Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Gotta get in shape!

So with my sister's wedding just about 6 months away, I have decided that I need to get in shape. I'm not overweight or anything like that, I'm just not a fan of exercise and therefore not "fit". I eat a butt-ton of junk food but I apparently have a high metabolism because I don't gain alot of weight from it. This makes my husband (and quite frankly all my female friends) pretty batty. But when I thought about turning 30 next month and then having to wear a knee length, strapless bridesmaid dress next to six other bridesmaids who would all be in their 20's, I came to the stark realization that I need to try to nix the batwings and flabby thighs. I'm starting out SLOOOOOW since I've never had a regular exercise routine. I'm far from in shape so regular push ups are out, but I really wanted to get some tone to my arms, so I started doing wall pushups. Which, by the way, my almost-8-year-old saw me doing this morning and informed me "Momma, you're a cheater! That's NOT how you do pushups." Then he proceeded to to about 20 man pushups without missing a beat. Brat. Anyway, I do 25 of them every morning and again every evening. I do 5 sets of 10 lunges per leg throughout the day, and I also 25 calf-raises (no weights) and 25 cross body crunches (standing not lying down) in the morning and again at night.
I have been at it for a little over a week and I haven't keeled over yet. I never believed people when they said exercising gives you energy, but I do now! I am not as dog-tired at the end of the day like I used to be, and I can definitely feel that my quads and my calves are getting worked. I have a bunch of exercises pinned on Pinterest for my booty and my abs that I plan on slowing integrating in next week.
I don't necessarily want to loose any weight, just tone up. I'm hoping that by the time July rolls around I'll have some dang-good looking arms and legs for a 30 year old bridesmaid!
If you have any weight/machine-free ideas for me that have worked for you PLEASE let me know!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mmmm Mmmm Mon....errr...I mean Tuesday: Tortellini Spinach Bake with Creamy Lemon Sauce

Okay so I'm a dork. I was all thrown off this weekend because yesterday was Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the kids were off school, so my brain told me it was Sunday. Hence the lack of a Mmmm Mmmm Monday post.

I'm hoping y'all will forgive me for the day delay when you try this deee-licious recipe.'s THAT good. When I was cooking it my mouth was salivating like you wouldn't believe. I took a bite before I stuck it in the oven, which turned out to be pure torture while I waited for it to be was just fantastic! (Which explains why the photo was taken after I had already started dishing it up...I couldn't wait to wolf it down!)

It's another one I found over on Pinterest and it is orignally from the Our Best Bites website.

So without further ado, here's what you need for Tortellini Spinach Bake with Creamy Lemon Sauce!

12 oz bag Barilla Cheese & Spinach Tortellini (they're in the dry pasta aisle)

4 oz back or pancetta (about 4 strips of bacon)

3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

2 Tbsp flour

2 Cups milk

3/4 tsp kosher salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

1 and 1/2 tsp dry basil

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 medium lemon

2 Cups loosely packed fresh spinach, roughly chopped

3/4 Cups grated mozzarella cheese

3/4 Cups grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350*. Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Add tortellini and cook according to package directions.

Place bacon in a medium sized skillet over med-high heat on the stove. Cook until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set on paper towels to drain. Reserve 2 Tbsp bacon drippings in pan and discard the rest. Add garlic to pan and cook until fragrant and tender, about 1 minute. Add flour to pan and stir with a whisk for about 1 minute. Slowly add milk and continue to stir with a whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil & red pepper and bring sauce to a simmer.

While sauce is heating, zest about 2 tsp of your lemon over the sauce. Then cut the lemon in half and remove the juice. Add 1 Tbsp lemon juice to the sauce. Continue to stir until thickened, about 2-3 minutes, then remove from heat.

Drain tortellini and put back in pot. Reserve 1 Tbsp of cooked bacon and add the rest (crumbled) to the pasta. Add spinach, 1/2 cup of the mozzarella, and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Add the sauce and stir gently to combine. Place pasta & sauce mixture into an 8x8 or 9x9 baking dish and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and the remaining crumbled pieces of bacon.

Cover dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and back an additional 5-10 minutes until cheese on top is melted and the pasta is bubbly throughout. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: English Muffin Mini Pizzas

This recipe isn't anything fancy or elaborate. Quite the opposite,'s super easy and great for a weeknight meal.

I made these last night as a comfort-food type thing for the kids. Daddy had just left in the morning for 6 weeks and I wanted some happy food for them.

Here's what you need:
6 uncut English muffins (my fave is Thomas' English Muffins)
Pizza sauce
Shredded cheese
pepperoni/peppers/mushrooms/any topping you like for your regular pizza

I preheated my oven to 350*. Then just slice the muffins in half and place them on a baking sheet. Spoon pizza sauce onto each muffin. Add shredded cheese on top of the sauce and add your toppings. Place cookie sheets in the oven.
Now, I didn't set my timer, I just checked on them after about 5-7 minutes or so. Basically you want to toast the muffin and melt the cheese. It's really a quick process.

Using 6 muffins will give you 12 mini pizzas. Perfect for a speedy school night dinner with just me & the kiddos!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

First Goodbyes of the Year

Today the hubby left for his first of three pre-deployment trainings. This one will have him gone for 6 weeks. During that time he'll miss Noah's volleyball season, Jonah's 8th birthday, and Valentines Day.
I am frusterated with myself because I was pretty weepy this morning. I know that six weeks is a long time to be away from someone, but I'm a military wife dang it! I should be able to handle a month-and-a-half stint like it's nothing! And then I keep thinking that if I had a hard time with him leaving now for the East Coast for a few weeks, what am I going to be like when May rolls around and he leaves for an entirely different country for 6-9 MONTHS?
Part of me feels like I have no right to be upset that he's leaving for awhile because we've been so fortunate with deployments. Our military life has been a cake-walk compared to other military families. So who am I to shed a tear over a mere 6 weeks?
But the other part of me says that I have every right in the world to be sad. Hubby reminded me (as I was apologizing to him for being a crybaby) that NO time apart from each other should be easy, and when we say goodbye for more than a day or two and it isn't hard for us, then that's when we should be worried.
And I know that he's completely right. It's just hard for me to show weakness when I feel like I have to be strong all the time.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Updating the Will

Today was one of those days that depressing but necessary. We had to update our wills. It's part of hubby's checklist for deploying and it makes sense to do, but it's something that just completely smacks you in the face with the reminder that your husband's job is DANGEROUS.

Not that military wives ever really forget that, it's just that sometimes-especially when he hasn't deployed in years-you kind of put the danger part of the military on the back burner. But then days like today come along and you are jolted back to reality in a hurry.

I'm glad we have a plan in place "just in case", but I'm relieved that particular item can be checked off the to-do list.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Gratitue Journal

Yesterday I posted that one of my goals for the year was to write down at least one thing I'm thankful for every day. Well, during my errands yesterday morning I had to stop by Hobby Lobby (one of my favorite places on earth) and found this notebook and knew right away that it was going to be my Gratitue Journal.

First thing that jumped out at me was that it's green, which is my favorite color. I pulled it off the shelf and then saw the wording on the cover and it was just perfect. "It's a Wonderful Life". That is EXACTLY what I need to be reminded of every day this year...that despite my struggles and worries, I DO have a wonderful life. Then I opened it up and this verse was printed on the bottom of every other page: "Rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. - Colossians 2:7 (NIV)"

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year, New Goals

I've never been one to set New Year's Resolutions...even as a teenager I thought they were kind of lame. I've seen so many people set them and fail, and it just never appealed to me.

But this year is different. This year the hubby will be TDY/Deployed for most of the year. I have found in previous deployments that the best way to get through every day is to have a routine. So I'm challenging myself to keep on top of things. And I think that by setting these few goals for myself, it will make me a better mother, wife, and person.

This is my plan for the year and I'm going to use this blog to keep myself accountable.
*Be more positive. I'm a huge pessimist. Always have been, just ask my mom. But as I said on facebook the other day, this year I am forcing myself to think of at least one positive thing every day, and write it down so that I don't forget what I'm blessed with. It's going to be a long hard road for us this year and I think that keeping a gratitude journal will help me stay upbeat despite hard times.
*Be more organized. I found a printable blog planner online, my notebook for keeping track of Etsy orders and of course I have my planner that I cannot live without. I intend to spend a few minutes at the beginning of every week planning my blog posts, days that I need to run errands (so that I'm not going to the same stores like I do now), and I'm hoping it will keep me better on top of my Etsy orders so that my turnaround time is faster.
*Keep my house in guest-condition always. I have made dry-erase chore charts for the kids, and I am also going to make a weekly chart for myself. It will have one or two major tasks a day so that I'm not spending an entire day just cleaning the house.
* Complete one project each week. Whether it be for the kids, my house, or a gift...I want to have something to keep me busy and creative aside from my Etsy shop.
*List 1-3 new items every week in my Etsy shop. I would love to be able to list something new every day, but lets be honest...I just don't see that being feasible when I have orders coming in. And I know that some weeks will be busier than others, so at least one new listing may be the only thing I can do once and awhile. But I think that giving myself a reasonable goal will be much better for my shop!

You are all given permission to get on my case if I start slacking. I plan to post pics of completed projects each Saturday, and I will have a What's New series with links to new items in my shop. So if you see that I go a week or more without updating, feel free to nudge me back into reality!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mmmm Mmmm Monday: Spinach Chicken Pasta

This is another winner of a recipe that I found on Pinterest. I made it for dinner last week and it was so good...I can't wait to make it again!

Here's what you need:
8 oz uncooked Rigatoni
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 (10 oz) pkg frozen spinach, thawed
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (8 oz) container chive & onion cream cheese
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 and 1/2 cups shredded mozzerella

Prepare pasta according to box directions.
Spread oil in bottom of large baking dish. Add onion. Bake at 375* for 15 minutes. Transfer onions to a large bowl and set aside.
Drain spinach well. Stir pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, cream cheese, salt & pepper into bowl with onions. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheese.
Bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes or until bubbly.
Serve hot.

Next time I make this I PROMISE to take pictures...we were so hungry the night I made it that we just dug right in!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's a New Year.

Happy New Year to you all! (If there's any of you left out there after my lackluster blogging performance as of late.)

I am really going to try to be better with my blogging this year. I got a new cookbook for Christmas and I fully intend to try every. single. recipe. in the book so I should have lots of new recipes to blog about. And Pinterest has a wealth of recipes I want to try my hand at too.

I can't promise that I will always be positive...but I promise to do my best. I have to admit that I am already looking forward to then we will be debt free (aside from car payments), my hubby will be back from his deployment, and we will *hopefully* be getting ready to PCS away from Oklahoma. But I am really going to work at being more upbeat. I need to be strong for my kids and I don't want them to see me crack.

I pray that the year is full of blessings for us all, and that we come out on the other end stronger than ever.