November 16, 2011

Getting Serious About Getting Fit

If you've read any of my posts on my goals for this year, you know I've been trying to start an exercise program all year and failing month after month. Now that it's November, I'm finally starting to find success, and it's really exciting.

Finding Motivation
Even though I've known for years that regular exercise is healthy, I had no desire to do it. Besides, I was thin without exercise. But I know I won't stay this thin forever living the lifestyle I have been. While I would walk up to three miles a day around campus in college, the only exercise I get at work now is walking up and down one short flight of stairs to get to the restroom. Something had to change. I read once that we're in our physical prime at age 18-24. I don't know if that's true or not, but with 25 just a couple months away, I'm determined it won't be true for me. I want to be in the best shape of my life at 25! Another huge motivation is making a habit of exercise before becoming pregnant.

Finding Time
I really didn't think I could fit exercising into my schedule. It wasn't even that I didn't have enough free time but that I couldn't figure out when to fit it in. Getting up before 6:00 wasn't working out, I was hungry by the time I got home at 5:30, and by the time dinner digested I was too tired. My solution was to eat a bigger breakfast, eat lunch as late as possible, and exercise as soon as I got home. Eating a bigger breakfast is healthier anyway. Dinners are either made ahead and put in the oven as soon as I'm done running, or really simple. Last night was boxed macaroni and cheese with carrots.

Finding What Works
I'm not a naturally athletic person. At all. In kindergarten, I did outstanding on everything except throwing and catching a ball. In sixth grade, I was the kid no one wanted on their team. When Nathan and I had tried to go running in the past, it didn't work well for me because I'd be gasping for air after running a minute. Now I'm halfway through the Couch to 5K program, and I still feel great after running multiple sets of five minutes at a time. Running 30 minutes straight still sounds scary, but I'm beginning to realize that my body can do a lot more than my brain thinks it can.

Finding a Partner (or Two)
I honestly don't know how I could get through these runs on my own. Nathan has gone with me every day but one (when he was working late). When I feel like there's no way I can go another two minutes, Nathan encourages me to keep going. Even though he could run a 5K right now if he wanted, he's doing this program to help me. Nenya has also been going with us. We didn't think she would make it past the first couple weeks, but she's been doing better than I have. It turns out this progressive running program works for couch potato Corgis too!

If you exercise, what helps you stay serious about it? If not, what's holding you back from exercising?

November 11, 2011

Keeper Recipes {Biscuits & Apple Crisp}

I don't know what it is about biscuits, but I haven't had much success making them. My first attempt was so bad that Nenya wouldn't touch them, and she's eaten radish and wasabi peas before. My imitation Red Lobster biscuits weren't much better, and neither were these. I've tried a couple other recipes, but I pretty much just stick with Pillsbury.

The other night I wanted to make biscuits but had no milk. I came across a recipe that used just flour, salt, butter, and oil, and it turned out to be the best one I've made so far. You can get the recipe here. Nathan was surprised when I told him I'd made them from scratch. They weren't amazing, but they were at least good.

My first attempt at making apple crisp was also not very successful. I tried a new recipe this year, and it was amazing!

I'm so glad I didn't just give up on either of these dishes the first time I made them. I've hardly mastered them, but at least I know there's hope.

For more recipes that have worked well for a beginner cook and baker like me, check out my Top 10 Recipes for Beginner Cooks and my Favorite Recipes board on Pinterest.

Are there any dishes you've tried and tried again to get right?

November 8, 2011

Adventures with Pumpkins: Carving & Cooking

Can you guess whose pumpkin is whose?

Our approaches to pumpkin carving were a good example of our varying approaches to most things in life.

I kept my design simple since I had never carved a pumpkin before, but I still put a lot of thought into it. I sketched out my design, created vector art in Illustrator, printed it out, taped it to my pumpkin, and traced over it with a pushpin. 

Finally, I was able to start carving.

Nathan grabbed a knife and went at it, with no plan whatsoever.

"Are you making a dog or an alien?"
"I'm not sure yet!"

We're good for each other.

I toasted most of the seeds, but I wasn't impressed with how they turned out. I'm not sure if I did something wrong or if I'm just not a fan.

I also put all the cutout pieces into the crock pot and made puree out of them. I got about a cup and a half out of it. Now I just have to decide what to do with it. I've made four pumpkin recipes so far this season, but I still have several recipes on my Pinterest pumpkin board left to try.

Have you had any adventures with pumpkin this year?

November 4, 2011

Gazelle Intensity

“Give no sleep to your eyes, nor slumber to your eyelids.  
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter
and like a bird from the hand of the fowler.”
- Proverbs 6:4-5

You should have as much energy escaping from debt as a gazelle has when escaping from a cheetah. Dave Ramsey calls this gazelle intensity.

Run! Escape!

But sometimes, I get tired of running. Sometimes I don't want to live like no one, living in a cheap apartment and packing my lunch every day. When we go through periods of lost income, I feel like we'll never be out of debt. Why bother trying to escape?

If you've ever felt like that, here's some inspiration.

November 1, 2011

5 Goals for 2011: 2 Months to Go!

1. Exercise for 30 minutes 3 times a week. 
We were going about this one all wrong. Nathan and I were trying to get up before 6:00 so we could exercise before work. Now we're working out as soon as we get home from work (working opposite shifts didn't last long after all). We started Couch to 5K this month and I'm loving it. After completing the the first day of week 3, I feel like there's actually a chance I could turn into a runner.

2. Go to bed at 10:00 each night and wake up at 6:00 each morning.
Now that I'm exercising after work instead of before, this isn't as important. I'm still aiming for at least getting ready for bed at 10:00 though.

3. Complete my daily chores and leave no dishes in the sink at the end of the day. 
I've actually done away with my daily chore schedule in favor of a new method I might blog about later. It's working so far. I've also done well with the dishes, thanks to a lot of help from Nathan.

4. Spend less than $200 a budget period on food (groceries and eating out). 
That didn't happen. I knew it was a lofty goal when I set it; the point was to spend much less than the $300 we had been spending, which we have done.

5. Write at least 2 blog posts a week.
I almost made it, but other activities took priority last week and I only published one post.  I'm hoping to up this slightly over the next two months so I can make 100 posts for the year (this is #79). 

I'm actually starting to feel like I have some balance in my life! Who thinks I should have a baby now to throw off everything? :-)