Friday, August 30, 2013

RnR race/Labor Day Weekend

Hey hey from Charlotte!

I'm flying my way up to Virgina for the weekend.  I'll be spending the night in Richmond tonight then driving to Virginia Beach tomorrow.  The Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon is on Sunday!!  I can't believe it's here!

Last night, I went to yoga.  The instructor has us dedicate our practice to something, and in addition to God, I dedicated my practice to a good race on Sunday.  Afterward, I hopped on the treadmill for one last 3 mile run before the race.  It went really well, so I'm hoping to ride that high into the 13.1 miles this weekend!

I probably won't be on the blog this weekend, so I wanted to wish y'all a happy Labor Day weekend.  In addition to the race, I'm going to have a great time seeing friends and family AND get to watch the first Virginia Tech football game with some fellow alums.  As you can see, I'm ready for the game already.  Go Hokies!
Best wishes to anyone else out there racing this weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Healthified Chicken Tortilla Casserole

Yesterday was quite a long day at work!  I spent about 4 hours after school packing up my classroom and switching with another teacher.  It's made me realize what a hoarder I am when it comes to teaching stuff!
And this is just the stuff I brought home...
We are switching teaching assignments, so you can imagine how crazy things have been this week!  You may be wondering why, but I can't fully explain just yet.  Be patient :)  I promise to fill you in.

In Tuesday's post, I mentioned a yummy dinner I made this weekend!  I found the recipe for Healthified Chicken Tortilla Casserole thanks to Pinterest and knew I had to try it out.
You can find the recipe here from Live Better America.  I followed the recipe exactly, with the exception of using a red bell pepper rather than a green bell pepper.  Joe thinks green peppers at too potent (though I love them), but this dish is so flavorful, I doubt you could really taste the pepper!

One of the things I love about this recipe is the healthy swaps they incorporated in the recipe.
One thing that surprises me is the decreased amount of cheese.  I could really taste the cheese, and this cheese lover couldn't imagine adding more!  

Here are the differences in the nutritional information:
Good stuff!  I think this has become an instant favorite in our house, especially with the beverages we had on the side.

Question for you: Do you "healthify" common recipes?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WIAW #15: Back to School!

In all the school craziness this week, I actually remembered to photograph a day of food this week!  You know what that means...

It's What I Ate Wednesday!  I'm going to share Tuesday's eats with you today, and you'll notice I'm back to the usual types of food I normal eat during the school year!  As always, thanks to Jenn for hosting the link-up.

My usual bowl of cereal.  Honey Nut Cheerios were BOGO this week, so that's what I went with!

Morning Snack
Image Source
I ate some dry roasted almonds.  Mmmm, those things are delicious!


I snapped a picture of my lunch in the morning while I packed it so I'd remember!  I had a salad with spinach, tomato, cucumber, onion, and some leftover spaghetti squash.  I also had a Chobani Raspberry on the side (great flavor!), some carrots, and an apple.

Afternoon Snack
I ate two fun-sized Hershey's Cookies 'n Cream bars I had in my classroom, as well as my usual Nature Valley Protein Bar (Salted Caramel Nut).

Pre-Dinner Snack

I was really hungry before cooking dinner, so I had a Fruity Pebbles Treat!  Think Rice Krispies Treat, but with Fruit Pebbles!


Baked Chicken in Italian dressing, steamed broccoli, and brown rice.  Easy, tasty, and filling dinner!  Dessert was a chocolate chip cookie.

Question for you: What do you eat when you're looking for a treat during the day?
I had quite a few treats on Tuesday, but my go-to is usually a chocolate chip cookie or some sort of chocolate.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Working the Upper Body

Greetings!  How is your week going?  I realize that I didn't do a weekend recap post, so let's quickly look at the weekend:
-super lazy Friday afternoon/evening.  Joe and I slept until about 7:30, then watched Mean Girls and Waiting
-I read a lot on Saturday (still working on Inferno by Dan Brown)
-Mexican-themed night at our house!  We didn't make it to our usual Mexican food dinner Friday, so Joe made margaritas
and I made a chicken tortilla casserole.
It was DELICIOUS!  The recipe will be posted soon :)  Then, we watched some Redbox movies: Olympus Has Fallen and Scary Movie 5.

-Church on Sunday, picked up groceries, then went to the beach with Joe and his friend Carson
After that, I went on my last long training run before the Rock 'n Roll Virginia Beach half on Sunday.
I enjoyed an ocean ice bath after I struggled to finish 8 miles.
Then, it was time to get some planning done and prepare for the week!  Overall, a relaxing weekend :)

Now, let's take a look at this week.

In preparation for the half marathon on Sunday, I'm taking it easy on my legs.  I saw the chiropractor today for some Graston on my legs, and I'm planning on foam rolling each day this week.  I hit up the gym for a strength workout and focused on the upper body.  After a 10-minute treadmill incline wlak as a warm-up, here's the workout I completed:
I completed each round three times through with 15 reps of each exercise (except for the YTIs-I did 8 reps).  I rested for a minute, then completed the next round.  My muscles are feelin' good this evening!  It's been a while since I've worked those muscles, and I'm happy I did that workout today!

Here are some video demonstrations of some of the exercises listed:
Question for you: What did your workout look like today?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Being Thankful

Good morning!  I hope your weekend is off to a great start!

The last few days have been really stressful for me (I'll explain everything as soon as I can!), and so I wanted to share with you how I decided to deal with it.  In addition to a lot of prayer throughout the week, after reading Annette's post about managing stress, I decided to make a list of 10 things I'm thankful for right now!

-I’m thankful for a new opportunity I have (I hate when bloggers are vague like this, but I really can't tell you about it right now.  Don't worry, you'll hear about it!).
-I’m thankful for Joe and his teasing, even while I’m stressed!  It really helps get my mind off of things!
Intently watching a WWE pay-per-view
-I’m thankful for pasta and cheese.  I had that for dinner last night (comfort food!), and it’s quite tasty!
-I’m thankful for the friends I have.  They are incredibly supportive and loyal, and I love them!
-I’m thankful for cute clothes.  As shallow as it sounds, they really brighten my day and make me feel better about myself!
-I’m thankful for my family.  They’re always there for me, and I’m happy that we’ve become closer as the years have gone on.
-I’m thankful for answered prayers.  I’ve felt God’s calming presence the last few days, and it’s been much needed and appreciated!
-I’m thankful for my health and exercise.
The foam roller is my friend
-I’m thankful for entertainment (TV, smartphone games, the internet, etc.).  It helps distract me when I need it.
Candy calming, yet frustrating at the same time
-I’m thankful for the new pillows Joe and I just started using!  They were a wedding gift, and man, are they comfortable!  We should have  pulled them out sooner!
And a bonus....I'm thankful for my relaxing morning of a good book and comforting coffee!
This was a really good exercise for me.  It's easy to get bogged down with the difficult stuff and forget about all the great things going on in life.  Over the coming weeks, I'm going to make a conscious effort to thank God for three things every time I get bogged down with the negative stuff.
"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
His love endures forever."
Psalm 136: 1

Question for you: Your turn! Tell me something specific you are thankful for right now.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Steady-Sprint Treadmill Workout

Oh, hey there!  It seems that I've forgotten how to blog after school!  Sorry about that.  I'll try and do better next week :)

Workouts have not been a priority this week (which is terrible in light of the Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon in a mere 10 days!).  However, I did make it to the gym on Tuesday to resurrect one of my favorite traditions of last year: Treadmill Tuesday!  Here's the treadmill workout I completed on Tuesday after a 5-minute walking warm-up:
This workout utilizes my steady running pace with a few "sprint" intervals.  Feel free to increase/decrease the speeds to meet your current steady running pace.  I completed this two times through with a 10-minute incline walk at the end.  Definitely got my heart pumping!

Question for you: What's your favorite type of workout to do on the treadmill?
I often use the treadmill for speed work, since I can easily control the pace.

Monday, August 19, 2013

13-14 School Year Goals

The 2013-2014 school year has officially begun!
First Day Outfit!
I enjoyed meeting my new students today, but man, I forgot how exhausting talking and standing all day can be!  I'll just have to get back into the routine, and hopefully I'll be used to it by next week.

With the beginning of each new school year, I like to set some goals for myself, both personal and school-related.  I mentioned before that my anti-laziness project goals are still going to be in effect, but I have a few over-arching goals (including school) that I wanted to share.

Reduce the clutter.
This seems to be a theme in my life!  I let clutter pile up both in my classroom and at home.  I've set myself up for success on this goal in both places, and I'm hoping to stick with it and make immediate organization a priority!

Use time wisely.
This incorporates many of my anti-laziness goals in lots of areas.  It also incorporates school.  I need to use my time at school to get school things done so that I wind up taking less work home.  There's plenty I need to get done after school, and I don't need to add more things to my to-do list!

I need to make sure that I'm putting the most important things first, both in and out of school.  I think if I can prioritize, all of my anti-laziness goals will fall in to place.

I'm going to keep it at three goals, which I think are manageable.  Feel free to ask me how things are going!

Last, just a head's up: Best Body Bootcamp registration for the fall round is now open!  If you register Monday 8/19, the program is $30.  After that, the price goes to $40 for an 8-week exercise program.  As you know if you read my blog regularly, you know that I love BBB and highly recommend you sign up!  It's a great way to start a strength training routine, as well as great accountability and motivation to regularly exercise!

Question for you: What time of year do you usually set goals for yourself?
I find that I actually stick to school year goals over New Year's goals.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Last Weekend of Summer

Well, it's First-Day-of-School Eve.  I can't believe the summer is already over and the kids are coming back tomorrow!  Joe and I certainly made the most of my last weekend of summer, and we still have some fun plans for tonight!

Friday evening, we went to our usual Mexican dinner.  Good food, good company, and good drinks :)  Afterward, we made it to the Daytona Cubs baseball game.
They were playing the Brevard County Manatees, so I actually had to cheer against the home team due to my love of the sea cow.  The Cubs won, and we had a good time hanging out with some of Joe's school friends.

I woke up early on Saturday so that I could make sure my classroom was all ready to go for Monday.  I got a lot done, and I even enjoyed a pencil cake treat from one of the retired math teachers!
How cute are those?!?  She is so creative!  I spent the afternoon relaxing and reading Inferno by Dan Brown.  I'm reading it in eBook format that I checked out from the library!  I think it's really neat that the library is making eBooks accessible since a lot of people are reading on eReaders these days.
Joe and I cooked dinner here, then went out for date night!
We started with some beers at House for Beer, then went over to the movie theater to see We're The Millers.
Oh my gosh, y'all.  SUCH a funny movie!  Joe and I both enjoyed it and were laughing about things that happened in it for the rest of the evening.  And, of course, what's date night without seeing a few of my former students at the movies?  #teacherproblems  We finished the night where we started and wound up playing the little trivia game.  I was #1 (at the location) for 2 rounds, so I was pretty excited over my trivia skills!

I made it to church this morning, and the sermon was about how children are a gift from God and that we as the Church are all responsible for raising them in the way of God.
I found that very appropriate for the start of school, and it reminded me to love my students as God loves them.  Even if I can't talk about my faith in school, I want my students to know that I love God based on how I love them.

The rest of the afternoon, I plan on getting organized around the house, doing some chores, and making sure I'm all prepared for teaching this week.  Joe and I are meeting up with his dad, step-mom, and sister for dinner tonight in celebration of my father-in-law's birthday a few weeks ago.  Then, it's early to bed for me since the alarm will be going off at 5:45 for the first time in months!  Here we go!

I wanted to share with you my workouts this week as a way to keep me accountable:
Monday-lazy day (seriously, I enjoyed my last day of summer to the MAX on the couch)
Tuesday-rest day
Wednesday-Workout C from Phase 4 of BBB + 2 mile run with Joe
Thursday-1.25 hour yoga class + 3 mile run on the treadmill afterward
Friday-rest day
Saturday-rest day (though I intended to work out, I wound up falling asleep on the couch all afternoon)
Sunday-I'm going to do SOMETHING today (hopefully it'll be a long run since I NEED to do one!)

As you can see, not the best week of workouts.  I'm getting back in to my school routine, so I've been really tired after being at school all day.  I didn't make working out a priority, but I'm already taking a step in the right direction for this week.
I've got my gym bag packed, next to my clothes for the day!  My goal is to pull out my clothes for the day AS WELL AS my gym clothes the night before so that I'm prepared to go straight to the gym after school.  It also helps that Joe and I ride together (his school is right by mine), and I finish about an hour and a half before he does.  Perfect time to get the workout in before we even head home :)

Question for you: What's something you usually do on your "last weekend of summer"?  How do you set yourself up for success each day?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lemon Pepper Chicken

Good evening, everyone!  It's Thursday night, which means it's almost Friday!  I feel like I still have so much to do to get ready for my students coming on Monday, due to meetings galore.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll get things under control.

I have a super-easy recipe to share with you today.  I've been meaning to post the recipe for quite a while for my Lemon Pepper Chicken!
My friend Kristie taught me how to make this in college, and it's now a regular around our house!

  • Chicken breasts, one per person
  • Lemon Pepper seasoning
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • A dash of garlic powder
1. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with a thin layer of extra virgin olive oil.  Set the burner to medium heat (I use the "5" setting out of 10) and let it heat up.

2. Coat both sides of each chicken breast with lemon pepper seasoning.  Add a dash of garlic powder to one side of each chicken breast.
3. Place each chicken breast in the frying pan.  Flip every 90 seconds-2 minutes.  Cook until inside is no longer pink (about 15-20 minutes).
4.  Serve with your favorite veggies/sides and enjoy!

Helpful Hint: The EVOO will start popping in the pan.  Turn the heat down a notch or two when it gets too bad to protect your arms!

Question for you: What's a go-to easy dinner in your house?
I make this, baked chicken, or a boxed dinner when I don't want to get too fancy!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

WIAW #14: Val's Wedding Edition!

Oh, boy!  I've been back to school for one day and I'm already tired!  Yesterday was the first day of preplanning, and after I got home, worked out, and ate dinner, I fell asleep on the couch for an hour.  Meetings and getting my classroom together are exhausting!

It's Wednesday, which means it's time for another round of What I Ate Wednesday.  Today, I'm going to share with you some of the exciting eats from my weekend in Northern VA for Valerie's wedding.

After flying in and meeting up with Krista and Valerie, we ran some wedding errands in the afternoon and met up with two of the other bridesmaids Brynn and Stephanie for dinner.  We ate at Gordon Biersch, a restaurant and brew house in Tyson's Corner.
I ordered the California Burger (cheese, tomato, lettuce, and avocado) with a side of fruit.  So good!

We had a nail appointment early on Friday, so we stopped by Einstein's for some breakfast.
I had a Dutch Apple bagel with honey butter and a Blackberry Lemonade to drink.  Y'all, you NEED to go get some blackberry lemonade.  It was insanely good!

After getting our nails done, we went over to Valerie's mom's house for Panera.  I went with my usual Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken salad, and it didn't disappoint.  We also had some yummy desserts, including a chocolate cupcake with cream cheese in the middle.  It was amazing!  I have the recipe, and I'll share it with y'all soon :)

We got ready for the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, which was held at Maggiano's.  I was excited for this dinner because Joe and I looked to have ours there but couldn't quite make it work.
All of the food was tasty, especially the bruschetta and ravioli served as an appetizer.  As always, dessert was a crowd pleaser.
In addition to the chocolate cake and tiramisu, we had the groom's cake.
Valerie had the baker make a bar-themed cake, featuring coasters of Nick's favorite teams.  What a cute idea, and the cake was delicious!  We had a very fun Friday in preparation for the wedding on Saturday.
Brynn, Krista, and me after the dinner
We had another early morning of appointments, this time for hair!  Valerie's step-mom brought the hair dressers to us, as well as a delicious spread of breakfast foods.
Most of us made Greek yogurt bowls, which was the perfect way to start the day.
Bride getting her hair done and reading a note from her hubby-to-be!
We all got our hair done in the same way, a low bun with a braid on one side.  The hair dressers did a wonderful job!  Krista's husband Josh delivered a tray of Subway sandwiches for lunch, then it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Brynn, me, and Stephanie

The bride looked amazing, the ceremony was beautiful, and you could tell just how in love Valerie and Nick are!
Dinner at the reception was a choice of chicken or beef, and I went with chicken.
I believe the dish was chicken napa, and it was very flavorful.  The sides were equally delicious!  Great wedding food.  Then, it was time for some dancing and the all-important wedding cake!

The reception was lots of fun, and before I knew it, Valerie and Nick were off to their honeymoon!
Congratulations, Valerie and Nick!  I'm so honored to be involved in your wedding day :)

Question for you: What's your favorite wedding tradition?
I'm going to go with cake :)  But I also love looking at the groom when he first sees the bride.  Nick was just precious when he saw Valerie!  He could hardly contain his excitement.