Sorry I’ve Been Missing For A Bit!

Screen Shot 2015-05-15 at 1.38.38 PMWe have hit a crazy few weeks, and it’s only going to get crazier. We have a ton of stuff coming up, so right now I’m just treading water and hoping I don’t sink. A few little updated that I’m excited about:

– My garden! I am so excited. I have a plot at our community garden and spent some time there yesterday getting it ready. It’s supposed to be raining for the next week or so, so I needed to get this done ASAP. I planted 33 plants yesterday and can’t wait to see how it comes along and starts producing. It’s my first year having a garden, and the community garden was a great option. The soil is prepped, it’s essentially free, and I can get tips from more seasoned gardeners, which is exactly what I need.

– We’ve got birthday, graduations, soccer tryouts, end of year programs, and more starting this weekend and continuing through the first week of June. I think I’ll be able to sit and breath on June 7th.

– I’ve been knitting here and there, which is nice. I made an infinity scarf, and next up are some hand warmers and a hat. Should be fun.

– I’ve been cooking like crazy. My goal this year is to master my summer side dishes. So far I have a potato salad and a macaroni salad that are amazing! Now it’s time to venture out from there.

– My husband is going to start hunting this year. I know some people don’t agree with hunting, and to each their own. We are slowly trying to be more and more self-sufficient and this was the next step for us to get closer to that goal. He is only going to be hunting for food, not sport. Anything he gets, we eat it. Nothing will go to waste as I’d like to use every part of the animal if possible, including the skin to make leather goods. If we can get gardening down and hunting down, we will be doing great when it comes to our goals.

Just wanted to give a quick update since I’ve been missing in action for awhile! And if I don’t post for a little while again, it’s because I’m just trying to stay afloat. Woo hoo for the busiest time of year!

Product Review – Neutrogena Naturals

ThisOne.png.342x341_q85_cropOccasionally I get to try out products through a company called Influenster. It’s really great because I get to try products that I normally wouldn’t purchase, and often times I’m super excited about them and end up buying them again.

With  Influenster, you usually take a short quiz answering a few things here or there to see if the product is a good fit for you. This time I was able to give the Neutrogena Naturals Make Up Removing Cloths a try. I used make up removing cloths YEARS ago, but since then I typically use coconut oil to remove my mascara and eyeliner, then a facial cleanser to get rid of everything else, followed by astringent and lotion. Saving time on my nightly routine would be nice, so the cloths were definitely a nice change of pace. It was really nice not having to use water to rinse my face off. I was able to wipe my face clean, then I followed it with my regular astringent like I would with my normal routine. It really did help remove my makeup and it was also able to remove my double coating of mascara I sometimes wear. I typically don’t wear makeup regularly, unless I’m out and about, but I did really like not having to wash my face. There were a few times we got home late, but removing my makeup took no time at all. I definitely liked this product and would buy it again at the right price.

One thing that was pretty cool about this product, was that it was focused on a #WipeForWater movement. This Earth Month (well April), Neutrogena® Naturals is partnering with The Nature Conservancy to save water. Get involved and join #WipeForWater. Pledge to clean your face without using water, and instead exclusively clean with Neutrogena® Naturals Purifying Makeup Removing Cleansing Wipes. For each pledge, Neutrogena® Naturals will contribute $1 to The Nature Conservancy to support water conservation, up to $50,000.

***All reviews are from products sent free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. The only compensation that we ever receive is the use of the product that we review.

Weight Loss Challenge – Completed

Weight Loss Challenge - Completed

Weight Loss Challenge - CompletedWell all good things must come to an end. Not really, but in this case, the end is here. We are now 100% done with our weight loss challenge. Unfortunately, we took 2nd and 3rd. Can’t win them all. I ended up losing 15lbs in 28 days and my husband lost 24lbs in 24 days. So how did we do it? Honestly, we just watched what we ate. We focused on eating whole foods, we avoided sugar, dairy, and alcohol, and we drank a lot of water. Seriously, it was that simple.

Granted, it wasn’t always simple. I definitely had cravings that I had to overcome. We went to BBQs, parties, and soccer games where we had to be extra good because we had all sorts of yummy food around us. But I’m proud of both my husband and myself. We kicked some butt and finished what we started!

For now, I’m taking a week off from super healthy eating. I’m giving in to some of my cravings, but then starting next week I’m going to hop back on the wagon and watch what I eat. I’m not going to be as strict as I was during the challenge, but I know there are foods I eat that aren’t good for me.

On that note, I’m thinking of turning our 28 day weight loss challenge into an e-book. Would you be interested in this? It’d have a day by day menu, including recipes. Let me know in the comments below if this is something you would be interested in and who knows, maybe this will be a new venture in the near future. 🙂

Weight Loss Challenge – Day 22

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 22

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 22We are almost coming to an end…. Right now, I’m still in 3rd, my husband is in 2nd, and another co-worker is in 1st. We are on the downward stretch and it’s time for me to buckle down. My husband has decided that he’s not going to eat for a whole week. I tried convincing him that it wouldn’t be the best way to lose weight, so he decided to eat anyway. I’m eating right around 1200 calories per day, but it’s all whole natural foods. I’ve avoided sugars completely and most dairy, except for the half & half I put in my coffee. I can’t drink it black. I just can’t. But other than that, we’ve been doing really well. We are eating whole grains, so we aren’t depriving ourselves too much. Now it’s just time to buckle down and win this thing!

How To Eat Healthy During BBQ Season

imagesSummer is coming to an end, which means we will all be squeezing in lots of BBQ’s before Fall and Winter arrive! So how can you stick to your healthy diet while not feeling like an outcast? Here are some tips for you to use so you too can eat healthy during BBQ season:

Bring a healthy side dish. Most hosts will ask guests to bring a side dish or dessert when coming to a BBQ. Make something that you enjoy and that you know is healthy.
Eat small portions of the foods that you want to try. By eating small portions, you’ll get a taste of everything without completely filling yourself up.
Drink your water! By staying hydrated, you’ll curb any cravings that might creep up. You’ll also have a feeling of fullness more so than if you were drinking alcohol, soda, etc. Plus water has 0 calories! Can’t beat that!
If you want, bring your own meat. If you know the host is going to be cooking burgers, ribs, or an item that isn’t part of your healthy diet, bring your own marinated chicken breast, or other lean protein. Most hosts will not mind cooking up your meal for you, or you can cook it yourself once the host is done using the BBQ.
Eat until you have a full feeling, but don’t over indulge. Once you are feeling bloated, you ate too much! Really focus on chewing your food and hone in on your fullness. Eating slowly will make it easier for you to feel not so full because you’ll recognize this point faster.
Eat a small snack before going to the BBQ. By showing up starving at a BBQ, we tend to graze in addition to eating our meal. When you get to the BBQ feeling satisfied, you won’t graze and can enjoy the one meal you planned on eating.

Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Banana Peanut Butter Ice CreamPlease note that the picture to the left was not taken by me, but this is exactly what mine looks like when I make it. 🙂

So you love ice cream, but when you are watching what you eat, it’s not the best thing in the world to eat. Well here is the solution! BANANA PEANUT BUTTER ICE CREAM! It only has 2 ingredients and is super easy to make.

3 bananas (sliced about 1/2 inch)
1/4 c. peanut butter

About 2-3 hours before you would like your ice cream, slice the bananas and put them in the freezer. When you are ready, put the slightly frozen bananas in the blender, then add the 1/4 c. peanut butter. Put on blend until it’s well blended. You can eat it right then, or scoop it out into a freezer safe container for later. This recipe serves 2.

This is such a nice treat when you’re watching what you eat. It almost has a custardy texture to it, and it’s really the perfect amount of ice cream because it is pretty rich.

Weight Loss Challenge – Day 19

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 19

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 19Wow! I can’t believe how close we are to coming to an end. Thanks to everyone that has been following along on this weight loss challenge journey! 🙂 I’m still feeling really good, and after eating this way for so long (almost 3 weeks), I think I’m going to try to keep this up long term. I’ll have a few things here and there that are going to be little indulgences, but I’m definitely going to watch what I eat a lot more closely. I’ve lost weight this way before, but got sucked back into bad eating habits because, well, it’s easy. It’s much easier to stop at a fast food restaurant on the way home from a late soccer game than it is to either 1. plan ahead or 2. eat super late. We’ve been doing it though and succeeding. My husband and I are working on a game plan to boost our weight loss the last week of the challenge. It’s going to be a little harder, but hopefully it pays off and one of us come out as the winner. I was looking into how fighters and wrestlers lose weight quickly before weigh ins and while it is tempting, I think one of us would probably end up pretty sick. And while winning would be nice, it’s not really worth going to the hospital.

The weekend is here, so I won’t be blogging about the weight loss challenge much, but I’ll have a few new posts coming out. Stay tuned for an awesome 2 ingredient ice cream that’s actually good for you.

What are your plans for the weekend? We are thinking of going fishing, but we will see how that works out. We will definitely be doing some yard work, hopefully I can finish my blanket, and maybe get going on that Couch to 5K plan I had a couple of weeks ago that didn’t pan out. 🙂 It’s time to start boosting this weight loss even more!

Weight Loss Challenge – Day 18

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 18

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 18Sorry I didn’t write about day 17 yesterday. I decided to take the day off from work and get some major deep cleaning done. If you have kids, you know it’s impossible to do any type of deep cleaning in their room while they are home. Well, I rarely get an opportunity to clean when they aren’t around. So I decided to take the day off work and while the kids were at school, I deep cleaned my daughter’s room. Here is a before & after:

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 6.34.38 AMWow! Was it gratifying 🙂 I’m so glad that I took some time off to get this done. And she LOVED it! I also threw away 6 bags of who knows what. I honestly can’t tell you what I got rid of, and she didn’t notice either. She laid down in the middle of her floor, and then started noticing all the things she ‘lost’ and now they were found.

But my day didn’t stop there. We have a neighborhood Facebook page where people post everything from dog’s pooping on their lawn to suspicious activity to things they may be selling or giving away. I’ve been wanting a shelf for our dining room/kitchen area where I can put some of my commonly used recipe books, plants, and eventually some fresh herbs. I don’t really want to spend the money on something I don’t necessarily need and I didn’t have an idea in mind for exactly what I wanted. But luck would have it that one of the neighbors was getting rid of 3 big boxes that when stacked on top of each other would be a cute shelf. It was 3 wooden crates that are in pretty good condition. I decided to paint them a color that would match our kitchen table and for about $10.00 I have a new shelf. The paint is still drying, so I figure if the shelf doesn’t work out, they would make perfect planter boxes. I’ll keep you posted on how they worked out best.

Since I was home all day by myself yesterday, I had to take full advantage and get as much stuff done as possible. I’m still working on my blanket, but I’m SO close to being done. I was going to keep working on it last night, but eyes started playing tricks on me and it didn’t quite work out. I guess I was a little tired. But as far as the weight loss goes, we are still going strong. We both want something sweet, so last night I made banana peanut butter ice cream. It was delicious and only had those 2 ingredients. I’ll post the recipe this weekend!

Weight Loss Challenge – Day 16

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 16We weighed in yesterday, and I’m down about 4.5% of my weight in 2 weeks. A lot of this is water weight, but I know that a lot of it has to do with juicing, watching what foods I eat, and focusing on clean snacking habits. I haven’t had any sugar in 16 days. That’s even with Easter! We have another 2 weeks and will do our final weigh in on the 20th. I’m looking forward to this. It has been a lot easier doing this challenge with my husband. We both support each other, vent to each other, and talk about our cravings and how much we want pizza and Jack Daniels, but we’ve powered through and haven’t strayed yet.

Right now I’m in 3rd place in the competition. My husband is in 1st, but we are all separated by only .7%, which isn’t much at all. I’m looking forward to the next 2 weeks. I’ll probably be a bit antisocial so there are zero temptations, but it’ll be worth it. Especially if one of us ends up winning! 🙂

Weight Loss Challenge – Day 15

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 15

Weight Loss Challenge - Day 15This seemed like a great Day 15 picture, because of the quote that was included! Man, oh man! Was Easter hard!!!! Surrounded by some of my favorite candy, but we held strong. Also the street we live on does an Easter egg hunt for all of the neighbor kids. Last year we all hung out for about an hour, called it good, and went our separate ways. Well this year, it turned into a 4 hour hang out session, which was great, but everyone was enjoying mimosas and cocktails except for us. That took some serious will power considering I’m a sucker for a mimosa! I would honestly drink them all day if I could. But nope! My husband and I held SUPER strong! I even came in the house and made us a fresh juice and went back outside to drink it. It was fun hanging out with all of the neighbors, but a holiday is a terrible time for a weight loss challenge. 🙂 But that’s alright, it’s over and done with. And considering all of the candy the kids got, there will definitely be some left over in 2 weeks. But we are on Day 15 now. Only 2 more weeks left, so let’s see how this goes. We have a mid-challenge weigh in today. I’m feeling pretty good. Hopefully the scale agrees.