Thankful for...

I have so much to be thankful for this year. I have grown so much as an individual and am working on spreading that growth to other areas of my life - as a wife, as a sister, as a daughter, as an employee etc. I keep wanting to learn more about how to be more effective and organized and motivated - these are all good things for me right now. I am thankful for my desire to learn.

Other things I am thankful for this year:

1. Gary - he has been my rock this entire year. We've had crazy highs and crazy lows and I got through each and every one of them with him by my side. He is an amazing person that I simply would not be the same without. He inspires me to be a better person and do what is right in all situations.

2. Wii Fit - I have loved working out for much of my life but it's the lack of motivation or desire to get off my behind to do anything. I know the importance of being fit and healthy and THE easiest way for me to work off some calories is definitely Wii Fit. I have fun doing these things and it provides just a wee bit of competition (against myself) which is a mentally healthy thing to have in my brain. That competition is almost the sole reason why I keep going. Seeing progress also does that :)

3. Decorah - I adore Decorah. It is such a beautiful town with such character. I feel at home here and cannot wait to raise a family here. I love how easy it is to get from one side of town to the other, that I can walk home at night without feeling scared, that I know people around town, blah blah blah. This is SO much better than the Twin Cities!

4. The Hotel Winn - I am SO glad to be working here again. I feel appreciated and people respect and count on me. I also love that I am always moving. Not only is this a good workout, but I feel more organized when I am not constantly sitting at a desk. Having to be in multiple places on a given shift, I HAVE to be organized and on top of my game, there is no other option.

5. TV on DVD/Netflix - The TV in our room no longer works (of course!) so I am very thankful for the use of netflix and all those tv shows I have on DVD to keep me company. I would be soooo bored without them :)

6. Potatoes - I'm having a love affair with potatoes this year. So good.

7. Budgeting - Though Gary and I are still getting the hang on a solid budgeting worksheet that we follow religiously, our mindsets are on the right page. We are working diligently now to build up our savings so that we may purchase a starter home in 2012. We WILL have a starter home in 2012.

Thank you 2011 for being such a good lesson for me. I went through some really tough times but am back to my normal self plus some. I can't wait for 2012.


Best dinner date in a LONG while

The food on a dinner date is the make or break moment. The last few dinner dates we've had have been sub-par (*cough*cough* irish bar anyone?) As you all know, I returned as an employee of the Hotel Winn and good grief I couldn't be happier. Things have come full circle and business seems to be turning around. The newly opened Tap Room looks amazing and we've added killer happy hour specials that I am DYING to try out. Albert's seems to be doing better as well. The food always looks great when it comes out of the kitchen. I decided on the day I returned that we HAD to eat there for our next dinner date. Thank goodness too. It was seriously the best meal I've had in a really long time.

I had the filet mignon. YUM.

Gary got the lobster tail :)

The new birthday special is pretty amazing too. You must come ON your birthday in order to get either a free 10oz sirloin or 6oz lobster tail in addition to a free cupcake that is enough to share. Any takers???

Super Sides {1} - Recent Recipes

Though this probably qualifies for a "What's for Dinner" distinction, they aren't dinner recipes so alas, we'll just call it Super Sides! I've been trying my best to eat better these days (though recently I've eaten only goulash...) Eating my fruits and veggies seem more difficult than those lovely starches. Sooooo I decided to dress them up a bit.

Super Side #1 - Baked Cinnamon Apples

to make:
1. turn on oven to 200 degrees
2. slice your apples to your desired thickness. I usually got 3-5 slices per apple.
3. put apple slices on cookie sheet and sprinkle cinnamon on each slice
4. bake for 2 hours, flipping them halfway through

The apples come out super warm and are just delicious


Super Side #2 - Chocolate-covered Bananas

to make:
1. melt a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips (or whatever flavor you like best)
2. slice banana(s)
3. drizzle melted chocolate on to the banana slices

SO GOOOOOOOOD. Best way I've had bananas yet. Sadly I don't have a picture of this. I have a couple banana pins on pinterest though. One that you spread peanut butter on a banana slice and cover completely with melted chocolate. That one looks good too!


I truly do love my starches so yes, I have a couple potato recipes :)

Super Side #3 - Oven-roasted Potatoes

to make:
1. I think I heat the oven to 425...I'm pretty sure I do it differently every time...
2. clean baby red potatoes
3. dice the babe reds to roughly half-inch or one-inch squares - mine are never uniform and they cook just fine
4. place in a mixing bowl
5. coat potatoes with a healthy dose of evoo, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste
6. place on a cookie sheet making sure to spread them around (also make sure to get all that yummy olive oil goodness to the pan
7. cook for approximately 30 minutes or until golden brown on outside and fully cooked on inside so it kinda melts in your mouth

This has got to be my favorite potato recipe. I don't have a pic of this either but I make it quite often to complement a good fish or chicken recipe.


Super Side #4 - Mashed Potatoes

to make:
1. clean baby reds
2. dice baby reds
3. place in saucepan and cook until soft
4. meanwhile, dice a clove or two of garlic
5. place garlic, unsalted butter and milk in a saucepan and cook on low - do not let it boil
6. drain potatoes and mash
7. add the butter mixture and 1/2 cup sour cream to mashed potatoes
8. I added more butter to taste along with a touch of salt and pepper

I didn't follow a recipe for this but used what we had in the fridge. Luckily for me, it turned out realllly good. I had a bit too much of goulash for lunch today so this served as a lovely dinner :)


So Long, Farewell!

I am pleased to announce that I have officially broken through the 130lb barrier that I've been latched on to for 3 months. Get excited, folks. I weighed in at 129.4lbs after a long, lovely wii fit workout. I'll likely hover over the 130lb barrier for awhile but who cares. I have been waiting for this day for weeeeeeks.

I am also happy to say that all it takes it portion control, drinking more water, eating more fruits and veggies and getting in a good workout.

Easy peasy.

Quick Recap

The past few days have flown on by. There has been some reshuffling at the Hotel so my hours to work have gone WAY up (which is AWESOME!!!!). I am getting plenty of hours in so that I can pay the bills but it sure does leave me tired. Yesterday was the first day that I couldn't fit in a 1.5 hour workout or reading. I decided as a compromise, I would fit in two 15 minutes sessions yesterday (completed) and try for 2 hours today. I'm currently sitting at 30 minutes. I'm thinking that I'll do some 30 minutes walk-in-place or jog-in-place sessions while watching TV. That will certainly get me there.

I also wanted to let Amanda know (I may have already but I forget :)) that I volunteered for DecorahReads! at the local public library. I found the ad for needing "buddies" on Decorahnow.com and thought, "Why not? I don't have a job!" Though I am more busy than I anticipated, I still have time to meet with my little 7th grade buddy for the next three Tuesdays. I had to go pick out my book this past Tuesday and I chose The Underneath. I haven't cracked open the book just yet but I think it's about a kitten and/or dog that kinda go out and find their way....Something like that. I'm looking forward to reading it and talking about it with my boy buddy!

Lastly, I bought tickets for Leta, Gary and myself to the 1:30p Spring Awakening show next Saturday (surprisingly enough, that is one day I don't have to work!...yet...) I am SOOO excited to see Luther's rendition of this musical. I went to it in New York 2.5 years ago (WOW that was a long time ago) and FELL SO MUCH IN LOVE it was crazy. It's a provocative, thought provoking, edgy show with cool music. Perhaps we'll hit up Ede's or the Oneota Co-op cafe before the show :)

That is all. I have to work everyday until the 17th so if I don't post for while, please forgive :)


So far so good.

Today marks one full week in Decorah and it has been nothing but good. I have returned as an employee of the Hotel, which I am actually really pleased about. I like the new management and can see bits of hope all around the place. I'm proud to be a part of it all. My only worry is that it will be part time. I haven't heard back from another part time job I applied for. It would be great for me to have both of those so I could have a solid income. However, I will take life as it comes. If I end up not getting that other job, then Gary and I will learn to budget more efficiently (which is something we should do regardless, no?)

Other things I've been working on:

1. Having a solid workout each and every day. I started Wii Fit Plus about 5 or 6 days ago. Each day, I try to put in 1.5 hours and have worked off between 230-330 calories per session. What a great way to lose those calories. I work on my balance and posture and am using muscles that I wouldn't otherwise use. In addition, I make sure to get a walk in when the weather is nice or when I have to work. Luckily for us, the weather has been aaaammmaaaazzzziiinnnggg. Gary joined me on my walk yesterday which was perfect. We've recently decided to begin the process of purchasing our first home. We are miles and miles away from that but I do have my eye on one particular home. It's in a nice neighborhood close to the high school, has a little backyard and patio, 4 bedrooms, an unfinished basement, laundry, bathroom, etc. The one part I'm not a huge fan of - the black cabinets and red back splash in the kitchen. Oh it's dreadfully awful. Everything else I see though makes up for it. Anyway, I was able to walk Gary by this house.

2. I've begun reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Though only halfway through the book, I definitely recommend this to anyone. It's a very practical book and I know that if I put these habits in to place, I would become a much more effective person personally, in my home life, in my work life, etc. I probably WILL decide to buy this book to have it on reference.


I wanna get chocolate wasted!

This is the time of year I ALWAYS look forward to: Daylight Savings Time. That extra hour of sleep is something I dream about for months before it's actually supposed to happen. Literally.

Somehow, though, I always figure out some way to completely under-utilize that extra hour. No, let's go with UN-utilize. Let me recap my day.

Saturday, November 5
approx. 8:30a - wake up
1.5 hours of wii fit
read one chapter in my book
2:15p - go to work
run up and down the stairs for 8 hours
10:40p - come home from work
poop around on the computer

Sunday, November 6
12:00a - watch 2 episodes of Dexter
2:00a that has now become 1a - try to fall asleep
the actual 2a - finally fall asleep
8:30a - wake up

How much sleep did I get? 6.5 hours. Realllly? This happens every time! Talk about completely wasted.

However, I knew this was going to be the case. As you may recall - I wii fitted for 1.5 hours. In that 1.5 hours I jogged in place for 30 minutes (while watching a top chef rerun!) and then did the bike thing twice, once on the ocean scenic view course which then opened up the expert level. I thought, why not?!

That was a bad idea. It took me 42 WHOLE MINUTES to complete the expert level.

At the time this was perfectly fine. I was feeling good and ready for work. But what happened at work? What normally happens of course - running up and down the stairs! I'm pretty sure I was running for 90% of my shift. What a great workout but wholly buckets my legs and feet were on fire. 

To recap - it was my overstimulated lower limbs and and overstimulated mind that kept me awake. Let's keep that in mine for next time.


Bucket List {2}

I am slowly but surely chipping away at those 10,000 crunches and pushups. I'm actually quite proud of myself. Why? I set a goal and I haven't yet given up. That is cause for celebration. Here is the monthly recap of my progress on this list item:

12,000 GOAL
      870 COMPLETED as of 10/31
11,130 LEFT TO COMPLETE by 10/31/12

Average/Day = 39.5 (I started on Oct 9)

*[I increased my goal :-)]

10,000 GOAL
      669 COMPLETED as of 10/31
   9,331 LEFT TO COMPLETE by 10/31/12

Average/Day = 30.4 (I started on Oct 9)

**[I'm currently still doing assisted push-ups, but I hope to make it to the big girl push-ups in December]

I've actually added two more goals for the year. They are:

  10,000 GOAL
       265 COMPLETED as of 10/31
   9,735 LEFT TO COMPLETE by 10/31/12

Average/Day = 20.4 (I started on Oct 19)


  5,200 GOAL (in minutes)
      585 COMPLETED as of 10/31
   4,615 LEFT TO COMPLETE by 10/31/12

October was a good month for me. I set a goal and I am well on my way to achieve it. Let's hope November can be just as good. The results BETTER be higher because I'll be counting the entire month. Get excited.