food · family · life

Routines and changes

Life has settled back into  our summer routine. I’m starting to work on the boy’s sleep schedule. On Monday they start back into theater camp. That means they need to be up and moving to be out the door to be at camp at 9am. There have been days this summer where Colby didn’t get up until 10am. What is going to happen when he’s a teen if he does this at 10?

I got the boys up today at 8am and we did a workout. We did a 25 min cardio and then a 5 min abs. Richard and I are starting a new workout routine on Monday and the boys say they want to do it too… lets see if we can all get up and moving to do it.

The boys and I are also going to the grocery store today. We worked on the menu last night… fish tacos (I made homemade coleslaw for this), ribs with corn, homemade pizza (I am making pizza dough we will see what we have with it), grilled chicken and sweet potato, taco Tuesday!, grilled tuna steaks and fruit plate, meatballs. Friday is the boy’s play (Frozen again)

Hard to believe in about a month the boys will be going back to school. They start back on Aug 23rd. Blake will be a 6th grader and Colby a 5th grader. Time to get back into routines. Getting up in the morning. Eating breakfast (Colby doesn’t eat it on the days he sleeps in late), having simpler healthy dinners.

family · life

Friday rambles

Yesterday the boys had their second mountain biking lesson. They are really enjoying this. I went for a walk again. This time I didn’t go on the trails, but stayed on the paved areas. I walked just shy of 4 miles. We had a huge rain storm during the day yesterday, but it the weather improved and it was the perfect weather to be out in the park.

Today has been overcast and on the cool side. After breakfast this morning, I went outside and mowed the lawn. I decided to stick my phone in my pocket and put on “map my hike” while I mowed. It was about 1.5 miles and we don’t even have grass on our whole lot just yet. (we haven’t dealt with the back of the lot yet since we want to alter the topography of the lot still) Let me tell you… my hips hurt now.

This means I had four walks over 1 mile this week. I’m trying to get more walks/hikes in each week. I was thinking last night that I should probably find my headphones and start playing music or even a book while I walk during the boys biking class. I am almost done with both of the books I’m reading now. I haven’t decided if I want to start using my kindle before I go to bed or continue to have a real book for reading upstairs in bed.

It looks like we are going to have a soggy weekend. I have no clue what we will end up doing this weekend. We will probably try to get to the gym and the boys are wanting to go biking with Richard to show him the trails they have ridden in class. Lets see if the weather allows that to happen. All I know is Sunday we are having pizza and I’m making more of the garlic rolls I made with Alton Brown’s pizza dough… yum!

Hope you have something fun planned for your weekend.



food · life · through my camera lens

Rambles and Pasta Salad

Yesterday the boys had their first mountain biking lesson. They left excited to go back on Thursday! That makes it feel like money well spent. While they biked I went off on a hike. I’d hiked over 1 mile when Richard surprised me by showing up to walk with me. I had to hike back out and meet up with him. I ended up hiking/walking over 3 miles in about an hour. I wasn’t doing a good job about pausing my app while texting/talking to Richard in order to figure out where we were going to meet up. So, I’m not sure how long I walked, but I don’t care that was still good hike.

One of the places I came across on my hike has a “forever tree”. This is a tree dedicated to those furry friends who loved North Park, but are no longer with us. People add medal ornaments to the tree to honor these pets. Such a loving tribute.

Today I decided to take my coffee and make it a smoothie. I used 1 cup of chocolate coffee, a splash of chocolate creamer, and 1.5 frozen bananas. I blended it up and called it a drink. It was yummy… I’d show a picture, but I finished it before I decided to share about having it.

While I was having my coffee smoothie I worked on lunch. I know I often talk about the foods I make for the family for dinner, but almost never discuss breakfast or lunch. Part of that is breakfast and lunch is take care of yourself meals. I haven’t made breakfast or lunch for my boys since they were about 5. Most days my lunch is open the fridge and toss whatever I find on top of salad, pasta, rice or something on that idea. I will also eat leftovers as is, but I typically like to reinvent them so they feel new and not just leftovers.

Today, since I went to the grocery store, I decided to make myself a pasta salad. I love pasta salad and is such a great side, but for me… it’s lunch!


Today’s pasta salad

  • bowtie pasta (about 1/4 a package)
  • zucchini -diced
  • grape or cherry tomatoes (I used a 10oz package) split
  • heavy handful of spinach
  • 1/4 package of broccoli slaw
  • fresh motzarella
  • Italian Dressing (I used Ken’s Simply Vinaigrette Italian)
  • EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder

Cook pasta according to package. When done make sure to rinse in cool water to cool down the pasta

Dice zucchini. Heat EVOO in a skillet. In skillet put half of the tomatoes and zucchini. Dust with garlic powder. When cooked to the texture you like, leave to cool.

Chop of the spinach. Cut the rest of the tomatoes in half. Cut mozzarella into bite size pieces.

In a large bowl place the spinach, broccoli slaw, chopped tomatoes and mozzarella. When pasta and veggie are cooled down add to bowl. Top with dressing and then toss.

Refrigerate. I put it into the fridge for 40 min or so before eating. This is one of those the longer it sits the better it tastes.


I like the fact that there is more veggies than pasta. You can put in whatever veggie float your boat. I was trying to go for an Italian-ish flavor profile. Do you have a favorite pasta salad? What do you put in yours?

food · life · reviews

Ice cream cookie sandwiches

This weekend found us wearing shorts and t-shirts. We spent most of our time outside being active and doing yard work. Today… not so much. I had to switch the thermostat from having the A/C on to having the heat on before we went to bed last night,. We had the air on because it was in the high 70s/ low 80s, but raining so the windows couldn’t be open. We needed the A/C on both Friday night and Saturday night for sleeping. We woke up to rain again, but now the temperatures were in the 40s. The temperature has dropped today and we actually had flurries earlier in the day.

On Sunday, we decided to head over to Costco and do a bit of shopping. We spent way too much money, but hey we don’t go very often. We purchased more meats, ziplock bags, Excedrin and snacks for the boys. These are items that I now won’t have to buy again for quite a while. We also purchased a ceiling fan for the morning room, light bulbs and clothes for Richard and I. One random thing we did pick up was a package of chocolate chip cookies. When we used to shop of BJ’s Warehouse we really enjoyed their chocolate chip cookies. We thought these would be similar. When we tried them we were disappointed.

icecream copy

So, what does one do when you have cookies that are just ok? Well, we decided to pick up some ice cream and make ice cream sandwiches. I stopped at the grocery store after I worked out at the gym (that makes the 4th day in a row that I got a workout of some kind in… progress). I picked up 3 different kinds of ice cream. My sons do not like the same kind of ice cream, and well they were on sale 3 for $10 so I got a flavor for Richard too.

Making cookie ice cream sandwiches is so easy to make. Let the ice cream get a bit soft. Put a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. Press the top cookie down a bit to settle out the ice cream layer. I then wrap each cookie into plastic wrap and freeze. Hopefully this will help with the cookie, if not… well we have ice cream to have!

Next time, I’ll have to make my own cookies, and ice cream… yummm homemade ice cream, now that is something I haven’t made in a while.

family · life

Weekend business

This weekend was busy on so many levels. Saturday we slept in and then the boys worked on their homework. We got a late start to the day and then headed out to Lowes. We went to buy a garden wagon, but decided to go look at tile for the backsplash. Lowes was having a sale for their credit card members… we saved 10%. We decided this was a good time to buy the stuff for the backsplash. When we first looked I couldn’t decide which one to get. We ended up buying three different styles and bringing them home. I then made a decision. We decided to head back to Lowes to get the tile and all the accouterments needed to put up the backsplash in the kitchen. So Saturday felt like all we did was homework and shop at Lowes.

Sunday found us heading out the door again. First we went and dropped Dixie off at The Dog Stop for their Sunday daycare. She LOVESSSS this. On Saturday she was asking to go for a ride first thing in the morning, and we realized she thought it was Sunday since Richard didn’t work on Friday. So Sunday when he was home again, she was trying to get to the car as soon as she went downstairs. When she found out that she was going in the car and going to doggy daycare she was bouncing.

When we got to the gym, the boys were disappointed to find out that the kids size circuit training equipment has been removed. The person working in the kids zone was one of the trainers. He decided to work with the boys an put them through a workout. They said they had fun doing it. We signed them up for a “Little Lifters” workout group that they are starting there. This will take place Saturdays from March 17- April 21. This will be really good for both of them.

Then we went to lunch and then back at Lowes. In the process of painting Friday and doing everything on Saturday we failed to get the paintbrushes cleaned… so back to Lowes we went to buy brushes to paint the gray.

After picking Dixie up and heading home the guys went outside and drove their Traxxas trucks. This provided me time to shower, fold laundry and then do some reading. I read quite a bit on Sunday and am now getting to a better place in Lilac Girls and can read it quicker.

Sunday night Richard and I painted the gray wall. I’m so happy with the choices we made. The windows pop, the furniture goes well, and it just wraps up the space.

Hope you had a great weekend.



Sunday rambles

I typical don’t post on Sundays. I’m not sure why. For a while on Sundays the boys took turns writing the blog post, but with school and life being as it is that sort of died off.

Sundays typically find us up and out the door after breakfast. We usually head to the gym to get in a good workout. Richard and I will use the rowing machine and then hit the weights. We switch up what we do, but typically it is bench press, incline, curls, some kind of tricepts, kettlebell squats. The we sometimes do rows, lat pull down, split squats, suitcase walks, or any other freeweight/ kettlebell exercise we are in the mood for that day.

We also have a routine of going to Lowes and DiBellas on either Saturday or Sunday. This week we went on Sunday since we didn’t leave the house yesterday other than to shovel. We had to pick up a piece of furniture/shelving/drawer system whatever you want to call it that we ordered for the office. I decided to put garage storage pieces into the office since I painted it gray and am putting in decorations based on biking. My thought was that the garage pieces would hold a lot of stuff (and we have a lot of stuff for the office) as well as fit the idea of a masculine bike decorated room.

While we were there I picked up a blanket that was on sale for $5, a living Christmas tree that we will plant in the spring that we bought for $21… on sale from $80, and some on sale paint. At some point we are going to paint the garage walls and don’t really care what color, so we are going to just collect on sale paint and then mix it together and see what we get! You’ve got to love finding a good deal.

So as you can see our weekends are just busy with life things… doing what needs to be done. Some days that is the best things to do together… just be.

Hope your Sunday was productive. Tomorrow the boys and Richard have the day off so we have a few more chores to do and then we will enjoy the day doing nothing.

What did you do on your Sunday? Did you have any special plans? Do you have the day off tomorrow?


Working out for me, not the scale

As I mentioned in a post earlier in the week, Richard and I spent a lot of time talking about stuff this weekend. Another topic that we spent some time on was working out.

When we moved to PA we got a gym membership at Oxford Athletic Club. We were looking for a gym to workout at and that had things for the boys to do while we worked out. Oxford Athletic Club has a kids area with child size circuit training. We decided this among other factors made this the right place for our family.

Over the summer the boys and I went to the gym at least 3 days a week. They enjoyed it and I got back into working out. We also went one day on the weekend with Richard.

Once school started, I began going to the gym 4-5 days a week depending on if I had other things going on during the day. I typically do 20 min of cardio and the do free weights. I strongly believe that the best way to get healthy is to do strength training. I work with free weights, kettle bells and body resistance. I typically do about 35 min of this and then occasionally jump on and do 5 min on the rowing machine. Ok my times maybe off a tad, but I’m typically at the gym for about an hour.

I also started monitoring what I ate with greater emphasis. I went back to eating more proteins, fruits and vegetables. I have cut back on starches and sugars. I’m not saying I cut them out completely, but pretty much.

I felt like I was doing all the right things. But, what frustrated me the most… my clothes didn’t fit any different. Ok that isn’t totally true… my sleeves are tighter. I can see muscle growth in my arms and my legs. My calves have always been very muscular and now they are back to being pure muscle. My arms are toning up and my biceps are bulking up too. What I’m not seeing is a change in my waist line. UGH!

So that is what Richard and I began talking about on one of our drives last Friday. Let me first say that: A) He never said anything negative about my size, appearance, or anything. B) He is very supportive and a good listener. He wants to see this work because he knows it frustrates me. C) He loves me for who I am.

As we chatted, or I chatted and he interjected as needed,  I came up with a few things to change. Simple little things. I’m going to row for 5 min before I do weight training and then do the longer cardio at the end. I’m going to add in more ab/core workouts. I’m going to start going for hikes at North Park a few days a week in leu of the gym. I was taking fiber and I’m stopping that to see if it was causing bloating, and began taking a probiotic. I’m also not going to have lots of mini meals at specific times, but just eat when I want. I’m going to continue to try to eat healthier, but remember moderation is key to happiness.

A friend posted on Facebook yesterday that she was feeling the frustration of working out and not seeing a change on the scale. She went on to talk about looking at the other positives she has seen such as more energy, healthier lifestyle, etc.  This got me thinking about this post.

I too have seen changes in myself that don’t show on the scale. I love the routine of going and doing something for myself. I see myself getting stronger, and Richard has said this too when we workout on Sundays. I see that I can bike longer, hike easier and much more. I see that I’m eating healthier and in turn so is the rest of my family, we never really ate crap, but this is just the next level of healthier.

So, while I still want my shorts/pants to fit looser on my body, I’ll be happy with the progress I see. I’ll keep working to find that level/mix/activity whatever that helps tip the scales a bit more in my favor. I’m not giving up… I’m working out for me, not the scale…. because, I’m worth it!


Progress is good

Last Friday I posted about keeping myself accountable in order to make progress. I am working on getting back into a healthier life style, working out, eating healthy, managing stress, and finding time for the boys, Richard and myself. I’ve posted about the need for balance in life, and although I know true balance is impossible, it’s a goal worth working towards.

Just to give an update on everything.  Over the weekend we went for a bike rider, the boys and I rode for just under 6 miles. Ok well I rode for just under 6 miles, we stopped at a worn down tennis court that the boys like and they rode for another 25 minutes there, so I don’t know how many miles they rode.  I was pleased with my ride, although my legs were jello when I was done, I’d rode the furthest I’ve ridden since we moved to PA.

Sunday to Thursday I went to the gym. I worked out on Sunday with Richard. This is my day to increase weights and do things that I won’t do without Richard there with me. When started working out at the gym I could only bench press the bar which is 45 lb. I am now able to bench press 65 lbs. I keep at a weight until I can consistently do 2 sets of 10, then I increase the weight. I’m not trying to add bulk, but working out with weights has so many addition benefits. Check out this link to see 7 reasons to strength train.

When I work out on my own I typically do 25-35 min of cardio and then strength training. I try to keep changing up what I’m doing as to not get into a true routine and therefore get stale (or bored). I use free weights, kettle bells, workout bars, and any my own body weight in my workouts. I try to alternate upper and lower body, with some type of abs every day.

Let me tell you, even though I’m still not totally happy with the body in the mirror, it’s working. If you know me well, you know I HATE scales. I hate being a number. I don’t like it when it comes to clothing sizes either. I hate that that number is what people use to define healthy. For me, the way my body is even when I’m at my fittest, the number on the scale is higher than people say it should be. That being said. I do recognize that using the scale is a way to see progress. I will never tell you the number I saw on the scale, but I will tell you that I’ve dropped pounds. I can also see the the definition in my muscles is beginning to return.

Food wise, I’m doing well with that too. I try to eat protein and fruits or veggie every time I eat. I’m eating 5 times a day to maintain metabolism. My new favorite thing to have is ants on a log… yep you read that right. Every day when I get home from the gym I make it to have for a snack. Think about it celery, raisins and I use fresh ground peanut butter. What could be better? Sweet! Salty! Crunchy! oh yeah and healthy!!  I find myself eating a lot of salads with meat on it.

Shhh don’t tell my kids but I’m also adding more veggies to the meals I make. Whenever I make anything that cook with a sauce (taco mix, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce etc…), I will add onions, pepper and carrots, sometimes celery. While I know eating these items raw give more fiber, getting the veggies into them works for me. I look forward to making soups and stews where I can hide more. Oh and when I move into the new house and can put the veggies through the food processor and make the pieces even smaller than I can with my knife so they don’t pick them out.

They are getting better at eating the salad I put on their plate. I individualize them a bit since Colby doesn’t like lettuce, he likes spinach and of course Blake is the opposite. They typically have this carrots, cheese and few croutons. (here’s a hint with croutons… crush them up. you don’t need as many and they can eat them with every bite of the salad and not just pop them in and then avoid the green stuff).

Today I’m taking the day off. I had to drive Richard into work this morning. My muscles are crying especially my legs. So I’m giving myself a break. I’ll focus on cleaning the house, doing laundry and a bit more me time today. Hey I’ve earned it. This weekend will find us back on our bikes and back in the gym.

I’m worth the effort. Now, I just need to work some more on the balance, but that’s another post for another day!



Earlier this week, I posted about setting a goal to get back into a healthier shape. I’m happy with myself at this point. I have managed to workout at the gym every day this week. M-Th I worked out by doing 30 min of cardio and about 30 min of weights. Today I did 40 min of cardio.  I’m please with this progress.  I know that now that the boys are in school I can go to the gym every day.

I decided to purchase myself new gym sneakers, they were much needed! I also purchased myself a new tumbler cup to use at home.

I’ve also found myself more on point with eating. For example, I made the guys tortellini last night for dinner. I had already made homemade spaghetti sauce which I added more veggies than normal (carrots, onions, peppers, and spinach). Then I baked myself some summer squash with parm cheese, and topped it with the spaghetti sauce.

I’m having yogurt with berries for breakfast, carrots with pb and raisins for my morning snack. The rest of the day changes depending on what I want to have to eat.  I’m upping my water intake as well.  I’m trying to make it fun and not super structured menu daily.

I am please with myself, so therefore I ordered some more workout clothes on Amazon.  I needed more to have enough for the week… and well a treat for progress.