Sunday Meal Prep 2/26/17

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep is pretty short, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in flavor! Draz and I still had some freezer meals left from the previous week, so I opted to only make the one main dish this time around! This worked out especially well since we decided to do an at home date night to celebrate my birthday! Finishing up with our meal prep early gave me more time for him and our fun night!

Enjoy!

Get your week started off right with this quick and easy meal prep!

weekly-food-prep-mason-jar-salads-protein-balls

“Our” salads and snacks this week were limited to MY salads and snacks haha! Draz has decided he is a bit done with the salads (for now at least) so the salads are all for me! And I made some of his protein balls partway through the previous week, so these are just mine!

As for our main dish, this week I picked one of our favorite slow cooker dishes: Slow Cooker Mongolian Chicken! I LOVE this recipe! 🙂 Both because it’s quick and easy and because it’s super tasty and still fits within my macros! I usually add in broccoli at the end to cook for a bit, around 20 minutes or so before the dish finishes.

healthy-meal-prep-main-dish

As for the reason why half of the servings have rice and the other half doesn’t….well, I’m still trying to improve on my cauliflower rice recipe. So far honestly, not a whole lot of luck. It doesn’t taste bad by any means, but doesn’t much seem like it replaces rice either! If you have a good cauliflower rice recipe I would love to hear about it!

That’s it for this week! What are you meal prepping this week?

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Burpee & Squat Pyramid – Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow

Hey everyone!  I am super excited to bring you this week’s post! Today we are welcoming back Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow. If you missed my interview with her a couple of week’s ago, I encourage you to check that out as well! Her story is amazing! And today she is going to push us to push ourselves with this awesome pyramid workout!

Enjoy! (Also, let’s take a second to celebrate that this is the first ever video on the blog!! But hopefully not the last 🙂 )

Every week (or almost every) over in my blog world at CreatingBetterTomorrow I share an at home workout.  As a busy mom of toddlers I know how precious every minute of your day and workout can be.  Forget wasting time and money driving to a gym you can get in an amazing workout at home with little equipment and space.  All of my online programming and personal training is designed to be 30 minutes or less and only ever require minimal equipment (if any!).  Today I wanted to put together a special workout just for you all Nymph in the Woods folks.  It’s a burner…and it has two of my favorite moves featured in it…squats and burpees!

You’ll notice it is a pyramid style so you’ll go down in one move and up in the other move.  It’s a twist on the traditional counting of repetitions or timing your moves.  I like changing up the style of my workouts.  By simply changing up the format (like pyramid vs. rep counting), it keeps me from getting bored and tends to make the workout seem to go faster!

There may only be two moves in this workout, but don't be deceived! This workout will leave you sweating and burning in the best way!

Only two moves but this workout will leave you sweating and your heart beating!

But I can’t Do Burpees!

I know what some of you are saying…”but I can’t do burpees.”  I beg to differ.  In my bootcamps I provide video demonstrations for each and every workout.  I just finished putting together all new videos for my 30 Day Total Body Bootcamp programs.  And here is one of the old videos.  I show you how you can modify a burpee to be low/no impact!

The only limitations you have in life are those you set in your mind.  You may have to MODIFY but MODIFICATIONS are not limits they are just stepping blocks to help you reach the next level.

The full program includes many workouts just like this for the 30 days.   I’ll provide you 5 workouts a week.  You then pick the 6th workout for the week to ensure you get some true movement you LOVE in and one rest day.  Only equipment needed is one set of light dumbbells and one set of medium to heavy dumbbells.  The workouts range in length from 25-40 minutes. Almost every workout will come with a video demo sent directly to you each week. THE BEST PART? You get a daily email message motivation and support from me!  ARE YOU IN?!?!?

I have a special coupon JUST for you Nymph fans.  Enter code nymph15 to save $15 off the total body bootcamp program or the total body and nutrition bootcamp program!  This is only good through the end of March 15, 2017.

I just want to say thank you to Sarah for that awesome workout! Want to see more from her? I definitely encourage you to head over to her blog and check out her programs and information!

finding fitness Sarah Creating a Better TomorrowSarah is a full time stay at home mom who blogs at Creating Better Tomorrow.  Her twin, 2 year old boys keep her active and fit no matter the day but she also enjoys teaching group fitness and training clients one on one.  She has a love for the garden and dirt…and eating all the things from the garden.  Her and her husband live on 7 acres out in the country where she can get her hands dirty and the boys can chase their chickens.
Sarah suffered from anorexia in college and through that experience has grown stronger in her relationship with her Lord, her body, and her family.  She know shares through her blog and fitness work a balanced approach to loving your body and moving in ways that make your body and mind stronger than ever.

Where to find Sarah:

On her blog at CreatingBetterTomorrow.com

Twitter: @CreatingBetter

Instagram: @CreatingBetter

Facebook: Creating Better Tomorrow

Pinterest: Sarah @creatingbetter

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Sunday Meal Prep – Freezer Edition! 2/19/17

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep is a bit different than my normal one, because this last weekend was ANYTHING but normal! I knew ahead of time that I was going to have very little time to meal prep last weekend. Instead, I spent all weekend at a market trying to sell my jewelry! Didn’t go so great, but there is always next time!

Anyways….so instead, I planned ahead to give myself some breathing room. I mentioned last week that I had a freezer prep for you this week and this is it! These dishes were prepared during the meal prep I shared with you last week, then put into the freezer to pull out for this week. I was a little nervous about it, but it worked great!

Know you have a busy weekend coming up? Meal prep in advance with this freezer meal prep!

These two dishes actually are from the same source and can be found here. This one is great, because it has some other freezer recipes you could try too! The two that I made are the Beef Vegetable Stew and the Teriyaki Chicken. Both were tasty, but I think my favorite was the chicken (anyone surprised? I didn’t think so 😛 )

freezer-food-prep-teriyaki-chicken

Having the meals already in the freezer and ready to cook in the slow cooker was such a huge load off of my mind. Yes, it did require some extra planning and time during the previous meal prep, but it was well worth it! I was able to focus on the market, which took A LOT of my energy and attention, without having to worry about how I was going to prep for the following week.

If your weekends get a little crazy sometimes too, you might want to consider starting to prep a few extra meals for the freezer sometimes!

healthy-freezer-food-prep

Want to try out this meal prep yourself? Get your grocery list here!

Have you ever done a freezer meal prep before? How did it go for you? Any recipes you really liked? I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!

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Reflections on My 20s & My Thoughts on 30

So today I turn 30 years old! I’ll be honest, this birthday comes with some mixed emotions and I’ve struggled to write this post because of that. So I apologize in advance if this post is kinda like a word jumble and I hope you can get some insight out of it!

30 has always seemed like a milestone birthday to me….like by this point I should have accomplished certain things, should have the whole “adult” thing figured out. I think about what I thought 30 would be like when I turned 20 and in truth, what I thought couldn’t be further from the truth! I definitely don’t have this whole thing figured out. In fact, I’m starting to believe that every year I’m just going to realize HOW MUCH I have yet to figure out!

30th-birthday

And yet, with all of those mixed emotions, I find myself excited and hopeful. Both for what this year may bring and for what my 30s may bring! It’s only in the past 3 or so years that I have started to really get to know myself and to figure out what I truly want out of life. It’s taken even longer than that to start to really pursue those things!

A lot of my 20s was spent lost….I made a lot of poor choices and ended up in situations that I could have avoided had I been more thoughtful about things. My 20s included a lot of highlights and low points and they all taught me things about life and about myself.

before-fitness-journey

  • Married at 20
  • Suffered a miscarriage
  • Gained a lot of weight, ending up at around 240-250 lbs
  • Traveled to Peru (one of my most life-changing experiences)
  • Divorced
  • Started smoking again
  • Struggled with depression multiple times
  • Graduated college
  • Started losing weight
  • Got a job somewhat using my degree, only to lose it
  • Found the job I’m currently at, expecting it to be “temporary” and that I would move on to grad school
  • Started my relationship with Draz <3
  • QUIT smoking again (over 2 years now!)
  • Found a passion for fitness
  • Started this blog and my jewelry business
  • Started teaching group fitness at the YMCA

YMCA-Des-Moines

As you can see just from this, my 20s, especially my early 20s, were kind of a mess. But that honestly makes me even more excited for my 30s! I’m entering my 30s with a wonderful and supportive boyfriend and family, a good job, in the best shape of my life and with a passion for the things I am trying to build!

fitness-journey-30s

I’m not going to make predictions, since one major lesson I learned in my 20s is you can’t really prediction how life is going to go. But I do want to share some of my hopes and dreams for my 30s with you!

  • Get married and start a family
  • My jewelry business will grow and become more successful
  • The blog will grow and inspire others
  • Draz and I will go on at least a few trips together, one being to Japan
  • Continue to grow and learn in my fitness education and build a career that includes fitness
  • Be able to quit my current job and earn a full-time income from what I am building right now

I can’t say that any of these things will happen, but these are what I hope will be the highlights of my 30s. That said, I honestly believe that 30 and the entirety of my 30s will be amazing and life-changing and I can’t wait to see what happens!

To those of you in your 20s: Are your 20s like what you thought they would be? What do you think about your 30s?
To those of you who are 30s or older: Any advice? What were your thoughts as you entered your 30s?

I would love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment below!!

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Sunday Meal Prep 2/12/17

Hey everyone! This week’s meal prep was a little different, in that I actually prepped for most of 2 weeks worth of food at the same time. I knew the following weekend I wasn’t going to have much time for meal prep, so I planned ahead! That is one of the things I love about meal prep…you can make it work for you and your schedule! So along with the dishes I’m sharing with you today, I also made extra cinnamon bread and 3 main dishes that all went into the freezer.

Next week I will show you the second week’s freezer prep and let you know how that worked out, so make sure to check back in then! As for this week’s meal prep, everything turned out delicious and I can’t wait to share these recipes with you. While two of these dishes are new to the blog, we actually tried them out a few weeks ago, right before I got sick, so I never actually got to eat them! Thankfully, Draz liked them so much that he was happy for me to make them again a few weeks later so I could try them too!

Enjoy!

Weekly meal prep can help you maintain your busy lifestyle and still eat healthy! Click through to check out this week's meal prep and get your own grocery list to get you started!

food-prep

This week’s snacks were delicious! I opted to keep with our regular snacks this week, so I made Sweet Potato Banana Bites, 5-Ingredient Banana Bread Muffins, and Cookie Dough Protein Balls. Along with that, I made 4 mason jar salads! For now, I will be cutting down on the salads I’m making each week. Draz has requested no more salads for him for a while, so it will just be mine 🙂

healthy-weekly-food-prep

On to the main dishes! I am loving this week’s meals and Draz did too. All of these will definitely be made again! I don’t know that either of us could pick a sole favorite. They were all delicious in their own way! This week’s main dishes were Slow Cooker Italian Red Pepper Chicken, Low-Carb Sausage and Roasted Peppers Mock Lasagna Casserole, and Low-Carb Deconstructed PizzaBoth of the low-carb dishes were from a site that is new to me called Kalyn’s Kitchen and I have to say, I will definitely be trying out more of her recipes!

Tracking macros? Here is how this week’s main dishes break down:

IIFYM-healthy-meal-prep

Want to try out this week’s meal prep for yourself? Get your grocery list here!

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Or tried prepping for later weeks using freezer recipes? I would love to hear about them, so please leave a comment below!

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Finding Fitness: Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow

Hey everyone! Today I am so excited to introduce you to Sarah from Creating a Better Tomorrow! A personal trainer and group fitness instructor, Sarah has had an amazing and inspirational journey to where she is today. We can all learn so much from her! Enjoy!
There are so many paths to fitness and we can learn so much from hearing about others fitness journeys! In this interview with Sarah, there is so much to learn from and be inspired by! Head over to check it out and get inspired for your own fitness journey!

Background: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

I’m first and foremost a mom and wife.  I’m a thirty something mom to twin two year olds and a wife living out in the middle of the country with our 5 chickens and 2 dogs!
I blog over at Creating a Better Tomorrow. I love helping show women that you don’t have to do it all to HAVE IT ALL.  Life is about living your best today and your better tomorrow.
I teach group fitness and do online personal training focused on strengthening mind, body, soul.  I love getting my hands dirty in the garden.  I need to rest more but goodness I just always want to be getting the most out of this blessed life!

How did your fitness journey start? What motivated the change? Along with that, what has kept you interested?

Throughout high school I was active but not really INTO fitness like I am now. I did it for fun and wasn’t very good.  Off to college I went, I like many gained 15-20 lbs and came home the next summer wanting to get it off.  Unfortunately like many, I also went to running tons and eating nothing to do so.  I lost the weight but also lost the love of my body and food.  I slipped into an eating disorder.
Thankfully I had an awesome support system that got me help and it has made me ALL the stronger!  I then couldn’t workout while recovering but it led me to learn how I love the STRENGTH of my mind and body.  Now I love working out but don’t track any calories burned…just weight lifted and the strength it provides my mind and spirit.
I now teach group fitness strength training and HIIT Cardio.  Now I truly workout for so many reasons OTHER than calories or weight…I don’t weigh myself, won’t weigh myself, and will never track calories eaten or burned.
finding-fitness-sarah-creating-better-tomorrow

What has been your biggest challenge in your fitness journey and how have you dealt with it?

HMMM…well I LOVE working out and eating healthy because of where I’ve been I recognize the strength of balance in both fitness and nutrition.  But for me the struggle is knowing when to just let it all go, when to REST, when to EAT junk, when to just let it GO!!!  Kids have taught me a lot in this area, I need to just be free, eat what sounds good with moderation and know that in the end if I eat whole food and move every day my body will end up right where it needs to be every single time!

Have you had any setbacks since starting your fitness journey? If so, how did you deal with them?

No real setbacks but pregnancy was a douzy!  I had to relearn how to move my body and how to love it.  My body wouldn’t and couldn’t do some of the things it did before carrying twins for 40 weeks.  And accepting that was HARD!  Giving it time was HARD!   But that taught me the amazing strength of my body when I give it the time it needs to heal and to gain.

What achievement are you the most proud of?

MOM and WIFE…may not seem like a big one but for me….it so is, oh it so is!

Outside of the physical, what have been some significant changes brought on by your fitness journey?

Mental, mental, mental.  I used to work out only for calories burned, heart rate reached, weight lost…but the changes the ones that really matter can’t be measured and will never be able to be measured!

 finding-fitness-Sarah-Creating-Better-Tomorrow

What are you working towards now? What are your goals and dreams, fitness-wise?

No real goals.  My goal is to ALWAYS workout to be healthy.  As a mom and wife I totally don’t care about anything other than working out and eating right to live my healthiest life and longest life for them!

What does a typical training week look like?

Monday – Sprints 30 minutes, Teach PUMPED
Tuesday – 30 minute HIIT Cardio at home (from my online training programs)
Wednesday – Sprints 30 minutes, Teach PUMPED
Thursday – 30 minute HIIT Cardio at home 
Friday – Teach 30 minute Cardio Bootcamp, Teach 30 minute piloga
Saturday – REST
Sunday – REST

What does an average day of eating look like for you?

SO MUCH FOOD
Breakfast – Overnight oats with banana and tons of nut butter
Snack – Protein Shake 🙂  egg white protein, fruit, spinach
Snack – apple and nut butter
Lunch – Roasted Veggies, sweet potato, big burger!
Snack – pear and nut butter
Dinner – Paleo Beef Stew!
DARK CHOCOLATE and tea always before bed!

 finding-fitness-Sarah-creating-better-tomorrow

Do you take any supplements? If so, could you tell us a little about what ones and why? If not, why not?

Probiotic keeping my gut healthy
Magnesium to help keep me calm and sleep soundly
Fish Oil for my joints 🙂
Maca powder – for support for adrenals during stressful life periods

What is your favorite exercise? Your least favorite?

Teaching Pumped for sure!!!  I am not not not a yoga person!

What do you do if you find your motivation lacking?

Honestly if I am lacking motivation I usually NEED TO LISTEN and to rest, I used to push through but then I’ve come to realize that I actually love working out and if my body is saying no I probably need to listen and you know that is NOT the popular message today but it is the message I know I’ve learned the hard way!

How do you balance fitness with work/life/social/etc? How do you “find the time” to workout?

Working out ALWAYS happens for me in the morning. My boys know when I go to work at the gym it is for exercising and helping others.  When i work out at home it has to happen before they get up.  For me it is on the schedule every day!

What are your top 3 tips for someone just starting their fitness journey?

1.  Be patient
2.  Forget calories and pounds
3.  Throw away any and all scales (including food scales)
Sarah, thank you so much for joining us today and talking with me about your fitness journey!
finding fitness Sarah Creating a Better TomorrowSarah is a full time stay at home mom who blogs at Creating Better Tomorrow.  Her twin, 2 year old boys keep her active and fit no matter the day but she also enjoys teaching group fitness and training clients one on one.  She has a love for the garden and dirt…and eating all the things from the garden.  Her and her husband live on 7 acres out in the country where she can get her hands dirty and the boys can chase their chickens.
Sarah suffered from anorexia in college and through that experience has grown stronger in her relationship with her Lord, her body, and her family.  She know shares through her blog and fitness work a balanced approach to loving your body and moving in ways that make your body and mind stronger than ever.

Where to find Sarah:

On her blog at CreatingBetterTomorrow.com

Twitter: @CreatingBetter

Instagram: @CreatingBetter

Facebook: Creating Better Tomorrow

Pinterest: Sarah @creatingbetter

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Sunday Meal Prep 2/5/17

Hey everyone! Have you been missing my weekly meal prep posts as much as I have missed doing them?! 🙂 I am so happy to be getting back to my normal schedule and a big part of that is being able to do meal prep again! This week’s prep is pretty small, but expect a really big one next week!

Enjoy!

Meal prep is my best tool to eating healthy the whole week! Come check out this week's meal prep and get your own free downloadable grocery list to get you started!

Things stayed pretty basic this week for our snacks and salads. I think I might try a new protein ball recipe soon though. This week’s included No Bake Maple Vanilla Latte Protein Bites and Cookie Dough Protein Balls Any suggestions?

One thing that didn’t stay the same: our containers! Just check out those pretty glass Pyrex containers! I finally gave in and upgraded our sad old collection and invested in some quality containers and I gotta say, I’m loving them!

healthy-snacks-and-treats-salads-weekly-food-prep

For our main dish this week, I decided to go with one of our recent favorites: Healthy Slow Cooker Roasted Red Pepper Chicken Chili. Pretty easy to get cooking, delicious and healthy, this recipe has quickly become my go-to! It turned out wonderful, as always.

weekly-food-prep-red-pepper-chicken-chili

And that is it for this week! This meal prep is perfect if you just want to spend a bit of time to make things a little easier on yourself the coming week.

What are you making for your meal prep this week? What is your favorite go-to recipe? I would love to hear about them, so drop an answer in the comments below!

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January in Review, February Goals

Wow, what a start to the new year!! January was full of ups and downs, but I’m feeling pretty positive about what is to come! I promise that this coming week we will be back to normal here on the blog, with meal prep posts and everything.

January Review

Highlights:

vegetable-food-prep-process

  • I did a full meal prep photo session! I can’t wait to show you all what I have planned for a lot of the pictures. They turned out great.
  • My jewelry shop is now set up to sell at 5 upcoming markets! It’s just a start, but a great one!
  • I launched a new series on here that I am super excited about. Sharing Sabrina’s story with you was wonderful and I think you are going to love the ones that are coming up!

Low Points:

  • I got sick with the flu and two ear infections for around half of the month. Needless to say, this made a lot of things I had planned pretty difficult. I’m getting better now, but my regular routine is still really off and I’m having a hard time getting back into things.
  • I strive to be honest on here, so I will share this with you all….I’ve been having a hard time this month with feeling pretty down about my jewelry business and the blog. I love them both, but neither are where I would like them to be. I’m not quitting, not by any means! But it’s been a rough month. Some of that is probably from being sick, but regardless, I’m having a difficult time feeling upbeat about my work lately.

January Goals:

Personal

  1. Spend a day taking down old decorations and putting up new. Put on some music and make it a fun and relaxing day!
  2. Have one “date day” with Draz
  3. Have one day where I spend at least 3 hours on self-care
  4. Go to yoga class once a week

I really did none of these, although up to getting sick I was doing great with the yoga class. And I suppose I spent a lot of time on self-care, but it wasn’t really by choice, so I don’t think that counts.

Blog

  1. Shoot new photos for a planned meal prep project
  2. Shoot photos for an upcoming fitness project

The photos for the meal prep project are done! The fitness shoot ones…nope. These aren’t even set yet, though I am hoping to do them this month.

Business

nymph-in-the-woods-jewelry

  1. Contact 2 bloggers about possible collaborations
  2. Make 10 new pieces of jewelry – This one is only if physically possible. My fingers are still healing from some lingering symptoms from when I was sick back in September.

I’m going to call this one a win! I did make 7 new pieces of jewelry and contacted 4 bloggers. 7 isn’t 10, but considering I was sick half of the month, I say it counts!

Overall, January didn’t go how I hoped it would, but all things considered, it didn’t go to bad. I have high hopes for February though! I have a lot of exciting events coming up this month, so I think it’s going to be great! Due to all of the stuff going on this month, I’m going to try to be a little more reserved in how many goals I set.

February Goals:

Personal

  1. Yoga once a week! This was the goal that I was the most disappointed about not being able to do last month, so that is being carried over.

Blog

  1. Contact 2-3 people about the big project I have in mind about design and implementation

Business

  1. Finish up 10+ new pieces before market on the 10th
  2. Get studio cleaned out for remodel

That’s it for this month! Hopefully this month goes better, with no horrible flu or anything!

How did January go for you? What are some of your goals for February? I would love to hear about them!

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