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a birthday week

picking myself up and dusting myself off…

So, basically a lot of life happened this week, which detered me from regularly posting or updating on the challenge. I knew this was going to be a crazy busy week, but I didn’t realize just how crazy.  Jonathan has been working on a project at work for about a year now.  The university he works for (and our alma mater) has launching the largest fundraising campaign ever in the history of the school.  He is the assistant director of marketing, so his role has been huge throughout the entire process.  Anyway, the campaign went public for the first time on Friday at a big event on campus.  Then, on Saturday, at halftime of the basketball game, there was another big announcement about it, and we spent the day passing out t shirts to students.  So basically, every night this week was filled with working and getting ready for the big day.  Plus, Friday was Jon’s birthday, so any free time I had this week was spent shopping, wrapping and baking.  It’s been a whirlwind.

It’s also been the longest I’ve ever gone without posting.  I missed it so much!  I feel like the spring was missing from my step all week.  I have to be honest and say that between work madness and birthday festivities, some not so good food choices resulted as well. I did do some good things too though.  For instance, I exfoliated my face every three days, drank more water this week and didn’t eat one spoonful of Kashi cereal (yay!).  I have to admit that the other parts of the challenge were hit or miss.  I actually wasn’t as committed this week as I was before I started the challenge.  Boo.  I participated in what some would call “emotional eating,” which I’m not proud of.  It’s something that I struggle with often, but the emotional eating monster struck extra hard this week.  Stress, stress, stress.

BUT, one part of the challenge that I am really being tested on right now is not beating myself up when I don’t do so hot.  I’ve actually had a lot of practice with that one lately.  And truly, I think it is one of the most important skills to practice.  Loving my husband and being there for him in every way possible, and still staying on top of my own job took precedence over blogging and sticking 100% to my challenge this week.  And I’m okay with that.  In fact, that’s the way it should be.

So, it’s a new week, and I’m still shooting for the same goals.  Life and all of the routines that come with it should be back to normal starting tomorrow.  I feel a bit silly that I’ve lost an entire week of only a three week challenge, but there is nothing I can do about that now.  That is, nothing aside from jumping right back in and doing the best I can this week.

Off I go to do some more prep for school tomorrow.  Because the first part of the weekend was so busy, I spent most of today working on grading research papers and planning for this week.  And I’m still not done.  I did manage to squeeze in time to make a soup for lunches this week, which I’ll post later, as well as one episode of Amazing Race.  Love that show!

I hope everyone has a great start to the week.  Thanks to those of you who’ve stuck around through my hiatus.  It’s good to be back:)

I’ll leave you with a few pics from the last few days.

Friday’s eats – cashew cookie Lara, banana (to be wrapped inside almond butter filled wrap) and spaghetti squash concoction which included spaghetti squash, brussels, corn, green beans, chick peas, sliced almonds and humnut sauce.

Gotta love the hubs.  This is his breakfast specialty (except for green monsters of course:).  It’s all about presentation of course.  Ezekiel cinnamon raisin english muffin with cashew butter and sliced banana.  And two almonds to top it off.

Happy birthday to my hero, my best friend, my love.

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eats!

Hi!  How was everyone’s Monday?  I like Averie’s line from her post today “hopefully your day has been going along nicely and that you’re at least savoring some memories from the weekend.”  I feel like I’m heavier on the savoring from the weekend part.  O’well, can’t win ‘em all:)  Really, though, today hasn’t been half bad.  The school where I teach is having their yearly fundraising week.  The students choose a charity to raise money for, and I won’t even go into all the millions of ways they raise it.  Let’s just say anything from selling cupcakes to having paid assemblies for the students to attend.  Their goal is $200,000 by the end of the week. Amazing, huh?  Anyway, so there is an assembly every single day, and the kids all dress up and what not.  It’s a fun time, but the kids just don’t understand why they have to do schoolwork in the midst of all the festivities (insert sarcasm).

Anyway, onto some eats from the past couple of days.

Crappy picture, excellent meal.  I threw in about 3/4 cup plain soy yogurt, sliced almonds, clean granola, cinammon and blues!  I love yogurt messes…I have a toned down version (just soy yogurt, a smidge granola and almonds)  almost every afternoon for a snack.  I always forget to snap a pic, but I just can’t get over how great they are.

Jon and I almost always grab something to eat after church on Sundays.  One of my go-to’s is Pita Pit.  Also, our librarian at school’s son owns Pita Pit so he delivers pitas for the teachers every Wednesday.  It’s really one of the only places that I’ll really eat out at.  It’s def. not easy to find clean eats at restaurants here in small town Oklahoma. All this tasty goodness included: whole wheat pita, spinach, bell pepper, onion, mushroom, sprouts, tomatoes, pineapple, babaganoush and a tad bit of hot sauce.  So good!!!

Dinner last night was kind of a random assortment, but nevertheless everything I was craving.  Baked sweet potato rounds, roasted carrot chips, steamed green beans and a slice of Ezekiel toast spread with hummus.  All with a side of unsweetened ketchup.  I gave up ketchup a long time ago, even though I loved it, because it had sugar in it.  Well, I happened to find this version at Whole Foods last weekend, which has only tomatos and salt.  I can’t bring myself to even think about complaining about the salt;)  It totally made this meal, though.  That and the hummus of course.

And, lastly, lunch for work.  Jon snapped this photo while I was still in the mixing stage, and I forgot to get a final shot.  This salad is one of my favorites, and I’ve recreated it time and again – spring mix, 1/4 cup chick peas, 1/4 cup black beans, 1/4 cup corn, chopped artichoke hearts, sliced almonds, chia seeds, chopped onions and balsamic for dressing.  What can I say?  I like my salads extra large!  The only thing I forgot was avocado…how could I?

Well, I’m off to read up on some of you fine people’s blogs and not possibly grade some research papers.  Hope everyone has a great night!

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20 day challenge..what what!

I did some thinking this weekend, and I’ve decided to start a very specific, very pointed 20 day challenge.  Let me back up a bit.

On January 1st, I set a goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of March.  As I mentioned in Saturday’s post, I realized several weeks ago that I wasn’t on track to make that goal.  I wasn’t disappointed at all because my progress was steady, and I’m not really all about deadlines anyway.  My clean eating lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle – so if it takes me a couple extra months to get to my “happy weight” then that’s fine by me.

That being said, I do still want to make progress.  This past couple of weeks, my weight loss discipline has started to wane.  I’ve been doing a lot of mindless snacking when I’m not hungry, and while it’s always on clean foods, it’s definitely hindering my efforts.  So, I decided to initiate a plan in order to finish strong through my original goal date.  I’m throwing out the number of pounds goal and instead just focusing completely on sticking to the guidelines of my challenge.  I’ll make as much progress as I can, and then celebrate whatever results I see in the end!!  Sounds good, eh?

So, here are the deets:

Eating Goals
-    Eat only clean foods
-    don’t eat after dinner unless I’m truly hungry
-    eat five (six if needed) meals each day
-    drink 80 ounces of water each day
-    drink at least 12 ounces of green tea every day (b/c it’s so dang good for you, not b/c of the weight loss rumors:)
-    only clean drinks
-    no snacking in between planned meals/snacks
-    2-3 healthy fat servings each day
-    at least 4 servings of vegetables each day
-    take vitamins/supplements every day
-    no Kashi go lean cereal :)

Workout Goals
Monday: arms/chest/abs
Tuesday: cardio – 40 – 60 minutes including at least 20 minutes intervals
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: cardio – 40-60 minutes including at least 20 minutes intervals
Friday: legs/glutes/abs
Saturday: cardio – 40-60 minutes including at least 20 minutes intervals
Sunday: rest

Other Goals
Work on not beating myself up when I slip up
Work on not feeling guilty about illegitimate things
Focus on today and not the future
Exfoliate my face every 3 days
Use my white strips

Honestly, I love challenges.  I’m excited to get back to the basics.  Keep in mind a couple of things, though.  First of all, I already do most of the items listed under “eating” and “workout” so it’s not quite as strenuous as it may appear.  I put those things on the list still so they’ll be fresh on my mind.  The key things I need to really change and improve on are the water intake (I’ve been slacking), the eating after dinner, the mindless snacking and the ahem, crack Kashi issue.  As far as workouts go, I just need to be more diligent about writing down my specific workouts and making sure I’m getting the weight training in.  And, regarding “other goals,” well, I pretty much am terrible at all of those things as of now, so I’ve got some serious work to do there.  Second of all, I don’t advocate guidelines that are this rigid for extended periods of time.  I’m all about moderation and including indulgences in life, but I’m also all about giving it all I’ve got for short periods of time, and really finding out what I am capable of!

I’d love to invite you to join me in this challenge or create one of your own!  Sometimes we just need some inspiration and fresh goals to motivate ourselves.  Let me know if you are doing a challenge as well.  I’ll be updating my progress, daily, on the “20 day challenge” page, so check for updates there.  I’ve taken measurements, so that I can check for progress at the end, however, I’ve also written down some thoughts on how I’ve been feeling mentally and physically, so that I can chart progress that way as well.   If you’re interested, you can check those out on the “20 day challenge” page as well.

Well, that’s all for tonight.  The challenge starts today and ends on March 13th, which is the day that Jon and I leave for our Dallas getaway…yea!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  Here we go again, Monday!

Olive says goodnight!

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“breakfasty” things and some thoughts…

Wow, this week has been so busy!  I’ve missed blogging so much.  School has just been completely overwhelming, and I haven’t been able to spend the time posting or reading that I would like to.  I know there are always going to be those times, but in the spirit of honestly, I am feeling a little “down-in-the-dumps” today.  I’ve never really had the drive to be a career focused woman.  I’m much more interested in being a wife and homemaker, but I’ve found myself in a job that takes up so much of my time, even outside of actual work hours.  It’s really hard to find time to do anything else.  So, I apologize for being a slacker this week.  It wasn’t because I didn’t have plenty to say or because I didn’t miss blogging.  It was simply a matter or no time!  This coming week is not looking much better, but I’m going to try my best to carve out more time for other things, and, just as a side note, three weeks from now is Spring Break…yea!!

So, here are couple of things I want to share from the last few days:

A great oat combo!

1/3 cup oats
1 cup water
1 spoonful of canned pumpkin
cinnamon

Toppings:

almond butter
sprinkle of kashi go lean crunch
dollop of soy yogurt
blues!

This was a serious bowl of oats, lemme tell ya.  I had high ambitions because Jon and I laid in bed for awhile after we woke up this morning; so by the time we got up, got dressed, went for an hour walk with Olive and then came back home,  I was famished!  This concoction definitely took care of my hunger.

Next up – my favorite breakfast from this week:

So sorry for the crappy pictures.  Here’s the deal – I always borrow Jon’s camera from work to take my blog shots, but lately he hasn’t been able to bring it home, so I’ve been shooting with the iPhone – not ideal.  We are working toward getting a camera of our own in the next few months, and I cannot wait.  Until then, this will have to suffice at times.

This is an Ezekiel cinnamon raisin english muffin, topped with a spread of almond butter or cashew butter and sliced banana.  So easy.  So transportable.  And delish. Love it.

Last…and certainly not least – is something new I tried this week for a midafternoon snack.  The coconut milk yogurt that I got from Whole Foods last Sunday.

I topped this vanilla flavored coconut yogurt with some granola and sliced almonds.   I did NOT like it.  The texture and the flavor were just not working for me.  The texture was very gel like, and the flavor just seemed off.  I’ve seen a lot of coconut yogurt around the blog world, and I’ve been itching to try it.  I’m glad I finally did, but I definitely won’t be buying it again.  I tried to finish this one, but I just couldn’t do it.  It’s very rare for me to try a new health food that I don’t like, but it happens.  o’well…this stuff is not cheap and not available in Stillwater, so it kind of works out.  I’ll stick to my Whole Soy, thank you very much.

Last thing before I sign off for the night.  I have been struggling this past week or so with snacking.  I try to stick to 5 small meals a day, with no random eating in between, and it totally works for me.  The snacking I’ve been doing has not been out of hunger, and that’s why I have a problem with it.  I am still working toward my goal of losing 20 lbs.  I’ve lost about 8 lbs. so far, and while my goal was March 22nd, there’s no way I’m going to make that date.  And I’m totally fine with that.  I’d actually be happy for it to take a little longer, and for me to be able to enjoy life a lot more along the way!  This is a lifelong lifestyle for me, so there really is no hurry.

BUT, I do still want to continue making progress.  So, I’m really going to be working on cutting out the mindless/stress eating.  It negatively impacts the way I feel, mentally and physically.  I feel disappointed in myself and my body doesn’t take to it very well.  Eating too much throughout the day makes me feel sluggish and heavy, with very little energy.  One way I’m going to try to combat it is to think of something else specific that I can do when I feel the urge coming on.  Some ideas include lighting a candle and laying down to rest for 15 minutes or so, taking deep breaths and thinking of the progress I’ve made and how I want to treat my body like the temple that it is, calling someone (hi mom!) and talking out how I’m feeling, or hopping on one of my favorite inspirational blogs to get motivation.

Questions of the day:  do you ever eat due to stress or mindlessness?  What kind of things do you do other than eating when you need something to just calm you down?

I hope you all are having a great weekend and getting some rest and relaxation in!  See ya later!

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LOVEly day

I love Valentine’s Day.  It’s not that I so much enjoy the commercial side of it all, because I don’t.  But I love that it is one entire day that is set aside for Jon and I to just focus on each other and do fun, special things, such as….

take a day trip to Tulsa to go to Whole Foods

Like a lot of you, I’m sure, one of my favorite places to go is Whole Foods.  The closest one to us is about an hour away, though, so we don’t get to go very often.  This was my plate at lunch!  Embarrassingly overflowing?  Yes.  Out of this world delicious and worth every bite?  Yes!

Most of my plate was filled with romaine topped with everything from artichoke hearts steamed kale, shredded beets, chick peas and black beans to green and yellow bell peppers, sliced almonds, onions and oil-free orange ginger dressing.  On the side I had a couple of different “salads” and one lonely falafel ball:)  One salad had wild rice, pearl onions and several other tasty items that I cannot, for the life of me, remember.  The other was wheatberries with kidney beans, dried fruit etc.  I also added on some sliced carrots, sauteed in lemon juice.  I can’t even begin to express to you how great this meal was.  I die.

As pictured, I also had my first ever Kombucha.  Aside from it spewing all over me when I opened it (apparently this is common), it was great.  I took one for the road as well, but have yet to break it open yet.

While the food was some of the best I’ve had in awhile, the company was even better.

Disclaimer:  we both hate this photo and agree that it doesn’t look much like either one of us, but it’s the only one I got all day:(

I seriously had the hottest date.  I love my husband for so many reasons beyond what I can even express here on the ole’ blog, and not just because he is charming, selfless, makes my breakfast at 5:45 am every morning and always supports me in everything I do.  Also, because he is the most fun person I know, he makes me laugh like crazy, and he is my soulmate.  Sometimes I feel like I just don’t know how to express how much I love him.

After eating lunch we headed to the mall and did a bit of casual shopping together.  Then, we headed back to Whole Foods (ha!) to fulfill our plan of buying some loot, including ingredients to make dinner together once we got back home.  Unfortunately, the dinner never happened because we snacked a little too much on our goods plus  Starbucks soy lattes, but here’s what we made it home with:

honeycrisp apples!!!, cashew butter (my first:), coconut milk yogurt, flax tempeh, vegan sour cream (one of the ingredients for the planned meal that fell through), roasted garlic humms, Almond Breeze, whole wheat penne, raw cashews (on sale!), couple cans of Amy’s soup, organic dates, artichoke hearts, kombucha, low sodium vegetable buillon, and Clif Builders bars for the hubs.

So, that pretty much wraps up our V-day.  We had intended to keep it low key all along because we’re taking a little mini vaca to Dallas on Spring Break.  This was just the perfect day, though. On Monday, my students kept asking me what I did for Valentine’s Day, and I’m pretty sure they’ve lost all faith that I’m even halfway cool now that I told them I went to Whole Foods.  Some girls want flowers, I want clean foods.  So sue me:)

I hope everyone else had a great day as well!  Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  Do you love it or hate it?  I love hearing other people’s opinions on this holiday.

I’m off to do some work for school.  Bye!

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