Monthly Archives: July 2016

Weekends, Working Out, and Weighing In

Standard


Our family calendar is set up with weeks beginning on Sunday and ending on Saturday, but I prefer to think of Monday as the beginning of my week.  My kids have Daily Checklists that start on Monday, I start reciting my weekly Bible verses on Monday, the workweek begins on Monday, etc.  I think of the weekend as a unit, not as Saturday belonging to the past week and Sunday belonging to the next week.  Therefore, I usually plan to start new things on Monday.  However, I weighed and posted my weight-loss goals last Tuesday and started working out on Wednesday.  I’m looking forward to beginning August on a Monday and continuing to work on my goals.  I have resisted weighing myself since Tuesday because I know weight fluctuates, and I don’t want to be discouraged by weighing too often.  I plan to weigh every Monday morning and share my progress.

Many of you replied here or on Facebook that you were committing to get in shape with me, and I hope you will share what you are doing to get healthy and your success stories as they come.  The scale isn’t the only measuring tool for success, so be sure to take some measurements to compare later.  I measured my waist at its narrowest, my waist at my belly button, my hips, my right thigh, my right calf, and my right upper arm.  These are the areas in which I am hoping to lose significant inches.

I challenged a few friends to a “Weekend Warrior” competition on Fitbit to see who could take the most steps this weekend.  Without this challenge, I doubt I would have gotten up to work out this morning, but my competitive streak won.  I’m currently in the lead, but my friend Sherry and I have been neck and neck all weekend.  She has pushed me to keep moving all day!  I hope your weekend is going well.  If not, tomorrow starts a new week.  Set some goals and track your progress. 

Advertisements

August Menu

Standard

I have finally completed our menu for next month.  Planning ahead saves time, money, calories, and frustration, so it is definitely worth the effort.  I probably overthink the entire process, but I need variety or cooking becomes another chore for me.  I try not to have chicken two nights in a row.  I alternate with beef, pork, or shrimp.  I also mix up our cuisines, alternating Italian, Mexican, and American dishes.  My son and I could eat Mexican food every night, but my husband would rather have Italian more frequently.  I do my best to keep things fairly even.  I also try to incorporate recipes using produce from our garden.


Busyness complicates our menu planning as well.  School starts in a few weeks, and we will have a few school functions in the evenings, which will require quick dinners or leftovers.  The girls have gymnastics one afternoon a week, so I plan a crock pot meal that day to have dinner ready when we get home.  My husband has a few meetings in the evenings, and I don’t cook if I have to clean it all up by myself, so we have leftovers then too.  We attend church on Saturday nights, so we are away from home during dinner hours and always pick up fast food on our way home.  

That being said, I have come up with a menu that will work for our family for the coming month.  You are welcome to use my menu or just use some of these recipes.  I have included links for all the recipes I use, most of which I found on Pinterest.  I love trying new recipes.  I hope you find a new recipe that your family will enjoy. 

August 1:  Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice, side salad
August 2:  church function with meal

August 3:  Baked Ravioli, broccoli

August 4:  Pecan-Crusted Chicken BreastsLyonnaise Potatoes

August 5:  Breakfast for Dinner–bacon, scrambled eggs, Biscuits, fresh fruit


August 6:  eat out

August 7:  Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeño Cream, rice, salad

August 8:  Spicy Sausage Pasta, grilled squash

August 9:  leftovers

August 10:  Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin, baked potatoes, Spicy Garlic String Beans

August 11:  Spaghetti, salad, garlic toast

August 12:  leftovers

August 13:  eat out

August 14:  Tomato Basil Chicken, corn

August 15:  Chicken Tortellini Skillet, green beans

August 16:  Beef Enchilada Casserole (recipe to come), guacamole, salad

August 17:  Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole, broccoli

August 18:  leftovers

August 19:  Spicy Shrimp Pasta in Garlic Tomato Cream Sauce, grilled veggies

August 20:  eat out

August 21:  Beef Tacos

August 22:  Cajun Chicken Pasta, salad

August 23:  leftovers

August 24:  Hobo Dinners

August 25:  Tortilla Chip and Pepper Jack Crusted Chicken, sliced avocado, corn


August 26:  Crock Pot Sloppy Joes/Stuffed Bell Peppers (omit the bun, fill bell peppers with the meat mixture, bake at 350 for about 30 minutes), Hassleback Potatoes

August 27:  eat out

August 28:  Julia Child’s Quiche, fresh fruit, French bread

August 29:  Italian Chicken Bake with Homemade Basil Pesto, pasta, salad


August 30:  Mexican Skillet Casserole, guacamole

August 31:  Sausage Spinach Pasta Toss, corn

Country Life III

Standard


A couple of weeks ago, my husband discovered a bird’s nest with three tiny eggs in our garage.  The nest is inside a manual fertilizer spreader (dark green in photo) on the top shelf.  There is now only one egg in the nest, and there are two baby birds in the clear containers on the shelf below their nest.  

 The mama and daddy birds fly in and out of our garage throughout the day to feed and care for their babies.  Early this morning, the girls and I were outside in the driveway when I heard a noise coming from inside our garage.  It was a persistent clicking noise that sounded almost like an alarm.  I saw one of the adult birds looking towards our garage window and making that noise.  It was an alarm because there was a snake in our garage, crawling from the top of the window down the side between the blinds and the frame.  I told my husband about it, but it was just a garter snake, and there didn’t appear to be any way for it to reach the baby birds, so he left it until this evening.  The snake stayed hidden on the far side of the garage away from the door into our house, so it didn’t bother any of us today, but we would rather not have a snake in our garage.  After dinner, my husband moved the tool chest that the snake was hiding behind and used a long piece of rebar to prod the snake outside.  It took a few minutes, but he was able to get the snake outside, and it slithered away into the brush on the other side of our fence.  


Both baby birds are still alive and in the containers, but one doesn’t look well.  It’s wings have lost feathers and have holes in them.  I’m not sure that one will make it.  The other one only has a little down left on its head and will probably be able to fly away in the next few days.  

A Minor Setback

Standard

I’m thankful for my new support system and accountability that had me up by 6:00 this morning and on the elliptical before the kids were awake.  Sissy told me she didn’t feel well around 8:00 am, and Little Sister followed suit a few minutes later.  I was able to get them to the doctor this morning, and they both have strep yet again.  Sissy seems worse this time because she is vomiting and doesn’t usually have that symptom.  


So I’m reading a book while the girls watch a Thomas DVD we got at the library earlier this week.  It’s a good thing I worked out before I found out they were sick.  I should still be able to meet my step goal for the day, and I completed my 30 Days challenges, so I can just hold my babies until they feel better.  

Please say a prayer for them.  They have had strep several times in the past year and probably should have their tonsils removed, but I’m hesitant to do so.  Let me know if you have been in this situation and found a way to avoid surgery and prevent recurring strep infections.  Thank you! 

Support = Success

Standard
Support = Success

I’m overwhelmed by the positive responses from my post yesterday.  Thank you for all the advice and support!  It’s wonderful to know I’m not alone in this struggle.  I’m thankful for those of you who have said you will work on losing weight with me.  


I wrote that my goal was to lose five pounds in August, but I started eating less and moving more yesterday.  With your support, I was able to keep my calories under 1800 and meet my step goal of 10,000 steps.  I got up at 5:15 this morning and worked out on the elliptical and started four 30 Day challenges (push-ups, planks, leg raises, and crunches).  I wore my Fitbit on the elliptical, so I’ve already met my step goal for today.  Woohoo!


I made more zucchini bread this afternoon, and it was difficult for me not to eat some bread fresh from the oven, but I wanted to make sure I have enough calories after I eat dinner.  Speaking of dinner, I have been working on my meal plan for August to make sure I’m prepared for dinner each evening because eating out is not only high in calories but terribly expensive for our family of six.  I will share my meal plan once I have it ready, but I want to encourage you to plan ahead too.  

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

‭‭Galatians‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

http://bible.com/111/gal.6.9.niv

A Weighty Matter

Standard
A Weighty Matter

I have been debating whether or not to share this with everyone, but I need some accountability, and I think being honest with you about my weight will push me to finally lose the extra pounds I have put on over the last five years.


I have never before in my life weighed this much unless I was pregnant or postpartum, but I have been stuck at this weight for a few months now, and the twins are three years old.  I used to run or work out on our elliptical several days a week and got down to my lowest adult weight of 122 pounds in late 2010, but I let the weight sneak back on until I weighed 135 pounds in 2012.  Then I found out I was expecting twins, and I had to stop all exercise except walking.  I grew lazy, and then having twins changed everything.  I am a stress eater, and having four kids is stressful.  A trip to the store with all of them warrants a treat, right?  I’m trying to work out and lose weight, but I don’t have the motivation to get out of bed at 5:00 am or the self-control to eat less.   I need a challenge, competition, and/or accountability, so here I am laying it all out there.  Someone, please challenge me or hold me accountable.  My goal is to lose five pounds a month in August, September, October, and November.  Would any of you like to join me?

My fitness plan:

  • work out on our elliptical at least three days a week
  • use my 30 Days app to challenge myself to complete crunches, push-ups, leg raises, and planks
  • wear my Fitbit and take at least 10,000 steps a day

My nutrition plan:

  • eat less than 1800 calories a day
  • track food eaten throughout the day
  • drink at least 72 ounces of water a day


I had my oldest daughter take photos of me this morning in tighter clothing than I feel comfortable in, but I’m hoping they will show the changes in my body as I lose weight and get in shape.  My main complaint is my belly, but I need to slim down everywhere and tone my muscles.  I will post photos to show my progress as I change my lifestyle to become healthier.   
If you would like to join me on this journey, please comment and let me know.  It will help me stay motivated if I know I’m not alone.

My Starting Weight ~ July 26, 2016

MORE Zucchini Bread

Standard
MORE Zucchini Bread


A few weeks ago, I made zucchini bread and shared my recipe.  I neglected to mention that my mom uses a similar recipe and instilled the love of zucchini bread in me at an early age.  My mom and her mom are both wonderful cooks and taught me well.  

This past Saturday, I had three large zucchini from my mother-in-law’s garden and decided to bake a few batches of bread and give it away to my terrific team of greeters at church.  I had no idea how much bread I would end up making!

I used my food processor’s grating blade to shred the zucchini.  Once I had it all shredded, I had about 18 cups of shredded zucchini!  My recipe only calls for 1 1/2 to 2 cups per loaf.  


I made four double batches and then one single batch, putting two cups of zucchini in each batch.  I was able to make 32 mini loaves (equivalent to 8 regular loaves) and a dozen muffins.  I borrowed my mother-in-law’s mini loaf pan and temporarily reclaimed the one I had loaned her.  (I love baking in/on Pampered Chef stoneware!)


I had plenty to give to every person on my team Saturday night, and then my husband took a few to his coworkers on Monday. We still have plenty left for our family to enjoy until we get another zucchini and make some more bread in a few days. 

The Twins Are Kicking My Booty!

Standard

Let me just say that having twins is a lot of fun.  They can be so cute together!  I love that they have a built-in best friend.  I was lucky to be able to capture this spontaneous hug in a bathroom while waiting on Big Sister last month.  


I gave the girls a big bucket of water and their water guns to play with in the backyard last week, and they decided it was more fun to take a bath together. 


Then there was this Fourth of July cuteness when they got out their own bowls for ice cream and thought they made great hats.  


I love all the joys of having twins, but they are not always this cute.  There are days that I get almost nothing done because of these mischievous girls.  There are days I’m constantly cleaning up their messes, often moving from one to another or getting called in the middle of one clean up to go to another one.  They climb on everything, are fiercely independent, think they are big kids, and want to do everything the older kids can do.  

Tonight, I could not get them to go to sleep.  They are usually (summertime) in bed by 8:00 pm and asleep by 8:30 pm.  I took this photo at 9:26 tonight. 


I had already put them to bed (a little later than usual) and then spent about ten minutes in Big Sister’s room.  I went to check on the twins and found this “rug” they had made with all their blankets and pillows.  Are they just being creative?!?  I told them they had to stay in their beds, or I was going to start taking things out of their room.  I kept hearing them playing with toys in their beds, so I eventually took everything out except their blankets and one stuffed animal each.  They finally went to sleep after that.  I think I will keep everything out of their room at bedtime from now on!  

ALL Lives Matter

Standard
ALL Lives Matter

Black lives matter.  Police lives matter.  All lives matter.  My heart is broken over the senseless murders committed yesterday evening in Dallas.  My prayers are with all the families that have lost a loved one regardless of the color of their skin.  I am so deeply saddened that we live in a country where no one feels safe anymore.

Disney’s The BFG is in theaters now, and I am planning to take my older two children once we finish reading the book. Yesterday afternoon we read these observant words uttered by the BFG, “Human beans [beings] is the only animals that is killing their own kind.”  The BFG went on to say, “The human beans is making rules to suit themselves.”   

Roald Dahl wrote these words over 30 years ago, and people have continued to kill each other and justify those killings to suit themselves.  From Cain and Abel to present day, men have killed each other, and it appears to only be getting worse. 

I have been memorizing the book of Ephesians since January, and I am now in the middle of chapter four.  Ephesians is a wonderful book, and there are several verses I love, but one verse that has struck me as culturally relevant the past week is verse 18. 

I had originally thought of this verse in regards to politics, but it applies to all people who have hardened their hearts.  If you have hatred and bitterness in your heart, you will not understand the whole situation, you will be ignorant to the facts, and you will be blinded by your hatred.  The truth is we can’t do this without God.  True peace is not possible without Christ.  

For he [Christ] himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations.  His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.”   Ephesians 2:14-16 (NIV)

Today, my family and I attended a moment of silence, prayer, and remembrance in support of our local police officers.  I broke down in tears as I explained to my children where we were going and why we needed to show our appreciation for our police officers.  After the mayor and police chief spoke, we all joined hands around the room for a moment of silence and a prayer.  As chance would have it, I stood next to and gladly held the hand of a lovely, black woman.  We stood united in love and support of our police officers as we prayed for the protection of our officers and those they are called to serve. 

God has destroyed the barrier between races through Christ and the cross.  We can be reconciled and live in peace only through the cross of Christ.  Paul urges us in Ephesians 4:31 to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”  We can’t do that on our own, but with Christ in us, we can do all things.  I urge all believers to lead the way in forgiving each other and seeking reconciliation with others.  Let our compassion soften the hearts of the unbelievers as we speak the truth in love. 

Zucchini Bread

Standard
Zucchini Bread


My mother-in-law brought me a huge zucchini from her garden yesterday morning, and she had already given me a small one, so I decided to make zucchini bread yesterday.  I used my food processor to shred the zucchini and ended up with seven cups of shredded zucchini!  I was able to make 2 1/2 dozen muffins and a large Bundt-shaped loaf of bread.  


I thought we had enough to share with a friend, but my girls decided they liked zucchini bread and ate almost a dozen muffins yesterday!  When I was mixing up the batter, they weren’t sure about the green stuff going in the bowl, but once they smelled the muffins, they all wanted one. Big Sister is my pickiest eater and said, “This is good, Mom,” and asked for more!  The little girls were so cute with their praise that I had to video them. 

​​

Zucchini Bread

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

2 cups zucchini, shredded

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup milk

2 eggs

Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl.  Add all other ingredients and mix well.  Pour batter into greased baking dish and bake at 350 degrees or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean–about 20 minutes for 18 muffins, 35 minutes for four mini loaves, or 45 minutes for one regular loaf or a Bundt pan.

I use this same recipe for banana bread, replacing the zucchini with three mashed bananas.  Zucchini is my favorite though. Just look at those beautiful, green flecks.