the fit wife’s travel essentials

When traveling, it is extremely difficult to stick to your healthy eating and regular exercise routine. You’re out of your regular routine, you don’t know your way around, you don’t have access to a gym, and oftentimes, you’d much rather throw your plan out the window and get back on track when you get home. While sometimes will have to get back on the wagon after a trip, it doesn’t mean you should completely abandon your healthy lifestyle. In fact, by packing just a few essential items, you can eliminate some of the excuses that will hold you back.

I happen to be traveling this week, so I wanted to share some of my travel essentials to pack.

Travel Essential #1 – Running or walking shoes and an iPod. If you don’t have them with you, chances are you won’t exercise. Packing these is one way of eliminating excuses for not exercising. As long as you have a pair of these babies, you can at least walk wherever you’re going – walk a few laps around a local mall or shopping center or ask your hotel management about local parks or beaches that are good for walking/running. Load your iPod with songs that get you moving, and use your playlist to motivate you through your walk/run!

Travel Essential #2 – Exercise equipment. No, I don’t mean packing dumbbells in your suitcase. Packing a lightweight resistance band, an exercise dvd, and a laptop or portable dvd player to play it in will suffice – and hardly take up any space! Taking a resistance band will allow you to get some weight training in without having to weigh your suitcase down. For a dvd, I recommend Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred – it’s only 22 minutes long, and you will feel like you got a good workout after just level 1!

Travel Essential #3 – A set of workout clothes. Just pack something that you can sweat in without having to worry about not having anything to sleep in because you worked out in your pj’s! I pack an extra t-shirt, a sports bra, a pair of comfy pants or capris, and plenty of fresh socks.

Travel Essential #4 – Healthy snacks. Apples, bananas, baby carrots, grapes, high-protein granola bars, and portion-controlled packs of nuts are great to have on hand. Raw fruits and veggies are packed with fiber, which helps you to feel fuller faster. The protein in the granola bars and nuts will help you to feel fuller longer. An empty stomach is the perfect setup for poor food choices, so make sure to have some healthy snacks on hand to keep you focused! If you’re traveling by plane, it will be nearly impossible to bring fruit from home in your carry-on. So when you get to your destination, ask a friend or the hotel management where the closest grocery store or farmers’ market is and stock up!

Packing these items will not force you to stay on track, but simply having them can help you to make better choices while you’re traveling.

Whether you’re traveling this holiday season or not, have a safe and healthy New Year!

Photos from here, here, here, here, and here.

Advertisements

What’s in a name?

First post on the new blog!

I don’t know if any of you are bloggers, but I think that naming the blog is the most difficult part. I googled “naming a blog” and came up with several suggestions to help in the naming process. I tried to take a few bible verses that are meaningful to me and my personal fitness journey, but none of them seemed to work. I guess I stared at the computer screen for about half an hour before I came up with “the fit wife.” My personal goal in life is to embody Proverbs 31:10-31, and verse 17 says, “She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks.” To me, this description of the Proverbs 31 woman means that she takes care of her body so that she has enough energy to meet her daily tasks head-on. Verse 25 states, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” To me, this means that the Proverbs 31 woman is ready for the future because she takes care of herself – she can play with the kids, run around, walk up the stairs without getting winded, etc.

Now, these are just parts of a longer passage, and the verses I shared mean more than just what I said about them. But after reading through my life verses again, “the fit wife” just seemed to fit (hehe). I want to be healthy so I can live more years with my husband, have healthy children in the future, and ultimately to glorify God with my body and taking care of the temple He’s given me.

So welcome to my journey towards becoming a fit wife! To see earlier posts of my weight loss and fitness journey, go to my first blog (which is no longer about ME and more about US – my husband and me). You’ll find some photos through P90X (here and here) and accountability posts as I “weigh in” week by week (starting here).


photo from epicself

Blog split!

I haven’t posted in a couple weeks, but with finals and the holiday festivities… *sigh* My apologies.

Since half the time this blog has been about MY fitness journey instead of about US as newlyweds, I figured I would split this blog into two. This one will remain to update on our lives, our home, and anything else that might come to mind. This NEW one – the fit wife – will become my main blog spot (hehe) for my fitness journey and all the things that go along with it.

Don’t expect too much from me in the blogging world during this next week – we’ll be visiting the hubby’s family for Christmas/New Year’s. I’m so excited!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Dining Room Reno: Part 6

Finally! There’s an update worth posting about! We were able to mostly clean out our spare room and stick the cat’s litter box out of the way. It was a little disgusting having it in the dining room for a while there while our basement was being painted. I didn’t want to roll out our new rug with the possibility of having litter traces all over it. Yuck!

Our rug was the one we purchased from West Elm a few months ago (on sale!), and it’s been safely rolled up in its packaging until now! It looks beautiful in our dining room and I’m SO happy with our purchase!
Here’s the West Elm catalog picture (so you can see the whole rug):
And here are the pictures of it in our decorated-for-Christmas dining room!
(view from living room)
(view from hallway)
Also, do you notice the mismatched chair colors? I’m mid-project with repainting the dining set. The table and the two-toned chairs are the before. The two chocolate brown chairs are after one coat of paint. They still need another 2 or 3 coats before they’ll be finished. But there’s a sneak peek at the next installment of this dining room reno. I just don’t know when I’ll have time to finish those yet! It will happen soon, though probably not by my original Christmas goal.
Thanks for reading!

Holiday Baking recipe! Spice Cookies!

I am not posting a tutorial for this for two reasons:

1. I forgot to take pictures while I was baking.

2. I accidentally used the wrong measuring spoon for one of the ingredients, forcing me to triple the batch.

Fortunately, these cookies are delicious, so after the first taste, I didn’t mind the fact that I had made triple the amount I originally intended to.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (to roll cookies in)

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, pepper, and cloves.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the shortening and brown sugar on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in the egg, molasses, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined (do not overmix).
  3. Place the granulated sugar on a plate. You can use a cookie scoop to roll heaping tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls; roll in the sugar to coat. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing them 2 inches apart. Using a glass, press the balls to a ⅜-inch thickness and sprinkle with more granulated sugar.
  4. Bake, rotating the sheets halfway through, until the edges are firm, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to racks to cool completely. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Original recipe from Real Simple.

Holiday Baking Tutorial: Rice Krispie Treats

Hello! It’s me again with a short holiday baking tutorial today. Honestly, this is one of the easiest recipes ever and is always a great crowd-pleaser.

You should know the drill by now. Start with a clean kitchen, and gather all your needed ingredients (butter not pictured because it was already melting).

Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat.

Stir in marshmallows to coat with melted butter.

Keep stirring over low heat until all the marshmallows have melted.

Add in the rice krispies. I added half the amount needed, and then added more in 1 cup at a time to make sure everything was evenly coated.

Mix in the rest of the rice krispies until all the cereal is evenly coated.

Pour mixture into a buttered 9X13 pan (see this post for how to butter a pan). Use a plastic or silicone spatula to press evenly into the pan. Using a wooden spoon or fingers won’t accomplish much as they will stick!

Choose your favorite sprinkles and sprinkle generously!

Mmmmmmm….. then set aside until cool (or enjoy immediately if you’re only making them for yourself).

Once your treats have cooled, slice into squares and enjoy! However, you do NOT need to limit yourself to boring squares if you don’t want to. Squares are simply the easiest way to get the most out of your batch (especially if you’re making holiday goody plates, like me). You can use cookie cutters to make them into holiday shapes like trees, stars, bells, etc.

Check out this amazing treat my mom made for my Texan husband (at-the-time fiance) for our rehearsal dinner!

Pretty sweet, huh? (pun intended) hahaha… I know, I’m hilarious.

Ingredients for rice krispie treats:
3 Tbsp butter
4 cups mini marshmallows
6 cups rice krispies
sprinkles

Happy baking!

Holiday Baking Tutorial: Fudge and Peanut Butter Balls

I began my holiday baking last night! I decided to start with the things that could be refrigerated or frozen first, and later this week I will move on to the other items (cookies, muffins, rice krispie treats) that aren’t as resilient to time later so they will be fresher when I deliver the plates!

Fudge tutorial

I like to start my baking with a clean kitchen.

Next, I gather all the ingredients listed in one spot so there won’t be any mid-baking store runs for something I’m out of.

Next, you will want to butter your 9×13 pan FIRST to make transferring the fudge quicker. To do this, wipe a paper towel on a stick of butter and rub a light coating onto the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, mix your butter, chocolate chips, vanilla, and marshmallow creme. Set aside and forget to take a picture for your blog.

Then, in a large pot, mix sugar, evaporated milk, and salt.

Place the pot on the stove and turn to medium heat while stirring mixture together. Gradually turn up the heat until it reaches a high heat. Have a timer ready to set! Once the mixture is boiling, set the timer and boil for 6 minutes.

If you don’t have a timer literally at your right hand, turn the temperature slightly down (or grab a friend or husband to watch the mixture).

This next step is optional.
Turn your back to set the timer behind you, then scramble to get the boiling over pot off the burner as quickly as possible. Turn on the vent fan, ceiling fans, turn off the heater, and open all the windows to let the smoke out. Then transfer boiling mixture to another pot that doesn’t have burned sugar on the bottom and reset the timer for 4 minutes to boil, since 2 minutes of boiling was taken up by the scramble to fix the boil over. Determine that the only reason that it decided to boil over is because you decided to blog about it.

After the mixture is done boiling, CAREFULLY pour the mixture into the mixing bowl with the dry ingredients.

Stir ingredients together.

Once the butter and chocolate chips have melted, the mixture should look like this:

Pour mixture into the buttered 9×13 pan.

Place in fridge until solid (at least 4 hours) – I usually leave it overnight.

Clean up the kitchen. Fill the used sugar pots with water to soak in the sink, and put all ingredients away. Finish like you started – with a clean slate.

Ingredients for fudge:
24 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 7-8oz jar marshmallow creme
1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 12oz can evaporated milk
1/2 tsp salt

Peanut Butter Balls tutorial

Start again with a clean kitchen. This time, grab your iPod to listen to Christmas music while baking. My choice – the *NSYNC Home for Christmas album.

Set out all of your ingredients you will need.

Using a hand or stand mixer: cream together the peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar.

Add in the rice krispies, and “fold” in with a firm spatula. Some of the krispies will crunch, and that’s okay.

Your mixture should be very crumbly and look like this:

Refrigerate for 30-60 minutes. Place chocolate chips in a medium saucepan and put heat on the LOWEST setting. Allow the chocolate chips to melt, stirring occasionally. This takes a while, but it is very easy to burn the chocolate (unless you’re using a double boiler – then you can do this on high). Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove from heat.

Take the peanut butter mixture out of the fridge. Lay a sheet of wax paper on a cookie sheet. Scoop individual balls using a small cookie scoop like this one from Bed Bath and Beyond:

Lay them out on the cookie sheet. The scoop will allow all of them to be about the same size. Roll each scoop between your palms to form into a ball. Warning – about 1 in 5 of them will crumble apart, so place those back in the mixing bowl and scoop out a new one. Any leftover “dough” should be placed back in the fridge to chill.

Once chocolate is cooled enough to touch, drop each ball in one by one until coated in chocolate and place on the cookie sheet. Do this step gently. Going the toothpick route does not work – I tried. You have to use your fingers or a paintbrush. 🙂 Once they are all coated, place cookie sheet in fridge and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Repeat scooping, rolling, and dipping process on another cookie sheet until all the “dough” is used. Then clean the kitchen again, start the dishwasher, and relax.

Ingredients for peanut butter balls:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
2/3 cup powdered sugar
4 Tbsp butter, softened but not melted
2 1/2-3 cups rice krispie cereal
4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

That’s all for today, folks! Happy baking!

What’s on your holiday goody plate?

I am SO excited to start working on our holiday cookie plates later this week. I started thinking about these about a month ago. I know what my mom’s plates usually consist of, and I wanted my first endeavor to NOT be the exact same goodies.

So after thinking, reading, researching, pondering, asking the hubby, and more thinking, I have determined that (1) I’ve put too much thought into this, and (2) I know exactly what I want to include on my goody plates!

This year we will include:


Spice Cookies (recipe from Real Simple)


Mini Pumpkin Muffins with cream cheese frosting (my recipe)


Rice Krispie treats with Christmas sprinkles (in honor of my husband)


Fudge (mom’s recipe)


and Krispy Peanut Butter Balls (recipe found online)

Are you drooling yet? Do you have any traditional goodies in your family?

New desk for the hubby!

Before we were married, Spencer purchased a cheap desk from Walmart (pictured in the final “after” photo) to hold him over until he could get something bigger and better to serve him in his writing endeavors. Well, on our last trip to Ikea, we found him a corner desk that we could both live with and afford, so we brought it home!

Here’s the photo documentation of Spencer putting it together.


All the pieces are laid out! This was actually the third picture I took of him. The smiling ones all looked like he was high. Hence, I got this look. lol

working on the desk

still working

attaching the open metal leg
base of the desk is done! yeah!

assembling the hutch


“Oh, thank you for leaving cardboard for me to play in!”

The finished desk! (and tired hubby)

Finish Strong Challenge 2010 – Vol. 11

Okay, so Weight Watchers program change + not being informed = gain. Boo. I did gain .8 lb on the scale this week. But now that I have all of my new materials for the new program, I’m excited about making the changes I need to. I’m already enjoying the 0-PointPlus value fruit!

The thing that stood out to me the most in reading my new materials is that you can’t combine the programs. You can’t have “free” fruit on the old Points program – it won’t work.

Here’s an example of how the new system differs from the old one. Points and PointsPlus values will be in (parentheses).

Old Points program:
Breakfast: sandwich thin (1), 2 Tbsp reduced fat garden veggie cream cheese (2), medium banana (2), coffee (0), 2 Tbsp creamer (1)
Snack: 1 cup grapes (1), small bag Popchips (3)
Lunch: 1 cup homemade mac & cheese (5), salad greens (0), 3oz chicken breast (3), 2 Tbsp low fat vinaigrette (1)
Snack: 1 container low fat yogurt (1), 1/4 cup protein granola mix (3), 1/2 cup blueberries (.5)
Dinner: 1/2 cup shrimp (1), 1/2 cup brown rice (2), 1 cup stir-fried veggies in 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth (1)
Total: 27.5
My daily Points goal: 26

New PointsPlus program:
Breakfast: sandwich thin (3), 2 Tbsp reduced fat garden veggie cream cheese (2), medium banana (0), coffee (0), 2 Tbsp creamer (1)
Snack: 1 cup grapes (0), small bag Popchips (3)
Lunch: 1 cup homemade mac & cheese (7), salad greens (0), 3oz chicken breast (3), 2 Tbsp low fat vinaigrette (1)
Snack: 1 container low fat yogurt (1), 1/4 cup protein granola mix (4), 1/2 cup blueberries (0)
Dinner: 1/2 cup shrimp (1), 1/2 cup brown rice (3), 1 cup stir-fried veggies in 1 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 cup fat free chicken broth (1)
Total: 30
My daily PointsPlus total: 32

Same food, more flexibility. Notice how on the old Points system, I would have gone over my daily target, but on the new system, I have enough Points leftover for 1/2 cup of low free ice cream with berries. 🙂
Another thing that has changed is that the extra weekly “flex” points (for dinners out, treats, or special events) went from 35 to 49. Woo hoo!

I’m also excited to start moving and exercising more consistently again. I might even get up the nerve to have a date with Tony Horton again soon. 🙂

That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!