Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A day in the life...

As a person who has worked a majority of her adult life, since I started staying home I don't really take into account that Monday to Friday are work days, I don't consider staying at home "work" because I've had to do all I do on a daily basis plus work full time and at one time I also was in school full time. So, I consider my days fairly easy and take joy in the fact I can stay home and just have my home as my "work" for now.

So, here is a new take on What I Ate Wednesday

So, I figured I would show y'all what a day in the life is like over here.

This is a Monday which is typically my busiest day of the week as it is the day I try and run all my errands as well as get a good majority of my cleaning done.

So...without further ado...

Wake up, put in a load of laundry, unload dishwasher, grab banana, water, and make coffee.

*My precious*

I am almost always starving as soon as I get up so the banana is some quick fuel. I make coffee for me and the teen as I put her lunch together and on her desk.

Sit down to finish coffee and eat breakfast with the teen. We chit-chat, check social media, and just enjoy this first meal of the day together. Please don't get on my case about us checking our social media accounts. Morning is basically the only time we get to really check what everyone is up to (since they are all our family and friends are anywhere from 6-12 hours behind us) we talk about what is going on, so it works for us.

Get her out the door to school, grab a tablespoon of peanut butter and do a little blogging and sharing stuff for blog on social media.

Shortly after hubby wakes up we get some cuddle time in...I poke my head over the shower and chit chat about what he has going on for the day (I will spare you the visual, although I am sure we are utterly adorable haha)

Get him out the door then pop in a workout DVD and get my workout on.

Fix a post workout snack and check blog stuff one more time while half listening to some NPR podcast.

Get presentable for public.

Almost ready to run out the door then I realize I am hungry and hungry + grocery store=disaster. So I make a salad for lunch.

Devour because after an insanity dvd and post workout breakfast I am of course going to starve to death...#firstworldproblems

Put laundry in dryer, but can't start because I finally have to make that trip to the grocery store.

Now, I bet you think I forgot about grocery shopping, but nope, I am now finally ready to bundle up and head to the store.

Battle the elderly for my groceries (actually today isn't half bad because it is Monday which is why I come on Monday's)...

After the stress that is packing my groceries-we have to pack our own and these people have it down to a science, but not me, I freak out and can't get it done fast enough- I enjoy the walk home since it is sunny...

Put groceries away, start cleaning. I do a few basic chores every Monday that I feel keep the house in tip top shape:
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Dust (kiddo actually does this)
  • Vacuum
  • Mop floors
  • Wash sheets and make beds (kiddo does hers)
  • Clean windows and mirrors (again, another kiddo chore)
  • Wipe down furniture (this is one we split, whoever gets to it first)
All of these together only take about an hour to 90 minutes depending on the size of my apartment at the time. Right now, because we have a lot of floor space we are closer to the 90 minutes, but 90 minutes once a week ain't so bad.

Fold laundry and transfer sheets.

Work on cards or other projects.

Lately getting back into embroidery has been my bigger project. I am currently working on a collection of embroidered cards I hope to show off soon!

Make beds.

Have tea and a snack with the teenager once she is home from school.
This Winter Mint Tea is a great pick-me-up.

As she starts homework I prep dinner.

Cook dinner/eat dinner...

Clean up from dinner.
  • Do dishes (kiddo)
  • Wipe down counters
  • Wipe down glass cabinets
  • Pack lunch for tomorrow
  • Make sure breakfast is set for tomorrow
  • Start dishwasher
Relax, check social media, do some reading or watch an Eppy of Mad Men.

The teen and I watch an eppy of Gilmore Girls while sipping our Sleepytime Tea.

I didn't watch this when it was a new show...too much going on with life at the time but have totally fallen in love with it and am so glad our cable channel here is showing the series all the way through.

After this I brush my teeth, wash my face, take a bath, and then retire to my bedroom where I check my calendar for tomorrow, make any to do lists to get stuff off my mind, write in our couples gratitude journal, check pinterest, read, and spend some QT with the hubby if he isn't working late.

Finally we go to bed about 11pm that way I get my mandated 8 hours-otherwise I am a zombie.

So, tell me, what does a day in your life look like?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Currently, Vol. 2

Well, this weekend sure was a busy one! The hubby left on a business trip and the kiddo had a showcase for cheerleading plus my Scottish friend had a get together for Burn's Night. So much fun to be had, it passed all too quickly! But, here's a run down, plus my currently.

Saturday I took the kiddo down town and we found a floating bike rack...because, ya know, it is Amsterdam and when you have underutilized floating space you turn it in to stuff...

After some shopping we grabbed some pasta and I'm such a little old lady with my Ginger Ale, but I have to stop drinking carbonated beverages they really hurt my stomach.

Then I headed to my friend's house for burns was so fun and the Haggis was delicious! ...seriously, I actually really enjoyed it.

Sunday after the kiddo's cheer competition we had to go buy a printer so stopped at this Asian restaurant. The Ajax had either just played or were getting ready to play and the place was PACKED! So packed you could hardly even get in the restaurant, but that was the bar part the part to eat at was nearly empty! ha!

Check out the rest of the party over at Choose Happy

Thinking about...the hubby. He is out of town on a business trip then he is going to visit our parents over the weekend before he comes home. He get to be there for Super Bowl, so fun! 

Wishing for....some bbq sauce, a box of kraft dinner, and a fit bit and possibly a copy of the Thug Kitchen Cookbook  *hint, hint, wink, wink*, but he really didn't have much room left in his bags, so his safe return will do just fine!

Thankful for....all the one-on-one time I'm getting with this girl. Over the last few days we made some t-shirts together. She sat with me while I embroidered this Nirvana Quote for her and we worked together to churn out 5 other shirts for her. This is quality time and I feel like I am teaching her something valuable about homesteading like embroidering/sewing, ironing, and creativity by creating your own clothes.

The shirts we've made are all her idea...I just helped execute! To see more of the shirts we created come on over to Instagram. Lots and lots of coffee. And sugar. Lots and lots of sugar. I am trying to cut down to just my morning coffee and I am trying to cut down on the amount of sugar I use in it. I am a coffee and sugar addict and my lower abs are not happy with that. As reference check my photo from burns upper and middle abs are there, my obliques are looking awesome but that fabulous genetically inherited pot belly needs to go. So, sugar is the first thing to go. Next week...upping the veggies hardcore, but one step at a time.
This was the humorous picture I sent to the husband when I told him I needed coffee and he said get some! So I did! 

Watching...Mad Men. I was talking about it with a friend who visited a couple weeks ago and he said it was a great series. I thought since I went to high school with a guy who is in it I should give it a watch...Netflix has all the seasons. I am totally addicted and can not get enough! I'd be interested to know how much the series actually reflects life in the '60s because some of that stuff is shocking! 

Laughing about....this horse and carriage I saw riding down the bike path today! My pictures suck because it was moving at a pretty decent rate and iPhone + quick moving horses + balancing on my bike = we are lucky I even got pictures and lived to tell about it! ha! I will say though either I am the only one who noticed the horse and carriage on the bike path or I'm the only one who found it amusing because everyone else was passing this sucker and paying it no nevermind....Oh Amsterdam. How I love you and your people.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 2015 #5

So, do y'all realize this week is the last week in January?! Last. That means there are only 11 more months left in this year people. I need to check back over my goals and seriously reassess. Get some balls rolling as the year is just disappearing!

Life Goals
Speaking of disappearing, how is your goal planning going if you do that sort of thing? Last week I set the following goals:
  • Last week
    • Last week I reevaluated some business goals and instead of playing catch up I set new, more manageable goals. 
    • Worked on Dutch 3 times-getting some of the basics. 
    • Stuck to my menu 6/7 days, not too shabby...the one day I didn't follow the menu we really needed to use up leftovers!
  • This Week
    • Continue Dutch try and go for 5 times this week.
    • Get Etsy shop designed and live
    • Follow menu and go for 7/7
    • Start to get some running miles in, despite the cold.
Fitness Goals

  • Vertical Plyo +1 mile
  • Back to core, 2 miles and relief
  • Vertical Plyo and relief
  • Speed and agility, 1 mile
  • Game day, 1 mile, relief
  • Rest/Relief
  • X-Trainer (Asylum Vol. 2)

Anyhoodles. We are back at menu planning. I feel like I did great at sticking to my menu last week. I am pretty sure it is all due to the prep. Easy, healthy meals were had and there was no "oh-mi-gosh it is 5pm what do I eat now?!". So, that prep will be happening yet again.

  • Apple banana quinoa cups with potatoes x3
  • Acai bowls x2
  • Apple and spice breakfast lentils
  • Leftovers...we have a cheer competition so it will really all depend on the times there.
  • Me:
  • I will prep these ahead then eat them all week changing out the protein and other additions on my salad all week.
    • Make a big batch of kale and quinoa minestrone
    • Big spinach salad and dressing 
  • Kiddo
    • PBJ on leftover sweet potato pancakes with chopped fruit and kale x2
    • Leftovers x2
    • Eat out one day
  • Weekend
    • Vegan pizza buns and salad
    • Sunday will depend, I will try and bring stuff for us but if there will be restaurants nearby the venue we will just eat out.
  • I'm really going for cleaning out the pantry and freezer here so most of this stuff I already have on hand, grocery trip will be small and easy on the budget!
    • Maple baked lentils
    • Vegan fried rice  (this will use up any leftovers and any veggies that are about to go bad)
    • Stamppot (I've been seeing stuff for this in the grocery store. It is a dutch dish that I will post more about later)
    • Lentil-bean tacos with steamed veggies (this dish uses up the triple lentil soup I made two weeks ago and froze and some black beans I've had in the freezer)
    • Soup and panini's...we will use up the kale and quinoa minestrone I made for lunches earlier this week
    • Roasted red pepper pasta with spinach
    • Sunday will be leftovers. Just raid the fridge and pantry and eat whatever, I doubt we will be hungry if we eat while we are out, so going simple here.
Well, that is it for me this week, what do you have going on?

P.S. Join the rest of the party over at Mommy Run Fast, Jill Conyers, and I'm and Organizing Junkie.

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 easy ways to be polite...

Remember a while back when I wrote about my pet peeve, rude behaviour? Well, I am back, but with a slightly more positive spin on things. I recently joined the #1000Speak campaign and that got me to thinking of a few basic ways to be polite throughout your daily life. These truly are basic tasks that will not require anything extra out of your day nor cost you anything monetarily. Being polite or kind needn't cost anything but a few moments to remember basic manners we were all taught as a child. In today's society we are all so hurried and can't get anywhere fast enough or gazing at our phones that sometimes I think we all just need a gentle reminder that those basics you were taught as a toddler and then as a small child still ring true. So, here we go....
  1. The use of "Please" and "Thank You". These are words that are not hard to utter and should be something you learned as soon as you could talk! Thank your customers, thank your cashier, say please when ordering or when asking someone to pass you something. If someone sends you something call them and thank them or send them a card. These are things that do not take a lot of time and they really foster human interaction. 
  2. Smile. Again something that isn't hard to do, but so few people actually do it! Smiling can lift not only your mood, but the mood of those around you. I have never met a person that if you are smiling won't smile back! I have tested this theory in three countries now and every time I smile at someone they smile back! Here in Holland I've had people wave too (I'm sure they figured they must know me, but makes me happy just the same haha). So smile it is a small gesture and can completely turn your day around.
  3. Move over on the sidewalk/don't look at your phone when walking. If you are walking a few people wide and don't go single file forcing someone else to walk in the is just rude. Plain and simple. The world doesn't revolve around you and moving behind those you are walking with to make room for others to quickly pass you is such a small gesture that shows you are thinking of others. Also, when walking don't look at your phone. I have seen several instances lately of people walking in to others/poles/trash cans all because checking their phone was so important. Guess isn't! If it is...walk to the side somewhere and respond to whatever it is, give it full attention or call the person....and not on a blue tooth.
  4. Blue tooth speakers/people who love to talk on the phone on the train/tram/in a coffee shop...stop, just stop. You look weird and aren't quiet. In fact you are usually louder than if the person were sitting right next to you...we don't care about your conversation and you shouldn't want us to hear it.
  5. Hold the door. Seriously, if you see someone exiting right behind you or coming in as you are leaving, just hold the door...don't let it slam in someone's face. There is no call for it and it will really brighten their day...oh and smile at them as they go in or out of the door...double politeness whammy right there! BOOM!
So, there ya go, five simple ways to go about spreading kindness in your day. The world will thank you for it and so will your mind. Thinking of others is a natural boost for you and for those around you. People will notice when you take them into consideration and with all that is going on in the world today we could all use to spread a little kindness and cheer.

1000 Voices, A roar for compassion, #1000Speak

Compassion is defined as "sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings of others."

Today, compassion is definitely lacking in today's society. I even find myself sometimes hardening to people's choices. This movement though, reminds me above all I must retain my humanity and try to be understanding of people's choices.

Over the next few weeks I will be focusing on what compassion means to me and ways to show compassion each day, whether it be to a stranger or someone in my own family. 

Everyday people suffer through ordeals none of us can imagine, or maybe you can. Sometimes we judge or gossip, when really we should be lending an ear, a shoulder, maybe a hand to help ease the burden of these troubles for others. 

One voice can make a difference, but it seems like it is but a whisper. However, if you put 1000 voices together, it now becomes a roar...a sound that can hardly be ignored. ...and that is exactly what we intend to do. I am part of a movement, 1000 Voices for Compassion, founded by Yvonne Spence and Liz Rodgers they want us, as bloggers, vloggers, or whatever else it is you may do on the internet and come together on February 20th and publish a post on compassion.

This can be anything in regards to compassion: a story, a poem, a song, just some way to flood the blog-o-sphere with positive stories and bring happiness to those who are reading. We all need a little compassion in our lives and it will make us kinder, gentler people if we have that in the forefront of our minds. 

If you have something to share and are a blogger, come on over to the 1000 Voice for Compassion  Facebook group and join us, we are so close! However, if you aren't a blogger and would still like to join in on the positivity train you can contact the ladies who run the 1000 Speak Blog or you can contact me at katen21 at gmail dot com and I can publish for you. 

So, tell me, what does compassion mean to you? 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What I Ate Wednesday +Asylum Diary

This week has been productive to say the least...lots of blogging, lots of projects, housekeeping duties attended to, and looking forward to more fun at the end of the week. Lately I have been watching Mad Men on Netflix...I didn't watch it when it first came out but I am really enjoying it. I find it so scandalous how they treated people back then!

But, today we are talking food and workouts. I am showcasing my eats from Monday.  I have been doing a decent job following my meal plan for this week though, which that seems to be a problem for me as I lose motivation about Tuesday night usually ;) haha

As soon as I get up, I eat. I have to. Eight hours is just too long for me to go without food. So I have a glass of water and a banana straight away (great for your digestive system if you get my drift...)

Then coffee 'cause duh!

Then breakfast/preworkout:

Oats. So yum. I do 6 tablespoons of oats to 9 tablespoons of water add in some fruit or sweet potato puree or pumpkin puree (I was boring and left those out), coconut oil, peanut butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Post workout snack. A nice heaping glob of Peanut butter with apple slices and raisins.

Lunch: Leftover triple lentil soup with leftover sweet potato and mushrooms.

Since this was Monday and the kiddo had a particularly rough day (and we all know mental health is very important and chocolate is the best RX there is!) so,  I ran up to the bakery and grabbed these for us: 

These brownies were amazing. Seriously, the best, I have to keep myself away from this place as it is only 2 blocks away and very accessible. Thank goodness they close at like 5pm.

Dinner was fab. The whole concoction sounds weird I know, but the kiddo had two servings of the cauliflower and mushrooms...and she even said the leeks were "ok". She ate the inside which was harder, she isn't one much for wilted greens.

Dinner: BBQ mushrooms and cauliflower with some onion thrown in at the end for crunch served with garlic toast, braised leeks, and homemade applesauce.

Asylum Diary
This is my 3rd week of Insanity Asylum. I have not been perfect, but I am making up for it. I am seeing results though. I can do 1.5 pull ups now, I am seeing more ab definition, and I just feel so much more amazing. 

The end of last week I don't have much to talk about after Thursday every day was a rest day...ha!

Monday: Game day. 
I did not want to do this one. I hate sports, especially organized sports, and I hate them even more so if they involve a ball of some sort. So, needless to say, doing sports training is not really my "thing". However, this one was a blast! It covered all sorts of sports starting with running/track, then to football, soccer, tennis, skating, swimming/surfing, rock climbing, and baseball. There may have been more but I was busy trying to keep up ;) The hardest thing for me were the mountain climber agility jacks...those things were bonkers! The exercise I just can't do yet were the two types of pull ups. You had to pull up and hold then move your hands to different grips and I can pull up and hold but the minute I take a hand off to switch my grip I lose control and come down. I will get there eventually though!

Tuesday: Vertical Plyo. I think this is my favorite workout.. It goes by fast, is under 45 minutes and is just fun. I was really sore today, but I worked as hard as I could and I feel like I got an amazing sweat on. 

Workouts on schedule:

Today: Back to core and relief. 
Thursday: Strength and relief
Friday: Speed and agility
Saturday: Strength
Sunday: Overtime
Monday: Vertical Plyo
Tuesday: Back to core
Wednesday: Vertical Plyo and relief

Next week is my last week with Insanity Asylum Vol. 1, I can't wait to see my results and move on to Vol. 2 next month!

How are you taking care of yourself this week?

Also, check out the rest of the party with Jenn over at Peas and Crayons.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

5 Great Activities When Stuck Inside!

Oh man, you know when it is pouring rain, really cold, or snowy and you are just stuck inside?! I know that feeling, we have had plenty of it over here...mostly rain though so it really isn't very pretty to look at; oh, and please, don't get me started on the wind! It is making it quite impossible to even ride our bikes. I mean look at this...

So, to keep you entertained this winter I will share with you a few of our favorite ways to keep busy as a family when we are stuck inside!

Cabin fever can get all of us. For me it really strikes about halfway through January. So, to keep it away we try not to just lay around all day, we want to interact and bond as a family, so here are five ways we stay active and have fun inside at home!

One of our favorite activities is playing a game. Any game. Board game, card game, Wii game, etc. Anything that gets us together as a family and interacting is where it's at...if you need some suggestions on great games check out this post.

 2. Bat Around Balloons
This can be done the old fashioned way by just tapping it around with a partner using your hands or, if you want to get real fancy and stuff you can make paddles out of wire coat hangers and old tights.

3. Make a catching game
Above you see we recycled two old milk jugs and used something we had as a "ball" (ours was a duck lol) and we would just toss it around catching the "ball".

4. Have a dance party

5. Build a Fort
Contrary to popular belief you are NEVER too old for this ;)

These are some fun ways we like to get active when it is too cold to go outside. What sort of fun things does your family do when it is too cold to go outside?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Currently, Vol. 1

I've decided to join Becky over at Choose Happy BB for her new weekly link-up of "Currently". Currently is a fun weekly update about what is going on in my life! I love these and would love to know what is going on in your life!

Currently Thinking About....
I am currently thinking about a lot of things. I don't get super personal and try to keep things positive 100% of the time and this definitely won't be sad, but my brain is actually pretty active and it is super stressful, I have really got to figure out how to calm all the noise down. But, forefront on my mind is Miss Thang up there...being an expat and a teenager that moves around a lot isn't easy, I know this and I try to be sympathetic. In daily life you come into contact with a lot of different personalities and sometimes those personalities mesh really well and sometimes they don't. Right now, those personalities are not meshing. She had a really close friend that she is arguing with off and on and when the arguing is on it is stressful for all involved. Hopefully things will be learned from girls on both sides and as parents we can just talk to them, keep the lines of communication open, and hope they make the right decisions and do their best to keep things civil. These teenager years are hard and I hope they remember all these little things (boys, clothes, etc) will all soon someday be forgotten and all that will be left are memories and all the fun things they did together, I hope they can remember that during these times of hormonal arguments.

Well there are two things I am loving, first is all the time I can get with this guy. We had almost a whole weekend together because Friday night the kiddo volunteered and served dinner at charity event (where she was the main Dutch speaker, the world as we know it is ending lol) and then Saturday night she went to a friends house to work on cheerleading and then didn't get home until Sunday evening! So, we have had a lot of QT and he has a business trip that takes him away all next week so I will be glad when that week is over!

Second thing I am loving...
Is having an expat friend here who loves exploring the culture and the chance to live in Europe as much as I do! Each week her and I get together and spend the day doing something that explores European living or Dutch culture in some way. We fell into this by going to the free concerts at the National Ballet and Opera and since those haven't started back up yet we are exploring other fun things to do and see around the city.

I just finished Flawless by Jan Moran. Great book and a quick read. Can't wait to start the second one in this series today.

I am also working on "personal development" this year and the first book I am reading is....

I a working on learning some more Dutch beyond basic greetings and pleasantries. This is not easy as with my accent pronunciation can be hard, but if I go in with confidence no one usually corrects me, if it is really horrible they laugh and practice with me until either they give up or I get one ever says which...or maybe I just can't understand them! haha oh the joys of being ignorant! :P

We have a lot of breaks coming up so I am actually planning quite a number of things. The first thing I am planning is our early spring break at the end of February. We will be seeing a lot of things around Amsterdam focusing our efforts on a lot of the Jewish history and WWII. Second, I am planning our May Break, we have a few places we would like to visit but won't know until two weeks before break where we are going as that is when the train tickets are the cheapest. The only thing we do know is we are getting there via train! Lastly, we are already planning our summer holiday for Barcelona. We are looking to stay a week where the hubby comes in at the weekend. We will be doing some surfing, sup'ing, and just having a relaxing European beach holiday.

Oh baking I don't do much of you since moving to Europe! But...this week I will be baking these beauties for snack...

Check out my weekly menu for more snack ideas.

Thankful for
The opportunity to live in Europe. This was a long time dream of mine and the fact that it actually became a reality is still going strong in me. I think it also helps that my friend and I get together once a week to see the sites and explore something new so that keeps this whole experience fresh and exciting for me. 

So, that is what is currently happening in my world! What is happening in yours? I would love to hear about it!