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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Soaking it all up!!

Our calendar for the next week is PACKED. It looks like we have lost our minds, but really I am just trying to soak up every last little bit of summer.

For the kiddos I am trying to use up those water park passes, circus tickets, uniform resale events and ice cream competitions.

Personally I am working out twice a day, waking up at 4:15 to run with my girls from 4:45-6 and then heading out to Zumba with my other girls from 9:30-10:30....two a days will be a thing of the past starting next Monday.

We have had such a fantastic summer, we actually SOAKED it up. We weren't productive like last summer where we did a lot of work on the house and I laid a patio while Adam laid flooring....and I painted while Adam demolished a wall and a mantle.

Nope, this summer we did things we wanted to do, we bought season passes to a local little waterpark. We got all three of the kiddos swimming. We celebrated my brothers wedding to his beautiful wife.  We hosted and celebrated the heck out of birthdays!! We spent A LOT of time with friends at their homes, in pools, at Rangers games, at picnics and in the gym.

For families whose lives revolve around the school schedule we feel a special connection to summer, we know that the rest of the year is devoted to others, to education, to sports, to projects and to serving. So summer is almost surreal..when a nap every day is just fine, a pile of laundry can live on the sofa for more than 24 hours, where getting snow cones counts as dinner, where going to the splash park definitely counts as a bath :).

Here we are soaking up summer!!

Our community group from church all went out to see a game, we took big man with us and got a  sitter for the younger two.

Mommy/Daddy Date in a suite for another Ranger Game...watching the game in air condition makes watching in sweaty stand a little bit harder :).

We found a park with a zipline and lots of shade...SCORE!


Monkey see, Monkey do

Hiking through the woods with some friends.

One might think that having 3 swimmers makes the water park easier for mommy. DEAD WRONG. I feel like a crazy person as I am constantly counting "1, 2, 3" in my head as they swim circles around me, jump in and on me, slide down slides and then through my legs, do handstands and splash one another....."1, 2,3"..."1, 2, 3".

Super hero art camp was a blast!! Here are the 6 little boys I had. 

Princess Art are 12 sweet girls, my sweet girl went home early this day with a hot glue gun  burn. 

Of course we dressed like cows for free food, you would have to be crazy not too!!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Fitness Friday-Summer Recipes

One of my favorite things to do is rethink a high calorie dish into something super tasty but with at least 1/2 of the calories and hopefully with lots of protein!!!

I have also found that by allowing more healthy carbs into my diet I am able to take longer runs and run longer on consecutive days. Joining the running group has allowed me to reduce my mile time by even more but has also made me a hungry beast and sometimes carbs are honestly all that keeps my stomach from constantly growling. I am sure that to everyone else in the world it looks like I am constantly eating..and that is true ..but its 150-250 calories every 2 hours!!

One of my running buddies Lindsey has this thing for carrot cake...and who can blame her??? So I made it my mission to make her a low calorie carrot cake muffin.
Here are the ingredients:

Carrot Cake Muffins:
1 cup shredded carrots
2 tbsp. coconut flour (I included this give the cupcakes a denser texture)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup white flour
1/4 cup golden raisins
6 tbsp. egg whites
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 musselmans snack size cinnamon applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup yogurt chips..found in the Sprouts bulk area--you could probably substitute white chocolate chips too but I liked that these were mini and DELISH!!
1 package of instant oatmeal-plain
1/4 cup water

Like all professional chefs do I added everything to one big ole bowl and stirred it all together. I then sprayed my tin, put the oven at 350 and cooked them for 19 minutes..weird time I know but I was also cleaning my kitchen since we are having guests over for dinner tonight, refereeing a Wii argument between my boys and getting ready for Zumba with my little diva...19  minutes was perfect for some caramelization on the bottom of the muffins.

THESE ARE SOOO STINKIN GOOD!!! I  ate two when I got home from Zumba and called it lunch. Even my "non cake loving" husband ate one and said "these taste like carrot cake". SCORE!!!

Another favorite meal (115-140 cals (if you leave off cheese its less)) of mine has been mushroom caps as substitutes for hamburger buns!! AND, I can get two of these babies for .99 cents guessed it, the 99 cent store right up the road!!!!

I heat these up a little in a pan with some balsamic vinaigrette, flipping them so that both sides get a little seared. (each cap is around 25-30 cals)

Then I make my "patty" with egg whites and spinach. I have found the best way to make a patty is to put my spinach in a microwaveable bowl and then pour my egg whites over it. I nuke it for 1 to 2 minutes and then it slides right out in a patty shape. (57 cals for 6 tbsp of egg whites and 1 cup of spinach)

I put a wedge of Spicy Pepperjack laughing cow cheese in my mushroom cap and let it melt while cooking the egg white patty. (35 cals)

I topped it all with Pineapple Pico. The mushroom cap is so hearty that this normally fuels me for 3-4 hours. (28 cals for 2 tbsp)

Pineapple Pico Ingredients:
cubed pineapple, cubed tomatoes, cubed jalepeno, cubed onions, cubed red peppers and cilantro

I want to add cucumber to my Pico next time!!!

What are your favorite recipe remakes?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Are we all in?-Indulgences

Our pastor recently preached about Elisha and Elijah as part of his "Sidekick" series. He commented on the fact that the minute that Elijah called him and transferred the mantle of leadership to him, Elisah was "all in". He didn't hesitate to say yes, he burned all of his ox, told his family good bye and ran after Elijah.

Being "all in" he said doesn't mean simply adding Jesus to your life. Many Christians only "add" Jesus in on Sunday or when they need guidance. This scares me though after being reminded of Matthew 7:21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ It means making sure he is the center of your daily life, and that everything you do is reflective of your desire to love and obey Him.

A legacy of faith. That is Adam's grandpa second from the left at his baptism. 

Same grandpa and Nannie last month on our way home from the beach. 

It got all of us thinking, especially Goober, who took a whole page of notes and had a great discussion with us later on about being "all in" whether he is a missionary, quarterback or a stay at home dad.

Two things that I took from this sermon are more dedication to my daily bible reading and a serious consideration of how to more be "all in" as far as raising my children in a christian environment.

1) I am disciplined enough to wake up at 4:15, leave my home by 4:30 and meet 2-5 other women to work out for an hour every day. Over the last week I have started the daily discipline of immediately starting to read the Bible and pray from the time I get home from my workout until the kiddos wake up. I want them to see what a daily habit of walking with God looks like. They have even asked to join me and I love that they are excited to read the Bible and discover TRUTH for themselves.

2) We are constantly re evaluating where we are at as far as parenting, our marriage and having "too busy" of a life. We got to do that twice last week as my mom was here to watch the kids. On our overnight stay at a nearby hotel we spent a ton of time thinking through how much more involved in our children's education and spiritual growth. We aren't naive enough to think that just because they attend a Christian school and go to church that they will grow up to know and love the Lord. We know that this world is constantly pulling people away from TRUTH and telling us that our happiness is all that matters. We know that the world tells us to CELEBRATE sin and TOLERATE everyone so that we are always at peace.

The verse Matthew 13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

My children are a treasure from the Lord and their salvation and continued trust in Him is worth all of our earthly possessions. So, are we willing to sell everything and make sacrifices in order to make sure that they "treasure" their relationship with Christ?

My treasure getting spiffy with Momma.

My other treasures at a car show with Daddy. 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Celebrate Good Times, COME ON!!!

Like that cheesy title?

It really should be the theme song of our life as we have celebrated 4 different events in less than 6 days!

We had both Goobers and Ribbits birthday party while CC was in town so that they would have at least one grandparent present. Then we ended this week with my birthday and our anniversary. I will blog about the latter two on a different post since my husband did a fantastic job of making me feel special this year!!!

We celebrated Goober's 11th birthday with all kinds of fun things. He got to hear his birthday wish from us announced over the radio and he was so excited to tell everyone that his name was said over the radio and so many people heard it. He got to pick what we did the rest of the day ending his night with Johnny Carinos and his favorite Tiramisu!!!

 Opening a few gifts from siblings and mom and dad that morning. His big gift was the trampoline and his rather large birthday party. So that morning he got some of his favorite gum, loom bands and his own gum dispenser.
Eating it like a refined gentlemen. He couldn't finish it all....we helped him :)

Big Man wanted the exact theme as his last birthday party. So we rented out our school gym, invited all the boys he could think of and planned on playing basketball, kickball and wearing ourselves out for 2 hours. He even wanted another Star Wars theme...easy peasy.
 Singing Happy Birthday as he blew out his candles. We had chocolate cake, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and we made them to look like "galaxies".

Opening presents from his best bud and neighbor

 Little bubba wanted to sit beside his big bubba while he opened presents. He knew exactly how to pose too. This is Goober's buddy Ryan ....Ryan and Goober have been friends for 3 years and I have taught both of his older sisters!
The boys wanted to play Ships and Sailors for the lsat 20 minutes or so which was more dodging balls!!! Even the two littles got to play!
Check out the video we got of Goober hearing his birthday wish on the radio. He was soooo shocked....but no one thought twice about riding around the block several times at 7:50 in the morning :).

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fitness Friday-CRYO!

This was schedule to go out Friday but thanks to my husband and mom I was out busy celebrating my birthday Thursday night, all day Friday and most of the day Saturday!!!...Better late than never!

First, on my 7 mile AWESOME group run this morning we all started trying to figure out how many more weeks we have until school starts back. Three of us are teachers and I couldn't help but notice that I had the loudest groan when we figured out that my inservice is around 3 weeks away. Can you blame me though when you have had this kind of summer? 

Watching my kiddos play in the sand, chase waves and GET ALONG while I sipped on a banana/mango smoothie and sunbathed...even if all of this lasted only 5 mins?
 And what about all of those yummy summer snacks we have enjoyed on the beach, front porch, trampoline, at the splash park and sitting around our friends pool?
 And who wants to write a syllabus, or grade papers or get dressed up when you can wear comfortable bathing suits and play in the sand all day?
But then again, who would teach the fantastic subjects of ART AND BIBLE to fantastic kiddos, at a school where my faith is allowed and encouraged to be shared? Who would get to hug all of those smiling kiddos and watch them cover themselves in paint and clay? Who would get to watch the bible come alive to my 8th grade girls?....ahh, its hard to say which I love more...summer or my job!!

My beautiful, talented and inspiring high school art teacher Mrs. Johnt. She had a huge impact on my life and is a big reason as to why I teach Art. We try to see her anytime we are at the beach as that is where she and her husband have retired. Thanks for meeting us at Sea and Suds!!
Sooo back to Fitness. I once again want to talk about Cryotherapy as I have seen and heard even more positive testimonials. I signed up for 3 Cryo sessions at Cryo Nation in Grapevine. I got it for a great deal of Groupon. I was so excited that they agreed to let me go in for 3 full minutes, as before I had only been allowed to do 2 minutes based on body fat/ blood pressure.

3 minutes is SOOOO stinking long when you are already cold natured and have frozen gas being blasted at you.....I thought the last 30 seconds were comparable to the last 30 seconds of a ab class :). However, the effects are amazing. I heard and spoke to several clients as I waited for my turn who have had greater pain relief with Cryo after knee surgery than going to rehab.

Right after I stepped out. I literally had to make myself move...almost like breaking through the soft shell of ice that covered my body!
 I also spoke to the Chiropractor who shares the building and he was telling me how Benjamin Franklin said that doctors of the future would be more concerned with the skeleton and body temperature. Now who knows if thats true but the more he spoke the more it made sense. I have heard people who are alleviated of their migraines after getting the spines adjusted. I have a close friend who no longer deals with foot pain, plantar fasciitis, due to getting 2 cryo sessions a week after years of pain.
My new favorite, the spine roller table. At Cryo Nation you can lay on here for 10 minutes before or after your cryo session. I need one at home for sure!

So a little TMI but useful info for you before going is that you are naked in the Cryo tube. I always crack up because they give you gloves, socks and slippers to can wear your under garments but they always encourage you not to due to all the nerve endings in your rear!! I always feel so silly but no one else sees you :)

As I stepped in I couldn't help think to myself "beam me up is rather time travel device like looking!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Art, Art, Art

Blogging has taken a back seat lately to all of the artsy fartsy events going on this summer. This week  I am teaching a Superhero Art Camp for boys at our school in the mornings and a Princess Art Camp in the afternoon. Campers range in age from 3-11 and going into our 4th and final day of camp all I can say is God Bless Elementary Art Teachers. Fortunately the cute faces, eagerness and excitement from my campers covers up the fact that they don't know how to do a lot of things just yet. I wasn't prepared to explain projects several times, or show kids how to braid, or teach them how to hold a high schoolers come with these skills :). It really has been fun and today I have Spiderman visiting my boy and Cinderella visiting my girls....I am sure it will be loud and chaotic!!!!

Besides art camp I have also been asked to lead two large painting parties for nearby churches. Its funny how different adults are from my high schoolers as well. My high schoolers for the most part follow my every rule but they know that if they break that rule they better break it well...meaning if you are going to do something different than what the project ask for you better take it up a notch! With adults though they all break the rules and some of them break them poorly :). I noticed that out of about 30 women at a church following along with me as we painted a cross, that 1/2 of them either didn't hear a step or chose to skip entire steps thus we ended up with A LOT of different paintings...which in the end is just fine, its their creation! I had a lot of fun leading these parties and hope to book more!!

Introducing myself and giving "helpful hints". My 15 year old neighbor, who is very creative, came as my assistant and she said "wow, you didn't seem nervous at all"...HA!

Set up and ready to go!

Finishing our background. We ate, painted, listened to a speaker, and then finished our painting!

I am telling the painters how my WONDERFUL high school teacher would tell us our projects were "FUN"...which was code for...."bleh, you could have done better :)"

All of the painters with their finished pieces. So many variations!
And who could ever deny that this is quite possibly the cutest little artist ever? Ribbit enjoyed an Adventure Day Camp with one of our kinder teachers at our school. Everyday was a different theme and Ribbit loved them all! She cried on the last day and told me that her teacher said she was doing the same camp the next week and that Ribbit HAD to come back!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Fitness Friday-Cooking with your kids

One of the quotes that is constantly in the back of my mind is "You can't out train a bad diet". In other words, you can work out 3 hours a day but if you still choose to eat junk you probably won't see a big change...and you probably won't perform your best when you exercise. I also have heard several certified trainers say that losing weight and building muscle can be attributed to 80% diet and 20% exercise, once again showing just how important a healthy diet is. 

For those reasons I am constantly introducing our kiddos to better food options like carrot fries instead of french fries. We also encourage them to drink water, milk and flavored water...hardly ever serving them juice or soda unless thats the only option. 

I also don't have a thorough history of my kids birthmothers health history. Meaning I have no clue what health problems run in their family tree...therefore we are prepping them to lead a healthy lifestyle no matter what. 

One way to get your kids involved is to take them with you to workout. My kids normally go with me 1/2 times a week to workout, depending on our schedule. Sometimes they lead it, which ends up being our favorite workouts, full of "birdie flies, kangaroo hops, running, skipping, burpees (that name is just so funny), sumo squats, sprints, bear crawls, crab crawls and anything else we can think of that is animal related. 

Another way is to get them involved in the kitchen. My kids love the show Master Chef Jr on Netflix. They could watch the pie challenge over and over again...and each time they laugh just as hard when the judges get a pie in their face. After watching it we decided to make homemade pasta and homemade frozen yogurt. 
Here are the kiddos judging my dinner one night. They graded me on presentation, taste and how healthy it was. They must have whispered back and forth for 5 minutes. They kept saying "be nice to mommy", "its not as good as Chick Fil A", "well she did put ketchup on ours!". They are not very good at whispering :). 
This was the meal they were critiquing. Ahi Tuna steaks with capers and cauliflower rice with chunky tomatoes. They only had a small helping of tuna and I did make them some roasted potato fries as well. I think in the end I got an over all "Great" from the harsh judges...they wish they could have dino nuggets instead :). 

We chose to make Homemade Ravioli with chicken and cheese filling and Strawberry Balsamic Mint frozen yogurt for our dinner. 

Big Man cut up all of our strawberries for the frozen yogurt. 

Big girl added all of the other ingredients into our food processor...whole milk yogurt, fresh mint from our garden, lemon, pomegranate balsamic vinaigrette and vanilla. 

Now the fun part of mixing up our pasta dough. I opted not to go buy any fancy tools but just let them use their hands and utensils we already had. They LOVE to wear their aprons!!!

Flattening our our ravioli, we had a method. Flour, push, stretch, flip. Repeat.
We made our dough using whole wheat flour, eggs and water. 

We then cut our dough, filled it with cheese and chicken and tzatiki sauce. Then we use water to make the edges sticky as we folded another piece of dough on top and used a fork to seal it.

Each kid made 2 filled raviolis and then several spaghetti noodles. They watched them boil and then we added in sauce, mushrooms, shrimp and spinach and topped it with parmesan cheese.

I will be the first to admit that the pasta did not look appetizing. It was thick and just plain ugly. BUT, they LOVED it and they were so proud of their work. They ate almost everything and what they didn't eat Adam did!!! I taste a spaghetti and it didn't taste awful. 
Baby Boy's Ravioli was about as big as him!!!

All the while our frozen yogurt was churning away in the ice cream maker. We went for a walk after dinner to let it finish. Unfortunately on that walk, Baby Boy through a tantrum and went to bed without dessert. The other two gobbled up theirs was only 100 calories per 1/2 cup and they decided to add some chocolate syrup on top to make it taste like chocolate covered strawberries!!!

What cooking with kids successes have you had? Any failures? I will say with every bone in my body that cooking with kids is cleaner and easier than doing art projects...and that is coming from an ART TEACHER!!! may have something to do with the fact that we can't eat our art projects!!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

99 Calorie Cherry/Pineapple/Banana Muffins

As I have mentioned before I am a calorie counter, logging everything that I eat into MyFitnessPal App daily...I'm afraid it annoys some people :). However, I found that during the process of losing weight and now keeping it off accountability is the key and this app tells me how much of my nutrition is going to carbs, protein and fats so I can tweak as need be.

I'm one of those documentation people, check those boxes people, make a list people so the app works perfectly for me....for others its a burden.

With saying all that if I am going to give 99 calories over to a snack I want it to be a good one!!! And I don't want it to be a minuscule snack either, I want a big honking serving :). Muffins are great for that, as they come in single servings and who doesn't like a warm hot muffin?

These muffins came out of a desire to use some fruit that was about to be overripe and a need for some carbs after several weeks of long runs and a morning of heavy weightlifting!!



3/4 cup cherries diced ( I use Washington Red)
1/2 cup diced pineapple
2 soft bananas (smashed between my fingers :))
1 snack size Musselman applesauce ( I buy these to stick in my kiddos lunches but they are so handy for baking. I use applesauce in place of all oil and butter in all of my baking. Use the cinnamon flavor if you have that on hand too).
2 egg whites
1/4 cup regular flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (you could use all whole wheat flour or some coconut flour but then I would add another egg white or two since it needs more liquid)
1 tbsp vanilla (my kids beg to smell our vanilla everytime I use it. I go on and on about how we got it in Cozumel on our last Disney cruise and they can re-tell the story now :)
3 shakes of cinnamon
1 shake of baking powder
1 shake of baking soda
1/4 cup wide slice coconut ( I buy this in bulk from Sprouts...1/4 cup is 70 cals)
1/2 cup rolled oats

Since I have no culinary background or desire to make a recipe take any longer than need be to make I throw everything in a bowl at once. I use a fork to break up the banana a little more and when everything looks thoroughly mixed I declare it OVEN READY!

All of the fruit in the bowl...finger smashed the banana.

It is a very wet batter!! Appetizing picture eh?

Heat your oven to 350, spray your muffin tins and put them in for 25-30 minutes.
This recipe makes 10 muffins for 99 calories each.

I have big plans for this muffin. So far I have eaten it with vanilla yogurt on top, salted caramel frozen yogurt on top (Arctic Zone) and as my pre-run snack at 4:39 in the morning. My children gobbled them up for breakfast and LOVE the bigger chunks of banana in them. Baby Boy even went so far as calling them BROWNIES....Brownies for breakfast?.. sign me up!!
4:39 this morning..Yes it is that dark when I leave to run and that dark when I finish running every morning..but oh man the weather is cool and the mosquitoes aren't out yet...and the best part is all of my running buddies!!!!

I want to try adding the following ingredients. The calorie count per muffin is in parenthesis.

Cheerios  (109 cals per muffin)
Dark Chocolate pieces (113 per muffin)
Agave 2 tbsp (104 per muffin)
Golden Raisins 1/4 cup (111 per muffin)
Craisins 1/4 cup (109 per muffin)
Walnuts 4 tbsp (119 per muffin)