Family Reunion!

Last Saturday, the day of our family reunion, there was a possibility of rain.  But thanks to the storm the day before, it was a bit cooler (mid-80’s) and no rain!  

Kudos to my Aunt Martha for hosting the event again this year and having a house big enough for me to stay in.  Here is my Aunt and her boyfriend Will:

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Longtime readers may remember that my Aunt’s husband Dave (the only “uncle” I remember growing up) passed away at their Lake House five years ago.  I believe they were together for 25+ years?  Two years ago when we were visiting, she had just started seeing Will above.  I’ve spent a good deal of time with him when I helped them last year selling peanuts.  He’s kind, funny and I couldn’t be happier that they found each other.

My brother Charlie and my cousin Brian are so similar – both super smart and have so many ideas, they wish every day were 48 hours long vs. 24.  

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Rachel and Laura:

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My Momma with her cousin Carol:

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This is my cousin’s wife Chris below, who is a daily reader of the blog – your support means so much to me Chris – it was great to see you!  

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This is my Godmother and Great Aunt Cele.  Going strong at 87 years old.  Loves her sauvignon blanc and bourbon.  I hope I am as active at 87 as she is.  She also reads the blog – morning Aunt Cele!

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I liked this picture of our feet together 😀  Apparently I didn’t get her feet!

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This is my cousin Pam’s husband Weare.  Pam died exactly a month after Tony died in January of 2015.  Pam and Wear met in their late teens and I remember they came to our house when I was probably in high school.  They were backpacking across the country and I thought that was the coolest thing ever.   They too thought they would retire and grow old together.

Weare is a psychologist, and every year since our spouses died, he first gives me a long hug, and says “let’s talk before the day gets away from us.”  He asked if I was dating.  I said no.  I asked if he was dating.  He said no.  But that he’d been set up a few times but it didn’t go anywhere.  The only difference about me and Weare is that he’s not really gotten rid of any of his wife’s things, I think other than her clothes and a few pieces of Tupperware.  Her glasses are still on the night stand, papers she was working on are on the table.  

I know if it hadn’t been for the need for my living room remodel because of my leaky roof, I didn’t like spending time in my living room because Tony’s Lay-Z-Boy was empty and a constant reminder that he wasn’t with me anymore.    

She battled breast cancer for 10 years already when this picture was taken 4 1/2 years before she died.  

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Both of their kids are now married – Eric and his wife just had their second baby – she would have been an amazing grandmother!

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You’ll note that Hannah and Jacob are not in the picture, or my cousin Karen and her husband because they were taking a ride in my cousin’s husbands new Jeep, but some of the family came by boat and it was a 2 1/2 hour boat ride home and they had to get going.

The trip went by so fast, but I am always happy to see extended family.  My cousin Karen said that she wished we lived closer, and to blame my Mom and Dad for moving us to Chicago back in 1964 “for a couple years” which turned into the rest of her life.  

It’s always interesting to me how one decision can take your life, and the lives of so many others, in a completely different direction.  What if my Mom had not wanted to move with my Dad to Chicago for his job?  What if they only stayed for a few years and the went back to Virginia?  Then I wouldn’t have had the life I had, I wouldn’t have met Hannah’s Dad, Hannah wouldn’t be here, she wouldn’t have met Jacob . . .all because of one decision!   

I don’t have any plans this weekend, which is fine by me.  I need to catch up on laundry, meal plan, the usual stuff.  I am going to my WW meeting at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow, then have an eye doctor appointment at 10:00.  At my last visit, because I am diabetic I get a special eye test done, and they found a small “hemmorage” which could be nothing, but they need to do a different test to take a better picture of it.  

What’s on tap for your weekend?  Cannot believe we are heading into the last part of July already.  Oh, and I already saw the school supplies at Walmart and Target.  I imagine in a couple weeks I’ll see Christmas decorations too 😛

Make it a great day!

I forgot my FitBit

I wore my Fitbit while doing my Insanity before we left for the airport.  Once our flight was delayed, I thought “I’ll just walk the airport and get more steps!”  I knew I already had close to 4,000 steps before I even left the house, and after walking for 30 minutes, reached down and realized I forgot to put my Fitbit back on after my shower.

It’s not that I didn’t walk while I was on vacation, but that push to get 10,000 steps just wasn’t there anymore.  It’s like the steps don’t count because I don’t know exactly how many steps I’ve walked.  I will say though, that last Wednesday, with the hour of Insanity, walking the airport, walking an hour at the hotel, I am pretty sure I was close to 25k that day!

We’ve had such a mild weather in Chicago that the heat in Virginia kind of took me by surprise.

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Our first full day there, we spent most of the time in the water.  I don’t think I could ever get sick of that view!

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My cousin Brian brought a paddle board!  I was so excited to try it.  It is actually quite hard to get your balance,  but once I got up and started paddling, it made it easier.  The pics of my on the board are on Hannah’s camera, I’ll have to have her send them to me.  That’s my niece Sarah below.

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And that’s Hannah below.

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My 76 year old Momma also tried it!  Although she didn’t feel comfortable standing up, so she paddled on her knees.  Gotta give her props for getting out there though!

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Even with my saggy boobs, I felt comfortable in this suit.  Usually I’d wear a cover up unless I was in the water.  

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I hardly ever see my back, but I see a few muscles peeking out thanks to Insanity.  I decided I am going to start the 60 day program over on Monday.  Until then, there are about a hundred other exercises on Beach Body on Demand – one that I want to do is called Shift Shop that’s been getting some buzz on Instagram – it just came out last week I think.

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My cousin Brian brought his sailboat too – it was funny because every time he jumped off to get something on the doc, my brother Charlie got the task of holding the boat.  It was great spending so much time with him.  I found out they will be coming to Chicago for Christmas, so that will be nice too.

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This is my niece Rachel, Charlie’s youngest daughter.  She wants to do animation and just finished a project you can check out here.

The only downside to working on projects like that is that once the movie is done, so is the job.  She had a skype interview while on vacation so sending good vibes that she’ll get that job. 

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This is my cousin Karen – she’s so fun to hang out with – wish we lived closer because we’d hang out all the time if we did.

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Here’s my sister-in-law Laura – breast cancer survivor!

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A week before we left for vacation, my niece Sarah called to tell me that she and her boyfriend got engaged – congrats!  I kept joking with her that I couldn’t wait to be asked to be her matron of honor 😀

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So you saw how beautiful the day was – puffy clouds, blue skies.  My cousin Brian asked if anyone wanted to sail with him, and I almost said yes, but at the last minute said no thanks.  My cousin’s husband Paul went along.

They were pretty far out when out of nowhere, a storm blew in.  And while the water is shallow, Brian said even he had a hard time not only controlling the boat with all the wind, but also staying afloat in the water, even with his lifejacket on.  With lightening on the horizon, he almost thought he’d have to just let the boat go so they could swim to shore.

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I am so glad I didn’t go on that boat!  First of all, the first sign of danger I would have probably shit my pants.  If Brian couldn’t control the boat, I’d probably start crying because he knows what he’s doing and I would have been no help at all.  Luckily they got the boat to the neighbors dock, and the neighbors helped tie it down and when the storm blew over, they were able to bring the boat back over to our dock.  Whew!

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Hannah and I took over dinner duties on Friday night.  We did a Mexican themed night – homemade guacamole, Spanish rice, chicken enchiladas, beef tacos.  

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My plate below – I could have easily gone back for seconds or thirds, but controlled myself.  Hannah makes really good enchiladas!

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Our family is WAY into board games, and Friday night was no exception.  I can’t remember the name of this game, but it was hilarious.  You have to try to pronounce a sentence with that plastic in your mouth and everyone has to try to guess what you are trying to say.

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It’s super stormy this morning – my pants and shoes are soaked to the bone already.  If it’s nasty at lunch time, I’ve decided I will go to my local Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday.

Tomorrow’s post . . . family reunion! 

Question of the Day:  Is your family a board game family?  Growing up our go to games were:  Scrabble, Backgammon, Canasta (card game), Life, and of course, Monopoly – otherwise known as the game that takes three days to finish!

Make it a great day!

First Day of Vacation. . .in Schiller Park, Illinois?

Hey guys! It’s back to reality as I am on the train headed to work.  Our plane was delayed coming home last night, so we didn’t get home until after 10:00 p.m. and I haven’t even downloaded my pictures yet.  

Last Wednesday our car was picking us up to go to the airport at 9:00 a.m., so guess who got up and did 60 minutes of Insanity?  Me!  However, while I was working out, it kept getting darker and darker outside, and we had some major storms roll through.  

But by the time the car came, it had blown over, or so we thought.  Not even ten minutes after leaving the house, the rain was coming in sideways it was so stormy.  However, for some reason, our driver never turned on her windshield wipers.  I am a horrible back seat drive by nature – just ask Hannah.  I just kept my head down and kind of came to the realization that I may just die in this Cadillac Escalade before I even make it to the airport.

We arrive in plenty of time.  The kadults were smart and packed smaller carry on bags.  Did I do that?  Nope.  So I had to wait in line for an hour not only to check my bags, but to then get through security.  Hannah kept texting me, “you are making me nervous Mom!”   I still made it to the gate in plenty of time, only to discover that our plane was delayed.   And then it got delayed again.  So we went to lunch, where we got a text that it was delayed again.  In the end, around 4:00 p.m., our flight was finally cancelled and we had to fly out early the next morning at 5:00 a.m. – but now flying through Philadelphia instead of a straight flight.

We had a decision to make.  Call a car service to take us 45 minutes back home, wake up at the crack of dawn to get back to the airport, or just decided to grab a hotel near the airport and wait it out.  My sister did a quick priceline check and grabbed us two rooms a couple miles from the airport.  I checked in, Hannah and Jacob decided to nap, so I walked for an hour in the tiny hotel gym while watching FoodTV.  When I woke up that morning, I never would have guessed that I’d spend my first night on vacation in a hotel 45 minutes from my house in Schiller Park!

Since we didn’t have a car and there were no close restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, we ate in the hotel restaurant/bar.  The food was actually really good – I got a burger, and skipped the bun.

We finally made it to my Aunt’s house after picking up the rental car at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, nearly 24 hours after we were supposed to get there.  I guess the only silver lining is that it happened on the way TO vacation vs. coming home.  I missed a day of work a couple years ago when my Mom and I were coming back from Key West when our flight got cancelled.  

On the way to my Aunt’s house, since we had eaten breakfast so early, we stopped at Hardee’s – I got the chicken fingers (6) with green beans (2) – I don’t know what Hardee’s puts on their green beans but they are delicious!


My brother and his family and my Mom had made it the day before, so it was nice to have everyone together.  My Aunt had a big beef tenderloin and asked if I’d grill it for dinner.  A strange thing happened as I was cutting into this glorious medium rare beef – nearly everyone in my brothers family (my brother didn’t eat any beef!) and my Aunt like their beef well done!  What the what?!  Thankfully, while I cooked it medium rare (for me, my Mom and Jacob!) I just put the sliced beef back on the grill to cook it to everyone’s taste.


I made my steak into a salad – yum!

My favorite thing of the whole vacation – besides the family reunion, was just floating in the water.  I also tried paddle boarding – I loved it, but it’s harder than it looks!

I’ll download my pictures tonight and will continue the vacation pics in tomorrow’s post.   I am hitting publish so I can catch up on your blogs the rest of the train ride into work – it was nice to be away from social media for a few days!

Make it a great day!


Dinner With Ashley

Knowing I was having dinner out and still doing operation clean out the fridge, this 5 point breakfast kept me full for quite a while – go protein 🙌🏻

I hit the ground running at work.  I started working for this firm November 3, and I’ve only had two days off since then, not including holidays, so I am more than ready to go on vacation.  It was warm and humid so my sister and I walked Macy’s.  my favorite colors are blue and yellow – love these dishes!

I found a pork tenderloin in my freezer and grilled that up with my beef over the weekend.  That hummus is buffalo hummus – so good!  Lunch came in at 5 points.

Before I knew it, it was time to meet Ashley at her hotel. The best part about a blog meet up with another blogger (vs a blog reader) is that you know just as much about them as they know you.  So it was like meeting an old friend.  Let’s not worry that I am old enough to be her Momma – foodie friends have no age limit on friendship 👌

I wanted to take her to Cindy’s Rooftop for a drink and the view.

We would have stayed there for dinner, but the dinner menu was $$$$ so after our glass of wine we walked to Tavern in the Park and sat in the Tree Top which is their outdoor patio.

We chatted the night away, and I was happy to get to know her better.  She’s going to be a new bride in September, she’s my new Beach Body coach after I signed up after my free trial was up, and she quite possibly loves food as much as I do.

She got the BBQ brisket sandwich – I had a bite of the meat and it was so flavorful and tender.

I got the Chicago Fire burger – fried avocado and pepper jack cheese with habanero jam – which I asked for the jam on the side which I am glad I did because it was way too spicy, and that’s saying a lot from me!

My guess is that the burger was probably 25 points, I ate just over half – my guess is that dinner and wine set me back 30 points, which put me 10 over for the day, thanks to a low point breakfast and lunch.

It was a gorgeous night to be outside.  We were glad the rain stayed away.

And before I knew it, it was time to head to the train station – our three hour get together went by in the blink of an eye.  She’s training for a marathon and was going to run the Lakefront this morning – it’s a beautiful day in Chicago today.

Thank you so much for hanging out with me Ashley – enjoy the rest of your work trip in Chicago and hope you have a chance to try Lou Malnatis pizza 🍕- hands down my favorite Chicago pizza.

I walked off and left my “throw shit in a bag” food for the day on my kitchen counter.  I left my lunch bag at the office yesterday so I may be able to put something together – we shall see!

It’s my Friday!  The kadults and I are leaving on a jet plane tomorrow.  So I will be taking a bit of a blog break until next Wednesday.  My sister might do a guest post while I am gone.  Until then, you can follow me on Instagram (mybizzykitchen).

Make it a great day!!

A Lovely Weekend

 Hannah didn’t work until 11:00 on Saturday morning so we both had a lazy morning just hanging out under the gazebo outside.  We are leaving on vacation on Wednesday, so it’s operation clean out the fridge!  I made these pepper eggs with avocado – special thanks to Hannah for making my avocado slices look pretty.

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After she left I put my productivity pants on – I had a long list of to dos – from cleaning out my car to completing Day 8 of Insanity.

I did an inventory of the freezer and found ground sirloin, and was able to put this taco salad together with bits and pieces of veggies I had on hand.

The dressing made this salad though! 

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 1 wholly guacamole mini cup, 1/4 cup plain Chobani, juice of a lime, zest of one lime, 1/2 teaspoon chile lime seasoning, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, pinch of salt and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro.  Half of that mixture is only 2 smart points.  Had I had a jalapeño I would have grated some in to kick it up, but Tapatio was just fine.

The kadults had a graduation party to go to, so I treated myself to a New York strip from The Fresh Market.  I seared the fat side first, then cooked this a total of 8 minutes for perfect medium rare.

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So juicy! I only ate half and am having the other half for breakfast this morning.

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The town across the river from us does their fireworks after the 4th every year.  We walked down to the river and sat on blankets and watched the fireworks – it was only 68 degrees, and a perfect night.

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Sunday morning was recipe developing day.  I think I finally came up with a low point granola recipe, but the recipe is for my next Chopping Block blog, so you’ll have to wait later in the week for me to share it.  

I munched on this 9 point avocado toast that kept me full for hours.

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Yesterday should have been my first rest day for Insanity, but I have a blog meet up dinner with Ashley from The Pike Place Kitchen. So excited to meet her in person.

Day 9 of Insanity – completed!

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I did have some hammock time this weekend too – I love how the dogs climb in too. 

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I am having issues with my laptop this morning on the train, so had to finish this post on my phone 📱 😜

I hope you had a great weekend! So excited about my dinner tonight with Ashley, hopefully the rain will be gone by tonight.

Make it a great day!

Weekly WI – +1.4

I felt good going into WI yesterday.  The only day I didn’t track was on 4th of July.  But here’s the thing.  I made the food.  I wasn’t at a BBQ where I pigged out on potato salad, and had one of everything from the dessert table.  We had ribs (I had 4 “bones”) an orzo salad, corn on the cob and mini angel food cakes (3 points each) with fresh fruit and whipped cream.

I had a two point breakfast that day, and made a shrimp cocktail picky tray for lunch for us to share.  I did have some cheese, I did have wine, but I had 20 points going into our dinner, plus my weekly 35 smart points, so I felt it was okay to relax a bit.

I walked FIFTY miles last week.  And I finished Day 10 of Insanity the night before.  So it stung a bit to see a rise on the scale.

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I posted this on my Instagram page, and everyone is telling me that it’s water weight, or muscle building.  This is where I need to dig deep and keep doing what I am doing.  The old me would just say F it, and go back to eating anything and everything.  But I’ve got goals, I am steering my boat forward, and I’ll eventually get to goal.

I wore my weekly weight watchers outfit to WI, so when I got to work I got dressed.  I do feel smaller and tighter.  Not so jiggly if you know what I mean.  At 164 pounds I am still 34 pounds higher than the highest weight for my height, which is 130.  That is not my goal by the way.  My goal is 140, I think that’s maintainable at my age.  So I still have 24 pounds to go, but if I just keep on keeping on, I could hit goal by the end of the year!  And your welcome for the bathroom selfie 😀

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I then put my breakfast together.  It’s funny because since I am relatively new to this firm, and since our move have new people on my floor that I didn’t know before, they are always like “did you just make that here?”  Um, dud!  I kid – but this was delicious – One cup of scrambled egg whites (1), topped with 4 tablespoons of my homemade blackbean and corn salsa (2), Joseph’s pita (1) and 1/2 a mini container of Wholly Guacamole (2). 

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I went back to the WW meeting at lunch – the topic was being assertive.  It was interesting to see what people said when the leader asked what you thought of someone who was assertive – some words were:  bossy, demanding, jerk even!  But some people associated assertive with positive notes: confident, self-assured, bold even.  Don’t be afraid to ask what you want!  Whether that’s a little less t.v. time at night so you can go walking with your family, or how to order your dinner at a restaurant – it never hurts to ask!

I normally get my curry chicken at Rock n Roll Thai at the Farmers Market on my way back to my office, since I don’t have time to put anything together.  They were out of it, so I got this char siu pork noodle dish.  After picking it apart and putting it into my WW app, that portion there is 10 points.

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After I took more than half the noodles out, that easily could be another 8 points!  I brought those home for Hannah because I knew she’d like them.

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I can’t believe I am asking this, but what vegetable is this??   Spinach?  Bok Choy?  The top is leafy like spinach, but the stalk was kind of thick – it was delicious!  I need to make this at home, but double the veggies 😀

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My blood sugar was all over the place yesterday.  As I was leaving the office it was 72.  I knew I wanted to do Insanity when I got home, so I had two tablespoons of granola (yes I have measuring spoons/cups at my desk!) and a banana for 2 points.

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And ate an apple on the train ride home.  I pulled up the beach body app and saw that it was Pure Cardio last night – that made me nervous!  It wasn’t until last night after I worked out and finally printed out the monthly calendar that I realized I’ve been doing the workouts out of order – I was going in the order listed on the app, so last night should have been cardio recovery – so I’ll be doing that one tonight, then will be back on track.

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My favorite part of pure cardio?  The football drills – wide stance jog, turn to the right, turn to the left, go into a starting race stance, then sprint!  I used to be a sprinter in high school, so I love that part.

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Dinner was quick and easy – I had leftover Greek chicken so made a Greek chicken pita (1), 4 ounces chicken (3), tablespoon of tzatziki (1) and spinach, radish and red cabbage with strawberry and blackberry fruit salad Hannah made.

I don’t always check my blood sugar right before bed, I switch it up.  But I got up to go to the bathroom around 12:45 and I felt . . . off.  I checked my blood sugar and it was 422!  Jesus.  I never checked it after working out, and while usually at that time of night, my blood sugar goes down, it may have spiked for no reason at all.  So I took some fast acting insulin to bring it down.  And an hour later work up and it wa 68.  I ate two oranges and went back to bed.  And woke up an hour later and it was 55.  So I ate two more oranges.  This morning when I woke up?  311!  So crazeballs. 

And just so you know, I do email these strange anomolies in my blood sugar to my doctor.  Just some days diabetes likes to take control and I have to punch it in the face 😀

So we made it to Friday!  It’s a gloomy day this morning.  My sister has been, ahem, “off-plan” for the last few weeks, and while today is Food Fun Friday, I am going to see if she wants to go to Food Rivival Hall – I have a taste for the Brown Bag Seafood Company Power Box – they have blackened shrimp over a quinoa/wild rice blend over baby spinach with lemon.  Yum!  

I have to balance it out because I am having pizza tonight – my pizza dough is on Day 10 in the fridge, it’s going to be extra delicious because of that.  #drool

Hope your Friday goes by fast – enjoy the weekend!   


Even though I don’t do a full grocery shop the week of a holiday, I can always count on a simple parfait for breakfast.  This one comes in at 5 points – 3 points for the cup of plain Chobani, the fruit is free, and the granola is 2 points.  I’ve been trying for over a year to come up with a low point granola that doesn’t taste like ass, but haven’t hit pay dirt yet.  Believe me, you’ll be the first to know!

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I was super busy at work yesterday – a lot of secretaries are still out for the holiday week, so I was assigned another attorney, so that kept me hopping.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get away to walk, but it worked out.  It was warm outside, so my sister and I walked Macy’s.  When I got back I put together this quick lunch – not pictured is 4 points of veggie straws.  I love, love, these Joseph’s brand pita breads – low carb and only 1 point each.  

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Look at who much stuff you can put in there?!  I did 3 ounces of turkey breast (2), 1/2 once of cheese (2), the pita (1) and with the veggie straws, lunch came in at 9 points.

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As luck would have it, I didn’t have to work as night secretary last night, so I made it home by 6:45.  The benefit of having an hour train ride home is that you can be productive for 30 minutes, and then take a 30 minute nap, which is what I did.  I was refreshed to hit Day 3 of Insanity – Cardio Power & Resistance.  Um, I forgot how many push-ups were in that one!  Even with the air conditioning on in the house, I worked up a sweat.

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I had some fresh tomatoes to use up and last weekend made another batch of my zero point marinara sauce.  I added 3 ounces of ground sirloin and chopped zucchini to make this 10 point pasta dish.  This hit the spot!

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When my sister and I were walking Macy’s – this outfit stopped me in my tracks.  First, I don’t think I’ve ever worn white pants in my life.  And second . . .I love the blue top that went with the pants.  This is a size small, but I’ve declared this my goal outfit. 

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Which brings me to . . .GOALS.  I know we are already nearly a full week into July, but I have some goals:

  • drink 96 ounces of water a day – even in summer I still struggle with the water intake
  • take a paddle board class – just found out that the town next to mine has an hour paddle board class for only $35 on the weekends ($30 on the week days).  I’ve always wanted to try it, who know, I may love it!
  • continue with Insanity, even on vacation – I know I can find an hour to myself, even if that means getting up early to get it done, while on vacation

I may add to this as the month goes on, or leave it as is.  We shall see!  I am on my way to WI this morning.  This will be my last WI until I get back from vacation – my Aunt lives in a small town and the nearest WW meeting is 30 miles away.  Again, no idea how I did this week, but I feel smaller and “tighter” if that’s even a word to use.  While I puffy heart walking, I know Insanity is going to help reshape my body that walking will never do.

Happy Thursday!  Make it a great day!