Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday

Today's Training
I had every intention of going directly to the gym after teaching and getting in my 35 minute run for the day.  However, do you see something missing from my gym bag?

Shirt, Sports bra, Shorts, Socks, Waterbottle, Check!  Shoes?!?  I didn't think running in my flats would go over so well...so I went home.  So, guess what I did?

Treadmill Tuesday in front of the TV while watching Dancing with the Stars!  One of my favorite workouts :)  I used this hills repeat treadmill workout from FitSugar, which was 5 minutes over my goal of 35 minutes (go me!).

When it said 15% incline, I just set the incline to 2.0...that's probably not what is meant by "steep hill outside", but it was my first hill training workout.  Next time, I'll bump it up to 3.0 or 3.5.  We'll see how I'm feeling.

I'm proud of myself for doing the whole 30 minute run without taking a walking break!  My legs are incredibly sore from BodyPUMP yesterday, and during that last 10 minute run, I was seriously considering walking.  But, surprisingly, I kept my legs a-moving and finished it out!  I was dripping sweat and my face was as red as a tomato, but I did it.

Faith Find
Boy, does God work in mysterious ways!  I posted yesterday about praying for others even when they may not be going through something, and I got a sign from God that I was right about that today.

A student of mine came up to me and asked what she missed yesterday.  She was on a field trip, but started telling me about her weekend.  We experience the outskirts of Sandy this weekend, which brought winds that gusted to 40 mph and sustained winds of about 20 mph.  Well, this student had two trees fall in their yard: one on their house, and one cutting their car IN HALF (she showed me a picture, it was crazy!).  So, who knew that even experiencing a small storm in life could cause that much damage.
MORAL OF THE STORY: pray for others all the time, even if they aren't going through anything considered "that big"!

I may have to double post on Thursday since tomorrow will be a very busy day for me with club sponsor obligations.  Have a very Happy Halloween!  Check back tomorrow or Thursday for a festive Halloween-themed trail mix!

Monday, October 29, 2012

BodyPUMP + Prayer Cards + Sweet Temptations

Today's Training
One of the perks of working for the school system I'm in is that our insurance gives us free gym memberships (at participating gyms...)!  Yay!  I just received my membership card, so today was my first day trying out the local YMCA.  I was spoiled living in Athens, GA because Omni Club ROCKS.  I had an awesome trainer, all the classes were awesome, and the facilities were huge with personal TVs on each cardio machine.  Needless to say, I was nervous about this new experience.

I attended BodyPump today.  I got a great workout (as usual with a BodyPump class), but I must say I was a bit disappointed in the instructors and the small space.  The instructors would call a down 3-up 1 rhythm and not follow it.  I just followed the rhythm they called whether or not they were showing it.

Overall, I can't complain much because I'm not paying anything for the gym membership, so I'll certainly enjoy it!  Plus, it's one less workout I have to figure out for myself :)

Faith Find
Let me preface what I'm about to say with this: I pray that everyone in Sandy's path stays safe and that damage is minimal from the storm.

It seems that in times of trial, you hear everyone talk about thinking about and praying for others (i.e. everyone posting about praying for the East Coast and everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy).  It always makes me think...what would happen if we are constantly in prayer for one another?

I know from experience that praying for others really does something for your own soul.  Also, when you know that others are praying for you (not necessarily for anything specific, but just praying for you in general), that is such a great feeling!

One thing that you can do to help yourself constantly pray for others is by using index cards.  Take a bunch of index cards (even cut them in half to save trees) and just write down the names of anyone that comes to mind.  One name per card!

Then, whenever you pray, draw a cards from your stack and pray for that person on the card.  If they have a need, lift it up.  If you're just thankful for their presence in your life, lift that up!  Whatever you can think of to pray for them, lift it up to God.

For an added bonus, send them a text, e-mail, note, etc. to tell them you're thinking of them and you've been praying for them.  It will put a smile on their face to know that they are cared for and being prayed for.

Many thanks to my youth director, Forrest White, for the prayer card idea!

Diet Tip of the Day
I love to bake.  I love to try new recipes for brownies, cookies, and any sort of sweets.  But, when I bake, I want to gobble up everything I baked!

Yesterday, I found these break-and-bake brownie bites that were Halloween themed.  I thought Joe and I were carving pumpkins with some of our neighbors, so I bought these little morsels to share with them.  But, that fell through and we carved pumpkins ourselves.  I still made these brownie bites, but now I can't stop eating them!
Couldn't you just eat them right up?
Self-control can be challenging for me when it comes to eating.  If people aren't around, I feel like I can eat whatever I want and no one will know.  That's why MyFitnessPal is so great, because it keeps me accountable even if no one's around.  I can enter everything I eat (and be completely honest about it), and I can see what damage I've done to myself.  The trouble is actually entering everything in every day.
Hopefully I can get these sweets out of the house soon (by giving them to people!) and I can get back on track with healthy eating.

Question for you: How do you control yourself when tempted by something tasty?  Help a girl out!

Sunday Catch-up

Yesterday was so full of things to do that I didn't have time to blog!  Here's what I wanted to post yesterday:

Faith Find
I think I found the church that we will join down here in Florida!  During worship, as the minister was giving the blessing and talking about how he knew that it was God speaking through him today, I got a tingly sensation.  I always feel that, when that happens, God is there with me!  To me, it's kind of like Him saying "Amen!" or "Make sure you're listening here", and I feel as though God said "Amen!" during this service.  I just feel His presence any time I'm at this church, and I always get a message from the sermon (which I can't say has happened at every church we've visited).  I'm so excited about this, and I can't wait to become more involved in this church family.

Diet Tip of the Day
After my run/jog/walk on Saturday, I was really craving some ice cream.  I knew I needed a treat, but instead of driving to Coldstone like my little heart desired, I created this smoothie as a recovery drink/sweet tooth satisfier:
Here's how to make it:
Chocolate Strawberry Smoothie
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 5 whole frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 scoop strawberry protein power (I used this one from GNC)
  • 1 1/2 spoonfuls of Hershey's Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1% milk-I poured until the milk covered the other ingredients
Blend until smooth, then enjoy your healthy treat!

If you want a stronger chocolate taste, add another spoonful or two of the cocoa powder.  The one I made had just enough chocolate to not be overpowering.  After drinking my smoothie, I entered therecipe on MyFitnessPal, and surprisingly, the worst things for you in the smoothie is the milk and the banana (by worst for you, I mean highest sugar content).  Next time, I may try almond milk to see if that will help reduce the amount of sugar.

Today's Training
My legs were feeling a little sore and shin-splinty today, so I decided to skip my run for the day.  But, here is this week's workout schedule so that everyone can keep me on track:

Monday: BodyPump class
Tuesday: Treadmill Tuesday run for 35 minutes
Wednesday: Weighted Wednesday (Lower body/Core)
Thursday: 35 minute run (outside, preferrably)
Friday: Yoga/pilates class or Core/Upper Body workout
Saturday: 5 mile run
Sunday: REST

I'm trying a new gym this week (the school system I work for gives us free gym memberships through our insurance...how awesome!), so I'll be sure to report back about how these classes are.

Bonus: Halloween Fun!
As a little extra today, I wanted to share with you why Joe and I were so busy yesterday!  After church and planning for this week/studying, we decided to carve pumpkins and have some Halloween-themed treats!  Here are some photos from our fun and festive evening:
Tollhouse Break-and-bake Halloween Brownies

Joe hard at work on his pumpkin

Joe's is the ghost, mine is the bat

With my finished product
I'm going to be putting together some Halloween goodie bags for some of my co-workers this week, too, so I'll be sure to share those with you, as well.

Back later with today's post!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pinterest-inspired Run + Egg Whites + Calming Presence

It's a chilly, windy day here in Florida thanks to Hurricane Sandy.  Not such great weather to motivate me to do anything other than put on some sweat pants and lay on the couch all day.  Luckily, I've done more than that.

Today's Training
I began my day on the Health and Fitness boards on Pinterest.  I found a lot of great workouts, which kind guilt-tripped me in to going a run this afternoon.
If only...
I went for my second run of the week and took the dog with me.  Running with the dog means running faster than I want to, taking detours when other dogs are around, and very frequent stops (he has to mark his territory EVERYWHERE).  Still, a pretty decent run:
Thankfully, Joe runs with the monster most of the time.  I very much appreciate it, especially after today's crazy run!

Diet Tip of the Day
Yesterday morning's breakfast was quite random:
Instant Oatmeal, Mozzarella/Tomato Wedge, Pineapple Cup
I knew the oatmeal wouldn't keep me full for long, so I added the cheese and fruit for an extra belly-filler.

I went a different route this morning and made myself something tasty and substantial
...scrambled egg whites sprinkled with cheddar cheese, turkey bacon, and coffee!

This was the first time I ever just had scrambled egg whites.  I must say, I did not miss the yolk!  Scrambled egg whites have a smoother taste to them, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  There must be an easier way to remove the yolk, though, rather than just picking it up with my hand.  Any suggestions?

Faith Find
One day this week, I taught a lesson in my first period that went horribly wrong.  My students were frustrated, I was frustrated and embarrassed, and it was only 1st period!  Between classes, I sat at my desk and just prayed.  I prayed that that lesson wouldn't ruin my day.  That I could recover from that.  That God could give me the peace of mind and the words to say the next time I taught that lesson.  I was able to find the exact resource I needed right away.  While God is always with me, whenever I ask God to take over during my day, things go much better.  He is such a calming presence, especially in adversity.  Instead of calling on Him in times of need, I need to just give Him each day first thing in the morning.  That way, I have that calming presence with me all day, and I'll feel it during the good times and bad.  Thanks be to God for the serenity he provides!

Hope you have a wonderful Saturday!  Back tomorrow after my long run to talk about that and a new smoothie I created this afternoon.

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

I love to read.  I get most of my reading done over the summer, but this year I've tried to make a commitment to reading at least 20 minutes each day.  It's a great way to unwind before bed, learn something new, or transport yourself into someone else's life or a new land.  Whenever I finish I book, I'm going to try and post a review of it, or at least a few comments about it.  So, here's my first book review.

I just finished the book for PBFinger's October Book Club, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Reading on my iPad
The book is about a high school girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide.  Before doing so, she records 13 audio tapes addressed to the 13 people who contributed to her decision to commit suicide.  The living narrator, Clay, is one of the boys who receives the tapes in the mail, and the book takes you through Hannah's story as Clay listens to each of the tapes.

First of all, I love the format of this book.  Each chapter represents a different tape while Hannah tells her story.  As she tells her story, Clay reacts to what he hears.  The switch between Hannah and Clay's narration added to the suspense and kept me reading to find out what happened to Hannah and how Clay will respond.  I couldn't put it down for the first few chapters, and I couldn't wait to pick it back up when I had to go to work.

The story itself really drew me in.  As an incredibly empathetic person, I love to read stories about other people's lives and emotions.  I felt for Hannah in each part of her story.  I also felt for Clay as he struggles with what he could have done to keep Hannah from committing suicide.  The writing is just so raw and the situations are so realistic that you can really imagine a high school girl struggling with her everyday life.

The message of the whole book is clearly stated by Hannah in one of her tapes: "Everything...affects everything." As a teen fiction novel, this is a great book for high schoolers to read and reflect on.  How are their actions affecting others around them?  How is one little comment they make going to change someone's life forever?  As a high school teacher, it made me remember that what I say to my students can change their lives, too.  One of Hannah's tapes is directed at one of her teachers, which made me realize that I need to let my students know that I care about them all, especially if they are going through some hard times.  I need to take it seriously when/if they come to me to help and get them to the resources they need to get through their dark times.

Overall, I think this is a great book.  It's a quick read, it's suspenseful, and it deals with a tough issue in an effective way.  I recommend it!

Check it out on Amazon
Question for you: Have you read Thirteen Reasons why?  What are your thoughts?

Any good book recommendations are welcome, as well :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Brown Baggin' It Guide

Hey, everyone!  While I'm all cozy on the couch, Hurricane Sandy is blowing by the Florida coast and causing tropical storm conditions.  Lots of wind, lots of rain...but luckily it's off and on.  What's really cool is seeing the individual rain bands in the sky.
Staying inside, but enjoying the interesting clouds!
I'm not looking forward to having to take the dog out later this evening.  Hopefully I can find a break in the rain!

Diet Tip of the Day
I've talked many a time about my lunch I take to school.  Well, here's my go-to guide to packing my lunch in the morning:

  • Vegetables-I love veggies, so I usually make a salad each day for lunch (until my produce goes bad).  I make sure to include lots of different flavors in my salad by including a lot of different vegetables.  I also sprinkle some shredded cheddar on top.  If I don't bring a salad, I'll have some carrot sticks with hummus as my veggie of the meal.
  • Protein-I incorporate protein in one of two ways.  Sometimes, I add canned tuna or turkey bacon to my salad.  This adds a great flavor to the salad, as well as making it more filling!  If I don't add a protein source to my salad, I'll bring some Greek yogurt (I love Dannon Oikos in Pineapple, Strawberry, or Honey flavors).  It's a great source of protein and satisfies the sweet tooth at the same time :)
  • Fruit-I'll switch it up every now and then, but I'll usually bring an apple, an orange, or a pineapple cup for another healthy addition to my lunch.
  • Something Crunchy-I always feel much more full and satisfied when I bring something crunchy to eat during lunch.  This week, it was pretzels with hummus.  I've also been in to Chip Ins Popcorn Chips lately
  • A cute lunchbox to bring everything from home to school...enough said :)
There you have it: a go-to guide for a tasty, healthy lunch to take to work or school.  Plus, you save money bringing your lunch rather than having to go somewhere to buy lunch!

That's all for now.  Hopefully Hurricane Sandy will move on up the coast so that I can go on a run tomorrow at some point.  

Question of the Day: How do you eat healthy at school or the office?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday Workout + Sneak-Attack Veggies + Christianity Quitters

Today's Training
Run One of Three this week, complete!  Here's how I did:
Pretty proud of how I did.  I've been reading on the runDisney training program website that a mile pace in 80 degree weather is about 2 minutes slower than it would be in 60 degree weather (which is the predicted temperature on race day).  When I first signed up, I was worried about finishing in the 16-minute pace restriction, but now I feel like I can do that!

Also, in case you didn't notice, I posted the official banner for training the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I'm pretty excited about this, and this banner will be a reminder for me to continue training because everyone knows now :)

Diet Tip of the Day
Dinner around our house gets a little complicated.  Joe always wants a dish with meat, while I'm content with lots of different veggies.  He doesn't like rice and wants different sides, while I'm content with a piece of meat, rice, and a different veggie every night.  So, my way to shaking things up is getting a boxed dinner that I can make quickly and easily (until I saw just how bad all of them are for you last week).

Well, I still have a few of them left after the last trip to the grocery store, so Creamy Pasta Tuna Helper it was.  My compromise is that I sneak-attacked Joe with some veggies by putting half a can of peas in the skillet as I cooked the pasta.
A picture of the leftovers...I forgot to take a picture when we actually ate
Joe actually said while eating, "See, I like peas when they're mixed in here.  I don't see how you eat them plain."  See what I'm dealing with here?  Oh well, gotta love him anyway :)

Faith Find
While running today, I listened to the next sermon in Andy Stanley's "Christian" series.  The first sermon talked about how the word Christian is not defined in the New Testament, but disciple is.  Disciples of Jesus are called to love others as God loves us, which ties in to the second sermon.

The second sermon is called "Quitters."  Andy opens the sermon talking about Anne Rice, a popular novelist, who posted on Facebook in 2010 that she was quitting Christianity.  She wasn't quitting her relationship with Jesus, just quitting being in a Christian because of the way Christians act--disputing with one another, casting certain people away, etc.  Andy Stanley says that this is because of the lack of definition of Christian.  If we all define the word on our own, and divisions happen.  If we all just loved others because God loves us as disciples of Jesus should, then people would be drawn to Christians instead of feeling coerced and pressured by them.  People would see Christians and think, "Why did that person just forgive me that easily?  Why did he admit so quickly that he was wrong?  Why didn't she condemn me when I was wrong?" instead of feeling condemned and not good enough.

It's interesting that Andy Stanley mentioned the last part, because I overheard a student today saying he doesn't like going to church because he feels so pressured when he's there.  Hmmm...sounds like he's been around too many Christians and not enough disciples.  I look forward to finishing this sermon series in the next week or two and get started on the next one!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wal-mart Frustration + Snack Binge + Treadmill Tuesday?

You may notice a new little addition to the blog.  The logo on the left is to show that I signed up for Pile on the Miles 2012, a commitment for the month of November to run or walk more miles than normal.  On top of the half marathon looming in late February, this will be good motivation to keep up with my running!  There are potential prizes involved :)  Check it out, and sign up if you'd like!

Now on to regularly scheduled blogging:

Today's Training
....didn't happen :(  I'm sad to say, as much as I've enjoyed Treadmill Tuesday the past two weeks, we ate dinner much later than expected (we had some people over, and they were late).  I was so full in time for Dancing with the Stars, and now I'm here on the couch blogging.  Not such a good start to my Pile on the Miles sign-up, but good thing that starts in November!  I'm going to make up my run tomorrow and postpone Weighted Wednesday to Thursday.

Faith Find
Now, what I'm about to write may not seem like much of a Faith Find, but bare with me.  The Wal-mart where I live is the most frustrating thing.  NO ONE puts their carts away.  Instead, they leave their carts in between cars.  Even when the cart return is right across the lot from them.  I hate going there because I get so darn frustrated at people's lack of respect for others!

While fuming in the parking lot, I decided to put away two carts (in addition to mine) before leaving.  While I felt like I was doing a good deed, I realized that my spirit in doing my good deed was not right. I did my good deed out of anger, not out of wanting others to not be inconvenienced.   2 Corinthians 9:7 says: "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. "  I was certainly not a cheerful giver!

In the future, I will go to Wal-mart and put a few carts back for the sake of the Wal-mart employees, in hopes to make their work a little bit easier.  I won't put the carts back because I'm so frustrated at the other patrons.

Diet Tip of the Day
My lunch at school today was all fruits and veggies: a spinach salad with carrots, green peppers, onions, and tomatoes (with cheese on top); carrot sticks with hummus; and a pineapple cup.  As proud of myself as I was for eating healthy, I was not full AT ALL.  As a result, I pigged out on uncooked Ramen noodles (my really weird favorite snack food).

Now I see the point of making sure protein is a part of my meals!  I usually add tuna to my salad or bring Greek yogurt to eat after my salad.  In the future, I will make sure I have some sort of protein source in order to keep me full and avoid a snacking binge later in the day.

Thought to Ponder: What do you do out of frustration that could easily be done out of joy/love for others/the world? 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ab-spiration + Judging Others

Today's Training
Still riding my runner's high, I decided to start this week's training schedule today instead of resting.  Gotta get off on the right foot!  I went to the gym during Wheel of Fortune/Dancing with the Stars (two of my all-time favorites!) and completed these workouts I found via Pinterest:

After a 15 minute warm-up on the elliptical, I went through this once, did the following ab/core workout, then went back through the arms workout again.
The arm workout was very shoulder-intense!  Those babies will be sore tomorrow!  Next time, I'd probably do the arm workout three times through and increase my weights on triceps and the bent over rows.  No complaints about the ab workout, though!  That kicked my butt!  I realized while I was doing these ab exercises that Dancing with the Stars is great ab-spiration.  Check out some of these great abs on these dancing ladies:
Maria Menounos (Season 14) Source

Karina Smirnoff, Dancing pro Source

Melissa Rycroft, All-Star Season Source
...you get the point.  Definitely going to do some abs each week during DWTS for the rest of the season.  Maybe...just maybe...I'll look like them, too!

Faith Find
Judging others has always been a problem for me.  I am very quick to judge, and I caught myself doing that today.  When I realized how judgmental my thoughts were, I decided to pray.  I asked forgiveness for my sin, then prayed for the person, for them to have a good day, and for them to feel the love of God daily.  I started thinking about that, and how much more beneficial is praying for that person than judging them?!  My goal for the next week (and the rest of my life) is when I find myself judging someone, I will instead pray for them.  I hope that you will join me in that challenge!

No Diet Tip today.  I was going to post a recipe for tasty Lemon Pepper Chicken that I make, but sadly, I didn't take a picture of it.  Next time I make it, I will be sure to take and picture and post the recipe!  It's very easy and flavorful. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Runner's High + Lukewarm Christian + Portion Control

Today's Training
I made sure that I did my long run for my half marathon training today.  I've only really been running once a week, and I know that isn't going to help me finish a half marathon.  So, I forced myself to do a 4 mile run today.

I decided to just kind of wing it when it came to a route and run in different ways I haven't done before.  I started doing a 3:1 run:walk ratio, then around minute 27 I began a 3:1.5 run:walk ratio.  I really thought by the end of my run that I had only gone about 4 miles (if that) in 48 minutes.  Once I logged my route on MapMyRun, here's what I found out:
What?!?!  I was shocked!  A run that I didn't think was going so well turned out to be awesome!  Keep in mind, too, that I'm in Florida and I ran at 2:00 this afternoon.

I'm going to ride my runner's high after this great run and begin next week's training schedule tomorrow with an upper body workout.  That'll give my legs a chance to rest, but I'll start the week off on the right foot because I'm still so excited about my run!

Faith Find
I finished Weird by Craig Groeschel today.  I'm really glad I read that book!  It reminded me of some great things that I know I need to work on in order to be a disciple of Jesus.  The book ended referencing a verse in Revelations that I've heard many times before:
“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" Revelation 3:15-16

It made me think...am I a lukewarm Christian?  Are my thoughts, words, and actions all reflecting that I am a follower of God?  

If I were to be real honest, I would say that yes, as of now, I'm a lukewarm Christian.  For the last few years, I've just been going through the motions.  I have the right beliefs and I do the right things on Sundays, but I haven't been spending my time as God would have me do so.

But, that's what this whole recommitment is all about.  I realize my shortcomings, I realize that I need to make a change, and, most importantly, I WANT to make that change!  I want my words, actions, and beliefs to line up.  I want people to know that I am a disciple of Jesus instead of me having to tell them. I pray that, with God's help, I will be able to do that very soon.  I know what changes need to be made, and I will make them (God willing).

Diet Tip of the Day
It's no secret: I would much rather go out to eat or order take-out than cook everyday during the weekends.  Not only is this a problem for the wallet, but it's a problem for eating healthy.  One of the reasons food at restaurants tastes so great is the way they prepare it--in lots of butter, fat, oils, etc.  But, as someone who is trying to eat healthy (and not cooking every day), this increases the calories, fat, sodium, etc....things I'm trying to avoid!

To combat both of these problems (money and eating healthy), I cut my entree (and sides) in half right when I get it.  That way, I can order what I want, but I'm only eating half the calories.  And then, when I don't feel like cooking another night during the week (or when Joe wants a late-night snack), I don't have to go anywhere.  I can just eat my leftovers!

While this is not a revolutionary idea, I thought I'd share it with you all as my diet tip of the day.  It's something I do, and if it helps just one person, I'll be happy with that.

Question for you today:  Have you had a great workout this week that really energized you to keep to your workout schedule?

Back tomorrow with my runner's-high-induced workout, and hopefully a diet tip and a faith find, too!  Hope you have a wonderful Monday!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Double Cookies n Cream Bars

As much as I'm trying to make this blog about healthy eating and fitness, I have to share this sweet treat I made last night.

Double Cookies 'n Cream Bars

Cookies 'n Cream is my favorite ice cream flavor.  I love Hershey's Cookies 'n Cream candy bars.  So, when I found this recipe on Chef in Training's blog (an AWESOME food blog), I knew I had to try it.  I Pinned it a while back, and yesterday when I was in the mood to bake, I decided on that.

It was quite an easy recipe to follow.  Check the website linked above for the ingredients and instructions (it's not my own creation, so I want to give credit where credit is due!).

They didn't have the Cookies 'n Cream kisses the recipe calls for, so I went with the fun-sized cookies 'n cream bars.  It got the job done, and also made the dough more flat in the pan.

I don't have a finished product picture, but they were DELICIOUS!  They got rave reviews from Joe, his friends, and our neighbors.

I love baking, so I wanted to share my latest treat!  Tomorrow, I WILL be running, so I'll be back tomorrow with a post about that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

DIY Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

As I mentioned before, I bought some Instant Oatmeal this week at the grocery store.  When I was contemplating the decision, I thought about purchasing the Apple Cinnamon flavor.  Then, I looked at the nutrition label:
13 g of Sugar? Seriously?  I decided to just get the original flavor of oatmeal and add in any fruit that I wanted.  So this morning, I created my own Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal.
  • 1 packet Quaker Instant Oatmeal: Original
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 apple, sliced and cut into pieces
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
The result was a tasty breakfast!  I had been adding strawberries to my oatmeal, but the apple pieces and cinnamon made a cohesive taste to meal, which ties nicely in to the fall season!  The great thing about this meal is that, according to MyFitnessPal, it only has 6 grams of sugar from the apple slices.  That saves 7 grams of sugar from the packet of Apples and Cinnamon Oatmeal you could buy at the store.  I bet it has more flavor, too.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Boxed Dinners + Weighted Wednesday

Diet Tip of the Day
I had a real wake-up call today!  I started using MyFitnessPal again today, a calorie-tracking webstie/app I mentioned using before, and I realized just how bad for you some of the boxed dinners I make really are!  Many days after work, the last thing I want to do is cook, so I rely on Hamburger Helper, Banquet Homestyle Bakes, and Velveeta Cheesy Skillet meals for a quick, tasty dinner.
Tonight's Dinner
Leftovers of this for Lunch
I ate 1/3 of the box of the Velveeta Cheesy Skillet and about 1/5 of the Homestyle Bakes Pizza Pasta today.  Those two meals combined for over 2,000 mg of sodium!!  That alone is almost 100% of the daily recommended value.  I couldn't believe it!  Also, those two portions today had 21 grams of sugar, also almost 100% of the daily recommended value.  I guess the trade-off for a quick and easy meal is a not-so-good-for-you nutrition!  I'm going to start rethinking my need for a quick meal versus the need to have a healthy meal for myself and my husband.  Thanks for the wake-up call, MyFitnessPal!

Today's Training
It's Weighted Wednesday again!  Here's the total body workout I did today:
For each exercise, use whatever weight feels comfortable for you.  I have a feeling I will be quite sore tomorrow.

Faith Find
My devotional this morning referenced the verse in Mark 10 where Jesus tells the rich man that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.  The devotional talked about how getting things clouds our view of God's kingdom and what God wants us to be doing.  In fact, the way we get to the kingdom of God is by giving everything anyway.  After reading the section on money in Weird and reading this devotional, I'm learning more and more that my pay cut may be a way for me to grow closer to God by learning to be generous even in a time of uncertainty and money worries.  I pray that I'll be able to take steps in the right direction towards spending money in a godly way.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday + Laughing Cow + Presidential Prayers

That's right, it's Treadmill Tuesday once more!

Today's Training
When one of my students today asked me if I'd been running lately, I realized that I really do need to stick to my schedule!  I decided to do so by wearing a color-coordinated outfit:
I misplaced these shorts for a few weeks, found them this weekend, and I'm very happy to be wearing them again.

Here's the treadmill workout I did today.  I'm calling it the "Push Yourself" Treadmill workout
I called it the "Push Yourself" workout because in the middle of the workout, when you're tired and ready to stop, you are running faster than the rest of the workout.  I really enjoyed this (especially while watching Dancing with the Stars), and felt pretty happy with the time:
Take out my 3-minute warm-up and 5- minute cool down (about .3 miles), and I'd say I was doing pretty good!

Diet Tip of the Day
I realized I'm really in to spreads/dips this week.  I decided to try some Laughing Cow wedges.  I'd seen many commercials for these things, so I decided to try the Mozzarella, sun-dried tomato, and basil flavor.
I've just eaten the wedge on its own during lunch as an added dairy/protein boost to my meal.  I like it, but I think it's be really good spread over crackers, a bagel, or a slice of bread.  I think I'll get some crackers for the rest of the wedges.  Nice little treat in the middle of my day.  Plus, how cute is that little cow?

Faith Find
As I write this, I'm listening to the Presidential Debate.  I always get so stressed out watching these things because I hate conflict, which kind of turns in to hating politics.  Shouldn't we all be able to have our own opinions and be able to have a civil conversation about those opinions without putting each other down?  I've decided that I'm just going to prayer for this election.  I'm going to pray that the right candidate wins the presidency that will lead us in the right direction.  I'm going to pray that each candidate seeks God's will for their campaign and for the country.  I'm going to pray that each voter considers God's will for our country, as well, and will prayerfully consider who to vote for.   I hope that you will join me in praying for our country, for the presidential candidates, and for this upcoming election in November.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Friends + Hummus + Accountability

You know what?  Today was a pretty good Monday!

Faith Find
I'm starting with the Faith Find today.  If you aren't in to reading that, feel free to skip ahead!  I respect everyone's personal religious beliefs :)
The church I went to yesterday is having a pumpkin patch fundraiser for youth ministries, just like my home church does! (Side Note: If you are in Richmond, VA, stop by Trinity United Methodist Church for all your pumpkin needs this year)  I decided to sign up to volunteer today.  I originally thought I signed up for 4-6, but for some reason I clicked the wrong button and signed up for 6-8.  This was, without a doubt, an sign from God because I worked with a girl who is so much like me it's not even funny!  It's crazy how a silly human mistake turned into God letting me meet someone that I think will be a good friend.  I'm so excited to see what other opportunities will come from meeting Ashley!

Diet Tip of the Day
A great snack that fills you up and is good for you is...hummus!
The Sabra brand is quite tasty, and they have lots of different flavors to satisfy your taste buds.  I'm a sucker for pesto and basil, and so the Basil Pesto flavor is perfect for me.  I dipped pretzels in it, but carrots, crackers, anything tastes great in hummus.  I highly recommend it if you haven't tried it before.

Today's Training
I decided to take one more day off to make sure I'm fully hydrated (I drank lots and lots of water at school today).  But, here is my schedule for the rest of the week:
Tuesday: Run 35 minutes (hopefully outside!)
Wednesday: Total Body strength workout
Thursday: Run 35 minutes
Friday: Cross train for 20-30 minutes (bike ride maybe?)
Saturday: Run 4/4.5 miles
Sunday: Easy run/walk for 20 minutes
Expect posts each day about each of these.  Now I'll be embarrassed if it doesn't happen :)  I find that when it comes to working out, I need someone to hold me accountable in order for workouts to happen (extrinsic motivation as talked about in For the Sake of Cake's post).

One way I keep myself accountable is by posting my week's schedule on the wall near the door to our apartment.  That way, I can check each workout off and feel accomplished (and my husband can call me out if I don't, too).

I like for them to be pretty and color-coordinated so that it's fun for me to look at and fun for me to make.

Question of the Day:  Do you like hummus?  If so, do you get a flavored hummus, or just the plain one?
I used to just buy the original hummus, but after trying this flavor, I just may have to continue buying this one, and try new flavors, too.

Weekend Update

So this weekend was quite a bust when it came to training.  I drank very little water on Thursday and Friday, and I woke up with dehydration on Saturday.  I had to nurse myself back to hydration all day Saturday, so I didn't do any running/working out this weekend.  Hence, the lack of posts!  I do want to share a Diet Tip and a Faith Find from the weekend, though!

Diet Tip of the Day
Joe saw a commercial for a promotion Olive Garden has going on now called "Dinner Today, Dinner Tomorrow."  You get to order an entree (from a list of 5) to eat at the restaurant with unlimited salad or soup, and then you pick another from that same list to heat up for dinner tomorrow!  All just $12.95!  What a great deal!
Free Advertising for Olive Garden
We went for dinner on Sunday and decided we would split the special.  Joe ordered an extra soup, and we both loaded up on our salad/soup and then split the ravioli entree.  Everything was delicious (especially the breadsticks), and I would definitely recommend the ravioli!  Not only did we both have dinner tonight and tomorrow for $12.95, but we saved on some calories by not eating a whole entree.  Cool deal!

Faith Find
It's tough to find a church home here (since the population is older...), but I KNOW I visited the right church on Sunday!  The sermon was all the training required to be disciples!  How well does that tie in to the sermon I listened to last Sunday?  We talked about the five things you have to learn as a disciple:
-Study (Romans 15:4)
-Prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
-Service (1 Peter 4:10)
-Worship (John 4:24)
-Giving (2 Corinthians 8:7)
The other thing about being a disciple is that after we learn all of these things, we have to help mentor others on their journey to become a disciple.  I think that's a key part of being disciple is that we are called to go out and make other disciples of all people.

Back later with the post of today.  Meanwhile, I'm going to enjoy my "Dinner tomorrow" and volunteer at a pumpkin patch!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Healthy Snacks + Convicting Quotes

I'll be real with y'all, this was a stressful week for me!  Both classes I teach have a test coming up on Monday, so I've been busy preparing my students for their tests and tutoring them when needed.  My training has taken a bit of a back seat because of that, since I get home and just want to lay on the couch.

Diet Tip of the Day
Two things I decided to try at the grocery store this week: oatmeal and Wal-mart brand Tropical Trail Mix.

For breakfast, I've been reading a lot of other blogs talking about oatmeal.  I decided I'd give it a try by purchasing Quaker Instant Original Oatmeal
I was worried about the consistency, but I thoroughly enjoyed this warm breakfast each morning. One morning, I sliced up 2 strawberries and mixed them in.  Quite a nice addition and made the meal more filling.  The day I didn't add strawberries, I got very hungry very quickly.  I'm very happy with the purchase, and look forward to try other fruits in my oatmeal!

My other new purchase was Great Value Tropical Trail Mix (Wal-mart brand).
I was looking for just regular almonds to keep in my desk at school for a snack, but I picked this up instead.  The dried fruit is sweet and delicious, but this trail mix isn't as filling as a handful of almonds I usually eat.  I threw in a few almonds today, and the snack held me over until I could eat my lunch.  Another purchase I'm satisfied with, but in the future, I may mix in more nuts to increase the protein/filling factor of my snack.

Faith Find
I have a book of inspirational teacher quotes on my desk and try to read each quote for the date given.  Yesterday's quote was from Mark Twain: "If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear." I read that today and decided it really applied to one of my classes.  The more I think about it, though, that quote really applies to my prayers.  I talk to God way more than I listen to God.  I think that His will is what happens, but then I realize that I make plenty of decisions without waiting to hear from Him.  So as much as I get frustrated when my students don't listen to me, I'm sure God gets frustrated with me when I don't listen to Him!  I love when I think I find a quote, verse, etc. that applies to someone else, but then I realize that it really applies to me.  Convicted!

No training today, but I will run tomorrow!  Joe and I are volunteering in the morning, then watching football all afternoon/evening.

Question for you readers: What is your favorite healthy snack that keeps you full until lunch/dinner?  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Weird Money

I decided to post today's faith find in a separate post.  I'm reviewing the section on money in the book I'm reading.  There was so much good stuff, I couldn't fit it all in to one!

Faith Find
As some of you may know, I'm currently reading Weird by Craig Groeschel, which talks about living a Christ-following life every day.  The first section discussed Time, and the second session discussed money.  

Here are the three main take-away points:

1. The definition of rich is relative.  I know that many times, when someone told me I was rich growing up, I said "No I'm not!" because I knew someone with more money than my family.  Groeschel says, "Since normal people don't believe they're rich, they generally skim through or skip past anything the Bible says to wealthy people.  In fact, if you earn more than $37.000 per year, you are in the top 4 percent of wage earners.  My first thought when reading this was, "WOW, an amount like that is barely considered out of poverty in America".  According to Groeschel, here is the issue with wealth: "The more a person is able to control life through the power of money, wealth, and status, the more inclined he is to rely on his money's ability to make things happen, instead of relying on God."  True story.

2."Better to have fewer houses, cars, appliances, clothes, toys, and bills than to have the whole world and lose your soul."  Groeschel discussed two families he knows, one he compared to the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.  They had lots of money, and they kept buying more and more and more but were never satisfied.  Then, he talked about another family who had plenty of money, but didn't buy the newest gadget and nicest house every time one was available.  They were much, much happier than the family who constantly spent their money.  It reminds me of the Toby Mac song "Lose My Soul," which quotes Matthew 16:26: "What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"  I'd rather have a life that is warm and fulfilling in love rather than full of stuff.

3. There are 3 levels of generosity.  There is spontaneous giving--seeing a need and meeting it (which isn't a deliberate lifestyle choice).  The second level is strategic givers--those that plan ahead so that they can be generous.  The third level is sacrificial givers--those that "see what we have as tools that advance God's kingdom" and are constantly using money and possessions to help others.  The main thing I took from this chapter is that giving of our money shouldn't be a matter of "What do I have left over that I can give this month?"  Giving of our money should come first, not last.  

Great perspective on money and using it in a Godly way.  Reading this chapter came at a great time, after finding out that my previous experience/degree level wouldn't change my annual salary in my new county.  It really put money into perspective for me, and that I really do need to be relying on God rather than the amount of money I'm making.  He has provided me with a job and a salary in general, so why would he not provide for the rest of the future.

Long review for one section of the book, but I wanted to share all of the interesting points I gather from this book!  The next section is on Relationships.  When I finish that, I will be sure to share!

Side Note: The website where I got the money image from actually links to an article entitled "Can Money Buy Happines?"  SO CRAZY how God works sometimes!  Check out that article, it really ties in to point #2!

Sweet Potatoes

Diet Tip of the Day
Joe and I decided to have steak for dinner tonight.  What's the perfect side dish for steak?  Baked potato.  The more I've read recently, though, the more that I hear about sweet potatoes.  They have lots of vitamins and minerals in them, which is more than a regular potato can say for itself.  So, instead of a baked potato, I had a baked sweet potato!

In addition to the health benefits, I LOVE the taste of sweet potatoes!  The consistency is smoother than a regular potato, and they complement the steak very well.  I added a little bit of butter and salt to my sweet potato, but I've heard that butter and cinnamon are perfect sweet potato toppings.  I highly recommend baked sweet potatoes to any steak lover, or anyone who just wants a tasty, healthy side dish for any meal.

Today's Training
To go along with the steak today, I had a glass of wine.  Glass of wine + drinking no water today = serious dehydration and no running.  :(  I guess I will push back my training schedule a day and make it a priority to go for a run tomorrow.  That, or I'll just do a short run on Saturday morning along with a total body weight workout, and then still plan on my long run for Sunday.

I hate that I'm not going for a run today, though, because the weather is PERFECT for a run in the evening.  In fact, check out the Eastern-central Florida weather for the next few days:
How perfect is that?!  Looks like Sunday may be a beach day as well :)

Weighted Wednesday

I'm trying to come up with better titles for each blog.  Do you like the alliterations?  Too cliche?  I'll try and get more creative...but for now, the alliterations stay!

Today's Training
On schedule for today was strength training (hence Weighted Wednesday), and I decided to do a lower body workout.  I started with a 15 minute warm-up on the elliptical (10 minutes on level 10 and 5 minutes on level 50.  I then used PBFingers' Burnin' Legs and Abs Circuit Workout.  The name is right, my legs are burnin'!  Instead of a 25-lb dumbbell that she mentions in the workout, I used a 10-lb one (because I'm lazy/I didn't want to be too, too sore for my run tomorrow).

Yay Weighted Wednesday!

Diet Tip of the Day
I went to the grocery store today and bought lots of fruits and veggies.  I bought a bunch of bananas and cut some of them up to freeze for smoothies.  Fun fact about me: Bananas make me gag.  The smell, the taste, the consistency.  Everything.  As I was cutting the bananas, I realized the smell wasn't getting to me.  I decided to try one of the pieces I cut, and guess what...I actually ate it without gagging!  I've always heard how good bananas are for you (especially before/after a run) but have never been able to eat them.  I'm looking forward to eating a new fruit!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Treadmill Tuesday

Most of this post was typed up yesterday, but I ran out of time to finish it last night.  My students took a quiz on Monday that has taken me FOREVER to grade!  Luckily, those are all done and entered in the computer now.  What a relief!

Diet Tip of the Day
Joe had some leftovers to finish for dinner tonight, so it was time to throw something together--literally--for dinner.  I had some frozen broccoli that I wanted to eat, and while I scavenged through the pantry, I found more veggies that Joe doesn't really like.  Here's what I found to throw together for a yummy dinner:
I used:
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli, prepared
  • 1/3 can of peas and carrots
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 can tuna in water
  • A handful of chopped onion
  • A handful of Parmesan cheese
Overall, the finished product was tasty and filling!  Not bad for something I threw together at the last minute :)

Today's Training
For today's 35-minute run, I modified this treadmill workout and ran on the treadmill while watching Dancing with the Stars results.  Can you tell I like that show? :)  Here's the workout I completed:
I named this the 3-5-7 workout because you increase the speed of the treadmill by .3, you're running for 5 minutes, and the whole set is 7 minutes long!  I came up with that while running, so please forgive me for the lame name.  Feel free to increase the speeds on this.  I'm just training to finish the half marathon, but this would be a great speed workout if that's what you're looking to do.

I enjoyed this workout because the minutes went by very quickly!  Overall, I went 3.42 miles in 40 minutes (included warm-up and cool down) and I'm very pleased with my run.

Faith Find
Since my workout yesterday had a Bible verse attached, I decided to try to associate a verse with my 3-5-7 workout.  I thought of the book of Psalms and looked up Psalms 35:7, which says "Since they hid their net for me without cause and without cause dug a pit for me, "...didn't do much for me.  So, I tried Psalm 3:5-7.  Much better:
I lie down and sleep;
    I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
    assail me on every side.
Arise, Lord!
    Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
    break the teeth of the wicked.
I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed this week with all that's going on at school and feeling like everyone needs something from me or needs my help.  These verses are a good reminder that God is there and that I have nothing to fear/worry about.  Definitely needed that, especially on a day like yesterday!

Back later to tell you about Weighted Wednesday (new tradition I'm going to try!), fruit, and to finally talk about the chapter about money in my book Weird.  Until then, I have a question for you:
  • Do you like to run on a treadmill?  What is your favorite treadmill workout?
Lately, I have really been enjoying the treadmill.  I love treadmill workouts that involve running at fast paces for short distances with some walking thrown in so that I can catch my breath!

Monday, October 8, 2012

31:17 + Grilled vs. Fried

Diet Tip of the Day
I was faced with a tough choice today.  Joe and I decided to order takeout tonight, and I decided on an Oriental Chicken Salad.  The description said fried chicken pieces, so I thought, "ok, I can do this.  Just need to make sure dinners are healthy the rest of the week."  When I called to place the order, I found out I had an option of grilled or fried chicken.  What a tough choice!  The Southern girl in me craved the fried chicken, but I knew to keep the meal on more of the healthy side, I needed to order grilled chicken.
Source: http://www.applebees.com/menu/2-for-20/oriental-chicken-salad
Doesn't the fried chicken just look so delicious?  In the end, I was very satisfied with the grilled chicken, and the oriental dressing was very tasty!  Whenever you order takeout or go to a restaurant, be sure to order your meat grilled for a calorie savings and a flavor boost!

Today's Training
Monday's are normally my rest day, but I decided to make it a strength training day.  Joe was headed to the gym, so I figured I'd go with him to make sure I got some weights in this week.  I decided to do upper body, as I feel I'm neglecting it lately with all this running.  Via Pinterest, I found this 31:17 arm workout:
I loved all of the moves, especially the lift/press move!  I did 12 reps of each exercise with 5-pound weights and worked through them 3 times.  I was feeling it by the end!  Our little apartment gym was so packed that I had to take out the burpees.  I was stuck in a little corner of the gym and barely had enough room to lay down, much less do burpees!  I would also use 7.5 pound weights next time for an additional challenge, but sadly, my little apartment gym doesn't have 7.5 pound dumbbells :(
After completing the upper body circuit, I also added in some core work.  I did 20 bicycles crunches, 20 butterfly crunches, and 25 reverse crunches two times through.  I love working my abs, and these are some of my favorite ab exercises!  Great day of weights, and I look forward to getting back to running tomorrow.

Faith Find
I mentioned the 31:17 arm workout that I did today.  Did anyone look and find out the significance of the 31:17?  By finding that little workout on Pinterest, I have now found a blog of a Christian personal trainer with lots of great recipes and workouts since the 31:17 refers to Proverbs 31:17!  You may hear people talk about the "Proverbs 31 woman."  Have you read Proverbs 31:10-31 before?  It lays out the definition of a wife of noble character.  The charges of that chapter can often be controversial and debated regarding relevance to the times, but to me it talks about how to be a Godly woman.  As I read back through those verses today, Proverbs 31:12 jumped out to me in regards to my goal of loving others this week.  The verse says: "She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life."  Loving others brings them good, not harm, each and every day.  There's a connection between being a disciple of Jesus and being of noble character.  As I strive to be a disciple of Jesus, this Proverbs 31 woman thing should fall right in to place.  I love finding connections between the Old and New Testaments :)

Tailgating + Whoopsie! Run

Sunday was such a busy day that I didn't get to blog about it!  I certainly have some things to share though :)

Diet Tip of the Day
Joe and I went up to Jacksonville for the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears football game!  Not only did we get to see some football and tailgate, but the high school I teach at's band performed the pre-game show.
They did a GREAT job!  Yeah SCHS!

Along with football comes tailgating, and along with tailgating comes a healthy-eating challenge.  With all the chips, beverages, desserts, and grilled items, how do you eat healthy??  Here was my solution:
Chicken sausages!  I found these at Wal-mart the other day and was intrigued.  I decided to try them out, and I'm very glad I did.  While you still get the taste of a grilled sausage, it doesn't taste as greasy or  fatty!  Plus, according the brand's website, each sausage is only 110 calories!  We used the sweet Italian seasoned ones, and I liked the flavor and the taste of the chicken.  Overall, a happy and healthy tailgate

Today's Training
Surprisingly, I got up before we left for Jacksonville and went on a run!  Wow!  My schedule called for a 4 mile run.  I mapped out a route beforehand and was all excited to get out there and go the distance.  I had a great run, and I looked at the time when I got back.  I had run 4 miles in 33 minutes!  I thought to myself, "wow, running without the dog really makes me go fast!"  I went inside, went to Map My Run to log my workout, and I realized I missed a whole mile of my run!  When I realized I made a wrong turn on my run and reduced it to 3 miles, I said "Whoopsies!," hence the name of today's post.  I was still pleased with my run, even though I didn't actually do what I was supposed to!  Hopefully this doesn't happen again, though I may do it on purpose some day if I don't want to run as far as I'd planned :)

Faith Find
During my run, I listened to one of Andy Stanley's sermons from North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, GA.  They have podcasts of his sermons that you can subscribe to, and I have never listened to them before.  I decided to listen to his series entitled "Christian," and the first sermon was entitled "Brand Recognition."  The first interesting point, that I never knew, is that "Christian" is not defined in the Bible!  It is mentioned 3 times and refers to the way that people outside the faith referred to the followers of Jesus.  The second interesting point is that the word "disciple" IS defined in the Bible multiple times.  He talks about how we should strive to be disciples of Jesus by loving one another.  Jesus said during the Last Supper that people will know that the apostles belonged to Jesus by their love for one another.  After listening to the sermon and recent events in my life, I know that I need to love others much more than I have been lately.  I want people to know that I am not only a Christian, but I am a disciple of Jesus!