Cakeballs 101

Last week I made cake balls for the first time. If you've never heard of these little delicacies, head over to Bakerella's blog site. She is now 'internationally renown' for all her cakeball creations. But don't go to her website if you're short on time. Because once you get over there, I'm sure you'll keep clicking through the oodles of cuteness and creativity.

Anyhoo, I'm going to make these for Eva's birthday party, but I definitely didn't want to attempt them for the first time that weekend. I had been wanting to practice for a while, but due to my new healthy lifestyle I didn't want a bunch of cakeballs in the house. So when my local MOMS group planned a 'St. Patrick' family day last weekend, I knew that was the perfect opportunity.

So what do you think?

I know, I know - technically they're cakePOPS

What I learned about cakeballs:
  • They truly are better the next day. I tried one the night I made them and they were too 'wet'. The next day they had the perfect moist consistency.
  • If you want the inside to be white, you'll have to cut the 'crust' off of the cake, otherwise you'll have brown crumbs mixed in and it won't be perfectly white.
  • I made them a little bit on the big side. Quarter-sized is perfect.
  • Next time I will definitely make them with homemade frosting. I didn't want to go through the hassle of making it if they turned out to be gross, and the store-bought stuff was only $1 at the commissary. But it's too sweet for my liking, and I think they'd be better with frosting from scratch.
  • Although Bakerella is the undisputed cakeball queen, I found Pioneer Woman's 'how-to' guide much easier. (the funny thing is, Bakerella is featured in the lesson!)
Now that I'm a 'pro', lol I have a little twist planned for when I make them for the party. But you'll have to wait and see ;)


What I'm loving...

When I see that someone is successful with a weight loss program, I always want to know the details of how they did it. Especially if they didn't use a trainer, or order a meal program or follow some preplanned system. I like hearing stories of people that just make changes in their life that works for them. And so far, that's what I've done. Now, I haven't lost some mammoth amount of weight, nor am I a fitness expert. But I'd like to pass on what's working for me, on the off chance that it may help someone else. So here's what I've been eating (and loving!) which is helping me reach my goals.

  • Kashi GoLean Crunch cereal (sooooo much fiber and protein, and an easy meal when I'm still groggy)
  • Kashi Multigrain Waffles (I've eaten them with butter and syrup, but lately I prefer a little peanut butter on top)
  • Subway Sunrise Melt - with egg whites, on an english muffin (rare, but I occasionally pick one up after dropping my husband off on base)
  • Fage yogurt (that I mentioned in my previous post. YUM)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Nature Valley Peanut Butter granola bars
  • Pita Chips with hummus or alone
  • Whole Wheat Pita Bread with hummus
  • My famous smoothie (not sure if it's famous, but it consists of 5 frozen strawberries, 1 fresh banana and about .5 cup of orange juice blended up. Sooooo good)
  • Spinach salad with raspberry vinagrette dressing
  • And of course, fruits like grapes, bananas, apples

Lunch/Dinner (normally my lunch is leftovers from the previous night)
Here are a couple recipes that I've made lately. I'm trying to do at least one meat-free meal per week.

I also make my own pizza bi-weekly (and yes! I do the dough from scratch), and make tacos, spaghetti and other quick go-to meals.

Now all of those recipes may not be the healthiest. But, they're better than eating fast food or junk. And I make sure to control my portion size. Plus, my husband has the opposite problem of me - it's hard for him to gain weight. So I can't make all of our meals vegetarian, low-cal, low-carb, etc., and I refuse to cook separate meals for us.

That's what's working for me. I hope that may help someone out there!


Take It Off Mondays

This week I was avoiding the scale.

Normally I weigh in on Thursdays, but I had a feeling I wouldn't like what I saw, so I put it off till this morning. I was hoping to have at least maintained my previous weight, because surely there was no way I lost this week.

But I did. I lost 1.5 pounds. Is that great? No. But it's a loss. And I think I reached a breakthrough this week.

I did excellent with my eating this week. I ate nutritious meals and snacks and really got hold of my nighttime snacking. I treated myself with cake balls on Friday and Saturday; (I'll explain in an upcoming post) but considering they probably equalled two half-sized portions of cake, I'm totally fine with that. Because again, I am not on a diet. I am making lifestyle changes. So treats must fit in now, because they will always be around...

So you're wondering why I was avoiding the scale like the Bubonic Plague? I was a lazy bum this week. I walked twice (goal was 5x) and did cardio once (goal was 3x). This led me to doubt that I'd make any progress, especially coupled with the fact that I had cake balls this weekend.

After I weighed myself in I remembered something my friend Ashley (who works in the health & fitness industry) told me: 'If you give your body what it needs, it will do what it's supposed to do'. (I definitely paraphrased there, because seriously that conversation was months ago - do you really expect me to remember what she said verbatim? You get the point.)

I had given my body what it needed. And even though I hadn't worked out, I felt good. I didn't have that nasty stomach bloat you get when you eat junk. Which leads me to the other part of my breakthrough this week:

I don't need sweets as much as I thought. I have stocked up on greek yogurt as a snack, but now it's become a dessert of sorts. I had some strawberry Fage the other night, and I actually savored it. You know, like in the commercials, where the woman takes 2 minutes to eat each bite with a sensual, dreamy look on her face? That's how I ate my yogurt the other night. And after I ate it, you know what I didn't feel? Guilt.
I'm seriously drooling over this picture right now. YUM.

Normally, I would have eaten some kind of junk, and probably 2-3 servings of said junk; and then to accompany the post-binge stomach yuckiness and sugar high, I'd swallow a large chunk of guilt over what I just did to my body. But now, on my new journey, I honestly don't crave that stuff like I used to. And that is just AWESOME.

So here's the past week at a glance:

Starting Weight: 167.5

Weight loss this week:
1.5 lbs

Weight loss to date: 5.5 lbs

Weight left to lose: 7 lbs

First Goal: 7.5 pounds (hopefully this will be reached by next week!!!)

  • Reward: $15 worth of craft supplies OR a box to contain the unorganized craft pile I currently possess ;)

Second Goal: 12.5 pounds

  • Reward: A new bathing suit.

Final Goal: to fit in size 10 pants!

  • Reward: A new outfit for my new bod ;)

Success: I finally realized I don't need sweets like I thought - the cravings have subsided!!!

Set-Backs: Not enough physical activity!

Exercise: Since I haven't been reaching my previous goal, I'm going to tweak it slightly. I'm aiming for 3 walking sessions, 3 cardio workouts and 2 weightlifting or ab routines. I'm so close to my first goal, so I want to kick it up this week!

Hope you'll join me in my healthy living journey!


Y3W | Who is this...

little girl?

And what did she do with my baby?!?!?!?


Take It Off Mondays

I caved. I mentioned my Inner Struggle last week to avoid the baking. Well I didn't. I made banana bread. Twice. Banana bread is basically banana cake sans icing. And I had 2 pieces Friday, 3 on Saturday and another 2 yesterday. Ugh.

I have come to realize two things about my eating habits (and they say the first step in breaking addictions/bad habits is accepting them right? So I'm on my way, right? - just appease me and say yes)

First, I am a nighttime snacker. During the day I'm busy with Eva, cleaning the house, running errands or doing stuff on my computer so sometimes I forget snacks or go too long between meals. But when I do eat during the day I make good decisions and control my portion size. And then after I put her to bed and commence sitting like a log in front of the TV that's when the cravings strike.

The second thing is, I'm a contact craver (not sure if I made that up - if so, just go with it) I have been doing so well passing up on fast food and eating good when I do occasionally eat at a restaurant. But seeing people eating junk or sweets makes me want it soooooo bad. Hubby got some Sonic this weekend, so I made him get me a strawberry limeade. I pass Sonic everyday almost and have no problem avoiding it, but once I knew he was going I had to have it.

Which is why I do so horribly on the weekends. There are no moms/spouse group activities on the weekend, and I do my chores during the week (except for laundry) and my husband is a homebody who eats all the time. I weigh myself on Thursday mornings and as of last Thursday I was 163.5. Let's just say I didn't maintain that loss over the weekend...I'm hoping to 'reset' and also lose another pound or two this week. So here's the weekly review:

Starting Weight: 167.5

Weight loss this week:
1.5 lbs

Weight loss to date: 4 lbs

Weight left to lose: 8.5 lbs

First Goal: 7.5 pounds

  • Reward: Still not sure - maybe some craft goods, since I've been hankering to do some new projects...

Second Goal: 12.5 pounds

  • Reward: A new bathing suit.

Final Goal: to fit in size 10 pants!

  • Reward: A new outfit for my new bod ;)

Success: During the week, I ate really well. And I managed to curb my late night snacking. But then I baked, and then the weekend came and - well, you know the story...

Set-Backs: Weekend, late-night snacking and contact craving...

Exercise: My goal last week was to walk 5x. I walked 3x. But I achieved my goal of doing cardio 3x and I also lifted weights twice. So I'm going to try to walk 5x, cardio 3x, and again, any weight lifting is just a bonus. I might even sneak in some ab workouts!

So now I must get off this couch and get walking. Talk to you later, interwebz.


Y3W | Dreamers Into Doers

So I stumbled on this website today. Wow. I've been missing out, I see. I've been busy working on my business plan, creating a pricing strategy, scoping out the competition, etc. And all along there's a website that serves as a forum for women like me - those striking out with their own business. I think this will be a great avenue for me to network with others in my industry, as well as learn some tips on how to be a better businesswoman.

Sign me up ;)


My inner struggle

I haven't blogged much about my plans for Eva's birthday, but as I start finishing projects, I promise I will add more. All I'll say for now, is we're doing a music theme for our little 'Eva Diva' and the color scheme is black, white, plum purple and buttercup yellow. More details to follow...

But for now, I've been looking at blogs and websites for dessert ideas. I know most birthday party hosts offer cake and ice cream - but I'm trying to do something different. I want to do a mini dessert buffet (especially since I'm keeping the food VERY simple). And I'm so excited to execute it. There's only one problem.

My new healthy lifestyle.

I desperately want to try out some of these creations, not really to eat them, but more so to practice before I attempt it for the party. And as I mentioned before, I love baking and being creative with it - I find it so fun! But I'm trying to keep treats out of the house so I can't go overboard like I have in the past and eat everything in sight. So baking right now is out of the question. To get around that, I'm hoping there's some event or get-together around the corner that 1. would give me a legitimate reason to bake and 2. give me the opportunity to give those creations away, so they're not in my house.

Hopefully that happens soon, because I have the baker's itch. One can only hold off so long before you must scratch...


Take It Off Mondays

Starting Weight: 167.5

Weight loss this week:
2.5 lbs

Weight loss to date: 2.5 lbs

Weight left to lose: 10 lbs

First Goal: 7.5 pounds

  • Reward: I don't know - so often I reward myself with food, which helped create the problem at hand! Any suggestions???

Second Goal: 12.5 pounds

  • Reward: A new bathing suit. I don't I'll ever go back to wearing a two piece like my high school days. But at the same time, I haven't bought a new suit since my high school days, so once I've lost the weight it's time to invest in a hot mama one-piece!

Final Goal: to fit in size 10 pants!

  • Reward: A new outfit for my new bod ;)

Success: I ate really well last week. Still doing good at keeping junk out of the house. And I created a daily chore list, mostly to spread out the cleaning so I don't feel overwhelmed with it all at once. But also, it has helped me reach my goal of being more active, and reduced (some days eliminated) my TV-watching during the day.


The water in Texas is not as clean as other states due to their EPA standards. So drinking tap water is out. And a Brita filter pitcher is not strong enough to get out all the grungy stuff. Why do I mention this? Well, we ran out of filtered water the other day. To get more would have required me to go out and buy another gallon or get a refill at the filtered water dispenser. They have them all over town here. Well I didn't get to it until Sunday, so I drank a little more juice and soda than normal this weekend. Eh, what are you going to do?

Then my hubby got KFC yesterday. Of course he couldn't just get an individual meal. He had to get a 10 piece with sides and all. So I had a leg and chicken wing, and of course a biscuit. Then I had a major snack fest last night. Yet another reason why it's best I get to bed early. (you know, besides actually getting a good night's rest)

And working out on the weekends has been non-existent. I have the best intentions, but somehow the days just get away from me. And also I think I just get lazy and want to relax with the fam, since my hubby is home then.

Exercise: Eva and I took a walk 4 days last week. I worked out on the stationery bike once, and I snuck in a couple sessions of pumping iron ;) This week I want to walk 5x and do cardio at least 3x. The weight lifting is just a bonus at this point, so if I do it - great; if not - no sweat.

And there you have it. My first week of officially documenting this weight loss journey. I've got to say, blogging about it definitely makes me more accountable, because I was thinking about this post last week when I had some temptations!!!


I miss Jesus.

Back when I was in college, one of my friends from home came to visit me one weekend. We went out partying that Saturday night and of course slept in that Sunday morning. And when we got up she said:

'I miss Jesus.'

We both laughed a little when she said it. I knew that she didn't really miss Jesus, because every Christian knows that He is always with us. But what she meant was, she missed being in church that Sunday. The fellowship with other Christians. The collective praise and worship. The message delivered by God's messenger. And after moving away from home (very far away!) I felt that same longing when you know something is missing.

I missed Jesus.

A couple weeks ago I ventured out to a local church that someone referred us to. It wasn't the best experience. Let's just say I did not agree with some of their fundamental beliefs. So needless to say I was a little discouraged.

So this past Sunday I sought out another local assembly to test the waters. And when I walked through the doors it just felt right. The people were so warm and welcoming. (it helped that I was carrying my little diva, who melts the hearts of all she meets) The praise and worship felt heartfelt, not contrived or forced. You could tell that the parishioners had personal relationships with each other, outside of church functions. And the pastor preached the unadulterated word of God.

I did get a little sad though, because this is a temporary duty station for us. If not, I would seriously consider joining this church and subsequently getting involved, because I do not believe in being a pew member (someone who only attends church, but does not offer their gifts and abilities to any ministry). But at least I have a place to go every Sunday at 11 am.

And I know I'll find Jesus there

10 months

This is crazy. My baby is 10 months old. She's been in the world longer than she baked in my belly.

And I can't imagine life without her.

Here's what our little diva is up to this month:
  1. Is officially crawling.
  2. Related to #1, I have officially lost the ability to use the restroom in private. Sigh.
  3. Pulls herself up all the time, on anything she can reach.
  4. Has developed a little bit of separation anxiety. I usually leave her with my husband when he gets home so I can work out. She's fine when I leave, but as soon as I get back she starts whining for a cuddle with momma. And she's my shadow now - she follows me all through the apartment. Refer back to #2 ;)
  5. Has eaten a variety of table foods. She's had chicken, pulled pork, ground meat, pita bread, pizza crust, cheese and others. She still eats baby food and cereal, but I'm hoping by 12 months she'll be eating less and less of that and more of the good stuff!
  6. Still only has two teeth, on the bottom. At her 9 month check-up the doctor thought that the two on top would cut soon. That was 2.5 weeks ago. Still no top teeth in sight.
  7. Has the cutest giggle in the world. And it's actually the best when she's sleepy. She's like me, in that she gets slap happy when she's really tired.
  8. Wears shoes when we go out. I refused to buy her shoes before, because really - what's the point when they're immobile? But now that she's standing and crawling I make sure she has shoes on when we leave the house. And usually by the time I go to get her out of the car, she's taken them off.
  9. She's had her first kiss. hahahaha. She went with me to a military spouse outing the other day and there was a little boy named Samuel who is one month younger. We sat them on the table next to each other and the flirting commenced. He leaned in to kiss her - and my little one just laughed and laughed. So I'm not sure if she enjoyed the attention or was amused that he had the audacity to come on to her. But either way, it was hysterical.
And here's a pic of the little lady this past Sunday after church:

Still refusing to believe she'll turn one in 2 months...


Take It Off Mondays

Since I'm currently pursuing my weight loss goals, I'm going to join Jenni from the Blog on her weekly updates.
Before I had Eva, I was about 10 pounds above my goal weight. Which wasn't bad, let me say. But since I was so close, I wasn't really motivated to get the weight off. I mean, I exercised 3-4 times a week. But I ate CRAP. All the time. I think I was still in my high school/college mentality that as long as I worked out, I could eat whatever I wanted. However, I am older now, and those days are gone. As Rob Base says 'It takes two to make a thing go right'. Meaning, now I need diet AND exercise.

While I was pregnant, I tried to stay somewhat active with prenatal yoga and the occasional workout. But let's face it - working full time + taking care of your home/husband + extra curricular activities ON TOP of baking a baby don't leave much time or energy for physical exertion. I did do a relatively good job of not 'letting myself go' with food. I allowed myself cravings, but I did not double my calorie intake, just cause I was 'eating for two'. Instead I tried to eat similarly to pre-pregnancy minus some crap, plus some fruits/veggies.
And I did pretty well. I gained plus/minus 40 pounds with Eva. At about one month post-partum about 28 of those pounds were gone. By January I was about 5-8 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. And this past Thursday (March 3) I weighed in at 167.5. So nice to see that number! Hadn't been in the 160s in awhile.

So what am I doing, you ask? Because I had a tendency to yo-yo with my weight in the past, I decided that this is not just about weight loss. It's about having a healthy lifestyle. Being active and eating nutritionally, so I not only feel good, but so I set an example for Eva. Now that she's eating a lot of table foods, it's even more motivation for me. If I'm eating good stuff, I don't have to make separate meals for her - she can just eat off my plate!

I still allow myself treats. But I don't keep them in the house, which requires me to go out and purchase them and ensures it's not an everyday thing. I also have not baked any goodies since Christmas. And if you know me, that is a big accomplishment. I LURVE baking and then eating my creations. So I had to curb that habit if I was going to be successful.

I've upped my protein and fiber intake. I eat whole-grains and beans and peanut butter and lean meats. I drink mostly water, with the occasional juice thrown in. And I keep my portion size in check. That's it. I knew I didn't want a diet plan like Weight Watchers or similar, because everyone I know that does so can usually lose the weight, but has problems maintaining after said diet is over. Like I said before I wanted a lifestyle change, so it will be easy for me to maintain the weight loss once I reach my goal. And I should mention that I am relatively active - I take Eva on 1 hour plus walks to and from the park. Last week I added a couple elliptical workouts as well.

My current goal weight is 160. Once I hit that, I want to aim for 155. And once I get there, it will be all about toning and firming. I'm hoping to reach that by Eva's birthday, so I've got about 8 weeks and I know it's totally doable.
So let's do it!

And it only took 10 months...

We finally ordered Eva's crib! hahahaha

When she was born we knew we'd have a couple moves ahead of us, so instead of setting up/tearing down a crib multiple times we decided to wait until now to finally get one for her. I was all set to purchase it a couple weeks ago...then it was out of stock! ahhh, so annoying!

Thankfully it was back in stock a few days ago, so I ordered it online this morning. And here's what we got, in case you were wondering.

Baby girl has been sleeping in her pack and play this whole time, and I think it's affecting her congestion, since she's so low to the ground. Plus I know she sleeps much better on an actual mattress, as opposed to the hard board + padding that you get with a pack and play. I'm hoping the crib transition won't be too bad, since she is already sleeping in her own room. But you never know with babies, and especially with the diva we have!

So once it's here and installed and I make a few finishing touches to Eva's nursery/guest room, I will FINALLY post some pics!


Project #2

While perusing the web for first birthday party ideas I found this easy peasy project and just had to try it.

What do you think? A custom cupcake/dessert tiered tray. Would you believe that the materials cost a total of $5? (not including paint) These normally cost $30-40, depending on where you buy it.

I saw the idea and tutorial here. You'll notice that instead of sticking with her multi colored scheme, I painted mine all white. I try to minimize making elaborate crafts for one-time use. I like making home decor that will last, or other items that I can use multiple times. So by painting it all white, I can use it for many parties in the future. And since they're not technically food-safe, I think I'll use scrapbook paper to tie in the party color scheme, while simultaneously protecting the food.

And since I was already set up for painting, I went ahead and bought another tray for $1 and painted it too:

I love them! So cheap, so easy, yet personalized to my taste!

I've still got more projects to attempt and post here... :)


Project #1

A few posts back I alluded to some projects I had in the queue. Well here is the result of my first task.

We inherited this beat up table from my husband's bachelor days. It's in Eva's room since her nursery is red, black and white. But I've wanted to do something to it for awhile. Originally I wanted to paint it because it is so scuffed up:

But then I thought of another idea. A former co-worker of mine had refinished some old barstools she found using scrapbook paper! So here are the tools you need for this project:

Scrapbook paper
Spray adhesive
Exacto knife
Mod podge
Foam brush

First I laid out all my paper to make sure I had enough and that I had a plan for how each piece would fit together:

I sprayed the table, then laid out each piece, being careful to overlap it correctly - sort of like a puzzle:

Then I trimmed the edges with the exacto knife. After letting it dry, I applied a couple thin coats of mod podge to seal it. And here is the finished product:

Do you like? I do, I do!!!

I've got more projects coming, so stay tuned! ;)


Isn't this cute?

I just wanted to snap a pic of Eva in her new outfit. But her smile is what makes the picture:
This is why I quit working - so I could look at that all day!