Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Peace Out February + Fresh Outlook

I'm kind of glad that February is the shortest month of the year because, it was a rough month for me. I got sick with some sort of virus (that just keeps hanging on). I have had little to no self-control when it comes to my eating and, I've let my anxiety get the best of me a few times too many this month.

I feel like a broken record but, here we go again.

I've been overindulging in my food intake all month long. In January, I lost 10 pounds fairly quick because I was depriving myself in order to win my diet bet. So, in February, I had a free-for-all. I ate way too many donuts, drank way too little water, and had way too many late night snacks. I gained most of my weight back that I lost in January.

I should know better. Depriving myself in order to lose weight is not healthy for me. It always leads to a cycle of over-indulging, after the fact. Well, I'm hoping to stop the cycle now. There will be no more depriving myself; I am going to work on my moderation, yet again.

So, to be very clear with myself...

Can I eat donuts?
Can I order chinese food?
Can I get fast food?
Can I go out to dinner?

Can I do all of those things and still lose weight?

Well, if you've been following my blog long enough, you know the answer is YES.

I've lost 40 pounds before, all while still eating all of the food that I love. The catch is that I moderated what I ate. I compromised. I didn't eat it all at once.

Honestly, I don't gain weight by eating one donut; I gain weight by eating six donuts in a sitting when I'm already topped out in my nutritional ranges.

It's not the food that's making me gain weight; it's my lack of self control. It's my overindulging that is making me gain weight.

Now, while February was a rough month for me, February was also great in some ways, too. It wasn't all bad. February is my birthday month. I got a night out with my girl friends; I got a few date nights with my husband and; we stayed out of town overnight, just the two of us.

There were a lot of good moments in February, beyond the struggle of my weight gain. Even so, I am very happy to welcome a fresh new month with some fresh new goals and a fresh outlook on how I'll be working on losing this weight!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday Thoughts + Weekend Recap

I know it's Tuesday but, it's never too late to post your meal plan for the week, right?!

 S: Chicken Gnocchi Soup
 M: Jamaican Coconut Chicken Stew
 T: Leftovers / Salad
 W: Thai Peanut Curry Stir Fry
 T: Leftovers / Salad
 F: Homemade Pizza

Last night, I made this recipe: Jamaican Coconut Chicken Stew and it was so good!

Tonight, I have a hair appointment for the first time in about 10 months. I'm not doing anything drastic {that I know of } just getting a majority of my split ends taken off. Either way, I'm excited to get out for some "me time".

This past weekend I had a little bit of an epiphany. You may have gotten that from my blog post, yesterday. I stepped on the scale to see that I've done nothing but gain weight this month and, while I was filled with discouragement, my will to correct the damage is a bit stronger -- or so I hope. Time will tell because, it all takes time.

This past weekend was a pretty good one. My husband and I went out on a date while Piper stayed at my dad's house for a few hours. Nick and I went out to eat at the Texas Roadhouse and then, we went shopping. It was a great night out!

On Saturday, we got caught up on housework and then, I got out all by myself to get some work done on my computer while Nick had some solo time with Piper back home. It was so nice to be in a quiet cafe with my vanilla cappuccino, just getting some work done. I think I need to find some time to do that more often. Nick and Piper enjoyed their time together, too!

On Sunday, I went in to church early to help one of our ministry leads with a project and then, I came back to grab my people for second service. 

We ended the weekend quietly with some homemade soup (sous-chef Piper helped make it) and, a lot of couch cuddles.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Uncomfortable Truths of Being Morbidly Obese

I was going to try and sugar coat the title of this post by titling it, "Uncomfortable Truths of Being Overweight" but, the actual truth is that I'm not just overweight; I'm morbidly obese. With that being said, we're off to a good start with the whole truth thing.

Another truth? I haven't been feeling great lately. While my excess weight is always "weighing me down", there are just some times when I physically feel the weight more often than others. Lately, I've been feeling it and, it's been weighing on me heavily.

My excess weight isn't just making me feel unhealthy, either. It's making me unhealthy. 

My excess weight is taking a toll on my health every minute of every day, whether or not I am fully cognizant of it. Sometimes, I feel the excess weight on my body more often than others. I feel it in my joints, I feel it in my physical limitations and, that's when I am reminded that this isn't just a battle of losing weight; it's a battle for my health, wellness and life.

The truth is, at this weight of 240-something pounds, I am never fully comfortable. Never is a strong word, I know, and, I'm not using it lightly. I am honestly never fully comfortable because of my excess weight. Sitting down, laying down; even sleeping is uncomfortable. More recently I've been experiencing acid reflux, which I'm contributing to my excess weight, as well. My excess weight is  doing more than making me uncomfortable; it's making me sick.

I want better for myself. I want to be comfortable in my own skin. In my opinion, "being comfortable in your own skin" is a term used too often but, I mean it literally. 

Being comfortable in my own skin means that I will be able to lay on my stomach without it making my back hurt from being contorted unnaturally due to the excess weight in my belly. It means, when I'm sitting down, my legs won't get tingly numb because of my stomach resting on my upper thighs. It means being able to stretch, fully stretch, without the limitation of the excess weight in my stomach area. It means being able to walk down the stairs without putting as much weight on the hand rail as possible, in effort to take some weight off of my knees during impact. 

Even though sharing all of this makes me incredibly vulnerable; it's worth it. There's no sense in hiding the uncomfortable truths of being morbidly obese from you or myself. It's uncomfortable! I want to be comfortable in my body and, that's why even though there are times when I feel like giving up, I cannot.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Change Begins with Choice

Change Begins With Choice ~ by Jim Rohn 
"Any day we wish; we can discipline ourselves to change it all. Any day we wish; we can open the book that will open our mind to new knowledge. Any day we wish; we can start a new activity. Any day we wish; we can start the process of life change. We can do it immediately, or next week, or next month, or next year.  
We can also do nothing. We can pretend rather than perform. And if the idea of having to change ourselves makes us uncomfortable, we can remain as we are. We can choose rest over labor, entertainment over education, delusion over truth, and doubt over confidence. The choices are ours to make. But while we curse the effect, we continue to nourish the cause.  
As Shakespeare uniquely observed, "The fault is not in the stars, but in ourselves." We created our circumstances by our past choices. We have both the ability and the responsibility to make better choices beginning today. Those who are in search of the good life do not need more answers or more time to think things over to reach better conclusions. They need the truth. They need the whole truth. And they need nothing but the truth. 
We cannot allow our errors in judgment, repeated every day, to lead us down the wrong path. We must keep coming back to those basics that make the biggest difference in how our life works out. And then we must make the very choices that will bring life, happiness and joy into our daily lives. And if I may be so bold to offer my last piece of advice for someone seeking and needing to make changes in their life - If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree. You have the ability to totally transform every area in your life - and it all begins with your very own power of choice."

I felt this in my soul. I started to bold my favorite parts but then, it was nearly all in bold. This is a great dose of motivation for me as we head into the weekend and, I hope it was a good dose for you, too. 

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Throwback Thursday No. 9

It's been a while since I did a "Throwback Thursday" and, today is going to be a little different than previous 'throwbacks'.

This past weekend, I was leafing through some of my old posts from exactly a year ago this month. Every once in a while, I like to look back, and I am so glad that I did. During my search, I came across a really inspired post I wrote about how focusing on the big picture can sometimes hinder weight loss. If you're interested in reading the post, I'll link it below.

How Focusing on the Big Picture Hurts

If you don't have the time to check out the entire post, here are a few of my favorite excerpts: 
"Today, I want to urge myself and anyone else who struggles with this problems to stop thinking of the big picture so much; to start adding up the little moments in each day, instead. I want to look more at how each meal is either going to end up helping or hurting my progress. If I have a bad meal, it's not a reason to throw in the towel for the entire day. The next meal counts, too; for better or worse."
"While each week is indeed a fresh start; each day is, too. Furthermore, each meal is where the real success starts. For more success in losing weight, I want to focus more on the meal-by-meal instead of the day-by-day or week-by-week." 
"For times when I feel discouraged about how long it will take to get to my all-time goal, I need to remember that it will take even longer to get there if I keep putting it off. The time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well make this time count." 
"Focusing too much on the big picture tends to minimize our short-term goals. It makes our short-term goals seem like they aren't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, however, it's those short-term goals that add up to the big picture, in the end. Overlooking short-term goals delays progress."
One of my favorite quotes from the post is that "the time is going to pass anyway, so I might as well make this time count." I also like how I mentioned that overlooking short-term goals delays progress. This month, I made some goals and, I'm not going to lie; I've overlooked them quite a bit.

Revisiting this post on how I need to focus less on the big picture helps brings things back into perspective for me. I hope it helps you, too.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Tea Counting As Water Intake

Can I tell you something? I've been having a hard time getting my water in lately. I think I've only reached my water goal a handful of times this entire month. Since we all know how important drinking water is for our health, I'm sure you'll agree, that's just no bueno.

The fact that I haven't been drinking enough water really hit me when I got sick last week. I was pretty dehydrated and still, I just couldn't bring myself to drink the amount of water I needed. 

I blame it mostly on my throat being sore. For some reason, when I have a sore throat, water seems too harsh to drink. (I can't be the only one -- I told my husband this and he gave me a funny look! Tell me I'm not alone here!) However, if I add something to my water, like tea and honey, it's quite soothing. Thing is, there is only so much honey I can drink before it makes my stomach sour.

Thankfully, I had some pre-sweetened zero calorie tea bags on hand, which made drinking water so much more easy while I was sick. I started making pitchers of this cold brew tea just for myself to drink and, that's how I got the 120 oz. of 'water' I needed for each day to keep me hydrated and beat that head cold once and for all!

You might be wondering about these pre-sweetened zero calorie tea bags. I recently learned about this sweet find, myself! Nick and I were loving on this cold brew tea during our Valentine's snack night together last week and, we've been hooked ever since!

I hope to have a giveaway coming soon for those of you might not know about Southern Breeze Sweet Tea. I love it because when I'm bored of water, it can count toward my water intake for the day since it's zero calories. If you'd like to try to win some for yourself, keep an eye out here!

Readers, let me know in the comments below if you've heard about this ZERO-CALORIE pre-sweetened tea before and, if you'd be interested in trying to win some for yourself!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Routines Are Back

Happy Tuesday! I figured today would be a good day to give you a recap of our past weekend. The beginning of it started out rough but, it ended really well.


I woke up with Nick at 6:45 a.m., still feeling really worn down from my head cold. Nick was getting up to take our car to the shop for an 8 a.m. inspection and, while I wanted to go back to sleep, I knew Piper would be waking up at any time so, I stayed awake. It wasn't too long into the morning when I realized I needed to get some more sleep. I was starting to feel dizzy and so, I checked to see if Piper could do breakfast at my moms. We were planning on meeting there at 11 a.m. for a bible study so, it worked out.

Nick dropped Piper off at my moms house around 7:45 a.m. and I went back to sleep until about 9:00. When I woke up, I felt 90%  back to normal. I couldn't believe how much of a difference an hour of solid, deep sleep could make! I thanked God and took a quick shower before Nick picked me up. Then, we went to my mom's for our bible study and lunch.

Later on in the day, we headed to my dad's house for a belated birthday celebration for Piper and I. Of course, Piper fell asleep in the car but, she happily woke up when we arrived and we told her where we were. We've been having a lot of trouble with staying awake in the car lately and, I think it's because she has pretty much completely given up her naps, unless we're in the car -- hah.

When we got to my dad's house, we ate pizza, wings and had an ice cream cake for dessert! 

We had a nice night of playing games, watching a movie and just visiting with everyone. It was a pretty late night for us, with Piper going to sleep at 10:30 and us following right behind.


Nick left at 7 a.m. for sound check at church while Piper and I had a slow morning, reading books and drinking coffee. We ate some breakfast and met Nick at church around 10 a.m. 

Nick hasn't played guitar in church for over a month so, we were all happy to get back into that routine! When I got to church, I dropped Piper off at her class a little earlier than usual so I could go over some administrative stuff with one of the ministry leads. I am working on my first project as part of my new position as administrative assistant at our church and, my soul is absolutely lit up with joy!

The sermon at church was on point, as usual. The sermon was on confession and how confessing our sins conquers comparison, produces humility and allows healing. I took so many notes on this sermon; I actually plan on going back through the sermon to dive deeper into this one because, it was just everything I needed right now.

After church, we headed back home for some quiet time where Nick and I got caught up on our plans for the week ahead. We were both really excited for his first full week back to work since before Christmas. 

After we got our schedules straight, we heading back out to go grocery shopping at Aldi and run a couple errands. Piper fell asleep in the car after we finished grocery shopping so, Nick and I used that as an opportunity to have a quiet dinner date in the car. We grabbed Panera drive thru {I love that they have a drive thru} then, we found a deserted parking lot where we could eat dinner while we watched the sun set.

Nick got our usual, "you pick two", with the bacon turkey bravo and the broccoli cheddar soup. I decided to try something different and got a half portion of the thai chicken salad. 

I'm not sure how much I liked my choice. While the salad was good itself, I wasn't a big fan of the dressing. Now I know!

Piper stayed asleep the whole time during our dinner date and, throughout the entire ride home, too. Piper's been taking some very late-in-the-day naps and, she's been kind of a bear when it comes to waking up from them. Her schedule is all out of sorts lately and, I'm hoping that things will sort themselves out when the time changes in the few weeks. Maybe then her late naps will turn into early bedtimes? Wishful thinking? Hah.

When we got home, Piper had a slight meltdown about being woken up from her 6 p.m. nap. She cried through most of dinner and perked up when it was bath time. During her bath, I created a potty chart that I've started to incorporate this week. 

We have been going through potty rewards like crazy lately and, while they are only worth like a dollar each, I feel like she's been abusing the system a bit and forcing herself to go on the potty just so she can get another prize. {Haha, I just have to laugh because it's a smart move, kid.} So, I created a chart where she gets a sticker for each time she uses the potty and for every third sticker, she gets a prize from her reward bag!

When Piper was done with her bath, I showed her the new potty chart and explained it all to her. She seemed excited about it. So excited that she forced herself to go on the potty just so she could earn a sticker. She earned one sticker before we finished the rest of her bedtime routine and, she fell sleep around 9:00 p.m.

After Piper went to bed, Nick and I got ourselves ready for the week ahead. After a couple months of just flying by the seat of our pants {with Nick being partially laid off from work}, we're happily welcoming some routine back into our lives!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Meal Plan 2/19 - 2/23

Hey friends! How was your weekend? I spent most of my weekend getting over a head cold but, I am feeling much better now. I'm just crossing my fingers that nobody else catches what I had. For just being a head cold, I was slightly miserable. I'm hoping we can all just sneak through the remainder of this winter without catching anything else, that way we're all healthy and ready for when Spring comes around!

Since it's Monday, I wanted to share my meal plan for the week ahead.
M: Grilled Chicken Salad with Steak Fries 
T: Sausage Stuffed Bell Peppers 
W: Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Beans over Rice 
T: Teriyaki Beef and Broccoli 
F: Homemade Pizza on Naans
Sometimes when I go to make a meal plan for the week ahead, I look back at my recipe index here on the blog. One recipe that I've recently pulled back up from the past is the delicious and filling "Slow Cooker Chicken and Black Beans" meal.

Lately, when I make this meal, I end up shredding up the chicken at the end, right before I add the cream cheese. My entire family loves this meal and, it will always hold a special place in my heart with it being a slow-cooker dish!

According to the weather channel, today, tomorrow and Wednesday are suppose to be warm and rainy in our area. I'm talking, 56 - 65 degrees! I am so excited, even if there's a bunch of rain in the forecast. These kind of temperatures mean that I get to open my windows and let some fresh air blow through the house and, after being sick all weekend, that's exactly the kind of thing I've been wanting to do around here!

Now, let's just hope the weather channel is right about those temps!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Stuffed Crescents for Lunch

TGIF, my friends. I am still feeling pretty lousy from whatever cold I've caught but, knowing that it's Friday definitely brings a smile to my face.

I've been making some really easy and quick lunches lately that involve warm, buttery crescent rolls and, my entire family is hooked. They're super simple to make, inexpensive and quick.

Sometimes I'll throw in some roast beef lunch meat and pepperjack cheese and, other times I'll use turkey and provolone. I just roll out and pinch together two crescents, add a few slices of lunch meat and one slice of cheese. Then, I gather the ends in the middle, flip them over and bake at 350 for 14 minutes.

These stuffed crescents turn out perfectly every time! They puff up nicely and remind me of a more homemade version of hot pockets. Only, they are more buttery and delicious. These definitely qualify as comfort food in my book. I love crescent rolls!

I had a hard time coming up with a name for these things because I call them pockets and, my daughter calls them rolls. Either way, the roast beef stuffed crescent rolls I made yesterday turned out to be 330 calories per pocket.

If you give these a try, let me know what you decided to stuff your crescents with in the comment section, below!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine's Day Recap

Hey guys! Happy Thursday! As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am going to start trying to share more of what goes on in our days since, that's what you all seemed most interested in reading about {according to my reader questionnaire}!

As you know, yesterday was Valentine's day so, let's recap it!

Wednesday Morning

I woke up around 6:45 a.m., feeling less than great. I didn't go to sleep until 1 a.m. and woke up with a head cold. Womp womp. Piper woke up around the time I woke up yesterday morning. Nick was still home at the time so, he graciously offered for me to go up and get 30 minutes or so more of rest in bed while Piper hung out with him downstairs as he got ready for work. He's so great!

For those of you who might not know, Nick has been partially laid off from work since about Christmas and, of course now that I'm starting to get sick, he's getting called back! I'm not complaining though, he sure could use the work!

After Nick headed off to work, I made myself a cup of hot tea and started on Piper's breakfast. It was an easy one; hard boiled eggs, strawberries and blueberries. Then, she also managed to get two pieces of bread with butter out of me, too. She's such a good eater!

Mid-morning sometime, we decided to make brownies for Nick since it was "love day". Piper got to use her new apron that she got from her Nina and Papa at Christmas. She got her own bowl of brownie mix that she basically just kept eating between stirs. I mean, I can't blame her, when it comes to brownies, I'm mainly in it for the batter, too.

After the brownies were done we ate some, of course. Then, it was time for a mid-day bath. We usually save bath time for the end of the day but, there was chocolate brownie mix everywhere so, a mid-day bath was in order!

While Piper was in the bath, I was right around the corner sending some emails as part of my new position with the church. I've taken the role of administrative assistant for our ministry leads and, I'm loving it, already! Just one staff meeting and a few emails in to my new role and I already feel like I've gained a piece of my old-self back. I use to love my job as a paralegal and, working as an administrative assistant for the ministry leads is allowing me to use a lot of those same gifts I used in my previous position!

Wednesday Afternoon

After Piper was done with her bath, she pushed a chair up to our kitchen island once again. This time, we were making lunch! We made crescent-stuffed rolls with roast beef and provolone. I've been loving crescent rolls so much lately. I know they are not the best calorie-wise but, they sure are delicious.

After lunch, Piper got nestled up on the couch to watch some t.v. shows. Piper hasn't been taking a regular afternoon nap for a while now so, instead, we have quiet time. Sometimes it's up in her room and sometimes quiet time is downstairs with me. Yesterday, quiet time was downstairs with me because I needed to jump in the shower for a late-afternoon appointment.

Once Nick got home from work, I was off to my appointment. I was suppose to meet up with a local shop owner o drop off some new inventory {from Anything Rustic} and sign a new contract but, as I was on my way to the shop, I found out that she accidentally marked down that we were going to meet Thursday. So, I went shopping for chocolate, instead. I mean, it was Valentine's Day, after all.

After I got back home, Nick and Piper loaded up in the car with me and we went over to Nick's mom's house to have dinner with them. Nick's mom made some delicious stuffed chicken breast that tasted like it was straight from a restaurant. It was a real special treat!

When we got back home from dinner, I laid on the couch, feeling pretty lousy from my head cold, while Nick got Piper ready for bed upstairs. A few minutes of laying on the couch gave me the second wind I needed for our special Valentine's Day celebration, just for Nick and I.

I put together a snack platter of sorts for us while Nick lit the fire place. It was so nice! The snack platter was amazing. I don't know why we haven't thought of doing something like that before. We got to try a lot of new things with the platter, our favorite being the goat cheese covered in blueberries and vanilla. Oh my, was that delicious!

Even though I'm coming down with some sort of head cold, Valentine's Day was a good one and I'm feeling so blessed with all of the love in my life.

I hope you all had a great day, as well!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day 2018

Happy Valentine's Day! 

Earlier this week, I started gathering a few songs for a Valentine's playlist and, I've been listening to it ever since. I think the playlist I came up with gives off a chill and relaxed love vibe which, is what we're all about over here.

Nick and I don't usually do anything extravagant for Valentine's Day. Although, we do almost always get each other a cheesy card and some sort of treat because, tradition.

This year, Nick and I are doing something a little different to celebrate "love day", as our 3 year old daughter calls it. When we went grocery shopping at Aldi's on Monday, I saw a couple of new items that I wanted to try and then, a great idea came to me.

I thought, how about we each pick out some new items we want to try and, make ourselves a little Valentine's Day platter. We can light the fireplace, make a picnic of sorts with a blanket on the floor, maybe drink some wine. So, that's exactly what we'll be doing tonight, after our toddler goes to bed. We'll be enjoying a snack platter of sorts and, a quiet evening in front of our fire place.

This may have to become a new Valentine's Day tradition! We both had so much fun picking out what should go on our snack platter! Between the two of us, we picked up some crab rangoon, egg rolls, jalapeno slices, pot stickers, pineapple mango salsa, dill havarti cheese, prosciutto panino, wensleydale cheese with raspberries and white chocolate, and some goat cheese covered with blueberries and vanilla.

We may have gone a little overboard with the snacks but, it's Valentine's Day!

Readers, what is your ideal Valentine's day treat? My ideal treat is chocolate covered strawberries or sponge candy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Winter Soup Staple + We Can Do This

Yesterday I caved and I started writing things like "Think Spring" on some chalkboards in our home and, I even went so far as to start a countdown. In case you were wondering, there's 5 weeks until Spring! Only 5 weeks! We can do this, people!

I'm pretty much over winter but, just as soon as I say that, I find myself in awe of the dancing snowflakes outside the window once again. Just as soon as I say that I want winter to be over, I do things like run straight for the throw blankets to get all snuggled up on the couch and, happily drink hot tea while reveling in the fact that I have no place to be but right here, in my warm home while the snow comes down outside. 

Yes, I want Spring to come and, yes, Winter is still welcome to stay a little longer. Which is good, seeing how I have no say in the change of season and Spring will come whenever it wants to anyway.

If you paid attention to the meal plan that I posted yesterday, then you know that we had Zuppa Toscana for dinner last night. The Olive Garden copycat recipe for Zuppa Toscana has been an absolute staple in our house this winter. I make this soup once a week and, we love it every time!

Piper is and always has been such a good eater. She even went so far as to ask for a bowl of kale as I was chopping it to make soup yesterday. I chuckled and told her she probably wouldn't like it but, she kept insisting that she wanted to try the kale anyway. So, I chopped up a piece for her and, sure enough, she asked for more. A bowl and a half of kale later, she surprised me once again and, I learned to never to underestimate this girl and her love for greens.

Readers, do you like to eat raw kale?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Meal Plan 2/11 - 2/16

Happy Monday, readers! I hope you all had a great weekend. 

First off, I just wanted to say thank you for your participation in the reader questionnaire last week! I got a lot of great responses and, in case you missed it, I've even left it open for more input. 
{The link for the questionnaire is here: Reader Questionnaire.}
So far, the overwhelming consensus from the Reader Questionnaire is that you all really enjoy reading about our every day adventures and family updates. That is so great because writing about those things comes very naturally to me and, I very much enjoy sharing all of that with you. I also love having those sorts of things documented here for me to look back on for my own enjoyment. I'm so glad we're all on the same page!

Of course, most everyone also said you are interested in seeing some more recipes, weekly meal plans and my workouts too, so, keep a look-out for more of all of that coming soon, as well!

As for my meal plan for this week, I've come up with the following:

Monday: Zuppa Toscana

Tuesday: All-Staff Dinner at Church

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan + Zoodles

Thursday: Chicken Salad or Burrito Bowls

Friday: Homemade Pizza

If you noticed, my meal plan for Tuesday looks a little interesting, right?! I am super excited about recently being invited to the staff meeting with our church this week! 

I've been talking with the pastor at our church about volunteering as an administrative assistant for the leads at our site and, this staff meeting is the first step toward making that all a reality. I am so excited to start putting my spiritual gifts {administrative, encouraging, shepherding, etc.} to work in this new capacity!

As for today, I am planning on getting caught up on some things that were neglected during the weekend; housework being one of those neglected things. Fun, fun! Have a great Monday, everyone! 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

2018 Reader Questionnaire

Hi friends! I have something a little interactive to share with you all today. If you've been a reader for at least the past two years, you may remember that I've done this once before.

Below, I've shared a reader questionnaire! Please feel free to share your input as, this helps me get to know you all a little better. Of course, it is all anonymous and totally optional. It's my hope that by sharing this questionnaire with you all, I will produce some more of the content you love to see. 

Thank you so much for your input! I hope you have a great day!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Anything Rustic Winter Update

Hey guys! This is your mid-week check-up. How is your week going? Just a friendly reminder, it's not too late to turn things around and finish the week strong!

Despite my wishes, I haven't made it to the gym yet this week. I hope to get in at least once before the week ends. I have been a little preoccupied with the renovation we have going on upstairs {turning a closet into a 2nd full bathroom} and, I started getting some orders rolling in for the business {Anything Rustic}.

You haven't heard me talk much about the business in a while, mostly because we put a lot of our production on hold over the holidays. Also, since we started our renovation upstairs, we decided to hold off on re-opening our online shop until just recently. 

I had to change a few things as far as our online stock goes; limiting our available inventory to burlap banners only for the time being. Any of our reclaimed wood items that you may have seen on the site before are not available at this time as my wood-worker is preoccupied with the renovation. I can do most things as far as creating goes but, using the table saw is not one of them. I mean, I'm sure I could do it, I'd just prefer to wait until the pro is available. Wink wink.

As for our local business with Anything Rustic, we decided to downsize from 3 consignment shops in 2017 to just 2 consignment shops in 2018. I think this was a good choice for us and, we'll be thankful especially once the nicer weather comes around that we decided to downsize a bit. Our work can be found locally at The Light in the Woods gift shop and Peter's Chocolate Shop.

I know that most of my readers are not locals so, with all of that being said, if you want to give our online shop a look now that it's reopened, you can do so by going to

I'm working on a couple burlap banner orders now and, it feels good to be creating once again!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Accountability Makes Goals a Reality

Last week, I made some goals for the month of February. Then, I went on a weekend-long trip with my husband, where we drank too much beer and ate too much food. Amazing as it all was, I am left feeling bloated and just plain unhealthy from it all.

Yesterday, I tried to refocus on the goals that I set for February. In case you missed that post, here's a quick recap of my February goals:
Water: 120 oz. per day, at least 5 times a week.       
Nutrition: I would like to stay within my caloric range at least 5 times a week. 
Exercise: My gym goal for the month of February is to go the gym 8 times this month.

Sleep: I would like to try be in bed by 10 p.m. during week nights this month. 
Weight: My aggressive goal would be to lose 8 lbs. this month (bringing me down to 230 lbs). My more mild weight-loss goal is to lose 5 pounds (bringing me down to 233 lbs.) and, my fail-safe would be to, at the very least, maintain my January loss (238 lbs).
Yesterday, as I was fighting the bloat, I had a thought. It's one thing to make goals for the month but, accountability is really what helps make those goals a reality. So, I decided to start keeping track of my progress with my goals for the month and, sharing my results with you more often.

Yesterday's progress looked like this:
Water: 120 oz. done!
Nutrition: Within calories!
Exercise: 1 / 8 total gym visits to date.
Sleep: In bed by 10 p.m.
Weight: Not checking until the end of the week.

Even though I am going to be keeping track of my progress daily, I don't think I'll be reporting back daily; maybe more like once a week. For me I've found that reporting back on my progress, even if it's once a week, helps me to stay accountable to my goals.

Readers, how do you keep yourself accountable?

Monday, February 5, 2018

This is 30

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I'm happy to say that I met this milestone birthday with a sense of contentment. I feel so blessed to be where I am at in this stage of life and, even more so to be surrounded by those that I love so dearly.

My husband swooped me away for the weekend to celebrate my birthday and, although my initial reaction was to say no {I didn't want to spend the money on myself and, plus, there's so much to do with the renovation}, I'm glad that he talked me in to it. This weekend away turned out to be so very special and, exactly what we both needed.

On Saturday afternoon, we dropped Piper off at my mom's house. She slept over at my mom's house while Nick and I stayed out of town, in Ohio. We didn't have any hotel reservations; everything was very last minute and, unplanned. That's how you know this was all Nick's idea. Hah. I love him but, between the two of us, planning is definitely my forte. Despite the lack of plans, everything went smoothly and, much to my own surprise, the lack of plans for the weekend was just plain refreshing.

As soon as we got into town, we made reservations and checked in to a hotel at Legacy Village; a favorite spot of ours since way back when we were in high school. Nick and I got settled in to the room and then we went shopping. 

We visited a couple music shops that Nick loves {Sam Ash + Guitar Center} and then, we grabbed some beer for the hotel room.

We spent some time in the hotel room, just relaxing before dinner. I had a few beers while Nick played his guitar for me. It was all so wonderful and familiar. 

He's been playing his guitar for me since back when we were in high school. I use to call him after we'd get home from school and just listen to him play guitar over the phone for hours. We don't get that sort of time to do this much anymore and so, it was definitely special to take an hour that evening to just listen to him play and relax, with no other reservations.

After drinking one too many beers, we eventually walked over to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner that evening. We both got a small plate appetizer and, two of our favorite go-to entrees. I got the Chicken Picatta and he got the Factory Burrito.

Neither of us were able to finish our meals and, we didn't even get cheesecake! Can you believe it? Don't worry, we made sure to stop back to The Cheesecake Factory before we left the next day to get cheesecake for the road.

Nick and I slept in until about as long as we could stand on Sunday morning {8 a.m. -- parent life} before packing up and heading out for some coffee at Starbucks.

The day before, I noticed that there was an Aldi in town and so, while at Starbucks, we made a meal plan for the week ahead and a grocery list. Even though Nick was against me doing mundane things like thinking about grocery shopping on my birthday, I was determined to get some groceries on the way back so we could just stay in once we finally got home that afternoon. There was just one more thing to do before we left and, that was, lunch!

Most everything we did this weekend was in Legacy Village which made it all so convenient. After Starbucks, we ventured around the corner to try a new restaurant for lunch, called Granite City Food & Brewery.

Nick ordered the Pulled Pork Nachos and I ordered the BBQ Chicken Flatbread and both were delicious! All throughout lunch we just kept saying "this was a good choice" over and over again. We were definitely impressed with this new lunch spot we found.

After we finished lunch, we stopped at The Cheesecake Factory to grab our to-go cheesecakes. I mean, it would have been a sin to have been at the Cheesecake Factory this weekend and not consume cheesecake. 

After that, we got our groceries for the week from Aldi and made the drive back home.

And now, I'm 30.