Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The dreaded back to work schedule

It's almost here (although I am in a bit of denial). I am starting back at work next week. At least they ease us back in slowly. We are back Wednesday and Thursday and then we have a 4 day weekend and the kids officially start back on that Tuesday.

I like work, I really do. I like the challenge of it. I like getting to know a new group of kids. I like trying to improve my teaching each year. But I miss MY kids so damn much.

I also miss the flexibility of the summer schedule. During the school year everything is so rigid and our schedule is locked in.

I was just participating in a discussion on a health website I have joined. Everyone was discussing schedules and someone had asked if we could post a "day in the life" example of our week/ day so that they could see how everyone fits in healthy eating/ cooking and exercise in their busy life.

Some of the people seemed much busier than me. It is crazy how some people's lives are so complicated. I think I was somewhere in the middle. But what I liked is that everyone who responded said you just have to find the time to be healthy and make it a non-negotiable priority, just like brushing your teeth or washing your clothes.

Here is my typical schedule during the school year.


Up at 4:30am, let dog out, lace up shoes and head to the gym no later than 5.

Work out from 5-6am (MWF is weight training/ intervals, TuTH is cardio/ stretching)

Home by 6:05am, where husband is waiting to go to the gym from 6-7:15.

6:05-6:30 Feed the cat and dog and let them out, make breakfast and set up for kids, get work bag and lunch ready

6:30-7 Shower and get ready and PRAY the kids stay asleep. Its about 50/50 chance they wake up.

7-7:30 Get the kids dressed and teeth brushed, eat, husband gets home from gym

7:30 Get everyone in car, kids and husband drop me off at work (yup, we are currently sharing a car)

8-3 (M, THUR, FRI)
8-4:20 (TUES, WED)   Work

3-5pm on TUES and THURS, take Liam to Karate or wait to be picked up after karate is over.

as soon as we are home-5:30 Get dinner ready, dishes done, etc.

Eat by 6pm, but usually by 5:30.

6-7pm play with kids either outside, on a family walk, watching a show, reading, etc.

7pm- Start baths/ PJ's (On Tues, Wed, Thurs husband leaves for training at 6:30 so I do both kids...the rest of the week I only have to do one kid)

7:30-8pm (or 9 if it is a bad night with both kids) any combination of rocking, feeding, begging, bribing, reading to the kids to get them to be soundly asleep

8-9/ 9:30pm: any combination of the following: snacking, blogging, Facebook stalking, answering work emails, correcting mass amounts of essays, cleaning up messes, staring at the wall and enjoying silence, talking to my husband, watching TV.

9:30: Pass out in bed.

Midnightish: My darling daugher is STLL (at 14 months) waking up screaming to eat. The getting her back to sleep thing seems to take about 20 minutes.

Am I busy?, yup. If it sounds like an unusually crazy life, you probably don't have kids and might think pretty hard before you do...because I am pretty sure this is the average life of a regular mom.

On the weekends it isn't too much different, except that my husband works and instead of being at work I am taking the kids to activities, play dates, etc. I live for the weekends, mostly because my husband is home no latter than 5 both nights and we can both be there for the bedtime routine.

So if you are like me, and feeling bad about gaining a few pounds or not being perfect in every way...I recommend doing as I did here and writing out your typical schedule. It has helped me realize that I am doing all I can to stay healthy and that I cannot be too hard on myself, I am doing the best I can right now....and sometimes that just has to be enough.
So I am off to enjoy my last few days with a slightly less frantic schedule...thank the Lord for Summer Vacation!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Wait, what, 6 lbs..are you kidding me?!

After yesterday's post I weighed myself and I am up 2 more pounds. Are you kidding? I am tryin to remember my own advice, there is a lot more to weight gain then just fat, but I know it ain't 6 lbs of water weight.

I am trying not to get down on myself and not to make excuses. I know that it has to be a combination of factors, the biggest being I have just cut my breastfeeding down to one feeding at night and this is clearly screwing with my metabolism. But since it isn't socially acceptable orconvenient to have a 10 year old hanging off your boob...I have to deal with the fact that no more breastfeeding=less eating.

This is a reminder that my health, weight and how I feel about myself all need to be a priority and something that I constantly monitor. I am clearly eating too many calories, bottom line.

Soooo, back to myfitnesspal to track my calories for a few weeks. I don't NEED to weight 132 lbs to be happy, but I strongly suspect that if I don't get myself in check I will keep gaining.

Good thing I went to the gym this morning, or I'd be living with serious regret after that weigh in.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Damn you 4 lbs.

First off, I finally fixed my blog so anyone can comment. People have mentioned they wanted to comment on posts and could not. I think I have solved comment away!

I really need to do a health check in here because I am trying to step it up this last week before I go back to work.

I am now on the 4th phase of NROLFW's stage 1. I wont bore you again with the details, but basically I am still doing the same exercises, but with less reps and more weight. It has gone well except for a few mornings where a trainer at my gym seems to keep training woman using the exact equipment I need. I guess that is a good thing being that the he sees the exercises as valuable.

The only thing about this program is that I have been slacking off on the days I don't lift. You can only lift every other day, so I have stuck with Mon, Wed, Fri. I should still be waking up Tues, Thurs to do some good cardio, but ever since returning from vacation I am finding it hard to pull myself out of bed when I am not following the program.

I MUST change that this week because I am 4 lbs heavier than when I left for vacation. I do think about a lbs of that weight is muscle gain...but the other 3 is due to slacking and also due to a serious and passionate fling I have been having with frozen yogurt.

There is something about summer that just screams ICE CREAM and lately my husband has been on a "go for a drive and get a frozen yogurt" kick. And I have fully and willingly participated in each and every trip...which I am 100 percent sure is why I am up a few lbs. The thing is, my husband does some pretty serious training 3 days a week, plus he does physical work AND he goes to the gym. He CAN eat frozen yogurt. I am not nearly as active and cannot throw away a days clean eating with such a sugary treat.

So, I have thoroughly enjoyed my cones. I will not regret them at all...but since the scale has not budged downward since returning from vacation...frozen yogurt and I are officially broken up. Maybe we will have one last fling before the snow starts falling, but not until I have myself back to where I was.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Pizza, Pizza

I love pizza. It is cheesy and saucy and garlicy and all the things I love all in a fun, hand-held slice.

However, I never get pizza unless I make it myself. The calorie count on most takeout pizza is out of control. A friend once told me that a pizza place she worked at used one whole stick of butter in a small pizza. I have serious issues with takeout food, as it is the reason I gained every pound that I have worked to get off.

BUT if you make your own pizza, you can really control how healthy it is and make it really, really good.

Lately we have been having pizza and a big salad on Friday night.

Here is what I used:

1 whole wheat pizza dough. They have these at Trader Joes, Stop and Shop and whole foods. I get a bunch at a time and freeze them. And of course if you are a much better homemaker then myself, there are great recipes for your own healthy pizza dough.

Part skim shredded mozzarella

Crumbled feta

2-3 very ripe tomatoes or a can of whole tomatoes drained

1/2 package baby spinach, 1 package mushrooms, 3-4 cloves of minced garlic (you could use any veggies you like, I have used red peppers, broccoli, asparagus when I have had it)

3 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 450
Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface. We like ours pretty thin.
Place dough a greased baking sheet or pizza stone.
Brush edges of dough with small amount of olive oil
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on med/high and saute garlic and veggies (not the tomatoes) until lightly cooked
Slice tomatoes very thin
Put a light layer of mozzarella cheese on crust
then spread tomatoes out evenly (this is a substitute for sauce so you want enough to cover pizza)
spread out cooked veggies
Then spread a light layer of feta cheese over veggies

**I also love to add diced kalamata olives or olive paste

Place pizza in over for about 10 minutes, or until crust is starting to brown.


I also love making my own pizza because I can make a little section of it the way the kids like it, which usually means just cheese and tomatoes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

An Island Life for Me: Marthas Vineyard, Ice Cream and Feeling Grateful

Yesterday I took my babies on the ferry for a day trip to Marthas Vineyard. For you non-New Englanders out there, this is a large island off of the coast of Massachusetts.  President Obama is flying there this afternoon for his annual vacation, so I knew we needed to go yesterday to avoid the presidential visit and the road block it entails. Two years ago we were there when he was vacationing and missed him at the restaurant we were eating at by about 3 minutes.

I make it a point to go there at least once every summer. The ferry is close to our house and it is a nice boat ride. I learned a long time ago that if I want to go somewhere, I need to be able to enjoy going on my own. Because I am a teacher, I am off all summer BUT everyone else has to I have learned to enjoy doing stuff solo, or at least without any other grownups. The down side to this is it is EXHAUSTING! I have to lug all of our stuff, a double stroller (which is a total pain in the arse to get on and off the boat) and two toddlers.

I cannot tell you how many people tell me I am nuts for doing this. I don't really know why. The simple truth is, I can sit around on my butt all day, which would be easy but totally boring...or I can just get out there and bring the kids to places where they can have some fun experiences. Is it tiring? YUP, but I would have to live with regret if I didn't get out there and try to have fun. I try to live by this motto a lot because I live in a town where I have no roots, no family (other than my husband's parents) and I have had to learn how to enjoy myself by myself. I also believe very much in kids being outside and on the go as much as possible in their years leading up to school, because once school starts, so do the strict schedules that last for the rest of one's life

Some days it is easy to forget that I live in such a beautiful place. It is way too easy to take the ocean, beaches and beauty for granted. Some days I get sad that I don't live near my closest friends and family and I want to be mad that I have to take the kids most places on my own...but then I look out at the ocean and I think about what people pay to come to such a beautiful place, and I watch my kids crawling/ running into the waves, and I remember that I am lucky and need to experience what my town has to offer. And one of these things is a pretty inexpensive boat trip to an amazingly beautiful island.

It was a really nice day. We took the 9am boat, hit up my favorite bakery...the home of Backdoor Donuts. I indulged on a giant apple fritter, the same kind I get every year which is big enough for 6 people to share.We hit up the beach for a few hours, went to the famous Flying Horses carousel,  had a picnic lunch, browsed some shops, got some ice cream and took the 2:15 boat home.

It was a pretty horrible day for healthy eating BUT I did push the double stroller around all day so that totally cancels it out, right? Here are some photos from our day:

Beach babies

Charlie-Girl looking fab in pink shades!

                                                                                     Siblings getting along


Yup, that chocolate one was mommies: Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, no regrets on that one!

The boat was a long day!

Monday, August 15, 2011

When the husbands away

What do you eat when your husband takes off on an unexpected MMA training and you don't want to cook a big meal.....

Yup, sprouted grain English muffins w. Natural peanut butter, bananas, honey and cinnamon. YUM! some advice:
don't cheap out on cinnamon. Good cinnamon is worth the bucks.
using BlogPress from my iPad

Blogs I envy..

I am hoping to make it a point to mention/ review/ discuss (not sure of the right word here) some of the blogs I read on the regular.

I was a blog reader LONG before I ever started my own. I am super jealous of people with customized, carefully crafted and well-followed blogs. Maybe someday, when I find some kind of real blog focus and find a bit more time, I can be as good as the blogs I read.

I know for a fact that many of my friends and family read my blog, even though many do not formally follow me via "follower" (though I wish they did because it would make me look better) and that many of them have never read a blog before mine. So I hope that my blog reviews may lead them to look at some other blogs.

The blog I'd like to give a shout out to today is:

I have been following this blog for a while now and it is one of 3 that I check first when I log on to blog reader.

If I was to describe this blog I would call it a healthy lifestyle blog of a regular girl, who is also a wife of a military man. She typically blogs about her workouts (she is trained as a personal trainer), her recipes/ eating, and of course just randomn life stuff. She is pregnant right now and has been documenting her pregnancy, but it has not taken over her blog.

What I like most about her blog is that she lives the life I am trying to live. What I mean by this is that she is healthy and fit and it has become a lifestyle for her....not something she is attempting, or doing when she feels like it. I can relate to what she says because I am finding that in the past year I am finally just starting to LIVE healthy instead of TRYING to be healthy.

I have really appreciated her blog and personality since she has been pregnant. It has proven that she truelly is a healthy person who vows to take care of herself because she continues to be just as dedicated while pregnant. I have to admit, sometimes when I read healthy living blogs where the blogger is single or does not have children yet, I can get a little snarky and think things like "oh just wait, you are not going to have time to work out once you have kids." However, this blog never makes me feel that way. I think she has her priorities straight and I look forward to reading about how she keeps it up when her sweet baby is here. It is certainly inspiring to read about the miles she is running in her second trimester.

The last thing I LOOOOVE about her blog is her recipes and food pictures. I swear this woman has healthy and exciting cooking down pat. Her  recipes include very healthy and balanced ingredient but I have yet to see anything that looks like/ tastes like the stereotypical "health" food. If you are looking for some creative and fun recipes that look gourmet, she's got 'um. I admit, as much as I would LOVE to cook like her, it ain't gonna happen with the job I have and the life I currently live, but I have tried many of her recipes and I love that she is willing to share her creations.

So if you are looking for some inspiration, are hoping to make a lifestyle change, or are a mamma or mamma-to-be who needs a role model for staying healthy through all of life's change...check out A Life To Bragg About.

My only caution is to warn you that you may "hate" her just a tiny bit for being so fit and beautiful (even while 27 weeks pregnant).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A life in progress

Today at the beach I couldn't help but watch a few young girls in their early 20's who were sitting right near me at the beach.

I was by myself with the kiddos, dragging my 200lbs of crap across the sand, while Charlotte hung off of my hip and I kept yelling at gently reminding Liam that he was not to run into the water before he got sunblocked up.

These girls were all pretty, tanned and in bikinis with their nice sunglasses. All they had to carry was one towel and a summer Coach tote. They chatted with each other about when they got in the night before and when so and so was planning to meet them out that night.

I saw them looking at me in a "oh look at those cute babies, someday I can't wait to dress my own kids in cut bathing suits and show them off at the beach" kind of way. I know they wondered why I was alone with the kids on a Saturday. I am sure they checked to see if I had a wedding ring, and if so what it looked like. They watched at I spent hours chasing Liam, building sand castles and running around with two kids in the waves.

They seemed nice. they gave the kids the obligatory smiles and hellos. They didn't seem annoyed when Charlotte cried.

As I observed them I couldn't help but think of my own life. I WAS a girl just like that not all that long ago. A girl who came to the Cape with her friends and smiled at babies and who dreamed of my own future.

What I didn't understand back then is how life is never, ever exactly how you imagine it to be. At 23 I am pretty sure that the image I had of how my Saturdays on the beach would be, did not include that my husband would be absent from the picture because he had to work all weekend long to make up for the wages he lost being a stay at home dad. I know that at 23 I didn't think I would have to work so hard at staying healthy (because at 23 I was skinny and had a good body without being healthy). And I am certain that I had no clue how exhausting it is to bring my beautiful babies to the beach.

I also know that at 23 I was clueless about what would REALLY bring me joy. I used to envy the moms on the beach who had 2 beautiful babies, a brand new Volvo SUV, a giant diamond, a killer body, and got to stay at home all year without any worries about money.

Now I realize that nothing is as it seems. If anyone has ALL of that, it didn't come for free. Once you have kids, and get older you have to work HARD to be healthy and look good.The material objects come with a price of their own. It might mean a husband who is never home because of the demands of his job, or one who is really sleeping with his secretary and gives his wife fancy things to keep her "happy." I also realize that staying home all year with the kids is fabulous, but not totally realistic for most people.

At 23 I had an picture in my head of the life I would have. Some of it came true. I have beautiful babies and a great looking husband who loves me and who is fun and funny. I get to spend my summers on the beach and I do stay home with my kids for part of the year. I am working on the health/ body stuff and doing the best I can and I am learning to be a better and healthier person.

So what if my husband and I share a beat up old Ford. I would love a fancy pair of sunglasses, but odds are my daughter would pull them off my face and break them. And I would much rather get to take my kids on fun trips, then have a huge diamond any day.

I miss my husband so much when he has to work, but I cherish the times we have together. I would rather give up every material thing I have, then have my husband go back to a job where he barely saw his kids.

My life is certainly a work in progress, but I can honestly say I am happy. When I watched those young girls, I couldn't help but smile and think about the person I used to be. I loved that part of my life. But it is nice to have come to a point where I am no longer wondering when my life will begin. It might not be exactly what I expected, but life is pretty good.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tofu stir fry: because I need more meatless dishes

This is sort of my own recipe, but I do confess That it is really a mix of many recipes and based on what I had in the cabinet.

If you check in with me on the regular then you know that I don't really measure anything out, so this is all estimates.

What you need:
1 block extra firm tofu drained. I like to take mine out in the morning, layer paper towels on a plate and put more on top and leave it in the fridge so the liquid all comes out. Cut tofu into 1 inch blocks.

Low sodium soy sauce
Red pepper flakes
Sesame seeds
2 tablespoons sesame seed oil
Any mix of stir fry veggies that you like. Trader Joes makes a nice prepackaged mix.
Soba, or other stir fry friendly pasta of choice. I used wheat spaghetti because it was all I had. Soba noodles would have been better.

In a large bowl mix 1/2 cup soy sauce and a few sprinkles of pepper flakes, honey to taste, the sesame seed oil and sesame seeds.You want enough mixture to coat tofu and have extra to put in veggies. I kept tasting it until it was good.

Add tofu to mixture and mix to coat
Put bowl in fridge to marinate for about 30 minutes

Heat oven to 375
Place tofu on sprayed pan and bake for 15 minutes, turn tofu and bake for another 15,or until Golden

While tofu is cooking, boil pasta..but only cook it 3/4 of the way

Stir fry veggies in a little bit of sesame oil

Mix in noodles and the remainder of the marinade and cook for 2more minutes.

Mix everything together and enjoy.

Here what it looked like:

- Posted using BlogPress from my

Another one of my goals is to improve my blogging. Now that I have an ipad, picture taking for the blog is much easier. This is my practice post.

P.s. If you really hate tofu, you could make the same marinade for chicken. Tofu is something I have learned to love and this recipe makes it sort of crunchy, which is how I like it best.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I just returned from day 2 of the lifting program. It was almost a no-go after my daughter decided to wake up as my fingers touched the doorknob while walking out the door. If you are a parent you know there is nothing more depressing than when you REALLY need to get something done and you are banking on your kiddos sleeping for a few more hours..and then all of a sudden you hear their "sweet" little cries/ voices. UGGGHH.
So after a falied attempt at rocking her back to sleep as I grumbled in the rocking chair, I decided to wake up the husband and run out the door. I mean you can't quit a program on day 2.

So I successfully did it.

Here is workout 2: stage 1:

15 minutes arc trainer warmup

2 sets of 15 Deadlifts with 10 lbs on each side of bar

Alternatine sets of:
2 sets of 15, Dumbbell shoulder press with 10 lb dumbbels
2 sets of 15 wide-grip lat pul downs 40lbs

Alternatine sets of:
2 sets of 15 (on each leg) lunges with 15 lb dumbbels
2 sets of 12 swiss-ball crunches

Now I am drinking my protein smoothie and dreaming of bigger muscles because I have to do something to block out the 3rd "Little Einstein" episode of the morning. Yes, I am letting my one year old watch TV so I can shoot me.

Monday, August 8, 2011

NROLFW and other stuff

I just returned from the gym and my official day one of the New Rules of Lifting for Women program. I will now refer to the program as NROLFW because it is easier and because it makes me sound hip and exercise savvy.

Day one was pretty easy, but I am really getting why it will help build muscle. Originally I considered skipping level one, because I had been lifting a lot and thought it might be too easy. But after really thinking about the program I realized that since it is about lifting heavier weights, not how much you exercise, that I had better start at the bottom. This was good because I had also spent the last two weeks eating road food, sitting on my butt in an RV and NOT lifting anything more than my two crazy kids.

So here is what level one, workout A involved:
 15 minutes warmup on arc trainer (not part of the program, but required when your body is still asleep at 5am)
2 sets of 15 squats with squat bar, 10 lbs on each side

Alternating sets of:
Pushups, 2 sets of 15...Did I ever mention that I SUCK at pushups and even 30 girly pushups is seriously hard for me?

Seated Rows, 2 sets of 15 with 40 lbs

Alternating sets of:
Step ups, 2 sets of 15 with 15 lb dumbells. I used a aerobics step with 4 extensions on each side.

Jackknife prones, 2 sets of 8. If you do not know what these are, I seriously suggest you youtube these are try them. They are freaking killer in a burn sooo good kind of way.

And that was it. Now so bad right? If you get the book you will know that the stress is quality, not quantity. You are only supposed to lift every other day, so tomorrow I will be doing intervals on the arc trainer or I'll go for a long hike or something. I will continue to check in and let you know how I am doing. Day 1 is DONE.

Now on to even more important things like EATING. I am going to try and post my weekly menus here when possible. It helps me stay on track and maybe, just maybe someone out there cares about what I am eating. So here is this week's. There isn't anything too new, so I doubt I will do any recipes:

Spicy Grilled chicken with veggies kabobs (cherry tomatoes and squash). Sadly I will not be eating this, as I have a funeral to go to and will most likely have a subway sandwich...but it is what I am preparing for the family.

Ground turkey meatloaf stuffed with light mozzarella, peppers and spinach...served with broccolini

Tofu stiryfry with toasted tofu and mixed veggies (peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, bok choy, etc.) on brown rice

Spicy shrimp bowl found here

Fish tacos, found here

Veggie pizza on whole wheat crust and Greek salad.

Sounds good right? I love to eat, and eating healthy can be good eating.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Big Goals

Well, as you could guess from my photos, I am back from vacation. It was a fabulous and exciting trip. We traveled a lot, had a lot of fun and I wouldn't change a thing. Now we are back to reality and I need to get back to my healthy living (which was VERY compromised on our trip) and it is time to set some new goals. So he is a list of my immediate goals in no particular order:

1. End my relationship with artificial sweeteners once and for all. I have settled on raw cane sugar to sweeten my coffee. Consuming artificial sweeteners goes against everything I believe in and the word Splenda will now be a swear word in our house.

2. Begin and continue following New Rules of Fitness for Women lifting program (starting tomorrow). I will let you know how it goes...should be interesting to start after 2 weeks of not being at the gym.

3. Eat less meat. After watching Food Inc and looking at my weekly menu, my husband and I have committed to reducing our meat consumption so that when we do eat meat, it is high quality and organic. I recommend every person get educated on how our meat is processed and treated. I LOVE meat, but I am disgusted by the chemicals and unethical practice surrounding the meat industry.

4. Buy more organic/ clean foods. I am determined to find a way to afford
as much local/organic food as possible. It is damn expensive to be healthy, but I am hoping if we cut down on the meat..It might free up some cash. This is coming from a person who dropped 250 bucks at Trader Joes today.

So wish me luck!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

A vacation in pictures

4 generations

Sapphire pool Yellowstone

Yellowstone Buffalo Herd

Cooke City, MT

My loves

BearTooth Pass


swinging Bridge, Libby, MT

Kootenai Falls

Daddy ATVing with his babies

grandpa fishing with Liam