The Journey - The Blog

Forgiveness is a Beautiful Thing.

Forgive me for my absence the past several weeks months.  I have a valid reason though, seriously I do.  I moved to SPAIN!  


Pretty spectacular view isn’t it.  Honestly though if you know me you know that it takes me like a full year to get my house how I want it. Okay sometimes longer. This is a real problem for my family since we are typically only in a house for 2 to 3 years before we pack up and move again.  Point being I am not June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, or even Carol Brady (though to be fair she did have help from a housekeeper), the fact that I am reviving this blog within my first 6 months of being here is kind of a miracle.  This blog was just a baby when we moved so I could have just walked away.  Do not read that and think I would ever walk away from a baby!  Oh wow I can see it is going to take some time to get back into the grove of this whole blogging thing.

To start things off I thought I would share a few pictures with you of what we have been up to.  We have been super busy exploring and I am looking forward to many more adventures with this crew of ours.

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I won’t bore you with all the details of our travels or how much I loved having my mom here for over a week!  If you have been following me on Facebook you already know all about the crazy apes in Gibraltar, the wave that caught Kate by complete surprise, and how I just love the sights and sound of Southern Spain!  See aren’t you glad I didn’t go on and on for hours.  I am saving that for a rainy day. Today it’s sunny so you got lucky.

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Best part about my time here in Spain is this handsome man who keeps me smiling (and puckering up for some smooches).  I love him, he loves me, we just have lots of fun and probably embarrass the kids from time to time.  He and the kids are a huge part of my reason for doing this whole workout like a crazy lady (not really) and eat better (way better than before) thing.  If I were to slip back to my old ways I wouldn’t have the energy to hike all over Spain or run along the beach with my hair blowing in the wind…. oh wait that hasn’t happened. It could though, really it could.  Anyway…. back to my inspirations for getting healthy,  I want to be here to enjoy life to the fullest with this family of ours and if I am not healthy how am I going to do that?

When we moved I thought about just tossing all the clothes in my closet that I couldn’t wear.  I mean it was a serious option to consider.  I did toss donated many items, however I also held a lot of my favorites back.  Why?  They don’t fit so what’s the point?  The point is I don’t want to have to buy a whole new wardrobe, I just want to feel comfy in my own clothes again. Does that make sense?  Sometimes I think I only make sense to myself.  Maybe I should stop talking to myself so much. Period. End of story.


That’s all for now.  More updates and adventure stories to come your way soon.  I am doing some serious CPR on this blog and refuse to give up.  It will survive, just like I will.  Next picture you see of me sweaty on the beach in my running gear will be because I ran on the beach not just the mile and a half to the beach.  Really guys, it is going to happen.  It may take a full 3 years for me to get there but the tortoise won the race right?  Slow and steady, slow and steady.

Thanks again for all you forgiving kind of people…. Forgiveness really is a beautiful thing.




For the Love of GOOD Food

True Story, I love food.

My only requirement, it needs to be good food. I even like going in the kitchen to prepare good food. I just don’t like spending FOREVER in the kitchen to do so.  I am a busy gal. I don’t have extra hours in my day to be standing over the stove stirring a spoon round and round waiting for the magic of good food to happen.  Nope no time for that.



What’s that?

That my friends is my new kitchen BFF!  That’s right I got myself a pressure cooker.

A pressure cooker?  

Say What?  

Those things are super scary!  

That’s what I thought too.  Wow was I wrong.  It is so easy to use and the meals that come out of this very magical little pot definitely qualify as good food.

So far we have made

  • Pulled Pork
  • Mac and Cheese
  • Taco Chicken
  • Meatloaf (yeah I said meatloaf)
  • Goulash
  • Hard Boiled Eggs (so easy)
  • Taco Soup
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Roast with the fixin’s
  • Black Beans galore
  • Spanish Rice

I am sure there are a couple other goodies we have made but I forgot to keep a list.

Did you know that there was a whole pressure cooking subculture out there?  Okay that might be taking it a tad too far.  Seriously though, there are Facebook groups, websites, blogs, there are pressure cooking people everywhere!  I am so thankful for each of them too.  They helped me discover the ease of using one of these and have changed my world in a big way.

Time is a huge factor for me as a busy mom who is trying her best to stay on top of her house, work, kid taxi service, and church related activities.  There is just never enough time!  We strive to have family meals at the table every night. I started to notice that our dinners were suffering in a BIG way.  As in lacking in the good food category.  Gone were the days of a main dish with some veggies and another side.  Sadly we had become products of our busy world and needed things that took little prep work,could be made quickly and had a super fast clean up factor.  Hello boxed mac and cheese, frozen pizza, packaged chicken strips and fries…. the list of cruddy food just goes on and on.  I don’t want to bring you to tears with the sadness that had been adorning our dinner table so I shall not continue down that path.

Instead let’s talk about that moment when you totally forgot to set out the chicken breasts to thaw. Never happens right?  Wrong.  We have all been there and done that.  Sadly it happens to me quite often.

That’s the beauty of this dreamy appliance.  I totally rocked my chicken taco meat using frozen chicken, rock solid frozen chicken.

Here’s how I do Taco Chicken Meat in the Pressure cooker using frozen chicken breasts.

Set to Saute




For the sauté step, I think you probably get that you do that without the lid.

For step #5 though you need to lock that lid on and make sure you have the valve to the sealing setting NOT the venting setting.  Oooh that could get messy.

When it’s cooking and it beeps turn it off.  I do this by pressing my cancel/keep warm button until it says off on the display.

Then I let it sit for 10 min to naturally release some pressure.

After that I take a dish towel and cover the vent then move the valve to the venting setting (aka quick release).  I use the towel just to save my  cabinets from a bit of that steam.  The towel doesn’t absorb it all but it does save my cabinets from taking all that steam on.  If you have a space on your counter that isn’t right under a cabinet door I suggest using that spot to use your pressure cooker.  Once your pressure is released and that little weight (aka thing-a-ma-bob) drops you can open the lid and shred that super shredable chicken.  It has me so happy I am making up words!  Pretty sure shredable isn’t an actual word but today we will use our imagination and embrace it as a very common everyday word. Thanks for indulging me, you are awesome.

I know you are going to tell me this isn’t quick.  I mean it can take 10 min or more for the pot to come up to pressure before it starts the 20 min cook time and then another 10 min before you can quick release and start shredding that bird.  You are looking at like 40 min before this is ready to take to the table.

Yep, I sure am.

I am also going to let you in on a little secret.  The only other way I know how to make this is in my slow cooker and that my friends takes at least 8 hours That is only doable IF I remember to start it early enough in the day to make it to the dinner table in time.  This method of cooking this meal allows me to make this a 4pm or 5pm last-minute decision.  Love that my last-minute decisions about dinner can be something other than a frozen pizza.

Have I sold you yet?  If not you really need to check out a couple of other sites I have come across that really sealed the deal for me.

Pressure Cooking Today has a great recipe for a salsa lime chicken that I can’t wait to try.

Hip Pressure Cooking has gobs and gobs of great recipes to choose from.

And then there is Peggy Under Pressure. She sure does some wonderful things under pressure!

Don’t forget all the wonderful tips, tricks, and recipes that are shared on Pinterest.  If you click that link it will take you to my pressure cooking board over there.  I think I could spend days at a time on that site and still have more things I want to pin.  Do you “pin”?   When I think of how limited my recipes were before Pinterest it makes me very happy someone came up with such a great site.  When I think of how much time I spend “pinning” I have very mixed emotions. Do you know what I mean?

Well I could keep you hear all day talking about all my favorite dishes and why I am head over heels in love with this nifty gadget but I don’t want to keep you from your busy day. I will post more recipes in the near future so keep coming back to see what’s happening in my land of happy dances…. oh I mean good food.  Well, good food can make me do a happy dance or two so I suppose both apply.





The Wacky Yum Factor!

Sometimes you just need a little Wacky in your Wednesday and today it was one seriously wacky yum factor!

I was just going about my business scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and checking in on various group pages when I see a picture similar to this…


Ewwww WHO EATS THIS?!?!  Why would anyone even open their fridge see a cup of Greek yogurt and a carton of cottage cheese and think to themselves “Oooh now that sounds like a totally delish combo”?  I mean really?  Apparently Brooke of SheSavage, and fellow heavy lifting Body Beast Beastette, thinks it is an “extraordinary” combination.  I trust this crazy woman so much when it comes to lifting and getting great results with Body Beast and so I wondered, do I trust her on this too?

Fast forward a week, yes a full week.  Seriously it took me that long to be brave enough to put her combo to the test.  As she suggested I kept the two separate and did not mix them together in one bowl. A little separation in flavors apparently makes a difference.  I paused to take a picture (or delay what could be a terrible, horrible, no good, explosion of flavors gone wrong) and then with my eyes closed, went in for the ……


I could not believe what was happening in the land of taste-buds.  A perfect combination of textures as well as that sweet and salty thing that I love so much.  Maybe I am the only one who will ever consider cottage cheese slightly salty but I do, is that weird?  It’s okay if it is weird, I will accept that weirdness.

Soon my bowls of this “magical combination” were empty and while I should have been in mourning, I was almost giddy because I think I have found my healthy substitute for CHEESECAKE!  Oh yeah, it is that good!

For those who track their macro nutrients like I do my combination of strawberry Greek yogurt and 1/2 cup of 2% cottage cheese put me at 139 calories, 12 grams of carbs, 2 grams of fat, and 19 grams of protein.  Not too shabby, especially since it felt like I was indulging in a most decadent dessert.

Once again I was reminded of just how smart my friend Brooke is, why did I even doubt her? If you are a fan of cottage cheese and a lover of Greek yogurt I highly recommend combining the two.  Trust me everyone should experience this wonderful yet wacky yum factor.  Mmmmm….so good!

Revisiting Old Favorites

Revisiting old favorites that were just hanging there in my closet waiting patiently for me to take them out on the town again.

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Nothing feels better than pulling out a pair of pants you haven’t been able to put on in well over a year and THEY FIT!  It is even better when you can put them on without having to do that cardio session to get into them. Yeah, you know that one that involves squats, and hops, and sometimes a few lunges followed by some floor work where you are on the floor lifting your hips up off the ground as you say a little prayer and zip those babies up.  Go ahead and deny it but I am pretty certain at least 80% of you (probably more) have been there and done that. Okay so maybe not the guys, which is totally not fair, but it is what it is.

This past week I have enjoyed some Les Mills Combat and PiYO workouts as I give my elbow a rest from the heavy weights of Body Beast for a bit.  It feels weird to not be lifting. The biggest adjustment had to be my nutrition though, while lifting my body needed more calorie intake.  I have tried to make the adjustments and it seems like I am finally getting it figured out.  I have been avoiding the scale as I know that it is going to be all over the place during this transition.  I have even felt puffy more than once in the past week. HOWEVER…. while at a Christmas dinner this weekend I had someone ask me what it was that I was doing to keep up this shrinking routine I had going on.


Yes indeed that carried me though the rest of the night and kept my portions under control as I ate my dinner.  It also gave me a great opportunity to brag on all of my challenge group members and the success they are having with their workouts.  I don’t know where I would be without the support and accountability of those in these groups!  They are my daily dose of motivation and inspiration.  Here is just a couple of things being said in my current challenge group….

 “down 3 lbs and 9 1/2 inches” ~ C.W.

“… and also lost 4.4% body fat!” ~ S.G.

These people are committed and keep me committed as well.  Nothing is harder than trying to stick to a plan when you are in the midst of the Holidays. I know I would have thrown in the towel by now if it wasn’t for this group and the accountability that they give me.

I am getting ready to go on a trip with my husband and I am hoping to pull a few more old favorites out of my closet and feel great wearing them!  It’s kind of exciting to pull out a dress or an outfit you haven’t been able to wear in quite sometime and discover that it fits again.  Buying new clothes is fun but I have to say fitting into my own clothes, once too small, is a pretty amazing feeling too.

I can’t wait to see what new/old clothes I can fit into as I work my way through Insanity Max 30.  Did I just say Insanity Max 30?  Yep, sure did.  I ordered Shaun T.’s new workout Insanity Max 30 and plan on having a super amazing challenge group to push me through this crazy workout!  We start on January 5th and there is more than enough room for you to join in on the fun. We are going to kick off 2015 in attack mode and MAX OUT our workouts!  This group is different from any of my other groups as I will be hosting it along side two great coaches from my team and we are offering a super prize to one lucky winner at the end of the challenge.

Want more details?

Are we friends on Facebook? We totally should be so you can message me to get all the fancy details on this group.

Of course you can also comment on this post and let me know that you are interested in MAX’ing OUT your next workout program.

What old favorites are just waiting for you to say hello again?  Let’s make it a goal to make some of those old favorites, our new favorites again in 2015.  Who’s with me?

Wrapping up 2014

Excuses, excuses, here’s to a year of No Excuses!

It’s December the year is coming to an end. I am evaluating the things I didn’t finish. Oh wow, I am counting a whole bunch of excuses that were honestly pretty lame!  This summer I adopted the “Never Give Up”  recipe to getting things done.  In doing so I had to add a gallon of “No Excuses” to the dish.  AMAZING thing things that happened when I started to cook up results with this technique!  8 weeks of PiYO done! I didn’t miss one workout.  Not one.  I even took a trip to Iowa and just took the workout with me – it’s PiYO you can totally travel with PiYO. I lost 11 pounds and 13 inches by not letting my lame excuses get in my way!



The weight loss and melting inches was a great reward for my hard work, but who knew there would be even greater rewards? I know I had no idea!  Beyond all those awesome losses was something even better… GAINS!  Yep I am telling you the gains were amazing!  I gained major amounts of self-confidence and strength.  I even decided that I was cool enough to hang with all those ladies who were lifting the heavy weights.  Totally CRAZY I know!  But ya know what?  I DID IT!  I took my fitness to a whole new level and learned that I LOVE lifting weights in a major way!

Body Beast


My results from doing 12 full weeks of Body Beast aren’t visually  incredible, but the mental results were like nothing I have ever experienced!  I got stronger, more determined and KNOW that I can step outside of my box and be successful!  This is going to be a long process for me to sculpt my muscles and I am in for the long haul.   I started round 2 last week and am excited to see the results this time around.  This time I am going to focus on the nutrition more.  That first round was a doozy and I didn’t do as great with the nutrition aspect of it.  I consider my 1st round an “Educational Round”.   Can’t wait to see some more physical results in this round and the next.

2015 is going to be a year of NO EXCUSES and MAJOR RESULTS!  I am so thankful to all who have been a part of my journey in 2014 whether it be on my team of coaches or in the challenge groups that have helped me to reach goals I previously felt were out of my reach.  I know 2105 is going to put me in contact with even more amazing people who are ready to rock their programs, reaching goal after goal.

Have you been working on reaching goals this year?  Are you getting closer to having them within reach?  What goals have you set for next year?  Let’s make 2015 the year we  have to dream bigger because we reached all of our previous goals.  Let’s Do This!!!


Crazy Hair Issues

Hi my name is Heather and I have crazy hair issues.  There I said it.  It’s out there.  Actually if you know me you know this isn’t breaking news at all.  I have had crazy hair since I was a toddler.


Now I am all grown up and yes I am still trying to tame these curls.  These days I bring out the big gun… oh yeah, the flat iron!  I know, I know, you think I shouldn’t be doing that, I should be thankful for my beautiful curls ya-da-ya-da….  Uggghhh the things that people have been telling me for years!  Sometimes I wonder if these same people really understand the drama that occurs every morning as I try and make myself presentable for the real world.  The thing is straightening curls that like to be curly takes time, lots of time.  Back in my couch potato days this really wasn’t a huge deal, but lately this has been a big problem.  Now that I am working out daily and sweating more than I even knew was possible I have to battle the question of …. To Shampoo or Not To Shampoo?   If I shampoo then I have to take the time to straighten my hair again.  As if I have time for that,  I barely have time for my workout.

I am not about to let my crazy hair issues keep me from getting fit though.  Nope not today, not any day.  Hair beware, I am on a mission!


Yesterday I took the kids shopping to one of our favorite stores (can you name the store this aisle belongs to?).  We made a beeline to the shampoo aisle and began the big hunt, the hunt for dry shampoo. Oh yeah, that’s right I said dry shampoo.  Have you heard of this stuff?  I have only recently heard of it. I think it is like a fitness persons magic trick.  You know one they must never reveal.  Well I am the newbie and I don’t know all the rules, so I am about to reveal the magic of this shampoo in a can.  Please don’t go telling on me.


EUREKA! We found a few.  I would have held them all but I think I would have needed a few more arms.  There were so many choices.  Who knew?  So how does one choose?  Seriously I am calling on all of you who have dry shampoo knowledge.  There are cans for $6 and there are cans for $25 with many priced in between.  So are they all pretty much the same?  Is it just the brand that you are paying for?  Pretty sure I am going to be experimenting with several different brands to see if you get what you pay for or if it is just the fancy packaging and the brand that costs so much more. I will keep you all posted on my findings.  (pssst…. I would still love to hear your opinions though)


I picked one at random and headed home.  Of course that meant I had to try it out immediately.  You totally saw that coming didn’t you?  It really did take away that post workout feel (I showered but didn’t wash my hair after my workout). As an added bonus it smelled really good and had a nice shine when I finished.

Hip-Hip-Hooray!  For the magical shampoo in a can!  No longer will I have to stand for 45 min to an hour straightening my hair everyday. No longer will I have to sigh when I have no time for the flat iron and have to take my unruly and crazy hair issues out into public places.  Life is good.

Claiming Victory Over Sweaty, Smelly Workout Clothes!

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Today is the day I claim VICTORY!  Victory over these sweaty, smelly workout clothes.   Sweat is a fact of life when you are giving your all to your workouts. There is nothing worse than showing up to workout in  “clean” clothes only to smell that awful sweaty smell from your last workout just 5 minutes in. For the most part I workout alone at home, but I could only imagine how I would feel in a class setting.  I would be less worried about my form and very concerned that everyone around me could smell what I was smelling.  Ewwwww! 

It can feel great to peel the wet clingy clothes off and then hop in the shower to get that lingering smell off of us, but what do we do with the clothes?  Do you toss them on the floor?  Do you do as your mom always said and put your dirty clothes in the hamper?

Piled on the floorIf that’s what you are doing then I beg of you … STOP.   You need to pick them up off the floor and don’t put them in the hamper. You can totally blame me when your mom gets upset with you.  Just don’t do it.  If you leave those damp clothes piled up some seriously gross things can happen, like mildew and mold spores… in your clothes. YUCK!   Take just  few extra minutes turn those clothes inside-out  and hang those stinky shirts and shorts up to dry if you don’t have time to wash them right away.

Hanging them to dry post workout isn’t the magic solution but it is a step in the right direction.  Next on the to do list is to soak the clothes in some water and vinegar.  That’s right vinegar.  It’s like magic when it comes to sweaty, smelly clothes.   Baking Soda works too but vinegar is what I have on hand when it comes to things by the cup full.

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I let mine soak in cool water since the clothes I workout in are specialty fabrics for athletic wear.  If you are wearing  some basic shorts and t-shirts go for the hot water. I usually let mine soak while I have a load of my non-workout clothes in the wash.  I would think if you aren’t doing another load of laundry 30 – 60 minutes would be fine.  When you are ready to toss them in the wash ring out them out and wash in the warmest water okay for your fabrics.  Again I go with the cold setting for mine but it really depends on the fabric of your clothes.  Don’t add a ton of detergent and fabric softeners are a big no-no!  Whoa, what did she just say?   Yep, less is more in this case.  Detergents and fabric softeners can leave a coating on the fabric and then the water can’t get in to do its job.  You know the one where it magically removes the awful smell left from that workout you totally don’t regret doing – that job.

Last but not least avoid that dryer.  Too much heat can mess with the super water wicking powers of your athletic wear.  When that happens it won’t pull the moisture in and away from your body.  So go straight from the washing machine to the laundry line and hang those clothes.  If that isn’t an option for you then the dryer is okay but make sure you use a cool setting.

These DaysOnce they are dry then that magic laundry fairy comes along and folds the clothes and puts them away.  No?  Drats, I really thought that was how this whole laundry thing worked.  Sigh… I guess it is still up to us to do that.  I really hope that this helps any sweat filled smelly situations you may be encountering with your workout clothes.  I would hate to think someone stopped their workouts because they didn’t know there really was a way to claim victory over sweaty, smelly workout clothes.

Day 24 Really is a BIG DEAL!

Day 24 of PiYO and I haven’t missed a workout yet.  24 days may not seem like a big deal but this is beyond huge for me.  I usually last a whole whoppin’ 14 days (if that) and then I start to miss a workout here and there, until I am no longer working out.  This is the cycle I have been on for the past decade or so.  Sound familiar?

Today I had to convince myself to not take the day off.  I had to deal with all kinds of issues that I could have used as excuses.  I just refused to go there.  This workout was going to happen even if I had to go to the store and buy new batteries for the remote!  Seriously what happened to televisions that you could still work without a remote control? Thankfully I knew where we hide the batteries in the house.  What? You don’t have a battery stash?  We have too many gadgets and gizmos for the kids not to have a stash. I pushed play, took a deep breath, and got into workout mode.  30 minutes later dripping in sweat and feeling empowered I declared a victory!  Workout DONE!

Today’s workout was called Buns. So you might be thinking squats, squats, and more squats… yep.  I was delighted to discover it wasn’t all squats though.  Nope, Chalene (the trainer) adds in several other moves to help strengthen and stretch the lower body.  She kept me moving and never did I get bored with any of the moves.  Chalene can make a half hour seem like ten minutes.  I couldn’t believe it went by that fast!  Looking at me however you would have thought I had put in at least 60 min of total cardio.  I was pretty smelly and proud of it.

CONFESSION:  I haven’t been as awesome nutrition wise this past week.  That is an area I have a really hard time with.  I kicked the soda habit and have a renewed love of water.  That’s not the issue.  I just have a hard time saying no to foods I know I shouldn’t be eating.  Granted I don’t eat as much of them as I used to and my portions are much smaller.  I just know I still have a long way to go in the land of clean eating. Some changes are harder than others.  I am working on it, I will conquer my addiction to sugar and processed foods. I will!  I mean the processed stuff doesn’t even taste that good to me, it’s just easy. Plain and simple it’s easy.  Tips and tricks on making fresh food quick and easy would be greatly appreciated.

I love doing things with others.  It helps to keep everyone motivated.  The more the merrier ya know, so pop on over and join in on the fun.

Okay time to rest up… tomorrow’s workout is called Drench. Yeah, kind of scared.