ways to make it happen. I'll choose healthier decisions more often than not. I'll "be in the right mind-frame" to succeed. So much of this journey has to do with my mind; it's honestly the most important part of my body to keep healthy.

Readers, how are you taking care of your mind today? I am going to look through my Healthy Living Motivation board on Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Visualizing Success Increasing Success

Visualizing my success has been such a crucial part of my success in losing weight in 2017. 

It's one thing to say, "I want to lose 30 pounds before I turn 30" and it's another to really visualize myself at that lower weight. In my mind, I allowed myself a few moments to really see that number on the scale, and feel the excitement of reaching my goal. I even captured the moment when I visualized my success on video!

I love looking back on the moment when I realized I was going to really do it this time. I knew I was going to see that number on the scale and feel the difference in my body because, I allowed myself to believe that I could do it. Again, I didn't just hope I would reach my goal, I really believed it because I could see it. Now, while I am only 1/3 of my way to that "30 by 30" goal, I know even more that I will get there.

You hear it all the time -- "just lose the weight, it's worth it, I promise". But, it's true. Don't believe me either? Well, then trust yourself. Take a moment to close your eyes and visualize yourself at your goal weight. Picture yourself stepping on to the scale and seeing that number come up. Feel the burst of excitement in your belly and the smile that instantly appears on your face. Tell yourself, "I did it!" 

Did you see it? Did you feel it?

Now, tell yourself, "I am going to do it!"

I am telling you that you can do it!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

That Time When I Went Missing

Hey! I went missing there for about a week. I don't usually post on the weekends but, since I haven't posted anything in well over a week, I figured sooner would be better than later to give you all a quick update.

# 1 - I am still alive & well. But, if you follow my Instagram account or my YouTube Channel, then I bet you already knew that fact.

# 2 - I am still losing weight! Yeah, I am shocked too. My August Accountability Challenge Group is really helping me stay accountable to reaching my goals.

# 3 - I am enjoying summer with my family. We have been taking a lot of little adventures together as a family lately and, it's been the perfect way to round out the end of summer. Not like summer is ever going to come to an end, right? RIGHT?!

So yeah, that's where I'm at right now and I hope you'll be hearing more from me soon! Of course, if you're in my August Accountability Challenge Group, you'll be hearing from me bright and early every day this week and throughout the remainder of the month.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

We Don't Grow When Things Are Easy

This one is for the 29 members in my August Accountability Challenge Group.

You guys. We aren't even done with week one of the August Accountability Challenge Group yet and, I already can't wait to tell you how proud I am of all of the people in this group. In this first week we have had people admit some "failures", pick each other up, shout out their success, cheer each other on, share helpful tips and so much more! My heart is so humbled by every single one of these group members.

While every single person in my group inspires me to do better every day, I want to talk about a few select today. I want to talk about the ones who don't give up after falling down.

How easy would it be to just stay silent and not admit when you fall? I've been there, I know it's a lot easier to just stay quiet when you get tripped up, without letting anyone know that you stumbled down. But guess what, the easy stuff doesn't change you.


Admitting a trip up isn't easy but, it will make you grow. To people of my group who haven't nailed every single challenge -- thank you for this reminder. Thank you for showing me your courage to continue on despite not being perfect because, as well all should know, it's not about perfection; it's about progress.


As for the people who have completed every single challenge thus far, you guys are rock stars, too! Just remember this post, should you have a trip up in the coming weeks. The goal is to make some progress and honestly, the fact that you've committed to being in this challenge group with me {in the prime-time of summer} is some major progress in itself. 

Group: your dedication is inspiring and I am so happy to be working alongside you all this month! Keep up the great work, everyone!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Treating Myself Within My Calorie Range

Hot summer days and ice cream just go together. Am I right? I have wanted to end the day with an ice cream treat almost every day so far this week and so, I have. I made sure to save enough room in my calorie-range so I could fit it in each day. 

If I learned anything from my binge last week it was to not deprive myself of something I want. I just need to make room for it. So, if that means having smaller meals throughout the day or even making the treat smaller itself so I can indulge a bit, then so be it!

So much of my success in this weight-loss journey has to do with self-discovery. While I blog about what I'm doing to lose weight, that doesn't mean that what I do will work for you. I am just sharing what works for me, mostly so I can look back on my journey and re-evaluate as needed.

I know from experience that deprivation doesn't work for me. I can't restrict myself from eating certain foods. My favorite way to be healthy and lose weight is to have a little bit of everything in moderation.

Here's an example of what an average day of food looks like for me:

That is an example from July 14, 2017. For breakfast, I had a smoothie. I had a tortilla wrap for lunch. I had a tomato and mozzarella flatbread pizza for dinner. I see in the snack category that I must have finished Piper's Wendy's leftovers {mom-perk} and I also treated myself to some Reeses Pieces.

At the time, my calorie range was somewhere between 1,610 - 1,960 and so, as you see in the example, I made sure it everything I ate that day fit within that range and I got some treats in there for myself, too.

As I lose more weight, my calorie range will change. One way of knowing that it's time to switch up my calorie range is if I'm doing everything right {staying within calories} and I still end up having trouble losing any significant amount of weight.

Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes I do stay around the same weight for a couple weeks but, that's usually because I have a few days of going over my calorie range. It's when I'm sticking all within my calorie ranges and I'm still having trouble losing weight, that is when it's time to re-evaluate the calorie range.

Since I have lost 20 pounds this year, I re-entered my stats into and found that my new calorie range should be 1,560 - 1,910. As of today, that's the new calorie range I am aiming for each day.

If I ever have trouble staying within my new calorie range {which I shouldn't since it's not much of a difference, yet}, I'll adjust and try to ease into it better. It's all about trial and error and finding what works best for you!

The plan can only work as long as I'm working it -- and I'm working it this week, for sure!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Full Summer Weekend of Fun

Sometimes it's the ordinary days that bring me so much joy.

Yesterday was the first day that I got to take full advantage of being on "summer break" from my Etsy shop. The weather was perfect yesterday morning and so Piper and I went down to the park. We spent a lot of time swinging on the swings and just playing around. We were the only ones at the park on this Monday morning, which was really nice.

After playing at the park, we went down to the creek to throw rocks. After a while, Piper found some mud to get her hands into and, I let her. She was so excited and started throwing the mud into the water along with some rocks. Piper loves to throw rocks into the water. She could do it for hours if I let her, and actually, I did let her go at it for about an hour until it was lunch time.

After Piper ate lunch, I read her some books and put her down for a nap. Instead of working during her nap, like I've been doing all summer, I actually had two hours to myself. I decided to use those hours to clean the house because, well, we had a really busy weekend and not much got done around the house. I know, I know, that doesn't sound like the most exciting thing to do during my two hours of freedom but, a clean house makes me feel good. When I feel good, I make good, healthy choices. So cleaning my house helps me to lose weight. It's a science.

This weekend was busy and full of summer fun -- with a little bit of Christmas thrown in there. 

On Friday, my mom hosted a "Christmas in July" party, where we dressed up and watched the movie "Elf" outside, with her projector. We've love watching movies under the stars at my moms house this summer. That night was especially fun!

On Saturday, Nick and I had a little date night. We took a long drive on some back roads and found a trail down at Pymatuning State Park. We held hands and went for a walk along the water. It was so peaceful. We also stopped to see all of the fish while we were there, since that is the main attraction of the park. It was fun to do something so different!

After our walk by the water, we went out to eat at a new restaurant in the small town of Linesville. We were the only ones in the restaurant, which I was surprised because it was such a little cute place. 

We both shared an order of mozzarella sticks and each got a personal pizza. I had a BLT pizza and he ordered the BBQ Chicken. Both were amazing! It was a great way to end the date night!

On Sunday, Nick played electric guitar with the worship team in church. He did a great job and I was so proud of him. 

His dedication to our church, his work and our family amazes me. We don't always make it easy on him and yet, he juggles everything that comes his way with such grace, patience and understanding. I love that man so much!

Sunday evening was a really fun night for our family. We attended our church picnic at a local camp ground.

Everyone brought a dish to share and boy did we enjoy ourselves! The food was great and so were all of the family activities at the camp ground!

There was a big pool open for us to swim in and a splash pad for the little kids. We made some great memories this weekend.

 I love summer so much, this one in particular being my favorite one so far!

I'd be happy if time would freeze right now.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Work Can Wait, Summer Cannot

A few updates to share with you on this Monday!

First, I want to talk about my Accountability Group Challenge on Facebook.

I am beyond amazed at the people in this group. The first round of challenges rolled out yesterday and the response was overwhelming in the best way possible. We have just under 30 people in our group and they are working it! I couldn't be more proud of their ambition and determination for the month ahead. Everyone's energy in the group is downright inspiring!

Second, I posted a new video to share with you all. This video covers Week 5 + Week 6 Weigh-in's for my 30 by 30 challenge:

In other news, I wanted to mention that I decided to take a little summer break from my Etsy shop again this year. I am shutting down production for all online orders during the month of August through sometime in September. The firm return-date is still to be decided. 

We have one craft show coming up at the beginning of August and another coming up during the first weekend of September and so, any work we do this month will be for those craft shows. Other than that, it's just time for us to enjoy summer as a family without having to worry about getting online orders out the door. 

Work can wait -- summer cannot!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Confessions of a Binge Eater

Hi, I'm Kalyn and I ate an entire 1/2 lb. bag of chocolate for dinner last night. 

Then, I went to Jazzercise to try and even out the balance. 

Then, at 9 p.m., I binged and essentially threw away all of my effort.

This was my first "binge" in well over 6 weeks. I am not a regular binge-eater but, I struggle with the occasional out-of-controlness of overeating at times. Mostly these "binges" occur at night, when I'm tired and a little hungry.

It all started when I made the mistake of mindlessly eating chocolate covered pretzels in the car {around dinner time}. I got home and calculated the calories to find that I had over-extended my calorie range for the day and felt like I had to just call the chocolate covered pretzels "dinner" for the night and eat nothing else {Looking back, I see how this kind of thinking hurt me. deprivation = binge trigger}. 

I was mad at myself, and wanted to do anything I could to fix it. So, I went to Jazzercise to work out.

When I came home, I did a little work at the computer and then, instead of going to bed at 9:00 p.m., I went to sit on the couch and started watching Netflix. {Uh oh. Big mistake.} I was feeling hungry and tired. I was reminded of how all I had for "dinner" was a bag of chocolate covered pretzels and I felt like I needed to eat something more {deprivation = binge trigger}. 

I went out to the kitchen...
It started with a couple slices of turkey. Then, it escalated quickly. That wasn't going to cut it, so I moved on to the pasta salad leftovers that my mom had dropped off. Two cups down, and while I was probably full, I didn't feel it. I mindlessly and quickly {probably a tactic so my mind couldn't catch up to what I was doing} heated up a plate of cheesy nachos in the microwave and topped it with sour cream. Then, I moved on to a half cup of ice cream. Finally, after standing in front of the fridge for a few seconds, I finished my binge off with 1/4 of a leftover sub from lunch. It all happened so fast, and then it was done.
Thinking back now, with the clarity the morning-after brings, I can't believe I did it. I wonder, "why would I do that?" The food combination doesn't even sound good. I don't remember it tasting good, either. I just remember the need to fervently go on from one thing to the next, trying to fill the void that really couldn't be filled. I needed grace from what I did at dinner time but, instead, I sought out more comfort in mindless eating.

The reason why I am confessing this all today is so I can look back and realize, binge-eating/over-eating is not worth it. I woke up today feeling horrible. Not only physically, which is definitely something to be noted but, mentally, too. I was beating myself up over what I did and so, I decided to come here to confess.

Confessing my binge really helped. It helped me to come to the realization that it is what it is. I did it, and I am moving on. Truly. I don't like how I felt when I was over-eating and, I don't like how it affected me the day-after, either. I don't want to get stuck into feeling like that regularly, and so, I need to move on from it. I truly believe that what I did last night, the binge, isn't as important as what I do today.

Here's what I'm doing the morning after a binge:
#1 - Confession {this blog post}
#2 - Assess how I am feeling, take mental-note of the direct effects of my binge. The inflammation in my joints, and overall my entire body. My body feels stiff, bloated, unwell. I don't want to feel like this on a regular basis; I want to feel and be healthy.
#3 - Drink 32 oz. of water first thing in the morning.
#4 - Eat a light smoothie for breakfast / salad for lunch
#5 - Love myself. Focus on the good. Re-frame any negative thoughts that come to mind into positive thoughts.
#6 - Stay within calories for the day.
#7 - Go to bed early tonight.
#8 - Give myself grace.
It's true that it's hard to make healthy choices when you don't feel good. I don't feel good today because of the inflammation in my body from last night's binge, however, instead of letting that deter me from making good choices, I am using it as motivation. 

I am motivated to make healthy choices today because I don't want to feel like this anymore. I want to feel good so, I need to eat well and make good choices for myself today. Losing weight, getting healthy, feeling better isn't always an instant thing -- you need to work on it, even on the days when you don't feel good. Rather, especially on the days when you don't feel good.

I know that the binge does not define me; it is what I do after the binge. It is what I do today that matters most.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Pre-Pregnancy Weight

Hi friends. I know that I haven't been blogging consistently and I hope to change that, soon. 

Sometimes, when I stop blogging consistently, it's because I'm not doing anything worthy of sharing but, that isn't the case now. It's just the high-point of summer, the point when the sun is always shining and when the temperature is so high, it makes you slow down enough to really take in the beauty unfolding around us. Even now, as I'm typing this post, I'm doing so from outside because this weather is just too nice to let go by. 

Despite my lack of posting regularly, I have something really exciting to share with you! I reached another milestone worth noting last week and it's a big one for me. 

EXACTLY 2 1/2 years after giving birth to my daughter, on Friday, July 21st, I weighed in at my pre-pregnancy weight of 233 lbs. Well, I weighed in at 233.4 lbs but, still. I just couldn't believe it! 

I was SO excited to see that number on the scale. Even more so, I was so excited to be feeling the difference in my body. My clothes haven't fit this well since before my pregnancy with Piper so, that would be since 2014. Three years! Three years of not fitting {comfortably} into half of my wardrobe. I am in constant awe every day when I try something "new" on from my closet that I haven't worn in a while and have it fit me so nicely. I can't begin to tell you how good that feels. 

If you've been following my blog recently, then you should know that I started a YouTube video series for my 30 by 30 challenge. I was suppose to post my week 5 video on Friday but, I never really got the chance to film it. I tried to find the time to film all weekend but, it never really worked out for me. So, I'll be sharing week 5 and week 6 weigh-in's for my video series this coming Friday. Lucky you, already know how much I weighed in for week 5! The jury is still out for this week 6! We'll see this coming Friday! 

Being down to my pre-pregnancy weight is something that hasn't happened in years and so, going below it anytime soon will sure be a shock to me! Stay tuned here:

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

August Accountability Group 2017

If you were around these parts sometime last year then, you might remember when I hosted an accountability challenge group on Facebook last August. Well, August will be here in two weeks and, I decided to host another accountability group because, well, that last month of summer is usually tough on me as far as staying on track and this should help -- us all!

If you're interested in signing up for the August Accountability Group on Facebook, there is plenty of time. You can do so by clicking "Interested" in the Facebook link, below.

Once I see that you're interested, I will send you an invitation to the official {and private} group. I made the official group private so that anything shared in the group, stays in the group. It won't show up on your news feed, your friends news feed or anything like that. 

>> Once you're apart of the group, you will be able to join in on the group challenges. If you want to join in on a Challenge, all you have to do is "like" the Challenge post. If I see that you "like" the Daily and/or Weekly Challenge post, I'll count you in on it. 

 >> The way you're held accountable to finishing the Daily and Weekly Challenge {and earning a *point for doing so} is by commenting on the same post with your results. (i.e. if the challenge is to walk for 30 minutes that day, comment when completed). 

*For those of us who thrive on competition, I have developed a point system as a little extra incentive. The more Challenges you participate in, the more points you'll get. Each Challenge completed is worth a point! I'll be keeping track. {If interested, the person with the most points at the end of each week will get to pick the group's "Weekly Challenge" for the following week!} 

This group is a group challenge, but you can make it your own. Pick and choose what you want to participate in, or just be a fly on the wall to gain some extra motivation and tips from the group. The main goal for the group is to gain some accountability and get support from others along the way. 

I hope to see you there!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Monday Motivation: Slides

Happy Monday! I have been having a lot of fun keeping up with my weekly weigh-in videos on my YouTube channel: GoalOfLosing. On Friday, I posted my 4th weigh-in video and I shared a new reason why I want to continue losing this weight. It is quite a motivational reason for me and my journey.

Last week, while at the park, I decided to try something that I haven't done before. I decided to go down the slide with my 2 1/2 year old daughter! I haven't tried to do this before with my daughter because, well, I never use to fit on the slides. But, since I have lost 20 pounds this year {and since nobody else was at the park to watch me possibly get stuck} I decided to give it a try! Also, the main motivator for me was to show Piper that slides aren't something to be afraid of {she has been too afraid to go down slides lately} and I figured the best way to show her was to do it myself.

First, I went down the slide by myself, to make sure that I could do it and guess what, I could do it! I barely fit but, I fit enough to slide down the slide! Watching me go down the slide made Piper really excited and so, she asked to go down with me. Going down the slide with Piper was SO MUCH FUN! I wanted to cry. It was bitter-sweet. It was bitter to think about all that time wasted because I couldn't fit on the slides and it was sweet because it was finally happening! We both had so much fun going down all the slides, one after the other, again and again. 

This experience was a revelation to me that I need to continue losing this weight because it is bringing me more life. Losing this weight and documenting my journey is bringing me more experiences that I have put off due to being over-weight. I am on a roll right now and just like sliding down a really tall and fun slide with my daughter, I am not stopping anytime soon!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Milestone: 20 lbs Down in 2017!

We're mid-way through the year and I've hit a pretty exciting milestone. I've lost 20 pounds this year!

I really had to think about this one. Did I really lose 20 pounds? If I hadn't been keeping track of my weekly weigh-in's since the beginning of this year, I don't think I would have believed it one bit. With the scale going up and down, up and down, down and down, up and down, it can be hard to see the progress in real time. But, when looking at the whole picture; the entire past 6 months; starting weight to current weight, I can't deny I'm making progress!

2017 Weigh-in's
1/1/17: 255 lbs.
1/6/17: 253.8 lbs.  -- HealthyWage challenge begins
1/13/17: 247.5 lbs. 
1/20/17: 246.5 lbs. 
1/22/17: 246.3 lbs.

2/3/17: 241.5 lbs. 
2/10/17: 243.7 lbs 
2/17/17: 242.1 lbs. 
2/24/17: 241.6 lbs.

3/3/17: 241.4 lbs. 
3/10/17: 239.4 lbs.
3/17/17: 240.3 lbs.
3/24/17: 238.2 lbs.  -- HealthyWage challenge ends - 15 lbs lost!
3/31/17: 239.4 lbs.

4/7/17: 237.7 lbs.
4/14/17: 240.3 lbs.
4/21/17: 240.3 lbs  -- 30 by 30 challenge begins
4/28/2017: 239.7 lbs

5/5/17: 239.3 lbs.
5/12/17: 240 lbs.
5/19/17: 239.3 lbs.
5/26/17: 239.7 lbs.

6/2/17: 240.1 lbs.
6/12/17: 242.2 lbs.
6/16/17: 240.3 lbs.
6/23/17: 238.8 lbs
6/30/17: 237.3 lbs.

7/7/17: 237.9 lbs.
7/13/17: 234.6 lbs.

Some weeks I feel like I'm stuck in place and it can be frustrating. For the past four months, I had been gaining and re-losing the same 5 pounds. There were times of discouragement but, I kept pushing through regardless. 

I may have given in some weeks but, I didn't give up. Since I never gave up, not only did I keep re-losing the same 5 pounds month after month, I eventually lost a little more than that along the way and it all added up, over time!

This week, I had a big loss from last week. I couldn't really believe it when I stepped on the scale this morning because I haven't been feeling motivated to lose weight {by any means} this week. Despite lacking the motivation, I just kept pushing -- almost as if I were in zombie-mode {the zombie mode mostly stemming from a lack of sleep with a sleep-regressing 2 1/2 year old. Night terrors are a real pain}. 

Despite not feeling motivated this week, I just kept pushing through; making the right choices; eating a salad for dinner; going to sleep when I was tired {instead of binging on midnight nachos}. I just went through the motions, even though I wasn't feeling motivated. I was, however, feeling determined. I was determined to get out of this rut. I didn't feel well this week {mostly due to a lack of sleep} and I didn't want to keep feeling unwell! So, I made good choices even though I wasn't feelin' it and it payed off! Now, I am starting to feel better.

This may seem like a lot of rambling {because it is} but, I wanted to share my unfiltered thoughts on this because losing weight can be a long, hard process. If you only work hard and make good choices on the days you feel good, you won't get very far. I've been there. It's weeks like this one; the low weeks; the hard weeks; the long weeks; the weeks when I just don't feel like myself; the weeks where I feel lost and stuck. Those are the weeks when I need to keep making good choices to see results.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Week 3 Weigh-In Video + Plan

Ah, a fresh new week. Let's do this!

In case you missed my "week 3 weigh-in video", you can check it out here:

If you don't have 5 minutes to watch the video, here's the skinny:
- I am up 5 oz. on the scale. Womp womp.
- I didn't keep track of my water or calorie intake much at all last week.
- I am going to work hard this week to stay back on track!
This week I am planning on focusing on the four little things that make a big difference:
1) Water, water, water.
2) Eating within calories.
3) Getting more sleep.
4) Being more active.
Last week, I participated in my first Jazzercise class in 6 months. I felt that class throughout my entire body for daaaaysss. It felt so good to sweat again; to work muscles that haven't been worked in months. I am looking forward to taking more classes this week!

Readers: what are you going to do this week to make a difference for your health?

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese {Funeral Mac N' Cheese}

Hey guys. You haven't heard much from me this week because we had a death in the family. Nick's grandpa passed away unexpectedly in a plane crash earlier this week and tonight we will be attending the calling hours. The funeral is tomorrow morning.

While you won't be hearing from me much more until next week, I did want to drop in to share the most comforting macaroni and cheese recipe I've ever made. Sometimes you just need a recipe with all delicious carbs and ooey-gooey cheeses to comfort the soul. This would be one of those times.

When people are grieving, all I want to do is feed them. I had Nick ask what I could make immediately and got a couple days of "nothing" until finally, finally, Nick's grandma requested some homemade macaroni and cheese. I was so happy I could make something to comfort her!

Usually when cooking and baking, I'm taking all of the ingredient short-cuts to save calories and lighten up my meals. This, however, was a time to do exactly the opposite. I think it's safe to say this homemade macaroni and cheese has enough calories in it to sustain you for a week. I'm not even going to try and add it up, but if you happen to calculate it all, please comment below with the nutritional values.

Homemade Baked Macaroni & Cheese {Funeral Mac N' Cheese}

I'm calling this "Funeral Mac N' Cheese" because like "Funeral Potatoes", this meal is so comforting, it is definitely one of my new go-to recipe for times like these.


1 lb. block, sharp cheddar
8 oz. block, white cheddar
2 boxes, cavatappi noodles
8 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. velveeta
2 cups, whole milk
2 sticks, salted butter
salt + pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350.

Shred block cheese by hand into a large bowl. Set aside in fridge. 

Bring a large pot of water to boil {for pasta}. Meanwhile, melt cream cheese, velveeta, whole milk and salted butter over medium heat, stirring often. When mixture softens enough, begin to whisk constantly until all the cheeses melt together and curds are gone. Add salt and black pepper, to taste.

Cook pasta in boiling water for half of the recommended time, keeping noodles al-dente. Drain water from pasta. Add pasta into large baking sheet (with high sides), stir cheese mixture in with pasta. Add shredded cheeses (reserve some for topping at end), mix well. Heat in oven for 20 minutes.

Finish by topping dish with reserved cheese.

If you or someone in your life needs some comfort, this dish should help. God bless!

Monday, July 3, 2017

Expecting Perfection Will Hinder Progress

Hey guys! It's JULY! How crazy is that? I am so excited for this month. I am going to make some big things happen in July! Before getting to that, I wanted to share my most recent weigh-in video with you all.

If you don't have 5 minutes to watch the full video, I'll give you the quick run-down here:
- I am 1.5 lbs. down on the scale from the week before!
- I am doing really well with staying with calories and drinking all of my water throughout the work-week!
- I am struggling to stay on track during the weekends but, I'm not letting it stop me from doing my best on those days when we don't have fun things planned like date-nights, birthday parties, picnics, etc. 
- I am not putting my life on hold to lose this weight. Current mood: if I'm at a birthday party, give me some cake.
I really believe half of the battle of losing weight is maintaining a healthy perspective on the journey ahead. Expecting perfection is just going to hinder my progress. It's summer and we have a lot of fun events coming up {like a 4th of July picnic tomorrow}. I'm not going to skip out on the fun {and yummy food} just because I'm trying to lose weight. 

{disclaimer: my husband helped me eat this & we still didn't finish it}
I'm going to have my cake {or ice cream for instance this weekend} and eat it too, all while losing weight. It's called balance and I'm going to try and remind myself of this often.

So, as for the "big things" coming up in July, I have a few to mention.
- I am going to continue working on losing weight for my 30 by 30 challenge.
- My weight-loss goal for July is 5 lbs. which would bring me down to 232.3 lbs. at the end of the month! {wow, I haven't seen that number in years -- can't wait!}
- My husband has been practicing with our church's worship team every Wednesday evening lately and he'll be playing his electric guitar on stage with them for the first time this coming Sunday!
- I will be watching my little brother, Evan, a couple times a week in afternoons this month which will be really fun for Piper to have a playmate on those days.
- I joined Jazzercise again! They had an amazing deal going on {$50 for two months plus free childcare during classes} so, I guess that "season" I was hoping to come back around {read more here: Why I Quit Jazzercise}, is here again! I can't wait to take my first class {in 6 months} this week!
I am so excited for the month of July. I have so much energy, and I am feeling great! We have a lot of fun new things going on in our life right now and I am looking forward to it all.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thankful Thursday #3

It's been a while since I did a "Thankful Thursday" post. Let's change that right now! Here are a few things I've been extra thankful for this week:

Our Local Library + Magic Shows

Yesterday morning, our small-town library hosted a magic show. Piper has been OBSESSED with balloons for quite a while now, and so, going to see a magician who specializes in making balloon-animals definitely made Piper's dreams come true.

All I have to say is this butterfly balloon better last forever, or else I'm going to have to learn how to make balloon animals myself, and fast.

Beach Weather

This one deserves a few different photos to visually explain how much we have been enjoying beach weather, lately. 

Whenever we have an evening {or even a morning} without plans and the weather is nice, you can bet we're headed to the beach. We live so close to Lake Erie and we only get this kind of weather for a few months out of the year so, we definitely over-indulge in the beach nights, binge-style at times.


This one might seem a little strange to some but, hear me out. I took to YouTube a few weeks ago to help document my weight-loss journey and since starting, I have begun losing weight again! This has taken accountability to a new level for me. Every Friday, I plan to post a weigh-in video with my next video airing sometime tomorrow. {"Airing" -- haha. I'm such a dork. It shouldn't take you long to realize that if you watch some of my videos.} 

My Husband

If I could get away with it, I would post "my husband" in this list every single week but, I think ya'll would get sick of that real quick. This week, though, I have to do it. I don't always make it easy on him but, he always does everything in his power to make life easy on me. He says I make him a better man but, I truly wouldn't be the woman I am without him. We've been together since we were 15 years old and he still makes me laugh

Tuesday night this week, I wasn't feeling my best, so he suggested I go upstairs and take some time to relax while he played with Piper downstairs. He tells me to take a break for myself often but, I try to only take him up on it when I really need it. This night in particular, I needed it. I went upstairs and binge-watched some netflix in my pj's with no shame and no worry because I knew "he got this". Subsequently, Nick went on to do Piper's full bedtime routine, and called me in just in time to give her a kiss goodnight.

This guy is a saint on the daily. It's never about him. He is constantly putting us before himself and just when he knows all is well with us, then, just then does he take time for himself. I could never do Nick justice through my words of gratitude. He's just too good to us and he's never been better than ever since he's become a dad.

Beach Weather

Did I already say that once? Oh, sorry. I really mean it!

Want to know what else I've been thankful for recently? 
Here are a couple of my previous "Thankful Thursday" posts: #1 & #2.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Smoothie Recipe + Collagen Benefits

Smoothies for breakfast are my jam right now.  My smoothies give me energy {thanks, cacao!} and help me start off the day feeling great!

Here's what I'm using in my morning smoothies right now:

1 banana
2-3 large frozen strawberries
1 cup of coconut milk
2.5 tbsp. cacao
1/2 scoop whey protein powder
1 scoop unflavored collagen

Collagen is a newer ingredient in my morning smoothie. It doesn't add any flavor but, it does have it's benefits! Benefits like:

  • Glowing skin** 
  • A more youthful appearance** 
  • Joint health** 
  • Tendon & bone strength** 
  • Healthy cartilage** 
  • Increased athletic performance** 
  • Improved digestion** 
  • Gut health** 
  • Deeper sleep**

I have just started using collagen in my smoothies this week and I look forward to sharing if I notice a difference after I've been using it for a while. Lord knows I need better joint health & couldn't we all benefit from a more youthful appearance?

Yesterday morning 'round here was a mix of rain and sun. During the rainy portions of the morning, we stayed inside and did a couple fun activities. One activity in particular I wanted to share with you because it is so simple! All you need is a set of alphabet blocks. 

I wrote out the alphabet on a piece of leftover cardboard and Piper started matching up the alphabet like it was her job. I was so proud!

When the sun would come out, we would go outside. Then, it started raining again just in time for us to come in for lunch. I made Piper a plate of some fresh vegetables with black beans and made myself a leafy green salad {in effort to make up for my weekend over-indulgences}.

Monday was a success on the healthy-living front! I actually went more than half of the day eating raw fruits and vegetables. My body felt so good because of it.

My husband and I have been toying around with the idea of consuming less meat in our diet. I love meat, and I don't think I'll ever give it up completely but, I can't deny how good my body feels whenever I'm eating raw vegetables for the majority of my daily meals.

Readers, any of you meat-free for most or all of your meals?