Wednesday, November 27, 2013

WIAW #22: Thanksgiving Week

Good morning, everyone!  No school today, so I enjoyed sleeping in and sipping my coffee as I type up this post.
I hope you enjoyed Julie's guest post from yesterday!  If you didn't see it, go check it out.

Well, today is Wednesday, which means it's time for another What I Ate Wednesday post!
Today's post features yesterday's meals.  As always, thank you to Jenn for hosting the WIAW link-up!  Check out what WIAW is all about AND see what other bloggers are eating.


Different breakfast today!  This is what the Insanity diet calls "Proatmeal."  It's 2/3 cup steel cut oats, 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, some chopped almonds, and 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries.  I really enjoyed this meal!

Morning Snack

Half a peanut butter and raspberry jelly sandwich.  This is a tasty little snack for the middle of the day.  Until we started doing the Insanity diet, I never would have thought of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich as a snack!

Roast beef, tomato, and onion on a sandwich thin, a side salad, and a carrot.  Pretty satisfying!

Afternoon Snack

We've been getting protein bars as one of our snacks for the diet, but this week we tried the PowerBar protein bars.  They are really, really good!  

Joe and I moved our Mexican night to Tuesday since we'll be eating turkey and stuffing on Thursday.  I had a good amount of chips and salsa, a chicken taco, and a chicken quesadilla.  We were eating with some people I didn't know as well, so I didn't take a picture.

Freggie Count: As a part of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, I'm trying to keep track of the fruits and veggies I eat during the day.  The goal is get 5-7 servings.  Today, I got 1 serving during breakfast, 3 servings during lunch, and 1 serving during dinner (yes, I ate that much salsa!).  Total: 5 servings!  Woo hoo!

Thanksgiving Menu
This is the first year that I am not having Thanksgiving with my parents and grandparents.  Time to see how the Herring side of the family celebrates!  This also means that I will be cooking some dishes for the first time ever.  Here's what I'm prepared to bring:
Image Source: Run, Eat, Repeat
Image Source
Joe says that Pineapple Casserole sounds weird, but my grandmother makes it every year and I think it's delicious!  Please tell me others have heard of this before!

Anyway, I hope that my readers in the USA have a very happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy time with your families, time to be thankful for what you have, the food on your plates, and all the football/shopping you can handle (if you're in to those)!  That second sentences goes for everyone :)  We all need that daily, regardless of whether it's Thanksgiving or not!
#pureirony Image Source
Question for you: What's on your Thanksgiving menu?  Have you heard of pineapple casserole before?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Post: 4 Ways to Fit Weights into your Workouts

Good morning, everyone!  Today is my last day of work before Thanksgiving break.  It's also that time of year where teachers and students (and math coaches!) are ready for a mental break, so I'm excited to have a few days off!

I'm so excited to have a guest post for you today!  Today's post is from Julie, a RWP reader, who wanted to share some great tips with you :)

Hi all, I am Julie Roberts, a proud wife, SAHM, runner, outdoorsy nature lover, and a fitness fanatic! I also love to write and now that I am a full-time SAHM I have a lot more time to focus on it! Thankfully for me, Amy has been wonderful enough to let me share my writing with you, her readers, on her awesome blog. So for today, I have some of my favorite ways to fit weights into your workouts, I hope you enjoy it! Here’s my email if you have any questions or would like to get in touch!

You know, there isn’t much more that I like than a good, hard run. I put on my headphones, head outside and pound the pavement for a while. It’s a good exercise that allows me to clear my head. But sometimes I need a little more. After all, running only exercises certain muscle groups in my legs and core. It doesn’t do much for my arms at all. When I’m itching to beef up my workout, I add weights. But that doesn’t mean I need to spend hours in the gym. Below are a few of my own tips for adding weights into your workout.

1. Wrist and Ankle Weights
Image Source
When I wanted to start lifting weights, I wasn’t sure how. It seemed like it might be a lot of weight to add. And I was worried I’d end up looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end. But, come to find it’s not the actual lifting of weights that will have you looking that way, but also what you are eating, along with many other factors. If you’re like me and you want to start slow, try wrist and ankle weights. I like these because they don’t have a ton of weight. You barely notice that you’re wearing them. But boy, do they pay off.

2. Dumbbells
Image Source
Once I was ready to do some proper weightlifting, I decided to get a set of dumbbells. I wanted to have some small ones that I could use while I went out walking. Now, you can spend a fortune buying dumbbells in a variety of weights. After researching, I decided to go with a set of dumbbells from Beachbody that have multiple weights to choose from. Once I got the set, I had to figure out where to use them. Besides doing bicep curls and the like, I found that I got a lot of traction out of using those dumbbells while I did squats. Either with my arms down or straight out in front of me, the weights added a layer of complexity to my workout.

3. Medicine Balls and Kettle Bells
Image Source
I knew that I had arrived in the exercise world when I started looking at medicine balls and kettle bells. They seem fairly insignificant, especially the ones that only weigh 3-5 lbs. Just wait. I got my start doing Pilates, and I felt fairly confident that my core was absolutely awesome. But the day I started using a medicine ball in combination with some other stretching exercises, I thought I was going to die. It worked my muscles in ways I could only have dreamed about before. I will say that kettle bells can be tricky at first, but I watched a few how-to videos and felt comfortable in no time.

4. Resistance Bands
Image Source
Sometimes I wonder why there doesn’t seem to be much love for resistance bands in the wide world of weightlifting workouts. Resistance bands, in fact, are quite versatile. They’re inexpensive, for those of us who cannot afford the more expensive equipment. They’re small, and therefore portable and easy to store. And you can adjust the weight you put on your muscles and joints simply by changing the way you use them. What’s not to love about resistance bands? I have a set that I keep in my car for when I need to work out in a pinch but don’t have the time to head to the gym or bring my bulky equipment with me.
My personal philosophy regarding fitness and exercise is that it should be a varied approach. I try not to perform any one style of exercise in much greater quantities than others. I feel that in order to be totally fit, I need to work as many muscle groups as I can throughout the week. Using weights helps me achieve this goal, through easy additions to my existing workouts.

Thank you so much, Julie, for your fantastic advice!  I hope that you all learned something new, whether you are a beginner in the fitness world or more advanced.

Question for you: In what ways do you fit weights into your workouts?

***Disclaimer: Images were found via Google search.  I (Amy) do not necessarily endorse those image sources or guarantee their security or validity.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge Week 1 Recap

Good afternoon!  I don't know what the weather is like where you are, but it is cloudy, windy, and cool (for Flordia...) here.  Sounds like the perfect day for sweat pants, a cup of coffee, and a good book!

This week was the first week of Amanda's Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge.  
As I've mentioned before, the challenge is focused on being healthy over the holidays and keeping other participants accountable.  Each day, you earn points for workouts, eating 5-7 servings of freggies, drinking 64+ ounces of water, and participating on the Facebook group.  Let's take a look at how I did!

Felt stylish courtesy of my BAMR Band
-I ran 4.22 miles total (I missed a little bit on my Garmin due to not starting it again after waiting at some crosswalks!).  The run felt great :) (4.22 points)
-Got in freggies and water consumption on this first day. (2 points)
Daily Total: 6.22 + Facebook participation = 7.22

-Earned my activity points with a 30-minute upper body workout thanks to the Nike Training Club App.  I supplemented it with a few of my own exercises for my chest and triceps. (2 points)
-Got in the freggies and water!  The steamed zucchini and carrots we had with dinner certainly helped in doing so. (2 points)
Daily total: 4 + Facebook participation = 5

-Yoga for 1.25 hours earned my points today (and helped to stretch my legs!) (3.75 points)
-Freggies today, but no water.  You can see how I did that on my WIAW post. (1 points)
Daily total: 5.75 + Facebook =5.75

-No activity today.  Busy day of meetings and Bible study after work.
-Got the water in and freggies (2 points)
Daily Total: 2

No activity, freggies, or water today.  Joe and I went out for dinner and drinks with some friends, which makes it a lot harder to get in the water counts!
Daily Total: 0

No activity or freggies today, but I definitely got in my water!
Daily Total: 1


-I ran my first 8K on Saturday (recap coming tomorrow)!  While I didn't meet the goals I'd set, I still had a great time getting my workout in early in the day.  I also wound up running 5.06 miles instead of the 4.97 miles, so I earned myself a few hundredths of a point :) (5.06 points)
-No freggies, but got in my water consumption! (1 point)
Daily Total: 6.06 + Facebook = 7.06

Overall this week: 28.03

Successes This Week:
-Food prep--I set myself up for Freggie Success by prepping food on Sunday.  We got plenty of fresh fruits and veggies at the store, I sliced them up beforehand, and just grabbed what I needed when packing lunch or making dinner.
-4 Workouts in the Week-That's way more than my 2 workouts in weeks before!  Woo!

Goal for Next Week:
Even when I'm out of my routine due to Thanksgiving, I want to get in 4 workouts and get in my water consumption each day this week.

Question for you: What were your successes this week?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Operation Christmas Child

Howdy, y'all!  This weekend is off to a great start so far, and I hope yours is, too.  I completed my first 8K race today, so expect a race recap coming up soon!

The holiday season is always a good reminder for me that Jesus calls us to give of ourselves to help others.  One of my favorite ways to do this during the holidays is Operation Christmas Child.
Image Source
Put on by Samaritan's Purse, OCC calls for people to fill a shoebox with toys, treats, and school and hygiene supplies for needy children all around the world.  You choose the gender and age range, pack the box, and submit it to one of their drop-off locations.

Joe and I usually fill two boxes, one for a boy and one for a girl.  We selected the age range 5-9 for each of them.

It's collection week for OCC, so we've got our boxes ready to go.  We're taking them to our church, which participates in the program and provided these boxes for members to fill.
If you'd like to fill a shoebox, the collection week goes through Monday!  Find a drop-off location near you (and make sure they are still accepting boxes, too).

If you are feeling like donating money to worthy causes this holiday season, here are some links to help you do so:
  • I'm sure you heard about the typhoon that devastated the Philippines.  Donate to the Red Cross Disaster Relief or Samaritan's Purse Relief
  • Salvation Army holds Angel Tree at Christmas time.  Visit their website to contact your local Salvation Army to get an Angel.  You can also help during distribution, which I've done a few times in Richmond, and it is SO MUCH FUN and heart-warming to see the kids pick up their gifts.
  • You can donate to Kellsie's Hope Foundation in support of me running the Disney Princess Half Marathon as a part of Kellsie's Krew.  You can mail in a donation, or just click that link, click on my name (Amy Herring), and you can donate via PayPal. 
  • Local food banks are always in need, so check out Feeding America's site to find a food bank near you.
  • An acquaintance of mine, Cristina, suddenly lost her husband yesterday.  They're newlyweds, he was about to graduate from Palmer Chiropractic (where Joe attends school), and she is pregnant and due in June.  Some friends have created a website to donate to their family.  Click here to read more about Cristina's situation, see a beautiful video of their wedding, and donate if you feel so inclined.
Question for you: Any charitable opportunities you would like to share?  Please post them in the comments if you have them!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

WIAW #21: Emphasis on the Freggies

Hey y'all!  It's Wednesday, so you know what that means...
It's time for What I Ate Wednesday!  This week, I'm showing you Tuesday's meals, which focus on getting in 5-7 servings of freggies.  Thank you to Jenn for hosting the WIAW link-up.  Head on over to her blog to check out what other people are eating!

What are freggies?  Well, the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge started, and one of the ways to earn points is by eating 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables.  Last year, one of the participants put them together (fruits + veggies = freggies) to make it easier to type ;)

Let's see how I did on Tuesday!

I had a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Vanilla Clusters topped with banana slices.  To be quite honest, I have avoided bananas for quite a while.  My mom had me eat a banana when I had an upset stomach when I was younger, and I associate them with nausea.  I think I've gotten over it, though, and have enjoyed slicing a banana as a cereal topping!

Morning Snack
A Luna Protein bar + a gala apple.  Quite a tasty and satisfying snack!


Tuesday's lunch was a salad with mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, orange peppers, and half an avocado.  I also had a carrot and slices of a green pepper.  Lots of veggies there!!

Afternoon Snack

I had a doctor's appointment, so I was home a lot earlier than usual.  I was able to make myself a new-to-me smoothie with included a frozen banana, cocoa powder, protein powder, peanut butter, and milk. It was quite a tasty one, and I will certainly share the recipe soon!

Dinner wasn't so freggie-filled, but hey, sometimes a girl just needs some cheeseburger macaroni!
Joe and I were kind of busy in the evening, so I made an easy dinner that we could both eat quickly going to-and-from our meetings.

And there you have it!  I'd say that I did a very good job of getting in my 5-7 servings (by my count, I had 7 servings!) and hope to continue that trend throughout the challenge.

Question for you: How many servings of fruits and veggies do you get a day?

Monday, November 18, 2013

Low-Key Weekend

Hi y'all!  Happy Monday!  This Monday was actually pretty good for me, so I'm looking forward to a good week.

Let's recap this weekend, shall we?  It was pretty low-key, but fun at the same time!

After updating y'all on the races I have coming up, I went for a run!
I ran the first two miles, then did some run/walk intervals.  My goal was 3 miles, but my knee started to hurt, so I wound up a little short.  This was my "semi-long run" for training before my long run on Sunday.

After running and catching a few minutes of the Virginia Tech game (ugh!  Why did we lose?!?!), I headed to a local park for my friend Ashley's baby shower!
Ashley and I taught together last year, and she is now working at one of the schools where I am the math coach!  I'm so happy that we still work together and that I got to be a part of her baby shower.

Her mom had us do something really cool: instead of cards, we were to buy our favorite children's books and write our well-wishes in them!  What a great idea!
I went with two books...couldn't decide!
Ashley and Nate enjoyed seeing all of the books (many of them they remembered from their childhood, too!) and finally caught on toward the end that the books had messages in them :)
I ordered them a custom-made monogrammed 12-month dress for their baby girl Kourtney.  The monogramming was done by a friend of mine from church, Whitney.  Check out her Etsy shop Bouffants for all of your monogramming needs!  She does a fantastic job (and she is a fantastic woman)!
From Bouffants...check it out!
After the shower, I met up with Joe to watch the end of the Georgia game.  Sadly, they lost on a freak play, and we came home to wallow in our sorrows over football relax and watch more football.

Sunday was dedicated to CLEANING!  Our house is pretty dirty, so we spent some time tidying up.  It felt so nice to get the house together.

I also got in my long run for the week--4 miles!  I felt super cute doing so while wearing my BAMR Band.
The rest of the day, I did some food prep, hung out with Joe, and watched more football.

Now, here we are on Monday!  The Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge began yesterday, so I've been making sure to get my activity points (run yesterday + upper body strength workout today), water intake points, and freggie (fruits + veggies) points.  So far, so good!

Question for you:  What is something fun you did this weekend?  Do you watch as much football as we do?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Upcoming Races

Good morning, everyone!  How's your weekend going so far?  It's going to be another relaxing weekend for us, with lots of football to watch and chores to catch up on.  I've also got a friend's baby show to go to today, which is going to be a lot of fun!

Lately, I have done a very poor job of exercising.  I'm really not sure why, but it is what it is.  Luckily, I've got a few races coming up, as well as the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge, to get my training started and keep me motivated!

First up, I'm running a new-to-me distance next weekend: an 8k!  I'm doing the Run for FUTURES 8k, which raises money for the schools in my area.  I'm looking forward to this new distance and running for a good cause!
Image Source
Next up, I'm running the Ed Root Memorial 10K in New Smyrna Beach on December 7th.  I ran this race last year as my first 10K.  I loved the course, and my goal is to PR at this distance during this race.

Finally, I have two half marathons scheduled for February 2014.  You all know that I'm running the Disney Princess Half Marathon once more, and this time I'm running to raise money for Kellsie's Hope Foundation.  Check out my post about it, and any support you can provide would be much appreciated!  (If you can give, go to this website, click on my name (Amy Herring), and you can give via PayPal.)

The weekend before that race, I'm going to be participating in the Daytona Beach Half Marathon!
Image Source
With this half marathon being exactly a week before the Princess Half, I'm going to be focusing in my training on running long distances with little rest.  One thing I'll probably do is run a semi-long run the day before my long run for the week.  I plan on posting my training plan soon, and I'll be sure to update y'all on how the training is going!

Another thing that I've been researching and the thoughts have been circulating my mind...
Image Source
A full marathon??  I never thought I'd even CONSIDER this, but if my two half marathons in a row go well (and I actually stick to my training plan), I may more seriously think about running a marathon.  Crazy....I know.

Question for you: Any raises on the horizon for you?  If you've run a marathon before, what spurred you on to actually do it?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Jesus' Fingers

Hey everyone!  Strange title, huh?  I'm so excited to share with you what that means :)

Before I get to that...brrrrr, it turned cold here today!  And by cold, I mean 65 and windy.  I guess I've just gotten used to the warm Florida weather.  But, I am enjoying snuggling up in my sweatpants, soft blanket, and hot coffee this evening.  Plus, Joe made chili for dinner tonight!  Perfect way to spend a chilly (haha) evening.

This weekend, I attended the Living Proof Live event in Daytona Beach with Beth Moore.

I learned so, so much, enjoyed worshipping with 8,800 women (and a few men), and being in God's presence and hearing from Him.  As I said on Sunday, if you have a chance to go to one of these events, YOU SHOULD (their 2014 schedule is out now)

I wanted to share with you one of the passages we studied this weekend.  It comes from the Gospel of Mark:

"Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis.  And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him.  Ad taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tounge.  And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is "Be opened."  And his ears were opened, his tounge released, and he spoke plainly."
Mark 7:31-35
Image Source
Isn't that an interesting way for Jesus to heal the deaf and mute man?  He put His fingers in the man's ears, then spit on His finger and touched his tongue.  As Beth said after reading this, "we know this: Jesus was not afraid of germs!"

Well, the point she made from this Scripture hit me like a ton of bricks:
We need Christ's fingers in our ears sometimes to hear.

There is so much going on around us.  We have our family, friends, work, school, kids, social media, television, the internet, smart phones, etc. all constantly demanding our attention.  Often times, we let these things get in the way of truly listening to God and hearing what he has to say to us.

What an awesome visual of Christ's fingers plugging our ears so that we can hear what we need to be listening to!

Since hearing that on Saturday, I have prayed numerous times for Jesus to plug my ears so that I can hear His message to me.  I've also prayed that He plug my ears from people's opinions or word about me.  God has been faithful and kept me focused on Him, His words, and seeking His favor and His opinions of me.  What a blessing this has been to me this week!

I hope that in sharing this word that I got, it will help someone out there focus on God this week.  When you feel like you can't hear what He's saying, simply pray for Jesus' fingers in your ears (as weird as that sounds), and He will have you hear what He desires you to hear.  Praise Him!

Question for you: What do you need to stop listening to this week?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Blackberry Vanilla Smoothie

Happy Veteran's Day to all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country!  Your service and sacrifices are appreciated far more than you know!
Image Source
I'd especially like to recognize my own veteran!
Joe served as a Navy Corpsman (medic for the Marines) and did two tours in Iraq.  He celebrated today by getting a free lunch at Applebee's, and tonight we went to dinner at Olive Garden, where they were also giving veterans a free meal.  Lots of appreciation from the chain restaurants!
He was so ready to eat he wouldn't smile for a picture!
I loved celebrating with him, as well as seeing all of the other veterans dining out and feeling appreciated for their service to our country!  God bless the USA!

In honor of Veteran's Day, I had the day off of school.  That means that I was able to make a smoothie for my mid-morning meal, one of the options listed in the Insanity meal plan.  I made a really simple smoothie, but it was very, very tasty and I wanted to share!


  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 handful of frozen whole blackberries
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • Milk of your choice (I used skim milk)
Combine the banana, blackberries, and protein powder in the blender.
Pour milk until it reaches the top of the ingredients (turns out to be about 2/3 cups).  Blend until smooth.  Stick a straw in and enjoy :)

I tell ya, this vanilla protein powder I had is fantastic.  It really adds a fantastic vanilla flavor that is silky-smooth without the "protein-y" taste.  It was a Wal-mart find!  Great stuff!

Question for you: What's something you do on a three-day weekend that you can't do on a normal week?
Not only do I get to enjoy smoothies, but I also get to fully relax for two days while getting a lot of chores done on the third day!