Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Endless Possibility" Pizza Bake Recipe

We've been looking to revamp our dinner menu selections, to get some new "go to recipes", so this week I thought I'd try one of the many I've pinned on Pinterest. I wanted something quick and easy for a homework night and decided to go with this Betty Crocker 4 Ingredient Pizza Bake recipe. The 4 ingredients were good, but you could really do so much more with it!
  •  2 pouches (7.5 oz each) Bisquick Complete buttermilk biscuit mix
  • 1 jar (14 oz) pizza sauce
  • 1 package (5-8 oz) sliced pepperonis
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Other Options could include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • sausage crumbles
  • diced onions
  • sliced mushrooms
  • sliced olives
  • diced jalapenos
  • sliced banana peppers
  • diced green peppers
  • fresh basil and other Italian herbs
  • bacon crumbles
  • and the list goes on and on!
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F, and grease a 13x9 in. casserole dish
  2. Mix the biscuit dough as directed on pouch into a medium bowl (add water and mix until soft dough forms). Split the dough in half, and drop the first half into the baking dish evenly by spoonfuls (the dough will not completely cover the bottom of the dish)
  3. Drizzle about 1 cup of the pizza sauce evenly over the dough in the dish. Arrange half of the pepperoni slices evenly over the dough and sauce
  4. This is where you could also add any of your optional ingredients
  5. Top with 1 cup of the shredded cheese
  6. Repeat the previous layers with the remaining ingredients
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into squares to serve

Since this was a new recipe we just went with the basic 4 ingredients to test it out. It was delicious just the way it was, but the hubs and I came up with endless possibilities on things we could have added to make it even better!

It kind of reminded us of a Chicago deep dish style pizza, which we really liked.

It took about 15 minutes to make (but I kept getting distracted with the kids), and we baked for the full 25 minutes in our oven. I was looking for easy, and boy did I get it! It was simple to put together and there weren't a whole lot of pots and pans to clean up.

Everyone went back for seconds and the hubs and I each had enough for lunch today. This is one we'll definitely be making again!

Leave me a comment and tell me how you'd make your pizza bake :-)

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Take a Look at Me Now!

It's about time I posted some photos on here. I kept meaning to and never got around to it. Sorry 'bout that!!

Anyway, someone recently pointed out to me what a difference there was between these two very similar photos, and I couldn't help but put them together. Even I see it :-)

This is my beautiful cousin B and I. On the left we were celebrating my birthday and on the right celebrating her birthday almost 6 months later. That week in January was the very same week I joined the gym.

Check me out, 23 pounds lighter and feeling great!

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Accountability: Weeks 18-20

Week 18
Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  152 lbs. 
           Current weight:    149 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -3         
Total weight loss: -23         
Short term goal:   150 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

Week 19
Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  149 lbs. 
           Current weight:    149 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -0         
Total weight loss: -23         
Short term goal:   140 lbs.
Goal weight:        135 lbs.

Week 20
Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  149 lbs. 
           Current weight:    151 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          +2         
Total weight loss: -21         
Short term goal:   140 lbs.
Goal weight:        135 lbs.

Sorry about taking such a break there, but things have been crazy 'round these parts....

As you can see I had another really good week, followed by some not as great weeks, but nothing I'm going to complain about. I have not been on a roller coaster with this weight loss journey, but I understand there will be weeks here and there where I will stay the same or fluctuate a little. I've resigned to be okay with that as long as those weeks don't start adding up.

You may have also noticed I have a new goal weight. I went from 145 to 135. I'm pretty close to the original goal weight right now and though I have the support of family and friends who think I'm fine the way I am and don't need to lose anymore, I feel another 15 is certainly not going to hurt me.

There has been a new development since I last wrote. I've started running. Yes, you read that right. Running. And I couldn't be more proud of myself. I wasn't feeling so hot one night, but made myself go to the gym anyway (pesky hangover...) Anyway, I was there, but I was taking it easy on the treadmill. I decided to try a little jog since it had been so long since I'd tried (what with the bad shin splints I was getting). I surprised myself and did a half mile with no problems. From there I began increasing the distance little by little. I'm at a mile and a half now :-)

More on all that later though. Have to run... though, not really run, just get back to work... anyway...

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Accountability: Week 17

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  156 lbs. 
           Current weight:    152 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -4         
Total weight loss: -20         
Short term goal:   150 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

I'm glad I wasn't discouraged by last week's big goose egg. Looks like my continued hard work paid off... 4 pounds this week! I think that's awesome! You'd have thought I would have gotten these big numbers earlier on when I was heavier though. Oh well, I'm certainly not complaining...

I think I'm going to have to refigure that ultimate goal weight. While I'm much happier with myself these days, I see there could be more to lose. I don't think I could ever be the ideal weight for my height (I'd surely be nothing but skin and bones- ick!), but I think I could stand to lose a few more than I originally said I'd be happy with. I guess I need to think on that. I could just continue to lose until I'm satisfied, but I think I'd work better with a goal. We shall see.

Oh, something else worth noting... I bought shorts this weekend. Like real shorts, not capris or bermudas. I haven't been comfortable in shorts in years. I got a really cute pair of denim shorts with an eyelet ruffle on the bottom from American Eagle, and I got a pair of Nike running shorts for the gym. This is a real breakthrough for me, just so you know.

And an even bigger breakthrough... I mowed grass in said shorts yesterday... with a sports bra. ACK!! In public!! And I wasn't at all worried about it. I'm not ready to be up at the gym with no shirt on or anything, but it was hot and it was just in my neighborhood. If people can mow in a bikini top, I figured I could get away with it.

All this weight loss must be going to my head ;-)

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Accountability: Week 16

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  156 lbs. 
           Current weight:    156 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -0         
Total weight loss: -16         
Short term goal:   150 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

I completely forgot to post this last Thursday...

After having worked out 7 days in a row the week before, I took Monday off as a day of rest. Tuesday I hit it pretty hard, but Wednesday... well, it was my anniversary. To say I splurged would be a little bit of an understatement. It involved alcoholic beverages and fried foods... oh, and then dessert. A heaping bowl of fro-yo topped with granola.

Weigh in day did not bode well for me as I stayed the same weight... although, I suppose it could have been worse, I could have gained.

I know there are bound to be weeks like this, so I refuse to let it discourage me. I'm feeling good about this week though, so we shall see :-)

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Accountability: Week 15

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  159 lbs. 
           Current weight:    156 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -3         
Total weight loss: -16         
Short term goal:   150 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

All this hard work is paying off! Three pounds in one week! I know plenty of people do that regularly, but I'm still very excited by it. As busy as I've been at the gym though, it makes sense...

I spent four hours at the gym Saturday night. Yep, four hours. From 10:30pm-2:30am. My kids had stayed the night with an aunt the night before and ended up taking a pretty good nap that afternoon, which I joined them for. Since we all napped so well we ended up staying up a bit later. It was late by the time I got them down, but I said I was going to the gym, so by-golly I went!

It was a weights night so I did my routine and found I was still feeling pretty good when I got done, so I just kept going. And going. And going. At the hour on a Saturday night the gym was pretty quiet, so I was able to hit some of the machines I either haven't tried yet, or are usually taken. It was nice to not feel in a hurry to get off so the next person could use it.

Oh, and they finally got the new hydro-massage beds installed and open. A ten minute massage? Don't mind if I do :-) I even got to do it a second time later since no one was there. Pretty sweet. Actually, I think I'm in love... I've been there every night since.

And thank goodness it shows on the scale. And not just the scale, apparently it's just showing in general. In the last two days I believe every single person I work with has commented on how I'm "withering away" or how it's "just melting off of me", lol. Compliments are great motivation, let me tell you!

Well, see ya round!
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Book Review: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Extremely Loud and Incredibly CloseExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Oskar Schell is on a search. Though he's not really sure what exactly he's searching for he's hoping it will bring him closer to his father, closer to answers, closer to peace.
While this was a moving story I didn't particularly care for how it was written. I read it on my kindle so I'm not sure if this version was any different than a hardback, but during conversations I found it hard to follow for lack of punctuation or separate paragraphs.
The story also jumped back and forth quite a bit, not only from past and present, but from letters to and from different characters, some current, some from long ago.
Again, I found the story very interesting, but probably would have enjoyed it more had it been written differently. I think I'll give the movie a shot and hope it comes across a little easier that way.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bumping It Up a Notch

Whew! I've been busy at the gym! I'm hoping it shows Thursday when I weigh in... I'm normally at the gym anywhere from an hour to two and a half hours depending on what I'm doing. And some of that two and half hours is tanning and sitting in the massage chair, don't let me fool you...

Saturday though, I spent four hours at the gym!! I had taken a pretty long nap with my kiddos earlier in the day, so when I made it to the gym around 10:30pm I was amped up and ready to go. I did my trainer workout, rocked it out on the arc trainer for an extra 30 minutes, and since it was so empty in there, tried out some other machines I hadn't done before or are usually too busy. I don't know what it was, but I just kept going, and going, and going. It felt great though!

Especially the gym's new hydro massage beds. Talk about relaxing! I could definitely get used to those...

Anyway, I think I mentioned in last week's accountability post that I had had strep throat again and had taken the week before off from the gym. I decided to do one more week of 4 reps in my exercise regimen instead of bumping it up to 5 times like I was supposed to have. I just wanted to make sure I was ready for it, especially after having had a whole week off. That was last week, and yesterday started a new week...

So, I made the bump up to 5 reps yesterday. I have to say, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting. I was surprised at how easily I was making it through the first few reps compared to when I started. I'm even feeling pretty confident in the Squat/Curl/Press that I won't drop the weights on my head... that is until this 5th rep. Again, not as bad as I was expecting. Since I had usually been so tired by the 4th rep, I was expecting to be ready to give out during the 5th, but I made it.

And boy did I feel good afterward! I'll be back tonight with bells on... well, maybe not bells, but a smile on my face for sure!

Scale, watch out for me Thursday!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book left off precisely where Divergent ended. Tris, Four, and a couple others are on their way to Amity headquarters to seek refuge and figure out what the heck is going on.

I don't really know how to give a review on this one. It's so new I hate to go into detail and ruin anything for anyone, but I don't know how to go about being vague either, and still tell you how exciting it is.
Marcus (Four's horrible father) apparently knows something very important, according to him anyway. He's sure it's what caused the attack and he's hellbent on getting the information back from the Erudite.
Truths and secrets are revealed that leave people shocked, hurt, and confused.
Amidst all the chaos Tris is trying very hard to deal with all the guilt, pain, and sorrow she's experiencing.
These things aren't helping her newly forming relationship with Four. Neither is her lacking will to live...
Everyone is after something, unfortunately no one seems to be on the same page. It makes for a very interesting dynamic...
One final truth is revealed and it's a doozy.

The end!

While I had a hard time with the beginning of this book, I came around at the end. I don't know what the problem was, but it almost didn't seem like these were the same characters from the last book. Tris's guilt and grief does quite a number on her, and she's not quite the strong young lady I came to love in the first book. She starts to come around, though still somewhat wishy-washy, toward the end and show that character I thought she had in there somewhere.

I still don't get her sometimes though. She is so smart, and yet she falls for some pretty dumb stuff in this one. She puts some things together, but other, more obvious things, seem to go right over her head. I didn't particularly care for that, but maybe it's all part of Roth's plan. I'll just have to wait and see.
The dynamic between Four and Tris was intriguing. I felt bad they were going in different directions, but it made for a good read.
Even though there were some things I was a bit disappointed in, I am still quite impressed with the book. Again, Veronica Roth came through with a creative and interesting story. The action was awesome. The pace was great. And she leaves me wanting more! I'm not sure how I'll ever make it to the next book!!

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Accountability: Week 14

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  160 lbs. 
           Current weight:    159 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -13         
Short term goal:   150 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

Sorry to have not been seen or heard from in over a week... Last week was pretty rough. I was busy, busy, busy planning my daughter's 8th birthday, and came down with Strep, again. She and I have each had it twice in 5 weeks time. It's getting to be a bit ridiculous really. Anyway, as busy as I was, and as lousy as I felt, I decided to forgo the gym for a week (a few days over a week) and try to get to feeling better.

As you can imagine, that didn't help me on the scale any. When I weighed in last week I had stayed the same. I guess it didn't really hurt me either, but after coming down from my high of hitting my first short-term goal the week before, it kind of sucked to see. Anyway, I'm back at this week and today's weigh in showed results, another pound gone! That's what I was hoping for!

I have to say though, I missed the gym. I missed that me time. I missed feeling like I was making progress. Going from frequent flyer to lazy bum wasn't as great as it sounds. Especially when it came time to head back to the gym. It was like my first workout all over again. I had just gotten to where I wasn't so afraid of dropping the dumbbell on my head and was supposed to move to 5 repetitions, and then slacked off... well, the fear was back. It's a wonder I don't have a dent in my forehead right now. Hopefully tonight goes better. Though, if my legs are any indicator, it's going to be a tough one.

Oh! In case you're wondering, the party went off without a hitch. I didn't get to do all of my Pinterest inspired projects, but I did manage a few. As soon as I get the photos uploaded I'll be posting some of them here.

See you on the flip side!

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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review: Private Games

Private GamesPrivate Games by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Someone is not a big fan of the Modern Olympics and is determined to see their demise.
Set in London during the 2012 Olympics. Jack Morgan, Private's head honcho is present, but not the main character. Peter Knight, and investigator for Private London has a personal investment in catching this madman. One that gets even more personal when his children become involved.

I really enjoy this Patterson series, almost more than his others I follow, I think. While it's the same high-paced action, I think it is a breath of fresh air compared to the other series (Cross and Women's Murder Club particularly). There seems to be more going on in this series in a short period of time, or maybe he just covers more cases. I don't know what it is, but I dig it.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

5 Question Friday

Morning, Ya'll! I don't know about you guys, but I am absolutely beat! On top of having an emotional roller coaster of a day yesterday (good news with my weight-loss, followed by a disturbing altercation with a daycare teacher that afternoon), I also push mowed the yard, went to the gym, and then, because everyone has been saying how good Grey's and Private Practice have been lately, when I got home from the gym last night I tried to get caught up on at least on of them on the DVR (to no avail, I might add). So, I guess it's my own darn fault I'm draggin' butt this morning.

Without further ado, on with the post! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you like what you see enough to come back again *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*


1. Do you make your kids finish all the food on their plates? Sometimes. It depends on what we're having, when the last time we've eaten, how much I gave them to begin with. Oh, and what's on the tv. If they are genuinely full before they've cleaned their plates, hey, no biggie. I don't want to encourage over-eating. But, if the newest iCarly is on tv and she's squirming to get back to it... as mean as it sounds, DD has to finish every last bite regardless of the pleas of her "straining top button." I just don't buy it...

2. Do you give allowance? My chit-lins are only 7 (wow, I only get to say that for 9 more days) and 3, which I think is a little too young for allowances. Not to mention, I'm not sure we will give them an allowance in the conventional sense when they're old enough anyway. Something the hubs and I have to talk about, I guess.

3. Do you actually park your car in the garage? Garage? What garage??

4. What is one food you will NEVER cook? Fish. Or seafood of any kind really. I don't like the stuff, so I have absolutely no idea how to cook it. Not to mention it smells. I couldn't have that stuff smelling up my house for hours at a time. Uh Unh. When the hubs wants fish, we eat out. That's the rule. Silly, maybe. But it works for us.

5. Do you have anything exciting planned for the summer? Actually, we are in the midst of planning a vacation to Outer Banks, NC with the fam. Our little foursome, my mother & father-in-law, and my brother & sister-in-law. I cannot wait, as you can imagine. My daughter hasn't been to the beach since she was 2, and my son has never been. So yeah, i'm pretty excited about our Summer plans this year :-)

Has anyone been there before? I'm looking for recommendations for places to go, see, and eat!

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Book Review: Mayhem in High Heels

Mayhem in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #5)Mayhem in High Heels by Gemma Halliday
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A well known wedding planner is stabbed in the back as she waits for a couple to show up for a cake-tasting. And who should find her, but none-other-than Maddie Springer, shoe designer...

This is one case she's personally vested in. The design for a very important pair of shoes is on the line.

I won't spoil anything, but I was suprised by the way this book ended. While the whole book lead up to that moment, I was surprised it happened in this book. It makes me anxious to see how the rest of the series will go and what can happen from here. I believe alot went unsaid...

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PAR-TAY!! Er... I mean, Accountability: Week 12

Let's get this party started!! Whoop Whoop!!

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  161 lbs. 
           Current weight:    160 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -1         
Total weight loss: -12         
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

If you haven't noticed why I'm so excited, look right up there to the "Short term goal" and compare with my new current weight :-)

Yep, that's right! I've hit my first short term goal and I couldn't be more proud of myself!

If seeing the number on the scale wasn't enough to be excited about, I got an email right after I logged my weight into LoseIt that I earned a new badge... my GOAL ACHIEVED badge! There's nothing like a computer-generated congratulatory message, lol, to say, "Hey, you did it!" (and, yes, I am seriously excited about the email- that's not all sarcasm). I am also now part of their 10 Pound Club. I'm thinking of ordering the t-shirt ;-)

LoseIt's 10 Pound Club Badge

I'm on week three of my new trainer-designed workout regimen. It was a weights night last night, and I tell ya, I think I sweat more last night than I have in any of my workouts. Since January! But it is so worth it!

Well folks (if there are folks out there) be on the look out for a new short term goal in next week's post :-) In addition to just feeling great about seeing those numbers fall I also have some new motivation... by means of planning a beach vacation. I haven't been to the beach in years. Gotta get this bod ready!

I'll post more on the vacation soon, once we get some of the deets worked out.

This post carries a disclosure Level of 0. Please see my disclosure page for more details. Even though it seems as though LoseIt probably sponsors my posts or something, they don't. I wish they did. Maybe I should give them a call... Anyway, I'm just a genuinely pleased member of their site and want to share what's working for me with you all.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Make My Morning Blog Hop

Good Morning and welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere. So far I'm not taking up too much room, but maybe one day that will change. For now, I'm so glad you've decided to stop by! This is my first time participating in the blog hop hosted by the amazing Jeannette of The Adventures of J-Man and MillerBug, Lisa of Mompreneur Mogul and Jen of Life With Levi!  If you're new here, and let's face it, I think it's safe to say most of you will be :-) let me tell you all little about me and what I've got going on here...

I'm Bird, a twenty something mother of two. I work full time outside of the home and am aspiring to make some changes in my life in my "down time". Making those changes happen has been a challenge, but I'm up for it! A big one I've mainly been focusing on lately is changing my body. I've been hitting the gym for the past 11 weeks and have lost 11 pounds so far. The gym, while difficult on some days, has proven to be a lot easier than changing my diet... but hey, I'm working on it.

Another one of those changes I'm attempting... to be a better wife and mother. I don't know anyone who isn't always working toward this, but I thought it was worth mentioning anyway. Pinterest has apparently lit a fire under my behind though... What all these amazing women are doing all the time for their families- wonderful home cooked meals, amazing parties, fun activities for the kids. It makes me feel as though I've been skating by. No more! I'm sharing my Pinterest inspired moments of better motherhood here with you all... or whomever should stumble upon my little corner over here...

Anyway, that's enough about that for now. Hopefully you'll come back again to see what's really going on around here anyway.

The question today was "What Makes Your Morning?"

Of course a new comment or follower would make my morning, so feel free :-)

But what really does it for me, I mean really puts me a good mood... those two aforementioned kiddos cooperating with me in the mornings. The hubster is working out of town right now, so he's up and out long before the sun rises- or me and the kids for that matter. My daughter, not a morning person. My son, well, he's going through a bit of a defiant stage. He wants to move at his own pace. Set his own rules.

This Mama Bird is just a bit too busy for all that.

So, when they cooperate - when they wake up with minimal to no attitude - when they don't need prodding through their entire morning routine - when they are the well-behaved children I know they can be - and when I make it to work on time because they were on their game- that truly makes my morning.

Today was one of those mornings. I'm on top of the world as we speak :-)

Well, I'm off to visit a few new blogs. I hope to see some new faces around these parts, too. Have a great day everyone :-)

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

My New Exercise Regimen

So, I think I mentioned a couple days ago that I saw a trainer last week. It's included in my monthly gym membership, but until now I'd  been just going at it alone. I figured it was time to get serious, and who'd be better to help me do that than a bonafide trainer?

The goal for this regimen was weight loss and toning. I didn't specify that I wanted to target any certain area. I just wanted an overall routine this time. I do have some ideas for some target areas I'd like him to help me tackle when we reconvene.

Anyway, since I had already been working out for a couple months and using their 30 minute circuit routine he wanted me to start doing some exercises with free weights. Whew! Talk about a difference! I guess with the free range of motion you're working muscles in a whole new way- rather than the machines limiting your motion.

I am to do the following regimen for 6 weeks. I'll do 4 sets for the first 3 weeks and then 5 sets for the last 3 weeks. We'll meet again then. So, here's the deal:

Trainer's Weight Loss/Toning Exercise Regimen 1

  1. Dumbbell Swings                (12)                  15 lbs.
  2. Push Ups (Modified)           (12)                  Body Weight
  3. Standing Dumbbell Rows       (12)                  15 lbs.
  4. Squat Curl Press                (12)                  15 lbs,.
  5. Plank                               (30 sec.)           Body Weight
  6. Arc Trainer                      (3 min.)            10 incline/20 resistance
After doing 4 rounds of that, hop on the Arc Trainer for 30 minutes alternating between 1 minute at 10 incl/20 res. and 2 minutes at 5 incl./15 res.

Do this 3 times a week.

On cardio days at the gym do 45 minutes on the Arc Trainer doing the same incl./res. routine.

Dumbbell Swings, via

Push Up (Modified), via
Dumbbell Standing Rows, via
Squat Curl Press, via

Plank, via

I've been doing this for a week now. That first time was brutal! I couldn't lift my arms the next day. I kid you not! I've been doing better though. It's still a challenge, but I'm not near as sore as the first time.

My first round of 6 is usually pretty easy. The second one, I'm still doing okay. The third one is proving to be a bit more difficult. And by the fourth, I'm sure I'll drop those dumbbells on my head during the Squat Curl Press. Like, it's so bad I'm terrified to do that one. Literally terrified. I'm sure I'll drop it and then be laughed out of the gym. Apparently my shoulders are very weak. That is the most challenging, and certainly painful, exercise I think I've ever done. It ranks right up there with a hard core abdominal workout for me. Ouch.

So far though, no dents to the noggin' from dropped dumbbells so I'm doing okay.

Let me know if anyone gives this a try.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

5 Question Friday

Good morning all. I hope your Friday has started off on the right foot. Mine's not looking too shabby right now. We have no big plans for the day. Just the grocery and the gym. Real exciting stuff, right?

Oh! I guess one member of our household is up for a little excitement today. Our dog Potter is being neutered. Poor fella. A few months back he started peeing in the house for no reason. He'd go to the door to go out. He'd go out and do his business (or so we thought) then he'd come in and head straight for the hallway to tinkle on the wall. Talk about infuriating! Not to mention GROSS!

We've cleaned the carpets I can't tell you how many times. We've sprayed, we've tried internet tricks. We've had him looked at wondering if he had bladder issues. To no avail.  Nothing seems to deter him. So, we're hoping maybe it's just his male instinct to mark and that neutering him will fix the problem. If it's not, then I don't know what to do. This busy Mama Bird doesn't have the patience for much more...

Anyway, on to the real reason you stopped by today, My Little Life's Five Question Friday! Thanks for coming by. It's always a treat to have visitors :-)

1. Groceries are high right now what is easiest way you have found to cut back? Though I've been slacking on it, couponing and matching my coupons to the ads. We also try to meal plan around what's on sale and just get what we need for the week. It's nice to stock the shelves, but keeping to the meal plan for the week does seem to cut our spending back quite a bit. We also buy Target's brand on a lot of things which really helps. Granted, there are some things you just can't do that with, but we've found a lot of their things are just as good as what we've used before.

2. What are the top 3 things on your "bucket list"? Hmm... this is a super tough one. There are so many things on my "bucket list" (which are really just floating around in my noggin'- I should probably write them down. hmm...). Anyway, I don't know what would be the top things. I know I want the four of us to go to Disney while the kids are still small (my hubby missed their first trip last year b/c of work), but that's a sooner rather than before I die kind of thing.

I guess I'd like to take my family to Austria where my Mama and Nana were born. My Nana took me the summer after 5th grade and it was just beautiful. I'd love to go as an adult and share it with my family.

Oh, I don't know if it's a top thing but I have always said I wanted to walk on hot coals before I died. I think I saw it many moons ago as a challenge on Road Rules or The Real World or something silly like that. For whatever reason it just stuck with me as something I said I'd do someday. Weird, right?

Oh, okay, so that did remind me of two that are pretty important to me. One, I want to complete a Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3 Day. It's a 60 mile walk raising funds for breast cancer research. In all actuality I'd like to do it within the next 5 years, but it's definitely pretty high on the list.

And two, I'd like to participate in St. Baldrick's event. Yep, I want to get my head shaved to raise funds for childhood cancer research. I probably would have done it already, but in all honesty, my hubs isn't too happy with it. He wonders why I can't just find another way to raise money or donate. I don't know, this one just seems more fun ;-) It's a way to really connect with the kids who face the hair loss and see a little of what they go through. I can't say when for sure, but this one is definitely going to be accomplished!

3. Would you rather give up AC or heat? Heat. Definitely heat! I can be cold. You know, because I can always put more clothes on. Blankets, etc. I cannot, I repeat, cannot be hot. There's only so many clothes you can take off before someone gets offended...

4. What's your favorite cocktail?? I'm more of a beer or wine drinker so I'm not sure how to answer this one.

I like frozen strawberry daquiris. Does that count? Not very exciting, but hey, I enjoy them.

5. What was your first job & how old were you? My first paying gig was as an actress in a production called the Passion Play in Gatlinburg, TN. I stayed summers with my Nana there and would be in the play 6 nights a week. I think I did it from the time I was age 9-12. I'm sure you may have guessed by the name, but it was a play of the life of Jesus Christ. Some weeks I would play the dead child he brought back to life. Some weeks I would be the lame child who could miraculously walk again. I also played the maid of Caesar. It was fun, and I enjoyed it very much. I used the money I earned there as spending money when Nana took me to Europe.

After that though, my first job was at Big Lots when I was 15.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Accountability: Week 11

Bathroom Scale Clip Art

Starting weight:   172 lbs.
Previous weight:  164 lbs. 
           Current weight:    161 lbs.            
Weight +/-:          -3         
Total weight loss: -11         
Short term goal:   160 lbs.
Goal weight:        145 lbs.

So, I know I've been really sucky about posting and keeping up here, but I promise I'm trying. As the summer quickly approaches I find myself busier and busier.

I clearly have good news though! In my 3 week hiatus from posting to my accountability thread I lost three pounds! One week I stayed the same, one week I lost one pound, and yesterday when I weighed in it was a two pound loss! I was ecstatic!! To say the least...

Not only did I finaly bust through the 10 pound mark, but I see that I am only a mere pound away from my first short-term goal! Squee!!! Granted, it would have been nice to have done it a wee bit faster, but at least at this pace it's more likely that I'll keep it off. It feels good to be losing weight the right way instead of silly diets of starving myself and losing 4 pounds in a week only to gain two back the next week and then another the following and so on.

LoseIt has me down to 1460 calories a day now. Surprisingly, it's really enough. Of course I'll eat a little more on gym days. I rarely go over my limit, and when I do, it's usually on days we go out to eat. I still haven't quite mastered the whole 'choosing wisely when we're out' thing. Still, it's definitely an improvement from where I've been.

Oh, and I started a new exercise regimen last week. I saw a trainer for the first time and he gave me a new exercise program I'll be doing for 6 weeks and we'll meet again. I'll post it tomorrow in case anyone is interested... you know, if anyone is reading this at all or should happen to stumble upon it ;-) lol.

For once, I'm not dreading the next weigh in. I'm feeling pretty good :-)

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Only 13 more days...

Yep, On May 1st Insurgent hits the shelves... or your ereaders, if you're like me and have it pre-ordered. I cannot wait! If you'd like to read my review of the first book, Divergent, and see if you think it's something you'd be interested in you can find it here. Trust me, you'll want to check it out.

Oh, and something else you might want to check out... this opportunity to win a $100 Amazon Giveaway from Team Abnegation in honor of the new book coming out! How awesome is that?!

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Yummy Crunchwrap Supremes

It's time to share some of the delicious Pinterest inspired recipes we've been trying around here. Up first is one of my favorites- Crunchwrap Supremes! It's so simple I wonder how I've never thought to do it at home on my own before. Kudos to Full Bellies, Happy Kids for coming up with the obvious here. It's much appreciated!

The great thing about these crunchwraps is that you can completely customize them to your liking. If someone wants black olive slices in theirs, go ahead. If someone wants salsa, hook 'em up. Don't like sour cream? Leave it out! Easy peasy! You can also make them a little healthier than what you find at the fast food joint. Try making them with ground chicken or turkey meat. Use fat free sour cream and reduced fat cheese. You could even try healthier tortilla wraps. Again, it's all up to you!

Ingredients (for a basic Crunchwrap Supreme):
  • Large (burrito size) tortilla shells
  • Small tostada shells (or as FB,HK used, tortilla chips)
  • Queso sauce
  • Pre-cooked taco meat (I obviously used beef)
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Shredded cheese
  • Sour cream
Other options could include, but are certainly not limited to:
  • Taco Sauce (I usually poor some on as I go)
  • Jalapenos
  • Bell or banana peppers
  • Black or refried beans (which I've tried and really enjoyed)
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes (which are actually in Taco Bell's version)
  • And whatever else you think might appeal to you!
Here's what we used the first time we made them
(I had the taco meat on hand as extra from another meal that week)

  1. Warm your tortilla in the microwave to make it soft enough to bend
  2. Put a dollop of queso sauce in the center of your tortilla, but be sure to leave a wide edge so you can wrap it around later
  3. Spoon some taco meat on the cheese (this is where your beans would go, too, if you wanted to add them)
  4. Place the tostada shell, corn tortilla, or a couple tortilla chips on top of the meat (depending on the size of the shell you may have to break it to make the center of your crunchwrap a little smaller so it will close)
  5. Spoon a dollop of sour cream and spread over the shell
  6. Sprinkle some shredded lettuce and shredded cheese on top (this would also be the place for any peppers, tomatoes, etc.)
  7. Wrap the edges up toward the center until they close around your filling (if it won't cover it all, tear a piece off another tortilla to cover the top and wrap the edges around it)
  8. With some ninja quickness flip the crunchwrap into a warm non-stick pan, fold side down. Lightly pressed down with your spatula to seal the folds and brown. It won't take long
  9. Carefully flip it over once the edges are sealed and lightly brown the bottom side. This won't take long either because really, you're just warming that yummy, gooey queso on the bottom

You're ready to eat!! You can cut it in half to make it easier to handle, but with everything sealed into the wrap it's pretty manageable as is. If you were to cut it open though, you'd find this nice layered little pocket.
These are so quick and easy to make! We love our taco nights around here, but I sure do like this alternative- especially since they come pre-made! I don't have to make both kids their tacos before assembling mine, only to take the first bite and have one of them ask me to make them another... *sigh*...

And if you're like me and tend to have taco meat in the fridge at almost any given time, it's great to make single servings with. Nights when the hubs has school and the kids want chicken nuggets, I can make myself a delicious meal that wasn't frozen in some way...

Thanks again to Full Bellies, Happy Kids for thinking to do this at home and sharing it with the world. I'll definitely be paying more attention to some of my favorite meals at restaurants and fast food places to see what else I can recreate at home!

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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Book Review: Alibi in High Heels

Alibi in High Heels (A High Heels Mystery #4)Alibi in High Heels by Gemma Halliday

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maddie's made it to the big time! Her shoe line took off and she's been requested at Fashion Week in PARIS! She's all set to go when she has an unfortunate incident with a sports car driven by a psychic who can't operate a clutch... (any guesses?) She won't let a little thing like "Wonder Boot" and the doctor's orders of no heels for 3 months get in the way of her dream though, so off she goes!

Things are off to a great start, until she finds a dead body, that is. Aside from the person being dead, there's something a little more creepy than that... the person has been stabbed in the neck... with one of Maddie's designer shoes. Coincidence?

The police don't seem to think so. She's getting pretty freaked out during the interrogation when who should show up to save her but... Felix?? The tabloid reporter? What's he doing here?

Not long after that, boyfriend/Bad Cop Ramirez is on his way, too. She promptly ignores his advice to stay out of trouble and gets herself locked up for B&E. Not only does Ramirez have to bail her out, but he has to spring her accomplice out, too. You can imagine he's not really happy about that one.

His unhappiness doesn't stop there, but I won't ruin that for you...

Things definitely got interesting in this book, to say the least. I'm quite anxious to get on to the next. If you're not reading this series yet, you should be!! There are some great laugh out loud moments and always a great story!

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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Book Review: Private: #1 Suspect

Private:  #1 Suspect (Jack Morgan, #2)Private: #1 Suspect by James Patterson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The one thing you can always count on with a James Patterson book is that it will start off with a bang. I won't ruin it for you if you're a little late to the game (as I was) in reading this book, but that's exactly how this one starts when someone close to Jack is murdered... in his very own bed.
Guess who's Suspect #1?!
Amidst all that drama he finds himself working with a mobster. One he's had dealing with before and thought he'd never see again. Sadly, that's not the case. He gives him a job he can't really refuse.
There are a couple other cases going on as well, which I like. There's definitely more action in this series since there are so many players involved. Never a dull moment.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

5 Question Friday

Good morning, good morning! It looks as though it's going to shape up to be a beautiful day here. I sure hope so, because this little cold snap we've been experiencing this week is for the birds... but not this Bird! Anyway, I haven't really been posting like I should, but I'm hoping to change that this coming week. I'd like to challenge myself to post something new every day next week. We'll see how that goes... Hopefully one of those posts will consist of the progress I've been making with my exercise endeavors, especially my new workout regimen. I'm sore as the dickens right now, but hopefully by Monday I'll be a little more used to it. Progress. We'll see...

Anyway, thanks for stopping by from My Little Life for 5Q Friday! Glad you're here. On with the show!

1. Who mows your grass? Actually, as of 4 days ago, I do! The Hubs usually does all the mowin' and trimmin' and weedeatin', but in my effort to get healthy and active I decided I should try to do some of that stuff, too. I figure it's a nice way to multi-task - I get something accomplished that needs to be don and I get my butt up and moving. Win-Win, right?

Monday I was planning on taking a day off from the gym but still wanted to do something physical... Hubby was planning on doing some yard work and asked if I wanted to try to help with that. You see, I had a couple wrist surgeries to repair some ligament damage about 10 years ago and it bothered me for a long time when I'd do certain things, such as mowing the grass. No, I didn't just say that to get out of it ;-) The vibrations, not to mention the bearing weight on it to push the mower, really hurt. Using a blow dryer in that hand is also a problem.

Anyway, like I said, that's been 10 years ago. Aside from the achiness of arthritis sometimes I haven't really noticed any significant pain or problems lately. As a matter of fact I've even caught myself using the blow dryer and realizing it wasn't bothering me.

So, back to Monday, I decided to give the push mowing a try. And I'll be darned if I didn't make it through the whole yard (with only minimal tingliness for the next half hour). It did feel strange, but not in a way that would prevent me from doing it again. I was pretty pumped!

Who gets excited over push mowing their yard? Well, Me. That's who. I'm sure the novelty will wear off soon enough, but I'm pretty excited about being able to do something I haven't done in a very long time. It's also exciting to me to be able to help my husband out. He works so hard for us, and if I can take one thing off his workload to give him a hand, I'll gladly do it. Not to mention, again, it'll be a nice way to burn some extra calories. Yay me!

2. Do you have a picture wall or picture gallery in your house (show us!)? I have tons of photos throughout my home. I mean seriously. I'm a bit of a picture whore. Unfortunately, I do not have a gallery wall in my house. Yet. I have several ideas pinned for one though so hopefully I can tackle that project sometime this summer. ...with our new family photos. We actually have a photo session scheduled Sunday with my very dear friend who happens to be a very talented photographer. I'm so excited!

3. What book has influenced your thinking the most? Or, what blog? (I want to read what gets people thinking!) Hmm... this is a toughie. Apparently this question gets me thinking, but nothing definitive is coming to mind. I suppose the news blogs are what gets me thinking the most. That may not be what you were going for, but I guess it's what does it for me.

Articles of achievement give me inspiration. Articles of tragedy give me compassion. Articles of abuse give me rage and heartbreak. I learn from all of these things. They make me constantly evaluate myself and where I stand in a society where these things happen.

They initiate questions in my mind.
What could I do?

Hmm... things to think about...

4. Do you have allergies? If so, how do you handle it this time of year? I don't really have any known allergies... Good for me, I guess. Right?

5. What's your go to meal to cook in an hurry? My go to meal is tacos. My family loves homemade tacos. And since it really doesn't take that much time it's not a bad meal for when we're in a hurry. Especially when I have taco meat already made in the fridge. (Sometimes I'll make an extra pound when I'm make taco soup or something for just such occasions.)

Well, thanks again for stopping by.
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Diaper Motorcycle

Back in January we celebrated the coming arrival of my nephew Baby M, my bonus-sister's son. Her cousin hosted a lovely shower at my dad and bonus-mom's house. Baby M's nursery theme is Winnie the Pooh, so it made decorating for the shower pretty easy.

Before we get to a few of those photos I thought I'd share the diaper cycle I made for the shower. It was a big hit... especially with my family since my dad and bonus-mom ride Harleys.

I'm sure you can guess where I got the idea...Pinterest, of course. I came across two that I really liked. While they looked about the same, I noticed they had a couple small differences in assembly. I kind of merged the two together to come up with my final masterpiece ;-)

The folks who first created these, and posted the instructions for all to see, deserve the credit for these little creations, and they certainly do a better job of showing you how to do it. So, head to those blogs for detailed instructions. The sites are www.sweetaprils.com and www.baby-shower.com but you can find the specific instructions here and here.

Here's what you need if you're going to make your own:

  • About 40 Size 1 diapers (as a mom, I prefer Pampers Swaddlers)
  • Two cloth bibs (I used burp cloths)
  • One washcloth
  • Two (or three, depending which design you prefer) receiving blankets in like colors (I did three)
  • A pair of baby mittens or socks (I used mittens)
  • One bottle
  • One (or two, again depending on which you do) of the baby chain link toys
  • Ribbon to wrap around the "tires"
  • Stuffed animal of your choice
Optional items I used to add a little fun:
  • Toy keys
  • Birth announcement pillow for seat
Make sure to coordinate your blankets, bibs, and wash cloths to keep things looking clean. I used Winnie the Pooh receiving blankets to go along with my theme. The blankets and the pillow had some green, so that's what I chose to use for the fabric pieces. On www.sweetaprils.com you can see several examples of coordinating colors and themes.

I used the "tires" from one because I liked the look of them better. Putting them together in the round pans like this just made them look a little neater I think.

Since I found the Winnie the Pooh birth announcement pillow and thought it would make the perfect seat I decided to use the other's instruction for connecting them with the blankets because it left a little more room between the tires. Both had the same concept for the handlebars, headlight, and "fenders". Oh, and one used elastic instead of ribbon to wrap the tires. While I think that was pretty practical and kept a better hold of the diapers, I like the look of the ribbon better. I ended up using a wide solid ribbon and then layering a thinner Winnie the Pooh printed ribbon over it.

Here's the final product!

 And here are a few photos from the shower :-)

I loved the clothesline with the baby items! Such cute decor!
Her cousin made a cute diaper cake and a plaque for his room with a quote from Winnie the Pooh

Again, the motorcycle was a big hit!

Pooh bath toys floating in the punch

My bonus-sister and I
(Wow, that stripe shirt is not doing me any favors! That was 8 pounds ago though...)

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