Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Everything I Eat For An Entire Week.

I have had quite a few questions on Instagram (@itslaurenrebecca)  about what I've been eating and how often etc. So I thought I would share with you my meal plan for the entire week. That is EVERYTHING I will be eating for the entire week. I also wanted to share that I am doing the Tone It Up fitness plan but not their meal plan at this time. I'm sure I will try it out eventually but for now, my own meals have been working for me. I keep a google sheet for the week and that helps me to keep track of what we ate. Sometimes we don't feel like eating something on a particular day or might not have enough time to cook something so we pick a different meal off of the list to cook instead. So I just highlight what was eaten. For instance, we had healthy clean tacos today instead of yesterday because Ty wanted the bun-less burgers yesterday. This works for us because life happens and things change and so we can't be set in stone. Also, sometimes you are just craving something different so this works as long as we swap the meals out and stick to the meals on the chart. You will note that I start my week on Saturday because that is the day that I go grocery shopping so it's easier for me to do it this way.
I was raised vegetarian so I have no problem eating lots of raw fruits and vegetables. I do lots of lunches where I just eat raw veggies, cheese, eggs and of course, my favorite, Peanut Butter!! The one thing that I had a hard time letting go of was pasta. But I've realized that there are whole wheat pastas or zucchini/squash noodles that make delicious meals as well. It's all about experimenting with new things.

If I have a harder workout that day, I try to eat more protein so I may add in apples and peanut butter or cottage cheese for an after dinner snack. That may not be on the chart but I know that it's ok to do so.
An "X" under workout means I need to work out that day, which is usually a Tone It Up workout as of lately.  I also used to do the Bikini Body Burn workouts. I only take 2 days off and usually try to get some outdoor activities in on a weekend day that I'm not working out. If I don't have a lot of time one day, I will just do the toning moves for Tone It Up but if I have more time, I will do those AND an additional workout.

MealSaturday SundayMonday
Breakfastcoffee, Yogurt bowlBanana & PB Overnight Oats and coffeeTropical Green Smoothie
Snackprotein smoothieChocolate Peanut Butter Chia Bar cottage cheese & fruit
Lunchcheat mealMozzerella, tomato & basil 2 HB eggs, cheese slices, green beans, apple slices w/ PB with snacking round
Snackchocolate PB Chia BarProtein SmoothieProtein Smoothie
DinnerSweet Potato wedges with fishburgers with no bun, Clean Eating Vegetable Fritters with mashed cauliflower
Snackcheese no snack tea
Water60 oz60 oz60 oz
WorkoutXOutdoor activity X

Greek Yogurt Bowl: banana blueberries, kiwi, granola & coconut and Coffee Tropical Green SmoothieBanana & PB Overnight Oats with TeaTropical Green smoothie
apples with pb & choc bits Pomegranates yogurt with almondsyogurt with fruit
Salad w/ Tuna & chocolate PB Chia bar for dessert Veggie Wrap w/ cottage cheese2 HB eggs, cheese slices, veggie & PB with snacking round veggie wrap with cottage cheese
Protein SmoothieProtein SmoothieProtein SmoothieProtein Smoothie
Clean Eating Taco TuesdayChicken Marsala stuffed w/ cheesy carmelized onion Baked Sweet potatoes w/ Crispy Kale & Feta w/ Steak Kids: RaviolisBaked Coconut Chicken Strips with vegetable & brown rice
yogurtteano snack cocktail/wine
60 0z60 0z60 oz60 oz

So there is an example of what I eat for an entire week. I hope that is helpful and I encourage anyone looking to feel better and look better, to start meal planning and working out regularly. I can immediately tell when I haven't been working out that I don't feel as good. My mood is ehhhh and I just feel unaccomplished. There are so many benefits to keeping your lifestyle healthy. I am going to share some before and after photos soon. This time last year, I was NOT as in shape as I am now. I worked out a lot but it was because I was eating whatever I wanted. What you eat is so important when trying to get in shape. They say it is 80% what you eat and 20% working out. I believe that whole-heartedly. 

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

New Year's 2018!!!!! Our plans for the year ahead.

Let's be honest, it really doesn't matter what our plans are. Life has a way of ending up how it wants to, no matter how we intend it to be. Truth, right?  And for this reason, I am not huge on New Year's Resolutions. In fact, I couldn't have predicted where I'd be in 365 days on any given New Years in the last 10 years. I give my praise to anyone who makes resolutions and keeps to them. I on the other hand, just never make them. If I want something bad enough, I just go after it no matter what the month. Instead on New Years, I tend to reflect on the past year and think about all that I have been blessed with.

It just so happens that something happened around the holidays this year that made me start to think about things a little deeper. About purpose and meaning, what I'm contributing in this life and how I can give more. The problem with life is, we always think we have plenty of time. Truth is, we don't. Such a Debbie downer, I know. ;) But what I'm trying to say is, I think it's important to go after the things in our heart. Procrastination is a beast. We were all made with talents and qualities for a reason. I TRULY believe this. We have purpose and we have the choice to waste it...or use it. 

I don't feel that my life so far, was a waste. Far from it. But I don't think that I've gone after what it is that is really in my heart. And for so long, I've been waiting. I'm not sure what I've been waiting for. Maybe the right time. Maybe too many distractions. Maybe a reason? Perhaps a push in the right direction. I feel that 2018 is the year that I need to conquer more. More of what is in my heart. More of the passion inside me and also to give more. Why 2018? Because I cannot go back and change anything. I wish I had done this years ago. But I didn't. There is no better time than RIGHT now. I have to live every year, every day and every moment to the fullest.

So with that said, we do want to plan a little. We want to travel more. That is our number one goal for this year. To see new places and explore. The kids love it and there are so many places we haven't been yet! We also are contemplating a few other things that I don't want to say out loud just yet...minor things. Now, let's hope we have the time to do all of this!

This New Year's we were a little under the weather as we landed back in Texas from spending the holidays in the white sands of Siesta Keys. The day prior we went to The Local and listened to live music while the kids ran around and played. On NYE, we brought the kids bowling, let them have large sundaes and then brought them home to eat Chinese from the BEST Chinese place we found here in San Antonio! So we made a picnic on the floor and watched old 90's movies. It amused me how much the kids were intrigued by them.  They are my favorite as well.  We also discovered there are no fireworks laws here. They lit fireworks so close to where we live that we watched them from our deck with wine in hand. It was a perfect night and I ended it snuggled up with the love of my life. If I could go back 10 years, I could have NEVER, EVER dreamt that I would be so rich today. I really am so thankful for this man that loves me even though I know I'm not easy to love sometimes. And for these two healthy kids that give me a run for my money most every day, and yet bring me so much joy. Life is good. God is good. And I'm going to enjoy every second of this new year.

I wish everyone else who may have experienced the same, or maybe you had a really rough year, I wish you the epiphany that I had this month. The chance to chase the things that are calling your name.  I wish you love, passion and the awareness to appreciate all that you are blessed with, even if it doesn't feel like you have anything great at all. Often times, we cannot see how much we truly have until it is gone. Those who are wise, realize this and embrace the blessings and goodness in their lives. 

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Organizing, Meal Prepping and Fitness tips from a working mother.

It's Sunday and we haven't gotten out of our sweats all day. It's ok, we are cleaning and meal prepping for the week! Priorities. I thought I'd share a little of how I multi-task everything as a working mother. 

The biggest challenge I've ever faced was multi-tasking motherhood, working and keeping true to myself in some way. I have this small inkling that I am not alone. And rightfully so. When I first became a mother, it was ALL about Scarlett. I was so invested in doing everything in my power to make sure that she was raised perfect (I laugh about that now),  that I neglected myself, a lot. It was a lesson learned. I think that it is common to do this when you have your first child. And I don't think it is wrong per-say, I just think that as your child gets older or you start to have more children, you realize that you are a happier and a healthier mother if you take time for your needs as well.

I learned this and by the time Maxwell was born, I asked Ty to help out a great deal more. That's right, I made him get his butt up to help me in the night, even if he had to hold the baby's head to my boob. ;) And he did, without a single complaint. I also took nights out with the girls or date nights a lot sooner. In fact, we left Maxwell with a sitter a month and a half after he was born so that we could go out for a date night alone. I don't think I left Scarlett alone with anyone until she was 2. Ha ha.

I also learned that you can't do everything. It was impossible to clean, (I like my house clean at all times!) cook, tend to the kids and give them attention, work and workout. There just wasn't enough time in the day!!! So I prioritized. Some days the house stayed dirty and I didn't die. Sometimes we ate out and nothing in that take out food was organic or non-GMO. *wink* Sometimes I opted to go for a walk instead of laundry. And I can tell you that I felt a whole lot better after the walk than I would have if I finished laundry instead. The same went for working out. I had to make it a priority or it wouldn't happen. So I didn't get to hang out with my friends as much as I would have liked but hey, I had abs, felt great and only once a month out with the girls wasn't that bad after all. It's a season. I think all mothers can relate to having to make priorities when your children are young. I am a working mom with two kids and a house, who wants to stay in shape. I make it all work and here is what works for me. I write down my priorities and stick to them. For instance, my list looks like this:

1. Time with kids & Ty
2. Fitness & eating well
3. Work
4. Nourish my soul 
5. Clean & Organize 

(Side note, I no longer have an infant. When you have a newborn or small baby, life is just chaotic and there is no way to plan for what the baby will need at any given day. This is my plan now as my kids are 6 and 2.)

1. Meal Plan. This has saved my life and saved me so much money. If I don't meal plan, than I eat whatever and it isn't usually healthy. I also go crazy at the grocery store throwing in every impulse that comes around the corner. You best believe I will throw in Mallomars if I see them! I used to write out all of our recipes on paper but then when it was my husband's turn to cook, he'd ask for the recipe and I'd have to send it if I wasn't home, or explain it... it was always a hassle. So I got this notion one day to add my recipes to a Pinterest Board labeled "dinner this week". All of our dinners are in my Pinterest Board and when we want to cook a meal, we just go into that board and open it up! Genius right? lol, maybe not but it really works! So I add all of our meals in here. Trust me, you can find ANY recipe that you are looking for online. I also add a dessert in here that I make for the week. Sometimes we try new stuff and if we don't like it, we delete it but if we do, we add it to my "EAT" board and that is like our menu book that I pick from sometimes when trying to meal prep. If you are interested in seeing mine, it's HERE.

I used to prep all of my food out for each meal but now that I work from home I don't do that as much. I make sure everything is made and ready to eat, but I don't put them all together in Tupperware. This is a good idea if you don't work from home or aren't a stay at home mom. Whatever works best for you. Another thing I used to do when Maxwell was a baby was to use a meal service like Blue Apron or SunBasket. It takes all of the work out of it for you and it worked for us during that stage of our life.

Now if you are trying to stay healthy or doing a Nutrition Guide, it's important to stick to that. Lately I have been eating ONLY clean foods. Ok, except for Chik-Fil-A yesterday....LOL. But I did 4 weeks of clean eating before we went to Siesta Keys for Christmas and I felt great! I'm starting another 6 week series on Monday and I wrote down everything I will eat in my calendar and check it off as I eat it.  This holds me accountable. I also just bought a 60 oz water bottle and I know that I need to at least drink this entire bottle every day. No more refilling. I don't know why but that just kills my enthusiasm for water drinking. If you are looking for help with what to eat, I'd suggest the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan. It does cost but it might be worth it if you are stuck. I have done a lot of recipe hunting on Pinterest and online. At this point, I feel that I am confident in knowing what is healthy or clean.

2. Work Out Plan. Just like meal planning, you have to have workouts planned out.  These days my routine changes depending on what's going on. So I don't plan the times, but I do plan what I'm going to do. And I make sure that whatever it is that I write down in that calendar gets done. No excuses. For the month before Christmas I did the 31 day challenge with Tone It was SO easy and I felt like my body was on point. I will let the photos speak for themselves....Here. Don't forget, this also included eating right.

Now, I am going to amp up on weights and try to gain some muscle. So I will make sure to plan according to that. Some people work out at home, like I do. I prefer that. But others like to work out at the gym. I like working out when Ty gets home from work or on my lunch break, others prefer getting it out of the way in the morning.  Whatever your preference, just get it done. NO MATTER WHAT. If you don't know where to start and are having a hard time figuring out what to do, I highly suggest Tone It Up! It's free to start and it truly works. I also did Bikini Body Burn which is a little more advanced and took up more of my time, but if you are up for a challenge, look into that. It was $40 to join if I recall correctly. Like I said, I am loving Tone It Up right now. They have an app and just make it so easy to get a quick workout in if that's all the time you have, or go for more if you can. Best plan I've done thus far! (And no, this is not a sponsored post. I'm just sharing what has worked for me)

3. Take Time for You. This is so crucial. Like I mentioned above, I didn't do this and it took a huge toll on my marriage and my life. I wish I had known to take some time to do things that I enjoyed. Maybe yoga to destress or an hour of alone time in the bath with wine and a book. A night out with the girls or a hike with a friend. Whatever you enjoy, do some of that for at least 1 hour a day. I know some of you are thinking that's impossible. Then make it every other day. Literally write it in your calendar if you have to. When I don't do this, I start to get cranky without even knowing it. Since I work from home, I'm here most of the day. Being an extrovert, this kills me. So I take time every other day to get out of the house. It doesn't matter if the family is with me or not, I just need to be out of the house to feel renewed. I also love writing so this stays on my priority list as "Nourish my soul".

4. Cleaning: So now comes the hard one. How do I keep the house clean? This is one that I still struggle with, I admit. The kids make a mess of one room before I can clean the next. But 2 things work for me like a charm. Chore charts and Simplifying. Before bed, I have them clean up their own messes. The little ones can help you (like Maxwell does with me) and then older ones like to know they are getting a reward once the stickers fill up on their charts (like Scarlett). I can't help you yet with, although Scarlett is a close second for a teenager, I swear! I make sure to do a Fall Cleaning and Spring Cleaning every year. I also do a New year cleaning. I purge all of the old and get rid of it. When we moved here from NY, I got rid of SO much stuff and it felt great! I am now a firm believer that simplifying is magic! Do the math. Less stuff.....less cleaning and picking up. Same goes for toys. If my family would ever get the memo about that ;)

I try to always tidy up as I go. And I encourage the other members of our family to do the same. Instead of putting the dishes in the sink, put them in the dishwasher. Or wash them right away. When you come into the house, put your coat in the closet instead of hanging it on the chair. That type of small stuff makes a huge difference. Ty and I have certain stuff that we each do. Hello! This isn't the 1950's, men should be helping out too! We both work full time. Ty usually cooks most of our dinners (because he's just better at it ha ha) and therefore, I do the laundry and do the deep cleaning the house(because he is NOT good at that ha ha). We both share dishwasher duties and of course, the kids.  I clean bathrooms every Friday, often when the kids are taking baths. I was reading this on a blog one day and thought, what a genius idea! You have to be in the bathroom to watch them anyhow, might as well clean it.
I like the house to be nice and clean for the weekend. I also do a little extra on Sunday evening when I'm prepping the week's meals. It sets the mood for the week if things are all in order.

5. Organizing. I am the master of organization. I love organizing and putting things in order. Sometimes I do it just for fun. I don't think this is something that can really be taught in a paragraph. For me it comes natural. But my advice is to get lots of baskets/bins. When we moved to Texas, my sister helped me pack and she was laughing at how many baskets and storage bins I had. But I use them all and it keeps our house organized. I keep labeled bins for all toys and the kids know where to put everything away. Maxwell got my trait of organization because if the toys are not in the correct bin, he will move them until they are. I also keep square baskets under the sinks for all of my toiletries. I have one for hair products, one for face products and makeup, one for lotions, SPF and tanning products and one for hair brushes and elastics. Our house here is MUCH smaller than our New York house. So I have eliminated lots of our things, as I said, and come up with alternatives. We no longer have a large entry closet, so I hung hooks for Scarlett and Maxwell's backpacks so they won't be thrown about when we come home. When in doubt, get some ideas on Pinterest. They have awesome hacks on there.

6. Last but most important, Family Time. I think that this is a hard one for working parents. We work 8 or more hours out of the day and by the time we work-out or cook a healthy meal, how much time is really left for family? It is SO important to keep the little ones feeling like their is together time. We make one night a week family night where we play games or watch a movie together or do something all together with NO interruptions. That means electronics! ;) We also make sure that we all sit down together for dinner. It is the only meal that we get to eat together so we sit down, pray and talk to each other. Sometimes if Ty has to work late or can't get to dinner, then he will give them their baths. This may seem like it's not quality time but kids love when you play with them in the tub. You can always do a nightly routine too. Maybe 2 books before bed.  We reserve the weekends for family time. Luckily neither Ty nor I have to work weekends and we take advantage of that. We go on weekend trips and explore together every chance we get. 

I know it may seem impossible to do everything that you want. But when you are intentional about your priorities, you can make it happen. I know because I have had lots of practice and I've succeeded at it! Don't be hard on yourself if now and again it doesn't work out. I have these days, too. The most important thing is that you do what you can to make a happy, healthy home and body! I'd love to hear your tips if you have any. I'm always looking to better my life. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Siesta Key Christmas.

Mele Kalikimaka!! 

We had THEE best time in Florida for the holidays. My mom moved to Sarasota/Siesta Key last month and of course we all jumped on the opportunity to come and visit for the holidays. We lucked out with amazing weather in the 80's the whole week. The day after we left it dropped down to the 50's!! My sister were all able to make it too. With just a few family members missing, we celebrated on the white powder sands of Siesta Keys. Such an amazing beach. We made a trip to Universal Studios one day since I HAD to see Harry Potter World. Scarlett got a Hermione wand and Gryffindor cloak. She is now is requesting to binge watch the movies. I have no objection. We bought some fun souvenirs home as well!

We ate Christmas dinner at Ophelia's on the Bay which was very nice. Lovely patio outside overlooking the water. Food. was. amazing.

We spent quite a few days at the beaches. We made picnics and packed drinks and just laid around and watched the kids play in the sand. We spent plenty of time in my mother's pool and hot tub too. My mom watched the kids a couple times so that we could get a little alone time a couple evenings. We explored St. Armand's Circle, Turtle Beach and ate at a little Margarita cafe that played live music.
Ok. So my favorite of the whole trip (exaggeration) was this tiny little spot called Meaney's Mini Donuts. If you are ever in Siesta, do yourself a favor and get some of these. I'm still drooling over them! I swear kids love the simple things. They loved just hanging out with my mother, sitting on the couch in their pjs, watching funny animal videos on youtube and laughing. They would have done that all Christmas afternoon if we let them. And those memories of that will stay with me forever. My mom between them, a huge smile on Maxwell's face and the little giggles coming from Scarlett.  Luckily for me, my mother lives here now so future trips WILL be ahead. Although we had such an amazing time in Florida, I couldn't help but miss that white stuff that everyone was getting back in New York and Massachusetts, our old zip codes. There will never be anything like snow on Christmas. I hope all of you back home enjoyed it! And I hope you all had a great Christmas!!

I have a bunch of blog posts ready to go out for the next week or so. I haven't written an intimate post in quite awhile so I wanted to write a little deeper and share that also. So that's to come this week!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

So It's Christmas Time After All.

It was so hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit when the weather was 75-80 every day. I know this is because I grew up in New England and have only lived on the east coast for all of my life. Scarlett was crying one day last week because she missed her old friend, New York and there wasn't going to be any snow this year...This broke my heart in all sorts of tiny pieces.

The locals told us that it hadn't snowed here since 2011. "You want get any of that white stuff here." they said. On the morning that Scarlett was crying, she told me that she was going to tell her Elf, Ginger, that she wanted some snow. She informed me that Ginger would be sure to give her some snow. I cringed a little inside, knowing the heartache she would be sure to find when Ginger did not keep her promise. "Scarlett," I said to her, "Ginger will try but it's very hard to make snow in Texas when it's warm. She would have to combat the forces of nature to get it here. So if we don't get snow, don't be disappointed." Scarlett shrugged it off as if she could care less about my warnings. Typical adult. Non believer. 

That night we decided to get the grocery shopping done together as a family. So we piled in the car and headed to Whole Foods. After a lovely hour and a half of joyous grocery shopping with two tired kids, we walked out the door and low and behold......

"It's SNOWING Mama!!! It's really SNOWING!!!!!!" Scarlett shrieked with delight. Indeed it was. People gathered all around that parking lot, workers taking selfies with their co-workers, kids jumping up and down and Texan natives in awe at those big beautiful snowflakes falling from the sky. So Ginger brought us snow after all. And I decided to let go of my inner non-magic-believing soul for a while.
Of course that ride home was magical. I was a tiny bit nervous driving with all of the non-snow experienced drivers around us. But nothing a little Christmas music and the sound of the kids singing along in the back seat couldn't fix. There are all sorts of moments in life that I imagine should be perfect in my head. More times than not, it never ends up as magical as my mind envisions it to be. But this was not one of those times. This Texas car ride home in the snow was the epitome of a good ending story. Scarlett beamed from ear to ear and Mele Kalikimaka by She and Him knew just the right timing to come on the radio. And you know me, I sucked it right up and enjoyed every last minute of that good stuff. ;)

So Christmas is here after all and I am finally feeling that Christmas spirit. This year, will be different. We are traveling to see family for Christmas. It won't be back to New England or New York- it will be someplace sunny with Palm Trees.  I know I'm going to miss that snow piled up when I get up on Christmas morning and I will most likely miss watching the kids run to the tree to see what Santa has brought them. In fact, this year, they won't be opening many presents on Christmas Day at all. Just a couple small things that we will bring with us, and maybe a few family presents. I don't know how I feel about this. A little sad thinking that they might be disappointed, and on the other hand, happy to show them that being together with family is really what matters during the holidays. Cliche but true in many ways.

Ginger, our Elf, is putting together a couple of Travel Packages for the kids. This will include some fun activities and other things to keep them occupied during our travel. I will share these on Instagram this week (@itslaurenrebecca).  I figured this was good way to get them some gifts and also have them be valuable tools for travel. I travel prepared.

I'm leaving some photos on this space of our month so far. We have done so may fun things this December!  We did Zoo Lights at the San Antonio Zoo where we rode camels and got faces painted! Ty and I celebrated his birthday at The Rustic, which is by far the coolest date night spot I've been to so far. We had awesome food and listened to talented live music by a Texas song writer. We did some shopping, went to the Aquarium and did some sushi eating. We picked out a tree, decorated it and of course, visited our favorite bearded guy!

Here's wishing you all a Happy December and check back this week for a post about traveling with littles :)