Tag Archive: outdoors


Just two more days until my next weigh-in! I’m excited! I spent part of the morning watching videos of Chalene Johnson (Turbo Jam, TurboFire, ChaLEAN Extreme), Brett Hoebel (Biggest Loser, RevAbs), Tony Horton (Power 90, P90X, 10 Minute Trainer), Shaun T (Hip Hop Abs, Insanity) and more leading the Super Workout at Coach Summit in LA which is extremely motivating. Can’t wait for next year in Vegas!

11:00am 12oz water and 2 Beachbody Slimming Formula tablets

12:45pm Breakfast – I have really got to start doing better about eating right after I get up and BEFORE I get on the computer! Chocolate Shakeology made with 4oz water, 4oz 1% milk, 1 Tbs. natural peanut butter, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost and 3 ice cubes

3:00pm Snack – 1/2 large cucumber, sliced with 2 Tbs. Trader Joe’s hummus

4:00pm – 12oz water

6:00pm Lunch – 12oz water with 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Smothered chicken burritos. Here’s the “recipe” inspired by Sam the Cooking Guy. Love him!

1. Shred some rotisserie chicken (Costco has the best deal by far) I used 3 oz in my burritos

2. Warm the chicken and enchilada sauce on the stove – I used about 2c. sauce for the whole family – make sure there’s enough sauce so that after you take the chicken out there’s enough to spoon over the burritos

3. Heat tortillas in a dry skillet on medium until soft and pliable, about 20 seconds, flipping halfway through (don’t leave them in the skillet too long or they’ll become hard and difficult to deal with) – I used Mission flour tortillas for the family and whole wheat, low-carb, high fiber tortillas for mine. Let’s compare…200 calories for one regular tortilla or 80 calories and 12g fiber for one of the kind I used. Seems like a no-brainer to me. I had two which were fewer calories than one of the other. Why didn’t I give the same to my family? Because they taste like whole grain and getting them to eat stuff like that is a work in progress. Baby steps.

4. Put warm tortilla on a large plate and sprinkle the center with shredded cheese – I used part-skim mozzarella because that’s what we had. Monterey Jack would be great. I weighed out 2 oz for my whole plate and divided it between the two burritos and top.

5. Top the cheese with some of the shredded chicken. I used a fork and kind of pressed it against the inside of the pan so it wouldn’t be too saucy, leaving some of the sauce for the top.

6. Roll up the tortilla to make a burrito. I fold in the sides first, then fold the bottom up over the filling and continue rolling up.

7. Once you’ve made the burritos, place on each person’s plate, spoon the remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle with shredded cheese and shredded lettuce then top with some sour cream. I used 2 Tbs. and it was the light kind.

8:00pm 12oz water

8:05pm Was feeling really sleepy and knew I was in great danger of slipping into that mental state where I blow off my workout, finding a myriad of ways to rationalize it, so I went out for a walk/run.

9:30pm 12oz water

10:00pm Dinner – 12oz water and 2 Slimming Formula tablets, Chocolate Shakeology made with 4oz water, 4oz 1% milk, 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost, a little mint extract and 3 ice cubes

12:30am Snack – 6oz Yoplait Light Blueberry and 10 raw almonds

Total calories consumed – 1343  Total calories burned – 2925

Protein – 116g, Carbs – 145g, Fat – 47g, Fiber – 52g

Water – 72oz

 BONUS – Photos from my walk. Please forgive me for getting so excited about pretty clouds, but when you live in a place that’s overcast 75% of the year seeing some blue sky and clouds that have actual shapes other than “blanket” is a big deal. Once the sun had gone down to the point where taking photos with my not-so-great camera was pointless I decided to try some running intervals again. This time I took the advice of a friend and payed more attention to being light on my heels. It made a huge difference and I found myself going farther each time. Instead of counting steps I looked ahead for a landmark and told myself I could make it…and I did. The last interval was even uphill and I went farther than my goal. Booyah!! LOL

It’s amazing how often we hold ourselves back from accomplishing things because we tell ourselves we can’t. We were watching a fascinating show on the Discovery channel earlier in the day about a man who, if you didn’t know what he was doing and you believed in that stuff, you’d swear was a psychic. He’s actually a professional mentalist and he did share a lot of what he was doing. In one part he was explaining how car salesmen use little “tricks” to get you to think a certain way and do certain things like buying a car you didn’t really want when you went in. He also gave tips on how to counteract what they’re doing so you can get the best deal.

Afterward, I was talking to my kids about how our minds are so pliable…so open to suggestion…and how we can actually use that on ourselves to our advantage. I gave the example of how Chalene Johnson does this in a very unsubtle way in her workout programs. She says things like, “Guess what? You’re not tired!” or “I know you saved some energy for me!” or simply “You can do this!” and you start to believe it. The next thing you know you’re pushing yourself harder than you ever thought you could and you are doing it…just like she said. We can tell ourselves things that will either hinder or help. I know I have been guilty of holding myself back with negative thoughts, but I’m learning just how powerful our thoughts and words really are. It’s a gift from God. We need to exercise our free will and use it to our advantage. We do not have to be victims of our circumstances. We can choose to believe that we are capable of so much more, even if no one around us believes it. If we say we can’t, guess what…we’re right because we won’t even try. We have to say we can, figure out how and do it. It’s 99% mental.

Today started off just fine, but soon after it went horribly wrong. Not to say that everything was bad. Some pretty terrific things happened, actually, but some pretty crappy ones did, too. For quite possibly the first time ever I didn’t respond by turning to food which is a huge step forward. Yay!

7:15am Woke up and got my older son up, too, so he could finish the computer project he worked on until midnight

7:30am Son finished project, removed thumb drive from computer and placed it somewhere in another dimension where it was completely forgotten about until a few mintues before his class started

10:40am Phone rang…it was my son asking me to bring the thumb drive to school

10:45am Called son to ask where he put it because I couldn’t find it anywhere

10:47am Began the complete and utter ransacking of our apartment to find the elusive drive

12:10pm Came to the conclusion that I was not going to find it on my own and left to meet my friend for lunch (the class was over by this point so it didn’t matter what time it was found) – Mongolian grill – chicken and lots of veggies – no noodles or rice, about 36oz water

3:15pm Son came home from school and was instructed to start cleaning his room which was a total disaster even before I began the ransacking

3:30pm Husband got involved and without understanding the situation fully got angry with me for going out to lunch before it was found

3:45pm Full-blown fight began between my husband and I that the whole building probably heard (just verbal, I did not use my awesome kickboxing skills ha ha) – not my proudest moment, but I had had it up to here (imagine me placing my hand horizontally at the top of my forehead) Did find the thumb drive, though. Something must have sucked it back into our world/hallway. Go figure.

7:00pm Stomach stopped churning enough to finally eat something – 2oz angel hair pasta, 1/2 c. Prego Heart Smart sauce, 1 c. green beans with a few mushrooms sauted in olive oil and seasoned with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Felt famished (that’s what I get for going so long without eating) so added a breaded chicken patty I found in the back of the freezer. Definitely tasted a little wonky from being in the freezer so long, but I didn’t really care.

8:00pm Stomach still wasn’t happy, but instead of eating more I went for an hour and a half walk which was my workout for the day. All the drama and stress (not to mention I hadn’t had my Shakeology yet) left me completely exhausted (and it turns out my elevated heart rate during and after the fight did burn some extra calories, though I much prefer accomplishing that with something fun like TurboFire)

9:30pm Came home and put the kids to bed then finally sat down to log in my food and discovered I needed to eat more

10:30pm 1oz angel hair pasta with 1/4 c. sauce (leftover from dinner), Shakeology no-bake cookies made with 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1 Tbs. honey, 1 Tbs. natural peanut butter, 1 Tbs. skim milk and 2 Tbs. rolled oats (seems the quick oats slipped into that other dimension where the thumb drive went) – didn’t even bother rolling the mixture into balls, just ate it with a spoon…what??

12:30 8oz skim milk

I know I had some other water today besides the three glasses at the restaurant, but I don’t remember how much.

Total calories consumed – approx 1489 (hard to know for sure when you eat out)  Total burned – 3323

Protein – 90g, Carbs – 214g, Fat – 38g, Fiber – 32g

Water – ? Probably not enough

Sorry no food photos today, but here are the ones I took on my walk. It was gorgeous outside and reminded my to keep my head up because things will work out one way or the other if I continue to choose to be happy and not let the obstacles get me down.

Tomorrow is a new day…thank God.

Today was my first weigh-in with surprising results. Have to stay on track now to reach my 2 month goal. Got a bit of a late start with everything, but the extra sleep after I got the kids off to school was just lovely.

2:20pm Breakfast – Chocolate Shakeology made with 4oz water, 4oz skim milk, 1/2c frozen blueberries (nice and sweet from Trader Joe’s), 1 scoop Shakeology Fiber Boost and 3 ice cubes. Yep, it was a complete repeat of last night’s, but it was so good I had to have it again. Plus, with the blueberries it has 13g fiber. Love it! Forgot to take my Beachbody Slimming Formula. Ooops.

4:30pm 20oz water

6:30pm Lunch – didn’t mean to go this long without eating, but I got distracted talking to people on facebook – 12oz water, 2 Beachbody Slimming Formula tablets, 2 Trader Joe’s uncured chicken hot dogs, one with a whole grain white bun and one without, and 1 tsp Simply Heinz ketchup (the kind with no high-fructose corn syrup) and 1 tsp brown mustard, 1 green bell pepper and 2 Tbs. Trader Joe’s hummus

8:00pm 20oz water

9:15pm Workout – What I wanted to do today was TurboFire FIRE55EZ and FIRE45EZ (last time I did this combo I burned 1800 calories), BUT the TV was being occupied and my next chance to use it was going to be 12:30am. Fine by me, but considering the reaction I got from the neighbors last time I did that I knew I had to go to plan B. I threw on my husband’s shoes (yes, they’re a bit too big, but much more cushion-y than mine) and headed out for a walk with the intention of doing some running, too. I was out for 45 minutes and during that time I did four sprints where I counted every four steps I took and did thirty at a time (I suppose just saying 120 steps would’ve been easier). It definitely got my heart rate up and I was sweating, but I could’ve done more if it hadn’t been for the pain I was having above my ankles. Not sure if it was just that those are muscles I’m not used to using or if I need different shoes. Ended up burning 460 calories…a far cry from the 1800 I had planned, but better than nothing. Going to really have to push myself tomorrow.

10:00pm 20oz water

12:00pm Snack/Dinner (whatever you want to call it) Torn between wanting to make sure I eat enough and wanting to have an acceptable calorie deficit, I decided to just eat enough to get me to 1200 calories for the day and be done with it. Today did not go at all as I would’ve liked, too long between meals and not doing the workouts I wanted to, so I just tried to make the best of it and remember that tomorrow is a new day. The quesadilla I had yesterday was pretty great and I still had some of the seasoned ground turkey left over so I made another one using two low-carb tortillas, 2oz part-skim mozzarella cheese, 3oz turkey, 3 Tbs pico de gallo and topped it with 2 Tbs light sour cream and 3oz shredded iceberg lettuce. I also ate a serving of imitation crab while I was waiting for the quesadilla to cook. 20oz water with 2 Slimming Formula tablets

Total calories consumed – 1261  Total calories burned – 2823

Protein – 111g, Carbs – 142g, Fat – 43g, Fiber – 45g

Water – 92oz

Today was a rest day from my intense workout schedule, but I still wanted to do something so I took a little walk around the neighborhood. It’s was great to be outside and take some new photos since it’s been a while. I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the honeysuckle blooms. I finally saw signs of progress and could smell just a hint of their intoxicating aroma as I was right next to them. Soon the air will be filled with their perfume. I can hardly wait!

Normally I would cross the street and head over past Autzen Stadium (GO DUCKS!) to Alton Baker Park, but I turned around to go home and see what the kids were up to. I hung out with them at the basketball court for a while where the older one was shooting hoops with a friend and the younger one was riding his brother’s scooter. As I stood there watching him we both learned a little lesson. While it’s important to look ahead at the big picture, be careful of the little things along the way because ignoring them can really trip you up.

Once I was sure he was ok, I took that photo of the tiny pebble that caused him to go sprawling on the ground. He survived with no major injuries and hopped back on which of course made me proud. I took one more photo and then attempted to sink some shots with my other son. It was definitely an off day for me, but that’s ok because we had a good laugh which I think is much more important than showing off my skills. 😉

With only three hours of sleep last night, I decided to go for a walk. I was tired and would normally crawl back in bed (ah, the joys of working from home), but nature was calling…in the sense that it was unbelievably gorgeous and begging to be photographed. Who was I to say no? And I am so glad I went. Not just because it was rejuvenating to be out in the sunshine and fresh air, but because I made a new, unexpected friend. If there’s one thing I learned while out walking today, it’s that you should never get too comfortable with how you see the world around you. Someone or something could surprise you and shake up the way you think at any time if you’re paying attention.

First of all, this van parked at Autzen Stadium cracked me up.

Then I saw some “wildlife”.

And of course, “the tree”.

Most of the time I look up to find interesting things to photograph, but today down was interesting, too. I couldn’t believe how clear the water looked.

Normally, I would head out to the North Bank path, but something caught my eye so I went in a slightly different direction.

I was loving how some of the leaves were a shiny silver, reflecting the sunlight.

Of course I couldn’t help taking lots of pictures of interesting trees…

…and flowers…

…and birds.

I made it over to the main section of Alton Baker park where there were even more flowers blooming than the last time I was there. Especially in the garden area.

As I headed back, I passed by the “triplets”. When I walked through here in winter when they had no leaves I wondered what they would look like in the spring. I think they turned out pretty great.

It was at this point that my walk got really interesting. While I was standing there taking that last photo I saw a squirrel out of the corner of my eye scampering up the tree to my left. I thought the tree was pretty so I took a photo. It was then that I realized the squirrel was watching me from one of the lower branches.

I waited a few seconds thinking for sure he would be scared off by the camera noise, but no. He stood his ground so I kept getting closer taking more and more pictures. Part of me was a little concerned that he was going to pounce on me at any second and infect me with rabies, but I couldn’t bring myself to stop. I’m posting all of the photos so you can understand just how long we were there staring at each other. Keep in mind there was at least a 10 second delay between photos and I didn’t zoom in or crop them. I was easily less than 5 feet away from him when we were closest to each other.

I looked away for a moment and noticed that the ground looked interesting there, too. I was certain that the squirrel would run away once I broke his gaze, but he was still there just watching me.

Finally, he (or she I suppose) decided to move. Possibly so I could get his other side.

By this point my heart rate had gone down and I figured I should move on. There was no telling how long we were going to stand there staring at each other so I said goodbye, let him know he was going to be famous (there wasn’t anyone else around to think I was crazy talking to a squirrel), and headed home…taking a “few” more pictures along the way. Just a few steps past the tree were two geese, one of which could’ve been a little nicer like the squirrel. It hissed at me several times as I walked by. Other than that, it was a fantastic walk and experience!

It’s been a while since I’ve gone out, taken photos and actually posted them. Today was absolutely gorgeous and one of my best friends and I took advantage of it with a 2 hour walk. If we count Brodie, her sweet and adorable pit bull, we were an official walking group. Of course, I had to take a picture of “the tree”, which will never really change because it’s dead, but everything around it is constantly changing. If you look back over previous posts you’ll see what I mean. One of the things I love most about walking with friends is that we get to catch up on everything going on in our lives. Sometimes it’s the best kind of group therapy. And everything seems better when you’re out on a perfect day. Bright sunshine, blue skies, fresh air and a cool breeze make it difficult to hang onto stress. 

As we arrived at Alton Baker Park, I was pleasantly surprised by all the plants and trees exploding with color.

As we continued past the park and along the river we talked about how people tend to assume that others will react to situations the same way they would. Well you know what they say about what happens when we assume. It’s not good. Ha ha! Seriously though, relationships are truly the most important thing  in life and sadly we’ve all put strain on them by making assumptions about others based on what we would do, even our relationship with God. If we can pay a little closer attention to how we’re seeing a situation and open up communication we can save a lot of heartache from happening. Forget about what you would do and find out what they would do. It’s not hard, just ask.

Brodie was looking thirsty so we stopped at a bench and they headed down to the bank while I took more photos.

And then we headed back. Poor Brodie’s feet were starting to hurt and we a long way to go.

Almost back to where we started. Looking forward to our next “group session”. 🙂

Don’t like how your life is going? Stick around because it’s about to change. Actually, it’s changing now. We just don’t always see it because the change may be happening outside our perspective or slower than we can detect. Have you ever seen those time lapse videos where they show clouds moving across the sky, a plant sprouting or a flower unfolding? I love them because you get to see incredible changes that would normally go undetected even if you were staring at the thing for hours or days.

Sometimes change comes more abruptly. My husband has been in school for over six years now and that’s about to change along with what our family has come to know as normal. There have been some minor changes along the way like new jobs, new schools, and moving into town from a more country-like setting. But now we are looking at the possibility of relocating to a new state so he can find a job teaching. We’ve also considered going to Korea for a while. There’s even a possibility of moving to China for a year. That would certainly be a big change! I know I’d survive as long as I’d still have access to facebook, though. 😉

Even as I was walking around the track at my son’s school while they played basketball I was reminded how much things have changed in my lifetime. I don’t consider myself old, but I do remember a time when you had to actually get up off the couch to change the channel on the TV and adjust the rabbit ears. As a rounded the end of the track I heard a car alarm go off and it made me think about how people used to leave their cars and houses unlocked. Now it seems we focus a lot of time, energy and money on protecting ourselves from each other. Of course, there have always been people who wish others harm, but the more elaborate our means of security become the more ingenious are their ways getting around or through them.

I suppose in some ways there are things that never really change at all. The same basic concepts get recycled over and over like good vs. evil or positive vs. negative. They may just look a little different each time around. I find that comforting because it means we can learn from the past if we pay attention. As individuals we can choose how to react to each situation, or even better, to be proactive. We can choose which side we want to be on and how we perceive what’s going on around us and in us.

As I walked, thinking about change and taking a few photos, I noticed that the sun was setting so I decided to do a bit of a time lapse experiment myself. Every third time I came around the track I took a photo of the sky to see how much it would change in a short time. I was pretty pleased with the results despite the fact that I had to use my phone since I’d left my camera at home (must remember to take it with it at all times). The first few shots were taken when we arrived and the last four were the ones taken from basically the same spot every three laps. Just as I had taken the last one, the dark clouds that had been slowly moving in unleashed a downpour on us so we ran for the car and headed home.

As the sun dropped lower in the sky, the shadows grew longer and dark clouds moved in from the northeast.

I was even surprised myself how much of a change there was between the last two photos. Once those dark clouds picked up momentum there was no stopping them. So don’t give up. Things may seem to be at a standstill in your life, but you never know what’s coming. Just be thankful for the time you have to prepare yourself for what’s ahead by cultivating a positive attitude and an open mind knowing that you’ll never be asked to face something you can’t handle if you have the faith to believe there’s someone watching out for you every second of every day.

On Tuesday, I was expecting a few people to come over for the local weightloss/fitness challenge we’ve got going on. Only one showed which wasn’t ideal for the challenge, but it was perfect because that gave us time to talk and catch up (plus extra leftovers). After a dinner of tortilla soup, southwestern black bean and brown rice salad and a green salad with cilantro dressing from Trader Joe’s we went for a walk. It was great to go out in the evening instead of the morning and I got some nice shots of the sky.

Having people over isn’t the norm for us so company is a nice change of pace. It motivates me to make the apartment sparkling clean (or at least cleaner than it was before) and it inspires me to cook more interesting meals. It’s easy to get in a rut when we basically do the same things day after day and life is to short to be spent in boredom. I hope you’ll find something that gives you a nice change of pace, too.

I said I was going to post photos from my walk on Sunday yesterday, but it didn’t happen. More family time. Now the kids are in bed and my husband is working so I’m catching up on a few things. Have I mentioned that I love Spring?

Thanks for visiting and being patient! 😀

Take the fact that I grew up in an angry, violent home environment and factor in my red hair which prompted many people over the years to make comments about the temper that I must have. What do you get? An angry redhead. The problem of controlling myself peaked as a teenager and only by the grace of God have I gotten it under control…for the most part. Every great once in a while something will push my buttons and it will be all I can do to refrain from acting upon what I’m feeling. Today was one of those days.

As I headed out to walk I passed two young men in the hallway who were going door to door selling magazines. If anyone is sympathetic it’s me because I’ve done door to door work before and it’s not easy. But today I was leaving my kids at home (no big surprise that they didn’t want to walk with me) with their dad who was getting some much needed sleep after a week of getting less than 5 hours a day. I asked them nicely if they could do me a favor and skip my door and explained why. One responded, “Sure, no problem. We’ll catch you when you come back.” Ok, that annoyed me. “That’s ok.” They laughed. (!) As I entered the elevator I felt the need to let them know I had purchased from their company before (which I had) and I didn’t want to again. The door slid shut and I wondered if they would respect my request.

I dialed my son’s cell phone to let him know not to answer the door if someone knocked. A few short minutes later I was on my way down the street, but couldn’t stop wondering if they had knocked. I called my son again and sure enough, they had…twice. I was steaming. It was so tempting to turn around and go back to confront them, but it was such a beautiful day and I knew if I went back I’d miss a small window of opportunity to take some nice photos. I settled on calling the office and left a message letting them know someone was soliciting in the buildings. I fumed for a few more minutes, but as I walked the anger started to melt away despite my best effort to hold onto it. There’s something about a good workout (especially Turbo Jam or TurboFire with all those punches and kicks) that dissipates negative feels. You may not forget the thing that was bothering you, but you’ve had a chance to work through it so you can handle it in the best way.

Ultimately, I’m glad I decided to keep walking and enjoy the weather instead of going back. Maybe they would’ve learned something if I had, but maybe not. I don’t think I was in the right frame of mind to be reasonable in a confrontation so I believe I made the best choice. Woe unto them if I happen to see them on the property again, though. 😉

Today was a rarity in this part of Oregon. Usually if there are clouds they’re completely covering the sky and everything is grey. Not today. Here’s what we got to enjoy, even if only for a few brief minutes.

“You define yourself by your decisions.” – Gary Ryan Blair 

Such a simple statement, but very profound. It took me years to figure it out, but I am not defined by the labels others have chosen for me or by the circumstances that surround me. Each and every decision defines who we are. We can choose to be what others expect us to be or we can choose to show them who we really are. No matter what the behavior is, we can find a way to avoid it if it needs to be or we can find the courage to follow through if the goal is worthwhile. Today I chose to be a lover of nature instead the angry lady on the 4th floor. Who will you choose to be?