Thursday, May 29, 2014

Five Things I'm Loving on My Fitness Journey!

With spring finally in place and summer just around the corner, my husband and I are making a conscious effort to eat less, exercise more, and devote ourselves to healthy living more than ever.

The stunning flowering tree in my neighbor's back yard--a herald of springtime

Several products/items/practices have really helped us in our journey so far.  First of all, we've taken up bike riding--my husband with unbridled enthusiasm, myself more tentatively.


I love the used bicycle my husband bought me.  It's no-frills, although it does have doesn't make me have to lean way forward and put all my weight on the handlebars.

However, our first ride together was a near-disaster for me.  I hadn't been on a bike in years.  I felt awkward, un-confident, and at times, downright scared.  On top of that, he took me on a 50 minute trek that wore me out.

That was this past Saturday.  I'm happy to say I haven't given up.  In an effort to gain confidence and get better acquainted with my bike, I've taken it out around our neighborhood for 20 minute spins every day this week.

Each day I gain more confidence and less awkwardness.  I plan to build my endurance and sureness to the point where I can accompany him on lengthier treks...Rockford has great bike paths!  Baby steps, you know.

My Fitness Pal

I've tried the My Fitness Pal app with some success before.  This time, I got my husband hooked too. His health and weight were really starting to concern me.

The logic and basic math of the calorie-counting app really appeals to him.  I've developed a new appreciation for it too.  One of my favorite features? The bar code scanner.  Anything with a bar code can be instantly scanned into your My Fitness Pal database.

Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars

Everyone needs ice cream, or at least something like it, in the summer time! At only 100 calories and 7 grams of protein (!), these delicious bars are definitely a guilt-free treat.  They're not as sweet as your average ice cream bar, but that doesn't bother me a bit.  

I pick these up at my local Walmart.  So far they only carry two flavors--chocolate fudge and sea salt caramel.  Both are yummy, but I see on their website that other flavors are available.

Popcorn Indiana

I stumbled on these delicious products at Walgreen's, but was happy to find them at Walmart too.  So far I've only tried the Kettlecorn, which has a lightly sweet flavor, and the Aged White Cheddar flavor.  Both taste great, and are a good calorie investment, at only about 130 calories for two cups.

These are just great when you crave a crunchier texture.

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Aunt Millie's English Muffins (Multi-grain or Sourdough)

I've put myself on a bit of a hiatus from breakfast cereal, because frankly, I tend to overeat it, and not just at breakfast.

I found Aunt Millie's Muffins at Walmart after I had been eating the Thomas brand for a while.  I found out that Aunt Millie's is much better, thicker and more satisfying, and costs less than half of the Thomas brand!

The varieties I eat are only 100 calories per muffin, so I can add some of my favorite all-fruit spread without guilt.  I try to have some protein as well, usually in the form of an egg or peanut butter.


There are lots of other things that are helping...abundant fresh fruit, cucumbers, squash, Skinny Cow products, and more.

Are there any health/fitness products you've been loving? Let me know in my comments section!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Our Gallery Wall of Family Pictures

The inspiration for our gallery wall

When I first saw this picture on Pinterest, I was struck with the similarity to the stairs leading down to the basement in our home.  I really wanted to create a gallery wall on our own similar wall.

When we finally repainted, I knew now was the time.  I wanted to use only black frames as in the picture, and family members had already given me a few.

However, although there was a light above the stairs, it wasn't enough.  The light at the bottom of the stairs wasn't working, and needed a fixture.

A trip to Ikea yielded a pretty but inexpensive fixture, and an electrical-savvy nephew installed it. Let there be light!

I had ordered a vinyl quotation about family online, and that was going to be the focal point.  However, as my husband was trying to apply it to the wall, there was a problem. It...would...NOT...stick.  No matter what we did!

Undeterred, we headed to Hobby Lobby and found a couple of half-price items that filled the bill admirably:

The "family" sign is metal, and I think it has a nice 3-d effect.

Now we hung our pictures.  Here we decided to not be rigid about placement, as we know we'll be adding pictures from time to time.  In fact, I've already added two picture collages since we did the wall.

Here's how it looked initially:

Here's how it looks now:

I love our gallery wall, and look forward to adding more pictures in the future!

I'm participating in the Wake-up Wednesday linky party, hosted by Sew Crafty Angel!

Friday, May 16, 2014

A Smalltown Texas Home Show

My son's family and I had some free time between soccer games last Saturday, so we decided to check out a home show in downtown Hutto, Texas.  The downtown area is charming, and the streets were filled with home-oriented businesses touting their services and offering their wares.  

Hutto's mascot is the Hippos...thus the pictures of my grandsons posed atop, alongside, or peeking into their open mouths!

The boys enjoyed posing with these handsome Hutto firefighters and checking out the fire engine display.

Spin the wheel for a prized! The boys both won nerf footballs.

I love how you can buy pretty much anything made in the shape of Texas!

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