Monthly Archives: January 2013

Health – 24-Day Challenge Progress Report, Day 6



Today is Day 6 of my 24-Day Challenge. I wanted to wait until I had several days under my belt before posting an update on my progress. As of this morning, I have lost two pounds, half an inch in my waist, 1.5 inches in my belly, and 1 inch on my hips. I honestly didn’t expect to see that kind of change so soon. I’ve been reading that some people don’t start losing until the Max Phase, and for some reason, I assumed I’d be one of those people.


The cleanse phase has not been near as scary as I worried it would be. I don’t know if I was eating pretty clean beforehand, but I have not been in the bathroom non-stop. And as long as it’s something that God made, I can still eat it.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are supposed to consist of a protein, a vegetable, and a carbohydrate (from a recommended list – we’re not talking about white bread here). I am also allowed a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack of a fruit and healthy fat. I confess, I have been cheating a little bit. Sometimes, I don’t want a vegetable at breakfast, so I eat a fruit. Other times, I want a vegetable for my snack. Usually, I don’t want a snack in the morning. As long as I’m following the big rules and keeping processed, fatty, and sugary foods out of my diet, I’m not worried.

One of the biggest challenges for me has been figuring out WHAT to eat for breakfast. I think a lot of people must purchase extra meal replacement shakes as an add-on, because in all my searching through challenge cookbooks and websites, breakfast recipes/ideas are scarce. Or it could just be that most people don’t have breakfast ADD like I do. Since it was something I had hoped to find before beginning my 24-Day Challenge, I thought I’d share some of the things that I’ve been eating for breakfast.

Day 1: Oatmeal (McCann’s Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal – only takes 3 minutes on the stove) with sliced banana. You can add a packet of Splenda to the oatmeal while it cooks if you like it sweet.


Day 2: Scrambled egg whites with spinach. I start by spraying the skillet with a little Pam and wilt 1 cup of baby spinach. Then, I add 4 beaten egg whites to the skillet and scramble it all together. I think I also ate a small orange with it. That’s something else I do sometimes – use fruits as my carbohydrates.


Day 3: Green smoothie. In the blender, combine 1 banana, 1 cup baby spinach, 1-2 tablespoons almond butter, a handful of ice cubes, 1 packet of Splenda, and about ¼ cup of water. Protein, veggie, carbohydrate – bam! I was worried that I’d be hungry in 5 minutes the first time I made this for breakfast. I shouldn’t have been. It is awesome.


Day 4: Oatmeal with sliced strawberries.


Day 5: Green smoothie. See? I liked it so much, I had to have one again!


Day 6: Scrambled eggs with tomato, onion, and dill. I found this idea in an Elie Krieger cookbook I borrowed from the library. Seed and dice a Roma tomato, and chop up a little bit of onion. Spray a skillet with oil, and sauté the onion for a couple of minutes. Add the tomato for a minute or two to warm it up. Remove the onion-tomato mixture from the skillet and set aside. In a bowl, I combined two egg whites and one whole egg. (I wanted a little bit of yellow today) Spray the pan again, and scramble the eggs. Top the eggs with the tomato and onions, and sprinkle some fresh dill on there, too. Yummy. If you don’t have a lot of time, just eat your eggs with salsa.

Those are my breakfast ideas so far. I will definitely share as I come up with more. Sorry I don’t have any photos. I’ll have to start remembering to photograph my food.

I’m excited about my Challenge progress so far. I feel good. My energy level is awesome, which I could not have imagined would have happened so quickly. I haven’t had coffee in 6 days, and I haven’t really missed it. I have been drinking my Spark, more as a precaution (in case I need it, or in case I was going to get a caffeine headache) than because I actually feel like I need it. This morning, I even woke up early, and I didn’t want to shoot myself, which is kind of a big deal.

I won’t lie and say I don’t want to cheat sometimes. I want to, but I have managed to avoid temptation so far. Even when I picked up Taco John’s for the kids after ice skating lessons and the potato oles were begging for me to eat one, I held strong. I’m not kidding. They were pathetic. Sorry, guys.

I’ll update again once I finish the cleanse and move on to max phase.


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Project – Painted Toms


So you’ve got a perfectly good pair of shoes that you never wear. Maybe they’re worn out, maybe they’re not. All it takes is a little bit of time and paint to give them new life!

I actually bought these Toms from a sketchy-ish discount site last summer. They may not even be real, so I didn’t feel too bad about giving them a little character. Literally.

These shoes were my inspiration, but I wanted mine to be simpler. I stuffed the toes of my shoes with newspaper, traced a medicine cup with a pencil to make the ears, and painted them with black acrylic paint. Super easy. The hardest part was gathering the nerve to do it. I’m glad I did, because now, I have the perfect shoes to wear for my trip to the Princess Half Marathon next month.

You can find other ideas for revamping your Toms here and here. Happy painting!

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Photos – This is Our Life

After failing last year’s pretty miserably, I really didn’t intend to tackle another Project 52 this year. I have, however, fallen in love with the theme “This is Our Life” that is being hosted by Paint the Moon. I’ve been keeping a list of each week’s theme, and I am collected some photos to go with them. In my own time. I’m not posting to the Flickr group or pressuring myself to get each one done. If something doesn’t happen to inspire a photo to fit a week’s particular theme, no big deal.

The first week’s theme was evening rituals. I snapped these photos of my kids brushing their teeth one night, and I love them. Both of their personalities are captured perfectly – Neely’s silliness and determination to do EVERYTHING by herself, and Aidan’s innate seriousness. And they’re just brushing their teeth! It’s too funny.



The theme for the third week was “If I could freeze time…”


I snapped this photo of the Bug just a couple of days ago. She adores tea parties and picnics. She set up her blanket in the middle of the hall and was serving lunch to her kitty cat. She doesn’t always invite me, but when she does, I know I need to make an effort to attend her tea parties. I’m sure I will miss it one day.

This Is Our Life - A 52 Week Lifestyle Photo Project by Paint the Moon Photoshop Actions

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Run – Magic Mile

1 mile mark on red running track

As you know, I have been using Jeff Galloway’s plan to train for the upcoming Disney Princess Half Marathon, and I learned a new term this week. “Magic mile.” It popped up on my calendar to do one after today’s four-mile run, and I had to do a little searching to figure out what it is! Essentially, after your regular run, you run one mile as fast as you can. You put that time in a fun little formula to guesstimate what your actual pace will/should be on race day. If you want to see more details, click here.

I ran today’s magic mile in 8:47. No kidding. That’s the fastest mile I’ve ever run. I worked hard for it. Multiply that by 1.2 for a half marathon, and you get 10:30-ish, which is AWESOME! Because that’s the pace I’m shooting for. I have a few more of these magic miles on the schedule before race day. I’ll average them all out and will hopefully have a good idea of where my pace will fall, and pray that the warm weather doesn’t throw me off too much.

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Project – Stenciled Hoodie


I got a really cool new gadget for Christmas this year – the Silhouette Cameo. For a couple of years now, I’ve been watching all of the projects other bloggers make with their Silhouette and wishing that I had one. I finally asked for it this year.

It has taken me this long to decide what to try first. I had this navy blue hoodie I bought a while back, just chilling in the closet. I’ve never worn it, because I always intended to applique it or something. Why not paint it?


I used the Silhouette to cut a stencil out of Contact Paper. Then, I used fabric paint and filled in my design. I was a little too eager, though. I realized on the second coat of paint that I didn’t get my stencil laid down perfectly flat, and there were some bubbles around the edges of the letters. I tried to hold them down while I painted to prevent it from bleeding outside the stencil, but I didn’t do the best job. See?


The “u” is especially drippy. In hindsight, I should have also made the word smaller and left off the period. It looked great lying flat on the ironing board, but a little funny once I put it on. No worries, though. I can wear it to the gym or as a hidden layer on super cold days.

Next, I think I will be trying heat transfer vinyl. I’ve ordered some for some t-shirts I want to make. They look really cute in my head. I hope they turn out well. I’ll share once all my materials show up and I get them finished.

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Run – Fighting Weight

Although this is a popular topic in January each year, my choice to discuss weight has nothing to do with a resolution and everything to do with the fact that I have a race coming up in a little under six weeks. My weight generally fluctuates within about a ten-pound range (five pounds under and over what I should actually maintain).

Right now, I’m at the five pounds over mark. This is pretty common for me during the winter. It’s cold. I’m staying indoors. I’m (usually) less active. I eat more comfort foods. I’ve been making a lot of excuses, too. It’s been the holiday season, and it’s too hard to resist all the wonderful food. Once Christmas is over, I’ll eat better. I also like to tell myself that the extra weight I’m carrying is muscle, because I’ve been training for a race. Ha! I wish that were true, but I know I’m delusional.

It’s time to get back down to my fighting weight. I’m putting myself at a disadvantage before I even cross the starting line if I’m running five pounds heavy. I have read that 10 pounds can affect your pace by 20 seconds per mile. For a shorter race, meh. It doesn’t add up to much. In a longer race, it can make a big difference. For me, it could mean the difference in whether or not a set a new PR. (I’m trying to beat 2:37:44)

This is a light week for me mileage-wise, so I chose Sunday to start counting calories, eating more whole foods, and focusing on being healthy for the race in addition to having trained.

In the same vein, very soon the man and I are both going to start something new, and hopefully awesome. We’re going to do the Advocare 24-Day Challenge. We’re hoping to lose weight, tone up, and just feel better. And in a totally unplanned move, we also signed up to be Advocare distributors. If you decide you’d like to try it along with us, let me know! If you click that link up there, it’ll take you to our website. Please don’t judge too harshly. We don’t really have a “story” yet, per se, so the site is really generic with no personal information about us.

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Run – Sometimes it’s hard.


I wish I had seen this yesterday morning. I was due for 12 miles on the ol’ training schedule yesterday. Well, if I’m honest, I was supposed to do it last week, with this week and next week only having 4 miles on the long run day. Since we were still away from home, I postponed it. No big deal. I didn’t need two short weeks anyway.

But I goofed. I felt really weird on Monday morning, so I pushed my maintenance runs to Tuesday and Thursday. Then, I decided to go ahead with the long run on Friday without a rest day beforehand. Add to that the fact that I slept HORRIBLY on Thursday night. Our room gets too hot at night. I’m pretty sure it hinders good sleep, but we can’t figure out how to fix it, short of opening the window and letting too-cold air in.

I wasn’t pumped when I started my run, and I had a time limit. I drop Neely at school at 9:00 and have to pick her up by 11:30. By the time I got on the treadmill, it was 9:10. I knew I’d need to stop by 11:10 to cool down, stretch, and allow myself to remove the snow from my car and still make it in time to get her. I dislike doing a long run on the treadmill. I’m never sure where to set the pace, and I always end up running slower than I should. So in two hours, I only made it to 10.5 miles. It’s crazy, considering that when I ran 10 miles before Christmas, on the track, I finished in 1:45. It was discouraging. I did what I could, but the anxiety of trying to finish with a deadline nearly did me in.

Next time, I’ll have to do the long run in the evening when John can keep the kiddos, and I can take as much time as I need to.

I am thankful, however, that I didn’t feel nearly as bad as the first time I attempted 12 miles last March. I didn’t want to cry. I just felt tired, and stressed out. Life goes on. It wasn’t my best run ever, but at least it wasn’t my worst. I’ll do better next time.

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Run – Rapunzel Running Costume


There are only 44 days left until the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon, and it is time to talk costume. When I signed up for the race, I asked Neely which princess I should dress up as. Her request, without hesitation, was Rapunzel, so I’m running as Rapunzel for my baby girl. I really dig this picture of her, by the way. She looks ready to kick some butt.


I’ve had several months to scour the internet for inspiration, and I’m finally ready to share what I’ve found. This is the inspiration board I created on Polyvore. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I am not going to make the entire costume myself. I don’t have enough experience with activewear and stretchy material to be confident that I won’t be a chafed disaster after 13.1 miles in my own handiwork. I’m going to order a fun, sparkly skirt and visor from Team Sparkle. I’ll probably take a pair of purple leggings in addition to the shorts, just in case the weather is cool. (But let’s get real. It’s going to feel positively tropical compared to what I’m used to.)

I found a couple of tops to give me ideas. I have a tank that I’m going to embellish myself. I’ll be adding the criss-crossed ribbon down the middle to look like the bodice of Rapunzel’s dress, and I’m also going to add some sleeves like these:


Only mine will be pink and purple. The tutorial for the Snow White sleeves can be found on This Mama Makes Stuff.

The hair is still up for debate. I don’t feel really comfortable about running in a wig for so long. I’ve also read that you’re supposed to train in your costume, to be sure you can run in it, and I am absolutely NOT showing up at the base gym in a long, blonde wig. Not happening.

While scouring Pinterest last night, I finally found something I may be able to live with – yarn braids attached to the visor. You can see the picture here. It seems a little funny to post someone else’s race pic on my blog, so you’ll have to venture away from here if you want to see it.


The piece de resistance? Pascal. Isn’t he so super cute? I love him. He’s the cutest little amigurumi I’ve ever seen. Oh, yes. You will be mine, little buddy.

I think that’s all. I’m excited to get it all pulled together. I can hardly believe the race is barely over 6 weeks away!

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Photos – Motion

When I began to upload and sort through my photos from our holiday travels, my initial reaction was disappointment. I have zero lovely, idyllic shots of my children enjoying Christmas. None at all. What I do have are a bunch of fuzzy, blurred motion shots. There were a lot of cloudy days in Tennessee this Christmas. Combine that with low-lit houses and the typical candlelit ambience that most of us employ in our holiday decorating, and the fact that I loathe using a flash, and this is what you get.









The more I look at these photos, though, the more I like them. This was Christmas. The kids weren’t sitting still, being careful not to mess their clothes, or smiling serenely. They’d have been bored out of their gourds.

So while I don’t have any beautiful photos to remember exactly what these little ones looked like in December 2012, I don’t have to look too hard to see how much fun they had.

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2013 – New Year Goals



Resolutions? Goals? I’m never sure exactly what to call my New Year’s list. I don’t feel like they’re resolutions, exactly. They’re goals to strive toward, but I never feel like a complete failure if they don’t all happen. I recently saw someone somewhere on the interwebs refer to theirs as a Bucket List. Mine don’t exactly fit that category either, but I like the idea. Maybe I’ll make a Bucket List next year.

In 2013, I would like to…

1. Find a church (in Minot) that we like enough to attend regularly. We’ve tried, but I feel like we haven’t tried hard enough yet. It’s time to get serious.

2. Run more races. Races are fun. Last year, I registered for four, but only ran two. I keep up my distance and stay more consistent when there are races on my calendar. I’d like to run two, maybe three, half marathons this year and as many 5K and 10K races as I can find nearby. If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

3. Restart my business and introduce Neely Bug Boutique to a new market. I have some ideas and may change my inventory a bit. I’ll keep you updated as it begins to happen.

4. Unplug more. It’s kind of funny to write that as I sit at the computer. I was accused several times over the holidays of constantly having a gadget in my hand. I honestly don’t think I’m any worse than any of the accusees, but I’m going to work on it. I want to be more involved in my life and with the people around me, instead of obsessively checking e-mail, Facebook, and Instagram. You’ll still see me there, just a bit less.

That’s all. I’m not shooting for 10 this year. Here’s to 2013!

Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering about the black eyed pea picture…it’s supposed to bring good luck if you eat them on New Year’s Day. Those are the ones my mom was preparing for us. 🙂

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