New Year, New Me (2017 Goals Overview)

Happy New Year!!!

I can’t believe 2017 is already here. Time sure has flown over the last several years when you’re husand is school, your kids are growing up and you make two major moves in 15 months! It’s been a crazy several years and every member of our family is ready for a bit more stability.

While we have some big plans for 2017, we’re all ready to plant some roots and Indiana looks to be the perfect place. No major moves for us (just praying and planning for a 2017 home purchase), which means I can start thinking about everything in more of a long term basis.

This may sound selfish but I am making 2017 about me. For the last 5 ½ years, it’s been about the kids and mostly about TJ with him being in school and trying to find theright career for him. It’s what led us to two major moves in 15 months. But now that he’s finally settled (for the most part) in his career, I figured it’s time for me to find mine, which leads me to my first goal of 2017.

Get Accepted into Nursing School


Becoming a nurse is something I have wanted for a very long time, since I was in college right out of high school. I have been wanting to go back for a while but due to many different circumstances, I wasn’t able to. Finally, I am getting the opportunity to go back in January and I am elated. I have a few classes that have to be finished before I can apply for Nursing school, so my I won’t be applying until the summer. If I get in, I will be starting nursing school January 2018!

My next goal is by far THE most popular resolution every year.

Lose Weight and Eat Clean

Oh 2012 and 2013 me, I miss you and your diet and exercise. I want that back. My diet and exercise has gone so far down, it makes me sad. I know my body and I know that while it’s doable for me to hit my ultimate goal weight by the end of the year, with work and school, I know that it may burn me out and make me crazy. Losing roughly a pound a week is a real struggle for me, especially after hit the 30 pound lost mark, so this goal is an 18 month goal with me hitting 26 pounds lost by the endof 2017. It’s going to allow me to focus on school (my main focus) and become the old healthier me again. As for healthier eating, if I can eat clean and stay within proportions 5 times a week, I’ll be happy. I know this isn’t the best detailed part of the goal, but I’ll go into that more later.

My third goal is probably the only goal a bit more family oriented.

Pay off some debt

We want to buy a house in the fall and really start planting some roots. To do that, we think paying off some our debt will help with that. My job isn’t vital so most of my work money is hopefully going to pay extra on our debt every month and we plan to use our tax return to make a nice healthy dent as well.

My last two goals are really more hobbies for myself that I want to get back into. They help keep me relaxed and give me some no stress “me” time, which will definitely be needed.

Read 25 books

I love to read but never seem to have the time. This year, I am making the time. Whether it’s first thing in the morning, or right before bed (the more likely scenario), I’m doing it. Sometimes good lost in a good book is just what the mind needs.


Craft more

Another broad goal, but I would love to plan 1-2 days a month where I just craft all day. It could be house crafting projects, it could be scrapbooking, it could be sewing, it could be anything, but crafting is my happy place and we miss each other. I need it back and I need to plan these days out and make it happen. No stressing over a messy house those days. I have to learn to tell myself, I can do it tomorrow. It won’t hurt anything but a day for me to relax will be vital formy sanity.


That wraps up my goals for the year. I’m excited to see what it’s in store.

Do you set new goals for the new year? What is 2017 going to about for you?


goals, nutrition, weightloss

August Goals

How is August here already? I felt like it was just a few months ago, it was August of 2015 and we just moved to NJ. Now, we’ve been here almost a year. It’s crazy how time flies the older you get.

August is our final month of summer. September is going to mark the beginning of a crazy and busy period in our lives (I’ll go into that more in another post). Knowing how busy our lives are going to become soon, I sat down and really started to think about my past goals, why I haven’t done very well with them and how I can make August’s goals the best of 2016. One thing that came to mind when reviewing my goals was I think I was making everything too complicated and giving myself too much. I tried to think back to what I did and why I was so successful last time I went through my weight loss journey. I realized I kept everything simple. I had a few goals I wanted to work towards and didn’t overload myself with so many super detailed goals that just weren’t attainable for the time in my life. I set goals that were going to work for my lifestyle and my schedule.

That’s exactly what I’m going back with my August goals. I looked at TJ’s schedule and when he’s realistically home to watch the kids if I want to leave the house for a workout. I’ve looked at my schedule with the kids and what’s realistic for me to get a workout in. I’ve looked at my work schedule, and what I believe is going to work for that as well. All of these factors and more played HUGE roles in defining my August goals. But I know being aware of everything going on in our life, will allow me to set attainable goals that will motivate me to keep going.

So, let’s get on with the goals already!

Workout 3-4x/week
I actually had a slightly higher goal for this but when looking at the time I realistically have each week caused me to lower this a bit.  I’m going to start the C25K program over and schedule those runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday with the hopes of another workout during the week, which I plan to make a strength workout of some sort. 
I miss running a lot but actually getting outside right now just isn’t likely with the type of schedule we have. I’m working long days every weekend so in reality a weekend run is probably not going to happen. My plan is to get the C25K runs in during the week. If an opportunity pops up where I can get a run in outside on the weekends, I’ll take it but I will not be scheduling them in due to work.

As for my strength training workout, I haven’t decided what that will be but I plan to mix it up and hopefully add one or two in after my runs as well, but I’m not going to stress if they don’t happen. Right now, the habit needs to be formed and once that is down, then I can move on to adding more. If I can a strength workout in on Tuesday or Thursdays, I’d be happy, and then I can try to get out with the kids before school starts. Maybe a walk, bike ride or swim at the park. Something to get us all moving.

Meal Prep each week
I use to meal prep every week. It took up several hours of my Sunday but it was totally worth it. We ate at home more often and it made dinners so much easier every night. I got out of the habit when I was working at the elementary school and only sporadically picked it up here and there. 
With me working on the weekends, a Sunday meal prep session isn’t going to happen, but I can definitely move it to Mondays and maybe enlist the kids to help. I know how important meal prep is for staying on track with meals and this is a MUST for me for reaching my weightloss goals and limited workout time. My nutrition is actually going to be the most important part for me (well isn’t it for everyone?).
Lose 3-4 pounds this month
I feel that as long as I watch my portions and calories, and stick to my workouts, then this will happen naturally for me. But I know if I don’t do either of those things, this will not happen. This is the measurable part of the month’s goals to show that I’m doing what needs to be done to hit my goal weight/fit level. 
I definitely have a weightloss number I want to hit but I’m realistic in that it’s more about being fit and healthy than the number on the scale. If that means I don’t ht my goal weight, I will be ok, but the number on the scale is going to be a big motivator and indicator in the beginning for me. 
Read 2 books this month
This is not fitness or nutrition related but more mental health related. I would like to read 1 personal development book in August and 1 just-for-fun book. I feel personal development books are good for everyone, whether they are health-based, business-based, hobby-based or faith-based. We can always working toward becoming a better or more improved version of ourselves and I’m interested in learning all I can to be a better person. As for a just-for-fun book, I find that I get myself so wrapped in what needs to be done for the house and everyone in the family, that I don’t always make time for me to just relax. Making time to read a good book is the perfect way to relax and decompress from the day.

I know some people can read books in a matter of a few days but if I can read just two in the month of August, I will call myself a success.  

That covers my goals for the month. I’m focusing on the basics of creating a routine and habit right now. Something that I can truly incorporate into my life that will hopefully be simple enough to carry over to the soon-to-be busy period beginning in September.

What are your goals for August? Do you have suggestions or tips that have worked for you when incorporating workouts into a busy lifesytle?

review, running, Workout Gear

Garmin VivoActive Smart Watch

**Garmin has no idea who I am. They did not provide me with this watch for my honest opinions. I just purchased this watch on my own because I needed a new one, and wanted to share my thoughts.

If you followed for my any length of time here, on Instagram or even on Facebook, you may have seen way back from consistent running days that I have a Garmin Forerunner 305 as my main running watch. I don’t hate it but it was a bit on the bulky side for my wrist, and with summer just around the corner, I have really been wanting one for swimming. I have no plans on completing a triathlon anytime soon, but it is definitely on my bucket list. But first, I need to build my running base back up. OK, I need to build a base for all three sports but that’s besides the point. One step at a time, right?


As much as I love my Garmin Forerunner 305 for my runs and bike rides, I just can’t take that thing in the water and if I really do want to want to complete a triathlon, I need to not only build a swiming base, but I really need to see where I am, so I know how to train and improve. With most of my swims will be at the lake this summer, I’ll really be at loss for my distance and speed. Guessing both of those isn’t really the best decision for training. 

It’s trying to gauge my fitness levels in swimming, that started my search for a multisport watch. Already loving my current watch, I headed straight to the Garmin website to check out their options. I immediately noticed that many of the multisport watches were out of my price range, but I didn’t need it right away. At the start of my search, we were still seeing snow flurries. Let’s be honest, actually swimming in the lake will not be happening until at least June. 

One of the watches that really caughht my eye was the Garmin VivoActive Smart Watch. It appeared to have a smaller face, contained the three sports I wanted (running, biking and swimming) and a few extras such as walking, Indoor (awesome feature for my treadmill runs) and Golf (you know in case this below average mini-golfer ever wants to try the real thing). 

After researching some online reviews and then heading to Facebook to ask some trusty women in some fantastic Facebook groups their opinions on the watch, I knew this was the one for me. At $219.99 for the watch without the Heart Rate monitor, I knew it was out of my budget to buy right away but was totally going to happen before June. I even might be able to swing the extra for the Heart Rate bundle and get the chest strap too. 

I continued looking around for better deals on this watch and found Amazon sells it cheaper, which I find to be true most of the time anyway. But I still wasn’t ready, and my husband said no. He said I either need to wait till June or find it even cheaper. 

Ebay was my next stop. I found plenty of the watches but many of the ones I found were running about the same price as Amazon. I was lucky enough to find a few and lost every Auction I tried. I finally started searching for misspellings and found the watch with only one bid. I won’t lie, I added that sucker to my Watch List and then stalked it for two days. Finally right before it ended, I made my move and won!! 

When the watch arrived, I opened the box and to my surprise, it came with the heart rate monitor, which was not mentioned by the seller, so for $100, I got a new watch and heart rate monitor and saved $170!!!

I’ve had the watch for a few weeks now, and I love it! It’s not nearly as bulky on my wrist as my Forerunner, I can synchronize my phone notifications on it, find my phone if I lose it, can add other fitness related apps, such as a hiking up, which is great sonce we live just a few miles from the Appalachain Trail, and even change the watch face. 

So far, I have only used it for running, but it worked perfectly. Syncing the notifications was really nice, especially since I’m still working on the C25K program. Not that I forget which are run and which are walk portions, I do sometimes forget how long they are each. With my notifications form my phone synced to my watch, when the notification from the phone goes off telling me what my next interval is, my watch vibrates and displays the exact notification so I can see how long it is.
I can also change the music I am listening to from my watch as well. I never hated looking at my phone, which is strapped to my arm, but it still can be a pain. With my watch, I don’t have to look at my phone. I just set everything up on my phone and my watch will be there for me. 

I also wore this watch when we spent the day exploring New York City. It caught almost all 29,000 steps and synced directly to the Garmin app. I have been wearing my Fitbit for comparison and one con I had noticed is that if you don’t swing your arms when you walk, it sometimes won’t register steps. People naturally swing their arms a little when they walk and run but if you’re holding something in the arm that your watch is on, you may not be swinging your arms and it calculate those steps. This only happened to me when I was holding bigger items, or a child. You tend to hold them close to your chest for better balance and grip and so your arms don’t move. Other than that, I have no complaints. 

I’ll try to remember to come back and give you my thoughts on how the watch performs after my first bike ride and swim, but I’m confident they’ll do just fine. Now if only the nice weather can stay. I’m ready for some leaves on the trees (which are slowly starting to turn up) and beautiful days outside. 

Do you have the Garmin Vivoactive? What is your favorite running watch or app? What do you use for other sports?
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C25K, cycling, fitness, goals, running, weightloss

May Goals

April has come and gone and it took my goals with it. I didn’t even come close to achieving my goals for a multitude of reasons. Some of the reasons were legit, while others were just plain excuses. So, my Apri goals are back again in May and here with a vengeance. I am determined to crush my goals and make becoming healthier this month a priority in my life. I can not put it off any longer. I’ve seen the benefots of living a healthy lifestyle and I want it back. So, let’s get on with our goals, shall we?

Stay on track with C25K
I failed miserably at this. I got a few runs outside (finally) but didn’t really utilize my treadmill much in April. That will be changing this month. My kids have soccer practice every Saturday at the park where I usually run. When practice is over, TJ takes the kids to the playground so that I can get in a run. I know of at least one Saturday where he won’t be there to watch the kids, so I’ll be coming to get a treadmill workout in but I love that I have him there for that. When I have him home Sunday’s those are almost always guaranteed run days as well, which I love. All during the week runs will be on the treadmill and I will finish or come close to finishing the C25K program this month. 
Cross-Train and/or Strength Train 2x/week
I am still horrible at strength training but I know the benefits of it both of my health and fitness and to make me a better and stronger runner. If I can get in some sort of strength training on my off days from running, I’ll be doing great. I still haven’t figured out what I’ll be doing but I have Beachboy On Demand, which has kick butt workouts, along with all of my DVDs from them, and of course Pinterest and You Tube are full of workout ideas as well. 

Stick to our meal plan 5 out of 7 days each week
I actually didn’t do too terrible on this goal, but it definitely could have been better. I want to nail this goal and meal prepping should be a huge help in that. 
Get in my step goal 4-5x/week
While I smashed this goal on our day trip to NYC, in general, this was another miss. Not only did I not hit my goal any of the weeks, I rarely hit my step goal period. This can’t happen this month. I will hit this goal.
Get back on my bike
This goal is more or less a bonus. With the warmer air here, I would love to get back my boke out and start riding again, but relaisticly this can only happen when TJ is home. Jordyn’s bike is currently trapped inside the trunk of TJ’s car, which for some reason won’t open. Once we can get her boke out, I can take the kids to the park and we can all go together, but unfortunately we can’t until that happens. If I can get a few bike rides in this month, I will consider that a success. 
So those are my goals for the month of May. What are your goals? What are you shooting for and hoping to accomplish? I want to hear them. 

C25K, desserts, running, training

Back To Basics

I thought it was supposed to be Spring but Mother nature threw us for a cold and snowy loop over the  past two days. It wasn’t much but I’m definitely ready for spring weather. 

On Saturday’s post, I mentioned going back to C25K plan. Today, I want to go into more detail about why I decided to do that and what I’m really hope to accomplish out of it. 

It’s been a really long time since I ran. I’ve had a few sporadic runs here and there but, truth be told, it’s been about 2 years since I ran consistently. I have really grown to miss running and want to pic it back up. A few reasons have kept me from picking it back up sooner. 
The first reason, which is one of the main reasons, is TJ’s schedule. He’s so busy and gone so much, that when he’s home, I feel bad waking him up early to watch the kids so I can leave. And with him being gone so often, that doesn’t really leave a lot of time for me to go run either, unless I run on the treadmill.
Which brings me to my second reason. Running on the treadmill is so mundane to me, and not a highlight of my day. Staring at wall in my house, running in place doesn’t give me the same relaxation that running outside does. I know people who love it. I wish I loved it more, but I don’t, so it’s easy to find a reason not to use it, but I know that not liking the treadmill is an excuse and I’ve told myself that excuses have to go. 
My third and final reason is that starting up is hard. I remember how hard it was to start the first time, and I remember how running did eventually become easier. I find it frustrating, I can’t just be at that place, but I know the only way to get back to the place I was at before, and maybe past it, is to start over and keep pushing. 
Which brings me back to how I started running in 2012, with the C25K program. It took me from a non-runner to a runner, and I need to do that again. The plus side to doing a second round will also help me with the hills that I’m not used. Savannah had no hill. It was flat, flat, flat and its elevation practically sits at sea level. Living in the mountains is quite the opposite. 
And as for TJ’s schedule, there’s not much I can do about it now, but I’m not going to let it stop me. I’m going to do most of my runs on the treadmill and get outside when he’s home. I’ve talked to him and let him know, that I need this for me, and he’s more than willing to wake up so I can go. He may walking around with a coffee IV but he’s not going to stop me from getting in a run. 

With that being said, I started the C25K program two weeks ago. I start Week 3 tomorrow and I have been feeling great. TJ’s schedule and a few crappy weather days kept all of my runs on the treadmill, but that’s ok, I got them done. One thing I decided I was going to do differently this time around as opposed to last time is that if I’m feeling good, I’m going to keep going with the plan. I’m going to follow the plan and do all the runs, but if I feel up for running more than three times a week, then I will move on to the next run. Unless I’m sick or injured, I’m not going under the minimum of three runs each week, but if I feel like doing four or five, then I could potentially finish the program early, and I like the sound of that. 

I’m hoping that everything works out so Sunday, I can hit the park. The weather doesn’t look too bad and TJ isn’t working….yet, so running fingers crossed for me. 

What’s the longest break you’ve ever taken from running? How did you get back into it? 

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5K, C25K, fitness, races, running

April Goals

How is it April already? 2016 is flying by and I haven’t done well on my goals so far this year, but that’s all changing in April. So, let’s save all the chit chat and get on those goals.

Stay on track with C25K
This is really more to keep me accountable than really challenging myself. Last week, I restarted the C25K program, which I’ll go into more in detail in a post coming next week. As far as my goal goes, I just don’t want to get behind. I want to stay on track, unless I find myself feeling really good and want to complete more than the minimum runs each week, in which case, I could get ahead. 

Cross-Train and/or Strength Train 2x/week
I am horrible at getting strength training in but I know how incredibly important it is to incorporate into my workout routine, so I’m shooting to get in 2-3 strength training or other cross training workouts each week. I am including workouts such as bike riding and walking as well, because I know they are important as well and I tend to slack on those too. I need to be better so I’m giving myself baby steps. 

Stick to our meal plan 5 out of 7 days each week
When TJ isn’t home for dinner, I honestly get a bit relaxed on dinner and that needs to stop. It’s causing some of our food to waste, and our wallets and my waist don’t need that anymore. To help stick to my meal plans, I’m going to prep what I can. Once the prepping is done, it’s a lot easier to throw everything togetehr and cook dinner. 

Get in my step goal 4-5x/week
Even on workout days, I find this isn’t very easy. It really boils to down to the fact that I find myself not moving around as much. I have so much to do everyday that doesn’t involve moving that before I know it the day is almost over and I don’t know how I’ll get them in. To accomplish this goal, I’m setting a reminder in my phone to go off every hour, where I’ll get up and walk for 10-15 minutes. It will give me the break I know I should be taking and help to get my steps in. Talk about a win-win.

Register for a 5K
I’m part of a group on Facebook where April’s challenge is to run 60 miles plus register for a race of any kind. While I’m pretty positive I won’t run 60 miles (walking is not included in the challenge), this even will keep me motivated to move more and try to run more than I normally might. It will also force me to finally register for a 5K. I’ve been talking about it and thinking about it but haven’t done it yet. April will be the month I register for it, as soon as I pick one. 

As you can see, most of my April goal are fitness related. I, honestly, think it’s where I need to put my focus right now. Before I was trying to focus on everything at the same time and it just wasn’t working. I wasn’t accomplishing any goals and getting frustrated. I think focusing on just one major aspect right now until my routine is set again will help accomplish what I really want. 

What are you hoping to accomplish this month?

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C25K, goals, Green Living, weightloss

January Goals

Happy New Year!!! Can you believe 2016 is already here? It’s crazy how fast 2015 just flew by. I feel like in a blink it was gone. (Side note: if you’re wondering why I dropped off the face of the planet for 6 month only to return now, check out where I’ve been over on my family blog.)

With everything that went on with us in 2015, life became so hectic, I let a lot of things go.  I’m not happy with it, but it’s life and you can go back, so rather than dwell on it, I’m moving forward and reprioritizing. Life for us is slowing down, although it’s still a bit crazy with TJ’s school and internship schedule, but he’s amazing and has agreed to help me out so I can accomplish some goals for me. I can’t say enough what a lucky girl I am to have him.
Let’s dive in to these goals, shall we?


Lose 3-4 pounds this month


I’ve never been one to share specific weigh loss goals. I’m not super comfortable with sharing the numbers and how much I want to lose, but as I’ve gained the weight back I worked so hard to lose before, I’m starting to think if I share that with all of you, it may help me stick with them just a little bit more. My goal is to lose 45 pounds for the year. I am aware this will be very hard as I get closer to that 45 pound mark, but I am determined to get there. 

To start, I’ve set a 3-4 pound goal for the month of January. I don’t want to be unrealistic in my goals, but I am going to push myself. 1 pound a week for me isn’t easy but it can definitely be done. If I stay on track with my meals and workouts, .5-.75 pounds is normal for me. Anything over a pound involves a happy dance. Ideally, I’d like to lose 4 pounds this month and that’s what I’ll be pushing for, but if I lose 3 pounds, I will be happy with that. 

Workout 3-5x/week
I have seriously fallen out of a workout routine. Mainly because, running is my go-to and with TJ gone so much it’s hard to get out and run. However, that’s only 4 months of the excuse. I have nothing for the other almost year of not running. To get back into running, I’ve decided I need to go back to how I started. I’m essentially a newbie runner all over again anyway, especially with all the hills associated with mountain living. 

I decided the best way to get back into running is with another round of C25K. While, there’s a part of me that feels like it may be too beginner for me, I’m trying to look at it from the perspective of hill running. Savannah is flat. I have never run on hills and that’s all that’s here, so I’m hoping this helps me get used to hills. The C25K program is 3 days a week, so the 3 workouts each week shouldn’t be the problem, but I’d like to get some sort of strength training in 2 other days throughout the week to build muscle. 

Stick to our meal plan 6 out of 7 days each week
This has been an issue for us lately. With TJ working crazy hours and being gone more, there days where I just don’t feel like cooking and that needs to change. I need to stick to our meal plan. It will better for our waist lines and our wallet. 

Find my daily essential oils routine
I LOVE my Young Living Essential Oils. I use them all the time for my health and wellness when I feel they are needed, but I know I could be doing more on a daily basis to promote an even more well-rounded wellness routine. This month, I’m going to work on finding the perfect daily routine for me.

Drink Ningxia Red everyday

The first step to my daily wellness routine will be to begin incorporating Ningxia Red into my day. Ningxia Red is a 1-2 oz supplement drink that can support overall health and wellness, and can energize, fortify and revitalize the body. It will be so easy to take while I’m waiting for my breakfast to cook in the morning. 

Begin replacing my chemical-filled cleaning products with all-natural products

This will take some time, as we’re on a budget and I can’t just throw away all the products we have. I truly feel like I’d be throwing away money. But as we finish up the cleaning products in our house, I don’t plan on repurchasing those same ones. I want to make our own all-natural products, and if I can’t, I’ll only buy natural products. No one wants to inhale all those harmful toxic chemicals. 

Well, that pretty much wraps my goals for January. Writing them out they look a little ambitious but I think once I get into more of a habit, I’ll be fine. Bring it on January!

Do you set monthly goals for yourself? What are your goals for January?

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healthy living, nutrition

Kicking the Soda Habit

Soda Caps

Soda. It can taste so good and be so addicting. Millions of people consume it everyday. And millions of people reap the unhealthy side effects from it. I was, and sometimes still can be, one of those millions. I was never one of those people that consumed 3 cans a day, or anything like that, but I so like soda, and there have been times when I’ve had too much. 
But I know how bad it is for you. You’ve most likely seen images floating around the internet displaying just how much sugar is a 20 oz bottle of soda. It’s absurd, but unfortnately it doesn’t seem to be enough to stop people from drinking all that soda. What about the fact that most sodas are also loaded with artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and other chemicals harmful to our bodies? Nope, that’s not stopping them either. 
Why is that? Could it be that soda is addicting? It could be, but addictions can be handled and broken. And if you’re reading this wondering how you can break your soda addiction, I want to share a few ways that helped me break my soda habit. 

Get it out of the house and don’t bring it back in. 

I know, this sounds simple but it can make all the difference in the world. When you have soda, or any junk food for that matter, it’s so easy to have a little here, a little there and before you know it’s gone. Keeping it out of the house will really have to make you work for it if you want it. Not only will you have to spend the money on it, but you’ll have to go to the store to get it. And if it’s late at night, and you’re already in pajamas? Then you have to change, unless going to the store in PJ’s is your thing. That’s a lot of work for some empty calories and I don’t know if it’s worth it for me. 

Find an alternate energy booster. 

I get it, there are days when we all need an energy boost mid-day. Soda, however, is not the way to go, especially with all the chemicals in it. Try an all-natural energy booster instead. Try drinks like green tea, a green smoothie, or some Xinja Red by Young Living. You can also try my favorites; some deep breathing or simply get moving. Sometimes standing up and walking around is enough to give a boost of energy to get you going. 

Try sparkling water. 

There are times when we crave soda. It’s not because we want caffeine but because we want a little something with carbonation. If that’s the case for you, try some flavored or unflavored sparkling water. It might be the ticket you need to replace that soda habit. Try brands like San Pellegrino, La Croix or even your store’s generic brand. 

Try flavored water. 

 OK, so wanting a little carbonation may not be what you want. Maybe you aren’t a water fan. Maybe it’s too bland for you. Try drinking naturally flavored water or making your own by adding some of your favorite to your water. The combinations are endless and it’s so delicious. 

Tell someone else about your “No soda” plans. 

It may sound silly, but when you tell someone else, especially someone who you are around all the time, like spouse, a close friend or another family member, you are more likely to stick to it. That person makes a great accountaboloty partner and when that soda temptation starts creeping in, you have somewhere there to remind you of your goals. and perhaps, just sharing your goals will spark someone into doing the same. 
I wish I could end this post telling you that if you did these simple tips taht you would break that soda habit in no time, but that’s not true. Breaking habit or addiction is hard and takes time and discipline, but if you keep your eyes on the future, you can do this. Just take it one day at a time.

Have you ever had a soda habit? How did you break it?

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What Happened To My Motivation?

It should be no secret that I’ve been absent for a while. There are a number of reasons for that, but I often told myself the main reason was school. School was stressing me out. Don’t get me wrong, I like my job, I love the kids and I love most of the people I work with, but I was definitely stressed.

I would come home exhausted but still know my job wasn’t over. I had plenty of wife and mother resposibilities waiting for me when I walked in the door and that was enough to throw working out and longer but healthier prepared meals out the window. Towards the end of the school year, life was about finishing the school year. Between work, family and preparing for a move, a workout was the last thing on my mind.

But now school is over and I still haven’t really worked out. Let’s be real, I have only been out school for less than a week and am really enjoying relaxing and getting things around the house done while the kids are visiting their grandparents, but you would still think I would get some type of workout in. Nope. Not a one.

Why? The only thing I can think of is motivation. Or lack there of. I have a huge support of people both in my everyday real life and on social media but I still can’t seem to use that get me moving. I have goals, which maybe I need to redefine, but I have them. I have encouragement and I have the desire, but maybe I don’t have enough desire.

In my head, I want to work out. I want to get back to running. I want to lose the weight and hit my goal. But in my head, I know how stupid hot and humid it is outside and that doesn’t go well with me. And I know that’s an excuse. And not even a good excuse. There are other workouts I can do that don’t involve being in the heat and humidity. Starting 21 Day Fix over, or how about PiYo, or any other the other workout DVDs I have in my house. And while swimming is outside, you don’t feel that heat and humidity. 

But I’m still not going. And that honestly bums me out. I know once I force myself to go, that it will entice me to workout more often. It’s taking that first step to establishing a new routine. I’m having a hard time taking that first step and I honestly don’t know why. There’s nothing really stopping me. Well except thinder and lightning with swimming and running. TJ and I actually tried to go yesterday, got to the pool and heard a loud clap of thunder. back to the house we went. We don’t mess with Mother Nature. 

So what’s my excuse today? I don’t have one. Not a valid one anyway. The house can be cleaned later or tomorrow. The laundry will still be waiting for me when I get back, and blog posts will be waiting to be finished another time. 

So, that’s it. The excuses stop here. Just writing this out is pushing me. Maybe that’s all we need. A little push, or sometimes a gigantic shove to get us back on track. I’m heading to the pool to swim laps today. No if’s, and’s or but’s (unless that but is thunder and lightning).

How and where do you find your motivation? What gets you to take that first step?

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clean eating, nutrition

5 Easy Meal Planning Tips

It’s no secret that meal planning has a multitude of benefits. It’s great in helping you stay on track, saves you time during the week, relieves the “what’s for dinner” stress every night and saves you money just to name a few. But it can be a lot of work and if you’re not planner (I am a big planner), it can be a bit of a challenge to think about what you want to for dinner tonight, let alone everyday for the next week. Ask my husband. He never knows. 
As hard as it can be though, it’s a pretty important step when it comes eating and living a healthier life. So today, I want share a few tips, I find helpful when I sit down to meal plan for the week. 

Look at the next week’s schedule 

Before you sit down and try to plan your meals for next week, take a few minutes to look at your calendar and jot down any events you have that may limit your time to cook a meal in the kitchen. Any days you have something going on, make sure plan easy, quick meals that either be prepped ahead of time or be thrown together in a few minutes. Crockpot meals are great for busy days. Just taking an extra few minutes before sitting down to plan can save you time in the planning stage, o on the day of an event when you realize you accidentally planned a time-consuming meal. Better yet, bring that calendar to the table, couch, desk, or wherever you’re sitting down to meal plan. You’ll be able to keep a constant eye on your plans for the week.

Take inventory of your cabinets and fridge

After you grab your calendar (or before if it’s easier for you) take a peek at what you have left in your cabinets, refrigerator and freezer. See what you have and what needs to be used up. If you can’t remember and don’t want to keep getting up to check, jot the items down on a sheet of paper so you know to look for recipes containing those ingredients. Not only will eliminate some unnecessary food waste, but you will also save even more money buy not accidentally buying something you already have.

Plan dinner first

Dinner is often the hardest meal to plan. Dinner is more often than not the only meal where everyone sits down together at one time for a meal, so you have to plan around everyone’s tastes and schedules, so start here.  Breakfast and lunch isn’t usually like that. These meals can be vary in what’s eaten by each person in the house. Starting with dinner though, not only allows you to get the hardest meal out of the way first, it can also pave the way for lunches. If your house is like ours, there’s almost always leftovers from dinner. If you plan a meal that you know is going to have leftovers, you automatically have lunch for the next day, making planning for lunch that much easier. 
If you’re worried about what everyone else will eat for lunch, plan out something for them. In our house, I don’t intentionally plan out breakfasts or lunches for the kids or my husband. I always make sure there are healthy options for each of those meals to choose from and allow them to pick. For example, I have cereal, eggs, homemade instant oatmeal packs and fruit on hand, so the choice is up to them what they have. I also make muffins, baked oatmeal or pancakes (healthier versions) on Sundays as well that they can choose from. These items will freeze well and I can just pop them in the toaster oven for a quick weekday breakfast. But allowing my kids to choose brings me to my next point.

Ask your husband and kids what they want

I know it sounds obvious, but trust me when I say it’s not always thought about. When I first started meal planning, I never really asked my family what they thought they might like for dinner the next week. It wasn’t intentional but I didn’t really think they cared to have an input or about what we were having. It wasn’t until one particular week that I was having a hard time with coming up with some meals. I wanted something different, but didn’t know if anyone else would eat it. I went to TJ asking if he would be willing to try a particular meal and it wasn’t appealing to him at all, but he did suggest another meal I hadn’t made in a long time and just kind of forgot about. Then Dylan asked if we could have some black bean and corn quesadillas, a dinner he loves. And just like that I had 2 of our dinners planned and 2 lunches, since both meals were ones I knew would have leftovers. Since then I’ve made it a point to ask what they would like for dinner the next week. Admittedly, I don’t always ask, but it’s great knowing when you’re stuck for an idea, your family can probably think of something you haven’t thought about in a while. 

Be flexible

Seriously, it’s fine if you come home after a hard day at work and you don’t want cook that lasagna you had planned . It’s also ok if you planned chicken on Tuesday and pumpkin pasta (a favorite in our house) on Friday, doesn’t mean you can’t switch the days since you forgot to take the chicken out of the freezer last night. It happens. It’s happened to me on many occasions. A meal plan doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible with it.

With healthy staples hand, you can always make some nutritious and healthy. If you have fresh veggies in the house, a simple salad is always an easy and quick option for nights you don’t feel like cooking. 

Schedule in a leftover or “Fend for yourself” day

These are great to have at the end of the week when a week of work has worn you out and cooking is the last thing you want to do. They are also great for busy nights where it seems like everyone has something going on. This became huge for us. Not only did it immediately take my dinner planning down to 6 dinners, it also gave us the chance to use up any leftovers we have in the fridge before the grocery shopping trip. Since my kids aren’t old enough to make their own dinners yet (that will be changing in the fall with Dylan. He will be learning to cook more), I can heat them up any leftovers from the week, make them a sandwich or anything else they find interesting. This is also when they can choose, with a little but of guidance of course. 
Meal planning doesn’t have to be hard or too terribly time-consuming (unless of course you’re new recipe hunting on Pinterest), but it does take a little bit of patience and a little work. Give it some time and I bet after you consistently meal plan for a month, you’ll have it down, and may even know what it’s in your cabinets and fridge without having to check.

Do you meal plan each week? What’s your favorite meal planning tip? Share it with me below and maybe I’ll share your tip on a future meal planning post, or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. 

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