Friday, December 27, 2019

Final Days of 2019

Happy Friday! I can't believe the new year will be here in 5 days! I do hope to re-prioritize blogging in the new year. This year, my intentions were to blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week but, as you know, that hasn't been happening.

Since we're on Christmas break, I am hoping to get out as many blogs before the new year (dare I say daily?) and then resume my intended schedule of posting blogs three times per week.

I am going to be tracking my daily nutrition intake, water intake and working out (likely treadmill at the gym) three times before the new year. I am carrying about 5 extra pounds from the holiday and I hope to drop as much of that as I can before the new year! I want to end the year with a total of 20 lbs lost.

More importantly, I want to end the year as healthy as possible.

Stay tuned for a Christmas recap, soon!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Maintain Don't Gain - Up For The Challenge

We're a little over a week into December and you may have noticed that I didn't share any goals for this month, as I have been doing in previous months. 

While I love setting weight-loss goals for myself, I have come to find that the best goal for me during the holidays is to "maintain, don't gain". That's all the challenge I need this time of year!

Currently, I am 20 lbs. down in total for this year. I would like to end the year with that accomplishment still in tact. With Thanksgiving and early Christmas parties, I have already maintained my loss for a month. I am feeling super motivated to maintain and not gain for the remainder of December.

I plan to moderately indulge during social events and aim to stay within my nutrition goals at all other times. Balance is going to be my friend this month. The holidays, and really life in general, has no room for that "all or nothing" mentality that I always fight against. "All or nothing" is a diet mentality, and if you're a long time reader then you know from this post that I am not a fan of that mentality at all.

This week, I am going to focus on sticking within my nutrition goals, drinking plenty of water and getting some activity in. We had a fun weekend with a few social gatherings, and we have a few more coming up this next weekend. So this week is crucial to maintain balance.

I am up for the challenge! Are you? Let's do this!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Openfit - Working Out From Home

Thank you, Openfit, for sponsoring this post!

The people at Openfit recently reached out to me with an offer to try their program for free in exchange for my honest review. I am really excited to be sharing about this new digital streaming platform because it is focused on the three things I value most in my weight-loss journey: fitness, nutrition and wellness!

I recently recorded a VLOG from the first day I had tried the Openfit program through their app on my phone. If you're interested in a real-time sneak peak of their program through the app, you'll want to push play on this one:

If you know me well, you know that I love my gym membership. You also would know that I live in Northern Pennsylvania where we have long, snowy winters. Having the option to stream workouts from anywhere, including my home, makes working out and reaching my goals even easier!


Some of the workouts they offer include:
  • Xtend Barre – Sculpt a strong, lean body in 30 days with trainer Andrea Rogers.
  • T-Minus 30 – Get in shape for a Tough Mudder in just 30 days.
  • Rough Around the Edges – Train with a badass crew of professional stuntwomen.
  • Yoga52 – Transform your life with 30 days, 8 weeks or one year of Yoga.
  • 600 Secs – Get fit fast with focused 10-Minute Workouts.

I love using the Openfit app for my at-home workouts! Follow this link to receive a FREE TRIAL for yourself!

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday Meal Planning + Slow Weekend Ahead

Happy Friday! I don't know if it's because I worked from home yesterday with a sick kiddo, or because I have gotten very little sleep these past couple of nights but, I actually cannot believe it's Friday! It doesn't seem right, but I am sure glad it's here!

Most of my yesterday looked a lot like this:

As for today, my husband stayed home from work (all of us are feeling a little under the weather to some extent) and I went out to meet up with a friend for some coffee and breakfast. I ended up at the library afterward so I could spend some time meal planning for the week ahead. 

Since I am running out to the store for some sick kid essentials before I get home anyway, I figured I would grocery shop for the week ahead while I'm out. So, let's meal plan and grocery list together!

If you were here last Friday, I shared some tips on how I like to meal plan for the week. (Post: Weekly Meal Planning Tips.) So, with all that considered, here's what I've come up with for the week ahead:

  • Tonight: Chicken Gnocchi Soup
  • Saturday: Taco Salads or Taco Pizzas (using leftovers)
  • Sunday: Mindy's Turkey Chili
  • Monday: Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken
  • Tuesday: Leftovers (Chili)
  • Wednesday: Leftovers (Mexi Chicken)
  • Thursday: Thanksgiving Dinner!
  • Friday: Homemade Pizzas

Now that I have my list of meals for the week ahead, it's going to be easy to finish up my grocery list and head out to go shopping!

As for the weekend ahead, we are kind of playing it by ear as far as plans go. We're going to see how Piper is feeling before we make any plans. It may be a slow weekend ahead, which sounds pretty great to me! 

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Vlog: October Fun

Happy Wednesday! Today, I am sharing a family vlog that I recently uploaded to YouTube. This vlog is from October, when we visited Sissons Pumpkin Patch and went to Zoo Boo!

I have another vlog that will be going up soon, where I share what I eat in a day, a couple soup recipes, and some clips from a recently date day that I went on with my husband! If you're interested, you can subscribe to my channel so you don't miss it!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Weekly Meal Planning Tips

Happy Friday, everyone! This week was a little difficult but overall it was good. I didn't stay track my nutrition as well as I should have, and definitely went over calories a few nights. It wasn't expected and, sometimes that happens. It's Friday now and, instead of waiting until Monday to get back on track, I am getting back on track today.

While Piper is at preschool this morning, I am making a meal plan for next week and grocery list for this weekend. Whenever I make a meal plan for the week ahead, I take into consideration a few different things: 

Weekly Meal Planning Tips:
Calendar: I always check my planner for the week ahead so I can plan to make a meal that takes the appropriate prep time given my schedule.
Themes: I've come up with a weekly dinner theme for our family that seems to suit our needs based around our typical calendar. 
  • Monday -  Fish/Light Meal
  • Tuesday - Tacos/Burgers/Leftovers (Nick cooks)
  • Wednesday - Large Meal/Crockpot/Casserole
  • Thursday - Leftovers/Salad/Date Night
  • Friday - Homemade Pizza/Air Fryer Meals
  • Saturday - New Recipe/Soup/OTE (out to eat)
  • Sunday - Crockpot Meal/Soup
Leftovers: I try to take inventory of what we have left over from this past week that we could incorporate into meals for the following week. This helps us to limit our waste and also save money.
Weather: More so in the summer, I would go as far as checking the weather for each day so I knew whether or not it would be grilling weather, soup weather, etc.
Given all of these tips, here's the actual meal plan I came up with for the week ahead:
  • Tonight: Homemade Pizza
  • Saturday: OTE - Holiday Party
  • Sunday: Homemade Zuppa Toscana
  • Monday: Salmon + Broccoli + Rice
  • Tuesday: Taco Night
  • Wednesday: BBQ Pulled Pork + Mixed Veggies + Tots
  • Thursday: Pulled Pork Salads (using leftovers)
  • Friday: Homemade Pizza + Cauliflower Wings
Now, from that list of dinner plans, I will begin making my grocery list for the week! I like to have my grocery list done on Friday so we can grocery shop on Saturday. 

Since we finally got some snow this past week or so, we will be dropping off our car at the dealership tonight so that our snow tires can get put on first thing in the morning. We'll swap vehicles in the morning, leaving Nick at the dealership to wait for the other vehicle to get snow tires on while Piper and I go grocery shopping.

Planning ahead really helps us to stay on track! I hope these tips were helpful for you, too. Please share any additional tips you may use in the comments, below!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Highlights & Weight Loss Rewards

Hello, and happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that you're feeling ready to take on the week ahead! This weekend was great for us! Instead of sharing a full recap, I will share a couple highlights. 

Speaking of highlights, I got some added to my hair on Saturday! A fresh cut and color was a real nice way to fill my self-care bucket. This was also my weight-loss reward for losing a total of 45 lbs. This was a big milestone to celebrate!

Looking back at my weight-loss rewards page, I haven't reached a new low weight in 6 years. I am excited to get back to tracking my weight-loss rewards as I continue to lose more weight. Since I've been rewarding myself for every 5 lb. milestone, I am already super close to my next reward! I weighed in at 223 lbs. this morning. Only 3 more pounds to go until my next reward!

Now, back to the weekend highlights. On Friday, we went to a local arcade for a fun family night out! We all love to play games and so, this was a nice treat for all of us!

Since we have some snow in the forecast this week and, we don't have our snow-tire appointment until this coming weekend, I will be doing most of my workouts from home! I will be trying some workouts from a new app, and will be reporting back on with my review on it all in a few weeks! From my quick review of what's offered in the app, I am really excited to get started! It feels good to be excited to workout! I am going to try my first workout this morning, right after this post goes live.

I hope you all have a great day, and try to make healthy choices this week, no matter how big or small. Just choose well for your wellness!

Friday, November 8, 2019

DITL - Monday 11/4

It's been a while since I've done a "Day in the Life" (DITL) post and so I figured I'd share one with you today!

Monday was the first weekday of daylight savings and, it was a good day! However, we did had a little bit of a rough start when Piper wanted to wake up for the day at 4:30 am. We did manage to get her to lay back down, and I got a little more sleep myself.

I officially woke up at 6:00. I would like to start being more intentional about waking up earlier so I can start the day with a little self care. On Monday, self care looked a lot like this:

I grabbed a cup of coffee (thanks, Nick!), lit a candle and read my devotional. I also began to plan for the week ahead in my planner. 

After that, came the morning routine for preschool. In a perfect world, our morning routine would begin when Piper wakes up at 7:30 am. However, with daylight savings and some of our ongoing sleep troubles, I don't believe that's happening anytime soon. On Monday, I was able to get Piper to lay in bed until about 6:30! That was a good compromise considering she had wanted to wake up much earlier.

After the morning routine, I dropped Piper off at preschool. When I got back home, I did a quick clean of the kitchen.

I also checked-in with a couple friends and folded about 2 loads of laundry during Piper's morning at preschool. It was a good, slow morning at home. 

Just before picking Piper up from preschool, I packed a lunch for the two of us.

I picked Piper up from preschool at 11:30, and we both ate our lunch in the car, on our way to the YMCA. I dropped Piper off at the child watch at the Y, while I spent about 30 minutes on the treadmill. 

When I picked Piper up from child watch, she was excited to show me the turkey she had colored with her friends (blue turkey with brown feathers and a pink hat)!

Since the weather was decent for a Fall day, we went to the zoo for a quick visit!

We got back home around 2:30. We snuggled up and watched a movie together on the couch until Nick got home around 3:30. We all hung out and got each other caught up on our day. I began making dinner around 4:30.

On Monday, we almost always tend to have salmon, broccoli and rice for dinner. Sometimes we'll switch it up by having macaroni and cheese instead of rice, or we'll switch up the type of fish but, we almost always start the week out with this light and healthy meal.

After dinner, we stayed at the table for another hour playing multiple rounds of Candy Land and Uno.

Around 6:30, we began our evening routine with bath time, books and snuggles before bed. Nick usually takes over most of the evening routine since he doesn't get as much time with Piper during the day. This gives me a little time to fold more laundry, relax with a show or get something done.

Thinking about our average day, I'd have to say we are really enjoying the balance of it all.

These truly are "the days"!

God is good.

Monday, November 4, 2019

November Goals 2019

I am very excited to be sitting here, goal setting for the month of November! I absolutely killed my weight goal for October, ending the month at 224.7 lbs. on the scale.

I am so proud of myself! So, so proud!

This month, my goal is to reach yet another new milestone weight on the scale. It's pretty cool because anything lower than this weight is going to be milestone-worthy!

This month my goal weight is 219 lbs. I can't even believe I am typing that number out as a goal. Just at the beginning of the year, I was at 244 lbs. Now, I'm looking to get down to 219 lbs? If only you could see my smile right now. It's a big one!

Why, 219 lbs? Well, I think it's only right to try and hit 219 lbs. before we close out the year 2019. 

Dorky? Maybe. It's okay though, I promise.

I am going to be working on all of the same goals I set for myself in October, only I will be a little more strict with the workouts. If I'm being honest with myself, I barely made it to the gym much at all in October, and so I am going to try to bump up my gym dates to at least twice per week in November. If I make it three times, that's extra credit!

Readers: Is anyone else out there setting goals for the month of November? If so, share in a comment, below!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Happy Halloween 2019

When I asked Piper what she wanted to be for Halloween, she said she wanted to be "something spooky" or "something creepy". So, like good parents (mild sarcasm there) we took Piper to the Halloween store. There were a lot of creepy things in that store, that's for sure! Piper loves the thrill of being spooked, so she really enjoyed the trip!

While we were at the Halloween store, Piper saw the child's costume for "Sally" from the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. She asked if Sally was a zombie and we said, "kind of" and the rest was history.

It just so happens that The Nightmare Before Christmas is one of Nick's favorite movies from his childhood. Nick was more than happy to take on the role of Jack for Halloween this year. As for myself, I didn't know what I should dress up as. After having Piper watch the movie (like good parents, once again), I asked her what she thought I should be for Halloween. Without hesitation she said "the Oogie Boogie"! 

And so we had a very spooky and fun Halloween as Jack, Sally and the Oogie Boogie.

The end. :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019



I reached my weight-loss goal for October!!!

I weighed in at 224.7 lbs this morning.


Not only did I reach my goal of getting down to 225 lbs. on the scale, by doing so, I reached a couple different milestones in my weight-loss journey.

First -- this means I am at the lowest weight I have been in 10 years. A full decade has passed since I have been at this weight, and I am back! 
Second -- this officially means I have lost a total of 45 lbs. in my journey to lose 100 pounds!!!

The small goals I set for myself this month in order to reach my weight-loss goal were quite simple, and they were things I've practiced throughout my entire weight-loss journey. The only thing different really is that I began scheduling in more time for self care. Could something so simple really have been the missing ingredient in my weight-loss journey? I think this breakthrough in my weight-loss journey really can be attributed to many different things but, I am definitely not overlooking to importance self-care has played into this month!

October's Weekly Goals:
  • 120 oz. water daily
  • 1400-1800 calories daily with 1 rest day/week
  • 10,000 steps or 30 min. activity 3 days/week
  • Schedule self-care weekly

I am taking a deep breath, now. I am so proud of myself for maintaining a healthy balance this month. During the week, I stayed on track and, over the weekend I would have a rest day (or two). I went out to eat with my family. I had chocolate every day. I made it to the gym a handful of times. I didn't deprive myself, but I did stick within moderation. You guys, I did it!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Fall Family Photos 2019

Hey, readers! Today I am sharing a quick blog post with photos from last week's fall family photo session. If you follow me on Facebook, you may have already seen these photos there.

We were so happy with how these photos turned out! I am planning on printing and framing a few of them, for sure.

We are in such a blessed season of our lives! I never want to forget this stage of life we're in, and these pictures help capture it perfectly. We are happy. We are blessed. I am so thankful for my family!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Vlog: Hocking Hills Anniversary Trip

Last month, my husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary with a weekend trip to Hocking Hills and Columbus, Ohio. Today, I am sharing the vlog from that trip!

I hope you enjoyed watching!

Monday, October 14, 2019

Busy Week Recap

Whew! It's Monday, again. Wow! Last week really flew on by for us. Here's a little recap from last week!

I worked a long day on Tuesday, 9:30 - 8:30 pm. On Wednesday evening, we had Life Group. Thursday was another long day at work, but not quite as long. Nick had worship practice that night and so as soon as I got off work, I grabbed a couple pumpkin chai lattes and visited him at practice just in time to hear them finish up the last song. Despite being so busy, I did really well with my eating all last week. Then, the weekend hit.

Friday was field trip day with Piper's class. We went to a pumpkin patch!

Later that evening, we did the pumpkin walk at the high school. They had face painting, pumpkin painting, hayrides and a wooded trail filled with pumpkins carved by the students/teachers throughout the school! We had a fun family evening on Friday night!

Saturday was a much slower day. We went to the YMCA in the morning, where Nick and I got to work out together while Piper played with other kids in childwatch. Then, we went grocery shopping and later we got together with my mom, step-dad and little brother for a family photo session! After the photo session was done, the photographer let all of her dogs out of the house and we all made sure they got some petting.

After getting family photos done, we carved pumpkins at my moms house!

Sunday was very busy, as usual. We had church all morning and then went to a gender reveal party in the afternoon. I made sure to get a walk in whenever we all got home that evening. I've been trying to fit in some time for self-care, especially when the days are busy. It's hard to do sometimes but it has been really helping to fill my bucket when I feel drained.

This morning I am up on the scale but, it's not a surprise. Instead of having one "rest day" from tracking calories, I took the entire weekend off. I weighed in at 230.1 lbs. this morning. I am hoping that by jumping up a bit on the scale, I can drop down below my plateau weight of 228 lbs. by next week!

Monday, October 7, 2019

For The Sake of Balance

Hello, and Happy Monday!

Truth be told, I didn't really feel like blogging today but, I am making myself sit down and type something out because I am hoping it will help keep me on track with my weight-loss goal for October!

As for why I'm not feeling much like blogging, I think it's because I've been having a few down days lately. It all started on Friday when I realized that I would have been going into my second trimester this month with the pregnancy I had recently lost. Some days are better than others and these past few have just been plain hard, and that's okay.

Today, I weighed in at 228.8 lbs. Exactly the same weight as last week, on the dot. That almost never happens! While I would have loved to have seen a loss on the scale, I am okay with it. We had a really good splurge meal this weekend (bang bang wings from a local tavern) and, I'm happy to see that didn't cause any gain on the scale!

For the sake of balance, here's a photo of tonight's dinner.

I did complete my goal of tracking/staying within calories for 6 days last week! I do need to improve on my water intake and, my activity level, though. I think if I bring those two things more into focus this week, I will see a loss on the scale next time!

This weight that I'm at currently is a tricky one for me because I have never been able to get lower than 227 lbs. throughout my entire weight-loss journey. I am on the brink of a milestone here, and I am so determined to make it happen! All while maintaining my values of "losing weight while living life".

Friday, October 4, 2019

Vlog: Piper's First Soccer Game + First Day of Preschool

Hello, and happy Friday! Today, I am sharing a vlog that I recorded back at the end of August and just now got around to editing.

I can't help but smile when I watch this vlog. I love this season of life that we're in. Being Piper's mom is so much fun! I can't believe that tomorrow will be Piper's last soccer game of the season. Time can slow down anytime, now!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

October Goals 2019

I have one big goal for the month of October! I want to see the number 225 on the scale. I am so, so close and this is the month that it is finally going to happen!

In order to reach that weight goal, I plan to track my nutrition daily each week, with one day set aside for no tracking at all. I am not going to call that day off from tracking a "cheat day", though. I think I'll call that a "rest day".

Yesterday, on October 1st, I weighed in at 228.8 lbs. I have been teetering between 236-229 lbs. for months now. I'm going to make this the month where I break through my lowest weight of my entire weight-loss journey, once and for all! 

225 lbs, I'm coming for you!

Weekly Goals:
  • 120 oz. water daily
  • 1400-1800 calories daily with 1 rest day/week
  • 10,000 steps or 30 min. activity 3 days/week
  • Schedule self-care weekly
The last goal on my list is something new that I'll be trying to focus on this month. Today, while Piper was at preschool, I used a gift certificate I had for a massage, followed by a couple hours of shopping. It was absolutely wonderful! 

I look forward to seeing the rewards that come from scheduling more time for self-care. I can tell you that today, already, I feel like I have more of myself to give to others because I spent some time filling up my bucket this morning. I also know that when I feel good, it is easier for me to make good choices!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Last Day of Waldameer 2019

Before we get too far into the Fall season, I want to throw it back to summer for a minute. This summer, we did a lot of fun things! One of the most fun things we did was go to Waldameer (again, and again, and again)! 

Piper is tall enough to go on a lot of new rides this year. We all had so much fun during out trips to this amusement park that, toward the end of the season, we ended up buying season passes for next year!

This season that we're in, with a smart and funny 4 year old, is so much fun!

During our last day at Waldameer, Piper ran into her buddy. Waldameer is always fun but, it's even more fun when you're with friends!

I don't want to forget these days, or this season that we're in. It's so incredibly sweet.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

10 Year Wedding Anniversary

This past weekend, my husband, Nick, and I celebrated 10 years of marriage with a long-weekend away at Hocking Hills in Ohio.

Nick and I feel incredibly blessed to have been gifted so much time together, at such a young age. While we're celebrating 10 years of marriage, we've been together for almost 16 years now! That makes more than half of our lifetime that has been spent together, as Nick and Kalyn. Praise God; He has been so good to us!

While the true beauty and grandeur of Hocking Hills is hard to capture in photos, we did our best to capture as many sights as we could during our trip. We never want to forget this long-weekend we spent away, just the two of us. It was such a sweet time away for the two of us; to reminisce on the past, and dream about what the future may hold.

We stayed the night in Columbus on Friday, and woke up early on Saturday morning. We left our hotel early enough that morning to catch a view of the sunrise over the trees. It was a beautiful start to a beautiful day.

We began our full-day of hiking at Old Man's Cave. This trail is one of the more challenging hikes in the area but, the views are worth the challenge!




After we finished exploring Old Man's Cave, we moved on to Ash Cave. This was a very flat hike, with the most amazing cave at the end of the trail. Photos do not do it any justice at all. It's truly breathtaking.

One of the funniest moments of our trip (and of course, there were a few) was when Nick climbed up this giant rock for a photo-opt, and ended up ripping his shorts.

We laughed, and laughed, and laughed! I am laughing right now thinking about it. If only you knew how many times this has happened since we started dating, all the way back when we were 15 years old. Nick always jokes that he's too flexible than his clothing allows. This guy has never let the sun go down on a day when he hasn't made me laugh.

After visiting Old Man's Cave and Ash Cave, we tried a new restaurant called  The Hungry Buffalo. We shared pizza and wings, and it was delicious!

After a morning filled with hiking at the two caves, we decided to go antique shopping at the Logan Antique Mall. Nick loves antique shopping as much (if not more) than I do! We had so much fun looking around!

Outside of the antique mall was a little petting zoo. These animals gave us quite a lot of chuckles as we fed them handful after handful of corn from the 25-cent dispenser. They were so cute! I think I might be a little closer to convincing Nick that we need to start a sheep and goat farm.

By the time we were done at the antique mall, we were ready to hike one last trail; Cedar Falls. The last time we visited Cedar Falls, the waterfall was flowing wildly. During this visit, however, there was just a small trickle of a stream coming down. Despite the lack of a roaring water fall, the views were just as incredible.

Before we headed back to the city for dinner, we decided to visit one more antique shop along the way. As we were antique shopping, we were keeping an eye out for a ring that might fit me. I was talking to Nick about how nice it would be to find a ring at an antique shop, on our 10 year anniversary trip. Sure enough, we found the perfect one! We have loved antique shopping together for longer than we've been married and so, finding this ring during our 10 year anniversary trip makes it extra special to me.

Later that evening, we got ourselves ready for a night out in Columbus! Nick and I knew from the moment when we booked this trip that we would be eating our anniversary dinner out at the Cheesecake Factory. Actually, while searching for the location where we'd be staying, we had two conditions in mind; it had to be some place near a Cheesecake Factory and Hocking Hills!


The Cheesecake Factory closest to Hocking Hills was in Easton. I don't know if it's because we were out celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary, or if it was because the sidewalks were dimly lit with light-covered trees, but everything about this town, and that night, was so romantic. I never want to forget the feeling of walking down the streets of Easton, hand-in-hand, with my love.

I have so much I want to say about Nick but, no words could ever be enough to describe how much he means to me, or how much I love him. So, I will just say, happy 10th wedding anniversary to my best friend; Nicholas, I love you.