March 31, 2015

#4WeeksFit Results...

Can y'all believe that it has already been 4 weeks since we first linked up our goals for #4weeksfit?! This month just flew by for me and I'm really hoping that April does as well so I can finally enjoy Spring! March was actually a really good month for me - I got lots of things accomplished and I think I did pretty good with my #4WeeksFit goals - but I'll let you guys be the judge of that.

Use my Yoga Studio app 4 mornings/week. 
I didn't do it in the mornings but I used it about 3-4 times a week after an hour of cardio on my elliptical, to stretch out and relax afterwards. I'm still working on being more productive in the mornings (I just work so early y'all) so I'm going to make this one of my April goals for sure! I also bought a new yoga mat while in the Queen City a couple weeks ago and it has made a world of difference. My previous one was so thin that it did nothing for me - thankfully my new one is nice and cushioned and my bad knee is thanking me profusely. I'm mad that I didn't 'discover' yoga a long time ago because I am LOVING it

Work out with one of my million Jillian Michaels DVD's/Elliptical 5 days/week.
I didn't do a single Jillian Michaels DVD BUT my elliptical has become my new best friend.  My SIL is doing Jillian's Killer Buns and Thighs and I'm going to start 6 Week 6 Pack and then we are going to switch. I currently own 5 different Jillian Michael's dvd's (Ripped in 30 is my fav!) so I'm going to do one a month up until the wedding, combined with other workouts. The weather is finally getting nice too so that means I may finally be able to get outside to run (I'm not counting out any more snow at this point though...)

Reach my 10K step goal each day on my Fitbit.
I did about 80% on this. There were a few days where I was over 15K steps, a few where I was thisclose  to being at 10K. The other night I fell into bed exhausted with only about 200 steps left to take (that was a total bummer when I woke up the next morning and realized it). Having a Fitbit really makes me think about how active I am during the day and I LOVE it. Yesterday it buzzed to notify me that I was already at 10K steps just as I was walking through the door of my house at 5:15 after getting off work, and I hadn't even got my workout in yet!

Start tracking what I eat, my activity, and my weight on the Weight Watchers app again.
I didn't start until about midway through March and I haven't been tracking everything but I've been tracking what I can and just getting back into tracking is exactly what I needed. WW was really helpful for me in the past and I'm relying on it to keep me on track through Spring and Summer. Just seeing how much points a fruity cocktail (like a Strawberry Daquiri)  is worth definitely makes me rethink my choices!

Start another round of the Whole30.
Has yet to be done :( Trying to coordinate when to start this with my family has been HARD. We had been hoping to start right after Easter but now its going to have to wait until after my sister and I get back from Minneapolis. It WILL happen though! The reasoning behind not being able to follow through with doing the Whole30 with a 'vacation' (if you call a 3 day getaway that) planned is because we live in the middle of nowhere and never get to enjoy things like Starbucks or ANY kind of chain restaurants so we don't want to limit what we can have when we finally get somewhere with options!

Lose 8 lbs.
I've lost 10 lbs total since Christmas, and 5 of those are since the beginning of March. I had been hoping for 8 lbs this month but I messed up my birth control this month (whooops) and Aunt Flo paid an extended visit which did not help. I have finally said goodbye to that pesky number that kept reappearing though and I am SO close to being in a new set of numbers - I can't wait!  My clothes are also fitting much better - none of my pants fit anymore! I've been Spring cleaning and getting rid of any clothes that are too big - that way I can't go back to my previous weight because I'll literally have nothing to wear. I bought a pair of shorts at Maurices towards the end of last Summer and maybe wore them once and when I tried them on on the weekend they were waaay to big. My wallet isn't going to like when I have to go shopping for a completely new wardrobe!

In my opinion I think I nailed my #4WeeksFit goals (besides starting the Whole30 - but it will happen!). I also completed the #1800minutechallenge, coming in with just over 1800 minutes - phewww! The thing I can't wrap my brain around is why I didn't start getting active again sooner! I just keep thinking if I had started during the winter, or last summer, where I would be now. I'm trying really hard to get past that though and just concentrate on where I am now and where I'd like to be in a few months time. Stick around to see my progress in a few months - I'm so excited to see where I can take this! 

Love, Fun & football

March 27, 2015

Twin Cities, Passports, and Prints...

Hi y'all! This morning (yes, I'm still unorganized and writing my posts on my lunch break the day of - whooops) one of the children at work said to me 'Kayla, its finally Friday!' and I couldn't help but laugh at a 4 year old counting down the days to the weekend the same way I do. I don't have many plans for this weekend, which is fine by me, other than going out with the family for Mama Bear's birthday supper. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to take a turn for the better and is supposed (I wont hold my breath...) to get up to +14 so I'm reallly hoping the weather people are right so that there is some beer pong playing in my very near future!


Five things from this last full week of March (Hellllooo April)

1// My passport finally arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon! It actually arrived two weeks earlier than the scheduled arrival date and I did a little happy dance when it was finally in my hands. I may have only been passport-less for just over two weeks but when you live 20 minutes from the United States you just never know when you are going to need it! I'm just relieved that there were no hiccups with my re-application and that it is here and there is no more stressing about it (phewww!)
2// I've been doing really good with my #4weeksfit goals. I haven't stepped on the scale much (with the WW app I only weigh in on Mondays so I'll get my 'final' number Monday for my post on Tuesday) but my clothes are fitting better so something is working! I've fallen in love with yoga (why didn't I do it sooner?!) and my elliptical is my new best friend. I'm waiting on Toni to get herself a new pair of runners and then the two of us are going to get out running (whooop!). O-town is tiny and there's only so many roads so running alone can get very boring so having a partner to run with will make it so much better

3// The Ashley Nevis print that I won through Laura's giveaway arrived in my mailbox yesterday (passport AND the print all at once = best mail day ever!) . I love it SO much and I can't wait to frame it on my desk and order more prints!
4// I'm thisclose to booking my July Vegas trip for my sister's Dirty Thirty and that makes me sooo happy! Three of my closest friends (and my sisters) from high school have committed to coming and there are a couple other people still thinking it over - it's going to be a great trip! I can't wait to lay by the pool and soak up the sun. The snow just keeps on falling here so I need something to look forward to!

5// Now that my passport has arrived we can finally make plans to take my nieces on their late birthday trip. For their 2013 birthdays (both have September birthdays) my sister and I took them to Minneapolis and to the Mall of America for their birthday trip in November. They got to use their birthday money to buy American Girl dolls, do some shopping, go to the aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe, and go swimming. We wanted to keep up the tradition of going each year for their birthday trip but couldn't make it work to go after their birthdays in 2014, but we were still planning on trying to make something work for early spring of this year. Toni finally figured out what days she could make work for taking time off work and then I realized that I might not have my passport back in time to be able to go. Thankfully everything with my passport worked out and we can now start planning our quick weekend getaway to the Twin Cities. Have I also mentioned that I'm going to the Twin Cities at the end of May with my brother and (soon to be) sister in law? They are both big fans of the Toronto Blue Jays and went down last year to watch the Blue Jays play the Twins and they are going again this year and I'm tagging along. I'm SO not a baseball fan - the only sports I like to watch on tv are football and curling (and anything during the Olympics) - so I'm mostly just going to getaway from O-town. I'm only going to two of the three games and I'll hang out at the mall while they attend the third game. Yay for some trips planned (even if they are to the same places I always go...)!

I can't believe how little they were here! 

Happy Friday y'all!

March 26, 2015

I'd Like To Thank The Academy...

My friend Laura 'nominated' me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award last week and then I completely forgot all about it! Who does that?! All week long I've been struggling, trying to find words to put to paper (so to speak) to make a post, when I finally remembered that I still need to answer Laura's questions. If I don't write things down they never get done when they are supposed to!

Laura's questions:

1. What is the very first thing you do in the morning and the very last thing you do before going to sleep?
The very first thing I do in the morning is check my phone - IG, Twitter, FB, and Snapchat. I'm obsessive. Followed by letting Krickit out because I don't want her to pee in my bed. The very last thing I do before going to sleep at night is check my phone, then start tracking my sleep on my FitBit app

2. What are your favorite boy name & girl name for your future children (I know you have them) or just in general...?
I actually have a list in my phone of my favourite names, even though I am nowhere near the point in my life of having kids (I'm crazy, I know). Krickit was actually at the top of my list and I'm kind of sad that I named my dog it because now I won't be able to name my kid it. (It's an actual name people!) My siblings and I all have K names and I think that's something I will continue on with my children (even if they are only fur children) but I don't want to give away my favourites so people who are actually going to have children within the near future can steal them. So instead I'll leave you with some of my favourite non-K names: Charlotte, Dawson, Dempsey, Elliotte, Sloan, Sutton, Alba, and Atticus. I also LOVE the name Annistyn for a girl but a friend of mine just named her baby girl that :(

3. Where's the farthest place you've ever driven to (or road tripped) why did you go and who were you with?
I have driven from O-town, Saskatchewan to New Braunfels, Texas three times now. The first two times were with my immediate family - mom, dad, brother and sister, and the last time was with my brother and sister law (read about it here). It's a 27 hour drive and when I went last May we drove straight through without stopping to sleep.  My Dad is originally from Northern Alberta (so north you're almost in the Northwest Territories) and the drive to get to Fort Vermillion, where he grew up, is an 18 hour drive and that drive seems even longer than the drive to Texas - its unbearable!

4. What is the best gift you've ever received?
Christopher the Christmas Tree on VHS. My brother just got it for me for Christmas and it was such a thoughtful gift. It's a television show that used to air every Christmas morning around 3:00 am and my siblings and I wouldn't be able to sleep because of all the excitement for Christmas so we would all get into one persons bed and watch Christopher the Christmas Tree. I haven't been able to find it on tv for years now and it really bummed me out, but my brother was able to find a copy on VHS so we can continue the tradition! Runners up include my beer pong table and sewing machine (in that order...)

5. If you could see one person or group in a dream concert (alive or dead) who would it be?
Even though last year's weekend trip to see Luke Bryan was my first official concert I've actually seen tons of other artists at the Craven Country Jamboree - including George Strait, Jason Aldean (blechhh), Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Reba McIntyre, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney - the list goes on. Thus, I've already seen some of my favourites. But if I had to choose it would be a tie between The Dixie Chicks and Christina Aguilera. I've always been Team Christina and I LOVE the Dixie Chicks - I'm a country girl through and through 

6. What is one food that just grosses you out?
Mushrooms. Ughhh don't even get me started on how rubbery and disgusting they are. Ewww. While at Benihana's in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania a few summers ago I got brave and ate fresh sauteed mushrooms. Then I drank waaay to much celebrating a friends birthday and I blamed it all on the mushrooms. Now I can't even think about eating mushrooms without remembering that all day hangover. The runner up to this question is shrimp and suprisingly enough I tried it while at Benihana's (what is it about that restaurant that gets me to try things I never thought I would?!) at the Mall of America last summer and it tasted like the dirty ocean and felt like I was chewing rubber. It ended up in my napkin. I stand by the fact that I don't eat anything that swims

My reaction the second I put the shrimp in my mouth
7. Has someone close to you lost someone in their family? How did you handle it (this is happening right now to me, help!)
I've only lost my grandparents, which was heartbreaking, but they were also all seniors when they passed so not comparable to other peoples losses. When my parents were young they were in a car accident and two of their friends passed away, including my mom's best friend. They don't like to talk about it to this day - its too hard for them. Sorry I'm not much help!

8. What is your favorite tweet or instagram you've ever shared? Show us the link!
Jeeez Laura you're really making my brain work with these questions! This photo I shared to IG is one of my all time favourites - its the day I brought my Krickit home! (Follow me on IG: @ chiglechic - shameless plug right there...). This one is too cute not to share - my baby trying to drink some Saskatchewan Champagne

9. What is the one purchase you've made on your own that you are most proud of?
Eleanor, my SUV.  I've made all the payments on my own and I'm two years away from finally being vehicle debt free! At the time that I purchased Eleanor I was driving an hour and a half every day on the highways to work (during crazy Canadian winters) and wanted to upgrade to a better vehicle for highway winter driving conditions. All said and done she cost me $46,000 (vehicles are more expensive in Canada, fyi) and if I hadn't bought her I would be waaay closer to my goal amount for my operation down payment plans than I am now, but at the time she was the best decision for the driving conditions that I was facing during the winter. I treat her like a baby and I plan on having her for many, many years to come!

10. What is your job and where do you work (because I'm nosy like that).
I am the Director of a childcare centre in my hometown. I was involved in the entire process of getting the centre opened - from the very first step - so the centre is my baby! I'm almost at my two year anniversary with the Centre and I swear the time has flown by! I don't work on the floor anymore (as we call it) so I don't work directly with the children - I run the centre, hire the staff, supervise the staff, do billing ,payroll, etc., etc. My job description is a mile long and somedays my workload is crazy and I'm stressed to the max and somedays I absolutely LOVE my job and wouldn't imagine doing anything else.

Thanks for 'nominating' me Laura. I don't have enough brain power left in me to actually come up with ten questions of my own so I'm actually only half-assing this. Sorry!

March 24, 2015

Mama Bear's Birthday...

Today is my Mama Bears birthday! Fun fact: she hates that I refer to her as Mama. It reminds her of the dinosour baby from 'Dinosaurs' saying 'Not the Mama, not the Mama'. The fact that she hates it just makes me want to say it more, which is why she is always referred to as Mama (Sorry MOM!)

Last year we celebrated her birthday at Ladies Night Out in Glen Ewen and she was serenaded by all of the waiters and we didn't get home until 4 am. That just proves that age really is just a number

Other evidence:

1// The day before we flew to Vegas there was a do or die football game for the Riders and Mama ended up on the bathroom floor by the time the game was over. I would have had a hangover for days, she was fine first thing in the morning

This isn't from that night - there is no photographic evidence from that night. This is, however, related to football (when the Riders won the Grey Cup!) and one of my favourite pictures of me and my Mama

2// While in Vegas my 50-something Mama and 60-something Aunt outlasted my 20-something self and 30-something cousin every.single.night

3// She still tears up the d-floor at any family wedding we attend (and is usually one of the very last to leave)

4// At my former cousin in laws stagette a couple years ago we had a 'Would you be my friend if I wore this...' theme and my mom, aunt, and cousin wore the most ridiculous costumes and didn't care what anyone thought of them. They wore skirts with silicone butts attached (and because this is somewhat of a family friendly blog I won't tell you what the front looked like...) and tucked the back of their skirts in so their 'butts' were showing all night long

People at the bar we ended the night off at kept coming up to them and saying 'excuse me ma'am but your butt is hanging out' and they would pretend to be embarassed - classic!

Enjoy your day off of work Mama (her boss is a real slave driver)! I'm counting down the hours until its time for cake! Oh, and enjoy this blizzard - it's Mother Natures birthday present to you apparently...


March 20, 2015

Spring Bucket List 2015...

Happy first day of Spring 2015 y'all! I woke up in the middle of the night last night to pouring rain and when I left for work this morning this is what 'my' yard looked like: 

 Yep. Happy first day of Spring indeed. Now, normally we would still have lots of snow left well into Spring but considering all the snow had melted weeks ago and I had been able to enjoy walks outside in the nice weather lately this was a very unpleasant surprise. I'm not going to let it get me down too much though because I got to wear my pajamas to work today (the best part of working in child care is pajama day) AND I got off early since I have sooo many hours of overtime banked. Did I mention that I am also off work on Monday due to those banked overtime hours? Despite the yucky weather outside I am thinking positively because I have lots to look forward too!

I was looking at my calendar earlier in the week and realizing just how fast my weekends were filling up for this Summer already. July and August are craaazy, insanely busy - my sister and I have birthdays three days apart and we are going to Vegas to celebrate her 'Dirty Thirty', I have my 10 year High School reunion (what?!) and then of course there's my brother's wedding and the bridal shower and stagette that I'm throwing that go along with my MOH duties that will all take up weekend time. I actually only have one free weekend in July and two in August and then September is basically a write off with both of my niece's birthdays. I quickly realized that if I want to complete a lot of fun summer 'activities' again this year (2014's Summer Bucket List here) that I was going to have to complete some of them in the Spring. And thus, a Spring bucket list was born

What's on your Spring Bucket List?
Happy Friday!

March 19, 2015

Third Thursday Travel (March 2015)...

Image for I Havent Been Everywhere But Its On My List
I have made no secret of my love of traveling on this little space of mine. Though I wouldn't consider myself an expert, I've done my fair share of traveling and have mega wanderlust. My list of places I want to travel is a mile long at least and I also always want to revisit the same places over and over and over again (helllo Las Vegas...)

Before I get into today's topic for March's Third Thursday Travel (more on it at the bottom of the post), lets first recap the places I've traveled to in my (almost) 28 years of life:


Rothenburg, Schwangau, Dachau, (Neuschwanstein Castle), & Munich, Germany 
Neuhausen (Rhine Falls), Zurich, & Lucerne, Switzerland 
Austria (Can't remember what area we stopped in. It's been 12 years, cut me some slack!)
Verona & Venice, Italy

North America

San Antonio (2X), New Braunfels (3X) & Corpus Christi, Texas
Las Vegas, Nevada (9X... I think. It's getting hard to keep track!)
Harrisburg & Hershey, Pennsylvania
New York City, New York
Twin Cities (3X), Minnesota 
Ixtapa and Zihuatenejo, Mexico

I've driven through and stopped in various US states on the drive to Texas/train ride to NYC and been all over North Dakota but I don't count them as 'traveling', and I've also been all over Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and into the eastern part of British Columbia and the western part of Ontario. Now that we've got that out of the way, on to today's post:

I don't know what it is about Chicago exactly that has me chomping at the bit to go but it's been at the top of my list for a couple years now. Things I'd like to see/do include visiting Millenium Park (I really want a picture in front of the bean -don't judge!), taking a beer and tasting tour (I've heard amazing things about the restaurant/bar options), watching a game at Wrigley Field, and visiting Lincoln Park Zoo and Navy Pier

New Orleans
My friend Scooby and I were this close booking a trip to New Orleans last year but due to budget restraints we ended up in Las Vegas instead (it always seems to end up that way). I want to stay in the French Quarter and experience everything that it has to offer. I don't think I'd want to go during Mardi Gras though because I'm not the hugest fan of crowds I would love to do a 'haunted' tour, take a streetcar ride, bar hop on Bourbon Street, and visit a jazz club

Home to the first ever Starbucks? Sign me up! Other stops would be Pike Place Market (of course), the Space Needle (obvi), discover Discovery Park (see what I did there...), and I'd also love to go on a wine tasting tour and check out the Seattle Public Library (I'm a nerd...)

Emerald Isle
I'm a fan of Sarah Dessen, a YA author (my sister is an even bigger fan, which is how I got into her books) from North Carolina. I follow her on Twitter and she's always mentioning great things to do/see in NC. For years my sister and I have been talking about taking a road trip to a beach town and renting a house steps away from the beach for at least a week - it would be paradise for us to take her girls and get away from everything and just relax. In this vacation scenario our days would consist of finding good brunch spots, parking our butts on the beach for the majority of the day, then finding a good supper spot, followed by a few glasses of wine (for me - most likely a beer for Toni) on the porch later on. And maybe throw a little bit of shopping in there to. Doesn't that sound like perfection?!

My aunt and uncle recently purchased a vacation home in Sanford, FL, just a short distance from Orlando and DISNEYWORLD. I want to take my nieces to Disney SOOOO bad! I'm (almost) 28 years old and have never been - that needs to be rectified! Now that my aunt and uncle are so close its a little more feasible budget wise (if only I could convince my sister of that). Also, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Enough said 

Runners-Up include: San Francisco, Austin, Maui, Cape Cod, Charleston, Boonsboro, and Jackson Hole. And I won't kid myself, New York City is always the top of the list but since I've already been there it wasn't included in my top 5

However, even though those are the next 5 places I want to visit in the US, I currently have another Twin Cities and possibly two Las Vegas trips planned for this year. See what I mean about always revisiting the same places! In my defense it is way cheaper to travel to Vegas and the Twin Cities than anywhere else and I just can't not travel. I will get to ALL of the places listed above one day though, just you wait and see!

Linking up with my blog friend Kristie today for Third Thursday Travel - post anything related to travel on the third Thursday of every month!

Kristie's Blue Jeans

What is the one vacation spot you dream of traveling to next?

March 17, 2015

Life Lately...

Life Lately (as in this past week...)

1. I won my blog friend Laura's Ashley Nevis Print Giveaway last week - whoop whoop! The winner was announced on Friday the 13th - I knew it was my favourite number! I won another blog friend,  Kerri's, Starbucks giveaway last fall too - the only two times I've entered giveaways lately and I won them both. I should probably buy a lottery ticket... The print I chose was this one  and I can't wait for it to arrive so I can frame it on my desk!

2. On Sunday I headed to Brandon, MB to try on bridesmaid dresses for my brother's wedding this August. I'm happy to report that I'm two sizes down from the last time that I was in a bridesmaid dress (whooop!). Our dresses are now ordered and I'm crossing my fingers that I'll be down another size (or two!) by the time the dress arrives at the end of May and it will need to be taken in! Having to be in a bridesmaid dress in front of my entire extended family in 5 short months is the best motivation there is! 

3. Speaking of my brother's wedding, as MOH I haven't had a whole lot of jobs yet. I know they're coming the closer we get to the big day, especially with a bridal shower and stagette to plan, but as of right now I feel like I'm not 'pulling my weight'. Which is how I ended up volunteering to hand write the directions to the ceremony on a note card to attach to the invitations. Thank goodness they're handing out invitations grouped by families so I only have to write it out around 75(!) times as compared to 200. Also, it's a good thing I have nice writing and 4 months to get this done...

4. Last night I was already snug in bed when I realized I was only at 9k steps for the day. I got my butt out of bed and walked laps around the kitchen island and living room until I was at my 10k step goal for the day. I had wanted to take Krickit for a walk when I got home from work yesterday before doing my other workouts for the day but she was 'dognapped' by my parents and went on a drive with them to Carlyle (side eye)

5. I keep mentioning how I've been super bummed that I don't have any vacations planned and its been really hard to get through this brutal winter without one to look forward too. I'm tentatively planning a quick weekend trip to Vegas in July for my sister's 'Dirty Thirty' with some of our friends but that was the only vacation on my radar until I got a text from my SIL on Friday night saying her and my brother are going to the Twin Cities at the end of May and do I want to join them. Ummm, YES.  I wasn't going to turn down the opportunity to get to go to the Twin Cities this year. Due to the Vegas plans for the Summer, combined with the wedding in August, I won't be able to swing doing both the Twin Cities for the Colour Run and a Vegas trip in July like I did last year, so this year I won't be doing the Twin Cities Colour Run. It makes me sad since we were making it a tradition to go every year having gone the last two but I'm hoping that missing just one year won't deter us from going in 2016

6. I also had a moment of pure craziness and 'the twin' and I are now planning on heading back to Vegas in November to run the Rock n Roll half marathon (whhaaat?!). Nothing is booked yet since registration doesn't open until April but I'm reallly hoping we get it booked fairly soon so there is no backing out. It is on my 30 Before 30 list after all!

Because a blog post wouldn't be complete without a picture of some sort. And this also accurately represents my thoughts the minute I decided to run a half marathon

Happy St. Patty's Day - Hope everyone has green beers in their after work plans!

March 12, 2015

First Time Freezer Meal Making...

As mentioned in my March Goals post, having a day of freezer meal making has been on my monthly goals since last Fall. Each month it wouldn't get checked off so it would be carried over to my next month's goals. Finally in February I changed my goal to a 'mini' day of freezer meal making, taking the easy way out hoping that it would actually get done for once.

Now, lets not forget that it was five days before the end of February that I had an 'Oh shit' moment and remembered that the coming Saturday was the last day of the month and the last day for me to complete almost all of my February goals, including having a mini freezer meal making day. (Why I always do this to myself I have no idea). So off to Pinterest I went, searching my Mmm Mmm Good board for any freezer meals I had previously pinned and also searching for new recipes. I wrote down a few that looked good (remember, at this time the plan was to have a 'mini' freezer meal making day) and while in 'the city' the next day I picked up all of the ingredients for the few meals I had planned. Fast forward to Saturday morning and I hadn't done anything related to my freezer meal making plans since putting away all of the necessary ingredients on Wednesday. I definitely went into this as unprepared as I could be

Here's, as the Pioneer Woman would say, (most of) the cast of characters involved in the freezer meal making process: 

When I did my shopping I also bought a few items that I needed that weren't for the freezer meals, and in total, including those few extra things, my grocery bill came to $150. I normally am a brand name snob but I shopped at Clifton's No Frills in 'the city' and purchased as many 'no name' items as possible to cut down on costs considering I'm still under a self imposed 'spending freeze'

It wasn't even until noon on the Saturday that I finally started freezer meal making. I had no plan of attack whatsoever so the first couple of hours were a learning curve. I started off by clearing off the kitchen counters (I cannot stand clutter when I'm cooking) and lugged all of my groceries up from the downstairs refrigerator and then tried to stuff them into the upstairs refrigerator. I had my iPhone, my laptop, and my Mama's iPad all on the go so I could pull up more than one recipe at a time. I started off by cooking a pack of chicken breasts in the oven and browning ground beef on the stovetop. I knew that I would need a lot of rice so I also made 10 cups of rice while the meat was cooking (and then even that amount of rice wasn't enough, I had to make more later. See how being a little more prepared would have helped...). 

After getting the rice and meat cooked I decided to stick to one recipe at a time since I was already so unorganized. As I was cooking I was still looking at recipes on Pinterest and realized that with the ingredients I had I could still make a few other dishes, and that's when my day of 'mini' freezer meal making day ended and turned into a full day of freezer meal making. I was in the kitchen from noon until around 8:00 that night, with a little break to eat supper myself. Obviously if I had been more prepared I could have cut this time down by a lot

 If I had been more prepared I would have spent waaay less time chopping vegetables and doing dishes. Oh, the dishes. I actually love to cook but when it comes to dishes I hate even the idea of having to do them. I'm pretty sure I filled the sink no less than 5 times that day. A lot of the time wasn't even spent on cooking or preparing things, it was spent doing the dreaded dirty dishes. 

I definitely plan on doing this again in a little while - maybe every other month? Next time I plan to have a list of everything I plan on making ahead of time so I can then cross reference all the ingredeints, see if there are similar items in the recipes, and then prepare them in bulk. Chopping cilantro and onions are my least favourite things to prepare and I had to do it at least four different times that day

I also re-organised some of my pins just this past weekend and created a Freezer Meals board so that next time they are not mixed in with all my other pins. It's a little embarassing to admit but I feel SO accomplished by finally crossing this off my monthly goals and having a freezer full of food that I can pull out when life gets busy!

I'm happy to say that after a day of freezer meal making my freezer is now stocked with:

Three 6x8½x2"H sized dishes of Cheesy Hashbrown Potato Casserole
I've made a fairly similar version from a cookbook a local community organization compiled but this one uses shredded hashbrowns instead of cubed and I had three bags of shredded hashbrowns in my freezer that needed to get used up

Three gallon size freezer bags of Chicken broccoli rice casserole
Again, another recipe I haven't yet tried but it was such a simple recipe that I had to try it 

Two 6x8½x2"H  sized dishes of the Pioneer Woman's Lasagna roll ups 
I actually only have one left now as I took one out this previous weekend and ate for supper one night and lunch for two days following. I used to be really picky about my lasagna but LOVED this version (had never tried it before). I was a little skeptical of the use of ricotta cheese but now this is the only kind of lasagna I will make from now on!

Two 6x8½x2"H  sized dishes of the Pioneer Woman's Sour Cream Noodle Bake
I'm a huge fan of the Pioneer Woman's cooking - she can do no wrong in my book - and I love this dish of hers. The picture below is before I added the meat ingredients - I usually sneak a few bites of jus the noodle mixture before I add the meat - so yummy!

Two gallon size freezer bags of Crockpot broccoli cheese soup
Another easy one that I could prepare in the slow cooker while I moved on to getting other dishes ready. I'm really picky about broccoli soup and this wasn't was actually pretty good!

One gallon size freezer bag of Copycat Panera Bread potato soup
This soup is heavenly (though not at all good for the waistline) and cooked up really fast. It would even be good for a night when you don't have anything planned since it can be whipped together really quickly

One 6x8½x2"H  sized dish of Sweet and Sour Meatballs
I don't have a recipe for this one - sorry! I realized towards the end of my cooking that I had a little bit of ground beef left. I was going to make another dish of lasagna roll ups when the idea for meat balls came to mind. These are sooo yummy I was tempted to eat them as a late night snack after I finshed making them at 8:00 o clock that night - no joke!

One gallon size freezer bag of Cilantro lime rice
This is the recipe I use when I make Chipotle copycat burrito bowls. I thought it would be perfect to have some rice ready to go for when the craving for a Chipotle burrito bowl strikes. Which, lets face it, is fairly often

One gallon size freezer  bag of Corn Salsa
Mmmm, corn salsa. Again, this is the recipe I use for the corn salsa for copycat burrito bowls. I kept 'sneaking' spoonfuls of it while I waited for it to cool down - I just love it so much and, again, is good to have on hand for when the Chipotle cravings strike. Why can't there be  Chipotle closeby?!

One gallon size freezer bag of Cilantro lime chicken w/ corn & black beans
This one I was a little weary about since all you have to do is prepare the ingredients and throw everything into a gallon size freezer bag uncooked to pull out to throw into the crockpot when you need. I was hesistant about mixing raw chicken with all these fresh ingredients but I did a little research and everyone said it was okay so if I get food poisoning afterwards I might feel a little stabby 

One dozen Mixed berry yogurt muffins
I've been OBSESSED with Tim Horton's Greek Yogurt Mixed Berry muffins so I figured these were as close to a copycat recipe as I could get. I can grab one of these from the freezer in the morning before week and by mid morning it would be ready to eat!

One medium sized bag of cooked diced chicken
I had some chicken left over so I diced it up and froze it to pull out to use in a recipe later when I don't have time to cook fresh chicken, to use in a salad, or to heat up with some seasoning to add to a Burrito Bowl!

I didn't take many pictures of the cooking process (due to being so unorganised) and the pictures at the end of the night have terrible lighting due to it being 8:00 at night, but you get the picture of what the end product looked like. Next time I plan on taking more pictures and documenting better for the blog  - this time I'm just happy the post is finally getting published!

And there you have it - how I turned a day of cooking into have 15+ meals ready to go. All I'll have to do is add a quick side dish - some garlic toast or a salad- and voila a meal is ready!

March 11, 2015

Checking Off Some Goals...

Happy Humpday y'all! I don't know about anywhere else but the weather around here has been gorgeous the past few days. The snow is melting, the streets are clear - it is glorious! Only 9 more days until its officially Spring!

I had said last Thursday that I would be posting about my freezer meal making day on Friday - that obviously hasn't happened yet. I've been putting my fitness above blogging because of  #4weeksfit so after spending a little time on it after working out on Thursday night it wasn't ready and it was past my 'bedtime'. Friday was a busy day for me - it was my EDO from work so I had lots to get done around the house before heading into 'the city' that afternoon to meet up with friends for supper and then finally having our wine and crafting night (hallelujah!). I only have a few things left to tweak and then the freezer meal post will be ready - look for it tomorrow (I promise!)

For our wine/crafting night we each brought a craft for all 3 of us to do. Nikki brought mugs for us to do a watercolour mug design (found on Pinterest here), Mallory brought the supplies for a picture frame holder - her two mischevious little girls took the clips out of the bag without her knowing so imagine the picture frame with a clip in the middle to hold a recipe card, photo, etc. (found on Pinterest here), and my project was Province/State glitter framed art (living in O-town didn't allow me any time to buy us all frames so they still need to be framed)- I did New York, Mallory did Nevada, and Nikki did Saskatchewan (found on Pinterest here). I still want to add a heart to mine where NYC is. When I finally get my blogging area complete I'll show how it looks all finished!

On Monday I had to take Krickit into 'the city' in the morning for a pre-op appointment - she had surgery yesterday morning (she was spayed). I was very nervous leading up to the surgery and couldn't help but think of all the things that good go wrong. I didn't start breathing easy until around 11:00 am when I received the phone call from the vet clinic that the surgery had went great and that she was in recovery but awake. Though I tried to think as positively as possible those negative thoughts about all the things that could go wrong kept creeping into my head - all her previous health scares always have me on edge when it comes to her health now

I had to have her at the clinic in 'the city' by 8:00 am yesterday morning and could pick her up at 3:30 at the earliest to take her home. 'The city' is 45 minutes away from O-town so I didn't want to have to make two trips back and forth in one day so I opted to stick around 'the city' for the day, even though I had nothing to do while I was there since I had just ran a bunch of errands on Saturday morning after spending Friday night at Nikki's after our wine/crafting night. 

I did, however, get a couple of things accomplished off my March goals yesterday so all the downtime where I had nothing to do was worth it! I went to Service Canada right after I dropped Krickit off at the clinic and waited until it opened at 8:30 to get my passport renewal forms finished and sent off. I'd been hoping that it would take awhile just since I had so much time to kill, but alas it only took around ten minutes. I'm now passport-less and it makes me very anxious! After finished up after Service Canada I went to my accountants office and dropped off all my income tax information - way ahead of the ball compared to previous years! 

Then I wandered aimlessly around the city, from store to store, even though I had nothing to buy. I did end up at Sportscheck and got myself a new pair of Nike Free 4.0's. I desperately needed new runners - I've been using a Reebok training shoe for running and it just wasn't cutting it anymore. I LOVE my new Nike's - they are so lightweight and feels like I don't even have a shoe on compared to my old clunky trainers. They are also perfect for traveling - since they are so lightweight they will not weigh a suitcase down at all. I can't wait to test them out tonight (I had to rush back to O-town after picking Krickit up to get to work for a meeting so didn't get a chance to use them last night). After more wandering I picked up Nikki and we went for lunch and then afterwards I met up with my friend Quinn and her son Lennix and finally gave them his baby gift - 8 months later! The gift has been sitting on my dresser at home in an addressed envelope for months just waiting to be taken to the post office - I'm terrible! I had only quickly seen Lennix once before when I ran into them by chance in the grocery store so our visit was long overdue. We had been trying to plan something for awhile but nothing ever worked out between our two schedules

Even though I actually only technically crossed two things off of my March Goals I feel like I accomplished so many other goals with getting my income tax information dropped off, finally buying myself a new pair of runners, and finally meeting up with Quinn and Lennix and getting his baby gift dropped off. The fact that its not even halfway through March and I've already crossed two things off my monthly goals is a feat itself - its normally the end of the month and I'm scrambling to complete them because I forgot all about them! I've got plans to complete a few more of them this weekend so March is off to a great start already! 

March 5, 2015

13 Things On Thursday...

I always get a kick out of looking back at my Google search history - some of the things I search are completely ridiculous. My parents aren't the most tech savvy so they are constantly asking me to Google things for them as well - my Dad was amazed one day that my phone could give me so much information. Old people are funny (sorry Mama...). While trying to get to a bloggers site this morning I clicked on Google and my recent search history came up and it inspired today's post: 13 things I have 'Googled' in the last few days

Apartments for rent in NYC
My wanderlust is at an all time high and after seeing on Twitter that Andi Dorfman packed up her life and moved to NYC I got insanely jealous and started googling apartments. I have issues, I know

Mexico vacation deals
Again, wanderlust. Looking back through photos from my friend Taigan's wedding in Ixtapa didn't help...

Take me back! 
Allegiant airline deals
I check the site almost daily to see if there is a better deal than the day before for the dates we are looking at for Vegas in July. Toni still insists she isn't going to her own Dirty Thirty party but come hell or high water she will be on that plane with us!

Anna Saccone
I was watching Zoella's newest Vlog on YouTube while on the elliptical (it makes the time go by soooo much faster!) and her and Anna were having a shopping day together and I had to know how old Anna is (She's only 26 btw)

Angelina Jolie
First off, please know that I am probably the world's biggest Angelina Jolie hater (#teamaniston). The search came after I got a question on Trivia Crack that asked what Angelina Jolie's last name was. One of the answers was Voight, which I knew was her father's name, so I chose it (which was correct thankyouverymuch) but then I was left wondering where the Jolie came from then. So off to Google I went. I hate that I cared enough to actually check 

The Bachelor Final 2
I don't watch The Bachelor - never have, probably never will - but I do read Possessionista's recaps every week just because she is hilarious and doesn't hold back on what she actually thinks of the train wrecks that go on the show.  I wanted to know what the Final Two girls looked like so I could put faces to the names from Dana's recaps

Dog puking up yellow bile
There are three dogs at my parents house and one of them has been puking up yellow bile, though we've never seen which one. With Krickit's health scares of the past I always get super anxious so off to Google I went to see if she was dying. Dramatic much?...

Etsy The Daily Tay
I couldn't find the link on The Daily Tay site so I was forced to google it. I realllly want one of the 'I just want to hang with my dog' shirts but have to wait until my spending freeze is over :(

How to clean makeup brushes
I know there are tutorials on quite a few blogs but I couldn't remember which ones so Google saved the day

How to freeze cilantro 
During my freezer meal making day on Saturday I had some leftover cilantro. You can't get cilantro in O-town, you have to drive at least 45 minute to get it, so I didn't just want to throw it away. However, after realising how much work goes into freezing cilantro it ended up in the trash. Aint nobody got time for that

Largest parking lot in the world
Another Trivia Crack question that I got wrong (grrrr). The correct answer was West Edmonton Mall (here in CANADA which I've been to sooo many times!) but I couldn't belive that that was actually the right answer so I took to Google hoping to prove Trivia Crack wrong. Which I didn't, btw

funny gif animated GIF
Qdoba Mexican Grill
Since there are no Chipotle locations close by (remind me again why I live in the middle of nowhere...) Qdoba is the next best thing. I was googling to see if there was a Qdoba in the Queen City yet (there isn't... eye roll). It's a good thing I've found a good copycat Chipotle burrito bowl recipe

Target Canada 
Just checking to see what deals are happening with the closing out sales. I NEED to make a trip to the city before my next orthodontist appointment to make sure I don't miss out on all the good deals - I love a good sale!

I can't be the only one with the most random Google search history, right people?! Let me know what the most ridiculous thing you've Googled lately was in the comments.  And make sure to stop back tomorrow for a post all about my freezer meal making day (so you can know how not to do everything...)

March 4, 2015

March Goals...

I'm going to say something that I've already said probably a million times but I feel like it needs repeating -  where the heck did February go? I swear I blinked and it was over. I mean, I'm fine with it since it means it's that much closer to Spring but it also means that before I knew it it was the end of February and I had barely done a single thing that I was supposed to this month (whoops!). I'll let you see my progress (or lack thereof) below:

1. Send out 5 forms of snail mail.
Didn't happen this month - sorry snail mail friends! I have no excuse for this one other than pure laziness at having to actually put pen to paper

2. Have a wine/crafting night with Kelsey AND Nikki/Mallory.
In my defense some of the 'blame' for this lies in the other three people as well - coordinating schedules is hard!

3. Purchase the perfect chair to complete my new blogging space.
Target is closing up shop in Canada (sad but not the end of the world for me since there is still one only an hour and a half away from me),  which means closing out sales. The last time I was in the Queen City everything was only marked down 10% so I didn't buy a chair because I kept thinking 'but it will be even cheaper soon!'. I'm really hoping that when I head to the city in a couple of weeks for my next orthodontist appointment that I will be able to get one for a good deal so I can finally cross this one of the list!

4Have a mini freezer meal making day.
DONE! Tuesday last week was the day I realized that Saturday was the last day of February and that I still had this goal (and lots of others...) to complete. I'm SO happy that I can cross this one off the list - its been one of my monthly goals since last Fall I think - and I even went above and beyond my goal, but more on that later this week. Stay tuned for a post all about my freezer meal making day!

5. Form a habit with my fitness routine.
Sadly, no. BUT with the  #4WeeksFit challenge ongoing I think March is going to be the month!

6. Go to bed by 10:00 pm each weeknight.
Ok, technically I didn't make it to bed each night by 10:00 but I'd say I made it about 75% of the time which is pretty good considering there were days I used to go to bed at 7:00 pm or midnight - there was never any rhyme or reason to my bedtime 'schedule', and now that I've given myself a 'bedtime' I've found that I manage my time at night much better

7. Download a Yoga App and do yoga at least 3 times/week.
Again, I finally realized last week that February was almost over (I have to throw this in here again - February just flewwww by!) and that I hadn't downloaded the app yet, let alone start doing the yoga. I downloaded the app on Saturday - nothing like leaving things until the last minute - but didn't actually start using the app until Monday

8. Stick to my spending freeze budget while in Moose Jaw for the Scotties.
I did pretty well with this - the fact that we were at the arena the majority of the time and didn't have much time for shopping or much downtime definitely helped. I did buy myself a Scotties 2015 jacket which I obviously didn't need but the fact that I came home with money still in my pocket made up for it. While we had a little downtime on the Sunday that we were there we spent a little time at the casino (making me miss Vegas even more than I already do, fyi). I put $20 in a machine not realizing it was a dollar machine (penny slots are where its at!) and was shocked when my $20 had almost disappeared with only a few spins.  I (thankfully) won a bonus but was soo mad when I *thought* that I had only won $1. Imagine my surprise when I realized I had actually won $100. I was able to keep playing the machines with 'free money' and walked away with my original $20. I call that a win!

You'd think that after my horrible progress on February's goals that I would just cut my losses and stop with the monthly goals but, alas, I'm not going to do that. Instead, I'm going to set even more goals for myself this month. Because if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Right?
1. Send out 5 forms of snail mail.
I will do it this month snail mail friends! Friday is my EDO from my work so I have ALL day to complete some of these tasks. Keep an eye on your mailboxes. PS if you want to be a snail mail friend just send me an email with your address ----

2. Have a wine/crafting night with Kelsey AND Nikki/Mallory.
This has only been one of my monthly goals since December. I'm happy to say that barring any unforeseen circumstances Nikki, Mallory, and I are getting together this Friday for our wine and crafting night. Now I just have to come up with some ideas of what I want to craft. To Pinterest I go! Kelsey and I also have some plans in place for our crafting night so I'm pretty confident this will finally get crossed off the list!

3. Make plans for a Beaver Cove Town Council meeting.
Beaver Cove Town Council hasn't gotten together since our annual Cookie Swap in the middle of December. Though I swear it was JUST December, the reality is that it was actually over two months ago that we were all together. Two of our members may be in different provinces but the remaining members can still get together. As 'Mayor' of our town council its my job to send out reminders about our get togethers and I've been epically failing at my job - its a good thing its a dictatorship and they can't vote me off! 

4. Purchase the perfect chair to complete my new blogging space.
Like I mentioned in my February goals progress above, I'm really hoping I can get one for a deal when I head to the city in a couple weeks - fingers crossed!

5. Find a way to make an extra $300/month.
Being a grown up is hard y'all! Being a grown up with a love of traveling, trying to save money to purchase a home, and with a large car payment every month is even harder. Add in the fact that I went a little crazy at Christmas, that I had an $800 vet bill that just got paid off, that I had to pay $1200 at the beginning of December for my braces AND almost $500 in November for wisdom teeth surgery (the difference between what my benefits didn't cover) and I feel like I am just swimming in debt with no way of getting out of it. Since January I now also have to add an extra $300 a month to my budget for my monthly braces payment, which is where the extra $300 needed comes in. I had been holding out hope that I would be moving into my own home by this Fall but its looking more and more like next Spring :(  I need a money tree!

6. Do 3 sewing projects aside from my weekly sewing club projects.
Signing up for what was supposed to be a one time sewing class was the best decision! We now are meeting once per week and I am feeling way more confident with my sewing abilities. This week we are going to learn how to hem pants using the original hemline, something I need since at 5'5 I am not the tallest person. I have a bunch of Pinterest sewing projects pinned that I'd like to complete and I feel like I'm at the point that I'd be able to tackle them and not completely screw them up

7. Take a 'staycation'.
I haven't used a single vacation day yet this year (wahhhh to no travel plans!) AND I also have over 70 hours owed to me that I need to use before I even use vacation days so it is definitely time for a staycation! I love Kenji's idea of a 'me vacation', but since I'm on a strict budget that is going to have to wait until later in the Spring. I have a million projects at home that need to get done (plus some shows on Netflix calling my name) so now I just need to pick the days and actually take them off!

8. Get my passport renewed.
My passport expires in May and I do not want to be without a passport - you never know when a travel opportunity will arise! The fact that I live a half hour from the US border and go down to Minot, ND quite often also means I don't want to be without. I need to get passport photos done and then take my paperwork in to the Service Canada location in 'the city'. I have to take Krickit into 'the city' twice next week for vet appointments so I'm planning on getting this done then. I will be without a passport for around a month, so the sooner I get the paperwork sent in the better!

9. Make better use of my time in the mornings before work .
My alarm goes off at 5:00 am every weekday morning. I usually snooze it  until 5:30, then after hitting snooze the final time spend waaay to much time on my phone checking out all my social media apps. There are times that after I run out of fresh 'news' in all my feeds that I will set a timer on my phone and close my eyes for another 15-30 minutes. Then I laze around in bed until I finally look at the clock and realize I only have around a half hour to get ready for work (I usually shower at night since my hair is waaay to long to bother with in the morning) and then I'm rushing out the door to be at work for 7:15. It neeeds to stop! Why do I set my alarm for such an early time if I'm not actually getting up?! That stops NOW! 

10. Spend more time with Krickit.
Krickit is turning 10 months old this month - where has the time gone?! She started her first heat cycle two weeks ago ( three weeks before her appointment to be spayed- ughh) and I'm left wondering what happened to my baby. With working 9 hour days (sometimes longer) I don't get to spend as much time with her as I would like. We're lucky that we're living with my parents right now so if myself or my parents aren't home she always has the company of two other dogs and a cat. I have a lot of 'Mommy' guilt about being away from her so much of the time so I want to make sure I am making the time to play with her, take her for walks, etc. 

Sorry for the long winded post - if your still reading I applaud you - but I have a lot of goals for myself for the next few months so that come late Spring/Summer I can relax and enjoy the nice weather before wedding madness begins! Not only do I have these 10 goals for March but I also have my fitness related goals for the #4WeeksFit challenge to complete. It's a lot but I'm excited to get cracking on all of it - wish me luck!

Side note: I had commented on someone's post about borrowing one of their goals for one of my March goals and now I can't remember what it was! Ughhhh. If I don't write something down the minute I think of it its just gone forever. Please tell me I'm not the only one!

What are YOUR goals for March?