Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Clean Eating + Fitness

 // Fitness //
This is week 3 of Insanity and both my husband I saw changes in our bodies after just 2 weeks. I'm starting to see my abs again (like I had this past summer). We will measure and take more pictures at the end of week 4. Last Friday I skipped my workout. I wanted to do it at nap time, but Ellie and I did crafts and Summer woke sooner than expected. Then, I wanted to do it when the girls went to bed, but Summer woke again. So, I pushed the workout back to Saturday and did Saturday's pulse on Sunday, which is supposed to be a rest day. I also added an EFX workout on Sunday before the pulse. We have an elliptical, but hardly use it. After Sunday's workout I realized I really should use it more often, especially since it's been too cold outside to run.

 // Eating //
I've been still eating well with exception to an increase in snacking (I have to stop buying the girls mini peanut butter crackers from Whole Foods)! I also broke my no wine rule last week and had a glass one night. I've been eating some of the girls snacks lately because I get hungry and I don't have anything prepared. So, I have to make sure I stay on top of that and prepare snacks ahead of time for the week. I also ate more than two chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I have no self control when it comes to sweets in the house, which is why I don't buy them.

Last night I cut carrots and cucumbers for snacks, and I plan to make a lentil salad today. I have been making green juice during the week and drinking a lot of water. 

One of my favorite snacks (and the easiest!) is to buy a package of cut butternut squash from Whole Foods (about $5), put in a bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and roast at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes.

I also roasted two bags of frozen Brussel Sprouts (Trader Joe's) at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes. I prepare them the same way as above. Ellie loves them for a snack, too.

Everyday I've been eating oatmeal (in the microwave) with almond milk and slivered almonds. Coffee, too, of course. It's easy to make and even if I don't have time to sit and eat I will make it and bring it in the car in a tupperware.

For lunch one day I ate asparagus and hummus, hard boiled eggs, and beets. I bought the beets in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods ready to eat. They are messy and stain easily though!

This weekend after a long workout I re-fueled with one of my favorites- eggs, sweet potato, and sauteed spinach. I also added two slices of turkey bacon. Usually I make it with two over easy eggs, but Summer was eating them, too, so I made scrambled. Nick had made the sweet potatoes the night before so we had it ready in the fridge. I buy a bag of fresh spinach and it only takes a minute to cook in the pan. It's another easy meal to make if you have the sweet potato already.

We made chicken in the wok last week with fresh broccoli and carrots over brown rice. We used the last bit of Teriyaki sauce (I usually like to add a little more for flavor). The girls like this dish, too. 

I also made our new favorite dish- Butternut Squash Lasagna. It is so good! This time I made it with whole wheat lasagna and we couldn't tell the difference. And, it's low fat. The only cheese in this dish is Parmesan cheese! I will follow up with the recipe this week.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Luscious List

All of this snow is making me think about spring and color. I love this pop of pink and would love to find a place for it in our house.

I'm thinking of ordering these sheets for Ellie. She needs new ones and I love the sets by Pottery Barn Kids. Right now she is using the flannel ones, but in the spring she will need cotton.
Loving these heart wall decals for Summer's closet:
I'm looking for a round rug for the space where our dining table used to be. We put our Christmas tree in our dining room this year and while I was cleaning I moved the table in front of the hutch/bar. The girls started playing in this new space and I decided it was a good change. I liked being able to see them while in the kitchen and I like the new space. I would like to start using the side door more often instead of the front door, but would also like to add storage for shoes and toys. I found two rugs I like and I want a bright color. It also has be wool (soft) so we can sit and play on it.

This is the "new" space. The black cabinet used to be under the picture on the right side. I actually like it better on the left, but I need to figure out storage space on the right. I think a round rug would look good here and help define the space.
The other side of the room- dining and great room.
(Excuse the mess- Ellie and I had just finished Valentine crafts).

The girls and I hung inside today because of the snow. My friend and her 2 year old son came over to play this morning and a neighbor and her 7 month old daughter came over this afternoon during Summer's nap. It was nice to have visitors since I didn't want to drive in the weather. We played a lot and baked chocolate chip cookies. Of course I have no self control when it comes to homemade cookies! I felt a little better about eating 3 cookies after doing my Insanity workout. Everything in moderation. :) Before bed the girls and I did yoga for kids (on demand). It was very cute!

Weekend Recap

I ordered a blouse from J.Crew and it came Thursday, which worked perfectly with date night. While Ellie was at school Summer and I went to the mall. I was hoping to find a new top or dress to wear, but I really didn't have any expectations for that to actually happen. I had to replace my concealer and mascara at Sephora. Summer kept herself occupied in the stroller eating Cheerios so I could sample some lip gloss and makeup products. I went with this sampler set by Benefit to try a few more of their products. It was a great value. I don't see it online, but here are similar ones.
Concealer / Lip Gloss / Lip Gloss

Banana Republic was having 40% off all regular price items in the store so I picked up this gold necklace. I know I will get a lot of use out of it.

My husband and I went to R2L in the city. We had 8:15 reservations since I had to put Summer down to bed first and I didn't want to stress about getting to the city on time. We had a window seat and the restaurant is on the 37th floor and looked over the skyline of the city. A beautiful view. We started with drinks- a margarita for me and beer for my husband. My drink was the best I've had in a while. I love margaritas (on the rocks with salt). One of my favorite drinks. I was tempted to get another, but glad I did not. It was restaurant week and initially I was planning on ordering off that menu, but we both decided to try it out and it did not disappoint. It was a lot more food than what we are used to eating though so we were quite full! We started with parmesan garlic risotto balls and shrimp, lobster mac and cheese (this was amazing), which was fresh lobster rolled in the pasta with a cheese sauce, then the chef gave us a gnocchi sampler, and we both ordered the filet and short rib. I couldn't finish it I was too full, but it was delicious. For dessert we shared a lemon ginger dish and a chocolate hazelnut dish.

We wish we had gotten a better photo. This one didn't come out well because of all the lights in the background.

By the end of the night I had my head on my husband's shoulder. I was ready for bed after all that food. It was a fun night out and both girls were asleep when we got home.

Friday the girls and I went to Barnes and Noble. I was pretty tired from the night before and wasn't up for a big outing (like the zoo). The girls love it there and I can get a coffee and skim through magazines in between reading books. However, I'm still trying to get my voice back from when I was sick 3 weeks ago! The girls look at books, though, and it's so cute. They also played with the train set and lego table for a bit. And, I have to add that the girls wanted to wear the matching dresses. I let Summer choose between two, then Ellie wanted to wear hers. Everywhere we went that day people commented on how cute they were. I couldn't agree more! They are so funny and sweet!

During nap Ellie and I started on the tissue paper hearts I recently posted. On Saturday I hung them after they had dried. After I cut the hearts I used Scotch tape to adhere to the window, then the plastic literally slid off the top of the paper. They look so pretty! I want to make more.

Friday night Nick was working so I took the girls to Jules for pizza, then frozen yogurt. Summer gets a little bit in her own cup so she finishes first then tries to eat Ellie's.

Saturday it snowed a little bit and Nick took the girls outside for fresh air while I did Insanity. During Summer's nap Ellie and I went to visit my Nana who had knee surgery last week. We stopped at my favorite bakery, Velvet Sky, to pick her up muffins and cookies. I let Ellie get a cupcake with "sparkles" and I was proud of myself for not getting a cookie to go with my coffee even though it was so tempting!

Sunday morning I worked out and the girls played nicely together for a while. It's always extra nice on the weekends when I feel like I don't have to do much and can enjoy my coffee and relax. My parents took Ellie to see Paddington Bear in the afternoon with two of her cousins so I had Summer all to myself. Nick did the food shopping. He enjoys going out and doing things so it works for me! He also brought me back a Starbucks coffee. So sweet and always a nice surprise. I worked on a photo album and did wash all afternoon while Summer napped. For dinner we had our favorite chicken crockpot tacos. It was a great, low-key weekend!

We are getting a lot of snow today into tomorrow. I was supposed to have a dermatologist appointment this morning, but I have to cancel because I don't want to drive with the girls. I literally have anxiety just thinking about driving in the snow. Hopefully I can get another appointment soon. I'm planning on making pumpkin muffins and chocolate chip cookies with the girls. I'm craving a cookie and will allow myself to have a couple since I've been eating so well lately. Hope everyone has a great day and enjoy the snow if it's headed to you!

I had to include this picture because Summer grabs me and hugs and kisses me now and I can't get enough. It melts my heart every single time. I hope the girls never stop doing this.

** affiliate links included in this post

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Valentine's Day Crafts

Last night I was pinning a bunch of Valentine's Day activities for Ellie to do. Last year we made these footprint hearts to give to grandparents and they are one of my favorites:
I also made this paper heart wreath and Ellie created the banner below. The best kind of Holiday decorations are the ones created by kids (in my opinion):
This afternoon I want to do these with Ellie, but I think it's something Summer would enjoy, too:
 These caterpillars made from hearts is a cute idea:
I love this Valentine idea for Ellie's friends at school:
And, these labels are fun and modern:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fitness + Clean Eating

Hi, so it's been a while. I'm just getting over an upper respiratory infection plus I lost my voice and still don't have it back 100%. On Monday I didn't have it all and it's pretty hard to parent without it! I've been trying to drink more water than usual plus getting enough sleep. I got over my infection with the help of Mucinex and have started taking a half of a Benadryl pill at night to help me sleep.  It's definitely helping.

If you've been following me on Instagram I've posted a ton of pics of the girls, but I also posted a picture of Insanity:Max 30, which the hubby and I started this week. I'm following the schedule and my husband and a few of his coworkers are doing it one day later. So far I'm liking it and he is loving it. I'm a little skeptical about the 30 minute workouts. I know it's HIIT (high intensity interval training), which is a killer workout, but it's only a short amount of time per day. It's a 60 day program and we took photos and measurements last Sunday so I'm looking forward to seeing any progress. If anything I'm sure it will tone my legs and butt since it's a lot of jumping and squats. And, that's always a good thing. :)

I have increased my water intake and trying to drink less coffee. Instead of multiple cups throughout the day I've been drinking my usual 2 cups in the morning and tea or just water in the afternoon. I've also been getting more sleep at night so I'm sure that's helping curb my coffee addiction. I've also eliminated wine during the week, which was really hard after my husband's co-worker brought me a bottle of my favorite (Cupcake) last weekend. I'll save a glass or two for the weekend.

I've been trying to eat healthier (i.e. less snacking) throughout the day. You could usually find me taking a handful of the girls' snacks or eating mindlessly at night. I've been trying harder to discipline myself. This is part of the 60 day workout program. I know I have to eat cleaner to see results. Here is a typical day of what I have been eating this past week:

2 eggs (over easy or scrambled) with sauteed spinach and piece of whole wheat toast
Oatmeal (almond milk) and berries

Whole wheat wrap with hummus, fresh spinach, veggies, lentils (Trader Joe refrigerated) or leftover chicken
Salad (made at home)

Mid-afternoon Snack:
Hard boiled eggs
Veggies and hummus
Lara Bar (if we are out this is an easy snack to bring)
Water (I've been carrying my 32 oz water bottle everywhere)

Grilled chicken with roasted veggies or sweet potato

Nightly Snack:
Cherry tomatoes with sea salt
Carrot sticks
Roasted veggies

Here are a couple iPhone photos I snapped of a few of my meals this week.

Whole wheat wrap with hummus, chicken, fresh spinach, red pepper
Salad with fresh spinach, grilled chicken, hard boiled egg, cherry tomatoes, shredded cheese, roasted butternut squash, olive oil and balsamic (dressing):
 Whole wheat panini with grilled chicken and avocado / Roasted butternut squash

 The biggest thing for me is making sure I prepare myself for the week or I will end up eating nothing at all or everything in sight! I'm planning on writing a fitness and/or food post once a week throughout the 60 days.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Christmas Recap

I'm a little behind because since Christmas someone has been sick. It's been a tough couple of weeks. Plus, I was so exhausted after the Holiday and just enjoyed time with my family. Christmas morning was a blast. I stayed up until about 2:30 Christmas Eve making everything perfect for the next morning. I had to wrap all of the girls gifts, write a letter from Santa, and clean up. I was so excited for the girls to see their special gifts that morning! A new "Snowy" for Ellie, as well as the doll with dress up clothes she asked for and a Rapunzel dress. Summer got the truck she wanted, a new baby doll, and a push toy. 
Lots of pictures in this post!

Reading The Night Before Christmas:
My husband and I looking forward to wrapping together. Too good to be true (Summer woke up and wouldn't go back to sleep so we had to take turns holding her in her chair. She was teething this whole week- it was rough on all of us).
Stocking Stuffers:
(I forgot to add the necklaces I bought so that will be an Easter basket gift instead)
 Such a pretty sight!

We loved seeing their faces as they saw their filled stockings and all the gifts under our tree. They squealed in delight and loved opening their gifts. Ellie was more than happy to help Summer open hers, too. I have to say that Ellie was so excited about every gift. She exclaimed, "awww so cute!" and "so cool!" after unwrapping each gift.

 This picture sums it all up!
The girls in their matching red dresses (Target) and all dressed up!

My husband and I also exchanged gifts and I was happily surprised with the gifts he bought me. He read my blog and bought me the North Face touch gloves, new makeup sets (I love the Urban Decay set!), and the running pants and Clarisonic I wanted. One of the best gifts was a bottle of wine in my stocking! I thought that was pretty creative. He also got us tickets to a Comedy Club and dinner in the city. My favorite gift was Ellie's handmade hand print wreath she made at school and wrapped for us to open Christmas morning. 

After opening gifts at our house, we went to my parents for gifts and Christmas brunch. My Mom makes the best breakfast! Then, we went home to nap the girls and went to his parents house before back to my parents for dinner. It was a busy day, but worth it. I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!