Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Memorial Day Weekend 2016

I hope you all had a nice Memorial Day weekend; we sure did!

This weekend, we spent a lot of time outside!

The big event of the weekend was the Memorial Day picnic / graduation party for Nick! The picnic was at Nick's mom's house which was absolutely perfect! They have so much room for Piper to run around there. She partied with us from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m and she was a really good girl!

This weekend (and all of last week) felt like a true vacation! I love it when life feels like vacation. It's been happening a lot, lately.

All it takes is an afternoon at the lake or even an evening outside in our backyard for it to feel like we're on vacation. The weather has been incredible lately!

Along with playing and relaxing outside, my husband and I have been getting some more yard work done, too. Having our yard work done makes it much more relaxing when we do get the chance to sit back and take it all in; which is as often as possible!

Piper loves to be outside so we're in our backyard a lot right now. No complaints here!

We have a lot of flowers in bloom right now and I'm loving it!

This weekend, we found the joy in outdoor bath time. Piper had so much fun, she sat in her blow-up duckie for a good 45 minutes. It think the outdoor bath time is going to be something we'll do often this summer!

We spent a good amount of time visiting with family this weekend. Piper loved all the attention and we loved sharing our joy with them. Piper makes us all so happy.

We woke up early yesterday to go to the Memorial Day parade on my mom's street. Piper loved watching the parade go by.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend!

My family and I ended this Memorial Day weekend with a peaceful night together, in our backyard. On Memorial Day, and every day, our hearts are full of thanks to those who have made and continue to make the sacrifice it takes to keep our country safe.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Two A Days

Happy Saturday! This past week was amazing! My husband finished his apprenticeship, the weather couldn't have been better and, I spent a lot of time outdoors and with my family.

Most of this past week I have been doing what I like to refer to as "two-a-days". I've been getting a little workout in during the morning and during the evening, essentially working out twice in one day.

As you may have read in yesterday's post, I have been making an effort to go for a walk every morning with Piper. If it's not raining, we're out there! It's been great for both of us.

In the evenings, I have either been back outside to go for a bike ride with my family or I've been meeting friends at Jazzercise class. I feel like because of that I have had the perfect balance in my workouts. I love spending time with my friends and my family. Since I was able to work out with both this week, my workouts didn't feel like working out at all.

Jazzercise is really fun but I think it's going to be a little bit of a challenge for me to go to an indoor class when it's nice outside. My soul just wants to be outside on nice evenings and lately biking has been where it's at!

Piper loves to go for walks but what she loves even more are bike rides! This girl couldn't fit anymore into our family if she tried.

My husband and I were just saying that we're doing all of the things we use to enjoy doing, only now we get to share these moments with Piper, too. It just makes these moments even that much better.

I can't wait to spend this summer exploring and showing Piper new places, either by foot or bike. It's going to be fun!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Re-Realizing That Moderation is Key

Today is my final weigh-in day for May! I love Friday weigh-in's so much that I've decided that I am going to stick with Friday weigh-in's throughout June.

While I didn't reach my goal of losing 10 pounds in May, I did lose 3 pounds, which is better than previous months!

May starting weight: 247 lbs. | End challenge: 244 lbs.

It's a good start and I'm ready to shed more in June!

During my Spring Break from my at-home business, I have come to re-realize something. Is that a thing? You see, I've realized this same thing a time or two before, but I have just now remembered and re-realized it.

I've been making it a point to get outside at least once each nice day. I've actually gotten into the routine during this Spring Break of going for a walk each morning with Piper. It's been so amazing for my soul! 

Piper and I get out sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. for our morning walk. We walk anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour at a time. During that time, the residential streets that we walk are quiet and still.

During our morning walks, Piper will usually eat a snack. She is quiet for just about the entire time; she enjoys her walks and I love watching her take in her surroundings. She'll often point at birds or a random field cat that we've been running into. Piper is always happy when it's time to walk. She's even been a little upset at the end of the walks because she doesn't want them to end!

It's so peaceful on our walks that it's been a great time for me to think and that's when I came to my re-realization. I've re-realized that moderation really is key. It's not only the key to losing weight, but it's the key to balance in all of life. I eat in moderation to lose weight. I sleep in moderation to get rested. I sun bath in moderation for that Vitamin D. I work in moderation to get things done. I expose myself to the outdoors in moderation to feed my soul; so on, and so on.

Moderation is key. If I were to stay in the sun too long, I would get burned. If I slept too long, I'd miss opportunities. If I eat too much, I'll never lose weight. If I stayed outside all day and night, I'd get nothing done. Balance is hard to achieve but, I'll dare to say that during this little Spring Break, I'm feeling a little closer to reaching it.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hot Days in May

I'm writing to you now with sun kissed skin that is still radiating heat from just laying outside moments ago. Spring Break is treating me well, readers. We are finally seeing some hot days in May!

I have been doing great with my water goal this week. I've reached 100 ounces each day, and there's no doubt that I will reach it again, today. It's been so hot out and we've been so busy that water has been very necessary!

On Tuesday, Piper had a late-morning play date with some of her friends. Piper really enjoyed her friend's water table; so much that we had to change her clothes! She loves to splash, alright.

While we don't have a water table here at home, my mom did buy Piper a fun outdoor toy for her to play with here. She hasn't quite mastered the slide yet but, she's a very determined girl so, I'm sure it will happen in no time at all.

We were pleasantly surprised to find later that day that Piper does love to play with sidewalk chalk. She may have even brought the chalk inside to color on our tiled floor while I cooked dinner last night.

On Tuesday evening, I had a work out date with a couple of my girlfriends. It was just the three of us, which was really fun! It was a very sweaty jazzercise session because of how hot it has been outside. I'm going back tonight and I have a feeling it's going to be just as warm.

Here's to burning more calories and losing more weight before weigh-in day tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lucky Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies

Today is a momentous day. It's a day that I have been thinking about for five years. 

Today is my husband's last day of night class for his apprenticeship. This has been five years coming. From now on, Nick is mine after work again; all week long, every week, forever. I couldn't be more excited!

Yesterday, during Piper's afternoon nap, I made Nick and his classmates some cookies. Piper and I drove the cookies in to them an hour before they took their final test. We even sat outside with the guys while they quizzed each other on the test they were about to take. They seemed to really like the cookies we made them. I'm actually going to call these cookies "lucky" because Nick passed his final with a 95%!

Here's the original recipe: Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies.

Lucky Raspberry Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 18 - 20 bite size cookies. Only about 40 calories per serving!


3/4 cup flour
1 cup quick oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg white
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup honey
1/8 - 1/4 cup raspberries


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare cookie sheet.

2. Combine egg whites, honey, salt, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix fully. Add oats, flour and baking powder. Mix again, then add coconut oil, stirring to incorporate.

3. Break up the raspberries then add to batter.

4. Divide batter by 10, then divide again into 20 for small bite-size cookies.

5. Bake for 14-16 minutes. Remove from oven when light brown and let cool a couple minutes on sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Those cookies were so easy to make and they were really tasty, too. Also, I think they qualify as "no-guilt" cookies because they are so low in calorie. Plus, there's fruit in them! (wink, wink)

For this batch I made yesterday, I used our favorite "Lauren" raspberries from when Nick, Piper and I went raspberry picking last summer. We are almost through the last quart of raspberries from last year, which is perfect timing because we are looking forward to going berry picking again this year, too!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Infuser Love + Busy Weekend Recap

It's the last full week of May! Time to make up for the small gain on the scale from last week. I want to end the month less than where I started. I can do this!

For my final week of my May Challenge, I am working on drinking 100 oz. of water each day. It's after noon now and I have drank about 64 ounces, so far!

My husband surprised me with an infuser water bottle on Mother's Day. It was such a nice surprise! Today, I am infusing lemons and my water tastes great! I love my infuser.

This weekend was a busy and fun weekend! On Friday, Nick stayed home and we got a lot of yard work done. The weather was beautiful! We made a trip to our local greenhouse and got some herbs and mulch for the garden.

We mulched some of our flower beds, which is something that has needed done for quite some time. I am so glad that we spent the extra money to do that. It's not even fully done yet but, it's already starting to feel like I'm at a resort every time I go outside. I love our little tranquil piece of the world, here. Even more so when our landscaping is looking nice!

On Saturday, my husband and I both had parties to attend, so Piper stayed home with Grammie. I attended a bachelorette party while Nick attended a bachelor party for our friend. During the day, the ladies went wine tasting while the guys played golf. 

Wine tasting was a really fun experience! This was my first time doing a wine tasting (in the U.S.) and I was really impressed with our local wineries. It was a lot of fun and I can't wait to do it again!

After wine tasting and golf, Nick and I both came home to put Piper to bed and then, Nina came over so we could go out to a couple bars on Saturday night. It was a really fun night out!

On Sunday, we went to the beach to watch our friends place some volleyball and also just to enjoy the day. We went for a walk with the stroller and took Piper down to the water.

The weather was perfect for a little beach day. This is my reminder that we must go to the beach at least once a week this summer. Piper had a blast!

Once Nick showed Piper the water, there was no keeping her out. We ended up changing her clothes and hanging her pants out the window on the way home so they could dry off.

The weather on Sunday was perfect for a little beach day. This is my reminder that we must go to the beach at least once a week this summer. We all had a blast!

After the beach, we went to my mom's house for a graduation dinner to celebrate my sister graduating (from college) and my little brother (from kindergarten). We ate a lot of yummy food at that dinner. Actually, I ate a lot of yummy food all weekend long.

It's Monday now and I'm ready to get back on track with my eating and I am going to work every day on drinking 100 ounces of water. I am hoping to end the month less on the scale than I started. Let's do this!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

News to Share + Spring Again

My goal for this week was to work out three times and I did that! I walked with friends on Monday, I went to Jazzercise on Tuesday and I went on a family bike ride on Wednesday!

Today is Thursday and I'm not looking forward to my Friday weigh-in. Even though I met my workout goal for the week, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm going to be down in weight. 

Orders for the shop have been slow and so, I've been using my spare time to Spring clean my house. For some reason, a clean kitchen makes me want to bake treats every day. On Tuesday I made these amazing Carrot Cake Cupcakes and on Wednesday evening, we made Nick's Chocolate Chip Cookies. I've been eating a lot of sweets this week so, I am regretfully (or not so regretfully) expecting a gain on the scale tomorrow. Such is life!

Speaking of life, I have some news to share! With the weather getting warmer (again), I have decided that I will be taking a little break from my Etsy shop. I feel like we're about to get our second round at that nice Spring weather and so what better time to take a break? It will be a nice change to go from being a work-at-home mom to just a stay-at-home mom for a couple weeks. 

Today, I went into SPRING BREAK mode at our Etsy shop! I have a couple orders that are just about finished and will be shipped out tomorrow; just in time for the weekend! Anything Rustic will be back in business on June 4th

During Spring Break, I plan on working outside, playing outside and relaxing outside. Last Spring, Piper was an infant, so we didn't spend much time cleaning out our flower beds like we had done years prior. This year, Piper is a toddler and she's more than willing to "help" us weed the gardens. She did a lot of "helping" yesterday as you can see, below.

I have a few other things I'd like to tackle during Spring Break; like planting our herb and vegetable gardens. Relaxing is also on my "to-do" list. It was actually during an outdoor relaxing session earlier this week that got me thinking about taking a Spring break from the shop, after all.

For anyone who was thinking of placing an order with us in the near future, I also want to give you the heads up that while we plan to fill orders for the rest of June, we will be taking another break for Summer. 

Spring Break is from May 20th - June 4th & Summer Break from July 4th - August 8th!

While the summer break from our shop will be really nice and long, we do plan to do a little bit of work toward the end of it. Anything Rustic will be attending two craft/vendor shows this year, and we will be spending some time prepping for those this summer. 

We have some new items we want to make for the in-person shows and, I'm hoping to return on August 8th with some new items for the shop, as well!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spring Cleaning My Freezer with Good Food Made Simple

In case you were wondering, breakfast bowls are my new favorite way to eat breakfast. I love me a good egg scramble in the morning and these breakfast bowls from "Good Food Made Simple" did not disappoint!

I'm not a huge breakfast fan but these quick and tasty freezer meals may have changed my ways. Good Food Made Simple is just that; good food made simple.

So far, my favorite meal from GFMS has got to be their Bacon and Eggs Scramble Bowl. The bacon in this bowl made my house smell so good and, despite taking less than 5 minutes to heat up, this breakfast tasted just as fresh as if I had spent 30 minutes slaving over my stove. I was so impressed by this scramble. I'm about to make another trip to Target just to stock up on more of these meals!

Now, just because the bacon egg scramble was my favorite doesn't mean that these others weren't just as good. The turkey sausage scramble was made with all egg whites and it still tasted just as good as ever, only with fewer calories! I don't think I would have been able to make such a good tasting breakfast for only 225 calories if I tried.

As for the breakfast burrito that I tried, I have just one word with two meanings for you; filling! Not only was the breakfast burrito filling when I was finished with it but, the filling itself was so flavorful!

Since the weather has been hit or miss lately, I have been using the less-than-great days to Spring clean my house. My freezer is going to get a good Spring cleaning today, to make more room for "Good Food Made Simple". I'm in love!

Readers, have you tried Good Food Made Simple, yet?

Disclosure: I have received products as part of a sponsored collaboration. All opinions here are my own.