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.

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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!

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Meal Prep Sample Menu + Grocery List

In my last post How to Meal Prep, I mentioned that I would make a post featuring an easy meal prep menu and grocery list. This isn’t the menu that I personally used this week, as ours was a bit more complicated and tailored to what we like to eat, but I wanted to make a menu with simple and easy meals that everyone can make at home. I just want to note that with meal prepping, although it may seem “boring”, a main part of it is eating the same meal a couple times a week so that you can make a large batch of it on your meal prepping day.

Menu

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday:
    • Breakfast: Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats
    • Snack: 2 hardboiled eggs + blueberries
    • Lunch: Spaghetti Squash with ground turkey marinara
    • Snack: Apple + Protein bite
    • Dinner: Baked chicken + broccoli + brown rice
  • Tuesday, Thursday
    • Breakfast: Egg Cups
    • Snack: 1/2 cup of cottage cheese + fruit
    • Lunch: Spinach + kale salad with baked chicken, cucumbers, grape tomatoes & Lite Balsamic dressing
    • Snack: Apple + Protein bite
    • Dinner: Pasta + kale & turkey sausage

Recipes

  • Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats: http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/09/apple-cinnamon-overnight-oats/
  • Dark Chocolate Protein Balls: http://ameessavorydish.com/dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-energy-bites/
  • Egg Cups: http://showmetheyummy.com/healthy-egg-muffin-cups/
  • Pasta + Kale & Turkey Sausage: http://www.teambeachbody.com/eat-smart/recipe/-/rcp/14774

Grocery List

  • Old fashioned rolled oats
  • Unsweetened almond milk
  • Chia seeds
  • Organic Apples
  • Honey
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Sea salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Eggs
  • Blueberries
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Ground turkey
  • Organic Marinara Sauce
  • Dark chocolate peanut butter
  • Unsweetened, flaked coconut
  • Raisins
  • Raw, shelled hemp seeds
  • Ground golden flax seed
  • Coconut oil
  • Chicken breast
  • Broccoli
  • Brown rice
  • Red, yellow, green peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Yellow onion
  • 1% Skim cottage cheese
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Grape Tomatoes
  • Newman’s Own Lite Balsamic Dressing
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Italian style turkey sausage
  • Garlic
  • Low-sodium, organic, fat-free chicken broth
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese

*Remember to look at the recipes and decide how much of each item on your grocery list you will need. Look at the serving size and figure out how many times you will be eating that meal as well as how many people will be eating that meal.

Enjoy!

Meal Prep

How to Meal Prep: for Beginners

Ever since John and I decided to kick our butts into gear about our health and fitness, we’ve been really cracking down on nutrition. We used to have it set in our minds that “if we workout, it doesn’t matter what we eat”. After continuing to see no results from all the “hard” work we thought we were doing, we realized that it’s going to take more of a conscious effort than we thought.

Eating healthy seems like it SHOULD be a really easy thing to do. And it truly IS, but you really have to find what works best for you and stick with it. We used to go to the grocery store close to every night to get something to make for that evening. This always ended up to be bad because we would end up picking things that were quicker to eat because it was already later in the evening and we didn’t want to be eating dinner at 9 pm. Another bad part about it was that we would always buy something random and useless just because we were making a trip to the store. Basically, we were always wasting money just because we didn’t grocery shop “correctly”.

I’d always seen a lot of people that are into fitness that would post their weekly “meal prep”. I would think to myself “that’s crazy, there is no way I could do that!” Until one day, John and I decided to try. We’ve been doing it for a couple weeks now, so of course that doesn’t make us experts by any means, but I thought I would share some of the tips that I find useful when it comes to meal prepping.

First of all, I should probably clarify what meal prepping is. Basically, you make all or at least most of the meals that you are going to be eating for the week on Sunday. That way, you already have items portioned and ready to eat when each day rolls around and you don’t have to worry about choosing an unhealthy option because you have plenty of healthy options that you made for yourself!

Here are my tips:

  1. Make a meal plan: Generally on Friday or Saturday, I like to come up with meals that I want to eat for the week and write them down in my notebook. I try to stick with “simpler” or “easier” meals so I’m not trying to make a 7 course meal come Sunday. Some easy things are overnight oats for breakfast, hardboiled eggs or chopped up fruits and veggies for snacks, salads for lunches, and a protein and veggies for for dinner.
  2. Gather recipes + make a grocery list: First things first, I like to print off any new recipes that I will be using for the week. Typically the servings for those recipes need to be doubled because John and I will both be eating that meal a couple times that week. So I like to make sure that I account for that when I compile my grocery list.
  3. Get your groceries: Depending on our schedules, I usually like to get my groceries on Friday night or Saturday so that we can start right away on Sunday. The grocery list might seem long, and it might add up, but believe it or not, John and I have noticed that we’ve been saving a lot of money on our groceries!
  4. Prioritize your recipes: Once Sunday comes along, I like to prioritize my meals by finding the ones that will take the longest and starting those first. For an example, this Sunday one of our meals was spaghetti squash with turkey marinara. We started to bake the spaghetti squash first because it takes over and hour to be prepared. We also started baking the chicken (for another recipe) at the same time to get that out of the way. Once you have some of the main things baking, we generally starting making the rest of the recipes.
  5. Put everything together: Once everything is cooked, grab your tupperware and portion everything out! Based on the serving sizes of the recipes, I put all the ingredients into one container and label it for the day that I plan on eating it.
  6. Clean up: The first couple times you do meal prep, it might take quite a while and it will definitely use a lot of dishes and utensils but just think, you won’t be doing all those dishes during the week!

Those are usually the steps that I go through when I meal prep each week. For those that are interested, I will be posting a sample meal plan and grocery list for people to use for their meal prep next Sunday. I hope these were helpful! Feel free to comment any questions below and I will answer them in my next post!

How To-

What I Made Wednesday: Tuna Cakes

Welcome to my new series “What I Made Wednesday”! I’m always searching for new recipes and tweaking my own that I thought I would start to share some on my blog. So each Wednesday I will share a different recipe that I’ve tried during the week. Most recipes will be pretty quick and painless and of course, tasty! For the first post I’m sharing the recipe for these healthy tuna cakes I made this weekend for lunch! They are so simple to make and I actually had all the ingredients in my house already!

Tuna Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 tuna cakes – Serving size: 2 each

Ingredients:
2  5-ounce cans of tuna
2 TSPs of Dijon mustard
1/2 CUP of white bread (torn into small pieces)
1 TSP lemon zest
1 TBSP lemon juice
1 TBSP of water (or liquid from the cans of tuna)
2 TBSP on Italian seasoning
Salt & Pepper to desired taste
A couple drops of hot sauce
1 raw egg
2 TBSP of olive oil
1/2 TSP of butter

Instructions:
1. Drain the liquid from the tuna cans. If you are using tuna packed in water, save a tablespoon of the tuna water, and add a teaspoon of olive oil to the tuna + water.

2. Mix together the tuna, water, olive oil, mustard, torn white bread, lemon zest, lemon juice, Italian seasoning, and hot sauce. Sprinkle on salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste the mixture before adding the egg to see if it needs more seasoning to your taste. Mix in the egg.

3. Divide the mixture into 4 parts. With each part, form into a ball and then flatten into a patty.

4. Heat the butter (for taste) in a non-skillet on medium high. Gently place the patties in the pan, and cook until nicely browned, 3-4 minutes on each side.

5. Serve with a lemon wedge. Add the patties to a bed of spinach, or on a whole wheat bun with a side of vegetables.

 

TUNA CAKES

Let’s talk life

I’ve said it before and I will continue to say it.. Life is busy and it goes by so fast! I had no intentions of leaving my blog hanging but, sadly, that’s what happened. I can’t quite explain what happen but I sort of just lost my blogging mojo! I kind of fell into a rut of coming up with blog post ideas and then I got it stuck in my head that I had nothing to write about and just let it go. But you know what, I DO have plenty of things to write about! So, rather than focusing on the fact that I haven’t written ANYTHING in the past 2 months, I am moving forward and starting now. I have plenty of long winter days ahead of me that will be filled with me jotting down my thoughts and I couldn’t be happier. Writing really does make me happy. I’ve found myself to have a bit of anxiety lately and I believe that it’s because I haven’t been using any of my creative outlets that I very much enjoy using. So out with the old and in with the new.

To catch you up on the past couple of months I will let you know a little bit about what we’ve been up to. I have been waitressing about 4 times a week so that usually keeps me pretty busy during the nights, but I really do love the job. It’s funny because I’ve had many people ask me when I’m going to get a “real” job with my degree, but I see nothing “fake” about waitressing. I love the people I work for and work with and it is something that just fits perfectly in our schedule right now.

The weather has been amazing from September until now (it still isn’t even bad!) but it has been an unusually warm fall for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan! That being said, we have been getting outside A LOT! We had no idea how long the weather would last before the snow fell so we tried to take advantage of every day off by spending part of it outside. Including hiking, the park, and just playing in the yard.

John and I decided to kick our butts into gear before the New Year and started working out together every morning and watching what we eat. It’s a 60 day program and we are 15 days in! I am loving it so far, it is definitely a lifestyle change. I’ve already dropped around 6 pounds and I’m at a weight that I haven’t seen since before I had Lincoln. We spend our Sundays grocery shopping and prepping some food for the week. I’ve tried to lose the baby weight + post baby weight for over a year now but I never really had my mind set on in the right place. I kept thinking if that I was working out all the time it wouldn’t matter what I ate. I would “sort of” watch what I was eating but not to a point that it would make a difference. I’m so glad I decided to make this change and that my mind is in the right place.

Well, before I go on and on, I’ll save some more writing for other posts. Thanks for bearing with me through the last couple of months and I hope you stick around for the future!

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Dear Lincoln {12 months}

Dear Lincoln,

Today is the day! It’s your 1st birthday!! I cannot believe how fast this year has gone by. It amazes me every day at how much you have learned and grown in such a short time. We have had a very busy month, hence the extreme lack of blog posts (Sorry! Life likes to get in the way!)

This month you started to walk! All of a sudden one day you just let go of the table and off you went. At first it was only a few steps, but now you are cruising all over the place.

You got another tooth this month, and maybe some more coming in as well. So that makes 5 total. All those teeth help you eat all that yummy food like grilled cheese, pizza, bananas, apples, raviolis, spaghetti, etc!

This month you made your first trip downstate for your uncle & new auntie’s wedding. We had such a great time meeting lots of family and celebrating with everyone! Plus swimming in the hotel pool, what could be better?!

We went on a couple different hikes that you tagged along in the backpack for. You sure do love to catch a ride in that thing!

You discovered the amazingness that is the dog bed. It’s so funny to see you climb in there and lay down.

We also went to the beach a few times and hung out with family. It sure was a great month, and an even greater year.

Now it’s time to finish getting ready for your party on Saturday so we can celebrate!!

It sure is crazy how fast time flies, I am so proud of you and everything you have learned so far, I can’t wait to see what is in store for us this next year. It would be cool if time could slow down a little bit too. I love you so so much Lincoln Daniel!

Love,
Mom

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August Guest Series {Beautylicious Blog}

How to Look and Feel Sexy in 15 Minutes

Hello my lovelies! 11050650_10100919031377430_8255042867137308811_nMy name is Lindsey Gillian and I am the makeup and beauty blogger behind Beautylicious Blog! I am so excited that Hailey has invited me to guest post for you today and I have a great low maintenance, sexy look to share with you Mama’s that will have you feeling sexy and out the door in just 15 minutes!

Trust me, as a fellow Mama I know how hard it can be to even find a few minutes to take a shower let alone put on some makeup, but rest assured you can look and feel great in just 5 simple steps. This look is great for the office, the mall, the coffee shop or even just to feel a little bit sexier sitting around the house. A less is more approach that won’t make you feel guilty for spending a few minutes on yourself. So let’s get started!

Foundation: If you are blessed with the healthy, natural even skin tone, applying a foundation is not a must for you. Look to a BB cream or a tinted moisturizing product to give your face a natural glow and even out any darker areas under your eyes.

If you have a more uneven skin tone (like myself) look to a thicker foundation that offers a full coverage. Prime your face with some moisturizer about 5-10 minutes before you apply your foundation. For both of these products you will want to use either your fingers to blend it out or a makeup sponge to help apply an even layer across your entire face (remember to dab it and not rub it).

Cheek Bones: Naturally highlight and elongate your face by applying a light pink or peachy shade of blush to your cheek bones. This will give you a natural pop of colour and draw the eye in towards your lips, making your face appear elongated and symmetrical.

Lipstick: For this look, your ideal lip shade will be one colour darker than your natural lip. This is your nude shade. Your most natural shade without looking washed out or like you have gunk built up on your lips (we have all had an experience with the “gunk”). You can wear this lip colour as a matte or glossy finish depending on your mood. For an evening putting you would want to choose a shade 2-3 darker than your natural nude.Unknown-1

Eye Shadow: You want to keep your eye shadow simple and classic. Depending on your skin tone you can match your shadow to blend with the colours of your eyelids. Warm skin tones will match best with sheer beige, yellow and light brown tones. if you have a natural skin tone look to a peachy or rose based pallet. Cool skin tone can count on a more “earthy” based pallet (think blues and greens).

Hair: Be simple. Keep your hair trimmed, shiny and naturally flowing. A simple cut that flatters your face and requires a wash, minimal product and maybe a round brush blow dry. Move your part to the side to adda little attitude and apply a little mouse to your hands and scrunch the middle sections of your hair to take this into evening.

Being a mom is stressful, tiresome and all consuming, but incredibly rewarding at the end of the day. One of the most important things I have learned so far is that WE DESERVE TO LOOK GOOD AND FEEL GREAT. Every mother out there needs some time to themselves and it is important to carve out that time whenever possible. Time to recharge, relax and just feel good about yourself and everything that you have accomplished that day. Believe me you have earned it! Even if it is only 15 minutes.

August Guest Series {Mrs. Bishop}

My name is Stephanie and I blog over at mrsbishop.com. I’m a stay at home Wife and Momma to a 3 year old little man. I love crafting and baking and sharing mom “tips and tricks.” I also occasionally do fun giveaways and reviews. Come on over and check out my blog sometime!

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Since summer is almost over, I thought I’d share some of my favorite activities that I did with my kiddo this year. He’s 3, so sometimes certain activities are hit or miss. “Threenagers” are opinionated creatures. So, here’s the activities that both he and I enjoyed the most:

  • The zoo- our zoo is 2 hours away, but if you have a kiddo that tolerates car rides well, it’s a really fun experience. We splurged and got a yearlong membership, and it’s so worth it. It costs about as much as 3 visits, and we’ve already been that many times. I don’t feel like I wasted $50 if my kid is ready to go in an hour, we don’t have to stand in line, and it covers parking. Anytime we’re doing anything close to where our zoo is located, we usually swing by for a little while. Some cities even have FREE zoos, so I’d really check into it. Kids love animals- and if they’re anything like mine, they REALLY love the aquarium part…and hey, the aquarium is air conditioned for those hot days! Win-win!

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  • Children’s Museum- Not all cities have these, but most larger cities have some version of them. We have a huge children’s museum about 2 hours away, and locally we have a “Wonder Lab” which is a small version, but still lots of fun. Some are expensive, so we don’t go often- but once or twice a year, it’s a fun family trip.
  • Local Pool- This was our first year experiencing the pool with a toddler, and it was a lot less scary than I expected. Take a friend, and prepare to spend a little time in the baby pool, but it’s worth it. My toddler actually likes the big pool better. So grab your kiddos some “puddle jumpers” and have some fun in the sun.
  • Picnic at a Park- An old stand-by, but always a hit. We pack up some PB&J’s and other snacks and head to the park. Play, eat, and play some more. Sometimes my hubby will pick up some nuggets and fries and join us, my kid thinks McDonald’s is awesome, and a rare treat, so it makes the trip even more fun for him. Bonus-he usually naps REALLY good on park days.

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  • Local Library- We usually do this once every week or two. Most libraries have a kids floor with toys and children’s books, and my son loves it. I usually grab him a few books while he’s playing, and we read those for the week. Most of the stuff there is geared towards imaginative play, so I can even sit back and read or chat with a friend while he plays. Sometimes when I’m really tired, I say “Library Day”, and I get a nice break while he gets some play time. A tired Momma’s gotta do what a tired Momma’s gotta do!
  • Go for ice cream- This may seem an easy and obvious outing, but sometimes I forget. Kid’s love ice cream (so do I). We went for ice cream after church last Sunday and sat outside, and my son thought it was the greatest thing ever, eating ice cream and watching cars drive by. Boys love cars…it’s in their blood or something.
  • Family Visits- We just recently committed to taking our little guy to visit his various grandparents on Sunday afternoons a couple of times a month. What kid doesn’t like to go see their grandparents? And when I told me Mother in Law we were planning on doing this, she about cried. So kiddo wins, and grandparent’s win.
  • State Park- Near where we live there are several state parks. They have playgrounds, pools, horseback riding, campgrounds, trails, etc. For a few dollars you can do a bunch of things and spend some time outdoors with your family. And if your kid is ready to leave after a short amount of time, you don’t feel like you wasted a bunch of money.

I really think that 3 is such a great age, and we’re finally able to do all sorts of activities that we haven’t been able to do the last few years. What are your favorite activities to do with your kiddos/as a family?

Thanks to Hailey for letting me share today! Don’t forget to check me out at http://mrsbishop.com or follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest!

August Guest Series

Now that the summer is coming to a close, John and I have a pretty busy August planned. Some of those plans include a new workout regimen (aka, I joined an intro to crossfit class that’s 4x’s a week for 4 weeks at 5:45 AM (!!) I’ll blog about that when that’s through), as well as travel plans to Grand Rapids for his brother’s wedding, planning for Lincoln’s first birthday party, cleaning up the house before fall, getting in any last minute summer beach days, and a surprise!

With that being said, I won’t have much time to be at my computer this month. BUT, I don’t want to waste the month and post nothing so I asked some ladies from my Fab Female Bloggers group if they would be interested in writing up some guest posts for me. Most of them pertain to mommyhood and I guarantee they will all be a good read. Plus, there will be links to check out their blogs so that you have some more great stuff to read!

So, I just wanted to say that starting tomorrow will be my first guest post! I’ve never had any guest writers on my blog before so I’m pretty excited to see how this goes! I will be still posting myself a few here and there but it will be nice to generate some more of an audience as well.

Once again I am very thankful for all my readers and I hope you all continue to enjoy your summers!

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