Monday, February 29, 2016

Piper's Play Room

We're starting out this fresh new week with a new play room in our house!
Last week, I was hit with the Spring cleaning bug. On Monday, I cleaned out all of our closets and deep cleaned our mud room. On Friday morning, during my quiet time before Piper woke up, I started to make some plans to clean out our spare bedroom so we could convert it to a play room. We live in a three bedroom house and up until this weekend, the third bedroom was our catch-all/storage room.

On Saturday, my husband and I purged a lot of stuff we didn't need to hang on to anymore. It felt great to get rid of and donate so much stuff we just weren't using. Underneath all the stuff was a perfect little spot for Piper to play.
We have been in this house for six years, come March. During our time here, this third bedroom has been many things. It was once used as a spare bedroom, a work out room, a storage room and now, it's P's little play room!

The big play room reveal was pretty exciting for Piper. She didn't even know this room existed. Once it was all finished, Piper played for a solid hour with us in that room. I am loving this room, already!

For now, we have decided to keep the treadmill in the play room. We'll see how Piper does with it in there. We would love to eventually be able to use the treadmill while Piper is playing with her toys, but I think that's wishful thinking during these toddler years. Either way, it's nice for us to still have access to the treadmill, even if it's just while Piper is asleep.

We're thinking of adding a chalkboard eventually and Nick has plans to build her a toy box someday.

We are just loving this new play room! This morning, Piper played in there for another hour between breakfast and nap time. We had a tea party, we tore up the alphabet mat and we played hide and seek in the circus tent.
Any morning spent in a circus tent is a good morning. Monday morning is off to a great start!
Readers, what did you do this weekend? Have you begun Spring cleaning yet? Do you have any plans for Spring cleaning?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Down Six Pounds in Six Days

If you haven't done it yet, now is the time to bust out your best Friday dance! I can assure you, Piper has already gotten her groove on a few times on this snowy Friday morning. We are just so excited for "dada" to get home and for the weekend to officially begin!

While we are excited for the weekend to come, I must say that this week has been pretty great in itself. I'm currently on a roll with counting calories and with staying within my calorie range. I peaked at the scale this morning and I have lost everything that I gained from my couple weeks of night snacking and bar nights

Last weekend, I weighed in at 253 lbs. Today, I weighed in at 247 lbs. I lost 6 pounds this week! I haven't had a loss like this in, dare I say, years? I was pretty excited to see that loss on the scale this morning!

I think I'll be peaking at the scale more often on Fridays now. I think it will give me a little extra motivation to stay on track during the weekend!

This loss didn't just happen. I made it happen. Like I said, I got back on track this week and now I feel like I'm on a roll!

Here are a few changes I made this week that seemed to make a big difference:

  • I went grocery shopping on Saturday so that Sunday was dedicated to meal prepping.
  • On Sunday, I prepped some healthy snacks for quick grabbing throughout the week. I sliced apples, pears and red bell peppers. I also prepped 12 egg muffins for a quick-grab breakfast option. Between my husband, Piper and I, the egg muffins lasted until about Thursday!
  • I've been making homemade dinners again, almost every night. One of our favorite meals this week was homemade fish gordita's. They were huge so we only needed one each! The taste was amazing! They were fresh and flavorful!

  • I've been going up to bed earlier. I feel like a lot of my night snacking was triggered from being tired. This week, I've given in to the feeling and I've been up in bed by 8 p.m. every night. My husband and I may still watch t.v. together and not go to sleep until 11 p.m., but it's the comfort of being in bed that helps keep me from seeking the comfort in food.

  • When I feel hungry, I drink some water. If I'm still hungry after about 10 minutes, I let myself have a small snack.
  • I've been taking my water with me when I leave the house. I got out of the habit of doing this because it's just one extra thing to grab on top of the diaper bag, my toddler, and everything else; however, it's worth taking! I drink so much more water throughout the day when I bring it everywhere I go.

All of those things helped me to stay within my calorie range this week. My current calorie range is between 1,610 and 1,960 calories. This number was calculated specifically for me, at my weight and with my goal in mind through the SparkPeople app.

I've been on this journey for a while and I know that the first week of being on track (I mean really being on track) can yield some pretty great results. The challenge now is keeping the momentum in the coming weeks, when the scale results aren't as amazing. Stay tuned!

Readers, what tip helps you stay within calories or points?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Foodie Support Group

Today was another very busy and very productive day!

When I woke up this morning, I decided that I would spring clean our first floor closets and our mud room. Everything was going well until after Piper's nap; she started to get really fussy and very clingy. The teething with molars continues, folks!

Piper has been iffy on what she will eat, including milk right now. One thing I can count on is that she will eat the organic fruit pouches her Nina gave us. They have been a life safer! I am going to make some more of my own homemade fruit and vegetable pouches soon but, these store bought ones are just as great in the meantime; especially with how quick she is going through them!

Snapchat username: "goaloflosing"

The picture above is from Snapchat. Is anyone else on Snapchat? I often post our daily shenanigans on Snapchat. If you were following me today, you would have seen that I was Spring cleaning this afternoon and that I also made it out to a Jazzercise class tonight!

My mother-in-law came over and watched Piper tonight while I escaped for a little over an hour and worked it out! I feel so amazing right now. Endorphin's are my favorite! I love that my mother-in-law so willingly sets me free at least once a week to get out! Piper and her really enjoy their one-on-one time together, too.

I am on a three day streak of eating within my calories, right now, and I feel great! The days have been fairly easy to stay on track. It's trying to stay on track in the evenings that is the real challenge. I've been getting some pretty intense cravings when I'm tired and relaxed. I've been craving chocolate mostly, but last night it was all about subs.

The sub craving got so bad that at one point that I actually googled sub pictures. I mean, really? My husband almost lost his mind he was laughing so hard. I need to go to submarine lovers anonymous, or something; better yet, let's just make that a foodie support group, instead. My word.

Readers, do you have a funny moment when you've caught yourself doing something borderline weird for the love of food? If so, please share in the comments! Let's laugh together :)

Monday, February 22, 2016

Keep Moving to Keep Balance

Yesterday and today were two busy and wonderful days.
My mom watched Piper for an hour yesterday so Nick and I could go to church together. It was so nice to go to church, just the two of us. It was especially nice that Piper was at my mom's house so I didn't have to take her to the church nursery like last time.
Before church, I was a busy lady. I woke up at 6 a.m. and had the house to myself for about an hour while Nick and Piper slept. I used that time to chop some vegetables and fruits for quick grab snacks for the week. I also made a batch of 12 egg muffins with red peppers and spinach.

After church, I made two loaves of homemade bread. Our house smelled amazing! It's been a while since I've made bread and now I remember why I use to make it so often. Nothing beats homemade bread! To go along with the bread, I made some chili for dinner. It was a busy day in the kitchen and I couldn't have been happier!

Today was another busy and wonderful day! Nick was off to work so I was thankful to have had homemade egg muffins and chili on hand for breakfast and lunch. I also took full advantage of my pre-sliced fruit for snacks!

This afternoon, Piper and I went to Walmart to pick up a couple things. While we were there, I grabbed a chocolate treat for later. I usually get a sweet tooth after dinner so I wanted to be prepared! Lindt dark chocolate with a touch of sea salt is my favorite kind of dark chocolate! It's sweet enough to satisfy my chocolate craving but it's still bitter enough to make me not want to eat all of it at once.
Dinner tonight was leftovers from my mom. She dropped off some macaroni salad and hot dogs for us the other day. That was also a treat because I don't ever make macaroni salad for us.

I've been trying to keep track of what I've been eating these past couple days. I have an Instagram account just for my food journal. Here's a picture of everything I ate, today:

It all came out to about 1,964 calories for the day. That's a win for me!

During Piper's nap, I worked on a couple Spring themed banners for my Etsy Shop, "Anything Rustic". When Piper woke up from her nap, she decided to help me finish up my work by posting the banners to my online shop.
The rest of the evening was filled with typical Monday stuff. The bus dropped Evan off at my house after school. Piper and Evan played (read: made a giant mess of the living room). Piper and I ate some dinner, then I gave her a bath. We had some fun reading books, then it was time for a bottle and bed!

Today was busy but it was a good kind of busy, after all, "life is like riding a bicycle. In order to keep your balance, you must keep moving!" - Albert Einstein
Readers - I'd love it if you'd check out my Etsy shop! Here's the link: Anything Rustic. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Bar Nights + Night Snacking = Weight Gain

Evening snacking is becoming a problem for me, again. Actually, I'm not sure that it ever stopped being a problem since the last time we talked about it, however, I know that it's the one thing that is keeping me from losing weight. Going out to eat and drinking beer every weekend with our friends probably isn't helping matters much, either.

Bar Night + Night Snacking + Bar Night = Weight Gain

I feel like I've stumbled a few times in the past couple weeks and I just haven't caught my footing, yet. I started sliding downhill last Saturday; there was a big get together with my friends that included bar food, beer and bowling. It was really fun and really indulgent! 

The next day was Valentine's Day (read: I received about five bags of Romolo's chocolate and thereafter ate one bag of chocolate a day, until it was all gone). Then, to end this past week, my husband and I went out to the bar with some of our other friends for dinner and drinks. We had another great time and I think I burned some calories that night while laughing with my friend until we cried.

With all the fun being had, and all of the over-indulgences, my husband and I both woke up yesterday feeling very stiff and bloated. We haven't been treating our bodies very well these past couple weeks and we are feeling it. We weighed ourselves yesterday morning, just to assess the damage, and we were both way up on the scale. I was up 5 pounds from my loss earlier this month. I weighed in at 253 lbs. This was a harsh but definitely a well needed wake-up call.

Since we didn't have any plans for yesterday, my husband and I took Piper out shopping with us. We went to the mall first so Nick could get fitted for a tux (we are both in a wedding this summer, which should be even more incentive for us to lose weight). After Nick was done getting fitted, we walked around the mall with Piper and let her play on a couple rides. She was a little worried about the rides at first, but she warmed up quick!

When we were finished at the mall, we all went grocery shopping. My husband and I picked up a lot of fresh fruits and good stuff for the week ahead. 

We are both more than ready to "press the reset button" today! It's Sunday and we're ready to start the week on a good note! I am going to spend the day chopping our fresh fruits and vegetables and preparing some meals for the week ahead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Failure is Part of the Process

If you read my post from yesterday, then you know that I believe quotes can be powerful. Today I want to share a quote that has always helped me regain perspective when I feel disappointed in my progress or lack thereof.

"Change takes time, especially when attempting to change long-held patterns. This isn't meant to discourage you, but to remind you of what you already know. People tend to forget these simple truths and expect an obstacle-free road and instant results. Such unrealistic expectations can only lead to disappointment. When setbacks occur, as they must, realize they aren't a sign of failure but simply part of the process." - unknown*

After about a week or so of not having my goals for February in the front of my mind, I am left feeling like a failure and I'm disappointed. The quote above tells me that this feeling of failure and disappointment is part of the changing process. I've been reminded that this is not going to be an obstacle-free road, which is essentially why I'm embracing the struggle.

February Goals

- Drink 5 bottles of water per day (110 oz)
- Take vitamins daily (prenatal, vitamin C and vitamin D)
- Track calories daily
- Weekly weigh-in's

Yesterday, I filled my prenatal vitamin prescription and picked up some more Vitamin D supplements. This morning, I took my vitamins and I'm working on my first bottle of water. I am planning on writing down everything that I eat today, too.

I don't know what tomorrow will bring but I can't worry about tomorrow right now. Worrying about tomorrow will take my focus off of today. Today has just begun and I intend to keep myself and my goals in mind. Nothing is going to change if I don't start thinking of myself, for the good of myself, each and every day. 

A simple day holds more weight than I care to think about; it can either contribute to my weight gain or it can contribute to my weight loss. The power of a single day adds up over time. Today is going to contribute to my weight loss.

*despite doing some research, I was unable to find the source of the quote. The quote is not my own.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Don't Skip The Struggle

Have you ever read or heard a quote that made to you stop in your tracks and feel something deep? It could be something simple, like a one-liner or maybe it could be a narrative. I came across a one-liner  recently that make me feel new hope for myself; "don't skip the struggle".

I think the quote "don't skip the struggle" resonated with me so much because that's exactly what I've been trying to do for the past year now. I haven't been embracing the struggle. I'm constantly trying to fight through it. In a way, that's what we're suppose to do, right? Sometimes, though, I think it's good to embrace the struggle. Sometimes you just have to own it.

Since becoming a mom, even a year later, it's a struggle to put myself first, and that's okay. It's an appropriate struggle for this time in my life. It's good to have this struggle and it won't always be this way. Some days I'm better at juggling all of my responsibilities than other days. Some days I feel like super mom and then there are days when I just barely make it through with everyone fed, clothed and happy.

We're midway through February and my inner critic has me feeling like I might never get my stuff together again. I missed my weigh-in on Sunday and I haven't been following any of my other February goals for a week, now. I was feeling a little down about it until I came across that quote. Now, I'm revisiting a state of grace.

I am struggling with staying on track, but I am not giving up.

Readers, what quote makes you feel new hope for yourself? What quote motivates you most? Please share in the comments below!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Treat to End a Bad Day

Hey, it's Wednesday! Let's take a minute to be thankful that Tuesday is over, shall we? I don't know about you but Tuesday was rough for us, over here. I'm talking - everyone was in a bad mood kind of rough.

I've got to admit, Mondays and Tuesdays are usually tough in general because my husband is gone from 6 a.m. - 9 p.m on those days. He works during the day and goes right to night classes from there. It's hard on us all but especially on Piper because she loves her dada and misses him so much while he is gone. This is my husband's last year in his apprenticeship so we will definitely be celebrating come May when he graduates this program and becomes a journeyman! This has been five years coming and these final months are starting to drag for us all.

These days are even more challenging when Piper is teething and miserable. Piper got her first two teeth at 4 months old so I feel like we've been battling teeth a little longer than what is typical and I'm getting a little weary over here. My girl is 12 months old and working on her second pair of molars right now, which we call tooth 11 and tooth 12. I can't wait for those little buggers to finally break through and give us all a little break.

Yesterday, my mom offered to watch Piper in the evening so I could go to a jazzercise class. Between having a sick baby and being sick myself, I hadn't been to jazzercise class in a couple weeks. Since Tuesday was getting me down, I began to daydream of dropping Piper off at my moms just to go back to a quiet house for an hour instead of working out. However, past experience provided that if I were to workout, I knew I would feel better in the long run. So, that's what I did and it really paid off!

The hardest part of my workout was really getting out of the door with a one year old and a six year old. Once I finally got everyone dropped off at my moms and I was at jazzercise class, I felt like I got a second wind! I was happy to be working on myself for an hour, after giving so much of myself to the kids all day. I felt so good afterward, too. I am really looking forward to treating myself to a couple more classes before the week is over.
When exercising feels like a treat, good things are bound to happen, right?
Readers, is there a type of exercise that seems more like a treat than a task to you? If so, what is it? Please, share! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Blink Health for Prescription Medications

Piper and I are finally feeling better after being sick for a couple weeks. We didn't need to take any prescription medicine to get well and for that I'm glad.

Even though we didn't need to take prescription medicine this time, I believe it's always good to be prepared and well informed for when the time does come. That's where Blink Health comes in to save the day! What's Blink Health? They are the first company that allows patients to pay for their medication online and pick them up at their local pharmacy!

If you're wondering what good that could do for you, then think again. You'll want to use Blink Health's free service when their prices for medication are lower than your insurance copay; when your prescription is not covered by your plan; when you haven't yet hit your deductible and/or when you don't have any prescription drug coverage. Blink Health will help you save time and money!

According to Blink Health, people who purchase their medications through their free service are saving more than 80% on their medications. As a stay at home mom, I like to find savings where ever I can, and with Blink, 40% of their medications are less than $5! The best part is that Blink's price is the same at every pharmacy so there's no need to go searching around on your own to find the better price; just pay for the medication on Blink's website, instead.

Also, the people from Blink Health are just really great people. Blink Heath sent me some useful information as to what foods to avoid when taking certain prescription medication and I was so happy to receive their advice.

For instance, did you know that you should stay away from milk while on an antibiotics because milk can actually stop your medicine's ability to help fight infection?

Here are a few other tips from Blink Health:

I know I'll be coming back to reference this list the next time that I'm put on a new medication. I hope you will find it useful, too!

Want to see if your medication is offered for Blink Health's free service? Check the medication list, here: Blink Health Medications.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

Monday, February 8, 2016

28 and Feeling Great

Happy Monday, readers! It's been one week since I shared my February goals with you and so it's about time that I give an update on how I'm doing with my goals.

February Goals - 2016

- Drink 5 bottles of water per day (done 3 out of 7 days)
- Take vitamins daily (done 5 out of 7 days)
- Track calories daily (done 3 out of 7 days)
- Weekly weigh-in's (see below!)

Weigh-in #2:
(- 2 lbs!)
(please disregard my daughter's fingerprints all over the scale - she likes to watch it light up)

I was so surprised to see a loss on the scale this morning! I turned 28 on Thursday last week and so the end of the week was a little more indulgent than usual. I went out to dinner with my family on my birthday and then I went out to dinner with my husband at the Cheesecake Factory on Saturday. Even with all that eating out, I still managed to see a loss on the scale! Happy birthday to me!

To celebrate my birthday, I treated myself to a hair cut. I had my hair dresser give me layers and I am so happy with how it turned out. Now that my hair has a little more shape to it, all I have to do in the morning is put a little mousse in my hair and let it air dry. Yes!!

Since I mentioned my Cheesecake Factory date with my husband, I must share what I ate. I had the shrimp scampi entrĂ©e with a slice of cookie dough cheesecake for dessert. It was everything I could have ever wanted in a meal. I love the Cheesecake Factory and since it's over an hour away from our house, it's a special treat to go out to eat there.

My mother-in-law watched Piper so Nick and I could go out to dinner that night and go shopping around Legacy Village. We enjoyed walking through all of our favorite shops there (Arhaus, Restoration Hardware and Crate and Barrel). We even went to a little kid's boutique (Janie and Jack). We bought Piper a cute little hat. Piper is obsessed with hats right now and she was so excited when we gave it to her. She said "HAT! HAT!"; it was adorable!

Back tracking to Friday night, we took Piper out to eat at Chick-Fil-A for a quick dinner in between shopping. We bought a kids meal for her for the very first time and she loved it! I love Chick-Fil-A in general but I love them even more for having healthy kids meal options. The grilled chicken was a big hit! Next time we will have to get her the six piece chicken kids meal because she ate the four piece right up!

Later that night, Piper took the term "shop 'til you drop" literally. She fell asleep on the way home and then continued to sleep in my arms for another hour. It was absolute heaven.

Last night's dinner was the first dinner we ate at home since last Wednesday. We took the birthday celebrating seriously and we enjoyed every bit of it, however, it sure was nice to eat a healthy home-cooked meal last night. We had turkey meatloaf with sweet potato fries and asparagus. It was so good and Piper approved!

Now that things are back to normal here, I will be trying to get more consistent with my February goals this week. I'd love to see another loss on the scale this time next week!

Readers, how was your weekend? Did you make any goals for February? How are you doing with your goals?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Staying a Stay at Home Mom - Dreams Find the Means

A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my boss's office at eight months pregnant. I can't tell you how many times I tried to work up the nerve to walk in to her office that day, just to end up turning away at the last minute. Finally, somehow, I made it in.

I remember feeling breathless when I walked into her office, which wasn't very surprising since I was eight months pregnant with a nine-pound baby. However, my breathlessness wasn't just from the pregnancy this time. The breathlessness was from my nerves as I was about to have the talk with her; the one that I wasn't even sure if I was ready to have, myself. It was the talk where I would tell her that I'm leaving my job to become a stay at home mom.

I knew that I wanted to stay at home with my baby. I knew that I didn't want to drive a 45 minute commute twice a day, missing out on quality time with my girl. I knew that I didn't want to miss the smiles, the giggles, the milestones. I just didn't know if I could do it; financially and otherwise.

Despite knowing what motherhood was truly like, I made the decision to leave my job to stay at home with my baby. It was one of the hardest and easiest decisions I've ever had to make in my life. A year later now, I can also say that it was the best decision of my life.

Whenever I left my job, a job that I really loved, I was anxious. It's easy to dream but it can be scary to actually follow your dreams. I had some people doubt me and my ability to stay at home, financially and otherwise. Not like it was their business, but they wanted to know how could I afford to stay at home? I was a little taken back when I was first asked that question, mostly because the true answer was "I don't know". That's when a phrase couldn't have rung more true in my heart; dreams find the means.

I believe that phrase rings true in my heart for many different situations, becoming a stay at home mom being the biggest situation, yet. Whenever I quit my job, my goal was to make it as a stay at home mom for the first year of my daughter's life. My daughter turned one two weeks ago and I'm still here; I'm still at home.

I do miss work at times, however, I think I've filled that void fairly well by doing some occasional photography sessions and working on my at-home business/online shop (Anything Rustic). It certainly isn't the same kind of work I use to do, being a paralegal but, running your own business requires a lot of the same organizational skills I use to thrive with in my old career. I love the challenge, I love being creative and I love being productive. It's been the perfect outlet for me.

Just recently I was asked when I will be going back to work and I was taken back; the true answer again being, "I don't know". If I were to be honest, my dream is to stay home with my daughter for as long as we can afford. Despite the challenge of some days, there is no place I'd rather spend my days than with my little girl. For now and the foreseeable future, I will be staying a stay at home mom. I will continue living out my dream.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Hello Monday Hello Fresh Start

Hello Monday. Hello fresh start!

Is anyone else in desperate need of a fresh start right now? I know I sure am. These past couple weeks I have been in survival mode. When things get busy with work and family life, self-care tends to go far back on the burner so I can focus on everything else that's boiling over.

Today is the first day of February and now, most things that were boiling over have come to a simmer. My rush of orders for the shop went out on time and Piper's first birthday party went off without a hitch!

Now that everything is starting to slow back down, I need to take some time to refocus on myself a bit. My body isn't really giving me much of a choice. The minute I started to slow down, I started to get sick. Right now I'm dealing with acute bronchitis and a sick baby, too. Not the best time to go full speed toward my goals but, that's not exactly what I'm planning on doing anyway.

This month is all about baby steps. My inner critic is saying "Baby steps, again? When are you ever going to grow up?" but my inner cheerleader is saying, "I don't care how many time I've been here before, baby steps work. Starting with the small stuff and gradually building momentum works for me. Let's do what works!"

As part of my New Year Resolutions for 2016, I made a goal of losing 50 pounds this year. The baby steps I'm going to take in February will help me get there!

February Goals - 2016

- Drink 5 bottles of water per day (110 oz)
- Take vitamins daily (prenatal, vitamin C and vitamin D)
- Track calories daily
- Weekly weigh-in's

Here's my first weigh-in for February.

I didn't lose any weight in January but I also didn't gain any weight in January. While I made a goal of losing weight in January, I didn't have any specific steps to help me get there. If I work on sticking to the four goals outlined above, I know I'll see progress this month!

Readers, what are your goals for February?