Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day 2013!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

We had a WONDERFUL day yesterday for Valentine's. Cody was so sweet and woke each girl up with a single long stem rose (which even I didn't know he had planned). It really made the girls smile! Cody had set out a beautiful bouquet of flowers, box of gourmet chocolates and a card for me! I had set out a case of beer (the equivalent to getting flowers), a box of hazelnut chocolates and a card. 

Then we took the girls to school with arm loads of goodies for their friends & teachers. We stayed to enjoy a Sweetheart Breakfast with them while watching a photo slideshow of all the kids. 

Then Cody & I headed home to get all dressed up for a romantic lunch date at Chama Gaucha Brazilian Steakhouse.

It was so nice to relax, take our time, and just talk over a wonderful meal! We must have had fun because we spent 2.5 hours there!! 

Once we got the girls home we gave them their gifts from us and they were SO excited!

Our 3 Little Monkeys

We had plans to make a yummy chicken parmesan dinner that night but we were so full from lunch we decided to just make the girls some spaghetti with grilled chicken and skip dinner ourselves. 

I went running while Cody gave the girls a bath and then we all enjoyed some very delicious Chocolate Covered Strawberries!

We had such a wonderful day & are blessed to have so much love from our girls!!!

A New Me

I am proud to be able to announce that I have officially lost 30 pounds! And the best part is - I still ate dessert every night!

In October 2012, I made the decision it was time to get serious about losing weight (with some motivation from my endocrinologist - my thyroid Dr.) I had pretty much leveled out with my postpartum weight loss and it wasn't enough. I needed to lose - a lot! 



Getting Started

It is simple - you must burn more calories than you consume to be able to lose weight! Your body works like a calculator and adds up every single thing you take in. Therefore, to create a deficit you must burn more calories. So I focused primarily on calorie counting (but also paid attention to what food groups I got those calories from).

I read on Pinterest about a free phone app called MyNetDiary that would calculate how many calories I was allowed based on height, weight, activity, etc. I only used it on my phone versus actually signing in on the computer. It really is a nice way to track calories and activity. It has a barcode feature that allows you to scan food items you are eating. It analyzed how much protein, fiber, fat, carbs, sodium, etc I was consuming. 

What I Did
  • First - I told my husband I had established a weight loss plan. Having support is one of the most important aspects to weight loss I believe. You need someone who you can talk to, plan meals with, and get motivation from. Thanks Cody for being my support system! I had only told a handful of people my plan.
  • My main focus was to up my daily protein intake to at least 60 grams if not closer to 70 because you need protein to be able to burn fat (per my endocrinologist). 
  • I also focused on increasing my fiber intake to 25 grams if not more since fiber helps keep you full.
  • I decided to cut out regular soda and real sugar in my coffee. I switched to Diet Dr. Pepper and Splenda with Fiber. At first I would do partial sugar with partial Splenda with Fiber to get used to the taste. Pretty soon I was able to stop the real sugar. Now - artificial sweetener is not the answer to weight loss and it should be cut out as well. There are some things that important to each of us and for me I need my sweetened coffee each morning!
  • I focused on increasing my water intake and the app MyNetDiary made it easy to keep track of how many glasses I was drinking.
  • I started tracking my food intake on the phone app - I entered in everything! I weighed my portions with a food scale. It is so easy to misjudge a portion size!
  • I was not exercising per se. I was still breastfeeding and would enter that into the app and get those calories added back into my daily total. If I was out of calories but still hungry for dessert, then I would get in the jump house with my girls and jump with them. I have to say it is the most fun form of exercise and really works your legs!
  • For me the app calculated out my daily allowed calories to be around 900 calories + my breastfeeding calories added back in. So I was averaging around a 1,200 calorie diet. 
  • At first, the 1,200 calorie diet was tough because my body wanted more. But with a little persistance and seeing the results start coming off it got easier and easier to keep going. 
Buying the Right Ingredients

Buying the right ingredients for cooking is crucial! I learned how to start focusing on nutrition labels and not just the brands I grew up eating. My main focus was least calories, most fiber & protein. Once I learned how to shop it became easy! We buy everything in the reduced fat or fat free version (especially the killer foods like mayo and ranch). 

Here are some of my favorite new products:

Health Full Bread (Only 80 calories per slice, 5 grams of protein + 5 grams of fiber)

Next, this milk was recommend to me by my endocrinologist. They take out a lot of the sugar and carbs, which results in a lower calorie count and they add in extra protein. Now - I'm weird about milk. I love it but only certain ones and never order milk at a restaurant since it tastes weird. I promise this tastes good! They have a fat free version or a reduced fat 2% version. 

Mootopia Milk (12g protein!)

Naked Protein Zone Smoothie
(This bottle is 2 servings. I drink 1/2 at at time for 15g of protein)

Fiber One Cookie Brownies (5g of fiber & only 90 calories)
(they taste great and don't make my stomach hurt, also come in chocolate chip)

We love cooking eggs on the weekends and eggs can be a calorie buster at 80 calories each. I have started using Egg Beaters for my portion of eggs and with homemade salsa added on top I can hardly tell the difference. Yes, sometimes I ate real eggs when I wanted - you have to know how to compromise with your diet.

Eating Out

This is a killer! We love eating out and still do but you have to be so very careful! The typical meal served at a restaurant is well over 1,000 calories (yes, even the salads because their dressings are full of fat)! I about died when I realized the grilled chicken sandwich I had eaten at Panera Bread was more than my daily allowed calories!!

When we eat out I try to look up the nutrition info first to help me make a good decision. I only eat 1/2 of what is served at a restaurant now (which equals about the standard calories of one meal). Some of the most filling portions available with decent calorie counts I have found are at Chipolte and Genghis Grill. You control what goes into your dish and can even calculate the total calories online when making your selections. 


My weight started coming off very quickly & without exercise! I had lost the first 20 pounds in less than 2 months! I do admit - I had a breaking point around 18 pounds when some of my friends weren't noticing my progress. Some definitely noticed and made me feel accomplished and some didn't say a word, which can be very disappointing & motivation to keep going. 

My original goal was a 24 pound loss. Once I hit that, I made a new goal of a 29 pound loss. By 3 months I had lost 28 pounds - and then I was STUCK with one pound to go! I had almost completely weaned my daughter from breastfeeding & I was stuck for 3 weeks and then decided it must be time to add in some exercises. I started running occasionally around the neighborhood and lost my 29th pound. Then I wanted to be able to say I had lost 30 pounds - so once again I had 1 more pound to go!

Why not just stop where I was at and be happy? Because I needed to tone. I had become normal weight but still jiggly. So I began doing my DVD I had bought 3 years ago called 30 Day Shred by Jillian Michaels. My endurance was much better than when I originally tried this DVD after my 1st daughter 3 years ago. I didn't do this "everyday" but at least several times a week. Toning is something I will have to keep working on.

Honestly, I still look in the mirror and see "me" - unchanged. I don't notice it until I see a picture of myself or judge it based on how my clothes are fitting.

I lost:
 4 pant sizes & 3 shirt sizes!
Chest: 3 inches
Hips: 4 inches
Waist: 7 inches
My BMI is now 22.8 (normal weight) vs. my before 28.2 (overweight).

Favorite New Recipes

(also great with lemon cream pie filling instead)

(only 3 ingredients! Can use chicken to stuff red bell peppers and roast in oven)

(I used grated parmesan cheese in the green container - BIG punch of flavor!)

(we used Diet Coke to save on the calories - I don't like root beer. We also found a BBQ with the least calories. I also ate mine on sweet potato waffle fries as little sliders instead of a bun...delish!!)

(use very lean beef)

Favorite Food Blog: Skinny Taste
(she includes calorie totals and WW points)

Here's to a new me!

**UPDATE: I started running in February 2013 and have kept it up 2-3x/week. To see my running post, click here!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Daycare Valentine's Gifts

Between all 3 girls they have a total of 10 teachers and 36 friends.

All 3 girls will be taking mini boxes of cereal to their friends with a spoon attached.

"I CEREALsly Like You!"

We really appreciate Reese's group of teachers and who doesn't love Girl Scout cookies?! Reese will be taking her 4 teachers a box of Thin Mints. 
"You are MINT to teach"

Emma and Scarlett will be taking little gift bags to their teachers with a notepad and chocolate hearts found at Target.
1.35oz. Teacher Note Pads w/Choc Hearts
(I wasn't about to give away 10 boxes of Thin Mints...ha!).

*click on any picture to enlarge

Reese's 4th UP Adventure Party

On Saturday, Reese had her 4th Birthday Party and she chose the theme of Disney Pixar UP. I have to admit - this one has been the most fun to plan so far! Balloons just make everyone happy! 

The party was supposed to be outside in our backyard but unfortunately we had some rainy weather. We ended up with 20 kids and 28 adults all inside. We set up the bounce house upstairs in the game room for the kiddos to be "wild" and opened the girls' rooms to allow kids to go play. We brought the dollhouse downstairs, which was a BIG hit with the little ones who didn't want to jump in the bounce house. I have to say - it went very smoothly with no major  meltdowns or injuries ;)

Enjoy the pictures...

Calling all Wilderness Explorers!

The Pinata

The Favor Table

My Adventure Book

The Ellie Badge

Adventure Awaits with UP movie playing


Dessert Spread

The Amazing Cake

Balloon Cupcakes with Sky Blue Icing

Extra Cupcakes and "Balloon Bites" (trix + marshmallows)

Balloon Pops

Cups of Sky

Balloon Ice

My Birthday Girl!!!!

Papa & Sleepy Scarlett

Papa & Emma

Emma & Uncle Nathan

Aunt Christi & Kelly

Nana & Scarlett

Sarah loving the snacks

Zoe eating a cup of sky ... "Mmmmm"

 Sweet Emma


Reese's friends playing upstairs: Luke, Julia & Lilly


Sanjay & Cody

Reese telling Papa how old she is now

Reese was so proud!

"Happy Birthday To You..."

"Happy Birthday To You..."

 "Happy Birthday Dear Reese..."

"Happy Birthday To You..."


She was so proud of pinata and constantly said "Thank you mommy for making my pinata!"

18ish kids later the pinata broke with the last child in line!


       Mommy & Daddy hope you felt very special at your birthday party and we know you are very loved with all your sweet friends who showed up! Your whole class practically came and I know that made you happy. Nobody wanted to miss you turning 4! I know you got some special bonding time with your Papa & Uncle Nathan who flew in from Illinois to see you. You asked Papa for a seemingly impossible gift: a purple octopus and wouldn't you know...he found you one! You immediately gave that purple octopus a big hug and named her "Jelly". We all love you very much and are proud of the girl you are becoming!
Mommy & Daddy

Reese & Jelly

The Details:

Pinata: made by me
Adventure Books: made by me with this free download
Ellie Badge: made by me following this tutorial (but don't take a lighter to the air bubbles, just use a pin point)
Coloring Pagesfree printables
Cups of Sky: Blue Jello + Cool whip
Balloon Bites: Trix cereal + marshmallows (follow rice krispy directions)
Reese's Balloon Dress: Etsy Seller SmashedPeasNCarrots
Balloon Cluster Cupcake Toppers: Etsy Seller PartyGurlShoppe
Adventure Awaits Banner: made by me
Balloon Ice: Fill water balloons then freeze
Cupcakes & Sky Blue Buttercream Icing: made by me
The Cake: LydiasCakes

I did tie balloons to Reese's shoes but never got a picture.

Our guests enjoyed pizza, salad, chips, fruit, veggies, grape juice, water, diet soda, & the men drank beer of course.