Menu planning vs menu doing

It all starts with a nice solid plan. You know? You take the inspiration from cookbooks, Pinterest, fitness blogs, Facebook, Instagram, or what have you. You put pen to paper, stylus to screen, or fingers to keyboard and you’re off! Meatless Monday,  Tenderloin Tuesday, leftovers Wednesday, chicken Thursday, pizza Friday, tacos Saturday, and Sunday you do it all over again! At least,  that’s the plan. 

This week, I got pretty far, actually. I made the menu, made the corresponding grocery list, bought said groceries, and boiled the eggs. Then,  well. 


Little Elfkin started getting sick.  Like,  both of us missed work, worked from home, and kept her out of daycare for days kind of sick. I managed to boil a couple eggs, but really, the majority of my time was spent trying to make her comfortable and watch for changes. 

We were supposed to have a paleo breakfast bake for this week’s breakfasts. We ate a lot of cereal and/or bought breakfast on the way to the office while the other parent stayed home. 

Side note: Affogato Strada Espresso is delicious. 

*weak stomach warming, skip this paragraph*

Ohhh Roseola. Not fun.  SO not fun. The thought of cooking goes right out the window when your little one is burning up,  throwing up, and refusing to eat. Her fever got so bad at one point that it caused her to throw up, even though she hadn’t eaten anything.  Poor dear. Poor Jeff, too! She got him completely and stunned him.. that didn’t stop the process, though, so she also got the floor, the changing table, and my foot. All Jeff could say was “it’s HOT.”


So, off to the ER we went, where they told us that “sometimes, sick kids throw up.” …real insightful. 

All this to say: the menu was planned, but the menu was not done. The thing is, life will always be busy and hectic and in the way. I know how to not go completely off the rails, though! Some of it is planning ahead, yes, but more of it is sticking to my plan even when nothing else does. For example, when we had Jersey Mikes, I got a “sub in a tub,” and saved about 300 calories. When having pizza, I loaded it with veggies and split half with Jeff, even though it’s a personal pizza. At the gas station, I tried to pick snacks and meals that fit into my day by checking it on My Fitness Pal (sn: Aminarra) first and making a decision based on that. 

Now, if you open my refrigerator, you’ll find cherries that have gone soft, avocado that’s seen better days, and iceberg lettuce turning yellow instead of pale green.

This week’s plan is to salvage what I can and go from there. It’s always a bit grating to waste food, so we’ve learned to live with wrinkly peppers and to adjust our expectations. The plan is much simpler this time around. Oatmeal for breakfasts, batch cooked chicken for dinner, and either salad or sandwiches for lunch. I picked up some fruit at the grocery store because whole food is fast food. This is a plan I can stick to even if life goes crazy again. It’s not easy, but is doable. So just do it. 

Paleo Pumpkin Pecan Porridge 

With honey, vanilla, cinnamon and raisins. 

Originally, this was going to be a recipe from Practical Paleo, but then I realized that I was missing some very key ingredients like tahini and coconut, and I had an extra ingredient: pecans. 

I used that recipe as the inspiration for this one and it was lovely. 

  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans, pulverized
  • 1/4 cup water 
  • 1/4 cup raisins 
  • Honey to taste

Are you ready for the hard part? Put it all in a pot, mix it up, then heat to your desired temperature. Easy as that!

Here, I garnished it with a whole pecan, a cluster of raisins, and a swirl of honey. 

Level up with loot!

This is not a sponsored post. It’s also about a month old because I never hit “publish” lol..


I’ve been chugging along for 2 months to the day,  back on the wagon.  I took my weights and measures today to see how I did and the results were less than stellar. 

In case you can’t read my chicken scratch,  I summarized the results by saying that the difference could just be in the way the measurements are taken. There is no concrete change one way or another. 

I’m motivated to keep going. Despite the heat,  I’m still jazzed about Pokémon GO. Earlier this week,  I walked for 2.5 miles just to hit up a pokemon gym. 

I don’t even walk that far to the regular gym. Of course,  that’s because I quit my membership,  but still.  Hahaha 😁

My most consistent work out has been playing with Little Elfkin. We go for walks,  which is great for my core because in bent over holding her little hands. I rough house,  which is great for lats and traps because I throw her into the air and catch her multiple times daily. 

To keep the motivation going,  I’ve developed a Loot List:

  1. Trip to Target (something from the One Spot)
  2. New nail Polish
  3. New book
  4. Fun pens
  5. New t-shirt
  6. ???

I’m just weeks away from my first big loot, which is the shirt featured at the top of this post. Active Apparel might just be a new go-to for big loot at the end of challenges. I already ordered the shirt and even received it, but I’m saving it up as a reward for a 4 week nerd fitness challenge or something similar. I see the package daily and really want to earn it. 

A quick reflection on menu planning

In talking to a friend tonight I realised that,  not only had I not blogged in a while,  but I hadn’t planned a menu in a while either.  We’ve been experimenting, in my house,  with buying meat in bulk but buying produce daily. This has added up to an empty fridge,  frozen meat, and an increase in reliance on fast and processed foods. I think this is because our time always seems pressed during the week.  We’re rushing to work,  rushing to get Little Elfkin from day care,  rushing to get home to feed her, making sure to nourish her mind and her body with story time,  play time, bath time, and bed. Honestly,  by the time she conks out, I’m ready to pass out too! I’m cutting into my sleep time to make this menu and reflect: menu planning would be so much easier if you didn’t also have to make the grocery list, buy the ingredients, and actually cook. 

I’m going to try to find time for:

  • Swirly Crustless Quiche 
  • Pumpkin pancakes
  • Grain free porridge
  • Salmon
  • Mustard glazed chicken thighs
  • Zucchini pancakes
  • Buffalo chicken lettuce wraps
  • Sweet potato and apple soup
  • Sage roasted turkey legs
  • Spaghetti squash bolognese
  • Bacon wrapped smoky chicken
  • Sausage and pepper stew
  • Turkey meatballs and squash

Now,  this is a ton of food, so I will disclaim this: not all of it will be made,  but what is made will be eaten and not wasted. For me,  menu planning is mostly a suggestion,  not a concrete agreement. 

What’s on your menu? Do you have a go-to meal plan?

Stop before you Pokémon GO 

I’m there.  I’m not just *on* the bandwagon…I’m one of those people who said “hey,  let’s get the band back together!” Haha

Let’s talk Pokémon GO. It’s an augmented reality mobile game that lets you catch Pokémon and then use them to battle and train at gyms with trading Pokémon anticipated for future releases.  “Augmented Reality” (in this case) means that the game relies on your location and camera to simulate having Pokémon in your environment–and the type of Pokémon that appear are largely dependent on said environment with grass types in grass,  water types near water,  fire types out on hot days,  and electric types…. well, I’ve only ever caught one so…mystery remains. Or,  you can Google it.  

The thing I am loving about this game is that it combines so many of my hobbies. 

  • Going for walks
  • Playing video games
  • Instant gratification
  • Taking pictures 
  • Sharing on social media

The instant gratification is what makes this game so addicting to me. Often,  when I’m out catching Pokémon I’ll think to myself “oh, if I just go a little further I can hit that Pokéstop.”

My weekend steps have easily tripled in the pursuit of Pokémon. Not only that,  but I’ve integrated the local Pokéstop into a workout routine that’s easily repeatable. 

Clockwise from top left: (modified) burpees,  run to Pokéstop,  (modified) push ups,  body weight squats.  

Sure,  it’s only 4 moves, but it’s 4 moves that I wouldn’t have been doing had I not wanted to collect items from the Pokéstop. 

 There are plenty of opportunities to combine Pokémon with community service as well:

  • Taking a bag on walks to clean up the neighborhood 
  • Partnering with a local shelter to walk dogs
  • Partnering with a virtual shelter to turn miles into money for local shelters
  • Getting to know your neighbors

Now,  before I forget and leave it out altogether–if you’re going to play Pokémon GO, please be safe! Travel or play with friends. Don’t trust every stranger. Don’t play while driving!! It’s so tempting to just cruise and catch,  but that’s not the point and it’s dangerous to boot. 

Now, get out there and catch some fun. 😊

No Sweat… wait, actually a lot of sweat

I found my new favorite group exercise class!  It’s called “Accumulator” and it stacks exercises up one after the other so that it just grows and grows.

For example:


Burpees + Jump Squats

Burpees + Jump Squats + Clean/Press

Burpees + Jump Squats + Clean/Press + Single Arm Lifts

They kept adding up until we were doing burpees, jump squats, clean/press, single arm lifts, reverse flies, high knees, and bent over rows.  THEN! They had an ab-specific portion where they started with plank and added one after the other until we were doing plank, overhead lift, flutter kicks, crunches, reverse crunches, donkey kicks, and Russian twists.

It was INTENSE and I worked up SUCH a good sweat.  The awesome thing, though, is that there were sufficient modifications that I could complete the class at my own level.  For burpees, I had a riser to add an incline. For the plank step-outs I just held a plank or used the riser. For high-knees, I marched when I got too fatigued.  I did 6″ leg raises instead of flutter kicks…. My shirt was soaked, my face was red, I was completely out of breath and I *LOVED* it.

I’m definitely going to carve time out of my schedule for that class.


When I’m not working out at class, I’m working out with Little Elfkin.  We go for walks and she leads me on a merry chase.  It’s probably good for my back if I remember to keep good form🙂

I’m still working on getting my diet cleaned up.  I have a sugar fiend that keeps sabotaging my efforts.  Slowly but surely I’ll wean off of that.  Caffeine too.  Eventually.  It’s quite difficult to go from so much sugar and monster + daily to nothing–and I’m not great at quitting cold turkey.  Yesterday I had a doughnut for breakfast, today I had cookies for a snack…. The stuff is entirely too accessible either on my commute or at work.


Little Elfkin had her check up recently and she’s my little chunky monkey.  She’s proportionate, but she’s proportionately *big*.  The pediatrician basically said that genetically she’ll have a double chin and a little belly because she was shaped that way from the start.  She even had a little double chin when she was a hungry baby before we figured out how to breastfeed or use formula.  Still, though, I want her to have a healthy relationship to food and fitness, so we’re still having our meals together🙂 she eats what I eat when we’re together and I won’t give her junk, so that cuts down on the junk I have!🙂 It helps that we got rid of so much of the junk from the pantry.


She loves spinach, eggs, sweet potato, strawberries, cherries, peaches, pears, carrots, peas, beans, etc.🙂 She’s an adventurous eater and not picky at all. As more veggies come into season, I’m excited to share more of the flavors with her.

Weigh in!

Measurements (non flexed, widest part,  as measured in inches with a cloth measuring tape pulled snug but not digging in)
Neck 14 5/8
Bicep 15 7/8
Ribs 40 3/8
Belly 44 1/4
Hips 49 1/4
Thigh 29 1/4
Calf 17 3/8
Weight: 239.2 lbs


Today’s fitness included reading more of the mindset module and taking some notes about the things that resonate with me. I checked in with two accountability buddies,  but I forgot to message Dana to go for a walk.  (Sorry, Dana!! Thursday for sure!)

Last night,  we had our healthiest D&D yet.  We’re all on a health kick right now (whether we want to be or not) so there was none of the usual fare to be found–which was great for my focus!


It was funny.. we’re playing 5E Curse of Strahd and we’re just getting to the main quest line.  The DM introduced an NPC and the dwarf in our party wanted to know if he was a trader. Dwarven sounds like a thick pirate accent and one of the dragon born is fluent…and wanted to know of he said trader or traitor and so they were saying traitor/trader back and forth while the rest of us tried to figure out if they’d gone mad because to us,  it all sounded completely foreign. (Aside from the or of character additions like ‘whappity whappity’ and ‘you are doing me a concern’ ‘bork!’)

Other than that,  I started taking a look at my bat cave and realized it needs some serious leveling up.


I got all of the chips and candy gathered up and I’ll be taking it to the office tomorrow.  I’m not usually that villain, but it’s left over from my brother’s wedding and if I don’t get it out of the house then we’re just going to keep eating it all.  No one needs Hershey kisses on their night stand unless it’s a steamy anniversary,  mmkay?

I also took my next set of progress pics,  but I’m not ready to show them here quite yet. I guess that’s a work in progress too.