Beach Body Update

So, Richard and I have be working out using Beach Body’s Liift4 for over 7 weeks. I have lost almost 10lb already. We are both starting to see changes in our bodies and are feeling a lot stronger.

The way the Liift4 program works is you work out 4 days a week for 30-40 min a day. It is a combination of weight lifting and HIIT. The first 5 weeks you do chest and triceps (day 1), back and biceps (day 2), shoulders (day 3) and legs (day 4). They change between circuit training (quad sets and just weights),  50/50 all lift in the beginning all HIIT in the end, intervals (2 weight lifting exercises and 1 HIIT in each set). Oh and every other leg day was just HIIT, my least favorite day. Then at the end of each day you do 2/3 core exercises.

Each week you switch the order of the exercises. This forces your body to adapt to the changes. I really enjoyed the interval and circuit days. I recognize the need for the HIIT components. I realize that getting that cardio bursts help with the weight loss. I just prefer lifting, I love seeing myself choose heavier weights. I love it when I’m lifting a weight heavier than the ladies who are demoing on the taping.

The last two weeks the whole routine gets changed around. These are “Shred” weeks. Day 1 is chest and back circuit, day 2 is legs 50/50, day 3 is shoulders and arms circuit, and day 4 is total body HIIT.

I hope that as we continue this program we continue to see definition to our muscles. I want to see my pants get looser, isn’t that the goal of most females who workout? I know I”m getting strong. I’m not craving foods. I’m not stress eating. I drink the shakology every day for breakfast. I do not follow the rest of the meal play, but I do watch what I eat. The program allows for one cheat day. I allow myself one cheat meal. I use this on the weekends.


family · life

Beach Body Bandwagon

Happy Monday morning! I’ve been up and going since 5:30am so I feel like it’s time for lunch and it’s only 10am. A few weeks ago I contacted a friend of mine who is a coach in the Beach Body program. I have quite a few people on my Facebook that are Beach Body coaches, but the one I contacted was a co-worker in FL that I got along with well and knows me the best. So while many people have been on the Beach Body kick since 21 Day Fix became popular I fought joining the craze. I did P90X years ago and loved it, but it was soooo long. I had a hard time fitting it into my day. Then when they started 21 Day Fix I was turn off by the limitations of the foods and trying Shakeology.

Fast forward to the end of June/beginning of July. Richard and I started talking about heath and fitness. We decided it was time for a change. We were spending a lot of money on a gym membership that we got to once a week if we were lucky. Yes, I know I could have gone more often since I don’t work, but I wasn’t motivated to go. I didn’t like going there on my own. I liked it even less when I had to drag the kids along. When we first joined I went almost every day. We used the pool and the boys could workout and then play video games in their youth room. The club changed in a variety of ways. They changed ownership. They began renovations. They closed the youth area and mixed the tweens in with the younger kids and took away the child size fitness equipment. We had the kids go and take their kids workout class, but they were still not allowed to use the cardio equipment, even though they’d been trained while in the youth zone or the weight area even thought they took the kids lifting classes. I was over it! So on Sunday we turned in the paperwork to terminate our membership.

So I decided to contact Katie and get onto the Beach Body bandwagon. They have just started a new program called Liift4 which is a combination of weight lifting and Hiit. My Beach Body box arrived on Saturday. I tried the chocolate Shakeology on Sunday and was surprised how well it filled me and how good it tasted. I haven’t played with the flavor combinations much yet, but it should be fun to try. I’ve had access to the on-line videos since I signed up. On Friday the boys and I tried out 2 of the kid/family friendly workouts. Today Richard and I began the pre-Liift4 workouts. We will do that for two weeks, since Richard is traveling next week, and then jump into the real program.

I do hope that this program helps me find my motivation. My goal is to slim back down, get stronger, healthier and feel more motivated to work out again. I want to feel good about myself when I get moving each day. I know that the energy gained from working out is worth it. Now I just need to keep moving!

So you might see a slight change in the foods I post about. You might here me talk about working out a bit more. But, just know I’m making these changes for me… and that is what’s important!


Education · family · life

How much sleep do I need?

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Sleep is one of those issues that people do not want anyone telling them what is best. I’ve learned this over the years of teaching. I’ve had so many children tell me that they only need 8 hours of sleep…. ummmm nope that’s not enough. Quite often when children do not get enough sleep on a regular basis they don’t act tired, they act wired! Sleep issues is a question that is often brought up when people are considering ADD/ADHD.

I’m one of those mean parents. My sons who are 11 and 9 go to bed at 8pm. This is lights out go to sleep time. They head upstairs around 7:30 to read. My sons’ alarm clocks go off a 6am. That means if they fell right to sleep they’d get 10 hour of sleep. Which if you look at the chart above is the minimum needed for their age range.  (Richard and I sleep from 9:30/10:00pm-6am)

While I know they wish they had a later bedtime, and they will over the summer time, I do it because it is what they need.

Sleep is such a vital part of human development. Children grow physically and mentally while they sleep. This is the body’s opportunity to slow down and process the effects of the day.

Sleep is important in a healthy lifestyle. It is just as important as diet and exercise, but it is so often overlooked. Instead of letting your child drink caffeine to keep awake (yes more and more people are doing this younger and younger) or even yourself for that matter. Instead of saying his isn’t tired he just keeps going. Or hitting that 3pm wall… look at your sleep schedule. What time do you need to wake up? What time does your child have to get out of bed? Take that time and work backwards. Yes the first few nights of going to bed earlier will be hard. Do it in small increments, keep adding a few more minutes of sleep each night until you get yourself/your child into the ideal sleep range. (know that the range is a suggestion and some will need more and some will need less, but this is a guideline).

If you are switching your child’s sleep schedule explain why. Show them research or at least the graphics they show how much sleep they need. Talk about how long it takes them to fall asleep. Talk about healthy sleep routines that will help. Stop using electronics 1 hour before going to bed.

Get a good night sleep… your body will thank you!

family · life

Some days you just have to slow down

Colby woke up and wasn’t feeling 100%. In getting ready for school he ended up getting sick, this is an automatic ticket to stay home for the day. I sent him back to bed. Colby then slept until about 10:45am. I guess he was tired. He woke up and was hungry. I told him to have something light and he started with dry oat squares. We almost always have dried cereal when we are over coming an upset stomach. He then went on and had a larabar and then a bowl of oatmeal. I think he was tired! He also has been slacking on taking his allergy medicine, this resulted in a stomach full of snot!

I was originally going to a meeting for the boys’ school district dealing with math and computer science curriculum. I wanted to attend this because I feel strongly that math should get just the same attention as reading when thinking about district curriculum. I know for certain that neither of my sons’ teachers use the text book to teach their math curriculum. If they are going to revamp the curriculum and/or consider new text books, they need to take into consideration the needs of the teachers and students. The books need to match the standards set by the state and be worth the money.

Oh well, so instead of going to this meeting I spent the morning cleaning. I swept and steam cleaned the floors, vacuumed the rugs and cleaned the bathrooms. I turned Food Network on and worked around the house. I took this time to get the jobs done that need to get done. I slowed down and am enjoying the day. Colby seems to be feeling well enough to go to Blake’s open house tonight and back to school tomorrow.  He will camp out of the couch for a while and slow down too.

Speaking of Colby, when we were at his open house last night there was a wall with writing from the students. The topic was the person I admire most. I asked Colby who he picked. I was curious. He has a few scientist that he admires such as Einstein and Edison. He has many adults in his life that he looks up to as roll models. But, he did not pick any of these people. Colby chose Blake. I can only hope that Blake appreciates this for what it is, an honor. Colby and Blake love each other. Colby and Blake annoy each other to no end. But in the end, they know they are there for each other. They know that when push comes to shove… they are brothers.


family · life

What is that big shiny thing in the sky?

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The sun is shining! Finally!! Yesterday the rain finally stopped. We had an overcast day, but at least there wasn’t any rain. I find it funny that this rain bothered me so much. One thing you learn about FL after living there for any length of time …. it rains a LOT in FL, like almost every day from spring through the fall.

Yesterday we headed to the gym. It was good to workout with Richard. I was able to increase the weight on many of the different exercises I did. After that we decided to stop at the grocery store. We had lunch there before shopping. It was nice to sit down and eat lunch before shopping. There is nothing worse than shopping when you are hungry. Oh wait I know what’s worse than that… shopping with kids when they are hungry!

We picked up pizza dough at the store. This meant that Richard was in charge of dinner instead of me! We had a meatball Stromboli for dinner. YUMMY! I can’t wait until we get a grill so that he can make grilled pizza again. Hmmm wonder if we could make it on my grill pan??

Today I decided to head out for a walk. I walked a little over a mile. The wind was a bit stronger than I like when I walk, but hey the sun was shining! I’m continuing to work on eating healthier and drinking more. I’m aiming for feeling healthy. Continuing to show my boys the importance of healthy lifestyle.

Time to go steam clean the muddy footprints off the wood floors! Maybe I’ll get back outside after lunch. Got to make up for all those days being stuck inside… the sun is shining… time to go outside.


Looking into my rear view mirror at my week.

This week we have had all four seasons. On Saturday, we had snow. Sunday and Monday we had spring. It was warmer, but not warm. Tuesday we had temps that reached 78F. Wednesday and today we are having rain… lots and lots of rain. I guess the fact that its not cold enough to snow is one thing. If all this rain was snow… gesh that would be a lot of shoveling. But, it means flooding. We are appreciating even more that we are at the top of the hill in our neighborhood. There was flooding in the city of Pittsburgh this week.

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This week found me dealing with lots of workers, but the more that gets done the better. The more perfect our new home is for us! We aren’t done, but getting close.  We have picked the colors we are going to paint our living space. My kitchen, living room and morning room are all open to each other. We are going to paint most of the walls a color called cinnamon sugar. The large arch wall in the morning room (second picture is morning room, the all behind the chairs) we are going to paint elephant gray.

I’ve done a pretty good job with my new food goals. I’ve drank 70-90 oz of water each day. I’m eating more fruits and veggies. I’ve also focused on making sure I have protein in every meal, I need to find ways to do this at breakfast beside eggs. I hate having the same thing day after day after day. May have to start making smoothies again? Hmmm that’s a thought.

This week found us playing a lot of Uno. Recently we started playing Uno for points. When the kids were younger we would just play for fun. Now they are at an age where things that are more competitive are fun. And ALL four of us are competitive. We enjoy playing games together, but it can get a bit cut throat at times. The boys love ganging up on the Richard and I when we play games. Yesterday the boys and I played Rummy and Kings in the Corner. They couldn’t agree on which game to play so they decided that each time we dealt we would switch games. This was really strange as you had to keep changing your mindset on what you were playing.

I had to go get my fingerprints done so that I can volunteer at the boys school. The last few times I’ve done this (all teachers need to do this too) they have struggled to get my prints to read correctly. I’ve never had to go back and have them done again, but I guess I don’t have deep enough grooves on my fingertips. When I arrived I realized first that I was there on the wrong day or more specifically week… oops! I did get the results back that same day and even thought they struggled to get the machine to say my fingerprints were done correctly, they were able to get me my results!

The other thing I did this week was finally sign up to take my three teacher exams here in PA. I’ve sort of put this off on principle. I hate that I have to jump through these hoops. What other profession do you have to jump through so many hoops and yet get so little respect? The other thing is I still haven’t decided what I want to do. part of me wants to continue to stay home, there are so many perks to me being home full time. Part of me wants to go back into a public school classroom, it’s what I’m trained to do, and that salary would make life a bit easier. Part of me thinks I should look into teaching at a pre-K, private K or day care center, still teaching, but less stress! Well at least if I get my certification complete I will have choices. So I go in April, that was pretty much the first opening at the location I was comfortable driving to.

Well… I hope everyone had a good week. I hope you have a great weekend!



food · life

Eating update!

So I did a good job eating today. I made myself an omelette with leftover philly cheese steak for breakfast. This meant that I had steak, peppers and onions in my omelette. I had the last cara cara orange for a morning snack.

For lunch I had salad made with broccoli slaw and spinach. I then topped that with Colby’s leftover chicken and cheese from Chipolte. This was really good. I almost wish I had made some rice for this too, but it was healthy and yummy topped with salsa and a bit of sour cream.

I had a mandarin orange after lunch as I wanted something sweet, and that filled the need. I made oatmeal cookies with maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal today. Those were yummy. Colby enjoyed them too. I also made larabars per Colby’s request. I had one cookie and a bit of the larabar.

Right now I’m making dinner. I’m having quinoa, broccoli slaw, spinach, cheese and leftover pork chops from last week. We are having fend for yourself dinner tonight since Richard isn’t home for dinner and the boys had their late night at school.

I’ve already drank over 60oz of water and just filled my bottle again. I’ll probably drink the full 90oz today.

Today was beautiful outside. We got up to 76F. I have the windows open and am enjoying this spring weather. I wish it would last, but that isn’t the forecast.

Hope you had some yummy food today and a bit of nice weather graced your doorstep. Time to sit down and eat!



Taking a step towards being healthier

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I’m setting a new goal for myself health/food wise. I’ve decided that I need to increase my produce intake. So goal one is to have some kind of fruit or vegetable with every meal and try to have more of that as my snacks as well. My second goal is during the day increase my proteins and decrease my starches.

I know a lot of people will go with a set meal routine or schedule, but I can’t do that. Even when I drank smoothies every morning they were always different. I don’t like having leftovers the next day, I need to have it a few days later. I’m not a true foodie, but I enjoy food and I’m not going to eat the same things over and over.

So, when I went to the store today I got onions, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli slaw, spinach, carrots,clementines, and apples. (we have grapes leftover from last week still) My goal is to have eggs a few days a week. Now for me, eggs means scramblers or frittatas. I like my eggs with more filling than eggs. This will increase my protein and veggies in the mornings.

I’ll continue with my theory of all things in moderation. I can’t cut out sweets all together. I enjoy having pasta, crackers, and other starches. I know me. If I deny myself these things I’ll binge eat them and that’s never a good thing.

I’ll continue my goal of 80-90oz of water a day. I tend to drink a cup of flavored coffee every morning and then drink water the rest of the day. Some days I feel like I forget to drink water. If I make a concerted effort to drink a specific amount, I’ll probably do better with that front.

I am looking to make myself healthier. I keep thinking that once the weather improves I’ll get back to hiking and walking. I have a gym membership, but I am not typically motivated to go to the gym other than on the weekends with Richard. I have in the past done on-line workouts, but I’m not motivated to do that either. I know I need more exercise, but I can’t find the thing I want to do and won’t get a good workout in if I just force myself to do something. So I’ll start with trying to alter my eating and go from there.

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Some days are like that…

Last night we went on the full moon hike. It wasn’t as cold as we expected it to be so we ended up having to remove layers. I guess that’s better than being cold and not having enough layers.

It was a good hike. Lots of hills, but the terrain was one of the easier walks since it was dark. There was still quite a bit of snow on the trails and there were some very slippery spots. When we got towards the end there were two choices. You could go on a 20 min easy walk or a 40 min tougher walk with another hill. The boys and Richard decided to go on the tougher hike and I picked the easy one.

There was on flaw in the hike… we never saw the moon. There was way too much cloud cover to see the full moon. Oh well. We will probably try that hike again in the warmer weather.

So the last few days I’ve been fighting a head cold. It has run the gamut of being just a runny nose, to head congestion and blowing my nose continuously. Anyone else ever wonder how all that snot fits inside your head? (Ok sorry if that was TMI, but I’m just tired of blowing my nose all day long)

Last night I could feel the cold moving. It was getting harder to breathe and that was part of the reason I went on the shorter hike. I thought maybe it was the whole I can’t breathe through my nose, but this morning confirmed that isn’t the case. I now have a post nasal drip combined with a hacking cough. Oh joy!

Needless to say today I did NOTHING! I spent the day on the couch watching Food Network. I have dinner in the crock pot. I should go outside and bring in the trash barrels. I should go out back and fill the empty bird feeders. I should fold the laundry that is waiting in the dryer. I should do many things, but nope today I’m voting for nothing.

Some days are like that! Some days you have to admit defeat. You have to say… enough. I need to stop. I need to rest. I can’t do it all, so I’m going to do nothing… and today was that day.

Tomorrow, we shall see


Lazy days and “Loribars”

Today was one of “those days”. I didn’t sleep well last night. Actually I barely slept at all. So when the alarm went off I was hating life. Actually I woke up before the alarm went off because I heard Blake in the shower.

After I got the boys off to school I was moving SLOWWWLLLYYY. I had my coffee and an oatmeal raisin “Loribar” for breakfast. I went up and tossed the sheets in the washing machine and did my typical morning routine. I also decided to sweep and steam clean the floors.  What else did I do today… nothing!

So that is why I haven’t posted today. I didn’t have anything to share because I did nothing worth sharing.

So instead I’m going to share the recipe for my homemade Larabars (aka Loribars). I’ve linked you to the original recipe, but to be honest I haven’t looked at that in forever.

I don’t typically measure when I make these so here is my best guess measurements for you!



equal parts dates and cashews (I use about 1 cup of each for a batch)  That is the base for all the bars.  That’s it…

First I put the dates in the food processor. This way if there are any pits I only have to deal with pulling out the dates and not the whole mixture. Once it is almost to a paste consistency, I add in the cashews. You could use a different nut if you want, but I’ve always used cashews. Once you’ve mixed your bars, dump them out onto a cutting board, I have plastic ones and use my veggie board for this application. I form it into a large rectangle and cut them into bite size or bar size pieces.

If you just want them cashew flavored add a pinch of salt, a splash of vanilla and water as needed to bring it into a dough texture

Peanut Butter chocolate chip– make base mixture. add in about 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (regular works too). if this gets too sticky you could add more nuts or often times I just add oatmeal to the outside as I form the bars. (substitute crasins for the chocolate chips to make PB&J flavor)

Oatmeal raisin– make base mixture. add in 1/4 cup of oats (you can toast them ahead of time, but I typically don’t bother) and 1/4 cup of raisins, a splash of vanilla and pinch of salt. This one typically needs water to pull it together.

These are my two/three go to flavors, but there are so many options. I used to make mint chocolate, but haven’t in a long time so I couldn’t even guess at the ratio of ingredients.

So here you go, on my unmotivated day, I’ll share a healthy and tasty recipe with you. Hope you try it and have fun with the flavors.