Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Has Sprung---

At least at my house it has! We have decorated inside and out. I just love decorating now that we have a large front porch, dining room and stairs!  I am hoping by putting the spring feeling out there maybe Mother Nature will respond with some warmer days!

 Here are some pictures from around the house—

As the temperatures warm we are wondering outside to the yard. So far all we have done is pick up and some minor repairs, soon will be the planting and projects. The projects will be small; as time goes by we are less willing to spend an entire day working in the yard.

We are so ready for some color outside and warmer temperatures!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Now for some Low Calorie Casseroles!

Taco Casserole

Prep time

10 mins

Cook time

30 mins

Total time

40 mins

 Serves: 6—473 calories each


·         2 ounces Tortilla Chips (about 24), plus additional for serving

·         1 Tbs Chili Oil (or olive oil and red pepper flakes)

·         1 Onion, chopped

·         2 cloves Garlic, minced

·         1 pound Ground Chicken

·         2 Tbs Taco Seasoning

·         1 can Black Beans, drained

·         1 cup Hot Salsa

·         1 cup shredded Reduced Fat Cheddar Cheese

·         Optional: Other toppings such as jalepenios, olives, etc.


1.    Heat oven to 350.

2.    Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sautee until soft. Add meat and taco seasoning. Cook, breaking up meat with a spatula, for about 5 minutes. Add beans and salsa. Mix well and continue to cook until salsa thickens.

3.    Line the bottom of a large baking dish with tortilla chips, pressing down on them lightly to break them into bite-sized pieces. Spread the meat and bean mixture over the chips and top with cheese. Add sliced jalepenos or other toppings that you ant to be cooked. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and gooey.

4.    Scoop up with additional chips if desired.






 Cheeseburger Casserole

Servings: 9 • Size: about 1 cup
Calories: 261


  • 2 cups (6 oz) uncooked rotini pasta (use brown rice pasta for GF)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1 1/2 cups onions, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 lb lean ground beef (95% lean)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 28 oz diced tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 2 cups reduced fat grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill pickles


Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta dente and drain well.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the beef and cook until browned, season with salt and pepper. Stir in the tomato paste, and then add the tomatoes and mustard. Let the mix bubble gently until it is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

Toss the meat mix with the pasta and spread it into the prepared dish. Top with the cheddar and bake until cheese is melted, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped pickles over top and serve. Makes about 9 cups. 3.2.1336

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bragging….ok maybe a little

It has been brought to my attention that some of my post, about my personal life, could be seen as bragging. Although, that was not my intention I have to admit I am very proud of my life. What I was trying to say in those posts was this:

You can rise above you raising's. You do not have to accept the place in life as to which you have been born, you can have the life all the others have—you just have to work for it. Do not use the circumstances you were born into as an excuse. Try! If you try and you work hard at it you can have a life like mine. No, it will not be handed to you. Yes, you will have to work for it and it will not happen overnight but if you keep your eye on the future, and what you want, you can get there.  It takes work in the right direction to get there but if you have a goal you can achieve it. Learn from the people around you, don’t make the same mistakes as them, you can see where it got them and it will be no different for you. If you want something better, if you want to break the cycle then stand up and do something different.

I don’t listen to excuses, I don’t buy them and I don’t have time for them. You determine your life, you take those steps that will lead to the future you have created taking the path that you have. No one else is responsible for your life but you. So you have two choices—live the life you know, the one you were born into or live the life you want.

I chose to rise above my raising's. I won’t let anyone tell me what I can or cannot have and I have worked very hard to get to where I am. So yes, I guess I am bragging. I am very proud of what all Duste and I have accomplished. It wasn’t the easy road, the life I wanted or who I wanted to share it with but I meet those challenges head on and haven’t looked back!


Live the life you want and love the one you want—don’t settle. Break the cycle and be happy!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My life is filled with….Lots of Love and lots of Happiness

I will be turning 30 this May and this October will mark our 5th year of home ownership! We are so lucky and so blessed to own our home and to be able to turn it into our dream home, for us and our future family. We might not have this whole adulthood thing figured out but I do know that 25 is a good age to buy a house and 32 is a good age to start filling it! Of course there is one surprise coming up that 30 is a great age for….

It is funny to me that a lot of people looking at our relationship would say it is not normal. But we couldn’t be any more normal, some would even say old fashioned. We believe in a savings account, financial responsibility and do not have credit cards. We believe in bonding as a couple, along with financial stability, before you bring little ones into the mix and most important we believe in true, old fashioned, love! We are completely dedicated to each other. We started as best friends and have not lost touch of that. We have a bond that has seen us through as children to adults and nothing can destroy that. We both go to work every day and come home every night. We spend our evenings and weekends together and have never questioned each other’s devotion. Our relationship is the kind songs are written about and everyone dreams about.

I can honestly say this is the person I am going to spend the rest of my life with, she is the one I am going to grow old with—without a doubt in my mind, we are perfect together!

For the next two years we are going to focus on getting our home, finances and our health ready for our next step--exploring the world of motherhood.

We only want one child because this is all we feel we can afford and give it the life we want. It is very important to us that our child gets to travel and experience life beyond the four wall of our home and the restrictions of our state. We are going to be those crazy parents who do things more naturally and keep our child sheltered from fast food; especially happy meals and soda. We want to take an active role in our child’s life, both of us, and be a physically active family. Most of all we want to eat all meals around the antique dining room table—the way my family did on Sunday’s.

I cannot wait to take this journey with Duste, she is going to make parenting fun! Her sense of humor, her laid back nature, her imagination and her knowledge-- all things I adore and hope our child will develop too! The newly built upstairs is all for our future child, enough space to call its own with a bedroom, playroom, walk in closet and bathroom. Along with over an acre to explore outside, with a loyal and playful dog, chickens and ducks; a pool in the summer and a hot tub in the winter; a separate play area away from the animals and their messes  and let’s not forget the fire pit area for roasting hot dogs and marshmallows! All this for our future child, we are going to be two very loving mothers!

I am so luck and so blessed to have this life and to share it with the love of my life!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Paying Back the Savings Acct—

These next two months we are focused completely on repaying our savings acct. When I take money out of the savings I treat it like a Loan that needs repaid. I also have a minimum I like to keep in the savings at all times and a goal I am workings towards. We have depleted the savings with the Vacation in May—usually I take the tax return to pay for this but because of the delays in returns this year I could not wait that long to book a place. I also had to write some checks for the surprise in October and let’s not forget the recent furniture purchase. (shew) That is a lot going out and it’s now time to focus more on putting in!

 Saving and watching your money grow really is addicting! I feel so much better when I have my minimum in the acct and on top of the world when I meet my goal! But with constant home construction I often have to struggle to keep on top of it.

 This year, like most, we have a lot planned for our little house. These lists do not account for any small things that may come up as we go.

 Here is the list today—

                Replace ceilings in two rooms
                Replace windows—first floor and basement
                Finish up stairs
                Fix fire pit area
                Switch electric boxes
                Rewire pool
Next Year—

                Painting house/garages/sheds
                Fix driveway
                Redo pool deck

 We are purposely giving ourselves two years—two years to get all major things done and out of the way. From that point forward the projects will be few and far between!

 I can’t wait to stand back and admire the house after these two years and really take in all we have done for our 100 yr old home and land!

 It will have all new windows—upstairs/downstairs and in basement. It will have an upstairs with a bedroom, half bath and common room! It’s super insulated—blown in walls, floors and ceilings. It has a walk in closet/laundry room down stairs—laundry was in the pantry off the kitchen—and an entry room with a huge porch across the front! Let’s not forget the new metal roof with new gutters and a circle drive!

 To think back to when we first bought this place 4 short years ago, it is amazing what we have accomplished! It was a one bedroom with tiny pantry/laundry area and a tiny front porch.

We are so proud of what love and hard work have built <3 font="">

Friday, March 1, 2013

A month into our Lifestyle Change—

The results are in: Duste has lost 14lbs and I have lost 16! I have also lost 1” around my boobs, 1.5” around my butt and 4”around my waist!

After announcing my results on Facebook several have asked that I explain my plain of attack, so here it is:


We have stuck to a 1,200 calorie a day diet and have only been drinking water and 3 classes of diet green tea a day! I am averaging 88oz of water a day. This from a non-water drinker, I have amazed myself!

So with a 1,200 calorie diet this allows you three 300calorie meals and two 100 calorie snacks. If you do nothing all day this is what it will look like. However, with exercising and just walking you get a few more back to play with.

My day:

 In the morning, after I take my thyroid pill but before I eat breakfast, I drink 2 glasses of water. I do this while I am doing my hair and makeup. A trick I have learned is every time I switch from one task to the other I take one or two big gulps. By the time I am done I have drank my two glasses!

 For breakfast I eat around 240 calories during the week, I try to get closer to 300 on the weekends. During the week I have instant oatmeal with cut up banana and I drink my first class of Lipton Diet Green Tea.

                        Two days a week I go see a personal trainer for 30 minutes of core, strength and cardo fun! 
                        I do this before I go to work.
Once at work I typically only eat one 100 calorie snack on my late day and maybe two (one in the morning before lunch and one a few hrs before I leave work) on my early days. My snacks consist of Quaker Cheddar crisp or Multi grain Fiber Crisp, nuts and raisins, whole grain Pringles, Kellogg’s Popcorn Chips or Cracker chips, Triskets with string cheese or some grapes.  

At lunch I have a homemade meal of around 300 calories and two glasses of Diet Green Tea.
                               A few hrs on the weekend we make our lunches for the next week. Our favorites are:

 Blackened Chicken Salad—1 cup of Spring Salad Mix with less than 1/3 cup of 2% shredded cheese, a little cucumber, mushrooms, maybe onions and 3oz of boneless skinless chicken breast cooked with blackened seasoning. I top it with less than a tablespoon of reg. ranch dressing. Yum and only 200 calories

Black Beans and Rice—1/2 cup Uncle Bens Brown Rice cooked, ¼ cup black beans drained and rinsed, mexi corn, onion, bell pepper and turkey bacon—around 1.5 pieces. Mix it together and enjoy for only 220 calories!

Smothered Chicken—3ozs boneless skinless chicken breast with sautéed onions and mushrooms. Cover the chicken with a slice of cheese and tablespoon rinsed black beans. Only 300 calories!

 (sorry no picture)

Once 5:00 comes I head home and make dinner! With this meal we either have water or Soda Stream Grape Coolaid—8oz for 35 calories. One of our favorite dinner meals is:

Turkey Meatloaf—1lb ground turkey, oatmeal and egg, 1/4can meatloaf fixings tomato mix, onions, and bell peppers. Cook in oven, when done top with another ¼ cup of meat loaf fixings! Each 3oz slice is 206 calories. We had this with roasted Veggies!

Roasted Veggies—broccoli tops, sliced carrot sticks put in freezer bag with a tablespoon or so of Olive oil and a clove of garlic—shake. Place in a single layer on baking sheet and bake on 450 for 20 minutes—stirring once.  1 cup is 100 calories!

On the days I do not have personal training I work out with the Wii Active for 30mins (4xs a week) after dinner. One these days I eat some low calorie protean an hr or so after I work out. Like, string cheese, spoon of Peanut Butter or Fiber One Cereal—one cup of cereal and ½ cup of milk. (always read on packaging what a portion size is)

We typically have one hr of TV time and book reading in bed on the week days.

 Friday is my free day—no work out and get to eat out! I prepare for this by eating a lower calorie lunch and might skip any snacks when I don’t feel hungry. You can eat out almost anywhere with some planning. First choices should be the places with low calorie meal options—Chili’s and Applebee’s in my town. That takes the planning and figuring out of it for you. Duste and I share one of these meals and we can have a dessert shooter if we want. We can also choose to have a pop but most of the time we have a 4th glass of green tea. (Bringing a packet of green tea mix and getting a class of water) All the other restaurants will take some research. You can get online and look up their nutritional information or you could use you’re My Fitness Pal app on your phone—sometimes it takes both. Once you know what meal you want based on how many calories you have, then head out! Typically Duste and I share a meal, it’s cheaper and because of our shrinking stomachs the portion size is about right. The hardest thing is to learn to eat until you are full not until the plate is empty.

 We also make sure we get lots of sleep—because this helps with weight loss, maintaining a healthy body and because of the “virus” I have. Duste averages 7hrs of sleep and I get anywhere from 9-10hrs.

I would like to also touch more on the importance of drinking water, remember this is coming from a girl who NEVER drank water before. It has the power to do so much good for your body, it is amazing. My skin is now clear—something I have been battling since I was a teenager and have been going to the Dr for as long, using every pill under the sun. My teeth are in the best shape ever! Typically I get my teeth clean and have multiple cavities, for years now. Not this time and they are whiter without using strips! Plus, there is the added benefit of having my body cleaned out from the insides out. Water flushes out all the toxins! Drinking Water—it’s an amazingly beautiful but simple thing!
 The tools I use to help me are just two things—My Fitness Pal on my phone and FitBit that I wear. I have these two synced so I just have to put information into one—on my phone. My Fitness Pal helps calculate how many calories I am eating and my FitBit helps calculate how many I am burning—it is a great partnership!

I hope this helped make the task of counting calories and eating healthier seem more do-able! You only get one body; you have to take care of it! Once you start counting calories and watching portion sizes you will see how much we are over eating as a nation—it is scary. Oh and as a side note—both pop and fast food are the devil! Ha!