Monday, December 29, 2014

Tis the Season

...for New Years Resolutions!  I made a few back in 2012, but I've skipped it ever since... until now!  Although I've been doing pretty well hitting the gym 2-3 times per week, there's a different area of my life that needs some serious recommitment.

You already know what I'm going to say.

I've just been too busy to plan meals and cook... the holidays lead to lots of overindulging... blah blah blah.  The truth is recently I pretty much gave up on trying to eat healthy.  I went from always meal planning and making do with what was already in my fridge, to making Paleo choices like ordering sandwiches or burgers without the bun and choosing a salad on the side... to just not caring at all.  The further I got from my last Whole30 in July, the more my willpower disappeared.

Gaining weight is a weird mental game for me.  The more I gain, the more I'm just like YOLO.  I've already gained a few pounds, I might as well eat five slices of pizza for lunch (true story).  It's a really bad outlook.  And here's a big surprise... none of my clothes fit me very well right now.

Fortunately, I know what I need to do!  I don't think it can be any more obvious that avoiding sugar, grains, dairy, and booze agrees with me.  It is still SO crazy to me that my body went through this big of a transformation over 25 days.

Starting January 5th, I am doing another Whole30!  I'm actually debating doing a Whole60.  I know how to successfully fuel my body to achieve the results I am looking for.  However, maintaining my diet between Whole30s has proven to be an issue for me.  I'm not sure why I can't seem to make it stick, I know I feel so much better when I make good food choices!  I think it's a combination of convenience and just plain indulgence.  Eating healthy meals every single day requires work and preparation!  And there are certain foods that I will never get over (I'm looking at you pizza)!  But I need to get it through my head that I can enjoy those things in moderation without ruining everything I've worked so hard for.

So that is my number one goal for 2015:  Commit to clean eating and don't let indulgences here and there take me completely off track!

Other New Year's Resolutions:
  • CrossFit 3 times per week, push towards 4
  • Add some running back into my routine, some slow jogging or sprints, whatever moves me, with no pressure on adding distance
  • Commit to yoga, additional stretching and mobility work, and foam rolling to prevent injury and speed up recovery
  • Keep up with my visits to the chiropractor and go before I am in pain
  • Read one book per month (this sounds small, but it's a huge goal for me)
  • Pay off at least half of my remaining school loans
  • Give the blog a make over!
  • Post more frequently.  I have so many posts that are currently lost in draft land, I need to catch up!

And btw I hope you had a wonderful Christmas filled with family, good food, and lots of fun!

Are you making any changes in the New Year?  Is anybody interested in joining me for a life changing Whole30?!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Checking In!

Hello!  Just wanted to check in since the blog has been so quiet lately.  Obviously things have been busy since I was in Disney last week for Nationals and Christmas is rapidly approaching (and I'm not ready at all)!  I seriously can't believe it's almost 2015.

I want to write a full Disney recap with a bunch of pictures from different parts of the trip and post a ton of updated house photos, but ain't nobody got time fo dat... so how about some safari animals from Animal Kingdom?!



I think I got some pretty great shots with my little point and shoot if I do say so myself.  More updates soon!  Good luck shopping, wrapping, and prepping!  Happy Hanukkah!

Are you ready for Christmas?!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Monday Happenings + Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

Tonight was productive!  Since it was 70 degrees, I figured I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take Puddin' for a nice walk when I got home.  I slapped on my reflective construction vest from work and checked out a new route by our house while breaking in some shoes I got for Disney.  (Did I tell you my team qualified for Nationals in December?!)  I'm officially a grandma... I bought Dr. Scholl's sneakers.  Comfort is everything!  Plus they were $29.99 and I don't think they look too dorky.

We also did some painting tonight!  We've been avoiding our living room for a few weeks now, but my dad is coming to help us paint on Black Friday.  We knew we had to finish the accent wall before then, so that the paint could dry and we could tape it off.  We're having a New Years/Housewarming party and I'm so glad we have some type of deadline to get the house in order.  It will always be a work in progress and everything won't be done by then, but I think it would be easy to keep avoiding a bunch of projects without the added motivation!

And last but not least I cooked dinner!  It doesn't sound like a huge accomplishment but with cheerleading 3 days a week, it doesn't happen all that often.

When I first started reading healthy living blogs, it seemed like quinoa was all the rage!  I tried it a few times and never really loved it until I found this recipe!  Anything that combines cheese and buffalo chicken is a huge win in my book.  Despite the delicious sauce, Dave still wasn't a huge fan of quinoa and I had all but forgotten about this recipe... until now!  I was browsing through my pinterest boards, when it caught my eye and I realized I could easily make a few substitutions to make this dish more Paleo friendly.  The milk is replaced with coconut milk, the flour with almond flour, and goodbye quinoa, let's replace you with a veggie.  The recipe does still contain a hearty amount of dairy (since I believe cheese is non negotiable in any "mac" & cheese), but overall it is a fairly healthy low carb option!

Buffalo Chicken Mac Spaghetti Squash & Cheese

- 1 spaghetti squash, cooked and scraped out
- 2 lbs of chicken, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces, I used chicken thighs that I seasoned with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
- 1 can of coconut milk
- 2 tbsp almond flour
- 1 cup Frank's Red Hot
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- salt & pepper to taste
- blue cheese crumbles

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk the coconut milk and almond flour together until well combined.
2.  Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, and let it cook for 1 minute.
3.  Turn the heat to low.  Stir in the Red Hot, butter, and cheese until the cheese melts.
4.  Stir in the cooked chicken and spaghetti squash.
5.  Poor the mixture into a glass casserole dish, top with blue cheese, and broil for 5-7 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the top is starting to brown.

It's simple, delicious, and you can customize it how you like... you want more cheese?  Do it.  A little less Red Hot?  Sure.  A different hot sauce?  Go for it.  I usually add scallions like she does in the original recipe, but to be honest I suck at using the rest of the bunch so I didn't feel like buying them.

You need this in your life.  Get cooking :)

Do you actually like quinoa?  Have you tried spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative?

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Great Fence Debate!

Before we moved, Puddin' was uneasy and I wasn't sure how she was going to handle the transition.  Two and half weeks later, I can safely say she's settling in quite nicely.  Our old house was small and full of wood floors, so she couldn't really run around and when we did play fetch she would slide all over the place.  At the new house, we have a large family room with carpet that is perfect for a pup!  She's been more interested in playing fetch than I've ever experienced before and she loves wiggling across the floor to scratch her back.

Although the house is great, the outdoor dog situation is not.  As I anticipated, the run we have strung up between two trees is not cutting it.  Puddin' doesn't really understand the run.  When we put her on it, she usually just stays in one general spot or sits down and stares at us.  Why mom why?  We are also lazy.  When I let the dog out in the morning, I know she will run out, do her business, and run right back in.  Walking her out to the run is way more involved.  I have to beg her to come over to the run with my nicest pleas, so she doesn't feel like I'm dragging her there as a punishment, it's not exactly right next to the house (I picked the tree, so Dave will roll his eyes when he reads this), and it's getting cold.  It's supposed to drop down into the 20s next week, yikes!  However, when she sprints into the woods on the other side of our driveway, I'm always terrified she will keep going into the road!

So now installing a fence has become our top priority.  We got an estimate on Saturday from a company our friend highly recommended.  The consultant was extremely nice, made friends with Puddin', and told us about his dogs at home.  The prices he emailed to us a few days later were very close to the ones I had already found on their website, so it wasn't too shocking.  But in case you didn't know, fences are expensive, especially when you need approximately 365'!

And now... The Great Fence Debate: Wood or Aluminum?

Things we want from a fence:
  • Keep the dog (& additional future dogs & babies) in the yard and away from the roadway
  • Something we don't mind looking at every day (why chain link isn't even in the running)
  • Blends in and doesn't completely block the view (hence ruling out vinyl)

And it will never look this good again, since we will not be hiring Bob's landscaper lol.

The aluminum is my first choice.  It's so beautiful.  It's very durable and requires very little maintenance.

Our other option is split rail wood with wire mesh.  Despite the moist conditions of our yard, the fence consultant said it would last for 25 years and I believe split rail fences require less maintenance than regular wood fences.  I still think this option will require more upkeep in the long run.

So what's the deciding factor?  The aluminum is twice as expensive!  We could make either option work financially, but we know we have a lot of other expenses coming up and the wood is the sensible choice.  Even the fence guy suggested the wood saying "you're young, you should spend your money on a cruise or something."  On the flip side, it's something we're going to be looking at every day for the foreseeable future!  I just keep wondering, if I go with something I'm not in love with, am I going to have fence regret for the next 25 years?

What would you do?!  Fancy aluminum or sensible split rail?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Weekend: Couch Shopping, 12 Hours of Cheerleading, and Laziness

I started my weekend by taking Puddin' to the park down the street.  We walked there once before but didn't really go through it.  Apparently our town doesn't have strict leash laws and all of the dogs are the park were running around free!  Someone actually asked me if my dog was poorly behaved since I had her on the leash.  I was a little reluctant since I wasn't sure exactly what Puddin' would do, but after talking to a few of the really nice owners and thinking of all the times Puddin' had been fine off her leash in Valley Forge, I let her off.  She did some laps with the other dogs and got some loving from the other owners.  I didn't want to overdo it or outstay our welcome with the other dogs that all knew each other, so we headed home shortly after.  The other owners told me every Saturday and Sunday morning, there's usually 20-30 dogs that all come to play.  I'm not sure we're quite ready for that, but we're going to keep easing into it.

Friday night Dave and I checked out two furniture stores.  We decided to set up all the furniture we had already in our family room and that we would get a nice new matching set for the living room.  We're still working on painting that space so we're not really in a rush to purchase anything.  It's nice that we can shop around and see what catches our eye.  The prices vary so much.  I know we want to get something that will last, but I'm still not sure how much we should be spending on couches!

This set caught our eye.

But it is definitely more pricey than the other couches we were considering.  This one was half the price!

We're painting the accent wall special gray and the other walls ivory brown, so we're thinking a dark gray or brown couch.

This was my original inspiration:

(The source was the Benjamin Moore website, but the page is unavailable now.)

And here is some of my further research:

(Another non working pinterest link.)

I'm not sure my living room will end up looking anything like any of those spaces, but decorating is completely new to me and the inspiration pictures really help me start putting ideas together.  The idea of decorating our entire house is so overwhelming, I know putting the whole thing together is really going to take a while.  But we have plenty of time, well... I will after cheerleading is over ;)

My Saturday involved over 12 hours of cheerleading.  I volunteered at a full day of 30 minute critiquing sessions with each of the squads in our league moving on to the Regional competition.  It was a long but very rewarding day.  Various coaches expressed their gratitude for our thoughts and suggestions.  The girls were working hard all day and my team did well during their session.  Our routine was complimented by some people there that definitely know their stuff!

So naturally, today was a lot of this.

And football, obviously.  Not only did one of the games start at 9:30 am this morning since it was played in London, but we also upgraded our cable to include the Red Zone (aka every touchdown from every game).  Heck yes.  I also plopped this Chicken Tikka Masala into the crockpot and made some simple cauliflower rice (chopped cooked cauliflower + butter + garlic + salt + pepper).  The recipe was pretty good, I think I could've put in a little more garam masala though.  I also wish I had used fire roasted diced tomatoes for a little extra kick and I really shouldn't have skipped the fresh cilantro.  (Tip to future self: never skip the fresh cilantro!)

So my cauliflower isn't very riced... I need to actually unpack my food processor!

The weekend always goes by way too quickly.  I hope yours was fun, relaxing, and enjoyable!

How much would you spend on a quality couch?  Please give me some feedback people :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Move Update & Some Fun Links

We are officially in our new house!  We had a ton of awesome helpers this weekend and everything went pretty smoothly.

 Our entertainment center being sent to it's final resting place in the burn pit!

There's still a ton of work to do, but it feels good to be in!  Our immediate to-do list consists of painting the living room and purchasing new couches.  I think we're going furniture shopping on Friday.  Then next weekend someone is coming to look at our chimney and we're getting an estimate for installing a fence.  I'm not quite ready to share a house tour or anything, but here's a sneak peak at the bedroom that we painted.

We obviously need to hang curtains and stuff on the walls, etc.  But I love how a fresh coat of paint alone can really transform a space.  More about the house soon to come, but in the meantime how about some fun links?!
  • Just so you know, this video is definitely not work appropriate so bust out those headphones, but I seriously love it! 
  • Speaking of love, who loves their crockpot?!  I haven't been using mine nearly enough.  We're trying this slow cooker chicken tikka masala for dinner tomorrow.

  • This video might be life changing.  This is one of my most hated tasks.
  • I love this trick for finding the best prices online!
  • I'm obsessed with this little corner.  I'm still brainstorming how to organize and decorate my dressing room. 

  • And let's plan a road trip, ok?!  Who am I kidding... I hate long car rides, let's book our flights ;)

Have you purchased living room furniture recently?  Where did you get it from?  Any recommendations or advice?

Friday, October 17, 2014


OMG OMG OMG we're moving tomorrow!!!!!  Most of our house is packed up but I'm still beyond belief that this is actually happening.  I thought our tiny house didn't have that much stuff in it, but when we started going through everything, it ended up being more than I thought!  We've done our best to sort through things as we go, donating what we can and trashing the rest, but as we approach the deadline things are starting to just get shoved into boxes and bags!  We have both friends and family coming first thing tomorrow with some pick up trucks and another set of loved ones coming Sunday to help us unpack.  We've already had so much help with the house and we are so grateful that we have people that care about us so much!

I'm getting so pumped to organize and arrange everything in the new house (I know I'll be taking this back later lol).  I'm excited to dive into the world of decorating and I've been jonesing for a huge shopping trip to Home Goods, Ikea, and Bed Bath & Beyond.  I stopped into Ross yesterday to purchased some new sheets, bath mats, and a shower curtain, but I'm not letting myself do any major shopping until we get in and see what we have.  Our wedding gifts have been sitting in their boxes since my shower in March, opening them is going to be like Christmas!

 Thanks for the photo & the help, Shayna!

Poor Puddin' does not understand what's going on.  She's been to the new house quite a few times and she knows something's up, but it seems like she thinks we're leaving her behind.  She's been anxious and super needy, I feel so bad.  It also seems like she knows that she's losing the freedom she has where we currently live.  Since our neighborhood is so close knit and she's always been so good, we've been letting her roam around unrestricted for a while.  Usually when we call her to come in, she appears a minute or two later, but yesterday she didn't come back.  So I went searching for her up by our neighbors'.  I couldn't find her, but suddenly a bunch of deer came running from the woods with Puddin' right on their tails!  She disappeared a second time and I found her getting love from a bunch of our neighbors standing around having a beer.  At the new house we're surrounded by neighbors we don't know, a new pooch next door, and a semi busy road, so Puddin' will be limited to a run strung up between two trees.  She has access to most of the yard, but it definitely won't be the same.  We want to put in a fence soon (especially since I want to add another pup to our family!), but for the time being... womp womp for Puddin'.

In other news, I skipped the gym all week since I figured any spare time I had should be dedicated to packing (or sleeping).  They're doing maxes all week and everyone is hitting all these new PRs that have been exploding all over Facebook and Instagram.  Let's just say I'm a little jealous!  I've also been eating like crap and (here's a big shocker) feeling like crap because of it.  October is already such a busy time with cheerleading but adding in the move has taken it to another level and cooking healthy meals has not been a priority.  I'm looking forward to getting settled in our new house and breaking in my new kitchen!

Speaking of cheerleading, my girls had their first competition this past weekend.  Unfortunately, most of the squads in our area do not field the max amount of girls (35 - which is how many we have, that's right, I coach 35 13 & 14 year old girls, let that soak in a minute...), so we ended up in the large category by ourselves.  But we still had to meet a minimum score to advance and we wanted to make sure we held up our reputation of last year's National Champions.  Our practices leading up to competition had been a rollercoaster of hard work, injuries, progress, and drama, but the girls looked so great on the warm up mat and I knew they were ready to rock the floor.  Unfortunately, we had some major falls and a few other errors on the mat.  But overall the caliber of the routine was above & beyond all of the other squads and we managed to meet the minimum score to move on!  I believe the day was a good learning experience and perhaps just the kick in the pants the girls needed.  This is my 15th season coaching and my 15th season advancing my squad to Regionals.  Yeah buddy!

From Regionals last year!

This past year has been so full of blessings that it's hard to think it can get any better than this!  I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and I do not take any of it for granted!  Moving out of Midgley Lane is slightly bittersweet and it really feels like the end of an era, but I know soon we'll be settled in, having friends & family over for dinner, and snuggling up on the couch in a place we call home.  Thank you for all the support and for following along on our adventures on this little blog :)

Oh and almost forgot, today marks 5 months of marriage!  Love you husband!

Any last minute moving tips for us?!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Our Wedding Recap Part 5: The Ceremony

Slow and steady wins the race for these recaps!  I've had the text for this post written for a while, but never got the chance to add the pictures.  Life is so crazy right now with cheerleading and the house.  My squad had it's first competition last weekend and we're officially moving this Saturday!

Obligatory shout out to our favorite duo from Fuller Photography!

Catching up?
- Part 1: The Day Before
- Part 2: The Ladies Get Dolled Up
- Part 3: The Guys & Our First Look
- Part 4: Photos in Valley Forge Park

Walking into the church may have been my favorite part of the whole day.

To be honest, I'm no stranger to being the center of attention.  I coach a group of 35 girls, I lead meetings full of men (some 40 years my senior), I adore singing on a stage... but in this moment, I was completely overwhelmed!  Having so many of our loved ones all in one room looking at me filled my heart up to the brim and I found myself grinning ear to ear while simultaneously trying to hold back tears.

I glanced around the room trying to take it all in and see as many people as I could and then I saw my groom.  One of the things about Dave that has always caught my eye is his amazing smile.  He has beautiful teeth and his smile always just looks so genuine.  Seeing him smiling back at me made me so excited, but also sent a wave of calm over me.

When we first started talking about our wedding, one of the few things Dave was set on was getting married at his church, Green Tree Church of the Brethren.  We had both recently taken more active rolls within the church (church board chairman for him, member of the choir for me) and combined with our premarital counseling, weekly volleyball games, and Sunday worship, we were there a lot.  It was really special to be married in a place that we feel so connected to.  We were lucky enough to have both of our pastors officiate our ceremony, which was great since we have a strong relationship with each of them.

Our ceremony was a perfect blend of serious & lighthearted, love & religion, family & friends.

The sun danced on the snow with a sparkling smile,
As two lovers sat quietly, alone for a while.

Then he turned and said, with a casual air
(Though he blushed from his chin to the tips of his hair),
"I think I might like to get married to you."

"Well then, she said, "Well there's a thought,
But what if we can't promise to be all that we ought?
Can you promise me, say, that you won’t grumble and shout,
If I'm late yet again, when we plan to go out.
For I know I can't promise, I'll learn to ignore
Dirty socks and damp towels strewn all over the floor.
So if we can't vow to be all that we should
I'm not sure what to do, though the idea's quite good".

But he gently smiled and tilted his head
Till his lips met her ear and softly he said
"I promise, to weave my dreams into your own,
That wherever you breathe will be my hearts home.
I promise, that whether with rags or with gold I am blessed
Your smile is the jewel I will treasure the best.
Do you think then, my love, we should marry - do you?"

"Yes" she said smiling "I do".

His hello was the end of her endings
Her laugh was their first step down the aisle
His hand would be hers to hold forever
His forever was as simple as her smile
He said she was what was missing
She said instantly she knew
She had a question to be answered
And his answer was I do

What greater thing is there for two human souls
Than to feel that they are joined for life
To strengthen each other in all labor,
To rest on each other in all sorrow,
To minster to each other in all pain,
To be one with each other in the silent unspoken memories?


And then... we were husband and wife!

To be continued... Part 6

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