Monthly Archives: December 2014

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Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 6

weight loss, weightloss

I survived all of the holiday craziness.  Barely.  I feel like all I did was eat, sit around and study, and play board games with my family.  Actually, that is all I did the past week.  I tried, I really tried to eat better, but those damn cookies got me.  I still didn’t do as bad as previous years, so for that I’m thankful.  This is the last Weight Loss post of 2014.  Next year there are a slew of possibilities and lots of faith in myself for doing better.  2015 will be filled with a lot of healthier options, better choices and being more active.  I’m excited!

J’s family came down the week before Christmas and we had tons of food, lots of cookies and cake.  After they left I struggled with it being in the house.  It was like that damn Red Velvet cake was calling my name.  I woke up one morning and was just disgusted when I walked into the kitchen.  So I threw out what was left of the cake and cookies.  I didn’t need it.  Christmas was only a few days away and I knew there would be loads more around me.

This year we spent actual Christmas day with my family, which meant only a 5 minute commute.  It was so nice because I didn’t feel obligated to take home any leftovers.  We kept them all at my parents so they did not enter my house.  I was proud of myself for not taking home any cookies.

I’m envious of J – we went back over to my family’s house to play Cards Against Humanity and J had like maybe 1 cookie – a small cookie, actually.  I had like 6.  I couldn’t help it.  I was sitting next to them and they were just there.  I shouldn’t of done it.  I felt so sick the rest of the night.  It wasn’t worth it.

I have some goals for next year that I am going to post later this week (maybe tomorrow if I can finish them) and I’m pretty excited for what 2015 has to offer.  2014 was a big year for us and I know with each year we’re just getting better.

I decided to start Whole30 on January 2nd.  I’m going to have a post later this week with why and my meal plan for the next week.  I’m pretty excited.  I think it’ll be good to reset my body from the inside out to start 2015 off on a good food.

DIY Christmas Photo Ornament

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

Every year the cousins exchange an inexpensive gift between each other.  This year is only our 2nd year for doing it, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite traditions.  The first year my gifts were okay, but not stellar.  I vowed to work hard this year and come up with a better stocking stuffer.  I came across a few ideas for a Christmas photo ornament on Pinterest and thought to myself that it was perfect.  I schemed with my mom to find a picture of my grandparents and then I scoured everyone’s facebook pages to find pictures.

I decided to do the picture of our grandparents for all the cousins and then personal pictures for their families.  As we all get older, get married and are starting to have families of our own the cousin gift exchange is getting bigger and bigger.  I have 5 cousins, 3 spouses and 2 kids to think about.  I wanted each one to mean something and be personal.  The ornaments were super easy to make once I had the perfect pictures.

Here’s what you need for the perfect DIY Christmas photo ornament:
clay or wooden ornaments (I found clay ones at Hobby Lobby for $1.47 and they were 50% off that week so they were only .73 cents each!)
mod podge
paint brush
scissors
pen
pictures

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

First you want to trace the ornament on top of the picture to get the right size.  I would recommend tracing on the back side of the picture so you don’t accidentally get any pen marks on the image.  Then cut out the picture.

Second, dip your paint brush in the mod podge and paint over the ornament.  Make sure you pay attention to the edges.  Then place the picture on top.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

Finally, paint a second coat of mod podge on top of the picture to seal it.  Let it dry overnight.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

That’s it.  Simple, isn’t it?  I love the idea of giving something meaningful.  I even made one of J and I’s recent family picture to each grandma and my parents, too.

DIY Christmas photo ornament how to

 

Our 2014 Christmas Card

I took a different approach this year on our Christmas card.

I went a bit more personal.  Some years I send just a card with our signatures, others a letter about what we’ve been up to that year, and some years it’s just a picture of the dogs.  But this year I went a different route.  I combined everything I wanted in a card and created a masterpiece.  It’s simple, it has color, it has details, and it even has a family picture.  I mean what else could you want from a holiday card?!?  Seriously!
2014 christmas card

I designed them in Canva and then put 4 per page in Word.  Sent them to my local printer and had them printed on cardstock.  Easy-peasy!

They were the size of postcards when done and so pretty.  Now grandparents can get an updated family pictures, cousins and friends know what we’ve been up and it shows a little of our personality.

Here is the final image.


Family Christmas Cardcard

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 5 (2 days late)

weight loss, weightloss

Alright, so I’m not very punctual this week.  I have my reasons, promise.  I was in Marco Island Florida until late Tuesday night celebrating my sister’s wedding.  It was beautiful there!  Sunny, warm and sand everywhere.  Then we came home to 30 degree temps and freezing rain last night.  My sister was gorgeous and her now-husband had tears in his eyes as she walked down the aisle to the steel drummer playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.  Breathtaking!

You can imagine how I have been playing catch up at work.  Today is the Christmas Open House at the office and tonight J’s family is coming to celebrate Christmas with us.  I feel like all I have been doing is cleaning, prepping and marking things off my checklists.  We haven’t had time to meal plan, cook an actual dinner or breath the past few days.  It’s been bad, I’ve ate horribly.  We’re starting over next week once everyone is gone and we have a few days of normalcy before the holiday celebration kicks off with my family.

My goals for last week were to:

1) celebrate my sister’s wedding : SUCCESS
2) get back on track Tuesday : FAIL
3) don’t splurge too much: SUCCESS (we walked a ton)
4) crossfit 3x: FAIL

Even with all the crazy of traveling and eating in airports I lost 2lbs lost week.  Not a record setting weight loss number, but still a loss.  I’m super proud!

This next week I have set a few goals for myself.  I like goals because I like to work towards something.  I think it helps when I reach a goal and can cross it off my list.  The one area I have to watch about myself is not being too hard when I don’t reach a goal.  I need to learn that life happens and I just need to readjust my priorities.

1) crossfit 2x this week
2) meal plan for next week
3) don’t over do it while our family is in town

 

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 4

weight loss, weightlossI guess it’s about time I step on the scale to see where I’m at.  I’d like to set specific goals to work towards.  I would also like rewards for reaching those goals.  Not food rewards, people.  More tangible items like shoes, a massage (which I realize is not tangible, but it’s still leaves me feeling great), new clothes, a new book, etc.  I think it’s important to make the rewards things I normally wouldn’t go out and buy myself.

Nothing went right last week at all.  Wednesday night I started getting sick, I pushed through work Thursday coughing, and by Thursday night my fever spiked well above 101.  I was up most of the night coughing and in pain.  I went to the doctor first thing Friday morning and I was the second person between 8 and 9am that had a high grade fever.  GREAT.  I don’t like being that kind of winner.  I’ve had the flu shot, but if you’ve been watching the news then you know how this year’s flu vaccine isn’t that great.  So I was nervous, but my body didn’t ache as bad as the flu does.  So I was given antibiotics and told I probably have a sinus infection.  I went back home and slept the rest of the day.

I broke down and bough myself my favorite sick food – ice cream.  I scooped out one itty-bitty scoop to eat with my medicine.  I had one bite and couldn’t stand the taste of it any longer.  So I took a nap instead.  Usually when I’m sick the only foods I want are the bad ones, but this time I didn’t want anything.  I have barely ate the past few days.  I’ve actually done really good on not over-eating or eating anything too bad because it hasn’t sounded good.

I couldn’t let my sickness stop me because this past weekend was a busy one.  We drove 3 hours to Springfield, MO to visit friends then drove straight to St. Louis on Sunday for the Garth Brooks concert then came straight home (a 2 hour drive) so J could be at work by 6am on Monday morning.  It was long and very tiring.  Now I just want to catch up on sleep and veg out on the couch for the next week!  BUT I know that’s not going to happen.

20141129_154028II

Here’s where I compare my goals of last week to how I actually did:

1) prep at least 4 meals – success!  We went grocery shopping on Monday night and purchased all the food we needed for the next 2 weeks so I could have enough meals in case I wanted to change my mind on the plan.  That way we had options and didn’t not resort to eating out.
2) crossfit at least 3x – well… I went 1x.  I ended up getting too sick to go.
3) write in my journal – I have been consistent with this one.  I purchased a sketch book on clearance from Hobby Lobby weeks ago and have transitioned it into my thought-keeper.

Goals for next week:

1) celebrate my sister’s wedding
2) get back on track when we get home Tuesday
3) don’t splurge too much while gone
4) Crossfit at least 3x next week

I’ve laid out my 4 goals for next week.  What are your goals?

Oh and here is a nice little snapshot of J and I.  His family had pictures done a few weeks ago and this one is one of my favorites. 🙂

justin and meredith

 photo by: Lisa O’Heron.

How to freeze avocado

One thing you probably need to know about me is my love of all things avocado.  Remember the Subway commercial where the 2 girls were going back and forth about their affinity to avocado?  Yeah.. that could have been me. I don’t see anything wrong with pairing it with everything I eat.  I’m serious.  I even have J liking the green stuff, too.  Not as much as I do, but he will eat it.

I was tired of only needing half of an avocado and not knowing what to do with the remaining portion.  Then I figured it out, used Pinterest and got it to work.  There are many different ways to freeze avocados, but I’m partial to the way I do it because it doesn’t change the taste.  Plus, the color stays nice and green, which is important in my book.

how to freeze avocado

4 simple steps to freeze avocado

1) slice the avocado into sections
2) dip in a shallow bowl of lime juice (you can use lemon, but I prefer lime because most of the time I use avocado I squirt a little lime juice into it)
3) place in freezer bag, push out excess air
4) freeze

Four steps to save avocado is all you need.  It’s brilliant.  Let’s face it avocado is kind of expensive most of the time, so now when it goes on sale I can score a few extras to freeze.

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 3

weight loss, weightloss

 

I still haven’t stepped on a scale since I started these weight loss Wednesday posts.  I’m afraid that I won’t show progress.  I’m afraid of how heavy I truly am.  I’m afraid of setting unrealistic goals for myself.  I know that I need to so I know my starting point.  But I’m not sure if I will share that number with anyone other than myself, my journal and maybe J.  Maybe.

I know it’s just a number and I should be brave enough to share it with others.  I just don’t know if I’m confident in myself yet.  Who knows, maybe by next week I will be ready to share with numbers.  For now… I’m not there.

I set a goal last week to meal prep at least 4 meals.  I am excited to share that I succeeded with that goal.  I found this neat meal planner guide on Pinterest, printed it out and listed out every meal that I know is clean and easy to cook.  I included breakfast, lunch, dinner and sides.  I prepped for Monday through Friday.  It was great!  Now, I just need to keep it up.

I also set a goal to not over eat over Thanksgiving.  I struggled with it, but I think overall I did fairly good.  I could have done better, but in all honesty – I could have done a lot worse.  And normally, I would have done worse.  What really helped me not be a total waste this past weekend was the lightened-up apple pie I took to dinner.  It was a huge hit, which was awesome because I was afraid I’d be the only one who would like it and that would mean more temptation for me.

This next week my goals are:

1) continue planning for at least 4 clean meals
2) return to Crossfit at least 3x a week
3) write in my journal any time I feel like I’m struggling.

My sister’s wedding is less than 2 weeks away.  I tried on my dress this morning to make sure it was still a go… and it is.  The dress fits nicely and all I need now are the finishing touches.  I can’t wait to see her walk down the aisle.  I’m taking bets to see how much she cries! HAHA It’s going to be beautiful!  I’d like to stay on track this week and next week to make sure I’m ready.

What are your goals this week for a healthier you?  Share with me, I’d love to know so we can help each other.

At the Christmas Tree Farm

 

christmas tree farm
Guys, I had never been to an actual Christmas tree farm before.  Never.  For all that is jolly and for my love of all things Christmas, I just can’t believe I had never been to one.  I always pictured Christmas Vacation when I thought about going to pick out the annual Christmas tree.  Chopping it down, lugging it down a snow-covered hill and securing it to the top of the car.  My dreamed-up idea was perfect, but the reality was so much better!
christmas tree farm

We went to Meerts Family Tree Farm outside St. Louis this past weekend with J’s family.  The weather was perfect – no jacket required and no snow boots.  We rode a tractor-pulled trailer to the spot then walked around trying to hunt down the perfect tree.  I was shocked that we actually got to cut it down!  We walked up to the lady giving us directions and she just handed me a saw – me?  I was never going to cut down the tree, but I felt pretty important carrying around the saw.  When it came time to actually cut it down, I handed the saw over to my father-in-law.
christmas tree farm

J and I decided after we buy our own home then we will have a real tree in the main room.  They are just so pretty and smell so good.  I’m sure by then the puppy will not want to grab every low hanging ornament.  Until then, we will have the artificial tree I purchased for a killer price three years ago from Garden Ridge on clearance.  It’s barely 5 foot tall and kind of resembles Charlie Brown’s tree with missing branches and holes.

What are some of your favorite holiday traditions?  I think we might have to add a venture to the tree farm every year.

Skinny(ish) Apple Pie Recipe with Cinnamon Roll Crust

apple pie recipe with a cinnamon roll crust
For Thanksgiving I wanted to bring an apple pie for two reasons:

1) I LOVE apple pie
2) I have been wanting to try a recipe for a cinnamon roll crust that I had seen on Pinterest.

The recipe was everything I had dreamed of and then some.  Yummy!  Plus, it wasn’t hard to make and didn’t require me to make a crust from scratch because we all knew that wasn’t going to happen this past week.  No way.  Then I had added a tried-and-true apple filling recipe I had used years ago from Weight Watchers.  These two recipes combined made for apple yumminess magic.  I promise you it was like heaven in your mouth – you could taste the orchard.

*I would like to go ahead and apologize for the poor photo quality. I forgot my nice camera at the office and only had my cell to snap photos with

apple pie recipe with cinnamon roll crust II

Cinnamon Roll Crust Recipe:
(adapted from Pure Wow)
1 package of 2 pie crusts (the refrigerated kind)
4 Tbsp. butter, melted (I used Brummel & Brown with yogurt)
1/2 c. light brown sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 egg white (for the actual baking process – see below)

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the two crusts until they are each 1/2″ thick.

cinnamon spread
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and extract.  Spoon half of the sugar mixture onto each pie crust and spread evenly.

Roll up the crust, lengthwise.  Wrap in saran wrap and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes.  Take a serrated knife and cut the spiral into 1/2″ thick pieces.

cinnamon roll crust pieces
Take a rolling pin and flatten the spiraled pieces until they are about 1/4″ thick.

In the pie pan spread, lay out half of the flatten pieces so they overlap on the edges.  Press together.

You should be able to use all of your spiral pieces for the shell, however, if you have any remaining then you can make a pie topper.  Place Them together on top of the counter into a circle.  I didn’t have enough remaining pieces to make an entire shell to cover my pie, which I thought was fine!  Chill both pieces for about an hour before filling.

 

Lightened-Up Apple Pie Recipe
(adapted from Weight Watchers)

2 medium Fuji apples, cut into 1/4″ cubes
2 medium Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/4″ cubes
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tbsp. apricot jam

In a bowl combine the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add apple mixture and cook until slightly softened.  You will need to stir every few minutes.  This should take about 10-12 minutes.

Remove the apple mixture from the heat and stir in the jam.  Set aside to cool.

apple pie recipe cooking
Once the pie crusts have chilled long enough, pour the apple filling into the bottom crust then top with the remaining cinnamon roll pie crust.  If your top covers the entire pie then cut 4-5 slits on top for it to breath.  Brush with egg white.

Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and then place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack.  Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Once the oven is heated, carefully place the pie on the hot baking sheet.  Reduce the temperature to 425 degrees.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Once the top is golden brown, turn the temperature down to 375 degrees and rotate the baking sheet.  Bake for about 30 minutes, until the crust is a deep golden brown.
skinny ish apple pie with cinnamon roll crust