Our First Year with Jerry

If you’re a parent (or even if you’re not) you may have heard about that little ol’ elf that keeps showing up at family’s houses around Christmas time and causing all sorts of problems. Well, if you’re crazy like me, maybe you’ve even participated in this madness. Now that Lincoln is 3, I thought it would be a good time to try out this tradition. I was always loving every “Elf on the Shelf” post that I would see on social media, and I felt that I was creative enough to take on this challenge.

We (I guess I should say I since my husband thinks I’m crazy) brought our Elf on the Shelf out a couple days after Thanksgiving. I bought the bundle on Amazon that has an elf and the book. The first night I had set him up on top of Lincoln’s racetrack that he likes to refer to as his “Lookout Tower” (thanks to Paw Patrol). I set up the elf with a little note saying “Hi Lincoln!” and the book resting on the tower.

Needless to say, Lincoln was very confused when he came downstairs that morning and I told him he couldn’t touch that toy or the elf for the whole day. I made a note to myself after the first day to try not to use particular toys that he loved so he wouldn’t mind leaving it be for the whole day. We read the book together and I could tell that he understood it to a point. I tried to give him some options of different elf names, “Larry, Gary…” and Lincoln went with “Jerry”. I’m not sure how he even knew that was a name but now that is the name of his elf. To be completely honest, I’ve actually really enjoyed setting Jerry up in different places each night. Some require a little more time and effort than others but it’s cute to hear Lincoln every morning say, “silly Jerry!” whenever he finds him.

Here are the different places Jerry has been in the past couple of weeks. Is Elf on the Shelf a tradition in your home, too? What other holiday traditions do you love to do each year?


What You Might Have Missed..

Hey guys, it’s been a while! This sure has been one busy summer. Let’s see, what are a few things that have gone on so far.. Well, we started out our summer by getting married (!!!), which took place in Northport, MI. I started a new job, we celebrated the 4th of July, I turned a year older, Alexander came back from his trip across the country, we ran a couple races, had quite a few adventures, went to the beach, and Lincoln started day care! And now you might be able to see why I haven’t been on my computer so much this summer.

It’s been a lot of fun and summer has been going by way too quickly (as usual), but things are starting to slow down now for us. We found a day care for Lincoln close to our home that he started this week. He is currently going part time to adjust, but that leaves me with some time all by myself! Today is actually the first day that I’ve been in the house for more than a half hour without anyone else around. It sure feels strange.

I’ve decided that I want to spend the time doing something that I’ve been missing a lot lately, which is writing. As you know, I am very sporadic with my blog posts and I hope to get better about that. Before, I never really “scheduled” when I would write something, I pretty much just wrote when a topic came to my mind. I figured what better time to write some blog posts than the days that I’m home all alone. So that means you can look forward to some new blog posts each week. It might only be once a week but at least it will finally get me back into the swing of things!

How has everyone’s summer been going so far? Do you like the new title?? I’ve been wanting to use it for quite some time but haven’t been able to until now 🙂

What I eat in a day


Eating takes up a large part of our day. We even plan different events around when we will be eating that day. We talk about food, we think about food, we look at food, we eat food. Food can either fuel us or it can harm us. Sometimes we don’t even realize how much our body tells us about what we’re eating. Do you ever feel really tired or sluggish after a meal? That’s a signal your body is giving you! How about when you feel energetic after having a meal? Another signal. And so on, and so on.

Everyone’s body is different and, in turn, reacts differently to different foods. I get asked a lot about healthy recipes or what I eat and so forth. I decided yesterday that I would document everything that I ate in a day. I am currently on a plan where I count my daily macronutrients. This means that I allow myself to have 113 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fats a day. To be honest, when I started this plan last week I thought it would be hard for me to get all my proteins, but I’m actually finding it hard to get all of my carbs in a day! I’m still trying to figure out a good balance of what to have at each meal so that I don’t end up with a ton of “leftover grams” at the end of the day.

You would be surprised at how much food that I actually eat in a day and lose weight. My meals are simple and I usually try to prep a majority of the main ingredients (like bake chicken) on Monday so that I don’t have to worry about it all week long. Anyways, enough babbling, here is what I ate yesterday. (I had the day off of work so I was able to put a little extra time into what I ate.) Also, each day is different, I don’t always have the same thing every single day but the meals do tend to be similar. I try to get each of my macronutrients into each meal.

Before I eat or drink anything else, I start each day with a mason jar filled with warm water and a splash of Apple Cider Vinegar. If you haven’t read up on the benefits in ACV I recommend you Google it after reading this!
For breakfast I had some leftover egg white casserole that John made me for Mother’s day. Along with a cup of coffee!
We did a little shopping yesterday so when we were out & about John and I shared a complete cookie for a snack. A serving size is half of a cookie and that has 8 grams of protein! They are also delicious. I usually get the snickerdoodle kind but we tried this one out yesterday.
Also, don’t forget to drink your water! This water bottle from Walmart holds 40 oz and I fill it up 2 times a day. I also have another 20 oz water bottle when I’m working out so I tend to have about 116 oz of water a day (including the warm h2o & ACV in the morning)! You should be drinking half of your body weight’s worth + some for what you sweat out during exercise. We really don’t realize how beneficial drinking water is!
For lunch I made quinoa, 4 oz of chicken breast, brussel sprouts, and a wedge of laughing cow cheese. My lunches tend to look a little something like this. (I eat a lot of chicken!) I switch up the quinoa for things like rice or pasta noodles), and I also change up the veggies a lot. Some days I will have a salad or something left over from dinner. Gotta change things up so I don’t get sick of it!
Since I’m having a hard time getting my carbs in, I decided to have some veggie straws for an afternoon snack. A serving size is 38 straws. These things are addicting though so be careful!
For dinner I had some homemade mac & cheese. I used Barilla Protein Plus noodles, chicken, spinach, and some shredded Kraft cheese. It was so very good.
I made these tasty Fro-Yo bites for dessert last night and had one when I got back from my evening walk. If you’re interested, I have the recipe of my Facebook and Instagram pages. They were so delicious (and they are healthy!)

(I forgot to take a picture) but to round out my macros at the end of the day I had a rice cake with a wedge of laughing cow cheese.

So as you can see, I really do actually eat a lot of food in one day. I never feel deprived or starving. I actually sometimes struggle to eat all of my food for the day. But, I’m also not sitting there eating junk food all day long. Eating healthy is definitely a lifestyle and it becomes a habit. Once you consciously pay attention to what you’re putting into your body and the signals it gives you, it actually becomes really easy to know what to eat.

If anyone ever has any questions about food or recipes don’t hesitate to ask me. I am definitely not a nutritionist, but I do give some pretty good advice 🙂

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

If you’re like me, chances are you got a couple bananas on your counter that are on the verge of going bad. I swear it takes about 1 day for them to go from green to brown! As much as we love bananas at our house, we can’t seem to gobble all of them up before their turning point. So this weekend of course, I had some rotten bananas and decided to search the Internet for the perfect banana bread recipe that wasn’t full of extra sugars!

This recipe has all the hallmarks of classic banana bread – it’s fluffy, moist, infused with sweet banana flavor, and beloved by toddlers and adults alike. Unlike traditional banana bread recipes that call for refined flour and lots of processed sugar, this one is made with 100% whole wheat flour, so it’ll stick with you. It’s naturally sweetened with honey (or maple syrup), which offer some trace nutrients that white sugar does not. Lastly, this one calls for a reasonable amount of good-for-you oil rather than whole sticks of butter.

Healthy Banana Bread Recipe

  • Servings: 1 loaf
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Credit: Cookie & Kate


  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil or extra-virgin olive oil or high quality vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 large bananas)
  • 1/4 cup milk of choice (or water)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more to swirl on top
  • 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour
  • Optional: 1/2 cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit, fresh banana slices…


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together with a whisk. Add the eggs and beat well, then whisk in the mashed bananas and milk. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove, or warm it for about 10 seconds in the microwave.)
  3. Add the baking soda, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are okay! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in now.
  4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
  5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

Progress and plans

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, chances are you know that I’ve been hitting many different fitness milestones within the past year and a half. Each week I try to create new goals for myself. Nothing too extravagant, but just something to work towards that week. We all have dreams that we keep as dreams. But what if we took the steps to make them more than dreams, and more of a reality? I don’t want to live my life thinking, “what if?” all the time. I want to live my life thinking, “I’m so glad I tried that”. I can’t promise that I will always be the best at everything, but if I don’t try how will I ever know?

This leads me to my newest goal. After some thought, I have decided that I will begin to train for a bikini competition after our wedding. I don’t want to start before then because I still have an altered wedding dress to fit into and I mean who doesn’t want to enjoy their wedding with some champagne and cake?! So, after June I will be researching to find a competition with a realistic date that I can train for that is somewhat near me. I know that I will have to travel based on where I live, but I’m hoping that I don’t have to travel over 8 hours.

After seeing what I can accomplish, I realized that nothing is really out of my reach. If I would have told myself last year that I was going to be training for this, I would have thought that I was absolutely crazy! But how fun will it be at the end to say I did this? Even if it ends up being a one time thing. I would never know what it was like if I didn’t try it. Of course a little part of me is nervous and anxious, but my drive is so much greater.

Just because I am not starting the bikini prep just yet doesn’t mean that I’m not still working towards it. On May 2nd I will be starting Ledbetter Inc.‘s “Forever Fit Guide” + Reverse Dieting program. I’ve done a trial run of tracking my macros this week and I’m really enjoying it so far. It can be challenging at times but I know it will just get easier with time.

As for our wedding, I’ve had some people ask me questions about it. And I also don’t want anyone concerned with not getting an invitation. John and I are having a very small Pop-Up Wedding (click the link to find out what that is) on June 18th in Northport, MI. Our only guests will be our immediate family members. We both discussed that this is exactly what we want and we are so excited about it. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with huge weddings, but that’s just not our style. The day is quickly approaching (50 more days!!) and we are rounding out the finishing touches on getting everything prepared. I cannot wait to share the day with the people we love. And we are trying to plan a reception at home so that our friends can share with us as well!

Thanks for staying tuned with my life happenings. Keeping up with my blog posts will definitely help keep me accountable with these new goals in life. Also, any encouraging thoughts or ideas for blog posts are always welcome! 🙂


A New Look

Hey there! Remember me? It’s been a while. I’ll admit, I’m pretty inconsistent with my blogging. There will be times when I feel like I have a million ideas to write about and other times where I can’t think of a darn thing to say. After a little bit of thought, I’ve decided to switch my blog around just a bit. Instead of “More Coffee Please..”, the new title of the blog is “Mugs, Muscles, & Motherhood”. A combination of all my favorite things! Coffee, fitness, and being a mom!

I get a lot of questions from people about a different number of things ranging from what I eat, what exercises I do, how I stay motivated, etc. This has given me plenty of ideas for blog posts! I am also going to have quite a few life changing events happening in the near future that are worth documenting (a wedding!!! + training for a bikini competition!) Plus with summer (hopefully) around the corner, there will be plenty of adventures to write about.

I would love to have you all follow along with me on my life happenings. Thank you for sticking with me through my ups and downs of writing!

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How to stay motivated with your fitness

One big thing that I’ve always struggled with when it comes to fitness is staying motivated. Some days or weeks I would be incredibly psyched about it and I wouldn’t have a problem fitting in a workout or eating healthy. Other days or weeks I couldn’t seem to get myself off of the couch to do anything. Through my fitness journey, I’ve collected a few tips and tricks to keep myself motivated and to stay accountable. I know I’m not the only one who has struggled with motivation, so I thought I would give you all my secrets.

Set realistic goals
Your main fitness goal might be to lose a lot of weight or be able to run 10 miles without giving up, but sometimes that can seem daunting or unattainable. One suggestion I have is to set smaller goals. Make yourself a ladder of goals, so-to-say. At the top you would have your large, main goal, but on the rungs of the ladder you would have smaller, more achievable goals that take less time to complete. For example, say that you would like to lose 20 pounds. One way to make that goal more achievable is to tell yourself you would like to lose 3 pounds every two weeks. That way you have smaller goals that don’t seem as hard to achieve. Instead of thinking about losing 20 pounds, you’re more focused on just those 3 pounds and it makes you work harder.

Get a workout buddy
Find someone that is also interested in fitness and stay accountable with one another. Whether or not you are physically working out together, if you know someone else is going through the same thing as you, it generally makes the experience a little easier. That way you have someone to talk to about your fitness journey that knows exactly what is going on. Try to make it a priority to report your health and fitness to each other at the end of the day. For example, make it a point to call, text, video message (or anything) with each other at the end of every day, telling each other how your workout was, what you had to eat, etc. If you feel like you cannot find anyone that would be your workout buddy, there are plenty of accountability groups online that you could join! (Or feel free to contact me, I would love to be your accountability buddy!)

Join a fitness class
This kind of goes along with the last tip. Generally if you join a fitness class at your local gym, you may feel more obligated to attend. Especially if you have to pay for the class up front, you won’t want to be wasting your money by skipping classes. With classes, you also have built-in fitness buddies!

Schedule in a workout
Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom, a college student, or just a really busy person and you don’t have time to make it to a fitness class (or even to a gym). One tip that is really helpful is to schedule your workout for a particular time of each day as if it was an appointment. You wouldn’t want to cancel an appointment or something you have scheduled, so you feel more obligated to fit in that workout if you have it dictated for a certain time that day. For example, on days that I have to work early in the morning, I schedule my workout for when I will be done with work that day. I don’t physically write down my appointment, but if that makes you stay more accountable, feel free to do so yourself!

Switch it up
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Sometimes you can kind of feel “stuck” in a workout routine and it ends up feeling more like a chore than fun. This is when I advise you to switch it up! Join a new fitness class in town, search Pinterest for different workout routines, or order some new fitness DVDs! Personally, I love BeachBody workouts! I currently have a “BOD (BeachBody On Demand) membership” where I can access different BeachBody workouts online anywhere! I can use my phone, tablet, or computer to access programs that I’ve purchased or the whole array of workouts available on the website.

Download apps
There are plenty of apps these days available through the App Store or Google Play. Downloading some is an easy way to stay accountable, find new recipes, or track your information. Search on your phone’s app store under the health & fitness tab to find one that’s right for you. A lot of apps are free, but sometimes it’s worth the extra couple of dollars to get the premium version of them!

Buy new workout clothes or accessories
This one might be a bit of a stretch, but I know that getting new clothes or accessories (like fitness trackers) get me excited to workout! Sometimes all it takes is actually wanting to put my workout clothes on and then I’m ready to workout! Plus, who doesn’t love and want to wear new things?!

What helps you stay motivated when working out? Were there any tips that I missed that help you?

My fitness journey

If you follow me on any of my social media platforms, you probably know that I have been very interested in my health and fitness lately. I’ve been posting transformation pictures, recipes, meal prep advice, etc. I figured that it was time to actually write about my fitness journey. Today is always the day that you can make a change in your life, and if this post motivates even just one person to make that change, then I will be very glad I posted this.

So let’s start at the beginning shall we..

This photo was taken somewhere around the year 2011 maybe? My whole life I had been quite active. I would participate in some sport each season and I enjoyed being outdoors and exercising. I still lived at home with my parents at the time so I generally ate meals that my mom would make for me (which were always very healthy). I would occasionally make trips to the gym and generally did cardio related actives. I was in college at the time so I definitely spent a lot of all nighters eating pizza, snacking on fast food when out of the house, and like most college kids, drinking alcohol on some weekends. I wasn’t actively watching what I was eating but it didn’t seem to be making a difference. My weight would fluctuate here and there, gaining and losing 5 pounds every now and then. I never really realized back then how skinny I actually was. I was very lucky and had a high metabolism and never really had to worry.

Fast forward a couple years to 2015, I had just had a baby 5 months prior to this picture. But I really can’t even blame much of the weight gain on him. I had a newborn and I was finishing my last semester of college. I was stressed out, tired, and had no time on my hands to prepare food. That lead to very unhealthy meals and tons of processed foods being devoured. I would eat when I was bored, not portion anything out, and I literally probably made the worst food choices that I could. I felt horrible. I would eat more out of depression and I would think to myself “well, I already gained all this weight I might as well not even care what I eat.” I was so unhappy with how I looked and felt. None of my old clothes fit me, I was incredibly self conscious about going anywhere, and I never really felt like myself.

When the new year (2015) rolled around, the holidays had ended, and I had my college degree hanging on the wall, I decided it was time for a change. I was sick of feeling and looking like crap. I wanted my old self back. So we threw out all of the crappy food in our house and decided to make a change. For quite some time we went back and forth with eating well and then binging again on junk food. We would see little changes and get discouraged that nothing big was happening yet. This lead to bad habits coming back and restarting every couple of weeks. It wasn’t until the summer time that we really realized that change takes time and that we needed to stay consistent to be able to see any changes. We started to follow the 80/20 rule which meant that we consciously ate healthy food and portions 80% of the time. 20% of our diet we allowed ourselves to splurge a little bit on some of our favorite things like pizza, wine, and dessert. It’s very hard to stay consistent if you don’t allow yourself some treats every now and then. No one is perfect, especially when it comes to health and fitness. I have my good days and I have my bad days but I finally found my groove and I am enjoying the journey. It’s definitely a lifestyle change that John and I decided to make but I really couldn’t be happier. Every couple weeks I set new goals for myself and it gives me that little extra push to fight for. It’s been quite the bumpy road but I like where it’s headed.

Why I haven’t been writing

Happy Saturday everyone! I am back to the life of saying “TGIF!” every week, and that is why I haven’t been writing. Let me explain a little..

Last month I started a new part time job at our local hospital. I still decided to keep my serving job as well, working there about 1-2 times a week. So, basically I am a full time working women. Thus the MAJOR lack of blog posts. And for that, I apologize, but sadly I don’t get paid to blog. (Yet!) Maybe some day I will make it more of a career than a hobby. But for now, I gotta do the jobs that pay me first!

That being said, everything in life is going really well. But it makes for busy, busy days. Currently, John and I do not have childcare for Lincoln so we currently have to work opposite schedules as each other. For the most part, we get about one day a week completely off together and a few mornings or nights that we both have off. As annoying as it is, we aren’t making our money just to spend it on childcare.

Although life has been super great, this month has been a whirlwind for Lincoln. So far in the month of January, he’s had a head cold, teething (multiple new teeth + molars!), stomach flu, and pink eye in both eyes! So needless to say, there’s been a couple of sleepless nights and tiring days.

So, now that everyone is caught up on why life has been so busy for us, I do plan on blogging a bit more in the coming months. I really do miss it and I’m starting to get in the groove of my new schedule a little better. John and I have been really into our health and fitness lately so I will probably make an updated post about that soon here, and also some tasty recipes we’ve been trying, and basically some other updates on life.

Thanks to anyone that continues to stay faithful reading this roller coaster of a blog!