Monday, 30 June 2014

Losing it and Winning - Week 8

Hey all, welcome back to another weekly recap of my weight loss challenge.  Don't worry you only have another 4 weeks left of hearing about it.  ;) 




If you are new to this series, I wrote a little bit about my 12 week challenge in this post.  Here are the recaps for week 1week 2week 3week 4week 5week 6 and week 7.


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WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE

Here are my measurements as of  Sunday, June 29, 2014:

Weight:  150.3 lbs
Bust:       38" 
Waist:     31 1/2" 
Butt:       37.5"

I lost almost 3lbs this week!!  Some of my weight measurements have also gone down a little bit.

Here is my original starting weight and the measurements as of Sunday, May 4, 2014:

Weight:  172.3 lbs
Bust: 41 1/2"
Waist: 39 1/4"
Butt:  40"

Overall since May 4, 2014, I'm down 22lbs which works out to about 12.77%.  This challenge is based on the % of original weight lost. I'm in third place as of right now (the girl in first place is at 12.81%). Our names and percentages of weight lost is posted on a board in the main gym after each weekly weigh-in for all to see.  It's sad to see the names on the boards dwindling down as some people drop out of the competition.  There are two other groups (a Tuesday and Thursday evening class, I'm on the Sunday morning group), and there are only 2-3 names whose % go up every week from each group because either they don't show up that week for weigh in or they have dropped out of competition.  In our group, I think 3-4 people out 8 originals have completely dropped out of the group. I feel really bad for them, because I know how hard it is to even show up the first time or even sign up for the challenge, I've been there.  And to see them give up when the going got tough, is really sad. For some of these ladies it was their second, maybe even third time, trying to loose the weight with this challenge.  It just goes to show you how tough this challenge is, not just physically but mentally as well. I'm proud of myself for sticking with it and pushing through all the mental and physical fatigue every single day.

PHYSICAL CHALLENGE

This week, my hip that I injured a few weeks ago, was feeling so much better, although my hamstrings are still very very tight.  I'm trying my very best to loosen them by stretching and rolling them out but it's still a struggle. I doubt they will heal completely until I stop the workouts/running.

I managed to get 6 HIIT (Hight Intensity Interval Training) classes in this week, some tread running and about 3 personal workouts. I was a very busy this week since it was last week of school for all three of my kiddos.  Sydney had exams and had to be picked up from school everyday, since the buses were only running in the morning.  I also volunteered to help out at Anthony's school for a few of their end-of-year trips, and Haley had her graduation from grade 8. Here is a pic I shared on Facebook of her and some of her friends on graduation day.  She is the one with silver and pink dress. Aren't their dresses pretty? You can also see how she had her hair done on Instagram. 
I know the pic has nothing to do with my weight loss but I needed a pretty pic for the  post. :)


I know I haven't been showing you any progress pics of the body lately, but I will as I get to the end of this challenge. Although I don't seem to be seeing alot of progress, everyone else is commenting on how much more fit and lean I look. I do know that my clothes are looser and that I've had to go buy some new shorts to wear.  My hubby told me to wear a belt, but they were just looking like baggy clothes with a belt, so I went a bought a few pairs of shorts from Old Navy (huge sale this past weekend) to make me feel better.  I still have another 20-25lbs I would like to loose which will roughly translate to 2-3 smaller pant sizes, so I can't go crazy on buying clothes... yet. 

For the last 4 weeks of the challenge, it's getting really competitive at the gym.  I'm sure the other competitors (or at least the top 5) will be upping their workouts to shed bit of weight to win the competition. The last season of Biggest Loser competition, the winner ended up loosing 27% of her original weight (I think it was 55lbs), so I still have a ways to go yet to get to that number. I know that I will be increasing my cardio substantially this week.  My trainer has advised to start running on the tread on an incline at a faster speed.  I've signed up to do HIIT classes all week long as well as I will have to fit in my personal workouts too. I still haven't gone to the hot yoga class that I talked about last week, so I might do that as well to keep my muscles to loose.

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I think I have rambled on long enough this week, but I'm feeling chatty. I hope you don't mind.

Let's Connect!






Thursday, 26 June 2014

Telus Appreciates Loyal customers and is Showing them! #ActsOfCaring

There are certain companies out there in the very competitive marketplace that really care and appreciate their loyal customers, not just their new customers.  Telus Communications is one of them.

Recently Telus rewarded this loyal customer of almost 20 years, Ramona, with the ride of Lifetime!

You might want to grab the tissue box, this one is a good one.



You can also watch it and subscriber on Youtube here!

Did you see how happy she was? I couldn't help but smile right along with her, and I might have gotten watery eyes too. What a great feeling to be appreciated for simply being loyal to a company.


Ramona's dream day, got me thinking what I would do, if I had a dream day.

If I could have a dream day it would be to take my entire family (including my in-laws, my mom dad, my brother's and my sister's families) to a 5 star resort. We all live such busy lives and it would be awesome to put everything aside and just spend time together and not worry about the little things in life.  I would spend more time with my nephews and my little guy, have a leisurely lunch with my sister and brother and talk about old times.  I would treat my mom dad to a spa treatment and thank them for always being there for me and my children. I would send my girls for many-pedis. I would treat my hubby to a day of leisure, because he works so hard to provide for us.  I would finish off the day with a dinner prepared by a Master chef, with each meal prepared to our specifications. Seeing my family members enjoy their day and be together would be my dream day.

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Ramona’s surprise was just the beginning. The TELUS Care-a-Van team is rolling into Guelph this week to specially thank TELUS local customers and the Guelph community with a host of events and activities that will be taking place all week long:
  • TELUS is donating $5 to the Guelph Children's Foundation for every use of #actsofcaring hashtag.
  • They are going door to door to the homes of their top 100 customers to thank them personally with a care package - a small token of their appreciation.
  • They are hosting a free BBQ lunch for their top 1000 customers and their families at the local TELUS store. They will be presenting a cheque to the Guelph Children's Foundation in the amount of $5000 - in response to all the uses of #actsofcaring. Donald Woodley (member of TELUS Board of Directors) will join the celebration to present the cheque. 
They are truly showing their customers that they care about customer loyalty and also rewarding local causes. Truly remarkable!

Are you a Telus customer? If you could do anything special for the day what would it be?

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“Disclosure: I am part of the TELUS Grand Gestures Campaign and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this campaign.  The opinions on this blog are my own.”http://dcs.adgear.com/clicks/witness/p=844096/a=34339/c=43701

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

{RECIPE} - Our Family's Favourite Bundt Cake

When I was growing up my mom always had this Bundt cake on the table, "just in case company came over", especially on the weekends. She would often switch up the flavour by either grating orange or lemon or just add chocolate chips.  My kids always ask her to make it for them when she comes to visit.

A few years I made it a point of getting the recipe on one of her visits, so that I had the recipe "just in case company came over. ;)

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family favourite Bundt cake

Bundt Cake

Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • orange or lemon zest (about 1 tbsp) and 1/4-1/2 cup juice (orange or lemon)

Directions:
  1. Heat oven on to 350C. Grease bundt pan with oil and flour and set aside.
  2. Mix oil, eggs and sugar with mixer.
  3. Add in flour, baking powder and salt, and mix together on low speed.
  4. Zest the lemon or orange and squeeze about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of juice and add to mixture.
  5. Bake in 350c oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick come out clean. Enjoy!
family favourite Bundt cake

There are just some things that bring you back to your childhood and this is one of them for me.

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Here are some other recipes that remind me of special times with my family:


{Recipe Link Here}
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Do you have a recipe that reminds you of home and of family get togethers?

Let's Connect!




Tuesday, 24 June 2014

{RECIPE} - Garlic - Lemon Chicken Kabobs

In our family we love to fire up our BBQ in the summer and one of our family favourites is our Garlic - Lemon Chicken Kabobs.

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garlic lemon chicken kabobs

Garlic - Lemon Chicken Kabobs

Ingredients:
  • 4 tbsp Olive oil
  • Zest of one lemon and juice of lemon (about 1/4 - 1/2 cup)
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp of fresh basil or parsley (or both), minced
  • 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper
  • 4 -5 chicken breast, cubed in large chunks
  • Skewers ( i used metal, if using wooden, soak in water for 1/2 before using on grill)

Directions:
  1. In a small bowl mix olive oil, lemon zest and squeeze lemon juice out of lemon.
  2. Crush the peeled garlic and add to bowl.  (i use chefs knife on it's side to crush garlic, then I finely mince the crushed garlic ).  Add the minced basil/parsley.
  3. In a large bowl, add cubed chicken and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour olive oil/garlic/lemon juice marinade over top and mix through. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour or longer depending on how much you like lemon. The longer it sits, the stronger the flavour. 
  4. Skewer the marinaded chicken and grill for a few minutes on each side.  Enjoy!

garlic lemon chicken kabobs

Add a side salad and you have a great summer lunch.

garlic lemon chicken kabobs, side salad with balsamic dressing

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What is your favourite summer grilling recipe? I bet this marinate would be great over pork-loin as well, what do you think?


Let's Connect!






Linking up at these parties: Hit me with your Best Shot, The Makers, Lovely Ladies, Be Awesome

Monday, 23 June 2014

Losing it and Winning - Week 7

Well another week has gone by in this weight loss challenge.  I worked harder this week than the last few weeks and results are showing. I'm happy with my results this week.


If you are new to this series, I wrote a little bit about my 12 week challenge in this post.
Here are the recaps for week 1week 2week 3week 4week 5 and week 6.

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WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE

Here are my measurements as of  Sunday, June 22, 2014:

Weight:  153.2 lbs
Bust: 38" 

Waist: 32" 
Butt:  38"

I lost exactly 4lbs this week!!  I was darned happen with that loss.   My waist has has also gone down 2 inches from last week, which is another bonus. My other measurements went down as well by an inch or two. I'm finally getting the hour glass shape I've always wanted. yee haw

Here is my original starting weight and measurements as of Sunday, May 4, 2014:

Weight:  172.3 lbs
Bust: 41 1/2"
Waist: 39 1/4"
Butt:  40"

Overall since May 4, 2014, I'm down 19.1 lbs and 7.25 inches off my waist, 3.5 inches off bust, and 2 inches off of butt.  I've had several people also comment on muscle definition in my arms and legs too.  When I look in the mirror I notice the tummy bulge is almost gone. All these things put together are motivating me to continue to work hard and stick to my menu plan.

PHYSICAL CHALLENGE

As I mentioned last week, I am currently dealing with a hip injury and this week I pushed my self hard. In the evening I was definitely feeling tenderness in my hip, although the constant burning feeling is now gone. Which is a good thing.  I went to see the chiropractor for another adjustment and he also said it was ok to "work harder" but to be aware of the pain.

I dealt with the evening tenderness and morning stiffness, by using a roller  on my hip, rolling out the front, the side and back of my hip and legs. Since all the muscles are interconnected, I tried to roll out each muscle for 2-3 minutes at a time to really loosen them up. I was careful to stay off my sciatica while rolling, because I had aggravated it last week.



I also looked up stretches that I could do daily to really loosen up the muscle. There are several yoga stretches that are perfect for those tight hip muscles. Here is a link to the one I used.  I'm also considering signing up for some hot yoga classes at a studio here in town, so I can get a deep stretch. The studio that I am considering has an offer of $40 for 1 month of unlimited classes for new people. I think I might need the extra help with stretching as I get into this last month of my challenge. In case you are wondering, I have done hot yoga a few times before and I really enjoyed it.

This past week, I also had an ice pack on the inflamed areas of my hip as often as I could for about 15 minutes or so.  I stayed off the ibuprophen, as I didn't think I need it.

I managed to get in 6 HIIT classes in total, 10k run on tread through out the week (i added up my totals for the week), 2500m row on rower and I did a personal workout most days of the week. Of course this is all in addition to walking my dog and keeping up with busy teenagers and very busy almost 8 year old.  It was a busy week to say the least!

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Well that was my week in a nutshell. Some days are harder than others, but I'm taking it one day at a time. It helps when I hear the compliments from family and friends who haven't seen me in a awhile. :)

What motivation tools do you use to get you through the tough days?

Let's Connect!






Thursday, 19 June 2014

Great Ways to Keep Kids Busy this Summer

We have less than two weeks left of school, and with my weight loss challenge taking up alot of my time, I want to make sure my kids have a good summer filled with lots of memories.

I have already spoken about our Summer Bucket list, but I needed more ideas to fill our time, inexpensively.  I have come up with some ideas of things we plan to do with our kids this summer, some of them that we've done in the past.

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great ideas to keep kids busy this summer, ways to make it a memorable summer


1.  Go camping.  Some of our best summer memories are of camping. If you are not the camping kind, how about setting up a tent in your backyard or living room and serving "camping food". Angie from Echoes of Laughter has some great camping recipes.

2.  Go to library and check out some new books, games, and movies for rainy days.  They are FREE!!

3.  Find a splash pad and let them run around.  I always keep my eyes open for Splash parks around town and we often try out different ones to keep things interesting. Sometimes it's as easy as keeping a pair swim shorts and towel in a bag in the car for an impromptu splashpad run around after an afternoon of running errands with mom.

Seven

4.  Make your own play dough and create.  Playdough is so much fun and so easy to make at home.  Here is a recipe.

5.  Make crafts. It's amazing the things you can find in your recycling bin to use up. Courtney at Crafts by Courtney has a huge list of ideas!

6.  Dance in the Rain. Now I'm not talking thunderstorm and lightning, or hail type of rain, but if it's a light sprinkle (with no chance of lightning) have them put on swim trunks or raincoat and go splashing in puddles. A fun umbrella always helps too! Anthony often talks about going out in rain and splashing around with his duck umbrella.


7. Play board games, if the weather is not good to go outside.  Here is a list of our favourite board games.  Make your own tic-tac-toe game. I made one early this year, it doesn't have to be fancy, a paper and pen will your just fine.

8. Catch a rainbow. Often after a rain storm there is a rainbow, you just have to look.  Take a picture every time you see a rainbow. Keep track of how many rainbows you see this summer. Bonus points for double rainbows.


9. Climb a tree. Obviously make sure there are adults nearby to supervise, but kids love to climb trees.



10.  Take a ball to a nearby park and just run around.  Soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis (you will need a racket too), will burn energy and calories (if you join in on the fun).


11. Go to the Zoo.  When we lived in another city near Toronto Zoo and the my girls were little, we used to go 2-3 times a week to the zoo. We purchased a family pass and went often. Time to do that again, it's been awhile.

12.  Visit a Farm. There are many U-pick farms that have a petting area. Just google it, you will be surprised.


13.  Plan a photo shoot with a pretty back ground. Maybe it's just my kids, but they often ask me to do a photo shoot with them (especially the girls).  Have them plan what they wear (leftover Halloween superhero costumes, fancy dresses, crazy hair, etc) You don't need a fancy camera, just go somewhere and start snapping. You will capture some fun memories.



14.  Take a hike and leave a geocache. Last summer we drove to a place that was special to hubby and I came across a special treasure.  We plan on doing it again this summer and hiding our own Geocache box.

15. Go fishing. If you don't have fishing gear, borrow someone's or make your own and go fishing. You don't have to eat what you catch, you can always throw it back.

16.  Pack a picnic head to a local park. Here are some tips for Planning the Perfect Picnic.



17.  Look up Free Family events for your town/city and add it to your calendar. I have filled up my own calendar with free movie events, Free community BBQ and church events by doing this.

18.  Make Large Bubbles. Come Together Kids has an easy tutorial for how to make them and a recipe for bubble solution too.

19. Go golfing. Golfing can be expensive, but there are often deals on going after hours or even going to a mini-put. It doesn't have to be fancy. (Below is often how you will find our kids after about an hour. We don't take it too seriously.)


20.  Go to the beach. Pack a lunch and make a day of it.

21.  While you are at the beach dig for a treasure. My kids (and dog) like digging in the sand to see how far down they can go.  You can also search for shells to make a wind chime.



22.  Fly a kite. You can make your own or buy one. I've never attempted to make one, but here is a tutorial on how to make one.

23.  Go on a scavenger hunt - Go to Pinterest (yes, that's my link ;) ) and search "Nature scavenger Hunt" and you will find tons of links to printables and ideas of things to find at the park.

24.  Make a Wind Catcher.   I love this tutorial.  It doesn't have to cost you a penny, if you use items from your scavenger hunt.

25.  Watch the sunset. Put on pyjamas, pack a blanket and go to the beach or a park and watch the sunset.


26.  Visit a Museum, or a children's Museum. (in my town, there is one that let's kids in for free after certain time on Fridays)

27.  Go to a U-pick farm and pick berries or veggies.

28.  Get baking.  Gather the ingredients and get in the kitchen and start baking.  Bonus you can freeze extras to take on picnics or for school (if they last that long). Here is a recipe to one of our favourite cookies.

Recipe here

29.  Lemonade Stand. Here is a recipe from The NY Melrose Family. Sell some of the cookies you made in the kitchen

30.  Go garage saleing. Using some of the money made from Lemonade Stand take the kids to find a new toy at a garage Sale.  Give them a dollar or two and they will come home with a few new-to-them toys.

31.  Have a Garage Sale. Before school starts, go through kids toys and clothing and host a garage sale. It doesn't have to be fancy. My kids love doing this to make their "own money". (If you follow Somerset Lane on Instagram, you will see Haley having a garage sale to make some spending money for her end of grade 8 three day School trip to Ottawa.)



32. Go to drive-in movies. pack up the car with blankets and pillow, put your pyjamas one and go check out a show.

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What are your plans for this summer?  How do you make memories?

Let's Connect!




Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Summer Porch

My dream porch would be a wraparound porch with a white picket fence, wicker chairs where I sit with my blue bonnet sipping lemonade and reading magazines while watching the kids play quietly on the driveway. In reality, we have a very small front porch in our new house and I can barely see the driveway, where Anthony often plays hockey.

This is my way of decorating my small porch and recreate my vision. I forgot to add the lemonade to the table, but just picture it... and me with a blue bonnet (yes, like Hollie Hobby).

decorating a small porch with pops of colour

Can you spot a certain someone wondering what I am up to?

decorating a small porch with pops of colour

I purchased the chair at Costco recently for $39.99 and added an outdoor cushion that I bought last summer on clearance for $2 or $3.

decorating a small porch with pops of colour

The Ikea table has seen better days, but I like the rusticness of it. (read: I haven't spray painted it... yet)

The little lantern is garage sale find a few years ago, I think it's originally  from IKEA.

I re-used a planter from last year  and planted some pretty red annuals in it.

decorating a small porch with pops of colour


Although my little covered porch is not really my dream porch, I am happy with it, and it is welcoming.

This is what it looked like this past winter.



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What would your dream porch look like? And did I completely lose you on Holly Hobbie?



Let's Connect!




Tuesday, 17 June 2014

{RECIPE} - Sweet Broccoli Salad

Recently when we had our picnic at the park, my friend Linda asked what she could bring and I quickly texted her back and said "your broccoli salad with recipe attached, thanks ;)". And lucky for me and you, she did.  Let me preface this with I do not like raw broccoli but this recipe I love. Because of the sugar I only had a heaping spoonful or two, but I enjoyed it!


recipe for sweet broccoli salad - perfect for picnics and potlucks



 Sweet Broccoli Salad


Ingredients:
  • 2 bunches of broccoli
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup mayonaise
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits

Directions:
  1. Cut broccoli into bite size pieces, and dice onion.
  2. In bowl mix sugar, mayo and vinegar. 
  3. Add remaining ingredients (raisins, sunflower seeds)
  4. Sprinkle bacon bits over top and mix through. Enjoy!

recipe for sweet broccoli salad - perfect for picnics and potlucks

I'm telling ya, for a non-raw-broccoli-eating gal like me, this salad was perfect for me to eat my broccoli.  It was so good, and I swear I only had a little bit, you know, to get my fix, until my weight challenge is over with. ;)

recipe for sweet broccoli salad - perfect for picnics and potlucks


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How do you feel about broccoli? What is your favourite recipe to use up broccoli?

Let's Connect!




Monday, 16 June 2014

Losing it and Winning - Week 6

I'm back to babble again about my every changing body. I hope you don't mind. ;)


If you are new to this series, I wrote a little bit about my 12 week challenge in this post.
Here are the recaps for week 1week 2week 3week 4 and week 5.


This week was probably my hardest week I've had so far... mentally.  Like I mentioned last week, I started the week off with a sore hip.
I made an appointment with the A.R.T. Chiropractor at my gym, and was able to see him on Wednesday.  He gave me a bunch of technical and medical mumbo jumbo, but basically my piriformis, sciatica, and hamstring were inflamed and injured. He also said my SI joint was out of whack.  He said unless I rest it for at least a week, chances are I'll still be in pain most of the challenge.  I just asked him to get me through this so I can finish this challenge.  
He recommended I take it easy for a few days, but I said "that is not going to happen, so what else do you have?" He then recommended 15 minutes of icing, lots of stretching, no running with inclines, warming up my legs before starting HIIT classes and taking ibuprofen to bring down inflammation and he should be able to get me through the next 6 weeks of this challenge. So that is what I've been doing.
WEIGHT LOSS CHALLENGE

Here are my measurements as of  Sunday, June 15, 2014:


Weight:  157.2 lbs
Bust: 39" 
Waist: 34" 
Butt:  39"

Yeap that's right I'm up 1.9 lbs.  Ugggghhh.  I don't even want to talk about it.  I figure it was the stress of not being able to really work out and then not working out at all and coupled with a couple food cheats throughout the week to "make me feel better".  Of course I measured my waist and I was up 1/2 inch too. Bloated, maybe? I don't know.  All I know, this week I have to work harder and make up for a lost week.

Here is my original starting weight and measurements as of Sunday, May 4, 2014:

Weight:  172.3 lbs
Bust: 41 1/2"
Waist: 39 1/4"

Butt:  40"
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I'm really bummed out about the weight gain, but I'm shaking it off and carrying on. Someone else in my group also had a 1.5 weight gain, and she is my biggest competitor. So maybe it was just meant to be in order to challenge us.

Have you ever had an injury like mine?  Any suggestions, other than resting it? ;)

Let's Connect!






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