Weekend in Review

Babysitting Cootie Game August 31 2015

My weekend started off on Friday night with a babysitting gig. I always try to bring a game or book with me to keep the girls entertained. I remember as a kid it was always more fun to play with someone else’s toys, so I figure the same goes for other people as well. This time I took Cooties with me. I remember playing with this game when I was a kid at my grandparent’s house in New Jersey when we’d go visit them. I’ve brought it before when I’ve babysat these sisters, but they were still pretty excited to play it again. To be honest it was a pretty easy night. Between wanting to catch bugs outside, a couple games, and two bedtime books, and some TV time on my own, it was a good night.

Farmer's Market Curry August 31 2015

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to head out to the farmer’s market. I picked up some of the curry that I always buy when I’m there. This time I decided to switch it up a but and I went with chicken and veggies instead of vegetarian. I’m trying to eat more protein, so I figured that would be an easy change to make. I also picked up half a dozen Montreal bagels (check out this link for details). They’re so good and infinitely better than any bagel you can find at the grocery store. On the way out I stopped by one my favorite vegetable vendors and got some arugula and tomatoes. I ended up coming home with a pretty good haul from the farmer’s market.

On Sunday I considered going downtown to check out Market Collective. It’s basically an independent market with all kinds of awesome vendors and artists. They all have to apply to get in, so there’s some really great stuff. I was feeling lazy though and taking transit downtown felt like too much work. Check out this post for more about Market Collective. I know this week is going to be crazy in terms of work and school, so I wanted to take advantage of one of the last days I’ll have where I don’t have anything scheduled.

Leave a comment with the highlight of your weekend. 

Fun Facts Friday

This week feels like it’s flown by. I can’t believe that it’s Friday already. It feels like the entire summer has sped by too. The mornings are cooler and the evenings are starting to get shorter. I’m actually looking forward to fall though because it’s my favorite season. I can’t wait for cozy sweaters, mugs of hot apple cider, and cool, crisp weather.

I know I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I was buying a new car. My Malibu was 13 years old (even though it doesn’t feel like I bought it that long ago), and I’d have to get a few things fixed on it if I had kept it. My dad convinced me it wasn’t worth putting money into, so a couple weeks ago I started car shopping. After narrowing it down to four cars, three test drives, and lots of thinking and considering, I finally decided on a Yaris. I’ve had it for a few days now and I’m really happy with my decision. While it’s pretty small, it gets amazing mileage so my bank account will be thanking me when it comes to getting gas. I wanted something that was reliable and would get me to school and work safely. While it’s not very fancy it’s still an upgrade from my old car.

Indian Restaurant Butter Chicken August 28 2015

There’s been a new Indian restaurant near me that I’ve been wanting to check out for a few months now. I finally checked out Raj Palace one day this week after work. I’m so glad I did because the food was delicious! Since I was there for lunch they had some specials on, so I got butter chicken, naan bread, and jasmine rice. The portions were generous, so I wasn’t able to finish everything, but it was so, so good. I know I’ll be back soon. I’m very happy to have found a good Indian restaurant nearby, as my two other standbys are a half hour drive away.

It’s been the summer of the dentist for me. I’ve been at the dentist 2 or 3 times a month since June. I was there yesterday for an appointment, and I was very happy to be done in just fifteen minutes. It sure beats the two and a half hour appointments I had back in June. I have one more next week and then I should be done until my next check up in six months. I’ll be very glad to not have to go back for awhile. It’s gotten to the point that the receptionists know my name when they see me walk into the office.

My first day of school on Thursday! While I’ve been taking classes one at a time for the last two years to get my prerequisites done, I’ll be starting school full time in a matter of days. Thursday is orientation and classes begin the following Tuesday after the long weekend. It’s felt like this day would never get here. I’m pretty excited to be in a program that I’m passionate about and looking forward to learning as much as I can.

New LL Bean Backpack August 28 2014

 

I’ll be at school today for a job interview (keep your fingers crossed for me), and my plan is to get my ID card and books while I’m there. I hope it won’t be quite as busy and the lines will be a bit shorter. I’ve already bought my school supplies – a couple binders, some lined paper, dividers, and pens. Along with my LL Bean backpack that I bought last year, I’m feeling prepared as far as supplies go.

Leave a comment with the highlight of your week. 

Garden Update

Garden August 27 2015 (1)

 

It’s hard to believe it’s already the end of August. The garden is still going strong though with lots more veggies that have yet to be harvested. I’m thinking that this will be my best year ever for the garden.

Garden August 27 2015 (2)

 

Although none of the tomatoes are turning red yet, there are definitely getting big. I’m hoping that in the next couple weeks they’ll start to ripen and I’ll be eating them soon. I can’t wait for them, tomatoes are probably my favorite thing to eat straight from the garden.

Garden August 27 2015 (3)

 

After a couple quiet weeks from the zucchinis they’re now producing again. I counted 8 or 9 more zucchinis. I have no idea what we’re going to do with them. I think we’ll end up giving most of them away to neighbors and co-workers. There’s only so much zucchini you can eat at once.

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The beans are starting to get big! Before I know it I’ll be picking, and then eating them. The ones from last year were delicious, so I’m expecting these ones to be just as good.

Garden August 27 2015 (5)

 

The onions and leeks are slowly but surely growing. They’ll need every single day in the ground that they can get. We actually had to cover the garden last week because it started snowing one afternoon. Yes, I said snow in August. Living in Alberta you have to expect crazy weather every once in awhile. I was most concerned with the onions being in the cold, but it looks like the tarp did it’s work and kept them safe.

 

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I always think that the zucchini flowers are so bright and cheerful. They’re such a pretty shade of yellow. My grandpa used to love frying them up and eating them.

Leave a comment below with how your garden is doing. I love to hear about the cool things other people are growing. 

Fit Friends Friday

I love hearing about other people’s journeys to living a healthy lifestyle. Everyone has a different story, yet there’s always something that I can relate to or learn from. I thought I’d start a new feature on the blog that incorporates that. Twice a month on Fridays I’ll be sharing an interview from a healthy living blogger friend. Today I’m introducing Rachel.

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Could you share a little about yourself and your blog?​ I am the owner/founder of A Forever Change (www.aforeverchange.com). I am a personal trainer and group fitness instructor who has a passion for helping women gain confidence and overcome their insecurities. We focus on getting healthy and fit from the inside out! I am also a business mentor who is passionate about helping women find ways to earn a passive income, specifically in the fitness industry, so they can provide for their families while watching their children grow up!

​​What are your favorite ways to be active? ​Strength training is by far my favorite ​workout format, and for the longest time I was a huge group exercise junkie! Now that I stay home with my beautiful baby girl, I find it more difficult to go to the gym. At-home workouts in our upstairs gym are my go-to workouts these days. Along with family walks and time on our new recumbent bike!

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​​What’s your proudest fitness accomplishment so far?​ My proudest fitness accomplishment is losing over 45 pounds – TWICE! Several years ago, I struggled with a serious eating disorder that robbed me of my joy and left me grossly underweight. When I finally started eating again, the food that I once had control over now controlled me. I almost doubled my body weight! I knew I had a problem and needed to get some help. With proper, balanced nutrition and a strategic fitness program, I was able to shed the weight – this time, the healthy way – and keep it off. Fast forward to three years ago, when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter – I was definitely nervous. I gained over 45 pounds during pregnancy, but again was able to get fit the healthy way post-pregnancy and again lose over 45 pounds!​

​​How do you fit workouts and healthy eating into your schedule? ​I truly believe that we will do whatever is important to us. If working out is important, we will make time for it. If eating healthy is important, we will make time for it. My three biggest priorities are my faith, my family, and my fitness – in that order. My alarm is set for 5:15 every morning to make sure that I have the opportunity to take care of myself before anyone else wakes up. I am also a huge advocate of meal prepping. It saves me so much time during the week and only takes an hour or two out of my weekend. And finally, I don’t keep unhealthy food in our house (with the exception of the occasional treat that my husband will bring home). If it’s not here, it can’t derail me during a moment of weakness!​

​​What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome in your healthy lifestyle journey? ​The biggest obstacle I’ve overcome is my unhealthy relationship with food. I would say it is a constant work in progress, though – I don’t know that you ever really “get over” an eating disorder. But I think you manage it and control it the best you can. And you go from there.​

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​​What are three healthy living blogs you read for inspiration? ​I love reading Amanda Kaufman’s Blog, Meryl Heers’ Blog, Chrissy Carol’s blog, and ​of course, yours!

​​What’s your fitness philosophy?​ It’s ok to have setbacks and do-overs. It’s ok to start over. The most important thing is to keep moving forward. Take baby steps, but take steps. The change will come. Imperfect changes and slow steps of progress will last long after quick fixes.

​​What are three of your favorite posts on your blog? ​My favorite recipe is for pasta sauce, my favorite printable is for toddler snacks, and my biggest moment of vulnerability is when I blogged about my miscarriage last spring.
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How can people connect with you on social media?​ You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Periscope: @mcmichaelrachel, or YouTube.

Thanks Rachel! I love your take on making time every day to take care of yourself before taking care of your family. I’m sure your journey of weight loss resonates with a lot of people as well. If you’d like to hear more from Rachel make sure you check out her blog. If you’re a healthy living blogger who would like to be featured send me an email.

4 MORE Reasons to Try Yoga

4 More Reasons to Try Yoga August 25 2015 550

If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of yoga. It’s made such a difference in my life. Little did I know what a change it would be for me when I walked into my very first yoga class. I’ve already written a post about why you should try yoga (you can check it out here), but I thought I’d write a follow up with a few more reasons just in case you weren’t convinced yet.

Teaches you to be kind to yourself. Before I did yoga regularly I would have thought you were crazy if you told me yoga and patience were connected. I just wouldn’t have seen how that could be possible. It’s easy for me sometimes to think that I should be able to do a pose by now because I’ve been trying to do it for what seems like forever. But I have to remind myself that I need to be patient and willing to wait for the right time for it to happen. Does that mean I don’t give it 100% every single time? Absolutely not. But I have enough grace to give myself a break. I wouldn’t expect that of other people, so why would I do that to myself? I’ve also learned to extend that same kindness to others.

Patience. As much as you might try to perfect a certain pose, sometimes getting it right won’t happen for months (or years). I’ll admit that there are some poses that I can’t wait to be able to do (hello headstands). But just like everything in life, doing impressive things means that you have to work hard for it. Are there poses that I thought I would have mastered by now? Absolutely. But I know that it will come in time if I stick with it. Just like in life things don’t happen when I think they should, the same thing happens on my mat. Yoga is a great reminder to me to be patient.

Better focus. During class all I think about it yoga. Although I still have my moments when I get distracted thinking about work or what I’m making for dinner, for the most part I’m just thinking about the pose I’m in. To be honest in the beginning it was really tough. My mind was all over the place. I’ve found the key for me when it comes to better focus is my breath. When I’m breathing how I’m supposed to – smoothly and deeply – I’m in the zone. When I allow my breath to speed up because I’m in a tough pose or I’m thinking about something outside of class, my mind ends up wandering. I’ve been able to translate that better focus during yoga class into my life off the mat as well. It’s actually kind of freeing to give myself permission to focus on just one thing at a time. Instead of trying to answer email, listen to a podcast, and make dinner at the same time, I consciously choose to do only one at a time. I’m still not great at it, but I definitely see a difference when I stop multitasking.

Improves mind body connection. When I’m in class and on my mat it’s literally just me. I have to connect with what my body is doing in class. Are my shoulders higher than they should be in warrior I? What is it that’s stressing me out and can I let it go to let my body relax during class? Even making sure that I’m breathing slowly makes a big difference in how connected I feel to my physical body. I’ve also noticed a shift in my mindset since I’ve started yoga. I’m much for grateful for what my body can do than I was before. I may never be the best at anything athletic, but I’m very lucky to have a healthy body that lets me do everyday stuff.

Now that you know my reasons for doing yoga, leave one of yours in the comments. 

Weekend in Review

I can’t believe that it’s already Monday morning – it’s been an absolutely jam packed weekend. It feels like it was just Friday morning and I was getting ready to go to work. Needless to say I feel like I’ve gotten a lot accomplished, so I guess that’s why the last few days flew by.

I’m looking to buy a new car, so after work on Friday I met up with my dad who offered to go with me to check some out. I had a few in mind that I wanted to look at and compare to each other. After checking out two dealerships and test driving two cars my brain was full to capacity with all the details so we called it a day. I took him out for dinner as a thank you for going with me and sharing his advice. I’m very grateful that he did because I don’t know a whole lot about cars. We ended up at a pub where he got a bacon burger and I ordered a chicken cashew noodle bowl.

Saturday morning we headed out again to check out a few more cars. I had a favorite from the day before, so I compared the two from Saturday that we looked at to it. During one test drive I decided to veto a car. The ride was horrible and the car had absolutely no pep to it while merging onto the highway, not to mention how cramped the interior felt, even in the driver’s seat. We checked out one more car and before we knew it the morning was over.

I’m pretty sure I’ve made up my mind about which car I want to get and the plan is to go back to the dealership this week to get it. While I’m excited to get a new car that has seriously amazing mileage (cause really, who likes to spend money at the gas station), I’m also looking forward to having a reliable care that will get me to where I have to go. I’ve had my current car for 13 years now, and it’s definitely showing it’s age.

Saturday afternoon I recruited my boyfriend to help me buy a computer. I don’t know much about computers either, but I wanted to get a new one with school starting in just a couple weeks. As much as I love my laptop, it’s 5 years old now and it just doesn’t work very well anymore. I was constantly getting frustrated knowing that I was wasting time trying to get it to do basic things. We stopped for lunch before heading over to the computer store. I got an amazing chicken wrap (I think what made it so good was the pesto aioli).

New Computer August 17 2015

Once we were done at the restaurant we headed over to the store where it was relatively painless to pick out and buy a computer. I managed to snag the last one of the model that I wanted, so I’m very thankful I got there when I did. Since I was upgrading from a laptop to a desktop, I also needed to get a monitor and keyboard. I realized today when I tried to watch a YouTube video that I also need to get speakers as well. All total everything came together well under budget, so I was pretty happy about that. It’s not often you can say that about computers.

Yesterday felt like I was playing catch up. Even though I got my computer unboxed, set up, and connected to the network the night before, I still had to customize it. I downloaded a few things like Chrome (I don’t think I’ve used Internet Explorer for the last 10+ years except to download other browsers) and Dropbox (which has made moving to a different computer seamless – all my files are right there). Add on the usual prepping for a new week stuff that I usually do on Sundays, and before I knew it the day and my weekend were over.

When’s the last time you went car shopping? What car did you end up getting?

Garden Update

Garden Update August 16 2015 (1)

 

Can you believe that it’s already been two weeks since my last garden update? It feels like August is flying by way too fast. We’ve had a ton of hot and dry weather lately, which has meant high temps and making sure the garden gets watered everyday to keep it from drying out. Needless to say that the plants have been loving all the sunlight and heat.

Garden Update August 16 2015 (2)

 

 

The onions have really gotten big over the last couple weeks. Although they’re still small, they’ve almost doubled in size. They’re going to need every last day of growing time, but I think they’ll end up being the biggest onions I’ve ever grown in the garden so far.

Garden Update August 16 2015 (3)

 

Since I pulled out the last of the radishes the carrots have been getting a lot more sunlight, and they’ve been growing faster. They’re a bit later than usual this year, but I’m sure they’ll be just as tasty as they have been previous years. I can’t wait until I can pull out my first one and give it a try!

Garden Update August 16 2015 (4)

 

The beans are as pretty as they have been with they’re red flowers. I’ve noticed a few small beans starting to appear, though it will be at least another few weeks before any of them will be ready to eat. I’m thinking by the first or second week of September we’ll have more beans than we’ll know what to do with.

 

Garden Update August 16 2015 (5)

Even though it’s been hot, the peas have been thriving. They typically don’t do well with the heat, but they’ve been producing lots of pea pods lately. By the end of the month most of them will be done producing and then I’ll pull them out to give the tomatoes a bit more room. I planted two different kinds this year, and you can sure taste the difference between them. One is sweet (which I like better), and the other one isn’t. I definitely prefer the sweet one, so I’m going to be ordering more of those seeds this winter for next spring.

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I have a feeling that we’re finally over the zucchini hump. I was picking them almost daily for awhile, so it’s kind of nice to not have so many. I’ve been giving them away to co-workers and neighbors because there was just too much for us to eat on our own. There’s a few small zucchinis which may or may not grow, so I’m keeping an eye on them. If they don’t get any bigger by the end of the week I’ll be pulling out the zucchini plants to give the Swiss card and beans a bit more room. With the big leaves of the zucchini plants, I’m sure the rest of the garden will appreciate it.

Garden Update August 16 2015 (7)

 

Tomatoes love hot weather, so they’ve gotten huge over the last week or two. There are lots of little green tomatoes everywhere. There’s a few larger ones that I’m eagerly waiting to start turning red. There’s nothing better than a tomato fresh from the garden, and I can’t wait to eat my first one this summer.

Now that you know how my garden is going, leave a comment with what you’ve been enjoying from yours. 

Things I’m Thankful For

Things I'm Thankful For August 11 2015 350

The other day I was thinking about all the things that I’m lucky to have. Even within the last few years I’ve gained things that I didn’t have before, and I’m so grateful for them. So today I thought I’d share a few things that I’m thankful for.

Studying May 10 2015

School. I start school full time the first week of September, and it’s been two years in the making. I’ve been upgrading some high school classes to get the perquisites. Chemistry and math were two classes that I really struggled with. Luckily I had an amazing teacher that answered my questions and didn’t make me feel stupid when he had to explain concepts more than once to me. I’m really looking forward to diving into classes full time and learning about how bodies work and how to make them more effective. Two years ago this seemed like such a far off goal that would require a lot of work, but I’ve managed to get here.

A healthy family. Just like any family, crap happens and you have to come together to deal with it. The last few years have been tough with family members being sick – as in extended hospital stays sick. As of May everyone has been given clean bills of health. It’s taken years to get to this point, so we’re all very thankful that life can return to normal around here. Now doctor visits aren’t the scary things they used to be.

My jobs.  I have two jobs that I really like, along with some pretty awesome co-workers. While one job requires me to be at work at 5 am, it’s actually kind of perfect scheduling because once I’m done there I can go to my other job. It’s an early morning, but that means I can get as much work as possible in before heading to school in the afternoons to get some help if I need it. I’ve been at my other job for years now. Since it’s a small business there’s only three of us, but we’re such a great team and have become such great friends over the years. I’m so grateful to have such an amazing environment to work in every day.

Moraine Lake Hiking August 11 2015

Living in such a beautiful part of the world. I know that in my Weekly Workout posts I share about how walks are so good for me. They give me time and space to think as well as to de-stress. A big part of why they’re so therapeutic for me is because of the natural beauty of the parks that I go to. Even though my favorite park is in a city of over a million people, there are parts of it where it feels like I’m a million miles away from civilization. There’s no other people, I can’t see any buildings, and I don’t hear any traffic. Spending time in the mountains is another way that I re-charge. Seeing the wildflowers and animals (from elk to mountain goats to pikas) is such a treat for me. Everything from going for a drive through the mountains to going for a hike relaxes me. I’m very lucky to have a view of the mountains from the house, and even luckier than they’re only an hour long drive away.

Now that you know what I’m thankful for, leave a comment with something you’re grateful to have. 

 

Weekly Workouts

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Sunday I woke up craving some yoga, so I did some on my own. I did part of the seated primary series of Ashtanga yoga. By the way, if you’re looking for some yoga inspiration, make sure you check out Kino MacGregor on Twitter and Instagram (both those links will take you straight to her profiles). She’s absolutely awesome.

Monday I did one of Jillian Michaels’ DVD workouts, but I can’t remember which one though. That’s what I get for not writing it down as soon as I finished!

Tuesday Off because I had to be at work at 5 am.

Wednesday I was feeling stressed about all the studying I had to get done for my final tomorrow (wish me luck), so I went for a long walk by the river. I think I just needed a break from both work and studying to clear my head a bit. Spending time enjoying some beautiful views definitely helped.

Thursday I decided to do the upper body workout from the One on One Training with Jackie DVD (check out my review of it here). It had been awhile since the last time I’d last done it, so it was nice to do something that felt new.

Friday I ended up taking another rest day today. My back had been bugging me since Saturday. It was nothing big, just my lower back being achy off and on and I just wanted it to go away! Sometimes you just have to listen to your body and take it easy.

Saturday I started off the day with a walk on the pathways in my neighborhood. I don’t think I’d been on them since last summer when I was dog sitting for a friend of mine, so it was great to have some new scenery to take in. Usually I go to my favorite park by the river for walks, but this was a nice change.

Leave a comment below with your toughest workout from the last week. 

What I Ate Wednesday

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As usual, thanks to Jenn at Peas and Crayons for hosting What I Ate Wednesday.

WIAW Breakfast August 5 2015

 

Although I usually like my breakfasts to be quick and easy (and don’t require too much thinking until I’m fully awake), I’ve been making some pretty impressive breakfasts lately. This one consisted of two scrambled eggs, some sauteed veggies, and two pieces of toast with strawberry jam. Strawberry jam is my favorite. Although this was a more involved breakfast for me, it actually didn’t take too long to make. I cooked the veggies and eggs in the same pan (once the vegetables were done I put them on my plate and covered it with foil to keep them warm) and then did the eggs.

WIAW Lunch August 5 2015

 

I found myself at Five Guys for lunch. Five Guys is relatively new here in Canada, they arrived just a few years ago. My dad loves their fries – they’re actually his favorite – so when we made plans to get out for lunch, I wasn’t surprised there were Five Guys fries involved. I ordered a little cheeseburger (it seems to be what I usually get) with ketchup, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, and lettuce. I also grabbed another handful of fries after I finished the ones in the photo above. They’re pretty good actually.

WIAW Dinner August 5 2015

 

Dinner was barbecued steak kebabs with orange rice. The kebabs had pieces of marinated steak, red and orange bell peppers, and onions on them. I loved the caramelized bits on the onions when they’re cooked in the barbecue. They’re so good! The orange rice is pretty simple to make. I start with minute rice, and instead of using water I make it with orange juice. My mom has been making it ever since since I was little, so it always reminds me of her cooking.

Now that you know what I’ve been eating lately, leave a comment below with one of your recent meals.