Category Archives: Adventures in Motherhood

Katie’s First Prom + Peanut Butter Protein Balls Recipe

Warning:  Overload of cheesy prom pictures ahead.  Proceed with caution.

However, if you stay with me, I promise I’ll have a recipe to share.  It’s a give and take, you see? I force my millions of pictures of my child upon you and you receive a parting gift for you efforts. 😉

Anyhoo….on to the prom pics!

Katie is just a freshman, so we really didn’t anticipate prom this year, but our sweet neighbor invited her and she wanted to go, so we jumped into action and got her prom ready just in the nick of time!  She said it was a lot of fun and I have to say, it was lovely (if not somewhat sad and terrifying) to see her all dolled up for the evening.  When you are mainly used to seeing your child in a ball uniform or sweats and a tee shirt, it can be quite shocking to see them all adult-ish looking.

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Sister sister ❤

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My beautiful niece and her date.

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My nephew and his gorgeous date.

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Ready for After Prom

That was fun, but a tad stressful, between trying to find the perfect dress, shoes, and accessories.  I’m glad it’s come and gone.  Now we just need to buckle down and focus on finishing up the school year.

This week, I’m going to be focusing on some snack prep.  I’ve been a little lax here lately with my snacking efforts, which actually means that I’ve just been eating junk food between meals.  This week I’m vowing to get my act together, so I’m going to be making some peanut butter protein balls and hard-boiling several eggs to have when I get hungry between meals.

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Peanut Butter Protein Balls

These have become my favorite high-protein snack. They take care of sweets cravings for me too!

1/2 c oats
1/2 c natural peanut butter (I look for something with close to 3g of sugar or less)
1/2 c protein powder (Currently using Optimum Nutrition brand, 100% whey protein, available on Amazon or at GNC)
2 T honey
2 T dark chocolate chips (optional)

Mix it all together adding a little bit of water if necessary to make it all stick together, should be a cookie dough-like consistency. Use an ice cream scooper or spoon to scoop into 12 balls. One serving is 2 protein balls. And FYI, I usually just go ahead and double the recipe because they don’t last long. Store them in the fridge.

These are a great alternative to junk food/sweets. They give you a good dose of protein while simultaneously curbing your sweet tooth.

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Happy 2017!

2016 was a year of crazy politics, a few big changes for us as a family, and unfortunately, a year of sadness.  We lost two close friends.  They both died too young, leaving those of us who loved them behind to try to move on through life without them.

Needless to say, I was ready for the new year.  I know that time marches on and January 1st is just another day, but it does always feel like a new slate and new beginning to me.

So far, 2017 has been fun.  For starters, our beautiful Katie Bug has turned 15!

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I do not understand how this has happened.  Because, for real, she looked like this yesterday, right?

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We had an awesome game night to celebrate her special day and then a family dinner out at her favorite italian restaurant.  I realize that she will soon be driving, but in a pretend sort of way.  I’m not really letting that in on the radar yet.  Because, as I said, she should still look like this…

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Brian was able to enjoy 11 whole days off over the holidays.  He had been working 7 days a week, 12 hours a day for a VERY LONG time and we had thought he might have to work through the holidays, but it turned out that he was able to be off and thank goodness for that because he needed a break.  We really enjoyed all the down time at home with just the 4 of us.  So thankful for his job and the security it brings, but it’s nice to be able to have a break once in a while.

I try not to set resolutions anymore because honestly, mine are always the same.  Be healthy.  Be happy.  So, it’s really more of a regrouping and refocusing for me.  With that being said, 2017 is going to be the year that I finally attempt Intermittent Fasting.

Say whaaaaa????

Yep, intermittent fasting.  It kind of goes against everything you’ve ever been taught about eating, so you may think I’ve lost my mind here, but bear with me.

What is intermittent fasting, you ask?  Well, to put it most simply, it is just fasting for a certain time period every day.  There are couple of different ways you can approach it, but I’ll just talk about the way I’ll be doing it.

Basically, I have a time window from noon to 8 PM that I can eat.  Nothing after 8:00 and nothing until noon the next day.  Pretty simple, right?  But now you’re wondering why I would do that when I’ve been preaching for the last 4 years about eating within an hour of waking!!!

Well, I kept seeing posts on Instagram from some of the fitness accounts I follow talking about Intermittent Fasting.  I ignored it mostly at first because…well….the whole “fasting” part sounded awful.  Then I started getting more intrigued, but didn’t really have time to fully investigate, so I just kind of read things here and there and kept it tucked away in the back of my mind.  I didn’t really want to jump into it without doing my research first.

Now that I’ve had time to research it, I’ve decided to give it a fair try.  And if you’re wondering why I would want to subscribe to this seemingly crazy method, well, I have two pretty simple reasons.

First, it is going to majorly simplify my life.  If you are a meal planner, you know how agonizing it can be to sit there in front of a blank piece of paper and come up with 3 meals a day plus snacks that are quick, healthy, and that you are not sick to death of eating.  Especially on days when I’m not feeling particularly creative or when I have a million other things on my mind.  I just sit there and stare at my blank meal plan while the seconds tick by and everything else I need to be doing gets left behind.  With intermittent fasting, breakfast is eliminated.  In the morning, instead of getting up and immediately fixing myself something to eat, I just fix a cup of coffee (yeah, coffee is allowed.  Black coffee.  My fave).  I then can do my morning chores, get the girls up for school, start a load of laundry, do my daily devotion, my workout, etc.

The second reason I’m giving IF a try is that working out on an empty stomach, in simplest terms, will burn fat that is already stored in my body instead of burning off the nutrients that I consumed at breakfast.  I’m not really changing what I eat but only WHEN I eat.  Obviously by cutting out a meal, I will be consuming less calories, but it’s not a matter of restricting this or that.  It’s just:  You don’t eat until this time.  And you stop after this time.  Way easier than dieting, in my opinion.

Are you worried about being hungry or feeling too sluggish to get through a workout on an empty stomach?  I was too.  The first two days, it did feel weird, I’m not gonna lie.  I have been a faithful breakfast eater for years.  I’m not a night eater, so not eating after 8:00 isn’t hard.  But I always eat first thing upon waking, so that has been odd.  But today was my 3rd day and I actually felt awesome this morning.  I think like anything else, it’s just an adjustment that you have to make.

So, that’s the biggest change I am trying to make in 2017.  And it’s really more of an experiment a this point.  I want to see what it does or doesn’t do for me and how it makes me feel/affects fat loss.  In the initial stage so far, I am just loving the fact that I don’t have to plan out as many meals.  It’s kind of pathetic how excited I am about that part of it, actually.

Today was chest and triceps workout.  I did 3 sets of 12 of the following:

Bench Press
Chest Fly
Push Ups
Overhead DB TricepsRaises
Skull Crushers
Triceps Kickbacks

I also walked my dog 30 minutes and tonight I’m going to do some yoga.  Yoga is something I’ve done sporadically over the years.  I know how important flexibility is as we age and after talking with Katie’s physical therapist a few months ago, he really convinced me that I need to incorporate it more on a regular basis, so that’s going to be another area of focus for me.

Oh and I can’t forget this simple yet tasty recipe I wanted to share today.  I love roasted vegetables in the winter.  Well all year, actually, but especially in the winter.  I know this picture isn’t the best but I was too lazy to try to make it look better.  Forgive.

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Just take 12 carrots, scrub em. I don’t even peel them, just wash them and scrub them well.  Cut ends off, then cut in half, then in half lengthwise.  In large ziplock baggie, put 1/4 C olive, carrots, salt, pepper and some thyme or other seasonings to your liking.  Roast on 400 for about 30-40 minutes.  I served them tonight with a chicken and broccoli casserole.  That’s it!  Easy and delish!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and wish you health and happiness in 2017!

A Day in the Life

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When I think back to what life was like when I started this blog, I am amazed at how different things are now.  My girls were 6 & 3!  They are now 14 & 11.  Oh how the times have changed for this family.

I used to have time for lots of things like gardening, canning, cooking from scratch.  And while those things and those times hold a special place in my heart, the thought of doing that now makes me want to run & hide.

These days, I’m more into working out and being a professional kid hauler running from one practice to another, doctor appointments, school functions, softball games, etc.  I’m still cooking a lot, but I’m way more lax in how I approach nutrition.  I love to eat healthy foods, but I don’t have guilt trips or stress over eating the occasional junk either.  I used to make our ketchup, mayo, broth, jam, canned veggies & sauces, pickles, etc because I was bound and determined to let no unnatural items touch the stomachs of my loved ones lol.  And while those things are great, and I applaud anyone who is actively working towards taking care of their family in the best way that they can, frankly, I just don’t have time for that anymore.

These days our mornings are spent in a mad dash to get ready for school.  Once the kids are off it’s home for my one hour workout time.  This is one area I will never give up.  There are days when it has to happen at night instead of morning (which I hate, btw) but one hour of each day is all mine.  I have struggled to really disengage from the never ending list of responsibilities and chores that need tending to, but I really try to clear my mind and focus on my health and fitness in that hour.  My goals and expectations for myself, and my long-term health are the things I try to keep at the forefront of my mind.  Because I do want to be healthy and active and here for my family for as long as possible and I don’t want my health to be a burden to them.  I know that anything can happen to anyone at any time, but I’m going to try to ward off health issues for as long as possible.  My game plan for that is to exercise daily and find a good balance between great nutrition & the freedom of indulgence in moderation.

After workout time, if there isn’t anywhere I need to be, I try to tackle laundry & housework.  I’ve tried (and failed at) several different systems over the years, but what I have found that works best for me now is to divide it up throughout the week.  Mondays I clean both bathrooms top to bottom.  Tuesdays I dust (everything from baseboards to blinds & furniture, ceiling fans, etc ).  Wednesdays I vacuum & mop.  Thursdays are for meal planning / grocery shopping & errands.  Fridays are for tackling outside chores, when it’s nice, or just catching up on anything I missed earlier in the week.

Things are a little more relaxed in the summer when school is out & I’m sincerely looking forward to that with just a little over month left of school.  More free time for fun with the girls & SLEEPING IN!

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After 13+ years of being a stay at home mom, I honestly am surprised that I haven’t tired of it by now, especially with the girls being older & more independent now.  And looking back, I know we sacrificed material things & vacations.  But I can’t say that I feel deprived or sad that we missed out on the things that others have.  The day will come when we’ll do those types of things, Lord willing, but for now I can only say that I feel so abundantly blessed to be able to do this every day.

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**Pictures courtesy of my awesome career choice & our recent hiking trip to Clifty Falls State Park**  😉

 

 

Dear Lord, please help me stop being a crazy person

If I weren’t a stay at home mom, I know two things for sure.

  1.  My house would be a complete wreck 24/7.
  2.  I would be mean.

We are closing on the sale of our house this Friday morning at 10.  We are hoping to close on our new house by the end of the month. (please let it be sooner!)

In the meantime, my house is a disaster.  I mean it.  Boxes everywhere.  Full boxes.  Empty boxes.  Halfway full.  It is making me insane.  I’m trying to be positive and all that crap, but seriously, it’s hard.

I like having a clean house.  It makes me happy.  And nice.  It does, it makes me a nice person.  Because it keeps the peace & balance in my life and right now, there’s neither.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel, I do.  Just a little longer and it will all be worth it.

And then, because I truly am a crazy person, I will probably go into a state of sadness & missing all the good ol’ times at our old house and just how in the world did 9 years go by so fast???  What happened to those little babies that used to live here? (which BTW, I’m SO SO glad I started this blog when we moved in here.  I absolutely LOVE going back and reading about our life these past 9ish years)

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BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

Ah well…it’s a new season of life for us.  New house.  New neighbors and such.  Teenagers. (well technically just one, but another one quickly approaching it – yikes!)

Bring it on. 😉

 

 

The Return of School Days

BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

BACK TO SCHOOL 2015

Wednesday was the first day of school for these two cutie heads.  Well, three actually.  Sugar Dog would be highly insulted if I didn’t include her in every photo I take of my children.  Starting 8th and 5th grade…the time is flying by, as we all like to say.  But really, it is.  And one thing I have learned from having this blog, if nothing else, is that one surefire way to make myself sob is to go back through the archives and look at the memories I’ve shared here of my babies.  Oh. My. Word.  It’s heart-wrenching!  Makes me want to slow way down and fully appreciate the time I have with them.

Now, don’t get me wrong, their first day back to school was GLORIOUSLY quiet in our house and I loved every minute of it! Ha!  No tattling or fighting.  No “I’m so bored!” every 5 minutes.  But I’m also always sad to see the long, lazy summer days go.  As much as they drive me crazy, I love being able to spend the summer with my girls.  I wish school still started in September, after Labor Day.  It doesn’t feel like they get enough fun time away to enjoy the summer.

Every so often, I start freaking out and thinking I should go get a full time job.  I’ll think, what if something happens to B and he can’t work? or, Oh my gosh, we don’t have enough money in our retirement accounts!  And then I’ll start listing out all of the awful things that could happen to us from the years I’ve spent working at home to raise my family instead of working a job and making money.

And so, usually when that happens, I will put in a lengthy (and I’m sure annoying) call or text to The Spinster.  The Spinster will then begin the laborious task of talking me down from that ledge and reminding me of why I chose to be a stay-at-home-mom and why I would absolutely hate the working world.  And she’s always right.  And I’m always insane.  And then the peace and tranquility returns to my world.  So, while I may not know what the future may hold and whether or not we are financially prepared enough for it, I will continue to always be thankful that God has allowed me this privilege, to be their mother.  To be here at home raising them and teaching them and hopefully helping to shape them into kind, caring, respectful people.  And probably a little weird and crazy like their mother, too.

But I’m totally good with that. ❤

Snow Days = Ninja Sightings

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Shew! What a Summer!

Been a while since I’ve had time to post anything.  We’ve been softballin’ it up big time since the end of March and are finally heading into the end of our busy season. Both girls should be finished by the end of July, though I imagine they will probably pick up one or two tourneys in the fall.  They play on different teams (one is 12U and one is 10U), but they are in the same organization, which means that we are usually playing in the same tournaments, though not always at the same parks.  We all enjoy it and we love spending time with our softball family.  But I always do look forward for the slower days that come at the end of the season.

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I’ve been working on a couple crochet projects that I’m really excited about and can’t wait to finish.  I’m also continuing to plug away at exercising.  I can’t tell you how much exercise and a healthy diet have changed my life.  I am 39 years old and haven’t felt so good since my teen years.  Even in my 20’s, I never had as much energy and just general wellness.  So on that note, I want to share a website I recently stumbled upon.  Skinnytaste has tons of awesome recipes.  We just tried the Santa Fe Chicken last night and I served it with brown rice.  It was a big hit.  I think I may just serve it in lettuce wraps next time I make it, as it was very filling.

I went to an informational meeting the other night for parents of incoming 7th graders and it didn’t really hit me until I got there that I have a 7th grader!  I can’t believe how fast the years fly by.  She’s growing up so fast!

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She asks me almost weekly now what she should choose for a career.  She’s throwing around the idea of interior design or a therapist right now. 🙂  Although when I told her she might have to live in a big city to be successful at interior design, she kind of balked at that one.  I don’t think she wants to get too far from home.  Of course, that may change later.  I think she also is thinking about some sort of sports therapist, which I think would be a fabulous choice for her, but whatever she wants.  I know this, she is super smart, witty, hilarious and talented, I know she will be good at whatever she decides. ❤

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