Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tate in the Kitchen - Paleo Pumpkin Spice Granola


This stuff is a staple in our house...we almost always have a batch on hand!

What you need:

1 cup dried cranberries
2 cups plantain chips (or banana chips)
2 cups almond slices
2 cups coconut (unsweetened)
2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup raw honey
4 Tbls Pure Maple Syrup
2 Tbls Pumpkin Spice Spice
1/2 tsp salt
2tsp Vanilla Extract


Pre-Heat to 300 degrees.

Mix all of the nuts, seeds, coconut, plantain/banana chips, dried cranberries, salt and the pumpkin pie spice in a large bowl.

In a sauce pan, heat up the coconut oil, honey, maple syrup and vanilla extract until it is all melted together.  Pour the mixture on top of the nut/seed mixture and stir together to make sure everything is coated with the liquid mixture.

Pour everything onto cookie sheets on parchment paper...I use silpats.  Bake for 25 minutes and then take out of the oven and cool before breaking it apart.

This makes a TON, so you could cut it in half if you don't want that much. :)

I eat it like cereal with almond milk over it.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Something happened yesterday...

Wesley's story is complicated and the details are not something I plan to disclose, but yesterday for the first time, something happened...here was the conversation we had...

Wesley: "Mommy?  What was I called when I was a little baby?"

Me: "What do you mean?  What was your name?"

Wesley: "What did the girl who I grew in her tummy call me?"

Me:  "She called you Wesley, that is the name she gave you when you were born."

Wesley: "My name was Wesley when I was a little baby?!"

Me:  "Yes.  That was the name your birth mom gave you...your name has always been Wesley."

Wesley: "My birth mom?  Do I have a birth daddy?"

Me:  "Yes.  Your birth dad's name is Wesley also!  You were named after him.  You know how Tate's birth daddy is named Brandon?  Your birth daddy is named, Wesley."

Wesley:  (giggling) "That is silly!  Are you almost done with my hair?  I want to go play."

And that was it.

That is pretty much how things go...any serious conversation doesn't last long with Tate OR Wes, but Wesley has also NEVER asked about his birth parents.  It is something I have thought A LOT about and how I might respond to what questions he might have.  I am nervous about a lot of it...I want to say/do the right things for him and also for our family.  I want him to know where he comes from, but also want to protect him from knowing the "bad" stuff.  I don't know that I can.  He's 6...these questions were bound to start coming out.  I was caught off guard by it last night and now can't stop thinking about that short exchange.  I know this is just the beginning.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Tate in the Kitchen: Crockpot Balsamic Glazed Drumsticks


What you need:

16 Chicken Drumsticks
6 TBLSP Coconut or Olive Oil
1 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
6 TBLSP Soy Sauce (or Tamari if you are GF)
2 TBLSP Honey

You are SUPPOSED to Marinate the chicken drumsticks in this mixture for 24 hours or put the mixture and drumsticks in a freezer bag for later.  Then, put in the crockpot for 8 hours.  However, we didn't plan ahead and we just put frozen drumsticks directly into the crockpot and poured all of these ingredients on top and let cook for 8 hours and they were sooooo delicious!  The chicken was falling off of the bone and it was super flavorful!


Tate in the Kitchen : Roasted Vegetables

In an effort to get back in the habit of blogging more, I am going to TRY to start a bit of a series here on my blog called "Tate in the Kitchen".  I will post each time Tate makes does his cooking and include the recipe.  Obviously, the dishes will be super easy as he is the one making them completely on his own, but so far the last two things he has cooked were DEEEELISH!  Maybe for my friends out there who have kiddos his age, they will be able to have their kiddos make some of these dishes too! :)


Roasted Veggies:

Use the veggies you like, we roast lots of different kinds of veggies, but this time we did broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and onions.

Pre-Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Put your veggies in an even layer on the pan and and drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Roast for 10 minutes, flip them over and roast for approximately 10 more minutes.

That's it!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

An emotional roller coaster...

These 3 shots were all taken in the exact sequence as pictured above...literally snap, snap, snap...probably all within 4 seconds of each other.  It's impressive really, the emotional roller coaster this child lives on! ;)

LOL!!!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Well Hello!

It's been almost 2 months since I've posted!  YIKES!

I don't even know what to write about.  It's been busy....and stressful....and exciting.....and busy.  Sooooo...pretty normal I'd say! ;)

I am still going to the Y about 6 days/week.  Still so proud that I've stuck to it.  I am working on being better about eating...I didn't do great with Paleo while we were in Florida just before Christmas, but tried to get back at it when we got back.  I am still only cooking Paleo, but when we go out, I struggle to stick to it.  I am going to get back at it this week though.  Still only Paleo at home, so I'm mostly there!


I am HOPING to run the Bix7...that is my goal this year.  Maybe I'll push for a half marathon in 2016...we'll see.

All I know is that I feel best just after I've worked out.  Why did I wait almost 34 years to make this a part of my life?!  I have done so much more than I ever thought I could back when I started working out in September.  I cannot imagine how much more I will be able to do in another 5 months!  I feel more energetic, healthier and happier.

I am not going to lie...I feel like I am working my ass off and wish the weight would be just falling off, but it IS coming off....just much slower than I had hoped or expected.  I don't weigh myself, so all I know is that my clothes get looser and looser until I need a smaller size and I feel like I've been at a plateau for a while.  Probably because of my poor food choices over the holidays though.  If in a month, I am still feeling like things aren't fitting differently, I may need to change something up.

As far as the family goes...it's a damn miracle that Wesley has remained healthy all winter so far!  Where is some wood I can knock on????!!!!  Tate has a scope procedure on his esophagus/stomach in a couple of weeks to try and figure out what is going on with his regular throwing up.  Cason is progressing and doing amazing as usual...and he turned 4 a couple of days ago!  Sean is back at school after his winter break.

So that's what's going on!  Hopefully I won't wait another 2 months before I blog...I want to be better about it...like is just so busy! :/   

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November in Review...

Where did November go?!?!

Update on my health journey...I am still going strong.
I will admit that this month was a bit rough when it came to my diet, but I have been working out harder and more often than I have since we started this journey.  When I cook at home, it's paleo, but I have failed to stick to paleo way more than I care to admit this month.

I am still staying away from the scale.  I don't see that changing.  However, I know I am still losing because my pants are getting looser and I am fitting into smaller sizes.  I'll take it!

We tried to run on a super cold evening...it sucked.  I need better cold weather running gear.


So we joined the Y and have gone almost every day since!


I like it because it's giving us other options.  We've tried some different machines to work some other muscles and I've noticed that it has helped my running!


I actually am starting to hate the treadmill a bit less...I still hate it, just not as much as I did a month ago.


It's so nice to have someone to keep my motivated.  It's funny...Sam and I are working SO HARD when we go work out.  We don't chat or anything, we talk for the 30 seconds it takes to walk into the Y and the 30 seconds it takes to walk out, but while we're there, it's all business.  Somehow though, just having someone there keeps me motivated and keeps me going.  I continue to be SO PROUD of us and so amazed at how far we've come!


We are often motivated by the crazy hardcore athletes we watch at the Y.  This woman, we named Beastmode...she is...it's ridiculous.


We are "those people" that are constantly checking into the Y on Facebook and posting pictures of us at the Y.  It will not stop.  I NEED to do that to keep me accountable.  Sorry if it bothers you...I do what I do for me and to keep myself motivated and accountable and keep me on track.  Period. :)

This time of the year is the hardest with all of the yummy food and family gatherings and the hustle and bustle and being so busy that you can't find time to work out.  I don't want this time of the year to get the best of me.  We can't...we've worked too hard and come too far.


Apparently this is also the time of the year for sickness.  Tate had it bad...


He got a scary high fever and then spiked fevers for over 2 weeks off and on!


Turns out he had strep...not great for Wes to get exposed to!  We has avoided any major bugs so far, but just has a nasty cough that he has had for a month.  His labs have been less than ideal and so he has been getting frequent lab draws, some medication adjustment and lots of extra fluids.  We are awaiting some test results right now, so prayers would be appreciated!


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family and then woke up SUPER early on Friday to head out to the Hawkeye game!  Hot coffee and Hot Hands hand and body warmers saved the day...it was FREEZING!


It was so fun to have some adult time to spend with friends!


And this man...I love him.


Life is so busy and when school is in session for this busy mama...it sucks to not see her as often.  I miss her all the time.  It was SO NICE to get a whole day to hang out with her and just relax and have fun!


Jamie and I photographed a gorgeous, winter wedding a couple of weeks ago and I have completed my family sessions for the year.  It's been an insanely busy fall for my with photography and I am blessed to get to call this passion my career.

We have our trees up and decorated, my Christmas shopping is almost done, our elf Christopher Pop In Kins arrived yesterday morning and the boys are super hyped for Christmas!  We have fun stuff in store for Christmas and look forward to surprising the boys (and the Peakin girls) when we head out for our annual Christmas trip.  This will be our biggest trip yet and we cannot wait! :D

Sean takes his final test for this semester in a couple of weeks and then he'll have almost a month off of school!

Looking forward to what is to come in December!

Saturday, November 01, 2014

53.25 Miles in 9 weeks - A Running Update

11 weeks ago, in an extremely unhealthy state in my life, I started running.  Thank the LORD I had my great friend Sam to do it with me or I may have never stuck with it!

This was taken probably around week 4(ish)...

I had days where I DID NOT want to go.  The only reason I did was because of Sam and her motivation.


Even though I didn't want to do it, I was ALWAYS soooo happy and proud after each run!


There are several different Couch to 5K programs and ours started small...very small.  We needed that.  We weren't even going much more than a mile for the first few weeks.  We would run for 60 second stints with a few minutes of walking in between.  I remember when we started having to run 3 minutes straight...it seemed impossible.  Then, we went 5 minutes straight and we were HUFFING AND PUFFING and hurting BAD!  Then, we went 8 minutes...WHAT?!?!  That's when the 3 minutes was like nothing...like a blink!  We were so proud and getting stronger every single run.  We were dedicated and determined to proving to ourselves that we could do it.  We have consistently gone 3-4 times per week rain or shine.

I started finding myself in the "active wear" section more often and found that investing in weather appropriate gear was imperative in making my running experience more enjoyable.  I actually know what I prefer to run it.  Dare I say that I am a runner?!  I am.  We are.  We are runners...and I can fully feel it and know it now.  I feel guilty on days I don't run.  I look forward to it.  We may be slow and we may have a lot of improving to do, but we are runners.


I love the time I have running.  Once we get in our "zone" (usually around 1 mile), we are able to talk to one another during our runs...we even laugh sometimes...we even take the harder, hillier routes sometimes, just because we know we can.


 And once I took my picture WHILE running...this was at about mile 1.5 in week 5 or 6.  I am still smiling.  And I remember that run actually...it was my best one yet.  I felt like I could go forever!  Isn't it funny how runs go that way?  One day you just can't get into your groove and it's miserable the whole way, when the exact same distance and weather conditions the next day, it seems so easy like you could go an extra 3 miles!  Crazy how that goes.


EVERY TIME we finish a run, we say the same words and we give each other a high five...every time!  "I am SO PROUD of us!  We kick ass!"  And we are...we are so proud.  Who would have thought those first days when we ran for 30 seconds and felt like we couldn't go a second longer that we'd be running for 30 minutest straight and smiling the whole way.  That we would run up and down the cul de sac 2 extra times at the end of the run JUST to get in that extra 1/4 mile.  We are amazed at what we're doing now.  We know that it's only going to get easier and we'll only be able to go farther and faster.  We believe in ourselves now!


Because we couldn't find a 5k that worked for the both of us to do this fall, we ran our own...last week.  And we killed it!  We did it for a great cause and you guys, WE KILLED IT!

Again, we were SO PROUD of ourselves!!!


We feel unstoppable.  We don't care if it's 40 degrees, if it's raining...we are running.  We know it's going to get colder and eventually, we will have to start running on treadmills (not looking forward to that!), but we are not stopping.  I have big hopes.  I would love to run a 10K and maybe even a half marathon!  Who knows!  All I know is that I am capable, WE are capable of so much more than we know.  I feel better than I ever have...between the food I am putting in my body to the work I am making my body do.  I feel healthy.  And I am proud of us.  I am SO GRATEFUL for Sam and her encouragement on those days I didn't want to get off the couch.  I am so grateful for Sam in those moments on our runs when I wanted to stop, when I felt like I couldn't go another step.  Her and I have never ever strayed from the Couch to 5K program we are doing...not once.  We haven't walked when we should have been running.  We haven't stopped early.  We have stuck with it 150%.  I could have never done that without Sam.


Friends...I am telling you...if I can do it, if we can do it, SO CAN YOU!  You find time for YOU, you find motivation from wherever you can...your friends, your family, the mirror...those jeans you want to fit into!  (I just fit into my first pair of GOAL JEANS 3 days ago! I now have a new pair of goal jeans that I would love to fit into my Christmas!)  I recommend you find a friend to do it with...a friend that is in the same place as you so you, that is as much of a beginner as you are.

DO IT...you will be SO PROUD of yourself!

Can't wait to say I have run 100 miles!!!  I will let you know when that day comes FOR SURE!