Thursday, April 30, 2015

April Goals Recap




Family
  • Easter planning
  • Update Phoebe's Field Hockey schedule - she's done Spring Break the day after Easter
  • Work with boys on sight words and numbers/math skills - come up with some fun games
  • Date nights with Tom (already have next three weekends planned)
The last two goals will continue next month!

Work
  • Become a Beachbody Coach - Working on helping people, finding out who needs our services, products and who wants to be a coach on my team!
  • Blog post 5x a week - This is post #12 for this month, which is not where I wanted to be, but it is better than in the past
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly - Sort of.  I'm still working on finding time to read and comment on blogs more.
  • Build my blog followers:  Google - 50 and Feedly - 50 This so did not happen.  However, I do have more Instagram followers.  I need to identify what I really need to be targeting for growth in getting my message out.
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is my new target.  This means I need to work on my evening routine to get more ready for the morning. LOLOLOLOLOL - This so did not happen either.  Lots of late nights and making sure stuff around the house was done before I left for the office. I need to work on this much much more!

Health and Fitness
  • Drop the 10 lbs I gained in grad school by the end of the April - I dropped 4 lbs! I'll take it!
  • Elliptical 5x per week - Not quite, but much better than I used to be.  I got in (counting today's workout later) 15 workouts on the elliptical machine!!!
  • Stretch or do yoga daily  I do stretch most days, but I also went to 2 yoga classes with Phoebe this month.
  • Limit coffee to one morning cup per day I did in the beginning of the month.  Sleep has been hard to come by.  Later in the month, I've liked that second cup of coffee in the afternoon again.
  • No wine/alcohol during the week and if I can avoid on weekend, bonus!  Last Saturday night, Tom and I had a date night and I stuck to water!!!  It's not as much of a need anymore.  I will still have a glass on a weeknight if I'm enjoying my favorite shows (Game of Thrones is back on !!!!)
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies  This has been going great!

Financial
  • Submit taxes
  • Meal planning weekly
  • Build system of grocery lists - Sort of.  Our grocery shopping has been evolving this month.

Home/Garden


  • Wash off plants in house
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage a little.  I have some stuff for donations stored in there I will get those cleaned up and out of the house
  • Start cleaning out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Fix the carpet steam cleaner 
  • Plan/build out where the hot tub is going - Yes!  We bought us one for my birthday.  It should be available in May for installation.  That will make all other house projects easier, knowing we can go sit in the hot tub as a reward at the end of the day.
Under Home/Garden, there was a lot that didn't get done and will be moved to next month.  However, I did get the carpet cleaner fixed and I cleaned the carpets in our bedroom and sitting room.  Very proud of that.  Other things I also got done was scheduling the boys 6-year physical with my doctor.  I'm moving them over to my doctor instead of their pediatrician.  Everyone else in the house already sees my doctor and she does take children.  Very happy to have that decision made.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Menu Plan - Week of 4/26/2015

Wow!  Have I ever been busy working on those April goals! I know some will not get done as the exercising and learning the Beachbody business have kept me busy.  I'm having a great time though and my clothes are fitting me better than they have in a long time.

I will be posting tomorrow on how April goals went.  I'm very pleased and I have been keeping menu plans.  We may deviate from them every now and then, but it is more of moving around menus at home, rather than ordering take out or going to a restaurant.  Healthy eating and exercise has become quite the priority in our house.

Here is this week's menu plan (better late than never) and without any pretty pictures.

Sunday
Ate out at Not Your Average Joe's. We have not eaten out in quite some time. They have lots of healthy choices.  I had grilled chicken with a cauliflower mash, garlic-y spinach and cucumber & tomato salad.

Monday
Teriyaki salmon, Asian cole slaw, roasted asparagus and braised endive.

Tuesday
Taco Tuesday once again!  This is a family favorite

Wednesday
Sandwich night again!  Phoebe has field hockey at 6PM.

Thursday
Pasta, with sausage, fennel and roasted brocolli

Friday & Saturday - Tom and I are away.  The kids will have their Aunt Niki with them and she gets to choose dinner.  There are plenty of leftovers or she can make whatever she feels like, LOL.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Menu Plan - Week of 4/19/2015

We're continuing to rock the menu planning.  It keeps our budget and our bellies happy!  Although I'm sure the kids would love some Chinese take-out at this point.....

Sunday
Tom made dinner:  Corned beef brisket, mashed potatoes and roasted green beans.

Monday
Leftover night - Phoebe wants to go to a yoga class at 7PM with me.  We have leftover fish, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese and green beans.

Tuesday
Taco Tuesday!  Ground beef soft or crunchy tacos, home-made guacamole, shredded cheese, black beans, green and red salsas and lettuce.

Wednesday
Sandwich night - Phoebe has Field Hockey practice at 6PM.  I bought lunchmeat at Whole Foods this week and the ham is beautiful!  Ham and smoked mozzarella sandwiches on whole wheat rolls or ezekiel bread, lettuce and tomato.

Thursday
Liam's favorite chicken and roasted veggie quinoa salad.

Friday
Home-made pizza night with a roasted beet and gorgonzola salad.

Saturday
Keeping it simple - we will probably have leftovers and salad.

Breakfasts - I keep having my Shakeology with unsweetened almond milk.  Will be starting Tom drinking it th)is week.  The kids have the berry smoothie, gluten-free blueberry muffins I made last night (recipe to come soon!), and cereal.


Lunches - The boys have their packed ham and cheese sandwiches, Phoebe eats in the cafeteria and Tom and I are eating salads with some kind of leftover protein from a dinner.  Here's my salad today with grilled steak.  I also use home-made apple cider vinaigrette dressings to avoid the extra sugar in store bought dressings.


Update:  I forgot afternoon snacks!!!  I do pack a healthy afternoon snack to keep me away from the coffee shop which is full of bad choices.  Today I had an apple.  Somedays I'll pack some peanut butter to go with the apple.  I also will have some hummus and tortilla chips and baby carrots on other days to get some variety.  I love crunch in the afternoon.

Do you plan your menus?  What is on your menu for this week?

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

In Search of Happy Mornings

Lately, I've really wanted the kids to go off on their days to school in a good mood.  It's been very important to me.  I've been making them the berry-kale smoothies, which make them very happy.  I've been playing perky music while we eat breakfast.  I want the kids (and my husband and I) to start our day off right by being happy and energetic.

Today, Tommy was in a grumpy mood.  He was getting his clothes on all wrong, he had a complaint about everything, including the music.  I teased him it was odd as he's usually our happy guy.  I teased him I was going to have to bring in The Odd Squad.  Nothing was working.  He had complaints the whole way down to the kitchen for breakfast.  As he sits down at the island with his brother for a bowl of cereal, the sun is in his eyes.  OK, let's move to the dining room.  It's too sunny in here too - grumble, grumble, grumble.  All of a sudden, I had a brainstorm that made smiles all around!




When it's too sunny, eat your breakfast with sunglasses!  We had a cool breakfast, in cool sunglasses, and then got to the bus stop with plenty of time to spare.  May I continue to keep my cool when someone is grumpy to find a way to send everyone off for their day happy!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Menu Plan - Week of 4/12/2015



We're getting glimpses of Spring this week!  Weather is getting warmer and we wanted some easy dinners this week.  Breakfasts for me have been Shakeology, as usual, lunches for Tom and I have been salads and some kind of protein.  I have my salads with a homemade salad dressing.  I'll need to post some of those dressing recipes soon.  With the healthy eating we've been doing and the cardio I've been doing in the evening, I'm doing really good on my losing weight goal.  I've lost almost 4lbs so far and have 9 more to go.  That was even with Easter candy around!  However, I have not been drinking any wine most evenings, so that helps too!

Sunday - French onion soup, cheeseburger sliders and cole slaw

Monday -  Homemade pizza - with grilled chicken, roasted garlic and spinach

Tuesday - Hot roast beef sandwiches and roasted Brussel sprouts

Wednesday -  Fish and chips - made with cod fillets, I need to post this recipe! It's become a family favorite.



Thursday - Steak salad with chipotle ranch dressing.  We take ranch dressing and doctor it up!  This recipe needs to be posted too.

Friday - Hot dogs and french fries (ultimate kid food!)

Saturday - Leftover night

Sunday - Church Spaghetti Dinner (we look forward to this all year!)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Berry-Kale Protein Smoothie



I will post this week's menu plan tomorrow, but here's the latest breakfast love of my kids.  I started making it over the weekend and especially the teenage girl is in love.  Recipe is as follows and it is so easy!

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup frozen berry/kale mix bought at BJs
Tbsp or two of local honey for sweetness

Blend all ingredients in a blender or Vitamix.  If you do not have a Vitamix, I highly recommend one!  It blends things so fabulously and has much more power than anything else I've ever had before.

The boys are getting used to it not being as sweet as the recipe they used for samples at BJs over the weekend.  Theirs had sweetened vanilla almond milk and sweetened vanilla greek yogurt and the honey on top of all that.  Here's the pic of the frozen fruit and kale mix.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

My Favorite Podcasts Today

I really love to listen to podcasts on my ride to and from work, especially as I am so sick of pop music radio again.  I go into waves of hating the radio and I'm on one right now.  I feel like they play the same music over and over again.  For music, I'm a huge fan of Spotify and Pandora, as well as whatever Phoebe downloads when she gets an iTunes gift card, LOL.

Back to talking about podcasts...  I have more that I like than I can ever listen to in a week of commute time, so sometimes I also listen when I'm cleaning the house.  I'd also really like to spend more time with the Coffee Break French podcast, but that would require creating another 20 hours in the week!  Here are my current favorite podcasts:

The Chalene Show - One of the reasons I decided to become a Beachbody coach is that I already listen and follow a lot of Beachbody coaches and trainers.  Her shows are truly wonderful and the topics have been spot on, especially the ones on how to increase focus and find your power hour.



Find Your Tribe - I just started listening to this today.  It's another Chalene Johnson show.  This one is more about tips to build your business.

The Daily Boost - I used to be a paying Motivation to Move Member for the past year and a half.  Then this became free and moved to The Daily Boost podcast.  I really love Scott Smith and his plain spoken, common sense way of talking.  Hopefully, he'll bring back a show with his wife Joi.  She is super fabulous and has lots of knowledge on exercise and nutrition.

The Tim Ferris Show - He's the writer of the 4-Hour Work Week.  I haven't had a chance to listen to this in the past few weeks, but his interviews are usually really good.  I loved his Tony Robbins interview, which came in two parts.

NPR Marketplace - When I listen to the radio, I will listen to NPR for the news.  I don't get to listen to Marketplace anymore as it's radio time is 6:30 PM, when we're smack dab in the middle of dinner time, not driving home from work like I used to when we were pre-kid.  Sometimes in the morning, I'll listen to the prior evening's podcast of Marketplace and I feel like I'm not missing a thing.

America's Test Kitchen, Ted Radio Hour and The Mighty Mommy's Quick and Dirty Tips for Practical Parenting also all appeal to me, but I have less time to listen to them and pick and choose the specific podcast articles that appeal to me.

I also almost forgot a recent downloaded podcast I need to listen to, the Team Beachbody Coach podcast.  I'm looking forward to listening to that regularly as I look to grow this part of my business.

By the way, I listen to podcasts on my old iPod classic that has a ton of space (160GB) to put as much music and podcasts on it.  It works like a champ and I refuse to retire it because it works so well! I have an iPad and an iPhone 5, but I still can't let go of my ancient relic of an iPod!!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Menu Plan - Week of 4/5/2015

One of my goals this month is to have a weekly menu plan.  During the craziness that was Spring Break last week, we ate out a lot.  We need to stop that or else we will blow our monthly budget.

Sunday
Easter Sunday - sister-in-law hosted dinner

Monday
Mussels in butter, white wine and garlic
kids - angel hair pasta; adults - spaghetti squash
sauteed kale with garlic

Tuesday
Fish and chips (homemade from cod fillets)
Fennel, grapefruit and asparagus spring salad (Tom made this and it's amazing!!)

Wednesday
Phoebe has field hockey practice at 6PM - leftover taco night

Thursday
Liam's favorite chicken (I need to post this recipe.  It's crispy seasoned chicken thighs.  It's a kid favorite in our house.  Eaten down to the bone!)
Roasted carrots
Brown rice

Friday 
Pizza Night (Tom makes great homemade pizza dough)

Saturday is TBD based on what we feel like after a long week, how many leftovers we have and if we are out late running errands.

For breakfast every morning, I have Shakeology (chocolate vegan) mixed with unsweetened almond milk.  If you would like to join me on the Shakeology bandwagon, please see my link to order:

             http://shakeology.com/joysinmylife

For lunch, I'm having a salad most days, making sure I have some protein and a homemade salad dressing.  Snacks options are:  hard boiled eggs, hummus with gluten free crackers or tortilla chips, almonds soaked in water overnight and coconut water.

More Easter Pictures

Had fun at the sister-in-law's annual Easter Egg Hunt and dinner.  Getting the boys in pictures is difficult, especially when hyped up on so much sugar and excitement!  You'd think Phoebe would be easier to get in pictures too, but I have lots of out-takes with her with goofy faces.  As many as the boys.








Belated Happy Easter!

I'm really happy with how our Easter Bunny picture came out this year, but unfortunately I could not get my free download until today, as there were technical issues with the company's website.  Really funny, is Phoebe told me she thought she looked huge in this picture, as in Amazon woman huge.  I looked at her with a straight face and said, "Darling, you're taller than me and you're pictured with two 5-year-olds, of course you look like an Amazon woman!"  I think she looks beautiful.


Saturday, April 04, 2015

Asian Zing Chicken Wings




I really do love yummy crispy chicken wings.  Restaurants of course make them this way by deep frying them.  How's a healthy frugal girl going to reproduce this at home so we can put it on our dinner menu when I get the craving and don't want to spend the money on take out (or feel my hips expanding)?  My ultimate favorite is the Asian Zing sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings!

After numerous tries of baking chicken wings that were failures (soggy), I've finally come upon how to make the crispy wings I'm looking for.  You need to bake them on a rack!  I've also found online a recipe for the Asian zing sauce that is made of ingredients we always have in our pantry, so I'm always ready if I get that craving and need satisfaction!


Asian Zing Chicken Wings

Asian Zing Sauce
2 tsps 
corn starch 
4 tsps rice vinegar 
1/2 cup corn syrup 
1/3 cup sugar 
1/4 cup garlic chili sauce (has a rooster on the jar)
1 tbsp soy sauce 
1 tsp lemon juice 
1/4 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp garlic (pushed through a garlic press)

Wings

pounds chicken wings, tips removed, drumettes and flats separated
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Asian Zing Sauce
Dissolve corn starch in rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.
In a small sauce pan combine remaining ingredients.
Add corn starch and rice wine vinegar mixture and stir well.
Heat mixture on low/medium heat, stirring often until sauce reaches a boil and thickens.
Remove from heat, allow it to cool then cover it and chill it until ready to use.

Wings
Preheat oven to 400°. Set a wire rack inside each of 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Place all ingredients in a large bowl; toss to coat. Divide wings between prepared racks and spread out in a single layer.
Bake wings until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45–50 minutes.


Toss wings in Asian zing sauce and serve.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

April Goals



Spring has sprung and I'm starting back posting my monthly goals!  I'm really excited about all the opportunities I have right now: corporate work, new Beachbody coaching, family time, and personal goals of fitness and eating healthy.  I think this excitement for warmer weather and the opportunities will put my goals into overdrive.  Let's see what we can do:

Family

  • Easter planning
  • Update Phoebe's Field Hockey schedule - she's done Spring Break the day after Easter
  • Work with boys on sight words and numbers/math skills - come up with some fun games
  • Date nights with Tom (already have next three weekends planned)

Work

  • Become a Beachbody Coach - DONE!  Now working on building a business.  I'm not making any specific goals for customer and coach signups, as I want to be realistic based on initial results.
  • Blog post 5x a week - I will be planning my blog posts to help me remember what I wanted to blog about.  I come up with ideas and write down notes, but then forget to get them done.  Plan to see more postings from me.  I know I'm going to put my favorite Asian zing chicken wings recipe tomorrow!
  • Get up to date on blog reading on Feedly - I'm very behind and I miss being able to have the conversations through comments with bloggers
  • Build my blog followers:  Google - 50 and Feedly - 50
  • Get to the office earlier - 8:30 is my new target.  This means I need to work on my evening routine to get more ready for the morning.

Health and Fitness

  • Drop the 10 lbs I gained in grad school by the end of the April
  • Elliptical 5x per week
  • Stretch or do yoga daily
  • Limit coffee to one morning cup per day
  • No wine/alcohol during the week and if I can avoid on weekend, bonus!  Last Saturday night, Tom and I had a date night and I stuck to water!!!  
  • Meal prep on weekends and/or after grocery shopping - make hummus, salad dressing, prep salads, chop veggies

Financial

  • Submit taxes - close to done.  Just got the results from the accountant today.  It's not that bad, thank goodness.  We will break even for a change, instead of owing.  Once we review, they can be submitted electronically.
  • Meal planning weekly
  • Build system of grocery lists - I've been listening to Chalene Johnson's podcasts around focus and creating systems.  I'm really trying to pull together the different grocery lists we have for different stores.  I think this will save us time and money!

Home/Garden

  • Wash off plants in house - some have some bugs or spider webs that will be more healthy if I wash with soap and water
  • Paint guest room for Phoebe
  • Declutter the garage a little.  I have some stuff for donations stored in there I will get those cleaned up and out of the house
  • Start cleaning out the basement - find out what I can sell to the children's consignment vs. donations
  • Fix the carpet steam cleaner 
  • Plan/build out where the hot tub is going - Yes!  We bought us one for my birthday.  It should be available in May for installation.  That will make all other house projects easier, knowing we can go sit in the hot tub as a reward at the end of the day.
These are all doable.  Some are mandatory, like taxes, but I'm looking forward to tackling this list this month!  I'll report back mid-month and then end of month.