Thursday, May 4, 2017

May the Fourth be With Us

I originally wanted to wait until today to make the big announcement...I mean, what would have been more perfect than announcing on May the Fourth, aka Star Wars day?!?

But, I couldn't wait another month, so I had to announce last month to family and friends! Haha!

I'm due October 21st, so I will be 16 weeks tomorrow...time for a bump update! :)

Week of Pregnancy: 16 weeks

Baby size: Baby is the size of an avocado this week!

baby is size of avocado

Baby is 4 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and weighs ~3 1/2 ounces. 

A fun website,, also states that the baby is the size of a can of pop, or a can of SPAM, or a duct tape cardboard roll. Haha.

Seriously?!? I'm 35...

Symptoms: Nausea hit me hard just after week 6. Ugh. What's more fun than a Caribbean cruise while you feel sick to your stomach 24/7?? Pretty much anything. So, not the vacation I had in mind, but we still managed to have a good time. I never actually get sick when I'm pregnant, but sometimes I think that would be easier than feeling sick all day if it would make that nausea go away! So I tried both Phenergan and Zofran, but neither provided much relief. Jolly ranchers helped some, but continually popping those all day got old. Ginger beer wasn't bad, but not something I wanted all the time either. Finally, Ethan's teacher gave me the idea of chewing gum (she's also preggo - due today!!)! I don't know why I had never heard of that one in my 3 previous pregnancies, or tried it, but I'm so glad she clued me in. I've been chewing gum pretty much non-stop since then and that has been the biggest help! I am finally getting to the point now where I don't feel like I need it all the time, but I'm still chewing my fair share. Hopefully, complete relief will come soon as I progress farther into this 2nd trimester. The 1st trimester left me exhausted as well. I don't remember being so tired with the others, but this time I was going to bed by 9 pm and still needed an afternoon nap daily! I guess given my "elderly" status this time around, I shouldn't be surprised. Hahahaha. Fortunately, I have more energy now and I'm not requiring as much sleep. I even started my maternity workouts again today! Go me! With most of the nausea and exhaustion behind me, I'd like to start eating better again and working out more regularly. I still have my Beachbody on Demand membership, and Autumn has a great Active Maternity workout. I'd love to go into this delivery in better shape than I usually do. Here's hoping I can keep it up.

Food cravings: Cereal. Cereal. Cereal. This seems to be a trend for me while preggo, but even more so this time around. With Amos, I craved eggs, over easy in the mornings, but this time, I just want a big ol' bowl of cereal. Preferably LIFE right now. I normally crave the sugary kids stuff (i.e., Captain Crunch, Apple Jacks, Sugar Crisp, etc), but this time, adult cereal does the trick. Haha. Add to the list fruit, especially grapes, and all things lemon (I craved lemon with Noah and Amos, too!). I've had to start avoiding the bakery section at Kroger. Their soft top cranberry-orange cookies are my weakness. I'm trying to do better now. I love a glass of ice cold milk with dinner (it literally needs ice cubes in it) and a glass of grape-orange juice at night before bed. A glass of lemonade during the day is awesome, too. Need to work on that sugar intake before gestational diabetes testing time...

Food aversions: Coffee!! :'( So, so sad. I went from drinking my fair share every day to none at week 6. I can't even stand smelling Josh's coffee brew in the morning. Ten weeks later and I'm still not interested. I guess that's good for baby, and I seem to have adjusted to the lack of daily caffeine. With the others, I was still good with my favorite, iced caramel macchiatos, but this time even those don't sound great. I also despised water at the beginning. Not good. Finally a couple weeks ago, I was able to start drinking it again without issues. It just has to be very cold. :)

What I'm excited about: Meeting this little guy/gal! Despite my sister's lack of faith in my ability to go this entire pregnancy without finding out the sex, I am determined. We found out for all 3 of the boys, and with this definitely being our last, it's my final chance to be surprised in the delivery room, so I want to do it. It will probably drive the OCD planner in me insane, but hopefully I'll manage. :)

What I've done to prepare for baby: I've purchased a few gender neutral clothing items. Given the fact that I donated all of the newborn and 0-3 month baby clothes I had (when I thought I didn't want any more babies, sigh), we will need to get some things. Oops! Fortunately, my sister still had all the bigger items that Amos had outgrown, so I'm holding on to those now. ;) I guess it won't matter if it's a girl, but I have a gut feeling this is boy #4!

Funny moment: Amos's preschool teacher let me know that Amos has been talking about being a big brother and that he was going to get the baby out of my belly for me. He's been pretending to get babies out of bellies at school, too. I guess I don't need that midwife. Amos will be a pro after practicing for another ~5 months! LOL.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Amos's {Burlap and Bowties} 1st Birthday Party

Wow. So, looking back through my posts, I see that I never posted about Amos's 1st birthday party!! #thirdbabyproblems  In my defense, it all went down not long before Josh left to work in VA, leaving me with the 3 boys by myself during the week for the next 4.5 months. I don't miss that! I guess I should probably post about this one before I post about his 3rd appears I had most of it ready to go, so I'll fill in the blanks now! :)

Now that I've updated you about Amos's 1st year, it's time to talk about the party!! On my 3rd boy now, I decided it was time to finally do a "little man" bash. So, away I went planning an adorable navy blue, aqua, and lime green "little man"/bowtie-themed party for my little guy. I decided to incorporate burlap to the theme, too, for a "burlap and bowties" party. First on the agenda, the invitations.

I love including photos of the birthday boy on the invites, and I thought it might be fun to make this a 3-D invite, so I added the bowties (made from lime green grosgrain ribbon) with hot glue. :) I also decided to mount the invites on pieces of burlap, to complete the 3-D effect. I was very happy with how they turned out!

After the invitations were mailed, I started brainstorming ideas for the party. To decorate the house, I bought some navy blue, aqua and lime green latex balloons (inflated with helium and hi-float) at the local party supply store. I also bought a 1st birthday balloon and lucked out that the colors coordinated fairly well! I made a custom banner that read "Happy 1st Birthday Amos" using the same bowtie/color theme. I used aqua baker's twine to string together the pendants and made the bowties from burlap. It worked well and looked great! I also made a coordinating banner for his highchair that read "I am 1".

From the mantle, I hung a string of pictures from Amos's first year - the monthly pics I took throughout the year. I decorated this banner with more bowties and put it on a burlap background. I also framed the print I made summarizing his first year.

For the party favors, I bought little burlap bags (from Michaels) and added personalized tags to them. Inside the bags, I added little bags of bright blue, aqua and kelly green chocolate candies (from Fresh Market). I also made clip-on bowties for the boys and bow barrettes for the girls, and added these to the bags. To help decorate the room, I set the bags on our bookshelves and tied a balloon to each one.

This year, I made cake bites for the party guests and a small smash cake for Amos. I used aqua blue candy melts for the vanilla cake bites. I purchased the lime green cupcake liners, to hold the cake bites, from our local party store. All of the plates, bowls, napkins and utensils were purchased at our local party store. I wrapped the utensils in a napkin, then taped a piece of ribbon around the middle to make them look like bowties. For the tables, I used dark blue plastic tablecloths, then draped pieces of burlap on top as table runners. I placed more of the colored chocolate candies in candle holders to make for a colorful centerpiece.

For the dinner menu, I chose:
  • Burger Bites (beef patty sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls)
  • 'Lil Smokies ('Lil Smokies cooked in Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce)
  • Sweet Tator Tots (homemade roasted sweet potatoes cubes)
  • Caprese Skewer Bites (cherry tomatoes, mozzarella pearls and basil)
  • Bowtie Pasta Salad (bowtie pasta, Italian dressing, mini pepperoni, roasted red bell peppers, shredded parmesan)
  • Bowtie Pasta Crunchies (fried bowtie pasta with roasted red pepper hummus)
  • Mini Fruit Pizzas (mixed berries and homemade whipped cream in deep dish sugar cookie)
  • Baby Carrots (served with ranch dressing)
I wanted the food to go with the party theme, which is why I chose the "little" items for our little man. :) Thanks to my sister for helping me get all of the food ready, as usual! We also had homemade vanilla ice cream (courtesy of my dad!) to go with the cake bites. Yum!

Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his day!! :) I sewed the suspenders and bowtie to his plain white onesie for his party outfit. He also wore it for the one-year pics that we had done.

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I added one of the professional pics to a simple thank you note matching the theme. Plenty of room for a sweet thank you for friends and family!

It was an adorable, fun party for my tiniest little man!

Happy 1st Birthday, Amos!

All items you see above are available for customization and purchase. Please contact me via my Etsy shop.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Noah's {Mixels-Themed} 5th Birthday Party

I can't believe that I only posted 3 times in 2016. :( I'm not sure what happened. I guess life got in the way. It could have had something to do with the fact that we moved again, right after Noah's birthday, a couple weeks before school started in Tennessee. Crazy times. I finally feel like we are mostly settled in now, but of course, things will be crazy again soon! More about that later.

Today it's time to catch up on the boys' birthday parties. First up, Noah's 5th birthday. Almost a year behind here, but that's ok. When I asked Noah what he wanted for his birthday party theme for his 5th birthday, he told me he wanted Lego Mixels. In case you don't know what those are, they are adorable little Lego creatures that come in sets of 3. So, away I went planning an adorable Mixels-themed party for my little guy. First on the agenda, the invitations. I love including photos of the birthday boy on the invites, and of course, it also had to include his favorite Mixels guys.

After the invitations were mailed, I started brainstorming (aka, browsing Pinterest and Google) ideas for the party. I made a custom banner that read "Happy 5th Birthday Noah" using the same Mixels theme and decorated with red, yellow and blue balloons. I also used the Mixels themselves to help decorate the room.

Here's an example of the banner letters, close-up. Each letter featured a Mixel character starting with that same letter (i.e., H was Hoogi, A was Aquad, etc). I threaded jute rope through the pendant pieces to hang it. It worked well and looked great!

For the party favors, I bought plain black paper bags and added "Nixels" (the enemies of the Mixels) faces. Inside the bag, there was a bag of "Mixels mix," which I packaged in clear, plastic bags and topped them with tags. The mix consisted of all kinds of brightly colored candy, to represent all the colors of the Mixels. There were also Mixels fake tattoos for the kids to wear.

I made cupcakes for the party again this year. I didn't want to attempt any elaborate decorating of the cupcakes on the day of the party, so I made cupcake wrappers ahead of time to coordinate with the banner and invite elements. Then as part of the fun, the kids got to decorate their own cupcake..."Make-A-Mixadel"! I bought various candies, including candy eyes, so they could have fun with their creations.

I used mason jars for drinks and added kraft paper straws with some cute MIX, MAX and MURP straw flags to complete the look. More Mixels and Nixels to decorate the HYDRO-tion station. :)

For the dinner menu, we chose:

  • ZORCH sliders (grilled pork tenderloin on Hawaiian sweet rolls served with a BBQ-ranch sauce)
  • Hot JAWGS (100% all-beef hot dogs)
  • VULK 'n cheese (homemade mac 'n cheese)
  • BALK beans (baked beans)
  • LEWT berry salad (fruit salad)
  • Fruit GLORP (homemade fruit dip)
  • Fried SPUGS (potato chips)
  • Tomatoes + BUSTO (tomatoes with homemade basil pesto)
  • SNAX Station
  • Make-A-Mixadel Cupcakes
  • Ice KRAMM (vanilla + salted caramel ice creams)
To drink, I had SPLASH punch for the kids (apple juice + Sprite), and AQUAD (water) for the adults. Noah chose all of his favorites for the menu and we worked together to come up with the names for them. :) Yes, I know I have waaaaay too much fun with this.

Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his parties!! :) 

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card to go with the theme.

Because who doesn't love getting something sweet in the mail instead of bills? ;) It was an adorable, fun party for a little guy who loves his Mixels!!

Happy (belated) 5th Birthday to our little middle!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Win some Shakeology!

Don't miss out! As I stated in my live Facebook video (you can watch below!), I'm giving away 2 Shakeology sample packs! Each pack includes a Shakeology bottle, and a vanilla, chocolate, and cafe latte shake packet! Visit the linked site to learn about all the awesome benefits of Shakeology. Contest is open to anyone in the U.S. who is not already a Beachbody customer. Contest runs now through midnight on September 3rd. Two winners will be selected to each win one Shakeology pack. Good luck!! :)

Just follow the prompts on the Rafflecopter widget to enter. You can enter daily by sharing my new Facebook page, Coaching by Kristy!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ethan's {Lego Star Wars Themed} 7th Birthday Party

I'm starting to fall behind here, but figured what better day than "May the Fourth be with You" Day to share about Ethan's Star Wars Lego themed birthday parties this year! I haven't updated you about Ethan's 7th year yet either (hopefully I will soon!), but here are the details (finally) from his parties 2 months ago. Better late than never, right??

He had a Lego Movie theme last year, and Star Wars the year before that, so I guess this was a good mix of the two. ;) Definitely two of his most favorite things anyway! First on the agenda, the invitations. Ethan ended up having three different parties (and I wonder why my boys are spoiled?!?) this year, so I had to make several versions of the invite. The first party was with his classmates from school. We had it at a local bowling alley/laser tag venue. The kids loved it and it was super easy for me! I just showed up with cupcakes and favors and that was it. The kids ate pizza, bowled for awhile, played arcade games, then played a game of laser tag. Tons of fun.

His next party was at our house with my family. My niece, Hannah, had just turned 4 a couple weeks before Ethan's birthday, so we had a fun combined party for the two of them. Luckily, they both love Star Wars and legos, so it made for a fun dark side/light side theme. :) I just printed on both sides of the invite. And yes, as you can see, I have entirely too much fun putting the kids' faces on invites (like I did with Noah and the firetruck a couple years ago). Haha! I used their favorite characters and made them each into tiny legos as well. His final party was with Josh's parents the following weekend. We were all partied out by mid-March, and still recovering a bit now. ;)

To decorate the house,  I made a custom banner that read "Happy 7th Birthday Ethan" using the same theme from the invites. Ethan and I worked together to create the banner, selecting characters for each letter - i.e., Han Solo for H, Admiral Ackbar for A, etc. You can see all the characters below. I strung the pendants together with black yarn and used black glittery cardstock for the spacers. It worked well and looked great! For Hannah, I made one that said "Hannah is 4!" :)
For the party favors, I lucked out and found huge bubble wands that were red and blue light sabers at the dollar spot at Target. Perfect! I made little tags to tie to the handles. Amos was a big fan of those, so I'll let him model them. ;)

This year, I made simple cupcakes for his party with friends. Half had black wrappers and half had silver. The frosting was decorated with edible spray-on color in silver or black. For his party with my family, I made death star cake pops. I hadn't made cake pops in a looooong time, and they are something I still need to work on. :/ They still tasted great though, so no one seemed to mind their lumpiness. :)

The following week, I went back to cupcakes. I had finally received some molds I ordered, so I used candy melts to make Darth Vader and stormtrooper heads to decorate the cupcakes. Yay sugar!

I made light sabers out of the napkins, forks and spoons again. I had done this for his other Star Wars party as well. I found cute Star Wars plates (simple black with silver writing) at Target, as well as the coordinating tablecloth. Unfortunately, most of the pictures I took didn't turn out great because we had just purchased our new camera and I was apparently having focusing issues. Sigh. 

I love a good pun, so for the dinner menu, Ethan and I chose:
  • Pizza the HUTT (Jabba the Hutt)
    • CHEWIE'S cheese pizza (Chewbacca)
    • SITH 'shroom pizza (a sith)
    • HAN'S Hawaiian pizza (Han Solo)
    • VADER'S veggie pizza (Darth Vader)
  • BOBA-que chips (Boba Fett)
  • PRINCESS Lays (Princess Leia)
  • FALCON fruit (Millenium falcon)
  • g-REY-pe sabers (Rey)
  • DROIDIKA dip (a droidika)
  • DEATH STAR cake pops (the death star)
  • JAR JAR drinks (Jar Jar Binks) - drinks were served in mason jars
    • Milk in a JAR JAR
    • JANGO mango juice (Jango Fett)
    • LUKE skywater (Luke Skywalker)

Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his THREE parties!! :)

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card for his friends and added his pic with the present since he opened them at home instead of at his party. :)

Happy 7th Birthday to our biggest little man!

All items you see above are available for customization and purchase through my Etsy shop. You can also visit my website, or find me on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Beachbody Update!

I haven't been very good about blogging lately. I still need to post about Ethan's 7th birthday...that was over a month ago now!! It's been pretty busy around here lately. I'm hoping to get caught up soon though.

So I recently took the plunge and signed up to be a Beachbody coach!! I figured that I love the products so much that I should go ahead and do it, getting myself the coach's discounts, and creating the opportunity to help others find health & fitness again like I have. I truly believe that if I can do this, anyone can do this. Before starting last October, I hadn't done a "workout" since college. And yeah, I'm not 23 anymore! ;) It wasn't easy at first (I had to drag myself up and down stairs for a week or so), but now that I've found a routine, it's kind of like second nature to get up and do my workout before starting my day. I've found that it helps wake me up, gets me moving, instead of feeling like I am dragging all day, and puts me in a better mood. Add on top of that the fact that I'm burning calories, and I'd say it's a win. I love that most of the workouts are just 30 minutes or so. While getting up at 5:30 am is fun and all, I don't want to have to drag my booty out of bed any earlier than that! Some people love going to the gym, the social aspect of it all. Me, not so much. I'm an introvert at heart, and frankly, I prefer to sweat in the privacy of my own home. These workouts are perfect for me. I prefer to have Autumn push me through the TV screen than have a trainer breathing down my neck.

Now that I'm 6 months in to my journey, I've completed 3 rounds of the 21 day fix, 3 rounds of the 21 day fix extreme, an 8-week round of PiYo, and another couple weeks of the 21 day fix extreme. I also did a Beachbody 3-Day Refresh at the beginning of the year, and I continue to drink Shakeology every day. I'm in better shape than I've been since I was rowing my freshman/ sophomore years of college, and I now weigh less than I did both before kids and before I got married!! Things are distributed a little differently than they used to be, but I'm working on that. ;) As you can see, a huge change from where I was 6 months ago. I'm down 23 pounds and 11 inches (measuring shoulder, chest, waist, hips, one thigh, and one calf). I still have some problem areas to work on, but the proof is in the pics. This "diet" and exercise routine works. That's what I love most about it - it's not a diet. It's eating a portioned amount of healthy, real foods. I don't feel hungry at the end of the day, or like I'm starving throughout the day. By spreading my meals/snacks out throughout the day, I keep blood sugar stable and energy levels up. I'm still working on the little cheats I keep finding on the weekends (my sweet tooth is a force to be reckoned with!!), but overall, I do a great job throughout the week at least.

As you can see, it's possible to lose weight without eating salads every day. I actually don't really even like salad that much. It's ok, and I'll eat it if I have to, but I've found that if I cook/roast my veggies, I actually love them, and I don't have to force them down.

With the 21-day fix, you're provided color-coded containers and you figure out how many calories you should eat based on your current weight. I'm currently in the 1500-1799 range (for a little bit longer at least!). Based on your calorie range, you are given a certain number of each container to eat. I get 4 green containers (veggies), 3 purple containers (fruits), 4 red containers (protein), 3 yellow containers (carbs), 1 blue container (healthy fats), 1 orange container (seeds/dressings), and 4 teaspoons (oils and such). I'm not very good about getting my orange containers in, but I normally get all of the others. This sample meal plan from my day one contains all of my containers for the day except the orange. As you can see, it is a TON of food!! No starving myself here! Here's my detailed meal plan for the day:

  • Breakfast (344 calories)
    • GREEN: sautéed bell peppers, onion, spinach
    • RED: 2 eggs, over easy
    • YELLOW: 1 slice whole grain toast
    • PURPLE: 2 clementines
    • TEASPOON: 1 tsp EVOO
  • Morning snack (176 calories)
    • GREEN: spinach
    • RED: 1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
    • FREE: 2 espresso ice cubes
  • Lunch (413 calories)
    • GREEN: roasted Brussels sprouts
    • YELLOW (2): quinoa
    • PURPLE: mixed fruit (grapes, raspberries, clementine)
    • TEASPOON: 1 tsp EVOO
  • Afternoon snack (436 calories)
    • PURPLE: Granny Smith apple
    • RED: vanilla Greek yogurt
    • BLUE: chopped walnuts
  • Dinner (225 calories)
    • GREEN: roasted broccoli
    • RED: Cajun sautéed shrimp
    • TEASPOON: 2 tsp EVOO
  • TOTAL: 4 green, 4 red, 3 yellow, 3 purple, 1 blue, 4 tsp; 1594 calories

To make things, easy, I actually eat these same items every Mon/Wed/Fri, only changing up the dinners for the rest of my family's sake. :) I do normally cook a carb for them to eat with dinner, but I try to eat all of my fruits and carbs before 6 pm, which means before dinner for me. Sometimes I will have a carb with dinner, but not as often.

Beachbody is currently doing a #summerstrong challenge through the end of May. I am completing the 21-day fix extreme for this, but there are other exercise program options as well. Once I finish this, I'm planning to start either the T-25 program with Shaun T (the P90X guy), or the Master's Hammer & Chisel with Autumn and Sagi. There are so many great options depending on the type of workout you're wanting. I'm so happy I made the decision last fall to let Coach Fraley start me off on my journey and I can't wait to start helping others in my situation, too!! Contact me, visit my Beachbody website, or comment below, if you'd like more info! I'm getting my body beach-ready, are you?? ;)

October 2015                        March 2016

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Start of My Journey and What I'm Drinking Now {recipe}

I love Starbucks' fancy sugary drinks. I'll admit it. I actually prefer to find local coffee shops to get my drinks, but let's face it. I have 3 young boys and a peaceful afternoon, spent relaxing at a local coffee shop just doesn't happen often for me anymore. Enter Starbucks. All of my local Target stores have one. Super convenient. I can get the little ones some cake pops to keep them happy quiet for a minute, then indulge in my favorite Starbucks beverage, along with a cake pop of my own (who am I kidding? They were a favorite of mine as well!). And since I like visiting Target 1-2 times a week at a minimum, my Starbucks consumption was starting to get a bit out of hand. I definitely contribute part of my recent balloon in weight gain to them. That plus a nightly glass of moscato, or riesling, and desserts as I pleased, and I was soon staring at a number on the scale that I had never before seen. Ouch. Enter Beachbody.

I've tried other things in the past for losing weight. It's a constant battle. I haven't been a skinny girl since I was probably 9 years old, despite staying active playing sports in Jr. High and High School, then also in college, too! They're usually fairly successful, but committing to them long term has always been a problem for me. The being preggo 3 times didn't help either though these past 7 years. I'm usually able to lose the baby weight fairly quickly, but after weaning my youngest this spring, and not being preggo for a change, I found my weight climbing regardless. It was time to do something. Looking back at what I'd learned in college/grad school, using the stages of change theory, I was there. I was finally ready to commit to a lifestyle change. I was ready for action. So I contacted my friend, Angela, a Beachbody coach, and told her I was ready to try the 21-day fix. And so began my journey.

I'm currently part of a 90-day challenge to challenge myself to lose weight this holiday season vs putting on another 10-15 lbs of holiday weight, because there was no way my body could take any more weight! I'm getting rid of the #excessbaggage. I'm now a month into my journey (in the middle of my 2nd round of Beachbody's 21-day fix). I've lost 10 lbs and I am so much stronger already than where I started. My measurements are down and I'm feeling good. Some days, it is still rough to wake up and workout at 5:30 am before the kids gets up, but I always feel better if I do. I love that I can workout in the comfort of my own home. Gyms have never really been my thing and with Josh traveling quite a bit, the opportunity for me to conveniently visit one regularly is just not possible. The 21-day fix workouts are challenging, but have the ability to be modified, if needed. It's a range of workouts from total body cardio, to upper body or lower body focuses, pilates, and even yoga. I love it. Well, not always (some mornings I still yell at Autumn), but for the most part I do. ;) For me, I would much rather do the workouts than go out and run a few miles. That's just not my cup of tea. The meal plan is easy to follow, too. You just figure out your target number of calories, which corresponds to the number of containers you get for the day. I still get to eat plenty of food and I never feel like I'm starving. I'm fueling my body with awesome, wholesome foods, which makes a difference in how I feel. I no longer feel lethargic all day, with killer heartburn in the evenings. I feel good. It shows, too. My skin has been looking great as well! The saying "you are what you eat" really is so true.

Before pics on left, after pics on right - these were my results after just 21 days!

I was so happy that as a part of this challenge, I don't have to give up coffee. But, I'm not a huge fan of drinking it black, with just a little sweetener. Enter Shakeology. I am still enjoying my coffee, my much needed source of caffeine (hello, I have 3 little, high-energy boys, remember?!?), and I'm not feeling a bit guilty about it. Why is that? Because by adding it to my shake, which is an amazing nutrient-dense drink, it's like drinking a frappuccino, but without all the extra calories and sugar. And mine includes an amazing amount of nutrients, too. Take a look...

To make my shake, I use 8 oz unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1 scoop shakeology, 1/2 tsp Pure Via turbinado raw cane sugar/stevia blend, 2 espresso ice cubes, and 4 regular ice cubes. Blend and enjoy!

To make espresso ice cubes, simply take 1 shot of espresso and put it in an ice cube tray and freeze! It's really that simple. I recently had a Starbucks free reward to redeem (you get one after every 12 purchases), so you guessed it - I had them fill a venti-sized cup with straight espresso. That's 20 ounces, or 20 shots, of espresso! What a steal! ;) And that will last me for 10 shakes. :) I love how when you freeze it, it doesn't dilute at all. It's an almost buttery little cube of caffeine when you get it out of the tray. Yum. It keeps the drink nice and strong like an actual frappuccino vs using just brewed coffee.

My Vanilla Espresso Shake has just 171 calories vs the 370 in the Caffe Vanilla Frappuccino (which is one of the lowest in calories of their frozen drinks by using nonfat milk and no whipped cream). It also has just 9 g sugar vs the 86 g in the frappuccino. Yes, you read that correctly 86 GRAMS!! Mine also offers 4 g of fiber and 17 g of protein! That doesn't even touch on the plethora of vitamins and minerals it has as well. It is truly a meal in a glass. And it's what I'm drinking now!

I still have a long, long way to go before I'm at where I want to be. Where I need to be. But at least I'm moving in the right direction now.