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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pumpkin butter

Since becoming a wife and moving into a home with a much bigger kitchen, I have been on the quest to try new recipes. I do 100% of the grocery shopping and probably 75% of the cooking at home (what can I say, I am traditional and love takin' care of my hubby) and my husband will eat anything so hey, why not try something new!  Jon loves cooking for me and is a huge help around the house with cleanup, dishes and laundry, we definitely do share other chores. Some of his specialties include Swedish pancakes (his grandma is 100% Swedish and taught him the secret to perfection) and homemade Italian pasta sauce (he's 75% Italian). We've been on a friend egg sandwich kick lately and he is the master at those babies!

I snagged this UH-mazing recipe from Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and I just had to share. Jon said it reminded him of apple butter and I think we are officially obsessed! I LOVE pumpkin during the holidays (pies, seeds, muffins) but who says you can't eat it year round.

1 can (15 oz.) pure pumpkin
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for 20-25 minutes or until thickened.

I cannot recommend this recipe enough!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big day for Ernie

Yesterday was a rough day in the Hart household. Since Sunday, I have been feeling really crappy with a sore throat, running nose and earache. It may seem silly but I absolutely hate taking medicine. People pop advil like vitamins these days and I have massive fears about it eating away at the lining of my stomach (maybe I read too much on the internet). I figure my body can naturally fight off the sickness if I fuel it correctly so I  have been downing water, trying to get as much sleep as possible and popping these two vitamins:

Zinc and Echinacea are both 100% natural and help build your immune system. Jon grew up without health insurance and swears by this remedy. Note: Do NOT take on an empty stomach! The first time I took these, I took them right when I woke up and they came back up within minutes, they are potent!

I didn't sleep well Monday night and woke up feeling like a zombie and trudged off to work. Jon had to drive up to Dallas for an afternoon meeting which meant Mr. Ernie had to be in his crate all day :-(. I came home at lunch and the little guy was thrilled to romp in the backyard with me. He ate some lunch, we played some more and all the sudden he started throwing up. I cleaned it up and held little man until he wanted to play some more....and then....he started violently throwing up 3 more times. Now Ernie is my first dog so I treat him like a son, my little baby, so I start tearing up watching him convulse and hack up his food and white goopy stuff...poor little bug! I took a longer lunch, sending emails from my iPhone, so I could spend more time with him but sadly put him in his crate when I had to go back. He is a typical puppy who puts anything and everything into his mouth so after some research, we attribute the upset tummy to the fact that he will eat ANYTHING in our backyard (and that he will eat really fast then run around and play). I raced home at 5p to find my bubbly little pup happy to see me. My mom used to give our family dog white rice when she had an upset stomach (to which she would turn her nose up to) but Ernie LOVED it! I made instant "boil in a bag" white rice and drizzled it with chicken broth and he gobbled it right up! This morning I tried to give him a few pieces of his regular food and he was sniffing around for the rice!

It seems like something crazy always happens when Jon is out of town. Ernie got into some paint a few weeks ago when Jon was away, you can read about the minor emergency here. Luckily Jon was only gone for the day and was surprising me with dinner. If he goes to get dinner,  it is 99.9% of the time Rudy's BBQ but when he wouldn't tell me, I knew exactly what it was. My suit and tie wearing husband walked in with a huge bag of this....

Unfortunately, we don't live anywhere near a Cracker Barrell so we try to go there anytime we see one (and there are probably 5 on I-35 from Dallas to Austin). Our spread included: chicken and dumplings, catfish with french fries and hush puppies, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet carrots, mac and cheese, beans, and cornbread....let's just say we totally stuffed our faces.

Ernie didn't throw up any more the rest of the day and seemed perfectly normal. Since it's been a little colder the past few days, he's been so cuddly which I love! Before we got him, I bought a few little outfits for him and did a little fashion show last night. Jon's birthday is coming up (and it is a dress up party of course) so here is Ernie's little costume....

He was such a good boy with his pirate costume on! He just stood there awkwardly which made for great pictures. I can't wait to get him a Halloween costume!

Jon is working from home today with Ernie so I am crossing my fingers he doesn't yak today! Oh and last night we got 9+ hours of sleep and I am feeling a good bit better!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We can't keep secrets

So if you've ever had a face to face conversation with me, it probably took me about 5 seconds to mention my obsession with Michael Buble. My iPod has every single MB song (live versions included) and I could set them on repeat the rest of my life and die happy (Jon and I also have a love for anything Frank Sinatra considering about 75% of Buble's songs are Sinatra originals!). Our first dance at our wedding was Michael Buble's You and I, so you can imagine I was pretty psyched when I saw that Mr. Buble would be gracing Austin with his presence on June 1st. Last February I found out that MB would be playing in San Antonio in July and told Jon I wanted to go (yep we plan months in advance, but those tickets go fast!) and lo and behold, he had already bought me tickets for Valentine's Day. The concert ended up being on our 1 year anniversary of dating and Jon had proposed just 2 days before, it was a blast! 

We had terrible seats in the nosebleed section (and not to mention we were the only people under the age of 55 at the concert) but it was by far the BEST show either of us had been to! Buble is full of personality and had the crowd laughing the whole time. He is just as good live as he is on cd! Even though we paid an arm and a leg for awful seats, we promised each other we would see Michael Buble anytime he toured anywhere near home.

My plan was to surprise Jon with tickets for his birthday in 2 weeks so I snagged 2 when they went on sale last Friday. I have been all smiles since buying the tickets, especially when we jammed out to MB this weekend and Jon had no idea we would be seeing him again! I am usually really bad at keeping surprises from Jon, I somehow always spill the beans about what I got him for Christmas or his birthday but I was going to keep this one to myself! Last night we were relaxing on the sofa after dinner when Jon said he got an email about Michael coming to Austin this summer. I have the worst poker face so I just looked down at my phone and said "yeah, great, look at the tickets, I bet they are sold out or something." Jon took that statement literally and pretty much whipped out his computer on the spot to look up tickets and that's when I had to let him in on his surprise. His birthday is 2 weeks from last night so what's a few days early? He was SO excited when I told him I had already bought the tickets and was all smiles the rest of the night. Luckily, I have a few other tricks up my sleeve for his birthday but was kind of bummed I didn't get to keep the surprise! It's hard to keep a secret when you live with someone and share the same bank account!

So the countdown begins.....64 days until Michael Buble!!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our wedding ceremony

Before I relive our wedding ceremony, be sure to check out my previous wedding recap posts:


As a guest to many weddings over the past few years, I agree with the statement that guests only remember a few things: the food, alcohol and music. As a bride, that is the last thing you want to hear after spending months (sometimes years) of planning every detail down to the fonts on the place cards to the placement of the floating candles on the table arrangements. Wedding planning is exciting, fun and for me, not one bit stressful. Call us crazy but we had a 6.5 month long engagement and by Christmastime, we were wishing it was shorter! When we got engaged, we were so ready and anxious to become man and wife that a year sounded like a century! Our engagement was perfect. We got lots done at the beginning so we could relax and enjoy the holidays. Between our engagement (7/15/2010) and wedding (2/5/2011), we had every single holiday/big event imagineable which made the time fly by (my birthday, trip to Denver, Halloween, Thanksgiving, trip to Missouri, skiing in Tahoe, Christmas, New Years).

Like I posted above, when people think about a wedding they've attended, the actual ceremony usually does not come to mind but for the bride and groom, that is the most important thing! The reception (as much as we enjoyed it!) was for the guests, and the ceremony was for us. Below are some recaps of our ceremony and how we made it unique, special and totally "Jon and Ruthie"....

The Music: Since we chose not to get married in a church (our home church, Gateway Community Church has stadium seating which does not make for the most intimate affair!), we didn't feel like the traditional wedding march would fit with the ceremony. We have so many "us songs" that it was hard to chose what music we wanted during the ceremony! Here is a list of songs we used:
  • Pre wedding music: as guests arrived, the DJ played a random assortment of Michael Buble, Frank Sinatra, Harry Connick Jr. etc
  • Mothers/grandmothers processional: Crazy Love- Michael Buble
  • Groom/groomsmen processional: God Gave Me You- Dave Barnes
  • Bridesmaids processional: Bittersweet Symphony (instrumental)- The Verve
  • Me and my dad: In My Place (instrumental)- Coldplay 

My eyes were LOCKED on Jon's while I was walking down the aisle (my dad even told me to slow down I was so excited!). 

My dad's awesome sisters, Tracey and Jamie, graciously read 3 passages from the bible during the ceremony. Jon and I selected Genesis 2:18-24, 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and Romans 12:9-12, each having to do with the power of God's love in marriage. My dear friend, Jamie, sang "Heavenly Day" (originally by Patty Griffin) and there was not a dry eye in the house. The lyrics were perfect for our wedding day....

Tomorrow may rain with sorrow
Here's a little time we can borrow
Forget all our troubles in these moments so few
Oh we can right now the only thing that all that we really have to do
Is have ourselves a heavenly day 

The decor: we wanted to jazz up the ballroom and had our reception centerpieces double as ceremony decor. Our centerpieces were manzita trees with flowers, jewels and hanging candles, small vases of flowers, and floating candles. The altar was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. I plan on doing a post on all of my wedding vendors but we used LisaLyn Designs for my flowers, centerpieces and decor.

The ceremony was filled with so much love, some laughter and definitely lots of emotion. Standing there in front of all of our family and friends and becoming man and wife in the eyes of God was the most amazing feeling. We did 5 months of Christian-based pre-marital counseling (the good kind of counseling!) with our Pastor Kirby Holmes at Gateway Church who gave us so much wonderful insight on nurturing a Christ centered marriage. It was the best decision we made, why not prepare for what's inevitably to come in a marriage then get stuck down the road. Kirby talked about 3 types of love during out ceremony- eros, philia and agape. You can check out the meanings of those types of love on this website. 

We chose to write our own vows but repeat them after Kirby so we didn't have to memorize! We also wrote letters to each other that we exchanged and read before the wedding. We memorized a short phrase as we placed the ring on each others hand. "With this ring I give you my heart. I promise that from this day forward you will not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter and my arms be your home"

We used the same unity candle that my mom and dad used at their wedding 25 years ago (and my sister used at her wedding in 2009). My mom and Jon's stepmom lit the candles during the processional and Jon and I lit the unity candle during the ceremony....

I noticed while watching our wedding video last week that I was giggling so hard by the end of the ceremony. After Kirby said a prayer over our marriage, it seemed like forever before he pronounced us man and wife! I was so anxious and smiley. Those words meant so much to me, "now I pronounce you man and wife, you may now kiss the bride!"

I will always remember that feeling. Our wedding ceremony was perfect. Perfect. And I would not have changed anything. I think we kissed about 18 more times before finally turning to the crowd. Kirby announced us as Mr. & Mrs. Jon Hart and we walked down the aisle to Everything by Michael Buble. The picture below says it all...happiness!

Jon, you made all of my dreams come true on February 5th, 2011...I love you! 

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I Stumbled Upon this super interesting article that I thought I would share with you guys (if you haven't read it, check out my post on Stumble Upon and how awesome it is!).

An anagram, as you all know, is a word or phrase made by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. The following are exceptionally clever. Someone out there either has way too much time on their hands or is ridiculously good at Scrabble.

Dirty Room
The Morse Code
Here come Dots
Slot Machines
Cash Lost in ‘em
A rope ends it
Is no amity
Woman Hitler
Snooze Alarms
Alas! No more Z’s
Is no meal
The Public Art Galleries
Large picture halls, I bet
A decimal point
I’m a dot in place
The Earthquakes
That queer shake
Eleven plus two
Twelve plus one
Accord not in it
Moon starer
Princess Diana
End is a car spin

Very intriguing….
Year two thousand
A year to shut down

And one last for the USA to be proud of... (with no letters left over using each letter only once).............

President Clinton of the USA
To copulate he finds interns

Happy Saturday!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ernie & the very scary shower

I posted a picture of this scenario last night on Facebook but just had to share the adorable video. Ernie wants to be the life of the party and hates when Jon and I are in separate rooms because he can't be with the both of us! I took a shower and he was Mr. Nosy and just watched me so I put him in there with me and bathed him. When, Jon was in the shower, Ernie just couldn't bear being away from him. I don't know whether he was trying to be playful or trying to get Jon to get out of the shower but we were cracking up! (sorry ladies, the shower curtain stays put!)

Despite him being off the wall crazy the past couple of weeks, this little chunk never ceases to make us smile!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blog coverage

I am so grateful for people reading my blog! My blog is a fun way for me to talk about things going on in my life, things I find interesting or just random stuff :-). As I wrote in my first blog post (and have mentioned a few times thereafter), I am completely obsessed with reading blogs! I love getting to "know" people and get a little piece of their lives. In a way, it is parallel to my love of reading and sometimes I talk about the bloggers I follow like the are my besties! Again like the books I read, I read all sorts of blogs. Food, fitness, babies, DIY, fashion and more. Below I have listed some of the blogs I follow. I love reading about real people who blog about real life experiences- the good, the bad, and the ugly!

PB Fingers- this is the first blog I started following. I heard about it on a morning show I listen to religiously and now check it multiple times a day! Julie got married in October and I loved reading updates about her plans, dress, wedding crafts, etc. while I was planning my own wedding! She blogs about fitness, recipes, fashion and her Vizsla Sadie. Below is the Hart's favorite peanut butter, we go through a jar a week!

YoungHouseLove- the most adorable young couple who blog for a living about home renovating, DIY, crafts and living modestly! They've been featured on the Nate Berkus show and regularly write for various magazines and websites. Check out their baby girl Clara and their chihuahua Burger, so cute!

BowerPower- Katie Bower is actually a good friend of Sherry from YHL so that is how I found her blog. She is also a young mom who blogs about re-doing her home, crafting and her to die for cute baby Will (check out the picture below of his nursery!)

GirlMeetsLife- this blog follows 24 year old Gracie, a recent college graduate who moved to NYC this year. She posts about love, food and the quest to figuring out the "adult world".

SkinnyRunner- I have never been a runner, ever, and don't have any desire to become one. I've done a few 5ks over the past couple of years and that is the absolute farthest I can run (and my knees, hips and calves are totally shot after that long of a run) but I LOVE keeping up with SkinnyRunner's workouts, marathon prep, recipes and fun posts. She is very motivating (yet not motivating enough for me to run more than 10 minutes on a treadmill with my ipod!).Oh and she ran the LA Marathon last week while it was raining cats and dogs, bless her heart!

Sweet Tooth Sweet Life- Courtney is a cute 20 something teacher who blogs about food, fitness and her husband! She has some awesome recipes including a delicious protein pumpkin breakfast cake (cake and breakfast in the same sentence, yes please.)

Kellie Staats- I posted last week about Kellie's blog and losing her sweet Princess Maddie to SIDS. This week she has been posting about SIDS Prevention and the Spring for SIDS event. Check it out and keep Maddie in your prayers. 

The Anderson Crew- mommy of 3 boys and soon to be 2 girls, Emily blogs about her kiddos, photography, fun trips and her crazy household. She has 4 biological children and will be bringing home Elsa, a sweet little 3 year old from Africa. They are a beautiful family!

The Vintage Pearl- get ready for the most beautiful jewelry you've ever seen. This blog follows The Vintage Pearl which is a jewelry store in Tulsa, OK. I haven't purchased anything....yet! The owner blogs about new products and life with her precious 4 little ones. Look at this awesome necklace with her children's names

Like Mom Made- follows Virginia, a young mom of a cute toddler who recently lost her baby girl who was born 4 months early and went to heaven at 12 days old. Originally, her blog's purpose was to inspire women, wives and mothers to get creative. She posts recipes, crafts and ideas and is also a cancer survivor, her story is really amazing 

I follow a few others but I think the above pretty much sums it up! 

You should also check out:

Tomi the college girl- my little sis blogs about being a freshman at Texas A&M- juggling a packed social calendar, 17 hours of class and a long distance relationship with her boyfriend Cole. She has a touching post about Cyber Bullying that I encourage everyone to read. Love you Tom!

Confessions of a Sorority Girl- you will laugh your ass off with my Delta Gamma Big Sis, Ashley Burns. I've never seen a girl draw so much attention (or get this many free drinks!). Read her most recent post about her adventure to Vegas this past spring break!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Book worm

Yep I am a book nerd and proud of it. I absolutely love reading and 100% immerse myself into any book I read. Jon has come to a conclusion that I am super empathetic because I tend to get pretty emotional while reading a book. Something about my creativity just puts me into the character's shoes while I am reading. I see things, hear things and feel things in books, it gives me a glimpse into others' lives and I love it! I am the same way about watching movies. I get so emotionally connected to a character in a book and my moods are often based on what I am reading at that moment. Call me crazy but there are way worse obsessions I could have than reading! I do not regularly read the newspaper (nor Bingo Gossip) but thought the picture below was pretty comical, fit with a quote from Dirty Dancing.

I love getting book recommendations from my mom, sisters and friends so please let me know if you have any must reads! My older sister Cori and I actually created a giant GoogleDoc that lists off tons of books. Cori, my mom and I all have color coded columns where we can mark off if we have read it or not....nerd bombers! Call it disgusting but I am a member of the Austin Public Library mostly because I am too cheap to shell out $15 for a brand new book I will read in 3 hours! Oh and did I mention membership is FREE! I have an online library "queue" and get emails when my reserves are ready, it is quite an advanced system. I felt like such a granny last Friday when I had big plans to pick up my new book at the library only to find out it was closed! Jon was at SXSW all day so my plan was to cuddle up with a trashy romance novel so I guess you could say I was saved from a totally lame Friday night!

I wanted to list some of my favorite books if anyone is looking for a good read but also list some of the books that are on deck for me.

I am completely obsessed with Emily Giffin and completely sad to say I am about to finish her last book. The first EG book I read was Something Borrowed (given to me by Miss Leah!) following with a sequel called Something Blue. Her other books are: Baby Proof, Heart of the Matter, and Love The One You're With.  Something Blue is coming to the big screen in May with Kate Hutson and Ginnifer Goodwin!

My all time favorite book is Redeeming Love. It is the most beautiful, biblical based love story you will ever read! I read it first in high school after it was passed around our girls' bible study and have since read it I think 3 times. I even encouraged Jon to read it and he ended up loving it! I haven't read any more books by Franchine Rivers yet but hope to very soon.

If you are looking for a true story, hysterical, pick me up, Jen Lancaster will give it to you. Jen was a high powered business woman who lost her job after 9/11 and her books follow her and her husbands struggles to find jobs, lose weight and put their lives back together. I can't tell you how many times I cried of laughter during these books! I have read 3 out of the 5 books and can't wait to finish the series. Check out her blog/website for more info and get ready to laugh your ass off. 

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch is a must read. Even if you aren't a reader, this book will change your life. Dr. Pausch wrote this book as he prepared to lose his battle with pancreatic cancer. He was a professor at Carnegie Mellon and chooses to make his "Last Lecture" a collection of stories and life lessons not only for his students but for his wife and young children. 

So I won't go through all of my favorites but I am a huge Twilight Saga fan (the books ONLY), I loved Harry Potter back in the day (just haven't read them in years), I have read every single Nicholas Sparks book to date and I have also read every single book written on the Scott Peterson case. Yes my reading selections do sound very bipolar but I don't have a particularly favorite genre. Of course I love romance and feel good books but I love biographies (my latest favorite was Jenny McCarthy's books pre and post baby and her struggle with autism), non fiction mystery books and self help books.

So here is what is up next as far as reading goes:

I have read 7 out of 8 Sophie Kinsella books with only Mini Shopaholic left. She is the writer of the Shopaholic series (that turned into a terrible movie a couple of years ago!) along with a few other awesome reads. She also writes under the alias Madeleine Wickham and I am psyched to start those!

I "won" the following book at our MarriedLife group before we got married and find it only fitting to wait until Jon was actually my husband to read Blessing Your Husband. We strive to put God first in our marriage and I am hoping this book gives me insight on doing so.

I feel like everyone around me is reading The Hunger Games! Sounds a bit scary but then again I was so weirded out by the concept of Twilight before I even read it so it will probably take me .5 seconds to become obsessed. There is a long wait at the library so I am anxious to get it!

Anything else I should be reading?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A day of firsts

Yesterday was a big day for little Ernie! We attempted a walk with little man and it will definitely take some time to perfect it.As you can see from pictures, Ernie is short and stout (teapot style) with the cutest little legs. He is your typical puppy with spurts of energy and running crazy but Frenchies tire themselves out very easy. Physically, his body doesn't have the capacity to romp for more than 10 or so minutes and he struggles to catch his breath from his flat little face. We've been working on the collar for the past couple of weeks, getting him used to wearing it and adding his name and shot tags. You may wonder why we are just now starting the collar and leash but we chose to wait because A. he just finished up his puppy shots last week and B. we wanted to have lots of mommy/daddy bonding time with him before we let him around too many dogs and explore the outdoors. Jon and I always talk about how we will never have to worry about him running away because he is so obsessed with us and won't let us out of his sight (he stresses out when we are in separate rooms of the house). He always wants to be a part of the party! I have been dying to take him to Town Lake so we thought we'd give the walk thing a try....

Luckily the whole walk wasn't like the video above but we only made it about 10 houses down the street in 15 minutes. Ernie wanted to put anything and everything in his mouth and was super confused when I would gently tug on his leash. He would chase Jon for a couple of seconds before getting distracted (typical toddler!). We knew it was time to head home when he started panting and slowing down. Here is Mr. Ernie 2 seconds after getting home. We gave him lots of water and wet the back of his neck, he loves the feeling of the cold tile on his belly...

Ernie also had another first yesterday. Much to my dismay, he has started humping! I know it is incredibly gross and just plain weird but it is a natural thing for a little guy to do. Ernie officially "became a man" last week and if you don't catch my drift, send me a private note :-). He is full of testosterone and has been a little off the walls the past couple of days. Let's just say I am counting down the days until we can get him neutered at 6months. I was in the shower and heard Jon CRACKING up and naturally, I don't want to miss out on something fun so he came into the bathroom to show me Ernie's newest found hobby. We must sound like terrible parents but it was pretty funny, he is so little! Here is a video before we finally cut him off...

Having a male puppy is full of surprises! I can only imagine how it will be if I have a son! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Up in the gym just workin on my fitness

Yesterday at the gym I decided I wanted to share my fitness story! I thought I had it all together but had it all wrong

I started working out in high school after being forced to run a mile in cheerleading class and finishing somewhere around 15 minutes! Yep I was that pathetic but my journey began. I started going to the YMCA after school a couple of times a week and that progressed to getting a Lifetime Fitness membership and really utilizing their facilities and classes. I was swimming, running and taking Total Conditioning & Cardio Kickboxing classes 4-5 times a week...I was a cardio queen! This continued throughout college...riding my bike to and from campus and trying to get in 45-60 minutes of cardio at the rec center. As you can imagine, I had the endurance of a lab puppy but I wasn't seeing any physical results in my muscles (I didn't understand why I didn't have Michelle Obama's guns...little did I realize curling 5lb. weights weren't going to get me anywhere!) 

It took about 10 seconds for me and Jon to start working out together (our first date was kayaking at Town Lake!) and we continue to hit the gym as a couple. I am so impressed and motivated by Jon's dedication to fitness and healthy living. Jon lost 60lbs in college simply by working out and eating right and comes from a family where almost everyone has diabetes. Prevention is the best medicine right? We see working out and leading a healthy life as an investment. We only get one shot at life and we plan on sticking around as long as possible! Mind you, we are known to occasionally chow down on wings, french fries and chocolate cake, but I can't help but to feel guilty for fueling my body with such poor nutrients and clogging my arteries with crap.

So when Jon and I started working out together, I expressed my desire for toning and muscle definition and he helped me makeover my workouts. It took me a while getting used to...only working out 1-2 muscle groups a day and doing minimal cardio, I was a bit weary. So what he does is create 4 different workouts for me (legs/abs, biceps/shoulders, back/triceps and cardio) which I stick to for about 8-10 weeks, and then we switch it up. Jon is the king of research and I totally trust his advice and judgment but please know that he has no professional fitness training. Here is the workout I am currently doing and Jon if you are reading this, get back to work on a new workout!

Day #1 -- Legs/Abs:
Unilateral leg press --> Hip extensions on ball
Butt lift on ball -->        Side bends w DB
Step-up's w DB -->      Leg lifts on bench
DB squats -->              Ball crunches
Burnout:  Stationary bike -- 2 minutes on level 8
Day #2 -- Back/Tri's:
Standing cable rows -->     Bench dips
Two-handle pulldowns -->  Skullcrushers
Wide-grip seated rows --> Unilateral cable pulldown (knuckles down)
Burnout:  Compound movement -- DB back flyes --> DB tricep extensions
Day #3 -- Shoulders/Bi's:
DB press on ball -->     DB preacher curls
Vertical cable rows --> Reverse grip cable curls
DB up-n-outs -->          Curl bar
Burnout:  Compound movement -- Seated DB curl --> Arnold shoulder press
Day #4 -- Cardio:
45 minutes of whatever strikes your fancy

It may look confusing and it does take me a while to get used to a new workout- locating the machines/equipment, finding the right weight for me and perfecting the correct form and Jon is so patient with me! Depending on my focus (aka what I am watching on TV/listening to on my ipod), my workouts take me anywhere from 30-50 minutes. I usually start each workout with a light warmup (10 minutes walking or on the elliptical) and end with a good stretch. Oh and I always take at least 2 days off during a 7 day cycle.
I look back at my workouts over the past couple of years and think of how exhausted I must have been! Cardio everyday?  On Saturday, Jon and I played basketball at the gym for 45 minutes and I was excited to have gotten in my cardio without sitting on an elliptical or treadmill. I have enjoyed the results I get from my workouts and don't mind the added weight gain.

We recently joined 24 Hour Fitness and are absolutely loving it! We bought these 2 year passes from Costco for $300 each and when you do the math, that's $12 a month for full access to an awesome gym! There is one right by our house with an indoor pool and basketball court and there is also one right by my office which is so convenient to get in a mid day workout. 

Jon has also taught me the importance of fueling your body with lots of protein after a workout. I didn't used to be such a meat eater, I could go days without a single serving but that explains why I never used to feel full :-). I try to do small meals/snacks throughout the day and get protein at each of them (Jon even wakes up with me in the mornings to make me eggs for breakfast!). My husband has reactive hypoglycemia (not the type that is a precursor to diabetes) which causes his blood sugar to rise and drop dramatically causing headaches, uneasiness/shaking, nausea, etc. so we are constantly eating! I laugh because sometimes I feel like my purse is a diaper bag, filled with snacks to keep Jon's sugar regular (at our wedding, a server was instructed to offer Jon sliced apples every hour to prevent blood sugar drop!). 

My favorite protein snacks are hard boiled eggs, lunch meat, fruit topped with peanut butter, black beans or a chocolate muscle milk. Since I have such a sweet tooth, I've started incorporating Muscle Milk Protein Powder into smoothies, pudding, desserts and muffins. Muscle Milk is kind of pricey (especially when we go through so much between us) so Jon and I ONLY buy it when it is on sale at GNC. GNC usually has awesome sales once or twice a quarter but nothing compared to the deal we scored back in October, we haven't been since...

The point of this post was to hopefully help those who are in an exercise rut change it up or let those who do endless amounts of cardio know that it is OKAY to skip the treadmill! You won't turn into a beached whale I promise! 
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