Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Virginia Tech dining - London Broil

I'm drooling just thinking about last night's dinner.  I received this book

as a gift for Christmas.  Why I didn't buy last Fall when it came out I don't know.  Perhaps I was busy having a baby or something! ;)  For those of you who have heard of Virginia Tech for some other reason, let me give you one of the best reasons.  The food!  Virginia Tech has THE best dining facilities among colleges in the US, not to mention the restaurants surrounding the campus.  With offerings like delicious burgers & steaks, lobster (yes, lobster) and the biggest rice crispie treats I've ever seen what's not to love?  Chris & I flipped through the pages of this cookbook with our mouth watering at nearly every page.
Our favorite dish of all was West End Market's London Broil with Mushroom Sauce and the Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes. 
Mmmmmmm.  Chris & I probably ate this 3 or more time per week.  I'm pretty sure if we lived in Blacksburg we would take our kids there for a family dinner.  No seriously!  Well it turns out this dish is one of the most popular at Virginia Tech.  About 750 students eat it each and every day!  Who knew?  I would have included a picture of the dish after I made it but Chris and I were so freaking excited to eat it that I completely forgot.  Not only did this take us right back to our college days, it made me feel like quite the chef pulling it all together.  Even my toddler asked for seconds!  The recipe was spot on and we will definitely be fixing it again.  Maybe even once a week.  Or day.  Is that too much?
Anyways, you don't have to be a Virginia Tech alum or fan to appreciate this dish or the cookbook for that matter.  Find the cookbook here. 
Now onto Superbowl party prep and a cake trial run for a cake auction I volunteered for!
Happy Hump Day everyone!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Operation Get Fit (& Clean Out the Closet!)

The brackets holding up the bar in my closet broke.  Normally this would be a sign that I have an awesome closet full of clothes.  In reality it is filled with pre-baby, post-baby, and maternity clothes - 90% of I can't fit into.  Before I became pregnant with my first born I ran my first half-marathon, was in the best shape of my life, and weighted between 130-135lbs.  I gain 50lbs total during that pregnancy and held onto 15lbs afterwards.  When my first born, Landon, was just over a year old I found out I was pregnant with number two.  I gained 50lbs again, weighing in at exactly 200lbs the day I checked in to the hospital to deliver.  At 3 months post-partum I am stuck with another 25lbs to go.  While I am proud of the 35lbs I HAVE lost so far, I have a way to go to still to reach my goals. 

Why am I sharing this with you?

Losing weight after a baby is not easy.  Losing weight at ANY time is not easy!  I am determined to shed a few more pounds and to get back in shape (and clean out this closet!)  By blogging about my progress I hope to keep myself accountable and share that while it may not be easy, it IS possible.  Living in upstate NY poses some challenges as I can't run outside and sometimes it's just so cold (high of -5 anyone?) I don't want to leave the house.  Although I'm pretty sure I could find excuses if I lived in Georgia or Florida too.  I'm not a diet person (never have been) but I am going to work on portion control and sweets.  Ice cream is a pregnancy addiction that has carried over.  Annnddd...I can not exist here on earth without chocolate. And peanut butter.  Daily.  Yummmm. 

Ok, I got distracted.  See the challenge?  I'm ready to set some goals.  My goals will focus mostly on working out because for me it's a domino effect.  When I am working out regularly I eat better and drink more water, thus losing weight more easily.  When I'm not working out, I sit around and eat ice cream for lunch.

Liz's 2013 Get Fit Goals:

- Run 3 miles without stopping. (I've gotta start somewhere!)
- Drink a glass of water BEFORE coffee in the morning. (This may sound silly and small, but it actually is a challenge for me and I feel it will start me on the right foot each morning.)
-Do some form of cardio at least 3x's per week - even if one of the kids are sick and I can't make it to the gym.
-Weight goal #1 - 150
-Drink 50oz of water per day.
-Run 3 miles at minimum 10 minute pace.
-Complete 100 pushups challenge
-Weight goal #2 - 140
-Run 5 miles
-Run 10 miles
-Train for this race in September. The 18 miler, not the 12. 

*My method is several small goals so I can have small victories along the way!

That's all I've got for now but it will get me started.  Notice there are no 'food' goals.  I may add those in along the way but for now I think I may just do a food journal so I have a clue what I am eating.

So who's with me?  Whether you want to get fit/lose a few pounds or just want to be my motivation I hope you will follow my journey and cheer me on!  I plan to check in on the blog once every week or two but I won't be posting on facebook so if you would like to follow my progress please follow my blog! 

Now to get started on this Monday.  One of the kiddos is just sick enough that I shouldn't go to the gym so a workout DVD at naptime with have to do!  What are you doing today?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Organization - A Work in Progress

I like to think of being organized as a work in progress (in other words...I'm never fully there.)  Especially with two little ones running around.  At any time there MAY be a part of the house that is organized but it is constantly evolving.  Moving every few years doesn't help either because it takes a couple of years in a new house to figure out how everything flows, no?  Then it's time to move again!  Since we returned from our Christmas vacation to Virginia I've been on a mission to organize SOME parts of our house, mostly toys since we just had Christmas & Landon's birthday in the same week, and wanted to share what works for me.

For some reason I've not really been crazy about the idea of hanging a TV on the wall, but when Landon started climbing on our TV stand and in general getting WAY to close to the TV we purchased a wall mount...and then let it sit in a closet for 6 month.  Just about a week ago we (or should I say Chris) mounted the TV on the wall and removed the hutch that usually sits on the TV stand. Here is a before and after:

 Wow!  I couldn't believe how much it opened the space AND it's impossible for Landon to get too close.  Win-win!  I went to my favorite (T.J. Maxx) and found some great wicker baskets for toys in an attempt to not feel overrun by toys.  We still need to hide the wires.  Like I said, organization is a work in progress.

 Here is an evolution of Landon's play area downstairs from this Summer to now:

As you can see, we've not really known what to do with the area.  Our downstairs is all one open area so I needed our adult space & toys to co-exist in a way that I still felt like I could invite people over.  We found a good deal on this bookcase at Big Lots (I also don't like to spend money) and it is working for us so far!  I still need to add some pictures & books on the top shelves.  Someday we'll replace our leaning table lamps that a certain toddler has knocked over (again & again.)

My favorite organization tip began a year ago and has proved to REALLY help me in organizing bills and important paperwork.  I got the idea from Pinterest:

The Pinterest version was a lot prettier and labeled, but mine serves it's purpose.  At the beginning of the year set up a file box for your bills and an extra file or two for misc., tax info, and important documents.  (Before I could never find a copy of orders when I need them!) After we file our taxes I'll consolidate all of the 2012 files and start fresh with 2013 files! The best part is the filebox is still stored out of sight on the bottom shelf of my pantry.
Please ignore the REST of the pantry as it is not organized.  A work in progress.  If you are someone who claims to be fully organized...please show me evidence.  Then send me your tips!

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mommy Guilt

Hi there.  I haven't blogged in a while, although I've had many topics on my mind.  Just not enough time to write them down and when I did have time - well, where to start?  I was hoping to share some pictures from our visit to Virginia for Christmas but I've yet to dig my camera out of my purse.  Since we've returned to NY I've been in this weird post baby/pre-deployment nesting/trying to make my house functional with a 2 year old and 3 month old mood...but don't come look at my house because you wouldn't know I've done a thing!  By the time I tackle one pile, another has built up right beside it. 

Anyways, today I am writing about Mommy guilt.  Something I've had to battle with over the past month.  I hesitate to say the first few months with Emmilyn have been challenging because so many people have much greater challenges to overcome than me.  Are you following the Bring Home the Browns story?  So heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.  So yeah, I really have nothing I can complain about in the big picture, however compared to Landon we have had more of a rollercoaster ride that has forced me to deal with guilt about my job as a Mom.  In the 3 months since Emmilyn's birth I have had a uterine infection, milk supply issues (did you know that peppermint can kill your milk supply or for some people so can birth control?), the flu which turned into strep throat, and an on-going battle in breastfeeding Emmilyn.  The latter has always been very important to me.  I nursed Landon until he was 6 months and had a goal to nurse Emmilyn to age one but my milk, despite how I altered my diet, just seemed to disagree with her.  Not to mention at over 2 months of age we were still in the 'teaching' phase and it just never seemed easy for her.  I didn't want to switch to formula because in my eyes I would be a failure yet I felt like I was losing my sanity.  So, we decided to try formula for a couple of days.  Oh my gosh, what a different and happy little baby I had!!  She still has her battles with tummy aches on occasion but she seemed so much more satisfied and I felt like I could breathe!  As mother's we want nothing more than for our children to be happy but it's easy to get caught up in little details that make us feel like a bad Mom. 

Need another example?  I've often written about our potty training journey on here with Landon.  He was nearly accident free....and then Emmilyn was born.  Yes, some of you told me.  Regression happens.  I didn't listen.  I had to learn the hard way.  After about 3 weeks he was back in diapers.  GUILT!  And the truth?  I haven't fully given it a go again because I. Am. Tired.

For a while I didn't want to blog about my potty training failure.  I didn't want to write that I felt like day in and day out all I did was feed Emmilyn and sit in the bathroom with Landon forcing him on the potty.  I'm supposed to be a positive example of early potty training, right? 

The truth is that these 'failures' are in fact not failures at all.  Just normal things that happen to Moms.  Some may view my giving up on breastfeeding or giving up on potty training as a failure.  I view them as my journey in motherhood.  No two babies are ever the same and there is absolutely no way to predict what will work best for each one, until you try.  I feel like I am a happier Mom with a happier baby and a, well, typical 2 year old who has his good days and his bad days. :)  I'm sure I will have many more Mommy Guilt experiences over the next 20 years but it just means that I love my children and only want for them to be happy.  That makes me a good Mom.