4/29/16

Mommy's Food Belly


I had a 5 thought Friday blog post ready to go for this morning, but changed the line up last minute. I am not even sure why I am going to share this, BUT I promised myself I would be honest and transparent to myself and my village when I started this blog. It has been weighing heavily on my heart for a few days and need to get it out.

I knew it would happen eventually. I am not sure how I knew, but I did.

My four year is in preschool. His adorable and sweet teacher is pregnant.

Can you foresee what I am about to tell you? My eyes tear up just a bit thinking about it, but that could just be the fact that I took Nyquil instead of Dayquil this morning and am a little sleepy. Yeah, don't ask me how I managed to do that.

A few days ago Kellen and I were playing and he points to my belly and says, "How is your baby in there?" My stomach dropped to my toes. He was looking at me so sweetly, with his big brown eyes and huge smile,  waiting for me to answer, but all I did was stare at him. I was momentarily stunned. I wasn't sure what to say. Looking back, I should have said something witty like, "No sweetie, that's mommy's food baby... we are working on its eviction notice."

His ensuing "mommy" snapped me out of my shock.

"Kellen mommy doesn't have a baby in her belly. She already had two babies, you and Alana." You could see the wheels during in his little mind, meanwhile mine was chanting "please drop it... please!" That would have been too easy though. Then came, "They ask Miss Cassie how her baby is doing and she has a big belly like you."

I wanted to go into an explanation of the differences between a nice round beautiful baby belly and mommy's lumpy one but I didn't think it would help the situation. I digress..

Urg. By then I could feel the tears threatening to spill. What a baby, I know. I pulled him close because I didn't want him to see I was visibly upset. I hugged him and told him that mommy needed to eat more fruits and veggies and her belly would get smaller. I did throw in the "we probably shouldn't talk about the way people look unless we are telling them they are beautiful..."

He said, "Ok!" and went back to his dinosaur battle. Death by dinosaur battle. That is how it felt.

From the mouths of babes right? Why do the words of a four year old hurt so badly? I know he didn't mean to hurt my feelings. He loves be tons, he tells me everyday, but man talk about brining up one's insecurities! I am happy he brought it up to me before he did to anyone else, but it still didn't hurt any less.

Talk about motivation. My April has been less than stellar in the weight loss department. This might be the kick in the butt I needed. I don't want to be a fat mom anymore.

I need to hurry and post this before my liquid Nyquil courage wears off. Happy Friday!

4/27/16

Homemade Pinto Beans


Pinto beans. We love pinto beans! I am NOT a fan of canned pinto beans though, they are salty and just ew. Why get canned when you can make your own! (Freeze too!)

We make them from scratch because it is EASY and CHEAP. I make a HUGE batch (I double the recipe below) and freeze for later use. They are a quick grab and defrost for nights when I didn't have time was lazy and didn't plan dinner ahead of time. Bean burritos anyone? Bean and cheese nachos? Yum...

Ingredients:

4 cups dry pinto beans
1 large onion, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 whole jalapenos, sliced or chopped (3 if you like a little extra kick, we use 4)
2 teaspoons salt, more to taste
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons black pepper

Directions:

Rinse and pick through your dry pinto beans. You are looking for tiny rocks. Tiny rocks that could chip your tooth. Ouch...

Rinse beans. They are dirty...



Some people don't soak their beans. I do. It cuts down the cooking time and really? Why not? I am not doing anything while they soak. Most of the time I am sleeping. When I wake up they are ready to go! Save yourself some time and soak your beans in the pot you will be cooking them in.

I also read that soaking them will reduce the gas-causing agents in them. EVERYONE in the family benefits from that! The gas producers and the victims of the gas! That being said, cover your beans with water and let them soak for at least 4 hours.



Dump soaking water, and rinse beans one more time. 

Cover beans with water...again, about 2 inches above the beans.

Bring to a boil! Then reduce to a simmer. Cover.

Chop veggies, and measure out spices. Set aside.

After about an hour, add the veggies, spices, and garlic to the pot. At this time make sure to check the water. By now it should start to look like a delicious brown gravy... Mexican gravy....

If it looks like it needs more water, make sure you add some. You don't want the beans sticking to the bottom. Burnt beans smell gross...I don't know this from personal experience or anything...

After the 2nd hour they should be done! If they need a little more time that is ok! Just taste them. If they are soft and delicious you are good to go! Also make sure to gauge their saltiness while you check their doneness. They might need a little more salt! If they do add some. I always add salt at the end, but adding a little at the end is WAY better than a salty pot of beans!

Bam! Who needs canned? Not us... I wrote above that I double this recipe. To store in the freezer allow for the beans to cool completely and spoon them into freezer safe storage bags. I do about 2 cups in each bag.

These are also amazing "refried." I don't fry them though, I smash them up in the Mexican gravy, a.k.a cooking water.



4/25/16

New Fitbit Alta Excitment!


I did it! I finally ordered a new Fitbit. It arrived, very quickly I might add, even without choosing expedited shipping! It has been charged and synced to my account. I have even named it. Fred. I am now wearing my fancy new digital reminder that I am being a lazy punk. Yas! No really, April is almost over and I am pretty sure I haven't lost a pound.

I hear people say all the time that abs are made in the kitchen, BUT for me, I need to move to lose the weight. I can't solely rely on counting calories because well, I still eat too much on the weekends. All self-inflicted I know. I stress eat. I eat when I am bored. I eat at night. I despise all of these bad habits. I know that moving more will help me counteract my instances of dumb... until I can change my bad habits for good.

Let's be Fibit friends. We can remind each how lazy we are being. Fred can only do so much. Stay tuned for a review of my new Fitbit Alta. That is when I actually move more!

4/22/16

7 Lessons I Hope My Kids Learn From Harry Potter


I'm a Potterhead. I'm 11 days older than Harry Potter. We would have been at Hogwarts together, but I'm convinced Pansy Parkinson stole my Hogwarts letter. I guess that's neither here nor there now. What IS important is that I learned a lot from Harry Potter and continue to do so.

My oldest is a Potter head. I am so proud! I haven't quite decided when I will start reading the series to my two youngest. Two and four are still a bit young, but we still look at the pictures in the illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! When we finally do, (the best day of my life) I hope they learn the following lessons...

1. Life isn't always fair. There are times when we are dealt a bum hand. Even though it sucks, there is still joy to be had, even in the darkest of times. 
2. Our choices show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. 
3. Our loved ones never truly leave us. 
4. Sometimes the right path isn't the easiest. 
5. It's ok to be a little different or weird. Our true friends will love us anyway. 
6. Anything is possible if you've got enough nerve. Be brave!
7. A mother's love is powerful. I'll love you forever! 

4/20/16

Crock-Pot Carnitas

Carnitas Tacos

Carnitas. I love, love, love, love, love, love me some carnitas. For those who don't know what carnitas are, (gasp) it's a Mexican braised pork dish. Traditionally, the pork is braised in lard. I'm pretty sure just saying the word "lard" will make me gain 10 pounds, let alone eat something cooked in it. Since we are trying to be more healthy, I still braise them, but low and slow in my crock pot AND with a different liquid.

You can use carnitas in a ton of things. They are similar to Bubba Gump Shrimp in that way. Carnitas tacos, carnitas burritos, carnitas tostadas, carnitas salads, carnitas bowls etc. etc. Not saying that I do this, BUT nothing is wrong with just eating them plain with a fork, or even your fingers. (Ok, ok, guilty... and you will be too!)

They are super simple to make, especially in a crock pot.

Ingredients:

4-5 lbs. pork shoulder, pork butt, Boston butt, basically pork with some fat
5 cloves garlic (I use the stuff already minced in a jar, yes, yes... fresh is BEST, don't judge me.)
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 large onion sliced
2 Jalepenos Slice (Leave the seeds if you want spicier!)
2 Limes Juiced
1/2 cup orange juice
12 ounce beer (Did you know that you CAN buy just one can of beer!? I did it. It was Corona even. They must have thought I was a mommy lush and slammed it chilling in my car. It really went into the meat. I promise!)
1/2 cup salsa (I use a non-chunky, spicy, variety.)

Directions:

Mix all of your dry seasoning in a bowl.
Give your pork the rub down with seasoning mixture and throw into crock pot.
Sprinkle garlic on top.
Throw in sliced onions and Jalepenos.
Finally add all liquids; lime juice, orange juice, salsa and beer.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours, or until meat is fork tender.


Raw Canitas in a Crockpot
...ready to cook!
Cooked Carnitas
...and done!

Now for the fun part. Pull meat from the crock pot and chunk. Nothing too tiny. When you are ready to serve, cover a cookie sheet or two with aluminum foil. Place your carnitas on  the sheet. Spoon some of the cooking juices on the meat. BROIL for 10-15 minutes. This will crisp them up and make them even more delicious.


...chunks of pork deliciousness!
...before and after broiling! YUM!
Serve with your favorite toppings.

Storing. 4-5 pounds of raw pork will make a decent amount of carnitas. If, and I say IF you have leftovers, store in the fridge with some of the cooking juices.

This recipe freezes beautifully! Make sure to also put some of the cooking juices in the freezer bags! Yum! The night before I want to serve them, I pull the bag from the freezer and let it defrost in the fridge. Then just follow the broiling directions! Boom! Dinner in 15 minutes!

4/18/16

Tips For Your Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party Costume

So you have decided to visit Disney this fall AND partake in Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. Good choice! Pat yourself on the back! You are going to have a BLAST. The FALL at Walt Disney World is by far my most favorite time to visit. Never been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party? Consider the below tips when planning your costume!
 
Baby in an Incredibles Costume
 
 
1. Don't forget that it still hot in Florida in September and October. You don't want to be sweating your you know what off! Plus sweaty and hot kids are generally not in great moods! I'll take cool and happy kids over crabby, hot, mini-dictators any day!
 
2. Try a costume mash-up. Daughter wants to be both Darth Vader and a princess? Do it! What a fun way to be two Disney characters! What about a Snow White Stormtrooper? Or Darth Minnie? Isn't my friend Sylvia cute? You can find her and her cute costumes here.
 
 
3. Choose a costume that doesn't have a ton of bells and whistles, especially for your kids. You don't want to spend your night wrangling a million pieces of jewelry, hats, capes, etc. If you do just remember a bag to stuff everything in once your kids or husband are tired of wearing them. 
 
4. Make sure to read Disney's Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween costumes guidelines here. Rules are rules folks!
 
5. Tutus look cute with everything, but beware of number two. She lasted one, yes only one hour with the tutu and then it was stored in a bag for the rest night. 
 
Incredible Costume with a tutu
 
6. Try a group costume! It looks great in photos, but if you choose to be the Incredibles (ahem...) be prepared to see a million other "Incredible" families. This year I vow to be more inventive!
 
Family Group Photo at Mickey's Not So Scary Hallowen Party
 
Need help planning your Disney vacation? You know where to find me!


4/15/16

5 Thoughts Friday 4-16-2016

1. I have been an exercise slacker. Big time. I haven't gone to the gym in about 3 weeks. Reason? Excuse? Sheer laziness. I haven't gone on a lunch hour walk in forever either but I'm going to blame that more on the ridiculousness of our Indiana weather lately. I have checked out next week's weather and made appointments with myself in my planner. I will keep them! Why is it so hard to keep appointments with ourselves?



2. We have decided we are going to become avid campers now that our littlest is turning three this summer. A travel trailer is in our near future. When we started talking about purchasing one I never dreamed it would be such a process. 

3. I signed Kellen up for swim lessons. A pretty normal occurrence right? I didn't realize when I signed him up that I would have to be in the pool with him. Confession. I'm terrified and mortified to wear a swim suit. Urg. The weight holds me back from a lot of things, BUT I will NOT let it hold my kid back. I will deal with my insecurities.

4. My water intake has been terrible. I was doing so well. Now all the training I put my bladder through (You know what I'm talking about!) has gone down the drain. Get it? Down the drain? (HAHA!) Now to retrain said bladder. No morning coffee until I have consumed one bottle of water. Gasp... I have even busted out my awesome Harry Potter Tervis tumbler. Hopefully it helps motivate me to hydrate!



5. I figured out this week that I eat my emotions. I am pretty sure I always have, but it was apparent this week. I probably never really noticed before because I wasn't really watching what I was consuming as closely as I am now. Nothing is extremely wrong, just small things, BUT I am pretty sure the scale is not going to show a victory this week. Tomorrow is a new day. Time to find a substitution for the food. Maybe yoga?

4/13/16

DIY Mandrake Cake


Calling all muggles, wizards, and witches! Do you have your earmuffs ready to go? We ALL know a mandrake's cry is deadly! Today we are going to make our very own Mandrake cake! It is pretty simple and will look amazing at your next Harry Potter shindig!

What you will need for the Mandrake...

All the fixin's for rice cereal treats
  • Rice Cereal
  • Butter
  • Marshmallows
Aluminum Foil
Fondant (I purchased a small tub from Walmart!)
Artificial leaves
Cocoa Powder

That's it!


1. Cover your artificial fake leaves with foil. This is more for sanitary purposes than anything else. I had a hard time with my fake leaves because the stems weren't very long, SO get something longer when you make yours! You can always cut them down if needed.


2. Prepare the rice cereal treats. I am not going to bore you with the details of how to make these, but I did use this recipe. Allow them to cool a tiny bit, long enough not to give yourself 3rd degree burns handling them, but still warm and pliable. Safety first of course!


3. Spray the hand not holding the leaves with non-stick spray and start molding the treats around the foil. I will admit. This is not the easiest thing to do. It is sticky and you have to really apply some pressure to make it stick! Only thing I kept thinking was, "Man those Food Network bakers make this look easy!" BUT alas, I did it!


4. Now for the fun part! Once you have your stem covered start building his head. Squish the cereal treats into a ball around the stem.. It doesn't have to be perfect. Mandrakes are so ugly they are cute, right? I gave mine a little bulbous nose and squinty eyes. Only extra tool I used was a butter knife. High tech, eh?

For the body, since he was going to be sitting in a cake, or in our case a huge vat of dirt pudding his body was simple. It was pretty much a square with a rounded top and shoulder indentions.



5. Now it is time to cover him! First, take your white fondant and knead cocoa powder into it. This will make your fondant look dirty. Mandrakes live in dirt! It doesn't need to be completely brown, patches of white or darker brown spots will give the illusion of dirt smudges!


6. Roll it out. Simple, eh?


7.Throw the fondant on him and start pressing it into the rice treat base. Now for some more fun. Give your mandrake as many wrinkles, dents, and, lumps as you want! The uglier the better. Smudge even more cocoa powder into his new beauty marks.



That's it! Done. He's so ugly he's cute! Don't you think?  My daughter thought he was awesome. She wanted to hug him, and squeeze him, and love him.


Now. You can use your mandrake on top of cake or in our case in a vat of dirt pudding. One caveat I will give... if you go the dirt pudding route, make sure that your mandrake sits on top of the final layer of crushed cookies. Ours was slightly submerged and by the end of the party, we had mandrake guts to contend with!

We loved him. It's a shame we used him in a batch of mandrake restorative draught, but a wizard has to do what a wizard has to do.

4/11/16

Happy Planner Freebie - Harry Potter Daily Insert


In my most recent 5 Thoughts Friday I mentioned that I started keeping a paper planner. Since then I have received several emails asking which one I am using sooooooo I thought I would share!

I am using a Happy Planner. It is made by Me & My Big Ideas and is a binder style planner. What I mean by binder style is that I can pull stuff out and insert where I need to. I can customize it to meet my needs! I LOVE this planner. Plus it gets extra points for being pretty! Pretty makes me happy and more importantly makes me want to use it!


Now... As you can see, my planner is decked out with a Minnie Mouse cover. If you haven't already figured it out from past blogs, I LOVE Disney, BUT I also LOVE Harry Potter. I am a Potterhead for sure. I was a little sad that Harry Potter was not being represented in my amazing planner so I designed this little daily insert! I like it so much that I want to share it! The PDF is formatted to print on an 8.5 by 11 sized sheet of paper. I left a little extra space on the left side for the punch holes, so beware if you are going to try and print them back to back.

If you cut right inside of the dotted lines it should fit perfectly into your Happy Planner! Enjoy!



Please note... You will need a .PDF Reader - you can get one here for FREE.


This insert is designed to print on a full "8.5by11" sheet of paper and then TRIMMED TO FIT your planner.

Make sure to print them in "actual size" so they fit perfectly in your planner! After printing, you will simply need to trim down the excess on the sides so that it measures to The Happy Planner size of 7" x 9.25".

Make sure to SUBSCRIBE! Just enter your email address to the right of this post! I will be offering FREE monthly printables to subscribers of The Village. You don't want to miss out!

* Belle of My Own Ball printables are for PERSONAL USE ONLY.
* You may not re-sell, redistribute, or claim the designs as your own.
* If you post this on the internet, please give credit to Belle of My Own Ball and link back to my website (www.BelleOfMyOwnBall.com), so others can obtain the files from the original source. Thank you!

4/8/16

Quarterly Assessment


When you have a ginormous amount of weight to lose it is hard to notice subtle differences You dwell on THE NUMBER. The number that will classify you as NORMAL. You look at this perceived huge number and begin to doubt and even become discouraged. This is how I feel. Do you ever feel like that?

I told myself that this time I would take measurements and celebrate even the smallest victory. 10 inches gone? AWESOME! 1/2 inch gone? I'll take it and be happy.

I told myself I would look past the scale and evaluate the way I felt.

I measured today for a quarterly assessment and am pretty excited. Are you ready? Drum roll.... Since January 1, 2016 I have lost a total of 19 inches from my arms, thighs, hips, waist, and bust! The scale has gone down 23.4 pounds.

Could the above results have been better? Yes... Was I on plan the whole time? No... 

This just proves you don't have to be perfect. You just have to keep going!

Right now I feel pretty good. I wake up in the morning feeling rested. I am not completely exhausted by the time I get home in the evening. I have more energy to play with my kids. Amazing what losing 23 pounds will do for you! I can't wait to lose the next 23!

Overall I am happy with my results so far, BUT know the struggle is REAL. Most weeks, the first half of my week is spent re-losing the weight I gained indulging over the weekend. Arg... Baby steps right?

How was your first quarter?

4/6/16

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Add Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party to your 2016 Disney Bucket List


After months of waiting, Disney finally released the 2016 dates for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party! 29 nights of spooktacular fun! Yay! Can you tell I have already picked out my party date?

Here are my top 5 reasons why Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is ALWAYS on my Disney bucket list...

1. The trick-or-treating is fun! This is my son's favorite part! The candy is no joke. Make sure to leave room in your luggage to take it all home!




2. Special entertainment!

3. The treats. Don't they look tasty?



4. Dressing up is fun!



5. Meet and Greets with characters who are not normally available such as Jack Skellington and Sally!

Here are the dates for this year's 2016 Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party!
  • September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30
  • October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

  • Which one are you going to? Need help deciding? Contact me!

    4/4/16

    March Recap and April Goals


    I feel so much better about March after a ZERO weight loss in February. I was much better about making sure to get my steps in on most days, even though there is definitely room for improvement. The weather has been spotty so lunch hour walks have been happening sporadically. Hopefully April brings more warm days! Getting up early is still a no go, but am devising a plan to get to bed earlier. Lunch packing is still in full swing as is water consumption. Yay for the positives!
    So are you ready for the number? 8.5 pounds! Yay! I will take it and hope that April is equally as successful.

    Now lets get real. Did I have a perfect month? Nope. Did I stay within my calories goals every day? Nope. Was I good every weekend? Nope again. Did I eat my weight in Cadbury Mini Eggs Easter weekend? Yes. These statements are big for me. They make me realize that I don't have to be perfect. I can go over my calories. I can skip a work-out to snuggle with my babies on a Saturday morning. I can indulge. Now the key? Getting back on track the next meal or day. I can't just give up because one day did not go as planned.

    My goals for April are the same as far as, meal planning, lunch packing, water consumption, and calories goals. What I would like to focus on this month is finding other exercise options that I enjoy. The treadmill and elliptical are great, BUT I want something new. I would love to get into running and weight lifting. I need to stop being a baby and really give the C25K program a shot. I admit it! I am scared.

    How was your month? If I can do it, you can too! Thanks for the support tribe! Stay tuned for a quarterly numbers update sometime this week.

    4/1/16

    5 Thoughts Friday 4-1-2016

    1. Another thought about my Fitbit. I love my Fitbit. There is just something so satisfying about something that reminds me that I am being...lazy. No really. I do love my Fitbit.  I am sad on days that I forget to put it back on after it has been charging overnight. I get to work and realize it is indeed missing from my wrist. I mean do the steps count that day? Are they worth taking? Gah. Now all my friends are going to surpass my steps! Man, I wonder if I have time at lunch to get it.


    2. Sleep. I need more sleep. It is most definitely self-inflicted. I put the kids to bed, work-out some days, and then the time-suck settles in. I stay up to all hours of the night and often morning... ON MY PHONE. I keep telling myself that I am being productive. I might be writing a blog, editing pictures for our family scrapbook, or stalking people on Facebook. ALL productive things right? The next day I pay for the late night. I drink even more coffee on these sleep deprived mornings, of course with full-calorie creamer. These extra calories of delicious creamer are taking away from other nutritious things that I could be using those calories on. It is all a vicious cycle.  I also have been reading in various weight loss articles that you should be sleeping 7-8 hours a night for optimal results. I need a plan.

    3. I have discovered a newfound love for paper planning. Yes, yes I know. This is the technology age. Why am I using such a prehistoric method for staying organized? My phone wasn't cutting it and recently had to be wiped. You guessed it. I lost everything due to a faulty backup. Losing everything didn't matter though, things where falling through the cracks and I am not as young as I use to be. I forget so much now. I don't know if it is because I am older, or that I just have a ton more to remember. Lets hope it is the latter.  Oh and did I mention that my planner is pretty? It makes me happy. Try it. You might like it.



    4. I am both excited and nervous to see what my March weight loss results will be tomorrow. I will be taking measurements to compare to the ones I took in early January for a quarterly assessment. Eeeeek.

    5. I miss baking. I need to find TASTY, healthier recipes. I guess I could just bake and give it all away, but what fun would that be?


    If you can offer help with any of this randomness please do!

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