Getting Fit the Right (for me) Way

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the 21 Day Fix, or at least heard of some aspect of Beachbody. I was skeptical at first and thought it was probably one of the new diet/exercise fads and I had zero interest in trying it. I’m well within a healthy weight according to my BMI, but the problem is, after having baby #2 things shifted a bit and my clothes just don’t fit the same way they used to. My endurance and strength are also laughable anymore. I have a friend, Emily, who is a Beachboy coach. It was through watching her workout videos that I realized I needed to make a change in my life. Emily looks great and seems to feel amazing. Her ability to do the workouts with ease made me wish I could do the same. For awhile I watched her, silently, and thought, “I could never do that.” Finally, I decided I needed to change my thought process and start thinking, “I can do that if I put my mind to it.” I want to energetic and feel good because I owe that to myself, my husband, and my children.

Beachbody has a lot of products to offer; Shakeology, various workout programs, etc., but I was mainly interested in just trying a workout. I know for optimal results and health I should commit to it 100%, but my budget does not allow for me to purchase Shakeology right now. I was put into contact with someone who was offering the 21 Day Fix DVD workout for free and she was kind enough to send it to me. I started the workout today.

I took some video of myself while working out because so often exercise videos seem to make us feel worse about ourselves. Look at all these beautiful people effortlessly completing these exercises – what’s wrong with me? The fact is, nothing is wrong with you, me, or anyone else that doesn’t look perfect while exercising. Let’s face it; I make some ugly faces when I workout and there are many times I have to stop for a breather because I feel like I can’t go on any longer. Unfortunately, my phone stopped recording pretty soon into the workout, so you won’t be able to see me at my worst, but you’ll definitely see that I’m not one of the hard-bodied beauties that you usually see in an exercise video. You’ll also notice that while attempting to work out I also have a baby in the background and a 3 year-old having a tantrum. That’s #momlife.

So, join me on this 21 Day journey and take comfort in knowing that we’re real people and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s okay to sweat, it’s okay to make ugly faces, it’s okay to grunt, and it’s okay to stop if your body is screaming for you to.

I am in no way affiliated with Beachbody. I am not a coach and I am receiving nothing from Beachboy or any of their coaches for writing about their workouts in my blog. I am just a curious individual who wants to know whether or not these workouts work as well as they claim. I’ll be happy if at the end of the 21 days I have a little more strength, flexibility, and stamina.

If you’re interested in learning more about Beachbody or ordering their products, you can do so here.

Jazzed Up Tuna Salad

Jeremy, who has never been one to shy away from work, has been working particularly hard this week by doing lawn work for people after he puts in a full 9-11 hours at his regular job. Since he has been working in the heat and getting home late we’ve been having light meals that are easy for me to make ahead. I told him this evening that I would have tuna salad waiting for him when he got home. I know, I know…tuna salad. It’s pretty bland usually and doesn’t make for that great of a meal. Unless, of course, you jazz it up, which is precisely what I did.Jazzed Up Tuna Salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cans of tuna
  • 1 lunchbox sized Granny Smith apple
  • 16 oz cottage cheese (I used small curd)
  • 1/2 cup Miracle Whip
  • 1 small red onion
  • 3 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tbs Dijon mustard
  1. Dice the onion and apples into small pieces. Mix all ingredients together. Enjoy on your favorite bread, pita pocket, or crackers. Try it. You’ll thank me.

It’s that simple and it tastes delicious. The apples add just the slightest hint of unexpected sweetness. If you don’t have apples available I think pears would work just fine, too. I’m excited for Jeremy to come home and try it because I think it will be a hit.

Catholic Homeschool Planner

As many of you know, this year we are embarking on a homeschooling journey with Magoo. We will be doing preschool at home to see how home study works for our family before making any definitive decisions about her future schooling. I’m someone who needs lists, charts, planners, etc. to keep organized. I am also trying to find ways to incorporate our Faith into all of our daily activities, so when I came across Jennifer Rainey’s Catholic Homeschool Planner 2015-2016 I was thrilled. It features

  • Daily, undated planning pages for 52 weeks
  • Monthly planning pages for August 2015-July 2016
  • A list of Holy Days of Obligation and selected saints’ feast days for each month
  • Space to list quarterly and yearly grades for up to eight students
  • Pages to document your curriculum, reading lists, field trips, and more
  • Information on the Rosary and the Sacred Heart devotion
  • A list of common Catholic prayers
  • Saints’ quotes

“Jennifer Rainey is a Catholic convert of 10 years. She and her husband, Travis, have four beautiful children. After a career writing for a Catholic television show, Jennifer is now a proud homeschool Mom. Jennifer is also the author of the Kindle e-book A Catholic Mom’s Guide to Working From Home: 101 Tips to Help You Make Money Without a Commute.”

I contacted Jennifer and was able to obtain a PDF copy of her planner to familiarize myself with it. I’ve already planned Week 1, which I have scheduled for us to start on August 17.

Below are screen shots of our Week 1, which gives you an example of how you can use the planner. In another post I will elaborate on our Week 1 schedule and what some of the acronyms stand for.
Week 1 Catholic Homeschool PlannerWeek 1 Catholic Homeschool Planner

I was able to easily print these sheets out and place them on our refrigerator. This allows for Jeremy to be abWeek 1le to see what the plan for the week is. Even though he generally isn’t home during the study hours because he working I still want him to be involved in what Magoo is learning. We will try this schedule out for Week 1 and if it works many of the activities will be continued on into subsequent weeks.

There are also pages for individual months that allow you to pencil in the following:

  • What I want to accomplish
  • What I want my children to accomplish
  • Spiritual goals for the month
  • Special activities

At the bottom of the page the selected feast days are listed. I absolutely love and recommend this planner and I am looking forward to familiarizing myself with it even more throughout the school year. I love supporting small business, I love supporting our Faith, and I love supporting fellow homeschoolers. $10.54 to do so a small price to pay and you definitely get more than your money’s worth with this little planner.

Blessings,

Jess

Can’t Go Wrong Carrot Pineapple Cake Recipe

Jeremy loves carrot cake. He requested a homemade one for his first Birthday that we were together. I was excited to make it, but I had no clue how to make a carrot cake from scratch. Growing up, if we had a carrot cake, it was always from a box. I gave it my best shot, but my first attempt at a homemade carrot cake was a complete failure. There were a few things I didn’t understand at the time

  1. When you shred your carrots, make sure you use the larger holes on your shredder – the one you would use for cheese. This results in less waste of carrots and less moisture.
  2. Squeeze your carrot shreds after shredding to eliminate excess moisture
  3. Always, always, always let your cake properly cool prior to adding the icing

The first attempt resulted in a cake that did not taste very well and icing that literally turned into a liquid because I did not let the cake cool (Jeremy was on his way home and I wanted it to be ready when he got in, so I put the icing on shortly after taking it out of the oven).

Fast-forward 4 years and I attempted another carrot cake. This one, if I do say so myself, was DELICIOUS. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who thought so. 3 year-old Magoo liked it so well that I had a hard time keeping her out of it – even without the frosting on it! Jeremy loved it and and his co-worker said it was the best carrot cake he had ever eaten. The entire 9 x 13 cake lasted less than 48 hours, so I’d say it’s a hit.

Technically, this one is a carrot-pineapple cake because there is 8 oz of crushed (and drained) pineapple in the cake. This adds to the moisture and leaves the cake’s texture a little less dense than some of your traditional carrot cakes. Below is the recipe. Print it, laminate it, save it to your favorites, pin it…you need this cake in your life!

What is needed:

  • 4 eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 tsps vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking soda
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 8 oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
  • Pecans or walnuts (optional – I did not include these)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a 9 x 13 pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, brown and white sugar, vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Stir in carrots and pineapple. If you’re choosing to add nuts, add either pecans or walnuts at this time. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then either turn out onto a wire rack (which I do not have, so I did not use this option) or place a folded up towel in your freezer and place the cake (while still in the pan) in the freezer to speed the cooling process.

To make frosting:

  • 4 oz unsalted butter
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.