Friday, March 6, 2015

Homemade Hot Pockets & Friday Favorites

It's Friday already!? This week flew by and I have a whole lot of favorites to share with you. Make sure to stop by the Fitness Friday link-up today!

Let's start off with our family favorite recipe >>> Homemade hot pockets are a hit with all of us because the toddler will actually eat them, my husband approves and I'm happy with any opporutunity to sneak veggies in. Plus I love the homemade bread crust.

The recipe easy-to-follow and very flexible. Depending on your dietary needs, you can make the below variation or try a gluten-free or meatless version instead.

Homemade Hot Pockets

Whole-Wheat Crust:
  • 1 package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, scrambled
  • 2 cups sausage, chopped
  • handful of spinach, shredded
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400°F.

"Proof" yeast by pouring the dry yeast, sugar and warm water into a large measuring cup or bowl. Stir together lightly and then allow to sit for 10 minutes. Yeast mixture should rise a little.

While yeast mixture is proofing, cook ingredients for the inside of the hot pocket. For ours, I'm frying up the eggs and sausage together.

When the yeast mixture has risen for 10 minutes, pour into mixer. Add oil and salt (I also add in a sprinkle of garlic powder). Gradually pour in the flour and mix.

I take the dough directly from the mixing bowl and stretch it out by hand (because I'm too lazy to roll it). Lay the dough out on a greased baking pan and layer with inside ingredients.

Here I have layered spinach, the egg and sausage combo and two types of cheeses:

When the hot pocket is fully loaded, fold the short sides up first and then bring the long sides together. Pinch the dough together to make sure it doesn't open while baking.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes. Crust should be a golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Cut into slices and serve!

Those hot pockets are so tasty and much more healthy than the store-bought ones! Now for a quick run-down of my five favorites for this Friday:

>>> My Fitness Friday Five <<<

ONE: Remember the Mickey Mouse-shaped banana choco-chip pancakes I made for E's birthday? They turned out slightly deformed yet amazingly delicious! But birthday boy woke up in a bad mood...

TWO: The Spiritually Strong online Bible study starts on Monday! I've been reading ahead and this study has been teaching me so much about spiritual and physical discipline. Can't wait to start! Feel free to join in the study - this book is totally worth it.

THREE: I'm feeling large and in charge these days. Running is actually more comfortable than waddling walking and I CAN still paint my toenails! For now at least...

FOUR: We're back on a smoothie-kick this week. Today E and I shared this creation: half a banana, 1 cup frozen strawberries, half cup peaches, 1 cup greek yogurt, a handful of spinach and half cup milk. Toddler boy didn't even notice the spinach!

FIVE: Baby #2 and I are running on into the third trimester! The weekly average is ~13 miles per week with a pace of about 9:50~10:00/mile. The 4 days of running + 2 days of strength training routine has been the ticket for me this time around.

What's new with you this Friday?
Have a family favorite recipe to share?

Linking up with Fitness Friday.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Living Out Move-Nourish-Believe #dishthefit

Today is a very special day because it's E's second birthday!!!

We are starting off the morning with Mickey Mouse-shaped banana choco-chip pancakes. As a person that could write a book about my "Pinterest fails", I'll let you know how those turn out :)

It's also time for another the Fit Dish link-up! The [optional] topic is this week is:

The term "Move, Nourish, Believe" is the Lorna Jane philosophy. Check out her site for more details and inspiration.

My Inspiration to "MOVE NOURISH BELIEVE"

As a parent, each day we have countless opportunities to teach our kids. What I didn't realize was how much our child would be teaching me!

Here are three ways E has inspired me over the past two years:

Just ran a half marathon? No excuses, mom!  Climb, climb, climb!
MOVE. If E isn't sleeping, he's running... climbing... crawling... jumping... you name it. No matter how old we are, we should never lose our sense of adventure! I need to stay in shape just to keep up with this kid.
Some of our meal and snack-time food adventures
NOURISH. This new world of picky-eating toddler-hood has taught me to get more creative with my cooking and to make healthy food fun. E has taught me to think out of the box for new meals and fun ways to serve them. Anything to sneak in one little bite of veggies... anything!!!
BELIEVE. The most valuable lesson I have learned from E is how to have child-like faith. E depends on mom and dad to do what is best for him, to take care of his daily needs and to protect him. God calls us all to have faith like a child. I need to depend on God for everything just as E depends on Leo and I for survival.
Happy birthday to our baby boy! We are so thankful to have this crazy character in our lives!

Newborn E on March 3, 2013

How will you MOVE NOURISH BELIEVE this week?
Do you have any special birthday traditions?

Linking up with Jill and Jessica at the Fit Dish. #dishthefit

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Baby #2: 26 Weeks

We're nearing the end of the second trimester and this Tuesday is a very special day for the big brother-to-be:

Mr. E is turning 2 years old!!!

We went on a family mini-vacation to a neighboring town and visited the local science center.  What a blast! Before we had taken our coats off, E was staring at everything there and telling me "Play, play!".

From petting snakes and watching tropical fish to blowing massive bubbles and flying an indoor hot-air balloon, there was so much exploring for us to do...

Baby #2: 26 Weeks

Baby's Size: A head of lettuce, average fetus size: 13.6 to 14.8 in, 1.5 to 2.5 lbs.

Cravings: The usual. Plus, steamed broccoli (with ranch, of course)?!

Aversions: Lately, going out to eat. Unless it's Erbert's and Gerbert's sub shop!

I'm Feeling: Baby is very active these days! Poor E has been fighting a cold all week and, while we were cuddling, Baby was actually "kicking" E. The sibling fights start early I guess! Had a great appointment with our midwife last week. Baby is measuring 3 weeks ahead but all is well. No UTI, no dehydration, looking good!

Sleep: I struggle with sleeping past 6:30 am, which is fine, but the problem is I'm ready to pass out for the night at like 8 pm. When I'm out, I sleep like a rock!

Weight: +17 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight.

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, as we are nearing the third trimester I give all of my worries and concerns to You. I feel tempted to worry about carrying our baby full-term, how the delivery will go and how we will adapt to having a new baby in the family. I know that You care about every aspect of our lives and that You will take care of our family in every way!

Prepare Leo, E and I to welcome this little one into our family. Continue to guide Baby's development and prepare us for a healthy delivery in a few months! Thank you, God, for the blessing of this pregnancy and for my supportive family. Thank You for knowing what we need even more than we know ourselves! Amen. "
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? MATTHEW 6:25-27
Last Week's Workouts:
Monday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Tuesday: 4 snowy miles outside with our dog, 10:10/mile.
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Friday: 3 treadmill miles, 10:00/mile.
Saturday: Strength training
Total Mileage: 13 miles

What is one of your best birthday memories?

Linking up with Mommy Moments.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

7 Questions to Help Choose Your Training Plan

Well, I made the leap. Today I'm linking up with the #fitfam at the Fit Dish link-up and I've got some news to share!

After much prayer and contemplation, I signed up for a September half marathon which will be my first long-distance race after having our Baby #2. I like to sign up early because the race fee is significantly cheaper, it gives me motivation to make healthy choices while pregnant/postpartum and I have time to make babysitter arrangements (Thanks, Grandma!).

The week that I found out I was pregnant again, I had just ran the Wild Hog Half Marathon and I'm excited to return again this year! The race was awesome, the course is flat and it's super close to home for us.

Since I am now committed to a fall 13.1, that means it's time to think of a plan.

When choosing a full or half marathon training plan, I usually use a free training plan and modify it to fit me personally. For this race, I plan to use a modified version of Hal Higdon's Advanced Half Marathon Plan which has worked great for my past two half's.

Whatever type of plan you use, it is important to use a training plan that fits your lifestyle, time availability and your race goals. Here are the questions I ask myself when working on a half or full marathon training plan:

1. How many days do I plan to run?

- I'm planning to run 4 to 5 days a week. It all depends on how much of a sleeper our Baby #2 is and how we adapt as a family of four. Training plan flexibility is key for me!

2. How many days will I strength train or cross train?

- Planning for at least 2 days of strength training. My marathon training in the past has lacked strength training in the past and I know this will help to decrease burn out and keep me injury-free.

3. What will the weather be like in training?

- Training over the summer and early fall. No more excessive clothes-layering and Yaktrax-wearing!

4. Where will I be training?

- Mostly early morning runs outdoors for key workouts. I will likely be out with the double jogger for "easy" run days when Baby #2 is old enough to ride along. The treadmill is always there as a backup and my only option for hill training workouts (Thank God for treadmills!).

5. What will be my starting fitness level?

- My fitness level will rely on how the third trimester of this pregnancy goes. We can assume that I will be running low on sleep and very hungry from adjusting to breastfeeding again! As long as my midwife gives me the OK, I will continue running and strength training regularly through the pregnancy. That helped immensely with my first pregnancy and postpartum recovery.

6. How many weeks do I plan to train?

- 12 weeks of "official" training. After Baby arrives, I am going to take my time to recover and gradually run/walk my way into training again.

7. What is my goal for this race - time goal or other?

- I don't want to have a set time goal for this race because there are so many unknowns in postpartum recovery and while adjusting to the toddler + newborn life. Ideally, I would like to finish under 2 hours but but my focus is to take it one run at a time. My main goal: HAVE FUN!

I'm curious to see how running with a double-jogger will go this year! Single- or double-jogger, I do think that running with a jogging stroller counts as a cardio workout and strength training :)

Specific Training Plan Components

Hal Higdon includes the below specific workouts in his training plans. For more detailed definitions, visit his website here. If you are unsure of your appropriate training paces, calculate them using the McMillan Pace Calculator.

  • Easy Run - Run at a comfortable, conversational pace. 
  • Hill - Run interval on a hill of 200 to 400 meters in length with a jogging or walking break of equal distance between each repeat. Hill train to strengthen quads and build speed.
  • Speedwork - Train fast to race rast! Start with 400-meter repeats and increase to 800- and 1600-meter repeats in the later weeks of training. Walk or jog between repeats.
  • Tempo Runs - A continuous run with a build-up to your 10k pace. 
  • Pace - Race pace workout.
  • Long Runs - Run at a comfortable pace and don't get hung up on the miles covered or your speed. Focus on spending time on your feet. 
  • Long Run 3/1 - Run the first three-quarters of the distance at a comfortable pace and excellerate to near-race pace in the last one-quarter of the workout. 

How do you choose your training plan?
What is your favorite type of workout to do?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and the Fit Dish. #dishthefit

Friday, February 20, 2015

Book Review: Growing Up Social

Since the day word spread that I was going to stay home full-time to raise our son, the word "socialization" was thrown around like the name of some mythical creature. I was clueless - would my son be socially deprived because we would be forced to stay in the house forever? Do moms not count as social beings anyways?

Anyone who stays at home or homeschools has probably heard comments like this, too. If you aren't sure what I'm talking about, I highly recommend you watch this short video by Tim Hawkins. It's short, sweet and Hawkins has a great way of describing "s-s-s-socialization"!

What if teaching our children the skills of socialization isn't about whether we stay-at-home or send them to daycare? Or if our kids are homeschooled or public schooled? What does it even mean to have a socialized child?!
"Having a social child means your son or daughter will be able to talk to people and like people. He'll be able to relate to others and enjoy activities with friends and family members. Being social isn't just about making small talk in the cafeteria. It involves showing other people you care through eye contact, conversation and empathy.

The ideal place for a child to learn to be social is in his home, where a loving mother or father can model what healthy relationships look like." Growing Up Social, p. 8 (emphasis added by me)
It's not often I find a book that I just can't put down but this is one of those books. I finished reading Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane a couple weeks ago and it has changed the way I look at my parenting decisions and my own life.

Thank you, Faith, for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book!

My Growing Up Social Review

When initially picking up this book, I thought the main message was going to be anti-technology - basically, don't let your kids use it because it's the devil - but Chapman and Pellicane covered so much more.

Technology isn't the enemy. In fact, technology is good when used in moderation. Setting screen time limits is necessary and does require parents to have a backbone to stick to those limits!

Here are a few key takeaways that I learned from this book:

Key Lessons from Growing Up Social

  • Set screen time limits as a family. Use personal judgement when choosing the amount of screen time. The key is that every family must set clear boundaries! Two hours a day is a good general rule.
  • No screen time for children under 2. This is a recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics because they believe the negative effects of media use far outweigh the positive ones for this age group. 
  • How to teach your children "A+ skills" of socialization. Learning the social skills of affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention.
  • Quietness  Shyness. Quiet and reserved children are often incorrectly labeled as shy. Quiet children are often great listeners and analytic thinkers, while shyness refers to someone who is nervous and uncomfortable meeting and talking to people. 
  • The Mistake of Multitasking. While multitasking is sometimes considered to be a positive word to add on the resume, it is shown to reduce the quality of your work, distract your learning, encourage skimming rather than true reading and it actually wastes time. 
  • Evaluate Your Child's Screen Time ABC's:
    • Attitude - What is my child's attitude like after the screen time?
    • Behavior - How does the content encourage my child to behave?
    • Character - What character traits are being modeled and picked up? 
  • Family Meal Time is Sacred. Eat together, share conversation, no screens allowed. Set a goal of sharing a certain amount of family meals per week.
  • Determine Digital-Free Zones. Again, use your personal judgement to determine these. The bedrooms, kitchen and dining room are highly recommended as digital-free zones. 

Final Thoughts on Growing Up Social

I rate this book with five stars because the information was well-presented, the steps for parents were encouraging rather than condemning and it also stresses the importance of managing our own media-use habits as adults!

As a family, we are taking into consideration all of the guidelines presented in Growing Up Social and are using our own personal judgments to determine the limits we set. We rarely watch TV (or tablets, kindles, etc.) in our family but we do allow our toddler (under 2 years old) to watch 30-45 minutes of TV three to four days a week. Personal judgement call for us - just long enough to watch a Mickey Mouse cartoon or Superbook episode.

I was totally shocked to read that multitasking is not as wonderful as we make it out to be! As a "multi-tasking extraordinaire", I am doing my best to cut back on that now and focus more on the project at hand.

Learning that quietness and shyness are not the same was a mind-blower, too! I have incorrectly considered myself "shy" my entire life yet I love to visit and meet new people. I'm not socially awkward yet I prefer to recharge at the end of the day in peace and being the center-of-attention is not my favorite. From now on, I will stick to just saying I'm "quiet".

After reading this book, we are taking action by implementing the "no phones at the dinner table" rule. That's a bad habit for me but it is so important to keep family dinners sacred and to start this habit now as a young family! I am thankful to have a non-smartphone (or a dumbphone) as there is no Facebook or email-checking temptation but texting or answering a call is still something I need to avoid during mealtime. For computer-usage, blogging or working on the computer is allowed while the little guy is sleeping. You will usually find me writing in my old-fashioned journal that I love dearly!

I highly recommend this book to any parent, non-parent or even anyone who uses social media (nearly the whole world then).

What are your thoughts on this media-heavy world?
Do you have screen-time limits set personally?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

My First-Ever Manifesto #dishthefit

Today I'm pushing myself out of the comfort zone. I have been meaning to write a blog mission statement for some time now but kept putting it off... until now. #dishthefit

This week's Fit Dish [optional] Topic: Write a Manifesto

A mani-what?! Thankfully, Jill included the definition on her blog and it sounded very similar to a mission statement:
"A manifesto is a declaration of your core values and beliefs, what you stand for, and how you intend to live your life. It becomes a source of inspiration to live your life with purpose, fulfillment and a sense of self."

My First-Ever Manifesto

The brainstorming process left me with a lot of scribbling and random tangents in my journal. Writing a manifesto felt like such a daunting and intimidating task. Then I realized that my manifesto is already quite clear, as it was written by the ultimate Author!
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” MARK 12:30-31 (emphasis added by me)
God's clear direction tells me to love Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love other people. In my journal, I have been jotting down any words that come to mind when I think of living a life dedicated to God and experiencing freedom in Christ.

Freedom in Christ - life to the full - is something new to me. John 10:10 inspired the name of my blog and, ironically, I have only been truly living to the full for 5 years now. I'm 27 years old and I spent 22 years of my life living without a personal relationship with Jesus.

My life before Jesus seemed to be going well or at least it looked pleasant from the outside. I was playing college tennis, kept an honors grade point average, loved my teammates and thought I was in a good relationship at the time. All seemed well, but I wasn't living the way God wanted me to and I felt empty. Life was missing something and I tried to fill the void with worldly things, but nothing worked.

A series of trials in my life finally brought me to my knees and I surrendered my life to Jesus. Surrender is a word often connected to defeat but surrendering to Jesus means freedom.

Freedom from all the world's lies and failed attempts at filling the void with accomplishments, relationships or even material things. Freedom from the guilt, the shame and condemnation. Surrender to Jesus means forgiveness and healing.

As for my manifesto, my core value and belief is that God is the Creator of all. His Son, Jesus Christ, died for my sins and I intend to live my life rooted in Him and God's Word, as it is 100% the truth.

When we surrender our lives to Him, we are a new person - ready to live in the freedom of Christ. Living out a new life in Christ means we can dream big and love fully because all things are possible with Jesus. (Matthew 19:6)

The random scribbles from my journal have taken form into this visual manifesto:

I live my life to the full by:

  • Loving God, accepting my new life in Christ, and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
  • Spending time with the Lord and His Word.
  • Loving and serving my family.
  • Embracing my role as a wife and mom.
  • Blessing other people.
  • Running my heart out.
  • Motivating and encouraging others.
  • Practicing my cooking skills.
  • Writing on this blog.
  • Dreaming big.
  • Taking care of my body.
  • Playing the piano.

All for the glory of God and His Son, Jesus - my inspiration, my purpose, and my life.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31
Have you written a manifesto or mission statement before?

If you have any questions about how Jesus or how He has changed my life, please feel free to ask!

Linking up with Jill and Jess at the Fit Dish.

Friday, February 13, 2015

My Valentine's Five + Week 24 Update

♥ Happy Valentine's Weekend to you all ♥ This week has been extra special because my Valentine is back home. So nice to have the family together again!

Today I'm sharing my Friday 5 (+ a pregnancy update) with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments link-ups. Be sure to stop by!

5 Things Friday ♥ Valentine's Edition

Here are five things I have loved this Valentine's week:

1. Be Spiritually Strong.

My book just came in the mail today! After listening to an interview with the author, Kristen Feola, I knew Spiritually Strong was a book I had to check this out. This study covers the importance of having a spiritually strong core as well as a physically strong core. Both are essential to being healthy, but our spiritual training is even more important to strengthen (1 Timothy 4:8)!

I'm excited to read through Spiritually Strong to learn about training myself in godliness by focusing on the disciplines of Bible study, prayer, fasting, healthy living, financial stewardship, and serving others.

Check out this book here

2. My Old-School Training Log.

Is it weird that I keep a training log even while pregnant? Meet my "old-school" training log. I draw the grids by hand (hence the crooked lines) and make collages... by hand! It's fun to have projects that are non-computerized now and then. Making a collage was a fun mess project for little man and I to do together!

3. "More Run!"

After supper, I am about ready to crash and we usually unwind as a family by visiting in the living room or reading books. E's new favorite thing is to run all over the house yelling, "More run!!!". He insists that Leo and I join him. Looks like he's a runner in training!

4. Our Healthy Valentine's Treat.

These energy bites were the easiest to make ever and make treat time a little healthier for my family.

Just mix together 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 2 Tablespoons maple syrup and whatever other add-ins you would like. For our batch, I added raisins, chocolate chips and a little cocoa powder. Roll into balls and store extras in the fridge. (Tip: Wet hands with water while rolling balls.)

5. Valentine's Nails.

I rarely paint my nails and was surprised that these Jamberry things are actually fun! Turns out they are a blast and easy to do - even with a toddler "helping" me. This pattern is called "lovespell". Might as well have cute nails while running!

Pregnancy Week 24: Baby #2

Hello to Month 6 of this pregnancy! Only 16 weeks to go. That's like the length of a marathon training program and those sure do fly by fast. "Race day" will be here in no time!

Baby's Size: Cantaloupe, average fetus size: 10.5 to 11.8 in, 12.7 to 20.8 oz.

Cravings: My morning coffee with half n' half, popcorn and breakfast food.

Aversions: Anything that equals heartburn.

I'm Feeling: E and I are fighting off a mild but annoying cold right now. Other than that, all is well. Leo has been sure to remind me lately how much my belly has grown. I can tell it's gotten bigger because I have had to alter my bending down technique to pick toys off the ground. It's more of a squat position now!

Sleep: I sleep like a rock but am doing my best to continue waking up early for devotions and a run before the family wakes. Some days it happens, some days it doesn't! I do need to rest a little more to shake off this cold.

Weight: +15 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight. Yeah... growth spurt maybe?

My Prayer for Baby: "Lord, I thank You for each day of this pregnancy and for the children you have blessed us with to raise and shape into godly adults! I pray that Your constant guidance, help, kindness and support remain with my family and that we trust You to work good in all circumstances. Continue to bless our Baby's development and I again give You any fears I have of preterm birth. Help us all to prepare for this Baby's arrival and I ask for special guidance for E to adjust to his new role as 'big brother'."
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. PSALM 23:6
Last Week's Workouts:
Monday: 4 treadmill miles, 10:01/mile. Some SI joint discomfort on left side.
Tuesday: 3.05 treadmill miles, 9:50/mile. SI weird feeling is gone - answer to prayer!
Wednesday: Strength training - upper body focus.
Thursday: 3.01 treadmill miles, 9:58/mile. Feeling great!
Friday: 3.03 treadmill miles, 9:54/mile.
Saturday: Rest day.
Total Mileage: 13.09 miles
Any special plans for Valentine's Day?
What is something you have loved about this week?

Linking up with Fitness Friday and Mommy Moments.