Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gifts for kids to get them outside and moving!

1   2    3    4    5    6    7  

     This may be a little late but I put together this collage for Christmas gift ideas to get children outside and moving.  I think those stilts would be so much fun for an adult too!  

     After thinking about it for a while, I decided this year that I was going to attach little challenges with our outside gifts.  J-man is getting a new scooter and I think it would be fun for him to come up with obstacles courses using little cones or even drawn out with chalk.  I might even think about ramps because he's getting pretty good.  Roo is getting a bow and arrow set (help me!) because that is what she has wanted since summer camp.  Hitting the target will be an obstacle in itself, but I think it would be fun to do a kids against parents competition.  I've learned the hard way that creating competition between siblings is not the way to go.  Make it between the kids and the parents and there should be less fighting and hurt feelings. (emphasis on should) My kids are usually pretty good at keeping themselves busy but over the Christmas break they might need a little bit of friendly competition to hold their interest longer.
     What are some toys that your kids like to play with outside and do you have friendly competitions in your family?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Meal Plan Monday and some healthy eating travel tips

This was an easy meal plan last week since we were leaving on Friday for my husband's grandmother's funeral.  It was a lovely time with family after we braved the ice storm of 2013 to get there!  I just have to add a picture so you can see what I mean:

Sunday-  Spaghetti squash again!  Google how to cook one until I can post a recipe about it.  I could eat this everyday of the week.  Be sure to use the Italian seasoned ground turkey in your sauce for great flavor.

Monday- Meatloaf.  I know what you're thinking.  Yuck?  But this recipe from my MIL is seriously good.  My kids LOVE it and we need to eat some beef every once in a while around here.  We use 90/10 ground beef and I try to not put too much cheese in the loaf (yeah, right).  

Tuesday-Healthy chicken nuggets.  My kids eat these up too!  There are never any leftovers.

Wednesday- All-American chili chowder.  I have to have a crock pot meal at least once a week.  It keeps me sane.  

Thursday- Brinner (Breakfast+Dinner).  We've been having this a lot lately.  It's so easy and everyone eats it.  I'll share my scone recipe soon.  They aren't by any means healthy, but we top them off with a strawberry jam and greek yogurt mixture.  We scramble some egg whites with a few whole eggs mixed in and serve everything with whatever fruit we have around.

Before we left on Friday, I went to the store and was sure to buy some healthy snacks for the road.  We had apples, easy peel oranges, nuts, sugar snap peas and some crackers.   On our travels, we utilize Yelp to help us find healthier restaurants for eating out.  We've found some really cute deli's along the way in small towns.  We like to give them our business as well and leave feedback for other travelers.  Another option is finding a grocery store.  Get creative and build your own salads with pre-washed lettuce bags and little tomatoes or grab some whole wheat tortillas and fill them up with veggies and hummus for a wrap.  You might have to pack a bag before hand with plates, cups and utensils but it will be worth it!  We've also packed a cooler and eaten at rest stops.  The kids can run around while we finish up.  It can be an adventure but in the end, we've eaten healthier, felt better, saved money, and have some great stories to remember.

Here we are enjoying our chicken salad at a rest stop in the Texas hill country this past summer. 

And here's my honey teaching the kids about black widow spiders at that same rest stop.  eek!  One of our many adventures together as a family.  


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

P90X3 is coming!

P90X was my first at home Beachbody workout program that I finished, completed & conquered.  I lost close to 10 pounds and shaped and toned my body.  But it wasn't so much the pounds and inches that I was the most proud of.  It was the confidence and the mind set that I could do anything if I did P90X!  I'll be honest and tell you that even though we own P90X2, I have never done it.  Why?  I think it had something to do with the length of the videos and they looked kind of intimidating.  Beachbody is always listening to what people want and need.  Time was the biggest complaint about P90X and P90X2.  So guess what?  The workouts in P90X3 are only 30 minutes!

Here's more info from the Beachbody site:

All good things come in threes, but be warned: P90X3 is far from a trilogy. No, P90X3 is NOT the kid sister workout. It’s the workout that took notes from it’s siblings, then condensed, and accelerated to become the most dynamic and fastest workout yet.
The ultimate excuse busterTime is the biggest excuse. P90X3 solves that. Every workout is 30 minutes and the clock starts the minute you push play. Before you can say “drop and give me 10,” it’s over and you are one workout closer to the six-pack of your dreams. 
Muscle acceleration explainedMany P90X fans were hooked on the science of muscle confusion – which introduced variety to the workouts and prevented plateauing. P90X3 takes a hint from that success and from studies showing the most dramatic body transformations happen within the first 30 minutes of exercise. Enter muscle acceleration, a Tony Horton-approved highly-structured schedule with an incredibly high level of intensity and an unprecedented variety of moves. The gurus behind P90X3 combined exercises and added some twists to maximize your time and keep every muscle challenged for a full 30 minutes.
Say goodbye to boredomWhich brings us to the fun-factor. Host, world-renown fitness ledgend, Tony Horton does not disappoint. With his witty one-liners and can-do mantras, he’ll simultaneously have you laughing and fired-up to bust out that final rep. Along with the constant entertainment, P90X3 has the most workouts of any Beachbody program. With 16 workouts in the base kit, they switch it up before you have a chance to consider boredom. From cardio to strength to pilates to MMX, there is something for everyone. 
The ideal P90X3-erIt may seem lofty to proclaim, but P90X3 is indeed a workout for everyone.  Everyone searching for tighter abs and leaner muscles, that is. But fitness novices and experts need not be afraid by P90X3’s come-one-come-all invitation. You don’t have to have any previous P90X experience in order to get killer results. For the beginner, the variety of workouts in P90X3 is the perfect place to discover their fitness style. If the move can be modified there is a cast member showing you how. But don’t expect to be an expert on day one. (Yes, fitness veterans will still be challenged.) As Tony says, ”You don’t get off easy, you just get to finish faster!” 

{real results from the test group}

It doesn’t stop thereAnd of course there are some bells and whistles too good to ignore. First off, the Coach exclusive: If P90X3 is purchased through a Coach any time from December 10th – 31st (including Challenge Packs), the customer receives an exclusive P90X3 baseball cap. What better way to spread the word about this revolutionary program?
And last but not least, we have the app: Yes, now for the first time the P90X app is available on Android and iOS (will be available 12/10 on Android) The app includes P90X guided workouts, tools to track your reps, weights and progress. Launching soon, is the P90X3 addition – which brings you workout specific tracking modules, scheduling options and the motivation you need to power through the 90 days. P90X3 scheduling and tracking will be available on the app for Android on 12/10 and is coming soon for iPhone. Check out the app and get ready to bring it!
So how do you get it?!
go to my site and sign up for free.  Then you will be amongst the first to get an email when it is available.  Order straight from there.  

Will there be a challenge group with P90X3?
of course!  Details are pending but I'll be sure to let you know when and how I am setting up the group. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Another Meal Plan Monday

I skipped a week of meal plans but that's alright because my meals weren't blog worthy anyway.  We took a last minute trip to be with family so our plans got re-arranged and we at out a lot.  This past week I was wrapping up the in-line skating unit with the 3rd and 4th graders at our elementary school.  I also had a long overdue lunch with a friend and the Thanksgiving lunch with my daughter.  A busier week than normal, where I'm not at home during the day, leads to easier meals.

Monday:  Stir fry-  I love this recipe from Erin.  It's simple and full of flavor.  I start with her recipe and then add water chestnuts, baby corns and frozen veggies to make it more of a stir fry.  Don't forget the cashews because that is what makes the dish.  Also, to keep the recipe on the lighter side, start with a small amount of sauce and add more if you need to.

Tuesday: Google how to cook a spaghetti squash.  For the sauce, brown Italian Seasoned ground turkey and add your favorite pasta sauce.  One of my favorite simple recipes for Fall//Winter because the squash goes down in price.

Wednesday:  Easy pot roast in crock pot. Cut up some carrots and potatoes and put them in the crock pot, trim fat off of roast and place it on top of vegetables, sprinkle roast with one package of Lipton onion soup mix and water.  Cook on low 8 to 10 hours.  (I used the recipe on the back of the onion soup box)

Thursday:  Skinnytaste Crock pot taco chili

Friday:  lightened up kale and potato soup

Saturday:  tortilla soup-recipe coming soon!

Brinner:  the usual scones, eggs, fruit and breakfast sausage

As I share these recipes with you, I'm realizing that they aren't as "clean" as they could be.  I'll be working on finding new easier recipes that are using less processed and canned items.  It's been really good for me to write these meals down and see a pattern.  I'm thinking that it will be helpful to me, especially in the next few months, to write down what I eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks as well.  Now I'm off to prepare for Thanksgiving.  Have you lightened up some Thanksgiving recipes?  I'd love to hear about them.

lightened up kale and potato soup

No pictures here today.  I need to get over the fact that I am not a food blogger so my pictures will never do a recipe justice!  Just take the pictures, Kristen.
Anyway, the other night while meal planning, I got the crazy craving for kale and potato soup.  I'd seen other recipes out there and decided it would be great for our new cooler weather.  But most of the recipes out there call for heavy cream and bacon.  I needed something a lot lighter than that.  I actually found a recipe using milk instead and when I went to cook everything, realized that I had not saved it on the Ipad!  This lead me to create my own recipe and it actually turned out pretty good.  I have to note that I think my homemade chicken broth was the reason it tasted so good.

2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 package of JennieO Italian seasoned ground turkey
4 cups of homemade chicken broth
10 fingerling potatoes or about 4 red potatoes, cut in 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of 2% milk
4 cups of kale, with stems removed and torn in pieces

First, saute the onion and garlic until browned and tender.  Add the turkey and brown until done.  Add chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and simmer until they are tender.  Add milk and heat through.  Add kale and cook for a minute or two or until it is wilted.  Season with salt and pepper as desired.

The next time I make this, I'll experiment on adding some corn starch to thicken up the soup a bit.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quick and easy Miso Soup

It's getting cold around here and you know what that means.  Soup!  We enjoy this quick and easy soup for lunch.  Everything you need for this soup is in the picture except for the chow mein noodles that we add for a little crunch.

2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 or 3 green onions, chopped
2 carrots chopped,
1 1/2 cups of purple cabbage (optional), chopped
Miso Easy, mild and/ or chili flavored

-In a pot, heat 3 cups of water and the veggies until all vegetables are cooked.
-Add 2 Tbsp. regular miso and 2 Tbsp of chili miso to the pot and stir.  (You can play with this combo to make it spicier or more mild)
-Add tofu and let sit for a minute to allow it to heat up.

*Serve with a few chow mein noodles

{This recipe serves two}

Note:  We usually have celery and carrots on hand but not purple cabbage.  When I buy the cabbage, I chop the whole thing up and then freeze flat it in one big bag.  Then I just grab what I need out of that bag and put the rest back in the freezer.  If you look closely, the cabbage in the picture is still frozen.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Meal Plan Monday and a T25 update

This was a crazy week!  Daddy was out of town for a few nights and I was on my own.  I contemplated not even posting about our meals but then I thought about how I want to be honest and intentional with this blog so below is the real deal.  Here are the recipes (or in this case non-recipes) and how the week went down.

Monday:  I had Bible study in the morning and then spent too long on a lunch date so I ran out of time to get to the store.  Note to self:  Shopping on a Monday is not a good mix.  Instead of rushing through meal planning and then rushing through the store, I decided to get Chick-fil-a for the fam after piano practice and wait until to the next day to prepare.  I thought I was choosing the healthy salad at Chick-fil-A.  I did not.  Maybe it's just me and the fact that I rarely go through the fast food lines anymore, but I got all flustered and in a hurry and I didn't take the time to choose what I really wanted!  Lesson learned.

Tuesday:  Tortellini soup

Wednesday: Daddy was still out of town so we had leftover soup and whatever else we could find.

Thursday:  Good ole pork chops, peas and carrots, and this rice:

Friday:  My sister and her family came in town so we cooked up a large batch of chicken fajita meat.  I used greek yogurt instead of sour cream.  But we still had the refried beans and rice!  My total comfort food.  

Saturday:  Leftover fajita meat. It was such a blessing to have easy dinners this weekend so we could get a major project done.  Our garage is cleaned out and organized and that makes me very happy.  

Sunday:  We spent the day with friends and ate lunch and dinner at their house.  I enjoyed the food they had there but the best part was holding their brand new baby.  Welcome to the world little Decker!  

I would give myself a C on healthy and clean eating this past week.  I drank my Shakeology every day except one so I know I got the good stuff.   However, I really need to focus on better choices and planning for my other snacks.  For lunch, instead of my quinoa salad, I simply toasted a piece of Ezekiel Bread and topped it with cucumber, grape tomatoes, kalamata olives and a little purple onion and feta cheese.  Top it all with some balsamic vinegar for added extra flavor.  

I finished up the Alpha phase (first month) of Focus T25 and now I'm on to the Beta phase.  I'm REALLY enjoying the shorter workouts.  They go by fast and you are moving fast throughout the whole thing.  It's taking me a while to get used to not having any breaks but sometimes I just pause the video to catch my breath and start up again.  I've found that if you wait too long, by the time you've caught your breath, they have moved on to something else.  So I pause because I don't want to miss anything and I want to get the most out of the 25 minutes that I am working out.  

What have you been eating lately that it simple and easy to get you through a challenging week?

Friday, November 8, 2013

November Beachbody Excitement~Give and Recieve

Can I just tell you that I'm so proud to be a part of the Beachbody family?  And even more so this month.  Just when I think things can't get any cooler, they come along with this month's promotion.  It's called Give and Receive and it comes in two parts.  

Part 1:  "Recieve":  Whenever someone buys a challenge pack this month, they will receive a $20 dollar coupon to apply to a future purchase.  That would be like getting Results and Recovery formula, the after workout liquid gold, for about half off. * 

Part 2:  In the second piece of the promotion, “Give”, Beachbody is proud to partner with Feeding AmericaTM, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. For every challenge pack purchased or Shakeology order processed (on home direct) this month, Beachbody will give $10 to Feeding America. That equates to a $10 donation for every Shakeology HD order and a $20 donation for every Challenge Pack sold. 

Here's a short 2 minute video about it!

There is no limit to the amount Beachbody will donate and they've promised a minimum of $250,000 with a goal of $1,000,000.  Can you help us reach this?  Each $1 donated provides 9 meals secured by Feeding America, so together, we can provide over 2,250,000 to America’s hungry.  more information about Feeding America, or if you’d like to make a donation yourself, please visit

*Coupon Terms: When your customers or enrolling Coaches purchase a Challenge Pack in November, they’ll receive a $20 coupon towards a future minimum purchase of $30 or more on! Coupons will be emailed to the address on file within 7-10 business days of the Challenge Pack purchase for customers and new Coaches and on or around December 11 for sponsoring Coaches. Hurry, coupons expire on April 1, 2014! Coupons may not be used on certain products - see official promotion rules here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Meal Plan Monday

I want to share my meal plan from last week with you.  It has its imperfections but done is better than perfect right?  In the future, I hope to incorporate more breakfast and lunch options.  I'm pretty boring in these areas so just know that I typically eat oatmeal for breakfast and Mediterranean quinoa salad for lunch.  Snacks for the day are almost always Shakeology.

So without further ado, Dinners were:

4. zucchini noodles with red sauce ~ Use a julienne peeler like this to make the "noodles" and saute them in olive oil with a little garlic and minced onion.  I made these for my husband and me because the kids were eating hot dogs for Halloween with the neighbors.

5. "Brinner"(Breakfast+Dinner) ~ scrambled eggs, homemade scones, fruit, breakfast sausage

6. Cilantro lime rice w/ black beans

7. Stuffed Pepper soup (I didn't get around to making this this weekend.  I'm thinking of adding it to next week.)


Saturday, November 2, 2013


finishing up the first phase of Focus T25, my latest workout program

learning from the Smart Success videos from Chalene Johnson
cooking homemade chicken broth (after seeing a horrible video about "natural" flavors)
tending to poison ivy on my boy
listening to Just a Fool by Christina Aguilera
crushing on these workout tops
missing this place

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

5 uncommon kitchen untensils that help me cook healthier

Well hello there.  I'm back!  There are so many reasons why I left the blogging world but more importantly, there are reasons that I am back.  Let's just focus on those reasons, ok?  I've missed expressing myself through writing and I've missed the fact of maybe I just might be helping people here.  With that being said, I've had many ideas floating around in my head and I'm ready to jump back in.  Feet first!

Here are the 5 uncommon utensils that I use pretty much use on a daily basis to help me stay on track with healthy eating.

1. Small hand strainer ~  I use this for rinsing my quinoa, rice and canned beans.  The holes are tiny so the food doesn't fall through like a regular colander.

2.  Set of cutting boards ~  We use about 4 on a daily basis and I encourage you to have this many.  Who wants to cut up veggies or fruit when the one cutting board you own is dirty? That alone would make me grab for something else.  Also, I prefer these non-flexible ones because they are easier to clean in the sink.  I run them through the dishwasher every other day or so.  

3.  Julienne peeler ~ This is perfect for making zuchinni "noodles".  I'll share the recipe soon!

4.  Ulu knife ~ This little knife makes cutting up garlic and herbs so fast and easy.  It's fun to use too.

5.  Immersion blender ~  Since it's kind of beginning to feel like Fall here in Texas, soup is on my mind.  I've come across so many soup recipes that call for you to cook all of the ingredients and then add it to a food processor.  I've burned myself too many times and finally picked up one of these at my local grocery store for cheap.  Just blend up those ingredients while they are still in that pot.  (And you don't have to clean a food processor!) I don't use mine too often so I'm not sure how it would hold up with more frequent use.

  What about you?  What would you add to the list?

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