Wednesday, December 23, 2015

21 Day Fix Stuffed Peppers - Revisited

This is probably the fourth or fifth time I've redone my Stuffed Pepper recipe. My version 11 months ago included ground beef and I had estimated the Portion Control. This time I measured every ingredient in order to have the proper container count. I actually double this recipe so I can have 5 sets of 4 peppers - I freeze them in groups of four to defrost and bake later. They are delicious, but a little time consuming to make. If I can make a big batch over a weekend than I have meals ready to go. 

Stuffed Peppers
Note - when making stuffed peppers - you *must* boil the peppers to soften them up. Otherwise the peppers don't cook thoroughly and still have a little crunch to them.
  • 10 bell peppers of your color choice
  • 20 ounces pound lean ground turkey or beef 
  • 1 onion (about a 1 cup diced)
  • 1/2 diced pepper
  • 1.5 cups of brown rice, cooked just shy of done
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of Black Beans, drained/rinsed
  • 1-2 cups of Corn, drained/rinsed if canned, I prefer frozen
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes 
  • 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato sauce 
  • 1.5 cups of your favorite shredded cheese
  • Spices - Chili Powder, Paprika, Cumin, Garlic, Salt, Pepper, ect.  

  1. Cut the caps of the peppers and clean out. Pre-cook the peppers by placing in boiling water for 5-10 minutes. 
  2. Cook brown rice, or quinoa according to directions, just shy of done because the rice will continue cooking when the stuffed pepper is cooked. 
  3. Brown ground meat and season with chili powder (1 tbsp), and 1 tsp each: paprika, cumin, and garlic. Set aside to cool.
  4. Drain and rinse black beans. If using canned corn, drain and rinse also. Drain the tomatoes. 
  5. Combine in large bowl: meat, tomatoes, corn, rice/quinoa, beans, sauce, and cheese. Season as needed. 
  6. Stuff peppers with filling. (About 1-cup per pepper). 
  7. Bake at 375 Fahrenheit for 40-45 minutes. 
  8. If frozen - defrost 24 hours. 
Each Pepper counts as 1.5 Greens, 1/2 Red, 1 Yellow, and 1/2 Blue.

For lunch, this is perfect. For dinner it's a little light. However, we've been eating egg sandwiches before bed in order to get in extra Red & Yellows and fuel our body before sleep.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Weight Check - Year end resolutions

ARGH! So many ups and downs! I am very frustrated. Everyone goes through this, right? I'm supposed to think we do, but it doesn't seem that way.

11/7 - 210.6
11/14 - 209.8
11/21 - 209.6
11/28- 211.4

So what's going on? I'm not working out. I've been depressed. And not working out. And not working out is making me depressed. And I'm too depressed to work out. It's a stupid cycle that I'm sure others do go through. (And probably no one talks about.)

I'm not even going to and blame Thanksgiving and all the pie I ate. It's not the pie's fault. I chose to eat the pie. The pie did not choose me. 

So can I lose 11 pounds in 5 weeks? Of course I can! I've done it plenty of before. Will I? I will try. That's all I can promise myself and anyone who follows this.

So setting myself up for December and year end resolutions, I am promising myself: 
  • Morning Workouts, at least 5 times a week
  • Stick with the containers & Written Meal Plan 
  • Avoid the cheese (I just eat too much, way more than the little blue container.) 
  • No soda in December
I didn't set any 2015 Resolutions.  I just wanted to better myself. And I succeeded. My cholesterol is lowered, and within a healthy range. My blood pressure is still low. My risk for Type 2 Diabetes is gone. There's a blood test you take for that and I've always been borderline. Finally, the last two I've passed with flying colors! It's not guaranteed it'll also be ok, but cross my fingers and keep working out it should.

Only I can be in control of the next five weeks.

Note - I have my blood work completed about 3 times a year. It's a combination of insurance, work physical, and Vitality. And costs me nothing. :) So I do it. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Black Friday Deal & Cyber Monday - Beachbody

This sale was such a hit, I wanted to offer it one more time to wrap up November! Sign up now and get full access to my new support group. I'll help you get to Christmas in shape and healthy! 

All qualifying orders on Cyber Monday will receive the Fixate Cookbook. 

Beachbody has already released their Black Friday deals, so I created my own to help you get started on your end of the year resolution! To take advantage of this deal, head over to TeamBeachbody and sign up for your free account. Then click "Shop" and "Challenge Packs" and choose from any of the challenge packs to earn your free FixAte cookbook. I've outlined a few of the most popular ones below. Have questions? Look for me on Facebook

The first five people who order challenge packs on Black Friday will receive a free Fixate cookbook from me! It'll ship separately once I confirm your order. The FixAte coookbook has both calorie content and container counts so it works for anyone trying to eat better and lose weight. The portion control containers come with the Cize or 21 Day Fix workouts. You can also order them separately. The FixAte cookbook contains over 100 recipes ranging from breakfast to dinner to snacks to cocktails. 

All Challenge Packs include your first 30-day supply of Shakeology—the superfood protein shake that helps give you energy, reduce cravings, and accelerate your fitness results. 

Beachbody On Demand and Shakeology Challenge Pack
Now you can instantly jump-start your fitness results with Beachbody On Demand, your one-stop shop for streaming your workouts on-the-go. Not sure which Beachbody program is right for you? With the Club and Shakeology Challenge Pack, you can try one of our most popular programs, like P90X®, INSANITY®, and 10-Minute Trainer, and choose the workouts that work for you. Just push play anywhere you have an Internet connection, fuel up with Shakeology, and start hitting your fitness goals faster—no matter where life takes you. You'll get unlimited 90-day access to Beachbody On Demand—so you can choose a world-class fitness program and stream hundreds of workouts on-the-go, wherever you  go!

Improve your dance skills and your nutrition with the CIZE and Shakeology Challenge Pack! Just combine the exhilarating, fat-burning dance courses with Shakeology, the ultra-premium nutritional shake that can help you increase your dance stamina, overall health, and weight loss. You can even start streaming your CIZE workouts, because your Challenge Pack includes 30 days of FREE access to Beachbody On Demand! 

21 Day Fix & 21 Day Fix Extreme
Now there's an easy-to-follow nutrition and fitness program that makes losing weight so simple, you can lose up to 15 pounds in just 21 days! Get beach-ready for a vacation, look drop-dead great at your upcoming reunion, or simply jump-start a major weight-loss goal—with the 21 Day Fix and Shakeology Challenge Pack.

The INSANITY MAX:30 and Shakeology Challenge Pack can help you MAX OUT your nutrition—and your results! Just combine INSANITY MAX:30's crazy 30-minute workouts with Shakeology, the ultra-premium nutritional shake that can help you push harder, stay healthy, and get to your fitness goals even faster. You can even start streaming your INSANITY MAX:30 workouts, because your Challenge Pack includes 30 days of FREE access to Beachbody On Demand!

3-Day Refresh
Lose weight and kick-start healthier eating habits in just 3 days—while continuing to get your Daily Dose of Dense Nutrition® even after your Refresh is over—with the 3-Day Refresh and Shakeology Challenge Pack. This pack is designed to fast-track your weight loss by detoxifying and cleansing your system while helping you replace bad eating habits with good ones. In just 3 days you'll feel lighter and healthier, without starving. In 30 days, you’ll feel like a whole new you. You can even start streaming Beachbody workouts, because your Challenge Pack includes 30 days of FREE access to Beachbody On Demand!

Remember - the free cookbook is only available if you order from me. If I'm not listed as your coach - you won't be eligible for the free cookbook. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Crockpot Zucchini Chicken Parmesan

During the Holiday season, I try to cook as little as possible. I want to leave all my kitchen time for making cookies. That I might not make this year. It's hard for me to avoid eating the cookies. And everyone loved the rainbow sprinkle cookie and I need to find like 7 pounds of sprinkles.

So a new crockpot dish I recently discovered is this one. And it's delicious. It came out a little more like a soup, but it works really well in the crockpot, sans the cooking of the noodles in a separate pot. It's also 21 Day Fix Friendly! 

Crockpot Zucchini Chicken Parmesan

  • 1 1/2 pounds (about 4) chicken breasts, cut into cubes
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon oregano seasoning
  • 15 ounces cups pasta or pizza sauce (or tomato sauce)
For after cooking:
  • 24-30 ounces marinara sauce
  • 16-ounce box of pasta (I used Mezzi Rigatoni), cooked to al dente
  • 1 cup low fat shredded cheese (mozzarella or Parmesan)
  1. Spray your slow cooker with non-stick spray. Line your crockpot with a crockpot liner. Combine first 10 ingredients and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on high for about 3-4 hours or low for about 6-8 (or until chicken is cooked through). 
  3. In the last 30 minutes of cooking, add cooked pasta, marinara sauce, cheese and stir well.
  4. Split into 6 servings. I added some extra cheese.
21 Day Fix Count: 1 Red, 2 Green, 1.5 Yellows, and 0.5 Blue

Get crockpot liners. They are lifesavers. They are made with a special heat resistant material that holds in even the heartiest ingredients without breaking or puncturing. -Reynolds. And they aren't kidding. And when you are done, you throw away the liner. And then your crockpot requires a quick scrub, no overnight or two-day soaking. They are perfect for potlucks. Tip - I still spray the inside of my crockpot with non-stick spray before putting down the liner. Just in case. 

Use whole wheat noodles instead of white. Any type of pasta would work. I liked the larger noodles. You won't be able to tell the noodle color once the pasta cooks in. 

Add extra veggies if you want. Mushrooms are great, or another pepper. Adjust the 21DF count accordingly. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Surviving the Holidays


Don't just plan to accept your Holiday weight gain. Plan to LOSE weight. Now. Not in 2016. And it's not actually that hard. Ok, it is. Losing weight always takes some hard work and commitment. 

Of course the easiest ways to lose weight during the holidays is to work out 60-90 minutes every day, eat salads and lean meat, and turn down all party invitations you might get. In fact, just go ahead and sign up for every class at the gym, maybe even start sleeping in the locker room so you're ready to go for that A.M. class. Don't plan to have a social life, avoid all parties, and you will lose weight. 

But that doesn't sound fun, right? 

Why not make an end of the year resolution? I did - I'm working my butt off (literally) to lose 8, er, 11 pounds. (The Halloween candy might have gotten the best of me.) 

On November 30th I'm starting an accountability group to help chase away and prevent that unwanted weight gain. Join me in keeping away the unwanted holiday weight gain and start your 2016 already ahead of the group!

Here is what you can expect from this group:

  • A health and fitness program to fit your needs in 30 minutes or less each day.
  • Sample meal plans and recipes to help you stay accountable, to help you with quick easy meals and snacks to fit your lifestyle.
  • Daily accountability through a closed online support group.
  • Tips on handling holiday parties, a restaurant guide, traveling tips, healthy alternatives to holiday favorites.
  • Motivation, Accountability every single day to help you end the year stronger than you started.  

So what are the requirements to participate in this group, because I know that is what you are thinking!!

1.  You must be a customer of mine on TeamBeachbody, which means that I am assigned as your FREE coach.  If you already have a coach please reach out to the person you work with. Click here to sign up for your free account.  

2.  You must commit to a fitness program and nutrition plan. We will discuss options that are best for you, your ability level, your time constraints and your needs. 

3.  You must commit to checking into the accountability group daily and reporting progress. It'll be a closed Facebook group. Your friends won't be able to see your posts or that you are part of the group. But the group will contain dozens of people who are like you, losing weight now instead of waiting to commit in 2016. 

Are you in?  Does this sound like something you would like to do??? 
The group starts November 30th! This gives you time to finish the Halloween Candy and chow down some turkey and pie. 

Leave a message in the comments or reach out to me on my facebook page if you are interested. 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Turkey Meatloaf - 21 Day Fix - Revisited

Updated 11/4 - I first made this in January and it has turned into one of my favorite recipes. I even started making it in the crockpot. I added a few new steps in order to keep it from falling apart. 
This is also one of my most viewed recipes - so welcome to my page! I hope you enjoy this quick healthy recipe as much as I do. 

I originally got this recipe from the Team Beachbody website. Each recipe tells you how they "count" for each program you might be doing. This recipe for Turkey Meatloaf is loaded full of veggies and uses ground turkey instead of ground beef. And it is delicious. Even though it looks suspicious AND the first one fell apart. But, it is good and I would recommend it.

Turkey Meatloaf 
Yield: 10 servings
21 Day Fix - 1 Red, 1 Green
  • 2.5 lbs. raw 93% lean ground turkey breast 
  • 3 large eggs, slightly beaten 
  • 1 medium onion, chopped in food processor
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped in food processor
  • 1 medium green (or any color) bell pepper, chopped in food processor
  • 1 cup old­fashioned rolled oats 
  • 1 (14.5­oz.) can petite diced tomatoes (drained)
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper 
  • dashes of other spices - garlic powder, paprika, chili powder, oregeno
  • 1 cup all­ natural marinara sauce, no sugar added 
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. (or see Crockpot instructions note below)
  2. Chop everything really fine. In the picture above, things are not chopped with a food processor, and the meat loaf fell apart. I now use the food processor in order to chop everything into the smallest pieces possibly. However, this could result in extra "juice", so squeeze out the juice before adding the ingredient to the meatloaf mixture. 
  3. Combine turkey, eggs, onion, celery, pepper, oats, tomatoes, salt, pepper, and spices in a large bowl; mix well with clean hands or a rubber spatula. 
  4. Line two 9x5 inch loaf pans with parchment paper. Spray the paper lightly with non-stick spray. Divide the meatloaf mixture between the two pans.  Bake for 45 minutes; spread marinara sauce evenly on top of both loaves. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Crockpot Directions:
  1. Spray a large crockpot with non-stick spray. 
  2. Line the crockpot with foil and spray with non-stick spray. 
  3. Place the meatloaf mixture inside the foil. 
  4. Turn crockpot on. Walk away. 
  5. Come back! About 1-hour before done, spread the marinara sauce over the meatloaf. 
  6. When done, cooked to an internal appropriate temperature, dish out. I haven't perfected how to *get* the entire meatloaf out of the crockpot. Expect another update when I do! 
  7. It turned out super moist and very favorful. 
Leftover meatloaf is even better than the first day! I either heat it in the toaster oven or a skillet in order to give it a little more "crust". Every once in a while, I add an over-medium egg because I need more protein. 
Meatloaf Royale

Monday, November 2, 2015

8 Weeks Left - Accountability

To begin with, I am human. A busy busy human. It's been very hard to juggle these past few weeks and weekends. I struggle like everyone else in trying to juggle a 40-50 hour work week while co-running a household and co-parenting. It's f'n hard sometimes.

Here's the numbers.
10/10 - 207.2
10/17 - 210.8
10/24 - 210.6
10/31 - 211.0

Oh, trending upward? That'd be nice if it was my bank account. But it's not. And I'm pretty sure the scale isn't broken. I am pretty sure I ate a lot of Fun size Twix. They aren't so fun when they show up on the scale. 

I'm not happy with those numbers. And it's my own fault. The work outs have slacked back to 2-3 times a week. The bad eating has increased to 2-3 times a week. I let soda back in my life. And a few donuts. And the aforementioned twix. 

Overall, I am making bad health decisions. Nothing I'm doing will actually harm me, but what I'm doing doesn't help me meet my goal and be a product of what I am doing and promoting.

So my November goals:
  • Start and finish 21 Day Fix; 
  • Drink Shakeology Daily; 
  • Practice the 80-20 Rule; 
  • Be accountable -  Post the bad and the good; 
  • Commit to one hour of Personal Development each night.
I plan to start Hammer and Chisel as soon as it's released. I plan to start 2016 in waaaay better shape then I started 2015


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Healthy Chicken Strips - 21 Day Fix

44 Chicken Strips
Healthy Chicken Strips. That are delicious? It can be done. My favorite part of these is that they are great to pre-make and freeze for the future. And I love the avocado dipping sauce.

This recipe makes 15 servings of 3 chicken strips each. You can halve the recipe to make a smaller amount. The recipe is pretty forgiving and doesn't need to be precise.

  • 2 Pounds chicken strips (approximately 45 strips)
  • 2-3 cups unsweetened almond milk (I used vanilla, and I like it.)
  • 2-3 eggs (Use 1 egg per 1 cup of milk.)
  • 1 cup of Parmesan cheese
  • 2.5 cups of whole wheat panko, divided into 1 cup and 1.5 cups
  • 1 cup of whole wheat flour
  • 3 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • Breading Station
  • salt & pepper
  1. Wisk together the almond milk, eggs, and a few dashes of pepper. Soak chicken strips in mixture. (I used a very large bowl to place all the strips into.)
  2. In a food processor, combine the Parmesan cheese, 1 cup of panko bread crumbs, flour, and seasonings. Blend well (up to 1 minute). Add in the remaining 1.5 cups of panko and pulse 2-3 times. (This leaves some of the panko in larger pieces.)
  3. Prepare for breading - take one strip from wet mix, place in dry coating, coat, place on parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  4. Use parchment paper in between layer of strips - I had three layers. 
  5. Place cookie tray in freezer and freeze until solid, approximately 6 or more hours.
To Cook: Cook from frozen. Line a baking sheet with parchment or foil (spray the foil with cooking spray), place strips in a single layer, cook at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes. (PSA - Don't eat under cooked chicken or you'll get sick.)

A serving size is 3 strips - for 1 Red, 1/2 Blue, and 1/2 Yellow. The 3 strips will fill you up too, if you eat it with veggies or a salad. 

Avocado Sauce
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 8 ounces or 1 cup of Greek Yogurt
  • 1/2 cup salsa
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Makes approximately 2 cups of sauce. Approximately 1/4 cup of sauce counts as 1/2 Blue (the avocado) and 1/2 red (the Greek yogurt.) The salsa is negligible.

Helpful Tips
I recommend using your food processor for both the dry coating and making the avocado dipping sauce. It's my favorite kitchen gadget, next to the Mix n Chop. 

Set up your work space correctly so you make as little mess as possible. Keep one hand wet (or I used tongs) and keep one dry hand. I even wore a glove when touching the chicken so the coating wouldn't stick to my fingers. 

Cost: The chicken strips are the most expensive, I spent $18 on 2.88 pounds at Sam's Club. I set aside 10 strips to grill/cook later and used just over 2 pounds (44 strips) to make the chicken strips. I had a little coating left over that would have given me 2-3 more strips. I estimate buying the almond milk, eggs, cheese, panko, the avocado sauce ingredients, you'll spend less than $25 to make this bulk product. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Dear #CardinalsNation

What now? What do we do? 

A lot of people are going to bed confused. Lost. Hurt. These feelings of irritability and hopelessness are invading our bodies. Trying to figure out what went wrong. What happened? 

And that's it. Just like that, baseball season is over for St. Louis. At least until next year. Only 129 days until Pitchers and Catchers report. 

I'm not sure it's ever been over this early. Or at least not in the past few years. This year the Cardinals overcame injury after injury and were the NUMBER ONE team of the entire MLB. Number 1 out of 30 teams. After playing 162 games. What an amazing record! 

They can boast 11 World Series Titles. Second only to the Yankees. And the Cardinals have only played in 19 World Series. (The Yankees are 27 for 40.)

So what now? I came up with a list of healhy things to do while we wait for our beloved team to grace the field in 2016. 

1) Watch Hockey. St. Louis still Bleeds Blue. You can check out their schedule here. They have four games this week! I was vaguely aware they started playing last Thursday.  

2) Sleep. Remember when the Cardinals would be playing those post season games and they wouldn't start until 9 freaking PM? No more staying up until midnight trying to catch the 9th inning. Go to bed at a decent time! 

3) Enjoy the outdoors. On the opposite note, these 3pm and 5pm games are really cutting into Liam's outdoor time after work. Sorry Liam, you have to watch Elmo in Grouchland, again, instead of playing outside because Mommy is watching baseball. But not tomorrow! Tomorrow after work we can go outside. At least for the next two weeks -- until Daylight Savings Time takes that away from us. (P.S. That's November 1st.) 

4) Work out. I no longer need to juggle a live baseball game with my evening workout schedule. 7:15pm Work Outs, you're back on the schedule! 

5) Concentrate on Work. I lost a good 15 minutes today following the game and trying to bring it up on my iPad via the Uverse app. Since there's nothing left to follow, I don't have to worry about early game times, losing sleeping over late game times, or wasting time during work hours following the game. I will be a much more efficient employee. I'm sure my boss will be happy to see another stack of reports on his desk. 

6) All the St. Louis people studying for the PE and EIT don't have to worry about post season games interfering with their studying time. They will have more time to devote to studying! 

I'm sure are more. But for the rest of October and beginning of November, instead of my blood pressure fluctuating like it has been, I plan to:
  • Focus on Work
  • Sleep More
  • Focus on the work outs
  • Enjoy the Fall with my amazing husband and wonderful Son. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

12 Weeks Left!

Just checking in. My own accountability.
12 Weeks until the new year.
Weight Checks - Note - I weigh myself on Saturdays, so I'm switching this to Saturdays.
September 16th  - 208.8 pounds
September 19th  - 208.0 pounds
September 26th - 208.2 pounds
October 3rd - 206.8 pounds

Remember how I mentioned that plateau? There it is. I've also decided it's mostly mental. I've lost 1.2 pounds over three weeks. But I've LOST, I could have gained. I need to stay FOCUSED on my goals.
  • I need to stay focused on my workouts. 
  • I need to stay focused on the food. 

My diet isn't perfect. I eat mostly 21 Day Fix approved foods, and I cook 90% of my own food. But sometimes, I still want junk - I grew up on snacking on junk. I believe that losing weight is 80% diet and 20% fitness. And it shows. If I let myself shrink back into bad eating habits, the weight comes on quickly. A daily 300-calorie burn can only negate so much food, and I need an approximate daily 500 calorie deficit to lose one-pound a week. 

Things that are ~300 calories (that I might binge on)

  • One donut. Only 1. And if donuts are in the break room - how can you limit yourself one? 
  • 6 Oreos or 2-3 homemade cookies
  • 3 cups of SmartFood White Cheddar Popcorn. But it says Smart food!
  • Panera's  broccoli cheddar soup
  • Small Margarita
  • 2 Olive Garden Breadsticks (I had a twice that at lunch the other day.) 
  • and the most important -- the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino without Whip and made with nonfat milk is 300 calories. How much workout are you willing to put in to have one?
Just a few examples. It's easy to overeat while snacking, and really easy to rack up calories while eating out. I'm not sure I want to admit that my all time favorite food is the Chimichanga from the Mexican restaurant near my house. And it's smothered in Queso. We usually go there once every 2-3 months. And I just looked up the calories for a Chimichanga at a chain restaurant, 1,500 calories. Maybe I shouldn't eat those but once a year. 

I'm ashamed to admit my fitness has been lacking. Yea. And I know I need to work out to help my weight loss. That 20% *is* a part of it. A 30 minute work out is only 2% of my day. I spend around 30% sleeping and 42% driving/working. I have room for 2%. I can only try to do better. 

The next four weeks:

  • Next weekend I am going to the Lake of the Ozarks with Liam and my parents. Jason will be left at home all alone (with Monday) to study.  
  • My parents are taking Liam Friday the 16th since I have Beachbody Super Saturday the morning of the 17th. I hope to get Grocery shopping completed before going to pick Liam up. 
  • And my parents are taking Liam the weekend of the 25th because it's the weekend before the PE exam. It's also Jason's birthday weekend so we'll probably go out to eat. But he'll still spend the weekend studying and I can spend the weekend 
  • Then it's Halloween weekend. I only really love Twix. We do have a Halloween party to attend, and will take Liam trick or treating. Otherwise I am not worried about Halloween. 
So far nothing big planned in November. Oh, except that holiday known as Thanksgiving. Which only centers around the *BIGGEST* meal of the year. 

Stay Tuned for the rest of my check ins!

Friday, October 2, 2015

21 Day Fix - Mozzarella Chicken Florentine

This was one of those meals where I realized I had a lot of leftover spinach that I was not going to manage to eat before it went bad. So what do to... what do to... I have some chicken... what else?

So I threw together this concoction. 
  • Chicken
  • Spinach like Pesto
  • Roma Tomatoes
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Garlic/Salt/Pepper/EVOO
Those are your main ingredients. I had chicken tenders, but you can use 4-ounce boneless skinless breasts and cut them in half (so they are thinner) and/or pound it out a little. 

I had 4 cups of spinach and I put it in the food processor with some pressed garlic, a tablespoon of EVOO, and some salt and pepper. I had to get flavor into this dish. 

I sliced my Roma Tomatoes using the Mandolin.


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 
  2. Grease two 9x13 pans with spray EVOO
  3. In each pan, arrange 9 chicken strips in groups of three. See the picture for the spacing - this will help them quick more evenly. Salt and pepper the chicken! 
  4. Spoon the 2 tablespoons of the Spinach "Pesto" over the chicken and spread it out. 
  5. Layer 3-4 tomato slices over the Spinach Pesto (half a tomato)
  6. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. I did 1 full blue container. It was *way* too much, I recommend 1/2 blue container. 
  7. Bake in the oven for ~30 minutes. 
This counts as 1 Red, 1 Green, ~2 tsps, and 1/2 Blue (unless you used more.). 

Friday, September 18, 2015

21 Day Fix Turkey Chili

Just in time for fall weather, chili!! I already have a great turkey chili recipe but decided to try the one listed in the FixAte cookbook, which is full of 21 Day Fix approved recipes. I love the recipes, they are all pretty basic and easy to make, and the container values are listed. I added a few extra things and doubled the recipe. This is one of my new favorite chili recipes! 

21 Day Fix Turkey Chili
Ingredients & Directions (because it's Chili, it's *not* that hard)

  • 2-3 lb cooked 93% lean ground turkey breast (or lean grass-fed ground beef)
    • (I add chili powder, cumin, and paprika to my turkey while it's cooking.) 

Saute the following ingredients ~10 minutes: 

  • 2 tsp extra virgin organic coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large or 2 small onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed

Then add:

  • 4 cans (15 oz each) kidney beans (or pinto beans) drained, rinsed
  • 4 can (15 oz) fire roasted tomatoes, no salt added if available
  • 2 cups red wine (I choose red cooking wine)
  • 1 Tbsp ground chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
  • 2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • Cooked ground turkey

Bring it to a boil and let simmer around 30 minutes on low.
2 cups of this chili counts as 1 green, 1 red, and 1 yellow.

It is very filling, and my version is very spicy. If you can't handle the spice, cut out the jalapeno and cut back on the cumin.

My favorite is to serve it over 1/2 a baked potato.
My son loves to eat the pinto beans with cheese and elbow macaroni.

The FixAte cookbook has been one of my favorite new tools to help me sustain the 21 Day Fix lifestyle. Autumn Calabrese has created some amazing recipes that you will actually want to make! Just like the rest of the 21 Day Fix plan, preparation is the number one key to succeeding with this plan. 

Autumn gives us her 4 ingredients to maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

  1. Enjoy the foods you eat, 
  2. Have a fitness routing you can commit to, 
  3. Eat foods that are highly nutritious, and
  4. Know how much of it to eat. 

These four easy steps is how I've managed to lose the weight I have. And it's why I keep making some of the same recipes over and over again, I love the foods I love.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nailing the rest of 2015

As of September 18, there are 15 weeks left exactly until the new year.

Have you made your goals for the rest of the year?

I have two very simple goals. 

Be <200 pounds by Christmas. I am close. I don't normally post my weight online. It is only a number. But the number is important at the moment. And I want to be held accountable. So my weight as of today (9/16) is 208.8. I recently completed the Beachbody 3 Day Refresh and am happy to say I lost 4.6 pounds. I will probably do another refresh after Thanksgiving. Because I love potatoes.  

Finish T25. This is my last week of Alpha phase and Beta Phase starts next week. I also am planning to try and workout in the mornings. This will give me more time in the evenings. But, my first priority is to work out every day. When I finish T25, it'll be the second time I started and finished a Beachbody Program. (21 Day Fix was my first.) I have started a lot more than I have finished. I finally stopped looking for time and instead made time. 

I plan to complete the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts next, starting November 2. It's only a three week program and will get me ready for Thanksgiving! Want to join me? Why wait? Get it now! The Challenge Pack is on sale now! Get started with your weight loss goals before the New Year rolls around. 

Remember to make sure I'm listed as your coach at check out. Screen name is MegRG or Coach ID is 782058.

There it is. Accountability.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

September - 80 Days until Thanksgiving

The summer is over. It is. Put the white pants away.
Only 80 days left until Thanksgiving and the Cookie Season.
Are you ready? I'm pre-working out. Or I'm just working out. Trying to stick with my lifestyle changes and make all the right choices. I want to eat my favorite things this Holiday season and not worry about packing on the extra pounds. So if I can meet my goals in September, October, and November, I will feel a lot let stressed when the holiday season hits us hard in December (and into January.) 

We're only a couple days into this month. What do you want September to look like? What do you want the rest of the year to look like? When January 1st rolls around, will you feel good about how the last half of 2015 went? I'm not proud of a couple months (March-June), but I want to make the most of the end of 2015. 

My goals for the month include:

  • Fitness: At least 20 30-minute workouts/burn 300 calories.
  • Food (Fitness): Lose 7 pounds
  • Spiritual: Church every weekend
  • Financial: Crunch to save an extra $250/month. ($190 is already coming from Liam's Daycare Savings.) 
So far I have not nailed the fitness part. I'm juggling a lot on my plate right now and haven't made fitness a priority. All four of those items mentioned above are important to my life and don't have an order (though we know we'd die without food.) 

August saw better days with my fitness. I am very happy to say I lost 4.2 pounds in August. Even when I went without working out due to being sick. And when I'm sick I don't make the greatest food choices. 

Jason and I have been doing Beachbody's T25 Focus. Sometimes I hate all the jumping around or the up-down, but otherwise it's been good to me and I'm seeing results. We had a couple great weeks in August of doing the program. Especially the week of the 17th. 

In other news, August was a big month because I decided to become a Beachbody Coach! At the moment I'm still trying to figure it out, and I won't focus on coaching until after Halloween. You'll probably see a post or two about that soon and the Beachbody monthly specials. For now, if you want me as your coach, or you want to order anything, here's my link.  Feel free to email me with questions too. I have lots of tools - you can even click at the top of the page for some of my 21 Day Fix tools, including my own meal planner. (My coach name is MegRG, my ID number is: 782058)

And why Halloween? Because Jason is taking his Professional Engineering exam on October 30th. While he studies I get to do all the fun stuff like laundry, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, and taking care of the Little guy. But please keep Jason in your thoughts and prayers and send good Engineering vibes his way. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sleeping Baby Beauty - a follow up

So it's been five months since we visited The Sleep Lady of St. Louis. We've even traveled during that time and have had babysitters. So how's it going?

I still can't believe how wonderful it's been these past five months. Liam has a structured bedtime routine and usually goes to bed easily. He has started to sleep with a pillow. And two blankets, and two books, and sometimes a couple animals. And a little car. Or a duck. He's starting to hoard.

When we were in Florida a month ago, we kept his bedtime at 7:15 PM CST. (So 8:15 in Florida.) That made a difference and he slept until 7am most mornings. He took decent naps too - usually from noon to three because we would spend the morning at the beach wearing him out. He got in plenty of pool time too.

We had a few hiccups with sleeping later into the morning. He started waking at 4AM and refused to go back to bed. It took a few weeks of sleep training the mornings and I'm happy to report that he's back to sleeping 7:30PM to 6:00AM+. Sometimes on the weekends we can get him to sleep until 7:30AM!

Lately Liam has been throwing some tantrums. The terrible twos. Being with him 24/7 during vacation for 12 straight days was sometimes difficult on my patience. Even coming back and getting back into our daily routine was rough. I was very happy to be back at work and away from the Little Man. I love him, but he pushed all my buttons. He was not however happy to be back at daycare. There were lots of tears and tantrums at drop off.

My parents took Liam for four days in July. Mom picked him up on Thursday evening, they headed to the Lake for the weekend, and then dropped him off Monday. It was a wonderful quiet weekend without him. I felt a little guilty. I had warned my mom that he'd been a little stinker. When they came to drop him off and visit a little, at one point Liam went to the back door and starting crying about going outside to blow bubbles. Mom shared with me that over the four days he never threw a tantrum like that. Oh, great, it's just me.

I had spent some time over that weekend reading about handling Liam. And how to manage my feelings and his feelings. I know it's a lack of being able to communicate with us. My parents also took Liam a few weekends later. While it sounds like I might be pawning my child off, it's really a timing thing. My mom is a teacher and didn't have classes this summer, and those two weekends were the only ones that worked this summer.

Dealing with Liam - I count to 10. It's more for the comical purpose. He doesn't always like counting to 10 with me. But when I finish counting to 10, he claps and cheers. So even though he's crying (fake tears), he'll turn it off to clap and cheer for me.

We recently had our first "stitches" incident. Liam fell at the zoo and gashed his knee open pretty good. We visited the First Aid station who pointed out the severity of the cut and that it was pretty wide, not so much deep. The First Aid guy recommend we visit the doctor to get some liquid stitches. We spent another hour at the zoo, Liam then took an almost four nap, and we headed to urgent care. They did a great job. Finished cleaning it, put liquid stitch in it, little sticky bandaids and a big bandaid. We kept it covered and dry for a week. He had to take a couple quick showers instead of baths. But it's looking really great. We're on day 12 now. He'll probably have a scar. Probably the first of many.

He has been moved to the 2-year old room at daycare. It's a new room, new toys, new things to learn. And when he actually turns two (one week), we get a discount! Finally! It's $195/week for a 2yo vs $240/week for an Infant/Mobile/Toddler. He officially turns two on September 3rd! I can't believe it's been two years already. 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Are you better off now than you were one year ago?

I've been watching Parks and Recreation with Jason. It's a great show. One of the episodes has the main character asking her town if they are better off now than you were one year ago. I realize this is a campaign question used frequently about the past four years. But thinking about that is as bad as being asked in an interview "Where do you see yourself in five years?"

This episode came up at a perfect time - I'm about to hit my one year anniversary at my job. So my past year has changed a lot. 

A year ago I was on vacation. I'm also currently on vacation. :) 
This is my current view (minus the Liam - he's napping right now.) 

Am I better off now than I was one year ago? Yes. And it's mostly because I am working. This vacation has made me very grateful of being able to send Liam to daycare and my ability to work at a job I love. Mostly love, like 90% of the time I love it. The other 10% is due to Monday mornings and lack of naps. I'm still grateful of the time I was able to be home with Liam, and that I didn't have to rush to get back to work and earn income. This vacation I'm on has me even more grateful that I when I go back home I can return to work. And I know in a year I'll be able to take another vacation. 

This past year has had a lot of changes. Jason and I had to learn how to be working parents. How to juggle Liam and daycare drop off/pick ups when one of us had a longer day, was out of town, or was sick (usually me.) We also had to juggle if Liam was sick. Parenting = juggling. 

Going to Time for Dinner has made a huge difference, along with meal planning, and creating a shopping list every. single. time. I had to adjust how to do meals since I don't get home until 5pm. We had to adjust with Liam and his bedtime and bathtime. We've had to adjust our laundry doing, folding clothes, everything. 

Liam has been sleeping and napping like a champ, even on vacation! I'm very grateful we visited the Sleep Lady. I can't imagine how crazy this vacation would have been without the proper bedtime routine.

I wrote the above a few days ago while on vacation. 

And now I'm back to our normal routine. I'm grateful for daycare and my job. And a freezer full of food. Liam is back in routine and eating normally, including decent food (not just white bread and applesauce pouches.)

I don't know if I'm better off, but I feel like I'm in a better place than I was one year ago. I've excelled at work, I enjoy my work, I wasn't even dreading going back to work. That's a huge difference than most people who return to work after vacation.

Liam has grown so much -- and learned a lot -- I'm always amazed at what Daycare teaches him. He amazes us which what he knows. While we were at Animal Kingdom we learned that he knows what a Gorilla says! And he's repeating any word we ask. He tries at least. He's an amazing little human.

So here's to the next 365 days. Oh, 366! I hope in one year I can say that I am better than I was a year ago. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Beachbody 3-Day Refresh -- My Review

A few years ago, when I was trying to get Wedding Ready, I was using Jay Robb protein and was doing his 3-Day Fruit Flush a couple times a year. It helped. Jason did the flush with me - and it would kickstart our butts into eating better, for a week or so. Then we'd be back to our bad habits.

We really have changed our habits this year. We eat a lot of lean meats and fruits and vegetables. But this past month we've been slipping. A few extra meals out here and there. We've still avoided the fast food but recently had KFC. I don't know what it is that makes KFC so damn good. We probably eat KFC once a year so we aren't blocking any arteries, or blowing any major diets with the choice to eat there. 

Since I've been a little lax with portion control lately, and maybe some chocolate has sneaked back into my routine, I decided to the do the Beachbody 3 Day Refresh. It's not cheap, but I know it works. It's not a flush and it's not a starvation or liquid cleanse. It's meant to cleanse your body -- and your diet -- it's meant to jump start your weight loss and metabolism. You don't feel drained after doing it. You really do feel refreshed and you will want to continue with healthy eating habits -- not hit up the nearest drive thru and destroy the hard work you just did! 

Grocery Shopping
So why did I decide to do this? Well to begin with I had crept up 5 pounds before I started. It had taken around a month - 6 weeks to do this -- and I'm pretty sure a lot of it was salt. There was a Sushi dinner I'm not proud of (or maybe I should be?) And I'd been drinking soda again. So my sodium levels were skyrocketing. I was still getting around 80-ounces of water a day, but needed this kick in the ass to get back on track. I also haven't been working out like I should be. In truth, I got lazy. And this isn't the time to be lazy -- we're almost halfway through this year! 

To begin, I prepped. I found a couple helpful documents on Pinterest and have them saved in the link at the top of my blog under the Beachbody forms. First, I chose which weekend I would do this. And it's been a busy few months so I had to pick the most empty weekend. And it was Mother's Day weekend.

I made sure I did my meal plan and figured out what I would eat for snacks and dinner. I wrote it down and put it on the fridge. From there we shopped and got everything we needed for the three days. The Little Man helped us with shopping on Sunday afternoon -- we needed a few extra things. He loves the little shopping carts that Schnucks offers. 

Day 1 - I was hungry. Not going to lie. A lot of people complain about the Fiber Sweep drink. Horror stories. In fact, I had a dream that I was only allowed to take it with 2-tbsps of water. (An orange container.) It wasn't that bad. It was like drinking a thicker Metamucil, a little gritty, had a lemon flavor, it wasn't that bad. Throughout the day I was a little hungry, but you get to eat throughout the day, small snacks to keep your metabolism going. I ate the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. I varied my dinner. 

Enjoying my lunch -- while the husband vacuums!
Day 2 - Mother's Day. Seriously, it was the only weekend I could do it. I'm enjoying my day. Had my ShakeO, the Fiber Sweep (again, not bad! It went down very easy), lunch was the Vanilla Shake, Red Pepper & Hummus, and Strawberries. I actually got full and couldn't finish the strawberries. 

Day 3 - Monday - Work Day. I took my snacks and lunch and shake. I drank a ton of water and my green tea. It wasn't bad, but at times I was hungry. However, some of that was the fact that when you're sitting at work you get bored and think about food. 

My meal plan
AM - ShakeO and 1/2 banana. Luckily I have a little man who always eats the other half
No morning snack, just Green Tea and the Fiber Sweep
Lunch - Vanilla Shake, Red Pepper w/ Hummus, and Strawberries
PM Snack - Tomatoes and Avocado
Dinner - Day 1 - Spinach Salad, Day 2 - Stir Fry, Day 3 - Cucumber and Tomato Salad
The dinner options and recipes are available in the book that comes with the kit. The stir fry was delicious and I'm going to make that again, just add a protein like shrimp or serve it with Turkey Burgers. Liam really liked the stir fry too.

So the results!!!

I lost 4.2 pounds. I'm back where I was a month ago. I feel pretty good, I'm not hungry, I'm not tired, I'm not worn out.

My goals these next few weeks:

  • Meal Plan (no biggie)
  • Measure Measure Measure! This is where some weight creeps up -- the lack o' measure
  • Limit myself to one reasonable cheat meal a week, instead of the 2-3 I had let inch into the routine. 
  • Work Out
  • No Ice Cream until Florida!! 
Only 43 days until the 10-day vacation starts! 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Turkey Tacos - 21 Day Fix Approved

This comes a little late for Cinco de Mayo, and we actually had them the week before that. I am pretty apathetic for most "holidays" that revolve around food. We actually had leftover steak & salmon, sweet potatoes, and green veggies on the 5th. We had spent the week before eating tacos, so eh, why again? 

Other holidays I don't care about making it all about the meal - Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, New Year Eve, Memorial/4th of July/Labor Day BBQs, I can take them or leave them. 

Holidays that should be about the meal - Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, my Birthday. 

I found this recipe for Turkey Taco's from Skinny Taste. The website has been around for a couple years and she has some amazing recipes. I really like this taco recipe because it calls for tomato sauce to help thicken the meat a little. I edited the recipe a little. I buy ground Turkey in bulk at Sam's Club and it comes in a 2-pack of 2.5 pounds each. 

Also, we bought the "made from TV" Taco Bowl makers. It seems silly, but it actually works well. It's not the crispy fried ones we get at the Mexican recipe, but it works well and satisfies the craving for Tacos and taco salads and the tortilla. There are other ways to dress these -- using lettuce is a big one to avoid the carb of a shell. You can use corn tortillas too. Or just skip both and make a Taco Salad. 
Turkey Tacos

  • 2.5 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 small bell pepper, minced
  • 8 oz can tomato sauce
  • water - 1/2 cup - optional

  1. Brown turkey in a large skillet breaking it into smaller pieces as it cooks. When no longer pink, drain, and place back on heat. 
  2. Add the minced onion, pepper, and dry seasonings. Cook additional 10 minutes. 
  3. Add the tomato sauce and let simmer. If it's too thick, add some water, up to 1/2 cup. 

Measure out a red container to count as 1 protein. We (measured and) added refried beans, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and either sour cream or greek yogurt to top them. I can't wait to have these on the menu again! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Being overweight = more pee breaks

24 ounces
The general rule of thumb when trying to lose weight (or always?) is to drink 1/2 your body weight in ounces. So if you are my Beachbody coach and weigh approximately 115 pounds, your daily water intake should be 58 ounces. If you're like me and weigh a weee bit more than that, it's 100+ ounces. The small facebook challenge group I'm part of (about 10 other moms) today were posting their water intake -- some of them have to drink 70 ounces, some 80. Then one girl posted that she likes to be done before 6pm with her water intake so she's not up peeing in the middle of the night. 
She brought up a good point -- I get up once or twice some nights to pee. I drink 100 ounces a day! I can't wait to lose weight just so I can drink less water!! And pee less. 

I need to figure out how to spread my water intake over the day better. I usually drink 8 ounces in my breakfast protein shake, and then try to get in 2-3 24-ounce glasses during work. I usually get in 2, which puts me behind. So then I'm trying to chug 60 ounces during dinner and my workout. So I'm going to try to get 10-12 the moment I wake up. That'll put me ahead.

I've completed 6 rounds of the 21-Day Fix. I've followed the meal plan about 4/5 days and skipped a few workouts. But I've made a lot of changes in my diet and exercise. In the past 98 days, I've lost 17.3 pounds and 13.5 inches. We have 72 days until our vacation starts. I have started ChaLean Extreme and will stick with the 21 Day Fix meal plan. The thing I liked about the 21 Day Fix workouts were they were 30-minutes and easy to fit in. ChaLean Extreme varies from 35-50 minutes over 5 workouts during the week. It comes with two rest days! Or, two days I'll do cardio workouts. (21 Day Fix is 7 days of workouts, though two of them are slightly easier, Pilates and Yoga.) I'm looking forward to this change, but I've never succeeded at completely a 90-day workout program.

On another note, it's taken quite a few months to figure out what treat Liam likes. He doesn't care for ice cream. Or M&Ms, or Brownies, or Hershey Kisses. Or Pie. I mean really, who's kid is this? My BFF was in town Sunday night and stayed with us. I made her brownies, and she brought us homemade chocolate chip cookies! Liam got one on Monday night and LOVED it! He wanted another. He actually got two halves. And he liked drinking his milk with it. He was upset he couldn't have more - but it was a special treat, it was BEFORE dinner. Then he put away spaghettios, a chese quesadilla, and fruit cup. And then before bed a string cheese. He likes to eat. Bedtime is still going very well! We'll get him changed about 15 minutes before bed and he'll get a snack and brush his teeth. We'll tell him bedtime and ask him to kiss/hug the other parent. Sometimes you barely get that as he runs down the hallway to go to bed. It's an amazing change, and it's only been two full weeks! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

How The Sleep Lady of St. Louis saved my life.....

Still fast asleep at 6 AM (April 1)
When Liam stopped sleeping through the night (STTN) near the end of February, my life kinda ended. His lack of sleep, and his middle of the night (MOTN) wakings were affecting my eating habits, work out habits, sleep, my health, my marriage, my sanity, and my job.

We dealt with some horrible nights for about a month. I was very sleep deprived and could barely function. I was a Mombie -- a Zombie Mom. 

Liam's bedtime had shifted to 8pm sometime after his first birthday (it'd been 7 before that.) Probably about the time he weened himself. He'd been STTN for over a month, I'm not sure when he started, but he'd wake by himself around 5:45-6:00am or some mornings we'd have to go wake him. But all of the sudden something shifted. It would only take 5-10 minutes of rocking to go to sleep, but he'd start waking every 2 hours. And he wouldn't want to go back into his crib. He'd want to be held. Or get out of the nursery. Sometimes he needed a drink or a snack. Or we'd watch TV. And he was waking at 5:30 and he'd be up until his first nap. Sleeping in the nursery recliner with a hot potato, or squirmy monkey, was not good for either Mom or Dad. Mostly Dad. Liam didn't want me most of the time and I didn't have the patience to put up with what he wanted to do. I wanted him to go back in his crib and sleep. He wanted to watch TV or look for Monday. Or Dad. 

My friend suggested we go to a Sleep Therapist. The initial thought was what? I've googled it, it's just a sleep regression, probably from a growth spurt. Then I did some more research, and came to the conclusion that "SLEEP REGRESSION" is just a term some parent made up to make themselves feel better about their kid not sleeping. Dad was really skeptical. But if our insurance covered it (sans a $75 Specialist Fee), I was ready to do anything. If it cost us $500 to get the kid sleeping again, I'd pay it. 

So on a Tuesday morning I managed to snag an appointment with Nancy Birkenmeier, BSN, RN for the SAME WEEK! She normally has a one-two month waiting period. And when someone cancels they start calling people to bump them up. No one wanted this Friday 2pm appointment. It was like God really was looking out for me. 

That same week I got ill. A nasty stomach bug infected my body. For four days! I missed three days of work. Including the Friday our appointment fell on. I was very zombie-like Friday for our appointment, and it wasn't sleep deprivation, it was the stomach bug. I have never had the stomach bug that bad. I blame the sleep deprivation for making it worse. 

Friday night, April 3
We met with Nancy on Friday March 27. We were given a Two-Step plan to last approximately 2-weeks. She listens (and probably totally judges you) on your child's bedtime routine, his sleep habits, the amount he's sleeping, how he falls asleep (rocking/car ride), and you decide what you want most. Our main priority was to get Liam STTN. But in order to do that, we had to start with getting him to fall asleep on his own - no more rocking.  

Nancy has different Steps geared to different ages and different sleep problems. She has up to a 12-step program. We were going to do a modified cry it out (CIO) method. She said he'd probably cry for 45-50 minutes the first night, 15 minutes the second night, and be fine after that. 

We started Sleep Training on Sunday night, March 29. I had to leave the house for two hours before bedtime began, and couldn't return until Liam was asleep - or we had reached the maximum CIO time of 90 minutes. Jason started bedtime at 8:19 and by 9:04 Liam was asleep. I stayed at Lola's watching the Walking Dead (my first time) until it was over. Thanks Lola! Hooked on this show now!

Night two - I had to leave the house an hour before bedtime. And Liam only cried for 10 minutes when Jason put him down! The third night I only had to be out of sight for 45 minutes before bedtime. Liam cried for half a second when he was put down. The rest of the week went amazing! And every night Liam STTN! We also were bumping up his bedtime, one of the goals was to move his bedtime up to 7:15.

Tuesday April 7 - Still asleep at 6 AM!
Originally Liam was schedule to spend three nights at Grandma's since my mom had Maundy Thursday and Good Friday off. Nancy said he could only go for one night. She promised it wouldn't mess up the sleep training we had already done. So my mom picked up Liam on Thursday evening and he went to Grandma and Grandpa's. He went willingly to bed at 8:30pm and slept until 8am! He's never done that, usually my mom has to sleep in the same bed with him to get him to sleep and stay asleep. Mom said he woke around 1AM and just needed his blanket. So that was amazing! Mom and dad brought him back over Friday evening and we got Liam to bed a little late, around 8pm. But he went to bed easily and STTN! It was glorious!

We've had so many peaceful nights sleep! He's been STTN except for Sunday night this past week. He woke three times, Dad did a quick 20-second visit to reassure him it was ok, it was still bedtime, and he went back to bed easily. We've mastered naptimes at home too - he cries a few extra seconds, but he goes down easily. He's always been a good napper at daycare. His teachers say he's the leader of the pack with napping. And now that he's well rested, he's napping longer at daycare.

I feel like a new woman! I feel like I have my life back. I'm able to work out and concentrate on the things that matter -- like catching up with the DVR. I hope that it keeps up, the past 10 days have been amazing.

If you're interested in making an appointment with Nancy Birkenmeier, she currently practices out of St. Lukes Sleep Unit. There's a bunch of informative files available on the website. And she offers some free informational classes too! She has one upcoming on April 16.