Saturday, October 22, 2016

Grandpa's Visit

Grandpa Les came in for a visit this past week. It had been a couple years since he visited, the kids had fun and were very excited for his arrival.

We had to do a dress rehearsal of our costumes when Grandpa arrived on Tuesday evening.

We had fun picking up Isaac from preschool on Thursday and even went for a walk even though it was rather chilly, had to bundle up.

We walked to the library a couple blocks down from Isaac's school. They had fun playing and picking out MANY books. Return three get thirteen, that sounds about right, haha. We got a new little CD player the kids can use and have been exploring the world of books on CD, Isaac loves it and the girls are catching on pretty quickly too. Mom loves it too because they are getting read to while I can get house work done :-)

Wednesday night we got the girls to bed and Isaac and Grandpa stayed up to play a few games. Kyle and I went to meet with his teacher for parent-teacher conference night. We got a great report and the teacher was even surprised he new the shape 'pentagon' when doing his screening/evaluation worksheet.

Here is a little piece of artwork that goes with a poem that Isaac wrote.

It is not great 
By Isaac

It is not great
To be a shape.
It is much better
To be a color—
All the colors; orange
Red, green, blue, purple
And yellow.

Since we had free childcare for a bit and everyone was in bed, Kyle and I snuck into a nearby wine bar. It felt SOOO good to be in an adult place just the two of use and we even got to hear live music. Pretty amazing and a much needed break.

Thursday we made our way to Mall of America to see the new George exhibit in the Children's Museum. The girls were quiet infatuated with getting to meet "GEORGE!"

big hugs,

and kisses, lol

Isaac of course was off like a shot and jumping into all they had to offer.

We took a little walk so Grandpa could see the amusement park. An attempt at a group photo.

Thursday night was a games again, Isaac LOVES board games and will jump at the chance to play with anyone and everyone. Happy to have Grandpa there to offer another person to play with.

He's very good at games, already playing the Game of Life and just recently insists on being the banker. He's good at it and surprised how fast he picked up currency in the thousands, that Jr. game I got him for Christmas is going to seem too easy.

The girls and daddy finished up a fun game of carebear matching. Emma is a pro at matching. Mary is good too but she losing interests fast and tends to end up playing something else while we finish up the game.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Granola Protein Bites

These are delicious! I don't make them often because we tend to eat the whole pan. But they are great to make when we're feeding a group of people.

The mixture is pretty clumpy in the food processor, that's okay it'll come together in the end.

I moved mine to my stand mixture but you could just transfer to a large bowl and stir in the dry ingredients with your hands.

Press firmly into a glass dish and put in the fridge to help set.

Here's the quick recipe. Honestly I make this different every time and it's always so good! You can't go wrong really, just mix in what you like, take out what you don't. It's a treat so the fix count would be a yellow treat swap. 

1 cup dates
1 cup dried blueberries
2 scoops vegan chocolate Shakeology
3 Tbsp nut butter of your choice (needs to be smooth and runny)
1 cup oatmeal
1 cup unsweetened coconut
Food processor: first 4 ingredients. 
In stand mixer combine mixture with oatmeal & coconut. 
Will be dry just smash together. Put in pan and place in fridge. 
Cut into squares.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup - Kid Approved and Fix Approved

We have squash running out our ears this week! So I whipped up a batch of this right after breakfast today. Divided it up for the week and popped half of it in the freezer for later. If we end up wanting more I'll just make another batch with the squash sitting on my counter.

It's very simple and the girls loved it! Isaac wouldn't try it but I'm sure he would like it if he could get passed the fact it's a soup. 


1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded, and chopped (mine was pretty big)
2 green tart apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled & chopped
1 celery, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
1 quart of vegetable stock
1 cup of water
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of cayenne
pinch of black pepper

  1. Melt butter in large pot until bubbly, add in onion, celery, and carrot. Cook vegetables until softened. 
  2. Toss in squash, apple, stock, and water. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 30 minutes or until you get to it. I think it was more like 45-50 minutes for me. 
  3. Use an immersion blender to smooth out soup. If you don't have a stick blender you could use a food processor or blender in batches, it might be messy. I highly recommend an immersion blender. 
  4. Once blended smooth, toss in spices and stir to combine. Serve warm, YUM!
Fix Count: 
Makes about 12 cups. 
1 cup servings I counted as 1 purple, 1 spoon

You could count as a couple green. However I used Autumn's rule about pumpkin for the soup. Since it's pureed there is more of it in a cup, therefore more calories. The green and purple container are the same size but the purple counts for more calories. So in this case the pureed squash would fit better with the calorie count of a purple container. Have any questions on calorie count? I'd love to chat about it. 

Wondering what this fix container count is all about? Join my challenge groups with the awesome 21 day fix program! By purchasing through me you become a part of my team and get me as your FREE coach. If you order through amazon or beachbody you will be assigned a random FREE coach. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Focus T25 Program Review

Today Kyle and I finished up 10 weeks of Shaun T's T25 program. It's a Beachbody cardio/slim & tone program that is split up in three levels and really focuses on your core strength. We started with the Alpha workouts, moved onto Beta, then we ended with strength/weight focused workouts in Gamma.

We had originally planned to do 8 weeks, 2 weeks of alpha and beta then a 4 week hybrid of all three. At the end of eight weeks we decided we should do the full ten weeks and added a week of beta and week of alpha in the end. It was interesting going back to the 'easier' workouts to finish it out. They are by no means easier but they do build upon each other. We sweated just as much finishing up with beta and alpha as we had the first go round or in gamma.

The awesome thing about this program was that each workout was indeed only 25 minutes! You can't  beat that and they were pretty hard core workouts so I know I couldn't get any more calorie burn in that short amount of time. There was a 2-3 additional minute cool down after each one, bringing the total time to less than 30 minutes, usually 28 min.

I'd have to say my favorite workout in the whole thing was Speed 3.0. I think because it was such an INTENSE cardio workout, it was rather hard to forget. It was more of a routine workout with Rounds and Levels. Two routines of moves that you do for a minute-ish then each level you completed it in less time. I loved Speed 1.0 right off the bat, which was really nothing like 2.0 or 3.0, but incorporated stretching into the 25 minute workout.

There was no equipment needed in the five alpha round videos and these seemed to be very much lower body focused. Lots of leg work and jumping/hoping for cardio. Beta had two of the five workouts using weights and seemed to be core and upper body focused. Lastly three of the four gamma used weights and was very much strength focused, full body.


So I took measurements about halfway through to give me a gauge and boy was I disappointed. My measurements had increased as well as my weight and that was my smack in the head to get my nutrition on point. So for the second half I did just that, we ate according to the fix nutrition, continued drinking our shakeology, and halfway through I knocked my container counts down to the 1500-1800 category range. I finished with two days of countdown to competition which eliminates fruit, reduces carbs, and heavily increases protein. I felt good after eating like this but it wasn't easy.
In the end my measurements were exactly the same as my starting point. My photos did show a little more ab definition but the numbers were all the same, even my body fat percentage (I did increase in age during that time, but I ran the numbers both ways and it didn't have an effect). I'm not completely sure how I feel about that. I don't really feel happy about my results but I also wasn't really trying to lose weight either. I was hoping to lower my body fat percentage a little, but then again the first 4-5 weeks were not on track nutritionally. That just goes to show how big of a role that nutrition plays. I think with the workouts being so short at 25 minutes that you have no room to fudge your diet. When I did Insanity Asylum the workouts were a little longer and 6 days a week vs. the five days that T25 was. I think this allowed me for a few more cheat meals and still end up with results with Asylum. I had also just come out of fix extreme so was eating better then than I feel like I have been.

Kyle's results showed some difference, he lost weight as well as inches in his chest which he isn't too happy about. He missed the weights from hammer & chisel and is going to be doing Body Beast next. I am excited to try out body beast as well but I also have Insanity Max 30 to do so I'm not sure if I will do a little of both or commit to one completely. Body Beast has a much different nutrition plan, which I think will be GREAT, but also more work because you have to plan and learn a new style of eating. Fix nutrition is just so EASY! And it works I mean I got to my goal weight fast and have stayed there since last spring.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tree Care

Our trees have needed some love for quite some time. Ever since we moved in I've been looking forward to this day. The kids have had this entertainment no to long ago when our former neighbor had her trees trimmed. We went with the same company. When we had them come out to give us a bid a month or so ago, we were surprised with the amount and excited that we would be able to fit it in our budget sooner than we thought we'd be able to do. It's not good to trim trees in the heat of summer so it worked out that they didn't have an opening in their schedule until October. They were suppose to arrive in the morning, but due to the rain last night he called and said they need to wait for the trees to dry a bit. I was so bummed that Isaac missed out on all the excitement, he had already left for preschool when they arrived. I had just got the girls down but they were not asleep yet so I let them get up and watch them. I mean we were paying for this once a decade (maybe, maybe once every five year) excitement I wanted SOMEONE besides myself to enjoy it. :-P

They started around back with the hackberry and the evergreens (I think they are arborvitaes.)

The girls loved watching him go "up, up"

Starting to thin out....

The trees have been separated!

Look we have grass! LOL just kidding.

Finishing touches

And clean up

Emma says "loooooud"

While these two guys cleaned up the back the other guy went around to start on the front. Two maples up there they were cleaning up.

This maple had so much little growth along the trunk we couldn't even see the road from the girls' room window.

And here are some before and afters.
It makes a HUGE different now that they are thinned out and taken care of so they can flourish and continue to grow big and strong. Our yard even gets more light and I can see our back neighbors house now! We can also see the front street from the girls room! They will love watching for walking dogs with the better view.

Not as big of a difference you can see with this one, but still cleaned up and the big dead trunk/limb is cut out.

All done, wow the back yard feels so much more open now!

They tied up these arb trees too. I didn't get a before picture of them but they look much better. They are right on the line of our neighbors but this estate house has been empty for a year or so, and since we are the ones seeing it we wanted to get those trees cleaned up as well while we had them there.
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