Saturday, February 13, 2016

So What’s New?? >>>

We’re always doing so much it’s difficult to keep up with ourselves.  First, our birds laid their first egg!!  I’m pretty sure it was Modella that left us our first little cream colored French gift.  I was SO excited that I ran in the house screaming for Jaime and he thought something bad happened.  After almost busting his booty on the stairs I showed him my pride and joy and he was like “pfffttttt.”  So hmph.  But the kids and I were really excited.

We’ve been letting the birds free range a lot.  I love them SO MUCH!!  I’m not a pet person so to be so attached to a bunch of hens the way I am is actually pretty comical.  They stay close to “mom” (me) for comfort.  They come out of the cage and the first thing they want to do is fly.  They are so funny.  People don’t think hens can fly.  They can.  They can fly very well.

We’ve been cooking of course.  The night before last we made this amazing beet linguine that I could not get enough of.  Tonight we are going to knock out the salmon together.  Every week cooking 3 new meals a week that push our creativity and cooking expertise further than it already is has been such a great experience.  Especially since we are doing it together.

And we already celebrated Valentine’s Day with the kids on Friday.  Jaime was so romantic!!  He got me a bottle of real champagne… Veuve Clicquot.  And yes, there is a difference.  Number 1… it’s not real champagne unless it comes from Champagne, France.  Otherwise it’s just sparkling wine.  Number 2… the earth has been cultivated in France for much longer than our little 200 year stint in the US.  The wines developed there pick up everything in the soil.  The flavors develop in layers and are so herbal, full of fruit, peppercorn and more.  Even the cheapest off brands of French wine are better than most high end US wines and sparkling wines.  Snotty?  Maybe… but just sayin’.  Poof… factoid too ;D This palette says yeahhhhhh… pick some up and tell me it’s flat or one dimensional.  I dare you… lol…

And on top of that he ordered 3 dozen oysters from our absolute favorite fresh oyster delivery shop, Island Creek Oysters.  It was a 3 variety sampler and OMG!!  They were stunningly amazing.  We ate those on the half shell, about 2 dozen oven roasted clams and a 3 pound bag of mussels steamed in butter, salt and garlic.  We were so stuffed we couldn't eat the accompaniments so we had Kale Ceaser salad and French Baguette for lunch today with olive oil dipping herbal "sauce."

My mom got the kids some super cute light weight Batman and Spiderman jackets that they love!!  Super love… they have been wearing them around the house, to school… out and about.  She also sent the most hilarious monster hats that when you squeeze the little hanging neck tie the hands go up.  The kids yell “yeah” when they make the hands go up which makes me laugh endlessly.  And thank you to everyone who sends things for our kids.  They love everything so much and even though I’ve expressed gratitude, we’re more grateful than you know to have anyone think of our little family and go out of their way to send anything.  It always warms our hearts.

And we had a super bowl party.  For desserts, NeimanMarcus liquor cakes are the bomb!  They have pure liquor in them though.  Don’t give them to kids and enjoy when the sugar and shots kick in.

Lastly… I have been baking crazy stuff for the kids.  I’ll be hitting a healthy sugar cookie recipe tomorrow for them to snack on next week.  And fancy schmancy gifts I’ve been getting from work I’ve been hoarding and bringing home for the kids.  They are truly spoiled ;D

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Workout Videos -- Mix it Up!

I hate to admit it, but I went through a pretty lazy slump for over a year where I just didn’t want to work out.  My entire life I had been killing myself with diets and stints of clean eating and revolution.  I just needed a break.  I have 5-year-old twin boys, I cook… clean… work full time and I was finishing up school.  It’s lame to make excuses but I truly did have a life where the only time I could fit in exercise was late at night and by then I just wanted to go to bed.
So I started fitting it into my schedule and even though it blows, I wake up at 5:00am to do it.  Yup.  You heard me right.  I jump out of bed at 5:00am Monday through Friday and kick my booty with a hard hitting 30-minute workout.  And I’ve always eaten healthy and balanced so I made no adjustments in that area.  The only thing I have added is Blue Apron meals which rock!  That's what is getting delivered today above for this week.  I'm so excited to get home and see my delivery on the front porch!  I get so much fresh fruit and vegetables.  They send super clean meals that I will never stop having delivered.  And until I drop this pesky 10 pounds that is bothering me I’m not drinking.  And after that I’m avoiding beer because goodness!  That will pack pounds on over time and bloat you like crazy.  It's going to be wine-ville for me only...
I like to mix my workouts up.  I don’t want to do the same one more than twice a month and I don’t want to spend a billion dollars to get 10-20 new workout videos every single week.  So I get them for free on YouTube!  I’m so thankful for the people that post their own free videos.  It gives people like me (and like you) a chance to keep from getting bored, burned out and turning away from health and wellness.
Today I was going to share 3… 2 that I absolutely LOVE and 1 that someone out there might dig, but I found it insanely difficult to follow.

This first one above is what looked like a really fun dance video.  It was hot and energetic.  Well I think I can’t dance because I was all over the place, could not follow or keep up, was completely dyslexic with my moves and I’m pretty sure I pulled muscles more than I worked them out.  I did it this morning and I can tell my neck isn’t going to be so well this weekend.  But I did get a good sweat out of it because I was MADDDDD and cursing at the TV which got me all worked up on top of the bouncing around and pulling my neck and my back… lol! (check out this video here -- if you dare!) You might find that you absolutely love it… but keeping up or cursing your potty mouth off... you're definitely going to at least get a good workout.
This next one above was really great.  I got a good sweat going, it was awesomely easy to follow and the best part was the long stretching at the end.  I felt limber and relaxed throughout the entire day.  I highly recommend it.  The only thing is you don’t want to do it more than twice a week and space it out when you do because it’s a calf killer.  You don’t want to hit that muscle group again until your calf muscles get a good break or they will burn like CRAZY the next time you hit this video. (check out that video here)…
And finally, this might be my favorite.  It’s aerobic and strength training, easy to follow and at first you're going to be like “What!  This is it!?”  Because the first 5 minutes they are easing you in but then they start kicking it.  I really enjoyed it… (check out that video here)…
And that’s about it for today.  I’m just going to keep working on my fitness for that big trip we are taking in a couple months.  It’s hard work setting up camp and breaking down most every day of a trip.  And don’t get me started on the hauling and fishing in between.  You can’t just roll out on a big adventure like this the first time in camping season with your lazy winter bod and this year we aren’t doing weekends first.  We typically ease in.  It’s out the door for a challenging 9 day adventure.  So buck up!  Get fit!  And good luck everyone on building that beach bod, camping bod, picking up heavy kids bod… or whatever you like to use your healthy and strong body for!
P.S. Go moms and dads!  If you’re working, taking care of kids and rocking the fitness… you’re awesome!!  And don’t forget it…

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Our Big 2016 Vacation Trip!!

I am so, so, SO excited that Jaime and I planned out our big 2016 vacation trip.  We decided last year that we were sick of skipping vacations.  It sucks.  We would take a few long weekends here and there but getting away with the kids for 9-10 days and focusing 100% on our family has been so amazing.  Last year I blogged about our giant camping/cruise trip from the mid-west to California (read about that trip here).

It was so fantastic.  It was half rustic with the camping and then a completely relaxing cruise in the middle to Mexico and Catalina.  We saw so much… camped at the Grand Canyon, went through and saw the tall trees of Denver.  Basically hit, while camping, every really amazing site to see on the way to and fro.

This year we decided to get really brave and do a half cross country camping adventure all the way from Missouri to the keys and we are going to see so much cool stuff in between!  We split our trip into 8 hours of relaxing driving so we can enjoy each area and stop and shop at cool small business during the entire drive. Then we camp, cook… buy the local foods to cook on our trip.  The way we camp is pretty decently expert with our cooking gear, pantry, cleaning stations, canopy’s.  It’s definitely not tent and ground style and we can stay out for weeks at a time in complete comfort.

So our first stop is in Kentucky to see one of their cave wonders, Mammoth Cave which is a National Park.  So we’ll stop a night at the local KOA and tour the cave.  Our second night is going to be in Savannah Georgia with a trip into Tybee Island!!  I’m the most excited about this stop because me and my dad discovered The Crab Shack in Tybee Island on our way to Florida 15 years ago.  With him being gone I might cry the entire time we are on that stop, but the seafood is the best I’ve ever had in my life!!

Then we will spend our next two nights fishing and chilling on the beach at Key Largo Camp Ground and Marina in Key Largo.  The Caribbean waters, the manatees, the wildlife!  The kids are going to have so much fun.  Then for two knights we are traveling down to Knights Key RV Resort and Marina which is part of Marathon right in the middle keys for more fishing, super blue Caribbean waters and wildlife.

On the way back we will be stopping in the coolest UFO sighting and creepy swamp in the US!  I can’t wait to see if we experience any mysterious activity.  That will be at Okefenokee Swamp which I’m half freaked out about but the wildlife and possible night spooks from swamp gas is going to be a once in a lifetime experience.  Then finally we are going to stay in Memphis Tennessee walking distance from Graceland!!  At Graceland RV Park and Campground.  So we get to check out and tour the stomping grounds of Elvis!!  Then back to home...

All in all we are going to get so much out of this trip.  US landmarks, National Parks, the best fishing, crabbing, clamming, oyster digging, cooking, spooky swamps, gators… the list goes on.

And I have to say if you really want to travel and experience where you are at, camp.  It sounds crazy but you can’t sit inside and put on makeup and fart around.  You are quite literally forced to be right there.  Outside.  With the wilderness and the weather and seeing and feeling everything at every place you stop.  It really is incredible.  Hard work sometimes, but so incredible.  You will never experience each destination as purely as when you stay outside at that destination.  And that's why we are campers and love every minute of it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Review – MoneyWise Pro and My Budget Book

My budget tracking just got really confusing.  I was working at a position where I was paid on the same 2 days every single month.  Easy peasy.  I got paid on the 15th and paid the second half of my month’s bills, got paid on the last day of the month and paid the first half of the following months bills.

I knew my exact paycheck, split my bills up for the beginning of the month and end of the month… added it up and knew exactly what extra money I had all the time.  I just kept a list on a piece of paper and knew what money I could blow and when.  Nothing would ever change.

Well now I’m getting paid weekly and I am having the WORST time tracking what bills fall when.  I can’t even tell you how complicated it is to know what is going on when you are in the positive some weeks and negatives on others.  I’m basically stuck having to keep rolling my money around.  And I never know when I can spend extra!

So first I downloaded MoneyWise Pro and it’s the best thing I’ve ever found.

PRO: I put in my expenses, my paycheck days, set up when I want my week to begin and end, set up reoccurring transactions, track by week and it has a rolling expense account balance so I know exactly what I have extra all the time.  When I pay less for gas I can adjust my pre filled in and estimated gas amount in seconds.  When I buy something I can add it in seconds.  Then I realized…

CON: I can only look one month ahead!  I almost completely messed myself up thinking I had several hundred extra dollars only to have the following week populate and it was dropping in the negative so close to that amount that I would only have $6.95 left over.  Had I even gone to Wendy’s I would have a bill issue that week in March.  I neeeeeeeeeed to look at least 3 months in advance.  It would be even better if I could do 6 or 12.


So then I paid for and downloaded My Budget Book.  I can look at everything for years.

PRO: You can see stuff as far in advance as you want.  (See More About This Below in the Additional Notes!!)

CON: There is no rolling expense account!!  How the crud am I supposed to know what will happen with my money!?  The only way to get a total for any given week is to go all the way from the very beginning of when you started and add and subtract each days total manually.  If you mess up on your math though you are out of commission and then you would need to adjust your totals for each month every time you had less or more money on a purchase.

So I’m still kind of lost and I’m having to input stuff into 2 different apps and I really just want to be using MoneyWise Pro because it does exactly what I want it to.  So I emailed the creator and I’m crossing my fingers.  Until then I’m just going to have to go between the two apps and use my last total from one and pick up the expense roll over from there on the other.  Ugh.  Such a pain in my butt.

***Extra Note*** I just figured out how to look at my running money total in My Budget Book... this app ROCKS B*LLS!!  I have never been so happy.  You change the view to current total and poof!  It only shows you your running expense account.  What a lifesaver.  I suggest My Budget Book FOREVER and for everyone, for tracking everything.  And it's only $3.00 and some change... half the cost of MoneyWise Pro...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Completely Random Pic Day...

Things we've been cooking...

Things I want to buy (well, one of the billion anyway)...

My FALSE positive pregnancy test (NEVER BUY GENERIC!!!  Scared the h*ll out of me!!!  Just to repeat... I am NOT pregnant (thank goodness!!!)  Not that it's a bad thing, I'm just done :D)...
Me being bored at a location I cannot disclose (lol!)...