Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good to know

I've posted before about my obsession with Pinterest. I love it. Maybe even more than Facebook (yes it is THAT good!). I started out with the basic boards...food, decor ideas, crafts...but my account has grown into so much more. Heck I even have a board with photography samples so when I have babies, I can borrow those ideas :-). 

I started coming by lots of great little tips, tidbits and random ideas. I had no idea where to put these special little pins so the "Good To Know Tips" board was born!! 

Check out some of the things I've found on Pinterest that will hopefully make my life easier one day!


Dry up grease stains with white chalk before putting into laundry



Mess saving trick for painting



Painting a doorknob



Idea for filling up a bucket too big for the sink



Covering up dings in wood furniture with a walnut



Prevent sweat stains on white clothing with baby powder



Soda can top as a picture hanger



How to clean your mattress



Removing sticky labels with a hairdryer



Keeping brown sugar soft with marshmallows



Cleaning your microwave with vineager



Lots of these tips came from Real Simple's website...that website is also heaven! 

Question: Do you have any tips you live by? The best way to dust mini blinds? Family secrets on making a zero calorie chocolate cake? Do share!

Follow me in Pinterest here



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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The 10 Biggest Fitness Mistakes That Are Making You Fat

As a newlywed, I am a member of The Nest (the sequel to The Knot) and get their weekly newsletter. I've blogged about 2 of the articles I found particularly interesting, 15 things to do before you have kids and 10 things to buy now that you'll keep forever.

Yesterday I got my Monday morning newsletter and I was intrigued. 10 mistakes that are making me fat?! Read my comments below and check out the original article here


Mistake #1: You don’t work out because you’re afraid it will make you super-hungry -- and eat more.

Seriously the week I started doing weights my appetite skyrocketed. Jon assured me that because my muscles were growing, they needed more fuel, namely, more protein. I definitely eat more than I used to (if you’ve ever dined with me, you know I eat a lot ) and try to focus on putting as much protein, healthy carbs, fruits and veggies as possible into my body. The only thing I know I lack is calcium. I don’t drink milk but have started adding Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and fresh spinach into my daily meals. Any ideas on how to get more? 

Big as my face salad


Mistake #2: You make a point to exercise first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, to burn more calories. 

 

I am really good about this one because I never workout first thing in the morning! The only day I workout in the morning is if I chose to go on a Saturday which will usually be around 9 or 10am and I’ve already had breakfast. During the week I workout on my lunch break and am sure to have a protein packed snack 30 minutes before I go (and then lunch afterward).

 

Mistake #3: You’re a crunching queen -- hey, it’s the way to get rock-hard abs.

 

Eh abs are not my forte. I pair abs with my leg workout and also with yoga which both give you nontraditional ways to work your tummy but I have to admit that sometimes I lay on the floor of our living room doing crunches while I indulge in trashy reality TV. The article pretty much says crunches suck and you have to focus on other parts of your abs (transverse, lower back, obliques)

 

 Jon on the ab circle pro ;-)

 

Mistake #4: You spend two-hours-plus at the gym to max out your workout.

 

No, no, no. The longest I spend at the gym is when I take a 1 hour cardio class (Zumba or Cardio Dance Party). Other than that, my weights workout usually runs about 35 minutes and I add a short warm up/cool down walk or stretch. I used to think I needed to put in my “time” at the gym to get results but I love knowing I am getting a rockstar workout in minimal time. Who wants to spend their day at the gym?

 

 

Mistake #5: You have your routine down.

 

Yep. This has happened to me before. Jon created some awesome workouts for me and about 2 months in, I confessed to him I was getting bored. My body knew exactly what to expect when it was legs day or shoulders/biceps. Since then, we’ve switched up my workouts every couple of weeks which keeps me on my toes.  

 

Mistake #6: You stay fit by working out 30 minutes a day, three times a week.

 

Here is the direct quote from the article

 

“There is a big difference between being active and being fit. The above guidelines are the bare minimum for keeping you active, which means you're basically just avoiding some of the negative effects (read: too much junk in the trunk) of a sedentary lifestyle. Being fit, on the other hand (and losing weight, or just maintaining it), takes more work. That means at least four to five sweat sessions a week of hard work.”

 

Jon and I both shoot for 4-5 sweat sessions a week along with nighttime walks, yoga, Frisbee, stretching, etc.

 

Mistake #7: You stick to cardio and avoid weights so you don’t bulk up.

 

This used to be me! In college I was the cardio queen hitting up the gym on weekdays for 45-60 minutes of pure cardio and I’d wonder why I wasn’t seeing any differences in my body! I have been pleased with the physical results and the overall way I feel ever since adding weights into my workouts. My weights workouts can be found here and here


source

Mistake #8: You don’t feel any payoff unless your body hurts.


Makes sense. I usually judge my workouts by how exhausted I feel after the workout (and by exhausted I mean tired from the actual workout, not just tired in general because who isn’t always tired??)


Mistake #9: You climb off the treadmill when it says you’ve reached your calorie goal.

 

I normally set a time goal when doing cardio rather than a calorie goal because I’ve always thought those calorie counters were skewed. The treadmills at my gym don’t ask for a height or weight so I assume I burn less calories than it spits out because I am not your average 5’7’’ woman.

 

Mistake #10: You’re envious of celebs, who apparently all won the genetic lottery and don’t have to push it as hard as you do.


Don’t we all fall victim to this one? I try to remember that God made me unique and my body is an absolute gift from Him and that’s why I need to take care of it.


 Lemme guess, 4 weeks after baby?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Love is sexy

Last week, our church started a new series about love. The first sermon in the series was called "Love is Sexy". Jon and I were so amazed by this sermon, we felt like it was speaking to our hearts and I wanted to share. One of our guest pastors, Ted, started by talking about the first phase in your marriage that is full of fire, infatuation, burning desire, and passion. Many people call this the "honeymoon phase" and as a newlywed, it is my biggest pet peeve when "seasoned" spouses tell me "oh just wait until that wears off." You know nothing about my marriage! That is beside the point though.

Most people recognize that the foundation of any relationship, whether it be a friendship or marriage, is communication. And that is what scripture tells us will help build a successful marriage. Ted discussed the Abilene Paradox which I had learned about a couple years ago in a college psychology class. Long story short, we all experience this paradox and quite often as that. Have you ever done something to "go with the flow" or "keep up with the Jones"? That is the Abilene Paradox. It is aligning the choices in your life based on what would make others happy and not yourself happy. It is a breakdown of communication. We've all been a victim and as Ted said, "it wreaks havoc on marriages".

So what was the rest of the hour about?

It was about the 4 'sacred cows' or 'elephants in the room' that married couples tend to not communicate about. They are having fun, the sex is great, they are each getting along with their in-laws...why mess anything up? So want to know what the elephants are?

Finances, Calling, Sex, Jesus


Ted discussed how scripture shows us how to communicate about these 4 unmentionable topics and dared us to open up the dialogue on these topics to help our marriages thrive. I thought I would discuss each of the topics and what I took away from this sermon. Like I've said before, these are my opinions and nothing more.

Finances- I think its this one of the leading reasons for divorce right? Debt, secret credit cards, over spending, etc. Luckily Jon and I are great at saving and we love watching our nest egg grow. But this wasn't always the case. Jon and I combined our finances after we got engaged and his student loans became mine. Well not mine, ours. I was blessed to have my parents pay for my entire college career. Jon was not so lucky. He paid for his 5 year private school education on his own. As selfish as it sounds but this was a hard concept for me to grasp onto when we combined money. Jon is very smart with his money and ended up paying off almost 75% of his student loans within 4 years of graduation. But we still had a chunk left. I don't know why this was so hard for me to accept! I hate thinking of how selfish I was then because with Jon, came that baggage. That $120k spent on an education will provide for our family, and that is what helped me through it. What if Jon hadn't gone to Baylor? Maybe he wouldn't have such a strong faith? Maybe he wouldn't have gotten such a great job? Maybe he wouldn't have been as happy. Jon and I put off buying a house right away and decided to pay off his student loans. The day after we got back from our honeymoon, we wrote our last check to Sallie Mae and we are done! Are we less happy because we are renting a house? Heck no. Money can be the root of all evil and I am so glad I didn't get sucked into that. I can see how finances take a toll on marriages. People use money to buy happiness. They use it to cover up demons they are fostering in their relationship. I know that I could live in a dump of a house, give up date nights and vacations, and clip coupons and still be happy. I will not let money get in between me and my husband. 


Calling- I think most people confuse their calling with their job. Couples talk about work all the time but it is rare to sit down with your spouse and ask them 'are you living your calling?'. I've known since I was young that I was meant to be a mother. That is all I've wanted. So no I am not living my calling yet but Jon brought up a good point. He said "yes girlie you are living your calling, you are blogging". Jon is the one who came up with the idea for me to start a blog and finally encouraged me to do so a couple months later. I would have never done it if it wasn't for him being my biggest fan. I can't believe I didn't realize that before! Jon will one day support my calling when he gives me beautiful children and today he supports my calling to blog. He has also encouraged me to write more about our spirituality because even if it's just one person, I could be restoring someone's faith through blogging. God created Eve to help Adam (and Adam to help Eve too!). This doesn't mean that the woman has to wait on the man hand and foot. It means that together, the woman and the man help each other achieve their calling, their purpose and existence. One of the most important things Ted discussed was the fear of 'if my partner goes after their calling, we might struggle financially'. Are you a sounding board for your partner? An encourager? A cheerleader? Your partner is the one person who is most qualified to help you become who God intended you to be. 


Sex- the most awkward 'elephant in the room'. Men and women are not sure how to talk about sex. Isn't it always true that a woman will bitch to her friends about her sex life but never raise a word of it to her husband?  Being dissatisfied with the physical aspect of your relationship leads to loneliness, distance and worst of all, fantasy. How come it is easier for a person to have a sexual fantasy or even step out on their marriage rather than talking to their spouse? Sexuality was a gift from God and he meant for us to thrive in it, not to create a barrier in our marriage. Something that really stuck out to me was when Ted said "The heart has to be as naked as the body". Do not withhold your heart in sexuality. Communicate with your partner. Our dare for the week was to ask our partner this question..
How can I serve you in bed?

(any of you wish you went to my church? hehe)


Jesus- Is your faith alive these days? Are you growing your love for God? Our pastor encouraged us to ask our partner those questions and ask what you can do to help your partner. He also talked about the spiritual inequality in many marriages. One partner is on fire for God and one, not as much. Yes they may have everything else under the sun in common but if a couple is moving in separate directions spiritually, it causes friction. I am so blessed to be married to such a devoted, Christian man. A man who strives to be more Christ-like and encourages me in every step of my faith. God doesn't want you to have someone to walk with you spiritually. He wants you to have someone to run with you spiritually.

This is such a great book!


This service not only opened up my eyes and heart to so many things but it was a call for me to be more honest in communication. 

"Devotion is what weathers storms, overcomes obstacles and gives you the fuel to walk together through the highs and lows of marriage. Devotion is built on honesty around these 4 topics: finances, calling, sex, spirituality."

"No matter where you are in your marriage, you can always go back. If there is an ounce of willingness in the two of you, you can go back with God's help. "

-Ted Beasley

If you are wondering, Jon and I attend Gateway Community Church in NW Austin, TX. Here is the link to their website where you can find podcasts, videos and lots more cool information!







Saturday, August 27, 2011

Chicken Paprikash

I know you are probably thinking, 'what the heck is chicken paprikash?' and I will admit I had never heard of it until I met my hubby. You know those preliminary conversations you have when first dating like "what's your favorite dessert" and "what's your favorite meal"? Jon stumped me with the answer chicken paprikash. I emailed his step mom (I hadn't met her yet) for the recipe and surprised him with his last supper meal. His step mom makes it in the crock pot but I have tweaked the recipe a little and it is super easy to whip up in a half hour.


Ingredients
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp paprika 
1/8 tsp ground red pepper (aka Cayenne)
1 medium onion
1/3 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
4 chicken breasts
4 cups egg noodles




1. Bake, sear or grill the chicken breasts since they will take the longest
2. Boil water and cook the egg noodles so they are ready to go when the sauce is made
3. Chop the onion to the size of your liking and saute in a pan with olive oil. 
4. While onion is cooking, mix the broth, flour, paprika and red pepper in a separate bowl
5. Once onion is done cooking, add the paprika mix to the pan and stir until mixture boils and thickens
6. Stir in the sour cream/yogurt until fully combined
7. Pour the sauce over the egg noodles and eat with chicken










Enjoy!

*you can also serve the sauce over dumplings but we prefer the noodles!

Friday, August 26, 2011

What keeps me going

The past couple of days have been a whirlwind! California for 3 nights, getting stuck at the El Paso airport for 3+ hours, a funeral, husband traveling for work and not to mention, a full time job. And you know what has kept me sane and smiling?


Before we got Ernie, the thought of staying overnight alone scared the crap out of me. Now Ernie is full grown at a measly 20lbs so I don't expect him to maul a burglar but he is my friend. Call me crazy but I talk to Ernie. I talk to him all the time, especially when Jon is traveling. I can't imagine not having something to cuddle with when I am the only one in bed or simply hearing him breathe to drown out the night noises (and yes he snores...loud....but I love it). 


When he was a puppy, it was easier to get mad at him and yell because he needed to learn. Now it is different. He has grown up into the funniest, most stubborn and sweetest little pup I know. Ernie doesn't get mad at me when I leave him at home for 4 hours. Ernie doesn't get mad that he only gets fed once a day. He doesn't get mad when we put his ball away. So I try not to get mad at him. I once read in the 10 Commandments for Dogs that as humans, we have work, social life, pop culture, food, etc to appease us but our dogs only have us. This quote helped me get through the tough puppy weeks (FYI young puppies have to go out every 2-3 hours, they cry and whine at night, chew on your shoes and need to be watched 24/7). Dogs can't always understand why they are being punished, all they know is they've been rejected. With Ernie I have learned patience and I cannot thank him enough for that. 

Ernie now has free reign of the house when we are gone. I can't remember if I've posted about his separation anxiety and being in his crate. Even leaving for 30 minutes, Ernie would be covered in saliva when we would return. This is new system is working out great for us. We leave on the TV for him (usually HGTV or NFL Network) and leave the front blinds open so he can look outside. Even when we are home, he sits and watches other dogs go by. I took this picture right after Jon left for a business trip. 

Where's my dad?

Earlier this week Jon and I were talking about our future. When do we want to buy a house, where do we want to go on our next vacation, when do we want to have children. We both laughed at how much we missed Ernie on our trip to LA (don't make fun...I actually feel sad for people who don't have a relationship like this with their dogs) and can't imagine what it will be like when we have babies. If we love Ernie this much and he is a four legged stinky dog, I really can't wait to experience the love we will have for our very own children. I also love thinking about Ernie and our kiddos growing up together. He will be a hysterical big brother. 

How adorable is this video?


I also wanted to share with you an article about a Labrador who lost his owner on the battlefields of Afghanistan. The dog refused to leave the side of the casket, mourning the loss of the Navy Seal. Thank you to my cousin Lindsay for sharing this heartbreaking and inspiring article.


I hope some of you can relate to this post. Dogs and pets in general are amazing creatures that bring so much joy to many people's lives.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Madame Tussauds

Thank you so much for the prayers and encouraging words on yesterday's post. I am so lucky to have found an outlet to express my thoughts and faith. You guys are the best! I am excited about today's post!

If you've missed out on part 1 and part 2 of our LA trip, be sure to check them out here and here :-).

In the first recap I mentioned doing an entire post about Madame Tussaud's Interactive Wax Museum because we took so many pictures. It kind stinks traveling with 1 person picture wise because we have tons of pics of each other but barely any together. We kept trying to find groups of people who we would ask if they wanted their picture taken and ask for them to take ours too. 

Now if you've never been to a wax museum they are insane. I can't remember the actual stats but each figure takes literally 100's of hours to create. They are so realistic it is creepy (right when we stepped out of the elevator I paused because I thought some guy was taking a picture but it was a wax papparazi). If I got too close to a figure I would get incredibly creeped out thinking to myself "what if they blink" or "what if it is a real person and this is a sick joke". I get chills thinking about it but it was fun. 

Now for the picture dump...

Back to back with Mr. President. He sure is tall if his wax figure was to size.


So sad The George Lopez Show was canceled. Never saw it but I was meaning to


Me and Kim K the day before her wedding! Kind of a terrible dress if you ask me...


Snoop why weren't you at Roscoe's on Saturday???



Not a great attempt at Brangelina. This was one of the only figures I was disappointed with.


I was mildly freaked out by Lady Gaga


Love me some Elton John


I had no idea they were making me into a wax figure!!!! Okay no. That is me. Notice the billboard in the background. Reppin' HART!


Me and Efron. I've always like him for the sheer reason we are the same age I think.  Charlie St. Cloud...fail


Did you hear Will and Jada are splitting up? Scientology couldn't keep their marriage together??


Anyone see Horrible Bosses? He was HYSTERICAL in it. MF Jones!


Could it be?! Am I taller than Ryan Seacrest? I wish...


My guess is we both contracted lice from this photo




Everytime a bell rings, an angel gets its wings



Creepy Hannibal (Jon was of course pumped)


Life is like a box of chocolates


 

Me and Jack Sparrow. Funny thing is we got directions from a random guy in a restaurant dressed as Jack later that afternoon.


The King of Pop with Calves McGee


My best Elin Nordegren impression


Did Maria give him that scar??


I like the Rock better in the Tooth Fairy...


Remember that week a couple years ago when everyone was posting their dopplegangers? Well my corn fed, Ohio born, WHITE husband got Morgan Freeman... hmm...



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