Monday, July 27, 2015

Make it Monday: Guiltless Banana Walnut Muffins

Yesterday morning, I slowly stepped on the scale for my weekly weigh-in. To my happy surprise, I was down a little bit less than a pound. Woot woot. I don't know the last time I was 137, so I gleefully did a happy dance. 7 more pounds to go until my goal! :)

I plan on being really careful with eating this week. My parents are in town which means I'll probably be able to spend a lot of time at the gym this week and I'm very happy about that. 

One of the things I struggle with is breakfast. I'm a cereal-kind-of-girl, but lately I'm in a cereal rut. I've been searching out for other breakfast ideas that are quick, easy, and most importantly, healthy. I came across a recipe for muffins I made a few years ago and I plan on making them this week.

Tip: The uglier the banana, the better! :)

Guileless Banana Walnut Muffins (Makes 12)
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg (I suppose you could use 2 egg whites instead to make it even healthier)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
chopped walnuts, optional

1. Mash bananas in a bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, stir, and then sit aside.
2. In another bowl, add your flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.  Stir and then set aside.
3. In another bowl, add your bananas, applesauce, vanilla, egg, and sugar.  Beat with an electric mixer until it's all blended.
4. Add your flour mixture to the banana mixture and blend on low for about 30 seconds until well blended.
5. Pour mixture into muffin tin (I used paper baking cups) and sprinkle a few chopped walnuts over each muffin and bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean!

I'll probably hold off on the walnuts on a muffin or two, that way Elizabeth can have a few bites and I won't have to worry about her being exposed to nuts.  

If you're not a fan of walnuts, add in some craisins, raisins, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips (because dark chocolate is healthy, right!??!), etc... The possibilities are endless! 
 Now the goal is to have just one, right?

Enjoy! :)
 post signature

Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday Favorites

This was *such* a quick week! No surprise to me though - the last couple of weeks of summer vacation always seem to fly by. I have two more weeks of vacation before heading back to work to kick off the 2015-2016 school year. Until then, I'm on a mission to really enjoy what's left of summer! 

Last week I featured some of Elizabeth's favorites. I hope you all checked out those books and bought them for your little ones! They really are great!

This week I'm focusing on my summer favorites! 

1. Peach Green Tea Lemonade
All ingredients (including that cute summer cup) are from Target. I'd say it was about $7 or $8 total.

If you follow me on IG, you saw my copycat version of Starbucks delicious Peach Green Tea Lemonade. It's so delicious. Don't get me wrong. I love going to Starbucks and I still have a freebie awaiting me, but almost $4 for a refreshing drink adds up fast when you repeat several times a week. Basically you just need the Peach Green Tea concentrate (I use Tazo's version), some lemonade (Simply Balanced from Target), filtered water, and some ice cubes! I did equal parts of the concentrate and lemonade, added several splashes of water, and poured over ice! So tasty! So refreshing! So summer-y! 

2. Loft Elephant Shorts
I don't remember the cost! Sorry! 

Who knew that wearing animals was cool this summer. In late May I picked up this pair of shorts and I fell in love. My husband thought I was a bit odd, but with the right solid color t-shirt, it's the perfect summer look! 

3. Kate Spade Watch
$166.90, Nordstrom

Normally I don't shop at Nordstrom. Clearly I need to change my view on that! Somehow though, I'm on their mailing list and last weekend I received an e-mail about their Anniversary Sale. I quickly spotted a watch that I absolutely fell in love with. I had to have it. So, I batted my eyelashes and busted out the lower lip (cute puppy face style) and looked at my husband. Boy I sure am lucky because on Saturday afternoon, he agreed that he would buy it as an early anniversary present. (We celebrated three years this past Tuesday). I LOVE it. I pretty much stare at it all day. 

So those are some of my favorites for today! What are your Friday favorites?
  post signature

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Parent Perfectionism: Why I'm Not Perfect

All I've ever wanted to be was a mommy. To have a sweet baby to love. A baby that I could snuggle with and then rock to sleep. A baby that would giggle when we make silly faces. A baby that would fall asleep saying "mama" and "dada" in her crib. 

In my almost eleven months as a mama (11 months, really? It's been 11 months already!?!?), I've learned A LOT. More than I ever thought I could learn. Being a mom is a learning process every. step. of. the. way. 

Looking back, there's already things I would change. Things I would do differently. Lessons learned from day 1. And you know what? That's okay. It's okay that being a first time mom has been a learning experience. Not that I ever want my sweet little munchkin to know that mama and dada were unsure with a lot of things while she was a newborn, infant, and baby. 

But it's the truth. 

Say what? 
You mean I'm not perfect?
You got it! And I'm so okay with that!  

So I've come up with a few "rules" of modern mommyhood that I've broken that prove my imperfection. Some I've broken on purpose. Some I didn't even know I was breaking until I lay in bed at night, revisiting the day. All things that prove that I'm not a perfect mom. My husband isn't a perfect dad. But you know what? Our sweet little Elizabeth is perfect and that's all that matters. 

Rule #1: Pregnancy Journal
Oh man. This one makes me go back and forth on if I regret not doing it. During my pregnancy, I took "bump" pictures every other week. That's about it. I had a pregnancy journal, but I just never got around writing in it. I didn't blog much during my pregnancy, so I didn't do the cute "bump-dates" that all my fellow bloggers did. But basically it comes down to this: my first trimester I was exhausted and thought I could eat anything I wanted. I gained 11 pounds. My cravings included fresh fruit and chocolate chip cookies. My second trimester I craved hard-boiled eggs in my salad, I was working out religiously still, and I was no longer tired. My third trimester I had tons of cravings but didn't give in because I was misdiagnosed as having Gestational Diabetes. Between my second and third trimester I only gained 6 pounds. I worked out up until the day before I went into labor (which resulted in me having the easiest labor and delivery EVER) and I wasn't tired at all during the third trimester. If I remember the basics, then I shouldn't regret not doing the obligatory pregnancy journal, right?

Rule #2: Breastfeeding
I'm a quitter. No if's, and's or butt's. I quit when I got too uncomfortable and ended up using formula after about 5 weeks of exclusively pumping. Don't judge. Until you're an "exclusive pumper" because of latching issues, you have NO idea what it's like. You spend every couple hours pumping and then in-between that, you have to feed your baby what you pumped. You cannot even compare this to regular breastfeeding. You miss out on sleeping time and/or time spent with your sweet newborn and it's double the amount of work than regular nursing. I remember pumping in the nursery while my husband was in the living room with my parents, all adoring Elizabeth. I was missing out on moments with her. It's been eleven months and seeing all the pro-breastfeeding posts STILL makes me feel bad. Can we just stop shaming mama's who decided to just do formula? Why does breastfeeding have to be a requirement to be a "perfect" mom?

Rule #3: Baby's Sleep Schedule
Nope. Our little baby girl wasn't on a schedule until she was out of daycare when I started summer vacation (I'm a teacher). From the time she was a newborn until the first week of June, her napping schedule was almost non-existent (she did sleep on weekends but when she was at daycare during the week, naps just never, ever happened). She slept when she wanted to, even when my husband and I would plead with her to just fall asleep so we could catch up on housework. But you know what? She started sleeping through the night at about 2.5 months and very rarely woke up in the middle of the night once that happened. I drove myself crazy trying to get her on a schedule. I "googled" and asked other mama's. They gave fantastic advice. It just didn't work. She had a quiet dark room. We had a white noise machine. I fed her a bottle before naps. It just didn't work for us. Now that she's almost 11 months, she's on a schedule. But with going back to work in three weeks, that will all change again. Even with little to no naps during the day, our little munchkin was a happy baby. She's always energetic. Always happy. Not to mention, she did all of the "milestones" right on track - rolling over, sitting up, standing, etc. No worries here about not having her on a sleep schedule. We did the best we could and she's perfectly fine.

Rule #4: Planning a First Birthday Party
Oye. I don't even know where to start. Maybe it's because most of my family is up in Buffalo. Maybe it's because we have a small house. Or maybe it's because we don't have the money. Planning her first birthday party is easy peasy for us. We're having a few friends over for an early afternoon party. She's having a smash cupcake, we're having some snacks, and we're calling it a day (after "pinning" ideas on Pinterest one afternoon I simply stopped and said "nope, not doing this"). Anyone who was born before like 2006 didn't have a huge first birthday party. None of us had a "smash" cake. I honestly feel like first birthday parties are an excuse for some parents to compare themselves to each other. Who has the best cake? Who has the best theme? Who has the best party? What toys will everyone buy my baby.? Guess what? Your one-year old won't remember that party. They won't remember smashing into that cake. They won't remember those toys. But you'll remember a fussy baby who was tired of sitting in a highchair waiting for you to snap that perfect picture. I just want to enjoy my baby's first birthday - it's a day to celebrate. (I will say that we are doing a 1-year photoshoot but it will NOT be on her birthday, or even during that week).

So does all of this mean I'm not perfect? Most likely. I'm so okay with that. My husband and I have a beautiful baby girl, who is so close to being a toddler it makes me want to burst into tears. But you know what? She has two parents who have done everything in the world for her. She is happy, healthy, and absolutely perfect to us.

Will I eat my words on some of these things if and when we have a second baby? 
Maybe. Who knows. 
Maybe I'll decide that I do want an over the top birthday party. 
Or that I will read every piece of literature about getting baby on the perfect sleep schedule.

But until then, I'm going to enjoy being an imperfect mom. A all-day yoga pant wearing mom who often second-guesses herself, a mom that asks mommy friends questions, and a mom who doesn't have all of the answers. I'm so blessed to have friends who DO have the answers because without them, I'd be lost.

 post signature

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dear Husband

To My Sweet, Loving Husband,
Today we celebrate three years of wedded bliss. It's hard to believe that three years ago right now, I was getting my hair done, putting on my bridal gown, and reading the beautiful card you gave me to read the morning of our wedding. 

Our wedding was nothing short of spectacular. From the ceremony, to the first dance, to the cake and our brunch. Our pictures prove what a beautiful day we had and it meant the world to me to get married in the church I grew up and made my sacraments in. 

Three years ago, we said those beautiful words of our wedding vows together. We promised to be there for each other, to have and to hold each other, throughout all the trials of life. You held true to your words. 

Three years of amazing moments. We bought a house, had a baby, and created so many other wonderful memories. We've had tons of laughs and a few tears too. We've had our agreements and our disagreements. We've woken up every morning saying "I love you" and gone to bed every night after saying those three words again, "I love you". 

Almost eleven months ago we welcomed our beautiful Elizabeth Christine into the world. How lucky are we? She is just the most perfect baby girl. From the moment she was born, you surpassed any expectation I had of you being a dedicated father. From the midnight feedings you did, to rocking our baby girl to sleep (and maybe staring at the baby monitor for hours), to calming me down when breastfeeding became too much for me.

Nine months ago, we had our first scary hospital stay with her. You were my rock. Then came her second hospital stay in November and you were there for me every second. In sickness and in health? You held me together when I thought I was just going to completely fall apart.  

Three years ago I couldn't have imagined the life we would have now. We continue to be happily married, madly in love, and excited for what comes next in our life together. 
I can't help but feel so blessed to be your wife. To have you as the father of our daughter. To be the one I spend the rest of my life with. If it's possible, I think I fall in love with you more every day. 

Cheers to another year of being married, to being parents, and to knowing the amount of love we have for each other. 

I love you to the moon and back. 

Your wife
  post signature

Monday, July 20, 2015

Make it Monday: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

I absolutely love pizza. If it was healthy, I'd probably eat it once a week. But it's not. However, I do allow myself to have a piece every now and again. Normally I love to sautee peppers and onions, steam broccoli, and make a simple veggie pizza. But, like most men, my husband isn't a fan of that. 
My good friend and fellow blogger Brittany over at The View From Up Here posted a recipe for her version of a Buffalo Chicken Pizza after having it on her anniversary vacation with her husband. When I shared it with my husband, he instantly said, "um, YES please!"
I tweaked the recipe a smidge because I'm not really a fan of bleu cheese and I added a few extras (meaning I snuck in some veggies that I knew my husband wouldn't mind).
It is legit the best. pizza. ever. Our mouths were on fire because I used Buffalo Hot Sauce (Franks to be exact, because well, I have to celebrate the Buffalo girl in me and Franks just screamed Buffalove). Normally I'm not a fan of leftovers, but I am counting down the hours until I can have it for dinner tonight! I'll be sure to have a gallon of water next to me though, haha!
Here's the recipe! 
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
*Adapted from The View From Up Here  
Pizza dough (I used Naan flatbread)
Red onion (just enough to top the pizza, give it flavor, and make it look pretty)
Chives (just enough for a garnish)
4 oz Chive and Onion cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon Ranch dressing mix (the packet)
1/3 cup of milk (I used skim - next time I think I would do 1/4 cup of milk instead)
1/2 cup of Buffalo Hot Sauce (I used Frank's Buffalo Hot)
Cooked chicken cubes (or shredded)
1 cup Mozzarella cheese   
And of course there is a drizzle for the top of the pizza. More hot sauce and ranch please!
1 1/2 teaspoons ranch dressing mix
1 teaspoon Buffalo Hot Sauce   
Preheat oven to 450 degrees (or whatever the directions say on pizza dough package). Chop up red onion and chives and set aside. Mix cream cheese, ranch dressing mix, milk, and buffalo hot sauce. Pour over chopped chicken and toss to coat. Spread over pizza dough and then cover with thin layer of cheese. Add onions and chives. Top with a little bit more cheese. In a small bowl, make the drizzle and then pour over top of pizza. Toss in the oven for about 10-12 minutes, depending on how you like your pizza cooked. I like it to be a little crispy, so I cooked for 11 minutes. 
Just have a glass of water or milk ready, it's spicy! ;)
 post signature

Friday, July 17, 2015

Friday Favorites

Yippie! It's Friday! I'm really looking forward to family time this weekend. My husband was unexpectedly out of town the majority of the week (he was home every night but was averaging about 16-18 hours of work each day and last night topped off at 19 hours). There's a TON that needs to be done around the house but I'll take the reign on that so he can relax and spend time with Elizabeth.

Since it's Friday that means it's time for my Friday Favorites! This week I'm focusing on Elizabeth's favorites. 

Elizabeth is almost 11 months and her personality shines every. single. day.  She is the happiest, most energetic almost-toddler I've ever met. While I'm behind on my baby updates (I'll be sure to do it this weekend), she is growing and learning so much every day. She makes sure to tell us what her favorites are so I'm sharing them with you today!

1. Storytime with mama and dada. 
by Dallas Clayton 
$12.82 on Amazon Prime
My inner teacher squeals any time she hands me a book. As a reading teacher, I know how crucial it is to develop a love for reading at a young age - even as a baby! This week Elizabeth discovered a book that has been on her bookshelf since before she was born. I received it as part of a book exchange and it's a beautiful book. It's not a board book so I'm super careful with watching her while she looks at it, but I think it's important for her to have access to other books other than board books. I don't let her look at this one independently, she's usually on my lap as I read it to her. Several times this week, she grabbed the book, handed it to me, and sat on my lap. Melt. My. Heart. The pictures are very colorful and the story is beautiful.

2. Independent reading time.
by Roger Priddy
$3.30 on Amazon Prime 
Again, as a reading teacher, I ensure that Elizabeth has time every day to look at books independently. It's amazing to see how well she holds a book (knows when it's upside down and fixes it) and independently turns the pages (sometimes she turns two by accident but that's okay). She LOVES this book. She will sit in her pack and play or in the playroom looking at the pages. She will point to things she knows like baby, kitty, and a few others. If she's sitting by her mini-bookshelf she will pull off all of the books but she'll stop at this one to look at it. This is a great book to teach words and it's even recommended by speech-language pathologists! :)

3. Playtime
$22.97 on Amazon Prime 
Elizabeth loves playtime. One of her favorites is this train. We actually brought it to Buffalo with us last month because she loves it so much. It's a great toy because it has several different "stages" that teach different things - ABCs, colors, numbers, etc. There are also 50+ songs programmed within the toy! The train makes choo-choo sounds and even moves! Elizabeth loves to chase it around the house! Along with train, there are three toys - a puppy, monkey, and frog. Naturally I couldn't find the frog when I was snapping this picture, but it's definitely her favorite - I wonder where she hid it! 

What are your favorite toys for your almost-toddler?

post signature

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Stop Making Excuses

"I'll start my diet tomorrow."
"I just won't eat the rest of the day because I had a calorie-fest frapp this morning."
"I'm on vacation, I'll eat healthier next week."
"Being on a diet sucks."
"I'm too tired to go to the gym."
Don't do it. Don't make these same excuses. If you're dedicated to losing weight, eating healthier, and getting into shape, you won't have time for these excuses.  

Getting into a healthy lifestyle isn't about going on a diet. Diets don't work. Go ahead, argue with me. You might be right. But in my opinion, I've failed at so many diets. Why? Well... once your "diet" stops, you go back to eating crappy food, limiting your physical activity, and before you know it your weight is right back up there before you started, or even a little higher.

I'm not mocking diets out there. I'm not mocking the ever-popular 21-Day Fix and Shakeology because I know so many people who have had success with these plans. My mom does Weight Watchers and has had great success. I have friends who have done the low-carb thing and look fantastic.

But when it came to my "transformation" - it was simply limiting fats, increasing fruits and veggies, and a TON of physical activity. I admit, I calorie counted. I kept a log of the calories I had for each meal. I used My Fitness Pal as well. It worked. 

Everyone has their right to decide which route they want to take if they are ready and willing to make the commitment to their goals. 

Making excuses doesn't fit into this commitment. You have to be 100% dedicated to reaching your goal. In the midst of me changing my lifestyle to one that was healthy, I worked out at 5am EVERYDAY before work. Most of those days I worked out AFTER work too. Was I tired? Heck yeah. But you know what? Seeing myself look healthier every day was such a motivation. Having to go out to buy new pants because mine were getting too big was an amazing feeling. Hearing people compliment me on my HARD work was encouraging. 
You have to be ready to make the commitment to BOTH - eating healthy and exercising. They go hand-in-hand. They don't work without each other.  

Image from

So, I encourage you - stop making the excuses. Get healthy for YOU. Get healthy for your personal satisfaction. Get healthy for your children. Get healthy so you feel prettier when you're out on a date with your husband. 

But STOP making excuses. Just get out there and DO IT! You'll be happy you started TODAY and not TOMORROW!

post signature

Monday, July 13, 2015

Make it Monday: Stuffed Peppers

Well hello there! Happy Monday!
If you're anything like me, quick recipes are where it's at when you're a busy bee. Yesterday my husband and I had quite the to-do list. Not only was the to-do list long, but we ran into a few glitches while trying to install ceiling fans in our kitchen and master bedroom. My husband had to take a few trips to Home Depot as well as a few HOT trips up into the attic, but our ceiling fans look great! 
Okay not really, but I love this meme, haha.
A little off track there, sorry! Back to the reason for this post: easy recipes. I was able to whip up this recipe while he fed our little munchkin and then during bathtime, I tossed the peppers in the oven until we were ready to eat! 
Here is the recipe:
Stuffed Peppers
3 peppers (I use red because I think they taste better)
1 1/2 lb ground beef (I used a little under a pound of lean ground beef this time and it worked out fine)
chopped onion - about 3/4 of a sweet onion
breadcrumbs - maybe like 1/3 cup?
garlic powder
fennel seed (I was out of this ingredient so I used rosemary. Just as good!)
1 egg
water (a splash or two)
Classico Tomato Sauce (Four Cheese)
Pecorino Cheese (to top off the stuffed pepper when it's done)

Cut peppers in half and clean.  Put peppers in hot water and bring to a boil.  Boil for approximately 3-4 minutes.  Brown ground beef and onion, drain.  Mix rest of ingredients with a spoon and fill each pepper.  Spray baking dish, add filled peppers, and top each with tomato sauce and cheese.  

Cover and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 1/2 hours! Enjoy!
I apologize for this recycled photograph but I had this saved on my computer and I literally inhaled my peppers before I even thought to snap a picture! I didn't serve with anything this time because I just needed to eat. But, it goes great with butternut squash!
Quick, easy, and healthy! 
Here's what else is on the menu this week. Who needs pencil and paper when you have the Simplified Planner app from Emily Ley?!?!  

Have a great week! 
 post signature

Friday, July 10, 2015

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! Or as I insist on calling it, Happy Fri-YAY, big emphasis on the YAY! I don't know what it was about this week, but it was LONG. Too long. Our house is a mess, I'm exhausted, I've lost two pounds from not having any normal meals all week (husband was gone ALL. FREAKING. WEEK.), and I just want a pedicure. 

Okay, I'll end my rant.

Normally I'm all about the "Five on Friday" blog posts. But, in my attempt to get a better grip on this blogging thing, I wanted to switch it up.  Nothing against all my fellow bloggers, but I just needed something different. 

So, starting today, I will be sharing some of my favorites, Elizabeth's favorite toys, my husband's favorite home-cooked meals, etc. 

This week I decided to focus on my favorite blogs. I've been blogging on and off for several years, but there's always my go-to blogs. These are blogs that I read every day. Blogs that I get all sad when I realize that they too have personal lives and sometimes don't blog everyday. Anyone out there get super sad when you realize your favorite blogger didn't post that morning!?! Okay, maybe I just need to get a life.

So, here are my three favorite blogs - in no order

Sweet Tooth Sweet Life - I have been following this blog for years and years. Courtney is a former teacher, fellow wife, mama, and seriously has the best recipes (Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars... oh. my. yum). Not to mention her blog is full of exciting pictures and tells a beautiful story about her life. She is a lifestyle blogger - she shares stories about fitness, cooking, fashion, and her adorable son Lucas.  Head on over to her page so you can see why she's one of my favorite bloggers! 

Leah With Love - Leah is a super mommy. She used to be a classroom teacher but she is a creative one and decided to start her own business Simply Made with Love. Talk about cute things. Cute MONOGRAMMED things. I have to resist self-control anytime she posts a picture on her FB or IG page. She has an adorable daughter, Avery and a handsome little baby boy, Luke. Leah is also a lifestyle blogger and posts a ton of tasty recipes, cute crafts for kids, and a ton of DIY projects (she's one of those that wins at Pinterest projects). Visit her page and check out her Avocado, Tomato, and Feta Dip recipe. Delicious! 

The View From Up Here. Brittany is seriously the most knowledge mama I know. She is my go-to person when I feel like a mama failure and need to know the answer to my ridiculous questions. What's most fun about Brittany is that we are friends in real life, haha! She was my intern several years ago (best. intern. ever.) and we stayed in close contact ever since! We became pregnant right around the same time so it was wonderful sharing pregnancy stories. She is currently a SAHM (former teacher) but will be returning to work part-time this fall. Her son Bennett is seriously baby-model material. I'm talking baby blue eyes and everything! Just like my other two favorites, she is a lifestyle blogger as well. Recipes, favorite products, and stories of being a mama are things I love about her blog! Check out her Meal Plan Monday for some really tasty ideas for dinner! 

Isn't it funny that all three of my favorite bloggers were all previously teachers? 

What are some of your favorite blogs? Why are they your favorites? 

 post signature

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: My Story, Part 1


Where do I begin?

Well, let's just say that a few years ago, I decided I was tired of being "chubby". No wait. Let's be real. I was fat. Looking back. I was F-A-T. 

You might be thinking - "why is she body shaming?" 

Well, in two words - THE TRUTH. There's no hiding it. I was a plus-size wearing, never wanting to hit the gym, and lazy as all heck girl. 

Need proof that this active mama was once not too proud of her body?
I promise you my friends. That was me. That was me back in 2009 on a trip to Sea World with my boyfriend at the time (he is now my husband). Yikes. Just looking at this picture makes me cringe. It makes me want to jump up and go to the gym. 

So how did I do it?

Weight loss pills?
Detox and cleanses?
Simply not eating?

None of those! 

Trust me. The weight didn't come on quickly and it didn't come off quickly either. It was a process. A slow and steady process that I took one day at a time. One pound lost at a time. 

The process started by going to the gym and meeting with a personal trainer. This personal trainer did all sorts of measurements on me. Weight, body mass index, heart rate, etc. My numbers were well above where they should be. We designed a workout schedule and a few personal training sessions to get me going so I would feel comfortable with exercising. Trust me. You can't just jump on the treadmill and run 10 miles when you're overweight. 

I started looking online for healthy recipes and went to the grocery store and bought lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and lean meat. 

Slowly but surely with eating right and exercising the weight started to come off. Sure, there were days when I stepped on the scale and the numbers didn't go down. But it's not always about the numbers. It was about feeling better, being healthier, and knowing that I was taking care of my body. 

So where am I today? Well... I went from one extreme to the other - meaning I started off very overweight (211 pounds) and at one point, got down to a measly 97 pounds (yikes I know... I went too far with exercising). But right now, even almost a year after having a baby, I'm healthy. Sure I eat cookies - (those lemon sugar cookies) and I have wine throughout the week (#wineme is my motto during stressful weeks). But my weight is at 138 right now and I think I look healthy. Yes, I'm still going to the gym when I can make the time to do so - mainly on the weekends!

 Last weekend as I was 
heading to the gym!

So stick with my Transformation Tuesday series to learn about my progress through stories, recipes, and photographs so you can see that YES! You can lose weight and transform yourself in a healthy way.

Please note: I am not a dietician, nor a personal trainer. This is just my story on how I became healthier and more satisfied with my body image by eating more nutritious foods and working out at the gym regularly. Please consult your doctor before you start any new fitness routine or significant change in your diet to make sure you are meeting your body's nutritional requirements.
  post signature

Monday, July 6, 2015

Make it Monday: Lemon Sugar Cookies

Welcome to my first "Make it Monday" post. I have some fun ideas for this weekly post and I'm super excited to share this one with you this morning!  

Ever go onto Pinterest and just randomly search for "summer cookies"? The amount of deliciousness that pops up is enough to instantly make my jeans tighter. Last weekend, I was in the mood to bake, but I wanted something "summery" that was delicious and somewhat of an easy recipe. 

Cutout sugar cookies are always fun, but it's so much work between making the dough, rolling out the dough, using the cookie cutters, etc... Oh yes and you have to spend time frosting the cookies all while having to resist "accidentally" getting extra frosting on your fingers that you just have to lick off because it would be a complete waste if you didn't. Good reasoning, huh!?!?

But, sugar cookies are just oh-so-yummy, so when I stumbled across this recipe for Lemon Sugar Cookies, I just had a feeling it would be a winner since they don't require frosting.  The cookies were fairly easy to make - the "zesting" of the lemons was fun because it made our house smell so fresh and "lemony". As much as I would love to take credit for creating the recipe, I simply cannot do that. So please head on over to Adding a Pinch to get the specifics! Trust me, you'll thank me later. My husband thinks it's perfectly acceptable to eat the cookies for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

 Aren't these just the most beautiful
 looking lemons ever?

Look at that lemon zest! So. Freaking. Good.

Every bite is perfectly full of lemon goodness!

 What summer cookie recipe is your favorite?
post signature

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer 2015 Bucket List

I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday morning! I can't believe the 4th of July has come and gone. But never fear, summer is far from over! 
Check out my Summer 2015 Bucket List for some fun ideas on things to do with your kids, significant other, or your family! You're never too young for feeding the ducks and playing mini-golf!

Click on the picture to save it to Pinterest!
Better late than never on this right?
post signature

Friday, July 3, 2015

July Goals

Happy July!
I can't believe we're already into the second month of summer vacation! I've been on vacation for almost a month already! Time flies when you're having fun! Not to mention, tomorrow is the 4th of July! 

I admit, I usually reserve Fridays for "Five on Friday", but I'm revamping my blog post schedule so I'm changing things up a little bit! In fact, I'm looking into doing a blog makeover too, so if you have any tips, please share. 

Let's pretend I didn't really do a May goal post. And obviously I didn't do a June one either. #slackerstatus

But for real. A new month means I really should be reflective and try and come up with some things that I would like to accomplish this month. So, this morning, as I'm enjoying a yummy warm cup of coffee in this adorable mug, I'm pondering my goals for this month.

July Goals 
1. Stick with meal planning. Somehow while in Buffalo, I managed to lose a pound. Could be because I was so excited to have a Fitbit. Or it could be because I worked out almost every day. Honestly, my best bet is that it's because I actually ate pretty healthy. (Minus the ridiculous amount of wine I consumed). My mom is an amazing cook so when she offered up meals like pork tenderloin with spaghetti zucchini, a roasted turkey breast, and homemade meatballs made from turkey, I jumped for joy. Sticking with a meal plan will really help me curb my "let's just make tacos for dinner" ideas. I'm not working at the moment since I'm on summer vacation, so there's no reason for having cereal for dinner. Or a turkey dog. Yes. I had a turkey dog for dinner this week. Sigh.

2. Paint our red desk. We have a red desk in our office that has been in our family for years (like when my parents first got married). When my brother moved down here, my parents gave it to him and I remember being really mad that I didn't get it. But when my brother was moving apartments, I asked if I could have it and he happily gave it to my husband and I. Now that I'm really working on home organization, I'm wanting to paint the red desk. I'm into white lately and I have a great office color scheme of white and gold in my brain, thanks to Pinterest. When I mentioned the idea to my husband yesterday, he was very supportive and said we could definitely do that! So this weekend we'll be moving it onto the back patio to start the project! We have to sand it first and then we can paint it! I'm hoping it'll be done by next weekend. Ambitious, I know. 

3. Downtown Disney with Ava and JB. My niece Ava is in town for the summer and I cannot wait to see her. A few years ago, I took her to Downtown Disney for a shopping spree and lunch at T-Rex. I want to do the same this year because we both had such a good time. Only this year, we have a very cute sweet baby girl that will be joining us. I know the three of us will have an awesome time and obviously JB needs something from the Disney store...

Ava and I two years ago at Downtown Disney!

4. Fix our house. We have a few repairs that need to be made. We have a leaky patio roof and our master bathroom is still a hot mess. I have someone coming out Monday to do an estimate on the bathroom and I had a roofer come out this past Wednesday to do an estimate on the roof. I'll be calling him this afternoon to book him since his quote was well within our budget. My husband and I are really thinking of moving back to Buffalo next summer, so we have to put some money into our house to get some equity when we sell it. While the two repairs we have coming are pricey, they are things that have to be done if we ever plan on selling it. There are other, less expensive things that we want to do as well... 
but major repairs come first!

What are your goals for this month? 
How do you stick to them?
Do you make yourself accountable?  
  post signature
© A Life of Love and Joy. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.