Our Version of A Date Night

 Many marriage counselors have talked about couples making sure they have at least one night a week designated as a date night.  Very good advice indeed.  I love looking up articles on ideas of date nights and trying to do it.  Las Cruces is a little hard to be creative, so usually dinner and maybe a movie are what we could do….or…..we can go with our usual version of a date night like we did yesterday.

We drove over towards White Sands Missile Range to a campground called Aguirre Springs.  I highly recommend if you ever come through New Mexico to stop towards this direction.  First of all, White Sands is just 20 minutes away, but there is also some awesome hiking and camping too.

Mike was excited because it was the time of night where all the creatures were coming out.  He happened upon a king snake and a rattler, not to mention a herd of cows that ran off in a stampede.

Really I took this picture because my triceps were hurting from my gym workout earlier in the day.  I’m still not used to riding downhill on a road bike.  You use totally different muscles!

This was my piece of wildlife I came across on the road.  This guy was extra feisty and even started coming after me.  Usually, they just sit really still and hope to look like they blend in with their surroundings.

I know biking might not be your first choice of a date night, but I love how it gets us outdoors and not to mention, it makes us happy getting that awesome endorphin release.

P.S. Girl’s Nights are also a must too.  I actually tried to round up a group of girls earlier this week to go to dinner.  It ended up being three of us, but I love having to dress up and enjoy a meal that doesn’t involve me cooking and especially, cleaning the dishes. 

This picture was taken before I went because I tried on a new outfit of mine.  It reminds me of the pictures on Facebook where they make fun of teenagers making duck faces or taking their picture up high to make themselves look more flattering. Really, Mike wasn’t in the room and I wanted a picture of my outfit. 🙂 

Summer of Fitness and Other Nonsense

I just realized this week that I have less than two weeks left before I go back to school, so I officially have to hurry and get everything done on my to-do list!  Panic has struck!  I managed to get some back to school shopping in already, but I’m still on the hunt for a decent pair of work pants!

So I am planning a morning routine when school starts that still continues my two a day workout trend I have kept this summer.  I was told a lot of gym workouts are found on You Tube, so tonight I gave it a try!  I really wanted to try out Insanity because my goal this week is to do straight cardio with no weights.  I was told Insanity was way better for that than the usual P90X Lean Routine that I have tried in the past.(P.S. I was able to get down to my lowest weight for my wedding with P90X. See www.beachbody.com .) 

This was the site I tried.  I used the 20 minute fat burner workout.  It’s hard to hear but I just watched the people.  You can tell they are all dying because you can hear counting on the DVD but they all just stand there.  I’ll keep you posted on more workouts I try out:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kuy4x_viY4M

The Olympics are coming!! Here is the schedule in case. 🙂 I am soooooo excited!

http://sports.yahoo.com/olympics/schedule/

Alright, here are some catch up pictures.  Stay tuned for some recipes I have tried!  I am on a roll with Pinterest! (I made my mom join today!)

1. Barney tried out a biking jersey in attempt to see if we wanted to use that as his Halloween costume.  Nay.

 

2.  My hair is now super light for the school year.  Blinding!

3.  We have had the worst wind and rain storms and this poor mother bird has had to sit in her nest to protect the eggs.  I was stressing whether she would make it or not.  She made it!

4. Mike has to sleep in the afternoon due to his graveyard shift and Barney has been trained to sleep at his feet when I run my errands.  He and dad are nap buddies.

5.  New duck toy.  It sqeaks.  Not too sure that was a good idea.  Why do dogs have toys anyway?

 8. I bought a set of curlers to try some different hair styles for school.  My attempt at being a girl.

 Question:  Any exciting things about this summer that have happened?  What would you say your summer 2012 theme has been?

Trying Out Pinterest Recipes

 Like I said in my previous post, my sister showed me some great recipes on Pinterest that I really wanted to try out.  I really want to take advantage of the fact that I am not working right now, so I am teaching myself how to cook and bake.  It is so fun!

These “Zucchini Chips” were great!  All you have to do is put some olive oil on them, and add a mixture of panko bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and a little parmesan cheese.  Bake for 22 minutes on 400 degrees…and deliciousness!  The link is found here:

http://bakehouse.squarespace.com/home/2011/7/20/zucchini-parmesan-crisps.html

Then I decided to try another recipe that caught my eye because of my HUGE love for chinese food.  I don’t live in a town that has PF Changs or Panda Express, so I had to bring the sweet and sour chicken to my kitchen.

It is VERY filling!  So you don’t need much of it, which is a good thing.  It is around 300 calories per serving so if you portion it right, then it’s not too bad.  You don’t have to use all the cornstarch and egg too so it helps to lighten it up.  It’s a little messy to prepare, but I give it two thumbs up!  Here is the link:

http://life-as-a-lofthouse.blogspot.com/2010/09/baked-sweet-and-sour-chicken-with-fried.html

I don’t know about you guys, but this month brings a lot of entertainment to the household!  The Tour De France has been played non stop, especially when there is a certain biking addicted husband in the house.  We’re not gonna lie, it’s not as exciting this year since Cadel Evans fell back and Contador (the villain) is not here this year, but it’s been fun watching the drama unfold.  Go Wiggins! 

“I sure do like this Tour De France!  Now buy me a bike…”

We can’t be too sad when it ends because the Olympics thankfully will take over! 🙂

Question: Are you keeping up on the Tour this year?  Any opinions about this year’s tour?

Fourth of July Madness

        Sorry for the delay on my Fourth of July post.  Let’s just say it was a VERY hectic week last week.  My dad and his wife came into town, all ten children of my husband’s family were in town, we had to speak in church, I had to teach Sunday School, and try to figure out how to time everything just right. 

Fourth of July Madness is a good way to title this post.  Let me tease you with a picture of Debbie (Mike’s oldest sister) and a burnt hole in her t-shirt.

We’ll get to that in a minute.  🙂  Like I said before, we don’t mess around when it comes to Fourth of July.  There is always a steak barbeque, games played, some fireworks watching, and the best part is the lighting of our own fireworks.

After our big meal, we took off to a local middle school to watch the city’s firework display, which was not a disappointment.  While we were waiting, the boys had to banter back and forth making fun of people, which led to some major laughs.

Then we headed back to the house where a “brother” (who will remain nameless due to the fact that he may or may not have picked up illegal fireworks) had brought some fireworks from out of state to have some good old fun with the family.  The audience was amused by the awesomeness.

Then it happened.  One of the fireworks was placed on the ground a safe distance from the crowd.  Little did we know, it was placed the wrong direction.

The fireworks then turned on the audience and lasted for about three minutes hitting walls, roofs, chairs, and people.  Even though I am laughing about it now, it was pretty scary.  Thankfully, Debbie only got a “holey” shirt in the process.

No animals or people were harmed in the process.  After the “incident”, we were very careful about the placement of the fireworks and it ended up being a pretty good show. 

Question:  Do you have any “incidents” with fireworks where it went a little too wrong?

I was reading in San Diego where the fireworks all went off in the first 15 seconds because of a computer glitch….how sad!

Late Night Inspiration

 So I am a HUGE fraidy-cat of the dark.  Lately, I can hardly sleep at night because I feel like our neighborhood sounds are extra loud at night.  Of course, the husband has to make fun of me about that, but it has caused me to sleep a little during the day, since I’m pretty much up awake during the night reading “how-to” books or brainstorming career changes or huge projects around the house.  The nice thing is that Barney is pretty good about being my companion.

I love this picture of Barney from the river a few days ago.  He has this crazed look on his face as he came running towards us.  Just so you know, he would not go near the other side of the flag for fear it was going to wave and attack him.  He has the same reaction to trash bags and random treats brought home to him.  He has his mom’s courage.

Anyway, I usually spend the evening watching all my DVR shows, including my favorite So You Think You Can Dance.  When I am done with my shows, I usually flip over to HGTV or Food Network.  I especially like this one show called “Restaurant Impossible”.  The host Robert Irvine is a great chef, who goes into restaurants and tries to save them from losing money.  He is pretty hard on them and usually ends up with people either really mad at him or crying as he has broken them down.  I especially like it when he inspects the place and tells them how terrible it is.

http://www.foodnetwork.com/restaurant-impossible/index.html

Yesterday’s episode was the White House Episode where first lady Michelle Obama put him to a test on a community center that needed a transformation.  She also challenged him to make a garden for the community so that the kids can pick and eat the vegetables.  No joke, after that episode, I was online for two hours looking up gardening tips.

This morning I got up and cleared out some weeds and now I am brainstorming how to make planters with these wooden boards we have in our garage.  I am trying to get this accomplished in the next two days.  I’ll keep you posted.

I do this all the time though, where something will trigger an idea in my mind and I sit for hours at night thinking about it.  Thankfully this occurred on a non-work night.  I’ve had nights where I have three hours left before getting up for work and I can’t shut off my brain!

So yes, I want a garden and I am going to try to keep it simple.  Happy gardening!

Question:  Any suggestions for a new gardener?  Have you ever had a “late night” inspiration? 

 

 

 

The Summer of Fitness

From kindergarten til now, I have dedicated my summers to something.  When I graduated high school, I went straight on through college, and immediately started teaching at the age of 21, I have always had summers off. (Very lucky, I know. I get told that all the time!) By August, I have had to either go back to classes or back to work.  I have never known what it feels like to not do.Twenty seven years later…..I am in the same situation.

Image

(This is my vision board when I was living in Utah in 2005.  I got the idea from a Oprah Winfrey episode on things to do to achieve goals.  I made it to remind me of all the fun things I like to do and to remind me of all the friends and family around me.  Usually a vision board is for goals you have.  Mike and I have one in our second bedroom.  I’ll put it in a future post. )

When I was in college, I dedicated my summers to traveling.  I went and worked in Orlando for a summer at Walt Disney World.  I went to Utah and spent a summer at Brigham Young University learning the college life on campus.  I went on four different cruises to different tropical places.  I dedicated summers to dating right.  Other summers to educating myself.  So many different things!

Starting Memorial Day Weekend, I made a pact to myself that I was going to make this the “summer of fitness”.  I have been addicted to working out since about 2004, when I started taking group fitness classes.  I slipped down to my lowest weight and felt great.  I was especially excited when I found Les Mills’ Body Pump class and started to build muscle and tone out.  I have been interested in eating right and have bought almost every Fitness, Shape, Cooking Light, and Self magazines as the years have passed on.

 

This year was a very disappointing year on my body.  The stress from my job took a toll on me.  I gained almost 15 pounds from August until May.  I even went as far as going to my doctor about it.  I am an avid mountain biker and still raced, and was even getting faster on the bike!  Why was this happening to me??  With a lot of research and discussion, I concluded the weight gain to two things.  1. Stress.   2.Eating Right. 

 

(Before And After)

I can go on and on about how I concluded this, but I will spare the details.  So instead, I am going to explain how I am going to get myself back to a “comfortable” physique.  I am not going based on weight, I am going by how I felt.  Being thirty, I have to be realistic that age plays a role, but I am also going to not let it hold me back.  I still want to be healthy.  My goal is to feel “confident” by the end of the summer.  A confidence where I am not embarrassed to sit down and not use my purse to cover my stomach.  A confidence where I am not embarrassed to wear a short sleeve shirt, because I am afraid to show off my arms.  A confidence where I can stop complaining every second I put my clothes on. 

Here is the game plan.  A successful way to diet and exercise is to keep a journal, therefore I will be keeping a journal on this blog through posts:

1. Two a Day Workouts.  It doesn’t mean I go to the gym twice a day.  It means I complete at least two workouts a day. 

2,  Food Journal.  Keep a list of foods and meals eaten.  Keep healthy meals on hand.  Watch portioning.

3. Make life more fun.  Since stress is such a big factor in my life and physically makes me sick, I am going to work on at least one thing a day to relax my body.

4. Organize my life.  When I am organized, things are so much happier around my house. I love organizing and consider it a huge impact on my success in teaching, as well as my success personally.

So here it goes guys.  I send this out into the cyber world!  I will get back to you daily on one of these four subjects, or on all four of these subjects.  Wish me luck.  See you in August!