Ask Away Blog: December 2016

My Elliptical Routine

Friday, December 30, 2016

So as you know, I've really been working on my fitness these days and one thing that I do consistently is my elliptical workout.  I do this every other day for 35 minutes.  

So here is the routine I use.

I originally found a similar one on the internet but the resistance was so high and I wanted to be more realistic since I still consider myself a beginner. So I played around and modified it and it's been working great for me. 

Feel free to save the image and routine and print it for your own use!

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Christmas 2016

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas this year.  Today I wanted to show you some photos from our Christmas. 
Enjoying some wine on Christmas Eve before family arrived.

On Christmas Eve we had my mom, dad, brother, and grandmother over since she was going to my aunt and uncle's house for Christmas Day.   So my mom made some Hors d'oeuvres. 
Shrimp Dip
Bologna and cream cheese
Monkey Bread

The Spread
Don't be fooled.  This was my first of literally 10 servings.

Grandma had a blast with the pups as always. 

 Oh and I am obsessed with Christmas centerpieces.  James sent these to my work earlier in the week so I brought them home to use them on the table of course!

  I sat around during the day on Christmas Eve reading and reflecting on all the things I'm grateful for.   I have my healthy (good eating and work out habits and I've lost nearly 20 pounds since March!), I'm engaged, I found a new hobby this year with gardening and reading library books, and I have a great home!

Christmas Morning James and I always open each other's gifts first.
Sports bra I wanted, and Oofos sandals which are perfect for my Plantar Fasciitis prone feet

Chihuahua Leggings from LuLaRoe (I know I know! Stay tuned for a blog post in the next two weeks to explain! haha)
Battle Scars

 At 4 pm my mom, dad, and brother came over for Christmas Day dinner and gifts.  I cooked EVERYTHING myself.  It was a gluten free meal as well for James.  I only had one mishap.  I sliced myself on a can, and as I yelled for James to bring me a band-aid it was like a domino effect. I suddenly bumped an open bottle of Brandy (for the cranberry sauce) and it went all over the floor making a sticky ass mess.  Then I lost track of what needed pulled out and when so I began to sweat and get all frantic.  I ended up doing a good job anyways.  Any only needed one bandage.

Sweet Potato Casserole

I made the napkin ring!

Cranberry Sauce

Green Bean Casserole

Corn Casserole with Cheese

And I was so happy with my gifts from my mom and dad.  All the stuff I needed.  New towels, gardening tools, a gravy boat and ladle, a game for when I have friends over, and a spiralizer!

Everyone always asks what I get my dogs for Christmas.  Well they have EVERYTHING they need already.  They have two bins of toys, they already are stocked up on treats and chewies, and they have a full wardrobe.

Rocky was happy that he had some new food to try out. Stella & Chewy's has some Super Blends Meal Mixers and you can even feed them as a full meal.  He is such a picky eater but man does he love this stuff!  It's specially formulated in a small breed offering that meets my little guy's needs.  There are no added hormones or antibiotics in the poultry and it also has 100% organic certified fruits and veggies!   No grains, gluten, or artificial ingredients! You can either mix it in with their kibble or feed it on it's own like I did. This freeze dried blend even came with a little scoop so it was easy to measure out how much to give Rocky! 

And as for Grace's gift... well let's just say with her health scare in September/October I think I spent more than enough on her already so she has her health and that's a damn good gift. 

Stella and Pixie got tons of hugs and cuddles as their gift.   That's all they needed.

How was your Christmas?!?

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Books I Recommend You Read [Decemer]

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

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Hello Hello and here we are again at the end of another month and I have another selection of great books for you that I've read this month!

One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Oh Em Gee I absolutely LOVED this book!! Do you remember in the movie Castaway when Tom Hanks comes home and goes to his former wife's house and sees how she's moved on.  But she's still confused and so is her and remember how you felt watching that scene where she basically had to make a choice?  Now imagine that someone wrote a book specifically about that struggle...well that's what this book is.  Jesse gets lost at sea and Emma has to move on and when she does she finds the new love of her life, Sam.  But suddenly Jesse is back.  She now has to make a choice.  Who will she choose and will it be an easy decision?  This book was such an easy read as well!

Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt
This is one of those books that takes place in the 70's and it's about a girl that falls in love with an older man who turns out to be a monster.  Will she get away?  

Forever by Judy Blume
Okay, I know this is totally a book for teenagers but I never read it. And OMG it was amazing and totally brought me back to those first time emotions and feelings of love and lust.  This is a must read for every female at any age.

Above by Isla Morley
This book is really really interesting and very hard to put down. It reminds me of that Cloverfield Lane movie. Basically a girl is kept in a shelter underground and you go through the book trying to figure out if the guy keeping her there is brilliant or just a sicko.  Seriously, this is a thrilling read!

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This book is about a trial separation and I just love how the author captures all of the emotions that we experience both in a relationship and during a break up. It's a very easy read and it's an amazing story line.

Swear on This Life by Renee Carlino
This is a great little love story (and I'm normally not a fan of them because I assume they are all sappy) about a boy and a girl that grow up together and are then separated. Then the boy writes a book about what could have happened and the girl reads it.  And I'm only leaving it at that because you HAVE to read it and find out the rest yourself.  

 It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
This is an amazing novel about family patterns, how hard it is to break them, domestic abuse, and how our pasts stay with us. I don't even want to try to explain more but just know that I read this book in a day!   

Wild and Precious Life by Deborah Ziegler
Do you remember Brittany Maynard? A couple years back she was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.  She chose to end her life on her own terms.  Her story is beautiful and her mother carries on the story through this book.  MUST READ!! AMAZING! It makes you realize how petty we can all be sometimes.

All The Wonderful and Ugly Things by Bryn Greenwood 
This book is a great! I was so captivated by the story line. Told over several decades and different point of views,  it's a tale of forbidden love and family drama.   I love the grittiness of it! 

People Who Knew Me by Kim Hooper
I read this in one sitting because I could not put it down! It's the story of a woman whose life is essentially changed forever after 9/11 but it's her own doing in a way.  Over a decade later her past is catching up with her.  It's also got a realistic love affair which I really indulged in.  

That's all for this month! Have you read any of these?  

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Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine!

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My Official Kitchen Tour

Monday, December 19, 2016

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My closet tour post seemed like a really big hit so I decided to do a kitchen tour as well! As I said in my closet post, I'm going to be realistic and show you what my kitchen looks like all the time.  Everything is not perfectly neat and tidy.  Because I'm a real live human.  So while it is very tidy thanks to the KonMari Method of course, it still isn't perfect.
This is the kitchen.  In all it's glory.

The kitchen is next to the the dining room so on the other side of the counter space on the left hand side of the above photos, the cupboards actually open from the dining room as well. 

First let me just tell you that one of the reasons I love being in my kitchen so much is because it's comfortable and has everything I need.  It even has the most comfortable mat ever. This is actually from Wellness Mats.  You can have it customized with your own letter and you can ever choose the design and color. It's so comfortable to stand on this mat and it even has a 20 year warranty!
Under the sink is the supply cupboard. I have a supply closet that is in a different area but this supply spot has dish detergent, hand soaps, kitchen wipes and cleaners, trash bags, and scrub brushes.  It also has 2 cleaning buckets.  I still have plenty of space underneath here.
To the right of the sink, the cupboards start.  Up top is an interesting cupboard. The bottom shelf has 2 baskets. In the white basket are my Belvita Bites that I have for breakfast every morning.  In the blue bin is cookie mix. I make cookies to give as gifts to people like the mailman and different staff at work.  

The shelf above that contains James' food.  He can't have gluten so he keeps several gluten free goodies here.  The shelf above that is where I keep crackers, honey, and syrup. 
This is where the plates and bowls go.  That's all of 'em!
Here you will find flour, sugar, spices, and other ingredients used for baking.

This cupboard is for drink ware.  The bottom shelf has glasses and cups.  The middle shelf is for coffee mugs, and the top shelf is for blender cups, protein shake bottles, and on-the-go coffee thermoses. 
To the one side of the oven there's a single cupboard where I keep the dog food and extra dog bowls.
Above that is the drawer for utensils and knives. All knives have a cover on them to protect the blades.
On the other side of the oven there is a skinny drawer where I keep coffee k-cups.
Next to that drawer is another tiny drawer where I keep the few kitchen towels I own, potholders, and trivets.
To the left of the sink I keep all of my cutting boards, cooling racks, a rolling pin, and my muffin tins.
Above that is another tiny drawer where I keep baggies.
Next to that is a tiny drawer where I keep wine stoppers, wraps and foils, and my wine opener.
This drawer holds general kitchen tools.
This is my utility drawer. I don't have a junk drawer.  This drawer has scissors, pens, a ruler, cigar things for James, a note pad, corn cob holders, and chip clips.
Below that is the cupboard that opens in the kitchen and in the dining room.  It has pots, pans, some sharper kitchen tools, and excess serving ware.  
There's also a small cupboard in the kitchen where I keep the rice cooker, food processor, hand mixer, and a slap chop.  The slap chop and hand mixer are in the bins on the top shelf that way all their pieces stay together.
This is one of the cupboards up top on the part of the kitchen that opens in the dining room.  This section has food storage containers.
Vitamins, pastas, rices, and some canned goods are in this part as well as a bin of chicken stock and baking foods like chocolate chips and coconut flakes.
The next section has more canned goods, rices, and some of James' snack foods that he brings to work.
There are a few drawers that open in the dining room.  One drawer is for my recipe binder and meal plan calendar.

Another drawer has bamboo skewers, a lighter and outdoor (orange slice) coasters for use in the porch, candle plates, cards, tape, and instructions on how to use some of my kitchen tools. 

The cupboard below these drawers opens in the kitchen too. It has pots and pans on the other side but this side has special occasion stuff like giant bowls to serve things in, a cake containers, a salad spinner, and my baking dishes.
Then there is a cupboard that only opens in the dining room.  I keep some cookbooks, cookie cutters, sodas, and empty jars and vases in there.
There's another little cupboard on it's own and it has my crockpot, stand mixer, and deep fryer.
Above that is a drawer where I keep the dog items.
On top of the fridge are some commonly used dog treats and James' lunch box and water bottles.
And of course how do I organize my cold stuff? Well... in these little bins.  Bottom shelf is meats, top shelf has a box of burgers, a turkey leg, a container of frozen blueberries, and 2 boxes of my dessert every night - chocolate covered banana dippers.

Freezer door contains frozen veggies on the bottom and James' gluten free frozen stuff on the top shelf.
So interesting !

On the counter we keep the most commonly used large kitchen utensils and my Pioneer Woman knife block!

Under the oven are the baking racks and pans.

So there you have it.... now you've snooped around my kitchen and seen how interesting my life is. Ha! 

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