TWLD-Feb Check In & March Menu & Workout Plan

It has been awhile since my last post in this series, which you can view here.  It seems to work well for me to do a monthly check in, so that’s what I will do.

Check in stats:
*Starting weight: 238lbs
*January’s weight: 183.5lbs.
*February’s weight: 181.3lbs.
*Feburary’s weight loss: 2.2lbs.
*Weight Loss To Date: 56.7
*Weight Loss Goal: 148lbs.

This month, has been hard on me with my weight loss for a few reasons:
1. We have had storm after storm, followed by extremely cold weathers, then more storms came.  Because of this, I haven’t been able to get out of the house as much as I normally do.  Hopefully, the weather will be more stable, and we will get nicer days.

2. Because of the weather, lack of exercising, & whatever else my energy levels have decreased compared to January.  I didn’t notice till a few days ago, that this month I have been a lot less active which meant I have been a lot more lazy.  This is something I definitely need to work on in the upcoming month.

3. My eating habits haven’t been good at all this month, which is a combination of bad weather, lack of energy, & my laziness.  This upcoming month, I am not allowing myself to continue to eat this way or else I will lose all the hard work I have put in.  I have already made my month’s menu of what I will be eating, which I am sure I will fiddle with as the month goes on.

It’s so hard to find affordable healthy meals, with that in mind, below is my March plan for meals & workout that are healthy & frugal, which I included the website I got the recipes from.  If there isn’t a website listed, then just hop on to Pinterest and look it up, which is what I do.  I hope this is helpful for others looking to eat healthy on a budget, as well as to know what I am doing that has helped me lose as much weight as I have.

March Menu:
Breakfast-
-banana foster overnight oats @(supergluemom)
-half banana & half low fat granola bar (homemade)-pre workout
-1 egg white & 1 egg on piece of toast (Ezekiel) w/half clementine-post workout
-frittatas-after longer exercise
-Eggs Benedict w/black bean spread & avocado-after longer exercise-@cookincanuck
-Yogurt Parfait Breakfast w/blueberries & granola- @cookincanuck
-gluten & grain free oatmeal -@holisticallyengineered.com
-Avocado & Green Tea shakes- @(alldayidreamaboutfood.com)
-Cauliflower hash-@ediblemosaic.com

Lunch-
-spinach & mango salad w/sunflowers & dressing
-Ezekiel bread w/ turkey, avocado, & hummus
-egg wrap w/ham avocado & salsa
-Frittatas w/ pancetta, mushroom, & garlic
-rice n beans n salsa-
-roasted broccoli & chick peas-@teacherchef
cauliflower pizzas- on my pin
tuna or chicken salad on avocado or egg-on my pin

Dinner-
-sweet potato topped w/ kale slaw
-peanut butter & butternut squash mash (nhopi)
-lean protein-fish, chicken, pair w/large portion of veggies & small amount rice
-cilantro lime shrimp-@skinnytastes

Snacks-
-vegan Avocado chocolate muffins @(Twigg Studios)
-chocolate covered kiwi, banana, strawberry pop @ (supergluemom.com)
-chia pudding w/seeds & nuts on top or with 1 seed & dried crans w/ oranges (from a can)
-coconut trail mix
-fried bananas in coconut oil w/ honey & cinnamon
-raw almonds or cashews
-hummus w/ cucumbers
-piece of fruit
-oven fried pickles- @skinnytastes.com

Drinks-
-slim down detox-watermelon + mint water +cucumber & lime or lemon–drink half gallon each day for 3-5days
-water w/ lemon-@ least 4 cups per day
-tea-chai

Workout schedule example:
Monday- walk or biking 1-2 miles
Tuesday-weights for 30 minutes then 30 mins on exercise bike
Wednesday- walk or biking 1-2 miles
Thursday- weights for 30 minutes then 30 mins on exercise bike
Friday- walk 1-2 miles
Saturday- walk or biking for 2 miles
Sunday- day off

What are some of your weight loss struggles or triumphs?  What are some healthy cheap meals you eat?  I’m always looking for new recipes to add to my collection…….

 

linked with:
Inspire Me MondayMotivation Monday Linky Party Sunday 6:30 pm at www.alifeinbalance.net

Hobbies: Finding The Right Fit

Hobbies are great for your mental health.  With that being said, I believe they are only great for you, if you find the right one.  Otherwise, it can cause unnecessary stress.  For example……..

I am a crafty a little, nothing like you see on those amazing blogs where everything is perfect. Nope, can’t do it, so I gave up on trying years ago.  But the time that I did try, the stress that came from not accomplishing what I planned to accomplish was overwhelming.  I couldn’t understand why my stuff never came out the way it should have, the way the pics on that certain blog did, even when I follow the directions perfectly step by step.  Am I alone here or do you suffer from the same problem?
Eventually, I gave up and realized that crafting wasn’t the hobby for me, it wasn’t the right fit.  Having a hobby should be enjoyable, fun, something you look forwards to, especially if you spend money on it.  I have always loved photography, but really decided right then and there, as I was looking at yet another craft fail, that photography is where I should concentrate my energies on.  And that’s what I did.  From there, my hobby took me to unexpected waters.
Because of my photography, I started my 1st blog Ever Changing.  My blogs intention was to have a place to store my images.  But it has turned into much more.  Because of it, I have met some really great like minded people, I am able to share my photography with others who are interested in it as well as view theirs, I have grown as a person, & I found my love for writing (which is my 2nd hobby).  My photography journey so far, has brought me a lot of joy, smiles, & fun which is what your hobby is supposed to do.  That’s how I knew that these two hobbies of mine are exactly where I should be focusing my energies on.  Who can’t use a little more joy in their everyday?
Below are a few of my all time favorite images to date:
44
38.3
6
138

113.1
1
blooming
2013-02-05 15.54.38
What is your hobby/hobbies?  What do you enjoy about it?  Has it brought you down an unexpected path?

 

linked with:
Inspire Me MondayMotivation Monday Linky Party Sunday 6:30 pm at www.alifeinbalance.net

Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is a term I came across when I started my journey of living a simpler life.  Mindfulness pretty much is to Live in the now, live in the moment.  But a better description is:  “Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more fully aware of the present moment–non-judgmentally and completely–rather than dwelling in the past or projecting into the future. It generally involves a heightened awareness of sensory stimuli (really noticing your breathing, feeling the sensations of your body, etc.) and being “in the now.” While mindfulness has origins in Eastern philosophy and Buddhism, there is no necessary religious component to mindfulness — anyone, with any belief system, can enjoy the benefits of mindfulness,”  taken from About Health

Once, I began researching mindfulness, so I made sure I understood what it means, I started incorporating it, into my daily life.  Some of the ways I am more mindful are:
*take mini breaks throughout the day when my stress level is getting high, before I explode
*I am more aware of my feelings
*give more individual attention to my 5 kids throughout the day, even if its only a short period of time
*connect daily with my husband

Being more mindful in my daily life, has helped me greatly.  Right away, I noticed a change, a positive change.  For example, I no longer hold my feelings in and explode every so often.  Instead, I give myself permission to feel a certain way & to know it is perfectly ok to feel this way.   Some of the other benefits of mindfulness that I’ve read about are:
*healthy & mental health issues like anxiety, depression, insomnia, & eating disorders to name a few
*can reduce pain
*improves cognition & attention
*relationships problems
*self esteem
*contentment
*stress

Do you practice mindfulness throughout your daily life in the simplest form or is meditation the way you practice mindfulness?  Or both?  Any tips, advice, or comments about this, leave below.  I would love to hear what you think about this topic.

For more information about click on the links below.
*Psych Alive
*Benefits of Mindfulness

 

Freezing To Save Money: My List So Far

Below is the beginning of my freezer list, which I am hoping others join in and add whatever they freeze to make a larger list, which could save us all some money.  I love our freezer and am so thankful my father gave us his old freezer, not only to stock up on deals, which does save us money, but it also helps us store food for our reptile farm (which I will be introducing you to soon.)  My list below is in the beginning stage, please add as many things as you can to my list.  Thanks 🙂

Taken from http://theladyprefers2save.com/?cat=150&paged=3 & One Good Thing by Jillee
1) Cheese: Freeze blocks of cheese for up to a year; shredded cheese works well also, and you can prevent clumping by adding a dash of corn starch prior to freezing! Remember to let cheese thaw on counters before refrigerating, after freeing!

2) Pancakes: I make large batches bi-monthly and freeze servings in snack baggies, as needed.

3) Bananas: I freeze banana, peeling on, and use for smoothies and bread; to use, microwave for 30 second, cut the peel tops, and squeeze out!

4)Rice: I cook monthly batches of rice in my rice cooker, and then freeze for quick night sides.

5) Pies: I always bake pies in multiples, then freeze covered in wax paper, then bagged in large gallon ziploc; these last up to a year.

6) Corn: I freeze corn, husks and silk intact. in gallon ziploc, and then pull out to grill when needed; fresh corn in the winter is amazing this way, when paired with 4/$1.00 summer pricing! Be sure to compost scraps!

7) Pasta: Whenever I cook pasta, I usually cook the entire box and then freeze portions as needed for nightly meals.

8) Flour: I store my flour, double bagged, in my freezer to prevent infestations in summer.

9) Mashed Potatoes: I always freeze unused mashed potato portions, in smaller snack bags, up up to two months in my freezer!

10) Stock: I always boil and use leftover bones to make stock. Once stock is made, let completely cool, strain, and then place in ice trays to freeze; I like to add herbs to mine and seasoning as well. To store, pop the cubes in snack baggies for up to a year!

11) Uncrustables: I make my own uncrustables by using biscuit cutters to cut sandwiches, crimp the edges with a fork, and freeze in lunch bags up to a year; I save $42.00 annually by doing so.

12) Potato Chips, Crackers and Pretzels: I keep my snacks in smaller bags, frozen for up to a year, and thaw for one hour before serving.

13) Milk: I buy milk on sale and freeze for up to a season; also note you should shake up milk before drinking after freezing!

14) Eggs: When eggs drop in price to $0.99 a dozen at Walgreens, I stock-up, crack eggs, and put portions in snack bags to freeze for recipes down the road!

15) Lemon/Lime Juice and Zest: I often freeze lemon juice from my potted citrus trees, in ice trays, then transport cubes to snack baggies for up to a year; as well as freeze the zest for homemade potpourri in winter!

16) Hamburger: I often cook extra ground beef and turkey, they freeze the extra seasoned amounts in snack baggies for recipes, especially in the crockpot for later on!

What are some things you freeze that you can add to the list?  Anything that doesn’t freeze well you learned the hard way?

Frugal Ways To Save $

 

Here’s a list I have been keeping when I come across a frugal idea that I like.  Are you doing or have you tried anything on my list?

-freeze herbs in olive oil or butter
-store brown sugar in freezer to prevent hardening
-bay leaf in flour, pasta, or rice to repel bugs
-sign up for Victoria Secrets mailing list…….get 1 free underwear per month
-fix bra with moleskin foot padding used for corns
-sharpen dull razors on jeans
-make own microwave popcorn
-regrow certain veggies from stubs
-reuse leftover food scraps
-make your own soap and laundry soap
-pour leftover wine in ice cube trays & freeze…….take out when needed
-Keep a jar of dried, used coffee grounds under the sink and use with dish soap as a scouring agent
-Place an open jar or bowl of dried, used coffee grounds in your refrigerator/freezer to neutralize odors
-Spread out old newspaper beneath a tablecloth to provide further protection against spills.
-Once it’s time to retire an old game, use the game board to make coasters or wall decor by framing it
-Use old game pieces – Monopoly movers, dice, Scrabble tiles to make jewelry, presents, or gift tags
-separate the front bushes & put along flower garden (spacing everything out)
-delivery for a CSA for free veggies all spring/summer
-use sample or free trials conditioners to make home detangler
-use free sample all year to make baskets for birthdays & holidays
-put a bucket or two in the shower each time & use that water for your garden
-make changes to your garden to add more space….grow vertical, convert non-garden areas, grow food in front yard, or add edibles to flower beds.
-continue to use cold water for washing machine
-hang clothes out to dry as much as possible
-unplug bigger items when not in use
-have a certain day for weekly baking needs
-Mound used coffee grounds in a ring around garden plants to keep ants and slugs away.
-Keep used tea bags in the refrigerator; in the morning, dampen if needed and put one on each eye
-Dampen cool, used tea bags and place them on insect bites and minor burns; tannis soothe & reduce inflammation
-you can save the tube and cut it into strips for a bonanza of rubber bands in custom widths.
-Cut a length of tube a little longer that the door’s width, fill with sand and seal both ends; keeps drafts out
-Empty pill bottles can be used to tame the mess in junk drawers, tool boxes, etc….
-Pill containers can also hold a stash of Band
-soap slivers- wrap a group of them in a washcloth and tie it into a bundle; sudsing scrubber
-banana peel to shine shoes. Rub the inside of the peel on shoes, then buff with a soft cloth
-Use juiced citrus halves sprinkled with salt to clean stainless steel and other metal fixtures.
-Add a hunk of orange peel to brown sugar to ensure it stays soft
-turn old books into journals
-turn ugly sweater into mittens
-use aluminum foil instead of dryer sheets- which has worked pretty well so far

resources:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/14/50-ways-to-reuse-your-trash_n_5319040.html?utm_hp_ref=pt&src=sp&comm_ref=false

http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/46-penny-pinching-ways-to-save-a-lot-of-money-this

http://www.thefrugalette.com/2013/02/56-ways-to-reduce-food-waste-and-save-thousands/

Do you have any frugal ideas you can share that you use, that helps save you money?

 

 

linked with:
Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

Preparing Me For Motherhood

The 1st 25 yrs of my life wasn’t the best or the easiest.  In fact, my childhood was harder than most, filled with one uphill battle after another.  I never knew why I had the life I did, growing up without a mother & then having a mother with a mental illness was among the numerous things that was thrown at me.  I prayed over and over again for an easier life or just to have someone in my life who loved me.  What I didn’t realize that all my struggles, my battles, my hardships were preparing me for what motherhood had in store for me.  Have you heard the old saying:

I always wondered, why was I given so much to handle?  Why must everything be so hard & such a struggle for me?   Looking back I am thankful for all that I have been through because without losing my mother at such a young age I wouldn’t be the mom I am today & without dealing with my mother’s mental illness I wouldn’t be able to help & advocate for my oldest son who is currently struggling with his mental illness.  I’m thankful that I have experience with mental illness & that I am able to help my son as much as I can.  And I am thankful, that I can understand the mental illness world, that I am not new to this.  Who knew motherhood would be this hard?

Green Cleaning

Green living is something I haven’t done a lot with.  I haven’t put in the time of looking for alternative way to help keep my house clean, while helping the environment.  Sure, we recycle every week and donate all our unwanted items to a few local charities or to the recycling center.  We compost (which I will have a post on soon) and have been ever since we bought our house 3 or so years ago.  Oh and my favorite & easier way to clean our shower is with apple cider vinegar, baking soda, and rinsing with water. But other than that, I haven’t done much.  I know, I need to really do a better job with this.

My ultimate goal is to incorporate some more ways to go greener into our daily lives that not only helps the environment but also is healthy and safe for us.  There is so much information out there, its hard to figure out where to begin.  Since I am home with the kids everyday, the best place for me to start is with something the kids and I do everyday………………….clean.  Yes, believe it or not, we do clean our house everyday, well almost every day.  There are those times that I have a day of fun.  On those days, cleaning is not allowed until the fun is over.

After some research I have come up with a list of things I want to start incorporating into our house.  But I wanted to start with a simple list for beginners like me, to make it as simple as possible.  That way it could  be done by anyone and wouldn’t cost a fortune.  Most of us will have some of the ingredients on hand.  Below is a list of different cleaning solutions from a website that I stumble upon.  Thank goodness for Pinterest and making our lives so much easier.

taken from http://www.picklee.com/2012/04/13/10-remarkable-diy-cleaning-solutions/#.T4jsfdXnHQI

What are some ways you go green at your house?

 

Dark Side Of Parenting

I read parenting advice, thoughts, ideas etc from numerous blogs each week & they all have 1 thing in common, they usually talk about the good, the positive, the uplifting things about parenting.  I think that’s great and all, and I do enjoy reading them, but what isn’t talked about as much is the dark side of parenting.  The days were you just want to curl up in a ball, ignore the whole world, crying & crying, & thinking where did I go wrong?  Those days are the days, you need people to talk about, you need to know your not alone, you need to know every parent goes through those challenging moment, you need to know that like with everything, parenting has a dark side too.
Tonight was one of those nights for me.  It took over everything in my world & the only reason I didn’t cry was because I was babysitting during this situation.  Parenting teens is something you can’t begin to understand till you are there.  It has been one of the hardest but very rewarding thing I have ever done.  My eldest who is almost 16 didn’t make good choices tonight.  And because of his poor choices, a lot of things happened……..he made not only himself but our family look bad, he might have lost the only friend he had, he hurt people who really care about him, there will be more consequences from his actions by his peers like gossip or people making fun of him, & he lost our trust (which is so hard to get back.)  It just breaks my heart to see how all of this is self inflicted, he brought it upon himself.
My job as a parent is to show them the path when they are lost, but only they can walk down that road.  I let him know that everyone has made poor decisions numerous times in their lives, but that we have to deal with the fallout, the consequences of our actions.
Nothing in life is every just happy & sunny 100% of the time.  There are those dark times that we all must endure to get to the happy days, the days that make all the hardships worth while.  Only then do we appreciate the happiness & blessings in our lives.  I am happy to say, that tonight is almost over, which means tomorrow’s another day.  And another chance at making it better than today.

Anyone out there that can relate, feel free to leave me a comment or two. 

Increasing Protein Intake Helps With Weight Loss

 

Yes, increasing your protein intake will help you with your weight loss.  This concept is something a lot of people, especially people who are dieting, don’t know.  And I used to be one of those people.  When I 1st started my weight loss journey, 7 months ago, there was so much nutrition, health, & wellness information that I didn’t know.  No one taught me about proper nutrition that my body needs, no one told me how important good fats are in your diet, no one told me about the different carbs (simple & complex), & no one told me that I need to increase my protein intake to help with my weight loss.  After reading article after article, this concept was one of the 1st things I learned about proper nutrition.  And it’s a very important concept to understand.

From Wikipedia:
“Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance.[1] Aside from water, proteins are the most abundant kind of molecules in the body. Protein can be found in all cells of the body and is the major structural component of all cells in the body, especially muscle.[1][6] This also includes body organs, hair and SKIN. Proteins are also used in membranes, such as glycoproteins. When broken down into amino acids, they are used as precursors to nucleic acid, co-enzymes, HORMONES, immune response, cellular repair, and other molecules essential for life.[6] Additionally, protein is needed to form blood cells.[1][7].”

Below is a chart to show you different proteins:

Why does increased protein help in weight loss?  Information below taken from Kashi site

Protein helps promote satiety

Consuming protein from foods like lean poultry, beans or low-fat yogurt, can help promote feeling full which is one of the keys to losing weight. So consider adding a grilled chicken breast to your salad or low-fat cottage cheese to your breakfast. You may find you’re less likely to overeat later in the day.

Protein helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels

The staying power of protein when consumed with carbohydrates can help balance blood sugar levels.2

balanced blood sugar levels may promote better food choices. Most of us make better choices when we’re feeling steady.

Protein plus exercise is a powerful one-two punch

Adequate protein intake combined with exercise can have beneficial effects on body composition and stimulate muscle synthesis.3 One study in adult women also reported improvement in the blood lipid profile by the combination of adequate dietary protein and aerobic exercise.

For further reading check out this article which I found extremely helpful: How Protein Helps With Weight Loss

Do you take in enough protein each day, as is suggested?  What are some ways to increase your protein intake?