Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The 'Weight'ing Game

Another shipment came! My favorite Love Grown Foods box from Amazon came with six fresh bags of delicious gluten free granola.  I just can't get enough of this stuff mixed in with 3/4 cup of plain greek yogurt, a tablespoon of honey, and yummy blueberries/strawberries (fresh or frozen!). 

I am enjoying a relaxing week up north at our family vacation spot and cannot complain about the gorgeous view of Lake Superior.

So this summer has been up and down in reference to the scale.  Last summer was my first summer of "maintenance" and I found it more of a struggle to not gain weight than during the other 9 months of the year.  I fluctuated up and down five pounds due to having the summer off from teaching and having a different daily schedule in general.  This summer, I am up five pounds from my lowest weight and I have been trying to not see it as much as a struggle and more of a success that I haven't strayed away too far from my lowest.  In fact, my "happy" weight is within those five pounds.  This week has been a nice break from the scale because I do usually weigh myself every morning and every night and tend to let it affect my mood. 

On a WAY more fun note, my garden is coming along and it's almost harvest time!



 Pea pods!

I also have jalepeno peppers and bell peppers popping up. Cannot wait to pick all of these veggies!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Never Taken For Granted

We celebrated my parents' 40 wedding anniversary yesterday with the whole family...all 19 of us! It was a great celebration.  We surprised them with a photo book including letters from each of us 6 kids.  It was really special and they loved it.
 My parents with their 6 grandkids.

This morning, I got to meet my friend Briana for coffee and  hear about her honeymoon and see pictures.  I can't believe she has been married over a month already! She looked happy and beautiful and it was great to catch up.

After a stop to visit my grandparents (Grandpa talked a bit and ate a huge breakfast!), Tom and I headed home so that he would have time to get ready for his soccer game tonight.

A little convo began about a half hour from arriving home.

Me: "How far do you think it is from our house to the soccer field?"
Tom: "Probably about 5 miles."
Me: " I could probably bike that, right?"
Tom: "Yeah you could bike that, it would be fun."

Upon pulling up to our house we saw that the driveway was repaved today and not yesterday (as originally thought) and was therefore not yet dry.  The decision was made for me.  Tom had to be at the game an hour prior to start time, so instead of riding along with him, I decided to do the bike ride and was glad I did!

It was a gorgeous night, and was just over 6 miles there and back for a round trip of about 12.2 miles.  Am I an intense and amazing biker? No.  Do I have a cheap but oh so cute mountain bike from Target? Heck yes. Did super serious and strong bikers on gorgeous and expensive machines pass me just a few times?  Of course! Even though I am not an experienced biker, I had fun tonight.  I sucked air (and bugs) and enjoyed my music while I pedaled along.  Biking is something I enjoy that doesn't feel like exercise when I am appreciating the scenery and feeling the burn in my legs and remembering that I am doing something positive for myself.  I will never take for granted the fact that I can sit comfortably on a bike, move my legs around, or even make the decision to go out for a bike ride on a whim just because I can.  

There was a time when I couldn't kneel at church for more than a few minutes at a time because it hurt my knees.  I will always remember when I lived with friends a few years ago and would walk down the block from our house and back, feeling so proud of myself for exercising. A journey to health truly begins with one step, or one push of the pedal.  I will not take for granted the fact that tonight I went for a bike ride on my blue Target turbo speedster and felt like a rock star:)

Monday, July 8, 2013

Run and Done!

Well, I did it! I ran 5 miles after a mile of walking for a warm up.  I headed out at about 1:00 in the heat and beautiful sunshine and had a great loop around my neighborhood. 


 It felt awesome and I am proud of myself for doing it considering I haven't been running nearly as much as I used to.  Last summer when I was training for my first half marathon, I ran five days a week.  Now, I am lucky to run twice a week.  I will slowly but surely get back into it.  I think running might be like an old friend.  It's always there when you want to give it a try again; just may take some warming up at first.  I enjoyed a fresh smoothie for lunch when I got home.  Into the blender went 1/2 cup Fage Greek Yogurt, some cut up strawberries, and a handful of frozen blueberries.  I also added 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk along with 1/2 scoop of whey protein.  Yum!  

Tonight, I am going to make this amazing orange chicken recipe that Tom and I really enjoy.  
Try it out!

 orange chicken8

Click here for recipe: Orange Chicken

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Full and Happy Heart

I often tease my husband that a crabby wife makes a crabby life.  As I was sitting in Church this morning I thought about all of the things I am so grateful for which led me to realize that I need to make less time for crabbiness and try to truly live in the moment.  The long holiday weekend was filled with family and friends and was the reason for happy smiles:)

On Thursday, Tom and I celebrated the 4th of July at his aunt's house where we ate good food and played volleyball and croquet all afternoon in the sunshine.  We enjoyed fireworks at my brother and sister-in-law's house in Coon Rapids which were very impressive!

On Friday, I got to hang out with my niece Sophia who is just over a month old.  She is the sweetest!

On Friday afternoon, my best friend and former roommate Jenna came up to visit and hang out for the night.  We celebrated her bachelorette party last weekend with a party bus which was a blast!  She is getting married in August and the summer is already flying by.  I was so happy that she was able to come up so we could spend some quality girl time together.  We are so natural together and can gab for hours:)

Tom dropped us off at the Outlet mall so we could check out some sales, then we walked a little over 2 miles home, freshened up, and headed out to dinner at the River Inn.  We ordered a cheeseburger and buffalo chicken wrap and split them.  Then we enjoyed Dairy Queen on the way shame:)  Tom surprised us with a scary movie, The Call, and some candy to enjoy with it.  The movie was good and the Sour Patch Kids were excellent:)  Saturday morning, we went to spin class (Jen joined us too!) to start our day off right.  After Jenna went home, Tom and I drove down to Edina to go to my brother Patrick's house warming party.  We got to see my uncle Steve, Beth, and my parents, who were in the metro to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary!
It was fun to catch up with some family and Patrick's friends and enjoy his awesome backyard.  He grilled me a turkey dog on a gluten free bun that was delicious.  Thanks for the great time Patrick!

Tom and I scooted back home to get ready for our friend Jen's birthday dinner at Redstone that night.  We had a great time with Jen, Roger, Nick, and April.  I had a delicious Asian chopped salad that I forgot to take a picture of, along with a yummy martini called a Stoli Doli.  Jen and Roger ended up coming over after to watch another scary movie, the Possession.  I do not do well with scary movies and had my head in the blanket for much of the movie.

This morning we attended Sophia's baptism.  Such a special day for a beautiful baby:)  I really had a terrific weekend surrounded by family and friends.  I feel so blessed and thankful to have amazing people in my life that inspire me to take care of myself so that I can strive to be a positive, kind, and helpful sister, daughter, aunt, wife, and friend.  "Happy wife, happy life" is a much better quote:)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Quick 'n Easy

The sunshine we have had the past two weeks has really helped my garden!  The spinach is shooting up like crazy and the tomatoes are starting to come in. I decided to make a favorite quick and easy dinner tonight to use up some of that fresh spinach!
First I cut up red, green, and yellow bell peppers, along with broccoli.  Then I cut up a chicken sausage from Trader Joes and threw some spinach in the mix. I  added one tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl with the goodies and mixed. 

After the grill heated up, I put the mix on my grill pan and let it cook for 5 minutes, stirred, then grilled for another 5 minutes. Voila! A delicious, nutritious, and EASY dinner. Yum!

 For fun, here is another quick and easy lunch or dinner!  Buffalo chicken salad made with Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce and enjoyed with Bolthouse Farms Ranch Yogurt Dressing on the side.  Love making this and throwing in a mix of favorite produce!

Also, shout out to my sister Katie for sharing with me a cool way to grow celery.  Cut the round end off of a stalk of celery and put it in a bowl of water standing up.  It will slowly grow a new stalk of celery!  Very thrifty and love this idea because I eat a lot of celery! Thanks Katie! 

In upcoming holiday spirit, here is the picture that changed my life.  Taken on the 4th of July, 2009.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

And the award goes to...

I talk about food more than the average person.  I often find myself wanting to give amazing foods a high five or a loud cheer, maybe even do a victory lap for the surge it gives to my taste buds.  Looney is in my blogger name (and comes from my maiden name) however I have decided to give certain foods my own virtual awards instead of making a fool of myself with random public cheers.

Best granola:
Love Grown Foods-Husband/wife team from Colorado that know how to do gluten free granola right.  I like to order the 6 bag package from Amazon since grocery store don't carry it.  I have occasionally had luck finding it at TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

Best guacamole:
My homemade guac can't be least in my world.  There are two restaurants I have been impressed with for their guacamole though...Rojo at West End in St. Louis Park and Ruby Tuesdays.  I was very shocked to find that Ruby Tuesdays has a very generous and delicious serving of guacamole.  Be aware of the garlic content though-it's enough to scare away vampires! 

Best carbonation:
La Croix, any flavor!  Lime and Peach-Pear are my favorites but they are all really good!  I like to trick myself into thinking I am having pop from the fuzzy bubbles and the sparking water is so refreshing.  Which brings me to my next award...

Best Caribou drink:
I first tried the Sparking Peach Black Tea (lite version) about two months ago and loved it.  It is a very light and sparking drink with just a hint of caffeine.  I tend to drink it too fast though and it doesn't last long enough for me.  Super delicious especially when you want something cool to drink with caffeine but no dairy. 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Appreciate the Day

Well it was another crazy but rewarding day!  After chasing a first grader a half mile in a field during recess, I got the itch to put in a good run today after school since the weather was absolutely gorgeous!  I do not have windows in my classroom so when I went outside at lunch, I realized what I was missing out on....sunshine!  My husband Tom was excited for a run too so we got dressed and as I was tying up my shoes on the staircase, I noticed the UPS truck pull up.  My new shoes!!!  It just had to be!  I seriously dashed down the steps flew out the door and met him in the driveway.  He started laughing and asked if I was waiting for the package.  Funny thing was, they weren't supposed to arrive from Amazon until tomorrow but I got LUCKY!  I thanked the nice man and ran back inside to try them on.  I knew they would fit well since I just ordered an updated version of my favorite Asics running shoes.  I got a great deal on Amazon with free and fast shipping.  So out the door we went for our favorite three mile loop.  My dear husband even decided to throw in some sprint intervals.  What a gem;)

The other fantastic delivery from the UPS man came last week....6 bags of Love Grown Granola.  Love Grown is a husband/wife team from Colorado who make gluten free delicious granola.  Since my favorite meal these days is a yogurt bowl (plain nonfat greek yogurt, honey, berries, and granola), I decided to make a big order.  I first heard about this granola on the blog Sweet Tooth Sweet Life, and actually found a bag at the Home Goods store near my home. They sell it for $4 a bag so I would buy some whenever I found it since they are regularly $5/bag.  When my friend Sarah came to visit from Denver a couple months ago, I asked her to bring me a couple bags since they are sold at the grocery stores in Colorado.  When I ran out again, I found a great deal on Amazon and decided to stock up.  Tom loves making the yogurt bowls now too and has officially switched over to liking the Greek Yogurt.  We have also found that buying the yogurt in bulk (big tubs) instead of individual sizes was more economic (thanks for the tip Maggie K!). I love every flavor!
I took this picture last week so I can document my progress with keeping up the P90X, yoga, and running.  I feel comfortable sharing this photo on my blog because this is my journal and a way for me to hold myself accountable and look back on my journey.  Hopefully I make time to update this more regularly because it is a goal of mine to get better at it and also buy a great camera that allows me to take better pictures, especially of food!
Today has been a great day.  I felt in control of my eating, didn't eat any gluten and therefore did not have a stomach ache.  Most importantly, I had a clear head and positive attitude all day.  Those things are all so important when working with kids all day and keeping my anxiety at bay.  The past month has been so hard because my grandpa is very sick and currently at home in Hospice Care.  He is on my mind constantly and everyone has been praying for him and hoping for peace and comfort.  The last picture I will share is one I took on Saturday when we were down in Waseca visiting him.  My godson Cavanaugh had his First Communion that day and my grandpa was so bummed that he would miss it.  My sweet sister-in-law got him dressed in his suit (his dad's suit when he had his First Communion) and drove him over so that my grandpa could see him that day all dressed up.  It brought tears to everyone's eyes to see grandpa so happy.  Cav also looked so proud and excited to see grandpa.  I feel truly blessed to have gotten to spend the day with my amazing family.  

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring is here!

The weather is officially beautiful in Minnesota and it has ignited new motivation and optimism in me:)  It is a Saturday morning and I am drinking my coffee before I go to Yoga class at 9.  A good friend teaches at a gym about 2 miles from my home and I love making Yoga fit in my schedule.  Three years ago, Yoga was waaaay too intimidating to me.  I thought it was for dancer-types or super fit people.  Last June, I tried it for the first time (heat version!) and fell in love.  It gives me the best stretch and flexibility and is a welcomed break from cardio and weights.  It also relaxes my anxiety and relieves stress.  I love it!  

Tom and I have been talking about composting for a couple of months and how I really want to recycle all of the fruit and veggie waste I put into the garbage.  Last year, he built me a garden and I had a lot of fun experimenting with tomatoes and zucchini but this year I am going for a full service veggie garden of bell peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, zucchini, carrots, beans, peas, and onions!  These are the vegetables I eat the most so I figured having them in my own backyard would be easier on the bank account and taste better since they are grown organically! I can't wait to get started!  Hoping the ground unfreezes soon and the frost stays away for good!  For now, I have my plants started in the house.  This composting thing will be a great adventure! 

A couple of weeks ago, Tom brought home a huge 60-gallon compost!  We are going to keep it in the backyard, and I will take all of my veggie scraps and eggshells out there every time I cook!  It is amazing how much I throw away since I eat eggs very regularly and am constantly chopping up veggies.  Can you tell I am very anxious for summer to begin so I can devote my time to gardening, composting, and eating!:)

The other great Spring news is that I was accepted into University of St. Thomas Education Masters Program that begins at the end of August.  I am SO pumped because the program is through the Murray Institute and it is tuition-free.  That is incredible news on this girl's teacher budget:)  I feel very ready to go back to school and feel this is the right time in my life to further my education and become a better teacher while doing it.

I hope this beautiful weather continues and everyone else is finding a reason to celebrate the day.