Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What’s in a letter?

What’s in a letter? Specifically, the letter W.

It’s my hubby’s middle initial.

It’s my son’s middle initial.

It’s a fancy shmancy hotel I’d LOVE to visit some day.

It’s also the letter that comes after my pant size.

Ugh.

Well it did until this week.

The scale reveals 5 pounds down in 3 weeks.

I didn’t need the scale to know that though.

My pants, the ones with a W, they’re just too big.

I need a belt.

But honestly? I’d rather go down a size- to one without a W.

But I’ll wait to lose more weight before investing more.

The investment in time. In money. In clothes that I’ll just pass off.

Because I’m losing it for good.

~Allie

Monday, April 12, 2010

Week 3 C25K Wrap-up


Sunday marked the completion of Week 3 on the Couch to 5k program.

That was the toughest day of the program yet! We will be repeating Week 3 to make sure that we come out alive in Week 4! I feel defeated to complete the week over, but I’ve been struggling with the jogging stroller. Pushing 80 pounds (stroller + toddler + baby) while jogging just does. not. come. easy. Week 3 Day 3 was a complete #fail as we walked for most of the route.

The program for Week 3:
*Warm up brisk walk for 5 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Cool down brisk walk for 5 minutes

I'm getting closer to making that 5k in 30 minutes, but it is still a ways off…
Week 3 Day 1 (Weds 4/7): best pace 17’01”, 2.44 miles
Week 3 Day 2 (Fri 4/9): best pace 16’53”, 2.44 miles
Week 3 Day 3 (Sun 4/11): best pace 20’16”, 2.44 miles
Here’s the route we took: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3607922

Each day, the route is the same and the workout is the same... I burned 444 calories during each routine. Not bad! :)

I don’t think we’ll take the same route for Week 3. Unfortunately, I had to listen to my hubby complain that it was too long of a route. Bummer!

The program for Week 4 will be the same as I completed in Week 3:
*Warm up brisk walk for 5 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Cool down brisk walk for 5 minutes

Onward and Up!

~Allie

Friday, April 9, 2010

Losing It - Just Checkin' In


Some days there are simply not enough hours to complete even HALF of my to do list. The past 10 days have included

*trip to ER for a dislocated elbow (2 year old SON, need I say more?)
*bandaids & lots & lots of ointment for a deep gash on a heel (again, 2 year old son...)
*bandaids & lots of TLC for a deep gash to a 2 month old's cheek (again, 2 year old son...)
*rain brought about life to weeds - 1/4 of an acre of 4 feet tall weeds!
*heat from the desert sun has brought death of weeds which brought to life SPIDER MITES - in my BEDROOM - OMGosh

Blood I can handle. Weeds I can deligate. But bugs? IN MY ROOM? No sir, I'm done for.

I was late to join in on the Losin' It party, and now I'm simply behind in my wrap up. Ridiculous. (Mary from Giving Up On Perfect, Jessie from Vanderbilt Wife, and Ashleigh from Heart and Home are hosting a challenge, a weight loss competition, a friendly healthy rally to lose the weight – once and for all!) I joined in to be involved to encourage and be encouraged.
My goals for the month of April include:
1) Completing 3 weekly training sessions for the Couch to 5K program: On track, but I'll need to repeat week 3 of the program as I'm struggling to push a jogging stroller filled to the brim with wiggly boys!
2) Getting into bed each week night by 10:30 pm: This has been working well, unless of course I'm at the ER or cleaning bugs!!!
3) Drinking water, lots of water, to the tune of 100 oz per day: Wow, this goal has been easier than I expected. My milk production had severly dropped with the start of the C25K program so kicking the water up a notch was neccessary and is working!
4) Counting calories daily and honestly to create a plan for May: I added the LoseIt! app to my phone to easily track the calories. I'm 5 for 7 days, a good start! I didn't track over the weekend. My hubby can't handle me meal planning (a HUGE pain, money waste, etc...) so I can't even remember what I ate or when I ate it on Saturday or Sunday...
5) Read my bible each day for 10 minutes: This one is the toughest for me. I have misplaced my Message bible and am NOT enjoying the NIV version. I feel like a child, unable to concentrate and last 10 minutes. 2 for 7 days. #fail
I lost another pound this week. That's motivation in itself to keep going. :)
Onward and up!
~Allie

Monday, April 5, 2010

Top Ten {Tuesday}: Workout Love




For my first Top Ten Tuesday, I thought I’d share the tools that keep me on track with my workout!

1. http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/ This is an online pedometer that helps me create routes. The best part? You can save your map and email it to a friend or running partner. Here’s my recent route, a 2+ mile track in my neighborhood.

2. The Couch to 5k Running Plan An online beginners running schedule, geared to get me running 3 miles in only 2 months. Tomorrow I start day 1 of week 3 (Yay!!!). (You can check out my latest Couch to 5k (C25K) wrap-up here)

3. Robert Ullrey’s Podcasts for Running Music set to the C25K program! Robert created a weekly soundtrack that includes cues ("Ready, run!" & "You’re halfway there! Keep up the great work!") and wordless music that keeps me going. (This can be found through iTunes, search “Podcasts for Running” or click the link above for a general MP3 format.) And this is FREE!

4. Shoe pedometer by Nike+ This beauty fits into my Nike running shoes. I don’t even notice it’s there! I sync the pedometer to my iPhone and crank up my music. The pedometer talks to my iPhone, recording my pace, distance, and calories burned. Now if only it was GPS enabled…

5. http://my.nike.com/AllieZirkle I can upload my Nike+ pedometer data, set goals for distance, quantity or even calorie based, and compete with others online. On Sunday I received a message “10 kilometers down. Now let’s see what else you’ve got. You’re off to a fantastic start. Whether your first 10K was a breeze or hard-earned, keep it up.” Now that’s some awesome motivation!

6. Baby Jogger (Summit XC) Double Stroller I Love Love LOVE my double jogging stroller! Pushing 2 kiddos, side by side, is no easy feat. This stroller makes my workout feasible. No excuses for lack of child care. Just strap them in and GO!

7. Friends around the world! @KelleighRatz got me interested in the #C25k program. @JewliaGoulia provides inspiration (um, hello! 55 pounds lost in 16 weeks!) And then there’s the #C25k tag that keeps things interesting!

8. Upcoming events :) 10 year high school reunion, 5 year wedding anniversary, a 30th birthday in 23 months… And of course the littles under foot who are a daily reminder of health and activity! Thanks kiddos for keeping me going!

9. iPhone Um, need I say more? This holds my podcasts, Nike+ data, clock, calendar, etc. This even has a built-in speaker so no headphones are needed! Hubby and I can share this device, listening to the same music and sharing the same audio cues. I love it!

And last, but more important…

10. My running partner, HubbyZ :) I drag him out of bed, make him run slower to keep pace with me, and take him sports bra shopping. What a trooper! In all seriousness, it’s great motivation to have him out there, encouraging me along with simple nudges or encouragement.

So, what are your favorite workout tools? Once you’ve told me yours, head over to OhAmanda.com to check out the other top ten lists of the week!



~Allie

Week 2 C25K Wrap-up


Sunday marked the completion of Week 2 on the Couch to 5k program. Wow! I felt such a rush… I was actually running!! I improved my mile pace by 27 seconds! Woohoo!

The program for week 2:
*Warm up brisk walk for 5 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds for 6 intervals
*Cool down brisk walk for 5 minutes

Week 2 Day 1 (Weds 3/31): best pace 16’06”, 2.15 miles
Week 2 Day 2 (Fri 4/2): best pace 15’56”, 2.15 miles
Week 2 Day 3 (Sun 4/4): best pace 15’39”, 2.15 miles

Here’s the route I took: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3607897 (During week 1, I took a different route)

While jogging on Sunday, Hubby accidentally skipped past the voice queue (that Fast Fwd button is gosh darn in the way when jogging!) so we missed the last “Ready, GO!” and kept on walking… Thankfully I realized it before we got home (haha) so we ran 90 seconds with my own queue. We were proud to catch it and actually run 1 more interval!

My Nike+ says I burned 430 calories during each walk. I think I gained those back eating my sons’ Easter candy… Bad mommy!

The program for week 3 looks a little tough (yikes!):
*Warm up brisk walk for 5 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Jog 90 seconds / Walk 90 seconds
*Jog 3 minutes / Walk 3 minutes
*Cool down brisk walk for 5 minutes

I could stress myself out thinking about it, but honestly, I’m just going to plan my route and stick with it, knowing that I’ll make it back home on the loop, dead or alive… ha ha ha Here’s what I’m thinking: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=3607922 It’s not quite 2.5 miles so it’ll give a little wiggle room and a new route for the week.


I'm so proud of the completion of week 2! I simply cannot believe that 25% of this program is complete. Yippee Skippee!

Note to self, calibrate my Nike+ on Tuesday with an evening walk to ensure proper mileage. While Nike+ read that my route was 2.32 miles, the Google pedometer read 2.15. Unfortunately, I’ve got to go with the Google pedometer…

~Allie

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Losing it - An Intro




Mary from Giving Up On Perfect, Jessie from Vanderbilt Wife, and Ashleigh from Heart and Home are hosting a challenge, a weight loss competition, a friendly healthy rally to lose the weight – once and for all!

I will admit it: I am late to join in on this competition. I had every intention to join, but like my weight over the years, I just could not face reality. So needless to say, I am not so much joining in to win as I am joining in to be involved to encourage and be encouraged.

My goals for the month of April include:
1) Completing 3 weekly training sessions for the Couch to 5K program
2) Getting into bed each week night by 10:30 pm.
3) Drinking water, lots of water, to the tune of 100 oz per day.
4) Counting calories daily and honestly to create a plan for May
5) Read my bible each day for 10 minutes

My weight is something I have struggled with for years. I was always the chubby girl in school. I remember receiving birthday gifts from friends and being horrified that my mom had revealed to others what clothing size I actually wore. Ugh!

It was my freshman year of high school that I finally lost the weight, traded glasses for contacts, and found my self esteem. Unfortunately, it was the year that a wedge was placed between my parents and me, which drove me replace my relationship with my parents to a relationship with a boy.

It was August of my sophomore year that I found out I was expecting – a baby having a baby…

I gained 77 pounds that year. I delivered at 217 at age 16. The weight came off slowly; it took 2 years to drop the 50 pounds to get back down to a healthy weight. From food to boy to exercise. I just traded the fix. I became addicted to exercise, spending 2 hours a day working out, jogging, following exercise tapes. Two years later I traded the exercise for another boy. I was in too deep. Again, I found myself expecting and announced the news at my 21st birthday.

And so the weight returned. From exercise to boy to new baby. My role evolved from single mom of one daughter to single mom of two daughters. The pressure of completing a college degree, making ends meet financially, and finding my way spiritually continued to break me down. Slowly I found a balance of raising two daughters. I mastered the act of educating myself while working full time.

In April 19, 2003 I recommitted my life to Christ. Such a glorious day!

Fast forward to November 2004. A new season was beginning; I met my soon to be husband and fell – hard. Of course, it’s also marks the season of weight gain. I think back now and wonder how it was that put on weight so quickly after keeping it off for more than two years. Since that time, I’ve put on nearly 100 pounds. As of January 2010 I had 100 pounds to lose.

Fast forward to April 2010. A new season has begun, a new chapter, possibly a new book. I have lost the weight I gained while pregnant with my fourth child, a son born in January 2010. Ideally, I would like to lose 80 pounds to get back down to a healthy and comfortable weight. I’ll still have more to lose if I want to find comfort in the scale. Until then, I’m setting small goals that are not driven by the number on the scale. Rather, I’m more interested in recreating a healthy lifestyle to include activity, food awareness, and spiritual growth.

Here is to a new month, year, chapter in life!

~Allie

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Working it out - on the open road




It’s time to announce to the world that I’m training for a 5k. I’ve gone and started a training program - you know - the one that everyone is doing right. now. Didn’t get the memo? Oh that’s ok. I didn’t realize until a week after I started the program. It seems as though 5k training is taking over the blogosphere!!! Hey, the healthier the better!

My hope goal is to be able to run 3 consecutive miles. Before the end of May! Nonstop. Continuous. Running! How awesome will that be?!

Week 1 has come and gone. I covered 6 miles over those three days of training. Lame. That sounds like an afternoon stroll. Trust me people, this is tough! So hard that I brought in reinforcement - Hubby is training with me!

Week 2 started this morning. Nike+ says that I’ve improved my mile time by 39 seconds over week 1. Word. I rock the shure shot! :) Today I covered 2.32 miles. Yes, those 2 hundredths of a miles are important to mention!

My schedule? Wednesday * Friday * Sunday

Want to help keep me accountable? Check out my progress? I’ll be logging my activity at Nike+

http://my.nike.com/AllieZirkle

For now I’ll be posting a Sunday recap and working to get into the swing of things.

Need some more training info? In the next few days I’ll set you up with some direction so you too can be running a 5k in 9 weeks!

PS- My apologies for seeming to have fallen off the face of the planet. Having a new little one has certainly challenged my time management abilities!

~Allie

Monday, March 8, 2010

Once a Month Cookoff Entry!



This month I decided to follow the February meal plan from Tricia's Once a Month Mom site. Wow! This process has been a blast! I had lurked the site, wondering if OAMC was for me. When I saw that prizes were inovlved, I decided to take the plunge.

I'm home on maternity leave with 2 of my 4 children; Ben is 2 and Aaron is 6 weeks. While this is a fabulous bonding time, it doesn't leave a lot of flexibility to dive in and cook. Luckily, I had FIVE days, back to back, to get cooking! I did run into a few issues...

While I was cutting chicken, Ben decided to change his clothes and run out front!


You can see what happened with the popcorn, 2 seconds after I gave Ben his snack! YouTube Video

And of course, there were the play times needed to get through the day (for my sanity too!) .


I took my time, shopping sales and finding steals. Fry's had boneless skinless chicken for $1.67/lb! I found 93% lean organic ground beef on clearance at Sprouts for $1.99/lb! That was the ultimate steal as it was regularly $6.99/lb!! I shopped Costco for the staple items and some produce. I shopped Frys and Safeway when I had a coupon to double. I took weekly ads to Walmart to price match, and that is where I got the biggest bang for my buck.

Get this... had I cooked the entire menu as Tricia had set up (12 breakfasts, 16 lunches, and 32 dinners), my total would have only been $165.17 or $2.75 per meal! Each meal is built to feed a family of four so that is less than 70 cents per person per meal! Wow!

Here is the link to the prices I paid, assuming I made the entire menu: OAMM OAMC February Price Google Doc

These recipes that Tricia provided were tried and true. My family is open to new recipes, but I figured that making FOUR of each meal (as I have no cooking partner) would not be wise so I dropped to two of each meal as follows:

Breakfasts:
2 Stuffed Pancake Cupcakes
2 Banana Pancakes

Lunches:
2 Beef & Lentil Stew
2 Sloppy Joes

Dinners:
2 Easy Taco Bakes
2 Pizza crusts & Chicken Ranch Pizza Toppings (With BACON!)
2 Curried Chicken Tidbits
2 Asian Pork Roasts
2 Black Bean Salsa Chicken

I ended up with chicken, ground beef, and steak left over. I used the oats, ground beef, and egg to make meatballs for spaghetti and sub sandwiches. I shredded the chicken to use for taco soup and chicken sandwiches for lunch time. The extra eggs from Costco went on to become hard boiled eggs for breakfasts and lunches.

I also tried Amy's Pigs in a Blanket as a breakfast option with turkey sausage rather than hotdogs. Yum! These were packed into lunches and eatten as a dinner. I was sad not to get any into the freezer, but I now know to add this to my next OAMC adventure as a breakfast and / or lunch option!

Each day ended the same, lots of dishes, a hungry mama, and wild boys. (Don't mind the pump pieces on the right... LOL)

We had a blast, and the the boys had a chance to better bond as Ben helped me feed the baby!

Whew! My freezer is full for now... With a total of 30 meals and fixings for a few more, my total came to $165/2 or $82.59!! At less than $0.70 per serving, I will definately be completing the March 2010 OAMM menu that Julie put together!



~Allie Z

Thursday, November 12, 2009

URS: Chocolate Cupcakes

I am thrilled to participate in my first Ultimate Recipe Swap! This week the URS is focusing on Food Allergies/Special Diets. I love to create and try to new recipes, but I have just started to document the journey.

Back in August I was tasked with my first allergen free baking assignment: come up with yummy cupcakes that were dairy free, egg free, soy free, and nut free. Thankfully, I spent the entire summer experimenting with cupcake recipes and had a solid understanding of which ingredients I could start with. Six batches later, I came up with the perfect recipe! Now keep in mind, these are cupcakes not healthy muffins...



To read more about the process, click here.

To find the recipe, click here.

For more great reads, recipes, and fun, check out FishMama's journey at http://www.lifeasmom.com/.

Allie

Standing on the line...

I will admit it: I am a lurker. Not because I am shy or because what I have read isn't worthy of kind words. It's just that... I'm busy. Really busy.

I am a professional lurker
... looking to better manage my home
... looking for recipes that will solve the dinner drama
... looking for frugal ideas to live my wage

I created a blog to track my journey as a mom and wife, to track our move from across state, to track my personal growth, and all this to say that I found perfectionism kills. It kills motivation and follow through and clouds the mind of possibilities of what could rather than what is.

I decided to start over, to remove the old posts, to take it slow and create a fresh start. Here goes something, everything, a fresh start, a new path.

Allie