Friday, April 18, 2014

100 happy days

It's Friday! I hope your week has been treating you well. I am looking forward to the weekend. Saturdays we usually stay home, read together (Jesse and I are reading this book and the girls and I read an assortment of books), stream an inspirational discussion (usually from here), hope to sneak in a nap (our girls aren't as happy about this as we are), and share great meals together. It's easily my favorite day of the week. Finding my happy thing for tomorrow won't be hard- not that it ever is. (The hard part is remembering to take a picture). 

I've been posting a happy thing daily on Instagram for the 100 Happy Days project. It was one of my goals for April. I am really enjoying this project. I'm mindful of what I'm happy for on a daily basis. 
These are some of the current pictures I've posted on Instagram (some of them are not part of my project, but they do make me happy). ;) 
100 happy days.
100 happy days

If you need a refresher, the idea is to post pictures for 100 days of things that make you happy on your favorite platform. I'm using Instagram as I've mentioned. Are you considering joining the project? Although it's fun to post pictures on your favorite platform, you don't have to do that at all either. You can tailor this project to your preferences. Maybe you'll just take a pictures daily for 100 days, print the pictures, and make a little book... or maybe you'll take your pictures and frame them? What about not taking pictures at all and simply journaling 100 things that make you happy for 100 days? "What about if I just follow along while you do this thing, Jessica?" That's fine, too. ;)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

52 sandwiches #31: smoked chicken panini

When I blogged about being halfway done with my 52 sandwiches project (here), I mentioned that I was looking into buying a panini maker. We looked through Target's selection, and settled on this one, which had good reviews. We love it. (LOVE it). We've been making so many sandwiches lately. I hope we don't get tired of them because I still have a project to complete. ;) 

I really enjoyed how simple it was to entertain using the panini maker. For the book exchange party Jasmine and I hosted for our sister Jennifer, we provided soup and a grilled cheese bar for the guests. Once they had chosen their bread and cheeses for dinner, they could grill their sandwiches using the panini maker. It was fun, simple, and tasty. See more of the party here.

I'm here to share a sandwich though, right? ;)

This is my take on Panera's Frontega Chicken Panini. (Fun fact: did you know that panini is the plural form of panino? I didn't).

52 sandwiches #31: chicken panini
For this sandwich, I spread chipotle mayo on the "everything Italian" bread (from Walmart). I layered slices of smoked chicken (from the deli), a slice of mozzarella cheese (also from the deli), spinach, tomato slices, and red onion. I pressed the sandwich in the panini maker to make my panino. ;)
52 sandwiches #31: chicken panini
Tasty, tasty, tasty! You have to try this sandwich! I love the smoky flavor in this sandwich.
** I am attempting to make 52 sandwiches. Read more about how this project got started here. See all the sandwiches I've made so far here.**

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

workspace wednesday

I'm still in "purge all the junk" mode. These are pictures I've shared of my craft space:
workspace wednesday
It's behind our couch. The Expedit units divide the living room/tv area and the dining area. (See more of my house's layout here).
workspace wednesday
June 2013 005
I've started crossing things off of my to-do list. (With a little one, it's more of a "ta-da" list). I actually cracked open my Project Life, which I hadn't done in a while. There's hope, friends. 

I'll stop rambling, and start working! Here's to a productive Wednesday. ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

my weight loss toolbox: breakfast & breakfast banana splits

banana split breakfast 1
When I was regularly attending Weight Watchers' meetings, there were often discussions about not attempting to change "big," overgeneralized habits. It was encouraged to focus on changing something small and specific- something manageable and realistic to avoid disappointment and maximize success. Saying, for example, "I'm going to drink water instead of soda for lunch everyday this week" instead of "I am banning sugary drinks;" or "I'm going to walk around the block after dinner Monday through Friday" instead of "I'm going to exercise more;" or "I'm going to take dinner's leftovers for lunch and not order fast food twice this week" instead of "I'm never eating out again." It was suggested that the smaller changes would eventually lead to bigger lifestyle changes, and that it is important to celebrate small and big successes.
banana split breakfast 2
banana split breakfast 3 
When I started bettering myself by eating well (or at least improving my eating habits) and moving more, I didn't have a healthy breakfast routine. I was eating whatever was quick, which was usually fatty. Doughnut? Sure. Too busy for breakfast? Eat a big lunch. I wasn't planning any of my breakfasts. (At Weight Watcher meetings, I often heard: Fail to plan? Plan to fail). 
banana split breakfast 4
I started incorporating healthier breakfasts into my life and I hardly ever (almost never) skipped breakfast. I often had smoothies when I first started. When I got bored, I explored options. I experimented with oatmeal, yogurt, oatmeal and yogurt together, cereal, eggs, toast, etc. It really doesn't have to be boring. There isn't anything you should be having if you don't like it or are bored with it. It's easy to fall into restrictive mindsets. For example, "I can only have egg whites to be successful with my weight loss." It's not true. There are various, healthy and satisfying options suited to your tastes and lifestyle.
banana split breakfast 5

Breakfast is no longer a problem area or a stumbling block for me. I eat satisfying, healthy breakfasts every day. I've made a long-term, lifestyle change! When I feel bad about a particular area, I remember that I've come a long way, and I can celebrate the changes I've made. If you're in this boat with me, I encourage you not to focus on the end result. Think about it from a daily perspective. Every day has its struggles. Make healthy choices today.
banana split breakfast 6
Read more about what I eat here. Check out an oatmeal muffin tin meal for your little ones here. How about an egg sandwich for breakfast instead? Look here.
(Want to know more about My Weight Loss Toolbox?  Start here, and continue here). 

Monday, April 14, 2014

books to read before they're made into movies in 2014

I came across this list of books to read before they're made into movies in 2014. What a cool list! Check out this list, too. I had mentioned that I don't like to watch a movie based on a book before I've read the book. I like to analyze the movie based on how I first perceived the characters, settings, themes, etc. Plus, I like to ruin the ending for those watching it with me. "Oh, her? Yeah, she dies." You know, that sort of thing. I'm joking, but I did just that when I was, like, 9. We went to watch My Girl in the theater, and I had already read the book. My dad was willingly listening to me analyze the movie and ruin the plot. In the climactic scene where what's-his-name gets stung by bees, I revealed that he was deathly allergic to bees and that he dies. The moviegoer behind us, finally exasperated, sighed loudly. He was nice enough not to say, "Somebody shut this kid up!" Can you imagine? How annoying! My dad finally shushed me as nicely as he could. lol.

Anyway, back to that list. I think it would be fun to read some of the ones I'm interested in before I watch the movie. I'm interested in watching the more suspenseful ones, but I probably shouldn't read the books. I'll get anxious for a longer period of time. I actually checked out Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, but I think I'll freak out. I should probably return it for those that can handle it. 

These are the ones I want to read:
*The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (I actually just finished reading this one! More on my thoughts in another post).
*This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (Jason Bateman will star in this movie. That's what sold me. He's hilarious).
*Serena by Ron Rash (I may get heart palpitations because it's a thriller. But. . . I'm willing to make an exception for Bradley Cooper- and Jennifer Lawrence).
*The Giver by Lois Lowry (I'm really excited about this one. I read it in middle school, but I'm rereading it before the movie is released).
*Wild by Cheryl Strayed (This is a memoir about a woman who takes a long hike alone after losing her mom and her marriage).
*Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (Reading this one means I have to read the The Hunger Games and Catching Fire first. I watched the movies before reading the books- tsk tsk tsk).

Typically, I just order whatever I want to read from Amazon because I'm foolishly spendy like that. Recently, though, I've been requesting the books from the library. The popular ones are often out, but once it's my turn, the library will hold the book for me. It's awesome. It's thrilling to get the notice from my library that the book is ready for me to pick up. I was so giddy when The Fault in Our Stars was waiting for me.

Check out that list for better descriptions, and to make your list of must-reads. :)

Do you think I should read Gone Girl and risk a heart attack? Keep in mind that the most thrilling books I've read were the Goosebumps series in middle school. ;) Have you read Gone Girl??