January Resolution Update

As part of my 2015 resolutions, I post my status each month to keep myself accountable for the goals I set for myself!

1. Design 2015 budget goals with husband to reflect past spending and current saving goals.

Eh, not so great. Our budget is up to date on the computer, and we are overall doing well. Our “allowance” idea would have worked better this month if we had planned better. My husband spent January finishing up residency interviews and therefore was on the road quite often. We had not decided ahead of time how these road trips would factor into our allowance. Therefore, we spent a bit more on dining out than I would have preferred.

Moving into February, we will be reattacking this goal. I have prepped our envelopes with our allowance and we’re going to give it our all! We do have a weekend away at the end of this next rotation, so we decided our allowance would not factor into the eating out those days. Instead, we will plan ahead to bring what we can and budget appropriately.

2. Go to the gym (or workout at home) a minimum of four days a week.

Ugh. Well, not so good on this one! Two of the weeks, I achieved my goal. Which means that the other two weeks, I did not. One week I only went three times. I made several excuses and did not push myself. This last week of January was made difficult due to Blizzard Juno. I find it much harder to motivate myself to do workouts at home.

Sadly this means my success was only 50%. I will certainly be looking for improvement in February! My husband’s work schedule is changing, so I will be utilizing the babysitting services at my gym. I am hoping this will allow me more flexibility to reach my goals since before I was limited to the time before my husband left for work.

3. Reduce my PR of a 9 min mile pace to an 8 minute mile.

Every week, I would push myself to run as fast as I could on the treadmill. Yesterday I decided to really haul it and see what this body could do. I ran a mile in 8:28! I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself. I had no idea my body could do this. My February goal is to get below an 8:25. The goal seems small, but currently I’ve only run an 8:28 once in my whole existence. I want to work on that becoming a more comfortable run, rather than getting stares from the neighboring treadmill occupants as I gasp along.

4. Try one new recipe a week and blog about it.

Pork “Fried” Rice

Orange Chicken

Clean and Easy Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

Breaded Pork Chops

5. I want to continue nursing Cupcake through 2015, unless she chooses to wean earlier.

Check! I experienced a major dip in supply following some weight loss combined with Cupcake getting sick and not taking all of her feeds. Thankfully, through a lot of work, my supply is back up and I have a very content little girl!

6. Visit my grandma every week before our move. Call her every week after we move.

Check! I went to visit my Gramma three times this month. In addition, there were two weeks where we had to stick with a call. The first week Cupcake was sick. The next week, my grandmother and her roommate both were too sick for Cupcake to visit. It’s getting harder and harder to keep my wiggly worm occupied at the nursing home, but thankfully she’s such a good girl!

7. Text/call/email a different friend every day to keep communication open.

So, this was one of the best resolutions I made! It really forced me to reach out to so many people in my little world. It made me realize that sometimes I rely on others to do that part of the friendship too much. It was great connecting with so many and I look forward to seeing how this resolution will help keep my relationships strong once we move!

8. I will cut my monthly consumption of soda.

My goal for January was to reduce my consumption of soda to four 8-oz cups a week.

This goal was really achievable! In fact, I am super impressed with myself because just a few years ago I lived off of soda. I easily would drink 2-3 cans (which translates to at least four 8-oz servings) a day!!!

My highest week I had 3 servings. I had a total of only 8 servings over the whole month.

My February SMART goal will be to maintain my current goal of no more than four servings a week. I want to turn my focus to the situations in which I drink soda and try and address the behaviors associated with that. I have noticed that I tend to want a soda for my afternoon pick-me-up. I do not want to drink coffee in the afternoon since that level of caffeine is likely to affect my sleep. My second goal will be that if I find myself wanting a soda, I will first make sure I drink 2 cups of water to ensure that I am not just thirsty. If I still want my soda after that, I can have it. I’m hoping the extra water will keep me hydrated, perk me up, and make me too full to drink the whole soda!

9. Subscribe to FlyLady Emails. Complete tasks to maintain clean and decluttered home.

I subscribed again to the emails and started on New Years Day. I created an organizational binder, which I love! I have found when Cupcake has an off-day, I cannot always get to the daily task. To combat this, I doubled up on days when I had more time. Over the course of the week, all chores would get done! I love how much cleaner my house is getting.

It also makes me happy because now Cupcake is becoming more aware of what Mama does during the day. I have to take her whole mattress out of her crib to change her sheets. This month, I noticed that Cupcake was intently watching me each time I changed them. I would show her two different options for her new sheet set and let her “pick” one (wherever her hand landed first haha). It makes me feel good that my habits will rub off on her and hopefully encourage her in the right direction!

10. Reduce time spent watching TV

This month I focused on the time I spent watching the news. This was a very hard habit to break, but there are a few ways I was successful.

-I stopped watching nightly news and only watched in the morning. Sometimes the stories on the nightly news were upsetting or bothersome and likely was affecting my sleep. Plus, most of the PM stories were covered during the AM newscast. I also realized that with the virtual world in my cell phone, I didn’t miss out on as much as I somehow thought I would.
-I never spend an hour on the treadmill. I counted whatever news I watched at the gym as my time for the day.
-In the mornings where I didn’t go to the gym, I turned the TV to a music station as soon as my time was up. We have a portable music player that I may eventually switch to so that the physical TV is off, but this was a good transition.

I encountered some difficulties as my husband was used to watching the news with me. However, he was supportive as always. He was also raised on a steady diet of TV, so this is a big change for us. I also found that I didn’t feel quite as “in the know” as I like. I digest news better in the TV format as compared to reading it online or in the paper. Moving into February, I hope this part will get better.

My SMART goal for February is to go through all the shows I have set for the DVR and figure out if they really add any true value or enjoyment to our lives and delete all that don’t. Big Bang Theory stays! If I truly love it, fine. However, if it isn’t truly meaningful in my world, it is a waste of time! I will not add any new shows to our lineup.

11. Post progress each month on the above goals.
Check!

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Breaded Pork Chops

Start the applause now… I made a recipe that doesn’t use a crockpot! I did! Me! And it was good! Say whaaaat?!?

No one, and I mean no one, loves a pork chop as much as Cupcake. She could munch on one all day long. So, we make them a lot. Which is great, ish. After you have pork chops prepared the same way over and over, even a yummy thing can seem boring. Since I made it my New Years Resolution to try new recipes, I did what any self-respecting woman in her late-20s would do. I turned to Pinterest.

And lo and behold, I found the perfect recipe! I wrote it down on a piece of paper and did not think two things about it. Until I realized I have no clue where I found this recipe originally. I hate not being able to give credit where credit is due, so just know-this isn’t really my recipe. Well, it wasn’t at first. You all know I never really follow a recipe as it’s stated, so this one is certainly momming-ed up!

Ingredients

6 boneless center-cut pork chops, with fat trimmed

2 T spicy brown mustard

1/2 c breadcrumbs

1 t dried thyme

1 t dried parsley

pinch salt

pinch pepper

1 T olive oil

Directions

1. Heat oven to 450 degrees

2. Mix breadcrumbs and spices. Set aside.

3. Rub mustard evenly over pork chops. Coat chops with breadcrumbs mixture.

4. Heat oven-safe skillet to med-high. Add oil. Cook chops for 2 minutes.

5. Turn over and put in oven for 8 minutes.

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Note

My Farberware non-stick skillets are not safe to 450 degrees. So, I cooked the chops for 2 minutes on the stove and then transferred to a pan for 10 minutes.

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That’s a pretty looking pork chop, am I right?

It tasted every bit as good as it looked. The one “downside” was that we only had breadcrumbs in our house from our days of not-so-clean eating. I’d really like to try this recipe again with a cleaner crumb to make it even better!

Do you have any good suggestions for a clean breadcrumb that works well in savory dishes? Let me know!

Easy and Clean Crockpot Pork Tenderloin

The other day I was playing around on the web and stumbled across Whisking Mama. She had a recipe for “The Best Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin” and it really started a craving! It combined all things I loved. It seemed easy, it had clean ingredients, it used a crockpot, and pork tenderloin was on sale. I knew I had to try this so-called “best” recipe as part of my New Years Resolution to try a new recipe each week!

Cupcake seems to be confused and not realize that she is a tiny 9-month old who needs her naps. She took one 5 minute nap in the AM, which thankfully was all I needed to throw this recipe together. Cupcake’s godfather, who is one of my best childhood friends, came over in the afternoon to see the cutest little girl around. It was so lovely to have my crockpot slaving away over dinner so I could enjoy his company! I *heart* the crockpot.

Okay, enough of my yammering away..here it goes.

Ingredients

2 lbs pork tenderloin

1/4 c soy sauce (I like low sodium)

1.5 T mustard (we used spicy, but yellow is what the original recipe called for)

2 T olive oil

3 T maple syrup

1 t onion powder

1.5 t garlic powder

1 shallot, chopped (I omitted this because we didn’t have it in the house)

Directions

1. Mix together all ingredients in a bowl (except for the tenderloin). Set aside.

2. Put tenderloin in crockpot.

3. Pour mixture over tenderloin.

4. Cook on low 5-6 hours. Recommended in the original recipe is to turn the pork twice (at 2 and 4 hours) to ensure even cooking. I did this and thought it was perfect!

5. Serve with juices over meat

People, I loved it. Loved it! When I first thought of mixing oil, maple syrup and mustard together, I was admittedly a bit skeptical. After my giant flop last week, this was a magnificent surprise. Seriously, Whisking Mama was not kidding. This is the best. It was amazing and my husband already asked when we could have it again. It was seriously awesome. In fact, I am wholeheartedly enjoying my leftovers for lunch today!

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

The sweet Vaishali of The Champa Tree nominated me for this award. What a happy surprise! I always love reading her posts about her son! She also posts many how-to’s and fun facts for moms! If you haven’t already, check her out.

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1. Thank the blogger who nominated you, linking back to their site

2. Put the Award logo on your blog

3. Answer the ten questions sent to you

4. Make up ten new questions for your nominees to answer

5. Nominate seven blogs

Here are my questions to answer:
1. What do you like to tell the readers through your blog?

I like having the opportunity to connect as moms. I want to show that, although we all make different choices, we are all in this together. We can create a virtual village to raise our children by learning from each other and sharing our experiences. I like to post recipes my family loves to help encourage a healthy lifestyle, as well!

2. Which is the most beautiful post that you would like to revisit from time-to-time (could be from your blog or any other blog)?

Hmm, that is a hard one! Currently I would say The Trouble with Daughters is my favorite!

3. One topic that you can write endlessly on..

Cupcake. She is my favorite person ever. I find her infinitely fascinating and wonderful.

4. Your favorite song of all time. Share a few lines with us please!

I don’t know that I have just one favorite! I do love to sing pretty much all of the time. I love singing Disney songs, songs on the radio, songs I used to sing in choir, and favorites from church. Cupcake’s favorite song that I sing (she smiles so big whenever I start to sing it) is called “Turn Around.” There are many versions out there, but this is the one my mama sang to me and hopefully someday Cupcake will sing to my future grandchildren!

Where are you going
My little one, little one?
Where are you going
My baby, my own?

Turn around and you’re two
Turn around and you’re four
Turn around and you’re a young girl
Going out of the door

Where are you going
My little one, little one?
Little dirndls and petticoats
Where have you gone?

Turn around and you’re *I insert age she is*
Turn around and you’re grown
Turn around and you’re a young wife
With babes of your own

5. Your favorite movie and why?

The Wizard of Oz. It’s always been my favorite. Something magical about escaping over the rainbow!

6. What is this one thing that you do first thing in the morning 🙂

I nearly almost always wake up to the sound of Cupcake, so I start singing her name and go get my squishy little love bug!

7. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained one quality or ability, what would it be?

The ability to have infinite patience for my children

8. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

My family. They are my everything.

9. What is your most treasured memory?

Hearing Cupcake say “mama” for the first time. Nothing has ever filled me with such joy!

10. What would constitute a perfect day for you?

Spending the day with Cupcake and my husband. Making breakfast together, going on a walk, and just hanging out the three of us!

10 Questions for my Nominees

1. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or passed, who would you pick? Why?

2. What is your “happy place?”

3. How many siblings do you have?

4. What is your favorite family tradition?

5. What is your favorite food?

6. What is the weather like where you are?

7. Ah! I just caught you sneaking a treat! What would you likely be eating?

8. You make the most perfect dinner for your family. You sit down to eat, take a big bite, and ugh…it’s horrible! What do you do? (Please see Crockpot Orange Chicken haha)

9. What is your favorite way to relax?

10. What was your favorite childhood toy?

My 7 Wonderful Nominees

Playing House

My Real Life Moments

Brienne Jamieson

Another Day in Mommadise

Memoirs of a Running Mama

Invited by Grace

More than Just Dumplings

Have fun!

The Trouble with Daughters

My husband and I decided to not learn the sex of our baby during my pregnancy. When I felt kicks, people would comment that I must have a soccer player in there. When the baby would move around, I would hear how strong he or she would be.

And then, on an early spring day, she was here. And it was wonderful. And life went on.

Except, my past history started getting rewritten by those same people. Those same kicks and movements of pregnancy were now an indicator of what trouble she’d be as a teenager. Just you wait… people would say. Everyone was rushing to tell me just how difficult my little girl would be. Teenage girls have all sorts of emotions to deal with. Everyone was quick to tease that she’d soon be bugging me to take her shopping. It made me so sad. Was that all my baby was- a collection of emotions and shopping bags? I wanted to hide her forever and keep her safe from the stereotypes of society.

However, I quickly realized that I couldn’t exactly protect her from the rest of the world. But there was one person I could protect her from- Me. I would be her first teacher in the nature of womanhood. I would set the tone. And I wondered what messages I was already sending her regarding self-esteem, body image and self-worth.

I was forced to take a long look at myself. When I get dressed each day, her little eyes watch me. How do I treat that woman in the mirror? Do I reflect her strengths or harp on any perceived weaknesses?

When I put on my makeup, is she seeing that I do it because I love it? Does she see that I put it on for me, because that’s the only reason one should wear makeup? Does she see that it makes no difference whether I choose to wear it or not? Do I show her that?

Does she know that being strong can mean many things? Does she know that there is immense strength in letting herself feel emotions of all types? When I cry, does she see that it’s just one way I express myself and that there is no weakness in crying.

When I head off to the gym, does she see that I go to stay strong, not to stay a certain size? When I go for a run, does she know that it’s because my 92 year old grandma would give anything for one day of running and I don’t want to waste a second with these able legs? Does she know I run so that I can keep up with her and not to fit into a certain pant size?

When I eat an apple instead of reaching for a brownie, does she know it’s because I feel better when I eat my fruits and vegetables? When I reach for the brownie, does she see that it’s okay because brownies are delicious and life should be, too?

The trouble with daughters has nothing to do with shopping bags and difficult teenage years. The trouble with daughters is being a girl has often been seen as a detriment, a weakness, a blemish.

So to my most wonderful daughter, own that strength you had in my womb. You want to use it to walk through stores and go shopping? Go for it! Just know that they may be unhappy with you bringing in all that mud on your soccer cleats.

Crockpot Orange Chicken

Or maybe…
Why my Chicken Turned Into a Burger

Or even…
Stupid New Year’s Resolution

I made a New Year’s Resolution to try a new recipe each week and blog about it.

Let me start by saying that I don’t know if I have ever in my life ordered orange chicken off a menu. I have no idea what sparked the idea to make this meal and I was sincerely prepared to not even enjoy it much. But, go big or go home, right? Might as well stretch my comfort-zone a little.

It’s not like I stretched it that far – this is a crockpot recipe after all!

So today Cupcake did not want to nap. We managed a quick 15 minute nap this AM, though, which gave me just enough time to prep my masterpiece

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For six beautiful hours, this sat and cooked. The house smelled like beautiful oranges. It was lovely! I was excited!

So dinner time rolled around and my hubby and I took our first bite. He smiled, but I know that smile. It meant he hated it.

But I hated it even more. Horrid. Tasted like orange, all-right. Way too orangey. Way too… Off.

Darling Cupcake loves oranges and makes the cutest little face when the sourness hits her. Since this was a super clean recipe and I was just going to throw it out, I gave her a tiny piece of chicken. And.she.loved.it!

That girl ate more of that meal than I think I’ve ever seen her eat before. She ate up all the chicken, baked orange slices and veggies that I put down. I couldn’t get it to her fast enough.

So while I fed Cupcake a meal that was no longer a waste, my sweetie got me a most delicious burger from a local restaurant. So, even though this meal was technically a “fail,” it was a most glorious success as I now have a whole bunch of meals for Cupcake already prepared!

Anyone out there have a yummy recipe for orange chicken that is at least somewhat healthy?

Bueller?