Friday, May 30, 2014

WWI#46 and a Peek In the Gym Bags

So I had a really good Friday last week ... double Zumba, controlled calories. Saturday morning I'd dropped a bit more, closer to the "under 150" where I want to be. But then ... #1 son went and got donuts. And I ate a donut. In the evening, hubby asked if I'd like to go out to dinner. I hadn't planned on it, hadn't "banked my calories" if you will, but we hadn't gone on a date in a bit so I sure didn't want to say no, and I was hungry. When the scale jumped the next morning, I really wasn't surprised. Again, not surprised when it inched up again for Monday morning.

Even though Monday was a holiday (Memorial Day) and that can throw off my routine ... it was a great day. Lots of exercise and kept eating in check. Tuesday was good too. While Wednesday and Thursday were "good" (I did get to goal), I was feeling a little unmotivated those days. They weren't as good as they could have been. You can see more details on my Day to Day Doings. I keep all my numbers and a daily journal entry there.

NUMBERS: Up 1.3 from last week. Average up .1. The high for the week was HIGH ... 155.4. The low was 150.9, so a shift of 4.5 pounds throughout the week. I had a couple bad days, the rest were good. I was able to get a weekly deficit of 2724. Calories in averaged 2236. Average burn was up slightly to 2909. 

Diane, at Fit To The Finish had an interesting blog post yesterday, about Setting a Line in the Sand. I posted a bit ago about some of my "lines" (My Milestones) those numbers that have particular meaning. I've been stuck just over the 150 pound mark (one milestone) but staying under the next couple "numbers" (153.3 and 155). I was disappointed this week to blip above 155 (and was able to correct that pretty quick) and I have been keeping my Friday weigh-ins under the 153.3. I'm keeping an eye on my "lines" ...

I'm linking up with Fitness Friday with Jill and Aubrey,  and a late Weigh-In Wednesday

Now onto the FUN stuff ...  
Five for Friday!

I'm always a little late getting my Friday post up. I can't really prep my post the night before, as I don't have all my "numbers" in yet. I've also got into the habit of checking in on the DC Bloggers, who often have a "theme" for their Friday Five. Today, it's "Five Things In My Gym Bag" ... so, linking up with Courtney, Mar and Cynthia and then also jumping onto the other Friday Five linkups out there. Five on Friday at The Good Life, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In.

Now I am a homebody. I've got everything I need right downstairs (J&GsGym). So I don't really have a gym bag, as "going to the gym" for me is simply walking down to our basement. Occasionally, I would hit the indoor track while the boys played basketball and I'd have a small bag for those trips. I have been heading out to Zumba this year, but my classes are close, so I'm ready as I leave the house, not needing to take anything extra. Today (and last week) ... I traveled a bit further, and went after dropping the kids off at school. There would be a lag time of about 30minutes from when I left the house to when I started my workout. That's TOO much time to have shoes and a HRM on! So this picture is MY five things I needed ... shoes, socks, and the three pieces to my heart rate monitor. I'd be in trouble if I got to Zumba and was missing any one of these five items.

The boys are finishing up school this week, and they cleared out lockers yesterday. My son wanted his gymbag for after school (hanging out playing basketball with his buddies) but had no place to put it. I told him to leave it in the car, and I'd meet him after school. BIG MISTAKE! His bag SMELLS so bad! I had to take it out of the car. I went ahead and checked what was in his gym bag ...

His basketball shoes (I bought him some of those sneaker balls to help combat the smell but they just aren't strong enough I guess), an extra shirt, some deodorant, a charger for his iphone and a snack.

I figured I'd check out the 13-year old's gymbag too ... shoes, a basketball, a water bottle, a sweat towel, some first aid supplies (band-aids, wrap, kneenex for bloody noses) ... he had a few of his jerseys in there too.

What are five things YOU have in your gym bag?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Pet Peeves

A few weeks ago, Lindsey at The Lean Green Bean did a post about "minor annoyances" in her life. It was fun to read, and I'd seriously been thinking of doing a "pet peeve post" myself. Just those little things that drive you cRaZY! First world problems if you will ... Here's my list:

  • Hair, Hair Everywhere: I shed. The amount of hairs coming off my head every day should be quite alarming, and it would be, if there wasn't still plenty still stuck in. It just seems like every time I touch my head, I'll pull off a strand or seven. And these hairs, besides the obvious problems of clogging the sink or catching in the vacuum ... they will land on me and then prick my arm. I hate the feel of that! But they are so small and light, it's sometimes a trick to find the offender. Anyone else have shedding issues?
  • TV Troubles: On Tuesday, I did a TV talk post, mentioning how I don't really watch "live" programming anymore. Because of this, I have become so used to NOT having commercials, that if I'm exposed to them (Hulu or Network online offerings, or live radio) ... they drive me crazy! Another TV pet peeve is seeing parts of a show before I'm actually watching it. The kids have ruined several series for me, as I've seen too many bits and pieces for me to ever watch the programs myself now.
  • Grammar: I'm not one who corrects or calls people out, but I do cringe when I see "your" when it should be "you're" (I'd even prefer UR). Other offenders, "their/they're" or "to, two, too" ... the absolute worst is if I look back and see that I have accidentally written it wrong! The horror! I know I overdo the ellipsis and put the punctuation outside of the parentheses ... but I don't care about that part of grammar (I'm sure that is a pet peeve for someone else though, right?)
  • Flies Inside The House: That buzz, the little black body whizzing by. Instant insanity! One good thing about winter, there really aren't flies around. As soon as summer hits and doors are left open ... it's fly time. I will grab the fly swatter and go after them, and I'll put the kids on the job too. Flies - stay out of my house (and out of my kid's ear ... yes, that actually happened once! The story is here, along with some other interesting injuries from our our family).
  • Garbage Cans on the Street: I actually really love garbage day! Weird, I know. But we usually have our garbage can and our recycling filled to the brim and I love having it emptied, knowing I have an empty can for a while at least. It is garbage day today, and on garbage day, of course the cans will be out on the street. But after the trucks come ... pull those suckers back up and off the street! When it's a couple days past and they are STILL out there. Come on! I've wondered about pulling them up for people ... would it be appreciated? Or just annoy or anger others ("What are you doing touching MY garbage cans??")  I honestly don't know!
Are these my top five pet peeves? I'm not sure (the hair one gets me multiple times every single day ... should I just copy the hubs and cut it all off? And in a house of all boys, everyone knows I'm always the culprit). I've got other peeves, but  these were the ones that popped into my mind. Just a little random Thinking Out Loud today!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Zumba Firsts

On Sunday, I posted a funny little video, a public service announcement about the dangers of addiction to distance running. I mentioned there, that I think I am safe from any running addiction (although I know there are those of you out there in trouble) ... but Zumba? I DO think I might have a slight addiction. Not enough that I need an intervention just yet.

I had never been to a Zumba class before this year. I never thought I would. I can't dance, and I exercise on my own. When my church offered a free class, I pushed myself (and believe you me, I had to PUSH) to give it a try (I Hope You Dance). I wasn't hooked after the first day, it took a few times. But then ... I wanted more. In addition to my Tuesday class, I started attending a Thursday class. Then I added a Wednesday class. I figured I'd be fine with my Tues/Wed/Thurs schedule ... but I wanted MORE.

I had a few Zumba "firsts" this past weekend ...
  • ANOTHER NEW: All three of the classes I'd been to had a common denominator ... my original instructor. She was the one who introduced the additional classes. She attended them all and taught a couple numbers at the Wed/Thurs.  So I had some familiarity even as I attended them for the first time. On Friday morning, I went to a completely new class all on my own. I'd found this one through a Facebook group. It's a little further, but I think I'll go again if I don't have an option closer to home.
  • IN THE EVENING: One of the instructors from the Thursday class was holding an evening class. All my Zumba to date had been in the mornings. This was my first evening class ... and my first double day (this was also on Friday).
  • 1ST PAID CLASS: So far ... all my Zumba classes have been free ones, at local churches. I was in the mood and had some free time Saturday morning, so I found a class. It was $2. It was different ... in a studio. In the dark with flashing strobe lights. The music was more modern (lots of Top20 type hits). It was a single instructor, but she sure kept up the energy! It was pretty crowded (a smaller room). I don't know if I'll do this every Saturday, but it's nice to have the option there.
I am NOT one for change or trying new things, so these are pretty big moves for me (NSVs for sure!)! My Zumba experience so far has been interesting. I've now gone to eight different locations, over a dozen different instructors, so many different songs and steps.  I'm enjoying it all!  I've found out about a couple Monday classes, so I'll be adding that into the rotation. I keep all my numbers (HRM and Fitbit Stats) and it's so interesting to compare them class to class ... sometimes they line up to how I feel, other times I'm a little mystified, unsure why I'm not getting the heart rate up for a better calorie burn (just like weight loss ... or the lack thereof after adding up the numbers).

Yesterday's numbers ... 450 calories burned according to the HRM. 487 according to Fitbit (sometimes these two estimates are very different). In the "zone" 45minutes  of the hour, over 7000 steps and my average and max heart. One of my best days.

 Today ended up being ANOTHER first ... a little outdoor Zumba. The church it was supposed to be held at had it's floors refinished, so we relocated only to find that church also just had it's floors refinished. So we just danced in the parking lot! My first outdoor Zumba ... it was actually quite fun!

Do YOU Zumba?
If you live in Utah, be sure to check out my Free  Utah Zumba Classes post!

Linking up with WorkOutWednesday and The Hump Day Blog Hop

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

TV Talk Tuesday

I was reading the newspaper, when I came across this article...  TV Networks Plea To Viewers: Watch This Now! I had to laugh a little. I am the TV Networks worst nightmare. Well, not the worst, I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who shun television completely. Me? I do love many of the TV programs available, my "to watch" list is huge ... but I don't watch anything "live" anymore. I'm completely content to wait.

 Live TV is rarely on in our home. Now ... the TV itself is on a lot, but it's Netflix or Amazon or a DVD.  PlayOn keeps me current for shows not on other platforms (there is a fee, but it's less than HuluPlus and I love being able to record programs so that I can fast forward through the commercials). I hate commercials! Ironically, we have not given up cable yet (although I'd love to break up with Comcast completely). I haven't been able to figure out how to let the boys watch their basketball without having cable.

It's that time of year ... when almost all the shows wrap up their seasons. I've had to bid farewell to Grey's Anatomy, The Good Wife and Scandal. Season 3 of Scandal is already on Netflix! If I had know it would appear that fast, I think I would have waited and watched all the episodes back to back.  I am going to miss my Mon/Fri motivation ... I'd always be a little excited to get to my workouts to watch these shows that had aired the night before.

I have been keeping current with Game of Thrones, and there are a few more episodes of it before it finishes up (but nothing this past week). I am a "24" fan, in fact, "24" was THE show that got me hooked on watching while working out. It totally compelled me into coming back, and would feed my adrenaline ... I mean how can one not be energized seeing Jack run around saving the world? I'm happy to have Jack back, and am watching the new "24" series. Just finished up last night's episode.

For my workout inspiration ... I do like the "hour" (40+minutes without commercials) programs more than the shorter ones. I prefer action/drama to comedy. I prefer the shows with a serial story, one that carries from week to week, rather than a single-story loop per episode. It just keeps me coming back (to the gym, where I watch while working out).

I did just finish up watching Modern Family (at times I DO watch the shorter/comedies too) as it finished up it's season. I've been waiting for Cougar Town to come to DVD, but I've been waiting for a while (seasons 1-3 are, but season 4 has been done for a while and still not available). I turned to PlayOn and have been catching up on that. I've also been making my way through Drop Dead Diva (currently in Season 2) ... I have to laugh a little that I'm watching TWO shows right now where there male lead is named Grayson! It's a very uncommon name ... but it's my hubby's name too!

Back to the article I mentioned at the top ... I know I'm not the prime audience TV Networks are after. The "waiter" ... but you know, I DO get around to watching a lot. I'm just slow. The way we watch TV is certainly changing.

Amazon Prime just added a bunch of HBO shows to their line-up. Hubby and I have already watched many of them, but Hubs loves having them at his fingertips to rewatch with ease. I'm not really into watching things more than once anymore ... there is just SO much out there! I'd rather see something I haven't seen before. I try to keep track of what I've watched (What I'm Watching). I'm a little OCD like that, I like to keep a list. It's not complete of course, more the last year or so ...

What about you? Do you stay current with TV programs? Do you prefer drama or comedy? Which TV alternatives do you subsribe to? Do you like to relax or workout while you watch?

Monday, May 26, 2014

Free Summer Bowling

Today's Motivation Monday falls on Memorial Day. The kids are out of school. They tend to stay pretty busy on these rare breaks throughout the school year, but summer is coming shortly. After days on end with no school ... the inevitable whine of  "I'm bored, there's nothing to do" is bound to happen. What to do ...

What about bowling?  Our family has had some fond bowling memories (Blackham Bowling ). When the kids were on year-round school, off-track bowling was something we did to fill the time. For summer ... there is the KidsBowlFree program. Just go to the website and see if there is a location  near you participating. Two free games of bowling per kid, per day, all summer long.

Of course ... it generally isn't totally free. You do still have to pay for shoes unless you happen to have your own. I DO have my own bowling shoes. Not that I'm a big bowler! I picked some up for $20 a few years ago, figuring it would be worth the investment for me. With kids constantly growing, it may not be worth a purchase ... and rental shoes are SO cute!

If your kids are anything like mine, they beg for arcade tokens and want some drinks and pizza every trip too. That can add up quick ... and of course I'm sure that is the impetus behind the "free" offer. Sometimes I splurge on the extras ... other times I'm the mean mom and we "only" bowl (I mean, that IS what we went there to do, not to eat or play video games). The free also only applies to the kids (15 and under). If YOU want to bowl too, you'll have to pay, but there are family deals that accompany the program. This is the first year I have actually added on a "family" plan, for me and my 18-year old son. $25 and we both get a couple games each trip too. I figure four trips and we'd probably recoup that cost. I do like to participate too, and I think the kids enjoy beating me ... at least they can try!

I know bowling isn't the MOST active thing the kids can be doing this summer ... but it's better than video games or watching TV. A nice air-conditioned bowling alley can be a welcome relief on a hot summer day. 

I'm hoping that my purchasing a pass ... actually paying $25 (for two adults) will motivate me (ala Motivation Monday! *Ü*) to use our free bowling coupons more this year. I think we only made it in a couple times last year.  It doesn't burn a bunch of calories (have you seen comedian Jim Gaffigan's take on bowling? We love Jim), but you are moving and using some muscles you might not otherwise.

I must admit ... I like to leave the bumpers up.

And now a quick weekend recap. Friday was better than usual ... I got in a double Zumba (morning and evening) and kept calories in check. Saturday started with donuts and ended with ...

#datenight #toomanycalories

Sunday ...

#ilovereading #twoholdscomeinatonce


It's a little hard when the new week starts off with a holiday.
Off my routine ... but it's going to be a good day *Ü*

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Running Addiction?

 A while back, I thought I might do a weekly "Sunday Funnies" series ... but I've rarely gotten around to posting over the weekend. There is so much health and fitness humor out there, I should make an attempt again. I'm not committing to it, but here's one for this week anyway!

A public service announcement ... the dangers of distance running!

Are you in danger of addiction?

I am actually ok when it comes to distance running ... I think I only got a "runner's high" one time. I am addicted to exercise and my exercise endorphins though. And Zumba ... that might just be turning into an actual addiction. Hope you enjoyed the video.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Reading Recap - Teen Trilogies

I love reading, and even though I'm in my 40s, YA/Dystopian stuff is a favorite. I admit, I feel guilty spending too much time reading, but when I read while riding my stationary bike, I feel fine  allocating 30 minutes a day to my current novel. I also read here and there, while I'm waiting for the boys.  I'll wind down my day, reading a bit in bed, as long as I can keep my eyes open. 

 Still ... I go through phases with my reading. Even though I have hundreds (that is not an exaggeration) of books waiting in my Kindle Cloud, a huge wish list at my local library, and a "to read" list even longer on GoodReads, at times I finish a book and I'm not sure what I'm going to read next.

A couple of months ago, I was browsing my library website when I saw "Into the Still Blue" ... which is the third and final book in the "Under The Never Sky" series. I had really enjoyed the first two. I hadn't really been paying attention to release dates, but just happened to stumble upon this shortly after it was added to the library site. I grabbed it, read it, loved it ...

That got me thinking about some of the other trilogies I had been reading ... I knew the third book of several series should be coming out shortly, so I looked them up. I spotlighted them on one of my Friday Five lists a few weeks ago (Five Books I Really Want To Read).

Four of the five are now available (Sinner is still pending, it it's actually a book#4). As soon as Cress was out, I went ahead and purchased a copy. A friend of mine has "loaned" me her Nook library (trusting me with her username/password, granting me access) and I had read the first two in the series from her set. I bought it on Nook gifting it to her (even though I really prefer Kindle) so we could both read it. 

Cress? Thumbs up! I have thoroughly enjoyed this series! My only disappointment, although this is the third book, it is NOT the final book! A fourth book, Winter, is being written with expected publication next year. For the first time in my life I can say I'm looking forward to Winter. It's not that I wanted the story to end ... I just had "trilogy" in head and so was thinking I was getting a conclusion.

I've been scanning the library and was very happy when I saw Ruins and The Forever Song added there. So they are on hold, and I'm waiting! I wish our library would get more than one copy!

... as I was in a "finishing up my trilogy" mode, I also went back to the "Everneath" series and the "Matched" series. On both of those, I had only read book one. On both, I had book 2 available, but figured I'd wait until book 3 was out. I have book 3 of both series on hold ... and I have now read the second in both series. Just waiting for those holds too (although not as anxious ...these series are just ok, not high on my "love it" list).

I'll often just jump onto my library site and scan it quickly, looking at the new additions. Seeing if I might snag a new release before everyone else discovers it. I lucked out again!

Yea! The One (and for once I'm NOT talking about my Fitbit). I'd really loved "The Selection" series. You can see there are over 60 holds on the book now, but when I found it last Friday, there were a couple available for instant download. I snagged it!  I had to finish up the book I was currently reading (Neverfall, an Everneath novella, prepping me for book 2 of that series). That day, I put in 60 minutes on the bike reading and riding just so I could get though it. I was pretty anxious to start "The One" but I'm also a little OCD, I don't want to stop in the middle of a book (especially as I was close to the end). 

Anyway - I started "The One" on Friday night. I finished it on Sunday morning. I only did 30 minutes or so on the bike. This one I just wanted to read enough that I did just that. Sat and read. Granted, I'm a fast reader. And this is and easy and fluffy read. It was quick (about 340 pages).  Someone described this series as a mix of "The Hunger Games" and "The Bachelor" (the TV show) and that is a perfect description! It sounds a little silly, but it's really a good read. A little action, a little romance ... yes, your standard love triangle that all teen trilogies seem to need to have.

..I've enjoyed getting back to my trilogies. I like the sense of closure when I finish a series, even if I'm sad to see the series end. 

How to you feel about trilogies/series? Do you read them as they are written, anxiously awaiting the next publication or do you wait until a trilogy is complete and then read the books back to back? Do you re-read to refresh yourself on the story if you had to wait in-between books? Which ones are your favorites?

I just got an email ... Ruins is ready for me to download. Update, Sunday morning, The Forever Song is now available. When it rains it pours ...

Friday, May 23, 2014

WWI#45 & BlueLightSpecials

Another "Weekly Weigh-In" ... it's a good thing I've started to participate in these fun Friday Five linkups too, because my Friday weight recaps lately have been booooring! What do you know ... this week looks about the same as last week, and the week before that, and the week before that! It would all be good IF I was in maintenance mode ... I'm only a couple pounds away from where I'd be happy staying steady. Why oh why can't I just lose a few and THEN be utterly boring with mini ups and downs from week to week? I know "if you change nothing, nothing will change" ... I also know it's not the exercise, but the eating that needs to change. I know I should actually CHANGE that ... instead of just saying that.

NUMBERS: Up just a tad from last week. High 153.9. Low ... last weeks weigh-in of 151.5. I thought because I didn't have as high a high, my average would be down, but it was up a little too. Average intake was 2129. Average burn 2865. I did have a deficit of 2325 for the week ...

I'm linking up with Fitness Friday and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

 Onto the fun part of Fridays ...
Friday Five

Linking up with my Friday Five Favs ...  Five on Friday with the DC Bloggers, Five on Friday at The Good Life, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In

For the Friday Five today, I thought I'd share some of the steals/deals I've received recently at Kmart. Not "blue light specials" (remember those?) but great finds. I now stop at Kmart once a week. It's just down the road from my Thursday Zumba class, and as I've linked my Fitbit up to their Fitstudio program, I receive about $8 in instant store credit every week. $5 ... 5000 points come from the Fitin14 reward (completing 14 miles in one week, it generally only takes me a couple of days) and then I get some additional points for goals/challenges and adding new friends. I have my "point" $$ in mind, and any coupons or surprise points from the ShopYourWay program and I'm ready to shop. Sometimes I do need something specific, other times I just wander and see if I stumble upon any deals. And I often do!  Here's some of my shopping from the past couple weeks ...

  1.  Balls for the Boys: The wiffle-balls were a real steal, the deal of the day! My #2 had requested some, as they have been popular lately with his friends. I grabbed one package, the $4.99 price tag for the six balls was better than I'd found elsewhere. When I checked out ... they were 49¢. 90% off! I went back and grabbed all they had (my son says they go through them pretty quickly!)  I picked up the racquetballs for "Wallball" ... a game where the boys throw a ball against the garage, running to catch it after just one bounce. It's become popular again as the weather has warmed up. The balls often accidentally disappear over a fence or into a rain-gutter. This is the second package I've purchased. $3, so $1 a ball, a pretty good price. I'd had to sneak a few out of hubby's racquetball bag when the boys lost theirs and I didn't have a replacement yet. I really hope to be back playing r-ball with hubby soon!  We did play some ping pong yesterday ... I think I need to put new paddles on the list next time I'm shopping with my points.
  2. Black Socks: A purchase for me. My workout outfits are usually black/gray and white socks just stand out ... I don't know why I didn't really have any black socks already. With my new Zumba love, I am wearing shoes and appearing in public more often, so I felt like I should "invest" in some matchy socks. 
  3. Cap and Visor: Still struggling feeling comfortable in my cute cap. I picked up this one (my Nike one gives me horrid "hat hair") and I've been wanting to try a visor too. They were both only $3 each.
  4. Shorts and Shoes: Simple staples for my five boys ... decently priced. I might as well buy them from here with my points!
  5. Clearance Candy: I got these bags for $2 each (and then they were pretty much free with my points). Ok, hypocritical purchase with my "healthy" points! I LOVE the Snickers Peanut Butter Squares. I'm pretty good at self-control. As they are individually wrapped, I can limit myself to just one. The three older boys adore Reeses (I like them too) and I like having them around ... a little incitement or reward. I know ... I shouldn't bribe the boys with candy, but it works!
In my original FitStudio post, I included a picture of some of the flowers I'd picked up practically for free with my points.  I picked up new slippers at Sears with my points another week ... actually, we have TWO FitStudio/ShopYourWay accounts. I hooked up my active son's Fitbit to the second family account. I've also got my mom on board (synced up to Dad's Fitbit, as he gets more steps than she does). All of us get $5 or more a week. We don't always make it into the store before the points expire, but I've been pretty happy with my steals and deals! Often finding some great prices, that I would probably purchase even if I didn't have points credit burning a hole in my pocket.

Don't bother looking for the wiffle-ball deal at the West Jordan Kmart ... I cleared them out! But they still had some of the candy left ...

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Church ... and Zumba

I've been spending more time at church lately ... well, in church BUILDINGS at least. Here in Utah, the LDS (Latter-Day-Saint) religion is very prevalent, and there are so many church buildings all over the place. They are really nice buildings, and they often have a nice gym and sound system (some nicer than others). It's great that the church is allowing the buildings to be used  for things other than direct church activities.  Things like Zumba! Zoooomba!

So far, I've attended five different Zumba groups, in five different church buildings. I plan on trying out a new one tomorrow.  The church culture itself is beneficial to group activities like Zumba. That's where I first heard about the free Zumba class ... the one that started this whole thing. At church.

I grew up in a very religious home, it's never really clicked with me though. I just kind of go with the flow. I struggle on Sundays sitting through hours of meetings. I find it a bit funny just how much time I've been spending "at church" lately ... an hour each morning. But I'm NOT sitting!

 A fuzzy photo of one Zumba group.

This last Tuesday, I started the day at the church (with Zumba) and ended the day at the church (with my boy's Scout Pinewood Derby). The spacious church gym, great for dancing, great for social activities ... great for basketball, or so my second son would say!

Here's some pictures from that night.
And I made a highlights video, where you can see the cars in action!

I am so grateful the church allows these extra activities in their buildings. I know if Zumba is held in an LDS church building, it is free (there can't be any charges as that would endanger the church's non-profit status). It's nice to see the comradeship of the women ... all are welcome, whether you live in that immediate area, whether or not you are active in the church. Of course, these Zumba classes DO start with a prayer!

Just Thinking Out Loud this Thursday. I've been having some religious struggles these past few years. I find it funny that now I'm spending more time "at church" than I ever did before. I find myself noticing cars in the parking lot of churches as I drive by during the day ... I always wonder if there is a Zumba class going (in the evening it's probably something else, but usually just SAHMs around during the day! Unless it's a funeral ...)  Do you have a lot of church buildings where you are at? Anyone Zumbaing at your local church building?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fuzzy Feet

What I'm Wearing Wednesday ... 
Slippers (well, that's every day!)

I few weeks ago, I mentioned my loathing for shoes (Shoe and Tell). I just do NOT care for shoes and can't keep them on my feet for long. I wear them when necessary for workouts ... but not all workouts require shoes. At least I don't think so. My elliptical and my stationary bike for example. I wear slippers!

Slippers are so much more forgiving for my feet. They allow me a little more leeway, they aren't as tight and constricting. They aren't as heavy. And as their name suggests ... you can SLIP them on. No more of this putting on socks, bending over, forcing the feet in and tying laces. They are on, they are off. Easy peesy lemon squeesy! As I am jumping on/off my elliptical multiple times a day, this does actually make a big difference for me.

Even though there isn't a lot of impact on the elliptical, I do eventually wear my slippers out. You can see the sad shape of my slippers in the picture above. Poor little slippers. Behind my busted, broken pair of slippers, you can see my replacements.

I had stopped at Sears the other day. We have one close by and I had some "ShopYourWayReward" points I'd earned through my exercise (FitStudio) that were going to expire. Use them or lose them. The last of the winter clearance was ... on clearance, so I picked up some new slippers. Just in time!

I will sometimes take an insert and slip it into my slippers, just to give a little extra cushioning (and a little extra wear ... that's how I dealt with the busted bottom in my poor brown fuzzy slippers for as long as I did). 

So I'm stocked for slippers ... I'm mainly wearing the pink fuzzy ones on my elliptical, the white ones are back up for them. The blue ones, being a bit smaller and streamlined, work better for the stationary bike, as the foot straps are quite narrow.  I look SO cute, I'm sure, ellipticalling away in my pink fuzzy slippers. That is just one more benefit for my home gym ... no one sees me!

Slippers sure cost a heck of a lot less than running shoes too! That's for sure!
Anyone else out there wear slippers for exercise? Just me?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Pin It Party #5

Time for a Pin It Party, hosted by Lindsey over at The Lean Green Bean. I don't know about you, but some blog posts are just day to day stuff, recording personal insights and such. Other posts are more informational, things that maybe deserve a wider audience. Pinnable posts if you will. This link up gives bloggers a chance to look through their previous posts and spotlight a few and give those posts a little extra exposure.

If you have some posts you would like to feature ... come join the party! If you need a little extra reading material, but sure to check out the party and some of the proffered posts. I'm sure you'll find something of interest.

You can find ME on Pinterest (JenB'sJourney), and see the previous Pin It Parties I've participated in ... (PIP#4, PIP#3).  Here's my shares this go round ... and I hope to get some reading and pinning in soon (gotta get to Zumba this morning!)

Just a quick reminder of all your local library has to offer. Books, magazines, DVDs, music and even stream services. If you haven't checked out your library lately, you might be surprised and all you can find there!  I ♥ my library!

If you follow my blog at all, you know I'm into fitness AND frugality! I love the programs out there that reward a healthy lifestyle. The latest one I've discovered is with Kmart/Sears "Shop Your Way Rewards" ... set up a FitStudio account and earn points for your activity. I get about $8 in instant store credit a week. I've had a bump here and there (trying to use both my points and surprise points, not getting all my points) but overall ... it's some extra easy "income".

Another reward program. I've earned over $50 since starting in January. Admittedly, getting in my workouts and logging my food are second nature to me. I only commit to six days (out of seven) just to give me a little leeway (I have taken a rest day here and there, but haven't missed a day logging food in over a year). There is also a "Veggie" pact ... I can't quite commit to that. Both the actual eating is an issue, and then it isn't an instant-sync like the other two. Still thinking about that one ...

If you are participating in the Pin it Party, there is a good chance YOU are a hopper. In this blog post I talk about some of the things I think are important (as a host) and love to hear others experiences as well. There is also a list of the many health/fitness blog hops that are available (in case you wanted to do a little more hopping yourself!)

I've been sharing some of my favorite jogging songs. Music that has 160 beats per minute ... which is perfect for me on my treadmill, set to 5mph. My foot falls match the beat of the music exactly. I'm a little OCD like that. I've shared three (sets of 5) so far ... "PopularPlaylist", "Motivate&Inspire" and my "Pissed Off Playlist" (which is pictured above). 

I hope you found something that interested you! Thanks for visiting!

Monday, May 19, 2014

My MFP Birthday

One  year ago (on Saturday, May 17) I joined My Fitness Pal. There on MFP, it keeps track of your "streak" ... how many days you have checked in and logged.

Since I started ... 
I haven't missed a day.

When I originally lost weight (eight years ago) I tried to track food. For a short time, I wrote down what I was eating in a notebook. Then I tried on online program (My Calorie Counter) and did that for a little bit. It didn't really stick. I wasn't sure if it was food logging in general, or just the program that was the problem. I'd spent quite a bit of time adding manual entries, and learning how it worked, so I wasn't sure I wanted to change and try something else. For several years, I just keep exercising, trying not to eat everything, and I did okay. But as I've mentioned, the weight slowly crept back on. A year ago, I decided I needed to try food tracking again. Looking at the various options, I decided to give MFP a chance.

I'm so glad I did!  MFP is SO easy... Let me clarify. MFP makes recording and tracking food easy. The actual EATING choices, keeping calories in check ... THAT is hard. SO hard! I really don't know if I'll ever master the eating. But the food logging? I've got that down. That is second nature to me now. NOT logging ... that would be hard for me.

 Many people keep their food diary public for friends to see. I don't. I keep mine private. Sometimes I don't really WANT to put everything down in black and white, but I do like having the record. I can look back on any day in the past year and know what I ate. It's a food journal, but the food tells a bit of a story too. Just looking at the entries can often trigger memories of the day as a whole.

Food logging isn't for everyone, I know.  People who are eating healthy and clean are probably keeping calories in check, and counting every calorie isn't required. For some I'm sure it would be a negative experience, a chore. I'm not sure if I plan on doing this every day for the rest of my life ... but you know, maybe I will. I AM the kind of person who revels in records, who likes numbers and graphs, who looks at my food journal as more than just a journal for food, but for memories as well.

It motivates me. As I started MFP, I lost 15 pounds pretty quick. Over the next several months, I lost another 15. I'm no longer in the overweight category. I'd like to lose a little more, but I'm not unhappy with where I'm at or how far I've come. And I give MFP most of the credit for that.

So Happy MFP Birthday to me!

No - I didn't celebrate it with cake.

**Weekend Recap**
Linking up with MIMM.

  • Friday ... had a decent day workout wise. I did get my jog and weights in. A little less elliptical, a little more bike as I wanted to finish my book (I have a new one I'm excited to read waiting for me). Food wise ... not great.
  • Saturday ... I went to the last basketball game of the season (for #3). I didn't bother video taping it, as we thought it was going to be a blow-out (our boys ended up with the win!) and I still have clips from two previous games I haven't done anything with. That left me free to "walk" during the game. Then I had a soccer game for #5 later in the day (I did man the video camera for that one, but still got a bit of walking in). Hubby got my burb brakes looked at (they had been sounding awful) and got the car registered ... so glad to have that done (still have issues with #1's truck hanging over us). 
  • Sunday ... there was some housecleaning, ping pong and walking to/from church twice. It's not far, but enough to get a little blip on my daily Fitbit. Only got in 40minutes on the elliptical for "official" exercise both Saturday and Sunday, but these other activities added up. I was pleasantly surprised by my numbers.  You can see my stats in my Day to Day Doings.  Still need to work on the eating though, especially on the weekends!

Have you tried food logging? MFP or otherwise?

What motivates you?
Join the Motivation Monday Link Up!

Friday, May 16, 2014

WWI#44 & My "Pissed-Off Playlist"

It's Friday. I don't say that with the same glee most of you do. I prefer the Mon-Thurs routine. I just do better with eating and exercise during the week. But Friday is time for my weekly weigh-in and Friday Five post. I do like checking in each week ...

Sunday was Mother's Day ... food and fitness were NOT good on Mother's Day. Ate too much and didn't exercise. So it was no surprise when the scale bumped up Monday morning. Then as I got into my Monday-Thursday routine, the numbers went down ... one pound by Tuesday, another pound down by Wednesday, another Thursday. Not that I actually gained/lost three pounds, but I was happy to at least see the scale moving in the right direction. Still nothing under 150 ... maybe I can get back to that this week!

NUMBERS: Weight is down .8 from last Friday's weigh-in, although my weekly average was up just a bit. High was Monday morning at 154.8. Low was yesterday at 151.2.  I had a weekly deficit, but only -1312.  I really thought I had done better eating/exercise wise this week, but I guess my bad Sunday threw the averages off. Average intake 2214. Average burn 2691.

I'm linking up with Fitness Friday and Fantastic Friday and a late Weigh-In Wednesday.  

 Time for my 
Friday Five

Courtney at Eat, Pray Run shared Five Reasons To Run Without Music in her blog post today.  But ... I NEED music, it really motivates me. I've collected a grundle of songs with a BPM of 160, which is my perfect pace (just 5mph for me). Songs where my footfalls match the beat of the music. I've shared a couple playlists before (TopPopHits and FavoriteInspirations) and still have more that I'm organizing into categories. Today, I thought I'd share my...

 "Pissed Off Playlist" 
My FIVE favorite songs when I'm a little ornery or off ... or even when I'm not.

These five songs are great for when you're feeling a little angry and just want to pound the pavement (or treadmill, in my case). When you've got things bottled up and you want to let them out. If there is a certain person you might be thinking about as you sing along. Even if I'm NOT ornery, I still get a kick out of some of these tunes.These can't help but get my heart pounding and ironically, put me in a better mood!

  • Shut Up: The title pretty much says it all.
  • What The Hell: Actually, there are a FEW of Avril's songs that could make this list, but this one is my favorite. I can identify with the statement "All my life I've been good but now ... what the hell!" This is just a tad slower (BMP of 150) but I can still make it match the 5mph setting on the treadmill, I just take slightly larger steps or something. La la la la la ....
  • Everyday I Love You Less and Less:  This song was in the movie "Run Fatboy Run" which is pretty funny if you haven't seen it. Something about this song just struck me, it's hilarious really. I'm happily married ... but I feel like this would be a great breakup song!
  • Leave Me Alone: This song doesn't feel as "hard" as the others, but still has the same angry message. Perfect for any day someone makes you feel like you can't do this weight-loss thing ... just listen to this song! This has been a favorite jogging song of mine for years.
  • Awake and Alive: When my hubby first heard this song, he looked at me and asked "YOU like this?" ... yes, yes I do. I really do! "I'm awake I'm alive, now I know what I believe inside. Now is my time, I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life! I'm awake and I'm alive!" It's got such a strong beat and a strong message.
But Jen ... you are so nice and so sweet. Ok, usually I am, but EVERYONE has those moments when they just feel like screaming and shouting a bit, right? In truth, I usually don't listen to all five of these songs back to back (unless I'm REALLY in a bad mood), but I do enjoy having them in my main playlist mix. Just thought I'd share them with you! 

Linking up with my Friday Five Favs ... (in addition to the DC Bloggers), Five on Friday at Hello Happiness, Friday Favorites at Running4Cupcakes, Friday Favorites at Housewife Glamour, High Five Friday at LaurenElizabeth and Five Things Friday at Fitting It All In.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Basketball Butt

 Sometimes I get a bit bored waiting for the game to start ...
Thus basketball mom selfies :)

The past several months, I've spent many hours in the car running boys to practices and games. There has been quite a bit of time sitting on the bleachers watching the boys play basketball. Although I do often try to get some walking in, or stand during games ... it's easy to get "basketball butt" from so much sitting! Spring season is finally finishing up, and while there will be some camps, I don't think we have any basketball games in the coming summer months. I'm not sure if that makes me happy or sad ... just Thinking Out Loud about basketball and my boys this Thursday.

Last Saturday I watched (and captured video highlights) of three basketball games. Then there was a game on Monday, on Tuesday and the championships yesterday (for my #2, the 15-year old). They came in 2nd, as they did in their last three tournaments.  So close! He has his last "open gym" tonight, and #3 (the 13-year old) had his final practice last night, and has his final game on Saturday.

I'm a pretty laid back basketball mom. Even though I've watched more games than I can count, I don't consider myself much of a judge when it comes to the refs calls. I'm pretty quiet ... no so for so many of the parents. There have been some frustrating and disappointing shows of unsportsmanlike behavior ... much more on the parts of parents than from the boys!  My #3 does struggle with it a bit, and I've told him THAT is more important to me than basketball skills.  So many times, a negative moment during or after the game can just spoil the whole thing.  It makes me sad. But for the most part, I do love watching the boys play!

Here's one of the highlight videos I made ...
My #2 IS #2 (that's helpful, right?)

#2 wears a Fitbit ... I like to track how much activity he gets from his practices and games. I can still usually beat him in steps, but if this summer is anything like the last, I know there are days he'll give me a run for my money. I love having active kids! I'd love to strap a Fitbit on each one, and see what kind of numbers they get. 

With actual games behind me ... I need to catch up on my Basketball Blog and finish up some of the videos from this last season!  Ah ... basketball. The NBA is finishing up their season too. Basketball is a huge part of our family.  Does basketball play a role in YOUR everyday?  And per the selfies at the start of the post ... you know that is actually an NSV! In the past, I NEVER would have stopped and snapped a picture of myself!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Committing to Fruits/Veggies

My little eight year old came home from boy scouts the other day. For one of the requirements, they needed to draw some foods that are good for you. This was his picture *Ü*

I've mentioned it before ... I'm a picky eater (Eating Issues). I have actually eaten and liked all the foods drawn above (well, I didn't care for the pomegranate, but I did try it!). I'll eat pineapple, pears and clementines too. But most of the other fruits? Peaches, honeydew/cantaloupe, all the berries ... I don't eat them. The fruits I do eat, I only eat plain, not in smoothies, or cooked/combined or processed in any way (well, I'll eat banana bread and blueberry muffins ... but not any fruit pie). 

Vegetables? I'm even worse!
I've never had a salad of any kind.

Last month I talked a little about the PACT program. Formally "GymPact" ... you could sign up, commit to working out during the week and get rewarded if you completed your pact, and pay up if you didn't. Pact then expanded past just workouts, to motivate people to log their meals (via MFP) and to eat their fruits and vegetables.  I went ahead and signed up for the "gym" and the "food logging" pacts, committing to six days a week. I haven't had to pay out anything yet, and I've earned over $50.

I have not tried the Veggie Pact.  I'm just not sure I can keep that commitment. I KNOW, that's the point of the pact. To motivate you, to encourage you. But still, I'm just not sure I'm ready to commit to that. You can commit to five fruits/veggies a day.  I've been thinking about it ... perhaps I would try six per week. The OCD in me would like the match up with my gym & food logging pacts and wouldn't be a huge commitment. That should be doable, right?

The gym and food logging pacts get logged automatically for me. Once I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit, that counts as a workout (there are other ways to log a workout if you don't have a Fitbit). Once you log at least three meals and 1200 calories on My Fitness Pal, your food logging pact is complete for the day (some days I haven't eaten too much in the morning and I think "I may not hit 1200 calories today." Ha ha ha ha ha ... I always end up hitting 1200 and more. Luckily we are not penalized for going over, just having the minimum and logging).

The veggie pact works differently. It's not automatic. You have to take a picture of your fruit/veggie using the Pact app. The picture is then uploaded to the Pact Community for voting. Other people will vote on whether or not your picture qualifies. You must receive six up votes to get verified. Three down votes will disqualify the entry and it won't count.

Besides not being great at remembering to take a picture and hoping there are no network issues while it uploads, there are some issues with the voting process. Two main reasons for downvoting an entry are "not a full serving" (which can be a little arbitrary) and "can't tell it's being eaten" ... which has resulted in some disgusting openmouth chewing selfies ...

Then there is the the questions, what SHOULD count as a fruit/veggie? Do corn and potatoes count? Some people vote yes, others downvote them saying "they are a starch, not a vegetable". What about juice? What about beans? Iceberg lettuce? Dried fruit? What about a fruit or veggie with so much other unhealthy stuff included with it ... does that negate the entry?  One person said he didn't think ANYTHING other than fresh (not canned/frozen/processed) should count. I think that is taking it a bit far! There are no hard and fast rules which makes it hard ... Pact actually put forth a blog post about it (here). 

How do you think YOU would vote?

Then ... there are the CHEATERS. As I haven't joined the VeggiePact yet, and my stuff syncs automatically, I don't really check out the community feed. I've never voted on a picture myself. I've joined a Facebook group for Pact users though, and I've seen many a post come across pointing out cheating (especially on Sunday nights, as the Pact comes to a close). Pictures of pictures ... often from cookbooks. The same fruit/veggie presented in different views. Obviously uneaten (sometimes even unpurchased ... still at the supermarket in the background). Then there are the silly entries ... a bowl of "Fruit" Loops, fruit snacks, beer/wine, etc. 

I'm still debating trying it ... it does seem like quite a bit of bother to earn about $1 (which might be my return on a commitment of six per week, it does vary week to week). But if it did get me to eat more fruits/veggies ... to be more conscious of it (I wouldn't want to pay $5 for a missed commitment, the "punishment" would be more motivation than the payment). 

A while back (last November) ... I posted that Hubby was on board. That he was wanting to get back to the eating and exercise. Well, for the first time in his many ups and downs ... it didn't happen. Every other time the Hubs has decided to get on track, he has had immediate success. Not this time. It just didn't click. We'll, he's recommitting again now. I've tried to fill the fridge with healthy choices. I need to get back to prepping him a lunch to take to work. To make healthy dinners. To allow him time to exercise. To be supportive without being pushy. Already (it's just been a couple of days) I can see my mental attitude change a bit in what I'm doing myself ... thus my thoughts about joining veggie pact.

So ... even though I'm NOT getting any official credit for it. Guess what I ate this Wednesday? A banana.  Yea me!   Linking up with What I Ate Wednesday ... maybe in a future WIAW post I'll have a week's worth of fruit/veggies to share, and an update on my Pact experience. Also linking up with the Wednesday Hump Day blog hop at FitnessBlondie and the Wednesday Linkup At Fit FoodieRuns

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Snack Bags & Amazon Prime

We just celebrated Mother's Day. A few years ago, hubby got me a great Mother's Day gift ... an Amazon Prime subscription. We've loved having the two-day shipping, although two days is still WAY to long to wait when my boys (hubby included) are anxiously awaiting an item. Can you say impatient? *Ü*

There has been a little bit in the press last month about Amazon raising the rates for Prime. For me ... it's just something I'll have to deal with because I'm not giving up my prime. In addition to the shipping, I can borrow a book from the Kindle lending library each month (I'm currently reading "The Frost Chronicles" ... read book one in April, book two in May, and as soon as June hits I'll be reading book 3). I do like all the movies and tv shows available to stream through Amazon Prime too. In a previous post (Amazon and Exercise) I pointed out all the workouts available (Jillian, Denise Austin and more).

I love Amazon ... it's great for reviews, and the prices are often the best (not always, but often. It's still good to shop around!)  I've been impressed with Amazon's customer service and return policy.

I'm not even an Amazon affiliate, I just like them.

I thought out point out a deal I found on snack bags.

I don't know about you, but we go through a TON of these little bags. They are the perfect size for so many things. I have five boys in school and I'm packing lunches from home almost every morning. Their sandwich goes in one, pre-sliced apples in another, some pretzels and then a snack in a couple more. x5.   These little bags are great for portion control too, or pre-packing serving sizes you can just grab and go. 

I remember grabbing a pack of 50 snack bags at the dollar store and thinking that was a decent deal. It actually is, as they are often $2 in most stores. On Amazon, in this multi-pack, it comes out to just over $2 for more than double that (for 120 bags). The current price for this pack is $8.30, I know it can change at any time but I've been watching and buying these for a while now and it seems to stay pretty consistent.

***UPDATE*** the price has gone up to over $20! Yikes! It WAS a good deal! I have found a similar package at Sam'sClub for a comparable price - but things are always changing there too!

These don't automatically ship free with Prime, they are part of the "add-on" program, so the shipping will be free with a $25 prime purchase, or free with a $35 non-prime.

So if you need some snack bags, just for kid's lunches, or for your own pre-packaging ... I hope this deal might help you out!

Are you an Amazon shopper?

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