Thursday, May 21, 2015

Marriage Tip #19

New Years is traditionally the time that you sit down, write out your goals and figure out what you want to accomplish in the year. While I love that, I know it is very easy to get side tracked throughout the year. And one thing that Zach and I do that helps us focus on what we want to accomplish as a couple relates to this and is today's tip.

Our tip is...set goals together, and set them monthly!

Generally about once a month during one of our coffee or breakfast dates, Zach and I will bring a notebook, pen, and calendar and talk about what we want to do and accomplish in the next month. Breaking down your big goals into monthly goals helps you actually accomplish things, and also allows you to sit and schedule intentional time for each other and brainstorm!

So what do we set goals about? Well, we cover a broad range of areas in life. We set personal goals, spiritual goals, marriage goals, financial, fun, community, and all sorts of things.

When you two are together you can see what big events are coming up, what you need to plan around and what you can plan together.

Here are a few recommendations to get started, and some ideas of what we goal set as well!

1. Plan out and write down your date days! Ideally pick one day or night a week to intentionally set aside as your date night, and protect that time! Take turns planning what your date will be too, if that helps!

2. What activities do you want to do together? Some of our goals for this include hikes, places to visit, and other fun things we want to try to do.

3. Schedule time for community! Zach and I have a goal to have at least one person over for dinner at our home a month. This also can include Bible studies, church time, family and friend time too!

4. If you want to read a book together, or do a specific activity to grow as a couple and learn together, you can make goals like that too!

5. Finances! This will look different for every couple. It could be budgeting together, going over the budget, setting aside a certain amount for tithing or savings, paying off a certain debt. Use your situations and set monthly financial goals!

6. Spiritual growth. This is a big one that can sometimes slip by! We have the best intentions but other seemingly more urgent things come up and it can be pushed aside. Decide what growth together looks like for you, and make a goal! Maybe praying together twice a week, daily asking for prayer requests, reading scripture, etc. Grow together spiritually and individually!

These are just a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Grab a cup-o-joe and get to planning with your spouse! Even if you don't accomplish them all, you and your spouse have a great blueprint of the direction you want to go that month and things you both can do to get them accomplished!

How about you? Do you already set monthly goals with your spouse? What works for you? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Food Journal Adventure

"Nothing changes until you change it. You must be prepared to do something you have never done."

This quote is so true! I know in my life, sometimes change can be a hard thing. When we attempt something new, or outside of our comfort zone, it can be a challenge. But it might also be the key to lasting change, and that makes it all worth it!

As my health and fitness journey progresses, I am always researching and looking for new tools and resources that might help along the way. Not quick fixes or crash diets or short term things, but habits and routines that can be established for long term results and change.

And I want to invite you into one of my latest experiments with a new tool, that I feel may be very beneficial in my journey, and maybe yours too!

And this journals!

I have done this a few times, but never quite stuck with it. But the benefits have been and are really great! When you first start tracking your food, it can be surprising! Little bites here and there you forget about normally end up adding up in the end.

In an effort to make sure I am staying on track with my nutrition and to see a break down of my daily macro nutrients, I have decided to start a food journal and track everything that goes in for my duration of doing the P90X3 program.

Before I did this with a pen and paper, but I decided this time to try MyFitnessPal because it shows the break down of each food and the specific nutrients in each food.

If you want to join me in tracking your food for a short season, or just dabble in it, here are some tips that I am noticing off the bat that will help you on your way!

1. Decide how you will track it. Whether a notebook you can take with you, or using an app like MyFitnessPal, decide on ONE way to track and stick to it.

2. Create your meal plan. This is something that will help you overall with having healthy options to choose from, and can help you save money because you will use the food you buy!

3. Stay on top of your tracking! Right when you eat a meal, before or after, WRITE IT DOWN. If you wait too long, you may forget those little things you ate. Write it down immediately.

4. Set a timer for yourself to remind you to go over the food you tracked for the day. Make sure you got everything!

5. Have grace for yourself. If you go over or under, or have a cheat day, don't sweat it and do not give up. Be honest with yourself and keep going. Don't let it be the end all, be all.

I am excited to start tracking my food and macro nutrients on a regular basis and see the results from that. Am I going to have a great occasionally? Absolutely! Find what works for you and keeps you healthy. But I do challenge you to try new things to see what works for you! So, if you are interested, join me in doing a food journal, and let me know you are! I would love to swap ideas and brainstorm.

Who else does a food journal? Did it work for you, or did you find something else that worked better? Share your thoughts below! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Marriage Tip #18

Marriage is such a wonderful adventure. Zach and I have been married almost a year and a half now, and we are by no means experts at all. But we have a passion for each other, a passion for marriage, and a desire to see God glorified in our marriage. I love getting to share little things that work for us with you.

Each of us is different, and what jives and works for us might not for you, and that is one hundred percent okay! But these tips are here to share some things that are working for us and give you creative ideas that you can try in your own marriage.

Today's tip comes from something that Zach and I started doing together recently, and that is reading scripture out loud, together.
Starting off we had a goal of each memorizing a verse a week, and we did it for a little while but it became hard to keep up with. We want to get better at it, and we want to be in the scripture together, so we decided to read through it together!

Right now we have started off in Psalms, and we each read two chapters aloud every morning, so four chapters in all per day right now. We read through our chapters and talk about what stood out to us and how it applies to us right now, and what God might be showing us.

It is a simple thing, and generally we do it at breakfast time while we are both around the table. But sometimes the simplest things can mean the most, and I know that we have both been enjoying being in the word together.

Zach and I both still have our own quiet time, but this small addition has given us be topics to talk about , new ways to understand how the other things, and a platform to grow together spiritually.

I would definitely recommend giving it a try! The Psalms or Proverbs are a great place to start out, but you can choose whatever you like! Make your goal doable so you stick to it and see the benefits of it for your life.

How about you? What tips do you have about fostering spiritual growth in your Marriage? I would love to hear your tips and insight! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Learning From Difficulty

Hard to believe that it's May already! April went by so fast and I feel like I'm learning even more new things about my health and fitness journey than ever before.

To be honest, April was hard at some points because I felt like I waas't far among in my journey as I should be. I work out at least 6 days a week and have been eating healthy, but the results come slow. And I KNOW that is normal, but for whatever reason there were a few days that I felt that discouragement creep in.

Those old feelings of "what's the point" and "no one will know if I slip up." Have you ever felt that way? I know that I am not alone in this.

I changed my mind and changed my mind again.

I'm going to do the 21Day Fix Extreme. Well, maybe I'll go back to T25, the program I started with and lost a good but of weight with (this was after I felt discouraged), and finally I decided I wanted something new.

I was discouraged and then distracted by too many decisions and changing my mind. I kept working out, but I wasn't as focused and I felt scattered.

I want to share all of this with you to remind you that I'm the same as you. I have good days and hard days. I feel those discouragements you feel. I know how hard this journey can be.

This month though, is different, and I want to share some of my big take aways after April.

1. Decide and commit. Whatever program you are in, decide to that one and stick to it for that amount of time. Whether 21 days, or 90. Do yourself a favor and pick one and stick to it.

2. Make a clear and uncluttered calendar. I don't know about you, but I am a visual person, and I like things to be organized. If things are in disarray, it is harder for me to focus. Make your plan, then write it clearly on your calendar with a place to mark off. Give yourself room for accomplishment.

3. Don't overwhelm yourself. Don't try to do too much at once, or nothing will work. It is easy to get burned out or overwhelmed if there is too much change at once. Take it one day at a time.

4. Get accountable. I am so thankful for my challenge group ladies because it gives me s place to be accountable to and hero's me stay on track.

5. Don't give up. Even when discouragement comes, do not give up. One day at a time, one foot in front of the other, move forward.

Those are some big lessons I leaned again in April. And even though there are hard days, I am thankful for them because if gives me an opportunity to help others who struggle with the same things I have or do struggle with.

You are not alone, and you can do this. If you want some direction for your own faith and fitness, and a group of remarkable ladies to be accountable to and motivated by, contact me for more information about our upcoming exclusive group this month to get you ready for summer and get you feeling fantastic no matter where you are in your health and fitness.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

One Bowl Banana Bread

Is there anything as heavenly as the smell of freshly baking bread in the oven? It is one of life's grandest smells to me. And, it is not as hard to make some home made banana bread as you might think!

I experimented with a new easy, one bowl banana bread recipe this past weekend and the verdict is in, it was delicious! 100% husband approved, too. We will definitely be making this again.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it too!

One Bowl Banana Bread
(Makes two loaves)

2/3 cup melted butter, or vegetable oil
6 over ripe bananas
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1. In a large mixing bowl, mash bananas with butter (or oil), eggs and brown sugar.
2. Add seasonings, flour, baking soda and salt and stir until just combined.
3. Grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans, divide batter between the two and smooth out the top.
4. Bake at 350 for one hour or until top is springy to touch.
5. Remove from pan onto wire rack and let cool.

Enjoy with your morning coffee or as dessert! Or even make your own banana bread French toast!

Who likes a good, simple banana bread as much as I do? What kind of home made bread is your favorite?