Category Archives: Goals

A new race on the calendar!

As many of you know, registration for the 2017 Disney Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World opened up to the general public last week. I’ve wanted to repeat this race since I first participated in 2013, but I haven’t had the opportunity. All the stars have aligned, and I will be going back in 2017!


What’s really fun is, once I put it out there on the Internet that I’m registered, I learned that a lot of people I know are running. AND I recruited a friend to come and make it her very first half marathon! AND she is inviting everyone she knows to come along, too. If I’m honest, so am I. “Come! Run with me!” “Come! Be my cheerleader!” I’m pretty excited. I just can’t seem to help myself.

Once the kids are back to school (in less than a month?!), I’ll have to get serious about running again. We haven’t broken up completely, but I haven’t trained for any kind of long distance since January. Of last year. I’ve lifted weights and done a lot of other things, but I haven’t run farther than three or four miles in quite some time. It will definitely be a challenge with the hills and altitude that I have to contend with now.


I snapped this photo one morning while walking Hank. It’s a little tricky to tell, but our neighborhood is nestled right up next to the mountains. There’s a running/biking path…at the bottom of the hill. No matter what I do, the last mile back to my house? Straight up. I may need to leave the neighborhood to find a path that won’t try to kill me.

Regardless, this is happening. I’ll have another one of these beauties to add to my collection come February! Now, to figure out my costume….



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Bring it on, 2016!

It has been months since I’ve blogged. When I sit and think it through, I can narrow it all down to two reasons:

  1. Time. There isn’t enough of it. I know you’ve heard it all before, but it’s not always easy to juggle everything I want to do, everything I need to do, and the random things I’m expected to do. The fact that I even typed “that I’m expected to do” is ridiculous. Those things, I should probably toss out the window first, but if you haven’t figured it out by now, let me clue you in on something. I am a people pleaser. I want everyone to be happy. I want everyone to like me. I don’t want to disappoint anyone. Which leads me to my next point…
  1. Content. Although I’m busy, I’m afraid nobody really wants to hear about any of it. Is it boring to talk about my kids? Work? What I’m eating? The gym? Haven’t you heard it all before? Do I really manage to put my own “spin” on it? Do I sound like a complainer? Is there any point to it? I’ve begun to write so many times and gotten nowhere, because I’ve turned into a great big chicken, afraid of either being criticized or that no one really even gives two craps, which kind of brings everything full circle.

As usual, as a new year begins, I’m thinking through my goals and accomplishments from the previous year and looking forward. I didn’t publish any goals for 2015, but I had several that I kept to myself. I made seven, and I pulled off two. Most were fairly personal this time around, so sorry, but I’m still not sharing.

My goal for 2016 is to write more. I love writing. Even if it’s just for me, I want to put something on the ol’ blog at least once a week. That’s only four-ish times a month. I think it’s completely reasonable. Oh, look! I’m all set for this week. Too bad it’s Friday.

What’s new in North Dakota…

Y’all, I am a terrible blogger. I hardly ever remember to write. I have been so wrapped up in learning to balance my new schedule with work and family and just normal life in general that I’m afraid I don’t have much interesting to say.

Then again, maybe it will be interesting…to somebody.


The last time I wrote, I was not in a great place. I’d completely upended my schedule to fit in more workouts and try to prep meals for the week all at one time. And feed my children completely separate meals. I’m really glad I didn’t just give up. I knew there was a solution, a way to balance everything and make it work. I just had to find it!


Step one: Quit trying to pre-cook a week’s worth of meals. This works for some people. For me, it just…doesn’t. If I’m going to be in the kitchen cooking the kids’ dinner, I might as be well cooking mine and John’s simultaneously. I enjoy taking a break from the computer to stand in the kitchen and prepare a meal at the end of the day. I needed to take that time back. As soon as I did, I started to feel less overwhelmed. It also gives me the freedom to change up our proteins and veggies in the evening if we’re not “feeling” the basics in our original meal plans.

Step two: Take a deep breath and ask your trainer how to combine workouts and cut back on the gym time a little bit. I originally had a workout on my calendar every day of the week but Sunday. I managed it the first week, but I felt like I was neglecting other areas of my life to be at the gym. Now, I weight train three days a week, and I still try to fit in cardio every day but Sunday. I’ve stopped guilting myself to death when I can’t manage everything, though. Sometimes, things happen and I don’t make it. I’m learning to regroup and reboot the next day.

Step three: Remind yourself that you work from home. You make your own schedule. It doesn’t matter if you are getting most of your work done in the afternoon, because the gym is less crowded in the morning. You’re getting your work done!

All in all, I’m feeling much better and very satisfied with how things are going now. I’ve re-learned how best to feed myself, what to feed myself, and when to feed myself. I’ve lost a little bit of weight, but more importantly, I’m super happy with my progress photos. I don’t know that I’ll ever be brave enough to actually share them, but this mama will not be afraid of her swim suits come summer.

The best thing is – now that I’ve gotten into a rhythm, I am confident that I’ll be able to continue down the right path with my diet and exercise. Tiffany has made my goals feel very attainable. I am working hard, but I don’t feel like I’m hurting my body to get results (ex. starvation-type diets). She’s even going to give me a separate meal plan for when I decide to start training for another run.

If you are looking for a personal trainer with a great program, Tiffany is awesome! Here’s her Facebook page:

We’ve been doing her 6-week online program. You can do it from anywhere!

Snowy Sunday

It’s a snowy Sunday here in North Dakota, so I’m writing because I don’t have much to do today. Alright, that’s not necessarily true. I have laundry to do. I could pick up around the house. I could reorganize my closets. A more accurate statement would be that there isn’t much around here that I want to do today.

The last couple of weeks have been busy! Usually, this time of year drags by, so this seems kind of strange. We’ve started a new nutrition and exercise plan (with a personal trainer!), so a lot of my time and energy lately has been focused on learning better eating habits and making time to go to the gym.

Normally, I’d be on a treadmill three, maybe four times a week. Last week, I was at the gym 6 out of 7 days, doing weight training in addition to cardio. It’s definitely an adjustment. A good adjustment, but it definitely takes a conscious effort right now. I’m sure it will become habit within a few weeks and won’t feel so weird, but I’m not there just yet.

The meal plan is something else entirely. Right now, we’re pretty much repeating the same meals every day. I’m learning how to prepare things ahead of time, so we can grab them and eat what we’re supposed to without thinking about it. This has been the bigger challenge for me. I really prefer to cook meals that the whole family can eat, all at the same time. My kids are not on board with what John and I are supposed to eat, though, so I feel like I’m making 15 different meals each day. If we had a second refrigerator, I might have room to stockpile the way I’d like to. As it is, I seem to be spending a little bit of time each day prepping one thing that will last for a few days. Then, I’m making something extra for the kids each night for dinner. I’ve tried to time things so we can at least all sit down together with our respective meals. I hope I get all of this figured out soon. It is pretty exhausting.

That, my friends, is all for now. No photos. Nothing truly exciting. I just needed to run my mouth for a minute. 😉

Run – It’s time to buckle down.


I have really let myself go this winter. Neely no longer likes to play in the family room at the gym while I’m on a treadmill, and it has been hard to get over there most mornings. I try to use videos and do workout routines at home, but it’s really hard to be consistent. I can usually come up with something I’d rather do. Either that, or I get sidetracked doing something else and run out of time before I need to move on with my day. I have been exercising maybe twice a week – usually one run and one at-home workout.

I’ve really got to buckle down and get back to work. I did a pretty tough at-home workout on Monday, and yesterday, I wore myself out on the treadmill. I’m taking a day off today, but I plan to be back at it tomorrow. I have to get my cardio back to a good place, so I can start training for that half marathon I signed up for in November. November seems like it’s really far away right now, but I don’t want to let it creep up on me.

I’m writing about this here to hold myself accountable. I haven’t talked about running much lately, because honestly, I haven’t done much of it. I am really, really, really hoping that the weather begins to cooperate with me soon. It’ll be easier just to get outside and run than it is to drive to the gym, run, drive home, shower, etc. I’d really like to invest in a treadmill before winter hits next year. We’ll see how that goes.

For now, I’m taking baby steps. I’ve already run more this week than I did last week. I’d like to get two more runs in this week. Next week, I’ll probably stick to the same schedule, then start increasing the distance again the week after that.

What do you do when you’ve let your good habits fall by the wayside? How do you get back in the habit?

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The Year to Come


As a general rule, I do not like to wish time away, but 2013 has been one roller coaster of a year. For the last month, I am ashamed to say that I have eagerly awaited the year’s end. 2013 handed me the loss of three loved ones and a surprise deployment. It has piled heartache upon heartache. There have been many moments when I have wondered whether I would ever feel “normal” again.

However, I would be remiss if I failed to mentioned all of the good from the past year. Although not necessarily for the reasons I would choose, I visited home much more often than I thought I would this year, considering how far away I live. As one of my cousins so eloquently noted on Facebook this morning, I was able to reconnect with family that I haven’t seen in a long time, some of whom I had never even met. The kids, the dog and I took the summer road trip of a lifetime. We made many wonderful memories, and we learned the value of home – wherever it happens to be. I finally began to make friends in North Dakota, and I was blessed with the best other-half-of-the-duplex neighbors I could have ever asked for – truly an answer to my prayers. I began a new adventure as a Disney travel planner – something I love and hope will grow in the future. And I am glad to be able to finish this year the way I started it – surrounded by family.

Although my heart aches for those who are not celebrating the year to come with me tonight, I am all the more thankful for those that remain and welcome the opportunities and blessings that 2014 will bring. For once, I am completely unconcerned with resolutions and goals. I want to make the most of the coming year, and it makes absolutely no difference whether I gain or lose 10 pounds, whether my house is kept cleaner and more organized, whether I read more books, or whether I tackle more Pinterest projects. In 2013, I was reminded how little control I have over my life and how fleeting time is. In 2014, I want to cherish those I love, to bless them, and to be blessed by them in return.

I hope you all have a blessed 2014 as well.

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How to save $200 in a month (or less!)



If you are a Disney veteran, you know about the $200 deposit. When making your reservation, Disney requires a $200 deposit to hold your room. Forty-five days before your arrival date, the balance is due. For some, $200 is no big deal; for others, that $200 needs to be planned and saved for just like the rest of the vacation. Here’s how our family does it – I sell things.

I begin either by cleaning out a closet or searching the house for things we no longer need or use. There is always something, or lots of somethings, as is usually the case. This time around, I found a pile of clothes I had bought for my daughter with the tags still on them, a Lululemon running shirt one size too small and rarely worn (but it was on sale!!!), some never used Thirty-One bags that I bought for giveaways when I was a more active consultant, an outgrown car seat and stroller in the garage, and a couple of storage cubes that don’t match anywhere and had been stashed in a closet, taking up valuable space.

The larger items, I post for sale on a local yard sale page. In the last place we lived, there were several yard sale pages on Facebook. You can also use Craigslist. In Minot, there is also a page called Bisman Online (I have no personal experience with it). Regardless, be careful.

I live on a military base, so as often as possible, I try to have buyers meet me on the base. If they have base access, I feel pretty safe. I do realize that this isn’t an option for most people. When I am not meeting someone on base, I make sure I’m in a heavily populated area with lots of people and security cameras around. Just use your nugget, and be smart. Meeting someone to sell a pair of boots in a dark alley at night is probably not the best idea.

How do I price the items? It depends. These are yard sale pages, so you’re probably not going to make back what you paid for that Britax. I am usually selling items that are just a hair nicer than what I’d donate to a thrift store, but I don’t sell them for anything close to their original value. For example, the stroller I sold was a Chicco umbrella stroller. I think we bought it for around $80, but it survived two kids and had been kept in the garage for a while, so I sold it for $5. The car seat was only a couple of years old, was probably $70-80 new, but I didn’t feel like cleaning the lint and dog hair off of it, so I sold it for $15.

Another suggestion is to watch the pages before you list something. Observe how other people are pricing similar items and whether or not they sell. Also, watch and see whether the people commenting and purchasing items are wheeling and dealing. When I was in Louisiana, every single time I sold something, it was for a lower price than what I originally asked for. It didn’t matter if it was just $5, every buyer tried to talk me down in price, and there was almost always someone telling a sob story about why they needed it for free. I learned to price items a little higher than what I actually wanted to get for my items to compensate for that. Here in North Dakota, that hasn’t happened once. What I ask for, I get. But if I price something too high, I get absolutely no responses. Know your area, your potential buyers, and price accordingly.

To sell smaller items that are easy to package and ship, I use EBay. You will have the best luck on EBay if you can sell things that are still in the package or have the tags on them. I never remove the tags from Neely’s clothes until she wears them for the first time. She is incredibly picky when it comes to clothing, and I’ve learned that even if it is too late to return something when I realize she’s never going to wear it, I can at least recoup some of my losses on EBay. Take decent photos, write an accurate description of your item, and be super sure that you get your shipping costs correct. There is nothing worse than losing money on a sale, because you estimated the shipping cost too low. The only downside to using EBay to sell things is that it takes a little more time. You can choose the length of your auction, but I generally find that seven days is a good time frame.

In the last month, I have made $350 selling the small pile of things I collected on EBay and yard sale pages. That’s my $200, plus I’ve already started saving for my trip! Just don’t go too crazy. Sometimes when I clean out too much, my kids start thinking I’m going to sell all of their favorite things. I’m not proud of it.

Other tips to help save for your Disney vacation are to ask for gift cards. If anyone in your family has a birthday, or Christmas is happening before your trip, request Disney gift cards. They are good at the Disney store, yes, but you can also use them to help pay for your vacation. Or you can save them and use the gift cards in the parks to pay for souvenirs.

You can also apply for a Disney Rewards Visa through Chase. Watch your internet sidebars. Periodically, they offer a deal where you can receive a $200 Disney gift card when you pay your first statement. There’s your deposit payment. When you use your rewards card to make purchases, you earn $1 for every $100 you pay off. Even though we usually make sure we have cash on hand to pay for bigger ticket items, I like to put them on our Disney Visa. We immediately pay it off with the cash and have earned rewards dollars. School tuition? Disney rewards. Plane tickets home for the holidays? Disney rewards. Ours add up pretty quickly. Disney also usually releases vacation discounts to cardholders first, then to the general public a little while later. It’s kind of nice to get “dibs” on the best deals.

Get to work! Save up that deposit! Then, get in touch with me ( I’d love to help plan your next magical vacation. My magical service is always free!

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24-Day Challenge Results


The results are in! Since beginning the 24-Day Challenge on January 24th, I have lost 4 pounds and a combined total of 5.75 inches all over (mostly in the belly). I had already begun eating more intentionally two weeks’ prior to starting my challenge and was 4 pounds lighter than at the beginning of the year.

I started out 2013 weighing 136 pounds, and now, I’m down to 128 pounds. While an 8 pound total doesn’t sound like much to some, it’s almost a 6% weight loss for me. The challenge helped me get closer to my goal, and I’m excited about it, not to mention how great a feel! I would still like to lose a few more pounds, and I’m confident that if I keep up the good work and eat well, I can do it.

Is anyone else up for the Challenge???

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Health – Taking My 24-Day Challenge On the Road

Let me start by saying this: if you are going to start the Advocare 24-Day Challenge, do not plan to do it while traveling. It ain’t easy. It wasn’t in my plan to do so, but life happened.

I packed five days’ worth of supplements in my suitcase. That was my first mistake. My flight from Minot to Minneapolis left an hour late. I had a short connection time anyway, so before we even landed in Minneapolis, I’d already missed the last flight to Nashville. I was put in a hotel for the night, told it would take hours to try and retrieve my bag, given a pathetic overnight kit, and sent on my way.

By the time I got to the hotel and was able to sit down to eat anywhere, it was 8:30pm, way off schedule. I did at least have the forethought to put a couple of Spark packets in my carry-on, so when I arrived back at the airport at 5:30am, I at least had that. I wasn’t able to take any of my Max Phase packets that day. I was able to keep to the suggested foods/meals for breakfast and lunch, but my evening meal was screwy again. Visitation was that night. There were food trays at the funeral home. I tried my hardest only to snack on fruit and vegetables, but I must confess to sneaking a few pieces of cheese. I miss cheese.

We didn’t make it to a restaurant for dinner until 8:30pm again, and it was Chuy’s. I was a really good girl and resisted the chips and dip. Mostly. I may have eaten 3 or 4, but who’s counting? I ordered chicken fajitas. I did eat two flour tortillas, but I filled them up with chicken, veggies, and guacamole. I also ate some beans. Okay, I ate all my beans.

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Saturday was completely crazy, but I knew I would be running 14 miles that night. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted, keeping an eye on portion size. I didn’t want to attempt a long run completely carb-free. It would have been a disaster. I pulled off the run and felt better than I have on a long run in quite a while. I don’t know if that can be attributed to eating better, running lighter, or the way the Challenge is changing my body, but I was glad for it. I ran 14 miles in 2:27:51. This was the first time I’ve been able to run outside since November. I feel really ready for the Disney Princess Half Marathon now, though. It’s only 11 days away!

I’d like to be able to say I went straight back to my regimen on Sunday, but I didn’t. Again, I watched portions, but that’s about all. I was better on Monday. We went to a Japanese steakhouse for my cousin’s birthday, and I ordered extra veggies instead of rice. What??? I know. That takes willpower, doesn’t it?

I got back home yesterday, and I’ve been on the ball ever since. It’s so much easier at home. I don’t buy groceries I’m not allowed to eat, so they don’t tempt me. I’m on a schedule, so it’s easier to know when to take my supplements. And since I usually eat at home, they’re always there. I don’t forget to pack them on my way out the door, because I don’t need to.

I was really afraid to get on the scale this morning. I knew all that cheating had probably messed up my progress, and I didn’t really want to know how much. Thankfully, I only gained 1/2 a pound back. That should be easy to get back. I’m glad to be back in my routine. I want to finish out my 24-Day Challenge well!

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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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